Thursday, 30 June 2011

My Pasta Amatriciana (bacon, mushrooms & chilli)

Thursdays seem to come round quickly.  Thursday is the only night that we can enjoy pasta (unless indulging at the weekend).  For an Italian family, this is hard!  The reason I avoid pasta during the week is that you need a fairly decent size portion (around 100g) to create a satisfying meal.  On the WeightWatchers plan 100g of pasta is a whopping 10 ProPoints! I try to work on a maximum of 12 ProPoints per main meal/dinner so that leaves just 2 for any protein or sauce.  You can forget about adding parmesan cheese!!

I have managed to find a handful of pasta dishes that fit into my lifestyle.  With hubby and I exercising at different times on a Thursday evening, I need to create a pasta sauce during the day that can be added to freshly boiled pasta upon request.  This sauce takes minutes to knock up and I have been known to do this inbetween feeding kids, talking on the phone, get the picture.

You'll need for 2:
  • Half a red onion, finely diced
  • 4 reduced fat bacon medalions, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1 punnet chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped basil
  • Half a bottle passata
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 200g pasta: penne, rigatoni or farfalle all go well
  • Black pepper
What to do:
Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan.  Add the red onion and saute.  Add the bashed garlic and soften for a few minutes with the onion.

Add the bacon and fry until browned.  Then add the mushrooms, black pepper and chilli flakes.  Once the mushrooms are nicely coated and starting to soften, add the passata.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer.  Throw the basil in at the end.

When ready to serve boil the pasta according to the packet instructions and drain.  Retain a little of the cooking liquor.  Add the pasta to the sauce and stir to coat.  Add some of the cooking liquor if it looks a little dry.

WeightWatchers ProPoints Per Serving: 11

Add a teaspoon of grated parmesan if you just cannot resist (I can't!) for an extra 1 ProPoint.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Mum's Devilled Kidneys

I've watched tonnes of cookery programmes and read loads of recipe books.  I've lost count of the times on TV or in print, I have witnessed a well known chef quoting their mother's or grandmother's recipe as the best ever and the recipe they will showcase given a chance.  There is something inside us which makes us want to learn and long for those childhood comforting recipes.  My sister and my dad are vegetarians and mum rarely cooks something interesting for herself nowadays. Like many mothers, mine cannot understand portion control and is only physically capable of cooking on mass.  This bodes well for me as often we end up with a box of surprise food! 

I took it upon myself a few years ago to start learning my mum's repertoire.  I blogged last month about mum's chicken curry which you can see by clicking here. I decided to observe the kidney making today and will hopefully introduce my kids to this delightful dish at some point.

You'll need for 2 people:
  • 1 pack 450g lambs kidneys
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger
  • 3 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp malt vinegar
  • 1 level tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp sunflower or vegetable oil
  • Salt & ground black pepper
What to do:

Prepare the kidneys by slicing each half into thirds moving inwards towards the sinew tough bit in the middle.  Cut as close to the centre as possible to minimise waste.

In a saucepan, heat the oil and fry the onions until golden.  Add the kidneys and brown all over. 

Next add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, salt and pepper.  Also add theworcestershire sauce & malt vinegar.  According to my mum, the vinegar helps to neutralise the offal smell.  Season to taste.

Leave with a lid on to simmer for 10 minutes.  You can add a little water if you like but the juices that are ommiteed in cooking plus the worcestershire sauce create a wonderful gravy, which is just delicious mopped up with some fresh crusty white bread.

I like to serve these kidneys with boiled new potatoes and some steamed brocolli, although I must confess to wiping the plate clean with a piece of leftover baguette.

Weightwatchers Propoints Per Serving: 6 for the kidneys, add 4 PP for 220g new potatoes and 0 PP for steamed vegetables.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Baked Smoked Haddock & Leek Risotto

Every now and then you cook something for the first time that just works.  Tonight’s dinner was sublime!  So easy to do and so satisfying. 
I’ve had a big fillet of un-dyed smoked haddock in the freezer  for a few weeks and was looking for an interesting, low fat, recipe to use it up.  Again I referred to my trusty BBC Good Food website and found this recipe.  I made a few minor changes to reduce the fat count and what a winner! 
I used asparagus in replacement of spinach and added a squeeze of lemon at the end.  Green beans or peas would also work well.  I delightfully tucked into my dinner, burning my mouth on the piping hot risotto!  The only thing I absolutely must remember to do tonight before I hit the sack, is to empty the bin as while I love the fresh smell of this dish, I cannot bear to wake up to a house ponging of fish tomorrow morning!
You’ll need for 2:
·         1 large or 2 medium leeks, sliced
·         1 tsp butter
·         150g Arborio risotto rice
·         350ml veg stock.  I use the Knorr liquid stock concentrate
·         125ml skimmed milk
·         Bunch of asparagus, woody ends snapped off and cut into pieces
·         250-300g un-dyed smoked haddock, cut into 2 – 3 pieces
·         Squeeze of lemon
·         Black pepper
·         2 tbsp low fat crème fraiche, I used the WeightWatchers one
·         Handful chopped parsely

What to do:
Preheat your fan oven to 180 c.  In an oven proof saucepan melt the butter gently.  Add the leeks and soften for a few minutes.  Add the rice and stir to allow the rice to toast for a minute or two.
Add the milk and the stock and bring to the boil.  Boil for 4-5 minutes.  Throw in the asparagus and stir.  Remove from the heat and put the haddock in the pan.  Cover with a lid or with foil and bake for 18-20 minutes.  (DS1 begged for 1 more story, so mine had 25 minutes and this was still fine!)
Remove from the oven and stir in the crème fraiche, parsley, black pepper and squeeze of lemon.  The haddock will break up into chunks as you stir.  Serve up and watch the roof of your mouth as it’s hot!!
WeightWatchers ProPoints Per Serving: 12

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Salmon Teriyaki

I really do love Asian food.  Especially Chinese and Thai.  I have longed to perfect a handful of Asian dishes and think I’ve got this one pretty much down.  I’m a big fan of Ching He-Haung as I think she cooks wonderful Chinese food in a naturally healthy manner.  My recipes are very often based on hers, but of course I look to cut down on oil wherever possible to save valuable WeightWatchers ProPoints and up the veg content making it Slimming World friendly.

This teriyaki marinade works well not just with salmon but also with chicken, beef or prawns.  Marinade for a couple of hours if you can.  Tonight I had, er all of 5 minutes but the dish was still tasty. 

You’ll need for 2:
  • 2 salmon fillets, each 110g
  • 1 teaspoon Sesame or Groundnut oil
  • 1 pack of baby corn and mangetout, sliced
  • 1 pak Choi, sliced
  • Handful of chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp dark soy
  • 1 tbsp light soy
  • Squeeze of lemon or few drops of concentrated lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Mirin (or you could use honey)
  • 1 tsp lazy chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp lazy chopped ginger
  • Pinch chilli flakes (optional)
  • 2 portions dried egg noodles, medium (60g each)

What to do:
Make up the marinade by combining the dark soy, mirin, garlic, lemon, ginger, chilli flakes.  Marinade the salmon for an hour or so if you can

The next few steps all happen simultaneously so get all your pans ready!

Simmer the egg noodles according to the packet instructions, drain and rinse in cold water until required.

Heat the sesame oil in a wok or large frying pan and fry the veggies on a high heat.

Heat a griddle pan and shake off any excess marinade and griddle for 3-4 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the salmon.  You can also bake the salmon on a foil lined tray or grill.

Add any excess marinade to the veggies along with 1 tbsp light soy sauce.

Add the noodles to the veggies and toss to coat evenly.

Plate up with the noodles / veggies first, then top with the cooked salmon.

WeightWatchers Propoints Per Seving: 13

Monday, 20 June 2011

Cottage Pie

What another miserably wet evening.  It's June!!  What's going on!??  The afternoon looked promising but with more rain as the day wore on I was rather in the mood for a comfort dish for dinner.  You can’t get more comfort than Cottage Pie. It's actually really easy to make this true classic dish healthy without compromising on the taste or comfort! 

My version has (surprise, surprise) lots of vegetables making it very Slimming World friendly.  I also substitute over half of the mashed potato topping for Swede, which is has 0 ProPoints on the WeightWatchers plan, or if you are not following any set diet you can be glad of the fact you are packing 2-3 portions of your 5-a day in this meal alone.  So it’s gotta be good for you!

I always make a 4 portion serving of this which tastes great the next day for leftovers or it freezes really well too.

You’ll need for 4:
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3-4 medium sized carrots, peeled and diced
  • Half a punnet chestnut mushrooms
  • 500g lean minced beef 12% fat
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 beef stock cube or 1 stock pot
  • Few glugs of Worcester sauce
  • 400g potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 600g swede, peeled diced smaller than the potato
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 leek, washed and diced
  • 2 tbsp skimmed milk

What to do:
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and sauté until soft on a medium heat.  Add the carrots and mushrooms and continue to sauté for another few minutes. 

Turn the heat up and add the minced beef and stir until browned.  Add the stock and a cup of water until mince and veg is just covered.  Add the tomato puree, Worcester sauce, herbs and black pepper.  I find shop bought stock quite salty therefore I don’t feel the need to add any more, but season to your liking.  Continue to cook for 15 minutes until reduced slightly and the carrots cooked through.

Meanwhile place the potatoes and swede in a large saucepan and cover with cold salted water.  Bring to the boil and continue to simmer until both the potato and swede are soft and suitable for mashing.  The swede takes a little longer so when you are peeling and chopping prepare the swede first and get that in the pan and it helps to have it cut into smaller chunks than the potato.  Once cooked through, drain in a colander and leave to steam dry for a few minutes.

While the potatoes and swede are draining, heat the butter in the same pan and sauté the leek until soft.  Add a little water if it is too dry.  Add the milk and allow to heat slightly.  Remove from the heat and tip in the drained potatoes and swede.  Mash with a masher until smooth and season.

Allow the meat mixture and mash to cool before layering in a dish.  The meat mixture on the bottom and then the mash on top.  Bake in a hot oven (200 -210) for 20 – 25 minutes until bubbling.

WeightWatchers ProPoints Per Serving: 10

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


My hubby LOVES aubergines!  I too am fond of this unusual vegetable and incidently so is my Tesco delivery driver as he practically drooled over the 3 I unloaded from my shopping quizzing me how I was going to cook them.

I had been wanting to cook a Moussaka for a long time but of course needed to find a recipe that balanced out great flavour without busting the diet.  In my research I relied upon my trusty BBC Good Food website and found their Must-Make Moussaka recipe, but in typical fashion I set about improving it and adding my taste.  The result was met with silence at the dinner table as we both tucked in delightfully.

You'll need for 4 people:

  • 1 large aubergine
  • 1 small –medium sized onion, finely diced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, bashed
  • Half a punnet mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small courgette, diced
  • 400g lamb mince
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 200g pot 0% fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 medium egg
  • 30g grated parmesan or reduced fat cheddar
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Seasoning

Sliced the aubergine into thin ¼ cm slices.  Spray with olive oil or brush lightly using 1 tsp of oil.  Season with salt and then griddle until cooked through and soft.  This should take 1-2 minutes on each side.  Set aside.

Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and fry the onion and garlic until soft.  Add the mushrooms and courgettes and continue to stir fry over a moderate heat.  Add the lamb mince and brown all over.  Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, herbs and spices and cook for 15 – 20 minutes.

Mix together the yogurt, cheese, nutmeg and some seasoning.

In an ovenproof dish, spread half the lamb mixture on the bottom.  Next add half the aubergine slices and then repeat. Top with the yoghurt mixture.  All of this can be prepared in advance.

Bake in a hot oven at 200 – 210 c for approx 15 minutes.

Serve with 150g boiled new potatoes per person or 115g cooked couscous (30g dried) per person.  for a lighter supper or lunch you could serve with a green salad and fat free dressing. 

Weight Watchers Propoints: 8 per Moussaka serving

Monday, 13 June 2011

Linguine Nero Di Sepia con Gamberoni & Capesante

Black squid ink linguine with king prawns & scallops

It was our 7th wedding anniversary on Sunday so a celebratory meal was in order.  My hubby decided to continue with his latest desire to master the Italian cuisine.  It’s very fitting he should choose this particular dish which is so reminiscent of the wonderful times we have spent in Sicily eating fresh seafood, but more so as it was on this day 7 years ago that we tied the knot with the beautiful mountainous countryside of Sicily and our backdrop as we feasted on a 7 course meal which includes some of the best seafood we have ever tasted.

A bit about the produce:
When DH decides to do something, he does it to perfection so it is no surprise that he selected one of Italy’s finest variety of tomato to use in his fresh pasta sauce, the datterini.  These sweet, almost grape like tomatoes are available from Italian importers but do not come cheap at around £9 a kilo.  To get the most from this speciality tomato, he scored, blanched and peeled each baby plum tomato to create a wonderful sauce.  This was an afternoon’s work on its own!  Any good ripe, vine tomato would suffice if you do not have the inclination to use the datterini, however you can source them from Natoora

The fish was purchased from our favourite fishmonger; Chelsea Fishmongers in Guildford.  You can be guaranteed that what you find here has not been farmed or preserved in a warehouse only to reach our plates 3 weeks later.  The fish here is the freshest, often line caught or wild and off the boat within the last 48 hours.

The last ingredient that needs a special mention is the wonderful Linguine Nero di Sepia.  This black pasta gains its colour from squid ink which is of course, black. The injection of colour also adds as a flavour enhancer, making it the perfect accompaniment to seafood.  You can find squid ink pasta in specialist Italian delis such as Camisa

You’ll need for 2 adults:
  • 150 – 200g linguine nero di sepia
  • 500g datterini tomatoes, skinned and crushed, juice discarded
  • 20g parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp dry white wine
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 8 king prawns, middle legs removed and middle peeled.  Head and tail not removed
  • 6 large scallops, cut into 2 or 3
  • ½ red chilli finely chopped.  Seeds added or not – to your liking
  • Seasoning

What to do:
Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted water until al dente.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and add the garlic and chilli.  Fry gently for about 30 seconds.  Add the prawns and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side until they start to go lightly pink.  Remove to a plate.

Add the tomatoes and parsley and cook for around 7 minutes on a medium heat.  Add the wine and allow to evaporate for a minute or two.   Add the prawns back in and add the scallops too.  Season using plenty of black pepper and salt to your taste.

Drain the pasta and retain some of the cooking water.  Add to the sauce.  Toss together and serve.  Add some of the pasta water if you need to loosen the sauce at all.

When eating, you can remove the prawn heads and let all the wonderful juice from the head fall into the plate to add even more flavour and depth to this most delicious dish.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Roast Chicken & Roasted Vegetables

This week’s healthy eating is going pretty well and I was really looking forward to last night’s dinner.  I reckon I packed in 2-3 portions of my 5-a-day in this hugely satisfying meal. When you are preparing the veg and piling them into your dish, it looks like it would serve 4 or 5 people, but the veg does shrink down substantially and if you have some leftovers they are good in an omelette the next day.

I always skin my chicken pieces before roasting.  It’s a messy job but then I am not tempted to take a mouthful of crispy, very fatty, chicken skin.  Also the flavours can penetrate into the flesh instead of the skin since this is what I will be eating I want maximum flavour and minimum fat!

You’ll need for 2:
  • 2 –3 chicken thighs, skin removed, meat slashed
  • 2-3 chicken drumsticks, skin removed, meat slashed
  • 2 garlic cloves, bashed
  • Half a lemon
  • 1 small potato, approx 200g, peeled and chopped
  • Half a butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 1 courgette, washed and chopped
  • 1 aubergine, chopped
  • Half a punnet – approx 125g chestnut mushrooms, chopped into large-ish pieces
  • 10 or so cherry tomatoes
  • 1 red or normal onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Seasoning
  • 1 ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, chopped
What to Do:
Start by preparing your chicken.  Skin and slash.  Season and place into roasting dish.  Sprinkle ½ tsp rosemary and squeeze of lemon.  Then cut your lemon half into 4 pieces and throw these in too.  Scatter the potatoes around the chicken and season aswell.  I love using my Stoneware roaster as it requires no oil to be added, but you could lightly brush the chicken and potatoes with olive oil or use a spray.  The chicken will omit its lovely juices flavouring the potatoes and helping them to brown.

Next prepare your veg.  Basically I chop everything into roughly the same bite size pieces.  The mushrooms shrink down a lot so keep these chunky but the butternut squash requires a bit longer cooking time so keep these smaller.

Pre-heat the oven to 190 or 200.  I generally do all of this before taking my kids up for bathtime so the dishes can be shoved in at appropriate times during the bathing / dressing / story-reading routine.

The veg needs a good 45 minutes, maybe longer turning every 10 to 15 minutes.  The chicken needs approx 35 minutes and I put the chicken on the lower shelf.  Dive into your healthy feast!

Weight Watchers ProPoints: 11

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Marinated Pork Steaks, New Potatoes & Vegetables

I’m trying to have a protein rich day where my carb intake is reduced.  So this is a good day to enjoy a nice lean, pork loin steak. Unfortunately on the Weight Watchers plan pork is ProPoint laden and for this reason it is rare for us to have pork during the week.  It’s usually saved for the weekend but then if it’s a choice between a pork chop or fillet steak, the steak wins hands down!

Anyway I found this delicious looking marinade in the latest Waitrose Kitchen (June 2011) Magazine so this pork recipe comes courtesy of Bill Granger.  I’ve used lean steaks instead of Bill’s pork tenderloin and removed any visible fat whatsoever from the pork to end up with 2 steaks at 135g each.  By pairing the pork with a small amount of filling new potatoes and lots of veg, the meal comes out at surprisingly 11 points.

You’ll need for 2:
  • 2 x 135g pork loin steaks, lean, fat removed
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Zest and juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves or ½ tsp dried
  • Pinch chilli flakes
  • Seasoning
  • 300g new potatoes
  • 3-4 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • Green veg of your choice; spinach, broccoli, green beans, asparagus etc
What to do:
In a mortar and pestle, bash the garlic clove, chilli flakes, zest of lemon, sea salt and thyme together.  Transfer to a shallow dish and add the lemon juice, olive oil and honey.  Mix together well and add the pork loin steaks.  Season with black pepper and leave to marinade for a good couple of hours, longer if you have time.

Boil your new potatoes and carrots in salted water until just tender – approximately 20 -25 minutes.  Drain and then toss in 1 tsp of olive oil and place in a roasting tray, season and bake for 10 or so minutes. Steam or boil your green vegetables to your liking.  I had a bag of spinach to use up this evening which I sautéed in a small knob of butter but obviously steaming or boiling other veg reduces the ProPoints.

Remove the pork from the marinade and cook on a hot BBQ or a griddle pan, turning a couple of times and brushing with the remaining marinade.  It should take between 5 – 8 minutes to cook.  If it is a thick steak you can finish it off in the oven to ensure it is cooked through.

Allow the pork to rest on warmed plates for a couple of minutes and serve with the potatoes and veg. 

Weight Watchers Propoints: 11

Monday, 6 June 2011


I love kedgeree and my favourite version is with salmon.  Whilst the oily fish has undeniable health benefits it also does add ProPoints, so in my book if I am cooking this mid-week, I will use a simple white fish like haddock or Pollock.  I could also save on Propoints by not adding egg or peas, but to me it’s not kedgeree.  This version is a compromise but if you did try my ultimate version with salmon and peas it would total 16 Propoints!

So here is my WeightWatcher friendly Kedgeree, a perfect mid-week meal that comes in at just 12 ProPoints.

You’ll need for 2:
  • 2 white fish fillets approx 120g each
  • 1 small onion
  • Handful of green beans, chopped
  • Small pack of baby corn, sliced into discs
  • 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil or rapeseed oil
  • 140g dry weight brown basmati rice, cooked then cooled
  • 2 medium eggs, hard boiled
  • 2 teaspoons mild curry paste, Pataks is good
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Handful of fresh coriander finely chopped
  • A cupful of water
  • Seasoning

What to do:
It’s best to cook the rice in advance so it’s cooled thoroughly before you stir fry it to prevent it going mushy.  Everything is cooked quite separately so it is just an assembly job at the end, but this also means you can prep a fair amount in advance based around your busy day.

Place the fish on a foil lined baking sheet and season.  Fold the foil up to create a loose parcel and bake for approx 7-10 minutes until just cooked through

At the same time, in a sauce pan boil your eggs for 7 minutes, drain and then cool in cold water.

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan or wok and sauté the onion.  Add in your veg and continue to cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the curry paste and the water to help loosen the paste.  Cook on high for a minute or two.  Add some seasoning. Add the rice to your wok and stir continuously to coat and heat the rice through.

Everything ‘should’ come together at the same time.  Serve the rice mixture onto a plate.  Remove the fish from the oven.  I like to break the fish up into chunks and stir lightly through the rice but you can serve it as a fillet on top of the rice if you prefer.  Scatter some coriander, chop up and add your egg and finish with a squeeze of lemon.

Weight Watchers ProPoints: 12

Friday, 3 June 2011

Spring Broad Bean & Asparagus Risotto

Monday was a Bank Holiday and we decided to go strawberry picking at our local ‘Pick Your Own’ (PYO) Farm.  Fresh asparagus is in season so we decided to take our kids asparagus picking too, but admittedly DH did most of the asapargus cutting on account of the rather sharp knife handed to us at the ‘PYO’ hut.

This risotto is perfect for this time of year as both British asparagus and broad beans are in abundance.  Sadly our local PYO does not have broad beans so I did purchase mine in my local Tesco.  Not wanting to sound too pernickety, but I absolutely have to have my broad beans double podded.  Whilst broad beans are perfectly acceptable once podded and blanched for a few minutes, there is something much nicer about the dark emerald bean once slipped out of its lighter shade jacket.  I actually find double podding quite therapeutic , so even after a hard Friday out with the kids I was happy to get podding!  OK, I’m starting to sound very Nigella about the humble broad bean, but my advice is to take the extra attention to reach the delectable inside.  Incidentally, my 500g broad beans yielded just 62g once double podded so believe me you really do need this amount for 2 adults!

You’ll need for 2:
  • Half an onion, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 150g Arborio risotto rice
  • 500g fresh broad beans, podded, blanched for a minute and then double podded
  • Bunch of asparagus, woody stems trimmed, sliced on diagonal and blanched for 3 minutes.
  • 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 750ml vegetable stock
  • 90ml white wine (optional)

What to do:
Gently sauté the onion and garlic in a saucepan with the olive oil for a few minutes until soft.  Take care not to turn the heat up too much especially as there is not much oil in the pan.  Add the rice and coat and stir for a minute.

Add the wine and stir continuously until the liquid has evaporated.  I make my stock using a liquid concentrate, in a jug and then pour it in a little at a time, whilst simmering on a low heat adding more each time it is absorbed.  This does require a lot of stirring and therefore I find it is a perfect Friday night meal where I can sip on a glass of white wine whilst happily stirring.

At some point, during the adding stock process, add the zest of lemon. It should take around 20 -25 minutes for the rice to cook, but to be honest I find it incredibly hard to give you an exact time.  I generally keep tasting a single grain of rice until it is almost cooked and still has just a tiny ‘bite’ to it.  At this point, add in the beans and asparagus and the parmesan.  Cook for a further 3 minutes or so until the rice is perfect for your taste and the veg is heated through.  Season with freshly ground salt and pepper and sprinkle with a little fresh parsley if you have some in your fridge.

Weight Watchers Propoints: 12

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Baked Breakfast

It was leftovers for our dinner last night so I’m writing about the perfect, healthy hangover cure which was gratefully appreciated Sunday morning after a rather boozy Saturday night.  Bacon and eggs are the ultimate comforter and we British love a good fry up.  Using clever techniques you can still enjoy these indulgences and stick within a healthy eating plan.

You’ll need for 2:
  • 2 rashers smoked bacon
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 3 or 4 vine tomatoes, cut in half
  • Seasoning
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 slices medium wholemeal bread
  • 2 teaspoons of butter for toast
  • You could also add in a handful of sliced mushrooms
What to do:
For this dish to work without any oil you do need to invest in a good piece of Stoneware.  I got my wonderful dish after hosting a Pampered Chef party, thanks to all my friends spending a small fortune on kitchen gadgets. I’ve used the dish a few times but it is already beautifully seasoned and now requires no oiling whatsoever.  If you do not have anything like this, use your best non-stick roasting tray and spritz using an olive oil spray or fry lite.

Pre-heat your oven to 190.  In a roasting dish lay out the tomatoes and bacon rashers.  Sprinkle over some oregano over the tomatoes and season with freshly ground salt and pepper.

Place in the oven for 10 minutes or until the bacon has crispened.  Toast your bread and butter.  Crack the eggs into the dish and place back into the oven for a minute or two keeping an eye not to overcook the yolks.  As soon as the whites are cooked, remove the dish from the heat and serve.

Weight Watchers Propoints: 7