Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Blueberry Compote with Vanilla Ice Cream

I have given up chocolate for Lent. I thought it would be easy as I tend to usually just nibble on the odd square of dark chocolate, well so I thought. I actually eat far more chocolate than I ever realised. The odd chocolate biscuit, a mikado stick, my childrens chocolate button, maltesers and what about choccie puds at the weekend! So in my attempt to satisfy these sweet craving right now, I have discovered a truly awesome mid-week pud of just 1, yes 1 ProPoint.

Serves 4:
  • 1 punnet of fresh blueberries
  • Squeeze of half a lemon
  • 1 dsp caster sugar
  • WeightWatchers new vanilla pod ice cream, 2 level scoops per person

In a small pan, place the blueberries and put on a high heat. Sprinkle over the sugar and squeeze the lemon juice. Stir occassionally and allow the blueberries to release their juices and pop a little. Cook until some berries have dissolved and some are just nicely soft

Scoop the ice-cream (using the WeightWatchers handy level scoop) into 4 bowls and spoon over the blueberry compote

WeightWatchers ProPoints Per Serving: 1

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Low Fat Banana and Walnut Cake

It's quite unusual for me to blog about a sweet food because to be honest I am all about the savoury, but the over-indulgences from Christmas have left me with a sweet craving that I cannot seem to satisfy. A sizeable amount of my weekly food bill goes on purchasing low fat sweet treats so it's time I extended my love for home cooking and got better at baking sweets & puds in an Eat Healthy But Tasty way.

There has been alot of noise about the new breed of low calorie sweeteners made using extracts from the Stevia plant. Brands such as Pure Via and Truvia have engaged in some heavy TV advertising. I was very excited to learn about these products as they are different from traditional sweeteners that use artificial means. They are calorie free and sugar free so also suitable for diabetics, plus are granulated so much better for baking. Good un's all round then?  Well I purchased Truvia (not cheap by the way, a 180g tub sets you back a fiver!) and upon first taste in my coffee I was not impressed. The saccharin taste lingered for ages and I decided I preferred Splenda.

However I decided to give Truvia another go, taking note that 1/3 of a tsp is equal to 1sp of sugar so basically it needs to be used sparingly. I significantly reduced the quantity based on my original inspiration for this recipe that I found on this fab website called All Recipes.  I was very pleased with the outcome and will continue to use Truvia in my quest to Eat Sweet Treats Healthy But Tasty!

I am also including this blog post in #nowaste food challenge run by the lovely Kate. Since I had some really over-ripe bananas to use up (I'm talking full on black ones!) this recipe perfectly fits this challenge for this month.

Equipment needed: 1 loaf tin, 2 mixing bowls, spatula, wire rack

  • 200g plain flour
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tbsp apple sauce
  • 45 Truvia or calorie free sweetner
  • 75g walnut pieces, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 mixed spice


  • Lighly grease the loaf tin
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180c / 170c fan / gas mark 4
  • In a large mixing bowl sieve the flour, baking powder, bicarb, cinnamon and mixed spice
  • Stir in the walnuts and sweetner
  • In the other mixing bowl, mash the bananas and then stir in the apple sauce
  • Add the fruit to the dry ingredients
  • In the empty bowl crack the eggs and lightly whisk with a fork
  • Using a spatula, fold the eggs and fruit into the dry mix ensuring everything is mixed well but trying not to over-mix
  • Tip the mixture into the loaf tin and cover with foil
  • Bake in the oven for 50 -55 minutes
  • Uncover the foil for the last 15-20 minutes to brown on top
  • Test the cake is cooked by inserting a skewer into the centre to see if it comes out clean
  • Cool for a good 20 minutes in the tin and then transfer to a wire rack to cool
  • Slice into 12 pieces

Enjoy with a nice cuppa!

WeightWatchers ProPoints Per Slice: 3

Monday, 6 February 2012

Low Fat Creamy Mushroom Pasta

I've always been under the impression that mushrooms were a bit of a cheat in vegetable terms. By this I mean they look a bit strange, a wee bit dull in colour and seem well, a bit meaningless. So my thinking was they can't be that good for you? Not as good as all the green stuff that's for sure. How wrong was I??!!

This fabulous website explains it all but I was very surprised to learn that:
  • Mushrooms are one of the highest antioxidant foods in the world, in the same league as the red pepper and spinach.
  • The dietary fibre in mushrooms also helps promote good bowel function and leaves you feeling more satisfied, so you won’t be hungry again as quickly.
  • Mushrooms are also extremely rich in protein, so are a great alternative protein source for vegetarians

Choosing some really good tasting mushrooms is essential for this dish, as the mushrooms need to add flavour and meatiness. I used a mix of oyster mushrooms, chestnut mushrooms and just a small amount of dried porcini to pack a mushroomy punch. 

But importantly, how to make a classic creamy pasta dish waistline friendly? I used low fat creme fraiche (WeightWatchers brand), lots of black pepper and a pinch of nutmeg to enhance the flavour.  If I had some in my fridge I would have finished with a sprinkling of freshly chopped parsley but it was perfectly fine without it!

You'll need for 2:

  • Half a small onion, finely diced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Seasoning
  • 125g punnet of mixed oyster mushrooms
  • 150g of chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 5-10g dried porcini mushrooms or dried wild mushrooms
  • Handful fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp low fat creme fraiche
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • Cupful of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 200g pasta, penne or tagliatelle work well
  • Pinch of nutmeg

What to do:
  • In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, get the pasta on as per packet instructions
  • Pour some boiling water over the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and leave to soak
  • In a non-stick frying pan heat the oil and very slowly saute the onion and garlic until soft and translucent
  • Meanwhile prepare the mushrooms by slicing the chestnut mushrooms. With the oyster mushrooms, just gently tear them length ways. Add the mushrooms to the onions and and turn up the heat to get a nice colour on them. Stir frequently. If it's a little dry add some of the stock. Cook for a few minutes until softened and nicely browned
  • Mix the cornflour with cold stock or cold water then add the stock bouillon / cube to the mug.
  • Add the stock / cornflour to the pan and stir well
  • Season well, especially adding lots of black pepper and add the nutmeg
  • Turn the heat down and add the drained dried mushrooms and a little of the water from soaking. Add as much of this as you like for your own personal taste. I find the flavour a little overpowering so I go easy on this part.
  • Turn the heat down or off and stir in the creme fraiche. It may split (as it's low fat, not double cream!) when cooked on a high heat so be careful at this point
  • Drain the pasta and add to the mushrooms along with the parsley and toss everything together
  • Serve with  a little Parmesan cheese
WeightWatchers ProPoints Per Serving: 12