Broad Bean and Courgette Pilaf (Syn Free)

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This is a lovely recipe I modified from the new Slimming World cook book ‘Free Food Deasts’. The original called for Saffron (am I made of money?) and Quails eggs (Tesco doesn’t do that!). I switched out the Saffron, which was only being used for colouring!! to Tumeric, which has fantastic health benefits, not least it’s anti inflammatory properties. I also switched the quails eggs to standard hens, which work just as well and less fiddly to peel. Bonus: scroll to the bottom for how I cook my boiled eggs for runny yolks everytime!

Hope you try and enjoy it as much as we did, let me know in the comments…

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 cal cooking spray

2 onions, peeled and finely sliced

4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

200 g frozen broad beans

1 tbsp turmeric

1 tsp cardamom seeds, crushed

2 cinnamon stick or 1/2 tsp cinnamon if you don’t have the sticks

200 g baby courgettes, cut into disks. I only had big courgette so cut into bite sized chunks

900 mL vegetable stock, prepared as per instructions

350 g dried long grain rice

Small bunch of fresh corriander

100 g pomegranate seeds (if you have them, I didn’t)

4 eggs, boiled to how you like them*

Method

  1. Boil a large pan of water over a high heat. When boiled add the broad beans and turn the heat low and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain, cool and set aside.
  2. Place the turmeric and stock in a small sauce pan and simmer over a medium heat.
  3. Spray a sauce pan with 1 cal spray and place over a medium heat. Fry the onions and garlic for 3 to 4 minutes. Add a small splash of stock if the onions and garlic start to stick.
  4. Add the cardamom seeds, cinnamon sticks, courgettes and rice. Mix well.
  5. Add the turmeric infused stock to the rice, season to taste and bring to the boil over a high heat.
  6. Stir in the broadbeans, cover tightly and reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes without lifting the lid.
  7. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for a further 15 minutes, still covered.
  8. At this point prepare your boiled eggs, I do mine about 5 minutes before the end of the cooling and peel them ready for plating.
  9. Remove the lid from the pan and fluff up the rice grains with a fork.
  10. Serve immediately with pomegranate scattered on top and halved boiled eggs.
  11. *Okay, so I’m not about to tell you how to cook an egg! But here is what I do for eggs that I like, that is oozy yolks and firm whites.

    1. Don’t use eggs from the fridge, always have them at room temparture this stops them cracking horribly.
    2. Bring a pan of water to the boil, with 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (to help with peeling).
    3. When the pan is bubbling away nicely, lower your eggs and immediately set the timer for 3.5 minutes.
    4. As soon as time is up, quickly take the eggs from the pan and add to cold water to stop them cooking further.
    5. Hit them gently with the back of a spoon and start peeling, using the membrane makes the shell come off easier in one big piece and doesn’t  leave you with a scrappy looking egg.

     

Peppercorn Steak with Rainbow Vegetable Medley (Syn Free)

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I used to think healthy eating didn’t include steak. How wrong was I? This healthy steak has a wonderful kick of heat from the peppercorns and is accompanied by a a fantastically attractive roasted vegetable medley.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 fillet steaks, trimmed of all visible fat

0 cal cooking spray

1 tbsp mixed peppercorns, crushed

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 res pepper, deseeded and diced (I think a yellow one as well would look great too!)

1 courgette, diced

1/2 aubergine, diced

1 red onion, diced

2 tbsp dried rosemary

Method:

  1. Mix the peppercorns and Worcestershire sauce and pour over the steaks, allowing to marinate for at least 2 hours, longer is better!
  2. Preheat oven to 200ºC and line a baking tray with parchement.
  3. Arrange all the vegetable on the baking tray, spray 0 cal cooking spray over the vegetables, season and sprinkle the dried rosemary over the vegetables. Roast for 20 minutes.
  4. About 5 minutes before the vegetable are cooked, spray the steaks with 0 cal cooking spray and heat a non stick fry pan until hot. Cook the steaks to you’re liking, I prefer around 2 minutes per side for quite a bloody steak. Adjust timings to how you like you’re steaks.
  5. Allow the steaks to rest for a minute while you heap the vegetable on your plate, then top with steak. Delicous.

Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce (1.5 syns pet serving)

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I made some lovely thai inspired dumplings the other day and needed a sweet chilli dipping sauce, but struggled to find a low syn version.

Nearly giving up, I decided instead to modify a recipe from the Slimming World website for sweet and sour by removing the pineapple (Suzanne says pineapple has no reason being in authentic sweet and sour anyway, being Chinese I trust her judgement) and also swapping the red pepper for fresh chilli.

One portion is 1.5 syns, but who has just 1 portion?

Serves 4

Ingredients

5 tbsp vegetable stock, prepared as per instructions
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar (use white wine vinegar if you don’t have it)
Just from 2 large oranges
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 red chilli, finely chopped (if you really can’t stand the heat, remove the seeds… but I will judge you 😝)
1 level tsp cornflour

Method

1. Place the juice into a pan with the stock, soy sauce, vinegar, sweetener, tomato purée and chilli. Bring to the boil and simmer gently.
2. Mix the cornflour with 2 teaspoons of water until smooth and stir into sauce.
3. Leave to cool and dip anything and everything in this sticky, sweet delicious sauce.

Thai Pork and Prawn Dumplings (Syn Free)

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These dumplings have all the flavour of traditional Thai dumplings but are much healthier as they are baked and not deep fried. I ate these with rice and stir fried veggies, but I can imagine they would work equally well on a party buffet.

Makes 20 individual dumplings

Ingredients

250g lean minced pork ( less than 5% fat)

250g raw tiger prawns, roughly chopped

8 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped

A handful of chopped chives

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

4 cm stick of ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1 tbsp light soy sauce

1/2 a stick of lemon grass, finely chopped

1 small chilli, de seeded and finely chopped

0 cal cooking spray

 

Method:

  1. Place the pork, prawns, spring onions, chives, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, lemon grass and green chillis in a food processor and process until fairly smooth. Transfer to a bowl and leave to chill for a few hour to firm up.
  2. Preheat an oven to 200ºC and line a baking sheet.
  3. Divide and roll the mixture into equal dumpling sized balls (approximately 20 individual dumplings) and transfer to the baking sheet.
  4. Spray the dumplings lightly with 0% cal cooking spray and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.
  5. Pairing with this sweet chilli sauce is a must.

 

 

Roasted Yellow Pepper Soup (Syn free)

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This is a suprisingly complex soup, using basil, roasted tomatoes and roasted garlic. The roasted garlic and soy sauce darken the soup, so it isn’t as vibrant but is very tasty all the same. Totally syn free too, so enjoy to your hearts content.

 

Serves 4

Ingredients:

6 large yellow peppers, halved and deseeded
10 plum tomatoes, halved
6 garlic cloves
2 tbsp light soy sauce
A small bunch of fresh basil
300 mL vegetable stock, made up as per instructions

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
2. Place the halved cut down on a baking tray and roast for 15 minutes.
3. To the roasting tray add the tomatoes and garlic cloves and roast for an additional 30 minutes.
4. Remove the baking tray and place the still hot peppers in a sandwich/ zip lock back for 5 minutes. This will make removing the skin from the peppers really easy as the condesation will have loosened the skin.
5. Place the skinless peppers, basil, spy sauce and roasted tomatoes in a large pan with the stock and carefully pop the garlic cloves from the skins into the soup.
6. Bring to boil, then remove from the heat.
7. Blend the soup using a stick blender and season to taste. Serve immediately.

Thai Turkey Curry (Syn Free)

  I can’t get enough of Thai food this week. The beautiful mix of ginger, garlic, chilli and lemon grass makes this recipe so delicious and fragrant. If only I could find a good recipe for an authentic (but Slimming World friendly) Tom Yum soup I’d be over the moon. Serves 4 with rice or two without […]

Courgette and Mint Soup (Syn Free)

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Another Hulk green soup. This tastes amazing, is soup-er quick and is totally syn free. Perfection in a bowl!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

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1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
4 large courgette, roughly grated (I spiralised mine because I bought a spiraliser and I’m in love with it!)
1L vegetable stock, made up as per instructions
Large bunch of fresh mint, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp 0% fat natural yogurt

Method:

1. Place the onion, courgette, garlic and stock in a large sauce pan over a high heat and bring to the boil.
2. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Using a stick blender process to your desired consistency  (I like some courgette to reman intact).
4. Season to taste and serve in bowls with a good dollop of natural yoghurt.