Monday, 16 April 2018

Squash, Sweet Potato and Spinach Dhansak

A delicious and healthy way to get your authentic curry fix using vegetables which just happen to be packed full of nutrients!

I always think there's nothing better than when you can eat a really tasty dinner, that you really enjoy, and BONUS - it's actually full of wonderfully healthy ingredients and good for you!

Even better if your children love it too and it's getting loads of healthy fresh vegetables down them and there are no complaints!

Well, what more can you ask? Well, I suppose you could want it to be vegetarian or vegan, gluten, dairy and nut free... well, it just so happens to be those things too - and good for a fast day as well, if you're looking for something low calorie...

,,,so what are you waiting for? Get in!!!

Serves four at 259 calories a portion. You could split into six more modest portions (e.g. as a side dish, or a lighter lunch, for 173 calories a portion). For a delicious fresh twist, why not serve with a helping of cachumber (Indian tomato, cucumber and onion salad with lime, spices and fresh coriander) for only 43 calories a portion - see here for my recipe. Serve with your choice of rice and/or flatbreads, or for a low calorie, low carb alternative, cauliflower 'rice'.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Spiced Snozzcumber Cake (gluten free and lacto/dairy free - or not!)

A seriously delicious and moist cake that no-one will guess the secret ingredient to!

OK, don't worry, you don't have to get hold of 'snozzcumbers' to make this - large courgettes or marrow will do the job! Why 'Snozzcumber Cake'? Well, it was World Book Day and I went to work dressed as the BFG (complete with big ears, cape, dream blower, a bottle of Frobscottle, and of course some 'snozzcumbers' - which were extremely large courgettes) and decided to make a cake from said snozzcumbers to take into work for the rest of the staff to enjoy.

If you like carrot cake, I think you'll love this, as I use similar spicing to that I use in my carrot cakes, but use pecan nuts instead of walnuts, and a maple flavoured cream cheese frosting to complement the flavours. As my daughter has to have a gluten free diet, it is gluten free - but you'd never know as it is so delicious and moist! If you're not on a gluten free diet, feel free to use normal plain flour instead. Either way it will be seriously delicious!

Makes a 9 inch square cake (so up to 16 portions depending on how you want to cut it!). 

Impossible Lemon and Coconut Tart - Gluten Free

A delicious dessert that you only have to make one simple mix for!

There's no faffing about with this dessert, you just mix everything together, bake, chill, and end up with an impossibly tasty dessert with a gorgeous coconut crust on top, a lemony custard in the middle, and a pastry-like base. 

What more could you ask for in a dessert! On top of that, it's gluten free, nut free, and you could easily use lactose free milk in it too, or your favourite dairy-free substitutes.

Makes ten portions at 349 calories each.

Cherry Bakewell Flapjack Bars - Gluten Free

Delicious, moist, flapjacks with the flavours of a cherry bakewell tart!

Since my daughter had to go on a gluten free diet, we've tried a fair few sweet and savoury snacks - some quite tasty, some... well... let's just say we didn't try them more than once!

If you're gluten free, you're probably aware of how horrendously expensive gluten free products are, with even just the basics often costing in excess of four times their gluten-y equivalent! So, it makes sense to make your own food from scratch, where you can, as it makes the cost a lot more manageable. Even when buying gluten free oats from the supermarket costs four times more than normal oats, you're still making a huge saving on baking your own treats with them - just imagine how much more it costs to buy the finished baked goods gluten free!

Anyway, I digress. There was a nice Bakewell-style slice that my children both liked, and so I came up with a home-made alternative - which I have made using predominantly oats, with plenty of almonds so it's more filling, and a bit healthier than just a cakey slice on top of pastry - plus who wants to make pastry, right?!

Makes 40 bars at 169 calories each (or cut these in half to make mini squares for lunchboxes / treats at 84 calories each, so they're under the 100 calorie mark!) - although if you want to cook fewer / use a smaller tin, you can easily halve this quantity, and just cook for about ten minutes or so less.

Smoked mackerel pâté

A delicious pâté which is also great to use as a dip for crudités.

This has to be one of the tastiest fish pâtés! It's great for entertaining as a simple, prepare-ahead starter served with some home-made melba toast (see tips), or for dipping sticks of cucumber, peppers, carrot etc. as a healthy, low-carb snack - see bottom of tips for suggestions with calories: you can have a lovely selection of vegetables for one for less than 60 calories! 

If you want to lower the fat content, you can use lighter cream cheese and substitute the creme fraiche for Greek yoghurt.

This amount will serve four people as a light starter, or two gannets! (It will basically over-fill two decent sized ramekins - and one is perfect to share!)

Calories per portion: for a quarter portion this is 206 calories for the full fat version, or 138 calories if you're using lightest cream cheese (e.g. Philadelphia lightest) and 0% Greek yoghurt.

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