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The reason why I made this dinner is incredibly boring… But I needed something to make that would be low calorie, but taste good, was not boring central, and that I could use up the veg that needed eating! Since lasagne sheets are just too carb and calorie expensive, I thought i’d try it with courgette strips instead!

So this is my recipe… and it’s 400 calories… you can really use any veg you want, and adjust the calories accordingly!!

Ingredients:

200 g Tinned chopped tomatoes,

80 g Courgette (chopped into long thin slices!)

30 g Chopped onion,

70 g Chopped leeks,

40 g Yellow pepper,

40 g Mushrooms,

2 Cloves of garlic,

30 g Low calorie cheese,

20 g Olive spread,

20 g Cornflour,

100 g Milk

Spray oil

A bit of water!

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4….

Heat up a pan with a couple of sprays of oil, and cook down the onions, leeks, and  garlic for a couple of minutes, then add the rest of the veg and tomatoes. And cook it all down simply, to make a vegetable ragu! (Obviously season to taste… a bit of salt and pepper…)

Melt the olive spread and a couple of sprays of oil in a pan and then mix in the cornflour until it makes a paste…. add some milk and mix it together until smooth, and heat again, keep adding milk and mixing into the cornflour as it thickens up…  once you’ve used the milk, you may need a bit of water to make it up to the consistency you want. It really depends on how thick you like the roux! Add a bit of salt and pepper (and mustard powder if you like it! I do… so it’s a must for me…!).

Grab an oven proof dish and the raw courgette strips and you’re ready to layer up!

Put some ragu in the bottom of the dish, and  a bit of roux, then courgette strips as if they were lasagne sheets! Keep layering it up, it works out to be about 2 layers of courgette in my dish… so space the sauces out until you end with roux on the top. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes and then put the cheese on top and bake for about another 10 minutes.

Don’t burn yourself, it’s mega hot!!

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Nutritional Info: 

Cals: 400, Carbs: 45 g, Fat: 11 g, Protein: 17 g. 

Simple as! Enjoy!

K. 

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I recently wanted to make a present for one of my friends… I wasn’t able to get out to buy one, so I thought the best option was an EDIBLE GIFT. I wracked my brain and decided… I’d never made peppermint creams before, why not use Anna as my guinea-pig?! (My poor friends rarely get tried and perfected edible gifts!)

Luckily, they were a success! And this recipe I am about to provide you with, makes a TONNE of them! So would be perfect for Christmas or any time where you need to make a massive batch… like a Monday when you need a sugar fix!

(The amounts for the icing sugar will vary a bit….. so if it’s too sticky when you’ve used all the icing sugar, you will just need to add a bit more until you get the right consistency!)

Ingredients:

(approx) 200 g Icing sugar,

28 g Butter (softened),

2 tsp Peppermint extract (Extract not flavouring…….. you can use flavouring instead but it just wont be as good…),

2 tbsp Double Cream,

290 g Good quality dark chocolate (I’m a huge Green and Blacks fan, but use whatever kind you love… 70% is best!),

Beat the Butter, peppermint, and cream together in a bowl… You can do it by hand or use an electric mixer, either way make it creamy, then add the icing sugar and mix mix mix! You want it to be soft so it’s malleable, but not too sticky. It’s a hard medium, but you’ll know it when you get there!

Now this is the only slightly complicated part of the whole thing… and this isn’t even that complicated! Ha.

Grab a long piece of clingfilm, and lay it on a spacious table top! Chuck the peppermint icing mush onto the clingfilm, and roll it out into a long sausage and wrap it in the clingfilm. Once it’s in the clingfilm you can roll it to make it smooth. If you want to keep the shape well, then it’s good to put old toilet or kitchen rolls around it to keep it circular in the fridge. If you’re not bothered about them being a circular/oval shape, then don’t worry! (I should have taken a picture of these stages. Doh. I’ll try and remember next time and update it!)

Pop the ‘sausage, toilet roll, icing, peppermint, butter mush, clingfilm’ stuff into the fridge for about an hour.  

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over  a pan of boiling water (make sure the water isn’t touching the bottom of the chocolate bowl!) then leave it for a couple of minutes to cool, so it’s not burning hot! Dip your finger, and if it doesn’t burn you it’s fine! (Of course you’ll have to check a couple of times because it’s necessary, and don’t waste it, so make sure to lick your finger clean! ;))

When the peppermint stuff is chilled and solid take it out and cut it into chunks. It’s totally up to you how fat you want them to be! But don’t make them too thin because they wont hold up in the chocolate dipping stage.

Grab a tray and line it with grease proof paper…. Then grab a big fork. I found my easiest method, see what works for you, but this is what I did…. drop a piece of peppermint stuff into the chocolate, flip with the fork to cover it completely, then lift it out with the fork and shimmy it onto the tray. Do this until all are covered like this….

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Don’t worry about their tails, you can chop them off! I’m a fan of the rustic look, so mine were a bit jagged-y. You can trim them down to be really neat though if you can be bothered!

If you have time to leave them over night, then do that! To keep them shiny, don’t put them in the fridge, but if you’re like me, and impatient/not got enough time, you can put them in the fridge, but don’t be sad when they’re not shiny, ’cause I did warn you… 

And this is the end result….

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I’m not going to lie… They were FIT. If I wouldn’t get incredibly fat, i’d eat them every day………………

Enjoy! And let me know how they turn out for you!

K.

 

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With my left over Lemon Curd, I wanted to make some kind of biscuit type things… I’m not a huge fan of proper crunchy biscuits and I didn’t want another muffin/cake type… so I thought i’d go for something in the middle, and seeing as I invented the recipe, I can call it what I like. So I’ve chosen ‘Lemon Curd Jaffa Cakes’…. Not a biscuit, not a cake… Somewhere in the middle. 

Makes 24 (plus I had a tiny little bit left over so I put them in petit four tins and made 6 mini ones!)

Ingredients: 

320 g SR flour,

225 g Butter,

150 g Caster sugar,

1 tsp Vanilla extract

Some Lemon Curd (you could use bought stuff, but if you’re already making homemade ‘biscuits’ you might as well go the whole hog!)

 

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl then add the flour and vanilla extract. Put some elbow grease into the mixing….! Then stir in a couple of spoons full of lemon curd. 

Grease some muffin tins, then take a bit of dough, and roll it into a ball in your hands. About a 3 cm wide ball…. Plop them in the muffin tins then press the middle down with your thumb. 

Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, until golden brown! Take them out and pipe some more lemon curd into the centre then put them back in the oven for 2 more minutes to firm up the curd.

And… you’re… DONE.

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Enjoy!

K. 

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As I said in my last post, I made lemon curd muffins for a quiz, but as insurance, I thought i’d make some mocha muffins too, just in case someone didn’t like lemon curd… (I know, shocking huh?! But there are some crazy fools like this in the world!)

This is my mocha muffin recipe… 

Makes approximately 10 large muffins…

Ingredients:

6 oz Butter,

6 oz Caster sugar,

3 Eggs,

5 oz SR flour,

2 oz Cocoa powder,

1 tsp Vanilla extract,

2-3 tsps Instant coffee granules,

A handful of chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat your oven to gas mark 4 (As I said in my previous post, you need a big blast of heat to make the muffins rise well, so you may want to crank up the oven to full power as it preheats and turn it down to 4 when you go to put the muffins in…)

Make up your coffee so it has time to cool. You want 2-3 big teaspoons of coffee granules depending on how coffee-e you like it! Add some boiling water, only about an espresso sized amount! So I guess it would work out to be about 2 tablespoons of water. Just enough for the granules to dissolve!

Shove the flour and cocoa powder together…. They don’t need to be seperate… Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the vanilla then the egg and flour/cocoa powder alternately… an egg, a tablespoon of flour/cocoa powder and so on…. Hold a couple of tablespoons of flour/cocoa powder back.

When the coffee is cold, add that to the mix and then finish it all off with the remaining flour/cocoa powder. Give it a good beating!! And then mix in a handful of chocolate chips! (That’s optional…)

Line muffin tins with muffin cases… then fill them up with the mix! Fill them up pretty much to the top for nice big buns. (That’s probably a bad choice of words, but i’m sticking with it!)

Pop them in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. Stick a skewer in and if it comes out clean, you’re done!

Leave them to cool, and bob’s your uncle, they’re done.

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I left them plain, but you could top them with a coffee buttercream, or a chocolate icing… whatever you want!

Happy Muffin-ing!

Enjoy.

K. 

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A couple of weeks ago I needed to make some sort of sweet sugary something to take with us to a quiz. So it was experiment time!

I thought it would be fun to make a muffin with a lemon curd centre, so that when you cut it open you could see a little pool of glorious curd staring at you! And thankfully, they turned out well!

So this is Karen’s vanilla muffins with a lemon curd centre, recipe!

Makes about 8 big muffins! You could make smaller cup cake ones, and i’d think you’d get maybe 15 depending on the size! I was feeding men…. So knew that small ones would be laughed at!

Ingredients:

1 Batch of lemon curd (You could use bought stuff! Or you could make it yourself with this Homemade Lemon Curd recipe!)

6 oz SR flour,

6 oz Caster sugar,

6 oz Butter (softened),

3 Large eggs,

1 tsp Vanilla extract.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4. (To get really risen muffins, you need to give them a big blast of heat when they first go in, so I tend to turn it up to full, to heat up, while I make the mix, then turn it down to 4 when I put them in…)

I’m a huge fan of mixing by hand, but you could of course use a mixer if you wanted! Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl. Chuck in the vanilla, and then add the egg and flour alternately…. one egg, a spoonful of flour and so on so on… until its all combined. Give it a good beating.

Line muffin tins with the little muffin cases. Then fill the cases half way up, put a dollop of lemon curd on top and then fill them to the top with more mix. (The lemon curd will soak into the cake, this wont be the oozy centre, that comes last! This is just for flavour! )

Whack them in the oven. They should take about 20-25 minutes to cook. When you can stick a skewer in and it comes out clean, they’re done.

Unless you specifically love sunken muffins, be sure to not open the oven door until at least 10 minutes after beginning to cook! Don’t be impatient!

So, once they’re cooked, take them out. Leave them in the tins for 5 minutes or so, to keep their shape then transfer them to the cooling rack.

Put the Lemon Curd into a piping bag. Once the muffins have cooled, so they’re still warm, but not HOT, cut a little cross in the top, and push the piping bag into the hole. Fill the centre with curd. Do this to them all, and leave for the muffins to cool properly.

And you’re done.

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Fresh from the oven…

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Piped and ready to go!

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You can add an icing on top too if you want… I went for a Greek yogurt and lemon icing glaze- a spoon of Greek yoghurt, icing sugar and lemon juice.

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But they’re brilliant plain too!

Enjoy!

K. 

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I have never (until now….) made lemon curd! My Great Aunt Rosie was an absolute whiz when it came to this lemony treat, so I felt it only right that I should pull upon my inner Forrest talents and whip up a batch…. It went well! So thought I would share it with the world! But if you’re looking for low calorie stuff……. keep looking. This is in no way healthy… apart from the vitamins in the lemons and the protein in the egg….. But that’s just me trying to justify it! Ha.

It was pretty ruddy easy and tasted FIT though, so a must try.

I was making it for some lemon curd muffins (recipe to follow) so truly, I couldn’t tell you how much it makes, probably a large jar, or 2 small jars. And you could seal it in jars to last longer! But, it wasn’t around long enough for me to bother!

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When life gives you lemons… make lemon curd…. It’s much better than lemon-ADE!

Ingredients: 

4 Lemons (zest and juice!),

200 g Caster sugar,

100 g Butter,

3 Whole Free Range Eggs, plus One Single Egg Yolk. (Don’t be silly and throw the spare white away! Make some tiny meringue bites, or something…)

Put the lemon zest and juice into a heatproof bowl with the sugar and butter. Put the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl! Heat gently over a medium flame until the juice, sugar and butter have all melted together!

Lightly whisk the eggs just so they’re all combined, then put them into the sugar/butter/lemon mix, and whisk until they’re all mixed together. Leave it to cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring or whisking  pretty much all the time. You don’t want the eggs to cook and have a lemony scrambled egg, that would be rough.

It will seem like it’s never going to thicken, but keep going, it really will!! It’ll suddenly change and confuse you! You want it to be thick enough to coat the spoon.

Remove it from the heat, and let it cool. Stir it occasionally as it cools!

And it’s done!

I’m kicking myself that I forgot to take a picture! Forgive me. You’ll just have to make your own to see!

Enjoy.

K.

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Risotto, is… well a brilliant meal. It is so incredibly versatile, you can use pretty much anything in it, a great left overs meal!… And you can do extremely complicated slow cooked extravagant ones, but in everyday life, who has the time? Or the effort, to do that!? Definitely not me!

So, this is my simple, quick and easy low calorie risotto recipe for everyday life

This is a simple vegetable one- 4 of your 5 a day! BOOM. 368 Calories…. DOUBLE BOOM. But you can swap the veg out that you don’t like/have, and add others depending on taste. You can obviously also add meat! But needless to say,  if you’re calorie counting, don’t forget that adding meat, and using some different veg, will change the calorie content considerably!

Serves 1, so up the quantities depending on how many people!

Prep time: 2 mins. Cooking time: 30 mins.

Ingredients:

75 g Risotto rice,

1/2 Small red Onion (approx 40 g) finely chopped,

60 g Courgette, cubed,

1 Clove Garlic, finely chopped,

65 g Mushrooms, (I love my mushrooms chunky, so quartered is my preference, but whatever you like!),

30 g Green Pepper, (I like chunky again! So, whatever…)

75 g Frozen Peas,

1 Chicken or Veg stock cube in 500 mls boiling water (or any other low cal/low fat stock you like!)

Low calorie cooking spray (you can use a dash of olive/sunflower oil, or a dab of butter, but again…. the cooking spray is the lowest calorie option…)

Grated Parmesan cheese.

 

Heat the pan on a medium heat, with a few sprays of cooking spray, cook down the onions and garlic for a few minutes then add the courgettes to soften. Add the risotto rice and stir well to get the flavour into the rice! Pour in a quarter of the stock and the mushrooms, and peppers, stir well, and leave with the lid on to soak up the stock, stirring often! When the rice has soaked up that stock, add more, and continue to cook…..add more, cook…. until you have used all the stock up. When adding the final quarter of the stock, put the peas in too. Lid on, cook until all soaked up and smelling lush. Probably takes about 20- 30 minutes to cook, if you put the heat up high and cook it quicker than that, chances are, you’ll a) burn the bottom of the pan, and b) the rice wont cook properly. Be patient! It’s worth it. Check the rice is cooked and season to taste. Because I find that stock tends to be relatively salty I don’t use salt, but I am a pepper fan, so pepper it up good and proper. But its down to your taste! Serve up and grate a little Parmesan cheese over the top. About a teaspoon worth! Risotto gets mega hot, so don’t gollop it too quick, you WILL burn yourself.

 

 

Nutritonal info: 

Cals: 368, Fat: 1.3 g, Protein: 13.1 g, Carbs: 78.5 g. 

 

 

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That’s it. Simple as. Enjoy!

K.

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