Skinny pizza, skinny me

Pizza. Delicious, cheesy, herby, tomato sauce covered pizza. Pepperoni pizza, tuna and anchovy pizza, margherita, roasted veggie pizza. Pizza Express, ASK, Franca Manca, Fire & Stone, Pizza East, wood-fired pizza ovens – delicious crispy-based and deep-pan pizzas with all manner of toppings are everywhere and seem even more delicious and appealing when you’re on a diet. But never fear, there is a skinny pizza cheat recipe out there for you.

20140109-214109.jpg
Yes, the Hairy Dieters have done it again – a tasty, quick cheat’s way to eating pizza while on a diet. Ok, so it’s technically not pizza pizza as the base uses a tortilla rather than dough, but you still get that crispy crunch to the base, as if you really were eating a Roman style pizza.

Each tortilla gets a layer of passata:

20140109-214150.jpg
Followed by a slice of ham:

20140109-214224.jpg
10g of light cheddar crumbled over the tortilla:

20140109-214252.jpg
Sprinkle with herb de Provence and put under the grill at a high temp for 1-2 minutes until the cheese has melted.

Top with olives and salad leaves – job done! Great recipe to have on hand when you’re pushed for time but want to stay healthy!

20140109-214322.jpg

Paprika crumb fishcakes

Traditionally made to use up leftover potatoes, the little ole fishcake has been seriously pimped up over the years!

20140107-212145.jpgThe Hairy Dieters’ recipe I used calls for paprika to be mixed through with the breadcrumbs which gives the cakes a delicious, smokey flavour. Along with the potato and the fish, spring onions and lemon juice are added which give the filling a really nice fragrance.

20140107-212231.jpgThese fishcakes are easy to prep in advance if needs be, and can be kept in the fridge until you need to bake them. I used pollock but you could use salmon or haddock instead. Serve with wedges, salad, couscous, peas, or beans. Quick, tasty & healthy (coming in at just 187 cals/cake), these fishcakes are perfect for a mid-week dinner!

20140107-212444.jpg

Apple, Pear and Raspberry Compote

Following on from my post yesterday, I wanted to share the fruit compote I have just whipped up which will go so nicely with the granola.

20140105-112847.jpg
I based my compote on this recipe on BBC Good Food which comes in at 199 calories per serving. I used more pears than stated as I had a few left and wanted to make a big batch to last the week for breakfasts at work. I also swapped in raspberries for the cherries as I couldn’t get hold of any, and I love the combo of apple and raspberry. I reduced the amount of sugar in the recipe as I don’t think you need it as the fruit is so sweet and tasty already.

20140105-112940.jpg

20140105-112952.jpg
This is another useful quick recipe which you can adjust based on what fruit you have in the fridge. It took about 20 minutes for the fruit to simmer and soften to the right consistency and it smelled so good!

20140105-113055.jpg

20140105-113045.jpg

Fruity Homemade Granola

20140104-150537.jpg
It’s that time of year again, Christmas is over for another year and we’ve all eaten that little bit too much turkey, stuffing, mince pies, Christmas cake, chocolates and drunk a few too many beers, glasses of fizz and wine, and the need to get fit and lose weight rears its head again. New year, new me we always think. Last year Tom and I stuck to the Hairy Dieters plan for about 3 months or so along with circuit training and badminton and the results were really good. Inevitably though, we got a bit bored of the recipes, work got busy and there were late nights and boozy nights so the weight crept on a bit again by the end of the year.

We got the new Hairy Dieters cookbook for Christmas and it has helped to inspire us to get back on the diet horse and try again. The food looks and sounds great and I’m really excited to eat healthy delicious meals and cook new dishes. I’ll also be attempting to run regularly to get my fitness up to scratch as well.

20140104-151514.jpg
The part of healthy eating I find hardest is breakfast and lunch at work – I struggle to fit in breakfast before I get to work and once there I often get distracted or forget to sort breakfast out, meaning I start to snack later on in the day. If I don’t prep lunch the night before, I end up buying lunch everyday and that can get expensive and unhealthy. This year, I’m going to be on the ball and prep my meals before hand so I know I’m eating well. I’m not a huge fan of cereal or muesli but it’s such a quick, easy and filling breakfast that I’ve decided I need to try and so this weekend I am making my own granola. I’ve adapted a couple of recipes, the Hairy Dieters and this one from completely delicious blog. Served with the Hairy Dieters fruit compote, this brekkie comes out as 243 calories or 252 served with yoghurt.

Ingredients:

I didn’t measure anything out as I just used what was in the cupboard to make a big batch – it’s easy enough to judge how much you need

Oats
Sesame seeds
Honey
Sunflower oil
Fruit
mix (I used a tropical mix of dried fruits and a mix of raisins and cranberries, finely chopped but you could use dried apricots, dried banana etc)
Cinnamon
Nutmeg

This granola is really easy to make – all I did was combine the ingredients in a big mixing bowl until the oats started to come together slightly. Once mixed, I spread the granola in a baking parchment lined tray and baked until golden brown. Now I can use it on top of yoghurt or with fruit compote and I can always make new batches with different fruit and nut combinations – yum!

20140104-151740.jpg

Festive Yuletide Choc

20131217-203945.jpg
Christmas without an oven is proving a trying time for me! Everywhere I look there are gorgeous recipes for mince pies, gingerbread men, Christmas pudding cheesecake, festive sausage rolls…the list goes on and on. I have had to resort to finding no-bake recipes so I can join in the Christmas-time cooking!

20131217-204030.jpg
On a recent buzzfeed post specifically for no-bake Christmas recipes I saw one for Christmasy chocolate bark.

20131217-204119.jpg

20131217-204223.jpg

20131217-204328.jpg
It’s such a simple, easy recipe and looks so tasty, festive and impressive – a steal of a recipe! Great for a quick treat or wrapped up in cellophane and tied with ribbon for a cute gift.

20131217-204416.jpg
It took no time and tastes so yummy! Hopefully my work colleagues will enjoy this end of term Christmas treat before we all head home for the holidays.

20131217-204514.jpg
Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Frugal Feeding’s Sardine Fritters

I was browsing through the latest blog posts on my reader panel when I came across an interesting sounding recipe from Frugal Feeding. It was for Sardine Fritters and the photos of the food looked really good! I was also won over by the fact that sardines are cheap to buy and the recipe is nice and easy for a week-day dinner. We had some tortilla wraps leftover and some yoghurt so I decided to try and make the fritters, served in a soft wrap with yoghurt and cucumber dip with griddle fried onions and peppers.

20131111-204549.jpg
You can find the full ingredient list and recipe over at the lovely Frugal Feeding site.

20131111-204657.jpg
These fritters are really tasty, with a slight chilli kick and a bit of crunch from the sesame seeds, it’s a dish that has definitely made it’s way onto our repertoire of useful, delicious dinners.

20131111-204823.jpg

Easy Peasy Cajun Chicken

Tuesday nights are my night to cook – Tom has football after work so I get to choose what we have for dinner. As long as it’s filling, he’s not too fussed! Some nights I just want something easy to make that still tastes delicious, and like you’ve spent ages on it, when you really haven’t! We’ve not been as strict with the healthy eating recently, so we’ve decided to have a healthy November, to allow for a deliciously unhealthy Christmas! To that end and to start early, I chose the Hairy Bikers’ diet dish: Cajun spiced chicken with wedges – except I swapped the wedges for couscous to save time!

This is such an easy dish and when I put the photo up on Facebook so many friends said I needed to give them the recipe because it looks really impressive and takes no time at all! Definitely a winner!

To make the spice mix combine:

5 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp flaked sea salt

Rub the spice mix into the chicken with a little oil. When the flavours have marinaded for a while, fry the chicken until cooked well through and the spices have started to caramelise. While the chicken is cooking, make up some couscous. To my couscous I added olives, cucumber and chives, salt and pepper. I also added diced cucumber and chives to a bowl of creme fraiche.

I served the chicken on top of the couscous, and then topped it with the creme fraiche. I then added some fresh crispy mange tout for a bit of texture.

You could also serve the chicken with wedges, potato or sweet potato, and use the spice mix on these as well. Or you could have the chicken in a wrap with salad and the creme fraiche.

20131029-225433.jpg
This week has seen me on a bit of a cooking flurry, to save money on lunch, and to warm me up as it gets colder, I’ve decided to make batches of soup. The pumpkin soup has set me off on a soupy mission! Yesterday I made up a batch of roasted tomato soup, with leftover celery, leeks and peppers. I’m feeling quite domesticated and pleased to be saving money while eating a tasty lunch!

20131029-230006.jpg

20131029-230015.jpg

Winter Warmer: Pumpkin & Red Pepper Soup

The St Jude Storm is on its way, and while it hasn’t really hit home too badly yet, it’s still windy and wet enough to warrant a lovely bowl of autumny soup. Halloween is coming up so naturally there’s an abundance of pumpkin and squash in the shops and markets, so today I decided to make my favourite soup: roasted pumpkin & red pepper.

20131027-222348.jpgMy friend Carolyn took a great photo of a ridiculous number of pumpkins today, and it really got me in the bonfire night/Halloween/leaf-crunching-under-foot kind of a mood – and pumpkin soup seemed like the perfect Sunday food for that kind of a day.

I roasted the pumpkin with olive oil, salt and pepper and then added to a pot of sweated down shallots and red peppers. I added stock and seasoning and a pinch of chili and simmered until soft. When everything had softened, I blended the veggies and stock until smooth and then stirred in some creme fraiche. This is my favourite soup and it’s so easy to whip up – looking forward to the leftovers tomorrow!

20131027-222748.jpg

20131027-223018.jpg

Lemon curd

A few weeks ago I had the urge to bake or make something in the kitchen but our oven has really started to fail me now, so I had to choose a recipe that I could do on the hob or grill! I chose to make my own lemon curd as I’ve been meaning to have a go for ages. It’s such a simple recipe and looks really impressive! Sadly though, I couldn’t bake any scones to go with it! I hope you enjoy the pictures, I love the blue gingham against the bright yellow

20131026-234446.jpg

20131026-234524.jpg

20131026-234555.jpg

20131026-234618.jpg

20131026-234645.jpg

PTI take on Jamie Oliver

Last week, instead of the usual summer party bar night, we at PTI decided to change things up a bit and go for a group cooking lesson at Jamie Oliver’s Recipease.

After a quick drink in the pub to settle any cooking nerves, we headed off to learn how to make Thai Green Chicken Curry. It was set to be a fun and interesting evening, not least because Marie really doesn’t like spicy hot food – would she try the end result? That was the challenge!

20130901-165116.jpg
For keen cooks and Jamie fans, Recipease in Notting Hill is great! Split across two levels with a kitchen/demonstration area in the centre of both, there’s a shop downstairs full of sauces, spices, pots, pans and gadgets, and a cafe upstairs where you can look out at passers by or watch novice cooks learning anything from Mexican and Vietnamese street food to knife and bread skills. I’ve been wanting to go to a lesson there for ages so I was really excited and going with the team from work made it really fun and definitely added an element of competition between us!

20130901-163031.jpg
Our teacher was friendly and knowledgeable and didn’t seem to mind when, like I’m sure everyone else does, we asked her whether she’d met Jamie and what he was like! The recipe was simple but the finished curry was probably the best Thai curry I’ve ever eaten. It was so fresh and fragrant and tasted even better for knowing we’d made it from scratch and it hadn’t taken forever. I think sometimes we can be put off cooking by complicated sounding recipes and long lists of ingredients but this recipe was easy to follow and the ingredients are all available from the local supermarket so there’s no excuse really! Alongside the curry we learned to make a little chilli tomato salad that went really well with the dish and the chopped pistachios in it add a really nice crunch!

20130901-163412.jpg
Cooking in a group was really fun and then sitting down on long benches after to eat our meal together was really nice. It was a great choice of social activity and I know some of us are already looking at booking onto another lesson!

20130901-163636.jpg
. . . Oh, and Marie did try her curry!

20130901-164323.jpg