Who ate all the LOW FAT pies? 

Oh, those were the days when I would be walking down the road and the group of teenaged boys behind me would chant ‘who ate all the pies?’ when I slipped on the ice infront of me. 

Winter wasn’t my friend.

But why does pie have to be associated with fat people? 

Yeah, I know, buttery pastries and all that can be fattening. Apple pies can be fattening. But why are all pie associated with fat?

I like pie and it is my right to eat it when I want. So the challenge was finding a low-fat pie recipe so that I don’t have to be called a fatty for eating pie. 

  

Enter this beautiful recipe I found from BBC Good Food, a low-fat chicken pie which I substituted with turkey breast which is supposedly leaner.

  

Ingredients (serves four)

For the filling

450ml chicken stock, from a cube (I use Kallo, organic)

100ml white wine

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 thyme sprigs

1 tarragon sprig, plus 1 tbsp chopped tarragon leaves

225g carrots, cut into batons

4 skinless chicken breasts, 500g/1lb 2oz total weight

225g leeks, sliced

2 tbsp cornflour, mixed with 2 tbsp water

3 tbsp crème fraîche

1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard

1 healed tbsp chopped parsley

For the topping

70g filo pastry (three 39 x 30 cm sheets ideal)

1 tbsp rapedeed oil 

Method

1. Pour the stock and wine into a large, wide frying pan. Add the garlic, thyme, tarragon sprig and carrots, bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer for 3 mins. Lay the chicken in the stock, grind over some pepper, cover and simmer for 5 mins. Scatter the leek slices over the chicken, cover again then gently simmer for 10 more mins, so the leeks can steam while the chicken cooks. Remove from the heat and let the chicken sit in the stock for about 15 mins, so it keeps moist while cooling slightly.

2. Strain the stock into a jug – you should have 500ml (if not, make up with water). Tip the chicken and veg into a 1.5 litre pie dish and discard the herb sprigs. Pour the stock back into the sauté pan, then slowly pour in the cornflour mix. Return the pan to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the crème fraîche, mustard, chopped tarragon and parsley. Season with pepper. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

3. Tear or cut the chicken into chunky shreds. Pour the sauce over the chicken mixture, then stir everything together.

4. Cut each sheet of filo into 4 squares or rectangles. Layer them on top of the filling, brushing each sheet with some of the oil as you go. Lightly scrunch up the filo so it doesn’t lie completely flat and tuck the edges into the sides of the dish, or lay them on the edges if the dish has a rim. Grind over a little pepper, place the dish on a baking sheet, then bake for 20-25 mins until the pastry is golden and the sauce is bubbling. Serve immediately.

  
I actually shoved in whatever vegetables I had in my fridge which worked quite nicely! 

Happy cooking!

Henrietta x 

Mamma Mia, it’s-a pizza! 

I know what you’re thinking. There is no way this girl is about to tell me I can eat pizza.

Well I was determined to find a way to eat a healthier pizza. When I have a craving nothing will stop me from eating it. 

Obviously a dominos couldn’t be had (even though I really miss their beautiful gooey cookies) but I did find a healthier version of a good old pizza. 

First of all, the pizza base. When I was younger I was bought up on pitta bread pizzas, and I really have no idea if they were common or not.. But I sure love them. 

I searched the shelves for wholemeal pitta bread (but white would still work as long as it’s still low fat). Wholemeal bread is lower GI so more diabetes friendly!

But what on earth would I do about the cheese? I’m sure every dieter out there is aware of the high fat content in cheese. Even reduced far cheese is still high in saturated fats. 

Enter Musclefood’s new virtually zero fat cheese. Now the link I’ve posted is for cheddar, but you can also find mozerella and sharp cheddar for all you mature cheddar fans.   ** UPDATE FOR 2018 – EAT LEAN PROTEIN CHEESE IS A THING AND IT IS AMAZING. BASICALLY AVAILABLE IN TESCOS, MORRISONS, AND WAITROSE **

So the toppings were my next issue. I’m sorry everybody but pepperoni isn’t healthy. But you can easily find ham or roast beef in supermarkets with the nutritional information on the front showing how low in fat they are – especially compared to pepperoni. 

Now if you really need to treat yourself to pepperoni then so be it, just don’t tell anyone! 

Create your pizza with pitta bread, tomato Passata, 30g cheese and your toppings. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. 

And if you’re a vegetarian just don’t add any meat toppings! 

A perfect pizza every time! 

Happy cooking!

Henrietta x 

Frog-free Toad in the Hole

Toad in the hole was something I never really grew up with, unlike most families I know.  I was introduced to the stuff about a year ago and I’m actually quite a fan. It isn’t the healthiest of meals though.

So today I decided to make a low fat version of toad in the hole to die for. The recipe is from BBC Good Food, but I’ve managed to make it lower in fat using Musclefood’s virtually fat free sausages.

If you’re not a fan of pork sausages then using venison sausages may be an idea for this dish – and certainly would make it quite a bit more exotic! I feel that, next time, using Musclefood’s fat free chilli and garlic sausages would add tonnes of flavour and, at 0.066g saturated fat per sausage, would be divine for the waistline! 

Toad in the hole with red onions and thyme batter (serves 4)

Ingredients

1 red onion, cut into wedges, layers separated

8 thick low-fat pork sausages

1 tsp olive oil

For the batter

100g plain flour

1 medium egg

300ml skimmed milk

2 tsp wholegrain mustard

1 tsp fresh thyme leaf

steamed carrots and cabbage, to serve

 Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6/fan oven 180C. Tip the onions into a small shallow non-stick tin (about 23x30cm/ 9x12in). Arrange the sausages on top of the onions, then add the oil and roast for 20 minutes.
  2. While they are roasting, make the batter. Sift the flour into a bowl, drop the egg in to the centre and beat in the milk a little at a time until it makes a smooth batter. Stir in the mustard and thyme and season.
  3. Pour the batter quickly into the tin and return to the oven for 40 minutes until the batter is risen and golden. Serve with steamed carrots and cabbage.

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It really is that simple. 

As I said, my version may well have been lower in fat by using the virtually zero fat sausages – but it could be lower in fat STILL by using they’re certified fat free chilli and garlic sausages which I have in my freezer, ready for next time!

Happy cooking!

Henrietta x

A well deserved dessert 

It has occurred to me that I haven’t posted any dessert recipes. 

What is this nonsense? 

Hey, I may be a diabetic but I still love a good pudding. 

Alas – gone are the days where you can eat cake with buttercream icing, ice cream with all the toppings, wonderfully light chocolate mousse (and you can bet I made the best chocolate mousse ever) or even a classic sticky toffee pudding. But you can still treat yourselves to healthier desserts. 

Oh please, there’s no such thing as a healthy dessert! – is what you’re probably thinking. Maybe you think this is my way of building your hopes and dreams just to tear them down and leave you with a fruit salad. That’s not the case.

You’d be surprised actually how many sugar-free dessert recipes are out there – but just because it’s sugar free doesn’t mean it’s not filled with bad fats. 

I stumbled across this recipe on an Instagram account, I don’t remember which account, but it was created by a man called Allen Stern. All praise be to Mr. Stern.

Healthy chocolate banana lollipops  

So I found his recipe and had to try it. I ran on down (burning some calories on the way) to my nearest Holland and Barrett and purchased these superfoods the recipe talks about.

Firstly, what on earth is raw cacao powder?  

Well it smells like heaven so I went for it. 

 So the cocoa nibs and the raw cacao powder in this recipe are essentially chocolate before additives. No dairy, no sugar, and organic I guess? It takes some adjusting from regular chocolate as it’s slightly more bitter – but that’s why you should experiment with the amount of sweetener in this recipe. Whatever suits you best until you adjust. It actually grows on you!

 
Serves: 2

Ingredients

3 bananas

2-3 tablespoons raw cacao powder

1-2 droppers liquid stevia

3 ounces water

handful of raw cacao nibs

handful of raw goji berries

Method

  1. place stick into 2 bananas and place in freezer until soft frozen
  2. place other banana, cacao powder, stevia, water into blender and blend until creamy – you want the chocolate sauce to be thick like Hershey syrup
  3. dunk frozen banana into chocolate sauce
  4. top with cacao nibs and/or goji berries

A similar recipe I managed to stumble upon was an amazing ice cream recipe. I tried a ‘diabetic ice cream’ recipe I found online and it was god awful; when I found this one though I was delighted with the result. 

You literally put the ingredients for this banana on a stick recipe in a blender.

Sugar free, dairy free, rich and indulgent ice cream all around! Freeze it for a couple of hours, (or use an ice cream churner for the best results) and you have yourself an amazing ice cream.

Henrietta x

Chicken salad for simples

I’ve been the fat kid for most of my life (certainly since I can remember) and I’ve gone through the full range of emotions that come with it. People are mean. 

You want to oink at me when I walk past? Cool story.

Go on then, give me a good wolf whistle and snigger when I turn around – that’s original. 

My favourite must have been when I was eleven years old and some eighteen year old told me my bum is so huge it’s blocks out the sun and causes a solar eclipse. Safe to say I’m thrilled that my bum is shrinking.

My point being I’ve been putting up with this rubbish for a long time and I did eventually learn to take it in my stride. I even went along with the nickname shrek. 

I mean, come on, I guess I did earn it.  

I’m ten years old in the above photo (and on a safari holiday so excuse my outfit) but I have always loved food. 

But why do you have to hate the relationship you have with food? I can’t count the number of times I would have a huge portion of food infront of the TV after getting in from the rain (typical English weather). It was always comforting. 

It’s less comforting when you check your weight on the scales afterwards. 

Can I really blame food for all of this though? I’m sure I could have learnt to move a bit more.  

I never really understood the problems that come with eating too much until something finally happened to me to prove I was damaging myself. 

“Yeah, sure, I might get heart disease and die ridiculously early.. But I won’t, right? I’ll just lose weight later.

Oh my god, how many times I told myself that I would lose weight later probably made it my catchphrase. But then I got diagnosed with type two diabetes and people told me I was just like grandma. 

Hang on a second.

Grandma is great and all but I don’t want to join the ‘diabetes club’ with her. Sorry grandma, I’ll leave diabetes with you.

And so it began: healthy eating, exercising and actually caring about what I put in my body. 

For anyone out there who has no idea where to start try what I did. Start by following balanced recipes from my trusted recipe book. Once I got the hang of it I could then balance my own meals. And just grit your teeth and do the exercise. 

Back to my main point though – check out my beautiful lunch. 

I’ve been doing this a lot lately – a mixed salad. It surprises me that I’ve become one of those people who eat plants. What has become of me? 😂

It’s a fairly easy recipe to make. You just basically wing it. 

Ingredients (serves one)

1 chicken breast

Handful of mixed salad leaves

100g parboiled potatoes (you can chop these into wedges and oven bake them for a crunch!) 

Cherry tomatoes (you can chop a normal tomato too!)

1 teaspoon pesto

Salt and pepper to season

Garlic salt

Mixed herbs (for if you oven baked the potatoes)

Vegetables of your choice

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

2. Chop the parboiled potatoes into wedges, sprinkle with mixed herbs and season. Bake for 15 minutes.

3. Add the chicken breast to oven and bake for a further 20 minutes with the wedges. Why not add some lemon juice? That just popped into my mind.

4. Whilst the oven ingredients bake, put a handful of mixed salad on a plate and add the tomatoes and vegetables of your choice. Sprinkle over a little garlic salt (if you can find it).

5. Distribute the teaspoon of pesto on the salad – try to spread it evenly. 

6. Add the wedges and chopped chicken to the salad, add a dressing if you would like.

And I’m certainly no expert but its pretty low calories and low fat provided you have a normal-sized chicken breast. Around 100g is great but most chicken breasts weigh a little more. I aim for around 125g or I trim it.

Enjoy my simple cooking. It really is that easy.

Henrietta x

Once I caught a fish alive 

So today I decided to make up my own recipe and completely wing it.

I’m not going to lie – it turned out pretty great. Obviously you can adapt this recipe based on your own personal tastes but having fish twice a week is highly recommended by health professionals. 

I recommend buying a low fat salmon fillet – most on the selves in the UK are in the orange zone for fat and saturated fat. This salmon from sainsburys is low in saturated fat so is ideal for the recipe.

Baked pesto salmon


Ingredients 

100g new potatoes, boiled and cooled

A handful of mixed salad

8 cherry tomatoes/ 1 tomato sliced

1 teaspoon pesto

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon low fat salad dressing – of your choice 

1 salmon fillet

Salt and pepper to season (I used garlic salt)


Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
  2. Remove any skin from the salmon fillet and place on a foil-lined baking tray. Use the oil to ensure the salmon doesn’t stick.
  3.  Place the tray in the oven and bake for 18-23 minutes.
  4. Take the handful of mixed salad and put it on a plate. Add the cherry tomatoes, boiled new potatoes and seasoning. Use half of the pesto as a dressing – mix with a small amount of oil if the consistency isn’t runny enough.
  5. Add a small amount of the low fat dressing of your choice. I used balsamic glaze (I know my blood sugars are well controlled so I can allow it).
  6. Remove the salmon from the oven, place on the bed of salad and new potatoes, and use the remainder of the pesto on top of the fillet. Enjoy.

I know it’s a fairly simple recipe but I packed it with a lot of flavour. As mentioned, I used garlic salt. When I boiled my potatoes I added rosemary to increase the flavours of the dish.

I’ve managed to work out the calories in the dish based on the ingredients, but I’m yet to work out the fat and saturated fat of the dish, as well as the total sugars. Without the balsamic glaze, however, the sugars would be low.

Nutritional information 

Around 400 calories based on the salmon used.

Enjoy the first recipe I’ve posted that I made myself! It’s simple but gorgeous. 

Happy cooking!

Henrietta x


Salmon fishing (in the Yemen)

I was never really a fan of fish, but since I went to a family wedding I realised what I’ve actually been missing out on.

They (I assume the professional health experts) say you should eat fish twice a week, so I’ve attempted to adopt this approach.

I didn’t even need to follow a recipe for this one – just had to boil some new potatoes and steam some vegetables to serve with the fish.

IMG_0557

Yes it does look very amateur, but I made up a little butter and parsley sauce (some vitalite/vegan butter, lemon juice, parsley and garlic)  and cooked a salmon fillet for 20-25 minutes at 190 degree celsius.

My general rule is to have 100-150g potatoes by portion and I often stick to 125g, but it does vary depending on the sizes of potatoes you have.

In the end though, having fish twice a week is probably reeling with health benefits so why not give it a go?

Happy cooking!

Henrietta x