An overdue catch up… with SAUSAGE ROLLS.

I am going to desperately try to commit a little more to this page. As I have previously mentioned, I am far better at using my instagram, but for the last year I have been frantically working ridiculously hard to pass my PGCE (and I did!). It really didn’t leave me with a lot of time to post on here, or on my instagram. BUT, I am really going to try this time.

I love cooking. I love everything about it – not just eating the final product. 

And I miss this blog. I miss it. So I am coming back, and we will see how long it lasts.

The truth is, in the last few years I have become very independent when it comes to cooking. I don’t often follow recipes anymore. I throw together what I fancy and something new is born. BUT, as useful as that is for me, its really not that useful for those of you who message me and ask for the recipe. Truth is, I have no idea what the recipe is.

Alas, I’ll give this one a go.

Now this is a favourite of mine. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO LOVE A SAUSAGE ROLL then you need to listen up. 

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These babies are good – they are great. I saw the idea on an episode of “Eat Well for Less” and I never looked back.

First thing is first, get yourself to Marks and Spencers because they do the best skinny sausages I have ever had. (Added a link for you – because I’m good to you). These are GREAT and they have never not been on the 2 for £5 offer. If you fancy popping to Sainburys, they stock heck super lean sausages which are great too – I just prefer the juicier M&S ones. ** GIVE IT A GO WITH CHICKEN SAUSAGES TOO – THEY ARE STILL GREAT! **

However, if you really aren’t the bothered about the fat content of your sausages then just go ahead with your favourite bangers – BUT THE BETTER THE QUALITY, THE BETTER THE SAUSAGE ROLLS. Please get some bangers with a good amount of pork percentage. (Equally, if you are a veggie or vegan then given these a go! I made these at christmas with some chestnut and cranberry soy-sages from a great little vegan shop in Norwich called Tofurei – give them a visit if you are ever around because I just eat their soy-sage rolls because they’re great).

Enough with the chit-chat, right? You want the sausage rolls.

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Ingredients

  • 50g/1¾oz butter or vegetable oil
  • 6 pork sausages (or whatever else you fancy!)
  • 6 large sheets filo pastry, room temperature (ideally remove from the fridge 20 minutes before needed)
  • salt and pepper
  • OPTIONAL (but a must-have if you are me) – caramelised onion chutney. (Here’s a little idea that I like to use – whack in whatever you want! I’ve tried chilli jam, mustard, pesto when using chicken sausages.. whatever you fancy!)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 210C/190C Fan/Gas 7 and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat and season with salt and pepper. If using oil, just season the oil in a bowl with a pastry brush to hand. Meanwhile, make a slit along the side of the sausages, peel the skin off and discard.

  3. Lay a sheet of filo pastry on a clean work surface and brush with the melted butter/oil. Layer another sheet on top and brush with more butter. Lay two sausages along the shortest edge of the filo, then roll it up to form a long sausage. If you are using the caramelised onion chutney they layer a thin line on top of the sausage meat and roll with the sausages. Cut into four pieces and place onto the baking tray. Repeat this step another two times.

  4. Brush the tops of the rolls with any remaining butter/oil and bake in the oven for 25 minutes until cooked through and golden-brown.

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I mean, they are beautiful right?

I’ve seen various slimming world videos circulating around facebook where they use wraps as the pastry too – worth a go if you are feeling inventive! 

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Lots and lots and lots of love,

Henrietta x

2 months and counting.. 

Today, on the 19th October, marks 2 months away from my surgery date. I have waited patiently. I have had this booked since February and it’s finally starting to feel real. 

So how am I going to celebrate? 

With a recipe post, of course! It’s been a while, so I’m making it a double to satisfy those of you who keep asking for recipes on my Instagram posts. 

Fakeaway chicken (or turkey) korma


Now I am not accompanying this recipe with my baked onion bhaji recipe, as I am yet to perfect the quantities and I would hate to disappoint with what is potentially such a crowd pleaser. 

Ingredients (serves 2)

2 chicken breasts – I sometimes substitute with turkey because it’s slightly leaner (but one turkey breast is plenty for two people!)

100ml chicken stock 

1 chopped onion, diced 

2 tsp korma curry paste (even better if you make your own!) 

200g 0% fat Greek yoghurt (or coconut alpro yoghurt)

1 tsp curry powder (optional)  

Designated coconut (optional) 

Thickening granules (optional)

Method 

1) dice the onion and fry in a little olive oil – I use a spray mechanism to prevent too much oil hitting the pan! 

2) add the chicken/ turkey (cut into chunks) and fry until browning. Once browned, add the chicken stock and bring to the boil. 

3) separately, mix the yoghurt with the korma curry paste until you get a beautiful golden colour – you can adjust the amounts if you prefer! 

4) add the yoghurt mixture to the chicken and stock and mix thoroughly. Let the curry simmer for 10 minutes, adding the curry powder and designated coconut if you would like. 

5) if you prefer your curry sauce thicker, add some thickening granules. You can buy these from most supermarkets. Alternatively, add a little cornflour solution. 


Serve with some cauliflower rice, or basmati rice, and mango chutney! I make my own mango chutney and nothing beats it. 

That brings me on to my next recipe. 

Homemade mango chutney 


Makes 500 ml in total – I fill 4x 125ml jars. 

Ingredients 

  • 4 large mangoes, peeled, stoned and sliced
  • salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 200ml agave syrup
  • 2 baking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 tbsp English mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh root ginger
  • 600ml/1 pint white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 2-3 teaspoons cumin seeds 

Method

1) slice the mango and sprinkle with salt, put to one side.

2) Put the garlic, agave syrup, apples, mustard, ginger, vinegar and cayenne pepper in a pan and, over a low heat, combine. 

3) wash the mangos. 

4) Bring to the boil and add the mangoes. Simmer for 30 minutes until the chutney is thick and syrupy. Add the cumin seeds depending on your taste. Spoon into sterilised jars and seal.

These will last for months if your jars are sterilised! And they go down a treat! 

So to finish my catch-up post (and I know it’s been a while – the final year of university is taking its toll!) here is a progress photo to celebrate 2 months until my skin is removed

Happy eating!

Henrietta x 

Baked chicken nuggets for those Macdonalds moments.. 

Now I have to admit, I used to eat a hella amount of macdonalds. 

Macdonalds chicken select was my favourite. Mmmmmm yes. 

So how do I combat a macdonalds craving? 

Baked chicken nuggets. Good ones. 

  

All I have to say is: you’re welcome. 


Ingredients: serves four.

16 oz (2 large) skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into even bit sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste

2 tsp olive oil

6 tbsp whole wheat Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

2 tbsp panko

2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

olive oil spray 
Method:

1. Preheat oven to 425°. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray.

2. Put the olive oil in one bowl and the breadcrumbs, panko and parmesan cheese in another.

3. Season chicken with salt and pepper, then put in the bowl with the olive oil and mix well so the olive oil evenly coats all of the chicken.

4. Put a few chunks of chicken at a time into the breadcrumb mixture to coat, then on the baking sheet. Lightly spray the top with olive oil spray then bake 8 – 10 minutes. Turn over then cook another 4 – 5 minutes or until cooked though.

Recipe found from skinnytaste.com. 

Henrietta x

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 

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

Occasional indulgence never hurt anyone

I love risotto.

But, really, risotto? For diabetics? I never thought I would find any recipe for starchy risotto designed to keep blood glucose levels at bay.

Well I found one! And, although my blood sugars 2 hours after my meal were slightly higher than usual (but still in range), why not every so often have some indulgent risotto? So here you have it, found on the diabetes UK website here.

Chicken risotto with spring vegetables (serves 3)

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Ingredients

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped

225g risotto rice

1 litre hot chicken stock

100g asparagus spears, halved 

150g frozen peas

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan, add the onion and garlic and fry for 1 minute. Add the chicken and continue to fry for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Stir in the rice and coat with the oil. Gradually add the hot stock, stirring continuously, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding the next.
  3. Stir in the asparagus and peas with the last addition of stock and continue to cook. The whole cooking process should take about 20 minutes and the rice should be ‘al dente’.
  4. Stir through the Parmesan cheese and parsley, season well and serve.

Per serving

472 calories; 72g carbohydrate; 28.8g protein; 7.9g fat; 2.4g saturated fat; 3.1g sugars; 1.8g salt

If you’re a vegetarian you can use vegetable stock rather than chicken stock and add mushrooms rather than chicken. It really is a lovely recipe, and I’m so happy I found a risotto recipe that didn’t involve adding heavy cream – and this recipe is certainly not lacking in tasting creamy and indulgent!

The carbohydrates in this dish are slightly higher than desired, hence my blood sugars being slightly raised after the meal, so if you are diabetic than try not to have this recipe regularly. If you’re not diabetic then go ahead and have it everyday! 

Happy cooking!

Henrietta x

Grain isn’t just for chickens

Today is a new day and I managed to do a bit of catching up yesterday, but still plenty more to come! Thank you to everyone who viewed and liked my posts, and all the internationals too! I’m so excited that my blog is being viewed across the world!

So here’s a slightly more, what I consider, exotic dish for you all today! I had never really been a fan of grains before my diet, couscous especially, but it is just so simple to cook and you can pack it full of flavour by using stock rather than plain hot water. So here is a recipe from the diabetes UK website that you can view here.

The recipe serves one, but I do find the amount of couscous given is substantial, so I tend to use 30g dried couscous and less stock, accordingly.

Baked pesto chicken with citrus couscous

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Ingredients

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast

100g couscous

250ml chicken stock

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 small red pepper, finely chopped

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

grated zest and juice 1 lemon

1 tablespoon pesto sauce

freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degree celsius (gas mark 6.)
  2. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan, add the chicken and fry for 2 minutes on each side until browned.
  3. Place the couscous in an ovenproof dish. Mix together with the stock, red onion, red pepper, parsley, lemon zest and juice, pour over the couscous and stir.
  4. On top of this, place the chicken then spoon over the pesto and season to taste.
  5. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Once cooked, fluff up the couscous with a fork. Serve hot or cold.

Per serving

622 calories; 60.3g carbohydrate; 59.4g protein; 17.3g fat; 1.4g saturated fat; 6.8g sugars; 1.4g salt

I actually added some chopped, fresh mint to my couscous to lift the refreshing taste that comes with the lemon zest and juice; some chopped tomatoes too because I wanted an alternative to red peppers. And, because I used a lot less couscous, the calorie count for this dish would have been significantly lower.

I do recommend using less pesto if you’re not one for the powerful taste that comes from using a tablespoon of the stuff, but I’ve been to places across the globe where ‘pesto pasta‘ really meant pesto smothered pasta so I suppose it may well be normal to use so much pesto rather than just adding a teaspoon to tomato sauce!

Happy cooking!

Henrietta x