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 

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

Game time

I’d never tried venison before but, after watching a programme talking about how lean it is, I stumbled across a recipe for venison in one of my recipe books.

So here it is – if I were to ever host a dinner part on come dine with me, this would be my chosen main to impress.

From “the diabetes weight loss diet” available here.

Paillard of venison on spring greens with blackberry sauce (serves 4)

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Ingredients

250g blackberries

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

300ml fresh beef stock

1 tablespoon olive or rapeseed oil

4 spring onions, chopped

500g spring greens, finely shredded

25g flaked almonds, toasted

4 x 125g venison steaks (from loin or haunch) beaten thin

freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly

snipped chives (to garnish) optional

400g new potatoes, cooked and drained, to serve

Method

  1. In a liquidiser, puree half the blackberries with the cider vinegar and all but 4 tablespoons of the stock until smooth, then pass through a fine sieve to remove the pips.
  2. Pour the blackberry puree into a saucepan and cook over a medium heat until reduced to 200ml – about 15 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Heat half the oil in a large saucepan, add the spring onions and cook for 1 minute. Add the reserved 4 tablespoons stock and the spring greens and stir to combine. Cover and cook over a medium heat for 7 minutes until the greens have wilted. Fold in the toasted almonds.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Season the venison generously with pepper and cook the paillards over a high heat for 1 and a half minutes on each side. Cook them in two batches if necessary. Set aside but keep warm.
  5. Add the redcurrant jelly to the venison pan with a couple of spoonfuls of blackberry sauce, scraping up any bits and bobs stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining blackberry sauce with the reserved blackberries and cook until the jelly has melted. Check the seasoning.
  6. Spoon the greens onto four warm plates and surround with the blackberries and their sauce. Top the greens with the venison and sprinkle with chives, if wished. Serve with warm new potatoes.

Per serving

400 calories; 13g fat; 1g saturated fat; 35g carbohydrate; 0.27g sodium.

So you have probably noticed from my picture that I altered the recipe to my taste a little bit. I changed the vegetables (sorry everyone, I’m not a fan of veg and its lucky I like any vegetable) and I didn’t add the almonds. I also oven cooked the new potatoes with some rosemary, just because that’s what I do. 

This is a personal favourite of mine and I hope you all find the same pleasure in tucking into this beautiful meal as I did when i first discovered the recipe!

Happy cooking!

Henrietta x

Why not have a cheeky bit of pork?

Something about pork really puzzles me. Is there really such thing as healthy pork? Previously I’ve only ever had pork in greasy sausages, fatty bacon and, as many of you probably admire, crackling. Luckily, I’ve never been a massive fan of crunchy pork fat. But even still, having barbecued pork belly can’t be considered low-fat in any circumstances – not that I really used to care.

To my surprise there are (slightly) healthier cuts of pork that can be included in a balanced, healthy diet. This recipe may well be my permanent alternative to bacon. From “Quick cooking for diabetes”, available here.

Tenderloin of pork with pear and potato (serves 4)

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Ingredients

500g (1lb) piece pork tenderloin

2 garlic cloves, cut into slivers

1 tablespoon seasoned flour

1 tablespoon oil

150 ml (1/4 pint) dry cider

500g new potatoes, parboiled

2 pears, quartered and cored

2 thyme sprigs

3 tablespoons light creme fraiche

salt and pepper

steamed vegetables or salad, to serve

Method

  1. Make a few small cuts in the tenderloin with a sharp knife and push a sliver of garlic into each cut. Rub the pork all over with the seasoned flour.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the pork and fry for 3-4 minutes over a moderate heat until browned on all sides. Add the cider and simmer until reduced by half.
  3. Transfer the pork and juices to a shallow ovenproof dish with the potatoes, pears and thyme.
  4. Bake the dish in a preheated oven at 200 degrees celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit or gas mark 6) for 20 minutes or until the pork is cooked through and the potatoes are tender. Stir the creme fraiche through the cooking juices and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with steamed vegetables or a salad.

Per serving

430 calories; 43g protein; 42g carbohydrate; 12g fat.

GI rating: Medium.

You may notice that I haven’t added the creme fraiche to my dinner, only because I’m not a massive fan of creamy sauces.

This was such a lovely dinner, and this recipe book is filled with recipes that take around 30 minutes to make. Suits anyone who hasn’t enough time to cook gourmet meals in the evening! It also gives a GI rating in the nutritional information of the recipe, which is very useful if you’re watching your blood sugars!

Pork or no pork, don’t feel like you have to eliminate your favourite foods just because you’re dieting. Just find adaptations – healthier options – and soon enough, you’ll forget about the fattening pork belly you’re missing!

Happy cooking!

Henrietta x

The start of something new (ft fish dish)

So 14 weeks ago my diet began. I ordered 3 main cook books, consisting of recipes for main meals, snacks, starters and desserts, specifically aimed at diabetics. It was important to me that all these books were published in association with diabetes UK – I had no idea what to expect, but I trusted these books would produce a positive effect on my HbA1c result follow-up in (what was then) three months time.

So here was my first, and rather successful, attempt at a diabetic meal from “The diabetes weight loss diet”, a recipe book designed to help you lose weight through balanced, healthy meals.

It can be purchased here.

Herby Mackerel – serves 4

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Ingredients

4 small mackerel (about 180g each) – I used haddock as my supermarket was out of mackerel

1 slice soya and linseed bread

1 tablespoon each chopped parsley and coriander

finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon and 1 orange

1/2 teaspoon each ground cumin and ground coriander

pinch of chilli flakes

1/2 teaspoon of olive oil

100ml fish or chicken stock

600g new potatoes, cooked

For the tomato salad

6-8 medium-sized tomatoes, sliced

1/2 medium red onion, very thinly sliced

1 tablespoon each chopped parsley and coriander

2 teaspoons orange or lemon juice

freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit or gas mark 6).
  2. Remove the heads from the mackerel then split along the belly and remove the guts. Wash thoroughly and pat dry with kitchen paper. Open out each fish so that it lies skin-side up and press firmly along the length to loosen the backbone. Carefully lift the bone from the flesh then cut off at the tail end leaving the tail intact. Rinse and dry.
  3. In a food-processor, pulse the bread with the herbs, zest, spices, chilli flakes and olive oil until it makes fine crumbs.
  4. Arrange the mackerel flesh-side up in a large baking dish and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs. Pour the stock around the mackerel but not over.
  5. Cook in the oven for 8-10 minutes until the fish is opaque.
  6. Meanwhile, combine all the salad ingredients. Serve the mackerel with any juices from the baking dish and the salad and potatoes.

You’ll probably notice that, through using prepared haddock, I didn’t have to do any of the de-gutting of the mackerel. I do tend to vary the recipes slightly to adjusts my tastes, but for this particular dish I will give you the nutritional information.

Per serving

430 calories; 22g fat; 4g saturated fat; 33g carbohydrate; 0.23g sodium.

I have to say I was impressed with this meal. I never thought I could ever eat a balanced meal. I’ve always been the type of person who doesn’t eat all day until dinner, when I cook a four-person meal and eat it all myself in a huge bowl in bed whilst watching movies. I wonder why I am the size I am today?

I definitely recommend this meal to anyone who wants to try what I decided to try – being healthy. If you’re not a fan of mackerel then switch it up a bit – try cod, haddock, why not even crusted salmon? Just, please, don’t go down the road for a macdonalds.

Happy cooking!

Henrietta x