Friday, 30 November 2012

My experimental bean burgers.

Anybody who knows me personally will probably know that I love I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! I have been watching it everyday! The other day, after watching Rosemary Shrager (TV Chef and one of celebrities in the jungle this year) turn their boring beans into mini bean burgers, it inspired me to give bean burger making a go. I decided to try it without looking for a recipe in books or online, just to see what I'd come up with. Unfortunately the burgers I created didn't stick together as planned. It started off as a circular burger shape, but ended up as more of an oval shape.. But they did taste really good! In my opinion, they tasted like sage and onion stuffing - yum yum! So if you like stuffing, you'll most probably like this.
Here's what I did:

The way I have made it below serves 2 people and is approx. 125kcal per bean burger (without the cheese on top).

- 1 big tin of three bean salad (contains cannellini beans, flageolet beans and adzuki beans)
- pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper
- a small splash of Worcestershire sauce
- a pinch of dried mixed herbs (or herb(s) of your choice)
- 1/2 tbsp oil
- 20g of low fat grated cheddar cheese (optional)

1. Empty the entire tin of beans into a sauce pan, place on the hob and cook for about 4-5 minutes - do not allow to boil. Once that's done, drain the beans well and then put them back into the sauce pan.

2. Get a masher and mash up all the beans until they're mushy. Season to taste and add the Worcestershire sauce and herbs to taste too (if you're comfortable with it, give the beans a little taste before adding each thing to make sure they taste alright, plus you might like the taste without the herbs/Worcestershire sauce).

3. Place a frying pan onto the hob and heat up the oil.

4. (This step is messy). Now, using your hands, mould the mushy beans into 2 burger shaped "balls". Once moulded, place these onto the frying pan.

5. Fry these for approx. 10 minutes, turning often, until golden on both sides. (Turning them over is where it all went wrong and crumbly for me. They squished back together, but not into the original shape).

6. Once finished, transfer these onto a plate and serve with a bit of cheese on top (optional). You can serve these alone, in a roll/sandwich, with vegetables, with your Sunday roast, etc. - whatever you fancy!


If you know of anything I could do or add into my little experiement to make these bean burgers stick together better whilst frying in the pan, pleeease let me know - I'd be soooo grateful! :)

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Skinny lemon cupcakes with drizzly icing.

Whoever thinks you can't enjoy a spot of cake whilst on a calorie counting diet is very wrong! You can most definitely enjoy it, but in MODERATION. It also helps if you can find a low-kcal cake/cupcake recipe! Here is a lovely little recipe I have tried from my new "The Hairy Dieters" cookbook - the "Hairy Dieters" are Dave Myers & Si King (most well known for being "The Hairy Bikers"). They use to be pretty hefty blokes, but now they have slimmed right down! They've made a lovely recipe book packed full of healthy recipes (with calories per serving included - yaaay)!

These cupcakes taste gorgeous! They are very sour though, because of the lemon icing (if you don't like sour things, you can always replace the lemon juice in the icing with water). As great as these taste, try not to be tempted to sit and eat the whole batch! Remember: moderation is key.

This recipe serves 12 & is approx. 167kcal per cupcake.

- 200g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 75g golden caster sugar
- 100g blueberries
- finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
- 2 large eggs
- 150ml low-fat natural yoghurt
- 2 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
- 50ml sunflower oil
Lemon icing:
- 100g icing sugar
- 4-4.5 tsp fresh lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 200°c/Fan 180°c/Gas 6. Line a 12-hole deep muffin tin with some non-stick paper cases or folded squares of baking parchment.
2. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl and stir in the sugar, blueberries and lemon zest. Make a well in the centre.
3. Beat the eggs with a large whisk until smooth, then beat in the yoghurt, milk and oil until well combined. Stir into the flour mixture with a large  spoon until very lightly mixed.

4. Working quickly, divide the batter between the paper cases. Bake in the centre of the oven for 16-18 minutes or until the cupcakes are well risen and golden brown. Transfer them to a wire rack and leave to cool.
5. To make the icing, mix the icing sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth and runny. Using a spoon, drizzle the icing over the cupcakes and leave to set for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Low-kcal twist on the traditional English breakfast.

Everyone loves a good traditional English breakfast (also known as a "fry-up"). But they are often very fatty, greasy and full of calories.. So I thought I'd take it upon myself to try and come up with a healthy, filling version of the breakfast, with as few calories as I can possibly make it. So here it is! This breakfast serves 1 person and is approx. 200kcal (if made with the "meat" product I chose).

- cooking oil spray (such as "Fry Light")
- 2 egg whites
- a dash of Worcestershire sauce
- 60g spinach, washed
- 50g mushrooms, sliced
- 105g baked beans (e.g. 1/4 of a big Heinz baked beans tin)
- pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper
- your choice of meat product*

*I chose 1/3 of a pack of "Quorn pepperoni style slices", but you could also use 1 Quorn/meat-free sausage, 1-2 rashers of Quorn/meat-free bacon, 1 lean meat sausage, 1-2 rashers of lean bacon, with the fatty bits cut off.. Whatever you want really, but remember to adjust calories accordingly!

(You will need to be good at multi-tasking, and own a lot of pans, to get everything timed just right).
1. If using sausages/bacon, stick these in the oven first, at a medium-high heat, for however long the packet says, turning over halfway through cooking.
2. In a sauce pan, pour in the baked beans and place on a low-medium heat. Stir this occasionally to be sure the beans don't stick to the bottom of the pan.
2. Meanwhile, spray a frying pan with the cooking oil spray. Place on a medium-high heat and place in the sliced mushrooms. Keep stirring these often to get them nice and evenly cooked.
3. In another sauce pan, place in a splash of water and all the spinach and put a lid on top, keep an eye on this, as once it's all wilted it will be cooked and ready.
3. In another frying pan, spray all around with the cooking oil spray and place on a high heat. Add in the egg whites and quickly add in a splash of Worcestershire sauce (this is optional, but I just think it gives it that extra something) and season with a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. This will cook relatively quick, so be sure to turn it over once it begins to go quite white - don't let it burn!
4. With any luck this should all be cooked and ready to plate up at roughly the same time! Serve immediately with your choice of sauce (although, personally, I don't think it needs it!) and a cuppa on the side. ;)


Monday, 5 November 2012

Baked fig and hazelnut salad.

This is a recipe I was eager to try! I found it in my November 2012 issue of Healthy Food Guide. It's a baked fig and hazelnut salad. I love figs, but noone else in my household does, so I invited my Nan over to enjoy it with me. It's quite an unusual, but very tasty, combination - I would have never thought of putting all these ingredients together myself, but it does work nicely! It's very sweet, but the cheese stops it from being too sickly sweet. I really love the taste of the juices with the salad leaves - yum yum! My Nan absolutely loved this meal too. As well as being a very healthy dish, it is also "diabetes-friendly" - neither of us are diabetic, but it's something that everyone can enjoy!

I switched up the recipe a bit (as you all have probably noticed I do quite often)! I halved everything on the original recipe, as instead of wanting to feed 4, I only needed 2 servings. I also swapped actual blue cheese for Dairylee light blue cheese triangles. The recipe also only used rocket, but I threw a bit of spinach in with it to bulk out the salad leaves. The recipe below serves 2 and is approx. 330kcal per serving. 

- 4 ripe black or green figs
- 75g ricotta
- 2 Dairylea light blue cheese triangles
- 30ml agave syrup
- 1 tbsp ground hazelnuts
- 1/2 tsp hazelnut oil
- 25g whole hazelnuts
- salad leaves, such as rocket/spinach, to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 180°c/fan 160c/gas 4.
2. Cut a cross into the top of each fig and squeeze between your fingers to open. In a bowl, mix the ricotta, Dairylea blue cheese triangles, half the agave syrup and the ground hazelnuts to form a thick paste, then season with a pinch of sea salt an black pepper.
3. Spoon the ricotta mix into the centre of each fig, then put them into a roasting dish just large enough to fit tightly. Drizzle over the remaining agave syrup with the hazelnut oil and roast for 20 minutes. Scatter over the hazelnuts.
4. Serve warm with the salad leaves, spooning over some of the pan juices.

I hope you enjoy this as much as my Nan and I did! :)