pages

Chocolate and Raspberry Cupcakes...


Yesterday I managed to fight the urge to buy cake at Costa and instead came home and looked up a cupcake recipe on the SW website. This is what I found... Chocolate and Raspberry cupcakes. Amazing right!!

Mine however are a tad different as I did it in a bit of a rush and ended up putting everything in the bowl, including the fromage frais that was meant to be a topping! But saying that, they still turned out great! I will however share the correct recipe with you all , feel free to do it my way though :)


Ingredients

2 eggs
6 level tbsp caster sugar
25g low-fat margarine
25g self-raising flour
1 level tbsp coco powder
a few drops of vanilla
32 raspberries
8 tsp fat free natural framage frais
icing sugar to dust

Method

1. Preheat your oven to 160C fan and line a small muffin tin with paper cases.
2. Whisk the eggs with the caster sugar and margarine until pale and creamy. Sift the flour and coco powder over and fold into the mixture with the vanilla.
3. Place 3 raspberries in the base of each paper case and divide the cake mixture over them. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until firm and springy to touch. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
4. Decorate by spooning 1 tsp of fromage frais over each cupcake and serve with a raspberry ontop.

As I had already used the fromage frais I just sprinkled mine with icing sugar!


It does mention that these don't keep to well, only for a week but I don't think that will be a problem.

These little beauties are just 4 syns each
Recipe by SW - website

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto...




Weightloss has been a bit slow for me since getting back from Australia due to Birthdays, surgery and just being lazy I think, but I have had a few words with myself and I am feeling focused. So to start things off here is a super yummy SW recipe.

This is a recipe I have wanted to try for ages but as my OH hates risotto so I have never been able to make it. But tonight I put my foot down and decided that this is what we were having! And I am so glad I did!



Ingredients

1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into bite sized pieces
14 fresh sage leaves
Frylight
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped into cubes
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
350g plain dried risotto rice.
1.5lt vegetable stock
180g feta, crumbled
salt and freshly ground pepper
rocket leaves to garnish


Method

1. Preheat your oven 220C. Put your butternut and 8 sage leaves in a roasting tin and season. Spray with Frylight and roast for 25 - 30 minutes, turning once or twice, until tender.
2. Meanwhile, place a large frying pan sprayed with frylight over a medium to high heat. Add the onion and celery and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the risotto rice and remaining sage and stir-fry for 1 minute.
3. Reduce heat to medium to low. Pour in a third of the stock and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring often until the stock has absorbed. Keep the rest of the stock on a low heat. Add the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring often and waiting for the liquid to be absorbed before adding the next ladleful. Continue until the rice is tender and creamy and all the stock has been absorbed. (about 20-25 minutes)
4. Divide the risotto between 3-4 dishes. Top with feta, butternut and rocket. Garnish with roasted sage leaves.

Note. I used rosemary as I couldn't get sage. So you can use either.


This is such a scrumptious dish and great for a cold winters night. A recipe you should definitely try!


On another SW note, don't forget about my Little Book of Soups giveaway and keep an eye out for something exciting happening on the Blog in February.


Free on EE if using feta as your Healthy extra. If not add 6 syns.
recipe by SW - Autumn Flavours booklet

Lesley's Shearers Delight...


This recipe is one I have saved from when I was in Australia. It is my mum's wonderful neighbour Lesley's recipe. It is totally scrumptious and very moreish and if it does last longer then a few days, which is very unlikely,  it will keep for ages just getting more biscuity and more delicious.

 Lovely Lesley

I was told that this recipe originates from the sheep farmers that use to go out in the fields for a long period of time. They would take this with them as a snack because it keeps so well and had lots of delicious goodness in them. 


Here is how you make them ... Its super easy.

Ingredients

1 cup self raising flour
1 cup oats
1 cup sugar
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup mixed fruit
1 egg
1 tbsp golden syrup
4 onz butter

Method

1. Melt butter with the syrup and mix into the dry ingredients.
2. Add the beaten egg and then transfer into a greased baking tray.
3. Bake at 160 until golden.


These are seriously yummy so get baking everyone!!

Birthday Girl...


So yesterday was my Birthday *YAY* and some friends and I just went out for a few drinks to celebrate. We weren't just celebrating my Birthday though we were celebrating the fact that this year is the first birthday after beating Cancer!! 

Cancer doesn't have to be the end, if you keep positive and keep fighting you can beat it!! I am a living example of that. Appreciate everyday!

Heres to many more Birthdays!! :)

Bonito and Snook Fishcakes...


This recipe if from when I was in Australia. Just before I left I had a fabulous day out on the water and fished off the back of a boat for the first time. It was such a fun experience and one I will definitely try again.

It was amazing to be so far out and to fish in such clear water. You could actually see the fish before you caught them. I wasn't very successful at first, unlike the boys who were catching loads, I only managed to catch two tiny makereal one of which we used for bait but then things picked up.




First I caught myself a lovely Snook, and then a Bonito, which was so hard to reel in! Seriously... how people catch those massive fish I don't know. My arm was ready to fall off by the time i got the fish anywhere near the boat.

say cheese Mr Snook

My Bonito and the moment just before I got covered in fish blood :/



Our luck then went a little down hill from there, only catching a few more fish but I didnt care. I was immensely proud of my catch!! And couldn't wait to cook them. What could be better to cook with then fish I had caught !

Now Snook isn't the most meaty fish, although very tasty and Bonito is not really a fish you would filet, cook and serve so I decided fishcakes would be the best idea.
I unfortunately didn't get to cook them completely as Fishcakes are my step dads thing but I did get to do some of the cooking.

Here is how we made them.


Ingredients 

this is all guestimated as it all depends on how much fish you have.

1 filleted bonito and snook or about 400g - 500g fish - salmon, cod, haddock.
3 medium/large potatoes, boiled and mashed with a little butter and seasoning.
good handful of chopped parsley
200g of breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten
50g flour
squeeze of lemon
glug of oil

Method


1. Cook your fish in a little butter and seasoning until just about cooked through. Leave aside to cool and then flake. Make sure there are no bones.
2. Add your fish, potato and parsley to a bowl and mix together. To help bind it and make them extra light add a little breadcrumbs. Not to much. Season.
3. Once mixed form into patties.
4. In a 3 step process dip your patties into flour, then egg and finally your breadcrumbs. Shake off any access.
5. Into a deep pan put a good glug of oil and shallow fry your fishcakes for a few minutes on either side. They can also be baked in a hot oven for 20min or so. (More SW friendly)
6. Serve straight away with a good squeeze of lemon juice.



These fishcakes were delicious and a perfect dinner after a day out on the boat! I wish I could have gone out again before I left. But there is always next time.

Its good to be back...


Tuesday was my first Slimming World meeting since leaving for Australia in November, eight weeks away really feels like a lifetime. Amazingly I only put on 4.5lbs!!!! Not sure how that happened as I think I may have consumed my body weight in cheesestraws over Christmas and New Year.

It is so great to be back and being greeted with so many smiles and hugs really made it feel like coming home. OOO and the new pack... LOVE IT! So streamline with lots of great new ideas and recipes.

In fact I love it so much that I have jumped straight in and my first week back on plan is following Extra Easy SP. EESP consists of high protein and speed food meals. Here is an example of what I had for lunch.


Pork Loin in Tomato and Mushroom Sauce served with salad.


Basically it is just like the following the normal plan but you would leave out things like pasta, rice and potatoes. It is not something to follow for a long period of time, just when you want to put in that extra push for an upcoming event, say for a Birthday coming up. (mine is on Wednesday ) I am looking forward to seeing my results at Tuesdays weigh in next week. I hope I get results like others in my group have got.

Now onto something fun and exciting... My GIVEAWAY!!! :) :)


I love soup and around winter time its a must but I hate making the same old tomato or butternut. I purchased this recipe book awhile ago and loved it, so I thought it would be the perfect recipe book for my giveaway! Its filled with delicious Slimming World soup recipes some familiar and some not. Its a real little treasure to have in your recipe book collection.

To win this Little Book of Soups all I want you to do is comment below and briefly tell me what Slimming World has done for you. As an example I will tell you my story.


My Story, so far...

I am a person that comforts myself by eating and with ALLOT of ups and downs in my life over the last few years my weight has ballooned and my confidence has taken a massive knock because of it. 

Since joining Slimming World in August last year I have lost nearly 2 stone and regained my confidence. I am not at target yet and still have a fair bit to go but finding a weightloss plan that I love and enjoy makes losing weight easy. The bonus is being part of a group of people that have and are struggling with the same issues as me, which has helped me find belonging and comfort. Slimming World has been a dream come true for me.

Below is a photo taken over Christmas while in Australia. Before Slimming World I wouldn't ever take full length shots.


So that's it , so simple! I look forward to reading your stories. Good luck. 

Goodbye and Thank You Australia...


So I have been back for a week now and thanks to grey skies, rain and a virus Australia seems like a distant memory. But with over 3500 photos to look back on I'm sure those memories will come flying back! And this post might help a bit too as its a post all about my last week in beautiful Australia! :)

My last week was jammed packed with as much sun, sea and sand as possible as well as fishing off a boat and climbing a mini mountain. Not forgetting that I FINALLY got my picture of a Roo!!! However I am not going to mention to much about the fishing and mini mountain climbing as I have individual posts for them, one being a delicious recipe for fishcakes. I wonder which one that is :P


Right so on the Sunday before we left mum took us to Cape Le Grand to look at the beaches and hopefully get my picture of a roo on Lucky Bay, a beach that is know for their roos. However Lucky Bay was not so lucky and not one roo made an appearance. That didn't put a damper on the daythough as the beaches were gorgeous and the water was so clear and wonderfully warm. I actually wish we had gone sooner, as I would have loved to have spent a day at the Hellfire Beach.

Lucky Bay

Hellfire Beach


After a wonderful morning of beach hoping mum took me on one last roo spotting drive and would you know it a HUGE roo decided to not jump away but stand by the side of the road and wait for me to take his gorgeous picture. I was so excited, he was such a handsome roo, worth the six week wait!!


The next morning which was our last day, we spent at little Wharton soaking up our last bit of sun and having fun with my Christmas present in the sea. I never knew taking photo's under water could be so much fun!:) We also toasted our holiday not with a drink but with a tasty lamington, as you do.

Sunning myself on the rocks.

Channeling my inner Whale Shark, spots and all.

Matching smiles.

Hi there Big B

Sigh...I am not going to lie I do already miss that clear turquoise water but I know in my heart it wasn't goodbye but see you again soon, just have to save up abit first.

Now to get back to normal life again. Hopefully that wont be to hard.

                                                             
                                                      Heres to you Australia.

Breaded Abalone with Garlic Aioli...


I am quite excited to get this recipe up as it stems from a great day at the beach and was so much fun to make with everyone pilled into the kitchen watching and learning.

Before I start with the recipe I will just explain what abalone is. - or perlemoen, as we call it in South Africa.  Abalone is a type of shellfish that I think tastes and has a similer texture to squid/calamari. If prepared and cooked properly that is. Not everyone is a fan but in East Asia, especially China it is and goes for a very high price!



Right lets get started...

Before you even think about cooking and eating abalone you need to clean and tenderize it.

First give it a good rinse and then carefully remove it from the shell. How you would an Oyster. DON'T cut yourself!!!



Now comes the fun part, get yourself a thin pillow case, one you not planning to ever use again and begin to beat the 'beep' out of it! Not so much that you split or damage it. You just want to break it down a little so its not so tough! I am sure you could use a tenderizing hammer but this is how we were taught! Its the South African way!


Once you have done that trim off the green skirt and any nasty hard bits. Then slice into strips ready to crumb coat.


For the crumb coat

Just wiz up some old bread until it becomes crumbs and season. Then dip the abalone first in seasoned flour, then egg and finally the crumb coating.  Shake off the access and shallow fry it in hot oil for a few minutes.

For the garlic aioli

Combined a good dollop of mayo and Greek yogurt with a clove of garlic and some fresh parsley.


To serve sprinkle with salt, chopped parsley and chili and finish off with a good squeeze of lemon.


This isn't a 'just pop to the shop and pick up some abalone' kind of dish but if you do ever get your hands on some you now know what to do! :)

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year...


The last few weeks have been a combination of happiness and excitement as well as stress and exhaustion. Like any Family Christmas should be! I know we all want a perfect family Christmas like in movies but the fact of the matter is they never are and I think that is what makes them more memorable. 


Christmas



We did the usual, tree decorating, present giving, sparkling wine drinking and LOTS AND LOTS OF EATING!! To much eating I think... (Gosh I hope those SW scales are ready for me :/ ) But hey its Christmas, whats a mince pie or twenty!?


 Last year was my Benji's first Christmas which is of course a special moment but I found this Christmas way more fun, as he could enjoy it and understand it more. And boy did he LOVE it!

Hello delicious Aussie King Prawns with Garlic Mayo!


Recipe - PRAWNS : cook/steam your prawns until pink, season. DIP - Just add garlic, salt and pepper to a good dollop of mayo and greek yogurt. A squeeze of lemon and some fresh herbs finishes it off.

Boxing Day



On boxing day we took a drive down to Poison Creek and did a bit of fishing , swimming and BBQing! It was a gorgeous day and so much fun was had all round!


Its such a beautiful place and again we pretty much had the whole beach to ourselves! Our own little paradise.


 New Year



New Years eve was incredibly relaxed with dinner over the road and then we pretty much all ended up in bed before it even hit midnight. But we made up for it today by spending a lovely day on Nares Beach fishing.

 Me and my Big B at the back of the ute with Elephant Rock in the background.

Cheers to 2015


We have spent the whole of the festive season with my parents wonderful neighbors and even though I have only known them a short while I feel like they are family! The gorgeous family of 7 have been a true blessing and a wonderful Christmas gift!


Gosh I cant believe how fast this holiday has gone and that in just a few days I will be leaving it all behind!!:( But I will hopefully be back soon and be reunited with friends, family and those hard to photograph Roos!

Again Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

- a recipe will...I promise...go up tomorrow! - ABALONE! :)