Recipes

Easy, ‘Healthy’, Autumn Crumble

With Autumn upon us it’s definitely time for some comforting, warming puds, and for me that means stewed fruit and crumble! Traditional Crumble can be quite high calorie so this is a great option for keeping the calories a bit lower but still just as tasty!

I was lucky enough to be given a haul of apples and pears, and I had some wild blackberries in the freezer form earlier in the summer but you can use any combination of fruit you fancy!

This comes in at about 184 calories per portion (I got 6 portions from mine) but tastes just as great! I didn’t add any sugar to my fruit at all – it was perfectly sweet as it was and with the sweetness of the topping you shouldn’t need to add any, but you can add if you feel you need it.

This makes a fab dessert, snack or even breakfast!

You will need:

3 large cooking apples/ pears (bramley apples work best)

A large punnet of blackberries (approx 200 – 300g) (or use more apples/pears/plums/raspberries/gooseberries/ anything!)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

For the topping:

100g oats

50g flour (I used rice flour as it has a finer texture but any flour will do)

30g sugar (I used ‘half spoon’)

1 tsp cinnamon

40g non-dairy spread (I used a ‘light’ spread)

Prepare the fruit – peel, core and chop the apples/pears into small chunks and rinse the blackberries. Place the apples in a saucepan with a tbsp of water and start to cook – they need a bit longer than the blackberries so this gives them a head start. Once they’ve started to soften a little add the blackberries and the cinnamon and stir well. Allow to simmer gently until the apples are cooked through.

Pre-heat the oven to 190 C.

Place the oats, flour, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and mix well. Add the spread and then use a fork or your fingers to rub it in to the mixture creating little lumps.

Pour the fruit mixture into whatever dish you’re using – I made 4 individual portions and one double portion.

Add the topping and then pop in the oven for 15-20 mins or until the topping starts to brown.

Remove and serve warm (or cold!), with a dollop of zero fat total yoghurt, or maybe some low cal ice cream!

Enjoy! Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Sugar is bad!!… or is it? …

Sugar is bad!!… or is it? … 🥣

I often hear and see people claiming that sugar is bad! Clients will tell me that they are “cutting back on sugar” for example. When asked what foods they mean specifically it usually includes things like biscuits, chocolate, cakes, ice cream etc. But these foods aren’t just “sugar” – they all contain significant amounts of fat too.

As you can see from this comparison – 100g of sugar contains nothing but sugar. It’s 99.9 g of carbs – no fat, no protein etc. All of those carbs are sugar. The biscuits on the other hand contain around 62g carbs, of which only 28g is actually sugar. It contains almost as much fat, other carbs and some protein etc. These foods that people commonly associate with sugar are a mixture of sugar, fat and salt which make them hyper-palatable. That means they’re designed to taste really good – which encourages you to eat more. Eating 100g of pure sugar in one sitting is actually not a pleasant experience (try it – I dare you lol!) and it isn’t something most people would do. Eating 100g of biscuits though – well thats super easy and is only 4-5 biscuits in most cases. To consume the same amount of actual sugar as pure sugar you’d need to eat 350g of biscuits in one sitting (which is over 20 biscuits!).

So this combo of sugar, fat and salt is what makes biscuits and other snacks so easy to over eat. That’s not to say biscuits are bad but they have the potential to derail you from your goals because they’re calorie dense (i.e. more cals in a smaller package) and as I said they taste great so you’re likely to eat more. So it’s not the sugar thats causing this – its the combination of ingredients in these products. So vilifying sugar is pointless and a misunderstanding of where the real issue lies. In fact sugar is actually an important nutrient and the brain’s main fuel source.

In sum, sugar isn’t “bad”, it isn’t causing you to gain fat in itself. If your diet contains a range of whole foods and is balanced overall then having the odd “sugary” snack like biscuits/cakes etc is fine – just account for it in your calories.

🤗

Xx

Recipes

Poached Cinnamon Plums

This makes a delicious autumn dessert or brekkie option – with a big dollop of greek yoghurt!

Before we sold my late Nannie’s Bungalow we harvested the last of her Damsons and so I decided to put them to good use and stew them up into a tasty pud! I used half at the time and the other half I froze to make another batch later and this works perfectly with either option.

You will need:

Plums – as many as you want!

Sugar to taste

Cinnamon to taste

If you have a glut of plums when you may prefer to freeze some for later use. Cut them in halves, remove the stone and lay on a baking tray and pop in the freezer for a couple of hours. Once they’ve firmed up you can transfer to a ziplock bag or Tupperware and store in the freezer until needed!

If using fresh then cut into halves (or quarters if you prefer), remove the stones (these can also be removed after cooking if the plums are a little on the hard size). Place in a wide pan (I used a frying pan).

Add a little water to stop them burning (couple of tbsps) and a little sugar initially – especially if using damsons (you can add more later if necessary).

Using a very low heat allow the plums to start to soften. Then add cinnamon – start with a small amount and then add more to taste later.

Then pop a lid on and allow to gentlY cook through. Keep an eye on them as they will go soft and mushy very quickly.

Allow to cook gently, checking regularly until at the desired softness (this may only take mins) and then remove the lid. Taste and add more sugar and cinnamon if you feel you need it. Then allow it to cool down a little further – you can decide how you want it. The liquid will form a slightly sticky syrup and the plums will continue to break down – so keep gently cooking until your desired consistency. As it cools the syrup will thicken a little.

Transfer to a bowl or Tupperware and store in the fridge. Or you can freeze it too. It makes a perfect base for a crumble, or is delicious served with Greek yoghurt!

Enjoy 🙂 xx

Recipes

Cherry Tomato Soup

We had a massive glut of cherry tomatoes in the garden this year, so I thought I’d use them for a nice, light soup! You can actually use any tomatoes you like but cherry ones do lend a lovely sweetness.

I used almost all of ours – which was around 1.5kg but you can use fewer – just reduce the other ingredients to compensate. This makes at least 6-8 bowls and it’s ridiculously low calorie – under 100 cals per bowl!

You will need:

1.5kg Cherry Tomatoes

1 large onion

2 Carrots

2 Sticks of Celery

3 tbsp Tomato Purée

1 litre vegetable stock (2 stock cubes)

1 tsp oregano or mixed herbs (to taste)

1/2 tsp Celery Salt

Dash of Worcestershire sauce (or vegetarian alternative)

I/2 tsp sugar

Salt and Pepper

Chop the onion, carrot and celery into small pieces. Depending on the size of the tomatoes cut them into halves or quarters.

Add some oil or oil spray to a large saucepan and once hot add the onions, celery and carrots. Sauté them for around ten minutes until soft and slightly coloured.

Add the tomato purée and stir well

Add the tomatoes, together with the sugar and herbs and spices. Stir to mix everything, then put the lid on the pan and let the tomatoes cook on a low heat for around ten mins. Check occasionally and stir to prevent sticking.

Once the tomatoes have started to release their juices after around ten mins, add the stock and Worcestershire sauce if using. Turn up the heat as high as it will go and wait until everything is bubbling, then turn the heat down to low again and put the lid back on the pan. Cook gently for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Depending how much liquid the tomatoes produced you may want to keep boiling a little longer to reduce it down – you can decide how thick you want your soup. (You can also add a little cornflour – mix a couple of tbsp in a bowl with cold water and then whisk that into the soup to thicken it).

You can leave it as it is if you want but I prefer to blend it. Wait for it to cool a little and then using a stick blender blend to the desired consistency. At this point you can also boil again to reduce it down if it’s still too thin for your taste.

You can freeze this for quick lunches or dinners. Serve as it is with a crusty loaf, or you can add a dollop of greek yoghurt for added creaminess!

Enjoy 🙂

Xx

Recipes

What the cluck Veggie Stir Fry

This is a super easy dinner or lunch option. There are lots of vegetarian chicken alternatives out there but this is one of the best I’ve tried. It’s absolutely delicious, not dry like some can be, with a fab texture. It’s good enough to pass as chicken in this dish (in case you have any fussy eaters you want to get this past!).

This comes in at around 263 cals for a portion. You can obviously add rice or noodles if you wish but it’s a massive portion so you won’t need it! You can use any veg you have, or make life easy and grab a pre made bag of stir fry veg. You can have it plain, with soy sauce or if you like you can add hoisin sauce.

You will need:

1 pack of veggie ‘chicken’ (I used ‘what the cluck’ from the vegetarian butcher’

1 small onion

1/2 red pepper

Handful mushrooms

Assorted greens (or do what I did and use a pre made mix!)

Soy sauce to taste (or hoisin sauce if you prefer)

Chop the veg.

Heat a little oil on a wok or frying pan and sauté the onions.

Meanwhile pop the veggie chicken in a separate pan (you can do it with the veg but I prefer to brown it separately to ensure it’s nice and crispy)

Add the peppers and mushrooms to the onions, cook for a couple of mins.

Add the other veg and stir fry for a few mins and then add the soy sauce to taste (or hoisin sauce) and cook through.

Add the chicken pieces and then serve!

Enjoy 🙂

Xx