Monthly Archives: January 2016

Chicken Tikka

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This is the most delicious home-made Chicken Tikka I have ever eaten!

I’m not very adventurous when it comes to Indian food as I don’t like coconut, coriander or too much spice. This means that whenever we go to an Indian restaurant I always and I mean always order a chicken tikka masala.

Quite a few years ago, my brother in law found this recipe online at www.makingcurry.co.uk – unfortunately the website doesn’t appear to exist anymore so I can’t link to it. He made this recipe for us and it was absolutely delicious. The recipe does also come with a sauce, which turns it into Chicken Tikka Masala which fantastic, but I haven’t included it at this stage as it is includes more cream etc which means it makes it higher in calories.

Some people may think this recipe is a little bit of a faff as it does take quite a while and has a few different steps. However most of the prep is putting everything in a bowl in the fridge and forgetting about it for a couple of days! That sounds perfect to me! I recommend using food prep gloves when it comes to threading the chicken onto the skewers as this doesn’t leave you with orange tinted hands, but this is completely up to you.

Up until now I have made this recipe using double cream which makes it decadent and deliciously creamy. We all know double cream is delicious, but definitely not healthy. So I decided to leave it out and use more of the natural yogurt in its place. I was pleasantly surprised, I didn’t miss the cream at all!

My favourite way of eating this is cold with simply lettuce, cucumber and a bit of mango chutney. It is also fantastic in a wrap with salad. Last time I made this, I split it into three large portions and it was just under 300 calories. So you definitely still can enjoy delicious Chicken Tikka but still be healthy!

700g skinned chicken breasts, cubed
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
75g non-fat natural yogurt
100ml double cream (or 100ml of non-fat natural yogurt)
1 tbsp ginger puree
1 tbsp garlic puree
2 tbsp Tandoori Masala powder
½ tsp tumeric
½ garam masala
½ chilli powder
3 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped
40g butter, melted

  1. Put the cubed chicken into a large bowl. Add all of the ingredients, except the butter and mix until combined. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for 2-60 hours – the longer the better!

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  1. Preheat the grill to high and line the grill pan with lightly oiled foil
  2. Brush 4 metal skewers with the melted butter and thread the chicken pieces leaving a small gap between each piece

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  1. Place on the grill pan set approximately 7.5cm away from the element and cook for 2-3 minutes. Take out and brush with more melted butter until the edges are charred

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  1. Turn the skewers over, brush with more butter and cook for 3-4 minutes
  2. Ease the chicken from the skewers. The chicken can be eaten hot or cold

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Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake

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Cinnamon swirl in cake form – this cake is an absolutely must for cinnamon lovers!

I found this recipe on one of my Pinterest jaunts. I absolutely love cinnamon so was drawn to this recipe by Shugary Sweets. Cinnamon brings the most delicious warmth and flavour to dishes in my opinion. I really don’t think you can beat a cinnamon swirl, but this cake comes a close second! It is a lot quicker and easier, but still has the same taste, just a slightly lighter texture as it’s a cake.

Hands down my favourite part of this cake is the glaze as it is exactly like you would have on a cinnamon swirl. This recipe makes a very generous portion of this glaze which as you are drizzling it on looks like you might have been excessive, but do not panic as you will be wishing you had more!

I didn’t use all of the filling when I made this cake because it looked like a lot of sugar. Use your own judgement and add as much as you like remembering that the sugar will melt into the cake.

It’s not the prettiest of cakes, but believe me you won’t have anyone complaining that it looks boring once they have tasted it!

For the cake
2 ½ cup plain flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
¾ cup milk
Spray oil

For the filling
1 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

  1. Using the spray oil, grease and lightly flour the bundt tin and set aside. Preheat oven to 180°C

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  1. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt together in your mixer bowl. Add in the butter and beat until the mixture becomes crumbly
  2. Add the eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and milk. Beat for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is smooth and fluffy
  3. In a separate bowl combine the brown sugar and cinnamon for the filling making sure the cinnamon is mixed through evenly . Set aside
  4. Pour half of the cake mix into the bundt tin and then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the cake mix. Pour the rest of the cake mix on top
  5. Bake for 55-60 minutes until brown. Allow to cool in the tin slightly and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely

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For the glaze
1 cup icing sugar
2 – 4 tbsp milk
1 tsp cinnamon

  1. Once the cake has cooled completely, whisk together the icing sugar, milk and cinnamon. Add more milk to get a thick pouring consistency

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  1. Drizzle the glaze over the cake allowing it to drip down the sides

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Skinny Chicken Pasta Bake

Deliciously creamy pasta bake which is skinny but you really wouldn’t guess it!

Well it’s January again (where did 2015 go?!) which means the vast majority of us will be trying to make healthier choices. I’m going to try and not use the word ‘diet’ because personally I am hoping to make a change to my lifestyle which is something more permanent than a diet.

This Skinny Chicken Pasta Bake is a perfect healthier option which means you don’t have to miss out on pasta. I have adapted a recipe from Gimmie Some Oven which has an amazing, healthier, but still deliciously creamy sauce. I do love a good tuna pasta bake with a creamy white sauce, but when you actually work out how many calories are in the sauce it is quite alarming. This recipe lets you still enjoy a delicious pasta bake, but with fraction of the calories.

Sometimes when recipes are made ‘skinny’ the taste is compromised to make them lower in calories. This recipe doesn’t taste like it is a healthy alternative at all. Don’t get me wrong, pasta is always going to have more calories in it than something like a salad, but this recipe is far healthier than the traditional pasta bakes that most people will have had before. 

Instead of butter, this recipe uses olive oil which is a healthier fat to make the base of the sauce rather than the usual butter. It also uses Parmesan and low fat mozzarella which are far healthier choices than the more commonly used cheddar cheese. The sauce makes a fantastic base for adding other flavours to make it even tastier. The mustard doesn’t have a distinct flavour, but it really adds a depth to the sauce which is really delicious. 

This is a great way to use up leftover chicken from your Sunday roast that is a bit more imaginative than a cold chicken sandwich! If you don’t have leftover chicken, do not panic you can still make this recipe! Just season two small chicken breasts with salt and pepper and cook them in the oven at 190ºC for 15-20 minutes until the juices run clear. Let the chicken cool slightly and then shred it using two forks, or your hands. 

I have made this recipe before by adding around 50g of diced chorizo. It is really tasty, but does add a few calories onto the dish. So I have since changed the recipe to adding slices of prosciutto (or any other cured ham) to the top. This is far lower in calories and crisps up in the oven which is so delicious. 

If you didn’t want to use prosciutto, you could always cook some bacon or bacon lardons and add these to the dish, These won’t be as healthy as prosciutto but not everyone is watching what they eat and even if you are, treats are always allowed every now and then! 

You can use whatever pasta shape you prefer (or happen to have in your cupboard). I have made it with penne, fussili and conchiglie. My favourite is the conchiglie which is what I have shown in the photos; as this really seemed to hold onto the sauce. 

This recipe is easily made gluten free, just swap to gluten free pasta and flour. Obviously check any meat you add is gluten free too, but a lot of continental meats do tend to be gluten free. 

This dish is also great for leftovers – perfect for lunch the next day. I sometimes find when you are trying to be healthy that lunch gets forgotten about and you end up having the same boring, low calorie lunch each day. I then end up feeling hungry for the rest of the day – maybe this is just me?! Something like this for lunch is great as it helps keep you full without being high in calories.

Updated September 2017

Serves 4

340g pasta (any shape you like)
1 ½ tbsp olive oil
4 gloves of garlic, minced
3 tbsp flour
250ml chicken stock
250ml semi-skimmed milk (you can also use 1% milk)
40g grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp mustard powder
½ tsp dried oregano

200g chicken, cooked and shredded
1 x 340g tin sweetcorn, drained

1 ball of low-fat mozzarella cheese
3-4 slices of prosciutto

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package’s directions making sure it is al dente
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic and saute for a minute or so, stirring occasionally

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  1. Add the flour and stir to combine. Saute for another minute or so to cook the flour, again stirring occasionally

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  1. Gradually add the chicken stock whisking as you to go combine and create a smooth sauce. Once all the stock is added, whisk in the milk and bring to a simmer. Allow the sauce to thicken for a minute or so and then stir in the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper

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  1. Reduce the heat to low and stir occasionally until the pasta is cooked
  2. Preheat the oven to 190°C
  3. Once the pasta is cooked, add it to the sauce along with the cooked, shredded chicken and sweetcorn. Stir to make sure the pasta is evenly coated in the sauce

 

  1. Pour half of the pasta into a large baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the mozzarella and then add the rest of the pasta. Finish by adding the rest of the mozzarella and the prosciutto 

  1. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and starting to turn slightly golden

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