Inspired by Nigella

If you are a foodie like me (and lets be honest that is where the weight came from in the first place) then you do watch a lot of cooking programmes. I have often found inspiration for a new meal from such programmes and key to losing weight has been being able to cook meals that are new, exciting and tasty.

This week I was expecting my Uncle Basil and Aunt Elaine coming for lunch and I had an idea of what is was going to make until I caught part of Nigella’s latest series. Despite a track record in this area there was no gastro porn involved, just the humble frozen pea. If you are not sure what I mean with this here is a video with a comic version of Nigella in action to let you in on the joke. The idea was enough to change my direction.

This is also accompanied with a dessert which I adapted from a SW one. The good news is that the entire meal takes no more than half an hour to prepare (both courses) with a cooking time of about half and hour.

Chicken with leeks, peas and dill (for four)

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts (no skin). Replace with quorn fillets for a veggie alternative.
  • A good pile of frozen peas
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • Handful of dill roughly ripped
  • 500ml of veg or chicken stock (Nigella used olive oil and vermouth).

Method:

  1. Fill the base of a large oven dish or small roasting tray with frozen peas to about 1cm deep.
  2. Lay the sliced leeks over the peas.
  1. Pour stock over until it is just lapping at the edges of the leeks.
  2. Drop the dill over the surface.
  3. Lay the chicken breasts on top.
  4. Spray the surface of the chicken breasts with low calorie oil spray (I used a butter one but you can choose the one you like).
  5. Season the top of the chicken with sea salt and black pepper.
  6. Put on a tray ( so that nothing drips on the pudding when it goes in) in a hottish oven and cook for 30 minutes (adjust this for you ovens own foibles.)

There is plenty of sauce from the stock and veg and I served mine with new potatoes and carrots.

I used the left over stock and veg to make a vegetable soup for the next day.

Baked Vanilla Plums

Ingredients:

  • 8 large plums, halved
  • Punnet of blackberries
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 2 tbsp sweetener
  • Juice of two lemons
  • 250ml 0% fat yoghurt
  • A good splash of no sugar vanilla syrup or a tbsp sweetener and a tsp vanilla essence.

Method:

  1. Lay the halved plums across the bottom of an oven dish and lay the blackberries on and around the plums.
  2. Slice the vanilla pod in half and scrape the seeds into the sweetener.
  3. Rub the vanilla seeds into the sweetener.
  4. Cut the pod into quarters and scatter amongst the fruit.
  5. Sprinkle the vanilla sweetener all over the fruit.
  6. With a tsp spread the lemon juice all over the fruit.
  7. Cook in the bottom of the oven for about thirty minutes.
  8. Meanwhile mix the syrup (or alternative) into the yoghurt.

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