Baked Salmon with Mediterranean Vegetables

Over indulgence of Christmas often leads to a January of weight watching and fitness. I am personally going to in the main, follow a lower fat diet and will share my recipes with you as we go. Hopefully I can inspire you to try some of my recipes and you can motivate me to stick to a dry January, low-fat diet and improved fitness.

My first recipe is going to be simple baked Salmon cooked with a medley of Mediterranean vegetables such as aubergines, courgettes, peppers and tomatoes.  Salmon is classed as an oily fish so has a higher fat content than say Cod; however it is rich in omega-3 fatty acid which is valuable to our diets. It is also very low in calories but high in protein, so you will feel full for longer; perfect to prevent cravings.

In the recipe I have used half a side of Salmon, but you could use Salmon cutlets instead. Although cost wise, I bought a half side of salmon from Lidl for £5.95 – that’s 3 or 4 portions.

5 from 1 vote
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Baked Salmon with Mediterranean Vegetables

Salmon cooked simply in a foil envelope with it's own and the vegetable juices.

Course Main Course
Cuisine British
Keyword Fresh Salmon, Mediterranian vegetables
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 3 portions
Calories 351 kcal
Author SharonBye

Ingredients

  • 2 medium Aubergines (peeled, quartered, sliced) (egg plants)
  • 1 medium Courgette (cut into 3cm x 1cm strips) (zucchini)
  • 1 Red pepper (sliced)
  • 200 gm Tomatoes (cut into 2cm x 2cm pieces) I used baby plum but any will do
  • 1/2 Side Salmon
  • Spray oil (about 6 sprays)
  • Salt and papper
  • 1 tsp Dried Basil

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven on 180 degrees, Gas 4. If your oven is fan assisted you may need to turn down to 170 degrees.

  2. Lay a large sheet of tin foil into a baking tray. You need the foil to overlap the tray as you will use it to form an enclosed "envelope" around the vegetables and salmon.

  3. Use the 1 cal oil spray to just coat the bottom of the foil and then lay over all the vegetables.

  4. Season with salt and pepper and then lay the Salmon on top. Add a teaspoon of dried basil.

  5. Fold the extra foil over the Salmon and vegetable so you have completely covered it. Now this will allow the contents to cook within their own juices.

  6. Pop in the oven and cook for around 40 minutes.

  7. Check the Salmon is cooked through and your dish is ready to serve.

  8. I served mine with a jacket potato, which I cooked in the oven alongside the Salmon.

Nutrients per portion, excluding jacket potato

Calories 351, Fat 14g, Carbs 6g (4g net), Protein 30g

Christmas Gluten Free Mince Pies

Last minute decision to make more mince pies on Christmas Eve. I am making them for my daughter who is celiac. My biggest issue is always the gluten free pastry; I’ve just never found a recipe that works and tastes great.

This Christmas I decided not to bother even trying and so bought pre-made, pre-rolled pastry; however it was so tough I couldn’t eat it. Such a waste of ingredients. I’d used my  Home-made Christmas Mincemeat to fill them but they  just had to go in the bin, the pastry was just aweful.

So this morning I searched the Internet for ideas to make GF pastry and came across “My Gluten Free Guide” by Laura Strange .

Well I made the pastry just as explained by Laura and it is actually amazing! The best GF pastry I’ve ever made.

You can find the original recipe here https://www.mygfguide.com/easy-gluten-free-shortcrust-pastry-recipe/ . You should look her website up, she has some fabulous ideas and I cannot wait to try some of them.

Gluten Free Mince Pies

Shortcrust pastry pies with homemade mince meat

Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Keyword Sweet Mince Pies
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 20 Small pies
Calories 177 kcal

Ingredients

  • 140 gm plain gluten free flour
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 70 gm unsalted butter very cold
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 jar mincemeat shop bought or homemade

Instructions

Make the pastry

  1. Place flour, xanthan gum and sugar into a bowl.

  2. Grate the butter into your flour using the large side of the grater.

  3. Gently coat the butter in flour by mixing around using a fork.

  4. Using your hands, gently rub the butter fully into the dry mIxture so it resembles breadcrumbs.

  5. In a separate small bowl, beat the egg and add about half of it to the mixture and stir through, using a fork trying to distribute throughout the mixture.

  6. Add a tablespoon of water and using your hands, bring the mixture together to create a smooth dough. If it is still crumbly then add a little more water, no more than a tablespoon.

  7. Place the dough on a large rectangle of grease proof paper and press down slightly. Fold the grease proof paper over the top so your pastry is enveloped inside. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Make the pies

  1. Pre-heat oven on 180 degrees or gas 4.

  2. Roll out the now chilled pastry on a floured board to about 4 to 5 mm thick.

  3. Cut out 10 x 8cm rounds and 10 x 6cm rounds. Place the larger ones in the patty pan, being careful not to break them.

  4. Into each pie, place about a dessert spoonful of mincemeat mixture.

  5. Pop the smaller round on top.

  6. Use the remainder of the egg to brush over the pies and sprinkle a pinch of caster sugar on top.

  7. Place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until they are golden.

Nutrients per pie

Calories 177, Fat 7.5 g, Carbohydrates 25 g, Protein 1 g

Traditional Gingerbread Men

I love Gingerbread Men any time, but of course they must form part of the Christmas Fayre. These cute little figures are so easy to make and great fun for involving the kids.

I have only decorated mine with white royal icing, but why not buy some coloured sugar balls and the kids can decorate however they like.  You could go to town and add some edible glitter to make them even more Christmasy; or colour the icing. You can find in the bakery section of your supermarket an array of decorations, including icing pens.

Gingerbread Men

Cute little snappy spicy biscuits

Course Snack
Cuisine British
Keyword Biscuits, Crunch, Spiced
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 9 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 9 minutes
Servings 40 biscuits
Calories 80 kcal
Author SharonBye

Ingredients

  • 350 gm Plain flour
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp Ground ginger
  • 125 gm Unsalted butter cut into small knobs
  • 175 gm Soft dark brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp Golden syrup
  • 1 Large Egg

Decoration

  • Royal Icing
  • Writing Icing
  • Other decorations as required

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven on 160 or Gas 4.

  2. Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda cinnamon and ginger together in a large mixing bowl.

  3. Add the butter, and rub in with your hands until you have mixture resembling breadcrumbs.

  4. Thoroughly mix in the sugar.

  5. In a seperate bowl, whisk the egg and golden syrup together and then add to the dry mix.

  6. Bring the mixture together to form a dough. Once the mixture has started to clump together it may be easier to turn onto a clean work surface and knead it to incorporate all the mixture.

  7. Place the dough in the fridge, covered or popped into a plastic pot with a lid. Leave to chill for at least 30 minutes.

  8. Your dough will keep well in the fridge for a couple of weeks, or you can freeze it for up to 3 months.

  9. Roll the dough out to about 0.5 cm. Use cutters to cut out your required shapes and lay spaced out on a baking tray onto which you have laid parchment sheet or baking paper.

    I made about 40, but of course this will depend on the size of your

  10. Bake for around 9 minutes. The biscuits will be browner but still soft. Place carefully on a baking rack to cool and they will then crisp up once cooled.

  11. Decorate as required.

Nutrients based on 40 biscuits

Calories 80, Fat 3 g, Carbs 15 g, Protein 1 g

Fabulously Fresh and Simple Stir Fry

This is a very quick, tasty and simple recipe for stir fry. The base is really a vegetable stir fry; however I added roast pork to mine as I had a little left over from a roast dinner. You could add chicken or turkey also, but it must be pre-cooked.

My recipe and nutrients will include Chinese Egg Noodles; however if you are Low Carb then you could use Zoodles instead. Leave out the pepper as peppers are 6g sugars! By my calculations, using MyFitnessPal, you have a very low carb tasty meal of 6 net carbs for the stir fry plus another 6 for the Zoodles.

What I enjoy about this recipe is the simplicity and the freshness. I always use fresh vegetables for this dish as for me, that’s what makes the dish so tasty.

Simple Stir Fry

A fresh vegetable stir fry with the option to add a little meat if desired.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword fresh, quick, simple, Stir Fry
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 people
Calories 510 kcal
Author SharonBye

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 300 ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 2 pak choi finely sliced
  • 2 medium carrots finely sliced
  • 1 red pepper sliced
  • 1 courgette sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 100 gm egg noodles
  • 100 gm roast pork shredded

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan cook the noodles as per the instruction on the packet. When cooked strain off the water and set aside. Your noodles can be cooking whilst you are preparing the stir fry.

  2. In the wok heat the oil and add the garlic, carrots and pak choi. Stir to coat in the oil and on a medium heat, cook the vegetables for a couple of minutes then add the rest of the vegetables. Add half the stock, all the ginger and soya sauce.

  3. Give the wok a stir up every minute or so to avoid the bottom burning.

  4. After 5 minutes the veg should be cooked. If it’s not to your preference then cook longer. If you are adding meat then add now and stir in. Cook for a further 2 minutes. This should be enough to thoroughly heat the meat.

  5. Add the rest of the stock and the egg noodles. Give it all a good stir up and then serve.

  6. I do not add salt or pepper as the stock and soya flavours are enough for my taste, but as with all cooking, you should taste and adjust seasoning as required.

Nutrients for the above recipe per portion

Calories 510, Fat 16g, Carbs 50g, Protein 32g

Carbs are high due to the egg noodles which account for 35g

Gluten Free Christmas Pudding

Christmas Pudding will keep in a cool dry cupboard for at least 6 months, so you can prepare well in advance. The traditional day for making a Christmas Pudding is the Sunday before Advent begins. This day is affectionatly known as “Stir Up Sunday”. Every member of the household should give the pudding a stir and make a wish. My Mum used to put an old sixpence in the pudding. It is believed that whoever found the sixpence on Christmas Day would enjoy wealth and good luck in the following year.

You can vary the fruit amounts between the different fruits, so if you haven’t got enough of one thing then top it up with another. For the sake of guidance however I will list my exact ingredients.

Also the recipe does not have to be gluten free and you could replace the gluten free flour with self raising flour and omit the xanthan gum.

You need to start this the day before you want to complete and cook as you will need to soak the fruit overnight or over a couple of days.

Serve with Brandy Butter

Gluten Free Christmas Pudding

A moist traditional pudding for you Christmas Day

Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Keyword Christmas Pudding
Prep Time 1 day 30 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Servings 8 portions
Calories 385 kcal
Author SharonBye

Ingredients

Flavour development

  • 150 gm Raisins
  • 75 gm Currants
  • 75 gm Sultanas
  • 75 gm Chopped dates
  • 50 gm Mixed peel
  • 80 gm Dried cranberries
  • 1 Large Orange zest and juice grate the orange zest finely
  • 75 ml Cold black tea
  • 100 ml Brandy
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp Mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp Ground cinnamon

Combine the ingredients

  • 50 gm Flaked almonds Toasted and then chopped
  • 2 Eating apples such as coxes grated
  • 100 gm Soft brown sugar
  • 70 gm Dark soft brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Treacle
  • 50 gm Gluten free self-raising flour
  • 50 gm Gluten free breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tsp Xanthan Gum
  • 100 gm Gluten free suet Tesco Vegetable Suet is gluten free
  • 2 Large Eggs

Instructions

Flavour development

  1. In a large bowl place and mix well all the ingredients listed under flavour development; dried fruit, spices, orange, tea and brandy. Cover with clingfilm and leave overnight - no need to refridgerate. If you are short of time, leave at least 1 hour.

Combine ingredients,

  1. Into the fruit mixture add the grated apple, chopped almonds, treacle and sugar.

  2. In another bowl mix together the flour, xanthan gum, breadcrumbs and suet.

  3. Mix in the eggs until the mixture is smooth and then add to the fruit mixture.

  4. Grease the pudding bowl well with butter and pour in mixture.

  5. Turn slow cooker onto high.

  6. Cover the bowl with baking paper with a pleat in it; then place foil, also with a pleat, over the baking paper. Secure in place with string, make a type of lifting handle with the string which will make it easier to lift the pudding when it has finished cooking. Cut off excess paper and foil.

  7. Using either a slow cooker or a large saucepan, place a trivet in the bottom. This could be an upturned old saucer; a tin jam jar lid, or a small metal pan lid.

  8. Place the pudding into the pan or crock pot onto the trivet. Fill half way up the bowl with boiling water.

  9. Simmer for 8 hours; this would be be same for either cooking pot. Make sure you keep the water level topped up.

  10. Once cooked, remove from the pan / pot and leave to cool.

  11. Turn upside down to turn out, remove all paper and foil and wrap in fresh and store in a cool place.

Serving on Christmas Day

  1. Steam or boil the pudding for 2 hours.

  2. Turn onto a serving plate. Warm some brandy. Pour over the pudding and taking care, set light to it.

  3. Serve with Brandy Butter

Nutrients per portion

Cals 385, Fat 16 g, Carbs 53 g, Protien 4 g

Sweet Red Pepper and Carrot Soup

This week I received carrots and red peppers in my vegetable box. I am not a lover of carrots served as a vegetable, however I quite like them in a soup or raw in a salad or as a crudite.

This soup recipe is very simple; cook the vegetables until cooked and then blitz in the blender. The peppers I used were particularly juicy, red and ripe, which therefore made the soup quite sweet. I added quiet a bit of black pepper to balance the sweetness, but of course this would be a personal choice.

You could also roast your peppers and onions in the oven rather than cooking with the carrots in the stock. This would give a slight baked flavour. Lay on a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil and cook on 180 / gas 4 for about 20 minutes or until soft and tender. Then add to the cooked carrots and stock, and blend either with a hand blender or liquidizer.

Sweet Red Pepper and Carrot Soup

A sweet full of freshness light soup.

Course Soup, Starter
Cuisine British
Keyword Carrot and Red Pepper Soup
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 3 portions
Calories 159 kcal
Author SharonBye

Ingredients

  • 1 medium Onion roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 500 gm Carrots roughly sliced
  • 2 Red Peppers roughly chopped
  • 500 ml Chicken or Vegetable Stock
  • Salt and Pepper seasoning to taste

Instructions

  1. In the saucepan, heat the oil, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until soft but not brown.

  2. Add the rest of the vegetables, stir, put the lid on and sweat the vegetables for just a couple of minutes.

  3. Add the stock and a little salt and pepper.

  4. Cook for 20 minutes until the carrots are cooked and soft to the touch of a knife.

  5. I recommend you leave to cool slightly to avoid scalding yourself when blending or to prevent built up steam blowing the top off the food processor blender.

  6. Blend to a smooth consistancy. Check and adjust the seasoning to your own taste.

  7. Soup is now ready to heat when required. Serve with bread of your choice.

Nutrients per serving

Cals 159, Fat 5.4g, Carbs 25.5g (net 18g), Protein 3.5g

Upside Down Peach Pudding

Having made a Peachy Sweet and Sour Chicken I found myself with tinned peaches left over. What to do? I decided that as I had already broken the rule of putting pineapple in the sweet and sour sauce, why not do the same with an upside down cake?

A nice cake to serve hot for pudding with custard. The sponge should be nice and moist for you to also serve cold as a slice of cake.

Upside Down Peach Pudding

A twist on the traditional pineapple upside down pudding

Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine British
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 portions
Calories 396 kcal
Author SharonBye

Ingredients

  • 5 halves Tinned peaches sliced
  • 1 Tbsp Brown sugar
  • 150 gm Self raising flour
  • 150 gm Caster sugar
  • 150 gm Margerine or butter softened
  • 3 medium Eggs
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla essence

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C or gas 4

  2. Grease cake tin and line with sliced peaches.

  3. Sprinkle brown sugar over peaches.

  4. In a large mixing bowl place all the other ingredients and whisk until a light cream colour and the mixture is light and fluffy.

  5. Spoon over the top of the peaches and cook for half an hour in the center of the oven.

  6. Check sponge is cooked by inserting a knife or skewer and it should come out clean if the sponge is cooked through fully.

Nutritional information

Cals 396, Fat 22g, Carbs 45g, Protein 5g

Peachy Sweet and Sour Chicken, Slow cooked

So the other day I was off out for the day and I thought I’d put a meal in the slow cooker. I had chicken, a couple of carrots and a green pepper in the fridge but little else; so what to do?

Sweet and Sour came to mind but, no pineapple; a casserole but no veg.

I did however have a tin of peaches (they are fruit, just like pineapple); and so I give you a rather yummy, delightful and very, very simple recipe for peachy sweet and sour chicken. You could of course use pineapple in place of the peaches and peach juice.

If you do not have a slow cooker then this recipe would easily cook in the oven for about an hour on 180 or gas 4.

Peachy Sweet and Sour Chicken

A Chinese spice flavoured sweet and sour chicken meal

Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword Chicken, Sweet and Sour
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Servings 3 portions
Calories 265 kcal
Author SharonBye

Ingredients

  • 2 Chicken Breasts Cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 1 tin Chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 2 Peach halves from a tin of peaches
  • 2 Tbsp Peach syrup from tin
  • 1 Tsp Chinese Five Spice
  • 1 or 2 Green Pepper Sliced
  • 2 medium Carrots Pealed and sliced

Instructions

  1. Turn on slow cooker, or oven if oven cooking (180 C or Gas 4)

  2. Place all your ingredients in your pot and stir thoroughly.

  3. If slow cooking, then cook for at least 4 hours on low. In the oven cook for an hour.

  4. Serve with noodles or rice or whatever takes your fancy.

Nutrients calculated using Myfitnesspal.com

Cals 265, Fat 4.5g, Carbs 16.4g (14 net), Protein 37g

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Curried Butternut Squash soup is a satisfying, warming wintertime soup. You can serve for lunch with fresh crusty bread or as a starter at a dinner party. Add some cream to enrich and make the taste very slightly smoother.

I do not like spicy hot, so I used just the tip of a thin green chilli pepper and then I place the rest in the freezer to use for another soup or curry dish.

Mild – use just the tip of the chilli without any seeds.

Medium – deseed the chilli and disgard the seeds; chop the whole pepper

Hot – use the lot, seeds and flesh

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

A warming spicy winter soup

Course Soup, Starter
Cuisine British
Keyword spicy, warming, winter
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 portions
Calories 169 kcal
Author SharonBye

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 1 small Onion, chopped
  • 1 Green thin chilli chopped Mild - use tip and no seeds, Medium - remove the seeds and use the whole chilli, Hot - use the whole chilli
  • 1 inch Fresh ginger grated
  • 1 clove Garlic crushed or chopped
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 1 small Potato peeled and cut roughly into 1 cm cubes
  • 1 medium Butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and roughly cut into cubes
  • 2 pints Vegetable stock No particular preference. Could use chicken or if no stock cubes, use water.
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in the saucepan and add the onion and slowly cook for 5 minutes without browning. Turn up very slightly and let the onion start to colour, then turn heat down again. Do not let the onions burn and remove from heat if browning too much. If too dry add a little water.

  2. Add the chilli, ginger, clove and cumin and cook for a couple of minutes.

  3. Add the potato and butternut squash, stir them and coat with the gorgeous flavours.

  4. Add the stock and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 20 minutes or until the butternut squash and potato are cooked.

  5. Remove from heat and leave to cool.

  6. Blend until smooth in a blender, taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

  7. Fully reheat as and when required.

Nutrients – Calories 169, Fat 4g, Carbs 36g, Protien 3.8g

 

Home-made Christmas Mincemeat

In preparation for Christmas, this year I am making my own home-made Christmas mincemeat. You can store mincemeat in a dark and cool place for up to 6 months. I am using vegetable suet from Tesco so I can use with gluten free pastry to make mince pies; however you can use beef suet or chopped up butter.

I have used half butter and half vegetable suet as I needed gluten free only. I do find with just suet it can be a little dry. The butter caramelises with the sugar giving the texture a much stickier mixture.

Mincemeat pies originated in the middle ages. Originally it is thought they were filled with chopped up meat, fruit and a preserving liquid or confitied in salt and fat. Just like many recipes, these big pies have evolved into the delicate little pies we know and love today.

Mince Pie recipe Christmas Gluten Free Mince Pies

Homemade Mincemeat

Easy fruity mincemeat

Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Keyword mincemeat
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 60
Calories 70 kcal
Author SharonBye

Ingredients

  • 100 gm Dried apricots chopped
  • 200 gm Sultanas
  • 200 gm Raisins
  • 125 gm Currants
  • 100 gm Dried cranberries
  • 50 gm Flaked almonds, blanch and roughly chop Dry until slightly brown, then lighlty chop
  • 60 gm Suet I used Tesco vegetable suet as it is gluten free, but you could use beef suet or butter
  • 60 gm unsalted butter You can use all butter or all suet, or half and half.
  • 1 tsp Mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 200 gm Light brown or muscadova sugar
  • 1 Lemon Rind and Juice
  • 200 ml Brandy

Instructions

  1. Weigh out and place all the ingredients apart from the brandy into a large saucepan.

  2. Heat very slowly and stir regularly. The suet will melt and coat the fruit. Continue to simmer on a very low heat for another 20 minutes and keep stirring regularly.

  3. Cool completely then stir in the brandy.

  4. Store in sterilised jars. You can sterilise the jars (old jam jars; coffee jars will be fine) by popping in the oven for 20 minutes on 140 degrees, Gas 1. Place the lids in boiling water.

  5. Mincemeat should keep well in a cool dark place for 6 months. Or you can use straight away for Mince Pies.

Nurients per portion

Calories 70,    Fat 1.7g,     Carbs 12g,     Protein .5g