Sunday, 30 September 2012

How To Exercise A Little Portion Control - St Jacques With Coriander & Peanut Pesto

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Seafood, pesto, portion control.  For this week's Weekend Dinner Party themed post, I've chosen a gorgeous French number that has drawn flavours from the Asian world.  The coriander, lime and peanut based pesto sauce is phenomenal, zesty and absolutely delish.

Scallops are one of my favourite things in the world but it's always a good idea to check with your guests to make sure that they like seafood!  I've also chosen this recipe as it illustrates the essential steps every good host should bear in mind for the weight-conscious diner; portion control.

If you dread hosting dinner parties because you are worried about over-eating, let me assure you that its impossible to do so with this fabulous recipe.  Firstly, it is a tiny bit labour intensive but don't let that put you off.  It's so tasty that you will savour every mouthful when you finally do sit down to enjoy it.  Eating slowly allows you to recognise early when you are full.

I realise that everyone wants to please their guests with plenty to eat, but the health conscious diner may resent you afterwards for the extra indulgent mouthfuls eaten.

Life's just too short for regrets.  Show no signs of slowing down, there's no reason why you cannot attend or host dinner parties if you are trying to eat healthy and lose weight.  Simply exercise a little portion control, choose ingredients that boast flavour but without the weight of added calories.

And of course, this recipe is milk, egg, wheat, gluten and soy free.  It does however, contain peanuts, therefore is not nut free.  

Expecting a vegetarian diner?  No problem, simply substitute the scallops for tofu.  It will work 
beautifully with the pesto sauce.

Saint-Jacques With Coriander & Peanut Pesto Sauce


500ml vegetable stock
2 tablespoons mirin*
1 tablespoon lemon grass
2 kaffir lime leaves
3 rounded teaspoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon fish sauce (check thickeners to ensure gluten / wheat free)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 shallots, chopped finely
4 red onions, chopped finely
3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
2 tablespoons ginger, chopped finely
1 teaspoon ground white pepper

140g risotto rice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon gluten and wheat free flour
16 large scallops
1 lime, sliced

For the pesto
2 tablespoons, dry roasted and unsalted peanuts
50g coriander leaves, chopped using scissors
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger
Pinch of white pepper
Juice of 2 limes
1 teaspoon soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Serves 4

Purple Tip - The rice requires 3 hours of cool time in the fridge.  If you are expecting guests in the evening, I would prepare the rice earlier in the day.


  1. In a saucepan, add the vegetable stock, *mirin (this is a type of Japanese rice wine which I did not have, so I used wine and added a little sugar), lemon grass, kiffir leaves, ground coriander, fish sauce and allow to boil for a few minutes, then simmer.
  2.  In a casserole dish, add olive oil, shallot, onions, garlic, ginger and white pepper.  Temper for a few minutes and enjoy the aromas released.
  3. Add the rice and coat each grain in the oil.
  4. Remove lemon grass from the stock then pour this into the rice in 100ml aliquots and only when the rice has absorbed the liquid.  Add up to an extra 200ml of water if necessary.
  5. The rice is done when all of the liquid has been absorbed.  Now allow to cool then keep in the refrigerator for 3 hours.
  6. To prepare the pesto, first add the peanuts into a grinder.  Grind till you have a paste but with 'bits' in it.
  7. In a blender, add the peanuts, coriander leaves, garlic, ginger and white pepper.  Blend for a couple of minutes or until you have a green paste.  Now add the freshly squeezed lime juice, brown sugar, fish sauce and vegetable oil.  Mix well then set aside.
  8. To make the risotto galettes, shape into 4 balls then press gentle with your hands to flatten.  Cover with cling film and return them to cool in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a saucepan.  When the galettes are ready, dust with a little bit of flour then fry evenly on both sides for 2 minutes each side.  Repeat this step a few times so that the galettes are crispy on the outside.
  10. Place the galettes on paper towel to remove excess oil.
  11. Now temper the scallops or tofu in a saucepan with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  You will need to cook evenly on both sides.
  12. Serve immediately with the galette, scallops, a generous serve of the pesto and lime slices on the side.  

Purple Tip - Don't forget a little salad or portion of vegetables on the side

Now remember, the 3 steps to a successful dieter's dinner party are:

  • Go for pre-portioned meals to reduce the temptation for seconds.
  • Choose tasty dishes that promote use of herbs or spices with focus on quality rather than quantity.
  • Engage your guests in conversation to allow your guests to eat slowly and savour every mouthful.
Have a great week lovely readers!  What are your tips for successful dining when also trying to shed pounds?

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Saturday, 29 September 2012

Quinoa & Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Quinoa is an excellent addition to a vegetarian diet.  This grain provides indispensible amino acids (simple form of proteins) similar to those found in meat.  Most plant foods do not contain the full sequence of essential amino acids and hence why it is recommended to eat a variety of vegetables, fruit and grains.  For example, pairing of sweet corn and tomato or apple and coconut improve the amino acid intake for that particular meal.

To reap the benefits of all that Mother Nature has to offer, eat a variety of fruit, vegetables and grains.  This ensures that your diet is rich in vitamins, minerals and the different variety of essential amino acids found in plant foods.

Quinoa is superior in that it does contain the full complement of essential amino acids.  Although the amino acid composition is influenced by both environmental and climatic factors, it is still a good source of protein. 

Another reason to love quinoa is that it is naturally gluten and wheat free.  It can be used very much like rice for stuffing vegetables or in salads to add a wonderful nutty texture.

Add it in small amounts to baking and your cakes and biscuits will still retain its silky texture. 

To tackle your baking dilemmas and add a bit of spark in your kitchen, bake cookies with quinoa for the child on a wheat or gluten free diet.  I was so excited to discover a recipe for quinoa cookies in a magazine that I knew that I just had to try it after adjusting for eggs and soy of course.

Purple Tip: If you need to exclude milk as well as egg, wheat, gluten and soy, then use dark chocolate chips only.

These cookies also need to eaten straight away.  Unlike milk, egg, wheat & soy free cakes, biscuits don't appear to hold their shape for over a day.

Quinoa & Chocolate Chip Cookies


60g quinoa
60g coarse polenta 
100g rice flour
125g soft brown sugar
3/4 tsp wheat & gluten free baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
85ml olive oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp egg replacer
50g dark chocolate pieces
50g milk chocolate with hazlenut pieces


  1. In a large bowl, mix flours, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and a pinch of salt.
  2. Measure the oil in a jug, vanilla essence add egg replacer and 3 tablespoons of water.  Mix well.
  3. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients, mix and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.  On a baking tray, add 1 tablespoon of the mixture for each cookie.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips.
  5. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  6. Leave to cool and then enjoy a biscuit, over a cup of tea.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Zesty Orange & Mango Breakfast Muffins

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Oats, orange juice, orange zest, mango puree and a sprinkle of mixed spice will turn muffins from a treat food to an everyday incredibly low fat breakfast muffin.

This delicious breakfast option at 89 calories per muffin have only a gram of fat.  They are breakfast muffins after all, therefore there is very little added sugar.  If you prefer, I recommend serving these with a dollop of Greek yoghurt and a sprinkling of soft brown sugar.  Breakfast is served!


1 cup jumbo oats
1 cup semi-skimmed milk
1 heaped teaspoon egg replacer
Pinch of xanthum gum (less than 1/4 teaspoon)
1/2 cup mango puree
Zest of 1 orange

1/2 cup fine polenta flour
1/2 cup plain gluten free flour
1/4 cup sugar
21/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice

1/2 teaspoon almond essence


1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC.
2. In a small bowl, mix the oats, milk, egg replacer, xanthum gum, mango puree and orange zest.  Allow to soak for 10 minutes.
3. In a separate bowl, mix the flours and remaining ingredients (except for the almond essence).
4. Gradually mix the dry ingredients with the oat and milk mixture.
5. Finally add almond essence, mix well and portion into 12 muffin cases.
6. Bake for 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Yield = 12 muffins

Nutrition information = 89 calories per muffin, 1g fat (10% fat), 17g carbohydrate, 2g protein

These breakfast muffins are wheat, gluten, egg and soy free.  They are not milk free, but you can substitute the milk with almond milk.

To lower the fat content of these muffins, try baking with skimmed milk.

What do you think lovely readers?  Please do comment below, I love hearing from you!

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Tuesday, 25 September 2012

How To Shop Till You Drop And Lose Pounds Whilst You Do It

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Enjoy quality time with your close friends to shape your beautiful wardrobe, thighs and bottom too!  Every woman knows how fabulous a shopping expedition can be.  Yet can regular trips to your favourite shops hold the key to successfully shedding the necessary pounds?

Let’s count numbers.  It takes at least 20 minutes if not more to walk down Oxford Street after eyeing up the windows but do you really care exactly how many calories you burn as a result?  You will be having far too much fun to notice surely?  There’s all the department stores en route to visit, a new blouse to try on, winter coats to mull over, the gorgeous trousers to re-try for the millionth time, after all, you’ve got to be sure that your bottom looks small in that outfit right? 

Sound familiar?  I wouldn’t be surprised if a woman normally spends at least 2 snappy hours on her feet scouring the clothing racks in hot pursuit of the next divine outfit that will set her heart on fire.

Shopping may be an unexpected way of burning energy, but when you move your body, hey presto you use up energy.  Every savvy shopper knows that she needs both hands free for a successful shop, which means that not even a single hand can be spared for snacking when trying on clothes.  Perfect.


Boost in mood
Burn calories unexpectedly
Awareness of body shape and clothing size
Can be done solo or with a friend

Window shopping is also a very enjoyable form of exercise, don’t you think?  Your purse will love you, and so will your hips and thighs for the gentle but fun workout.  Make this a regular activity and it will be impossible not to notice any weight that does creep up on you.  After all, you will be trying on clothes every week, which allows you to take control of any major changes in dress sizes straight away.  Remember, a size 10 in Karen Millen is not the same as a 10 in another store.  Different cuts and styles in clothing may require a change in dress size, but an increase from the usual size 10 to a 12 after a holiday of indulgent eating may very well indicate a true weight gain.

At this point you may need a beady eye over your usual intake and exercise regime.  For this scenario see Let's Number Crunch: How To Drop Half A Kilo In A Week.

With only a few months to go before Christmas, it’s easy to be put off by the crowds and lead you to settle for online shopping.  Although this is both effective and time efficient, shopping whilst surfing the internet reaps no rewards in terms of weightloss.  Why not try late night shopping on a Thursday or Friday night when the heaving shops might be a little bit quieter?  This promotes the opportunity for burning calories, whilst also reducing the likelihood of you heading to the shops for returns on purchases that didn’t quite fit ‘right’.

In summary, walking is a fantastic energy burner and you will do plenty of it when you spend a couple of hours on your feet exploring the shops.  You may not burn as many calories when compared to a run or a swim, but it doesn’t matter.  It’s great to mix up the type of activities that you do during the week.

Have fun and don’t forget to draw up a budget before you hit the shops!

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Monday, 24 September 2012

How To Host A Crêpe Party: Entertaining For The Busy Woman

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The only recipe you'll need for a French themed party.  Crêpes are thin pancakes prepared with flour, eggs, milk and a pinch of salt.  They are incredibly easy to prepare and popular throughout France.  Your guests will be stunned by the air of calmness as they step into your home.  They will long for the female personality, who with at the same time as looking elegant, can also whip up a tasty and chic dinner in less than 30 minutes.


Recipe (after a purple makeover)
2 eggs
275ml semi-skimmed milk
130g self-raising flour
pinch of salt

This recipe makes 6 very large thin crêpes .

Beat the eggs and milk together.  Add the flour in 3 parts, with a pinch of salt and mix well.  The batter is now ready.  Next, pour a large spoonful of this batter over a very hot non-stick pan.  If needed, add a very thin scraping of butter to your pan before adding the batter.  Turn the pan so that you have the batter spreading over your pan in a lovely round shape.  Flip the pancake over once it is golden brown and add your favourite toppings.  

Smoked Salmon & Spinach
Try smoked salmon, a teaspoon of reduced fat creme fraiche and a generous helping of fresh baby spinach.  Yummy!

Smoked Ham, Mushroom & Tomato
Add a slice of ham, mushroom and tomato slices, fold the crêpe and serve immediately.


The Purple girl does too and there was no escaping it being surrounded by three French people in the house.  The dessert is leaning towards a 'heavy' perspective, so thank god it's Tuesday running club tomorrow!

Toppings: fresh strawberries, Nutella OR strawberries with cinnamon sugar.  Another alternative is a sprinkling of golden raisins.  The more adventurous also added creme fraiche, definitely not recommended!  

Tip: When making the batter for your sweet crêpe, add a teaspoon of granulated sugar if desired.  

Your crêpe party will be successful, but remember to slot in exercise the next day. 

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Sunday, 23 September 2012

Poulet Vallée d'Auge (Chicken, Calvados & Apple)

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For this weekend's party themed post, I've gone with a French dish that is cooked in butter, cream and calvados.  Calvados is an apple brandy made in the Calvados region of Normandy.  Sometimes, cider is added to the recipe, but we opted to drink it with our Sunday dinner meal.  I've listed the ingredients as best I can, but there was a 'bit' of this and a 'bit' of that...  This is a gorgeous hearty meal for the winter months and was absolutely perfect on a rainy Sunday like today.


4 chicken legs, without skin
Olive oil
4 medium carrots, sliced into rings
1 large leek, sliced
3 large shallots
2 large handfuls button mushrooms, sliced
5 tablespoons calvados
4 apples, cut into wedges
1 tablespoon sugar
100ml reduced fat crème fraîche
1/2 chicken stock cube (optional)
1 tablespoon tapioca flour mixed in a tablespoon of water (optional)
Parsley, chopped as a garnish


1. Heat about a tablespoon of butter and olive oil in a casserole dish, then add the chicken legs.  Season well with salt and pepper.  Cook until it is evenly browned on both sides.  Set aide.  
3. Add the carrots, leeks and shallots into the same dish that the chicken was cooked in.  Cook on high heat for around 3-5 minutes, then reduce the temperature and cook until the vegetables have softened.  Stir in the calvados.
6. Return the chicken pieces to the casserole dish, cover and cook for 45 minutes.
7. Whilst the chicken is cooking, heat a small saucepan with a bit of butter.  I used Clover's vegetable based 'butter' with buttermilk.  Add the mushroom and cook for approximately 5 minutes or until they appear done.  
8. In an alternative pan, add butter, the sliced apple wedges and a sprinkling of sugar.  Allow to caramelise.  Sautee this, as this will be served on the the mushroons.
9. When the chicken is done, drain the stock that you have made into a small saucepan.  Bring to the boil, then add the crème fraîche.  If using, add the stock cube and tapioca mixture.  Allow to thicken.  You can also add a tablespoon of thyme.  
10. Serve the chicken and vegetables with the sauteed mushrooms and apples on the side with a generous serving of the delicious sauce.  Garnish with parsley.  This meal is delicious with boiled rice or potatoes.  You could also enjoy it on it's own like we did this evening.

Serves - 4 people

What do you think lovely readers?

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Saturday, 22 September 2012

Baking With Egg Replacer

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Exceptional memories as a child with echoes of your mother's voice humming to a tune may be what you immediately think of when I say baking.  So you may be surprised when I say baking without eggs is entirely possible..

Bananas are by far the cheapest and most effect natural binders for baking.  For cheesy savoury scones bananas would be the fastest route for a kitchen disaster.  To up the lightness and retain the airiness that eggs create, simply use an egg replacer.  

I recently discovered xanthum gum, but this is only useful as a binder.  For a fluffy savoury number, I experimented with Orgran's no egg, natural egg replacer.  The brand claims that this is ideal for baking, fillings, batter and custards.  

Orgran's no egg replacer is also gluten, wheat, dairy and soy free.  

For 1 whole egg = add 1 teaspoon of ORGRAN no egg replacer to 2 tablespoons of water
For 3 egg whites = add 2 teaspoons of ORGRAN no egg replacer, with 1 tablespoon of water

I have only experimented with this once and accidentally left the scones in for too long, oops, but besides that minor detail, the savoury treats were indeed a success without eggs.

Have you baked with an egg replacer before?  Do comment below, I do love hearing from you!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Food & Beauty Thrills – How To Kill Two Birds With One Stone

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Don’t you love food that addresses both your health and beauty needs?  Are you ready to find out which foods will help you look and feel beautiful without costing you a fortune?  Then let’s find out!

Cool cucumber  
It’s gorgeous in a salad and is an amazing hunger buster if you need something to munch on but haven’t really got the calories to spare.  Have no plans this evening?   Perfect – set up a date with cucumber for your lids, alongside fragrant scented candles and soothing music for that much needed pick me up.  Ah – heaven..

Cleopatra honey and yoghurt
What an amazing combo contributing antioxidants and minerals such as calcium for your bones.  Either pour them on your breakfast cereal or layer it on your face for a Cleopatra themed face mask.  You could also use agave nectar but I would suggest reading ‘The Sickly Truth About Agave Nectar’ first.  What’s more, throw in some oats and you’ll be wondering whether to eat it, or use it as a face mask or both!

Aloe vera shots
Have a shot a day if you are pursuing inexpensive remedies for fighting off wrinkles and signs of ageing.  What have you got to lose?  If you are intrigued then read Aloe Vera - A Fun Step Towards Anti-Aging?

Appetizing avocado & olive oil
Unbelievably creamy and satisfying in salads, you can’t go wrong with avocado or olive oil.  Did you know that it is just as perfect as a face mask for dry skin?  The richness of avocado is ideal mixed with olive oil for a much deserved pampering session.  Olive oil that has been gently warmed and applied to hair is also wonderful as a pre-wash conditioner.  You’ll be amazed at how glossy and shiny your hair is afterwards.  A perfect Sunday morning ritual, wouldn’t you agree?

Beautiful Banana
Finally, my favourite – the basic banana.  Or is it really?  It’s an excellent pre-exercise snack but what you may forget is that bananas like other fruit are packed with polyphenols and carotenoids important for their role in anti-aging.  Did you know that in India, banana leaf based dressings have been developed as an excellent, cheap, non-adhesive and pain free form of dressing material?

Let’s not forget Superfood Cinnamon, Mighty Mango, , Berries, Garlic - To Kiss Away Wrinkles, or Onions & Turmeric..  The list truly is endless but since it’s nearly the weekend, let’s celebrate with Ravishing Raspberry Cocktail for anti-aging goodness from berries.

Happy Thursday lovely readers, and do let me know if you think of other magical beauty foods to share.

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Tuesday, 18 September 2012

To Eat Or Not To Eat – Pizza Or Glass Of Water?

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How do you cope when you rush out of an extended meeting that’s lasted for hours longer than anticipated?  It’s 3.30pm, you’ve missed lunch and there’s just a great British pie or pizza with soggy chips that the cafeteria will rustle up for you.  What do you do?  Do you gorge on the calories or skip it and survive on air and water until dinner?  Let’s discuss!

The good news is you are probably not alone.  This happens to everyone from time to time, but if this is a regular occurrence, you may need to do something about it.  Even so, let’s face it; if you haven't planned for this and don't have a delicious sandwich waiting for you in the fridge, then your options are pretty limited. 

Scenario one: you stuff yourself and feed your screaming tummy.  Scenario two: you choose to brave it and drink another glass of water as there really isn’t anything suitable to eat.
Sounds harsh but I believe we’ve incited a fierce debate.  It’s a little bit like weight cycling or yo yo dieting, whereby you lose weight and then regain it all over again in the space of a few days.  Did you know that some studies quote that fasting and feasting may affect your resting energy expenditure?  

Weight loss as a result of skipping meals may make you feel giddy with joy, but you may also experience a decline in your metabolic rate.  Worse, a high proportion of this weight loss may in fact be lean body mass rather than fat mass.  Not all studies are in agreement with these claims but the impact on state of mind and your food choices at the next meal as a result of skipping meals may in fact be pointing the finger towards an unhealthy diet and lifestyle.  

What's more, I can’t imagine that you will have energy for an intense hour of swimming or cycling after just a glass of water for lunch as fuel for your planned after work activity.

So if it's not scenario two should we settle on scenario one?  You decide to buy a slice of the cheesy gooey gluttonous pizza. OK, perhaps it’s only gluttonous if you go for the chips too.  And that’s exactly it, choose a small portion of what’s going on offer and top up with fruit or low fat yoghurt (instead of the soggy chips as extra) to keep you going till your evening meal.  This ensures that you are not filling your body with unnecessary calories just because you are raving mad with hunger.

Scenarios two is certainly not recommended but if you are beyond hunger, choose something light even if you only do choose a piece of fruit, cereal bar or a bit of toast.  

Be sensible and you may wake up in a weeks time finding that you have successfully managed to shed another pound.  Why?  You made the smart choice of eating to hunger instead of overriding the hunger cues.  It may not have been the most healthiest choice, but you chose an acceptable portion size which meant that you still had the energy for the planned after work exercise plans.

Purple verdict?  It’s possible you may disagree, but I say eat it and have the glass of water too.  Slot in an exercise session to work it off then forget about it.  Tomorrow’s another day.

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Monday, 17 September 2012

Aromatic Mediterranean Chicken And Courgette Rice With Parsley and Smoked Paprika

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So it's moody Monday but as luck may have it, you could opt for a boost in mood with this delicious Mediterranean themed hearty meal.  I missed the last rays of sun to capture a lovely photo, but this dish really is bursting with flavour.  You will adore the fragrant fresh herbs and delicately smoked paprika.  This can be food for friends too and is absolutely very easy to prepare.

Mediterranean meals are delicious but heart loving too.  To find out more see How To Beat The Monday Blues & More On A Mediterranean Diet.  Some of you have requested quick and easy recipes and I think we can definitely add this to A Busy Mum's Guide To Supper.


475g chicken thighs or breast, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon sundried tomato infused olive oil (I reserved oil from the sundried tomato jar)
1 medium red onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 large courgette sliced into rings
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
225ml basmati rice
70g sundried tomatoes in olive oil
1 level teaspoon smoked paprika
1 level teaspoon Herbes de Provence
450ml water
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped basil


1. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
2. Heat a large saucepan.  When the pan is hot, add the chicken pieces.  Chicken thighs do contain fat within its flesh, you will therefore not need to add any fats for frying.  However, if using pieces of breast, you may then need to add oil to the pan to fry the chicken pieces.  Cook until golden brown on both sides.  Remove and set aside.
3. Add a tablespoon of the sundried tomato infused olive oil to the pan.  Add onions, bell pepper and courgette.  Stir fry for at least five minutes.  
4. Then add garlic and once this turns golden brown, add the basmati rice and sundried tomatoes, ensuring that every grain of rice gets coated with the oil.
5. Add the smoked paprika and herbes de provence, stir, then add 450ml water.  Allow to simmer, add the chicken pieces and cover for approximately 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked through.
6. Before serving, stir in the chopped parsley and basil.  

This recipe serves 3 people.

Nutrition profile (per serve): 472 calories, 49g carbohydrate, 13g fat, 35g protein.

This recipe has been analysed and entered into the database of 'MyFitnessPal'.

A delicious meal in the pot, you will not need anything else to accompany this dish.

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Do comment below, I read all of your comments as I do love hearing from you.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Autumn Plum Tart With Cinnamon Sugar

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This is the most beautiful September that I can remember in London.  It's bright and sunny during the day, whilst crisp and chilly during the nights.  As Autumn draws near, a delicious summery dessert is in order to make the most of what's left of our English sun.

You may also find that if you bake this during the day, you'll end up eating a rather large chunk of the tart for lunch.  This will fuel a 9K run quite nicely!  I was surprised at how good it tasted, I simply could not resist digging in.

I wanted to create the pastry myself with oats and polenta flour, as I have a rather large bag of the latter in the cupboard.  I love Scottish oats so this was the perfect choice for the base.  I used soured cream, thus this tart is not milk free.  I am so sorry about that, but you'll be happy to know that it is egg, wheat, gluten and soy free.  If you need to avoid milk, but not soy, then try substituting the soured cream with soy yoghurt.  It may just do the trick.

The best news? - It's low in fat at 4.8% fat.  It's a great way of incorporating fruit too.  I know that you'll love it, as the Frenchman described it as 'excellent'.  Now that is a compliment as he's very very honest with me!


100g polenta flour
75g large oats
Pinch of salt
40g butter

1/2 teaspoon xanthum gum
3 tablespoons semi-skimmed milk
2 tablespoons cold water

600g dessert plums
275ml soured cream
60g mashed banana
30g dark brown muscovado sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice

Cinnamon sugar:
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 teaspoons golden caster sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
2. Add polenta flour, oats and salt into a large mixing bowl.  Cut the butter into small cubes and using your finger tips, gently rub the pieces of fat into the flour.
3. Next prepare your binder by dissolving the xanthum gum in milk and water.  It's quite difficult to dissolve so give it a good stir, then pour into the pastry mixture.
4. You may have a crumbly mixture but as you knead the milky mixture into the dough, using your hands you will be able to create a lovely smooth ball of dough.  If there are still bits in the bowl, then add a little bit more milk.
5. Wrap the ball in cling film and pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
6.Whilst the dough is resting, prepare your filling.  Remove the stones from the plums and slice them in half.  Mix the soured cream with the mashed banana, muscovado sugar and the spices.  
Note - I froze my banana overnight and then defrosted before using.  This is not an essential step.
7. Now press the pastry into a flan tin.  It may crumble but don't panic, be very gentle and press it so that it covers the entire tin.
8. Pour the filling into the flan tin and bake for 20 minutes.
9. Arrange the plums over the tart, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar and bake for a further 20 minutes.  When the plum tart appears to be almost done, cook for a further 5 - 10 minutes at 230ºC.  
10. Allow to cool completely before serving.  If you have any remaining cinnamon sugar, sprinkle this on top before serving.  This would be lovely with yoghurt.

Yield = 8 slices

Nutrition Profile: Each slice provides 231kcal, 30g carbohydrates, 11g fat, 4g protein.  This recipe has also been loaded on My Fitness Pal - Autumn Plum Tart With Cinnamon Sugar By A Light Perspective.

What do you think lovely readers?  Hope you enjoy this gorgeous fruity autumn dessert.  Do comment below, I absolutely love hearing from you.

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