When you want a specific dish but you don’t have the recipe!

Have you ever had a taste for a specific dish, or seen something on the TV or in a magazine but you don’t have a recipe?

This happens to me all the time. The other one I get from my hubby is ‘my mum used to make ……’. When asked how she made it, of course he never has a clue!

This week when at my Slimming World group, we were given a sneak preview to a new cookery book which feature meals for Extra Easy SP meals.

I’ll be honest, when I heard there would be another recipe book, I’d decided not to buy it without even seeing it. I have so many already which I don’t use all the time. I also couldn’t think what else they could bring out that would be worth me buying another time one!

As I flicked through, there were so many recipes I loved. It’s not on sale yet as it will be part of a 12 week countdown. As I’m so close to target It won’t be worth me buying one. Well I keep telling myself that! I’ve been messing about for 18 months now trying to get into my target range again!

For me, the motivation has slightly gone as everyone especially hubby doesn’t want me to lose that 7lb again, but I do!

Anyway back to the book! I know it will be a couple of months before I’ll be able to buy it.

There was one specific recipe that really caught my eye! Moroccan Lamb! Now if you know me, you will know I don’t eat lamb, but I thought it would be great with chicken!

I tried to memorise it in my head!

The next day I planned to make it! I couldn’t however remember what liquid was required. It certainly wasn’t in the ingredients so maybe it was in the instructions which I hadn’t really read!

I contacted my consultant who kindly sent me a photo.

So last night I set about to make the dish I’d been dreaming of all day!

I got all the ingredients ready from what I had remembered. I grabbed my phone to check them against the pictures my consultant had sent!

As I looked at my phone the colour drained! I’d somehow deleted the message! Can you believe it!

I was not going to be put off! I decided I would make it anyway using my memory of the recipe and my own cooking knowledge.

Here is what I did:

I love experimenting with food! I never let not having the recipe stop me being creative!

If it doesn’t turn out quite right first time, try it again a different way! It might not taste exactly like the one on TV or in that magazine, but who cares! If you like it, then that is all that matters.

So what you waiting for? Get into the kitchen and start being creative! You will be amazed at what you will come up with. It will also bring variety back into you mealtimes.

Good luck and let me know how you get on!

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Rules of Ready Steady Lets Cook Slim

Well today, I have officially launched my Ready Steady Lets Cook Slim challenge.

Although I am a keen Slimming World member, and I will be looking to make dishes that fit that programme, I also want to be able to open it out to anyone who is looking to eat more healthily.

I’ve done Weight Watchers in the past, but don’t know how the points are done now. I anyone would like to send me anything to help me give them their points equivalent for Weight Watchers please to do so.

I want this challenge to be inclusive of everyone, whether you are vegetarian, vegan, dairy free etc also.

So what are the rules?

Each week, I will be inviting my followers on YouTube and my Blog to put forward virtual bags. Each virtual bag will have a maximum budget. I will pick at random each week 1 bag.

After I have chosen the virtual bag, I will go shopping for those ingredients. I will then create dishes based on those ingredients and store cupboard staples. So what will those store cupboard staples be?

Store Cupboard Staples

  1. Anything from the Spice Rack
  2. Vinegar – all varieties
  3. Salt & Pepper
  4. Stock cubes, bouillon powder or stock pots
  5. Mustard Powder
  6. Soy Sauce
  7. Oyster Sauce
  8. Tomato Puree
  9. Fat Free Dressings
  10. Sweetener
  11. Low Calorie Cooking Spray such as Frylight
  12. Gelatine
  13. Bovril
  14. Marmite
  15. Mint Sauce
  16. Thai Fish Sauce
  17. Tabasco
  18. Vecon
  19. Vegemite
  20. Worcester Sauce

All other ingredients will need to be part of the bag.

The Virtual Bags

  1. Budget Bag – Maximum Value £3.50
  2. Classic Bag – Maximum Value £5.00
  3. Bistro Bag – Maximum Value £7.50
  4. Gourmet Bag – Maximum Value £10.00

What can you put into the virtual bags

You can put anything you like in the bags as long as it can be bought at most supermarkets.

If the value of your items doesn’t reach the maximum value and you want some additional ideas, you can give me the remaining balance as a wild card. This wild card will allow me to spend the remaining budget on any other ingredients I feel may enhance the dish.

You may tell me if you have any special dietary requirements for the dishes. You can also say if you are looking for specific meal time ideas such as dinner, lunch or breakfast or a mixture!

I will cook the dishes and publish them each week on my YouTube channel. I will let you know how they were made, how many they serve and anything else you might need to know to help you replicate it yourself at home!

To ensure I provide you with the best food options possible and have the chance to go shopping, I will be looking for the virtual bags by 5.00 pm on the Tuesday each week.

I’m really looking forward to this challenge and I hope you are too.

So start thinking about your virtual bags and leave a comment on my YouTube video here.

See you next week for the results!!

Ready Steady Lets Cook Slim

Does anyone else remember the TV cooking programme ‘Ready Steady Cook’? I was absolutely obsessed with it. In fact, it would be true to say that this programme turned me into the cook I am today!

The programme was hosted initially by Fern Britton, and then later on by the chef Ainsley Harriott.

The first episode hit our screens in October 1994 and went on for many more years, with the last episode in February 2010. In total, there was a staggering 1859 episodes.

So what was the programme all about? As the name points to, it was about cooking! Two contestants would be paired up with a celebrity chef. One team called ‘Green Pepper, the other ‘Red Tomato’.

The contestants would have brought with them a bag of ingredients to the value of £5. This was called ‘The Classic Bag’. The chef for their team would then have 20 minutes to create a few dishes from the ingredients. They did have store cupboard staples to help them, but it certainly tested the chefs knowledge and skill.

At the end of the 20 minutes, their finished dishes were explained and tasted. The audience then got to vote for the best dishes. Was it green peppers or red tomatoes?

The winner received £100 with a runner up prize of a hamper, which contained many cooking items and ingredients.

In 2000 when Ainsely took over the show, the programme was extended to 40 minutes from 30, and a new section was introduced. At the end of the show, there was a final section called ‘Quickie Bag’. Here the chefs would get another bag of ingredients. They would have a little time to consider them before saying what they would make with them. Ainsley would then say which dish he preferred. The winning chef would have 10 minutes to produce that dish!

Each episode had different chefs. My favourites were obviously Ainsley (before he became the presenter), Gino D’Acampo, Brian Turner, Phil Vickery, Lesley Waters and not forgetting Anthony Worrall Thompson.

Other variations to the bags included:

Budget Bag – This was the same as the first bag above, except the budget was only £3.50!
Bistro Bag – The budget was increased to £7.50.
Gourmet Bag – The budget was a staggering £10! The chefs loved this one!
Doubling Up Bag – Both contestants would bring in identical ingredients. Fern or Ainsley would use a coin or dice with the green pepper or red tomato on it. The winning side got to say what they would do with the ingredients first. The other side which have to quickly change their ideas to do something different if they were thinking on the same lines!
Forfeit Bag – The chefs chose a card at random. The card contained an item from the store cupboard that they were not allowed to use!
Gamble Bag – The chefs were given 3 mystery ingredients. They can swap one of them for another mystery item. They don’t have to swap, but once they have seen the alternative ingredient, they have to swap it!
Lucky Dip – The chef is given a bag containing 10 items. They close their eyes and pick 5 items out. After 10 minutes of cooking, they get to pick another item which they have to incorporate into their dishes.

There was a lot of hype around the show. Everyone wanted an apron with either a red tomato or green pepper on it. Ok, maybe not everyone, but I did! When they launched their magazine, I was there!! I have volumes of the recipes from the show. You would buy the magazine every week or month (I can’t remember how often it was). Within that would be different types of recipes, that you divide and place in the lever arch folders that came with the magazines!

As I said above, this show really did make me into the cook I am today. I used to go to my fridge and pick out a variety of ingredients. I would then create dinner for that day. I continue to do this almost every day now!

Thinking about this programme today, gave me an idea! I know that a lot of people worry that being on Slimming World can be expensive. They also may run out of ideas to make different foods each week that are on plan. So how about I do a slot each week on my YouTube channel – Slimminginspirations4u where subscribers can send me virtual bags each week. Once a week, I will pick at random a virtual bag and create a dish or dishes from it!

To make it more interesting, even though we are potentially 25 years later, I won’t increase the budgets for the bags!

This Sunday, I am going to launch this idea. If you are interested in taking part, or seeing what I create, subscribe to my channel and hit notifications. You will then get to know the bag I have picked and the dish I produce.

So what are you waiting for? Hit Subscribe now!

https://bit.ly/2TgveXk

Ready Steady Slim!

The Great British Bake Off

So last night saw the winner of the 9th series  of Great British Bake Off (GBBO) crowned the king/queen of baking!

I’ve been a fan of GBBO ever since its first series.  The mixture of great baking challenges, creative cooking, individual personalities and of course, last but by nowhere near least, Paul Hollywood.

Paul Hollywood is the absolute ‘god’ of baking for me.  It helps of course that he has the most gorgeous blue eyes, cheeky grin, and is my celebrity crush!

I know there has been a lot of bad press about him over the years in his personal life, and yes he may be a ladies man, but a girl can still have those crushes.

The crush aside, I do also admire him as a baker.    He had a good start in life, with his own father having a bakery.  He then moved on to be head baker in a few hotels around the world.  One of those countries was Cyprus, where a friend of mine met him a few times, in a local bar.  I am not jealous of that at all!! Much!

His TV career includes The Generation Game, The Heaven and Earth Show, This Morning and other one with one of my admired men – The Alan Titchmarsh Show.  Yes I know, some people find that weird, but have you read his books?  If you had, you would see him very differently!

In 2010, Paul’s career really climbed, when he was chosen as a judge, along with Mary Berry, on GBBO.

He has produced many cook books of which, I think I have all of them!  It really motivates you to be in the kitchen when you can see his face staring back at you!

His books include Paul Hollywood’s Breads, Pies and Puds, British Baking, How to Bake and Weekender Baker.  I think my most used is the book on breads.  Sadly, since I moved, my kitchen work surface isn’t as big as it used to be, so I find making bread more of a challenge!  I have plans in my kitchen though to sort that out one day!  I just need to boost my savings first!

For the first 7 series, Mary Berry worked alongside Paul as a judge, with Mel and Sue as the presenters, on BBC.  In 2017, it was moved to Channel 4.  Sadly Mary decided to remain with the BBC, so a new judge was needed.  They worked so well together, I was worried it wouldn’t be the same.  Mel and Sue also decided to leave the show, so it seemed the whole dynamics was changing!

Some people I know didn’t want to watch it on Channel 4, as they felt it wouldn’t be the same, plus it now had adverts included.  I was always going to be watching it, just to get my PH fix!

So in 2017, the new series started, with Prue Leith as Paul’s side kick.  Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding were to present along with them.

I have to admit now, I loved the connection with Prue and Paul from the beginning, but I struggled with Sandi and Noel.  I can’t quite tell you why, but it took a couple of episodes for me to warm to them.  Now I have,  I love them both.

I do have a silent jealousy of those contestants on the show.  I would love to give it a go, but I know I’m nowhere near good enough!

Some of the creations they come up with are absolutely amazing.

If you have never watched it, each episode is made up of 3 challenges.  Each challenge tests the competitors baking skills.

Signature Bake

This tests their creativity, and gives them a chance to show off their individual personalities.    They know in advance what they are baking, so have the chance to practice it as many times as they can, at home.

Technical Challenge

This is the most difficult challenge I think.  The competitors are given a very basic recipe to follow, usually without baking times, temperatures,  etc, along with some ingredients.  They are given the name of the finished product, but most of them will not even know what it is supposed to look like!

The end product is then blind tasted by Paul and Prue, ranking them in order based on taste and how they look compared to what they should look like!

Showstopper Challenge

This is the final challenge of the round. This is where the competitors can really show off their skills, producing a show stopper to wow the judges, and us at home!

It has to not only look good, but taste good too!

All these challenges are carried out in a huge tent!  It is filmed in the summer months.  The temperature in the temp must reach huge heights, withl all the lights, camera equipment, ovens etc.  In some of the challenges, you will see the impact of the heat on their creations, especially when they are working with chocolate.

After the 3 challenges have been completed, the judges will pick a ‘Star Baker’ for that week.  This is the person who has impressed the most over the 3 challenges.  You receive a ‘Star Baker’ apron and the respect of the other bakers.  There is then sadly someone that has to leave the competition.

This continues week on week, until only 3 are left, to go into the final!

This years final had a bit of a twist!  For the technical challenge, they were taken out of the tent, to where an open fire was waiting for each of them.  Their challenge was to make 6 equal sized Pitta breads with 3 dips!  You have to love Paul’s creativity.  I think the viewers were as surprised as the finalists.

It’s true to say, that all 3 struggled with it, but I admire they way they just got in with it.

If you have never watched the show, I recommend you do!  If you have a love of baking, or even just eating, you will love it.  Or if you are like me, just for the weekly fix of Paul Hollywood!

Paul has inspired me to bake for many years.  I love making his breads and coming up with cake ideas for friends and family.  Here are just a few of my creations of the last few years.

This was for my nieces 4th birthday party.  She wanted butterflies on her cake so this was what I came up with.

My dads 70th birthday.  He is great at making and fixing things.  I felt this reflected him well.

A friends 60th.  The jockey was based on the birthday boy.  He doesn’t ride but loves horse raising and works for a trainer, so I based the horse and jockey on the actual racing colours and one of his horses.

A surprise 50th birthday for another friend.  The man and women are meant to be the birthday boy and his wife!  Thank fully they are still speaking to me.  If you look behind the 3rd photo, you might see a familiar face!!

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This was one of the first cakes I made, to take to my neighbours for a party to celebrate the final of the Rugby World  Cup.

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And my last cake, was for my mums 70th birthday meal.

I do love baking and creating.  I’m not fantastic at it, but its fun having a go.  Pininterest is a great place for ideas.  You can keep it as simple or as complicated at you like.

You just need a good cake recipe, a good imagination and a bit of time.

Watching GBBO inspires me to get back into the kitchen.  I hope it does for you too!

All wrapped up!

In the last few months I’ve been posting videos on how you can use the good old wrap !

Wraps first became popular in Mexico, Greece, Turkey and the Middle East earlier than the 1900’s.

In Mexico they refer to them as burritos.

America was introduced to them around 1980. It is thought that the flatbreads were invented my the chain Love Juicy, based in California.

They became popular here in the uk, around the 1990’s.

Everyone usually knows the wraps as being alternatives for sandwiches. Served with hot or cold fillings, but they have so much more versatility.

Typically wraps have more calories and carbs than normal bread, but thankfully Weight Watchers do a wrap which, if you are on Slimming World, is your healthy extra B!

If your not watching your weight, there are many different types of wrap on the market, including spinach, sun dried tomato, to name just 2. They can make the humble lunch box, or evening meal, so much more exciting.

So what can you do with it? Here are a few of my own creations of this amazing invention.

Sausage Rolls

 

 

Breakfast Calzone

 

 

Chicken Tikka Pasty

 

 

Pizza

 

 

Wrap Bowls

 

I plan to put more ideas on my channel over the next few weeks!

So next time you are in the supermarket, pick up a pack of wraps and let your imagination take you to new taste sensations!