The picturesque Laverstoke Mill, the distillery where Bombay
Saphire is made, is on my bucket list of places to visit. So when I saw a
cocktail which had been created to mark the opening of this magical place, I
had to try it.
I’m not a massive fan of ginger ale, and I’ve got to be
honest, I wasn’t sure how it was going to marry with the elderflower cordial,
but marry they did and for me, it was love at first sip!
In a large wine glass, mix together one measure of Bombay
Saphire, one measure of Martini Extra Dry and 10ml of elderflower cordial. Add
crushed ice and top with diet ginger ale. Garnish with a wedge of lime, a
spring of mint and some fresh ginger. Cheers!
This dish tastes more induglent than the Smart Points value would suggest and is a great wholesome option when you fancy some comfort food.
Smart Points: 9 per serving
Time: 20-25 minutes
What you need:
1 tsp oil
100g pasta – twists or congliche would be my choice
2 salmon fillets
small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
125ml dry white wine
150g low fat soft cheese with garlic and herbs
4 handfuls of baby spinach
What to do:
Heat the oven to 150C. Put a large sheet of tinfoil onto a bakingctray. Place the salmon skin side down onto the foil. Scatter over the mixed herbs and squeeze over the juice of 1/2 the lemon.
Wrap the foil around the salmon to make a parcel. Put the baking tray into the oven and bake for 20mins.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pan of salted water for around 10 minutes until the pasta is al dente.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Gently fry the onions until softened – about 5 mins. Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute. Add the wine and increase the temperature slightly until the strong alcohol smell burns off.
Add the spinach to the onions a handful at a time and stir until wilted.
When the past is cooked, turn off the and drain, reserving some of the water.
Add the soft cheese to the onions and spinach over a low heat, stirring until the cheese has melted. Add some of the pasta water to slacken the sauce to the desired consistency and season to taste.
Stir the drained pasta into the sauce. Divide the pasta between two bowls and top each with a salmon fillet.
Squeeze a bit of lemon over each dish and add some freshly cracked black pepper.
Another gin-based cocktail this week, but this time, one that uses sloe gin. I usually think of sloe gin as a wintery option but couldn’t resist trying this surprisingly refreshing option on my summer hols.
Mix together a measure of sloe gin, 50ml of fresh orange juice, a dash of lemon juice and a teaspoon of vanilla syrup. Fill a short, wide glass with crushed ice. Pour in the gin and citrus mixture then top up with soda water. Garnish with a lemon ribbon and enjoy. Cheers!
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As regular readers of the blog will know, I LOVE cheesecake. But why does it have to be so flipping calorific?! Ditto both points for chocolate.
So when I spotted Philadelphia Milka on a recent supermarket trip, I HAD to try it and I’m pleased to report it might just be the best £2 I’ve ever spent!
It tastes just like a good chocolate cheesecake filling and is rich, sweet, tangy and creamy in all the right proportions.
At only 4 Smart Points for a rather generous 30g serving, it’s delicious spread on WW Shortbread Biscuits or a good old digestive for a little cheesecake hit for a fraction of the Smart Points/calorie spend.
Back to cruise memories with a sweet and sour twist on a classic G&T.
Pour a measure of Tanqueray gin into a tall glass half-filled with ice. Add 60ml of cranberry juice and top up with low calorie tonic water. Garnish with a slice of lime – if you like it more sour, add a squeeze of lime to the drink too. Cheers!
Mr FFF has never been the biggest fan of vegetables. Apparently, he only really likes them when they’ve got “some kind of flavour” – other than the flavour of the actual vegetables – so I’m always looking for ways to pep-up his plate! These came about as I tried to use up some leftover courgettes and find something to accompany the tacos we were eating to use up some leftover taco shells.
Smart Points: 0 per serving
Time: 20-25 minutes
What you need:
a couple of courgettes
What to do:
Trim the courgettes and halve lengthways. Slice thickly and put into a roasting tin.
Spray the courgettes with oil and sprinkle them liberally with the Cajun seasoning. Give the tin a good shake to ensure the courgettes are evenly coated.
Roast in a pre-heated over at 180C for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through cooking.
Top Tip: Add more or less Cajun seasoning depending on how much you like the taste of “actual vegetables”!
As I’ve said before, I’m a BIG fan of tea. I’ve got a cupboard full of the stuff; a bit like shoes and handbags, I firmly believe you can never have too many varieties.
This variety is a green tea with peppermint from Whittard.
Inspired by the tea served in the souks of the Moroccan medina, we’ve blended our smoky Gunpowder Green with pure peppermint leaves for a refreshingly nuanced infusion. We’ve even added a sprinkling of blue cornflower petals for a British touch – why not try it the traditional way, mixed with honey or sugar?
It was a thoughtful present from my amazing cousin who is also a tea lover (she’s a bit of an English breakfast purist, but does enjoy a Biscuit Brew). I love the Moroccan tiled print on the tin and the little flecks of blue cornflower petals in the tea itself.
Being a green tea, you only want to brew it for a couple of
minutes otherwise it will taste bitter. And being a loose-leaf tea, you’ll need
a teapot and strainer or an infuser but it’s worth the effort: you’ll be rewarded
with a slightly sweet, refreshing tea with a hint of smokiness. Perfect for an
afternoon pick-me-up when you want something without the heaviness of ‘standard’
tea or coffee.
I made this by accident after planning on making pitta pizzas but finding myself with no tomato puree. The pitta pizzas were an emergency fall back as I’d forgotten to take the fish I was supposed to be cooking out of the freezer (insert face-palm emoji here) so I had to think on my feet. I’d got a half-used jar of pesto in the fridge – obvs – so I decided to substitute that for the tomato puree. It was a great move and these will now be a regular feature on my weekly menu plans.
Smart Points: 13 per serving
Time to make: 15 mins
What you need:
6 wholemeal pitta breads
6 tsp pesto
160g cheddar cheese, grated
2 slices premium ham, chopped
6 chestnut mushrooms, slice
What to do:
Put the pitta bread on a baking tray and spread each with one teaspoon of pesto.
Sprinkle the cheese over the pitta breads and top each with the ham and mushroom.
Bake at 200C for 10 minutes or until the cheese bubbles and begins to brown.
Serve with a salad made from zero point fruits and vegetables.
Top Tip: I used classic green pesto for this recipe but I’m sure it would be just as delicious with any of the variety of flavours on offer.
I’m a BIG cheesecake fan. I’ve had it instead of a birthday cake a few times, I love baking them and I’ve even been known to eat them for breakfast! (You could do worse than trying my Breakfast Cheesecake recipe BTW)
However, I’m quite particular about my cheesecake so I don’t often order it when I’m out as the risk of disapointment is just too great.But every now and then, I will order one in the name of ‘research’.
On a recent visit to Costa, I did just that, ordering myself a slice of their Baked Vanilla Cheesecake. The cheese was dense, rich and creamy. It wasn’t quite claggy, but almost. The flavour was very vanillary – almost like white chocolate. The base was very thin, crisp and sweet. It tasted as though it had tiny pieces of crunchy caramel in it.
My overall opinion was that it was on the good side of ok. Not brilliant but enjoyable enough and I’ve certainly had worse. Personally I would’ve liked it to have a thicker base and for the cheese to be a bit more tangy.
A massive downside was the Smart Points value. At a staggering 19 points per slice, I’d say it wasn’t worth it and I won’t be ordering it again any time soon.
Do you have a favourite brand of cheesecake or a great cheesecake recipe? Let me know in the comments section.