Drink of the Week: Marrakech Mint Tea – 0 Smart Points

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?

https://www.whittard.co.uk/tea/tea-type/green-tea/marrakech-mint-loose-tea-MSTR314633.html

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.  

Pesto Pitta Pizzas – 13 Smart Points

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.

Servings: 4

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:

  1. Put the pitta bread on a baking tray and spread each with one teaspoon of pesto.
  2. Sprinkle the cheese over the pitta breads and top each with the ham and mushroom.
  3. Bake at 200C for 10 minutes or until the cheese bubbles and begins to brown.
  4. 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.

Review: Costa Baked Vanilla Cheesecake

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.

Thanks for reading,

FFF

Drink of the Week: Cosmopolitan – 5 Smart Points

This week we’re back to one of the gorgeous cocktails I enjoyed on my cruise. This time, it’s the classic Cosmopolitan. As a fan of Sex and the City, this cocktail is always spiked with nostalgia for me. Taste-wise, I love the sharp tang of cranberry set off against the bittersweet tang of the orange rind.

What you’ll need:

  • 50ml mandarin or lemon vodka
  • 30ml cranberry juice
  • squeeze of lime juice
  • orange rind

What to do:

  1. Shake the liquid ingredients over ice then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  2. Garnish with a curl of orange rind.

Top tip: For an even tastier cosmo, hold a 3cm round piece of rind about 10cm above your drink. Carefully pass it over a flame, bending the outer side of the rind towards the flame to release the oils before dropping it into the drink.

What’s your favourite cocktail? Let me know in the comments section.

Waldorf Salad with Chicken – 2 Smart Points

I tried this whilst on my recent cruise, even though I don’t like celery (I thought I’d pick it out but it was actually quite nice), and I enjoyed it so much, I decided to recreate it. It’s so quick and easy to make and it’s ideal to pack up and take to work for lunch.

Servings: 1

Smart Points: 2 per serving

Time to make: 5 mins (+time to cook the chicken breast)

What you need:

  • 1 grilled chicken, thickly sliced
  • 1/2 eating apple, chopped into bitesize chunk
  • handful of grapes, halved
  • 1/2 stick of celery, thinly sliced
  • 3 walnut halves
  • 2tbsp 0% fat Greek yogurt
  • lettuce leaves

What to do:

  1. Put the apple, grapes and celery into a small bowl. Break in the walnut halves and add the yogurt. Stir until everything is coated.
  2. Top the lettuce leave with the yogurt-covered mixture and top with the chicken.

Top Tip: I cook an extra chicken breast when I’m making my dinner then it’s ready to go into this delicious salad.

Drink of the Week: Malty Biscuit Brew – 0 Smart Points

It’s not all about the alcohol here on Drink of the Week!

I’m a BIG fan of tea and enjoy trying all different types and flavours. I also love to dunk biscuits into my tea but I don’t love the Smart Points values that come with them! So imagine my delight when I came across these bad boys whilst doing my weekly shop.

Now, my tea-purist relatives turned their noses up when I mentioned it to them, but, having tried a cup, many have been won over.

So what’s it like? Well, it’s just like tea and Rich Tea biscuits but without the sludge of crumbs that end up at the bottom of your mug when you dunk. Because it’s made by Taylors of Harrogate (the finest purveyors of English Breakfast tea IMHO), you also get a strong brew, which isn’t always the case with flavoured black teas. What’s more, if you make it using milk from an allotted allowance for the day as I do, it costs you 0 Smart Points! What’s not to love?

If you have any tea recommendations, please let me know. Mr FFF says I’ve got far too many varieties in the cupboard as it is, but what does he know?!

Breakfast Cheesecake – 4 Smart Points

Cheesecake is one of my favourite foods ever. So when I saw a recipe for a breakfast cheesecake, I had to try it, even though it sounded a bit weird. However, with so much soft cheese and sugar, it was pretty high in Smart Points value so here’s my recipe for a slimmed down version.

Servings: 10

Smart Points: 4 per serving

What you need:

  • 75g low fat spread
  • 650g low fat soft cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 60g oats
  • juice and rind of one orange
  • 4 tablespoons sweetener (I used Stevia)
  • pinch of salt

What to do:

  1. Heat the oven to 170C/Gas Mark 3. Line a 23cm springform tin with baking paper.
  2. Beat the cheese until smooth then stir in the rest of the ingredients using 1tbsp of the orange juice.
  3. Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 25 minutes until it is just set with a hint of wobbliness in the middle.
  4. Serve hot, warm, cold or at room temperature with fruit coulis.

Top Tip: For ease, I line the baking tin roughly by pushing in a rectangular sheet of paper. It gives the cheesecake slices a ‘rustic’ look but saves faffing about cutting out strips and circles of paper.