As mentioned previously I recently attended an event at The Hardwick Restaurant to find out more about the collaboration between Chef Stephen Terry and Collier’s Powerful Welsh Cheddar.  While we were there Stephen Terry cooked up a delicious, quick and simple dish – Collier’s Cheddar Polenta with Grilled Lettuce & Salsa Verde. Read more for this recipe and to download the free cooking with Collier’s recipe book which contains a further twelve recipes, all created by Stephen Terry.

Stephen Terry's Recipe for Collier’s Cheddar Cheese Polenta with Grilled Lettuce & Salsa Verde

Serves 6.

Ingredients :

650 ml Water
200g Instant Polenta
200g Grated Collier’s Cheese
50g Well-­‐cooked Cavolo Nero, Finely Chopped

50g Braised Outer Puntarelle leaf, Finely Chopped
1 Clove of garlic, peeled & finely chopped
1 Small mild red chilli finely chopped
Small plate of flour for dusting the set polenta


Watercress – 1 bunch, washed, picked (leaving on a little stalk) and spun
Tardivo / Radicchio / Treviso – 1 small head, washed, picked and spun
Gem lettuces – 1 head, washed, picked and spun 

Friseline – 1 head, picked, washed and spun
2 Tablespoons of Salsa Verde
150g Oyster Mushrooms, sliced
1 shallot, peeled & Finely Sliced
1 small clove of garlic, peeled & finely sliced
1 small bunch of flat leaf parsley, washed, picked & roughly chopped

  • Place the water in a saucepan and bring to the boil
  • Add in the polenta, remove from the heat and stir until smooth
  • Return to a low heat. Add the cavolo nero, Puntarelle leaf, garlic & chilli
  • Cook for 5 mins, add the cheddar and cook for a further 5 mins
  • Add a little crushed sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Pour the polenta into a small tray lined with cling film. Spread out evenly, cover with another sheet of cling film and place in the fridge to cool and set. This will take approximately 3hrs
  • When the polenta has set, remove from the tray and cut into 6 equal portions
  • Place a heavy cast iron pan on a high heat
  • Heat up a table top fryer to 180°C
  • Heat an oven to 160°C
  • Lightly coat the set polenta in flour, gently pat off any excess and deep fry until lightly golden brown. Place on a tray and pop into the oven for 8-­‐10 mins
  • At the same time grill all the lettuce in batches of the same leaf and place into a large bowl with the salsa verde. The lettuce is ready when it starts to wilt and takes on a little scorching from the grill
  • In a separate medium sized frying pan, heat a little oil and put in the sliced oyster mushrooms. Cook for two mins then add the shallot, garlic & parsley. Cook for approximately 5 mins and season with a little salt. 
  • Spread equal amounts of grilled mixed lettuces between 6 serving plates 
  • Cut each polenta ‘cake’ into 3 with a sharp serrated knife and place on the salad
  • Share the oyster mushrooms between the plates and finish with the sprigs of watercress
  • This dish is the perfect accompaniment for a grilled chicken breast or roast pork chop

Did you know that Cardiff alone eats 76 tonnes of canned food a day? That is a huge 183,000 (survey estimation) cans! Cardiff residents are eating more canned foods now than they were 10 years ago, over half of the residents stock up to 10 cans in their cupboard at any one time, the main reason for this is the speed of preparation. Canned products can be used to make a quick, wholesome meal for the whole family with minimum cost, as well as having a long shelf life and retaining the nutritional benefit. 
fine dining with tinned foods header image with tins & text over

I was recently invited to create a delicious three course meal using mainly tinned foods, with recipes from Canned Foods UK, a not for profit organisation who promote the benefits of cooking with canned foods, such as affordability and nutritional value.

a can of bombay potatoes being opened
After browsing through the delicious recipes I decided that I would make mini crab cakes*, coconut & mango chicken with aloo sagg & lentil rice * and summer fruit brioche*.
mini crab cakes starter using tinned crab meat
The crab cakes were delicious and so easy to make. I’ve made tuna cakes using tinned tuna previously but for some reason had never thought to use tinned crab. I will definitely make these again, buying and preparing a crab would be both expensive and time consuming. The simplicity of opening and draining a tin of crab meat makes it a lot more appealing. 
coconut & mango chicken with aloo sagg & lentil rice made with canned foods
The main dish had a lot going on, which made it feel like a naughty takeaway, without the guilt! It also contains two of your five a day. This dish was a little more complicated than the starter, but it was still very easy. It took a while to make but a lot of that time was just leaving it to simmer. Despite being a little bit too hot for me this was a very satisfying and enjoying dish. 
summer fruit brioche cooked with tinned food
The pudding excited me the most, I love custard and I love brioche so I couldn’t wait to tuck into this. This was so indulgent, it only took about 10 minutes to make, maybe less, and it has fruit on it so it is a little bit healthy! I like the fact that this dish can easily be mixed up by simply using a different tin of fruit, a mixed berry one would be lovely for the Winter. 
This challenge actually has made me re-think my shopping habits. I am always throwing fresh vegetables out as I forget to use them, I also hate washing and chopping mushrooms. From now on I will be going down the route of buying a lot more canned vegetables, and will definitely use cans to make a tasty treat meal in a lot less time.

Find out more about Canned Food UK and discover some tasty recipes here, or visit them on facebook or Twitter.

Cardiff’s favourite canned food is Baked Beans, followed by soup and corned beef – what are yours? Mine are tomatoes and mushy peas! 

I’ve had a bad week this week, I planned to have a bad week as I had a lot on. I went away for a few days, celebrated a friends birthday and went to watch Wales play rugby. The week included chip shop chips, warm doughnuts on the beach, hotdog & chips, lots of lager, two three course meals, McDonalds, pizza a burger, an all you can eat buffet, and probably more naughties that I’ve forgotten! 
I expected a gain this week, in fact, I wanted a gain. I knew that if I didn’t gain I would refer back to ‘the week when I ate lots and didn’t put weight on’ whenever I wanted a naughty treat. So, as strange as it seems, I was relieved today to step onto the scales and see that I had gained 1/2 a pound. Relieved that a) I had put weight on after binging so much and b) I had managed to undo some of the damage by having a few good days. 
slimming world weekly weigh in

There won’t be a food diary this week as there haven’t been many on plan days, instead I’ll be sharing my favourite meals of the week and a few tips to stay on track when going away.
We were staying in a self catering lodge which meant that we had a full kitchen. I had to prepare food to take for Aria so while I was at it I took some food for myself. I prepared some overnight oats for breakfast, took a few hi-fi bars, a bag of veg, a Slimming World microwave meal and some homemade low syn steak bakes. I didn’t necessarily stay on plan when eating these things but I did make better decisions because of them, for example, my late night drunken snack was a homemade steak bake instead of a greasy kebab. The day that I ate my overnight oats I also had hi-fi bars meaning that I ate too many b choices that day, but if I hadn’t of had these I would have ended up buying a greasy breakfast out and snacking on junk food. I’m pretty sure that if I hadn’t of made these good decisions my weigh in today would have been a lot worse! 
roast pork, spuds and apple sauce slimming world style
My favourite on plan meal was the roast pork, spuds and apple sauce from the new Best Loved Extra Easy Recipes book. I used cauliflower gravy so the only syns were 1.5 for the apple sauce. It was absolutely delicious. 
slimming world low syn strawberry eton mess
If you’re a regular reader you will probably be aware that I enjoy a pudding. This one was beautiful and came in at a low 4 syns. It is a strawberry eton mess using a vanilla flavour muller light, chopped strawberries and meringue nests. It certainly satisfied a craving though next time I will make it with sweetened quark as the yoghurt was a little too runny. 
How have you done this week? Have you ever been happy to gain weight?

Sim's Life

Weigh, Lose or Stay - Laura's Lovely Blog

recipe for slimming world sym free salted caramel pancakes picture of pancakes with header text over image
You may have already noticed from my weekly Slimming World food diary posts that I have a slight addiction to syn free pancakes. As well as eating them I love experimenting with them and trying out new flavours. This morning I discovered the best flavour yet, salted caramel syn free pancakes. 
Carry on reading to find out how I made these delicious, healthy pancakes. 

recipe for slimming world syn free pancakes salted caramel flavour stacked up with bananas in between and strawberries on the side

You will need :
2 Eggs
2 Tablespoons of sweetener
1 Tablespoon of banana & custard flavour Muller Light (can be replaced with any other flavour or plain, fat free yoghurt if preferred)
1 Teaspoon of salted caramel essence
Recipe :
Add all of your ingredients into a bowl and mix together well. Add the mixture to a medium hot frying pan which has been squirted with fry light two tablespoons at a time, I find it is easier to make several small pancakes rather than one or two large pancakes as they hold together better when it comes to turning them. Turn over once the bottom of the pancake has cooked.  When the pancakes are nicely browned serve with your choice of speed fruit. 
Slimming world syn free salted caramel pancake stack with strawberries and bananas

These pancakes are beautiful, healthy and so easy to make which is why I am addicted to them. They make for a satisfying breakfast or serve with sweetened quark and Choc Shot for a delicious desert.

What is your favourite breakfast?

Another not so great week this week, I went out for food on both Wednesday and Thursday nights and also ate a lot of cake at a party on Saturday. I decided to attempt to minimise the damage by having SP days yesterday and Monday, I actually quite enjoyed these as it meant that I could have two B choices. The great thing is, it worked! I weighed in today and had lost another 1lb, which is a total of 13lbs. I will get that stone next week…Carry on reading to find out what I have been eating the past week.

Slimming World weekly weigh in results & food diary header picture



Slimming World steak bake with cheese
Breakfast – Syn free pancakes with strawberries & bananas
Lunch – Cheesy ‘steak bake’ (1.5 syns) with cauliflower (egg wash a sandwich thin, add stewed steak and a Laughing cow cheese cube. Some tins of stewed steak are free so these can be made lower syn than mine)
Tea – Meal at Wagamamas, a lot of syns!
Snacks – Two Muller Lights
Healthy extras – 250ml semi skimmed milk and sandwich thin for ‘steak bake’
Total syns – 1.5
collage of daily slimming world meals - cottage pie, burgers veg & gravy chocolate rocky road pudding with strawberry &banana
Breakfast – Syn free pancakes with strawberries & bananas
Lunch – Cottage pie (6 syns for cheese)
Tea – Slimming World burgers, roast potatoes, roast carrots and cauliflower gravy (Boil a cauliflower in stock of your choice (I used beef) then blend, add more stock and gravy browning if desired)
Pudding – Strawberries, banana, 2 rocky road hi-fi bars, 1 tbsp of choc shot (2 syns) and sweetened fromage frais
Healthy extras – 250ml semi skimmed milk & 2 hi-fi bars
Total syns – 8
Slimming World breakfast strawberry overnight oats
Breakfast – Overnight oats with strawberry Muller Light & strawberries
Lunch – Ham & cheese strings
Tea – Party food – sandwiches and cakes
Snacks – 2 hi-fi bars (6 syns)
Healthy extras – Cheese strings and porridge oats
slimming world friendly takeaway chicken shish kebab with sweet potato fries
Breakfast – Overnight oats with strawberry Muller Light & strawberries
Lunch – Ham and coffee & walnut cake
Tea – Chicken shish kebab with tomatoes, cucumber, onion & sweet potato fries
Healthy extras – 250ml semi skimmed milk & 2 hi-fi bars
Monday (SP day)
Slimming world SP day meals breakfast salmon salad and butternut squash topped cottage pie with cauliflower gravy
Breakfast – Egg, mushrooms, tomatoes and onions
Lunch – Salmon & egg salad
Tea – Butternut squash topped cottage pie, veg and cauliflower gravy
Healthy extras – 4 hi-fi bars and 250ml semi skimmed milk
Total syns – 0
Tuesday (SP day)
Slimming World SP day meals - cinnamon syn free pancakes butternut squash soup and ham & veg quiche with carrot & courgette fries
Breakfast – Cinnamon syn free pancakes (2 eggs, 2 tbsp of sweetener, cinnamon to taste fried in fry light) with strawberries
Lunch – Butternut squash, red onion & chilli soup with two slices of wholemeal bread
Tea – Ham & vegetable quiche with carrot & courgette fries
Snacks – 2 Laughing cow cheese cubes (1 syn), 2 finger Kit Kat (5.5 syns)
Healthy extras – 2 hi-fi bars, 2 60g slices of wholemeal bread and 250ml semi skimmed milk
Total syns – 6.5
What have you been eating this week? If you are on a diet how was your weigh in?

Sim's Life

Raising Emily

Weigh, Lose or Stay - Laura's Lovely Blog