Slimming World friendly Broccoli & Cheese Soup

Pre-Slimming World I used to make a mean broccoli and cheese soup.  It started with a roux (lets face it, most of the best recipes do), and consisted of simmering broccoli and leek in a creamy milky base, then throwing in a decent amount of strong cheddar, a bag of spinach and blitzing until smooth.  Delicious, but definitely not on plan.

Not surprisingly this is my six year old’s favourite soup, and I love that she gets so much goodness from it, but the way I was making it was very rich and calorific.  So, since starting Slimming World I’ve been tweaking my old recipes so we can be on plan, but still eating the food we love.

Today I made a huge batch using one massive leek, two onions, three heads of broccoli and the stalks, and two bags of baby spinach – it really is crammed full of goodness and it couldn’t be simpler.

Simmer all the ingredients apart from the spinach in good quality stock of your choice (my go to is  the Essential Cuisine range which just happen to be gluten free to – they are the absolute best ready made stocks I have come across) for 20-30 minutes until they’re all soft.  Season with salt and pepper, and throw in the baby spinach.  Leave to cool for a while before blitzing.  I always use my Nutribullet for this as it gives such amazingly smooth results and a natural creaminess which my stick blender just doesn’t compare to.

Now to give the cheesy element of this I portioned out the soup into six large separate portions then added 37.5g of Primula Light to each portion.  75g of Primula Light counts as a healthy extra A choice (hexA) so each portion of soup is syn free if you use the primula as half of your hexA for the day. If you like you can reserve a bit of the cheese to do a swirl on top like I have, but obviously this is optional and purely done for aesthetic purposes in my case. I always top with some (fat removed) crispy smoked bacon which just elevates it to another level.

So there you have it, absolutely delicious, flavour packed, on plan soup which is pretty enough to to serve up at a dinner party, but comforting enough to enjoy midweek in front of the telly having had a hard day in the office. Enjoy!

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Oh so simple lunch

I love keeping chickens. Aside from their funny little personalities and curious habits I love the fresh eggs they give us (plus, at the rate we go through eggs it works out a lot cheaper to keep chickens than to buy them).

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Meet Sarah (aka the boss), top of the pecking order.

I often have eggs for lunch and one of my favourite ways to eat them is with smoked salmon and simple stir fried vegetables. Here was today’s lunch:

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Dry fried egg on a couple of slices of smoked salmon, stir fried mushrooms, tomatoes, chilli, spring onions and red peppers, drizzled with a cheeky bit of sweet chilli. Delicious, satisfying and oh so simple.

My ultimate roast potatoes

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In my book, a Sunday lunch is a few sandwiches short of a picnic without good old roast potatoes. They have to be crispy, they have to have a fluffy middle, and they have to be well seasoned. A soggy roast spud is as dreary as a thunderstorm on a camping holiday. Come on people, there is no reason for bad roasties when it’s as easy as boil, oil, roast.

Here’s how I do it. Firstly you need the right spuds. Maris Piper/King Edwards are what I’d usually go for and if they’ve been hanging around the bottom of the cupboard for a while even better. Old potatoes make brilliant roasties.

Peel, chop and then par-boil. Heard it all before yes? Now, this is where things might begin to change slightly from what you’re used to.

Drain the potatoes and leave them in the colander for a few minutes to dry.
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While they’re drying, pour some vegetable oil (goose/duck fat is even better but I didn’t have any in) into the saucepan you used to boil the spuds (make sure it’s dry when you add the oil, obviously). Let it heat up then throw in some fresh rosemary and a couple of cloves of smashed up garlic.
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Immediately add the potatoes, put the lid on the pan, and shake vigorously to coat the spuds in the herb scented oil and rough up the edges. For goodness sake make sure it’s a tight fitting pan lid before you start shaking hot oil around!
Carefully empty the contents of the pan onto a baking tray, grind some salt over them, and put in a preheated oven at about 180oC.
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Take out of the oven after about half an hour and give them a quick turn.
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Carry on cooking until they’re as crunchy and golden as you want them. Mine were in for about an hour twenty. Beautiful.
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Enjoy!