Thursday, 8 March 2012

SW friendly Steak & Mushroom Pie

Hello my lovelies,

It's national pie week and Mr Tramp is pining for his weekly pie treat at work so I have come up with the following moderately low syn pie.

Serves 2
Prep - 5 minutes
Cooking - 1hr 20 (ish)
Syns - 4.5 per person (1.5 syns cornflour and 3 syns per sheet pastry)

400g very lean braising steak / stewing steak
1 onion
Mushrooms - as many as you prefer
1 level tbsp cornflour (3 syns per tbsp)
Fry light
Herbs of choice
Worcester sauce
Salt & pepper
2tsp Mustard powder
1/2 pint beef stock (syn free if made with bovril)
1/2 pint water
2 sheets of jus-rol filo pastry ( if you have syns to spare and like a really crispy topping, you can add extra sheets but amend the syn value accordingly)
1 egg, whisked

To serve - potatoes and veg of your choosing.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
- Slice an onion and fry until almost translucent, add the mushrooms and fry together on a low heat.
- In a bowl, combine the cornflour, seasoning and mustard powder and coat the steak
- Add the steak to the onions and mushrooms and fry on a moderate heat until the flour browns on the outside of the meat. Don't worry if the flour sticks to the bottom of the pan, this will add extra tastyness to the gravy!
- Add the herbs and stock plus about 1/2 pint of water. Bring to the boil and then simmer on a medium -low heat for up to an hour, or until your meat is cooked through and tender.
- Once cooked, transfer to your pie dish. This can either be a large one or smaller individual ones. Up to you. 
- Lightly brush the 2 sheets of filo pastry with the egg wash and drape over the top of the filling making sure it's all covered up. It doesn't matter if it lies on top of the gravy and looks a bit too soggy in the middle, trust me it WILL crisp up on cooking!
- Put the pies in to the middle of the hot oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry has become brown and crisp in the middle

Of course I made my filling with steak, you could easily change it for a 'creamy' chicken filling, a mince beef filling or even a fish pie filling! If you were using a filling that doesn't rely on having a nice thick beefy gravy, you can omit the cornflour and save a syn.

And here we go… a picture of a half devoured pie! Tastes nicer than it looks!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Syn Free Salt & Vinegar Crisps

Hello my slimming world lovelies,

Is it just me or are you all looking super slender today? *wolf whistles*

Not being satisfied with my existing twists on the 'Dorito' crisps I made HERE, I have been experimenting with cooking times, shapes, flavours the lot.

I have made a discovery and I wanted to share it all with you!

Now this does come with a warning so please take heed.

Salt & Vinegar Crisps

Make up a batch of plain crisps following this recipe. Bake for 11 minutes without adding any salt or flavours. Just Fry Light

Once the crisps have cooled, sprinkle lightly with J&D's Malt Salt which is an amazing Salt & Vinegar flavoured seasoning.

It is absolutely AMAZING. Like seriously! As a crisp fiend these have to be the best crisps I have made to date!

Now for the warning….

Each full tub of Malt Salt is 6.5syns for 85g. I average about 0.5g per generous serving of crisps which works out to be something like 0.03syns. Not even anywhere near a full syn right!

So, it is up to you how you count this. You can count it as syn free flavouring or 0.5 syn per portion but either way… 0.5g covers a lot of free crisps so it works out pretty damn good whichever way you look at it. 0.5g worked out to be a good few shakes

Syn Free Chilli con Carne

Hello lovelies,

Mr Tramp is a huge fan on Chilli and usually, for convenience, we admittedly used to use a Schwarz hot chilli sachet mix.

Below is a recipe for a syn free chilli, from scratch and it tastes ten times nicer than the packet.

Serves 2 with rice and 'doritos' - recipe found HERE

As always, you can adapt the chillies to your own taste. If you want to bulk out the chilli, a really really tasty addition is a tin of baked beans. They are syn free and very filling. You can compensate for this buy adding slightly less Passata or just the same amount… as always - It's up to you!

250g Turkey Mince ( or lean beef /quorn/pork)
1 large onion
Mushrooms (add as many as you like)
1 tin of Kidney Beans
500g Passata
2 cloves of garlic
2 hot chillies
2tsp ground cumin
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp paprika
1tsp chilli powder (optional)
1/2 pint stock - I use beef or chicken but vegetable works just as well
2tbsp tomato puree
Fry Light
Salt & Pepper to taste

To serve, Crème Fraiche, Coriander leaves & rice


Using Fry Light, fry a diced onion until just turning translucent. Add the finely chopped chillies and fry with the crushed garlic

Add the mince and fry 'til turning golden brown

Add all the spices and warm through but don't let them stick or "catch" or they will burn and taste bitter

Add the stock in one go and reduce by half. Once reduced, add the tomatoe puree and stir well

Add sliced mushrooms, drained kidney beans and the passata. Season to taste.

Bring to the boil and then simmer slowly until the kidney beans are soft. Around 15 minutes or so

Serve on top of a pile of rice with a dollop of Crème Fraiche on top, it acts the same as having a dollop of Sour Cream. Garnish with coriander leaves and away you go!


Syn Free Pizzas

Hello Lovelies 

I tried this at the weekend after a bit of trepidation and I was suitably impressed. Bit of a taste sensation to get your head used to but if it's another syn free take away alternative then it's worth a try isn't it?

What I will say is you're best off making this base quite thick so that it is nice and firm. I used a 8" frying pan and I probably wouldn't go any larger than that. You can easily make 2 bases one after the other and bake them together.

Makes 1 pizza which serves 2 as a lunch snack or with accompaniments for tea or 1 very hungry slimmer! 


120-125g mashed potato flakes (Smash or stores own brand both work the same)
Boiling water
Fry Light
Mixed herbs
Garlic ( any form you like but not puree in a tube)
1-2tbsp Passata / tinned tomatoes (not puree)
Chilli flakes / tabasco (optional)
Topping - Ham and Mushroom for me, both are syn free so you can pile it high.
Grated Cheese - You can use your HEXA allowance for this or syn it.. Of course using the HEXA makes it syn free


Preheat your oven to 200 degrees 

In a large bowl, mix your mashed potato flakes with a little mixed herbs and garlic salt and with enough boiling water to make a firm dough, as if you were baking bread. Allow this to cool.

Once cool, warm a small frying pan and spray liberally with Fry Light to avoid sticking. 

With your hands and a spoon, mould the potato dough in to the frying pan in a giant patty that fills the pan completely. Make sure the base is even and there are no holes.

Fry on a medium heat for around 5 minutes on each side until a lovely deep golden brown colour. You will need to flip the base over using the plate and pan method so that it doesn't break whilst flipping. Leave to cool on a wire rack to help the base crisp up.

In a bowl, mix your passata with your additional flavourings such as garlic herbs and spicyness and spread across the base.

Pile on your toppings and then lash on the cheese. Word of warning… I tried to use my 2 babybell lights grated on top and the melt wasn't fantastic so definitely worth using the hard cheese HEXA option.

Put the pizza on a pizza tray / wire rack / grill pan and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the pizza base has deepend in colour and the cheese is bubbling away nicely.

You might need a knife and fork to eat this as the base is never going to be as rigid as a proper pizza but you can still pick it up. The only thing I can liken the base too is potatoe smiley faces. Crispy on the outside but fluffy and potatoey in the middle.

We thoroughly enjoyed this and I hope you do too! 

Syn Free Cannelloni

Nothing nicer than a comforting baked pasta is there? Nice and filling and tasty too! 

The original recipe calls for 8 pasta tubes but be warned, I filled 13 with this quantity. The tubes from Tesco were only about an inch thick so the recipe must have used gigantic tubes! Be aware of the tube size when buying them. 13 tubes between 2 sounds an awful lot but it wasn't. Trust me!

This is meant to serves 4 but unless you have it with a side salad or something else, half of what we had last night wouldn’t have been filling enough for a main meal, especially as there was no meat.

Serves 2 as a main meal with no accompaniment or 4 as a lunch / with extras


8 cannelloni tubes (see note above)
Fresh Basil
Parmesan from your HEXA option or other meltable cheese from HEXA
227g fresh spinach
227g fat-free cottage cheese
freshly grated nutmeg (dried will do fine)
1 egg yolk
Salt & pepper
Dried herbs
1 pint passata
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 carrot
1 onion
1 celery stick
1tsp beef bovril
Boiling water


Pre heat oven to 200 degrees
Dice the carrot, onion and celery and fry in Fry Light and garlic until soft and the onion is translucent translucent
Make up the bovril with half a cup of boiling water to make a stock
Add the passata, herbs and bovril stock and simmer gently until thickened

To make the filling put the spinach in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water. Cover with a lid and cook very gently over a low heat for about 5 minutes, until the leaves are limp and bright green.
Drain very well, pressing down on top of the spinach with a saucer to squeeze out all the liquid. You need to get it as dry as possible

Chop the spinach and mix with the cottage cheese, nutmeg, egg yolk, garlic, herbs and seasoning. Spoon the filling into the cannelloni tubes and arrange them in an ovenproof / lasagne dish.

Pour over the tomato sauce, sprinkle with your cheese option and tear the fresh basil leaves over the top.
Bake for about 30 minutes until the pasta is soft and the cheese is bubbly.

The cannelloni filling can taste a little bland once cooked so it's super important to add lots of flavours before it goes in to the tubes. I'm a garlic fiend so it gets lots of garlic and herbs for us.

Syn Free Burger & Chips

Hello lovelies,

Here we have syn free burger and chips done the healthy way! It certainly helps to trick your mind in to having a "treat" tea when in fact what you are having is pretty damn good.

Serves 2 hungry slimmers for mains for 4 for lunch


500g lean turkey mince
Garlic (not puree)
Handful of dried cous cous
Shallots / onion in a very small dice
Mixed herbs
Burger seasoning of choice
Cheese from HEXA
1 large baking potato per person


In a large bowl add the mince with the garlic, diced shallots / onions, mixed herbs and seasoning. Mix well and if it is a bit wet and loose, add a smidge of the dried cous cous to help it bind. Little by little, not all at once.

Form in to 4 patties and leave for 30 minutes or longer. I often leave it overnight in the fridge just because I don't have time to do everything on one night.

Peel the potatoes and cut in to chips of your preferrence, chunky pub chips or skinny french fries - you choose! Par boil for 5 minutes, drain and then roughen the edges slightly by shaking the pan vigorously. This will make the chips nice and crispy!

Pre heat the oven to 220 degrees

Arrange the chips in a single layer on a oven sheet and spray with Fry Light and add a pinch of salt. If you want to go for a Tex Mex vibe, I often add a sprinkle of cajun spice.

On a second oven sheet, spray with Fry Light and put the burgers on

Bake both for 20 minutes in the middle of the oven

After 15 minutes or so, add your HEXA cheese serving to the top of the burgers to melt nicely

Serve burger and chips with a dressed salad or my scrummy battered garlic mushrooms for a truly treatful Syn Free "pub tea"

Free / 1.5 Syn Chicken Katsu Curry

Hello Lovelies,

I absolutely ADORE Katsu Curry and you can guarantee that whenever I go to Yo Sushi, Wagamama or other Japanese restaurant I will always order this. Yum Yum!

If you omit the Mirin / Sake then the entire curry meal is syn free but still 1.5 syns isn't bad is it? Tesco Mirin Flavouring is also Syn Free so you could use that to definitely make it syn free

Serve 2 as main meal. You could serve it with the Faux-ritos sprinkled with chinese 5 spice.


4tbsp mild curry powder
1 large onion
2 chicken fillets
Cous Cous
2 eggs beaten
5tbsp Soy Sauce
1 pint Chicken stock
2 tbsp Mirin (3 syns in total but 1.5 per person)
Boiled white rice
Fry Light

Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees.

Slice the chicken in to finger width strips, add to the egg wash and then coat in cous cous to make the crumb. Bake for 10-15 minutes in the middle of the oven until the chicken is fully cooked through.

Dice the onion and fry until almost translucent

Add the curry powder and fry gently for a minute until the onions and powder combine forming a roux.

Add the soy sauce and whisk to expel lumps.

Slowly start adding the chicken stock until you get to a consistancy you are happy with. Some like it thick, others like it runny!

Add your mirin if you are including it and simmer gently for 5-10 mins

Before serving you may need to add a dash of stock to thin it slightly as it does thicken.

Lay the breaded chicken over the bed of boiled rice and then pour the steaming hot Katsu sauce over the top.

We love this and I can guarantee it tastes just like the Yo Sushi! One… it should do, I've adapted their recipe to make it Syn Free!