Sweet and Sour Chicken


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This recipe is dedicated to a very special little girl. Earlier this year we holiday’d with friends.  I love to cook on holiday because I have the luxury of time and can create whatever the family desires, from sheppards pie in high summer to chicken fajitas I ask for requests before we go and take the special ingredients with me.  I always manage to drum up the requests despite some decidedly doggy cooking arrangement! This recipe was a special request from Neave, she sort of like it but said it wasn’t as good as Mummy’s I can take that as Mummy’s food is always best.  I however think this is of high enough make and taste quality to share it with you.  Don’t be put off by the ingredients list its actually really quick to make.

Serves 4 easily halved

Cooking time: Prep 15 minutes cook 20 minutes, 35 minutes in total



2 tablespoons rice bran oil

4 skinless boneless chicken thighs chopped into chunks

1 onion chopped

1 small red chilli chopped (optional)

1 chopped red pepper

1 chopped yellow pepper (alternative green pepper)

1 tablespoon tomato paste (alternative 2 tbspns tomatoe ketchup)

1 450g can pineapple chunks, drained reserving the juice

3 tablespoons light brown sugar (alternative: white sugar)

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (alternative: white wine vinegar)

125ml chicken stock from a stock pot (alternative : half a stock cube)

4 teaspoons cornflour mixed with 4 teaspoons water

1 teaspoon soy sauce

Ground black pepper to season

150g beansprouts (optional)

2 pouches ready cooked long grain rice heated to serve

Fresh coriander to garnish


In a large non-stick frying pan heat 1 tbspn of oil over a medium heat, add the chicken and cook stirring until lightly browned, remove to a plate.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and add the onion, chilli if using and the peppers cook stirring until they start to soften. Stir in the tomato paste, pineapple chunks, juice, sugar, vinegar and stock. Turn up the heat until the liquid starts to bubble and reduce. Add the cornflower and water mixture and stir until it starts to thicken.

Add the soy sauce and pepper to taste and stir through the bean sprouts if using until they just start to wilt. Serve with the long grain rice. Enjoy xx


Sweet and Sour Chicken pin




Eat · Garden Life · Grow · In the Kitchen

Hot Southern Chicken


This recipe is adapted from a magazine cutting, the cutting doesn’t have a date but is well worn with use so is many years old. It has stood the test of time as the children have grown up, a perfect autumnal dish to use seasonal vegetables whilst they are at there best. It keeps everyone warm on a cold autumn day and best of all it only takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to make. At 383 calories it suits a dieter too. Easy to double up, this freezes really well for a quick meal on another day. An all round winner to feed a busy family.

I use two chillies and leave the seeds in which is quite hot. I recommend you use the right amount for you. If your cooking for little ones 1 chilli with no seeds is plenty. I use Swiss Vegetable Buillion powder to make the stock but use whatever you normally use and if I can’t find new potatoes I use maincrop cubed with their skin still on. If I don’t have fresh herbs to hand I buy the freeze dried herbs from the freezer cabinet at the supermarket they are brilliant for this type of dish and save money as you don’t waste half a packet of fresh herbs that get forgotten about in the back of the fridge.

This freezes well, cool it to room temperature, then label and freeze as quickly as possible. To reheat, defrost on the fridge for 12 hours then reheat in a pan on a low heat for 30 minutes.



2 tbspns rice bran oil

25g butter (whatever spread you use if fine)

6 skinless boneless chicken breasts, each cut into 3 chunks

2 large onions, thinly sliced

2 red chillies de-seeded and chopped

3 cloves garlic

2 tbspns plain flour

400g can chopped tomatoes

2 tbspns tomato puree

850ml vegetable stock

450g small new potatoes scrubbed

1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into small chunks

340g can sweetcorn or kernels from 2 sweetcorn cobs

175g mixed coloured cherry tomatoes

2 tbspns each chopped fresh mint and coriander

  1. Heat the oil and butter in large pan and cook the chicken in batches, turning, until it’s lightly golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.

  2. Lower the heat and add the onions, chillies, and garlic cooking for about 5 minutes until soft but not brown.

  3. Sprinkle the flour over the onion mixture and stir well. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and vegetable stock, give everything a really good stir.

  4. Return the chicken to the pan with the sweet potato turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Once boiling, turn the heat to low part cover and simmer for 25 minutes.

  5. Check that the sweet potato is just starting to fall apart and that the potatoes are cooked through, if they are still a bit firm leave for another 5-10 minutes.

  6. Add the sweetcorn and tomatoes and simmer for another 10 minutes.

  7. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes then add the herbs before serving in bowls with some crusty bread to mop up the juices.

Hot Southern Chicken Pin

Eat · In the Kitchen

Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry


This is another family favourite that I’ve adapted from a children’s curry recipe when they were small. Its not too calorific at 270 calories per portion, without sides, you can eat it on it’s own with a wrap or poppadoms.  If you add rice or nan bread it’s a 400 calorie dinner.

I use Alfa One’s Rice Bran Oil, it is cholesterol free has a high smoking point and is a tasteless oil. I have been calorie counting on and off for a while and I’m amazed at how much it reduces your calorie intake when you use a healthier cooking oil. Whilst its a little pricey I highly recommend it, its available at most large supermarket chains.

If you are making this for the children remove the red chilli, use 2 teaspoons rather than tablespoons of curry paste.  When the kids were small I used a Balti or Tika Marsala curry paste. We’ve moved on to a madras curry paste as our heat sensors have adapted.  You should use what you favour in other curry dishes as this will off set the sweetness of the potato’s and will be familiar to your taste buds.  My tip for the kids is to remove the cardamom pods before you feed them, they have a very intense flavour if you bite into one and might put them off eating this again.


I use a vegan vegetable stock power Marigolds Swiss Vegetable Bouillon, it’s not too salty and adds a nice flavour to your dish.

This freezes really well, I often batch cook it so we have something quick and tasty to eat on busy days.  Once cooked cool the mixture until its room temperature, portion it up in a suitable container label it with a name and date and freeze for up to 1 month.  Defrost it in the fridge overnight before reheating.

Serves 6

Takes 20 minutes to prep + 60 minutes marinading and 35 minutes to cook, 270 calories per portion


500 g sweet potato

4 chicken breasts

Juice ½ lemon

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground garam masala

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tbspn rice bran oil

5 cardamom pods

2 onions

1 red chilli

1 small bunch fresh coriander

2 tbspns curry paste

500ml vegetable stock

500g baby leaf spinach

To serve

1 tbspn fat free natural yogurt,  White long grain rice, Nan Break


  1. Chop the chicken into bite size chunks place in a freezer bag and add the juice of half a lemon and the dried spices.  Shake the bag seal and place in the fridge to marinade for 60 minutes or overnight if you have the time.
  2. Peel and roughly chop the onion, roughly chop the chilli remove the seeds if you don’t like too much heat. Strip the leaves from the coriander stalks put them to one side and roughly chop the stalks.  Puree the onion, chilli and coriander.  This will form the base of your sauce.
  3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan with a lid over a medium heat, add the cardamom pops and fry for 1 minute, add the curry paste and cook for 2 minutes to wake up the spices.  Now add the onion puree and fry for 5 minutes until it starts to dry out. Keep watch on the onion puree don’t let it burn.
  4. Add your marinated chicken pieces and cook until they change colour, don’t brown them as you will burn your sauce base.  Add the potato and the vegetable stock, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer with the lid ajar for 35 minutes.  Stir regularly it’s ready when the sweet potato begins to break up, this will thicken the sauce. You can uncover and raise the heat to reduce the sauce if its a little watery but don’t do this until the end.
  5. To finish stir through the spinach until its wilted, serve with your choice of sides a dollop of natural yogurt and sprinkle over the coriander leaves.

Chicken and Sweet Potato Pin v1

Eat · Garden Life · In the Kitchen

Cheese and Potato Pie Recipe


This recipe is a comfort food family favourite it’s not one for a diet day at 621 calories it’s on the high side.  I’ve made this recipe since my children were small and they still love the dish. It’s an excellent recipe for using up a glut of potatoes and a brilliant fridge standby for a picnic or just for hungry children who want fuel after a busy day at school. If you use vegetarian cheese and either soya milk or almond milk it becomes a lovely vegan dish too. This is comfort food at its best easy, tasty, filling and great if you are not at your best as everyone in the house is happy including you.

My team are carnivores through and through, for a main meal we team it with a multitude of either sausages, bacon, good quality ham or sliced chicken breast. Sides range from a green salad to baked beans or sweetcorn if it’s fresh from the allotment. Whatever you choose its a great family comfort food dish and will remain part of our family tradition for a long, long time.

Serves 6 621 calories per portion

35 minutes prep, 35 minutes to bake


750g potatoes peeled and chopped into large chunks

1 onion chopped

1 bay leaf

2 tbspns butter or margarine

3 tbspns milk (use soya or almond if you prefer)

500g grated extra mature cheddar cheese (use whatever your family prefers)

1 medium egg

1 tbspn dried mixed herbs

3 large tomatoes or a small handful of mixed cherry tomatoes


Pre heat the oven to 200ºC fan 180ºC, 375F

  1. Cook the potatoes with the chopped onion in boiling salted water with the bay leaf for 15 – 20 minutes until the potato falls off of the knife but before the potatoes start to break up.
  2. Meanwhile grate the cheese and if using large tomatoes slice them, if using cherry tomatoes cut some in half leave some whole.
  3. When the potatoes are cooked, drain in a colander for a few minutes to make sure they are as dry as possible, remove the bay leaf. Return the potato and onion mix to the pan and mash with the butter and milk. The mixture will be a little lumpy due to the onion but that’s fine.
  4. Add 2/3 of the cheese and mix until melted, crack the egg into the mixture and beat it through the potato mixture. Transfer the potato mix to a baking dish.
  5. Sprinkle over the cheese, mixed herbs and tomatoes and back for 35 minutes until lightly browned.
  6. Leave the Cheese and Potato pie to rest for 15 to 20 minutes to firm up.  Once cooled a little slice and serve with your chosen sides.

Pin Cheese & Potato Pie

Eat · In the Kitchen

Greek Salad 364 calories

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A lunch time recipe, perfect at only 364 calories.  You can make two in one go to save time.  Take one on day one and store one in the fridge for day two.

I like to slice the red onion the night before and let it soak in red wine vinegar and a little sugar. This makes it a little sweater and you don’t get the very unpleasant onion breath after you’ve eaten, making the afternoon a little nicer for your work colleagues or family and friends. But if your short of time you can just slice it and throw it in.

You can reduce the calories further by omitting the olives and the olive oil, I find this a little plain.  If you prefer a few more carbs with your lunch a wholemeal flatbread works well and will keep you fuller for a bit longer but this does increase the calories.

Serves 2 easily halved or multiplied


1/2 red onion

1 tbspn red wine vinegar (optional)

1/4 tsp granulated sugar (optional)

10 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cucumber, quartered and sliced

1 round lettuce, shredded

16 Kalamata Olives, halved

90g feta cheese, crumbled

1 tsp dried oregano

Juice 1 lemon

1 tbspn extra virgin olive oil


Thinly slice the onion, if using place in a non metalic bowl and add the sugar and red wine vinegar, leave to marinade overnight.

Prepare your ingredients as listed above, except for the lemon juice and olive oil, sharing them between two lunch boxes. Finish with a sprinkle of oregano over each salad.

In a small bowl whisk the lemon juice and olive oil, seasoning with salt and pepper. Divide between two small dressing containers and fit snugly in the salad.

You should store this in the fridge until you are ready to eat it, when you can pour over the dressing and enjoy xx

Eat · In the Kitchen

Broccoli and Stilton Soup


I’m not particularly overweight but I always find my BMI is on the edge of my being overweight.  After some changes in my usual routine recently I noticed my clothes were getting a little tight and I noticed on catching myself in the mirror that I have been gaining a few pounds.

I like to make low calorie food and I love growing, cooking and eating.  I am often asked for recipes, especially the lunches I take to work.  I’ve posted a few recipes on facebook for friends but I want to keep more of a record of what I make.  I don’t very often stick to a recipe and have quite a repertoire of food I make regularly so recording what I do on the blog will let me save the delicious, low calorie recipes I make regularly for my family and I.


As part of the lunch series Broccoli and Dolcelatte Soup is a favourite. I hate waste, this recipe is perfect for a head of broccoli that is pasted its best as you use the whole lot. It is the perfect tasty low cal lunch at only 129 calories per serving you can have a slice of your favourite bread with it too.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do xx

Broccoli & Stilton Soup Pin

Serves 6 129 calories per serving


1 onion roughly chopped

1 tbspn Alfa one rice bran oil

1 celery stick finely chopped

1 medium potato peeled and cut into small cubes

1.5 litres vegetable using 2 x tsp Kallo Swiss vegetable bullion powder.

1 head broccoli florets separated, stalk cut into small cubes

75g Dolcellate blue cheese


  1. Warm the rice bran oil in a large pan over a low heat.
  2. Add the onion and celery cover and sweat for 10 minutes or until soft.
  3. Add the potato, broccoli stalk and the stock bring to the boil and simmer part covered for 10-15 minutes until the stalk is soft.
  4. Add the broccoli florets bring back to a simmer and cook part covered for 7-10 minutes until soft.
  5. Remove from the heat and blend using a stick blender or transfer to a liquidizer, whizz the soup until smooth.
  6. Add blobs of the Dolcellate and stir until they are part melted.

Can be eaten straight away or cooled portion up and frozen. Defrost at room temperature only reheat once.