Chocolate Macaroon is coming back!!!

Look what’s coming back! For a limited period from 24th July, my favourite Chocolate Macaroon HiFi Light bars are coming back! I can hardly wait – these are a great fix for those of us who love Bounty Bars, as they’re only 3 syns each or you can have two of them as your Healthy B choice. Delicious!!!

Please note, I am NOT a Slimming World consultant, and this is not a commercial advert – I am not paid or compensated in any way for mentioning these bars, I just happen to love them and am REALLY excited that they’re coming back, even for a limited period, and thought others might be too!

If anyone would like me to mention stuff on their behalf, feel free to contact me and make me an offer, but I will always give my honest opinion, good, bad, or indifferent, of any products I mention on my blog.

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Ready-Made Review: Asda Reduced Fat Sausages

Asda have several offerings in the reduced fat sausages area, and as that’s where I go my grocery shopping, I’ve had ample opportunity to try them out and compare them, both to each other, and to other sausages on the market. For the purposes of this review, however, I will focus solely on Asda’s own-brand offerings.

5054070024423_280_IDShot_3Asda Reduced Fat Pork Sausages and Asda Reduced Fat Cumberland Sausages are both much of a muchness. I don’t really notice much difference in the taste or texture of them. Not being a sausage expert, I couldn’t tell you what the difference is between regular and Cumberland sausages anyway.

At a push, I’d say the Cumberland sausages are slightly spicier, but it’s really only a hint. Both are very tasty – proper, meaty sausages that you can get your teeth into and really enjoy.

5052449889628_280_IDShot_3Both varieties are 1.5 syns per sausage, and I, for one, reckon they’re worth it. They’re my favourite of all the low-syn sausages I’ve tried to date, and I regularly pop them in my trolley. I stab them with a fork a few times and pop them under the grill – I love them!

You can find them in the chilled section, but they freeze very well, and will keep much longer if you freeze them. I just defrost them before cooking and they’re just as good as they are fresh.

5054781049708_280_IDShot_3The other option is in the freezer section. I only found out about these last week via a Facebook group, as I don’t generally buy frozen sausages, but I resolved to give these a try as they are only half a syn for two sausages, I figured I owed it to myself to taste them and see if they were as good as the ones from the chilled section.

The frozen ones are typically less than 5% fat, which is always good, and you cook them from frozen, which is a time-saver. As a result, I didn’t bother pricking them like I would with the fresh ones, which resulted in them splitting down the length, but that doesn’t bother me. They’re quite a firm sausage, and they taste quite meaty.

They’re not as flavoursome or succulent as the chilled sausages, but that, I presume, will largely be down to the very low fat content. On the whole I much prefer the chilled sausages to eat in a meal like bangers and mash or a fry up, but these frozen ones would, I imagine, work very well in a casserole.

Overall, the sausages from the chilled section remain my favourites, but I will certainly use the frozen ones in casseroles and sauce-based dishes, as they will get some extra flavour and moisture from that kind of recipe.

You can see my review of syn-free sausages HERE, and my comparison of reduced fat sausages to their regular counterparts HERE.

Please note, I WAS NOT PAID FOR THIS REVIEW, nor was I given this product for free – I bought it myself for my own personal use, and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Ready-Made Review: Slimming World Syn-Free Chilli & Coriander Beef Quarter Pounders

8912974446622It’s almost BBQ season – in fact, some places have already seen BBQ-friendly weather, so what better time than now for Slimming World to release their limited edition chilli and coriander beef quarter pounders? I don’t know how long they’ll be around, seeing as how they’re labeled as “limited edition” so if you try them and find you’re a fan, grab them while you can, safe in the knowledge that they’ll keep in the freezer for quite some time. As is the case with all the Slimming World meals, these are syn-free.

We actually had a taste of these in weigh-in class when they first came out, and the smell of them cooking drove us all wild – they smell absolutely gorgeous – the hint of chilli permeating the meatiness. Does the taste live up to the promise of their scent? Not quite, but they do taste rather nice!

They have a little more “oomph” to them than the regular beef quarter pounders, but their heat isn’t so much that it would put off those with a taste for milder spiciness – it’s just a hint of flavour and lingers while you chew, and you get a small hit as it goes down. I have to say, I don’t really notice the coriander, but that doesn’t bother me.

13342912_10156846165760386_5702392453594143003_nI topped mine with my HEA allowance of cheese, and served it on a bed of sauteed mushrooms, onions, and peppers, with a salad on the side. I didn’t bother with a bun, but that is certainly an option, or you could grill some giant mushrooms to serve it on if that floats your boat. They’re nice and juicy and meaty, which is what you’d expect from a burger. They do shrink a little in cooking, but that’s usually the case with burgers. For the record, I grilled mine in the kitchen, but I look forward to giving them a try on the BBQ when we get our new one this summer.

I still prefer my own, home-made burgers (and I suspect I always will, because they are AWESOME!), but these are a nice staple to keep in your freezer for those nights when you don’t have time to make them yourself from scratch. Incidentally, you can find the recipe for my own homemade burgers at the bottom of my previous burger review post HERE.

As with all the Slimming World meals, the recipe is on the back of the packet, if you decide you’d like to try your hand at making them yourself.

Please note, I WAS NOT PAID FOR THIS REVIEW, nor was I given this product for free – I bought it myself for my own personal use, and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Ready-Made Review: Gullon Gluten-Free Cookies With Chocolate Chips

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Delicious chocolate chip cookies for only one syn? Yes, please!

Sometimes you just need something to dunk in your cuppa. Or to nibble on. Or, let’s face it, to just shove in your gob and go, “Mmmmmmmm!”

Excitement is discovering a proper chocolate chip cookie that is only 1 syn per biscuit!

Disappointment is realising they’re only about an inch and a half in diameter.

Still, small as they are, these little morsels of cookie goodness are absolutely delicious! They’re chocolate flavoured with chocolate chips; they have a really nice crunch to them, and they are a proper cookie, that crumbs in the way you’d expect a proper cookie to crumb.

They’re really very nice, and as they’re only a single syn each, you can knock a few back and not feel guilty about it.

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Good things come in small packages!

Now all I have to do is hide them from the kids, because I know they’re going to go nuts for them!

Added bonus, they’re gluten-free, so folks who often have to avoid the biscuit aisle can enjoy them, and nut-free, so those with allergies can tuck in too. I picked mine up in the local pound shop, but I’m pretty certain most supermarkets will also have them in the gluten-free section, so keep an eye open for them!

What’s not to like? OK, I’d love them to be bigger, but I can’t grumble too much, because I have a lovely little low-syn cookie to enjoy. Now, I’m off to the kitchen to scoff a few in secret before anyone else in the house sees the box!

Please note, I WAS NOT PAID FOR THIS REVIEW, nor was I given this product for free – I bought it myself for my own personal use, and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Ready-Made Review: Kohinoor Paneer Butter Masala

It’s the weekend, and everyone around you is crying out for a take-away. Should it be pizza? Or Chinese? Oh, I know – let’s get an Indian! Everyone loves a good curry, right?

Except, if you’re trying to lose weight, you might as well just take the take-away food and glue it directly onto your thighs and stomach. Am I right?

Now, you can easily make a really good curry from scratch yourself, but then it wouldn’t feel like a take-out, and that’s what I’m looking at here – something that will taste like a take-out curry, but not come loaded with a gazillion syns.

And I’ve found it.

And it’s only 4 syns.

How’s that for you?

And if you’re vegetarian, you can still eat it, because it’s a paneer dish.

In case you don’t already know, paneer is a kind of cheese. Not a cheesy-cheese, an incredibly mild cheese that’s often used in Indian cooking. I know, to those who have never tried it or heard of it, having a “cheese curry” sounds completely alien, but trust me on this – your taste buds will thank you!

13265902_10156809046065386_4049838229013747791_nLadies and gentlemen, fans of Indian cuisine everywhere, I give you Kohinoor Paneer Butter Masala!

The package says it serves two, and I suppose if you’re serving it as a starter, it might well do that (in which case, it would be 2 syns per portion), but I actually think that for four syns, you can pad it out with some seed veg, serve it with some rice, and you have a substantial and filling main meal for one.

I usually add onions, mushrooms, peppers and courgette to mine, but sometimes I also throw in some baby corn or whatever other veg I have (steamed cauliflower works particularly well), and if you like chickpeas, feel free to chuck in a handful of those too.

The sauce is deliciously buttery, rich, smooth, and plentiful. It’s also very mild (only one chilli rating on the package), so if you like things a little spicier, you might want to add some of your favourite curry powder and/or some chillies for some added kick – I have been known to add both because I generally like my curry quite hot, but this is equally delicious in its original mild state. You can pop the pouch in the microwave, or empty the contents into a pan and heat for a few minutes – either way, by the time you’ve cooked your rice and sauteed off some veg, your actual butter paneer masala only takes a few minutes to heat and be ready to eat.

I absolutely LOVE this curry. It tastes indulgent but is low enough in syns to feel I’m not wasting any of them. Whenever I see these in Lidl I pick up as many as I can, because you can store them in your regular pantry or store cupboard – it doesn’t need to be refrigerated before opening.

If you fancy a curry that tastes like a take-out treat, but you don’t want to blow all your syns in one go, I highly recommend giving this one a try. You can always make some onion bhajis, at only half a syn per bhaji, to go with it and really feel like you’re splurging!

Enjoy! You can thank me later.

Edited to add: I forgot to say where I got this! I got mine from Lidl – they only have them in occasionally as part of their various promotions, so whenever I see them, I grab a fair few. They can be stored in your pantry, as they don’t need refrigeration. You can buy them online from various places (just google it – they’ll come up), but they cost a little bit more that way. So, if you see them in Lidl, grab as many as you can while you can!

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I added onion, mushrooms, red pepper, and courgette to my paneer butter masala, and served it with rice, which I cooked with turmeric to give it a golden colour. Delicious!

 

Please note, I WAS NOT PAID FOR THIS REVIEW, nor was I given this product for free – I bought it myself for my own personal use, and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Ready-Made Review: Chicken and Chorizo-Style Sausage Paella

12718019_10156668457805386_7942797851080848938_nI’m a huge fan of chorizo. One of my favourite soups is chickpea and chorizo (you can find my tomato and chickpea soup recipe HERE – just add some chorizo and syn it!), so I’ve been looking forward to trying out this paella meal for a while. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t tend to eat microwave meals, so it’s taken me some time to get round to it, but I finally got there this week!

This one is a complete meal in itself, although Slimming World do recommend that you add some speed food to make sure you’re sticking to the plan, so I steamed some veg to have on the side.

Chicken microwave meals do tend towards being a bit on the rubbery side, but, as with the other Slimming World ready meals, this one isn’t all that bad. The texture of the chicken isn’t as good as you would get if you cooked this from scratch yourself (incidentally, as with all the other Slimming World ready meals, the recipe is on the back of the pack, although it omits the chorizo and leaves it as a chicken paella), but it’s nowhere near as rubbery as some others I’ve tried in the past, and is quite pleasant.

I like spicy food, and I could have done with a little extra spice here, but I know there are plenty of people who like their spices a little milder, and they’re well catered for here. If I were to have this in the future, I’d probably spice it up a bit.

The chorizo-style sausage isn’t quite as good as actual chorizo, but if Slimming World decide to bring that out as a product, I would be happy to give it a try to make my favourite soup syn-free! All in all, it wasn’t a bad effort on the sausage side – I’ve tasted a hell of a lot worse, and it was actually quite nice, It didn’t have the same texture as real chorizo would have, but it was fairly decent.

The rice and veg in the meal were tender, and the sauce throughout the dish is very nice. All in all, this is a pretty good meal – nice flavours and textures, and it’s enough that you feel you’re having a proper, filling meal. I’ll happily try making the paella from scratch myself, although I think I’ll syn some chorizo to add to it – unless Slimming World decide to start selling their syn-free version…

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Please note, I WAS NOT PAID FOR THIS REVIEW, nor was I given this product for free – I bought it myself for my own personal use, and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Ready-Made Review: Slimming World Cottage Pie

12924324_10156656071420386_1277121462646961791_nTime for another ready-made review! It’s been a little while since Slimming World brought out a few extra meals, but I don’t often eat ready meals (apart from those I make myself from scratch to pop in the freezer!), so I’ve only just got round to trying this one out.

After being very disappointed with the veg crush that came with the very nice beef in red onion gravy, I was a little apprehensive about trying another meal that had that same carrot and swede mix, but I needn’t have worried – there was none of the strong aftertaste I had experienced with that meal.

The minced beef was nicely cooked, the gravy was tasty, and the carrot and swede mash atop the dish complemented it well. The topping felt a little wet, as is often the case with frozen ready meals, but not unduly so, and it wasn’t off-putting in the least. The wetness might have been combated had I opted to cook the meal in the oven, but I went for the quick and handy microwave option instead.

12924606_10156656071430386_5653293156512866064_nI served mine with baby corn, broccoli, mangetout, and green beans, all of which were steamed in the time it took to microwave the meal (13 minutes plus one minute resting time afterwards), so I had more than the recommended one-third speed, and I ate that first to make sure I got it in, meaning I actually ended up leaving a little of the cottage pie as I was so full!

Overall, I found this a very pleasantly tasty meal, and although I much prefer my own home-made version of cottage pie (colclapshottage pie, which is gorgeous!), this would certainly be one I’d consider having in the freezer for emergencies.

 

 

Please note, I WAS NOT PAID FOR THIS REVIEW, nor was I given this product for free – I bought it myself for my own personal use, and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.