….need to get rid of some of the holiday weight!!
I love Christmas. No, I adore it, cherish it, celebrate it – and EAT IT! From around 19th December, the approx date our tree (real and huge) goes up and the hamper (from parents, generous and extremely indulgent) arrives, it’s an ‘all bets are off’ situation for me. I don’t so much as fall off the wagon, more I fall off, chop the wagon into tiny pieces and set fire to it whilst stuffing stilton in my gob and doing a happy dance!
Now I realise the error of this plan after a year of trying to be reasonably good and seeing some success in the battle of the bulge, but I can’t – no I won’t change. It’s just too much fun!
Anyway. It’s now 3rd January. I’ve had my first couple of coffees made with milk instead of baileys (bleugh), finished the last of the cheese in the fridge, just polishing off the rest of a rather nice bottle of Zinfandel and it’s time to crack on with the health kick. I don’t do starvation, I simply can’t which is why the principles of Slimming World appeal to me so much. It’s just basic common sense. I’m not however a rep, nor am I an expert – self proclaimed or otherwise – so I won’t add a syn value to any of my recipes. All I’ll assure you of is that I’ve done my very best to make the ones I claim to be SW friendly as close as possible to that as I can, removed as much fat content as I can and tried to keep flavour and satisfaction high on the agenda.
Case in point my roasted veg and tomato pasta sauce. This has become such a staple in my house. I make it in huge batches in my beloved slow cooker and freeze in 2 person portions. It’s great as a sauce on it’s own but even better with a protein added.
Hope you love it, here’s to a happy, healthy 2016!
Ingredients – makes enough to feed 8 hungry adults
6 peppers – mix of colours but not green
4 large onions (peeled)
6 cloves garlic
4 stalks celery
4 carrots (peeled)
2 leeks (cleaned)
2 tins chopped tomatoes
2 bay leaves
Large bunch basil
Light oil spray
Salt and black pepper
Chop onion and peppers into very large pieces, you really want them quartered unless they’re massive in which case a bit smaller. Chuck in a large roasting dish with the whole peeled garlic cloves, lots of pepper (no salt) and some light oil spray.
Roast at 180 for approx 40 mins. My oven is like napalm so I check after 25 and stir around if necessary, you want the veg really soft and starting to colour quite black and charred around the edges, great flavour.
Meanwhile celery carrots and leeks can be chopped very big and chucked in the slow cooker with tomatoes, plenty of seasoning and the bay leaves. This 20 mins of gentle chopping effort really is the most you’ll have to do I promise.
Once the veg are roasted add them to the slow cooker mix.
Bung the basil on top, I don’t chop it, just throw the whole bunch, stalks and all in. Isn’t that just beautiful, you know it’s going to taste amazing! It needs no stock cube, no water. Cook on high for 3 hours or if you’ve got time 5 on low.
Let it cool and blitz in a processor or with a stick blender. I like it left a little chunky but it you go really smooth you could make it into a soup.
And that’s it, a beautiful pot of deliciousness that you just know will be doing you good. Below some extra things I add at oven roasting stage if I’ve got them knocking around, and a few ways to use the sauce:
Courgette, sweet potato, cauliflower (roasted cauli is truly gorgeous)
As a pasta sauce on it’s own or with added chicken, white fish or prawns
As a bruschetta topping with some crumbled feta and a few olives on top
Blended a bit smoother with a drop of water if needed and dated as a delicious soup with some seeds or croutons on top