Over the recent last year I’ve piled on some weight, and after being in a rut for months (a first for me, as I’m generally very strong willed), I’ve now started to watch what I eat and cut back on calories. I will however still continue to bake delicious treats for my boys, family and friends but I’m going to be good and keep reminding myself how lonely my skinny jeans are sitting in my closet! Last month I purchased the new Cook Yourself Thin Quick and Easy cookbook and like the previous book it is packed with great recipes to help you shift the bulge with a few clever changes to the way you cook and the ingredients you use. Of course until today I had not tried any of the recipes from either of the Cook Yourself Thin books, so today I jumped in at the deep end and went for 2 recipes in one afternoon. I love soups and they are perfect for this cold weather we are experiencing, which is why I chose this Sweet Potato and Apple Soup as the first of my 2 recipes. I must say I’ve never had apple in a soup but it does add a different dimension to the flavour, making this is a delicious winter warmer and let’s not forget low in calories. My second choice of recipe had to be the Banana Loaf, after all I love baking and although I’m cutting down on calories, this low fat version will still allow me to enjoy a slice with my afternoon cup of tea. Who said dieting was boring?!
Sweet Potato and Apple Soup
143 calories per serving
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
420g peeled sweet potatoes, diced into 1 ½ cm pieces
1 cm piece of ginger, peeled or ½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
140g Bramley apples, peeled, cored and diced into 1.5cm pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a pan, and gently fry the onion for 5 minutes until soft, but not browned. Add the sweet potato, ginger, cumin, coriander and apple. Cover with about 750ml boiling water. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes until the sweet potato is tender. Whiz with a hand blender or in the food processor until the soup is smooth. Season to taste and serve.
Makes 14 slices
201 calories per slice
175g light brown soft sugar
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
350g peeled ripe bananas, mashed
200g self-raising flour sifted
½ tsp salt
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
75g walnuts, roughly chopped (I used pecans, I was out of walnuts)
6 walnuts halves
Preheat the oven to 180oC/fan 160oC. Line and grease a 1kg loaf tin. Cream the butter with the sugar in a large mixing bowl until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs, and gradually whisk them into the butter and sugar. Add the mashed bananas and beat the mixture well. Carefully fold in the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda. Stir in the walnuts. Put the cake mixture into the prepared loaf tin and decorate with the walnut halves, pressing them gently into the mixture. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, until the cake has risen and us golden. Allow to cool.