Monday, 25 April 2016

Dinner Party ... A la SW!!

Well, Martin and I are still on our Slimming World journey and all is going pretty much OK.

We are finding lots of really nice things we can eat plenty of and have only fallen foul when we've had meals out or the odd extra treat here and there.

Last weekend it was our turn to host our good friends, Jackie & Phil, for a regular Saturday night get together and we wondered whether we would be able to pull together a meal that meant we could stay on plan, but didn't leave us feeling disappointed or underwhelmed with what we'd served.  After all, typically these events usually involve lots of butter and double cream, in addition to copious amounts of alcolhol!!

I spent a good while scouring the recipe books and the Internet and managed to come up with a menu that I thought would fit the bill.

Starter
I decided that we would start off with Mediterranean Fish Cakes, which are totally Slimming World friendly, being completely Syn free (for the benefit of the uninitiated, this means you can eat as much of these as you like).  These were to be served with some green salad and a choice of either a lemon mayonnaise or sweet chilli dips.  The dips weren't Slimming World friendly, but I didn't feel too bad about that.

These were so easy to make and, bonus, you can make up ahead of schedule and get all the yucky clearing up done before your guests arrive.

You just chuck all of the ingredients into the food processor, hit the button and turn the mixture into mush.  You then shape it into small fish cakes and you can either grill or fry them.  The mixture comes out quite firm so it is really easy to work with.

With all of the prep done ahead, all that was left to do when our guests arrived, was to fry them off, which didn't take very long at all.

I served us three of these each, with the salad and they were absolutely scrummy.  They were really light and, to me, they were more of a Thai flavour than Mediterranean, but what do I know?

Main Course
The main course was to be a take on an old favourite ... Beef Wellington, served with two potato dauphinnoise, cauliflower, green beans and carrots. This dish wasn't entirely Syn free, but with only 2.5 Syns per portion, it didn't totally break the bank, so it seemed to hit the spot.

The Wellington is served in a pretty much deconstructed state, with a nicely cooked fillet steak served on a bed of mushroom duxelle, topped with a disc of lighter puff pastry, we cut ours out in heart shapes.

The dauphinnoise is totally Syn free and is made up of a mixture of both sweet and white potatoes, with a sauce made predominantly of our new favourite ingredient, Quark.

Again, lots of the prep can be done ahead and we were just really left with the steaks to fry, whilst the dauphinnoise finished off in the oven and the veg did in the steamer.

It looked really nice on the plate and the Wellington was gorgeous. Sometimes having the whole thing wrapped in pastry can be just a bit too much and, with just having the pastry topper, there was no sign of any soggy bottom.

Dessert
To finish off with I did a Chocolate and raspberry roulade.  Again not totally Syn free, each portion has 3.5, but then you do have to have some treats.

The 'sponge' is predominantly made up as a meringue and the filling is a combination of Quark and vanilla yoghurt, which is a really good substitution for either fresh cream or, another favourite, mascarpone.

All can be made ahead, so all that is left to do, when you are ready for dessert, is to whip it out of the fridge, say Ta-Dah, though mine did actually look just a little bit flat (it didn't affect the taste though), and cut everyone a slice.




 So, we managed to serve a really nice, filling and tasty, three course meal, with just 6 Syns per person (again, for the uninitiated, you should have between 5 and 15 per day), so well within the treat budget!

We all really enjoyed all that we had, plates were pretty much cleaned up and we all felt like we'd had plenty.  It was hard to believe that we'd managed to have such a lovely meal, all on plan .....












... oh yeah, then there was the alcohol, but we can just skim over that can't we?

After all, we are friends.

I will try and post the three recipes separately over the course of the next week or so, just in case you fancy giving any of them a go.

Thanks for reading.




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