Thursday, September 28, 2017

Mushroom and sweet pepper stroganoff recipe

HERE’S a perfect dish for these autumnal evenings – mushroom and sweet pepper stroganoff. It’s packed with goodness and it will warm you through and through. Our hospital superchef Simon Smith says: “This vegetarian take on a traditional Eastern European dish blends the taste of seasonal mushrooms and vegetables with continental herb and spices. Finished with sour cream, this dish is low in carbohydrates and fats. The dish goes well with a light fragranced cous cous.”

Mushroom and sweet pepper stroganoff

Serves 4

Preparation time: 15mins

Cooking time 25mins


150g Closed Cup Mushrooms (sliced)

100g Wild Mushrooms (whole)

150g Button Mushrooms (whole)

2 Mixed Sweet Peppers (sliced)

1 Medium Carrot (chopped)

1 Medium Leek (chopped)

2 Medium Onions (diced)

20ml Sesame Oil

100ml (half a glass) Cooking Red


20g tomato purée

2clv Garlic (chopped)

5g Dijon mustard

5g smoked hot paprika

10g Fresh Tarragon (chopped)

450ml Vegetable stock


80g Soured cream

20g flat leaf parsley

Equipment needed:

Medium pan & spoon.

4 Small Mixing bowl

Chopping board

Small Vegetable Knife


  1. Heat the pan on a medium heat and add the sesame oil.
  2. Add the crushed garlic, stir in the oil and sauté for a few seconds then add the closed cup sliced mushrooms, carrot, leek and onions. Stir into the oil and cover the pan and allow the vegetables to sauté for approx. 5 min or until vegetables are al dente (crisp to the bite).
  3. Add the sweet peppers and half the wild and whole mushrooms. Stir into the pan and cook for a further couple of minutes, just to soften the peppers and whole mushrooms. Add the tarragon and paprika, stir into the mix then add the red wine. Increase the heat and allow the red wine to boil until liquid has reduced by half in the pan.
  4. Reduce the heat once more and stir in the tomato puree & Dijon mustard. Then slowly add the veg stock, stirring it into the mixture while on a low heat. When all the stock is in the pan stir in the rest of the whole mushrooms and allows simmering on the cooker for approx. 15 – 20mins to cook out the tomato stirring regularly.
  5. Check the pan frequently when the sauce has reduced to a coating consistency on your spoon. Remove from the heat, season and stir in the sour cream and finally the flat leaf parsley.



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Monday, September 25, 2017

How to create good health habits that stick

RESEARCH shows that habits account for about 40 per cent  of our behaviour every day, so you can understand why it’s so important to create good health habits that stick, because this is one of the key secrets to lasting weight loss.

My Autumn Success Drive blog last week was all about goal-setting and breaking the big goals down to mini goals because this is what helps provide the momentum to reach the big goals.

The thing that most people find very hard to do when they’re trying to lose weight is to change their behaviour towards food and maintain a consistent healthy lifestyle.  It’s a constant challenge to use willpower to be consciously on top of your eating the whole time.

But it’s only through repeating the same behaviour day in and day out that healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle become automatic.

When this happens you don’t even have to think about it because your subconscious has taken responsibility for your behaviour. And this is how the Slimpod works – by gently nudging you into healthier behaviours without any of the effort!

One of the reasons so many people struggle to lose weight and keep it off is it just becomes too hard.

If you think about your eating habits over the past 10 years, they’ll probably resemble something like a rollercoaster ride rather than a cruise!

Nearly every habit you have today, good or bad, is the result of many small choices and decisions made over time.

And it’s the repeated pattern of small healthy behaviours that will lead to long term weight loss.  So remember those mini goals from last week’s blog – this is the next step after you’ve created those mini goals!

How to create health habits that stick

  1. Make them really small and easy

Start with something that is so easy that you need no motivation to do it.   If you have a fitness goal of 50 squats a day start with five and work your way up.  Do these at a regular time.   Make it easy enough that you can get it done without motivation.

  1. Develop the habit in very small ways

Success is a few simple disciplines, practised every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.—Jim Rohn

One per cent improvements add up surprisingly fast and make you feel great when you know you’re achieving something.

Rather than trying to do something huge from the beginning, start small and gradually improve. Along the way, your motivation will increase, and your habit will gently become automatic – which is what you want!

Gradually increase the number of squats by one or two each day. Consistency is the key and you’ll be amazed how well you do!

Create a cornerstone habit

A cornerstone habit is something you begin your day with and this particular action sets you up for the rest of the day. I always begin my day with some exercise.  It’s either walking the dog, going to the gym or playing tennis (at 7.30 am!).

I have been doing this for five days a week for many years and I simply can’t start the day without it.  Even on holiday I have to swim/walk/jog in the morning before everyone else is up.

What could you set as your cornerstone habit – do tell me below!

Next Monday I’ll have more tips on how to create and develop great habits – watch out for my blog!


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Friday, September 15, 2017

Chef Simon’s super-healthy salmon en croute recipe

ALL of hospital superchef Simon Smith’s recipes for Slimpodders are created with busy people in mind and this week I’d like to share his Salmon en Croute recipe. Enjoy!



Serves 4
Preparation time: 10 min
Cooking time: 10 – 15 mins


4 * 130g Salmon supreme (skinless)
4 shallots (diced)
1tsp. Fresh dill (chopped)
1tsp Fresh chives (chopped)
1tsp Fresh parsley (chopped)
2clvs Garlic
Lemon juice
10g butter
1 lemon
2 *4ply Filo Pastry


Baking tray
Frying pan
Chopping board


  1. Place salmon fillets on to a plate and season; place the frying pan on a low heat on the cooker.
  2. Add the 10g of butter and melt, place the salmon supremes in the pan with the skin side down.
  3. Add the garlic, shallots, and herbs and squeeze ½ the lemon into the pan. Cover the pan, cook for approx., 2 mins, the salmon supremes should be light pink on the outside but still uncooked in the middle.
  4. Place the Supremes onto a plate and keep the pan with the juice in it.
  5. On a lightly floured surface cut the sheets of filo in half to make 4 rectangle pieces
  6. Place a portion of salmon into the middle of the pastry and add a teaspoon of the lemon butter juice from the pan on to each fish.
  7. Trim the width of the pastry to a centimetre from the tips of the salmon. Fold along the length of the supreme one layer at a time brushing each layer with melted butter and tuck the pastry under the fish to make a tight parcel. Crimp the ends with a fork. Repeat with the other portions and place on a baking tray.
  8. Bake in a pre-heated oven on 190C / Gas 5 for approx. 10min or until pastry is golden brown.
  9. Remove from oven and serve with fresh vegetables and new potatoes or couscous . This dish goes great with a helping of garlic and cracked pepper creme fraiche.

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Let’s lose some inches now the holidays are over

Lose some inches weight loss success book

THE holiday season is over so let’s get motivated and lose some inches! For many people, holidays really mess up daily routines so now’s the chance to get back in the groove and get motivated to shift some inches!  I’m going to help you with a quick recap on goal-setting and a couple of tasks to kick you off!

If you’re a member of our private Slimpod group on Facebook, then Debbie is running some special motivational threads in there for the next few weeks.  If you’re not on Facebook then watch out for my blogs for the next few Mondays.

So, back to basics!

If you want success with anything in life you really should set goals. Why? Well a goal provides a target on which to concentrate your effort. Goals give you direction and allow your mind to focus on what you want to achieve.

By setting goals you’re also able to measure your progress because you have a start and finish date. They provide mental boundaries so you avoid distractions and remain focused on the goal. They make you accountable.

Now I’m very well aware that some people find goal-setting triggers all sorts of negative reactions.

This is usually because in the past they’ve failed to achieve their weight loss goals and now the very thought of setting a goal to lose some inches creates an instant obstacle and is far to painful to contemplate!

If this is you, I’d urge you to think about the process differently and use it as a feedback mechanism to help you measure progress rather than something that makes you feel a failure.

During the next few weeks I’ll be teaching you how to overcome this feeling so it’s no longer an obstacle stopping you from achieving your goals – it will be very exciting!

So we’ll kick off by thinking about the big goal.

When you’re creating your goal, please make sure it’s meaningful – knowing why you want this goal is essential because that’s what’s going to drive you!

Some ideas on goals to lose some inches

* A size goal. These are the BEST because it’s the clothes you’re wearing that tell the story.  Getting into that next size down would be the perfect goal!

* A weight goal.  Really not ideal because weight fluctuates for many reasons. Scales really have a habit of making you feel bad and should be abandoned and put in a cupboard!  This is about helping you to feel great!

* A health goal.  Some people want to get their diabetes under control…great goal!

The next step is to break the goal down into mini goals and this bit is easy because we’re all going to do it together.

For the next week I would like you to do just two things every day

ONE: Listen to your Slimpods EVERY day

Obviously, listening to your Slimpod (and other pods if you have them) is crucial if you’re to lose some inches and it’s one of the things many people find difficult to do every day.  Let’s make sure you make this a habit in the next 21 days!

It’s only 9 mins and you’ll be asleep in 2 mins so make it your first task to focus on this.  If losing weight is important to you then you’ll do it.  Set an alarm for the same time each day!  It really couldn’t be easier!

TWO: Write down three positive things that have happened in your day.

We ask you to write down three positives for two very good reasons.

  1. Seeing is believing.  For the first few weeks the changes in your lifestyle and eating habits are magical – but if you’re a busy person they can go unnoticed if you don’t take two mins at the end of the day to write them down.

Many people who have struggled with their weight for years have a very negative self image.  A large part of the journey with our programme is to empower you to feel good about your “self” because feeling good IS so important to wellbeing and it’s empowering!

  1. Writing down three good things that have happened in your day primes your mind to think more positively.  After time this actually changes the brain and the changeability of the brain is known as neuroplasticity.  Every thought, regardless of what it’s about, creates chemical reactions in the brain, and when repeated often, structural changes too.  This is also why we ask you to listen to your Slimpod repeatedly.

Get yourself a lovely notebook to write your positives in.  I know there’s a success log on the app, but for me a notebook works far better. I love seeing my progress and it’s safe!  Tech lets me down too often to be relied on!!

So now’s the time to get to it and lose some inches! For the next seven days, feedback every day by using the comments section below or post on Slimpod Club on Facebook. I’ll be looking out for you!


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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Healthy recipe: Chicken tandoori with baby spinach

MOST of us love the delicious herbs and spices that make Indian food so tasty. But if you eat dishes which are rich in sweetened sauces you’re going to make it much harder to lose weight. So this week our hospital super chef Simon Smith has produced a recipe for chicken tandoori which is nutritious, light and filling – but definitely the healthier option. When Simon cooked this dish at Tameside hospital as the special of the day, he sold out – 100 portions gone in just 30 minutes!

Chicken Tandoori with Baby Spinach, Rocket Citrus Salad

Serves 4
Preparation time: 15mins
Cooking time 20 mins

4 x 110g (approx.) Chicken breast Fillets (skin off)
600g Natural Yoghurt
3tbsp Tandoori Masala Powder
1tsp Fresh Garlic (pureed)
1tsp Fresh Ginger (pureed)
½ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
1 small bunch Fresh Coriander
1 fresh lemon
1 head Spring Onion
2 tbsp. Sesame Oil

250g Baby Spinach (pre washed)
250g Rocket Leaf (pre washed)
½ Red Peppers
½ Green Peppers
½ Yellow Peppers
¼ Cucumbers
½ Red Onions
2 Fresh Tomatoes
2tsp fresh Chives
1 Orange
1 Lemon
½ tsp. fresh Chive
½ tsp. Fresh Garlic (pureed)
20ml Wine Vinegar
80ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1tsp Dijon Mustard

Equipment needed:
Medium roasting tray
2 Medium Mixing bowl
2 Small Mixing bowl
Chopping board
Small Vegetable Knife

Pre heat the oven to 190oc / Gas Mk 5

Into a mixing bowl place the yoghurt, tandoori powder, nutmeg, garlic, ginger, spring onions, sesame oil and half the lemon squeezed. Mix all the ingredients together in the bowl until they are all thoroughly combined.

On the chopping board double score the chicken fillets and place in the yoghurt mix.

Coat the chicken completely in the marinade. Cover with cling wrap and place on the lowest shelf in the fridge for 10 mins.

While we wait for the chicken, let’s prepare the salad. Small dice the peppers, onion, tomatoes and cucumber and place into a bowl and set aside.

In another bowl mix the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, chive and garlic. Whisk until combined then add the grated zest of the lemon and orange, then squeeze the juice from both fruit. Mix thoroughly and season.

Pour enough of the dressing into the chopped pepper mixture to give it a light coating. Pour any extra dressing into a jug to serve with the dish.

Take the chicken from the fridge and place the fillets into a roasting tray. Spread a little of the marinade on to the fillets then cover with foil and place into the oven and allow to cook for approx. 10mins.

Pre heat your grill on high.

Remove the chicken from the oven and remove the foil place back in the oven for an additional 10mins to take on a little roasting colour.

Once again remove the chicken from the oven. The chicken should be cooked, but to check cut a small incision into the thickest part of the supreme. If the juices from the meat are clear of blood then it’s cooked.

Place the roasting tray under the hot grill for approx. 60 seconds, to give the supreme a grilled appearance.

Toss the baby spinach and rocket in a bowl and portion onto 4 plates. Spoon the chopped pepper and citrus dressing mixture over the leaf.

Add the tandoori chicken supreme and the dish is complete.

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