Saturday, January 14, 2012


As you know I am one of the millions who start every new year with the intention of ending it weighing alot less - some years it happens, more years not!  This year is no exception, and I felt it was a sign that this might be "the year" when the people at Low Low challenged me to give a Come Dine With Me meal to some friends and ask them to score the experience. (Although there is a flaw in their plan - who's friends wouldn't score them 10!!).

I invited some of my reducing friends (they'll be delighted with that title!) to lunch and set out to plan my menu. I wanted to try out the Low Low products, as I have been a fan of their packets of grated cheddar cheese for ages and have been known to devour a tub of the Cracked Black Pepper Cheddar Spread with a packet of crisps (but those days are gone - I promise!!!).  They had sent me some recipe ideas and I opted to try out their Carrot, Courgette, Pecan and Cheese muffins to go with a starter of  Carrot, Cardamon and Cumin Soup (I made these carrots (using less butter) and then added stock and blitzed).  The muffins were great with the soup, although next time I make them I'll omit the nuts and add some grilled (or fried depending on the will power) bacon or ham.

For the main course I served monkfish baked with some home made sunblushed tomatoes and preserved lemons and served that with Stuffed Tomatoes with Rice, I got this recipe from a Slimming World leaflet, toyed with it a bit and it is excellent - the highlight of the meal in my opinion.  The fact that you soak the rice in the tomato juices for such a long time gives you a lovely soft textured result. This will be a regular visitor to our dinner table from now on - maybe with some olive oil drizzled over (when I'm skinny and can do such things!!).

The other vegetable I served was a Low Low recipe for Cheesy Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms - now if this had been the real deal and I were serving them to strangers who would rate my meal, I might have left these out, they weren't a huge success, they tasted fine but laked severely in the looks department.

For dessert I served these cupcakes which were popular, and I think it was O.K. that after such a virtuous meal we indulged in some Baileys in our coffee.

Stuffed Tomatoes With Rice
adapted from a Slimming World Recipe

4            large firm tomatoes (I used beef tomatoes)
2            garlic cloves - grated
50g/2oz  risotto rice (uncooked)
6 tbsp     finely chopped basil (keep some to decorate)
3 tbsp     grated cheddar cheese (I used Low Low)
salt and black pepper

Cut the top off the tomatoes and set aside to use as lids.
Scoop out the pulp from the tomatoes and chop finely, put in a bowl.
Stir the rice, garlic, basil into the tomato pulp and leave aside at room temperature for one hour.
Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Add the basil and cheese to the rice mixture and stuff the tomatoes.
Transfer to a baking dish and top with the lids.
Bake for 35 - 40 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft and the rice is cooked through.

P.S.  They scored me 10 (surprise, surprise) but refused a chance of international stardom citing bad hair days when I wanted to take their picture for the blog! 


Caroline said...

It all looks lovely, and those stuffed tomatoes sound great. It sounds like a great start to the New Year, and amongst friends too!

The Cookie Jar said...

Well deserved 10, it all looks lovely. Will have to give the tomatoes a try.

Ana Regalado said...

All that food makes me drool ! Good food , good friends , what more could you ask for ?!

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

I think it all looks and sounds wonderful. The stuffed tomato and mushroom dishes would definitely have been my favorite. Isn't it hard trying to lose a few? I start out gun-ho and then fizzle miserably. Good luck!

Anna's kitchen table said...

It all looks yummy Brownie, mushrooms included! Who would even know, unless you tell them, that's its a ' lighter ' meal?

Kate@whatkatebaked said...

Happy New Year! What a delicious lunch- I suspect it wasn't just out of loyalty your friends scored you 10!

scrumptious days said...

The monkfish sounds divine, what lucky friends you have to share such a delightful meal. Jude x

Maria♥ said...

The monkfish really looks delish! I'm sure there wasn't a scrap of food left.


Unknown said...

I always forget how much I love monkfish. It's such a great fish and so healthy. I love your meal but am always suspicious about weight loss meals. Who needs it? And who eats 3 courses anyway? Great post though xx

laura_howtocook said...

oh you must have delighted your friends with this meal.I would have loved to sample the monfkish. Hope you had a great time!

Phil in the Kitchen said...

Love the monkfish and I haven't had stuffed toms for ages but I've no idea why since I like them so much. I'm sure the meal was worth a 10 but don't invite my friends - one of them recently suggested that the meal I'd cooked was OK but the plates weren't quite the right colour. Note to self - must get some new friends.

Susan Lindquist said...

Even more important than any weight loss scheme ... having friends to lunch and enjoying oneself in good company! The monkfish paired with those stuffed tomatoes is just perfect ... and really when has a stuffed mushroom ever won a beauty contest (but Oh! the taste! Yum!) ... sounds like it was a ten to me!

Nessa Robins said...

What a lovely lunch you served! I'm also taking the Low Low challenge and will hopefully blog it in the next week. They have some lovely products.

The Ordinary Cook said...

Lunch with friends is a very good start to the year. I like the look of the monkfish very much. It all looks too good to be healthy.

Victor said...

Quite a healthy start. Monkfish looks definitely delicious, stuffed tomatoes are definite favorite served with a marinara sauce. Thanks for sharing your lunch menu.

Manu said...

Everything looks so yummy!
Have a great week end

Choclette said...

Oh well done AND good luck! I have good intentions every morning when I wake up, but somehow they seem to very quickly dissipate :(

Your stuffed tomatoes sound delcious

Shu Han said...

that's a gorgeous lunch! i think as long as you are cooking with whole, realfoods, enjoying your food, and not resorting to quick grabs of fast food, you will lose weight healthily and happily! you're definitely on the right track!

Sommer said...

the tomatoes sounds absolutely gorgeous!! the whole meal does!

love love the come dine with me setup- love that show! i'd score you an 11!