21 February 2017

6.03 Baked Figs w/ Ricotta & Cinnamon - Baking & Desserts - Low-Fuss

This simple little 4 ingredient recipe can be either a breakfast, a dessert, or a light snack. Because this is the "healthy" season, in order to have some sweet recipes I've had to explore using fruit in a way that I wouldn't usually do.

For instance, I'd never tried a fresh fig before testing this dish out; just the dried ones (which sometimes aren't particularly good). If you're in the same boat, let me assure you - fresh figs are great! I had to struggle not to do too many "taste tests" for this one. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Recipe makes 6 serves
106 calories (444 kilojoules) per serve
1.4 grams of fat per serve

6 serves may seem like a stretch, but part of eating healthier is portion control. That being said, if you doubled-up the serves, this is still not bad for you!

6 fresh figs, rinsed and dried
150g reduced-fat ricotta cheese, slightly crumbled
1/3 cup agave syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon

The figs should be ripe, but not TOO ripe (otherwise they fall apart fairly easily).

I would choose fresh ricotta over the pre-packaged stuff, not only because it TASTES fresher but because there tends to be a higher salt content in pre-packaged ricotta (most likely as a preservative). This extra salt can throw off the whole dish. Also, if you want to use full-fat ricotta, that's obviously not going to be as low in calories or fat as reduced-fat ricotta - but it should taste great!

You can substitute the agave syrup for honey if it's easier. Agave syrup is only slightly lower in calories than honey, but I also find it works better as a syrup because it's runnier than honey plus it's not such a cloying sweetness.


1. Preheat oven to 200°C (390°F).

2. Slice the stalk off one of the figs. Cut down the fig almost to the bottom, then do this again so you have cut a cross.

3. Open up the fig slightly, then place into a muffin tin.  (This will keep the figs upright while baking.)

4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until you have used all the figs.

5. Mix together the agave syrup and cinnamon until combined.

6. Drizzle approx. 1 tsp of the syrup over the top and inside each fig.

7. Place the figs (in the muffin tray) into the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes. (Just long enough to soften them up and warm them through.)

8. Transfer the figs to serving plates and place approx. 2 tbsp of ricotta inside each fig.

9. Drizzle a further 2 tsp of syrup over the top of each fig, then serve. (Garnish with a sprig of mint if you want to make it look a bit more exciting.)

Serves 6 (or 3, or 2... or 1)

A video of these recipes is also available at https://youtu.be/o-azCzbiHrk.

14 February 2017

6.02 Crispy-Skin Salmon w/ Warm Potato Salad - Seafood - Low-Fuss

Just in time for Valentine's Day, here's a quick and simple-to-prepare meal for 2! I would recommend it more as a lunch (because of the carbs again) but it's probably fine as a dinner as well. All up, it takes approx. 20-25 minutes from beginning to end.

This recipe was actually based on fish & chips with tartare sauce - a guilty pleasure of mine. I've attempted to hit similar textural and flavour marks while keeping things as light as possible.

Recipe makes 2 serves
498 calories (2084 kilojoules) per serve
28.9 grams of fat per serve

While the calories and fat in this dish may seem excessive, it's important to remember that 1) the general recommended caloric intake is 2000 per day on average; 2) the general recommended fat intake is 65 grams per day on average; and 3) so long as you structure your meals appropriately for the rest of the day this is perfectly acceptable.

Besides, most of the calories and fat come from the salmon, and fish oil has several health benefits. There's more to eating better than cutting out fat altogether.

2x salmon fillets (approx. 175g each), skin on
350g potato, peeled and diced
1/2 cup green beans, sliced
1/3 cup low-fat greek yogurt
1 tbsp capers
1/2 tbsp olive oil
Dill (to taste)
Lemon wedges (to serve)
Salt & pepper

Obviously if you don't get salmon with the skin on you can't have crispy skin. If you choose to go the skinless route this recipe should still give you a decent result regardless. If you can't get salmon, I'm sure trout is also sold as fillets with the skin on and shouldn't be very different as an alternative.

I'm not going to specify a particular type of potato, just use something that's good for boiling. To get the right amount you'll need 2-3 decent sized potatoes.

As an alternative to green beans, you could also use sugar-snap peas, snow peas, or even just regular peas if you can find them fresh and out of the pod. I encourage you to adapt my recipes however you see fit.

On the topic of alternatives, you can use full-fat greek yogurt if you're not overly concerned by what you're eating. Plain/natural yogurt should also be fine.

As for the dill... well I'm not really a fan of it myself, with the exception of a few dishes (including this one). You don't need much anyway, just a few sprigs. Or feel free to swap it for something like tarragon or basil.


1. Place the potatoes into a pot, then cover with water from a recently boiled kettle (to save time). Place on a medium-high heat and boil for 15-20 minutes or until cooked (but not too soft)

2. Dran the potatoes and place into a bowl with the beans. Stir together and place aside to cool for 5-10 minutes while you continue with the recipe. (The heat from the potatoes should soften the beans a bit, but they'll basically still be raw and have some nice texture to them).

3. In a bowl, mix the oil with a pinch of salt and pepper. Then, brush the skin side of each salmon fillet with a generous amount of seasoned oil.

4. Place the fillets skin-side-down into a frypan over medium-high heat and allow to fry for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, then brush the other side of the fillets with any leftover oil, flip them over and fry for a further 60-90 seconds.

6. Flip the fillets onto one side and fry for 30-60 seconds before flipping onto the other side and cooking for another 30-60 seconds.

7. Flip the fillets back on to the skin side for a final 30-60 seconds before removing from the heat and allowing to rest or a couple of minutes while you continue with the recipe. (Total cooking time for the salmon is 5-6 minutes, it will still be slightly pink in the centre which is the way salmon is usually served.)

8. Into a food processor, place the yogurt, some dill (or whatever you decide to use), the capers, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Blend to your desired consistency (a.k.a. chunky or smooth). (TIP: If you don't have a food processor, just chop the capers and herbs by hand and mix with the yogurt, salt and pepper.)

9. Pour the dressing over the slightly-cooled potatoes and beans and mix until everything is coated.

10. Serve half of the potato salad with each salmon fillet and a wedge of lemon (for those that want it).

Serves 2.

A video of these recipes is also available at https://youtu.be/Y3PptSEeB5Y.

7 February 2017

6.01 Buckwheat Pancakes w/ Wildberry Syrup - Breakfast & Brunch - Low-Fuss

What better place to start the new season than with breakfast? I know some of you may be dubious as to how exactly this fits into a "healthy" season, but using the right ingredients it's actually not as bad as you'd think. Which brings me to the stats for this dish:

Recipe makes 4 serves
417 calories (1745 kilojoules) per serve
7.75 grams of fat per serve
(*when made with Erythritol)

See, not so bad, right? It's also worth adding that the recipe is completely gluten free with no added sugar. For those of you wondering about all the carbs, well, this is a breakfast dish. If you're going to have a carb-heavy meal it's best to do it at the beginning of the day so you have plenty of time to burn it off.


So the "wildberry" part of the title may be a bit of a misnomer as I'm fairly sure almost none of the berries you buy commercially are actually wild-picked anymore, but everyone else says it, so...

200g mixed berries
3/4 cup maple flavoured syrup

You can use fresh or frozen berries - obviously fresh would be better - and whatever combination you prefer. I use equal parts raspberry (for tartness and colour), blackberry (for colour and texture) and blueberry (for sweetness).

While I'd usually go out of my way to use pure maple syrup in my food, in this case the maple flavoured syrup better suits the "healthy" idea, having a mind-boggling SEVEN TIMES LESS calories than pure maple syrup. While some people may have issues with the sweeteners used, you can't really argue with that statistic. It may vary from brand to brand, but if you're confused just have a quick look at the nutritional values on the bottle.


1. Place the berries and syrup into a saucepan, stir together and place over a medium heat.

2. Once it starts to simmer, let it bubble away for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the berries begin to break down and release their juices.

3. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for around 15 minutes before serving. (Because putting boiling syrups into your mouth is never a good idea, plus this gives you time to make the pancakes!)


As mentioned above, these are both gluten free and sugar free. It turns out that "buckwheat" is also a misnomer as it isn't a type of wheat at all! This recipe is just one big stack of contradictions... although they are tasty contradictions.

1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
1/3 cup natural sweetner (such as xylitol, stevia, erythritol, etc.)
400ml buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vegetable oil (for frying)

The quinoa flakes are really just there to add a bit of body to the pancakes so you feel full. If you can't find them then you can replace this with the same amount of quick-oats instead, however this stops the recipe from being gluten free.

Most people are already familiar with stevia, but I've recently discovered xylitol and erythritol which are made from sugar alcohols - which are neither sugar NOR alcoholic, just to continue the theme I seem to have going here - and are therefore considered natural. Xylitol has around half the calories of sugar but erythritol, like stevia, has basically no calories at all (or at least very few). If you're unsure about which to use, I suggest you do a bit of research to see the pros and cons of each.


1. Place the buckwheat, quinoa (or oats), sweetener,  baking powder, bicarb and salt into a large jug (or a bowl with a pouring lip) and mix until evenly dispersed.

2. In another jug, place the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla and whisk together until combined.

3. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the buckwheat mixture and whisk until you have a fairly smooth batter. (There will be some lumpiness caused by the quinoa flakes or oats, but that's fine.)

4. Heat a pan over medium-high heat, then add the cooking oil and use some kitchen towel to wipe it around the pan to make a thin coating.

5. Pour out blobs of batter approx. 7cm (2.5 in) wide, taking care not to overcrowd the pan.

6. Fry for 1 and a half to 2 minutes before flipping. (Bubbles will begin to apear on the top of the pancakes within the first minute, but you should wait until the outer edges of the pancakes are slightly set before attempting to flip them over. People tend to get a bit anxious which is the real reason why the first batch of pancakes is never quite right.)

7. Fry for a further minute or so on the other side before removing from the pan.

8. Serve warm with syrup.

Makes 12 (serving size is 3 pancakes plus 1/4 of the wildberry syrup).

A video of these recipes is also available at https://youtu.be/nyrTycqZCSs.

2 February 2017

Hi all! The time has come for another new season, and I'm more than a little excited about this one.

Whether you've made a New Year's resolution to lose weight, or are a bit of a health nut, or just want to make a change to your diet now and then - this is the season for you! Proudly presenting: FoodPoint Lite.

This new mini-season showcases healthier alternatives for any meal, but done in a way that shouldn't feel like you're sacrificing anything. Plus, all recipes are Low-Fuss! Because eating better shouldn't be a hassle, should it?

Sometimes the hardest part of maintaining a better eating plan is a lack of options - trust me, I've been there many times! Hopefully this season gives you just that little extra boost to help you on your way. And for those few that are not into "that healthy stuff", these recipes should still satisfy your appetite! Give it a go. ;)

FoodPoint Lite starts 30th January 2017. Check out the trailer at https://youtu.be/Q1oAaNGf4WU.


--- Blake