10 March 2017

6.05 Poached Pears w/ Yogurt Syllabub - Baking & Desserts - Low-Fuss

The main problem with a season like this is trying to include sweet recipes that are still considered light. As a result I've had to be a bit inventive using fruit, and this week is obviously no exception. 

Usually pears would be poached in a sugar and wine syrup, however my version found a lighter and less complicated way: just use fruit juice instead! As a result, this dessert has almost half the calories of the regular dish (depending on how you serve it, of course).

Recipe makes 4 serves
337 calories (1410 kilojoules) per serve
10.8 grams of fat per serve

For those of you wondering, syllabub is a type of English dessert made by mixing sweetened cream with an acid such as lemon juice. As usual, I won't make any claims that this version is at all traditional.


4 large pears
600ml apple & blackcurrant juice
1 tsp vanilla paste/extract/essence
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise

This recipe should work with basically any variety of pear - assuming they're ripe enough - but feel free to use one that poaches well.

I chose apple & blackcurrant juice as it has a nice balance of sweet and tart flavour, plus it imparts some colour while the pears poach. Other possibilities could include pomegranate or cranberry juice.


1. Peel the pears. (Seems fairly straightforward so far, right?)

2. Slice the pears in half lengthways, then remove the cores. (TIP: Use a melon-baller for this.)

3. Pour the juice into a large pan. Add the vanilla, cinnamon and star anise, stir together then place over a medium heat.

4. Once the juice is simmering, place the pears cut-side down into the pan. Allow to poach for approx. 25 minutes, occasionally spooning some of the juice over the tops of the pears.

5. Turn the pears over and poach for a further 10 minutes or until the juice has evaporated down to a syrup.

6. Place the pears and syrup into a bowl, cover, and place aside until serving. (NOTE: These can be served cold or warm and can be stored in the fridge for a few days until needed.)


1/2 cup low-fat greek yogurt
100g extra thick cream
2 tbsp honey
Zest of 1/2 orange

The yogurt provides the required acidity as well as some creaminess.

By extra thick cream I mean it should be thick enough to dollop, basically the same consistency as sour cream.


1. Place all ingredients into a bowl.

2. Mix together until combined.

3. Serve with the poached pears (or whatever).

Serves 4.

A video of these recipes is also available at https://youtu.be/NLo986QsD3Y.

2 March 2017

6.04 Zucchini Pasta w/ Fetta & Walnuts - Rice & Pasta - Low-Fuss

Okay, so this is a cheat - it's not actually pasta. This recipe uses shredded zucchini as a substitute which cuts out a large amount of calories and fat, but I've thrown in enough different flavours to make up for the deception.

An important thing to note is that to make this dish you will preferably have a spiralizer. If you're not familiar which this particular tool, I suggest you Google it and get one as soon as possible because they're fairly useful (and strangely fun to use).

Recipe makes 2 serves
441 calories (1845 kilojoules) per serve
31.1 grams of fat per serve

I did consider listing this recipe as making 3 serves, but let's face it; no matter how much you dress it up, this dish is essentially a glorified warm salad, and dividing it into 3 may just leave everyone hungry.

3 large zucchini
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
100g reduced fat fetta cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt & pepper

When I say "large zucchini", I mean around 25cm long and 5cm diameter at the thickest point. If you can only get smaller ones, then adjust as necessary.

Don't be turned off by the mint, it's not really a huge amount and it really helps to balance the flavours. If you absolutely can't stand it, just replace it with oregano, parsley or basil.


1. Shred your zucchini into long threads using a spiralizer. (If you don't have one, as a backup you could use a vegetable peeler or mandolin to slice the zucchini into thin ribbons - although this will take longer and you may not get the ideal result.)

2. Place the oil and garlic into a cold frypan and stir to distribute around the pan evenly, then place the pan over medium-high heat. (This will allow the garlic to infuse the oil more.)

3. Once the garlic starts to sizzle, add in the zucchini threads along with a generous pinch of salt and stirfry for approx. 5 minutes or until it softens to the texture of cooked pasta.

4. Add in the walnuts and fry for a further minute or so before stirring in the lemon (zest and juice) and mint.

5. Remove from the heat and stir in the fetta along with a generous pinch of salt and pepper.

6. Serve!

Serves 2-3, or can also be used as a side dish if preferred.

A video of this recipe is also available at https://youtu.be/Ub-umbLkT-E.