First Day of Autumn

It’s official, its a new season, it’s the first day of Autumn!!

The leaves are falling rapidly off the trees, the wind is blowing, the nights are getting darker and all we want to do is stay home in the warmth and eat and sleep…….but guess what!?!  Christmas is round the corner, party season is nearly here!!

Dieting is never easy at this time of year……Hell, I put on 8.5 lbs in two week.  I did what most of us love to do, eat out.  Eating meals that others have prepared is the worst thing to do, diet wise.  You have no control of how it’s prepared, but it tastes good and puts the pounds on.  Well as from today, that’s all over, I’m cooking my own meals and snacks, the containers are coming back out of hibernation.  There is only 8 week till Christmas and I’m going to get into a size 12 dress if it kills me LOL.

Zumba® Fitness will also help me to get there.  We run classes in the Goodmayes and Dagenham area, just visit the ‘classes’ tab on this site for more details.

I tried this recipe this week and it was really filling and yummy.


5 carrots, chopped
4 parsnips, chopped
Fry Light
1 onion, diced
8 sticks of celery, diced
1 swede, diced
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 vegetable stock cubes
3 pints boiling water
1 tsp dried ginger
1 tsp chilli powder
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Peel and chop the carrots and parsnips. Place them in an oven-proof dish, sprinkle the cumin over them. Spray with Fry Light and place in the oven for around 30 minutes.

2. Wash and dice the onion and celery, then place them in a large pan sprayed with Fry Light.

3. Whilst the celery and onions are sweating down, bring a kettle to the boil and dice the swede.

4. Add the garlic to the pan and cook until the onions start to go clear. Add the diced swede to the pan and mix well with the existing ingredients.

5. Remove the carrots and parsnips from the oven and add to the pan along with the bay leaves.

6. Make up the vegetable stock with 3 pints of boiling water and pour into the pan to cover the contents, also add the dried ginger, chilli powder and black pepper. Bring to the boil and leave to simmer for 20-30 minutes or until all the contents are soft.

7. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool a little before removing the bay leaves.

8. Transfer the contents into a blender or use a hand blender in the pan. Add more chilli/ginger/black pepper, to taste. Add more water if necessary to thin the consistency to your liking – you may need to add another stock cube if you add quite a lot of water.

9. Add a swirl of fat free fromage frais and freshly ground black pepper if desired.

Tip: If you don”t mind adding a few Syns you can pour light runny honey (1 Syn per level tsp) over the carrots and parsnips before putting them in the oven. The roasting process brings out the natural sweetness anyway, but you can enhance it with a little honey if you wish.