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All these starters can also be served as a light lunch

Cheddar Onion Soup

GDA soup 

Serves 4

450g (1lb) onions
850 ml (1 1/2 pint) chicken stock
20g (3/4 oz) cornflour 
ground black pepper
100g (4 oz) half fat cheddar, grated
chopped parsley for garnish

  1. Cut onions into 0.5 cms (1/4 inch) slices and add to stock in a saucepan.
  2.  Bring to boil and simmer for 30 mins.
  3.  Blend flour with a little water and stir in some hot stock.
  4. Add mixture to saucepan and cook, stirring continuousley, for 2 minutes or until soup thickens.
  5. Pour soup into warm dishes and top with cheese. Sprinkle with garnish.

To make it lower in salt, use a low salt stock cube


 Avocado with Prawns

Serves: 4

2 medium avocados

100 grams (4 ounces) shelled prawns

4 tablespoons reduced calorie mayonnaise

1 tablespoon tomato purée

11/2 teaspoons lemon juice

Drop or two Tabasco hot pepper sauce

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 Mix the mayonnaise with the tomato puree, lemon juice and Tabasco, then season with salt and pepper.

2 Mix in the prawns.

3 Shortly before serving, cut the avocados in half lengthwise and remove the stones. Fill with prawn mixture and serve.

Tip: Serve with some multigrain bread spread with a little reduced fat spread and cut into quarters.

Hummus Dip

Serves: 8

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

2 x 400 grams cans chickpeas drained

3 tablespoon tahina

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons sea salt

Pinch of cayenne pepper

125 millilitres 1/4 pint/1/2 cup) water

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Chopped coriander leaves and slices of lemon to decorate

1 Toast the cumin, sesame and coriander seeds in a small frying-pan until fragrant (about 4 minutes). Crush coarsely in a mortar with a pestle, or use a spice grinder. Set aside.

2 Transfer the chickpeas to a food processor. In a small bowl, whisk together the tahina, garlic, lemon juice, salt, crushed spices, sesame seeds and the water. Turn the food processor on and add the liquid mixture a tablespoon at the time until a smooth purée is formed.

3 Serve with carrot, cucumber or celery sticks, and pitta bread.

Tip: If you don’t like your hummus too garlicky, then reduce the amount of garlic in the recipe

Poached Pears, Cheese, and Walnuts

Serves 4

4 pears, peeled, cored and halved

6-8 cubes (3 tablespoons) crystallised ginger

75 grams (3 ounces/3/4 cup) blue cheese, crumbled (Danish Blue works well)

75 grams (3 ounces/f3/4 cup) walnuts

4 slices streaky bacon

Rocket salad, to serve

1 Poach pears in a little water with ginger for around 5-10 minutes or until soft.

2 Drain but reserve 1 tablespoon of the cooking liquor.

3 Mix blue cheese with chopped walnuts.

4 Grill the bacon until crisp but not burnt, chop up and mix with the cheese and walnuts.

5 Serve the pears onto four plates on a bed of rocket, and pour a small amount of the saved liquor on top of each.

Tip: This recipe can be made in advance and chilled or served with the pears and bacon still warm.

Vary It! The pear, cheese and walnut mixture can be served as a filling for a baked sweet potato


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