Friday, July 29, 2011

Zesty Pink Summer Salad


Pink Salad



This is a really nice zesty salad that works great in summer months. It’s a really light salad, and if you’re a girly girl like myself, then you’ll appreciate the pinkness of the dish. This is a great accompaniment to fish or chicken.


Ingredients
  • 1 fennel bulb, core removed and sliced thinly
  • 1 carrot, grateful
  • 1 red onion, grated
  • 1 cooked beetroot, cubed
  • 1 orange, segmented


Dressing

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 tbsp of white wine vinegar
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Salt and pepper



Method

  1. To make the dressing, simply whisk all the ingredients together
  2. Combine all the salad ingredients together, mixing well.
  3. Stir in the dressing and combine so everything is evenly coated.
  4. The salad can be kept for a day or two in air tight container.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

One Pot Low Fat Veggie Roast




This recipe is a fantastic standby if you’re rushing about mid week, not much time to cook and not wanting to reach for a high salt, sugar, fat convenience meal either. The preparation simply takes 5 to 10 minutes then you can forget about it for 35 minutes and hey presto dinner is served. This is the basic recipe, to add a protein dimension you could add halloumi or feta cheese. Or to make it non vegetarian you could place a piece of fish on top of the veggies for the last 15 minutes of cooking. It’s one of those meals that leftovers will be taken care of handily enough. I’m making extra and I’m going to use the leftover roast veggies for lunch tomorrow. I’ll reheat and pop them in a pitta with extra light Philadelphia and some rocket and tomatoes. So there you are……..low fat dinner for busy mid week supper, and low fat lunch the following day.


Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 sweet potato, washed, dried and cut into wedges
  • ¼ butternut squash, cut into wedges
  • 1 red pepper, cut into big slices
  • 1 large red onion, quartered
  • 1 courgette, cut into thick slices
  • 8-10 mushrooms, halved
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 grated garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil (I used a mixture of regular olive oil and chilli infused olive oil)
  • 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar

(use any Mediterranean/root vegetables that are available to you)



Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  2. Add all the chopped vegetables to a baking tray, sprinkle over the thyme and garlic, and the oil and vinegar. Add some pepper at this stage if you like, but I wouldn’t add salt as it tends to draw the water out of the vegetables and they end up a little shrivelled. So season with salt at the end.
  3. Mix the vegetables well to ensure that each piece is coated with the herbs, garlic, oil and vinegar.
  4. Roast in the oven for 35 minutes. Check on them half way to see if they need turning.
  5. If you have some herbs like coriander, basil, mint or parsley, you could add them to the finished dish for some extra flavour if you wish to do so.

Great as a side to a Sunday Roast also, but for a low fat mid week supper, this is definitely the ticket!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tempura Prawns & Vegetable Bites




These little bites are devine with drinks or as a starter. They are not kind to the waist line though, so must be reserved as a treat only. The secret to good tempura lies in the batter. The batter should not be over whisked, and freezing cold sparkling water should be used. The result is a batter that instantly puffs up and it’s actually a really light, fluffy batter. Make the batter really last minute, it looses air if left to stand for any length of time.

I used this tempura to make a combination of tempura vegetables and tempura prawn. I served these with a wasabi mayonnaise for a little kick. Though easy on the wasabi, a little goes a long way!

Serves 6 for a starter

Ingredients

The Batter

  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of freezing cold sparkling water

The Tempura ingredients

  • 18 raw prawns, deveined and shelled
  • ½ aubergine, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 red pepper sliced
  • 2 red onions, quartered

The Wasabi Mayonnaise

  • ½ tsp of wasabi paste
  • Juice of a lime
  • 3 tbsp of good quality mayonnaise


Method

  1. First, get your deep fryer hot, to 180 degrees
  2. Then get you veggies and prawns prepared.
  3. When just ready to cook, make the batter. Whisk 2 eggs in a bowl, add the flour and then the water. Combine, but don’t over whisk it.
  4. Dunk each piece of vegetable in the batter, shake off excess and then lower into the hot oil, with the basket already down.
  5. They are ready when they float to the surface and are golden. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm until all the frying is complete.
  6. To make the mayonnaise, combine all the ingredients, taste to see if extra mayo or wasabi needed.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Moroccan Inspired BBQ Leg of Lamb



We finally get a glimpse of the sun, hurrah!!!! Barbeques at the ready………… This weekend I’m having a ‘BBQ’ but I’m not going to do the typical burgers, hot dogs thing. Instead I went to my lovely butcher last night and got a leg of lamb, boned and butterflied and I’m going to throw it on the BBQ and serve with loads of salads. It’s nice to try something different when BBQ’ing, and this is a real life saver if you are having guests and not to much time to prepare the day of the BBQ. I marinated the meat over night, and made the cous cous salad. So all that was to do today was make a taztiki and heat some pittas and throw a few salads together, and then I just have to whack the lamb on the BBQ and serve to table in its entirety so people can look at it in all its splendour. It may seem like I went to a lot of effort, but I didn’t really, with the majority of the work done the evening before. Leaving plenty of time for making cocktails.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp of cumin seeds
  • 3 tbsp of coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp of black pepper corns
  • 1 tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • Zest of juice of a lemon
  • Juice of 2 clementines
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Leg of lamb, boned and butterflied


Method

  1. Heat frying pan to medium and dry fry the seeds and peppercorns, Careful not to burn them, we only want them warmed through to intensify their fragrance.
  2. Transfer them to a pestle and mortar, add the salt for friction and pound away.
  3. Add some smashed peeled garlic cloves and incorporate them to the rub and continue to pound.
  4. When the seeds are pounded to a finer consistency (we’re not looking for dust), add in the oil and stir well.
  5. Grab yourself a roasting tray, and put the spice rub into it spreading it over the whole surface.
  6. At this stage, add the zest and juice of the lemon and the Clementine juice.
  7. With a fork stir to combine the citrus juices into the spice rub.
  8. At this stage, place the butterflied lamb to the tray, and massage the rub in all over.
  9. Cover with foil and put in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
  10. On the day of reckoning, heat up your Barbie so its nice and hot. When the coals for grey, time to introduction mr. lamb to the heat. ( take the lamb out of fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking).
  11. Grilled on each side for 12 minutes (for medium-rare) and allow to rest for 10 minutes on a wooden board, and cover with foil.
  12. Serve the lamb, carved to the centre of the table on the board and allow your guests to help themselves.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Clementine & Thyme Chicken



This recipe was a total spur of the moment sort of thing. Do you ever buy chicken breasts in the supermarket, with no actual plan or idea what you are going to do with them? I did just that yesterday, and when I got home from work I was still none the wiser of what to do with them. I needed them ready super fast though, so firstly I placed one sheet of clingfilm on the worktop, placed the chicken breast on top and covered with another sheet of clingfilm……..then with my trusty medium-sized sauce pan, I bashed and bashed them, making them really thin. That halved the cooking time of them, meaning they would be ready in double quick time. Then to go about doing something with them, I eye-balled the kitchen, and just took my ingredients from what was laying about, thus I ended up with a Clementine & Thyme Baked Chicken. There was a really sweet flavour to it, and I put it together with my roast vegetables, but this can be easily used with pasta, rice and off course….potatoes. Go ahead and try it with left over clementines!!
Its low fat, simply and most importantly…….delicious! It’s always great to find new ways with chicken.


Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Black Pepper
  • Low Cal Olive oil Spray
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1 clementine, halved.

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200degrees
  2. As stated above, between two sheets of clingfilm, bash the chicken breasts under really thin.
  3. Place them in the centre of some foil, sprinkle over the thyme, grind some black pepper over them and squeeze the juice from the Clementine over then. Leave the squeezed Clementine on the foil and wrap up the chicken to make a foil parcel.
  4. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Low Fat Shepherd's Pie




Why is it that all comfort is laden with calories. You wouldn’t call a salad or vegetable stir fry comfort food would you!?!

No, the essence of comfort food for me is something you eat when you are feeling melancholy or sentimental. It’s food that gives me a sense of wellbeing, and perhaps a visit down memory lane. Sometimes making something ‘just how mom would make it’ brings loads of fond childhood memories flooding back.

My Top 10 Comfort Foods

  1. Shepherds’ Pie
  2. Lasagna
  3. Roast chicken &  gravy
  4. Beans on Toast
  5. Bangers and mash
  6. Vanilla Ice-cream
  7. Buttery Toast
  8. Big Bowl of Pasta & cheese
  9. Chilli con carne
  10. Cheese on Toast

Just because you are watching what you eat, doesn’t mean you have to ban all the comfort food we grew up on, and ban the food you need for a little boost on days that you are down, or simply on cold rainy days.

With 3 weddings just around the corner, I really need to get my act together and start living on salads and stir fries, but it’s easier said than done with the coldest wettest summer yet. All I want when I get home in the evenings these days, is either a big bowl of pasta or some creamy mash potatoes. So I’ve decided that I can have those things, I just need to make them the low fat way. So first things first, my skinny twist on a classic Shepherds pie recipe….. Shepherd’s pie was a staple in our house growing up, it was very cheap to make, and it froze well. Classic shepherds Pie is made with creamy mash potatoes and mince beef/lamb. This skinny version will have mash sweet potato and parsnip as the topping and I’m using turkey mince for the filling, but I’m enriching it with tomatoes and tomato puree and chopped herbs, using Italian flavours, keeping this dish really yummy. You won’t find any cheese in this recipe, or cream or butter for that matter.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 400g Turkey Mince
  • Tin of chopped Tomatoes
  • Garlic Clove, crushed
  • Onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1 tsp of chopped rosemary
  • 1 tbsp of thyme leaves
  • 10 mushrooms, finely diced
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 parsnips, diced
  • 3 sweet potatoes, diced.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Worchester sauce
  • Low Cal Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Pinch of sugar


Method

  1. Large frying pan or work, fry off the turkey mince until its completely cooked through.
  2. Add the tomato puree, herbs, garlic and onion and fry for a further few minutes.
  3. Add the chopped carrots and mushrooms and continue to stir around.
  4. Add a pinch of sugar, a 5-6 drops of Worchester sauce and the tin of tomatoes, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes to let the sauce.
  5. Meanwhile, get a pan of water on the boil, add the chopped sweet potato and parsnips and one of the chopped carrot, and boil for 10 minutes
  6. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees
  7. Once the potato,parsnips, and carrot are cooked, drain and allow the steam to escape from them to dry them out a bit.
  8. To create your mash topping, add 1 tsp of olive oil to the vegetables and salt and pepper, and mash with a masher until you have a smooth consistency.
  9. In a baking dish, add the mince mixture and top with the sweet potato/parsnip mash. Spritz the top of the mash with a low cal olive oil spray if you like.
  10. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  11. Serve with a leafy green such as cabbage/kale or spinach, or broccoli.


Now how healthy is that! This recipe keeps well for the following day cooked, cooled and in an airtight container.



Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Beef Teriyaki & Chicken Yakatori Skewers



The homemade teriyaki & yakatori marinades really are a must!! They tenderises the meat perfectly. We have gone crazy on Japanese food since our Ballymaloe sushi course. Up to now, we were deep frying or sushi rolling. But these skewers are actually really healthy, as they are lean cuts of meat, marinated in nothing oily, and then griddled. Both marinades are so similar, they could be variations of each other actaully.

Serves 6

Ingredients

Beef Teriyaki

  • 3 tbsp of mirin
  • 4 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of brown sugar

  • 3 sirloin steaks, cut into thin strips



Chicken Yakatori

  • 3 tbsp of mirin
  • 4 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 2 Finely chopped Spring onions
  • Juice half a lime

  • 3 chicken breasts, cut into thin strips



Method





  1. Combine the marinade ingredients together
  2. Soak the beef and the chicken in their relevant marinades for at least 30 minutes
  3. Skewer the meat onto metal skewers (or use soaked wooden skewers)
  4. Preheat the griddle pan.
  5. Place the skewers on the pan, turning occasionally until browned all the way round. Alternatively you can pop them under a preheated grill for same amount of time.
  6. Serve with some rice noodles.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fragrant Panko Prawns


These deep fried prawns went down a treat recently, we were actually fighting over the last couple in the bowl. These are a naughty treat, and certainly not something one would have every day, but every once in a while, one needs a treat. These are the perfect starter, or canapé with drinks.

Serves 4 for a starter

Ingredients

  • 16 prawns, raw and shelled and deveined
  • 2 eggs, beaten in a bowl
  • 1 cup of cornflour, laid on a plate, seasoned with salt & pepper
  • ½ cup desiccated coconut flakes
  • ½ cup of panko breadcrumbs
  • Salt & pepper

To serve: leafy greens and sweet chilli sauce



Method

  1. Heat up your deep fryer to 180 degrees
  2. Get an assembly line going, with the cornflour, the eggs and the coconut bread crumbs in a row.
  3. Dredge each prawn in the cornflour, tap the excess off, then add to the egg, tapping the excess again.
  4. Finally, place in the crumb bowl, and press in the coating.
  5. Lay on a plate until ready to deep fry.
  6. Then fry in the deep fryer for 4 minutes.
  7. Drain on kitchen paper
  8. Place 4 prawns per person on a plate of decorative greens, with a wedge of lemon and some sweet chilli sauce.
 Tip:If you are unable to find panko, toast stale bread and then whizz it into breadcrumbs.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Happy BBQ Sea Bream


I'm calling this recipe the Happy Fish recipe,because the fish look so darn happy to be barbecued. They're smiling, can't you see, because they know they're going to be dam tasty. This recipe needs to be posted today, as the weather is such a wash out outside, I need to create some sunshine in my day. So here is a recipe we made during sunnier days. I just know, that its sunny somewhere today in the world, and someone reading this will have the opportunity to whack on the BBQ today, and make some sea breams happy!!!

So.... some BBQ fish and a cold glass of Savignon Blanc, what more could a girl ask for, or as the case may be today for me......wish for!

Serves 4

Ingredients
  • 2 large seam beams, washed,scaled and gutted.
  • Large handful of herbs (dill, thyme and parsley is what I'm using)
  • 1 garlic clove, cut into slivers
  • Lemon, sliced into thin slices
  • Sea salt & black pepper




Method

  1. Heat up the BBQ
  2. Season the inside and outside of the fish well
  3. Cut deep slits (but not all the way through) in both sides of the fish
  4. Stuff the cavity with the chopped herbs
  5. Stuff the slits with the chopped herbs, garlic and lemon slices.
  6. Grilled on the BBQ, for 7 minutes each side. Don't turn them prematurely as the skins will stick to the rack.
  7. This is best served with BBQ veggies & Baked potatoes and a cool refreshing glass of vino.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Thai Beef Red Curry

Did I mention lately, how much I love SE Asian flavours, and how travelling SE Asia was probably the best travel adventures thus far. Well as I mentioned from my post on Thai Chicken Green Curry, I was fortunate enough to attend a cookery class in Thailand a few years ago. We were taught how to make the curry paste from scratch. Lots of pounding shallots and coriander and spices and chillies. She even gave us an adapted recipe for the paste to make red curry paste. That is for another time however. This recipe is sort of a cheats curry. Although in saying that, I don’t know too many people who make their curry paste from scratch. By using a good quality shop bought brand of red curry paste, the flavours are not compromised. The rice I’m making is extremely aromatic and worth the care and attention. The use of cardamom pods in the boiling of the rice, really evokes scents from SE Asia. So here it is,  my quick Thai Beef Red Curry with Cardamom Infused Basmati Rice.

Serves 2 

Ingredients

  • 2 medium size sirloin steaks, cut into thin strips
  • 3 shallots, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 8-10 mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced very thinly
  • 1 tbsp of Bart’s Red Curry Paste
  • ½ can of coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp of Thai fish sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp of brown sugar
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 120g of basmati rice
  • Chopped coriander 
  

Method

  1. In a pan, add some rapeseed oil, and fry the shallots, beef, and garlic for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms and the carrots for another couple of minutes, continuously stir frying.
  3. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Add the curry paste to the pan to cook the spices through, then add the coconut milk.
  5. Once combined well, return the beef and vegetables to the with the red milk and allow to simmer for 5-6 minutes.
  6. Add the juice of a lime, the fish sauce and the sugar.
  7. If the sauce is too watery, add some cornstarch, combined with a little water to thicken.
  8. If the sauce is too thin, simply add more coconut milk.
  9. This dish can be cooked in advance if required and reheated in the pan when needed.
  10.  To cook the rice, wash the rice well in cold water using a sieve. Once the water runs clear, soak it in cold water for 10 minutes, before draining and adding new water.
  11. Add the required volume of water and the cardamom pods and cook the rice with a lid on the pan for 10-12 minutes
  12. Add the chopped coriander to the curry and to the drained rice and stir to combine.
  13.  For decoration,...or as they say in Thailand..."for more beautiful"..., if you want your rice to stand on your plate in a particular shape, i.e. a dome, simply, wet the sides of a cup with water, fill the cup with you rice, pressing down.
  14. Then turn over onto a plate, tapping the sides of the cup and gently lift away from the rice.
  15.  Looks well impressive and its dead simple. Scatter with remaining coriander
 
 
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