Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Spiced Red Cabbage with Horseradish Cream

I made this recipe last night, fully intending to have loads left over to use the next day, but it was so delicious that hubby and I scoffed the lot!  It is definitely a recipe to be added to the Christmas meal this year, just the right amount of sweet and sour and low in calories.

Spiced Red Cabbage
Serves 4 as sides

1 red cabbage, core removed and shredded
2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly
2 red onions, sliced thinly
2 tbls soft dark brown sugar
2 tbls red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves or all spice

Horseradish Cream

2 tbls half fat creme fraich
2 tsp horseradish sauce

Pre heat oven to 150oc
Prepare the cabbage and rinse in a colander, the small amount of water clinging to the cabbage with help the cooking. Turn out into a lidded ovenproof dish.  Mix in the onion, apple, sugar, vinegar and spices. Cover and place in the oven for 2:30 mins.  Checking every half hour to stir and make sure that it has not dried out, add a little water if necessary.

Mix together the creme fraich and horseradish sauce and serve on top of the cabbage.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Dank, dreary, cold and wet evenings require a bit of comfort food.  But what to have that will quell my comfort requirements, but also remain within my weight watchers points.  I came up with the following recipe which hits all the right spots.

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese.
Serves 2 heartily 13 WW Pro Points per person with an option for 16 Points

1 Medium BNS, halved and the seeds scooped.
100g dried pasta, cooked
80g cheddar cheese, full fat.  (To reduce the points used half fat, but having tried half fat cheddar, I realise life is too short to bother with it.)
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
100ml Skimmed milk
4 streaky rashers bacon, smoked, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
Handful mushrooms, sliced
Optional: 1 half fat mozzarella ball for 3 points per person

Heat the oven to 180oc and place the BNS on a baking tray and cook for 25 minutes.  Once cooked remove and cool slightly then peel off the skin and roughly chop.

In a frying pan, use a couple of squirts of 1 cal oil spray and gently fry the onion, bacon and mushrooms.

In a saucepan add the milk, mustard and half the cheddar and whisk until heated and slightly thickened, add water or more milk to increase volume if required.

Add the BNS, bacon, onions and mushroom mixture to the pasta in an ovenproof dish and mix together.  Pour over the cheese sauce and mix again. sprinkle the remainder of the cheddar and mozzarella if using over the top and put into the oven for 15 minutes until golden and hot.

Pile into a dish and om nom nom.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Slow Roast Lamb Shoulder with Rioja & Chorizo

Whilst viewing my Twitter feed it was mentioned that one of the ladies I follow had tried this recipe from BBC Food website, it sounded delicious so I thought I would give it a go.

I could not find any lamb shanks so I substituted half a lamb shoulder, the twitterer said that next time she would reduce the amount of Balsamic vinegar used, so I took note and reduced it. 

The result was a wonderful unctuous sauce, not too strong but with punchy flavours of wine and garlic, softened with the sweetness of honey coating a soft and tender piece of lamb which melted off the bone.  Served with loads of fluffy mashed potato and cabbage a real autumnal treat on a cold Friday night with a glass of the remaining Rioja.

Slow Roast Lamb Shoulder with Rioja & Chorizo

Serves 3-4

1/2 shoulder lamb
12 floz Rioja wine
6 floz Balsamic vinegar
1 bulb garlic, cut horizontally
2 bay leaves
2 tsp paprika
Small handful black peppercorns
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
10floz beef stock
4 oz chorizo
1 large red onion, cut into wedges
2 carrots, chopped
Dash honey to taste
Oil for frying

Heat oven to 150oc.  Season the lamb with S&P. Pour oil into heavy bottomed pan and set on high heat.  Brown the lamb all over, remove from pan and put to one side. 

In the same pan, pour off excess fat if too much.  Pour in the wine and balsamic vinegar and boil for 5 minutes.  Add the lamb, garlic, bay, paprika, peppercorns, half the rosemary and stock.  Cover and bring to the boil.

Once boiling, place the pan into the oven and cook for 2 hours, turning the meat after 1 hour.
Remove from oven and add the chorizo, onion, carrots and honey (I used about 1 tbsp) and the remaining rosemary, return to the oven and cook for a further hour or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.
Remove the meat and veg and keep warm.  Place the pan over a high heat and boil till thickened for 5-10 mins.  I did at this point drain off some of the fat from the lamb.
Serve with mash and greens of your choice.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Denver Cut of Beef

In a desperate attempt to make up for a previous evening meal of a very unsatisfactory Pumpkin & Mushroom Lasagna, with no cheese! (I won't even bother posting the recipe for that one, I am trying to expunge the memory of it, shudder) I decided that a nice juicy steak was called for, so a little trip to the meat counter brought to my attention a cut of beef I had never heard of before - Denver.

A little googling later and I found it is a cheaper cut from the shoulder, along the lines of braising steak, but in more of a hunk format. It has good marbling and although the muscle is quite course in texture it can be cooked to be very tender.  At £6.00 for a piece of 650g, approx 170mm long, 100mm wide and 60mm deep it did indeed seem pretty good value so in the basket it went.

Once home I decided to hand the cooking of the meat over to hubby-with-low-tolerance-levels as there was no way I was going to cook it and possible cock it up.  So he treated it thus:-

Denver Cut of Beef

Rest the meat at room temperature until ready to cook.
Set oven to 200oc
Get a  ovenproof griddle pan and place over a high heat, till smoking hot.
Season with pepper only and oil the meat well, to add salt at this point will only toughen the meat (or so hubby says)
Place meat onto the griddle pan and fry for 2-3 minutes each side, so the outer is dark and caramelised.
Pop the whole pan into the oven and continue to cook for 10mins, turning once.
Remove from the oven and transfer the meat to tin foil and pack a parcel, cover with tea towels to keep warm and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Remove from parcel and slice up, serve with vegetables of your choice and loads of creamy horseradish sauce and add your salt flakes at this point, really brings out the flavour.

Based on the weight and dimensions as noted above this was cooked perfectly rare and was so meltingly tender, packed full of taste and being greedy-guts we guzzled the lot!  Truly made up for my dismal effort the previous evening and Hubby has now found a new role in life - steak cooker supreme.