Friday, 20 February 2015

Pork Shoulder Chilli


You know my love of Jamie Oliver recipes, well this one was certainly inspired by Jamie's Winter Chilli.  Just watching him make this chilli had us drooling, so I decided on codging the recipe to suit what I had to hand and I was most certainly not disappointed with the results.

Pork Shoulder Chilli
Serves 4' ish less if you are greedy.

Small half pork shoulder, boneless.  Skin cut off, fat remaining.
1 large onion, sliced
1 x 400g can plum tomatoes
1 red pepper, sliced
1 yellow pepper, sliced
2 red chilis, finely chopped
1 x 400g can chick peas
20g dried porcini mushrooms, re-hydrated in hot water
1 tbsp. fennel seeds
1 tbsp. coriander seeds
1 tbsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp sugar
75ml Balsamic vinegar

Pre-heat oven to 190oc.  Grind the fennel, coriander and paprika in a mortar & pestle with some S&P.  Rub the pork with oil and the ground spice mixture, then brown in a heavy bottomed pan on all sides with a little more oil.  Remove the meat and add the sliced onions and sugar cook until caramelised.  Add the vinegar and the chopped mushrooms along with the juice, chickpeas, tomatoes, sliced peppers and chilis.  Mix together well, return the pork to the pan and bring up to the boil.  Cover the surface of the dish with greaseproof paper and the pop the lid on.  Place in the oven for around 3 hours or until the meat is very tender.

Once cooked the meat will just pull apart and mix together with the sauce beautifully.  I served over rice with a dollop of natural yoghurt and chopped fresh coriander.  An utter delight, smoky, unctuous, warming and so very fragrant.  I have used the trick of freshly grinding fennel & coriander seeds many times since, it really enhances a dish.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Baked Caulifower & Broccoli Layers

I wanted something a little different that the usual cauliflower cheese so I up with the idea of adding broccoli and a layer of chopped tomatoes - reminiscent of a lasagne without the meat or indeed pasta, so nothing like lasagne really, but I did like how it turned out and was pretty healthy as well.

Baked Cauliflower & Broccoli Layers
Serves 2 Approx 7 Pro Points each.

Take one small'ish head of Broccoli and pull into florets
1/2 a head of cauliflower and cut into florets as well
Lay on a baking sheet, Spray with 1 cal and sprinkle with S&P and bake for 25 mins.

1 can of chopped tomatoes
Herbs of choice
2 cloves of crushed garlic
1 tsp chili flakes
Heat in a pan and reduce slightly

In another pan heat up 300ml skimmed milk
add 2 tsp cornflour mixed with a little water
once thickened add in 1 tsp wholegrain mustard and
40g grated cheddar

Take a baking dish and layer up the tomato on the bottom, followed by the cauli & broc then pour over the cheesy sauce, top off with some more grated cheese and season.  Pop back into the oven to heat through, bubble up and melt the cheese.

Pot Roast Chicken in Milk

Ok, this is another Jamie Oliver recipe, but why not - they always work and are usually pretty simple to make.  This one is no exception.  From only a few ingredients and a fabulous fragrant dish is produced.

Chicken in Milk
Serves 4

1 chicken, I had a small one but it still did 4 meals.
1 pt semi skimmed milk
1/2 a cinnamon stick
bunch of fresh sage leaves
zest of 2 lemons
salt and pepper
8-10 cloves of garlic, leave the skin on
olive oil

Pre heat the oven to 190oc.  Take a heavy bottomed lidded pot and heat up some oil.  Take the chicken and season well, then brown in the oil until lovely and golden.  Remove the chicken and pour away the oil leaving the sticky unctuous mess at the bottom of the pan for extra flavour.

Return the chicken to the pot and add the remaining ingredients.  Cover and pop into the oven for 1 and half hours.  The lemon zest will make the milk split, but this will not detract from the creamy lemony taste. I did go back every half hour to baste the bird.

After this time, the chicken will simply pull apart.  I served over polenta with plenty of sauce on the top.  Delish.

Next time I will brown the chicken for longer as mine looked a little anaemic.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

If you look at Pinterest at the moment and everyone, I mean literally everyone is harping on about cauliflower crust pizzas, so choosing a random recipe - for they are all pretty much of the same I decided to follow suit and see what all the fuss was about.

Being a hardened pizza lover who has had to drastically curb her pizza eating ways in return for a sustained weight loss and healthy eating kick I did not hold our much hope, but I was so very pleasantly surprised with the results, this could be a new revolution, I almost cried tears of joy.  I was eating guilt free pizza!

OK, nothing could replace a thin and crispy pepperoni with extra cheese, but this does come a close second.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Makes 1 large Pizza, based on 2 people sharing approx. 15 Pro points each.

1 head of cauliflower, de-stalked and torn into small florets
100g ground almonds
2 eggs, beaten,
1 tbsp, dried oregano
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 small can chopped tomatoes (227g)
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 glove garlic, crushed
1 small red onion, sliced
handful of basil leaves
4 strips of thin pancetta, cut up.
1/2 a125g ball of mozzarella
25g parmesan

Blitz the cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles rice. Tip into a bowl and cover with clingfilm. Microwave on high for 6 minutes.  Turn out onto a clean tea towel and once cooled, squeeze all the water out of the cauliflower - loads with come out so keep on going as you need it at dry as you can get it.
Put back into a bowl and add the almonds, oregano, chilli and beaten eggs.  Mix together well with lots of seasoning.
Take a baking tray and line with some greaseproof paper.  Tip the cauliflower mixture onto it and push out to make a round, about 30cm diameter.  Make it thinner in the middle and deeper at the sides, they will become crispy edges.  Bake in the oven at 200oc for 15-20 minutes, the edges will start to crisp up. Remove from oven and cool slightly.

In the meantime, take a saucepan and add the chopped tomatoes, garlic, tomato puree and some of the torn up basil leaves and bring to the boil and continue to simmer away until reduced. You want to get out a lot of the moisture to stop it giving your base a soggy bottom.  In a separate pan, using 1 cal spray fry the onion until softened.

Take the base and spread over the tomato mixture, add the onion and chopped pancetta, torn up mozzarella and the grated parmesan plus a few more shredded basil leaves and put back into the oven for a further 10 minutes.

Serve as you would normally, because amazingly the base when cut actually holds up as a proper pizza base allowing you to pick up wedges and scoff!!!  Next time I will be adding chorizo and pre-cooked mushrooms and peppers, with extra seasoning in the base.  The choices are endless.

Chicken & Black Bean Soup

As winter bites onwards I find myself making more and more warming soups to heat me from the inside.  This one came unsurprisingly, from the Goodfood website and as usual I tinkered with it to suit.

Chicken and Black Bean Soup
Serves 2  Approx 11 Pro Points per Serving

1 tbsp oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Small bunch of fresh coriander, stalks chopped and leaves separated
1 lime, zested and juice from half
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 x 400g can black beans drained
175g shredded kale
600ml chicken stock
1 x 215g chicken breast (poached with onion, bay and peppercorns to make the stock)
2 tbsp low fat yogurt
25g grated Cheddar

In a large pan heat the oil the fry off the garlic, coriander stalks and lime zest for 2 minutes. 
Add the cumin and chilli flakes followed by the tomatoes, beans and stock. 
Bring to the boil then roughly crush the beans using a potato masher, this will thicken the soup.
Add the kale and simmer for 5 minutes. 
Shred the chicken and add, heat through.
Season, add the juice from half of the lime and serve up with the coriander leaves, a dollop of yoghurt and cheese on top.
Mmmmm soup - said in Homer Simpson style.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Crispy Pancetta Pork

This is another Jamie Oliver dish from his 15 Minute Meals book, that I have changed slightly to suit what I had in and for two instead of 4, but it turned out really well and packed loads of flavour into a simple but impressive dish, a sort of take on Saltimbocca.

Crispy Pancetta Pork
Serves 2 Approx 12 points per serving

250g pork tenderloin, sliced into 6 medallions
20g goats cheese, or whatever you have, into 6 pieces
3 strips of pancetta
6 fresh sage leaves
1 tsp Balsamic
2 medium courgettes, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 red chilli, finely minced
 a sprig or two of fresh mint, chopped
1 x 125g pouch of Uncle Ben's microwave rice!  Yeah, I know it is such a cheat, but oh my how simple it is and stops me either cooking far too much or over cooking the rice and ending up with little bullets.

Take the rounds of pork, score a little cut into it and stuff with a bit of cheese, take the pancetta strips and cut in half, wrap it around the pork and secure with a cocktail stick.
Heat a couple of frying pans with a little tsp of oil in each.
In one frying pan, place the pork pancetta side down and fry until crisp, then turn over and cook until fully cooked, adding the sage leaves 30 secs before the end to crisp up.

At the same time as the pork is cooking, in the other pan, add the courgettes, crushed garlic and chilli and stir fry, add the chopped mint and S&P and continue to cook until soft.
Zap your rice.
Then get ready to serve up, drizzling a little Balsamic over the courgettes and placing the sage on the pork. A small dollop of zero fat yogurt if you like. Simple!

Smoked Haddock Frittata

Oh my, I don't know why I never thought of adding fish to a favourite of mine - Frittata before. I needed Jamie Oliver's 15 minute meals to put this idea in my brain and I am so pleased that it did because it turned out splendidly.

Smoked Haddock Frittata
Serves 2 Approx 8 points per serving

150g Smoked Haddock, un-dyed, natural smoked is best
4 large eggs
3 medium spring onions, chopped
big handful of frozen peas
small bunch of fresh mint, chopped
5g grated Parmesan

Poach the very gently in water with bay leaves and peppercorns for a couple of minutes, remove from the water and cool enough so you can peel off the skin - discard and flake the flesh.

Beat the eggs, add the peas and onions then pour into a frying pan with a little oil heated in the bottom.  tip in the haddock and cook for a minute or two, grate over the Parmesan then whack it under the grill for about 5 minutes until the egg is set and the cheese turns golden.

Utterly simple, light and refreshing. I served with salad for a light supper.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Spicy Meatballs with Chili Black Beans

Another delightful dish found on the pages of BBC Good Food.  As usual I have tweaked the original to suit.

Spicy Meatballs with Chilli Black Beans
Serve 2 Approx. 11 pro points per serving

1/2 a medium red onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chipotle paste
150ml chicken stock
1/2 400g can of cherry tomatoes
1/2 400g can of black beans (you could use kidney beans)
1/2 avocado, chopped and pour over juice of half a lime

250g turkey breast mince
25g porridge oats
2 spring onions finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
stalks off a bunch of fresh coriander, chopped.
Leaves of coriander for garnish
1 tsp oil

Make up the meatballs by mixing together the mince, oats, spring onions, cumin and coriander stalks & ground.  Make into 8 balls.
Heat the oil in a non stick pan and gently fry the meatballs, turning frequently to brown on all sides.  Remove from pan.

Add the onion, garlic and pepper to the pan and stir fry until softened.
Add the chilli paste and cumin, then pour over the stock.
Return the meatballs to the pan then cover and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes.
Stir in the beans and tomatoes and cook uncovered for a few mins.

Serve up with the limed avocado and coriander leaves on top.

We had this over two nights as it used up the half cans and left over mince and peppers.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Beef & Lentil Plate Pie

Oh My, I am so winning at finding delicious, easy and healthy on the old calorie front recipes at the moment.  I am filled with renewed vigour and enthusiasm for posting these creations, so hopefully I can keep it up.

This is a recipe I purloined from the Good Food Magazine - my favourite, it is from the Hairy Bikers in their new role as dieters.  It is a winner and the potato pastry is utterly revolutionary for me.

The original recipe was base on 4 people do I have reduced to suit two of us.

Minced Beef Plate Pie
Serves 2 Approx 11 Pro Points per serving (440 calories)

125g lean minced beef - yes, really that little
1 onion, sliced
1 carrot, small dice
100g swede, small dice (should be 50g swede and 1 stick celery but I had none)
1/2 can (200g) brown lentils
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp. tomato puree
150ml beef stock
2 tsp, HP sauce - my own addition, because everything is better with a splosh of brown sauce.

140g floury potatoes
20g chilled butter, diced
40g plain flour
1 tbsp skimmed milk
1 beaten egg to glaze

Boil up the potatoes until soft, drain then mash until smooth and leave to cool.
Rub together the butter and flour in a bowl, then add the mash, milk and a pinch of salt and gently blend together into a pastry ball.  Cover with cling film and chill for at lest 30 mins.

Put the mince, onions, carrots & swede in a pan.  Dry fry (or a couple squirts of 1 cal oil) until beef is browned.  Add lentils, herbs, tomato puree, stock and HP.  Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20 mins or until veg are soft. Set aside to cool.

Heat oven to 200oc or 180oc fan.
The pastry will be quite delicate, so I got my pie plate and placed it on a sheet of greaseproof paper and cut out a circle to size.  I then gently rolled out the pastry to cover the circle.
Take the pie plate and tip in the filling, wet the edges, then flip the pastry onto the top and peel off the greaseproof.  press the edges together and glaze with the beaten egg.
Bake in the oven for 35-40 mins until golden brown.  Serve with green beans or the like.

Utterly yummy and in no way would you believe how good it was for you, you certainly do not miss a greater amount of beef.  The pastry is fairly thin, but again gives you enough of a pastry taste not to miss a greater amount.  This will definitely be cooked again.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

Oh my, its cold outside.  To combat this there are lots of soups going on in our house at the moment.  Over the weekend I made this on Saturday and Sunday night as it was so delicious and both time required us to take of a jumper as it had warmed us so well.

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup
Serves 2  Approx 13 points per serving

200g fresh rice noodles
1/2 can coconut milk
200g chicken breast sliced into this strips
2 tsp oil
fresh baby sweet corn, halved
1 onion thinly sliced
1 pack of mange tout, halved
Half a courgette, thinly sliced
2 tblsp Red Thai Curry paste
600ml chicken stock
1 red fresh chilli, sliced for garnish if desired.

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the chicken, add the onion and continue for a few minutes until translucent.  Tip in the mange tout, courgette & baby corn and stir in the curry paste.

Add the stock and coconut milk then bring to a simmer for 5 minutes.  Tip in the noodles and heat through for another few minutes.

Dish out into two bowls and sprinkle with the chilli.

Such a warming dish, you can make it as hot or mild as you like.  Next time I will use half fat coconut milk and jumbo prawns to reduce the pro points value and maybe decide on a totally veggie version with carrots and other veg added, really this is so versatile.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Cauliflower Risotto

OK, its been an absolute age since I last posted, but New Year brings new renewed resolution to eat better, more varied recipes and note them down in my blog - yadda, yadda, yadda, heard it all before I know, but lets see if I can cajole myself out of the boring lets eat the same menus week in week out that I have been on the past year and get motivated to loose that extra 14lb that will finally bring me to my goal weight.

I started off with this snazzy little recipe filched from Pinterest here.  I had tried cauliflower rice with limited success previously, but I can tell you this one really does hit the mark, with tasty, filling and easy to do.

Cauliflower Risotto
Serves 2 7 PP per serving

Half a head of cauliflower - zizzed up in a food processor
2 handfuls spinach
1 can cannellini beans or butter beans
150ml vegetable stock
1 medium onion - finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs sun dried tomatoes
1 tbs capers
1 sprig fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried
1 tbs oil

Heat oil in a pan and add the onion, garlic and thyme, sauté until translucent.
Place half the can of beans into the pot along with the stock and simmer for 5 minutes.
Using a hand blender, blend until smooth.
Add the zizzed cauliflower, sundried tomatoes, spinach and remainder of beans to the pan.  Cover and heat through for 5 minutes.
Toss in the capers and season before serving.

Honestly you barely know that you are not actually eating risotto rice, the cauliflower has a little bite to it and the thyme adds such a lovely flavour and the capers a little zing.  I served this dish with a pan fried chicken breast sliced over the top.