Food Friday: Bread & Butter Pudding!

Posted by Lipglossiping On October - 5 - 2012

As a nation, we’re not particularly renowned for our cuisine… often finding ourselves the butt of many a culinary-related joke, but I don’t care.  I think that we cook without prejudice and, as a result, have no qualms about creating some of the best fusions and adaptations from around the globe.

Take the classically British Bread & Butter pudding, great it might be – but we haven’t gotten prissy about trying it with croissant, panettone, or brioche… we’re happy to smear the slices with jam, marmalade and even nutella! (hmmm, peanut butter idea forming as I type…) – we’re not stuck in our ways and we’re not overly precious about our food traditions, and what good is cooking if you don’t get experimental?

Well, it’s still pretty good actually because I really couldn’t be arsed today.

I went for the classic variety of bread and butter pudding and it puffed up so bloody beautifully in the oven that I thought I’d share the recipe I used with you.  The perfect bread and butter pudding should be crunchy on the outside and fluffy in the middle, custardy, full of plump, juicy raisins (none of those burnt ones!) and perhaps just a little kick of nutmeg.

Here’s how mine went…

Classic Bread & Butter Pudding (like wot Mum makes!)

10/11 slices of stale bread (use fresh at your peril, it will taste like soggy weetabix)
Butter (to grease and spread)
Sultanas
1 pint milk
4 Tbsp caster sugar
2 eggs and 2 egg yolks
1.5 tsp nutmeg

Grab an ovenproof dish suitable for layering the bread inside (I usually use the same kind of dish you would for a lasagne – not too deep) and grease it well with a knob of butter.  Get your butter knife (the one that doesn’t tear the bread to pieces) and start buttering your bread!  Some people leave the crusts on, but once buttered, I usually chop mine off and then half each slice diagonally.  Keep the crusts to make into breadcrumbs for freezing, cube and fry them for croutons, or fatten up our already obese bird population!

Sprinkle a handful of sultanas over the base of your greased dish and place your first layer of bread, butter-side down, in the dish.  Don’t worry if the bread doesn’t fit exactly, this isn’t an experiment in tessellation just plug as many big holes as you can before grabbing one of those Tbsp of sugar and sprinkling it over the first layer.  Chuck another handful of sultanas over the top and arrange your 2nd layer of bread, butter-side up.  Repeat the bread, sugar, sultana layering until you run out but DON’T sprinkle any sultanas on the top layer – they will just burn.

In a saucepan over a gentle heat, combine the milk, sugar, eggs and nutmeg.  Whisk gently, the goal is to warm the mixture and dissolve the sugar – not cook the eggs, keep the heat very low and if in doubt, just stop cooking the mixture, I’d rather have slightly undissolved sugar than scrambled eggs!

Pour the liquid over the bread and squish each slice down to ensure that it soaks up a substantial amount of the liquid.  Leave the whole dish alone for a good hour to let the flavours intensify.

One hour later, come back to the kitchen and preheat your oven to 200 degrees C (180 degrees fan).  Cook the bread & butter pudding for around 40 minutes and marvel at how the custard has puffed the bread up a treat.  Hopefully, you’ll have a crispy, dark-golden crust and a fluffy middle.  Best enjoyed warm, perfect for the colder weather!

How easy is that?!  Do you have a favourite Bread & Butter pudding variation?


Food Friday: Strawberry Muffins

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 28 - 2012

Having moved out of a hoarder’s paradise, it’s been interesting to discover just how many of my mother’s ways I’ve managed to pick up over the years.

The one trait that I can’t afford to have inherited is wastefulness. I don’t mean the big things (how harsh am I sounding on my Mum?). I just mean that over the years, the number of things that were bought and never used/eaten up made an impression on me.

Every week, I make it my mission to clear the fridge of anything lurking at the back. Frittatas are great for leftovers, slow-cooked soups are also brilliant. The latter being easily freezable for another day, important criteria when your meal plans are pretty tight.

So, this week… it was a whole punnet of strawberries that I’d completely forgotten about. Leila adores fruit… but is a fickle little madam, her tastes change weekly – and this had obviously been a don’t-like-strawberries-anymore week.

Fine.

I made muffins.  They’re quick, easy, taste amazing, and freeze beautifully. Sorted. Here’s the recipe incase you ever find yourself with a strawbs glut. Perish the thought.

Strawberry Muffins – makes 12

375g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
150g caster sugar
170g chopped strawberries
2 medium eggs
150ml milk
150ml oil (I usually substitute half for apple sauce)

Heat the oven to 190 degrees celsius (170 degrees for a fan oven) and prepare your muffin cases/tin ready for baking.

Add the flour, baking powder and sugar to a large bowl.  Drop the chopped strawberries ontop.

In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the milk, eggs and oil (apple sauce) before pouring over the dry mixture.

With a large spoon, mix until *just* combined.  It doesn’t matter if you still see a few specks of flour, the secret to good muffins (cough) is to never overmix them!

Spoon the mixture into your muffin cases/tin and bake in the oven for around 20 minutes.  Check on them regularly, yours may need longer – mine took nearly 30 minutes on the middle shelf before Leila oddly decided that, she did, infact, like strawberries again.

Enjoy!

“Fluffy” Chocolate Brownies anyone?

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 10 - 2012

I know many people think that chocolate brownies are one of the most over-hyped cake(y) substances known to man.  That and macarons.  And cupcakes.  Probably also whoopie pies.

Killjoys.

Although in fairness, I’m inclined to agree on the macaron front, I mean wtf are they all about anyway?  They’re like suped-up communion wafers that weld themselves to the backs of your teeth while simultaneously scouring your soft palette so fiercly, you can’t consume a hot drink for a month without whimpering.  Sure, they look pretty but I ain’t shallow.  Much.

But brownies… A good chocolate brownie is heavenly, and if you think they’re overrated, I’d hazard a guess that you’ve been buying yours from Costa Coffee for too long.

I’d also like it to be known that I’m squarely in the fudgy-is-best camp when it comes to brownies.  If I wanted a “cakey” brownie, I’d go buy a fucking cake.

Anyway, I found a jar of slightly-out-of-date Marshmallow Fluff that I’d bought purely for the novelty factor and promptly forgot to use, so I googled for some recipes but didn’t like the sound of anything that was coming up on the search.

Instead, I decided to make a batch of my favourite brownies, omit my usual chocolate/fudge pieces and marble some swirly Fluff into the baking tin instead.

For the Brownies (makes 12 – use a smaller tin or double the quantities for a 30cm long tin)

140g  butter, softened
190g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
50g cocoa powder
50g self-raising flour
1/2tsp baking powder

Chuck all of the ingredients (yes, all at once – another reason I love this recipe), into a bowl and mix until combined and smooth.  Don’t overmix, you just want to get everything together and looking glossy.

Spoon the mixture into a greased tin and use a spatula to spread it across the surface.

For the Fluff topping

50g Marshmallow Fluff
20g butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Add the topping ingredients into a bowl and beat with a whisk until combined, you can add a tsp of water to thin the consistency if needed.  It should be smooth, silky but not “runny”.

Spoon the topping over the (uncooked) brownie mixture in tsp-sized “blobs” and use a skewer (I only had a straw to hand) to “marble” the topping.

Bake in a pre-heated oven (180 degrees/160 fan) for around20/25 minutes.  Test with a knife to check if it’s done and if you’ve got any leftover “topping” mixture, you know what you need to do – don’t you?

Overall, they’re not my best experiment to be honest.  The brownie is definitely more fudgy than cakey and the Marshmallow Fluff, whilst it adds a teeny bit of chew to the topping… doesn’t add much else.  I’d suggest adding a crap-ton more than I did and to hell with whether it marbles or not.  Also, don’t leave out the chocolate and/or fudgy pieces… these are definitely more cakey than fudgy.  Bother.

Having said all that, they’re still nice.  They’re just not better than my usual recipe which I’ll post here sometime closer to Halloween.

Did you get your “bake” on last weekend?

I like to pretend that I’m not really a cupcake person.  I mean, we all know what cupcake ‘people’ are like right?  They have TONS of hair, usually swept horizontally across their foreheads in a faux-bo style (hair jewellery optional).  They giggle.  A lot.  And they wear far too many layers.

I’m not a giggly person (lies – it’s a nervous thing rather than an affectual thing though) and I don’t have much hair.  As for layers, I find it a struggle to co-ordinate my top with my bottoms let alone style an outfit akin to a fucking onion.

But cupcakes, well… I can’t help it – as much as I want to hate them (and everything they stand for), they taste too good.  I’d like to make them all muffin-sized though.

Look what I made last night.

OHMYGODSOGOODITHURTSMYTEETH.

The touch of Fleur de Sel makes the whole cupcake affair slightly less twatty don’t you think?  I like salted sweet things.  Have I ever told you about my favourite chocs?  These are them (you can find them in Selfridges) and when I was a kid, I could only have dreamt about paying out £13 for some chocolates.  Mr. L looks equally disappointed and elated whenever I bring a box home, which to be fair, is only about twice a year.  But still…

These cupcakes present a cheaper way of getting my salted chocolate fix, read on for the recipe – which isn’t mine by the way but is my absolute favouritest no-fail chocolate cupcake recipe – courtesy of Hummingbird Bakery

yields 12 chocolate cupcakes

100g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
140g caster sugar
1½tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter (I use clover, don’t shout at me)
120ml whole milk
1 egg
¼tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees celsius.

Add the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter to a bowl and using the lowest setting on your hand-mixer, whisk until the mixture begins to look ‘sandy’.  Watch out for flour clouds.

In another bowl, whisk the egg, milk and vanilla extract together before adding it to the dry mixture, a little at a time, whisking all the while until you get a smooth consistency, don’t overmix.

Fill 12 cupcake cases around 2/3 full and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Mine were nicely done by the 20-minute mark.  The surface should spring back when pressed.  Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Now, as for the buttercream… I may be in a minority here, but there is definitely such a thing as TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING.  I simply don’t like towers of icing that drown my cupcake, I want the icing to complement, not invade and conquer the cake below.  What say you?

That’s not to say I’m a joyless spoil-sport… *wipes buttercream from mouth* I just generally find that when making buttercream, I can usually half the recommended quantities listed in the recipe book and still get my chocolate, sugary, gooey fix.

Here’s how I made it:

for the Buttercream

150g icing sugar
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature (again, Clover for me)
20g cocoa powder, sifted
20ml milk

Whisk everything except the milk… then add the milk a spoonful at a time.  Continue whisking until you get bored.  The longer you whisk, the lighter/fluffier the buttercream.

And the magic ingredient?  Just a little sprinkle of Fleur de Sel ontop of each one does the job… you can leave the salt off some of them if you like, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea now is it?

These are SO light and airy, with just the right amount of buttercream and that little salty tingle on the tongue that reminds you just how incredibly bad these actually are for your health.  Stunning.

In other news, not-cake related.  I’m off on holiday tomorrow for a week in Liverpool/Manchester – thank god the diet is starting the week after eh?  All those curry cafes are making extra portions in preparation for my arrival.  As always, any insider tips/places to visit/things to do/goodies to eat – I’m all ears, you made my last holiday earlier this year in Torquay, absolutely blinding with a little local knowledge!

I’m probably not going to be posting much, if at all, next week – I just haven’t built up any reserves in my draft folder to see me through the drought.  Hope you all have a fabulous week, and long may this warm spell continue – though if it could stop by bedtime, that would be great, thanks.

x

…baking!

I don’t know if it’s ‘normal’ to have a baking cupboard – but most of my cupboards currently look like this:

…except this one, which I’ve designated as home for all things cakery:

*HOARDER ALARM SOUNDS  IN THE DISTANCE*

So, anyway, I thought it was about time me and L put our heads together and made a cake in our new flat – it rained all morning today, an excellent opportunity to get messy with a bit of flour, no?  And before you ask, yes – my daughter is still in her nightie, rockin’ some fluffy bed hair, it’s how we roll.

Date Loaf Cake

375g dates, chopped
2 tsp. instant coffee
1 cup (175g) self raising flour
1/4 cup flaked almonds

I like loaf cakes.  You see, I like their simplicity, I like how easy they are to store and I like their fuss-free attitude to life.  I also probably just like the fact that they look like loaves, carb fiend here with the blood sugar levels to fucking prove it.  We opted to make a simple date loaf because I don’t have any of my cake spices over here yet and I also didn’t have any oats, otherwise we would have gone down the “let’s kid ourselves they’re wholesome” muffins route.

This particular date loaf is exceptionally simple because it only contains four ingredients.  Yes, four.  There’s more ingredients in my cup of tea than that – especially if you include the midge that just dive bombed it, kamikaze style.  Poor midge, it isn’t even caffeinated.

I digress.

Roughly chop your dates and soak them for a few hours (overnight if you’re more prepared than I am) in your coffee solution – 2tsp instant coffee, 1 cup of boiling water.  This will allow them to get all squishy and happy… they don’t take on much of a coffee flavour, I detected only the tiniest hint.

If, like me, you have a small child – get them to add the chopped dates into the prepared coffee and marvel at how. fucking. long. it takes for them to meticulously plop each piece into the bowl from varying heights, meticulously checking and double-checking (OCD alert) that each stoned-piece of shrivelled fruit has landed just where they want it.

Then, just as you’re about to sweep the whole pile of dates into the bowl in a fit of irritation, ignoring any patterns they’ve been painstakingly creating – they give you a side-smile like this and you suddenly re-discover limitless patience.  Clever this whole self-preservation thing.

Give it all a bit of a stir and walk. away.  Seriously, the longer you leave the fruit to soak, the better the results.  Have patience fellow cake-munchers.

Once your dates have been suitably soaked, add 175g of self-raising flour and combine the mixture before pouring into a greased/floured loaf tin.  Don’t be stupid and use a 3lb loaf tin like we did when the sum of your ingredients only weighs like, 500g at the most.

Get aforementioned OCD chid to meticulously place flaked almonds (or whole, whatevs) on top and bake in the centre of the universe oven at 160 degrees celsius for 45 minutes.  Considering it has NO fat or sugar in it, you get a surprisingly moist, sweet loaf.  Them dates are pretty clever things!  I guess you can’t have brains AND beauty huh?

Our slightly-too-flat-because-our-tin-was-too-big date loaf cake.  Four ingredients, minimal washing up.  Hoorah.  Especially nice spread with a little, or you know… shit-loads of butter.

So proud.  Her, not me.

Oh ok, me too.

Food Friday *cough* Monday: Spinach & Quark Lasagne

Posted by Lipglossiping On July - 9 - 2012

Until I started Weight Watchers, I thought Quark was just an old skool page layout program.  Or a particle.  Turns out it’s a cheese that’s approximately half as disgusting as cottage cheese, which makes it pretty edible when you’re looking for lower-fat cheese alternatives.

I’ve been craving pasta like crazy since I’ve been following the weight watchers plan and whilst I can totally still have pasta (perhaps not my favourite mega-bowl of pasta shells and pesto), it just feels like such a damn waste of points.  Have you ever weighed pasta?  It’s surprisingly heavy.  You need to play that pasta at its own sneaky game and get clever.

Instead of spirals, bows and shells – opt for lasagne sheets and cannelloni tubes – you can construct a hefty portion of your favourite pasta dish without feeling short-changed just by making this simple substitution.  On the menu last night was this, Spinach & Quark (just pretend it’s ricotta) Lasagne.

My husband hates fresh Spinach but he tolerates (and secretly enjoys) the frozen stuff.  I don’t understand why, but I figure that it means at least I don’t have to wash the leaves.  Pick your battles.

Serves 2:

5/6 “lumps” (technical term) Frozen Spinach
80g Lasagne Sheets (that’s approximately 4/5 sheets)
250g Quark
2 cloves of garlic
1tsp Smoked Paprika
80g low fat Mature cheese, grated (i’m still loving the Cathedral City one best)
1 tomato, sliced
Salt and Pepper to taste (quark is generally unsalted)

Finely slice the garlic and defrost the spinach in the microwave, retaining any excess water (if you’re stuffing cannelloni tubes with the mixture, drain the water).  Stir in the Quark, Smoked Paprika and garlic until well-combined.  Grab a shallow dish and spoon 1/3 of the spinach mixture on the bottom.  Layer the lasagne sheets ontop and repeat the process. I usually get two layers of pasta and three layers of spinach from the above quantities but your mileage will obviously vary depending on the size of your dish!

Top the final layer of spinach with the sliced tomato and sprinkle with the grated cheese.

Cook in a pre-heated (190 degrees celsius) oven for around 30 minutes or until the cheese begins to brown.

We had a red pepper looking a bit wrinkly in the fridge, so I halved it and sprinkled with balsamic vinegar before popping it in the oven alongside the lasange for around 25 minutes.  Serve with a side salad.

9 Weight Watchers Pro Points for a super-cheesy, easy-peasy lasagne.

Do you buy Quark?  What are your favourite recipes with it?

Weight Watchers Friendly Pizza!

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 25 - 2012

Pizza is one of my (many) vices… hot, cold, hot then cold then warmed up again – however I eat it, I love it.  The spicier and more garlicky, the better – jalapenos are a must, I helpfully remind myself that spicy foods raise the metabolism, therefore burning fat more quickly no?  I excel at self-delusion.  When I first joined Weight Watchers, I read the most horrifying piece of information that my eyes had ever digested: one slice of stuffed-crust pizza is 10 points.  That’s a single slice… a single fucking slice, I’m only allowed 26 points a day!  I can hoover up a whole pizza (what, 8 slices?) in the time it takes my husband to work through one slice.

So pizza was off the menu then.  Except it so isn’t.

The pizza you see above scores an incredible 7 points.  That’s 7 points for the entire pizza.  I think we all need to take a moment….

…for those of you who don’t know follow Weight Watchers, we’re talking around 350kcal.

You don’t need to make your own pizza dough and it only requires about 10 minutes in the oven.  Here’s what you’ll need:

1 Warburtons Square-ish Wrap
1 tbsp Tomato Puree (I mix a tsp of garlic puree in too!)
Your choice of 0 point topping (onions, peppers, mushrooms, tomato, jalapenos)
50g “wafer” ham
Dash of Worcester Sauce/Tabasco/Balsamic Vinegar (whichever you prefer)
Sprinkling of Italian herbs
30g Cathedral City Light Mature Cheese (this is the only ‘light’ cheese I’ve found to melt properly)

I keep my wraps in the freezer and just take one out and cook it from frozen.  Spoon the Tomato Puree onto the wrap and spread evenly to the edges.  Top your “pizza base” with the ham, veggie toppings and Italian herbs before sprinkling the cheese over the top.  Finish off with a sprinkling of sauce before cooking it in a pre-heated oven at around 200 degrees celsius for around 10 minutes.

Serve with a side salad and feel ridiculously virtuous about it.

What is your biggest foodie vice and do you have a healthier alternative for it?

Tuna Melt (weight watchers style!)

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 21 - 2012

I usually blog my food posts on a Friday (a.k.a food friday!) but this week has been all over the place and I’m currently in the North East for a fortnight visiting family.  Subsequently, I’m limited with what I can blog – it’s quite alright to stand in my own house taking a billion FOTD / nail pictures / swatches but quite another looking like a crazy in someone else’s house!  Until I can sneak away somewhere where I’m not overlooked, I’m blogging some older photos that are left-over on my hard-drive – bear with me!

Since I’ve been doing Weight Watchers, I’ve amazed myself at how devious I’ve become when it comes to discovering ways to stuff my face (with the most amount of food) for the least amount of points.  I’m not sure that this is truly helpful in the long run (portion control anyone?) But it’s keeping me on the plan day-to-day, so I won’t knock it too much!

My favourite ‘find’ (courtesy of minimins forum) are the Warburton’s Square-ish Wraps…

They make fantastic wraps, pannini alternatives and pizza bases – they’re super versatile, are a little more filling than a normal wrap and “weigh” in at only 4 points a-piece – roughly the equivalent of two slices of bread.  Before I discovered these, I thought pizzas were off the menu for good!  Hallelujah for square-ish wraps!

One of our weekly meals is a Tuna Melt, served up with a big side salad.  It’s obviously not the most complicated meal in the world, but it’s both satisfying and quick to rustle up!

You’ll need:

1 tin of tuna in brine (I only buy tuna steak, chunks are for cats)
2 tbsp light/extra light mayonnaise
1 small onion, finely chopped
30g cheese (I use full-fat version because low-fat doesn’t melt properly)
black pepper

Combine the drained tuna, onions, black pepper, and mayonnaise in a bowl.  Spread the ‘filling’ over half of one of the square-ish wraps before scattering the cheese ontop.  Fold the wrap in half and either place under a hot grill or use a panini press.  I love my press, healthy toasted sandwiches!

Grill/toast until the cheese has melted and serve with a side salad.  I’m a sucker for a splodge of chilli sauce with mine, don’t tell anyone.

The entire meal comes in at a very respectable 10 Pro Points, less if you use low-fat cheese.

What are your favourite filling-but-low-fat meals?

Food Friday: Fruit, just um… eat it.

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 11 - 2012

I like most food, you may be able to tell from my ongoing battle with being a greedy bitch that I’m not mega-fussy with what I put in my mouth (shutup).  Having said that, there has always been one substantial food group that I’ve gone out of my way over the past 30 years to avoid… fruit.  My daughter can’t get enough of the stuff, which is just aswell because she won’t touch vegetables.  Me?  I love veggies… always have but I think I’m just a savoury girl through and through.

It’s not that I have a full-on aversion to fruit, I wouldn’t pick it off my plate if it were served alongside something else but you will never catch me digging into the fruit bowl or craving the taste of an apple.  It’s just not on my radar.  I’m making baby steps to changing this, and it really helps when you’re on a ‘diet’ that rewards you for these changes by not penalising you when you indulge.  This week has been fruit salad week… amped up.

Look…

That’s our fruit box.  It’s a great big, 4L lock and lock box which I bought at The Range – as you can see, it stores quite a bit!  I’ve budgeted £6.50 per week for fruit for everyone and make sure that as soon as the shopping arrives, I’ve got the peeler, corer and paring knife out to put an end to my procrastination and get it all chopped up into bite-size pieces with a good squeeze of lemon juice to help it last.  So far, my plan is working!  It’s  infinitely more appealing to fill a bowl with a couple of spoonfuls of this than it is to reach for a sorry-looking apple in the bottom of the fruit bowl.

This weeks fruit box contained: plums, tinned pineapple (in natural juice), apples, kiwis, melon, strawberries, and grapes – though Mr. L says that the cheap melon I bought tastes more like cucumber.  I know that my fellow fruit-dodgers won’t be convinced by my arguments for upping your 5-a-day just yet… so how about I share with you exactly how we’ve been eating it?

For the grand total of 2 Weight Watchers pro points (I’m on 28 a day), we’ve been submerging a meringue nest under a pile of the healthy stuff before topping it off with a Weight Watchers yoghurt or a mini Petit Filous.  Trust me, it doesn’t taste quite so healthy when you add meringue to the formula and yet, amazingly, it’s still pretty damn good for you (and far more edible!)

It’s a simple change to my diet and not the most groundbreaking Food Friday post, but I’m determined to keep this new habit going, especially with Summer round the corner and hopefully, cheaper berries!

Are you a natural fruit fiend or do you find ways to incorporate it into your diet?

Food Friday: Aloo Gobi Recipe

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 4 - 2012

There are a few things that are genuinely hard to beat in this world. A beautiful smokey eye, a toddler’s podgy hand searching to find yours, a pint of pear cider on a Summer’s afternoon… and an amazing curry.

This isn’t an amazing curry, but I’m doing my best!

Whenever I order anything from the Indian takeaway, it has to be accompanied with a side of Sag Aloo which I usually come to blows over with my husband. “YOU TOTALLY HAD MORE THAN ME!” And this, from the man who doesn’t like spinach. But anyway, I digress….

Since I found a tired-looking cauliflower in my fridge a couple of months ago, I’ve been perfecting my Aloo Gobi recipe… but in the end, I gave up and went on eBay to buy some spice mix. So should you, it’s like… really, really nice and 100x easier when you’ve finished a day’s work and you all you want to do is slump infront of Eastenders with some tasty grub. Yes, I know… slattern.

You’ll need (serves 4):

200g of potatoes, cubed (you can leave the skins on)
1 very large cauliflower (or 2 small), floretted into bite-size pieces
2 onions, diced
4/5Tbsp Bombay Potato Spice Blend from spiceworks.co.uk
2 tins peeled plum tomatoes
1 large handful of frozen peas
1kcal spray cooking oil
100ml low fat soured cream

Cover a baking sheet with tin foil and arrange the potatoes and cauliflower over the surface. Spray generously with the 1kcal spray (about 30 sprays). Roast in the oven for around 30 minutes at 200 degrees celsius. You want the tips of the cauliflower to just start turning black.

Fry the onions in a couple of sprays of the cooking oil and once translucent, add the tomatoes and spice mix.

Simmer gently until the cauliflower and potatoes are ready to come out of the oven.

Whoops, mine are a little too well done… probably by around 5 minutes. It’s all good though, they didn’t actually taste burnt. Add the roasted vegetables to the frying pan.

Add a little water (about half a cup) to the frying pan and combine all the ingredients to ensure they’re well-coated with the sauce. Simmer on a low heat with a lid on to ensure that the cauliflower is cooked through. Continue to add a little water if the cauliflower requires longer cooking.

Add the frozen peas and remove the lid to reduce any excess water. Take off the heat and stir in the soured cream.

Serve! We ate this wrapped in a couple of chapatis with a salad on the side. Delicious it was too! I think that roasting the potato and cauliflower makes all the difference to this recipe, it concentrates the flavours and greatly improves the texture (imho).

* For WW, I pointed this (per portion) at 13 Pro Points, this includes the two chapatis.

Food Friday: Sheenie’s (magnificent) Butter Chicken

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 27 - 2012

Sheenie is one half of blogging superduo Just Nice Things and the lady can’t half cook up a storm in the kitchen.  She’s just started a food blog over at Cook with Sheenie and as soon as I clapped eyes on her recipe for Butter Chicken, I knew my waistline was doomed. DOOMED I SAY!

Don’t believe me?  LOOK AT THE BUTTER.

Stop drooling, it’s unladylike.  The rest of you, stop tutting, we can’t help it.

I’m not going to include the recipe on here, for that you’ll have to point your little mice (mouses) in this direction and find out the method and quantities needed to make this culinary masterpiece.  If you try it, do let Sheenie know what you think!  This has replaced my usual “show-off” meal, you know that singular recipe that people think you can only eat nicely in restaurants?  This Butter Chicken kicks my Chicken Laksa to the KERB.

Here. have some photos to give you some idea of just how om-nom this dish is…

You want it don’t you?  I know I do…

* I did the WW points counting on this and you can have a quarter of Sheenie’s Butter Chicken (as made per her instructions) for 10 Pro Points.  That’s not bad really is it?  I added some Chapattis (5 Pro Points for two) and have been eating nothing but dust for the rest of the week.

Recipe: 7-Spice Pork Fillet with Brown Rice

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 17 - 2012

When I opened the fridge last Friday, I was greeted by a tired-looking cauliflower and whilst I adore a regular Aloo Gobi, I fancied something a little bit different.  I thought I’d take some of my favourite spices from the delicious middle-eastern makloubeh and make them fit around the ingredients I had to hand.

Because I’m following the Weight Watchers plan (still doing the same uber-veggie thing but calculating it all Pro Points stylee), I couldn’t seriously deep-fry the cauliflower whilst keeping a straight face, so I sprayed the florets with some 1cal cooking oil and roasted them in the oven until they began to turn black on the tips, about 35-40 minutes on full whack.

I fried off some onion (more spray) and added the roasted florets which were still a little firm.  As the oil became absorbed, I added a few Tbsp of water to prevent things from sticking and loosely covered the pan with a lid.  It was time to get the spice mix ready!  Once prepared, tip the spice-mix into the pan and stir well to coat all the ingredients.  Add the brown rice and half a cup of water, re-cover.

You’ll need to check the water levels regularly, so just keep a mugful of water to hand and add more as the rice needs it.  Cook until the rice is al-dente.

Arrange the pork fillet around the edge of the pan and re-cover.  After 6 minutes, turn the pork… and allow to cook covered for around 8 minutes.  If the rice is still too firm, you can simmer on a low heat for a little longer, just add more water as you require.  Remove the lid for the final 3/4 minutes of cooking to allow any excess water to reduce.  Before serving, stir a little room-temperature soured cream into what should be an almost-dry mixture.

Ingredients (serves 2)

1 cauliflower, floretted and lightly salted
4/6 pork fillet medallions (you can substitute other cuts/meats – lamb would be delicious)
90g brown rice
1 large onion
60ml soured cream (I used light)
1kcal cooking spray
water

1tsp allspice (not mixed spice!)
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cinnammon
1/4tsp nutmeg
1/4tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground clove

Honestly, I never want to eat cauliflower boiled again.  And incase you’re on WW too – that’s 9 Pro Points.

What lovely things have you been cooking recently?

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