A Week in Vegetables (Day 5 & 6)

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 28 - 2012

You know, this eating vegetables thing isn’t so bad.  I’ve discovered that bean sprouts are pretty awesome, I’ve learnt that salad needs some kind of dressing or it’s not going in my mouth, and I’ve discovered that mushrooms sort of taste like meat if you pretend really hard.  But seriously, except for my slightly dried-out sprouts, it’s been a lot easier than I imagined.

Here’s days 5 and 6 to tempt your tastebuds:

Day 5: Spring Greens

Smoked haddock with sliced greens and poached egg – 340kcal

I knew that I was gonna need something to match the strong flavour in the greens, so I went with a fillet of smoked haddock to bolster the flavours and keep things relatively balanced.

1 fillet of Smoked Haddock
125g British Sliced Greens
1/2 an Onion
2 Cloves of Garlic

1kcal Cooking Spray
1 Chicken Oxo Cube
1tbsp White Wine Vinegar
3 twists of chilli flakes

1 Egg
10g Sunflower Seeds

Place the fish on a piece of tin foil and grind/sprinkle with some chilli flakes, drizzle a tablespoon of white wine vinegar ontop and wrap the foil loosely into a parcel around the fish.  Oven cook at 180 degrees (fan) for around 18 minutes.  Make up the chicken stock as per the instructions on the Oxo packet and saute the chopped onion, greens, and garlic in a pan, with the stock until cooked.  Keep adding a little water if necessary.  Poach your egg in a pan of boiling water and serve with the fish on a bed of the greens.  Sprinkle with sunflower seeds.

 Day 6: Mushrooms and Lettuce

Pan-fried chicken & garlic mushrooms with salad – 490kcal

I think this one may be my favourite so far, I adore mushrooms…

1 chicken breast, cubed
150g mushrooms, don’t chop too small – I halved mine
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
100g salad leaves
5g pine nuts to garnish

1 tsp green pesto
1tbsp olive oil
1tbsp white wine vinegar

1kcal cooking oil spray

Spray your non-stick frying pan with cooking oil spray (around 10 sprays should do) and on a low/medium heat, fry off the chicken and garlic.  You may need to add the occasional splash of water to stop the chicken from sticking.  Add the mushrooms and pesto, reduce the heat and cook until the mushrooms are softened.  Meanwhile, make the (very simple) salad dressing by combining the olive oil and white wine vinegar.  Serve with a garnish of sprinkled pine nuts.

Did I mention that I bought some white asparagus for next week?  *looks blankly at packet*


A Week in Vegetables (Day 3 & 4)

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 21 - 2012

Firstly, I want to say a massive thank you for all the ideas and inspiration that you left on my last veggie post, I’m slowly working through the comments and I’ll let you know how I get on with your recipes!  Day 3 should have been the Brussels Sprouts, but I wimped out in favour of the bean variety!  It’s going well so far, partly because I’m really enjoying the “will I/won’t I like it” anticipation that comes just before tucking in!  I know it’s not exactly life-changing when it comes to dietary habits but I’m hoping that it inspires me (and maybe a couple of you!) to think about making veggies the focus of a few meals a week.

I will say one thing though, thank GOD I’m not a vegetarian… as much as I’m enjoying the green stuff, a majority of vegetables on your plate has the side-effect of making the meaty accompaniment taste even better ha!

Anyway, here’s days 3 & 4 for your delight/disgust. I’m having pancakes today because it would be sacrilege not to observe the religious festival of Jif Lemon Day 😉  Oh and incase you’re feeling nostalgic, here’s a post in celebration of today from 2 years ago.

Happy pancake-ing!

 

Day 3: Beansprouts

Chilli Chicken with Beansprouts and Sesame Crackers – 390kcal

A beansprout-based meal bothered me.  Should I eat them cold or stir fry them?  I’d been doing a lot of stir-frys but I wimped out of the beansprout salad option and met the idea half-way.  I cooked the beansprouts a little earlier in the day and then chilled them, it was delicious.  Possibly my favourite meal so far.  Who knew the humble beansprout could be so awesome?

200g Beansprouts
2 Spring Onioins (sliced)
1/2 Red Pepper
1 Chicken Breast

1 tsp Chicken Seasoning (I used a chilli/garlic mill)
10g Sunflower Seeds
1tbsp Light Soy Sauce
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder

4 Sesame Crackers to serve (Tesco do Poppy and Sesame ‘thins’ that are ideal)

Spray the chicken breast with cooking oil (the 1kcal stuff – you only need a couple of sprays) and season before placing it on a baking sheet in a pre-heated oven (180 degrees fan) for around 20/25 minutes until cooked.  Slice your red pepper and spring onions before lightly stir-frying them for a couple of minutes.  Add the beansprouts, garlic powder (you could use fresh but I only wanted a tiny hint of flavour), soy sauce and sunflower seeds.  Cook for a couple more minutes before setting aside to cool.  Serve with sesame crackers.

How easy is that one?!

 

Day 4: Brussels Sprouts

Garlic Chicken with Roasted Brussels Sprouts – 470kcal

If you don’t like garlic, this recipe won’t be for you.  The combination of sprouts AND garlic will ensure you never hear from that first date again so please only opt for this one on a day that you’re either very, very alone or very, very married.

1 Chicken Breast
3 cloves Garlic (thinly sliced)
150g Brussels Sprouts (destalked and halved)
4 Mushrooms (quartered)

1 tsp Olive Oil
10g Pine Nuts
30g Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar

Black Pepper to taste

This one is really quick to prepare and cook as well.

Trim the ends of the sprouts and slice them in halves, ensuring that the cut transverses the stalky bit before thinly slicing the garlic.  Into a small bowl: add the olive oil, pine nuts, balsamic vinegar, sprouts, mushrooms, and garlic and mix with your fingers to ensure a good coating of oil covers the sprouts.  Lightly spray your ovenware (I use an enamel pie plate) with 1kcal cooking oil spray and arrange your sprouts on it in a single layer.  Score the chicken breast to make ‘pockets’ along its length and pop a couple of garlic slices into each pocket before lightly spraying with your 1kcal cooking oil spray.  Place both dishes into a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees (fan) for around 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.  Keep an eye on the sprouts, you want them to caramelise but not dry out.  As you’re using less oil than normal, they may dry out more quickly.  Sprinkle with Parmesan a couple of minutes before taking them out of the oven.

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This one wasn’t my greatest success.  For one, I didn’t have any parmesan and substituted feta cheese – who knew that feta doesn’t like being cooked in the oven?  (Everyone except me probably).  My sprouts also dried out a little… not too much but as I was eating them, I was thinking… “could do with a glaze on these”.   The lovely Jules suggested to me on twitter that I might try cooking them in a hot pan next time, I think I might just try that and see if I can retain the roasty flavour without killing the texture.

As for the sprouts being… well, brussel (yukky) sprouty?  I can honestly say that they were improved by well over 300% when compared to boiled sprouts.  I had a couple of “slow chew” moments when I wasn’t adoring them BUT combined with the chicken, they were FINE.  Tasty if not magnificent!

What do you think of today’s recipes and are you having pancakes tonight?  Lemon and sugar or something a little more decadent?

A Week in Vegetables (Day 1 & 2)

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 19 - 2012

Yes, really.  Since coming off the Cambridge Diet last October, I’ve put a bit back on… or a lot back on, depending on how kind I’m feeling about myself when I think about it.  In total, I lost just over 4st (but didn’t reach goal before quitting) and have since put 1.5st back on and it’s still creeping.  I don’t want it to creep, it would be so easy to let myself slide back up the scales.  The fact is, I love food.  I love food and I don’t care too much for exercise.  True, I have a hormone imbalance which means that I’m slightly more susceptible to piling on the pounds just by looking at an unrefined carb BUT, that’s not to take away from the fact that essentially, I’m a greedy guts.

In the past month, I’ve yo-yoed from famine to feast – knowing that this isn’t how I *should* be losing weight and it’s been (as I’m sure you can imagine) a rollercoaster of highs and lows as a result.  It also means that whenever I treat myself to a couple of days off the famine, I’ve piled about 7lbs back on in 48hrs as my body retains both water and energy stores in an attempt to get me through the ensuing ‘famine’.

This week, I’m making a few changes.

I love my meal replacements, though I know that many will frown – and I will be replacing my breakfast and lunch with protein-based shakes.  Because of my hormone imbalance, my sugar levels soar with porridge and cereals, and through personal choice (i.e. I can’t stop at one slice), bread is out.  This leaves things like fruit and yoghurt and well, I don’t know about you – but I’d need to eat a LOT of fruit and yoghurt to sustain my appetite throughout the morning.

As most meal replacement programs suggest, I will be limiting my evening meal to 600kcal – but I want to make those calories work as hard as possible.  This week, I’ve been creating my evening meals based around a particular vegetable.  It forces me to get imaginative and will hopefully expand upon the range of veggies that I eat in the future.  Now, lectures about how to eat healthily aside (please), I thought I’d share with you the evening meals that I’ve been enjoying this week and the veggies that have taken pride of place each day!

Day 1: Broccoli

Broccoli and King Prawn Stir Fry – 400kcal

100g Ready-To-Eat Jumbo King Prawns
200g Broccoli Florets
100g Mushrooms
1/2 Red Pepper
1 clove sliced Garlic

15ml (1tbsp) Amoy Light Soy Sauce
1/4 tsp Red Cayenne Pepper
15ml (1tbsp) Balsamic Vinegar

25g Easy Cook Brown Rice (uncooked weight, cooked in microwave)
10g Pine Nuts

The quantities and kcal listed above are for a single portion.  I used that 1cal oil spray stuff for cooking… generally seem to end up with about 30 sprays of the stuff though (all factored in to my kcal counting though *polishes halo*)

Spray a non-stick pan with oil and stir-fry the broccoli and red pepper over a medium heat until the broccoli begins to soften a little (about 7 minutes).  If you feel that your pan is getting too dry, add a little water, about a tbsp at a time.  Meanwhile, cook the brown rice – I always cook mine in the microwave, remember that brown rice will take longer to cook than basmati!  Add the soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and cayenne pepper – giving the pan a swirl to coat the vegetables.  Let cook for a further 5 minutes.  Throw in the mushrooms and garlic and continue to cook until everything has softened to a firmness you like.  Add the prawns, rice and pine nuts and loosely cover the frying pan with a lid to contain the heat for a maximum of two minutes.  Serve!

Day 2: Cauliflower

Cauliflower and King Prawn Curry – 510kcal

100g Ready-To-Eat Jumbo King Prawns
200g Cauliflower Florets (cut the large florets in half to allow them to cook through)
1 diced Green Pepper
2 Large Mushrooms
3 cloves of Garlic minced (don’t judge me)
25g Easy Cook Brown Rice

1tbsp Cooking Oil
Water

1/2tsp Ground Cumin
1/2tsp Ground Ginger (fresh if you have it!)
1/2tsp Ground Coriander
1tsp Ground Turmeric
1tsp Garam Masala
10g Chilli Paste (I used a sachet)
1tsp Peanut Butter

10g Shelled Sunflower Seeds
1tbsp Plain Yoghurt or Soured Cream to serve

Not the most colourful dish in the world, but the fantastic flavour makes up for its mono-shade.  Add the oil, cumin, ginger, garlic, chilli paste and coriander to the pan before throwing in the cauliflower.  Add about 1/4 cup of water and allow it to cook gently for 5 minutes.  Pour on a little more water before adding the uncooked rice, green pepper and turmeric.  Gently simmer while the rice absorbs the water and the cauliflower begins to soften.  You’ll need to keep adding water during this process as the pan dries out, just test the rice every so often and prod the cauliflower to judge readiness.  While the rice is still a little toothsome, add the mushrooms, peanut butter, garam masala and sunflower seeds.  Cook for a further 5 minutes until the mushrooms are soft and the rice is cooked.  Add the prawns and cover with a large pan lid for 2 minutes to ensure everything is piping hot.  Serve with a spoonful of plain yoghurt or soured cream.

Wish me luck – it’s Brussel Sprout night tonight, not even kidding.  What are your favourite and most inventive ways to cook broccoli and cauliflower?

Food Friday: Use your (wholemeal) loaf

Posted by Lipglossiping On November - 4 - 2011

I have been practising like a demon and have finally come up with a way to make a mean loaf (or two) of relatively healthy bread.  My ambition is to get it as low GI as possible without compromising on taste.  I’m still a long way off that goal but edging ever-closer.

I don’t know if any of you are nifty with a bit of dough (and I don’t mean at the Chanel counter) but if you’ve got any tips, I’m all ears!

Wholemeal Loaf  (makes one loaf)

400g strong wholemeal flour (bread flour)
50g wholemeal spelt flour
2 tsp dried active yeast
1.5 tsp salt (can use less but expect slightly less taste)
2 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp Sunflower Seeds/Pumpkin Seeds (optional)
350ml warm water
50g melted butter
or 3Tbsp Olive Oil

1. Reactivate your yeast by stirring the yeast and sugar into your measured water.  Make sure it’s not too hot… it should be slightly warmer than tepid.  Leave for around 10 minutes, the yeast should have made the surface foamy.

2.  Combine the flours and salt together in a large mixing bowl.

3.  Add the yeasty water to the dry mixture and combine well before pouring in the melted butter/olive oil.

4.  I use a hand mixer with two dough hooks attached at this stage and mix for 5 minutes on level 3.  If you’re a traditionalist, get kneading for a good 10 minutes.  I use the hand mixer because whenever I knead by hand, I always get tougher bread.  Infact, I just bought a new hand mixer, it’s this one and I thoroughly recommend it.  I paid £18 (not inc. p&p).  Usually when sellers bump the price up like that it means that it’s temporarily out of stock.  The price should drop back down as soon as they get new stock.

6. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and place somewhere warm for ONE hour.  I put mine in the airing cupboard.

7. After an hour, turn the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and punch down to release the gas that’s built up inside the dough.

8. Give the dough a 1 minute knead/shape and place into a well-oiled bread tin.  There are lots of videos about on how to ‘shape’ a loaf.  I’m AWFUL at it.  At this stage, sprinkle in the additional seeds that you may want to add.

9. Cover again and return to warm place for no longer than 30 minutes.  I find this bread is prone to over-proofing and getting a flat top in the oven if I leave it any longer for the 2nd rise.

10.  Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius (fan oven) and whack it on the middle shelf for 45/50 minutes.

11.  Once cooked, you should hear a hollow sound when you tap the bottom of the loaf.  Allow to cool before cutting, no really… as tempting as warm bread is – cutting it too soon is death to a home-baked loaf.

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I usually double up the quantities and make two loaves at once.  Although it sounds laborious, the actual time spent with the dough is minimal (especially if you use a hand-mixer).  This isn’t the kind of recipe you have to stand over watching, stirring etc…

The recipe above works out at around £1.04 a loaf – less if you stick to only wholemeal flour (up the quantity to 450g) and do without the seeds.  There is something very special about turning out a freshly cooked loaf of bread and watching your family come to the conclusion that they never realised that ‘proper’ bread could taste so good.

As usual, my version is kinda lazy and a little bit cheat-y.  It’s not massively low GI but the use of wholemeal/spelt and the addition of seeds means that I ‘fill up’ quicker on smaller portions and it doesn’t spike my blood sugar *quite* as rapidly as plain old white supermarket bread does.  I’m genuinely the kind of girl who could eat bread all day long and this loaf cuts very finely without disintegrating… I really get better portion control without feeling like I’m missing out.  It also tastes a 100x better.

Do you bake your own bread?

 

Food Friday (yes, I know it’s Saturday): Apple Pie

Posted by Lipglossiping On October - 8 - 2011

I know, I know… I should save it for next week right?  But I have a week of baking ahead of me and if I do that, I’ll have forgotten about the Apple Pie that I made this evening.  I love Apple Pie but it’s strictly off limits for me at the moment.  Poor Mr L had a particularly nasty dentist encounter on Thursday so I thought I’d cheer him up with his absolute favouritest treat in the world.

First of all, I need to tell you.  Forget about the pastry, it’s not even mine.  My Mum brought me back some ready-made French pastry rolls in the Summer and they’ve been sitting in the freezer ever since.  Yes, they were puff – I know, I’ve broken about a billion Apple Pie rules already but I don’t like waste and I couldn’t be bothered to make my own tough, not-very-nice shortcrust at gone 11pm at night.

Anyway, if you can’t be bothered either, you can buy ready rolled pastry sheets too, shortcrust or puff.  Don’t let anyone judge you.

Anyway, do you want to know the secret to making awesome pies?  It’s this.  An enamel plate.  All my pies are made on these things – apple, meat, cheese and potato… you name it, it’s been made on an enamel plate.  They cost around £2.00 and my favourite ones are made by a company called Gelert.  You need one, trust me – no more soggy bottoms.

Anyway, the Apple Pie you see in that there picture up there, goes a little something like this.

Apple Pie

4 Large Cooking Apples (eaters won’t do)
140g Sugar (whatever you’ve got, except obviously icing)
1tsp Ground Ginger (can use Cinnamon if you prefer to be a purist)
1 large handful of Sultanas

2 sheets of ready-rolled Pastry (unless you’re clever and make your own)
1 Tbsp Sugar for sprinkling

1.  Preheat your (fan) oven to 170 degrees celsius

2. Peel and core the apples before dicing them into 1/2″ square cubes.

3. Over a low heat, gently stew the apples, sugar, ginger and sultanas until the apples are just tender and you’ve created a rich, thick syrup from the sugar.  Combine well.

4. Grease and flour your pie plate to prevent sticking and lay down your first sheet of pastry into the plate, pressing gently with your knuckle to ensure there are no gaps between the plate and your pie base.

5.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apple mixture into your pie plate, you won’t want to use all the syrup.

6. Gently lay your top pastry sheet over the plate and fold the edges of the top pastry layer under the bottom layer and press gently into the plate edge to seal.  If you don’t like a thick crust, you can trim the edges before doing this.

7. Poke a few air vents into the top of the pie with a fork and sprinkle with sugar before placing in the oven and baking for around 40 minutes.

Enjoy!

Food Friday: Luxury Bread & Butter Pudding with Cherries

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 30 - 2011

There’s something so comforting about a hefty pudding.  Treacle sponges, chocolate mud cakes and bread & butter pudding all carry a certain amount of stodge with them and quite frankly, they beat the living crap out of anything light and wispy.  Except meringues, but let’s be honest… meringues are in a league of their own.

I use wholemeal bread in my Bread & Butter Pudding for no other reason than because that’s what I buy anyway.  The addition of jam and a few cherries turns this home-cooked favourite into a slightly more extravagant pud.

Luxury Bread & Butter Pudding

8 slices of bread (any kind with crusts left on)
Morello Cherry Jam (or whatever you’ve got if you’re not fussy!)
Butter

2 eggs, beaten
425ml milk
Large handful of cherries (I buy mine in a big jar from Lidl)

1 tbsp brown sugar for sprinkling

1. Butter the bread before spreading a layer of jam over each piece and cutting into triangles.

2. Grease your cooking dish well and build up the layers of bread, interspersing with cherries as you go.

3. Repeat until you run out of bread and cherries!

4. Combine the beaten egg and milk before pouring over the bread and allow to soak for a couple of minutes.

5. Sprinkle the top with brown sugar and pop in a preheated oven at 180c and bake until golden brown (around 30/35 minutes)

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Such a simple and inexpensive pudding with a billion possible variations.  Try spreading the bread with Nutella instead of jam or throw in a handful of raisins alongside a generous glug of rum!  Adjust the quantities of egg and milk depending on how much custard you like or change up the bread to substitute plain old loaves with Brioche, Croissants or Panetone!  The possibilities are really quite limitless.

Do you have a favourite Bread & Butter Pudding recipe?  I foresee more of these on the menu as Winter draws nearer.

Cauliflower Fritters with Mozzarella

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 16 - 2011

I bought another cauliflower this week in an attempt to get a new recipe under my belt in preparation for coming off the diet and back onto normal food.  I’ll be going the low-carb route, not the Atkins route or anything as hardcore as that, I’ll just be avoiding the “shovel as much starch, bread, pasta and rice into my mouth as possible” route.

Amanda from Beauty Blogging Blonde mentioned that she was making Cauliflower Fritters last week on Twitter and that was pretty much all the encouragement I needed.  She did send me a link to the recipe she was using but I’ve lost it, so ended up bodging something together from a few recipes I’d googled and whatever I had in the cupboards.

I need a posher name than ‘fritters’ really because ‘fritters’ rhymes with ‘squitters’ and where food is concerned, those two words should never be seen in the same sentence.

Cauliflower Fritters

1 head of Cauliflower
1 Onion, diced
2 cloves of Garlic, crushed

1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tbsp Parmesan Cheese (don’t judge me, I only had dried)

3 eggs, beaten
3 tbsp plain/wholemeal flour (more if needed)

200g Mozzarella, cubed

1 tbsp oil for frying

1).  Steam the Cauliflower until tender.  I do this in a cellophane-covered bowl in the microwave with a couple of tbsp of water in the bottom.  Takes around 10 minutes of cooking time on full power.

2).  Once tender, mash the cauliflower and add the diced onion, garlic and other dry ingredients.

3).  Combine the mixture with a fork before incorporating the beaten egg.

4).  Add the flour 1 tbsp at a time, mixing well until you get a firm consistency.  You want the mixture to hold together on a spoon (just about).  You may need more or less flour depending on how large your eggs are!

5).  Add the Mozzarella and incorporate gently.

6).  Heat the oil in a frying pan on a low/medium heat.  The worst thing you can do is have your heat too high.  We need to cook the flour which means not burning the outsides!  Start low and turn the heat up as you get used to the cooking times needed.

7).  Once your oil is hot, spoon the mixture into the pan in little patties and press down lightly to shape.

8).  Leave frying (don’t be tempted to turn or peek) for a good 3/4 minutes.  If you smell burning, ignore that last instruction and remember to keep the heat LOW.

9).  Turn and cook the fritter for the same time on the other side.  You’re looking for a dark golden brown and a crispy texture – the insides will be soft with melty Mozzarella.

10).  Drain on a piece of kitchen towel and serve as a side or on their own with a salsa and salad.

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These cauliflower fritters are ridiculously delicious and even Leila was impressed enough to attempt one.  They’re ideal eaten freshly cooked but lovely cold too (they go a bit chewy).  Best reheated from frozen in a v. hot oven.

Share your favourite cauliflower recipes with me!

Cauliflower Cheese with Bacon, the lazy girl’s way

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 2 - 2011

Poor cauliflower, the most misunderstood vegetable of all.  I think they’re amazing and I’m not just saying that because today’s recipe features them heavily.  I hated cauliflower when I was growing up.  My Mum used to serve it as an after-thought, anaemic and boiled to death.

It’s actually pretty versatile and makes a great base for many dishes.  As a frequent low-carber, it’s saved my backside numerous times, making a fairly convincing substitute for fried rice (grated) and pizza dough!

But in more regular, daily use, the cauliflower is at its best when combined with cheese and bacon.  Mmmm, bacon.  When I make Cauliflower Cheese, I make a big’un as it keeps very well in the fridge, you may want to half the quantities or just live off it for a week like we usually do.

Cauliflower Cheese

1 large head of Cauliflower
3 Carrots, sliced
1 Onion, diced
350g mature English Cheddar, cut into chunks (go on, use the whole packet – I won’t tell anyone)
1 pack of Bacon Lardons/Mis-shapes/Leftover Ham (whatever you’ve got, this dish will take it nicely)

2 tins of Evaporated Milk
1 tsp Mustard
1 tsp Nutmeg (freshly grated if you can be arsed)

2 slices of Bread, made into breadcrumbs (or you can use crackers for a different kind of crunch)
50g mature English Cheddar, grated
2 Tomatoes for decoration

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius

1).  Break the cauliflower into florets trying to keep them reasonably large in size and place them in glass bowl with a few tbsp of water in the bottom.  Cover with a vented lid (clingfilm with holes poked through or microwave cover) and pop in the microwave for around 6 minutes until just tender (test with a fork).  You could of course boil or steam in a traditional steamer… but I’m being lazy remember.

2).  Cook the carrots with the same method and just check occasionally with a fork until they’re *just* tender.

3).  Fry the onion and bacon until crispy and set aside.

4).  Using a food processor, blitz the cheese, mustard, nutmeg and evaporated milk together.

5).  Grab a large ovenware dish (no need to grease it), and add the cauli, carrots, fried onion and bacon.

6).  Pour over the faux cheese sauce.

7).  Scatter the breadcrumbs and grated cheese before layering the sliced tomatoes ‘prettily’ on top.

8).  Bake in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for around 25 minutes, or forget about it and remember after 35 minutes to get it a bit burnt around the edges like mine.

Personally, I slightly prefer my Cauliflower Cheese with a proper roux base.  Mr. L prefers it this way.  L doesn’t care as-long as she gets more bacon bits than anyone else.

Lazy Cauliflower Cheese without the efforts of a homemade cheese sauce.  Bliss.

Recipe: Makloubeh / Maqluba (Upside Down)

Posted by Lipglossiping On August - 18 - 2011

I know that when it comes to recipes on the blog, I’m all about the puddings.  But did you know, I like dinners too?

This is one of my favourite dinners in the entire world.  Did I mention that I like dinner, do you like dinner?  I like dinners A LOT so to have this one elevated to my top… *thinks*… TEN all time dinners is nothing to be sniffed at!

I might even like dinners more than I like makeup.  It’s THAT serious people.

Makloubeh (literally meaning Upside Down) is a family dish cooked in a large pot, originating from the Middle East.  My uncle was Jordanian (he passed away in 1996) and the entire family would pile over his house on New Years Day to feast on Makloubeh.  Then we’d all go play Boggle or Battleships or something else that makes me feel old whenever I remember it.

The traditional recipes online call for eggplant (my uncle never included it).  I add potato for no other reason than to protect the meat/rice from catching on the bottom of the pan.  Well, that and the fact that my family are potato fiends.

This dish is not very healthy.  Don’t be fooled by the inclusion of cauliflower.  YOU DEEP FRY IT.

A quick note about the meat.  My uncle always used lamb shoulder, which is expensive in the UK.  I use mince (ground beef or lamb) or chicken thigh.  We only have lamb in this dish if it’s a special occasion and I apparently never put enough in the pot.  My horrible brother has christened my version of Lamb Makloubeh, “McNoMeat”.

Makloubeh – serves 4 greedy ones:

Vegetable oil for frying
1 1/2 cups of rice (I use long-grain to keep better form when cooking)
500g Beef/Lamb Mince (you could use chicken thighs or lamb)
1 large head of cauliflower, broken into large florets
3 large potatoes, sliced about a cm thick
2 large onions, sliced
3 cloves of garlic – thinly sliced

2 Beef Oxo/Stock Cubes
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground pepper
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cumin

3-4 tsp. salt

Unspecified amount of water!

1).  Salt the cauliflower and fry until dark brown (yes, really).  I use a deep fryer.  Cover a plate in kitchen towel and allow cooked cauliflower to rest on the plate once cooked.

2).  Pat sliced potatoes dry and deep fry until golden, transfer onto more kitchen towel to soak up the excess oil.

3).  Brown the meat and onions in a frying pan before adding all the spices and crumbling the stock cube over the mixture.

4).  Add about an inch of hot water to the pan, drop in the garlic and allow the meat to gently simmer for around 5 minutes.

5).  Take a large pot (something like this), add 2tbsp of oil and layer the potatoes on the bottom of the pan.  Spoon the (sloppy) meat and onion mixture over this before adding the cooked cauliflower.

6). 
Add the uncooked rice and pour over enough hot water to barely cover the rice.

7).  Cover with a lid and cook on a medium heat (you want a gentle simmer) until the rice is cooked (20-30 minutes).  Don’t stir!

8).  Once the rice is cooked, all the water should have been absorbed.  If not, simmer for a little longer with the lid off.

9).
  Grab a tray and line it with foil.  Tip the pot upside down (hence the name!) onto the tray and sprinkle with pine nuts.

10).  Stick it in the middle of the table and let people serve themselves, preferably with lots of natural yoghurt.

11).  Undo top button.

p.s. If you want to make your version a little healthier (and clearly less fun), you could probably roast the cauliflower and potatoes before adding them to the pot… probably.

.

Do you have any favourite Middle Eastern dishes?

Recipe: Chocolate Concrete

Posted by Lipglossiping On August - 10 - 2011

A traditionally British school-dinner pudding from the 70s.

I’m too young to remember this and I suspect that Mr. L is too but when I found the recipe and asked him if he remembered it from his school days, he swore blind he did.  I don’t believe him… I think he just heard the words chocolate, sugar and butter and decided to play a bit of a blinder in the bluffing stakes.

I made it anyway…

It’s definitely authentic, it tastes a lot like 1970s Britain.  Particularly if you take the dryness from the Summer of 1976 and mix it up with some bleakness from ’79.

160g/5 1/2 oz Butter
1 Egg
25g/1 oz Cocoa powder
225g/8 oz Self Raising flour
175g/6 oz Granulated sugar

1.  Pre heat oven to 170ºC (160ºC fan)

2.  Gently melt the butter in a pan

3.  In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients together before making a well in the centre.

4.  Pour in the melted butter and beat well to combine.

5.  Add a well beaten egg to the flour mixture.

6.  Place the mixture into a greased square tin and gently flatten and press into the corners.

7.  Brush with water and sprinkle with sugar.

8.  Place in the top half of the oven for 45 minutes.

9.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 mins before cutting into pieces and placing on a wire rack to cool.

I’m so pleased I was born in 1981.

Do you remember Chocolate Concrete?

Baked Blueberry Cheesecake, the nom to end all noms.

Posted by Lipglossiping On July - 21 - 2011

Who knew cheesecake was so easy to make?  It’s one of those desserts where the overall impression defies the skill needed to create it.  Honestly, if you need to make something that looks super yummo and you have enough space in your fridge (move the chocolate and wine) to chill it… do it.  Do it now.

I like my cheesecake a little ‘well done’… don’t judge.  It’s meant to look like that.  IT IS!  I like the Channel4 recipe with a couple of modifications as seen below.

75g butter
200g digestive biscuits, crushed with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon
500g soft cheese
1 x 397g can condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp lemon juice
150g blueberries

1.  Melt the butter in a large saucepan before removing from the heat and stirring in the biscuit crumbs.  Tip the mixture into the base of a 23cm (9 inch) loose-bottomed cake tin, pressing them down with your fist (or the back of a spoon) to make a firm base.  Chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

2.  Preheat the oven to 170°C / fan oven 150°C / gas mark 3.

3.  Beat the soft cheese in a large mixing bowl until softened, then whisk in the condensed milk, vanilla extract, eggs and lemon juice.

4. Pour the filling over the biscuit crumb base, then sprinkle the blueberries ontop.  Place on the middle shelf of the oven to bake for 1 hour.  I leave mine to cool in the oven with the door wide open before chilling in the fridge.  Don’t panic if the cheesecake is still ‘wobbly’ in the centre after an hour’s cooking, that’s normal!

Get ready for a velvety-taste sensation!  You can serve with additional fruit… me?  I just serve it with a very big fork.

Welsh Cakes, a long-held love and a first attempt!

Posted by Lipglossiping On July - 12 - 2011

My Nan was born and raised just outside Pontypool and I have family who still live in the area, they know when I’m coming to visit and bring out the welsh cakes.  My addiction to these little drop scones of Godliness knows no limits.  I can polish off 6 in one go.  Hell, if I didn’t get the food guilts, I could polish off double that.

They’re traditionally made on a Bakestone, a cast-iron griddle.  It’s important that the heat distribution is even which is why a well-seasoned griddle is best.  I don’t have one so made do with a very heavy-bottomed (cough) frying pan.  My Nan’s Bakestone is somewhere in the family and I might just have to start hunting it down.

They’re exceptionally easy to knock together… if you do attempt it, you may aswell double the recipe RIGHT NOW because I can assure you that although these will keep for a week in a tin.  Most of them will be long-gone by teatime.

8oz / 225g self-raising flour (or use plain with the addition of 1tsp baking powder)
1 fully loaded tsp mixed spice
115g chilled and cubed butter
75g caster sugar
75g sultanas
1 egg

1.  Sift the dry ingredients (not the sultanas) into a bowl before rubbing the butter into the mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

2.  Break the egg into the mixture and combine.

3.  Stir in the sultanas and use your hands to bring the mixture into a dough.  If it needs it, add a dash of milk (just a drop) to bring it all together.

4.  On a floured surface, roll the dough out to around a CM thick and use a glass or (large) cookie cutter to cut into rounds.  Any leftovers can be re-rolled and cut until all the dough is used up.

5.  Heat your griddle/pan until hot and drop a little butter onto it to grease the surface.  You’re not shallow frying!  Just a little will do.

6.  Cook the welsh cakes for around 3/4 minutes on each side.  They can catch very quickly so lift them to check they’re not burning occasionally.  Once browned on each side, they’re done!  Sprinkle with sugar and eat!

Just. one. more.

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