Saturday, September 14, 2013

Spicy Chicken and Lime Soup

I think it was in fact this recipe that particularly attracted me to this blog, and it hasn't disappointed!  I followed this recipe more than usual and, as recommended, I added some avocado to my bowl.  However, I used dashi fish stock rather than chicken stock, used less oil, and served with brown rice rather than tortillas.   It had a real flavour punch, very nice!  Will definitely make this recipe again!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The 'Budget Bytes' blog

More, perhaps, on this later... but very intrigued by this blog with so many new ideas for healthy and budget rice-based dishes.  Plus, of course, any blogger who posts a recipe for chocolate houmous is a friend of mine!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Breakfast Egg Pots

Such a quick and simple breakfast!  The other weekend, I went to Spitalfields Market in London and found one of the Leon restaurants for the first time.  Although I'd already had breakfast, I felt like something light (and cheap!).  For under £3.50, I had a 'Poached Egg with Ham Hock and Truffle Gruy√®re Pot' (164 calories) and a cup of coffee.  It was amazing!  And it got me thinking about making my own 'egg pots' in the microwave - not quite as authentic as Leon's, but incredibly easy to make.

For these egg pots, I used a couple of tablespoons of a ready-prepared cheese sauce, some creme fraiche, or a little, thick, parsley sauce (made up from granules), broke in a large egg, sprinkled over some grated cheese, and topped with either crumbled ham or smoked salmon and avocado.  I then microwaved for a minute, checked the consistency and then microwaved for sets of 10-20 seconds, checking each time.  My microwave is 800w and I used medium setting.  Timing will depend on the wattage and the quantity of other ingredients, as well as how you like your egg!  Having a sauce, as well as being tasty, prevents the egg from exploding in the  microwave...

I'll definitely go back to a Leon restaurant.  Healthy, tasty food and reasonably priced, great combination!
(I bought one of the books, but actually haven't been inspired by it - as always, not too keen on having to follow a recipe that has lots of ingredients...) 

In fact, writing this note in December, I've started to make this egg pot in a similar way to Leon's - poaching the egg in a saucepan instead of the microwave has the benefit of ensuring a runny yolk, and gives more consistent results.  In this case, microwave the sauce and ham for about 20 seconds.  Put a cooking ring in a saucepan of water, bring to the boil, remove from the heat and pour a broken egg from a jug into the centre of the ring, then leave with the saucepan lid on until the egg white is cooked.  Put the egg on top of the hot soft cheese and ham, top with the grated cheese, and zap in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Baked Coconut Lentils

This recipe pretty much came from the Whole Foods recipe site and is given here  In its own right, it looked so delicious I generally followed the method, but substituted soft dried figs for the dates.  In pre-cooking the lentils in the saucepan before baking, I used enough boiling water to cover, and then added more water as necessary to ensure a cooking time of 30 minutes.The following are the ingredients I used for one person, and the corresponding nutritional information.  As usual, I used my LeKue steam case for the baking part, as it's so easy to wash afterwards!  The cooking smells were wonderful too, I'll definitely be making this again...

Ingredients (serves 1)
1 teaspoon coconut oil
50g chopped onion (I use frozen)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ginger paste
3 soft dried figs, chopped
1 teaspoon soy sauce
50g brown lentils, uncooked
15g unsweetened dessicated coconut

Nutrition Info
Calories: 402
Protein: 15g
Carbohydrate: 53g
Fat: 15g
Dietary Fibre: 21g

Monday, February 25, 2013

Pan-Fried Salmon with a Rhubarb and Blackcurrant Sauce

Back in July when blackcurrants were in season, I froze a punnet.  Now the first forced rhubarb is coming into the shops, I thought a sauce of the two would give a nice tangy acidity against an oily fillet of salmon.

Ingredients (serves 1)
180g fillet salmon
150g red chard
1 tsp olive oil for frying
a few leaves of mint for garnish
For the sauce (makes 4 portions)
340g rhubarb
10g butter
160g blackcurrants
40g honey
handful of fresh mint

Nutrition Info (serves one, with one portion of sauce)
Calories: 539
Protein: 40g
Carbohydrate: 25g
Fat: 30g
Dietary Fibre: 5g

  • Chop the rhubarb into 5cm lengths.  Put the rhubarb, blackcurrants, butter and honey into a saucepan and cook down for about 10 minutes over a medium heat.  Add the mint, roughly torn and stir in.  Set aside with the lid on to keep warm.
  • Pan-fry the salmon over a medium heat in the olive oil. Remove onto a plate.
  • In the same oil, quickly pan-fry the chard for about two minutes.
  • Serve the salmon on a bed of chard, topped with the rhubarb and blackcurrant sauce.  Garnish with mint.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Baked Pumpkin Gratin with Rosemary and Goats Cheese

Recipe from Waitrose here  I substituted a teaspoon of paprika rather than cumin seeds and garnished with dried chilli strands.  I used a soft goats cheese and crumbled that in rather than a hard cheese I could grate.  The last cooking time was nearer 20 minutes for me.  And wow, the sudden wafts of melted goats cheese in that last 10 minutes ;-d

Verdict?  A beautiful, very very tasty, creamy dish - I liked the squash and goats cheese and am a big fan of rosemary.  I'll no doubt cook a variation of this again.  But, for me, for the calorie count of this recipe, it just wasn't filling enough with a crisp green salad.  As butternut squash is already a starchy carbohydrate, then I wouldn't want to add crusty bread to bulk it out as suggested.  If you're having a starter or dessert as well, then with a crisp green salad it's fine (but key point even with a starter or dessert - the recipe serves 2, not 4, unless you eat it with baguette). 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Chard and Chickpea Stir-fry

Quick, healthy, flavoursome and colourful stir-fry!  Whilst it is very low in protein and fat, it's also very high in fibre and so is actually quite filling to balance a higher calorie meal in the day!

50g red chard
100g pak choi
25g carrot (about a 1/4)
10g ginger root
120g chickpeas (about 1/2 can)
1 tsp olive oil
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp runny honey
1 tsp soy sauce
tiny bit of garlic puree

Nutrition Info
Calories: 247
Protein: 8g
Carbohydrate: 40g
Fat: 6g
Fibre: 7.5g

  • Wash the chard and pak choi and use scissors to cut into smaller pieces.
  • Peel the carrot into thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler.  Cut into bite size pieces with a knife.
  • Peel and cut the ginger into small ribbons with a knife.
  • Drain the chickpeas.
  • Mix together the lime juice, honey, soy sauce and garlic puree.
  • In a wok or frying pan, heat the olive oil over a medium-high heat.  Add all the ingredients and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until piping hot, but the carrot should still be al dente.
  • Serve immediately.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Fragrant Lime, Pea and Feta Rice Bowl

The tangy creaminess of the feta is balanced by the sweetness of the citrus herby peas, with crunch added by the pumpkin seeds.  The peas are just warmed through in the hot rice, so that they don't lose their vivid green colour.  A high fibre nutritionally balanced dish with around half the RDA for zinc and vitamin C, and around 1/3 the RDA for calcium, magnesium, iron and dietary fibre.  With a rice cooker, this was so quick and easy to make, and really tasty.  May well become a new favourite!

Ingredients (serves 1)
180g cooked Italian brown rice (1/2 cup dried)
50g frozen peas, thawed
15g pumpkin seeds
1/2 lime (zest and juice)
15g mix of herbs (lemongrass, coriander, ginger, garlic, chilli)
50g feta, roughly crumbled

Nutrition Info
Protein: 22g
Carbohydrate: 64g
Fat: 20g
Dietary Fibre: 10g

  • Cook the rice according to instructions.  Thaw the peas in a sieve under cold running water, and drain.  Meanwhile, prepare the mixture, so that it can be stirred in the hot rice just as it has finished cooking.
  • Dry fry the pumpkin seeds for a couple of minutes until they smell nutty and start to pop.  Set aside.
  • Put the zest and juice of half a lime and mixed herbs into a saucepan and quicklywarm for a couple of minutes, until the herbs absorb the juice.  Mix in the peas and feta cheese.  
  • Stir into the rice with the pumpkin seeds.  
  • Serve immediately.
  • I use Sainsbury's Easy-Cook Italian Brown Rice as this is the closest I can find to brown sushi rice or sticky rice (at a reasonable price).
  • Waitrose do a Thai frozen herb mix, which is what I use in this recipe.
  • This is best eaten hot and immediately, as the peas continue cooking in the hot rice and quickly lose their colour.  However, although it doesn't look as visually appealing, it's also delicious cold.