Saturday, 19 May 2012

Wonky summer pasta

Although I have not blogged much about Jamie's 30 minute meals, I certainly have cooked a lot from it. I'm estimating out of the 50 meals, I have cooked 15 of his dishes, and have cooked every single chicken dish in this book. I know there has been much debate as to whether the meals take 30 minutes. I personally have only done one meal in 30 minutes, the wonky summer pasta, which I will share the recipe  and the fish tray bake. I have not attempted to make any of the desserts in this book, if I had attempted some of the desserts I can imagine it wold take me over an hour. My only other criticism with this book is the ingredients can be quite expensive, and sometimes improvisation is needed.
Anyway, back to the recipe, this dish is basically a cabonara but called wonky summer pasta. This dish is delicious, quick easy and simple. I used normal spaghetti and not fresh lasagna sheets as stipulated in the book.
Here is how my dish turned out:

I ate my lovely pasta dish with a whole bowl of herby salad. It was delicious. ......

Recipe for wonky summer pasta.

 1 egg yolk
 60g Parmesan cheese, plus extra
for serving
 Squeeze of lemon
 250g fresh lasagne sheets ( I used ordinary pasta)
 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
 sea salt & black pepper
 Carefully separate the egg and put the yolk into a big serving bowl.
Add the extra virgin olive oil and a good pinch of salt & pepper to the bowl of egg yolk.
Grate the Parmesan and tip it into the bowl of egg yolks with the lemon juice. Stir until everything is mixed together, then season with salt & pepper.
Stack the lasagna sheets on a chopping board and carefully slice them into fairly thin strips, or use some spaghetti Add to the pan of boiling water with a good pinch of salt. Stir, then put the lid on slightly askew and keep it at a hard boil for just 1½ minutes.
 This pasta must be eaten ASAP to be enjoyed properly. It is best to use a tongs to move o move the pasta to the egg mixture.  Fresh pasta is constantly sucking up water so make it slightly looser than it needs to be and it will be perfect at the table. Take to the table, quickly dress the salad and eat straight away.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Stem ginger syrup cake

I first saw this cake from another blogger, What Laura Made, who stated this cake was low calorie!!. After asking her whereI could get my hands on a low fat, low calorie baking book, I was informed Harry Eastwood's Red Velvet and chocolate heartache book uses vegetables instead of butter in cakes, thus making the cakes low fat. I promptly ordered Harry Eastwood's book and pencilled several recipes for m to try. I first attempted to make the chocolate and beetroot brownies, but still could taste the beetroot as this was not blended properly. My second attempt at making chocolate and beetroot brownies worked, but I broke my hand held blender in the process. In the end I decided to buy a compact food processor to assist me in making cakes from this book, as many recipes state "blend" or "finely grate" etc.
Before I share my version of stem ginger syrup cake, I think I will share the version from What Laura Made (as this did not contain pink glitter......),  What laura's made cake version as Harry Eastwood's book contains no pictures of this recipe.
Here is how my cake turned out:

This cake has only 219 calories and 6.0 grams of fat, so there is no such thing as guilt!

Recipe for stem ginger cake. I have put in brackets where I have made amendments)
3 medium eggs
120g demerara sugar
250g, peeled and very finely grated butternut squash 
30g piece raw ginger, peeled and very finely grated (I used 3 tablespoons of powdered ginger)
150g white rice flour (I used 75g rice flour and 75g self-raising  flour, as rice flour can sometimes give a "nutty texture")
1tsp ground ginger
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4tbsp stem ginger syrup
100g stem ginger, very finely sliced.

For the top
3 tbsp stem ginger syrup
100g icing sugar
3 knobs stem ginger, very finely sliced.

1) Preheat the oven to 180c/350F/ gas mark 4. Line the base of the tin with baking parchment, then lightly brush all over the parchment and the sides of the tin with vegetable oil.
2) Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl until pale and four times their original volume (roughly 5 minutes on full blast). Whisk in the grated butternut squash and raw ginger until all mixed in. Next, add the flour, ground almonds, ground ginger, baking powder and salt and beat again until well incorporated.
3) Use a spatula to fold in the ginger syrup and the slices of stem ginger so that they are dotted around the place. Pour the mixture into the tin and place it in the oven for 30 minutes.
4) Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before un-moulding onto a wire rack. Peel the parchment from the bottom and flip the cake the right way up again to avoid making lines on the top.
5) Make the icing by mixing together the stem ginger syrup with the sieved icing sugar. Dot the slices of stem ginger over the surface of the cake and pour the icing over before serving.



Thursday, 3 May 2012

Chorizo and chickpea stew and rice krispies brownies.

I recently had a study day, a day where I am supposed to dedicate fully to reading books, completing uni work etc. Whilst I did study on my study day, I also cooked/baked two dishes from Nigella's Kitchen cookbook. I have stated before in previous blogs, that Nigella's Kitchen is by far my favourite Nigella book. I have book marked the chorizo and chickpea stew recipe (p.202) for some time, along with the sluts spaghetti, but for some reason have never got round to cooking it ....... until now.
I made adaptions to the recipe, and did not include the suggests spaghettini or vermicilli as I thought this would take too long. Also, Nigella uses canned cherry tomatoes, and I used fresh cherry tomatoes in chopped tomato sauce. I went to Marks and Spencer on the hunt for chopped cherry tomatoes but had no luck. Apart from the two minor adjustment, I followed the remainder of the recipe.
The stew turned out to be delicious, very filling and flavoursome (I did add some chilli powder, crushed chillies, garlic & spring onions as additional ingredients) and would definitely cook again.
Here is how my stew turned out
I also made some rice krispies brownies (p.312) which was delicious although I reduced and changed the ingredients. Firstly, I did not use butter, excess butter is a sin for anyone trying to lose weight (I've lost 2 stone and want to continue losing weight) so I swapped the butter for low fat margarine. I only used 150g of chocolate instead of the 200g suggested, and I used a handful of chocolate raisins, instead of 50g chocolate morsels. My healther (ish) version still tasted delicious.
Here is how my healthier version turned out

Recipe for Chorizo and chickpea stew.
Serves 4
2 * 15ml tablespoons regular olive oil
50g spaghettini or vermicelli, torn into 3cm lengths.
500g Bulgar wheat
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons sea salt flakes or 1 teaspoon pouring salt
1 litre water
2 bay leaves
350g chorizo, cut into coins and then halved.
4 * 15ml tablespoons amontillado sherry
100g soft dried apricots, snipped into pieces with scissors.
2 * 400g cans chickpeas
2 8 400g cans cherry tomatoes
salt and pepper
fresh coriander

Warm the olive oil in a thick-bottomed pan on a medium heat.
Fry the pasta bits in the oil for a minute, stirring, until they look slightly scorched.
Then add the bulgar wheat and stir for another minute or two.
Stir in the cinnamon and the salt, and then pour the water in the pan. Add the bay leaves, and bring to a boil, then turn down to the lowest heat, add a lid, and leave for 15 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed.
Put another thick-bottomed saucepan on a medium heat, add the chorizo pieces and fry until the orange oil runs out. Then add the sherry and let it bubble away. Add the apricots along with the chickpeas and canned tomatoes. Put on a high heat to bubble for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with bulgar wheat and fresh corrainder.
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