Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Prawn, cauliflower and tomato curry.

I have been intrigued about this recipe since last May when I brought BBC Good Food More Low Fat Feasts. I have to highly recommend these cook book series from the BBC, so far I have 6 and all the recipes in these books display the calories, fat, carbohydrate and salt content, perfect for those watching thier waist line.
The original recipe for this dish uses peas instead of cauliflower, but as I only had a packet of frozen cauliflower at the time this is what I used. I think with this recipe you can substitute the suggested peas to any vegetables that you have at hand. As i'm not a big fish eater, I wondered how well a fish could hold a hot and spicy curry. I was reluctant to use only prawns as wanted a more meatier taste, so added some pollock, cut into bitesize pieces. Although this is delicious I don't whether it will become a firm favourite at home. I'm too much of a meat lover, but for the fish lovers out there, here is how my dish turned out:
Prawn, cauliflower and tomato curry
I added two mini naans and an Indian vegetable dish, Diwani Handi - an Indian vegetable dish, this balanced the overall flavour. I'm a firm believer in marinade (whether this is fish, meat, or even veggie dishes) and this dish was no exception, I seasoned with salt, black pepper, chilli and garlic.
chopped garlic, chilli and onions

Seasoning and onions 
Seasoning mixed with the fish.
I then started with the sauce, which is different to the sauce from the recipe. Instead of using 6 ripe tomatoes and cut into two, I used a packet of passata with chicken tikka paste - which is a more authentic taste than using a jar of curry sauce for example.
Chopped tomato with Tikka pasre
I then added the curry to the sauce mix and let this cook for 5 minutes before adding the fish.
Cauliflower cooking

Fish added into the tomato mixture.

Here is the link to the prawn pea and tomato curry. Hope you enjoy xx


Saturday, 26 January 2013

Healthy maple syrup pancakes with warmed pineapple.

I presume this recipe is healthy as it's from a Weight Watchers joiners booklet. I have not rejoined the King of diet groups, but as I managed to lose 2.5 stone last year and keep it off, I'm always on the look out for low fat but tasty recipe. These pancakes with the maple syrup and pineapple remind me of my oaty pancakes with blueberry jam as they were low fat and tasty but with more a summery twist. Perfect for this cold and snowy weather we are experiencing. The pancakes are quick to make, even quicker to cook and taste delicious, the perfect weekend breakfast.
Here is how my maple syrup pancakes with warmed pineapple turned out:
Pancakes with pineapple

Ingredients - serves 4, 7 pro points per serving
125g self-raising flour
2 medium eggs beaten
175ml skimmed milk
6tbsp maple syrup
low fat cooking spray
400g tin ringed pineapples

Firstly, place the flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the eggs, milk, and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup. Whisk together until completely smooth.
Pancake mixture
Pancake mixture
Warm a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. When hot add the spread and leave to melt. Add the batter in large spoonfuls to make little pancakes 8cm across. Cook for about 1 minute until bubbles start bursting on the surface, then flip over and cook for a further 30 seconds until both sides are golden. Continue with the remaining mixture until all 12 pancakes are cooked. Set aside in a warm place.
Pancakes cooking
Cooked pancakes
Increase the heat and warm the empty pan. Add the pineapple and remaining maple syrup and cook for 2-3 minutes until hot through and start to caramelise a little.
Pineapples cooking

Serve a stack of 3 pancakes with the syrupy pineapples on the side.



Friday, 25 January 2013

Mexican chicken burgers

I love a good ol burger, who doesn't? And I am particular partial for a low fat chicken or beef burger especially when they are  tasty. Now, I've blogged previously about my low fat chicken and spring burgers and my turkey burgers, but these are different. These chicken burgers have a nice added twist as they are Mexican inspired with the added chopped jalapenos and topped with guacamole, sour cream and salsa (probably not so healthy then). Served with a handful of fries and a side salad this makes a perfect mid- week meal. The recipe is adapted from my Love Food Barbecue book, which I have currently misplaced, but is a fantastic cook book for burgers, meats, sides and grills. Here is how my Mexican chicken burgers turned out:
Mexican chicken burgers

I first started by mixing the chicken mince, spring onions, Cajun seasoning, chopped jalapenos, all purpose seasoning and mixed so that all the mixture is in cooperated.
Ingredients for chicken burgers
Mixture kneaded
Once all the ingredients are combined, shape into four burgers and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Shaped chicken burgers
Place two tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and then fry each burger for 10 minutes on each side.
Chicken burgers cooking
Once cooked place each burger in bun and top with a dollop of guacamole, salsa and sour cream.

Ingredients for Mexican chicken burgers adapted from Easy Barbecue cook book.
500g chicken mince
1 garlic clove
2 spring onions
8-10 chopped jalapenos
1 tbsp all purpose seasoning
1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
2tbsp oil
burger buns
Mexican dips: sour cream, salsa and guacamole.

1) In a large bowl, mix together the chicken mince, garlic. Cajun seasoning, jalapenos and spring onions. Combine well with your hands, shape into 4 patties then place in the fridge for  30 minutes.
2) Heat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat then cook the burgers for 10 minutes on each side until cooked through. Slice the burger buns in half, place the burgers inside the buns and top with salsa, sour cream and guacamole.


Sunday, 20 January 2013

The Classic: American vanilla cake with chocolate ganache. -

It's another month for the Cake Slices and January's options for baking was a tie between bannana cake with coffee and walnut buttercream and The Classic - an American birthday cake with fudge frosting. I voted for The Classic and planned to make this mid January. However, as I was having lots of family around for Boxing Day (26th December) I thought it would be a fantastic idea to make this cake for then - but I only decided this on Christmas day so had to compromise and instead of using fudge icing I made a chocolate ganache as I could not go to the shops and buy double cream.
The cake itself turned out to be a delicious vanilla cake and although I added 5 tablespoons of vanilla essence any taste of the vanilla was swamped by the chocolate ganache. I don't know whether this would be the same if I had made the fudge icing - I suppose i'll have to make it again to find out. My family, especially the kiddiewinkles loved the cake and described it as "death by chocolate" which can only be a good thing.
Here is how my Classic cake with chocolate ganache turned out:
The Classic
Inside the Classic.
Inside my cake
Fancy a slice of the classic?
Slice of my cake
I first started by creaming the butter and sugar together - I have noticed this book, Vintage Cakes tends to start with sifting the flours together, but I am so used to creaming the butter and sugar together I always start with that. I used a combination of caster sugar and soft brown sugar - but I suggest you stick to ordinary caster sugar as the brown sugar burnt slightly after the cakes were baked.
two sugars

sugar beaten
I then added 1/2 cup of vegetable oil to the sugar mixture.
sugar beaten with oil
I blended the egg yolks, and whole eggs to the mixture alternating with the flour. Once these ingredients were combined I added a cup full of buttermilk, mixed well and placed in the baking tins.
Mixture for cakes
Vanilla pre bake
After around 30 minutes the mixture was baked. I left the cakes to cool n a wire rack whilst I got in with the icing.
Baked cakes
I weighed 300g milk chocolate and 200g dark chocolate and 500g butter and melted over a low heat. Once melted I left to cool down for an hour and then placed in the fridge for the ganache to set.
Butter and chocolate for ganache

Melted ganache
Ganache set
I then cut each cake into equal halves so I had four layers of cake then placed the chocolate ganache over each layer and then spread the chocolate ganche over the cake to create a crumb layer.
Layering up
Layering up
Crumb coating
I placed the cake in the fridge for the ganache to firm up for around 30 minutes and then applied another coating of the ganche around the cake.

This is my type of cake, rich, tasty and very chocolatey. A must try for all those that love a combination of flavours in their cake.
Serves 8-12 servings - you will need two 8 by 2 inch round cakes, greased and bottoms lined with parchment paper circles.

Ingredients for The Classic.
2 cups (9 ounces) SR flour
a tea spoon of baking powder.
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups (14 ounces) caster sugar
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
5 tablespoons of vanilla essence
4 egg yolks, at room temperature
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup of buttermilk

For the chocolate ganache
500g milk or dark chocolate or a combination of both.
500g butter or margarine

Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350F. Place a medium bowl in the refrigerator to chill.
Sift together the flour and baking powder in a bowl, then whisk the mixture by hand to ensure that the ingredients are well mixed.
In a bowl of a free standing mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. As you make the batter, stop the mixer frequently and scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. With your mixture on low speed, drizzle the oil and the vanilla into the mixture until well combined. Blend in the egg yolks and whole eggs one at a time, adding the next one as soon as the previous one has dissappeared into the batter. With the mixture on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk in two parts, beginning and ending with the flour.
After each addition, mix until just barely blended and stop and scrape the bowl. Stop the mixer before the last of the flour has been incooperated and complete by hand with a rubber spatula to ensure you do not overbeat the batter. Divide the batter evenly between two pans.
Bake in the middle of the oven until cakes crack a bit on top and centerrs spring back when lightly touched, 35 - 40 minutes. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Flip the cakes out of the pans, leaving on the parchment paper until you assemble the cake. Let them continue to cool on the rack, top side up, until they reach room temperature.
Meanwhile make the frosting, combine the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl above a pan with of water until melted . Once melted place in a heatproof jug to cool - this should take an hour. Then place the chocolate ganche in the fridge until it has set.
Using a metal spatula, frost the top with a heaping of the frosting, spreading it out to the edge of the ccake. Stack the second bottom cake layer cut side up on top of the frosted cake and spreead another 1/2 cup of frosting on top of the cake.
Next, align one of the top two layers, cut side up, on top of the frosted cake and repeat with another heaping 1/2 cup of frosting. Stack the last later, cut side down this time, on top/ Apply a thin layrer of frpsting all over the cake to create a crumb coat. Place the cake in the refridgerator until thr frosting is firm. Take it out and frost the cake with the remaining frosting, using your spatula to make decortive swirls.


Friday, 18 January 2013

Onion tart

As much as I love making a quiche lorraine, there is a need to branch out from a beloved dish and try something new. The classic onion tart has appealed to me, and I have made a very similar dish a cheese and onion pie (recipe from the lovely Simon Hopkinson). Now this recipe uses 2 kilos of onions and which struck me was will there be a soggy bottom (one of the favourite sayings from the Great British Bake Off)? Not with this recipe as it uses a very unusual method of pastry; most pastry uses flour, butter and water or egg to bind. Not this one, the base for the onion tart uses flour, milk and yeast which is then molded into a a dough, left to rise for an hour, then kneaded out again, left to rise, rolled out then blind baked with the par cooked onions and bacon. This obviously isn't a dish to make if you are in a hurry but if you are having a lazy weekend and fancy a laid back supper this onion tart served with salad and garlic bread is the dish for you.
Here is how my onion tart turned out:
Onion tart

A slice of onion tart:
Slices of onion tart
No soggy bottom:

Ingredients for onion tart
250g plain flour
7g dried yeast
125ml lukewarm milk
125g butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 kilos red onions, thinly sliced
2 eggs
55g bacon finely diced
1/4 teaspoon caraway seed
3 egg yolks
185ml cream

1) Use a 28 cm spring form tin or pastry flan; grease the tin. Place flour in the bowl and make a well in the centre. Sprinkle the yeast onto the milk. Pour into the well in the centre. Sprinkle yeast onto the milk. Pour into well; sprinkle flour from the sides. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 15 minutes.
2) Add 1 tbsp butter and the salt to yeast mixture. Knead into a dough. Cover and leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Knead vigorously for 10 minutes; leave to rise for a further 30 minutes.
3) Preheat the oven to 220C (gas mark 7). In a frying pan, heat remaining butter and fry the onion until transparent. Whisk the eggs in a bowl; stir in the onions.
4) Roll out dough to lint the tin. Pour in the mixture; sprinkle with the bacon and caraway seeds. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 180C. Combine the egg yolks, a pinch of salt and the cream. Pour mixture over tart; bake a further for 50 minutes.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Jerk drumsticks and honey and mustard saussage

For New Years Eve I decided on making a buffet (I usually do this every year) of very simple but tasty food to eat before the beginning of a detox. I love jerk chicken but to cook jerk chicken as they have it in Jamaica you would need to use a barbecue to recreate the authentic smokey flavour.
However, the next best method of cooking this is dish, is to use the oven to cook the marinaded chicken. I think as long as you have the core ingredients you can make one of Jamaica's well known dishes. Jerk chicken is spicy and full of flavour, and very easy to make. Once you marinade all the ingredients, and leave overnight to marinade, you can let the oven do all the work.

For the honey and mustard sausages its also very simple all you do is mix one tablespoon of honey and one teaspoon of mustard, mix together and baste the sausage with the marinade. Then roast in the oven for around 45 minutes turning frequently until cooked. The taste is delicious, and I think from now on this is the only way to have roasted sausages.
Here is how my jerk chicken turned out:

I first marinaded the chicken and left overnight. I then placed the drumsticks in the oven for 45 minutes until golden and brown.

Ingredients for sticky drumsticks with sugared oranges - taken  from Levi Roots Caribbean Food Made Easy.

12 drumsticks
2tbsp soft light brown or demerara sugar
2 pipless oranges
5 long, mild red chillies, whole and undamaged.

For the jerk marinade
4 spring onions, green part only, roughly chopped
1 hot red chilli (ideally scotch bonnet) seeds left in
3cm (1 1/4 inch) piece of root ginger, cut into chunks
2 tbsp thyme leaves
100 ml (3 1/2 floz) cider vinegar
3 tbsp honey
2tsp ground all spice
1tsp cinnamon
2tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

1) Put the marinade ingredients in a blender and whizz until smooth. Alternately, pound the ingredients to a paste using a pestle and mortar. Pour it over the drumsticks, turning them over so they are well coated. Leave to marinate, covered, in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight if more convenient turning the drumsticks over once or twice.
2) Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark . Cook the drumsticks, turning them over a few times until they are cooked and nicely brown, basting with any leftover jerk marinade.
3) While the drumsticks are cooking, sprinkle the sugar on to a plate and cut the oranges into quarters. Dip the cut sides of each piece into sugar and cook on the barbecue for a few minutes until the sugar has caramelised. Keep a close eye on the oranges to prevent them from burning. At the same time, chargrill the chillies.
Serve the drumsticks with the caramelised oranges and chargrilled chillies.



Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Basic white loaf

Not one to be defeated with my pistachio and maple syrup loaf, I decided to make something a bit more simple and easy. Nothing quite says easy as a basic white loaf, and the recipe from Jo Wheatley's book looked super easy. The bread required needed to be proved and left to rise twice which I think is normal for bread-making (I am very inexperienced with making bread!). I found the use of milk and butter in a white loaf a bit strange, I think this helped the bread to stay super moist. I can honestly say that I will make this loaf, time and time again as it turned out to be delicious, and even better with pate spread across on a warm slice. When I make this loaf again I will start to experiment and add some cheese and some herbs, as I think this would work well with this loaf.
Here is how my basic loaf turned out:

Basic white loaf
As you can see I need to spread the loaf better in the tin, but the taste was delicious. This bread was really easy to make. Knead the dough, leave to rise, knock down the dough, place in a loaf tin and bake for 30 or so minutes.
Risen dough

Loaf in tin pre bake
Baked loaf
Ingredients for Basic White loaf
500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for kneading
8 sea salt
8 g caster sugar
7g easy blend/ fast action yeast
100ml full fat milk
200ml water
25g unsalted butter
1 egg yolk

You will need a 900g loaf tin, lightly greased.

Tip all the dry ingredients into the bowl and make a well into the centre. Heat the milk and water together until lukewarm. Add the melted butter and stir to combine.
Combine with the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon or spatula until the dough comes together. Continue to knead for 10 minutes until you have a smooth elastic dough. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size.
Tip out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 1 minute to knock back the dough. Mould into a sausage shape and pop into a loaf tin, cover with oiled cling film and leave to prove for about 40-60 minutes until the dough has doubled in size and feels springy.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6
Gently brush the top of the loaf with the beaten egg yolk and bake just below the middle of the preheated oven for 30 minutes until golden brown and the underside of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
Cool the loaf in the tin for about 10 minute and turn out onto a wire rack and leave until cold before slicing.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Low fat coffee and walnut cake.

I really am enjoying baking from my Harry Eastwood's Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache book. Finally, there is a low fat baking book where the results actually taste nice. Although the methods can be a bit fiddly and you will never quite get a completely rich cake as there is a lack of butter, it is worth it as the cakes are almost guilt free. I decided on making one of my all time favourite cakes, coffee and walnut cake. Instead of the usual butter required in this cake, the cake uses finely grated carrots which adds moisture.
Here is how my low fat coffee and walnut cake turned out:
Low fat coffee and walnut cake

As it was Christmas I couldn't help decorating this cake with some Christmas decorations.
Low fat coffee and walnut cake

I first started by processing self-raising flour and walnuts in a food processor until combined. I was unsure why the recipe required this as most coffee and walnut cakes, have roughly chopped walnut pieces, not turning into powder. I can only imagine this was required as there was no butter or oil to "lift" the cake (it worked well though!)
Walnut flour mixture

Walnut flour mixture blended

I then whisked eggs and sugar until they become three times original size, this took around 5 minutes.
Eggs and sugar 

I then finely grated 250 g of carrots and stirred this into the mixture.
Grated carrots

grated carrots in-cooperated

I used 125ml of coffee (made with using 1 tablespoon of coffee) instead of the suggested coffee essence and in-cooperated this into the mixture.

Coffee for cake

coffee in cooperated in mixture

I divided the mixture into two baking tins and baked for around 30 minutes and then left to cool.
Mixture in tins

Meanwhile I made the icing, I whisked the butter, and 100g icing sugar, and 4tbsp of coffee (made with one teaspoon of coffee and three tablespoons of water). I combined with a wooden spoon, then placed in the fridge to firm up.
Once the cakes were cooled i spread the icing in the middle of the cake, and the top of the cake.
A slice of this cake comes in at around 400 calories per slice, which may seem a lot but full fat coffee and walnut cakes have twice the amount of calories. I'm a big fan of this book, as it is possible to have your  cake and eat it, and although the cakes might not be overly rich, and buttery, when cake is what you need, you can eat cake and not feel guilty :-).

Recipe for low fat coffee and walnut cake.

Serves 12
200g self raising flour
120g walnuts
3 medium eggs
160 light muscovado sugar
250g scrubbed, topped, tailed and very finely grated carrot
1 tsp baking powder
125ml coffee

For the icing
125g butter (I use margarine)
250g icing sugar
4 tbsp coffee

You will need
two 18cm - diameter x 5cm deep - loose bottomed tins
a food processor,

1) Preheat the oven to 180 C/350F/ gas mark 4. Line the bases of the tins with baking parchment and the sides of the tins with a little vegetable oil.
2) Place the flour and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and blitz them together until they are well mixed. The walnuts will never quite turn to dust, but they will get really small and make the flour look a bit like wholemeal flour.
3) In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar for 3 minutes with an electric whisk, until they are cappuccino coloured and tripled in volume.
4) Add the grated carrot and beat again until in-cooperated. Add the flour and ground-walnut mixture, as well as the baking powder and salt. Beat until combined. Finally, add the coffee and mix until all the ingredients  are well introduced and the mixture us evenly covered.
5) Divide the mixture evenly into the prepared tins, and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes exactly. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack whilst you make the icing.
6) To make the icing, whisk the butter with an electric whisk until softened and fluffy. Add 100g of the icing sugar and whisk to a paste. Add the coffee as well as the remaining icing sugar.
7) Refrigerate the icing for 15 minutes before filling the middle and icing the top of the cold cake. Finish the cake off by placing walnuts or whatever decoration you like.

I am entering my low fat coffee and walnut cake to Calendar Cakes monthly baking challenge, this month the theme is healthier treats. Calendar Cakes is founded by Dolly Bakes and lauralovescakes.
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