Sunday, 16 March 2014

Eat Well and Stay Slim

Eat Well and Stay Slim is the latest book by legendary French chef, Michel Guerard and published by Franceslincoln, many thanks for my review copy. I'll be honest, I've never heard of Michel Guerard before receiving this book but he is a three star Michilen chef and is no stranger to publishing healthy cookbooks and his previous book, Cuisine Minceur has sold a whopping 1 million copies, which says it all.

Eat Well and Stay Slim is a cookbook which introduces the reader to low calorie, and in my opinion restaurant style dishes which should enable us to enjoy high quality ingredients which is good for us and helps us to lose weight. Eat Well and Stay Slim also introduces the reader to the methods, techniques and an essential toolkit (stocks, flavoured oil, vinagrettes, condiments) which helps preparing low calorie dishes easier. Eat Well and Stay Slim also shares the four stages of the minceur dietary regime that is used at his spa hotel, Les Pres d' Eugenie. This book is split into two chapters, the basic essential of Cuisine Minceur which covers a variety of sauces, gratins ad vinagrettes  and The Essential Cuisine Minceur recipes. The second chapter is my favourite as it contains the all important recipes and covers:

  • Soups, dishes to try include springtime green asparagus soup, artichoke soup and chilled melon and basil soup. 
  • Cold starters, stand out recipes include, carpaccio of salmon with olives and tapioca, spicy salmon with coffee sauce and tartare of tomatoes with basil.
  • Warm starters, dishes include skinny tomato tarts, mushrooms in vermouth with a potato puree and mushroom tarts with asparagus tips.
  • Salads, stand out recipes include spatch-cooked quail with mushroom mousse and prawn salad with crunchy crab-filled biscuits.
  • Fish dishes, recommended dishes include tuna steaks with ribbon vegetables, poached sea bass and salmon burger 
  • Meat dishes, dishes to try include Italian-style beef burgers with basil, chicken breasts stuffed with lemony herbs and eastern-inspired duck burgers. 
  • Side and vegetable dishes, recommended dishes vegetable curry with basmati rice,  
  • Desserts, low calorie treats include vanilla floating island, french toast with vanilla- scented with apple and chestnut- chocolate timbale.
All the recipes in this book include an indication of the level of difficulty which ranges from 1-3 stars, the calories in each dish and clear method instruction. The calories in each dish are very low I haven't seen a dish of more than 400 calories, which is fantastic if you want to lose weight. Flicking through the recipes which stuck out more than anything is that, for me these are the dishes that I would see in a high-end restaurant and for the majority of recipes which is fab as you can see how the dishes should look. My only criticism is there is a lack of carbohydrates in this book, I love carbs!

I thought I would challenge myself and make a dish with a 3 star difficulty, tuna steaks with ribbon vegetables. I'm glad I did, as it wasn't as difficult as I thought and I will be revisiting some other fish dishes, especially a few weeks before I go on my holidays. I liked the simplicity of the tuna steaks and the vegetables really complimented the flavour.

Here is how my tuna steaks with ribbon vegetables turned out:
Tuna steaks.

Par-boiled vegetables.
Seasoned tuna steak.

Vegetables cooking.

Tuna steak and vegetables cooking.

Recipe for Tuna Steaks with Ribbon Vegetables and a Herb Vinaigrette
Serves 4, Cooking and Preparation: 45 minutes, 360 calories per person
4 tuna steaks, each about 100g
2 tbsp olive oil
2 or 3 long carrots, peeled
2 or 3 courgettes
1 aubergine
1 new onion, peeled and cut into 12 petal shapes
4 medium button mushrooms, wiped and cut into slices
salt and pepper

For the vinaigrette
6tbsp light vinagrette
2tbsp white wine vinegar
4tbsp rich chicken stock
1tbsp coarsely chopped parsley
1tsp finely chopped tarragon

To garnish
4 sprigs of thyme

1) Put the tuna steaks in a dish and coat them with 1 tbsp of the olive oil, set them aside at room temperature
2) Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, cut the carrots length ways into 12 thin ribbon-like slices, no more than 2 mm. Cut the courgettes into similar ribbons and the aubergines into 8 slightly thicker slices.
3) In separate batches, blanch these vegetables - for about 1 minute in boiling, lightly salted water, then refresh them in cold water and drain them flat on kitchen paper.
4) Have ready frying pan or a grill pan.
5) When you are almost ready to serve the dish, either the grill or saute the vegetables. To grill them, brush the grill or griddle pan with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
6) Cook the onions and aubergines for 3 minutes on each side, and the carrots, courgettes and mushrooms for 1 minute each side.
7) Mix together all the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a small saucepan. Heat the mixture without allowing it to boil, then keep the vinaigrette warm.
8) Season the tuna steaks and cook them rapidly for about 3 minutes on each side, either using the hot griddle pan. The steaks should remain pink on the inside.
To serve
Divide the vinaigrette between 4 warm serving plates. Add the tuna steaks and the vegetables.

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