super simple super tasty kedgeree

Over the past couple of months i have been eating more seafood and the more i eat the more i crave it. From pan fried mackerel and sea bass to stir fried squid and shrimp i just can’t get enough seafood.

super-simple-super-tasty-kedgeree-fish-kippers-and-rice

super-simple-super-tasty-kedgeree-fish-kippers-and-rice

At the supermarket i picked up smoked Kipper fillets reminding me of being a kid. My parents boiled them in milk serving them with heaps of beige cabbage and mashed potatoes.

Putting the kippers in my trolley instantly started to ponder what I could make with them.

At home a few online searches suggested kedgeree and two recipes stood out – Delia Smith‘s and Jamie Oliver‘s so i decided to marry the two recipes and make my own version. Quick and easy to prepare I literally flung this dish together in twenty minutes after the gym.  For anything that you may not like simply substitute it for something else or leave it out.

ingredients

  • one pack of kipper fillets – (my pack had 2 kippers in)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 bay leaves fresh or dried
  • 200g of rice long grain or basmati
  • 1tbsp butter or oil of your choice
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 3 or 4 mushrooms roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic peeled and chopped
  • 1 thumb size piece of ginger chopped
  • 1 red chilli finely chopped
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • chopped parsley for garnish

method

Fill your kettle and boil it and prepare two pans on the stove – one for boiling eggs in and the other for making rice.

In one pot place 2 eggs, cover with water and boil until the eggs are hard-boiled.

Place 200g of rice in the other pan and once the kettle is boiled pour in water to just about 1cm over the surface of the rice. Put the lid on and let it boil. Stir occasionally and once the water is absorbed the rice should be perfectly fluffy. (you may have to slight top up the water if you have underestimated at the beginning)

Turn off the heat to the rice and let cool.

Whilst all the boiling is going on wash chop and prep your veggies and measure your spices.

Remove the boiled eggs and leave them to cool. Pour out and refill the pot with fresh water and place back on the hob.

Add two bay leaves to the water and the kipper fillets and bring to the boil. Boil for approximately 5 minutes then remove the kippers and leave to cool.

*your veg should be chopped, eggs boiled, fish boiled and rice should be ready.

In a pan (i used a wok for more room for stirring) add the butter or your choice of oil and let it heat.

Toss in the onion garlic ginger and stir fry for a couple of minutes until the onion becomes translucent. Add the chopped tomatoes and mushrooms and any other vegetables that you may have decided to add (frozen peas, corn, pepper) and stir fry on a high heat. Keep everything moving preventing it sticking to the pan.

Curry powder and mustard seeds are added in next (mustard seeds can pop out of the pan so just be careful) along with the chilli and continue to stir everything through.

The fish should be cool enough to handle. Break the fish up into small chunks (some people and some recipes call for removing the skin but that’s where the most flavours are) and add the fish to the pan.

Lastly add in the cooked rice and stir everything through. The curry powder should start to colour things a nice golden colour and when mixing through try to share this colouring and flavouring with as much of the mix as possible.

Lower the heat and leave for a few moments.

Peel and cut the eggs into quarters ready to place on the plate.

Serve up the kedgeree into bowls and add the chopped egg and parsley garnish.

Salt and pepper are optional but I find that the strong flavours of the fish and the curry powder are seasoning enough but it all depends on your taste buds.

If kippers are too strong in flavour this can be made with mackerel or any other fish that you have a preference for. Give it a go for a quick and easy week night meal and make more than needed and it can be a decent lunch for the next day although it may stink out the office microwave and you may not be popular 🙂

 

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Hearty home-made soup – gammon, lentils and vegetables galore.

When i was growing up we would often make the journey to my grans at the other end of Glasgow and more often than not it was cold, windy and raining and by the time we got there we would be frozen and soaked through. On the upside, we got to see family and we knew there would always be a massive bowl of homemade soup, a doorstop of bread slathered in butter for dunking and the thought of this warming me from the inside out made the journey worth it.

Hearty home-made soup - gammon, lentils and vegetables galore.

Hearty home-made soup – gammon, lentils and vegetables galore.

This Christmas my parents came to stay in Bristol and so I thought it would be ideal to make homemade soup although I was concerned that it wouldn’t turn out as good as my mums and that she would be full of criticism. Luckily it turned out better than hers and she was full of praise – and soup. So I thought that whilst its cold, damp and miserable outside that I would make this soup on a more regular basis to enjoy. The recipe is below and ingredients can be swapped in or out as per your preference.

Ingredients:

1 gammon joint – i decided to use smoked as i wanted the flavour.

Root vegetables – i bought a winter pack for £1 from Sainsburys and it included:

2 carrots grated or finely chopped

1 turnip grated or finely chopped

1 parsnip grated or finely chopped

1 onion finely chopped

I leek finely chopped

1.5 litres of water

1 500g pack of dried pea and barley soup mix – you could use lentils

15-20 black peppercorns

3 bay leaves (fresh or dried)

Pinch of:

Salt, white pepper, thyme and oregano – use any herbs that take your fancy to give the soup some extra flavour.

Instructions:

Place the gammon joint in a large pan and fill the pan with the water until it covers the gammon joint. Add in all spices/herbs and bring to the boil.

Once the pot is boiling reduce the heat to low so that the pot remains on a gentle simmer. Allow this to simmer for 1-2 hours so that the flavours of the meat and herbs are extracted into the water. Top up with water as necessary.

Whilst this is simmering i prepare the vegetables by washing them and cutting of any ends or nasty looking bits.

Use the grater attachment in a food processor or if you are looking for a bit of a workout then get out your traditional grater and get ready to work those arms.

Grate the vegetables that you have selected (you could add in potatoes, brocolli, frozen veg, celariac – anything that takes your fancy).

Place the dried soup mix in a bowl and cover with cold water rinsing any dust from the soup mix. I usually rinse it through 2 or 3 times.

Once the meat has been simmering for 1-2 hours remove it from the pot and you should be left with stock that is pretty well flavoured. Leave the meat aside to cool down.

Skim any foam from the top of the stock and then add the vegetables to the simmering water. Add in the soup mix and then leave to simmer for about 20-30 minutes checking that the dried peas and any larger pieces of vegetables have softened.

You can top up the water levels as and when necessary but I try not to top it up too much as I like my soup to be quite thick in consistency.

Whilst the soup is simmering shred the meat into small pieces that you can then add to the soup. I generally do this by cutting the meat into bite sized chunks and then pulsing these chunks in a processor just to get them to a finer consistency. You could always cut the meat into larger chunks depending on your preferences.

Taste and season with salt and pepper.

The soup is then ready to serve with a chunk of rustic bread and butter or with some crackers such as ryvita.

If you put your remaining soup in a container and store in the fridge the flavours continue to develop and make it even tastier but it rarely lasts long in our house as it tastes so good.

Let me know what tweaks and edits you make to this recipe to make it even tastier. Enjoy!

 

English: Lentils soup.

English: Lentils soup. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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Dumplings for Chinese New Year

well its Chinese New Year’s eve today and all over the world there will be many people preparing lavish feasts of extravagant foods that are for special occasions, rich in flavour and that symbolise good luck and good fortune hopefully for the year to come.

tomorrow marks the start of the year of the rooster and this evening families will be together eating, drinking, chatting, exchanging gifts and money, setting off fireworks and watching the new years gala show on tv whilst continually eating snacking and enjoying the biggest meal of the year.

People will eat fish (Yu) as the pronunciation is similar to the pronunciation for the word prosperity, people will eat lots of round shaped food as they look like coins, and people will also eat rice cakes (nian gao) as the word nian is the same pronunciation as the word year.

Dumplings are always eaten at new year, particularly in northern China as the shape of the dumpling reminds people of traditional coin purses. Kitchens all over North China will be boiling steaming and frying plate after plate of dumplings filled with meat, seafood and vegetables to share with people popping in to wish each other a happy new year.

Last Wednesday was Burn’s night – a festival in Scotland and so in our house we decided to experiment and incorporate Scottish and Chinese cultures. We made haggis dumplings and I have to say they were delicious and they will most definitely be getting made more often in our house.

Since we were coming home from work and didn’t have much time to cook we bought the dumpling wrappers and the haggis so that we could assemble and cook and then eat. We added some grated carrot so that we could have one of our 5 a day and to add some texture and flavour. We got wrappers from the Chinese supermarket in Bristol and we bought Simon Howie Haggis in a bag I was hungry and impatient so the fact that we were able to do this was a bonus. Wrapping dumplings is a skill that takes time to perfect and I did need help with this. We also opted for frying the dumplings rather than steaming or boiling as this gives the dumplings a crispy outside skin that is just tasty.

If you are keen to make your own dumplings and want the easy option first of all then give this a go.

Ingredients:

Dumpling wrappers they are ready rolled and quite cheap from asian supermarkets

one pack of haggis we got ours at Sainsbury’s

2 carrots either grated or finely chopped.

some water to dip fingers in to stick the wrappers closed.

groundnut oil for frying the dumplings

sesame seeds if you want to add some additional flavour

Directions:

  1. Think of a production line in a factory for your dumpling making as it’s a process that’s quite repetitive and therapeutic.
  2. in a large bowl empty out the haggis and add the chopped or grated carrot and mix the ingredients together. If you are not a fan of carrot feel free to add any other vegetables that are finely grated or chopped. you are welcome to add any herbs or spices here but I didn’t as the haggis has a strong enough taste to it. Consider cumin, garlic, ginger, chilli, 5 spice.
  3. Prepare a large oven tray, plate, chopping board so that you can lay out the completed dumplings one by one so that they don’t stick together.
  4. Prepare a small bowl of water so that you can dip your fingers in the water and use this to stick the dumplings together.
  5. Place a dumpling wrapper in your less active hand and take a small spoonful of the filling and place it on the wrapper. Fold the wrapper over and wet your fingers to stick the edges of the wrapper together. press the edges rightly together so that the contents dont escape.
  6. Repeat this over and over until the wrappers and filling are completely used up.
  7. Now you are ready to begin cooking the dumplings. we fried them to make guotie.
  8. heat a flat bottom frying pan (make sure its a pan with a lid) over a full heat and add some water. Let the water come to the boil and add some oil and mix it through the water. Sprinkle some sesame seeds if you want these to form a crispy base on the dumplings.
  9. Lay your dumplings in rows in the pan and put the lid on turning the heat down to a medium heat. The water will allow the dumplings to steam cook and soften before developing a crispy base.
  10. Watch the pan as the dumplings cook and you will see the steam escape the pan. You are watching for the steam to diminish. This should show that the dumplings are close to being cooked.
  11. Take the lid off and check the dumplings to see that the base is beginning to crisp up. Feel free to alter the heat if you feel it’s too high.
  12. Once the base is cooked dark and crisp enough to your liking remove this batch of dumplings to a plate to cool.
  13. Clean the pan and start again until all dumplings are cooked.
  14. If you don’t want to cook all dumplings you can lay them out on a tray and cover them with foil and then gently place them flat in the freezer.
  15. Serve the dumplings with a variety of dipping sauces from soy sauce and Chinese vinegar, to sriraccha, lao gan ma Chinese chilli sauce, peanut butter and oil to make a satay style dipping sauce.
  16. And Enjoy.

You can also experiment with the filings from pork to beef to vegetables and tofu or a mix of all.

 

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amazingly authentic mapo tofu 麻婆豆腐

Having spent a number of years in china and developing a definite love of anything hot.

and spicy, Sichuan food is something that the UK restaurants can’t even come close to getting right. One dish i used to always get when it was cold and/or rainy is mapo tofu 麻婆豆腐 and yesterday the weather was crap and i craved it like you wouldn’t believe. Many places in china make it with a lot of oil but this version uses 2 tbsp of oil and still tastes pretty authentic.

mapo tofu 麻婆豆腐

mapo tofu 麻婆豆腐

According to Elaine from her blog, the story behind the name of this dish comes from a long time ago in Sichuan province, China. There was a couple who owned a small restaurant predominantly making vegetarian dishes and some of their customers wanted to have some meat with their meals. Meat was expensive but the owner’s wife bought some minced beef and put this through her tofu dish. The wife had bad acne marked face ma-麻 in Chinese and her customers named the dish after her: mapo tofu 麻婆豆腐. Not the nicest way to have a dish named after you but its a cute story and tastes great.

My recipe comes from Ching He Huang and Ken Hom‘s cookbook ‘Exploring China‘ as I love the dishes from this book. they are as close as i can get to real chinese food. I have increased the number of chillies that I use as I love hot food. Give this a go and tweak it to suit your taste and then let me know how you get on.

just remember – the key to chinese cooking is have everything prepared and chopped in advance and then its easy to throw together into a fantastic meal.

ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic peeled, crushed and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 2 red chillies chopped
  • 2 tbsp toasted Sichuan peppercorns gently warmed in a pan and then ground in a mortar and pestle
  • 300g minced beef – you can change this for Quorn mince, pork or turkey mince
  • 1tbsp shaoxing rice wine
  • 2tbsp chilli bean past
  • 400g firm tofu cut into dice-sized cubes
  • 75g edamame beans – i used frozen for the convenience
  • 200ml stock – i used chicken stock as it’s what i had at home
  • 1tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1tbsp cornflour mixed with 2tbsp cold water to form a paste
  • ground white pepper
  • 2 spring onions finely sliced for garnish.

Method:

  • heat groundnut oil in a wok over a high heat and when it starts to gently smoke add the garlic ginger and fresh chopped chillies.
  • stir fry for a few seconds until the aromas are released into the oil.
  • add the ground peppercorns and the beef (or your substitute) and stir together to brown the meat and let it absorb the flavours.
  • turn the heat down to medium and then add rice wine, chilli bean paste and mix well.
  • throw in the tofu and gently mix around in the pan trying your best not to break up the tofu.
  • its easy for the tour to turn to mush.
  • Add in the edamame and the stock and bring the contents of the wok to a gentle boil.
  • add the light soy sauce to season and taste as you season to ensure that you don’t over or under season.
  • Lastly stir in the cornflour water mix and watch as this helps to thicken the sauce and sprinkle some white pepper over the dish to flavour.
  • remove the wok from the heat and serve the dish in a bowl ready to share or simply gorge on yourself. best served with plain boiled rice.
  • try this once and I am sure you will be hooked and then you can experiment and adapt the recipe to suit your taste. Enjoy.

 

 

 

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simple saag aloo – spinach and potato indian dish to die for

as with my previous post, these days, if its healthy, hearty and spicy then i want to be shovelling it in my gob. these wintry days in the uk are driving me to spice up my life through experimenting in the kitchen and exploring my cookbooks and pushing my chilli limits to the max.

growing up with a lot of irish influence in my family i can barely go a week without potatoes and adding flavour, texture and spice makes this my go to comfort food. if im honest, i have had this served on top of a baked potato – double totty!

simple saag aloo - vegan indian dish

simple saag aloo – vegan indian dish

so if you are looking for healthy flavoured easy food to enjoy during the week, and again the next day in your lunch box, or if you are looking to have something different to offer your veggie dinner guests then this is a dish that you have to try. the method is the same but the vegetables could be switched up using sweet potato, turnip, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms or even carrots.

ready ground spices are fine for this dish but if you have time and really want to taste the different depths of the spices then it is best to roast and grind your spices to use fresh. its worth the effort.

ingredients:

2tbsp oil – ground nut or vegetable oil (not olive oil as it doesn’t heat to the right temperature)

200g potatoes cubed (i don’t peel i just scrub clean)

1 small onion finely chopped

4 tomatoes chopped

2 large fistfuls of fresh spinach or other green leaves

2 red or green chillies chopped (vary this depending on your spice tolerance)

2cm of root ginger finely grated

1tsp black mustard seeds

1tsp ground cumin

1tsp ground coriander seeds

1 tsp garam masala

1/4tsp ground turmeric

1tsp sugar

method:

  1. heat the oil in a pan that has a lid – the lid is vital for the next step!
  2. once the oil is smoking hot turn the heat to low, add the black mustard seeds and put the lid on the pan. the mustard seeds will pop in the hot oil and without a lid your kitchen will end up covered in tiny black dots and you may even get burned.
  3. after a couple of minutes then seeds should stop popping so you can carefully remove the lid.
  4. increase the heat and add the onion and potato and stir fry until lightly browned.
  5. add the ground spices – cumin, coriander, garam masala, turmeric and mix through the potatoes and onion.
  6. stir in the ginger, chopped tomatoes and chillies to the potato and onion in the pan and sprinkle over the sugar.
  7. add 150ml of water, increase the heat and bring the contents of the pan to the boil. reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes have softened but still hold their shape.
  8. season with a sprinkling of salt and pepper and stir through the spinach or other green leaves until they wilt and serve.

this dish can be served as part of a larger meal, with rice or naan and it can even be served as an accompaniment to roast chicken or a steamed piece of fish instead of boring old boiled potatoes.

Spice mixture Indian Garam Masala

Spice mixture Indian Garam Masala (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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easy veggie winter indian dish – chole chaat – chickpea dish

with the UK winter weather being awful lately and the temperatures nowhere near double figures at the moment i have been craving spicy, hearty warming foods. at the same time i have also been thinking about eating more healthily and sometimes hearty and healthy don’t easily go together to equal tasty.

this northern indian dish is in a cookbook i got at a charity shop a while back and its Marks & Spencers‘ “the food of india.” the book is fantastic and this recipe is ridiculously easy and tasty.

home made whole chaat

home-made chole chaat

when making indian food i have to say that my home-made naan breads never turn out right and the supermarket ready-made naan just don’t cut it. so if i am making indian then i will usually stop by the local takeaway and order one or two naan to enjoy with my home cooked food.

using tinned or ready-soaked chickpeas this dish can be rustled up in about ten minutes and is ideal for a mid-week dinner or an addition to a weekend indian feast. as with most of my dishes ingredients can be left out, added in or substituted to suit tastes and the spice level can go up or down depending on how hot you can handle!

ingredients

1 tin of ready soaked chickpeas

200g of tinned or chopped tomatoes

2tbsp ground nut or sunflower oil (don’t use olive oil as it doesn’t heat to the same temperature and doesn’t release the flavours of the spices as much)

1 small onion finely chopped

2cm piece of root ginger grated finely

2 red chillies finely chopped (change this to suit your spice tolerance)

1tsp ground coriander seeds

1tsp ground cumin seeds

(ready ground spices are fine but if you have the seeds then dry roast in a pan until the fragrance starts to emerge then transfer seeds to mortar and pestle or grinder and crush to a powder) 

1/4 tsp ground turmeric

1tsp garam masala

handful of spinach leaves (optional addition)

method

  1. heat oil in a large pan over a low heat and add the chopped onion. gently sweat the onions over a low to medium heat for 5-10 minutes and the onions become wilted and translucent. (too high a heat will burn the onions making the dish bitter so be patient)
  2. add the coriander, cumin, turmeric and garam masala powders to the onions and stir well then add the chopped chillies and grated ginger and stir well.
  3. next add the chopped/tinned tomatoes along with the tinned chickpeas and the liquid that they come in. season with salt as necessary.
  4. bring to the boil and then simmer  for 5 minutes then turn of the heat.
  5. lastly stir in any spinach leaves or green leaves that you may be adding to the dish and serve.
  6. this can be served with plain boiled rice, with naan or as a side dish to an indian meal. it could even be served on top of a baked potato.

it’s really simple, extremely tasty and good for you too.

i have sometimes added chopped cooked chicken, chopped boiled potatoes and even left over roast potatoes to this dish to make another meal.

Leftovers of this dish will taste amazing the following day as the flavours mature and develop in the fridge overnight.

let me know how you get on with this and enjoy!

Close-up picture of cumin seeds (Cuminum cyminum).

Close-up picture of cumin seeds (Cuminum cyminum). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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hidden vegetables – pasta sauce and pasta bake

a while back i was seriously broke and all i could do was watch cooking programmes and wish that i could afford all of the kitchen gadgets and tools that the TV chefs use. after getting paid from work i was in the supermarket and there was a deal on a food processor and i managed to get my hands on a basic level food processor for the price of a bottle of gin and i couldn’t help myself – i jumped in and got the processor and the gin! more than two years on and the processor still works well and has helped me bash out some great recipes in a fraction of the time.  the machine has torn its way through a tonne of vegetables, meat and fish and it is one of the best things i have ever bought. (ps. the gin was amazing too!)

perfect way to hide vegetables

i love nothing more than a pasta bake and rather than using jar sauces or sachets that ask you to just add liquid i wanted to try and make my own tomatoey, rich in flavour sauce that i could pour over spirally pasta (my favourite) and smother with cheese and bake in the oven then wolf down on a cold damp wintery night.

using the good old internet i researched some ideas and then i thought i would just jump in. scrambling around in the fridge i came across a chunk of broccoli, a couple of stalks of celery, a large red bell pepper and in the cupboard i had some carrots, onions garlic and ginger.

I washed them all through and went to town blitzing those buggers! adding some herbs, capers, oil salt and pepper i came up with an amazing pasta sauce. looking at the sauce, its an orangey red colour and there is no sign of vegetables in the sauce. the perfect disguise to get your other half, kids, parents and scavenging cats and dogs to eat their 5 a day.

what i would say is get our your food processor and then rummage in cupboards and the fridge and see what green goodies (fresh or frozen) are kicking about and looking for a fight. Chuck them in your food processor show them your blade and take out all your anger and frustration on the veggies. add some minced meat, diced chicken, tofu or quorn pieces and mix with some ready pasta and you have yourself a healthy dinner that tastes amazing!

this is a great way

ingredients:

chunk of broccoli

1 medium carrot

2 or 3 cloves of garlic

one large bell pepper

2 stalks of celery

one red onion

sprinkling of salt and pepper

sprinkle of oregano

one sprig of fresh rosemary

drizzle of olive oil

1tsp capers.

one 400g tin of chopped tomatoes or equal amount of passatta

500g pasta of your choice – my fav is spiral pasta

one ball of basics mozarella

method:

  1. pre heat the oven to 190oC
  2. in a large pan bring the pasta to the boil, simmer and cook as per the instructions on the packet. Drain the pasta and leave ready for the sauce in an oven safe dish.
  3. in the food processor, chuck in all of the washed and peeled vegetables ready for blitzing. pour in some olive oil and even a drizzle of the capers vinegar so that the vegetables are easier to blitz in the food processor.
  4. Make sure all the vegetables are chopped finely so that they cook evenly.
  5. add in your chosen dried or fresh herbs (i used some dried oregano and fresh rosemary from the huge plant in the garden) and 1tsp of capers.
  6. add the blitzed vegetables, tinned tomatoes or passatta and herbs to a pan and gently fry for a few minutes until some of the liquid evaporates and the vegetables become tender.
  7. season with salt and pepper as necessary.
  8. once you are happy with your vegetables and their consistency turn off the heat.
  9. pour the pasta sauce over the pasta in the oven dish and mix thoroughly.
  10. add slices of mozzarella to the top of the pasta and again season with crushed black pepper.
  11. place in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and the pasta is hot all the way through.
  12. serve with crusty bread, salad and enjoy.
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healthy tasty turkey burgers under 600 calories – perfect for a #cheapdate night

we all love eating fatty foods as we have to admit that they do taste better. but recently i have noticed that i am more inclined to crave healthier options and i have been exploring ways to create healthy dishes at home.

healthy tasty turkey burgers under 600 calories - perfect for a #cheapdate night

healthy tasty turkey burgers under 600 calories – perfect for a #cheapdate night

I have been playing around with the idea of making fatty foods in a more healthy way but without leaving out or losing flavour as well as satisfaction from wolfing it down. I have to admit that now and again if i am out for a meal i do like to order a burger with all the trimming and fries all washed down with a coke or a pint or both. this one meal can pack a whopping 2000 calories easily depending on how its cooked and thats a whole day on a plate!

so i came up with the concoction below and it packs flavour, looks amazing and it will definitely win you brownie points if you prepare it for a loved one as a romantic meal at home that saves both calories and pennies. RESULT!

the flavours can be tweaked using different spices and herbs without affecting the calorie count or cost too much, and i promise you that if you whip up a batch of these for a mid-week meal or a chilled friday night feast, your other half will be amazed!

For veggies you could use quorn mince instead of turkey and im sure it will give the same impression.

ingredients:

4 tsp olive oil

500g turkey mince (look at the fat % on the packet and decide on the lower fat option)

2 tsp chilli sauce (i used huy fong sriracha as i love it)

50g fresh breadcrumbs, wholewheat is healthier.

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

50g coriander finely chopped

zest and juice of one lime

3 or 4 sweet potatoes cut into wedges

4 wholemeal bread rolls.

some salad for burger garnish

sauces such as ketchup or low fat mayonnaise.

method:

  1. preheat the oven to 200oC so that it is piping hot for when you need it.
  2. Place the olive oil in an oven dish and put in the oven so that the oil heats up – leave it 5-10 minutes max but keep an eye for it starting to spit.
  3. once the oil is hot remove the oven dish from the oven and place the sweet potato wedges in the oil. be very careful as the cold wet wedges will cause the oil to spit and spark.
  4. place the oven dish in the oven for 40-45 minutes to allow the wedges to roast. Turn them half way through and just keep an eye on them so that they don’t burn.Sweet potatoes are seen to be healthier than normal potatoes as they are generally baked instead of fried and they contain a lower glycemic index meaning the body processes them slower and releases energy over a longer period of time leaving you feeling less hungry than with normal potatoes.
  5. in a food processor place the garlic, breadcrumbs, coriander, chilli sauce, lime zest and bliss into a fine powdery consistency. the lime zest will give the burgers a fresh taste and the chilli sauce is just enough to give the burgers a gentle heat. If you are a spice monster then perhaps you want to add more chilli sauce. if you can’t handle spice then you can replace the chilli sauce with the same amount of ketchup, BBQ sauce, mayonnaise or HP Brown sauce.
  6. place the turkey-mince into a mixing bowl and add the breadcrumb mix. combine the bread mix with the turkey mince and make sure that all of the ingredients are well mixed through. form into 4 normal size patties.
  7. heat a frying pan and add a tiny splash of olive oil. once the pan is hot add the burger patties and cook on each side for 5 minutes. This will help the burgers hold their shape.
  8. once the burgers are cooked on either side, remove them from the frying pan and place on an oven tray and place them on a lower shelf in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until they are completely cooked through. the cooking time will depend on the thickness of your patties.
  9. whilst everything is in the oven, take your whole-wheat burger buns and slice them through.
  10. Heat the frying pan again and gently toast the burger buns in the pan until they are lightly browned.
  11. once the wedges and burgers have been properly cooked in the oven remove them from the oven and begin to assemble your feast.

if its simply a mid-week meal then no need to go all out and make them look amazing. but if this is cheap date night then its worth putting in the effort to make the burgers look amazing and have the wow factor.

if you are using sauces then go easy on the amount that you use as this will only push up the calories but if you don’t care for calories then add more toppings to suit your taste. i added sliced dill pickle and sliced jalapeno onto my burger and it was YUM.

gently season the sweet potato wedges with salt and pepper ( you can also add paprika or garam-masala if you want some more flavour) and then place them on the plate next to your burger.

in total from pre heating the oven to chopping and patty making through to plating up this monstrous burger, you will use no more than 45 minutes and i can guarantee that these burgers and “chips” will put a smile on any face and definitely win you brownie points with your other half. next time the kids are screaming for burgers get them involved in making these and let them feel proud of the fact that they have made amazingly healthy food.

send me pics and comments of how you get on and how you tweak your burgers!

 

Posted in #cheapdate, burger, cookinglight, sweet potoes, wedges | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

left over haggis shepherds pie

Well i hope you all had a lovely burns night and that your haggis tasted fantastic! whether you prepared it yourself or bought it from the chippy, haggis tastes much better than it looks or than the images the stories of what it contains concur up.

For those of you who haven’t tried haggis, its something that you have to try. it tastes like peppery minced meat and i think it could replace minced meat in most recipes to offer up something a bit more interesting. its also low in fat and if its bought from your local butcher theres a good chance that its not mass-produced and therefore not filled with additives and preservatives.

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Last week, as you know, i made Balmoral Chicken and this only used a small amount of the haggis that i had bought so i thought i had to come up with another haggis idea that was just putting it on a plate with needs and tatties. so i decided to experiment with a dish that i have loved since i was a kid – shepherd pie. and it worked out amazingly well!

so if you have any leftover haggis lying around this is something you can consider making with it so that it doesn’t go to waste. I made enough for 2 small single portion shepherds pies.

ingredients:

300g of haggis

2-3 chestnut mushrooms

1 small red onion

500g of potatoes for mashing

parmesan cheese (don’t use that powdered crap – get fresh parmesan and keep it in freezer)

splash of milk or cream

knob of butter

salt and pepper

method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170oC and fill a pot with water and bring to a boil while you prepare the potatoes.
  2. hope the potatoes into small cubes and bring to the boil in a pan of water. (i didn’t add salt as the parmesan added later is salty enough for me)
  3. once the potatoes are soft, drain and pour into a food processor with a splash of milk and a knob of butter.  I haven’t given exact measurements for milk and butter as peoples tastes vary and it all depends on the consistency you want for your mash.
  4. Grate some parmesan into the mash and let it melt in. Again, the amount used will vary depending on taste.
  5. finely chop the mushrooms and onion – or as i did, chuck them in a food processor until they are finely chopped.
  6. heat this mushroom and onion mix in a pan over a medium heat allowing the onions to sweat and the mushrooms to wilt slightly.
  7. after 4 or 5 minutes add the haggis meat and heat through making sure that the haggis mushroom and onion mix are all well mixed together.
  8. divide the mix into your two individual pie dishes or just pour into your pie dish if making one larger pie.
  9. spoon the mash potato over the top of the haggis mix in the pie dish and shape, style, mark as you like. once the haggis mix is completely covered, season the top of the mash with salt and pepper and a grating of parmesan. I love parmesan so i went a bit nuts at this bit as i wanted a crunchy cheesy topping for my pie.
  10. place the pie(s) into the oven and heat at 160oC – 170oC for 20 minutes, just keeping an eye on your mash topping to make sure it doesn’t burn. the haggis mix and mash are already cooked through so the oven is mainly to ensure that everything is piping hot, the cheese melts and the mash gets a crust on.
  11. remove from the oven and enjoy. I served my shepherds pie with stir fried vegetables and washed down with a wee whisky.

for the haggis mix, you could change things up a bit by adding peas, sweetcorn, chopped chorizo, cubed carrot, kidney beans to fill the pie out a bit more to make it go further.

for the mash, you could also add rosemary, Worcester sauce, nutmeg, cheddar cheese ad mustard.

And for you veggies out there, you could do this with leftover veggie haggis too.

give this a go, and even if you don’t have left over haggis lying about its still worth buying haggis to give this a go.

 

 

 

 

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