Thursday, 31 October 2013

Creamy Cauliflower & Broccoli Gratin

Here's a creamy little number that makes for a perfect side dish. I actually had it on its own and it was so wonderfully creamy! Who would have thought that vegan white sauce could be so good? I will definitely use the same combination for white sauce in the future, even my flatmate who is a little sceptical to vegan food thought it was delicious!

Creamy Cauliflower & Broccoli Gratin
(Serves 2, about 280 calories each, or 4=6 people as a side)


400g mixed broccoli and cauliflower, cut into small florets
A good knob of vegan butter, I used Flora light
2-3 tbsp plain flour
600ml unsweetened soy milk
1 tbsp/1 cube vegetable stock
2 tbsp nutritional yeast (about 10g)
Pepper and nutmeg
Salt to taste

- Pre-heat the oven at 220ºC.

- Boil the broccoli and cauliflower soft before transferring into a bake-proof dish.

- In the same saucepan you used for the vegetables, melt the butter, and add the milk as well as the flour, whisk until the mixture is free of lumps and has thickened slightly, before adding the stock, nutritional yeast and seasoning. Stir constantly so the sauce doesn't catch at the bottom.

- Once the sauce is done, pour it over the broccoli and cauliflower and bake for about 20-25 minutes until slightly golden on top. Take out and leave to cool a little before serving it either on its own, or with pasta, potatoes, carrots - whatever you feel like!



Original source:
http://www.veganeren.com/2013/10/enkel-og-knallgod-blomkal-og.html

- Jules

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Black Bean & Mango Quesadillas

Do you want take-away food, but can't be bothered going out? Or perhaps you're just really hungry and don't know what to do with that little piece of leftover avocado in the fridge, oooor you happen to be vegetarian? Well my friend, this recipe ticks all of those boxes, and I am sure herbivores, omnivores and carnivores alike will love this recipe - I sure did!

Black Bean & Mango Quesadillas
(Serves 2, about 365 calories each)


1 tsp olive oil
1 medium small onion, sliced
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1/2 - 1 chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1/2 can (120g) black beans, drained and rinsed
100g jarred mango, sliced
50g avocado, diced
1 mozzarella ball
2 wholemeal tortillas

- Start by pre-heating your oven on high heat.

- In a small frying pan, heat the oil and tip in the onion, oregano, salt and pepper. Soften for about five minutes, before tipping in the beans. Stir well and heat through for a couple of minutes.

- Turn off the hob and take the pan off the heat, and stir through the avocado and mango. Top two tortillas with half of the mix on each, and top with chopped or sliced mozzarella on top. Sprinkle with a little more pepper and oregano, and pop it in the oven. Bake until the cheese is nice and melted! How you eat it is up to you of course, I folded mine over. This was really delicious!



Leftovers can make great lunches for the next day, or great to top a salad with or just have on it's own, maybe with some melted cheese over perhaps? Mm-M-Mh!


Original source:
http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/poblano-mango-black-bean-quesadillas-10000001097056/

- Jules

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Mocha Oat Cake for One

Here is the slightly darker version of the chocolate oat cake I made not long ago. Adding a bit of coffee extract or granules gives the cake a lovely mocha flavour, mmm!
I realised once it was in the oven, I could have sprinkled the coconut on top BEFORE it went in the oven, and that way you'd get a lovely toasted coconut topping. So there's a little tip for you!

Mocha Oat Cake for One
(Serves 1, about 240 calories without topping)


30g porridge oats
10g chocolate protein (about half a scoop)
1 tsp cocoa
1 tsp instant coffee granules, or two little capfuls of coffee extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg white
150ml almond milk

- Pre-heat your oven at 180ºC.

- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, and pour into a baking dish. Bake for about 20 minutes until risen. Let it cool slightly before you top it off with whatever lovely icing, melted chocolate, coconut or whatever your heart desires!

PS. I forgot to grease the tin again *facepalm*


Original source:
http://bakekona.blogg.no/1381266529_moccahavregrtkake_og_.html

- Jules

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Tofu & Mushroom Teriyaki Spring Rolls

I survived the dentist! *relieved* After my appointment there, I went to "A Play, a Pie & a Pint" at Oran Mor, which was really good! I have been meaning to do that for ages now! On my way home, I bumped into a friend, and so I joined her for a bit in Tchai Ovna - House of tea, along with some other friends. In the evening, Sleazy's pub quiz was on, and our team came second - not bad I'd say!
But now to something compleeetely different! Spring rolls!

Rice Spring rolls does hardly ever come out nice in photos, but they always deliver as a great little dish! Serve with sauces for dipping, and you're good to go!

Tofu & Mushroom Teriyaki Spring Rolls
(Makes about 4 rolls, around 500 calories for all together)


2 cm fresh ginger, feeled and finely grated
1 tsp sesame oil
A pinch of salt
2 tbsp teriyaki sauce
175g extra firm tofu, sliced
100g mushrooms, sliced
1 cup lettuce, cut into strips
4 normal-sized rice wrappers
Sauces for dipping, such as soy, sweet chilli etc.

- Start by making ginger paste by combining the ginger, sesame oil and a pinch of salt in a small cup or bowl.

- Boil up water and tip into a large frying pan (this is what I use for the rice papers). Set aside

- Then, heat the teriyaki sauce in another pan, and fry the tofu a couple of minutes on each side. Add the mushrooms and cook for another minute or so.

- Time to assemble it all! Quickly dip both sides of a rice paper into the warm water, the, on a wooden surface of cutting board (wood prevents it from sticking!), brush over a little ginger paste in the middle, before putting a little bit the lettuce across the middle, leave a centimentre or two of the sides free in the middle, like you would with a burrito. Top the lettuce with a quarter of the mushroom and tofu mix, before folding over the two sides and rolling the spring roll. Press down the edge of the roll a little bit, to make sure it sticks.

- Serve on a wodden board, with dipping sauce on the side, and enjoy!



Original source:
http://www.simplylifeblog.com/2013/04/tofu-and-mushroom-spring-rolls-confessions/

- Jules

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew

I had read good things about this dish, but also that this was due to some tweaking here and there, and so I did a bit of my own tweaking and here's hpw this hearty vegan dinner came to life - it's SO tasty! Technically this could serve one hungry human, buuuut then again - maybe serve this with some rice ooooor serve up a dessert? Either way, this is delicious! And I love how all the flavours come together so well, will definitely make this again!

After a good portion of this, I had two little pumpkin pancakes waiting for me in the fridge, sorted!

Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew
(Serves 2, about 320 calories each)


1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
200g sweet potato, diced
400g chopped tomatoes
1/2-1 tsp hot chilli powder (depends how hot you like it!)
1 tbsp peanut butter
200g greens, I used round lettuce, but you can use spinach, chard, cabbage, whatever!
A handful fresh basil, torn (optional)
200-300 vegetable stock
Pepper to taste
25g roasted and salted peanuts for garnish
Rice or bread to serve (optional)

- Start by bringing a medium pan on the hob on fairly high heat, toast the cumin seeds for about a minute until fragrant, then tip in the oil and onion and soften for a couple of minutes.

- Then, add the sweet potato, chilli powder, tomatoes, peanut butter, stock and basil (if using), cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.

- 15 minutes later, it is all looking pretty delicious, no? Tip in the greens and stir until wilted, add pepper to taste before serving! Top it off with some lovely salty peanuts, and you're ready!

Ooooft, going to the dentist's today, which is by far my favourite place.... Wish me luck!


Original source:
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/420645/chard-sweet-potato-and-peanut-stew

- Jules

Monday, 21 October 2013

Red Onion & Fig Reduction

I saw The Little Bean Kitchen's post on how to make a fancy looking reduction to go with creamy cheeses and salty Italian cured ham, and so I figured I'd give it a go myself!
It tastes deeelicious, almost like a meal in a spoonful on it's own, mmmm!

Red Onion & Fig Reduction
(Makes between 150-200ml, about 550 calories for the jar)


1 tbsp olive oil
2 red onions, cut into rings or halved and sliced
140ml balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 fig, flesh only, chopped

- Start by heating the oil in a medium sized pan on high heat and tip in the onions. Soften for about 5 minutes, before turning down the heat to a low simmer.

- Tip in the vinegar, brown sugar and fig. Leave to simmer uncovered for about 30-40 minutes until you have a thick almost jam-like consistency. Don't forget to stir every ten minutes or so!

Bread with the reduction, blue cheese topped with ham, in the oven on high heat until the cheese has melted, about 3-5 minutes. This was soooooo good! I didn't even know I liked blue cheese so much!

Transfer the rest to a sterilised jar, and keep refrigerated once opened! I imagine this will keep for a couple of weeks at most.


Original source:
http://littlebeankitchen.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/brie-and-prosciutto-sandwich-with-red-onion-and-fig-reductio/

- Jules

Sunday, 20 October 2013

BBC Good Food Show Scotland 2013


Yes, because I was there! I thought I'd write a little bit about what happen. Be warned - there will be a lot of photos!

To my surprise, it wasn't the celebrity chefs who made my day, but the people in some of the stalls, who were simply lovely, and shared a lot of stories, passion and not to mention food! There were also a good few of the stands that were selling and giving out samples of beverages; teas, coffees, warm fruit drinks, local ales, gins, and more!


It kicked off at 10:00, and I made sure to be there in time to pick up my tickets that had gone astray in the mail for some reason (!!!). First, I was greeted by some lovely gentlemen to the right side as I entered. They were eager for me to try their locally produced ciders, as I took one of the small sampling glasses, the older fellow said "Go on! Try them all! Otherwise you never will!" They were lovely, and not to sweet, just the way I like it. The fact that it was ten in the morning meant nothing right now as I had already lost the concept of time as soon as the event opened - funny how it works...


Then, I got to talk to someone in a stall where they were selling organic chocolate -The Chocolate Tree-, and it was soooo good! They had some samples out, but as soon as I mentioned that I liked my dark chocolate a bit bitter, he took out some other secret chocolate from behind the counter, broke off a couple of pieces and said "Try this...." and me O my, it was unbelievable! Apparently, they had a different way of making the chocolate, and you could tell, as it wasn't quiiite chocolate as you know it, but still smooth and delicious! I got an offer I perhaps really shouldn't have refused at the end of the day, buuuut I did end up buying a luscious bar of their Maple & Pecan chocolate.


There were jams, chutneys, oils, dressings, cheeses and all sorts of preservatives to try out, only heaven knows how much bread and oatcakes I have had today - Not to mention fudge! Peppermint, banoffee, cappuccino, peach & cream, ginger - you name it!

As well as a lot of tasters, there were a good few stands selling kitchenware of all kinds (except from a tin opener, which I desperately need...a good one, that doesn't decide to kick the bucket after you've used it twice, like then so often do! I seem to always have to fight with the one I've got....Pesky tin opener). There was this one guy who was selling a really clever little thing, it was a grater and slicer that came with a good few different blades to serve different purposes. I maaaay have gotten one...OK yeh, I definitely got one. He was a good salesman, AND as a show special, you got three blades and a vegetable "holder" included. Now I can julienne courgettes, make dauphinoise potatoes and grate to my heart's content! *Nods convinced to herself* Yup, Gigant Multihobel might make my life a little easier and save me from cutting my fingers when I try to finely chop things.


Also, there were some cooking classes, and at the Love Food Hate Waste stage, Ajmal Mushtaq introduced John Quigley of the Red Onion onto the stage to make a haddock risotto. I actually went to that restaurant last Winter and it was really good! The idea about the LFHW was that planning meals for the coming days would prevent you from throwing so much waste out due to it going bad. I usually go for my weekly Sunday food shop and plan up until Wednesday, after that I take what I've got and see what else I need to make something out of it. It saves you money, and it saves you wasting food, simple as that!

Ajman and John as John is making a haddock risotto

"Do you like some spice in your life?" the lovely Australian spice man from FlavourMagic.com asked me when I was trying some of the amazing dips he'd made up. He had mixed his wonderful spices with simple things like onion and tomatoes, and they made for the most brilliant dips and cooking sauces! For £10, you could take three bags with you home as well as a little spice grinder - and so when I returned a few hours after first having passed (and tried most of the combinations.....), I ended up with a Tunisian Berbere, Portuguese Piri Piri, and the Thai rocksalt, the latter which he had referred to earlier, as he grinded some on a quarter of a cherry tomato to try - delicious!


Yum Yum Tree Fudge was the stall that had all the amazing flavoured fudges I mentioned up there *points further up on the post*, it came as a surprise to me when they said they add less sugar than what most fudge producers use. You know those few seconds you are almost convinced you're being healthy when you eat it? Aye, I felt it that way, although I realised that I wasn't actually. I was so tempted to buy a bag of the cappuccino flavoured one though, it would be perfect having a couple of bits next to a cup of stronger coffee!

When it came to the alcoholic beverages, I tried the most amazing gin by Martin Miller's, it was so refreshing! Then there was the Thunder toffee vodka which was a liiiittle too sweet for my liking, but I imagine if you miced it out with something as simple as soda water, it would be lovely. Then there was Coole Quay Liqueur and Licor 43 which were gorgeous! I was lucky enough to get to taste all these different drinks that I wouldn't normally have as I am not a big drinker in general, I prefer a cuppa and good company! I passed by a stand by Condessa Welsh Liqueurs, and I was served this mixture of Slue Gin and Black Cherry liquer. It was really nice and fruity without being too sweet, and so I bought a bottle of Sloe and a small bottle of the Black Cherry, as I imagine having a small one of them after dinner in the weekends or when I have friends over would be lovely, and also make a good substitute for dessert after a hearty meal.


I also attended John Thorode's little exclusive show, as I could choose one of these celebrity events to go to that was included in the price. I have seen his face next to many of the recipes when browsing through the BBC Good Food website, and so it was quite cool to see him in person. He cooked up an awesome dish with prawn cracker prawns, with a speedy chilli mayonnaise, along with some fried prawn heads, and also whipped up a lovely looking red prawn curry with coconut milk and pineapple - it looked delicious!


After the show, I decided that despite being stuffed on nibbles and tasters and random little cups of teas and liqueurs - to have a proper meal. I had passed the stand that sold (locally produced) buffalo meat and burgers, and so I desided to have one of those (the hog roast was very tempting, but I have already tried that before and figured I might as well try something different). A humble roll with a lovely buffalo burger with some caramelised onions, delicious!


There were an interview stage as well, and I saw a little bit of that when they were talking to James Morton from the Great British Bake Off. Here is a picture from when they for some reason thought it better to just not face each other whilst doing the interview:


Shortly after, I continued my adventure in this jungle of goodies, and came across a little stall called Charlotte Flower Chocolates, they had a few different kinds of chocolate from all over the world and with some unusual flavours. Some, they had filled with this lovely smooth centre. I got to try some Seat Buckthorn melty goodness, and was talked into buying a little piece of chocolate by them. Good salesmanship! If that's even a word.... I'm sure it is *smirks*



A little further along there were so so much, and so I'll just include some photos of the event:


In short, it was a great experience, and I got to try so many new and different things, and if anything - this really gave me a boost to go home and create amazing food, even though I was already quite pasionate about it. Seeing these people getting everything together, and doing what they love just really left me with a sense of euphoria. So thank you to everyone who organised it, and all who took part. I might just see you next year!

A good catch, I'd say!

- Jules

PS. A list of my top five stands:
Charlotte Flower Chocolates
Flavourmagic.com
The Chocolate Tree
Yum Yum Tree Fudge
Kwan's Kitchen

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Pumpkin-Tastic Lentil Soup

Hello!

T'is a bit of a late post today, because I have spent literally ALL day at the BBC Good Food Show! It was a great experience, and tonight I will be trying to put together a little post about it, so stay tuned!

Now over to one simple and absolutely delicious Autumn soup - pumpkin and lentil! I was actually surprised at how creamy it turned out without any cream or yogurt added, why don't you try for yourself?

Pumpkin-Tastic Lentil Soup
(Serves 2-3, about 185-125 calories each)


1 red onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
400g steamed pumpkin/squash or pumpkin purée
50g red lentils
About 10 thyme sprigs, leaves only
500ml-1 litre of vegetable stock (depends how thick you like it)
1/2-1 tbsp pepper
A good pinch of sugar

Toasted pumpkin seeds to top it off with, and good bread to serve!

- Start by having the onions in a medium-sized non-stick pot over medium heat and soften for a few minutes.

- Then, add the garlic and continue swishing it about for a minute before adding the pumpkin, lentils, thyme, sugar and stock. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 15-20 minutes until the lentils are tender.

- Use a stick blender and whizz until smooth, adding a little bit of extra salt and pepper to taste if necessary. Serve up topped with pumpkin seeds and some good bread on the side, and enjoy!


Original source:
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/creamy-pumpkin-lentil-soup

- Jules

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Oatmeal Chocolate Snack Cake

Whenever I mentioned to a friend of mine that I had made a baked oatmeal cake, he immediately requested it was put up on the blog! I have since made it twice now, and finally, here it is!

This is a fairly healthy snack which feels like dessert, only it is packed with protein, healthy carbohydrates and half of a five a day too! Silly me forgot to grease the quiche dish before pouring in the mix, now I will remember to do it the next time I make it though, for sure!

Oatmeal Chocolate Snack Cake
(Serves 1, about 270 calories minus topping)


30g porridge oats
10g chocolate protein powder
1 heaped tsp cocoa powder
100ml skimmed milk
1 egg white
A pinch each of baking powder and bicarbonate of soda
50g apple sauce or mashed banana
Topping - Whatever you feel like!

- Pre-heat your oven at 180ºC.

- In a cereal bowl or small baking bowl, combine all the ingredients for the cake and let it sit for a few minutes before pouring it into a small, greased or silicone cake or quiche tin and popping it in the oven! You can also make cupcakes out of these, which I think I might just do next time, just to see it it'll be a success.

-Bake for about 15-20 minutes depending on the baking dosh you're using. In the meantime, you can have a shower and get ready to face the day if having it for breakfast!

- Top with whatever you want to! Cocoa cream cheese, syrup or just a light sprinkle of icing sugar or dessicated coconut perhaps? It tasted nice plain too! I decided to spread some light butter and honey on top followed by a few chopped almonds, mmm!


Original source:
http://bakekona.blogg.no/1379185364_ovnsbakt_sjokoladehav.html

- Jules

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Latkes

I have been meaning to make these for a while now, but for some reason they didn't seem dinnery enough to make, and so I made them for breakfast instead!
Latkes could also be used as an accompaniment to many dishes as well as the main piece. They taste delicious with sweet chilli sauce (everything seems to do these days!), and I added some nutritional yeast to them as well, but that is optional!

Latkes
(Makes 5-6, about 560 calories for the lot)


250g potatoes, grated (you don't even have to peel them, just give them a good wash!)
2 small eggs
2 Spring onions, chopped
10g nutritional yeast (optional)
1-2 tbsp low fat cottage cheese (you can also use ricotta)
1 tbsp olive oil

- Start by mixing everything except from the oil in a bowl. Then, heat a little oil at a time in a pan.

- Put a heaped tablespoon of the latkes mixture into the frying pan, and repeat. Fry them on medium heat for about 5 minutes on the first side and 2-3 on the other. Do NOT flip them until they have set, as you will end up just getting a pile of mush. I was actually quite worried they wouldn't set enough, but a few minutes later aaaall was good, and then I had a lovely breakfast!

Sweet chilli sauce anyone?


Original source:
http://witcheskitchen.com.au/latkes-with-cottage-cheese/

- Jules

Friday, 11 October 2013

Sweet Tater Tots

After having been to the dentist and relieved that I didn't have to have any work done (this time at least....) I figured I might as well treat myself to a little something! I love pub snacks, and these fit the bill, except they're super healthy!
I used the purple sweet potato I bought over the weekend, only to find that when I peeled it, it was white underneath! If you use normal sweet potato, these will be perfect halloween snacks. As for me, I reckon they'd be a perfect snack at any time, and any day!

Sweet Tater Tots
(Serves 1, about 220 calories without dipping sauce as it may vary)

For some reason, I have this image of wooden mice - Don't worry though, they're definitely not! Hehe, nice and crisp on the outside and soft in the middle....

1 small sweet potato (about 100g when peeled), thinly sliced and micro diced!
1 small egg
1 tbsp wholemeal flour
20g wholemeal breadcrumbs
1/3 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
Ketchup, or sweet chilli sauce to serve

- Start by pre-heating your oven, to 200ºC, boil up water before preparing the sweet potato. Thinly slice it and then cut it into tiiiny dice. Steam for a few minutes until tender, then set aside to cool.

- Combine the remaining ingredients in a small baking bowl, before tipping in the sweet potato and mix well. Shape them into little tater tots and set on a baking paper clad tray, bake for about 20 minutes until cooked and slightly crispy, turn after 15 minutes to get them nice and golden all around!

- Serve with sauces for dipping, and enjoy!


Original source:
http://rdeliciouskitchen.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/sweetpotato-baked-tater-tots/

- Jules

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Creamy Chocolate Quinoa

I have come across a couple of recipes for quinoa porridge recently, and I decided to try and make it myself today for lunch! It has a lovely creamy consistency, aaaand contains a little more protein than most porridges out there! This makes quite a large serving, but juuust not enough to feed two people, unless it's just as a snack.

Creamy Chocolate Quinoa
(Serves 1, about 350 calories)


60g dry quinoa, cooked according to the packet, nothing added to the water
(Rinse, add to pot with 1 1/2 parts as much water to the quinoa, simmer on low for 20 minutes, take it off the heat and let it stand for ten minutes. "Fluff" it up with a fork)
300 ml almond milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp cocoa
1/2 tsp vanilla sugar
A few drops stevia vanilla creme (optional)
1/3 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate, dessicated coconut, chopped nuts, raisins to serve

- Once your quinoa is cooked and still in the pot, turn the heat to medium low and pour in the almond milk, cinnamon, cocoa, vanilla extract and sweetners.

- Stir pretty regularly so as to prevent it from catching the bottom of the pot. In about 20 minutes time, the consistency should have turned thick and creamy, which means - it's ready to serve!

You can also omit the cocoa and add raisins instead, making your own twist to it perhaps? Quinoa is versatile and this dish almost tasted the same as oat porridge. I decided to chop up some almonds to top it off with a crunch, mmmm!

Recipe - by me! I hope you are having a lovely day!

- Jules

Monday, 7 October 2013

Banana Soda Farls

Fancy something that isn't quiiite cake but that isn't quite the plain ol' piece of toast either? Well, here is a little banana bread & soda farl hybrid! Enjoy with jam, peanut butter and sliced banana, or whatever you might be in the mood for!

I was really happen when I peeked into the oven 20 minutes after I put them in to find these delicious little things, I will most certainly make them again, that's for sure *smiles*

Banana Soda Farls
(Makes 4, about 250 calories each)


100g wholemeal flour, plus extra for dusting
100g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp light muscavado sugar
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 medium ripe banana
125 ml low fat yogurt, fromage frais or buttermilk
50 ml skimmed milk

- Pre-heat the oven to 220ºC.

- In a small baking bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Mix well to combine, before making a well in the middle.

- Mash the banana (I use a mug and fork) and tip into the well along with the yogurt/fromage frais/buttermilk and skimmed milk. Combine until you have a dough, it will be slightly sticky. Dust the worktop with a little flour and tip the dough onto it.

- Knead the dough lightly and add a little more flour if necessary, then shape the dough into a sausage and cut it into four equally sized squares. Place on a baking paper-clad tray and place in the oven. Bake for about 20 minutes until lovely and golden.


- Leave to cool on a wire rack, or enjoy them aaaalmost straight from the oven! I decided to top mine with some philadelphia and a chopped plum. The next one I have, I'll probably have with either jam, or peanut butter and chopped banana - can't wait!



Original source:
Delicious Low-Fat Recipes, p. 24

- Jules

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Chana Saag

When I went to an Indian restaurant about two years ago, I was accompanied with three others, we decided to pick on main dish each so that we could all try different things. The lads went for the obviously tasty dishes, like korma, tikka masala, and curry, but IIIII decided to be a little "untraditional" with my choice and settled for a chicken saag! I am sure I posted the recipe for chicken saag some time ago, yup! It should be on my blog somewhere!

Saag is a dish that is made with a rich spinach sauce as a base, infused with ginger and garlic. It might look a little weird when you have it served, but it oozes of Indian-style spices and herbs, and it tastes delicious! Serve it over a bed of rice, or perhaps with some pita bread for mopping like I did (mop, mop!)

Chana Saag
(Serves 2, about 265 calories each without pita bread/naan/rice)


For the paste:
160g spinach, washed and roughly torn
Thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 fat garlic clove, chopped or sliced
1 jalapeño, chopped (optionally deseeded)
1/2 cup water (about 125ml)

1 tbsp olive oil
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1 onion, chopped
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp Garam Masala (can use curry powder)
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp natural fat-free yogurt
1 can of chickpeas à 180g drained

Extra yogurt, rice, pita bread or naan to serve!

- Firstly, add all the ingredients for the paste in a bowl or a food processor and whizz until smooth. Set aside, you'll need it soon!

- Heat the oil in a pot on medium high heat, and tip in the onion, bay leaves and peppercorns. Leave this to simmer for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. At this point, if serving with rice, you'd probably get them on the boil!

- Now add the tomatoes, Garam Masala, chilli powder and salt. Cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the tomatoes start to break up (mine didn't, but it's really not important!)

- Then pour in the spinach paste, yogurt and chickpeas. Cover and simmer for a further 10 minutes, stirring every now and again.

- Toast or grill the bread if you're serving that with the dish, and you're done! Top with extra yogurt if you want!


Original source:
http://www.healthy-delicious.com/2010/11/chana-saag-chickpeas-with-spinach/

- Jules

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Herby Courgette Muffins

The oven definitely works... I got to experience that yesterday when I was making these little savoury treats! I managed to accidentally turn on the grill, and so they got a little more crispy than I would have liked for them to!

Anyway, these are delicious! Cut them in half, and pour some sweet chilli sauce over - and you're ready to go! These are great for packed lunches as well. I chose to use 25g parmesan instead of 50g normal, grated, low-fat cheese. You can use the latter if you want the muffins extra moist, and it should only add 10-20 calories extra per muffin.

Actually, next time I make these, I might half the amount of flour, as the batter was a little thick!

Herby Courgette Muffins
(Makes 12, about 190 calories each)


1 courgette, grated, and placed in a sieve over a bowl with a little sea salt sprinkled on top. Let it sit for half an hour, before you squeeze off excess water
1 medium-sized red onion, finely chopped
4 eggs
250g quark or fat free Greek yogurt
250g plain flour
150g wholemeal flour
2 tbsp sunflower oil
3 tsp baking powder (or 50/50 baking powder and bicarbonate of soda)
25g grated Parmesan cheese
A handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped
A little ground black pepper
Other herbs of choice (optional)

Sweet chilli sauce to serve

- Pre-heat the oven, 200ºC.

- Then whisk together the eggs with the quark/Greek yogurt. Mix in the flour and rising agents. After you have added these ingredients and it is well incorporated, add all the other ingredients but the oil.

- Use the sunflower oil to grease 12 muffin tins, then divide the mixture between them, and pop them into the oven to bake for approximately 20-25 minutes.

- Leave to cool for a bit before serving.

I bet these would be great to tear and dip into a nice bowl of soup too!


Original source:
http://www.frukt.no/kokeboka/kakerbakst/urtemuffins-med-squash/

- Jules