Arancini the Healthy Way

DSC_0079This is one of my all time favourite Friday night dishes.  My K often makes himself a pizza on a Friday so this is the perfect recipe to use up his leftover tomato sauce.  You do have to be a little organised as I always use leftover risotto from the night before too.  To be honest, it’s not really leftover, I’m just greedy so always make way too much but what a perfect way to use it up rather than just re-heating. And as is my normal gluttonous style I also make too many of these, but again that’s perfect.  I am very well known for opening a fridge door and standing and eating things whilst deciding what it is I really want, so to have these in the fridge over the weekend is a life-saver.

I do have an admission with these – as I made the tomato sauce from scratch instead of using Mr K’s, and as Mr K had not arrived back from work with basil I added a bit of bbq spice to the sauce instead of basil – not sure why on earth I would think that an appropriate substitute, but it was rather nice.  I have to say that if Mr K reads this he will say ‘I don’t make my pizza sauce base like that’ whilst looking at me accusingly, so there’s my admission.

The reason these are healthy is purely because I use wholemeal breadcrumbs and they are cooked in the oven.  Technically these should be deep fried so if that’s your bag then go for it, but if you follow Slimming World or are healthy eating then give these a go.

And WOW, 2 blog posts already this week.  Sometimes I can be organised!

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Arancini the Healthy Way – serves as many as you fancy – syns 0 (make sure you syn this if you are not using bread and parmesan as HEX A & B)

  • Leftover risotto – see ‘Singing Aida‘ for a great basic risotto

For tomato sauce:

  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp sweetener
  • 1 tsp bbq spice mix (optional)
  • 1 can tomatoes, or bottle passata
  • Wholemeal breadcrumbs, blitzed in food processor until fine
  • 2 Eggs

Throw all of the tomato sauce ingredients into a pan and simmer for about 10 minutes until reduced, thickened and everything has cooked through.

Beat the eggs in a bowl

Put breadcrumbs in bowl

Make the chilled risotto into balls (about golf ball size)

Roll these in the eggs, then the breadcrumbs, put on baking parchment, spray with frylight and cook in a 180 degree C oven for about 20-30 minutes or until lovely and brown, turning if necessary.

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Serve with rocket and some of the sauce and a sprig of basil on the top (see, the basil did eventually arrive) and a lovely glass of red wine.

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A Trip Along the Grand Trunk Road – Part 3 Aloo Dimer Jhol

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This is the final part of this curry feast and I hope you agree that all of the dishes can stand up to being served either on their own or as part of a varied feast. I was somewhat outside of my comfort zone with this one, although I love eggs I have never used them as the main ingredient in a curry but I think it was a triumph and would urge you to give this one a go.

I yet again have to apologise for the presentation and photography – late Saturday night and I might have had a glass of wine which means I become a little less careful (in fact, it sort of gets thrown at the table at that stage) ‘hangs head in shame’.

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Aloo Dimer Jhol – serves 2 – syn free

  • 4 small potatoes
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 inch piece ginger
  • 1 large green chilli
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander

Slice potatoes lengthways.  Spray pan with frylight and shallow fry potatoes over a low heat until cooked through.  Set these aside and fry eggs, whole, for 2-3 minutes and set aside.

Put garlic, chopped onions and tomatoes in blender and puree.  Set aside.

To the empty pan add bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and cloves and cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the tomato and onion puree, cover and cook on a medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the turmeric, cumin, chilli powder and salt.  Add 250ml water and simmer for about another 10 minutes until this has thickened.  Add the potatoes and eggs and cook for a further 5 minutes.  Serve sprinkled with fresh chopped coriander.

 

A Trip Along the Grand Trunk Road – Part 2 Rogan Josh

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I must start with an apology for not posting sooner. I was full of intentions to post this a couple of days after the Poussin Penda recipe but school holidays took over and too much fun was being had. Now we are back to the chaos that is school, swimming, Beavers, Scouts and, oh yes work, I feel everything is slotting back into place – I still don’t like sending them back to school though, it’s amazing how I don’t shout for 6 weeks and the first day back I am already bored of hearing the words ‘brush you hair, have you done your teeth, put your shoes on and STOP PLAYING THE PIANO!’. So here is the very very late posting of the Rogan Josh recipe.

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Rogan Josh – serves 4 – syn free

  • 1 kg lean boneless lamb, cut into chunks
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp ginger and garlic paste (two thirds garlic, one third ginger blended with water to make smooth paste)
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 4 tomatoes, pureed
  • 100g fat free natural yogurt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala

Spray fry light in a pan and add the whole spices, leave over gentle heat for a few minutes, making sure they don’t catch on the bottom of the pan as you are not using oil.

Add onions and cook until golden brown, then add the lamb and cook over a high heat until seared. Add the ginger and garlic paste and cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in about 500 mls water and simmer gently for 30 minutes, add more water if necessary. stir in ground spices and cook for another 15 minutes.

Add pureed tomatoes and yogurt and cook for additional 15 minutes or until lamb is tender. Season and sprinkle with garam masala and a few coriander sprigs and serve.

A Trip Along the Grand Trunk Road – Part 1 Poussin Penda

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Most of you already know of my love for Indian food (see previous posts here and here).  Any sort at all, from the mildest korma to the more unusual dishes.  I was browsing a charity shop a couple of weeks ago when Big Miss K asked if I had seen this cookery book – she knows where my heart lies you see.  Anyway, it turns out they were selling a whole load of them for 50p each.  Now, I’m still very particular about cookery books in my house and this was the only one I bought from that pile thank goodness, otherwise we may have to get more bookcases.  And I am so pleased I did.  It’s called ‘Food of the Grand Trunk Road’ and must have been a gift for someone originally because it just hasn’t been used – the pages have hardly been turned let alone ending up like most of my spattered books.  These dishes are more unusual, how often do you think about buying a book and then realise you have 10 all which have the same recipes in them already – this is certainly not one of those books.

It took me some time to decide what I was going to make.  Eventually the decision was made, A Rogan Josh (Mr K asked for something spicy), a Poussin Penda and more unsually, and because I currently have a glut of eggs, Aloo Dimer Jhol, an egg curry with potatoes.  I have to say, I have never used eggs in a curry and did follow the recipe to the letter as I was concerned the eggs would fall apart and it would all turn to mush but no, it was amazing.  In fact all of them were delicious.  Mr K loves Indian food but I can have a slightly heavy hand when tipping chillies into a dish, and occasionally he has a look of fear once the heats comes through, only occasionally you understand.  He tells me that although these were hot, they were not ‘blow you head off’ hot, which is a compliment, honestly.  The heat dissipated quickly and you were just left with the full flavour.  I did tell him to drink a Lassi with it but he looked oddly at me and said he would be just fine with beer.  I can only apologise for the photos – by the time I took this it was quite late and we were very hungry – oh, and I might have had a couple of glasses of wine ;-)

So the first dish I will tell you about is the Poussin Penda – I will post the others over the next couple of days and hopefully in time for you to give them all a go for an Indian Feast at the weekend.

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Poussin Penda – serves 4 as part of meal – syns per serving 0 (syn if you eat the skin though)

  • 1 Poussin, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 tomatoes, pureed
  • 1 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt

Heat pan and spray with some frylight, add the onion, garlic and cinnamon and cook until the onion is browned.

Add Poussin pieces and fry until skin is lightly browned, then add pureed tomatoes, chilli powder, coriander, turmeric, cumin, garam masala and salt and mix well.

Stir in 1 litre of water, cover and cook poussin on medium heat for about 20 minutes.

After this time, check chicken is cooked through and remove from the sauce, check if sauce is thick enough, if not, reduce down until it is the required consistency, if too thick, add some more water – this is personal taste.  It is THAT easy!

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Moroccan Jewelled Delight

 

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One of the things I love is picking veggies from our veg plot.  It seems sometimes that is the only place I can get peace and quiet.  I used to put music on and weed, dig and plant but now I relish the solitude and listening to the birds and the wind through the trees.  Only the occasional offering of polite greeting to an allotment neighbour disturbs my peace, or the occasional advice request (me doing the asking I hasten to add, I’m not naturally green fingered).  Quite proud this year of the fact that we have 2 rows of fennel happily growing which I have never grown before.

My plot is certainly by no means a thing of beauty but I can take the children down and they absolutely love digging up potatoes or picking beans or courgettes, getting a little conveyor belt going, big Miss K digs, little Miss K grabs the potatoes and Middle Miss K gets to count them into the trug.  All of this said, one of the best veg is rainbow chard, and luckily you plant it, it grows, as long as it has enough water and sun, it just grows, no fussing over it, no picking out smaller plants, and look how pretty it is, it looks like jewels glinting in the sunlight.

This dish was inspired both by the butternut squash, which seems to have been frequently used in the last week in my house as I made Curried Squash soup with lentils and then another squash appeared and I just thought the colour, along with the chard was a thing of beauty.  Chard has such a lovely earthy quality that it really suits being served with the sweetness of the squash.

I don’t often use pastry nowadays as I adore it and if it is in front of me, I would generally eat too much of it, but 3 of these little beauties are made out of one filo pastry sheet and you spray with frylight so you can really control your syns if you follow Slimming World.  I did try making one by rolling a whole sheet around the cooled mix like a sausage roll and then winding it round like a snail but it did not look particularly pleasant and was rather unwieldy but give it a try if you have more patience that I.

The only other thing to remember is to make sure is that everything is about the same size dice, remember, these are delicate things and not like a whacking great big pie.

 

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Moroccan Inspired Filo Tartlets – Serves 6 – syns per 3 tartlets – 6

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 butternut squash, diced
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • rainbow chard or spinach, chopped
  • 1 tbsp ras el hanout
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 0% greek yogurt
  • handful fresh mint leaves
  • 1 pack Just-roll filo pastry (just remember to check syns depending on type of filo used)

Fry off onions and garlic in fry light until softened

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Add butternut squash, then all of the spices and stir to coat, adding seasoning

 

Add enough water to cook the squash, which will take about 15 minutes with the lid on, but not so much that the mixture is wet at the end, no running sauce in this dish

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At this stage you can either keep this warm while you cook your filo or you can leave it to cool and reheat later

Spray a muffin tin well with frylight

DSC_0064Lay 1 sheet filo on a board, spray liberally with frylight and then cut into 3 squares and place them as you wish in the muffin tin

Place these into a 180 degree C oven for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned

Remove from oven and put warmed mixture into the tarlets

Serve with 0% Greek Yogurt mixed with seasoning and chopped mint and a green salad

 

My Dad’s Favourite Thing!

 

DSC_0963I have to start this post by apologising to my Dad.  Lemon Meringue Pie is his favourite thing but I’m afraid he didn’t even get to eat this.  I was trying to think of a dessert that didn’t involve chocolate.  We are a little boring when it comes to desserts in the Shrinking Queen household, both me and Mr K always go to chocolate as a default – the more chocolatey the better.

However, we were off to some friends for late lunch and were assuming there would be a bbq and really, if the weather was going to be as delightfully hot as it has been recently, chocolate might be a little messy.  Oh, and we had a whole bunch of eggs that needed using – the ones that had to be prized out from underneath Peppa Hen who is incredibly broody at the moment and keeps pecking me every time I reach for them so I have done what any sain person would do and allocated this task to Big Miss K – she has a rather novel way of moving her off the eggs by gently pushing her with a stick until she she gets fidgety and moves, then a swift hand movement and those eggs are ours!

My apologies for this being the second post in a row that isn’t Slimming World friendly to those of you that follow me because of that but it’s a great dessert that needs to be promoted.

Now, can I get into my Dad’s good books by making him one soon?

 

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Lemon Meringue Pie – not Slimming World friendly

For the pastry:

  • 175g plain flour
  • 100g cold butter, cut in small pieces
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk

For the filling:

  • 2 level tbsp cornflour
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • finely grated zest 2 large lemon
  • 125ml fresh lemon juice (from 2-3 lemons)
  • juice 1 small orange
  • 85g butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 egg yolks and a 1 whole egg

For the meringue:

  • 4 egg whites, room temperature
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 2 level tsp cornflour

For the pastry, put the flour, butter, icing sugar, egg yolk (save the white for the meringue) and 1 tbsp cold water into a food processor. Use the pulse button so the mix is not overworked, process until the mix starts to bind. Tip the pastry onto a lightly floured surface, gather together until smooth, then roll out and line a 23 x 2.5cm loose-bottom fluted flan tin. Trim and neaten the edges. Press pastry into flutes. Don’t worry if it cracks, just press it back together as you can see with mine. Prick the base with a fork, line with foil, shiny side down, and chill for 1⁄2-1 hour (or overnight).

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Put a baking sheet in the oven and heat oven to 200 degrees C. Bake the pastry case ‘blind’ (filled with dry beans) for 15 mins, then remove the foil and bake a further 5-8 mins until the pastry is pale golden and cooked. Set aside. (Can be done a day ahead if you want to get ahead.) Lower the oven to 180 degrees C.

While the pastry bakes, prepare the filling: mix the cornflour, sugar and lemon zest in a medium saucepan. Strain and stir in the lemon juice gradually. Make orange juice up to 200ml/7fl oz with water and strain into the pan. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth. Once the mixture bubbles, remove from the heat and beat in the butter until melted. Beat the egg yolks (save white for meringue) and whole egg together, stir into the pan and return to a medium heat. Keep stirring vigorously for a few minutes, until the mixture thickens and plops from the spoon. (It will bubble, but doesn’t curdle.) Take off the heat and set aside while you make the meringue.

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DSC_0953Put the egg whites in a large bowl. Whisk to soft peaks, then add half the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking between each addition without overbeating. Whisk in the cornflour, then add the rest of the sugar as before until smooth and thick. Quickly reheat the filling and pour it into the pastry case. Immediately put spoonfuls of meringue around the edge of the filling (if you start in the middle the meringue may sink), then spread so it just touches the pastry (this will anchor it and help stop it sliding).

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Pile the rest into the centre, spreading so it touches the surface of the hot filling (and starts to cook), then give it all a swirl. Return to the oven for 18-20 mins until the meringue is crisp and slightly coloured. Let the pie sit in the tin for 30 mins, then remove and leave for at least another 1⁄2-1 hr before slicing. Eat the same day.

 

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July’s Foodie Penpals

I mentioned a little while ago that I had joined Foodie Penpals and luckily a couple of my lovely blog friends also said they were doing the same thing. I thought it might be simple, I mean, I’m a foodie and it should be no problem buying local or lovely things for other people right?  Wrong, although I got paired with the fantastic Christine from Germany to buy for who didn’t have any particular dislikes it’s a bit tricker buying for someone you don’t know – although I’m sure it will get easier.  Christine doesn’t blog so I will show you what I sent to her later on.  Firstly I will show you what a fantastic parcel I received from Nikki at Your Last Mouthful who is based in Cardiff.

So here it is with explanations – Nikki had asked me my likes and dislikes and it’s useful if someone has a blog as you can see the kinds of things people like, and had perfectly paired the goodies with me.  In the Shrinking Queen household we have taken great pleasure in opening the parcel and inspecting it’s contents, the mini K’s loved it as much and me and Mr K so it’s a really great thing to do – Nikki must have a really great oriental shop nearby as you can see (oh and an amazing obsession with Japanese Kit Kats – I know, did you even know there were such things?)  The smell of this box was amazing (like my earlier post on curry here, it smelt like my favourite cupboard).

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  • Thai Green Curry Kit
  • Sesame dessert from Japan (add hot water until thickened)
  • Methi Leaf
  • Jelly Straws (the kids adored these and I need to go and find some for Big Miss K as she is constantly swimming so could do with the sugar hit)
  • Green Tea Mochi (amazing, you think it should be incredibly sweet but just isn’t,)
  • Chinese Preserved Figs (addictive, sweet and sour)
  • Hot hot Chillies
  • Variety of chinese inspired teas
  • Macha and Sakura Kit Kat – I saved this for an evening on my own and have to say, this one was very much like the Western kit kat we know and love but just has a slightly different edge (and I can see why they are an obsession – the only issue is that they are too small ;-)).

Onto the parcel I sent to Christina with explanations – she has sent me a lovely email saying she had already tasted the sesame snaps – these are a staple snack in my house as the mini’s love them and there are no arguments about wanting more as a pack is a pack!  I’m hoping she enjoyed the rest of my parcel too.

DSC_0931My parcel contained:

  • Vietnamese prawn crackers (I adore the way these little waxy discs explode into something so familiar when added to oil)
  • Local Marmalade (with bits in, it MUST have bits in)
  • Sesame Snaps
  • Peanut Brittle (apparently Christina loves peanuts and sweet things, a perfect match)
  • Some Yunnan tea from my local market stall (slightly floral)
  • Home-made vanilla and chocolate fudge (I was concerned this may not make it in the heat so hope it was ok)
  • Recipe for Banana and Nutella Cake (here if you wish to give it a go)
  • And her favourite thing, a loom band bracelet made by Big Miss K (who was determined to get involved).

I can’t wait for next month now…