More Curry Joy!

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I told you I like a good curry and I have to say that there are loads of Slimming World curries that are fantastic. However, I’m a bit of a curry fanatic and the fact that I have about 50 curry recipe books that I would abandon brings me out in a bit of a sweat. We have a fabulous curry house here in Cambridge that one of our group members booked for our Slimming World Christmas Meal – I know, you would think that if you were following SW the last thing you would do is go out for a curry but she had a long chat with them as she had a meal there virtually every week and they adapted dishes for her – they even used Frylight. Now I know that if I mentioned that at my nearest curry house they would probably throw a Naan bread and tikka skewer at me – literally. Anyway, the meal was amazing, prawns, chicken and lamb curries with sauces, fruit salads – it was fantastic. And if my mind serves me correctly I still lost a pound that week.

I’ve been to The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow lots of times over the year’s – it’s win win, fabulous rooms, the sea, great walks and great food – what more can you want and it’s our treat. The thought of a fish curry revolted me until I had my first one there, which was possibly a monkfish curry, but don’t quote me on that, every time I go I have to have a curry, they are always properly spicy and deliciously fresh – and the Singapore crab was a terribly messy, very lengthy affair but I loved every second of it – I am not a woman easily phased if presented with a whole crab, it’s cutlery down and tucked napkin down neck of whatever I’m wearing – not in a greedy way, it’s just the way it should be! The curry I am showing you is from Rick Stein’s ‘India’ and was delicious – it’s the red one at the top of the picture (the chicken one was also delicious but I will tell you about another day) – the perfect heat, the fish wasn’t overpowered by the sauce. Just YUM!  I had to adapt a couple of minor things because it was what I had in the kitchen.

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Madras Fish Curry with tomato and tamarind – serves 4 just with rice -less than 1/2 syn per portion

  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds (I used black mustard seeds)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely crushed
  • 30 fresh curry leaves
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste diluted in 100ml water
  • 2 green chillies, sliced into 6 pieces lengthways (I used 2 red chillies)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 700g fish fillets, cut into chunks – I used Gurnard

Heat some frylight in a pan and fry mustard seeds for around 30 seconds, stir in onion and garlic and fry gently for around 10 minutes until soft and lightly golden.  Add curry leaves, chilli powder, coriander and turmeric and fry for 2 minutes, then stir in the tomatoes, tamarind liquid, chillies and salt and simmer for 10 more minutes until rich and reduced.  Add fish and cook for further 5 minutes or until cooked through and serve with rice.

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THE Banana and Nutella Cake

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I might, just might have put a teaser on Twitter a couple of days ago about the delicious Banana and Nutella cake I made for the kids.  Cue frantic hits to my blog and messages of ‘I don’t just want it, I NEED it’.  So, a little earlier than planned I am going to give you this recipe so you can make it for the weekend.  This is great warm, with the Nutella still gooey, or as my kids say ‘we can have it for breakfast, it is one of your five a day as it has banana in it’.  So fill your boots, but note to Slimming World followers, I take no responsibility for the syns, if I can resist it then so can you.

Banana and Nutella Cake – serves the number the knife cuts really – SYNS (not going there)

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp Bicarb of soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup soft, dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Nutella (however much you want, I use about 1/3 jar)

Heat oven to 180 degrees celcius

Wrap bananas in foil and put in hot oven for about 15 mins (until skin is blackened and bananas are soft)

Mix together flour and bicarb and salt

In separate bowl mash banana, then add oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla and whisk

Add this to the flour mixture and whisk until combined

Grease and line a square tin (mine is 8 in sq but use whatever you have)

Pour in 1/3 of the mixture then dot this with spoonfuls of Nutella (you could be a bit chefy and put this in piping bag to spread it evenly, but why when you can have big pockets of gooey chocolate)

Place rest of batter on top and again, dot with Nutella

Bake in oven for around 30 mins (or until cooked in centre)

See how long it lasts…..

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Yeehaw Bo Duke Beans Part 2

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Things went a little bit crazy over on Twitter yesterday as I mentioned the Banana and Nutella Cake I made for the kids that I forgot to mention that I lost 5 lbs – seriously 5 lbs this week and I got my 2 1/2 stone award – I am happy with the scales going down a pound at a time (and obviously occasionally up sometimes) but I’m fine with that, I’m taking the slow route, I have changed my eating habits PERMANENTLY and realise that I can have whatever I want, but I may well need to think later and so I make choices – but I live a normal, healthy life.

So, since I started with my fantastic Slimming World Group I have lost 2 St 9 lbs and from my heaviest I have now lost 3 stones 13 lbs.  I can feel some ‘before and after’ pics coming on – maybe on holiday in the next couple of weeks (don’t get excited, Cornwall not the Caribbean so you won’t get my ‘bikini’ shots).  I have set a target and am 11 lbs away – couldn’t even have thought of setting a target a year ago let alone being within fingers touching it range.

I did a StreetGym session last week for the first time, I’m the kind of gal that drags my sorry bum round a 5 km run once a week – don’t get me wrong, I’m fit, I cycle everywhere and ran a half marathon last year but I’m certainly built for comfort and not speed.  Anyway, this Crazy Man (sorry Paul) makes you run about 5 km, faster than I normally run, then stops every so often do do sit ups, press ups, planks, sprinting etc.  Boy, on Thursday I ached so much I groaned as I tried to get into the bottom cupboard – but it was great and I definitely will be doing it again.

Now, I promised the second part to yesterday’s BBQ Beans recipe so here it is – delicious, and enjoy.

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BBQ Beans and Baked Sweet Potato – serves 5 – syn free

  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 5 sweet potatoes
  • 3 cans beans (I used borlitti, cannellini and chick peas)
  • 100ml bbq sauce (see yesterday post for syn-free recipe)
  • sprigs rosemary
  • fat free natural yogurt
  • Cheddar cheese – if you have a HEX A left

Heat oven to 180 degrees celcius.  Heat roasting tray on hob and put onions, garlic, carrots into tray, add paprika, cumin seeds, chilli flakes in and cook for 10 or so minutes, until softened, stirring regularly.

Spray potatoes with frylight and sprinkle on salt and put them in the oven until cooked (this should be about the same time as the beans).

Blitz chopped tomatoes in processor and add into tray and swirl around can with some water and add that.  Throw in beans and bbq sauce and place in oven for about 1 hour.  Add more water at any stage if it starts catching around the edge – I added some just before serving to give it a bit more sauce.

Place potato on top of beans and sprinkle on chopped rosemary and top with fat free natural yogurt and grated cheese.

Yeehaw

Yeehaw Bo Duke Beans Part 1

BBQ beans

I was trying to think what to call this post and I just kept coming back to The Dukes of Hazard – how that ages me!  But I loved it when I was a child, Saturday night we were allowed to have dinner in front of the TV and would watch a variety of programmes, it ranged from Lassie, Knight Rider, The A Team and The Dukes of Hazard – now of course Daisy Dukes hotpants would be obscene but apparently they were fine to show to kids in the late 70s.  And remember Boss Hogg and Rosco P Coltrane and Flash the dog? This dish just made me think of Bo and Luke Duke – how cool were they!

The easy way to make this is just to buy a bbq sauce and add 100ml to the dish – this is fine but as I was trying to make it Slimming World friendly I made my own bbq sauce – I have to admit that I should have used mild chilli powder, but as is always the case in my house, I compromise when I don’t have certain ingredients necessary but have to say that when I tasted it on it’s own it nearly blew my head off – and I am a hardcore heat fan, but I am pleased to say that once everything else was added it mellowed significantly and I was very happy with the heat in the end.  So I am giving you a recipe in stages.  The first is for the bbq sauce which will make a batch of around 400ml and is SYN FREE, you can freeze this too.  And the second is the actual dish shown above of BBQ beans with sweet potato but I will post that tomorrow.

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For the BBQ Sauce – SYN FREE

  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 tsp mild chilli powder
  • 500ml passata
  • 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 3 tbsp sweetener
  • Frylight
  • Seasoning

Fry off onion in little frylight until soft, put into pan the remainder of the ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes until thick.  You can blend if you want (I did), or not.  Done!

PANIC – need something for their lunch tomorrow!

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S**T – I have nothing to put in the kids packed lunches (excuse the expletive but that is exactly what was said) – the local shops are closed and I really really can’t be bothered to cycle down to the nearest shop that is open so I decided on savoury scones.

We Brits have a bit of an obsession with scones – in the US the nearest is a ‘biscuit’ – not the same as a UK biscuit and there seem to be so many US variations that I’m not even going to try to explain them as I’m certain I will get it wrong – feel free to tell me about them US friends. In the UK they are normally sweet and you have them for afternoon tea (how very British). You split them in half and cover them with clotted cream and jam, there is even debate as to which should go on first, the cream or the jam – I don’t want to start an argument but in my house it’s definitely the jam and then the cream, oh, and the jam has to be strawberry. You never put the top back on – that means you are able to use the other half in exactly the same way (as if you hadn’t had enough calories).

Back to the savoury kind that I made – they were great, the kids took them in their packed lunch and they loved them – there are enough left from this batch that they will keep for a light lunch with some other bits and bobs or some soup, they would be lovely warmed through again with a bit of blue cheese or just with butter – although obviously this is pure supposition on my part as there is not much in them that constitutes Slimming World friendly – but I am a feeder and happy to cook and hand over – the little birds grabbing things with buttery hands – lovely.

Savoury Scones with bacon, spring onion, red pepper and smoked paprika – not even synning these – they are NOT Slimming World friendly

  • 600g self-raising flour
  • Pinch smoked paprika
  • 100g chilled butter, cubed
  • 2 rashers bacon, chopped and fried until crisp
  • 4 spring onions, chopped finely
  • ½ red pepper, chopped finely
  • 250g grated cheddar cheese
  • 375ml milk

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius, put baking parchment in baking tray

Sift flour into large bowl, add paprika and rub butter with fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs

Mix in bacon, pepper, spring onion and half of the cheese and season well

Add milk, cutting into mixture with knife until it just comes together – do not overmix

Put on floured board and roll until 1 inch thick then cut with scone cutter (tip – so the sides rise evenly do NOT turn the cutter, straight down and straight up again), or you can just leave this as a large round and cut into around 8 wedges

Brush tops with little milk and sprinkle over remaining cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes

‘Ta Dah’ Paella

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You may have heard my previous mentioning of Mr K and his glory cooking. It’s delicious but normally rather costly so reserved for weekends. I thought I would show you one of the dishes that is purely his territory – his lovely Paella. After talking me through this it is virtually syn free – he says there is no way you can use fry light so Slimming World members, if you want a challenge then have a go with it and see if it works for you.

We bought our paella dish in Cornwall when on holiday – it is absolutely huge but perfect, somehow it only seems right if this dish is oversized – it’s all in the dramatic ‘tah-dah’ presentation on the table, with a huge serving spoon to get the best, crusty bits of rice that stick to the sides and the bottom of this dish. So he talked me through it and here it is.

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Paella – serves 6-8 1 1/2 syn per person

  • Paella rice – 600g
  • 1 spanish onion – finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 peppers, colour preference – sliced
  • Fish stock, 1 ½ litres
  • Saffron, large pinch
  • Choritzo, 100g, thinly sliced
  • Lemon (to garnish)

Seafood (mixture of clams, prawns, mussels, monkfish and squid and langoustines if you can afford it) – remember to clean and prepare fish and shellfish (or get your fishmonger to do this)

This size paella pan fits perfectly across 2 gas rings on our cooker – adapt as necessary.

Put 2 tbsp olive oil into paella pan, gently sweat onion and garlic until softened then add chorizo until it releases oil.

Add peppers and cook until softened.

Add monkfish and fry briefly, scatter prawns, squid and clams around pan and then add rice and saffron strands, stir everything together.

Add stock and 2 ½ tsp salt and bring to boil, stir briefly.

Leave to simmer vigorously for 6 mins over medium high heat but do not stir ANY MORE, just turn pan ¼ turn every 2 minutes (for the rest of the cooking time).

Reduce heat to medium, arrange mussels and prawns/langoustines around pan and push slightly into rice.

Leave to cook for 14 minutes (Remember, no stirring, just turning), after this time all of the stock should have been absorbed and there should be slight pitting on surface of rice.

Turn off, cover pan with clean tea towel and leave for 5 minutes to rest

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Honey, I Shrunk the Meatballs!

 

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I used to run a catering company making my own dishes and pies to sell at local farmer’s markets. I decided it was one of those things to ‘keep me occupied’ while I was on maternity leave with my second baby. What I hadn’t bargained for was that every Saturday morning I would sell out of over 100 individual pies, mainly venison with red wine and juniper, chicken and leek in cream sauce and a lovely spicy butterbean – certainly NOT Slimming World friendly but they were tasty – and homemade pastry – it makes me salivate thinking of those pies even if I do say so myself. At the time I couldn’t bear the thought of eating one but Mr K didn’t seem to have that problem. Then I would come home to a slightly frazzled Mr K who had dealt with the children virtually from Wednesday night onwards as I had been stuck in the kitchen.

On the side I also made other dishes to sell frozen as the pies were taking over my kitchen, not to mention all of my time. It was some single male friends’ who started me along this route as they were all happy to have frozen meals that they could just take out and heat up but knew it was all good, home cooking. The recipe for meatballs was by far the most popular dish that would sell out time and time again and occasionally people would buy all of my stock of this dish through fear or me not having time to make any more.

Alas, time took over, I went back to work and with 2 young children the catering was not making enough money for me to make the ‘big leap’ into renting an external kitchen – oh what could have been, but enough of that.

This dish is a not really a UK meatball – normally they are cooked IN the sauce, which rather leaves them looking a little insipid in my opinion and can be a little ‘bouncy’ on the teeth, Mr K hates me saying that but if you feel the same then you will know what I’m talking about. They are made with pork but you can also do half pork, half lamb. You can throw everything in together and if you have lots of happy little pairs of hands like I do then gather them around the dining table with the big bowl of mix and let them get on with it – a child’s hand is the perfect size to make these and I’m a huge fan in sharing the chores love – just remember to get them to wash their hands first – and before you know it they are ready for the oven.

Meatballs in a Tomato Sauce – serves 5 with some leftover, syn free if using breadcrumbs as a HEX B

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  • 1 kg meat – I use pork mince but sometimes half pork, half lamb – lean
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Handful sage leaves, finely chopped (or other herbs – use whatever you have to hand – but NOT coriander – it just doesn’t work)
  • 1 large or 2 small lemons, rind grated
  • Wholemeal breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 can tomatoes, chopped or if whole, chop them up
  • 1 jar pasatta
  • tomato puree
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sweetener
  • Seasoning

Heat oven to 180 degrees celcius.

Mix together pork, onion, garlic, sage, lemon rind, breadcrumbs and egg, season well.

 

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Take a small piece of mix and fry in a pan until cooked to make sure you have enough seasoning to your taste (you will be surprised how much seasoning this takes).

Get small hands to make as many meatballs as you wish and put them in a roasting tin – I always cook these in the oven as I like the textural change roasting them makes.

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Put in oven for around 30 minutes, shake a couple of times.

While meatballs are in oven throw tomatoes, puree, pasatta, garlic and sweetener in a pan and cook through and cook some rice or pasta, whichever you fancy.

When all cooked throw meatballs into sauce – you can add some olives at this point, but remember to syn them.

Serve over raw spinach, pasta or rice.