Tag Archives: healthy

Mackerel with a Thai style marinade.

9 Oct

I think Mackerel is probably one of my favourite fish.  It is so tasty that I didn’t think a marinade would do anything for it but how wrong could I be!  This marinade really enhances the flavour but is very subtle so you can still taste the earthiness of the fish.  I honestly believe it is the best mackerel I have ever tasted.  Next Summer I am going to try it on the BBQ.  In the meantime it is fantastic grilled.  You could serve this with potatoes and maybe a salad or green vegetables. 

One of Terry’s, my husband’s, favourite memories are when he left college and, before starting teaching, he and his friend Gus hitchhiked around Wales.  One of the ports of call was Caldy Island where they caught Mackerel and cooked them on a wood fire on the beach.  I bet they were fantastic!  His friend Gus is a bit of an eccentric.  He is always telling tall stories, I think he actually researches them!  We often say he should write a book.  Some stories that are true, however, are so funny.  He went to visit Terry in College for the weekend and ended up staying for a whole term.  He slept on someones dormitory floor, joined the rugby team and attended lectures.  He even answered questions!  No-one ever sussed it out that he was not actually a student.  

Thai cuisine balances four fundamental taste senses, sour, sweet, salty and bitter (optional).  It is also spicy due to the chillies it invariably includes.  Common ingredients are lime, chillies, garlic and ginger.  Fish sauce is often included, usually offset by sugar.  I found this recipe in the Woman and Home Dinner Tonight magazine and modified it a little.  I’ve searched their website but could not find it so I will write it out for you below, along with the usual slideshow.  It is worth looking up their website and getting their magazine, they have some great recipes.  Anyway here is the one for today!

Mackerel with a Thai style marinade.        Serves 2

  • 2 large mackerel, gutted and cleaned, head removed
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • Thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp honey
  • juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  1. Mix the chilli, ginger, honey, lime juice and zest and coriander together in a small bowl.
  2. Make large incisions into both sides of the mackerel.  Rub the marinade all over the fish, making sure you get it some into the incisions.  Put in a dish and cover with cling film and leave to marinade for 2 hours.
  3. Line a grill pan with foil and brush with olive oil to prevent the fish from sticking.  If you are barbecuing oil a foil barbecue tray.  Place the fish into the tray and cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes on each side.  Turn up the heat and cook for a few more minutes on each side until the skin is brown and crispy and the fish is cooked through.  Serve immediately. 

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Beef Hotpot, great way to use up leftover roast beef

21 Aug

I wonder how many people buy a joint of beef that looks the business then find its tough and chewy when cooked. That is exactly what happened to me this Sunday. I know butchers say there is no way of knowing if beef is going to be tough before it’s cooked but it is such a disappointment on the day. Thankfully there was only the two of us for lunch and I was able to rescue it by slicing, cutting out the layer of grizzle and braising it with sliced onions in stock for half an hour before serving.

That left me with the problem of what to do with the other half of the joint. Those that know me will know I never waste food. I think of all those poor people who have nothing to eat and I just can’t do it! So, given the braising success, I decided to make a Beef Hotpot. It was a huge success, even if I do say so myself.

I think the secret of a good Hotpot is to make a really tasty gravy. The meat in this one is already cooked so will not be adding to the flavour so the recipe includes additions that overcome that. Some will turn their noses up at kidneys. Please don’t. Even if the thought of kidneys is abhorrent you will really not know they are in there and they add a lovely richness to the gravy.

I have made this as healthy as possible. It’s low fat and, for those on Slimming World, it is very low in Syns, 1 Syn between four people plus any you may add with Spray oil.

Here is the recipe. Serve with green vegetables if liked.

Beef Hotpot.                        Serves 4

  • Cooked roast beef, all fat and grizzle removed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • Spray sunflower oil or Frylight
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 lambs kidneys, core removed and very finely chopped
  • 3/4 pt beef stock made with 2 stock cubes
  • Leaves from a sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tsp cornflour dissolved in a little water
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 medium red potatoes, thinly slices
  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/160C fan
  2. Spray a large nonstick frying pan with oil and fry the onion over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the kidneys and fry for a minute more.
  3. pour in the stock and add the cornflour, thyme and Worcestershire Sauce. Season.
  4. Add the beef, mix well, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Pour all the beef mixture into an ovenproof dish. Cover with the potatoes then press the potatoes down slightly so they are covered with a little gravy.
  6. Cover with foil and cook in the oven for 1.5 hours or until the potatoes are tender. Serve while hot.

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Seafood spaghetti

5 Jul

It’s been over two years since I last posted on my blog, partly due to illness. As part of my recovery plan I decided to tackle my health head on and get into peak fitness. Eighteen months later and nearly three stone lighter, thanks to Slimming World, I am just about there.

So, today is a new beginning for my blog. I will not be posting as often as before and will only be posting recipes I have made up myself, using the principles of Slimming World. I’ve been dying to try this recipe which has been floating around in my head ever since I first had a seafood pasta dish in a local restaurant. I’ve used all fresh ingredients and the finished dish was delicious, even if I do say so myself. I’m sure some of my Italian friends will be appalled but hope they will forgive me some creative inspiration. The chilli gives a bit of a kick but doesn’t overpower the dish and can be omitted if you like. Likewise, mix and match the seafood to suit your own personal taste. Cooking is about adventure, having fun and taking a few risks. Go for it, I’m sure it will turn out well but if not there is always the chippy.

Seafood spaghetti.         Serves 2 – 3

  • Spray Olive oil or Frylight
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 small tomatoes, roughly chopped and seeds discarded
  • 1 good pinch dried chilli flakes (option all)
  • 50 mls dry white wine
  • small bunch basil, leaves roughly chopped
  • 125g raw king prawns
  • 125g cooked mussels
  • 1 small jar Calamari antipasti, drained and rinsed
  • Dried spaghetti, enough for 2-3 people
  1. Spray a large skillet or nonstick frying pan with oil or Frylight. Heat gently then add the onion and garlic. Fry over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until the onion is soft but not coloured.
  2. In the meantime cook the pasta in boiling salted water.
  3. Add the tomatoes and continue to fry for about 5 minutes until softened then add the wine and cook for a couple of minutes more.  Add the prawns and fry for 5 minutes until pink and cooked through. Add the chopped basil, mussels and squid. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix gently and cook over a low heat until everything is warmed through.
  4. Drain the spaghetti, reserving some of the cooking liquid, and add to the seafood. Toss everything together, adding a little of the reserved cooking liquid if it looks too dry.

 

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Baked Sea Bass with a mild curried ratatouille

29 Mar

imageMy inspiration for this recipe was from the menu of one of our favourite restaurants, 15 in Caleta De Fuste in Fuerteventura. There are fifteen main courses on offer, ordered in customer preference. All of the choices are superb but a particular favourite of mine is the sea bass. I tried to recreate the lovely flavours in my own recipe and, whilst there were obvious differences, I was very pleased with my results and will definitely be making this again.

Baked sea bass with a mild curried ratatouille      Serves 2

  • Low calorie spray oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large courgette, quartered lengthways, deseeded and sliced
  • 125g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large or 2 small ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 50 ml water
  • 100g low fat creme fraiche
  • 1 tsp sweet mango chutney
  • 1 tsp hot curry paste
  • 2 sea bass, descaled, gutted and fins removed
  • juice half a lemon
  • salt and black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 190c/170c fan/gas 6.
  2. Spray some oil into a nonstick frying pan. Add the onion and cook over a low to medium heat for about 10 minutes until soft but not coloured. Add the garlic for the last minute.
  3. add the chopped courgette and continue frying gently for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and fry for a further 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and season lightly. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add about 50ml of water and mix well. Continue cooking until all vegetables are tender.
  4. In the meantime, wash and dry the sea bass. Place in an oven dish. Score each side with a knife and squeeze over the lemon juice. Season with salt and black pepper and spray with low calorie olive oil. Bake in the oven until cooked through (about 25 to 30 minutes.
  5. Mix the creme fraiche, mango chutney and curry paste together, adjusting to suit personal taste. Stir into the ratatouille gradually, a spoonful at a time and mix in until you have a creamy consistency (about 3 tbsp). Adjust seasoning.
  6. Serve the sea bass with the ratatouille on the side and some boiled new potatoes if you like.

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Vegetarian chilli – really tasty

3 Mar

DSCI0516I am beginning to think my husband is a closet vegetarian.  If my son and his family are coming for a meal I always have to cook a vegetarian version of the recipe for my daughter-in-law.  This time it was a chilli and I have to say, he admitted to it being outstanding.  I like it so much I opted for the veggie version rather than the beef chilli myself!

I always use canned red beans for my chillies, rinsing them under water as directed on the can before adding to my recipes.  You can of course, cook red beans from dried yourself.  Be careful, however, that these are cooked properly.

Raw kidney beans contain lectin, a glycoprotein that can bind to sugars in membranes, causing changes in the membrane that lead to agglutination (clumping of cells) and mitosis (cell division). In the digestive tract, they bind to intestinal cells and block absorption. An episode of red bean poisoning lasts about four hours, beginning with nausea and severe vomiting and proceeding to diarrhea. Hospitalization is rarely necessary. The kidney bean lectin (phytohaemagglutinin) is destroyed by thorough boiling for about 10 minutes, after which water should be discarded and replaced before cooking. Red kidney beans are not appropriate for crock pot cooking.

I found this recipe in my well used and trusted cookery book by Judith Wills -‘Top 200 Low Fat recipes’ and adapted it to my own tastes.  It is so thick and unctuous you don’t miss the meat at all.

Vegetable chilli                             Serves 4 – 6

  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 2 medium red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper deseeded and chopped roughly
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 birds eye chilli, chopped
  • 1 tsp each ground coriander and cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mild chilli powder
  • 400g new potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 large courgettes, sliced
  • 400g can of red beans
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 200 ml vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper
  • Tabasco to taste
  • handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onions and peppers over a medium heat for 5 minutes until softened and just turning brown. Add the garlic, chilli, coriander, cumin and chilli powder and stir for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients except the Tabasco and fresh coriander, mix well and bring to the boil.
  3. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently until the vegetables are tender. Half way through the cooking time test the chilli for heat. If you want it a bit hotter then add a little Tabasco sauce.
  4. When cooked, check the season and serve with the fresh coriander.  I like to sprinkle mine with grated cheddar cheese. Perfect on rice or jacket potatoes.

 

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Courgette and lemon pasta

30 Jan

DSCI0405My husband is not very keen on vegetarian meals so when I said I was making this to use up some courgettes my friend Erica had given me his face looked like he had sucked a lemon.  In spite of this he tucked in with relish, cleared his plate completely and grudgingly declared ‘it wasn’t bad’. I thought it was absolutely lovely. It was light and refreshing and the pine nuts gave it a lovely nutty flavour and added crunch. I will definitely be making this again no matter how much he protests and begs for meat!

Pine nuts are very good for you. Here are a few nutritional facts.

  • They are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid (18:1 undifferentiated fat) that helps to lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increases HDL or “good-cholesterol” in the blood. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet, which contain good amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants, helps to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.
  • Pine or cedar nuts contain essential fatty acid (ω-6 fat), pinolenic acid. Recent research has shown its potential use in weight loss by curbing the appetite.
  • They are an excellent source of vitamin E; contain about 9.33 mg per 100 g (about 62% of RDA). Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.
  • Furthermore, pines are one of gluten-free tree nuts, and therefore, are a popular ingredient in the preparation of gluten-free food formulas. Such formula preparations can be a healthy alternative in people with wheat food allergy, and celiac disease.
  • They are an excellent source of B-complex group of vitamins.
  • Finally, pine nuts contain healthy amounts of essential minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium.  Consumption of pines helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.

I couldn’t find this recipe on the Woman and Home website so I have written it out below.

Courgette and lemon pasta                 Serves 4

  • 225g /8oz spaghetti
  • 450g / 1lb courgettes, grated
  • 50g /2 oz pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 lemons
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • black pepper
  1. Cook the spaghetti as per packet instructions.
  2. Zest both the lemons and juice just one of them.
  3. Drain the pasta when cooked and return to the pan.  Add the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, courgettes and pine nuts.
  4. Toss together and serve immediately.

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