Thursday, 26 March 2015

Pollo al Chilindron - (Spanish) Chicken with Peppers and Tomatoes

Simple and tasty at its best, Spanish-style...

I've blogged this recipe, which I've had in my 5:2 group for a while, because it is how I learnt the real name of a 'Half Man, Half Goat'... make of that what you will!!! This is a classic Spanish dish, originating from Aragón. You can choose whether you use all red bell peppers (which are sweeter, and some say is the most traditional), or a mixture of red and green, or even all green for a slightly more peppery flavour. Choose chicken thighs for moist and succulent tasty meat, or chicken breast for a leaner, slightly quicker option.

Chilindron - the pepper and tomato sauce - is simple and yet soooo good - great hot or cold, and delicious with meat, chicken or fish - and if you're a vegetarian, you could just make the sauce and crack some eggs into it to poach shakshouka style for a delicious brunch, and mop up with crusty bread.

Serves four as a main meal, 275 calories per serving (if using chicken breast and Serrano ham. Add an extra 23 calories per portion if using skinless, boneless chicken thighs, and an extra 32 calories per portion if using rindless streaky bacon instead of Serrano ham). For a vegetarian version, with four medium eggs cracked in, it would be 178 calories per person.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Thermo FroYo

That's it right now, it's just a name. But I thought of it right this second, and I like it, and I 'googled' it and no-one else has called anything that yet, so I'm claiming it as my own by blogging it. 'Thermo FroYo' is mine, and it means that much to me.

Recipe to follow, of course. Over the Easter holidays some time... (unless I get out more) ;)

Message ends.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Luxury Sourdough Hot Cross Buns (incudes Thermomix tips)

Using a sourdough starter instead of commercial yeast makes these hot cross buns much easier on your digestive system, and gives them a lovely depth of flavour.

It hasn't become that apparent on my blog yet, but I've become an avid fan of sourdough baking. I've just posted how to get your own simple sourdough starter off the ground in four days, so that now I can share some of the things I've been baking - you can find the instructions here - and there's no special equipment needed, you'll be glad to know, just (rye) flour and water!

You can, of course, 'cheat' and beg, borrow or buy a sourdough starter rather than getting your own going, but it's easy enough to do, and I think more satisfying! So, it took a little experimentation to get the spicing levels and amount of dried fruit to my tastes, and I've given you the option to include some wholemeal flour in the final dough if you want, which is more absorbent and gives you a firmer dough which is a little easier to work with, and has a little more depth to it - but they're delicious either way!

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Simple Four Day Sourdough Starter... that might just change your life!

Sourdough is nothing to be scared of, and it might just change your life a little bit!

Personally speaking, I've suffered most of the time when I've eaten bread over the last decade (and a little bit more), and discovering sourdough has been a revelation of almost biblical proportions for me. Not only can I eat, nay enjoy, nay... consume in ecstatic rapture (is that OTT?) bread - it's become the tastiest, most delicious, full-of-flavour bread I've eaten.

I now have an understanding of why some artisan sourdough bread is soooo expensive in the shops. Out of my price range, to be fair - and yet, now I can make it myself. Last night, I ate the most delicious bread I've ever eaten in my life - and I made it (and that's really saying something for me)!

A selection of breads made from my sourdough starter, and I'm quite new to this!
What's so special about sourdough? It's the long, slow ferment. This allows the natural wild yeasts that you capture in your starter to slowly work their magic in your dough over a long period of time. There's a lot written about the health benefits of sourdough, and the fact that it's better for diabetics, and for those who suffer eating wheat and gluten because of the way the gluten is broken down over the long ferment (unlike commercially made breads, and even home made bread made with commercial yeast), and the healthy bacteria in the bread, and all sorts of things. There's a really interesting article here which will give you a great insight into what is so good about it. And I'm buying into it, not least because from my own personal experience, I can actually eat this delicious bread without any ill digestive effects. And it's not just bread - you can make pancakes, muffins, crumpets, croissants, hot cross buns (more later!) and all kinds of things - it's amazing!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Shrek Pie ! (Includes Thermomix instructions)

Or for the adults, Spinach, Mozzarella, Sun-dried Tomato and Olive Slice!

Although this is not just for kids, we all know that if it's green, it's 'unclean' as far as most of them are concerned, and in order to entice children to eat things which are green, we have to give them 'special' names relating to their favourite characters - be that Shrek, Hulk, Kermit or whoever else is flavour of the month! I think you can probably see why this one is "Shrek"...!

Shrek Pie

My son (who is 12) told me that whenever he finds this in his packed lunch at school, he pumps his fist in the air and shouts "Shrek Pieeeeee!" to his friends - I'm not really sure what to make of this, but apparently some of his friends have tried it and liked it too, and it's kind of funny!

I use buckwheat flour in this but there's no reason you can't use plain gluten free flour, or even just plain (or wholemeal) wheat flour if you're not cooking gluten / grain free.

I baked this specifically to be gluten free and lunchbox friendly - and it will make a good 20 portions at 80 calories each (in case you're tempted!) as a side / with other savoury things to eat (I cut 10 rectangles from each dish - but then cut some of these in half to fit into lunchboxes, two a portion). If you're making this for dinner, it's more likely to serve 6-8 people with sides.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Blueberry, Lime and Coconut Cloud Pudding - Grain, Gluten and Dairy Free (includes Thermomix instructions)

A delicious, soft and fluffy dessert with a secret ingredient that might surprise you!

I do enjoy experimenting in the kitchen at times, and it is nice to take flavours which work well together, and then try to use them in different contexts. Blueberry, coconut and lime (or you can use  lemon) are a really complementary partnership of flavours and textures, which crop up in various different forms together.

A mini-portion!

In this dessert, the fluffy texture of the body of the coconut lime pudding contrasts nicely with the bursts of flavour from the blueberries, and the toasted coconut on top.

If you want to freeze it in portions, then cool and chill it first for a couple of hours, to firm it up before cutting into portions. It is definitely best eaten hot (and can be quickly microwaved to re-heat in a few seconds, if you use one!), but I have also been known to send a small piece each from the freezer wrapped up as a lunchbox treat for my children!

You will ideally need a food processor to blitz up the beans (yes, beans, the secret ingredient I mentioned!), therefore you may as well use it for the other stages of the recipe too.

Serves: 16 modestly-sized dessert portions or cut larger or smaller as desired!

Calories: 209 calories per portion as above, or cut into 20 smaller servings at 168 calories each. [Calories in square brackets after ingredients]

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Rich Tomato Sauce - for Pizza or Pasta (includes Thermomix instructions)

A delicious tomato sauce with a real depth of flavour, perfect for pizza topping or pasta.

There are hundreds, probably thousands of recipes for tomato sauces out there. And it goes without saying that the most important thing about the sauce is the key ingredient - tomatoes. Most often, outside of Italy you'll be lucky to get really good, flavoursome fresh plum tomatoes (and honestly, if they're that good, I'd probably want to eat them raw!). However, most people can at least get hold of tinned plum tomatoes which are the next best alternative and offer a far more consistent and tasty result when making sauces than using fresh, which can often be watery and lacking in flavour if grown too quickly.

With tomato sauce, you either want to cook it really quickly if you're using good, fresh tomatoes; or a nice long cook for at least 40 minutes, as the acids don't come out of the tomatoes until about ten minutes of cooking - hence quick cooking to avoid them being released, or slowly cook them out to evaporate the acids. This sauce is the latter which means the garlic and onion cook down gently with the tomatoes, into a nice, pulpy sauce. You could, of course, sieve or puree it if you wished to, but I love the texture and flavour of it as it is. Don't forget to add an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil at the end, on your pizza or pasta, of course, and maybe a little fresh torn basil!

Makes around a litre / kilogram of sauce, which should be enough to top 10-12 decent sized pizzas, or coat a similar amount of portions of pasta, or serve as a sauce (you would need even less if serving as a sauce to accompany fish or poultry etc., about half a serving).

Calories: There are 860 calories in total for the batch. If your finished batch weighs 1kg after reducing, then it is 86 calories per 100g (a tenth / approximately one portion for pizza / pasta). For a lower calorie version, reduce the olive oil to 1 tbsp to fry the onion and garlic in, and omit the extra virgin olive oil at the end - this will reduce the total calories to 561 for the entire batch / 56 calories per 100g.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Spanish Scrambled Eggs with Asparagus and Prawns (or Mushrooms) - Revuelto de Esparragos con Gambas

Fantastic lunch or light meal, simple ingredients but absolutely delicious!

When quick, easy and totally tasty is the objective, this is a dish that ticks all the boxes and not only that, it's deceptively healthy despite tasting rather decadent!


Serves one, easily doubled. 295 calories per serving made with prawns, 251 made with mushrooms (for the vegetarian option). 

You could just use one egg, and ½ tbsp milk and knock off 91 calories if you prefer, for a lighter snack (196/152 calories), but two eggs makes it into more of a satisfying dish with a nice amount of protein. Mix it up with different vegetables and/or Serrano ham, Chorizo, or even some smoked salmon (not quite so Spanish!) scattered over the top at the end!

Related Recipes

If you liked this recipe, you may also like these...