Monday, 22 September 2014

Brown Rice Salad

This was a fresh salad that used courgettes and spring onions from my garden. It also felt healthy and wholesome with the brown rice.

Brown Rice Salad (WeightWatchers Rice and Noodles)
(Serves 4)
(7 WW ProPoints per serving)

250g brown rice
100g mangetout or sugar snap peas, halved
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 courgettes, grated
small bunch parsley, chopped
small bunch coriander, chopped
4 spring onions, chopped
1 roasted red pepper, finely chopped

Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the rice and cook according to packet instructions, add the mangetout for the last 1-2 mins. Drain and run under the cold tap, leave to dry.

Heat a frying pan and add the seeds,toast until golden. Add these to all the other salad ingredients including the rice and mangetout in a large bowl.

Put all the dressing ingredients in an empty jam jar with a lid, shake well and pour over the salad. Toss everything together and pack into a lunchbox or serve.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Smoked Mackerel and Potato Salad

This is a lovely oily fish salad and a variation on a mackerel potato salad, this one was a little more Mediterranean than ones I've tried before and it was really tasty.

Smoked Mackerel and Potato Salad (from WeightWatchers Sensationally Seasonal)
(Serves 2)
(11 WW ProPoints per serving)

200g small new potatoes
1/4 lettuce, shredded
pea sized blob wasabi
4 tbsp low fat natural yoghurt
150g peppered mackerel, flaked
150g cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 roasted red pepper, chopped
5 spring onions, chopped
10 black olives
2 lemon quarters to garnish

Being a pan of water to the boil, add the potatoes and cook for 10-15 mins. Drain and rinse under the cold tap. Set aside to cool.

To make the dressing, mix the wasabi and yoghurt together in a small bowl.

Put the rest of the ingredients except the lemon in a large bowl and toss together.

Divide the lettuce between two plates and top with the potato and mackerel mixture and drizzle over the dressing and serve.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Soba Noodles with Wakame

I ended up with way too much wakame in this dish. But on the whole it was really tasty, crunchy dish and the noodles were lovely, I'd forgotten how good cold soba noodles are!

Soba Noodles with Wakame (from Plenty - Ottolenghi)
(Serves 4-6)

2 large cucumbers
2 tsp salt
300g soba noodles
60g wakame
70g toasted sesame seeds
30g coriander leaves, roughly chopped
50g mint leaves, roughly chopped

2 tbsp rice vinegar
grated zest 2 limes
60ml lime juice
1 tbsp grated root ginger
2 red chillies, finely chopped
1 tbsp palm sugar
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp groundnut oil
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 garlic clove, crushed
3/4 tsp salt

Shred the cucumbers using a mandolins or veg peeler. Place the cucumber into a colander, sprinkle with the salt and stir well, then leave to drain for at least 30 mins.

Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the noodles and cook for 4-5 mins, or according to packet instructions. Drain and rinse in a stream of cold water to stop the cooking, leave to dry.

Soak the wakame in warm water for about 10 mins or until softened, drain. Remove the tough stalks and discard. Cut or year the rest into large pieces and put into a large mixing bowl. Add the cooked noodles and cucumber to the wakame.

Whisk together the sauce ingredients and add to the noodle mixture. Stir gently, then add the sesame seeds, coriander and mint. Stir well again and taste, you may want to add more salt, sugar or vinegar.

Pile the noodles into serving bowls and serve.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Fiery Chicken Pitta Pockets

So I tried to do a WeightWatchers week a few weeks ago and it wasn't all that successful, not least because I went out twice that week and people kept giving me cake! I did hold out on an apple doughnut though on the Friday!

 This was the first recipe I made that week, a chicken pitta pocket and it was really good. Just lightly spicy but the fresh raw veggies were a wonderful accompaniment.

Fiery Chicken Pitta Pockets (from WeightWatchers Book of Recipes)
(Serves 4)
(9 WW ProPoints per serving)

2 tsp oil
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp root ginger
3 tbsp lemon or lime juice
1 tbsp coriander or mint
4 chicken breasts
4 medium pitta bread
salt and pepper

To serve
salad leaves
chopped cucumber, tomato, radish

Mix together the oil, paprika, chilli powder, ginger, lime and herbs in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Lay the chicken in the spice mixture. Cover and leave to marinate for about an hour.

Preheat the grill, then cook the chicken for about 12-15 mins, turning once and basting often, until tender.

Warm the pitta breads by toasting lightly.

Slice the chicken and serve in the pitta bread with shredded lettuce, cucumber, radish and tomato.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Sausage Quinoa Salad

Still sticking with the warm salads. I made one of those ready cooked sachets of quinoa feed me for three meals, this was the last meal and really tasty it was. I used spring onion and ginger sausages and they were absolutely gorgeous!

Sausage Quinoa Salad (from Thyme for Cooking)
(Serves 2)

4 sausages
100g quinoa
8 stalks asparagus
1 carrot
2 radishes
2 tomatoes, sliced
salad leaves

For the dressing
125ml Greek or plain yogurt
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp white Balsamic vinegar or tarragon vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh chives chives
1 tbsp fresh chopped oregano

Cook the sausages, either grill or bake, when cooked, cut into pieces.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the quinoa according to packet instructions, adding the asparagus for the last 2-3 mins.

Meanwhile, shave the carrot and radish with a potato peeler and slice the tomato.

Make the dressing, mix together the yoghurt, mustard and vinegar, then whisk in the oil and add the herbs.

Tear the salad leaves into two bowls and toss with a third of the dressing. Top with the quinoa followed by the carrots, radishes and tomatoes then put the sausages on top. Drizzle with the rest of the dressing and serve.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Thai-Style Braised Pig's Cheeks

I made a quick decision to make something with pig's cheeks after finding them again in Waitrose after they went missing for a little while! I ended up with a bit of a burnt caramel taste, I think that was my fault rather than the recipe though, I advise checking on the meat to check it doesn't dry out whilst it's in the oven. So good idea but difficult to make for only one.

Thai-Style Braised Pig's Cheeks (from Serious Eats)
(Serves 6)

900g pig's cheeks
9 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 tbsp fish sauce
4 1/2 tbsp rice wine
30g palm sugar
1 stick cinnamon
3 - 6 chillis
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 300°F. Place the pig's cheeks in a casserole, they should cover the bottom of the pan. Add enough water so that cheeks are halfway submerged. Add the soy sauce, fish sauce, rice wine, sugar, cinnamon, and chillis to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cover  with a tight-fitting lid or aluminum foil. Transfer to the oven and cook for about 2 hours until very tender.

De-fat the mixture, either by skimming off the liquid fat or refrigerating the meat and letting the fat solidify on the top. Remove meat from liquid and gently break into bite-sized chunks (meat will be very tender). Heat sauce in a medium saucepan and cook until reduced and syrupy. Return the meat to sauce and heat through. Serve with rice.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Jamie's 15 Minute Meals: Chicken Salad

This was a really yummy chicken salad, I loved all the textures and the dish was just really tasty.

Chicken Salad
(from Jamie's 15 Minute Meals)
(Serves 4)

1 head broccoli
4 small skinless chicken breasts
1 heaped tsp ground coriander
300g bulgur wheat
2 preserved lemons
1 bunch radishes
2 spring onions
1/2 bunch fresh mint
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
4  tbsp fat-free natural yoghurt
2 tsp harissa
1 lemon

Fill the medium pan with boiling salted water. Trim the end off the broccoli stalk, then cut up the broccoli head and add to the pan, cover and boil for 4 minutes. On a large sheet of greaseproof paper, toss the chicken with salt, pepper and the ground coriander, then fold the paper over and bash and flatten to 1.5cm thick with a rolling pin. Put into the frying pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil, turning after 3 or 4 mins, until golden and cooked through.
With tongs, remove and drain the broccoli (leaving the pan of water on the heat), then place on the griddle until nicely charred. Add 1 mug of bulgur wheat and the preserved lemons to the broccoli water and cover, stirring occasionally. Halve or crush the radishes, trim and finely slice the spring onions and the top leafy half of the mint, then toss it all in a bowl with the extra virgin olive oil and vinegar, and season to taste.
Drain the bulgur wheat and tip into a large serving bowl, then mash and mix in the preserved lemons and arrange the broccoli on top. Toss the sunflower seeds in the chicken pan, then slice the chicken and add to the salad, scattering over the seeds and snipping over the cress. Serve dolloped with the yoghurt and drizzles of harissa, with lemon wedges on the side.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Meal Planning Monday

So last week was really busy. My friend did come to my house on Tuesday so that gave me a bit more time to get sorted. I did baked mackerel in a bag with rice and green veg from The Itsu Cookbook, which might appear in about 3 weeks time! I am so far ahead of myself with posting that I've decided to calm down a bit and do a couple of rather boring sandwich lunches. There's just so many good recipes out there to try!

This week is less busy but I'm still out three evenings, once to Pilates and two to the theatre to see Autobahn at The Kings Head and the Albion at the Bush Theatre. The weekend is busy too; I'm out for lunch on Saturday and then going to Wembley Outlet Village and the Cinema on Sunday. Also as I've not had much time to plan these are the meals I can remember either pinning or they were easy to find! So a bit of a hotch potch this week!



Out at five guys before the theatre

Cheese and Pickle Sandwich with Crisps
Out at Five Guys before the theatre

Courgette Tarte Tatin with Salad
Sardine Pasta Bake (WeightWatchers Weekdays)

Out at Rub for American Style Barbecue
Pasta and Fried Courgette Salad (Plenty)

Out before the cinema 

Salmon, Courgette and Tomato Linguine

I seem to have had a bit of a pasta heavy week this week! I saw this recipe in The Metro one morning and knew when courgette season came around that I had to make it. It is really tomatoey! And I found boiling the salmon a bit weird but the recipe really works.

Salmon, Courgette and Tomato Linguine (from The Metro)
(Serves 2)

350g linguine
2 salmon fillets
1 onion, finely sliced
1 courgette, diced into 1cm cubes
3 garlic cloves, chopped
100g tomato purée
salt and pepper

Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the pasta and cook according to packet instructions adding the salmon for the last 7 mins.

Meanwhile put a little oil in a frying pan and add the onion and courgette for 5-6 mins, until soft. Add the garlic, stirring for another min.

Squirt in the tomato purée, season with salt and pepper and keep the sauce moving around the pan, stirring occasionally. 

Drain the pasta and rinse under cold water. Flake the salmon and then mix the past and salmon into the vegetables. Keep mixing until the pasta is heated through and covered in tomato. Serve with Parmesan.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Quinoa, Asparagus, Pea and Lemon Salad

This was a lovely fresh tasting salad.

    Quinoa, Asparagus, Pea and Lemon Salad
    (From Taming Twins)
    (Serves 4)

    1 tbsp olive oil
    250g quinoa
    750ml vegetable stock
    4 courgettes, thinly sliced
    300g asparagus, trimmed
    250g frozen petit pois
For the dressing:
zest and juice 2 lemons
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp honey
handful finely chopped fresh mint
salt and pepper

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a sieve until the water runs clear. Put the oil into a saucepan over a medium heat and fry the quinoa for 5 mins. Add the stock and boil for 20 mins.

Put the courgettes and asparagus onto a hot griddle and cook for a few minutes on each side until soft.

Make your dressing by mixing all of the ingredients together and whisking well or shaking in a jam jar.

Cook the peas in boiling water for 3 or 4 mins and drain.

When the 20 mins is up, switch off the heat and leave the lid on the quinoa saucepan for 5 mins. Fluff with a fork.

Roughly chop the courgette and asparagus and mix with the quinoa, peas and dressing.

Serve with shavings of Parmesan cheese.