Monday, 30 August 2010

Chicken Katsu Curry

It has been a lovely bank holiday weekend, celebrating my birthday on Sunday (I was thoroughly spoilt) with a fun packed day of shopping, sunday roast lunch at our local pub and a trip to the cinema to watch The Expendables. Today I was feeling a tad tired and lazy after doing a big food shop in the morning, hubby told me to put my feet up with a glass of wine and he would cook dinner for us. I had book marked this recipe in “Gizzi’s Kitchen Magic” and it is a dish I have wanted to try for a while. Hubby found the preparation basic and said as long as he had the ingredients ready up front it all came together really well. This chicken katsu curry, as Gizzi says, is “wickedly wonderful” and “what makes it stand out from other curry’s is that the meat is breaded and fried before having a luxurious curry sauce slathered all over it”. I have to agree with Gizzi and this goes down as a firm favourite, especially with hubby who thoroughly enjoyed it.

Chicken Katsu Curry

Serves 4

Ingredients
100g flour, seasoned with lots of salt and
pepper
1 free-range egg, beaten lightly
200g Japanese panko breadcrumbs
4 boneless chicken breasts
100ml groundnut or vegetable oil
steamed rice and salad to serve

For the curry sauce
1 tablespoon groundnut or vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
5 whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 tablespoon medium curry powder
600ml chicken stock
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon garam masala

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a small pan. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, then throw in the carrots and sweat slowly for 10 minutes with the lid on, giving the odd stir, until softened and starting to caramelise.

Stir in the flour and curry powder and cook for a minute. Slowly pour in the stock until combined (do this gradually to avoid getting lumps). Add the honey, soy sauce and bay leaf and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, so the sauce thickens but is still of pouring consistency. Add the garam masala, then pass the sauce through a sieve (unless you prefer a chunky sauce).

Now prepare the chicken. Lay the seasoned flour, egg and breadcrumbs on separate plates. Coat the chicken in the flour, then dip into the egg and finally into the breadcrumbs.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the breaded chicken breasts for 5 minutes on each side, or until golden and cooked through. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and leave to drain on kitchen paper. Slice the chicken diagonally and serve with the sauce drizzled over, steamed rice and salad.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Let them eat Cake!





As promised I’ve finally got round to blogging the cakes that I made for the family gathering at the lodge. Everyone had a wonderful time and we all enjoyed the beautiful quiet and peaceful surroundings, although with 12 adults and 5 small kids we made enough noise of our own. Meal times were busy and I have to give all praise to my mother in law for cooking and feeding such a big crowd, the large utility room with its long work surfaces came into its own when plating up for dinner. But with no dishwasher it was a case of drawing straws for who got to do the washing up. One night, with no exaggeration, it took hubby an hour to wash up the dishes. I sat sipping my wine thanking the stars it wasn’t me but I had lined up my excuses in readiness! That probably makes me sound really lazy but we all helped through-out the weekend and of course my small contribution and one I wouldn’t be able to turn up without was my home-made cakes. I’m known through-out the family for my cooking and baking and I’m not joking when I say people get upset if I don’t bring a cake. So below are the cakes, one I’ve baked before and two that are new to my baking repertoire, that were loved, enjoyed and devoured by everyone! Above are some pics of the lodge, isn't it gorgeous? I love it there!

St Clement’s Drizzle Cake

Ingredients
175g caster sugar
175g softened butter
grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
grated zest and juice of 1 large orange
4 tablespoons milk
2 eggs
175g self-raising flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 180oC/fan 160oC/gas 4.

Grease and line the base of 1 large (900g) or 2 small (450g) loaf tins.

Place the caster sugar, butter and zest of the lemon and orange in a bowl and beat together until pale and creamy. Add the milk, and then beat in the eggs, one at a time, with a spoon of flour to prevent the mixture from curdling. Mix in the remaining flour. Spoon into the prepared tin/tins and level the surface flat.

Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes for a large cake or 30 minutes for the smaller cakes until they are golden and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.

While the cake is cooking, place the lemon and orange juice in a saucepan, bring to the boil and allow to reduce in quantity to about 3 tablespoons. Leave to cool, and then stir in the granulated sugar so it just starts to dissolve.

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, prick several times with a skewer, then slowly pour the lemon and orange sugar all over the top, letting it soak into the cake. Leave to cool completely in the tin before turning out and cutting into slices to serve.


Light Fruit Cake with Pecans and Coconut

Ingredients
butter, for greasing
175g/6oz butter, softened
175g/6oz caster sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
250g/9oz self-raising flour
175g/6oz sultanas
175g/6oz currants
50g/2oz chopped pecan nuts
25g/1oz dessicated coconut

Preheat the oven to 160oC/fan oven 140oC/gas mark 3.

Grease and line a round 20cm/8inch cake tin

Place the butter and sugar in an electric mixer and beat together until they are pale and fluffy. Gradually beat the eggs into the mixture. Don’t worry if it looks curdled, it doesn’t matter at all. Now fold in the flour, followed by the rest of the ingredients.

Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and bake for between 1 ¼ - 1 ½ hours. After 30 minutes, cover the cake with a piece of foil to prevent it from browning too much. To check if the cake is cooked, insert a sharp knife or skewer into the centre of the cake – if it comes out clean, it is cooked.

Remove the cake from the oven and leave it to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.


Cherry and Almond Loaf

Ingredients
175g/6oz unsalted butter, softened
175g/6oz caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon and juice of ½ lemon
3 free-range eggs, beaten
225g/8oz glaće cherries, rinsed and halved
75g/2¾oz self-raising flour, sifted
75g/2¾oz plain flour, sifted
Pinch of salt
75g/2¾oz ground almonds
Splash of milk (optional)

Preheat the oven to 190oC/170oC fan oven/375oF/gas mark 5. Butter a 900g/2lb loaf tin, then line with greaseproof paper.

Cream together the butter, sugar, lemon zest and juice, using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer or by hand. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating after each addition.

Toss the cherries in a little of the flour to help them cling to the cake mixture instead of dropping to the bottom. Next, mix together the flours, salt, almonds and cherries and add to the batter, stirring well until the cherries are evenly distributed. The cake mixture needs to be fairly stiff, but add a splash of milk if you feel you need to.

Bake for 50-55 minutes, then test for doneness by inserting a skewer into the loaf’s centre; if it comes out clean, it is done. If you find the top is browning too much before the loaf is ready, simply cover with foil and let is carry on baking.

Remove the loaf to a wire rack, leaving it in the greaseproof paper until cold.


Friday, 20 August 2010

Light Chicken Korma

Friday night = This delicious Light Chicken Korma served with rice, naan bread and followed by a few Grey Goose voddy’s and tonic. I really fancied a curry and after a quick search on Google for a low fat version I came across this recipe on the trusty BBC Good Food website. This curry was a delicious success and a big hit with hubby and I. It’s another quick and easy low-fat meal to rustle up, which doesn't lack in flavour one bit. I served it with basmati rice and low-fat naan breads, perfect Friday night meal!

Light Chicken Korma

Serves 4

Ingredients
small knob fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
1 garlic clove
1 onion, sliced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tsp garam masala
100ml chicken stock
3 tbsp low-fat fromage frais
2 tbsp ground almonds
handful toasted, sliced almonds, to serve
plain rice, naan bread or chapatis, to serve

Cook the ginger, garlic and onion into a large pan with the oil until softened. Tip in the chicken and cook until lightly browned, about 5 mins, then add in garam masala and cook for 1 min further.

Pour over the stock and simmer for 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Mix together the fromage frais and ground almonds. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the fromage frais mixture. Sprinkle over sliced almonds, garnish with coriander and serve with boiled rice, chapatis or plain naan bread.

243kcalories per serving.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Chicken Tagine

Our weekend at the family country lodge was really lovely and it was great catching up with everyone. The cakes I made, which I promise I will be blogging about in the next few days, were a hit, loved and devoured by all. During 3 days of over indulging my healthy eating certainly went out the window but it was totally worth it. Before I end up pilling back on all the pounds that I have managed to lose recently, I thought I better get back to my healthy eating. Although that is quite difficult to do after a long weekend of indulgence and will admit that I have not done well this week so far.

So after spotting this recipe in my “Good to Know Recipes” magazine I had to make it and use it as my motivation to get back on track. This meal reminded me I can still enjoy tasty and satisfying food while it remains heathly for me.

This chicken tagine recipe was very quick and simple to make, only 340cal per portion, absolutely delicious and bursting with flavour. You would never have guessed this was such a low calorie dish. It is definitely one I urge you to try.

Chicken Tagine

Serves 4

Ingredients
For the tagine:
1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp Moroccan spice mix (or use ½ tsp cumin, ½ tsp coriander and ⅛ turmeric)
200g tin chopped tomatoes
210g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp granular Canderel (artificial sweetner)
300g chicken breast, diced
Salt and pepper

For the couscous:
125g couscous
200ml hot chicken or vegetable stock
Juice and zest ½ lemon
Handful freshly chopped coriander (I used fresh parsley)

Heat the oil and cook the onion for about 3 mins until starting to soften. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further 2 mins. Stir in the tomato purée and spice mix and cook for 1 min, stirring often until everything is well coated.

Pour in the tomatoes, chickpeas, Canderel and season. Bring to the boil, then add the chicken and leave to simmer for 10-15 mins until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.

Meanwhile, tip the couscous into a large bowl. Pour over the hot stock, cover the bowl with clingfilm and then leave for 10 mins. Squeeze over the lemon juice, add the lemon zest and coriander and mix in, fluffing up with a fork. Serve immediately with the chicken tagine.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Pasta with Tomato Sauce

Pasta is one of my favourite foods and whenever I am craving it but am too tired to cook something time consuming, this is the recipe I always turn to for my pasta fix! Today has been one of those days, craving something yummy but too tired after spending the majority of it in my kitchen baking cakes for a family gathering this weekend at my in law’s country lodge. This is such a simple and super quick sauce that is delicious and full of flavour, and low fat too. Watch this space for the fruits of today's labour, coming to my blog soon!

Pasta with Tomato Sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, peeled but left whole
1 can diced tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
About 4 basil leaves, torn
Pasta of choice, you’re favourite
Freshly Parmesan cheese, grated to serve

Put the oil and garlic in a saucepan over medium heat. When you can smell the garlic and it has flavoured the oil, add the tomatoes. Add a good pinch of salt and some pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook uncovered for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the tomatoes have all merged with the oil into a sauce. Add the basil and a few drops of hot water toward the end of the cooking time if it looks as if it needs it. If you like, purèe the sauce until smooth, taking out the garlic clove first.

Meanwhile cook the pasta in boiling water, following the package instructions. Drain the pasta and stir through most of the sauce. Divide among four serving bowls and spoon the rest of the sauce on top. Drizzle with a little olive oil if you like, and serve with grated parmesan.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Italian-Style Pork Steaks with Sage and White Wine

One of my favourite blogs is “Cooking at Marystow” by the lovely Lucie, her blog is always an inspiration with all her mouth-watering delights. When I spotted this recipe over at her blog I knew I had to make it. Lucie said this was “totally delicious” and she was spot on! This dish has lots of flavour with the sage, garlic and white wine sauce which works wonderfully served with the fresh pasta. It’s a quick meal too, always another bonus if you’re hungry and tired from a long day of shopping (yep I hit TK Maxx this morning and got some lovely kitchenalia). Thanks Lucie for sharing this yummylicious recipe with us, keep them coming!!

Italian-Style Pork Steaks with Sage and White Wine

Serves: 2

Ingredients
15g butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 Pork Shoulder Steaks
6-8 fresh sage leaves
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
100ml Dry white wine

Method
Heat the butter in a frying pan with the oil until sizzling. Add the steaks and cook over a medium heat for 14 minutes, turning once until the meat is lightly browned on both sides.

Pour off any fat from the pan and add the sage leaves, garlic and plenty of seasoning. Cook for 1 minute then add the wine. Cover the pan and simmer gently for 2 more minutes.

Transfer the steaks to warmed serving plates, increase the heat and simmer the juices until reduced to half. Season to taste and pour over the steaks. Serve with fresh tagliatelle or fettuccine pasta and roasted tomatoes

Friday, 6 August 2010

Banana Cake

Can’t believe it’s been 3 weeks since my last blog post but after my hubby’s business trip to Singapore we have been spending some quality and much needed time together. I’m still on my health kick and doing pretty well and my body loves me for it. I’ve lost over 8lbs and I can already notice the difference in my clothing, which feels good and motivates me to continue. Hubby and I spent a couple of days in the south coast during which time I was less strict on myself and we enjoyed a lovely meal al fresco on the seafront at a family run Italian restaurant. I feel it’s important to still enjoy the odd treat while losing weight to maintain a healthy balance. Now I’m feeling better about myself having lost this initial weight and the weather has cooled down somewhat I will be hitting the gym once again, which I know from past experience will help me drop the weight quicker. OK enough of me and my weight issues and onto my new cookbook purchase and this lush Banana Cake.

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Lotte’s Country Kitchen by Lotte Duncan. She is a lady after my own heart with her girly pink kitchen and love of glitter and sparkle, which is reminiscent of my own kitchen and love of all things glittery. Her book is beautifully illustrated with an array of wonderful recipes for every month of the year. I was drooling whilst reading and browsing the book and couldn’t wait to get stuck in and decided the Banana Cake was a great one to start on, seeing as there is always a plentiful supply of ripe bananas in my fruit bowl.

Lotte describes this cake as the “very best banana cake in the whole wide world if not the universe and beyond” and I have to agree with her but my only disappointment was I didn’t have any preserved stem ginger in syrup in the house, so my cake was lacking this. Apart from that this cake is full of flavour and gorgeously fluffy. I will definitely be making this again but next time I’ll be sure to include the stem ginger!

Banana Cake

Ingredients
2 over-ripe bananas
juice of ½ lemon
110g/4oz butter, softened
110g/4oz soft brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
225g/8oz self-raising flour, sieved
50g/2oz sultanas
1 piece of preserved stem ginger in syrup, drained and finely chopped
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ baking powder

Grease and line a 900g/2lb loaf tin.

Preheat the oven to 180oC/fan oven 160oC/gas mark 4.

Place the bananas and lemon juice in a medium mixing bowl, mash them together using a fork and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together in your mixer or with a wooden spoon until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the mashed banana and beat well.

Using a metal spoon, gently fold in the flour, sultanas, ginger, spices and baking powder and turn the mixture into the loaf tin. Spread it out evenly and give the mixture a little tap to settle it down in the tin.

Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven, leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack.

Serve sliced and spread with lashings of softened creamy butter!



Madison also loves my new cookbook!!