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Sunday, 28 February 2016

Pork and Aubergine Curry

I'm not one for food fads, but I am a sucker for a good cookbook.  I read them like novels sometimes, and it's a rare thing indeed for me to regularly cook several recipes from one author's books.

My favourite cookery writer at the moment is Jack Monroe, who essentially writes delicious budget conscious recipes that don't use ridiculous ingredients.

I've got some great ideas from Monroe's books and blog. On a very chilly walk home from the park this afternoon, I found two wrinkly aubergines for 35p each. Instead of pork chops for tea, I thought an adaptation of Monroe's (or Jonaki's) Baba Gosht was in order.

2 diced onions
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
3 pork steaks (about 300g), diced
1 aubergine
1/2 tsp each of ground ginger, cinnamon and tumeric
1 tsp ground cumin
2 bay leaves
a pinch of salt
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin new potatoes
200ml water
fresh coriander

Spray a large frying pan with frylight. Add bay leaves and cook until fragrant.

Reduce heat and add spices. Add a splash of water so it looks like curry paste, then add the onion, chilli and garlic. You may need to add a little more water at this point. Cook on a low heat for 5-10 min and stir now and again.

Add the meat (doesn't have to be pork - anything you have to hand: quorn or chunks of mushroom) and the aubergine. Cook on a low heat until meat is sealed, then pour over the tomatoes and half a tin (200ml) water. Bring it back to the boil for a minute, add the tinned potatoes (sliced) then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30min or so.

Serve sprinkled with coriander.

Serves 3

Monday, 15 February 2016

Easy Pasta Bake

I cooked a massive chicken on Sunday and managed to have some left on Monday despite Wonder Boy adoring all kinds of meat. I know it was cooked the Slimming World way because I'd skinned the chicken before cooking it in the slow cooker so it was steamed/poached really.

I had 3/4 of a bag of pasta in the cupboard and some ratatouille in the fridge.

The topping sounds really weird but the eggs stabilise the yoghurt and prevent it from curdling. It's now my go-to recipe to use instead of white sauce: it works every time, it's much less faff and it's good for you!

This was brilliant comfort food, and quite happily sat in the fridge for 24hours. I've frozen these types of bakes before too - cooked and uncooked.

Cook the pasta (slightly under cook it)
Drain, and mix with chopped chicken and ratatouille.
Thoroughly mix together the ff natural yoghurt and eggs.
Spread the yoghurt/egg mix over the top of the bake.
Sprinkle the mozzarella (I used 120g) on top.

Bake for 20 - 30 min on 180°C

Ideally this should be served with a big salad.

Serves 3 (or 2 adults and 2 hungry children) generously.

1 x Healthy extra A per portion

Sunday, 14 February 2016

100% wholewheat bread

I love this recipe for 100% wholewheat bread from the Canadian website Robin Hood, but I find it too sweet for my taste so I've adapted it slightly.

It's a good way of smuggling fibre into small people (when I made bread with a class of 7year olds they preferred brown to white) particularly when there's no other choice of bread!

The eggs help it to rise and be less dense than some other brown breads.

I have a Panasonic breadmaker where you have to add the yeast first then the flour, but I could have used my Kenwood with the dough hook or my hands.

The advantage of using the Kenwood or hands is that you can add more water if you need to - if a dough looks too wet you just might need to knead it for longer so the flour absorbs the water.

This time I used the breadmaker on the pizza dough setting, but after it finished the dough looked too 'tight' so I added a drop more water and set it on the cycle again. Doesn't seem to have harmed the finish!

2 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast (I used Dove's farm)
6 cups wholewheat flour
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 cup water
2 eggs
2 tbsp oil (not olive oil, I used sunflower)

Check the instructions on your breadmaker if you're using one - with mine I add it in the order I've listed the ingredients then set it to the shortest dough setting (pizza, 45min).

Once it's made, shape into rolls, pinch some for pizza or put the whole lot in a well greased loaf tin. (Use this - just using oil meant the bread nearly stuck in the pan!)

With rolls or loaves, leave them to prove (rise) for about an hour if you can.

This dough made pizza for a permanently hungry boy, and a large loaf.

I baked the loaf on 200°C for 10 min, then reduced the heat to 180°C for about 35min.

A loaf (or roll) is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. If you're making rolls reduce the cooking time.

The pizza got thrown in a hot oven on its highest setting for 10min and only didn't burn to a crisp because Wonder Boy was starving and wanted to see if it was ready.

Slimming World followers, I count 60g of this bread as a healthy extra b.