Monday, 25 October 2010

Crispy Beef Stir Fry

As the weather is getting cooler I have been making a concious effort to use my slow cooker each weekend. On Saturday I bought a lovely brisket of beef from Sainsbury's and made a pot roast with it (along with the help of half a bottle of red wine). The left over meat went into last night's stir fry which was lovely, and I also added some rainbow chard from the garden that I'd picked earlier that afternoon, but any veg can be used really, I've just listed what I threw in. I'd never attempted crispy beef before but it was so easy. Serves 3.

1 egg
1 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1 tsp sesame seeds
400g beef fillet (or left over beef, already cooked) cut into strips
8 tbsp groundnut oil

2 x sachets of fresh Udon noodles
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 cm piece of root ginger (chopped)
1 red chilli (chopped)
6 spring onions (chopped)
2 small carrots (chopped)
3 heads of pak choi
handful of mushrooms (chopped)
2 courgettes (chopped)
handful of rainbow chard
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp teriyaki sauce
3 tbsp dry sherry

Beat egg with sesame oil and 1tbsp of water.
Mix the flour, cornflour, fives spice and sesame seeds together in a plastic bag, before adding the pieces of beef. Shake the bag to ensure meat is well covered. Take the beef out of the bag, dip in egg mixture and then return to bag of flour until coated again.

Add the 8 tbsps groundnut oil to a wok until hot. Add the beef, frying until crispy (around 5 minutes, maybe 3 minutes more if the beef is raw), before removing the pieces, placing them on a paper towel to soak off the excess oil.

Add 1 tbsp sesame oil to wok, when hot, add garlic, ginger, chilli and spring onions. The smell will be delightful, once they gain some colour, add carrots, courgettes and mushrooms. Add soy sauce at this point, and then pak choi and chard (if using). Once the greens are starting to wilt, add the teriyaki sauce and sherry; add the beef to heat through and then stir in the noodles, which should take no more than 2 minutes to cook.


MEDIUM GI rating.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Trouty Pasta

One of my absolute favourite meals is Trouty Pasta. I came up with the recipe about 6 years ago, inspired by a trout with fennel recipe i saw on the back of a box of pasta once.

I bought some gorgeous organic trout from Abel & Cole yesterday and instead of freezing it like I usually do decided to cook it fresh.

This is the absolute ultimate in yumminess.

2 x fillets of rainbow trout
4 cups of conchiglie
half punnet of cherry tomatoes
25g salted butter
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp basil

Add pasta to a pan of boiling water, cook until al dente.

Skin the trout fillets and chop fish into small pieces, removing bones. Chop cherry tomatoes in half.

Add butter to frying pan. When melted, add tomatoes and then pieces of trout 2 minutes later.

Fry on a low to medium heat until trout has lost its raw colour and its edges start to get slightly browned/crispy.

Drain pasta, reserving a tbs of cooking water. Add pasta to frying pan, along with the cooking water. Stir in nutmeg and basil (to taste) and serve.

Makes 2 large portions.

LOW GI rating

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

One for the vegans amongst you...

Last night I was only cooking for myself so decided to indulge my tofu obsession a little bit.

I have always loved tofu, and thinking back I think this is because of a character from the Baby Sitters Club books I used to read as a kid - one of the characters (Dawn, I think) was all exotic, from California, and constantly brought tofu salads to school. I have had a fascination with it since. (So much so that I judge the quality of a Chinese takeaway by how many tofu dishes they serve).

I dabbled with being a vegetarian in high school until I became anaemic and realised there was only so long I could go without my mum's beef schnitzel. However the tofu legacy remained and I went through a phase in year 12 of frying cubes of tofu in teriyaki sauce for breakfast each morning...

Last night I resurrected an old favourite of mine - Chilli Tofu with Couscous. I get a weekly organic veg box from Abel & Cole and a couple of weeks ago they sent me a free bag of assorted chillies. I decided to use an entirely innocent looking one in this dish and it certainly had the desired effect... Enjoy.

400g firm tofu (cubed)
3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 hot chilli (chopped, leave seeds in if you like it hot, otherwise remove)
1tbs olive oil
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
400g tin of kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1 cup couscous

Fry the garlic and chilli until golden, add tofu and cook until golden all over.

add chopped tomatoes and kidney beans, mix and then simmer whilst you prepare the couscous.

Add 300ml boiling water to 1 cup of couscous, stirring occasionally until all the water is absorbed.

Gently stir the couscous into the tofu mixture, sprinkle a small amount of basil to taste and then serve.

Makes 2 large portions.

LOW GI rating.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Spaghetti with Anchovies and Asparagus

A fantastic cookbook called 'Pasta' by Theo Randall was released this year and it has become somewhat of a bible to me. When I cook I very rarely follow recipes to the letter and usually aim at making them my own, the book just providing inspiration.

Last night I cooked spaghetti with asparagus in an anchovy sauce which was delicious, and truth be told, even nicer reheated today for lunch. Before I cook tonight's tea, this is how I did it...

500g spaghetti
bunch of Asparagus (chopped)
olive oil
handful of breadcrumbs
3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
60g of anchovy fillets
basil (preferably fresh, i used dry this time)
1 tsp crushed/dried chilli
150ml double cream
handful of grated parmesan

Fry the garlic in a tablespoon of oil and golden, add anchovies and break them up with a wooden spoon (they will virtually disintegrate). Add chilli and asparagus and simmer.

Boil spaghetti; add cream to anchovy sauce, bring to a simmer and then turn down to thicken the cream.

Drain spaghetti when ready, leaving a small amount of cooking water in pan, return spaghetti to pan and add anchovy sauce, mixing it through the pasta. Add breadcrumbs and basil, mix again before finishing with parmesan.

This gives four good portions.

LOW GI rating

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Simple Chicken and Lentil Curry

I had some chicken breast in the freezer so decided to do one of my old favs last night - Simple Chicken and Lentil Curry. the original recipe is from an old Sainsburys Magazine but i have tweaked it slightly.

Serve with basmati rice and a nice bottle of rose.

350g chicken breast (diced)
sunflower oil
1 onion (chopped)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
2 tbs medium curry powder
1 cup of red lentils
400ml chicken stock
150g spinach
125g low fat natural yoghurt

fry onion and garlic in some oil in a large saucepan, add chicken until browned.

add curry powder, lentils and chicken stock, bring to boil then simmer until reduced considerably (the lentil will probably disintegrate but that's fine.)

check for flavour, add more curry powder if not hot enough.

add spinach to wilt, then stir in yoghurt to taste.

i am not usually a great advocate of curry powder (prefer to use individual spices) but it works in this dish as an over all flavour.

Medium GI rating

Monday, 17 May 2010


I was craving something spicy this afternoon, like a really strong curry. There was no meat in the house so I flicked through the new Jamie Oliver cookbook that arrived at the weekend. I ended up using his 'Fried Chorizo and Lentils' tapas recipe, but substituting chorizo for the pancetta that I had in the fridge, and serving it with 'Patatas Bravas,' essentially potatoes fried in a spicy home made tomato sauce. Not sure about the lentils, but the potatoes I will definitely make again.

GI Rating: Medium (the lentils balance the high GI potatoes)

Currently Listening to: Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain