Monthly Archives: February 2012

House to be Healthy: Simple Chicken Pie

 

Obvs I didn’t eat this. But if it didn’t have the chicken in, I think it would be tasty, because you don’t need meat to make things tasty. Contrary to popular belief. If you want to make this vegetarian, avoid substitute meats, they provide little nutritionally. Add mushrooms, green beans or mini sweet corn. Mushrooms are cheapest.

Pie can be easy at its basic level, i.e bought pastry and bought chicken in white sauce. But they add lots of artificial stuff and lots of salt which is not part of this series. Pie can also HEALTHY, if it’s eaten in moderation and the if only the topping is with pastry. WHY?

  • Pastry is made flour, butter and water. Flour is a good source of carbohydrates, enjoy in moderation and have wholemeal to make it more beneficial to your diet. Butter is not great, but I think we need to get over the initial fear of unhealthy foods. PLEASE REMEMBER If you have a little in moderation, what harm can it do?
  • Chicken is protein, blah blah blah.
  • The entire recipe is filling, nourishing and comforting. Add lots of vegetables to get your quota

Ingredients

-Shop bought pastry OR

-250g flour

-125g cold butter diced

-1 tsp salt

-45 ml water

Filling

2 chicken breasts, roasted for an hour in the oven with lemon and herbs. OR pre-cooked shredded chicken.

-1 onion

-1 carrot

-some peas and whatever vegetables you want

-25g butter

-1tbsp of flour

-1 pint of milk

-1 tsp mustrad and some white wine (optional)

Method

-For handmade pastry:

  • EITHER Put flour, salt and butter in a food processor and process until it is rubble-like. Bit by bit add the water down the feeding tube whilst processing. Stop processing when one dough ball has formed. Wrap in cling film and in leave in the fridge for 45 mins.
  • OR crumble the butter and salt into the flour until it is rubble-like. Add the water slowly, mixing the ingredients with your hands until all the mixture is combined and a dough ball can be formed. Wrap in cling film and in leave in the fridge for 45 mins.

-Pre heat oven to gas mark 6, 200 c. For the filling. In a sauce pan, fry the onions, carrots and mushrooms if using in some olive oil and seasoning, add a splash of water, cover and leave to fry, stirring once in a while.

-Meanwhile, melt the butter in  a sauce pan, once that has melted add the flour and mix well. When that begins to bubble, add the milk bit by bit, STIRRING CONTINUOUSLY, waiting until the flour has completely dissolved. Keep on stirring and bring the mixture to the boil, keep on stirring until the mixture is really thick and creamy. You might need to add a bit more flour, if so remember to keep on stirring. Add the mustard and wine. This is called white sauce.

-Add this white sauce to your onions and carrots with the chicken. Add the peas, and cover the pan on leave on a low heat.

-Take the pastry out of the fridge and unwrap it, reserving the cling film. Dust a surface with flour and put the dough ball on it. Get your cling film and place on top of your pastry and begin to roll out the  covered pastry until it covers the medium sized dish you are  using. The rolled pastry should be about 5mm-1cm thick.

-Take your filling and pour into your baking dish. Cover with the pastry, making sure it is sealed at the sides. With a knife, make two slices on the top of the pie, to let air out.

-Brush with milk, and cook in the oven for an hour or until brown. An hour minimum, so if it’s browning before an hour, turn the oven down.

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Filed under Bread, Pastries and Pizza, How to be Healthy, Meat

Toffee Sauce for Pancake Day

Hmm.Yes well, sweets are allowed. Especially something like this. If you’re going to eat unhealthily, you should eat this. A little bit of what you fancy does you good. Hot toffee sauce is very good. Good on Sticky Toffee Pudding, Vanilla Ice Cream or….

ON YOUR PANCAKES ON PANCAKE DAY WHICH IS TOMORROW YAYYYYYYYYYYYY.

It’s dangerous how easy it is to make this. I’ll let the pictures do the talking…

Ingredients (you could probably half this, it makes a lot)

200g butter

-400g  soft dark brown sugar, or just brown sugar but the dark brown sugar is far more smoother

-250 ml Double Cream

-1 tsp vanilla essence (if available)

Method

-Melt the butter in a saucepan.

-Add the sugar, vanilla and cream, stir and bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. There you go. You’re welcome.

Note: Store in the fridge, and reheat when eating again. Keep for 2 weeks.

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Filed under Desserts

How to be Healthy: Tofu Nuggets

I honestly hate snow. Look at it, being all present and debilitating. How can anyone do anything in this sort of weather? Luckily this melted within a couple of days. Global warming-1 Snow-0.

I have never really eaten tofu by myself before. I mean, I have tried others’, but I personally had never tried to cook it because I found it flavourless. That is not necessarily a bad thing, it means it can absorb all the flavours of other things, hence it is really effective in a curry or stir-fry. I got the idea for these tofu nuggets from the one and only OhSheGlows (link will open in new window). Angela has had the same experience with tofu as me, and she highly recommended these.

They did remind me a lot of chicken nuggets, my former favourite food, but eating them just didn’t feel that great. Their exterior was delicious, really delicious, but the tofu still maintained that flavourless-ness. Hmmmm. My next recipe with tofu will be roasted tofu, because I love everything roasted, and I think it will help to allow me to examine tofu’s real taste and texture.

Nonetheless, this recipe was great and I will definitely be making it again. Tofu is extremely beneficial to your health, and thus the reason why I put it in my shopping basket this week. If you’re looking for a healthy, meatless sandwich filler-choose this. If you’re looking for a chicken nugget replacement-choose this. If you’re looking for a quick, salad topper-choose this. But if you’re looking for a recipe that will enhance the taste of tofu, don’t pick this. I feel the flavours of the tofu were hidden.

Ingredients-serves 2

-200g tofu- wrap the tofu in a clean kitchen cloth, and place a couple of heavy objects (i.e plates) on top, leave for about 10-15 minutes.

-250ml of milk (soya milk etc if wanting to be vegan)

-50ml of white wine vinegar (optional)

-1/2 cup of breadcrumbs

-1/3 cup of polenta/cornmeal

-1 tsp of each: ground cumin, paprika, dried herbs, coriander and salt.

Method

-Pre-heat oven to 180 c. Lay greaseproof paper on a baking tray, or grease a baking tray.

-Whilst the tofu is soaking, in a bowl mix together the milk and vinegar.

-In another bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients (bar the tofu, obviously).

-Once the tofu has soaked, cut into strips just under 1cm thick.

-With one hand, dip a tofu strip in the milk and then into the crumb mixture. With the other hand, sprinkle a bit more of the crumb mixture on the tofu making sure the entire strip is covered and then place on the greaseproof paper.

-Continue with this with the remaining strips. You might run out of crumb mixture, if so make some more. Common sense really!

-Place in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the exterior has browned. Enjoy with some home-made fries or on top of a salad!

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Filed under How to be Healthy, Quick, Vegan, Vegetarian

How to be Healthy: Mexican Roast Bean Salad

I recently read a blog, I wont name which one, the writer of which is a holistic nutritionist. People read her blog, and use her for advice. She recently made a series on  healing her digestion, which resolved to having a juice-fast for 3 days before she undertook her ‘repair’. Basically, drinking smoothies for three days. It doesn’t take a nutritionist to tell you that this is crap. It will leaving you clutching your stomach in hunger. I believe this writer has a lot of issues with her digestion, and she explains the various restrictions she has tried (low-carb, or low-fat), and they didn’t work. She in turn is seeking various therapies to help her.

I am not denying digestive problems. at. all. But I think the human mind these days reads too much into their body. People love to have problems, I think they tend to exaggerate discomfort. The first instruction I would give anyone is to relax. Don’t limit, don’t try fads, just use your common sense. It’s very easy me saying this, I do a lot of sport and I don’t have issues involving self-control. I’m slightly underweight, but it works for me. The doctor said so. Isn’t the best thing that I feel sprightly and happy? The perfect way of being healthy is tricking. Trick the body into thinking its indulging. You will therefore have a delicious meal, which is good for you.

This roast bean salad is perfect, because it tastes as if you’re indulging in some Mexican, but’s it’s not indulgent at all. Me and my house mate have fallen into a state of routine in which we only eat roast vegetables. ‘It’s SO EASY, and it’s HEALTHY’. We roast everything, sweet potatoes are a must but I like to roast pulses, she likes to roast celery. ONE TIME (everyone loves an anecdote), I bought what I thought was romaine lettuce for 50p, bargain I thought. URM, well it was actually cabbage. I threw into the roasting tin, and believe it or not roast cabbage is delicious.

Analysis of Mexican Roast Beans.

  • Olive oil is very high in protein, and is essential in muscle growth and repair.
  • Beans are really high in fibre, fibre is great for many things, helping digestion and keeping you full are some of its benefits.
  • Tomatoes are a super-food, extremely high in vitamin C and they’re healthier when cooked.

Ingredients-Serves A LOT

1 x 400g tin of black beans

-1x 400g tin of kidney beans

-1 x 200g tin of sweetcorn

-2 tsp of each: cumin, coriander leaf (if possible), ground coriander seed, Salt, paprika, chilli powder.

-3 tbsp olive oil.

-3 tbsp tomatoe puree

Method

-Preheat oven to gas mark 7, or 200 c (if my conversions are correct).

Drain all the beans and rinse well.

-In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together.

-Place in a roasting dish and place in the oven for about an hour. Remember to stir about with a spoon after half an hour.  It’s ready when the beans have started to split.

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Filed under How to be Healthy, Mexican, Pulses, Store Cupboard, Vegan, Vegetarian

How to be Healthy: Cheap Couscous Stew

Sorry about the poor photos, I hope they give credit to the meal, because it was really delicious, and filling. And I don’t think the photos do it justice. This photo was taken in Harrogate on a luvly winter day. Well it wasn’t that lovely, it was fricking freezing but the sun makes it look as though we were having a summer walk.

How’s the injury you ask? (I like to vent). Well, these past 2 months I have learnt many things:

  • Back pain  leads to every other pain in the entire body.
  • Backs take ages to heal. Patience is the key.
  • Don’t think that a foot injury is just a foot injury, it is probably a back injury.
  • I don’t value my mobility enough.
  • Almost everyone doesn’t value their mobility enough.
  • I genuinely do love running, and without it I am a shadow of my former self.
  • BACKS AND EVERYTHING RELATED TO SPINE PROBLEMS SUCK SO MUCH. 
  • Injuries happen, that’s life, and more often than not people recover.

What we have here is couscous cooked in chopped tomatoes, with some kidney beans, peppers, carrots and onions. Easy, cheap, healthy, filling. It’s really comforting and can be frozen/made ahead. I chose couscous because it served as a good way to bulk up the meal, without having rice. I don’t have any brown rice, and white rice would have made it too stodgy. The couscous is so soft and gives the dish a really creamy texture. Couscous has a greater flavour than rice. Other alternatives can be used, I was thinking bulgur wheat or buckwheat groats, but chose couscous to give it a great Mediterranean flavour.

Analysis of Cheap Cousous

-Couscous is one of the healthiest grains, having more vitamins that pasta, the same amount of protein and a lower glycemic index and fat content. It’s a slow energy releaser, so it beats white pasta and rice in that sense.

-The kidney beans are stuffed with fibre, giving you slow release energy. And they absorb flavours really well–very yummy.

-Chopped tomatoes–SUPERFOOD.

Ingredients-serves 3-4

-1 red onion, chopped

-1 clove of garlic chopped

-1 carrot, chopped (I did mine into discs)

-1 yellow pepper chopped

-2 x 1/3 cup of couscous (about 3/4 a mug).

-1x 400g tin of kidney beans, drained

-500ml water

-Mixed herbs

-paprika

-vegetable bouillon(optional)

-salt and pepper

Method

-In a saucepan, fry  the chopped vegetables in some oil until soft. About 10 minutes, but just use your judgement. Add about 1 tsp of herbs, paprika, bouillon, salt and pepper.

-Add the remaining ingredients, and leave to cook for about 15 minutes until the couscous tastes soft, stirring every so often. You might need to add a bit more water if it seems that the ‘stew’ is becoming a bit dry. Unlike a normal stew, do not leave this simmering for hours, otherwise the couscous will burn the surface.  Serve hot or cold.

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Filed under Grains, How to be Healthy, Mediterranean, Pulses, Quick, Store Cupboard, Vegan, Vegetarian