Thursday, 30 September 2010

Steak, Ale & Mushroom Pie

No 1/70

Just finished the Steak, Ale and Mushroom pie and it was VERY tasty indeed. 

I had to make it in my small le creuset ceramic casserole but it turned out fine. Based on the ingredients this makes 4 portions of pie at 7 Weight Watchers points per portion. Please note this is based on my own calculations, most of the ingredients are zero points, only the steak pieces (1.5 points per quarter bag) and the puff pastry (5 points per portion) have a value. The other half point I have added is for the small amount of olive oil and pale ale in the recipe.

From start to finish this took about 40 minutes, half of which was in the oven. The end result was way more impressive than I was expecting, I served it with mashed potato and it worked well, see below:

The only things I will change if I cook this again will be to add more ale than the recipe suggests as personally we like more 'gravy' than this pie produced. Also, despite having longer than the recipe suggested the carrots were still a little on the crunchy side, I would consider cutting them into smaller chunks.

But - on the whole this is a tasty, filling and very healthy alternative to a steak pie, the seasoning works well and it is very appealing on a cold autumn night.

Monkey rating: 8/10 (from Veggie husband)

Bon appetit!

Steaking My Claim


Tonight I am going to make the Steak, Ale and Mushroom pie. I was very pleased to find that my local Asda had the steak strips in the frozen section so I did not have to traipse elsewhere to get them.

I have all the ingredients in to make this for tea and serve it with mashed potato. I also am going to make the crunchy salsa fillets over the weekend which I think is in the snack section, I reckon I will do this with a salad for saturday lunch.

Anyway, I will be back later with review of the steak pie recipe and points values.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

A New Day is Quorn!


The book has arrived and I have had a chance to have a look through it - on the whole I am very excited about it and there are some great recipes to try, not as many as I was expecting but plenty enough to be going on with. The sections and recipe totals are broken down here:

Simple sharing snacks: 8
Light bites:                 7
Super soups:               4
Midweek winners:        11
Comfort classics:         7
Lazy weekend:            13
Food with friends:        8
A taste of takeaway:    9
Little chefs:                3

Total =                     70

So, we have 70 recipes to go at. I intend on completing all 70 by the end of March which works out at roughly 3 a week. I figure based on my shopping and our eating habits this is doable. Some weeks I guess I may do more and some weeks less - but I will tackle all of them.

One slight disappointment I notice, is that there is no nutritional guidance alongside each recipe, I will be attempting to figure out the weight watchers points for each recipe as I follow this plan anyway so it should be easy enough - it is a shame that Quorn did not include this information as standard though, especially given that so many people choose Quorn as a healthy option in the first place.

So, this week I am going to attempt the Steak, Ale and Mushroom pie - provided I can find the steak strips needed, going shopping tonight so fingers crossed! Looks good in the book though. Will be back to blog after or during the completion of this dish and once I have figured out the points value!

Monday, 13 September 2010

Waiting (Im)Patiently


I am still waiting for the Quorn book to arrive, it is slightly annoying as I have not yet received the dispatch notification....but worry not, once received I am definitely embarking on a quorn shaped adventure.

Over the weekend I used some quorn pieces in fajitas - they work really well in this dish, soaking in the flavour beautifully and tasting great in a wrap with sour cream and spicy salsa.

My other half has been trialling the chilled ham and beef style slices in lunchtime wraps with salad, salsa and cheese and particularly like the peppered beef variety. This is great as cheese sandwiches become very dull after a while and at least I know he is getting some protein at lunchtime from a source other than Cathedral City!

New burgers - Sweet Pepper and Red Onion are, in our opinion, the best yet from the Quorn range and on a sesame bun with relish, onion and some grated mature cheddar it is very hard to tell that this is not real meat. Apart of course, from the lack of gristly chunks and globs of fat dripping out, which are not particularly missed in our house.

I wish these burgers were not so highly priced though at around £2 for a pack of 2 burgers it makes for a poor comparison against meat products in the same vein.

Frankfurters are proving incredibly popular and I feel like we have been waiting years for these. I chop them up and make sausage and bean pasta, use them in jambalaya (with chopped up quorn fillets) and eat them as regular hot dogs in bread rolls. 

Right, thats enough of an update for now, hoping the book arrives this week and we can make a start.

Ciao for now. 

Monday, 6 September 2010

Inspired to Blog

Well hello.

Last night I watched the film Julie & Julia, about legendary American 'chef' Julia Child who learnt her trade in Paris in the 50s and then taught americans to cook fine (or a version of) French cuisine. Decades later Julie Powell, a new york based foodie with a godawful depressing cubicle based job decided to work her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Child's piece de resistance, and to blog while she was doing it.

The result of this was then made into a film. Watching it last night I realised that I share a few of Julie's attributes, a love of food, a dependance on cooking as a method of relaxation and stress relief after a day at work and a desire to keep learning. I figured I might give it a go.

It so happened that I have just ordered a new cookbook, this being the Quorn Recipe book (currently on offer with two codes off special packs) and because, in my household, quorn is queen (I know, I know, but it sounds better...) I think I will use this as the basis.

My husband is pescatarian, i.e. he does not eat meat but eats fish. I am allergic to shellfish and do not like most other fish, however I do eat meat. The crux is that as a compromise we eat tons of straight veggie food in my house. Quorn is in my shopping trolley every week without fail.

So, I am writing this for me, as an outlet to document the journey and because I love to write anyway. If any fellow veggies (or carnivores) find it interesting then even better.

This is day one, the cookbook is ordered but has not yet arrived, I will be back with more detail once that has happened and I know how many recipes there are. In the film Julie gave herself a year to work through 540 odd recipes. I do not know yet how many recipes my book will have, but based on that I will indeed set a deadline.

Bon appetit!