Monday, 30 May 2011

Veggie Brunch - St Kilda Style!

This is actually a 'bonus' post and completely unrelated to my ongoing Quorn Cookbook shenanigans...

On a recent trip to Melbourne we had the most AMAZING veggie brunch in fabulous St Kilda and it inspired me to recreate it at home. The nice thing is that this is actually so amazeballs I think even meat lovers would not particularly notice that it is distinctly meat free! 

As it is a bank holiday in the UK today I decided this was the ideal day to try this brunch recipe out, brunch is massively underrated in this country in our opinion and I love the fact that the Aussies just embrace this whole culture of going out for breakfast / brunch and make a big thing of it.

Anyway, this is what the finished brunch looked like:

And here is my husbands version without the egg and with extra beans:

On this second photo you can also better see the mushroom and spinach dish which is something we picked up in St Kilda, I have recreated this by spraying a frying pan with low cal oil, frying off one clove of crushed garlic and then adding sliced chestnut mushroom and slowly frying before adding a couple of handfuls of spinach and a small amount of salt. The result is this lovely veggie side dish which fills out a meat free breakfast.

You will notice I have used quorn sausages and bacon slices here but in the main this was to appease my husband and they are not really needed. For me the key to this breakfast is excellent scrambled egg (olive oil is the secret apparently), griddled halloumi, toasted slices of ciabatta, the mushroom/spinach combination and the beans, what more do you need!?

Very enjoyable and proof positive that meat is not actually necessary to enjoy a hearty brunch.

Quorn Vegetable Mince Curry


Time for another curry from the cookbook, this one (Vegetable Mince Curry) I have to admit I kept flicking past in the book and pausing for a second to consider before dismissing it out of hand due to the 'mince' element. Mince?! In a curry!? I was not convinced....

But, I decided it was high time to give it a bash and as we are now around two thirds through the book I am having to stop discounting recipes which did not immediately appeal and start just cooking them!

So, this one is very quick and easy and, dare I say it, a bit of a cheat as it involves a jar of curry sauce. The recipe suggests that madras works well and accordingly I had chucked a jar of the same into my shopping trolley a few weeks ago in order to attempt this. 

There is a certain amount of actual 'cooking' involved despite the jar but on the whole this is a convenience meal. And actually a pretty darn nice one! All you do is cook off some chopped potato and cauliflower in a pan of water for 8-10 minutes until virtually cooked, heat the curry sauce in another pan (I used a wok and was glad for it, there is way too much sauce to successfully use a frying pan) and then add the cooked potato/cauliflower and 300g quorn mince and simmer for 10 mins (I had to add a half jar of water in order to do this).

After this has simmered you chuck in 175g of frozen veg - the recipe specifies peas but I had none and therefore used mixed veg which worked perfectly well - and fresh spinach. Once this has heated through enough to cook the veg and wilt the spinach it is good to go.

Here it is cooking off towards the end:

And here it is served:

We actually really enjoyed this recipe - although I do think a jar sauce is a bit of a cheat. Also, the points total of this dish will depend on the points within the jar sauce so you will need to amend your points total as necessary - for info I used Aldi's Bilash Madras sauce.

Based on this sauce the points values per portion (based on it serving 4) is 7 broken down as follows: quorn mince (2), potato (2), sauce (3). Obviously serving with rice/naan then adds points but this still makes it a fairly low point choice overall.

It actually makes massive portions too as you can probably see above, you could easily get 5 rather than 4 portions out of this recipe. The curry itself is lovely and I agree that madras strength works well with it, I have never tried a mince curry before but I definitely will again based on the success of this one.

We gave it 8/10.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Quorn Sausage & Crushed Potato Pie


This is the final recipe from the 'Little Chefs' section right at the back of the recipe book and as such it is a pretty simple recipe designed to appeal to cooking with kids. Right up my street when I am knackered and hungry then!

This is a brilliant recipe which also gives plenty of scope for tweaking. Effectively you just cook off the sausages (which I oven baked with a spray of low cal oil rather than frying) then saute the onions, tip in a tin of beans and some seasoning (ketchup, brown sauce - I added a splash of balsamic vinegar in lieu of the brown sauce) whack it in a casserole dish and top it with some cheesy mashed potato.

What you end up with is a satisfying, tasty sort of sausage casserole. The added bonus is that it is also pretty low in weight watchers points so all round this definitely gets the thumbs up from me. Here it is as it came out the oven:

And this is it plated. The portions don't look huge here but they were actually very filling.

I really liked the cheesy mash topping and by using extra mature cheddar I managed to get a pretty cheese-tastic flavour without using too much of it. I would also add in leftover mushrooms or other veggies if I made this again, it would work really well with roasted peppers in it or leftover courgettes. I love the adaptability of it.

In terms of propoints, each portion (based on the recipe serving 4) is 11 points, which considering this is a complete meal is pretty good. This is broken down as follows: quorn sausages (3), mashed potato (4), butter/oil spray (1), cheese (2), baked beans (1).

This is definitely a recipe I will be making again, it is simple, tasty and filling and definitely a winner for us, we gave it a 9/10.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Quorn Egg Fried Rice


Hello all!

Finally back on board with the blog after time in Australia and then getting over the horrific jet log and over the obligatory 'post holiday blues'. Also after the awfulness that was the sweet potato loaf I feel like it was right and proper to back away from the experiment for a small time and then come back with a bang!

So here we have it....this recipe is from the 'Taste of Takeaway' section of the cook book and it worked very well indeed.

This recipe uses quorn fillets but would actually work perfectly well with pieces too - these are marinated in rice wine vinegar and grated fresh ginger (I suggest for as long as possible, overnight ideally - book only suggests they marinade while you cook). 

I cook a LOT of South East Asian food anyway so used my wok for this and also used my previous experience to ignore the recipe when it suggested that the first thing to do was cook off the eggs in oil until they are 'set but not coloured' like an omlette and then cut it into small pieces. I ignored this for 2 reasons - firstly to avoid the excess oil and secondly because it is entirely unnecessary and you can simply do it later (without needing to cut it up) and it saves time/washing I will explain...

So - really the first thing you need to do is cook the rice so it is ready when you need it in the recipe (sometimes I find the recipes in this book are a bit muddled about effective timings). Then you fry off the marinaded pieces/fillets in a wok or large frying pan with the garlic, spring onion, remaining ginger and the peppers until the pieces are heated through and the veg is stir-fried sufficiently (recipe says 6 minutes). 

Finally you toss in the cooked rice and fresh coriander and stir fry until it is all the same temperature and then you do the egg bit (technical terms!) like so - push all the cooked rice/quorn to one side of the pan and crack the eggs into the space (trust me on this), break the yolks immediately but resist the urge to stir for around 20 seconds then quickly mix back in the quorn and rice and stir fry for around 2-3 minutes.

This is what it will look like - you can see that the egg has made the rice start clumping together.

After this you will have perfect cooked and shredded egg mixed through the recipe. Doing it this way also means that the egg is completely integrated with the other ingredients and will be stuck to the rice like genuine egg-fried rice. This is just the asian way of doing it and believe me, it works and the egg cooks through very quickly indeed.

Here it is served:

In terms of weight watchers points, this is a pretty healthy dish and accordingly scores more points from me in this respect! The recipe serves 4 portions and each portion is 10 propoints, broken down as follows: quorn (2) eggs (1), rice 6, oil (1). 

We really enjoyed this dish although it is neither very spicy or intense in terms of the flavour, it is, however, tasty and easy to make and as seen above, it is pretty healthy too. 

This dish feels more filling than you expect it to be and it should also be noted that although the recipe calls for 300g of rice (raw weight) I only used 240g as I wanted each portion to be 60g for points purposes. I also knew that this was plenty per person in terms of portion size and I can confirm that it works perfectly well for 4 with this weight. If you are not dieting of course, feel free to use 300g for a more substantial meal.

We gave it 8/10 and I will definitely be making this again (maybe with some tweaks to the marinade for a more intense flavour). It is another example of how quorn works so well with marinades.


Wednesday, 11 May 2011


Hello all

Just wanted to say hi as I have been away for 3 weeks in Australia having a whale of a time and accordingly am very behind with this blog.

I will be getting back up to speed asap, I have one recipe to put on already (Quorn Egg Fried Rice) and am hoping to do another later this week (Sausage and Potato Pie).

Hope you are all well and enjoyed the good weather which we apparently missed, how come we are home and now it's raining again!? Sod's law!