Monday, 22 August 2011

Butternut Squash Tart


So, a savoury tart was the latest recipe to get an airing from the quorn cookbook. I have to admit that although the recipe included making my own shortcrust pastry case I cheated and bought one ready made. Why? Because I made this on a school night and faffing about with pastry is not something I wanted to be doing when I am short on time.

I bought an Asda savoury pastry case and despite looking at it empty and thinking it would never be big enough it turned out to be almost exactly the right size, this is a photo of it before I put it in the oven:

I REALLY liked this tart, the flavour of the butternut squash and the goat's cheese worked surprisingly well together and we really enjoyed it. We ate the second half the next evening and the flavours had intensified some more, it was even tastier which was a nice surprise.

This is pretty simple to male, the key is to cut the butternut squash into small (about 1cm) and very even cubes so that they are pretty much softened after being sauteed with the onions. The goat's cheese is stirred through off the heat but melts into the filling nicely and a small amount of milk is added to turn the consistency to more like cream. This is a thick filling though and needs spooning rather than pouring into the pastry base.

After 20 minutes in the oven it was perfectly bubbling and golden brown as you can see here:

And here it is served:

The only downside to this tart is the points values. The pastry case on its own was 28 points (!! nearly an entire days worth) so that bumps it up a bit, there is no real way of skimping on the points with this one and each portion comes out at 12 points, it tastes indulgent though so this is probably a recipe to save as a treat and depending what you serve it with you can try to control what it will cost you as a full meal.

The 12 points (with the tart making 4 portions) works out as follows: pastry (7), goats cheese (3), quorn pieces (1), oil (1).

We really liked this although my husband is not usually a fan of this kind of pastry. It is a filling meal and a nice way to use butternut squash which can be a bit bland sometimes. I would certainly make this again.

We gave it 7/10.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Quorn Fillets in Vermouth


This is a recipe I have been meaning to try for a while but due to the fact I never have any vermouth in the house it has taken ages to get round to!

Basically the method here is that you fry off the fillets until browned then stir fry leeks and chestnut mushrooms until softened, you then put the fillets back in the pan before adding the vermouth and cooking it off until half the alcohol has evaporated. Next you add stock, simmer and season to taste.

Once everything is cooked you stir through some creme fraiche (I used half fat) and fresh parsley, the sauce thickens a little once the creme fraiche is added and  this is what it looks like in the pan:

And here it is served:

You can see from the pictures that the sauce is pretty thin and watery (despite the creme friache thickening it slightly), I do wonder if less stock would work better, the recipe calls for 300ml but I reckon if I made this again I would only use about 200ml which would likely produce a better effect.

The sauce is quite tasty with the vermouth producing a white wine edge to the flavour. I did not know until I bought a bottle but vermouth is effectively a very dry blend of wine, herbs and spices. This sauce would work equally well with a dry white wine instead of the vermouth if you do not have any in.

The chestnut mushrooms and leeks work very well in this sauce with the creme fraiche and it suits the fillets in this dish.

In terms of weight watchers points, I based the portion sizes on this recipe serving 3 with each portion containing two fillets. Because half of the ingredients here are zero points (leeks, mushrooms, stock granules) this recipe does very well for being low points with each portion coming in at 8 points as follows: quorn fillets (2), vermouth (1), oil (1), half fat creme fraiche (4). 

I did not use the full tablespoon of oil to saute the mushrooms and leeks, a teaspoon and then a few sprays of oil as it was cooking was sufficient and keeps the points lower.

I might make this again as it is something quite different to do with fillets, the sauce could have done with being thicker but it went very well with new potatoes and would also be nice with mashed potato.

We would give this recipe a solid 7/10.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Brunch Fritatta


As this dish is effectively an omlette I knew that my husband would not touch it with a barge pole (he has a deep rooted hatred of eggs). I therefore needed to cook it when I knew I could have it two days in a row without a fuss, I cooked it for Saturday lunch and then had the leftover portion on Sunday.

I really enjoyed this. It was simple, pretty quick and easy, plus it is VERY filling and low on points. It looks good on the plate too, quite impressive I thought! Here it is in the pan:

And served:

The sausages work really well in this, especially now that Quorn have improved their sausage recipe (and I think they taste much more authentic now). I added a few more cherry tomatoes than the recipe called for as I love them and I also used chestnut rather than button mushrooms as this was what I had in the fridge. I get the impression that you could pretty much use any type of quorn for this recipe but it does go very nicely with the sausage flavour.

So, I actually baked off my sausages rather than frying them to save on points, I used spray oil rather than olive oil to fry the onions and as I have a very good Prestige non-stick pan I had no problems. I only split this into two portions and I found this very filling indeed, it could easily do three portions as a light lunch and would be lovely with a side salad.

You do need a pan which you can put under the grill for a couple of minutes but thankfully mine has a metal handle so that was no problem. You also need to cook off your potato first, as I was cooking my sausages in advance I did this all at the same time and the timings were easy enough.

In terms of propoints, based on this serving two portions, each is worth 7 points as follows: eggs (3), sausages (2), potato (2). Obviously if you use a tablespoon of olive oil as the recipe suggests you will need to add a further 2 points per portion but this is still a fairly good meal at 9 points as it is so filling.

I will definitely make this again and may well tweak it to include more zero points veggies that need using up, I give this a 9/10.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Singapore Quorn Noodles


Tonight I have made Singapore Noodles with Quorn mince from the cookbook. My first time using pak choi in a recipe and unusual, I thought, to put mince in what is effectively a stir fry, but we have really enjoyed it. 

This recipe is bursting with flavours and the method of cooking means the vegetables (mange tout, spring onions and pak choi) remain lovely and crunchy. The mince is marinaded in hoisin sauce, rice wine, soy sauce, fresh garlic and chilli before being flash fried for a few minutes over a high heat, the spring onions and mange tout are then added before lastly the pak choi and beansprouts are thrown in, purely to heat through and wilt. 

Noodles are added last and need to be pre-cooked, I always skim read the recipe to look for the fateful word 'meanwhile' and here you ideally need to start your noodles before you start the mince to ensure they are cooked and drained ready for the point at which you need them.

Here is the stir fry while still in the pan:

There is not a whole lot of sauce in this recipe, as you can see, but the mince does get nicely coated in all the flavours and it works well regardless of it being quite a 'dry' stir fry.

This is the dish served:

I love how quick this recipe is and how fresh it all tastes, this is probably my favourite oriental style quorn dish from the recipe book to date.

This is also pretty good in terms of weight watchers points, we actually made this recipe do 3 instead of 4 portions as it looked like 4 would have been stretching it, so I have calculated points based on this serving 3. On this basis each portion is still only 12 points including the noodles, broken down as follows: quorn (2), noodles (5), hoi sin sauce (3), soy sauce (1), oil (1). If you do make it stretch to 4 portions, each portion would be 9 points but I felt satisfied - not overly full with the size of portion I had here.

So, overall a lovely, tasty, quick and fairly healthy dish, something a bit different with the use of mince but an interesting concept and a nice change, we will definitely be making this one again and give it an 8/10.