Monday, 14 November 2011

Phad Thai Quorn


How I wish I had tried this recipe ages ago - I didn't because I have been making my own Phad Thai for years based around a traditional Thai recipe which took much perfecting and tweaking before it was exactly how we like it. I was therefore unconvinced that this version would be any good at all, especially when I saw the minimal ingredients list. I was wrong!

Effectively this tasty phad thai is based around the staples of chilli and garlic and a sauce of lime juice and soy sauce, the fresh garnish of chopped spring onions, coriander and dry roasted peanuts is what really brings the flavours alive and my only negative comment is that it is a very dry version of a phad thai (probably due to the lack of tamarind paste and fish sauce which are key features in my other recipe). 

This is a very quick recipe to make and one way in which it beats my other version hands down is that it is speedy and takes a lot less prep - I had this on the table within 20 minutes of starting to cook and considering how good it is that's pretty amazing!

I used some rice noodles as suggested in the recipe but actually this would work as well with any thin 'straight to wok' noodles and this would make the recipe even quicker and more convenient.

This is the dish served:

After stir-frying the red onion (1), chilli (3) and garlic (2 cloves) for a few minutes you simply brown off the quorn pieces before adding the lime juice (1) and soy sauce (4 tblsp), you then add the cooked noodles and tip over 2 beaten eggs, stirring into the noodles until cooked and 'bitty' (how it looks in egg fried rice) then serve and scatter over as much or as little of the fresh garnish as you like.

In terms of weight watchers propoints, each portion (based on a 6 point portion of noodles included) is worth 12 points broken down as follows: quorn (2), peanut garnish (2), oil (1), soy sauce (1), noodles (6). This is a pretty filling meal with some stunningly fresh flavours and I am pleased that it is also pretty healthy too.

This is an impressively easy version of a phad thai dish which works really well with the quorn pieces, I may adapt it with a splash of fish sauce and tamarind paste next time I make it as actually those additions would not affect the speedy convenience of this recipe but might add further depth to the flavour.

As a real fan of Thai food and a frequent and interested sampler of Phad Thai I think this is a clever and impressive recipe, the combination of cooked and raw ingredients works together to give an authentic texture and I know for a fact I will be making this recipe again!

We would give this an 8/10.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Quorn, Leek and Thyme Pate


I was dreading making this recipe as I am not really a fan of pate at all, neither the consistency or the taste. But I happened to have a lone leek in my fridge at the weekend which needed using before it turned and everything else was on hand so I figured it was time to bit the bullet and make this.

It was not, in fact, as foul as I was thinking it would be and actually I did manage to enjoy it as a base for a wrap (spread on in place of butter or houmous which I would normally use). It is quite simple and quick to make and I was surprised that the flavours worked so well.

The basis for this recipe is quorn chicken style pieces, these are browned off with a quarter of the cooked leeks (sauteed in butter) and the thyme and then some white wine is added and cooked off before the whole lot is blended and stirred into some soft cheese and the other three quarters of softened leeks. This does mean that there are 'lumps' of leek in the finished dish but actually because they are softened it does not ruin the texture.

The flavours of leek and thyme are definitely prevailant here and to be honest the quorn just seems to fill it out - but I would serve this as a great veggie alternative to pate as it tastes lovely and serves as a convincing substitute. It is nice with slices of pitta bread as a dip and we have also been eating it spead on crusty bread.

This is the pate part way through making and stored ready to chill:

In terms of propoints, it is hard to gauge what a portion size would be as it would depend on what you wanted to do with the finished product, this is not a meal so much as an accompaniment. The whole dish is 16 points so based on an average serving of a quarter of this (although that is quite a lot as you can tell from the photos) it works out at around 4 points per portion based on quorn (1), white wine (1), butter (1) and lighter soft cheese (1).

A pretty healthy alternative to usually fat heavy pates. I have to say I have no overwhelming urge to repeat this for us as it is not the kind of thing we would ever really eat, but it is a useful way of creating a veggie version of a standard pate if you were having a buffet.

An innovative way to use quorn if nothing else, we would give this a 6/10.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Sweet & Sour Quorn Stir Fry


I am struggling at the moment to fit in recipes from this experiment, life has been so busy over recent months that remembering to buy in the right ingredients has become a chore! Hopefully things will start to calm down between now and Christmas.

Anyway, last week I had to buy a bottle of sherry for the christmas cake and therefore I happened to have everything in to make the marinade for this particular Quorn recipe. I am not a fan of sweet and sour when it comes to Oriental cuisine but I was ready to give this recipe a go. I have to say I was actually pleasently surprised.

I used steak strips instead of chicken style pieces and personally I really think the steak strips worked better than the pieces would but needless to say it will work with whichever type you happen to have in.

The marinade is fairly simple, consisting of dry sherry, fresh orange juice, oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and chopped garlic. The recipe stated to leave the quorn soaking in this for around 20 minutes, I actually left it for a couple of hours as I always think the longer you can leave these kinds of marinade for the better the effect will be.

The actual cooking is fairly quick and straightforward, one of the things I like best about this recipe. You soften the onion in half the remaining oil, remove from the pan, brown the quorn pieces (removed from the marinade) then take these out of the pan aswell, cook the vegetables in the same wok and then add everything back in, tweak the marinade (with honey and cornflour) and pour it over and bob's your uncle!

This is what the dish looked like finished with noodles:

The next night I served the remainder with boiled rice, personally I think I preferred it with the rice and it was certainly easier to eat (noodles are always a nightmare for me, for some reason).

I thought the stir-fry was tasty and I was surprised that I enjoyed it so much, I think it is because unlike standard sweet and sour sauces, which can be overwhelmingly sweet, this was balanced and although you could certainly taste both the sweetness of the orange juice and the tang of the vinegar and sherry, no particular flavour was overwhelming.

I would make this again, it was easy, quick and very satisfying and best of all, due to using zero point veg, this can be very low points value for the Propoints plan. One portion (based on peppers and carrots as the veg) is only 4 points broken down as follows: quorn pieces/strips (2), oil (1), sherry (1). You can then add noodles or rice for another 6 points (weighed portions) so this is a very tasty and low point main meal.

This makes 4 generous portions and keeps well chilled in the fridge overnight. We would give it a 7/10.