Saturday, 14 April 2012

Quorn Beef Empanadas


Ok, so Beef Empanadas then - I cannot find an online version of this recipe so will be explaining it with a bit more detail than normal. I knew this might not be one of our favourites as we are not too keen on shortcrust pastry in our household and that is probably why it got left so close to the end.

In terms of how they looked I was pretty impressed, this is the picture of the filling when ready to use:

And this is the finished empanadas:

Now, I must admit I cheated and bought ready-made pastry because I just did not fancy the hassle of making my own for a recipe I was not that keen on. It also made the whole thing a lot quicker and easier. The recipe calls for eight 6" circles of pastry to be cut out ready to make the pasty like empanadas.

Basically the filling is fried off steak strips, garlic, onion and peppers with some red wine, chilli and paprika. Quite a tasty filling. You then spoon a small amount into the centre of each circle of pastry, top with a small amount of grated cheese (the recipe asks for emmental but I used mature cheddar) and fold the pastry over into a semi circle before sealing and glazing with egg wash.

The empanadas take 20-25 minutes to bake in the oven and then they are ready to serve. I served them with potato wedges and it all looked a bit beige as you can see!

This recipe is labelled as a light bites/snack so I guess the implication is you would only eat one. I had one and found it quite substantial anyway due to the heaviness of the pastry. I would certainly not want to eat two. I also found it overwhelmingly salty - but I think this may be my use of mature cheddar instead of emmental cheese. I did not overly enjoy it to be honest.

And then there is the propoints. Of course the minute you wrap something in pastry the values shoot through the roof. Each empanada will cost you 11 propoints! This is because the pastry alone is 8 - the breakdown is as follows: pastry (8), quorn (1), cheese (1), oil (1). This is based on around a tbslp of oil to saute everything in and a very small amount of cheese in each empanada.

So pretty high values for a dish I was not overly keen on - but if you like pastry and these kinds of foods then it might be your bag! Personally I gave it a 5/10 and I don't think I would make it again but it is a new way to use quorn so fairplay to them for that.

Spicy Coconut & Quorn Noodle Soup


Over the Easter weekend I did two of the final three recipes in the book, this is one of them: Spicy Coconut Noodle Soup.

It is another Thai inspired soup, using curry paste and coconut milk as the base but it is surprisingly quick and easy to sling together and quite tasty and filling too. I had no shitake mushrooms and used chestnut instead of button for the fresh but it was fine.

Here are some pictures of the dish served:

Please note that the recipe in the link above is double the quantities of that in the book - my version served 4 good portions and was half of all the quantities of ingredients.

Very easy to make, first you set the dried mushrooms to soak (I had picked up a big bag of mixed dried Asian mushrooms from Aldi the other week for a quid so this was great timing!). Then you literally fry off the paste in a big pan, add the coconut milk, water from the mushrooms and quorn pieces and simmer for five minutes then add all the other ingredients in two batches (mushrooms then everything else) simmer for another few minutes and Bob's your uncle!

As it contains noodles this is quite a filling soup and would actually make a great light meal on its own. I did find it rather hard to serve because the soup base itself is very watery but the noodles mean it drips a lot and hangs in clumps - the easiest way to get it from pan to bowl was with a spaghetti server and then a ladle!

Based on this serving 4, each portion totalled 10 propoints which seems quite high but then the noodles, coconut milk and paste all have values which needed adding in, this is broken down as follows: noodles (5), quorn (1), light coconut milk (3), paste (1).

I did find this quite tasty but I am not sure I would make it again in a hurry as it sits uneasily between a full meal and a soup to me and also it is SO hard to serve without making a mess! Nevertheless we gave this a 7/10.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Hoisin Quorn Fillets with Zesty Rice Salad


Wow, this one was a real winner in our house! A hoisin quorn fillet rice salad with a zesty dressing. Filling, fairly healthy and pretty easy to throw together - although I have to say that (as usual) I tweaked it around our tastes and what I had in the house.

I cannot find an online version of this recipe at the moment so no link I'm afraid, but I will walk you through it. Firstly the fillets were marinaded in Hoisin sauce (just a shop bought jar). Now the recipe said to mix 3 tbslp with 1 tbslp of oil but I couldn't see the point of adding oil here so I simply used the sauce - and I didn't measure it either, I just slathered most of the jar over the fillets (which I had left to defrost in the fridge overnight first).

I left the fillets in the sauce for a good few hours to marinade and meanwhile made the dressing for the rice. This consisted of a clove of garlic, chopped (I used 2), 3 tblsp of fresh orange juice, zest of two oranges and 3 tblsp of olive oil. This ready to pour into the rice I chopped all the veg.

Two peppers and a courgette were chopped into batons and the recipe called for a cucumber too but we do not like cucumber so I ignored this. I also chopped a handful of fresh parsley and a handful of fresh mint and put them to one side. Doing all this prep means that the dish itself is speedy to prepare.

Next I cooked the rice (200g - I used basmati) and then once it had cooled a little I stirred the dressing into it and left it for 10 minutes to marinade. Next you mix together all the raw veg and the herbs into the rice (the recipe also includes 2 segmented oranges but I left these out too as I can't have too much citrus due to migraines). This is what the rice salad section looked like when it was ready:

Next the fillets were put under the grill for about 6 minutes on each side, until I could be sure they were cooked through. I then served the fillets and the rice on top of a bed of salad leaves.

We both really enjoyed this meal and I thought it looked pretty appetizing too! The dressing through the rice was lovely and the flavours really worked well together, the sauce on the fillets had baked on and this was a nice touch, I will definitely use that method with cooking fillets again in the future.

In terms of weight watchers points each portion works out at 12 (based on the recipe serving 3 with 2 fillets each). This is broken down as follows: rice (6), quorn fillets (3), oil (2), hoi sin sauce (1). Considering this is a pretty filling and incredibly tasty meal I think this is pretty good. 

I would definitely make this again and it is a great recipe to tweak to your own tastes too, top marks Quorn - I wish I had made this one earlier! We give this an 8/10.