Saturday, 26 April 2014

Quorn Tikka Masala (adapted from The Hairy Bikers)

Last weekend I tried a recipe from a UK book which a few of my friends have been raving about, the book is the Hairy Dieters Eat for Life which I had to buy the kindle version of (rather than paying extortionate postage costs to get it shipped to Australia!).

One of the reasons I was interested in this particular book was that I knew it contained a section entitled 'Fakeaways' which revolves around creating low calorie versions of favourite takeaway dishes. I was curious how I might be able to adapt any of these using quorn to further enhance the 'good for you' element.

So, last weekend, while I had time on my hands, I decided to try the low fat 'tikka masala' curry. I actually made two versions simultaneously, a chicken version (true to the recipe) and a version made with quorn pieces which worked astoundingly well!

First off, I made a marinade which consisted of:

2tbsp medium curry powder
1.5 tsp smoked paprika
1tsp salt
15g chunk of ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
6tbsp plain fat-free yoghurt

This mixture I added to a whole bag of quorn pieces and mixed until they were completely covered. I then left it in the fridge for a good 5/6 hours

Marinading quorn pieces

For this recipe there is a little extra effort required because you make the sauce separately and need to use a hand blender for that part too ahead of the actual cooking - but it is well worth it, the flavours and textures are the closest to a proper Indian restaurant (British Indian) I have ever been able to create at home.

So, for the sauce stage you need:

1tbsp oil
2 medium onions (I only used 1 in the quorn version but use 2 if you really like them)
15g chunk of ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1tbsp medium curry powder
2tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp salt
350ml water
2tbsp single cream
fresh coriander to taste

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onions until softened then add the garlic and ginger and cook for another few minutes until it is all translucent and fragrant.
  2. Add the curry powder and cook for another 2 mins, stirring continuously.
  3. Add tomato puree, caster sugar and salt and stir for another minute.
  4. Pour the water into the pan and let it simmer for 5 minutes - do not worry that it looks very watery at this stage (I was convinced it was not going to work at this stage because the consistency was all wrong - but it comes together later, I promise).
  5. After 5 mins of simmering, take it off the heat and blitz it with a hand blender (or tip it into a food processor) and blend until it is smooth. Leave this to one side.
  6. I then used the same pan (less washing up) to heat a small amount of oil and saute the marinaded quorn/chicken pieces. Let them brown up and caramelise a little so you get some colour and stickiness in the pan.
  7. Now, pour the masala sauce back into the pan and and bring it back up to a simmer.
It starts to look more like a curry at this stage...

8. Finally, add the cream and the coriander and there you go - fab tikka masala.

I tried to get a picture before my husband dug in but the smell was driving him crazy!

Amazingly, based on 4 portions, this works out at only 302 calories per serving which means you can have a measured portion of rice with it and still come in around the 500 calories mark. Pretty incredible when you taste it and realise how indulgent it seems!

This was a real winner in our house, I tried both versions (the chicken was awesome too) and can testify that the flavours really are amazing. The quorn seems to soak in the intensity of the spices quite well and it is definitely a recipe I will be making again.

If you could get hold of the quorn beef or lamb pieces (I cannot in Australia unfortunately) then I reckon this recipe would be equally impressive with those too.

This recipe is best followed on a weekend due to the various stages and need for time - but it is well worth the effort.


Sunday, 13 April 2014

Feta, Spinach and Tomato Filo Pie

Ok, so this recipe technically does not involve quorn, but it is vegetarian and I am going to be expanding this blog to include other recipes too.

This recipe was actually from the Good Food magazine and it can be found online here. It so happened that I had everything in the house to make it with and seeking a recipe for a light Sunday night dinner it seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

One thing I loved about this is that it is rough and ready and quick to prepare, we really enjoyed it - these are classic flavours that work well together and I would likely make this again and probably adapt it, maybe throw some pine nuts in for a bit more texture.

The recipe calls for: 

3/4 sheets of filo pastry
175g sun dried tomatoes in oil
100g feta
200g spinach
2 eggs

1. Line a 22cm springform pan with filo - I used the oil from the tomatoes as recommended and brushed it on liberally. I used 4 sheets instead of the 3 in the recipe and staggered them around the pan. It doesn't matter if you get the odd tear as long as it is covered by the other layers, this is the beauty of filo pastry!

2. Wilt the spinach (I just tipped a kettle full of boiling water over it instead of 'cooking' it - worked perfectly fine!). Drain it - I used a heavy bottomed saucepan to apply pressure to the spinach while it was in the colander draining, it always amazes me the amount of water that comes out.

3. Roughly chop the spinach and tomatoes and chuck in a bowl, crumble over the feta and mix the eggs in thoroughly then pour the mixture into the centre of the prepared pan and fold/scrunch over the pastry.

This is what my pie looked like before I folded the pastry back over:

4. Stick it in the oven (160 gas - see recipe for other temps) for about half an hour until it is golden - to be fair I probably should have left mine in a bit longer but we were hungry and impatient and I could see it was cooked. 

This is what mine looked like when I pulled it out and cut into it:

Cooked but not overly golden

I really enjoyed this as a light tea, Stu had it with a jacket potato but it was plenty for me on its own. Each portion contains 250 calories and 5g sat fat, the Weightwatchers propoints per portion is 7.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Slow Cooker Cashew Quorn

Hello all

It's been a while and I hope you have had a fab Christmas and new year. One of my new year resolutions is to start creating new recipes for this blog because I have been overwhelmed by how often it gets pinned on pinterest and searched and visited still, every week, even when I am not updating it! You deserve better than that and so I will endeavour to make 2014 the year of new and exciting quorn based recipes (as well as posting some non-quorn veggie offerings).

I actually found this recipe on pinterest - the original version is here and was intended for use with chicken (and I can confirm it is AWESOME) with chicken. I realised it could quite easily be adapted for use with quorn pieces and accordingly decided to give it a go. It is a pretty simple throw-it-in-and-go slow cooker recipe (my favourite kind!) and also uses lots of store cupboard ingredients so you shouldn't have to buy too much to make this.

I have turned the measurements for this recipe into the English versions (ie not in cups) as this is what I use and you can see the cups version at the above link.

Anyway, here is what you need for my version:

1 bag quorn pieces (could use chicken or beef/steak strips or even sliced up fillets)
1 yellow pepper chopped
60g flour (I used self raising)
1/2 tsp (about 6/7 good turns of a grinder) black pepper
60ml soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 garlic clove crushed
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger (a piece about the size of the top knuckle of your thumb)
1/4 tsp red chilli flakes (I doubled this as we like it hot)
60g raw cashews (just a big handful really)

The method with quorn is easier than with chicken as there is absolutely no need to brown it. You DO want to coat it in the flour/pepper though as you want the flour to thicken the sauce slightly and make it go to a fudgey consistency - so:

1. Put the flour and pepper in a bowl and mix around to ensure evenly distributed. Chuck the quorn pieces into this (defrosted will work better than frozen as the moisture will pick up the coating better) and toss around to coat.

2. In a small bowl mix together the soy sauce, wine vinegar, ketchup, sugar. garlic, ginger and chilli flakes.

3. Put the quorn into the slow cooker with the chopped pepper and pour over the sauce, give it a good stir then add around 50ml of water (this replaces the juice that would naturally come out of the chicken and stops it drying out). This is what mine looked like ready to switch on.

4. Switch on to low and leave for 3-4 hours then add the cashews and leave for another half an hour.

And there you have it!

Served over egg fried rice

I served mine with some egg fried rice and it was lovely. The quorn really sucks in the flavours and there was enough to portion up a few for the freezer too.

In new Propoints, this makes four portions and each portion is 4 points (as per the calculator on the ww website).