Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Thai prawn, ginger and spring onion stir-fry

Stir-fry is a great dish when you are really hungry but want something really quick AND healthy.  This stir-fry takes a little bit more time to prepare than others because of preparing the sauce, but it's still ready in less time than it takes to have a takeaway delivered and its a lot tastier too.  I came across this recipe on BBC good food - my favourite foodie site.  I have slightly adapted the recipe/method from the original as my other half isn't keen on coriander so the whole bunch suggested would have ruined it for him.  As it is, the amount I put in complimented the other flavours rather than overpowering it.  Coriander is one of those ingredients you either love or marmite, but it goes so well in this dish that I would feel confident in saying that even those who don't like coriander would have to agree that its pretty darn tasty! And for those who do like their coriander..sprinkle a bit more over the top at the end like I did.

We tend to have our stir-fry's with loads of vegetables and no rice or noodles.  For those on Weight Watchers this is 5 pro points per serving and the recipe serves two.  Add extra points for rice or noodles.  To make the dish you'll need the following:

  • 200g of raw tiger or king prawns
  • 1 chilli, de-seeded and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • Fresh coriander - I used about a tablespoon once chopped, add more if you both like coriander
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (don't smell it before hand!!)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil 
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 4 spring onions, chopped
  • stir fry vegetables of your choice - e.g. beansprouts, water chestnuts, bamboo, sweetcorn etc

To make the sauce, put the chilli, garlic, coriander, lime juice, sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, olive oil and ginger into a mortar and crush/mix all the ingredients with a pestle.  Alternatively if you don't have a mortar and pestle you can use a food processor.  

Put the prawns in a bowl and add about 2 tablespoons of the sauce then leave it to marinade for a few minutes whilst you prepare your chosen vegetables.  

Add the prawns and the vegetables to a wok or a pan with the remaining sauce and fry until the prawns are cooked.  

In the words of Gordon...done!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Delicious Beef Stir fry

I've only just started to eat Chinese food recently, it's never been a cuisine that's appealed to me but I'm starting to be more adventurous and trying a few different dishes to ease me in.  Maybe it was all the greasy looking, really sweet smelling dishes that I've seen people eat from the takeaway and the number of people that have complained about getting ill after eating one! 

On Christmas Eve my mam rustled up a lovely beef stir fry in her new wok for us and it was so delicious that I had to get the recipe.  Thing is my mam just chucked some stuff in a bowl and made it up but there was a very similar recipe in the Ken Hom stir fry cookbook that Santa brought her the next day so she sent me the recipe, although I've changed it slightly.

The key here is marinating the beef before stir frying it.  The longer you can leave it to marinate the better but if you haven't got time to let the flavours soak in you can use it straight away.  Now if I had smelt the oyster sauce used in marinating the beef I don't think I would have touched it, but it does make it taste really nice.

For those of you on Weight Watchers the stir fry itself is 5 ProPoints but if you are having it with rice or noodles then it'll be extra.

The recipe below serves two but just add extra beef and veg if you are serving more.

To make the stir fry you will need:

  • Steak cut into strips - I used rump steak but you could use sirloin or fillet.  I'm not sure how much steak was used as I just asked the butcher for enough for two people, but I'm guessing about 250g
  • Vegetables - it's up to you what you use, this particular time I used peppers, pak choi, onion, peppers, spinach, peas, beansprouts, carrots and broccoli because that's what I had in the fridge.  Again there isn't a specific measurement for this I just cut up what I estimated to be a good amount for two people.
  • 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce - alternatively you can use a fresh chilli and a pinch of sugar
  • 1 and a half tablespoons of oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp of light soy sauce
  • 1 large clove of garlic, grated
  • 1 tsp of fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp of rice wine vinegar (you could use dry sherry as an alternative)
  • Black pepper
1) Marinade the beef in the garlic, ginger, sweet chilli sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine vinegar and soy sauce.  Add a bit of black pepper to season.  You could add salt if you wish but I found it was salty enough with the soy sauce.  I kept mine in the fridge for a couple of hours whilst it marinated, but be warned my fridge still stinks of chilli and garlic 24 hours later!

2) When you want the stir fry, remove the beef from the fridge and let it come to room temperature.  Fry in a large pan or a wok if you have one for a few minutes on a high heat.  Once the beef is cooked you can either remove from the pan and set aside and then stir fry the vegetables in the juices left over from the beef or you can chuck it all in together, which is the method I went for! Add this stage you may also want to add more oyster, chilli or soy sauce - it's dependent on your tastes.  Again stir fry for a couple of minutes on a high heat so the veg is still crunchy.

3) Serve on its own or with some rice or noodles.  All ready in a flash!

My boyfriend calls it a Triumph!! I say its absolutely delicious..but my mam's still had the edge! :-)

Sunday, 8 January 2012

A new blog about my ProPoints experience

I'm conscious of the fact that I have weight watchers ProPoints recipes on the blog and obviously not all my followers are on the ProPoints plan so probably couldn't give two hoots how many points are in a recipe and enjoy the blog for the tasty recipes.   

Sometimes I have wanted to blog about my experience of weight watchers or new products that i've come across or celebrate losing some weight but this blog isn't the right place for it, so I've started a blog especially about weight watchers and my experience with the propoints plan.  So if you've got an interest in weight watchers then head over to my other blog Jayne's ProPoints Experience and take a look.

I'm not going to stop blogging about delicious recipes (some of which will be weight watchers friendly but are just as tasty if you aren't following the plan) so don't abandon me!! I have lots of tasty recipes coming up in 2012.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Butterfly cakes

Because my Grandma was, and my mum is very good at making cakes, scones, etc I thought it was about time I got more in to baking to carry on the tradition, and so that when I have children I can teach them how to bake.  I've been inspired by the Great British bake off and thanks to Mary Berry I now make totally gorgeous butterfly cakes..well you have to start somewhere! So here is the foolproof recipe for making beautiful butterfly cakes that you can make with your kids or just when you fancy a little bit of a treat.  

The recipe makes 12 butterfly cakes and if your doing weight watchers then that is equivalent to 7 pro points each...seems a lot but just have one and feed the rest to your friends and family.  They are totally worth 7 points though!  

Before I tell you the recipe though there are a couple of things that I think have made all the difference to these butterfly cakes and ones I have made before although it could also be because it is a better recipe.  Firstly I used Lurpak butter - its rich and creamy and you can really taste it in the cakes ...not so good if you don't like Lurpak but I love it! Secondly I used silicone cupcake molds in a cupcake tray - I have found that the cakes are more moist with silicone cases than paper ones, and they are still really moist three days later! 

To make 12 butterfly cakes you will need:

  • 250g of softened butter (these are not skinny cakes!)
  • 100g of caster sugar
  • 100g of self raising flour
  • 150g of icing sugar
  • 1 level teaspoon of baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
1. Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees (Fan 180 degrees) or Gas Mark 6.  Place the fairy cake cases in a 12 hole bun tin to keep a good even shape as they bake.

2.Whilst the oven is pre-heating, mix 100g of the softened butter with the caster sugar, self raising flour, baking powder and eggs in a bowl.  Beat the mixture until it is smooth and well can either do this the hard way and beat it by hand like I did or do it the easy way use your magi-mix or equivalent.  Add two teaspoons of the mixture into each mold.  I gently tapped the bottom of the case against the worktop to distribute the mixture more evenly.

 3. Bake the cakes in the oven for 15 -20 minutes (mine take about 17-18 minutes but all ovens vary) until they are well risen and golden brown.  Once cooked lift the cases out of the tin and place on a wire cooling rack (but leave them in the cases).

 4. While the cakes are cooling, make your butter icing.  Combine the rest of the butter with the icing sugar in a bowl and mix well...don't worry if it all looks a bit lumpy at first it will get smooth!

5. Once the cakes are cooled, cut a circle out of the centre of the cake to make a hole in the middle - I like to make quite a deep hole so that you get more butter icing! Cut the circle that you take out of the cake in half and keep to one side.  Fill each hole with the butter icing - either pipe it in or spoon it in.  Place two of the half slices on the top of each cake to make the wings and dust with a little icing sugar to finish.

The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that they are less cakes on the plate than were on the tray..that's because we ate a few before I remembered I needed to take a picture!! Yummy! 
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