Sunday, 28 September 2008

Tomato recipe

For Jan:
This is a lovely filling for jacket potatoes (or tortilla wraps if you're not on a gluten free diet!)
This is enough for two ppl, to fill a couple of jacket spuds, or 4 tortilla wraps

Bit of olive oil
One finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 yellow pepper, ditto
1 tsp smoked paprika (a marvellous ingredient, worth finding in a deli)
150g of sunblush tomatoes chopped a bit
4 fresh toms - chopped quite small

50 g grated cheddar

(if you're a meat eater a few cubes of chorizo sausage would harmonise well with this)

Fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes to soften
Add the peppers and paprika powder - soften the peppers
Add tomatoes, both types, and fry to warm through. You're not really aiming to "cook" the fresh tomatoes too much.

Add the cheese at the last minute and stir through to melt, then serve with the baked spud



another carrot soup recipe

How come a non-fan of carrots keeps on posting carrot soup recipes? Well B went to the organic farm shop and bought stuff, while I was simultaneously buying carrots at Sainsbo's -- so we are over-run with carrots

My latest idea on the carrot front is to add a few spices to the mix .. to counteract their relentless SWEETNESS!

I'm recommending:
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumon seeds
squash these three in a pestle and mortar

add a chopped garlic
thyme and oregano (fresh if you've got it) - a good dollop of each, say a tsp of dry and a few stalks of each, if using fresh

boil this lot with a litre or so or water, 1/2 kilo of carrots and one leek or onion and a celery stalk till all VERY tender

then cool a bit b4 whizzing with a blender.

The juice of 1/2 a lemon added at the end would also make it a bit more piquant ..



Saturday, 27 September 2008

Pleased with myself

Four months after my last operation and I am now a whole two stone lighter than I was then. This is GOOD NEWS.

It represents a pretty steady loss of about 2lbs a week, which is the ideal rate, and if I can keep it up it'll be enough by Christmas.

I've found the whole not drinking thing to be very easy, so I am happy about that, especially negotiating my birthday and return to work without taking a drink. I'm pretty sure this is the best way to keep my weight under control. That, and eating nothing much!

haha .. that's not true, I eat a LOT of stuff, never feel hungry, but it's mainly fruit and veg. so it takes an age to chew it all and you get a feeling of being full on less calories, basically.

Did a lovely chicken curry dish this week .. recipe here for JAN!

(adapted from

1 pinch saffron strands
3 tbsp warm water
1 tbsp Butter
3 Shallots sliced (I used 1 and 1/2 small onions)
3 cm piece of ginger, shredded
3 large garlic cloves, shredded
1 orange rind, strip pared with a vegetable peeler (see notes below)
1 red chilli (it could take more of this, it was a pretty mild curry mix, overall)
50g blanched almonds
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Paprika
2 tsp cornflour (I think it would work fine without this, actually)
350ml Yogurt
150ml single cream (I omitted this and used extra yogurt instead)
8 Chicken thighs skins removed (I used four organic breasts, cubed - though having a few bones in would obviously enhance the flavour of the sauce)

Soak the saffron in warm water and set aside for an hour or so to develop

Preheat the oven to 180C/ gas 4.

Heat the butter in a large frying pan, and tip in the sliced shallots, ginger, garlic, strip of orange rind and split red chilli.

Cover and cook until the shallots have softened - about five minutes.

Add the almonds, turmeric and paprika and continue frying for another minute or two.

Remove the pan from the heat, cool slightly, and scrape the almond mixture into a liquidizer.

Pour in the yogurt, cream and cornflour and blitz everything until quite smooth.

Spoon the spiced almond yogurt over the chicken and leave to marinate for an hour or two.

Bake the chicken in a moderate oven for around 40 minutes, until tender, and the sauce has thickened. I cooked it for longer than 40 mins -- cos if you let it stand to marinade you;re starting from cold, and I'm not convinced this volume is really cooked in 40 minutes!)

Stir in the saffron and soaking liquid, and scatter with a few flaked almonds to serve.

Tasters Notes
Andy and B loved it, I thought it was perhaps a bit too much orange, but they reckoned that was great, so try it and see ...

It could stand a bit more chilli/paprika with so much yogurt. There is a LOT of sauce, ideal for serving with nan bread, really.