Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup

2 onions, peeled & diced
5cm ginger, finely grated
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 dried chillis (optional)
1 teaspoon oil
Fry onions in oil, in cauldron or large pot.  When soft, add ginger and
garlic.  Add salt (makes the onions sweet)

Add 2 sticks celery, sliced thinly
Add 2 carrots, scrubbed, then sliced or cubed.
1 Kg sweet potato, scrubbed skin, then diced to 2cm diced.
1 cup red lentils
1 400mL can coconut cream (check the fat content, per 100g, less than
20g fat)
Low salt chicken stock powder or cubes.
Up to l Litre water

Simmer gently until lentils are disintegrated and the sweet potato
dissolves to the touch, about 20 to 30 mins.
Check for taste.
Add 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce (or 2 tablespoons light soy sauce)
1 teaspoon peanut paste (optional)

Use stab mixer to blend most of the soup, leave a bit un-blended. Or
process in blender (beware, hot soup may blow off the lid. Hold it down
with a folded teatowel or oven mitt).

Add 100 g diced prosciutto and stir through.

Friday, April 29, 2011

What do I Avoid? Or Replace?

AVOID (I hear you: “But I love these things”)
  • Roast pumpkin
  • White potatoes
  • Parsnips
  • Rice
  • White bread
  • Cheese
High in sugar for diabetics, or just choose a better option.

Roast sweet potato instead of roast pumpkin (lower GI) and/or roast potatoes

Choose Basmati rice, instead of other rice varieties (or low GI rice).

Choose multigrain or whole grain bread.

Cottage cheese is a good choice for making a lasagne, it is creamy and use instead of bechamel sauce.

Love that Lamb

Similarly, we have lamb in a salad and there are many ways to use lamb:
  • Lamb loin chops
  • Lamb fillet
  • Lamb backstrap
  • Lamb BBQed
  • Lamb roast, butterflied, marinated and roasted or BBQ, rest and sliced.
  • Lamb slow roasted
  • Lamb curry
  • Leg of lamb roast.
Be adventurous and try lamb in your salad, or lamb with vegetables. 

Whatever you eat, enjoy it, don't have seconds, save leftovers for another meal.

Chicken Salads - lots of ways

I can't tell you how much we enjoy a variety of chicken salads.
We vary the chicken, we vary the salad, we vary the dressing, so we have a different chicken salad every time.  Here’s how.

Vary the chicken:
  • Chicken kebabs
  • Chicken breast, sliced lengthways in three to make three sausage shapes, marinate in 2 tablespoon hoi sin and 2 tablespoon teriyaki sauce, with 1 clove garlic and 1 teaspoon minced ginger.
  • Chicken wingettes (the drumstick portion of wings) (the rest of the chicken wing has too much fat/skin)
  • Barbeque chicken from supermarket
  • Skinless chicken thighs, cut in 3 so they look like small sausages, marinate in lime or lemon juice & zest, paprika, fresh oregano, salt and pepper, little olive oil or chilli oil.  Roast on top of 1-2 sliced onions and capsicum or sweet potato slices, with all the marinade, 180 degrees until rich coloured and juicy (30-45  mins).  (see separate recipe for capsicum dip)
  • Chicken sausages
  • Chicken breast, diced, marinated in 3 tablespoons tomato sauce, fresh basil, onion powder, paprika, 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon vinegar, marinate for an hour, stir fry or bake or grill. May be threaded onto skewers then BBQ or grill.
  • Roast whole chicken, with any salad dressing as a marinade/sauce.
  • Roasted or BBQ chicken drumsticks.
  • Poached whole small (eg 1 kilo) chicken(s) in simmering chicken broth, with onion, carrot, celery, 2-3 bay leaves, bunch fresh parsley, for 30 mins, leave to go cold. Reuse the broth for soup (may be frozen). Discard the veg and skin, bones, remove flesh and freeze for ready-to-use chicken pieces.
Salads: Make the salad with love and it will be great.
  • Green salad: variety of lettuce leaves, baby spinach leaves, some finely shredded cabbage.
  • Tossed salad with lettuce leaves, continental or Lebanese cucumber (sliced thinly or cubed), tomato in wedges, celery, grated carrot or carrot sticks, sliced red onions, few olives.
  • Fresh salsa: cubes (5mm) of tomato, cucumber, red onion, celery.
  • When tomato is expensive, I substitute an orange, peeled, segmented and each segment halved or cut into thirds.
  • Cabbage salad, finely sliced (mandolin) with vinegar-oil dressing
  • Chinese cabbage (wombok) shredded with red onion, toasted pine nuts or almonds, olive oil, 2 tablespoon ABC sweet soy sauce, 2 tablespoon vinegar, salt & pepper,
  • Store bought/prepared coleslaw salad without dressing.
  • Baby spinach leaves instead or as well as lettuce leaves.
  • Avocado, zucchini sliced thinly, sweetcorn, capsicum (raw or left over from roasting), mushrooms, asparagus, green beans, cherry tomatoes, pickled onions, jar of fire roasted capsicums, sundried tomatoes (if using the ones in oil, use some of the oil as the dressing), etc.
The Dressing: usually oil, vinegar/citrus juice & seasoning. Try these ingredients
  • Extra virgin olive oil, sun-dried tomato flavoured oil, sesame oil (use only a few drops),
  • Lime or lemon juice, vinegar, balsamic vinegar, sushi vinegar,
  • Salt and pepper, seasoned salt, paprika,
  • Or use bottled fat-free salad dressings, eg coleslaw, Italian, French, get a variety, mix them up, add a tablespoon of BBQ sauce for a little zing.
  • Add a tablespoon of chopped dry roasted almonds, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), pine nuts, etc.
  • We also like to add a tablespoon of dried goji berries (antioxidants) to a salad.
  • Fresh herbs, mint, oregano, chives, coriander, parsley, lemon thyme.

Easy Dips

These are easy to make:

Grate one or two cucumbers, put into a clean chux or cheesecloth and squeeze until quite dry
Add two cloves fresh garlic, crushed
Juice of two lemons
Greek Yoghurt (Margaret River preferred) 500g
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ - 1 cup fresh mint leaves, finely shredded
Large pinch pepper
½ teaspoon salt

Mix and taste, may need more salt.
The traditional recipe also has olive oil, but I can live without it.

For a change, I also like ½ cup fresh coriander leaves, finely shredded.

Salmon dip
To the tsatsiki, add 100g smoked salmon, finely sliced and mixed through.

1 can chick peas, drained, rinsed, put through blender or whiz smooth.
1-2 lemons juiced
1 tablespoon tahini (sesame paste)
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon paprika
Several grinds fresh pepper

Add to blender
Up to ½ cup water, until smooth, creamy and not too thick.

Our personal favourite is to add 1 tablespoon nigella seeds for some crunch.

Beetroot Dip
1 can beetroot, drained, put through blender or whiz.
500g Greek yoghurt (Margaret River preferred)
½ teaspoon smokey paprika

Mix, may need pinch salt.

Capsicum Dip.
When you next make a roast, put two or more capsicums in the roasting pan, add a little olive oil and salt, roast in the juices of the meat you are roasting.  Then take these capsicums, put through a blender or mash (hot or cold) and add to Greek yoghurt (Margaret River) with some salt and spice (paprika, oregano, basil, chilli).

Dairy options

If you can't take fat free milk, my advice is: get used to it! 
For the first few weeks, mix your regular milk with fat-free milk and use that.  You can start with a 75% regular milk and 25% fat free milk, for two weeks, then move to 50%, then to 75% fat free, before making the final conversion.  If it takes you longer than 2 weeks before you make the next move, you will still get there.

Home brand skim milk is (April 2011) $5.99/10 litres from Woolworths &/or Coles. 
It weighs only one kilo to take home, doesn’t go off, you do need to make it up in advance.
I usually check every evening and make up 1.5 litres at a time. 
I don’t restrict how much skim milk we drink, as it is still a good source of calcium, pretty cheap at 60c/litre and easy to store (dry form).

Don’t get me wrong, I loved every piece of cheese that ever went into my mouth.  But my serious recommendation is: Learn to live without cheese.
You can do it gradually.
Use all the cheese in your house and don’t replace it.
Don’t use it all up one the one day, spread it out, do not add cheese to any other protein (such as bolognaise sauce, fish, chicken dishes).
Cheese is on average 30% fat, not just fat, but cholesterol too.  So, learn to live without it.

Read the labels of the choices of yoghurts, select the brand(s) with the lowest calories/kilojoules per 100mL.

I recommend that you get the yoghurts in individual serves, such as Yoplait Forme no-fat 170/175g tubs in six packs, two packs or individual serves.  This is because if you buy the 1 kilo tub, you have to measure the serves and you probably won't do this.  If you open one serve, eat it, you probably won't eat two serves.

Read the labels, because what looks like a similar sized product and kilojoiles per serve, may be misleading because the label will say this (same size tub) serves 2, instead of serves one.  That yoghurt choice would mean that the 200g tub you open will need to be shared between two people or eat half and save for another occasion. As if.

How far can you use a cooked chicken

Buy a cooked BBQ chicken
I get a BBQ chicken from the supermarket, sometimes, if they are on special at the end of the day, I get two or three.  At home, I separate the skin and bones, any parts we don’t eat/like and put these in a large pot with an onion a carrot or two, celery, garlic and ginger, cold water to cover and bring to the boil, reduce to simmer for an hour or so. 

Meanwhile, I take the cooked chicken flesh and cut into portions 3cm pieces or larger, and lightly pack into freezer containers.  I keep the wings to eat the next day/meal. 

This way, I have cooked tasty chicken pieces for a sandwich/wrap, a salad, to add to pasta, or vegetables, a chinese meal, etc.  I can add a lot or a little, as required. 

The broth made from skin and bones is left to go cold overnight and poured through a colander the next morning.  Discard the bones, skin and veg.  I leave the broth in the fridge until the fat solidifies and scrape this away. The broth can be frozen in 1 litre portions or ½ litre.