Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Werthers Toffee Vodka

I used to make this last year but forgot all about it. It's so easy and ready to drink in a couple of days. All you need is a family size bag of Werthers and a bottle of cheap vodka. Sterilise a Kilner jar ( I popped mine in the oven - 180c - for 10 minutes ) and pour in Vodka and sweeties. Pop on the top and shake gently twice a day for 3 days. Easy!

Looks a bit murky but a couple of hours later it it's looking more like toffee vodka!

  Thats better, the light inside was a little all toffee vodka coloured.


Sunday, 18 March 2012

Maharashtrian Spiced Cabbage

Mr Debs knocked this up last night to accompany the crispy beef. It's lovely and the cabbage really retains it's crunch.

Serves 4 ( 3 last night )

500g Green or white cabbage - finely shredded
2 Tbspn vegetable oil
1 1/2 Tspn Black mustard seeds
8-10 Curry leaves
1 1/2 Tspn Urad dal
1 Large onion finely sliced
1/2 Tspn ground turmeric
1 Tspn Ground cumin
50mls water
salt to taste
3 Tbspn fresh;y grated coconut ( optional )

Heat the oil in a wide pan over a medium heat.
Add the mustard seeds and when they pop tip in the curry leaves and urad dal.
When the dal begins to turn  light golden brown ( 2-3 minutes ) and onion and saute gently for 6-8 minutes
Add cabbage, turmeric, cumin, water and salt . If you are using coconut add it now.
Stir well and simmer for 5-7 minutes until cabbage is cooked but still has some bite.
Adjust seasoning and serve immediately.

Quick and very easy.


Crispy Fried Chilli Beef

As mentioned yesterday, we haven't had this for ages when it used to be almost a weekly occurence. It's a fab recipe from Gordon Ramsey but needs some serious noodling with to get the required heat. I don't see the point of serving a mild version of this, I love the wow of the heat factor.

Serves 4 ( 3 last night )
600g Beef fillet ( we used rump )
1 Tspn Hot chilli powder
Pinch chilli flakes
1 Tspn mango powder
3cm fresh ginger - peeled and grated
Salt and pepper
1 Tspn coconut oil ( we used olive oil )
Vegetable oil for frying
1 Large onion - finely chopped
2 Dried red chilli's
1 Tspn caster sugar
Juice of 2 limes
3 Tbsn rice or corn flour
1 Fresh red chilli deseeded and finely chopped ( we used 6 )

Cut beef into strips and put into a dish with half the chilli powder. chilli flakes, mango powder, ginger and some salt and pepper.
Add oil and mix well - leave to marinate for 15-20 minutes before cooking.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan and add onion, chilli's, remaining chilli powder and a pinch of salt.
Fry for 5-6 minutes stirring every now and then until onion is soft and transclucent.
Add sugar and fry for few more minutes until onion starts to caramelise.
Add lime juice and take off the heat

Heat 5cm oil in a deep pan until hot
Toss the beef in the flour then deep fry in batches for 2-3 minutes until brown and crisp.
Drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper.
When all the beef has been cooked, toss the strips with the onion mixture and sliced chilli.

Transfer onto warm plates and serve immediately.

Mr Debs served this with Maharashtrian spiced cabbage  - a recipe taken from the same book. It's a lovely combination and a super weekend supper.


Saturday, 17 March 2012

Ooooooh crispy fried beef tonight

Well, I weighed myself on the good scales at work yesterday and  I have lost 5lbs since tuesday...hoooooray!
I do feel better but still an awful long way to go. Mr Debs is making Gordon Ramseys Crispy Fried Chilli Beef which we have not eaten for a long time. It's beautiful ( with a little more heat added of course ) so I'll post the recipe tomorrow here's the link in the meantime.


Friday, 16 March 2012


Sam and I always meet up on Friday's for lunch and ALWAYS go to Nando's, it's habit forming and pretty addictive but there you go. Anyway, today after visiting the Nando's calorie counter I will have to plump for the half a chicken no sides as it's filling enough and Atkins enough. Yum yum


Thursday, 15 March 2012

Cheesy stuffed Chicken

I remember cooking this the last time that I tried Atkins and is very fulfilling - if that is the word. It's comforting and filling and tastes good. I serve this with green beans and - for those not dieting - little herby roasties.

Serves 4

4 Large Chicken breasts
8 Slices Parma type ham
4 Tbsns Full fat garlic and herb cheese
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180-200c
Make a slit into each chicken breast to form a pocket and spoon a spoonful of cheese into each one.
Close up and wrap ham around each one to keep in cheese
Wrap in foil and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.

Ooops. ate it before photograph.


Squidgy Double Chocolate Gingernuts

Had a bit of a fancy for baking even though I'm Atkinsing and could not find a recipe that I liked and so put together a bit of a mixture of various recipes and this is the result.

220g Plain flour
2 Tspn Bicarbonate of soda
4 Tspn Baking powder
2 Heaped teaspoons ground ginger
20 g Cocoa
100g Butter
80g Golden caster sugar
200g Dark Chocolate chopped into small pieces
8 Balls of Stem ginger cut into smallish chunks ( not too small )
About half a jar of remaining ginger syrup

Preheat oven to 180c
Mix first five ingredients in a large bowl.
Mix in chocolate and ginger and then add enough ginger syrup to make a dough which clings when formed into a ball.
Form into largish walnut sized balls and place on a pre-papered tin.
Bake for about 10 minutes.

I am reliably informed that these are a little too gingery ( youngest son ) and lovely with a unexpected gingery hit ( Pukka , youngest son's friend and whose opinion I am accepting ).


What a lump!

Taken in Egypt a couple of years ago, this is quite a nice photo but I look like a flippin lump. Big and blousey as mine nan would say.


Feeling a bit thinner already

Hard to believe as I've only been doing this for three and a bit days but I can actually say I feel slightly thinner. It may be the entire lack of carbs and so I just feel less weighed down. I won't be able to weigh until I get to work tomorrow but that's good, I don't think that it's a good idea to weigh too often as body weight fluctuates too much for it to be accurate and it's nice to see a good weight loss. Little and often! Off to find a particularly unflattering photo ( plenty of them ) for a before and after comparison.


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Breakfast Frittata

I find on Atkins that breakfast foods on work days are quite hard to accomodate so made a big frittata and portioned it all up ready to nuke for breakfast - this is how it went

6 Lovely fresh free range eggs
1 Large onion finely chopped
1 Sweet pepper ( any colour ) chopped into smallish pieces
Handful of frozen peas
75g Strong cheddar - grated
Little olive oil for frying
Salt and pepper

Whisk up eggs and season well.
Gently fry onion and pepper until soft and starting to go brown
Pop in peas and cook for just a couple of minutes.
Add the eggs and cheese and cook until just set
Pop under the grill to fluff up

It's really tasty and just right for breakfast ( or lunch )!

Atkins started today!

Getting far too porkular so me and Rachel ( fellow anarchic work colleague ) have started the Atkins diet. It's fair to say that I have a whole lot more weight to lose and this process will most likely take 3 months but during this time I'll be posting rather more conservative recipes. Given the entire lack of carbs on this diet, I want to concentrate on flavour and will post any handy tips to help us along what will be - for me at least - a rather long journey.


Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Meatball Lasagne

I watched a memorable episode of Masterchef Australia last year where the masterclass ( on a friday ) was Georges lasagne. It looked so different that I made it a couple of days later. Wow, it was complicated, expensive and seriously underdelivered. Everyone made all the right noises but I had spent the best part of the afternoon and I wasn't impressed. Far too fussy for my liking. Anyway, I decided to have another go and just kind of make it up as I went along and here it is. This recipe will feed 8.

For The Meatballs:
500g Lean minced beef steak
500g Minced pork
1 Tspn mixed Italian herbs
Salt and pepper

For the Tomato Sauce:
2 Tins chopped plum tomatoes
1 Tube tomato paste
1 Large onion chopped but not too fine
4 Fat garlic cloves crushed
Splash of Worcestershire sauce
Olive oil for frying
1 Tspn dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Couple of cans ( tomato ) of water

12 or so sheets lasagne

For the Cheesy sauce:
570mls Milk ( I used half milk half single cream )
40g Plain flour
Half a teaspoon Dijon mustard
40g Butter
100g Strong Cheddar - grated
25g Parmesan - grated
Shake of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper

Mix all meatball ingredients together and form into walnut sized balls. Pop into a bowl, cover and put into the fridge until sauce is cooked.
Fry onion and garlic until soft but not brown, add everything else and bubble away until sauce is thick, taste every now and again to make sure of the seasoning.
Add the meatballs carefully into the tomato sauce and cook for about 35mins just bubbling until the meatballs are cooked.
When meatballs are cooked, remove from the heat and cool slightly.
Place  the first 4 cheese sauce ingredients into a saucepan and, over a low heat , whisk until sauce is thick and bubbling.
Take from the heat and add most of the cheese, saving a little for the top of the Lasagne.                                  Stir cheese in until all melted and return to a low heat to cook for about 6 minutes.
Add salt and pepper and cayenne pepper to taste and start to assemble the Lasagne

Pour about half the meatball mix into a large heatproof dish and cover with 4 or so sheets of pasta.
Pour about half the cheese sauce onto the pasta and place 4 more sheets of pasta on top of the sauce.
Place the remaining meatball mix on top and then 4 more sheets of pasta.
Pour the remaining cheese sauce over the entire dish and crumble the cheese over.
Shake a little cayenne pepper for colour and place in the oven for about 45 minutes.

Lovely served with garlic bread and salad.


Saturday, 10 March 2012

Raspberry Couli

I have a bit of a problem with couli's, I'm not keen on fluffy names for ordinary foodstuffs so I originally called this plain old raspberry sauce - Sam gave me a good talking to about what makes a sauce so couli it is...against my better judgement.

300g fresh raspberries
2 tbspns lemon juice
75-100g icing sugar - depending how sweet you like it

Put all ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth
Pour into a fine sieve and press through to get rid of all the pips
Pour into a bottle and pop into the fridge.


Chocolate mousse

We are having a family Sunday dinner today with eight to eat and I really fancied making a chocolate mousse as I haven't made one for yonks. Given that there are about a million recipes for this I plumped for a basic but yummy sounding recipe from Nigella ( again, I know ). I sent Mr Debs to the big shop and doubled up on the recipe to serve 8.

300g Marshmallows ( I chopped up the big ones - sticky)
100g butter
250g Milk Chocolate - broken into small pieces
250g Dark Chocolate - broken into small pieces
120g just boiled water
568mls Double cream
2 tspn Vanilla extract

Place Marshmallows, chocolate, butter and water into a large saucepan and melt together really gently until all melty
While this is cooling a little, whisk cream and vanilla together until thickish.
Mix cream and chocolate together and place in serving glasses or ramekins.

Lovely, sticky, very rich, this recipe would - in my opinion - make 12 easily. I served mine with a lovely home made raspberry coulis.


Thursday, 8 March 2012

Debs Humble Pie

I used to buy a pie when I lived in Henley on Thames from the local butchers which they called 'Humble pie ' and, so far as I can recall, it went a little like this:

Quantity of shortcrust pastry

2 Large potatoes sliced into thickish slices boiled and cooled
300g Pork sausagemeat
3 Large tomatoes sliced
100g Strong cheddar cheese grated
salt and pepper
Half a teaspoon mixed herbs

Preheat oven to 160c
Line a pie dish ( I used a standard glass dish serves 4 ) with half the pastry, arrange the potato over the base.
Mix herbs, salt and pepper into the sausagemeat and press gently onto the potato.
Cover the sausagemeat with the sliced tomato and then the cheese.
Cover with remaining pastry, eggwash and bake in the centre of the oven for about 30 minutes, turn oven up to about 180c for a further 15-30 minutes until golden brown.

It's a lovely, simple, tasty pie, eaten hot or cold, everyone loved it.