Have you tried Orzo Pudding instead of Rice Pudding?

Finding the cupboard bare (no arborio or pudding rice) but needing a pudding fix good old google came to the rescue with a simple search of ‘orzo, dessert’. Orzo pudding was the outcome and I actually prefer it to rice pudding now.

Ingredients (for 1 person who likes a decent portion):

  • 50 grams orzo pasta
  • 250ml no sugar almond milk (or milk or your choice). Add water if it need extra cooking time.
  • 2 tbsp sweetener
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp no added sugar jam
  • option vanilla essence
  • optional ground cinnamon

Method:

  • Put the pasta and milk into a pan, bring to the boil, stirring frequently.
  • . Turn down to simmer for fifteen minutes or until as firm as you like it.
  • Whilst pasta is cooking whisk the egg yolk, egg and sweetener together.
  • When the pasta is cooked whisk or firmly stir the egg/sweetener mix into the cooked pasta.
  • Take of the heat and serve with any extras you want. I went for jam. I have mentioned vanilla essence and ground cinnamon. You could put some nice fruit on top.

Yoghurt Cake

This is another one that the Facebook threw my way. My first go wasn’t great but this is my adapted recipe that makes it a really good and large portioned dessert. Dessert needs to be large to suit my eating tastes, I don’t do small portions.

This is the YouTube video that got me started. My recipe is adjusted a little but essentially the same and so the video should get the credit. Yoghurt Cake Video. This is also dead easy to make.

The finished product with fat free Skyr honey yoghurt and home grown red currants.

Ingredients my way:

  • 3 small pots of mueller light yoghurt. I used two caramel and one chocolate and orange (120;grams per portion)
  • 5 eggs
  • 50 grams of baking powder (12.5 grams per portion)

Method:

  • Put all the yoghurt and eggs into a bowl and whisk by hand until smooth.
  • Sieve the cornflour into the bowl.
  • Whisk again until all is combined well.
  • Put water in an oven proof dish (mine was 18cm across and 5 cm deep). Swill around and pour out the excess water.
  • Crumple a cut sheet of baking parchment in to a ball. Pull out again and then push into the bowl to line it. (This one sounds strange but is a good practical tip for lining a dish).
  • Pour the mix into the bowl.
  • Bake in an oven at about 170/180 degrees Celsius or Gas Mark 6. Bake for 25 minutes depending on your oven. My oven tends to cook unevenly and so I baked for 25 minutes at this heat and then turned it and reduced the heat for another ten minutes.
  • Take out of the oven and leave it to cool for twenty minutes and then put in the fridge to chill for a couple of hours.
  • Enjoy.
1 quarter of the whole cake is a really good sized portion.

A ‘Japanese ‘ Dessert

I haven’t posted for a while but this recipe has spurred me on.

It arises from a You Tube video that Facebook flung in my direction. I am including the video here for you but will also lay out the recipe as I did it first time and some additions I will include next time I make it.

My first attempt. Would go really nicely with a fruit coulis.

This is gluten free, low calorie and quick to make. Most essential tool is a sharp knife for slicing.

Ingredients :

  • 3 eggs
  • 1tbsp of sweetener or icing sugar
  • icing sugar to sprinkle
  • Spray oil

I cannot find a legitimate name for this but it seems to link to Japanese soufflé pancakes but more of a soufflé sandwich. For this reason I cannot be certain it is, in fact, Japanese.

Japanese Dessert

This will take you no more than half an hour to make. I cooked it on my pancake hot plate which is my smoothest and most effective non stick surface. The timings on the video are about right.

1. As the video shows whisk the egg whites to the thickest possible consistency. Don’t be scared and give up at soft peaks.

2. Add sugar or sweetener. 1tbsp of sweetener or icing sugar will suffice or you might want more if you have a sweet tooth.

3.Beat the egg yolks with a tsp. I will add a little vanilla essence next time when I make this.

4. Pour the egg yolk onto a hot plate or frying pan with a little squirt of fri-light or equivalent. Keep spreading it out keeping it to a even circle that is quite thin.

5. When the egg yolk is almost cooked start adding the egg white. Try and pile it as evenly as possible and smooth around the edges. I then covered it with a Pyrex dish. You can do the same or use a lid. Keep it covered until the surface of your egg white smooths. The time length on the video is about right.

6. Lift onto a board. With a very sharp knife cut it in half and then lift one side onto the other. I am going to make a double one next time so that it creates a full circle which will work well for guests.

7. Cut onto segments as shown in the video and sprinkle with icing sugar. If you regime allows a nice fruit coulis would go really well with this.

Spinach and Quark Cannelloni.

This is an adapted recipe from a Pinch Of Nom recipe. I have tried to make mine free using quark instead of Ricotta and using Healthy Extra (HE) allowance for the rest of the cheese involved. I am using SW parlance here.

Just remember that Quark isn’t something newfangled. It is a Nordic soft cheese that has not fat.

Because I had had milk with my breakfast I did miss off the cheddar on the topping but on another day I could put all my HE in to the cheese involved.

You could also use fat free Fromage Frais if you quark averse or cannot get quark.

This recipe is for one portion, You can multiply it up for others. Remember you could also have the grated cheddar all over the top and still be on plan if you have save the HE allowance,

Ingredients

  • 3 cannelloni tubes
  • 70g spinach
  • 40g quark
  • 15g grated parmesan
  • 35g light mozzarella
  • 40g grated light cheddar
  • 150g passatta
  • 1/2 tsp garlic granules or 1 crushed clove garlic
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Paprika

Method:

  • Put spinach in a frying pan on medium heat. Cover and cook for a couple of minutes until it has wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
  • In a bowl mix together the quark and Parmesan.
  • Stir in wilted spinach (make sure it has cooled a little).
  • If you have a piping bag fill this with your mix and pipe into the cannelloni tubes (I didn’t so see the next instructions).
  • If you don’t have a piping bag stand a cannelloni tube on end on a plate.
  • Using a tsp and and up-ended tsp to spoon mix into the tube, pushing it down with the up-ended tsp. The plate will stop it coming out of the other end.
  • Lay the filled tubes in a dish.
  • Mix together the passatta , garlic and herbs.
  • Pour the passatta evenly over the cannelloni tubes.
  • Break up the mozzarella into pieces and spread over the top of the mix.
  • If, unlike me, you can have the grated cheddar sprinkle this over the top.
  • Sprinkle paprika to your taste over everything (I like lots).
  • Put it into an over at Gas Mark 6 / 180 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes or until the cheese is browning on top.

Milk Pudding

This came about because I had too much milk in the fridge so did some searching for a pudding that used the milk but didn’t add to the pounds.

This recipe would easily serve four people.

Ingredients:

  • 500 ml milk (I used skimmed milk)
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 3 tbsps sweetener (you can add more if you want it sweeter)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 6 sheets gelatin (60g if using powder)
  • Fruit of your choice

Method:

  • Mix milk and eggs together.
  • Bring to boil, stirring all the time.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for two minutes.
  • Dissolve gelatin sheets in boiling water (use instructions on the packet for amount of water).
  • Stir dissolved gelatin into mix and stir well.
  • Stir in sweetener and vanilla essence.
  • Add chosen fruit to dish.
  • Pour a ver milky mix.
  • Chill until set in the fridge.

Healthier Tortilla Chips Using Lasagna … Yes Lasagna!!!

This one has come from someone in my SW group. It is dead easy and very tasty.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lasagna sheets per person (approx 50g).
  • Low calorie spray oil.
  • Flavour of your choice (paprika, rock salt etc).

Method:

  • Cook the lasagna sheets in boiling water.
  • Drain and pay dry the lasagna sheets.
  • Cut each sheet into triangles.
  • Spray a baking tray with oil.
  • Sprinkle your chosen flavour on top of the oil.
  • Lay your lasagna triangles on the sheet.
  • Spray again with oil and sprinkle with your chosen flavour.
  • Put into a hot oven for ten minutes or until golden and crispy.

These are served with Frijamole which is just blitzed chick peas, another bean such as butter beans, cannellini beans or bortelli beans with lemon juice, roasted red pepper, garlic, coriander and chillis.

Katsu Chicken

Now firstly I can claim no credit for this recipe. It comes directly from SW. All I would say is that if this sort of food tickles your taste buds then why not have a look into SW. There is an online version for those living overseas.

Advert over, here is the recipe for a dish I love. This is a real goody. I have highlighted the few changes you can make to turn this into a vegetarian dish. It needs no adapting to make it kosher or halal as long as you buy your meats (and stock) from a suitable vendor/source.

Katsu Sauce:

2 onions, halved and sliced thinly

2 carrots, grated

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

600ml of chicken stock (vegetable stock if you are using quorn)

1 tbsp mild or medium curry powder

4 tsps soy sauce

Pinch of sweetener

Method:

  • Fry the onions for 4 or 5 mins until soft, adding splashes of water if they start to catch.
  • Add the grated carrot and continue stir frying for another 5 minutes.
  • Add all the other ingredients, stir and cook for 29 minutes on a medium heat.
  • Blitz to a smooth sauce using a stick blender or large blender.

The Chicken:

  • 4 chicken fillets (quorn fillets will also work)
  • 2 whole meal bread slices
  • Finely zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 eggs
  • Pinch of salt

Method:

  • Wrap each chicken fillet in clingfilm and bash with a rolling pin to flatten a bit (don’t bother trying this with a frozen quorn fillet the result will not be pretty).
  • Blitz the bread in a food processor.
  • Mix the lemon zest and salt into the bread crumbs.
  • Beat the three eggs.
  • Dip each fillet in the egg and then the bread crumbs.
  • Lay the breaded fillets on a baking tray.
  • Pour any remaining egg onto the fillets and then spray with low calorie spray.
  • Bake in an oven (Gas Mark 6 /180 Celsius) until golden brown.

Pickled Cucumber:

  • Half a cucumber, halved again lengthways and thinly sliced
  • 150ml white wine vinegar
  • Pinch of salt

Method:

  • Stir the cucumber, vinegar and salt together.
  • Put in a fridge and leave for at least half an hour.

Serving:

  • Slice the chicken, keeping the overall shape of the fillet.
  • Put the Katsu sauce on the plate.
  • Lift the chicken with a slice and lay on top of the sauce.
  • Add rice and a good pile of pickled cucumber.
  • If you are trying to impress someone place some sliced chilli and long strips of lime zest on top of the rice.

Can you make a mince pie using Pease Pudding Pastry?

A comment from Nicola, who had found my previous post on Pease Pudding Pastry, has inspired an experiment today. She asked if I had tried make a sweet version to make mince pies.

Now a sweet version is not a problem. The problem really lies in the consistency of the pastry which can make a great crust but as it is couldn’t be guaranteed to make a tart case that can be lifted whole from a mould.

I had thought on this issue previously and had considered adding gram flour to form up the mix. However I had not tried this yet but a recent investment in a bag of gram flour made this an option to try today.

The benefit of gram flour is that is gluten free although it does have a calorific hit to take.

Today I have tried an experimental bake with standard pease pudding pastry and with a batch with gram flour added. I will repeat the main recipe at the end and for now will focus on the success or otherwise of each option.

For ease I made a savoury quiche filling using eggs, cottage cheese, ham and chilli flakes.

Half the tray (6 tarts) were made using with the regular mix and half with gram flour so that both sets were baked under the same conditions.

Both batches looked similar when they came out of the oven.the four on the right and the lower two on the middle row used the standard mix. However lifting them out quickly showed that the batch with gram flour included could be lifted more easily and retained their shape completely.

These ones used the regular recipe and as you can see from the images the base has crumbled and fallen apart when lifted.

The batch that used gram flour lifted with a little teasing and made a tart that had a firm base and top and worked very well. I would cook them for longer next time just to firm up the base even further.

I will try again in the coming week to perfect the timing and to make a sweet version but for now clearly this is a great addition to the available menu. I will also try chilling the mix as you would with regular pastry

The Recipe:

  • 1 tin of pease pudding (410g)
  • 1 egg
  • 75g of gram flour

Mix the pease pudding and egg into a smooth mix and then stir in the gram flour until a pastry ball has been made.

Spray the muffin tin with fri-light oil.

Without chilling shape a lump of dough into a ball and then flatten into a patty.

Gently press the pastry into a mould until there is a thin and even covering over the area. Make sure it is thick enough so that the dark of the tin cannot be seen through it but not too thick leaving no room for filling.

Fill each base with filling and then repeat the exercise with a smaller amount of dough to create a top, gently pushing it against the filling and edges of the tart.

Bake in a medium oven (Gas mark 6/7 180-200c) until golden brown on top with browning edges.

Put on a wire rack to cool and then gently lift each tart from the tin. You may have to use a knife to gently loosen the edges.

If you have a try and perfect the recipe please share you success here for others to see.

Tom Collins – a cocktail that won’t break the calorie bank.

I had the pleasure of a Zoom based gin master class with the Bombay Sapphire team and in this I discovered a drink called a Tom Collins.

This is a proper cocktail that can be no syns up to 6 syns (for those SW followers like me). To have no syns you would need to use no alcoholic gin and sweetener / no sugar syrups but this recipe will use gin (but refer to alternatives)

You can personalise your drink though the choice of fruit you use, what type of sweetened substance you choose (even honey or posh cordial can be used). You can also add spices like cinnamon and fennel seeds. This drink can be different every time you make it.

Ingredients:

  • 35 ml gin (replace for no-alcohol gin if you wish)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, 30-50ml (or lime/pink grapefruit)
  • 2 tsps of caster sugar/flavoured syrups (including sugar free)/honey/posh cordial
  • Soft fruit of you choice
  • 100ml chilled soda water
  • Lots of ice

Method:

2 tsps of sugar /sweetener/flavoured/syrup/honey/posh cordial.
Add 50ml of citric juice (approx half a lemon). You can also lime, pink grapefruit etc. Stir the mix throughly.
Add 35ml of gin. You can also use no-alcohol gin. And again stir throughly you can also add spices like cinnamon and fennel seeds as well as fresh herbs like mint, basil and rosemary.
Add your soft fruit of choice.
Crush the fruit and then stir the mix thoroughly.
Fill the glass with glass ice until sitting above the edge of the glass. Don’t be timid at this point.
Fill the glass with soda water. Pouring it down the spiralled spoon keeps the fizz in your drink better but is not essential.
Stir thoroughly, add a slice and enjoy.

Baked Oats – The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Baked oats are proving to be a very versatile addition to a varied and healthy menu. Today’s version is baked oats breakfast waffles. However this could equally be a dessert or a savoury option with additions of things like cheese/ham and topped with sautéed vegetables.

These ones are banana waffles. This gives you a naturally sweet waffle with no need for sugar or syrup. I did sweeten the yoghurt with a tsp of sweetener and of course piled on fresh fruit to finish off. If you regime allows feel free to add some maple syrup or other sauces (within moderation).

You could use other chopped or grated fruit as an alternative to bananas. I wouldn’t use whole fruit, even is small like blueberries as the waffles are thinner than a baked oats muffin and this might weaken the structure,

The nice waffle brown surface of these is from the bottom of the mould. The cooked top colour will be lighter than this.

I am repeating the recipe to save you scrolling through other posts. The only additional equipment was a silicon waffle mould. As an aside the yoghurt is my homemade yoghurt made from skimmed milk.

Ingredients (to serve 1)

  • 40g porridge oats
  • 1 egg
  • 100g fat free yoghurt
  • 1 banana (chopped into small pieces)

Method:

  • Mix together the yoghurt, oats and egg into an even mix.
  • Stir in the chopped bananas.
  • Spoon into the waffle mould.
  • Put onto a baking tray and into an oven at about gas Mark 6 (180C).
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and gently tease the edges of the mould loose.
  • Turn upside down onto a plate and gently lift the mould allowing the wedges to drop down.
  • Add yoghurt and fruit on top.