Mother’s Day Dinner Under Lock Down And The Shadow of COVID19.

Today’s challenge was to make a Mother’s Day meal that was luscious, at least partly healthy, and using what was in rather than going down to the supermarket and buying more stuff and adding to the unnecessary shopping and hoarding going on. If you want the good stuff jump straight to the pudding at the end.

Now before I go into the meal you should ask what Maggie was doing at the same time. She was laying as a small patio area with Reuben in support. This left me free to get on with things in the kitchen.

With Maggie and Reuben in the garden and me in the kitchen we were also ensuring we were not out about and were maintaining our social isolation.

The main course was drawn from the Pinch of Nom cook book and the Slimming World Free Food A to Z. If you are not a Slimming World aficionado Free Food is food you can eat as much as you want until comfortably full (no weighing etc). It should include at least a third of those less calorific and harder to digest foods like leaf vegetables, carrots, onions etc. If you want to know more about Slimming World you would need to sign up. The Pinch of Nom book (and website) have list of healthy recipes well suited (but not affiliated to )to approaches like Slimming World. The pudding comes from Mary Berry’s Quick Cooking book. This is a brilliant book and easy to make healthy (apart from the puddings). Right enough spiel and let’s get down to food.

The main course included chicken tikka kebabs (the original recipe used tandoori spice mix but I only had a tikka spice mix in), Mediterranean vegetables and an upgrade couscous mix. I bit of a taste fusion made up of a little of what we like.

The chicken kebabs are made using a marinade using the following ingredients:

  • 200g 0% fat greek yoghurt
  • 4 tbsp chicken tikka spice mix
  • Garlic clove (crushed or grated)
  • 2cm root ginger (grated)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 3 large chicken breasts cut into chunks (one per person)

Method:

  • Mix all the ingredients, other than the chicken, until you have a smooth paste.
  • Stir in the chicken and coat thoroughly.
  • Leave to marinade for as long as possible, ideally at least two hours.
  • Put onto skewers and cook under a hot grill, turning regularly (about thirty minutes) or bake in the oven for 35 minutes.

The Mediterranean vegetables were just a straight forward mix of what was in, in this case chopped chucks of peppers, onions, courgettes and cherry tomatoes , sprayed with fry light and baked in the oven for thirty minutes.

Now the couscous comes from a recipe with other ingredients, I have just lifted this component as it suited what I needed. It is called Mediterranean Couscous and my mix reflects what was in and what I fancied. You can also added chopped spring onions and chopped chillis but I left these off this time.

Ingredients ( all mixed together once your couscous has been prepared).

  • 250g cooked chickpeas
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 3 tbsp chopped mint
  • 50g rocket, roughly chopped

Spice mix of 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp ground coriander, 1/2 tsp tumeric, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon mixed with 2 tbsp lemon juice. This should also be stirred i into the couscous.

Finally we reach dessert and this one is not low calorie. Mary Berry calls it Indulgent Chocolate Surprise and I know a version of (from a Kiwi friend we knew in Malawi named Didge) called Self-Saucing chocolate Sponge. It is really easy, delicious and luscious. We had neither in but it would be served well with ice cream or custard but great on its own.

Sponge Ingredients:

  • 60g caster sugar
  • 60g semolina
  • 30g cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 30g butter (melted) plus some extra for greasing the dish
  • 2 eggs

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 100 muscovado sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 300ml water (MB said boiling, I missed this point but it worked fine with cold water)

Method:

  • Mix caster sugar, semolina, cocoa and baking powder in a large bowl.
  • Mix the melted butter and eggs, beating with a fork.
  • Pour into the dry mix and whisk gently until mixed to a smooth cake mix.
  • Spoon the sponge mix into the greased dish and gently smooth the top to an even level across the dish.
  • Mix all the sauce ingredients until smooth and pour over the sponge mix.
  • Bake in the oven for 35 minutes until the spring is well risen and the sauce is bubbling underneath.

Serve and eat… enjoy.

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