Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Pepper Steak Marinade

We are big fans of the pepper steak, but sometimes, the steak can be a bit tough and even a little tasteless.  So I thought I would see if I could improve this simple dish with a tasty marinade to tenderise the meat and add flavour to the steak.

Pepper Steak Marinade
2 small sirloin steaks
2 tbsp lime or lemon juice
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp grapeseed (or other vegetable) oil
1 clove of garlic crushed
1 tbsp crushed black pepper corns
1 tsp flavoured salt (I used fennel salt but you could use ordinary sea salt)

Combine all the ingredients to make the marinade and marinate the steak for at least 2 hours.
Drain the marinade from the steak and grill 3-4 inches from the heat until cooked to your liking.


I served the steak with corn cobs, steamed then place in a parcel of foil with seasoning and butter and baked in the oven.  Also red pepper with tomato, garlic and basil basted with olive oil and roasted.  The field mushrooms were dotted with butter, sprayed with olive oil spray and roasted too. 

The whole dish was quite delicious, the marinade was incredibly tasty, you could not have known that there was soy sauce in it, every flavour conspired to enhance the flavour of the steak and it was butter tender.  This one is a keeper!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Forever Nigella #7 - Chopped Fruit Salad

Update 26th July:  Sometimes, I'm so ahead of myself I meet myself coming back - hee hee!  The closing date for this challenge isn't until Sunday 31st, sorry for any confusion.
I'm cutting it quite fine with my entry for Forever Nigella, which is being hosted this month by Soul Curry.  The closing date is tomorrow!  I really struggled to find a recipe to make, mainly because I am not eating high fat and sugar foods, and Nigella is fond of all things creamy and sugary.  I looked through my books and was not inspired, so had a look at the Nigella.com site to see if I could find something suitable there and came up with Chopped Fruit Salad  it may not sound very inspiring, but the combination of fruits and yogurt made it perfect for my entry to the challenge.

I have to admit that I only used the recipe as a very loose guide as I have used Nectarines, raspberries and apricots rather than the strawberries, mango and blueberries that Nigella has chosen, but the principle is the same.
I gently crushed the raspberries that went in the middle layer and also added a tablespoon of Amaretto to each glass.  I used 0% Greek Yogurt on the top and then added some lovely whole rasps rather than pomegranate seeds for a 'gloriously jewelled topping' just as Nigella ordered , the glasses then went into the fridge to allow the fruit juices to mix and the whole thing to be 'iced' as per the challenge.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

OMG Gino D'Acampo

I had a  little time at lunchtime on Thursday and found myself browsing the cookery and crafting mags in WH Smith.  The magazine that jumped out at me as being full of recipes I would like to cook was  'Woman and Home, Dinner Tonight'
I flipped through the magazine on my train ride home and was immediately struck by Gino D'Acampo, oh yes and by his recipes too (blush).  I remember when Gino was the new boy on UKTV Food's lunch time Good Food show.  I no longer subscribe to Sky so don't get to see Food TV - boo hoo!  But as it was the only thing I watched it wasn't good value for money.

Gino has a new book out, Gino's Pasta and shared a few of the recipes in the magazine article.

This recipe for Fettucine with sweet onions, rosemary and minced lamb struck me as something I would really enjoy.  It combines lamb mince with white wine, onions and grated carrots.  Now, I've always served red wine with lamb, so this recipe intruiged me.  And as Gino 'begged' me to try this recipe (he did really, it says so in the mag) I would have been rude not to give it a go.
Here is what my version of this recipe looked like.  It was light and very tasty, I enjoyed the lack of tomatoes and we had olive bread to sop up the juices.

There are lots more simple and delicious recipes in this magazine so I would recommend that you buy a copy before it disappears from the shops!  I am not getting paid to say this (unless, of course, W&H would like to pay me lol!) I just want to share a good buy with my blog buddies :)

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Seared Ginger Beef and Mushrooms - Random Recipes

Random Recipe challenge for July is to choose a recipe at random from your Favourite cookbook.  Eeek, how on earth do you choose your favourite cookbook?  I have different favourites for different types of food and eating.  In the end, as I am on a bit of a fat reduction mission,  I decided to choose my favourite low-fat cookbook.

And this is it!  Top 200 Low Fat Recipes by Judith Wills,  I've had it for years, it was published in 2003 and I've probably had it since just after that.  There are many delicious recipes which are not 'diet' just lower fat versions, some of the recipes are old favourites, but as this is a random recipe challenge I opened the book at random and actually came upon a recipe I haven't made before.



Seared Ginger Beef and Mushrooms (serves 2)

1 tbsp groundnut oil
100g broccoli, cut into small florets
300g lean rump steak, cut into strips
3 cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic
125g shitake mushrooms, sliced (I just used ordinary mushrooms)
100g canned bamboo shoots, drained sliced

For the sauce
1dsp sauce flour (I used cornflour)
1tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp dry sherry
1/2 tbsp sherry vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
1 dsp black bean sauce
50ml beef stock


1. Combine the sauce ingredients thoroughly in a jug or bowl and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a non-stick wok or large non-stick frying pan and stir-fry the broccoli over  high heat for 2 minutes.
3 Add beef and stir-fry for 1 1/2 minutes, then add the ginger and garlic and stir to combine.
4. Add the mushrooms and bamboo shoots and stir-fry for 1 minute, then tip in the sauce ingredients, stir well and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring continuously.  Serve immediately with thread egg noodles or rice.

 Overall it was a nice combination, I had some pak choy so added that with the broccoli and doubled up the ingredients to make enough for four. I think it would have benefited from some chilli or a bit more black bean sauce as we had to add some extra soy at the table.  But that my just be that I like a bit of a kick to my food.

Remember to check out Random Recipes at Belleau Kitchen.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

We should Cocoa - Apricots

I just love apricots, fresh or dried, they are probably my favourite fruit, with raspberries coming  a close second.  So I was very pleased indeed when I saw that 'We should Cocoa' had chosen Apricots as the ingredient to combine with some form of chocolate in July.


I was looking for something that was quite light so chose this recipe from Rosemary Conley's Low Fat Cookbook.  In the book it is a 'Low Fat chocolate and black cherry pudding' but I thought it would work just as well with apricots.


Low-fat chocolate and apricot pudding
3 large eggs, separated
4oz (100g) caster sugar
3ox (75g) self-raising flour
1oz (25g) cocoa powder
6 fresh apricots
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tsp caster sugar

Gently poach the apricots with the orange juice and 1 tsp of caster sugar until they are soft.  Place them in the base of an ovenproof dish.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C, 350F, Gas Mark 4.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff.  Add the yolks and whisk in.  Add the caster sugar and whisk until all the sugar has dissolved.
Sift the self-raising flour with the cocoa powder.  Using a figure of eight action, fold half the four into the ff an sugar misxture.  When the flour is almost folded in, add the remaining flour in the same way until the mixture is smooth.  Spoon the mixture over the top of the apricots.  

Bake in the oven for approximately 40 minutes or until golden brown.  When cooked leave to cool for a few minutes.  Serve with low fat fromage frais, greek yogurt or vanilla ice-cream.




The combination worked really well, the sponge is very light, moist and delicious and dig down to find the soft, sweet, golden apricots.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Strawberry Jelly

Now I know that Delia will be frowning and tutting at me, but I didn't make my own jelly for this, I took my inspiration from Delia's Summer Collection but also from her Cheat cookbook!  So I used a Robertson's strawbery jelly and added sliced strawberries which had been quickly mascerated in a teaspoon of caster sugar and a squeeze of lime juice.  Set that in a loaf tin lined with clingfilm and you have something quite impressive.

I served it with Mango sorbet, not my own, and it was lovely and refereshing for a warm July day. 


Saturday, 2 July 2011

Low Fat Blackcurrant 'Cheesecake'

The first of my blackcurrants were ready to pick today.  Because we have had a month of rain in Scotland, the currants are nice and large and juicy, we have not seen much sun but today it shone all day and I was able to pick enough to make dessert.

After what feels like a very long winter and soggy spring, I need to shed a few pounds so I am lightening my cooking.  Blackcurrants present a bit of a problem because they are just too sour to eat without some kind of sweetener and I don't like artificial sweeteners.

I decided to make a sort of faux cheesecake, so I cooked some blackcurrants (about a cupful) with a teaspoon of water and a tablespoon of caster sugar.  I only cooked them until they started to burst then pulled them off the heat to cool.  Once cool I added a tablespoon of cherry brandy.
In the bottom of the ramekin, is a gingersnap cookie, soaked in a little orange juice to soften it.  On top of that is two tablespoons of 0% Greek Yogurt and then the blackcurrant sauce.  There was just enough sweetness in the cookie and the sauce to offset the sharpness of the blackcurrants.  I'm not saying I wouldn't rather have the full fat version but this was not bad at all.
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