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Friday, 26 August 2016

I get paid to have this much fun!

26th August 2016
“You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.” Dr Seuss

Oh wow, I've not long woke up and just looked out the window for the first time and the sky is pure blue and cloud free - perfect!  Does that mean there's a sunny day on the way - I do hope so, fancy getting an hour in the garden and not rushing.  It's been a busy old week, one which I've enjoyed immensely though, these cooking demos have been fun. 

Yesterday we started with Pork and Plum stir fry, that went down really well, all the ingredients except the sauce were bought from Lidls, I picked the sauce up in Budgens but most supermarkets would do it.  The tray of veg was the mediterranean one and under a pound I'm sure and the noodles were cheap in comparison to other places.  I liked that the onions were big chunky wedge pieces, I'd never have left mine that big had I sliced them myself but I will in future.  Members definitely recommended this recipe anyway, so simple and tasty, a good Chinese Fakeaway meal for a Friday night.  I think it would work just as well with chicken, quorn or mushrooms for a veggie version.
Pork and plum stir-fry
Serves 4, 8sp per serving
10 minutes in total

350g lean pork loin steak, cut into thin strips (14sp)
Calorie controlled cooking spray
525g pack prepared stir fry mixed vegetables

3 tablespoons plum sauce (6sp) Sharwood's Plum Sauce is 5sp

Juice of a lime
2 tablespoons soy sauce
300g straight to wok medium egg noodles (13sp)
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat a wok or large non stick frying pan over a high heat.  Add the pork, spray with the cooking spray, and stir fry for 3 minutes until cooked through.  Remove the pork and any juices from teh wok and set to one side. 

Add the stir-fry vegetables to teh wok, spray again with the cooking spray, and stir fry for 3 minutes. 

Return the pork to the wok with the plum sauce, lime juice, soy sauce, 1tbsp of water and the noodles.  Season with black pepper and stir fry for 2 minutes, separating the noodles with a wok stirrer or spatula, until heated through.  Serve immediately.

Next we cooked;  

Speedy Spaghetti Carbonara
Serves 4, 15sp per serving
(4sp on No Count day for parmesan cheese)
takes 15 minutes

400 g Wholewheat Spaghetti (36sp)
Cooking oil spray
100 g Bacon Medallions, Raw (2sp) chopped into 2cm pieces
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 large eggs, lightly beaten (7sp)
110 g Parmesan Cheese, (16sp)
Salt & pepper to taste

Cook spaghetti according to instructions on packet.  Meanwhile, spray frying pan with oil and add bacon, fry for 2-3mins until lightly browned.  Add garlic and fry for another 30 seconds.  Set aside.

Drain spaghetti and add to bacon mixture in the pan, add eggs and half parmesan cheese, season and toss together.  The heat from the spaghetti will partly cook the egg, but leave it moist.

Serve and sprinkle with remaining parmesan.

I had a portion of this for my lunch, it was delicious and no one really objected to the Wholewheat spaghetti, most hadn't noticed and when told they said it had more bite and was tasty.  Another winner for in the kitchen when you're in a rush, under 15 minutes and easy.

On the night in my first meeting we made possibly my favourite of the week so far Malaysian Chicken, although the Pork and Plum stir fry comes a close second, I'm really quite light weight where it comes to chilli but I liked this, I made a larger portion for 4 by multiplying most ingredients by 4, I was just a bit unsure about the chilli so used one rather than two but if you like a kick use the two as I easily ate it with the one in.  I used lime juice too and I only had dark brown sugar but that's what it's all about with a recipe, adapt it to suit. 
Malaysian chicken (Serves 1, 3sp)
multiply recipe for more portions
Serve with rice (extra points) and steamed broccoli
Take 10 mins to prepare, 12 minutes to cook

1 small onion, sliced
1/2 red chilli, de-seeded and chopped finely
Low fat cooking spray
1 chicken breast, diced (2sp)
1 teaspoon light brown soft sugar (1sp)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons chicken stock or water
1 teaspoon rice vinegar or lime juice

Spray a lidded, non stick saucepan with cooking spray and fry the onions and chilli for 2 minutes.

Add the chicken and stir fry for 1 minute over  a high heat, then sprinkle in the sugar and cook for 1 minutes more until caramelised. 

In a jug, mix the soy sauce, stock and rice vinegar or lime juice together.  Pour over the chicken, cover the pan and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Remove the lid, increase the heat, and bubble for 2 minutes until slightly reduced.  Tossing the chicken in the sauce to glaze.

So those three were huge successes then came the last meeting of the day and well let's just say what should've probably have been the easiest didn't work ;) this was the recipe;

Chicken patties
Serves 5, 6sp per patty on a bun
1½ lbs. chicken breast, chopped into ½-inch pieces (7sp)
1/3 cup finely diced green bell pepper
2 green onions, thinly sliced (green part only)
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
5 hamburger buns (25sp) (use brown warburton thins for No Count) (15sp)

lettuce (optional)
sliced tomato (optional)

wax paper, cut into ten 5" x 6" pieces
2 freezer bags
cooking spray

Combine the chicken, green pepper, onion, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Spray ten wax paper pieces with cooking spray and lay out on the counter (spray side up).

Place 1/2 cup of chicken mixture onto five pieces of wax paper.

Flatten the chicken mixture with your fingers so it is evenly flat and top each chicken patty with wax paper (sprayed side down). Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Fry them with spray light and serve on buns.

Well let's just say I didn't chop stuff small enough, mostly because it was boring and time-consuming but also because my knife had started to blunt and tables are lower than work surfaces and my back was starting to hurt from slaving over a hot stove and even hotter weigh scales all day :)  Well there was no way what I'd prepped was going to stick together in a patty so as a group we decided to add some of the plum sauce that was left and have it on the thins I'd bought - can I just say, it was tasty and shows how not only can you improvise as much as you like when cooking but how you can make something that tastes really good with just a few ingredients, all that was in that pan was diced chicken, diced green pepper, diced spring onions and a table spoon of plum sauce.  It was delicious to be fair and you could then add any other veggies you've got in the kitchen.  Be nice served with rice or chips too.  We did giggle in all the meetings but that last one, well they were great, I'd got Kirsty offering everyone a crisp at the point it looked like the cooking of patties wasn't going to happen at all, but they've won out because I'm going to cook just for that meeting again next week, I let them choose the recipe from the ten I'm cooking this week, they've asked for the pork and plum stir fry. 

If anyone wants all the recipes from this week in a word document, I will be posting it on my website on Sunday morning, but if you can't wait, you can inbox me bev_ww@yahoo.co.uk and I'll send it you.  Just remember if you do the Chicken Patties, cut it all up small like my sister does;

Did I mention I got the recipe from her!  Oh yeah, I told my members I reckoned she'd given me a dodgy recipe on purpose so I'd look a plonker, we had quite the humorous messenger conversation with each other throughout the meeting when I showed her my photos and she showed me what it should've looked like! 

Brilliant week and still two demos to go, one tonight at Essington Community 5.30-6.30pm and in the morning at United Reform Church, Old Fallings, I'm sure we'll have just as much fun and I've got all day to recover :)

Enjoy your Friday, Bank Holiday on the horizon, hope you've got something nice planned, I'm thinking of staying close to home to avoid the crowds.

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