Category Archives: Fast Day Food

Channa Masala

This recipe for Channa Masala is a brilliant one to have in your repetoir.  It makes a delicious meal in its own right or a brilliant accompaniment to a large meal.

Channa Masala

It also makes a wonderful fast day option as it is so filling and extremely satisfying on its own!

Channa Masala

2 tbsp sunflower oil
20g butter
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp lemon juice
2x 400g tins tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato purée
2x 400g tins chickpeas, drained

  • Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan or deep frying pan.
  • Cook the onion and garlic until soft.
  • Add the spices and cook for a minute longer
  • Add the lemon juice, tomatoes,  puree and chickpeas and simmer on a low heat, stirring occasionally for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour.
  • The sauce should be slightly reduced and nicely glossy and thick.
  • Serve immediately or this also freezes really well!
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Filed under Easy, Fast Day Food, Mains, Sides

Lime, coriander and chilli chicken with tomato, red onion and sweetcorn salsa

A long name for a simple dish but this recipe for Lime, coriander and chilli chicken with tomato, red onion and sweetcorn salsa is a lovely, refreshing take on a basic favourite.  Pepping up a simple chicken breast and salad with some zingy flavours brings a whole new dimension to it and I could eat this healthy meal every week at the moment!

Lime, coriander and chilli chicken with tomato, red onion and sweetcorn salsa

 

Serves 4

 

200g cherry or baby plum tomatoes
1 small red onion, diced
1 small tin sweet corn, drained
1 tsp coriander leaf (fresh or dried)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 small red chilli, chopped
1 tbsp lime juice

4 chicken breasts
1 tsp coriander leaf (fresh or dried)
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tbsp olive oil

Salad, avocado and creme fraiche to serve

– Slice the tomatoes into quarters and put into a bowl.
– Add the onion, sweetcorn, corianders, chilli and lime juice and give a good stir.
– Set aside and leave until you’re ready to eat.  If you can make this a couple of hours in advance, great, otherwise the half hour while the chicken cooks in the oven will do nicely.

– Heat the oven to gas mark 5 (Or turn on a health grill!)
– Take your chicken breasts and score lines into the top being careful not to cut through the whole breast.
– Place the chicken in an oven proof dish sprinkle over the coriander, chilli, lime juice and oil.
– Rub this mixture all over your chicken.
– Bake for 30 minutes or simply use a health grill to cook for a more charred look.

– Serve with salad, avocado and creme fraiche.

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Filed under Easy, Fast Day Food, Gluten Free, Low Fat, Mains

Prawns and Red Lentils with Rice

This dish came about because I had defrosted a bunch of prawns for a salad… and then the weather changed.  It was horrible!  So I wanted a nice, warming, filling dish to warm me up and bring some sunshine back into my life! This prawn and red lentil dish hit the spot nicely!

Prawns and Red Lentils with Rice

It was nice and simple to throw together and just half an hour of simmering works wonders on the depth of flavour you get from a dish like this.  The ingredient list might seem a bit long but I promise you, it doesn’t take that long to throw it all in a pan and the combination of flavours really works!  I also managed to get my workout in while it was simmering so that was a nice bonus!

Prawns and Red Lentils with Rice

Serves 4

1/2 onion, finely diced
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp nigella seeds
1 tsp dried coriander leaves
1 sweet red pepper, sliced
400g tin chopped tomatoes
+ 1 tin boiling water
3 tbsp coconut milk powder ( or 1 sachet coconut cream)
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp garlic puree ( 1-2 cloves, crushed)
1 vegetable stock cube
8 tbsp red lentils
~ 150g prawns, defrosted (I used a mix of king prawns and coldwater prawns)

– Heat a splash of oil in a large heavy frying pan (I adore my enamel cast iron pan for this kind of dish!)
– Add the onion and spices and gently cook for a few minutes until the onion in soft and the spices are fragrant.
– Add the pepper and cook for another two minutes, stirring occasionally.
– Add the tinned tomato, rinsing out the tin with the hot water, to coconut milk powder, the tomato puree, garlic puree and the stock cube. Give it a good stir to mix.
– Add the lentils and stir in.
– Leave to simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes until the lentils are soft and the liquid reduced by half.
– Add the prawns and heat through until piping hot.
– Serve with rice, or without as a nice Fast Day option.  You can sprinkle a little fresh chopped coriander on top for a little more panache!

Prawns and Red Lentils with Rice

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Filed under Dairy Free, Easy, Fast Day Food, Gluten Free, Low Fat, Mains

Sticky Date Slice

My mother was a brilliant, sneaky mother. She found ways to get us to eat really healthy things and make it fun and tasty! These sticky date slices were a staple snack in our family and it’s only as an adult when I asked for the recipe that I realised just how good for you they are! To me they’re still a fantastic sweet treat, I just get to enjoy them even more now!

Sticky Date Slice

They are so quick and easy to make too, throw it all in a food processor, blitz it up, rolls, chill, slice and wrap!  Now I have a little stash of these in my fridge whenever I need a quick boost of energy (mostly that post-work pre-dog walk ten minute break I get!)

Sticky Date Slice

I suspect that if you made these into balls rather than slices then they would be in the ‘powerball’ category of healthy snacking.  But let’s not ruin something delicious by loading it down with too much virtue!

Sticky Date Slice

Makes 12 (~70 kcal each)

175g dates (pitted)
50g whole almonds
50g rolled oats
1 tsp honey
~1 tbsp cold water

– Put the dates and the almonds in a food processor and blitz until all chopped up.  You can go for longer if you want a smooth slice, or leave it chunkier for more bite.
– Add the oats and honey and blitz again.
– With the motor running add the water slowly until it comes together in a ball.  You may need a little more water if your dates were very dry but don’t add too much or you will get a VERY sticky slice!
– Turn out onto baking parchment and roll out to a little under the size of an A4 piece of paper.  About 5mm thick.
– Place in the fridge and chill for about an hour.
– Remove from the fridge, slice and wrap in cling film then store in the fridge for later.  (You can also keep them in an airtight container at room temperature but I prefer the bite from keeping them in the fridge!)

 

 

 

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Filed under Breakfasts, Cookies and Biscuits, Dairy Free, Easy, Fast Day Food, Gluten Free, Teatime Treats

Thai Noodle Crab Cakes

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These were a bit of an experiment, hashed together from a few different ideas I’d seen about the place.  I may tweak the recipe further still but for now I like this one!  I love crab cakes but they tend to be rather calorific (I recently saw a crab cake starter clocking in at 789 calories!!!) The idea here was to cut down on the calorie count and embrace more “eat clean” ideas in my diet.  These are quick and simple to whip together and taste great!  I served them here with sticky rice, edamame and tsuyu dipping sauce but they’re equally good with a bit of sweet chilli sauce.  (And, yes, spot the deliberate mistake, I forgot to buy the spring onions when I cooked them in these pictures, it adds a nice aspect in both taste and colour but they work just fine without them!)  These also make a nice addition to a picnic or lunchbox as they don’t fall apart!  I’d even be tempted to make them into mini cakes for a picnic or party.

Makes 6

50g vermicelli rice noodles
1 Frozen Coley portion ~90g
1 tin crab meat, drained
2 egg whites
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 tbsp corn flour
3 tbsp tinned sweetcorn
3 spring onions, sliced

– Boil some water and pour over the noodles in a bowl, leave to stand.
– Put the frozen coley on a microwave safe dish and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes (Your microwave may vary, you want the fish to be defrosted and just cooked)
– Shred the coley in to a bowl, you can use fingers or forks to gently flake it apart into small shreds.
– Add the crab meat, the egg whites, the fish sauce and the sweet chilli sauce and give it a good stir.
– Add the corn flour and again, stir well to combine.  If the mixture is still very wet looking you can add more corn flour, you want to be able to take a scoop of it.
– Drain the noodles well and roughly chop them then add them to the mixture.
– Add the tinned sweetcorn and the spring onions and mix well.
– Heat some oil in a large flat bottomed frying pan.
– You should be able to make 6 patties out of this mixture, take a scoop, roughly shape it and place it in the pan where you can tidy up the edges a little if you like.
– Leave to cook on the first side for 3-5 minutes until the cake is cooked about halfway up, you should be able to see the difference in texture as it cooks.
– Carefully flip over the cake and leave to cook for another 3-5 minutes on this side without moving it.
– The cakes should be dry and firm to the touch when fully cooked.
– Serve with whatever sauce you prefer and may be some rice and veggies, they also go nicely with salad!

 

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Filed under Dairy Free, Easy, Fast Day Food, Gluten Free, Low Fat, Mains

Fast Day Stir Fry

I think that I’m rather beginning to get into the swing of Fast Day recipes now!  The temptation at the beginning was to just keep it simple and stick to basics.  You can’t really mess up a grilled chicken breast and a plate of steamed veg, can you? But that got boring, fast.  I like to look forward to my dinner, especially when I have to look forward to it all day without even the blip of lunch to see me through.  So I’ve been playing around with some fancier options recently.

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This dish is still simple, and it does essentially comprise a plate full of chicken and vegetables.  But presentation is everything!  You eat with your eyes first, after all.  By stir frying you get a different texture and the cauliflower ‘rice’ adds a visual appeal and a satisfaction that I just don’t feel you would get if you just added cauliflower into the stir fry.  The crunchiness of the baby corn and sugar snap peas is incredibly welcome after a day’s abstinence and the punch that you can pack into what boils down to the simplest of sauces gives you a lot of flavour for very little!  The other nice bonus is that this is a proper plate full of food.  You certainly can’t feel deprived looking at that!

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Serves 1 (~300cal)

100g cauliflower, coarsely grated
1/2 tsp five spice
~125g chicken breast, sliced
100g courgette, sliced
100g baby corn, halved
50g sugar snap peas, halved
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
a dash of boiling water

– Place the grated cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and add a pinch of five spice and a pinch of salt.
– Stir well and add 1 tbsp water.
– Microwave for 2 minutes on full power.
– Heat your non stick frying pan or wok.  (Now, as with any dry frying, non stick is your friend.  Do not try it with anything else or you will weld that chicken to the pan!)
– Add the chicken and cook until just browned.
– Add the remaning five spice and the courgette, corn and peas.
– Stir fry until the courgette is just starting to soften and is catching a little colour.
– Add the soy sace, oyster sauce and just a dash of boiling water.  Just enough to cover the base of the pan.  If you add too much, simply boil until the sauce is reduced.
– Make sure everything is coated in sauce by stiring well then serve with your cauliflower “rice”.

NB. If you want to make this gluten free make sure you have the right soy and oyster sauces!

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Filed under Dairy Free, Easy, Fast Day Food, Gluten Free, Mains

Red Lentil Daal

Over the last year surely everyone has heard of the 5:2 Fast Diet?  Well, I am one of the latest people to give it a try.  I haven’t been doing it for long enough to really pass judgement yet.  Suffice to say, it’s not hard, you just have to have some will power, and perhaps a little creativity too!   Whether or not you’re interested in fasting, this is a delicious, low fat, low calorie dish that can be enjoyed any day you like!

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Serves 2 (~170 calories each)

1 / 2 squirts olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp nigella seeds
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
75g red lentils
salt and pepper to taste
fresh coriander to serve

– Heat the oil in a medium saucepan.  You really want to be using as little as physically possible here, it really is to just stop the onion sticking.
– Add the onion and garlic and cook until just turning translucent.
– Add the herbs and spices and cook for another minute.
– Add the chopped tomatoes and about half a can of water.  (Swish it around to get the last tomato bits out.)
– Add the lentils and bring to the boil.
– Simmer for 30 minutes over a low heat.
– Season to taste and serve scattered with fresh coriander.
– A grilled chicken breast makes an excellent addition too!

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Filed under Dairy Free, Easy, Fast Day Food, Gluten Free, Low Fat, Mains, Sides