Reidbury's Kitchen

Food thoughts, recipes and billowing smoke from a home cook's kitchen in London


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Lightweight Cottage Pie

Lightweight Cottage Pie, The Fast Diet Recipe Book

Lightweight Cottage Pie, The Fast Diet Recipe Book

So I posted my Classic Cottage Pie recipe yesterday (you can view that post here), and it reminded me of a lightweight version of this dish I cooked a month or so ago. This recipe came from the 5:2 diet book, ‘The Fast Diet Recipe Book‘, and it’s a lower calorie version of the classic. The main way this Cottage Pie sheds calories is by switching out the usual potato mash topping with a lighter version of celeriac and leeks, which I thought sounded interesting. And it was! I didn’t really have massive expectations about this dish before cooking it, but it really did impress me when it got to the eating part! So much so that I would happily eat this version instead of the full Classic Cottage Pie if I was in the right mood! The topping was a really nice replacement for the potato (and that’s pretty impressive from me given that I bloody love a potato), and the meat was full of flavour. So, this recipe is tasty AND virtuous. Good stuff!

PS. I apologise for the fact that I don’t have a proper photo of the cottage pie – I forgot to take one, so this is a photo from the book!

KB rating 8/10. PR rating 8/10.

Calorie Count: 243 per person

Lightweight Cottage Pie (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • Oil for spraying
  • 250g extra-lean minced beef
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 300ml boiling water
  • 2 OXO cubes
  • 500g celeriac, peeled and cubed
  • 100g half-fat creme fraiche
  • 1 tsp groundnut oil
  • 2 young leeks, trimmed and sliced (into about pound coin width)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F

Spray a large pan with oil and brown the minced beef. Add the diced onion, celery and carrot and allow to soften for 10 minutes.

Stir in the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper, water and OXO cubes. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, boil the celeriac until very tender, drain and mash with creme fraiche until as smooth as as you wish.

Heat the oil in a pan and gently saute the leeks, then add them to the celeriac mash; season well.

Pour the beef into a shallow ovenproof dish, and top with the celeriac mixture. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the top is golden brown

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Classic Cottage Pie

Classic Cottage Pie

Classic Cottage Pie

Sometimes when life is stressful and getting you down, you need to find food comfort. And whilst this isn’t something I really grew up eating, it’s something I cook when I, or my boyfriend, need comfort on a plate. I have no idea where I got this recipe, and I do tend to vary the quantities of the flavourings depending on my mood. But it is always a wonderful meal to dig into. I always serve it with peas, and I always have french mustard as a condiment, whilst Paul goes back to his childhood and has ketchup! He’s also been known to indulge in a Cottage Pie Sandwich too…!

KB rating 8/10. PR rating 8/10

Classic Cottage Pie (serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 675g minced beef (I tend to use 750g as that’s the standard large pack size!)
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 12 drops Worcestershire sauce (I love this flavour, so feel free to add less…or more!)
  • 10 drops Tabasco (again, I like the hit and sometimes add a lot more than this)
  • Blob of marmite (my secret ingredient – it adds oomph not marmitey flavour)
  • 175ml red wine
  • 300ml beef stock
  • Black pepper
  • 1.4kg potatoes
  • 50ml milk
  • Cheddar (grated) – enough to sprinkle over the top
  • Parmesan (grated) – enough to sprinkle over the top

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the onion, carrots and celery, stirring over a brisk heat but don’t allow the veg to burn.

After 5 mins add the garlic and soften everything together.

Increase the heat, add the mince and stir until browned.

Stir in the tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, marmite, wine and stock. Season and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Boil the potatoes until soft and mash with milk.

Put the meat mixture in a gratin dish, cover with mash and then top with the mixture of cheese. Bake in the oven for 45-55 minutes.


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Rustic Pear and Bramley Apple Tart

Rustic Pear and Bramley Apple Tart

Rustic Pear and Bramley Apple Tart

Picture the scene – a cold, rainy, wintery Sunday in the East End of London. A boyfriend sat cold and miserable in the flat. And me, sat on the sofa in my PJs flicking absentmindedly through a magazine. But then, out of the corner of my eye, I spy a Waitrose recipe card that’s been sat on the coffee table for a while. And as soon as I see that, I KNOW I have to make it! Rustic Pear and Bramley Apple Tart – it became an obsession and what a lovely way to finish the weekend! So, having sent the boyfriend out to do the weekly shop (not sure how I managed that!), I plodded over to the kitchen!

This recipe is one of the most simple pastry dishes I’ve ever made, and it is definitely going to become a staple ‘go to’ Autumn/Winter dessert. The end result is definitely Rustic, as mentioned in the title. But all the better for it! An open topped pie with a light, crumbly, hazelnutty pastry, filled with the classic combo of apples, pears, cinnamon, sugar and sultanas. No faff with making pastry lids, just fold up the sides of the pastry to form a buffer against the fruit falling out. Bosh!

KB rating 8.5/10 PR rating 8.5/10

Rustic Pear and Bramley Apple Tart (serves 8)

Ingredients:

  • 50g hazelnuts
  • 225g plain flour
  • 140g butter, chilled and diced
  • 3 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 pears, peeled, quartered, cored and sliced
  • 2 Bramley apples, peeled, quartered, cored and sliced
  • 50g sultanas (I ended up using more)
  • 60g light brown soft sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or clear honey

Method:

Place the nuts in a food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Add the flour, butter and caster sugar and whizz until all the butter is blended well. Add the egg and whizz again to form a firm dough – if the mixture seems dry add 1 tbsp of chilled water. Shape into a ball and chill for at least 10 mins (I reckon 30 mins minimum otherwise it’s hard to roll out).

Preheat the oven to 180C (gas mark 4). In a large bowl, toss together the pears, apples, sultanas, brown sugar, cinnamon and cornflour.

Line a large baking tray with baking parchment. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry to a circle about 35cm diameter. Transfer to a baking tray (I cheated, and rolled out the dough on the baking parchment as it was very crumbly and I was nervous about the transfer)!

Spoon the fruit mixture onto the centre of the pastry, leaving a 4cm border all the way around. You can pile quite high (though I still had a bit of filling that didn’t fit into the pastry disc). Fold up the edges to form sides, and then brush the pastry with milk.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the fruit is tender and very juicy. Drizzle with the maple syrup or honey. Slice and serve warm (or at room temperature) with clotted cream or custard.

Get under a blanket, grab a brew and settle back on the sofa!


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Lo-Lo Meatballs with Cavolo Nero

Lo Lo Meatballs with Cavolo Nero, The Fast Diet Recipe Book

Lo Lo Meatballs with Cavolo Nero, The Fast Diet Recipe Book

Another starve day, another recipe from The Fast Diet Recipe book. And the more recipes I try from this book (available to buy here), the more impressed I am. And thankfully the 5:2 diet is starting to show results now – not really on the scales, but definitely on my waist line. I found some old jeans last week that I put on in a rush that fit perfectly – and all day I actually thought they were my ‘fat’ jeans. Turns out they are the ones I bought when I lost weight last year and have been a little snug since…until now! So there you are, a little ‘win’ in the Reidbury Kitchen!

So the recipe is Lo Lo Meatballs with Cavolo Nero and all I can comment on is the end taste…because, for once, I didn’t cook. The boy did! And he did so without causing himself, or anyone else, any damage which suggests that the recipe was relatively straightforward. Anyway, the taste – oooooh it was good! There’s something about meatballs that feels like a treat, and not diet food anyway. But this recipe was  full of flavour and really didn’t feel like a skinny option in any way. And I didn’t even miss the carbs – the cavolo nero was hearty enough that it worked nicely as a substitute.

I would definitely recommend using cavolo nero if you can find it (rather than another cabbagey type thing) because the texture and flavour are both quite robust and blend well with the sauce. But if you cant get it, then cabbage or kale would work OK.

I’m actually planning on doing this recipe again – even if it’s not a starve day!

KB rating 8.5/10. PR rating 7.5/10

Calorie Count: 264 per person

Lo Lo Meatballs with Cavolo Nero (serves 2)

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

  • 200g lean pork mince (or turkey mince)
  • Half a medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • Pinch of oregano
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oil for spraying

For the tomato sauce:

  • Oil for spraying
  • Half a medium red onion, chopped
  • Half a garlic clove, peeled and chopped
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 50g fresh tomatoes, skinned and deseeded, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 200ml water
  • Chilli flakes, to taste
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

For the cavolo nero:

  • 200g cavolo nero, steamed
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Sea salt

Method:

Place the mince in the bowl with the onion, garlic, carrot, oregano, egg and salt and pepper. Mix well and shape into 12 small meatballs.

Spray a large pan with oil and fry over a medium heat until gently browned (around 4 mins) and set aside.

For the sauce, spray the same pan with oil and fry the onion until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a further 3 minutes. Then add the tomatoes (tinned and fresh), puree, sugar and water along with the chilli flakes and Worcestershire sauce to taste. Simmer til reduced and glossy.

Add the meatballs and oregano, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Serve with the steamed cavolo nero, dressed with a light squeeze of lemon and a scatter of flaked sea salt.