Saturday, 11 January 2014

Week 47- Healthy New Year Recipes

Have you made New Year Resolutions this year? To be healthy? Happy? Lose weight? Save money?

Most of us think along those lines- and why not? None of them are mutually exclusive.

It's easy in January- palates are jaded and everyone craves healthier, lighter food after the excesses of Christmas and New Year holidays.

A good time to post up 3 healthier courses after all the patisserie and puddings that I've been showing of late.

So, I'm starting with home made pitta breads ( to have with hummus and salads), following up with a chicken tray bake (with peppers and olives) and finishing with an Eton brulee (like an Eton Mess but with a yogurty crunchy top.)

I made my own pitta breads because I needed some , and yet again it was torrential rain outside so I couldn't face nipping up to the shops to buy them. I was surprised how easy and tasty they were to make yourself.

I did cheat and use a pizza dough mix for the bread- but it was not much simpler than doing the flour and yeast thing yourself. So, either make up some pizza dough according to the package instruction, knead well, coat with a little olive oil and leave to rise in a warm place unitl doubled in size. Or, dissolve a sachet of easy blend yeast in lukewarm water (according to the instructions) and mix in to 1 cup of plain bread flour, mixed with a little salt. Then knead and leave to rise as before.
Knead for 10 minutes or so

Cut the dough into four equal pieces and roll each out into an oval shape on a floured board.

Lightly oil a baking sheet and bake the breads at 200 degrees until puffed and golden. (You can fry these in a frying pan too, they work just as well)
Puffed and golden
Watch them closely, as they will become hard if allowed to get too crispy.

Let them cool slightly and split them if you want to serve them with falafel or kebabs (recipes for hummus and falafel in the cloud at the top of the page), or slice them into 'soldiers' if you want to serve them with hummus.
Home made pitta with hummus and lamb patties

For the tray bake- you will need:
2 red onions quartered, 2 cloves of garlic, 250 g potatoes scrubbed and sliced to the same size as the onions, 1 red pepper and 1 green pepper cut into strips, a handful of olives, 4 chicken thighs, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp herbes de provence, a few slices of peperoni or chorizo (whichever you prefer), 4 ripe tomatoes quartered, salt and pepper to taste.

Toss the onions, garlic, potatoes and tomatoes in some olive oil, salt and pepper and paprika and lay out in a roasting dish. Roast at 180 degrees for 20-30 minutes until soft. Chop up the peperoni or chorizo and mix in. Add the olives and mix. Lay the chicken thighs on top (with some herbs sprinkled on) and continue roasting for a further 20 minutes before adding the peppers and roasting until they are soft and the chicken is cooked ( browned and juices running clear).

This is a lovely one-pot dish that needs no more accompaniment.

Mediterranean tray bake

For the pudding- begin by placing some berries in the bottom of a glass ramekin (let them defrost - as they are bound to be frozen ones at this time of year). Meanwhile mix up a pot of greek natural yoghurt with a crushed meringue nest (Christmas leftovers!)
Layer over the fruit. Sprinkle on a spoonful of brown sugar and either brown with a blowtorch or grill until bubbling and caramelized.

Eton brulee

I served mine with croquants - little almondy biscuits left over from Christmas. (See My Big Fat French Christmas for the recipe.)

Now this below is one New Year's resolution that I think I can keep:

See next week's blog for details of how it's going.

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