Friday Food: Chicken Tagine

This morning, I’m carrying on the January healthy food theme before a serious return to cake (watch this space!) and yummy things. As the days (and diet) have gone on, I’ve been casting about for interesting recipes that will still keep the calorie (or fat) count down and remembered another Rachel Allen recipe that is a relatively regular weekday meal in our house.

The spices in this chicken tagine make it seem interesting but there’s actually very little in there that will cause dietary offence. I make mine with chicken or turkey breast for ease but you can of course follow the recipe and make with jointed chicken. The addition of chickpeas probably wouldn’t go amiss either if you wanted to bulk it out for hungry mouths.


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For the tagine:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 1/2-2 tbsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 3 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 x 400 g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 2-3 tbsp honey
  • 1 x 2.25 kg chicken, jointed and skinned

For the couscous:

  • 500 g couscous
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 500 ml boiling chicken stock
  • 3 tbsp chopped coriander, mint or parsley
  • 2 satsumas, peeled and chopped

To serve:

  • lemon wedges
  • Greek yogurt

Method

1. For the tagine: heat the oil in a large saucepan (wide enough to hold all the chicken pieces in a single layer). Add the garlic, onions, ginger and the spices. Season with salt and pepper and cook over a low heat with the lid on for about 10 minutes, or until the onions are soft.
2. Add the tomato paste, tinned tomatoes and honey and cook for a further 10 minutes, until the sauce is thick.
3. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and cover with the sauce. Simmer over a low heat with the lid on, stirring from time to time, for 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
4. For the couscous: put the couscous in a bowl, add the oil and lemon juice and mix well to coat the grains. Pour over the boiling stock and season with salt and pepper.
5. Cover and leave to sit in a warm place until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Use a fork to separate the grains and stir in the herbs and satsuma pieces.

Let me know how you get on as always, or tweet a picture.

Don’t forget too, we’re always looking for Friday Food submissions. If you would like to get involved and have a particular favourite recipe for whatever reason please do drop me a line at hello@florencefinds.com.

Love
Rebecca
xo

January Food: Tom Yum Soup

I found this recipe years ago in one of Rachel Allen’s cook books, Rachel’s Favourite Food for Friends where it is described as ‘clean food’, a description that I’ve often returned to for food.

It’s basically a cloudy broth with a kick, full of beautiful thai flavours and juicy chicken and I tend to pad it out a bit with some rice noodles and leaves like pak choi. You can’t help but feel virtuous after eating it and thanks to the spice it’s also perfect for when you’re suffering from a heavy cold.


Image Credit: Martha Stewart

Here it is…

Serves 4
4 stalk’s worth of coriander leaves, chopped. Keep the stalks.
2 x chicken breasts (this is delicious and even lighter when made with giant prawns too.)
3 x 1/4inch thick slices of ginger (skin on)
1 green chilli squashed with the flat side of a knife.
1/4 – 1/2 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
2 stalks of lemongrass, outer layer removed, then squashed and bruised.
1L of light chicken stock
3tbsp thai fish sauce
Juice of one lime
5 Basil leaves

Method:

  • Add the coriander stalks, chicken, ginger, both chills and lemongrass to a large pan and cover with cold chicken stock.
  • Bring to the boil and heat for 3 minutes to cook the chicken.
  • Take off the heat and add the fish sauce, lime juice, chopped coriander and basil leaves.
  • (At this point you can add some ready cooked rice noodles (or any noodles really) and/or some chinese leaves or spinach to bulk it out a bit.)
  • To serve remove the coriander stalks, ginger green chilli and lemongrass.

And that’s it!

Do you like Thai food or is it a bit of a faff for at home? Although this looks like a long ingredient list, they all come in little convenient packets in the veg aisle of a basic supermarket, so it’s not hard to give it a go.

Love,
Rebecca
xo

The Weigh In

Last week’s post about feeling comfortable in your own skin and the fact that I am definitely not happy in mine, rang true for quite a few of you. As promised, here’s the update. Each week that I update you I’ll be sharing a little tip or insight into things that work for me when it comes to shedding a few unwanted pounds and hopefully get you all sharing more tips and tricks.

So, I’m sitting here writing this and I am starving. That kind of hungry you get when you’re dieting because the outrageous gluttony of your ‘must-leave-behind eating habits’ has stretched your stomach beyond reasonable proportions and it’s begging for a massive bowl of mashed potato, or gnocci, or fresh bread. Sorry, you came here for help, not temptation so I’ll wind up the carb chat. (I should also point out that although that was evidence of a serious carb craving right there, I don’t routinuely ditch carbs as a diet trick, because although, sure, it makes you lose weight fast, as soon as you start eating white foods again, those pounds go right back on.) And that kind of feast or famine dieting is exactly how you ruin your metabolism. So don’t do it kids!

I got weighed this morning (cue party poppers) 2lbs off and I’m feeling pleased with myself.


Image Credit: Constant Motivation

So what have I been doing? Well, it’s mainly been about food and breaking my habits of a lifetime. I’m a big snacker and I also boredom eat. I graze the fridge as soon as I get through the front door each the evening and more often than not I put food in my mouth without thinking about it. So I’ve made a real effort to stop that. Did you know, by the way, that real change in behaviour takes 30 days, or so they say? After 30 days past habits can be erased and your new healthy change becomes your habit, making everything easier, so you’ve only got x more days to struggle through!

A lot of my personal sucess rate with dieting is down to planning. This week instead of leaving the shopping to Pete I made sure I had healthy lunches (Delias Root veg fat free soup) to take to work, fruit to snack on (pink lady apples and juicy seasonal clementines) and planned our evening dinners. Here’s an idea of what I ate:

  • Monday: Tom Yum Soup (look out for the recipe later this week)
  • Tuesday: Baked cod with a potato and celeriac rosti on swede and carot mash – using up the veg left from the soup
  • Wednesday: Gnocci with puttanesca sauce (both from Morrisons) and parmesan shavings. Although not a classical ‘diet dish’ it’s fine as long as you watch the portions.
  • Thursday: Salmon Steak with stirfried savoy cabbage (mounds of it) and leeks.
  • Friday: Treat night – Turkey breast fajhitas (Just an old el paso kit and I limited myself to 2, with loads of peppers and onions.)

I’ll admit, I didn’t really want to diet, but after a couple of days of trying to be good but with mountains of food around the house post-christmas, I was still grazing. My solution to that is to keep a food diary and so instead of returning to Weight Watchers, I decided to give My Fitness Pal (on my iPhone) a go. Lots of you have recommended it and I actually had downloaded it a while back on my phone but not had the motivation to really use it. It’s free which was perfect as my bone of contention with WW was that I really didn’t want to pay for something I knew how to do, I just needed to do it. That said, if you’ve never had to diet before and need pointers on where to start, WW can’t be faulted and I’d definitely recommend it.

So far, so good. Ive used the app most days. It lets you list all you’ve eaten, tells you how much you should eat to lose the weight you want and adds in health information too, like if you’re going too far and underweight. Nearly all foods are there with the calories and if you do any exercise you record that too and get to eat more. Bonus! There’s also a little progress graph and you can diet with friends. By the way, if you want to look me up it’s RebeccaFF 🙂

I’d love to hear how you have all been getting on this week. Have you been dieting or focusing on exercise, or have you tried My Fitness Pal? What is your secret to diet success?

Of course I’ve also been upping my game when it comes to exercise but I’ll save that for next week 🙂

Love,
Rebecca
xo

January Food… Healthy Red Thai Curry.

Good afternoon readers! In my healthy recipes for January I had to include a recipe I blogged prior to the launch of Florence Finds, but is too good not to give a proper airing to… I love spicy food and think it really satisfies you, despite this being on the thinner side as far as sauces go, it’s packed with flavour and warmth. Give it a go, you won’t be sorry!

It’s an impossibility isn’t it? Healthy Thai red curry?

Well, actually no! I’ve been revisiting some old Weight Watchers recipes I used to use – this one has actually been a dish that I never dropped from my day to day repertoire and it is super tasty. Even better there’s a full on version or a cheat’s version for what turns into a very quick dinner – just what you need when you’ve just got home from work or the gym.

Healthy Thai Red Curry

Ingredients for the curry paste: (this can be substituted with 2 tablespoons of ready made red Thai curry paste for lazier cooking.)
1/2 a red onion
1 deseeded red chilli
1 small stick of lemongrass
Grated zest and juice of 1/2 a lime
1 inch of root ginger, peeled
1 tablespoon of Thai fish sauce.

Ingredients for the curry:
4 dried lime leaves
150g baby corn, halved
150g sugar snap peas
350g skinless chicken breast
6 spring onions
200ml reduced fat coconut milk
200ml chicken stock
1 teaspoon light brown soft sugar
110g cherry tomatoes, halved
Chopped fresh coriander, to serve.

How to make it…
1. Place the curry paste ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until finely chopped.
2. Stir fry the chicken in a pre-heated wok or frying pan for 3 minutes and then add the paste for a further minute whilst stirring.
3. Add the stock, coconut milk, sugar, vegetables and lime leaves and simmer for 3 minutes.
4. Next add the halved tomatoes and simmer for 2 more minutes.

Serve with basmati rice and the chopped coriander as a garnish. (Remove any lime leaves as you find them!)

Let me know if you’re going to try it!

Love,
Rebecca.
Xo

January Joy!


Image Credit: Emmaline Bride

Ahem, ‘Joy’ might be a little enthusiastic for the month that is generally the most depressing of the year, but I have good news for you! January is going to be fabulous! Well, here on Florence Finds it is anyway. 😉

I promised you lots of fun stuff for January so as well as saying a big fat Happy New Year to you and yours, I’m taking the opportunity to enlighten you as to why January is going to be so great and what lies ahead.

Traditionally January is a bit gloomy. Everyone is feeling a little bloated, craving fresh clean food after the excesses of Christmas, swearing off alcohol, pleading resolutions of purity when it comes to food and I’m no exception to the rest of you. So this week and throughout January on Florence Finds, I’m going to be sharing recipes that are low fat, healthy, easy to make and most importantly delicious, to get your year off to a good start!

Do you ever find there’s just nothing to do in January? Everyone is broke after Christmas, bills are looming, no one wants another boozy night out, so everyone just stays in. Boring. But there’s an upside to all that staying at home on the couch… you get to plan. Take stock of life, plan your holidays, a home renovation project, tackle the spring cleaning or a wardrobe clear out. Holidays and home improvements cost money, but the planning doesn’t and they’ll be all the better for the research you put into them now. So I’m going to be sharing some fabulous travel destination guides and hotel reviews to inspire you, and a few home make-overs that readers have sent in, including the long awaited redecoration project of my own that I mentioned way back when.

I mentioned bills, I mentioned being broke. Depressing subjects, but a necessity in January, so I’ll also be looking for things to do for free that can keep you happy in January. Think beautiful walks and free exhibitions to cheer you right up. I might even venture into money. You have been warned.

And last but not least I’ve got a few beauty DIY’s up my sleeve to help you emerge from the gloomiest month of the year glowing and confident, ready to take on the rest of 2012!

Welcome to January and 2012 on Florence Finds, I hope you all enjoy it and I’d love to hear any suggestions for things you would like to hear or read about this month.

Love,
Rebecca
xo

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