TOFU in PANKO with Thai salad

Fried spicy tofu in panko breadcrumbs
Our first TOFU dish - and we've decided to try it fried in Panko breadcrumbs.
Unlike a lot of diets out there, we don't ban anything. That way we don't crave anything. We think our body will let us know what it wants, and now we tend to eat more intuitively.
This crunchy Tofu worked perfectly with the Thai rice noodle salad - for texture and temperature. We sampled tofu for the first time last week and received some Clean Bean tofu to try at home.
Tofu is low in calories (78 per 100g) and a good source of protein. With no distinctive flavour, you can get creative.
Here's our fabulous recipe:
(adapted from one of our previous Thai recipes using the same salad dressing as before), and all we needed to do was power up the chilli - just to give it the kick we thought it needed. The result was light, crunchy and creamy - everything worked so well together, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Spicy Tofu in Panko breadcrumbs
Ingredients (serves two)
Tofu
200g of tofu (cut into one inch cubes)
one beaten egg
plain flour
Panko breadcrumbs mixed with sesame seeds
Salt and pepper to season
Salad 
cold rice noodles (we used 50g dried, pre-cooked and left them to go cold)
half a carrot - grated
cucumber - cut into batons
4 spring onions - thinly sliced
couple of radishes - thinly sliced
bag of mixed salad leaves (or - we love little gem)
Salad dressing
1 tablespoon of oil (we used sesame but use whatever you have)
teaspoon of honey
juice of half a lime (you could add some zest too if you wish)
coriander - I used a good sprinkle of dried as I had no fresh
half a red chilli - deseeded and chopped
salt to taste 
Finishing touch
sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds
***
Pierce the cubed tofu with a cocktail stick and marinate in the salad dressing you will be using later. Leave to marinate for as long as you have available.

Dip the tofu cubes in seasoned flour, then dip into the beaten egg and coat with Panko breadcrumb and sesame seed mix.

Prepare your rice noodles. We cooked ours by soaking for 5 minutes in boiling water, draining under cold water then setting aside in the fridge.

Fry the tofu - and cook for around 2-3 minutes, depending on the size of the cubes, you are after making the breadcrumbs crispy (no need to cook the tofu). It's easy to overcook, so be careful.

Mix your salad vegetables in a bowl and dress with the salad dressing.

Toast some sesame seeds in a dry frying pan. When they start to 'smoke' they are toasted.
***
Do you know how many calories you can eat each day?
Here's a link to our very first blog post about our weight loss journey, which we began in January 2011. We started this blog as a way of recording what we ate while losing weight. The blog is a food diary, and contains lots of recipes, tips and ideas about losing weight.
You'll find our WEIGHT LOSS PLAN here. 
Copyright © forget dieting forever (2013), all rights reserved. Please do not copy any of this material without our express permission.

Hearty ham and vegetable soup

This HAM & VEGETABLE SOUP is one of my favourites.
Making soup can be time consuming, but the result often outweighs the inconvenience. Soups with a depth of flavour often take time to produce too.
To help, you'll find most supermarkets sell hot ham hocks on the deli counter, and I use one of these to make a very large batch of soup. 
The hocks can be quite salty, so the first thing I do is peel off the fat and taste. If it is too salty, I'll rinse it under cold water before removing all the meat. Use the bones in the soup to add flavour. 
There should be plenty of meat for a salad/sandwich too.
Here's my recipe for this hearty soup:
 DELICIOUS HAM & VEGETABLE SOUP
Ingredients
400g tin haricot beans (all I had in the cupboard)
200g chopped tinned tomatoes
200g new potatoes, chopped
 Large spoonful of tomato paste
2 onions, sliced
2 sticks celery, sliced
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
A leek (optional)
garlic to taste
teaspoon dried mixed herbs (or fresh thyme and rosemary)
1 litre of water mixed with chicken stock cubes to taste
A little 'new season' shredded Savoy cabbage (or any green cabbage)
200g cooked ham, roughly chopped
60g frozen peas
60g dried soup pasta (but I used pre-cooked Spatzle here)
strong cheddar to garnish
***
Fry the onions, celery and leek for 10 minutes then add garlic and herbs if using. 

Add beans, tomatoes, potatoes, tomato paste, carrots and stock.

 Cook until vegetables are tender (30-40 minutes). 

Blend around a third of the soup.

Add the shredded cabbage and ham.

Finally add peas and the pre-cooked Spatzle* and cook for a further five minutes.

Sprinkle with a little strong grated cheese like cheddar or parmesan... and enjoy.
***
*NOTE: If you only have dried spaghetti, break this into 2cm pieces and throw it in (uncooked) for the last 5 minutes of cooking. You could use your favourite tinned beans if you don't have haricot.
***
Do you know how many calories you are entitled to?
Here's a link to our very first blog post about our weight loss journey, which we began in January 2011. We started this blog as a way of recording what we ate while losing weight without following a conventional diet.
You'll find our WEIGHT LOSS PLAN here. 
Copyright © forget dieting forever, all rights reserved. Please do not copy any of this material without our express permission.

Creamy smoked trout salad

Creamy smoked trout salad
We love this SMOKED TROUT SALAD as it's quite easy to put together. With all the ingredients to hand, it's more of an assembly job, apart from boiling the potatoes.
I added a little more horseradish sauce to the dressing today. 
Smoked trout is cheaper than smoked salmon, and makes a nice change. If you can't find trout, you can always substitute with hot smoked salmon. 
We've used a very thick and creamy Greek yoghurt for the dressing. It really helps give the dish a velvety richness, without using mayonnaise (which can often taste too oily).
This dish comes in under 300 calories - and it is so filling, you would never believe it. Room for something else…… Here's our recipe:

HOT SMOKED TROUT SALAD
Ingredients (serves 2)
300g new potatoes
140g hot smoked trout (or salmon)
watercress 
pickled cucumber to garnish (gherkins, cornichons etc)
4 spring onions (or half a diced red onion)
small amount of oil for the watercress
Yoghurt dressing
1 tablespoon Greek yoghurt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
zest of half a lemon
1 teaspoon horseradish (add more if you like)
2 teaspoons olive oil
a little milk to loosen if the dressing is too stiff
Salt/pepper
****
Boil the new potatoes for 15-20 minutes (depending on how waxy they are) and allow to cool enough to handle. Cook them until just under done as they will continue cooking while cooling down.

While the potatoes are cooling, mix together the yoghurt dressing.

Dress the watercress with a small amount of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

While you make the yoghurt dressing the watercress will wilt slightly - which is what we wanted.

Pour dressing over potatoes and stir.

Mix in the chopped spring onion.

Flake in the smoked trout and a few sprigs of watercress.

Turn out onto a plate, add the pickled cucumber and serve with the remaining watercress.
****
Do you know how many calories you can eat each day?
Here's a link to our very first blog post about our weight loss journey, which we began in January 2011. We started this blog as a way of recording what we ate while losing weight. The blog is a food diary, and contains lots of recipes, tips and ideas about losing weight.
You'll find our WEIGHT LOSS PLAN here. 
Copyright © forget dieting forever (2013), all rights reserved. Please do not copy any of this material without our express permission.

PEPPERCORN SAUCE

steak with creamy peppercorn sauce
Steak with PEPPERCORN SAUCE is a lovely combination. The sauce is very quick and easy to make too.
You can't beat good steak and chips… so if you're having this tonight why not give this creamy sauce a try?
Peppercorn Sauce
Ingredients
2 finely diced shallots
1 clove garlic (chopped)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons of Brandy (optional)
90ml of beef stock (or half a stock cube)
fresh cream
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt/pepper (if necessary)
***
Lightly fry the shallots until soft and stir in the garlic.

Add the Worcestershire sauce, Brandy, stock and mustard.

Simmer for around 20 minutes - to reduce it to about a third.

Sieve out the onions and garlic.

Season to taste, but the Worcestershire sauce/stock may already be enough.

Add peppercorns and cream - we used around 3 tablespoons. Serve.
***
Do you know how many calories you are allowed each day? Once we found out, our weight loss really began to take shape.
Here's a link to our very first blog post about our weight loss journey, which began in January 2011. We started this blog as a way of recording what we ate while losing weight. The blog is a food diary, and contains lots of recipes, tips and ideas about losing weight.
You'll find our WEIGHT LOSS PLAN here. 
Copyright © forget dieting forever (2014), all rights reserved. Please do not copy any of this material without my express permission.




Discerningly Chop'd

It's been a very busy and inspiring week so far. On Wednesday we were invited to attend the New Season Launch by Chop'd, which was held at the world famous H. Forman & Sons' London Smokehouse.
The restaurant really does boast the best view of the Olympic stadium. There is something very soothing about the whole building, which also boasts its own spacious roof-top gallery of local artwork.
But… when the venue comes second to what you are eating, then you know you are eating good food and that's when you understand provenance.
We sampled just about the softest smoked salmon we have ever tasted (which you can purchase online here).  As suppliers to Chop'd, you'll find H. Forman's delicious salmon on the menu, with a new Spring addition (available from 1st May) - sesame salmon and orange salad - where the salmon is cured with lime, lemon and sesame oil.
The Thai tofu noodle salad was one of my favourites. Being new to tofu I didn't know what to expect, but it was so soft and delicious that I know we'll be using this ingredient again. The tofu is made locally by Neil in Brick Lane.
It's part of our philosophy to eat food we love using good ingredients.
Using good ingredients actually helps us keep the weight off because we find ourselves savouring every mouthful.
NB: I haven't been paid to blog any of this.We just love food - and migrate to the food we love.
***
Do you know how many calories you are allowed each day? Once we found out, our weight loss really began to take shape.
Here's a link to our very first blog post about our weight loss journey, which began in January 2011. We started this blog as a way of recording what we ate while losing weight. The blog is a food diary, and contains lots of recipes, tips and ideas about losing weight.
You'll find our WEIGHT LOSS PLAN here. 
Copyright © forget dieting forever (2014), all rights reserved. Please do not copy any of this material without my express permission.

Chilli beef with wild rice

chilli beef with wild rice
This minced beef chilli with long grain wild rice was made using mainly store cupboard ingredients. It's a dish that always comes in handy, when you're not quite sure what to do with that pack of minced beef.
I often make this using basmati rice, which is what I usually have in the cupboard. But here I used a packet mixed with long grain and wild rice. It was quite cheap at around £1 per 500g.
I love the nutty texture of the wild rice which adds something to the whole dish.
If you can get hold of star anise - then add this to the pot. It's not necessary, but it does add a hint of something 'different' to the dish. We tend to use star anise more, since discovering it. Unlike lots of spices which can easily accumulate… This woody spice can be added to many other dishes e.g. stews. The only thing you have to remember is to remove it before serving, as it's not very pleasant if you end up chewing on it.
The minced beef was very simple to put together too, and a portion of this will set you back somewhere around 300 calories (or 450 calories including the rice).
Here's how we made the chilli:

MINCED BEEF CHILLI
Ingredients
-500g pack of minced beef
-1 large can chopped tomatoes
-1 large can of kidney beans
-500ml stock or water
-glass of red wine (optional)
-2 large onions
-2 large cloves of garlic - finely chopped
-tablespoon tomato puree
-2 star anise (don't worry if you don't have this)
-1 whole chilli
-1 tsp chilli flakes
-1 tsp paprika
-salt and pepper
-cornflour
-oil
****
Fry the minced beef until brown then drain on kitchen paper.

Chop the onions and fry in a little oil until lightly browned. Add the garlic, chilli flakes and paprika to the onions and stir in the tomato puree.

Transfer beef and onion mixture to a large saucepan. Add the stock/water, can of tomatoes and kidney beans. Place the whole chilli into the pot along with the star anise.

If you are using red wine, put this into the saucepan first and turn up the heat until it bubbles away. Give it a good stir to pick up any bits left from cooking the other ingredients. Tip into the saucepan.

Bring the saucepan of ingredients to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes. Taste the dish and add salt and pepper. We've found if we don't add enough salt, the chilli heat won't come through, so I recommend adding salt a little at a time and tasting as you go.

Don't forget to remove the chilli and star anise!

If we need to thicken the sauce, we tend to use cornflour. A tablespoon of cornflour mixed with enough cold water to loosen it first. Then add some of the hot chilli liquid to the cold flour mix before adding to the chilli. Cook for 2 minutes to get rid of the floury taste.

Serve with your favourite side - jacket potato, rice, bread etc.
****
Do you know how many calories you are allowed each day? Once we found out, our weight loss really began to take shape.
Here's a link to our very first blog post about our weight loss journey, which began in January 2011. We started this blog as a way of recording what we ate while losing weight. The blog is a food diary, and contains lots of recipes, tips and ideas about losing weight.
You'll find our WEIGHT LOSS PLAN here. 
Copyright © forget dieting forever (2014), all rights reserved. Please do not copy any of this material without my express permission.
















Tonight we had some home made chilli con carne with a jacket potato. We used beef mince today instead of beef cubes, and browned the mince first then cooked it in the saucepan for an hour. I also added some tinned pinto beans this time, as I was making double the quantity of chilli and I wanted to have something other than kidney beans. Mushrooms help bulk out the dish without adding calories so we made good use of these. (We doubled up on the previous recipe's ingredients and used about a kilo of LEAN minced beef).
Our estimate for the beef chilli is about 300 calories - if divided by about 8 portions. Our huge jacket potato was about 300 calories bringing our meal to approx 600 calories in total.

Spicy tandoori chicken

tandoori chicken, chips and raita
We love spicy Tandoori Chicken so decided to have a go at making the spice mix, rather than buying a ready made paste.
We wanted to see if it was worth making our own spice mix, how long it would take and if the results were worth it.
We have quite a lot of spices in the cupboard already - as we like to make our own curry. So why not use them!
Here's what we found:

The flavour was as you would expect with the only real difference being the colour. We're used to bright red tandoori chicken, both home made and in takeaways. I suppose there are lots of different recipe mixes for tandoori, however, the one we used was quite tasty. It's certainly up there with some of the best and it's not difficult to make either! Here's the ingredients:

Tandoori Chicken spice mix
Ingredients
1 teaspoon each of the following ground spices:
Ginger
Cumin
Paprika
Coriander
Turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder or cayenne pepper (more if you like it hot)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large garlic cloves - minced (or use lazy garlic)
thumb sized piece of ginger - grated (or use lazy ginger)
tablespoon of lemon juice
tablespoon of oil
2 tablespoons of yoghurt
****
Mix all the ingredients together and marinate your chicken for a few hours.

We served ours with a raita - topped with toasted cumin seeds. The cumin seeds add something 'extra' - which we love. Here's our recipe for RAITA - which goes with lots of food e.g. burgers, salads, and really adds something to any dish.
****
REMEMBER:  - Do you know how many calories you are allowed each day?
Here's a link to our very first blog post about our weight loss journey, which we began in January 2011. We started this blog as a way of recording what we ate while losing weight. The blog is a food diary, and contains lots of recipes, tips and ideas about losing weight.
You'll find our WEIGHT LOSS PLAN here. 
Copyright © forget dieting forever (2014), all rights reserved. Please do not copy any of this material without my express permission.