Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Low Fat or No Fat

The main thing with any vegetarian recipes is that they should contain plenty of flavour, and are colourful. Add herbs, spices, lemon or lime juice if you need more zing, For colour you can't beat the variety of summer produce, the green peas, beans, courgettes, cucumber, salad leaves, watercress, and the riot of colour from the red/yellow/orange/green peppers, peas, beans, tomatoes and carrots.
Here are some low-fat meals. Eat and enjoy.

Roasted Butternut with Mixed Bean Stuffing: serves 2 (V)
1 small butternut squash
1 clove garlic, peeledand crushed
olive oil from a spray
salt and ground black pepper
2 small leeks, trimmed and finely sliced
1 x 300 can cannellini (or other) beans, drained and rinsed
4 oz (125g) French beans, trimmed and halved
5 fl oz (150ml) vegetable stock
good handful of rocket or watercress, chopped
low-fat fromage frais
Cut the squash in half lengthways and scoop out all the seeds. Cut the garlic in half and rub each cut surface over the butternut flesh. Using a sharp knife, score the flesh (still in its skin) across diamond fashion. Give the squash a surface spray with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Put the squash on a baking sheet, cut side up and roast in the oven (200C, 400F, gas 6) for 40 minutes or until the flesh is tender. Meanwhile, spray the base of a saucepan with a film of oil and gently fry the leeks for 5 minutes (it might work better if you spray the leeks and not the pan before frying them). Then add the both types of beans and the stock. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the French beans are cooked. Remove from heat and stir in the rocket or watercress. Remove the squash from the oven and leave to cool for five minutes then into the hollow pile in the bean mixture. Serve with a green salad.
Tip: There are so many different and interesting ways to stuff the butternuts, so ring the changes by using some of the following recipes , which - of course - can be eaten on their own.

Spiced Pilaff: serves 2 (V)
oil spray (or 1 dessp. oil)
1 dessp. flaked toasted almonds,
1 small onion, chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and diced
2 - 4 large flat field mushrooms, thickly sliced
pinch cinnamon
pinch chilli powder
1oz (25g) dried apricots, roughly chopped
1 oz (25g) currants, raisins or sultanas
zest and juice of 1 orange
1 pkt of Microwave 2 minute brown rice
coriander or chives for garnish
Using a large non-stick frying pan, put in the oil, or spray the base with oil, and add the onions and carrots, saute gently, stirring from time to time, until the carrots are softened. Add mushrooms (give those a spray before adding) and fry for a further five minutes, stirring often. Stir in the cinnamon and chilli powder then add the apricots, currants, orange zest and juice and the contents of the pack of microwave rice. Stir together, cover and cook until the rice has heated through. Season to taste. Garnish with chopped coriander or chives.
Note: instead of microwave rice (just used for speed), cook brown rice in advance and use that.

Roasted Vegetables with Couscous and a Herb Sauce: serves 2 (V)
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 white onion, cut into wedges
2 small parsnips, peeled, centre removed and cut into chunks
1 courgette, thickly sliced
4 small potatoes, halved
half a red and half a yellow pepper, seeded and chut into chunks,
1 carrot, topped and tailed and cut into thick sticks
2 ribs of celery, cut into chunks
oil spray
sprigs of fresh thyme and parsley.
200g low fat soft or extra-light cream cheese
2 tblsp milk
lemon zest
chives, thyme leaves or parsley, finely chopped
3 oz (75g) couscous
5 fl oz (150ml) boiling vegetable stock
Blanch the carrots and potatoes in boiling water for 3 - 4 minutes then drain, pat dry and cool. Put all the prepared vegetables in a bowl and give them a spray of oil, toss until they have a fine coating of oil then put them into a shallow roasting tin (also lightly sprayed with oil, season with salt and pepper and lay the herbs on top. Cover with a tent of foil and roast at 200C, 400F, gas 6 for 40 minutes. Remove foil and herbs and cook for a further 15 or so minutes until the vegetables are beginning to char. Remove from the oven and keep warm.
Meanwhile, put the couscous into a bowl and pour over enough stock to an inch above the grains. Cover and leave to stand. In a small saucepan melt the cheese with the milk and lemon zest. Remove garlic from the roasting tin and squeeze the flesh into the cheese. Mix together welll and stir in chosen herbs.
If necessary, drain the couscous - pile it on a serving dish, top with the roasted vegetables and pour over the herb sauce.

Vegetarian Curry in a Pot: serves 4 (V)
Any leftover can be used the following day to stuff the butternut squash (see above) or spooned into jacket potatoes.
1 onion, chopped
low-fat cooking spray
1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
2 tsp grated root ginger
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tblsp curry powder OR 2 tsp curry paste
just over a pound (500g) potatoes, peeled and diced
8 oz (225g) cauliflower florets
1 1/2 pints (850 ml) vegetable stock
4 oz (100g) red lentils
4 oz (150g) peas, fresh or frozen
freshly ground black pepper
handful of coriander, chopped
Spray a large non-stick frying pan with the oil and fry the onion for a couple of minutes, stirring all the time. Add the peppers and continue to stir for a further 2 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, curry powder/paste, and cook for a further minute. Add the potatoes and cauliflower, stir to coat with the spices, then pour in the stock and lentils. Stir, season with pepper to taste, cover and bring to the simmer. Cook over low heat for 1o minutes. Add the fresh peas to the curry (add frozen but thawed peas five minutes before the end of the cooking time). Cover and cook over medium heat until the lentils have broken down to make a thick sauce and the vegetables are cooked through. Garnish with chopped coriander and take the pot to the table to serve.

Courgette and Chickpea Burgers: makes 4 (V)
1 courgette, grated
12 oz (400g) cooked chickpeas, crushed
1 onion, finely chopped
1 pz (25g) fresh breadcrumbs
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tblsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
flour for coating
4 pitta breads
tomato salsa, chutney or piccalilli
Put the grated courgette into a bowl with the chickpeas, breadcrumbs, chilli powder, and parsley, Mix well. Add the egg and stir together to combine all the ingredients. Flour your hands, and form into four burgers. Dust with more flour and chill for half an hour to firm up. Fry in a little hot oil for a couple of minutes on each side until heated through and golden. Spread a little mayo on the inside surface of split pitta breads and tuck in the burger, top this with chosen pickle. Eat at the wander or serve on a plate with some green salad.

Courgette and Parmesan almost Yorkshire Puddings: makes 12 muffin size (V)
14 oz (400g) small courgettes, thinly sliced
butter and olive oil
2 eggs,
142 ml tub of single cream
2 oz (50g) Parmesan cheese, grated
Butter a 12 hole muffin tin. Pre-heat oven to 200C,400F, gas 6.
Put a knob of butter into a frying pan and add a tblsp oil. Heat, then add the courgettes and cook until browned. Remove from pan, drain on kitchen paper and leave to cool. Put the eggs into a bowl, beat lightly then beat in the cream. Season to taste. Stir two thirds of the grated cheese into the egg mixture.
Divide courgettes between the muffin tins, pour over the egg mixture, then sprinkle over the remaining cheese. Bake for 15 - 23 minutes until well risen and golden. Serve at once with a good gravy, other vegetables, and roast meats if you are a non-veggie.