Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mu Shu Pork

I fell in love with this recipe the minute I turned to the page in the new Weight Watchers Cookbook Eat and Enjoy.  It quickly took it's place on this weeks menu planner and I think we have all been looking forward to trying it.

Fork free dining is always a hit at our house with rice paper rolls, tacos, fajitas etc frequently on the menu - the dinner table is always relaxed and we seem to chat more (I have no idea why) except for tonight - everyone was too busy eating. 

This dish from northern China combines pieces of delicately flavoured pork and the pungent yet sweet flavour of hoisin sauce in everyone's favourite Peking Duck pancakes.  I changed the suggested vegetables as I knew my kids wouldn't eat the choy sum by itself.

All I can say was it was amazing and has already been requested again.

Mu Shu Pork 
(recipe adapted from WW Eat and Enjoy Cookbook)

Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 8

1 tablespoon salt reduced soy sauce
1 tablespoon shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1 tablespoon canola or sunflower oil
450 grams lean pork fillet, trimmed, cut into 3 cm pieces
4 green shallots, cut into 2 cm pieces plus extra for garnish
2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, crushed
150 grams fresh shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 cup canned sliced bamboo shoots, shopped
1 tablespoon water
12 peking duck pancakes
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 bunch choy sum
1 bunch broccolini
2 teaspoons kecap manis

Combine soy sauce, shaoxing wine, sesame oil and sugar in a small bowl and stir until sugar has dissolved.  Set aside until required.

Heat a wok over a high heat heat.  Add half the canola or sunflower oil and heat for 30 seconds.  Stir fry pork, in batches, for 3 - 4 minutes or until lightly browned.  Transfer to a plate.

Reheat wok over high heat.  Add remaining oil and heat for 30 seconds.  Add shallots, ginger and garlic and stir fry for 1 minute.  Add mushrooms and bamboo shoorts and stir fry for 1 minute.  Return pork to wok along with soy mixture and water.  Stir fry for 1 minute or until heated through.

Meanwhile warm pancakes in microwave following packet intstructions.

Steam choy sum and broccolini until just tender.  Place on a plate and drizzle with kecap manis.

To serve spread 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce over each pancake.  Top with pork mixture and roll to enclose filling.  Sprinkle with extra shallots and serve with steamed choy sum.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Creamy Lemon Linguine with Prawns and Scallops

I have a passion for creamy pasta and although it's not that popular with my hips it's probably something that I would class as "real" comfort food, something I have been fancying for a while now especially with all the travel I have been doing.

I have read several recipes now combining lemon, seafood and cream and knew I would be able to come up with something combining all these flavours along with knocking the yearning for comfort food on the head.

Then I found a recipe in one of my Weight Watcher cookbooks which I adapted to suit the desired outcome my tastebuds required.

Creamy Lemon Linguine with Prawns and Scallops
(recipe adapted from WW Cook Fast Cookbook)

Serves: 6
ProPoints per serve: 9

300 grams linguine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
400 grams green prawns, peeled
300 grams scallops
cooking spray
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 green shallots, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon cornflour
375 mil can evaporated skim milk
1 teaspoon fingely grated lemon rind
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and cook pasta according to packet directions.  Drain.  Return pasta to the pan and drizzle with lemon juice.

Rinse and drain prawns and scallops, pat dry on paper towel to remove excess water.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray.  Cook prawns 1 -2 minutes on each side or until just turning pink and remove to a plate.  Respray pan and cook scallops for 2 minutes on each side or until just cooked also.  Remove to a plate.  Wipe out frying pan with paper towel.

Return frying pan to stove and heat oil over medium heat.  Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, for 3 - 4 minutes or until softened.  Blend the cornflour with a little of the evaporated milk in a small jug.  Stir in the remaining milk.  Add the milk mixture and cook stirring over low heat until mixture bubbles and slightly thickens. 

Add the lemon rind, prawns and scallops and cook until seafood is heated through.

Add the sauce and parsley to the pasta and toss to combine.  Serve garnished with extra parsley sprigs.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Massaman Beef Curry

When it comes to cuisines I have to say Noel and I enjoy most aspects of Asian inspired cuisine ranking Chinese, Thai and Indian up the top of the list. We both love cooking with all the ingredients associated with those styles of cooking and just the aroma that some dishes give before eating is enough to send our tastebuds into a frenzy.

Massaman Beef Curry does exactly that. It's one of the dishes we always order when at a Thai restaurant even the kids enjoy the mildness of it. I loved the smell of this curry cooking with its pungent flavoursome smell of garlic, lemongrass, ginger and chilli laced with kaffir lime leaves. Not to mention how we devoured it once we sat down to eat. 

This version we used a pre brought jar of massaman curry paste and of course with replacing the thick coconut cream with lighter version it reduced the fat making it fit perfectly within the Weight Watchers ProPoints plan.

Funnily enough this Thai curry originated in India although made from natural Thai herbs and spices so that might explain why Noel and I have a little crush on it.

Massaman Beef Curry
(recipe sourced from WW Magazine September 2011)

Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serves: 11

2 teaspoons peanut oil
600 grams lean beef, cut into 3cm cubes
cooking spray
6 eschallots, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons Massaman Curry Paste
2 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
3 large carrots, thickly sliced
2 cups beef stock
3/4 cup light coconut cream
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves
2 cups steamed jasmine rice
1 lime, cut into wedges, to serve

Heat peanut oil in a large heavy based saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook beef, in batches, for 2 - 3 minutes or until browned, then transfer to a plate and set aside.

Lightly spray same pan with cooking spray. Add eschallots and cook, stirring for 5 minutes or until browned. Add curry paste and lime leaves and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant.

Return beef to pan, add carrots and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours or until beef is tender.

Add coconut cream and fish sauce and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until thickened slightly.

Serve Massaman Curry with fresh coriander sprinked on top with a bowl of steamed jasmine rice and lime wedges on the the side.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Honey Mustard Pork with Roasted Pear Salad

I was always brought up thinking that Apple Sauce was the perfect condiment for pork but I can tell you know that pears are a pretty good match also especially with this dish.

Beurre bosc pears are the pears that you find with the rough brownish skin but the white flesh inside is sweet and really great when roasted as they didn't mush as I would imagine normal pears to do.

A brilliant cooking tip with this recipe is to line your frying pan with baking paper as this will stop the marinade on the pork from burning. This recipe from the marinaded pork to the roasted pear salad and the sticky gooey sauce went down a treat.

Honey Mustard Pork with Roasted Pear Salad
 (recipe sourced from WW Programme Cookbook)

Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 8

3 beurre bosc pears, quartered and cored
500 grams baby (chat) potatoes, halved
cooking spray
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
500 grams lean pork fillet, fat trimmed
100 grams cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups baby spinach leaves

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Place pears and potatoes in a large baking dish. Lightly spay with cooking spray and toss to coat. Roast for 40 - 45 minutes or until golden and tender.

Meanwhile combine oil, honey, mustard and thyme in a large shallow bowl. Add pork and turn to coat.

Line a frying pan with baking paper and heat over medium to low heat. Cook pork, turnin, for 12 - 15 minutes or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.  Rest pork for 5 minutes before slicing thickly.

Place tomatoes and spinach in a medium bowl. Add roasted pears and potatoes and toss to combine.

Drizzle pork with pan juices and serve with the roasted pear salad.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Chorizo, Capsicum and Mushroom Gnocchi

As it was our last night just the three of us - Alex comes home tomorrow I decided Oliver could choose what he wanted for dinner.... Gnocchi and Chorizo Sausages were his choice.

Gnocchi is one of his favourite pastas, a pasta we do not eat that often as Alex doesn't really like it but Oliver orders it when we are out for dinner.  Gnocchi is a potato pasta, little rolled balls which are just quickly boiled.

Choriza is a smokey yet spicy spanish sausage, similar to a salami, another of Oliver's favourite things and also another thing Alex doesn't like.

Perfect meal tonight using both ingredients that the boy likes and the girl doesn't and I have to say it was very easy to cook and tasted great.  The plain tomato base of this sauce complemented the chorizo and also sat smoothly on the gnocchi.  It was a pleasure to eat.

Chorizo, Mushroom and Capsicum Gnocchi

Serves: 6
ProPoints per serve: 10

2 Chorizo sausages, sliced
cooking spray
100 grams 97% fat free bacon
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 brown onion, sliced
1 red capsicum, sliced
200 grams mushrooms, sliced
1 x 400 gram tinned diced tomatoes
1 cup water
freshly ground black pepper
500 grams 98% fat free potato gnocchi
200 grams baby spinach leaves
fresh basil leaves for garnish

Heat a large frying pan and fry chorizo until cooked through, remove to a plate. 

Wipe out frying pan with kitchen paper towel, spray frying pan with cooking spray, reheat and add bacon.  Cook until slightly browned and remove to same plate.

Respray pan again, add garlic, onion and capsicum.  Cook over a medium heat until onion starts to soften.  Add mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes and water.  Mix well.  Season with salt and pepper.  Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook gnocchi as per packet instructions.  Drain well.

Add gnocchi to the pasta sauce along with the spinach.  Mix gently to combine and cook until heated through.  Serve garnished with fresh basil leaves.