Archive for January, 2010

Chicken Risotto

Posted in Cooking, Dinner, Food, Home Cooked Food, recipe with tags , , , , on January 13, 2010 by helenphillips

Ages and ages ago, I posted a mushroom risotto recipe, which had been created from a seemingly bare cupboard. The challenge was slightly different this time – I had chicken, chicken stock, and needed something to fulfil my new and exciting(!) diet regimen – and isn’t as pretty!  As always, we had lots of Arborio rice in the store cupboard (so much in fact, we’re going to have to eat a lot of it before moving!), so risotto seemed a viable option. Being new to this WeightWatchers milarky, I thought I’d check their site to see how risotto fits in which their concept. I very easily found a recipe for mushroom risotto, for 5 points, so it would seem that the rice isn’t too bad a thing. This encouraged me to make up my own chicken version, also using what vegetables I had. So, here’s what I came up with for 6.5 points:

  • Spray light (around 5 sprays)
  • 15g dried mushrooms (I used Asda’s ‘Exotic Mix’)
  • 30g roasted chicken (leftover from Sunday in this case)
  • 1 garlic clove (or teaspoon if using a lazy version)
  • 60g courgette
  • 40g white mushrooms
  • 70g red onion, finely chopped
  • 60ml white wine (you can use red, but I find it turns the rice pink!)
  • 75g Arborio rice
  • 375ml chicken stock (I make my own, making sure any fat is skimmed off)
  • Salt’n’Pepper to taste

Soak the dried mushrooms in enough hot water to cover, according to the packet instructions. Heat a non-stick pan, and spray with the fry light. Add in onion, and cook gently for a few minutes, before stirring in the garlic, white mushrooms, and courgette. When the vegetables have softened, stir in the rice, and then the wine. Stir occasionally until the wine is absorbed. Then start to add the stock, a little at a time, remembering to keep stirring so that it doesn’t stick. Add more stock as it gets absorbed. Once all the stock is added, test the rice to see if it is ready. You may need a little extra water, but I didn’t find that to be the case. Season to taste.

Of course, if you want to push the boat out, stir in a little butter and/or parmasan at the end!

January 12th 2010 - Chicken Risotto


Pan Fried Salmon with Vegetables

Posted in Cooking, Dinner, Food, Home Cooked Food, recipe with tags , , , , on January 12, 2010 by helenphillips

Salmon is a rare treat for me, because my husband really doesn’t like fish. At all. So, whilst he’s away, I like to sneak in a portion and enjoy it all by myself.

I added a bit of an oriental twist by using soy sauce & oyster sauce, along with stir-fried vegetables, including some Choi Sum. I’ve never come across this before, but it’s a relative of Pak Choi, and can be used stir-fried or raw in salads. I found it had a stronger, more peppery taste than Pak Choi.

Recipe (for 1)

  • 80ml dried basmati rice
  • Fry Light Oil
  • 1 Salmon Fillet
  • 2 Spring Onions, chopped
  • 1/4 courgette, sliced
  • 1/4 red pepper, sliced into strips
  • 2 medium sized mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 head of Choi Sum (about 5/6 stalks). Remove the leaves, and chop the stalks into bite size.
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce

Start the rice first, I usually find it takes around 12 minutes, which should time well with the main event.

Heat a frying pan, and add a few squirts of fry light when hot. Add the Salmon to the pan, and gently cook for a few minutes. Add the vegetables, with the exception of the Choi Sum leaves. Stir the vegetables occasionally, and turn the Salmon to cook evenly.  When the vegetables start to soften, stir in the Oyster & Soy Sauce. The last step is to add in the Choi Sum leaves, which will only take a minute or so.

Throw* the rice into a bow, and stir in the veg to coat with the sauce. Serve with the Salmon on top. Scoff.

*not literally!

January 11th 2010 - Pan Fried Salmon

Bored, Bored, Bored!

Posted in general with tags on January 12, 2010 by helenphillips

I love snow, I really do, but it’s got boring. I’m stuck without a car this week because of it, and although getting to work isn’t a problem, it means I’m pretty much grounded in the evenings when I’d usually be out at my kickboxing class. Luckily Thursday night’s session is walking distance, so I’ll have a late opportunity to combat the cabin fever.

So, my blog is mostly reverting back to it’s roots this week, as I’ve been making myself some delicious meals (for one!). Last night was Salmon (a rare treat), and tonight I made a Risotto.

Last night I joined WeightWatchers . I have 3 months until we move to the US, and I really could do with shifting some weight before I give in to the temptation of mouth-wateringly huge portions of ribs! The cashback site, Quidco are currently running a £30 cashback promotion if you join WeightWatchers through them, and WeightWatchers are currently running an ‘no joining fee’ offer on their 3 month package, which is £29.95. So, effectively I have joined for free! Now I just have to remember to cancel at the right time!

Retro Snacks

Posted in Food with tags , on January 10, 2010 by helenphillips

So, the food delivery people managed to battle their way through the snow, and they brought pretty much everything I ordered, so the store can’t have been badly ransacked!

I have heard many people complain that Monster Munch, like many childhood snacks, are not as big as they used to be. Presumably, in this case they are right, because the monster munch that came in my shopping today claims to be ‘Old’ Style.  Eddie wasn’t sure, but this one pretty much filled out my mouth! Pickled Onion flavour btw, definitely the bestest flavour.

January 10th 2010 - 'Old' Monster Munch

Jack Frost’s Icy Fingers*

Posted in general, Photography with tags , , , , , , on January 9, 2010 by helenphillips

No-one can have failed to notice that Britain in the grip of The Big Freeze. It’s the latest media obsession, and you can’t turn over the channel without seeing yet another snow report. I hear that many supermarkets are being ransacked as people panic buy. Apparently the apocalypse is approaching. I’m currently wondering whether my (non-panic bought) food shopping will be delivered tomorrow.  The bonus is, you do get wonderful images like this.

Today has not been especially productive, but I did eventually get dressed up in my snow gear, and we ventured out to get some daylight photographs of the snow. This one is my favourite, which has been treated to the ‘Orton Effect’. For anyone remotely interested, the rest of the set can be found on my Flickr pages.

*post title inspired by some of the photo comments!

January 9th 2010 - Snowy Branches

The Countdown Begins

Posted in Cooking, Dinner, general, Home Cooked Food, Photography, recipe with tags , , , on January 8, 2010 by helenphillips

Yesterday I did a Very Scary Thing at work. I handed in my resignation. And if all goes to plan, we will be doing a Marginally Scary Thing in April. We’ll be relocating, approximately 4000 miles away, across the Atlantic Ocean to a new continent. Minneapolis in fact, described by Stephen Fry as the coldest city in the USA!  Britain is in the grip of a ‘Big Freeze’, with local temperatures tonight expected to be -14°C (6.8°F), but this is nothing to what we can expect next winter. Today’s temperature is -23°C / -9.4°F, gulp!

Disappointing, I haven’t been able to get out and about to take any snow photos yet. But tomorrow is Saturday, so hopefully I can wander around locally and make up for it.

So, thus far this week, my photos have mostly been of food (surprise, surprise!).  One of my favourite things to do after having roast chicken on a Sunday is to make stock from the carcass, and (among other things) then to make soup. This week’s was a bit of a variation on the usual, but consisted of chicken(!), mushrooms, carrots, spring onions, sweetcorn, and teeny bit of ginger. A glug of sweet chilli sauce adds a bit of tang, and some tomatoes thrown in near cooking completion adds to the flavour.  Served with some wholemeal rolls, it’s delicious, warming and pretty healthy. And yet another opportunity to make sure I’m getting lots of veg.

Chicken Soup

A few days I posted my recipe for Tagliatelle al Ragu and tonight we had the leftovers, served with a rather delicious (and healthy!) salad, consisting of mixed leaves, cherry tomatoes, celery and spring onions. I was sadly excited to discover Balsamic Glaze a few months ago, because now I can make my dishes look pretty as well as tasty!

January 8th 2010 - Salad!

The snow came

Posted in general, Photography on January 6, 2010 by helenphillips

Not as much as predicted, but apparently a few inches is enough to cause Swindon to come to a standstill.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t really enough to stop me going to work. And as I go to work in the dark, and come home in the dark, there were no snow photo opportunities for me today!  Eddie drove me in, and i went well prepared, in case I had to walk home – my rucksack contained extra socks, leggings, waterproof leggings and a fleece. This was in addition to my walking boots, Berghaus jacket, scarf, gloves and my Brizzle Rugby hat.  Fortunately not much of it was needed, but tomorrow may be a different story if we can’t get the car out across the ice!

I absolutely hate photos of myself, but have discovered since taking up photography that I have gained a little bit of control, and can play with self-portraits until I find something marginally satisfactory. So, here’s me, prepared for the elements!

January 6th 2009 - Prepared for the weather!