Friday, 7 September 2007

Cook Yourself Thin

This is a TV series that is running currently on Channel 4. It’s about 4 girls who all love food passing on their tips and recipes for losing weight. ‘Drop a Dress Size in 6 Weeks’ is their sort of slogan. I bought this book because I’m terrible at thinking of skinny meals, so it was with a positive attitude that I began cooking from this book, which is half the battle really!

I’ve made 4 main courses, a couple of veggie sides and a quick pudding from the book so far - Cook Yourself Thin by Harry Eastwood, Gizzi Erskine, Sal Hanley and Sophie Michell. Here are the main dishes, we liked them all, but my favourite was the Chicken Tikka, it was really so good.
Here they are:

Ceasar Salad with Chicken
Here the dressing is made with zero fat Greek yoghurt, and it works - the Parmesan cheese comes through more strongly than in the regular dressing, and made a delicious skinny dressing. The croutons should have been done as melba toast, but I lost calories from not using all the anchovies, so added back in a little oil and reinstated the croutons.

Egg Fried Rice with Chicken and Prawns
This was good, a little difficult to stir fry with so little oil, but worth it all the same. I liked it with a splodge of sweet chilli sauce. Mmmm.

This was good too, although I think I’d make a soup to have with it next time, as we felt a little under fed. Mind you this is probably because we over eat our pasta portions normally!

Chicken Tikka
This is a lovely curry with plenty of sauce, and the rice is very fragrant and full of flavour. This is the kind of dish that you might first off make with good intentions, but continue to make because it’s really delicious. I used full fat coconut milk, because ½ fat was no where to be seen. There isn’t much of it in the recipe though, so even so it’s still light. I also used parsley as a garnish as no fresh coriander in the house.

Click here to be linked to Channel 4's website and the recipes for Ceaser Salad, Egg Fried Rice and Carbonara.

Chicken Tikka Masala with Fragrant Rice

For the marinade
1 tablespoon tikka masala Curry paste
150g 0% fat Greek yoghurt
2 free-range chicken breasts each cut into 5-6 large chunks

For the sauce
1 rounded tablespoon tikka masala curry paste
1 onion, finely chopped
200g passatta
200ml tin reduced-fat or light coconut milk
1 tablespoon 0% fat Greek yoghurt
A handful of coriander, chopped

For the fragrant rice
100g basmati rice
5 curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 cinnamon stick
A pinch of saffron (optional)

How to make low-fat chicken tikka masala with fragrant rice
To make the marinade, mix the curry paste, yoghurt, chicken and salt together, cover and leave overnight in the fridge to absorb all the delicious flavours.
Preheat a conventional oven to 220ºC or a fan-assisted one to 200ºC.
Wipe the marinade off the chicken and place, piece by piece, onto a baking tray. Bake for 10 minutes or until slightly charred, but not cooked through.
You are just trying to get some colour here because the chicken will finish cooking in the curry sauce. Set the tikka chicken aside while you make the sauce.
Heat the curry paste in a saucepan. Add the onion and sweat slowly over a low heat for five to eight minutes or until the onion is translucent and soft.
It is important to take the time to do this slowly because the onion will then release its natural sugars, producing a sweeter dish, but be careful not to do this over too high a heat because the curry paste will burn.
Add the passatta and coconut milk and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and add the tikka chicken.
Cook over a low heat for five minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Finish by stirring through the yoghurt and coriander.
To make the fragrant rice, add the rice, a pinch of salt and the aromatics to a pan and cover with enough water to come 1cm over the top of the rice.
Bring to the boil and simmer for eight minutes, covered.
The rice should have absorbed almost all of the water, but still be a bit wet.
Remove from the heat and leave to absorb the remaining water for 10 minutes, covered. Remove the cinnamon stick before serving with the curry. Serves 2.


Lydia said...

Interesting approach for a "diet" book -- they don't seem too concerned with carbs, which many lower-calorie recipes really cut down on (rice, pasta, etc.), but instead they are cutting fat calories from oil and yogurt. Keep cooking and enjoying it. My new low-cal cooking strategy is to play music while I cook that makes me feel like dancing, so it's cooking as exercise!

Deborah said...

I love finding "healthier" meal choices, although I'm really bad at following the recipe and usually end up using full fat/full calorie ingredients because that is what I had on hand!! These recipes all look wonderful, though.

lynn said...

Sounds good. Are the dress sizes coming down? I'd like a personal testimony before buying the book. :-)

Belinda said...

Wow! All of the recipes you've prepared looks really tasty and enticing...not at all like the usual "light" diet fare. :-) Everything looks fabulous!

Nora B. said...

It all looks delicious to me. I think that my fav. will also be the tikka. The rice looks so fragrant and fluffy. If only someone can also cook for me. I seem to have little time to cook during the week.

Truffle said...

What fabulous ideas for skinny meals. I always love healthy meals that don't scream diet. I just wanted to add that I love your mousse presentation below. Stunning.

Kristen said...

What a great collection of recipes. I'll have to check out that book!

Cynthia said...

Looking forward to your reports and you continue to use the book.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Love it! Well done Kelly-Jane I asked if you could recommend any good books of this ilk and you deliver. I just found a bag of old (but good) clothes that I've kept since before first pregnancy. I want to be able to get into them by Christmas. It doesn't matter that most of them are Summer clothes it's more about being able to get them on, I can always buy more Winter clothes.

Margaret said...

I'm glad you are trying out the recipes for us, it will help me with my decisions on which one to try first. I'm pleased you enjoyed them.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I had some Chicken Tikka that I really enjoyed; this looks like an excellent recipe I might have to try! Maybe Trader Joes will have some tikka masala Curry paste.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Oops and I like Lydia's cooking as exercise with dancing! That's fun!

veron said...

Yep, the chicken tikka appeals to me the most but everything looks so delicious!

joey said...

I love Chicken Tikka! :) Thanks for sharing and low-fat recipe...I could use it (having a food blog is not quite the calorie cutter!) :)

Kate said...

every time i visit your blog , its like going thru a buffet , only difference is i cant pick and eat :p

vonsachsen said...

Love the Ceasar and the Chicken Tikka! Also, I like the plate with the flowery print, it´s so pretty!

Kelly-Jane said...

Lydia, The girls who wrote the book take a calories approach. I like the idea of dancing! :)

Deborah, Thank you :)

Lynn, I think if I used this book and calorie counted vigilantly I'd be ok, but I'm not that stringent ;)

Belinda, thank you :)

Nora, I made these for weeknight suppers, and they were all pretty quick. Although the tikka chicken needed to be marinated overnight.

Truffle, diet type food is def easier if it doesn't say 'diet food'!

Kristen, thank you :)

Cynthia, I'll be doing more from this book!

Amanda, Oh I know the feeling!

Margaret, I'd go for the tikka first, it was really lovely.

Tanna, I hope you can find the paste with you.

Veron, thank you :)

Joey, you are so right there!

Kate LOL ! :)

Eva, Thanks, and the plate is a pettern called 'Crazy Daisy' by Portmerion. I think it's really fun!


Reena said...

Thanks for the recipes!

I wanted to know what's passatta? Did you buy it or make it?

Kelly-Jane said...

Hello Reena, thank you for visiting.

It's sieved tomatoes, I just buy it in a bottle.

Best wishes, KJ

Reena said...

Is that like crushed tomatoes? What brand do you buy?

Also what brand tikka masala paste do you use?

Thanks so much!

Kelly-Jane said...

Hi Reena,

Yes crushed tomatoes, that are then sieved to make it smooth. I use Tesco's Finest passata and Pataks paste.

Hope this helps you :)