Bean and Pepperoni Risotto

Serves: 4 – Prep time: 20 mins – Cook time: 35 mins – Cals per portion: 560

A colourful, easy to make twist on a classic dish.

Ingredients:
3 tbsp (45ml) olive oil
1 onion, sliced
225g (8oz) carrots, diced
1 green pepper, deseeded and diced
200g (7oz) Pepperoni, sliced
1 tbsp (15ml) paprika
225g (8oz) easy-cook brown rice
225g (8oz) can chopped tomatoes
1 ½ pt (900ml) chicken stock
283g (10oz) can red kidney beans, drained
396g (14oz) can chickpeas, drained
50g (2oz) fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Basil leaves to garnish

Step One: Heat the olive oil and cook the onion until softened. Add carrots, green pepper and pepperoni and cook for 2-3 mins. Stir in paprika and rice. Cook for 2-3 mins, so all the grains are coated.

Step Two: Stir in chopped tomatoes and ¼ pt (150ml) of the stock. Cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is absorbed.

Step Three: Gradually add the remaining stock, waiting for it to be absorbed, before adding more. When it’s all added, the rice should be tender. Add a little more stock if necessary. Add the beans and chickpeas and heat through. Stir in the Parmesan and scatter over the basil leaves.

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Almond and Cherry Florentines

Recipe courtesy of Easy Living

Makes about 30

Ingredients:
450g (14oz) cherries, stoned
1 tsp caster sugar; 220g (7oz) almonds
100g (3 ½ oz) unsalted butter, cubed
150g (5oz) brown sugar
175g (6oz) golden syrup
1 tsp Amaretto (optional)
100g (3 ½ oz) plain flour, sifted
2 tsp ground ginger
300g (10oz) good-quality dark chocolate, broken into small pieces

Step One: Heat the oven to 180oC (Gas Mark 6). Place the cherries on a lined baking tray and sprinkle with caster sugar. Bake in the oven for 50-60 mins, until the cherries are shrivelled and caramelised. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile scatter the almonds on a baking tray and roast for 7-10 mins. Coarsely chop half the almonds, saving the remainder.

Step Two: Melt the butter, brown sugar, golden syrup and Amaretto (if using) in a saucepan over a medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour and ground ginger. Line two large baking trays with baking paper. Pour half the mixture into the middle of one of the trays and, using a spatula, very gently spread the mixture out to form a rough rectangle about 2-3 mm thick, leaving a 5cm (2 in) border all around. Repeat with the second baking tray, then transfer both to the oven and cook for 5 mins.

Step Three: Remove and scatter over the cherries and all the almonds, then return to the oven and cook for 12-15 mins or until the mixture is bubbling and golden. Set aside to cool for 4-5 mins. Starting from the outside and working inwards use a cookie cutter to cut out rounds. Place the Florentines on a lined baking tray and chill in the fridge for 10 mins.

Step Four: Cover your work surface with foil (this makes cleaning up easier) and place two or three wire racks on top. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Remove the Florentines from the fridge and dip each one halfway into the melted chocolate, then place on a rack and leave for 15 mins. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour, or until the chocolate has set.

For other biscuit recipes:-

Italian Chicken Casserole

Enjoy the taste of Italy with this tempting chicken dish ….. it’s brimming with Mediterranean flavour!

Serves: 4;   Cals per portion: 659;   Prep time: 15 mins;   Cook time: 1 hr 20 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1oz (25g) butter or margarine
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 x 8oz (225g) part-boned chicken breasts, trimmed, washed and dried
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stick, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2oz (50g) pancetta ham or unsmoked rindless streaky bacon, trimmed and chopped
  • 8oz (225g) button mushrooms, wiped and sliced
  • 14oz (397g) can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and black pepper
  • 7 fl oz (200ml) dry white wine
  • 2oz (50g) green olives stuffed with pimientos
  • 2oz (50g) pitted black olives

Step One – In a large frying pan, melt fat with oil. Add the chicken breasts and fry for 7-8 mins, or until browned all over. Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken and drain on absorbent kitchen paper. Place in an ovenproof casserole dish and set aside.

Step Two
– Preheat oven to Gas 5, 375oF, 190oC. Using the same frying pan, fry the onion, celery, garlic, pancetta ham or bacon, and mushrooms for 3-4 mins, or until just softened. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mixture to the casserole dish.

Step Three
– Place the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, dried oregano, salt and black pepper in a large saucepan. Pour the dry white wine into the saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the tomato and wine sauce to the chicken mixture in the casserole dish.

Step Four
– Mix well, then cover dish and cook in oven for 50 mins, or until the chicken is tender. Remove casserole from the oven and stir in the olives. Return to the oven and cook, uncovered, for a further 10 mins. Serve with warm ciabatta bread and a dry white wine.

Find a selection of yummy Italian goodies here …

Re-Fried Beans

Serves: 4;  Cals per portion: 413;   Prep time: 5 mins;   Cook time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 15oz (430g) can borlotti beans, drained
  • 15oz (430g) can black-eye beans, drained
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
  • salt and ground black pepper

Step One – Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, then add the beans, chopped onion and crushed garlic, and mash well with a fork.
Step Two – Stir in chilli powder, ground cumin and chopped parsley, and season well with salt and ground black pepper. Mash again, then cook, stirring frequently, for 5 mins. Serve.

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Guacamole

Serves: 4;   Cals per portion: 177;   Prep time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 2 large ripe avocados, peeled, halved and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Step One – Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend for 30 secs. NB: If you don’t own a food processor, finely chop the ingredients and mash with a fork.

Step Two – Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and chill until required.

Other Mexican recipes can be found here.

Mexican Rice

Serves: 4;   Cals per portion: 415;   Prep time: 15 mins;   Cook time: 30 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 10oz (300g) long-grain rice
  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 ½ pt (900ml) chicken stock
  • 8oz (225g) canned sweetcorn kernels, drained
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • salt and ground black pepper

Step One – Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and sauté the onion and garlic for 3 mins. Add the rice and continue to cook for 3 mins.
Step Two – Stir in chilli, green pepper, stock, sweetcorn and tomatoes. Season well. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 mins, or until liquid is absorbed. Serve.

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Chicken Fajitas

Serves: 4;   Cals per portion: 300;   Prep time: 20 mins;   Cook time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lb (900g) boneless chicken breast, skinned and finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp onion salt
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced

Step One – Heat the oil in a large pan. Add chicken slices, garlic, onion slices, chilli powder, onion salt, ground cumin, dried oregano and lemon juice. Season well. Cook, stirring frequently for 10 mins.

Step Two – Add the peppers to the pan and continue to cook for 5 mins. Serve with wheat tortillas, mixed salad leaves, salsa and soured cream sprinkled with parsley.
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Chilli Con Carne

Serves: 4;   Cals per portion: 392;   Prep time: 10 mins;   Cook time: 55 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 ½ lb (675g) lean minced beef
  • 2 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • ¾ pt (450ml) beef stock
  • 397g can chopped tomatoes
  • 430g can red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • soured cream and freshly chopped parsley to garnish.

Step One – Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic for 3 mins. Stir in the minced beef and chilli powder and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 5 mins, or until sealed.

Step Two – Stir in the flour and tomato puree, cook for a further 1 min, then add the stock, tomatoes, beans and chilli. Season well. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 40 mins. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with soured cream sprinkled with chopped parsley.

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Corn Soup

Serves: 4;   Cals per portion: 189;   Prep time: 10 mins;   Cook time: 55 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1oz (25g) butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 12oz (350g) sweeetcorn kernels
  • 2 pt (1.2 litres) chicken stock
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • ¼ pt (150ml) single cream
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped chives

Step One – Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then add onion and garlic, and sauté for 3 mins. Add the sweetcorn and stock to the pan. Season well. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 40 mins.
Step Two – Blend soup in a processor for 30 secs. Return to pan and stir in cream and chives. Continue to cook for 5 mins, without boiling, until soup is piping hot. Serve with crusty bread.
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Nachos

Serves:  4;  Cals per portion:  324;  Prep time:  10 mins;  Cook time:  7 mins

Ingredients: 

  • 4oz (100g) tortilla chips
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4oz (100g) cheddar cheese, grated
  • ¼ pt (150ml) soured cream
  • 2 green chillis, sliced

Step One – Place a layer of tortilla chips in an ovenproof dish.  Top with onion, cheese, soured cream and chillis.  Repeat layering process twice more.

Step Two – Heat the grill to medium and cook dish under grill for 5-7 mins.  Serve.

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