‘Healthy’ British Fry-Up

A healthy fry-up? Despite the apparent oxymoron for low-carbers this one works pretty well. For me it covers all the areas that a good fry-up requires. It is very satisfying and it is my ultimate savory comfort food – so much so that occasionally we have it for tea (evening meal/dinner). I guess that would almost make it a mixed grill in theory? Either way it is one of my favourites – quick and satisfying, but impressive enough to serve to non-carbing breakfast/brunch guests.

Obviously the quantities depend on how many you are feeding…

Irish sausages (Clonakilty ones are the best, but Richmond are good too)

Rashers of bacon (for a traditional English/Irish breakfast this has to be back bacon)

Chestnut mushrooms (fried in butter)

Tinned Plum Tomatoes

Fresh free range eggs (I like Duck eggs for a treat)

Gallettes (makes 4 large gallettes) – 4 heaped tablespoons of oat bran; 3 tablespoons ground linseed; 1 beaten egg; 2-3 oz grated cheddar cheese; 1-2 tablespoons cream; salt and pepper.

Mix together all the ingredients for the gallettes– you should get quite a solid looking mixture. Fry tablespoon sized dollops of the mixture in some butter or coconut oil – both work well – for about 5 minutes until lightly browned then filp them to brown the other side.

While you wait for the gallettes to brown you can start to grill the bacon. I like it cooked until it’s nice and crispy (this takes about 20 minutes – I use the grill on my combi microwave, but you could easily use a conventional grill). Then put the sausages into a baking tin (use a deep tin if you have one) and bake them in a pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes – 200°C.

Once the gallettes are lightly browned you can pop them in the oven (on a low shelf) to finish off – give them about 10 minutes so they are completely cooked in the middle. I find these can be kept in the oven until you need them as the cheese just gets crispier, but I wouldn’t leave them more than 20 minutes without turning the heat down!

Tip the tinned plum tomatoes into a saucepan and heat them up.

Quarter the mushrooms and fry in butter and oil – it is essential to combine the butter with some oil to prevent the butter burning – I use rapeseed oil for this (for an even healthier option you can simmer them in a little vegetable stock if you prefer – the result is just as good).

Once all the elements are ready it is time to fry the eggs – I like them flipped (is that ‘over-easy’ in the States?), but cook them however you like them. If you prefer you could poach or scramble them.

With the gallettes at the bottom,  to soak up all those amazing flavours, pile up all those delicious cooked ingredients and tuck in!

Variations/additions: Try adding some slices of black or white pudding; pork chops or pork loin; fillet steak; or if you are feeling adventurous try lambs kidneys.

 

 

 

 

 

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Mega-Omelette

We started ‘meatless Fridays’ to avoid the temptation of the evil Friday night takeaway that had become our mainstay. After a long week teaching, I resent having to cook when I get home on a Friday night and I needed something that was effortless, quick and very tasty as well as being speedy to prepare and cook. This Mega-Omelette is my ultimate fast food and can be prepared and ready to eat in about 10 minutes.

6 large eggs

1 packet asparagus (chopped)

1 medium onion (sliced)

4-5 chestnut mushrooms (sliced)

1 pointy red pepper (sliced)

2-3oz grated cheddar cheese (goat’s cheese also works well)

salt and pepper

1 tsp coconut oil

Serves 2-3

Preheat the grill on the highest setting. Using a frying pan that you can put under the grill safely, fry the onion, asparagus and pepper in the coconut oil. After 2-3 minutes add the mushrooms and fry for another couple of minutes while you beat the eggs. Season the vegetable and pour over the egg mixture. Keep the omelette on a high heat and use a spatula to slowly scrape the setting egg mixture into the middle to aid cooking. When the egg is still runny on top leave the omelette to set (or you’ll end up with scrambled egg – which would be just as tasty!). Once the bottom has started to brown (when the edges of the omelette will be beginning to brown the bottom will be too. Pop the omelette under the grill to finish off cooking the top. Then sprinkling over the grated cheese and allow it melt under the grill for a minute or two.

I like to sprinkle Sumac over the omelette to add an interesting twist and my husband likes to drizzle Balsamic Glaze over his.

This can be eaten on its own or you could serve it with a simple salad.

 

 

Spicy Chicken and Bacon Bake

2 chicken breasts (cut into bite-size pieces)

4 rashers bacon

2oz grated sharp cheddar (optional)

2 tsps. Bart’s Baharat spice blend (any Moroccan spices or even fajita spices would work well)

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp. Coconut oil

Serves 2-3

Preheat oven to 200°c

  • Brown the chicken and bacon the coconut oil. Add the Baharat spices and the garlic and fry for 1-2 minutes.
  • Once browned place in an oven proof dish and sprinkle over the grated cheese.
  • Bake for 10 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and the chicken is fully cooked.

Serve with salad or Slightly Spice Cabbage.

This is the first time I have tried the Baharat spices, which give an exotic flavour to the dish. If you are unable to buy the spices (I brought it from Waitrose) I have also made it using fajita spices and Moroccan style spices.

 

 

 

 

Burger Stacks

I’ve tried several times to make my own burgers; it has never gone well. All too often they are bland and tasteless; I’m not actually sure quite where I’m going wrong. I suppose with some practice I could master it, but why should I when Costco do it so well for me!

2 burgers per person (I like to use Costco’s Aberdeen Angus Burgers or Minted Lamb Burgers)

3-4 rashers bacon per person

2 slices of cheese (in the Burger Stack in the picture I used stilton, but a nice strong cheddar is great too)

  • Turn the oven on 180°c
  • Start off the burgers by frying them (without oil) until they are starting to brown. Transfer them to a deep baking tray and pop them in the oven while you prepare the salad. I usually give them 15 minutes in a preheated oven.
  • If you like really crispy bacon – dry-fry it (without oil) until it is cooked through and then pop it on a baking tray in the oven on a shelf below the burgers. If you prefer your bacon less crispy you can cook it straight in the oven, just fry it or grill it. I often use the grill feature of my microwave and cook it for 15-20 minutes, which saves a lot of mess!
  • Slice your cheese ready for stacking.
  • Stack the burgers, bacon and cheese and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes or until the cheese is nice and melted. I stack them in this order – burger, bacon, cheese, burger, bacon, cheese.
  • You can of course add a slice or two of beef tomato, or perhaps some fried onions and mushrooms and, of course, you can omit the cheese if you prefer or if you are avoiding dairy. The choice is yours.
  • Serve with a simple salad and enjoy!

 

Plateau fear…

Five weeks into the diet and I think I may have overdone the cheese… I only weigh myself once a week and this week there has been little movement. Mind you, I have still lost the odd half inch here and there, so I haven’t succumbed to complete despair! It would be so easy to slip slowly sideways off the diet waggon, but this time I am resolved and determined not to give in!

Cheese could well be my nemesis. This week is the first week that I have not lost at least a pound or two and I have been here before. Last year I reached this stage after four weeks and I really struggled to persevere for the next four weeks; my efforts unfortunately did not pay off and I remained on the plateau until I gave up.

So, now is the time to really up the ante and start exercising. I’m going to take the plunge and join the local pool and gym, so I can build up my stamina and strength whilst burning off some of those calories. Finding the time will be difficult and I know it will take a few weeks to get back into the swing of going, especially after a long day teaching.

What about you? How have you motivated yourself to keep on track or get back into regular exercise?

 

No Pasta Cheesy Chicken Bake

2 chicken breasts (cut into bite-size pieces)

Small Cauliflower (cut into florets)

Small onion (finely chopped)

4 rashers bacon

1 cup double Cream

3-4oz grated sharp cheddar

Grated mozzarella

Salt and pepper

Coconut oil

 

Serves 2

Preheat oven to 180°c

  • Brown the chicken and bacon in half of the coconut oil.
  • Once browned place in an oven proof dish and leave to one side.
  • Boil or steam cauliflower florets while the sauce is prepared.
  • In the remaining coconut oil fry the onion until starting to brown.
  • Pour over the cream and add seasoning, bring to a rapid simmer for about 5 minutes or until it has reduced down and started to thicken.
  • Stir in the cheddar cheese and allow to melt gently.
  • Drain the cauliflower which should still be firm when poked with a sharp knife.
  • Tip the cauliflower and chicken into the cheesy cream sauce and mix well.
  • Pour this into the oven proof dish and sprinkle over the grated mozzarella.
  • Bake for 10 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and the chicken is fully cooked.

 

Serve with salad or simple green veg and enjoy!

 

Red Pepper Tuna Melt

2 pointed red peppers (or bell peppers work just as well)

1 tin tuna

1 red onion

2oz sharp cheddar (grated and keep a bit aside to top before baking)

2 heaped tbsps. mayo

1 tbsp. chilli flakes

Salt and pepper

Serves two.

  • Preheat oven to 200°c
  • Combine the tuna, onion, mayo, chilli flakes, grated cheese, salt and pepper together.
  • Halve pepper and remove seeds and the internal membrane. Stuff with the tuna mixture.
  • Place in an oven-proof dish (I don’t usually grease it, but you can if you need to) and sprinkle over remaining cheese.
  • Bake for 10-15mins until golden brown and hot throughout.

This is great served on its own or with a garnish of fresh rocket. If you use the pointed peppers it makes the finished product look a bit like a fish.