Sunday, October 14, 2012

Asian inspired rice wraps

A friend sent me this recipe a few years ago and it has become a real favourite I use skirt steak, trimmed and sliced very thin against the grain. This week my lovely butcher did it for me. A whole 1.5kg but you can adjust quantities to suit yourself Mix marinade in a glass or ceramic bowl. I use my old 1960s Sunbeam mixmaster bowl. The mixmaster is long gone but both bowls are still going strong.
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon each chopped garlic and ginger
1 tablespoon each mirin, soy sauce and fish sauce

add beef, mix well and refrigerate for at least two hours
By the way if you have never tried using chopsticks to mix stuff - do - they are excellent!

Heat about a teaspoon of oil in a frpan or wok. I used my Chefs Toolbox wok which is a dream tool. I actually threw out the wok I got for my sixteenth birthday after 6 months using this one!
Cook the beef in batches so it goes nice and brown and crispy not grey and soggy.

Put the beef aside. It's OK - it doesn't need to be served hot. You can do this in advance and was up BEFORE dinner if you like!
But this bit has to be done at the last minute. Boil a kettle and while it is boiling unpack some rice vermicelli. I always chop mine up with scissors a little bit to make the length of the strands more manageable
Pour the boiled water on and soak for two minutes, then drain.
At some stage you prepare your vegetables. Clockwise from front - baby spinach leaves, cucumber batons, fresh mint from the garden, finely grated carrot, shredded letuce (use cos or iceberg), bean sprouts and in the middle there is a mix of chopped spring onions and red chilli
Put the beef, noodles and vegetables on the table with one or two large flat bowls and some soy and sweet chilli sauce. Fill the bowls with boiling water while you search for every pair of teeny tiny tongs you own.
Each person makes their own wraps. Soak each wrap till it softens.
Fill with beef, noodles, salad and sauce. Don't overfill.
And roll. You don't have to close both ends, although if you are doing some extra for tomorrows lunch it is best to seal both ends. You can also make a vermicelli salad for lunch the next day out of all the leftover bits.
No idea on the ProPoints but if you go easy on the noodles it won't be too many.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Steak and salad

Actually we had steak and four salads. And we ate outside because it was heavenly - this is what it was like:
How lovely is Townsville this time of year?
So anyway FOUR salads - I was on such a roll this afternoon!
Salad 1: French Cabbage Salad
This is fantastic for people who are a bit over coleslaw. 
You need:
1/4 white cabbage
1 red apple (I used a pink lady)
1/2 cucumber
1-2 sticks celery
a big handful of garlic chives or spring onion tops
Slice the cabbage thinly (you can use a mandolin for this if you like) 
Peel the cucumber but leave a tiny bit between each strip of peel you remove because it is just prettier that way. Slice thinly (again with the mandolin) and halve the slices
Slice the celery thinly too
Cut the apple in four, core it and then cut each piece into 8-10 depending on the size of the slices
chop the garlic chives
Throw it all into a bowl - a bigger bowl than you intend to serve in nd toss together. Hands are the best tools for tossing.
Then mix the dressing in the high tech dressing machine (a vegemite jar)
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil (I used the lemon infused oil)
pinch seasalt
pinch raw sugar
Shake well and pour over salad - this one is fine to be dressed in advance
French Cabbage Salad
Salad 2: Fennel salad with mint
one head baby cos, washed and dried
one baby fennel
1/2 cup mint
Let me just say that any salad that treats mint as a vegetable rather than a garnish will be worth a try
Chop the cos roughly into pieces that are bite size
tear the mint from the stalks and add
Slice the fennel as thinly as possible
Mix dressing in aforementioned hi tech gadget
1/3 cup lemon juice 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon baby capers
fresh ground pepper
Pour over salad just before serving
Fennel salad with mint
Salad 3: Baby spinach with citrus
1/2 bag baby spinach leaves. If you have time to pick the stalks off this makes it a whole lot more appetising
1/4 red onion sliced very thinly
1/2 can mandarin segments
1 lebanese cucumbers cut into batons
Mix spinach, cucumber and onion together in a large bowl. Tip into serving container and top with drained mandarin segments.
Serve with a lemon and balsamic dressing - I used the one from here 
Check out the vintage Tupperware - this is a relic from my wedding shower in 1982
Baby spinach with citrus
Salad 4: Balsamic asparagus and tomato 
2 bunches asparagus
1 punnet grape tomatoes
2 dsp parmesan (15 ml spoon size)
Grind the parmesan in the Thermomix if you have one or grate it finely
Halve the tomatoes
Snap the woody ends off the asparagus and cut into 3-4 pieces. Cook in boiling water for 3-4 minutes then plunge into iced water and drain.
combine vegetables in a bowl and mix your dressing
100ml orange juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
a pinch of seasalt
Pour dressing over and sprinkle with parmesan. This one can be dressed in advance too.
Balsamic Asparagus and Tomato

Find a man to barbecue the steak for you 
There are 12 ProPoints in the four salads combined - 5 each in the salads with oil in the dressing and 2 in the parmesan. We served three and had lots of leftovers so I think you could eat your fill and track 2 PP plus your steak. And of course this knocks over the vegetable part of the Healthy Checks!
Just YUM!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Weight Watchers Tuna and White Bean salad

Tonight we tried a tweak on this recipe

Variations? Of course - I don't think I am capable of following a recipe to the letter.

I spread a bed of mixed spinach and rocket leaves on a large platter - some salads just look fabulous on a plate rather than in a bowl

Because there were only two of us and we were keeping one serve for lunch tomorrow I reduced the tuna - I used one 85g can and one 185g can. I also didn't measure the lemon juice - just squeezed in a whole nice juicy one I had nearby.

Dill and parsley from the garden - put them on the plate after the beans - the flavour spreads through so much better - next time I will chop the dill even though this recipe said tear it.

Only 6 Weight Watchers Pro Points in less than 10 minutes - how good is that?

Pretty isn't it?

PS Weight Watchers says it is in one of their books - can anyone tell me which one? I can link to the book then too. I have not managed to locate it in any of the seven Pro Points books I have here.