Wednesday, 30 April 2014

JON'S GARLICTASTIC BREAD



It's chili night at MattyB Bakes tonight! I've shown you how to make a delicious slow cooked chili in the past and tonight I'm lucky enough to of had one made for me. It's always nice when you come home and open the door to the smell of slow cooked chili. The woes of the day instantly vanish. Yes, Jon has been a busy little bee today and has even whipped up some garlic bread as a little treat!



Making your own own garlic bread is so easy I'm surprised more people don't do it. Not only is the taste a lot fresher but it's also so much cheaper than buying ready made from the supermarket. I'll have non of that "I've got no time business" either. Jon's garlic bread will take you five minutes top to prepare as long as you have all the ingredients at hand so there is no excuse. Recipe below is enough for a small portion for two or a hefty portion for one!

Monday, 28 April 2014

MATTY'S MUSHROOM AND ALE PIE



As I had a block of puff pastry leftover from my Appleretto Cinnamon Rolls and it was a Sunday I thought what better way to use it up than to make a nice mushroom and ale pie with some buttery mash and stuffing. Something different than your bog standard meat and two veg Sunday dinner and a true British classic. There are a lot of components to this recipe though so its best to do it when you have a lot of time to make it, ideal for the weekend if your lucky like me not to work them!



Sunday, 27 April 2014

ROMANTIC RED BERRY CRUMBLE



With the beautiful red berries and its perfect couples sized portion, my red berry crumble is a great way to
treat your dearly beloved to a yummy pudding. It's also super easy to make so anyone can magic up this romantic gesture with the greatest of ease.

Don't feel like you have to stick with the Valentines-esq red theme though. This pudding is great for using up the remains of any berries you have left at the end of the week so if you have other berries such as blackberries or blueberries why not chuck them in too.

Its so simple! Give it a go and you'll defiantly be in the good books tonight!


Thursday, 24 April 2014

JALFREZI FRENZY!



I've shown you a couple of Thai curry recipes previously however it occurred to me that I haven't shown enough of my Indian curries yet. Naughty me!

We love a good curry night at our place. Has to be spicy and with lots of chunky veg! However, I think
people rely too much of jarred sauces and they tend to be most calorific and full of all sorts of bits and bobs that are unrecognisable. It's so easy to make your own curry sauce and this Jalfrezi recipe is a great way of using the spices in your cupboard is russle up a fiery treat - and it's much better for you too!

This recipe calls for two chili's with the seeds thrown in too - this is just spicy enough for me but you can de-seed if you want a milder curry or go all out and add as many as you want. Whatever you think you can handle. I've gone veggie again so the Quorn pieces are getting another airing but do feel free to use meat instead if your a raging carnivore!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

MY BIG FAT GREEK VEGGIE PASTA



I love Feta cheese. I never used to be so keen but after spending time in Rhodes a couple of years ago and tasting the real stuff I fell in love. Now I try and include it whenever cheese is called for in a recipe. Whats great is that you can get some really cheap versions in supermarkets and compared to other cheeses, a small amount is less fattening so it's a good choice if your missing cheese on your diet.


This veggie pasta recipe is great if you want to treat yourself just a little smidge! A bit of time needed for prep which you can do in advance if you like and once its done you can knock this one out in about 15 minutes tops which is great if you don't want to spend all evening in the kitchen!

My recipe is once again veggie friendly so I use Quorn chicken pieces. I can't really think of a meat that would work in the dish but if you have any ideas feel free to experiment otherwise it's equally delicious sans protein. You can use any pasta you like too but I would advise you use something hollow like Cavatappi or Penne so that it scoops up little bits of the feta or you get lovely bursts of cheese as you bite through the pasta!

Monday, 21 April 2014

MATTY'S (LEFTOVER CHOCOLATE) CITRUS CAKE



It is Easter Monday and you still can't move from the massive Sunday roast and dozens of Easter eggs you've stuffed into your face yesterday. If your still staring at the mountain of chocolate left over and wondering how you are going to munch your way through it all why not take some of it and russle up this quick and zesty sponge cake. It uses your left overs to decorate the top and is great way to spend the final day of Easter with the kids. I've used leftover chocolate oranges and grated chocolate to decorate the top (I love chocolate orange!) but you can use broken Easter egg shards, buttons or mini eggs to decorate the top, it all depends on whatever is tempting you from the kitchen.

Don't just restrict yourself to Easter either because who are we all trying to kid; most people have "leftover" chocolate lying around the house that could be used up. Yes! I'm talking to you, you chocolate fiend!

The great thing about this cake is that it is an all in one mix. As long as you have all the ingredients at your disposal it's just a case of throwing them all into a bowl and lashing it the oven - it's as simple as that so this is great cake for making on a lazy day. So off the couch and into the kitchen with you and get baking!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

BEEF AND PUDDING (MATTYB RECOMMENDS)



This Good Friday, Jon and I were back off to Manchester again to see Sophie Ellis Bextor in the Rtiz (and a delight she was too!) Scouring the twittersphere for new places to try in Manchester we came across Beef and Pudding. After checking out the menu which appeared to be offering delicious takes on pub classics we decided to to give it a go. We booked a table and headed off for a visit.




Thursday, 17 April 2014

CHEEKY SPINACH AND CHICKPEA TAGINE



I've always loved a good tagine. A couple of years ago we had the pleasure of actually heading of to Agadir
in Morroco and to be there and eat some of their fantastic dishes was a dream. It's a flavor that I'd never be able to replicate, I don't have years of experience making them or old family secrets to work with. However, I've taken ideas from many sources and I've devised the recipe below which is not only quick to make, it's low in calories and a great way to get a taste of Morocco in your kitchen with a minimal amount of fuss - that's the way the MattyB rolls!

My recipe uses dried chickpeas which I've soaked overnight before boiling up in the day. I much prefer using these rather than tinned as they have a nice bite to them but if you don't have the time or forget to prepare them in advance a 400g drained tin of chickpeas will work just as fine. If your not a chickpea fan you could always replace them with some lamb pieces or Quorn chicken style bits if your veggie.


The remaining bulk of the dish comes from the spinach which is added near the end. I love spinach but I know a lot of people are put off by it for some reason so if you don't want to add spinach swap it for another veg of your choice. Something earthy like carrots or courgettes would work well but make sure you add them in with the onions so they cook through in time. Experiment, find what's best for you - that's the joy of cooking!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

MY THAI 2 (REVENGE OF THE GREEN CURRY)



 
Previously on MattyB Bakes, I shared with you my recipe for a delicious and low(er) cal Thai Red Curry.

That recipe used Thai red paste and light coconut milk to create the base of the curry. Whilst it's great to try and make dishes from scratch as much as possible what about if you are pushed for time? Is there a quicker way to create a tasty Thai curry thats still good for the diet.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

SPEEDY STIR FRY (WITH A KICK)



I love Asian food. I believe it comes from the fact the last meal my mum ate before giving birth to me being a special Chow Mein from the chippy! The love of a good noodle dish is still with me to this day, I obviously inherited her good taste.

Today however, I much prefer a freshly homemade stir fry. Don't think you need to get in a shop bought stir fry sauce to enjoy one though, for a start they are expensive compared to making a fresh sauce and I find them to be too gloopy and thick. It's so much easier and tastier to make your own!

So what do you need. Check out my recipe below for a quick and fresh stir fry that you can russle up with all your store cupboard basics so you just have your protein and veg to buy in. I'm using Quorn pieces again for the old diet, feel free to replace it with any meat you fancy it'll work just as well.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

NO YEAST NAAN FEAST



Everyone loves an Indian, I've shared a couple of my recipes and recommendations on the blog already but my next recipe is for the essential side dish to any curry night - Naan Bread!

 I don't tend to make bread very often so I don't have a lot of yeast  knocking around my kitchen so if your like me this recipe is perfect to russle up with your baking pantry staples.


"CRAVING CURRIES": MATTY B RECOMMENDS



Last week I was delighted to be entered into Craving Curries curry of the week competition and even more delighted to win!

 Craving curries sell Indian spice kits with the aim of offering people a way of creating authentic curries packed full of flavor without the need of additives. I'm all for using fresh ingredients so I give them props for the ethics behind their products.

My prize was a pick of one of their spice kits and I was excited to give them a try. I chose the Makhani curry as I had never heard of that particular curry before and my kits was whizzed off to me in the post! 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

MINTY PEA MASH IN A CAULIFLOWER STYLEE!



Everyone loves mashed potatoes. That humble of all potato based sides is near enough perfect with most meals and easy to russle up too for busy folk. It is however "Carbtastic" and then when you throw in the butter and milk (even cream) required to make that perfect mash and you have one calorific busting meal on your hands. Great when your wanting to treat yourself - not so much when your watching your eats!

So what can you do about it - the in thing with dieters I've noticed at the moment is to make mash using 
vegetables such as the carrot and swede mash on my "No Carb" shepherds pie.

 
I saw cauliflower being used a lot as a mash replacement but the thought of it just didn't appeal. "What can I do to jazz it up a bit" I thought and I came up with this minty pea version (minty peas! - a top yummers combination). Throws in some extra veg and your well on your way to that elusive five a day (or 8 or however many portions your allegedly supposed to have now-a-days).

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

TAMPOPO MANCHESTER (MATTYB RECOMMENDS)



Took a little trip up to Manchester yesterday to see Justin Timberlake in concert yesterday (who was a-maz-ing by the way!) and took the opportunity to visit one of our favourite restaurants in the area, Tampopo.

We visited the branch situated in the Corn Exchange, Manchester. Being a stones throw away from the arena and ideal for concert goers, Tampopo offers fresh East Asian dishes which in their own word's are served "free from gimmickary"

Heading down the stairs to be greeted by our server we are taken past the open kitchen area to our table and were greeted with the menu. On your table, a map of East Asian which points out the country of origin of each of the menus starters and mains and a brief description of the kind of flavors the region offers. A nice touch to help you decide which countries cuisine would be best suited for you especially as, like myself, you may of not tried the likes of Vietnam, Malaysia or Korea food. 


 
Whilst I enjoyed a large bottle of lager, Jon ordered some green tea which as you can see if made from fresh mint leaves so you know your getting the real deal. To continue the Eastern Asian adventure you can also order a range of cocktails or hot drinks from around the region, the "Lemongrass Mule" sounding particularly delightful.


 

Being a veggie, Jon ordered the Thai "Tod Man Khao Pod" or corn fritters to the non Thai speaking amongst us which came with a lovely peanut dipping sauce. The fritters were nice and crisp and complemented the sauce delightfully.


I enjoyed the Korean Bulgogi - delicious sesame seed coated strips of beef which were cooked perfectly and melted in the mouth along with some sweet Kimchi all wrapped up it a gem lettuce leaf. I could of eaten a big plate of this as a main it was that tasty.




All the starters sounded delish - the Thai Coconut Prawns especially. A party next too us took advantage of the sharing platter which gave a taster of many of the starters and it looked massive! Would defiantly suggest it as a choice if you come with bunch of indecisive friends.


 For your mains there are a wide range of dishes to choose from ranging from stir fried noodles,stews,curries or large soup dishes. For a lover of Asian food it was hard for me to decide but I finally settled on the Thai Pad Krapow - a stir fry chicken dish served with nice big pieces of chili and red pepper. There was just enough sauce to nicely coat all the vegetables and chicken (there is nothing worse than a stir fry swimming in sauce!). The jasmine rice was nice and sticky and soaked up all the flavours of the dish allowing for easy chopstick action to occur.
Jon was unsure what to choose too but settled on his initial choice of vegetarian Japanese Raman. The huge bowl of noodles in a deep and flavoursome soy broth was defiantly the right choice and if bellies would of permitted it we both would of had no problem in devouring the lot.




Time and our full bellies meant we didn't sample the desserts however they all looked appetising - in particular the Vietnamese "Caramen Chuoi Ran" - fried banana with a caramel sauce and cinnamon ice cream. Sounds divine but unfortunately this time we had to pass!

I'm so glad that we discovered this place - it has such a relaxed atmosphere compared to the hussle and bustle of the nearby printworks and with an offer on at the time of writing of £9.95 for a main and accompaniment - fabulous value for money.

If your lucky enough to be going to see one of your idols in the arena or just so happen to find yourself in Manchester - give Tampopo a look if your looking for a different take on classic East Asian classics!

Check out their website for more information and for other locations around the UK.
Square Meal

Sunday, 6 April 2014

MINT CHOC CHIP (ICE CREAM SUNDAY PT 2)




It's Sunday! You know what that calls for. More Ice Cream!! Today's ice cream flavor recipe is for the classic mint choc chip. What I like about this recipe is that you get an incredibly fresh mint flavor from the ice cream rather than "mint flavouring" which you tend to get in mint choc ice cream. The ice cream takes a long time to set so this is defiantly a recipe you will want to make up in advance. Lot of sugar and double cream in here too so it's incredibly naughty but oh so delicious!

Mint Choc Ice Cream

250g Demerara Sugar
Pinch Salt
375ml Double Cream
1 Small Bunch Chopped Mint Leaves
3 Egg Yolks
1 Tsp Peppermint Extract
750ml Greek Yogurt
125ml Semi Skimmed Milk
200g Milk Chocolate (chopped into various sizes)



Saturday, 5 April 2014

QUICKIDY QUICK PAKORA DIP




So you've made my No Butter No Chicken curry and hopefully you had a go at making these Slimming World Pakoras - why not make it a delicious trinity by making this quick and easy Pakora dipping sauce - yummy and fresh and the coolness really cuts through the spices! All ingredients come from your store cupboard so it's so quick and simple!

(NO) BUTTER (NO) CHICKEN CURRY



Everyone loves a curry night. Getting a takeaway over the weekend is the ultimate in lazy weekend treats. I love creamy curries like a good Korma or my top favourite - Butter Chicken. Dipping your greasy takeaway naan bread in the thick sauce! It's naughty but oh so nice!

Butter chicken is not the best thing to have really if your trying to shed a few pounds, the clue is in the name really! So it was great when I discovered so many lower cal versions that use coconut cream instead of the butter. Still not like eating a salad for your tea but perfect if your missing your takeaway curry nights and want to enjoy one with worrying about tipping the scales on your next weigh in.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

"COCO LOCO" SHORTBREAD SLICE



 

 Me and shortbread do not get along! I have such a hard time trying to get it to the right consistency and will normally end up over baking it. However when I first made this recipe for what I call “CocoLoco” shortbread crumble, my faith in my baking skills were restored.




A beautifully baked shortbread base with oozing fruity filling and a yummy frangipane topping with the tropical taste of coconut running throughout! It’s absolutely scrummy and will certainly brighten up any day! I've played a round with this recipe a lot and have perfected the perfect base and filling mixture that I will share with you now below.


Wednesday, 2 April 2014

NO CARB CLASSICS: SHEPHERDS PIE




An essential recipe in any arsenal is the Shepherds Pie. It's one of those dishes that for me, like a good Chili Con Carne is a perfect comfort meal - just what you need when you've had a hard day of meetings in work!

 However - all that mash with it's cream and butter is not so good if your watching the waistline like me!

It's not a new idea - I've seen many variations of this but by swapping the mashed potatoes for some mashed vegetables you instantly knock so many calories off the dish that you get to tuck away to your hearts content without having to worry about crying on your scales later in the week!

I prefer using mashed carrot and swede on top of my pie - another perfect way of using leftovers from your Sunday lunch. I also have a little tip as well for adding that crunch that you would normally get from having cheesy mash on your pie. Want to know more? All is revealed below: