Pork and Pepper Stew ~ South Beach Diet

Happy Friday Eve!

As most of you know, I’m back on the wagon again with trying to eat properly and follow SBD.  I have a couple of the books including the original from when the diet first came out, along with a copy of the ‘Supercharged’ and the SBD Cookbook (orange cover).

I decided to get another of the cookbooks as I wanted to get some new recipes, so a couple of weeks ago, I ordered the SBD Super Quick Cookbook (gold cover).  I love it!  It’s got so many great recipes in it.  I’ve only had the book a little over a week and I’ve made eight recipes from it already!

On Tuesday, I made this Pork and Pepper Stew.  I prepped all the meat and veg early in the day to make my life easier when it came time to cook.  I used my heavy cast iron pot with a lid and it filled it about 3/4 full.  I also did a couple of substitutions because I either didn’t have an ingredient or chose to use the variation given in the recipe.  I also added mushrooms to bulk it up a bit more.  I also used Knorr pork cubes instead of chicken broth which gave it a bit of smokiness.  This had a delicious flavor and made the kitchen smell yummy!

I’ve noted my changes in the ingredient list.  It looks like a long list of ingredients, but not too bad.

PORK AND PEPPER STEW

4 tsp olive oil

1¼lbs/568g boneless pork loin chops, well trimmed and cut into 1 inch/2.5cm chunks

1 large green bell pepper (I used an orange one for color)

6 scallions/spring onions, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp whole wheat flour (I used gram/chick pea flour)

3 C/710ml chicken broth (I used pork flavored stock cubes)

1/2 C/8 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro/coriander (I used fresh chives)

1 small pickled jalapeño pepper, finely chopped (I happened to have a jar of these!)

½ tsp ground coriander

½ tsp salt

10oz/283g frozen green peas, thawed (I used black eyed peas/beans and nearly double the amount)

3-4 mushrooms, sliced (my addition so this is an optional ingredient)

1 Tbsp lime juice

4 Tbsp shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese (I just sprinkled on some Parmesan ~ don’t know if Monterey Jack is available here, but you could use reduced-fat cheddar)

**************

In a nonstick Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the pork in batches and saute just to color it, about 2 minutes total.  Transfer to a bowl.  Don’t put all the meat in at once or you’ll end up steaming the meat instead of browning it.

Add the bell pepper, scallions and garlic to the pan.  Stir until the pepper begins to soften, about 3-4 minutes.

Sprinkle the veggies evenly with the flour and stir to combine.  Gradually stir in the broth.

(recipe instructions) Add the cilantro, jalapeño, coriander and salt.  Return the pork to the pan.  Bring to a low boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat and simmer until the pork is cooked through, about 5 minutes.  Stir the peas and lime juice into the stew.  Divide the stew among 4 bowls and sprinkle each serving with 1 Tbsp of cheese.

(my instructions) Add the cilantro, jalapeño, coriander, salt, beans and mushrooms.  Return the pork to the pan.  Bring to a low boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat, cover and simmer about 60-90 minutes.  Stir in the lime juice.  Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan.

I prefer to cook a stew for a while to allow the flavors to meld together, but the choice is yours.

Pork & Pepper Stew

This is a Phase 2 recipe, but the variant reads that it can be changed into a Phase 1 recipe by substituting beans for the peas and leaving out the flour.

Hope you enjoy!

♥  Terri  ♥

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Eggplant Lasagna

Happy New Year all!

A few days before Christmas we received a box of foodie goods from my brother and sis-in-law.  We have been receiving a box of goodies from them for three years running now and if you’d like to see a sampling of what we got last year, you can check here.

We got most of the same stuff but a few different things, including a giant eggplant.  On the same day that this box arrived, Chef P and I had been in London at Borough Market and picked up a selection of fresh veg, cheeses and charcuterie.  Needless to say, we were loaded down with lots of food!  We’ve been trying to use as much of it as possible because as you know, we hate to waste food, especially really good, tasty foods as what we have.  We didn’t do pizza last Friday so we did pizza last Sunday…gourmet pizza!  We used the Italian salami we got at the market, including capicola, prosciutto, and fennel salami, smoked garlic (from the market), and fresh mozzarella (from the ‘box’), along with fresh basil and oregano, also from the ‘box’.

Also in the ‘box’ was the huge eggplant I mentioned above.  I had bought some ricotta cheese to use for our Christmas Cheer evening, but I didn’t get around to making what I was going to.  So I was thinking….I had eggplant, ricotta, mozzarella, fresh basil and oregano and all I needed was some homemade tomato sauce for the making of some eggplant lasagna…yum!

This is one of those recipes that you can just throw together without the problem of measuring anything, although I’ve given some to help you out a bit.  If you want to use a jarred sauce, please feel free, but you have to admit, home made is ALWAYS best.  I’ve given the recipe I use for the homemade sauce should you feel inspired to make your own.  It’s easy peasy to do, but does take about 90 minutes to cook, so get this started while you take on the other parts.

EGGPLANT LASAGNA

Sauce:

  • olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3-4 fresh basil leaves, torn or 1 tsp dried
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano or fresh if you have it
  • 28oz/800g canned chopped tomatoes
  • salt, about 1/2 tsp or to taste
  • 1 tsp sugar

In a large saucepan, fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the remaining ingredients, stir to combine, cover and bring to the boil.  Stir and reduce heat to low and simmer for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • olive oil
  • 1 large eggplant, thinly sliced about the thickness of a pound coin or a bit thicker than a quarter)
  • salt
  • 18oz/500g ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp (or more) grated Parmesan
  • 8oz/225g mozzarella, grated or sliced (I used buffalo mozzarella and just tore pieces off)

Preheat oven to 180°c/350°f.

In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, egg and grated Parmesan and set aside.

Drizzle olive oil over two large baking sheets.  Place the slices of eggplant on the baking sheets in a single layer then drizzle over some more olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt.  Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes.
Remove and leave to sit until the sauce is done.

When the sauce is done, taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary and remove from heat.  Put one large ladle of sauce into the ricotta mixture and stir to combine.

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Using a baking dish about 6″X9″ or roughly that size, put a ladle of sauce in the bottom, then a layer of eggplant.  Put about 3-4 spoonfuls of ricotta mix on top and spread over.  Then put another layer of sauce, eggplant and ricotta and repeat until all is used, ending with a layer of sauce.

Spread the mozzarella over the top to cover and place the baking dish on a baking sheet.  I do this in case it bubbles over and it’s better that it bubbles over on the pan rather than on the bottom of your oven!

You can leave it to sit at this point until you’re ready to bake it.  If you start to get some water on the sides of the dish (from the tomatoes), just soak it up with a paper towel.

Preheat oven to 180°c/350°f.  Bake for 45-60 minutes until golden and bubbly.  Remove from oven and leave to rest about 10-15 minutes before serving.

(Sorry, I do not have an ‘after baking’ photo as I forgot to take one!)

Enjoy!

♥  Terri  ♥

Friday Foodie Word ~ VEGE….

Good day dear readers and welcome to Friday!

Today’s foodie word was selected by Vanesther over at Bangers & Mash.  She’s a working mom of two adorable girls who’s on a mission to serve great food on a budget.  Please go take a peek at her blog as she dishes up some very nice, well…dishes!

She has selected page 601 and the 4th word down…

(words selected from the Dictionary of Food by Charles Sinclair)

VEGETARIAN CHEESE

Cheese made with a curdling agent not derived from animals.

Side Note: Today more and more cheeses are made with “microbial enzymes” which are widely used in the industry because they are a consistent and inexpensive coagulant. The term “microbial enzyme” means it is a synthetically developed coagulant. The term “vegetable rennet” means it is derived from a vegetable source. Soft cheeses such as cream cheese and cottage cheese are manufactured without rennet. Some cottage cheeses, however, may contain gelatin which is derived from animal sources. All labels should be read carefully.

Thanks Vanesther!

Who’s going to be the next selector of next Friday’s word?  Will it be you?  Oh come on now, you know you want to!  In addition to selecting the word, you get 5 minutes of fame and fortune, well OK, maybe not the fortune but who knows, you may even get more followers!

Remember, I need a page number from 1-632 and a word number 1-20.  (there’s an average of about 20 words on each page, some have a few more, some have a few less.)

The race is on…first person to give me their choice, wins!

♥♥  Terri  ♥♥

Proper Cheesecake

As a child, cheesecake was not on the top of my list of yummy desserts.  First of all, it was cheese!  Who eats cheese in a dessert?   And where was the sugar?  (I had the same problem with cannolis, but that’s a whole other post!) Cheesecake, you have to admit, is not very sweet.  But alas, over the years I did develop a liking for it. (cannolis too!)

For you cheesecake connoisseurs out there, you have to admit that the best cheesecake is New York cheesecake and have to agree, as I am originally from New York, and well…what more can I say?

It had been a long time since I’ve eaten cheesecake…PROPER cheesecake. My mum-in-law’s cleaning lady made her a small cheesecake which I tasted.  I’m sorry to say, I did not like it.  It wasn’t very creamy and had a rather grainy texture to it and she also had sprinkled cinnamon on top.  Mind you, I have nothing against cinnamon.  I use it often but I’m not crazy about it on things like cheesecake or rice pudding, which is another thing that I’m not too keen on.

Last year Chef P said he wanted to make some cheesecake but we didn’t have can’t get any graham crackers here.  Since my sis-in-law asked if there was anything they could bring us when they met us in London last year, one of the items I asked for was a box of graham crackers.

The box had been sitting in the cupboard all this time…until this past Monday.

Since I got my electric mixer last month, we’ve both been wanting to make things using it. (so far, I’ve gotten the better deal on that!)  Chef P mentioned the ‘cheesecake’ again.  We were going to make it last Sunday, but never got around to doing it (read: I didn’t realize the cream cheese had to be at room temp and I hadn’t taken it out of the fridge) so I got to make it all by myself on Monday…but couldn’t have any until Tuesday due to its chilling time to firm up.

(Now I know that cheesecake is not part of the South Beach Diet, but to be honest, I have really fallen off the wagon and my cravings for sweet has gone completely out of control.  I should say that I haven’t been completely bad; I’m trying to eat proper meals but it’s the in-between stuff that I shouldn’t be having…like the cheesecake.  I haven’t been totally off my rocker about it, I’ve had just one piece a day.  I gave a quarter of it to my neighbors across the way and Chef P has been taking a piece each day to work.  There’s still slightly less than a quarter of it left so the pieces haven’t been huge.)

I have to admit, for my first ever attempt at making cheesecake, it came out pretty damn good!  The other thing I was rather pleased about was that it didn’t crack on the top.  Woo hoo! This doesn’t appear to be a traditional NY cheesecake recipe, but it was quick and easy and doesn’t use as many eggs as some recipes I’ve seen.  So for those of you not worrying about what you eat, I’m sharing the recipe here.  Remember, this is NOT SBD FRIENDLY!


~~PROPER CHEESECAKE~~

◊ Use FULL FAT on cheeses and condensed milk ◊

◊ Equip: 9″ / 23cm spring form pan, well greased with butter ◊

◊ Preheat oven to 150°C / 300°F ◊

1/3 C butter, melted

1½ C graham cracker crumbs (UK – use digestives)

21oz/600g cream cheese, room temp (UK – use Philadelphia)

5oz/140g marscapone cheese

14fl oz/400g condensed milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

Make the cracker crumbs by placing them into a food processor and processing until fine crumbs.  Add the melted butter and pulse until mixed thoroughly.  You’ll know you have a perfect mix when you can pick up some with your hands, squeeze it and it stays together.  If you don’t have a food processor, put them into a plastic bag and bash them with a rolling pin until crumbly then stir in melted butter.

Pour the crumb mixture into the prepared pan and press down evenly into the pan, coming up the sides about a half inch/1cm and set aside.

Beat the cream cheese and marscapone until fluffy, using an electric mixer.  Add condensed milk, beating until smooth.  Add vanilla and eggs and mix well, but DO NOT OVERBEAT.

Pour into pan.  Place in preheated oven and bake 1 hour then turn off oven and leave cake in oven for 1 hour with door ajar.  Your cake should be golden brown on top (unlike mine which came out a bit dark, but that’s because I had to use the regular oven as my fan oven is broken at the moment).

Place in fridge and chill for at least 6 hours or overnight until firm.

Serves 10-12

Enjoy!

♥♥ Terri  ♥♥

Upcoming Food Festivals for the UK

I realise I’ve been a bit slack on giving you info on these, so here we go….

 

Loch Fyne Food Fair

May 19-20 2012

Location: Fields next to the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar, Cairndow, Scotland

Free admission – Farmer’s Market, selected wines and live music both days

£3.00 for parking

Midlands Whisky Festival

May 19 2012

Location:  The Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire

Tickets: £25.00 include a Glencairn nosing glass, bottle of water and festival brochure. No tokens to worry about, just simply ask politely at any stand and you will receive a tasty glass of amazing whisky to try.

Tockwith Beer Festival

May 19 2012

Location: Tockwith Sports Field, Tockwith Lane Tockwith, York, North Yorkshire

Tickets: £10 Adults, £3 Child includes

  • Festival beer glass
  • Beer token
  • Tasting notes
  • Voucher book of exclusive discounts from our sponsors
  • All children’s entertainment (subject to booking and availability)
  • A great day out!

Flavours of 2012

May 25-27 2012Location: Henham Park near Southwold, SuffolkTickets: £6.00 can be purchased on-line or by phoneThis will be the first food and drink festival of its kind to be held at Henham Park
(home to Latitude Festival) and will offer 2 days of fantastic food, drink,
cookery demos and much more.

Somerset Chilli Festival

June 2-4 2012Location: Bath race course,  Lansdown, Bath, SomersetTickets: £6.00, Children under 12 get in freeThe Somerset Chilli Festival will run from 10am to 6pm each day with all things Chilli; food sampling, cookery demonstrations, competitions (inc. the famous Chilli Eating Competition) music acts and wandering performers. To keep you satisfied there will also be top quality food stalls and relaxed bars.

Dartington Food Fair

June 3-5 2012Location: The Shops at Dartington, Shinners Bridge, Dartington, Totnes, DevonTickets: £4, Children under 12 go free.  Book on-lineChef demonstrations, food tents, face painting and many more family activities including a potter’s wheel and mountain biking.*********************

Great British Food Festival

June 4-5 2012Location: Walton Hall & Gardens,  Walton Lea Road, Higher Walton, Warrington, Cheshire Tickets: £2.50, Under 12 go free.  Parking £3.20*

50 Producers, 15 Hot Food Stalls, Craft stalls and live music

There are NO cash machines on site so please come prepared.
*Parking is in the council-run car park and costs £3.20 for the day.

Cheltenham Food & Wine Festival

June 15-17 2012

Location: Montpellier Gardens, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

Tickets: Friday £3.00, Saturday & Sunday £6.00, children under 16 go free. Advanced purchase on-line, Sat & Sun, £4.60

  • The Cookery Theatre – featuring demonstrations by leading chefs and celebrity’s from around the region.
  • Food Lovers Marquees – featuring over 200 food & drink producers
  • Real Ale Marquee – taste a wonderful selection of local and regional ales & cider
  • Festival Stage – musicians playing a variety of music from Jazz to Classical to Folk
  • International Wine Theatre – Featuring interactive and educational courses covering a variety of subjects from buying, tasting, grape varieties and styles, from old world to new world wine.
  • Real Food & Drinks Theatre – talks on Nutrition to Real Ale; Cheese to Gin.
  • Arts & Craft – Meet the artists, discuss their work, and buy unique hand-made products direct from the maker. Crafts include fused glass, jewellery, painting, pottery, wood-turning, photography.

Homemade Italian Sausage

Have you ever really thought about what’s in a sausage?  Do you really want to think about it?  I thought not.

The most basic sausage consists of meat, cut into pieces or ground, and filled into a casing. The meat may be from any animal, but traditionally is pork, beef, or veal. The meat to fat ratio is dependent upon the style and producer, but in the United States, fat content is legally limited to a maximum of 30%, 35% or 50%, by weight, depending on the style.

The United States Department of Agriculture defines the content for various sausages and generally prohibits fillers and extenders. Most traditional styles of sausage from Europe and Asia use no bread-based filler and are 100% meat and fat excluding flavorings.

In the UK and other countries with English cuisine traditions, bread and starch-based fillers account for up to 25% of ingredients. The filler used in many sausages helps them to keep their shape as they are cooked. As the meat contracts in the heat, the filler expands and absorbs the moisture lost from the meat. ~ Wikipedia

I’m not a huge sausage eater, but I do like them on occasion.  Chef P usually has a couple with his breakfast on the weekends.  We get them usually from the grocery store…store brand and name brand and also from the butcher.  Without knowing where they came from, you can definitely tell the difference.  Store bought sausages will contain a good bit of filler; the cheaper the sausage, the more filler.  On occasion I also get vegetarian sausages.

I’ve made my own sausages before but now that I’ve got a proper meat grinder and sausage maker that came with my new toy, it was time to make some properly filled sausages!  We headed down to the butcher shop on Saturday and picked up a pork belly which they took the bones out of and some sausage casing.  I was good to go.

I made a spice mixture of fennel seed, ground bay leaf, coriander, salt, pepper, garlic and thyme.

I then set up the machine and cut up the pork belly to get it all minced. I removed the skin as I thought it would be too tough to run through the mincer.  I also removed some of the fat as it appeared to be a bit too much.

I was really pleased with how the mincer worked!  Once it was done, I mixed the meat with the spices and attached the sausage maker and casings. (sorry, no photo as I was too busy trying to stuff the meat down the shaft and hold onto the sausage as they came out!)

Once the casings were full, I twisted them at sausage length intervals and cut them apart.

Voila!  Sausage!

~~ITALIAN SAUSAGES~~

If you have a mincer, by all means grind it yourself.  If not, have the butcher do it for you.  The casings can be gotten at the butcher also and should be kept in water until ready to use.  Rinse water through them before using.

SPICE MIXTURE…

1 tsp fennel seeds

¼ tsp ground bay leaf

¼ tsp ground coriander

2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

3 cloves garlic

¼ tsp thyme

**********

2¼ lbs. minced pork

¾ lb. minced pork fat

¼ C grated Parmesan cheese

¼ C cold water

sausage casings

Put all the spice mixture ingredients into a mortar and pestle or food chopper/processor and grind into a paste and set aside.

Mix pork, fat and Parmesan with your hands in a large bowl.  Add the spice mixture and water and mix until well combined.

Slide the sausage casings onto the tube, put the meat into the feeder and push through while holding the casings as it fills up.

Once filled, twist the sausages into proper lengths.

Store in fridge for 3-4 days or freeze for later use.

 

Enjoy!

♥ Terri  ♥♥

Lunch at Fern’s in Canterbury

Chef P was on holiday from Good Friday until this past Monday and went back to work on Tuesday.  As you may know from reading some previous posts, we had been very busy.  On his last day off, we decided to head over to Canterbury, which we tend to visit about 3-4 times a year, even though we’re only a short distance away.  The last time we were there was around Christmas.

We took the train in, which is always so much easier than driving.  We strolled around and found that there was a Whittard’s and was finally able to find a tea infuser for my mother-in-law. 🙂  Don’t really know how long this store was there, but was glad to find it.  The last time I was at one of their stores was back in July when we were in London.  It just occurred to me; I’m in England where they drink tea like there’s no tomorrow and yet we had a hell of a time trying to find a tea infuser!  We looked in four other stores before I finally found one!

Around midday, we decided to get some lunch.  We don’t do fast food so had to find some place proper to eat.  We found a place that was actually hidden away as there’s really no storefront for it, just the entrance door with a sign pointing you upstairs.  We went to Fern’s Restaurant and Tearoom.  It’s a quaint little restaurant and as it was a weekday, it was rather quiet.  There was a woman dining alone at the table behind us and a couple who were sitting in one of the window seats having lunch.

The seats were leather with high backs and rather comfortable I might add.  The tables were a heavy wood (oak?) with cast iron pedestal bottoms.  Many of these places in Canterbury were once homes and it’s usually quite obvious.  There were two fireplaces (one in each corner) in the section of the room we were sat in with tiled edging.  Many homes back in the early times had more than one fireplace in a room just to get it warm enough.

Chef P ordered a vegetable quiche which came with fries(chips in the UK) and a cappuchino and I ordered a ham, cheese and tomato paninni which came with a small dressed salad and some potato chips(crisps in the UK) and a diet coke.

Now those of you who follow South Beach know that I shouldn’t have eaten some of what was placed in front of me.  The paninni bread alone is a no-no as it’s made with white flour and I really shouldn’t have eaten some all of the crisps.  Another thing that I never have anymore is soda, even diet soda, but I just felt like having it.  We never buy soda or potato chips and I very rarely eat them except in situations like this, so I really don’t feel guilty for having them.

It was a lovely relaxing lunch; something we don’t do often enough.  We’re heading up to Scotland at the end of June for a week, so we’ll get to do that quite a bit.  I’ll fill you in more on our upcoming trip as it gets closer.  Here’s one bit of info:  We’re taking a sleeper train up there!

Have a nice weekend!

♥ Terri  ♥♥