Saturday, 13 June 2015

Changing recipes to make them more healthy

I've been a culinary genius today

Maybe that's slightly over-egging my abilities, however I made a really nice BBQ chicken salad for lunch. When my Boyfriend and I went on the West Berkshire Brewery Tour, we picked up a couple of bottles of 'Sals' BBQ Sauce' to try as I absolutely adore the stuff and like trying different brands and recipes. I decided I'd marinade the chicken for an hour and then bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Whilst doing that, I got the lettuce and tomatoes that Riverford had delivered in my vegetable box yesterday and added a yellow pepper, cucumber, red onion and a small amount of feta cheese - All topped with the hot chicken and balsamic glaze. Absolutely deeee-licious.

I then decided I'd clean out my sock drawer, which I appreciate isn't exactly the highlight of ones day, however it's been something I've been meaning to do for a while as I have way too many socks and decided to start with socks and move up to clothes in the next few weeks. 3 carrier bags later, I had finally weeded down my 'collection' to about 30 pairs from... 100? I really need to stop buying socks as noone needs that many pairs. Feeling a sense of achievement, I decided to then start on my underwear and managed to throw out at least 15 pairs of knickers I just haven't worn for ages.

However, after 45 minutes of throwing stuff out, I decided I really needed to get out the house so phoned my boyfriend and found out he was going to be doing a BBQ later whilst polishing his car - He said I was welcome to pop along and say hello, so I headed over there for a couple of hours to say Hello to his friends and help him polish his car. The BBQ smelt amazing, so it did take quite a lot of will power not to eat much - I say much, as I did grab a couple of small pieces of chicken from a kebab and there was easily enough food for me as well, however I knew I'd be making meatballs later on, so didn't want to spoil my appetite or eat food if I wasn't hungry.

Getting back home, I started on the meatballs and decided to use this recipe but alter it. As I live on my own, I used a 500g pack of 5% lean beef I bought earlier in Sainsburys and rather than chopping the onion finely, I actually blended it quickly using my handheld blender - I've tried to make meatballs before and I always find that no matter how fine you cut the onion, it still sticks out of the meatballs and they're hard to roll - blitzing it made it finer and despite crying a bit, it worked really well. I also added 1/4 of a tub of fine breadcrumbs to help the mixture stick together and hey presto - they are the best looking meatballs I've ever made!

Onto the sauce - I followed the recipe a bit more thoroughly, however decided I'd only use 1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes (as still halving the recipe) and add some red wine as well - maybe 150ml? I'm not really a red wine drinking (although I've drunk more red wine recently as I've got older), however I found a rather nice bottle I bought from Berry Brothers years ago, so thought I'd try using that. I have to say, I felt like a 'proper Chef' opening and pouring the wine into the sauce and smelling the most amazing aromas - Wow, it's almost as if I can cook :-) I didn't add any olive oil as didn't see the point - plus there's oil in the meatballs so I figured it would be fine

I didn't want to dry the meatballs, so decided to oven bake them as well. Unfortunately my grill has never worked since I moved into my house 4 years ago, otherwise I would have grilled them and allowed the fat to drip off, but I figured baking would certainly be better than frying as they''d turn out less greasy. I baked the meatballs for about 25 minutes until they looked golden and incredibly appetising.

Putting the wholewheat pasta on to the boil only took ten minutes - and then it was time to plate up....

I am dead chuffed with the result. The sauce is absolutely spot on - being totally honest, the meatballs are a little dry, so I guess I shouldn't have added the breadcrumbs, however I was trying to use them up! Also, I think they were a little under seasoned, so I'll make some notes for next time as I'll certainly be making it again. 

I'll be giving my boyfriend the spare meatballs tomorrow before we go to the BBC Good Food Show. He is rather a big fan of meat and I'd rather not have them in the fridge in case I snack on them. I've also got another portion for Monday night after the gym, so when I get back home I can have a shower and pop in the oven to heat up, Bonus :-)

Happy Saturday night!

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