Just use lean minced beef and dry red wine instead!
Oh, those were the days when I would be walking down the road and the group of teenaged boys behind me would chant ‘who ate all the pies?’ when I slipped on the ice infront of me.
Winter wasn’t my friend.
But why does pie have to be associated with fat people?
Yeah, I know, buttery pastries and all that can be fattening. Apple pies can be fattening. But why are all pie associated with fat?
I like pie and it is my right to eat it when I want. So the challenge was finding a low-fat pie recipe so that I don’t have to be called a fatty for eating pie.
Enter this beautiful recipe I found from BBC Good Food, a low-fat chicken pie which I substituted with turkey breast which is supposedly leaner.
Ingredients (serves four)
For the filling
450ml chicken stock, from a cube (I use Kallo, organic)
100ml white wine
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 thyme sprigs
1 tarragon sprig, plus 1 tbsp chopped tarragon leaves
225g carrots, cut into batons
4 skinless chicken breasts, 500g/1lb 2oz total weight
225g leeks, sliced
2 tbsp cornflour, mixed with 2 tbsp water
3 tbsp crème fraîche
1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
1 healed tbsp chopped parsley
For the topping
70g filo pastry (three 39 x 30 cm sheets ideal)
1 tbsp rapedeed oil
1. Pour the stock and wine into a large, wide frying pan. Add the garlic, thyme, tarragon sprig and carrots, bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer for 3 mins. Lay the chicken in the stock, grind over some pepper, cover and simmer for 5 mins. Scatter the leek slices over the chicken, cover again then gently simmer for 10 more mins, so the leeks can steam while the chicken cooks. Remove from the heat and let the chicken sit in the stock for about 15 mins, so it keeps moist while cooling slightly.
2. Strain the stock into a jug – you should have 500ml (if not, make up with water). Tip the chicken and veg into a 1.5 litre pie dish and discard the herb sprigs. Pour the stock back into the sauté pan, then slowly pour in the cornflour mix. Return the pan to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the crème fraîche, mustard, chopped tarragon and parsley. Season with pepper. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
3. Tear or cut the chicken into chunky shreds. Pour the sauce over the chicken mixture, then stir everything together.
4. Cut each sheet of filo into 4 squares or rectangles. Layer them on top of the filling, brushing each sheet with some of the oil as you go. Lightly scrunch up the filo so it doesn’t lie completely flat and tuck the edges into the sides of the dish, or lay them on the edges if the dish has a rim. Grind over a little pepper, place the dish on a baking sheet, then bake for 20-25 mins until the pastry is golden and the sauce is bubbling. Serve immediately.
Toad in the hole was something I never really grew up with, unlike most families I know. I was introduced to the stuff about a year ago and I’m actually quite a fan. It isn’t the healthiest of meals though.
So today I decided to make a low fat version of toad in the hole to die for. The recipe is from BBC Good Food, but I’ve managed to make it lower in fat using Musclefood’s virtually fat free sausages.
If you’re not a fan of pork sausages then using venison sausages may be an idea for this dish – and certainly would make it quite a bit more exotic! I feel that, next time, using Musclefood’s fat free chilli and garlic sausages would add tonnes of flavour and, at 0.066g saturated fat per sausage, would be divine for the waistline!
Toad in the hole with red onions and thyme batter (serves 4)
1 red onion, cut into wedges, layers separated
8 thick low-fat pork sausages
1 tsp olive oil
For the batter
100g plain flour
1 medium egg
300ml skimmed milk
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp fresh thyme leaf
steamed carrots and cabbage, to serve
It really is that simple.
As I said, my version may well have been lower in fat by using the virtually zero fat sausages – but it could be lower in fat STILL by using they’re certified fat free chilli and garlic sausages which I have in my freezer, ready for next time!
We all have those days. Those day when we just don’t have the strength or the energy to cook. Sometimes I get back from working, having just spent an hour and a half travelling and I think ‘well I just can’t cook right now’ (not to mention I will have forgotten to defrost some meat from the freezer).
There’s a point – I always portion my meat and freeze it in portions to prevent cooking or eating too much. A year ago I used to cook a six-pack of Chinese chicken thighs (at 260 calories per thigh and a high fat content) and eat them all with the biggest bowl of rice ever (a salad bowl full).
Anyhow, I may get home sometimes and be completely exhausted or just too plain lazy to cook a meal.
How do I deal with this? I’m always stocked up on ready meals. I’m not talking any old ready meals, I’m talking healthy, Marks and Spencer’s ‘count on us’ range. I highly recommend these meals, at around 400 calories per meal they all tend to be in the green for fat, saturated fat and sugars.
My point being its okay to be lazy. We all have commitments, in reality no one expects that we all have the time in the morning to food prep.
Obviously I wouldn’t recommend becoming reliant on these meals, I find it’s much more fun cooking fresh, new dishes! But, if you are tempted to order a takeaway after a long day – HANG UP THE PHONE. It’s not happening.
Of course if you don’t have a local marks and Spencer’s, many supermarkets offer the healthier versions of their microwave meals. Co-op, tesco and sainsburys have a range of healthier options, just stick to the nutritional information being in the green for fat, saturated fat and sugars.
Good luck avoiding the microwave from now on!