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August 22, 2015 / mintcustard

Meat free barbecue recipes with Quorn.

I have said many times in the past that I am not, and don’t ever envisage becoming, a vegetarian. However I do often cook meals without meat. I am trying hard to lose some weight and lower my blood pressure, eating leaner and cleaner is helping. Quorn is lower in fats and calories so is ideal as a #fattofitter recipe ingredient. As it acts a a flavour sponge Quorn readily takes up marinades and bastes so beloved of the barbecue chef.

The recipes posted here were created by Quorn for a recent barbecue event I attended at The London Barbecue School.

QUORN MEAT FREE SAUSAGE AND VEGETABLE STICKY SKEWERS
Sticky Skewered Quorn Sausages, are perfect for when the sun comes out and packed with flavour.
Serves 3 | 15 mins cooking time | 243 cals per serving | 1.1g sat fat per serving
quorn7
INGREDIENTS
  • 250g pack Quorn sausages – use your favourite flavour, if using frozen allow to defrost thoroughly.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 rounded tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 tbsp mango chutney
  • 1 red onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 red pepper, de-seeded and cut into chunky dice
  • cherry tomatoes
  • skewer sticks – soak wooden sticks in water for a few minutes before grilling or barbecuing to prevent burning
METHOD
1. Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard and mango chutney together in a bowl. Coat the sausages with the glaze, cut into bite sized pieces.
2. Thread the onions, onto the skewers or kebab sticks alternating with the Quorn sausage, peppers and tomatoes.
3. Place the skewers onto a barbecue and cook turning frequently until vegetables are cooked and sausages are piping hot throughout, brushing with any remaining glaze.
4. They are equally good roasted in the oven 200C, Gas Mark 6 for 10-12 minutes.
QUORN MEAT FREE SWEDISH STYLE MEATBALLS KEBABS
Instead of reaching for a beef kebab that can be high in fat, give our succulent Quorn Meat Free Swedish or Italian meatballs versions a try. Ready in just 10-15 minutes.
Serves 4 – 6 | 10 – 15 mins cooking time | 253 cals per serving | 5.3g sat fat per serving
Quorn Swedish style meatball kebabs.

Quorn Swedish style meatball kebabs.

INGREDIENTS
  • 1x 300g pack Quorn Meat Free Swedish Style Balls
  • 3 tbsp vegetarian red pesto
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
  • 2 tsps sugar
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 142 ml carton of Greek style yoghurt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh parsley or coriander
  • 1 green or yellow pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 6 cherry tomatoes and 6 button mushrooms
  • kebab sticks – if using wooden kebab sticks soak in water for about 15 minutes before using.
METHOD
1. Place the vegetarian pesto, tomato puree, 2 crushed garlic cloves, sugar and seasoning in a mixing bowl. Add the Quorn balls and mix thoroughly to coat the balls evenly. Cover and leave in the refrigerator until required.
2. Make the dip by mixing together the Greek yoghurt, lemon juice, parsley, the remaining crushed garlic clove and seasoning. Cover and chill until required.
3. Cut the peppers into 2.5cm pieces and the onion into similar sized chunks.
4. Thread the peppers onto the skewers or kebab sticks alternating with the Quorn balls, onion, mushroom and tomatoes using 3 or 4 balls on each kebab.
5. Line a grill pan with oiled foil, place the kebabs onto the foil and grill for 10-15 minutes on a moderate heat turning regularly and brushing with any remaining marinade or oil if required.
Also good on the BBQ – cook for a few minutes*, adjust rack height if necessary to avoid burning the marinade.
*BBQ cooking time is a guideline only
QUORN MEAT FREE CHILLI BURGERS WITH CHIPOTLE SALSA
If you like your burger recipes to pack a punch, try our Quorn Meat Free Chilli burger recipe with chipotle salsa for added oomph.
Serves 2 | 10 mins cooking time Z 426 cals per serv
ing | 5.3g sat fat per serving
Quorn chilli burgers with a chipotle salsa.

Quorn chilli burgers with a chipotle salsa.

INGREDIENTS
FOR THE BURGER
  • 2 Quorn Chef’s Selection Classic Burgers
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 ciabatta roll
  • Handful of pea shoots
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp sliced red jalapeno peppers
  • Freshly ground black pepper
CORN SALSA
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 200g sweetcorn
  • 1 tsp chipotle paste, or to taste
  • 1 tsp fresh coriander, chopped
METHOD
1. For the chipotle salsa heat the oil in a pan and cook the sweetcorn for 2 – 3 minutes or until jusstarting to brown, stir in the chipotle paste. Cool then stir in the coriander and tip into a serving dish.
2. Lightly brush the burgers with a tsp of the oil and grill or BBQ for 8 – 10 minutes (as per back of pack instructions), turning frequently.
3. Meanwhile, slice the ciabatta in half horizontally; brush the cut side with remaining oil and place under a hot grill or on the BBQ to toast.
4. Place the pea shoots on the base of the bread, top with the Quorn burger and add some slicesof red onion. Finish with jalapeno peppers before seasoning with freshly ground pepper.
5. Serve with the corn chipotle salsa.
I was invited to the Quorn barbecue event, I was not paid to attend and have not been asked to give a positive review of the food or the evening. All photographs and opinions are my own. The recipes have been sent to me by Quorn UK and are their copyright.
August 17, 2015 / mintcustard

Quorn on the barbecue.

Last week I was invited to attend a BBQ workshop at the London Barbecue school in Peckham Rye. It was hosted by Quorn, the healthy protein meat alternative brand.

Quorn Swedish style meatball kebabs.

Quorn Swedish style meatball kebabs.

We had the opportunity to prepare, cook and of course eat some fantastic summer dishes made using Quorn products. There were experts toguide us and we learned more about barbecue techniques such as using wood chip and charcoal for flavour. I am used to using a gas barbecue so any tips and tricks for charcoal grills are always more than welcome.

Quorn chilli burgers with a chipotle salsa.

Quorn chilli burgers with a chipotle salsa.

I am not a vegetarian but as a family we are making an effort to enjoy more meals without meat. The facts that Quorn has 90% less fat, 50% fewer calories and has 500% more fibre than lean meat are also certainly going to help me with my #FatToFitter efforts too.

quorn5

As part of the event we were able to cook and sample four different barbecued meals using Quorn. The London Barbecue School has a fantastic location and set up. Four fabulous stations, each with a state of the art charcoal barbecue allowed us to both have fun and create wonderful dishes.

Our barbecue station.

Our barbecue station.

I will put the recipes in a later post and I’ll also be using Quorn to create a couple of barbecue recipes of my own. However I just thought I’d whet your appetite for now.

Quorn sausage and vegetable sticky skewers.

Quorn sausage and vegetable sticky skewers.

and now being barbecued.

and now being barbecued.

For those who are vegan or gluten intolerant and who cannot currently enjoy Quorn you will be pleased to know that this will change soon and both vegan and gluten free versions of Quorn are in the pipeling.

August 10, 2015 / mintcustard

Potato gnocchi – using up leftover mashed potato.

Potato gnocchi, little pillows waiting to be cut.

Potato gnocchi, little pillows waiting to be cut.

I’m going to have to apologise for this potato gnocchi recipe post. I didn’t intend to write this up but am going to as an aide memoire for my daughters. The measurements are a little vague but when making gnocchi you need to trust your judgement and the feel of the dough. The wetness of the mash, the effect of the weather on your flour and the size of your eggs will all make a difference. After all the Italian Nonnas who make this often are the masters of cooking by instinct alone.

Take an amount of leftover mashed potatoes and add in an equal amount by volume of self raising flour, along with a beaten egg.  You may need a little more or a little less flour. I tend to add half of the flour first and then little by little. The resulting dough needs to be not sticky. Firm enough to roll into sausage shapes but not so firm that it feels too solid.

Dust a work surface. Roll the dough into sausages about the thickness of a thumb. Cut into 1″ long sections. You can leave the gnocchi like this or run the tines of a fork over each one to leavean impression. This gives more ridges for the sauce to stick onto.

Fill a large pan with salted water and bring it to the boil. Slide in the gnocchi, they will puff up a little and when the pop to the surface they are done. You can serve them simply sauted in butter and sage (as I prefer) but my girls love them in passata with a little mozzarella and basil.

Now I’ve made these today I’m contemplating making more gnocchi but with some other leftover root vegetables added. Carrots?. Beetroot? Sweet potato? Has anyone done this? What was the outcome?

As I used leftover mashed potato I’m linking this to Credit Crunch Munch. Credit Crunch Munch is a monthly blog hop originally thought up by Camilla from Fab Food 4 All and Helen from Fuss Free Flavours. This month the link up is being hosted by Charlene from Food Glorious Food. 

Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary

I’m also going to link this up to the #NoWasteFoodChallenge hosted by Elizabeth at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary.

August 9, 2015 / mintcustard

Cranberry popcorn bites.

Cranberry popcorn bites.

Cranberry popcorn bites.

Every now and then, well constantly actually, I feel the need for a snack. I do enjoy a piece of fruit, some raw vegetables thrill me more than others but I love, love, love popcorn. The problem is once I start I just can’t stop. I’ve tried to recitify the issue by making less. Ha, like that’s going to work. So I’ve given up trying to cut down. It isn’t that bad for you if you balance the popcorn against other foods I suppose. The popcorn is never salted or sweetened anyway. I have a microwave steam popper that is brilliant. It came from Tchibo ages ago and I love it.  To that end there is quite a bit of popcorn knocking around Mintcustard Mansions, so perhaps it is time to use some in my recipes. These cranberry popcorn bites do contain sugar and butter but as I’ve said many times, no food is demonised on my journey from Fat to Fitter, the balance of foods I eat is what I’m busy changing.

Cranberry popcorn ingredients.

Cranberry popcorn ingredients.

Cranberry popcorn bites

1 square tin 6″ x 6″ Lined with oiled cling film.

Sufficient popped corn to fill the tin.

100g marshmallows

1 tbsp butter

1 handful of cranberries, raisins, dried mango – whatever you have. Chocolate chips, smarties, peanuts would be good too.

How to….

  • Place the marshmallows and butter in a pan over a very low heat. Melt together and stir to combine.
  • Tip in the popped corn and cranberries (or whatever you are adding in).
  • Press into the tin and leave for an hour or so to set.
Pressed into the tin ready.

Pressed into the tin ready.

  • Cut into pieces and put into a lidded container.
Cut and waiting for the kettle to be boiled.

Cut and waiting for the kettle to be boiled.

The lid is to stop me, not really to keep the popcorn bites fresh. It does help though.

 

August 8, 2015 / mintcustard

Squash filled naan bread.

Squash filled naan mread.

Squash filled naan mread.

There are days when only a curry will do. Yesterday was one of those days. Not only do I love a curry I also love all the accompaniments too. Vegetables, daals, poppodums, chutneys, breads. The list could go on and on. I would go on and on eating too. Creating #fattofitter friendly dishes that don’t compromise flavour but are lighter is my mission at the moment.

I have lightened the Madhur Jaffrey recipe by halving the recipe and making smaller naan. I still had a whole naan but a mini version.  An old trick but a good one! I’ve also treated myself a little like a toddler and hidden an extra vegetable within the bread. I had some spiced onion squash left over from a salad I made earlier in the week so into the dough they went. You could use up any leftover vegetables, waste not , want not.

Hiding the vegetables in the naan bread dough.

Hiding the vegetables in the naan bread dough.

I have a pizza stone which I find makes perfect naan too. I heat the oven to the highest possible temperature with the pizza stone in the oven from the off.

Not perfect but I pushed the dough out into teardrops shapes (ish).

Not perfect but I pushed the dough out into teardrops shapes (ish).

The naan puff up and colour beautifully but a baking tray and grill would do almost as well.

Still some leftover for my lunch today too.

Still some leftover for my lunch today too.

I’m going to share this recipe with #breadysteadygo link up. It is being hosted by Jen at Jen’s food and Michelle over at Utterly Scrummy food for families.

August 4, 2015 / mintcustard

Freekeh and quinoa salad with roasted squash and halloumi.

Freekeh and quinoa salad with roasted squash and halloumi.

Freekeh and quinoa salad with roasted squash and halloumi.

I do realise that the this recipe title seems like a list of trendy foods but I’m not sorry. This was my lunch today, it was a combination of foods that needed using up in the fridge and a lovely onion squash I couldn’t walk past in Lidl! I roasted the squash with warming spices, cinnamon, cumin and ginger and griddled some onion and halloumi to add actual warmth to this salad. Grains and pulses are foods I’m reintroducing to my diet as I try very hard to eat better. If I want a food like halloumi, a medium fat and very salty cheese then I simply adjust the rest of the day’s foods to accommodate it. This seems to be working as another 1kg has been lost over the past 10 days!

Onion squash.

Onion squash.

Freekeh and quinoa salad with roasted squash and halloumi. (serves 1 but scale up accordingly.)

1 onion squash, deseeded and cut into quarters and quartered again.

Ready to roast squash.

Ready to roast squash.

1 tomato chopped

1 red onion root retained and cut into 8 segments.

50g piece of halloumi

65g quick cook quinoa and freekeh (I used the Love life waitrose mix)

1 L boiling water

Spices.

Spices.

1 tsp za’atar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp ginger

oil in a pump spray

salt

How to….

  • Preheat the oven to 220c.
  • Mix together the spices and the salt in a large bowl. Toss in the squash pieces and then roast for 20 to 25 minutes until soft. Spritz with a little oil before putting in the oven. Allow to cool.
  • Bring the water to the boil, tip in the quinoa and freekeh and boil for 10 minutes. You can add salt to the water if you want. Drain, rince and cool.
  • Using a griddle, cook the onion and the halloumi until they are soft and have griddle lines.
  • In another serving bowl combine the squash, freekeh, tomato, onion and halloumi.
  • Take a spoon and fork and enjoy your lunch, preferably in the sunshine.
  • A lime cheek squeezed over the salad just before eating livens everything up even more.

I am adding this to the “No croutons required” vegan and veggie soups and salads link up for August 2015, which is being hosted by Jac at Tinned Tomatoes and also organised by Lisa, at Lisa’s Kitchen.

July 30, 2015 / mintcustard

Bruschetta tarts.

Bruschetta tarts.

Bruschetta tarts.

By the time I returned from a recent trip to Southern Italy you might have thought I’d be ready to eat something other than tomato bruschetta. Oh no. I love it. Sadly the miserable weather in the UK has put paid to my dreams of fresh crusty bread mopping up slicks of tomato juice and puddles of olive oil. So how to get my fix?

Bruschetta tarts, that’s how. By replacing the bread with puff pastry and by baking the tart and tomatoes I could keep the flavours I craved without giving myself a chill. The slight roasting of the tomatoes also gets over the fact that at the moment most British tomatoes haven’t seen much sunshine and are occasionally somewhat insipid. Roasting concentrates their flavours well. I used the Ischia bruschetta herb mix I bought on holiday. You could easily replicate it by using oregano, garlic, chilli flakes and salt.

I love bringing spices home from holidays.

I love bringing spices home from holidays.

Use all butter puff if you can. I popped my tomatoes on a bed of caramellised onions as I had some in the fridge. You could easily use pesto or mozzarella too. It is a great way to hide vegetables. Spinach, mushroom duxelle or a squash puree would work well. If you wanted to make a family sized one just use a whole sheet of puff rather than cutting the sheet into four individual pieces. Ideal for a picnic, canapes or as lunchtime dish. Use any and every tomato variety you like, mix colours, sizes and varieties for flavour and effect.

Bruschetta tarts.

1 pack all butter puff pastry, ready rolled.

A variety of tomatoes thickly sliced,

caramelised onions, pesto or mozzarella to make a base for the tomatoes. You could use a variety of vegetables here.

salt, pepper, dried oregano etc to season.

How to…….

  • Unroll the pastry and allow to come to room temperature for 10 minutes or so.
  • Preheat the oven to 200c.
  • Either place the whole sheet of puff onto a parchment lined baking tray or cut the puff sheet into four equal pieces and place onto the lined tray.
  • Take a sharp knife and run a line almost through the pastry 1 cm from the edge of the pastry. Use a fork to prick the base area of the tart.
  • Part bake for 5 minutes and then remove from the oven. Leave on the baking tray and add the filling. Lay a base of onions and top with layer of tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper and dried oregano. Make it look as attractive as possible.
A baselayer of caramelised onions.

A baselayer of caramelised onions.

  • Bake for a further 10 minutes.
  • Serve with a salad and a glass of wine if you can.

I’m going to link these bruschetta tarts up to the ExtraVeg challenge, run by Helen  over at Fuss Free Flavours and Michelle at Utterly Scrummy. This months round up is being hosted by Jen at Jen’s Food.

July 29, 2015 / mintcustard

Za’atar spiced pepper and aubergine soup.

Za'atar spiced pepper and aubergine soup.

Za’atar spiced pepper and aubergine soup.

Now, I’m of an age to remember family members spending time on the Cabbage soup diet. No taste, no pleasure and far too much flatulence. There was an amount of weight loss but boredom quickly set in and the lure of a sticky bun often won the dieters over. Za’atar spiced pepper and aubergine soup is different. I’m determined that the soups I make are tasty. These soups are really helping me in my #fattofitter journey but taste and satisfaction are vital too.

Simply roasting the aubergine, peppers and tomatoes with a thin smear of oil and a good dust of the savoury and sour za’atar spice mix really enhances all the flavours. The aubergine gives the soup a silky smoothness too. Roasting makes the dish a little smoky also. Next time I make this I’ll add in a clove of garlic as I roast the vegetables. You can try with or without the garlic. It’s up to you.

I had some lovely homemade jelly like chicken stock which I used as a basis for the soup but a vegetable stock or bouillon would work just fine.

Za’atar spiced pepper and aubergine soup

1 aubergine, halved lengthways

1 pepper, seeded and cored, cut into large chunks

2 tomatoes, halved

1 clove of garlic

500 ml stock

1 tsp olive oil

za’atar spice blend

salt and pepper

Sour cream to serve (optional)

How to…..

  • Preheat the oven to 220c.
  • Place the vegetable pieces onto the baking tray, add the oil. Scatter over a tsp of za’atar and mix well with your hands until the vegetables are well coated.
  • Roast the vegetables for 25 to 30 minutes until softened and a little charred.
  • Allow the vegetables to cool a little, remove the skins and place the vegetables in a large saucepan.
  • Pour over the stock. Bring slowly up to temperature. Using a stick blender blitz until smooth. Taste and season with the salt and pepper.
  • Serve with a spoon of soured cream if you wish and a pinch of za’atar too.

 

 

July 28, 2015 / mintcustard

Surviving a holiday whilst trying to eat better. #fattofitter

Very simple bruschetta, tomatoes, lemon juice and a little garlic.

Very simple bruschetta, tomatoes, lemon juice and a little garlic.

Many apologies for a lack of posts at Mintcustard. I’ve taken a little break completely as I was on holiday and given my recent health blip I wanted to go away and relax completely. The trouble with holidays are that they often accompanied by indulgence and treats. But I am trying hard to change my diet and my lifestyle. How was I going to do that and still have fun?

Fresh anchovies.

Fresh anchovies.

As I have said in the past, no food should be demonised. For me, the changes I’m making are all about balance. As we were holidaying in Ischia, the sister island to Capri that few people have heard of, there would be some challenges. At a first glance Southern Italian food might seem to be carb loaded pizza, pasta wine and gelati.

Grilled octopus.

Grilled octopus.

 

Look a little further and glorious plates of seafood appear, alongside the freshest of vegetables and simple one or two ingredient dishes in the cucina povera style.

A little added fresh chilli here.

A little added fresh chilli here.

The fact that the weather was scorching, the hotel was a third of the way up the volcano and we walked everywhere meant that we were burning up calories all the time. I kept track of both my food and my exercise via an app on my phone. I swam everyday too, so the odd pizza or cold beer wasn’t a problem.

Tuna and sweet onions andded to this bruschetta.

Tuna and sweet onions added to this bruschetta.

One dish that I love and rediscovered during our trip was bruschetta.  Every restaurant, bar and nonna has their own version. Each one different and every single one I tried was delicious. Some toasted the bread, others simply warmed it with garlic. One had celery and chilli added, others were spritzed with lemon. They all had the freshest, reddest tomatoes as the star ingredient. Many were straight from a garden next to the place they wer ebeing served. Tomatoes that dripped liquid sunshine and who I suspect had never been in a fridge in their lives.

Lots of basil and garlic on untoasted ciabatta.

Lots of basil and garlic on untoasted ciabatta.

Oh, an I lost another kilo whilst we were away. Even with pizza, pasta and several sorbets being consumed too!

I have a version of bruschetta on Mintcustard but I’ll be making a new twist on this as soon as the sun comes out.

July 7, 2015 / mintcustard

Garlicky roasted tomato minestrone soup. Fat to fitter.

Tomatoes waiting to be roasted.

Tomatoes waiting to be roasted.

Not every tomato you come across in the shops really tastes as tomatoey as it should. Roasting tomatoes is a way I find intensifies their flavour. Adding a few cloves of garlic and a sprig or two of basil adds to the flavour profile also. I’m trying out lots of soup recipes at the moment. Partly to get me to eat more vegetables and also as a way to have a nutricious lunch that can be eaten one handed. Teachers are often marking or peacekeeping with the other. Sadly the other inhabitants of Mintcustard Mansions have decided they like my soup too, having spent years telling me that soup wasn’t a proper meal! I’m having to make a larger quantity to keep everyone happy.

I’ve lost another kg too.

Garlicky roasted tomato minestrone soup.

6 good sized tomatoes, halved

4 garlic cloves, squashed but not peeled

1 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to season

sprigs of fresh basil

1 litre of stock

75g minestrone soup pulse and pasta mix (I use the Waitrose one)

How to …..

  • Preheat the oven to 220 c.
  • Place the halved tomatoes, garlic, oil, seasoning and basil into a heatproof dish. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes until the house begins to smell sweet and garlicky.
  • Whilst the tomatoes and garlic roast, bring the stock to a boil. Tip in the minestrone soup pulse and pasta mix and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes.
Roasted tomatoes.

Roasted tomatoes.

  • Once roasted, peel the tomatoes and garlic and tip into a large sauce pan. Add in any cooking juices from the pa and the roasted basil too.
  • Strain the pulses, reserving the liquid. Keep the cooked pasta and pulses to one side for the moment.
Minestrone pulses.

Minestrone pulses.

  • Pop the liquid in with the tomatoes and garlic. Blitz with a hand blender until smooth.
  • Stir in the pasta and pulses.
  • Serve with a chiffonade of basil, or a swirl of basil oil if you have it.
Garlicky roasted tomato minestrone soup.

Garlicky roasted tomato minestrone soup.

 

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