Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday guilt...

This morning I am having serious food guilt issues. I have not cooked once in 3 days… but I have stuffed my face all weekend with a long list of foods ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous (erring more towards the ridiculous).

The weekend started at the opening of a new restaurant in Hout Bay called La Cabane (I’m sure I’ll get to reviewing it properly soon), then on to the April special at La Mouette (6 course tasting menu at R120, so good!), Saturday morning MacDonald’s hangover breakfast (doctors orders, I promise), Waterkant Market with Hemelhuijs potato wedges topped with truffle mayo washed down with two Brewers&Union beers (the unfiltered and the Berne – this could be long love affair begging), then for dinner KFC box master and loaded fries (Oh yes!) and a Tournado ice cream. Sunday brunch Milo Pops and Nik Naks followed by an early dinner of a Spur rib burger and baked potato with sour cream and chives… (in my defence here - we did do a 3 hour hike in the mountains just before dinner).

I’m not actually sure that I should be admitting to all this, but perhaps a name and shame is needed in this case. Let’s air the dirty laundry and make all kinds of Monday promises and commitments because tomorrow is the official opening Massimo’s Pizza club and I don’t want any residual guilt for that!

So today I am doing my fresh pressed veggie and fruit juice, home-made whole grain toast with marmite and am thinking of low fat dinner options. I am leaning to towards a baked potato. There is something very wintery and comfort foody about baked potatoes for me and I think they would make a great Monday meal, simple and satisfying.

I did a training session the other day on how to make the best crispy baked potatoes (something I learned from and Irish friend of mine when I was about 8 years old) and then three toppings for them. I’ll give you all three toppings I trained, below. There is one really healthy, one medium fat and one downright decadent. But each one is delicious in its own right and very much worth trying them all!

How to bake perfect crispy skinned potato

Pre heat your oven to 180C˚, placing the wrack in the middle of the oven. Thoroughly wash each potato ensuring that all sand is cleaned off. With a fork scrape the potato from end to end, just piercing through the skin and into the flesh. Rub a mixture of oil, salt, herbs and spices into the groves in the skins of the potatoes. Place the potatoes into a roasting pan with enough space for the potatoes to get even heat all around.

Bake the potatoes for 45 minutes to an hour or until the skins are crispy and the potatoes are cooked through. You can check this by sticking a sharp knife into the centre of the largest potato to see if it runs through easily or not.


Toppings for baked potatoes

Finely chopped tomato, cucumber, carrot and sweet corn with creamy cottage cheese and yoghurt dressing, topped with toasted seeds

Tops 4 medium baked potatoes

2 tomatoes, chopped
¼ of a cucumber, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 cup of sweet corn, defrosted if frozen blanched if fresh
250g of cottage cheese
2 Tbsp plain yoghurt
Salt and pepper
½ cup of omega seed mix, toasted in a pan with oil, salt and some spices

Finely chop up the tomato, cucumber, carrots add the sweet corn. Mix in the cottage cheese, yoghurt, salt, pepper and toasted seeds (leaving a few for garnish). Spoon on top of the baked potatoes and top with a few toasted seeds.

Chicken, avo, cucumber with pesto, chutney, yoghurt dressing
Tops 4 medium baked potatoes

3 chicken breast, tenderised
1 ripe avocados, peeled and diced
300g of plain yoghurt
100ml of basil pesto* (bought or home-made)
50ml of peach chutney
Salt and pepper

Rub your tenderised chicken fillets with oil, salt and chicken seasoning of your choice. Fry in a searing hot pan for 2 minutes on each side, until just cooked through. Set aside until ready for use.

Combine the yogurt, pesto, chutney, salt and pepper. Add the chicken breast chopped into bite sized pieces and the avo. Mix lightly and spoon over hot baked potatoes.

*Basil Pesto
Makes about a cup of pesto

50g of macadamia nuts (or the traditional pine nuts if your budget allows)
1 clove of garlic
125ml of olive oil
50g of parmesan cheese (or similar – pecorino, grana padana)
80g of fresh basil
Salt to taste

Blend the nuts, garlic, olive oil and cheese together to form a paste. Add the basil and blend until just fine, but don’t over blend, Add salt to taste.

Mushroom sauce with crispy bacon bits

Tops 4 medium baked potatoes

½ packet of streaky bacon

2 Tbsp of Olive oil

250g of mushrooms, sliced

¼ tsp of salt

¼ tsp of black pepper

1 Tbsp of soya sauce

3 Tbsp of flour

2 cups (500ml) of milk

Fresh herbs if you have some


Lay your bacon on a baking tray and grill in the oven until crispy. Fry the mushrooms in a large pan over medium high heat until they have reduced by at least half. Add the salt, pepper and soya sauce and fry until the mushrooms start browning.

Add the flour and fry a little until the flour has coated the mushrooms. Remove from the heat, add the milk and stir until all the ingredients have mixed well. Return to the heat and stir until the sauce has thickened. Add fresh herbs if you have any. Chop the bacon into pieces and add to the sauce and spoon over hot baked potatoes.

2 comments:

  1. Hehe - guess which one I want!

    ReplyDelete
  2. great dinner ideas here! Baked potato so under rated.

    ReplyDelete