Paella (serves 4)

Paella by The Fat Foodie

My partner recently bought me a paella pan. I’ve no idea why they bought it for me because I’ve never really thought of or discussed making paella before, but I suspect their motive wasn’t entirely altruistic due to the plethora of paella recipe suggestions that they began offering the minute I unwrapped it. However, I’m always up for trying new recipes so I thought it’d be good to try making a chicken and prawn paella in it.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a ‘proper’ paella before, so this recipe is just my interpretation of what a traditional paella recipe normally entails, but it turned out to be very tasty and made a nice change for dinner that night. Although I made my paella with chicken breasts and prawns you could easily make a vegetarian, or even vegan, version of this by simply using a selection of low FODMAP vegetables instead, such as diced bell peppers, sliced oyster mushrooms and discs of courgette.

However you decide to make your paella you’ll be rewarded with a plateful of tender grains of rice that have been gently poached in vegetable stock and are well-seasoned with herbs and spices, accompanied by juicy prawns and tender chunks of chicken breast. It certainly does Spanish food justice.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 chicken breasts (diced)

200g cooked prawns

100g smoked ham (chopped)

300g paella rice or long grain rice

2 fresh common tomatoes (diced)

100g red bell pepper (diced)

2 vegetable stock cubes (make sure they don’t contain onion or garlic)

250ml white wine (optional)

1 tbsp paprika

1/2 tsp dried oregano

A pinch of saffron

1/3 tsp ground pepper

600ml boiling water (possibly more)

Method:

Prepare the vegetables as directed and use the stock cubes and the boiling water to make a vegetable stock.

Heat the oil in a paella pan or a large frying pan or saucepan and cook the chicken.

Add the vegetables, rice, spices and the vegetable stock.

Cook, stirring gently all the while, and once the rice is almost soft add the prawns and chopped smoked ham. (Add more water if necessary. Sometimes it’s difficult to judge how much water rice will need.)

Cook the risotto until the prawns are hot, taste and season if necessary, and serve.

Paella by The Fat Foodie

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Salmon en Croute (serves 4)

Salmon en Croute by The Fat Foodie

If you’re looking for something a little bit fancy to serve for dinner around Christmastime, or even for a special Christmas Eve dinner or New Year’s Day celebration meal, then you can’t go wrong with salmon en croute. It looks really impressive, but it’s actually really easy to make and is an ideal meal for those who follow the low FODMAP diet. I made four individual salmon en croute parcels, but you could easily make a single whole en croute by using a large piece of salmon and encasing it in a single sheet of gluten-free puff pastry.

Salmon is really good for you because it’s nutritionally dense, containing high-quality protein, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins D and B-12, all of which help to maintain healthy skin and brain function. However, possibly more importantly, it’s really, really tasty!

These salmon en croute are parcels of crisp puff pastry which encase a tender and juicy baked salmon fillet that’s wrapped in a delicate chive-infused cream cheese. They’re delicious on their own, with a salad, or with more robust vegetables, such as roasted baby potatoes and freshly steamed vegetables. They’re stunning visually as well as on the palate and if you serve them to guests they’ll appreciate every mouthful.

Ingredients:
4 square-ish salmon fillets (de-boned and skin removed)
80g lactose-free cream cheese (or non-dairy version)
1 tbsp chives (finely chopped)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
500g gluten-free puff pastry
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 egg (beaten)

Method:
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/180ºC/400ºF/gas 6 and line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper.
In a small bowl, mix the chopped chives, ground pepper and lemon juice into the cream cheese.
Roll out the puff pastry so it forms a large square that is around half a centimetre thick and cut it into four quarters. 
Take a quarter and place a salmon fillet in the centre. Top the salmon with a quarter of the cream cheese mixture and coat the surrounding puff pastry with beaten egg.

Making Salmon en Croute

Gently fold the sides of the pastry over the salmon and coat the pastry with beaten egg and then fold the top and bottom of the pastry over the centre, so that a sealed parcel is formed.

Finished Salmon en Croute Parcels

Put the en croute folded side down on the greaseproofed baking tray and gently make small slashes over the pastry. (Try not to go through to the salmon, if you can.)
Brush with beaten egg and repeat with the rest of the salmon en croutes.
Bake the en croutes in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is puffy and golden brown. Serve with a salad or vegetables.

Salmon en Croute by The Fat Foodie

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