Potato Wedges

Potato Wedges by The Fat Foodie

Potato Wedges by The Fat Foodie

Fact: There’s nothing better than a homemade chip.

Second fact: Fried chips have been sold in Britain since 1854, but they’ve actually been eaten in British homes for centuries.

Third fact: Homemade chips taste way better than a frozen ready-prepared chip ever could.

Fourth fact: Homemade potato wedges are unbelievably easy to make. So, let me show you how…

I made my family lentil ragù the other night, but because I’m following the FODMAP diet (to help manage my IBS better) it wasn’t suitable for me to eat. I was then faced with the decision about what I was going to make for my own dinner. I had a bag of potatoes in the fridge (which are fine to eat for FODMAP followers) so I figured that a plate of potato wedges would go down nicely while also serving as a nice side to go with the lentil ragù the family were having.

Potatoes are packed full of vitamins and minerals. In terms of vitamins, you’re talking about getting a healthy portion of vitamin C, E and K, B6, and folate. Their minerals include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. That’s better for you than a plateful of starchy wheat-based pasta any day, isn’t it really?

I had two varieties of potato in the fridge, not for a particularly exciting reason, it was just that they were left over from two separate bags of potatoes. My point is that the blend of two varieties lent a nice variation in texture and flavour to the potato wedges because some of them were really sweet and firm whereas others were dry and floury. For such a plain plate of food, it truly was a celebration of the humble potato.

I cut my potato wedges by hand with paring knife, but you can buy really clever potato chip makers produced by companies like Lakeland which make it really easy to make perfect chips. Equally, you could use a tool such as an Easy Grip Potato Slicer which is much cheaper and would give you uniformly cut potato wedges. I’m happy with oddly shaped, non-uniform potato wedges personally though, so I’ll just stick to using a plain old knife.

You don’t need me to tell you what to serve potato wedges with, but I had mine with a tin of mackerel in spicy tomato sauce and it was a delicious meal. The potato wedges had far more flavour to them than any frozen chips I’ve ever had (even the expensive upmarket ones). If you fancy more exciting potato wedges you could add a teaspoon of smoked paprika to your seasoning before you pop them in the oven which will give them a smokey, BBQ sort of flavour. Whether you pep up their seasoning or not, these potato wedges were sweet and crunchy around the edges, but soft and fluffy in the middle, just like any good potato wedges should be.

Ingredients:

Enough potatoes for the number of people you’re going to be feeding (I normally go with around 2 medium sized potatoes each)

Sunflower oil

Salt and pepper

Method:

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas mark 6.

Peel your potatoes and cut them through the middle into halves and then into wedges. I normally get around 8 wedges from a medium sized potato.

Place on a non-stick baking tray and coat them lightly with sunflower oil. (Only use enough so that they’re just lightly coated because you don’t want them swimming in oil.)

Season generously with salt and pepper and place in the oven.

Raw Potato Wedges About to be Baked by The Fat Foodie

Raw Potato Wedges About to be Baked by The Fat Foodie

Once your wedges are golden brown and soft when pierced with a fork, remove from the oven and serve.

Freshly Cooked Potato Wedges by The Fat Foodie

Freshly Cooked Potato Wedges by The Fat Foodie

Potato Wedges by The Fat Foodie

Potato Wedges by The Fat Foodie

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Refried Bean Quesadillas with Cashew Cream

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Refried Bean Quesadillas with Cashew Cream Made by The Fat Foodie

As much as I love tortilla wraps I really think they come into their own when they’re stuffed with a filling and then folded and fried to be turned into a quesadilla. I think that a crispy tortilla is particularly complemented when it’s filled with soft fillings, such as Deliciously Ella’s refried beans.

These refried bean quesadillas with cashew cream are very easy to make and require very little preparation, apart from pre-soaking the cashew nuts (assuming you want to make a non-dairy cashew nut cream instead of just using sour cream). Ella’s recipe calls for black beans, but I just used two tins of black-eyed beans that I had in the kitchen and they were lovely.

I was quite sceptical about the cashew cream and couldn’t really envision how blended cashews could possibly taste anything remotely like a cream, but I must admit I really enjoyed it. Soaking the cashews and then blending them produces a very smooth and yes, creamy, sauce which nicely complements the refried bean quesadillas. Ella adds chopped chives to her cashew cream, but I didn’t have any so I just left them out. To be honest, I don’t think it’d make a massive difference to the overall taste, but feel free to add them in if you like.

The refried beans have a lovely subtle Mexican spice flavouring from the ground coriander and smoked paprika and go wonderfully with sliced avocado or guacamole. Mexican foods, such as these refried bean quesadillas with cashew cream, have become a bit of a staple in my house because it’s a cuisine that tends to be naturally pretty dairy-free, but there are so many variants to Mexican food that I doubt I’ll be getting bored with it any time soon.

I know it seems like a bit of extra work to fry your tortilla to turn it into a quesadilla instead of just eating it like a fajita, but it really adds a lovely crunchy, toasted dimension to the flavour of the tortilla and enhances the smokiness of the refried beans. It’s well worth the couple of extra minutes it’ll take before eating your tortillas.

Ingredients for the refried beans:

Olive oil

4 cloves of garlic (minced)

salt and pepper

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

2 tins of black beans (drained and rinsed)

1 green pepper (cut into bite-sized pieces)

The juice of 1 lime

For the cashew sour cream:

120g cashew nuts

The juice of 1 1/2 lemons

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar

3 spring onions

Method:

To make the sour cream: Cover the cashews in boiling water and soak them for at least half an hour.

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Soaked Cashews

Drain the cashews and then blend all of the sour cream ingredients together in a Nutribullet until smooth.

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Cashew Sour Cream Made by The Fat Foodie

To make the refried beans: Put the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and add the minced garlic. Fry for 5 mins.

Add the beans, spices, salt and pepper, and lime juice and cook for 10-15 mins until the beans are soft. Put the bean mixture into a bowl and wash your frying pan.

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Refried Beans by The Fat Foodie

To make the quesadillas place your tortilla on a flat surface and put 3-4 tbsps of refried beans in the middle. Fold the left and right sides of the tortilla over the beans and then the top and bottom sections until it forms a square parcel.

Put the frying pan over a medium heat and place your quesadilla in the pan. Fry on both sides until golden brown. (I just fry mine in a dry frying pan, but feel free to add some sunflower oil if you like.)

Serve with the cashew sour cream, jalapeños and sliced avocado.

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Refried Bean Quesadillas with Cashew Cream Made by The Fat Foodie

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Roast Carrot and Sundried Tomato Hummus

Roast Carrot and Sundried Tomato Hummus by The Fat Foodie

Roast Carrot and Sundried Tomato Hummus by The Fat Foodie

I’ve been enjoying reading and cooking from Ella Mills’ new cookbook Deliciously Ella With Friends and I quite fancied making her roast carrot hummus. I’ve made The Happy Pear’s roast carrot hummus before and really enjoyed it, but I thought it’d be good to try a different recipe for a change.

I followed Ella’s recipe up to the point of blending all of the ingredients together in the food processor, but I baulked when I reached the point at which she asked for the addition of 10 tbsps of olive oil. That’s a lot of oil! And a lot of people can find that too much olive oil can have an, ahem, ‘loosening’ effect on the body, if you know what I mean…

The lads from The Happy Pear don’t use any oil in their hummus recipes so I thought I’d follow suit and adapt Ella’s recipe so that it had a lot less fat in it, using sundried tomatoes and a bit of their oil from the jar instead of copious amounts of olive oil.

The roast carrot and sundried tomato hummus turned out really nice with a good mellow kick from the roasted garlic cloves and a lovely tang from the sundried tomatoes. I had it in a Mediterranean herb wrap with some grated dairy-free cheese and salad and it was delicious.

This makes quite a lot of hummus (I’ve found that Ella’s portions in her new cookbook Deliciously Ella With Friends are extremely generous), but it freezes very well so I’ve portioned it up into small tupperware containers so I can take it out of the freezer as and when I need it. I think it’ll do very nicely for some iron and nutrient-rich packed lunches to take to work over the next month.

Ingredients:

3 large carrots (400g worth)

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 1/2 tsps. of paprika

A pinch of salt

3 garlic cloves

8 sundried tomatoes (and a bit of the oil from the jar)

Two 400g tins of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)

3 tbsps. tahini

The juice of 2 or 3 lemons

1 tsp ground cumin

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas mark 4.

Cut your carrots into coins about an inch thick and place on a baking tray. Coat the carrot pieces in 1 tbsp of olive oil and a pinch of salt and roast for about 20 mins.

Put your unpeeled garlic cloves on the baking tray and roast alongside the carrots for 5 to 10 mins or until the carrots are soft.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Peel the garlic cloves and then place all of your ingredients in a food processor and blitz. I quite like my hummus to have a bit of texture, but if you prefer yours smooth just keep the food processor running until it’s very smooth.

I added a bit of fresh coriander to my hummus, but you can leave it out if you prefer.

Serve in sandwiches, with fajitas, chilli or with crisp baked tortillas.

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Roast Carrot and Sundried Tomato Hummus by The Fat Foodie

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Garlic and Parmesan Hasselback Potatoes

Garlic and Parmesan Hasselback Potatoes by The Fat Foodie

Garlic and Parmesan Hasselback Potatoes by The Fat Foodie

In the past few months I’ve discovered a great food blog called Cooking Without Limits which focuses on lovely recipes and gorgeous food photography. She recently put up a blog post on half Hasselback potatoes which inspired me to have a bash at creating my own variation, garlic and parmesan Hasselback potatoes.

Hasselback potatoes are a Swedish baked potato dish which looks really stunning and tastes fantastic, incorporating thinly sliced, crisp, buttery fanned out wedges of potato with whatever you choose to season them with. Although they are delicious with a simple addition of salt, if you add rosemary, minced garlic and parmesan cheese it truly lifts them up to the level of sublime.

Although they look tricky to make, they’re actually surprisingly easy to prepare and you could make garlic and parmesan hasselback potatoes with sweet potatoes if you had a mind to. I made them to accompany a dinner of chicken en croute, but you could serve them with any meal that you would normally serve roast potatoes with. Actually, if you added crispy shards of smoked bacon, chilli flakes and sour cream you’d have the makings of a very satisfying main meal in itself.

I made my hasselback potatoes with a minced garlic rub, a sprinkling of rosemary and a generous topping of parmesan shavings and they were divine, producing forkfuls of butter-toasted soft potato with a well-seasoned garlicky, cheesy crust. Although I made mine with little new potatoes you could easily make them with large baking potatoes too. It’d probably make one of the fanciest, but tastiest baked potatoes you’ve ever eaten!

I’d strongly encourage you to try making these garlic and parmesan hasselback potatoes because once you’ve mastered them they’re a great addition to your repertoire and instantly make any meal look enticing and more polished overall. Imagine your family’s faces when you produce a batch of these golden brown wee tatties to go with their roast chicken on Sunday!

Ingredients:

New potatoes

1 tsp of salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp finely chopped rosemary (dried or fresh, but you might need a bit more if using fresh)

2 minced garlic cloves

3 tbsps. melted butter

75g finely grated parmesan

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas mark 4.

Wash (but don’t peel) all of your potatoes and skewer them horizontally through their middles with a kebab skewer. (You can put more than one potato on each skewer.)

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How To Skewer Your Potatoes

Lay the skewered potatoes on a chopping board and cut through each of them until your knife meets the skewer. Once you’ve done them all, flip the skewer over and repeat on the other side of the potatoes.

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How To Cut The Potatoes

Put the potatoes on a large baking tray. Massage the minced garlic into the cuts on the potatoes and then brush the potatoes generously all over with melted butter, reserving some of the butter to use halfway through their cooking process. But don’t worry if you use up all of the butter before baking them because you can always use more butter, right?

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Garlic and Parmesan Hasselback Potatoes Ready For The Oven

Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle on the rosemary and then put them in the oven for about 25 mins.

After this initial 25 minutes of cooking the potato slices will have started to fan out, so take the potatoes out of the oven and give them another brushing with melted butter. Put them back in the oven for another 20-30 mins.

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Baked Garlic and Parmesan Hasselback Potatoes by The Fat Foodie

Once the potatoes are cooked and have soft interiors and golden brown skins, take them out, sprinkle the parmesan cheese over them and put them back in the oven for a few minutes to let the cheese melt and go crispy.

Carefully remove the skewers (they’re roasting hot!) and serve.

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Dinner by The Fat Foodie!

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Homemade Naan Breads (Makes 6)

Homemade Naan Breads by The Fat Foodie

Homemade Naan Breads by The Fat Foodie

Today I made some naan breads to accompany a vegetable coconut curry I made yesterday. Although I’ve baked a few different types of bread loaves before, I’ve never tried making naans so this was a first for me. The standard naan is generally just flavoured with nigella seeds (aka black onion seeds), but I wanted a variety of naans to serve with the curry so I made three types: standard; garlic; and sesame.

Homemade Naan Breads

Homemade Naan Breads by The Fat Foodie

In order to get the characteristic charred crust expected of a naan, Madhur Jaffrey (the queen of curry) suggests placing a heavy baking tray in the oven to heat up until the oven (and tray) are at their hottest possible, ensuring that the naans cook swiftly and with char, but without overbaking or burning. Not an easy feat. However, when I went in search of a suitable tray I came across a pizza stone that my aunt had generously brought over from Canada for us some time ago, which I figured would do the job nicely. It worked a treat and acted as a piping hot flat stone on which to throw my freshly risen naans, giving them crisp edges and a soft, pillowy texture inside.

I’m not going to lie to you, though. As tasty as they were, and trust me, they really were very good, it’s unlikely I’ll make them again simply because of the sheer amount of time and effort they took. When I’m lucky enough to be able to walk into my local Indian grocers and buy really good quality naan breads for a couple of quid, I’m not going to spend hours baking them myself. Life’s too short.

But they were a fun, interesting and tasty diversion from the usual shop-bought poppadums that would normally go with our curries.

Ingredients:

150ml hand-hot milk (I used almond milk)

2 tsps caster sugar

2 tsps dried active yeast (or one 7g sachet)

450g strong plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

2 tbsps vegetable oil

For the flavourings:

4 tbsps melted butter or ghee

2 tbsps Nigella seeds (or black onion seeds)

2 tbsps sesame seeds

2 tbsps sesame oil

2 tbsps garlic powder

Method:

Put the milk in a bowl. Add 1tsp sugar and the yeast. Stir to mix. Set aside for 15-20 minutes or until the yeast has dissolved and the mixture is frothy.

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl.

Add the remaining 1tsp sugar, the yeast mixture, 2tbsps vegetable oil. Mix to form a ball of dough. If you need to add more milk, go ahead. It should be wet enough to just come together. If it’s too wet you can add more flour at the kneading stage.

Knead for 10 minutes until smooth and satiny. Form into a ball.

Pour 1/4tsp oil into a large bowl and place the ball of dough in it. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and set aside for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to its hottest temperature. Put your heaviest baking tray to heat in the oven.

Punch down the dough and knead again. Divide into six equal balls.

At this point I kneaded nigella seeds into two of the naan balls, sesame seeds into another two, and garlic powder into the last two.

Roll each ball of dough into a tear-shaped naan, about 25cm long and 13cm wide.

Cook one naan at a time, placing a naan onto the preheated tray.

Put in the oven for 3 minutes, it will puff up.

Remove the naan from the oven and (for the nigella and garlic naans) glaze with melted butter or oil.

Once you’ve cooked the sesame naans, glaze them with sesame oil and sprinkle them with sesame seeds.

Wrap them in tinfoil to keep them warm. Make all the naans this way.

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Homemade Naan Breads by The Fat Foodie

Homemade Naan Breads by The Fat Foodie

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