Posted by: hilsrecipeoftheweek | September 27, 2009

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Posted by: hilsrecipeoftheweek | September 25, 2009

Crunchy crushed potatoes


A sort of chip and roast potato combination, with part-boiled potatoes that are crushed and then roasted.  I don't have to tell you that they are delicious.

A sort of chip and roast potato combination, with part-boiled potatoes that are crushed and then roasted. I don't have to tell you that they are delicious.

By Jo Pratt/Daily Mail

Serves 4


 1kg new potatoes, halved if large

3tbsp olive oil


Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Drain and tip into a roasting tray.

Using a potato masher or the base of a glass or cup, crush each potato – some more than others, so you get lots of lovely small crispy bits once they have roasted.

Toss in the olive oil and cook in the oven for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning a few times throughout, until the potatoes are wonderfully golden and crunchy.

Remove from the oven and scatter with sea salt to taste before serving.

HANDY TIP: For a touch of spice, a pinch of cayenne pepper

Read more:

Hils comment: Scrumptious. Hardly low fat or health food, but hey! Ever heard of the 80/20 Rule? ( The potatoes are cooked in their skins, though, so partly healthy.

 I can’t promise this will always serve 4, it’s incredibly more-ish!


How yummy is that?

Posted by: hilsrecipeoftheweek | September 23, 2009

Chicken, turkey or tofu stir fry with greens and cashews

Healthy, light and quick – just what you need in an after-work meal.

BBC stir fry

Serves 4

Recipe by BBC Good Food magazine

 1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 head broccoli , cut into small florets
4 garlic cloves , sliced
1 red chilli , deseeded and finely sliced
1 bunch spring onions , sliced
140g soya beans [available frozen from the supermarket]
2 heads pak choi , quartered
2 x 150g packs marinated tofu pieces [or chicken or turkey breast see comment below]
1 ½ tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp reduced-salt soy sauce (add extra to suit your own taste)
25g roasted nuts
[I recommend also about 1 cm root ginger, peeled and thinly sliced or grated]


Heat the oil in a non-stick wok.

Add the broccoli, then fry on a high heat for 5 mins or until just tender, adding a little water if it begins to catch.

Add the garlic and chilli (and ginger if using), fry for 1 min, then toss through the spring onions, soya beans, pak choi and tofu.

Stir-fry for 2-3 mins. Add the hoisin, soy and nuts to warm through.

Hils Comment: Quick and delicious, and so versatile. Make this with whatever veg and protein you have available, perfect for using up vegetables that are in danger of going to waste by the end of the week. It would work well with any of the following: green beans, cabbage, mange touts, asparagus, shredded carrot or courgette, bean sprouts, and so on. I haven’t tried it with tofu, mind – it was wonderful with turkey or chicken: METHOD – first stir fry the chicken or turkey over a high heat in a little olive oil with half the chopped garlic.  Remove from the wok, then stir fry the rest of the garlic, the ginger and the chilli for 1 min, then add the broccoli/beans for a few minutes. Toss through the other vegetables and the soya beans (plus tofu if using), and stir fry for 2 – 3 minutes.  Put the chicken or turkey back into the wok at the end with the hoisin, soy sauce and nuts, just to warm through.

This dish was delicious using  pak choi, purple sprouting broccoli, a little red pepper and diced chicken breast:


 and equally good with normal broccoli, green beans, savoy cabbage,  diced turkey breast and a few cooked prawns I had in the freezer:



The secret of a good stir fry is to have done all the preparation in advance, according to Jane Clarke, one of Britain’s leading nutritionists. Chop the vegetables  so they are all the same, one bite, size, so cooking is even. Chop the garlic, ginger, chilli etc. before you start cooking, and get store cupboard ingredients ready. What makes the difference between a stir-fry that sizzles and a soggy, old tasting mush is being able to quickly add the ingredient at the right time, without having to rummage around in a cupboard or, worse still, nip out to the supermarket for something vital.

Posted by: hilsrecipeoftheweek | September 10, 2009

Risotto verde

A gorgeous, fresh-tasting green risotto which is easy to make as it is baked in the oven

A gorgeous, fresh-tasting green risotto which is easy to make as it is baked in the oven

This has to be my favourite recipe of the month – absolutely delicious!

(Recipe by Rachel Allen, a professional cook and busy mother. A native of Dublin, she lives in Cork with her husband and two young children. Rachel teaches at the Ballymaloe Cookery School and presents several TV cookery shows. )


4 tbsp olive oil
250g (9oz) peas, fresh or frozen
100g (4 oz) spinach (destalk if the leaves are large)
950ml (1 pt 12 fl oz) vegetable (or chicken) stock [I used marigold vegetable bouillon]
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed or grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
350g (12 oz) risotto rice, such as arborio or carnaroli
150ml (5 fl. oz) white wine
100g (4 oz) Parmesan cheese to serve
12 stalks of asparagus, ends trimmed and cut in half lengthways

Preheat the oven to 180’C/gas 4.
Heat half the olive oil in an oven-proof saucepan.
Add the peas and spinach and cook, stirring all the time, for 2 minutes, until the spinach wilts.

Add about 50ml of the stock and puree in a blender or food processor.
Set aside.
In the same saucepan, heat the remaining olive oil, add the onion and garlic and season with salt and pepper.
Cover with a lid and sweat over a gentle heat until soft but not coloured.
Add the risotto rice and stir it around in the saucepan for a minute, then add the remaining stock and the wine.
Stir and bring it up to the boil, cover with the lid and place in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is just cooked and all the liquid has been absorbed.
Stir in the vegetable puree and set aside with the lid on.
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add a good pinch of salt and the asparagus.
Boil for 2-3 minutes or until it is just tender, then drain.

To serve
Serve the risotto in warm bowls with the asparagus and Parmesan arranged on top.

Rachel’s handy tip:  The alcohol in the wine burns off during cooking, and the flavour is lovely, but if you do not want to use it, jut replace it with extra stock.

Hils comment:  A delightful accompaniment for any meal. I prefer it with plainly cooked fish or chicken, as the fresh spring tastes really come through. 

 Served with grilled or baked plaice


 The risotto made a fairly bland (but oh-so-healthy!) meal of baked plaice into something really special.

 It would also  be great on its own.

 DSCN3176The leftovers made a delicious lunch next day – I stirred through some of the remaining baby spinach leaves and asparagus, added a few thin slices of parmesan, and microwaved it for a minute or two . Wow!

Posted by: hilsrecipeoftheweek | September 8, 2009

Broccoli and salmon pasta bake


Recipe coming soon!

Posted by: hilsrecipeoftheweek | September 3, 2009

Beetroot Risotto with feta cheese


Interesting and delicious vegetarian option just oozing with healthy goodness.
Serves 2 as a main meal (despite our valiant efforts, there was some left over for my modest lunch today! I did however use 200g Red Camargue and Wild Rice, and 600ml stock).


500 ml light stock (I use Marigold vegetable bouillon)
150g red or brown rice (red Camargue rice is delicious with this, I use Waitrose Red Camargue & Wild Rice which is deliciously nutty and filling; you will need to cook the rice quite a bit longer than stated in the recipe, and I generally have to add more stock towards the end when the stock has been absorbed but the rice is still hard)
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 stick cinnamon
150 (5 oz) beetroot, rinsed (or use vinegar-free ready-cooked beetroot, much easier. You will find it vacuum-packed near the fresh salad vegetables in the supermarket)
½ teaspoon caraway seeds
1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil
100g spinach or chard or kale, coarsely shredded with thick stalks removed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium head of fennel, trimmed and cut into medium fine slices
2 teaspoons tamarind paste
150 feta cheese, chopped or crumbled (the non weight-conscious can add a bit more)
Green salad ingredients (optional)
Bring the stock to the boil and add the rice, garlic and cinnamon.
Simmer gently without a lid until the rice is tender (35 – 55 minutes, depending on the rice used. Add more stock if necessary).
Drain, remove the cinnamon and mash in the garlic.
While the rice is cooking, cook the beetroot; cover with very lightly salted boiling water and simmer until tender, about 30 mins. Once cooked, it will be easy to slip off the skins under cold running water and then top and tail the beetroot.

Heat oven to 200C.

As the rice and beetroot cook, heat a frying pan and lightly toast the caraway seeds.
Remove the seeds and add a tablespoon of olive oil to the frying. Add the shredded spinach or kale and stir-fry gently until the leaves have wilted. (If you have used curly kale, this will take quite a while, stir fry until it is more tender). Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add more oil and cook the onion and fennel until golden brown or tender (tossing from time to time). Stir in the cooked shredded greens, the caraway seeds and tamarind paste. Combine with the rice and beetroot and season with freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Place the risotto in a shallow baking dish and scatter over the feta cheese.
Slip into a hot oven for 10minutes.
Serve with a green salad.

 Recipe by Ian Marber “The Food Doctor Diet Club”


Hils Comment:
Astonish your veggie friends with this. It is one of The Food Doctor meals that I love even when not weight watching nor feeding vegetarians; it is tasty and filling. I am keen on ‘one-pot meals’, not only for the great taste but also they seem easier than coordinating several different items.

For those who have tried all the weight-loss diets, and failed at all the weight-loss diets, I can highly recommend The Food Doctor’s Diet Club and healthy eating plan. George & I followed it a few years ago with great success, it really does what it says on the tin. To my great astonishment, I might add, as I do not lose weight easily! The ounces came off steadily, and this without feeling hungry or deprived. The recipes and list of ingredients can appear daunting initially, but once you get into it it is really not too difficult. The ’10 Principles’ of how to eat well for the rest of your life are absolutely sound. Especially Number 8: the 80/20 Rule – stick to the plan for 80% of the time, but allow yourself to stray every now and then (except for the first month when you are re-educating your body and your habits).


Posted by: hilsrecipeoftheweek | August 29, 2009

Tomato and avocado salad

1 ripe (but not overripe and going mushy or stringy) avocado
200g halved cherry or baby pomodorino tomatoes (or normal tomatoes cut into quarters or eighths)
Juice of 1/2 a small lemon
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Slice the tomatoes and place in a dish.
Halve the avocado and remove the pip.
Using a knife, cut the avocado into cubes whilst still in the skin, then scoop the diced avocado out with a spoon. Add to tomotoes.
Squeeze over the lemon juice, add the olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Posted by: hilsrecipeoftheweek | August 29, 2009

Tomato and onion salad

This simple salad is worth learning by heart, as it goes with just about anything you make.
Serves 2
3-4 ripe medium-sized tomatoes (or tasty cherry tomatoes, halved)
1/2 a small red onion (normal onion, finely sliced, is fine)
1/2 a small lemon
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Slice the tomatoes, cutting out the green middle if it is tough. Place in a dish. Slice the red onion as finely as you can and scatter over the tomatoes.
Squeeze over the lemon juice, add the olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black Read more:

Posted by: hilsrecipeoftheweek | August 29, 2009

Asparagus & salmon supper

A sophisticated salmon dish that’s super fast to prepare.

Serves 2


2 salmon fillets , about 140g/5oz each
100g pack asparagus spears
3 tbsp olive oil
juice half a lemon
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
410g can cannellini beans , drained and rinsed
2 large handfuls of baby spinach leaves


  1. Get a steamer on to boil. Put the salmon fillets in the first tier and steam for 3 mins until the salmon has changed colour. Throw the asparagus spears in with the salmon and continue to steam for 4-5 mins until the asparagus is tender and the fish is cooked.
  2. While everything’s steaming, make a dressing by whisking together the olive oil, lemon juice and mustard. Tip the cannellini beans and spinach into a large bowl. When the asparagus is cooked scoop it into the bowl, then stir in the dressing. Divide the vegetables between two plates and sit the salmon on top.


If you don’t have a steamer pan
Fry the salmon in a splash of oil for 2-3 mins on each side, or bake it in a lightly oiled oven-proof dish, covered with foil, for about 15 mins at 160C/320F/gas mark 3 .

Plunge the asparagus in a pot of boiling water for 3-4 mins until cooked.

Preparing the asparagus

Remove the woody stem ends before cooking: hold a piece of asparagus at each end, and bend it. It will naturally snap at just the right place. Discard the woody ends, or cook them for the dog!

Per serving
565 kcalories, protein 41g, carbohydrate 25g, fat 32 g, saturated fat 5g, fibre 9g, salt 2 g

Hils comment:
Exceptionally quick & easy, looks impressive, and a very healthy option too! It doesn’t need any other veg, just serve with one of the following: crusty bread, new potatoes, or a simple salad of thinly sliced tomato and onion or tomato and avocado. It was perfectly adequate on its own though, for George and I last night, followed by Activia strawberry yoghurt; we felt very virtuous!

Posted by: hilsrecipeoftheweek | August 27, 2009

Courgette Tian

Photo John Lawrence

Recipe by Xanthe Clay in Daily Telegraph 05 Aug 2009 (French Bistro Cooking)
Serves 4
A tian is the name for a shallow Provençal baking dish and anything cooked in it. Sometimes made with cheese and rice, I prefer just vegetables. Baking the courgettes brings out their sweetness and makes a lovely accompaniment to lamb or chicken.


3 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, peeled and sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 courgettes, thinly sliced on the diagonal
3 large tomatoes
Pinch of sugar
Heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6 (or lower if that suits another dish you are cooking – the exact temperature is not important).
Heat half the olive oil in a large frying pan and add the onions with a pinch of salt. Cook gently for half an hour or so until meltingly tender. Add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.
Oil a shallow gratin dish (mine is an oval, 10in/25cm long) and spread the onions in the base.
Arrange the courgettes and tomatoes in overlapping circles over the top. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with the sugar and season with salt and pepper.
Bake for about an hour, until coloured and slightly shrivelled, which means the flavours have intensified.
Eat the tian hot or at room temperature.
Hil’s Comment:
I met this dish at a girly supper, and it was superb – Madeleine served it with marinated pan-fried chicken breast, a delicious yet simple meal; it gave a real French flavour to a wonderful summer evening relaxing ‘a deux’ on the terrace, and a glass (or 2) of chilled Chardonnay went down a treat!
I soon had an opportunity to try it again myself when kind neighbours gave us cherry tomatoes and (1 very large) courgette fresh from the garden, and once again it was delightful. Looks impressive, and is incredibly easy to do. Timing is not critical, and it can be removed from the oven and simply left to stand while you finish off the rest of the meal. I baked it slightly less than an hour.
A great vegetarian option, crumble feta cheese over the top or serve with slices of grilled haloumi cheese.

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