Caesar Salad Dressing – The Healthy Alternative

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This isn’t the most seasonal recipe to post on the last day of September but then again we are no longer eating the most seasonal foods in our household when the only change throughout the year is ‘Monsoon Season’ and ‘not Monsoon Season’.

I am a real sauce lover. Be it gravy drowning my Sunday roast or a big dollop of hollandaise on a juicy steak, sauce really completes a meal for me. So with the wedding coming up it doesn’t help with my healthy eating when I want drink the stuff!

One of the few salads I can get the main man in my life to eat as a meal in itself  is Chicken Caesar – he loves it. I’ve managed to adapt the sauce so it still has that caesar taste but is a bit lighter on the calories. This recipe makes enough to serve 4 people.

What you’ll need:

SCC Ceasar Ingredients

One small or half of one large clove of garlic, minced

75g Low Fat Mayonnaise

40g Parmesan, grated

Juice of half a lemon

1 tsp Colmans English Mustard Powder

SCC Ceasar Dressing in Mug

Mix all the ingredients together until well blended. Traditionally, the salad is tossed in the dressing before being served but we’re cutting down on calories here so divide the dressing evenly between four mini dishes and season with some freshly ground black pepper.

SCC Ceasar Salad Dressing

Get some chicken breasts in the grill pan and start preparing that salad!

SSC Grilled Chicken

Another way I cut down on calories with this is to dip my fork in the dressing before loading it up with salad, that way I get the taste of the dressing with every mouthful without the same calories as smothering the entire salad with it.  And I don’t feel as guilty enjoying a nice cold glass of Riesling Gewurztraminer blend with my Saturday lunch.

Not you traditional Ceasar salad but a yummy Chicken Salad with a just as yummy Caesar Dressing!

Not your traditional Caesar salad but a yummy Chicken Salad with a just as yummy Caesar Dressing!

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Quiche au Gruyère

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Quiche was always a favorite for Mum and me. She would sometimes bring home a couple of slices of Cheese and Onion from the deli counter where she worked many years ago. It would put a smile on my face to see that plastic bag in the fridge with the sticker printout reading QUICHE.

It’s only in recent years that I’ve extended myself to eating Quiche Lorraine and other varieties rather than just the cheese and onion from my childhood, if you know me well, then you’ll know I’m a sucker for almost anything cheese and onion flavored.

In Switzerland, bacon lardons and Gruyère, the swiss cheese traditionally used in Quiche au Gruyère, are both readily available and reasonably priced and so are great ready made pastries if you don’t have neither the time nor willingness to make your own. I guess that’s why I eventually perfected this recipe in Geneva. I much prefer homemade pastry although I now have to give it a miss and go straight for the ready made here in Singapore. My kitchen temperature generally averages at around 30 degrees and being one of the only rooms in our condo without air conditioning, it’s difficult to make a tasty pastry. As the old saying goes, cold hands make good pastry. This is because the warmer the fat is, the more flour it absorbs and the pastry becomes tough. That aside, I have actually made this a couple of times without any pastry at all which cuts out some of those calories too!

What you’ll need…

SCC Quiche Ingredients

Short crust pastry, be it homemade or straight from the store or just leave it out completely!

Butter for greasing

100g cooked bacon lardons

4 eggs

160ml double cream

75g Gruyere

100ml milk

20cm, circular Flan dish  – If your dish is slightly smaller, you can just pour any left over mixture into muffin tins to make make mini crustless quiches. Cook for about 20 mins until golden and set and pop them in the fridge once cooled and they make great little snacks!

 SCC Fried Bacon

Preheat the (fan assisted) oven to 160 degrees. If you are using pastry, you will need to blind bake the pastry in the flan dish. To do this, simply grease the dish with the butter, lay the sheet of pastry into the dish pressing it in smoothly. Leave a little pastry as an over lap – I usually cut this off once it’s all cooked. Next you’ll need to lay a sheet of baking paper over the pastry and fill with baking beans If you don’t have baking beans you can use dried beans, pulses or rice instead. This bit stops the pastry from rising up. Bake for 20 mins before carefully removing the beans, continue to bake for an additional 5 mins.

Its not very photogenic but thats what working with pastry in 30 degrees plus does!

Its not very photogenic but thats what working with pastry in 30 degrees plus does!

Whilst this is cooking we can make the filling. Beat the eggs in a jug and then add the milk and cream and beat a little more. I always beat the eggs separately and then add the milk and cream afterwards as I have made this before and noticed whilst pouring the filling into the case, I still had a whole yolk. Now add the bacon and cheese, stir through and season with salt and pepper.

This is the crustless version with the mixture poured straight into the flan dish

This is the crustless version with the mixture poured straight into the flan dish

Next, without taking the flan dish out of the oven you’ll need to pour the mixture into the case, this is so that you can get as much mixture in as possible without it spilling over the edge. Using an oven glove, slide the oven shelf out and pour the mixture into the case. Continue to bake for 40 minutes until nice and golden on top. Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing and serving with a fresh side salad. Any left overs can be chilled and eaten straight form the fridge.

Crustless, fresh from the oven. Just like a gooey, cheesy, creamy, oven baked omelette

Crustless, fresh from the oven. Just like a gooey, cheesy, creamy, oven baked omelette

Served with salad for a yummy weekend lunch. I added a handful of chopped mushrooms to the mixture here as I had some in the fridge

Served with salad for a yummy weekend lunch. I added a handful of chopped mushrooms to the mixture here as I had some in the fridge

Fresh and Fast Feta Salad

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September? Where did you come from?! Summer is coming to an end and I think most of us like to try and drag it out for as long as possible. When we moved to Singapore 3 months ago, one of the things we knew we would miss are the seasons. They are so prominent in both the UK where we are from and Switzerland where we lived prior to here. Around about now we would be making the most of the last few days of Summer with those dark evenings slowly creeping in. This year I find myself longing to stand in the countryside under a light shower of rain with a cool breeze in my face.

In a way, having the constant heat has been a blessing for me. With arms and legs regularly on show, it’s a big kick up the backside to get me in the gym and eating healthy salads. Here is a yummy side salad, nothing needs cooking just chop everything up and throw it together. Great served with Steak, Chicken or with a jacket spud as I did for lunch today! Normally when I serve a salad, the other half smothers it in salad cream, this is one of the few salads he will eat without any dressing at all. It is so simple yet so tasty, and low on those calories too!

This recipe serves one so you can easily multiply.

You’ll be needing…

15g red onion, diced

35g low fat feta, you can use full fat if you are feeling naughty!

8 cherry tomatoes, quartered

8 medium sized fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

SCC Feta Salad Ingredients

Just throw it all together, et voila!

SCC Feta Salad

My lunch today was really tasty! Just what I wanted after my morning Zumba class.

SCC Feta Salad with Jacket

Easy Mushroom Soup

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It maybe surprising to someone who has never lived in foreign lands how long it can take to settle down. There are so many things that take time getting used to from language and religion to driving (don’t get me started on this one!) nothing is ever quite the same as your home country. The fun part can be trying all the new foods but sometimes you get big cravings for something familiar. My latest frustration came when I went to buy what I would call a staple food product from my local supermarket. Cream was on my shopping list this Monday and I ended up having to buy Elmlea. For many years my fiancé thought Elmlea was cream and couldn’t understand why I would refuse to use it. For those of you who don’t know, Elmlea is actually a cream alternative made with vegetable oil and buttermilk.  Sounds gross doesn’t it?This will have to do for now but I will not end my quest for the real deal!

 

SCC Elmlea

 

One item which I have been buying regularly of late is shitake mushrooms. I would always buy closed cup mushrooms in Geneva, not for any reason other than they were the most available. So, when I had mushrooms on my shopping list and found myself with a huge bag of shitake, I decided to make a soup.

 
SCC Shitake

There is something about soup that makes it so comforting, even more so when it is homemade. I like having some homemade soup to hand whether it’s in the fridge or the freezer but this one is so quick to pull together! This recipe serves two and is easy enough to double, or triple if you want some left overs to keep in the fridge!

 

You will need …

 

25g unsalted butter

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

150g shitake mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped

500ml veg stock, a stock cube is fine but you can use my veg stock recipe if you have time

100ml milk

Salt and Pepper for seasoning

SCC Mushroom Soup Ingredients

 

Start by gently melting the butter in a saucepan and cooking the onion and garlic until softened. Chuck in the mushrooms and cover, cook for about 5 mins stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are cooked.  Add the stock and blend until smooth. Now pour in the milk and season to taste, I like to make this soup quite peppery for an extra kick.

I finished this one with a drizzle of *cough* Elmlea

 

SCC Mushroom Soup Serving