Coq au Vin Redux

You know that thing where you think you can cook a recipe because you did it before so you must know how to do it again without Googling it? You don’t? So you remember how to boil an egg? It’s 3 mins of course.

Actually maybe its 4 mins….See, those that cook can easily get trapped in the ‘Valley of Indecision’. That deep, dark area where you start second-guessing the amount of flour, the exact proportion of water and milk, the number of seconds to leave that fillet steak frying in butter…

So this is what happened when we had Coq au Vin with Croissant. Coq au Vin with Croissant? What kind of messed-up tomfoolery is that, I hear you yawn at your PC/laptop/mobile device. Well it’s what it says on the tin;

You make a Coq au Vin, and then you stick some croissant on it. Easy. Except this version didnt’t turn out exactly as I remember it.

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Yes this is Coq au Vin…

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Tandoori Chicken with less than 300 Calories

Currently HappinessStan is not quite so happy. Because HappinessStan is on a diet. Regular readers will know this happens with tedious frequency. But it’s not surprising given some of the creations that appear on this blog. Regular dieting is the only thing that prevents him ending up looking like a a cut-price Marlon Brando (during his later years).

Take a look at the ‘Most viewed’ posts to the right. It’s not a sea of quinoa and green smoothies is it. Sometimes there is a pic of a Roman shield that fretful fathers have searched for at specific times in the school year, but generally its cake and meat & pastry combinations people want to look at. And that is what I tend to cook, and tend to eat.

So with a heavy heart (and even heavier backside) I have decided to spend a period in abstinence. But unlike with previous dietary cycles (where I basically live off boiled chicken) this time I thought I’d have a go at preparing genuine ‘low calorie’ recipes (Brrrr… even writing that sends shivers down my spine)

So here we go. A new series of recipes with less than 300 calories a serving. But worry not. I will intersperse with proper food, which I prepare whilst other, more fortuitous souls, eat.

We shall kick off with Tandoori Chicken. Now how can you make anything remotely approaching something that is even getting close to Tandoori Chicken with a) less than 300 calories and b) no tandoor?

Good questions.

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Take-Away Style Marinated Chicken Breasts with Tofu Kedgeree

This recipe takes me back to my time in the Indian sub-continent. My placement there, as an attaché to the chargé d’affaires, inspired much rabble rousing, and the unfettered consumption of earthly delights to be found in and around Delhi expanded both my mind and waistline.

Outwitting the outraged Lords and Ambassadors of compromised wives was as much of a lark as bagging a tiger in the dense and steaming bush….

…Hang on, piss off my blog. Sorry about that. Some ponce managed to infiltrate the safe, suburban world of Happiness Stan.

In reality this recipe does remind me of the Taj Mahal. The one down the road in Croydon, not the palace near(ish) Delhi. In classical Asian tradition it combines what we Westerners would consider vegetarian fare (in this case Tofu) with good old meat (chicken).

And that reminds me. My wife, who is well travelled (unlike me) toured the Orient some time ago, and as a committed vegetarian struggled to find reliably meat-free dishes. For example she once ordered tofu stir-fry in a Singapore street market, which sounds a safe veggie bet, and it was duly served up piled high with beef.

I’m getting seriously lost. Back to the food. Now tofu’s a funny old thing. It’s either wet and falls to bits when you open the packet (soft), or wet and doesn’t fall to bits when you open the packet, but tries to fall to bits when you start to prepare it (we’ll refer to this one as ‘not-so-soft’).

I determined to make a kind of kedgeree, substituting fish for tofu.

Then I decided to chuck in some chicken because to be honest tofu just doesn’t do it for me. So I prepared some chicken too, in the style of a Chinese Take-Away.

So in the end I created some Asian Fusion cooking which I am calling Take-Away Style Marinated Chicken Breasts with Tofu Kedgeree.

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Homemade Chicken Doner Kebab

In my quest (did I mention I was on a quest? I didn’t? Well I am) to recreate the kind of food you will desire, maybe even drool after, following some Friday night shenanigans, I happen-chanced across the Holy Grail of fast food creations; the Doner Kebab.

Yes the Doner Kebab; possibly the ultimate in culinary creations. The perfect match of meat and bread. Ideal sustinance for the worse-for-wear. All the salty fattiness you could want after a pub-induced coma, combined with the practicality and portability of the humble pitta bread.

I will not bore you here with the tedious realities of buying and eating Doner Kebabs after hours (suffice to say you are basically taking your life into your own hands). I will instead focus on creating this meaty treat at home.

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Beer Butt Chicken

What with all this warm weather I thought it was time for BBQ-based creation. I’ve done many things on a BBQ (I can’t be horaced to spell out barbecue, oops just did it) all with mildy boring results (generally I find BBQ food to be like normal food only a bit more burnt).

But then I suddenly remembered from somewhere where someone stuck a can of beer up a chicken’s arse (or is it the neck? Never realy got to grips with which end was which with a plucked de-headed chicken) and decided I had to do that.

So I did.

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