Vietnamese Style Caramelised Pork

In my increasingly desperate attempts to find something new to cook I happened upon this creation in the Good Food Magazine. I doubt it’s very Vietnamese but sweet and meat are usually a good combo.

It occured to me; would a food blogger in Vietnam be interested in recreating a classic English roast beef dinner? Do Mexican food bloggers try making Spotted Dick when they get sick of quesadillas? Something tells me they don’t. Don’t get sick of quesadillas and don’t try making Spotted Dick. I don’t know whether many of you have tried Spotted Dick, it’s not worth the trouble really.

If I had kept up my series of ‘Quick & Easy’ recipes, this would have made it into that category. But I didn’t; lets just say this is quick. And easy.

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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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Chinese Chicken Curry for People Who Are So Lazy They Can’t Even Pick Up The Phone And Order Take-Out

This is the second post in a series I am calling ‘Lazy Food’. The first post related to making cupcakes. This is the second. It will probably be the last.

A while back I tried doing a series entitled ‘Around the World in 80 Beers’. I did 8 and then got bored (not of drinking the beers, I’ve drunk thousands, just writing about it: ‘Hey, I drank some beers, got drunk, fell asleep watching Family Guy; that’s it’).

The key to creating ‘Chinese Chicken Curry for People Who Are So Lazy They Can’t Even Pick Up The Phone And Order Take-Out’ is getting your chicken to take on the texture of take away chicken. You know, all soft and wet and squashy. You don’t want firm fibrous chicken that has the chewiness of real meat.

No, you need the kind of chicken you get at 3am from the local Mr Wong after a night out, amorphous gloop that is undifferentiated from the soggy onion and floppy green peppers. You also need, and I cannot over-stress the importance of this, ‘Goldfish Chinese Curry Sauce’. You really need that.

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