Hairy Dieters: Take 1

I’ve been meaning to put this post up for a while but haven’t got round to it.

Anyway, I purchased the Hairy Dieters book after watching the TV series since half of the recipes looked really tasty & surprisingly easy to make. There’s so many recipes within the book that I liked the look of: from Spanish Chicken Bake to Lasagne (with Leek sheets instead of pasta!) to Steak and Ale Casserole.

At first look, the book looks like it’s got everything sussed as they have a narrative about each chapter along with the calories for each dish. That in itself may be a handy piece of info but in reality, the calories do not match up. When creating the below dishes, I entered the calories of what I used into My Fitness Pal & they most definitely do not add up. So BEWARE if you do buy this book, the calories are not what they seem.

So far from the book I’ve made 2 recipes:

Cajun Chicken with Spicy Wedges


I am a self confessed cajun chicken freak! If I eat out anywhere & cajun chicken is on the menu, I will automatically order it. However, I’ve yet to find the perfect homemade cajun spice mix to rival what I’ve eaten in restaurants/bars.

Ingredients (for 4):
4 chicken breasts
1/2 tsp sunflower oil

Spice Mix:
5 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (if you like it spicier, I would add 1-2tsp)
1 tsp flaked sea salt

Wedges:
3 medium potatoes (around 475g)
1 tsp sunflower oil
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp flaked sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Chive dip (I didn’t make this but it’s in the book):
100g low fat natural yoghurt
2 tbsp finely chopped chives

Method:
Preheat the over to 220C/Fan 200C/Gas mark 7. Combine all of the spice mix into a jar with a tight seal & shake it up. If you make this for less than 4 people or prefer to have less seasoning, you can store the spice mix in the jar.
Peel & cut the potatoes into 8-10 wedges, put them in a bowl with the oil & seasoning & toss them to coat them. Cook in the oven for 20-25 mins until tender & lightly browned.
Flatten each chicken breast between 2 sheets of clingfilm to around 1.5cm thick. Grease a griddle or frying pan with the sunflower oil & place over a med-high heat. 
Coat each chicken breast with as much seasoning as you wish (they recommend 1 tsp per breast). Griddle/fry each breast for 2 mins, turn to cook for another 2 mins & then finish with another min on each side.
For the chive dip, mix the yoghurt & chives together & serve in rammekins.

Verdict
I enjoyed this dish but for me the cajun spice mix was not spicy enough. I followed the recipe for it & coated both sides of the breast with the spice mix. Next time, I will add more cayenne pepper to the spice mix. 

Chicken Jalfrezi


Curries are always difficult to get right at home & often involve using tins of tomatoes which really make the flavour quite bland. This curry was a pleasant surprise & one I think curry fans will enjoy.

Ingredients (serves 4):
6 long green chillies (finely chop 4, deseeded if desired)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into bitesize chunks)
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp flaked sea salt
200 ml cold water
2 tbsp low fat natural yoghurt
1 med onion, cut into 12 wedges
1 grene pepper, cut into chunks
2 tomatoes, quartered
2 tsp cornflour
1 tbsp water

Method:
Heat a tbsp oil in a large, fairly deep frying pan or pot over a high heat. Add garlic, chopped chillies, tomatoes, spices, sugar & salt & stir fry for 3-4 mins until veg is softened. Make sure the garlic or spices don’t burn.& reduce heat slightly so that sauce simmers. Cook for 8 mins, stirring occassionally until the sauce has reduced by about a third. 
While chicken is cooking, heat the remaining oil in a pan & stir fry the onion & pepper over a high heat until lightly browner. Add the quartered tomatoes & fry for another 2-3 mins, stirring until veg are tender. Mix the cornflour with a tbsp of water to form a smooth paste.
When chicken is ready, stir in cornflour mixture & simmer for a few secs until sauce thickens, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add stir-fried veg & mix together. 

Verdict:
This is a really tasty curry but make sure you lessen the ingredients if you are cooking for say 2 or 3 people. I made this with 2 chicken breasts & used the same amount of chillies (I like spice) & water which made the curry a bit watery & REALLY spicey. But overall, a pleasant curry that I will definitely be making again.