Saturday, 22 June 2013

Portobello mushroom pizzas.

This is a little recipe of mine that I have been experimenting with over the past 2 weeks, chopping and changing and trying to improve the taste each time I make it. As I may have mentioned before, I LOVE pizza. It's my takeaway of choice. A big, fat cheese pizza with a BBQ sauce base is normally my choice, but I also love a good cheesy tuna topped pizza. Every now and again it is good to treat yourself to little naughty foods, such as pizza. But it's very easy to let it get out of control. Moderation is key. But you can remake a much healthier version of your favourite pizza at home. Replace the doughy base for portobello mushrooms! Simple as that. It may sound a bit small compared to the size of a regular takeaway pizza, and it is, but it really does make up for it in taste, and can be surprisingly filling too. I chose to remake my much loved cheesy tuna topping for my portobello mushroom pizzas, and here's what I did:

This recipe serves 4 people, approx. 75 kcal per mushroom pizza.

- 4 large portobello mushrooms
- 2 salad tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 (approx. 40g) red pepper, finely diced
- 1/4 (approx. 25g) red onion, finely diced
- 1/2 a 140g tin of tuna chunks in brine, drained and flaked up
- 30g "lighter"/low-fat cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/2 tbsp virgin olive oil, for drizzling (optional)

After placing the toppings on the mushrooms, you may find you won't need to use all of the toppings. Don't worry! I didn't use them all up either. Read at the bottom of this recipe a way that you could use up the leftovers.

If the toppings on this pizza don't take your fancy, you could try these:
You can recreate almost any of your favourite pizza toppings to go on your portobello mushrooms bases. You could top one with diced tomatoes, grated cheddar and mozzarella cheese and, once cooked, add some basil leaves and a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top for a margherita pizza. You could add a little sliced up pepperoni and sausage and a little squeeze of BBQ sauce on top of some diced tomato and grated cheese for a meaty pizza. And of course sliced up ham, pineapple and sweetcorn on top of diced tomato and grated cheese for a Hawaiian pizza. Get creative & see what other tasty pizza toppings you can come up with!


1. Preheat the grill to 180°c. Prep a suitable tray with foil (as the mushrooms will produce a watery liquid as they cook).

2. Carefully pull out the stalk of the mushroom. This next bit is optional: (I chose to do it as I feel the outside covers over a lot of the centre part, which you need to fill). Peel all of the portobello mushrooms' "skin" off (see photo). Now wash them with some water.

3. Place the mushrooms, cap side facing upwards (see photo), onto the tray and cook under the grill for about 5-7 minutes. Once done, take them out and carefully turn them over, ready to be filled.

4. Now fill them evenly with the tomatoes, as the base layer. Now sprinkle a tiny bit of the cheese and then top with the red pepper and red onion (before putting these on, I mixed them both together - you don't have to do this, but I found it easier). Spread the tuna on top & then finally sprinkle all of the remaining cheese over them. Pat/push down the toppings gently after each layer so that nothing is just balancing on top.

5. Place them under the grill for approx. 10-20 minutes (depending on how well your grill grills, mine's rubbish!), until the cheese is melted/golden and it's piping hot throughout. If using, drizzle a little bit of extra virgin olive oil over the top. Serve immediately with a side salad or some homemade potato chips/wedges.

If you have leftover toppings, as I did, you can use those towards making another delicious meal. I had tuna, tomato and a little bit of onion and pepper left over. So I put it all in a bowl, added a dollop of low-fat mayonnaise and stirred it all together, and now you have a tasty sandwich/wrap filling. I filled mine into a wholemeal wrap, grated over 10g of low-fat cheese, folded it up and stuck it in my health grill for 2 minutes. It was absolutely delicious and the flavours taste great together. The filling also tastes good cold and still tastes nice without the cheese. You could also use it as a jacket potato filling. If you have no tuna leftover, you could use the diced veggies to create a chunky salsa. You could add in a freshly chopped chilli for some heat and maybe some avocado for some taste and texture. Stir it all up together with a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Homemade Quorn enchiladas.

These enchiladas were originally created by just experimenting with random ingredients I had in my cupboards. This isn't my first attempt at creating enchiladas from scratch. I've tried once previously, but I only made it a single serving. As I loved my first creation so much, I made it again but altered the recipe slightly to enhance the flavours. Originally I didn't include pepper, chilli, paprika or cayenne pepper into it. Considering I never looked up any recipe and have never made or even seen a homemade enchilada before, it turned out amazingly.

My best friend, Emily, came over for the afternoon so I thought it would be a great excuse to attempt to create the same dish all over again, but "family-sized" (and of course, her stirring-skills were a great help to me as I prepped the ingredients as I went along - not recommended, as if you don't have the extra help, this can be rather time consuming!). The dish went down a hit with everyone, and they've all requested that I make this dish for them on a regular basis, which feels great to hear!

If you prefer your real meat to your meat substitute, just replace the Quorn/vegetarian mince with real mince. I assume you'd cook it the same way, but don't quote me on that as I have next to no experience cooking with meat (apart from my recent recipe for "Homemade lean beef burgers", of course).

Serves 4 people (approx. 460 kcal per serving) if you're giving two enchiladas per person, or serves 8 people (approx. 230 kcal per person) if you're giving one enchilada per person.

- Low-kcal cooking spray
- 300g frozen Quorn/vegetarian mince
- 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 x carton of tomato passata
- 3 x garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 x brown onion, diced
- 1.5 x red peppers, diced
- 1 x red chilli, finely chopped
- 1 x dash of paprika
- 1 x dash of cayenne pepper
- 1 x tbsp tomato ketchup
- Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 x dash of Worcestershire sauce
- 8 x medium soft wholemeal tortilla wraps
- 80g lighter/low-fat cheddar cheese, grated

1. Preheat the oven to about 200°c. Prep a large rectangular oven-proof dish by spraying it well with low-kcal cooking spray.

2. In a medium sauce pan on a medium-high heat, pour in the frozen Quorn mince and brown it off. Now pour in half of the chopped tomatoes and half of the tomato passata and add in 3/4 of the onion, all 3 garlic cloves and 1 pepper. Stir well and cook for approx. 10 minutes.

3. Stir in the paprika, cayenne pepper, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and seasoning and cook for a further 2 minutes.

4. Now separate the mince mixture between the 8 tortilla wraps as evenly as possible. Place them side by side, with the overlapped sides of the tortilla wraps facing downwards to keep them closed.

5. In a medium bowl or saucepan, pour in the remaining chopped tomatoes, tomato passata, onion, red pepper and a dash of Worcestershire sauce and stir together well.

6. Pour this tomato mixture evenly along the middle of the tortilla wraps, trying to keep both ends of the tortilla wraps exposed. Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly all over the top of the sauce.

7. Place the dish into the middle of the preheated oven and leave to cook for 30 minutes, until it's piping hot throughout, the exposed ends of the tortilla wraps have crisped up and the cheese has melted and has turned a lovely golden colour. Try not to burn it!

8. Serve immediately. You can serve either two enchiladas per person, or just one per person, plus something nice extra on the side, such as Mexican style rice, nachos with dip(s)/cheese or some vegetables.

P.S. Just so you know, I won't be posting at all for the next week or so, as I'm jetting off to sunny Magaluf! I managed to lose 5 lbs in about 2/3 weeks, but knowing the nature of this type of holiday (booze and fatty foods) I'll probably put it all back on and more, and will have to start back at square 1 when I return). I will be sure to post about my holiday when I get back, and I already have a new recipe in mind to create and post about when I get back too, so keep your eyes peeled! Have a lovely week everybody. :)