Last week I was in the White Rose Centre in Leeds with my two children. I find shopping with the children extremely stressful, especially as my son hates shopping for anything that doesn’t involve an X-Box or sweets! But needs must, my daughter needed new clothes, I promised my son some new headphones to say thankyou for creating the new Yorkshire Bakery logo and I wanted to buy yet another cookery book!
This book is the latest one from the lovable Hairy Bikers, Dave Myers and Si King: The Hairy Dieters! I have always loved watching the Hairy Bikers on TV and recently enjoyed their Bakeation series earlier on this year. The “diet” book had come about due to their love of food and a weight gain that had crept on over the years. In my case the weight has yo-yoed since I was a teenager and although I am not obese, I am 2 stone heavier than I should be. Since starting up The Yorkshire Bakery and previously Sam’s Smart Cookies I have put back on a stone of two stone I had successfully lost about 5 years ago! I thought if The Hairy Bikers could do it, with their love of good food (like me) then I could do it too.
I had seen the book mentioned in the latest issue of Good Food magazine, along with a couple of delicious sounding recipes. The book had also had some good 5 star reviews on Amazon so I was desperate to get it. The blurb on the back mentions that the recipes are tasty but low in calories and big on flavour. This is exactly what I wanted to hear. I wanted recipes that the whole family would enjoy with man sized portions to keep my husband happy, healthy versions of traditional and popular favourites. Food that was real and for real people. I wanted to feel satisfied after eating the dinner and not to think, where’s the cake?
Well, as soon as I saw the book on the shelf I knew I had to have it. I immediately grabbed it and was delighted it was on a special half price offer for £7.49, this was fantastic. I now have to work hard at the rest.
When I got home I made myself a cup of tea and sat down and looked through all the introduction to the book. I realised that it’s a good commonsense approach to dieting. You need to make sure you stick to the serving sizes and portion sizes accurately and you are advised to cut out alcohol! Oh dear, that will be a tricky one for me!
Last night, it was finally time to try out one of the recipes in the book. I had minced beef in the fridge and kidney beans in the cupboard so it had to be Chilli con Carne! I was looking forward to it as I hadn’t eaten chilli for a few months and it’s a huge family favourite (not with my daughter though as she’s vegetarian)
At first glance down the ingredients the only thing that was different to how I make my regular chilli is that I use a tbsp olive oil to fry the onions in or if I’m being good I use Frylight spray. The latter annoys my husband as he doesn’t like the taste of it. The only addition was to use 150ml red wine but if you prefer you can use extra stock. The rest of the ingredients were the same, although I also add chopped red pepper to mine!
The way to brown the mince was a revelation to me! I added it to the pan at the same time as the mince and it did not stick once! It browned beautifully and I was able to add the spices to the pan without them sticking. The chopped tomatoes, then the wine and a little extra beef stock was added carefully and then it simmered beautifully for about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile I boiled some rice. I used to be good at weighing out the rice but recently as I always seem to be hurrying I’ve been tipping it in to the pan trying to guess. I remembered I had some Rosemary Conley portion pots and that one blue portion pot is equal to about 50g of rice per person.
I also steamed chopped carrots and green beans to add a veg portion to the meal. The recipe serves 5. I shared this out equally, putting a double portion into a foil takeaway container to put in the freezer for another day. My daughter had her vegetarian meal but my son, husband and I enjoyed the chilli. We all agreed it was the nicest chilli we had ever tasted, no fatty aftertaste on the mouth and a substantial portion. We will definitely enjoy this again and again and again!
Here’s the leftover portion, that’s dinner sorted out for another day!