Sunday, 23 June 2013

Recipe of the Moment: Kashk-e Bademjan (but not as you know it)
Persian Lamb & Aubergine Stew.

The inspiration behind this particular dish comes from the quintessentially Persian appetiser, Kashk-e Bademjan.
Made predominantly from mashed aubergines, garlic and 'kashk' (a kind of soured cheese made from whey) this scrumptious dip is simply glorious when served alongside warm flatbreads, and a scattering of walnuts and pomegranate.

Discovered by Mr Cow and I during ‘date night’ at our local Persian restuarant (kudos to Debsh in Nottingham) we have both become avid devotees of this delightful
hors d'oeuvre.
The problem with Kashk-e Bademjan however, (other than the inevitable arguments caused by attempting to share it) is that it just doesn't last. And although I have enjoyed many fantastic Persian entrees, I can't help but think that the 'support act' is better than the main event.

With this in mind, I set about chartering somewhat unknown territories, and began looking at ways to promote this traditional appetiser to centre stage.
I was thinking lamb; I was thinking stew, I was thinking gargantuan amounts of flatbread, walnuts and cheese... I was thinking hearty yet healthy. (What was I thinking!!?)

Before you read on, I have to disclaim the blatantly obvious... I know very little about Persian cuisine (other than that I love stuffing my pie-hole with it) and therefore cannot be held responsible for any discredit or offence this creation may have, or may continue to cause, to any person at all affiliated with Iran.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

This week I have mostly been scoffing…. YooMoo Frozen Yoghurt.

As the name of this article would cryptically suggest, this week I have mostly been scoffing frozen yoghurt… or fro-yo as the kids call it.

Having been a household name in the U.S of A for well over a decade, it’s surprising that this apparently virtuous commodity has taken so long to hit the shores of Blightly. 
But with stores and stands popping up all over London, from shopping centres to train stations, it’s impossible to ignore the sudden influx.

Yet for those of us living outside of the big smoke, it’s fair to say that the fro-yo revolution has so far passed us by. (Heck, it’s revolutionary enough in Nottingham to find a cappuccino, let alone a frozen yoghurt bar!)

But with proprietors such as ‘YooMoo’ branching out into the world of consumerism, I am pleased to announce (to anyone giving the tiniest of tosses) an end to the frozen yoghurt drought. 
Yes… you too can now get your fro-yo fix just by popping down to your local Tesco.*

So how does it fair?

Well since you (never) asked – pretty damn scrummy actually; and despite being a firm advocate of Masters Ben and Jerry, (who have a permanent place in my heart, and my freezer) I could quite easily become a fro-yo convert.
With only 150 calories per 150ml pot (approximately) the frozen yoghurt movement hardly scratches the calorie bank, leaving my two favourite boys out in the cold... I mean warm... when it comes to sinless snacking.

Just one word of warning though… frozen yoghurt isn’t ice cream. And those expecting nirvana of 'Cookie Dough' proportions will almost certainly be disappointed. Furthermore (and as daft as it sounds) if you don’t like yoghurt… you won’t like this. (Mr Cow; are you listening? You big dumb-dumb, you.)

YooMoo is available in a number of unique flavours as well as the good old fashioned plain variety (my personal favourite) all of which tried and tested by yours truly, and given the big hoofs up….
The only exception… ‘devilmoo.’ There really is nothing worse than ‘fake’ chocolate flavoured anything.

*YooMoo is available at all major supermarkets and not just Tesco. The Scoffing Cow is nowhere near important enough to be affiliated with, or endorsed by anyone, anywhere.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Recipe of the Moment:
Chilli, Cumin and Coriander Paneer

Over 98% of British Households buy and consume cheese on a regular basis. We devour around 700,000 tonnes each year, produce 700 named cheeses, and gorge on Cheddar more than any other variety.
But how many of us are still yet to sample the glory that is Paneer?

‘Paneer’ you say, ‘what on earth is that?’

Well imaginary voice, I’m glad you asked. Do let me enlighten you.

Most commonly used in South Asian cuisine, Paneer is an unaged, non-melting curd cheese, made by curdling milk with lemon juice or any other food acid.  (Thanks Wiki). Because of the way it is made, Paneer is often referred to as ‘Indian Cottage Cheese,’ (though actually tastes nothing like) and thanks to the aforementioned non-meltiness, (a technical term) is used as a meat alternative within curries, kebabs, and salads.

(There… consider yourself enlightened.)

As a curry fan, I have to admit, I ADORE Paneer.

Not only is it tasty and versatile, it is also an excellent source of protein, providing vegetarian dishes with the nutrients and texture meat typically provides.  Nonetheless, as with all cheese, Paneer is not particularly low in fats or calories; a notion I find rather upsetting considering the quantities I wish to eat it in.

In light of this overzealous penchant, over the past few weeks, the Scoffing Cow laboratory has been deeply engrossed in this very cheese, and the low fat manufacture of which.

My goal; to make a reduced calorie version of my much revered Paneer, which does not compromise on taste, or require ‘unhealthy’ cooking methods to ensure palatability.

The result; Chilli, Cumin and Coriander Paneer, made with just 1% fat, and containing less than 100 calories per serving.

So how about it Scoffettes, why not brie adventurous and give it a go… it really is the cheese knees.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

RIP Microwave Meal; all aboard the 'Lunch Pot' bandwagon...

Packed lunches. Erh. What a chore!

Even for someone who loves eating as much as yours truly, the thought of assembling sandwiches, chopping fruit, and rifling through Tupperware after a gruelling day at the office, fills me with unquantifiable dread.

In light of this irrational loathing, I’m always looking for an out. But despite the abundance of aisles devoted to microwave meals, pre-packed sarnies, or ironically coined ‘pasta salads,’ most foods of convenience within our supermarkets, are also foods of additives, fats and incredulous calorie counts.

As a result of this realisation, an insalubrious obsession with the ‘micro-lunch’ has worked its way onto my radar, and scouring supermarket shelves for healthy, expedient yet stimulating luncheons, a standing item on my weekly agenda.

In light of this irrational hobby, I have been privy to observing a number of emerging trends in the ready-meal market; (sweet Jesus, what’s happened to me!?) and interestingly (or not) I have noted a sudden insurgence of microwave meals masquerading behind a much less stigmatic title.

Ladies and Gentleman, may I introduce to you - the ‘Lunch Pot;’ a vegetable-centric one-pot meal, purporting to provide healthy, fresh and nutritious food of convenience, in a handy little tub.

No typical meat and two veg variations here, no school dinner-esk trays dividing potato gloop from gelatinous stew in sight. Just well-presented and eye-catchingly colourful chillies, curries, and casseroles - free from soggy cardboard sleeves and ‘piercable’ film lids.

But where an earth did the Lunch Pot come from, and who’s driving this long awaited bandwagon?

Oh who cares… let’s see how the main contenders fair…. It’s scoffing time!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

No-Nonsense Nutrition and Gimmick Free Grazing at Healthy Supplies...

A few weeks ago I blogged about Graze; an online pay-as-you-go snackery, purporting to provide healthy eating by post. 

Much to the dismay of some readers (I didn’t actually think I had any!) my review was if anything, a little derogatory.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed the ‘gimmick factor,’ akin to the Graze experience; the cutesy packaging, and the rating based selection process, I was shocked to learn that my ‘nutritious’ yet petit nibble box was in fact laden with more calories than your average Burger King Combo.

Yes, yes... I know it’s not the same... the saturated fats in a Whopper meal are certainly incomparable to a punnet of fennel seeds, but still, hardly what you’d expect from a supplier of self proclaimed health foods is it?

In light of this shocking discovery, I began pondering as to whether Graze had missed a trick, and to whether there were more calorie friendly ways of obtaining similar products, through the convenience of mail order.

After a quick ‘Google’ session, (one of my favourite past-times) I hit on a website for the rather aptly named ‘Healthy Supplies,’ an online health food store ran with a passion for non-nonsense, tasty yet affordable and healthy snacks.
Being a cheeky as well as greedy bovine, I dropped them an email asking if they were willing to take part in a little comparative study.
To my surprise, within hours of my forthright proposition, the lovely Brendan Fernandes, one half of the founding couple, enthusiastically sent his reply.
Like me, Brendan appreciated the ‘gimmick factor’ behind Graze, but was sceptical about their credibility as providers of genuinely healthy food.
As a result, (and of course uninfluenced by my shamefully angling email) he offered to send me a few of his favourite nibbles which he felt not only rivalled Graze on the taste test, but also outshone them in terms of nutrition, quantity and price.

Needless to say, I all but bit his hand off, and relished the opportunity to pit Graze and its trendy yet compelling marketing, against a more down to earth, and grassroots competitor.

So, in the words of John Anderson, ‘Contenders... Ready!?’