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Astar's Recipe - Chicken or Beef Risotto, Fig and Hazelnut Chocolate Cake, Spinach and Mushroom Salad - 26 Mar

High Fibre Chicken or Beef Risotto - serves 4

Approx 400 calories
5g fat
5 fibre

I'm using chicken and instead of Arborio rice - brown long -grain rice - it's much higher in fibre and so much tastier.

The Engineer absolutely loves my normal chicken risotto and usually goes back for seconds, however since changing the rice variety; one serving fills and satisfies.

Shopping list

1 tsp olive oil
1 large red onion finely chopped
3 cloves garlic - finely chopped
1 red pepper finely sliced
2 freshly chopped firmish tomatoes
225 brown long-grain rice
150 ml inexpensive dry sparkling wine
850ml or perhaps more of chicken stock or use beef stock for beef
100 gm currents
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
225 g fresh chicken breast - roasted in the oven while the risotto is cooking
Couple tbsp each of freshly chopped parsley and basil
Freshly grated parmesan cheese for garnish


Into a pot add the stock and bring to the boil.  Simmer to keep hot.
Into a large pot, heat oil, then add onions and garlic and fry off for a minute or so.
Add pepper and rice stir fry for another minute.
Pour in the wine and increase heat and boil until liquid has reduced.
Add currants and chopped tomatoes.
Add half the hot stock and stir well.
Put a lid on pot and leave to gently simmer for about 20 minutes.  Checking frequently.
Add remaining stock and repeat process until all liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender.
Remove chicken from the oven and cut into bit sized pieces.  Add to rice along with the parsley and half the basil.
Serve in deep dishes garnish with fresh basil and a little freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Healthy Wholemeal Fig and Hazelnut Chocolate Cake

Devised from a recipe from Nigel Slater's cook book - 'Appetite'

Shopping list

250 g butter
125 g soft brown sugar
100 g raw sugar
4 large eggs
4 tbsp strong espresso coffee
250 g wholemeal plain flour
2 heaped tsp baking power
200g hazelnuts coarsely ground - can leave � nuts whole, � ground which gives a much denser cake.
250 g dark good quality chocolate coarsely chopped
100 g figs tails removed and chopped

Note: Put aside 1/4 portion of nuts and chopped chocolate which will be used to top cake before cooking

+ Fresh raspberries
+ Natural fat reduced plain yoghurt


23cm spring form cake tin
Line with baking paper
Set oven to 180c cooking time - 1 hour 20 or thereabouts
Beat butter and sugars until pale.
Add eggs one at a time beating lightly between each addition.
Stir in coffee.
Fold in flour and baking powder along 3/4 portions of hazelnuts, chopped chocolate and all figs.
Spoon mix into prepared lined baking tin, flattening out top.
Sprinkle top with remaining portion of nuts and chocolate.
Bake around 1 hour 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Let rest about 1/2 hour before cutting, best served warm.
Yummy served with raspberries and natural fat reduced yoghurt.

Spinach and Mushroom Salad - serves 6

Shopping list

225 gm fresh baby spinach leaves - washed and well dried
2 very thick mixed grain slices of bread - Vogel's toast bread
Little olive oil for frying

2 oranges peeled skin and pith removed and cut into segments
2 tsp whole grain mustard
2 cloves garlic crushed
6 tbsp light olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
Little salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper
2 avocados - skinned and chopped into bit sized pieces
225 gm button mushrooms, finely sliced
Toasted slivered almonds


To make dressing:

Into a small screw top jar place mustard, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, zest and seasoning and give it a good shake.

To make croutons:

Cut crust from bread before slicing into � cm cubes.  Pour just enough oil into a frying pan to cover base, add bread cubes and fry over moderate heat until evenly brown.  Drain and place on handitowel to remove as much excess oil as possible.

To assemble salad:

Into a large serving bowl, add spinach leaves, avocados, oranges and mushrooms.  Pour over reshaken dressing and gently toss to combine.

Sprinkle top with croutons toast slivered almonds.  Serve immediately.