Back on the Chain Gang

August 14, 2023

It has been a while since I last wrote anything. Returning from hiatus with a success story and an inspiring dinner which ticks all the boxes.

My LatestSupper was a 2 course affair. I am not usually one for desserts. My sweet tooth does exist but is overwhelmed by my savoury teeth. Having said that, this meal satisfied my remaining dental appendages admirably.

Creamy Tuna jacket potato and Strawberry Mousse provide a totally SYN free dinner. My philosophy is keep the SYNs for treats (a packet of favourite crisps, a small chocolate bar, or an alcoholic drink). This way the diet does not feel like a diet.

The Gear

What does greatly assist are a few kitchen gadgets which “Q-Branch” would be proud of, for they do not cost the earth, they have several uses, they are easy to clean, & finally, James Bond could return them in one piece.

Firstly, a fine chopper. Fine chopping, dicing or slicing, is made to look easy by celebrity chefs. By the same token a wall built by a time served bricky is level. I confess I am neither.

All is not lost as there is an abundance of easy living gadgets out there costing more than their worth. Of all the gadgets, I come back to a simple hand operated chopper which is sufficient to meet the needs of most family kitchens. £7.99

The above is one of the easiest gadgets to use and clean, and is a fraction of the price of a food processor.

Next I recommend a good grater. Graters again have been redesigned and re-purposed more times than I have enjoyed a ‘roast’. A simple hand grater or 2 (fine and coarse) and a potato peeler, does a better job than cumbersome box graters! £5.89

And finally, ‘the champion of the lockdown kitchen’, Ladies and Gentleman I present the airfryer. Yes the exception to the rule of avoiding expensive kit. The air fryer is more than a maker of healthy chips. Recently I cooked a whole chicken in a compartment whilst the roasties were in the second. Either way air fryers do take less energy than an oven and are ‘easy clean’ especially if you use a lining (pre-cut or fashion some baking paper). £89

Creamy Tuna Jacket Potato (for 2)

The first step will always be preparing your ingredients, because if the cupboard is bare, so will be the plate. The second step was to start the potatoes off. Now I have had my fair share of 10 minute microwave spuds. Although cooked, they are not baked. Jacket potatoes are baked and taste much better, in fact my tastebuds detect a sweetness. Having scored the spuds I set the air fryer to 200C for 45 minutes.

For the filling I used…

  • 110g Tuna in spring water drained
  • 1 very small red onion (the kind you buy in the “Wonky” range)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 heap dessert spoons of fat free Quark
  • Orange bell pepper slice (about a centimetre)

Method is easy! Place the onion, garlic and pepper in the chopper and yank on the starter cord. As you repeat you feel less resistance until everything is finely chopped.

Next I transferred my veggies to a mixing bowl then added the Quark whilst mixing and combining. A quick taste and then it’s some seasoning with salt and pepper. Before adding the drained tuna. A sieve works brilliantly for removing the excess water. Another mix and taste and I was ‘good to go’.

For the garnish it was a simple salad consisting of a slice of lettuce (iceberg), coarse chopped tomato, celery stick and a palmful of mange tout, finishing with a fine grating of a small carrot.

Crushing the potatoes slightly I made a landing zone for the main attraction before spooning the tuna mix over the baked potatoes. Finally dressing the plate with the side salad before marvelling at my creation. This lasted all of 5 seconds which was sufficient time to grab the camera-phone, before I devoured with extreme prejudice.

Thankfully the tuna was dolphin, Claire and Andrew friendly; filling the void in our tummies without impacting on the waistline.

Strawberry Mousse (for 4)

This is so easy and takes minutes to prepare. Unfortunately it also requires refrigeration for several hours and is best prepared the day before.

  • handful of fresh strawberries – topped and quartered vertically
  • sugar free instant jelly
  • 70g approx of Greek Style plain yogurt. (fat free Total is awesome if the budget can run to it)

Make the jelly up as per pack instructions in a jug. Place the fresh strawberries into dessert glasses or small tumblers whatever you have that is the size of an individual trifle bought from the shop.

Pour over the jelly to the 3/4 mark and then add the yogurt to the remaining jelly. If you want a two tier dessert then place the sundaes dishes in the fridge immediately whilst keeping the yogurt mix at room temperature. Personally I couldn’t be bothered so I emptied (shared) the yogurt into the dishes, before placing into the fridge for at least 4 hours (better overnight).

What you get is beautifully sweet, light dessert which is full of flavour and contains 0% ‘evils’.

In conclusion, this supper was pretty amazing (independently fact check by Claire) and was cheaper than chips to make. Furthermore, I did not spend hours cooking – actually I have taken 4 times longer writing this post!

Until the next supper… bon chance mon ami(e)