Pomegranate Flan

Pomegranates are in full season now and found on sale in most shops and supermarkets. Until recently, this fruit was discarded as unwanted crops from trees and given away to neighbours and friends in abundance.

It is only recently that we have begun to realise the importance of this fruit and the antioxidant that they carry. A number of recent studies suggest that pomegranates may be beneficial in preventing a variety of potentially deadly diseases, including heart disease and cancer.
The word, pomegranate, is derived from French, pomme garnete, literally means seeded apple. Both tart and sweet, the pomegranate seeds and their pulp are the edible portion of the delicious fruit.

Eating this delicious fruit need not be a laborious process of trying to peel off the seeds without piercing them, a chore which would usually take up a good part of your morning! Try cutting the fruit in half, just like you would do with an orange, and squeeze the juice out with a standard orange squeezer. The seeds will remain in the top part of the squeezer, just like the pulp from an orange would, and you are left with the pomegranate juice to drink and enjoy.

Pomegranates can be enjoyed as part of a sweet or even sprinkled over a salad. Try keeping some for Halloween night and use them as small eye balls or pile them up to look like spooky body parts.

400g sweet pastry
2 large pomegranates
200ml sparking wine
3 egg yolks
30g corn flour
80g sugar
Candied orange peel

Split your pomegranates open and take some of the seeds out with your hands and set those aside for decoration. Squeeze the remaining fruit and place the strained juice it in a thick bottomed pan. Add the wine and the corn flour. In a small bowl beat the egg yolks and the sugar to a smooth cream and add the cream to the pomegranate juice.

Allow your mixture to cook over low heat until the cream thickens. Switch the heat off and add the orange peel which needs to be chopped finely

Once your pomegranate cream is ready, line a small flan dish with the pastry and pour the sauce in. bake the flan in a pre-heated oven at about 160C for 30 minutes. Make sure that your pastry is not too brown but just has a nice golden colour.

Once your flan has cooled, sprinkle some icing sugar and top with the pomegranate seeds which you have set aside.

Low fat loaded potato

When watching my food intake, I sometimes feel fed up of tuna salads for lunch! With summer over, we now start gearing up for Christmas and even though we won’t be in our bikinis, most of us will still want to look our best on this occasion.

This week I shall be giving you the recipe for a delicious and healthy loaded potato. One of those you see in shops full of cream and dripping from the sides…but without all that saturated fat!

So here is what you need to make 2 potatoes

2 medium sized potatoes, washed
1 pot of plain yoghurt
4 rashers of bacon

Start off by draining the plain yoghurt. Place a piece on muslin over a bowl, hold it down with some pegs and pour the yoghurt in. Allow it to drip for at least 1 hour. Alternatively, you can buy some greek yoghurt.

Now, once you are ready to serve your plate, place potato in the microwave and cook it for about 7 minutes or until your potato is done. You can check this by inserting a knife, if it is soft on the inside, then your potato is done.

Now, if you have a grill option on your microwave, change the setting to grill and cook it for another 3 to 4 minutes.

Make diagonal cuts against each other on the top of the potato to form a V and remove part of the top. Once removed this will look like a triangle, set it aside and keep.

Now grill your bacon and cut it into small cubes and mix it with the yoghurt. Place the mixture on top of the potato and cover it with the triangle you have removed and serve.

Moroccan Style Couscous

Couscous is North Africa’s answer to pasta. A staple food in these countries that requires very little preparation and not a lot of utensils to have it cooked. In view of this, couscous had become the ideal food for the nomadic people but was also prepared by other tribes.

With in increase in different grains being introduced in our diets, couscous found it’s way in our European dishes along side others like quinoa, barley and various kinds of rice. But unlike many of these, couscous is very easy to prepare and is now available in most supermarkets and on various restaurant menus.

Couscous can be used as a substitute to potatoes, as a side-dish or as a plate on it’s own.

Couscous is very versatile as it can be eaten plain or mixed with various spices, meats and sauces.

In morocco, where couscous is a daily staple, this is never served cold but it is served with stews and other hot dishes. Also, there are number of households that still prepare their couscous from scratch this takes hours of preparation. We are used to the instant couscous that is ready in 5 minutes or less and this is one of the main reasons why couscous has become so popular in meals today.

Here is what you need to make this morrocan style couscous which can be eaten as a meal or served as part of a buffet.
250g Couscous
2 teaspoons Coriander paste
200ml Chicken stock – warmed
1 tin Chickpeas
2 small marrows – diced
Walnut oil
Walnut Pieces

Start off by placing the couscous in a large bowl. Now add the hot stock and cover the bowl with a plate. Let the couscous rest until the stock has been absorbed.

Now using a fork and NOT a spoon, stir the couscous until it fluffs up. Next add the coriander and again mix it in using a fork. Now stir in the marrows which are raw and the chickpeas.
Should you be serving the couscous in a different bowl, change your bowl at this stage. Now drizzle a generous helping of walnut oil and top with walnut pieces. Walnut oil can be found in Marks & Spencer food section.

This dish can be served warm or cold as part of a summer buffet.