Thursday 19 October 2017

Movie night: Healthier alternatives to your cinema favourites

It's the weekend so put the feet up and enjoy a movie night with these healthy, sugar-free treats

Dips
Ice creams

The perfect combination of sweet, salty and spicy. Popcorn and a fizzy drink, made the healthy way, with home-popped corn without any added fat, and no nasties from the sugary sodas.

Serves 1

You will need

For the masala popcorn

1 tablespoon corn kernels

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Dips
Ice creams

1 tablespoon chaat masala (to make your own, mix a pinch each of garam masala, ground cumin, ground fennel seeds, ground ginger, ground black pepper and paprika)

For the fizzy lemonade

Ice, to serve

500 ml/ 2 cups naturally sparkling water

Freshly squeezed juice of ½ lemon

1 teaspoon xylitol or stevia

Method

For the masala popcorn, put the corn kernels in a non-stick saucepan over medium heat and place the lid on top. As soon as you hear the corn start to pop, turn the heat down to low. Remove when all corn has popped - about 45-60 seconds. Toss the freshly popped corn with the salt and chaat masala and place in a big bowl. You have permission to eat the entire serving!

For the fizzy lemonade, put some ice in a large glass and pour in the sparkling water and lemon juice. Add the sweetener and stir well.

Variations:

Basil and oregano: Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to the corn kernels in the pan. Pop as above, then remove from the heat and toss in 1 tablespoon each of dried basil and dried oregano.

Cheesy truffle: Add 1 teaspoon truffle-infused olive oil to the corn kernels in the pan. Pop as above, then remove from the heat and toss in 3 teaspoons nutritional yeast, which will give the popcorn a slightly cheesy flavour.

Sweet treat: Add 1 teaspoon coconut oil mixed with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to the corn kernels in the pan. Pop as above, then remove from the heat and toss in a generous pinch of ground cinnamon.

 

Healthy choice dips

To serve 8

Sweet Potato Hummus

You will need

1 large sweet potato, baked

400g can chickpeas

2 garlic cloves, peeled

100 ml tahini

½ teaspoon each cumin and coriander seeds, gently toasted in a dry pan

grated zest and juice of ½ lemon

sea salt

extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley

Method

Scoop the flesh out of the potato. Put the flesh, chickpeas (reserving a few to garnish), garlic and tahini in a food processor and blitz together until well combined. Using a pestle and mortar, pound the cumin and coriander seeds until finely ground. Add to the processor (reserving a pinch to garnish) with the lemon zest and juice, 1 teaspoon salt and about 3 tablespoons olive oil. Blitz again until really smooth. If it is still quite stiff, add more olive oil and blitz until you have a soft, smooth purée. Season to taste.

Serve in a bowl with the reserved chickpeas, spices and parsley sprinkled over the top and some olive oil drizzled over.

Baba Ghanoush

You will need

2 aubergines

2 garlic cloves, peeled

4 tablespoons tahini

3 tablespoons lemon juice

½ teaspoon sea salt

a generous pinch of sweet smoked paprika

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds

Method

Light 2 of the rings of your gas hob on the lowest setting. Pierce the flesh of the aubergines once or twice and place directly onto the flame. Char the skin all over, turning now and again. Let cool completely.Carefully peel away all the skin. Keep any juice that comes out, as it contains a lot of flavour. Put aubergine flesh, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, salt, paprika and olive oil in a food processor. Blitz until smooth. Serve in a bowl with a little more olive oil drizzled over and slightly stirred through, and the pomegranate seeds sprinkled over the top.

Borlotti Bean Purée

You will need

250 g dried borlotti beans

400 ml extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

5 garlic cloves, peeled

a few sprigs fresh rosemary

a handful of baby plum tomatoes

sea salt

Method

Put the beans in a bowl and cover with 3 times their volume of water. Allow to soak overnight. The next day, refresh the beans in clean water and place in a large ovenproof pot. Bring almost to the boil, then cover and reduce to a gentle simmer for about 1 hour or until they are almost tender but not completely soft.

Preheat the oven to 200C /400F /Gas 6. Drain most of the water, leaving about 100 ml at the bottom, add the remaining ingredients and 1 teaspoon salt. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Pull the leaves of the rosemary off the stalk, discard the stalk and put the leaves back in the pot. Bash everything with a potato masher until roughly mashed up with the oil.

Coconut frozen yoghurt and Mojito sorbet

Frozen yoghurt is going through a renaissance at the moment and it's not hard to see why. Fresh and light, with only a fraction of the fat of ice-cream, it is the natural choice for the health conscious.

Serves 6-8

You will need

700 ml/1 lb 8 oz plain soy yoghurt

340 ml/1 ½ cups coconut milk

100 ml/º cup plus 1 tablespoon agave syrup

2 teaspoons lemon juice

desiccated coconut, to serve

strawberries, to serve

ice-cream machine (optional)

Method

Put the yogurt, milk, agave syrup and lemon juice in a bowl and mix until smooth. If you have an ice-cream machine, use this to churn the mixture according to the manufacturer's instructions.

If you don't have an ice-cream machine, pour the mixture into a freezerproof container (wide, flat, metal trays work well, as the mixture freezes more quickly) and freeze. After 30 minutes, or when the edges are beginning to freeze, remove the container from the freezer and whisk thoroughly to break down the ice crystals.

Return to the freezer and repeat this process intermittently until completely frozen, but do not let it go rock hard, as you want to be able to scoop it out easily. If you want it super smooth, you can blitz it in a food processor when it is just frozen.

Scoop into a bowl and serve with coconut and strawberries over the top.

With this mojito recipe, you also have the added value of being able to use any leftover sorbet to make a mojito smoothie!

Serves 6-8

You will need

170 g/scant 1 cup xylitol

5 sprigs of fresh mint, plus 2 tablespoons freshly chopped leaves

grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 2 limes

ice-cream machine (optional)

Method

Put 500 ml/ 2 cups water, the xylitol and mint sprigs in a saucepan and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat to a minimum and simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and strain the liquid, squeezing as much liquid as possible out of the sprigs. Add the lime zest immediately. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then add the lime juice and mint leaves. Refrigerate to cool.

If you have an ice-cream machine, use this to churn the mixture according to the manufacturer's instructions.

If you don't have an ice-cream machine, pour the mixture into a freezerproof container (wide, flat, metal trays work well, as the mixture freezes more quickly) and freeze. After 20 minutes, or when the edges are beginning to freeze, remove the container from the freezer and whisk thoroughly to break down the ice crystals. This will ensure a smooth sorbet. Return to the freezer and repeat this process intermittently until the sorbet is frozen.

Irish Independent

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