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James McIntosh

Cooking a Dinner Party With Less Fat

Posted by James McIntosh Monday, 17th November 2014

 

I'm very proud to say at the grand age of 36 I have a 32" waist. I do believe in the concept of "you are what you eat", but rather than being fanatical about food, I simply eat a healthy balanced diet. Well, it works for me. That means I can splurge and save on different ingredients and have naughty days complemented with healthier days. But, it’s not all about me, so considering a dinner party, how do we ensure less fat is on the plate?

 

We all understand the health benefits of eating less fat, we all know to cut excess visible fat off cuts of meat and to use vegetable oils rather than solid fats when cooking. However, fat does bring a bit of flavour to food, and can't be discounted completely as it’s used to absorb the fat soluble vitamins and minerals that we consume, protects the body’s organs and we do need a little bit of fat to burn off excess fat. However too much fat in the diet is bad, we all know that.  

 

Fat has flavour. Fact. It’s great to cook with and stops food sticking. We all know that olive oil is healthier but it’s not so good for roasting and frying with, it has what is called a low smoke point and that’s when the oil starts to smoke and gives a bad flavour. British Rapeseed oil has all of the health benefits of olive oil and more yet is great for frying and roasting too.  I love roast vegetables, but recently I have gone back to an older cooking method of braising the vegetables in stock. I simply pour boiling stock over the vegetables I’ve prepared in an oven proof dish, cover with foil and roast until done.

 

Cutting off visible fat is a good way to start, not adding any oil to meat when browning the pan and starting on a lower heat to gently draw out the fat while sealing is another way to reduce fat consumption. Grilling is always healthier than frying and at Rangemaster we have thought of that with our pull out grills that are easier to use and the Teppanyaki plate prevents sticking.  Non-stick cookware does require less fat for cooking and not forgetting Rangemaster Bake-O-Glide, a non stick reusable liner cut to fit your Rangemaster trays that keeps the tray clean and then easy to wash.

 

I detest gravy that has a ring of fat around the outside. Gravy, I’m sure we will all agree, is best made with the leftovers of the roasting tray. What I like to do is scoop off as much fat as possible and add 1 tbsp of plain flour and whisk this around to make a paste (do this when the tray is off the heat), then add stock or red wine and whisk until combined, it won’t go lumpy. Place back into the oven, or if using a cast iron casserole dish, heat on top, whisking until the flour thickens. Then, simply remove from the heat and add the vegetable water and whisk to the consistency you desire.

 

When you think about it and try, fat is easy to cut out, but the flavour is still possible and easy to keep with stock and herbs. A BBC documentary last year stated the average German man eats 2.5kg of pork a week. No wonder the Germans finish a meal with schnapps to help digestion of fat. However, making a pudding that contains porridge oats helps absorb cholesterol due to it’s soluble fibre.

 

Have a great dinner party and remember you can still cook healthy dinner food!

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