Hairy Bikers’ four healthy twists on comfort foods to see you through next week

After meeting on the set of a TV drama in 1995, the Hairy Bikers have become two of the most familiar TV chefs on our screens. In fact, the Geordie duo even counted the late Prince Philip as a fan.

The beloved chefs, made up of Simon ‘Si’ King and Dave Myers, have combined their love for cooking with their passion for motorbikes and have starred in several shows and released a number of cookbooks.

Their latest book The Hairy Dieters’ Simple Healthy Food: A Guide to Losing Weight and Staying Healthy proves that healthy food needn’t compromise on taste. Here they share a selection of their favorite recipes…



‘The Hairy Dieters’ Simple Healthy Food: A Guide to Losing Weight and Staying Healthy’ is out now

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Aubergine parmigiana

SERVES 4


Aubergine parmigiana is the perfect comfort food
Aubergine parmigiana is the perfect comfort food

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 aubergines, sliced ​​into ½-1cm rounds
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • A few fresh rosemary and oregano sprigs

For the sauce

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • A generous pinch of cinnamon
  • 400g can of tomatoes
  • 100ml red wine

To assemble

  • A small bunch of basil leaves
  • 2 balls of mozzarella, well drained and torn

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6. Mix the olive oil with a tablespoon of water. Place the aubergine slices on 2 or 3 baking trays lined with baking parchment.
  2. Brush the slices sparingly with the olive oil and water mix, then season with salt and pepper. Roughly break up the sprigs of herbs and sprinkle them over the aubergines.
  3. Bake the aubergine for 25-30 minutes until squidgy in the middle and nicely browned. Discard the herbs.
  4. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the onion. Add a splash of water and sauté the onion gently until translucent.
  5. Add the garlic and sauté for another 2 or 3 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle in the oregano and cinnamon, then pour on the tomatoes and red wine. Rinse out the can with 100ml of water and add this, too.
  7. Season and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to simmer until the sauce is well reduced.
  8. Spread a spoonful of the sauce over the base of an ovenproof dish. Add a layer of aubergines and a couple of torn basil leaves. Continue to layer until you have used up all the aubergines and sauce. Press down well between each layer.
  9. Add more basil and dot with the torn-up mozzarella. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until well browned and bubbling.

Carrot cake

MAKES ABOUT 8 SLICES


The Hairy Bikers' carrot cake is full of flavor
The Hairy Bikers’ carrot cake is full of flavor

Ingredients

  • 200g wholemeal flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground cardamom
  • A pinch of salt
  • 100g light soft brown sugar
  • 50ml maple syrup
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 3 eggs
  • 75ml sunflower or rapeseed oil
  • 50ml yoghurt
  • 50g walnuts or pecans, chopped
  • 200g carrots, grated
  • 150g raisins

For the icing (optional)

  • 50g quark
  • 50g cream cheese
  • 25g thick yoghurt
  • 25g icing sugar
  • A few drops of vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4. Grease a 20cm deep round cake tin and line with baking parchment.
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder, bicarb and cardamom with a generous pinch of salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar, maple syrup, orange zest, eggs and oil until well combined.
  4. Fold in the flour mixture followed by the yoghurt to make a smooth batter, then stir in the walnuts or pecans, grated carrots and raisins.
  5. Scrape the mixture into the tin and bake for about 45 minutes until well risen, springy and slightly shrunken away from the sides. Remove from the oven and leave the cake in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack.
  6. To make the icing, if using, beat together all the ingredients until thick and smooth. When the cake is completely cool, spread the icing over the top using a palette knife. If not serving immediately, store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Chicken shawarma

SERVES 4


Chicken shawarma is a delicious summer meal
Chicken shawarma is a delicious summer meal

Ingredients

  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1⁄4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1⁄4 tsp cayenne
  • 1⁄2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper

For the yoghurt dressing

  • 200ml plain yoghurt or thick kefir
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • A pinch of sugar
  • 1⁄2 tsp sumac

To serve

  • 4 flatbreads or large lettuce leaves
  • 1⁄2 cucumber sliced
  • A few pickled chillies (optional)


Billie Faiers, Greg Shepherd and children Nelly and Arthur are an adorable family unit in the photoshoot

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Method

  1. First cut the chicken breasts in half, as if you were butterflying them.
  2. To do this, put the chicken breast on the work surface and slice through it from one long side to the other. Cut all the way through so you have 2 pieces with the same surface area but half the thickness.
  3. Put each piece between 2 pieces of clingfilm and pound with a mallet until ½ cm thick. Repeat with the other breast.
  4. Put the lemon zest and juice, garlic, spices, oregano and olive oil into a bowl with plenty of salt and pepper.
  5. Mix thoroughly, then add the chicken and rub the mixture into it. Leave to marinate for a few hours or, if possible, overnight.
  6. To cook the chicken, heat a dry frying pan or a griddle. When it’s hot, add the chicken breasts and cook on one side until they are well browned and lifted off easily with no sticking. Cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes. Check the chicken is cooked through, then remove from the pan.
  7. For the dressing, mix the yoghurt, mint and sugar together with a pinch of salt, then sprinkle with the sumac. Serve the chicken on flatbreads or lettuce leaves with the cucumber, dressing and pickled chillies.

Fish bite tacos

SERVES 4


Fish bite tacos pack a punch
Fish bite tacos pack a punch

Ingredients

  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 1⁄2 a red onion, finely diced
  • 4 tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1-2 jalapenos, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp coriander stems and leaves, finely chopped

For the fish

  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1⁄4-1⁄2 tsp chilli powder (chipotle is good)
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 500g firm, white fish fillet, cut into 2-3cm chunks

To serve

  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Coriander sprigs
  • Pickled jalapenos (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
  2. Make the salsa. Put the lime zest and juice in a bowl with the salt. Add the red onion and leave it to marinate for about half an hour – this will help soften the flavor and intensify the colour. Add the remaining ingredients, taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Leave to stand at room temperature.
  3. For the fish, mix all the spices together with plenty of salt and pepper. Toss the fish in the mix, then arrange on the baking tray, spacing them out well.
  4. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the fish from the oven and heat the corn tortillas. Serve the fish with the tortillas, salsa, coriander and pickled jalapenos.

The Hairy Dieters’ Simple Healthy Food: A Guide to Losing Weight and Staying Healthy by Si King and Dave Myers (Seven Dials, £16.99) is available now.

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