Saturday, 2 March 2013

Healthy "onion rings"

The other day I stumbled upon a blog called The Peaceful Mom, and more specifically a series of blog posts on how a family of five lives on less than $28,000 a year. I found that an absolutely fascinating read. I constantly struggle with my finances, but in the back of my mind, I know a lot of it is because I'm just not organised enough. And I indulge in crazy impulse buys, like last month when I decided I wanted to start doing paper crafts, and instead of buying things little by little, I spent all the money I was going to save that month on inks, stamps and cardstock. Especially with my work contract coming to an end very soon, and not too many jobs around to apply for, I should be saving all the money I can to prepare for possibly being unemployed for a while. 

The blog I found made really interesting reading. I think the lady who writes the blog is really brave to be so honest about her family's financial situation, something which is pretty much tabu to talk about. Also, she is very careful about not being judgemental, she just says these are the choices that work for her family, and everyone should try to figure out what is important for them and to work towards those goals. The blog highlights the need to plan your finances, and also prepare for those bills you know are coming. Also, I loved the idea that was raised in one of the posts: do you really need everything you think you need? I have lived without a TV for a few years now, and every time I tell someone I don't have a TV (usually to explain why I haven't watched this or that TV show), I just get a look like I'm crazy. I'm not saying anyone else should necessarily get rid of their TV, but I can honestly say I don't miss it one bit. I watch DVDs, sometimes I watch something on iPlayer, but mostly I go to the gym, do crafts, and read (or write) blogs. For me, the internet is something I couldn't live without, I would be bored in no time, but I never want to get a TV again. Well, my point was, if you are trying to save money, hop over and have a look at the blog.

Talking about saving money, this is a super frugar recipe. Who wouldn't love some nice hot onion rings, drenched in all that heart friendly fat... Well, Best Friend wouldn't, as for some inexplicable reason she can't stand onions. But other than that, she is a lovely person! It has just been a source of unending wonder and amazement to me how someone doesn't like onions. But fair enough, that just leaves more onions for the rest of us onion lovers. 

This is not really a recipe, it's just a really great way to cook onions. And despite being much more healthy than those battered and deep fried onion rings you so crave every once in a while, these are at least as tasty (actually, I think they are superior to the battered ones, but I'm a bit biased I think).The key is to cut them relatively thin so that they really crisp up real good, and then enjoy them piping hot, right out of the oven. You can use either yellow or red onions, the red ones caramelise a bit more as they have a higher sugar content, so they are my favourites. These make a great side to roasted chicken, a nice juicy steak or served with other roasted veg and topped with a bit of goats cheese.

Oven baked crisped onion (serves 1):
1 huge onion (or two medium ones)
1 tbsp oil (I used smoke flavoured extra virgin rapeseed, but olive or even coconut would work great)
salt and pepper to taste

The howto:
Pay close attention and read through the instructions at least a few times before starting, because this is really complicated. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Slice onion into 1/2 cm thick slices and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Make sure the onions don't overlap, because you want then to be all nice and crisp, and they won't be crisp if they overlap. Drizzle with oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bake in 200 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until nice and crisp around the edges. Serve immediately!

The verdict:
I like to bake my onions until they are browned and super crispy. This does lead to a bit of a problem though, as the smoke detector in my house is ridiculously sensitive, and as soon as I open the oven door, I know I will have to run down the stairs and turn off the fire alarm. But it's worth it every time, as this is one of my favourite sides to serve with practically any meal. Or just to eat on it's own. I know, I'm sick, but I have been known to eat a whole batch of these straight from the baking sheet, without even putting them onto a plate. I actually had to show great restraint to be able to get a photo for the blog as it meant I actually had to transfer them onto a plate, and wait until I took the photo. Which is why there isn't too much artistic touch in this photo (either...). I just wanted to tuck into my lovely onions!

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