It’s amazing how simple ingredients can be given an ‘impressive twist’, by putting a little time and thought into their presentation. I always feel that if you enjoy food & spend time preparing it, the presentation should certainly not let you down. But what often looks complicated, in actual fact can be incredibly simple. This low-carb dish is a perfect example!
A timbale is a Latin American drum; so the cooking term simply references that shape. You can buy timbale-moulds very cheaply; or alternatively if you’re more the ‘make do and mend type’ (like me), you can simply line a ramekin with cling-film and press the filling into that. Turn it out onto a plate and then pile-up a little more of the mixture on top to form a dome. It’s this ‘domed shape’ which gives a timbale its name. Obviously this method is not the purist’s approach but I see no problem with 2-stage construction! I shan’t tell if you don’t!
All the ingredients here are incredibly low-carb. This means that this dish is perfect for ketogenic-dieters, and diabetics alike. It could be that you’re simply wishing to avoid the bloat of carbs, or have a gluten intolerance – either way, this dish is for you! And let’s not rule out the paleo-community – there’s plenty of room at the table: the low-carb kitchen welcomes all!
There’s equally no pressure to use the exact ingredients as I use here. If you can’t get hold of St Agur blue cheese, you can use any blue you like. If you don’t like olives, substitute these for slices of cherry-tomato or avocado. Pumpkin oil can be difficult to get hold of; so simply use olive oil instead. The purpose of this blog is to convey that low carb food can be hugely varied an versatile (when I first started this diet, it didn’t necessarily feel that way…). So use whatever you have or can get hold of reliably. The principals of each recipe remain the same, however you substitute things!
A quick note about pumpkin oil before we go any further. Why do I use this? It has a rich, deep nutty taste which is absolutely delicious! It’s also incredibly thick and has a dark glossy burnt caramel colour. This means you can get that wonderful restauranty ‘drizzle’ effect, without the carb-content of balsamic (or the price tag – balsamic vinegar is only thick like this at the top end of the market; cheaper ones tend to be thin and runny so don’t drizzle as well, tending to run and look a little ‘thin’).
Start by lining your ramekins or timbale-moulds with cling-film and a little oil. If you’re using raw chicken-breasts for this recipe, poach these in chicken stock for 20 minutes until cooked through, then leave to cool and slice. I have to admit to using pre-sliced, cooked chicken-breast from the supermarket. It was ‘reduced’, so I was looking for an interesting thing to do with it. Whether pre-sliced or home-cooked, the technique is the same! Arrange your sliced chicken onto the bottom of the mould and then up the sides to form a ‘shell’. If it doesn’t stay put, you can do it in layers by spooning in a little of the filling to support it, then lining up the next layer, supporting it with more filling &tc.
Into a small mixing-bowl, crumble a handful of blue cheese and dollop in 4 tablespoons of crème fraîche. Finely slice black-olives and add these to the mix and season well. Finally stir through some chopped basil and squeeze in a little lemon juice for piquancy. Spoon this into the centre of your moulds, pre-lined with the sliced chicken. Gather the cling-film up round the top and press well with the ball of your hand to ‘cement’ the mix in place.
Now unwrap the cling-film from the top-surface and upturn the moulds onto your serving-plates. Shaking gently to dislodge the ramekin, lift these off then carefully remove the cling-film. The chicken should remain in place, all held solidly together by the creamy blue-cheese filling. If you need to poke and prod a couple of slice back into place, then this is easily done. I’m very happy with a ‘rustic feel’ – this is home-made food after all!
Garnish the top with more sliced olives, and basil, plus anything yo have to hand to ‘add theatre’. I used a quail’s egg for each one and a slice of bright yellow cherry-tomato. Yellow pepper would equally look stunning, as would white radish, cucumber or cress.
Ball a little green salad to one-side and drizzle on some pumpkin-oil or your preferred dressing of choice. Hey presto you’re ready to go! Simple, stunning and sublime! Give these a try – you’ll be glad you did! All done in under 15 minutes flat!
Browse this and other recipes by picture on my pinterest page: country walks in ketosis pinterest.
Thanks for reading and bon ap!
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