The Walled Garden At Dawn – A True Home From Home

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Today I am away from home, travelling with work. As a one off; my morning walk around the field has been replaced by a more leisurely stroll through the hotel’s walled-garden, followed by an invigorating swim and sauna.

Although I’m at the other end of the country; nothing is missing from the much-loved scenes of my familiar fields and fallows. The deer which graze the home-hedgerows are also to be seen in the rolling parkland which surrounds me. The same pheasants, partridge and hares run amok; and the sunlight still diffuses the clouds with an equal hazy splendour to that of my own garden. They may be different clouds and different wildlife; but they manage to appease my restless hankering for home, so I am grateful.

It just goes to show that, wherever you are in the world; the dawn is equally beautiful. So be sure to get out and enjoy it.

Thanks for reading,

Adam.

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Silent Statues In the Mist

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The mist lies thick, dead and heavy over the silent garden and fields. The dawn’s shroud of airborne damp and dew muffles and mutes; as if cladding the world in a protective soundproof jacket which none but sunlight can hope to penetrate. The white marble statues in the garden glimmer eerily through the grey; their strong structural forms becoming hazy and indistinct, before blurring into eventual nothingness.

But out of this quiet cloistered world, a silent fanfare of trumpets blazes forth. The bright brassy yellow of daffodils boldly punctuates the shroud of grey; a lone voice of colour in an otherwise leaden landscape.

As I trudge round the field on my morning walk, the usual mile-long vistas shrink down to a matter of yards. But in a strange way this is comforting. I suddenly become the true centre of my own world, left alone to my solitary thoughts and reflections. For a brief time, nothing matters beyond a mere radius of metres. These moments are rare and distinct; a thing to be celebrated and cherished.

Whatever you get up to today, be sure to enjoy a few precious moments of silence. For in this loud and cluttered world, such moments are few and far between.

Thanks for reading and have a good day.

Adam.

Deliciously Different Low Carb Ideas – Hot Smoked Mackerel, Leek & Bean-Sprout Kedgeree. Fast, fuss-free & sublimely tasty!!

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My favourite recipes are always ones which are quick and simple, yet packed with taste & flavour. Well, recipes doesn’t get any easier or more delicious than this! Hot smoked mackerel, with buttered leeks and bean-sprouts, all bolstered by a warm & aromatic hint of curry.

The inspiration for this dish comes from the classic ‘kedgeree’ dish, first made poplar in England at the Victorian breakfast-table. The traditional version also contains eggs and rice, which you could very easily include; indeed cauliflower rice (hyperlinked) would be a stunning addition, & hard-boiled eggs are ready in no time! But I chose to prepare this as a starter, so didn’t feel the need to bulk it up too much. If you include the eggs and the rice, then this would then make a brilliant stand-alone supper, dinner or luncheon-dish. So experiment away and be sure to tell me how you get on!

As with all recipes on this website; the ingredients here are very low in carbohydrate. At about 2.5g net carbs per 100g, beansprouts are a great way to get your daily intake of vitamins and minerals; plus they’re quick to cook, which can be a real blessing when time’s in short supply! Such low levels of starch, plus the fact there’s no wheat; make this dish perfect for diabetics, gluten-intolerants or those following a ketogenic-diet (like me). Fans of the paleo-regime will also be well-catered for, so I strongly recommend everyone to give this recipe a go!

Start by finely slicing a leek, including the green leaf-tops, to add colour and flavour. Sauté these in a generous spoonful of coconut-oil & butter, or just butter if you don’t have any coconut-oil to hand. Leave to soften on the heat for a few minutes, then add a couple of cupfuls of beansprouts. Sprinkle on a good teaspoon of curry-powder, followed by a crumbled chicken stock-cube. Then add half a can of full fat coconut milk and season well.

Once the coconut milk has come to the boil (circa 1-2 minutes), lay your smoked mackerel-fillets (I used pre-cooked from the supermarket) across the surface of the vegetables, then transfer the pan to a hot oven for 10 minutes, or until the fish is piping-hot and the liquid reduced by three quarters.

Take the pan out of the oven and spoon the vegetables into broad-bowls to capture the delicious coconut-curry sauce. Then simply place a mackerel fillet atop each portion, drizzle on some of the pan-juices and garnish with a final flourish of fresh herbs.

Voila! Dinner is served. Totally delicious from the first to the very last bite; so enjoy!

Browse this and other recipes by picture on my pinterest page: country walks in ketosis pinterest.

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Mouth-Watering Leek, Smoked Ham, Bacon and Mozzarella Gratin – low carb fast food at its best!

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I’m not entirely sure whether someone writing a sensible ‘grown up’ food-blog like this should use words like ‘yummy’. But in this instance, I’m going to throw caution to the wind and come straight out with it… This dish is absolutely yummy! There; I’ve said it! Please don’t hold it against me; we all have or faults.

If you can bear to continue reading after that, I shall tell you that I didn’t get home from work until eight o’clock last night. As a result, I was ravenous & craving something fast, filling & easy to cook.  Well this delicious gratin is exactly that. Not only is it incredibly quick to prepare; it’s also one of those recipes that’s absolutely bursting with flavour from only a mere handful of simple ingredients. There’s also precious little washing-up; so I consider this dish to be a true winner on all fronts!

There’s something sublimely indulgent about the combination of leeks & salted butter. The vegetables go so tender as to almost melt off the fork. The leeks are then wrapped in smoky slices of cured ham & topped by a delicious layer of golden, molten mozzarella; can you understand why I describe this dish as ‘mouth-watering’?

Because there’s virtually no carbohydrate in this dish; it’s perfect for diabetics or anyone following a ketogenic-diet or paleo-plan.  The only real carb-content here is the circa 1g of net carbs found in the leeks themselves. And that certainly won’t break the cab-bank…! I’ve served the gratin with fresh green pea-shoots; but it would go equally well with any crisp green salad or even cauliflower rice (cauliflower rice recipe here).

Start by trimming the tops off your leeks, reserving them for another day’s stock or soup. Then cut the white stems into 3 inch chunks.  Sauté the leeks in butter in a heavy bottomed pan until they start to soften, circa 5 minutes. Once the leeks are tender, roughly chop a few rashers of bacon and add these to the pan.  Continue to cook on a low heat until the vegetables are golden and the bacon a crisp brown. Then remove the pan from the heat to allow to cool for five minutes, so that you don’t burn your fingers when wrapping the ham.

In a separate pan pour in a generous cupful of double cream and stir in a good tablespoonful of Dijon mustard. Place onto the hob, stirring occasionally until the cream approaches the boil. At this point, season well and mix in a handful of chopped herbs (I used basil but any fresh herb of your choice will do the job admirably!).

Cut your ham slices into lengths with approximately the same width as the leeks. Place a piece of leek on the end of each slice and roll them up like sausage-rolls. Once done, place these back into your original pan, which should still have the bacon scattered at intervals over the base. Then simply pour on your cream mixture, making sure to cover the surface as uniformly as possible.

All that remains is to cut your mozzarella into thick wedges and place these on top. Give the dish a final sprinkling of herbs then into a hot oven it goes for 15 minutes to brown up, up under the grill until the surface is bubblingly brown and delicious!

Spoon the finished dish into broad bowls and serve your salad to one side. Then dig in whilst the gratin is still piping hot!

Voila! A delicious low-carb meal ready in just under 30 minutes!

Browse this and other recipes by picture on my pinterest page: country walks in ketosis pinterest.

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Melt in the Mouth Mozzarella, Paprika & Jalapeño Turkey Steaks with Crunchy Buttered Mange-Tout- low carb cuisine doesn’t get much tastier or quicker than this!

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Without wishing to ‘blow my own trumpet’; this dish was absolutely delicious! Melted mozzarella is undeniably a ‘food hero’; nothing beats the effect when you cut into hot mozzarella and indulgent strands of melted cheese ‘unwind’ into the air, prompting you to twirl it round your fork like spaghetti! And underneath that layer lies a bed of mouth-wateringly tender turkey-breast steaks, carrying just the right amount of heat through a sprinkling of peppery, tart jalapeños. In short – heavenly sublime!

The crowning-glory to this dish is the sheer volume of taste which can be delivered from a recipe this quick! Few meals can be this easy to prepare; so if you’re looking for a ‘low effort, maximum reward’ mid-week dish, then this must be it! Beyond the 2-3g net carbs provided by the mange-touts, there’s practically no carbohydrate here; so ketogenic-dieters, diabetics, paleo-fans and gluten-intolerants can all tuck in with glee, not concern!

Start by placing a heavy-based pan onto the hob and drizzling in a little oil with a knob of butter. Whilst this heats through, season your turkey steaks, then place into the pan once the oil is piping hot. Seal on each side for 2 minutes, or until the surface is dappled with light golden brown caramelisation.

Whilst the meat is searing, finely slice an onion, then sprinkle this inbetween the turkey-breast-steaks once turned. Soften the onion for a minute or so, before adding a large clove of crushed garlic and two roughly chopped jalapeño peppers (keeping the seeds in if you like the extra heat). Leave this to cook through on the hob for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the contents from sticking to the base of the pan.

Once the heat has built up to a crescendo, pour on hot chicken-stock (or water and stock cubes), sufficient in volume to just cover the contents. The whoosh of steam is a thing of pure joy, as the pan rapidly deglazes to the heavens Be sure to lift up all the delicious caramelisation from the bottom of the pan with a sturdy wooden-spoon, as this is where all the flavour resides! Now simply leave to simmer until the liquid has reduced by thee quarters; allowing you to prepare the remaining ingredients.

Whilst the stock is bubbling away, finely chop some fresh basil and sprinkle this on top of the turkey. Open your packet of mozzarella, trying to drain off as much of the liquid as possible. If the cheese is cooked ‘wet’, then this will compromise the browning and ‘stretch’!

Slice the cheese into thin chunks, then once the liquid is barely covering the base of the pan; lay your mozzarella slices generously atop the turkey-steaks. Sprinkle the surface with a final flourish of herbs, then into a hot oven it goes for 15 minutes or until the cheese is richly golden and bubbling.

In the time that the mozzarella takes to brown, bring a shallow pan of water to the boil and steam your mange-touts with a little salt for 2-3 minutes until just tender, but still retaining their bite. Once there, strain the pan and stir through a generous knob of butter. A last minute grind of pepper and sprinkle of sea-salt will see your vegetables cooked to perfection.

All that remains is to lift the turkey out of the oven and serve it up alongside your hot buttered beans. The whole dish ready in just under 30 minutes, but I’ll wager the plates are ‘clean as a whistle’ in a fraction of the time!

Browse this and other recipes by picture on my pinterest page: country walks in ketosis pinterest.

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Deliciously Different Low Carb Ideas! Warm Cream-Cheese, Garlic, Avocado & Bacon Salad with Rocket & Basil – Truly Sublime!

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Some recipes taste so wonderful, you’d scarcely believe that they’re ready in minutes! Equally challenging is when you’re looking for something low-carb, but crave something just that little bit different! Well this dish is a winner all round… Decadently indulgent garlic cream-cheese sauce, warmly smothered over rich avocado, topped with crisp salty bacon. Truly a recipe that has it all!

I serve it here as a starter; but because it’s so quick, it would equally make the perfect ketogenic lunch or light low-carb supper. Like all recipes here, it’s suitable for diabetics or those following a paleo-plan; and as there’s no gluten; coeliacs can also dig straight in! There’s plenty to go around.

Start by finely slicing an onion and softening this on the hob in butter. After a couple of minutes, tumble in a good half-handful of cherry tomatoes and add a clove-&-a-half of finely chopped garlic. Cook these until the cherry tomatoes start to burst (circa 2 minutes) then add a couple of tablespoons of water to loosen the mix. Warm through, then remove the pan from the stovetop to rest.

Meanwhile, depending on your cooker and preferred method of cooking; grill, fry or oven-bake your bacon until deliciously crisp. As a guide to quantity, allow two rashers per person. Then transfer to one side to ‘take the edge’ off the heat.

Halve and de-stone your avocado and arrange this in a salad bowl. Pile up rocket leaves or other peppery green salad (watercress is absolutely delicious), forming an impressive mountain to one side.

Finish by chopping fresh basil leaves and adding these to the tomato & onion mix. Then stir through circa 100g or two heaped-tablespoons of full-fat cream-cheese. Once this is velvety smooth and amalgamated, pour lavishly over the avocado and drizzle a little virgin olive-oil over the salad leaves to add a bright glossy shine.

Then simply dig in! From start to finish, a sumptuous delight ready in 10 minutes flat. So enjoy!

Browse this and other recipes by picture on my pinterest page: country walks in ketosis pinterest.

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Speedy ‘Upside Down’ Low Carb Lamb Moussaka – delicious, nutritious & fuss free!

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Lamb moussaka must be one of my all time favourite dishes! The richness of lamb, simmered gently in a velvety tomato ragout is matched perfectly by a sumptuous smothering of decadent cheese-sauce. Combine this with melt-in-the-mouth slices of slow-baked aubergine, and you’re in food heaven! (Traditional recipe under the following hyperlink: Classic Lamb & Aubergine Moussaka).

Can something so delicious have a down-side? Regrettably yes. The full version, whilst unbeatable in taste; can be time-consuming. This one factor alone sometimes inhibits me preparing it, as time can often be in short supply & I need something fast to feed the ravening hoards!

Well this simple twist will deliver all the taste of the original; just in a fraction of the time! That has to be a winner in my book! And like all recipes on this blog, it’s low carb and suitable for diabetics, keto- & paleo-dieters and those with a gluten-intolerance or coeliacs. There’s no excuse therefore – give it a go!

Start by slicing your aubergines into thin, half-centimetre slices. I used two aubergines for four people. Tumble these into the base of an oven dish then glug on some olive-oil and season well. Stir through with your hands to ensure that the slices are all evenly coated, then into a hot oven they go for half an hour to roast through.

Whilst the aubergines are cooking, place a heavy casserole onto the hob and add a small spoonful of oil. Season your lamb-mince with sea-salt and black-pepper; then add this to the pan, enjoying the ‘sizzle’ as the meat hits hot metal. Seal this thoroughly, stirring occasionally to prevent it sticking; then add in a finely sliced onion, 2 crushed cloves of garlic and any other vegetables you have which need to be used up!

Sauté the vegetables for 5 minutes or so, then pour in a good glug of port or red wine for richness. Given the succulence of lamb, you’ll likely not achieve the whooshing sizzle of the traditional de-glazing process; the wine is there more for taste than any other additional benefits! Follow the wine with a dash of balsamic vinegar, crumble in 2 stock-cubes for background ‘warmth’ and add a generous spoonful of dried herbs (rosemary or oregano are just perfect!).

Then drain a can of tinned tomatoes (pouring off the liquid) and add this to the pan. Keep the mix on the simmer for 20 minutes until the liquid has reduced down and all ingredients have thoroughly cooked through. Then squeeze in a good squirt of unsweetened tomato purée and incorporate lavishly with a wooden spoon. Taste to adjust the seasoning, adding more herbs, salt, stock-cubes or pepper as appropriate. When done to your satisfaction, lift the pan off the heat, ready to assemble the finished dish.

Whilst the mince-ragout is on the simmer, pour a cupful of double cream into a saucepan. Follow this with half a cup of water, one cup of grated cheese (cheddar, parmesan or mix of both) and a tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Season well, then place onto the hob on a low heat, stirring occasionally until the sauce is thick and smooth. The reason you add the water is to help gauge when it’s ready. Once the water has evaporated (circa 10 minutes), you’ll end up back with the consistency of double cream. If you didn’t put the water in, the reduction would have nowhere to go and the pan’s contents would burn. When ready, simply remove from the heat and commence to layer up your ‘upside-down’ moussaka.

Take the aubergine out of the oven and pour your mince all over the top to form a lavish blanket. There’s no separation or fiddly layering here – the aubergine stays on the bottom, hence the name ‘upside down moussaka’! Follow the mince with your cheese sauce then a generous grating of cheese. Into the oven it goes for a final 15 minutes to turn the top golden and bubblingly brown.

I served this with cauliflower rice (instructions here: cauliflower rice recipe) but the dish is equally delicious on its own or accompanied by a fresh green salad!

The dish may take half the time to prepare as the original; but I’ll warrant it’ll be consumed every bit as quickly! The only short-cut here is time – it’ll taste as if you’ve toiled for hours! Sublime!

Browse this and other recipes by picture on my pinterest page: country walks in ketosis pinterest.

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.