The Low Carb Alternative to Mashed Potato: Cheesy Marrow Mash – Stunningly Simple Low Carb ‘Sides’

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The humble marrow feels very much the ugly duckling of the gourd family.  Sometimes its  sheer cumbersome, hulking bulk is enough to put you straight off – it feels as if you’ll be ploughing through the stuff for days, and most cooking methods don’t bring out its best.

But marrow is very much a keto-go-go vegetable! At circa 1.9g net carbs per 100g, it’s super low and is therefore perfect for diabetics, ketogenic dieters or anyone simply wishing to beat the bloat! And add to this, it’s abundant and hugely economical at this time of year – no other vegetable packs as much punch to the pound!

I always think that the best way to prepare marrow is mashed. It has the luxuriant feel of mashed potato, but none of the starch!

Start by cutting your marrow into large chunks (skin on). Remove the seeds with a spoon and place the portions onto a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Season well and into a hot oven they go for 40 minutes to an hour, until the flesh is soft and starting to brown at the edges.

Remove from the oven and scrape the flesh into a casserole dish with a soup-spoon. I find this is best done by picking up each piece in turn and holding it with an oven glove. The flesh should come out incredibly easily, leaving the tough skins behind which can simply be discarded.

Add a knob of salted butter to the pan, followed by a generous handful of grated cheese. I also add a good dollop of English mustard for background depth, but that’s entirely up to you.

Check the seasoning and add more if required, then mash out the lumps with a potato masher or fork. Back into the oven it goes for circa 20 minutes, or until the surface is golden brown and bubbly.

Hey presto – our ugly ducking’s a swan!

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

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Herby Cod Mornay with Fresh Garden Sorrel – Low Carb Cooking at its Best!

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As Summer fades into Autumn, we seem to sit on the fence when it comes to food.

The heart and stomach are divided – half yearns for the substantial filling fare of October’s darkening nights; whilst the other half seems to mourn the carefree, light & delicate taste of Summer, as it slowly slips away for another year without a trace.

The kitchen garden seems to feel the same way. It clings on desperately to the last vestiges of warmth and sunlight, fighting to retain the fruits of its harvest until the last possible moment.

One such taste of Summer is sorrel. This wonderful leafy herb has a sharp, lemony taste, which reminds me in crispness of a sour green apple. It could never be accused of robustness and tends to wilt soon after picking.

Thankfully the greenhouse has coddled what’s left of mine; sufficient to serve up one last elegy to Spring. So let’s drink to that whilst we can!

The delicate tang of this fragile flavour responds well to richness. It serves as a counterpoint to deeper taste-profiles; lifting them and lightening the mood, like a laugh in the library.

In this instance, I’ve paired it with the luxuriousness of cream cheese and parmesan – all superb low carb ingredients, which makes this a great dish to serve up to diabetics, ketogenic-dieters or those following a paleo regime.

Serve it as a light lunch, starter or main meal bulked up with broccoli or cauliflower. If you can’t get hold of sorrel, fresh spinach and a good squeeze of lemon juice will do the job admirably. We aim for flexibility in the Low Carb Kitchen! So give this a try and let me know how you get on.

This dish couldn’t be easier to prepare. Allocate one third of a 200g tub of full fat cream cheese per portion.

Place your cod pieces (no pun) onto a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Season well and place into a hot oven for circa 15 minutes until the fish is cooked through.

Meanwhile, spoon your cream cheese into a heavy-based saucepan. Place this on a low heat and pour in a dash of double cream and a tablespoonful of water per portion. Season and stir well until all the ingredients are combined.

At this point sprinkle in a generous handful of grated parmesan cheese, squeeze in some lemon juice and add half your roughly chopped sorrel (at least a cupful).

Bring the sauce to a light simmer, then once the fish is ready, plate it up and spoon the sauce all over the top, erring naturally on the generous! Think ‘lashings’…

Finish will a flourish of the remaining chopped sorrel and some shavings of parmesan to garnish. One last touch of lemon or lime juice will cement the lightness of Summer, then simply tuck in and enjoy!

Low carb cooking doesn’t get better than this!

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Cavolo Nero – The Dark Highwayman of the Vegetable Beds! Deliciously Different Low Carb Sides

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As Autumn slowly creeps in, we start to welcome back old friends to the kitchen and garden. One such returning hero, is Cavolo Nero; the dark highwayman of the vegetable beds!

Mysterious and enigmatic, the inky black leaves of this striking plant grow in strident clumps, rather than forming a cohesive ‘head’ like cabbage or other leafy greens. This lends it an almost cavalier ‘gothic’ appearance, which is as much of a pleasure to gardener as it is to low-carb diner alike!

But above and beyond its rather edgy & peculiar looks; this rugged Tuscan cousin of kale is absolutely delicious! And variety of side orders is particularly welcome on a low carb / ketogenic diet, where the risk of ‘vegetable monotony & repetition’ lurks around every corner!

Use it on its own, in stews, baked, sautéed, fried, steamed or with roasted vegetables. Its astounding utility is equally as striking as its good looks! And like all ingredients on this blog, Cavolo Nero is particularly low in carbohydrate (just 1.8g net carbs per 100g); so it’s perfect for ketogenic diets, diabetics or those following a paleo-plan. I’ve even heard it described as a super food; and if I’m honest, in this instance I can’t really disagree!

To cook this rugged brute, start by trimming off the tough white stalk at the base of the leaf. I tend to cut a ‘v’ into the stem, preserving as much of the green leaf as possible. Then simply chop the leaves into inch lengths, give them a good rinse in cold water, then strain into a sieve or colander.

Whilst the Cavolo Nero is draining, thinly slice an onion and soften on the hob in a generous spoonful of butter until it turns translucent. As the onion softens, chop your broccoli into chunks and add to the pan, stalk first as this is the longest part to cook.

Once the broccoli is in, add a couple of cloves of chopped garlic and crumble over a chicken stock cube or two. You could also use a cupful of fresh chicken stock if you’re glamorous enough to have this to hand.

Season the mix well, then pile in your Cavolo Nero and follow it with a god handful of frozen petits pois (overpriced peas). If you’re using fresh stock, there’s no need to add any liquid; if you used stock-cubes, pour on a half cupful of water to prevent the contents from sticking.

Stir the lot, then place a lid firmly on the pan. Cook for between 5 and 10 minutes on a low heat, until the Cavolo Nero has wilted down but still retains its bite.

Whilst the pan is on the hob, grate a good whack of parmesan cheese and sprinkle this over the vegetables once cooked. Fold the cheese into the vegetables, garnish with freshly chopped basil or oregano then rush to the table whilst the lot is still piping hot. Serve alongside meat, fish or use as a base to eggs florentine.

One word will sum up the lot… delicious!

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Pep Up a Low-Carb Breakfast with A Peppery Radish!

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Once the weekend’s finally arrived, it’s time for a splendid cooked breakfast!

The sound of sizzling sausages & spluttering scrambling eggs forms the perfect accompaniment to the radio’s cheery chorus.

And what better way to pep up a delicious low-carb breakfast than the addition of a handful of crisp, bright radishes…?

No recipe required, just trim the ends, halve them lengthways and sprinkle with a little sea-salt and cracked pepper.

Their delicate transition from deepest pink to translucent white renders them the true & undisputed ‘jewel in the crown’ of the breakfast table.  And they’re good for you to boot!

The one thing missing is a generous glob of hot, fiery, sunny English mustard.

What better way to start the day? Answers on a postcard!

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Roasted Shoulder of Lamb with Confit Tomatoes, Chinese Cabbage, Garden Rosemary, Spinach & Feta – Fuss-Free, Filling & Substantial Low Carb Dining

Lamb Shoulder

There’s nothing quite like the scent of succulent roasting meat to set the mouth watering. And in my humble opinion, lamb reigns supreme of them all. Few meats can be simpler to cook or yield such effortless results. When cooked in the right way, lamb will pretty much look after itself, leaving you to get on with other things, like type up a food blog…

To accompany this, I wanted something equally ‘low maintenance’. I’ve therefore teamed it with confit tomatoes, which simply slow-cook in their own juices with garlic & herbs whilst the meat is in the oven.

To combat the richness of both lamb & tomatoes, the last minute addition of feta cheese provides that all important ‘lift’ & tang; just the right amount of salt and sourness to round off the palette and balance the flavour-profile.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that meals like this are time-consuming and fiddly; reserved solely for the weekend when you’re not in a rush & have ample time on your hands to slave in the kitchen. Well this was actually a midweek meal, cooked after work and a fitting treat to mark the end of a long day. This recipe is refreshingly straightforward yet carries an air of pure splendour – maximum results with minimum effort – what could be better?

Like all recipes on Country Walks in Ketosis, this dish is incredibly low in carbohydrate, which makes it perfect for those on a ketogenic diet, paleo-regime or diabetics both 1&2. But unlike many recipes which traditionally tick those boxes, this one is filling and substantial – so go ahead and give it a go. Just make sure to tell me how you got on!

Depending on your oven-type, preheat until good and hot: circa 190 – 200°c, gas mark 6-7. Place your shoulder of lamb into a sturdy roasting dish and sprinkle on a generous crust of sea salt and cracked black pepper. Is that it? Yes – nice and easy. The key however if knowing your cooker. If you have a fan over, the air-flow can have a tendency to dry the meat out as it washes over the surface and whips away the moisture. If using a fan oven, brown the meat in the oven for 20 minutes then pour a cupful of water into the tray and cover the top of the meat with tinfoil. This will ensure it comes out succulent, unctuous and divine. For all other methods (gas, aga, convection &tc) just ‘in it goes’ and leave it to its own devices. What could be simpler?

Depending on size (lambs don’t often have Joan Collins shoulders…), take the meat out after 1 hour 20 minutes. The surface should be dark brown and crisp. The scent alone will tell you it’s done. Cover the joint with a layer of tinfoil and leave to rest for at least 10 minutes.

Once the lamb has gone into the oven, roughly chop an onion and place into a saucepan on a medium heat with a generous glug of olive oil. As the pan will be on the simmer for an hour or so, make sure it’s a good and sturdy one: people maintain that a bad workman blames his tools – I’m of a differing opinion… inferior equipment gives inferior results. So give yourself a break and blame the pan if it burns!

Once the onion starts to soften, throw in 2 roughly chopped salad tomatoes with their juice and a good handful of cherry tomatoes. Give the pan a quick stir then get on with the other ingredients.

Roughly chop a handful of rosemary leaves with two plump cloves or garlic. I tend to do them both at the same time because they smell so nice together and it’s quicker! Add this to the tomato mix along with a generous pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Leave the pan on a low heat, stirring occasionally for up to an hour.

Whilst this is cooking, chop and rinse your Chinese Leaf Cabbage then leave it to drain. You don’t have to use Chinese Leaf – savoy or any other cabbage leaf will do the job amply, save for the hard white cabbage reserved for coleslaw. That is perhaps a little too dense and strong tasting. Of course, it’s up to you however. Your dinner, your rules.

15 minutes before service, turn up the heat slightly & stir the cabbage into your confit. Leave this to wilt down and cook through. You want the leaves to soften but still retain a little texture. 10 minutes after that, stir in a good whack of spinach. I used a whole bag of the stuff. It cooks down to such a small amount, that you can afford to be heavy-handed.

Once your meat has rested, pile the confit, spinach & cabbage onto your serving plate next to the lamb. Crumble feta atop the whole thing like ‘a fantastical blizzard’ and garnish with freshly chopped herbs of your choice. Carve the lamb into unctuously tender chunks then dig it. Who’d have thought something so simple could taste this good…!

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.