Sweet Chilli Chicken with Buttery Egg-Fried Cauliflower Rice & Cheese Griddled Aubergines – delicious, low carb fast food!

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Especially in Winter, with its long, dark evenings; sometimes all you want is something quick and easy, which in no way compromises on taste. Well this sweet chilli chicken recipe will certainly add a touch of hot and spicy ‘zing’ to a cold winter’s night! In fact, it’s a winner all year round!

This dish is incredibly easy to prepare and has that real ‘comfort food factor’, which we all crave at this time of year. Because it’s served with cauliflower-rice, it feels encouragingly substantial and filling; despite the fact it’s incredibly low in carbohydrate! The aubergine is by no means essential (I’m often accused of cooking enough to feed an army!); but I find the contrast between the fiery hot chillies and delicious mellow smoothness of the cheese & egg-plant a truly irresistible combination!

If you’re a regular visitor to this blog, you’ll know that cauliflower-rice is a much cherished staple of the low carb kitchen, and eggs are always brilliant on a low carb regime. In fact, the only real carb content in this dish comes from the cellular-carbohydrate locked up in the cauliflower itself. And with a net carb value of 1.5g per 100g, they’ll be no insulin-racking or impact to blood-sugars. As a result, diabetics and ketogenic-dieters needn’t hold back, neither should gluten-intolerants or those following a paleo-plan. Even if you’re not an adherent of any of these programmes, and simply want a ‘break from the bloat’ which carbohydrate often induces; I strongly urge you to give this recipe a try. You won’t be disappointed!

Start with your aubergine. Place a heavy-based pan on the hob and drizzle in a little oil, followed by a generous spoonful of butter. Slice the aubergine into rounds and sprinkle with salt. Sauté these in the hot oil for a couple of minutes each side, until the pale flesh starts to brown. Once cooked, lift these out of the pan and lay onto a baking-tray. Make sure to reserve your the pan to one side to cook your chicken! Top each aubergine-slice with a generous slice of hard cheese (cheddar or emmental would be perfect). Sprinkle lightly with herbs and then place into a medium oven for circa half an hour, until the cheese has melted to a delicious brown crust and the aubergine is velvety soft.

Now move onto your cauliflower-rice. Prepare this by blitzing the florets in a food-processor (precise instructions can be found under a separate post by clicking the following hyperlink:cauliflower rice). Once your cauliflower is chopped finely enough, transfer to one side whilst you continue with the chicken.

Return your pan to the hob and add a little more oil and butter. I’ve used cut breast-fillets for this dish, but you can equally use whole fillets, diced chicken-thigh or any other white meat such as turkey or pork. Whatever your choice, season the meat generously and then seal in the hot oil until each piece is a light golden brown and has started to caramelise.

I apologise in advance for constantly repeating myself, but if I can offer any words of advice, I feel honour-bound to do so. Do not fuss around with the meat in the pan or move it until it’s good and ready. No-one likes to be mothered; why do it to your dinner?! When the meat is ready to be turned, it will release itself of its own accord in response to the merest touch from a finger or wooden-spoon. If it sticks, it’s not ready. We want the meat to caramelise and brown; not steam! And do not crowd it in the pan or the same will happen! It’s such a shame to ruin food through ‘excess care’, when this is so easily avoided!

Once the chicken-fillets have sealed, add a chopped onion to the pan and a stick or two of finely sliced celery. Follow this with strips of pepper and a good crush of garlic (one to two cloves, however strong you like it!). Now sprinkle the lot with a generous shake of hot red chilli-powder and crumble in a chicken-stock cube. I’m always a fan of fresh ingredients, but sometimes their ‘dried counterparts’ possess their own unique properties, in preference over the fresh. In the case of chilli, the powdered form adds a pleasing colour to the dish and cooks down in an ‘earthy’ rustic way which enriches the sauce, both in terms of taste and texture. The dry powder also helps thicken the sauce, which the fresh form wouldn’t achieve.

Pour on a centimetre’s depth of water and season well. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and a teaspoon full of bake-suitable sweetener. Why sweetener? The heat of the chilli needs ‘calming and rounding’ a little. Sweetness lifts the taste and takes away any aggression left in the flavour. Make sure you don’t use table-top sweetener – this is not heat-stable and loses its sweetness with temperature. Xylitol is an excellent natural product, which I highly recommend for all uses. Leave this to simmer on a low heat for 5 minutes or so, whilst you cook your rice.

Sauté this in butter with a little olive-oil (so the butter doesn’t burn) for around four minutes. Taste to adjust the seasoning and check that the cauliflower is cooked through. We’re looking for tender, but still keeping its bite.

Whilst the rice is cooking, break four eggs into a bowl and whisk smooth. Now return to your wok and scrape the rice into a pile on one side. In the space you have cleared, drizzle in a little more oil then pour in the egg. Don’t stir it for a minute – we want to form autonomous clumps of egg. Only stir when the mixture in contact with the pan’s surface has had time to cook through. Then continue as per scrambled eggs. The reason you do it this way is to prevent the liquid egg from coating the rice and turning into an unattractive mess! If you simply poured the egg over the contents of the pan without clearing a space and cooking separately you’d just end up with a porridge-like mix, with no discernible clusters of egg – if this occurs, you may just as well not have bothered!

Once all is ready, pour your chicken and sauce all over the rice and form the cheesy aubergines into a pile on one side. Garnish the lot with fresh herbs and slices of lemon or lime for freshness. Then simply dig in! Truly sublime!

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Pork Vermouth with Cauliflower Gratin – low carb ‘classics’ from a country kitchen!

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Classic French cookery has a reputation for being difficult and time consuming. But trust me when I say this couldn’t be further from the truth!

When people refer to French cookery, they don’t mean a list of complex ingredients or fiddly, time-consuming recipes. They’re actually referencing a way of cooking. French cuisine is a methodology; a time-honoured discipline, designed to bring the best out of ingredients. When the French refer to the ‘art of cookery’; art in French equally means type or style. The ‘French-style’ requires the mastery of a few basic techniques which, once learnt; will deliver consistently outstanding results.

One of these competencies is the classic French method of cooking meat. There’s a stately ritualism to this process, which is almost comforting in its cadences. The succulent sealing-in & caramelisation of the meat is followed by the slow softening of onions & garlic; then deglazing the pan with a magnificent whooshing ‘sigh’, as alcohol hits the thirsty metal-surface of the pan. As the kitchen fills with the delicious aroma of melting butter, fresh herbs and pan-seared meats, you’ll begin to feel like an alchemist creating pure gold from the very simplest of ingredients. It is truly an art worth learning!

This dish calls on the classic aperitif ‘vermouth’ to bring out the sweetness of the pork and deliver depth to the sauce. A generous glug of this fortified wine reduced down in the pan certainly won’t impact the blood-sugar. What could be more welcoming on a cold Winter’s evening that this? And all is suitable for the ketogenic-diet, diabetes, coeliacs and the paleo-regime. Low carb cookery welcomes all!

Bring your pork to room-temperature and season well both sides. Heat a metal-lined sauté-pan on the hob (non-stick doesn’t deglaze with pleasing results) and throw in a knob of salted butter followed by a dash of oil. The sizzle should be a rewarding sensation in itself, as should the aroma. Add your pork to the pan and seal on each side until it’s golden brown and deliciously caramelised. You must excuse me for constantly repeating myself, but it needs to be said…! Do not fuss around with the meat in the pan or move it until it’s good and ready. No-one likes to be mothered; why do it to your dinner?! When the pork is ready to be turned, it will release itself of its own accord in response to the merest touch with finger or wooden-spoon. If it sticks, it’s not ready. We want the meat to caramelise and brown; not steam! And do not crowd it in the pan or the same will happen! There – consider yourself told!

Once the meat is beautifully golden on each side, lift out of the pan and tip in sliced onion, peppers, mushrooms & chopped garlic. Soften these until translucent and just starting to brown, then crank up the heat as high as you can. This is not some obscure act of retribution, you simply want the pan to be as hot as possible for when you pour in the spirits. That way, you’ll deglaze with the maximum effectiveness, lifting all the caramelised flavours straight off the bottom of the pan.

Once it’s good and hot, pour in a healthy serving of vermouth, making sure to stand over the pan and enjoy the cloud of sweet, alcoholic steam which billows beautifully out into the kitchen! Once the liquid has all but evaporated, pour in a 3/4 inch depth of chicken stock (or water and stock cubes) and place your pork back into the pan, ensuring it’s surface is not submerged. Dissolve a small teaspoon of Dijon mustard into the pan and add a bay-leaf or two for warmth. Place into a low oven to reduce down for 40 minutes until the sauce is barely lapping the base of the vegetables then stir in a good handful of chopped herbs (basil, thyme, sage, oregano or parsley are all ideal).

Whilst the sauce is reducing, cut your cauliflower into slices and bring to the boil in a wide-based pan. Then fit the lid on firmly. and steam through for five minutes, until tender, but still retaining its bite.

Once cooked, drain away any remaining water, and spoon crème fraîche in generous dollops all over the surface of the cauliflower. Grate a do whack of cheddar-cheese (or similar) and sprinkle this all over the surface. Dust with herbs, then into the oven it goes for 20 minutes until the cheese is a golden brown and bubbly.

When all is ready, spoon your pork into bowls and pour on the vegetables from the pan, along with a tablespoon of the pan-juices on each portion. Serve up your cauliflower gratin to one side then dig in whilst still piping hot! Classical comfort food at its best! The results certainly won’t disappoint.

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Timbale of Chicken, St Agur & Black Olives with Basil & Pumpkin Oil – a low carb ‘feast for the eyes & tastebuds’!

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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!

Adam.

Smoked Bacon, Parmesan & Mozzarella Soufflés – low carb, high impact!

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This dish can only be described as a textural symphony! Picture eating something the texture of clouds, interspersed with pools of stringy, melted mozzarella & the chewy crunch of salty smoked bacon. Well this recipe has it all!

Don’t be put off trying these because you think soufflés are difficult or fiddly. They’re actually very simple to prepare; all you have to do is understand the process, then you’re off and away! So what is that process…?

When you cook an egg it turns from liquid to solid. You see this when you fry an egg, scramble it, poach it &tc. It’s the protein which solidifies in heat; and a soufflé is no different from this. The act of a soufflé rising is the same as a cake. Hot air rises, which lifts the mixture upwards. Then, once the right temperature is reached, the heat solidifies the egg-proteins and the air-bubbles are ‘locked’ in place. Meringue has the same process – the proteins form a hard, crystalline structure which supports and holds up the rest of the mixture – quite simple, and quite marvellous!

If the egg-whites hold something up, what is it they’re holding? The answer to this is your soufflé mix, which carries the flavour of whatever you’re cooking. In this recipe I use parmesan, mozzarella cheese and bacon, but the process is the same for all. Whatever your ‘flavour-bearing mix’ is made of, you need to ensure that it’s the texture & consistency of melted chocolate. It’s that easy. Follow this rule of thumb and you’ll have perfect soufflés every time!

Before I jump the gun and detail the recipe in full, it’s worth noting that these are wonderful for a ketogenic diet, as they contain virtually no carbohydrate! This makes them ideal for diabetics or those who do not include gluten in their regime. You can make soufflés with no ‘solids’ at all; just the basic ingredients. This means they’re cheap, versatile and incredibly quick! Now do you see why I love them?

Start by cutting 6 smoked bacon rashers into a fine dice. If you have pre-cut ‘lardons’, all well and good. Fry these in a little butter for 10 minutes, or until the bacon is brown and crispy around the edges. I used 6 rashers for 4 soufflés. Once ready, remove from the heat and drain the bacon on kitchen-towel.

Whilst the bacon is cooking, you can start your egg-whites. In a clean mixing-bowl (I use a copper bowl as this stabilises the whites far better than anything else); separate 4 eggs, placing the yolks in a smaller bowl to form your mix. When it comes to separating eggs, I must admit to ‘not being flashy’. I simply crack them on the side of the bowl and strain the white through my fingers.

Once your eggs are separated, whisk the whites until they form stiff peaks. Volume should be minimum 8 times what you started with, and you should be able to upturn the bowl over your head and the mixture stays in situ (if it doesn’t then you have only yourself to blame!). The whisking forms valuable aerobic exercise for the cook. I strongly recommend that you do it by hand and don’t cheat by using an electric whisk! This way, you get to ‘understand’ the ingredients more, and get a true feel of how different foodstuffs behave.

Now prepare your soufflé dishes. Butter these liberally with a piece of greaseproof-paper. Your soufflés will rise better if you give them something to climb up, other than just butter. What do I mean? They’ll climb the walls of the dish a lot more reliably if they get a handhold – sprinkle some grated parmesan around the ramekin, all over the butter. This gives them a ‘rough surface’ to grip onto as they rise; much like a trellis!

Into the bowl with the egg-yolks, scatter in a generous handful of grated parmesan cheese and a half-dessertspoonful of Dijon mustard. Follow this with your crisped bacon and season well. Now bear in mind my rule of thumb above. You want this mix to be the consistency of melted chocolate. To achieve this, mix in double-cream until you have the right texture. You shouldn’t need much; three to five tablespoons maximum.

Now scrape some of your egg-whites to the side of their bowl and add your soufflé-mix. This will need to be folded into the whites with a good metal spoon. If you simply mix this in, you’ll knock out all the air. Folding is exactly as it sounds – you turn the mixture over on top of itself, so that gravity does the work, not your spoon! At no point should you be cutting through the middle of the mix, you just want to continue lifting and turning until the two are incorporated. It should be a pleasing, yellow, moussey texture, with traces of white still visible and air bubbles prevalent throughout.

Ladle the mix into your prepared ramekins until it’s a few millimetres shy of the top. Cut a ball of mozzarella into half-inch chunks, and drop a few pieces of the cheese into each ramekin. These will sink slightly into the mix, but that’s exactly as we want things. The cheese ‘melts’ into the soufflé, forming pools of molten mozzarella beneath the surface. So if the cheese sits on top of the mix, we wouldn’t achieve the right effect!

Place the ramekins onto a baking-tray and into a hot oven they go for circa ten minutes. If your oven has a glass-front, you can have the joy of watching them rise. I’m fortunate enough to have an aga, which means I can open the door and peek in with no danger of the temperature falling.

You’ll know they’re ready when well risen over the surface of the ramekin. The top should be lightly firm to the touch and the surface should be evenly coloured a light ‘caramel’ shade. I always like to have a slight crispness on top, to contrast with the smooth inner, but that’s up to you. Experiment with your results – you’ll soon find out how you like them best.

Serve up straight from the oven. The top will sink down within a couple of minutes, so make sure your admiring onlookers are already in place at the table when you take the dish out of the oven! All in all, incredibly straightforward, fuss-free and delicious – oh, and yes; a trifle grand!!

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Yoghurt & Cumin ‘Chicken Skewers’ with Roasted Aubergine & Aromatic Cauliflower Rice – minimum carbs, maximum flavour!

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Skewers are a wonderful way of cooking food. Not only do they have an ‘exotic feel”; but practically anything can go into the mix, plus they’re quick, easy and economical to boot! There’s an enchanting, almost ritualistic feeling of layering up each kebab; first one piece, then the next, trying hard to get each skewer the same; but no matter how hard you try, you always end up with an unequal number of pieces on each one! They also look beautiful and have that delightful finger-food quality, which is great for sharing and really ‘digging in’; a thing I just love about food like this!

The ingredients I use here can be infinitely varied – the skewers can be made with peppers, mushrooms, celery, cherry tomatoes, any kind of meat, or even halloumi cheese! Whatever you have languishing in the fridge will go down a treat, offering huge versatility and choice; one of the reasons why dishes like this are just so great!

There’s virtually no carbohydrate in this dish, beyond the 1.5g per 100 found in the cauliflower and 3g from the yoghurt. A generous portion will definitively come in under 7g, which for an evening meal is pretty good going! 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!

Start by marinating your chicken. Place the raw chicken into a large mixing-bowl and spoon on full-fat yoghurt; enough to sufficiently coat the meat and then some! Sprinkle on two teaspoons of ground cumin and half a teaspoon of chilli powder. Squeeze in some lemon juice and season the mix liberally. Crush in a generous clove of garlic then stir with a robust spoon until all is dispersed and evenly coated. Leave to marinate for 20 minutes, whilst you prepare your other ingredients.

Dice your aubergine into 1cm chunks and tumble these into a roasting dish. Follow this with a finely sliced onion, some diced pepper and another crushed clove of garlic. Drizzle on olive oil and season the vegetables. Into a hot oven it goes for half an hour; leaving you time to assemble your skewers.

Slice a courgette into half-centimetre chunks, then cut a red onion into ‘spearable’ pieces. Then start to layer up your kebabs – courgette, chicken, onion; courgette chicken, onion &tc. Once these are ready, take your aubergine out of the oven and spoon any remaining marinade from the bowl on top of the vegetables. Then place the skewers over the rim of the dish, so that they’re supported  by the sides of the tray (see picture below). By doing this, all the succulent juices & flavour from the yoghurt marinade will drip down and infuse into the aubergine; making the marinade goes twice as far – a true double whammy!

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Return the tray to the oven for a further 25-30 minutes to cook the chicken. Meanwhile prepare your cauliflower rice (for full details click on the following hyperlink – cauliflower rice).

All you do is cut the cauliflower head into florets. Pulse these in a food-processor until the texture is as per rice grains. It’s best doing this is batches, so that the food-processor doesn’t turn the lot into purée!

Once chopped, sauté in butter with a little olive-oil (so the butter doesn’t burn) for around four minutes. Taste to adjust the seasoning and check that the cauliflower is cooked through. We’re looking for tender, but still keeping its bite.

When the chicken-skewers are browned to perfection; simply lift the tray out of the oven and spoon the aubergine mix over your rice. Place the skewers on top of this, and garnish the finished dish with a good squeeze of lemon-juice and a handful of chopped coriander.

Four words will sum this dish up – delicious, low carb perfection!

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Rich, Aromatic Crayfish & Coconut Mulligatawny Soup – a delicious low carb jewel!

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Food fulfils many functions in life. Beyond mere fuel, it can represent warmth, nurture, togetherness, nostalgia, adventure and sometimes even a challenge! And then on rare occasions, food can go beyond all these things and offer something more; something just that little bit special. At times, a dish can bring complete surprise and delight; it can make you forget everything, close your eyes and utter a blissfully contented ‘mmmm‘. At such times, food can be a real treat, pure and simple!

Well this recipe is certainly that; I truly can’t praise it enough! It’s warm, filling, indulgent, aromatic, rich, satisfying… the list goes on and on! But normally when food attracts this kind of praise, there’s three words you don’t expect to hear when describing it – quick, simple and straightforward!

The origins of this strangely named dish take root in the Anglo-Indian melting-pot of the 18th century. As the British Empire opened up spice-routes into London from the East; a brave new world of exotic flavours opened up, and the English love affair with Indian cuisine was born. The rapidly growing new wave of aspiring middle-classes were first to jump on this band-wagon; albeit with little understanding of this trend, or any actual knowledge of what they were eating. In the Sporting Magazine of 1798, one gentleman writes: “I supped … in his house on Mulagatoney or pepper-water.

Pepper was the one ‘known & recognised’ flavour that people of the time could latch onto. As a result, a myriad of rather queer and extraordinary recipes were published, attempting to capture the flavour of aromatic Eastern cuisine through the use of existing local or readily available ingredients such as peppercorns and onions. I laugh to think at how these first attempts as ‘kurrys’ must have been received; especially in light of the fact that no-one had any real point of comparison or yardstick against which the cook’s efforts were to be judged! Thankfully, today’s larder is much better stocked and we’re able to take full advantage of the world’s rich & varied food-palette at comparatively low cost and effort.

The words ‘ketogenic diet’ would seem as strange to 18th century ears as the word mulligatawny itself. Well this recipe is a perfect low carb dish. Blood sugars will remain stable, with no ramping of insulin-levels; making it the ideal concoction for diabetics, gluten-intolerants or those on a paleo-plan.  I strongly urge you to give it a try – you won’t regret it!

Finely slice an onion and two sticks of celery, then add these to a heavy-based saucepan with a splash of oil and a large spoonful of butter. Saute these on a medium heat for a few minutes, then add a crushed clove of garlic and sprinkle in the following: one teaspoon of chilli-powder, half a teaspoon of ground fenugreek, one teaspoon of cumin, a teaspoon of ground coriander and a good grind of pepper. Let these cook through for a minute or so, then pour in two pints of chicken stock (or stock-cubes and water) and bring to the boil.

Once the soup is at a rolling simmer, add the contents of a can of full-fat coconut milk, then lower the heat and leave this to reduce until the mix is thick and glossy, resembling the texture of single cream (circa 20 minutes).

Finely slice a generous handful of mange-tout and add these to the soup, cooking them until tender for a further 2 or so minutes. Then empty in your crayfish tails (or prawns if you prefer). Let these heat through for a further couple of minutes, then give it a good taste to adjust the seasoning. You’ll need to add a small sprinkle of sweetener to balance and round off the flavour. Do this a little at a time, until the levels are to your liking; then finish the dish with a good squeeze of lime or lemon-juice and a handful of chopped coriander.

Hey presto, your delicious low carb mulligatawny soup is ready! Ladle into bowls and eat whilst still piping hot! I’ll wager everyone will go back for seconds – there was not a drop left in the pan when I made this; and once you’ve tasted it, you’ll soon see why!

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Warm Jerk Chicken Salad with Quail’s Eggs & Yellow Peppers

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Salads will always be a wonderful thing, but in the winter months, we often crave something a little more hearty and substantial.  The perfect compromise therefore presents itself in the guise of warm salads – they’re a great way to get your essential daily vegetable fix whilst still retaining the health-promoting properties of raw-veg. And all in a way which delivers that all important ‘fill-factor’ – what could be better?

Another bonus of warm salads is that they’re a great way of using up leftovers. The chicken in this dish came from a roast chicken we had the day before that was too much for us to plough through in one sitting. Tried and tested principals of home economics dictate that the ‘spoils of war’ should always be recycled, and return to fight another day! The roast chicken was therefore no exception to the rule – if leftovers can stretch to another meal, then the cook has done their job!

All the ingredients here are low-carb; thus perfect for diabetics, ketogenic-dieters and those on a paleo-regime. If you have a gluten-intolerance or are coeliac; then you’ve equally come to the right place! There’s no wheat or other nasties which will leave you feeling bloated; just good honest old-fashioned low carb fare; all with a modern spicy twist!

Before I go any further, just a quick word about allspice. Please forgive me if I’m preaching to the converted, but this was once a gap in my own knowledge-base. I therefore feel honour-bound to save others from the same mistake which once ruined a ‘high-hopes’ recipe… Allspice is a berry, dried then ground into a powder. It is not a spice-mix, made up of generically blended ‘Christmassy’ spices, for use in mince-pies &tc. That is mixed spice! Sorry again if you already knew this; I shan’t mention it further. Consider yourself well & truly told!

Because this is a quick lunchtime dish or starter, this recipe for jerk-mix is a ‘tribute’ version for speed and convenience. For the full thing, check out the following hyperlink – Low Carb Jamaican Jerk Chicken.

Start by placing your chicken pieces (cooked or raw depending if leftovers or not) into a large mixing-bowl. Add half a teaspoon of garlic-powder, 1 teaspoon of dried chilli, 1 teaspoon of ground allspice, a tablespoon of lemon-juice, a teaspoon of dried thyme, and a heaped teaspoon of xylitol sweetener. Chilli always requires a bit of sweetness, so I’d always advocate the use of sweetener in such things! Mix these all together, then leave to stand whilst you prepare your other ingredients.

Bring a pan of water to the boil, then cook your quails’ eggs for 3 minutes. Then transfer these to a bowl of cold water to cool down to room temperature. If you don’t have quails’ eggs, you can equally use normal hens’ eggs. If you’re a regular visitor to this blog, you’ll realise I live slap bang in the middle of the countryside, where such things are readily available. I understand however that in other areas, such things may be more difficult to come by. I leave the exact ingredient-choice up to you therefore – the principals are the same! Once the eggs are cool, shell them and rinse in cool water.

Now we’re ready to cook our chicken. Heat a glug of oil and a little butter in a thick-bottomed pan, then add your chicken when the fat is piping hot. Cook until brown and caramelised on all sides; between 5 and 10 minutes, depending on whether you used fresh or raw chicken. Then remove the pan from the heat and set this to one side whilst you assemble your salad.

Finely slice half a yellow pepper, then layer this interspersed with your salad leaves into the centre of a serving-bowl. Slice your eggs in half and arrange these at intervals, then spoon your chicken all over the top with a generous hand! Pour any pan juices over the surface, then garnish with a squeeze of lemon and torn fresh coriander leaves.

Voila! Your delicious warm low-carb salad is ready. All in under 20 minutes from start to finish. I’ll wager it’ll be gone in half the time however!

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Sausages & Broccoli in a Velvety Garlic & Herb Cream-Cheese Sauce – simple, delicious & low carb!

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I often feel that the real mastery of cookery lies in the ability to make everyday, storecupboard ingredients taste fantastic! Well this incredibly simple recipe is one such example! The true star of the show is the cream-cheese sauce – so easy to make, yet utterly delicious in every way! This dish is low cost & supremely quick, making it the ideal ‘mid-week meal’, when all you want is something quick and fuss-free. For this reason I strongly urge you to give this a go!

The broccoli and sauce can be served with anything you like. I teamed it with sausages simply because I had them in the fridge and they needed to be eaten up. But this would be absolutely wonderful alongside grilled chicken, salmon, pork-steaks, beef-steak or even lamb. Serve the sauce with your vegetable of choice to stunning result. I love recipes that are versatile like this – the world is your oyster!

The carb-content of this dish is incredibly low; coming principally from the cream-cheese (circa 3.5g net carbs per 100g) and the cellular carbohydrate locked into the broccoli (circa 2.1g net carbs per 100g). This makes it perfect for ketogenic-dieters, diabetics, gluten-intolerants or those following a paleo-plan. So ‘beat the bloat’ and go low carb!

Place your sausages onto a oven-tray and bake for circa 25-30 minutes, until golden-brown and cooked through. Once these are in the oven, you can start on the sauce.

Add a little butter to a heavy-based saucepan and sauté a couple of cloves of crushed garlic and a chopped red chilli (the chilli provides an interesting counterpoint to the creaminess of the cheese). Soften these in the butter for a couple of minutes, then add a finely chopped tomato, followed by a couple of tablespoons of full-fat cream-cheese.

Stir this in well, then pour in half a cupful of chicken stock (or water and a stock-cube), plus half a cup of double cream. Finely chop a generous handful of basil and add this to the mix, alongside a good grind of black pepper. Then simply simmer this on a low heat for 5-10 minutes until the water has reduced and the sauce is thick and glossy.

Bring a pan of water to the boil to one cm’s depth, and steam you broccoli for 3 minutes until tender. Strain this, and spoon onto your serving-plates. Remove your sausages from the oven and serve these alongside, then simply pour your sauce generously over the top. Hey presto, your delicious low-carb dinner is ready. Enjoy!

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Chilli & Coriander Turkey-Burgers with Egg-Fried Cauliflower Rice – delicious, succulent, spicy & low carb!

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Coriander, garlic and chilli are a wonderful flavour-combination that forms the heart of so many delicious dishes. And this low carb recipe uses them to best effect with stunning results! Whether beef, chicken, lamb, turkey of pork; home-made burgers are incredibly easy to make and with a bit of inspiration can incorporate no end of interesting and exotic flavours. These beautifully succulent turkey-burgers have an oriental feel; packed to the gunnels with garlic, red-chillies, fresh herbs and ground coriander. This follows through into the egg-fried-rice, which mirrors the flavours and rounds the dish off perfectly!

If you’re a regular visitor to this blog, you’ll know that cauliflower-rice is a tried and tested staple of the low carb kitchen; indeed I couldn’t live without it! It truly transforms the look and feel of a meal, providing ‘substance’ and adding that all important ‘fill-factor’ to dishes which might otherwise risk feeling a little anaemic!  Eggs are brilliant on a low carb regime, and the additional protein provides the final ‘cherry on the cake’ in terms of filling you up & adding luxury! No-one likes to leave the table still feeling hungry, so the fuller the better, is what I say!

The only real carb content in this dish comes from the cellular-carbohydrate in the cauliflower itself; and with a net carb value of 1.5g per 100g, they’ll be no insulin-racking or impact to blood-sugars. This means that diabetics and ketogenic-dieters can ‘fill their boots’, as can those with a gluten-intolerance or followers of the paleo-plan. There’s plenty to go around!

Start by forming your turkey-burgers. If you have a ‘burger-maker’ all well and good; if not, your hands are infinitely serviceable! Put your turkey mince (circa 1lb for 4 burgers) into a large mixing-bowl and season well. Finely chop a clove of garlic and a fresh chilli (including seeds if you like it hot), plus a good handful of fresh coriander leaves. Add these to the bowl, then crumble in a chicken stock cube and a teaspoonful of ground coriander seeds. Mix this all up ‘with commitment’, then form the mix into burger-shapes. The mixture should be coherent but loose throughout.

Place a wok or wide based pan onto a high heat and drizzle in some sunflower oil. Seal your burgers for a minute or two on each side until golden brown. Then lift them out and place onto a baking-tray whilst you prepare your rice. Take the wok off the heat, but keep it handy to cook the other ingredients in a few minutes.

Prepare your cauliflower rice by blitzing the florets in a food-processor (precise instructions can be found under a separate post by clicking the following hyperlink: cauliflower rice). Place this to one side and start chopping your rice-filling.

Finely slice a few rashers of smoked bacon and a small onion. Place your wok back onto the heat with a little more oil, then fry your bacon and onion until they start to colour. Crush in a couple of cloves of garlic, then follow this with as much chopped chilli as you can bear (I used x2 with seeds).

At this point, transfer your burgers to a hot oven, then continue to chop the other ingredients.

The exact filling for the rice is entirely up to you, and whatever vegetables you have to hand in the fridge. I used a stick of celery, a few mushrooms, half a leek and a bit of pepper. Slice these finely, then add to the wok and stir well. Tip in your rice, crumble in another chicken stock cube, and continue to sauté the lot on a medium heat for five minutes.

Whilst the rice is cooking, break four eggs into a bowl and whisk smooth. Now return to your wok and scrape the rice into a pile on one side. In the space you have cleared, drizzle in a little more oil then pour in the egg. Don’t stir it for a minute – we want to form autonomous clumps of egg. Only stir when the mixture in contact with the pan’s surface has had time to cook through. Then continue as per scrambled eggs. The reason you do it this way is to prevent the liquid egg from coating the rice and turning into an unattractive mess! If you simply poured the egg over the contents of the pan without clearing a space and cooking separately you’d just end up with a porridge-like mix, with no discernible clusters of egg – if this occurs, you may just as well not have bothered!

Finally, squeeze over the juice of half a lime to ‘lift’ the flavour, then scatter on a handful of chopped coriander to garnish. Remove your burgers from the oven and serve alongside the rice, accompanied by generous lashings of herby garlic-mayonnaise. In short – divine!

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Smoked Cod, Leek, Pepper & Parmesan ‘Pesto Parcels’ – delicious low carb fast food!

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Sometimes all we want is something that’s quick and easy but in no way compromises on taste! Well this recipe is just that! Team it with a green salad as a starter or light lunch; or serve with steamed vegetables and roasted celeriac for a more substantial main course. Either way, this is a perfect dish for those evenings when you’re late home from work and don’t fancy using every pan in the kitchen! A chopping-board, sharp knife and a baking-tray are all you need; then 15 minutes later, dinner is served!

The taste-combination of smoked cod, parmesan and basil-pesto is divine! The three flavours are all equally robust, so they complement & carry each other in perfect equilibrium. The vegetables go velvety smooth and the cheese melts down into the sauce, forming ‘swirling layers’ of flavour – it’s amazing how something so simple can deliver such profound results!

There’s practically no carbohydrate here at all, so ketogenic-dieters and diabetics will be in ‘food heaven’. As will those on a paleo-regime or coeliacs, as there’s no gluten to worry about; just food as nature intended!

On a sturdy chopping-board, finely slice half a leek and half a yellow pepper. Pile these into the centre of generous tinfoil sheets, then spoon a teaspoon of basil-pesto on top of each pile. Shave some parmesan curls into the centre with your knife, then lay your smoked cod fillets across the lot.

Grind on some black pepper, then fold the edges of the tinfoil into the centre to form square ‘parcels’. Onto the baking-tray they go, then into a hot oven for 10 minutes until the fish is cooked through.

When they’re good and ready, simply unfold the parcels and spoon the fish into your serving-bowls. Pour the vegetable contents and sauce all around, then pile up your green salad on the side. Hey presto, dinner is served!

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Minute Steak with Red Leicester, Celery, Eggs & Caesar Leaves – a quick & delicious low carb lunch!

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Low carb food can be incredibly quick – take this delicious minute steak salad for example; from pan to table in less than 10 minutes!

The key to a good salad is not only taste, but texture! Celery is always a great addition as it provides instant crunch. This contrasts wonderfully with the firm bite of the cheese, the velvety lightness of eggs and the moreish ‘density’ of the beef steak. This is truly the perfect balance; as rich in flavour as it is in consistency. And so simple, you’ll want to cook it time and time again!

You can buy good quality Caesar dressing, but to be honest; making your own is so quick and easy, why would you want to compromise on taste? In this recipe I’ve used Red Leicester cheese because I love its nutty flavour and cheery brightness. Any firm, full bodied cheese will work just as well however. This can be done with cheddar, Emmental or even Manchego. The world is your oyster!

This recipe contains virtually no carbohydrate. As such it’s great for diabetics and those on a ketogenic diet. There’s also no gluten, so coeliacs and those with an intolerance need have no concerns. If you’re on a paleo-regime then you might wish to hold back on the cheese; but why deny yourself, is what I say…? Take advantage of the rich palette of low-carb foods available and you can’t go wrong!

Start by making your dressing. I have a separate post on this (Caesar Dressing recipe), but I’ve quickly outlined the process below for speed and convenience…

In a small food processor, whizz up a couple of anchovies and half a clove of garlic. The flavour of the garlic intensifies over time, so if you’re not going to eat all the dressing straight away, it’s best to err on the side of restraint. Add to this a small squeeze of lemon juice, a small handful of grated parmesan cheese, half a cup of good olive oil and half a cup of double cream. You can also add an egg yolk if you like, but bear in mind that raw egg will shorten the shelf-life. Give these a good blitz in the processor until smooth and emulsified, then taste to adjust the seasoning if required.

Toss you salad leaves in the dressing then pile these up into an impressive mound on your serving plate. Shave a few curls of parmesan cheese over the top to ‘add theatre’, then slice your Red Leicester and stack this up the side, like steaks on a bonfire.

Place a heavy-based saute-pan onto the hob and drizzle in a little oil, followed by a knob of butter. Season your steaks on both sides, then fry in the pan for one minute each side (hence the name!) until pleasingly browned but not overcooked! Lift these out, then arrange on your serving-plate next to the salad in an attractive fan (yes; I was born in the 1970s!).

Finally, crack a couple of eggs and lightly fry these in the remaining butter and steak-juices. When done to your liking, scoop them out with a fish-slice and place them atop your steaks to seal in the heat.

Voila! Your low-carb lunch is ready. Serve up onto generous plates and dig right in!

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Souffléed Bacon & Egg ‘Cheddar Bake’ – a quick & elegant twist on the traditional ‘low carb’ breakfast!

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I’m always heard to say ‘you can’t improve on a classic’; well sometimes you can give it a holiday! And this is precisely what I’m doing with this classic English breakfast dish: bacon and eggs! What’s the twist? Souffléing the eggs to give a small touch of French refinement and add variety to this much loved, everyday British staple.

Eggs and bacon will always be the friend of any ketogenic / low-carb dieter. A breakfast of healthy proteins is the best way to start the day; but first thing in the morning, the frying-pan sometimes feels a little much, a little too soon for the stomach to warm up to! Well this variant takes away all the mess and odour of frying, and is the perfect dish for a lazy weekend breakfast, or when friends & family come to stay. You can even prepare it as a quick late night supper; at dusk or dawn it’s equally delicious and promises success every time!

People are often scared of the word ‘soufflé’. But it’s actually an incredibly easy technique; all you have to do is understand the process, then you’re off and away!

When you cook an egg it turns from liquid to solid. You see this when you fry an egg, scramble it, poach it &tc. It’s the protein which solidifies in heat; and a soufflé is no different from this. The act of a soufflé rising is the same as a cake. Hot air rises, which lifts the mixture upwards. Then, once the right temperature is reached, the heat solidifies the egg-proteins and the air-bubbles are ‘locked’ in place. Meringue has the same process – the proteins form a hard, crystalline structure which supports and holds up the rest of the mixture – quite simple, and quite marvellous!

If the egg-whites hold something up, what is it they’re holding? The answer to this is your soufflé mix, which carries the flavour of whatever you’re cooking. In this recipe I’ve chosen grated cheddar cheese and Dijon mustard, but the process is the same for all. Whatever your ‘flavour-bearing mix’ is made of, you need to ensure that it’s the texture & consistency of melted chocolate. It’s that easy. Follow this rule of thumb and you’ll have perfect soufflés every time!

Before I jump the gun and detail the recipe in full, it’s worth noting that these are wonderful for a ketogenic diet, as they contain virtually no carbohydrate! This makes them ideal for diabetics or those who do not include gluten in their regime. You can make soufflés with no ‘solids’ at all; just the basic ingredients. This means they’re cheap, versatile and incredibly quick! Now do you see why I love them?

Start by laying your bacon rashers into the bottom of a baking dish. Place this into a hot oven for 10 minutes until the bacon is cooked through and turning crispy around the edges. I allowed 6 rashers for 2 people.

Whilst the bacon is cooking, you can start your egg-whites. In a clean mixing-bowl (I use a copper bowl as this stabilises the whites far better than anything else); separate 4 eggs, placing the yolks in a smaller bowl to form your mix. When it comes to separating eggs, I must admit to ‘not being flashy’. I simply crack them on the side of the bowl and strain the white through my fingers.

Once your eggs are separated, whisk the whites until they form stiff peaks. Volume should be minimum 8 times what you started with, and you should be able to upturn the bowl over your head and the mixture stays in situ (if it doesn’t then you have only yourself to blame!). The whisking forms valuable aerobic exercise for the cook. I strongly recommend that you do it by hand and don’t cheat by using an electric whisk! This way, you get to ‘understand’ the ingredients more, and get a true feel of how things work.

Into the bowl with the egg-yolks, season well & scatter in a generous handful of grated cheese and a half-dessertspoonful of Dijon mustard. Now bear in mind my rule of thumb above. You want this mix to be the consistency of melted chocolate. To achieve this, mix in double-cream until you have the right texture. You shouldn’t need much; three or four tablespoons maximum.

Now scrape some of your egg-whites to the side of their bowl and add your soufflé-mix. This will need to be folded into the whites with a good metal spoon. If you simply mix this in, you’ll knock out all the air. Folding is exactly as it sounds – you turn the mixture over on top of itself, so that gravity does the work, not your spoon! At no point should you be cutting through the middle of the mix, you just want to continue lifting and turning until the two are incorporated. It should be a pleasing, yellow, moussey texture, with traces of white still visible and air bubbles prevalent throughout.

Take your bacon out of the oven and ladle your egg-mix all over. Into the hot oven it goes for circa ten minutes. If your oven has a glass-front, you can have the joy of watching it rise. I’m fortunate enough to have an aga, which means I can open the door and peek in with no danger of the temperature falling.

You’ll know it’s ready when well risen and lightly firm to the touch. The surface should be evenly coloured a light ‘caramel’ shade.

Serve up straight from the oven. The top will sink down within a couple of minutes, so make sure your admiring onlookers are already in place at the table when you take the dish out of the oven! All in all, incredibly straightforward, fuss-free and delicious – oh, and yes; a trifle grand!!

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Pizza – the ketogenic way! The low-carb food revolution continues!

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When I first started the ketogenic-diet, I thought “that’s it – you’ll never have pizza again!”. A period of food-mourning ensued, but now I’ve welcomed it back with open arms; and as always, it’s a true pleasure greeting familiar old friends! How can you eat pizza on a low-carb diet? Cauliflower pizza-base. Yes, that’s right; you’ve read it correctly: cauliflower!

I was a little sceptical when I first read about this. It sounded complicated, fiddly and didn’t overly promise much on the taste front… But having tried it, I’m now a firm convert! It’s no more labour-intensive than any other pizza-recipe; in fact, it’s a little bit easier, as there’s no faffing around with yeast or flouring kitchen-surfaces to roll out the base &tc.

Is it exactly the same as traditional flour-based pizza? Not exactly, but that in no way diminishes it; it’s simply different. The topping tastes just the same as you’d expect; the one difference is that the base isn’t ‘crisp’ like wood-fired pizza; it’s more chewy and firm in texture; which is certainly good enough for me. Any way, to be able to eat pizza without the associated ‘food-guilt’ is a wonderful thing. Second helpings? No problem with this recipe!

Diabetics, paleo-fans and those with a gluten-intolerance can also throw open the doors to this old favourite, because the carb-content is incredibly low. There’s no flour, no ‘bloat’, no soaring blood-sugars and no insulin-ramping to worry about – just delicious healthy food (I never thought I’d be saying that about pizza!!).

Start by making the base. Half a large cauliflower will make 1 dinner-plate sized pizza. Being me, I used two whole cauliflowers as I wanted some leftovers for lunch the next day. Pulse your cauliflower florets in a food processor until you have the consistency of breadcrumbs. Then simply place this into a large mixing-bowl and microwave for circa 8 minutes until the cauliflower is cooked through. This staves off moisture and cooks the vegetables through, so that the base doesn’t go into the oven ‘from raw’. Depending on your microwave, check after 6 minutes to see how things are going. To test that it’s done, taste a bit. You don’t want it to be cooked to point of being mooshy; just ‘biteable’ without the texture of rawness. When this is achieved, stir through to dissipate the heat and leave to cool down thoroughly.

At this point, start on your topping. Finely chop an onion and sauté this in olive oil with chopped garlic until the onion turns translucent. Ramp up the heat and deglaze the pan with a glug of red wine or port. If you wish to add peppers or other vegetables, feel free to do so; but all you really need is a can of tomatoes. Empty this into the pan once the liquid has been added. Season well and stir in chopped herbs and a vegetable stock-cube. Leave this on a low simmer until the contents reduce, then add a squeeze of tomato-purée. Hey presto; your sauce is done. Leave this also to stand for 20 minutes to cool down slightly.

No let the grating begin! Start with parmesan. Finely grate a good couple of handfuls for the base, then however much cheese you feel is gratuitously acceptable for the topping! Transfer these to a bowl until you’re ready to use them.

Now for the base. Add your parmesan cheese and season the cauliflower liberally. Next time I do this, I think I’ll add more parmesan than I used for this particular batch. Why? It’s the parmesan which melts and ‘firms up’ to give the base its crispness. I get the feeling that more parmesan will deliver more ‘bite’. Give it a go and let me know how you get on! Next beat some eggs in a bowl and add these slowly. I used 4 eggs for 2 cauliflower heads. You want the mix to be ‘shapeable’, not soggy. Picture the texture of cooled porridge! Pile the mix onto a silicone baking-sheet or greaseproof paper and pat into your desired shape, at about a 1/3 cm thickness. You don’t need a rolling-pin, just use your hands. The mix is not ‘elastic’ like a flour-base, so there’s no stretch. All you need do is ensure a thin covering across your surface area, and you’re done! The top picture was a square base, to cut up for lunch the next day. The picture below was the first ’round’ one (we made two of these for dinner – one each!).

When your base is the required shape, spoon on your tomato-topping and gently spread flat with the back of a spoon. Then pile on whatever keto-friendly ingredients you see fit! This dish is great for using up any bits and bobs you have lying around the fridge which are insufficient in quantity to ‘stand on their own two feet’. I used sliced mushrooms, courgette, mozarella, ham, salami, chorizo, peppers, olives and chilli. Whatever you use, chop the ingredients finely so that they’ll cook through nice and quickly, then scatter across the surface of your pizza.

Top the lot with generous handfuls of grated cheese, sprinkle on a few dried herbs then transfer the pizza with a paddle (if you have one) to the base of the oven. I have an aga, so I cooked this on the floor of the oven. You can equally use a pizza-stone, a slab of marble preheated in the oven, or simply a baking-tray. Make sure that the oven is good and hot, then in goes the pizza for 10 minutes until the top is bubbling, melted and golden brown, and the base is cooked through and caramelised around the edges.

Hey presto, your low-carb pizza is ready! Cut into slices at the table, or fold into wedges whilst watching a favourite film! Either way, it’s absolutely delicious! You won’t be disappointed!

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

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Fiery Malaysian Laksa with Crisp Pork Belly – low carb goes East!

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This recipe whoops a ‘grand huzzahin tribute to the splendid, vicious firework that is the scotch-bonnet chilli! In isolation, it must be considered a pungent, mean & unpleasant beast; one which doles out penance to all those who countenance it. But when tempered by a little sweetness & warmth; its unremitting intensity is bridled and the ‘beast is tamed’!

Much like a tiger, chilli is a thing of beauty; something to be admired yet very much treated with respect. But once the cook has learnt this skill, the two will become firm friends for life, with most pleasing results!

Laksa is a delicious dish from Malaysia, which carries considerable influence from other Oriental cuisines. The origin of the name is unknown, but thought to stem from either Persian or Sanskrit. There are a myriad versions of the recipe, but this one is based on the wonderful, keto-friendly foundation of coconut-milk and chicken-stock. These two mild and velvety ingredients are just what’s required to sooth the vicious, bad temper of the chillies; delivering a perfectly balanced & mouth-watering equilibrium of taste! This is heightened by the addition of coriander leaves and lemon/lime juice, which add just the right touch of sourness to complement the sweet coconut. Some dishes have a perfect flavour-profile; and this is one of them!

The original dish is made with thin rice-noodles (vermicelli). These are not ideal on a ketogenic-diet, due to their high carbohydrate content. This recipe therefore uses courgette-noodles, or ‘zoodles, which make a delicious alternative to their high-starch counterpart. This renders the dish infinitely accessible to diabetics, gluten-intolerants, or those who quite simply want a break from the stodge! The carb-content is very low, so there’ll be no impact to blood-sugars or insulin ramping – you can tuck in to your heart’s content!

In this version, I use pork-belly slices because of their crispness in contrast to the noodles. Should you wish however, you can equally replace these with chicken, other poultry, game or even fish. The true beauty of this dish lies in the sauce, everything else plays ‘second fiddle’. As a result, my choice of meat is guided by texture rather than taste. I leave any variants up to your own creative instinct therefore. If you have any special successes, make sure to write back and tell me how you got on!

So, to work! Start by cutting your pork-belly slices into inch chunks and placing-these onto a baking-tray. Season well and place into a hot oven for 30-40 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown.

If you have a ‘mini-food-processor’, destalk 1-2 scotch-bonnet chillies and whizz these up until finely chopped. Add two cloves of garlic and a large pinch of salt, then follow these with your coriander stalks and a grind of pepper. Blend these as fine as possible, then scrape out with a spatula. If you don’t have a food-processor, chop the lot with a sharp knife on a sturdy wooden board. If you choose this option, make sure not to touch anywhere near your eyes for a good long while – it hurts!!!!

Place a wok or broad-based pan onto the hob and add a good glug of oil. Sunflower- or rapeseed-oil are perfect; olive oil has a lower burning point so cook a little more slowly if you use this. Sauté the mix for a couple of minutes, then add a chopped onion and a diced pepper. Soften these for a minute, then pour in a half-cupful of chicken-stock, or water and stock-cubes (to taste). The mix should burst into an aromatic cloud of steam, that fills the room with a sharp chilli-garlic fragrance! This is delicious, but powerful; so don’t place your head directly over pan when adding the liquid!

The water will start to evaporate fairly quickly under the high heat. Before this happens, open a can of full-fat coconut milk and stir this into the mix, making sure to scrape the can clean with a spatula. If more water is required, add this in and season well. You want the liquid to be the consistency of a thin soup. As the dish simmers, it will soon thicken up.

Take 2-3 courgettes and cut into ‘zoodles’ with a spiraliser or julienne-peeler (see the following link for more details – courgette-noodles). Add the noodles to the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes until cooked through. At this point, squeeze in the juice of one lemon or lime and sprinkle in your chopped coriander leaves, reserving a few to garnish.

By this time, the sauce should be rich, thick and glossy. Taste to adjust the seasoning (including ‘warmth’ of flavour by crumbling in another half chicken-stock-cube) and then add powdered sweetener to ‘round’ the taste-profile. I suggest a small half-teaspoon, but this will naturally depend on how much chilli you used and your personal preference. Once all is to your liking, remove the pork from the oven, ladle the laksa into bowls and arrange the pork-pieces on top. Finish the dish by garnishing with a sprig of coriander and a slice of lime. Truly delectable in every way!

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Cheeseburger ‘Des Vosges’ with Chorizo, Green Beans & Mangetouts – ‘cultured’ low carb fast food

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I’ve always been a firm believer that you ‘can’t improve on a classic’! But I equally believe that you can give it a holiday! This dish does exactly that. The humble cheeseburger packs its passport and a weekend bag and departs on a European jaunt… one that takes in the best of culinary Spain and France all in one recipe!

Fromage Des Voges originates from the Alsace region of France. This territory has swapped ‘ownership’ countless times in history between Germany and France. As a result, it’s truly the ‘crossroads of Europe’ and steeped in heritage which presents a peculiar cultural identity. Its food is pleasing in its breadth and diversity and the cows which produce this cheese graze on what I can only term as a ‘herby cud’, inclusive of the odd pine-needle. The cheese’s depth of flavour is therefore second to none, with a dense almost chewy bite and mellow soft rind; just the thing to lend our cheeseburgers an interesting cultural twist and give them a story to tell after their travels! Naturally however, if you can’t get hold of ‘des vosges’; any full-bodied soft French cheese will hold its own admirably!

As for chorizo, this is always a ketogenic-dieter’s best friend! It’s low in carbs and possesses the remarkable ability to ‘pep’ up other ingredients by its delicious deep, savoury taste. I always keep some in the fridge to lend pizzaz when my vegetable supplies are getting low or simply border on the mundane. The cured sausage’s distinct ‘smoked paprika’ flavour, means that just a little goes a long way; making it the perfect store-cupboard staple for use in a vast array of recipes.

As always on this blog, this recipe is low-carb and great for diabetics and those on a ketogenic-diet. There’ll be no impact to blood-sugars or any change to insulin-levels (a good thing for us all!). There’s also no gluten, so those with an intolerance will be fine.  This recipe has another string to its bow however – it’s incredibly quick and easy; from fridge to plate in 20 minutes! This makes it a great dish for a week-night, when you’re late home from work and want something that’s fast yet packed with flavour! One final attempt to convince you…? It tastes wonderful in every way!

Start by preparing your vegetable accompaniment. Slice your chorizo into half-centimetre chunks and sauté in olive oil in a broad-based pan until the chorizo starts to brown. At this point add a finely sliced onion and a red pepper cut up into bitesized pieces. Soften these in the chorizo oil then crush in a clove or two of garlic and add a bit of chopped chilli to taste. Cook on a high heat then deglaze the pan with a generous slug of red wine or port. Top and tail your green beans and tumble these into the pan, adding a half-centimetre’s depth of water to the vegetables. Crumble in a stock-cube or two to provide some background flavour then leave to simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes or until the beans are cooked through.

Meanwhile heat a heavy-based pan or skillet on the hob then drizzle in a small amount of oil. When sizzlingly hot, place in your burgers and cook for two minutes on each side until brown. A comment I always make is ‘not to mother your food’. Don’t poke and prod at it; meat is ready to be turned once it comes away freely from the bottom of the pan., If you attempt to do this before the surface has sealed and caramelized, the meat will rip; and you’ll be left with an unattractive mess. Simply ‘nudge’ the burgers with a wooden-spoon; they’ll come away when they’re good and ready. Not before.

Having turned the burgers it’s time to layer on your cheese. Be generous here; no-one likes a miser. Once the cheese is piled up resplendently on top, transfer the pan to the oven to allow the topping to melt. At this stage, add your mangetouts to the vegetable pan and place the lid on firmly.

Cook both the burgers and greens for circa two minutes, until the vegetables have ‘lost their rawness’, yet still retain a defiant crunch. The cheese should be oozingly melted and delicious. Serve these up in jiffy and enjoy!

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Top 10 Low-Carb Salads

If you’re just starting a ketogenic- or low-carb diet for the New Year, food choices can sometimes seem a little daunting!

Never fear however; County Walks in Ketosis has a huge library of delicious LCHF recipes to help along the way.

Salads are great as a quick low-carb lunch, healthy starter or side-accompaniment to a main-course. They’re ready in minutes and are bright, colourful and fuss-free!

To provide a little inspiration, I’ve assembled my top 10 salad recipes from this blog. Simply click on the title/hyperlink below to take you straight to the relevant page.

All recipes can be browsed by picture on my pinterest page: country walks in ketosis pinterest.

Top 10 salads:

1. Paprika-Chicken, Bacon, Edam & French-Beans

2. Spinach, Asparagus & Goat’s Cheese

3. Emmental, Smoked Ham & Avocado

4. ‘Russian Millionaire’s’ Salad (you’ll quickly see what I mean)

5. Padron-Peppers with Parmesan & Salami

6. Greek Chicken & Aubergine

7. Smoked Mackerel & Green Beans

8. Avocado, Bacon & Blue Cheese

9. Prawn, Pepper & Celeriac

10. Classic Caesar Salad

Enjoy browsing and thanks for reading. Bon ap!

Adam.

Warm Paprika-Chicken, Bacon, Edam & Green-Bean Salad with Tangy French Vinaigrette – a fast, delicious keto lunch!

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This dish is everything a salad should be – fast, effortless and full of flavour! Just the thing for a delicious low-carb lunch or nutrient-packed starter!

I always feel that salads should be as visually pleasing as they are rich in flavour. The addition of bright yellow and red cherry-tomatoes serve to lift the dish and provide a splash of much needed ‘cheery colour’ amidst the grey of winter!

All ingredients are low in carbohydrate, so are suitable for a ketogenic diet, or those with diabetes or a gluten-intolerance. But as always, the contents of this salad can be varied in line with whatever you have available at the time. Chicken, bacon and cheese however form a delicious taste-combination which delivers outstanding results every time!

Details of how to make the vinaigrette can be found under the following link: classic French vinaigrette. I strongly urge you to give this a try. It’s incredibly easy and will rapidly become a store-cupboard staple. You can use it to dress pretty much any salad, as well as a lot of hot dishes, to include vegetables such as celeriac, winter cabbage or sautéed peppers. Its moreish tangy flavour will complement a huge range of ingredients – no kitchen-cupboard can be complete without it!

Start by pan frying your bacon in a little butter to prevent it sticking. Once nice and crisp, lift out of the pan and place on kitchen-paper to drain. Add your chicken to the pan (I used leftovers from another dish, but you can equally use thinly sliced strips of chicken breast or finely diced brown meat, such as thigh or leg). As soon as the chicken is in the pan, dust it lightly with a generous sprinkle of paprika and season well. Continue to sauté, stirring occasionally, for a good 5 minutes, until the outsides start to crisp. Then lift the chicken out of the pan and set to one side to cool slightly.

Keep the pan on the heat and turn up your stove to the highest temperature. Pour in a centimetre of water and bring this to the boil. Whist the water is coming to the boil, top and tail French beans then add them to the pan when the water is ‘rolling’. Cook for two minutes then plunge into cold water so that they retain their vibrant colour and crispness.

The final usage for your pan is to cook a couple of eggs (I love one-pan dishes – it really economises the washing-up!). I used quails eggs because we had them in after Christmas, but hens’ eggs are an equal delight! The cooking method is quite up to you – you can poach, fry scramble or make into an omelette then slice to form strips. I opted for the quick sautéing method – one minute and they’re done! Once cooked, transfer the eggs to kitchen-towel to drain.

Into your salad bowl, place a good couple of handfuls of fresh green salad and follow this with your drained green-beans (I always pat them dry with kitchen-paper to avoid a ‘watery salad). Ladle a couple of spoonfuls of vinaigrette over the top and mix in well with your hand or a spoon. Season enthusiastically, then start to layer up your bacon and chicken.

Disperse the above with slices of cherry tomato and thinly chopped Edam cheese. If you don’y have Edam, any comparative cheese will do. Preferably you want something with a bit of texture, to serve as a contrast against the other ingredients. For this reason alone I’d avoid soft cheese, but I certainly shan’t judge you if you over-rule this advice!

Once all your ingredients (chicken, bacon, cheese, tomatoes, salad-leaves and eggs) are stacked into a delicious pile; finish the dish with a final flourish of vinaigrette and some chopped basil.

Low-carb doesn’t get much better than this! And all in 10 minutes!

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Classic French Vinaigrette – the ultimate salad dressing (plus it’s low carb!)

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You can’t beat a classic! French vinaigrette must be the definitive dressing for salad. Rich, thick and tangy, it’s incredibly versatile and can be served with a myriad of different things. As such, it’s a store-cupboard staple, and no kitchen can be considered complete without it!

Despite its wonderful taste and ease of preparation, few people seem to get it right. The dressing should be thick and emulsified; more of a coating than a pouring dressing. The flavour should have just the right amount of sharpness, thereby able to cut through strong ingredients such as cheese, smoked fish and cured meats. I always think it’s at its best when served simply however; tossed over crisp green leaves or crunchy French beans. When topped with a light shaving of parmesan, such dishes become a delicious meal in themselves!

A common mistake with vinaigrette is the use of olive oil. This will result in an unattractive suspension which quickly separates. You’re left with a green sludgy liquid which tastes as bad as it looks. In my experience, the best oil to make vinaigrette is sunflower oil. It’s light in flavour, which allows the other ingredients to deliver the taste. If all you can taste is oil then there’s very little point! You may as well stick with that and save yourself the effort!

Another positive is that French dressing is also incredibly low in carbohydrate. This makes it brilliant for a ketogenic diet, and eminently suitable for diabetics or those with a gluten-intolerance. Keep it in the cupboard to ‘dress up’ a quick low-carb lunch or starter. You’ll soon wonder how you ever got by without it!

The recipe is incredibly cheap and easy to follow. I always make it in a big batch, as it keeps for months. The below makes just over a pint and a quarter, so you can keep it in a sealable Kilner jar, ready on hand for whenever you need it.

Into a food-processor with the blade attachment, rip in a good handful of fresh parsley leaves and crush in two cloves of garlic. The parsley serves to ‘calm’ the taste of the raw garlic, thereby delivering a light, mellow flavour, rather than a dressing which tastes of garlic alone. Sprinkle on a large pinch of coarse-salt and grind in a good whack of pepper.

Pulse these in the food-processor until the parsley is finely chopped. At this stage, spoon in two large tablespoonsful of Dijon mustard and squeeze in the juice of one lemon. Measure 100ml of white-wine vinegar and pour this on top, then start the motor to form a busily whirring pale-yellow mix.

Into a jug, measure out 600ml of sunflower oil and then pour this very slowly into the processor’s funnel, the motor going all the time. You want the oil to be added as a constant drizzle. Too much to quickly will mean the mix separates and does not emulsify. The dressing will soon thicken to a thick mayonnaise-like consistency. Once all the oil is incorporated, stop the motor and give the dressing a taste,

The flavour should be pleasantly sharp, but not so vinegary as to make you wince. If it needs more oil, add this slowly until the flavour tastes right. Hey presto, your dressing is done!

Spoon the vinaigrette into a Kilner-jar and then gaze lovingly at it with pride! Your salads will soon become the envy of all your friends and lunches need never taste flat again!

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Creamy Broccoli & Stilton Soup – hearty, filling & low carb…

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Winter is a time when food must be hot, hearty and plentiful. It’s cold outside, and the kitchen provides the perfect remedy to that; both in terms of the cooking itself and the delicious dishes it produces.

Whenever I think of Winter, hot mugs of soup come immediately to mind. Soup is incredibly easy to make and wonderfully filling. It’s also very economical and a great way to use up any leftovers which can’t quite make it in quantity to stand on their own two feet!

This broccoli and stilton soup makes a hearty low-carb lunch or starter. As such, it’s great for diabetics or those on a ketogenic diet because the only carbohydrate in the whole thing is cellular, coming directly from the broccoli itself (2.13g net carbs per 100g = very low!). It will keep for several days in the fridge, but I very much doubt it will last that long!

If you don’t have stilton, any firm blue cheese will do (danish blue, st agur, roquefort &tc). You don’t need much, which is why this dish is great for using up odds and ends. We always buy lots of stilton & blue cheese at Christmas time, so often end up with various assorted bits of this and that. They all go in however, with simply stunning results!

Take a large onion and roughly dice. Place a deep casserole onto the hob, with butter and a little oil, then add the onion and cook this until it starts to turn translucent.

Whilst the onion is looking after itself, chop your broccoli and rinse lightly. In it goes to join the onion, then pour on water so that the vegetables are well submerged. Don’t go overboard on the water – it’s easy to add more, but you’ll end up with watery soup if you add too much. Rule of thumb? Just enough to cover the contents; more later…!

Crumble in a couple of chicken stock-cubes & dried herbs, then place the lid on the pan and simmer for 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft enough to collapse when pressed against the side of the pan with the back of a wooden spoon.

Finely dice your blue-cheese, then sprinkle this in (quantity to taste). Stir around, so that the cheese begins to melt; then go in with a stick-blender until smooth. Pour in a splosh of cream, then taste to check for seasoning. If you need a little water to thin things down, then add this in small quantities until your reach the desired consistency.

Ladle into bowls and eat whilst piping hot. Just the thing for a cold, winter’s day!

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

The Low Carb Christmas – Smoked Salmon, King-Prawn & Quail’s Egg Florentine.

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The festive table at Christmas-time should be a thing of beauty. With a little care and attention, true wonders can be created which please & delight the palette as much as the eye! These florentines are one such thing.

The classic combination of spinach, eggs and salmon is one that cannot fail to impress. It’s packed with flavour, rich, satisfying & decadent; in short, everything a Christmas-dish should aspire to be. This recipe may look complicated, but it’s actually incredibly straightforward. Your diners won’t know this however; they’ll think you’ve been toiling over a hot stove for hours, rather than quickly assembling a few components which can be cooked ahead of time. And besides; even if this were fiddly; if we can’t go to a little effort at Christmas time, when can we do it?!

Due to the incredibly low carbohydrate content, this dish is perfect for diabetics or those on a ketogenic diet. It won’t impact your blood-sugars and in no way has that feeling of being a poor substitute for something higher in carbs.  ‘The proof is in the pudding’ however, so I urge you to try this; you’ll quickly see what I mean.

I’ve prepared this dish as a starter, but it could equally be served as a sumptuous low-carb breakfast on Christmas day, or a light supper dish, accompanied by green salad. This versatility is the final string to its bow. Without further ado therefore…

Start by boiling your quails eggs for 2.5 minutes, no longer. You’ll need two per person, so calculate your quantities accordingly. After that time, remove the eggs from the pan and plunge them into icy cold water. This will arrest the cooking process and ensure that they retain their softness. Leave them in the cold water until thoroughly chilled, then peel.

The best way to peel them is to ‘tap’ the eggs all over on your chopping board, then roll them between the palms of your hands, as if you’re forming balls. The shell will then come off in one delightfully easy peel. If you’re truly adept; you can even remove the whole shell in one! Don’t form this as your benchmark however; only true professionals manage this, and the process is not sufficiently enjoyable to warrant all the practice it requires!

The next thing to get on with is to make your spinach mix. If you’re using fresh spinach, you’ll be surprised at how much you need. It has the rather selfish habit of wilting down to nothing! Allow circa 150g per person, which will end up with approximately a large dessert-spoonful per head. As an aside, the spinach-paradox is often how I feel about my weekly food-budget!

Melt a knob of butter in a pan and add your washed spinach. Crush in a large clove of garlic and leave the pan on a low heat to cook through. Crumble in a chicken stock-cube for background flavour and season well. Once the spinach has wilted down thoroughly, pass it through a sieve to remove any excess liquid. Leave this to cool, then stir through a generous grate of parmesan cheese.

The element which binds the whole thing together is a herby cream-cheese. Weigh out roughly 75g per person, then add this to a mixing-bowl. Sprinkle in some freshly chopped herbs (tarragon or basil are good), season well, then pour in a tablespoon of lemon-juice and a good glug of double-cream. Whisk with a firm arm, until the ingredients are all evenly dispersed and the texture is velvety smooth. Taste to adjust the seasoning and then set to one side.

When all is room-temperature; you’re ready to start assembling. Lightly oil a metal cooking-ring (if you don’t have any special rings, then an upturned pastry-cutter will suffice) and place this onto your serving-plate. Spoon a large dessert-spoonful of the spinach mix into the ring and press down with the back of a spoon. Top this with a generous dollop of cream-cheese, piling this into the centre. Do not smooth this yet! Halve your eggs and place the cut-side facing outwards against the edge of the mould. Now smooth and flatten your cream-cheese mix, so that it holds the quails-eggs neatly in place. De-tail your prawns then arrange circa four on top of the cheese layer, to form a solid bed for your salmon. Finally, twist your smoked-fish into a spiral and place it like a candle-flame atop your prawns. Remove the ring carefully, then garnish the whole thing with a squeeze of lemon juice and a few strands of grated zest for colour.

The dish is now ready for service. Your efforts will not go unrewarded – it’s every bit as delicious as it looks!

Be sure to keep reading for more festive recipes over the coming weeks! Check out The Low Carb Christmas for details.

Enjoy this magical season and thank you for reading. Bon ap!

Adam.