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.

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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.

Crispy Roasted Duck with Aromatic Almond & Saffron Cauliflower-Rice – a delicious, indulgent low carb treat!

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Some dishes are just so delicious there won’t be a scrap left on the plate. So much so, you’ll want to cook them time and time again. Well this recipe is certainly one of those! Crispy spiced duck with cauliflower-rice, studded and jewelled with almonds and saffron.  Quite simply sublime!

Duck is a particularly succulent meat, with a strong rich flavour. When cooked in the right way, the skin goes ‘cracklingly’ crisp, whilst the meat below remains tender and meltingly soft. There’s also a wonderful sense of pride when you carry a plump golden bird to the table. It’s majestic in its finery and remains one of those rare dishes which truly feels like a special treat. The cook’s reward is an army of empty plates, scraped ‘clean as a whistle’ – strong testament indeed that the meal was both appreciated and expertly cooked!

This dish may sound complicated, but is actually incredibly easy to do. All you need is a little time and a good hot oven. This simplicity is echoed in the cauliflower-rice, which is every bit as tasty as the duck itself. The delicate scent of saffron perfectly complements the robust flavours of the duck, and the rice looks truly beautiful when studded with almonds and bright coloured peppers.

Orange-flower water and zest add to the dish’s aromatic profundity; indeed duck and orange is a flavour-partnership which has endured for centuries! All the above is elegantly lifted by the lightest whisper of chilli, which serves to cut through the richness and balance the flavour… a veritable ‘symphony of taste’!

Duck is perfect for a ketogenic diet. Low carb dishes can sometimes lack that satisfying ‘filling’ quality, but this delivers on all levels! There’s no gluten, so those with an intolerance to wheat will be fine; as will diabetics and those on a paleo-regime because there’s no dairy. Everyone is welcome at the table – the more the merrier!

Start by preparing your duck. Make sure it’s at room temperature, then dust the skin lightly with a mix of equal-quantities of garlic-salt and smoked paprika. Season all over and then leave to sit for 20 minutes to develop in flavour. You can leave this over-night if you like, but I’m impatient! Once rested, season all over then sprinkle a little dried oregano over the skin. Place the bird breast-side down into an oven-dish, then into a hot oven it goes for 40 minutes to an hour, until the skin on the underside goes crisp.

Roasting the duck upside down at first will mean that all the fat and juices sink down into the breast, preventing it from being dry. Once golden and brown on the underside, turn the bird over and re-season the top, making sure to provide enough salt that the skin crisps up and turns a fine, succulent bronze. This will take a further half hour to 45 minutes.

Once the duck has been turned, you’re ready to start on the cauliflower-rice. Cut the cauliflower into florets and 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, place a wok or wide-bottomed pan onto the hob and add in butter & a little olive-oil (so the butter doesn’t burn). Sauté a finely sliced onion and garlic for around four minutes, then add chopped chillies and a small sprinkle of cumin (quantity subject to preference for both). We don’t want this to be too overpowering, so tread lightly (I used a de-seeded green chilli, finely sliced and half a teaspoon of spice). Thinly slice half a green, red and yellow pepper and add these at the same time as the chilli.

Cook the vegetables through for a couple of minutes, then pour in your cauliflower-rice. Stir authoritatively, so that the whole lot is well-coated in butter, then sprinkle on grated orange zest and your saffron strands. Follow this with a couple of chicken stock-cubes for background flavour, and a small capful of orangeflower-water. If you don’t have this, the orange-zest should suffice. I use it because it provides a delicate ‘floral’ note, which adds to the exotic, aromatic quality of the dish.

Whilst this is cooking through, toast a handful of flaked almonds under the grill until they start to char and smoke around the edges. The aroma from this is mouthwatering. For some reason it always reminds me of Christmas & hot roasted chestnuts!

Meanwhile, take your duck out of the oven and cover well with tinfoil to rest for circa 15-20 minutes. It should be richly bronzed, and slightly red from the paprika. The aroma should speak for itself; there’s no need to describe to you how good this will be!

Taste the rice to adjust the seasoning and check that the cauliflower is cooked through. We’re looking for tender, but still keeping its bite. Sprinkle the toasted almonds on top and remove the pan from the heat.

Transfer the duck to a pre-heated serving platter and pile your rice all around. Garnish with a final flourish of toasted almonds, chopped herbs and few strands of orange-zest for colour.

Carry to the table with pride and ‘dig in’ whilst the duck is still piping hot! Delicious!

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Classic Beef Bourguignon with Celeriac & Mange Tout – low carb perfection!

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Anyone who says that a low carb diet is difficult to follow is obviously not doing it properly! Take this dish for example… Generous chunks of 30-day matured beef, sautéed in butter then slowly simmered in red wine with garlic, mushrooms and herbs. Few things could be more delicious or more appetising! There’s a reason that this dish has been so universally celebrated for so long… quite simply, it’s perfection itself!

Because it’s very low in carbs, this dish is ideal for diabetics and ketogenic-dieters alike. You never know, paleo-fans or gluten-intolerants may want to give it a go too. The more the merrier!

The name bouguignon takes its roots from the French red wine of Burgundy, where the dish originates. The wine is soft, velvety smooth and rich in flavour (most definitely my favourite!). Without this, purists would argue that it can’t be called a bourguignon. In all honesty however, any good French red will yield equally pleasing results; they’ll just lack the authenticity and a bit of the smoothness of the original.

Don’t be put off by thinking this may be too complicated. The dish itself couldn’t be simpler. All you need is good quality ingredients and a reliable heavy-based casserole. 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 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 shallots & garlic; then deglazing the pan with a magnificent whooshing ‘sigh’, as wine 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’s truly an art worth learning!

Start by sealing your beef. This must be room temperature and dry to the touch.  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 beef 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 beef 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!

Once the meat is beautifully golden on each side, lift out of the pan and tip in sliced shallots & chopped garlic. Soften these until translucent and just starting to brown, then add sliced mushrooms and simmer these until coloured. Once done, 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 wine. 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 large glass full of red wine, 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, place your beef back into the pan and pour in a enough beef stock (or water and stock cubes) to ensure that the meat is just submerged. Dissolve a small teaspoon of Dijon mustard into the pan and add a bay-leaf or two for warmth. Simmer for 10 minutes then stir in a good handful of chopped parsley, place the lid onto the pan and put the casserole into a medium oven for 1-2 hours (the slower the better!).

In the last hour of cooking, prepare your celeriac. Peel ‘the big ugly’ and dice into 1cm chunks. Add a spoonful of butter to a broad pan and sauté the celeriac for a couple of minutes on a medium heat. Finely slice an onion and a clove of garlic then add these to the pan and cook for a couple more minutes until the onion starts to soften. At this point, pour in chicken stock (or water and some stock cubes) until the liquid just covers the vegetables. Season well and simmer for circa 40 minutes more until the liquid had reduced and the celeriac starts to break down when pressed with a wooden spoon. If you like, you can add a handful of grated cheese. Cheddar, emmental or gruyere would be perfect. Take the pan off the heat and garnish with a sprinkle of herbs.

Remove the casserole from the oven and place onto the hob on a very low heat. In a mixing bowl, add one small teaspoon of cornflour and whisk in enough water to form a thin ‘pourable’ paste. Make sure to whisk sufficiently to avoid any lumps. These will ruin the sauce and be unpleasant to eat. You may wonder at the addition of flour for a low carb diet. Cornflour is an incredibly potent thickener. The amount you’re using will provide only a tiny quantity of carbs, circa 5-10g for the whole dish. Per portion it will only be a couple of grammes! If you’d rather leave it out, I’d quite understand, but as everything else is very low in carbohydrate, I don’t see this small sacrifice as a problem – the results will be worth it! Stir the cornflour paste into the beef and simmer for a minute or two until the sauce thickens.

All that remains is to ladle the bourguignon into bowls and spoon on your celeriac mix. Few dishes could be more luxurious and resplendently rich than this one. Be sure to enjoy every last mouthful. We certainly did!

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Creamy Bacon, Mozzarella & Courgette Bake with Oven Roasted Pork Loin – the best of a low carb diet!

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Anyone on a ketogenic diet will soon learn to appreciate courgettes as a delicious, reliable staple. They’re incredibly adaptable and can be used in an infinite number of dishes: zoodles, roulade, rosti, or equally a simple weeknight recipe such as this; courgette & mozzarella bake.

Courgettes pick up the favour of anything they’re cooked with, so garlic and bacon form the perfect backdrop for this rich and velvety smooth dish. The zucchini turn buttery soft in the oven, and baked mozzarella complements this wonderfully. Melted cheese is mouthwatering at the best of times – here it blends into the cream to form a decadent, indulgent sauce which is truly delicious!

Because the gratin is so smooth in texture, I’ve teamed it with roasted pork belly. This goes wonderfully crisp in the oven, and serves to contrast and counterpoint the softened courgettes and cream. The combination is incredibly moreish – we had no leftovers whatsoever, all plates were scraped clean! This is music to any cook’s ears; as such, this dish comes highly recommended.

The carb-count is very low, so diabetics and ketogenic-dieters need have no concerns over impact to blood-sugars. There’s no gluten, so those with an intolerance needn’t worry also. Above all however, it is quick and easy to prepare, so can be done any night of the week. In this cold wintry weather, we all crave comfort-food, and it couldn’t get more comforting than this! Give it a go and make sure to tell me how you got on…

Start by sautéing diced bacon in a thick-bottomed gratin-dish or casserole. I used butter and a drizzle of oil to prevent the butter from burning. Add a finely sliced onion and cook until this starts to turn translucent. At this point add chopped garlic and 2 large sliced courgettes (one per person). Continue to cook these on the hob for 5 minutes or so, until the courgettes start to brown and soften.

Meanwhile heavily season your pork belly strips and place onto a baking tray. Oven bake these at the top of the oven until they go crisp and succulent. This should take circa 30-40 minutes in a hot oven.

Once the pork has gone in to roast, crumble a couple of chicken stock-cubes into your sautéing courgette mix for background flavour.  Then stir in double cream until the whole lot is just submerged. Dice mozzarella and mix this in so that it’s evenly distributed throughout. Season well and top the lot with a large handful of grated hard cheese such as cheddar or parmesan. This gives the dish that delicious brown ‘crispness’ on top. A quick sprinkle of dried herbs, then into the oven it goes for circa half an hour until the top is golden and bubbling.

Once all is ready, serve up the lot whilst still piping hot. You can also serve salad or green vegetables alongside if you like, but one thing is definite: big hearty bowlfuls are a must! There’s no better way to enjoy comfort food like this, so huddle up warm and dig in!

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Buttered Bacon ‘Brussels’ with Parmesan – the perfect low carb winter vegetable!

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Winter fare should be rich, hearty and plentiful – and that naturally includes delicious side dishes and interesting ways to prepare vegetables.  Brussels sprouts are a perfect example of how a relatively ‘plain’ vegetable can be transformed into a thing of wonder with a simple twist in its preparation. Around Christmas time ‘brussels’ are in abundance, so take advantage of the seasonal glut and try something a little different from the norm… You won’t regret it!

I must admit that I’ve never been a particular fan of sprouts! That’s until I prepared them in this way – richly sauteed in butter and garnished with a generous grating of parmesan. They retain a delicious peppery ‘nutty’ bite, sufficiently tasty to win over even the toughest of ‘anti-sprout-protesters’! Give this recipe a go and you’ll soon see what I mean. Once tasted, you’ll never prepare them any other way!

Sprouts are a great green vegetable for a low carb diet. At around 5-6g net carbs per 100g, they’re brilliant for diabetics and those on a keto- or paleo-plan. They’ll be no impact to your blood-sugar and they’re packed with micronutrients, making them supremely ‘good for you’, as well as being a perfect keto-friendly foodstuff.

Start by dicing smoked bacon and adding this to a heavy-based saute-pan with a large spoonful of butter. Cook this until it starts to colour, then add a finely sliced onion and a crushed clove of garlic. Continue to saute these until the onion is soft and translucent.

Meanwhile, prepare your sprouts. Cut off the tough base stalk and halve the individual sprouts lengthways. The tougher outer leaves will fall off, which is no problem – simply discard these as the inner leaves have a much nicer texture. Once ready, add your sprouts to the pan and turn up the heat. An extra spoon of butter will help to soften them as they cook.

Pour on a centimetre’s depth of white wine or vermouth, then crumble in a couple of chicken stock-cubes. These provide a background warmth which ’rounds off’ the flavour and combats any acidity. Simmer the brussels for about 20 minutes until tender or until the liquid has evaporated. Season well, then stir through a generous grating of parmesan cheese and chopped basil.

Tumble into a serving dish and rush to the table whilst still piping hot. Delicious!

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Roasted Guinea Fowl with Cauliflower & Chickpeas in a Cumin & Coconut Sauce – low carb and delicious!

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Guinea-fowl is a wonderful thing – beautifully simple to cook and absolutely delicious to eat! Its taste echoes the rich depth of flavour found in pheasant, but lacks the ‘gaminess’ which many people find off-putting. There is also none of of the dryness which can plague game, or poultry like turkey. For this reason, it comes highly recommended and if you haven’t tried it before, I strongly urge you to give it a go. You won’t be disappointed!

Because guinea-fowl has a richer flavour than chicken, it can carry the weight of stronger tasting accompaniments. For this reason I’ve chosen to pair it with cumin, coconut, lemon and a slight hint of chilli. These serve to ‘lift the denseness’ of roasted meat and provide a cleansing ‘zing’ to the palette.

To provide a little textural variation, I’ve also added chickpeas. These have a slightly higher carbohydrate content than other keto-friendly vegetables (circa 10-11g net carbs) so they should therefore be consumed in moderation. They’re packed with micronutrients however, plus they have a lot of dietary fibre; so are a nice addition to the low-carb repertoire if used sparingly!

In spite of the chickpeas, this dish is brilliant for diabetics and those on a ketogenic diet. What carbohydrate there is, is slow-release; so it won’t impact your blood sugar. Paleo-dieters can also dig in, as can those with a gluten-intolerance, because this dish is gluten free! No excuses therefore, so dig in!

Start by roasting your guinea-fowl. Very little fussing is necessary. If you wish to insert a peeled onion and a dessertspoonful of butter into the cavity , then this can only enrich the dish. There’s no need however; it tasted wonderful when I did it without, so it’s up to you. Season your guinea-fowl all over, then place it breast-side down into an oven-dish. Roasting it upside down for the first hour will mean that all the fat and juices sink down into the breast, preventing it from being dry. Once golden and brown on the underside, turn the meat over and re-season the top, making sure to provide enough salt that the skin crisps up and turns a fine, succulent bronze. This will take a further half hour to 45 minutes.

Peel and slice an onion, then sautée this in a little butter & oil, making sure that the butter doesn’t brown. Add chopped garlic and chilli, volume dependent on how strong you like things. Soften these until the onions are translucent. Then add a generous dessertspoonful of cumin powder.

Whilst this is filling the kitchen with a heady aroma, chop your cauliflower and tumble it into the pan. Drain a can of chickpeas and add half of this to the pan, saving the rest for another day. If you have a higher carbohydrate threshold than circa 20g a day, then feel free to add the whole can! Then pour on a centimetre depth of water and season. Whilst the water is reducing, open a can of coconut milk (make sure it’s full fat) and add this to the pan. I also like to crumble in a couple of chicken stock-cubes for ‘warmth’.

Take the guinea-fowl out of the oven (it should be golden brown and succulent) then transfer to a pre-heated serving dish to rest. Add any roasting-juices to your cauliflower-pan – this will add richness and depth of flavour. Then cover the bird well with tinfoil so that it doesn’t get cold.

Meanwhile continue to simmer your cauliflower mix on a low heat for 10 minutes or so, until the coconut milk starts to thicken. Add a tablespoon of desiccated coconut for texture and body, then stir and give the sauce a good taste. Depending on how much chilli you’ve put in, the dish will probably need a little sweetening. Xylitol is very much the low-carb, diabetic-friendly sweetener of choice. It’s 100% natural, doesn’t lose its sweetness in cooking (unlike tabletop sweetener) and behaves exactly like granulated sugar. I couldn’t praise it enough!

Once the taste is adjusted to your preference for sweetness & seasoning, remove from the heat and add a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Spoon the cauliflower mix onto your serving dish beside the guinea fowl. Make sure to pour over any delicious sauce left in the pan – this is no time to scrimp! Finish the dish with a generous handful of chopped herbs (coriander or basil are just perfect). Then simply enjoy!

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 – Port-Braised Leg of Lamb with Stilton Cauliflower Cheese & Greens – a mouthwatering alternative to turkey!

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I absolutely adore turkey, but sometimes we all feel like a change. Slow-roasted leg of lamb is a grand substitute; and every bit as splendid! If you’ve already planned & sorted your main Christmas meal, you can equally prepare this for Boxing Day or New Year’s eve; whenever you have hungry mouths to feed and feel like something that little bit special!

The joy of roast lamb is that it’s ‘at its best’ when left to slow-cook in the oven for a good few hours. The meat is mouthwateringly tender and falls off the bone at the merest suggestion of a fork. A fine crust also develops, which gives that sublimely succulent juxtaposition between unctuously soft meat & salty, crispy topside.

Because the flavour of lamb is so rich, it needs an accompaniment which can hold its own and not compete in flavour. Festive Christmas stilton is the perfect thing for this! It complements the lamb beautifully and has a depth of taste which is second to none. If you can’t get hold of stilton; any rich creamy blue-cheese will work well. But stilton has always been linked with the traditional English Christmas – I give it pride of place therefore, and make every effort to use it as much as possible!

Other than the cauliflower and accompanying vegetables, there is virtually no carbohydrate in this meal. This makes it perfect for diabetics, ketogenic-dieters and those who avoid gluten due to intolerance or preference. The cheese-sauce is a cream-reduction, so contains no flour. All you get therefore is sumptuous, rich decadence, which can be tucked into with gusto!

Start by roasting the lamb. Salt & pepper all sides then place a thick-bottomed casserole onto the hob to heat through. When the pan is good and hot, drizzle in a little oil, then sear your lamb. You want to cook this on each side, until lightly golden all over. Once done, transfer to a hot oven to continue sealing for 20 minutes.

After this time, transfer back to the hob and add roughly quartered shallots and a bay leaf. Whilst it’s still searing hot, deglaze the pan with a generous glug of port and reduce this to half its volume. The cloud of steam is worth enjoying – few things could get you more in the Christmas spirit than the scent of port and roasting meat! Pour on a cup of water, place the lid firmly on the pan and transfer to a slow oven for minimum 2 hours (I always go for 4-6 on a really low heat).

You’ll know the lamb is cooked when the meat starts to ‘give’ in response to slight pressure from a wooden spoon. The odour should be savoury and delicious, filling the house with fine festive flavour. If the lamb has not crusted sufficiently on top, turn up the oven and continue to cook for a further 20 minutes with the lid off. This will complete the browning and reduce whatever liquid remains in the pan to a thick gravy.

Meanwhile, wash and cut your cauliflower into large florets. Bring this to the boil for two minutes, then strain and tumble into a roasting dish.

As the cauliflower is coming to the boil, make your low-carb bechamel. This couldn’t be simpler. Pour a large cupful of double cream into a thick-bottomed pan and crumble in a good handful of stilton. Place on a slow simmer, adding the chopped herb of your choice (I like sage) and a healthy grind of pepper. Once the stilton has completely melted and the sauce is thick and robust, pour this over your cauliflower and then sprinkle with a little grated cheddar to brown. Into a hot oven it goes for 20 minutes until bubbling, golden and delicious on top.

During this time, steam your green vegetables then toss in a little butter. Lift your lamb onto a pre-warmed serving-platter and pile your vegetables to one side. Spoon the cauliflower cheese liberally around the plate, pouring on any sauce that remains in the roasting-tray.

The meat juices and port-reduction make a wonderful gravy to accompany the dish. You’ll find there’s nothing you need to add to this – the flavour will be deliciously deep and profound just as is!

Rush the dish to the table & serve up to the ravening hoards. You’ll probably find you don’t even need a knife to cut the lamb – a spoon will more than likely suffice as the meat falls away in chunks. Few things could be more mouthwatering than this! Just the thing for a rich Christmas feast, when all you desire is perfection!

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.

The Low Carb Christmas – Red Onion, Asparagus, Parmesan & Cream Cheese ‘Parma-Ham Tartlets’ with Truffle-Dressed Leaves. A festive Christmas starter that tastes every bit as good as it looks!

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Christmas is a time of joy and plenty. Of nowhere is this more true than the festive table. In this wonderful season, food comes into its own and proudly takes centre stage. And behind every stage must lie a theatre; in this instance, that theatre is the kitchen – the true heart of every home.

With its gleaming copper pans and lovingly scrubbed oaken-table, the kitchen becomes a place of unrivalled magic at Christmas. There are so many delicious things to prepare that the cook is spoilt for choice; so much so, that selecting the perfect dish becomes more of a challenge than cooking it!

When I began the ketogenic-diet, I was slightly concerned that my kitchen would lose its magic. There’d be no more rolling of pastry or slow rising of bread. But instead of narrowing my repertoire, the low carb diet has expanded my horizons and pushed me to try new things. That must be a benefit!

With a little imagination, the low carb kitchen can yield a stunning diversity. Take these tartlets for example. They require none of the fiddly mess of pastry, nor induce the ‘bloat’ it brings on. They’re perfect for diabetics or those with a gluten-intolerance; not to mention those on a low-carb ‘keto-plan’ (like me!).

Such dishes may look complicated, but it doesn’t follow that their preparation should be either arduous or stressful. This recipe is incredibly simple & is perfect for a Christmas starter or light brunch. It can be made ahead of time and assembled at the last moment; a real boon on Christmas day, when time has a habit of running away with itself!

The first thing to tackle is the parma-ham tart-cases. Lightly oil a muffin tray or Yorkshire-Pudding tin. Cut your parma ham into lengths which just sit proud of the surface. This allows for shrinkage. Two slices per tartlet should be sufficient. You can use the trimmings to plug any gaps you have, to create a seamless shell. Into a hot oven they go for 10 minutes max. You want the sides to be ever so slightly brown, but not too crisp. Once done, take out of the oven and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, slice your asparagus spears into very thin rounds. Boil these for one minute in a shallow pan of water. I added half a stock-cube to this, plus a small ‘crush’ of garlic to provide background flavour. After the time has elapsed. strain the liquid and refresh your asparagus under the cold-tap to arrest the cooking process.

Finely chop a red onion and sauté in butter until soft and translucent. Then remove from the pan, and lay thinly on a plate to cool. The trick is as follows: the greater the surface-area of your plate, the quicker the cooling time!

Grate a little parmesan cheese into a mixing-bowl and sprinkle a generous spoonful of chopped basil on top. Once your asparagus and onion are at room-temperature, add these to the bowl and season well. Stir in an equal quantity of cream-cheese by eye and loosen the mix with a quick pour of double-cream and squeeze of lemon-juice. The texture we’re looking for like a mousse. If it’s too solid, ad a little more cream.

Taste the mix to adjust for seasoning, then spoon into your cooled tart-cases, piling the mix up in a generous mound. This is no time to scrimp! Top the tartlets with a thin slice of tomato & lemon-zest, then garnish the dish with fresh salad-leaves.

Though in no way essential, a drizzle of truffle-oil finishes the lot to perfection! Don’t worry if you can’t get hold of this – a good vinaigrette will serve just as well. Either way, the results will be flawless!

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

Enjoy the festive season and thank you for reading.

Bon ap!

Adam.

The Low Carb Christmas – Traditional Christmas Dinner with All the Trimmings! Roasted poussin, celeriac, ‘pigs in blankets’, stuffing & gravy. A festive masterpiece!

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Few things can be more splendid than the sight of the festive table, groaning with a traditional Christmas dinner and all its trimmings. Whilst the classic roast turkey is a firm favourite, Christmas day itself is always a frantically busy time. Relatives are visited, friends drop by and there’s generally a thousand and one things to do around the house. This makes the four-hour roasting-time of a whole turkey more than a little problematic and stressful!

To combat this, a wonderful alternative is roasted poussin. Not only does this offer sublime results in a fraction of the time; there’s also a feeling of utter decadence when guests are presented with a whole Christmas bird all of their very own! There’s something innately cheering about a festive platter stacked to the gunnels with individually roasted fowl. It’s a sight that’s as mouth-watering as it is delicious.

When you cook this, you’ll find it hard to believe that this dish is low carb. It’s every bit as hearty and satisfying as its starch-laden counterpart, but offers none of the bloat, soaring blood sugars or feeling of being as stuffed as the very bird itself! Unlike traditional Christmas dinners of old, you may even find yourself ready and raring to tackle a low carb pudding or two (watch this space). As such, this delicious variant is absolutely perfect for diabetics, those on a ketogenic diet and paleo fans alike. It’s also gluten free, so those with an intolerance to wheat can enjoy this as much as the rest of us.

Beyond mere nutrition however, this dish is everything a Christmas Dinner ought to be! Nothing is missed out or compromised; it’s wholly true to the classic. This will come as a relief, as working out what to cook at Christmas can be hard on a low-carb diet. This solves all the problems in one fell swoop!

Start with the Stuffing. Finely chop an onion, one courgette, and a handful of sage. Add these to a large mixing bowl then stir in 2 handfuls of roughly diced mushrooms, the same volume of bite-size chunks of sausage-meat (or sliced sausage) and circa 400g of ground almonds. If you fancy it, you can add the grated zest of half an orange and a small pinch of nutmeg. These lend the dish a festive freshness and give the whole kitchen that delicious Christmassy aroma as they cook. Season the mix really well and stir in some dried sage in addition to fresh. Beat three eggs and mix these in, so that you have a texture which clumps and sticks together with a pleasing denseness.

Butter a baking-dish, then spread your mixture to minimum one centimetre in depth. Generously spot the top with knobs of salted butter, then bake for 1 hour, until brown and crunchy on top, and wonderfully aromatic!

Next, move on to your celeriac. Peel ‘the big ugly’ and dice into 1.5 inch chunks. Bring to the boil in a pan of water, then strain, and tip into a roasting-pan. On the hob (or in the microwave) heat goose fat until good and hot. You’ll know when it’s done if a droplet of water ‘spacks’ when added. There’s no obligation to use goose-fat; sunflower oil will do as an alternative, but nothing quite rivals the rich taste, or provides an equal degree of richness. Ladle your fat over the celeriac, then sprinkle on a liberal pinch of seas-salt. I like to follow this with a good grind of black pepper and a light dusting of dried herbs. Into the oven they go for an hour until crisp and brown.

Roughly quarter two large onions and arrange these in the bottom of a second roasting-dish. Place your pousssin breast side down atop the onion and liberally season the skin. Why upside down? The fat will soak into the breast and mean that the meat is succulent and tender. Sprinkle with dried sage, then into the oven it goes alongside the celeriac. After half an hour (or once the underside has browned), turn the birds the right way over and season the breast-skin. A few more dried herbs will give the top a fine speckle add to the aroma. Place the dish back into the oven and cook for a further 20 minutes, to brown on top.

Once golden, remove the poussin from the oven and pour the meat-juices into a separate saucepan. Cover the birds with a thick coating of tin-foil to allow the meat to rest.

Just before you turn the poultry, prepare your ‘pigs in blankets’. You have a choice here. You can use chipolatas, sausage-meat balls or cut the sausage-meat into rondelles. I chose the latter for speed and convenience. Wrap the sausage-meat in smoked streaky-bacon then season. Place these onto a baking-sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes until brown and succulent.

Meanwhile, make your gravy. Place the saucepan with your meat juices onto the hob, then add a tiny splash of vermouth, white-wine or sherry. Top up with an inch of hot water, crumble in a chicken stock-cube, then simmer for ten minutes on a low heat. Just prior to service, swirl a good glug of double-cream into the pan and taste to adjust the seasoning.

Finally cook your vegetables. Here I chose baby leeks, sprouting broccoli, mange-tout and baby-corn. Surprisingly enough, young corn-cobs are reasonably low carb. As they get older, they gain in sugar and starch, so mature corn-on-the-cob is best avoided. Steam these in a shallow pan of water, ensuring that the water goes no higher than ‘waist-height’ on the vegetables. Once tender but still retaining their bite; strain and place back into the pan with the lid on to keep them hot. A knob of butter can also be added for richness, but that’s entirely up to you!

All should now be in readiness. Transfer your rested meat onto a warmed serving-platter then pile your roasted celeriac to one side. You can keep the stuffing in its own dish, or spoon around the poussin if you prefer. Place the sausage-meat ‘pigs in blankets’ around the dish, then tumble on your vegetables. Finally ladle a little gravy all around, retaining the rest in a warmed sauce-boat to serve at table.

Your Christmas feast is ready! Carry the serving-platter to your hungry diners and let everyone dig in. They certainly won’t be disappointed!

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

Enjoy the festive season and thank you for reading.

Bon ap!

Adam.

The Low Carb Christmas – Beautiful Low Carbohydrate Recipes to Celebrate the Festive Season!

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Heap on more wood! the wind is chill;
But let it whistle as it will,
We’ll keep our Christmas merry still.
Each age has deem’d the new-born year
The fittest time for festal cheer:

Christmas is truly a time of unrivalled joy. As the days count down, the home is slowly transformed into a place of magic and wonder. Once familiar rooms suddenly spring to life, as garlands of bright green holly & ivy are brought in to ‘deck the halls’ with festive cheer. The delicate glass-baubles, hung so lovingly on the Christmas Tree; softly reflect the glow of a roaring fire and the light of a myriad dancing candle-flames.

As presents are wrapped and cards written; the kitchen too makes ready, and sings its own unique carol of joy. Pan lids clatter and best china is scrubbed; a busy hubub of merriment against a backdrop of fragrant spices & delicious roasting meats. For it is in the kitchen that magic occurs. The well-stocked larder seems boundless in its plenty, and mealtimes, so often rushed; become a ritual symbol of merriment and togetherness.

I absolutely love Christmas. It’s without doubt my favourite time of year. To honour this, I’ve devoted December’s recipes to a selection of festive dishes which will proudly grace the Christmas table. There’s a whole host of delicious low-carb food which is there to be enjoyed. And I hope you’ll enjoy it with me!

For the next couple of weeks, Country Walks in Ketosis offers The Low Carb Christmas. Starting first of all with a delicious take on the classic Christmas dinner.

I hope your run-up to Christmas is a happy one.

Thank you for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

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Griddled Lamb Steaks with Creamy Mushroom, Pepper & Courgette Stroganov – Low Carb Dishes Don’t Get Any Better Than This!

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This was the nicest meal I’ve had in a long time. I can’t therefore praise it enough! There’s something about stroganov that innately speaks ‘comfort-food’. It’s creamy, rich and filling; but has just the right amount of kick due to the heat of paprika. This makes it the perfect thing for a chilly winter’s evening.

Lamb is also a firm favourite. If you’re going to pair meat with something like stroganov; the meat needs sufficient flavour to hold its own against the sauce. Beef or lamb is therefore ideal, whereas something like chicken would risk getting lost. The cut I chose was lamb leg-steaks. These are quick to cook and remain tender, despite their relatively short time in the pan.

Once you’ve tried this, you’ll understand why I like it. The whole thing is ready in 30-40 minutes, and it doesn’t require ‘standing over’ or mothering whilst it cooks. Beyond all else however, it is supremely delicious. Due to the very low carb-content, this recipe is suitable for diabetics and gluten-intolerants. If you’re on a paleo-diet it is also ideal. In fact, I recommend it to everybody!

Start by making your stroganov. Finely slice a large onion and soften this in a sauté-pan with a little butter and oil. Adding oil to the butter stops the latter from burning. Burnt butter is not only careless, it’s also shameful and a wasteful tragedy! There; you’ve been told – don’t let it burn!

Roughly chop peppers and courgette and add these to the pan, followed by whole mushrooms. If these are on the large side, simply cut them down the middle. This dish requires chunks however, so not too small. Crush in two cloves of garlic, add a chopped chilli and sprinkle on two teaspoons of paprika.

Leave to cook for a minute or so, then deglaze the pan. I like to do this first with a small quantity of vodka, then follow it by a little dry vermouth for sweetness. An inquisitive nose held over the pan will be rewarded with a powerful waft of fragrantly alcoholic steam. A cook must get their perks somehow…!

Once the liquid has reduced, pour on a cupful of water and crumble in a chicken stock cube. Simmer for 20 minutes, then swirl in generous glug of cream. Taste the sauce to check for seasoning and adjust if required.

Meanwhile place a griddle-pan or thick-bottomed skillet on the hob. Once this is really hot, season your lamb steaks and coat with a small quantity of oil. Then lower these into the pan, enjoying the playful sizzle as they hit the dry metal. Few things can be more mouth-watering than the scent of seared lamb. Be sure to enjoy it for the full six minutes; three minutes on each side to retain an element of the medium rare!

Spoon your stroganov onto a heated serving-dish, then lift your lamb out of the skillet and place next to your vegetables. Garnish the finished dish with a a sprinkle of chopped basil or parsley then rush to the table whilst the lamb is still sizzling.

There’s only one word for this… Divinely delicious! Okay, so that was two, but one didn’t quite seem to do it justice!

However many words you end up using, be sure to give this a go and let me know the results.

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Creamy Goan Lamb Curry with Coconut, Mushrooms & Rainbow Peppers – aromatic, delicious and low in carbs!

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Goan curry is very much the unsung hero of the spice-world. Its true beauty lies in the fact that it’s aromatic and mildly spiced; completely lacking the often intensive ‘chilli kick’ of its hotter Indian counterparts. The habitual use of coconut milk adds a rich creaminess, which perfectly complements the mellow flavour and adds just the right touch of sweetness.

Beyond its exquisite flavour, Goan curry has another string to its ample bow – it’s a true joy to cook and is incredibly simple & straightforward. Don’t get me wrong; I love the intricate grinding, blending and mixing of a good home-made curry, but sometimes you just want something easy. This dish is certainly that; yet tastes anything but! There are no pastes to make, or spices to roast and grind. The whole thing can be made from store-cupboard staples and is powder-based; so a spoon is all you need to measure out the ingredients and create the flavour.

This dish works equally well with fish, chicken or vegetables; indeed chicken and fish are the Goan staples. Here however, I’ve chosen to use minced lamb on account of its deep, rich, succulence. The smell which fills the kitchen when you cook with lamb is mouthwatering beyond compare. Add to this the perfumed, exotic scent of ground spices and you’ll want to cook this time and time again!

Start with the marinade. Measure the following into a large mixing-bowl: 1 1/2 tablespoons of ground coriander, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of paprrika, 1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon of chilli powder, a tablespoon of lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of water and a generous pinch of salt. Mix all together, then add your lamb-mince, or whichever meat you choose to use. Amalgamate well and leave to infuse in flavour for at least half an hour.

Meanwhile, prepare your vegetables. Finely slice a large onion and crush two cloves of garlic. De-seed half a red pepper, yellow pepper and green pepper, then chop these into bite-size chunks. Roughly slice a couple of handfuls of mushrooms and set all aside in a bowl. Any spare vegetables that need using can also go in. I had some mange-tout which needed a home, so in they went!

After half an hour, heat a little oil in a heavy pan on the hob and spoon in your marinated meat. The smell should be divine! Sear and brown the lamb until pleasingly coloured, then add your vegetables and stir through. Leave these to cook for ten minutes until soft, then crank up the heat and add in a can of coconut milk, mixed with an inch of water. Crumble in a chicken stock cube for background depth, then spoon in a dollop of dijon mustard (a good teaspoonful!).

Leave to simmer on a low heat until the sauce is thick and glossy, circa 20 minutes. Once done, sprinkle over a generous handful of chopped basil and take to the table.

I have a confession to make here. I was going to serve this with some cauliflower-rice that I had pre-cooked in the fridge. Somebody (who will remain nameless) found this however, and polished off the lot for lunch whilst I was at work! I think I’ll need to install a lock on the fridge-door, to save my carefully planned meals from scavenging, peckish diabetics! My backup plan was a quick sauté of courgette-noodles. Equally delicious, if slightly less classical…!

Whatever you end up serving this with, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Fiery Jamaican Chicken & Pork with Rum, Coconut & Turmeric Rice – a low carb taste of sunshine!

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Okay, so I freely admit that both chicken and pork may seem a little excessive; but sometimes life is there to be lived, so why hold back?!

This dish in no way requires the two; feel free to use either independently. Let’s just say I was feeling extravagant; but the results are well worth it!

There are some flavour-combinations which make you feel glad to be alive; and this is one of them! The sweet creaminess of coconut-milk and rich, warm depth of chicken-stock form the perfect basis for so many recipes – Jamaican, Thai, Indian… the choice is endless. But this particular dish has an added bonus – white rum!

There’s no need to worry about the carb-content of rum. This is a low-carb blog, so anything you see here will be suitable for ketogenic-dieters, diabetics and those following a paleo-regime. The net carbs of white rum is between 0 – 0.1g per 100ml, and we’re only using a fraction of that! Be careful not to mistake it for dark rum however. That’s a different kettle of fish entirely. Although not massively high, the sugar-content varies enormously, so I always feel it’s better to be safe than sorry!

The rice I use here, is my standard cauliflower-rice recipe; just with half a teaspoon of turmeric added when it goes into the pan. If you don’t know how to make this, take a quick look at the following recipe and all will become clear. It couldn’t be simpler, so don’t be put off by trying something new. You won’t be sorry you did!

Start by placing a heavy-based pan onto the hob, and browning your diced chicken & pork in a little butter mixed with oil. Then add sliced onion, chopped garlic, chilli and a sprinkle of dried thyme. Continue to hob-cook until the meat is golden brown and the vegetables soft & tender.

Once this has occurred, crank up the heat and deglaze the pan with a healthy glug of white rum. Standing with your nose over the pan at this point is an experience like no other! The rum billows out in a cloud of steam, carrying with it the alcohol-content and acidity. All you’re left with is the sweet flavour of spices, and a comforting, exotic ‘warmth’.

Once the spirit has reduced, add a cupful of water and crumble in a chicken stock-cube. Pour on half a can of coconut milk (not low fat!!) and stir in well to incorporate altogether. If you wish, you can also grate in the zest of half an orange, to add perfume; but this is entirely a matter of preference.

Simmer this on a low heat whilst you prepare your rice. After ten minutes or so, the sauce should be thick, glossy and smooth. Taste to adjust the seasoning, then squeeze in a good whack of lime juice, followed by chopped basil.

Transfer your rice to a pre-warmed serving-dish, then ladle on the meat and sauce in generous quantities.

The taste of this dish really is sublime. I can’t recommend it highly enough! Even though it’s cold outside, your kitchen is transformed into that much longed-for place in the sun. A true tonic for the soul, if ever there was one.

Just add a low-carb mojito to the mix, and paradise will be yours!

Thank you for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Succulent Roast Gammon with Braised Autumn Vegetables in Creme Fraiche – with food this good, who needs carbs?

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Gammon is one of those incredibly warm and comforting foods. A fine crackling crust gives way to unctuously tender meat, that literally melts in the mouth. The curing & smoking process lends it a pleasing saltiness, which is incredibly moreish. And as for taste; its depth and intensity requires little fussing! Any attempt to complicate the flavour will most certainly end in a fight! You’ll end up with an over-powering muddle of flavours which is as muddy as it is disappointing. Gammon is a thing best prepared as simply as possible. And that’s equally to cook’s advantage – maximum reward for minimum effort!

Here the vegetables are cooked alongside the meat. This allows the flavours to slowly infuse together, making the resultant sauce a true triumph of taste and texture. A final swirl of creme-fraiche puts the cherry on the cake in terms of luxury; adding a velvety smoothness which is beyond compare. If you don’t take my word for it, give it a go yourself. You won’t regret the effort. Just be sure to tell me how you got on…!

Due to the salt content of gammon, it’s best to season mainly with pepper and dried herbs alone. Seal the meat on all sides in a little butter and oil, then place into the oven for 20 minutes whilst you prepare your vegetables.

Roughly dice whatever veg you have to hand. I chose a proud autumn selection – butternut squash, celery, yellow-pepper, red onion, and a little celeriac. Add these to your pan, so that they surround the meat and stir around with a wooden spoon so that they’re well coated in oil. If there’s insufficient in the pan, drizzle on a little olive oil to prevent the mix from sticking. Sprinkle on some dried thyme & chopped garlic, then dot a bay-leaf or two around the meat for background depth. Return the pan to the oven and continue to roast for one hour, or until the gammon is golden brown and succulent.

Once the meat is cooked, remove the gammon to your serving-dish and cover with tinfoil to rest and keep warm. Both the pork and vegetables with have surrendered a lot of liquid, so the dish is braised rather than roast. This is all to the good, as it means we have a ready-made sauce! Taste this to adjust for seasoning, then stir in a generous tablespoon of creme-fraiche and swirl around. Spoon the vegetables into your serving-dish alongside the gammon, then pour on your sauce.

A garnish of fresh herbs is all you need to complete the dish. It’s truly amazing how something so simple can be so packed with flavour. As I said in the title – with food this good, who needs carbs??  Not me, that’s for sure!

Thank you for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Silesian Sausages in a Mustard Butter Sauce – a true culinary triumph! Low in carbs, high in flavour…

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Few dishes can abound in flavour as much as this one! Hot smoky paprika, fiery mustard & peppery rocket-leaves; all tempered by the rich warmth of chicken-stock and the creamy smoothness of butter. I love the food of Eastern Europe. There’s a fresh vibrancy to it, that’s like no other.

But behind the often confrontational flavours lies a timeless polish; a food-culture that’s cherished and valued, passed down with diligence from generation to generation like the most precious of treasures. This is not the food of urban restaurants and cookbooks; rather the cuisine born of warm kitchens, family-mealtimes and love. It’s good, plain, honest fare which nurtures & satisfies; and for this reason, I applaud it wholeheartedly!

Silesia is a region that has seen its fair share of history! Once part of Bohemia, it has since passed through Austrian hands, been part of Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia. Its food speaks of all these places; possessing a rich diversity all of its own.

For those on a low-carb diet; the warm ‘heartiness’ of such cuisine is a true god-send! A lot of recipes lacking in carbohydrate also lack body and substance. Well this dish is succulent, tasty and filling. Diabetics & gluten-intolerants can also share in the feast. There’s even room for the paleo-fans, if they so wish! Now we’re all gathered, it’s time to start cooking…

Begin with your mustard-sauce. Finely slice a couple of shallots, or half an onion; and sauté these in butter until soft, tender & translucent. Cover to half an inch in depth with boiling water and stir in half a chicken stock-cube. Season well and add a generous rounded teaspoonful of Dijon mustard. Simmer lightly for 15 minutes or until the sauce has reduced by half, and is thick and glossy. Finish it to perfection with a good whack of finely chopped basil.

Meanwhile slice your Polish sausages into half-inch chunks. The sausage can be sokolow, kielbasa or anything you can get your hands on. As long as it contains paprika and garlic you should be fine! Sauté these in a thick-bottomed pan for three to five minutes, stirring occasionally. Once they’re browned and golden, you’re ready.

Tumble your sausages into a pre-warmed serving dish and pour your mustard-sauce all over. Serve with handfuls of peppery rocket-salad or watercress; no dressing, just beautifully natural!

I prepared this as a starter; but it would equally do you proud as a main course, served with steamed vegetables in place of salad.

All that’s left is to dig in! Delicious!

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Wintry Drover’s Turkey with Smoked Back-Bacon, Leeks & Fennel – a Low Carb Winter’s Tale!

drover's turkey

Throughout the 16th, 17th & 18th centuries, December saw the roads into London transformed into a winter wonderland of feathers, fowl and frenzy! The Great Drove was afoot!

Hungry urban mouths had to be fed, and this meant the mass import of livestock and produce into the capital from the surrounding countryside. All in preparation for the resplendently festive Christmas table! These thoroughfares were known as ‘drove-roads’ and it was the drover’s job to slowly herd his gaggle of squawking geese and turkeys into the big city, where his lovingly tended flock would command a far higher price amongst the capital’s rapidly aspiring middle-classes.

The soul leaps for joy at the very thought! An army of slowly shuffling webbed-feet as far as the eye can see! What a cacophony of sound must have met the ear. Honking and quacking, chattering and squawking! All tended by an anxious drovesman, desperate to ensure his livelihood was delivered safe and sound in one piece!

These drove-roads extended some hundreds of miles. Such a pilgrimage must truly have been a wonder to behold! And what of the drovers? The journey was long and cold. Their solace was the conveniently dispersed network of country inns and coaching-houses, all of which offered a tempting draft of ale and good plain, simple English fare. This was meant to fill, nourish and sustain the weary traveller through whatever hardships the road might throw his way.

In return for a share of groaning tables laden with rustic cheeses, meat-pies, roasted meats and freshly-baked bread; the drover would occasionally sacrifice a straggler or two from his flock in payment. These offerings would’ve been prepared in the simplest of ways; drawing their rich flavour from the time-honoured staples of the English country larder. The mouth waters at the thought of rich, salty smoked bacon, freshly churned butter, sweet winter-store onions and hardy garden herbs.

This dish pays tribute to the drovers of old. Although their toil is long past, it is not forgotten! At this time of year, I smile to think of the trials they must have faced, and the stories they told around the warm fires of crowded coaching inns. Whilst loyal to their memory, I cannot entirely echo their diet! This is a low-carb blog; so the bread and pastry which sustained them through the cold winter nights will not be bolstering my own fat reserves! My energy needs are not a fraction of theirs; nor is my constitution! But when food is as rich and wholesome as this, who needs carbohydrate? Not we!

This recipe requires a good, sturdy cast-iron pan. Place this on the hob with a generous knob of butter. Dice your smoked bacon into small chunks and pan-fry until golden and brown. Add to this coarsely chopped onion, leeks and garlic, then add your turkey to the pan. Seal this on a high heat, before stirring in sliced fennel and a good whack of chopped fresh herbs. Warmly fragrant sage and thyme would be my choice, but this can naturally be varied to your preference.

Pour on boiling water until the liquid just laps ‘chin-height’ of the pan’s contents. Please note – no wine or alcohol is needed to deglaze this dish. The flavour is delivered solely by the plain, honest and wholesome ingredients we see before us; tangy fennel, smoked bacon and savoury herbs. We need nothing more.

Place the lid firmly on the pan and oven-roast for up to one hour, until the liquid is all but reduced and the turkey is soft and tender. I serve this with baked garlic field-mushrooms, cooked for 20 minutes in a hot oven with a generous spoon of garlic butter on top and lots of freshly milled black-pepper.

So at table in the warm; spare a thought or two to the drover on his long, hard journey. And maybe raise a glass to his memory. His food legacy will certainly not disappoint, so lets all drink to that!

Thank you for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Spicy Chilli-Beef Meatballs with Tomato Ragout, Steamed Romanesco & Manchego – low carb, fast & delicious!

meatballs

 

Back home late from work? Well this dish is low-carb in a hurry! Having said that, there’s no compromise on flavour, and you still get that wonderful home-cooked taste and feel! So if it’s nurture you’re after; what could be more delicious than meatballs in a rich tomato sauce covered with cheese?? Few things, I’ll wager!

As is the case with all the recipes on this site, there’s no gluten involved, so those with allergies or gluten-intolerance can tuck in without issue. Because the levels of carbohydrate are incredibly low, type 1&2 diabetics need have no fears over blood-sugar spikes or insulin-matching. This is LCHF to the core, so ketogenic-dieters and paleo-fans are all welcome at the table! There’s plenty to go around!

When I say ‘spicy chilli-beef meatballs’, the chilli is predominantly included in the sauce. If you have more time however, you can add this to the meatball mix itself. I was up against the clock to get a meal on the table, so I took the short-cut. I leave it up to you which route you follow.

Start by making your sauce. Finely slice leek, shallots or onion and sauté these in olive-oil and butter until tender and translucent. Add 2 crushed cloves of garlic and a sprinkle of dried chilli-flakes (to taste). Cook for a minute, then pour on a centimetre’s depth of port, enjoying the ‘sigh’ as it hits the pan.

Wine is not great on a ketogenic-diet due to its relatively high sugar content. To avoid opening a bottle just for cooking, I keep two bottles in the cupboard – one of dry vermouth, to take the place of white wine; and another of port to serve as red. Neither of these suffer from being consumed over a long period of time, plus it makes things considerably cheaper in the long run.

 

Strain the liquid from half a can of tomatoes and add these to the pan, plus a little water to be getting on with. Why not simply use the tomato juice? Carbs. Crumble in a beef stock-cube and a teaspoon full of mixed, dried herbs. Simmer for 20 minutes until thick and glossy.

Meanwhile make your meatballs. Season your minced beef with a generous hand and sprinkle in half a teaspoon of hot-chilli-powder. You can use fresh chillies if you wish, but I was trying to cut down on labour so opted for the powder. You can also buy excelled ‘pre-formed’ fresh-meatballs from most supermarkets. If that is your chosen option, simply dust these with a light-coating of chilli-powder and cook in the same way.

Place your meatballs onto a baking-sheet and oven bake for 15 minutes until succulently brown and delicious!

While these are in the oven, detach the romanesco-florets from the stalk one by one, so that you preserve their fine structure. Bring a pan of water to the boil then add the florets respectfully into the water. After two minutes on the boil, drain and plunge into cold water to preserve the verdant green and texture. Once cool, tumble back into the pan and place into the oven for a final 5 minutes to heat through. You can simply serve this straight from the boil, but it always seems a shame if it loses its bright vibrancy. If you too are under time-constraints, I certainly wouldn’t judge you for taking the shortcut.

When all is ready, take the meatballs and romanesco from the oven and tumble these into your pre-warmed serving-dish. Pour your sauce liberally over the top and sprinkle with a shocking amount of grated cheese. I used manchego on account of its taste and texture; but parmesan or cheddar would equally put on a splendid show! Garnish with a final flurry of chopped herbs et voila! Dinner is served.

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.