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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

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Light & Tender Slow-Cooked ‘Lamb Vermouth’ with Fast Halloumi Vegetable Gratin – ultra easy, ultra satisfying; ultra low carb!

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People often mistakenly think that if you cook red meat, then it must be paired with an equally dark, robust & red sauce (picture red wine, brandy or port…). In actual fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Take this lamb dish for example. The sauce is built upon a base of dry vermouth (martini) and chicken stock. The comparative sweetness of the fortified wine and the richness of the stock serve to ‘brighten’ the dish and add a lightness which is uniquely refreshing.

I’m the first to hold up my hand up when it comes to doing things traditionally; but I sometimes find that when deep profound flavours (like lamb and port) get piled up on top of one another; a dish can tend to become a little heavy, and even muddy in flavour. If you can lighten something, then I’m all for it – after all, lamb is historically a late springtime dish; so lets put a little of the ‘spring’ back into its step with a gentler approach to its often more formulaic preparation!

I’ve teamed this with a quick gratin of mixed vegetables – cauliflower, green beans and beansprouts; gratinated with halloumi and cambozola. The ingredients here are infinitely variable, but I find the taste combination of the salty halloumi and ‘gamey lamb’ to be one that’s wholly sublime. As long as you chop the vegetables into pieces no thicker than a green bean, you can use any vegetable e.g. peppers, onions, mushrooms, celeriac, courgette; even kale!

One of the principal reasons for the vegetable choice here is carbohydrate content. Cauliflower has a mere 1.5g of net carbs per 100g, coupled with beansprouts at 4.2g and green beans at 3.8g. None of these will ‘break the carb bank’ and all are quick to cook, with a fresh clean flavour that somehow seems suited to this time of year. Because the lamb is slow-cooked in the oven for at least four hours, we want to accompany it with something that’s ultra fast to prepare, yet doesn’t let the side down in terms of flavour or charm.  Such a medley as this will therefore ‘hold its head high’ and do us proud in the face of its competition. Who could ask for more?!

Before we commence, just a quick word on the cooking method. Rather surprisingly, slow-cooking is actually the perfect thing for a weeknight. At the right temperature, dishes like this can be left in the oven all day, meaning that dinner is practically ready for you when you get home. If you’ve got an electric oven, then circa 120-130ºc, or 1/2 gas mark if you’re using gas. I have an Aga, so it’s the simmering-oven the whole way for me! As long as you cover the meat to allow for moisture evaporation, you’ll be absolutely fine. It can sometimes be a nerve-racking ‘leap of faith’ to put something into the oven first thing in the morning then to leave it there all day; but believe me, this couldn’t be simpler, and the results will speak for themselves! So give it a go – you won’t regret it!

Now that we’re all set, it’s time to get started! Any cut of lamb will do; I used the old-fashioned but aptly named ‘scrag end’ of lamb. This is effectively neck-steaks, cut still on the bone, which respond beautifully to slow-cooking. If you’re feeling more extravagant than me however, feel free to use leg of lamb, chops or indeed diced ‘mixed’ cuts. The results will be just as delicious, whichever you choose!

To cook the lamb, season the meat liberally then place a heavy-bottomed casserole onto the hob with a little oil. Seal the meat on a high heat until lightly golden on all sides. Remove the lamb from the pan briefly, then tumble in a roughly diced onion and add a sprinkle of dried rosemary (or any herb to your preference).

Once the onions start to soften, deglaze the pan with a whooshing glug of vermouth, enjoying the splendid sigh of steam as the alcohol evaporates into thin air right before your eyes. Then crumble a chicken stock-cube or pour on sufficient fresh stock to cover the lamb once you’ve replaced it into the pan. If you’re using cubes, put the meat back in and pour on enough water to cover the contents (waist-height if you plan to cook this more quickly). Then simply throw in a couple of unpeeled garlic cloves (unpeeled so that they can be lifted out afterwards), season well and place into a low oven as above for 4 to eight hours.

Half an hour before you’re ready to serve, take the lamb out of the oven to check on progress. The meat should be unctuously tender and fall from the bone with the merest suggestion of a wooden-spoon. Depending on how much liquid you like, if there’s more than a cm’s depth, ladle some out (you want the sauce to thicken slightly) and replace the pan lid off  back into a hot oven to reduce and for the lamb to develop a delicious thick crust on top. If it’s already there without needing to go back in uncovered, then you’ll have saved yourself a job and you can simply replace the lid and leave it to one side until you’re ready to serve up.

Meanwhile prepare your gratin. Place a knob of butter into a pan on the hob and tip in your topped-and-tailed green-beans ( a generous half-handful per person). Sauté for a minute or two, then add in finely sliced cauliflower (to same thickness as the beans). Then pour on boiling water until the vegetables  are ‘ankle-deep’ in liquid, before crumbling in a final stock-cube for good measure. Then sprinkle on chopped chilli (I used x1 red chilli including seeds), to provide a little background heat; then leave to simmer for a further minute. Once the cauliflower is starting to go al dente, sprinkle on a couple of handfuls of beansprouts and top the lot with thick wedges of halloumi and/or blue brie (cambozola). As I say, there’s no need to be precious about the type – use whatever cheese you like or have to hand. Cheddar would be equally good, as would parmesan, stilton or camembert. The world is your oyster. Once layered, transfer the dish to a hot oven for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and sizzling.

When all is ready, ladle your stewed lamb into bowls and spoon your bubbling gratin all around. Finish the dish with a flourish of fresh herbs (basil or oregano are ideal), then dig in whilst all is still piping hot! From start to finish you’ll find that every last mouthful is delicious! But don’t just take my word for it – give it a go and find out for yourself. 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.

Quick Low Carb Blueberry & Vanilla Cake – decadently delicious; effortlessly easy! Or substitute raspberries for an ultra low carb treat!

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Any diet where pudding is possible is certainly a winner in my book! One of the only difficult things about a low carb, ketogenic diet though, is the lack of readily available ‘snack’ items or desserts. There are times when you really crave something sweet, yet nothing is commercially available which seems to cut the low carb mustard! To remedy this, I always make sure to have a stockpile of cake and low carb biscuits pre-prepared and ready to hand. This way, you always know that what you’re eating is keto-friendly and in plentiful supply.

Well this recipe is one such staple! It’s incredibly easy to do and ready in just over half an hour. This means that even if you’ve already started preparing dinner, you can still whip up a last minute wonder that’s deliciously tasty and nutritious. Once made, I often cut the cake into one-portion squares, so they’re ‘ready to go’ when you are… For that reason alone, this recipe has become a staunch favourite – few things could be simpler or more satisfying!

In this particular version, I’ve chosen to include blueberries. At circa 9g net carbs per 100g, they’re one of the few fruits which are truly keto-friendly. And even if 9g still sounds on the high side, please bear in mind that we’re only using 3/4 of this amount for the whole cake. 75g of blueberries is more than sufficient for our needs; the flavour permeates the cake mix and forms beautiful pools of dark inky blue, which is ultimately all we could ask for!

If you’re still feeling shy of the additional carbs, give this recipe a go using raspberries. They’re practically half the carbs of blueberries at circa 4.8g. Their flavour is just as delicious and their colour equally profound. Other substitutions would be coconut flakes, cocoa or macadamia nuts. Or why not try a scaled down mix of the lot for a truly indulgent low carb treat!

Any of the above options are sufficiently low in carbohydrate to make this dish eminently suitable for diabetics, paleo-dieters and those on a ketogenic plan. There’s also no glucose, so coeliacs or those with an intolerance to wheat can also enjoy this recipe. It’s a true ‘all-rounder’, so I strongly urge you to give it a go post haste!

To make the cake, measure up 6oz of xylitol sweetener and 6oz of unsalted butter. I always use xylitol in baking. In my experience, it’s the only sweetener which retains its sweetness once cooked; and its granular texture means that it behaves exactly like sugar in cake-recipes. Cream the two together by hand until they’re light and fluffy, then give your hands a good wash to whisk up the eggs.

Break 3 eggs into a bowl and whisk lightly with a fork until smooth. If you’re using vanilla-pods, scrape out the seeds of one pod and add this to the mix. If you prefer dried vanilla powder (as I used), half a teaspoon should be more than enough. You can equally use vanilla-essence, but this tends to contain liquid sugar-syrup, which isn’t ideal from a carb-perspective. If you choose this option, make sure to read the label carefully and buy a production without additional sugar.

Incorporate the egg into the creamed butter and sugar a little at a time. Again, I always find that using your hand allows the maximum quantity of air to be locked into the mix. Tilt the bowl at an angle and fluff the mix upwards so that the motion elevates the mix rather than flattens it (as will happen if you go at it horizontally with a spoon).

Weigh up 6oz of ground-almonds and stir in 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. Fold this into the mix; again at an angle, making sure to lift and turn, so that the mixture rises and falls back onto itself. It’s best to use a sturdy metal spoon, as this will afford you the greatest control. Fold the dry ingredients in until you have an obliging dropping-consistency, which is a delicate pale yellow in colour.

Roughly measure out your 75g of blueberries or raspberries and fold these in at the last minute. Once fully incorporated, spoon the cake-mix into a buttered baking dish (I used a medium rectangular dish, but this can equally go into a round cake tin if you prefer…).

Bake in a moderate oven for circa 25 minutes, or until risen, golden but not too brown. The cakes should be spongy and resistant to the touch, and rise back up when pressed lightly with the finger. The fruit will have formed dark, enticing pools of colour across the surface, which permeate and marble deliciously throughout the cake below. Remove from the oven and leave to cool until lightly warm or room-temperature.

Serve with a light drizzle of pouring cream, or double-cream whipped up with vanilla powder and a little sweetener for that extra touch of indulgence! A sumptuous and decadent treat, that’s so light on the carbs, you can feel free to have another slice!

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Top 20 Low-Carb Chicken Recipes

If you’re just starting a ketogenic- or low-carb diet, food choices can sometimes seem a little daunting! Alternatively, if you’ve already been on the plan for a while; finding inspiration for ‘what to have for dinner tonight’ can also prove a challenge!

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

Chicken is a great option for a huge range of dishes. It’s brilliant in starters, soup or salads, and translates beautifully into rich, sumptuous dinners in a myriad of forms. Its morish yet mild taste can be coupled with exotic flavours from all around the globe; from Middle-Eastern dishes, through to classic French, American, African, Indian, Italian and of course English (he says proudly!).

Its versatility is truly its crowning feature; but it also has an added bonus – it’s incredibly quick to cook and so many cuts are readily available from the local supermarket or butcher, that practically anything is possible!

To provide a little inspiration, I’ve assembled my top 20 ‘chicken’ 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.

1. Chinese Leaf Cabbage with Ginger & Peanuts, Served with Crispy Roast Chicken

2. Sweet Chilli Chicken with Buttery Egg-Fried Cauliflower Rice & Cheese Griddled Aubergines

3. Timbale of Chicken, St Agur & Black Olives with Basil & Pumpkin Oil

4. Yoghurt & Cumin ‘Chicken Skewers’ with Roasted Aubergine & Aromatic Cauliflower Rice

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

6. Warm Paprika-Chicken, Bacon, Edam & Green-Bean Salad with Tangy French Vinaigrette

7. Fiery Jamaican Chicken & Pork with Rum, Coconut & Turmeric Rice

8. Black Forest Chicken with Courgette-Noodles

9. Chinese Chilli Chicken-Drumsticks with Spicy Butternut Noodles

10. Chicken, Chorizo & Chicory Gratin with Smoked Ham, Brie & Emmental

11. Slow-Roasted Chicken with Sausage, Sage & Onion Stuffing & Rich Gruyere, Parmesan Mornay

12. Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Spinach & Coconut Cauliflower-Rice

13. Creamy Italian Pesto, Smoked-Bacon & Mascapone Chicken with Fresh ‘Traffic-Light’ Salad

14. Spatchcocked Roast Chicken Satay with Buttered Greens & Cauliflower Rice

15. Warm ‘Greek-Style’ Chicken Salad with Roasted Aubergine, Courgette, Basil & Halloumi

16. Earthy & Aromatic Spanish Chicken with Chorizo, Aubergine & Buttered Savoy

17. Classic Chicken Caesar Salad

18. Chicken in a Creamy White Wine, Tarragon-Sauce with Roasted Courgette-Gratin

19. Sage-Roasted Chicken with Creamy Forestière Mushrooms, Broccoli & Sugar-Snap Peas

20. Creamy, Mild, Cauliflower, Celery & Coconut Korma (adapted for shellfish or chicken)

Enjoy browsing and thanks for reading. Bon ap!

Adam.

Chinese Leaf Cabbage with Ginger & Peanuts, Served with Crispy Roast Chicken – a low carb oriental-inspired extravaganza!

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If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you’ll be instantly aware that my style of cooking is firmly seated in the classic European repertoire. It’s not that I don’t like anything else; rather that I know where my strengths lie and therefore I naturally gravitate towards the type of food I cook well and instinctively ‘understand’.

Taking Chinese cuisine for example; this is a thing I have always loved, but in all honesty, I’ve never been particularly good at cooking it! This evening however, I thought I’d bravely leave my comfort zone and try something I wouldn’t normally cook. And I’m incredibly glad I did! This Chinese ginger, garlic and peanut cabbage was an absolute delight, and so incredibly easy to do! It’s a bit late for a new year’s resolution, but I think I should make one! From this moment forwards, I vow to leave my comfort zone more often and occasionally turn my hand to cuisine I wouldn’t automatically think of. And obviously if I don’t try new things, I’ll never learn; so this recipe turns a new leaf for me – and I promise to do it more often!

The great thing about oriental stir-fries is their speed and convenience. Old habits are the hardest to break, so I oven-baked the chicken in my usual way; but beyond 5 minutes chopping, the cabbage dish only took a further 5 minutes to cook. This is quite a change for me, as someone who’s used to standing over the range for hours on end, slowly mixing, simmering and stewing; especially in winter! As a result, this dish is perfect for a week-night, when you’re back late from work and want something quick which doesn’t compromise on flavour! Give it a go therefore and let me know how you get on. And equally, if you have any tricks to boost my ‘Chinese confidence’, they’d be gratefully received!

This particular recipe is great for a ketogenic diet, as all the ingredients are incredibly low in carbohydrate. At 1.14g net carbs per 100g, the Chinese leaf cabbage will certainly not break the ‘carb-bank’ – there’ll be no insulin-ramping or rise in blood-sugars, making this dish perfect for diabetics or those on a paleo-regime. And because there’s no gluten, those with an intolerance, or coeliacs can also tuck in with gusto. There’s plenty to go around!

Start by preparing your chicken. I used thighs, but any cut of your choice would be equally delicious! Season the skins with a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper, then simply place into an oven-tray and bake in a hot oven (circa 180ºc) for 45 minutes to one hour, until the skins are crisp and golden and the meat cooked through to perfection.

20 minutes before you’re ready to serve up, take the outer leaves off your cabbage and finely slice the rest into thin strips. If it’s easier, you can do this with a food-processor, but my traditional old habits die hard! Transfer this to a bowl, then do the same with half a yellow pepper. Next you can get started on your garlic and ginger.

Peel a generous amount of ginger-root, larger certainly than your thumb. Then peel 2 cloves of garlic and chop both with a sharp knife into fine pieces (again, you may prefer to use a food-processor, but I always like to keep the washing-up to a minimum). Transfer this to one side and move onto your peanuts.

I used unshelled monkey-nuts, simply because I had them in the cupboard. Any pre-roasted and salted peanuts will do however; just make sure to read the packet carefully to make sure there’s no sugar or carbohydrate added to prevent them from ‘clumping’ in the packet. The peanuts provide a delicious variation in texture, so although not essential, I’d highly recommend including them! For one whole cabbage, I used a generous handful of nuts (or circa 50 laboriously hand-shelled monkeynuts!). The volume can obviously be varied to your preference.

Place a wok onto the hob and pour in a couple of tablespoons’ of sunflower or vegetable oil. Once this is piping hot, add your chopped garlic and ginger, followed by your cabbage thirty seconds later. Stir-fry the lot for a further 2 minutes, then pour on 1/2 a cupful of water, add a large pinch of salt and crumble in 2 chicken stock-cubes for background ‘warmth’.

Cook this for another couple of minutes whilst you dry-roast your peanuts in a second pan. This is incredibly easy to do and provides a delicious crunch and full-bodied flavour. Simply tip the peanuts into a pan and toast over the hob with no oil for 1-2 minutes until they start to smoke slightly and brown in patches. Once achieved, scatter them over you cabbage and stir in until evenly incorporated.

All that remains is to take your chicken out of the oven and lay it on top of the cabbage. Garnish the lot with a generous sprinkle of chopped herbs (parsley or coriander) and a quick squeeze of lime juice. You’ll be amazed at how something so simple can be so rich in flavour and texture – a positive winner all round!

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Classic Lamb & Aubergine Moussaka – just low carb!

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Moussaka is one of my favourite dishes! The richness of minced lamb, combined with the fresh taste of sun-ripened tomatoes and sharp tang of yoghurt is truly sublime! Best made the day before; it’s one of those great dishes you can cook and prepare ahead of time! This makes it ideal for dinner-parties, when you want the kitchen to be clean and tidy for when people arrive; or simply if you know you’ve got a busy schedule coming up and want something you can simply heat through in the oven, which still feels like a substantial meal!

And okay – I freely admit that I browned this a little too long in the oven. We’re all human and the Low Carb Kitchen is by no means immune to the cooking mishaps which plague us all! I am sure yours will look better than the above; but take my word for it – it tasted absolutely heavenly; despite the over-colouration of the yoghurt! Send me a picture of your own creation, and I can do a bit of ‘photo-substitution’; piggy-backing off your own success and expertise!

All ingredients here are incredibly low in carbohydrate. As a result, this moussaka is great for a ketogenic diet, paleo-plan, diabetic-LCHF regime or for those with an intolerance to gluten. All dietary-requirements are welcome at the Low Carb Kitchen!

Start by slicing your aubergines into thin, half-centimetre slices. Depending on the size of your dish, you want at least 3 layers of aubergine. I used a large rectangular oven-dish, enough for 6 people. This warranted 4 large aubergines; you want each layer to just cover the footprint of the dish. I always think it’s best to err on the side of caution and buy ‘one to many’, just in case!

Place the slices onto a lined baking-tray, then drizzle these with olive-oil and grind on some salt and pepper. It doesn’t matter if they overlap or are half-piled on top of each other – the end result will taste the same! Into a hot oven they go for circa half an hour, until the aubergine is soft and pliable, and just starting to brown. Remove the tray from the oven and set to one side to cool.

Whilst the aubergines are cooking, place a heavy casserole onto the hob and add a small spoonful of oil. Season your lamb-mince with sea-salt and black-pepper; then when the oil is good and hot, tumble in your lamb, enjoying the ‘sizzle’ as it hits the pan. Seal this thoroughly, stirring occasionally to prevent it sticking; then add in 2 finely sliced onions, 3 crushed cloves of garlic and any other vegetables you have needing to be used up! Mushrooms are great, as are leeks, peppers and courgettes. In terms of quantity; I used 500g of mince for 6 people. Feel free to adjust accordingly in response to size or requirement!

Sauté the vegetables for 5 minutes or so, then pour in a good glug of port or red wine for richness. Given the succulence of lamb, you’ll likely not achieve the whooshing sizzle of the traditional de-glazing process; the wine is there more for taste than any other additional benefits! Crumble in 2 stock-cubes for background ‘warmth’ and add a generous spoonful of dried herbs (rosemary or oregano are just perfect!). Then drain two cans of tinned tomatoes (pouring off the liquid) and add these to the pan. Keep the mix on the simmer for 20-25 minutes until the liquid has reduced down and all ingredients have thoroughly cooked through. Then squeeze in a good squirt of unsweetened tomato purée and incorporate lavishly with a wooden spoon. Taste to adjust the seasoning, adding more herbs, salt, stock-cubes or pepper as appropriate. When done to your satisfaction, lift the pan off the heat, ready to layer up into your serving-dish.

Whilst the mince-ragout is on the simmer, pour a cupful of double cream into a saucepan. Follow this with half a cup of water, one cup of grated cheese (cheddar, parmesan or mix of both) and a tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Season well, then place onto the hob on a low heat, stirring occasionally until the sauce is thick and smooth. The reason you add the water is to help gauge when it’s ready. Once the water has evaporated (circa 15 minutes), you’ll end up back with the consistency of double cream. If you didn’t put the water in, the reduction would have nowhere to go and the pan’s contents would burn. When ready, simply remove from the heat and commence to layer up your moussaka.

Into your oven-dish, cover the base with a layer of aubergine, then top this with a fine coating of cheese-sauce. Now ladle on your lamb-mix until the white sauce is all covered. Repeat the process, aubergine > sauce > mince until the three components are all used up. Take note however – we want the top layer to end with aubergine and sauce – no mince! So bear that in mind when portioning your ingredients.

Once the top layer of aubergine and sauce has gone on, spoon on 3-4 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt. This provides a wonderful sour tang, which counteracts the richness of the cheese and lamb to perfection. Smooth this flat then sprinkle on a dusting of grated cheese and dried herbs to complete the dish. When all is ready, cover the dish with tinfoil and leave in a cool place overnight for the dish to settle and the ingredients to develop in flavour.

The next day, 40 minutes before you’re ready to serve dinner; transfer the covered dish to a moderate to hot oven. Learn a lesson from my mistakes – keep the tinfoil on to prevent the yoghurt from browning too soon. After 20-25 minutes, remove the tinfoil and check the temperature with a probe thermometer (we want 65ºc plus…). If you don’t have one of these, you can easily trust your eyes – if the centre is bubbling and piping hot, you’ll be well on your way! Return the dish to the oven uncovered for a final ten minutes to brown up nicely on top and reach the requisite 72ºc plus!

Once nice and brown, transfer to the table, and serve up with a crisp green salad to provide textural variation. You’ll find this recipe so delicious, you’ll want to cook it time and time again! (Preferably with better results than the picture above!).

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Zingy King Prawns with Chilli, Lime & Coriander – a delicious low-carb lunch or starter; ready in minutes!

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Dishes like this are real proof that delicious food needn’t take hours to prepare. This zingy, maximum flavour recipe is ready in under 10 minutes flat! As such, it’s the perfect low-carb lunch or starter for anyone on a ketogenic diet; diabetics, gluten-intolerants and paleo-fans alike!

Roughly chop a clove of garlic and a red chill, followed by the stalks of your coriander. Place a wok onto a high heat and drizzle in a little oil. Add your pesto mix and sauté for a minute, before adding you prawns. Stir-fry these for three minutes max, until well heated through. Then add a good squeeze of lime juice to liven up the flavour.

Pile some salad leaves into your serving-bowl; watercress, rocket, or anything with a strong peppery flavour is ideal. Spoon your warm prawns evenly over the the mix and season well. Then return the wok to the pan, and quickly fry one egg per person, adding a little more oil if necessary. Lift the eggs onto the the salad then curl over a good handful of parmesan shavings, using a sturdy swiss-peeler or grater.

Finish the lot with a final flourish of chopped herbs and another squeeze of fresh lime-juice. Voila! Your delicious, healthy meal is ready! Certainly a dish of maximum taste, yet minimum effort!

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Pot-Roasted Beef Brisket with Creamy Cumin Chou D’Alsace – a sumptuous low carb feast!

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There’s something infinitely wonderful about slow-cooked food at this time of year. Over the weekend, when time is precious; food you can simply leave in the oven all day is a true delight! When you return home, a richly delicious smell is ready to greet you at the door, and dinner is all but ready! What could be easier or more convenient than that?

Some cuts of meat are more suited to slow-cooking than others. Brisket is the perfect cut of beef for such a treatment. Rather interestingly, cows do not not have collar-bones. This means that their entire front-body weight (and they’re heavy!!!) is carried by their chest muscles. Brisket is one of these ‘pectorals’, and as a consequence, it’s entirely built for strength. The muscle contains a high proportion of collagen, making it incredibly tough if cooked quickly. The fibres need to slowly break down over a long period of time. When achieved, the meat is unctuously delicious and practically dissolves under the fork with the merest pressure. Time is all it needs; therefore let the cooker do the work, so you don’t have to! You could even cook this overnight, to reheat the next day – few dishes are this flexible; so enjoy that flexibility where you can!

I’ve teamed this with Alsation cabbage. “What is that?” I hear you ask… Alsace’s history is a curious mix of sometimes German, and sometimes French occupational rule. The food is a delicious yet peculiar mix of flavours; part Anglo Saxon & part Roman. A number of Alsation dishes take advantage of this crossover, in championing the surprisingly sublime taste-combination of bacon, garlic, cream and cumin in their preparation. This mix is warm, rustic, earthy and delicious; I for one certainly can’t get enough of it! I strongly urge you to give at a go; you won’t regret it!

The only carbohydrate here is the 1.5g of cellular net carbs contained within the savoy cabbage. This low level  makes it a wonderful dish to serve to those on a ketogenic diet, but it’s equally fitting if you’re gluten-intolerant, are following a paleo-plan, or just simply want a break from ‘the bloat’. In summary then, it’s simple, fuss-free and nutritious. So give it a go!

Start with the beef. Bring this up to room-temperature and season well on all sides. Place a heavy-based casserole onto the hob and spoon in a little butter and oil to heat through. Then lower in your brisket-joint, enjoying the sizzle as the meat hits the pan.

Seal and brown the beef on all sides, then tumble in a chopped onion and a bit of leek if you have it, for good measure! Whilst these are sautéing, spear a garlic-clove with a cocktail-stick and rest this on top of the vegetables. The reason for this is that you can then simply lift it straight out afterwards. It then provides a beautiful, soft mellow infused garlic flavour to the dish, which is utterly sublime in every way! The subtle background perfume of bay also goes beautifully with beef, so add a couple of bay-leaves, then deglaze the pan with a generous glug of port or red-wine.

Add sufficient water to at least three quarters cover the beef, then crumble in a stock-cube for a little warmth of flavour.  Place the pan into a low-oven to cook for at least four hours. Whether you place a lid on the pan depends on the heat-source you’re using. Fan-ovens tend to dry-cook food, evaporating the liquid, which can result in ‘dry’ or tough meat. If you’re using one of these, I’d advise putting a lid on the pan to prevent moisture loss. If you’re cooking on gas or an aga, you’ll be fine to leave the dish uncovered to maximum 140ºc.

I left the beef in the oven for 8 hours. Upon returning home, the liquid had only reduced by an inch and the meat was sublimely tender. The top had developed a glossy crust; which locks all the juices into the meat, preventing them from evaporating upwards during cooking. When ready, remove the speared garlic, drain off all but a half-centimetre of the liquid and return the pan to the low oven with the lid off to crisp the top even further.

To make the cabbage, place a second casserole onto the hob and melt in a little butter and oil. Add some finely chopped bacon (or lardons if you have them) then finely slice an onion.  Sauté this alongside the bacon for a couple of minutes, before crushing in a generous clove of garlic or two. Now add an enthusiastic teaspoon of cumin and a small shake of paprika. The smell should be savoury and delicious; mouthwatering in every way! Then glug in a glassful of vermouth or white wine to deglaze the pan. The kitchen will witness few more enchanting aromas than this!

Whilst the liquid is bubbling away, finely slice and rinse your cabbage. Add this to the pan, retaining any water which remains on the leaves after rinsing. Sauté for a couple of minutes, then crumble in a chicken stock-cube to perk up the flavour. If you need to add a little more water, do so by all means. We want the cabbage to be waist-deep in liquid. Sprinkle in some dried herbs (sage, oregano or thyme are wonderful) then place a lid on the pan to simmer for ten minutes, allowing the cabbage to soften before you reduce the liquid.

When the 10 minutes are up, take the lid off the pan and taste to adjust the seasoning. Give the pan a good stir, then leave the lid off to allow the moisture to evaporate. At this point, take your beef out of the oven to rest until the stock has all but reduced from the vegetables.

Finally, stir a swirl of double-cream around the cabbage and remove from the heat. Transfer both the beef and the vegetables to your serving plate, then finely slice or grate some nutty emmental or other ‘mild’ cheese into thin strips.  Sprinkle these all over the savoy, then if you’re feeling indulgent (and I was), you can also tumble on some brie or other soft-rinded cheese to add richness. This is by no means essential, so I leave the choice entirely up to you!

Garnish the lot with a drizzle of the delicious pan-juices and a final flourish of chopped herbs. When you dig in with a knife, the beef will literally collapse into tender, soft chunks. The cabbage will be earthly and aromatic in flavour, providing just the right level of bite to compliment the melt-in-the-mouth consistency of the beef . Few dishes can be so perfectly balanced or more delicious than this! – it’ll be well worth the wait!

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Strawberry, Almond & Pecan Hearts – a deliciously simple low carb Valentine’s Day treat!

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These delicate and delicious strawberry, almond and pecan cakes couldn’t be simpler to make – the perfect dish for Valentine’s Day or equally good at any time of year when you happen to feel like spoiling someone! The sweet perfumed scent of strawberries is complimented wonderfully by the dense, nutty crunch of pecans and soft cloud-like swirls of whipped cream. Quite simply heaven on a plate!

The classic adage goes ‘say it with flowers’. I certainly don’t disagree with that, but flowers and cake are infinitely preferable in my book; so pull out all the stops and show someone you love them with a little bit of good old fashioned baking!

They also say that ‘the way to another’s heart is through their stomach’; but so often with flour- and sugar-free cakes, the results can be a little disappointing. Not so with these however! The taste and texture of this recipe is so similar to a classic sponge-cake that you’d never know it’s low-carb. This makes it the perfect thing to serve up to diabetics, paleo-fans, gluten-intolerants and those on a ketogenic-diet. Both heart and stomach will be won over; so give them a go!

To make the cake, measure up 6oz of xylitol sweetener and 6oz of unsalted butter. I always use xylitol in baking. In my experience, it’s the only sweetener which retains its sweetness once cooked; and its granular texture means that it behaves exactly like sugar in cake-recipes. Cream the two together by hand until they’re light and fluffy, then give your hands a good wash before whisking up the eggs.

Break 3 eggs into a bowl and whisk lightly with a fork until smooth. If you’re using vanilla-pods, scrape out the seeds of one pod and add this to the mix. If you prefer dried vanilla powder (as I used), half a teaspoon should be more than enough. You can equally use vanilla-essence, but this tends to contain liquid sugar-syrup, which isn’t ideal from a carb-perspective. If you choose this option, make sure to read the label carefully!

Incorporate the egg into the creamed butter and sugar a little at a time. Again, I always find that using your hand allows the maximum quantity of air to be locked into the mix. Tilt the bowl at an angle and fluff the mix upwards so that the motion elevates the mix rather than flattens it (as will happen if you go at it horizontally with a spoon).

Weigh up 6oz of ground-almonds and stir in 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. Fold this into the mix; again at an angle, making sure to lift and turn, so that the mixture rises and falls back onto itself. It’s best to use a sturdy metal spoon, as this will afford you the greatest control. Fold the dry ingredients in until you have an obliging dropping-consistency, which is a pale yellow in colour.

Roughly chop a good handful of pecans and three or four strawberries and fold these in at the last minute. Then spoon the cake-mix into your cake-tins. I used small, individual squares, but this can equally go into one larger tin; round or square to your preference.

Bake in a moderate oven for circa 25-30 minutes, until risen, golden but not too brown. The cakes should be spongy and resistant to the touch, and rise back up when pressed lightly with the finger. Remove from the oven and cool thoroughly until room-temperature.

Once the cake is well cooled (it needs to be cool, or your icing will melt); place 6 large tablespoons of double-cream into a bowl. Add half a cupful of table-sweetener (this can be other than xylitol, because it’s uncooked) and a third of a teaspoon of vanilla powder. Whisk the lot with a balloon-whisk until the cream is just starting to form peaks. Make sure not to over-mix or it will separate. We want it still nice and soft – spreadable is the key! Test for sweetness, adjusting vanilla or sweetener levels to your preference.

Layer the frosting generously atop the cakes with a palette-knife. Then slice a strawberry into thin slices, trimming each slice down into a heart shape. Top each cake with a strawberry heart then lift onto your serving plate. I’ve chosen to keep these relatively pure and uncluttered in appearance; but you can equally sprinkle a few more chopped pecans on top to add theatre. The choice is entirely yours…

Serve with a final halved strawberry and a light drizzle of pouring cream for that extra touch of indulgence. Once you’ve made these, love will be in the air with every mouthful! Even St Valentine himself couldn’t resist a second helping!

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

Thanks for reading and happy Valentine’s Day from the Low Carb Kitchen!

Adam.

Currywurst with Courgette Gratin ‘Chaource’ – a fast, delicious low carb treat!

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Variety is the spice of life; and in the cold winter months, we all need a little bit of spice to pep things up! We also need food that’s fast and filling, which keeps the home fires burning and holds the cold at bay. Well this dish fits the bill on all fronts. It’s ready in under 30 minutes, yet tastes like you’ve toiled for hours! This makes it the perfect week-night dinner for when you’re back late from work but still want to enjoy a good home-cooked meal that’s all about food not just fuel

The ingredients I use here may sound exotic, but they can be substituted for anything you have to hand. I used German Bratwurst (very quick to cook & absolutely delicious), plus French Chaource cheese. But any robust pork sausage and firm white-rinded cows’ or goats’ cheese will do the job. Try this with brie or camembert; bangers or hotdogs. The principals are the same for whatever you choose – so enjoy the freedom and go with what’s simple. The best food is never overly complicated!

The only real carbohydrate here comes from the courgettes. But at 1.3g of net carbs per 100g, you’ll have no worries about going overboard on the starch! This makes the dish perfect for diabetics or those on a low-carb regime, such as the ketogenic diet or paleo-plan. Dependent on your sausages there’s no gluten either, so those with an intolerance or coeliacs will be well catered for.

Start by slicing an onion and sautéing this a little butter and oil. Add in chopped celery then a good teaspoonful of pre-prepared red-curry paste or dried curry powder. If you like things hotter, add some chilli powder or a finely chopped red chilli. Then simply pour in a can of chopped tomatoes, crumble in a chicken stock-cube, crush in a clove of garlic & stir the lot round, making sure to season it well. Finally sprinkle on a little sweetener to ‘brighten’ the chilli; lay your bratwurst on top, then into a hot oven it goes for 20 minutes until the sausages are golden brown and cooked to perfection!

Meanwhile, slice your courgette into thin yet handsome chunks, and sauté in a good spoonful of butter. Crush in another clove or garlic and sprinkle on some dried herbs (oregano, basil, sage or thyme are ideal). Once the vegetables have started to soften (circa 2 minutes), slice your cheese and lay this in thick wedges over the surface. Then simply transfer the pan to the top of the oven for 15 minutes to allow the cheese to melt and turn golden brown and bubbly.

Voila! Your low-carb feast is prepared! Serve it with a generous spoonful of good quality mild mustard and dig in whilst the lot is still piping hot! Minimum effort; maximum reward. What could be better!

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

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.

Slow-Cooked Lamb-Shanks with Celeriac & Sugar-Snap Peas – delicious low carb splendour!

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People have often said to me they find slow-cooking ‘fussy’ and time-consuming; with the impression you have to plan your life around your food, not visa versa. In actual fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth! Slow-cooking is a wonderful way of preparing food. You simply put dinner in the oven, then go off and leave it. These lamb-shanks were in for 8 hours – I put them on in the morning and we went out for the day. Then arriving home in the evening, dinner was all but ready. What could be easier or more convenient than that!

Lamb lends itself perfectly to this treatment. Over time, the meat becomes so succulently tender it literally falls off the bone; at the same time developing a delicious chewy crust on top, which is moreish in the extreme! Any cut of lamb ‘on the bone’ will work for this recipe – I used shanks, but you can equally use shoulder, leg or even chops.  The technique can also be applied to pork or beef – ham hocks cooked this way are truly sublime, as is oxtail or ribs. With slow-cooking, the world is your oyster!

The only carbs her are the cellular carbohydrates locked up in the vegetables themselves. This is the best and most natural way of processing glucose – there’s a thick wall of fibre for your stomach to work through first before the energy is released; making what little carbohydrate there is slow release (this recipe is slow all round!). As such, it’s perfect for diabetics or those on a ketogenic diet. Gluten-intolerants and paleo-fans can also tuck in with gusto, and because this dish looks so beautiful, it’s the perfect thing to serve up at a dinner-party if any of your guests are following one of the above eating plans. In short – it’s a winner all round!

Start by seasoning your shanks. Place these in a heavy-based pan and seal in a hot oven for 15 minutes; or sufficiently long to brown the surface. Then turn your oven down to circa 120-130ºc and lift the pan out. If you have a fan oven or are cooking with gas, leave the door open for a minute to allow the temperature to drop.

Now tumble in a chopped onion and pour in a good glass of red wine or port. Add sufficient water to at least three quarters cover the shanks and then return these to the oven to cook for at least four hours. Whether you place a lid on the pan depends on the heat-source you’re using. Fan-ovens tend to dry-cook food, evaporating the liquid, which can result in ‘dry’ or tough meat. If you’re using one of these, I’d advise putting a lid on the pan to prevent moisture loss. If you’re cooking on gas or an aga, you’ll be fine to leave the dish uncovered.

As I detailed above, I left these shanks in the oven for 8 hours. Upon returning home, the liquid had only reduced by an inch and the meat was sublimely tender. The top had developed a glossy crust; which locks all the juices into the meat, preventing them from evaporating upwards during cooking. When ready, drain off all but a half-centimetre of the liquid and return the pan to the low oven with the lid off to crisp up even further.

Place a solid casserole onto the hob and melt in a little butter and oil. Finely slice an onion and sauté this for a couple of minutes, before crushing in a generous clove of garlic or two. Whilst these are cooking, peel and dice your celeriac into pieces of less that 1cm cubes. Turn up the heat a little and add these to the pan, stirring  as you do so to prevent the vegetables from sticking. Sauté for a couple of minutes and then pour in your lamb-stock until the vegetables are covered. If you need to add a little water to this, all well and good. Season the mix then crumble in a stock-cube for background warmth. Sprinkle in some dried herbs (sage, oregano or thyme are wonderful) then place a lid on the pan to simmer for ten minutes, allowing the celeriac to soften before you reduce the liquid.

When the 10 minutes are up, take the lid off the pan and taste to adjust the seasoning. Give the pan a good stir, then leave the lid off to allow the moisture to evaporate. You’ll need to stir this occasionally to prevent the contents from sticking. When you have approximately half a centimetre’s depth of liquid remaining, add your washed sugar-snap peas and stir in to cook through for the last five minutes.

At this point, take your lamb out of the oven to rest until the stock has all but reduced from the vegetables. If you’re feeling indulgent (I was), you can grate a handful of cheese and stir this through the celeriac to add richness. This is by no means essential, so I leave the choice entirely up to you!

Spoon your vegetables into broad bowls, then place one shank on each, with the bone standing upright like a bayonet to add a little theatre! Drizzle a spoonful of the lamb-juices over each portion, then garnish with chopped herbs and a cheery cherry tomato for colour!

Then simply dig in. Believe me, it’ll be worth the wait!

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.