Whiskey & Ginger ‘Chops’ with Stir-Fried Vegetables – put a little low carb ‘zing’ into January!

chopsI’m often heard to say that ‘fusion food’ only leads to confusion… for the palette anyway; but this in no ways means that East & West can’t sit comfortably together on the kitchen bench, sharing the warmth of the hearth…. Well in this recipe; they not only sit, but share a generous glass of good honest ‘Scotch’ together. Confusion only kicks in therefore if they down too much of the stuff! So be sure to mark the bottle.

There’s something divinely aromatic and elegant about the pairing of whiskey and ginger. I’m an ‘islands’ man myself; thereby not smoked with wood as per the mainland variants (why? Islands don’t have many trees). There’s a heady wild ‘peatiness’ to the whiskey of the Scottish islands; far preferable in my own mind; and a taste that goes so well with other such equally poised flavours; in this case, fresh zingy ginger root and fiery scotch bonnet chilli.

Feel free to vary the green vegetables as much as you like. I chose broccoli and beansprouts because they cook quickly, which is always the essence of a good stir fry. Chinese leaf cabbage would equally be a delight; as would courgettes (zucchini), green peppers or cauliflower.

As with all recipes on this blog; all ingredients are low in carbohydrate and therefore suitable for a ketogenic- / paleo-  diet, plus diabetics type one and two. My other half is type one, and sticking to this diet there’s no insulin calculation – the same quantities every day with no unpleasant highs and lows. Easy if you know how! But equally, if you simply want to cut the bloat of a carb rich diet, then give this dish a try. You won’t regret it!

Some people are marinaters, others not. Undeniably marinating enhances the flavours, but after a long day at work, we sometimes don’t have the luxury. So marinade if you can; if not don’t spare it another thought. I’m the last to judge!

If marinating your pork chops, peel a good thumb of ginger root and chop roughly with a sturdy knife or cleaver. Do the same with x3 cloves of garlic, followed by a scotch bonnet chilli or two. If you like things a little cooler, use jalapeños; if you crave the heat, add more plus seeds as you see fit. Chop together in one big pile until everything is evenly sized.

Place your pork chops (I used x4) into an oven dish and sprinkle half of your mix over the top. Follow this with a generous sprinkle of paprika, salt pepper and a large glug of scotch whiskey. Rub in with your hands, then leave to sit for 20 minutes to an hour, whilst the flavours develop. If you’re pressed for time, simply put the oven dish straight into a preheated medium oven, circa 170 – 180°c for 20-25 minutes until the pork is caramelised and browning at the edges.

Meanwhile, finely slice an onion and de-floret a large head of broccoli. Be sure to keep the stalk and finely slice that alongside the onion – it lends the perfect cheat’s intimation of bamboo shoots!

When your pork is 7 or so minutes from completion, place a solid wok onto a high heat. Glug in some sesame oil with a little sunflower oil to mete it out… Then pile in your chopped onion, broccoli stalk and the remaining half or your ‘galicky-ginger-chilli’ mix. Stir fry for a minute or so, then tumble in your chopped broccoli florets. Follow these two minutes later with your beansprouts. Now take the pork out of the oven and pour oven any pan juices surrounding the meat – it should smell and look delicious!

Cook the vegetables in the pan juices for a further minute, then spoon your chops on top. Finish the whole thing with a flourish of toasted sesame seeds and and a whirl of chopped coriander. Divine decadence in the extreme!

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

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Meltingly Tender Pot Roasted Beef – Traditional Home-Cooking, Without the Carbs!

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If ever a dish had the power to warm both heart and soul to the core; this is it!

Food can mean so much more than nutrition alone. When you cook up ‘something special’, which you mightn’t normally cook; your actions can relay a real sense of occasion. You’re conferring a special treat, and with it, you’re communicating a range of sentiments: comfort, warmth, love & nurture. Nothing says “I care” quite as much as dedicating your time to producing your level best! A poet does it with words; the cook does it with dinner!

But to achieve these wonderful results, it needn’t follow that the process itself prove complicated or difficult; nor that you’ll be slaving for hours, then end up with a huge mountain of washing up! This recipe is actually incredibly simple, but the finished dish is anything but… I strongly urge you to give this a go – you won’t be disappointed!

Enough of results; let’s focus on contents…! Do you see rice in the picture? Am I advocating carbohydrate on a low carb blog? Heaven forbid! What I’ve served this with is cauliflower rice; a true godsend on any low carb or paleo plan. I hyperlink the recipe to this as follows: cauliflower rice recipe.

And the beef itself? The brisket is slow cooked over hours, which means that excess liquid is staved off and the sauce requires no thickening-agent whatsoever. Indeed, all ingredients in this dish are suitable for both classes of diabetics, or anyone following a ketogenic / low-carb diet or paleo-regime. Beyond this, it’s suitable for all, so cook it for some ‘carb-eating friends’; they’ll never know!

So to begin, bring you beef-brisket to room temperature and season well.

Brisket is an ideal cut for slow cooking. Why? Cows don’t have collar-bones. This means that the entire weight of their head and neck is borne up by muscle. By necessity, that muscle must be pretty strong; so it contains high amounts of collagen, a structural protein which requires long slow cooking to break down and tenderise before it’s ready.

Pan fry brisket at your peril – you’ll end up with tough, fibrous strips which are truly unpalatable in every which way. But with slow-cooking, the collagen gelatinizes which naturally thickens the sauce (as per oxtail) and delivers delicious tender meat which simply melts under the fork – you’ll scarce need a knife!

Once the meat is room-temperature and the oven is good and hot; place the brisket into a heavy-based casserole pan, then straight into the oven for circa 20 minutes until the joint is sealed and deliciously brown on all sides.

Whilst this is looking after itself, quarter a couple of onions, then halve each segment into eighths. Peel a couple of cloves of garlic and roughly chop, followed by a green pepper, a leek, some celery and any odds & ends you may wish to use up. To be honest with you, as long as the onions and garlic are there, you can pretty much use any low-carb vegetable you wish. Try a dice of celeriac or courgettes – delicious!

Once the meat has browned, remove it from the oven and place the pan onto the hob. Tumble in your vegetables, followed by a couple of bay-leaves and a sprig or two of parsley if you have it. Return to the oven for 5 minutes, until the vegetables are good and hot, then bring out the pan once more and deglaze with a whoosh of red wine or port.

Why do I keep taking the pan back out of the oven, then in again, like a saucepan-hokey-cokey? Who wants to clean the hob unnecessarily…? Keep it clean as you go, then afterwards you’ll feel all the more smug as you get to relax all the sooner…

When the alcohol has reduced into a delicious cloud of steam, follow it by two cupful’s of water, a couple of beef stock-cubes and a generous teaspoon of Dijon mustard. You can of course use fresh beef-stock if you wish; if you do, then omit the stock-cubes and water. With regards volume, I state ‘two cups’, but depth is the real key here. You want the joint when on its side to be waist deep in liquid; no more, no less. Once achieved, allow the sauce to come to the simmer on the hob, then put the lid firmly onto the pan and into a slow oven it goes for circa 4-6 hours until it is achingly tender.

Why is the timescale so vague? A dish like this is pretty forgiving. As long as the oven is low enough and there’s sufficient water, it could easily go in overnight and not suffer – in actual fact, it’d be all the more delicious! What does a low oven mean? Think gas mark 1-2, circa 140-150°c. I have a cast-iron range cooker, so into the simmering oven it goes and I needn’t even peek until dinner time!

Once the time has elapsed, remove from the oven and take the lid off the pan. There should still be at least a cm of liquid and the most delicious, rich, savoury smell should serve as your reward! Check the sauce for seasoning and adjust if required. Place the lid back on the pan, then leave to one side to ‘rest’ whilst you cook the cauliflower rice.

Why do people always tell you to leave meat to rest? My own interpretation of this is somewhat grizzly and gruesome. If you’re of a nervous disposition, then please jump straight to the next paragraph, stopping reading from this point onwards…. Look down at your forearm, then tense your arm-muscles. Imagine cutting a knife through that; it would literally tear in the most rough and brutal way and you’d need a saw to get through it! With heat (like exercise), the muscles and tendons tighten, much like when you’re tensing your forearm. It would be a nightmare to cut through and would never achieve a clean slice. Now un-tense your arm. It’s clear to see how the muscles relax and lose their stress. Relaxed muscle (ergo meat) will cut cleanly, resulting in less moisture loss in the form of meat-juices, and a melting tender consistency. A good sharp kitchen knife will do the job – no need for a saw here (the same goes for a steak knife). As I say; that’s my own version of events – it’s always been the easiest way for me to envisage the process, serving to explain why meat should always be left to rest before carving. Take it or leave it… it works for me!

Gruesome bit over – the fragile amongst us can now resume. Cook your cauliflower rice as per the recipe under the hyperlink (cauliflower rice). Then simply lift the meat out of the pan and place atop the still al dente rice, spooning the beautifully reduced vegetables and sauce all around.

For that all important final professional flourish, garnish with chopped herbs: basil, parsley or oregano. Then simply carve the beef and dig in! The carving can almost be done with a wooden spoon.

Despite my long-winded, tiresome explanations, this recipe couldn’t be simpler. But I’m sure you’ll agree, it tastes anything but! So give this a go and toast the onset of winter with a bowl of pure comfort!

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

A.

Seared Leg of Lamb With Warm Asparagus, Sprouting Broccoli & Feta Salad – Divinely Different Low Carb Cookery!

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If I were asked to recommend one low carb recipe to an absolute ‘low carb beginner’, I think this might be it! Few dishes can be so simple to prepare, yet taste so rich and amazing as this!

Lamb will always be a winner in the Low Carb Kitchen. Once in the oven, the succulent smell of roasting meat fills the room, and is truly mouth-watering! Plus, it’s one of those meats that can simply be left to do its own thing.

I’m often quoted to state “don’t fuss over your food; no-one likes to be mothered, and the same goes for your dinner!”. Well a leg of lamb is a refreshingly independent beast, requiring no fussing or mothering whatsoever! This makes it the perfect dish to prepare on a lazy Sunday or when you have people coming to dinner and want something that can simply sit in the oven whilst you relax and get on with the rigour of entertaining!

There are also few dishes which look quite so impressive as a leg of lamb. It has instant ‘plate theatre’, which combined with the luxury of rich asparagus and fluffy white feta, makes for a true treat in every which way!

Then add to this the low levels of carbohydrate, and you have a dish which is perfect for ketogenic dieters, diabetics or anyone who simply wishes to beat the bloat of a high-carb lifestyle. You feel great and get to eat food like this. Who could ask for more…?

So, how to go about cooking this plate of purest wonder? Start by preparing your vinaigrette ahead of time. See the following hyperlink for the standalone recipe: traditional French vinaigrette recipe.

Vinaigrette is something I always have in the cupboard. It keeps for yonks and provides the perfect finish to so many salads and vegetables. Try it with cooked celeriac and parmesan, or roasted broccoli and pine nuts – divine!

Anyway, I digress… Place your lamb onto a sturdy baking-tray or roasting dish. Season well on all sides, then into a very hot oven it goes for 20 minutes, until seared and golden on all sides. Temperature wise, think 220°c / gas mark 7, or top of the aga roasting oven.

The smell coming from the oven will be sublime at this point. Now simply turn down the temperature to approximately 180°c / gas mark 4, and roast for an hour and a half, until the meat comes away from the bone. Once roasted to perfection, remove from the oven and leave covered in tinfoil to rest for 20 minutes.

Whilst the meat is ‘relaxing’, bring a pan of water up to a rapid boil for your vegetables. Snap the tough stalks off the asparagus at their natural breaking point, and trim the ends off the stalk-broccoli. Plunge these into the water for two minutes, then strain off the liquid. Return in the same pan to the hob, this time glugging over a generous whack of best quality olive oil. When the edges begin to char and blacken in an appealing way, sprinkle on some sea salt and season well with crushed black pepper.

Dice your feta cheese into 1cm chunks, then add this to the vegetables. I also added a few chopped cherry tomatoes for colour, but this is your choice entirely! Now spoon a good couple of tablespoons of vinaigrette over the top and stir through thoroughly.

To finish the dish, tear over a handful of fresh coriander leaves. Their peppery sharpness provides a wonderful counterpoint to the richness of the lamb and sour tanginess of the feta.

Then simply carve the meat into luxurious chunks, which literally fall from the bone when cut. Spoon out the vegetables and dig in whilst the lot is still piping hot.

I’ll vouch there won’t be a scrap left on the plate!

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Celeriac Chips – Who Needs Potato? The Low Carb Food Revolution Continues!

Celeriac Chips

In a contest between low carb v bloating starch & sugar; the ketogenic approach seems to be boasting “anything you can do, I can do better!” And that’s certainly the case with this recipe – celeriac chips!

When you first start a low carb or paleo regime, a lot of old favourites suddenly feel out of bounds. Without a little learning, any attempts to recreate them can often seem half-hearted, presenting a poor substitute for the dish you’re trying to copy.

With a little experience however, the food world is your oyster. And one thing I’ve genuinely missed…? Chips! Not that we ate them much anyway, but it’s always been more the feeling of depriving yourself that’s hard – the sense of ‘I can’t have this’ which makes you want it all the more!

Well celeriac chips are in no way a poor relative of their potato cousins. In all honesty, they taste far better and have a warm nutty flavour which is truly irresistible! And at circa 5g net carbs per 100g, they’ll hardly break the carb bank, leaving ketogenic dieters, paleo fans and both types of diabetics free to tuck in with gusto!

So without further ado, the next life-changing low-carb experience awaits. And it couldn’t be easier!

Heat sunflower or vegetable oil in a frier or on the hob until circa 130°c. Whilst the oil is heating, peel your celeriac root with a sturdy peeler, then cut the ball in half vertically. Follow this by cutting each half into 1cm thick slices, then cut each slice in turn into 1cm wide batons.

Once the chips are cut, lower them into the hot oil and leave to cheerily bubble for 8-10 minutes until cooked through, but not brown. When I say cooked through, image ‘bite-able’!

When ready, lift the chips out of the oil and place on greaseproof paper or kitchen towel. Now turn up the temperature of the oil to circa 180-190°c ergo good and hot! Once the oil has reached the desired temperature, lower the chips back in and fry for a further 5 minutes until they’re golden brown with a slight crisp around the edges.

Lift out and place back onto kitchen towel again to drain for a couple of minutes. Dredge with a generous sprinkle of sea-salt and serve up to the ravenous horde. I’ll wager you try at least one before they reach the table!

A good low carb dip or sauce is garlic mayonnaise (aioli). What more can you want? So forget the humble potato – there’s far finer things on the horizon. When it comes to low carb, the grass is certainly greener. But don’t just take my word for it, try this recipe and give it a go yourself. You won’t regret it!

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Spicy Ginger ‘One-Pot Pork’ With Beansprouts, Coconut & Coriander – Substantial & Filling, High in Flavour, Low in Carbs!

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The evenings are starting to draw in ever earlier, and at such times we instinctively crave something that’s quick and simple to prepare, yet has the robustness and filling quality of a good home-cooked meal.

Well this dish delivers on every level. The flavours are rich and exotic, proving that a deep and complex taste needn’t be complex to prepare!

I really love this style of one-pot cooking. After work when you’re just wanting to relax and unwind; no-one relishes a recipe to be fussed over, culminating in a slavish pile of washing-up. And besides; there’s something indescribably comforting about a big substantial pot of food, all served up in brimming ladle-fulls; it warms the heart and soul alike; not to mention the eye and the stomach!

Low-carb dishes can sometimes feel a little on the anaemic side, so dishes like this, which leave you luxuriously full are always welcome! And because the carbohydrate content is so low, this recipe is perfect for diabetics and anyone following a ketogenic- / paleo-regime.

Vary the vegetables according to what you have to hand. Just make sure they keep to the keto-go-go guidelines (hyperlink here)!

Start by placing a heavy based pan onto the hob over a medium heat with a little oil, ready for your pork. I used pork shoulder-steaks for this recipe, but any reasonably quick-cook variant will do, such as loin, diced cuts or leg-steaks. Place your pork into the hot pan, making sure to season well & enjoy the hissing and spluttering as the meat hits the searing metal. Brown lightly for a couple of minutes whilst you set about preparing the ‘flavour part’.

When it comes to things like chilli, we’re all different. I like it really hot, but others may be more of the sensitive type. I used 3 large red chillies here, but feel free to go green or smaller, such as bird-eye chillies. Scotch bonnets will also promise you a definitively committal adventure!

Either on a chopping board or in a food processor, roughly chop chilli, garlic and ginger then add this to the pan. I used three small cloves of garlic, the chillies as above and a thumb-sized piece of ginger. Freeze-dried ginger or even powder will work equally. If you’re using powdered form, then add this when you add the other spices later.

Stir the mix thoroughly into the pork, then chop your vegetables. As I say above, use whatever you have in stock. My mix went as follows: 1 large onion, 1 leek (plus green-tops), 1 courgette, 1 green pepper. Roughly chop these, as the French would term ‘a la Paysanne’. Once hacked to a pleasing and inexpert inconsistency, add to the pan and stir well.

Now for the spices. Sprinkle in a generous teaspoon of ground all-spice (not mixed spice [think cake], but all-spice berries), followed by a teaspoonful of ground cumin. Season well and then crumble in a couple of chicken stock cubes, or fresh stock if you’re sufficiently organised. If you’re using dehydrated cubes, pour in a centimetre’s depth of water and mix in. If liquid stock, then up to the same depth as per water above.

Leave this to simmer and reduce for a few minutes, then add condensed coconut block or coconut cream. You can of course use canned coconut milk, but if you choose this option, be careful to not add the water or liquid stock quantities above. One of the joys of this dish is the thick sauce. If it goes too watery then you end up with more of a soup, rather than the satisfying filling quality of a hearty wholesome casserole.

Stir in a good handful of frozen petits-pois for bulk (or as low carb frozen peas as you can find), then into a preheated oven it goes (circa 180-190°c, gas mark 5) for 20 minutes with the lid on, to cook through and thicken nicely. We want no more than 2cm’s depth of liquid in the pan when it goes in.

The organised amongst us will use this interim time to do the washing-up & tidy the kitchen. The indulgent amongst us will grab the time to read a book or have a well-deserved sit down! I leave that choice up to you!

However you fill it; once the princely period is over; take the pan out of the oven and stir thoroughly. Then tip in your beansprouts (large packet circa 300g for x2 people) and place the pan back into the oven for 5 minutes further. This allows the beansprouts to wilt and heat through.

Your last task is to roughly chop coriander leaves. If you’re feeling rustic, then tear them on with your hands, which fills the room with a wonderfully verdant citrus aroma. Interestingly, if you chose to spend the ‘oven time’ by doing the washing-up, then you might be more of a ‘knife and chopping board type‘ when it comes to the final hurdle of herbs! The indulgent set tend to use the hands!

Whatever your route, simply scatter the herbs on top and spoon into deep earthy bowls. Then once served, continue the spooning once more, but this time from the bowl upwards!

In a word – delicious!

Thank you for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hey presto – our ugly ducking’s a swan!

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

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

cod mornay sorrel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Low carb cooking doesn’t get better than this!

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One word will sum up the lot… delicious!

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

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

Lamb Shoulder

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Farmers’ Forbidden Pathways…

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As nature slowly ripens into August, the lush green field-margins, hedgerows and verges suddenly become too overgrown to navigate on the morning health-giving ‘ketogenic’ walks. 

We emerge from the meadows truly drenched from the waist-downwards. Stout wellingtons and heavy drill-trousers are no match for July’s dews; we literally wade through the undergrowth, like clumsy flamingos picking their way through a shimmering, yet silt-laden lake.

Far easier to negotiate are the farmers’ tramlines, which stretch the lengths of the fields, like a high-speed metro-route for wildlife. Rabbits, hares and pheasants shoot down these long straight corridors, softly overtaken by deer who arch gracefully overhead, following the roadways with their leaps but seeming scarcely to touch them. Swallows swoop, dive and bomb at dusk, powering forth in search of insects and moths.

And then two sets of wellington-boots lumber in, possessing neither the speed, nor the elegance of the pathways’ other users. These all flee at first sign of man’s intrusion; much like us when the farmer routinely catches us taking a shortcut across his field!

But at this time of year, the wheat-sheaves are still to turn golden. Yet as a nod to what’s to come, the leaves are beginning to yellow at their tips, creating an embroidered ‘tapestry effect’, flocked with the finest flecks of filigree gold. The natural corridors then are roofed in splendour, like the columns of a cathedral decked with precious metals which gleam in the bright dawn sunlight.

There is great beauty and pleasure in surreptitiously going off the beaten track in life; even if for only a brief minute or two. But one word of advice however… Just don’t get caught!

Enjoy the day and thanks for reading,

Adam.

Knee-Deep In Flowers…

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Daisies, buttercups and forget-me-nots swirl around my knees as I stride intently ’round the field and meadows.

I smile to think how they must seem to the cat, who every day trots dutifully at my side on my morning walks.

The flowers tower resolutely over his head and shoulders as he surges forwards with determination; like a clumsy dolphin carving the surf. Only a swishing tail is visible above the canopy.

Wet paws and purring are my questionable reward as I lift him carefully over a particularly stubborn bunch of thistles.

Companionship can be a strange thing; but nevertheless a thing of great joy and wonder. So take it where you can!

Thanks for reading and enjoy the day,

Adam.

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A Patchwork Quilt of Purest Wonder

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With the turning of the seasons, the crops in the fields surge forth, sprout and flourish; each developing its own unique texture, pattern and palette.

Sometimes subtle, sometimes strident; these off-cuts of colour interweave and entwine, forming a patchwork quilt of purest wonder!

And as clouds slowly skim across the surface of the sun; shadows form and flirt with the earth, transforming its checkerboard into a kaleidoscope of colour; stealing the breath and enchanting the eye.

The verdant greens of seedling wheats clash cheerfully against the blazing yellows of oilseed. A carpet of campion, lilac, pink and purple, races along the hedgerows, embroidered by white chestnut candles and showers of palest hawthorn.

And as backdrop to all this, the deepest, purest blue of echoing spring-skies, bejewelled by the bright new dawn’s sunlight. The eye scarce knows how to take it all in or what to view next…

But the eye is not alone in its fervent feast of fancy; the ear delights too in the beauty which bombards it. A tapestry of tweets, trills and chirrups sings forth to the skies; a musical masterpiece every bit at complex rings out, as the dawn chorus slowly reaches its dizzying crescendo.

Mother Nature is a skilled seamstress. Her patchwork-quilt is ever changing; as each day’s colour adds a new & beautiful square. I humbly doff my cap to her craftsmanship, and urge you to do the same.

Get out there and see it.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the day,

Adam.

Meandering Lanes of Lush, Verdant Green – The Boundless Bounty of Spring…

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With nature, there is always something to wait for. Whilst the fields and hedgerows burst forth their frenetic Spring growth; the trees have yet to majestically unfurl their leaves into the hazy warmth of the soft April sun.
The verges of England’s green lanes seem to swell with a crescendo of life – the bright vivid blues of speedwell and forget-me-nots surge upwards; basking in sunlight, before slowly ebbing away into the dusk, when delicate evening-primroses take up their candescent chorus of colour.

An army of busily chattering beaks sing out their joy; japing and scolding between hastily guzzled mouthfuls of gruesome grubs and foraged fauna. Their soaring song trills to the sky, proclaiming a bliss which none can know, yet can’t be confined.

Whether Winter, Summer or Spring, the meandering lanes seem timeless in their slow, ambling journey. Their routes may be familiar, yet the subtle changing of seasons ensures there’s always a new sight to behold ’round each last lazy corner. Like the stage in a theatre, the backdrop is constant; the scenery evolves.

Few things can share this sense of eternal transition. Like all things ephemeral, one blink and you miss it!

So like the hedgerows’ wild flowers; take every opportunity to drink in nature’s rich warmth… But take heart when it’s fleeting; there’s equal beauty ’round the next corner.

Thanks for reading,

Adam.

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Decadent Raspberry Frangipan Pudding – A Low Carb ‘One Bowl’ Classic, Ready In 30 Minutes!

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There’s one recipe I always cook when I want a fast & delicious low carb pudding; and this is it!

Not only is this dish ‘super low in carbs’; the other fantastic ‘string to its bow’ is that it’s all prepared in just one bowl. This makes it 100% mess free and incredibly straightforward. If you’re not a fan of raspberries, these can be substituted with blueberries or left out entirely. As both of these fruits are wonderfully low in carbohydrate; this dish can be enjoyed by ketogenic-dieters, diabetics or indeed anyone who simply wishes to cut down on starch in their diet. So give this recipe a go – puddings don’t get any quicker or easier than this!

Choose a mixing bowl or large soufflé dish that’s oven proof, so you don’t need to transfer the mixture prior to cooking. Measure in 4oz of ground almonds, 1oz of dessicated coconut, half a teaspoon of baking-powder and 4oz of xylitol sweetener (or 3/4 cup of Splenda). Next, add in 4oz of unsalted butter, a few drops of sugar-free vanilla essence, then break in 2 eggs.

Beat the lot with an electric-whisk until well amalgamated. You want the texture to be a reluctant dropping consistency, that just falls off the spoon. If you need to add a little liquid, pour in half a cupful of milk, cream or water (depending on your carb-tolerance). Then simply makes some ‘wells’ in the mixture with the back-end of the whisk, and drop in your raspberries one at a time. I used a generous handful, but quantity is ultimately to preference.

Cover these over with the mixture, so that the top doesn’t ‘marble’ in the oven whilst cooking; then bake for 20-25 minutes in a medium oven (circa 180ºc) until pleasingly risen and a light golden on top. You should be able to touch the top with a finger, and the surface bounces back without sinking.

Once baked to perfection, serve piping hot with a drizzle of double cream or a large dollop of yoghurt. Add a final raspberry or two to garnish; then simply dig in! Just one word alone is needed to sum this dish up – heavenly!

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

Earthy Spiced Cumin and Coconut Chicken with Creamy Turmeric Turnips – Hearty & Substantial Low Carb Cooking!

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Low-carb food can sometimes have a disappointing tendency to feel a tad on the ‘anaemic’ side! Well not so with this dish! Few recipes can feel more heart-warmingly substantial and filling than this one! Not only do all the ingredients possess that definitive ‘comfort factor’; but the spices used are warm, aromatic and ‘earthy’; producing the kind of rich, moreish ‘soul-food’ you just want to ladle into large bowls and eat on your lap!

Turnip is categorically one of the great, unsung low-carb food-heroes. Much like celeriac; it’s amongst the only root-vegetables not packed to the gunnels with starch! At around 4g of net carbs per 100g, you’d be hard pushed to beak the daily carb-bank with such low levels…

It can require careful cooking however. What do I mean? The traditional turnip has a slightly sharp, peppery taste, much like a radish (next time you cut into one, eat a tiny slice raw and you’ll soon see what I’m talking about!). This means that it often needs to be accompanied by warm flavours such as bacon, butter or aromatic spices to detract from the sharpness. On the flip side however, this also makes it great in oriental dishes, where its pepperiness serves only to accentuate the finished result! Another huge boon is that it’s quick to cook; softening in half the time of things like celeriac or carrot. For all these things then, it’s an everyday winner in my book!

Because of the ‘low-carbohydrate’ nature of everything in this dish, the recipe is perfect for diabetics or those on a ketogenic-diet. There’s also nothing that a paleo-protagonist or gluten-intolerant can’t eat, so it’s a true ‘meal-solution’ for anyone and everyone. As such, I can’t recommend this recipe highly enough. Give it a try and make sure to tell me how you got on!

Start by roughly dicing some smoked bacon. Add some butter to a pan and sauté the bacon until it starts to brown. At this point, tumble in one finely sliced onion and stir well to coat. Crush in two cloves of garlic, then add your chicken breasts (one per person). Seal these on each side, then sprinkle in a generous teaspoon of cumin. As soon as then mixture starts to panic, pour in a cupful of water and crumble in two chicken stock-cubes. Follow this with half a can of full-fat coconut-milk, add a flourish of dried oregano, then leave to pan to simmer on a low heat for 25 minutes until the sauce is thick and creamy.

Now you can start on your turnips. Peel about 2 per person and chop into a 1.5cm dice. There’s no need to top and tail the vegetable; it’s quite soft enough to peel directly over the root-line and sprout-top. Slice another onion and soften this again in butter. Whilst this is cooking, finely chop a jalapeño chilli and two cloves of garlic. Add these to the onion and pile in the diced turnip. Sprinkle a large teaspoon of turmeric on top and stir the mixture well to ensure that everything is well coated. Then crumble in two more chicken stock-cubes and pour on sufficient boiling water so that the pan’s contents are at ‘chin-height’ in liquid. Now simply simmer on a medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has all but evaporated and the turnip is meltingly soft.

Once the turnip is cooked, stir through a large tablespoon of double cream and taste to adjust the seasoning.  Ladle the chicken into bowls, ensuring a generous spoonful of coconut sauce per portion. Spoon the turnip mix to one side and garnish the lot with chopped fresh coriander leaves and toasted almond-slices. Then simply dig in! Truly sublime 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.

Cumberland Sausages with Bacon, Peas and Ham – delicious ‘Great British’ low carb meal ideas!

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Quite often, the simplest meals are the best! And few things can beat this delicious twist on a classic; either in terms of taste or speed! Since the 18th century; peas and ham have featured as a trusted combination in the English culinary repertoire to stupendous effect. Pea and ham soup has been a firm favourite for generations, as has the more interestingly named Pea & Ham Pudding (savoury). In this recipe however, I aim to ‘de-clutter’ things; providing all the rich taste and flavour of the original in a way that’s fast and fuss-free to prepare!

Like all recipes on this blog, there’s virtually no carbohydrate here. This makes it great for diabetics or those on a ketogenic diet. Also, because there’s no gluten, coeliacs or those with an intolerance to wheat can also dig straight in! If you’re a strict ‘paleo-protagonist’, you may wish to pass on the parmesan cheese, but I leave that up to personal preference to decide.

Before we start, just a quick word on frozen peas. Be sure to read the back-of-pack to check the carbohydrate content, as this can vary hugely. I used petits pois which come in far lower than standard ‘mature’ peas (circa 3g net carbs per 100g v 8g); but the net carb rule of thumb will guide you to the optimum choice (hyperlink as follows: net carb calculation).

Start by placing your sausages onto a baking-tray. Drizzle on a little oil to prevent them from sticking and season well. Into a hot oven they go for circa 25 minutes until succulent and sizzlingly golden.

In the meantime, dice your bacon and place this into a heavy-based pan on the hob. Seal on a medium heat with a little butter until the bacon starts to brown. At this point, add in one large finely sliced onion.

Lower the heat slightly and soften the onion for circa five minutes until it starts to turn translucent. Once you’re there, crush in two cloves of garlic and season well.

Two minutes after adding the garlic, it’s time to crank up the heat once more. Add a large bowlful of frozen peas and stir well to heat through. You now have two choices – you can either de-glaze the pan with a generous glug of dry stout sherry followed a minute later with chicken stock; or you can be abstemious and opt for just the stock. I don’t have to tell you which method I prefer, but I certainly shan’t judge you if you plump for the prohibition version! Either way, you want the liquid to just cover the peas. And with regards the stock – boiling water and stock-cubes will do the job admirably! Whilst absolutely delicious, home-made stock is difficult to fit into the hustle and bustle of everyday life. If you have this luxury however, I salute you!

Once the liquid has gone in, finely chop a couple of slices of smoked ham for background ‘warmth’ and add these to the pan. Reduce the contents on a medium heat for 15 minutes until the water is all but gone. Then stir through a large handful of grated parmesan cheese and a generous knob of butter.

By this time your sausages should be browned to perfection. Remove these from the oven and place at intervals over the surface of your peas. Finish the dish with a final flourish of chopped herbs (basil, parsley, oregano or sage are a delight) and voila! Your delicious low-carb dinner is ready! And all within half an hour! (I salute that too!).

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

Thanks for reading and bon ap!

Adam.

The Walled Garden At Dawn – A True Home From Home

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Adam.

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Silent Statues In the Mist

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading and have a good day.

Adam.