Low carb porridge with chia and flax seeds – low carb, vegan, gf, high protein

It’s not carb free, but it does taste great and simulate the consistency of porridge without all the crappy lethargic feeling you get afterwards. I guess it’s high protein too.  Either way I feel far better after eating this than the regular version.

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Ingredients: serves 1 generously

1 tbsp white chia seeds, organic if possible
3 tbsp ground flaxseeds (linseed) with goji berries and sunflower seeds (or 2 tbsp plain and add your own berries /seeds)
1 tbsp gluten free organic porridge oats
1 cup rice milk (or milk of choice)
1 tsp rice malt syrup (or sweetener of choice)
Optional: cinnamon and dried sour cherries

Method:
1. Put everything in a saucepan on a medium/low heat
2. Stir well until mixture thickens to porridge consistency
3. Serve immediately

Enjoy!

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Asian style broccoli

I love broccoli in most things, but this has to be one of the absolute best ways to eat it.

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Ingredients – serves 2-3
1 pkt broccoli, steamed, about 250g
Pinch garlic powder
2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp hot Paprika
1tbsp toasted Sesame oil
Toasted Sesame seeds to top

1. Mix everything together
2. Serve immediately
Enjoy!

Incredible korean style crispy green pancakes – vegan, gluten free, low carb, paleo

You know when something tastes so good you can’t resist eating it while you cook, and when you finally get to the table you forget all about things like table manners and cutlery and start tearing bits off with your hands in excitement? This is one of those things. It took me a full 15 minutes of eating before I could muster enough sense to pick up the fork. I’m stuffed now but still find myself longingly staring at the uneaten half of my third helping. Oh yes. This is one to get the fat-pants out for.

Except, it isn’t… It’s almost all veggies, with gram flour, onions, vegan kimchi  (thank you miss Maangchi!) and seasonings – apart from the oil used to fry them in there aren’t that many calories in them at all, for the way they taste. It’s like an amazing, crispy, pakora-like pancake but a billion times better… No overabundance of powdery dough, just the sweet, cruncy green veggies coated in a light layer of delicious, crisp, spicy batter… If I don’t stop describing this thing soon I’ll cave in and finish my plate. Make this. Especially if you find – as we did – a beautiful bunch of beets with greens intact that it’d be a crime to waste. They’re like kale but softer, less grassy and more sweet tasting. Although I’m sure baby kale or de-veined regular kale would work just as well.

Adapted from Maangchi’s kale pancake and kimchi pancake recipe vids on YouTube.

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Here it is next to some stir-fried veggies… Yummm

Ingredients – serves 3-4
1 large bunch of beet greens with stalks, maybe 150g, chopped
1.5 pak choi, washed, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
1 green onion (scallion), chopped
1 medium chilli pepper, de-seeded and chopped finely
1/4 tsp smoked Paprika
1/2 cup kimchi of choice (we used vegan homemade – to Maangchi’s easy recipe with soy sauce instead of fish sauce & pear instead of rice flour slurry)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp toasted Sesame oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp salt
About 3/4 cup water
Up to 1 cup gram flour, or as much as required to make a thin batter that coats everything.
Generous amount of oil to fry in (2tbsp per pancake)
Optional – toasted Sesame seeds as garnish

1. Put everything except frying oil and gram flour in a large bowl
2. Mix well then add half the gram flour, mixing and gradually adding more until a thin batter coats everything and there are a few tablespoons more of it at the bottom of the bowl
3. Heat your pan with 2tbsp oil on high, putting ladlefuls of the mixture into it when hot, then flattening them out to make a relatively thin pancake (thinner means crispier and tastier). Fry until crispy on the bottom (around 3 min) then flip using a spatula, or just using the pan if you want to show off. Cook the other side until that’s crispy too, a few more min.
4. Transfer to a plate then start the next pancake in the same way. Stack the pancakes to keep them warm as you cook. Try not to eat too many as you fry!
5. Serve immediately, topped with toasted Sesame seeds if you like.
Enjoy!

Vegetarian cheese buldak – vegan option

This was adapted from Maangchi’s recipe on YouTube for tradition korean cheese buldak – firey chicken topped with cheese. We made it twice in the last two days with our chosen chicken substitute and it is delicious! Spicy, flavoursome, savoury with a little hint of sweet, a little crunchy from the veggies, soft and juicy from the “chicken” and covered in cheese- what’s not to like? Sometimes fake meat recipe substitutions fail because the flavour is off, in this it was perfect because all the punchy pepper and strong flavour takes over and all you really need from the substitute is its texture.

I’ve made a couple of changes to her recipe – first I added some fresh (unfermented) kimchi because, hey, why not? (also made to her “easy kimchi” recipe but made vegan and lower carb by using soy sauce instead of fish sauce and pureed pear instead of rice flour slurry), and I didn’t have any korean hot pepper flakes or paste in the house so I substituted with a mix of hot and smoked Paprika, and a few crushed chili flakes and some other stuff, to mimic the smoky-hot-sweet flavour.  If you want to make this vegan just use a vegan cheese on top instead (she used mozzarella so something like that, we used feta because we had it in the house and my other half has a thing for it).

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Ingredients – serves 2 generously, 3 moderately

1 med/ large onion, diced
Sunflower oil to fry – 2tbsp
500g chicken substitute of choice – we used quorn chicken style pieces (nb ours contains egg)
1 cup vegetarian kimchi (you can leave this out if you want)
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp pomegranate molases (optional)
1 tsp each smoked & hot paprika
1/4 tsp crushed red chili flakes, or to taste
1/4 tsp garlic powder (more if you like garlic)
1/4 tsp ginger powder (or less to taste)
4 tbsp Sundried tomato paste
2 tbsp toasted (dark) sesame oil
4-6 tbsp crispy onion pieces, optional
400g cheese of choice to top – we used 200g feta because that’s all we had about

1. Fry the onion in a little oil in a large, heavy frying pan until starting to brown
2. Add the “chicken”, kimchi if using, and fry for a couple of minutes
3. Mix all the other ingredients apart from cheese into a paste, then add to the pan with about 1.5 cups water, stirring very well
4. Stir, cover and simmer for about 12 min or until “chicken” is done – don’t let it boil too dry and burn though. It should have a thick juicy sauce. In the meantime preheat the grill /broiler to high
5. Top with cheese and a little more water if the sauce is too dry (the grill will dry it more) – just a couple of tablespoons – then grill until cheese is toasty and soft. Serve immediately.
Enjoy!

Vegan almond herb & onion crackers – Gluten-free, dairy free, paleo, low carb

These are great with nut cheese. You can dehydrate them if you want them raw instead of baked, too.  Like most recipes here, easy, fast, yum. A great staple/ alternative to crisp breads & crackers. Adapted from a recipe from the blog Olives for Dinner.

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Ingredients – makes about 20
1/3 cup ground linseed/flax seed
1/2 cup water
1 1/3 cup ground almonds
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp Nutritional yeast (optional – gives a cheesy flavour)
2 tsp onion powder
1 pinch garlic powder
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt (we used half sea salt & half smoked salt – nb these crackers are quite salty so reduce this to half if you want to eat them plain)
1 sweet, pointed red pepper, finely diced (optional, but very tasty)

Method:
1. Put everything in a bowl. Mix until it looks like a soft, sticky dough.
2. Turn onto a greased, lined baking tray (we foil line & spray with oil). Dump the dough in the middle, grease hands well with olive oil, and pat down to make a flat cracker, about 4mm thick. Re oil hands as necessary while working.
3. Score into cracker shapes using a pizza cutter. Bake in the oven at 200 degrees C for 15-20 mins or until crisp. (or dehydrate for 8h at 110 apparently, but I haven’t tried that). Allow to sit and cool a little before removing from tray, the steam will help them loosen (removing while hot makes them stick).
Enjoy!

16-minute healthy homemade tomato ketchup – sugar free, paleo, gluten free, diabetic friendly, fast, easy, yum!

Ketchup & I go way back.  It’s one of those things I can’t run out of in the house, we buy a bottle before the current one finishes just to make sure we don’t go dry, at restaurants I request extra if they give too little, because I literally can’t eat some foods without it. I can’t imagine eating chips (fries if you’re american), sausages or burgers without a generous serving of ketchup; I’d even put it on pizza, chicken, you name it, and I use it in some recipes for a flavour boost… All of this is exactly why what I am about to say is shocking.

I AM NO LONGER FRIENDS WITH KETCHUP.

The store bought kind that is…. Not even my absolute favourite brand.  Yes Heinz original, I’m talking to you!  After all the good times we had, you were keeping a nasty little secret from me – you are almost 25% sugar! what the heck?? I wan’t sugar in my CAKES, not hidden in savoury foods like you to make me pre-diabetic!! It’s you, and secret enemies like you, YOU’RE the reason I cook healthy things but don’t seem to loose weight! Gah! I’m not talking to you anymore!!

Rather than sulk I googled some recipes (I still need my ketchup fix, and there’s really no reason for it to be unhealthy with all the sugar alternatives we have now).  A lot of them seemed to have spices I don’t have at home, like onion powder, and wanted me to slow cook everything for 2 hours to reduce it down (who has time for that?).  Well, I the one thing I always have at home which has a bunch of similar seasonings to what’s needed (and a few extra, but hey it’s all good) is vegetable stock cubes.  I also didn’t want to wait for 2 hours so I thought I’d try a microwave method to thicken it up instead… if you’ve ever overheated something in the microwave you’ll know how it can completely dehydrate your food in a matter of minutes – why not use that to our advantage?

The glorious result is this… only THE BEST KETCHUP IVE EVER TASTED! Others have said how great homemade ketchup is, I now know how true that is… that depth of flavour, a taste of real tomato in that beautifully smooth, thick puree as opposed to just sugar & salt, the sharp tang and subtle flavours of the seasoning… Move over Heinz, I have found my new BFF and it promises to be as good to me as I deserve. YAY!

Look at the comparison of nutritional information (I got this by using an online recipe calorie calculator)… just look!  ketchup-nut see that sugar? less than 1% in my recipe – and it tastes no less good! This is why you should make your own ketchup.  Not to mention the salt and calorie count.  I made a jar full in less time than it took me to cook my sausages and sweet potato chips.  If you love ketchup like I do, this is definitely worth a try.

ketchup yup, I won’t be going back after this one.  All that remains is to make little jars to take with me when we go out 🙂

Ingredients – makes about 1 regular jam-jar full

500g passata (one pack)
2.5 vegetable stock cubes (ours are kinda small, use enough to make 1125ml stock -just less than 5 cups)
1/3 cup (80ml) cider vinegar
4.5g or 1 tsp Truvia (stevia sweetener in the UK. Use roughly 1/3 the amount of truvia to sugar)

Equipment-
large microwave safe glass bowl (plastic will stain, or might not be safe)
Cling film or plastic wrap
wooden, silicone or plastic spoon (not metal)
clean jar to store finished ketchup

1. Crumble the stock cubes. Put all the ingredients in a very large glass bowl and cover with cling film, piercing it a couple of times to let steam escape.
2. microwave on full power for 3 minutes. Remove carefully and stir with a plastic or wooden spoon (metal may affect the taste). Replace the cling-film and return it to the microwave.
3. Microwave on full power for another 3 minutes, then stir again, cover, and replace. It’ll be quite hot by now.
4. Microwave on full power for 5 minutes. You’ll need a pot-holder to take the bowl out, the sauce will be thicker, bubbling and probably splattered all over the cling-film and sides of the bowl. Carefully stir after letting it sit for about 30s to make sure it doesn’t splash at you. Cover again and replace.
5. Microwave on half power this time, for a final 5 minutes. By the end you’ll see a dried ring around the inside of the bowl, and the sauce will still seem more runny than ketchup but will coat a spoon once dipped in. It thickens up a fair bit on cooling. To check consistency you could put a small amount on a cool plate and see what it looks like after a couple of minutes, nuking more if needed. Just don’t overdo it!
6. carefully (it’s hot!) taste it. Adjust the balance between salt, sweet and sour to taste, adding very little of each and mixing well before tasting.  I found it was easier to do this by tasting the ketchup on other food, how I’m used to eating it.
7. Pour into your clean jar then allow to cool. Cover and keep in the fridge.

Enjoy!

Late night munchies – soy “chicken” omelet

This was a fast experiment at 2am that worked really well… We just threw a bunch of random ingredients we had in our cupboard and fridge together, the result I could swear tastes like chicken shish kebabs but softer, like a chicken version of the burger-omelet cross in the Arab world that is lahm w beidh (literally, minced meat and egg). Surprisingly delicious, especially given the seasoning we used… But I can’t pretend to get all sophisticated and tell you to use something seemingly of better quality because I know it just won’t work the same.  If you can get over your initial reaction to what I’m going to say, make this and you won’t regret it.

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It’s 2am, I really can’t be doing better photos right now (sorry)

Ingredients – serves 1-2
3/4 cup unflavoured dry soy mince (we used neal’s yard)
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp dark soy sauce (we used Chinese)
3 tbsp crispy onion pieces (we used Top Taste)
1-2 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
1 packet chicken flavoured seasoning taken from instant noodles (don’t judge me, it works … We used koka brand which is actually vegetarian)
6 tbsp egg whites (3 egg whites) or 2 whole eggs, beaten

1. Put soy mince, soy sauce, onion, thyme and seasoning in a large bowl.
2. Slowly add a stream of boiling water to the mince mix and stir gently, until it’s all fluffy and the liquid is absorbed – should puff up to be about 2 cups. Add only as much water as you need to rehydrate, stop when you see more than a tablespoon or so of liquid at the bottom of the bowl which doesn’t get soaked up on stirring.
3. Heat oil in a pan, then add mince mix. Pour egg on top then fry on medium high until set, covering the pan to help the top cook with steam, flipping once the top is just set using a spatula, to allow both sides to brown a little.
4. Serve immediately, and marvel at how something so amazing could be made using a packet of instant noodle flavouring.
Enjoy!