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!

7 minute “chicken” curry

Wait, what? Everyone knows you can’t make a good curry from scratch in 7 minutes, right? Actually, you can, if you know the shortcuts to use and *why* curries take hours to begin with. It’s the slow cooking of all those onions and tomatoes down to a thick sauce… So by using those pre-cooked crispy onion pieces you buy in tubs and passata, you get a similar enough sauce in a fraction of the time. Once you’ve added the spices and chicken substitute (we used quorn) you can hardly tell the difference from the much longer version (see one of our previous posts, sweet potato & spinach curry).

Use whichever spices you like, or if you want to get realy fancy, fry and grind your own… But then you may aswell make the curry the long way. This recipe is more about good, healthy, yummy and fast than authenticity, although it is far superior in that respect too to most other speedy options.

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Ingredients – serves 2
500g passata
1/3 tub good quality crispy onion pieces (nothing but onion, flour, salt and oil please – we used top taste)
500g chicken substitute of choice (we used quorn chicken style pieces)
1/3 tsp each turmeric, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, chilli flakes (or to taste)
2 tsp garam masala or curry powder
Salt to taste
Rice to serve

1. Put everything in a saucepan at once. Add a little water then bring to the boil
2. Cook for about 7 min or until the chicken pieces are done. Stir every so often and add a lil more water if required to stop it catching on the bottom of the pan
3.  Serve with rice or naan.
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!

The most delicious peach tart ever – paleo, GF, vegetarian, no refined sugar, low fat, vegan option

This was yesterday’s experiment.  We had 4 very large, firm nectarines, not particularly sweet, and not a lot to do with them – so this tart/ pie/ slice kinda happened.  And boy am I glad it did… I think this has to be one of my favourite dessert recipes period, which is quite amazing given the fact it contains no sugar except what is naturally found in the fruit.  The peach topping is just delicious, I could eat a bowlful on its own.  In honesty, that’s what makes this dessert – you could use any pastry, cake or cheesecake base you’d like (or none at all) and it would probably be fabulous – meaning you can easily make this vegan too.  But if I can make something fast and low-carb to hold all that delicious topping (the pastry does meet these criteria) then all the better.  It’s also firm enough not to fall apart if you decide to pick up a slice to eat while wondering about.  Yum 🙂

Incidentally, because our fruit wasn’t that sweet or soft and yours might be, you may find you need less stevia/ sugar that specified, and a shorter cooking time before the peaches dissolve into a beautiful, fruity sauce.  Play with the sweetness if you need to, and if your fruit has melted into a glorious soup you could combine it with the fruity custard in the saucepan before pouring it on top of the tart to help it set better.

Or you could just eat it with a spoon, straight from the pan.  Whatever makes you happy 😉

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would you just look at all that yumminess? 

Ingredients – makes one 7 by 12″ tart 

  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot starch (or cassava flour, or regular flour if you want)
  • 7 tbsp egg whites, or 2 whole, medium eggs (beaten)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (good quality please)
  • 4 extra large (or 5-6 regular) peaches or nectarines, peeled and chopped
  • 18g Truvia (this is a 1% stevia/ 99% erythritol sweetener available in the UK) or if you want to use sugar, try about 80g or to taste
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup (240ml) apple & mango juice (or pure fruit juice of choice)
  • 2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch in the US) – or for pure paleo, thickener of choice e.g. arrowroot (but I haven’t tried this)
  1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C for a fan assisted oven or about 160 degrees C for a conventional one.  That’s about 300F I believe (doesn’t actually matter that much as the pastry is so thin).  mix the arrowroot, ground almonds, egg, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth, then spread evenly over the base of a loose-bottomed, well-greased 7 by 12″ brownie pan (or 8 or 9″ square if you prefer).  If you line the pan with paper you should probably brush the top of it with oil to prevent sticking too.
  2. Bake the pastry (or your own pastry of choice) until starting to turn golden at the very edges.  In the mean time, put the peaches, coconut oil and Truvia or sweetener of choice into a saucepan.  on a medium-high heat, stirring frequently, cook until the fruit is softened and somewhat translucent.  You’ll need to check the pastry every so often while you do this.
  3. Once the fruit is cooked (test the sweetness and adjust if necessary – cooking a bit longer to avoid sugary grains if you add more) and the pastry is ready, spoon the fruit over the top of the tart base.  Spread in as even a layer as you can manage.
  4. put the cornstarch (or thickener of choice) in a saucepan and add about 1/4 of the fruit juice.  Stir quickly or whisk until all of the lumps are gone and you have a smooth, creamy coloured liquid.  Add the rest of the juice then put the saucepan on a medium heat, stirring all the time until the mixture starts to boil.  It is ready when the mix has thickened, become translucent and almost like a custard.
  5. Pour your amazing fruity custard over the top of the tart.  As soon as it is cool enough to set, you can cut it into pieces and serve 🙂

Enjoy!

The world’s best homemade baked beans – paleo, vegan, vegetarian, GF, low carb, low fat

This is one of my favourite recipes for a healthy version of baked beans. Without all the hidden nasties like excessive sugar and salt, these beans come in their own beautiful homemade tomato and herb sauce – perfect to use in any way you would use regular baked beans from a can. If you make this using pulses from a can or carton, the whole thing only takes about 15 minutes to cook. If choosing to make this recipe with dried pulses as we do, you’ll need to do a little pre-preparation before following the below method: pre-soak the dry beans in a large pot of water overnight, then boil them over a low heat for 2-3 hours – don’t worry about having to watch the pot in this time, as long as you’re in the general vicinity to make sure the pot doesn’t either go dry or boil over you can pretty much ignore it until its done. As long as the heat is set such that the beans keep on a low simmer, still bubbling and boiling gently, it’s happy on it’s own. I tend to make one huge batch of beans like this to portion into little bags and freeze until needed, which I can defrost in the microwave then use whenever.

But back to the beans…

You could have them as beans on toast…. or atop a baked potato… or with sweet potato chips…

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or pop a whole aubergine (eggplant) into the oven for an hour (200 degrees C)….

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… cut it in half, surround it with your favourite veggies…

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… top it with baked beans, parmesan and a few herbs, then bake again for 20 minutes…

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to make this delicious meal…  there are hundreds of possibilities.  and all of them delicious 🙂

You won’t regret making these… unless you really hate beans.  In which case feel free to order pizza or something.

Ingredients – serves 4

  • 4 cans or cartons of pulses of choice, drained – red kidney beans, chick peas, butter beans, whatever you prefer (if using dry pulses, use 1/4 cup of each and follow instructions in the blurb above to slow-cook before you follow the rest of the recipe.  NB: raw red kidney beans are actually poisonous! I would recommend using those from a can to avoid issues with undercooking)
  • 1 packet (300ml) passata
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced plus 1-2 tsp oil to fry, or 4 tbsp good quality crispy onion pieces (anything in the ingredients other than onion, flour, salt, oil then it’s no good)
  • 1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes (about 150g)
  • 2 tbsp dried thyme or oregano
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup (really enhances tomato flavour)
  • 1/2 tsp spice mix of choice, e.g. mild curry powder or cajun, whatever (just adds to background flavour so it’s fairly flexible, most indian or mexican blends also work well)
  • Salt to taste – start at 1/2 tsp.  Canned beans have salt added and so will need less than dry pulses boiled at home
  1. if using red onion, heat oil in a saucepan then fry until starting to brown at the edges.
  2. Put everything except the salt into the saucepan and stir well.
  3. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat then cover and simmer for 10 minutes or so, until the cherry tomatoes pop and the sauce is bubbling nicely.  Season with salt to taste, then serve.  Enjoy 🙂