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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Low FODMAP breakfast: vegan tofu “omelet” with sushi rice & veggies

The low FODMAP diet is one of the most restrictive I’ve ever been on…  No onion, garlic, asparagus, watermelon, avocado, apples, gluten, dairy… The list goes on and seems to follow no discernible pattern – you just have to learn what you can have and can’t.  Especially with my additional intolerance to sugars and, more recently, oats, it’s been pretty hard finding a breakfast I can actually eat without feeling awful afterwards.  I knew about this diet a couple of months ago but couldn’t bring myself to try it because of all the restrictions above & beyond paleo, low sugar and vegan which I don’t even manage most of the time as it is. But after a truly horrible past couple of days where I found out, after several bowls of granola with milk then soy milk, that I’m quite severely intolerant to both lactose and oats (urrggh) I think the sacrifice has got to be worth it now not to feel like that ever again.

This is a yummy, fluffy, slightly crispy on the edges, soft in the middle, flavoursome vegan take on an omelet. I didn’t think it tasted much like egg, but I think I liked the flavour combination  better than acrid egginess anyway. I served it with sushi rice made with stevia instead of sugar, though I now realise erythritol is probably not allowed in the FODMAP diet as a polyol. I’m still learning, and I seem ok enough after eating it… Let’s face it, it’s not going to be as bad as lactose or oats.

Anyone else having to be on this diet, hugs

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Ingredients – serves 1
250g silken tofu
1 tsp oregano
Half a sun dried tomato, chopped finely
Green parts of one scallion/green onion only, chopped finely
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
Pinch of smoked paprika
Salt to taste
Onion or garlic infused oil to fry

1. Put everything except the frying oil into a blender and puree until smooth
2. Heat frying oil in a pan then carefully pour the thick puree into it. Fry for 5-6 minutes until the edges look like they’re starting to get crispy.
3. Finish off in the grill (broiler) to set the top a little.
Serve immediately with veggies of choice and sushi rice if you like, because hey, why not. You could probably use this as a filling inside a sushi roll if you could be bothered making one.
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!

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!

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!

new year’s plan & amazing paleo butternut squash sushi – with or without rice

Hello all,

It’s been a while, I know (sorry). That annoying thing called life snuck up and bombarded me with lots of things and I’ve been struggling to catch up. There have been a few recipe triumphs in that time (and a few disasters, but we don’t count those) which I’ve forgotten almost as soon as the dishes were washed- but this one I just couldn’t let go without a post.

But before that! As part of all this “new year new me” whatever I decided to do something I’ve been aiming at (and failing in) for a long time- cut out refined carbs. I love them, but alas it’s one sided as they play havoc with my health, hormones, weight, lots of things. Coming from a middle eastern background as I do I’ve always failed at avoiding them because seriously, all we eat is rice and bread, and I was raised in the UK so I quite like potatoes too. For the first time I came up with some acceptable substitutes for those, unlike the disgusting, unconvincing or incredibly time consuming ones I’d tried before. I’m going to assume you’re interested, if not skip to the food bit below.  Here they are.

1. Rice: substitute with cooked lentils. In the case of a stew, use the liquid to cook the lentils like a one-pot meal. This is so much less time consuming and much more palatable than that God-awful cauliflower rice everyone rants about (barf, seriously) which is so messy to make and time consuming to squeeze out and fry it dry enough not to taste vile. I really don’t know or care much if they class as legumes and aren’t paleo, that’s not why I’m making the switch.

2. Potatoes: use butternut squash, on the odd occasion we might want one.

3. my personal favourite- Bread: use hand-cooked potato crisps. I know I just said I won’t be using potatoes but I don’t care- this is important. Bread and pastry is a serious and harmful addiction for me, if a 25g bag of potato chips can give me something easy, fast and that I actually like to dip in my guacamole or use as a base for toppings instead of crackers, sandwiches or wraps then so be it. Otherwise I’ll be back to my 3 croissant a day habit and toasted white bread sandwiches on the side.  Bad.  Very bad.

So far these switches have been easy and taste good enough to be sustainable, almost a month in. That’s all I need right now. 8 weeks in and we’ll see if I’m ready to change a bit more.

So, the sushi.

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I was going to make some, but didn’t want to use rice. I googled paleo sushi and saw lots of suggestions to use cauliflower (what the hell is wrong with those people, yuk) or avocado, which I felt would be too rich to use in that quantity. I compromised and did two things: made some with a very thin layer of rice and lots of fillings, and used roasted butternut squash instead of rice in the others. And OMG that butternut squash was AMAAAAZZZINNGGGGG…. I actually preferred it to the rice, so did my other half. It’s subtle sweetness matches the flavour from the sushi zu (vinegar & sugar seasoning to the rest of us), you could add a little vinegar if you wanted but I felt it was delicious without. Just scoop out the soft roasted (cooled) flesh of a butternut squash, press it on to the nori (seaweed) as you would the rice, roll then enjoy.

Here are the other fillings we used, in no particular order and various combinations:

Japanese style omelette (add a little soy sauce and sugar or sweetener of choice before frying)
finely sliced red onion
baby kale leaves
fine strips of carrot
thinly sliced green apple
sliced sweet pointed red peppers
tuna flakes
mascarpone cheese
strips of emmental cheese
more roasted butternut squash as a filling

we might have used avocado and smoked salmon if we had any. Either way, still yum.

Everybody loved the squash sushi, even the skeptics. I’ll definitely, definitely be making this again.

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superhealthy super-tasty mixed bean and pickle salad

This dish is the kind of salad you could serve to someone who hates salad, and be pretty sure they’ll still like it.  Unlike the standard leafy vegetables with cucumber, tomato, blah that salads can be, this is more filling, has a texture like “real” food, and is much more flavourful.  Its like a far more delicious cold version of refried beans, with a few of the same crunchy ingredients as guacamole (minus the avocado). You can serve it as a side dish, or alongside more standard salad options such as lettuce, spinach, cucumber and flaked tuna as we did here – because these finicky perishable ingredients are served separately it means your lovely bean salad can be stored for up to a week in the fridge – if it lasts that long!  It contains numerous super foods (beans being the top of the list), and is so healthy you could literally fill up on it at a relatively low caloric intake.  It is also so good that my other half forgot all about the tuna – one of his favourite foods, and polished off three servings of this salad instead 🙂

What makes this recipe so delicious is the flavour combination.  Slow cooked beans, crunchy red onion, diced cherry tomatoes and red peppers, chopped gherkins, capers, herbs and a special lemon and garlic dressing.  What makes the dressing unique is the amount of acidity in it – a regular dressing contains twice the amount of olive oil as vinegar or lemon juice, this dressing has the opposite – an increase in tasty sourness being necessary to balance the unflavoured beans and to prevent indigestion from the beans and onions.  Incidentally, when eating this (or any other dish containing pulses or onion) I recommend drinking orange or apple juice, or lemonade or soda with it as opposed to water, because any dilution of your stomach acids can leave you feeling rather bloated (sour drinks help reduce that).  If you really don’t like those options, its best not to drink anything for an hour or so after eating.

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Ingredients – serves 4 (recipe can be halved)

  • 3 cups mixed, cooked beans (or the contents of 3 cans of beans of choice such as kidney beans, butter beans, chickpeas, mixed beans etc drained)
  • 1/2 red onion, diced finely
  • 1/2 punnet (about 150g) baby plum or cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 red pepper or pimento, diced
  • handful of baby gherkin pickles, diced
  • 2 tbsp capers, chopped
  • 4 sundried tomatoes or preserved slowbaked tomatoes (from a jar), finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp arabian dried thyme and sesame (or regular dried thyme)
  • 4 or 5 pieces of preserved artichoke (in oil- from a jar), diced
  • 4 tsp olive oil, or the oil from one of your jars such as sundried tomatoes
  • 6 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt plus more to taste (varies if using canned or home cooked beans)
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  1. combine all of the beans and chopped pickles/ vegetables in a large salad bowl.
  2. in a cup or small bowl, combine all of the remaining ingredients to make a dressing.  Mix well.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well to ensure everything is coated.  Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary – The salad should be crunchy, flavourful and with a tart hit from the lemon and vinegar – if the bean/ tomato/ herb flavours seem too bland it is probably lacking salt.  Carefully add more a pinch at a time, stirring well and tasting between additions.
  4. Serve immediately if desired, or store in the fridge for the flavours to develop.  Can be made in advance and kept for up to a week.  This makes a lot 🙂  Enjoy!