Slow Cooker Low-Carb Beef Pot Roast

slow cooker pot roast beef recipe by Emma Baird of the Diabetes DietSeasonal eating is valuable, I know but here’s a confession… I don’t mind eating soup and stew all year round, even though the dishes are usually associated with autumn and winter.

Can you blame me? Imagine meat and vegetables soaked in lusciously thick and flavoursome sauces, or onions, carrots and celery melded together and used as the basis for the best soup in the world. [Cauliflower cheese soup, since you ask.]

That said, it’s now the tail end of autumn in the UK and I’m digging into beef stews a-plenty. The miracle of carrots and beef is a flavour combination you can’t beat. Cut those carrots in big chunks, nestle them in your stew and leave to bubble away for hours. I could almost fish them out and eat them as a soup with the juices from the stew.

Recently, I adapted a Mary Berry recipe for pot roast. Mary’s method used suede or turnip as we know it in Scotland. I’m not that fond of it (sorry Rabbie*) and I decided to substitute celeriac. It worked a treat.

One of the rules of stews and casseroles is that they improve the day after cooking. This depends on your self-discipline. If you’ve had a pot of stew simmering on your stove for a few hours or cooking away in your slow cooker, your whole home will smell heavenly and resistance will require added steeliness.

Slow cooker Beef Pot Roast with Winter Vegetables

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.2kgs (roughly) beef topside or brisket
  • 4 onions, cut into wedges
  • Half a celeriac, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3-4 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 150ml white wine
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper

Put the oil in a large frying pan or wok and add the beef. Cook over a high heat, turning occasionally until it is browned all over. Place in your slow cooker along with the vegetables tucked all around the meat, and pour the wine around. You might want to add up to 100ml water, but the vegetables will give off a lot of water anyway.

Cook on slow for eight hours. Add plenty of salt and pepper and dot with a little butter to serve. The dish goes well with steamed cauliflower or broccoli.

Allow about 10-15g carbs per serving.

*Scotland’s national dish is haggis, neeps (turnips) and tatties, and it’s traditionally eaten on January 25 to celebrate Robert Burns’ birthday.

Public Health Collaboration Conference 2018: Achieving your optimal blood sugar target

Videos of the lectures given at the Public Health Collaboration conference 2018 which was held in May over the royal wedding weekend have now been released on You Tube.

You can see my talk, Achieving your optimal blood sugar target, as well as others, on the link below. There are a wide variety of lifestyle topics discussed. Happy viewing.

 

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=public+health+collaboration+conference+2018

Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Diabetes

olive oil pic taken by Emma Baird, author of the Diabetes DietWe’re just back from Crete and enthused with the joys of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). Yes, readers, splash it everywhere with gay abandon just as the Cretans do.

The island’s average inhabitant consumes 36 litres of the stuff every year—more than any other nation in the world. Even the Italians, also fond of the EVOO, manage only ten litres of it and they are the third highest consumers.

Does it have implications for we sugar-challenged folks? The factory I visited while there had a sign claiming health benefits for sufferers of all kinds of things, including type 2 diabetes. The Cretans produce mainly EVOO (and they harvest the olives by hand rather than machine), and they don’t bother with the ‘rule’ that you only use it for salads or to dress vegetables. They stick it in marinades, cook with it and even use it to deep-fry chips.

Positive benefits

In the Mediterranean region where olive oil is the main dietary fat, there are lower levels of deaths from cardiovascular disease. A Medicine News Today article also claimed positive benefits for stroke risk, breast cancer, liver protection, Alzheimer’s, ulcerative colitis, acute pancreatitis, maintenance of healthy cholesterol levels and even depression. [The article quoted from different studies, all of which used the words ‘appear to’.]

Anyone with diabetes has an increased risk of all the above conditions. The so-called Mediterranean ‘diet’ isn’t that dissimilar from the low-carb diet we promote. Broadly, eat tonnes of vegetables, some fruits preferably berries, plenty of fish, full-fat dairy, some beans and pulses if you can tolerate them and dress your salad and veggies with plenty of olive oil*.

Apart from the health benefits, a decent splash of EVOO does miraculous things. Steam some broccoli and then finish it off in the pan frying it with olive oil, thin slices of garlic and sea salt and you get to eat something that is three hundred times nicer than the boiled stuff.

The best Greek salad

And naturally a Greek salad needs the stuff… the best ones are simple. Large chunks of cucumber (peeled for purists) and tomatoes, black olives, thin slices of red onion and topped with a slab of feta cheese, plenty of salt and pepper and a generous drizzle of EVOO.

Sadly, because we’d opted for the hand luggage only flight, we could only bring back a 100ml bottle. One of the big issues with olive oil, and especially the extra virgin variety, is fraud. Most olive oil distribution is done through Italy, including the Cretan stuff. Investigations in recent years have uncovered wide-scale issues where virgin olive oil is passed off as extra virgin. There have even been cases where the oil was blended with sunflower oil and others..

The Guardian has a useful article that contains advice about buying genuine EVOO. Basically, it’s best to buy it in small quantities and if you think that stuff in supermarkets is too cheap to be the real thing, you’re probably right.

Olive oil recipes

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for olive oil recipes here are some suggestions from our blog:

What’s your favourite olive oil recipe or use?

*If you are overweight, you might want to be a little more cautious with your use of it, as it is calorie dense.

 

 

 

Back on the Low Carb!

picture of chorizo sausage, the Diabetes Diet
I could probably eat this Every. Single. Day.

Goodbye carbs. It was fun while it lasted, particularly that beef mac and cheese*, but you and I need to rethink our relationship…

While practising for a half-marathon, I upped my carb intakes. Some type 1s have managed endurance training on a low-carb diet, but I wasn’t one of them. My body refused to put one step in front of another without fruit, bread, protein flapjacks or potatoes, but now I’m fed of blood sugar levels that rollercoaster all over the place, and the particularly nasty lows you get thanks to too much rapid-acting insulin where you eventually surface from mental fog surrounded by sweetie packets and the sinking feeling, ‘Blast. I’ve completely over-treated that hypo.’

Hello cheese, meat, eggs and fish! Welcome back butter, cream and mayo in lavish amounts. And planning of course—the writing of endless lists, shopping, menu plans, revisiting old low-carb favourites. I haven’t eaten chorizo for a few months and my mouth waters at the thought of it, dry-fried crispy in the pan, oozing red oil that coats mushrooms and salad leaves… yum.

a picture of a blood testing machine on The Diabetes Diet
This will be my blood sugar levels from now on. All the time. Yes sirree.

I’ve eaten low-carb on/off (and mostly on) now for almost ten years. Whenever I come back to it after spells on the bread, a few weeks of super-strict low-carbing make me feel I can conquer the world. I get a rush of energy and mental clarity. Give it a month or so and I’ll be banging on the door of Number 10. Step aside, Theresa May. I’ll deal with Brexit for you!

[Perhaps I should write to Theresa, a type 1 herself, and suggest she try 14 days on a keto diet to help with the thorny issue of how the UK exits the EU. Or keto clarity might give her the strength to say, ‘Citizens! Remain calm. We’re staying in.’]

Then there’s the other thing. Between you and me, reader, the digestive issues of the higher carb diet are a LOT to contend with. We’re talking bloating, rumbling noises and let’s not be coy here—gas. After one race, I ate fish and chips and delicious as it was, the heartburn was horrific. Low carb, high-fat meals don’t make me uncomfortable most of the time. A sore, bloated stomach or having to spend a lot of time trying to hold in gas make a person tired and very grumpy. One of the case studies in our book, the Diabetes Diet reported that several months on a low-carb diet cut out the farting issue for her, much to the relief of everyone around her…

So, full charge forward on the low-carb meal making front. Moussaka via the Diet Doctor, cauliflower cheese, peanut butter cookies via Fit to Serve, lamb with hummus, low carb chicken wings via Yummy Lummy, and crust-less pizza.

Good times!

 

*For the love of food, good people, please try this. Ragu sauce, macaroni and cheese, topped with bread crumbs and yet more cheese. What’s not to love?

Slow Cooker Sugar-free Pulled Pork

can of diet coke on The Diabetes DietRegular readers will know—I’m upfront about my addiction to a certain fizzy drink. I have, however, never cooked with it before*.

Fair enough. Why would I? I’ve seen recipes that use the regular version for glazing ham or even chocolate cakes. I did try something this weekend though, using the sugar-free kind. I love pulled pork—it’s the most flavoursome thing you can do with the meat. It’s cheap, easy and a crowd-pleaser. I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s tried it and didn’t love it.

Most recipes quote quite a bit of sugar in the sauces for pulled pork. My version uses a big fat zero, unless you include the natural sugars in onions and tomatoes. Try it and see!

Slow Cooker Sugar-Free Pulled Pork

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1.5-2kg pork shoulder
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can diet cola
  • 3 tbsp hot smoked paprika
  • One small onion, finely chopped
  • 100ml cider vinegar
  • 1tbsp rape seed or olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Salt and pepper

Cut the skin off the pork shoulder. Slice into strips and put it in the fridge. This will make your crackling.

Heat a wok or large frying pan and add the pork shoulder. Sear all over. Place in your slow cooker and top with boiling water. Mix in two tablespoons of the paprika and cook on slow for 10 to 12 hours.

Half an hour before the pork finishes cooking, heat your oven to 200 degrees. Mix the pork strips with a little salt and half a tablespoon of the paprika. Place on a wire rack over a tray and cook at the top of the oven.

Make the sauce 15 to 20 minutes before you want to serve your pork. Blend the onion, tomatoes and garlic together and add half a tablespoon of paprika. Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the tomato mix with the vinegar and the diet cola. Bring to the boil turn to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. The sauce should be a little thicker, and smooth.

Remove the pork from the slow cooker, place in a rectangular dish and use two large forks to shred. Add the sauce and mix well. You’ll need plenty of salt and pepper.

Serve with the crackling and home-made coleslaw.

About 5g carbs per portion.

 

 

*Partly thanks to those conspiracy theories that went round in the 90s about Gulf War Syndrome.

Sausage, Pepper and Red Lentil Casserole

Plate of sausage casserole on The Diabetes DietProving once again, a low-carb diet can be plant-based*, I bring you the sausage, pepper and red lentil casserole!

My ‘beef’ (see what I did there) with the hi-jacking of the term ‘plant-based’, is that it’s assumed to mean vegan, whereas I’d argue you can eat meat, fish and eggs and still have most of your diet made up of plants.

Sausages and lentils have a long dating history. The French twin them together for cassoulets as lentils soak up meat juices and add cheap bulk to a dish. Bulk’s important to me. Who wants a small bowlful of food when you can have a big one?

The better quality your sausages, the better the finished dish. The casserole is great with buttered cauliflower or broccoli. Or you could add another 250-300ml of vegetable or chicken stock to turn it into soup.

And a cheeky helping of grated cheese on top always adds extra deliciousness.

Sausage, red pepper and lentil casserole

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • Two peppers, insides removed and chopped
  • 100g celery, sliced finely
  • 100g mushrooms, sliced
  • 75ml red wine
  • Four, good quality pork sausages, each cut into chunks
  • 75g chorizo, sliced
  • 75g red lentils
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 400g tinned, chopped tomatoes
  • 1 chilli, chopped (optional)
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper

Put everything into your slow cooker, stir well and put on the high setting for four hours.

The mix makes a soupy casserole because it’s done in the slow cooker. You might want to take the lid off yours for the last 20 minutes to get rid of some of the excess liquid.

To make the recipe on the stove, use a large saucepan. Place the chorizo slices in the pan, then turn on a gentle heat so the oils from the sausage run out. Add the other sausages, celery, peppers, mushrooms and garlic, mix well and cover. Cook over the gentle heat for ten minutes. Add the tomatoes, lentils, red wine, chilli and paprika, stir well and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for a further 30 minutes, mixing from time to time.

In both instances, add salt and pepper to taste.

Each portion has 17g carbs and 4g fibre.

*And also that my food styling and photography skills get no better.

 

Lamb, Hummus—an Ethical Eating Experience?

a picture of chunks of lamb marinating in a dish by The Diabetes DietCan you be an ethical carnivore? I asked the question in a post a few weeks ago as I’ve been reading The Ethical Carnivore – My Year Killing to Eat by Louise Gray.

The one-time vegetarian in me wants to feel that the food choices I make cause minimal suffering and don’t impact the environment as negatively as factory farming does. At the same time, I like following an omnivorous diet and think that is the best possible health choice.

So, what to eat?

Eat less meat

I believe in what small-scale producers do. They deserve our support, but their products are expensive and more of an effort to seek out. As many people have discovered before me, the answer is to eat less meat, which is what most people did in years gone by, and buy the best quality you can sourced from farms that treat their animals with respect and dignity.

Chicken, pork and beef are all problematic unless you buy them from farmers’ markets and small co-operatives because of the ways they are farmed before they are killed. The same applies to dairy. As for fish, most of the stuff in supermarkets comes from fish farms and/or is sourced from far-away countries, making it an environmentally unfriendly choice.

Unlike Louise Gray, I can’t bring myself to directly kill anything, hypocritical as that is. But I’m open to eating a lot less meat, trying out plenty of low-carb vegetarian dishes and including more beans and pulses in my diet.

Lamb – the ethical choice

I’m also happy to continue eating lamb, as the production of lamb doesn’t lend itself easily to factory faming. And there are sound arguments for it here. If you want to eat lamb in this country, it can be a challenge sourcing the UK stuff (an irony that appals me as a farmer’s daughter) because most supermarkets import New Zealand lamb.

Nevertheless, if you do find it, lamb lends itself to many delicious dishes, including this one – lamb with home-made hummus. This amount makes enough for two to three dinners.

a pot of hummus made by The Diabetes DietFor truly velvet-y hummus, you should take the skins off the chickpeas. I’ve done it—once—and it makes quite a difference. But it’s a tedious job. Skins-on chickpeas will still make a fabulous-tasting dish.

Lamb with Hummus

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 lamb leg steaks, chopped into equal sized chunks
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • I green chilli, sliced finely
  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • Rapeseed oil
  • 1 tin chick peas, drained
  • 3tbsp tahini
  • Salt and pepper

Mix the chopped meat in a bowl with a tablespoon of the lemon juice, salt and pepper, the sumac, chilli and one of the cloves of crushed garlic. Set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes, though a couple of hours will benefit the dish.

Blend the garlic, lemon juice and tahini in a food processor so a minute or so to get it as smooth and combined as possible. Add the drained chickpeas and two tablespoons of rapeseed oil. Mix well. Add a tablespoon of water if you feel the mix is too thick. You can also use a hand blender to make the dish.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and add the meat. Cook over a high heat—the meat will take about five to ten minutes.

Serve with the hummus.

My carb-loving husband made his own flat breads to go with this, but it’s fine just as it is with a salad on the side—perhaps a Greek one to continue the Mediterranean theme.

Allow about 8-10g carbs per serving.