Hilda’s fit to serve: Berry Pie

Still looking for a low-carb dessert for your Christmas? Try this one…

Low Carb Nut-Free Crust
Ingredients
1 cup (2 sticks of butter melted and cooled)
4 large eggs
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ cups coconut flour
¼ baking powder
1 tablespoon of water
Crust Instructions
1. Mix all the ingredients of the low carb crust just until dough forms.
2. Divide dough in half to make the top and bottom of the pie crust.
3. Roll out with between two sheets of parchment paper. Set aside.
4. Transfer one crust into a 9-inch pie pan. Being careful to smooth out any cracks.
5. Once you add the filling to the pie and the top crust.
Filling Ingredients
1 ½ cups of berries (I used mulberries)
2 tablespoons of sugar substitute (I used Swerve)
1 8 ounce package of room temperature neufchâtel cream cheese or regular cream cheese

Many people miss such items as apple pie after going low carb. Hilda shows you here what she does with the mulberries from her mum’s tree in the garden.  In Scotland you can use brambles in the autumn that you can pick for nothing. Now you know the secret of the pie crust you can experiment. I wouldn’t use mincemeat as in our Christmas pies though as that is too sugary for a low carb diet. 

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Pie Instructions
Pre-heat oven to 350
1. Place half the rolled low carb dough into a 9-inch pie pan.
2. Spread the cream cheese to the bottom of the crust.
3. Add the berries that have been mixed with the 2 tablespoons of sugar substitute over the cream cheese layer.
4. Top the pie with the other half of the rolled-out dough. Make sure to add vents to the top of the crust.
5. Bake for 25 minutes until the topping is lightly brown.
6. Allow to cool before slicing.
7. Store in the refrigerator.

 

The Pulse of Life!

Diabetes and how you cope with it is an ongoing exploration. Recently, I’ve been experimenting with pulses such as lentils, and beans (kidney and butter) and even (shock, horror) whole grains such as barley.

I find their effect on my blood sugar minimal, and I love the variety they add to my diet. I was vegetarian for a long time, and lentils were a favourite food – lentil curries, patties and stews, all delicious.

Keto proponents don’t approve of lentils and beans because such diets promote extremely low carb intakes as sub 50g, but if you aim for a more moderate carbohydrate intake, such as 90-150g a day, you can easily add in pulses and beans. Remember too, that they have a high fibre content and you’ll probably be able to subtract that from the carbohydrate total when you work out how much insulin you need to cover a meal.

Apart from adding variety to my diet, I’ve also gone back to pulses and beans because of their fibre content. A lot of nutritional research these days points towards the importance of fibre, and it’s difficult to get much fibre on an extremely low-carb diet.

My body seems like the pulses and beans, and my blood sugar results confirm this. If your diet opens up and allows you more variety, this is always a good thing.

So, to celebrate here’s my recipe for hummus. Hummus is high in fibre and relatively low-carb. Used as a dip or sauce, you’ll only be adding minimal carbs to your diet.

Now, one thing I tried with this is the peeling the skins off thing. I’d read about this online, that if you want velvety-smooth hummus, you need to peel the chickpeas. U-huh. I wouldn’t do this every time as it’s possibly the most tedious job in the world, but for a special occasion, absolutely. You get beautifully smooth hummus.

Velvety-Smooth Hummus

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

·         1 x 400g tin chickpeas (save two tablespoons of the water)

·         Juice of one lemon

·         1-2 cloves garlic, crushed

·         2 heaped tablespoons tahini

·         Salt to taste

Drain the chickpeas, reserving two tablespoons of the water. Peel the skins off. The easiest way to do this is to pinch each chickpea between your thumb and finger, and it should pop out of its skin. Do this above a bowl and be prepared for a few to ping across the room.

Pop into a food processor, along with the garlic and reserved water and whizz for a minute or so. You can also use a stick blender, but this is the less messy method.

Add the lemon juice and tahini and whizz again, for a couple of minutes, so you get a smooth, creamy texture.

Add salt to taste – about ½ to one teaspoon.

Use as a dip, spread on your favourite low-carb bread. It’s also lovely spread on lamb steaks.

Total carbs – 24g, minus 11g for the fibre.

 

 

Jovina cooks Italian: Carrot Cake

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Italian Almond Carrot Cake (Torta di Carote)
This cake is gluten-free and made with olive oil. It is not your traditional American carrot cake.
You can also buy the carrots shredded from the supermarket.
Ingredients
Carrot cake
1/2 cup regular olive oil, not extra-virgin
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup granulated sugar substitute
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups almond meal/flour
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 lemon, zest finely grated and juiced
Mascarpone cream
1 cup mascarpone
2 tablespoons rum
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the base of a 9 inch springform pan with a parchment paper cut to fit the bottom. Coat with olive oil spray.

Add the pine nuts to a small dry pan and toast them over low heat.
Grate the carrots in a food processor or with a coarse grater, and put them on a double layer of paper towels. Wrap the towels around the carrots to soak up the excess liquid.
Using the whisk attachment in an electric mixer, combine the sweetener and olive oil until creamy.
Whisk in the vanilla and eggs. Fold in the almond meal/flour, nutmeg, grated carrots, toasted pine nuts the lemon zest and lemon juice.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared cake pan and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. The batter will be not be very high in the pan.
Bake the cake until the top is risen and golden and a cake tester comes almost clean, about 45 to 50 minutes.
Remove the cake from the oven and let it rest on a rack for 10 minutes before removing the sides. Let cool until ready to serve. Transfer the cake to a serving platter.
Combine the mascarpone and rum in a small bowl. Slice the cake and serve with the mascarpone cream.

BMJ: The PURE Study debunks the sat fat/heart disease hypothesis

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The PURE study: Eating fat is associated with lower cardiovascular disease

From BMJ 9 Sept 17
PURE is a five continent observational study in relation to cardiovascular disease in mortality in almost 150 thousand people. It found that high carbohydrate intake was associated with a higher risk of total mortality whereas total fat and individual types of fat were related to a lower total mortality.
Total fat and types of fat were not associated with cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction, or cardiovascular disease mortality, and the more saturated fat people ate the less strokes they had.
Like all observational studies correlation does not necessarily imply causation. The main message however is a series of negatives. There does not seem to be a connection between carbohydrate intake and cardiovascular disease, the association is with all- cause mortality. Perhaps high carbohydrate diets are simply a marker for poverty?
In contrast eating more fat, including saturated fat was associated with lower cardiovascular disease, meaning that we can abandon the saturated fat-cardiovascular disease hypothesis with some certainty.
So, what does “healthy food” look like?
A higher intake of fruit, vegetables and legumes was associated with a lower risk of non-cardiovascular and total mortality at three to four servings a day.
Great, says the author of this piece, Richard Lehman. His dream meal is cannelli beans and tuna salad with lots of olive oil, rib eye steak in butter, a salad, fruit, cheese and strawberries and cream.

 

Courtney Pine: My pizza substitute frittata

Originally published in The Observer 3.9.17

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” I just found this recipe and it’s unbelievable.

You take six eggs, garlic, onions, parmesan and sun-dried tomato paste and put them in a blender. Then fry in olive oil till slightly solid. Fry peppers and sliced Portobello mushrooms until caramelised. Add these to the top, add grated cheese and place in the oven for 15 minutes.

It’s so simple. I must admit to improvising a bit when I cook. This is usually billed as a pizza replacement meal. Now nothing really replaces pizza, but this comes close.”

Fit to serve: Chocolate sour cream cupcakes

chocolate muffins

Low Carb Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes
Ingredients
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 cups of sugar substitute (I use Swerve)
1 cup of finely milled almond flour
½ cup of coconut flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
½ teaspoon of sea-salt
1 cup of strong coffee
½ cup sour cream
½ cup of melted butter cooled
2 eggs
Directions
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners.
2. Melt the chocolate in a double broiler and allow to cool.
3. Combine the sugar substitute, almond and coconut flours, baking powder and sea-salt. Set bowl aside.
4. In a small bowl combine the hot coffee, sour cream and melted butter.
5. In a large stand-up mixer set to low add the coffee mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix till well combined.
6. Add the eggs and mix till fully incorporated.
7. Lastly, add the melted chocolate to the batter and combine till blended.
8. Pour batter into the cupcake tins and bake for 20-25 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
9. Allow to cool before eating. May be frosted with your favorite low carb frosting or left bare.

Jovina cooks from the Med: Versatile vegetable dips

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Marinated Olives

Ingredients

1½ cups mixed black and green olives, a combination of Sicilian green olives, Greek Kalamata olives and Spanish green olives
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 sprig fresh rosemary,
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 pinch crushed red pepper
1 clove garlic, sliced thin

Directions

Remove the needles from the rosemary sprig. Discard the stem and chop the needles.

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, stirring occasionally.

Remove the olives from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving to allow them to come to room temperature. Store any leftover olives in the refrigerator, covered, for up to a week.

Red Pepper Hummus

Ingredients

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup water
15 oz canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans)—rinsed and drained
½ cup tahini
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ cup jarred or homemade roasted red peppers, chopped
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (chili)
Extra virgin olive oil

Directions

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth, scraping the sides occasionally. Pour into a serving bowl and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil.

Tzatziki

Ingredients

1 cucumber, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
2 cups Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill or mint
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Scrape the seeds out of the cucumber halves using the pointy end of a teaspoon and discard.

Grate the cucumber flesh into a bowl then squeeze out any excess moisture using your hands,(a small handful at a time.

Place the grated cucumber into a large bowl and add the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, dill, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.

Place the tzatziki in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (and preferably overnight) to let the flavors blend.

All-Purpose Dressing

Ingredients

2½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1½ tablespoons red wine or balsamic vinegar
½ clove garlic, grated
¼ teaspoon each of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Shake together all the ingredients in a jar until well combined.

Tapenade

Tapenade can be used to season grilled fish or chicken. It is also delicious spread on toasted baguette slices and topped with chopped tomatoes or simply serve it with crackers or crusty bread and vegetable crudités for dipping.

Ingredients

1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¾ cup pitted black olives
1 tablespoon capers
2 anchovy fillets
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Serve at room temperature.

Peppers and Onions

Ingredients

6 bell peppers, a variety of colors
2 thinly sliced garlic cloves
1 thinly sliced medium onion
1 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground fresh black pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon for cooking
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Directions

To blister the peppers, place them on a hot grill or under the broiler. Turn on all sides until the skins are completely blackened.

Immediately transfer to a large resealable plastic bag or place in a large bowl and cover the top with plastic wrap to seal. Let sit for 30 minutes, or until cool enough to handle.

Working with one pepper at a time, transfer to a work surface. Remove the skin, stem, and seeds.

Cut the peppers into 2-inch strips.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan (over medium-high heat).

Add the sliced onions and sauté until the onions soften. Reduce heat to low heat and add the garlic and the sliced peppers. Add the salt and black pepper

Cover the pan and let the mixture stew together for about 5 minutes. Pour the mixture into a storage bowl.

Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour, or up to 4 hours to allow the flavors to develop.

Toss with the olive oil, vinegar and parsley just before serving.

Sautéed Greens

Ingredients

3 lbs fresh greens, stems removed and washed in several changes of water
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (chili)
Sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice.

Directions

Place the greens with the washing water still clinging to the leaves in a large pot.Cook on low until completely wilted and tender, depending on the type of greens used.

Drain and cut the leaves into smaller pieces.

Place the olive oil, garlic and chili in the empty pot and heat over low until the garlic is tender but not brown.

Add the drained greens and cook just until hot. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in salt to taste and the lemon juice.