Inspired by the Diet Doctor – if you ever need low-carb recipe ideas this site is amazing – I created my own version of one of their recipes this week.
And, whisper it, I think mine’s better! I swapped salmon for trout fillets which brings down the cost substantially, replaced spinach with crispy kale and gave the dish an overall Mediterranean feel with some basil.
You end up with an extremely low-carb dish – about 3g net carbs – that’s also delicious and really filling. I bought my trout from Costco where I was able to buy a giant fillet that I cut up into eight 150g portions.
We treated ourselves to a new microwave recently – spending a whole £50 on one from Wilko.
Microwaves are great when it comes to low-carb diets and cutting down time in the kitchen. You can cook fish fillets in minutes in a microwave. Just remember to cover them up properly or you’ll find it difficult to get rid of the smell. Microwave half a lemon on high for a minute and this will help clean the microwave and banish fishy smells.
You can also poach eggs in a microwave. Crack an egg onto a greased saucer, prick the yolk a couple of times with a fork and cook at about 80 percent in three to four 20-second bursts, leaving the egg to rest for 20 seconds or so in between. It’s really important to prick the yolk and cook the egg in short bursts to stop it exploding…
Cook omelettes the same way. Beat up two to three eggs with a little milk or cream and pour onto a greased side or dinner plate. Cook in 20 and 30-second bursts until cooked.
You can also make scrambled eggs, again cooking the eggs in bursts and mixing well in between to break up the big ‘curds’ that develop. Cook them in a greased bowl, for easier cleaning.
Another trick is to use the microwave to soften avocados – you know, those ones you bought from the supermarket that promised you they were ready to eat?! Prick the skin all over and microwave on a medium or low setting in 30-second bursts. It should feel softer – if not, give it one more 30-second blast until it is.
I’ll ‘fess up. The real reason I wanted to do this blog was so I could post a cute picture of my cat acting as the sous chef.
As cat owners will know, moggies love supervising in the kitchen. They get to sit up high with a bird’s eye view of everything, it’s nice and warm and there’s always the chance their owner might not pay full attention, allowing for the stealth theft of meat or cheese.
Non-cat owners might balk. This doesn’t look hygienic, I grant you. But pets are brilliant for your immune system as it gets to practise fighting germs on a small scale and makes it better prepared for bigger assaults.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
The recipe is for creamy baked leeks, based on a Jamie Oliver recipe I adapted. It goes well with a roast chicken leg or on top of a steak.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan and add the onions and leeks. Turn down the heat and cook gently, stirring from time to time, for seven minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for another couple of minutes.
Tip the lot into a bowl and add the grated cheese, cream and some salt and pepper. You won’t need much salt as the cheese is salty.
Pop in a shallow, oven-proof dish and cook in a pre-heated oven (180 degrees C) for 20 minutes.
Recipe contains about 10g net carbs per serving for three.
Puree them, roast them, sauce them, turn them into soup – honestly, there’s plenty you can do with a tomato glut. I’ve decided to turn mine into oven-dried tomatoes, with the aid of some homegrown herbs too.
What about the higher carbohydrate content of tomatoes, I hear you ask. A medium-sized tomato – roughly 100g, say – contains 4g of carbohydrates, 1.2g of fibre. If you’re going to use them for sauces, chances are you’ll be using quite a few of them. Eat your tomatoes with protein, as part of a salad with chicken or ham, for instance, or as a sauce in a curry.
It is easy to eat a lot of sun or oven-dried tomatoes. They concentrated flavour makes them very tasty, for one. Because they have lost a lot of water, they are smaller and denser than normal tomatoes and you could end up eating a lot of them – and a lot of carbohydrates as a result. Eat them sparingly, two or three added to salads or with some sliced meat.
I’ve used rapeseed oil here to keep my product as Scottish and local as possible, but you can also use extra virgin olive oil.
Heat the cream, add chocolate and stir until it is melted, add butter and stir until you have a truffle texture.
Add the vanilla and stir in the almond flour, you may need a bit more almond flour if the mixture is still too soft. Roll into balls. Dip the balls into the coconut flakes. Keep in the fridge. Eat. Enjoy.
The Daily Telegraph reported this week that a large pilot study of low-carb diets has suggested that they can successfully control type 2 diabetes.
That’s no news to us here at the Diabetes Diet, but the study is interesting because it involved a huge number of people – 80,000 of them, who gave up low-fat, high carbohydrate diets and found that their blood glucose levels dropped after 10 weeks.
That study was carried out after what was described as “an online revolt” by patients in which 120,000 people signed up for the “low-carb” diet plan launched by the global diabetes community website, diabetes.co.uk. The low-carb plan goes against official advice given by the NHS and Diabetes UK.
More than 80 percent of the people surveyed said they had lost weight, with 10 percent of them losing 9kg or more. More than 70 percent of the patients experienced improvements in their blood glucose levels and a fifth of participants said they no longer needed drugs to regulate their blood glucose levels.
The people taking part had followed diabetes.co.uk’s 10-week low-carb plan.
The website’s low carb plan is available here, but you can find plenty of help and advice for following a low-carb diet in our book, the Diabetes Diet. Our website also has lots of low-carb recipes – from starters, to main courses, snacks and sweets. Use the search button or check out the recipe category to find what you want.
Thanks to the recent spell of good weather (in Scotland too!), we’ve got a glut of herbs. There’s something special about going out into the garden to pick herbs for a dish you’re making, but at the moment I can’t keep up with our herb growth rate.
I found a recipe for pork loin steaks the other day which neatly took care of some of the excesses. The delicious, tender results were an added bonus.
If you have any left-over herb paste, use it to baste fish or chicken, or dilute it slightly with more oil and a little vinegar, and use it in salads.
We got our pork steaks from the wonderful Nethergate Larder stall at the near-by Farmers’ Market, which runs at Loch Lomond Shores the 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month.
Take the pork steaks out of the fridge 15 minutes before cooking. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree C.
Place the basil, parsley, lemon zest, 4tbsp oil, mustard, salt and pepper in a mini food processor or blender and whizz till you get a thick, green paste.
Brush the pork steaks with the tsp of oil and fry on each side for a minute to seal and colour the meat. Remove from the heat, brush with the herb paste so each steak gets a thick coating.
Cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the individual steaks. Pork meat should be cooked through and the meat white, but be careful not to overcook the steaks.
You can’t let a seasonal round-up go past without mentioning asparagus. I think it’s better roasted or char-grilled than boiled. You can wrap it in Parma ham before roasting to make lovely low-carb canapés or why not try out some home-made Hollandaise?
Hollandaise is actually easier than you think to make – just pick the right recipe. Delia Smith’s foaming Hollandaise is a good one to try for the Hollandaise beginner.
Put the egg yolks into a small food processor or blender along with the seasoning. Blend until combined.
Heat the lemon juice and vinegar in a small saucepan. Let it start to bubble and then add to the egg yolks and blend well.
Melt the butter in the same saucepan slowly – don’t let it brown. Begin to add slowly to the food processor (through the funnel) or blender. The process is similar to that you use when making mayonnaise.
You will eventually end up with a smooth, buttery and lemon-y sauce. To make foaming Hollandaise – beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks and fold them into the finished sauce. This will lighten the sauce and make it go further.
The finished sauce has negligible carbohydrates – about 1-2g per serving.