Purple foods are good for us. According to the US Department of Agriculture, purple foods have nutrients called anthocyanins. These are antioxidants that protect against cell damage from free radicals.
I’m a big fan of the mighty aubergine. Curry it, roast it, grill it or turn it into ratatouille, this is a vegetable with a lot of uses.
I make my own version of Aubergine Parmigiana, that famous Italian dish. Buy the best quality mozzarella you can find, and top the dish lavishly with grated Parmesan cheese. Serve this as a side dish with roasted chicken. Or just cut yourself a ginormous portion and eat with salad.
Turn your oven to 175 degrees C. Slice the aubergine into half-centimetre thick slices. Drizzle with one tablespoon of the oil and cook in the oven for about twenty minutes. You want the slices softened and lightly browned. Leave the oven on once the slices have cooked as you will be using it again.
While the aubergine is cooking, heat the other tablespoon of oil in a saucepan and cook the sliced onion for five minutes until softened but not browned. Add the tomatoes, garlic and dried oregano. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and leave for fifteen minutes. You want a thick, concentrated sauce.
When the sauce and the aubergine are cooked, rip the mozzarella ball into pieces. Layer up slices of aubergine, tomato sauce and mozzarella in a casserole dish. Grind on some salt and top with the grated Parmesan and a generous helping of pepper. Cook in the oven to heat through and brown the top – about ten to fifteen minutes.
Top with the chopped basil.
6g net carbs per serving.
*The cheese so good, Pepys buried a round of it in his garden during the Great Fire of London.
February is almost at an end – as it the season for many fruit and vegetables we associated with this time of year.
Nevertheless, we’ve done a round-up of what’s in season at the moment. If you eat seasonally, you get food at its best. It also means less food miles, as the food can be produced in the UK and has therefore not had to travel as far to get to your plate.
Clementines (coming to the end of their season)
Pears (coming to the end of their season)
Purple sprouting broccoli
Meat and fish
If you want some recipe ideas for what to do with what’s in season, you could try:
Have you been caught out by the vegetable shortage in the shops? British supermarkets have run short of courgettes, spinach and other salad items thanks to bad weather in Spain and Italy.
If you follow a low-carb diet, you probably rely more on such vegetables than the average person. I decided to see what I could do with Scottish ingredients. The Diet Doctor website features a lot of cabbage, including main course and side dishes that use this vegetable. Most supermarkets stock Scottish or British-grown cabbage so there are no issues there with availability.
The Diet Doctor’s Cabbage Casserole can be made exclusively with Scottish ingredients, supporting our farmers and growers. I adapted the recipe slightly and here it is. Allow about 10g net carbs per serving and serve with pork chops, roast chicken legs or steak.
Please note – you’ll need a large saucepan because 450g cabbage is bulky. It reduces in size as it cooks.
Steak, chicken and fish – all nice ingredients by themselves, but all the more nicer when accompanied by a delicious side dish!
Side dishes are what will keep you on the straight and narrow on a low-carb diet as they prevent boredom. Sure, a lovely piece of steak accompanied by salad can be nice, but second time round it’s even better with home-made coleslaw. Strips of lamb fried with cumin and served with spiced onions are fantastic and roast chicken paired with cheesy leeks is unbelievably delicious.
Finely slice the cabbage, and grate the carrots. Chop the spring onion and mix all the vegetables with the garlic chives. Add in the mayonnaise and allow to sit for 10 minutes to allow the flavours to mix.
Peel the onion and cut it in half. Finely slice into half-moons. Mix with the salt, sumac, vinegar and parsley with the onions and leave to sit for 20 minutes. (This softens the onions and takes away that strong, bitter taste you get from raw onions.)