Low-carb veggie curry

vegetable curry in a bowlAs a one-time vegetarian, I love vegetable or pulse-based curries. I’d choose them over meat-based ones any day. I’m also a fan of tamarind paste—it adds amazing tangy flavour to any curry.

Last week, I made a veggie curry using the left-overs in the fridge and combining them in a rich sauce. Had I been the only one eating it, I would have added cauliflower but my husband hates the stuff and veggie dishes are a hard sell to him so I left it out.

Recipes often specify coconut milk, which is fine if you need a whole tin of it. I keep packets of creamed coconut in my store cupboards (fridge in the summer) as it’s much more versatile. You can use however much you need without waste, and it can be a thickener or made into a cream.

Vegetable Curry

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 300g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, cut into batons
  • Half a red pepper, sliced
  • 1 large courgette cut into chunks
  • 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1tbsp tamarind paste
  • 50g creamed coconut, finely chopped
  • 1tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 chillies, chopped
  • Salt to taste.
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Strictly speaking, you should put the onions in first, fry till translucent, then add the peppers, courgette and carrot, cook for five minutes and add the mushrooms last. I’m too lazy to add the veggies one by one so I threw them all in at once and cooked for about six minutes.
  2. Add the curry powder, tamarind paste and chillies and cook for another minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil. Mix in the creamed coconut and turn down to a simmer. Cook for about five minutes. The creamed coconut will thicken the sauce. Add seasoning to taste.
  3. To make it more of a main meal, You could add some fresh chicken stock to this and turn it into a sauce for chicken thighs or throw in a good handful of cooked prawns and cook for a minute to warm through. Another worthy addition is two or three balls of frozen spinach. Defrost and warm through beforehand, obvs.

Allow about 15-18g of carbs per portion. Serve with naan breads (low-carb version here) or rice for the carb-lovers in your life.

Low-Carb Curried Cauliflower Cheese

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low-carb cauliflower cheese
Creamy, squidgy, spicy goodness.

Who was the first person to look at a cauliflower and a bowl of leftover cheese sauce and think—“My goodness, this will be a match made in heaven?”

Whoever he or she was, I’d like to shake them by the hand. If someone said to me, “Okay it’s your last meal on earth, what do you want?”, I’d say, “Cauliflower cheese, please, and don’t stint the cheese.” As it is my last meal, I’d ask them to top it with crispy breadcrumbs and some grilled bacon rashers for crunch.

[Conversation to the side. HUSBAND: Seriously, that’s your last meal? Not steak, or lobster or even a good burger with all the trimmings? Jeez. Who/what did I marry?]

On Friday night, I was at the Tron Theatre (get me) with friends and noticed the bar menu included curried cauliflower cheese. That set the neurons firing. The world’s best dish made even better?

The Tron’s version would have been made the conventional way—a white sauce with milk and flour to thicken it. Low-carb versions use variations of cream and cream cheese to thicken the sauce. Where would the curry bit come in?

One of the ways to cook cauliflower often recommended to those who hate the stuff* is to roast it in the oven with cumin and coriander seeds and chilli. That takes care of the curry bit. Then, if you combine it with a creamy sauce and grated cheese and pop it back in the oven you have the perfect low-carb cauliflower cheese.

You can serve this as an accompaniment to cold meat such as sliced ham or cooked sausages. Or do as I did—serve yourself a super-big portion with a lightly-dressed green salad. Yum.

Low Carb Cauliflower Cheese

  • Servings: See note
  • Difficulty: easy
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The best veggie dish in the world made even better

  • One large whole cauliflower, broken into even-sized florets
  • One tbsp turmeric
  • One tbsp rapeseed oil
  • One tbsp cumin seeds
  • One tbsp coriander seeds
  • One tsp black pepper corns
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes (or more…)
  • 250mls double cream
  • 100g grated cheese (extra mature to vintage cheddar is best)**
  • 1tbsp wholegrain mustard

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Bring a large saucepan of well salted water to the boil, add the turmeric and cook the cauliflower florets for two minutes. Drain well so they are very dry.

Toast the cumin, coriander and pepper in a dry frying pan until the smell of them hits your nose like a sledgehammer and grind to to a powder in a pestle and mortar.

Take a large roasting pan and tip your florets in there. Add the oil and the spices and mix well so the florets are well coated. Cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the cream gently in a pan and add the mustard and most of the grated cheese. Blend well.

Remove the cauliflower florets from the oven. Place in an oven-proof serving dish and pour over the cheese sauce. Top with the rest of the grated cheese and put back in the oven for 20 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Allow about 5-8g carbs per serving

Note—the number of servings depends on the size of cauliflower you started with. Mine was teeny, so my dish made two. If I’d served it as a side dish, three-to four. But we are in glutton territory here. Maybe I pretended the dish above served two and ate the whole lot in one go… no-one else in my household wanted to eat it, after all. Another idea is to prepare the roasted cauliflower as a side dish for any roast meat.

*Didn’t work on my husband. Cauliflower is up there on his list of the Devil’s Foods, along with broccoli, sprouts and blue cheese.

**This is a rough guide. If you choose to double it up, who am I to judge?

Jovina cooks Italian: Herb marinated grilled chicken

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The marinade used for this chicken recipe makes the chicken really delicious.

Ingredients

  • One 3-4 pound chicken, wing tips removed

Marinade

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh herbs ( I used oregano, basil, sage, parsley, rosemary, chives and thyme because that is what is growing in my garden.)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Combine the marinade ingredients in a small mixing bowl or measuring cup.

Using kitchen shears, cut along both sides of the chicken backbone; remove the backbone (Save it for broth).

Turn the chicken, breast side up, and press down firmly on the breast bone to crack and flatten it. Tuck the wings under the back.

Transfer the flattened chicken to a medium glass baking dish. Loosen the skin a little and rub the marinade under and over all the skin of the chicken.

My comment: for the less surgically adept (including me!) you can use pre-cut chicken pieces.

Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator one hour before cooking.

Heat an outdoor grill to high with all the burners on, then, turn one or two burners to the lowest setting to create a low heat area.

My comment: Or use your usual kitchen grill

Grill the chicken, skin side down over the hot side of the grill, until the skin is browned and crisp, about 8-10 minutes. Turn the chicken skin side up and move to the low heat side of the grill.

Cover and grill over low heat until cooked through, about 20 – 30 minutes. Internal temperature should be around 170 F.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Internal temperature should rise to 180 F. Carve the chicken and serve.

Baked Chicken Curry

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Baked Chicken Curry

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1.25 kg chicken pieces, bone in
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 5 tbsp full fat yoghurt
  • 1½ tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped onion or shallot

Method

 

  1. Put the chicken in a large casserole dish in a single layer. Add salt, juice, lots of pepper, mix well and set aside for 20 mins.
  2. Combine ginger, garlic, yoghurt, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne and cardamom in a bowl. Mix well.
  3. Rub chicken with mix, cover and put in fridge overnight.
  4. Heta oven to 200C/gas 6.
  5. Bring chicken to room temperature. Brush with oil, scatter with onion. Bake in middle of oven for 30 mins. Turn chicken over and put back in oven. Cook another 40 mins, basting every 10 with juices.

 

Low carb high fat diets: useful for cancer prevention?

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There is some evidence that a low carb diet can help prevent cancer and also improve the outlook for people who already have the condition. Here are too sites that discuss the issue.

Dr Mercola provides an article.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/06/11/nutrition-influences-cancer.aspx?utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20160611Z1&et_cid=DM107622&et_rid=1525493561

Dr Gary Fettke appears on video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qa5Bcm8T9nU

 

Jovina Cooks Italian: Orange Roasted Chicken

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Orange Roasted Chicken

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Zest of 5 bergamot oranges (or ordinary oranges if you can’t get them)
  • 1 cup bergamot orange juice
  • 3 finely minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped herb mixture (rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 (3-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces, bone-in, skin-on
  • ¼ cup butter, softened and room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 bergamot orange, cut into thick slices for garnish
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Herb sprigs for garnish

Directions

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine half of the orange zest with the orange juice, garlic, herbs and olive oil. (Set aside the remaining zest for later.)
  2. Stir to combine and pour into a very large zip-lock bag. Add the chicken pieces and move them around to ensure they’re all coated with the marinade.
  3. Seal the bag and place into a bowl (in case it leaks) and then into the refrigerator to marinate for at least 3 hours and up to overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  5. In a mixing bowl, combine the softened butter with the paprika and the remaining orange zest.
  6. Remove the chicken pieces from the bag and place them in a  9 X 13 X 2-inch baking dish. (Set aside the marinade in the bag.)
  7. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper and then using your hands rub the butter mixture under the skin of each chicken piece and on top of the skin.
  8. Pour the marinade over the chicken and add the orange slices. Place the baking dish in the oven and roast the chicken until it’s cooked through, about 45 minutes.
  9. Baste the chicken several times during cooking.
  10. Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh herbs, if desired.

From Jovina Cooks Italian.

Steakhouse Dinner at Home

Pining for a great steak dinner or celebrating a special occasion? A trip to a premium steakhouse in the US will cost you the following:

  • Morton’s 3 course steak dinner for one is $150-160.
  • Ruth’s Chris price for just the cowboy rib eye is $50.
  • Gibson’s Steakhouse in Chicago – premium steaks average $40 to $60 per steak.
  • Dinner at less prestigious steak restaurants will be at least $90 per person.

If you make this special dinner at home, and I did, this is what it cost me:

Cost of a quality steakhouse dinner at home for 2 is less than $30 plus whatever your wine cost. These are prices for my area and the vegetables are in season and often on sale [in the US] here:

  • 1 1/2 lb organic, grass fed French cut rib eye steak cost $22.50
  • Prices at the market this week:
  • $1.99 per lb for asparagus = $2.98 for 1 ½ lbs
  • 5 lb bag of red potatoes on sale for $3.49 = $1.40 for 2 lbs needed for the recipe.
  • 1 lb mushrooms were $2.49

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Grilled French Cut Rib Eye Steak

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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This steak has several names, such as cowboy or tomahawk. The steak can be grilled over indirect heat or it can be baked in the oven,

It is a large steak and we will only eat part of it. However, I like having leftovers that I can use for a salad or a quesadilla later in the week.

Ingredients
•One 22 – 24 oz French Cut Rib Eye Steak
•2 teaspoons kosher salt
•1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
•2 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions

  1. One hour before grilling, remove the steak from the refrigerator. Season it liberally with the salt and pepper. Let it rest at room temperature until it is time to grill.
  2. Set the grill up for direct and indirect heat.
  3. Put the steak on the grill over indirect heat. Close the lid, and cook the steak, turning a few times during cooking. The steak is ready for searing when it reaches 115°F in the thickest part of the steak, about 25 – 30 minutes.
  4. Brush the steak with some of the melted butter, then slide it to the direct heat side of the grill. Sear the steak until a brown crust forms on the steak. This should take about two minutes on each side, at which point the steak should reach 125°F for medium rare.
  5. Remove the steak to a platter and baste i,t one last time, with the butter. Let the steak rest for 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

Oven Baked Method

  1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and add the steak to the skillet. Cook until seared and golden brown, 2 minutes per side. Transfer the skillet to the oven..
  2. Roast steak in the oven, turning halfway through cooking and basting frequently with the butter in the pan, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into steak registers 125° for medium-rare, about 15 minutes, or to your desired temperature.
  3. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Balsamic Sautéed Mushrooms

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
•1 tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar
•1 teaspoon brown sugar
•1 tablespoon unsalted butter
•1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
•1 lb cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
•Pinch Kosher salt
•1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
•1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
•1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Combine the vinegar and the brown sugar in a small cup and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil and butter in a medium skillet and saute the mushrooms until all the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the garlic, thyme, salt and black pepper.
  3. Turn the heat to low and add the vinegar mixture. Cook, stirring, until the liquid reduces to a glaze consistency that coats the mushrooms, 15 to 20 seconds.

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Grilled Asparagus

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Grilled Asparagus

Ingredients
•2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
•2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
•1 1/2 pounds asparagus spears, ends trimmed
•Salt and ground black pepper
•1 teaspoon lemon zest
•Heavy duty foil

Directions

  1. Lay the asparagus on a large sheet of heavy duty foil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then with the garlic and lemon zest. Pour the melted butter over the asparagus.
  2. Enclose the asparagus in the foil and seal the edges tightly. Place the package on the direct heat side of the grill while the steak is cooking.
  3. Cook the asparagus for 8 minutes, turn the package over and cook another 8 minutes. Be careful opening the package because the steam will be very hot.

There’s also a potato salad to go with this recipe, but go easy on this side dish if you have diabetes or weight to lose! You can substitute cauliflower for the potatoes. Divide it into even-sized florets and steam until tender – about five minutes.

Warm Potato Salad

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Warm Potato Salad

Ingredients
•2 pounds red potatoes, peeled and quartered
•1/2 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil
•1 garlic clove, minced
•1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
•1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped
•1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
•1/4 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
•1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
•2 tablespoons chopped parsley
•Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Place potatoes in a medium-sized saucepan covered 2 inches by salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.
  2. In the same saucepan, combine the olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, capers, vinegar and red onion. Bring to a simmer and remove from the heat.
  3. Add the drained potatoes and toss with the warm dressing, celery and parsley. Salt to taste and serve warm.

Reblogged from Jovinacooksitalian with thanks.