Low-carb, low-fat pizza base

The beauty of an experiment gone wrong! Not quite an exciting and world-changing discovery as penicillin, but I’m happy with it. πŸ˜€ I originally set out to try and make low-carb (and low-fat) pasta, more or less following my instincts. However, what came out of the oven turned out to be the perfect pizza base; one that I’ve been searching for, for a long time. Most low-carb pizza bases out there are very high in fat. Cauliflower bases can be kept low-fat, but they are a pain in the behind to make. This recipe, on the other hand, is pretty simple and requires very little manpower. Watch this space for more delicious low-carb, low-fat recipes in the bread category!

Ingredients 

  • Eggs – 4, medium
  • Philadelphia Lightest βˆ’ 70g 
  • Almond flour – 40g 
  • Arrowroot flour – 20g 
  • Locust bean gum – ΒΎ teaspoon 
  • Wheat gluten – ΒΌ teaspoon (leave out if gluten-intolerant, but the texture is better with gluten added)
  • Erythritol β€“ 2 teaspoons 
  • Ground black pepper (optional)

Protocol

1. Blend all ingredients together until smooth.

2. Preheat oven to 170Β°C.

3. Line a medium-sized baking tray (I used a 35cm x 25cm tray for this recipe) with greaseproof paper and pour the mixture onto the lined baking tray, making sure to spread it into a thin rectangle.

4. Bake for 25 minutes at 170Β°C. Top with your favourite topping, which may need a further 5–10 minutes in the oven before serving. Feel free to be creative!

Splendid spinach soup

A spinach soup as pure as it could possibly be! Made of only spinach with a delicious spice mix, but without adding other vegetables, which so many others do, it blends into velvety, creamy deliciousness. In addition to tasting absolutely splendid, it will also give your iron levels a decent kick in the buttocks, huzzah!!


Ingredients 

  • Spinach – 500g 
  • Coriander powderβˆ’ Β½ teaspoon 
  • Cumin powderβˆ’ ΒΌ teaspoon 
  • Garlic powderβˆ’ ΒΌ teaspoon Paprika powderβˆ’ ΒΌ teaspoon 
  • Fenugreek powderβˆ’ ΒΌ teaspoon 
  • Flora ProActiv Light margarine βˆ’ 30g 
  • Philadelphia Lightest βˆ’ 50g 
  • Maggi stock cubes βˆ’ 2 
  • Erythritol Gold β€“ 1.5 tablespoons 
  • Water – 400ml

Protocol

1. Blanch the spinach for 3 minutes in boiling water on medium heat, then immediately rinse with cold water.

2. Dry roast the spices (coriander, cumin, garlic, paprika, and fenugreek powders) in a small pan, over a low heat, for 30 seconds, then take off the heat,

3. In a separate pan, melt the margarine and the Philadelphia Lightest for 30 seconds, then take off the heat.

4. In a high-speed blender the spinach, spice mix, melted margarine and Philadelphia, stock cubes and erythritol Gold and 400ml water, and blend until smooth.

5. Simmer on low heat until the soup starts to bubble. Serve hot!

Light vanilla sponge cake

Finally, a healthy cake! After dozens of tries, fails and much frustration, at long last I have succeeded in baking a healthy cake that cuts out most of the carbs (including sugar) and saturated fats that usually go into a cake, whilst maintaining a soft and spongy consistency and most importantly, a fantastic taste! 

The main challenges when substituting the classic cake ingredients such as butter, sugar and plain flour are really rather difficult to overcome. One time the cake doesn’t rise, another time the sugar substitute leaves a crunchy note as it doesn’t dissolve properly, another time the consistency is like cardboard, or the whole cake collapses when getting it out of the tin. 
 
However, using powdered erythritol (I have now switched to erythritol, a sugar alcohol that is very similar to Sukrin, since Sukrin is getting ridiculously expensive), and mixing it with arrowroot flour and almond flour (almond flour on its own without lots of fat makes it very dense and dry), I have finally managed to bake a scrumptious cake with a splendid Rupsha-friendly icing. So, here we go! 
 

Ingredients
Cake:
Eggs βˆ’ 5
Arrowroot flour βˆ’ 100g
Finely ground blanched almond flour βˆ’ 100g
Powdered erythritol βˆ’ 70g
Erythritol Gold βˆ’ 70g
Flora ProActiv Light margarine βˆ’ 65g
Alpro Soya Simply Plain yoghurt βˆ’ 50g
Baking powder βˆ’ 2 teaspoons
Cream of tartar βˆ’ ΒΌ teaspoon
Vanilla essence βˆ’ 3 teaspoons
 
Icing:
Philadelphia Lightest βˆ’ 120g
Powdered erythritol βˆ’ 67g
Flora ProActiv Light margarine βˆ’ 15g
Vanilla bean powder βˆ’ Β½ teaspoon (or 1 teaspoon vanilla essence) 
[Optional: dried rose (another flower of choice) petals for sprinkling]
 
 
Protocol
Cake:
1. Sift the arrowroot flour, almond flour and powdered erythritol through a sieve.
2. Mix all cake ingredients together until smooth.
3. Grease cake tin of choice, add mixture and bake in preheated oven at 175Β°C for 40 minutes.
 
Icing:
1. While the cake is baking, mix all the ingredients together until a smooth consistency is achieved. 
2. Once the cake is baked, spread on cake and allow to cool for 1 hour in the fridge. [Optional: sprinkle on flower petals.]
 
 

Crispy semolina chicken

Chicken nuggets seem to always be welcome by both grown-ups and kiddies. However, given their typical breadcrumby, deep-fried nature, I decided to reinvent this dish into a more heart/blood-vessel friendly version; and I came up with this easy peasy concoction. 

The pear in this recipe tenderises the meat, and the semolina coating, when griddled (even with a minimal amount of oil), gives us the desirable crispy texture!

Ingredients
Chicken βˆ’ 600 g, sliced into thin strips
Pear βˆ’ β…“, peeled and mashed 
Garlic salt βˆ’ β…“ teaspoon
Paprika βˆ’ Β½ teaspoon
Dried coriander leaves βˆ’ Β½ teaspoon
Coarse semolina βˆ’ 3 tablespoons
Erythritol Gold βˆ’ 1.5 tablespoons
Rapeseed or sunflower oil spray

Protocol
1.
 Add all ingredients together in a large bowl and make sure all the chicken strips are well coated.
2. Heat some spray oil in a griddle, and cook the chicken until cooked through and the outside is golden.

Rainbow chard and mushroom stir-fry

I love rainbow chard, and the fact that it is the most colourful member of the cabbage family. It has a lovely, earthy taste and doesn’t need much interference for this deliciousness to surface, making it a fabulous accompaniment for rich meaty dishes and light seafood or veggie dishes alike!

Ingredients
Rainbow chard – 200 g, roughly chopped (stems and leaves separated)
Mushrooms – 130 g, roughly chopped
Garlic βˆ’ 3 cloves, minced
White wine βˆ’ 4 tablespoons
Salt βˆ’ ΒΌ teaspoon
Erythritol Goldβˆ’ 2 teaspoons
Rapeseed oil spray
Ground black pepper to taste

Protocol
1. 
Heat 1 spray olive oil in a wok, and sautΓ© garlic on low heat until it starts to brown.
2. Add in the mushrooms and white wine, followed by chard stems. Keep the heat low. Stir-fry for 2 minutes.
3. Add chard leaves and salt. Stir-fry until the leaves start to wilt.
4. Add the erythritol, and fresh ground black pepper to taste.

Cabbage carbonara

I absolutely love spaghetti carbonara, but it is full of things that should not be part of my diet (spaghetti = refined carb; bacon, oil, egg yolk = saturated fat and cholesterol). So I created my own version, free of refined carbs and evil fats, and crossed it with my one of my favourite vegetables, cabbage! This also reminds me a little bit of a dish that my dad used to make when I was small, red cabbage in a creamy white cheese sauce, that I simply loved (but can’t eat anymore because it contains milk, flour, butter and cheese). 

*This can easily become vegetarian if you omit the ham, and be a vegan dish if you omit both egg white and ham. Huzzah!!

Ingredients
Red cabbage βˆ’ 1, sliced into long strips
Onions βˆ’ 4, medium, sliced into thin rings
Mushrooms βˆ’ 100 g, roughly chopped
White wine βˆ’ 50 ml
Salt βˆ’ β…“ teaspoon + β…“ teaspoon
Cashew nuts βˆ’ 2 tablespoons
Almond flour βˆ’ 2 tablespoons
Roasted unsweetened almond milk βˆ’ 200 ml
Maggi stock cube βˆ’ 1, crumbled (use half a stock cube if using any other brand as Maggi cubes are small)
Erythritol Goldβˆ’ 1 tablespoon 
Garlic powder βˆ’ β…“ teaspoon
White of 1 egg (optional)
Lean ham βˆ’ 60 g diced into 0.5-cm pieces (optional)
Fresh coriander or parsley βˆ’ 1 handful, leaves finely chopped (optional)
Sweet pointy red pepper βˆ’ β…“, diced into small pieces
Fresh ground black pepper

Protocol
1.
 Boil the red cabbage with β…“ teaspoon salt on a gentle simmer until slightly soft (approximately 7βˆ’10 minutes), then drain. Make sure not to over-boil!
2. Blend cashew nuts, almond flour, almond milk, stock cube, erythritol and garlic powder together until very very smooth, to make creamy white sauce. Then add in the egg white if desired, and blend further until mixed well.
3. In a large pan or wok, add onions, mushrooms, white wine and β…“ teaspoon salt, and sautΓ© until the onions start to become soft. Add splashes of water if necessary.
4. Then add in the cooked cabbage and ham (optional), and sautΓ© on low heat for another 3βˆ’4 minutes. Add more splashes of water if necessary.
5. Turn down the heat, and mix in the white sauce, followed by the sweet red pepper, and simmer on low heat for 5 minutes. 
6. Now mix in the coriander/parsley if desired; this is somewhat unconventional, but nothing about this dish is conventional! πŸ˜€
7. Serve with fresh ground pepper sprinkled on.

Berry Potter

A ravishing potted blackberry dessert, old chaps! This delectable dessert has a lovely, smooth, silky ice cream-like texture, without the addition of any kind of oil or cream. And of course it contains erythritol instead of sugar. The result is pure bliss! 

Ingredients
Blackberries βˆ’ 5-6 berries
Cashew nuts βˆ’ 5 tablespoons
Erythritol  βˆ’ 2 tablespoons
Vanilla powder βˆ’ Β½ teaspoon
Alpro soya light βˆ’ 100 ml
Rosewater βˆ’ 1 drop

Protocol
1.
 Blend all ingredients together until very very smooth.
2. Scoop into small dessert bowls or ramekins.
2. Chill in the freezer for 1 hour; this timing is perfect for delicious ice cream-esque consistency. πŸ˜€

 

Erythritol

For all the people that can’t eat refined sugars, or those of you who want to cut down on them, try erythritol!! 

I have been searching high and low for sugar alternatives for over 9 years and tried various sweeteners such as commercially bought Stevia (it has a very strange artifical taste, which I really don’t like, and an even more undesirable aftertaste) or agave nectar (not the healthiest either, but still better than sugar). Erythritol,  however, hits the nail on the head both in terms of taste and its effect on health. 

Notably, it doesn’t add any strange flavour to a dish, nor is it overpowering. Most importantly, it is a polyol, which are biologically neutral carbohydrates that don’t affect blood glucose levels, will not get converted into fat and get dumped in your arteries, and has a glycemic index of less than 1. Basically you just pass it straight out!

I usually buy my erythritol from Amazon, but I wish all supermarkets would stock it. Better spread the word! πŸ˜‰ 

 

 

 

Tomato potato tom-tato!

My version of patatas bravas, minus all the oil – a fiesta for the senses! Ole!

Ingredients
Potatoes βˆ’ 250 g, peeled and diced
Onion powder βˆ’ ΒΌ teaspoon
Garlic powder βˆ’ ΒΌ teaspoon
Ground paprika βˆ’ Β½ teaspoon
Salt βˆ’ β…“ teaspoon
Erythritol Gold βˆ’ Β½ tablespoon
Magnificent Mediterranean tomato sauce βˆ’ Β½ cup 
Fresh basil leaves – a handful, roughly torn
Black olives β€“ a handful, thinly sliced
Fresh ground pepper β€“ β…“ teaspoon
Chilli flakes β€“ β…“ teaspoon (optional)

Protocol
1.
 Boil the potatoes with salt until soft. Place the boiled potatoes in a bowl
2. Mix onion powder, garlic powder, ground paprika, salt and erythritol  together, and add to potatoes and make sure they are evenly coated with the spice mix. 
3. In a non-stick pan, add one spray of oil and brown the potatoes.
4. Add in the magnificent Mediterranean tomato sauce, mix well and simmer on low heat for 2 minutes.
4. Turn off the heat, and mix in the basil leaves and black olives.
5. Mix in the fresh ground pepper and chilli flakes to serve.

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Crunchy chocolate orange mousse

I do believe it is high time for something sweet… Therefore, I present a dreamy, creamy, chocolate orange mousse with a delightfully pleasing crunch! Divine deliciousness, duly delivered. πŸ˜€

Ingredients
Alpro soya simply plain yoghurt – 200 g
Rich Tea light biscuits – 4, broken up
Soya milk β€“ 5 tablespoons (I used Alpro Soya Light)
Powdered erythritol  – 2 tablespoons
Carob powder – ΒΎ teaspoon + 1 teaspoon
Orange essence β€“ 2 drops
A pinch of vanilla seed/powder (or a drop of vanilla essence)
Zest of 1 orange 

Protocol
1.
Whisk together yoghurt, erythritol, ΒΎ teaspoon of carob powder, soya milk, orange essence and vanilla, to make into a creamy mousse.
2. Add the broken Rich Tea biscuits and mix well.
3. Place mixture into ramekins, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of carob powder. 
4. Refrigerate until fully chilled (for at least 30 minutes), and add orange zest to decorate.