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 − 1, sliced into long strips
Onions − 4, medium, sliced into thin rings
Mushrooms − 100 g, roughly chopped
White wine − 50 ml
Salt − ⅓ teaspoon + ⅓ teaspoon
Cashew nuts − 2 tablespoons
Almond flour − 2 tablespoons
Roasted unsweetened almond milk − 200 ml
Maggi stock cube − 1, crumbled (use half a stock cube if using any other brand as Maggi cubes are small)
Sukrin gold − 1 tablespoon (can be substituted with ½ tablespoon of stevia, 1 tablespoon of xylitol or 2 tablespoons of erythritol)
Garlic powder − ⅓ teaspoon
White of 1 egg (optional)
Lean ham − 60 g diced into 0.5-cm pieces (optional)
Fresh coriander or parsley − 1 handful, leaves finely chopped (optional)
Sweet pointy red pepper − ⅓, diced into small pieces
Fresh ground black pepper

Protocol
1.
 Boil the red cabbage with ⅓ teaspoon salt on a gentle simmer until slightly soft (approximately 7−10 minutes), then drain. Make sure not to over-boil!
2. Blend cashew nuts, almond flour, almond milk, stock cube, Sukrin 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 ⅓ teaspoon salt, and sauté until the onions start to become soft. Add splashes of water if necessary.
4. Then add in the cooked cabbage and ham (optional), and sauté on low heat for another 3−4 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! 😀
7. Serve with fresh ground pepper sprinkled on.

Thai turkey meatball soup

This Thai-inspired soup has a bit of an east meets west situation going on, as it contains some typical Thai flavours and my tempting turkey meatballs! I usually use coconut milk powder rather than tinned coconut milk/coconut cream in order to control the amount of saturated fat, while adding a hint of a coconutty taste to this light dish inspired by my most favourite cuisine. A sure win-win for your body and your taste buds!

Ingredients
White cabbage − 1, small, leaves roughly torn
Mushrooms − a large handful, roughly chopped (I used shiitake mushrooms, but any type will do)
Shallots − 4, finely diced
Ginger − 4 cm, minced
Mild red chilli − 1, minced
White wine − a large splash
Kaffir lime leaves − 3-4
Stock cube − I used 2 Maggi stock cubes in 500 ml boiling water; if using any other brand of stock cube, only use 1 cube
Maggi coconut milk powder − 1.5 tablespoons (if using tinned light coconut milk, use only 2-3 tablespoons)
Unsweetened roasted almond milk − 200 ml (I use Alpro)
Sukrin gold  (or Stevia) − 2 tablespoons (or substitute with Agave nectar/Maple syrup if not too worried about the carbs)
Spring onions − 2, thinly sliced into rings
Tempting turkey meatballs

Protocol
1. Add 1 spray of oil to a wok and sauté the shallots, ginger, and chilli for 2 minutes, then add the cabbage leaves and mushrooms with a pinch of salt and sauté, adding splashes of water if necessary.
2. Add a large splash of white wine and simmer on low heat for 3 minutes.
3. Crumble stock cube(s) into 500 ml boiling water, and mix well. Add to wok.
4. Turn up the heat to a medium flame. Now add in the almond milk, coconut milk powder, kaffir lime leaves and Sukrin. Simmer for 10 minutes. 
5. Then lower in the freshly baked tempting turkey meatballs into the simmering broth, and allow to simmer for another 5 minutes. 
6. Garnish with fresh spring onions to serve.

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Savoy dim sum rolls

This is my take on a fresh, warming and satisfying prawn dim sum. With cabbage. And pumpkin – yum!

Ingredients
Savoy cabbage − 1, roughly torn and steamed
Pumpkin− 1, small, roasted whole
Small coldwater prawns – 250 g
Green chilli – ⅓, deseeded and minced
Ginger – 3 cm, minced
Chinese rice wine vinegar – ½ teaspoon
Mirin – 2 tablespoons
White cabbage – 1,  grated
Cumin powder – 1 teaspoon
Black onion seeds – 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
Coriander seeds – ½ teaspoon
Maggi coconut milk powder – 1 tablespoon
Spring onion – 2, chopped diagonally into thin discs
Fresh coriander – a handful

Protocol
1.
 Roast the pumpkin (whole, without oil, of course) in the oven until very soft, for around 40 minutes at 200°C . Then remove skin and seeds, and mash with a bit of salt.
2. Steam the savoy cabbage leaves with a bit of salt until very soft.
3. Combine the ginger, chilli, prawns, mirin and rice wine vinegar in a small bowl, and set aside.
4. In a large wok, add 1 spray of rapeseed or sunflower oil,  black onion seeds, mustard seeds and coriander seeds and toast on low heat.
5. Add the grated white cabbage, bit of salt, cumin powder and splashes of water until the cabbage is cooked.
6. Add in the prawn mixture, and cook until the prawns are pink (this should not take more than a couple of minutes).
7. Add in the mashed pumpkin, coconut milk powder and mix well. Cook on low heat for a further 5 minutes.
8. Turn off the heat and mix in the spring onion and coriander
9. Roll up the mixture in the steamed savoy leaves and serve with a sweet soy sauce dip.

Zesty pistachio and cauliflower soup

Pistachio and cauliflower made into a soup? What a curious concoction! However, it does taste rather jolly! 🙂

Ingredients
Cauliflower – 1 large, separated into florets
Pistachios- ½ cup, ground in pestle and mortar
Sweet red pepper – ¼, diced
Apples − 3, peeled, cored and roughly diced
Ground cumin − 1 teaspoon
Ground coriander − 1 teaspoon
Maggi stock cubes − 2, crumbled (or use 1 if using a different brand as Maggi stock cubes are very small!)
Kaffir limes leaves – 3-4
Juice of half a lime
Fresh ground pepper and ground pistachios to garnish

Protocol
1.
Steam the cauliflower with salt until soft.
2. Combine cauliflower, pistachios, red pepper and apples with stock cubes and water, and blend until smooth.
3. Add the blended mixture to a large saucepan, add cumin powder, coriander powder, Kaffir lime leaves, and a bit more water if necessary.
4. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.
5. Add lime juice for a refreshing zesty taste.
6. Serve topped with fresh ground pepper and ground pistachios.

 

Hot & sweet tomato cabbage

Having my maternal roots in Darjeeling, West Bengal, India, I thought it would be fun to try and make a Bengali-inspired cabbage dish; using the classic Bengali five spice (panch phoron).

Ingredients
White cabbage – 1, roughly chopped
Green chilli − 1, thinly sliced
Plum tomatoes – 250g roughly chopped
Bengali panch phoron* − 1 tablespoon
Sukrin gold – 4 tablespoons
Balsamic vinegar − 1 tablespoon
Sea salt – 2½ teaspoons
Pinch of table salt
Olive oil spray
Fresh ground black pepper
Sweet red pointed pepper for garnishing

*Bengali panch phoron: Mixture of fennel seeds, mustards seeds, black onion seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds, in equal measures.

Protocol
1. Steam the cabbage, with a bit of salt, until soft. 
2. In a heavy based wok, heat 2 sprays of olive oil and toast seed mixture until the seeds start to pop. Add in the tomatoes, green chilli, Sukrin gold, balsamic vinegar and sea salt. Simmer on low heat, with the lid on, for 20 minutes.
3. Mix in the cooked cabbage (add a bit more Sukrin/salt if necessary), and simmer for a further 2 minutes.
4. Garnish with thin slices of sweet red pointed pepper and fresh ground black pepper.

 

Lentil soup with savoy cabbage

Very easy soup. AND… it includes cabbage. Huzzah!

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Ingredients
Red lentils − 2 cups
Savoy cabbage – ½, roughly chopped
Ginger – 3 cm, minced
Maggi stock cubes − 2
Sukrin gold − 2 tablespoons
Fresh coriander − handful, roughly chopped

Protocol
1. 
In a large saucepan, add lentils, cabbage, onions, ginger, black onion seeds, Sukrin and 1 litre of boiling water containing the stock cubes. Simmer on low heat, for 20 minutes.
2. Garnish with fresh coriander to serve. (For those who aren’t so keen on coriander, parsley would work too).