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 − 600 g, sliced into thin strips
Pear − ⅓, peeled and mashed 
Garlic salt − ⅓ teaspoon
Paprika − ½ teaspoon
Dried coriander leaves − ½ teaspoon
Coarse semolina − 3 tablespoons
Sukrin gold − 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 − 3 cloves, minced
White wine − 4 tablespoons
Salt − ¼ teaspoon
Sukrin gold− 2 teaspoons
Rapeseed oil spray
Ground black pepper to taste

Protocol
1. 
Heat 1 spray olive oil in a wok, and sauté 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 Sukrin, 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 − 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.

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 Sukrin instead of sugar. The result is pure (guilt-free) bliss! 

Ingredients
Blackberries − 5-6 berries
Cashew nuts − 5 tablespoons
Sukrin gold − 2 tablespoons
Vanilla powder − ½ teaspoon
Alpro soya light − 100 ml
Rosewater − 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. 😀

 

Sukrin

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

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). Last year I came across Sukrin, and found that it hit the nail on the head both in terms of taste and its effect on health. It has been my favourite ever since!

First of all, it doesn’t add any strange flavour to a dish, nor is it overpowering. Secondly, it can be substituted for sugar 1:1 (i.e. it can be used in exactly the same quantities). Most importantly, it is a polyol made from the Stevia plant (but remember, this tastes a hundred percent nicer than straight-up Stevia that is available in most supermarkets). Polyols 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 Sukrin from Amazon (it can also be bought directly from their website) but I wish all supermarkets would stock it. Better spread the word! 😉 

Here is a link to their website: http://www.sukrin.co.uk/

 

 

Tomato potato tom-tato!

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

Ingredients
Potatoes − 250 g, peeled and diced
Onion powder − ½ teaspoon
Garlic powder − ½ teaspoon
Ground paprika − ½ teaspoon
Salt − ⅓ teaspoon
Sukrin gold (or Stevia) − ½ tablespoon
Magnificent Mediterranean tomato sauce − ½ cup 
Fresh basil leaves – a handful, roughly torn
Black olives – a handful, thinly sliced
Fresh ground pepper – ⅓ teaspoon
Chilli flakes – ⅓ 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 Sukrin 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 themagnificent 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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Magnificent Mediterranean tomato sauce

A rustic, creamy tomato sauce. My new favourite sauce, one that I’ve taken to eating with absolutely everything! This is a quick and simply delicious fix with a fruity note. 🙂

Ingredients
Plum tomatoes – 500 g, roughly chopped
Onions – 2, thinly sliced into rings
Garlic – 2 cloves, minced
Juice of half a lime
Red wine – 1 tiny slosh
Salt – ⅓ teaspoon
Low-sugar low-salt ketchup – 1 tablespoon
Sukrin gold – 1 tablespoon
Dried oregano – a pinch
Fresh basil leaves – a handful, roughly torn
Coarsely ground black pepper – 1-2 teaspoons
Unsweetened almond milk – 50 ml (I use Alpro roasted unsweetened almond milk)

Protocol
1.
 Put onions and garlic in a non-stick pan and cook on medium heat with a little water (water being a substitute for oil to stop the onion and garlic from burning/drying out) and squeeze in the lime juice.
2. When the garlic and onions start to brown, add the red wine, and simmer for 2 minutes.
3. Add in the tomatoes with salt and mix together well with the onions and garlic.
4. Keeping the pan simmering on low heat, add in the ketchup, Sukrin gold, oregano, basil and black pepper.
5. Mix in a blender with almond milk to a get a smooth creamy texture.

 

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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)
Unsweetend 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 for another minute.
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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Tempting turkey meatballs

Juicy juicy turkey meatballls!  Cooking with lean (containing a mere 2% fat) turkey mince can often result in rather dry meatball/burger situations. However, this nifty little trick of using kiwi fruit solves that problem, as it deliciously tenderises the meat, and produces succulent, moreish, juicy meatballs!

Ingredients
Lean turkey mince − 500 g (I used turkey mince containing 2% fat)
Kiwi fruit − 1, mashed
Salt − ¼ teaspoon
Almond flour/ground almonds − 1 tablespoon
Arrowroot powder  − 1 tablespoon
White of 1 egg
Juice of 1 lime
Pinch of chilli powder (optional)

Protocol
1. 
Combine turkey mince, mashed kiwi fruit (this softens the meat), salt, almond flour/ground almonds, arrowroot powder, egg white and lime juice. Mix well.
2. Mould the turkey into meatball shapes and place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper (tin foil won’t work; it will just make the meat stick!).
3. Bake in a preheated oven at 190°C for 25 minutes, on the bottom shelf, turning the meatballs over after 12 mins.