Low-carb, low-fat, flatbread 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. 😀 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 almost the perfect pizza base; I just had to experiment a little to get it to the finish line. Most low-carb pizza bases out there are very high in nasty fats. Cauliflower bases can be kept relatively 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. AND… this fabulous flatbread is really quite versatile. For example, it can be used to make toasted sandwiches/paninis, used as wraps, dipped in soup, or even eaten with kebabs!

Ingredients 

  • 3 eggs
  • Philadelphia Lightest − 75g
  • Fine, blanched almond flour – 20g 
  • Lupin flour – 15g 
  • Tapioca flour – 7g
  • Whole psyllium husks – ½ tablespoon
  • Garlic powder – ¼ teaspoon
  • Onion powder – ¼ teaspoon
  • Salt – ¼ teaspoon
  • Erythritol Gold – 3 teaspoons
  • Ground black pepper

Protocol

1. Blend all ingredients together until smooth.

2. Preheat oven to 175°C.

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

4. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip over and bake for another 10 minutes.

5. 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 powder− ½ teaspoon 
  • Cumin powder− ¼ teaspoon 
  • Garlic powder− ¼ teaspoon 
  • Paprika powder− ¼ teaspoon 
  • Fenugreek powder− ¼ teaspoon 
  • I can’t believe it’s not butter! Light margarine − 30g 
  • Philadelphia Lightest − 50g 
  • Maggi stock cubes − 2 
  • Erythritol Gold – 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 a combination powdered and erythritol Gold (I have now switched to erythritol, a polyol that is very similar to Sukrin, since Sukrin is getting ridiculously expensive), and mixing it with almond flour, oat fibre, and a tiny bit of polenta, I have finally managed to bake a scrumptious cake with a splendid, Rupsha-friendly, cream cheese frosting. So, here we go! 
 

 
Ingredients
Cake:
Eggs − 4, medium
Finely ground blanched almond flour − 70g
Oat fibre − 25g
Polenta − 9g
Powdered erythritol− 50g
Erythritol Gold − 50g
I can’t believe it’s not butter! Light margarine*  − 45g
Unsweetened apple sauce − 20g
Baking powder − 1½ teaspoons
Cream of tartar − ⅛ teaspoon
Vanilla bean powder −  ¾ teaspoon (or 3 teaspoons vanilla essence)
Pinch of salt
 
Cream cheese frosting:
Philadelphia Lightest − 135g
Powdered erythritol − 50g
I can’t believe it’s not butter! Light margarine* − 15g
Vanilla bean powder − ½ teaspoon (or 2 teaspoons vanilla essence) 
[Optional: dried rose petals for sprinkling]


*
Or another margarine of your choice, that is low in saturated fats and has very few/no trans fats. 

 
Protocol
Cake:
1. Mix all cake ingredients together until smooth.
2. Grease cake tin of choice, add mixture and bake in preheated oven at 175°C for 30 minutes.
 
Frosting:
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 − 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
Erythritol 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
Erythritol 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 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 − 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)
Erythritol Gold− 1 tablespoon 
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, 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 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 erythritol instead of sugar. The result is pure bliss! 

Ingredients
Blackberries − 5-6 berries
Cashew nuts − 5 tablespoons
Erythritol  − 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. 😀

 

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! 😉 

 

 

 

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 − ¼ teaspoon
Garlic powder − ¼ teaspoon
Ground paprika − ½ teaspoon
Salt − ⅓ teaspoon
Erythritol Gold − 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 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. 😀

Ingredients
Alpro soya simply plain yoghurt – 200 g
Rich Tea light biscuits – 4, broken up
Soya milk – 5 tablespoons (I used Alpro Soya Light)
Powdered erythritol  – 2 tablespoons
Carob powder – ¾ teaspoon + 1 teaspoon
Orange essence – 2 drops
A pinch of vanilla seed/powder (or a drop of vanilla essence)
Zest of 1 orange 

Protocol
1.
Whisk together yoghurt, erythritol, ¾ 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.