Thai-style LCHF fishcakes

You know me, I’m always trying to find ways of making fish less fishy. These fishcakes are certainly a good addition to my fish repertoire, and I do love those Thai flavours! I have cheated somewhat by using pre-prepared ginger puree and lemongrass paste, but this does keep the dish nice and quick for a mid-week meal with no faffing about with those pesky lemongrass stalks. Keeping one of the salmon fillets chunky gives these fishcakes a great texture.

Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 salmon fillets (remove bones and skin)
1 tbsp ginger puree
1 tbsp lemongrass paste
2 large cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp coriander leaf, chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes (or chilli powder)
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy/tamari sauce
Juice of 1/2 lime
Coconut oil (or ghee) for shallow-frying

Dice one of the salmon fillets, and blend the other to a paste using a food processor.

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Combine, add the remaining ingredients, and mix well. Leave to marinate whilst you prepare your chosen side dish – I opted for a green salad.

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Once you’re ready to eat, heat the coconut oil in a frying pan, shape the mixture into small patties (I just rolled some into a ball and then squashed it in the pan), and fry for a couple of minutes on each side (depending on the thickness of your patties, mine were approx 2 cm thick), until they are golden and springy to the touch.

Serve with a peppery green salad, tossed with some toasted sesame seeds, a few flaked almonds and a zingy dressing.

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LCHF curry feast!

This is an homage to our local curry house, which has put up with our awkward dietary requirements for the last 8 months or so, never complaining when we swap bread and rice for extra veggie sides (even when there’s a deal on). I’m not sure what sort of curry this is, so I shall call it “lamb curry a la Roxy”, complete with cauliflower bhaji and courgette pakoras/fritters.

The curry serves 4, but us two managed to munch our way through all of the pakoras and cauliflower, so make extra if you’re serving more people.

Ingredients:

For the lamb curry a la Roxy:
500 g diced lamb shoulder
4 onions, sliced
4 large cloves garlic
6 – 10 dried kashmiri chillies (depending on how hot you want it), soaked in warm water for a few minutes
2 medium tomatoes
A chunk of ginger (about 5 cm)
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 green cardamom pods
2 black cardamom pods (just for the hell of it)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 small aubergine, chunked (optional)
Lots of ghee for frying

For the cauliflower bhaji:
1 cauliflower, cut into florets and steamed/boiled until almost cooked
1/2 onion, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric
Ghee for frying

For the pakoras:
1 large courgette, diced
The other half of the onion from the cauliflower, finely sliced
2 eggs
2 tbsp curry powder (whatever you have to hand, I went for madras as it was in my cupboard)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp tomato puree
Ghee or lard for frying (I ran out of ghee so I used lard for porky pakoras – or porkoras, if you will)

First, prepare the curry. Place the garlic, ginger, tomatoes and kashmiri chillies in a blender and blend to a fine paste.

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Heat a large saucepan and add the cumin seeds and cardamom pods. Fry until the seeds start to dance in the pan, then add the ghee (about 2 tbsp) and the onions. Fry for 5-10 minutes, until the onions are soft. Depending on how dark you want your finished sauce, you can cook the onions on a high heat to brown them, or fry them gently for a paler sauce (that’s what I did). Add the lamb and stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Add the spice paste, fry for a minute, and then add the ground spices, the salt and the pepper. Add enough water to cover the lamb, bring to a simmer, then cover and cook on a loooow heat (use a diffuser if you have one) for 1.5 hours.

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Add the aubergine (if using) and simmer for a further 30 minutes, removing the lid and turning up the heat for the last 15 mins.

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Meanwhile, prepare the ingredients for the cauliflower bhaji and pakoras. For the cauliflower bhaji, steam/boil the cauliflower until just tender. Set to one side. Fry the onions in ghee for a few minutes, until soft. Add the garlic, tomato, turmeric and mustard seeds and stir-fry for a few minutes until the tomatoes start to break down. Add the cooked cauliflower and stir well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes until everything is properly cooked.

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For the porkoras, place the courgette, onion, eggs, curry powder, tomato puree, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix thoroughly.

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Heat enough ghee/lard in a frying pan to shallow-fry the pakoras (about 2 cm up the side of the pan). Once the fat is hot (test by dropping in a small amount of batter – if it puffs up it’s hot enough), add spoonfuls of the pakora mixture to the pan. Fry for about 3 minutes on each side (keep an eye on the heat, don’t let the fat get too hot) until the courgette is tender and the pakoras are golden, then fry the next batch.

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Serve everything together, and use the pakoras to soak up the curry sauce!

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Sugar-free grain-free fruit crumble

I seem to be cooking far more frequently than I’m posting, and as a result I have a bit of a back-log of recipes! Thankfully, I have been taking notes, so I don’t have to try to remember what I did from the hundreds of pictures of food I seem to have amassed. So, here’s a pudding from the archives for you. I know this isn’t a very summery dessert, but it is currently winter elsewhere, so this is one for my Southern-hemisphere followers!

Ingredients:
2 nectarines, sliced
2 small bananas, sliced
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
1 tsp baharat spice mix (or use 1/2 tsp nutmeg & 1/2 tsp cinnamon)
Pinch of salt
50 g butter, cubed

For the crumble topping
50 g coconut flour
25 g almond flour
40 g butter
40 g pecans, crushed
Pinch of salt

Pre-heat the oven to 160°C (fan).

Place the fruit into an oven-proof dish, sprinkle over the spices, vanilla and salt, and mix. Place the cubed butter around the fruit.

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Now prepare the crumble topping. Mix the flours and together in a bowl and add the butter. Rub the butter in with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs, and mix in the pecans. Spread the crumble over the fruit.

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Bake in the oven for approximately 25 minutes, or until the crumble is golden. Serve with lashings of double cream!

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Buttery roast chicken

If you want a fail-safe method for keeping your roast chicken lovely and moist, then look no further! All you need to do is shove a load of butter under the bird’s skin and you’re good to go. This recipe can be adapted to incorporate different flavourings. I’ve gone for garlic (of course), but you could add some fresh herbs, or keep it simple with salt and pepper.

Serves 2 with left-over chicken for a nice salad the following day

Ingredients:
1 free-range chicken (approx 1.5 kg)
75 g butter
3 large cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3-4 medium onions, chunked
200 ml white wine (or you could use chicken stock or water)

For the spice rub (optional):
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chipotle chilli powder (or smoked paprika)
1 tsp cayenne pepper

For the broccoli cheese:
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
120 g cheddar cheese
60 g butter
100 g double cream
150 ml full-fat milk
1/2 tsp xanthan gum (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C

First, prepare a bed of onions for the chicken to sit on. Then, prepare the flavoured butter by whizzing the garlic, butter, salt and pepper. You can do this by hand – just finely chop the garlic and beat it with the butter until it is fully incorporated.

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Starting from the neck-end of the chicken, gently separate the skin from the breast, trying not to pierce the skin itself. Push the flavoured butter underneath the skin and try to cover as much of the breast as possible. Spread the remaining butter all over the chicken, not forgetting the nooks and crannies, such as the armpits.

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If using, mix the spice-rub ingredients together and sprinkle all over the chicken. Add the wine/stock/water to the dish (to stop the onions burning) and roast in the oven for 20 mins per 500 g, plus an extra 20 mins, or until the juices run clear.

Meanwhile, prepare the broccoli cheese. Steam/boil the broccoli until tender, and place into an oven-proof dish. Add the remaining ingredients to a pan and heat, whisking, until everything is melted and the sauce is smooth. Pour the sauce over the broccoli, and finish with lashings of black pepper.

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Bake in the oven, with the chicken, for 20 minutes. Serve with the chicken, the onions and some of the lovely buttery chickeny pan juices.

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Easy-peasy hol-lard-aise sauce

Ok so this isn’t actually made with lard, but it is easy-peasy so the title is at least half right.

Serves 2

Ingredients:
100 g butter
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 egg yolk
Pinch of salt and pepper

Place the vinegar in a small pan over a high heat and reduce by half. Add the butter, salt and pepper, and continue to heat until the butter has melted.

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Meanwhile, place the egg yolk in a bowl and whisk until foamy. Slowly add the butter mixture to the egg, whisking constantly so that the egg doesn’t scramble.

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At this point it is ready to serve, but if you prefer a mayonnaise-like consistency, return the mixture to the pan over a very low heat (I use a heat diffuser) and stir until the desired consistency is reached. Serve with a some asparagus, bacon and a poached egg.

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**For bearnaise sauce, just fry a small, finely chopped, shallot before adding the vinegar, and finish with a tbsp of chopped tarragon. Really good with steak!

6 months of LCHF and a week of LCHF breakfasts

Today marks the beginning of my 7th month on LCHF, and I must say I’m feeling pretty great. What started off as a gesture of support for my husband’s latest obsession has turned into a new way of eating for the foreseeable future. I was never that bothered about losing weight, but I now weigh the same as I did when I was 18 (I’ve just worked out how long ago that was and I think I’ll keep it to myself), and having to buy new clothes is never a bad thing. Ignoring the weight-loss, there are a number of other benefits to LCHF that I’ve discovered:

1. The food is awesome. Fat = tasty.
2. No more headaches. I’ve had chronic headaches since I was small, and having a pain in my head was pretty much the norm. Now I can’t remember the last time I had a headache.
3. You know when you’re feeling hungry and it just won’t go away until you’ve had that packet of crisps or a chocolate bar (usually around 11 am, or 3 pm)? I haven’t felt like that since December 2013.
4. My skin has improved. Break-outs are few and far between, and my skin is definitely not as dry anymore.
5. No more crippling stomach cramps at that time of the month.
6. The afternoon slump is no more! (Although that may be a double-edged sword as now I can do more work in the afternoon).
7. I’ve never eaten so many eggs in my life but I’m still not tired of them. It turns out that eggs are very good for you – forget about that cholesterol bollocks.
8. I don’t have to feel guilty about cooking with butter or cream.
9. Everything tastes sweeter – even broccoli. No longer do I need to add a bit of sugar to my tomato sauce. The tomatoes are sweet enough.
10. I never used to eat breakfast, but now it’s my favourite meal of the day.

…which leads me nicely onto the food part of this post: what I eat for breakfast! Here I have compiled a selection of my typical breakfasts for a week:

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Day 1: Almond pancake with bacon and goat’s cheese

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Day 2: 2-egg omelette filled with bacon and cheese

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Day 3: Creamy scrambled eggs with bacon and tomatoes

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Day 4: Burger topped with a fried egg and cheese

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Day 5: Cream & yoghurt with blueberries and some crushed, cinnamon-roasted nuts

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Day 6: Egg & gherkin mayo with cheese and salami

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Day 7: The fry-up! Bacon,egg, tomatoes and sour cream (all fried in butter & bacon fat, of course!).

I know what you’re thinking…how can that much saturated fat be in any way healthy?? Well, I can’t think of a better advertisement for LCHF than my husband James. He eats a hell of a lot more than me, and even goes so far as to have butter in his morning coffee. Yet, even with all that fat and so few carbs he managed to run 115 miles in under 24 hours at endure24 at the weekend, coming in 2nd place. He is so brilliantly fat-adapted that instead of fuelling this crazy challenge with umpteen energy gels and bars, and a massive bowl of pasta the night before, he managed it with a few mini-babybels, a mouthful of biltong, a couple of rashers of bacon, 1.75 bananas and a mouthful of buttery mashed potato (which sent him on a bit of a sugar-rush). Afterwards, he worked out that he consumed a measly 750 kcal, of which 265 kcal were from carbs, for the entire race! Amazing!

LCHF Blueberry panna cotta

This is such an easy dessert to make – the hardest part is waiting for them to set – and there’s no need for sugar. However, if you want to make them sweeter you can just add a couple of tablespoons of sugar or some sweetener to the cream mixture.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
140 ml can coconut cream
300 ml double cream
100 g blueberries
1/2 tsp vanilla powder or 1 vanilla pod
4 leaves of gelatine

Cut up and soak the gelatine leaves in 2 tbsp cold water for 5 – 10 minutes until soft.

Meanwhile, place all of the other ingredients into a pan over a medium-low heat and bring to the boil. Blend the cream mixture with a stick blender, or in a liquidiser, until smooth. Whilst the mixture is still warm, add the gelatine and stir/blend until it is fully dissolved.

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Pour the mixture into four ramekins, or panna cotta moulds, and leave in the fridge to set. Mine were set after 2 hours, but it could take longer. To serve, turn out the panna cottas onto plates and garnish with some mint leaves (you may need to heat the outside of the moulds to free them – just use some hot water for this). If you’re pressed for time you could just set the mixture in glasses or bowls and serve the panna cottas without turning them out.

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