LCHF Pizza!

WordPress has reminded me that it’s Roxy’s Kitchen’s first birthday today, which means that we have been on LCHF for a grand total of 54 weeks. I don’t make a habit of stepping on the scales, but this morning’s figure shows a 21% weight reduction. This is pretty cool considering I haven’t gone hungry at all over the last year, and I’ve pretty much been eating all of the butter, cream, cheese, eggs and bacon I can manage (oh and I’ve done about the same amount of exercise as before, i.e. next to none). More importantly, I have had a migraine-free year and I can count the number of headaches I’ve had on one hand (most of which have been alcohol-related). Pre-LCHF I would have had a migraine once per month at least, and headaches most days. Thanks LCHF!

Now onto the food part of today’s post… I was having a bit of a clear out of my hoarded delicious. magazines (not sure why I still subscribe, I think I just like looking at pictures of food), and I found a recipe for a cauliflower-crust pizza in their gluten free section (I say section, in this particular issue I think it was just one or two recipes). We used to have a pretty serious Dominos Pizza habit pre-LCHF, so we have just avoided pizza for a year (I mean, it can’t really get better than Dominos can it?? *sarcasm*), and the idea of a cauliflower-based pizza just didn’t seem right. However, I decided to give it a go (the picture in the magazine certainly made it look tasty), and I’m glad I did. Pizza is back on the menu, woo!

The magazine states that it makes 4 pizzas. We got two large and one small pizza out of the mixture (so they aren’t as greedy as us, clearly).

Ingredients:

For the crust:
450 g cauliflower (about a whole medium-sized one)
2 eggs
150 g ground almonds
50 g grated parmesan
1 tsp xanthan gum or arrowroot (optional)
Salt & pepper

For the toppings:
Whatever you like! We went for:
150 g mozarella cheese
150 g cheddar cheese, grated
6 rashers of smoked bacon
1 small tin of anchovies
2 tbsp spicy red pesto (or you could just use tomato puree, we just happened to have a jar of pesto kicking about)
Freshly ground pepper
A sprinkling of dried mixed herbs

Pre-heat the oven (and two baking sheets) to 180°C.

Whizz up the cauliflower in a food processor, and mix with the eggs, almonds, parmesan, xanthan gum (if using) and seasoning. It should form a fairly sticky dough-like mixture.

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Place a dollop of the mixture onto some baking parchment, and form it into a fairly thin (about 5 mm) pizza base. You could place another sheet of parchment on top and roll it with a rolling pin, but I just flattened it with my hands (hence the irregular shape). Repeat for the second pizza, place the bases onto the preheated baking trays, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the bases are golden brown and fairly firm to the touch. I rotated the trays halfway through cooking.

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Spread the pesto/puree evenly over the bases, top with the cheeses then the bacon and anchovies, and sprinkle the mixed herbs and ground pepper all over the pizzas. Return the pizzas to the oven for a further 5 – 10 minutes, or until the bacon is cooked and the cheese is all melty. Scoff the whole lot down and feel significantly less bloated (and less guilty), and a lot more satisfied, than you would have had you eaten a Dominos instead.

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You can use any leftover mixture to make yourself a breakfast treat the next day:
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A Christmas feast for two!

This will be our first LCHF Christmas. So far so good. After all, ’tis the season of bacon, sausages, sausages wrapped in bacon, cheese, cheese wrapped in bacon, nuts, bacon nuts…all lovely LCHF fare. For the last few years we’ve had an alternative Christmas day for just the two of us (usually after the days that are filled with the obligatory Christmas stuff, as something to look forward to): turkey feast, lots of cake, watching Bruce Willis run around in a vest (or some other, suitably violent, Christmas movie), some booze to fill in the spaces in between the food…etc. This year we had our meal early so that I could blog about it and perhaps give you guys a few more foodie ideas (if you need them). It’s not proper low-carb, but hey – it is Christmas!

Serves 2 with lots of left-overs (or 4-5 people)

Ingredients:

For the roast pork:
1 kg boned and rolled pork leg
500 g minced pork (you can use sausage meat if you’re not fussed about the gluten)
4 eating apples
4 large onions
Small bunch of fresh sage leaves, chopped
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
250 ml white wine
100 g butter

For the extra stuffing pots:
5 – 6 rashers smoked streaky bacon

For the fondant parsnips & carrots:
2 large carrots
1 parsnip
200 g unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic (unpeeled)
1/2 tsp dried thyme (or a sprig of fresh thyme)
Salt & pepper
100 ml water

For the cabbage-sprout gratin:
250 g brussels sprouts
1 savoy cabbage, shredded
50 g butter
300 ml whole milk
200 ml double cream
100 g grated cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp xanthan gum (optional)
Salt & pepper
1 packet of hog lumps
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

First, prepare the stuffing. Finely chop one of the onions and gently fry with some butter. Meanwhile, dice two of the eating apples (I left the skins on), and add to the now softened onions. Fry for a couple of minutes, until there is a bit of colour on the onions and the apples. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl. Add the pork mince, plenty of pepper (I used about 2 tsp – you should be able to smell the pepper once it’s all mixed in), the salt and the chopped sage, and mix well.

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You can now pre-heat the oven to 220°C, whilst you prepare the pork for stuffing.

If you’ve got a boned pork leg most of of the work has already been done. All you need to do is remove the string, place the joint skin-side down on a board and open it out, with the thin edge to your right. To open it out further I usually start from the right (because I’m right-handed) and cut into the thickest part of the meat, unrolling it with my left hand as I go. Once it is as unrolled as it’s going to get, give it a good bash with a mallet or rolling pin (or your fists) to flatten it out.

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Sprinkle all over with salt and pepper, then place half of the stuffing mixture onto the pork and spread so that it covers about two-thirds of the surface area. Then roll the piggy back up (using the un-stuffed flap to stop the stuffing from oozing out), and secure with the string again, so that it once again looks like a big fat maggot.

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Now cut the remaining onions and apples into chunks and lay all over the bottom of your roasting pan. Pour the wine into the pan and place Mr. Pig Roll on top. Pat the skin dry with some kitchen towel and rub salt all over it. Roast in the hot hot oven for then first 20 minutes, and then turn the oven down to 170°C for the remaining cooking time (about 1 hour 40 minutes in total).

Use the left-over stuffing to fill two ramekins pre-lined with bacon, and add a bit of extra bacon on top to cover. These are ready to go in the oven with the gratin, 15 minutes before the pork is done.

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Next, prepare the gratin. Shred the cabbage and steam for about 5 minutes until tender. Meanwhile, melt about 25 g butter in a frying pan and fry the sprouts whole until they start to go brown. Place the cabbage and the sprouts in an oven-proof pan (I used a square cake pan, it was the perfect size), and prepare the cheesy sauce. For this, place the cheese, milk, cream, butter, salt, pepper, nutmeg and xanthan gum (if using – this is just to thicken the sauce) in a pan and heat, whilst whisking, until everything has melted together and the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Pour all over the cabbagey sprouts.

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For a cheeky extra touch, crush a packet of hog lumps (because not enough pigs were used in the making of this meal), mix with the parmesan and mixed herbs, and sprinkle over the top of the gratin. This is ready to go in the oven with the extra stuffing about 15 mins before the pork is done.

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Next, prepare the carrots and parsnips. They will take 30-40 mins to cook, but they do stay warm for ages so the timing isn’t vital (just don’t burn them, like I managed to!!). Cut them into chunks of about 2 – 3 cm thick, making sure they are roughly the same thickness. You can adjust this so that they all fit into your frying pan in a single layer. Melt the butter in a frying pan and heat it until it starts to foam. Then, add the carrots and parsnips. Keep the heat on medium and don’t move the pan or mess around with the veg for about 8 minutes. Turn the chunks over and repeat. Once both sides are nice and browned, add the garlic cloves, salt, pepper and thyme. Turn the heat to low and carefully add the water. The butter will get really excited at this point so maybe use a lid as a shield so you don’t get spat on. Cover and leave to cook for about 15 – 20 minutes until the carrots and parsnips are tender. Take care that the water doesn’t evaporate (my lid has a steam escape-hole, I’m not sure why, so my carrots got a bit too brown on the underside), and add more if you can smell burning! Once they are cooked, just turn the heat off and leave them in the pan until you’re ready to eat.

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Once the pork is cooked (I kept checking until I got a reading of 60°C on the old meat thermometer), take out of the oven and leave to rest for 15 minutes, or until all of your other bits and pieces are ready. The stuffing pots should be brown on top, but you can check with a thermometer to see if they’re done (cooking times will vary depending on the size/shape of your ramekins).

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Carve the pork into nice chunky slices and serve with all of the trimmings and the pan juices.

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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 Breakfast for one

There are times when I want pancakes for breakfast, but I don’t want the hassle of making a whole batch. Sometimes one is all you need. I developed this recipe for those times. It’s quite an eggy pancake, but that’s no bad thing! Perfect with bacon and blueberries for a nice filling LCHF breakfast.

Ingredients:
1 egg
3 tbsp ground almonds
Butter for frying

Mix together the egg and ground almonds.

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Fry in plenty of butter over a medium heat, for about a minute on each side.

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Fry some bacon, and a handful of blueberries with a knob of butter and serve.

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