Low-carb fish pie

Greetings! Yes I am still alive and still eating LCHF. It has been almost a year and a half (not sure where the time has gone) and my chronic migraines are a distant memory, thanks to this wonderful diet of…real food.

Followers of my blog will know that I have a shaky truce with fish. As well as cooking it in a sh!t-tonne of butter and mixing it with all manner of things to mask the flavour, I can now add fish pie to the list of Roxy-friendly fish meals. It will never be as stodgy and firm as a regular fish pie…so it’s definitely a winner! I added a couple of carrots to the mash just to mix it up a bit, but feel free to leave these out for even lower carbage.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the fish:
300 ml double cream
300 ml whole milk
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp whole peppercorns
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp salt
2 salmon fillets (approx. 220 g)
1 smoked haddock fillet (approx. 230 g) – make sure it’s not the dyed stuff
150 g raw peeled king prawns

For the sauce:
30 g butter
1 leek, finely sliced
1 tsp xanthan gum
100 g cheddar cheese, grated
large bunch parsley, roughly chopped
100 g watercress, roughly chopped

For the mash topping:
1 cauliflower, cut into florets
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp double cream
2 tbsp milk
Salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

First, poach the fish. Place the onion, garlic, peppercorns, milk, cream and salt in a large frying pan and bring to a simmer. Add the salmon and haddock fillets and poach for 5 minutes until the fish is cooked and flakey. Remove the fish and set to one side to cool. Strain the poaching liquid into a bowl.

Once the fish is cool enough to handle, flake it into an oven dish (I made two smaller pies for an easy meal the next day), removing the skin and any pesky bones. Scatter the prawns over the fish and add the poached onion.

Meanwhile, boil the carrots in a pan for 5 minutes then add the cauliflower and cook until soft. Strain and set to one side until you’re ready to make the mash. To do this, add the egg yolks, cream and milk to the carrots and cauliflower, and blend with a stick blender until smooth.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a frying pan and sauté the leeks until soft. Add the poaching liquid and the xanthan gum and stir until the mixture starts to thicken. Add the cheese and stir until melted.

Next, add the parsley and watercress and mix well. Season to taste. Take off the heat and leave to cool to room temperature (this will make the pie assemblage easier).

To assemble the pie pour the cooled sauce over the fish and spread the mash over the top. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the mash has crustified and you can see the sauce bubbling up trying to escape.

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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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Low-carb paella

Some say pie-ella, some say pie-yay-ya (although I’m not entirely sure why). It’s pa-el-ya, people! Obviously swapping the rice for cauliflower is going to change the consistency (cauliflower doesn’t tend to soak up liquid), compared to a traditional paella, but this one managed to both smell and taste like one so two out of three isn’t bad.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
6 boneless & skinless chicken thighs, chunked
180 g raw king prawns
100 g cooking chorizo, chunked
1 small cauliflower, whizzed/grated
3 large garlic cloves, sliced
1 shallot/small onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
200 g green beans (optional)
400 ml chicken stock
A few strands of saffron soaked in 1 tbsp water
1 tsp smoked/sweet paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Olive oil for frying

Heat enough oil to coat the bottom of a shallow frying pan or paella dish, and brown the chicken pieces for 5-10 minutes then set to one side, leaving the oil and chicken fat in the pan. Fry the onion, garlic and chorizo for a few minutes until the onions are soft, and then add the chopped tomatoes.

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Once the tomatoes have turned mushy, add the sliced red pepper and continue to cook until the peppers have softened. Return the chicken to the pan, and add the prawns, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir until everything is coated. Mix the saffron (and it’s soaking water) with the chicken stock and add it to the pan, along with the green beans and whizzed/grated cauliflower.

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Simmer for about 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked and some of the liquid has evaporated.

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Poached chicken with egg-fried cauli-rice

I’m not going to lie to you, I do miss rice occasionally. Especially if we have a stir-fry. This cauliflower version of egg-fried rice definitely puts the rice cravings at bay. If it’s not over-cooked it does have the quality of rice, and certainly tastes like egg-fried rice with a hint of cauliflower! If you haven’t boiled a chicken yet, then do it (as long as you have a big enough pan/small enough chicken). The chicken stays really moist, it cooks in no time, and it gets infused with all the flavours you add to the stock. YUM.

Ingredients:
1 small chicken (this one was 1.2 kg)
1 large onion, chunked
1 bunch spring onions
3 large cloves garlic
3 red chillies, chunked
5 cm piece of ginger, sliced
1 tsp Schezuan peppercorns
2 tsp five-spice powder
2 whole star anise
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp sesame seed oil
1 tbsp tamari sauce (or soy sauce)
1 stock cube / fresh chicken stock

For the egg-fried cauli-rice:
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten

To prepare the chicken, place all of the vegetables and seasonings/spices into a large pan and place the chicken (breast-side up) on top. Fill the pan with hot water – the water should reach up to the chicken thighs (this way the breasts will steam, rather than boil).

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Bring to the boil, cover, then turn the heat down and simmer gently for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked (test whether the juices run clear by poking the thickest part of the breast/leg with a knife).

Meanwhile, prepare the cauli-rice. Whizz the cauliflower in a food processor until it has a rice-like quality (not too finely whizzed. Yes I do have a pink Magimix).

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Heat the oil in a frying pan, add some of the spring onions and garlic from the chicken pot and stir-fry for a minute. Add the cauliflower and stir-fry for a few minutes. Add a ladle of stock from the chicken pot, cover, and simmer for a few minutes until the cauliflower is cooked (keep checking, it won’t take long). Push the cauliflower to one side of the pan, and add the eggs to the other. Scramble the eggs until they are almost cooked, and then mix everything together. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper (or extra tamari/soy sauce) as required.

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Carve the chicken, and serve with the rice, some steamed mange-tout, the cauli-rice and lots of the stock!

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Cheesy chicken and broccauliflower bake

Tonight’s dinner. It turned out so well I had to post it immediately! Tasty yum yum.

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts (I used part-boned), chunked
100 g pancetta, cubed (or lardons or bacon)
200 g taleggio cheese (or brie or camembert), cubed
1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 onion, sliced
2 large cloves garlic, sliced
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
200 ml white wine
2 tbsp creme fraiche / sour cream
1 tbsp jellified meat stock (or a stock cube)
1/2 tsp xanthan gum (optional)
Olive oil or fat for frying
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
20 g parmesan cheese, grated

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

Boil or steam the broccoli and cauliflower until mostly cooked (they will cook more in the oven).

Meanwhile, fry the onion and garlic in an oven-proof pan until soft. Add the chicken pieces (I kept the bones in there to add flavour), pancetta and dried herbs, and fry for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the white wine and simmer for 5 minutes.

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Remove the chicken, pancetta and onions from the pan, leaving all of the liquid behind. Add the xanthan gum (if using), taleggio, creme fraiche and stock and heat gently, stirring constantly, until the cheese has melted and the sauce has thickened. If the sauce gets too thick, just add a spoon or two of the water from the broccoli and cauliflower. Return the chicken mixture to the pan and add the broccoli, cauliflower and parsley. Mix well, season to taste, and sprinkle the top with the parmesan, and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

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Loaded cauliflower mash

Cauliflower mash

Cauliflower mash…with a few Roxy modifications!

Ingredients:
1 head of cauliflower, chunked
2 spring onions, sliced
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 egg yolk (not necessary, but I had some in the fridge to use up!)
50 ml double cream
Good sized knob of butter
Salt & pepper to taste

Boil/steam the cauliflower until tender. Drain off the water and add the rest of the ingredients to the pan. Using a stick blender (or a potato masher and some elbow grease) blend all of the ingredients together until the desired consistency is reached (smooth, lumpy, whatever floats your boat).

Serve with your favourite bit of meat. In our case we had it with the leftovers from Sunday’s lamb.

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