Sugar-free* chocolate pots

Sometimes you just need a little treat. These little chocolate pots certainly fulfill the brief, and at a mere 7 g of carbs per pot, they can certainly be incorporated into a low-carb regimen.

(*My pedantic husband has pointed out that these are not, in fact, sugar-free. So, in the spirit of correctness, let the record show that bananas and chocolate do contain sugar.)

Mixture fills approx. 7 x 60 ml espresso cups

Ingredients:
250 ml double cream
1 small banana
40 g (about 1 heaped tbsp) crunchy almond butter
1/4 tsp vanilla powder
1/4 tsp salt
100 g dark chocolate (I used 85%, but by all means go higher!),
100 g unsalted butter, cubed

Chop up the banana and mash well with a fork. Place the cream, banana, almond butter, vanilla and salt in a pan and heat gently, stirring frequently, until you start to see tiny bubbles forming.

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Take the pan off the heat and add the chocolate and the butter. Stir well until the chocolate and butter have melted and everything is mixed together. You shouldn’t need to heat the mixture again to melt everything, just be patient and keep stirring! Have a taste of the mixture and add more salt if the chocolate flavour doesn’t “pop” enough. At this point you can blend the mixture so that it is completely smooth, but I like the added texture of the occasional bit of crunchy almond. Divide the mixture into espresso cups or small ramekins (but bear in mind the finished product will be very rich, so only a small amount is needed per serving).

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Place the cups in the fridge until the chocolate has set. This should only take a couple of hours, but you can prepare them in advance and leave them in the fridge for a couple of days (if they last that long). They take on a lovely fudge-like texture after 24+ hours in the fridge, yum. Enjoy!

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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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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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No-sugar-no-grain banana & pecan cream tartlets

Well I can’t believe it has taken me this long to realise how sweet bananas actually are (thanks for awakening the taste buds, LCHF). Certainly, no sugar is required for this satisfying pud!

Makes two 12cm tartlets

Ingredients:
1 quantity coconut flour pastry
2 small bananas (about 150 g), sliced
30 g pecans
50 g butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
100 g double cream whipped with 1/4 tsp vanilla powder

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

Roll out the pastry in between two sheets of cling film and line the tart cases. I had a little left over so I made some little biscuits as well. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the cases are lightly golden.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Melt the butter in a frying pan, and add the sliced bananas, pecans, cinnamon and nutmeg. Fry for a few minutes, until the bananas are golden and the pecans are toasted. Set to one side and allow to cool to room temperature.

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Divide the banana mixture between the two tartlets, top with the whipped cream, and decorate with a couple of pecan halves.

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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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LCHF Spiced banana muffins

I created these muffins as a treat for the husband, who ran his PB in a 50 mile race at the weekend: 7hrs30, 15th place! He’s attributing it to our LCHF diet, so I’ve made these grain-free and sugar-free, and with 1/4 of a banana per muffin they’re pretty low carb too!

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:
3 ripe bananas
120 g butter, melted
1 tsp baharat*
150 g ground almonds
30 g coconut flour
2 eggs
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum

*baharat = paprika, black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, cloves. You could substitute mixed spice with a pinch of paprika and some black pepper.

Pre-heat the oven to 170°C.

Melt the butter in a bowl, add the bananas and mash together.

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Add the eggs and baharat and whisk together. In a separate bowl, mix together the ground almonds, coconut flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and xanthan gum. Mix together the wet and dry ingredients.

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Fill the muffin pan using an ice-cream scoop or other implement, and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the muffins are golden and springy to the touch.

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Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before placing them on a wire rack. Whilst the muffins are still warm, brush the tops with melted butter, for an added treat.