Chicken & ‘rice’

I have very fond memories of my Baba’s chicken and rice – salty, savoury, garlicky, with aromas of chicken stock and roast chicken. It’s great to know that this low carb version brings back all the flavours, with extra veggies and no impact on blood sugar levels. I threw in half a grated zucchini (courgette) when I made this one.

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INGREDIENTS
CAULIFLOWER RICE
1 cauliflower head
1 broccoli head
1 chicken stock cube dissolved in a cup of boiled water (or 1 cup of liquid stock)
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, marjoram or tarragon
1 clove of garlic
Pinch of sea salt
Crack of black pepper
CHICKEN
500 grams of chicken (drumsticks, thighs or breasts)
Pinch of sea salt
Grinding of black pepper
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of fresh herbs, such as parsley, marjoram, tarragon
1 teaspoon of cumin
2 tablespoons of butter

GRATE, ADD, MIX, SPREAD, SEASON, PLACE, BAKE…
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius.

Grate or blend the cauliflower and broccoli into ‘rice’, discarding the stalk. Add the cup of chicken stock, a  pinch of salt and crack of black pepper, chopped herbs, and minced garlic. Mix to combine and spread out in a roasting tray.

Wash the chicken and season with the salt, pepper, minced garlic and cumin, coating the chicken well. Place the chicken pieces on top of the cauliflower and broccoli rice and top with knobs of butter. Bake for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and golden brown. Serve with a wedge of lemon.

Ginger miso soup

If you’re craving a ramen-style soup, this hits the spot. The inspiration for this is from Fork Knife Swoon with my own variations. I have used zucchini noodles for a low carb option, but you can substitute for soba noodles for a low GI carb. In the picture I have used just zucchini noodles, greens, fresh chilli and coriander with the miso ginger broth – but you can also add tofu, a boiled egg and sesame seeds on top as per the recipe. 

SERVES 2
NUTRITIONAL INFO PER SERVE
carbs 10.5g / fat 13g / protein 9g

INGREDIENTS
1/2 a red onion
2 cloves of garlic
A thumb-sized piece of ginger
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 vegetable stock cube dissolved in a cup of boiled water (or a cup of liquid stock)
2 tablespoons of miso paste (red or yellow)
1 zucchini (courgette)
A handful of Chinese greens, such as bok choi, gai lan or choy sum (or spinach)
1 soft boiled egg
Fresh or dried chilli, to taste
Fresh coriander, to serve
Sesame seeds, to serve

SLICE, MINCE, GRATE, HEAT, SAUTE, ADD, DISSOLVE, JULIENNE, ADD, SIMMER, STIR, ASSEMBLE…
Peel and thinly slice the red onion, peel and finely mince the garlic, and peel and finely grate the ginger. Heat the sesame oil in a saucepan and saute the onion for a couple of minutes until softened. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a couple more minutes, then add the soy sauce, cooking for a further minute or so.

Dissolve the stock cube in a cup of boiled water if you aren’t using liquid stock. Add the cup of stock to the saucepan with another 2 cups of boiled water. Cover and let it simmer for 10 minutes to let the flavours develop.

Using a julienne peeler or spiraliser, make the zucchini noodles. Add to the broth with the greens and simmer for 5 minutes. If you are using soba noodles, now is the time to add them.

Dissolve the miso paste in a cup of boiled water. Stir into the soup and turn the heat off so the miso doesn’t come to a boil.

Assemble the soup in bowls, adding tofu, the boiled egg cut in half, a sprinkling of sesame seeds, fresh coriander, and chilli on top, if you like. Add a little extra soy sauce if you want it saltier. Enjoy!

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Spicy pumpkin soup

Creamy, warming and spicy, this pumpkin and sweet potato soup is hearty, low GI and gluten free. It’s not low carb, but sweet potatoes are low GI, making them a perfect carb for diabetics that doesn’t spike your sugar levels. Combining sweet potato and pumpkin actually lowers the glycemic load of the pumpkin, making this meal low GI. Sweet potato is an excellent source of vitamin A in the form of beta carotene, as well as other essential vitamins such as vitamin C and vitamin B6. Both pumpkin and sweet potato are high in fibre, keeping you fuller for longer with the benefits of aiding your digestive health. All the health benefits aside, it really is just a delicious, hearty soup. The coconut milk and coriander cools off the spice, and the earthiness and sweetness of the pumpkin and sweet potato keeps you coming back for more. I like to use an Indian type of curry powder, but red curry paste is also delicious and adds a Thai flavour. You could also just make your own by combining spices (cumin, paprika, turmeric, ginger, coriander and chilli makes a good mix).

coconut curry sweet potato and pumpkin soup

SERVES 6
NUTRITIONAL INFO PER SERVE
carbs 23g / fat 9.5g / protein 6g

INGREDIENTS
1 kilogram butternut pumpkin
1 sweet potato
1 onion (red or brown)
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of curry powder or curry paste (or a spice mix of your own)
200mL of coconut milk, plus extra for serving
1 vegetable or chicken stock cube (or liquid stock)
1 tablespoon of coconut oil (or olive oil or butter)
1 fresh red chilli (optional)
A handful of fresh coriander (optonal)

PEEL, CHOP, CRUSH, HEAT, ADD, SAUTE, COOK, DISSOLVE, FILL, STIR, SIMMER, BLEND…
Peel and roughly chop the onions, pumpkin and sweet potato. Peel and crush the garlic.

Heat a large saucepan with the oil (or butter). Add the onion and saute for a couple of minutes until soft. Add the garlic and curry powder or paste with a pinch of salt and cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Add the diced sweet potato and pumpkin. Dissolve the stock cube in a mug of boiled water, if using, and add to the saucepan with the coconut milk. Fill the pot to the top of the vegetables with water. Stir, turn the heat down and put a lid on the saucepan. Let it simmer for 30 minutes or until the veggies are soft. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and a little pepper or chilli if needed.

Allow to cool slightly, then blend the soup with a hand-held blender.

Serve with a little drizzle of extra coconut milk, sliced fresh chilli, and roughly chopped fresh coriander on top. Enjoy!

Chicken veggie soup

A perfect soup for when you’re feeling a little under the weather. It’s high protein, low carb and full of healthy veg. Feel free to use whichever vegetables you prefer or have in the fridge.

SERVES 4
NUTRITIONAL INFO PER SERVE
carbs 3g / fat 8.5g / protein 21.5g

INGREDIENTS
400 grams of boneless chicken (thighs or other pieces)
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 medium carrots
1 large celery sticks with the leaves
1/2 a broccoli
1/2 a cauliflower
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
Generous pinch of sea salt
Grinding of black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 chicken or vegetable stock cube (or 1 litre liquid stock)
1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter

PEEL, DICE, CHOP, SAUTE, ADD, SIMMER, SEASON…
Peel and dice the onion and peel and finely dice the garlic. Dice the carrots and celery. Chop up the broccoli and cauliflower finely. Chop the parsley.

Heat a large saucepan with the oil or butter and add the onions, carrot and celery. Saute for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic, paprika, cumin, thyme, salt and pepper for another minute. Add in the chicken and brown. Add in the cauliflower, broccoli, parsley, bay leaves, stock and water to fill the pot (about a kettle full). Simmer on low heat for an hour. Taste for salt and pepper, then serve.

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Ginger soy salmon

Very easy to prepare and full of Asian flavours. Serve alongside some steamed greens. 

SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS
2 fillets of salmon
1 tablespoon soy sauce
A thumbsize piece of ginger
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 fresh chilli or 1/2 teaspoon chilli paste, to taste
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Small handful of fresh coriander leaves
Wedges of lime, to serve
2 cups of Asian greens, to serve

PEEL, GRATE, DICE, TOP, BAKE, STEAM, SERVE…
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius.

Peel and finely grate the ginger, peel and mince the garlic, and finely chop the chilli. Mix the chilli, ginger, garlic, sesame oil and soy sauce together. Put the salmon skin-down in a small baking dish or tray. Spoon over the ginger, garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil mix. Bake for 15-20 minutes until cooked to your liking. Try not to overcook it as it’s nice when it’s still a little pink on the inside.

In the meantime, steam the greens in a colander over boiling water for just a few minutes.

Serve the salmon straight out of the oven alongside the greens with a wedge of lime. Chop the coriander and sprinkle on top. Serve with a little extra soy sauce if a little salt is needed.

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Herb butter salmon

Such an easy recipe that takes a minute to prepare before throwing in the oven.

SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS
2 fillets of salmon
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons fresh herbs, such as parsley, dill, mint, coriander
2 cloves of garlic
Good pinch of sea salt
Crack of fresh black pepper

CHOP, PEEL, MINCE, MELT, POUR, BAKE…
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius.

Chop the herbs finely, and peel and mince the garlic. Melt the butter and mix the herbs and garlic in. Place the salmon skin side down and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. With a spoon, pour the garlic herb butter over the top.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked to your liking.

Serve with some vegetables or salad on the side.

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Fasolaki

This is a classic staple that mum would make nearly every week, from fava beans that dad would grow seasonally and dry out to last the year. It is now a dish that I get homesick about. You can buy the dried beans from European food stores or most supermarkets, and either soak them overnight or boil them in plenty of water for an hour before you start cooking the soup. Any white bean is fine to use. A quick alternative is using a can of fava, lima, butter or cannellini beans. I have added carrot, celery and tomatoes as an option in this recipe as it is not traditionally used, but I like the extra flavour it adds. 

SERVES 4
NUTRITIONAL INFO PER SERVE
carbs 13g / fat 4g / protein 6g

INGREDIENTS
1 cup of dried or tinned white fava, lima, butter or cannellini beans
1 brown onion
1 teaspoon of fresh or dried mint
1 teaspoon of fresh or dried parsley
1 clove of garlic
2 teaspoons of paprika
A generous pinch of salt
Pepper or chilli to taste
1 small carrot
1 small celery stick
1 tomato
Splash of olive oil

PEEL, DICE, CHOP, COOK, ADD, SIMMER, SEASON…
If you’re doing it the longer, more traditional way, soak the beans overnight in cold water, or boil them in a large pot of water for an hour until they soften. If you’re doing it the fast and easy way, drain the tin of beans.

Peel and dice the onion into chunks, peel and dice the garlic, and roughly chop the mint and parsley if you’re using it fresh. Dice the carrot, celery and tomatoes if you’re using them. 

Heat up a splash of olive oil in a pot, add the onion (and the carrot and celery if you’re using them) and saute for a couple of minutes until it softens. Add the garlic, mint, paprika, salt, and a dash of chilli or pepper and cook for a further two minutes (and the tomatoes if you’re using them). Add a cup of water if the paprika starts to stick to the bottom of the pot. Throw in the beans and top up with 2 litres of water. Let it simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning and serve.

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fasol4

Tomato courgetti

So simple, and so good. You will start preferring courgetti to spaghetti in no time. 

INGREDIENTS
2 cloves of garlic
2 tins of tomatoes
Splash of olive oil
Generous pinch of salt
Crack of black pepper
Sprinkling of chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 courgette/zucchini per person

PEEL, CRUSH, HEAT, ADD, SIMMER, SPIRALISE, COOK, STIR, SERVE…
To make the sauce, peel and crush the garlic. Add a splash of olive oil and the garlic in a saucepan over medium heat, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the tinned tomatoes, salt, pepper, chilli and oregano. Let it simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for salt, pepper and chilli according to your taste.

Spitalise or julienne peel the zucchini/courgettes. Heat a pan with a little olive oil and place all the spiralised zucchini/courgette in there. Cook and stIr for about 7 minutes, or until they have softened and reached the desired consistency. Remove any excess liquid.

Stir through the tomato sauce. Serve with parmesan and fresh basil.

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Chicken parmigiana

You can easily make the sauce in advance (store it in the fridge or freezer) to whip this satisfying dish up. Serve with some crisp salad on the side. 

SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS
Mozzarella cheese, for the top
Parmesan cheese, to grate on top
Fresh basil, to sprinkle on top

CRUMBED CHICKEN
3/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup grated parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dried or fresh herbs (optional)
1 egg with a dash of milk, whisked
500 grams chicken breast (2 chicken breasts sliced lengthways)

TOMATO SAUCE
2 cloves of garlic
2 tins of tomatoes
Splash of olive oil
Generous pinch of salt
Crack of black pepper
Sprinkling of chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

To make the sauce:
PEEL, CRUSH, HEAT, ADD, SIMMER…
Peel and crush the garlic. Add a splash of olive oil and the garlic in a saucepan over medium heat, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the tinned tomatoes, salt, pepper, chilli and oregano. Let it simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for salt, pepper and chilli according to your taste.

To crumb and cook the chicken:
SLICE, SEASON, WHISK, MIX, DIP, COAT, PRESS, FRY, SERVE…
If using chicken breast, slice them in half lengthways so they are thinner (this will help with cooking and will make your chicken go further). With the thighs, you can leave them as they are, or cut them in half to stretch them further. Wash and pat dry the chicken with kitchen towel. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken on both sides.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg and a splash of milk together and add some salt and pepper. In a plate, mix the almond meal and parmesan cheese together with the herbs if using. Dip each piece of chicken in the egg to coat, then press into the almond meal mix, coating well. Do this for each piece until they’re all coated.

Heat a pan with a generous glug of olive oil. Fry the chicken for about 10 minutes, turning a couple of times, until golden brown and cooked through. It’s a good idea to slice a piece in half to make sure it is cooked through and not pink.

To assemble:
PREHEAT, SLICE, SPOON, ARRANGE, TOP, BAKE…
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius. Slice the mozzarella. In a roasting tray, spoon a thin layer of the tomato sauce on the bottom. Arrange the chicken so they aren’t overlapping. Top with generous amounts of the sauce, then a slice of mozzarella on each piece. Finish with some basil leaves. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

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