Roasted Cauliflower

You can pretty much roast most vegetables but roast cauliflower is delicious and a great alternative to your normal steamed veg.

Preheat oven to 180.

Take your cauliflower and remove all leaves and the bottom part of the core of the cauliflower.

Now quarter the cauliflower. Take each quarter and cut into a further 2/4 pieces depending on how large you want your pieces.

Place florets onto a greased baking sheet and season with salt and pepper and a little olive oil. At this stage you can pretty much add any other seasoning that you fancy. I used a little garlic salt, turmeric and paprika – but you could use any flavour combinations that compliment your meal (bay, lemon, garlic, herbs, chilli). Now roast for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes turn the florets and place back in the oven for a further 15/20 minutes (if you want to add cheese, add it at this point).

After 20 minutes your cauliflower should be cooked – test by piercing with a fork (cauliflower should feel soft).

Served below with roast chicken.

Core – what core ?

Well that was an experience. My first core stability session of 2019, pretty much discovered that I have no core !

For those of you that don’t know me, I run: slowly, but I run. If there is “bling” aka medal involved, then I pretty much throw myself in feet first. Generally I find a race/event and then drag/bully my running buddies into entering. We then all spend the next however many weeks fretting about the upcoming event until race day. We then complete the event, feel pretty heroic and invincible, aka smug and apply for another event and so the cycle goes on.

This new year I desperately wanted to do something other than running, something along the lines of yoga ….. every class I’ve looked at is in the evening and this just doesn’t work for me; has to be a morning event or I talk myself out of it. Long story short; my fabulous husband talked (bullied) me into going to a core stability session with him. It will be “fun” I think he said. We tipped up in our Lycra and tough mudder t-shirts ready to attack this core stability session.

If I’m honest, I felt a little relieved when I arrived as we were the youngest people there by far, lots of “older” women all with their own mats, and I had a silent chuckle to myself thinking well if they can do it, how hard can it be? I didn’t laugh again. These women were all pretty amazing and incredibly flexible, clearly age is just a number – go ladies.

After 40 minutes of quite (or so I thought) strenuous core exercises I was definitely feeling it. The main things I took away from this session was I definitely cannot swing one arm forward and one backward at the same time!! If I have a core, then it was most definitely hiding and not coming out to play.

However, even though there was no bling on offer, I’m definitely signing up for the next session and this time I’m dragging my core out from it’s hiding place.

Massive Meatballs filled with Cheese

12 Huge meatballs served with a cauliflower mash and rich gravy.

You will need

750g pork and beef mince

1 large onion – diced

2 sprigs of rosemary – finely chopped

Splash of Worcestershire sauce

Splash of water

Hard Cheese of your choice cut into 12 small ish cubes (I used vintage Red Leicester)

*1 slice of low carb bread – made into breadcrumbs (I blitz in a blender).

Salt & Pepper

Gravy:

Small diced red onion

Knob of butter

Sprig of rosemary – finely chopped

500 ml Beef stock

200 ml Red wine

2 tsp English mustard

Malt vinegar – splash

Tablespoon of arrowroot mixed with tablespoon of cold water to make a paste

Seasoning

Firstly add some olive oil to a pan and add the diced onion, chopped rosemary, splash of Worcestershire sauce and water. Leave to soften for about 20 minutes (medium heat).

Once the onions have softened, remove from heat to a large bowl. Now add the mincemeat, breadcrumbs and some seasoning; then using your hands mix up the meatball mixture.

Once combined make into 12 balls. Then dice your cheese into cubes.

Now make a small hole in each meatball and add the cheese, making sure that each meatball is completely sealed with the meat mixture.

Place on a tray and cover with cling film and place in the fridge until needed later.

Now to the gravy….. melt butter in a pan with small diced onion and chopped rosemary, cook until soft. Now add the stock, wine, mustard, vinegar and seasoning. Simmer for approx 30 minutes. Now add arrowroot mix and stir (or cornflour if you’re not doing low carb – same quantities).

Now take your meatballs out of the fridge and drizzle with some olive oil. Place them in a really hot oven (around 220/240) for approx 15 minutes or until a lovely golden brown. Remove from the oven and pour the gravy over the meatballs and place back in the oven for 5/10 minutes, then serve.

Serve with cauliflower mash and some seasonal greens.

*I have also blitzed up some pork scratchings if I don’t have low carb bread (one small packet).

Chicken liver pate

Love this. Chicken liver pate with cream and butter, delicious

Makes 4 little pots

400g Chicken livers

One onion, diced

Clove of garlic, chopped

200g unsalted butter

Sprig of thyme

Pinch nutmeg

2 bay leaves

50ml brandy

3/4 tablespoons of double cream

(Butter tops – 100g and some cranberry sauce)

Melt approx 50g of butter in a pan and soften the onion, add bay leaves, garlic, nutmeg and thyme and cook for a few minutes.

Add the liver and cook until cooked through, then add the brandy and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated – should be 1-2 minutes.

Take off the heat. Now remove thyme and bay leaves and put everything else in a blender, blitz until smooth.

Place the remaining butter in a pan and melt, then add this to the blender and blitz. Now add some salt and pepper and the cream and blitz again. Once everything is smooth and combined pour/spoon into ramekins.

Now to make the butter topping – melt butter in a pan and then leave to settle. Once the butter has settled remove the clear liquid and put on the top of the pate. Then spoon a little cranberry sauce in the middle and top with a little more of the melted butter – until everything is covered.

This will keep in a fridge for 3/4 days.

Sausage meat stuffing

Low carb sausage meat stuffing, perfect for chicken or turkey.

You will need

A packet of sausage meat – check carb content as they vary massively. Look for a high meat content as these are generally lower in carbs, or use a pkt sausages, skins removed).

Small onion, diced very small

Small stick of celery, diced very small

Knob of butter (soft)

Salt & pepper

Parsley – chopped including stalks (handful)

One beaten egg

2 small slices of keto (low carb) bread – old if possible; this needs to be made into crumbs either by hand or in a blender.

Place everything in one bowl and combine (I use my hands) until all the ingredients are completely combined evenly.

Now use to either stuff your bird of choice or roll into balls and make stuffing balls.

Place in a hot oven for approx 30 minutes – balls or cook your bird (stuffed with stuffing) as usual.

Broccoli and Stilton Soup

Low carb version and really quick and easy to make

You need

Head of broccoli

Knob of butter

Celery x2 chopped

Onions x2 chopped

Stilton – approx 140g

1 litre of chicken or veg stock

Dash of double cream

Diced onions and celery. Now remove the stalk from the broccoli, set aside florets and chop up the stalk.

Put a knob of butter in a pan and add celery, onion. Sweat for 5 minutes then add the chopped broccoli stalk, cover with lid and leave to cook for a couple of minutes. Now add your stock, florets, and a little salt and pepper, cover and leave for 15/20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, remove from the heat and place in a blender or blitz with a handheld blender until smooth.

Now stir in cream, top with crumbled Stilton and serve.

Spaghetti

I love pasta and this has been the hardest thing to try and substitute with a low carb alternative. Tried zucchini noodles and whilst I actually like them, they don’t really taste like pasta. There are several alternative products on the market but they are really quite expensive and I have been reluctant to try them; if you want a bowl of pasta just have a bowl of pasta mentality kicks in ! That said, I thought I’d give them a go, you never know I might even like them.

We opted for the Pure range as Amazon stocked them and it was really easy to get them delivered – love an Amazon delivery.

Only tried the pure spaghetti – still to sample the rice and Noodles. Sugar free, gluten free, low cal, fat free, grain free and 0 carbs they are a very attractive alternative on paper. It’s made from the root of the Konjac plant which is rich in water soluble fibre and also suitable for Vegans.

Very straightforward to use. One packet served one portion in our house, so works out fairly costly.

Opened the packet and washed the spaghetti in cold water – they didn’t smell at all (some brands smell fishy/chemically).

Once washed I drained them and then tipped into the hot pasta sauce and stirred around, leaving for a few minutes to heat/cook through and then serve.

I was actually pleasantly surprised. My only criticism is that the “spaghetti” is more like rice noodles than pasta and I would certainly use these for some Asian dishes requiring rice noodles.

They are very thin and I would prefer them to be slightly thicker; the “noodles” look more like pasta so may be better for me, just not tried them yet. I definitely prefer the texture and taste to zucchini noodles as a low carb substitute to pasta.

Although, if I fancy a bowl of pasta I still may just opt for the bowl of pasta !!