Tag Archives: sugarfree

Cauliflower Two Ways, kind of!

1 Jul

I love cauliflower, always have!

I’ve great food memories of eating it smothered in cheese sauce with mashed potatoes, roast lamb and gravy .. so tasty, a real Sunday dinner!

Recently I’ve been experimenting with roasting cauli in a little coconut oil with cumin seeds and some chilli, it works really well as long as you don’t over do it in which case it becomes really dry.

This recipe from My New Roots solves the over cooking problem as the tandoori yoghurt paste encases the whole cauliflower and it stays really moist and delicious inside. It also looks really cool!

If you don’t have all the spices (nor the inclination) to make the tandoori mix up yourself a pre-made spice mix or paste will work just as well. Pataks are readily available in both Ireland and Australia and are decent quality (Jamie Oliver recommends them doncha know?). Green Saffron is an Irish spice company whose mixes I used all the time when at home, available in Avoca, online and I believe now in some of the large supermarket chains.  I’m not an expert of any sort on Indian spices but I’d imagine this would work with any type of curry paste, I’d give it a go if I was in a hurry anyway.

tandoori cauli

I made this last friday and there was at least two thirds left over so I chopped it up the next day, made a quick cheesy sauce (sour cream, grated cheese, dijon mustard and drop of milk) poured it over and into the oven for about 10 minutes .. it was wonderful! The cheese worked really well with the spices and the result was comfort food at its best.

I often feel cauli is one of those vegetables that people either love or hate, perhaps childhood/school memories of it being over cooked into tasteless mush contribute to this? But its a veg I would reccommend you give another go, it works really well with indian and middle eastern flavours. Its packed full of vitamins, anti oxidants and other healthy stuff .. its cheap, it can be easily grown and its pretty like a flower … have I convinced you yet?

Do you have any other ideas for cauliflower? What’s your favourite way to eat it?

SJ x

 

*Photo from My New Roots site

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Mint and Lime Quinoa Salad

26 Apr

I’ve been making this salad lately its quick, tasty, contains a superfood and is a fab accompaniment to BBQ meats especially lamb.

If you follow me on twitter you’ll be aware that I made a holy show of myself recently attempting to cook quinoa. I added 1 cup grain, 2 cups water and brought to the boil for 7 min but the grain wasn’t performing as usual, that is to puff up and become somewhat translucent .. so I continued to boil it … and boil it and boil it! I was SWEATING as my guests were arriving in no time. It was only after a number of very panicked tweets asking had anyone else EVER had UNCOOKABLE quinoa did the dreadful truth dawn on me…. Wait for it …. I had picked up the wrong bag and was boiling .. SESAME SEEDS. I did not know whether to laugh or cry … I seriously considered deleting my twitter account such was public shame! But there were more pressing matters … my guests were still going to arrive so I had to burst off to the supermarket to acquire some actual quinoa (of course there was only frightfully expensive organic sort in kilo bags for sale…of course!!!!) ..everything worked out fine, the salad was gorgeous and I had a great story to tell over dinner. I did however look like I’d been dragged through a ditch backwards as I’d spent my allotted “getting ready time” rally driving back from the supermarket!

The lessons learned are as follows: 1. No matter how much you cooked sesame seeds they will not become quinoa 2. If buying your grains/seeds in bulk and inclined to be an eejet, label the bags!

Mint and Lime Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice from 2 limes
A handful of fresh mint leaves chopped
A handful of fresh corinader or italian parsley chopped
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
A handful of cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons diced red onion- or use 2 chopped spring onions
1 garlic clove, minced
Instructions:
Boil the quinoa in 2 cups fresh water with a pinch of salt for seven minutes
Drain, retaining as much water as possible, topping up with boiling water from the kettle. (There needs to be sufficient water to steam and not dry out, but not so much that the sieve is sitting in the water)
Steam the quinoa for a further 7 min in the sieve over the boiling water, cover with a double layer of kitchen paper and place saucepan lid on top. This will result in lovely fluffy and light quinoa.
Scoop the cooked quinoa into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Toss lightly with a fork until combined.
Taste test and adjust seasonings.
Cover and chill.
This salad can be eaten warm (as it was in the story above) but is also really good cold and lasts a few days in the fridge
Adapted from this recipe 
Enjoy
SJ x

Salted Caramel Halloumi & Apple

24 Apr

Halloumi is a food that I have known about for years, eaten once or twice in restaurants but never prepared at home until I moved here.

Never heard of it or don’t know what it is … here’s the spiel:

Halloumi or Hallumi is a Cypriot semi-hard, unripened brined cheese made from a mixture of goats’ and sheep milk, and sometimes also cows’ milk. It has a high melting point and so can easily be fried or grilled. Halloumi is set with rennet and is unusual in that no acid or acid-producing bacterium is used in its preparation.

 

If you’ve never tried it then do, its different to other cheeses in texture and makes a great meaty addition to salads. The only way I have ever eaten it is sliced and fried or grilled …and my friend tells me its great done on the BBQ so I must try that soon!  Trust me its delish!

This recipe is from Sarah Wilson and is a really handy and quick snack when you’re hungry but trying not to reach for sweet or unhealthy food.

SALTED CARAMEL HALOUMI & APPLE

1 apple sliced into 5mm wedges
6 slices haloumi cheese (cut 5mm thick)
sprinkle of cinnamon (optional but reccomended by me)
salt

Place the haloumi and apple slices in a hot non-stick pan.

Shake the pan a little so the haloumi juice spreads and coats the apple.

Cook both sides (until both apple and haloumi are a lovely caramel colour).

Toss cinnamon and salt over the lot and serve.

Beware you are going to want to lick the plate!

 

Its February .. the month of love and no sugar!

8 Feb

Hello,

Dry January got off to a spectacular start and continued as such for exactly 14 days and 16 hours … then a rat strolled across our yard as nonchalant as you like, I could be mistaken but I think he was smoking a cigarette – YES he  was THAT CALM!

What followed was the freak out of all freak outs on my part and after a brief draining of blood from his face a very calm taking control of the situation by Dave! Rats are one of my biggest fears in life, second only to death and in joint place with falling and breaking all my teeth, so as you can imagine I wasn’t too happy seeing one in the middle of what had been a lovely afternoon. Mr Rat, as the neighbours have taken to calling it (they had been watching him for a while it seems .. no, I don’t understand this either) had eaten all our chillies and was probably heading for the capsicums which were starting to rot in the sun. Dave disposed of all our veggie plants in one swift movement, laid poison, set traps and poured me a glass of wine. There really was nothing else for it, the only way to stop me crying was to have me drinking!

The rest of January although not strictly dry was very restrained until Australia Day which became a 4 day weekend of immeasurable fun lubricated with various alcoholic beverages … Oh the fireworks! The laughing! The fun!

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And shur then it was February ….

I started reading about going sugar free in earnest after Christmas, my main source was Sarah Wilson’s blog and e-books. Any fans of Masterchef Australia may remember Sarah presented the first series, she has an autoimmune disease as do I so this really interested me as she claims to have healed herself and lost weight by cutting fructose and wheat from her diet. It was something I had been thinking about for years so I decided it was finally time to give it a shot. So from Feb 1st I have not eaten any fructose including that in fruit and avoided wheat as much as possible, I am doing really well! My tastebuds have recovered to such an extent that a glass of full fat milk now tastes deliciously sweet!

This week I joined the local library, it was such a shock to see how high tech libraries have become its a long way from the stuffy little place we used frequent in Arklow in search of Roald Dahl & Enid Blyton books! For one thing the books check themselves out these days, you can keep them for 21 days, there’s dvds too and its not quiet AT ALL! My main reason for joining was that I wanted to read another book on giving up sugar called Sweet Poison by David Gillespie, Sarah Wilson refers to him as an inspiration. The book is incredible, I read it in 24 hours (it would have been less but I had to keep stopping to get into the pool and sleep) and would recommend it to anyone interested in health, the food industry, why we are getting fatter, heart disease, cancer, diabetes or just looking to expand their knowledge base (in other words info-hungry like myself!).

I’m not going to try and convert everyone but if you have ever wondered why humans are doing more exercise than ever but getting fatter, eating more low-fat/light products than ever but getting fatter and why this has all come about in our lifetimes this subject is worth looking into!  Oh and don’t worry I will be eating fruit again in a few weeks, I am detoxing totally first then I’ll start eating it again.

Are you wondering what I am eating? If so let me know and I’ll do a post on a few meals ….

Today I made these rice paper rolls, very simple and filled with all sorts from the fridge such as peanut butter, courgette/zucchini, cucumber, carrot, capsicum/pepper, fresh coriander, last night’s roast chicken, avocado (of course!) …I’ve munched on 3 as I’ve been writing this! Other filling ideas are cold rice, noodles, meats, prawns really anything works as long as its not liquidy.  Great with a simple little dipping sauce of lime juice, tamari (soya sauce) and chilli …

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Of course February is the month of love with Valentine’s Day falling slap bang in the middle of month! I just love love and not just the romantic hallmark flowers and chocolates sort but the real life best friends, sisters, parents, family, being there for each other, knowing you are not alone in this big bad world sort of love! In the past few weeks I have come across some really beautiful stories that I want to share … if you’re a Hurley get the Kleenex out ..

Bill and Shelley: Their love story 

The Race Grows Sweeter Near its Final Lap 

Ada Bryant and Robert Haire 

And lest we forget those that were not so lucky to know love in life …. Margaret Magdelene No. 322 

And as for me well I am super lucky and know first hand all sorts of real love but none so greater than what I feel for my early Valentines gift …. isn’t she a beauty????

20130208-131155.jpgYip, I’m as shallow as they come ,

Be good,

SJ xx

Helloooo 2013!

10 Jan

Pinterest NY Fireplace

Happy New Year everyone,

The first ten days of the new year have been lovely so long may that continue. Here in Perth there was a heatwave over Christmas and New Year and I found myself longing for bitterly cold weather, the grass is always greener on the other side!

Christmas was really lovely, both our big dinners were lots of fun. Bread sauce was a revelation and I will be attempting to recreate it at some point in the future, a pot luck dinner party is a really great idea as everyone shares the stress and there are lots of different and new foods to try. On Christmas Day we had a delish dinner with my relatives in the evening both the turkey and ham were cooked on the BBQ then served with roast potatoes and an array of hot and cold salads. The pudding was lit and served later on in the evening and it was a lovely relaxed day over all with a nice swim in the ocean before dinner. A success over all! I received some beautiful gifts which I will do a post on soon, two new cookbooks if you don’t mind along with lots of other great stuff!

New Year’s Eve was spent drinking french champagne with our lovely neighbours by the pool, it was so hot that we had to keep jumping into the water to prevent spontaneous combustion or melting! There weren’t any fireworks as I had thought, it seems Perth does a huge display on Australia Day which is January 26th so NYE is a more low key affair in the skies!

I would imagine I am similar to lots of people with new year’s resolutions to eat healthier, lose weight, do more exercise and drink less! My plan is to set myself a challenge each month as I feel a month is doable. So this year I am embarking on a Dry January inspired by the lovely EnglishMum. So far so good … although the hot evenings are not helping as I would love nothing more than a glass of white wine by the pool but I’m holding firm! I am going to break it for Australia Day though, my reasoning being if you are allowed to break lent for St Patrick’s Day then its only fair. When in Rome …

My plan for both February and March is to eliminate sugar from my diet. I’m spending this month reading up on it and slowly getting prepared food wise … so once I know exactly what I am at I will share the details. For anyone interested in trying this Sarah Wilson’s Blog is a good place to begin.

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So how was everyone’s Christmas and New Year?? Any exciting new year’s resolutions?

Any suggestions as to what I should do per month after March,with a health benefit? All suggestion gratefully received 🙂

Here’s to a healthy and happy 2013

SJxx