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Broccoli and Red Pepper Stir Fry with Ginger and Sesame

8 Jan

To accompany the dish I posted yesterday, I made a broccoli stir fry.

Broccoli and Red Pepper Stir Fry with Ginger and Sesame

Broccoli and Red Pepper Stir Fry with Ginger and Sesame

I loved the flavor the ginger and sesame lent to the vegetables. The original recipe can be found here. The only thing I did different was to add a few strips of red bell pepper to add some color.

Easy and lovely!

You could also expand this recipe by adding some sliced chicken, sliced beef or cubed tofu for a low carb main course.

German Braised Red Cabbage with Apple (Rotkohl, Rotkraut, Blaukraut)

28 Nov

Countdown to Christmas! Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent so I decided to make something special. We had this…

Beef Rouladen with Braised Red Cabbage and Spaetzle

Beef Rouladen with Braised Red Cabbage and Spaetzle noodles – everything made from scratch at home. I used my spaetzle recipe using 100 gr soy flour and 100 gr chickpea flour (instead of 200gr chickpea flour, reducing the chickpea-ey taste). I’ll give you the beef rouladen recipe in the next post and below, braised red cabbage is the topic of this post. Continue reading

Cauliflower Fries

3 Oct

Not sure what I was looking for but I landed on a blog by Mariana Cotlear called Epicuriosa which featured a recipe for Cauliflower Fries. Hmmm… something to replace french fries? Some dishes just have to be eaten with fries – for example, German bratwurst or a Wiener Schnitzel. These are traditionally served with some kind of potato accompaniment – mashed potatoes, fries, sauteed potatoes – or for those in a hurry, in a bun. All carbs! So far I’ve been having these dishes with either a big salad or cauliflower mash so a french fries substitute certainly got my interest.

I’ve tried Mariana’s recipe – twice already. The cauliflower fries are really delicious!

The recipe called for a head of cauliflower for two servings. My head of cauliflower usally makes about 4-6 servings of cauliflower rice, so two servings of cauliflower fries seemed like two large portions. Well, I was wrong. What happens is that the cauliflower looses its water content while baking in the oven and shrinks heavily. They may look burnt in the photo below but they are very tasty and lightly crispy and you won’t be able to stop eating them.

Tonight I was having dinner alone and there was a lot of cauliflower in the fridge so I opted for a quick, no-fuss dinner – cauliflower fries accompanied by a few slices of chicken breast. This was also my opportunity to take some photos. I cut up half a head of cauliflower which filled my whole baking tray. I forgot to take a photo before putting it into the oven. Here are the cauliflower fries after they came out of the oven. The tray was packed with cauliflower when I put it into the oven. Just look at how scant it looks now. Click on the photos to enlarge.

And when you put it on a regular sized plate, this is all it amounts to …

On hindsight, this is not a practical recipe for two or more people. I ate the whole tray of cauliflower by myself. That means that you would have to bake each person’s portion individually. Not sure how they will turn out if you use two baking trays and rotate them halfway during baking. The first time I made these, my husband and I were having dinner together and we felt we didn’t have enough fries.

If you are having your meal alone, are two small eaters or are looking for a yummy snack, I do recommend these low carb fries.

Update 9 Oct 2011 – I made the fries again today. This time, I needed my oven to bake the pork fillet as well so I put the tray with the cauliflower on the bottom third of the oven, beneath the tray with the pork. It took about 5 min. longer for the cauliflower to get brown on the bottom ie. 20 min instead of 15 min, before I flipped them over. Also, I noticed that half a head of cauliflower was sufficient as an accompaniment for both myself and my husband and was wondering why. Then I realised that the cauliflower did not shrink much at all. It didn’t have that light crisp when you bite in either but they were nevertheless good. So if you want your cauliflower to stretch for more people, cook them on a lower temperature (200 degrees Celsius) and they won’t shrink that much!

Cauliflower Fries (serves 1)

(recipe taken from Mariana Cotlear’s blog, Epicuriosa. Quantities have been halved and some instructions slightly changed.)

1/2 medium head of cauliflower
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 220 degrees celsius.

Clean the cauliflower of any leaves and trim the tough part of the bottom stem so that you get a flat surface.  Stand the cauliflower upright on a cutting board, and with a large, heavy knife, create 1/2 inch slices.  The outer bits will fall off in very small pieces (this is a very good thing, you will see later), the inner pieces will be like cauliflower latticework.

Line a large baking sheet with tinfoil.  Toss the cauliflower with the olive oil, salt and pepper, and spread in one layer on the baking sheet.  You don’t want it to get too crowded or it won’t brown properly.

Bake the cauliflower in the oven for 10 mins. When it starts looking golden on the underside, turn with a spatula and return to the oven for another 10 mins or so. They should be nicely browned on both sides.

Oh yes, another tip – don’t sprinkle the cauliflower with too much salt. After the cauliflower shrinks, it becomes saltier.

Nutritional Information

Half a head of a medium cauliflower contains 7.8 gr net carbs.

Print this recipe – Cauliflower Fries

Green Bean Ratatouille

4 May

With the success of the film Ratatouille by Pixar Animation Studios, more people now know what a Ratatouille is. If you’ve watched the film but didn’t pay attention to anything but the rat, the dish Ratatouille has nothing to do with rats! Funnily, the film did rekindle my interest in eating Ratatouille rather than dampen it.

After having tried out the Chunky Pork & Chicken Terrine two days ago, I continued to flip through my copy of Cuisine. Old it is but somehow, I never got around to trying many of the recipes. With still a lot of terrine in the fridge to be eaten up and wanting to have something different to accompany it, I decided to try out their ratatouille recipe. In this recipe, the red bell peppers are replaced by green beans and a nice touch is the addition of feta. This sounded good! I did make two changes when I cooked the ratatouille – added a bit of diced red peppers and replaced the feta with diced mozzarella – because these were left over from a previous recipe and had to be used up. The recipe below is however, the one from the magazine. Ratatouille is a forgiving recipe. You don’t have to adhere to the exact quantities of the ingredients called for and can even add some other ingredients (within limits) to create your own dish. I can even imagine adding some olives, fried tofu and/or a sprinkling of chili flakes to give it a kick. Enjoy your Ratatouille as a main course or as an accompaniment to your mediterranean-style meat dishes.

Green Bean Ratatouille (serves 6-8)

(recipe from Cuisine, Issue 79, March 2000, text amended)

1 medium aubergine, diced

4 zucchinis, sliced and halved if the rounds are big

1 handful (300gr) green French beans, cut into 3-4cm lengths

4 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, sliced thinly

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

2 X 400 gr cans tomatoes in juice, chopped

1/4 cup tomato paste

3/4 cup fennel leaf, chopped

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

pinch sugar (I used a sugar substitute here)

freshly ground black pepper and salt

150g feta cheese, crumbled

Place the aubergines and zucchini in a sieve, sprinkle with salt, toss and let stand about 20 min. Rinse and pat dry with a paper towel.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic together till soft. Add the aubergines and zucchinis, stir and cook together for about 5 min. Add the green beans, tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, fennel leaf, basil and seasonings. Gently simmer with lid on for 30 min. Remove the lid and simmer for a further 20 min. (I omitted this step as my veggies were already done.)

Nutritional Facts – will have to add this some other time as I forgot to weigh all my ingredients.

Print this recipe – Green Bean Ratatouille

Spaetzle

16 Mar

Spaetzle means little sparrow in German but no, these are not little sparrows to be eaten, thank goodness! Spaetzle is the name given to a kind of homemade noodle which the southern Germans serve as an accompaniment to their meat dishes and with gravy. The noodle can also be served as a main course. In this case, it is topped with melted cheese and roasted onions and is called Käsespätzle (cheese spaetzle) or when there is leftover spaetzle from a previous meal, the leftovers are stir-fried with some meat, veggies and egg or whatever is left in the pantry. This little noodle has crossed borders and is also served as an accompaniment in Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, in the Alsace region of France which borders Germany and in the northern part of Italy which borders Austria.

When I came to Germany, I fell in love with spaetzle, bought myself a spaetzle press and re-created these at home. There is absolutely no comparison between homemade spaetzle and the dried packaged version. Just doesn’t taste the same. If I had a choice between having spaetzle or potatoes with my meal, I would invariably choose Spaetzle.

Spaetzle can look quite different depending on the spaetzle press you use. It could come out in strips about 4 cm (about 1 1/2 inches) long …

…or in little knobs or buttons.

In the latter case, they are called Knoepfle which means little buttons. I have both types of presses but have had more success using the ‘button’ press.

Like all pasta and other types of noodles, the main ingredient is some kind of flour, whether it be wheat, spelt, buckwheat, rice or durum wheat, all of which spell out loud – CARBS! If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I discovered Shirataki noodles some time ago. I  ordered a huge box containing 30 packets and am by now a bit Shirataki-ed out. So when I found this recipe which said Low Carb Spaetzle here in German and found I possessed all the ingredients to make it, I immediately printed out the recipe and whipped  this up. There was no nutritional information given. Only after I made the spaetzle did I realize that it couldn’t be so low-carb when the recipe called for 200gr of chickpea flour. I put the ingredient list through the nutritional calculator on Spark Nutrition which I use frequently and to my dismay, saw that one portion contained 19.9gr carbs! So really, this recipe has no place here on my blog.  I then checked out the nutritional information for my normal spaetzle recipe and one portion has 49.2gr carbs.

But … I am still going to post this recipe because it turned out really well, tasted good and well, once in a while you’ve got to give yourself a treat,so why not a treat which already has less than half the carbs in a normal spaetzle portion? Besides, I tried a spaetzle recipe using soy flour and it was a flop – so it’s back to this spaetzle recipe for me.

This recipe is a translation taken from the forum linked above. The author says the recipe makes enough for 3-4 persons when served as an accompaniment but for my family, it looked like it could serve 5-6. I’ve calculated nutritional information based on 6 servings. I’ve also just noticed that the liquid used is milk but I didn’t see that and used water instead, so you can try both.

For this recipe you will need a spaetzle press. It is also possible to make spaetzle without a press but it seems a laborious job to me and is probably for those who know how. I used a spaeztle press which looks like this. I think I read somewhere on the German forum that it didn’t work so well with the other type of press.

Chickpea Flour Spaetzle (serves 6)

2 Eggs, beaten and topped up with milk to 250 ml

1 Tsp salt

50gr gluten

200gr chickpea flour (also called gram or besan flour)

2 Tbsp olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add some olive oil and salt to the water.

Now start preparing your batter. Mix everything in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon.

You should get a relatively thick, sticky, gluey dough which adheres to your wooden spoon.

When your water is boiling, put the spaetzle maker over the pot and working quickly, put in as much of the dough as you can into the container.

Start pushing the container back and forth over the sieve and the batter will drop into the water in little drops. They will rise to the surface when cooked. This happens really quickly. If your pot is not big enough or if you can’t work quickly enough, stop and scoop out the cooked spaetzle before proceeding with the rest of the batter. I find this batter much easier to work with than the normal spaetzle batter containing flour.

And voila, one part of dinner is ready.

Enjoy!

Nutritional Facts – per serving if recipe serves 6

Total cal – 229.8 kcal; Fat – 9.1 gr; Carbohydrates – 19.9 gr; Protein – 16.3 gr.

As a comparison, my normal spaetzle recipe which uses 400gr flour, 4 eggs, salt and water and also serves 6, has per serving:

Total cal – 279.3 kcal; Fat – 4.3 gr; Carbohydrates – 49.2 gr; Protein – 11 gr.

Update 25/09/2011 – I just made Spaetzle today and instead of using 200 gr chickpea flour, I used 150gr chickpea flour and 50gr soy flour. It worked and tasted so good with my Hungarian Gulasch. If the whole recipe serves 6, then it works out to 13.9gr net carbs and if it serves 4, then its 20.8 gr net carbs. Next time, I’ll try 100 gr chickpea flour and 100 gr soy flour. 

Note: the alteration above does not appear on the link below so make the adjustment if you wish to use soy flour.

Print this recipe – Chickpea Flour Spaetzle

Tomato Cauliflower Rice

16 Jul

Here is an attempt to make cauliflower rice more interesting!

Tomato Cauliflower Rice

serves 3

400 gr cauliflower, riced

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1/2 large bell pepper chopped, red or green

1 Tbsp olive oil

Pinch saffron

Parsley for garnishing

Heat the olive oil in a wok or large pan with a lid. Add the tomatoes, bell pepper and saffron and sautee a little, then cover and leave on medium low fire till the bell pepper is cooked and tomatoes mushy, about 5-10 minutes. Pile the riced cauliflower on top (don’t stir in). Put the lid on and leave for 5 minutes. When done, take off the lid and stir to mix. Finished!

Nutrition Facts: Total Calories – 97.7 kcal; Fat – 5.1 gr; Total Carbs – 12.4 gr; Net Carbs – 7.6 gr; Protein – 3.6 gr

Note: you could cut down on the calories and fat content by omitting the olive oil. Instead saute the tomatoes and bell pepper in 1 -2 Tbsp water! Calories are reduced to 58 kcal per serving and fat to 0.6 gr!

Print this recipe – Tomato Cauliflower Rice

Broiled Salmon with Spinach and Mushrooms in Curry Cream Sauce accompanied with Coconut ‘Rice’

19 May

Cauliflower rice is sooo good and I can’t get enough of it. I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that I am a ‘rice’ person. I love rice.

Today, I decided to experiment further with cauliflower rice and decided I would try making coconut cauliflower rice. I added 10 gr of dessicated coconut to the rice to flavour it. I’ve noticed that cauliflower rice does not absorb flavours too well so probably 20 gr would have been better. The recipe below is calculated on 20gr dessicated coconut. To accompany the rice (not the other way around 🙂 ), I chose to make broiled salmon and serve it with spinach and mushrooms in a curry cream sauce. The whole meal has 11.2 g carbohydrates!

Broiled Salmon with Spinach and Mushrooms in Curry Cream Sauce

serves 1 – increase by multiplying by number of persons

125gr salmon
120gr spinach (I used frozen)
2 mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp heavy cream or whipping cream
1/4 onion, sliced
1/2 Tbsp oil for veggies + 1 tsp oil for salmon
Salt
chilli flakes

Sprinkle salmon with salt and chilli flakes. Place on baking sheet or in a pan. Drizzle with 1 tsp oil or better, olive oil. Turn on your broiler and broil the salmon for about 10 min or till done, flipping once. You can test for doneness with a fork. If the fish flakes, it’s done.

For the vegetables, heat oil in a frying pan. Sauté the onions for a while, then add the mushrooms. If using frozen spinach, you can add it as this stage if you have small cubes. Sauté till thawed and cooked. (If you have a bigger block of spinach, you should add it to the onions before the mushrooms as it will take some time to thaw in the pan. Once thawed, add the mushrooms and sauté till the mushrooms are cooked.)

Season the spinach with salt to taste, add the cream and curry powder and mix well. If the cream is quite thick, thin with a little milk.

Coconut Cauliflower Rice

serves 1 – increase by multiplying by number of persons

between 120-140gr cauliflower, chopped in food processor into small bits like rice
20gr dessicated coconut or fresh grated coconut
salt
if desired, 10gr of sultanas (this was not added into nutrition calculation below)

Place the riced cauliflower, coconut and optional sultanas in a microwave dish. Sprinkle with salt. Mix well and microwave on high for about 3-4 minutes (depending on how powerful your microwave is). Optional – Garnish with fresh coriander when serving.

Enjoy!

Nutritional Facts – 527.2kcal; Fat – 32.4g ; Cholesterol – 109.3 mg; Total carbs – 19.3  (effective carbs – 11.2g); Protein – 41.7g

Print this recipe: Broiled Salmon with Spinach and Mushrooms in Curry Cream Sauce

The versatile cauliflower

7 May

Yesterday, I decided to give the cauliflower rice recipe a go. You can find this recipe in every low carb website and blog. I got mine here but do read on to see how I handled it.

Since I was big on carbs before going low carb, I thought it would be nice if some things could be replicated – well, as best as can be replicated. So I was thrilled to see that you could use cauliflower to make rice. Actually, I am not a cauliflower fan but a rice fan and if everyone is raving about this, then it is worth a try.

I bought my cauliflower – a regular sized one. I forgot to look at the label to see how much it weighed so that I could do my calculations.

Update: I have done my weighing and calculations. I would estimate anywhere between 100-150gr cauliflower per person, depending on how big a portion you can eat and how many carbs you are allowing yourself to have. 100gr raw cauliflower has 5.2 gr total carbohydrates and 2.7 gr effective carbohydrates.

So, I peeled off the leaves, cut off the stem and then the cauliflower into chunks, washed the pieces and was now ready to rice the cauliflower. How should I do this – using the food processor or a grater? I noticed while cutting the cauliflower into pieces that it messed up the work table a little, so I could imagine if I used a grater, I would have little bits of cauliflower flying all over the place. Conclusion, use the food processor straight away.

Well, the first thing the recipe does not tell you is that a regular head of cauliflower cannot be processed all in one go in a 1.5 litre capacity food processor. You would be better off doing it in two batches. Ok, so I poured everything out and did it in two batches. It was quite easy. Just use the pulse button. That was a good decision – to use the food processor.

The second thing the recipe does not tell you is that a regular head of cauliflower yields alot of rice – a mountain of rice. I had fish and stir-fried vegetables last night and only required ‘rice’ as an accompaniment. I estimated I would need about 4 tablespoons. I probably had enough riced cauliflower to feed 10 people. I intended to make mock fried rice the next day, so no problem.

Cooking 4 tablespoons of riced cauliflower sounds pathetic but when you think about the way it is done, this is so practical. You wouldn’t be able to cook 4 tablespoons of white (or any kind of ‘real’ rice) but you can cook as many tablespoons of riced cauliflower as you want in the microwave. So I put about 4 tablespoons in a microwaveable dish and zapped it on high. Instead of cooking it for 4 minutes as stated in the recipe, I needed only 2 1/2 minutes for the little quantity I was making.  The ‘rice’ was lovely and I hardly noticed that it was not real rice when eating!

Now, you must be thinking, why didn’t I just cook the rest of the riced cauliflower.  In real fried rice, you cook the rice the day before, leave it in the fridge and then make your fried rice the next day. The recipe I found for mock fried rice called for cooking the cauliflower together with the other ingredients not like real fried rice. Since I wanted to cook fried rice the next day, I decided I would keep the cauliflower in the fridge and cook it the next day.

Unfortunately, I discovered ricing your cauliflower one day ahead is not a good thing. My cauliflower turned brown – was however, still ok to use.

Today, I took my usual fried rice recipe and substituted the rice with riced cauliflower – actually I don’t have a recipe. I just add stuff from feel.  Here it is! Sorry about the quality of the photo.

Mock Fried Rice

Looks like the real thing. Tastes a little different but still surprisingly good. If you don’t know how to make fried rice at all, then google for a recipe and where it says rice, add the uncooked riced cauliflower. From that point, keep stir-frying till you think the cauliflower is cooked and then add the seasoning. Some people like it with a bite to it, others like it mushier – but don’t let it get too mushy. I would recommend scrambling the egg separately and mixing it into the cooked cauliflower rice. I found that the egg, when scrambled into the same pan as the cauliflower, tended to bind the cauliflower pieces together.

Well, I’ve ended up with a lot more fried rice than I wanted so it looks like fried rice paradise for the next few days. When I make this next time, I’ll add a recipe to this blog.

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