Sunday, June 05, 2016

Low carb courgette and mushroom quiche

This is a low carb quiche using a cauliflower crust instead of the normal pastry.

For cauliflower crust, I based it on this cauliflower pizza crust recipe.

Crust
  • 1 bag of riced cauliflower (Trader Joe's sells this).
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt, pinch of pepper
  • 1 egg
Pour the cauliflower into a bowl and cover with a plate. Microwave for 3 minutes stirring once. Leave 5 minutes till cool enough to touch.
Turn out onto a smooth tea towe, wrap up, and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. You should be left with a dry paste - scrape from tea towel into a bowl.
Add the cheese, egg, salt, and pepper and mix well.
Press the cauliflower mix making a smooth base in a quiche pan 8-9" diameter.
Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes, or until starting to turn brown, then remove and allow to cool.

Filling (modified from Delia Smith)
  •  2 eggs plus 1 yolk
  • 10 oz creme fraiche (Trader Joe's has this, or fancier supermarkets usually in the deli section with the cheese)
  • 1 large courgette (zucchini) - about 8oz)
  • 1 cup button mushrooms
  • 1 small sweet onion, or half a medium one 
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
  • 2oz grated gruyere cheese
  • Salt and pepper

While the crust is cooking, dice the onion into small pieces. Melt about 1oz butter in a large frying pan and cook the onion on low heat about 5 minutes until translucent. Slice the courgette and mushroom into thin slices and add to the pan once the onion is cooked. Cook another 10 minutes or so until the mushroom and courgette are starting to colour, and most of the juice from the courgette and mushroom has evaporated.
Transfer the vegetables onto the cauliflower crust leaving any extra liquid behind, and spread evenly.
Sprinkle the gruyere evenly over the vegetables.
In a small bowl, thoroughly mix 2 eggs and one additional egg yolk with the creme fraiche, salt, and pepper.
Pour the mixture over the vegetables and sprinkle the parmesan on top.
Bake for about 40 minutes, until the center is set and golden.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Whole Grain Bread

I've been experimenting with home made bread recipes lately and so far this is the winner. A few people asked for the recipe, so here it is.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour 
  • ¼ cup vital wheat gluten 
  • ½ cup flax seeds
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon baker’s yeast
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • butter

Instructions
  • Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  • Add 3 cups of warm to hot tap water (not boiling).
  • Mix with a spoon or with the hook attachment of a kitchenaid until fully blended – it will be goopy and sticky.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature to rise overnight (at least 6 hours, can be up to about 20). The dough will approximately double in size, so make sure there’s room in the bowl.

  • Cut the dough in half (or thirds if you want smaller loaves) and cover the unused portion with plastic wrap. It can be kept in the fridge for up to two weeks.
  • Place the dough you’re going to use onto a floured surface and knead lightly 3-4 times, folding in half a few times. This is a minimal knead recipe so not much kneading is required. The dough will be slightly sticky, avoid putting any more flour on it than necessary to stop it from sticking to the surface.
  • Shape the dough into a rough loaf shape and put it in a buttered 9x5” loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap again and allow to rise for about an hour. Once it has risen in size again and if you poke a finger gently into the dough and the indent remains, this is ready.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 F and make space on the middle rack. Place a bowl of water in the oven to add humidity if you prefer a less crunchy crust.
  • Brush the top of the loaf with melted butter, then bake for about an hour, until the loaf starts to brown. You can also lay a sheet of foil over the top of the loaf if you prefer a less crunchy crust.
  • Remove from oven and turn out of the pan onto a cooling rack. Cool for at least an hour before slicing, if you can resist it.
If you make 3 loaves and 9-10 slices out of each, you end up around 110-120 calories per slice, for those who care. Also, just cover the cut end and it can be left out on the counter for 3-4 days without going stale, which is a bonus. :)

My favorite way to enjoy: lightly toasted, with butter and marmalade. This loaf was made in a standard supermarket tin foil loaf pan, and this batch made three this size.

Originally adapted from this recipe: http://www.thekitchenwhisperer.net/2013/11/20/awesomest-knead-sandwich-bread/

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Apple Pan Bread

This isn't the prettiest cake but it's a moist, delicious apple cinnamon treat.


Apple mixture:
  • 10 oz. (about 4 large apples) pared, chopped apples (slightly sour apples are better)
  • 1 oz. (1/4 cup) dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
Mix in a saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring, until bubbling. Then cover and leave over low heat for just 2 minutes.  Leave to cool.  Apples should still be firm.


Cake batter:
  • 3 oz. (1/2 cup) butter or margarine
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 8 oz. plain white flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
Cream butter with sugar until light, add the egg and beat until light and creamy. Sift the flour with the salt and baking powder and add without mixing; add cooled apple mixture and milk, and then mix only enough to blend. Grease an 8" square pan.   Pour into prepared pan, smoothing the top.


Topping:
  • 2 oz. dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
Mix well together and sprinkle over the top of batter in the pan before putting in oven.


Bake at medium heat (350 F) for about 30 minutes, until a knife or toothpick stuck into the middle comes out clean. Serve hot or cold.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Moussaka

Ingredients

  • 1 medium to large onion, chopped
  • 1 large eggplant, sliced into strips (enough to make 3 layers in a baking dish) - alternative: zucchini.
  • 8oz grated cheese (your choice which - I use cheddar)
  • 1 small (6oz) tin tomato paste
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 3 tbsp chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cream (or milk)
  • olive oil

Instructions

Slice the eggplant (or zucchini) about 1/8"-1/4" thick and lay flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Bake in 400F oven for 30-45 minutes (depending how thin the slices are), until soft but not turning crisp. (Alternately, you can fry in oil which is faster but less healthy.) Remove and set aside when done. You can do this step a day in advance and keep the eggplant in the fridge.

While or after the eggplant is cooking, in a saucepan, heat a little olive oil on medium heat and add the onions until they're translucent. Then add the ground beef and mix regularly until the meat is also cooked.

Add the tomato paste and broth to the saucepan and mix together, then turn the heat low and cover, allow to simmer very gently for 10-15 minutes.  If the eggplant isn't quite ready, you can take off the head and set aside, covered, to wait. 

Turn the oven to 350F.  In an oven-safe baking pan, place a layer of the eggplant. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese. Then spread half the meat mixture flat on top. Add another layer of eggplant, and another 1/3 of the cheese, and the remainder of the meat mixture.  Press this down fairly firmly so it makes a flat top.  Finally, add a third layer of eggplant, sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

In a separate bowl, mix the egg and cream together with a fork; add a little salt and pepper if you like. Pour over the top of the baking pan, and bake in the oven at 350F for about 30 minutes, until the top is set. It can keep warm in the oven longer if needed, but since everything but the egg is cooked already, it just needs long enough to set the egg.

Serve warm.  Leftovers freeze & reheat well.

Low(er) carb cheesecake

McCall's Best Cheesecake (modified)

Crust

  • 3/4 walnuts, finely chopped
  • 2 tbs melted butter
  • Combine, mix well, and press onto the bottom of a spring form pan. Leave to set in fridge.
Main body
  • 24oz (680g) plain cream cheese at room temperature
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup (6oz) sugar

Preheat oven to 375F. Beat the cream cheese until light and smooth, then add eggs one at a time and mix until blended. Add vanilla, lemon juice, and sugar, mixing till light and smooth. Pour over crust in tin, and bake about 45 minutes until beginning to set.

Topping
  • 2 cups (500g tub) sour cream
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Mix together in the sour cream tub. When the cheesecake is ready, remove from oven and spread this topping over it. Return to oven for another 10 minutes, then remove and allow to cool in tin.

Refrigerate overnight before serving. Good with strawberries or strawberry sauce.

Without the strawberries, this should work out to about 380g of carbohydrates in the entire cake, which would be just under 50g for 1/8 or 25g for 1/16 slice.  Using sugar substitute would obviously reduce the carbs even more.


Saturday, March 21, 2015

High fiber breakfast muffins

I've been experimenting with recipes for a high fiber, low calorie breakfast muffin that I can make on the weekend then freeze to take to work each morning.  I'm still tweaking it, but so far this isn't bad:

High Fiber Breakfast Muffins

1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1.5 cups Fiber One bran
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup (about 2 snack pouches) organic apple sauce
1/2 cup 2% milk
4 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
1 cup frozen raspberries
2/3 cups chopped dried figs
optional: 1 tsp each ground ginger or cinnamon

Mix everything together.  Line cupcake tins with cupcake liners.  Fill each to the top; the muffins won't rise much. Should make about 20 portions.  Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes.

Nutrition info:
  • ~140 calories per muffin (assuming 20 muffins; or ~180 calories each if you make 16 muffins)
  • 5.8g fat
  • 21.2g carbohydrates
  • 4.2g protein
  • 0.5mg cholesterol
  • 4.2g protein





Monday, March 09, 2015

Candied bacon

Ingredients:

Bacon (I used thick cut hickory smoked)
Brown sugar
Chipotle chile (or your spicy seasonig of choice, preferably in dry form)

Instructions:

Mix sugar and spice in a shallow bowl. Amounts really depend on how much bacon you're making and how spicy you want it; here's what I used for about 3 dozen bacon strips:



Line a baking tray with foil, ensuring the sides of the foil are raised so grease won't drip out. Preheat oven to about 400F.

Firmly press one side of the bacon into the sugar mixture, then lay on foil with sugar side up. When the tray is full, bake for about 15 minutes or until bacon is cooked crispy. Note that the brown sugar will caramelise and make the bacon look darker than it actually is, so double check it's cooked enough. The goal is to cook it enough that the fat is nicely crispy even once it cools.


Blot the bacon's bottom side on a paper towel to remove excess fat, then set on parchment paper or a cooling rack to cool.

 Avoid humidity. Serve cold or room temperature.