Pork in white wine and cream. April 17th 2016

Final post – I need to get back to work! Another “let’s see what I need to use up in the fridge” recipe inspired by my older brother’s pork dinner of a few months ago.

Pork in white wine and cream

Ingredients

  • 900 gms pork pieces
  • 60gms butter
  • 1 leek chopped finely
  • 125gms chopped chorizo
  • 2 tblsps pesto – I used my wild garlic homemade one
  • 250mls white wine
  • 1 stock cube and 250mls water
  • i50 mls cream

I fried off the pork in Paddy’s bacon fat – he had a lovely lunch today – and put it into a separate saucepan. I used a medium pan and fried it off in two batches – otherwise it just sort of broils instead of fries in the pan and leaves the meat very tough. I put the butter into the pan and sauteed off the the leeks slowly. When they were softened I added the chorizo and the pesto and cooked that off for five minutes, then threw all on top of the pork.

I added the wine, water and stock cube to the saucepan and let the lot simmer for twenty minutes with the lid on at a low heat. I then added the cream and voila – Sunday dinner made – being served tonight with broccoli for the banters and with rice and carrots for the non banting family members!

I’ll let you know how the couch to five k is going soon….

Orla

Chowder another way. April 17th 2016

I’ve had lots of traffic recently from an English Facebook page so welcome! I’m going to do two quick separate posts on what I have cooked today and see if it is easier to find the recipes this way. I made this today because I opened a bottle of wine two weeks ago and never got to drink it – Paddy doesn’t drink white so if it is opened I have to drink it all – or it goes into cooking! I’m happy to report I had only one glass drunk of the very good white but I decided to use it up on this – I know chefs will say if you can’t drink it anymore you shouldn’t cook with it – I disagree – waste not want not is a preferred motto here!

Chowder

Ingredients

  • 1 Leek chopped
  • 50gms butter
  • 3 stalks celery chopped finely
  • 1 veg/chicken stock cube and 200mls water
  • 250mls white wine
  • 150mls cream
  • 2 tblsps homemade pesto
  • 500gms fish pieces

Fry off the leeks until well softened in the butter. Add the celery and cook for a further fifteen minutes. Add the stock cube, water and wine and let it boil then simmer for about fifteen minutes or until the celery is soft. Add the pesto – another ingredient I needed to use up!

Turn off the heat and blitz the veg with a blender if you like fewer lumps – I find it gives a bit more texture to the soup as well. Then pour in the cream and add the fish. Leave the heat off and the residual will cook the fish through. I have just eaten a warm bowl – it was delicious – if you’d prefer you can reheat just before serving.

Simple! If you are vegetarian I’d simply omit the fish – you could turn this into a gorgeous broccoli soup by adding broccoli with the celery and blitzing it instead. Add a few chopped almonds on top when serving for some extra protein.

 

I finally baked bread! April 16th 2016

I’m posting quickly tonight because I finally did something I had planned for so long – and I eventually got around to it today. I wanted to share the results with you.

It’s hard when you get off the Banting treadmill to get back on – harder for some than for others. Paddy has fallen off slightly but the difficulty is that because he’s a man it hasn’t caused him a lot of weight gain. However with confirmation season approaching he has decided to join me fully again. He never ate as much fat as I did and I think that makes it much harder to bant – if you don’t eat fat you don’t feel full and so you eat more – but of the wrong stuff – and it becomes a vicious cycle. I wanted to make him some bread to show him that we can have a normal lifestyle while still staying true to the banting way. Truth to tell I also found a kilo of sunflower seeds I had bought in the first flush of banting which need to be used up and I figured this is a way to do just that!

I apologise in advance – I didn’t measure anything and just threw stuff in as I thought of it – so it might not have worked at all – it did – and beautifully too – this bread is nutty, full of flavour and almost sweet! Here is an approximation of what I did. I will measure the next time and update when I do. I should also have cooked it for a few minutes more – it is slightly wet inside – but we like our breads underdone at the best of times so it worked for us. I had a slice this evening with butter – it was gorgeous and I can only imagine how wonderful it will taste with salmon paté or just plain old smoked salmon on top! It tastes eerily like my mother’s brown bread from long ago – and looks like it too.

Banting bread

Ingredients

  • 1lb sunflower seeds approx
  • handful of flax seeds
  • 100gms almond flour
  • 50gms dessicated coconut
  • 1 tsp each of bread soda and baking powder
  • 2 very large eggs – I used duck eggs so maybe try 3 hen eggs
  • 160gms cream cheese – edited amt – apologies!
  • 70mls double cream

I started by blitzing the sunflower seeds to a pulp in the food processor. Then I added all the rest of the ingredients on top and blitzed again until I had a mixture that looked like a thick bread mix. I really did this by trial and error – I have no scientific knowledge of the whys behind using bread soda or baking powder but it seemed like a good idea at the time!

When the mix was ready I spooned it into the usual 2lb loaf tin and put it in the oven for 20 minutes at 180 degrees fan. Because there was no butter in it I put a few pats on top – I might add it in the next time to help to make a lighter consistency although it wasn’t too dense at tall really.  Then we turned the oven down and cooked it for a further 30 minutes at 150 degrees. It could have done with maybe ten more minutes but I took it out anyway.

It turned out easily from the tin – I do line my tins with the parchment inserts mind – and I left it to cool. There was a little fall off on the side – and I was afraid it was going to be crumbly and binnable – but no – I cut a slice and Paddy was impressed – it tastes great! The top of it looks green  when you slice into it – don’t be put off – it’s made predominantly of sunflower seeds which go green when baked!

I am going to cut this up tomorrow and freeze it – it will be lovely toasted I think with butter – or under the grill with cheddar on top! Another successful banting bake, and a wholly made up recipe of my own – now I just have to try to replicate it….. hmm…

Talk to you soon

Orla

POSTSCRIPT:

We ate the bread today and as we cut further into it it looked greener – it tastes divine but some of you might think there is something wrong with the green colour! There’s not – but I’ll make it next time with a bit less sunflower seed and a bit more almond flour maybe…. then it won’t taste as great though.

 

Getting there! April 13th 2016.

I said I’d post when I had news! Well today I reached my first tangible goal – three stone off. It doesn’t sound like a whole lot but believe me it is. It is 42 pounds or 19 kilos. The difference is enormous. I have reduced my BMI from 43.64 to 36.55. I have dropped from a size 24 to a size 18 – I’m a teenager again! That is so significant – that means I can now go shopping in regular shops again instead of having to search out shops for larger sizes only.

It has been slow but so worth it. I had a small blip over Easter and then decided to really try to go with the intermittent fasting. I have no food until about 1.00pm any day – honestly that is no hardship as I was never a breakfast person anyway – and then I eat a second time at about 7.00pm and I eat a hearty feed I promise – and that’s me done until the next day again. It means I eat a very big meal both times and I make sure to have lots of fat. I also keep a tin of nuts on my desk at work so that if I don’t get my lunch for any reason I have something banting friendly to fall back on. I am not evangelical. I am trying to make this lifestyle work for me. I have started buying the Lidl Almonds with chilli – they are not perfect – but God they taste great and I feel like a sinner when I eat them! So much tastier than crisps and so much more banting suitable! I think I’ve bought most of the stock in the three local shops I can get to! I got five tins today – the joy of it is my children love them – and if they will reach for those instead of crisps or buns I’m very happy.

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They are so spicy – and that’s what I realise is missing in my food when I want to go off course. I need strong flavours. So of course I went back to cooking – we have two hectic weeks in our house so I spent Saturday cooking so that when we arrive home from work there is something banting friendly to eat even if we only have half an hour to eat and go. I never managed to empty my third freezer – I will over the summer but I’m glad to have it this week.

I cooked a double batch of my Thai Green curry and of my normal curry and the pesto and white wine chicken – notice the theme running through all three?! They were great to have and so everyone got to choose their favourite one for tea on Saturday while I headed out with my buddies for steak and red wine.

I made a new recipe. The Late Late show here in Ireland – an institution of a Friday night programme – ran an item on what goes into sausages – I’d still eat them anyway – reminds me of the horsemeat scandal – my children were horrified to find that Burger King burgers contained horse – they said they’d happily eat them anyway  – but I decided to try again to make a sausage replacement with no wheat.

This is what I came up with – and they are so delicious that I had one for my tea this evening sliced and fried in butter and scramble thrown in on top. It is not a sausage – it is technically a pork burger but next time I may make sausage shaped ones – or even invest in a sausage maker…

Pork burgers

  • 1lb pork chops minced – ask your butcher to do that for you.
  • 1 egg
  • a dash of tabasco – adjust to your own tastes – I like spice!
  • salt and pepper
  • spices – I used my current favourite – the chip one – see below.

 

Simple as that. Mix all together and shape into either patties or little sausages. I baked mine in the oven at 180 degrees celsius in a fan oven for twenty minutes. Yo could leave them in longer if you wanted them to be browner but I did them for the freezer so I left them a little lighter. Gorgeous. I would say they’d be even nicer on the pan in a bit of coconut oil and a dollop of butter. Not that these got to the freezer – I did about double the batch and got to put away four only. My gang don’t like cheese put in anything but these would be delicious with real mozarella torn into them as well I think – but then they are moving from the realm of sausage flavour to burger.

I had this for lunch on Saturday with a slice of mature red cheddar melted over the top and Paddy had Bellingham Blue cheese over his – they were voted a success by all five tasters.

I found a great recipe for an alternative to fajitas the other day – have a look – this is the link – I’m definitely trying this one out next weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rowing back and reining in…. April 2nd 2016

Easter is a long holiday in Ireland – this year more so than most years as our Saint’s Day linked with it so we had two weeks and two days off for the holidays – they still didn’t go any slower but it was a great break – and suddenly it’s all over again!

I have managed to maintain my weight loss – almost – I have two pounds on but that isn’t bad considering I’ve entertained several times and been out and about too – and of course my niece bought me a caramel flavoured chocolate egg – I didn’t completely resist – I shared it between four of us –  I still ended up having about 50 gms of sugar in my portion!

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So I did a bit of reading, and a bit of cooking, and a little shopping too to get myself re-energised for my banting journey – I still haven’t managed to start my couch to 5k – I’m scared of the notion of running if truth be told but I will have to bite that bullet now that the longer evenings are here. I did get out for a few walks over the break but not enough. What is interesting is that although I have now really been in plateau for about three months – well – I have four pounds off in that time – I have managed to maintain that weight loss and not do my usual mad hike back into bad habits and weight gain.

I read a really good article on the Realmealrevolution.com website last week about banting and food lists and what should be or not be on the green list – it was reassuring to know that this is not an exact science – Jonno wrote that the bottom line is that you make good food choices to suit your lifestyle, and sometimes that means cutting corners – not always but to focus on the most important aspect of banting for you – and for me that is following a lifestyle that I can live with while not feeling deprived or isolated from the rest of society!

In a nutshell this is the most important section of that article –

“What is Banting?

  • It is learning you are right to challenge your existing beliefs
  • It is taking control of your life and living on your terms
  • It is refusing to accept the status quo
  • It is making healthy choices and knowing why
  • It is being empowered, not overpowered, by what you eat
  • It is digging in. Not passing up
  • Not depriving
  • Not abstaining
  • It is indulging in delicious meals you used to think were harmful
  • It’s avoiding other meals you believed to be good
  • It is overcoming your body’s harmful addiction to sugar and carbs
  • It is saying ‘yes’ to real fats and real foods, and ‘no’ to refined grains and processed goods
  • It is challenging the not-so-supermarket machine
  • It is voting against the foods you don’t want by choosing the ones you do

Each of us has our own food journey and our own health story to tell and how we interpret what Banting is depends on our own life experiences.

The number one rule when Banting is to eat real food – no sugar, no refined carbs, no processed foods. This is not a diet; it is a lifestyle, and it is your lifestyle. The rest is up to you.”

– http://realmealrevolution.com/real-thinking/the-lists-keep-changing-but-do-they

I haven’t managed to stay off the dread sugar for the two weeks – but that was partly by choice – I felt like indulging so I did and decided to accept the consequences which were minimal – I also managed to reign in my mad cravings – I had no night like my Christmas binge night so that was a positive. I had fish and chips one day – and on that same day I gave in to a craving for some white bread – an Italian roll from Lidl – God it was gorgeous but I had the hangover from hell the next day – and no desire for bread or potato since! It really is amazing how awful I feel when I eat too much carb now – so that is incentive to stay away.

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I was at Mc Nean’s Restaurant in Blacklion today for a parent and child cookery course with my middle child – a Christmas gift for her – and I tasted all she made – including the chocolate brownie – and have no regrets – I didn’t taste the nibbles left out for us when we arrived – I took my chia porridge with me instead – and so I am learning moderation in all things. However that same child will be confirmed in five weeks today so there is some pressure on now to make the dress I am going to wear just a little more comfortable than it is already….

Here are a few new things I have discovered in my banting journey to make it a bit more interesting for us all….

I made my first ever chia porridge yesterday – and tasted it with a lot of trepidation – I bought chia seeds way back in August in my first flush of banting and then put them in the back of the cupboard terrified of them – I’m not sure why really – turns out they are pretty gorgeous if you know what to do with them.

I got the porridge recipe from realmealrevolution.com – it’s very simple –  mix a tin of coconut milk – check that there is no added sugar in – with 1/3 of a cup measure of chia seeds and a good dollop of cinnamon. Leave it in the fridge overninght – it doesn’t look hugely attractive in the morning – but what happens is the chia seed takes in the liquid and takes on the consistency of tapioca – I love tapioca so I’m good with that! It doesn’t taste too coconutty either – and then I added just heated frozen raspberries yesterday – it was fine – not glorious but it tasted good enough. this morning I added the same raspberries – and some chopped almonds and a little dessicated coconut – and wow! It was so delicious – and it is incredibly filling – I had half the portion that I made yesterday – a third is really enough, and it also lasts in the fridge for up to three days so it can be made in advance for a quick lunch on the go – a new delight to intrigue my staff buddies with! Honestly – the pictures don’t do it justice – it really does tste lovely!

 

I also made my own fresh pesto this week – I was in the butchers and vegetable shop – I love that they are side by side and so easy to pop into – it kept me out of the supermarket – and I do think that you get better produce from craft butchers. I saw wild garlic in the vegetable shop – new to me – so I bought it along with some basil and made a batch of pesto which I smeared onto some chicken wings as an alternative to bbq sauce – they were very tasty – although next time I may just use a new product my children love on their potatoes – a spicy seasoning which is delicious

– I’ll try that next time and let you know how that one goes. We put it on along with the oil before cooking… okay – the recipe.

Homemade Basil and wild garlic pesto

Ingredients

  • a handful of basil
  • a handful of wild garlic
  • 60 gms pine nuts
  • 3 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste

Blitz all the ingredients together in a food processor and use for tomato sauces, or on wings as I did. The children loved it in some homemade burgers as well – that and some onion – gorgeous!

 

 

With the confirmation approaching I will be making food ahead and freezing – you know me and my freezer – so as I do I will post – today’s brownie by Neven was very adaptable for banting, and I have that Italian gateau that I can adapt too as a vegetarian side – I will get cooking and posting – oh and couch to 5 k-ing too!

 

Enjoy the weekend!

Orla