That Italian Gateau I promised! 1st October 2016.

I don’t know where the time is going – but I’m not going to bed without posting this recipe – it is so divine – and it was such a hassle that I had to take out a few steps to make it a bit easier – tired as I am at the moment with work I still found time to make this – have a go – you will not be sorry!

This is also the perfect dish for that vegetarian friend who always says she’ll just eat the veg on the side and not to cook anything special for her. She will feel like the most special person in the world if you make this! It is an ideal dinner party dish – can be made ahead and frozen then defrosted and cooked. I also freeze portions for busy weekdays when cooking is way down the list after ballet, violin, acro-dance and God knows what else!

There are a few steps to this recipe. I will divide it as the work is divided so it’s easier to follow.

Italian Gateau

Ingredients

  • 3 courgettes – thinly sliced and left to drain with salt on, in a colander – put kitche roll over and under to soak the liquid
  • 50 gms fine coconut flour – spread thinly on a dinner plate
  • 5 eggs whisked lightly and put in a wide pasta type bowl
  • 250 gms grated parmesan – spread out on a dinner plate
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Heat some oil in a pan at medium temp. Lightly coat the courgette slices in the flour – or not – it makes the egg stick better. Then dip it in the egg and put it onto the plate of parmesan and coat the pieces. Place on the pan and cook until the coating is crispy and lightly brown – it doesn’t matter if it is a little browner but I prefer it golden rather than very dark. Turn and do the same on the other side. Remove and put on a plate with kitchen roll on to soak the grease. Repeat, adding oil as needed until all is cooked.

  • 400mls passata
  • garlic to taste – I use the paste
  • 2/3 tsps good quality pesto – more if you love it

Put passata and garlic paste in a saucepan and heat until almost boiling. Turn the heat off and add the pesto. Stir well.

  • 4/5 red peppers – I like red!

Place the peppers in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the skins crisp up. Turn oven off and leave the peppers in the oven for a while longer – this helps to get the skins to loosen. If I have time I sometimes cut them and take the seeds out before cooking them – but either way is fine. I don’t use any oil on them for this. When they are cool enough to hold peel the skins off and discard all but the flesh of the peppers. Leave to one side and drain off the water that comes off them before using.

  • 2 Mozzarella balls – about 250 gms net weight – two pkts of the Lidl one.
  • Basil plant
  • A second packet of grated parmesan – only about 75 gms of it needed

Now the fun starts. you have to assemble all the different parts. Put oven on to 150 degrees celsius  – mine is a fan oven. then place a layer of courgettes on the base of a lasagne dish. Add a layer of ripped up basil leaves, a layer of the peppers, a layer of mozzarella sliced from the ball and then a layer of the tomato sauce. Repeat. Cover with a final layer of courgette and sprinkle with parmesan and put into the oven for about half an hour – maybe forty minutes – keep an eye and you can judge. They say in the original recipe to weight it down before cooking – nah! Too much trouble. They use both aubergines and courgette – I use whichever I have – I don’t often have aubergine lying around so I don’t always use it – I think I prefer it without in fact.

There you have it. It does take a good bit of work but honestly- and I’m a person who doesn’t like long laborious recipes – this one is worth the hour or so it takes – and it’s all in small easy steps that you can leave and come back to.

The courgette fried in the oil is so nice that I ate a load of it just like that for my tea yesterday.

Leave to cool and then slice into pieces and freeze till you need it. I made about 8 good portions out of this amount.

Have a go and tell me how you get on.

Orla

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free at Last! September 9th 2016.

I finally managed to get back to where I was in April – those ten pounds that have dogged me forever finally gave up the ghost and as the scales began their final glorious inexorable descent, I dared to believe that this time my journey really is a different one.

In fact I am now down three stone and a quarter of a pound – that’s a very important quarter – it suggests the descent is not yet over.

Before this I have often lost weight successfully for several months – the story every dieter can tell you – you get a burst of enthusiasm, diet madly and lose maybe a couple of stone – that’s quite easy to do if you have seven or eight to lose. And then you have a bad week and the scales go in the opposite direction. And again. And again. And slowly but surely you watch helplessly as those dreaded scales remind you of the failure you feel inside – that you are just fat and nothing you can do will change that.

It’s not true though! I can tell you – this time it’s not true! I have managed to hold the gain at ten pounds forever it seemed – without giving up the ghost altogether – and there’s a very good reason for that – the food I am eating. The reduction of carbs is significant – but the complete removal of sugar is empowering. It has even resulted in a clean bill of health at the dentist’s yesterday – no decay since last year – I told her and she was impressed – living proof of yet another benefit of giving up sugar.

If you had said to me a year ago that I would be quite happy to have lost only half a pound from April to September I would have laughed. I have always set great big goals for myself – projecting big losses into the very near future – planning a stone or two in a month. Now I have no such expectations. I would like to lose six and a half pounds between now and September 30th but I’m okay if that doesn’t happen – that will get me into a new stone – one I haven’t seen for a very long time. I hit a plateau – and boy it was a big one – it stretched forever – but it’s gone and new adventures lie ahead.

If even one person seeing my story gets to change their story then I will be happy – the weight loss journey is as unique to each one of us as our DNA – and yet each is made of the same ingredients – a mixture of hope and despair – the trick is to make sure the hope hides the taste of despair long enough for you to believe in yourself – you can do this! I can do this!

Bant!

I had a friend at work bring me some freshly pulled rhubarb this week – and I was delighted to see that it is very low carb so fine for me to eat.  I love rhubarb and I love crumble so I went on the hunt to find a crumble recipe – and came across a link somewhere for a crumble topping that included flax seeds – I didn’t have any so I just made my own version of the recipe and it was lovely.

 

img_3755

Banting rhubarb crumble

Heat oven to 160 fan.

Ingredients

  • rhubarb – eight stalks approx
  • 25 gms xylitol – or more to taste
  • 1.5 tblsp ground chia seed

Mix these three together – chop the rhubarb and place in pot with the xylitol and  ground chia, and coo on a medium hob until melted and soft through. Set aside.

  • 100gms ground almond
  • 35 gms dessicated coconut
  • 1/2 tsp each of all spice and mixed spice
  • 10 chopped pecans – optional really – I added them one day, not the next

Mix all dry ingredients together

  • 50gms melted butter
  • tsp vanilla extract

Add the vanilla to the butter then mix into the dry ingredients and keep mixing until the butter is fully absorbed into the dry mix. Pour the mixture out onto a parchment sheet on an oven tray and pat down so it is flat.

Cook for about 16 minutes and then check – remove from the oven when the sides start to crisp.

Leave to cool then put some rhubarb into a bowl and crack off a piece of the topping and crack it over the fruit. Serve with freshly whipped cream.

Truly divine!

I made it again this evening and accidentally put xylitol into the topping as well – it tastes so sweet! Not a good addition! You could add hazelnuts or buttered nuts – think I mentioned those before – I heat some butter in the pan and throw in the packet of Lidl nuts with some spices – they would be lovely with it I’d imagine too. Macadamia are too soft and would burn easily – hazelnuts might be a bit too hard – play about and see what works for you.

 

 

If I can do this anyone can – you owe it to yourself to banish sugar from your life – try it for a month – you will be amazed.

Orla

 

A great reminder of why I am doing this! August 18th 2016.

I’m doing well enough this week – back on track and slowly but surely those ten pounds are disappearing – I have five off and am hoping that on the anniversary of my start day last year – August 24th – I will be back down to three stone off.

Three stone. I met a very good friend today who hasn’t seen me since this time last year – she noticed the weight and commented. I was explaining as I do to everyone I meet how I have ten pounds back on – no make that five – and then she showed me the photo we took at last year’s annual reunion – and I stopped – and will never bemoan my progress again. The featured photo is me today – and this one was me last summer at this time of year – the very week I started banting…

 

IMG_3578

The picture quality is poor – thankfully! But I looked at this today and suddenly realised just how much of a difference this year has made to me.

I am sleeker, fitter and in so much better shape. I can shop in “ordinary” shops now and I make good choices most of the time. I look at lots of other blogs and people’s testimonials and I think that everyone’s journey is a different one – mine has to incorporate the family life that I love and the baking I thrive on. I like to have a sweet treat – some advocate going off all sweet things – I couldn’t sustain that lifestyle – I like a treat after dinner sometimes – and if I can have that without spiking my insulin levels then I’ll do that.

I have gone back to my early days as regards my eating habits. I have made a batch of crackers just now for the week and if I am peckish at night I take a few with lots of butter and cheese on top. I have made a lime cream pot this week and tomorrow I will remake my raspberry chia jam – it was gorgeous – not too sweet and delicious with the banting almond scones I made last week.

I will post next week on my first anniversary and share a few photos from the journey so far.

Meanwhile here’s the recipe for the lovely almond scones I made – they were delicious served with butter and jam – and below that is the jam recipe – so simple! I use ground chia seeds in it – it worked really well – the texture is great – not too different from the real thing – and so much better for you. I figure a teaspoon a day will kill no-one.

 

The Banting Blondes – see website – http://www.thebantingblondes.com

Scandalous Scones

  • 200gms almond flour – very expensive but I used it this time!
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 large tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

So simple!

Whisk the eggs the add all the other ingredients and mix well. Using an ice-cream scoop put mix into 6 muffin cases which I pre-oiled and pat them down so they are smooth. Leave in the oven for about twenty minutes then take them out and check – they should be barely browned.

Next time I will add some mixed and all spice and some vanilla essence. I might also add some baking powder to see if it will make them a little less heavy and compact – but hey – it’s very nearly like the real thing!

 

Banting Jam

  • 500 gms frozen raspberies
  • 4 tbsp xylitol
  • 40 gms ground chia seed

Add raspberries to a pot with the xylitol and bring to the boil very slowly allowing time for the raspberries to defrost without burning. Allow the mixture to come to a boil then simmer for about fifteen minutes. Take off the heat and stir in the  ground chia.

Store in the fridge – it will last about two weeks – if it survives that long! My children found this a bit grainy so didn’t eat it – me – I had no such issue. It is gorgeous on the scones but particularly with the lemon pots I made before – and the chocolate pots – decadent but good for you!

Enjoy!

Orla

 

 

 

 

I forgot to share my lemon curd! 30th June 2016

I should point out the picture above is not in fact my lemon curd – that looks nice but a bit fake in my humble opinion. Mine looks far more rustic.

We love all things lemon here – and I saw in a previous blog I made a lemon cream concoction that is utterly delicious. I thought at the time I had shared my lemon curd recipe too but now I realise I didn’t.

I’ll be honest – it’s not my recipe but I make it so often I have claimed ownership at this point! It’s from allrecipies.co.uk. I have changed the ingredients a little but I need to acknowledge someone else’s genius!

I have made curd in the past on the hob and it’s a hassle frankly – I’m not great with things that need to be constantly watched – I’m much more of a hands off cook – if it takes too much effort I’m not convinced of the benefits. This is a microwave version – in fifteen minutes you can have a jar of sunshine for your fridge that will curl your lips with the sharpness and make you smile after! It is truly lovely. It is also now my husband’s breakfast tipple of choice – he mixes it with a little Greek yogurt and heads to work happy! And trimmer – he has lost eight pounds since we came home from the holidays and it’s obviously not stopping that process.

Microwave lemon curd

Ingredients

  • 175 gms xylitol
  • 3 eggs
  • 115 gms very soft butter
  • zest of three lemons
  • 250 mls freshly squeezed lemon juice

Method

Put the xylitol and the eggs into a bowl and whisk until they are combined – I just use a hand whisk – it takes only a minute – it doesn’t need to be frothy, just combined.

Put in the butter and roughly mix – if you were a good cook you could melt it, wait for it to cool down and then add it – life is too short – the recipe works fine this way, but it does need to be soft – the current weather conditions make it the perfect consistency – soft but not runny.

Add the zest of three lemons to the mix. As I mentioned before a Microplane grater is an amazing little gadget – it grates everything for me – it is worth the investment I promise you – for savoury and sweet. Then juice the lemons and add it through a strainer to the egg and sugar mix. One bowl. Very little mess. Ready for the magic.

Set the microwave for six minutes – mine is a 900 watt oven so yours will need less or more time depending on the wattage. After one minute take the mixture out and whisk by hand. The butter will be melting nicely at this point. Repeat the process every minute or so – it’s really important to do this or you will end up with little white flecks – bits of cooked egg white – we still eat it but it’s not perfect then!

The curd may take six full minutes – it make take five – after the fifth minute if it is not at all thicker it will need the extra minute. It might need a little longer but sometimes, maybe depending on egg size it can be thinner or thicker – this week’s batch was quite thick as you can see – if you microwave until it is like slightly thick soup but not walk on style it will be fine.

That’s it – refrigerate and enjoy in all manner of ways – I had it the other day over some blackberries, strawberries and raspberries – all Wexford fruit – so delicious. I added a dollop of freshly whipped double cream. I almost died and went to heaven in that moment!

Time to get back to the attic and the cleaning!

Orla

 

 

Chicken – what would we do without you? 28th June 2016

I had a busy day yesterday…

I went for my first ever 10 k walk – I’m so proud! When I got home I had great plans to sort out the attic – we are creating a bedroom up there, but I hadn’t the energy to even climb the two flights – mind you my Fitbit told me I climbed 58 flights of stairs so I’m not doing badly – the walk was gorgeous but hilly. So instead I went for the easier option and I cooked. I made five different dinners for the freezer – a good banter is always prepared – it is the only way to go – but I’m  only sharing one with you today – and it tasted so good it will become a regular here – at least for Paddy and me – the girls don’t eat cheese – sigh.

Pesto cheese and bacon chicken

Ingredients:

  • chicken breasts
  • 80gms cream cheese
  • pesto to taste – I used 1 tsp
  • smoked bacon slices – 1.5/2 per chicken breast
  • grated mozzarella
  • black pepper

Pre-heat fan oven to 200 degrees celsius. Make a well or just cut into the chicken breast to make some space for the cream cheese to sit. Mix the cream cheese and the pesto together well and put a teaspoon of this mixture onto the open breast. sprinkle some mozzarella on top, add pepper to taste, then fold over – sometimes we get the little mini fillet piece with the breasts – I like to cover all with that. Then wrap carefully in the bacon and use cocktail sticks to keep it all together.

Bake in the oven for about twenty minutes – keep an eye – they will come out with some of the inner contents splayed – just eat it there and then – divine!

 

 

 

Family parties – can it be done banting style? May 2nd 2016

We have a confirmation in our house this coming weekend.

My husband and I bant. Our children do not – well they do the bits they like I should say!

We are a major dessert family – and that will pose a problem – but I can overcome that one – I will make some lemon curd and fill it into some tiny little butter pastries I found in Sainsbury’s last month – they are delicious – and very carby I know – but the size of them makes it okay – they have only 4.3 gms of carb in each one – so I can live with that for my guests! I could make some pastry with almond flour but I’m not feeling the love there at the moment as everything I make these days seems to crumble – there’s an idea – I could do lemon curd beneath a nutty crumbly top for the purists! I’ll let you know how that goes! I plan to try out meringue made with xylitol today as well – for the top of the little lemon curd pots!

I will make the banting brownies too – I’ve to adapt the Nevin Maguire recipe – I’ll try to make that later today and post a picture. Or maybe I’ll get my daughter to make it instead – she’s fairly nifty in the kitchen.

I plan to make a banting pavlova – it should be possible – with xylitol – and that would be perfect for dessert too – with double cream and fresh berries! I know there’s a lot of small carb stuff going on – small carb stuff is okay as long as it’s not carb heavy food along with it.

I also perfected the humble chocolate pots last week – and wanted to share them with you – I actually weighed the ingredients this time! I also added ground almonds so I’m not totally out of love with almonds in general yet!

Chocolate pots recipe updated

Ingredients

  • 200gms cream cheese
  • 500mls cream
  • 30gms cocoa powder
  • 100gms ground almonds
  • 2tbls xylitol
  • 20 gms 100% chocolate, finely grated and more for dusting the top
  • generous tsp vanilla paste

Mix all the ingredients together with an electric whisk and fill into pots – this made 12 for me – I use ramekin dishes.

Grate some extra 100% chocolate on top and refrigerate for  24 hrs.

The almonds soak into the mixture and lose their grainy texture and add a rich creaminess to the final dish. A whole load of lovely. If you like it sweeter add more xylitol. There’s not a lot in each one as you can see from the number of pots I got from this.

Mains

I have a selection of salads from The Avoca Cookbook I plan to make that will be perfect for the barbecue – a good butcher who will provide a side of beef I can cut to size myself for individual portions. I may also provide chicken or pork with some pepper seasoning on it. Barbecue is great for banters! Provably why it started in South Africa – they call it braiing there I think!

I’m going for the broccoli, cherry tomato and feta salad, the carrot and courgette one and and cauliflower broccoli and nut one too – it calls for monkey nuts but I’ll use either almonds or pecans – smoked almonds if I can get them in Avoca on time!

By tweaking the recipes all will be banting friendly – even the carrot and courgette one if I up the courgette quantity and reduce the carrot part. See, it can be done. And I haven’t even mentioned my favourite food at present – the humble avocado – I plan something exotic for that – I’ll post that recipe next week – when I’ve made it up! It will involve bacon anyway – that’s a given!

IMG_2072

This is the carrot and courgette salad – a little more courgette and a little less salad and we’re away!

Obviously I will provide some rice or pasta for the visitors who don’t bant – but Paddy and I won’t feel deprived when we have this much to choose from.

I’ll post pictures of all as I go.

Orla

 

 

 

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.

IMG_1869  IMG_1870

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.