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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Making good Banting choices when eating out. March 6th 2016. 

   
    
 
It’s been a busy few weeks between work and family commitments. I’ve eaten out more often than I’ve eaten at home. I had two hotel stays and was away from home in Dublin for two full Saturdays on top of that with no access to home cooking. My weight? I’m down another three pounds. 38 pounds down and counting. Now that’s what I call a result. 

Remarkably this is an eating plan that is actually quite easy to follow when out and about. It takes a bit of practice but it can be done. Tonight I want to share a few tips about what to go for when you’re not at home. 

I ate in Frangos in Dundrum Shopping Centre for the last two weekends and both days took the same dish – fabulous smoked salmon terrine with Caesar Salad – hold the croutons- and the fennel and orange salad – hold the orange! It was luxurious, decadent and deliciously satisfying and filling. The Greek Salad was also very acceptable but I’m not a fan of raw onions so I declined. 

 I also found a few more items on their menu that could be eaten as well. Have a look and see what’s available to enjoy from this board. 

  
In fact there are two items here that would be fine. Hold the hummus on the veggie option and it’s a great choice, as is the rotisserie chicken salad. 

Another board – more choices. 

  
The half chicken is a great choice here too. Choose the salads carefully and you’re good to go. 

It’s easy to make good choices. 

I spent two different sessions in a lovely hotel in Athlone recently – the Sheraton. It’s a fabulous spot. The staff are uber friendly and extremely helpful. I had bar food there three times. A lunch of smoked salmon salad – delicious, and great value. I ordered Cajun chicken breast and they added bacon and cheese for me, held the bun and the fries, and gave me sautéed mushrooms and side salad. When I went back this week I had the minute steak with pepper sauce, aforementioned sautéed mushrooms and green salad.  

I also had a fabulous meal in Thyme with an college friend from thirty years ago – it’s a stunning little restaurant in Athlone  – there are lots of them. I wish I had taken photos. I had a divine starter of ham hock, with a celeriac velouté – gorgeous – steak again – what can I say – I love my steak! – and we shared a cheese plate. I had the vegetable side – some carrots but not too many, the rest were greens. 
This is so not a diet plan. It’s a really easy lifestyle. There are moments when I hesitate – I baked lovely lemon cupcakes today and was tempted for about five minutes 

  
In fairness you can see why. I did have a taste – one mouthful of a bun before I iced them. Then I went back to my mortadella salad with cream cheese. I do plan to bake more with Xylitol but not at the moment. 

It can be done. It’s not a diet. It really is just a lifestyle choice. 

Talk soon. 40 pounds is approaching – that’s got a satisfying ring to it!

Orla