Thursday 29 March 2012

Low-Carb Mustard Herb Crusted Pork Loin with Butternut Squash

I’ve always thought that mustard was a great pairing with pork. I’ve also tried this recipe a few times and it ended up getting too salty, even without adding any salt. So I changed it up a bit. You can also roast any vegetable you like with it, I happen to think that butternut squash has such a nice flavour when roasted with the loin. You can also change the herbs, I used rosemary but thyme, sage or even fennel will work. Make it your own, it’s all about making this your own and using what you have. This can serve 2-4 depending on the size of the loin and squash. Enjoy!

What You’ll Need:
600-700g Pork fillet (roughly 1.5lbs)
1 small to medium butternut squash
1 large onion
1 sprig fresh rosemary (1 tbsp. chopped or 1 tsp. dry)
¼ c. Dijon mustard (I only use Maille)
3 tbsp. light mayo
1 tbsp. freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

To Start:
Preheat the oven at 190C or 375F
Line a large pan with foil.
Peel and dice the butternut squash and lay on the pan with a space for the pork loin to go in the middle.
Peel and dice the onion and lay on top of the squash.
Drizzle the oil over the vegetables, salt and pepper them and mix to combine.

For the Pork:
In a bowl mix the mustard, mayo, half the fresh pepper, and rosemary.
Slather on top of the loin, not too thick or it will burn.
Place on the baking sheet with the squash.
Sprinkle with the remaining pepper.
Ovenize for about 30-45 minutes depending on your oven. Or alternatively check that the temperature is between 160-170. Enjoy!

Monday 26 March 2012

Low-Carb Shepherd's Pie

This is a traditional shepherd’s pie recipe with a twist. It has a cauliflower mash topping instead of the potato. If you don’t want to do the low carb version that’s completely ok too. You can just make the mash the exact same way you prepare the cauliflower. I know the peas aren't low-carb but a must have with shepherd's pie! This is a play on a Gordon Ramsay recipe which I’ve always found one of the best recipe’s I’ve tasted. It’s really simple to make and provides such tasty leftovers!

What you’ll need:
1 extra-large head of cauliflower
2 egg yolks
25g butter (2 tbsp.)
¼ c freshly grated parmesan cheese (save a few pinches for the top)
1lb (500g) lamb mince
1 large carrot
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. tomato puree
250ml red wine (large glass)
300ml chicken stock (1 c.)
Handful thyme leaves
1 sprig rosemary
1-2 tbsp. oil

For the Cauliflower (or Potatoes):
Chop the cauliflower into small pieces and steam until mush.
Blend in a food processor, food mill, or mash by hand until it’s creamy.
Add egg yolks, butter and ¾ths of the parmesan.
Salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

To start the Mince:
In a food processor (you can also do this manually), shred the carrot onion and garlic.
Prepare your chicken stock if using a bouillon.
Chop the herbs.
In a large sauce pan, heat the oil and add the ground lamb; season with salt and pepper.
When browned, add the shredded carrot, onion, and garlic; continuously stirring.
Next add the Worcestershire sauce, herbs, and tomato puree and mix thoroughly. Cook about 5 minutes.
Add the wine and turn the heat up so it reduces quickly. Reduce until there is barely any liquid left.
When the wine is reduced add the chicken stock and reduce in the same fashion.
When it’s done you want the consistency of a thick sauce, not watery or liquidy.

To finish:

Place the lamb mixture a small-medium casserole dish (make the pan is small enough so the meat mixture goes up half way) and spread out evenly.
Dollop the cauliflower on top of the meat and spread out completely covering the meat mixture.
Run the fork across the top of the cauliflower, creating small ridges.
Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese.
Bake at 190C or 375F for 20-30 minutes until slightly golden. Enjoy!

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Turkey Tacos!

For the most part here in the UK tacos are a fun dinner idea and not a staple, but it lends for things such as Old El Paso crunchy taco shells, and some semi edible tortillas. Along with that the line makes some good canned refried beans, and salsa to mimic Pace. Overall I’m not too deprived, except I like to blend my own spices and come up with something unique that’s not just out of a packet. This dinner was part of my craving for crunchy tacos. But since I wanted my healthier flare I opted for turkey breast instead of beef. I realise that making tacos is not a new experience for a lot of my Texan friends, but in this recipe it’s all about the spices. Try it if you want and give that 'ol packet seasoning a rest.

What you’ll need:
½ - 1 tbsp. cumin powder
½ - 1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 ½ tsp. onion powder
Pinch Mexican oregano (optional)
Pinch cayenne
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. finely ground pepper
½ onion
2 cloves fresh garlic
Taco shells – crunchy or soft tortillas
Lettuce and tomato
Grated cheddar cheese
Sour cream
Canned refried beans
1 tbsp. vegetable oil

To Start:
Heat the oil in a pan.
Add the onions and garlic to soften.
Next add the meat and brown, spreading it around so it doesn’t clump.
Add all the spices and mix thoroughly.
Cook through until meat is fully cooked.

To Assemble:
Warm up the refried beans.
Spread on the bottom of the taco shell of your choosing, next fill with the meat, cheese, lettuce tomato, and sour cream.

Serve with my Spanish rice! (You can make it with white rice instead of brown).

Friday 16 March 2012

Perfect Pesto Quiche

I had never made a quiche worth eating, but I was determined to throw one together with the leftovers I had in the house. I even made the crust! It was so much easier than I thought and even more delicious than I could have ever imagined! I suggest everyone try it, because of its simplicity. It’s so much better to eat a homemade quiche than a processed store bought one. Remember that this recipe was made on what I had available at the time, use what you have, even a pre-made crust, but I’d make sure to pick up the pesto! Serves 4!

What you’ll need (as a guide):

1 small chard (or 250g of leafy greens like spinach)
1 courgette (zucchini)
1 small head broccoli
½ red onion
3 cloves garlic
½ c. pesto
3 eggs
1 ½ c. milk
Garlic powder
Parmesan shavings for the top
1 tomato sliced
1 tbsp. olive oil

For the crust:
1 c. + 2 tbsp. flour (125g)
½ tsp. salt
¼ c. butter about 50g
2-3 tbsp. milk

Start the crust:
Get the crust started by mixing the cold butter into 1 c. flour and salt until forms small pebble sizes.
Slowly add milk until dough comes together. (You might not need all the milk).
When the dough turns stiff roll out on a very floury surface and lay in a 9inch pie tin. Set this aside and star the filling.

For the filling:
Dice chard, courgette, broccoli, onion and garlic.
Heat in a pan olive oil, and stir-fry all the diced vegetables until soft.
Turn off the heat and add the pesto and stir to combine.

To Finish:
Mix together eggs and milk and whip until well combined.
Add the cooled cooked vegetables to the milk and egg mixture.
Pour the mixture into the pie dish.
Top with parmesan shavings and tomato slices.
Bake at 190C or 375F for about 40-50 minutes or when it looks golden.
*To test that done stick a spoon in the middle and look for firmness.

Tuesday 6 March 2012

Polish-Style Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

This is an excellent way to use up a head of cabbage, and ground beef. I have always thought of cabbage rolls as being Polish, but for anyone on a low-carb diet it would work as an excellent main dish served with a salad. That’s how I served it! It’s also versatile in that you can use beef, pork, turkey or whatever ground meat you wish. Even make it with vegetables, or just bring your own ideas to it. This recipe serves 4. Enjoy!

What you’ll need:
500g or 1lb ground beef, turkey, or pork
1 small onion
1 head of cabbage; about 10 large outer leaves
1 tbsp. garlic puree or 3-4 cloves garlic
1 stalk celery
1 400g can chopped tomatoes
¼ green pepper
2 tbsp. tomato puree
1 tbsp. dill
1 tbsp. thyme
1 tbsp. vegetable granules (bouillon cubes will work)
1 tbsp. olive oil

To start the sauce:
Dice the onion, celery and mince garlic.
In a small sauce pan, heat the oil. Once heated add the onion celery and garlic until softened.
Next add the tomatoes and stew down for about 20 minutes while you gather the rest of your ingredients.


Tear the outer leaves of the cabbage and wash them thoroughly and steam them until soft enough to roll. You could alternatively lightly boil these too.

To make the filling:

Dice the onions and peppers finely.
Mix the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl, beef, onion, peppers, garlic, tomato puree, dill, thyme, salt, pepper, vegetable granules until well incorporated.

To finish:
Take a cabbage leaf and place a small ball inside and spread it out length-wise, wrap it up on the ends and roll it.
Place it in the pan opening side down, and repeat until the meat is gone.
Pour the sauce over the top, trying to cover as much as you can.
Cover tightly with foil and bake at 190C or 350F for about 45 minutes.

*For an added treat, mix garlic and mint with Greek yogurt for a special topping (sour cream would also work good here)