Low Carb Barbecue Pork Belly Strips

The suns out, the air is warm so let’s get ready for the Summer Barbecue season. This is what I planned when I went shopping with a list of ingredients to prepare and test ready to share with you. But, the good old British weather has other plans, it’s cold and wet again.

Now I have all the ingredients in my fridge, therefore I’m still going to prepare them over the coming weeks and cook them on my indoor griddle plate, second best to the barbecue but similar results and cooking times.

I really enjoy meat cuts that can be marinated in a sauce and then cooked quickly on the grill giving them a moist consistency and extra flavour.

Today I am sharing with you Pork Belly Strips marinated in a homemade barbecue sauce, but you could equally use this method with other pork cuts or chicken breasts or thighs. I have not tried with fish, but would probably wrap fish in foil rather than placing straight on the grill.

I served mine with Butternut squash which I cooked on the griddle (5 minutes each side), green rocket salad and my homemade creamy coleslaw. Continue reading “Low Carb Barbecue Pork Belly Strips”

Low Carb Salmon Fishcakes

I am pleased to be able to share with you my Low Carb version of Salmon Fishcakes. By using Celeriac instead of potato, these Fishcakes work out at 9 net carbs per portion or 3 net carbs per fishcake. Celeriac is not always available in the UK during the summer, so Butternut Squash would work equally as well, however this would increase the net carbs by 2 per portion; still an excellent low carb tasty meal.

With a high fish content, each portion also contains 37 g of protein. Serve with a lovely fresh green salad, accompanied by Balsamic Vinegar makes a very satisfying main meal or smaller portions would be a perfect starter for entertaining.

Whether you opt for Celeriac or Butternut Squash, you will soon realise that the consistency will be quite different to using white potatoes, because alternative low carb mash does not contain the starch content which helps to stick all the ingredients together.  You will just need to handle with care when moving from board to baking tray.

I have used Thai herbs and spices in this recipe, however you could add Italian herbs or Herbs de Provence or just experiment with your own favourites.

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Lower Carb Chicken and Leek Pie

Chicken and leek pie is not technically suitable for a low carb diet, but if you are trying to keep your daily diet low carb as part of your lifestyle and want a treat then using a small amount of filo pastry to top your meat and vegetables could be an acceptable replacement.

When I entertained recently I decided to use the same mixture as my leek and chicken soup for the base and then portioned out the top making sure I only gave myself 50 gm of filo pastry and my guests, who do not follow low carb diets, 100 gm. It really is a wonderful dish – as a treat.

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Pork Fillet with a Pear Cider Sauce

Today I cooked Pork fillet then a pear and cider sauce. This dish is great to leave to cook away in your slow cooker on low for 2.5 to 3 hours or you could cook in the oven on 170C for about an hour. The accompanying simple sauce is very easy to prepare. Using pears and pear cider is a little less flavour intrusive than apples and apple cider, however you could use apples and apple cider using the same method.

When cooking low carb it can be difficult to thicken sauces as all thickening agents such as cornflour will add to the carb content; however should you want to add cornflour for example, a teaspoon will add about 9 carbs to your complete dish. I have not added a thickening agent, however I did reduce the cider by half before adding to the pork. This does not mean the sauce was thick but it does make it more robust and evaporates the alcohol.

The recipe below uses a pork fillet, however pork chops, pork loins would work equally as well. Just remember to adjust your cooking times.

For an ideal low carb accompaniment, why not try out my Celeriac Dauphinois.

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Meatballs with Homemade Tomato and Basil Sauce

Today I made  meatballs in a rich tomato and basil sauce. I made the meatballs from minced beef, however they would be equally delicious using minced pork or minced lamb. Net carbs in recipe below 9 g per portion.

The meatballs are very quick to make but it is important to chill them before cooking to prevent them falling apart when you cook them, so allow time for this. They will freeze well so a good choice for preparing in advance.

I do not bother frying the meatballs, as they cook equally as well in the oven and as you are going to put them into the tomato sauce before serving you do not really need them browned; however if you want to serve them plain and therefore require a little colour, then I would suggest you still cook them in the oven first and then brown the outside for appearance purposes once cooked.

The tomato and basil sauce is a normal classic tomato sauce with basil herb added. When you chop the basil, do not over-chop as it is a delicate little herb and flavours will reduce if it is over worked. I use Pasatta as I prefer my sauce to be smooth, but you could also use tinned chopped tomatoes. Two tins would make a similar amount to the recipe below.

Today I served them with low carb spaghetti, however they are also delightful accompanied by courgette noodles. Find my recipe here.

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Fisherman’s Pie

Who can resist a creamy Fisherman’s Pie? In this blog I am going to share with you my low-carb version of a traditional British Fisherman’s Pie. Coming in at only 6 net g carbs per portion.

Traditionally the top crust layer would be mashed potato but for this version I am going to use Celeriac. You will be pleasantly surprised how much the nutty flavour of the celeriac compliments the fish flavours. In a Fisherman’s Pie it is preferable to use fish with bold flavours such as cod, salmon and smoked haddock.

If you have not used celeriac before then you have missed a treat. I love it and often use it as a potato substitute. To prepare it just cut off the bottom and the top so you have a flat surface to work with. Then take your knife along the inside and follow the skin down from top to bottom. As you cut into the shapes required for your recipe, you can cut out the brown root bits. Treat as potatoes, although Celeriac browns pretty quickly so keep in water to prevent this. Celeriac makes an amazing alternative Potato Dauphinois – see my recipe here. Celeriac is not available all year around but is seasonal during the winter months in the UK, so make good use of it whilst it is around.

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Green Thai Pork Curry

There are so many good Green Thai Curry Pastes available in your local supermarkets that maybe you do not need to use this recipe. There is however nothing I find more satisfying than cooking with fresh ingredients. A Green Thai Curry should taste a bit sweet and sour with a creamy coconut feel and hints of Lemon Grass, Ginger and Lime. Of course one advantage of making your own from scratch means that you can adjust spiciness to your own palate. 8 net carbs per portion.

For quickness and convenience I do use lazy purée for the lemon grass and ginger but I have included the equivalent fresh amounts in the recipe below.  You can also make up extra puree and freeze it for future use.

In my recipe below I have used pork loins, however chicken and turkey would be equally as versatile in this dish.

Instead of using noodles, which are packed with carbs I used Courgette Noodles and Beansprouts, which I stir fried quickly before serving.

Carry on reading for recipe. Continue reading “Green Thai Pork Curry”

Winter Warming Beef Stew

This Winter Warming Beef Stew is just great for those cold winter days when you need a warm up for your insides. 17g net carbs per portion.

When I attended catering college back in the 1970s, Stewing was classified as being cooked in liquid on the stove top, but frankly whatever the difference is between a stew and a casserole I know for sure that a slow or oven cooked pot of beef and root vegetables immersed in a beef stock cannot be called anything other than a Beef Stew.

This meal is a perfect low carb winter warmer making you glow inside and out. I have served mine with mashed Celeriac which I cooked in the same way as I cook mashed potato – although be sure after draining the cooking water you return to heat just to dry out slightly as Celeriac retains more water content than potatoes. Although not pictured here, a nice floret of broccoli would be a perfect accompaniment and brighten the colour on the plate.

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Shepherd’s Pie made with Butternut Squash Mash

A tasty low carb alternative Shepherd’s Pie made with Butternut Squash Mash instead of the traditional creamed potato topping. A winner for all the family.

So we have 2 British pies which are traditionally topped with mashed (creamed) potato. One is a Shepherd’s Pie and the other is a Cottage Pie. The main difference between the 2 is the meat origin. A Shepherd’s Pie uses minced lamb whilst the Cottage Pie uses minced beef.

I’ve today chosen to cook and share the recipe for a low-carb lamb version – Shepherd’s Pie.

I will be replacing the mashed potato with mashed Butternut Squash. You will notice I will regularly use this versatile squash as an alternative to potatoes. 100 gm of cooked Butternut Squash is only 10 net carbs, a typical serving is going to be about 80gm. You could replace this with Daikon Radish and prepare in the same way as the Butternut Squash, however the difference is that the Radish is only 3 net carbs, so if you are restricting carbs to loose weight, this may be your preferred alternative.

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Cauliflower Pizza Base

Using just 6 ingredients from your everyday stores you can enjoy this low carb cauliflower pizza base. There are plenty of low carb alternative pizza base recipes on the internet and I have tried many. I started out with courgettes, but I could never seem to get them dry enough to prevent a soggy base. Then I found cauliflower recipes which revolutionized my  outlook on alternative pizza bases. Net carbs 17 g per 9 inch base.

To vary the taste, I do add other vegetables to my cauliflower, cheese and egg mixture. Often I include vegetables which I want to use up. My favourites are carrot and leeks, so the recipe below will include these, but I’m sure once you’ve made this a couple of times you will experiment with what suits you. The main thing is that the cauliflower is great at making the base firmer so it is key to the ingredient list.

These bases are ideal to eat cold and once topped with tomato pizza topping and your chosen meat and vegetables make a fabulous lunch box meal.

TIP: The base should be cooked on a non-stick commodity such as a silicone baking mat or baking parchment paper.

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