Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Keto friendly recipe: Steak au Bleu

Rib eye and Blue

500g boneless rib eye
100g neufchatel cheese
100g soft blue cheese
1 handful of asparagus
salt and pepper


Steak is best cooked at room temperature where the muscle fibers relax slightly, this also minimises the 'shock' when the meat hits the hot pan. 

Here you can see I've bought a large boneless rib eye, cut fresh from an organic butcher. You should get the meat cut according to how well you like it done, I want mine slightly rare so this is about 2.5cm thick. When in doubt, ask your butcher.

Once at Room temperature season liberally with salt and pepper and place in your grill/pan.

Leave the steak on a medium heat, you want this hot enough to sear the surface but also slow enough to render the fat through the meat. 
Cook to your preferred taste, I prefer a Medium Rare steak with a crisp sear on it. If you work with a meat thermometre this is around 60C. Refer to the meat 'doneness' guide on Wikipedia.

Take the meat off the heat and rest for 5 minutes, use this time to cook the asparagus.

Put hot water with a little salt in a pan deep enough for the vegetables. Place the asparagus spears in the water as it is near boiling with a little salt. 

When the asparagus turns bright green like this it is ready, drain and place on the plate. 

This step can be done at any point but I like to do it when I buy the cheese. Blue cheese is delicious but often too strong in large amounts, to set this off I use neufchatel cheese - a rich cream cheese - to smooth out the flavour. 
Put the desired amount of cheeses in a bowl and let warm to room temperature for ease of mixing. Combine the cheeses and then spoon onto a sheet of plastic wrap. 

Roll into a sausage shape and place into the freezer. When you begin cooking the steak take this out of the freezer. 

Using a hot knife cut the cheese into rounds and place on the rested steak, cut a knob of butter and serve with the asparagus. 

Delicious, can you believe this is diet food?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Keto friendly recipe: Tuna ceviche

This is one of the easiest recipes in my repertoire - the secret here is to get the freshest Tuna you can and prepare this immediately before serving.

Tuna Ceviche

250g raw tuna
1/2 red onion
1/4 cup fresh coriander
1 avocado
2 lemons
1 lime
3 tbspns olive oil


Cut the tuna steaks into pieces to marinade, I like to leave this enough to cut into sashimi style slices. 

Juice the lemons and the lime, add more if necessary ideally you want the juice to just cover the tuna in marinade

Cover and leave the tuna to marinade to your taste. If you like the tuna raw you should leave for 15 minutes or less, if you want the acid to cook through the meat you should leave for up to 4 hours or cut into smaller pieces.

When you take the fish out of the fridge it will have discoloured due to the cooking process, this is normal. 

Keep this in mind if serving to a dinner party since the fish can turn grey and unappealing if allowed to sit in the acid for too long. 

Dice the tuna into small cubes, I like to put some slices aside to have on their own.

Dice the vegetables and put in a mixing bowl.

Add the olive oil to the marinading mixture, making sure to remove any citrus seeds. Add to the ceviche mix to taste, about half the liquid should be enough. 

Garnish with one or two sprigs of the coriander, I like to serve it with slices of the marinated raw tuna like so.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Snapshot: Katana-ya, San Francisco

So the good thing about moving cities is a plethora of new restaurants to try out! Feeling a little down and homesick one day I treated myself to a "girly day" of movies, nail salons and what better comfort food but ramen?

A quick review of the local eateries online recommended Katana-ya and it turned out to be just around the corner from where I was staying. So I dashed out just as they were opening.

Any restaurant that has a line out the door waiting for it to open is usually worth a look, the fact that they were Japanese grandmas made it all the more promising. 

Like a real noodle bar in Japan the place is low on seats and high on shouts in Japanese, there's sushi and noodles and not a lot else on the menu. Mostly the place is packed with single eaters and couples wolfing down food. Like many popular ramen joints staying to talk is not encouraged. 

Mapo Tofu Ramen

I spotted a mapo tofu ramen on the menu and ordered it since it's not easy to find. The result? The noodles are not made fresh, but they're pretty good. Sadly there's no tonkotsu broths on the menu so I order this with a miso base. The meat and tofu are nice, and it looks as though they make their tofu on site. All in all it was pretty damn good, not up their with the best ramen I've ever had but definitely better than I was expecting to find in the US. I'll be going again. 

Katana Ya

Casual noodle dining
Very few seats, no reservations, expect to wait and eat fast

View Larger Map

Monday, July 16, 2012

Keto friendly recipes: Souvlaki with Tzatziki and Greek Salad


1/2 a lebanese cucumber
1 clove of garlic
250g pot of plain yoghurt

  • Tzatziki is best made the day before as the raw garlic needs time to mature in the yoghurt
  • Dice the garlic as finely as you can, place in a bowl with the yoghurt and mix thoroughly
  • Dice the cucumbers into small pieces and add to the yoghurt mix, stir thoroughly to coat
  • Place in the fridge overnight, before the meal drain off any excess water that has come from the cucumbers and stir again
  • Serve in a small bowl or on the side of your meal
  • Many yoghurts in the US are non fat, I recommend Brown Cow Plain Creamtop yoghurt which is whole milk and free of Bovine growth hormone, it is also low lactose and I can digest this without lactase

Greek Salad

1 cup of green leaves
1/4 a lebanese cucumber
1/2 a red onion
8 grape tomatoes
10 kalamata olives
100g of herbed goats cheese

  • Place the leaves on the base of your plate or bowl
  • Cut the cucumber into rounds 
  • Dice the onion and slice the tomatoes
  • Drain pitted olives
  • Place all the vegetables in your bowl 
  • Crumble the cheese on top
  • If desired dress with a balsamic/olive oil dressing


500g leg of lamb
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
3 tbspns of extra virgin olive oil
Salt for seasoning

  • Marinate the lamb as long as you can, either over night or from lunchtime for a dinner meal
  • Dice the lamb into evenly sized bite sized morsels and place in a bowl
  • Season liberally with salt, break the leaves off the rosemary and place in the bowl
  • Drizzle the oil on the meat, no need to be precise with the amount just ensuring that the meat is well coated
  • Mix through to ensure that the salt, herbs and oil are coated onto each piece
  • Place the bowl in the fridge well covered to seal

  • The oil may have turned cloudy or solidified due to the cooling, this is normal
  • At the time you're ready to cook take the meat out of the fridge and thread the pieces onto skewers
  • Leave the meat out to reach room temperature before cooking

  • Souvlaki can be cooked in any means you choose, over a wood barbecue is best 
  • In my case I'm frying because I've recently moved countries and have limited cooking equipment
  • Place flat on one edge of the meat and turn the skewers every 2-3 minutes until the meat is cooked

  • Once cooked be sure to leave the meat to rest before serving for around 5 mins
  • If you're a bay area local I recommend organic lamb from the Haight St Market

  • Whether you're low carb eating or not this is a delicious family meal just perfect on summer evenings. 
  • This recipe will serve 2 heartily. 
  • If you need your carbs back then serve with Pita and hummus for a delicious do it yourself wrap.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Comics for food lovers

It's Comic Con this weekend, so this is a great time to talk about comics for food lovers. First of all let's start with the fact that Anthony Bourdain food writer and television personality extraordinaire has released a graphic novel Get Jiro! G4 did a great interview with him about the book and how the project came into being.

Of course Japan has a comic book for just about everything and as a food loving nation there are many options for great food oriented manga. Here are some of my favourites.

Yakitate!! Japan follows Azuma Kazuma a sort of 'bread genius' who's intent on finding a bread suitable for the Japanese palette and making Japan as famous for bread as France or Germany.

Azuma enters competitions looking to gain a job at the main branch of the Pantasia bread chain, a prestigious job with Iron Chef style battles. Along the way he makes some friends, invents amazing recipes and solves family problems for the Pantasia owners. Watch out for the recipe on how to make bread in a rice cooker.

Oishinbo is probably my favourite comic of all time. It follows Tozai Shimbun a food writer for a Japanese newspaper searching for the Ultimate Meal. The comic focusses on different types and regions of food in Japan, each episode talks about how to find the most amazing ingredients for a dish, or how to improve a dish that doesn't hit the mark. It goes into huge depth on how to prepare foods including filetting fish, polishing rice and how best to store live animals prior to cooking.

For the Japanese food lover this goes into extreme detail on regional specialties, seasonal foods and unusual delicacies in Japanese cuisine. My only sadness is that you can currently only buy 6 collected 'best of' books rather than the 120 or so books that were released in Japanese. There's also an anime TV series based on the manga. I cannot recommend this book enough.

If you're thinking that the title of Iron Wok Jan invokes thoughts of Iron Chef you'd be right, though the Japanese title is Tetsunobe no Jan I assume the translaters were trying to carry on the Iron Chef obsession in America.

The comic follows Akiyama Jan an arrogant young chef with an excellent command of the Chinese cuisine. He heads to Gonbanchou a family owned Chinese restaurant in Ginza to show off his skills. Rivalries and cooking competitions follow of course!

Gokudo Meshi is 'gangster food' a story of a group of gangsters and criminals put away in South Naniwa prison who are obsessed with food. Each year they battle it out for the prized parts of the new years meal by telling stories of the best food they ever ate. Like many great food manga sadly there is no English translation for sale in print however one can easily find copies on Scanlation sites, armed with an eBook reader this presents no problems for keeping up with your favourite food manga. Gokudo Meshi was turned into the live action Japanese movie Sukiyaki in 2011.

Hungry for more? Check out Wikipedia's list of Cooking Anime and Manga for more.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Keto friendly recipes: Caprese Salad

Over the last couple of years I've gained what could affectionately be called "happy relationship weight" along with the Google 15 (who brought some friends) and in an attempt to curb this I've been trying the low carb/Keto approach to weight loss.

It's early days yet but to be honest, it's working. I'm not hungry and I've lost more weight in a week than I did in a month of low calorie low fat dieting. As a foodie though there's no way that I can eat steak for dinner every night or replace bread with grated cauliflower and lettuce. So I thought I'd post some of the keto/Atkins friendly food I've been eating starting with a simple one.

Caprese Salad

1 handful of basil leaves
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella bocconcini
1/2 cup grape or baby tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil


  • Wash and tear up the basil leaves
  • Cut the tomatos and the bocconcini
  • Combine in a bowl and toss thoroughly
  • Season to taste and drizzle with olive oil
  • Less than 5g of carbohydrates