Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Recipe: Tangy goat's cheese green salad

Requests for salad ideas are always coming up on my Keto Recipes board so I thought it was time to record some of my favourites.

Tangy goat's cheese and greens salad 

60g (2oz) Chevre soft goats cheese
1 baby romaine lettuce
2 slices of red onion
1/4 cup pickled artichokes
1/2 medium hass avocado
1 tbpsn hazelnut oil
juice from 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste


  • Hazelnut oil isn't the cheapest but it is absolutely delicious and a little goes a long way. You can use any light oil such as grape seed or canola if you don't want to shell out for specialty oil. 
  • In the US I buy Laura Chenel's Chevre as well as being light, moist and locally produced it is available in Bay Area Costco franchises. At around $7 for 6-8 salads worth this is an affordable luxury. 
  • Rinse the lettuce and cut off the stem, slice the leaves into 3/4 inch width strips
  • Cut 2 large slices off a red onion and dice into strips
  • Cut the avocado and remove the seed, dice the flesh into cubes
  • Drain the artichokes of oil and cut each piece in half
  • Place all the vegetables in a salad bowl. Season the salad with salt and pepper
  • Add the lemon juice and oil and toss the salad to ensure all the vegetables are dressed and seasoned
  • Once the salad is tossed then crumble the goat's cheese using a fork over the dressed salad, do not add the cheese before dressing as it will break down
  • Serve with your favourite chicken or fish dish

Monday, February 17, 2014

Recipe: Low Carb Peanut Butter Cups

You can always buy Atkins' brand low carb peanut butter cups but I'm not a fan of processed foods and the quality of the chocolate leaves a lot to be desired. These are my 'go to' low carb treat, they're easy to make and very satisfying.

Low Carb Peanut Butter Cups

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
115g (4oz) 100% Cocoa chocolate
1 tspn natural vanilla essence
100g unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated Splenda


  • I buy 100% Cacao Ghirardelli baking chocolate; it melts well and the texture is smoother than many other low sugar/high cocoa bars on the market. 
  • I tried experimenting with adding sweetener to the chocolate but it causes it to split. If you must have sweetened chocolate use Liquid Stevia or Sucralose and melt the chocolate with 1 tbspn of coconut oil using a double boiler.
  • Prepare enough space in your freezer for a baking tray, you will need the space for 3 separate phases of preparation. 
  • Take a muffin tray and line it with muffin cases; I use silicon muffin cases for easy removal and no papery bits in your chocolate. 
  • Melt half the chocolate using a double boiler or a microwave on high for 1 minute. Place 1 tspn of the melted chocolate into each muffin case. 
  • While the chocolate is still warm swhirl the tray so that the chocolate covers the bottom of the muffin case. If you have a deft hand you can get the chocolate to also coat the sides of the muffin tin so that it will encase the peanut mixture later.
  • Place the tray into the freezer for 20 mins to let the chocolate set, this is vital to get the layered cup effect. Once the bottom layer is cold you can begin to prepare the peanut mixture.
  • Heat the peanut butter and butter until they are melted together, this will seem quite liquid but once cooled will add a creamy effect. Add the Splenda and Vanilla essence to the peanut mixture and stir thoroughly until the Splenda has dissolved.
  • Place 1 tbspn of the peanut mixture in each muffin tin and return the tray to the freezer for another 20 mins or until the peanut mixture sets.
  • Melt the remaining chocolate and place 1 tspn of chocolate into each muffin tin. Again swhirl the tray so that the melted chocolate completely covers the peanut mixture. 
  • Return the tray to the freezer for at least 20 more minutes, once the cups are fully set you can remove them from the tray and store in an airtight container. Keep refrigerated for up to a month.
  • This makes 24 small (86 cals, 2.3g net carbs, 8.3g fat) or 12 very generous (172 cals, 4.5g net carbs, 16.5g fat) peanut butter cups.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

What I'm watching right now...

Living in the US is the first time I've had cable TV for any extended period and lets face it my TV is almost perpetually tuned to the Food Network, the Cooking Channel or the Travel Channel. Recently we also discovered that we have seemingly endless 'on demand' options meaning I can search for new shows on my tablet and send them directly to my TV rather than having to chance on advertisements for new shows.

Easy Chinese

Ching-He Huang is a UK raised Chinese chef who makes for a chipper and charismatic host. Each episode of Easy Chinese picks a theme of Chinese cuisine - sweets, celebration food, dumplings and explores eateries famous for each dish. The majority of the show focuses on recipes inspired by her outings rather than the restaurants so this is a show for the chef not the consumer. I love her take on authentic Asian food and for the Asian newbie her recipes are simple and delicious. I was thoroughly amused to see her as confused by American style Chinese food as I was on first contact. If you enjoy Ching-He's style then check out her other how Restaurant Redemption which is a Restaurant Impossible style makeover show for Asian Takeaway joints.

Top Chef

 Well you knew this though right? Top Chef just seems to get better and better with every season. High quality chefs are put to challenging tasks creating new dishes, new restaurants and highlighting their own style. The guests and judges are the creme de la creme of the food world - Tom Colicchio, Wolfgang Puck, Anthony Bourdain, Eric Ripert, David Chang, Daniel Boulud to name but a few. This is the pinnacle of television for those who take their food seriously. Season 11 has been fantastic with some excellent new challenges focused on Creole cuisine in New Orleans.

Man vs Food Nation

Man vs Food is not for the feint hearted; host Adam Richman visits restaurants around the Americas the offer food challenges. In the first three seasons "Man vs Food" Adam himself performed each and every one of the challenges; sometimes he won, sometimes food won. If you despise food wastage or American fast food I suggest you avoid, however it's like watching a delicious car crash. The only problem is that Adam is a wonderful host, and as time went on you could see the impact that the constant gluttony had on his health. Presumably his doctors intervened because now we have Man vs Food Nation; the format is the same, Adam visits local eateries and then a food challenge ensues. The only difference is that now fans of the show perform the challenges and you don't have to watch the same person suffer week after week. Other than the unbelievable challenges Adam visits some wonderful "mom & pop" restaurants all over America that are worth checking out.

Restaurant Express

Restaurant Express is a reality competition show recently added to the Food Network lineup. Each week contestant spin up a pop up restaurant and compete for business; as if each episode was it's own Top Chef Restaurant Wars. The host is Robert Irvine whose grumpy but caring style I love from Restaurant Impossible. The first season was a monumental success and I hope to see more of this show in future.

Giada At Home

Giada de Laurentiis is an Italian born chef with a casual easy presentation style. Giada at Home focuses on authentic family style Italian and Sicilian recipes. Many are simple enough for the new cook and the food is very family friendly if you're looking to feed a clan. I love that Giada uses 'real' ingredients - plenty of good quality oils, flours, meats and full fat cheese. Now if only I could work out how she stays so slim on this diet I'd be happy.