Light meals & Appetisers
Smaller meals when you just aren’t that hungry, the recipes listed on this section are for those with a smaller appetites, or when you need quick lunch ideas. Some are also great options to serve as tapas or even an appetiser at your next dinner party…
I posted an amazing Stuffed Squid tubes recipe a little while ago (it’s a fantastic recipe and I encourage you to try it). But, as a variation here, I used some of my Keto Basil Pesto and I combined it with cream cheese and finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes for the stuffing: TOO delicious! I often refer to my pesto, but it deserves the punt: its SO fresh, clean and full of flavour. Enjoy this dish as an appetiser between two people (as macros are calculated), or use the plug-in below to increase the yield to serve more.
I just love crumbed ‘shrooms! Here, I made a quick, keto-friendly crumb from lean pork scratchings, nutritional yeast flakes and some coconut flour: SO good. We don’t fry them for very long due to the nature of the ‘crumb’, so you need to please use baby button mushrooms here, or simply halve or quarter regular button mushrooms. Delicious served with my Roast Garlic Aioli, as pictured*.
I posted a recipe of Cream-baked Broccoli a little while ago (it’s a lush recipe: rich, filling and full-flavoured). However, I wanted to take the concept up a notch and add crispy bacon and Cheddar (can we all take a moment to high-five the keto way-of-life: what other “diets” can encourage adding bacon and cheese?)… Anyway, I created this recipe in 4 individual little stoneware pots (because its SO cute) but you can make this same recipe in an appropriately-sized dish if you choose to – as long as the end-result serves 4 people in even-sized portions as that is how the macros were calculated..
Who doesn’t love fried calamari? I used the easily-available squid tubes (available frozen in most supermarkets) to create lovely, full-flavoured fried squid. Tossed lightly in coconut flour, you get all the deliciousness without the gluten, carbs or guilt. This is a lovely, light appetiser for two and this was how the macros were calculated. If you choose to have this as a main meal, or wish to scale up to serve more, use the handy plug-in on the recipe below to help you along (if you choose to do this, please cook the squid in batches to avoid over-crowding the pan).
I love squid! Grilled, crumbed, fried, stuffed.. if it’s on a menu, its in my mouth! Remember, I grew up in South Africa, so we pretty much had excellently-prepared calamari at ANY restaurant 365 days a year. I live in the UK now, so I sadly have to settle on what we all have access to: frozen squid tubes at Tesco. I know, I know… it’s not ideal, they are smaller and not what I am accustomed to, but THIS recipe is fantastic and will make a lovely tapas / appetiser for two (and that is how the macros were calculated). If you choose to enjoy this recipe by yourself (or if you choose to increase the recipe amounts to serve more), simply use the plug-in below and adjust your macros accordingly. Enjoy…
While liver PATE is lovely, liver PARFAIT is different and something truly special. A pate is simply blitzed cooked ingredients, but a parfait includes butter and eggs in a raw, tempered mixture which is blitzed and passed through a fine mesh sieve to achieve a smooth and creamy (dreamy) mixture before baking at a low temperature, Baine-Marie-style. Believe me, it’s well worth the extra love and effort! This recipe fills 4 ramekins, and I calculated the macros that each ramekin can be shared and enjoyed between two people. If you aren’t hosting a dinner-party-for-eight, simply freeze the remaining ramekins like I did. I spread this creamy parfait on my Keto Chia Seed Crackers* (as pictured).
These fantastically crispy, mixed seed crackers can be used to scoop up your favourite dip or salsa. Follow the recipe below to yield 10 even-sized slices, because at only 2.4g carbs per serving (one serving = 2 large crackers), you can now do so completely guilt-free! Don’t omit the salt (as I did in my first trial) because its a necessary addition. Be sure to also cook both sides to achieve maximum crunch and colour. A batch of these lasted several days in a sealed Tupperware and I happily spread my Keto Chicken Liver Parfait on them. Be sure to sign up to the monthly e-newsletter to ensure you never miss a recipe. Enjoy!
There is debate over whether its sarnies or sarmies. I don’t know about you, but I grew up in South Africa – and we called it sarmies-with-an-m. Any which way you say it, this is just a quick idea to showcase the M&L Keto Seed Loaf where I made mini chicken mayo sandwiches for a quick meal. I simply tossed cooked chicken pieces in my Homemade Mayonnaise and enjoyed it with deliciously sweet tomato slices and avocado. Clean eating all the way! (Top tip: if any seeds fall off the crust of the loaf, scatter them over your sandwich for extra crunch and texture.) The macros include the whole lot (two slices, as pictured): not too bad for a lovely lunch using all of your efforts.
If you are doing an egg-fast, or need some inspiration to jazz up eggs, may I remind you about the very simple, classic dish of cream-baked eggs, also known as oeufs en cocotte. My recipe below is uncomplicated and packed with flavour (it’s my current addiction when I don’t feel like cooking or if Funnyman is travelling!) Ramekins are essential for this specific recipe, but if you choose to use a wider, shallower dish, you may need to shave some time off the cooking. Its 30 minutes in the oven for the whites to set and for the double cream to bake to a heavenly flavour, but it’s well worth waiting for. I seasoned the cream with smoked salt flakes and garnished the finished dish with some some chives (to make it cute).
Nostalgia is a strange thing and it was only my time spent at the Fat Duck that really made me appreciate the link between nostalgia and food. Although I live in UK now, I am from Cape Town and grew up in Johannesburg. Winters were bitterly cold in Joeys, and there was no such thing as central heating to help you through those months. Soups were standard and my favourite one was a creamy tomato soup my mother made (from a packet!). I attempted a homemade one the other day and was delighted that it was just how I remember (even better that I knew exactly what went into it). Its a hefty 9.8g carbs per cup, but worth it since its so filling and moreish. I used the gluten-free Knorr chicken stock pots, but you can use your own homemade chicken broth for an even cleaner soup.
Need a pretty-looking appetiser in a hurry? These little domes are simply made using seasoned cream cheese wrapped in smoked salmon. To achieve the cute ‘dome’ shape, I shaped them using clingfilm-lined mini pudding (dariole) moulds, then tipped them out upside down before serving, making them an ideal ‘make-ahead’ appetiser. Try these with slices of toasted Quick Chia Keto Bread* for a lovely, fresh appetiser for four people.
I have worked so hard to make keto bread… and let me tell you, its not easy! This one is loosely based on the 90-second microwave bread I feature (its a fantastic recipe and I get loads of awesome feedback on it). The only issue is that that recipe needs a very specific Tupperware-size to make it and THIS one doesn’t. It requires only a bread baking tin (mine was 18 x 9cm / 7-in x 3.5-in) and I feel like I have a real winner with this one! I liken this bread to what I remember rye bread being. Its fairly dense, makes a smallish loaf – and really delivers on flavour!
There are many nights where Funnyman and I sit and brainstorm new dishes to create for the blog. I only feature dishes on this blog that we LOVE to eat and WANT to eat, so please forgive me if there aren’t many“10-minute-minimum-effort-meals” because that’s not the kind of cooking I like to do. I love being in my kitchen and I love experimenting with ingredients in my pantry! As a chef, I know ingredients need to be respected and cooked in a way that will make them shine. As a low carb blogger, this is where I love to get stuck in because I love a challenge. We were recently reminiscing about our trip to Cozumel, he firmly instructed me to make keto jalapeño poppers. So I did…
I know, I know …. how flipping cute is this breakfast? I bought several mini cast-iron pans (13cm / 5-in diameter) just so that I can make this breakfast for house guests. My version of Shakshuka is super simple: the cooked tomatoes are spiced with ground cumin, cayenne and smoked paprika, then an egg is cracked into the centre and baked to perfection. To finish, I used smoked sea salt flakes to season. TIP: These would be great served with my Keto Breakfast Muffins. Enjoy your brunch!
I know summer is still a while away here up north, but this is a great idea for you to bookmark if you are cooking for one and can’t be bothered with an accompanying sauce or cooking up vegetables. After frying the steak to perfection (I hope your perfection is the same as my perfection: medium-rare) and leaving it to rest, I simply deglazed the pan with lemon juice and used the zingy rendered juices from the pan (after cooling a little) and tossed it with wild rocket (arugula). The steak tagliata only requires a generous scattering of salt flakes and finely shaved Parmesan. If you have a microplane, finely grate a little lemon zest into the salad too. Winner winner singleton’s dinner!