Main meals

This category includes main meals, as well as the protein-only (meat/chicken/fish) options that form part of a dish. Be sure to check out the SIDE DISHES category to add that much-needed vegetable fibre to complete a well-balanced and nutritious keto supper.

Cod in Dill Cream Sauce

Keto Cod in Dill Cream

This dish was inspired by a staff meal I enjoyed while working at the Duck several years ago (imagine having the chefs of a 3-Michelin star restaurant cooking your lunch every day?) It is one of my favourite dishes to make using cod and I can’t stress enough how delicious it is. You simply have to try it for yourself. Each cod portion is approx 120g / 4.2oz and is poached in an enormous amount of cream. The stars of the show are the jammy onions hidden under the cod when baking and the generous amount of freshly chopped dill scattered over after baking. Double up the recipe to make this for your family, and enjoy alongside some high-fibre vegetables. See M&L Side Dishes for some ideas, but I will lean heavily towards advising it over my Keto Cauliflower Mash to mop up all that glorious sauce. Step-by-step pics to help you along …

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Ronald’s Lamb & Tomato Stew

Low Carb Lamb Stew
Low Carb Lamb Stew

Today is Valentine’s Day. It would also have been my dad’s 70th birthday…

I was 18 years old when it happened. We never figured out what killed him – he had the doctors, specialists and pathologists scratching their heads while he was in ICU and my brother and I didn’t have Google back in 1997 to perform our own Dr Google diagnosis to try and challenge them. A bizarre, unidentifiable bacteria attacked his lungs and he was dead within weeks of getting a blocked nose. We all thought it was a bad case of the flu: it wasn’t. He had made a recent business trip to central Africa, but nothing identifiable came up on the pathology results after a battery of tests. It was – and still is – a medical mystery..

My worst birthday was four years ago when I realised I had lived longer on this earth without him than with him. Too bizarre a thought.. I can still smell him! I remember every detail of every pore on his skin, his hairline, the gap in his teeth, his laugh, his sense of humour, his integrity…… and his love of people, Roy Orbison, Elvis, wine .. and food! I could write a whole book about this incredible man who I like to refer to as the Wind Beneath My Wings.

Most (winter) Saturday mornings while my brother and I were still asleep, my dad, Ronald (who was a successful banker) would go to the shops and stock up ingredients for his famous stove-top potije (a stew in South Africa). He had swept and mopped the kitchen floors and had mowed the lawn before my brother and I even opened an eyelid. By 10am, the smell of his stew slowly cooking away in the kitchen – along with the smell of fresh bread rolls – would lure us like lanky, hungry teenagers into the kitchen. Of course, we weren’t allowed in because the floors were still wet! Later in the day, while he sat devouring his Saturday newspapers and settled into watching rugby or cricket on TV, sipping his G&T or dry white wine, the smell of the stew wafted intensely throughout the house, assaulting all our senses. If we were careful enough, we could tip-toe into the kitchen and lift the heavy lid of the cast-iron pot with a tea towel; carefully open the brown packet of breadrolls and dip one into the stew sauce… HEAVEN! But it was always followed by a loud “I can hear you! Leave it alone, don’t touch it!“. LOL.. Oh daddy, he had eyes on the back of his head, just as he warned my boyfriends! 

We loved each other intensely, Dad and I. He knew how much I loved him and I knew he was proud of me. I could grieve (and still do) without guilt, what-if’s or should-have’s. I am not sure many people can say that when they lose someone.

Many years later, when I tried to recreate my dad’s lamb stew, I phoned and emailed all my uncles, my dad’s friends, my brother: ‘can you remember what Dad did? What recipe did he follow?‘ – no one could help me. He didn’t follow a recipe. He simply threw it all in a cast-iron pot and it tasted good because he made it with such love, passion and patience.

My recipe below will never be as good as Dad’s .. not even close. It’s just a simple lamb stew in a tomato-based sauce with some vegetables I remember mopping up. He is probably looking down, commenting on things I left out.. but I (now as a chef) can look back up and say, “oh but Daddy, you forgot about the Maillard Reaction …” LOL! Yes, I added few cheffy tips along the way to get the best results. In my own limited capacity, this is the only way I know how to honour him. Thank you for reading.

(Recipe below serves 5-6 people. Macros calculated on a 300g / 10.5oz serving. Enjoy served over Cauliflower Mash, Cauliflower Rice or Keto Rosemary Rolls, as pictured.

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Low-carb Chicken, Lemon and Oregano Bake

Low carb Chicken Oregano Bake
Low carb Chicken Oregano Bake

I LOVE fresh oregano, but struggle to find it here in the UK. When I spot it in the Trose, I grab a packet and make this dish! Its key to the overall flavour. If you have the same struggle I do, I advise you wait until fresh oregano can be sourced, as dried oregano may alter the flavour I worked so hard to perfect. The other predominant element is the lemony flavour throughout the dish. Its a fresh and essential part of the dish. The tomatoes and roasted red onions bring a sweetness in every mouthful, and the whole lot bakes in a pre-cooked (non-cauliflower-tasting) cauliflower rice. A fantastic dish to break a fast or to enjoy at dinner if your macros allow for 12g carbs in one sitting. Its a rich and tasty dinner, and all the flavours just work. Step-by-step pics to help you along …

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Low-carb Cabbage and Mince Rolls

Keto Cabbage Mince Rolls
Keto Cabbage Mince Rolls

Get a little creative with ground beef and savoy cabbage and spend some time making these attractive little parcels. I used the full yield of the Roasted Tomato Sauce recipe for this dish, so be sure to have that prepped and ready before beginning. (You could, alternatively use 500g / 18oz of passata, but I want to encourage you to make your own sauces so you know exactly what has gone into them.) One serving = 2 parcels (as pictured) so this recipe will happily feed a family of 4.

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Low-carb Sausage and Cabbage Soup

Low Carb Sausage and Cabbage Soup

You wouldn’t think that such simple ingredients could create a soup that would pack such a punch like this one can – and its all thanks to the Poles who brought us delicious Kielbasa (a smoked sausage found in the deli meat aisle.) For my South African readers, these are what we have come to know and love as ‘Russians’. This recipe is a great example of what we refer to as Dirty Keto. Its a low-carb soup (only 10g carbs per hearty bowl)… but the small amount amounts of wheat and soy found in the sausages are considered highly frowned upon with the keto police. And they are correct, wheat is inflammatory and the Kielbasa itself is a processed meat. BUT …if you are not so strict and you are happy to give this a go on your low-carb / dirty keto journey, you will love the homely, hearty flavours the Kielbasa brings, along with the glorious flavour of smoked paprika. (Plus, its fun to be filthy once in a while….) If its not substantial enough as a main meal, serve it up with a slice or two of the Quick Chia Keto Bread.

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Pork Shank with Mustard Keto Gravy

Pork Shank with Keto Mustard Gravy
Pork Shank with Keto Mustard Gravy

This recipe uses a beautiful, fresh (not cured) shank which you can get from your local butcher. (Be sure to ask him to score the fat for you.) I slow-cooked it in a casserole (covered with a well-fitting lid) in the oven, along with onions, garlic and stock. Afterwards, I made a gravy from the cooked down onions and juices, and cranked the heat up in the oven to puff that skin up for that all-glorious crackling. A 1kg /2.2lb / 35oz shank will sufficiently feed 4 people and should be enjoyed with my Keto Creamy Cauliflower Mash, so that the accompanying mustard gravy – which really makes the dish sing – can be mopped up. Be sure to check out the Side Dishes option on the site and choose your favourite one to enjoy alongside it. The 11g carbs per serving includes only the pork and gravy on this recipe, so while this may seem quite hefty to you, why not save this Sunday roast to break your fast if you are intermittent fasting (IF).

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Low-carb Peri-Peri Chicken Livers

Low carb Peri Peri Chicken Livers
Low carb Peri Peri Chicken Livers

Aaah, chicken livers… you either love ‘em or hate ‘em. I must admit though, I dated two blokes in my life that wouldn’t touch them – until they tried mine. Now I don’t want to blow smoke up my own ass, but the one was completely converted, and I am married to the other one who puts in formal requests for me to make this dish. I think it’s the texture of the livers that bother people, so I get them browned first, then remove them from the pan, only to add them later after the sauce has thickened and reduced so they can gently cook through. This prevents them over-cooking and ‘crumbling’. They are also a fantastic source of iron. For those that love Nando’s® (er, who doesn’t?), they sell a killer hot sauce which is my go-to for this recipe (#DirtyKeto) and is available at most supermarkets in the UK. Add a dollop of sour cream, garnish with parsley and tuck into your bowl with a spoon – nothing else needed. If you are cooking for more people, double up the recipe using the plugin feature and increase your cooking time to reduce the sauce. In fact, I suggest you make a double batch anyway because its simply glorious the next day after all those flavours settle in and get to know each other. At 12g carbs per serving, you may want to tuck into this after a fast (if you are IF), or save it as a weekend treat.

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Slow-cooked Lamb Shoulder with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Keto Roasted Lamb Shoulder
Keto Lamb Shoulder

Lamb is my absolute favourite meat! As previously posted, Funnyman makes the best ribs, but when we are feeling fancy or entertaining guests on a lazy, winter Sunday afternoon, I love to whip up a slow-roasted shoulder. The best part of this recipe isn’t the lovely roasted tomatoes that are served alongside it (which perfectly cut through the fat with its plump sweetness), but the deeply-rich, thick 100% keto-friendly gravy that I make with the juices and cooked down onions. Check out the M&L Side Dishes section for some ideas for additional accompaniments this Christmas…

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Pork Belly with Keto Gravy & Relish

Keto Pork Belly with Red Onions
Keto Pork Belly with Red Onions

I have been so excited to put up this post in the lead up to Christmas! It’s the perfect option for a lazy, Sunday afternoon roast. Or, if your Christmas party is small this year and you aren’t a fan of turkey (like me), why not do something different? This pork belly recipe will happily feed five people and features a delicious, thick 100% keto-friendly gravy. Do not skip the red onion herb relish, its the ideal acidic, sweet accompaniment that cuts through the fatty pork. I enjoyed this with my Keto Celeriac Dauphinoise – both of which are my most popular recipes on the blog!

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Quick-and-Easy Low-carb Phở Bo

Low carb Pho Bo
Low carb Pho Bo

Backpacking around Vietnam with Funnyman in 2010 was one of our best holidays ever! I recall having phở (pronounced “fuh” – not “foo” or “foh”) for the first time in Hanoi – and I was blown away! I happily slurped it down numerous times as we travelled from north-to-south over those 3 weeks! Now, almost 10 years later, and hardcore into my low-carb lifestyle, I wanted to relive those awesome memories so I created a quick 15-minute phở which may not be like granny’s authentic bowl of phở on the Hanoi street corner, but its damn close! I used the (konjac / shirataki) ‘noodles‘ from the UK company Eat Water’s range to make it low-carb friendly. You will love it! Let me know how you get on..

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