Mark’s Famous Pepper Chicken

Mar's Famous Keto Pepper Chicken
Mar's Famous Keto Pepper Chicken

Bless his socks. This is without fail what Funnyman makes me when I need a night off from cooking and he isn’t treating me with his Lamb Ribs (…that man loves his black pepper!) He has perfected it over the years and has implemented little tricks that I shared with him (like the importance of a meat thermometer probe), so I simply love it! There isn’t much to it, its roast thicken thighs covered in (it’s body weight of) freshly ground black pepper prior to cooking. A quick fry on the stove-top skin-side down to render and crisp the fat, then finished in the oven, skin-side up. The accompanying sauce is a mix of mayo and Sriracha and I have included it in the macros because that’s how we enjoy it. If you prefer a ‘stricter’ keto dip, simply stir in homemade chili paste into your homemade mayo.

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South African Homemade Biltong.. the way to my heart

South African Biltong

In case it hasn’t been clear (with all my talk of braaing!), I am living in the UK now, but I was born and raised in sunny South Africa. Those that know me will note that this post is way overdue – BILTONG: The way to my heart since I first chewed on it while teething as a baby (how teething is dealt with in South Africa) and my favourite keto snack ever! There are numerous stores around the UK that sell excellent biltong, but nothing beats the satisfaction of making your own homemade biltong. 

You could probably fashion your own biltong maker (box, light, fan) but my trusty one has never let me down. It gets used a lot and has a permanent spot on my kitchen counter. Regarding the spices, go ahead and try several or make your own, but Freddy Hirsch has perfected it! Step-by-step pics below.

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Keto Breakfast Bacon & Egg ‘Muffins’

Keto Breakfast Bacon muffins
Keto Breakfast Bacon muffins

These little zero carb keto breakfast ‘muffins’ are something of a mini-frittata. They are very rich, so one batch could last you a couple of mornings (they store well in the fridge). Pop them in the microwave for a quick keto-friendly breakfast. Do change up the filling – mushroom, peppers and different cheese all work well. If you can’t be bothered with cleaning the muffin tin (eggs are notorious for sticking), use cupcake cases. One serving = 2 muffins.

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Keto Courgette and Brie Soup

Keto Courgette and Brie Soup
Keto Courgette and Brie Soup

Inspiration for this recipe came from my darling friend, Little Debbie Bryson who makes something similar at her sop-en-dop* birthday party every winter in Cape Town. Since moving to UK, I have sadly missed so many of them. This is for you LDB, I know it doesn’t compare to yours – but I slurped my version up with a longing lump in my throat. The recipe makes two hearty bowls, filling enough as a main meal, but you could make it stretch to 4 servings and enjoy it as a late-afternoon light meal (cup-of-soup) and halve the macros accordingly..

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Cauliflower-crust Pizza with Pepperoni

Keto Cauliflower Base Pizza
Keto Cauliflower Base Pizza

I know Mud and Love is coming late to the cauliflower-crust pizza party, but its only because I wanted to try it myself and develop a recipe that I know is tasty and that works! Follow my version below and your gut will thank you: it’s not only high in fibre, but with the addition of tasty, keto-friendly toppings, you could fool yourself and your family that you are having The Real Thing. (1 pizza = 2 servings, and it comes in at 11g carbs per serving (including toppings). If you aren’t convinced, do try out my Fathead Pizza Base, which is just as delicious!

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Best-ever Keto Smoked Salmon Salad

Keto Best Smoked Salmon Salad
Keto Best Smoked Salmon Salad

Smoked salmon brings back such fond memories for me when I worked on a cruise ship in Alaska in my early twenties. We pretty much had smoked salmon on tap – it was excellent quality and it was bliss! Now, just to be clear, working on cruise ships may sound glamorous, but its not. At least, it wasn’t for me. I was hired as a photographer, but the small print indicated that I also had to dress up in giant animal outfits and have my picture taken with guests like a port mascot on most days. When we docked in Ketchikan on Wednesdays, I was a beaver (see pics below for proof!); on Thursdays in Juneau, I was either a moose or a polar bear. Every Friday, at the tender port of Sitka, I was a bald eagle… And every second Monday when we docked in Vancouver, I was fully-kitted out as a Mountie. Thankfully, Saturdays were sea days, so I was spared the humiliation of kids trying to knock my giant beaver head off.

Off-piste, apologies … back to the salad! This has to be one of my favourite salads to throw together. Apart from the deliciously fatty salmon and avocado generously covered in fresh lemon juice, it boasts capers, toasted pine nuts and shaved Parmesan: that’s just about all my favourite ingredients in one fairly posh salad!

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Keto Greek Village Salad

Keto Greek Village Salad
Keto Greek Village Salad

Funnyman took me to Santorini in 2015 (life before keto) so that I could recover from an (emotionally and physically) unpleasant abdominal operation. We spent 8 days in the sun, drinking beer and Ouzo and eating our body weight in seafood, lamb and salads – pretty much doing everything opposite to what the surgeons advised me. I couldn’t have cared less – we were in Greece, my life had changed forever and I felt sorry for myself.  Returning home, I realised that Greece ruined tomatoes for me. The tomatoes in Greece are simply the most fantastically-delicious balls of heaven you will ever come across – and any tomato you eat after visiting Greece will be a sore disappointment. Here in the UK, opt for organic, deep-red, on-the-vine, and ones that look over-ripe, and you might find something close. But if you want the best – go to Greece! (And please don’t store tomatoes in the fridge…)

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Keto Creamy Pesto-stuffed Chicken Breasts

Keto Creamy Pesto-stuffed Chicken Breasts
Keto Creamy Pesto-stuffed Chicken Breasts

I have made this dish so many times and it just keeps getting better. It’s not easy doing something remarkable with chicken breasts: they can be somewhat underwhelming and can easily dry out. These are juicy, moist and bursting with flavour. I love smoked paprika and rubbed the breasts with it before frying on both sides, then stuffing and finishing in the oven. The stuffing was simply two ingredients that when combined are simply out of this world (one being my Homemade Basil Pesto which you really must try). Enjoy this simple, mid-week meal of pesto-stuffed chicken breasts – it may become your new breast friend (… see what I did there?)

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Low-carb Sausage and Cauliflower Bake

This recipe doesn’t require a long-winded headnote because it is so fabulous! It’s SO simple, tasty, moreish and filling – and I bet your kids will even love it. This recipe yields 3 servings, and would go well with a lovely, fresh green salad. Each hearty serving comes in at only 6.6g carbs. You could double the recipe to serve 6 (using the handy plug-in below) – and use a larger casserole. Be sure to use Gruyere cheese, as I am not sure Cheddar or any other cheese would pack the same punch.

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