I just love konjac / shirataki noodles and clean out the shelves at Holland & Barret when they have a penny sale! I have tried many brands, but UK company Eat Water has got them spot on (this post is not sponsored, none of the posts on M&L are). In this recipe, I poached salmon in coconut milk which was infused with lemongrass, chili and ginger, then served it over warm ‘fettuccine‘ and added toasted desiccated coconut for additional texture and flavour. Its a lovely, light dish which happens to be very filling – all this at only 7.7g carbs per serving: perfect!
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 bread rolls 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.
Something for upcoming Valentine’s Day… This easy, low-carb white chocolate mousse was made using only a few ingredients, with a distinct ‘Turkish Delight’ flavour coming from the necessary addition of rose water. Its a lovely, fragrant dessert that is so pretty to look at – and even better to tuck into! I added a little pink food colouring, but that is entirely optional. Each serving is approx 135g / 4.8oz, which is very generous, and only 2.8g carbs per serving, – you can get away with it! You can choose to simply divide the mixture between 4 dessert bowls, or you can pipe them in like I did. It was only afterwards I realised it resembles a pink rose (well, at a stretch), so I encourage you to put in the little extra effort. Important technique tip: Allow the melted cocoa butter buttons to cool sufficiently before adding to the cream to avoid a grainy mousse. Also, be careful not to over-whip the cream, nobody wants rose water butter…
This is a nifty way to mimic rice when you are serving a dish that needs all its lovely sauces mopped up. I cooked down onions and garlic to add more flavour before adding and cooking the blitzed cauliflower. It’s high in fibre and filling. You can play around and pimp it using different freshly chopped herbs or flavoured oils, but this recipe below is a good ‘base’, so go wild. Be sure to also check out my Creamy Keto Cauliflower Mash.
I love this dish! I baked baby onions in a thyme-infused cream and topped with a crumb made from blitzed lean pork scratchings and finely grated Parmesan. When I made this dish for us, we ended up eating them on top of our grilled pork chops: Lush! The peeling of the onions is mind-numbingly annoying and a finicky job, but the results are worth it in the end. Be sure to keep the little root end intact to ensure the onions keep their shape, but use a small, sharp paring knife to trim it close enough that the entire onion is edible. (And don’t jab yourself like I did doing that …. #BloodFest2018)
When hosting dinner parties and braais, Funnyman and I don’t make a big deal of our keto journey (unless asked). When hosting, I simply make exact versions of the desserts I serve my guests and serve as normal, making sure we get the keto-friendly versions (this is mainly due to artificial sweeteners which not everyone has a taste for). This past summer, when making little berry meringue baskets for my guests, I whipped up a sugar-free version for the two of us. While my rustic meringue baskets weren’t snow-white like the store-bought versions my guests received, they were still pretty damn tasty and hit the sweet spot. If you prefer to make a mess of this (I mean, to literally make a Berry Mess), simply use the Mini Meringues recipe and mix it all together just before serving… (as opposed to making a pretentious, deconstructed version like I have done here by piping them into baskets…)
I made a batch of these to use in a Keto Blueberry Mess I was playing around with one day. They are so delightful and the perfect sweet treat to pop in your mouth when you walk past them. (They lasted about half a day in my house with Funnyman’s sweet tooth!) Add to whipped cream and blueberries and you have yourself a tasty mess..
Funnyman loves his after-dinner treats so much (my Blueberry Lollies and Keto Brownies are his favourite), but I am getting bored churning them out since we started keto a few months ago, so I am now on a mission to shake things up and experiment with different flavours. These lollies were made using raspberries and rose water and I added a drop or two of pink food colouring to make them pretty! Fragrant and creamy with little tart raspberry bits throughout, you should definitely give these a try!
These mini kebabs are like someone said, “let’s take all the best keto items and grill them on a skewer!” Bacon? “Yes please!” Prawns? “Yes please!” Avocado? “Oh, stop it, now you are just showing off!” They are a little finicky to make, but totes worth it in the end. A fun, tasty appetiser at your next braai (BBQ)…
If anyone in the Berkshire area is wondering why they can’t source lamb ribs at The Trose (over summer when they stock it), its because Funnyman and I empty the shelves on every visit and stock up our chest freezer to last the winter. It must be our favourite item on the braai and we enjoy it many nights. Funnyman is the one who cooks them, while I sit back (and sip my G-and-sugar-free-T) mostly yelling instructions on the sidelines much to his annoyance. He likes them with this creamy mustard-mayo dip (included in the macros), but I love them just as they are…