CREAMY ROASTED CAULIFLOWER CHEESE SOUP

It’s getting decidedly colder in our neck of the woods, and I’m getting lazier. The natural remedy to this is SOUP. It’s pretty hard to mess up when making a soup, and your options are endless – the taste is up to you and it’s also fairly easy to keep it low carb if required.

Last night’s “winging it” soup came out beautifully, so I thought I’d share with you. Remember though, any recipe is merely a guideline – tweak to suit your own tastes.

I did add sweet potato mash to this soup, but that was a left over from a lunch ordered while out and I didn’t want to waste it, so this soup was carbed up a tad; usually I’d omit.

Ingredients

1kg frozen cauliflower
1 red onion
Garlic (I used pickled garlic cloves we have in the fridge, fresh is perfect)
Olive oil for roasting
Seasonining of your choice for roasting (I used chilli flakes and himalayan salt)
4 rashers streaky bacon
1/4 tub smooth cream cheese full fat
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 tub sour cream
1 cup pouring cream
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup water
1 tsp nutmeg

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Roughly chop cauliflower and onion, season as preferred, place on baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for roughly 40 minutes – took mine out as the cauliflower started to brown.

Roughly chop bacon up and fry on high heat until crispy.

Place all ingredients in a large pot on the stove and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, blend and serve!

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ALL THE Cooking Weekend – Zucchini Brownies, Cauli Pizzas, Cheesy “Bread” Sticks and Eggplant Pizza Bites

I cannot recall when last I’ve spent so much time in our kitchen! This past weekend was all about trying out new (and old and trusted) LCHF recipes to ensure we stayed legal and on the banting wagon. Some of us did better than others *cough cough looking at you Chicken cough cough*.

I’m now down 3kg’s since getting serious about what I eat again from 4th January. I really should be happier with my results as I’m only two weeks in and percentage wise that’s a fifth of what I want to lose, but somehow I’m not. When I got on the scale this morning I was actually rather disappointed – somehow my silly brain expected a miracle because I spent an extra 20 minutes on a treadmill walking this weekend HAHAHAHAHA. Anyway, it’s a start. ONWARD!

Here are the things we shoved in our faces this weekend.

Mini Cauliflower Pizza’s

Unlike most recipes for a cauliflower pizza base, this one doesn’t require ninja skills on drainage and odd scraps of material. I used a recipe from GirlVersusDough found on Tablespoon with two variations – I added an additional egg as well as a 1/4 cup of almond flour. Probably not strictly necessary but I felt it gave the “dough” a bit more substance and helps combat the natural excess fluid resulting from not going all ninja on your cooked cauliflower pre baking.

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Brinjal Pizza Bites

Sensing a theme here? 😛 I love eggplant. It’s an odd looking vegetable and as a kid I despised the things, but with age comes a more refined (fussy, if you ask the other half) palate.

I made these by slicing an eggplant vertically into roughly 2cm thick slices, coating them with coconut oil and popping into a 180 degree C oven for about 40 minutes, flipping them regularly. While that was going I made a simple tomato sauce base which was one can chopped tomato and onion mix (All Gold – they tend to have the lowest carb count from the canned mixes), a sprinkle of Xylitol, chopped chilli’s and a few dashes of Maggi Aroma sauce (my absolute favorite secret weapon ingredient!) and let it all simmer away until it thickened to my liking. I topped the brinjal slices with the tomato base, added a mix of grated mozzarella and gouda on top, sprinkled some mixed herbs over it all, and popped back into the oven for 10 minutes. These are damn tasty.

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Cheesy “Bread” Sticks:

I used up the remaining “dough” from my cauli mini pizzas to go with our braaied lamb chops yesterday to make a banting version of cheesy breadsticks, and they turned out damn well. Simply spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray, thin your “dough” out to roughly 1cm thick, top with your choice of toppings and cheese (I put dehydrated olives, chilli’s and mixed herbs on mine as well as a mix of grated mozzarella and cheddar), and pop into oven on low temp (mine was at 100 C) for about 40 minutes, or until you’re happy with the colour and texture. I didn’t manage to get a great pic of these, and they disappeared fairly quickly, but here you go none the less 😛

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THE WEEKEND WINNER – Zucchini Brownies

OMFG. PERFECTION. Seriously – Karina deserves a damn medal for this recipe! The only thing I did differently to her instructions was to throw all my ingredients in one bowl and mix with spoon, because I’m lazy that way – she does dry first and then adds wet ingredients. So, her already easy recipe just got easier – my brownies were still ridiculously good. MADE WITH BABY MARROW’S. Yes, I know, I’m still trying to wrap my head around that one. These passed three sweet tooth tester’s palates, and all agreed they are fantastic. You don’t even feel like it’s a banting / low carb sub for a treat – it tastes just like the real thing. Here’s the recipe from Cafe Delites for you:

 

 
 Serves: 16 Brownies
 
Low Carb Zucchini Brownies are so incredibly moist and fudgy AND flour-less and healthy! All in one bowl! Hello low carb lovers!
Weight Watchers: 2pp per brownie!
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup finely shredded zucchini (use the smallest blade on a cheese grater. It should look like a puree).
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, measured in melted state (or sub with any vegetable oil you have)
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup natural granulated sweetener (or granulated sugar of choice — coconut; white sugar) *See Notes
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup peanut flour
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (or ¼ cup if you don’t like them too rich)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 squares Lindt 90% chocolate (or chocolate of choice), cut into pieces/chunks
 
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 176°C | 350°F. Line a 8×8″ baking pan with baking?parchment paper, or lightly grease with oil spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the zucchini, butter, oil, egg, sweetener (or sugar), and vanilla until well combined. Add the peanut flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt; folding through slowly until just combined. The batter will be thick but shouldn’t be dry. (It depends on how much liquid your zucchini has! If too dry, add 1-2 tablespoons of water). Fold in half of the chocolate chunks; pour batter into prepared pan; sprinkle remaining chocolate chunks over the top.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes or until the brownies spring back when gently touched. (If testing with a toothpick, they will be very moist in the centre BUT they do set and harden when removed from the oven.)
  4. Allow to cool completely (about half an hour); cut into squares and chill to semi-set.
  5. If storing at room temperature they’re best eaten within 2 days. If refrigerating, they last 3-4 days.
 
NOTES
I use a sweetener that measures 1:1 with normal sugar. If using a stronger sweetener, measure the amount needed for ⅓ cup normal sugar.
 
NUTRITION INFORMATION
Serving size: per brownie Calories: 71 Fat: 5.6g Carbohydrates: 4.3g Sugar: 1.3g Fiber: 1.6g Protein: 3.4g
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So there you have it – a rather busy weekend in the kitchen and some truly good food, all legal if you’re banting / avoiding sugars and carbs.

Just For Fun Friday’s

Hey! Hello! Welcome back (to both you and me)!

Apathy has been my middle name for the past few weeks, but with the morning natural light appearing earlier and the necessity of my fan heater while getting dressed decreasing at a rapid rate, so too my energy levels are rising and that pending spring in my step feeling is slowly returning. Well, we hope so anyway – we all know how much of a faddist I am with any kind of commitment not involving beer, food, or my other half. Here today, gone tomorrow….

Anyway, today’s is a mixed bag of stuff, some old and some new, all interesting / entertaining (to me). Enjoy it, and remember, TOMORROW IS ANOT.. oh, wait, no, BAD Choffel, BAD!. Get to it!

A game company responsible for Skullgirls got clever, and put a pirate in his place. I just read about this in the August issue of NAG, but of course there’s a local story for this too on our trusty interwebs, which you can view in full over at LazyGamer. In a nutshell, New Meridian implemented a unique pop-up message that would only appear if the copy being played was pirated – this happened and the player unwittingly tweeted a screen shot to the Skullgirls account asking why, to be rewarded (righteously) with this reply:

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Too damn right.

Today’s quiet “announcement” from the makers of a game I invested far too many hours in has started a little buzz – Sierra is coming back!

Now, time to HIT ME WITH YOUR PET SHARK! Confused? Worry not, it will make total sense in a moment – just watch the video for misheard song lyrics:

Aaaaaand here’s some more on gaming…. kinda… Antiredcap shared this disturbing little gem with me during the week:

I’m not one to jump onto the whole feminism bandwagon and shout from the rooftops re woman’s rights and things that offend me (as it really rarely happens), so as such I usually ignore anything realted to these topics, but this one is funny 🙂

Lastly, because I’ve been HORRIBLY slack of late in sharing anything LCHF related (mostly because I’ve been HORRIBLY SLACK at doing anything LCHF lately…), here’s a delicious looking recipe from the folks over at the GetSlim site which I’m going to try in the near future: Loaded Cauli Bake

That’s it folks, enjoy the weekend and trying to look busy at your desk for the rest of today!

My Cauliflower Base Pizza attempt #LCHF

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I’ve been threatening to do this for the longest of times, and finally got around to making the cauliflower base pizza last night – and the other half and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I used the recipe and instructions from The Lucky Penny’s post on caulipizza, and it worked out just great for me 🙂 The only variation for me was the temp and time – I did mine at 180 C for around 25 minutes before adding the toppings and popping it back into the oven for a further 10 minutes just to melt the cheese.

Here’s the ingredients and a summary of how to – for the detailed step by step post, visit The Lucky Penny here

Ingredients
Approx 3 cups cooked, riced cauliflower
1/4 cup mozzarella
1/4 cup parmesan
herbs and spices of your choice – I used Ina Paarman’s Olive & Rosemary

Preheat your oven with a baking tray lined with baking paper, or your pizza stone if you have one. Place your cauli rice in a tea towel and ring out as much moisture as you can. Mix the “drained” (exsanguinated?) cauliflower with the cheese and herbs, and compress into a tight ball. Now flatten out this “dough” ball onto your pre heated baking tray / pizza stone, into your desired shape (I made a flat pan pizza) and ensure your thickness is standard all the way through – you’re looking for about a 1cm thick base. Place in oven and cook for 10 – 20 minutes; keep an eye on the base and when it starts to brown and go golden across the top, you’re ready to put your toppings on.

Place toppings, put back in oven and cook until your cheese is melting and you’re happy all toppings are cooked / heated through to your liking. Remove from oven and let stand for about 5 minutes – this helps remove that “floppy soggy” factor 😛 Eat and ENJOY!

For my topping I used a homemade tomato base sauce, mushrooms and bacon (pre fried) and a mix of gouda and mozzarella cheese. The one baking tray split was more than enough for the two of us and was damn tasty!

For those of you who want to know, the “sauce” was:
1 x diced onion
1 x diced tomato
1 x packet All Gold Tomato Paste
7 x finely chopped green chilli’s
1 tbsp garlic (we love garlic)
2 tbsp Bushman’s Chipotle Ketchup – I added this for sweetness and to combat the usual tart flavour of tomato paste

If you’re craving pizza, I seriously recommend doing this – a bit of elbow grease required but well worth it!

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bacon and mush in pan

LCHF Cauliflower Soup with Bacon and Onion

I make a mean potato soup. And you can go ahead and replace “mean” with “YOU’LL LEAVE YOUR MOTHER’S APRON STRINGS AND PROPOSE TO ME” 😛

Alas, that isn’t very Banting Lifestyle friendly, now is it? It seems my aim in life (at least in the kitchen, that is) is to find ways to replace the foods I miss post hitching my eating wagon to the LCHF post.

Cue cauliflower. The wonderful, humble, available in abundance frozen *don’t look for me fresh*, cauliflower 🙂 Here’s a quick and easy recipe for a cauliflower soup I made that is as close to my precious potato soup I’ll ever get without using the little carb laden spuds.

Choffel’s Quick ‘n Easy Cauliflower Soup
(aka Potato soup replacement)
1kg bag frozen cauliflower
1 litre milk
300ml boiling water
1 x Knorr Chilli Beef Stock Cube
Ghee for frying
6 rashers streaky bacon
1 large onion
Celery Salt to taste

Finely chop the onion and cut up the bacon rashers into small pieces, and fry these in ghee in a large pot until both are cooked. I defrosted my cauliflower and riced it in my Twister before adding it to the pot, but you could just as easily throw the florets in whole (we’ll be blending later anyway).

Add your stock cube to the boiled water to dissolve and add that to the pot, along with the 1 litre of milk (FULL FAT!).
Bring the pot to the boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, adding any seasonings you want to – I just used celery salt and was happy with the outcome.

Once your soup has cooled down, blitz in a blender or use a hand blender in the pot (I’m a great fan of one pot cooking!). Some may like their soup chunky, but I like the fact that blending it combines the flavours and “spreads” the bacon and onion goodness all the way through.

This soup is great served hot or chilled, and freezes perfectly.

And there you have it; a delicious, filling, LCHF friendly soup that’ll satiate any cravings for potato soup you may have 🙂

Banting Hashbrowns – LCHF Friendly Cauliflower Fritters

It’s no secret that I love fried foods, and crunchy ones, at that. Something that’s a tad difficult to come by at times on the LCHF eating plan. I also ADORE hashbrowns, and of course those are a definite no go for Banting, too. I know I’m not alone in these culinary cravings, so, fear not fellow fretters, the mighty cauliflower comes to the rescue, yet again!!! The best bit? You don’t need fresh cauliflower for this (we all seem to run into difficulty either on stocks or price these days for fresh!) – frozen works perfectly.

I’ve been meaning to try this out for a while, and finally got my A into G last night to do so. Here, you lovely people, is a simple, inexpensive and tasty recipe for the closest thing I can get to hashbrowns on LCHF.

INGREDIENTS
Approx 3 cups of frozen cauliflower florets, cooked – I nuked mine in the microwave for 10 minutes on high, but you can steam them of course
3 eggs
3 chilli’s, finely chopped (I like heat, you can adjust or leave them out entirely should you so wish)
1/2 a large onion, finely chopped
Seasonings as desired – I used Thyme and Woolie’s Chermoula spice
Ghee / Butter Oil for frying

DIRECTIONS
Finely chop your chilli’s and onion – I use my trusty Twister because it’s just the easiest thing on earth and saves you from tears when chopping onions 😛 I’d highly recommend getting one of these bad boys if you don’t have one or something similar in your kitchen arsenal. I also “riced” (chopped) the cauliflower for the mix. Whisk the 3 eggs well, add to your chopped veggie mix and combine with your chosen seasonings.

In a large pan (I used a small one at first but switched to a larger one that can accommodate three fritters comfortably after the first 2 I made), melt enough ghee at a medium temperature to start frying your fritters in. Though hashbrowns are done at high heat, here our main ingredient is cooked already and all we’re really trying to achieve is cooking the egg (binding agent) all the way through to ensure our fritters stay intact – on a high heat you’ll just burn the outer side without cooking the egg mix all the way through.

I used a heaped tablespoon of mix per fritter – place the mix gently in the pan and pat it down with the back of the spoon until you have a fairly even, flat fritter approximately 2cm in thickness. Don’t mess with the raw fritter too much as it will come apart easily prior to the egg cooking. The best way to judge when it is ready to turn is you’ll see the underside edges turn brown; you’re ready to (gently!) flip them now and cook the other side.

Pro tip – these do get “soggy” while sitting on the side waiting patiently for their compadres to join them; to crisp them up and reheat them again I placed them on a baking tray in the oven on grill for about 5 minutes – they’re then just like they were when they came out of the pan 🙂

And that’s it – easy peasey yummy cauliflower fritters!!!! They’re so tasty I even got up this morning and made some more – sans onion I added some broccoli and green beans, extra chopped chilli and chilli flakes and they are still delicious! Enjoy these, and let me know how they turn out for you and / or what tweaks you’ve made with your own batch.

The best LCHF friendly mashed potato replacement

No new recipes tried as such, just a LCHF friendly version of a Cottage Pie, or Shepherds Pie as RMR calls it. Standard mince “filling” as you would make yours for Cottage Pie, and the “mash” topping was caulimash, which worked beautifully.

My mince was a bit on the runny side which made for a more “mash and mince” feel than a Cottage Pie, but it was tasty regardless. The topping is just grated cheddar mixed with Celery Salt as I felt the caulimash was a tad on the bland side. The caulimash was a head of cauliflower, florets steamed until mushy, and that was then combined with a good dollop of ghee and crushed garlic and pureed to a mash consistency with my hand blender. Et viola! The words best LCHF friendly mashed potato replacement!

Sadly, up 400g this morning. No cheating since Monday this week and three dog walk days down, so I am a bit disappointed, but will see what the rest of the week holds. I suspect I just ate too much of the good stuff yesterday / last night 😛