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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BANTING FRIENDLY GOURMET EGG SALAD CRACKERS

I’ve joined a fantastic group on Facebook specifically for women (sorry men!) as a support group for all of us wanting to get healthier and fitter this year. You too can join if you head on over to theΒ Shell Shocked Mummy Health & Fitness groupΒ – you’ll find a wonderfully supportive group of ladies, most of whom are following the banting / LCHF lifestyle.

Some of us in the group have joined a challenge for the month of February as well as additional impetus to get our A’s into G, and as such I’m watching what I eat like the proverbial hawk at the moment. I’ve even re-installed MyFitnessPal and customised my macro’s to fit in with the Banting lifestyle of eating; here’s a great post to show you step by step to achieve this over at EatFatLoseFat.

Being a part of the group adds accountability for me, and seeing everyone’s shared meals on a daily basis provides inspiration and a push for me to not be so damn lazy all the time and actually put that extra bit of effort and thought into my meal choices and creations πŸ™‚

So, yesterday I decided that it was time to experiment, but I also didn’t want a “heavy” meal for dinner last night, so I came up with these and they were delicious! It takes a bit of extra effort but it’s worth it for the flavour and texture (back to that CRUNCH I miss so much on the low carb lifestyle!), and if you’re looking to impress guests here’s a starter that’s sure to please πŸ™‚

BANTING FRIENDLY GOURMET EGG SALAD CRACKERS

“GARNISH”
If you are topping off with the roasted pepper’s and cherry tomatoes as I did (and why wouldn’t you?!), preheat your oven to 180C and get your roast on as this takes the longest prep time wise – I like mine a bit charred which equates to roughly 35 minutes; use your own discretion here based on your tastes. I coated with coconut oil and a srinkling of NoMu’s Smoked Sea Salt (this stuff is my crack!).

CRACKERS
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
Silicon baking sheet or Parchment Paper (I highly recommend investing in a silicon baking sheet; I got mine at Pick ‘n Pay for R129, but there are plenty options available onlineΒ )

Mix the Paprika well with the grated cheese, and place roughly a teaspoon full in a circle on your wax paper or silicon baking sheet. Leave 3cm gaps between your circles, and be sure to not pile too high or thick as they won’t crisp up if you do so.

Bake in preheated oven at 140C for about ten minutes; keep an eye on them and remove from oven to cool as soon as your “chips” have turned a golden brown.

GOURMET EGG SALAD

Note: This made enough for 12 crackers with enough to spare that I’ll probably make exactly the same for dinner tonight again πŸ™‚

4 large eggs, boiled and shelled
3 tbsp Hellmanns Real Mayo
3 chopped spring onions
2 tbsp chilli flakes
2 chopped pre cooked bacon rashers
4 finely chopped cloves of pickled garlic (optional, I just love pickled garlic!)

Mix all of the ingredients together and “mash” your eggs to a consistency of your liking.

ASSEMBLY

I placed roughly a heaped teaspoon of the egg salad on each cracker, and topped each with a sliver of roasted pepper and a cherry tomato for each, and VOILA! A beautiful looking snack that is tasty, filling, and low carb πŸ™‚

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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 πŸ™‚

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!

Warm Rocket Salad with Patty Pan’s, Sweet Gouda and Bacon #LCHF

I’ve sadly fallen off the wagon in a big way these past two weeks as far as LCHF goes; and as a result I’m up 2.5kg’s!!! So, today, renewed commitment to the eating lifestyle – to the extent that I brought the custard and remaining hot dog roll (don’t ask) in to work to give to our tea lady. The easiest way to avoid temptation is, of course, to remove it πŸ˜›

So, in the spirit of the LCHF / Banting lifestyle renewal, here’s a recipe for a salad I made last night that everybody complimented me on, and went back for seconds too! The one comment from one of my unwitting guinea pigs was that the salad was so good and filled with varied ingredients that it would make an excellent stand alone main meal. I tend to agree, really.

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As with all my kitchen experiments, you can sub / swap out ingredients as you like; it’s really just a template to work around according to your favourites. If you do change anything and you love it, please let me know, love hearing new recipe ideas πŸ™‚

INGREDIENTS
400g fresh rocket leaves, roughly chopped
1 x small punnet cherry tomatoes, halved (& quartered for the larger ones)
6 yellow patty pans, cut into slices approximately 3mm thick
1 large onion, diced
ghee / butter for frying
olive oil for drizzling
4 rashers of streaky bacon, chopped into bits about 1x3cm
Chilli flakes to taste
Ina Paarman’s Olive & Rosemary Seasoning to taste
300g Gouda with Tomato and Garlic (we got a hold of this at a morning boere mark in Pta; use whichever cheese you’re fond of)
1 tsp crushed garlic

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METHOD
In a large frying pan, heat up your ghee or butter, and throw in the onions, patty pans, bacon, garlic and selected seasonings. While this is frying, throw your rocket, cheese and cherry tomatoes into the salad bowl you’re planning on serving in, and drizzle with a generous helping of olive oil.

I fried my ingredients on a medium heat for around 20 minutes; this should be more than enough time to cook the bacon through but still ensure your patty pans still have a bit of firmness to them without being raw.

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When you’re happy with your fry up, add it to the cold salad ingredients in the bowl, toss, and you’re ready to go! This salad is also perfect cold, so can be made ahead of time. The last time I made it with a cumin cheese that the other half found at a Woolie’s I think, and it was as delicious! It’s a truly versatile salad, so have at it and enjoy!

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Baby marrow, tomato and cheese "starter"

I was a bit peckish Sunday night at around 11; and didn’t feel like defrosting meat or just snacking on straight cheese, so rummaged around my fridge and used a few ingredients, my trusty pan and the microwave to create an odd, but very tatsy snack for myself. I liked the crunchy topping and base concept so much that I recreated it with a few added tweaks and ingredients for myself and the other half as our “starter” to our braai chops last night. My favourite part of this has to be the crunch from the marrow parmesan “chips” – I’m going to be using these on so many things in future!!!

This is what I used to make two side plate servings:

2 x firm just ripened tomatoes
4 x medium baby marrow’s, sliced in rounds approximately 5mm thick
1/4 cup grated parmesan
Ghee for frying
1/2 an onion, finely chopped
3 green chillies, finely sliced (adjust for your heat preference)
1/4 teaspoon crushed garlic
sprinkle of rosemary salt to taste
4 slices of mozzarella / to taste
Avocado oil
Greaseproof paper

Throw the onion, chilli, garlic and half of the sliced baby marrows into a pan on high heat with enough ghee to fry and coat all ingredients. While that is going, place the rest of your sliced baby marrows into a container, drizzle some avocado oil over (you can use any LCHF friendly oil / fat, I just like the taste), shake around to coat all slices, and then place them in a single layer onto greaseproof paper on a plate. Ensure that there are minimal gaps between the slices and that they don’t overlap.Sprinkle your grated parmesan over the slices, and pop into the microwave on high for ten minutes.

Your fry up should be half way there by now – ensure you keep tossing everything in the pan so that the baby marrow slices are evenly browned as much as possible on both sides. While this and the microwave timer countdown continues, slice your two tomatoes into about 1cm thick slices and arrange as you wish on the two side plates; one tomato per plate. I overlapped mine in a circle – this is the base of your dish. Once the microwave is done you’ll see the parmesan has melted and crisped up over the baby marrow slices – crack / peel the bits off of the paper into a side bowl – this is your crunchy topping of win!

Now add the mozzarella slices to the mix in the pan and let the cheese melt, combining it with everything in the pan to make a glorious gooey mess πŸ™‚ Once fully melted and combined, place half of the mix on each side plate on top of your tomato slices, spreading it as evenly as you can. Now sprinkle your crunchy marrow parmesan “chips” on top, and you have a #LCHF friendly side or starter that is absolutely delicious and bursting with great textures and contrasts! I really enjoyed this and will definitely make it again; and I cannot wait to find other applications for my marrow “chips” πŸ™‚