FATHEAD PIZZA!!

There are many things you miss when following a low carb eating plan. Sure, these get easier to ignore as time goes by, but some things for me are always going to be difficult to pass up – and one of those is definitely a good pizza. I’ve tried all sorts of home made bases – ripped countless squares of muslin cloth trying to get the cauliflower drained, bought overpriced low carb pizza bases that realistically are nothing but glorified wraps and meant pizza had to be eaten with a knife and fork because slices weren’t firm enough to withstand toppings and stay firm… BUT NO MORE!!

I spotted the FATHEAD pizza base recipe well over two years ago but now finally tried it myself for us earlier in the week and OMG. NO MORE FLOPPY PIZZA! Also, it’s dead simple to make – no wringing out of steamed veggie ingredients and more importantly, no eating pizza with a knife and fork (if you do this normally, please seek help).

So, thanks to Ditch The Carbs here is my new go to pizza recipe; I will never buy store bought again.

FAT HEAD PIZZA – THE HOLY GRAIL

PREP TIME
10 mins
COOK TIME
20 mins
TOTAL TIME
30 mins

Author: Libby
Recipe type: Dinners

Serves: 6 slices
INGREDIENTS
170g / 6 oz / 1¾ cups (approx) pre shredded/grated cheese (mozzarella is the best or Edam/mild cheese)
85g / 3 oz / ¾ cup almond flour/meal
2 tbs cream cheese
1 egg
+/- salt to taste
½ tsp dried rosemary/ garlic or other flavourings (optional)
your choice of toppings such as pepperoni, peppers, cherry tomatoes, olives, ground/mince beef, mushrooms, herbs etc

INSTRUCTIONS

Mix the shredded/grated cheese and almond flour/meal in a microwaveable bowl. Add the cream cheese. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute.
Stir then microwave on HIGH for another 30 seconds.
Add the egg, salt, rosemary and any other flavourings, mix gently.
Place in between 2 pieces of baking parchment/paper and roll into a circular pizza shape (see photos above). Remove the top baking paper/parchment. If the mixture hardens and becomes difficult to work with, pop it back in the microwave for 10-20 seconds to soften again but not too long or you will cook the egg.
Make fork holes all over the pizza base to ensure it cooks evenly.
Slide the baking paper/parchment with the pizza base, on a baking tray (cookie tray) or pizza stone, and bake at 220C/425F for 12-15 minutes, or until brown.
To make the base really crispy and sturdy, flip the pizza over (onto baking paper/parchment) once the top has browned.
Once cooked, remove from the oven and add all the toppings you like. Make sure any meat is already cooked as this time it goes back into the oven just to heat up the toppings and melt the cheese. Bake again at 220C/425F for 5 minutes.

I used mozzarella and made two side plate sized bases – next time I make this I’m going to split the dough into 4 and make thinner ones to see how that goes – the thinner outer edges of our bases were super crispy and DAMN AWESOME so I’m going to aim for that throughout the base by making them thinner.

I made a homemade pizza sauce using fresh tomatoes, chilli’s, garlic and a splash of Maggie’s (it adds a deliciously warm earthy tone to the flavour profile) all mushed and fried ina pan (very technical hahahahahaha!) and cooked down until it was the thickness I deem good enough for a spreadable base sauce. Topped with Grated cheddar and fresh tomato, back in over for 5 minutes and topped with fresh basil after they came out. SO DAMN GOOD.

Now go and give this a try. Soon you’ll be buying 2kg mozzarella loaves like me 😛

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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.

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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end sauce

bacon and mush in pan

TRUE ROMANCE WAS AN APT TITLE FOR MY FIRST EXCURSION TO THE BIOSCOPE AND CHALKBOARD CAFE

So you know I cheated on my LCHF journey, now let me tell you why, and why it was totally worth it. Sorry, TOTES worth it (hipster venues incoming!) 😛

Friday was Valentines, and Chicken and I not being the Hallmark holiday types, joined friends of mine at an independent cinema located in JHB CBD for a screening of True Romance. A cult hit from 1993, starring Christian Slater, Gary Oldman, Dennis Hopper, Patricia Arquette and other well known actors – and one which neither of us had seen before. I enjoyed it and would recommend you rent it if you can:

The place we went to watch the movie is called The Bioscope – it’s a small room as far as cinema’s go, and the chairs are reclaimed aircraft seats that are super comfy and complete with headrests. The sound quality was decent enough, and they have an HD projector so no issues there. I liked the casual atmosphere, and the fact that you can take your beer and pizza in with you is just great 🙂 The beers and pizza came from The Chalkboard Cafe which is essentially a cash bar / pizza kitchen attached to The Bioscope. Their pizza’s are phenomenal, don’t let the 2 standard electric ovens deter you – we ordered their Meryl Streep – pear, gorgonzola, proscuitto & rocket- to share and OMG was my resultant weight spike worth every bite!! Their pizza’s are a fair size and we weren’t hungry post sharing that bad boy, so I reckon you can safely get away with sharing a pizza on a date. More romantic anyway, innit? 😉

One gripe re Bioscope – they need to get some damn standing fans in to the cinema itself at the very least – it was far too hot in there and at full capacity for what is, I learnt, now an annual Valentines tradition for Bioscope goers, we were all suffering somewhat. My teensy weensy gripe re Chalkboard – the menu states that you can pick from ovetr 50 different locally brewed craft beers. If they had 20 different types in stock, it was a lot. And they had a Bone Crusher Darling box in plain site, but no stock – never taunt a Choffel that way!!

Over all, the staff are friendly and seem quite jacked (you try finding the owner of an ordered pizza in the bedlam of hot bodies, cold craft beers and dark cinema seats successfully!) and their pricing is what you’d expect on hipster drinks – craft beers are average R40, and Amstel is R20, pizza’s vary and can be found on their menu

Bioscope do many events, like indie film screenings and their monthly Noodle Box Cinema which I am very keen to check out (“Enjoy a portion of noodles inside The Bioscope, while watching the best Kung Fu action on the big screen”) and many other signature events, all of which you can check out here. They have a mailing list for those of you, like me, who have memories like goldfishes and will forget about this awesome gem the minute you close this tab, so go sign up now so they can keep you posted on upcoming eve’s of orsm – here’s the link 🙂