Saturday, 16 March 2013

Pizza Bake: bloke-friendly mega melted cheese attack.

Pizza is a very subjective thing, but whether you ask for extra anchovies or no olives, this recipe is great for you if you're not interested in the bready base, but still love the flavours on top.

This is a bit of a hodge-podge of a few different low carb pizza bake recipes I've seen around, so it's definitely not an original idea. I imagine though, much like bolognese, everyone makes it differently. It's also great for those who can't cook, as all you really have to do is chop things and wait for them in the oven.

I've been making this recipe for about two years now. It's a winter favourite, and I'm honestly not sure if I've ever made it the same twice. It's hard to specify an ingredient list, but this is what went into the most recent one I made.

This particular one is a vegetarian version, made with gluten free ingredients. No reason you can't add meat if you'd prefer.

You'll need:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 8 small mushrooms
  • About 1/3 of a jar chargrilled capsicum strips
  • 1 small block of Australian style feta cheese
  • A few generous handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1x 500g bag of shredded mozzarella cheese (you could also try this with a shredded pizza cheese blend if you like a little more flavour).

Options: Olives, anchovies, chargrilled eggplant, pre-cooked bacon, pre-cooked chicken, cooked prawns, sun dried tomatoes, tomato paste, fresh capsicum, pepperoni, fresh herbs,'re only limited by your imagination and what's in the fridge. I would shy away from adding things like barbecue sauce or pineapple, but only because they're a little too sugary for the purposes of low carb.

How to pizza:

Preheat your oven to 170°C, and grab your favourite oven dish. A lasagne dish works well, as would a cake tin.

Chop the onion, garlic, feta and mushrooms. Put them in your dish along with the capsicum strips.

Mix them all around, and start mixing through mozzarella until you've got something that looks more or less like this:
The cheese forms the sauce that holds this dish together.

From here, I added four little squares of plastic cheese, spread with my Mum's home made pesto. Again, you don't have to do this bit.

That brings my total to three different cheeses. I encourage you to beat this number.

On top of this, I layered baby spinach and fresh tomato:

And then the final layer of mozzarella.

Slide it into the oven for 20-30 minutes, it'll come out all deliciously melty:

Now here's the hard part: Let it sit for at least 15 minutes. It'll be hotter than the depths of heck, and it'll fall apart and turn to pizza slush if you try and serve it straight out of the oven.

An neater option may be to cook this in ramekins.

This is NOT a good looking meal, so serve it with a little salad to pretty it up a bit.

It also reheats well, and even tastes okay as cold pizza the next day.

Carb Count:

I cut this bad boy into four pieces, and it works out at 8g of carbohydrate per serve, with a total of 32 carbs in the whole batch. Of course, it'll vary based on what veggies you choose to put in.

For calorie counters, this is about 512 calories a serve. Probably equal to a few slices of store-bought pizza. Again, of course, dependent on your choice of ingredients.

I find this is a great way to smash any cravings for pizza. It's really easy to ignore them when I know nothing I can get delivered in some farty-smelling cardboard box will be as flavoursome as what I can make in my kitchen.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Flourless/Sugarless Coconut Pancakes

In my mind, pancakes are inextricably linked with the weekend.

I've been doing some late night cooking experiments with the ingredients I have on hand, and I think I may have come up with a pancake recipe that'll earn you some brownie points with your humanoid companion drone next weekend. Especially if they're avoiding sugar and flour.

This one is also gluten free.

You'll need:

  • 1/2 cup dessicated coconut
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Dash of vanilla
  • 1/4 cup Natvia
  • pinch of salt
This will make about 10 large pancakes.

Option: Add a tablespoon of cocoa, ginger, or cinnamon to the mix to flavour your pancakes.
This is especially helpful if you're sensitive to the flavour of egg that may come through in this recipe. I've found it's not so much of a problem if you use good, fresh free range eggs.

How to earn love through food:

I was starting at a real disadvantage here. I haven't made pancakes in a very, very long time, and I don't recall not making a complete hash of them then, either.

Mix all the dry ingredients (coconut, almond meal, baking powder, Natvia, optional cocoa or cinnamon) and then add the liquidy ones (eggs, cream, vanilla). Combine with a whisk.

I would recommend putting this mixture into something with a pouring spout. It's way easier.

Over a medium heat, grease your pan with spray-on oil. If you're feeling decadent, you could use butter.

Pour batter into the pan according to the size of pancakes you want. Don't expect your pancake to be perfectly round like the "normal" kind. I think it's the coconut that slightly distorts the edges.

You'll know you can flip it when those telltale small bubbles appear, and the edges hold together when you try and coax the spatula underneath. It helps if you lightly grease the top of your spatula, too.

I think my stove was installed on a slight lean...

When you flip it, the underside should be nice and browned. I think perhaps a bit browner than your regular pancake. I'm not sure why. It could just be my stove, but it could also be the lack of flour.

Now add it to the stack, and repeat until you've used all the batter.

Carb Count:

An entire batch will have approximately 30g carbohydrate. Divide that by the amount of people you're sharing with.

Much better than the near 250g you'll find in supermarket instant pancake mixes!

As for calories, the entire batch has 1620. The supermarket stuff has about 1200. Make of that what you will. I don't know an awful lot about calorie counting.

Serve with whatever low carb goodies you like. We like a dash of lemon juice and a sprinkle of Natvia on ours. A handful of berries might be nice too.

You can get Queen sugar-free maple flavoured syrup in Coles, with the other maple syrups. It's a bit hard to spot the sugar free claim on the label, so just look for the round bottle with the red plastic nozzle.

Happy breakfasting!