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Thursday 30 November 2017

Chicken Cordon Blue Casserole : Low Carb / Keto

How about a little French Flair served on your plate! This easy to make low carb chicken cordon bleu casserole is full of creamy flavour ... served with some lovely green lettuce keeps the carb count very low! However you may wish to consider a small serving of mashed swede or celeriac. As always, dear reader, the final choice is with you.

Serves Four
7g carbs per serving
1 rotisserie chicken
7 oz. / 200g smoked deli ham
7 oz. / 200g cream cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white vinegar 5%
2⁄3 lb / 300g shredded (grated) cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
5 1⁄3 oz. / 150g lettuce
4 tablespoons olive oil

For cooking instructions please see Diet Doctor site here

"Chicken cordon bleu is not one of those recipes that was simply created one day; it is a dish that evolved over time.

Let us first examine the name: the term “cordon bleu” refers to a special order of French knights. Literally, cordon bleu translates to “blue ribbon.” Henry III of France in 1578 established the tradition of the highest order of knighthood bearing a blue ribbon. Since that time, cordon bleu has come to apply to the highest order of food and cooking. “The analogy no doubt arose from the similarity between the sash worn by knights and the ribbons (generally blue) of a cook’s apron.”

Interestingly, the dish chicken cordon bleu has nothing to do with the prestigious culinary institutes by the name of Le Cordon Bleu.

As alluded to earlier, chicken cordon bleu is a dish that has transformed over the centuries. More than one dish contributed to the chicken cordon bleu of modern times.

Today, several versions exist of chicken cordon bleu (different meats, different cheeses, etc.), as well as a variety of ways to prepare the recipe.

In America the first newspaper Chicken Cordon Bleu was mentioned in was The New York Times, in 1967."

These words and more from here

This blog brings a variety of articles and recipe ideas, and it is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Wednesday 29 November 2017

Pepper Quiche Cups : Low Carb and Vegetarian

I spotted this recipe by Emily Leary, it's for an "easy, low-carb, delicious quiche with no pastry! It uses eggs, which are of course a great source of protein, vitamins and minerals, and when combined with plenty of vegetables they can make a healthy meal at any time of day! This recipe suggestion is a gorgeous twist on the traditional quiche, which swaps out the pastry for peppers and fills them with a classic mix of eggs, milk, cheese, made extra special with a pinch of sage. These little quiches are absolutely delicious, fluffy, low carb, satisfying and packed with flavour", I'm sure you will enjoy them.

Yield 4

2 large peppers (or 3 medium)
200ml (7 fl oz.) whole milk
4 eggs
60g (2.5 oz.) grated mature cheddar
pinch salt and pepper
1 tsp dried sage
handful cherry tomatoes
handful baby broccoli florets
2 tbsp. olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan). It's easiest to make the filling in a jug - it will make pouring the filling easier later. Start with your milk, then add your salt, pepper, and sage.
2. Break in your eggs and give the milk a good mix.
3. Pour the oil into a large roasting dish. Halve and de-seed your peppers (being careful not to pierce the skin) and then place on the tray.
4. Fill the cups generously with your fillings.
5. Top with the cheese, then carefully pour in the mix. If any of your peppers are unstable, you can place a little bit of screwed up foil underneath them to keep them level.
6. Bake in the centre of the oven to for 25 minutes until golden and delicious.

Original recipe, and a step by step guide can be seen here
For help with measurement / conversion charts see here

A variety of recipe ideas, are within this blog. It is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Tuesday 28 November 2017

Prof Sherif Sultan - Statins 'The Known unknowns'

Lifestyle & Functional Medicine Conference Ireland
Published on Nov 24, 2017

President of International Society for Vascular Surgery, Prof. Sherif Sultan opening keynote at The 2nd Annual Lifestyle and Functional Medicine Conference held in Galway, Ireland Nov 3rd 2017.


Some Foods You Should Never Keep In The Fridge

James Colquhoun writes:
"Often we believe that keeping our food in the fridge is the best way to maintain freshness and longevity. While this is the case for many day-to-day food items, there are several common foods that are far better left out of the refrigerator, both for taste and nutritional value. Cold temperatures can actually accelerate the decomposition process in some foods and cause them to lose their original flavour and vital enzymes. Keeping these items in the fridge won’t cause any serious harm, yet being aware of the most beneficial ways to store your food will help to prosper your own health, as well as help to lower food waste. We are all globally responsible for 4 billion tons worth of food wastage per year. So taking small precautionary measures to understand food storage can have a bigger impact than simply having great tasting tomatoes on hand!

Here are the top ten items that are best left out of your refrigerator.

Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes or Yams
Keeping potatoes in cold temperatures can turn the starch into sugar, which will affect their texture and also cause them to taste sweet once cooked. More importantly, The Food Standards Agency explains that when cooked, these sugars combine with the amino acid asparagine present in the potatoes and produce the cacogenic chemical acrylamide. Potatoes need to be stored somewhere cool and dry in paper or canvas bags. Keep them unwashed and well-ventilated; if you wash potatoes before storing them, the moisture can spark decay. It’s also important to keep your potatoes separated from onions as potatoes give off gas and moisture that can make onions decay.


Cold air prevents tomatoes from ripening and ruins the tomatoes’ taste and consistency. Tomatoes love the heat and dislike the cold, and even once they have been harvested, they still hold their aversion to cold climates. According to Mercola, placing tomatoes in the fridge changes their chemical structure and reduces the amount of volatile compounds in the fruit, which affects their flavour. Stored in temperatures below 5 degrees Celsius breaks the membranes inside the tomato walls, which means you end up with a soft fruit with a mealy texture. They may still be good for cooking, but not the best for eating fresh.
Store tomatoes on the counter at room temperature out of direct sunlight and enjoy when they are ripe.

Tropical Fruits

Fruits like bananas, mangoes, pineapples, and papayas are very sensitive to the cold. Low temperatures weaken their tissue and cancel out the enzymes that allow them to mature, causing them damage on their surface, and a loss of flavour. Instead, these fruits can be kept on the counter until they ripen where they will retain the most nutrients, says the Canadian Produce Marketing Association. When it comes to bananas, placing green bananas in the fridge will halt the ripening process and the fruit will remain green for a very long time. Bananas have no natural defence against the cold in their cell walls. These become ruptured by cold temperatures, causing the fruits’ digestive enzymes to leak out of the cells, which is what causes the banana’s skin to turn completely black. Even when you remove green bananas from the fridge, they will not ripen easily. Bananas are always best left at room temperature. Taking a quick look at melons, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that melons lost some of their antioxidant (lycopene and beta-carotene) content when refrigerated. Melons are best stored out of the fridge to maintain their nutritional content.


Avocados don’t start to ripen until after they’re picked from the tree. When you purchase an avocado from the store, it will most likely be hard and solid, and will require a considerable amount of time to ripen properly before being ready to eat. Storing avocados in the fridge will completely stop the ripening process. Store avocados at room temperature until they soften and are ready to eat. If you have a perfectly ripe avocado that you’re not ready to use, storing it in the refrigerator may work to your advantage by prolonging your window of opportunity to use it before it becomes overripe.

Olive Oil

It’s best to keep olive oil in a dark, cool place to prevent any changes in flavour and texture. Cold temperatures will condense and harden the oil, giving it the consistency of butter. To keep your olive oil in a state that is easy to use and maintains its full-bodied, fresh flavour, keep it out of the fridge.


The Canadian Beekeepers’ Association says that honey should be kept in a tightly closed container at room temperature in a dry place. Honey’s acidic pH and sugar content keeps any spoiling microorganisms at bay. Refrigeration can cause crystallization, making it hard to pour or spread. Honey will store in your cupboard for an indefinite period of time as honey is a naturally preserved food and will maintain its freshness for decades.


Much like tomatoes, onions tend to become incredibly mushy or mouldy if left in the fridge for too long. Onions don’t come out of the ground with their protective papery skin. To develop and keep that dry outer layer, they need to be “cured” and kept in a dry environment. Onions also require good air circulation and are best stored away from potatoes, which, as mentioned above, give off gas that will quickly spoil onions. According to the National Onion Association, the only times onions should be kept in the fridge is if they are bought peeled or pre-cut. Onions that have been cut can be kept in a sealed container for up to seven days in the fridge.


Storing garlic in the fridge or in plastic bags will cause it to spoil quickly. The best way to store garlic is to keep it at room temperature in a dry, dark place that has ample air circulation and with little light to avoid the bulbs sprouting. Keeping garlic in the fridge will also leave you with rubbery textured cloves. The changes are not visible to the eye due to the garlic skin; it is only when you remove the skin you will be confronted with discoloration or mould. To be safe, keep your bulbs out of the fridge.

Basil and Aromatic Herbs

Like tomatoes, basil loves the heat, so extended periods of time in a cold environment like a refrigerator will cause it to wilt prematurely. Basil is best stored on your counter and treated as you would fresh-cut flowers. Fresh herbs also love to absorb smells around them, and when in the fridge, they will quickly lose their beautiful natural aroma and original flavour. You can try wrapping them tightly in newspaper or placing them in an airtight container if they must be in the fridge, yet room temperature is always preferable.


In its ground or bean form, coffee should never be stored in the fridge. Coffee very readily and eagerly will absorb any smells around it, so if placed in the fridge, the coffee will begin to absorb different aromas and will never return to its original arabica flavour. The instant change of temperature in a fridge also causes moisture to leach out of the coffee, which de-saturates the flavour right out of the bean. Ground coffee and beans need airtight containers and a cool, dry and dark space to retain their flavour and freshness."

Of course for those readers who live the LCHF / Keto lifestyle not all of these ten foods would appear on your shopping list or menu plans!

If you would like to read more about LCHF why not read our Introduction to low-carb for beginners post here.

All the best Jan

Monday 27 November 2017

Vegetable Packed Bobotie Recipe ... simply delicious !

Bobotie would be a hot contender for South Africa's national dish! The recipe was selected for an international recipe book published in 1951 by the United Nations Organisation. It consists of spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping. Bobotie appears to be a variant of 'Patinam ex lacte', a dish documented by the ancient Roman writer Apicius, which comprises layers of cooked meat, pine nuts, and seasoned with pepper, celery seeds and asafoetida. It's not dissimilar to moussaka.

This South African classic is a family favourite and a brilliant 'vessel' for secret vegetables! This version is quite mild in flavour, but you can always add a little more curry powder to spice it up should you wish. 

Serves 6-8
17.02 g carbs per serving
5 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup grated courgette (zucchini)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon mild curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
3 whole cloves
5 whole allspice
2 tablespoons honey (optional)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 x 400g tin whole peeled tomatoes, blended
800g beef mince
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
salt and pepper
For the custard: 
1 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
8 bay leaves

1. Melt the butter in a wide-based pot and gently fry the onion, carrots, red pepper and courgette until soft. Stir in the ginger and the garlic and fry for minute or so. Add the spices and fry for another minute to release their flavour.
2. Pour in the honey, vinegar and tomato, and bring to the boil.
3. Mix in the remaining ingredients, ensuring that everything is combined well; you don’t want meatballs in your mince.
4. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring all the time. When it’s done, season well with salt and pepper.
5. Spread the mixture in a greased ovenproof dish.
6. To make the custard, lightly beat together the milk and the eggs.
7. Press the bay leaves into the bobotie mixture and carefully pour over the custard.
8. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the egg topping has set.

Nutritional Info per 375g:
Carbs: 17.02 g
Fat: 34.09 g
Protein: 36.57 g
Shelf Life:
Once cooked, this bobotie freezes like a 'bomb'. You can easily double the recipe so you have leftovers to freeze.

'This recipe is easy to make as a vegetarian meal, use 'Quorn' mince, it takes up the flavours really well.'
From an original idea here

For help with weight / measurement conversion please see here

A variety of recipe ideas, are within this blog. It is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Many a word said in jest!


Sunday 26 November 2017

Classic Roast Chicken and Gravy : A Family Favourite

If I was to ask the grandchildren what their favourite dinner was the answer would be chicken! They love a classic (Sunday) roast chicken with carrots and their favourite green vegetable, which is broccoli...

I can remember my Dear Mum cooking what was for us a traditional Sunday family roast - often chicken, but also beef, pork or lamb. If she wanted to be slightly more adventurous then her favourite cookbook would be out on the kitchen table and she would check out recipes etc. This book was 'Mrs. Beeton's' cookbook, does anyone else remember that one?

But back to a Classic Chicken Roast and recipe suggestion -

Serves Four
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 free range chicken, about 1½ kg/3lb 5oz
1 lemon, halved
small bunch thyme (optional)
For the gravy
1 tbsp. plain flour
250ml chicken stock (a cube is fine)

1. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Have a shelf ready in the middle of the oven without any shelves above it. Scatter the vegetables over the base of a roasting tin that fits the chicken, but doesn’t swamp it.
2. Season the cavity of the chicken liberally with salt and pepper, then stuff with the lemon halves and thyme, if using. Sit the chicken on the vegetables, smother the breast and legs all over with the butter, then season the outside with salt and pepper.
3. Place in the oven and leave, undisturbed, for 1 hr 20 minutes – this will give you a perfectly roasted chicken. To check, pierce the thigh with a skewer and the juices should run clear. Remove the tin from the oven and, using a pair of tongs, lift the chicken to a dish or board to rest for 15-20 minutes. As you lift the dish, let any juices from the chicken pour out of the cavity into the roasting tin.
4. While the chicken is resting, make the gravy. Place the roasting tin over a low flame, then stir in the flour and sizzle until you have a light brown, sandy paste. Gradually pour in the stock, stirring all the time, until you have a thickened sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes, using a wooden spoon to stir, scraping any sticky bits from the tin. Strain the gravy into a small saucepan, then simmer and season to taste. When you carve the bird, add any extra juices to the gravy.

Nutrition per serving:
4g Carbs 40g Fat 49g Protein

From an original idea here

image from here

Sit down and enjoy

All the best Jan

Saturday 25 November 2017

Jake Bugg - Waiting ft. Noah Cyrus

Weekend again time to wind down with this duet enjoy 

David A. Stewart - Lily Was Here ft. Candy Dulfer

Staying with the instrumental theme tonight, and another great driving track. Eddie  


Saturday night again and music night. Another classic track from the past, a great driving track, they don't make 'em like this anymore LOL. Eddie

Christmas Trifle : The Low Carb Way

At this time of year many of us are beginning to think about Christmas. You may be out and about buying Christmas cards and presents and enjoying the many Christmas trees that are already in the shopping malls and stores with their Christmas lights twinkling.

Whatever Christmas preparations you need to do, I’m sure it will get done and in the meantime here is a good recipe that may help with your Christmas food ideas.

It's a very tasty low carb trifle, it’s quite a favourite with us and the family. Why not give it a try and see what you think.

Serves 6-8
100 grams of ground almonds
1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon of melted butter
2 tablespoons of double (heavy) cream
A 500g pack of frozen low-carb summer fruits ... thawed
(I use ones that are 4.1g carbs per 80g serving)
300ml of extra thick cream
A handful of toasted flaked almonds
2 x 12.5 grams of instant raspberry, sugar free, jelly crystals

1. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.
2. Mix the beaten eggs and double cream in separate bowl.
3. Melt the butter in microwave, just use a small microwaveable dish.
4. Slowly add the melted butter to the eggs and cream, keep stirring slowly.
5. Then add the dry ingredients and mix well together (I usually add the mixture approx. 50g i.e. half, at a time).
6. When mixed well, pour into a 6" microwave proof dish, and microwave in a 700watt for 3 minutes.
7. Allow almond sponge to cool and break up into small pieces.
8. Layer up in a Pyrex bowl, 7" wide by 4" deep, (or similar dish of your choice) the fruit, and sponge.
9. Make up your low carb raspberry jelly, as per instructions on pack, and pour the liquid jelly over the sponge and fruit.
10. Allow to set in the fridge.
Just before serving:
Cover top with extra thick cream and toasted flaked almonds.

I hope you may enjoy this recipe suggestion

All the best Jan

Friday 24 November 2017

Sneeze !

Sneeze - photo credit - M Engelmann

Did you know that:
Galapagos Marine Iguanas sneeze to expel excess salt water after they feed in the ocean.See more of National Geographic's 2017 Nature Photographer of the Year here

All the best Jan

Thursday 23 November 2017

Kale - butter-fried (sautéed) with pork and cranberries

Kale is great when sautéed with butter, I also love spinach sautéed in butter and in this recipe you could use either ...

Serves Four
8g carbs per serving

3 oz. / 75g butter
1 lb / 450g kale
¾ lb 350g smoked pork belly or bacon
2 oz. / 50g pecans or walnuts
½ cup / 125ml frozen cranberries

Why not make this tasty side into an entire meal by just adding a couple of fried eggs.

Not too fond of kale, or just looking for variety, try substituting kale for Tuscan cabbage or fresh spinach.

Tuscan cabbage is also known as cavolo nero. Hailing from Italy, this versatile vegetable is fast gaining popularity closer to home. It's characterised by its distinctive dark green, almost black leaves, the Tuscan cabbage is in the Brassica family (as are broccoli and cauliflower). Nutritionally it's high in vitamins A, C and K, and is delicious steamed, braised, baked or pan-fried.

Tip - choose Tuscan cabbage with firm, bright-coloured leaves and hardy stalks.

Store - in the fridge in a snap-lock bag for up to five days and rinse before use.

Please see recipe instructions for this one pan dish at Diet Doctor site here

This blog brings a variety of articles and recipe ideas, and it is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Wednesday 22 November 2017

The Early History of the High-fat Diet for Diabetes

The first low carbohydrate diets for diabetes, which were introduced in the 18th century, were not high fat diets so much as high protein diets. By the late nineteenth century a consensus had begun to appear in European studies that a higher fat and lower protein intake was more tolerable.

Frederick Allen confirmed this in animal studies, but the diet he introduced into clinical practice in 1914 restricted fat, protein, and total calories, becoming in extreme cases a starvation diet with the deadly side effect of “inanition”. Interpreting Allen’s research in light of the studies in chemical metabolism of Rollin Woodyatt, Louis “Harry” Newburgh, with Phil Marsh, dared to increase fat in the diets of diabetic patients at the University of Michigan Hospital in 1918, with gratifying results which were published in 1920.

A dispute followed between Newburgh and Allen’s disciple Elliott P Joslin; Woodyatt, Russell M Wilder, Karl Petren and others confirmed Newburgh’s results by experimentation and by 1924 Joslin too was reporting the higher fat diet’s ability to extend life in diabetics untreated with insulin.

However, a dispute between Joslin and Newburgh about the long-term safety of the high fat diet continued long into the insulin era. Because the debate about the effect of the high-fat diet in the tabula rasa of the pre-insulin era only lasted a few years, and rigorous research into the question was largely limited to the state of Michigan, medical history has paid little attention to the fact that the question of what is the “optimum”, or default, diet for diabetes, based on physiological principles as well as clinical practice and experiment, was at one time almost settled. This historical review paper summarises the early clinical researches of Newburgh et al. into the effects of the high-fat diet in the treatment of diabetes, with a particular focus on events in Michigan between 1918 and 1930.

Full text here:


Turkey - a foolproof guide - perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas

Thanksgiving in the United States is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, while in Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated the second Monday in October. With US Thanksgiving so near, and Christmas next month, I thought why not do a post about Turkey, as it really is the go-to choice of food (with most of us) for these two very special occasions. In fact turkey has become the traditional Thanksgiving fare because at one time it was a rare treat. During the 1830s, an eight- to ten-pound bird cost a day’s wages. Even though turkeys are affordable today, they still remain a celebratory symbol of bounty. Did you know that, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin ate roast turkey in foil packets for their first meal on the Moon!
Without further ado ... here is everything you may need to know, to make sure this year's Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey is the tastiest yet.

Time for turkey

Be a sea of calm among your family and friends this Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. Have no chaos or last minute mishaps ... concentrate by getting your timings spot on. If a mishap should happen do not worry, you may wish to consider pouring out another glass of everyone's favourite drink and then just carry on, you will get there in the end!

The technical bit...

What size to buy
2-2.5kg serves 4-6
3kg serves 6-7
3.5kg serves 7-8
4-4.5kg serves 8-10
5-5.5kg serves 10-12
6-6.5kg serves 12-15

Choose the best
As is the case with all meat, turkey should be bought from a source that you trust - a good supermarket, local butcher, farmers' market or shop, or a website mail order company. Of those five sources, the last four are perhaps more likely to be able to tell you the most about the turkey - where it came from and how it was reared. Trace-ability like that will give you assurance that the turkey has been humanely treated while alive; the higher the standard of welfare by which a turkey was reared, the better the quality of the meat.

Organic turkey is the most expensive, as the most stringent farming standards will have been adhered to at all stages of the animal's life, including being allowed to roam outside during the day and being fed a mainly organic diet. As they are allowed to mature slowly their flesh is firm and flavourful, though, because they have had lots of exercise during their lives, they may be less plump than indoor-reared birds.

Free-range turkeys should have had some access to the open air and are usually cheaper than organic.

Battery (or 'factory') reared turkey are the most commonly available kind. They are rarely labelled as such, but the low price is a giveaway and can help make turkey more affordable.

Whole birds should be roasted. Other portions are also available (either skin on or off, on the bone or boneless), including breast joints (roast), crown joints (the bird without its legs and wings, also good for roasting), breast steaks, escalope's (very thin steaks of turkey breast, good for pan-frying) and drumsticks (roast or braise).

Whichever breed or cut you go for, choose turkey that is plump and well-rounded, with clear, soft and evenly coloured skin. Avoid those that have been unevenly plucked.

Store it

Put fresh turkey in the fridge as soon as you get it home. Take off all the wrappings, then wipe it all over (and inside the cavities) with kitchen paper. If it has come with giblets (the neck, gizzard, heart and liver) these should be removed and kept in a covered bowl in the fridge.

Put the turkey on a tray or a plate wide and deep enough to contain any blood or juice that might seep out. Cover loosely with foil. Make sure the turkey doesn't touch any other food in the fridge that's to be eaten raw, or meat that is already cooked.

Once a frozen turkey has defrosted, store it in the fridge straight away, as above, unless you are going to cook it immediately.

Whole birds and pieces of turkey will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days. Minced turkey should be cooked within 24 hours of purchase. Giblets can be used to make gravy and stock (but leave the liver out, as it can create quite a bitter taste) or stuffing, and should be cooked within 2 days of purchase.

Fresh or frozen?
Frozen birds are generally better value, but if you are a perfectionist, or are looking for a particular breed, go for fresh. See the guide below for defrosting your frozen turkey, or if opting for fresh, bring to room temperature before cooking by removing from the fridge an hour or more ahead.

Prepare it
If you buy a frozen turkey, make sure you allow enough time for it to defrost - it won't cook properly unless it is thoroughly defrosted at the start of cooking.

Take off all the wrappings, put on a tray or plate wide and deep enough to contain any blood or juice that might seep out, cover loosely with foil and leave in the fridge or in a cool room. For guidance on defrosting times, see below.

After the turkey is defrosted, remove any giblets, check that there are no ice crystals inside the cavity and pat dry with kitchen paper both outside and in.

If desired, certain cuts of fresh or defrosted turkey can be marinated (for a minimum of 4 hours) before cooking, to add flavour and moisture and to tenderise a little further - slash the skin a couple of times to help the marinade penetrate further and keep covered in a glass or ceramic dish in the fridge.

Before it goes in the oven, turkey should be at room temperature, so take it out of the fridge (1 hour for a whole turkey; 30 minutes for a cut) before cooking. Keep it covered, in a cool place.

Thawing your turkey
Your stuffing can be prepared ahead, but don't stuff the bird until it is about to be cooked. Only stuff the neck cavity, never the body cavity (as it will not cook through). This can be filled with sprigs of fresh herbs and slices of lemon or onion to infuse the meat with extra flavours.

Weight: 2.25kg - Thaw in fridge 27 hrs - Thaw in cool room 9 hrs
Weight: 3-3.5kg - Thaw in fridge 42 hrs - Thaw in cool room 12-14 hrs
Weight: 4.5-5.5kg - Thaw in fridge 66 hrs - Thaw in cool room 18-22 hrs
Weight: 6.75-7.5kg - Thaw in fridge 90 hrs - Thaw in cool room 27-30 hrs

A good roasting

The traditional Thanksgiving or Christmas bird, turkey is good to eat all year round, though is only readily available as portions much of the year. It has all the nutritional plus points of chicken, but with a slightly lower fat content. This can mean the flesh may be on the dry side. Counteract this with frequent basting during roasting or by marinading cuts before cooking them. Never eat raw turkey, and always thoroughly wash your hands, utensils and cutting board as soon as you've cut or handled raw turkey.

Cook it
Set your oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. For accurate timing, always weigh your turkey after it has been stuffed. If it's very large, you may need to use bathroom scales.

The latest advice from the British Turkey Information Service is that if the turkey is over 4kg, calculate 20 minutes per kg + 90 minutes. If the bird is under 4kg, calculate 20 minutes per kg + 70 minutes. To test if it's done, make sure the juices run clear when you pierce the thigh where it meets the body. If not, put it back in the oven for another 20 minutes, then test again.

When is it done?

The best way to tell if your turkey is cooked is by using a digital cooking thermometer. When cooked, turkey thighs should read 80C, breasts 75C. Always double-check by sticking the probe in several different spots within the thigh or breast, to find the lowest reading. If returning to the oven, allow 10-15 minutes, then test again until the correct temperature is reached.

Without a thermometer, the classic way to test is to push a spoon under the turkey leg so that it pierces the skin (or use a skewer), and inspect the juices that collect in the spoon. The juices should be pale gold and clear; if there are traces of blood, return to the oven as above.

Resting time
It is essential to rest your turkey for 30-45 minutes before carving (the temperature will continue to rise, but there’s no need to test). Put the bird in a warm place, tented with foil. It won’t get cold – but it will become juicier, and easier to carve.

Try chicken, goose or duck.

How to Carve a Turkey
You can watch a video - How to Carve a Turkey here

The above taken from words here and here

I hope you may have found this helpful, but please if you have any hints or tips do please share them in the comments...

If you should be looking for alternative Vegetarian and Vegan Thanksgiving / Christmas recipes have a look here please note not all shown in the link are low carb!

This blog brings a variety of articles and recipe ideas, and it is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Sausage and bacon bake with sautéed spinach

You really don't need to serve a 'mash' with sausages, why not try them with some sautéed spinach!

Serves Four
8 good-quality pork sausages
8 rashers streaky bacon
2 red onions cut into eighths
15 sage leaves
2 Tbsp. duck fat
1 cup Verjuice or white wine (optional)
2 Tbsp. butter
150g baby spinach
salt and black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC.
2. Wrap a piece of bacon around each sausage. Place in a roasting tin with the onions and sage leaves; spoon over the duck fat, especially over the onions.
3. Roast for 30–40 minutes on the middle rack, turning once, until the sausages are browned and cooked through.
4. Deglaze the pan with the Verjuice or wine and reduce until thickened.
5. Heat the butter in a pan; add the spinach and sauté until just wilted; season well.

To serve: Serve sausages drizzled with gravy, and with sautéed spinach on the side.

From a recipe seen here

If you need help with measurement / conversion see here

All the best Jan

Monday 20 November 2017

'Reuben Sandwich' : The Low Carb/Keto Way

The Reuben sandwich is an American hot sandwich composed of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing, grilled between slices of rye bread. There are several possible origins of this sandwich, one being that Reuben Kulakofsky, a Jewish Lithuanian-born grocer residing in Omaha, Nebraska, was the inventor, but there are also possible others and you can read more about them here

This low carb one-skillet/pan wonder is inspired by the classic Reuben sandwich. So get ready for an easy, cheesy, tangy adventure, complete with well-spiced corned beef - all of the flavour and very few of the carbs!

Serves Two
3g carb per serving
2 tablespoons butter
2⁄3 lb / 300 g corned beef
9 oz. / 250 g sauerkraut, drained
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ cup / 125 ml mayonnaise
4 oz. / 110 g Swiss cheese
1 dill pickle

If you prefer:
You can substitute pastrami, deli roast beef, sliced turkey or cooked brisket.
Muenster and mozzarella are mild substitutes for Swiss cheese.
Please see cooking instructions at Diet Doctor site here 

Sauerkraut is used in this recipe, it is a good form of dietary fibre and contains Vitamins C and K, potassium, calcium and phosphorus. Sauerkraut is essentially fermented cabbage. Fermentation is a method of preserving food that dates back more than 2,000 years. During the fermentation process, beneficial probiotics, or ‘live bacteria’, are produced, and these probiotics are what give sauerkraut most of its health benefits.

You can read much more about sauerkraut including its health benefits here

... and as it's the start of the week I wish all readers a

All the best Jan

Sunday 19 November 2017

Some Tips On How To Stay Healthy While Travelling

Laurentine ten Bosch writes:
"Traveling can take a toll on the body physically, mentally and emotionally. While travel often involves excitement and anticipation, the experience can also trigger anxiety, stress and fear. Traveling disrupts our natural circadian rhythm while low oxygen levels, humidity and sudden changes of pressure all have varying levels of negative side effects. Luckily there are several ways you can minimize and combat the effects of flying and travel.

With a little forward planning and awareness, your journey can be comfortable and have you arriving at your destination ready to enjoy your time away. These simple tips will ensure you the smoothest journey possible.

1 Stay Hydrated:
At high altitudes, the air inside of a plane contains 66 percent less water than at sea level, making the plane environment drier than a desert! This easily amounts to a dry mouth, eyes and nose, headaches, dizziness, susceptibility to infection and dehydration. To avoid dehydration, drink plenty of water before you fly and throughout the entire journey. Bring your own electrolytes or a good quality green power to add to your water for extra hydration and nutrients. Having a good moisturizer, hydrating face mist and something to naturally moisten your lips with will also make your journey a little more pleasant.

2 Pack Your Own Meals:
Boosting your immune system and ensuring you are having nutrient-dense food will help ward off infection and illness that is common when travelling. Medical doctor Robin Berzin suggests passengers avoid the sodium-rich, preservative-laden food typically served on airplanes and to pack your food and snacks instead. Travel-friendly food may include fresh fruit and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, quinoa salad, homemade sushi, flaxseed crackers with almond butter or avocado, chia seed pudding or homemade energy bars. You can also pack a lemon and squeeze it into some water for an easy vitamin C boost on board.

3 Protect Your Ears:
The pressure inside the cabin fluctuates throughout the journey and most significantly during take-off and landing. The Eustachian tubes inside the ear open and close, trying to balance and match this changing pressure and as a result, your ears may feel blocked or you experience ‘popping’ sensations. If you find this uncomfortable, try to swallow, yawn, or slowly suck on an ice cube. If you have severe discomfort you can also purchase air pressure-regulating ear plugs which slow the rate of air pressure on the ear drum. The noise pollution from a passenger can also trigger stress in the body. Try wearing earplugs or noise-reducing headphones, especially during long flights.

4 Keep Moving:
Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot that forms in the legs as a result of poor circulation, low air pressure, dehydration, and little movement. Avoid clot formation by keeping hydrated and mobile as much as possible. Wander up and down the aisles when safe and appropriate, try some gentle yoga poses such as seated twists, and flex your feet and legs often to keep the blood flowing. Compression socks can assist to avoid swelling which is another cause of clotting, these can be found in most airports or chemists. In between flights give the travellator a miss and walk to and from your gates, or even roll out a yoga mat and move through some sun salutations while you wait.

5 Breathe and Meditate:
Breathing exercises can be done anywhere and anytime. Try taking 4-5 deep breaths, holding the breath at the top of the inhale and then exhaling slowly. Mediation can also help to limit the stress and anxiety that often accompanies travel. Studies have proven that mediation during take-off and landing can be effective in alleviating those nervous jitters. Listening to gentle music or a guided meditation is a great way to relax the brain and help you to feel calm and centred throughout the journey.

6 Limit Alcohol and Caffeine:
Both alcohol and caffeine are dehydrating and disrupt your natural sleep patterns, therefore while you may be heading off on vacation and looking to celebrate, or catching a red eye flight and seeking that caffeine hit, these are the worst substances to turn to when it comes to air travel. Do your body a favour and stay hydrated with water or mineral water during your flight. Opt for herbal tea over caffeine when traveling- chamomile tea can assist you with relaxation and sleep, while peppermint tea can assist with digestion, which can also be triggered by travel.

7 Supplements:
The physical and emotional stress of travel can lead to a quick depletion of essential nutrients. Travel also exposes you to a rather unavoidable cacophony of germs and bacteria. While antibacterial sprays are used on-board between flights, these can be just as irritating to the body. Try traveling with Vitamins A, D, and C, plus Zinc to help keep your immune system strong. Invest in a good quality probiotic that you can take while traveling to support your immune system, ward off nasty travel bugs and support digestion.

8 Catch Some Zzzz’s:
Travel affects the body’s circadian rhythms and confuses our internal body clock. While sleeping on a plane may be challenging, it can also be one of the most beneficial ways to pass the time. Invest in an eye mask, wear layered clothing so you are neither too hot nor cold, and use ear plugs to block out external noise. When heading across time zones, avoid jetlag by switching your clock and devices to the new time zone as soon as you arrive and maintaining a normal sleep pattern as best as you can.

9 Grounding:
Once you arrive at your destination, try going for a long gentle walk and ground yourself by walking barefoot in nature or jumping in the ocean. Unwind with a herbal tea and Epsom salt bath. Continue to drink plenty of water and eat a nutritious meal. Expose yourself to sun and allow your body to adjust to your new environment."

Hope you may find these tips helpful - you may have some of your own, please share them in the comments.

This blog brings a variety of articles and recipe ideas, and it is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Saturday 18 November 2017

Katie Melua - Fields Of Gold (Charity single)

Fields of Gold’ is 2017’s BBC Children In Need charity single. Download here:


Passenger | Hotel California (The Eagles cover)

For me the Eagles Hotel California is one of the best songs of my aged generation. So often a great song when covered is butchered, not with this version, I hope you agree. If ever a song illustrated the corrupt quagmire of modern times, this is it. Eddie

Jacques Loussier - Toccata And Fugue in D Minor

Saturday night again and music night. As some know I try to bring something different to the mainstream noise pumped out by the media. I have been into this trio for a long time. I hope you enjoy. Eddie

Grilled Cauliflower Steaks With Herb Sauce

Did you know that "Cauliflower traces its ancestry to the wild cabbage, a plant thought to have originated in ancient Asia Minor, which resembled kale or collards more than the vegetable that we now know it to be.

The cauliflower went through many transformations and reappeared in the Mediterranean region, where it has been an important vegetable in Turkey and Italy since at least 600 B.C.

It gained popularity in France in the mid-16th century and was subsequently cultivated in Northern Europe and the British Isles. The United States, France, Italy, India, and China are countries that produce significant amounts of cauliflower.

Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B6. It is a very good source of choline, dietary fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, phosphorus, and biotin. Additionally, it is a good source of vitamin B1, B2, and B3, the minerals potassium and magnesium, and protein."

More great cauliflower information can be found at the Worlds Healthiest Foods site here.
WHF is a not for profit site of good food information.

The cauliflower is one of the most versatile foods in the 'low carbers 'recipe book. From cauliflower cheese to finely grated as a rice substitute or mash with butter and use as a topping for shepherds and fish pies etc. With minimal carb content and over three times the vitamin C as potatoes, a truly great food.

Here is a slightly different way to serve cauliflower ... it's Grilled Cauliflower Steaks with a herb sauce ... have a look at the recipe suggestion and see.

Serves 2/3
1 cup packed parsley
1 cup packed cilantro
½ cup olive oil
1 lime juiced
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon ground pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 large head cauliflower
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

1. To make the herb sauce, combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender until well combined.
2. Fire up the grill to medium heat. Slice cauliflower in half down the middle from top to bottom. Take one of the halves and make another ½- to 1-inch cut horizontally to form a large, flat cauliflower "steak." Continue this step until you have used up all of the cauliflower.
3. Spray both sides of the cauliflower steaks with olive oil and squeeze any remaining lime juice over the top. Season with salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and chopped cilantro.
4. Place on the grill for about 10 minutes, or until tender, then flip to cook another 5 minutes. Remove from the grill and drizzle the herb sauce on top.

Recipe from an original idea by Rachael DeVaux here
For help with measurement/weight conversion please see here

You will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas within this blog. Please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Friday 17 November 2017

Antarctica ... something completely different !

From time to time we post something completely different!
I happened upon these wonderful photographs of life in Antarctica, definitely for sharing I thought ... hence this blog post.

A gentoo penguin feeds its baby at Station Bernardo O'Higgins in Antarctica on January 22, 2015.
photo by Natacha Pisarenko

A whale exhales air through its blowhole on March 19, 2016.
Ari Friedlaender, from Oregon State University, studies the foraging behaviour of whales
in the Antarctic Ocean as part of the National Science Foundation's
Long Term Ecological Research programme.
photo by Ari Friedlaender

These photographs and 34 more can be seen here

More than 170 million years ago, Antarctica was part of the supercontinent Gondwana. Over time, Gondwana gradually broke apart and Antarctica, as we know it today, was formed around 25 million years ago. Antarctica was not always cold, dry, and covered in ice sheets. At a number of points in its long history, it was farther north, experienced a tropical or temperate climate, was covered in forests, and inhabited by various ancient life forms.

Antarctica is Earth's southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean.

Antarctica is the coldest of Earth's continents. The coldest natural air temperature ever recorded on Earth was −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F) at the Soviet (now Russian) Vostok Staion in Antarctica on 21 July 1983.

You can read more about Antarctica here

All the best Jan

Empanadas : Low Carb and Vegan

As regular readers know, this blog brings a variety of articles. studies, thoughts, music and recipes! It is presented in a magazine style - we hope something for everyone. Our main focus is about the Low Carb Higher (Healthy) Fat lifestyle, LCHF for short, and you can read/find out more about that here

In recent months we have seen that more and more we have regular readers, and followers, who choose to eat vegetarian or vegan. With that in mind I am passing on this recipe suggestion from Martine at Low Carb Vegan Blog.

She says these empanadas "have crispy edges, crumbly buttery dough and a nice hearty filling" ... "Once you get the hang of rolling out and shaping the dough, these are surprisingly easy to make, and they are super filling too!"

An empanada is a Spanish, or Latin American, pastry turnover filled with a variety of savoury ingredients and baked or fried. The recipe below is a lower carb vegan version.

Serves: 8 empanadas

1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup cold margarine, cubed
2 tablespoons psyllium husk
1 pinch of salt
3-4 tablespoons water
1/2 cup tvp, tofu or seitan
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons tomato sauce

In a bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, margarine, psyllium husk and salt. Use your hands to create a crumbly dough (you can also do this in a food processor). Add the water and knead a little more. The dough may seem a bit too wet, but it will firm up as the flour absorbs the water. Divide the dough into 8 small balls and put them into the fridge to rest for about 5-10 minutes.

For the filling, put the tvp in a small pot and add water until it is almost covered. Add the soy sauce and spices. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes until the water has been absorbed. Stir in the tomato sauce and allow to cool a little.

Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F. Gas Mark 4. Take the dough from the fridge and roll it out into 2 mm (a little less than 1/8 inch) round disks, using a cut open zip-lock bag to keep it from sticking. If you have a tortilla press, this is a good moment to use it.

When you have a piece of dough rolled out, put about a tablespoon of filling in the centre. Fold over the plastic to close and shape the empanada. This may be a bit finicky at first, but don't panic, you'll get the hang of it. If the dough tears, just smooth out the cracks by gently rubbing the plastic with your fingers. Carefully peel off the plastic from the shaped empanada and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake the empanadas for about 12 minutes. Allow to cool a little and enjoy! They taste good warm and cold. Serve with a nice fresh salad, of your choice, on the side.

One serving (1/4 recipe or 2 empanadas) contains about 300 kcal, 21 g fat (5 g saturated), 7 g net carbohydrate, 13 g fibre, 11 g protein.

If you should need help with measurement/weight conversion see here
Find Martine's blog and recipe suggestion here

Just another reminder that, this blog brings a variety of articles and recipe ideas, and it is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Thursday 16 November 2017

Māori doctor says less carbs, more fats to combat diabetes

November is NZ Diabetes Action month and Dr Lily Fraser is on a mission to help change Māori attitudes towards nutrition as a means to combat this debilitating disease.

The Ministry of Health considers diabetes to be the "largest and fastest growing health issue we face in New Zealand".

Dr Fraser is a GP and clinical director at Turuki Health Care, a Māori provider in South Auckland's Mangere.

She is the first person from a Kura Kaupapa Māori education background to graduate from Medical School. 

When it comes to diabetes, Dr Lily Fraser says there's a need to significantly reduce carbohydrate intake.

"Those are the foods that turn into sugar so if you consume those foods they enter your blood and turn into sugar."

In addition, she encourages a diet high in fats and believes Māori knew of its benefits.

"Kererū was one of the fine delicacies of Māori, same with Muttonbird."

Dr Fraser says a high fat diet is creating positive results for her patients.

"They've finished using medicine and insulin, they've dropped weight, they're healthy, happy, exercising and working with their families."


Pork and Apple Meatballs : serve with a lower carb mash

Ready in just over forty minutes, this recipe suggestion makes a good mid-week or Saturday night dish! Yes, you could serve it with mashed potatoes but why not have a lower carb mash like swede (rutabaga) or cauliflower!

Serves Four
1.5 tbsp. olive oil
0.5 onion, peeled and finely chopped
500 g ground/minced pork
2 tbsp. Bramley apple sauce
1 tbsp. fresh sage, washed and chopped
50 g breadcrumbs
400 g savoy cabbage washed and chopped
70 ml soured cream
1 tbsp. corn-flour mixed with cold water
150 ml beef stock

Serving suggestions:
Swede (Rutabaga), mashed 
Cauliflower, mashed 
2 tbsp. cranberry sauce

1. Prepare the mash of your choice e.g. swede or cauliflower
2. In a large frying pan, heat half a tablespoon of olive oil and cook the onion for 5 minutes until soft. Transfer the onion to a large bowl, add the mince, apple sauce, sage and breadcrumbs. Season with freshly ground black pepper and mix together until well combined.
3. Shape the mince into 12 balls. Heat the remaining oil in the frying pan and fry the meatballs for 10 minutes, turning, until cooked through with no pink remaining. Remove from the pan, set aside and keep warm.
4. Stir-fry the cabbage for 2 minutes in the frying pan.
5. Make the sauce: heat the soured cream in a small pan and stir through the corn-flour mixture. Slowly add the beef stock and simmer for 5 minutes until thickened.
6. Serve the mash of your choice with the meatballs, cabbage and cranberry sauce, then pour over the sauce.
From an original idea here

The savoy cabbage is a classic vegetable - its attractive deep green colouring and crinkly leaves have ensured its popularity has never waned. What makes it even better is that when cooked it doesn’t emit the usual odour associated with overcooked cabbage. Savoy cabbages are at their peak from October through to February. They should have deep green, crisp outer leaves, becoming lighter towards the core. The leaves should be tightly packed together, and the overall cabbage should feel heavy for their size. Read more about this cabbage

This blog brings a variety of articles and recipe ideas, and it is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan