Recipe: Salmon with roasted Brussel sprouts, fennel and pesto

This is an easy recipe that combines some of my favourite things: crispy skin salmon, Brussel sprouts and pesto. This is a meal packed with healthy fats, including omega-3 from the salmon and monounsaturated fats from the extra-virgin olive oil. This dish is gluten-free and low in carbs. Feel free to swap the vegetables for your favourite ones or whatever you have available.

I used Pecorino cheese (made from sheep’s milk) instead of Parmigiano Reggiano because I prefer its sharp taste, but you can use regular Parmesan. I also left out the garlic – I prefer using roasted garlic instead of raw in sauces but wanted to keep this recipe as simple as possible. You will have leftover pesto to enjoy with your morning eggs.

Salmon with roasted Brussel sprouts, fennel and pesto

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Salmon and vegetables

  • 3 salmon fillets
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 600 gr Brussel sprouts
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pesto

  • 1 bunch basil
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 30g grated Pecorino cheese
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).
  2. Trim and halve Brussel sprouts, trim and slice fennel. Place vegetables on a tray and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  3. While the vegetables cook, place washed basil leaves, pine nuts, cheese, lemon juice and olive oil in a food processor. Process to desired texture. Check seasoning, add salt if needed and several grinds of black pepper.
  4. Heat the 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan. Place the salmon fillets skin side down, season flesh with salt and pepper. Let cook for 5-8 minutes, depending on thickness.
  5. Flip fillets using a spatula and cook for another 2-3 minutes, depending on thickness.
  6. Serve fillets skin side up to preserve crispness or skin side down with a dollop of pesto on top for colour contrast. Serve roasted vegetables on the side, seasoned with salt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Recipe: Supercharged Bolognese

This Supercharged Bolognese might look like a regular Bolognese but it’s got a secret ingredient to make it extra nutritious: Feather and Bone’s organic beef mince with organs. You can use your own mince + organ meat blend, of course.

Flavour comes, mostly, from the speck (also from Feather and Bone – you can use bacon instead), classic soffritto veggies (onion, garlic, celery and carrot) and red wine (you can use beef broth instead). The other flavour booster most Bolognese recipes don’t include is dried porcini, which adds to the umaminess of the dish. In Perú, ragú-style dishes are always made with dried mushrooms because they are included by default in the bay leaves bags that can be found at the herbs & spices section of the supermarket (this is called hongos y laurel). Finding dried mushrooms can be a bit more challenging in Australia but not impossible! – they’re available in most superkmarkets (and certainly specialty food stores), you just need to be patient to find them.

Most people serve Bolognese with spaghetti, but I prefer to serve it with vegetables for extra nutrition. I served them on top of sautéed Russian kale.

Supercharged Bolognese

Other suggestions include:

  • Higher carb:
    • roasted root vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, swedes, celeriac, pumpkin
    • vegetable “noodles” made from parsnip, celeriac, sweet potato, pumpkin
    • mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, parsnips, celeriac, swedes or a combination
    • polenta
    • rice, quinoa or a combination (pro tip: add lupin flakes for extra fibre and protein)
  • Lower carb:
    • roasted or steamed broccoli and/or cauliflower
    • sautéed kale or cabbage
    • roasted Brussel sprouts
    • roasted zucchini, eggplant and capsicum
    • vegetable “noodles” made from zucchini
    • kelp or shirataki noodles

Finally, I prefer using Pecorino Romano instead of Parmesan (or Parmigiano Reggiano) but you can use whichever hard cheese you prefer.

Supercharged Bolognese

  • Servings: 4 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
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Bolognese

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 500gr beef mince with organs
  • 200gr speck or bacon, cut in stripes
  • 10gr dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 small brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, white part finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup red wine or beef broth
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
  • small handful of basil leaves, thinly sliced

To serve

  • your choice of vegetables or regular pasta substitute (see suggestions above)
  • freshly grated Pecorino Romano or other hard cheese

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pot or pan. Brown mince and speck/bacon.
  2. While meat cooks, place mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with hot water. When soft (5-8 minutes), drain but don’t discard the water. Chop mushrooms finely.
  3. Once meat is cooked, add onion, garlic, carrot, celery and leek. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Add wine/broth and stir until almost fully evaporated.
  5. Add mushrooms and their water, tomatoes, bay leaf, season with 1 tsp salt and greshly ground pepper. Lower heat and cover cooking vessel. Cook for 30 minutes.
  6. Turn off heat, check seasoning and stir in basil.
  7. Serve sauce over vegetables with freshly grated cheese on top.

Keep Tone bread

Product review: Keep Tone bread

Keep Tone bread is a new brand of keto/paleo/low carb bread currently available at selected health food shops and cafes in NSW (I bought mine at Mr Vitamins Ashfield).

Health claims

The bread claims to contain “only wholefoods, no nasties”. It is gluten free, dairy free, soy free, yeast free, grain free and has no added sugar. I know most people would think this is no bread… until you try it.

What’s in Keep Tone bread?

Keep Tone bread currently comes in 3 flavours: rosemary blast, super seeds and divine chocolate. Below are the ingredients for the 2 savoury varieties:

  • Rosemary blast: Almond meal, golden flax meal, coconut flour, free range eggs, extra virgin olive oil, psyllium husk, apple cider vinegar, rosemary, Italian herbs, sea salt flakes, gluten free baking powder, Himalayan pink salt
  • Super seeds: Almond meal, golden flax meal, free range eggs, organic coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, linseeds, psyllium husk, gluten free baking powder, xanthan gum, Himalayan pink salt, stevia

All ingredients are Australian and most of them are organic, which drives the price a little high: $14.95 for the rosemary and $15.95 for the seedy one.

Keep Tone bread

Below are the nutritional labels for the 2 savoury breads: rosemary (top) and seeded (bottom). Based on the provided numbers, I’ve calculated the total kilocalories per slice to be 79Cal for the rosemary and 173Cal for the seeded bread.

Keep Tone bread nutrition information

Keep Tone bread nutrition information

Taste test

The bread loaves, which are smaller than commercial sliced gluten-free bread, come whole in a resealable bag with a desiccant packet. The bread has a great texture – it can be sliced easily and doesn’t crumble. Both savoury flavours are tasty – the seeded one is a bit sweeter so keep in mind when deciding what to eat it with.

I chucked the leftover bread in the freezer to test how it toasted from frozen. As expected, due to the fat content, it doesn’t toast the same as regular gluten-free bread (i.e. it doesn’t dry as much). Also, the seeds in the seedy variety tend to burn, so be careful.

Who is this bread right for?

People who are following a low carb diet/ketogenic diet for body composition or health reasons (e.g. people with insulin resistance), people who can’t eat gluten and do well on a lower carbohydrate diet.

I would also add the caveat that bread should not displace veggies out of your plate. Eat a piece of toast here and there but don’t use bread as an excuse to not eat vegetables.

The man behind Keep Tone bread

Gurpreet, the founder of Keep Tone, was kind enough to share his story:

“I’m a person who always thinks about the healthy lifestyle and keeps learning and searching for new research and any topics about health. About 2 years ago, I found a new lifestyle which is ketogenic. So I researched a lot about it and I studied health coaching where I learned about hormones and how the body uses fuel.

I’ve been doing a ketogenic lifestyle since then and also coached lots of people into this lifestyle including cyclists and weight trainers. My clients were perfectly enjoying all the benefits that keto has to offer but all of them missed one thing and that was BREAD. Being a problem solver and troubleshooter it got me thinking that how I can come up with the recipe of bread which will give bread-like pleasure but without spiking insulin, which is grain, dairy, gluten, yeast and soy free. Which is all natural just made from wholefoods no synthetic or preservatives or colours. So me and my partner chose all superfood ingredients that goes well with KETO, PALEO and all other low carb diets. After doing lots of taste testing on friends and clients we have received an outstanding response.

Now we have created a company known as KEEP TONE which has made Australia’s first Ketogenic superfood breads.

There are lot of other exciting food products coming along the way because I believe ketogenic was first type of lifestyle mankind knew and its very healthy lifestyle and KEEP TONE promises to offer the BEST.”

Gurpreet

Want to know more?

Follow @keeptone_aus on Instagram.

Recipe: Peruvian spiced chicken

I would love to say this is a recipe for pollo a la brasa but that would be a terrible lie. First, I did not use charcoal to cook it and second, traditional pollo a la brasa can be made with no other seasoning than salt and pepper. That’s why I’m calling it Peruvian spiced chicken instead.

A couple of notes about ingredients:

  1. Peruvian dark beer (a.k.a. “malta”) is a bit sweeter than most dark beers here in Australia. I used O’Brien brown ale, which is not only delicious and gluten-free but also similar in taste to Peruvian malta. Feel free to use any dark beer you like.
  2. Ají panca is a dried red Peruvian chilli. In Perú you can buy it whole, ground or in paste. In Australia is more common to find the paste, which can be purchased online or in stores such as Fiji Market in Newtown and Tierras Latinas in Ashfield. I like the brand I bring from home every time I visit, which unfortunately is not available here (pictured below). If you can’t find it (or can’t be bothered), use any chilli paste you like… but don’t call it Peruvian chicken ;).

Finally, Peruvians would typically serve this chicken with chips and “salad” (maybe some iceberg lettuce and a slice of tomato). I recommend serving it with your favourite vegetables or a nice salad, for example, this one.

Peruvian spiced chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1/4 cup dark beer (O’Brien gluten-free dark ale recommended)
  • 2 tbsp ají panca paste (or other red chilli paste)
  • 2 tbsp tamari (or other gluten-free soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/5 tsp rosemary salt (or 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp dried rosemary)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • fresh cracked pepper

Directions

  1. Mix all marinade ingredients and spread on and in chicken. Let marinate in the fridge for 3-12 hours.
  2. Take chicken out of the fridge and preheat oven to 215°C (185-195°C fan-forced).
  3. Place chicken in cast iron pot or roasting pan and roast for 70-90 minutes. Time will vary depending on the actual temperature of your oven and size of the chicken. Use a brush to baste chicken with the cooking juices approximately at the 45-50 minute mark
  4. Turn off oven and leave chicken inside for another 5-10 minutes.
  5. Serve with vegetables.

Mayver’s Protein+ Peanut Butter

Product review: Mayver’s Protein+ Peanut Butter

Mayver’s Protein+ Peanut Butter is the new awesome spread from the makers of awesome spreads. Their regular peanut butters (smooth, crunchy, dark roasted smooth and dark roasted crunchy) are among my favourites, as well as their other spreads. Yes, they can be a bit more expensive than other peanut butters but they tick all the boxes ingredients- and taste-wise.

The new Protein+ range has entered the market riding the wave of high protein diets popularity. The three varieties, Mayver’s Protein+ Peanut Butter, Mayver’s Protein+ with Hemp Seeds Peanut Butter, and Mayver’s Protein+ with Super Seeds Peanut Butter, follow the brand’s philosophy of minimal ingredients lists, without any added oil or sugar.

Where does the Protein+ come from?

The three flavours have added peanut flour to achieve extra protein without added fat, plus seeds in the case of the hemp and super seeds varieties. Check out the ingredients lists below:

Mayvers protein peanut butter

  • Natural: roasted peanuts, peanut flour & salt
  • Hemp: peanuts, peanut flour, hemp seeds (5%) & salt
  • Super Seeds: peanuts, peanut flour, (chia seeds, linseeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas, quinoa) (5%) & salt

And these are the nutritional panels:

Natural:

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 20g
Servings Per Container 19

Amount Per Serving
Calories 97.1 Calories from Fat 75.6
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8.4g 13%
Saturated Fat 1.1g 6%
Trans Fat g
Cholesterol mg 0%
Sodium 79mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 2.6g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1.8g 7%
Sugars 1.4g
Protein 6.4g 13%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Hemp:

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 20g
Servings Per Container 19

Amount Per Serving
Calories 97.5 Calories from Fat 76.5
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8.5g 13%
Saturated Fat 1.1g 6%
Trans Fat g
Cholesterol mg 0%
Sodium 75mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 3.2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1.8g 7%
Sugars 1.2g
Protein 6.4g 13%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Super seeds:

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 20g
Servings Per Container 19

Amount Per Serving
Calories 96.7 Calories from Fat 75.6
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8.4g 13%
Saturated Fat 1.0g 5%
Trans Fat g
Cholesterol mg 0%
Sodium 75mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 2.7g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1.9g 8%
Sugars 1.3g
Protein 6.4g 13%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

What about the taste and texture?

Taste-wise my favourite is the natural flavour, followed by the super seeds, followed by the hemp. Nothing wrong with any of the flavours, it’s just a matter of personal preference.

While not super thick, these peanut butters are definitely on the thicker side and the mouthfeel can be a bit gritty, particularly in the natural flavour. If smooth silky peanut butter is your thing, stick to the regular smooth options.

Can I use this peanut butter in recipes?

Absolutely. I made a test batch (recipe coming soon) of bliss balls with the natural PB and it worked perfectly.

You can find more information in the following links:
Mayver’s Protein+ Peanut Butter
Mayver’s Protein+ with Hemp Seeds Peanut Butter
Mayver’s Protein+ with Super Seeds Peanut Butter

Recipe: 2-ingredient devilled eggs

Devilled eggs are one of those foods that look very retro but come and go in waves. According to Wikipedia, they date back to ancient Rome (!)

Devilled eggs are hard-boiled eggs that are cut in half. The yolks are mixed with binding agents such as mayonnaise and placed back into the egg white cavities. They are mostly a party food but are also wonderful for picnics, as a snack or as part of a meal when paired with veggies.

If you can get your hands on good quality spicy mayonnaise (such as Primal Kitchen chipotle lime mayo), you only need a couple of ingredients to make magic happen. This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, ovo-lacto-vegetarian, paleo, primal, low-carb and keto. Enjoy!

2-ingredient devilled eggs

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients


Directions

  1. Steam eggs for 10 minutes. Cool down under cold running water. Place them in a bowl of cold water until they have cooled down completely (about 10 minutes).
  2. Peel eggs and split in half.
  3. Scoop out yolks and place in a bowl.
  4. Mash yolks with a fork, mix with mayonnaise.
  5. Pipe or spoon yolk mix back into egg halves.
  6. Serve in a platter.

Primal Kitchen chipotle lime mayo

Product review: Primal Kitchen chipotle lime mayo

It’s been a few weeks since I opened my jar of Primal Kitchen mayo and I’m happy to report that its texture and flavour remain untouched. This is why I decided to try Primal Kitchen chipotle lime mayo.

What is in Primal Kitchen chipotle lime mayo?

Just like the original version, try the chipotle lime mayo is all natural, sugar/soy/canola/dairy/gluten/grain-free, etc. The ingredients list is relatively short and all of them are recognisable as “food”: avocado oil, organic cage-free eggs, organic cage-free egg yolks, organic vinegar, water, sea salt, organic lime juice concentrate, chipotle powder, lime granules, organic garlic powder, organic rosemary extract.

Primal Kitchen chipotle lime mayo

I enjoyed both the creaminess and taste of this mayo. It’s not too spicy but it does have a bit of heat that pairs well with the smokey chipotle and the tangy lime.

Primal Kitchen chipotle lime mayo

What is chipotle?

Chipotle is a smoked dried jalapeño chilli. It’s one of my favourites because it’s not super hot and imparts a nice flavour to many foods. You’ll find it most often in hot sauces and, more recently, in mayonnaise. In a sense, chipotle mayo is the new(er) aioli.

Why avocado oil?

(This is copy-paste from my previous Primal Kitchen mayo review). Avocado oil, like olive oil, is high in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). There is evidence to suggest that MUFAs are beneficial for cardiovascular and metabolic health, and that they are more stable than polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). I’ll be writing a more in-depth post about this in the future.

Bottom line

If you like flavoured mayonnaise, and especially if you enjoy spicy flavours and Tex-Mex cuisine, this is a good product to try. As far as I know, it is only available online from US stores such as iHerb.com.

Recipe: Chorizo frittata

This is an easy, tasty recipe that makes good use of leftover frozen vegetables. You can have it for breakfast or serve it with a big salad for lunch or dinner. Enjoy!

Chorizo frittata

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 chorizos
  • 1-2 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
  • 1.5 cups frozen or cooked fresh spinach
  • 1.5 cups frozen or cooked fresh cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 9 eggs
  • 100-150g semi-firm cheese, such as tasty or havarti, shredded
  • salt & pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).
  2. Slice the chorizos.
  3. Heat ghee/oil in a pan at medium heat and cook chorizo. Place at the bottom of a small roasting dish.
  4. If using frozen vegetables, put them in a bowl and microwave until thawed. Drain excess water.
  5. Whisk eggs in a large bowl. Mix in the vegetables and cheese. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Pour mixture over chorizo.
  6. Cook until eggs are set and top is brown, approximately 20 minutes.
  7. Serve with salad and/or fermented vegetables.

Recipe: Mum’s burgers

Last time I went home I asked mum for recipes of meals I really miss. Her burgers, a simple weeknight meal, were on the list. She used to serve them with rice (otherwise it’s not a meal, according to many Peruvians) and occasionally a little salad. I used to pour tomato sauce all over the rice; these days I prefer serving the burgers with salad (coleslaw is my personal fave) and some good mustard.

Mum's burgers

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 500g beef mince
  • 2 tbsp minced onion
  • 2 tbsp minced tomato
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp minced parsley
  • salt & pepper

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp ghee/oil in a pan at low-medium heat, cook onion, tomato and garlic until soft.
  2. In a bowl, mix beef mince, onion, tomato and garlic, egg and parsley. Season with salt & pepper.
  3. Form patties, heat 1 tbsp ghee/oil, cook patties 3-5 minutes per side.
  4. Serve with salad.

Recipe: Ground beef and cabbage

Here’s an simple nutritious recipe you can make on a week night using ingredients that are easy to come by.

Ground beef and cabbage

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 500g beef mince
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, minced
  • 1/2 small red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 small green cabbage, shredded
  • 6 green onions, cut in long segments
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • juice of 1 lime

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a pan, brown beef.
  2. Add garlic and ginger, mix well until beef has finished cooking.
  3. Add cabbage, stir until cooked through.
  4. Add green onions, stir and cook for another couple of minutes.
  5. Turn off heat, add tamari, fish sauce and lime juice, stir and serve.