Cacio e pepe – zucchini style!

Last year C and I went to Rome for a little holiday – and before you ask me, no…I did NOT manage to follow the LCHF lifestyle while I was in Italy – are you kidding me? The land of amazing pasta and pizza and you expect me to have discipline…..? However both C and I did try to modify our behaviour so we didn’t indulge too much.

Instead of ordering our own pasta dish – we always shared one, and then made sure our other order was a meat and vegetables of some kind. Needless to say we ate very well in Italy 🙂

One of the dishes we had been dying to try was Cacio e Pepe – a typical Roman pasta dish which basically consists of butter, cheese and pepper. So simple, so delicious, and we loved it. When we got back to Brazil, we (unfortunately) managed to make it ourselves quite successfully. Which is such a pity – as pasta does not fit in the LCHF diet in ANY form!

However, butter, cheese and pepper does…..!

So yesterday inspiration struck – why not make cacio e pepe using zucchini noodles? And although it is not quite the same as the pasta version (slightly more watery), it really was incredibly delicious as well as incredibly quick to make. We served it as a side for lovely pan fried pork chop and voila – dinner is served.

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Zucchini Cacio e Pepe – serves 2

  • 2 large zucchinis, noodled (see post on noodler here)
  • 3 tblsp butter, cubbed and divided
  • 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Grana Padero or Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 finely grated Pecorino

Melt 2tbsp of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook swirling pan until pepper is toasted (1-2 mins)

Add zucchini and remaining butter. Stir until butter is melted.

Once butter is melted reduce heat to low and add Grana Padano cheese, stirring and tossing with tongs until cheese has melted.

Remove from heat, add Pecorino cheese, stirring and tossing until it has melted and the cheesy sauce coats all the zucchini.

Serve immediately!

 

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Side note: The Grana Padano and the Pecorino cheese here are the star ingredients and is what makes this dish so delicious. I really encourage you to use both types of cheese if you attempt to make this. It will be worth it!

Cabbage Is My New Best Friend

The last week I have discovered cabbage! Don’t get me wrong, I have always enjoyed cabbage, but it is something that I don’t cook with often. However, recently I have been substituting thinly sliced cabbage  for carbs and I have to say it is working pretty well and it is a very versatile vegetable!

Yesterday I made a spicy stir fry with minced meat and vegetables – I wanted something with a bit of a punch and used curry, cumin and chili powder. Instead of rice or noodles, I added in the sliced cabbage and fried it all until it was done and I have to say it was a very satisfying meal. It really reminded me of noodle dish.

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Before you say anything, I completely agree with you all – this picture is not the most appetizing of photos! But hey, as long as it tastes good! The reason why I’m posting it, is to give you some ideas of how to substitute carbs. This may not be something you serve your guests at a dinner party (I know I certainly would not), but if you are looking for a quick mid-week meal this hits the spot.

I also added a huge dollop of natural yoghurt (I can’t get sour cream in Brazil) to up the fat content and make it more filling!

Talking of terrible photos – have you guys seen the buzzfeed of Martha Stewart’s photos? They are terrible….so it made me feel so much better and gave me the confidence to post the above! Check out this link if you fancy a giggle 🙂

http://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelzarrell/someone-needs-to-tell-martha-stewart-her-food-tweets-are-dis

 

 

Bight Size Snack

I have just discovered the best and most easiest LCHF snack ever! I don’t know why I haven’t thought about it before – hard boiled quail eggs!!

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I love the speckled nature of the quaill egg…goes very well with my kitchen counter tops!

Eggs are a huge part of the LCHF’ers diet, but for those times where I am feeling slightly peckish, a full hard boiled egg just seems too much of a commitment before dinner! However, I saw this package of quail eggs in the supermarket the other day (they seem to be very popular here in Brazil) and thought I had to try them.

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They really are tiny!

So I threw them all in a pot with water, put them on a stove over medium heat and once the water came to a boil, I turned off the heat and put the lid on the pot and let the eggs sit there for 5 minutes. I peeled three little eggs and this is probably the most difficult part about this snack – as it is rather fiddly. I sprinkled some salt on the eggs and I was done – and they were delicious! Tasted just like a regular chicken egg…but bite size 🙂

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Sprinkled with a little salt – you have a perfect little snack 🙂

 

The rest of the packet went back into the fridge, and now I have little snacks at a moments notice! Why have I not thought of this before?

Pork Chops with Creamy Sauce!

Does anyone fancy creamy pork chops for dinner tonight?

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A very simple meal but incredibly tasty using butter and cream – you can’t get more LCHF than that 🙂 I paired it with roasted cauliflower and carrots, and although they were really good it didn’t go that well with this. I think the next time I make this I will pair it with cauliflower puree instead.

If you would like to make this dish please head on over to The Travelling Chopsticks where you can find this recipe!

Pork Chops with Creamy Mustard Sauce

Thinking Outside the Box

When you decide that you want to change your eating habits and try to reduce something as significant as carbs, you will have to make some real sacrifices, especially in the beginning. In every conventional cooking book, magazine or even online food resources, the majority of recipes you will stumble across will be very carb heavy: Pasta, risotto, mashed potato etc. It is also what you are used to cooking with, a meal is not complete with out carbs!

However, one of the things I love (sometimes hate) about LCHF is that it forces you to think out side of the box, and ultimately pushes you to be a better and more flexible cook!

For example, last week I saw this fantastic looking pasta recipe from Christina’s Cucina – it looked delicious, and my immediate reaction, was what a pity that I can’t make this. What?! Wait a minute – why not? I don’t have to eat the pasta, but I can still make the sauce and pair it with something else.

For example, I could make the sauce and toss it together some steamed vegetables or, make the sauce and use it as a gravy for some kind of protein. Which is exactly what I did! I made this lovely sauce and poured it over some minute steaks with side of sauteed broccoli and cauliflower. It was a very satisfying meal!

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So, don’t get discouraged in the beginning! You may not be able to eat what you are used to – but a whole world has just opened up with possibility, time to step out of that box!

Day 19

0800 Breakfast: Yoghurt with cream, with rasberries, nuts and sunflower seeds. Thermos of coffe with cream

Nothing new to report – this has become my favourite breakfast though at work!

1300 Gym: 30 mins on the cross trainer

Woke up feeling a bit ‘gross’ today. I realised since starting the diet, I have really neglected my workouts – so this week I am back on track!

1400 Lunch: Melanzane alla parmigiana, cheddar cubes and celery.

I’m so happy I made the effort to make this dish yesterday – I really looked forward to lunch all morning and really enjoyed it. I may have been a bit too stingy with the serving as I was still hungry afterwards so I nibbled on cheese and celery until I was full.

Celery has suprsingly become one of my favourite vegetables. Doing this diet, I realised I have begone to miss the crunch elements of food – Toast, crackers, pretzels etc etc, but celery gives me that umph I am looking for.

1700 Snack: 2 crisp breads with cucumbers, cottage cheese and smoked salmon.

Love this flavour combination – although its damn messy to eat, as the cottage cheese runs everywhere!

2000 Dinner: Cauliflower rice with left over curry (fish and spinach)

In case you haven’t seen my previous post on Cauliflower rice – I LOVE IT! It is a great way to make your plate look that much more full and interesting – and great with the curry. I was very excited about this yesterday!

Summary & Future

Umm…before I say anything else – did anyone notice that I did not have chocoalte and milk last night?! My craving wasn’t as strong as last week (so i’m going to blame that on the time of the month), but I was also so full from dinner that there was no room!

I think today was the first day, that I felt very comfortablea and confident regarding the LCHF diet/lifesyle. I have been feeling really good the last few days and have been doing alot of reading and research and it is starting to make more and more sense.

Day 18

0900 Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs (made with 2 eggs, full fat milk and cream) with Smoked salmon, 2 cups of coffee with whipped cream (YUM!)

I LOVED this breakfast. I got up before C and decided to make scrambled eggs the way I like them (slowly in a pot, and slightly loose). Served with the smoked salmon it was just such a great combination – in fact, a very popular dish for lunch in Sweden – all I needed was some chopped chives and it would have been excellent 🙂

This may sound odd – but there is a big difference when you put a dollop (or 2) of whipped cream in your coffee. It almost becomes a desert – the cool whipped cream on top, then the hot coffee comes through afterwards – really worth trying!

1400 Snack: 2 glasses of proseco

Really not a snack – but I can’t really think of another way to categorise it. We went to a friend’s place to celebrate her birthday, and instead of diving into the food and cake I took a few glasses of sparkly!

1600 Lunch (how very Mexican of us): Ceviche, scallops with parmesan cheese and crispy pork belly at Osaka Restaurant.

My breakfast kept me full all morning and part of the afternoon, it was only when we left my friends party, that I realised I needed to eat. As we had been speaking about Osaka at the party and how good it was – we both craved it! However, as a side note – that is the last time we go. It is no longer as good as it used to be and its expensive. Those 3 dishes (which we shared) cost us almost $100! I need to make a note of that in The Travelling Chopsticks!

2000 Dinner: Cheddar cubes and chorizo slices

As we had lunch so late – I was not very hungry, but felt as though I wanted to nibble on something while we were watching telly, so it ended up being cheese and cold cuts – I love it!

2100 Snack: Chocolate and Milk

I have decided that I am going to save my milk and chocolates for only the weekends. It needs to be a treat and not an every day habit! Wish me luck for tomorrow.

Summary & Future

I really believe that because I made my scrambled eggs with whole milk, cream and butter and had 2 cups of coffee with cream – I really was not hungry all day. Even when I was at my friend’s place where there was lots of food (most of it not LCHF friendly) I was not even tempted (which is very unlike me). I really am starting to believe that full fat products are much better to use and keep you sated longer.

I also realised something – I have not felt that ‘disgustingly full’ feeling in a long time. Its been over 2 weeks since the last time I had bread/pasta/rice/potatoes and I somehow feel ‘lighter’ and not so bloated. There might be something to this after all…