Eat to beat diabetes | Celeriac gratin with Stilton

When you’re cutting carbs from your diet, it’s tricky trying to come up with new ideas to substitute something like a creamy mashed potato that you would normally pair with a meat and veg supper that still tastes luxurious and even dinner party-worthy. I love celeriac and serve it in a variety of ways (mashed, roasted, in casseroles or salads) and this is a real winner. The celeriac is coarsely shredded which gives it a lovely texture and then baked in the oven with a creamy sauce spiked with Stilton and some lemon juice to cut the richness. If Stilton is not your thing, you could substitute a dessertspoon of Dijon mustard with equally good results and it reduces the calorie count. Served with dark greens, pork roasted on a bed of seasoned onion, celery and carrot and gravy (make by pureeing the roasting juices and vegetables together, thin it with a little white wine), it’s a fab supper that is as easy to make as it is delicious.

Celeriac gratin

Serves 4 (5g carbohydrate and 240 calories/portion)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5g butter
  • ½ large or one whole small celeriac, peeled and coarsely shredded
  • 100ml double cream
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 50g Stilton cheese, crumbled (or a tablespoon of Dijon mustard)
  • A dash of ground white pepper
  • 10g Panko breadcrumbs (roughly chopped walnuts are also a great option to give crunch to the crust topping)
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Eat to beat diabetes | Konjac rice kedgeree

In one of my earlier #TheFridayRecipe posts, I shared my ‘Well Woman’ smoked mackerel salad recipe. Well, it’s been a bit nippy weather-wise and I wanted to eat a warm lunch or supper dish that would include the omega 3 goodness of the oily fish, the protein from the eggs and some veggie elements but still deliver on flavour and nutrition. White or brown rice, as you know, is a proper carb and calorie hit and pretty much on the avoid list if you are weight managing too. However, I came across an interesting product on my weekly shop called ‘Bare Naked Rice’ and I thought I’d give it a spin so I could make this low carb, low-calorie version of my classic smoked haddock kedgeree recipe. Dear reader, it’s a keeper!

Konjac rice kedgeree

So what is Bare Naked Rice? Well, it looks like rice, it doesn’t taste of much until you introduce it to some spice and sauce (just like, well, rice) but it’s made from a plant called konjac, a type of yam. It’s fat-free, gluten-free and a 250g pack is just 17 calories and 1g of carbs. Hmm…sounds interesting doesn’t it? Well, you need to open the pack and rinse the rice pieces with some cold water in a fine sieve first before you can start cooking (it has a slightly fishy odour but don’t let that put you off, it disappears when you rinse it and you’re going to be eating it with fish!), after that, just follow the recipe here and I think you’ll really love the result. It helps you to feel full as it swells slightly in your stomach so it’s recommended that you drink a glass of water before you eat. I’m also trying the noodles, more recipes to come!

Serves 2

  • 2 large smoked mackerel fillets, skin off, flaked
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs (or poached if you prefer)
  • a handful of chopped parsley or chives
  • a handful of chopped coriander
  • 25g of unsalted butter
  • 2 banana shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp Madras curry powder
  • 250g Bare Naked Konjac Rice 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of petit pois
  • Optional: a small fresh green chilli, deseeded and finely sliced

To make…

  • Place 2 eggs in a pan, cover with water, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Leave for 5 mins, drain, allow to cool and then peel and cut the eggs lengthwise into quarters.
  • Melt the butter on a medium heat in a large sautée pan, add the finely chopped shallot and cook gently for 5 mins until softened but not coloured. Add 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp ground turmeric and 2 tsp of Madras curry powder. Season with a little salt, then continue to fry for about 3 minutes until the mixture starts to turn brown and fragrant.
  • Add the konjac rice and stir thoroughly. Gently mix in the fish, the pepper, the peas and a handful each of chopped parsley and coriander. Serve warm garnished with the hard-boiled or poached eggs, the chilli and wedges of lemon. Nom!

Share, follow, like, enjoy!

  • To get the latest #TheFridayRecipe from the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen blog, just add your email address to the subscribe box at the top right-hand column of the website.
  • Follow me on twitter @pigeoncottage,  on Instagram at Pigeon Cottage Kitchen and the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen page on Facebook.
  • Click on the link to get your very own copy of my family recipe book, Whats4teaMum?

NB: Always consult an appropriately qualified health professional before adopting a dramatic lifestyle change – we’re all different, what works for one person doesn’t work for everyone.

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Eat to beat diabetes | Breakfast tips

We are used to hearing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and we often eat as soon as we get up in the morning simply as a matter of habit and convenience. Our tutor on the X-Pert pre-diabetes course asked us to consider if that was still right for us. We might wake up with high levels of glucose in our blood already so routinely getting up and then eating carb-dense bread, sugary commercial breakfast cereals, porridge or fruit smoothies (especially those made with exotic fruits such as bananas, mango or pineapple) might overload us with energy that we simply don’t need at that point and we can’t adequately process.

To be honest, I rarely feel hungry when I first wake up. Simply postponing my first meal of the day until I was actually hungry made perfect sense. Now, most days, my breakfast starts with plain Greek yoghurt, blueberries and milled flax seeds because that’s what I like, it’s easy and I feel really good on it. It’s nice to be able to ring the changes though, especially at the weekend, so I set about looking at the alternatives that would keep the carbs down but also deliver the protein and flavour hit I need.

Cold comforts

Yoghurt with berriesMy daily favourite: 100g plain Greek yoghurt, 5g  ground flaxseed, 80g blueberries, strawberries or raspberries:  I weigh it out in the same bowl so I don’t overdo the portion size. 100g of Greek yoghurt delivers protein, calcium and healthy fats that make me feel full and just 5g of carbohydrate, blueberries and raspberries add about 7g but give flavour and vitamin C, the milled flaxseed is high in omega 3. Total: 13g of carbohydrate and 224 calories.

Adding a chopped nut topping like almonds (25g of almonds = 160 calories and 2g carbs) can boost the protein content without adding a big carb spike but watch out for the calories.

It’s best to avoid commercial breakfast cereals even though they are are a very popular cold breakfast food option. Just read the nutrition information labels on the packet and you’ll see how high the carb injection you get from these will be. They mostly quote a 25 to 30g serving amount to demonstrate carb levels (on average about 17g of carbs) but that’s barely a third of bowl full and most people will be used to eating about 100g which comes in at 58g plus the carbs in milk.

If you do eat a small portion of cereal, muesli or porridge, at least consider switching to Arla lacto-free semi-skimmed milk. It comes in at half the carbs of e.g. Cravendale semi-skimmed i.e. 2.7g/100ml for Arla lacto-free compared 4.8/100ml. The lactose sugar has been removed so you get a good flavour and consistency but less carbohydrate and calories. I only use that now for tea, coffee etc.

Hot to trot breakfasts

Breakfast of championsHot breakfasts that include bacon, eggs or fish are all allowable on a low carb diet because they barely contain any. I like them for a weekend treat when I have time to make it and it’s also a good brunch choice if you eat out. No toast or hash browns though!

So, for example, you could have 100g bacon and an egg with grilled tomatoes and mushrooms which is roughly 4.5g of carbohydrate and about 350 calories. Yum!

You can eat sausages of course but just remember that they will usually contain some carbohydrate in the form of breadcrumbs or rusk.

Smoked haddock, kippers, omelettes, soft boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, Turkish eggs (cooked with spicy tomato sauce and a little yoghurt) are all great choices. High in protein, they keep hunger at bay and are full of nutrition. Eggs used to be branded a bit of a diet bad boy but most food experts agree now that the dietary cholesterol they provide is actually good for you.

On busy workdays when you can’t be faffed to cook bacon and eggs, a hard-boiled egg and a slice of ham make a good easy-to-pack breakfast or morning snack on the go.

Toasty treats

I must say that I love good quality bread and I do miss it in my new life. On busy workdays, I may have to eat bread in a lunch-time sandwich and that’s OK but I then make ensure it counts as my entire carb allowance for the day and I don’t eat any more at all.

As a compromise, I make sure I only eat brown, seeded bread these days – it’s a slightly more slow-release hit of carbohydrate into your blood than with highly processed white bread.

I keep a loaf of Sainsbury’s multi-seed bread in the freezer and just toast one slice at a time if I want to make soldiers for my boiled eggs or to eat with some no-sugar peanut butter, cheese spread or sautéed mushrooms with feta – no jam, marmalade, honey or Nutella allowed! One slice is 14g of carbs and that fits in well with my aim to stay under roughly 40g/day.

I also keep a pack of Sainsbury’s seeded whole-wheat flatbreads in the freezer. Again, I toast just one at a time (15.9g/flatbread) with a variety of fillings. I love cream cheese, bacon, tomato and fresh coriander like the ones you can get in the Dishoom restaurant chain. Combos of hummus, salad, cheese such as feta, avocado and chicken are all tasty alternatives.

I hope it goes without saying that waffles, croissants and Danish pastries are all on the avoid list. Plain flour contains a whopping great 70g of carbohydrate per 100g in weight, definitely enough to send your blood glucose skyrocketing.

To drink!

Drinking tea and coffee is just fine, just watch the amount of milk you consume in a day if you like lattes. Fruit smoothies and fruit juices are to be avoided – just 100ml of orange juice contains 9.4g of carbohydrate, pressed coconut water is about 4.7g/100ml. If in doubt, read the label!

I hope these tips have been useful. Happy feasting!

Janet

Share, follow, like, enjoy!

  • To get the latest #TheFridayRecipe from the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen blog, just add your email address to the subscribe box at the top right-hand column of the website.
  • Follow me on twitter @pigeoncottage,  on Instagram at Pigeon Cottage Kitchen and the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen page on Facebook.
  • Click on the link to get your very own copy of my family recipe book, Whats4teaMum?

NB: Always consult an appropriately qualified health professional before adopting a dramatic lifestyle change – we’re all different, what works for one person doesn’t work for everyone.

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