Archives for the month of: May, 2015

Rømmegrøt is beautiful. It is thick and creamy and heavy.

It’s a Norwegian sour cream porridge that is made on special occasions, with many local communities having their own unique twist on the porridge. There were even versions of the porridge made especially for women who had recently given birth, with neighbours bringing barselgrøt (‘childbirth porridge’) for the new mother to help her strengthen and heal. Incidentally, one area’s local take on barselgrøt was to take the usual rømmegrøt and add slices of boiled eggs on top. LCHF’s perfect food?

Rømmegrøt goodness. With cinnamon, butter and sukrin.

Rømmegrøt goodness. With cinnamon, butter and sukrin.

I have had rømmegrøt a few times in the past, but I always considered it a very guilty pleasure, what with almost all of it being made of pure cream. I used to rather choose risgrøt, a similar porridge made with rice, because I thought, hey, maybe this one is healthier. So now is the time for vengeance! I wanted to make my own rømmegrøt and literally eat back all the silly times I chose the rice porridge instead!

As luck would have it, rømmegrøt is almost the easiest meal in world to make. (Nature’s take-away, avocado, is hard to beat.)

Seterrømme, sour cream, in the pot and heating up slowly. It becomes very smooth once warm.

Seterrømme, sour cream, in the pot and heating up slowly. It becomes very smooth once warm.

I used this recipe (in Norwegian) and made it in ten minutes while Skyping home. I will add the translated recipe at the bottom.

This was my first time using Johannesbrødkjernemel (locust bean gum) and was surprised at what an effective thickening agent it proved to be. Rather play it safe and use too little than too much! Especially considering how pricey it is…

It was also my first time having sukrin. I was scared that the sweetness would set me off on a sweet-toothed binge, but I think I may finally have beaten that beast! I will still be using sukrin and other sugar alternatives with caution, though.

Melting butter!

Melting butter!

The result was absolutely delicious! A word of caution though: the above recipe with 300ml of sour cream is very filling. I couldn’t finish it and I’m a champion over-eater! The leftovers are in the fridge to be had for breakfast with some spekeskinke (dried, salted ham). 🙂

Rømmegrøt is also very similar to it’s South African cousin, melkkos (milk food). Melkkos is made using full cream milk instead of sour cream, but is also topped off with cinnamon, sugar and butter. It’s the loveliest comfort food when the world is dark and cold and wet outside, and goes very well with a good kaggel (logfire) crackling in the background and a movie queued up for the evening.


Morning-after update: hmmm warmed up rømmegrøt is okay, but decidedly more… snot-like in texture. I’d rather make less and finish it all in one go.


Recipe

300ml sour cream 

200ml water

1,5 teaspoons of locust bean gum powder (thickening agent)

Pinch of salt

Cinnamon powder, butter and sukrin/alternative sweetener to taste.

—————————————————————————–

Heat sour cream in a pot on low heat.

While the sour cream is heating, mix water and locust bean gum. Easiest way is to shake it up in a little tub. The mixture should thicken up nicely. Mine had a pinkish tinge to it after a while.

Once the sour cream is boiling and bubbling a bit, add the water mixture.

Bring to a slow boil again while mixing or whisking every now and then to prevent any clumps from forming. (I was lazy and just stirred strongly with a fork.)

Add a pinch of salt and mix.

…Done! 

Scoop into a bowl and add the toppings.

Enjoy!


No, actually, please don’t!

However, if there is one thing you read today or this weekend, please make it this:

I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weightloss. Here’s How by John Bohannon.

Eat chocolate daily, concludes German researchers. Sound so professional.

This is a sublime demonstration of seemingly legit science that quickly gets gobbled up by a gullible media looking for clickbait and revenue. It is downright scary.

If you read all the way through, you will hopefully get a better grasp on why nutritional science has been sending us on a rollercoaster of conflicting recommendations. Eggsarebadyouwilldie! Margerinegood! Noeggsarehealthynow! Eatdinnerforbreakfast! Norathereatlotsofsmallmealsaday! Margerinethedevilnow! Brainfreeze. How on earth are we meant to take any recommendations seriously again.

Hopefully the future will bring us rigorous, irrefutable nutritional studies. And maybe one day science won’t be drowning in the statistical spin that just serves to hurt the entire scientific community.

My friend, let’s call her M, is in Manaus, Brazil, for a while. Manaus is quite literally the city in and of the Amazon, right in the middle of it all. And it is a port city. To a South African who thinks that a trickle of water constitutes a river, this is truly mind-blowing.

It is also where the Rio Negro meets the Solimões, the upper Amazon, to form the mighty stretch of Amazon flowing to the coast. Just look at it:

Amazing geography aside, M is struggling to find low-carb friendly food. She reports that she is in sugarcane and soy country, so there is sugar in almost everything. Manaus seems to get most of its produce shipped in, so fresh produce is lacking (at least in the shops and market accessible to her).

According to M, cashews and peanuts abound in Manaus, but these are sadly the wrong kind of nuts.

If anyone has a friend-of-a-friend who can recommend a good butcher or local market selling whole foods and good meat without additives, please leave a comment or get in touch!

She has managed to find a great local cheese: queijo coalho, which is a squeaky cheese which she says is almost feta-like when cold, but morphs into a stringy mozarella-type of texture when heated up.

cheese

Queijo coalho, firm and crumbly.

Melt it!

M’s queijo coalho turning mozarella-like when heated. Looks delicious!

M also sent photos of her current go-to meal. She cuts slices of Linguisa sausage (although she is not quite sure what is in that) and the queijo coalho that she really likes. She adds some green pepper and mustard.

M's Manaus magic.

M’s Manaus magic.

Looks grand! M is very creative with food and my mouth often waters when she tells me what she made for dinner. She just told me about some pork chops that she soaked in rooibos (a South Africa tea) and then fried in the rooibos sticks. This sounds amazing and I never would have thought of this in a thousand years!

But… M is not in South Africa at the moment and would love a little help in finding friendly Manaus foods.

 

Another quick breakfast of throwing everything that’s leftover into a pot!

potbreakie

Chopped up weekend breakfast mix.

 

I had previously cooked and chopped bacon (with a wonderful klump of bacon fat) and previously boiled eggs sitting in the fridge and looking for a home. So I thought I’d just re-heat them for breakfast!

 

The final mix included the bacon, the boiled eggs, yellow pepper, celery, asparagus, and an elderly tomato, with coffee and cream on the side.

potbreakie2

Ready to be devoured!

Wait, let's add some cheese!

Wait, let’s add some cheese!

 

‘Mix it, until it reaches a little bollie.’

Suzelle DIY makes a ‘carbon-hydrate’-free pizza with Prof Tim Noakes, followed by some bonus koeksisters, a sticky braided pipe bomb of sugar and flour.

If you’re not South African, the put-on accent may throw you off a bit (yes, it’s for laughs). If you know a Saffa, enjoy. 😀

Now go forth, make a lekker caulipizza!

I stopped biology classes at 16 when I chose to do history instead. This probably helped me in accepting the latest developments in the carbohydrate controversy, as my mind was already an embarrassingly blank slate. Hence, let me start with some basics that I learned this past week. (If there are mistakes or semi-truths, please please please leave a comment!)

First things first, we eat because our body needs fuel to function. But since we are an oddly-shaped collection of cells, we really eat because our cells need fuel.

ATP is the lifeblood, so to speak, of every single cell in your body.

ATP is the lifeblood, so to speak, of every single cell in your body.

Our cells can create a molecule called ATP to use as fuel for survival and any other functions it needs to perform. Without the ability to generate ATP, a cell would wither and die. To create this molecule, cells need glucose. I never knew that we were so dependent on glucose!  (Brrp, wrong: ATP can be formed from ketones. Will be discussed in a follow-up post.)

Now, glucose comes with its own story. It is either ingested in the form of the sugars and carbohydrates in our food, or synthesised by our liver and kidneys through a process called gluconeogenesis. This process is present in everything living from mammals to fungi to bacteria.

Our bodies, if healthy, will always synthesise glucose in this manner when we do not get it via food.  (Have a look at the comment section, please. This statement was totally inaccurate, as at some point we do need food for gluconeogenesis to occur, but the question is which kinds of food are vital for this process to occur.)

glucose

Glucose is a crucial ingredient for our cells to produce its own fuel, ATP.

Too little of it in the bloodstream and we get hypoglycemia,  which in everyday terms is the ‘low blood sugar‘ people refer to. Too much and we get the opposite, hyperglycemia. This delicate balance is regulated by that substance we associate with diabetes: insulin.

Insulin is therefore just as vital to our bodies as glucose.

Insulin regulates glucose by telling the body to take it out of the blood stream and store in certain cells as glycogenGlycogen is a fuel source for our bodies, but it is a secondary source after fats stored in our fat cells, or adipose tissue.

Insulin is the regulator of blood sugar levels. Like a tax collector coming to balance your square your account with government , it comes along when there is too much glucose in the blood and tells the body to get rid of it.

Insulin is the regulator of blood sugar levels. Like a tax collector coming to balance your account with the government, insulin comes along when there is too much glucose in the blood and tells the body to give it to cells (glycogen).

The other command that insulin gives is to the fat cells to store any fats present in the blood highways as fatty acids and to inhibit the movement of the fatty acids within these cells.

We therefore see that both glucose and insulin are absolutely essential for us to carry on walking and talking, but also, and very importantly, that our bodies are fully capable of generating glucose by themselves. It is when we take in external sources of glucose that we call up insulin to the battle front to keep the amount of glucose in the blood in check.

People who suffer from diabetes have a problem with either very low insulin levels, or in the body’s refusal to take orders from it (resistance to insulin). Their bodies are therefore terrible at getting glucose out of the blood stream and stored in cells as glycogen, and they end up with chronic hyperglycemia.

This is the story that glucose and insulin dances out in our bodies all day long, without most of us giving it a passing thought. It seems a deceptively simple dance, but has complexities that we still haven’t mastered as outsiders looking in.

A quick, unplanned lunch today.

I had about 5min to quickly think of and make something to eat. What ended up going onto the plate was about a third of a head of broccoli (‘boompies‘ refer to the little broccoli trees) with some blocks of cheese, a rather large dollop of crème fraîche, sesame seeds, a small, already browning avo and a little bit of Dijon mustard. Salt and pepper, too.

I think Dijon is my new let’s-just-add-it-onto-everything ingredient. I love it! It adds a great taste and a very sharp zing. Weirdly I used to loathe both mustard and avocado (!!!!) as a kid. I don’t know what was wrong with me.

IMG_20150522_123525

Halfway through!

What I thought would be an utterly meh lunch ended up being surprisingly good! And creamy. So creamy. 😀

Add some tuna and lemon and this will become a delicious and substantial meal.

“Sorry seems to be the hardest word”
Dr Malcolm Kendrick on the 2015 report on US dietary guidelines.

Dr Kendrick sums up some of the key amendments in the report:
“In short. Cholesterol is healthy, saturated fat is healthy, salt is healthy and sugar is unhealthy. I have pulled those four points out of a press release by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which I reproduce in full, below.”

It is a good day. Time for some coffee with a splash of cream.

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick

I think that the four words ‘I told you so’ should only be thought, and never written down. No-one likes a smart arse. But sometimes it is impossible to resist….just impossible. In this case I have failed. ‘Father forgive me, for I am weak.’ So, here goes…’I told you so.’

Some of you may be aware that the US dietary guidelines are going to be changed. For some reason it is required that the full report is suppressed for about a year. Presumably so that everyone can pile high their defences when the attacks begin. ‘I think you will find that I have always, ahem, supported these ideas.’ Cough, shuffle of papers….cough. ‘Sorry, no time to take questions.’ Exit left.

The entire report, I believe, stretches to about a bazillion pages. However, here are four of the highlights.

  • Cholesterol is to be dropped from the…

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A surprise bargain happened on Saturday when I spotted pork neck chops at 50% off. Okay buy!

pigoncauli

Finished product: pork neck chop on fried caulirice with some peppers and a creamy, seedy (literally) Dijon sauce.

I didn’t realise quite how enormous they were until I got home and made the first victim for dinner. I really should have only eaten half… But I don’t always learn my lessons.

Today’s lunch/dinner was to be the last of the pig necks. It needed some colour, so I added a little chopped celery, spring onion, leek and two half peppers.

Sadly only half a screaming pepper will make it into the pan.

Sadly only half a screaming pepper could be sacrificed for the pan today.

I also decided on a whim that today was D-Day for trying out fried caulirice. I already had a giant tub filled with grated cauliflower, so it wouldn’t waste any time to make. I fried up some of the greens in olive oil and threw in some caulirice as soon as I heard the frying in action.

Caulirice on the fry.

Caulirice on the fry.

After frying the neck chop and putting it on the bed of fried (c-)rice, I made a quick sauce with the peppers in the pan. A tablespoon of crème fraîche and Dijon mustard and a handful of sesame seeds later, the sauce was ready for the plate.

Review: fried caulirice will be eaten again! And again. It was great.

And thank you, pig.

This is breakfast all mixed up!

Weekday mornings don’t really lend themselves to laborious food preparation, so I try to keep it as simple as possible for my morning-brain.

Everyday easy breakfast.

Easy everyday breakfast.

I have a pre-mixed bag of nuts and seeds. The bulk of this mix usually contains flaxseed (linseed) and desiccated coconut, with as many chopped almonds and macadamias as I can afford at the time.

I scoop out about three to four tablespoons of supernutmix, about three tablespoons of Greek yoghurt and a generous tablespoon of cream (seter rømme in Norwegia, 35% fat).  Mix it up and munch!

Add a strawberry or two, and suddenly it’s dessert for breakfast!