chimichurri prawns – low carb dinner in less that 30 minutes

As I mentioned in my post with 10 tips for beginners: how to start keto in 2021, spices are important part of my keto cooking. Even if you are restricted with variety of foods you can eat, with adding different spices and herbs, making your own blends you can create many different meals. Spices and herbs give you a lot of opportunities, if your spice cupboard is stocked up, you will never get bored with your food.

If you don’t have enough cooking experience in preparing your own blends, you can look for ready-made blends on the Internet and, suggesting their ingredients list, prepare your own. Why make your own mixes instead of just buying them if you can? For two simple reasons: ready-made blends are usually more expensive and also contain various unwanted additives such as palm oil, sugar, food additives and anti-caking agents. If you have your favourite spice mixes that you usually buy, why not consider making your own blends? Making your own blends will give you endless options.

This way I prepared this chimichurri blend. Couple weeks ago I bought small pack of chimichurri spice, and because I repeated this purchase couple more times I decided that cheaper will be to make my own chimichurri blend, since I have all the ingredients in my spice cupboard. And that’s how this recipe came out – we liked it so much I had to make it twice this week 🙂

Originally chimichurri is an uncooked sauce used in Argentina and Uruguay in cooking and as a table condiment for grilled meat. Chimichurri sauce is always made from finely chopped parsley, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt, black pepper, oregano, red pepper flakes, and sunflower or olive oil. Some recipes add shallot or onion, coriander and lemon juice. It’s usually served with grilled steaks or roasted sausages, but also with poultry or fish. Using dried herbs you can make your own spice blend and enjoy with meat or veggies. Or using fresh herbs, some onion, garlic and olive oil prepare delicious salsa you can enjoy with grilled meat or fish during summer months.

To prepare chimichurri prawns, you need less than 30 minutes (I don’t take time to defrost prawns or green beans) and you have aromatic and flavoursome meal ready on your table. If you’re not a fan of prawns, you can use chicken – I tried it couple times already and was also delicious.

chimichurri prawns

INGREDIENTS for 2 portions:

  • 450 g prawns (I use frozen cooked and peeled prawns)
  • 2 medium courgettes
  • 2-3 handfuls of green beans
  • 1 brown onion
  • thick slice of butter
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried coriander leaves
  • ½ tsp sweet paprika powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • pinch of coarse pepper
  • optionally: pinch of chilli flakes
  • natural rock salt

DIRECTIONS

If you also use frozen prawns defrost them first and drain from water. Cut onion in half and lengthwise in thick slices. Wash courgettes and cut them in half-slices.

Heat a large skillet adding thick slice of butter. Add onion and fry until golden, then add prawns. If you use raw prawns you can fry them first then add onion.

Add chopped garlic cloves, courgettes and green beans, some salt and all the spices. Fry on medium heat until courgette and beans will be tender. If you use frozen green beans (defrosting them beforehand) it will take 10-15 minutes to be ready.

And it’s ready. Serve hot and enjoy 🙂

quick & easy pesto chicken skillet (ketofriendly)

I remember when I first time tried pesto many years ago, I bought small jar in the shop and prepared with fried chicken and pasta. Smelled weird and tasted awful, even my dog didn’t want to try it, even though she loved pasta 😉 It tasted terrible and for the next few years I didn’t eat any more pesto. Until I started working in the restaurant over five years ago and I learned how to make homemade pesto. It was way better that the one I remembered. Simply delicious! Made with pine nuts, fresh basil and garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Just loved it! So if you ever tried store bought pesto, and you didn’t like it, try to make it yourself.

You can use pine nuts, but cashews or sunflower seeds (pine nuts 13g of carbs in 100g, sunflower seeds 20g of carbs, cashews 30g of carbs) will also work great. I used sunflower seeds as pine nuts are pretty expensive, and sunflower seeds work good as well. I use quite a lot of garlic, but the amounts in the recipe are not obligatory, so take it more as a guide. You should get a thick green paste, you can spread nicely over the chicken. Pesto is very universal, you can add it to pasta or rice if use them in your kitchen. You can mix it with fried or oven baked veggies, or spread over the sandwich.

In this recipe, mixed with double cream, gives delicious creamy and aromatic sauce. If you have a food processor or chopper you can prepare pesto in seconds, so preparation of whole dish won’t take longer than 30 minutes. I served it with pan fried courgette and mushrooms – very quick and easy.

Scroll down for more quick & easy chicken skillet recipes.

quick & easy pesto chicken skillet (ketofriendly)

NOTE: my measuring cup is regular 250ml glass

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g chicken thighs
  • 1-2 tbsp clarified butter or coconut oil
  • about 300ml double cream
  • about 2 handfuls of fresh basil
  • about ⅓-½ cup sunflower seeds (but you can also use pine nuts or cashews)
  • parmesan cheese (I used about 1-2 tablespoons of grated parmesan)
  • good pinch of coarse pepper
  • about ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • pinch of natural rock salt
  • for decoration: few cherry tomatoes and fresh basil leaves

DIRECTIONS

Start with pesto. I If you have a food processor or this special chopping container you can connect with blender, just pop in all the ingredients and blend until smooth (sunflower seeds or nuts, fresh basil, parmesan cheese, coarse pepper, olive oil, pinch of salt, 2-3 garlic cloves). Amounts in the recipe are approximate, so if you feel like your pesto needs more pepper, basil or you like it to be more cheesy, adjust the amounts to your taste. I like a lot of garlic, 3 cloves is a lot, so you can start with 1 or 2. As you can see on the photos I had enough of pesto to put on the chicken, plus about 3 tablespoons for later (you can store pesto in the fridge in closed container for about 3 days).

My chopper is broken so what I’ve used was a blender and coffee grinder. I’ve used coffee grinder to blend sunflower seeds, blender to blend olive oil and fresh basil together and garlic press to smash garlic cloves. I have finely grated parmesan, so all I needed to do is to combine all the ingredients together to a paste: grounded sunflower seeds, olive oil and basil paste, garlic, parmesan cheese, coarse pepper and small pinch of salt.

Heat large skillet adding 1-2 tablespoons of clarified butter or coconut oil. Fry chicken thighs on both sides until golden on a quite large heat. And then season with salt on both sides. Add cream and lower the heat, it should only gently simmer. Spread generous amount of pesto on each piece of chicken, also add 2-3 teaspoons to cream sauce. Place couple cherry tomatoes and let it simmer gently for about 10-15 minutes. Place some fresh basil leaves before serving.

Serve with addition of your choice – on my plate courgette fried with mushrooms with some clarified butter, slightly salted with natural rock salt.

More quick & easy chicken skillet meals:

keto chicken korma

Since I’m back at work, I have less time for cooking and experimenting. At least one good thing of being furlough, is that you have plenty time for cooking, eating and trying for new recipes. Now I’m back to my old routine, looking for quick and healthy dinners and meals I can prepare in the morning, dump into my slow cooker and enjoy after coming back from work.

Recently I’ve discovered korma spice blend in my local eco shop, and I’ve already almost emptied it. I’m not the biggest fan of Indian spices, but this one is fantastic. There’s plenty of cinnamon in it, so it not only gives amazing aroma, but also a lot of sweetness. I’ve balanced it with couple spoons of tomato passata, it also gives it a bit more colour to the sauce. I’ve used double cream to make it very creamy, but coconut milk would work even better. For finish use some chopped fresh coriander, which gives this specific flavour. And of course quite a lot of fresh garlic, natural antibiotic and fresh ginger for extra warming effect. Ginger and garlic it’s a great combo for upcoming Autumn and Winter. Especially this year, our bodies needs an extra care and awareness. So it’s good to always have on hand fresh garlic cloves, ginger and when you feel like cold or runny nose is on their way to catch you, you can just finely chop large garlic clove (or use a garlic press) and mix it for example with cottage cheese or natural yoghurt and have this mixture once a day. To make a ginger tea, chop some fresh ginger and boil for about 5 minutes. Drink it while it’s warm but not boiling hot. It will warm you up from the inside on a colder days.

To make korma chicken, you won’t need more than 30 minutes. Remember to find good quality chicken, from local butcher or farmers market. You can serve it with bunch of cooked or fresh veggies, like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts or leafy greens.

If you can’t find korma seasoning, you can make your own blend using: ground coriander, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, ground cardamom, clove and chilli powder.

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keto chicken korma

INGREDIENTS for two portions + leftovers:

  • 500g chicken thighs
  • 350ml double cream (or a can of coconut milk for no dairy option)
  • 1 large brown onion
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • about an inch (2.5cm) of fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp clarified butter
  • about 3 tsp korma blend spice
  • pinch of coarse pepper
  • pinch of natural rock salt
  • about 3 tbsp tomato passata (or 1 tbsp tomato paste)
  • fresh coriander for finish

DIRECTIONS

Chop the chicken in smaller pieces, do the same with onion.

Heat a large skillet adding 2 tablespoons of clarified butter. Toss the chicken and fry on a high heat until it gets golden. Then add some salt and chopped onion. Fry for another couple minutes, so it also gets slightly browned.

Slice or use a garlic press, also finely chop a piece of ginger, and add to skillet. Lower the heat and add all the spices. Give it a good stir so the spices goes everywhere. Add double cream or coconut milk, about 3 tablespoons of passata, and simmer on a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes.

You should get thick, creamy and aromatic sauce. Just check if it’s salty enough, also if you like it a bit more spicy, sprinkle some chilli flakes on top. To finish sprinkle some fresh chopped coriander.

Serve hot with some fresh o cooked veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, green beans, or some salad leaves.

Enjoy!

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smoked sausage traybake (ketofriendly)

I have a serious problem with arranging the food on a plate for photos when I’m hungry. Ideally I would just toss a bunch of veg and couple sausage, and start eating before it gets cold, and I go really frustrated trying to make some kind of aesthetic composition on the plate. Sometimes it finishes like this.

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I’m still far away from professional food composition, but I hate cold food. So please bear with me if you feel embarrassed with this veg and sausage set up. Just double the portion of veggies and imagine me running with the fork, so I can finally grab a seat at the table and start eating. Yes, I was very hungry on that day 🙂

But. I really like this kind of meals, where you have all ingredients separately. I could make a mix of all veggies with sliced sausage, but I was smuggling some potatoes for my partner, so I sectioned everything on the baking tray, making sure that I won’t get any potatoes by mistake. Yeah, my partner is taking a keto break, but I feel like sooner or later (rather sooner) he will decide to get back on ketogenic track. Anyway, if you like traybake of veggies mixed with sausages, make some mess.

I’m not the biggest fan of sausages, the only one I like is the smoked ones from time to time. You can find smoked sausages in every Polish shop, and most of the popular supermarkets in UK. Look for the one that has a lot of meat in it, short list of ingredients, and as little as possible preservatives. The one that we like is a mix of pork and turkey meat (prepared with 80g of pork meat and 21g turkey meat per 100g of finished product) and only one preservative: sodium nitrite. Stay away from the one that are full of flour, artificial colours, starches, soya proteins and many preservatives.

I’ve also added couple unpeeled garlic cloves. If you’ve never tried baked garlic, you should definitely start adding it to your baked veggies and meats. It gets soft, buttery and sweet when caramelised. Garlic heaven! (check out my recipe for chicken baked with 40 cloves of garlic). If not that unfortunate potatoes I would add plenty of onion, but I haven’t been left with much room.

Anyway if you want something effortless, tasty and fun, grab couple smoked sausages, plenty of veggies, garlic (undoubtedly!), place them all on a baking tray, drizzle with some olive oil, sprinkle with herbs and pop into the oven. Get nice and crispy sausage and veggies, that are melting in you mouth. You can serve it with some low sugar ketchup, mustard or horseradish.

Yum!

smoked sausage traybake (ketofriendly)

INGREDIENTS (for two people):

  • 300g smoked sausage
  • 2 medium courgettes
  • 1 large aubergine
  • couple unpeeled garlic cloves
  • some olive oil
  • natural rock salt or sea salt flakes
  • pinch of dried basil
  • handful of cherry tomatoes (for baking or as I did – fresh)

DIRECTIONS

Preparations are as easy as it can be. Grab a large tray and place a piece of baking paper on it.

Take sausages, make small crosswise cuts, not very deep, to make kind of chequered pattern. Do it on both sides of each sausage.

Wash courgettes and aubergine and chop in smaller pieces, but don’t cut them very small. It will take about 40 minutes to bake the sausages, so we don’t want to burn veggies. Keep garlic unpeeled.

Place veggies, garlic and sausages on the tray, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle veggies with some dried basil and salt. If you like, also place cherry tomatoes. I’d rather like them fresh, but if you don’t mind baking them, do not hesitate.

Heat the oven to 200°C, and bake until veg and sausages are ready, it took me about 40 minutes. You can use grill function in the oven to sear the sausages slightly.

After baking place immediately on a plate and enjoy. You can serve it with low sugar ketchup, mustard or horseradish. After baking garlic is ready to be peeled, should be soft, buttery and slightly sweet when caramelised.

Enjoy!

cottage pie (keto and regular)

Cottage pie is native to Great Britain and Ireland and was a long time ago a way to use excess or scraps of meat. Very often such a casserole was prepared by poorer families living in rural settlements. A meat stew with vegetables, baked under a layer of mashed potatoes, was a nutritious and filling dinner for the whole family. Over time, cottage pie has become known all over the world.


It’s not a surprise. The casserole is quite simple and quick to prepare, it does not require hard-to-reach ingredients, it’s filling, nutritious and, above all, very tasty. I guarantee that if you try it once, it will stay on your menu for good.


For keto option, use cauliflower mash instead of potatoes (you can sprinkle some cheese on top) and gluten free soya sauce. Worcestershire sauce has has 21g of carbohydrates per 100ml, but we only use 1 tbsp, so about 15ml, that’s 3.15g of carbs. Soya sauce is about 14g of carbs per 100ml, using 1 tsp (5ml) is less than 1 g. Also if you’d rather like not to use carrots, you can swap it with other low carb veg like celery or Brussels sprouts for example.

To make the sauce, you can use beef stock or beef bones broth – it’s perfect for thickening the sauce. Contains plenty of collagen that thickens the sauce, also cooking collagen turns it to gelatin, which provides the body with amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. It seals the intestines, which is the basis for the treatment of autoimmune or cancerous diseases. It warms up the spleen, which begins the entire energy flow in our body. It adds energy, strength and will also make sure that you do not freeze in winter like most of the population. As bone broth simmers, collagen from the animal parts leaches into the broth and absorbs easily to help restore cartilage. One of the most valuable components of bone broth stock is gelatin. Gelatin acts like a soft cushion between bones that helps them “glide” without friction. Studies show that gelatin is beneficial for restoring strength of the gut lining and fighting food sensitivities.

I really recommend using bone broth instead of popular (and full of chemicals) gravy granules or other similar type flavour enhancers.

cottage pie

INGREDIENTS:

  • 750 g good quality minced beef
  • 2-3 carrots – sliced
  • 1 handful of fresh or frozen green peas
  • 1 brown onion
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • beef stock (or beef bones broth)
  • 1 tsp dark soya sauce (gluten free for keto option)
  • good pinch of black pepper
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • natural rock salt if needed
  • optionally: 1 tsp plain flour to thicken the sauce (skip for keto option)
  • about 1kg potatoes or for keto option: the same amount of cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp clarified butter
  • optionally: some cheddar cheese for topping

DIRECTIONS

Boil potatoes until soft, drain and mash with butter for a smooth puree. If you use cauliflower, the best is to steam it, so it doesn’t get soggy during traditional cooking. Mash it with butter and set aside.

In a pot with a non-stick coating or a large skillet with a lid, fry the meat first. When it is browned (more you brown it, you get the darker sauce), add the diced onion and finely chopped garlic. Fry for a while and add the remaining ingredients: carrots, peas, Worchestershire sauce, soya sauce, pepper, beef broth (not to much, just enough to make some sauce), tomato paste. If you’re going to use flour to thicken the sauce, mix a teaspoon of flour with couple teaspoons of water and pour it over the meat. Stir thoroughly and simmer for about 20 minutes, covered. A dark, not too thin, but not too thick sauce should be produced. If necessary, add salt.

Pour hot meat stew into a casserole dish, and spread it in an even layer. It’s time for potatoes or cauliflower. This is not the easiest job, but try to spread mashed potatoes/cauliflower as evenly as possible, trying not to mixing it with the meat. You can simplify the task, by waiting for the meat to cool down completely, then it will be easier to spread potatoes/cauliflower. But you’ll need more time in the oven to heat it up.
Optionally you can sprinkle the top with some cheddar cheese.

Now all we have to do is bake our cottage pie. Put the oven on the upper heater or grill function and temperature 180°C. Bake until potatoes are golden brown (if the meat is cold use both heaters and extent the time).

After baking leave it to slightly cool down for about 5 minutes. Serve it while it is hot and fresh.

paneer jalfrezi (keto)

Paneer is a popular cheese (made with milk) from India, white, firm, cohesive and spongy with a close-knit texture and kind of sweet, sour, nutty flavour. Slightly bland, but maybe that’s why it’s usually used for stir fry, curry or other meals that are made with lots of spices. Paneer doesn’t melt when heated and stays firm and spongy. So it’s perfect if you wont to grill it, fry it or add to a hot meals. And because of its neutral taste, it gets all the flavour from spices. It will go great with hot and aromatic spices like curry, paprika, garam masala or tikka masala, cumin and chilli, in other words with all Indian spices, so if you like this type of cuisine, you should definitely try paneer if you didn’t.

According to this article published by Journal of Food Science and Technology: “Paneer is of great value in diet, especially in the Indian vegetarian context, because it contains a fairly high level of fat and proteins as well as some minerals, especially calcium and phosphorus. It is also a good source of fat soluble vitamins A and D. So its food and nutritive value is fairly high. Superior nutritive value of paneer is attributed to the presence of whey proteins that are rich source of essential amino acids. Due to its high nutritive value, paneer is an ideal food for the expectant mothers, infants, growing children, adolescents and adults.

About 120g of paneer contains about 3g of carbohydrates, 22g of proteins and about 29g of fats. In which saturated fats is about 16g, polyunsaturated fats 1.3g and monounsaturated fats 7.3g. Polyunsaturated fats include Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats. Omega 3’s helps to lower inflammation in your body and to keep proper hormone levels. Omega 6 fatty acids are important to support healthy brain and muscle functions but, but on the other hand it can increase inflammation if that’s your issue. Monounsaturated fats (which you have plenty in avocado, macadamia nuts and olives) protect the heart and support insulin sensitivity, fat storage, weight loss, and healthy energy levels. So it makes paneer a great source of healthy fats and proteins, if you’re not very keen on eating meat, or you need some more variety on keto diet.

I will definitely use it more in my keto meals. But today I’ve made paneer jalfrezi. Jalfrezi recipes appeared in cookbooks as meals made with leftovers fried with chilli and onions. I make mine using onions, bunch of bell peppers and tomatoes in different forms (cherry, chopped, chopped and passata) depending of my liking. You can also use variety of spices, in this one I’ve used: chilli flakes, sweet paprika, garlic granules (normally I would use fresh garlic, but I’ve run out of it), cumin and a little bit of coriander I had in my freezer. Today I’ve added only couple of cherry tomatoes, but adding adding can of chopped tomatoes add this dish another, more sour flavour and adds a bit of shakshuka vibe.

You can experiment adding different spices and veggies, depending of what’s in your fridge, as it’s a leftovers meal 🙂

paneer jalfrezi (keto)

INGREDIENTS (for 2 really big portions):

  • 450g of paneer (I’ve used two 225g packs)
  • 3 bell peppers (green, yellow and red)
  • large brown onion
  • 1 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic granules
  • 1/3 tsp chilli flakes (and additional teaspoon for my partner)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • good pinch of natural rock salt
  • couple of cherry tomatoes/can of chopped tomatoes/some passata

DIRECTIONS

Dice paneer in slightly less than 1 inch (2.5cm) cubes. Slice the onion lengthwise and all the bell peppers in stripes. If you use fresh garlic, chop it finely.

Heat a large pan adding 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Toss diced paneer and fry till golden on each side, it will take a while, flip each cube on the other side every couple minutes. When paneer is nicely golden add onion and peppers. Sprinkle with good pinch of salt and the rest of spices and fry for couple of minutes. Stir occasionally, so the cheese won’t burn. At the end add chopped tomatoes or in my case cherry tomatoes and fry for a while. If you add chopped tomatoes it might need couple more minutes, so tomato sauce reduce slightly and gets the flavour from spices. Your paneer jalfrezi is ready 🙂

keto creamy paprika chicken skillet

Another recipe from quick and easy chicken series. Today we have delicate, creamy paprika chicken breasts skillet served with crispy toasted almond flakes. Soft sweet paprika flavour, nothing too intensive or too spicy. For more intensive paprika flavour add two teaspoons of sweet paprika, for more gentle one teaspoon will be enough. For the creamy sauce you can use coconut milk like I did (to make it dairy free), or you can use double cream – it will make a delicious creamy texture. Creamy chicken is topped with toasted almond flakes, that goes really good with its gentle flavour and also adds some crisp and crunchiness to that dish.

This dish it’s a great keto dinner option, you can prepare in less than 30 minutes. You can serve it with bunch of steamed veggies, some salad or if you don’t mind carbs or grains – with rice or couscous.

If you’re interested in more recipes from quick & easy chicken series, here’s couple more of them:

So let’s jump to today’s recipe for creamy chicken skillet.

keto creamy paprika chicken skillet

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 400ml coconut milk (thick one from a can) fromthe fridge.
  • handful of almond flakes
  • 1-2 tsp sweet paprika powder
  • pinch of lemon pepper
  • natural rock salt
  • slice of clarified butter (or coconut oil)

DIRECTIONS

First of all, place your coconut milk in the fridge, so the creamy part will solidify and water will remain on the bottom of the can. We want to use only the thick part of it. You can also use milk from the cupboard but it will take more time to evaporate.

Slice your chicken breasts lengthwise, so you get thinner cutlets. Sprinkle with some salt on each side.

Heat a skillet adding slice of clarified butter or some coconut oil (I recommend adding clarified butter, because regular one will burn). When fat is hot place chicken breasts and fry until golden, on a quite high heat.

When chicken is browned, lower the heat and add 1-2 teaspoons of sweet paprika powder. 1 teaspoon for more gentle, 2 teaspoons for more intensive paprika flavour. I used two teaspoons. Give it not longer than 30 seconds, so that the paprika won’t burn (if it burns it will get bitter) and add thick, creamy part of coconut milk. Sprinkle with pinch of lemon pepper, and tiny bit of salt. Give it a good stir and simmer on a small heat, for 10 minutes. If you feel like the sauce is to thick, add a bit of coconut water from the can.

In the meantime, on a separate frying pan, toss a handful of almond flakes and toast them slightly to get golden and crisp. It will literally take a minute. Remove them from the pan and place in a small bowl.

Serve your creamy chicken with addition of your choice: cooked veggies, salad, rice or couscous, sprinkled with crispy toasted almonds.

Enjoy!

chinese five flavours hungarian sausage (keto)

I will give you today a recipe for Hungarian sausage prepared according to the Five Flavours principle. That’s a polish recipe from the old recipe book, written by polish author Anna Ciesielska, who was inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine. The author combines the wisdom of modern medicine with proper prevention and wisdom in nutrition based on respect for the laws of nature. That’s our favorite recipe from this book, and happened that it’s perfectly keto appropriate.

What is the Five Flavours basically about? It is too complicated and complex to summarize everything in one short post, but I will try to describe in a nutshell what I remember from the book. Perhaps someone of you will be interested enough to look for some more information about this subject.

The principle comes from the Taoist philosophy, where for a deeper description of the nature of the reality, cycles and processes occurring in nature were used, which were reduced to the principle of 5 elements. In this theory, the basic elements symbolize Tree, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. Burning wood gives Fire, Fire creates ash, giving rise to the Earth, Earth contains Metal, and Metal gives rise to Water, which feeds the Tree – this arrangement creates the elemental circulation. Each of the elements corresponds to individual flavors:

Tree is sour – sour flavour can reduce fishiness and greasiness, help digestion, including dissolving calcium in food, and whet the appetite.

Fire is a bitter taste – bitter flavour is said to clear “heat”, strengthen the stomach, and promote salivation.

Earth is a sweet taste – sweet flavour can “tone the body”, alleviate illness, and improve one’s mood.

Metal is a spicy taste – It can not only whet the appetite, but also is said to have the functions of expelling wind and cold from the body, reducing internal dampness, moistening dryness, and promoting qi and blood circulation.

and Water is a salty taste – saltiness is said to help the body “dissolve stagnation”.

Each of the elements also corresponds to different organs in our body, an excess of any of the elements can cause health problems, which is why harmony and proper preparation of meals are so important.

Preparing dishes according to the Five Flavours principle is aimed at extracting the right energy from food, which will bring strength, health and joy. One of the rules is balance, which is to strengthen and protect our body. Therefore, to prepare each dish, we should use all the flavours (elements) in the right order according to this principle. It is not the most important of which flavours we start, but it is important how we finish the preparation of the dish – thus we direct the energy towards the given element (internal organ). In such a philosophy of nutrition, the cooling or warming nature of food is also important, which is directly related to the climate in which man lives. According to the theory, in our temperate climate, where there is a predominance of cool and rainy days, we should eat more warming meals and such a dish is a warming Hungarian sausage. Delicious, by the way – spicy, warming, full of aroma and very fulfilling.

It’s a great one pot meal, you can prepare on the stove or in the slow cooker. No idea though why it’s called “Hungarian”, maybe because of it’s warming, spicy paprika flavour, specific for traditional Hungarian food. If you decide to make it in a slow cooker though, you won’t be able to prepare it according to the principle of five flavours. It’s still going to be a delicious meal though.

To prepare this meal you’ll need good quality smoked sausage. Smoked sausage has a great strong flavour, going perfect with variety of aromatic spices used in this dish. If smoked sausage is not available in your area, I think chorizo would also do the job in this recipe. I described the way of preparing the dish as the author did. Original recipe requires adding a bit of potato starch at the end of cooking to thicken the sauce. But if you’re on keto diet skip this step, my sauce came out quite thick without adding any thickener. I’ve made it very thick, didn’t add much water to get more of a goulash consistency, so didn’t really need anything to thicken it more.

chinese five flavours hungarian sausage (keto)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 300 g smoked sausage
  • 3 medium onions
  • 2 bell peppers (I had one orange and 1 yellow)
  • 2 tbps fat of your choice (I used duck fat)
  • couple handfuls of green beans (fresh or frozen)
  • about 500ml passata (I used organic one)
  • ½ tsp cumin (originally caraway seeds, but I hate them so swapped with cumin)
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • natural rock salt to taste
  • 1/3 tsp turmeric
  • 1/3 tsp thyme
  • pinch of coarse pepper
  • 1-2 tsp potato starch to thicken the sauce (skip if you’re on keto)

DIRECTIONS

I described the way of preparing the dish as the author did:

sweet – 3 medium, chopped onions, fry with 2 tablespoons of fat, add diced bell peppers and put into a pot, add cumin (or caraway seed if you like it),

spicy – add ½ teaspoon of ginger, a pinch of cayenne pepper, 1/3 teaspoon of ground coriander, 2 chopped cloves of garlic (I’ve added pinch of chili flakes, which is also hot),

salty – 300 g sliced sausage fry in a separate pan, put into a pot, then add about 200ml of water, salt to taste, simmer about 15 minutes, then add the green beans (I added frozen),

sour – add approx. 500ml passata,

bitter – add 1/3 teaspoon of turmeric and thyme, simmer for 10 minutes,

sweet – thicken the sauce with potato flour dissolved in cold water, sprinkle with pepper (spicy) and salt (salty).

Depending of which flavour you add at the end of cooking, thus we direct the energy towards the given element (internal organ), getting the effect we want to achieve.

SLOW COOKER DIRECTIONS

To prepare this meal in a slow cooker, first fry sausage and onions with 2 tablespoons of fat, until golden brown – it will add a lot of flavour to your meal. Chuck all the ingredients to a slow cooker, add about 200ml of water, and cook on “low” for about 4-5 hours (about 3 on “high”). Remember only to defrost green beans if you use frozen ones. Never add frozen food to a slow cooker – it will significantly extend the time of cooking, and food might not cook properly.

creamy garlic & spinach chicken (keto friendly & no dairy)

Again quick and easy one skillet creamy chicken recipe. This kind of simple meals are great for summertime, they don’t need much attention and time. So you can make them quickly and enjoy warm and sunny days, instead of spending hours in hot kitchen. You just pop couple of ingredients on the skillet, simmer for some time and you have delicious dinner ready to be served. Chicken with it’s cooling nature, it’s better for warm summer days, when you need something lighter.

You can serve it with some rice, couscous or quinoa or with crunchy salad if you don’t eat grains. I’ve used frozen spinach, you can defrost it before cooking, or like me, just pop it on the skillet and give it couple minutes to defrost. Of course you can also use fresh spinach leaves, but you’ll need quite a lot of them. I like adding a lot of spinach to this meal, but you can adjust the amount if it’s too much for you. The same with garlic. I love stronger garlicky flavour, but if one teaspoon it’s too much for you, add a bit less. You can use fresh garlic as well, although garlic granules are much faster. I’ve used coconut milk to keep this meal dairy free, but double cream also will make thick and creamy sauce. So just feel free to adjust the recipe to your taste and preferences.

creamy garlic & spinach chicken (keto friendly & no dairy)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500 g chicken thighs or chicken breasts
  • 400 ml (1 can) coconut milk
  • about 400 g frozen spinach (fresh will be fine but you will need quite a lot)
  • 2 handfuls of chopped leek
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • good pinch of natural rock salt and coarse pepper
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

DIRECTIONS

Cut chicken in stripes, heat a large skillet adding 1 tbsp of coconut oil. Fry chicken until slightly golden, stirring occasionally, season with salt and coarse pepper.

Add spinach (you can defrost it earlier or add frozen one, but it will more time to cook) and chopped leek, season with garlic and parsley. Pour over can of coconut milk, and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes. Coconut milk will reduce slightly, giving a nice creamy texture. Add some more salt if needed.

Serve with addition of your choice: rice, salad, couscous or quinoa.

Enjoy!

pork chops in mustard & savoy cabbage salad with horseradish sauce

Some taste combinations won’t stop surprising me. Adding horseradish to to a simple salad sauce, adds so much value and freshness to the cabbage. On the other hand adding mustard (which I like a lot) to pork chops (which I don’t quite like) makes them just delicious.

That’s how with these two simple ingredients you can give brand new quality to boring food. Only with couple ingredients you can prepare fancy looking and delicious meal.

Remember to use good quality pork from your local butcher or farmers market, to have more healthy meat and also support your local business. The same with veg. I know it’s not always possible (cheap) and easy, but if you have the option to buy less processed food, it’s always a good choice.

I’ve used mild and slightly sweet type of mustard, so my sauce had a very gentle mustard taste. So the final taste will depend of the type of mustard you use. If you like something more fiery, go for it, but remember to add less mustard so you won’t finish with meal that has only-mustard-taste.

I’ve chosen mild mustard, because horseradish sauce in salad is quite intensive . So didn’t want to have two flavours fighting with each other.

So keep it in mind when choosing your mustard.

pork chops in mustard and savoy cabbage with horseradish sauce

 

pork chops in mustard & savoy cabbage salad with horseradish sauce

INGREDIENTS for the pork:

  • 700g pork chops (in one joint or already sliced)
  • natural rock salt and coarse pepper
  • 250-300ml double cream
  • your favourite mustard
  • 1 tbsp clarified butter
  • fresh coriander for garnish

INGREDIENTS for salad:

  • ½ savoy cabbage
  • ½ cucumber
  • 3 tbsp greek jogurt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp horseradish
  • fresh or dried dill
  • pinch of natural rock salt and lemon pepper

DIRECTIONS

Cut pork in slices, personally I like very thin chops, so cut them hoever you like, or skip this step if you bought already sliced ones.

Smash them slightly with the palm of your hand to loosen the fibers so the meat is more tender. Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides and set aside.

Heat the large skillet adding clarified butter, when it’s hot place the chops and fry until golden on both sides. If you won’t manage to fry them all at once, like I did, fry the first part, remove from the pan, and fry the other part.

When all chops are golden place them all on the skillet and spread on each one about ½ of a teaspoon of mustard. Depending of the type of your mustard you might need add a little bit less on each pork chop. I’ve used very mild slightly sweet mustard, so I added quite a lot of it. But if you use very spicy one, try adding less than ½ of the teaspoon on each, so at the end of cooking you will be able to add some more if you decide it needs more mustard flavour.

After spreading mustard on pork chops pour double cream all over, lower the heat and simmer until you get nice and thick sauce. Stir it from time to time to distribute the mustard to the cream. You might also need to add a little bit salt to your sauce.

While you sauce is thickening prepare salad. Remove first layer of dark leaves from the cabbage – they are quite hard for a salad (you can use them for cabbage rolls). Thinly chop the cabbage and place in a large bowl. Thoroughly wash the cucumber and cut in quite thin half slices. Pop them to a bowl.

In a cup mix greek yogurt, olive oil (it will give the sauce more liquid texture) and horseradish, add spices and pour all over your salad. Fold it couple of times, so all the cabbage and cucumber will be covered by the sauce.

Remove the pan from heat and serve with savoy cabbage salad.

Enjoy!

pork chops in mustard