Greek Meatball and Tzatkiki Recipe

Ingredients:

Meatballs:greek-meatball-and-tzatkiki

  • 600g lamb mince
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons oregano leaves, chopped
  • 100g feta cheese, crumbled
  • Olive oil cooking spray

 

Tzatziki:

  • 500g (2 cups) plain Greek-style yoghurt
  • 1 telegraph cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt, to taste

Method:

 

Meatballs:

  1. ?Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Combine mince, breadcrumbs, garlic, egg, oregano, feta, and salt and pepper. Mix well. Shape mixture into balls. Place onto prepared tray. Spray with oil. Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through.
  3. ? Serve meatballs with tzatziki.

 

Tzatziki:

  1. ?Place yoghurt in a sieve lined with muslin over a bowl and stand for 5-10 minutes to allow the excess whey to drain away. Place yoghurt in a bowl and discard the whey.
  2. Meanwhile, coarsely grate the cucumber and squeeze out excess moisture with your hands. Combine yoghurt, cucumber, garlic, chives, olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl and mix well. Season with salt. Cover and place in fridge for a day before serving to allow flavours to develop.

Mediterranean Style Lamb with Quinoa

This Mediterranean style lamb is a delicious and simple recipe for any night of the week. It also includes a serving of whole grains from quinoa! It also gives you a few servings of vegetables from the eggplant and roasted pepper.

Mediterranean Style Lamb with Quinoa

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 400g deboned lamb leg or shoulder chopped into 2cm cubes
  • 1 tablespoon rice bran or grapeseed oil
  • ¼ cup finely chopped spring onion (green part only)
  • ½  teaspoon dried grounded cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried grounded coriander
  • 1 lebanese eggplant chopped
  • 1 red roasted pepper with skin removed finely chopped (a jarred variety is fine)
  • 1 400g no-added-salt tinned tomatoes
  • 1 cup baby spinach finely chopped
  • Zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 ½ cups quinoa rinsed
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper if desired (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic infused oil (see note)
  • around ¼ cup water extra

Note:

Garlic itself is a high FODMAP vegetable and should be avoided by those sensitive to it. However, the fructan’s in garlic are not soluble in oil so you can add the flavor of garlic to your dish without the side effects. Simply add a peeled garlic clove to your oil and gently cook  for a few minutes to release the flavor into the oil. Discard the clove and add remaining ingredients.

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180oC. Set your stove to medium heat and place a heavy based sauté pan on the stove. Let the pan heat for a few minutes and add the plain oil. Add lamb and brown on all sides (about 2 – 3 minutes) then add green onions and fry for an addition minute. Add cumin, coriander, eggplant lemon juice and zest. Stir for a minute to coat eggplant and lamb with spices and release their flavor.

Place in oven and cook for around 45 minutes or until meat is tender.

While the lamb is cooking, prepare quinoa as per package instructions. When lamb is almost done, heat garlic infused oil in a small fry pan and add spinach and chopped red pepper. Add water and cook until spinach begins to wilt. Remove from heat and stir quinoa into spinach and red pepper mixture. Add a little salt and pepper if desired.

Spoon lamb over quinoa mixture and sprinkle with parsley.

Add a dollop of yoghurt and enjoy!

Health Benefits of Chia

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds seem to be sprouting up everywhere these days in a variety of health foods. Although the chia  seed seems like a “new” food, chia has actually been around for over 3500 years. Chia is a seed native to southern Mexico from a plant called Salvia hisipanica. In Mexico, the Aztecs and Mayans consumed chia seeds to give them strength for battle and relieve pain. The Aztecs also used chia as a high energy-density food they could consume during long travels or during times when food was not as readily available. Now much of the chia in the world is grown in Australia, instead of Mexico, and Australia may soon become the biggest producer of chia seeds internationally.

Chia has several health benefits. These powerful seeds contain a significant amount of the omega-3 fat, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), even more than flax seeds. ALA may help reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, and even symptoms of asthma. The seeds also have an extra benefit in that the omega-3 fat is protected by a large amount of antioxidants, which prevents the heart-healthy fat from becoming rancid.  Chia seeds are also very high in fiber, providing 10g per ounce.  Chia is a high calcium seed, as it provides 179 mg of calcium per serving. That’s not all for their nutritional benefits, they are also chock full of phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, and zinc all of which are minerals vital to health.

Omega-3s and calcium have been shown to help with weight loss and chia seeds provide large doses of both nutrients. But chia seeds actually have an additional weight-loss boosting benefit other than their nutritional profile. When mixed with water, chia seeds grow to 10x their size, forming a gel that is high soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is not digested by our bodies and therefore is calorie-free. The gel also grows in the stomach, making us feel full and leading to a reduced overall calorie consumption. Soluble fiber traps fat and cholesterol, possibly lowering calorie absorption from a meal. Less calories being absorbed, means less calories are stored as unwanted fat!

Not sure how to eat chia seeds? When mixed with water, they have a rubbery, gel- like consistency. Chia seeds are 100% gluten free so are safe to eat on a gluten or grain free diet. If you want to lose weight, add them to water or tea to help fill you up before a meal, so you feel full and eat less overall. Sprinkle them on salads, blend them into smoothies, or add them to your favorite soup as a thickener. Add them to hot cereal, yogurt, or grind them to add to muffins or breads. Many people use chia as an egg replacer in baked goods to add omega-3 fats and reduce cholesterol. As chia becomes more popular, you are sure to see it pop up in a variety of health foods and they are a great addition to any diet.

Here is a recipe for you adapted from Simple Bites. This recipe is GLUTEN FREE, DAIRY FREE, LOW SUGAR, LOW GLYCAEMIC and HIGH CALCIUM

Photo courtesy of skinnytaste.com
Photo courtesy of skinnytaste.com

 

Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond or coconut milk (you can also use 1% cow’s milk)
  • 2 tbsp xylitol or Stevia (you can also use coconut sugar, agave, or honey- although these contain real sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

 

Instructions
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a pint jar. Cover the jar with a lid and give it a vigorous shake.
  2. Chill for about an hour, then return to the jar and shake it up. Let chill for at least 4 hours and overnight is even better.
  3. Chia seeds will expand and turn into pudding the consistency of applesauce (it won’t get really thick).
  4. Serve cold with sliced fruit or toasted nuts on top.

 

 

Gluten-free, low-sugar, banana bread

Here is a great recipe for those of you craving a healthier, sweet dessert. Since this doesn’t contain any flour it is great for those of you following a gluten-free diet. The sweetness in this recipe comes from the bananas and dates, which also provide a great deal of fibre. There is no refined or processed sugar in bananathis recipe at all. Bananas provide not only 3g of fibre, but also a good dose of potassium, Vitamin A, and folate. Dates are also super high in potassium, iron, and magnesium. A dessert packed with all these amazing nutrients? Yes, please!

I made these as muffins or you can use a traditional banana bread dish. Be aware if you cook it in a bread dish, you will have to cook it for slightly longer.

This recipe is GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY FREE, GRAIN FREE, PALEO, NUT FREE, SOY FREE, LOW ADDED SUGAR, HIGH FIBRE

Ingredients

For the banana muffin

  • 6 bananas (brown ones are sweeter)
  • 4 dried dates, pitted
  • 4 eggs
  • ? cup coconut cream concentrate or homemade coconut butter  (see recipe)
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of coconut flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1-2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Coconut Butter Recipe

  • 200g unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (you can also use almond extract)
  • Pinch of Kosher salt.

Place all ingredients in a high powered blender or food processor and blend together until smooth. This may take up to 10 minutes to get smooth depending on the power of your blender or food processor.  Store at room temperature in a sealed container.

Toppings
Frozen blueberries or raspberries
Sliced banana
Dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs
Flaked almonds

                                                Instructions
glutenfreeveganbananamuffins_158x2001. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
2. Add dried dates to the food processor and puree until you get a lumpy paste.
3. Then place bananas in the food processor and pulse until completely pureed.
4. Next add eggs and coconut butter and puree.
5. Then add coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt.
6. Pour batter into well-greased muffin tins (baking paper works best).
7. Add blueberries, cacao nibs (or chocolate chips), flaked almonds or whatever other topping you like onto the muffins. Mix with a knife to incorporate if you like.
8. Place into the oven for 30 minutes or until you poke each one with a skewer and they come out clean.
9. Let rest for about 5 minutes.

 

Low Carb Spaghetti Bolognaise

Serves – 4

1 onion, diced
2 cloves garli,c chopped
2 x 120g lean mince (try kangaroo!)
1 large carrot, grated
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 x 500g jar low carb pasta sauce – Leggo’s spaghetti sauce with beef  OR  tinned tomato passata
6 green zucchini
6 yellow zucchini
1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
freshly ground pepper to taste
pinch of sea salt (optional)
light spray of olive oil (optional)

Directions

  1. Saute the onion and garlic in a little water until softened. Add the mince and cook, stirring constantly for 5 mins, until browned. Add carrot and celery and cook for a further 5 minuted, adding a little water if necessary.
  2. Stir through low carb pasta sauce. Cover and cook over low heat for 15 mins.
  3. While sauce is cooking, use a potato peeler on the zucchini to create spaghetti
  4. Just before serving, blanch zucchini in a pinch of sea salt (optional) and bring water to the boil for 1 min to heat through, then drain.
  5. Toss with a light spray of olive oil (optional) and a tablespoon of the parsley.  Keep warm.
  6. Season saute with pepper. Fold in the rest of the chopped parsley just before serving.
  7. Divide zucchini spaghetti into serving bowls and top with bolognaise sauce.

 

OTHER IDEAS:

 ** Alternative to making spaghetti bolognaise is to make mince into a meatball mixture.  Add the below ingredients to the mince and roll to form meatballs.  Cook in a non-stick fry pan until becoming golden brown then continue at Step 2 to continue cooking meatballs in the tomato pasta sauce.

  • 1 egg
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • ¼ tsp garlic
  • 1 tbsp psyllium husk
  • pepper,
  • rosemary
  • basil
  • thyme

** Alternative to zucchini is to use carrot, cabbage (prepared in the same way) or SPAGHETTI SQUASH.  Directions for preparation of spaghetti squash as below.  (This was inspired by my client Gill who gave me her home grown spaghetti squash!)

  1. Prick the spaghetti squash all over with a skewer so it will not burst while baking.
  2. Place whole squash in a shallow baking pan.
  3. Bake in preheated 180*C oven for 1 hour.
  4. When cool enough to handle, cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise with a serrated knife.
  5. Scoop the seeds and fibrous strings from the centre of the cooked spaghetti squash
  6. Gently scrape the tines of a kitchen fork around the edge of the spaghetti squash to shred the pulp into strands.
  7. Cooked spaghetti squash is usually served with a sauce or gravy because the flesh is very bland in flavour.