Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Black Bean Stroganoff with Braised Cabbage

One of my signature dishes which inexplicably I have never blogged before. I usually serve this over creamy mashed potato, but obviously that's out for me at the moment, so I had it with braised cabbage. And since I forgot to ask Mr Bat to buy potatoes, everyone else had it over rice.

Black Bean Stroganoff

4 small onions, diced
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
5c sliced mushrooms
2c cooked black beans
3 tbsp ground almonds (or plain flour)
2c stock
1c sour cream
slug of mushroom soy sauce and/or balsamic vinegar
black pepper
paprika to serve

Saute the onions and garlic, then add the mushrooms and soften them. Sprinkle over about a tablespoon of soy sauce and/or balsamic vinegar. Stir in the almonds (or flour) and thicken the juices, cook for a minute or two. Slowly stir in the stock, add the rest of the ingredients except the sour cream, and bring to the boil. Cook off some of the liquid, then lower the heat and stir in the sour cream and simmer gently for five or ten minutes to let the sauce thicken and the flavours combine.

Braised cabbage (1 large serve)

About 1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage
1 tsp butter
1/2 tsp chicken stock powder
pinch each fennel seeds and dried garlic (or use fresh)
1 tsp lemon juice
black pepper

Melt the butter, then gently cook the cabbage and other seasonings until soft (about 20 minutes or so). Add a little water from time to time if it sticks, but it should not be wet.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Menu Plan

After a lot of faffing, I finally have my first week's menu plan. It took a lot longer than usual because I had to plan for lunches and breakfasts as well, instead of assuming that I was just going to have toast (I don't like having to think too early in the morning). Here are the dinners, at least - I was impressed that I managed to keep the majority vegetarian. It's not a perfect low-carb menu, but it's a damn sight better than I was managing before!

Monday: Pork Sausage and Bean Casserole
Tuesday: Black Bean Stroganoff (served with braised cabbage for me)
Wednesday: Frittata and Salad
Thursday: Moussaka with Greek Salad
Friday: Pita Bread Pizzas
Saturday: Slow-cooker Butter Chicken (served with cauliflower for me)
Sunday: Zucchini Slice with Fetta

Looking at the kinds of substitutions for pasta or mashed spud usually recommended by low-carb websites, it's lucky I love cabbage and cauliflower as much as I do, really...

Pork Sausage and Bean Casserole

I came up with this recipe last night to use up the pork and fennel sausages in the freezer. When I bought them a while ago I had a beany casserole in mind, but last night I had to figure out how to make it without potato, my casserole standby! This recipe was absolutely gorgeous, although next time I'll use more lemon juice, since the apple and cabbage gave it a natural earthy sweetness which could have been better balanced.

4 pork and fennel sausages
1 tin borlotti beans, rinsed
1 tin tomatoes
3 small onions, diced
1 clove garlic, chopped
2-3 sticks celery, diced [optional]
1 red apple, diced
1/8 red cabbage, shredded
400mL chicken stock
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp thyme and ½ tsp fennel seeds

Saute onions, add garlic. Parboil sausages, cool and dice. Add tomatoes, beans, celery (if using), apple and red cabbage, stock, lemon juice, thyme and fennel seeds. Cook til sauce is reduced.


I've been instituting some changes lately in my eating, with the realisation that I really do not cope well with the level of carbs we have been eating. Making the initial attempt at having the occasional low-carb meal, and trying to stop relying on bread for breakfast and bread for lunch, had such an obvious effect that it's encouraged me to move towards a broader implementation. Since I don't do dietary extremism, my current personal take on "low carb" is not enormously rigorous, with a focus instead on cutting out most processed flour and sugar, as well as potatoes, pasta and rice. I refuse to cut out bread completely (been there done that when I developed a yeast intolerance years ago, and it was a hellish 6 months I have no wish to repeat), but I have switched to eating much less of the low-GI Burgen version, which seems to work for me.

It does mean that we're now eating more meat, because even though I have no intention of cutting out legumes, I'm finding it hard to find vego recipes which don't have a noticeable effect on my blood sugar. I'm hoping that after a while I can tolerate more of it, but for at least a while I expect this blog will be rather less vegetarian-friendly than it has been - sorry!