Although Christmas Pudding and Mince Pies are definitely not LC, there is absolutely no need to feel deprived, just revel in what is available and enjoy!!!
I’ve included some festive breakfast ideas, starters, veggie dishes, main dishes and casseroles (for when you’re fed up with turkey and want to serve something different) and puddings. For the majority of the recipes, the ingredient amounts given will serve 4, so you can easily adjust the amounts for more or less people if entertaining or whatever.
Most recipes are easie peasie. Some are a bit more fiddily, but definitely worth the effort. It's very rare for me to properly follow a recipe to the letter, as I love a bit of improvisation and experimentation, but everything here does work! However, if you do have any problems, please feel free to contact me and I will do my best to help.
Re the casseroles - these are all fairly quick and easy to prepare and cook and the best thing is that if you make them the day before you need them, they improve in flavour. After cooking, cool them first, put in the fridge overnight, then re-heat at 180c/350f/gas 4 for about 40 minutes when you want to serve them. If you've got a Crock Pot – even better – just remember to halve the amount of liquid used. Cook overnight on low. Turn off in the morning, and a couple of hours before required, turn the Crock Pot on again. Casseroles are also great for freezing as well! Just defrost overnight in the fridge and then reheat as per the previous instruction.
I use Sionon as a low carb sweetener to cook with all the time. It's great to work with and has no carbs. However, if you prefer to use something different, e.g., Splenda, then you will need to adjust the amount used and will also have to factor in the extra carb count to the recipe. Whatever sweetener you do decide to use, make sure it's heat resistant.
Also, I have used Carblife chocolate in my recipes. If you use another brand, make sure you take their carb count into consideration, as they can vary.
Although I get mine from my butcher, the farm that supplies them is fairly local to me and you may have heard of their famous KellyBronze turkeys. They have a website for more information (www.kelly-turkeys.com), they can tell you where your nearest local butcher/supplier is, or you can order direct from them. This is not meant to be an advertising ploy, it's just that their turkeys really are something special and I highly recommend them. Bronze turkeys are also available from Waitrose during the Christmas season.
If you are cooking a turkey, then these tips may
be of help:
If you don't want a turkey, there are plenty of
A 10-12lb oven-ready goose should be enough to serve 8 people, a 5-6lb duck serves 4 people, a brace of pheasants, weighing approx 1.5lbs each, should be enough for 4-6 people, and two plump partridges should be plenty for 4.
Something low carb to munch on throughout the day!
A tray of Cheeses with interesting and unusual varieties
A selection of pork scratchings, celery sticks, carrot sticks, prawns, cucumber, rolls of ham – these are all fabulous for dipping as well.
Blend cream cheese (Boursin is good as well) and/or fromage frais with ingredients such as chives, tuna, crab or pieces of smoked salmon, whatever takes your low carb fancy! Sour Cream with chopped spring onions is also good, as is sour cream with blue cheese. Experiment!
1 ripe avocado, halved and stoned
Scoop the flesh out of the avocado and put in a food processor or blender with all the other ingredients, puree in 3-4 3-second bursts. Put in a dish and serve (if you don't want to use it straight away, cover the dish with cling film and put in the fridge – however, it won't keep for more than a couple of hours without going brown).
Carb Tsatsiki Dip
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
Blend first five ingredients, put in fridge until ready to serve (at least ½ hour), then mix the cucumber in just before serving.
in Parma Ham
450g/1lb of minced beef, pork or veal
Pre-heat the grill to a medium heat. Mix the mince with the lemon zest and parsley. Beat the eggs then gradually add to the mince until you have a texture that is not too dry or too wet – one that you can easily shape. Divide the mixture into 12 small balls and wrap each one in half a slice of the ham, securing it with a wooden cocktail stick. Brush generously with olive oil and grill the meatballs on all sides until cooked through – turn frequently and brush often with the olive oil. These can be eaten warm or cold. (To prevent the cocktail sticks from burning, soak them in cold water for at least two hours first).
Truffles (see recipe) instead of After Dinner mints with coffee,
Melt some chocolate and butter and use this to dip Brazils and Walnuts in. If you're feeling extravagant, dip strawberries!
melt some diabetic toffee, dip Brazil nuts in and leave to cool and harden
– voila Toffee Brazils!
Allow 2 eggs and 40z/110g of smoked salmon per
3oz/75g Smoked Haddock, cooked
Turn on the grill. Flake the haddock with a fork, removing any skin or bones first. Melt half the butter with 1/3rd of the cream, then stir in the fish. Remove from the heat. Mix the egg yolks with the remaining cream, and stir in the fish. In a separate bowl combine the cheese and remaining cream. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then fold into the fish mixture. Heat the remaining butter in a pan (make sure the frying/omelette pan you are using is suitable to go under the grill – no plastic handles!). Add the fish mixture and cook until brown underneath. Remove from heat and pour cheese mixture evenly over the top and grill until bubbling. To serve, divide into two.
Separate the eggs, then beat the egg yolks with the Sionon until pale and fluffy, then fold in the cream and vanilla essence. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff then carefully fold into the yolk mixture. Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat, and when it’s sizzling pour in the mixture. Cook until set underneath, shaking occasionally. Flip over, cook for about 60 seconds, and then slide crepe out of pan onto a plate. You can now spread it with some diabetic jam or some halved strawberries or raspberries. Fold over, and cut in two. Transfer to 2 plates and serve immediately. Approx 1g carb for each crepe, but you will need to add in the carbs for the fruit or jam, depending on which and how much you use. Alternatively, a carb free option is to pour over some Davinci sugar-free syrup (your choice of flavour). These are great for breakfast, but also good as a pudding!
and Cheese Souffle Omelette
Separate the eggs, then beat the egg yolks until pale and fluffy, and then fold in the cream. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff then carefully fold into the yolk mixture. Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat, and when it’s sizzling pour in the mixture. Cook until set underneath, shaking occasionally, the remove from the heat. In the meantime, cook the spinach in the microwave, add to the omelette with the cheese, the place under the grill under cheese starts to bubble. To serve, cut into 2 pieces and sprinkle with Parmesan.
1 tbsp Butter
Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the shallots, garlic and mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the cayenne pepper and Worcestershire Sauce. Add the kidneys to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes each side. Divide into two and serve immediately.
4 large smoked salmon slices
Lay the pieces of salmon out then spread the cream
Prawn and Avocado Rolls
10 oz. smoked salmon slices
Cut the salmon slices into 2 X 1 1/4 inch rectangles. Cut the avocado in half, then cut each piece into 4 slices lengthwise and cut the slices in half through the middle. Place the pieces in a bowl and toss in the lemon juice. Roll a piece of avocado and a prawn in each piece of salmon. Decorate the rolls with some lumpfish roe and a sprig of dill weed. These rolls can be prepared several hours in advance. Once assembled, cover with cling film and store in the fridge.
Salmon and Dill Pate
Line a small loaf tin with freezer film. Melt in the butter in a pan then add the salmon fillet chunks and gently cook for about 5 minutes until just cooked through. Set aside to cool. When cool add the remaining ingredients, stirring gently to avoid breaking up the salmon chunks too much. Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth the top. Cover with plastic film and place small weights on top (a tin of baked beans or something similar is ideal). Chill for at least 2 hours in the fridge until set, and then remove the weights. Turn pate out of tin and serve sliced with a small green salad.
16 fresh mushrooms (large, not button)
Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease
a baking tray, or cover with greaseproof paper. Remove the stems from
the mushrooms, reserving approx half, which you then chop into very small
pieces. Whip the cream cheese until smooth.
Chicken Liver Pate
100g/3.5 oz Butter
Melt 2.5oz of butter in a pan then add the shallots and garlic. Cook for about a minute then add the chicken livers and 2 bay leaves and cook over a gentle heat for a further 5 minutes until the livers are cooked through. Remove the bay leaves, add the brandy, and then cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and give it a good whiz until smooth. Divide the mixture evenly between 4 ramekin dishes. Smooth the tops, place a bay leaf on each. Melt the remaining butter and spoon over. Leave to cool then chill in the fridge until the butter on top is set.
1 oven-ready pheasant jointed into 8 pieces
Brown the pheasant pieces in the olive oil, transfer to a casserole dish. The brown the braising steak and add to the pheasant. Next, brown the onion over a gentle heat for 5 minutes, then add the wine and beef stock, bring to the boil – remove from the heat and add the thyme. Pour over the contents of the casserole dish, cover and cook for about 2-2 ½ hours in a pre-heated oven – 160c/ 325f/gas 3.
Braised in Guinness
2lb Venison, cut into 1 inch cubes – you
can use beef if preferred
Place the meat and the bay leaves in a large bowl, sprinkle with the thyme, pour the Guinness all over it, stir well then cover with a plate. Leave in a cool place overnight. The next day, drain the meat, reserving the liquid, and brown in a pan using some butter and olive oil. Put the meat in a casserole dish. Now brown the onions and garlic, add the reserved liquid and allow it to simmer for a couple of minutes. Add this to the meat, stirring well. Cover and cook for 3 hours at 140c/275f/gas1.
Lamb with Thyme
2lb (900g) Lamb Fillet, cut into rounds ¾
inch (2cm) thick
2lb/1kg oxtail in 1 inch (2.5cm) slices
Fry the oxtail pieces in the olive oil over a high heat until browned, then place in a casserole dish. Brown the onions and garlic then add the pureed tomatoes along with the herbs. Simmer for a couple of minutes, and then add to the oxtail in the casserole dish. Cook for 4 hours in the oven at 150c/300f/gas 2.
Instead of Oxtail you can also use Veal Osso Bucco (veal shanks) just reduce the cooking time to about 2-2.5 hours.
4 fillet steaks
Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan. Add the steaks and fry, on a fairly high heat, for 2-3 minutes on each side to seal and brown. Reduce the heat slightly and fry for another 1-3 minutes on each side, or until the steaks are done to your liking. Remove and keep warm. Add the garlic, fry until just turning brown, add the mushrooms, fry for another 1-2 minutes then add the whisky, mustard and beef stock, stirring well. Return the steaks to the pan and coat thoroughly in the sauce. Serve immediately.
Noisettes with Celeriac Sauce
8 Lamb Noisettes (or chops can be used)
Put the celeriac and the garlic in a saucepan with the cream, cook gently uncovered for 15 minutes (or until the celeriac is soft). Transfer to a food processor and blend until it makes a smooth puree. Heat the oil in a frying pan until very hot. Fry the lamb with the rosemary for about 2 minutes on each side – cooking time depends on how well you like your meat cooked. Pour the sauce equally onto 4 warmed plates, place 2 noisettes on each. Serve immediately.
and Tarragon Chicken
4 Chicken joints
Heat the butter and olive oil together in a deep frying pan, then seal the chicken joints quickly. Cover with the stock. Turn the heat right down, cover with a lid and simmer gently for about 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Take the chicken out of the pan. Raise the heat under the pan and beat the egg yolks, lemon juice and zest into the juices remaining with a balloon whisk. Pour this over the cooked chicken and sprinkle with the tarragon.
and Sage Pork
2 pieces of Pork Tenderloin, weighing approx 8oz/225g
Cut incisions in the pork, approx ½ inch apart, from the top to the bottom but not all the way through. Mix the mascarpone, lemon rind and sage together in a small bowl, and then fill the pockets in the pork with half the mixture. Wrap the pork with the Parma ham. Cook in a small roasting tin in the oven for 30 minutes at 200c/400f/gas 6. When cooked, heat the rest of the mascarpone mixture with the lemon juice over a gentle heat, stirring well. Cut the pork into slices and pour the sauce over the top.
Cut the carrots and Swedes into 1.5 inch chunks,
Broccoli and Cauliflower
8oz/225g Broccoli florets
Crushed the garlic cloves and add to the olive oil, whisking well. Put the broccoli and cauliflower in an oven proof dish and pour the oil all over, making sure the vegetables are completely coated – a bit messy but I use my hands to do this. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes.
Approx 1lb/450g Parsnips
Peel the parsnips, then half and quarter them (cut out some of the tough woody centre). Put them in a saucepan, add enough boiling water to cover them, then bring back to the boil and boil for 3 mins. Drain them in a colander and while they are still steaming, drop them into a bowl containing the Parmesan. Make sure they well coated. Bake them in a roasting tin, which has been pre-heated containing enough olive oil to cover the bottom and a couple of knobs of butter, at 200c/400f/gas 6 for about 35-40 mins – turning over halfway though cooking. You can also do this with large chip-like wedges of swede!
Brussel Sprouts in Riesling
12oz/350g Brussel Sprouts
Cut the bacon into small pieces with a scissors. In a large frying pan, melt the butter over a gentle heat – add the bacon, along with the shallots and garlic and allow them to cook slowly. While that is happening, steam the sprouts over boiling water for 4 minutes, just enough to half cook them. Then turn the heat up on the frying pan to medium, add the sprouts and toss around for 2-3 minutes, until they begin to take on a bit of colour. Turn the heat up to high, pour in the wine, letting it bubble and reduce while you stir the sprouts. As soon as the sprouts feel tender, transfer them to a serving dish and serve immediately.
Slice the courgettes into rounds. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan, put in the courgettes, cover with a lid and shake vigorously over a high heat for 30 seconds. Take off the lid, add the tomato puree and the garlic salt. Put the lid back on and shake vigorously again. Leave for 45 seconds, shake again and serve!
Cut off any thick stalks then wash the spinach. Place in a large saucepan without any water, except what’s left on it from washing. Cover with a lid and heat on high for about 2-3 minutes. Take the lid off, stir and continue to cook until almost all the liquid has gone. Add the butter and toss with the spinach until the butter has melted, then remove from the heat. Put the cream into a separate pan and heat gently. Pour over the spinach and mix well. Put into a serving dish and sprinkle the nutmeg over the top.
200g dark chocolate (4 bars of Carblife Dark chocolate)
Half fill a medium saucepan with water and bring
to the boil. Turn down the heat to establish a gentle simmer. Meanwhile,
break the chocolate into pieces and place in a bowl with the coffee and
butter: you need a bowl that can be suspended over the saucepan of just-simmering
water so that the ingredients can melt but not actually come into contact
with the water. Stir occasionally until all the ingredients are amalgamated.
Remove the bowl from the pan, stir in the rum and then allow the mixture
to cool for a few minutes. Separate the eggs - the yolks into a small
bowl without breaking them, and the whites into the bowl of a mixer. While
the chocolate mixture is still relatively hot, stir in the egg yolks one
by one, mixing in well between each addition, the idea being that the
yolks "cook" slightly. Beat the egg whites until they form firm
peaks. Take two tablespoons of the egg white and gently stir them into
the chocolate to slacken the mixture. Then fold in the rest with a metal
spoon until there are no streaks or pockets of egg white. Pour the chocolate
mixture into little pots or ramekins - filling them almost to the brim.
Alternatively, pour into a bowl and serve scoops into serving dishes.
Either way, cover with a sheet of cling-film and chill in the fridge for
at least six hours or overnight.
I packet of Sugar Free Orange Jelly
Dissolve jelly crystals in ½ pint of boiling water. Leave to cool. When cold, but before it actually starts to set, top up to a pint with Champagne! Pour carefully into 4 champagne flutes (or wine glasses) and transfer to the fridge to set. If you pour gently then you should conserve many bubbles so that they will be apparent when the jelly is eaten). Serve with cream!
Try Raspberry or Strawberry with Vodka! Make up jelly as directed, then add a slug of vodka.
Orange with Crème Fraiche and Brandy – make up jelly as directed – ½ pint of boiling water, then top to ¾ pint with cold water. Leave to cool. When cool enough, melt ¼ pint of crème fraiche over low heat (or low temp in microwave), then whisk in jelly, adding a slug of brandy as you do so.
Serve in one large bowl, or in 4 individual glasses or ramekins.
These are just a couple of the ideas I have tried with sugar free jelly, but there's nothing to stop you having a go at whatever variation appeals to you!
3-4 Almond Muffins (see recipe below)
Cut the muffins into quarters (spread a little bit of jam on each, if you want to use it, or use some of the syrup), and then arrange pieces in the base of a glass bowl (or whatever dish you are going to use for your trifle). Pour the Madeira all over as evenly as you can. Put to one side, and make the custard. When the custard is cool enough, arrange the defrosted raspberries amongst the muffins, then pour the custard over the top. Cover with cling film and chill for a couple of hours before topping the trifle with the whipped cream. Sprinkle the flaked almonds over the top as decoration. Keep in fridge and serve chilled.
4oz/110g butter, softened
5 egg yolks (large)
Mix the egg yolks, sionon, cornflour and vanilla extract in a bowl. Bring the cream up to simmering point in a saucepan, and then pour over the egg mixture. Whisk well. Return the lot to the saucepan and re-heat gently – keep whisking until the custard has thickened. Either serve immediately, or leave to cool if making the trifle.
3 large egg yolks
Beat the egg yolks, with an electric hand whisk,
in a bowl together with the sionon on high speed for about 3 minutes,
or until the mixture forms a light, pale mousse. In a separate large bowl,
stir the mascarpone with a wooden spoon to soften it, then gradually beat
in the egg yolk mixture. Between each addition, beat well until the mixture
is smooth before adding more. Now wash and dry the beaters of the whisk
so they are perfectly clean, then in a third separate bowl whisk the egg
whites until they form soft peaks. Now lightly fold this into the mascarpone
mixture and then put the bowl to one side. Next, cut the muffins to thick
finger-liked slices. Pour the coffee and rum into a shallow dish and then
dip the fingers briefly into it, turning them over. Now simply layer the
dessert by putting soaked fingers into the bottom of a glass bowl, followed
by the mascarpone mixture, repeating the whole process, finishing with
the mascarpone mixute on top. Complete with a layer of chopped chocolate
and a final dusting of cocoa powder. Cover the bowl with cling film then
chill in the fridge for several hours before serving. For this recipe
you could substitute the vanilla flavouring in the muffins with a teaspoon
of dark rum!
Melt the toffee slowly on a low heat - either in
the microwave, or in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cut the
top off each muffin and, using a teaspoon, make a little hollow in the
larger part. Pour in some of the melted toffee, then replace top of each
muffin. Pour double cream into the remainder of the melted toffee and
pour in equal quantities over each muffin. Serve immediately. Add custard
3 eggs, separated
Make a collar for a ¾ pint/450ml soufflé
dish (measure the height and circumference of the dish, cut a piece of
greaseproof paper long enough to wrap around the dish and 3 inches/7.5cm
taller than it’s height, tie around the dish with string). Put the
egg yolks, sionon, lemon rind and juice into a large bowl and set over
a pan of simmering water. Whisk until thickened (take about 5 minutes
with an electric whisk). Remove from heat and beat for another 4-5 minutes
until pale yellow and frothy. Dissolve the gelatine in the water, cool
until tepid then stir into the lemon custard. Whisk the cream until it
begins to thicken then fold into the custard. Whisk the egg whites until
they form stiff peaks and then fold into the mixture. Pour into the prepared
dish and leave to set in the fridge. Don’t forget to remove the
collar before serving!
Makes approx 36 truffles – plain 1g carbs each, almond 0.5g carbs each, chocolate-coated – 0.5g carbs each
150g dark chocolate (3 bars of Carblife Dark Chocolate)
For decoration: Cocoa Powder, 25g Flaked/Crushed Almonds, 50g plain chocolate and ½ tsp groundnut oil.
Break the chocolate into squares and place in a food processor. Grind chocolate until it looks granular (like sugar). Place cream, butter, rum or brandy in a small saucepan and bring to simmering point. Then, with the motor switched on, pour mixture through the feeder tube of the processor and continue to blend until you have a smooth blended mixture. Transfer the mixture, which will be very liquid at this stage, into a bowl, leave to cool and when cold, cover with cling film and put in the fridge overnight. It does thicken up! Next day, divide mixture equally into 3 small bowls, and keep each one in the fridge until needed.
To make the different varieties:
– sift 1 dessertspoon of cocoa powder on a flat plate, take a heaped
half teaspoon of truffle mix, dust your hand in cocoa, then roll mix into
balls. Try to do this quickly as the warmth of your hand will start to
melt the chocolate.
Use paper sweet cases to put each individual truffle in. Arrange in a box (or boxes) and put in fridge. Eat within 3 days. The truffles can also be frozen, if you don't want to eat them straight away!
This wonderfully rich and decadent torte is adapted from a Delia Smith recipe, and was a favourite of mine before I began low carbing. It occurred to me that, given the ingredients, it could be suitable for a low carb diet and the following recipe is the end result of my testing! If you want to make a smaller torte, just divide the amounts given in half.
1lb/450g Carblife Dark Chocolate (9 bars –
but definitely worth it!)
Line a 9 inch cake tin with greaseproof paper, then lightly brush with groundnut oil. Sprinkle the ground almonds over the bottom, covering the area completely. Break the chocolate into pieces and put them, with the rum, in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Leave until the chocolate has completed melted, take off the heat and add the sionon, stirring well – leave to cool for 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, beat the cream until only very slightly thickened. Fold half into the chocolate mixture, mix well, and then fold it back into the remaining cream. When completely blended, pour into the cake tin. Smooth the top with a palette knife. Cover with cling film and chill in the fridge overnight. To serve, run a palette knife round the edge to loosen it, then turn the torte out onto a large plate and dust with a little cocoa powder. Serve with cream, to which you could add some rum for an extra special treat!
Baked Ricotta Cheesecakes
9oz/250g Ricotta cheese
Break up the ricotta cheese in a bowl then add the eggs white, sionon and vanilla. Mix thoroughly until all ingredients are well combined and the mixture is smooth. Lightly grease 4 ramekin dishes and spoon in the mixture equally between them. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 180c/350f/gas 4, or until the cheesecakes have risen and are golden in colour. Serve with a fruit sauce - puree 4 oz of berries with a little water (frozen raspberries are ideal to use here), add sionon to taste – or use a Davinci Sugar Free Syrup of your own choice.