Category Archives: Healthy

Healthy Pizza

Or, as per the message I sent to my vegetarian friend, “come round for dinner? I’ve made cauliflower pizza dough, so we can eat like hipsters”.

It might not quite be hipster pizza, because I forgot to put the kale on top, but I consider this relatively healthy pizza – with a thin wholewheat crust, half made up of vegetables, topped with reduced fat cheese and more vegetables (spoiler alert: heaps of vegetable ribbons, instead of tomato sauce), it doesn’t seem entirely unreasonable for a weeknight dinner.

Traditional pizza with asparagus, mozzarella and fresh basil

Healthier version: thin crust courgette pizza with aubergine, salami and reduced fat cheese

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Healthy Banana Crumble

The essential elements of this pudding – bananas caramelised into toffeeish decadence, and a naturally sweet, buttery oat crumble – are gorgeous despite having not a single gram of refined sugar. Served with a touch of cool Greek yoghurt, or even some very cold cream, it is a gloriously satisfying low-GI dessert.

Banana crumble - sugar-free, dairy-free, wheat-free - yet delicious!

Banana crumble – sugar-free, dairy-free, wheat-free – yet delicious!

It’s been a great pudding for friends who come round, too (and the non-dieting husband) – a few extra elements mean that everyone can customise their pudding to their own specific dietary requirements, whether that’s minimum impact on blood sugar or maxmimum indulgence. I’m low GI but pretty relaxed about fat/protein, but someone limiting their fat intake might sprinkle on less crumble and have Greek yoghurt/ half-fat creme fraiche rather than cream. To cater for the other end of the spectrum, I’ll make a quick salted caramel sauce and heat up some custard (either tinned or homemade) and the building blocks are there for everyone to tailor their own dessert – from dairy-free and sugar-free dessert to banoffee crumble with lashings of custard.

add a layer of salted caramel sauce to make Banoffee Crumble

add a layer of salted caramel sauce to make Banoffee Crumble

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Healthy Cauliflower Cheese

…or rather, Cheese Cauliflower – because we invert the elements of this classic winter comfort food to make it feel-good in both senses of the word.

Classically, the essential comfort components of this dish are the bechamel sauce and the bubbling melted cheesy top, luxuriously blanketing the cauliflower itself. Here, we replace the fat and starch of the bechamel with a velvety cauliflower puree, and the layer of cheese with a few cubes of burnished halloumi, which have a much stronger presence and so we don’t need as much to make the same impact.

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Low (GI) – Ceilinged Kitchen

Hello, from what feels like the other side – certainly it’s been a while. A few things have happened over the months since I last posted, and so whilst I’ve still been cooking, we’ve got another constraint at the Low-Ceilinged Kitchen – in addition to being time-, cost- and expertise-constrained, we’ve gone all Low GI Joe.

Image result for gi joe rise of cobra

LOW GI Joe: The Rise of Carbra – an elite unit of dieticians battles pointy blood sugar spikes

(so happy to be able to indirectly cite this underrated gem of a film. I’m pretty sure I would have found GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra just as tense and compelling if we hadn’t been on an overnight bus in Peru at the time, and I’m mystified as to why Channing Tatum – who plays the eponymous hero – is so ashamed of it)

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Easy Beef Pho (more “Faux” than authentic “Pho”)

This is a cheap, comforting-but-healthy bowl of tender rib meat and bone broth. And it’s super-easy to make – the passage of time does all the work for you. It’s hands-off pho, as 1. apart from roughly chopping some aromatics and slipping the tender meat off the bones at the end of cooking, you really don’t do much, and 2. it also stands for “Hands off my pho!” because once I’ve got my slurp on with a bowl of this umami sensation, I’m not prepared to share! Vietnamese Beef Pho Continue reading

Miso Honey Salmon

This is not a particularly budget-friendly recipe, purely because salmon isn’t cheap. But it’s one of those foods that shouldn’t be, I think. If I’m going to eat a fish, I want one that used to swim in the sea and is fished sustainably and transported so that it’s still fresh, and so it should cost a lot of money. (I also believe in good treatment for animals, but that’s slightly different because it’s possible to buy an unpopular cut of a well-treated animal at a reasonable price). However, we made this the other day from a salmon I’d frozen after buying it from the supermarket at less than £10 a kilo. It was a lovely specimen – firm, rosy-fleshed salmon from Scotland, and very fresh. It was so cheap because it was unprocessed – gutted, but then just bagged up. It’s a cost-efficient way of buying enough salmon for dinner with friends, but only if you don’t mind wrestling a fish longer than your arm. I spent longer de-scaling and pin-boning that sea monster than preparing the rest of the dinner put together. Just call me Ishmael.

Miso Honey Salmon

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Roasted Leeks

Cost: £1 or so. Serves 6 as a side dish.

Ten years ago when I was in the Sixth Form, I remember looking in the common room fridge and being terribly impressed by our collective healthiness. It was filled with fruit, individually packaged salads, and low-fat yoghurt. I felt a few calories lighter from even looking inside. This lasted until I glanced at the bin, which contained only chocolate bar wrappers, crisp packets and fizzy drink cans.

Generally, I find it relatively easy to make good food choices in the supermarket. My husband is especially good at saying “no” to processed foods when standing in front of the chocolate aisle. I buy from the “bowl shops” at least twice a week – the temporary stands that sell fruit and vegetables in £1 bowls, the choice and quantities varying slightly according to whatever happens to be available at this time of year. It’s pretty good, because it sort-of encourages seasonal eating, and there are no non-fruit-or-vegetable items to provide temptation.

However, come the weekend, and the pantry/fridge is still full of vegetables, getting slightly past their best – and it’s a situation that does not tend to resolve itself with extended avoidance (my go-to method for problem solving). This happened the other day with some leeks which had been bought when they were squeaky-fresh, bursting with vitamins and flavour, and were languishing reproachfully on the vegetable shelf *cough* two *cough* weeks later.

Roasting is a great way of bringing out the flavour left in slightly tired vegetables. With leeks, they can easily dry out though, so they need a quick boil first before a blast in the oven to add a tinge of char and caramel, flavours brought out with olive oil, salt, balsamic vinegar and garlic.

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