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Low carb trip to the health food shop…

24 Jan

For a treat (how much of a geek am I) I went to the health food shop this weekend.  It actually does feel like a treat though, because Earth Natural Foods in Kentish Town is like a palace to foods you read about in low carb recipes, but are impossible to find in everyday supermarkets – the only challenge is getting some great recipes to use them all up (and prove my investment worthwhile!).  All the staff and customers in there are all serene and zen and even going in there has a harmonising effect.  People in Kentish Town proudly bear their woven recyclable bags around the area with pride, like a badge of health and clean living.  Despite the fact I would actually quite love to buy and own one, I never get round to it, because in doing so you have to admit to the lovely and earnest till staff (and worse the queue) that you HAVEN’T BROUGHT YOUR OWN RECYCLABLE BAGS. I asked for a carrier bag the first time I went in there and never have since – draw your own conclusions!

Anyway, despite only going in for some herbal tea, I came out with these (and actually forgot the tea in my haste):

Low carb health food shop haul...

The sweetener I am investigating because I have come to the conclusion I can no longer do Splenda! I’m not normally a sweet toothed person, but have experimented with it in baking and have come to  dread the aftertaste.  So in the absence of being able to buy Stevia, this is the one I have selected from what was available.  The Soya Flour and Flaxseed I have been hearing about since I started on this diet and I want to see what all the fuss is about – right, am off to find some recipes to use them!  Any ideas most welcome….

Low Carb London – EAT

12 Jan

Cauliflower Cheese Soup from eat - low carb loveliness in your lunchbreak

As much as I aspire to be the girl who always brings in her carefully made lunch to work – and I have made more effort since new year as my last post shows – sometimes, like today, it is just too rainy/cold/boring to undertake it.  Today I had to buy in lunch, but I suspect this was subconsciously because I knew Cauliflower Cheese Soup was on the menu at Eat.

As we know on this way of eating – the cauliflower is your friend!  And this is brilliant, I like cauliflower, I love cauliflower cheese and I am a massive fan of Eat’s idea to provide it in soup form!  Described as ‘the ultimate comfort food’ by Eat’s menu, this delicious soup ticks all the boxes for taste and being filling and, of course, for being low carb (approx 5 carbs per 100g I think, but as the name suggests I don’t really do the whole counting thing).  My purchase instigated a bit of soup related chat in the office and it appears I’m in the minority by favouring cheese in a soup – however, if you are doing low carb and therefore eliminating the bread – it’s a massive bonus to have the extra fillingness provided by the cheese.  This is backed up by the fact that I ate at approx 12.30pm and it is now 19:10 and I still don’t feel hungry – result!

Being essentially a sandwich shop, Eat is not amazing for low carb eating, but there are some good options (especially with the soups).  Check out the latest menu and other nutritional information here.  If you have any low carb lunch break recommendations I would love to hear them!

Low Carb London – Zizzis and St John’s Tavern

15 Aug

We have just waved off some friends who have been staying with us and while it was lovely to have them, we are now sitting in our flat enjoying the relative peace!  I do feel like we often take London living for granted, we get out and about a fair bit, but it’s really when you have friends come to visit who are amazed, impressed and desperate to pack in as much of London as possible in a weekend, that you remember we are really lucky to live here and have such amazing things and places on our doorstep.

Living in London also means that we are lucky enough to have a myriad of amazing restaurant option if we choose to eat out (or in!) and there is something for all tastes and budgets, and that’s something I think we definitely don’t take for granted!  So therefore, Low Carb living when you have these options is a bit easier when you have all this to choose from, but I love hearing about noteworthy LC menu options from friends who have been and experienced good ones.  As an (ex) pizza fiend myself, it was while bemoaning the fact that I missed it and how I felt I had to give up the temptation of Italian restaurants as I didn’t trust myself not to order, that I was recommended the Insalta Boccincini from Ziziis (we went to the branch in Victoria, but they are of course nationwide) by a friend.

So, it was to Zizzis that we headed for a quick meal with friends this weekend and I completely amazed myself that by having this choice of meal that it completely eliminated the desire for the pizzas, even with everyone around me having them!  I shared a starter of anti-pasta with my friend (think lovely fresh buffalo mozzarella, parma ham and sun-dried tomatoes), followed by this salad, which features lovely melty Scamorza cheese wrapped in ham (that’s your pizza substitute sorted) on a bed of crisp salad as below – was lovely.  Even better, they currently have an offer on their website for two courses for £10 in August…bargain!  Don’t have an image unfortunately, but this from their menu below:

INSALATA BOCCINCINI (£5.55 / £9.25)

Smoked ham wrapped in Scamorza cheese adds a twist to a classic Italian salad of roasted peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, red onions, mixed leaves and croutons

Meanwhile, another notable Low Carb option from this weekend I wanted to tell you about was actually found in a pub (St John’s Tavern in Archway  – lots of locally sourced options on their extensive food menu and well worth a visit!).  When one of our group suggested getting pork scratchings as a snack, I was initially half hesitant and half enthusiastic.  While they are often regarded as a low carb staple and I can appreciate their low carb qualities for a snack (unlike many who have a pretty fierce reaction one way or the other!), I find it best to keep thinking from what is in them too much – and especially from considering just how long they may have been sitting on the shelf before you purchased the bag!!

Anyway, what came back from the bar was not as expected a small bag of questionable quality, but a plateful of freshly made pork rinds, which were invariably more appetising!  These pork scratchings were completely different, crunchy, flavoursome and at £3 for a plate pretty good value too.  Clearly being made from scratch (!) on the premises makes all the difference. As you can see from the below we all dived in very quickly, but just in time managed to get a quick photo while there were some left to show you before they were all polished off…

Pork Scratchings - Gastro Pub style!

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