Spicy spinach paneer

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This is one of those great winter into spring recipes. In fact, it’s one of my go-to staples all year round. You can make it richer and creamier in winter by adding double cream, and lighter in the warmer months by adding Greek yoghurt. The good news for my fellow THM dieters, is that it’s a nice healthy S meal to boot!

For my UK readers, paneer is readily available from your local supermarket (I buy mine from Sainsbury’s) or a larger Indian/Asian store. It has quite a long use-by date too, so I usually stock up on a few packets. I buy the pre-cubed brand, but there’s also a block that some supermarkets sell that you cut up into cubes yourself.

Frozen spinach works best for this recipe, plus you get so much more spinach when you buy it like that.

It’s makes a quick, healthy and filling supper, served with rice (as I’m low carbing, I just eat it on its own topped with yoghurt) or chapattis. Continue reading

Low carb love torte

Low carb Valentine's torte

If you love him (or her), feed them low carb! At least, that will be my motto this Valentine’s Day. It might have something to do with the fact that my current eating regime is geared towards lower carb eating. Selfish? Moi? Just concerned about my other half’s health!

But seriously, whether you are into low carb eating or not, this is a delicious chocolate concoction that derives its richness from 90 per cent dark chocolate.

I picked up a pretty heart-shaped mould from the internet to turn it into an extra-special ‘love torte’ as a Valentine’s treat.

This chocolate torte is really a base recipe, that you can add to and experiment with. Why not add some orange extract and orange zest to the mix for an intense choc-orange hit? Or freeze dried raspberries, which are a match made in heaven with dark chocolate. Add a few tablespoons of double cream to the pre-cooked mixture if you want a milkier, less intense torte. Continue reading

Mocha black bean brownies

THM Mocha black bean browniesMocha black bean brownies

I love chocolate, and I love brownies, so I was so relieved when I started out on my New Year’s healthy eating regime – the Trim Healthy Mama way – to find out that I wouldn’t have to give up either.

This recipe is my own variation of the Special Agent Brownie Cake recipe from the Trim Healthy Mama book. It’s a great (and easy recipe) as it stands, but me being me, I couldn’t help but tinker with it a bit to suit my own tastes.

The secret ingredient for this recipe is black beans, which add an interesting texture to the mix, instead of using rich melted chocolate. It makes the brownies moist, yet light at the same time. Continue reading

Omega berry jam

THM fuel pull chia seed jam

I’ve always been more a consumer of honey than jam, so since being on the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan since the beginning of the year I’ve been looking to create an acceptable (sugar-free) substitute to spread on my pancakes or stir into my morning yoghurt.

Try as I might, I don’t think I can ever recreate something that rivals the natural deliciousness of honey – but with this latest recipe, I think I’ve come pretty close to creating a perfect sugar-free (and THM-friendly!) jam.

And it’s so simple – just some berries (as it’s the middle of winter, I used frozen) a sweetener of your choice (I used xylitol – you could probably also try Truvia or erythritol) and chia seeds. Continue reading

Fluffy low carb pancakes

Fluffy low carb pancakes

These are really filling and satisfying, and only require a couple of extra easy steps compared to a regular pancake batter, ie you simply need to separate the eggs and whisk the egg whites.

That’s the secret to their pleasing fluffiness and texture.

There are all sorts of things you can use to make low carb pancakes, such as coconut flour (expensive), ground flaxseed (high in nutrition, but they do have a particular taste), oat fibre (this is a new one for me, having been introduced to the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating – it’s not at all the same as oat flour), and of course, ground almonds, which is what these pancakes use. Ground almonds are easy to pick up in the supermarket, and very cheap if you shop at places like Aldi and Lidl. They contribute a great texture, without an overpowering flavour. Continue reading

Spiced orange cake with chocolate ganache (plus my new diet)

orangecake3

Happy 2014 to you all! It’s a brand new year – a fresh page (actually 365 fresh new pages!). What great projects do you have planned for this year?

While you think about that, maybe I can tempt you with some cake? Some lusciously moist, intensely-orangey and chocolatey, beautiful-tasting cake. Now, if you’re on a New Year’s diet, it may seem a bit mean of me to be tempting you with such indulgences just after the excesses of Christmas.

But actually, this cake is low carb, gluten-free, sugar-free and low-fat – and it’s on my new diet plan (yes, it’s January, of course I’m on a diet too). Continue reading

Wishing you a happy, healthy New Year

happy2014

Here in the UK, we’re just a few hours away from seeing in the New Year. Whether you’re basking on the beach in Australia and already enjoying 2014, skiing in the Canadian Rockies, or sat on the sofa at home drinking a nice glass of wine (me!) have a wonderful New Year’s Eve!

I have high hopes and big dreams for 2014, and I plan to be sharing the journey with you here at Life and Chai.

Happy New Year! Bonne Année! And to my friends in Japan…..Akemashite Omedeto Gozaimasu!