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)


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


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!

Christmas pudding bites


Christmas is nearly upon us. Are you stressed, or are you one of those super-organised people who’s chosen, shopped and wrapped everything by mid-November and written out your 10-day Christmas and New Year food and party plan? I wish I was the latter, but sadly I’m not. Thank goodness for Amazon Prime, that’s all I can say!

I have to admit, I’m a little bit bah humbug when it comes to the frenzy that Christmas seems to stir in the retail sector. The Christmas jingles that start in November, the endless food ads on TV, and the tense, packed aisles of the supermarket drive me a little bit crazy!

Ours will be a small intimate Christmas with close family. Some indulgence, of course, but not too over the top. I’m so looking forward to seeing my little one enjoying the festivities. Last year he was just a babe in arms, this year he’s a toddler, and fascinated by the twinkling lights of our Christmas tree. He loves unwrapping presents too, especially if it involves a cardboard box. It can be totally empty – it’s fine with him! Continue reading

Meen molee (Keralan fish curry)

All over Kerala, South India, you’ll find varying versions of meen molee, which is just the most delicious fish curry you’ll ever taste (‘meen’ being the Malayalam word for fish). The recipe doesn’t come with a huge list of ingredients either, so it’s very easy to replicate at home.

During my four months in this beautiful Indian state (a few years ago now!), I ate some wonderful food, mostly vegetarian, but also some super fresh fish dishes. Meen molee was always one of my all-time favourites.

Recipes for Keralan fish curry frequently contain tamarind and tomatoes (I love these versions too), alongside the staple ingredient of coconut milk. This recipe today actually contains neither tamarind nor tomato, but is still an authentic fish curry.

You can use dried curry leaves for this dish, which are readily available in Asian stores. We prefer to buy them fresh from our local Nepali store and then freeze them.

It’s from Atul Kochar’s wonderful book Simple Indian (published by Quadrille) which I highly recommend. It’s a great introduction to South Indian cooking, with a modern twist, offering recipes that are uncomplicated and work every time.

Our household was struck down by colds and flu this week, and this – along with my mum’s magical chicken soup (I really should post that recipe too) – helped clear the airways a bit!

Continue reading

Guilt-free banana squares

Healthy banana squares

Healthy banana squares

These little treats are wheat-free, dairy free, sugar-free, and they can even be fat-free if you wish to leave out the avocado and the sunflower seeds (but you wouldn’t want to do that!).

With all these omissions, you might be thinking they must be tasteless, right? Wrong. They really taste pretty good, and the slow releasing carbs help mitigate the natural sugars from the bananas. Plus you can use any over-ripe bananas that may be loitering in your fruit bowl waiting to be thrown away.

These squares deliver a perfect cake-y hit (I need my cake-y hit) without any of the bad stuff. Don’t expect them to rise too much ­– they have a denser, more filling consistency.

I used a little stevia to add more sweetness (I use the NOW brand of stevia sachets, called Stevia Balance). In the UK, you can now buy Truvia from most large supermarkets. Stevia is calorie-free, derived from a plant, and doesn’t spike your blood sugar. Continue reading



Following on from my review of Kew’s Global Kitchen Cookbook, today I’m featuring one of the recipes from the book.

It’s one of the easier ones, and I was drawn to it because it required some stale bread as a main ingredient, and I happened to have a large chunk of sourdough bread that had headed that way!

I’d intended to use it for croutons (I find sourdough makes great croutons), until I realised it was so hard I risked damaging my precious Global knife trying to cut it up. This recipe actually requires you to soak the stale bread until it becomes soggy. Perfect!

Skordalia is a bread based sauce from Greece which goes well with grilled veggies, fish or chicken. It derives its name from skordo, which is the Greek word for garlic. Continue reading

Review: Kew’s Global Kitchen Cookbook


If you’re an avid foodie, cook or healthy eating enthusiast (like me!), you’ll no doubt have any number of world ingredients stored in your fridge – ginger, coriander, avocados, maybe some olives, some medjool dates, perhaps even some tamarind. The list of these natural, international ingredients could go on and on.

These days, we don’t even consider many of these ingredients to be exotic. Thanks to the wonders of modern transportation, they’re everyday fare that we know we can buy whenever we need them.

So the latest publication from The Royal Botanic Gardens, KewKew’s Global Kitchen Cookbook (101 Recipes Using Edible Plants From Around The World) – comes as a great reminder of the source of such worldly delights, the fascinating history surrounding their arrival on our shores, and how they’ve been put to culinary use over the centuries. Continue reading

Pumpkin-spice protein slice


With its natural sweetness, pumpkin is the perfect ingredient for creating a low or no-sugar, guilt-free treat. This pumpkin slice is full of pure, healthy ingredients, and the result after baking is a moist, dense, lightly-spiced slice. The addition of hemp protein powder will ensure that it’s a slow release snack that also serves up a healthy dose of omega-3s.

You could make it totally sugar-free by taking out the honey and adding a little stevia. It’s also dairy-free and gluten-free. A triple, healthy whammy! Continue reading

Kale and potato broth with chorizo


I seem to have a habit of adding chorizo to soup these days. I do find it a great way to quickly add some flavour and spice to a recipe. There’s always some in my fridge, for occasions such as these.

Soup like this is always better made with a homemade vegetable or chicken stock, but as I was in a hurry (ie, nothing to eat for lunch!) I used an organic stock cube here, and the chorizo (plus a few dried mushrooms) helped to add more depth.

I was going to call this a hearty kale soup, but then I realised it wasn’t. It’s actually lovely and light, yet filling and warming at the same time. It’s more winter broth, than winter soup. And the main ingredients came from my rather unexpected organic veg delivery this week. Continue reading