Three Veg

It’s an easy past-time whiling away hours on the internet googling information or downloading apps in relation to anything about food if you are concerned about your diet and GM factors, weighing up varying statistics and getting bamboozled with conflicting information from countless sites to do with food and nutrition. The Internet is now a place where anyone can post their opinions about food, and basically say anything about anything whether it is substantiated or not. There are of course some reputable sites with backed-up research by qualified food-nutritionists, dietitians and scientists and I have narrowed it down to a few I subscribe to, everyone has their favourites. Not to mention the Mt Everest of products, marketed and available in supermarkets claiming to counteract gluten, fat, sugar and declaring to be the be all and end all of healthy eating. Rather than banging your head against the fridge, I believe it can be a bit easier to decipher and get your thoughts around.

However you look at it, the philosophy is quite simple. Get back to the basics, the way our Mothers, Grandmothers and their Grandmothers approached food. The very simple Meat and Three Veg approach. Or for the Vegetarians, the Egg and Four Veg approach. Even the Vegans, The Veg and More Veg approach. Here are a few of my own rules when it comes to food choice:

Number 1 – Don’t buy food that comes in a box or a packet

Generally speaking, food sold in boxes has at some point been processed in one way or another. Food is put into plastic packaging or wraps and boxes for a reason, to preserve it and lengthen its shelf-life. In order to preserve food, it needs preservatives which are something our bodies really could do without in the long run. If you see the number 220 or higher on the ingredients list, put it back on the supermarket shelf. You don’t need it. (Unless it is completely organic and preservative-free, 220 is also present in most wines as it protects against oxidation and bacterial spoilage. Everything in moderation). 🙂

Number 2 – Eat Fresh

Don’t know about you, but I don’t plan all following week-night meals at the beginning of the week or do one huge grocery shop with each nights meal planned already. I’m not that organised, preferring to give it a bit of thought in the morning and decide what I want to cook for dinner that night, then shop locally for the freshest ingredients that can be sourced on the day. In todays fast-paced world it’s easy to come up with a bunch of reasons not allowing you to do this. Long working hours, dead-lines and two or more kids for example (and this is a legitimate excuse for a lot of people) but really if you dedicate some time of each day to fresh-food shopping, even if you have to diarise it, it will eventually just become part of your daily routine. Nor am I a fan of freezing meat, fish or chicken, preferring to purchase fresh organic if possible, on the day. I know it can all be frozen for convenience and will be cheaper, but I think fresh tastes much better. (An exception can be made  for bought frozen fish as it is usually fresher than the non-frozen fish bought at the sea-food shop because it’s been cleaned, filleted and snap-frozen on the boat preserving it’s freshness).

Number 3 – Keep it Simple:

Meat and Three Veg means exactly that. Whether it be a juicy grass-fed rib-eye-fillet (sorry vegetarians), a Tasmanian salmon fillet or a lovely organic chicken, any of these can be easily prepared to cook with a simple marinade OR just thrown directly in the oven, on a grill pan, BBQ or whatever cooking medium on their own.  Of course you can go all gourmet and exotic with marinades but you can always just simply use Lemon, Garlic, Salt and Pepper and GOOD QUALITY Olive Oil.  Plus a green herb or two – parsley will always get you out of trouble, as will a lemon.

With the Three Veg, just think in terms of ‘tri-colour’ during selection process:

Pumpkin, Broccoli and Red Capsicum.

Sweet Potato, Eggplant and Asparagus.

Carrot, Leek and Cauliflower.

Fennel, Red Onions and Snow Peas.

Bok Choy, Radish and Cabbage.

Artichokes, Tomatoes and Kale – starting to get fancy there but it’s the three different colours of veg am trying to envision in Green, Red (or Orange) and White.

It’s as simple as that!

Broccoli

My quest to find bread and dough substitutes continues and when you start delving into this realm, the possibilities are endless. You are only limited by your imagination and I am discovering new ways all the time. The boundaries of bread are definitely being pushed, mostly by Vegetables.

Of course there are plenty of gluten-free bread/pizza base products available, however these products generally contain a cocktail of ingredients such as Xanthum Gum, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose or the dreaded Corn Starch which help the bread to retain a soft texture and nice attractive look. They are usually also high in sugar and fat to make them tastier. When it comes to a pizza base, nothing and absolutely nothing substituted is ever truly going to ‘taste’ like the classic traditional Italian, melt in your mouth dough consistency they have been masters of for decades. But it doesn’t hurt to try something new in the kitchen and experiment just to see what you can create. And in the case of a Broccoli Base Pizza, it won’t hurt your waistline either, you can eat as much as you want without the guilt factor. Win. (Unless it’s loaded with cheese of course).

Perhaps we should refer to this as something other than a pizza as am sure this concept would seem completely unethical to any fans of a great pizza, which would have to be the majority of us. I’ve decided on a Broccoli ‘Flammkuchen’ – a German name which is the translation of the French ‘Tarte Flambee’. Fancy I know but it in generic terms basically just means pizza made of very thinly rolled bread dough, cooked in a wood-fired oven, traditionally topped with Creme Fraiche, thinly sliced onions and bacon.

Flammkuchen
Flammkuchen

I sampled my first Flammkuchen in Switzerland recently after my musical European friends dismissed my plight of eating no-dough as a bit of a no-go. They weren’t wrong, it was incredibly delicious, as was the accompanying crisp white wine.

You can put whatever toppings you like on this, up to you. In this recipe I have substituted Creme Fraiche with a Blanched Almond, Tahini and Garlic spread, then topped with Caramelised Onions cooked in Organic Coconut Oil. So, no-gluten and no-dairy and you could eliminate the coconut sugar from the onions and it would be no-sugar as well, but they wouldn’t caramelise nicely. Some might say ‘no-fun’ either but it tastes good and is good for you. You’ve saved yourself a few high carbs and calories and earned yourself a nice glass or two of Cab Sav to go with it 🙂

Broccoli Base Pizza

 

Broccoli Flammkuchen: *

1 Head of Broccoli

3 Tbs Ground Almonds

1 Tbs Sesame Seeds

1 Egg

Method:

1) Break Broccoli into florets, whizz them all up in a food processor till in tiny bits (do this in batches)

2) Place in a steamer or in the microwave and steam for five minutes, let cool

3) Put steamed broccoli in a tea towel, gather the sides up, scrunch into a ball and squeeze out all the moisture

4) Put in a bowl and mix together with almonds, sesame seeds and egg till well combined

5) Place a piece of baking paper on top of a pizza tray or stone and mould the mix out with your hands to flatten so it resembles a pizza base like this:

Broccoli Base
Broccoli Base

6) Bake in 180 C oven for fifteen minutes

7) Remove from oven and spread with almond paste and caramelised onions (recipe below) or whatever toppings you like.

8) Bake for another 15 minutes

 

Almond, Tahini and Garlic Paste:*

1 Cup of Blanched Almonds

2 Cloves Garlic

1/4 Cup of Olive Oil

1 Tbs Tahini

Juice of one Lemon

Dash of Paprika

Salt and Pepper

Method:

1) Place all ingredients in a food processor and grind up to a paste

 

Caramelised Onions: (Quick Version)

1 Red Onion, cut in to quarters lengthwise and then into slithers

1 Tbs Coconut Oil

1 Tbs Coconut Sugar (or Brown Sugar)

Splash of Water

Method:

1) Melt coconut oil over medium heat, then add onions and let sizzle for a few minutes

2) Add sugar and water, fry gently stirring often till the onions start to soften and get a bit syrupy, about 15 minutes or so.

 

* Note:

Here is the inspiration for the pizza base (where you will find many other great recipes and restaurant reviews by the very talented Not Quite Nigella) originally made with Cauliflower  Low Carb Gluten Free Cauliflower Base Pizza

I wanted to see if it also worked with Broccoli after making the Cauliflower version. It’s a different texture but still tasty.

The recipe for the Almond Paste is originally from here Eat Drink Paleo another wonderful site full of excellent recipes and nutritional information.