Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Cauliflower rice and other pretend carbs

The mysterious white powder and the new love of my life. You probably haven't heard of it - well, I hadn't at least. A few weeks ago, my boyfriend told me I had to watch this amazing documentary called Fat Head which was in part a response to the widely-acclaimed Super Size Me (now almost a decade old!). Fat Head reveals a simple truth about our diets which most of us don't seem to be aware of - that a lot of today's "healthy food" is in fact not suitable for us as humans to consume. The long and short of it is, we need to eat what our bodies have evolved to eat, and, crucially, this does not involve complex carbs. So cereal, pasta, rice etc. are all out the window if we are to follow this simple rule. More information in an easy-to-digest (excuse the pun) form can be found here.

Back to the point then. Being massive foodies, my other half and I set up a search for alternatives to carbs, and our first big find was cauliflower rice:

1) Grate the flowery bits of the cauliflower (that is everything but the leaves and thick stalk) into a bowl.

2) Dry fry the grated cauliflower in oil - we use coconut oil (I will blog separately about that!).

3) Enjoy your delicious rice-like alternative with anything from curry to salmon. Works well mixed with pretty much any sauce - I recommend Hollandaise with pan-fried salmon or trout.

After taste, the other great thing about this stuff is that it is completely freezable. Just use normal freezer sandwich bags.

So, other from that we have also tried butternut squash. There are lots of articles/blog posts about "spaghetti squash" which I'm guessing is an American thing as it's nothing I've ever come across. Dicing up a butternut squash (available in Aldi if you're a fellow bargainator) and boiling it as you would potato provides another great alternative to complex carbs, as it provides a carb-like texture and colour to your dish. The colour of food is definitely important - I think that the fact that cauliflower rice is white certainly does help fool the brain!

Living in Manchester's China Town, I have easy access to all the mini Chinese Supermarkets, full of weird and wonderful goodies - although you'd be surprised how many of these products are available in mainstream supermarkets now. Yesterday I saw bottles of Aloe Vera sat in the bottled drinks fridge section of my local Tesco Express. Nice to see them trying new things! Our non-carb discovery from China Town is Konnyaku noodles (also known as Shirataki or Konjac noodles). Apparently, the noodles are made from the root of Konjac ram (whatever that is) rather than egg or rice, and are low in calories but rich in fibre. Below is a pic of the noodles I found in one of our local Chinese Supermarkets, also available here. They have a strange glassy look and jelly-like consistency but are nice and actually really good as a carb alternative - I intend on trying them in lots of dishes over the coming weeks.
Konnyaku noodles

Let me know if you have any good suggestions to add to my three!

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