When it comes to gatherings and family feasts, knowing how to kindly ditch the carbs can be quite the mission. On the other hand, feeding a carb hungry crowd while being a low carb host, does not have to give you sleepless nights either.
The good news is… The meaty part of the meal, should pose no threat and be smooth sailing whether, you do a braai, a selection of cold cuts or a lovely roast. The issue really presents itself as the Grinch who stole Christmas when you think about snacks, sides and sweet treats without the commercial carbs.
Fear not! I will share with you some of my handy, quick and easy go-to recipes and if my baby bump and gravity allows me a few more active days on my feet, I will try and share some more ideas.
1. Stay-in-fridge Savoury Cracker Batch.
These crackers are amazing! They are also very filling and can be made a few days before baking them. I usually bake mine in two batches. They are super crunchy too and work well on a platter with cheese, dips and veggies.
1. Crackers with avo dip, butter, a cheese seletion and fresh berries. You can add veggie sticks, olives and even some quality cold cuts.
2. Also use bigger cucumbers as you would use a cracker base and dress them with awesome toppings. I folded some salami slices and dressed them with wholegrain mustard, a slice of cream cheese and a sprinkle of chopped sundried tomatoes and herbs. I even drizzled some with tabasco sauce for a bit of a kick.
3. I made some fried halloumi cheese strips. These are also crunchy and firm enough to dress them with toppings.
I must warn that these kind of platters tend to fill you up quickly! Loads of good- for- you-fuel in them!
Back to the crackers:
2 cups nut flour of your choice. (I used pecan and macadamia flour)
1/4 cup sesame seed
1/4 cup sunflour seed
40 – 50g grated parmesan (Small bag or container)
1 tsp dried thyme
3 tsp gelatin powder
3Tbsp Psyllium husk fibre
3 tsp baking powder
Few grinds of your favourite herbed salts or pepper blend
4 Tbsp cold butter
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup boiling water
1. Mix all the dry ingredients, even the gelatin powder in a mixing bowl.
2. Rub the cold butter into the mix until it forms a breadcrumb consistency.
3. Mix in the egg throughout the batter and then quickly mix boiling water and apple cider vinegar to form a dough ball.
4. Place the dough ball onto cling wrap and roll and shape like a sausage of about 5 – 6 cm in diameter. Wrap the cling wrap around the dough and allow to set in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Cut into almost 1 cm slices and place onto a buttered cookie sheet pan. Bake at 180 C for about 20 – 25 minutes. Test to see that your cookie snaps when broken in half. These cookies have a wonderful crisp texture if baked just long enough.
This recipe yields about 32 crackers the thickness of digestive biscuits. I bake them in two batches and save the dough in the refrigerator for two to 3 days.
Trifle version 1:
This trifle is better than any one I have ever had before our low carb regime started. I do NOT like soggy spongecake in a trifle and this spongecake does not disappoint! Apart from baking the cake layer, this recipe can be as instant as you remember life before low carb. You are welcome. I use Ultramel zero for this recipe. You can make your own Bavarian cream custard (Recipe here – NB!!! substitute sugar with 4 Tbsp Xylitol), but in a season already crazy I allow myself the convenience of this option. I don’t want you to run with this memo as a green light for artificially flavoured food. But once or twice a year will not do much harm and at 8 grams of carbs per 100 ml Ultramel Zero brings a bit of normal nostalgia to the Christmas dessert table. (Most carb lovers won’t know the difference either)
So the disclaimer is out there for the record… No pigging out on artificial custard twice a week in the name of Low Carb is Lekker OK! 😉
For the spongecake I use the batter of this recipe that I make in a large rectangular brownie pan instead of cupcakes. I bake it for 20 – 25 minutes and then cut it into sponge fingers.
2 Packets Simply delish NATURAL strawberry jelly (Available at dischem and other retailers)
500 – 800g fresh strawberries, sliced.
1 or 2 cups cream, whipped
1 Ultramel Zero Custard (1 Liter container)
Fresh cherries for garnish. (Optional)
1 or 2 blocks 85% dark chocolate grated or chopped for garnish. (Optional)
Pecan halves for garnish. (Optional)
1. Pack 1 layer of sponge fingers at the bottom of your serving dish. Add 800 ml boiling water to your 2 packets of jelly, stir until dissolved and allow to cool just for 5 minutes. Pour some of the lukewarm jelly over the sponge layer. The jelly will set upon cooling so you need work quickly at building all the layers.
Add one layer of berries on the jelly, followed by a layer of custard. Repeat layers until you have used all your ingredients and then top with whipped cream and garnish this little show stopper however your creative juices leads you to.
Yields 15 – 20 satisfying servings without the after festivities guilt trip.
This trifle caused quite the traffic jam around midnight as family and friends met up at the refrigerator for another little glorious bite.
Low carb is sometimes just carefree and nostalgically lekker…without the sugar spike off course.
Next time, I will post my caramel, choc- mint deconstructed trifle in a jar for those looking for a less traditional festive treat with easy to get ingredients.
Yours in Festive Low carb, Inè