When I asked for a copy of Low Carb is Lekker to review I did not consider that it would be a book supporting the low carb high fat diet. The reason I asked for this book is that Dave and I follow a Mediterranean diet where we do not eat starchy carbohydrates at night. I am always looking for great recipes to do during the week to stick to our healthy eating regime.
This book is subtitled as a truly South African LCHF cookbook and I had to try and put my prejudice aside against the Banting diet when reading the book. After having studied a graduate course in nutrition I want to caution anyone against changing their eating plan to the LCHF diet without consulting their Doctor first.
Low Carb is Lekker is not a diet book according to Inè. The book begins with a very extensive introduction and a survival guide to the LCHF lifestyle. In the introduction, Inè lists the 6 personal reasons why she thinks people should change their eating habits. The LCHF diet purportedly has great results for weight loss, which was evident when Inè’s husband lost 37 kilograms following this regime. Inè has not studied nutrition and her writing is anecdotal, listing the why and how of low-carb living. I completely agree with ‘eating real food’ (quoted) but I do not agree that ‘all wheat is bad for us’ (quoted). The book has a list of foods to allow and avoid, allergy alternatives, kitchen must haves and an ingredient decoder. The section on how to read food labels refers to the LCHF diet and I would recommend that you keep this in mind if you use this as a reference to read food labels.
Low Carb is Lekker is a recipe book that Inè has divided into 12 sections. Some of the recipes include lekker tips and information on some of the ingredients. The book starts with breakfast recipes before moving onto finger foods and soups.The recipes in this section excited me the most and I tried the cream of leek and cauliflower soup with salami strips (p67). I was not sure how big one large head of cauliflower was so I made only two thirds of the recipe as mine was medium sized. I did not know how much water to add – the recipe calls for 7-8 cups, half being used at the beginning. I added 1 litre to start and did not add any more as the soup was quite thin. The resulting flavour was stunning. The block of cream cheese I bought weighed 250g so I took 230g (the weight given in the recipe), divided that by 4 to get what the recipe called for and rounded that amount up to 60g.
I would also like to try the sweet Italian mini meatball soup (p73). In the section on food for kids Inè starts with baby food – first foods (4-6 months), second foods (7-9 months), third foods (9-12 months) – before moving onto lunch box love and kid’s party food suggestions. Her chapter on mains include kid friendly meals and variations on some of the recipes. I thought that these recipes, as well as the ones from traditional South African meals are great and I would love to make the pickled fish (p115). I made the BBQ pork ribs (p119) which required me to follow the recipe for the Smoky BBQ basting sauce (p140). The basting sauce was not very smoky, so I would add smoked paprika to this if I were to make it again. The sauce is nice and thick with a hint of chilli which developed with cooking of the ribs.
As I make everything from scratch, the section on condiments and sauces would be most useful to me. Inè makes use of a can of tomato purée in her recipe for tomato sauce (p136) despite all processed foods being on the avoid list. I really liked the sound of the spicy chutney (p139) and the fragrant basting sauce (p140) and they are going on my to try list. For the purpose of this review, I made the creamy black pepper, feta and herb dressing (p145). I was not sure how much a round of feta weighed and so used what I had in the fridge. I also chose to omit the xylitol which was an optional ingredient. This quite sharp salad dressing is perfect with robust salads such as slaw.
The recipes under breads, rolls and pizza as well as cakes, cookies and treats are great for people on a gluten free diet, and include many variations. I will make the marshmallows (p189) using fructose, which is an ingredient that has been a part of my diet for over 20 years. In the section on desserts I think I would make melkkos (p159) which is a traditional South African pudding. Given that I have kidney stones on an infrequent basis, the kidney tonic (p198) is top of my list in the beverages chapter. Upon reading this chapter I was quite surprised to see that the recipes for buttered rum (p201), berry hot toddy (p202) and chai spiced hot toddy (p202) all included rum, as rum is high in cane sugar and all sugars and all foods with added sugar are on the avoid list.
I found the ingredient list to be quite repetitive and assume this is due to the short list of produce one can consume when following the LCHF diet . For people watching their carbohydrate intake, the recipes include the carbs per serving. I found that a lot of the recipes I read make use of xylitol including a recipe for creamy mayo (p139) where I would not expect any sweetener. Putting my prejudices aside, this book will serve well for ideas for meals that are low in carbohydrates. Some of the recipes include photographs which showcase the meals quite nicely. I will be publishing the recipes that I tested in the months to follow.
What I blogged April 15:
- three years ago – Friday’s Food Quiz
- four years ago – Cranberry And Oat Slices
- five years ago – Scallop, Pea And Bacon Pasta