So what’s the alternative to chips?

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If you have ever tried to give up carbs, or even just tried to eat fewer of them then I don’t need to tell you how hard it is to feel full – and how easy it is to feel deprived.

Now I am seven years into my own carb-free journey, I am much less deranged with deprivation than I was for the first year during which I would – literally – go to bed dreaming about bread, cake and crisps. But there is no denying the fact that sometimes all the green veg in the world, delicious as they may be, just don’t quite cut the mustard on the fullness front.

And, since the secret to being happy on a carb-free diet is to find ways not to feel deprived, these three dishes are total stalwarts on my weekly menu, being that holy trinity of easy, delicious – and satisfying.

They each involve quite large and unwieldy vegetables though, so these are three recipes where it really pays to have a robust and sharp knife and, in the case of the cauliflower rice, a food processor. Having said that, I have made it with a grater, and it’s fine – just a bit more work. The other thing to mention about cauliflower rice is that when I first made it, I used to microwave it, which totally does the trick. But roasting it, with a bit of oil, both brings out the flavour and dries it out too, which is a good thing when you are eating it with curry or something else a little bit saucy that needs mopping up.

The faff of both the celeriac and the squash is mainly in the preparation. You really do need a decent peeler but once you have one – I use the sharp peeler from Lakeland which is under a fiver but honestly the best peeler I have ever used – you will make short work of even the toughest and rootiest veg. And the faff-factor is so worth it for the resulting crispy gorgeousness, which is so good it can even eclipse actual chips!

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Cauliflower rice

1 medium sized cauliflower

½ fresh chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped

handful chopped coriander

ground nut oil

Preheat the oven to 200C. Remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower, cut it into quarters and remove most of the thick core, then cut each quarter into two or three chunks. To avoid overloading the blender, blitz it in two or three batches, for 30 seconds or so, until the cauliflower resembles fine rice. If you are grating, use the coarse side of the grater.

Toss the rice in a drizzle of oil in a baking tray and spread it out to a thin, even layer. Then roast for 12 minutes, mixing halfway through cooking. Season after cooking, and add the finely chopped chilli and coriander (or other herbs, depending on what you are making to serve with it).

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Celeriac chips with home-made aioli.

 1 celeriac

ground nut oil

salt and pepper

paprika

Preheat the oven to 190C.
 Wash and peel the celeriac, which is no mean feat! Slice off the top and bottom and cut the celeriac into thumb-thick slices and then into fat chip shapes (or thin, if you prefer).

Put in to a large bowl and toss in a little oil, and sea salt then put into the oven. After 15 minutes carefully toss the chips with two spatulas (so they don’t disintegrate) then cook for another 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Season with a dusting of paprika.

Aioli

½ small clove garlic , peeled

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 large free-range egg yolk

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

285 ml extra virgin olive oil

285 ml olive oil

lemon juice , to taste

Smash up the garlic with one teaspoon of salt in a pestle and mortar, or with the flat of a large knife. Place the egg yolk and mustard in a bowl and whisk together, then start to add your oils bit by bit. Once you’ve blended in a quarter of the oil, you can start to add the rest in larger amounts. When the mixture thickens, add lemon juice. When all the oil has gone in, add the garlic then season to taste. Et voila!

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Spicy butternut squash

1 squash

oil

salt and pepper

mild chilli powder

Preheat your oven to 190C. Peel and de-seed your squash, cut into 1cm cubes as evenly as possible (easier said than done, so don’t get too hung up on accuracy).

Before putting into the roasting pan, I put them into a large bowl to toss them in oil using my hands to make sure they are evenly coated. Once in the pan, shake pretty liberal quantities of chilli powder and sea salt and again, toss to make sure they are coated. A word about chilli powders: I use Sainsbury’s mild chilli powder which is as good as its word but be warned that other types of mild chilli powders can be no such thing so it is a good idea to proceed with caution if you haven’t tried whatever brand you are using before.

Roast for 25-30 minutes before gently tossing and dislodging any cubes that are stuck, and finish cooking for another 20 or so minutes or until they are totally soft when you fork them, and deliciously chewy and caramelised.

9 thoughts on “So what’s the alternative to chips?

  1. Those are some interesting alternatives to potatoes.
    I am curious as to why you would use ground nut oil over olive oil for cooking?
    I understand it has a higher smoking point but it is not as good for health.

    1. Hi Brian, Thanks for your post. I actually always used to use olive oil for cooking but then I did a cookery course at Leiths and they alerted me to the higher smoking point of groundnut oil and I thought it might be a healthier option so have started using it in some recipes and honestly don’t notice a difference – but you could definitely use olive oil if you prefer the taste.

      1. We haven’t tried groundnut oil for cooking, we must do so. There is a lot of confusing info out there about the different oils. I understand olive oil is best as a salad dressing and sunflower oil once considered healthy should be avoided.

  2. Your recipes all sound wonderful but I haven’t tried any yet as I haven’t had the courage. Pulses, most fruits and almost every veg apart from root crops upset me. I have collagenous colitis, coeliac disease and type 1 diabetes which I try to control as best as I can. I am always open to advice of any sort and would just love to be able to eat fruit and veg again including pulses!
    Sheila

    1. Hi Sheila, and thank you for your comment (sorry for the long pause in replying). I haven’t actually heard of collagenous colitis but I’m so sorry to hear that you haven’t had any luck with fruit and veg. I have heard lots of people on the SCD saying that some technically ‘legal’ things don’t agree with them and so I guess it is really idiosyncratic. You don’t say whether you are following the SCD though but if you are not and are thinking about it I really do recommend giving it a three month trial as although it’s hard work, I’ve found it to be life changing.

    1. Hi Emma MT, thanks so much for your lovely comment and I was just thinking that I could do with another sharper knife so thanks so much for the link: am totes going to check them out! So lovely to hear from you! x

  3. Hi Tory
    I found your blog through and article on Women and home and was so relieved to find food that looks appetising and filling.

    I tried the celeriac chips and aloi last night – which were delicious.

    But, I found the quantity of oil WAY too much!

    I added the mustard to the egg and started pouring the oil , 285 x 2 created a small bowl of liquid. Even when I whipped it up it remained liquid.I decided to add a couple of spoons of the mixture to light mayonnaise which worked well. However I had to throw a bowl filled with Egg and 560 mLs of expensive olive oil!

    Can you tell me what went wrong?

    many thanks

    Sury

    1. Hi Sury, And thanks for your post (sorry for very late reply!). It sounds to me like your mixture didn’t emulsify in the first place as once you’ve got it to emulsify then the amount of oil you add can really vary but it should still have a mayonnaise-like consistency. Did you add white wine vinegar? I think that is fairly important for emulsification to take place. It could also depend on the size of your eggs I suppose but I confess to always making mayo in the food processor as it is so fool proof and it IS harder to get it right when you are making it by hand, plus it’s hard work. But if you get your egg, salt, mustard and vinegar whipped up before you start adding oil VERY SLOWLY then it should become thicker fairly quickly, at which point you continue adding oil very slowly until you have the amount you want. But I’m sorry to hear about your wasted oil and hope that if you try again it works!

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