Tikka Masala From Scratch

The advantages of making your own curry from scratch are immense; not only do you get to control exactly which things go (and don’t go!) in it, but you also have the ability to experiment with different ratios of the ingredients to match your tastebuds. This gorgeous, classic Indian recipe is adopted from Gordon Ramsay’s “Cookalong Live” show, except I substituted sugar with 2 teaspoons of raw honey (since it is much more nutritious) and yogurt with the Icelandic “Skyr” due to its wonderful fine, organic taste.

You’ll need a whole fresh green chili, about a small fistful of fresh ginger, two medium-sized onions, a can of good quality chopped tomatoes, about two tbsp turmeric and two tbsp garam masala, good quality yogurt (no need to go low-fat) and not least a good handful of fresh coriander. You don’t need any salt since the masala is already fairly salty.

Stick plenty of oil in a pan (I used coconut oil due to its high smoking temp and excellent nutrition) and throw in the onions, sliced fresh ginger and sliced green chili. Add the turmeric and the garam masala. When the onions are softened, add the chopped tomatoes. Add a tiny bit of water depending on the amount of water in the tomatoes, it should be runny at first, then you simmer it until it thickens into a sort of custardy consistency.

Take it off the heat and stick it in a food processor (careful with blenders / high speed since we’re dealing with a boiling liquid here!)

Run the thing on low speed until you have a nice thick, even gravy.

Fry your chicken or veggies or whatever you wanna smother in this gorgeous sauce, then add the sauce in the pan. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes, then take it off the heat. The sauce will probably be quite spicy now, but don’t worry; we’re gonna add yogurt (or skyr in this case!) until it is eatable. I managed to hit the heat just right so it leaves a bit of burning sensation but you can still taste every aspect of the many wonderful spices.

Now chop all of the fresh coriander and then add about half of it into the sauce and stir it briskly to release just a bit of the flavors into the sauce. Serve the dish and then garnish them with the remaining half of the coriander. Voila!

Chicken breast mayo with spinach, cabbage and sundried tomatoes

I do like to steam my cabbage in white-wine balsamic vinegar and a bit of butter, gives it a really intense flavour and wonderful zest. The organic mayo with the sundried tomatoes is like pure candy to go along with the fried chicken breast and the acidity of the cabbage.

Season the chicken breast to your liking, using some nice spice blend or just plain salt & pepper. Fry it in a pan on medium-low heat until thoroughly cooked through, be careful not to burn the oil (coconut oil has a high smoke temp and goes really well with chicken! or you can use ghee). Serve on a bed of spinach baby leaves and add some lovely sliced mild snack peppers on top if you like.

Cut the cabbage into big leaves and steam them in a small pot with the lid on, using just about half an inch of water with a couple of tbsp of good white-wine vinegar and a lump of organic butter. Steam for about ten minutes until nicely mushy.

Get some sundried tomatoes (if they’re still dry and not in brine, soak them in warm water for an hour before you use them) and chop them into small strips or tiny bits. Put a good lump of healthy organic mayo on each plate and sprinkle each with the sundried tomatoes.

 

White wine steamed fillet of cod and mashed sweet potatoes

This one is a bit heavy on the carbs due to the starch content of the sweet potatoes, but still very nutritious and absolutely delicious.

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into fairly small wedges. Boil them with a chunk of organic butter until they are mashable using a fork. Add a bit of salt, pepper and estragon/tarragon to taste (I love this so much that I add plenty).

Fry a few slices of bacon until crisp. Break them into tiny pieces for sprinkling on the cod fillet when it’s done.

Turn down the heat on the pan to low. Season the cod fillets with thyme, lemon juice, salt and pepper and put them in the pan. Add sliced or diced red onions in the pan and poor a good serving of white wine into the pan, make a nice little alcoholic lake for the cods to have one last swim in! Put a lid on the pan and steam for 3-4 minutes. Flip the cods very carefully over (not to break them as they will be brittle now) and give them another 1-2 minutes on the other side, with the lid on.

Serve with a wedge of lemon if you like.

 

Rosemary Pork Chops and Coleslaw

This coleslaw is dead simple if you get a hold of a high quality organic mayo. I heartily recommend the dutch Machandel’s mayo, it’s almost like candy, very fine, sweet, mustard taste, absolutely gorgeous even on its own. Coarse-grate a quarter of a head of cabbage and one large carrot and stir them with 4 tablespoons of that gorgeous organic mayo and a bit of extra oil and you have one gorgeous side-dish for your pork chops.

Speaking of which, season the chops with plenty of rosemary, salt and pepper. Fry them in plenty of butter and a bit of white wine, if you like. Don’t overcook them, good quality organic, grass-fed pork doesn’t need to be well done, they are delicious and safe on medium.

Serve with a bit of romaine salad tossed in lemon juice, if you like.

 

Spinach And Smoked Halibut Tortilla

When I was in Barcelona with my girlfriend this summer, we had a lovely spinach tortilla at a small place just next to the Santa Maria Del Mar. My friend Xavier, who is from Barcelona but now lives here with his wife, showed me how to cook a spinach tortilla Iberian style (his mom’s recipe over the phone!). Today, I decided to add something interesting, a bit of smoked halibut I figured would go excellent with the taste of the spinach and the lovely garlicy egg tortilla.

You can make the spinach tortilla from fresh spinach by blanching and draining it and then tossing it into the eggs. However, our supermarkets sell cream-stewed spinach in pellets about the size of golfballs. I figured the cream would go just lovely with the eggs and halibut, so I decided to just microwave 6 of those quickly until defrosted.

Slice up a couple of garlic cloves and fry them golden on medium heat in a fair bit of good quality olive oil. Toss up 3-4 eggs, add salt and pepper. Add the spinach and mix it thoroughly. Poor the mix into the frying olive oil and let it fry until the tortilla is nearly solid. Here comes the tricky bit: Flipping the tortilla. Put a suitably sized plate on top of the pan and hold it firmly against the pan while you lift the pan off the stove and then quickly flip the whole assembly upside down. Now slide the tortilla quickly back into the pan and fry the other side, still on medium heat, for 3-4 minutes. Buen apetito!

 

Zucchini Lasagne

Slice the zucchini/squash/courgette in 2-3mm slices using a mandolin or similar kitchen tool. Dehydrate them eg by dry-roasting them on very low heat. If you don’t do this, the lasagne will become runny as they do contain a lot of water.

Slice two garlic cloves thinly and fry them until golden (not brown) with oregano and basil in plenty of olive oil. Add the minced beef and season with salt and pepper.
Stir vigorously and make sure the mince is in fine little fried pieces. Add tomatoes and chopped onions, season to taste with oregano, basil and salt. Add some red wine for a full savour if you like.

Mix some full-fat/heavy cream with grated parmesan and a selection of soft cheeses (eg gouda). Heat it in a microwave and stir until a thick, creamy liquid. Add shortener like tapioca or coconut flour if the consistency is not right.

Layer the zucchinis, meat and cheese sauce like you would a normal lasagne, starting with a bit of cheese, then zucchini, then meat, cheese, zucchini etc. Finish off with meat and cheese and top it off with a sprinkle of grated parmesan.

Bake at 180 deg C for about 20 minutes.

Top with some fresh basil, bit of ground black pepper and perhaps some chopped yellow tomatoes before serving.

Welcome to my blog!

So, why did I create this blog? Well, if you quickly google terms such as “grain-free”, “wheat belly”, “gluten intolerance” etc, you’ll quickly see that there are a lot of people who have benefited greatly from either ditching grains or wheat completely from their diet or at least reducing their intake considerably. I am one of those. I have been almost 100% free of grains for the past five months and I have seen very impressive results on my health and physical appearance since doing so.

For as long as I can remember, I have always had a big round belly. When watching old super-8 movies which my daddy used to film when me and my siblings were kids, it’s very hard not to notice the big bulge on my torso. I guess my parents never bothered to think why I would have such a big belly as a kid, my dad being the son of a farmer and all, and with the official Danish food pyramid having wheat and other grains at the bottom of the pyramid, they never would even consider wheat as a source of bad digestion and inflammation.

As a teenager, I started getting quite chubby, with puffy neck and cheecks and starting to grow man-boobs. Our family doctor, referring to “conventional wisdom” on the subject, would tell my mother that we should cut down on the fat in my diet, and that was all he could offer of sound advice.

After graduating high school, I started joining gyms, cycling for long distances and occasionally jogging, and while I did gain some muscle, the belly would never leave me. I figured I was just “one of those people” who could gain muscle but never become lean.

Around the age of 30 I went through a tough break-up with my girlfriend at the time and I started using intense workouts and jogging as some sort of escape or therapy. I became quite muscly and so everything was a bit firmer, but I didn’t change much of my diet, and so I never managed to get rid of that retained water from my bad intolerance of substances like gluten and starch.

 

 

After a couple of years, I eventually let myself go into fast-food and laziness again. At 35, I was back to my usual bloated-belly-thin-muscles look. I had pretty much stopped exercising and was often having several servings of junk food a week. These photos are from our holiday in France, in 2010:

About a year ago, in 2011, my girlfriend told me about this new “Crossfit” type of workout, which sounded like a lot of fun, plus I heard that a lot of people saw very good results in short time doing it. Since I’d gained a bit more around the waist at that time, I’d give it a go and see if I liked it and it could benefit me physically. Besides, they had an amazing offer where you’d receive a two months trial membership for less than 200 dkr!

I loved the intensity and spirit in the Crossfit gym. The instructors were motivating and sympathetic. Eight months later I’d had a lot of fun workouts and I had outgrown most of my clothes by putting on quite a bit of muscle mass– but still not touching my diet and now eating even more carbs than ever, since those frequent, long and intense workouts made me very hungry.

So the belly and the man-boobs?? Still there! — despite working out VERY intensely three times a week, having high stamina and good strength, eating a low-fat diet and trying to stay away from fast-food (but as mentioned, still very high on carbs and full of grains).

By then, I had become facebook friends with some of the people in the local Crossfit gym, and they were posting things about this amazing “Paleo diet” they had started and lost a lot of weight. I started reading about it, at first sceptical that it would be another fad diet like so many others out there, but wait… this one actually seemed to be soundly and scientifically backed for once! Most of what I read was backed by scientific papers and not just “common knowledge” or “stay away from fat and exercise like a mad dog!”. I’d previously heard some of my friends recommend staying away from grains and starch if I wanted to lose weight. So after considering for a few days, I decided to give it a try and live off purely organic eggs meat and wild fish, and eating a lot of vegetables and nuts + seeds (I later realized excessive nut consumption is NOT a good idea, but at least I was heading in the right direction.

Here comes the shocker: After just 10 (ten!) days, my torso was completely deflated and I was almost completely lean! I could hardly recognize myself in the mirror, and my girlfriend got quite worried that I would also lose a lot of muscle mass and become completely bony. That did not happen. What happened instead was that my body stabilized at being lean, as it turned out I had just been retaining huge amounts of water on my torso due to my digestion being very sensitive to wheat and salt.