American dietitian and author of Good Carbs, Bad Carbs, Johanna Burani, shares favourite recipes with a low or moderate GI from her Italian kitchen. For more information, check out Johanna's website. The photographs are by Sergio Burani. His food, travel and wine photography website is photosbysergio.com.
Baked Belgian Endives
Italians love ‘indivia’. Vegetable greens, raw and cooked, play a prominent role in Italian meal planning all year long but some are given special attention for holiday meals. This recipe has graced our table at Christmas and special family events. The exquisite blending of its flavors belies the simplicity of the preparation of this side dish.
Serves 8 (2 halves each)
8 endives (witlof), approximately 5 oz (150 g) each
2 tablespoons salted butter
½ cup (approximately 2 oz) crumbled gorgonzola
5 walnut halves, chopped (about 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts)
- Preheat the oven to 190ºC (375ºF). Cover the bottom of an oven-proof casserole with vegetable spray.
- Trim a thin sliver off the root end of each endive. Slice vertically each endive in half taking care to keep loose leaves together. Under running water, gently wash them, shake off excess water and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Melt the butter in a heavy, deep skillet, large enough to accommodate the endives in one layer. Lower the flame and place the halved endives in the skillet cut side down. Sprinkle the salt and sugar. Cover tightly and cook slowly for 15 minutes.
- Using 2 spoons or small tongs, carefully turn the endives over and continue to cook for another 15 minutes.
- When the endives are full cooked, carefully transfer them to the prepared casserole. Pour over any pan juices, sprinkle the cheese and the nuts on top and bake for 15 minutes. Serve hot.
Energy: 336 kJ/ 80 cals; Protein 2 g; Fat 6 g (includes 3 g saturated fat and 14 mg cholesterol); Carbs 1 g; Fibre less than 1 g
Cut back on the food bills and enjoy fresh-tasting, easily prepared, seasonal, satisfying and delicious low or moderate GI meals that don’t compromise on quality and flavour one little bit with Money Saving Meals author Diane Temple. For more recipes check out Diane's Money Saving Meals website.
Boeuf Bourguignon inspired by Julie and Julia
You get the flavour without spending a fortune in my simplified version of this classic French dish. It’s a heart-warming, make-ahead dish for wintry weather. I have cut back on the amount of meat and used shortcut bacon instead of a chunk of bacon to cut back on the sat fat. (Short cut bacon is a 'half rasher' - the streaky (belly), narrow portion of the rasher has been removed leaving the choice cut eye meat.) But I did use a good-ish red wine and a little butter (it is a French dish) combined with olive oil. Of course you can substitute margarine if you prefer. Serve with mashed potato (a low GI potato one preferably) or sweet potato and green beans. To cut the fat and calories, have a smaller serving and enjoy the hearty flavour.
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
800 g gravy beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped into chunks
150 g (5 oz) shortcut bacon, fat trimmed, chopped into large dice
½ teaspoon dried thyme
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1½ cups red wine
1 cup beef stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaf
8 small pickling onions, peeled, and halved if large-ish
300 g (10 oz) button mushrooms
¼ cup parsley
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF).
- Chop the meat into largish chunks (remember, meat shrinks when cooked).
- Heat 1 tablespoon butter and all the oil in a large saucepan and brown the meat well in 2 batches on a high heat. Remove all meat from pan. Add the onion, carrots, bacon and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally on a low heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and wine, bring to the boil and simmer for about 3 minutes until the wine has reduced a little. Stir in the stock, tomato paste, bay leaf and beef, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
- While the casserole is simmering away, Place the pickling onions on an oven tray lined with baking paper and mix with remaining butter that has been melted, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until soft.
- Add the mushrooms the casserole dish and continue cooking, covered, for 15 minutes until the meat is tender and the mushrooms are softening. Stir in the roasted onions and cook for another 5 minutes until heated through. Top with parsley.
Energy: 1700 kJ/ 406 cals; Protein 36 g; Fat 20 g (includes 8 g saturated fat and 95 mg cholesterol); Carbs 10 g; Fibre 5 g
This made-in-minutes (about 15 minutes) recipe from Lyndey Milan: The best collection. Fast, fabulous food makes the perfect sweet and light finish to a festive feast. Choose fresh seasonal fruit – it’s hard to go past mangoes or strawberries for a summery dessert. If serving with wine, choose a sweeter style of sparkling wine. Lyndey's book is available from major bookstores or online.
2 large mangoes (allow 1 cheek, sliced per person)
2 egg yolks
4 teaspoons marsala
4 level teaspoons caster sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
- Prepare the fruit and preheat the grill (if it is one that takes time to warm up).
- Put all the zabaglione ingredients in the top of a double boiler, or straight into a saucepan if you are careful. Beat with a balloon whisk over a gentle heat until the whole thing has trebled in volume and is light and frothy throughout.
- Put the fresh fruit into ramekins and top with the zabaglione. Pop under a preheated griller until brown. Be careful not to burn it.
Energy: 960 kJ/ 229 cals; Protein 4 g; Fat 3 g (includes 0.8 g saturated fat and 106 mg cholesterol); Carbs 42 g; Fibre 5 g
Home cooking with low GI ingredients is a new feature in GI News. Libby Warne and her husband Dan made the decision to eat the low GI way to help Dan manage his blood glucose (he has type 2 diabetes) and to lose some weight. They post all the recipes Libby creates and cooks on their website with Dan’s photos. For more recipes, check out lowgicooking.com
Baked lemon and raspberry cheesecake
For me the party season is a killer for lashing out on various combinations of sugar, butter, cream and eggs – so I am all for alternatives. Enter stevia. With this cheesecake you can treat your friends and family with a lower-cal version of baked cheesecake – the sweet stevia offsets the tangy lemon and the bright red raspberries piled on top of the creamy base make it the perfect centrepiece for any occasion. Prepare it a day ahead to allow time to set and cool. And just have a sliver if you need to watch your weight. Of course, substitute an equal amount of sugar if you don't have stevia. Just be aware that there'll be more calories and carbs than in our nutritional analysis.
1 cup whole almonds
1 cup wholegrain oats
1/2 cup wholegrain, wholemeal flour
1/4 cup grapeseed (or olive) oil
3 teaspoons hermesetas stevia
3 tablespoons (about 50 ml) lemon juice
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) smooth ricotta
1/2 cup lemon juice
Seeds of one vanilla bean scraped off (or 1 teaspoon vanilla essence)
Zest of one lemon grated finely (2 level teaspoons flat)
3 heaped tablespoons stevia hermesetas
Fresh raspberries or thawed frozen raspberries
- Preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF. Lightly grease a 30 cm/12 in diameter springform pan with olive oil.
- To make the base, pulse almonds and oats together in a food processor with a sharp blade, until coarse grains form, but chunks of almond are scanty. Add the flour, stevia and egg and continue to pulse. While pulsing, gradually add the olive oil and lemon juice, checking the consistency as you go. The end result should press together in your fingers and form a crumbly dough that holds together well, but does not stick to your fingers. Scrape out crumbed mix into the springform pan. Press down, loosely at first, then gradually more firmly. When flat, press down more tightly using a cup with a flat base, till the surface is as smooth as possible. Bake for 10 minutes then remove from oven.
- Meanwhile, make the filling. Combine ricotta and eggs in the (cleaned) processor and pulse for 2–3 minutes until completely smooth. Gradually add lemon juice, zest, vanilla bean scrapings and stevia.
- Pour topping into base, and bake for 40 minutes or until golden and just set in the centre. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Refrigerate overnight.
- Remove from fridge half an hour before serving. Transfer the cheesecake to plate you wish to serve it on and top with raspberries. Fresh blueberries, strawberries, passionfruit, or mango would also make excellent toppings. You can also add 2 tablespoons of liqueur to the cheesecake while cooking in place of half the lemon juice – cointreau is particularly good, and amaretto is my absolute favourite.
Energy: 1350 kJ/ 323 cals; Protein 14 g; Fat 23 g (includes 5 g saturated fat and 118 mg cholesterol); Carbs 13 g; Fibre 3.5 g