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.
Sauteed Cauliflower with Currants and Pinoli
Currants are tiny dark dried grapes that hale originally from Corinth in Greece. The subtle sweetness of this fruit blends perfectly with the astringent qualities of the cauliflower, giving the combination of these ordinary ingredients a unique flavourful character. Italians love their ‘cavolfiore’ and this is one version of what they might do with it. Makes about 7 x ½ cup servings.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups tiny cauliflower florets
2 tsp freshly ground sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¼ cup toasted pinoli (pine nuts)
2 tbsp orange zest
2 tbsp currants
- Heat the oil in a large heavy fry pan. Add the onion and sauté for 2–3 minutes or until it becomes soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic, cauliflower, salt and pepper. Lower the heat to medium and continue cooking for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to allow for even cooking. Add the pinoli nuts and cook for another 5 minutes, raising the heat slightly. Remove from heat. Add the zest and the currants, mix well and serve.
Energy: 420kJ/100cals; Protein: 3g; Fat 6g (includes <1g>Stuffed spiced apples
Many dried fruits have low GI values – apple (GI 29), apricots (GI 31), dates (GI 45) and prunes (GI 29). Dried figs have a moderate GI of 61. While intensifying the flavour and sweetness, drying also concentrates the carbs and calories which is why a little goes a long way. Think of it like this – eating 4–5 dried apple rings will give you the same number of calories as eating a medium fresh apple. Spice merchant and author Ian Hemphill has been a regular contributor to GI News over the years. His new book, Just Add Spice (with Lyndey Milan published by Penguin/Lantern) shows how spices are nature’s gift helping us transform simple meals into special occasions. Serves 8
4 large granny smith apples, halved, cores removed
2 tsp butter
6 soft dried figs
6 pitted prunes (dried plums)
1 tbsp sultanas
1 vanilla pod, halved and seeds scraped
2 tbsp dry sherry
2 tsp sweet spice mix (made with 1 tsp ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground nutmeg, ¼ tsp ground ginger, ¼ tsp ground cloves, ¼ tsp ground cardamom seeds)
- Preheat the oven to 150ºC/325ºF (130ºC/275ºF fan forced)
- To make the stuffing, chop the fruit into small pieces and place in a bowl. Add the vanilla seeds, sherry and spice and mix well.
- Pile some stuffing into the core cavity of each apple half, pressing down well and filling as generously as possible. Top with a small dot (1/4 tsp) of butter and place on a baking tray.
- Bake for about 30 minutes until the apples are soft but not falling apart – cooking time will vary depending on the size of the apples you used. Serve on their own or with a dollop of a good quality low fat yoghurt.
Energy: 393kJ/94cals; Protein less than1g; Fat 1g (includes 0.5g saturated fat and 3mg cholesterol); Carbs 18g; Fibre 4g