1 November 2012

In the GI News Kitchen

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.


Caramelised autumn fruit with yogurt sauce – Italian style 
Italians prefer their fruit to showcase their natural sweetness and this recipe does just that. The spices and natural sweeteners blend harmoniously with the cooked fruit. You might never dream of adding vinegar to fruit but leave it to the Italians! The balsamic vinegar blends together all the flavors of this compote as soon as it hits the palate. Serves: 6 (approx. 3/4 cup of fruit with 3½ tbsp of sauce).

1 tbsp pinoli nuts – 54 nuts if you want to count them out!
3 tbsp (40g) sugar ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
2 medium apples
2 small pears
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp (30ml) balsamic vinegar
1 cup fat free plain yogurt
2 tbsp (30ml) mascarpone (an Italian cream cheese)
2 tbsp (30ml) honey
½ tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp freshly grated orange zest (or 2 Australian tbsp)

Caramelised autumn fruit with yogurt sauce – Italian style  

Lightly toast the pinoli in a small cast iron pan and set aside.
Mix the sugar and cardamom in a small dish and set aside.
Wash, halve and core the fruit and cut into thick slice and set aside.
Heat a large nonstick pan over a medium-high flame, add butter. When the butter has melted add the fruit slices and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the vinegar and mix well to coat the fruit. Continue cooking on medium-low flame for 2 minutes until the fruit is tender.
Sprinkle the prepared sugar mixture over the fruit, mix well. Cook another minute to allow the sugar to melt. When ready, remove the fruit from the heat and set aside.
Whisk the yoghurt, mascarpone, honey and vanilla in a small mixing bowl until smooth. Set aside.
Place the fruit slices on a serving plate. Drizzle the sauce over the fruit. Sprinkle the nuts and orange zest on top. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Per serve 
Energy: 747kJ/178cals; Protein 2g; Fat 5g (includes 3g saturated fat and 13mg cholesterol); Available carbohydrate 32g; Fibre 4g

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 our Money Saving Meals packed with fresh produce including this recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's new cook book: Jerusalem. It is published by Ebury Press and available from good bookshops and online. Be warned, the recipes are amazing. The book is addictive. Here at GI News we can't stop cooking from it. There's a large chapter on pulses and grains with countless low GI recipes you won't be able to resist trying ...

Na’ama’s fattoush
Arab salad, chopped salad, Israeli salad – whatever you choose to call it, there is no escaping it. Wherever you go in the city, at any time of the day, a Jerusalemite is most likely to have a plate of freshly chopped vegetables – tomato, cucumber and onion, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice – served next to whatever else they are having. It’s a local affliction, quite seriously. Friends visiting us in London always complain of feeling they ate ‘unhealthily’ because there wasn’t a fresh salad served with every meal.

There are plenty of unique variations on the chopped salad but one of the most popular is Fattoush, an Arab salad that uses grilled or fried leftover pita. Other possible additions include peppers, radishes, lettuce, chilli, mint, parsley, coriander, allspice, cinnamon and sumac. Each cook, each family, each community has their own variation. A small bone of contention is the size of the dice. Some advocate the tiniest of pieces, only a few millimetres wide, others like them coarser, up to 2cm wide. The one thing that there is no arguing over is that the key lies in the quality of the vegetables. They must be fresh, ripe and flavoursome, with many hours in the sun behind them. This fabulous salad is probably Sami’s mother’s creation; Sami can’t recall anyone else in the neighbourhood making it. She called it fattoush, which is only true to the extent that it includes chopped vegetables and bread. She added a kind of home-made buttermilk and didn’t fry her bread, which makes it terribly comforting. Serves 6

200g (7oz) Greek yoghurt and 200ml (¾ cup) full-fat milk or 400ml (1½ cups) of buttermilk (replacing both yoghurt and milk)
2 large stale Turkish flatbread or naan (250g/9oz in total)
3 large tomatoes (380g in total), cut into 1.5cm dice
100g (3½ oz) radishes, thinly sliced 3 Lebanese or mini cucumbers (250g/9oz in total), peeled and chopped into 1.5cm dice
2 spring onions, thinly sliced 15g (½oz) mint
25g (1oz) flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 tbsp dried mint
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp lemon juice
60ml (¼ cup) olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
2 tbsp cider or white wine vinegar
¾ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1½ tsp salt
1 tbsp sumac or more according to taste, to garnish

Na’ama’s fattoush  

If using yoghurt and milk, start at least three hours and up to a day in advance by placing both in a bowl. Whisk well and leave in a cool place or in the fridge until bubbles form on the surface. What you get is a kind of home-made buttermilk, but less sour.
Tear the bread into bite-size pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Add your fermented yoghurt mixture or commercial buttermilk, followed by the rest of the ingredients, mix well and leave for 10 minutes for all the flavours to combine.
Spoon the fattoush into serving bowls, drizzle with some olive oil and garnish generously with sumac.

Tip: Try to get small cucumbers for this as for any other fresh salad. They are worlds apart from the large ones we normally get in most UK supermarkets. You could skip the fermentation stage and use buttermilk instead  of the combination of milk and yoghurt.

Per serve
Energy 1260 kJ/ 300 cals; 17 g fat (includes 6 saturated fat g); 2.5 g fibre; 7 g protein; 28 g available carbohydrate