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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Slow Cooked Beef Brisket

I bought my first slow cooker a few weeks ago. In the past I used stove-top large saucepans for slow cooking and braising. The method worked but needed regular stirring to prevent sticking. When a post-Christmas special appeared for a very cheap large slow cooker I decided to give it a try.

I wish I’d bought one years ago! I have experimented a few times now. I prepare the veges and meat after breakfast, toss them and some stock and liquids in the cooker and lift the lid eight or nine hours later for a delicious dinner.

This is my favourite of the recipes I have tried so far. It didn’t occur to me to take pictures last night; I will add them next time I cook it.

Beef Brisket


Ingredients

Portion sizes, herbs etc are flexible. Adjust to suit your own taste.
  • 1-1.5Kg (2-3lbs) beef brisket or any similar cut. I prefer a piece at least 2-3cm (1”) thick and roughly rectangular which fits comfortably in the cooker.
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, sliced.
  • 1 large or 2 medium carrots.
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • Chopped herbs to taste. I used parsley, thyme, rosemary and mint from my garden.
  • 2 or 3 bay leaves.
  • 1 teaspoon mild paprika.
  • 1 cup red wine.
  • 1 can (400gm, ~1lb) chopped tomato.
  • 1-2 cups beef stock (or pork or chicken; I make my own from bones and herbs).
  • 2 cloves garlic.
  • Salt and pepper.


Optional: 3-5cm (1½ “- 2”) chunks of potato.


Method

Serves 4 or more  depending on appetites and portion sizes.

Slice the carrots lengthways, cut them into rough chunks and place them on the floor of the cooker to become a base for the meat.

Roughly trim excessive fat from the beef. Leave some on for flavour. Lightly salt both sides of the meat and place it in the slow cooker. Grate some pepper over the meat to taste.

Fry the onions in oil in a skillet until soft, add the chopped celery and minced garlic and continue frying until the onions are starting to brown then transfer the cooked veges to the slow cooker.

Deglaze the skillet with the cup of wine and add the liquid to the cooker. Add the paprika, chopped tomato and stock. Stir to mix the liquids and settle the meat among the veges. If necessary add water sufficient to come just level with the meat.

Cook on low for 8 or more hours (my cheap cooker has only three heat settings: low, high, keep warm). As my spouse likes potatoes I added some chunks into the liquid around the meat at the 4 hour mark. Possibly those could be included at the start.

Serving.

Gently remove the meat from the cooker, trying not to remove too much attached liquid and veges as you transfer it to a cutting board.

Using a slotted spoon remove the carrots (and potato if added) from the sauce and transfer them to a serving dish. Don’t get too fussy if some liquid and other ingredients stick to the carrots or potato.

Remove the bay leaves and blend the remaining liquid and contents with a stick blender to become a smooth sauce. Use a potato masher if you don't have a stick blender. It doesn't have to be perfect.

Carve the meat across the grain into roughly 6mm (1/4”) slices and transfer to a serving dish. Pour the sauce liberally over the meat.

Diners serve themselves from the dishes.

I have not worked out the carbs, fat etc but the main carbs are in the onions, carrot and potato if added. This did not even cause a blip in my 1hr post-meal blood glucose test.

Bon Appetit

Cheers, Alan, T2, Australia.
Everything in Moderation - Except Laughter
There is Nothing I Could Eat I like More Than my Eyes

Saturday, October 22, 2016

What is a Balanced Diet For a Type 2 Diabetic?

This question came up on one of the forums I am on recently. There were many conflicting responses, often including discussion about various macronutrients (fat, protein, carbohydrates) and micronutrients (minerals, vitamins etc), the evils of sugar, cholesterol and saturated fats, the need for lots of fruit or grains etc etc. A lot of people also went into great detail about maximum and minimum percentages for fats, carbs and protein.

I believe in KISS, so I try to keep it simple with easy to follow rules for my way of eating. As I have to eat this way for the rest of my life I do not want an excessively complicated food selection system.

My definition of a balanced diet for a type 2 diabetic (me) is pretty basic and not in terms of percentages of anything. The basic description is simple, although the personal investigation creating the way of eating I follow today was fairly complex. The links at the foot of this post describe the journey to this point.

The simple version:
  • I let my meter show me my carbohydrate limits for the time of day and the meal.
  • I let common sense and satiety limit my protein and fat portions.
  • I include a reasonably wide variety of vegetables in my menu, favouring fresh and seasonal vegetables where possible.
  • I also include fruits but those are limited to minimise blood glucose spikes.

In applying those basic rules for myself I also take these factors into account:
  • Variety in choices of meats, fish, seafood, dairy, vegetables and fruits makes the menu interesting and also improves the chances of getting all needed vitamins and micronutrients.
  • Excess of any macronutrient is not wise.
  • Excessive restriction of any macronutrient is just as unwise.
 These links to past posts expand on those points and others: 

Cheers, Alan, T2, Australia.

Everything in Moderation - Except Laughter 
There Is Nothing I Could Eat I like More Than my Eyes

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Small New York Baked Low Carb Cheesecake




I posted the recipe for a delicious Large New York Baked Low Carb Cheesecake based on one posted by Angie, Granny Red, on the ADA forum a couple of years ago. It is a rather big cheesecake which I cut into 16 portions of 6gms carb each. 

Since then I have experimented several times with a reduced size because I found the large cake was too big for our needs. This is the recipe for those who prefer a smaller cake. The size reduction not only cuts the cost in half but is a little easier to prepare and needs less cooking time. The slight increase in egg proportions also tends to make a creamier texture.

I have modified the Splenda and sugar proportions as a reasonable compromise between my wife's sweet tooth and my need to keep the carbs down. Feel free to adjust that to suit yourself as the carb count will be directly reduced as you reduce the sugar. The nutrition count is based on the listed details. 

Ingredients

Crust 

1 cup almond flour or meal
2 tablespoons(tbsp) Splenda
1 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp butter, melted 

Filling 

12 oz (375gm) cream cheese
1/3 cup Splenda
2 tbsp sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon(tsp) vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract or a good squeeze of lemon; orange can be substituted as a variation.
8 oz (300ml) sour cream

Note: the eggs, cheese and sour cream need to be at room temperature. If the cheese is too stiff to beat easily, sit the containers in warm water for a little while until the cheese softens. 

Method

Crust Base 

Use extra butter to grease an 8 or 9 inch (20-25cm) spring-form pan. I also put a circle of greased brown paper on the bottom to be certain the cake does not stick; this step may not be necessary if you use a non-stick pan. 
 
Mix the splenda and almond flour (sometimes I make my own coarse version from almonds in the blender; it works just as well) with melted butter, press evenly onto the bottom of the pan for a thin layer without holes and press any excess up the sides of the pan. If you don't have enough almond flour to go all the way up the sides don't worry; it's not really critical as long as the base is covered. Set the pan aside while mixing the filling. 

Filling 

Beat the cream cheese until light and creamy, keeping the mixer on a low-medium setting throughout the beating and mixing process. Add the mixed splenda and sugar a little at a time and continue beating until creamy.

Add one egg at a time and beat briefly after each egg. When the eggs have been mixed into the cream cheese add vanilla and lemon extract (or lemon juice) and mix briefly until just combined. Add the sour cream last and beat briefly until fully incorporated. 

Baking 

Pour the mixture into the springform pan. Bake at 300 F or 150C for about 40 minutes then check to see if it is set and starting to brown slightly on top. If not, let it cook for another 15 minutes. Try not to over-cook it as it may become too dry. When it is set and beginning to brown turn off the heat, prop open the oven door slightly and leave it in the oven for at least an hour. 

Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool in the spring-form pan to room temperature before placing it in the fridge until the next day. Don't try to serve it on the day of cooking; it will not be set properly if you do. Do not be disappointed if it sinks slightly in the middle. That is normal, or, at least, it was for the ones I made.

The result is 8-12 satisfying slices. I individually wrap some in clingwrap for the freezer; they freeze and defrost well.


Nutrition per serve: 8 12
Kcals 3000 375 250
Fat 275 34.4 22.9
Carb 100 12.5 8.3
Fibre 12 1.5 1.0
Protein 62 7.8 5.2

Bon appetit, Alan, T2, Australia.
Everything in Moderation - Except Laughter