Saturday, 7 July 2018

AIP Chicken Katsu Curry

An AIP compliant Chicken Katsu Curry - spiced, fruity and easy to make, too! Free of gluten, grains, nuts and dairy so allergy-friendly, too.

This post contains some affiliate links. This means that if you decide to click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you), that goes back into helping me keep the blog going. Thanks for your support.

One of the meals I always loved to order at Japanese restaurants was Katsu Curry. I loved the sweet, mildly spiced curry sauce, the crispy chicken (courtesy of breadcrumbs, no less) and the little pile of colourful pickles alongside the sweet, fluffy, sticky sushi rice. Gorgeous. 

I'd tried a few times to master the Katsu curry at home, and never quite got it right. So it's ironic, I suppose, that the one that I nail it on is the one without grains, nightshades, seed spices or dairy. Funny that. 

A plate of katsu curry from above served with brocoli rice and shredded raw carrot

To make this AIP friendly, paleo and allergy-friendly - because everyone should be able to enjoy a decent Katsu curry, regardless of their dietary restrictions - I've done away with the breadcrumbs and opted for a dusting of cassava flour instead. The sauce is still sweet and mild, but it's made with a shed load of veggies that you'll never know are in there. 

The sauce is a bit of a riff off from the Chip Shop Currry Sauce recipe in my book SPICE (check it out on Amazon), just with a bigger portion and more veggies. I even tested this out on my kids and they had no idea it wasn't just regular Katsu sauce, which, I reckon, is a good test of how it turned out. 

Flipping amazing. 

A plate of katsu chicken curry with broccoli rice and shredded carrot

I like to eat this with a pile of broccoli rice and a heap of raw carrot. Feel free to add radish or a little helping of pickles, if you have any. 

AIP Chicken Katsu Curry. Done. 

AIP Chicken Katsu Curry
Serves 4
2 teaspoons mild unflavoured coconut oil or other preferred fat
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped finely
small pinch of ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground turmeric powder
350ml chicken stock
1 teaspoon runny honey
2 tablespoons cassava flour - this is the one I use
pinch of salt
3 chicken breast fillets, skinless and boneless
1 teaspoon mild, unflavoured coconut oil or other preferred fat

First of all, make the sauce. 

Heat the 2 teaspoons of coconut oil (or other fat, if using) in a medium-sized saucepan and add the chopped onion. Allow to brown fairly well, stirring occasionally, but don't let it burn. 

Once the onion is a good golden colour, add the carrots and the garlic. Give it a stir and add the ground cloves and turmeric and then pour in the stock. Allow to bubble for a few minutes, and then simmer for 10 minutes or until the veggies are soft. Stir in the honey and a pinch of salt and then blend the mixture, so you have a smooth, thick sauce. Keep on a low heat, stirring occasionally, while you make the chicken. 

To make the chicken, place the cassava flour in a medium sized bowl and season with a little salt. Place the chicken breasts on a board and put your hand flat on the top. Slice the chicken breasts in half lengthways, being careful not to cut yourself with the knife, so you end up with 6 thin chicken fillets. 

Heat the 1 teaspoon of oil (or other fat, if you're using) in the frying pan, on a medium heat. Dip each of the thin fillets in the flour, shaking the excess off gently back into the bowl and carefully lay the chicken down in the hot oil. Wash your hands, and fry the chicken on each side for around 4-5 minutes, or until cooked through and crispy and golden on the outside. Turn the chicken regularly, and then place on a board. Repeat for all of the chicken fillets, until they're all cooked. 

When it's time to serve, slice the cooked, crisp chicken into slices and then arrange on a plate, with some steamed or microwaved broccoli rice and a pile of grated carrot. Give the sauce a stir and spoon over the chicken. Serve straight away with your chosen veggies. 

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Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Review of Botonique - An Alcohol-Free Alternative to Wine

I try the new, complex-tasting alcohol-free alternative to wine that's actually good for your body - Botonique. 

This post contains some affiliate links. This means that if you decide to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you, that goes back into helping me keep the blog going, Thank you for your support. 

As you know, I keep my alcohol consumption to a minimum. Like, I'll have the odd glass of something cold and fizzy on a birthday, at a wedding (I love weddings) or with my Christmas dinner, but I just feel better without alcohol generally being in my life. 

So I was keen to find out more about Botonique. 

It was created by Hilary, a wine merchant, who decided to drastically cut down on alcohol for health reasons. She realised that the current alcohol free options lacked complexity, they were all sweet juices and nothing much else. Any non-drinker who has ever had to order food at a pub will know how sweet and claggy alcohol-free drinks are. Hilary wanted something a bit more complicated and flavourful to drink. So she made it herself. 

Drawing on her experience making hedgerow wines, Hilary mixed up some herbs, spices, citrus and other botanicals and came up with Botonique. 

I was sent some to try out, and I was first of all pleased to see from the bottle that it contains no added sugar, artificial sweeteners, flavours, preservatives, colours or sulphites. So that was a good start. 

And it wasn't enough to create a drink that was just alcohol free - Hilary wanted to create one that was good for your body too - so she's added things like milk thistle seed and ginseng - all fruited up with the addition of a little pear juice  - along with a dose of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. 

Interesting, right? 

The bottle has a matte cover on it, and the text is written in gold on a dark green background. It looks luxurious and grown up. 

But what does it taste like? 

Before I'd unscrewed the bottle top, I honestly thought that this would taste like fizzy pear juice. But it is WAY more complex than that. 

It's served chilled, in a champagne glass (these were the only glasses I had handy, but you get the idea). It's fizzy (just look at those bubbles!) and a pale, champagne colour. But that's where the similarities end. 

It's sharp, and a bit herby. It's not very sweet at all, but they do recommend that as well as drinking it straight, you could add some strawberries or other fruits if you like a sweeter taste. I sweetened mine up with a strawberry and a slice of kiwi at the bottom of the glass. 

Botonique has the kind of flavour that cleans your palate as you drink - it really does taste 'clean'. We drank ours with dinner though and it seemed to overpower the flavour of the food. I'd rather drink it after dinner I think, as a palate cleanser. If the aim was to create a drink that was high in complexity then Hilary has achieved her goal. You somehow can't stop drinking it too, because you're enjoying all the different spicy and herby flavours that swirl around your tongue. Very interesting.  

It's even better knowing, as you drink, that you're not taking in any alcohol and you're actually replenishing nutrients. If you've never tried it before, Botonique may have an unlikely - but not at all unpleasant - taste, but it is great to have an alcohol free alternative that isn't packed full of sugars and sweeteners and is actually good for you. I can see the gastro pubs stocking up on this to offer to their non-alcohol drinking diners. 

If you'd like to try Botonique for yourself, you can find out more over at the Botonique website, or you can buy it on Amazon if you prefer. 

Let me know what you think - have you tried Botonique? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

One Body One Life - Don't Screw It Up! Book Review - by Andrew Green

A look at the new, brilliantly-titled book One Body One Life - Don't Screw It Up, written by chiropractor Andrew Green. 

This post contains some affiliate links. This means that if you decide to click on a link to make a purchase, I may, at no extra cost to you, receive a small commission that helps me keep the blog going. Thank you for your support. 

I've been going to see my chiropractor, Beccy, for the last couple of months (it's amazing, totally recommend it - goodbye migraines!), and it was while I was getting comfy on her mechanical couch on my last visit that she mentioned that her boss, Andrew Green, had written a book about health, and would I like to come along to the book launch. 

I know that chiropractic care is about much more than just clicking bones. They get you to tweak your diet and lifestyle, too, as well as your posture - and help you get to grips with how you can support the health of your whole nervous system naturally. So it sounded interesting. 

When I first arrived, Andrew came over to me and we talked a bit about health, my ongoing psoriasis, other autoimmune conditions and his new book. He mentioned stress and how it often ties in with autoimmune disease - and how it can affect the body so negatively, along with lack of sleep and lack of overall nutrition. He was called away for photos, and I got talking to a lady next to me, who, she said, had been a patient of Andrew's for many years. "Does it help?" I asked her. "Well, I'm 72 and I go to the gym 6 times a week." 

That was all the proof I needed. 

As Andrew stood up to address everyone, he talked about the problem we have in the US and the UK of rising obesity, especially affecting children. He talked about how very few people actually get the recommended amount of exercise they need per day, and how just a few minutes of brisk walking each day can do so much for you. 

And that's when it dawned on me. 

Andrew and his team see people every day in their Caversham clinic. They adjust their spines and send them off on their day. There's a definite physical side to chiropractic treatment, but there's another side too, that deals with diet and lifestyle to help complement the physical treatment that you get in the clinic. That's the stuff you do at home. This is a book that's mostly about this half of the treatment. The dietary advice, the posture, exercise and lifestyle. It's information that everyone can use, whether you see a chiropractor or not. 

Written in a down to earth style, just as Andrew speaks, it's easy to understand and packed full of facts and statistics, which I always love. There are also questions at the back of the book to help you assess your health more objectively. After all, I assured doctors for 20 years that I didn't feel stressed, when truthfully, I'd never known anything else, so couldn't really tell! 

Think of this book as a handbook that you can refer to whenever you need. Read it through first - it's fairly thin at 205 pages, and took me a leisurely 2-3 hours in the sunshine to read cover to cover. And, as the chapters are broken up into useful sections, you can then flick through to the information you need to remind you. And then there's a recap of the whole book at the back. Perfect for keeping all these tips fresh in your mind, so that you can apply them to every day life. I'll definitely be reading this again. 

Find out more about One Body One Life: Don't Screw It Up on Amazon, or visit Andrew's chiropractic practice, Reflex Spinal Health in Caversham.