By bread alone

Man does not not live by bread alone. At least goes the biblical quote from Matthew 4:4. Which is kind of the introduction into a matter of diet. Mrs S and I have given up bread. And rice, pasta, flour, noodles and potatoes.

So apparently have brother and sister in law in the fabled land of Oz. Like us they’ve given up on chocolate and sugar entirely. Which some might find a little extreme, but honestly chums, I feel much better for it. Now you might be forgiven for thinking this expensive, but considering the price of bread over here, the cost of two reasonable quality loaves buys a pound and a half of steak once a week. The elimination of chocolate, sugar and other candy pays for more fish like Salmon, which is almost a basic staple over here. And of course there’s room in the budget for more bacon. Especially as I’ve found a decent butcher in our locale who actually knows their meats. They do four (Thank you God) varieties of proper dry cured bacon although I eschew the sugar maple cured stuff.

For her part Mrs S is eating more full fat yoghurt rather than that awful low-fat garbage with the strange aftertaste, and I’ve even taken a liking to garlic stir fried Taiwanese Cabbage of all things. Indeed our consumption of low carbohydrate vegetables has more than doubled. Which pleases Mrs S because she harbours the idea that vegetarianism is somehow virtuous. Odd how a lot of women feel this way. I of course, choose to differ. Meat is my métier.

Essentially what we’ve done is cut all the fattening starch and stodge out of our diets. Which does lead to a few strange looks from waiting staff when we go out for lunch and stipulate no fries or potato and definitely no bread. However, a good steak with buttered Asparagus is always a sound choice. We snack on Hickory smoked Almonds instead of popcorn or sweets when we rent or go and see a movie. I’ve even got to the point where I can easily out-stare a large bar of Cadbury’s Dairy milk fruit and nut without a single pang.

One issue I’ve been struggling with is sauces. So many require a roux of flour and water as a thickener, I’d almost given up hope of tasting the delights of a good thick gravy like substitute. And I do love lovely thick British style gravy. Fortunately, the jolly old interweb has ridden to the rescue to provide the outline recipe for a remoulade Cajun sauce. Which I have since refined to the recipe below.

A quarter of a large Red Pepper (Fresh Red cabbage can be substituted if no peppers)
Half a stalk of Celery
One Green (Spring) Onion
A quarter cup of fresh Parsley (Not dried)
Half a cup of full on Mayonnaise
Half a cup of full fat Sour Cream or Creme Fraiche (Creme Fraiche is best)
Two heaped teaspoons of Dijon Mustard
Two heaped teaspoons of Horseradish
A shake or two of Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce
A shake or two of Tabasco
Two heaped teaspoons of Paprika
Four heaped teaspoons of crushed Tomatoes or two medium size tomatoes
A third of a teaspoon of Cayenne pepper

Throw it all in a blender and puree until relatively smooth. It will come out pink, but this is good stuff which warms the mouth without setting it ablaze. Serve hot or cold. Just don’t boil it on the reheat. If you’ve gone down the red cabbage route, this sauce develops a fresh crunchy texture that never tires.

To serve, put a small amount in a side dish bowl, something about three or four inches across for immediate use at the table. Heat it in the microwave if you like. Stick the rest in the fridge or freezer. This sauce keeps. If it lasts that long. It also survives being repeatedly thawed and heated, even in a microwave. Goes pretty well with Steak, Chicken, Pork or Fish. Which is nice. It’s an all rounder with plenty of roundness and flavour.

Haven’t tried it with poached eggs, but I’ve found a quick and easy way to make fresh Hollandaise which is wonderfully buttery and mouthwateringly moreish over Asparagus. Then there’s the delight of French style omelettes, which kick the dessicated flat North American type into touch.  See Below.

Yes the dropping of starch and sugar has been challenging from a cooks perspective, but I don’t miss the rice, potatoes or starch and my waistline is thanking me for it. As for the substitute for cornstarch for a roux, I’ve been experimenting with Psyllium Husk powder, although so far some of the results have been disturbingly motile.

Will report back on this topic once I’ve cracked the method.


10 thoughts on “By bread alone”

    1. I’d recommend the Paleo or Ketogenic diet regime to anyone. Which is what we’re on.
      Especially to heart or Cancer patients. The low fat regime is not as good because it’s too full of starch.


  1. Yes I meant, of course, Lo-Carb or as I referred to it ‘Halfarsed Hays’. Agreed, the gout thing isn’t too big a risk unless one is a practising alcoholic…and I was. (mind you, personally I thought the litre and a half of whisky a day would kill me long before I got gout…strangely my doctor didn’t see things that way.)
    I would disagree about “Potatoes, Rice, Flour, and refined sugars are not dietary essentials”…next you’ll be claiming Bacon isn’t necessary to sustain life….and have you ever tried unrefined sugar in tea?


  2. A few years back , in an attempt to control the FABS (F***king Angry Bowel Syndrome-it’s what IBS wants to be when it grows up) that has crippled me since my teenage years, I went onto a similar hi-carb diet, which basically meant I lived off best steak with a side ‘salad’ of avocado and tomatoes.
    I felt fantastic. More energy than any 40 year old should have and , not to put too genteel a point on things, a beat on up to my chin.
    And yes the IBS seemed better as well. For a few weeks and then everything reverted to ‘normal’. Fun whilst it lasted …even if it was at the expense of not having pizza 😦
    Also my doctor told me there was a grave risk of developing gout -especially as at the time i was still an active alcoholic.


    1. Don’t you mean Low Carb diet? The Gout thing can easily be avoided by switching to low carbohydrate vegetables rich in minerals and vitamin C and fibre, as we have done..Potatoes, Rice, Flour, and refined sugars are not dietary essentials.

      Besides, the build up of Urate crystals to cause gout pain takes a long time to happen unless you have depressed liver and kidney function, and then only if you have a genetic predisposition or medical condition like alcoholism.. As for IBS I don’t know, but I’ve never suffered any ill effects on this kind of regime aside from the occasional light headed sensation you get in the first two weeks or so from losing all those extraneous calories. .But that’s common to all calorie restricted diets. Which is all a low carbohydrate diet really is.


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