Note: I’m starting my list with luxury foods because I want to make a point that low carb does not equal hardship. Instead, I believe that enjoyment makes a low carb diet sustainable. I suggest embracing culinary fat and splurging whenever you can on luxury foods.

Cream – Low Carb Foods, Luxury, #4

Could anything be more luxurious? The word ‘cream’ signifies the best or something special – la crème de la crème, the cream of the crop, the cat that got the cream. Give me decadent Irish cream, and I’m like that cat. In Irish, ‘cream’ is ‘uachtar,’ and our president is ‘Uachtarán.’ I imagine the president has an abundance of luscious, thick Irish cream in the presidential fridge. 

I do too – cream makes up for many foods I’ve put aside. Forget what you’ve heard about it being unhealthy – it has half the sugar of milk. Look for the highest fat content you can find – half and half means it has more sugar. Buy cream often, and rummage around the back of the shop fridge to make sure it’s the freshest. Use it liberally and enjoy every minute. Cream satisfies in a way that few foods do.

Some things I do with cream: 

  1. Add to coffee
  2. Whip and eat with berries
  3. Make pannacotta (see recipe)
  4. Whip with pure cocoa
  5. Make chia pudding
  6. Add to omelette
  7. Cream of mushroom to top chicken, fish, meat or to serve on its own
  8. Add to soups and chowders. 
  9. Cream of spinach
  10. Make butter

Tip: How to whip cream to make it truly delicious: 1. Buy the most local, freshest, and full fat cream you can find. 2. For the best consistency, whip it on medium speed – fast speeds aerate too much. 3. Stop mixing when soft peaks form. If you over whip, it will taste buttery.

Note: Using a stick blender with a single whisk attachment is my favourite method for silky cream. Use the narrowest jug you have that fits the whisk.

Pannacotta means ‘cooked cream’ in Italian, and it’s a dessert from the Piedmont. I love this dessert, and it doesn’t miss the sugar. I use vegetarian gelatine (from carrageenan) It’s naturally salty, which amplifies the flavour of the cream. You might have to play with the quantity, depending on the brand.    

Panna cotta Recipe

Ingredients: 227 ml (1 cup) full fat cream. 1/4 teaspoon vegetarian gelatine. Vanilla to taste.  

Method: Heat the cream and gelatine, stirring just until the gelatine is completely dissolved. Take off the heat. Pour into moulds or ramekins. Refrigerate until set. Gently transfer onto a plate and serve with berries, with a squeeze of lemon, or on its own. 

Variations: 1. Add pure cocoa to taste. 2. Cook with a crushed cardamom pod. Strain after cooking. 3. Add cinnamon. 4. Add a shot or two of espresso. 5. Add marsala wine. 6. Add Scotch whiskey. 

Why I’m writing a list of 103 Foods: When I changed my diet for health reasons, I spent the first weeks mourning the foods I could no longer eat. What’s the point in being miserable, though? By switching to focusing on the foods I could eat, and savouring every bit of them, I started enjoying food again. I also found hope for the future, especially as the weight fell off and my diabetes reversed. Now, I would love to help others who might find themselves in a similar situation. Finally, there are endless possibilities in terms of what to do with any food. Take that as a challenge, and let me know if you have any suggestions. I wish you happy eating.

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