In the GI News Kitchen

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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

Canoli cream dip

This is a healthful twist to the much-loved Sicilian dessert that surfaces on southern Italian holiday tables especially at this time of year. It will be part of my Christmas menu this year. For a truly exquisite treat for your palate look for the freshest ricotta and the best quality dark chocolate you can find. And definitely opt for the orange flower water if you can find it. This may be found in gourmet or specialty food shops. Makes 10 (approx. ¼ cup) servings.

Canoli cream dip

15 oz (2 cups) part skim ricotta

½ cup confectioner’s sugar

¼ cup non-fat milk

1 teaspoon orange flower water or vanilla extract

2 oz (1/4 cup) toasted pistachio nuts, chopped

1 oz dark chocolate, chopped

Combine in a blender the first four ingredients (ricotta through vanilla) and process for 50–60 seconds until very smooth.

Fold in the nuts and chocolate.

Serve immediately as a dip with freshly sliced apples or pears or biscotti or refrigerate in a covered container.


  • Candied citron and orange may replace the nuts and chocolate.
  • Instead of dipping sliced fruit into the cannoli cream, ripe pears may be halved vertically and cored; placing a mound of the cream on top.

Per serving

Energy: 575kJ/ 137 cals; Protein 6g; Fat 8g (includes 3g saturated fat and 18mg cholesterol); Available carbs 10g; Fibre 1g

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 Money Saving Meals author Diane Temple. For more recipes check out the Money Saving Meals website.
Homemade hommus

Dips and crackers are an easy thing to serve when people drop in – or to take along to a neighbourhood party as your contribution. People seem very impressed when you say you made it yourself and double impressed when you tell them you cooked the chickpeas from scratch. Being somewhat lazy, I usually use canned chickpeas, but when I was making hommus with the children as part of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program at Bondi Public School we used dried chickpeas of course. I can’t believe how nice they were especially with a bay leaf and garlic thrown into the water whilst cooking. There are other benefits too – you can prepare more and freeze them for the next batch of dip for the next party.

1½ cups home-cooked chickpeas or 400g (14oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 clove garlic, chopped roughly

3 tablespoon lemon juice

3 tablespoons light flavoured olive oil

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

Freshly ground black pepper and salt (if you wish), to season

Crudités, to serve (or pita crisps as shown below)

Homemade hommus

Place 1½ cups cooked chickpeas or the drained can of chickpeas, lemon juice and garlic into the bowl of a food processor. Whiz until very finely chopped, (stop the processor occasionally and scrape down the sides), add oil and process again until creamy.

Spoon into a serving dish and mix in cumin and season with freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of salt if using.

To cook chickpeas, cover them with water and leave to soak overnight in a bowl. Drain and put in a medium saucepan with 1 clove garlic peeled and smashed garlic, 1 bay leaf and 3 peppercorns (count the peppercorns so you remember to take them all out!). Cover with water and bring to the boil, then simmer for 35 minutes or until they are tender (check the water levels and top-up if necessary). Drain and leave to cool.
Per serving (30g or 1 oz)

Energy:260kJ/62 cals; Protein 1g; Fat 5g (includes less than 1g saturated fat and zero cholesterol); Available carbs 3g; Fibre 1g

Throw another prawn on the barbie

We chose Miguel Maestre’s recipe for ‘Garlic Prawns’ for our December issue as Australians love to celebrate summer and the festive season with regular trips to the fish market so we can happily ‘throw another prawn (shrimp) on the barbie’. Miguel is owner/chef of El Toro Loco, a lively tapas bar right on Sydney Harbour at Manly and has charmed viewers as host of Miguel’s Tropical Kitchen on LifestyleFood and in Channel 10’s Boys’ Weekend, where he hits the road with friends for adventure, good times and great food. He now brings the same energy and passion to his first book, Miguel’s Tapas (New Holland), with a mixture of his own recipes and signature Spanish tapas. He tells us the secret of success with Garlic Prawns is to use the freshest possible prawns, extra virgin olive oil and to keep it simple. Serves 1

2–3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (about 50ml)

4 large raw king prawns (shrimps), peeled and deveined (tails intact)

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

½ bunch parsley, leaves finely chopped

lemon wedges and a slice of sourdough (or your favourite low GI) bread

Garlic Prawns

  • Heat the oil in a small cast iron or clay dish. Add prawns and cook for about 3 minutes until just cooked (they turn orange when cooked through). Stir in the garlic and parsley.
  • Eat the prawns while still sizzling with a good squeeze of lemon juice. Dip the bread in the oil which has been beautifully infused with the flavours of prawns, garlic and parsley.

Per serving (without bread)

Well this is a recipe that ‘What if it’s all been a big fat lie?’ and Good Calories, Bad Calories author Gary Taubes would love. Virtually no carbs, and heaps of fat. Don’t have a panic attack. The fat is pretty much all coming from the extra virgin oil but as you can see it does add up to lots of calories. If you don’t feel comfortable tucking into this recipe as is, you have options: try making it with less oil, don’t dip the bread in the oil or share the prawns.

Energy: 2036kJ/486 cals; Protein 17g; Fat 46g (includes 6g saturated fat and 119mg cholesterol); Available carbs 1g; Fibre 2g