In the GI News Kitchen

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Family Baking, Anneka Manning, author of Bake Eat Love. Learn to Bake in 3 Simple Steps and founder of Sydney’s BakeClub, shares her delicious ‘better-for-you’ recipes for snacks, desserts and treats the whole family will love. Through both her writing and cooking school, Anneka teaches home cooks to bake in practical and approachable yet inspiring ways that assure success in the kitchen.

 Anneka Manning
Vegetable and pasta frittatas 
These individual frittatas are dead simple and super quick to make – perfect for lunch boxes either for lunch or as a substantial snack that is packed with energy and goodness. Try different combinations of favourite vegetables (corn, capsicum and pumpkin all work well) and throw in a can of drained and flaked salmon or tuna to boost the protein. Makes 12.

130g (4 1/2 oz) small short pasta, such as macaroni
Olive oil, to grease
2 medium zucchini (about 270g/9oz), coarsely grated
1 medium carrot (about 120g/4oz), coarsely grated
1 cup coarsely grated reduced fat extra tasty or vintage cheddar cheese
8 eggs
1/3 cup milk
Freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste
120g/4oz small cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

Vegetable and pasta frittatas 

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Brush a 12-hole medium (80ml /1/3 cup) muffin tray with the oil to lightly grease.
Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water, following the packet directions, until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain well.
Put the drained pasta, zucchini, carrot and 3/4 cup of the cheddar in a large bowl and mix to combine well. Divide the mixture evenly among the greased muffin tin holes.
Use a fork to whisk together the eggs and milk in a large jug until well combined. Season to taste with pepper and salt and whisk again. Pour evenly over the vegetable mixture. Press the halved tomatoes, cut side up, into the tops of the frittatas and then sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until just cooked through and lightly golden. Stand in the tin for a few minutes before running a palette knife around the outside of each frittata and lifting out. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Baker’s tips
These frittatas will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Per serve 
540 kJ/ 130 calories; 9 g protein; 6 g fat (includes 2.5 g saturated fat; saturated:unsaturated fat ratio 0.4); 9 g available carbs; 1.2 g fibre

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


Polenta with buckwheat and mushrooms 
My husband, Sergio, grew up in the small northern Italian city of Reggio Emilia. His family had the custom of eating polenta every time it snowed. All were happy on polenta days, not only because his mother made this peasant food taste like a feast for kings, but also because the lengthy cooking time (40-plus minutes) provided extra heat in the house. He tells the story of his blind grandmother, who lived with them, who knew when it was snowing by how warm she felt sitting in her chair in the kitchen.

Polenta is as versatile as pasta or rice. Here I have added some buckwheat flour to lower this form of corn’s moderately high GI value. You can top with sausage or ragu, cheese or any combination of vegetables and herbs. Pick your favorite flavors and pile them on top of some steaming polenta. My guess is you won’t want to wait for the snow to return to try it again! This recipe probably has a moderate GI value. Servings: 8 or 16 (as a side).

2 cups dry coarse polenta
1 cup organic buckwheat flour
1oz (30g) dried porcini mushrooms
10oz (300g) mixed fresh mushrooms (crimini, white, baby portabella)
2 tbsp (30ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 large shallots (4 oz/120 g), thinly sliced
5 fresh sprigs thyme
Salt & pepper to taste
2oz (60g) Gruyere cheese

Polenta with buckwheat and mushrooms

Bring 8 cups of water to a boil. As that is happening mix the polenta and buckwheat flour in a medium bowl. Stir in 2 cups warm water and mix thoroughly. When the water is boiling, add salt if you wish and the polenta mixture. Stir, cover and simmer very slowly for about 30–40 minutes, stirring every 3–4 minutes to prevent the bottom from sticking. The polenta will become thick and creamy as it cooks. In the meantime, place the porcini in a small bowl and cover them with 2 cups warm water. Set aside.
Wash, pat dry and coarsely chop the fresh mushrooms. Set aside. In a large pan, heat the oil and add the shallots and sauté them on a medium-low flame until translucent (about 8 minutes).
Drain, rinse and pat dry the porcini, coarsely chop. Add to the mushroom mixture in the pan, sauté for 5 minutes. Add the thyme and cook for another 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Set aside.
When the polenta is done, remove it from the heat. Pour half the amount in the pot onto a wooden board, pat into a round mound. Add the mushroom mixture (warmed) on top of the mound, then cover with the remaining polenta. Sprinkle on the cheese. Serve immediately.

Per entree size serve 
1155kJ/276 calories; 10g protein; 6g fat (includes 2g saturated fat; saturated:unsaturated fat ratio 0.33);  37g available carbs; 6g fibre

Honey Grilled Figs with Ricotta Dolce.  
 A fig halved and served with a dollop of yogurt makes a delicious end to a meal. If you want to go a step further, try this deliciously simple dessert from The Low GI Vegetarian Cookbook. For a very special occasion, add 2 teaspoons of amaretto (almond liqueur) or Frangelico to the ricotta mix. Serves 4

4 large ripe figs
4 tsp single source honey
200g (7oz) low fat ricotta
¼ cup carob or dark chocolate buttons, finely chopped
1 glace peach, finely chopped
1 tbsp icing sugar, sifted (LoGiCane is low GI)

Honey Grilled Figs with Ricotta Dolce

Cut each fig in half, place the figs on an ovenproof tray, cut side up and drizzle half a teaspoon of honey over each fig. Combine the ricotta, carob, glace peach, icing sugar and Amaretto in a medium size bowl, stir until well combined.
Preheat grill to high. Place fig halves under hot grill and grill for 2–3 minutes or until slightly caramelized. To serve, place 2 halves on each of 4 serving plates and top with a spoon of the ricotta dolce.

Per serve 746kJ/ 178 calories; 7g protein; 8g fat (includes 5g saturated fat saturated:unsaturated fat ratio 0.63); 20g available carbs; 2g fibre