Recipe: Apple and Cinnamon Paleo Pancakes

apple cinnamon paleo pancakesI really love the taste of paleo pancakes but I’m not really fond of cooked banana, and after I eat a paleo pancake I find myself reacting to the almond meal. One of the draw-backs to going grain-free is the increase in the amount of nuts that are eaten – and now I find myself sensitive to those too.  I do eat spelt flour pancakes when the family occasionally make them at home, which is not grain-free at all, but then I do find myself with indigestion for a few hours afterwards. Sometimes its a sacrifice I’m willing to make! It’s really tricky to find the balance, and every now and then I want a breakfast that is simple and fun!

This morning I thought I’d try something different. Instead of banana I peeled two small green apples and blended them to a pulp, and mixed them with egg, almond meal and pepita meal, cinnamon and vanilla. They turned out pretty good! Served with fruit and homemade yogurt, I only needed two to fill me up this morning. Although I didn’t have the same trouble swallowing them as I do with the other pancakes, I am still noticing the effects of almond meal. Still, half the amount was better than usual, and I suppose it could be replaced entirely by pepita meal (I just thought that might be a bit bitter). Here’s the recipe:

APPLE AND CINNAMON PALEO PANCAKES

1/2 cup pepitas

1/2 cup almonds

2 small green apples

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp cinnamon

METHOD

Grind the pepitas and almonds into a fine meal. Add the chopped and peeled apples and pulp them in the blender with the almonds. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

Heat up a skillet and once hot, turn down to a medium heat. Add a little butter or coconut oil, adding spoonfuls of the mixture and dabbing it gently to spread it out. The mixture cooks quickly (burns!) on the bottom if the pan is too hot. Flip and cook the other side.

Serve as you like to have your pancakes – we like ours with fresh fruit, homemade yogurt, and cooked blueberries.

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Recipe: Nut Butter Cookies

Oh my goodness I love simple recipes. This one is SO simple … and you end up with a crunchy yummy little biscuit. These little biscuits have no flour, no sugar, no dairy, and no tricky substitutes for those items. They are not super sweet, but just sweet enough and if you want them sweeter maybe add the whole banana rather than the half (and if you use the whole banana, then try leaving out the egg – which would make them vegan too)

They are just perfect for afternoon tea with a glass of milk or a cup of tea.

Nut Butter Cookies

NUT BUTTER COOKIES

INGREDIENTS

200g nut butter of your choice

1oog coconut – I used desiccated but I think it would work with shredded coconut too

1/2 banana

1 egg (or try it without)

METHOD

Mix all ingredients together in your food processor or mash all ingredients together with a fork. Roll into balls and cook at 160C until browned on top. Because of the high oil content in the nut butter, and depending upon how long you blend it for in the food processor, a bit of oil might bubble around the edges while they cook. Mine practically fried themselves in the oven.

Recipe: Coconut Cream Jelly

Vegan Fruit and Coconut Jelly

Ooh here is a lovely treat!

I’ve been having fun with jelly again, making little fruity gummy treats for the children with gelatin. I was so excited about how easy, fun and yummy these are that I wanted to share them with playgroup, however at playgroup we eat vegan … so switch gelatin for agar and  honey for maple syrup. Remember the Rainbow Fruit Jelly Cake? These are just as easy to make, and just as lovely to look at.

Coconut Jellies 1

These little vegan jellies are a softer, lighter, more refreshing experience than the fruity gummies I made with gelatin. They are so pretty and so delicate, they’d be perfect for a light, refreshing, sweet treat after lunch. Today I served it with the fruit at playgroup morning tea, and we followed it up with raw pumpkin pie. Except for my really chewy sour dough bread rolls (win some, lose some!)  it was a pretty delicious morning at playgroup today.

I think these jellies are magic. The coconut cream floats to the top as the jelly sets so you get this lovely separation of colour, with the clear jelly underneath. The light pink ones pictured were made with rosella fruit, cooked until the colour faded on the fruit, and then strained out at the end. The beautiful purple ones are made with blueberries and the white ones have a splash of vanilla essence instead of fruit.

Blueberry Coconut Jellies

COCONUT CREAM JELLY

INGREDIENTS

1 cup of fresh fruit (blueberries, raspberries, rosellas, etc)

1 1/2 cups water

3/4 cup coconut cream

1/3 cup maple syrup/honey

1 1/2 teaspoons agar agar powder

METHOD

In a saucepan, pour in water, coconut cream and maple syrup. Whisk in the agar agar powder and let sit for 5 minutes, then add fruit and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Turn down the heat and simmer, whisking gently all the while, for about 15 minutes. Gently press the fruit while stirring to release the colour, essence and juice.

Pour through a sieve into a flat container with a lid and place in the fridge until it sets firm. The coconut cream should rise to the top, leaving a translucent layer underneath. The colour of the fruit juice will be more intense in the bottom layer. The rosellas made a pretty pink jelly, blueberries made a vivid purple and to make white jelly leave the fruit out altogether and just add a little vanilla essence.

Recipe: Coconut Flour Shortcrust Pastry

Coconut Flour Shortcrust PastryI’ve been curious about coconut flour. It is an interesting grain-free alternative for baking, being so fibrous and it absorbs a lot of moisture. It can make your recipes dry and is also quite sweet too, so you may need to adjust the amount of liquids and sweetener you use in your recipe. I have had varying success with it but have tended not to use it often because of the amount of eggs that need to go with it … some of my cakes have ended up tasting like omelettes made with honey and fruit… ew.

I’ve learned a trick to making coconut flour a little easier to use though. To adjust your recipes substitute your flour with about 1/3 the amount of coconut flour, and add extra moisture in the form of coconut cream/ coconut oil or an extra egg. It is tempting to add extra water, but the oil makes it much tastier and keeps its texture too.

Coconut Flour Pastry 1

I found some great information about it at the Nourishing Gourmet but didn’t find the recipe I was looking for. So after searching for ages for a pastry recipe using coconut flour I decided to adjust one by myself, and it worked! As a short crust pastry for sweet pies that have wet fillings, or as a quiche crust I think it will be great. I know it works with custard and blueberries, anyway!

It held together pretty well, wasn’t hard to swallow, wasn’t too sweet and still had that nice pastry texture to it. It can be a little crumbly if you are using it with a dry filling … but still tasty. Perhaps add another egg? I’m not sure how it would hold up for pies with lids though … if you can work that one out let me know, it is why I wanted to make this pastry in the first place!

Blueberry Custard Pie with Coconut Flour Crust 1

COCONUT FLOUR SHORTCRUST PASTRY

INGREDIENTS

70g coconut flour

100g chilled butter, chopped into pieces

pinch salt

1 egg

60g chilled water

METHOD

Place flour, butter and salt in the food processor and mix until they resemble breadcrumbs. Add water and egg and knead to form a dough.

Cover dough and chill in the fridge about 15 minutes before rolling out. I actually pressed mine with my fingers into my greased dish … but let me know how you go rolling it out … maybe between two sheets of baking paper to hold it together?

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200C until it just starts to turn golden. It didn’t seem necessary to weight the pastry with baking beads.

Add filling (in my case I added home-made custard and organic blueberries) and return to the oven for further cooking.

Blueberry Custard Pie 4

Recipe: Grain-free Garlic Naan

grain-free garlic naan 1Today I have a delicious rogan josh bubbling away in the slow cooker. I figured that with dinner effectively making itself that I would have time to make some naan bread. I have a sour dough starter happening again so sour dough naan bread sounded great for the rest of the family but for me I am still not that into grains. I’m gradually coming off GAPS and I have had grains for a few months now but I still like to look at a grain-free option most of the time.

I love the simplicity of Indian breads. Mostly they are just flour, water, oil and yeast. The few grain-free recipes I found for naan bread were very complicated with lots of different ingredients to give it the rise and consistency that bread has. I prefer the simpler option if possible. This is my recipe. It isn’t exactly a naan, but it is a very yummy garlic flat bread that will be perfect at our Indian feast tonight … if there will be any left …

grain free garlic naan 4

GRAIN-FREE GARLIC NAAN

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/3 cup almond flour

1/4 tsp cumin

pinch of salt

1/2 cup milk

2 tsp vinegar

3 eggs

butter

METHOD

Mix the dry ingredients together well then add the milk, eggs and vinegar. I poured a little melted butter in there too. Mix the batter well and then let it sit for half an hour or so for the moisture to be absorbed. When ready the mixture will not be like a dough, but like a very very thick batter.

grain free garlic naan 3

Melt butter in a cast iron skillet and dollop in a few tablespoons of batter. Flatten it out to an even thickness with slightly wet fingers. While the batter is cooking on the bottom, sprinkle chopped garlic on the top, then flip it over and cook the other side.

grain free garlic naan 2

The naan should be firm on the outside and soft still in the middle. It isn’t chewy like a naan made with flour but it sure does taste good and does well for a flatbread on the side of a great rogan josh. We’ll be coming home late tonight so I have made mine in advance and will heat them up under the grill just before serving. Looking forward to it!

Recipe: Chicken Nuggets – grain free

20130327_173606This is a meal that my children took a little while to like, but it is now one of our favourites. It only took a while because we’ve not eaten much crumbed food, apart from the very occasional fish and chips (but they usually only eat the chips).

The home-made chicken nuggets are now one of our favourites, mine especially because they are so good to put in lunch boxes too, and because they make for a tasty, simple dinner that can be easily served up with roasted veggies or a fresh salad.

They are also good to cook in advance and keep in the freezer for re-heating.

I love a meal that can be stock-piled.

I recommend chicken thighs rather than breast meat because the breast meat tends to dry out, the coconut flour also soaks up a bit of moisture so the thighs are a little more juicier for this recipe.

Chicken Nuggets

INGREDIENTS

3 Chicken Thigh Fillets

coconut flour

2 eggs

full cream milk

almond meal

salt

herbs

coconut oil

METHOD

Slice the chicken thighs into little bite sized pieces. Whisk the eggs and a splash of milk together so they are mixed well, set aside in a bowl.

Prepare another bowl with coconut flour in it – and another with the almond meal, salt and a sprinkle of herbs that you like.

 Dip the chicken pieces, one at a time into coconut flour and shake off excess.

Dip into the egg, use a fork to turn the chicken pieces so you don’t get drippy hands. Use the fork to drop the coated chicken into the almond meal mixture. Completely coat the chicken.

Now you have a choice: you can shallow-fry the chicken in coconut oil or you can bake it in the oven. The coconut four does tend to suck up a bit of moisture so I prefer to cook the nuggets in the pan … or both! Heat up the oil and cook them so the coating is golden either side, and then finish them in the oven, so that the chicken is cooked through.

Serve with a fresh salad and home-made tomato sauce / relish / sauerkraut / whatever dressing you choose.

Recipe: Raw Pumpkin Pie and Cashew Cream

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Autumn food is always full of pumpkin. Pumpkin scones, pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin curries … and I love it! I’m sure the markets anticipate the demands for pumpkin-based treats and stock up on cinnamon and nutmeg. I know I’ve already run out of nutmeg … I love my fresh grated nutmeg. 20130327_151022

My daughter (one of the two masked creatures above) celebrated her Autumn Festival at school yesterday and all the families brought in seasonal food to share. Yes there was a lot of pumpkin there, and apples. Oh my goodness, my mouth was very happy! I brought in a raw pumpkin pie. I made one last year in the seasonal spirit at playgroup and couldn’t quite remember how I did it. So I suspect this year’s pumpkin pie is a completely new recipe – plus there was the added challenge of making it nut-free so that it could be shared in a school environment.

20130327_102930I’m pretty happy with it – but let it thaw a bit before you serve it. It is definitely yummier when you can taste the smooth pie mixture. Also, the pie was still a bit frozen when I put it out and the base stuck to the dish! Everyone just ended up scooping the raw pie off the top because the base had ended up moulding itself pretty well to the dish. Nothing wrong with a bit of scooping. I think at one point someone was just standing in front of it with a spoon. I take that as a compliment, but its a shame no one could taste the base, because that is yummy too. Coconut and pumpkin are good friends in the kitchen.

If I were to make a change to it I think I would add some coconut cream to the recipe to make it smoother and creamier. Only I didn’t have any at the time. Try it and let me know if that works. I think next time I would also add a layer of cashew cream on top before it was frozen. Or you could even layer the pumpkin and cashew cream a few times for a pretty stripey pie …IMG_3370

Raw Pumpkin Pie and Cashew Cream

INGREDIENTS

RAW COCONUT CRUST

200g raw coconut flakes (not shredded or desiccated)

1 cup dates

pinch of salt

1 tbs coconut oil

RAW PUMPKIN PIE FILLING

500 chopped pumpkin, skin and seeds removed

2 cm peeled raw ginger

1/4 cup ground chia seeds, soaked in water

3/4 cup coconut oil

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp grated nutmeg

swoosh of raw honey/maple syrup

 a little water/nut milk

METHOD

Blend the crust ingredients together until they begin to stick together. Press into a pie dish that has been lightly oiled with coconut oil. Press down well so the crust will be firm. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes to set. Meanwhile make the filling.

Put chunks of pumpkin into the food processor and blend until finely ground, or as smooth as possible. Add remaining ingredients and blend again until the mixture is very smooth and thick. Add a little water or nut milk to thin it out and help it along in the blender – not too much!

Pour into the crust, decorate with pumpkin seeds, a little more grated nutmeg and set in the freezer.

Let the pie thaw half an hour before serving, and serve with a dollop of cashew cream.

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things (wholefood version)

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Yogurt with garlic as a salad dressing

Pasture-raised bacon is always a blessing

Eggs from my chickens, food fit for a king

These are a few of my favourite things.

Raw nuts that are soaked for several hours

Allowing me access to all of their power

Greens cooked with butter will make my mouth sing

These are a few of my favourite things.

Food that is raw and straight from the soil

Food that is grown with love and with toil

Food from the farmers without packaging

These are a few of my favourite things.

When I’m tired

When I’m cranky

And I’m feeling sad

I simply eat some of my favourite things

And then I don’t feel so bad.

Recipe: Sweet Hearts

IMG_3276Ok … they are jam drops … for my sweet hearts!

But they are also vegan, grain-free and sugar-free (except in this case, for the jam) and they went to school in my kids lunch boxes as a Valentines treat. And there is a few left over for me.

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There’s not really that much I want to say about them, except that sugar is not required for sweetness …and I love how simple they are.

IMG_3269I also love how we mark them with our thumbs to make a little place to spoon the sweetness into. From my heart, to the fruits of my heart …

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Grain-Free Sweet Heart Jam Drops

INGREDIENTS

150g almond meal

50 g honey / maple syrup

50 g coconut flour

100g coconut oil / butter

2 tsp vanilla essence

your favourite jam: sugar-free if possible.

METHOD

Whizz everything except the jam together in the food processor until it is just combined.

Press mixture down on a non-stick surface and use a cookie cutter to make shapes. Before you lift the cutter, squish your thumb into the middle to make a shallow hole. Use a spatula to lift the shape on to your baking tray.

Spoon a little jam into each hole and bake at 150C until golden on top.

IMG_3270

Recipe: Vegan Bean Burgers

IMG_2864What to do for dinner when all you have is left over salad from lunch, a handful of lonely vegetables and a tin of kidney beans? Bean salad or bean burgers is about your only option! As it happens it was just the right dinner for a hot summer evening, easy to make, quick to eat and very tasty. With a glass of home-made lemonade with mint and blueberries, and followed by a night swim in the pool = perfect.

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Bean burgers served cold with slices of mango, yogurt, hommus, fruit salad and toasted nuts makes an amazing breakfast too. Sounds crazy to put a curried burger and hommus with fruit salad but it works a treat.

VEGAN BEAN BURGERS

1 tbs coconut oil

1 onion

1 large clove garlic

2 celery stalks

1 carrot

1 400g  tin kidney beans

1 tsp mild curry powder

salt and pepper

a little coconut flour to thicken and bind

METHOD

Finely chop onion, garlic and celery. Soften in coconut oil. Grate carrot and add to mix with the curry powder. Stir until the carrot is soft.

Add mixture to a food processor with drained kidney beans, seasoning and a little coconut flour (about 1 tbs). Blend until the mixture is smooth. Add a little more coconut flour if the mixture is too soft.

With wet hands, roll into burgers and put in the fridge for half an hour to firm up, then shallow fry in a little more coconut oil. The burgers are very soft and difficult to cook at room temperature (at east when room temperature is over 30 degrees!) so keep them in the fridge until just before you are ready to cook them. Serve hot or cold with hommus, yogurt, fresh salad topped with toasted nuts … and eat any leftovers for breakfast or lunch the next day. Better still, make a double batch and freeze some for later.