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.

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 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.

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: Home Made Lemonade with Mint and Blueberries.

IMG_2853I’ve become a recluse. It is too hot to go outside and too hot to do much of anything, really – except go for a swim. This week we’ve gone to three different waterholes for a splash, a good long soak in the Brunswick River, and of course in the pool every day, which is like a warm bath with 30 degrees water temperature. There is little point getting dressed, my toddler is naked all day and the other two just keep their swimmers on. Our poor chooks are seeking refuge under our deck. I wouldn’t want to be wearing feathers right now.

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In the meantime I’ve been laying on the couch reading my book, eating salads and drinking a variety of cool drinks: iced coffee, iced chocolate, smoothies, fresh juices and lots of water. Today’s sweet cooling drink was home-made lemonade with mint and blueberries. No sugar.

It is tangy and sweet, fresh and revitalising. Lemon and honey are a great combination hot or cold, but with blueberries and mint it is delicious. I recommend teaching your children to make it, then you don’t need to leave the couch.IMG_2852

Home Made Lemonade with Mint and Blueberries

INGREDIENTS

1.5 litres cold water

1/4 cup hot water

2 heaped tablespoons of honey

juice from 2 lemons

a few mint leaves

fresh blueberries

ice

METHOD

Mix the honey with the hot water in a cup and stir until the honey melts into the water. Pour into the cold water with the lemon juice and stir well. Add mint leaves and sit in the fridge for a while to chill and let the mint leaves mingle flavours with the lemon. To serve pour into a cup with ice cubes and a few blueberries. Find a hammock and a good book and enjoy.

Recipe: Almond Bread from Cooking Pot

photo (16)Here’s one of the most delicious almond bread recipes I’ve tasted. My friend Dominika made it for me to try at our playgroup – it wasn’t for everyone because it isn’t vegan, but all the same I only managed to get one slice before it vanished off the plate! It was very yummy. This recipe makes a moist loaf of grain-free bread, which I am very excited about. The other almond breads that I have made have been so dry that even a cup of tea isn’t enough to make them palatable … this one has eggs and cottage cheese in it, which makes it so tasty and light. It slices well and I think it is going to be a great morning toast with butter, a yummy morning tea with peanut butter, and a delicious accompaniment to lunch with a bit of labne spread. Dominika has shared the recipe with me and said I could share it here too. Some things are too good to keep to yourself.

CookingPotlogo

I’ve just been involved in a great big recipe share with Dominika and many friends which has culminated in a great new phone app called Cooking Pot. This is the first time I’ve ever endorsed a product other than my own on the blog, but I’m excited about this one because I know it has lots of awesome recipes in it like this almond bread one. It’s been created by my friends Dominika and Justin and they’ve been collecting and compiling lots of amazing recipes to help you plan your meals, or to help you use up those left over ingredients in the fridge so that you are not wasting food. Dominika and Justin have two little girls, they grow their own vegetables and raise chickens in their backyard (and a guinea pig or two). The health of their family is their priority, and so all these recipes on their Cooking Pot app are there to create awesome meals with wholesome ingredients. I’m pretty proud to say that many of my recipes can be found on Cooking Pot too – and my recipes have been created with the best of health-full intentions so I’m happy to endorse it!

shopping

Cooking Pot has many uses:
– you can select the ingredients you want to use and find a variety of recipes to match
– after selecting the recipes you want for the ingredients you have, Cooking Pot will then compile a shopping list for the rest of the ingredients you will need, and you can add to this so it is pretty handy to take with you when you do your shopping.
– you can browse the recipes according to different labels – you will find recipes for all kinds of different needs: food intolerance,vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free. More recipes are being added all the time.
– having recipes at your finger tips allows you an easier way to plan your meals for the week – and a great way to find something tasty at the end of an exhausting day when you are not feeling inspired about dinner.
You can read more about it, and download it by going to the website, itunes, or the facebook page. Cooking Pot is available for iPhones or iPads. I think iPads would be great in the kitchen … use a recipe stand to prop it up, and easy to wipe clean. Much better than bringing my laptop in, which is what I sometimes do when I can’t be bothered to write a recipe down! I’m not a very neat cook 🙂

iOS Simulator Screen shot 15.12.2012 6.04.20 PM (1)

Almond Bread

(grain-free, sugar-free)

INGREDIENTS
    2 1/2 cups almond meal
    1/4 cup olive, hempseed or sunflower oil
    1 tub (7 oz) dry curd cottage cheese or farmer’s cheese
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 Tbsp hulled hemp seeds
(I didn’t have any hemp seeds so I used 1 T flax and 1 tsp chia unground – use what you have)
    1 tsp flaxseeds or ground chia seeds
    1/4 tsp good salt
    3 eggs
METHOD
Mix all ingredient together and bake at 180C for 1 hour.
If toothpick doesn’t come out clean reduce to 130C and bake till done.

Recipe: Polka-dot Cake

IMG_2787In all my efforts to make cakes and muffins and cupcakes without grains and sugar this has to be the simplest and most satisfying cake I’ve made. I made it today – very spontaneously to celebrate Fete des Rois, or Festival of the Kings, because today is Epiphany. Epiphany is the end of the Advent story when the three wise men arrive to pay their respects to the Holy Baby. They treated Jesus as they would an earthly king by falling to the floor and presenting him with expensive gifts.

Had I given myself more time to organise it I would have had a crown ready and perhaps some games but that was not to be today. You can read about our past Fete des Rois celebrations. Today, however, I had forgotten all about it. January 6th, already? How did that happen? I didn’t realise until the afternoon so I quickly made up this cake for afternoon tea. I couldn’t find the right recipe I wanted in all my books and scribblings because they were either too complicated or I didn’t have the ingredients –  so I cobbled one together with the ingredients I had and it worked.

The traditional French galette des Rois is an almond-cream filled puff pastry type thing with the feve baked inside. The feve is traditionally a hard bean and whoever finds it in their slice becomes King or Queen for the day. My friend has been making a few delicious gluten-free versions of French regional cakes for our past fete des Rois celebrations. Today I thought an almond cake would do the job, and for the feve I used a date because I didn’t want my two-year old to end up accidentally choking on something small.

The cake was pretty colourful! I had intended to make the polka-dots with blueberries dropped in to the batter just before cooking, like a clafouti, but in a real Mother-Hubbard moment I discovered we had no blueberries or cherries or any other suitable fruit, not even any dried fruit except for the dates. All we had was Dad’s stash of Christmas candies and so I decorated the cake with candy covered chocolate polka-dots …. I know!! Not exactly sugar-free, paleo or GAPS but very pretty and very tasty. WITH the blueberry polka-dots this cake makes a very delicious breakfast served with yogurt and fresh fruit. Incidentally it can be made without the baking powder so it can be suitable for GAPS and paleo too. It might not rise but it will be more flat like a clafouti, which is how I make it for breakfast.

In any case the cake rose and cooked beautifully and we had a delicious afternoon tea with a bit of fun to go with it. As it happens I don’t think I will use a date again because when I cut the cake, I cut the date in half and then two people ended up with the feve in their slice – so we had two Kings this year!!

Here’s the recipe:

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Polka-Dot Cake

(grain-free and sugar-free … almost!)

INGREDIENTS

250g almond meal

1/3 cup honey/maple syrup

100g coconut oil

6 eggs

2 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp baking powder

blueberries or cherries / (in this case I used Smarties!)

something to use for a feve – don’t use a date! A large (clean!) coin, a dried bean if you don’t have little kids eating the cake, perhaps some trinket from the Christmas crackers?)

METHOD

Mix all but the last ingredient together and blend well.

Add the feve to the mix and pour it all into an oiled spring-form cake tin, making sure that the feve is well hidden and then drop in the berries/cherries/things you are using for polka-dots in a pleasing pattern.

Cook at 170C for about 25 – 30 minutes … sorry I didn’t pay attention to how long it was in there for. I took it out when the top was a light brown colour and the knife came out clean. Mine was in about half an hour I think.