Carrot Cake

Slice of Carrot Cake

There are not many people who don’t like to enjoy a slice of cake along with their cup of coffee or tea.

This carrot cake, completely gluten and refined sugar free, is absolutely perfect and very simple to make.

Beautifully moist, full of carrots and nuts and sweetened with dates, it keeps well in an airtight container.

 

INGREDIENTS:  for approximately 12 slices

320g grated carrots
80g dates, finely chopped
3 large eggs
150g coconut oil, melted
Zest of 1 orange
1 heaped teaspoon ground mixed spice
1 level teaspoon cinnamon
160g buckwheat flour
120g unsweetened desiccated coconut (plus extra for sprinkling on top)
1 tablespoon gluten-free baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
120g chopped walnuts

Chop walnuts

METHOD:

Line an 8” round cake tin with parchment paper. Heat oven to 150°C.

Place the carrots, dates, eggs, oil and orange zest in a food processor and pulse until mixed.

Add the rest of the ingredients except the walnuts and blitz until well combined. Stir in the walnuts.

Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 60 to 75 minutes or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.   During the last five minutes of baking, sprinkle the top with a little extra desiccated coconut.

Leave in the tin for a few minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool.

Deliciously moist carrot cake

Recipe slighted adapted from one in the Daily Mail.

NB:  All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

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Bang Bang Chicken with a Mango and Cucumber Salad

Although this recipe looks like it has quite a few steps, by doing it in stages, it is fairly straight-forward.  I marinated my chicken overnight, made the sauce in the morning, made my salad before cooking the chicken and everything came together beautifully.

This is a dish full of wonderful flavours – another winner from Irena Macri of EatDrinkPaleo and one which we really enjoyed.  I had a pack of 6 chicken thighs so increased the amount of marinade and sauce and the meal served for two days.  The second day we had the chicken cold and it was still delicious.

As Irena states, this is not the original version of Bang Bang Chicken but a paleo one which she has perfected and it really is tasty.  The mango and cucumber salad beautifully offsets the crispy and spicy chicken and creamy sauce.   I love the tapioca slurry which gives the chicken a super crispy finish.  I also served sliced sugarsnap peas – barely dipped into boiling water so they were still lovely and crispy.

INGREDIENTS:

For the chicken:
4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 teaspoon white or black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon mild/medium curry powder
1.5 teaspoons onion powder
1.5 teaspoons garlic powder

For the slurry:
3 tablespoons tapioca starch
1 tablespoon coconut flour
¼ cup almond or coconut milk (or water could be used)

For the Sauce:
1 teaspoon coconut oil
½ small brown onion, diced
½ long red chilli, finely sliced
¼ teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
3 tablespoons almond butter (I used cashew butter and it was delicious)
2 tablespoons coconut aminos or Tamari
2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
3 tablespoons coconut yoghurt or cream
¼ cup water
Juice of ½ lime

For the Salad:
1 or 2 heads of baby gem lettuce, shredded
½ cucumber, sliced into thin strips
1 large (or two small) carrots sliced into thin matchsticks
½ yellow pepper, thinly sliced into strips
1 small mango, sliced into thin strips
¼ cup finely sliced spring onions
Juice of ½ lime
Pinch of sea salt
Drizzle of olive oil

METHOD:

Cut the chicken thighs into manageable pieces.  Mix together all of the spices and sprinkle over the chicken.   Massage the spices into the chicken with your hands to make sure they are evenly distributed  . Leave in the fridge for at least an hour, or preferably overnight to marinate.   Make sure to bring out of the fridge ten to fifteen minutes before cooking.

Make the sauce (this can be made in advance and warmed just before use).   Add the teaspoon of coconut oil to a small saucepan with the onion, garlic, chilli and salt and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring a few times.   Add the rest of the ingredients and stir through until melted and well combined.  Transfer the sauce to a Nutribullet or blender and blitz until smooth.   Store in the fridge until needed.   Reheat before use, adding a little water if too thick.

Make the salad before starting to cook the chicken.   Simply toss all ingredients in a bowl or serving dish;  drizzle with lime juice, sprinkle with salt and drizzle with olive oil.

Make the slurry by whisking together all the ingredients in a bowl.  Add the marinated chicken and mix until evenly coated.

 

Heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large pan or skillet.  Once hot, add the chicken pieces one by one making sure there is room around each.   Cook for a few minutes on each side until just cooked and still juicy (depending on the size of your chicken pieces, this will take 2-3 minutes on each side or up to 5 minutes). Keep the first batch warm whilst you cook the rest.

 

Serve the chicken sprinkled with a few sliced spring onions, with the salad and sauce on the side, with an optional serving of steamed sugar snap peas.

Bang Bang Chicken (Paleo) with a Mango and Cucumber Salad and a side of Sugar Snap Peas

NB:  All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

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Vietnamese Noodle Salad

This is a really lovely salad to serve alongside chicken, meat or fish.   Alternatively, it is very tasty eaten on its own.   I quite like adding shredded chicken (the remains of a roast) to the salad and leaving everyone to just help themselves.    A main meal in one bowl!

Depending on what you have in the fridge, this salad can be made using shredded lettuce, red or green cabbage, red onions or any fresh herbs such as basil or Thai basil.

INGREDIENTS:

12 oz thin rice noodles or similar
2 carrots, shredded
1 cucumber, seeded and shredded
6 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 ½ cups fresh bean sprouts
1/3 cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped
½ cup fish sauce
½ cup seasoned rice vinegar
3 tablespoons coconut sugar
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon crushed chilli flakes
½ cup edamame beans
½ pepper (orange, yellow, red or green) thinly sliced
1 lime (optional)

METHOD:

Cover the noodles with boiling water and leave to soften for 3 to 4 minutes. Rinse under cold running water and drain well before placing in a large bowl.

Add the shredded carrots, cucumber, bean sprouts, coriander, edamame beans, pepper and half of the onions to the noodles.

In a separate bowl mix together the fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, garlic and chilli flakes.

Pour ¾ of the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.   Add a squeeze of lime juice if desired.

Serve sprinkled with the remaining sliced onions.  Add the remaining dressing if desired.

Vietnamese Noodle Salad

This salad keeps well in the fridge overnight.

Original recipe by Heidi from FoodieCrush

NB:  All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

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Quick and Simple Homemade Mayonnaise

I really didn’t think this mayo recipe would work when I saw it on the Healthy Foodie – or perhaps I would end up with something not particularly pleasant.  How wrong I was!

This is the most perfect creamy mayonnaise and SO quick and easy to make.

I used a screw-top jar which doubled up as the airtight container to store it in.  A spoonful of wholegrain mustard is our preferred flavouring but almost anything could be used from fresh herbs or garlic, to chilli flakes or pepper.  It is just as delicious plain with no added flavourings.  Substituting some of the LIGHT olive oil with avocado, macadamia or walnut oil also changes the flavour slightly.  Play around and see which one suits you most.

INGREDIENTS:

1 whole large or extra-large organic egg at room temperature
1 cup LIGHT olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon (2 to 3 teaspoons) or apple cider vinegar
Pinch of sea salt
Teaspoon of Dijon or Wholegrain mustard (optional)
Garlic or herbs (optional as different flavours)
Tall glass jar into which a stick blender will fit

METHOD:

Break the egg into the jar.

Add the lemon juice (or ACV), salt and your chosen flavourings if using).

 

Pour in the olive oil and leave to settle for a few minutes.

Put the stick blender to the bottom of the jar and power on for about 20 seconds without moving it.  Slowly raise the blender to incorporate all the oil.

Perfect creamy Mayonnaise in just over 20 seconds

This amazing mayo will keep in the fridge for two weeks in an airtight container.  Ours tends not to last that long!

NB:  All the photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

 

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Baked Ziti

I read somewhere that Baked Ziti is lasagna’s more relaxed cousin and I thought what a good description.

Now I know that my grand-kids love lasagna so I thought I would give this dish a whirl whilst changing just a couple of ingredients so that my gluten-intolerant husband could enjoy it as well.  Instead of using Ziti macaroni, I used gluten-free pasta, used only a pinch of crushed chilli flakes (not too hot for the kids) and made my own marinara sauce with a couple of cartons of chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, garlic, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper and a splash of wine.  You could cheat and buy a jar from the supermarket if you wanted to.

INGREDIENTS:

1lb ziti (or gluten-free penne) pasta
Glug of olive oil
1lb extra-lean minced beef
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (oregano, basil, thyme)
½ teaspoon crushed red chilli flakes (optional)
About 32oz marinara sauce
8oz mozzarella, grated
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup grated parmesan

METHOD:

Heat a small glug of olive oil in a pan and sauté the onions for a few minutes before adding the chopped garlic.

Cook for a further minute before adding the minced beef.  Cook, breaking the meat up, until it has browned all over – about 4 to 5 minutes.

 

Once the meat has browned, add the herbs and crushed chilli flakes if using.  Cook for a minute before adding the sauce.  Stir well and simmer for a minute or two.

Cook the pasta al dente, according to the packet instructions. Drain in a colander and toss with a glug of oil to ensure it doesn’t stick together.  Add a large spoonful of the meat mixture to the pasta and stir through.

Take a 9” x 13” baking dish and spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom. Dot the surface with half of the ricotta cheese and then add the pasta on top.

Pour over the remaining tomato sauce mix, dot with the remaining ricotta cheese and sprinkle with the mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

 

Bake at 350°F for approximately 30 minutes until the cheese has melted, the top browned and the mixture heated through.

Deliciously moist Baked Ziti

The pasta in this dish stays deliciously moist and the ‘heat’ can be adjusted by adding more or less crushed chilli flakes.

Recipe based on the one from SimplyRecipes.com

NB:  All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

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Chocolate Cake with Fresh Fruit (Nut-free)

My thanks to Irena Macri of Eat Drink Paleo for this amazing recipe.  It not only looks good, it tastes scrumptious too and the grand-kids loved it as dessert.   I served it with whipped coconut cream.

I used an 8″ loose-bottomed cake tin and there was plenty of mixture for the tin.  There was probably ample mixture for a 9″ tin.

INGREDIENTS:

1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut oil
5 tablespoons raw cacao powder
5 tablespoons sweetener, I used raw honey
4 whole eggs, separated
Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries (or other fruit)

METHOD:

Line an 8” (or slightly larger) cake tin with baking parchment.

Pre-heat oven to 170°C / 320°F.

Put the coconut oil into a glass bowl and melt in the microwave (or oven) until just melted.

Add the cacao powder and honey and mix really thoroughly.   Put to one side.

Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and whisk until very stiff.   You should be able to turn the bowl upside down and they won’t slide out.

Making sure the chocolate mix is only luke-warm, add one egg yolk and stir it through the mixture with a spatula.   Add the remaining three yolks and whisk them in really well.

Add one third of the egg whites and stir through until well combined.   Add another third and again fold in well making sure you scrape down the sides as you fold in.

Add the final third of egg white and gently fold it in until there are no white clumps left.  Don’t over-beat as you want the mixture light and fluffy.

 

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and gently tap the tin to flatten the top and remove any bubbles.

Place on the middle shelf in the oven for 30 minutes.

 

 

After 30 minutes, turn the oven off and open the door slightly. Leave the cake to cool down slightly like this and then remove from oven and leave to cool in the tin for a further 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove from tin and gently peel off the lining paper.

Leave to cool completely before filling with fruit.

Chocolate Cake with Fruit (Nut-free)

Serve with whipped coconut cream/ice cream/chocolate sauce.

This slices beautifully

NB:  All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

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Sticky Asian Style Turkey Meatballs

The original recipe for this delicious dish was from Chef Savvy who used minced chicken but as I had some turkey mince in the freezer (thigh and breast), I decided to use that instead.   I have also changed a couple of ingredients to make it gluten-free, plus doubled the sauce quantity.

These meatballs are absolutely delicious, tasty and moreish!  I made my meatballs earlier in the day and reheated them (covered in foil) in the oven before tossing them with the sauce and serving as a main meal with coconut rice.  Alternatively, they could be served on their own as an appetizer.

INGREDIENTS:  to make 22 meatballs

For the meatballs:
500g minced turkey (breast and thigh)
½ cup dried gluten-free breadcrumbs
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 small onion, chopped finely
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of black pepper
¼ teaspoon crushed chilli flakes
Small handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 egg

For the sauce:
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 tablespoons Tamari
4 teaspoons honey
½ teaspoon crushed chilli flakes
½ teaspoon sesame seeds
2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 teaspoons Sriracha
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

METHOD:

Mix together all of the meatball ingredients until they are combined.   Either grease a baking sheet with a little oil, or like me, use a pyramid pan mat.

Roll heaped teaspoons of the meat mixture into balls and place on the baking sheet/mat. It’s a matter of choice but if you like larger meatballs, use a dessertspoon. I made 22 meatballs with heaped teaspoons.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes at 200°C turning over half-way through cooking. The meatballs should just be cooked through and slightly browning on the outside.

Whilst the meatballs are cooking, make the sauce by heating the oil in a medium-sized saucepan and gently cooking the garlic for a minute.   Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.

 

When the meatballs are cooked, tip them into the sauce and gently toss until they are completely covered.

 

 

Serve with coconut rice, plain rice, or rice noodles.

 

Sticky Asian Style Meatballs with Coconut Rice

These meatballs freeze really well but before being covered in sauce.  Open freeze on trays then pack in freezer bags.  Thaw thoroughly before reheating and coating in sauce.

NB:  All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

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