Tag Archives: Gluten Free

Paleo BlueBerry, Coconut & Banana Cookies

As I roll into my annual “must lose the spare tyre” post festive detox, I’m on the hunt for an eating plan I can, erm…get my teeth into. Forget that 5:1 diet, that’s just starvation, but ‘hello’ to Paleo.  Eat as much as you like. Avoid the carbs, dairy and basically anything that comes in a box with microwave instructions. This seems achievable right? Now I won’t lie. I’ve had a crack at this before and the results, well in my mind anyway, seemed pretty good. So I’m back on it and ready to smash out 4-weeks of nothing by grass fed meat and vegetables. What could go wrong.

Prep seems to be the key to avoiding temptation here. So armed with enough lunch boxes to host my own Tupperware party and I’m ready to go. Chicken salad lunch. Check. Almonds to graze on. Check. 11am bit of cake for my cup of tea……erm, nope.

Cookie Mix

So here’s my challenge. Create a cake that tastes like a cake, but it’s actually gluten and wheat free. So here it is.

Guilt Gluten Free Blueberry, Banana and Coconut Cakes
170g coconut flour
3 organic eggs
1tsp baking soda
1tsp ground cinnamon
2 mashed ripe bananas
125g fresh blueberries
1tbsp olive oil
60g maple syrup
Pinch of salt

Blueberries

I’ve learnt two things about coconut flour. It’s expensive and absorbs any amount of moisture like a sponge. So I needed a way to make it go a little further, plus add enough moisture to prevent it tasting like I’d just eaten some sand. To get around this I used mashed banana and packed it full of healthy blueberries. It worked a treat and it’s pretty simple.

Heat your oven up to 200°C and combine all the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl combine the banana, eggs, olive oil and maple syrup with a food mixer. Bit-by-bit add all your dry ingredients until combined. Gently fold in your blueberries.

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Baked Cakes

Don’t worry if the batter appears fairly sticky. That’s just the coconut flour, but if your want more moisture in the batter supplement some coconut flour for ground almonds. Pour the batter into a lined baking tray and smooth flat.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Leave to cool before cutting into cake slices. Either cut into bars, or for this post I used a cookie cutter and made them into handy little handheld cakes.

Paleo Cakes

Brussel Sprout Slaw

I have to apologise in advance: This is a recipe with brussel sprouts. Yes I know! “BRUSSEL SPROUTS!?” Don’t worry, I’m totally with you. There’s nothing more terrifying than being handed a bowl of these on Christmas day. Sure, you can cook them with bacon or cover them in goose fat, but that’s just the point. They’re so bitter they need all manner of tastier items to disguise them.

Needless to say, working out how to get them into our Christmas menu is keeping me busy. Well, that and trying to work out what Anna wants for Christmas……but that’s a different story altogether. Technically, they’re just little underachieving cabbages, so why not treat them like a cabbage and make a slaw. So that’s what I did, but with with a bit of Christmas spirit.

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Dressing

Brussel Sprout Slaw with Red Onion, Preserved Lemon and Parmigiano-Reggaino.

320g Brussel sprouts
1 small onion
1 preserved lemon (juice and zest)
pinch of salt
Teaspoon honey
Tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of salt
Tablespoon finely grated Parmigiano-Reggaino

Finely slice the red onion and soak in a bowl of cold water for about 15 minutes. In an old jam jar add the olive oil, preserved lemon zest, lemon juice, honey and salt. Shake up until combined. Set aside.

Trim off the hard outer layers off the sprouts. With a sharp knife slice the sprouts and discard the hard root edge. Then with your fingers gently break apart, but throw away the hard middle root. It’s the bitter bit and you just want the soft leaves.

Drain the sliced red onion and add to a large bowl with the shaved brussel sprouts. Pour in the the dressing and cheese. Gently mix together and serve.

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Pancetta & French Lentil Soup

In the last few days, Brighton has started get a right old nip in the air. Gone is that long lazy summer only to be replaced with a windy and wet Autumn, that’s been blowing cold air right up the back of my jumper. This calls for one thing  and one thing only…soup. ‘Oh boring, not another bloody soup’ I hear you groan, but wait just a minute. This one is good one. It’s the kind of soup everyone should have in their recipe bank.

Whilst I’d like to claim the origins of this soup are from my great granny, who got it from her great granny, but it’s not. It’s sort of from the Leon Cookbook, but with large lumps of butter removed just a few tweaks here and there. It’s the perfect soup for those days just between Winter and Summer…oh and it’s gluten and diary free. Bingo!

Pancetta & French Lentil Soup (serves 4)
130g cubed and smoked pancetta
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 large red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
200g french lentils
1 litre chicken stock

Lentils

Cooked Lentils

Heat a large solid pan and add the oil. Once hot cook the pancetta until crisp and brown. Add all the veg and cook gently for about 15 minutes, or until the onions start to pick up a bit of colour. Stir in the bay leaves, oregano and cook for another couple of minutes.

Now add the tomato puree, vinegar and mix well. Tip in the lentils and stir them around to pick up all the flavour. Pour in your chicken stock. Bring to boil, then simmer for 30 minutes until the lentils are very soft.

Take a couple of ladles of soup out of the pot and blitz in your blender. It will be a bit paste like. Mix back into the soup. Season to taste.

Lentil Soup

Flourless Chocolate Cake

A couple of weeks ago, I was out with the lads drinking dark beers and getting in animated discussions about the weekend football. Epic it was…until that is my phone buzzed with a message from Anna. ‘Don’t forget we’re out for dinner tonight and you promised to make pudding. Anna xx‘.

The alarm bells kicked in. In fact, I’d totally forgotten and only had a couple of hours to rustle something up. I could have just popped to the shops, wraped it in foil and claimed it as my own. No that’s not for me, what I needed here was a quick fix. Thankfully, I had a cracking chocolate cake recipe up my sleeve for just this sort of emergency. It’s like a big giant gooey chocolate circle of goodness and it never fails.

Ingredients
250g butter
250g brown granulated sugar
500g dark chocolate (70%)
10 eggs

Smash up the chocolate into smaller bits and add to a rounded bowl, along with the butter. Cover the top of the bowl with cling film and place on top of a pan of boiling water. You only need a small amount of water in the pan so it sits just beneath, but not touching the bowl. Then leave it and that means no stiring. Playing around with it is likely to make the chocolate granulated. Once the butter and chocolate is melted, take off the heat and we’ll come back to it later.

Separate the egg yolks from the whites into two different bowls. With a mixer beat the sugar and yolks until they become fluffy. It’s easier if you have an electric whisk, or a pain in the wrist if you have a wind up one like ours! Take your melted chocolate/ butter mix and gradually pour and mix into the egg yolks. Beat until smooth and set aside.

Whisk the egg whites into stiff peaks with your mixer. Gently fold the egg whites into the cake mixture with as little mixing as possible. This probably doesn’t make any sense, but the idea is to try and keep as much air in it as possible. Heat your oven up to gas mark 4 (180 degrees).

Spoon in your mixture to a pre-greased cake tin and bake for about 35 minutes. If you like it very gooey then go for 30 minutes. Now it might look a little plain, but boy will this cake make you popular. It’s best served with thick whipped cream, with fresh vanilla stirred through.