Tag Archives: Paleo

Sweet Potato Brownies

Twelve months ago, I attempted to shift my treat addiction into the sugar and dairy free category. I concluded that the best Paleo pudding was a sliced apple or square of dark chocolate. Pretty dull huh?  I had yet to discover anything as amazing as these sweet potato brownies. Then out of the blue we got pregnant. Yay! Suddenly, we were able to justify brownies with extra ice cream, lemon tart and any other goodies. Wait! What was that you said about butter and sugar? Okay, sure, I had a little bit. I mean, I’ve got to support Anna during the pregnancy right? Well, now the little fella is here I’m bang out of excuses. Time to get back on the sugar and dairy free bandwagon.

Sweet Potato Brownie Recipe

Now I know I’m not the first food blogger to post about these magical Ella Woodward sweet potato brownies. But when you want to unlock sweetness’s hold on richness, oh friends, please do make these brownie wonders. Those eagle eyed readers may have noticed I’ve slightly adapted the recipe. Firstly, because sourcing Medjool dates probably calls for a camel trek in Morocco. They’re pretty hard to source, so I’ve substituted them for Tunisian dates. You can get them in most health food shops. Secondly, I like my brownies to have a little bit of texture. The sweet potato makes these very creamy and adding the walnuts gives them that little bit of extra brownie like texture.

Pitted Dates
Dates for Sweet Potato Brownie recipe

Makes 10 – 12 brownies
600g sweet potatoes
16 Tunisian dates
80g ground almonds
100g buckwheat flour
20g walnut pieces
4 tbsp raw cacao powder
3 tbsp maple syrup

Sweet Potato Brownie Mix
Sweet Potato Brownie Mix

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into chunks. Place in a glass bowl with a tablespoon of water, cover with clingfilm and microwave for 12 minutes. Until they’re soft and fall apart.

Add the cooked sweet potato and pitted dates to a food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Pre-mix the remaining ingredients and stir into the creamy mixture. Stir well.

Place the mixture into a lined baking dish and cook for about 20 – 30 minutes, until you can pierce the brownie mix with a fork and it comes out dry. Remove the tray and leave to cool for 10 minutes.

Sweet Potato Brownies
Sweet Potato Brownies

Mexican Breakfast Eggs

I won’t lie. I generally feel that breakfast without some form of grain is nigh impossible. Cereal? Nope. Bagels, toast or porridge? All a big no. Growing up, our breakfast was a rotation of all of these, so it’s not like I have a deep love of all things wheat free. It’s just that I’m trying to discover a wheat free breakfast that’s still the ‘big fella’ meal of day, but doesn’t feel like I’m only consuming a glass of pulverised fruit.

This recipe is nothing new, but in my breakfast arsenal this is dish I’ve made the most that doesn’t deliver a furrowed brow. Freshly scrambled eggs with a spicy tomato salsa and crumble of feta cheese. These taco free huevos rancheros are  awesome on their own, but even more magic with a couple of rashers of bacon.

Paleo Breakfast

Mexican Breakfast Eggs
3 large free-range eggs
1 medium ripe tomato
3 slices of pickled jalapeños (normally in a jar)
tsp of butter (optional)
tsp of feta

Make a quick salsa by roughly chopping the tomato, coriander leaves and pickled jalapeños. Season and set aside.  Heat up a large frying pan with a couple of glugs of olive oil. While the pan is warming up whisk up three eggs in a bowl and pour into the pan with a teaspoon of butter. You want the eggs to be light and fluffy, so avoid scrambling and instead gently fold the eggs in from the sides. Rotate the pan as you go until you get a folded pile of fluffy eggs in the middle of the pan. Spoon the eggs onto a warm plate and sprinkle the salsa and feta over the top. Season and eat it right away.

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.

IMG_1733

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

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