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Nose to Tail Slow Cooker Beef Rendang

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I love trying out different cuts of meat from my butcher. I popped in around midday in Saturday, hoping to pick up some beef short ribs as I really fancied making something rich in collagen and full of the goodness of grass-fed beef bones. They had already sold out of short ribs, so I decided to go with oxtail instead. Then something else caught my eye – beef cheek! I’ve had it before in restaurants, but never tried cooking it myself. I bought one with the idea in my mind of ‘beefing up’ (pardon the pun) my oxtail dish.

I wasn’t exactly sure what on earth I was going to make with these random cow parts, so I had a flip through some of my favourite recipe books to get ideas. Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey piqued my interest as I already had some bits and pieces from the Thai supermarket lurking in the fridge. I decided I would make my own take on his Beef Rendang recipe (a Malaysian curry).

Nose to Tail Slow Cooker Beef Rendang (serves 3)
Ingredients:

For the spice paste:
60g desiccated coconut, toasted in a dry wok
6 dried birds eye chillies
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
6 cloves garlic
4 shallots (small)
4 red chillies, deseeded

For the beef:
1 tbsp coconut oil
6 kafir lime leaves
2 stalks lemongrass, slit down the middle
160ml coconut cream
1 large cinnamon stick, broken in half
1 tbsp tamarind paste mixed in 120ml boiling water
15 drops stevia liquid
1 beef cheek cut into chunks
3 large pieces oxtail
1/2 cup cilantro leaves

Make spice paste by placing all ingredients into a food processor and blitzing until it forms a thick goo.
Melt coconut oil in a large pan or wok.
Add oxtail sand beef cheek and sear on all sides.
Add in the spice paste and fry for 1 min.
Add in remaining ingredients (except cilantro) and mix well.
Transfer to slow cooker and leave to cook for 4-6 hrs on high.
Just before serving, stir in cilantro leaves and sprinkle a few on top to make it look pretty!

I served this with mashed swede and rainbow chard sautéed in coconut oil, as that is what I had in the fridge. This would be great served with cauliflower ‘rice’.

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

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I am absolutely nuts about coconut (pun intended)! A few weeks ago we went for brunch at some friends of ours’ house. Since I’m such a fussy eater compared to most people, I thought it only polite that I take a dessert that we could all enjoy. That meant that it had to (obviously) be Paleo/Primal for me and suitable for not one but two nut allergy sufferers! I was flipping through “Make it Paleo” by Staley and Mason and came across a delicious sounding recipe for coconut cake. I tweaked it a little and my coconut cupcake recipe was born! These cupcakes were so moist and delicious and quite light for a grain free cake. I might even go so far as to say they were in the the top 5 cupcakes I have ever made! Yes even out of all the cupcakes I ever made before going Paleo/Primal! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did (I think I’m still trying to shift the damage they did to my waistline!)

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting (makes 13-14)
Ingredients
Cupcakes:
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup grass fed butter (substitute the same amount of coconut oil for a dairy free cake)
8 eggs
1 cup dedicated coconut
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
120 ml coconut cream
1 cup maple syrup

Preheat oven to 170 C
Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.
Gradually add in all wet ingredients to form a thick batter.
Line a cupcake tin with individual liners.
Fill 3/4 full with batter.
Bake in oven for 20-22 mins until lightly golden and pass the toothpick test.
Leave to cool in tin for 10 mins.
Remove to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting

Frosting:
400g cream cheese at room temperature
1/3 cup maple syrup
40ml coconut cream
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer.
Gradually add in maple syrup, then vanilla and coconut cream.
Mix in desiccated coconut, and lastly the melted coconut oil (this will help to make the frosting set a little as it cools.
Cover each cupcake with frosting and place in the fridge to set slightly.

Breakfast of Champions!

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I know that really and truly I should have posted this on Friday night so that you could try this for brunch over the weekend, but life has just been a little too hectic recently to be that organised with my blog (the blog really has fallen by the wayside a little recently!) Anyway, now you have it well in advance of next weekend, which we all know is a special weekend! Yes, it’s Valentines, so no doubt you will all be serving your loved one a scrumptious breakfast in bed. Now you have your breakfast in bed recipe all ready to go!

I called this dish “Breakfast of Champions” because breakfasts don’t really get much better than this in terms of taste and nutrition! Organic free range eggs, smoked wild Alaskan salmon and creamy kale! It’s all in there. Just think of how your body loves taking in all that great stuff like omega 3, great quality protein, and the calcium, iron and magnesium from the kale.

Believe it or not, this was also the first time I have ever made poached eggs in the old school way, as I was always slightly afraid of ruining them. It was easy and after testing the way with the first one, which wasn’t as attractive as it could have been, they came out perfect!

Breakfast of Champions (Creamy Kale with Smoked Salmon and Poached Eggs) Serves 2

3-4 cups chopped kale, hard ribs removed
2-4 slices wild smoked salmon
4 eggs
1 tbsp cream cheese (optional)
1/2 tbsp butter
1 tsp white vinegar
1/4 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Poach the kale in the chicken stock until tender (about 5 mins). Once cooked, drain remaining liquid. Add butter and cream cheese if using and stir until fully melted and incorporated. Cover and keep warm while you concentrate on poaching the eggs.

Poach eggs according to your preferred method. I used a large saucepan with about an inch of water in the bottom. Bring the water up to a rolling boil and add the vinegar. Crack the egg into a ramekin. Stir the water to create a vortex and then gently tip the egg in while the water is still swirling (but you are no longer stirring it). Turn the heat down a little so you can observe the egg’s progress. Allow to poach for around 3 mins (or longer if you prefer it a little less runny). Carefully remove egg from water with a slotted spoon. Cook each egg separately to avoid disaster!

Once all your eggs are poached, layer kale, then smoked salmon and finally the eggs on a plate. Season with Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Lamb Biryani

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This horrible weather just makes me want to stay at home and eat comfort food! Last night I had a real hankering for Indian food with it’s rich comforting flavours. Luckily I had some organic lamb leg steaks in the fridge, and half an enormous cauliflower. I was struck with a great idea – lamb biryani using cauliflower instead of rice. I also threw a bit of kale in there for some extra greenery, fibre and nutrients. I also happened to have half a can of coconut milk left over from something else, so in that went too! The resulting dish was exactly what I was after! Tasty, satisfying, easy and pretty quick.

Lamb Biryani (serves 2)
Ingredients:
2 lamb leg steaks, trimmed of excess fat and cut into cubes
1/2 large cauliflower, finely chopped
1 red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1″ piece ginger, finely chopped
6-8 large kale leaves, tough stems removed and leaves chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 can coconut milk
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup chopped coriander/cilantro leaves
Sea salt

Melt the coconut oil in a large pan and once really hot, add the lamb and sear. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate.
Add the onion to the remaining fat in the pan. Sauté until soft.
Add the ginger and garlic and stir fry until fragrant.
Add the vegetables, lamb and spices and salt to taste and stir well so that everything is mixed and coated with spice.
Add the coconut milk.
Cover and simmer for 10-15 mins until the cauliflower is well cooked, but not mushy.
Remove the lid, break the cauliflower up with a spoon so that it resembles rice grains.
If there is quite a lot of liquid in the pan, turn the heat up and reduce until the dish is fairly dry.
Just before serving, stir in chopped coriander/ cilantro leaves.

Butternut Squash Hummus

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There is no denying that I sometimes really miss hummus! It used to be my go-to snack with carrot sticks. I must admit that while I was in Israel recently, I had some falafel and hummus! Shhh, don’t tell the Paleo police! My gut, however, really doesn’t miss pulses and did not feel so clever after my indulgence. I decided I needed to come up with a Paleo-friendly hummus recipe. This is so simple to make and really delicious. The sweetness of the butternut squash contrasts nicely with the tahini.

Butternut Squash Hummus
Ingredients:

1 butternut squash, deseeded, roasted, cooled and skinned
1 clove of garlic
Juice of half to one lemon (add to taste)
3 dessert spoons tahini
Salt
1 dessert spoon EVOO

Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Whizz until fully mixed and smooth.
That’s all there is to it!

Paleo Christmas Pudding

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Happy New Year!!!
I hope you all had a good Holiday season and that 2014 is treating you well so far.
I had a lovely Christmas, staying in a house in the country and cooking Christmas lunch in an aga – a very different experience indeed! I have to say, the slow-roasted turkey that my sister and I created (15 hours in the aga) was amazing! Tender and delicious!

Anyway, I know that I’m a bit late with this post (I should really have posted this before Christmas, but you know how busy a time it is). Now you have it well in advance for next year!

Before I went grain-free, I always loved the flavour of Christmas pudding, but I must say I found it terribly stodgy and ridiculously filling/bloating (maybe that was partly to do with the fact that it always came at the end of Christmas lunch during which I had stuffed my face!). This Christmas pudding however has all the delicious, boozy, fruity, spicy flavour of a traditional Christmas pud, but a lighter texture. I can honestly say, I much prefer this version to the original and I have even converted a few people who never used to like Christmas pud! If you don’t like a lot of booze, you can certainly lessen the quantities (or omit it altogether).

Paleo Christmas Pudding (makes 1 medium and 1 small pudding)

Ingredients:
7 dates
200g prunes
100g raisins
100g sultanas
1/3 cup dark rum
1/3 cup brandy (plus extra for igniting the pudding before serving)
1 large carrot, grated
1 apple, finely chopped
5 eggs, beaten
150g grass-fed butter (or ghee), frozen and grated
Juice of 1 orange
Zest of half an orange
1 tsp vanilla
150g ground almonds
2 tbsp coconut flour
3 & 1/2 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Put the raisins and sultanas in a bowl, cover with the booze and leave to soak for a few hours or overnight.
Place the prunes and dates in a jug, cover with boiling water and microwave for a minute or two until the water is boiling and the fruit is soft. Drain off the water.
Purée the prunes and dates in a food processor and leave to cool.
In a large bowl, mix the eggs, puréed prunes and dates, spices, vanilla, zest, orange juice, salt and bicarbonate of soda. Add in the flours.
Next stir in the grated carrot and chopped apple, along with the boozy dried fruit (including the booze!)
Finally, grate the frozen butter and add into the mixture.
Grease your pudding basins and set up your steamer(s) or slow cooker.
Steam (or slow cook) your puddings for around 4-6 hours.
Leave to cool and then refrigerate for up to a week and a half until Christmas Day, or when needed.
Before serving, steam the pudding for a couple of hours.
Turn out onto a plate and decorate with holly if you like.
Pour a tablespoon or two of brandy into a metal ladle and heat over a burner until warm.
Ignite the brandy and pour flaming liquid over the pudding. Keep spooning it up and pouring it over the pudding to keep the flames going while you wow your guests or family! Be careful not to burn yourself or set fire to your house in the process!
Serve with homemade brandy butter, brandy cream or regular heavy cream (if you are Primal), or whipped coconut cream for a truly decadent but delicious Holiday treat!

Raw Truffles

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I went to Scotland last week to visit Mr (not entirely) Grain Free’s family and wanted to take some home made Paleo treats for them. I decided to try these out on my own parents before making them to give to his. I have to say, I was very pleased with how they turned out. They are ridiculously easy and quick to make and unbelievably moreish!

Raw Truffles
(makes around 20, depending on size)

1 cup sunflower seeds
9 medjool dates
3 tbsp cocoa powder
200g coconut cream concentrate
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup desiccated coconut

Melt the coconut cream concentrate in a Bain Marie.
Blitz sunflower seeds in a food processor.
Add in the dates and whizz until it forms a thick mass.
Add the rest of the ingredients and process until everything is well mixed.
Take small teaspoonfuls of the mixture and form into balls.
Roll in desiccated coconut.
When all the truffles are done, place in the fridge for at least 30 mins to firm up before serving.

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