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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Gorgeous Grain-free Jambalaya

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Luckily I have never been a huge rice fan, so the prospect of Jambalaya without rice doesn’t phase me one bit! I love the combination of flavours of the veggies, meats and seafood along with the spices. It is hard to find Andouille sausage in the UK, so I have used chorizo in this recipe, but I have also made it with gluten-free sausages and it is equally delicious. Feel free to use whichever sausage you like (just check for nasty cereals and other things in the ingredients). If you really miss the rice, make up a batch of cauliflower rice and add some towards the end of the cooking time of the Jambalaya.

Jambalaya (serves 4-5)
Ingredients:

1 red onion, diced
1 stalk of celery, sliced
2 red peppers, diced
1 yellow or green pepper
2 courgettes, cut into chunks
100g chorizo, skin removed and diced
350g diced chicken breast
260g cooked peeled king prawns/shrimps
1 green chilli, deseeded and sliced
2 large cloves garlic
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (use 1/4 tsp for less heat)
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 cans chopped tomatoes
Sea salt and pepper

Heat a large pan or wok and add the chorizo.
Allow it to cook for a few minutes until the fat begins to render.
Add the diced chicken breast and cook until it starts to go a little golden on all sides and there is no liquid in the wok (except fat).
Add the onion and cook until it begins to turn translucent.
Add in all other veggies, herbs, spices and tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
Leave to cook for 5 minutes until veggies look like they are beginning to soften.
Add in the king prawns and leave the whole thing to simmer for around 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
I like to serve this dish in a bowl, eaten with a spoon.

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Another Pumpkin Treat

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I know it’s not Fall anymore and I should get over the pumpkin recipes, but I just can’t get over my addiction to the orange stuff! Living in the UK, we don’t get bombarded with all the delicious, creative pumpkin recipes that you do in the States. Therefore I always feel hard-done-by on the pumpkin front. The only people who understand my obsession with pumpkin are my mum (who is American), my sister (I guess it runs in the family) and my man (who is Canadian), oh and a few other American and Canadian friends. My dad has grown to like pumpkin over the years, being force fed it by my mum, my sister and I. He really enjoyed this pumpkin loaf I made last week while I was staying at their house following my mum’s surgery. I really don’t care that it’s not Fall anymore! It still feels like winter here in Old Blighty (that means England, by the way), so the blend of warming spices still feels appropriate for the time of year. When it starts to feel like Spring, I might hold off on the pumpkin for a while…nah!

Pumpkin Loaf (makes a 24x13cm loaf)
Ingredients:

8 prunes, soaked in water or tea then boiled until really soft
4 eggs
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
A sprinkle of ground mace
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 can pumpkin purée
2 cups almond flour
2 tbsp coconut flour
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

Preheat oven to 170C
Blitz the prunes, eggs, pumpkin, banana, vanilla and coconut oil until well mixed.
Stir in the spices and flours, mixing well to form a thick batter.
Pour into a greased and parchment lined loaf tin.
Bake in the oven for 40 mins.
Allow to cool completely before removing from the tin (or it will crumble).
Serve sliced with a slab (or a small scraping) of grass-fed butter on the top! Delish!

Quick and Easy Salmon

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Another busy day today. I’m about to rush off to teach a lunchtime boxing class, then I’ll be going over to my parents’ house to prepare some more meals for them to reheat while my mum convalesces. So I’ll be brief today (I hope that wasn’t a sigh of relief I heard!)

This was a very tasty and ridiculously simple salmon dish. Perfect for mid-week/ after work meals when time is short or you don’t have the inclination to cook.

Pesto Baked Salmon (serves 2)
Ingredients:

2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp pine nuts
1 large bunch of basil (25g)
1 tbsp EVOO
1″ cube Parmesan cheese
2 Salmon fillets
Sea salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180C.
Blend all ingredients (except the salmon) in a food processor.
Place each salmon fillet on a large square of foil.
Season with salt and pepper.
Top each fillet with a tbsp of the pesto (you will have some left over for another day).
Fold up the foil to form a package with some room for air to circulate.
Bake in the oven for 18 mins.
Remove from foil and serve with steamed veg and cauliflower mash, or courgette noodles.

A Belated Valentines Treat

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As you all know (or may not if you are a first time reader), I was doing my 21 Day Sugar Detox on Valentines Day. Now that I’m finished, I thought I would make a belated Valentines treat for my boyfriend and I to have in Saturday night, along with some lovely champagne.

I ordered the organic cocoa butter from amazon.co.uk. When I started making this recipe, I wasn’t quite sure what it was going to be. Never having used pure cocoa butter before, I didn’t quite know how it behaves. It didn’t occur to me that when I added the sweeteners that they would just sit and the bottom of the bowl and not mix in (because of course I wasn’t using any nasty emulsifiers). My original idea had been to make a white chocolate mousse. That idea rapidly fell flat (quite literally) as the hot cocoa butter melted and thinned the whipped cream. However, the texture of these chocolates is light and slightly bubbly – very pleasant! This recipe can easily be adapted for non dairy eaters/ vegans/ hardcore Paleo by substituting coconut milk for the double cream. If using coconut milk, place the can in the fridge several hours before using to separate the solids. Just before using, remove the hardened solids (reserving the liquid for something else) and whisk until light and fluffy.

Milk Chocolates (makes at least 20, although that may depend on the size of your moulds)
Ingredients:

150g raw organic cocoa butter
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut crystals
1/4 tsp vanilla beans
200ml double cream (or coconut milk)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
Pinch of salt

Melt the cocoa butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.
Add the salt, coconut crystals and maple syrup. Remove from the heat.
Whip the cream lightly until it forms soft peaks. Mix a spoon full of cream into the melted cocoa butter, then gradually mix the cocoa butter mixture into the cream.
Add the vanilla beans and cocoa powder.
Pour the mixture into chocolate moulds or ice cube trays and place in the fridge for 20 mins to harden.
Perfect for enjoying after dinner (make sure you have plenty of friends to help you eat them up quickly as they are very more-ish!)

Soup-er Stilton

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I’m back at home now, following my week at my parents’ house. I left a legacy with them – a whole load of home cooked soups and other bits and pieces which can easily be reheated or just whacked into the oven and served with some salad or steamed veg. This yummy Broccoli and Stilton soup was one I left with them. This recipe makes a huge batch – enough to have plenty of leftovers for another day, plus some to freeze! Sorry if you are strict Paleo – I guess it’s just broccoli soup for you if you omit the cheese and cream.

Broccoli and Stilton Soup (serves 8)
Ingredients:

3 heads broccoli, cut into florets, stems chopped up
1 onion, chopped
500 ml chicken stock
1 tbsp chicken fat
1.5 litres water
250g Stilton, crumbled (or other very strong blue cheese if you can’t get Stilton)
1/4 cup single cream
Sea salt and pepper

Sauté the onion in the melted chicken fat in a large pot.
Add chicken stock, water, seasoning and broccoli to the pot and cook until broccoli is very tender (about 10 mins).
Using a stick blender, blend until smooth.
Add the Stilton and cook until it is all melted and incorporated.
Add the cream and heat through but do not allow to boil.
Serve with a few crumbles of Stilton and a generous grind of fresh black pepper.

Delicious Duck!

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I’ve had such a nice time spending the week with my parents at their house. It’s just a shame the circumstances weren’t better. However my mum is recovering well from her surgery. I like to think that me being at home and cooking up a storm so that she has delicious, nutritious food at every meal will help to speed up her recovery.

One of the things that has shocked me so much about this whole experience of going to the hospital with her, is the number of very overweight (or dare I say obese) people who work in the healthcare sector! We are definitely dealing with an obesity epidemic in this country. It is very upsetting to see people working in healthcare who are eating in a way that is likely to make them sick in the future. Something desperately needs to be done to educate people about the dangers of eating a bad diet high in carbohydrates and highly processed ‘Franken-foods’. I feel like I want to help educate people about eating healthily on a large scale, but I’m not quite sure how. I guess for now I’ll have to settle for helping people through my blog and personal training business. Helping a few people at a time is better than not helping anyone at all.

I made this delicious duck and accompaniments the other night. The sauce was a little time consuming, but worth the effort.

Duck with a Red Wine and Orange Sauce with Celeriac Dauphinoise (serves 4)
Ingredients:

For the Dauphinoise
1 celeriac, peeled and thinly sliced
150 ml single cream
200 ml whole milk
1 clove garlic, minced
Dash of nutmeg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Sea salt and pepper

Combine the milk and cream with the nutmeg, garlic and some seasoning in a saucepan. Bring almost to the boil.
Arrange the celeriac in an ovenproof dish.
Pour the cream mixture over.
Sprinkle the cheese on top.
Bake in oven for 1 hour at 180C

For the Duck and Sauce
4 duck breasts, skin cut in a diamond pattern
1 clove garlic
1 small carrot, sliced
1/4 leek, sliced,
1 stalk celery, sliced
Knob of butter
100ml red wine
75 ml red wine vinegar
Splash of balsamic vinegar
Pinch of dried thyme
Pinch of dried rosemary
1 bay leaf
500 ml chicken stock
Juice and zest of 1/2 an orange

Melt the butter in a small pan.
Add all the vegetables and cook until slightly browned.
Add the liquid and the herbs. Bring to the boil then turn down heat a little and allow to reduce.
Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper. Place in the oven, skin side up for 30-40 mins depending on how done you like it.
When the sauce has reduced by at least half, add the orange juice and zest. Allow to reduce further until it reaches the consistency of single cream. Strain the sauce through a sieve and discard the vegetables and herbs, putting the liquid back into the saucepan over a low heat to keep warm.
When the duck is cooked to your liking, remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 mins before serving.
Spoon a couple of dessert spoons full of the duck fat and juice from the dish and add to the sauce.
Serve the duck with a couple of spoonfuls of the sauce over it along with the celeriac Dauphinoise and a steamed green vegetable.

Stuffed Thighs! (Chicken, of course!)

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Just when I thought Spring had sprung, it’s gone absolutely freezing again! Luckily I’m off work this week, which means no bootcamp outside, luckily. Hopefully by next week when I’m back teaching, it will have warmed up again.

I had a disastrous day on Tuesday. My mum was due to be discharged from hospital following her surgery, but not until after lunch. So, I ate in the hospital ‘restaurant’. I chose foods which I thought were likely to be Paleo (butternut squash soup and lamb and red pepper casserole with veg on the side). Sadly, there was something in the food which did not agree with me at all. I had the most horrendous blood sugar crash, thumping headache, indigestion and general spaced out feeling. I have not suffered with symptoms like this since I started eating a Primal diet (unsurprisingly). It lasted pretty much the rest of the day. Luckily by the following day I felt back to normal. It really made me realise that there is no way I would ever go back to eating a ‘standard diet’. Why eat stuff that makes you feel bad when you can eat stuff that makes you feel great!

This was a great weekend lunch dish. Tasty, satisfying and ticked all the ‘comfort food’ boxes.

Ham and Blue Cheese Stuffed Chicken Thighs (serves 3)
Ingredients:

6 boneless chicken thighs
3 slices smoked ham (cut in half)
6 slices blue Brie
6 slices Stilton or other strong blue cheese
2 tbsp coconut flour
Sea salt & pepper for seasoning

Preheat oven to 180C
Put coconut flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper.
Season the flesh side of the chicken thighs with a little salt and pepper, then dredge the skin side only in the seasoned coconut flour.
Lay half a slice of ham followed by one slice of each cheese in the middle of each butterflied thigh.
Fold in half and secure with a toothpick at either end.
Bake in the oven at 180C for 45 mins.
Serve with some steamed veg and some kind of root veg if you like.

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