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Moroccan Beef Stew

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I’m back! Did you miss me?
I know it’s been forever since I last posted, but with good reason…I’ve spent the last 3 months working on cruise ships performing and teaching belly dance. It was a fantastic experience! I met some amazing people and saw some amazing places and generally had a great time. It was weird though to rely on someone else cooking for me every meal every day! It was pretty straightforward sticking to a Paleo/Primal diet (although you never really know if there are some nasty hidden ingredients), but on the whole I did well and I lost weight too! I think I’m probably the first person in history to lose weight on a cruise ship! It’s quite terrifying to watch how much and what people eat when allowed free reign of the buffet!

I was at a friend’s house for dinner the other night. He made the most delicious lamb and prune stew with – kind of Moroccan spiced. I had some beef in my fridge and decided I would try to recreate it at home the next day so that Mr (not entirely) Grain Free could try it (he wasn’t with me on Friday night).
The result was delicious, although I think the flavour of lamb suits the spices better, so I would urge you to make it with diced lamb leg if you can get it. If you’re not a lamb fan, do not worry, it is still delicious with beef.

Moroccan Beef/Lamb Stew (serves 3-4)

500g stewing steak/ leg of lamb, cubed
1 cup prunes (pitted)
1 red onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, smashed
2 large carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp EVOO
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tbsp red chilli, finely chopped
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
Sea salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180C
Put all ingredients except the coriander leaves in a large lidded casserole dish – no need to brown the onions or meat first (honestly it makes no difference and just makes extra work).
Give it a good stir so that the liquid and spices coat everything.
Cook in the oven for around an hour and a half. Check after an hour to make sure the liquid hasn’t all cooked away. You can always add a little more chicken stock if it is already looking a bit dry.
Just before serving, stir in the chopped coriander leaves.
I served my stew with cauliflower ‘cous cous’ (made the same way as cauliflower ‘rice’)

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Oriental Glazed Roast Duck

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I’m not even going to bother apologising for the length of time since my last post. Things have been a bit crazy – there was a death in the family so I had to travel to the US for the funeral. Since I have been back, I have been doing stuff to get myself organised for my Autumn of working on a cruise ship! So just to warn you now, I won’t be doing much cooking between now and December so I won’t be posting many recipes. Sorry! Instead I shall be sunning myself on the ship and sightseeing around the Mediterranean by day and dancing by night!

We had a friend from Canada staying with us for the weekend, so I decided to buy a whole duck to cook for dinner tonight. It always amazes me how much fat comes out of duck! I now have two large containers full of duck fat in the fridge and a carcass in the crock-pot making stock as you read this.

Oriental Glazed Roast Duck (serves 4-5 people generously)

For the glaze:
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2″ piece ginger, grated
1/4 cup coconut aminos
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1//8 cup sesame oil
1 tsp Chinese 5 Spice powder
1 tbsp honey
Zest of 1 orange (reserve the orange for later)

1 whole duck
2 cloves garlic, halved
1 tsp Chinese 5 Spice
1/4 tsp salt
5 carrots, thickly sliced
3 red onions, halved

Preheat the oven to 200C
Whisk together the ingredients for the glaze in a bowl.
Bring the duck up to room temperature.
Place sliced carrots and onions in the bottom of a large roasting tin.
Remove any giblets from the duck’s cavity.
Sprinkle 1 tsp of Chinese 5 Spice inside the duck, then put the garlic and the orange inside.
Close up the cavity with toothpicks or skewers, then prick all over with a skewer.
Cover the duck on both sides with the glaze.
Place on top of the veg in the roasting tin.
Sprinkle with a little salt.
Place in the oven for 30mins.
After 30 mins, turn the heat down to 170 C, remove duck from the oven and baste with fat and glaze.
Return to oven for 1 hour (or longer if you have a really big bird), basting it occasionally.
When it’s time is up, remove the duck from the oven, cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 mins before serving with the delicious caramelised vegetables.

Fruity BBQ Sauce/ Marinade

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I was watching Raymond Blanc the other day. He has a show on tv at the moment about how to cook well, but it is full of really great tips and tricks to make your food turn out amazing. If you don’t know who he is, google him (he is a Michelin starred French chef who has restaurants in the UK).
This particular episode was about meat and barbecuing it. He made a marinade for a pork chop using kiwi, papaya, pineapple and mango and explained that the enzymes in the fruit help to break down the sinews in the meat and thus tenderising it. He showed 2 pork chops, one of which had been marinated in this fruity concoction and the other hadn’t. The difference in the rigidity of the two cuts of meat was truly amazing (well, for someone who’s a food geek like me!). He then used the remaining fruit marinade to make a BBQ sauce (brimming with non Paleo ingredients, as is his way), which he then basted on the chop as he grilled it.
Anyway, when my man and I were invited to a BBQ last weekend, I decided to put Monsieur Blanc’s principles into action on some baby back ribs!
Sadly, I have recently developed an allergy to pineapple, so I couldn’t include it in my marinade, however I did use kiwi, papaya and mango. Not only was the sauce delicious on its own, but as a marinade, worked a charm on the ribs, delivering tender meat and sweet and smokey flavours.

Fruity BBQ Sauce/ Marinade
(makes around 2 cups, at a guess – I didn’t measure the yield if I’m honest, just stuck it straight on the ribs!)
Ingredients:

Flesh of 1 papaya
2 kiwis, peeled
1 cup cubed mango
150g tomato paste
3 tbsp liquid smoke
3 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp (Paleo friendly) hot sauce
1 tsp chipotle paste
1/2 tsp black pepper

Put all ingredients into a blender or food processor and whizz until smooth.
That’s it!
Use as a condiment or a marinade or both!

Key Lime Pie

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It’s been ages again since I last posted a recipe. I don’t know where the time is going! I guess it’s partly work, weather and lack of time that has prevented me being experimental in the kitchen.

A few weeks ago I made this delicious key lime pie and just haven’t got around to posting the recipe yet, so here it is…

Key Lime Pie (makes a 24cm pie)
Ingredients:
For the base
1 1/2 cups dessicated coconut
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 170C
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
Press into the bottom and up the sides of a pie dish.
Bake in oven for 10 mins until it begins to turn golden. Remove and allow to cool completely.

For the filling
12 medjool dates
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Zest and juice of 10 limes
200g coconut cream concentrate
3 large ripe avocados
1 tbsp runny honey

Boil the dates in water until very soft. Discard water.
Whilst dates are still hot, add coconut cream concentrate a d allow to melt.
Put into a food processor along with all remaining filling ingredients and blitz until it forms a smooth paste.
Fill pie shell with filling and place in fridge to chill and set for at least 1 hour.
Try not to eat the whole pie in one sitting (unless you are sharing it with many people!)

Rainbow Smoothie

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I have just returned from a lovely few days holiday in the country, staying in a big house with 90 acres of land with my family, boyfriend and a close friend of ours. My sister is really into making smoothies and inspired me and my friend to get decent blenders and get puréeing!

I was just out with a client who wanted to do a four mile run, so instead of taking my bike, I decided to do the run with him. When I got home, I needed a quick, easy and nutritious post-workout meal, so I came up with this smoothie, based on what I got in my organic veg and fruit boxes this week. I decided to beef it up with some organic grass-fed whey protein powder as it was to be a meal replacement, but this is entirely optional and really won’t affect the flavour or consistency of the smoothie.

Rainbow Smoothie (serves 1-2, generously)
Ingredients:

1 raw beetroot, sliced
1 pear, roughly chopped
1 cup chard, roughly chopped
1/2 frozen banana
1/4 frozen avocado
1 cm piece ginger, peeled and sliced
1 cup ice cubes
1 scoop organic grass-fed whey protein powder (unsweetened and flavour free)
1-2 cups water, depending on how runny you like it.

Put all ingredients into a blender and whizz for a few minutes until smooth.
Serve in a (martini) glass, put your feet up and revel in the fact that you are being incredibly healthy! (If you feel too virtuous, add a dash of vodka! Just kidding!)

Minty Lamb Kebabs

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The weather has been freakishly hot here in the UK. So much so that I haven’t really felt like cooking at all. Most of my meals have been salads and things that require very little time spent in a hot kitchen with the oven on! Hence why it’s been so long since I posted! I did however find the time/ inclination to make this very easy lamb kebab dish over the weekend. It would have been delicious cooked outdoors over charcoal, but it was still very tasty cooked in the oven.

Minty Lamb Kebabs (serves 2)

Ingredients:
2 lamb leg steaks (about 150g each), cut into cubes
2 cups mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped
3 tbsp EVOO
2 red onions, cut into chunks
1 red pepper, large diced

Prepare the marinade. Dump the lamb into a ziplock bag along with the garlic, mint, EVOO, salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
Massage the bag so that all the lamb gets coated.
Leave to marinate for a few hours or overnight if possible.
Preheat oven to 180 C or fire up your grill/BBQ .
Thread lamb cubes alternating with the veggies onto skewers.
Bake in oven for 20-25 mins.
Serve with a mixed leaf salad.

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Blondies

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The weather is so amazing here in London. We are having a heat wave with absolutely clear blue skies and 30C temperatures. It actually feels like summer!

We went to garden party on Saturday. Lots of bubbly, swinging in hammocks, dancing like maniacs and drunken yoga! I made these delicious sweet potato and coconut based Blondies to take along (and persuade my friends that grain-free is the way forward!) Everyone loved them and they all disappeared very rapidly!

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Blondies (makes 16)

Ingredients:
4 sweet potatoes
12 medjool dates
1/2 tsp salt
200g coconut cream concentrate
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup coconut flour
4 eggs
100g dark chocolate chips
200g frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 170C
Roast sweet potatoes for an hour. When cool remove skins and place the flesh in bowl.
Cover dates with boiling water and microwave on full power for 2 minutes. Drain off water.
Add coconut cream concentrate to hot dates and allow to melt.
Add into bowl with sweet potato and blend using a stick blender.
Add salt, coconut flour, cinnamon, vanilla, and then eggs.
Stir well, then add in dark chocolate chips and finally frozen raspberries.
Pour batter into a prepared brownie tin.
Bake in the oven at 170C for 40 mins.
Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan completely.
Remove from pan and cut into squares.
Enjoy!