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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!

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Herb Crusted Salmon

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Sorry for the recent hiatus! Last week was very busy and I just didn’t have the time to cook new and interesting things worth sharing with you guys, let alone time to post them! This week will be a bit more chilled out, so I’m looking forward to having more kitchen time.

I whipped up this herb crusted salmon in no time at all this evening. I needed something quick and easy after teaching boxing class. It was in the oven in less than 5 minutes after walking through the door and in my belly 17 minutes later!

Herb Crusted Salmon (serves 2)
Ingredients:

2 wild salmon fillets
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 dried thyme
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp ground almonds
Freshly ground pepper
A drizzle of EVOO

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Mix ground almonds, herbs, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Place salmon on a baking sheet and drizzle the EVOO over the top of it.
Sprinkle the herby almond topping over each fillet.
Bake in the oven for 17 minutes or so, depending on the size of the fillets.
Serve with buttered steamed veggies (I had cabbage and leeks).

A Delicious, Moist, Grain-Free Chocolate Cake

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This is one of the best chocolate cakes I have had in a while. The texture is rich and dense, so you could easily use this recipe for brownies. The recipe is based on one which came from a newspaper article about cooking for cancer sufferers, but I tweaked it a little. I will definitely be making this one again (but not when my man is around as the ground almonds would make him very sick!)

Beetroot Chocolate Cake (makes a 23cm diameter round cake)
Ingredients:

300g cubed beetroot, cooked until very tender
4 eggs
4 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
125g ground almonds
1 tbsp coconut flour
125 dark chocolate (plus 3 extra squares for the topping)
4 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 180C
Line and grease a 23cm diameter cake tin.
Blend beetroot, eggs, honey, vanilla, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a blender or food processor until thick and creamy.
Add dry ingredients and blitz again.
Melt the dark chocolate in a Bain-Marie with the coconut oil. Mix into the batter.
Pour into the tin and bake for 35-40 mins
Remove from the oven.
Place the 3 squares of chocolate on the top of the hot cake and allow to melt, spreading the chocolate over the surface of the cake with the back of a spoon.

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!

A Treat To Share With Friends and Loved Ones

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It was my dad’s birthday last Sunday, so I wanted to make him a special birthday treat. Both he and my mum have been wheat-free, sugar-free and low-carb since the summer (and both have had astonishing weight-loss!) so naturally it had to be a Primal cake. My sister was cooking a Primal feast for all the family including an apple-walnut cake for dessert, so I settled for carrot and orange spice cake with a date and mascarpone frosting. Because of my 21 Day Sugar Detox I am doing, I didn’t get to try either my sister’s wonderful cake or my own (although I have a piece of each waiting for me in my freezer!). My family assure me that my cake was absolutely delicious, so therefore I feel it is safe to share the recipe with you! Unfortunately it wasn’t the most photogenic creation I have ever made.

Carrot and Orange Spice cake with Date Mascarpone Frosting (makes a 22cm diameter cake)
Ingredients:

10 dates
4 tbsp boiling water
200g coconut cream concentrate
70g grass-fed butter
4 eggs
220g carrot, grated
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1 & 1/2 cups almond flour
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp mixed spice/ pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp coconut flour

Preheat oven to 180C
Boil dates in the 4 tbsp water until very mushy.
Add coconut cream concentrate and butter to saucepan with dates and allow to melt over a low heat, stirring occasionally and mashing dates.
In a bowl, mix all dry ingredients.
Add in carrot and orange zest, then the juice and vanilla, then finally mix in one egg at a time.
Make sure the batter is well combined before pouring into a greased and lined cake tin.
Bake for half an hour at 180C or until a toothpick comes out clean from the middle.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for at least 10 mins.
Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Date Mascarpone Frosting
9 dates
5 tbsp water
100g butter at room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g mascarpone cheese
1 tbsp single cream

Boil the dates (or microwave) in the water, then purée until smooth in a food processor. Allow to cool completely.
Beat the mascarpone cheese and gradually add in the soft butter, then the dates and vanilla.
Spread over the cake and allow to harden in the fridge.