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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’.

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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.

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!

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’)

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!

Spiced Pear Muffins

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It’s Fathers Day today and I decided to have the whole family over for a huge Paleo feast! This meal alone will keep me in recipes to share for a couple of weeks!

It has been ages since I did any baking and I really had a hankering for something cakey on Friday. I got a whole load of pears in my organic fruit box last week which were starting to look like they had seen better days, so they had to be the focus of my baked goods. Those were my parameters, this was the result…

Spiced Pear Muffins (makes 12)
Ingredients :

3/4 cup milled flaxseeds
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup macca powder
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 tbsp mixed spice
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 can coconut milk
1/4 cup coconut oil melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 eggs, beaten
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 pears, diced

Preheat oven to 170C
Mix all dried ingredients in a bowl.
Gradually add in all wet ingredients.
Finally, fold diced pears carefully into the batter.
Spoon batter into muffin cups – you can fill them quite full as they won’t rise that much.
Bake in oven for 20-25 mins or until golden and they pass the toothpick test.
Leave to cool before stuffing into your face or you may burn your mouth!

Harissa Lamb Meatballs with Moroccan Spiced Vegetable Sauce

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Today was the micro pig party for my niece! 2 small pigs basically snuffled their way around my sister’s garden on leashes whilst the kids brushed them and fed them carrots. Just an hour earlier, I had stuffed my face with a porchetta roast and loved every bite of it! I guess years of vegetarianism end up causing a reverse reaction – I am now obsessed with eating meat! The porchetta recipe will be uploaded soon, but I felt it was insensitive to put it up today along with a picture of one of the pigs! Instead I have decided to share yet another meatball recipe with you. Lamb with Harissa in a Moroccan spiced veggie sauce. When you buy your Harissa, check the ingredients to make sure it doesn’t contain any dodgey ingredients (non-Paleo vegetable oils, sugars, additives etc).

Harissa Lamb Meatballs in Moroccan Spiced Veggie Sauce (serves 3)
Ingredients:

For meatballs
500g lamb mince
1 onion, finely chopped
A few sprigs fresh mint, leaves chopped
1 tbsp Harissa paste
Himalayan salt

For sauce
3 courgettes, large diced
2 peppers, large diced
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp Harissa paste
1 can tomatoes
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Himalayan salt.

Mix the meatball ingredients together in a bowl.
Form into balls with your hands.
Fry in a deep saucepan or work until browned on all sides and some of the fat has rendered out.
Pour off most of the fat.
Add the veggies and sauté until they begin to tenderise.
Add the spices, Harissa, tomatoes, salt and balsamic vinegar.
Allow the dish to simmer for at least half an hour until the meatballs are cooked and the vegetables are tender.
Serve on cauliflower ‘rice’ with a dollop of full fat Greek yogurt if you like.

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Micro pig at the party today.