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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.

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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!

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!

Coconut Lime Cupcakes with Avocado Lime Frosting

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Aaarrrggghh! Sometimes I really hate London Underground! Today I was on the tube and there was a signal failure, so they suspended the two lines I can get from my local station to work. They kindly suggested that everyone get off the train and take busses instead! Thanks a bunch! Consequently I completely missed the boxing class I was supposed to be teaching at lunchtime. Really annoying!
If only I had some of these delicious cupcakes to come home to…sadly they are long gone!

Coconut Lime Cupcakes with Avocado Lime Frosting (makes 15)
Ingredients:

For the cakes
400g coconut cream concentrate, melted
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
250g zucchini/courgette, grated
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp honey
Zest and juice of 3 limes plus juice of 1 extra lime
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 170C
Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
Mix all wet ingredients in a bowl.
Add all dry ingredients and stir well to incorporate. This should form a thick batter.
Using an ice cream scoop, spoon batter into the paper liners almost up to the top. The cupcakes won’t rise much and will have quite a dense texture.
Bake in the oven for 25 mins.
Remove and allow to cool completely before icing.

For the frosting:
150g butter at room temperature
100g cream cheese at room temperature
100g mascarpone cheese at room temperature
1/2 an avocado
Juice and zest of 2 limes
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp honey

Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth, scraping down the sides occasionally. If the frosting curdles, keep blitzing it – eventually it should smooth out.
When the cupcakes are completely cool, put frosting in a piping bag and pipe a nice dollop on the top of each cake.
Stuff them in your face and enjoy!

Blood Orange and Raspberry Trifle

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Do you remember that delicious blood orange curd I made a couple of weeks ago? How could you forget it? Well I actually made it with a mind to using it in a trifle. Don’t ask me why, I just had a vision of a boozey, creamy trifle with the sharpness of blood oranges and raspberries. When I realised my vision for my party guests, it was just as delicious as I had imagined! Very rich and indulgent, this is definitely a treat and one to feed a larger crowd as you won’t be able to keep your hands off any leftovers, and weight gain will result!
Sorry all you non-dairy eaters, this one is not for you, although you could substitute whipped coconut cream for the dairy.

Blood Orange and Raspberry Boozey Trifle (serves a small army!)
Ingredients:

For the sponge
200g coconut cream concentrate/ mana, melted
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
Pinch of salt
3 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
Juice of 2 small oranges
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup coconut flour

Preheat oven to 180C.
Melt coconut oil and coconut cream concentrate together in the microwave (around 2 mins, stirring halfway through)
Add dry ingredients and stir to mix well.
Add the milk, eggs, orange juice and vanilla.
Mix to form a batter.
Pour into a greased and parchment lined cake tin.
Bake for 25 mins.
Allow to cool completely before removing from cake tin.

For the trifle
1 trifle sponge cake (as above), cut into finger shaped pieces
227ml double/whipping cream
Zest of 1 blood orange
1 tbsp honey
Juice of 3 blood oranges
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp Grand Marnier or Cointreau
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
500g mascarpone cheese
500g raspberries
2 cups Blood Orange Curd (see post on March 26th)

Whip the cream until soft peaks form.
Mix in the sour cream, mascarpone, orange zest, honey, vanilla and 2 tbsp Grand Marnier.
Mix the blood orange juice and 1/4 cup of Grand Marnier in a shallow dish.
Soak half of the trifle sponges briefly in the liquid. Dip them in and make sure each face of each finger has been allowed to absorb a little of the boozey juice.
Layer them in the bottom of your bowl.
Spoon half of the blood orange curd over the sponge.
Top with half of the mascarpone cream mixture and finally half the raspberries.
Repeat with a second layer of each, finishing off with the raspberries.
Dig in and try not to eat so much you make yourself sick (I almost succeeded!).

Banana Rum Cupcakes with Primal Cinnamon Frosting

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I am still exhausted after the mammoth undertaking that was catering an entirely Primal/Paleo party. It was a roaring success and everyone enjoyed the food. A lot of people didn’t even realise that everything was grain-free! All my guests ate (delicious homemade food), drank and made merry. My boyfriend’s excellent cocktails went down a storm too!

As I have mentioned before, said boyfriend is deathly allergic to nuts which means Paleo/Primal baking can be quite limited if I don’t want to kill him! As I had already made quite a few coconut based cakes, I decided to try using sunflower seeds as the base for one batch of cupcakes. The result was a fairly light and slightly nutty flavoured delicious cake. The rum adds a little something without being overpowering. If you don’t do dairy, I’m afraid the frosting isn’t for you, but the cakes are quite delectable without it!

Banana Rum Cupcakes with Cinnamon Mascarpone Frosting (makes 15 cupcakes)
Ingredients:

2 cups sunflower seeds, ground to fine powder in a food processor
4 ripe bananas
1/2 cup Sailor Jerry or other spiced rum
60g butter, melted
4 eggs beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp coconut sugar
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 170C. Line a cupcake pan with baking cups.
Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Blitz the bananas with the rum in a blender or food processor. Avoid the urge to just drink it!
Mix all the wet ingredients into the dry to form a batter.
Using an ice cream scoop, fill the baking cups 3/4 full as these cupcakes will rise a little.
Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Cinnamon Mascarpone Frosting (makes enough to generously frost 15 cupcakes)
Ingredients:

150g butter at room temperature
100g cream cheese
100g mascarpone cheese
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract.

Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
The mixture has a tendency to curdle, so keep processing until it comes together. I started off making this with a hand held whisk, but it curdled and would not smooth out until I blitzed it in the food processor. Don’t be a hero, just use a processor straight off!
Once you are happy with the consistency, plus your cupcakes are completely cooled, spoon the frosting into a piping bag and frost away!
Now stuff your face!

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!