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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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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.

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!)

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!

Asian Veggie Salad with Coconut Dressing

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Another busy day today – dentist in the morning all the way across in East London (not very convenient, but he’s good) and then a belly dance photo-shoot in the afternoon which took a lot of preparing for (hair, makeup, assembling costumes, jewellery, sword etc…) It went well so hopefully I’ll have some good material for my new website.

I really didn’t feel like cooking when I got home, so I just chucked some chicken thighs in the oven and steamed some broccoli and cauliflower to go with it. Not terribly interesting. If only I’d had some of this salad left instead…

Asian Veggie Salad with Coconut Dressing (serves 8-10)

Ingredients:
400g green beans
400g sugar snap peas
500g asparagus
4 shallots, finely sliced
2 red chilies, finely sliced
1 cup coriander/cilantro leaves
For the dressing:
Bottom inch of lemongrass stalk
1.5 cm piece of ginger
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp honey
Pinch of salt
1/4 tsp shrimp paste
1 tsp fish sauce
1/2 can coconut milk
1 large kaffir lime leave, hard rib removed

Steam the beans, sugar snaps and asparagus (I did each vegetable separately as my steamer is quite small and they don’t all take the same amount of time to cook). Keep checking whilst they cook to make sure they are still crisp. When they are just tender, remove from steamer and immediately run under cold water to stop them cooking further.
Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with a little salt.
Place all the dressing ingredients in a blender and whizz up until completely blended.
Pour over the vegetables, add the chilli and coriander and toss well so that everything is coated in the dressing.

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!

Delicious and Satisfying Tom Kha Soup

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By now you all know that I’m on a Southeast Asian food bender at the moment. I decided that I really should pay a visit to my local Thai supermarket the other day. I was like a kid in a candy store! Whilst there is a lot of crap food in there I wouldn’t touch with a barge pole, they also sell some great stuff. I bought shrimp paste, tamarind paste, pandan leaves, fresh galangal, frozen coconut flesh, Thai basil and was tempted by the frozen durian, but I decided to leave that for another day! I have great plans for a Thai inspired dessert this weekend to utilise the pandan leaves – watch this space! If you do any shopping in Thai supermarkets, check the ingredients list of the foods you are considering (as I’m sure anyone on a whole foods diet would). Many pastes and sauces contain sugar, preservatives and MSG as well as other nasties. However there are usually other brands of the same product which aren’t choc full of evil ingredients.

I think I have had this soup before in the UK, but the taste of it did not compare to what I had while I was in Southeast Asia. It is usually made with shrimp, but I did have it with chicken too. You could even make it with both! I didn’t have any prawns/shrimp on hand, but I did have chicken breast in my fridge. When I got in from teaching boxing outside in the rain last night, I really fancied something aromatic, warming and satisfying but quick (as it was 8.30 by the time I arrived home). This soup took about 30 mins from start to getting it down my throat. As I was on my own last night (as I am Monday to Wednesday nights), the recipe is for one serving (although it was a very large serving). If you want to make it for more people, simply increase the ingredients, although I wouldn’t recommend increasing the aromatics by too much, unless you’re making a huge pot. By aromatics I mean the lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves.

Tom Kha Soup with Chicken (serves 1 generously)

Ingredients:
1 tsp coconut oil
1 chicken breast, cut into bite size chunks
1/2″ piece of galangal, peeled and finely chopped
Bottom inch of a lemongrass stalk, finely sliced (save the top half for something else)
1 red chilli, sliced
1 shallot, finely sliced
1 spring onion/scallion, bulb and leaves sliced
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 kaffir lime leaf, left whole
3 large leaves from a pak choi (or 1 whole baby pak choi), sliced
3 large mushrooms, quartered
3 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tsp fish sauce
1 1/2 cups water or chicken stock
1/2 cup coconut milk
Juice of 1 lime
Himalayan salt to taste
A few sprigs of fresh coriander/cilantro, leaves only (discard stalks)
1 green birds eye chilli, sliced (optional) for serving

Melt the coconut oil in a wok or large pan.
Add the chicken and stir fry until lightly golden and cooked through.
Add the galangal and lemongrass, mushrooms, shallots and bulb of the scallion (reserve the green part for later). Stir fry for a minute or so.
Add the garlic, chilli, stalk of the pak choi (reserve the green leaves for later) and kaffir lime leaf. Stir fry to soften the chilli and garlic.
Add the water or stock, fish sauce, salt, coconut milk and allow to simmer for a few minutes until the pak choi stalks appear softened.
Add the pak choi and scallion leaves, cherry tomatoes and lime juice.
Allow to simmer for a minute or so longer.
Just before serving, stir through the coriander leaves and birds eye chilli if using. Remove the kaffir lime leaf.
Get it in you and enjoy!