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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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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!)

Crustless Caramel Cheesecake

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Today was not a good day. It was spent taking my mum back into hospital for another operation. Happily the operation went well and she is fine, relaxing in bed and being doted on by great nurses. Better still she will be coming home tomorrow morning.

I am back on the straight and narrow (read attempt to lose a few pounds) after my cheat week! Yes, a whole week of eating leftover brownies, cakes and various other goodies which are forbidden when trying to shift extra body fat. At least everything was Paleo/Primal so I don’t feel too guilty about my indulgences! I am in the process of organising a holiday in May which means bikini, therefore a few pounds need to go!

This crustless cheesecake was delicious but will now be off the menu for the foreseeable future (except maybe on cheat days!)

Crustless Caramel Cheesecake
Ingredients:

2x 250 packets cream cheese at room temperature
9 medjool dates, boiled until soft in a little water
2 eggs
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 150C
Blitz all ingredients in a food processor.
Pour batter into a prepared pie dish or cake pan.
Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until set and lightly browned on the top.
Stuff into your face and enjoy!

Individual Banoffee Pies

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This was my ‘cheat day’ sweet treat. It was even better than I thought it would be (although maybe part of that was the anticipation as I made it the day before). I constructed each one in an individual ramekin, so that there would be no leftovers to tempt me after my cheat day was over. You could easily increase the ingredients and make an entire pie if you are catering for more than 4 people. For those of you who don’t do dairy, place a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight. Remove the solids and save the liquid for another use. Beat the coconut solids with a whisk or hand mixer until light and fluffy. Use this whip instead of whipped cream.

Individual Banoffee Pies (serves 4)
Ingredients:

For the base:
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
2 tsp coconut sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp coconut flour
40g butter, melted

1 1/2 cups caramel sauce (recipe to follow)
227ml whipping cream
2 bananas, sliced
1 square dark chocolate to grate over the top

Preheat oven to 170C.
Place all dry ingredients in a food processor and blitz until dry crumbs form.
Pour in the melted butter and blitz again to incorporate.
Divide the mixture evenly between the ramekins and press down firmly into bottom and slightly up the sides.
Place in the oven for 10 minutes.
Remove and allow to cool completely.
Divide the caramel sauce evenly between the ramekins.
Place sliced bananas on top of the caramel sauce.
Finally, smooth whipped cream over the top and grate a little dark chocolate to garnish.

Caramel sauce (makes about 2 1/2 cups)
12 medjool dates, pitted and torn in half
Boiling water
1 cup coconut milk
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Put dates in a saucepan.
Just cover with boiling water.
Bring up to the boil and allow to cook on high heat, stirring occasionally until the water has evaporated and the dates are mushy.
Turn off the heat and add the coconut milk to the hot dates and allow to melt.
Transfer to a blender and blitz until smooth.
Allow to cool completely.
Any leftovers can be frozen for another recipe.

Spiced Pear Loaf Cake

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Well, just when I thought Spring had sprung, it’s snowing today and around freezing. My beautiful hellebores and primroses I bought last week thinking I would plant over the weekend (and didn’t because it was cold and rainy), are really not happy about this wintry weather and neither am I!

I had some lovely pears (not sure which variety, but they have turned a lovely golden colour) delivered in my organic fruit box last week. They gave me the idea for a delicately spiced loaf cake, which turned out to be quite tasty – very moist and only a little sweet (so you could add more maple syrup if you like things really sweet).

Spiced Pear Loaf Cake (makes one large loaf)
Ingredients:

6 Medjool dates
3 eggs
2 cups almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp ground flax
1 tbsp coconut flour
1/2 cup full fat Greek Yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 very ripe pears, cut into very small chunks

Preheat oven to 170C
Grease and line a large loaf tin with parchment.
Put dates in a microwave safe container and almost cover with boiling water. Microwave on full power for around 2 mins 30. Discard water and mash or purée dates.
While they are still hot, add the coconut oil and leave to melt.
Mix all ingredients (except pears) in a mixing bowl to form a thick batter, adding inn the dates and coconut oil.
Finally, mix pears into batter carefully so they don’t turn to mush.
Pour batter into loaf tin and bake for 50-60 mins or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

This was great served as a dessert the next day, slightly warmed in the oven and covered with home-made Primal custard.

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.

Best chocolate ice cream ever!

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I know it was only a couple of days ago that I posted a recipe for vanilla ice cream, but this chocolate one I made the weekend before last was too good not to share with you. It is not Paleo but you could easily substitute the milk and cream for coconut milk to make a strict Paleo version, and I’m sure it would be just as delicious.

Chocolate chocolate chip ice cream (serves 4)
Ingredients:

200ml double cream
200ml whole milk (substitute both milk and cream with full fat coconut milk for a Paleo version)
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
7 medjool dates microwaved in 3 tbsp water
2 heaped dessert spoons cocoa powder
100g dark chocolate (85% cocoa solids), chopped
1/8 tsp salt

Heat the milk and cream (or coconut milk) in a pan, but don’t let it boil.
Blend cooked dates and water into a purée.
Beat egg yolks, add in dates, vanilla, salt and cocoa powder.
Pour hot milk mixture onto eggs, mixing constantly.
Return custard to pan and cook on low heat, stirring all the while until custard starts to thicken. Do not let it boil as it will curdle.
Allow to cool completely then chill in the fridge or an ice bath.
Churn custard and chopped dark chocolate together in ice cream maker until it reaches desired consistency. Transfer to freezable container and freeze until needed.