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Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting


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)
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

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.


Breakfast of Champions!


I know that really and truly I should have posted this on Friday night so that you could try this for brunch over the weekend, but life has just been a little too hectic recently to be that organised with my blog (the blog really has fallen by the wayside a little recently!) Anyway, now you have it well in advance of next weekend, which we all know is a special weekend! Yes, it’s Valentines, so no doubt you will all be serving your loved one a scrumptious breakfast in bed. Now you have your breakfast in bed recipe all ready to go!

I called this dish “Breakfast of Champions” because breakfasts don’t really get much better than this in terms of taste and nutrition! Organic free range eggs, smoked wild Alaskan salmon and creamy kale! It’s all in there. Just think of how your body loves taking in all that great stuff like omega 3, great quality protein, and the calcium, iron and magnesium from the kale.

Believe it or not, this was also the first time I have ever made poached eggs in the old school way, as I was always slightly afraid of ruining them. It was easy and after testing the way with the first one, which wasn’t as attractive as it could have been, they came out perfect!

Breakfast of Champions (Creamy Kale with Smoked Salmon and Poached Eggs) Serves 2

3-4 cups chopped kale, hard ribs removed
2-4 slices wild smoked salmon
4 eggs
1 tbsp cream cheese (optional)
1/2 tbsp butter
1 tsp white vinegar
1/4 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Poach the kale in the chicken stock until tender (about 5 mins). Once cooked, drain remaining liquid. Add butter and cream cheese if using and stir until fully melted and incorporated. Cover and keep warm while you concentrate on poaching the eggs.

Poach eggs according to your preferred method. I used a large saucepan with about an inch of water in the bottom. Bring the water up to a rolling boil and add the vinegar. Crack the egg into a ramekin. Stir the water to create a vortex and then gently tip the egg in while the water is still swirling (but you are no longer stirring it). Turn the heat down a little so you can observe the egg’s progress. Allow to poach for around 3 mins (or longer if you prefer it a little less runny). Carefully remove egg from water with a slotted spoon. Cook each egg separately to avoid disaster!

Once all your eggs are poached, layer kale, then smoked salmon and finally the eggs on a plate. Season with Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Paleo Christmas Pudding


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)

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!

Individual Banoffee Pies


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)

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.

Delicious Duck!


I’ve had such a nice time spending the week with my parents at their house. It’s just a shame the circumstances weren’t better. However my mum is recovering well from her surgery. I like to think that me being at home and cooking up a storm so that she has delicious, nutritious food at every meal will help to speed up her recovery.

One of the things that has shocked me so much about this whole experience of going to the hospital with her, is the number of very overweight (or dare I say obese) people who work in the healthcare sector! We are definitely dealing with an obesity epidemic in this country. It is very upsetting to see people working in healthcare who are eating in a way that is likely to make them sick in the future. Something desperately needs to be done to educate people about the dangers of eating a bad diet high in carbohydrates and highly processed ‘Franken-foods’. I feel like I want to help educate people about eating healthily on a large scale, but I’m not quite sure how. I guess for now I’ll have to settle for helping people through my blog and personal training business. Helping a few people at a time is better than not helping anyone at all.

I made this delicious duck and accompaniments the other night. The sauce was a little time consuming, but worth the effort.

Duck with a Red Wine and Orange Sauce with Celeriac Dauphinoise (serves 4)

For the Dauphinoise
1 celeriac, peeled and thinly sliced
150 ml single cream
200 ml whole milk
1 clove garlic, minced
Dash of nutmeg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Sea salt and pepper

Combine the milk and cream with the nutmeg, garlic and some seasoning in a saucepan. Bring almost to the boil.
Arrange the celeriac in an ovenproof dish.
Pour the cream mixture over.
Sprinkle the cheese on top.
Bake in oven for 1 hour at 180C

For the Duck and Sauce
4 duck breasts, skin cut in a diamond pattern
1 clove garlic
1 small carrot, sliced
1/4 leek, sliced,
1 stalk celery, sliced
Knob of butter
100ml red wine
75 ml red wine vinegar
Splash of balsamic vinegar
Pinch of dried thyme
Pinch of dried rosemary
1 bay leaf
500 ml chicken stock
Juice and zest of 1/2 an orange

Melt the butter in a small pan.
Add all the vegetables and cook until slightly browned.
Add the liquid and the herbs. Bring to the boil then turn down heat a little and allow to reduce.
Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper. Place in the oven, skin side up for 30-40 mins depending on how done you like it.
When the sauce has reduced by at least half, add the orange juice and zest. Allow to reduce further until it reaches the consistency of single cream. Strain the sauce through a sieve and discard the vegetables and herbs, putting the liquid back into the saucepan over a low heat to keep warm.
When the duck is cooked to your liking, remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 mins before serving.
Spoon a couple of dessert spoons full of the duck fat and juice from the dish and add to the sauce.
Serve the duck with a couple of spoonfuls of the sauce over it along with the celeriac Dauphinoise and a steamed green vegetable.

A Treat To Share With Friends and Loved Ones


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)

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.

Quick and easy weeknight meal


During the week I’m all about quick and easy meals, however I’m not willing to compromise on taste. This roast duck was not only delicious, but very quick and easy. Get the cabbage cooking first if you like your duck still pink inside and your cabbage soft. If you prefer your cabbage to still have a little crunch, get the duck in the oven first. This dish, to me, epitomises winter comfort food. The spices in the cabbage remind me of Christmas!

Roast Duck Breast with Braised Red Cabbage (serves 2)

For the duck:
2 duck breasts
1 tbsp Chinese 5-Spice powder
Sea salt and pepper for seasoning

Preheat oven to 180C.
Rub half of the 5-spice powder over the bottom of the duck breasts and season with salt. Place in an ovenproof dish.
Make diagonal criss-cross cuts about 2cms apart on the skin. Only go as deep as the meat, don’t actually cut through the meat. This will help to release the fat and helps the skin go crispy. Rub the remaining spice powder over the skin side of the duck breasts, pressing it into the diagonal cuts.
Season with salt and pepper and place in the oven.
Cook for 25-35 minutes, depending on how you like it cooked.

For the cabbage:
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 apple, cored and cut into matchsticks
2/3 of a large red cabbage
A generous knob of butter
1/8 tsp allspice
4 juniper berries, roughly chopped
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp water.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the onions. Sauté for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften.
Then add the cabbage and apple. Stir well to coat with the butter.
Add the spice, juniper, vinegars and water,then season with salt and pepper.
Put the lid on and let the cabbage cook in the steam from the juices over a medium heat. This can be left to simmer on a low heat for up to an hour if you want the cabbage really tender, however make sure it does not boil dry or burn.
Serve with the duck breasts. Don’t you dare not eat the delicious crispy duck skin!