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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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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’)

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!)

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!

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!

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!

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.