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Nose to Tail Slow Cooker Beef Rendang

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I love trying out different cuts of meat from my butcher. I popped in around midday in Saturday, hoping to pick up some beef short ribs as I really fancied making something rich in collagen and full of the goodness of grass-fed beef bones. They had already sold out of short ribs, so I decided to go with oxtail instead. Then something else caught my eye – beef cheek! I’ve had it before in restaurants, but never tried cooking it myself. I bought one with the idea in my mind of ‘beefing up’ (pardon the pun) my oxtail dish.

I wasn’t exactly sure what on earth I was going to make with these random cow parts, so I had a flip through some of my favourite recipe books to get ideas. Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey piqued my interest as I already had some bits and pieces from the Thai supermarket lurking in the fridge. I decided I would make my own take on his Beef Rendang recipe (a Malaysian curry).

Nose to Tail Slow Cooker Beef Rendang (serves 3)
Ingredients:

For the spice paste:
60g desiccated coconut, toasted in a dry wok
6 dried birds eye chillies
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
6 cloves garlic
4 shallots (small)
4 red chillies, deseeded

For the beef:
1 tbsp coconut oil
6 kafir lime leaves
2 stalks lemongrass, slit down the middle
160ml coconut cream
1 large cinnamon stick, broken in half
1 tbsp tamarind paste mixed in 120ml boiling water
15 drops stevia liquid
1 beef cheek cut into chunks
3 large pieces oxtail
1/2 cup cilantro leaves

Make spice paste by placing all ingredients into a food processor and blitzing until it forms a thick goo.
Melt coconut oil in a large pan or wok.
Add oxtail sand beef cheek and sear on all sides.
Add in the spice paste and fry for 1 min.
Add in remaining ingredients (except cilantro) and mix well.
Transfer to slow cooker and leave to cook for 4-6 hrs on high.
Just before serving, stir in cilantro leaves and sprinkle a few on top to make it look pretty!

I served this with mashed swede and rainbow chard sautéed in coconut oil, as that is what I had in the fridge. This would be great served with cauliflower ‘rice’.

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.

Breakfast of Champions!

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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.

Butternut Squash Hummus

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There is no denying that I sometimes really miss hummus! It used to be my go-to snack with carrot sticks. I must admit that while I was in Israel recently, I had some falafel and hummus! Shhh, don’t tell the Paleo police! My gut, however, really doesn’t miss pulses and did not feel so clever after my indulgence. I decided I needed to come up with a Paleo-friendly hummus recipe. This is so simple to make and really delicious. The sweetness of the butternut squash contrasts nicely with the tahini.

Butternut Squash Hummus
Ingredients:

1 butternut squash, deseeded, roasted, cooled and skinned
1 clove of garlic
Juice of half to one lemon (add to taste)
3 dessert spoons tahini
Salt
1 dessert spoon EVOO

Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Whizz until fully mixed and smooth.
That’s all there is to it!

Oriental Glazed Roast Duck

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I’m not even going to bother apologising for the length of time since my last post. Things have been a bit crazy – there was a death in the family so I had to travel to the US for the funeral. Since I have been back, I have been doing stuff to get myself organised for my Autumn of working on a cruise ship! So just to warn you now, I won’t be doing much cooking between now and December so I won’t be posting many recipes. Sorry! Instead I shall be sunning myself on the ship and sightseeing around the Mediterranean by day and dancing by night!

We had a friend from Canada staying with us for the weekend, so I decided to buy a whole duck to cook for dinner tonight. It always amazes me how much fat comes out of duck! I now have two large containers full of duck fat in the fridge and a carcass in the crock-pot making stock as you read this.

Oriental Glazed Roast Duck (serves 4-5 people generously)

For the glaze:
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2″ piece ginger, grated
1/4 cup coconut aminos
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1//8 cup sesame oil
1 tsp Chinese 5 Spice powder
1 tbsp honey
Zest of 1 orange (reserve the orange for later)

1 whole duck
2 cloves garlic, halved
1 tsp Chinese 5 Spice
1/4 tsp salt
5 carrots, thickly sliced
3 red onions, halved

Preheat the oven to 200C
Whisk together the ingredients for the glaze in a bowl.
Bring the duck up to room temperature.
Place sliced carrots and onions in the bottom of a large roasting tin.
Remove any giblets from the duck’s cavity.
Sprinkle 1 tsp of Chinese 5 Spice inside the duck, then put the garlic and the orange inside.
Close up the cavity with toothpicks or skewers, then prick all over with a skewer.
Cover the duck on both sides with the glaze.
Place on top of the veg in the roasting tin.
Sprinkle with a little salt.
Place in the oven for 30mins.
After 30 mins, turn the heat down to 170 C, remove duck from the oven and baste with fat and glaze.
Return to oven for 1 hour (or longer if you have a really big bird), basting it occasionally.
When it’s time is up, remove the duck from the oven, cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 mins before serving with the delicious caramelised vegetables.

Minty Lamb Kebabs

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The weather has been freakishly hot here in the UK. So much so that I haven’t really felt like cooking at all. Most of my meals have been salads and things that require very little time spent in a hot kitchen with the oven on! Hence why it’s been so long since I posted! I did however find the time/ inclination to make this very easy lamb kebab dish over the weekend. It would have been delicious cooked outdoors over charcoal, but it was still very tasty cooked in the oven.

Minty Lamb Kebabs (serves 2)

Ingredients:
2 lamb leg steaks (about 150g each), cut into cubes
2 cups mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped
3 tbsp EVOO
2 red onions, cut into chunks
1 red pepper, large diced

Prepare the marinade. Dump the lamb into a ziplock bag along with the garlic, mint, EVOO, salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
Massage the bag so that all the lamb gets coated.
Leave to marinate for a few hours or overnight if possible.
Preheat oven to 180 C or fire up your grill/BBQ .
Thread lamb cubes alternating with the veggies onto skewers.
Bake in oven for 20-25 mins.
Serve with a mixed leaf salad.

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.