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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’.

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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.

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.

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.

Chinese Meatball Soup with Pak Choi

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I know I’ve been absent for a while again. Apologies for not keeping up with my posts. I’ve been short on time for cooking recently as I’m on a massive drive to build up business by September. I’ve decided to get back into the world of belly dancing which was my entire life (and my full time job!) for at least ten years. I have a couple of students coming to me regularly for lessons which I fit in around my personal training clients. I’ve had a few performances recently too. It’s made me realise how much I have missed dancing! So anyway I am trying to rebuild my dance business as well as trying to attract more personal training work too. Sadly, cooking and blogging has had to take a back seat whilst I do this. I’ve been eating a lot of salads and boring food such as roasted chicken breasts with steamed veggies. Not exciting at all, but quick, easy and nourishing.

This dish is another which was inspired by something similar I had on my travels around Southeast Asia (yup, still on the Asian food kick!) It was pretty simple to make and quite tasty. Feel free to add more garlic, ginger or some fresh chillies if you want a more intense flavour experience!

Chinese Meatball Soup with Pak Choi (serves 6)

Ingredients:
For the meatballs
500g pork mince
500g beef mince
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2″ piece of ginger, finely diced
Salt
150g shiitake mushrooms, finely diced
1 egg beaten
For the soup
4 spring onions/scallions, sliced on the diagonal
3 pak choi, halved
500ml chicken stock
3 tbsp coconut aminos
1/2 tbsp fish sauce
Toasted sesame oil for drizzling

Preheat oven to 170C
Mix the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl.
Form into balls, place on a baking sheet and bake for around 25 mins
In a large wok, bring the chicken stock to a simmer.
Add the meatballs when cooked, the veggies and seasonings.
Allow to simmer until pak choi is tender but not over cooked.
Serve in bowls drizzled with some toasted sesame oil (and some fresh chilli if you like).

Spicy Chicken Livers

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Today was another glorious day in London! I feel so much more lively and energetic when the sun is shining! Sadly they say the weather will change tomorrow and we’ll go back to cool, grey days for the whole weekend.

I’m very excited! My boyfriend and I have just booked a last minute holiday to Thailand! Actually we’re planning to visit Cambodia for the majority of the time we are away, with a couple of days in Bangkok at the start. I’m not sure how easy it’s going to be eating grain-free, but I feel that a bit of rice probably won’t kill me (I draw the line at wheat, but I think it’s mainly rice and rice noodles in Cambodia). I’m looking forward to some great seafood and lots of coconut! I’m less excited about crickets, bugs in general that they eat there and pickled duck embryo which I heard is a delicacy! I guess I’m just not that much of a cave woman after all! Anyway I’ll shut up about gross food now and talk about my delicious dinner instead! If you don’t do dairy you can omit the crème fraîche altogether or sub a little coconut milk in its place, although it will change the flavour.

Spicy Chicken Livers (serves 2)
Ingredients:

Approx 400g chicken livers, cut into bite size pieces
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tbsp bacon fat
1/4 cup crème fraîche
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp hot chilli powder
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tbsp white wine
Himalayan salt and freshly ground pepper

Melt the bacon fat in a large frying pan or wok.
Add the onion and livers and sauté for around 5 mins.
Add the garlic and fry for around 30 seconds before throwing the green and red peppers into the pan.
Sauté until the veggies are tender.
Add the spices, stir to coat everything with them.
Add the crème fraîche, lemon and wine.
Stir well and allow to cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Serve with steamed green veg.