(paleo) No-bake bars

I originally wanted to make something with an Anzac spin on it.  I thought of some kind of ”Anzac Bar” so that they could be easily consumed with your favourite brew after attending a dawn service.  As I was making them I thought “don’t mess with the original”.  Sometimes traditions are just meant to stay the same.

The other problem is that these are simply too easy and delicious to only make once a year.  Great as a grab-and-go, pick-me-up or “fat bomb” style filler when you’re feeling peckish.

The hardest part is waiting for these to chill enough to be firm because you just want to eat them!

(paleo) No-bake bars
No: Gluten / Grain / Soy / Dairy / Eggs / Refined sugar
Makes approximately 12 – 14 mini bars

You will need
Spatula
Silicone bar mold or slice tray lined with non-stick baking paper

Ingredients
40g raw macadamia nuts or blanched almonds
130g blanched almonds
100g desiccated coconut
pinch finely ground salt
20g coconut oil, melted
30-50g honey (I used 30g) – For vegan option, use sweetener of choice

Optional additions (I did two different versions)
1 Tablespoon dried cranberries
1 Tablespoon slivered almonds
1 Tablespoon toasted shredded coconut

Preparation
Place 40g of nuts into mixing bowl, chop for 3 – 5 seconds / Speed 5, until nuts are roughly chopped.  Set aside.

Without washing mixing bowl, add blanched almonds and coconut and chop for 15 – 20 seconds / Speed 8, until mixture begins to come together.  Scrape around sides of bowl and add salt, coconut oil, honey and reserved chopped nuts.  Mix for 10-15 seconds / Reverse / Speed 4 or until mixture comes together.  Scrape mixture into molds or tray and press down firmly.  Top with your choice of optional additions then place into fridge for approximately 1 hour or until firm.

Remove from fridge, pop out of molds and wrap or simply eat them.  Store remaining bars in an air tight container in fridge until ready to use.

My tips
* Flavour these with an essential oil of your choice.  Just add 1 drop.
* You can double, triple, even quadruple this recipe to make a large batch.  If you don’t have molds, just line a baking tray or tin and press the mixture into that then top it with what whatever you like.
* If your coconut oil is hard, you can carefully run the jar under hot water for a minute or two until it is slightly melted.
*These will keep in the fridge for several weeks (if you don’t eat them all).
* If you want to chill them quickly you can put them into the freezer for 15 – 30 minutes or until firm.
* If you’d like to know more about the pure essential oils I use, please take a look here.

ease: 9.5/10.  Could it be any easier?!
total prep time: 10 minutes + chilling time
total cooking time: 0 minutes 

total: 10 minutes + chilling time

taste: 10/10 Even my not-quite-paleo man LOVED these and coconut is not his favourite food!

would I make it again:  Ummmm, I already have because the first batch is all gone :)

(paleo) Super simple chocolate

Chocolate has always been one of my favourite things.  However, over the years my tastes have changed slightly and more recently I have turned to the “dark side”, preferring nothing less than 70% cacao.  That being said, I developed this recipe with others in mind also.

I have always loved giving edible gifts as that is how I show my affection for people.  I tend to make something with a lot of love and hope that shows in the gifts that I give.  These are so simple and quick to make with only a few ingredients you can whip them up at the last minute to take as a hostess gift, as a present or even for an after-dinner treat.

Make these for yourself or someone you love.  Just do yourself a favour and find an excuse to make these soon!

(paleo) Super simple chocolate
No: Gluten / Grain / Soy / Nuts / Dairy / Eggs / Refined sugar
Makes approximately 24 mini chocolates

You will need
Spatula
2 x 12-hole silicone chocolate mold

Ingredients
60g raw cacao powder
120g coconut oil
60-100g honey (I used 60g)

Optional additions (I did two different versions)
1 Tablespoon dried cranberries
1 Tablespoon slivered almonds

1-2 drops pure peppermint essential oil (for half the mixture)

Preparation
Place cacao powder, coconut oil and honey into mixing bowl, melt for 2 minutes / 70°C / Speed 2.  Meanwhile, divide the cranberries and almonds evenly between 12 of the molds.  Once mixture is melted and combined, pour approximately half on top of cranberries and almonds to fill each mold.  Use spatula to press mixture in if necessary and smooth top.

With the remaining half, add peppermint oil to mixing bowl and mix for 5 seconds / Speed 2.  Divide the mixture evenly between remaining 12 molds.

Place the molds onto a tray and tap the tray gently on the bench several times to ensure that any air bubbles are forced out.  Smooth any chocolate that may have been disrupted and place tray into fridge for approximately 1 hour or until firm.

Remove from fridge, pop out of molds and gift wrap or eat.  Store remaining chocolates in an air tight container in fridge until ready to use.

My tips
* Flavour these with whatever you like.  Orange essential oil would be lovely also.
* You can double, triple, even quadruple this recipe to make a large batch.  If you don’t have molds, just line a baking tray or tin and pour the mixture into that then top it with what whatever you like.
*These will keep in the fridge for several weeks (if you don’t eat them all)
* If you want to chill them quickly you can put them into the freezer for 15 – 30 minutes or until firm.
* If you’d like to know more about the pure essential oils I use, please take a look here.

ease: 9.5/10.  Could it be any easier?!
total prep time: 8 minutes + chilling time
total cooking time: 2 minutes 

total: 10 minutes + chilling time

taste: 10/10 I know this isn’t “real” chocolate, BUT it is better for you, super easy to make and delicious.  I hope you make it for yourself.

would I make it again:  Yes!!!!!  As much as possible.

(paleo) Easy profiteroles

Developing recipes can often be a challenging experience, especially when you are trying to create things that are free of grains, gluten, dairy, refined sugar and on occasion eggs and nuts.  With a list like that even I think – what else is there? However, there is so much we can do with a few basic alternatives.

This is one recipe that I’ve wanted to convert for a little while.   I’ve always loved profiteroles, in fact I think they used to be my favourite dessert.  Many years ago I was fortunate enough to be in a lovely restaurant in Paris experiencing all things French.  The perfect end to a wonderful meal was profiteroles with warm chocolate sauce.  I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.  Crunchy pastry, silky smooth vanilla infused crème centre topped with warm, bitter dark chocolate sauce.  Could anything be better!?!

Recreating something like that is hard enough without restricting the ingredients we can use but I’m really happy with all the individual parts of this dish as well as the end result when they are all combined.

Make this for yourself or someone you love.  Just do yourself a favour and find an excuse to make these soon!

(paleo) Profiteroles filled with vanilla crème patisserie drizzled with chocolate sauce (recipe by Fiona at Food 4 Thought).
No: Gluten / Grain / Soy / Nuts / Dairy
Contains: Eggs
Makes 24 mini profiteroles

You will need
Oven
Spatula
Medium glass bowl
24-hole mini muffin tray, greased with coconut oil
Small serving jug
Cling wrap or similar
Cooling rack

Crème patisserie (pastry cream) – makes approximately 2 cups
Ingredients
400g coconut milk
60-80g maple syrup
2 egg yolks
20-25g tapioca flour
Seeds of 1 vanilla pod OR 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preparation
Place all ingredients into mixing bowl, cook for 7 minutes / 90°C / Speed 4.  Transfer into a bowl, place plastic wrap directly on surface of pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming, and allow to cool.  Once bowl is cool to touch place into refrigerator to cool completely and thicken.

Make pastry rolls.

My tips
*You can store the remaining pastry cream in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

(Cheats) Pastry roll (makes 24 mini muffin size)
Ingredients
160g coconut milk
60g coconut oil
1 egg
170g arrowroot flour
1 teaspoon honey

Preparation
Preheat oven to 200°C (fan-forced).  Grease 24-hole mini muffin tray with coconut oil.  Set aside for filling later.

Place all ingredients into mixing bowl, mix for 25 seconds / Speed 7.  Scrape around sides of mixing bowl and mix for 5 seconds / Speed 7.

Fill each mini muffin mould three-quarters full with batter.  Bake for 16 – 19 minutes (200°C fan-forced), or until puffy and lightly golden brown.

Remove from oven and carefully remove tray onto a cooling rack.  Once cool enough to handle, use a skewer to pierce the base of the roll to allow any remaining steam to escape.  This will keep them crisper as they cool.  Set aside to cool completely before filling.

My tips
*These are best consumed on the day they are made, however you can store the remaining rolls in a container for up to 2 days.

Chocolate sauce – makes approximately 1 cup – *Make this close to serving
Ingredients
50g dairy free 100% chocolate pieces
20g raw cacao powder
50g maple syrup or honey
150g coconut milk
Pinch of fine salt

Preparation
Place chocolate into mixing bowl and melt for 2 minutes / 70°C/ Speed soft.

Add remaining ingredients and mix for 15 seconds / Speed 3.  Scrape around sides of mixing bowl and heat for 1 minutes / 70°C/ Speed soft. Scrape into jug or serving dish.  Serve warm.

My tips
*This sauce will store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.  You will need to heat it gently to serve as it will firm up in the refrigerator.

 

ASSEMBLY

If you haven’t already made the chocolate sauce do so now.

Remove crème patisserie from refrigerator and remove plastic wrap.  You have two options of filling the pastry rolls.  You can lay each one on their side and cut them so you have a top and bottom, like a bun OR you can make the hole in the bottom slightly bigger and spoon or pipe the mixture into the base of each roll.  Fill as many rolls as you would like to serve.

Place rolls on a serving plate and top with warm chocolate sauce.

ease: 8.5/10.  A few elements but nothing too challenging.
total prep time: 45 minutes + cooling time
total cooking time: 30 minutes 

total: 1 hours 15 minutes + cooling time

taste: 10/10 I know these are not “the real thing” but oh my goodness they are pretty special.  I hope you enjoy these as much as our house did.

would I make it again:  For special occasions, absolutely.  I couldn’t make them more often as they would disappear too quickly.

 

(LCHF) Meringue stack

I have been trying to make any sort of Paleoish meringue/pavlova for a few weeks now. I think I have used at least three dozen egg whites (and made LOTS of mayonnaise with the yolks) and I finally think I’ve cracked it.

Although these aren’t as thick as a normal pav, they have that crunchy exterior and soft gooey interior.  When I was making them it felt like I was making real meringue.  I was sooooo excited.

So before anyone judges me, I know the Paleo lifestyle is not about making sweet things compliant enough to eat and I actually don’t eat many sweet things at all, it was more the challenge of being able to make this so that it was similar to what used to do.  This recipe isn’t completely Paleo compliant because it uses Xylitol.  If you want to try something else, this pavlova wreath recipe uses maple syrup.

If you give this a try I truly hope you enjoy it.

Meringue stack with strawberry sauce (recipe by Fiona at Food 4 Thought).
No: Gluten / Grain / Soy / Nuts
Contains: Eggs / Dairy (optional)
Makes 2 x 20cm discs.

You will need
Oven
Spatula
Butterfly whisk
2 x baking tray lined with non-stick paper
20cm ring to mark a pattern on the paper
Cooling rack

Meringue
Ingredients
150g xylitol (from Birch trees)
200g egg white (approx. 6 eggs)
1 pinch cream of tartar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey
3 teaspoons tapioca flour (see Tips for LCHF option)

Preparation
Preheat oven to 120°C.  Line 2 large baking trays (40 x 35 cm) with baking paper.  Trace 2 circles (approx. 20 cm) on the underside of each piece of baking paper, then set baking trays aside.

Place xylitol into mixing bowl and mill 15 seconds / Speed 9.  Transfer into a bowl and set aside.  Thoroughly clean and dry mixing bowl.

Insert butterfly whisk.  Place egg whites and cream of tartar into mixing bowl and whip for 3 minutes / 50°C / Speed 4 / MC off.

With butterfly whisk still in place, mix 3 minutes / Speed 4 / MC off, slowly adding reserved xylitol through hole in mixing bowl lid 1 spoon at a time until well combined.

Mix the lemon juice and honey together in a small bowl until combined.  With butterfly whisk still in place, mix 1 ½ minutes / Speed 4 / MC off, adding lemon/honey, then tapioca flour through hole in mixing bowl lid until combined.

Spoon mixture into traced circle guides to form discs approx. 2-3 cm thick. Bake for 1 ½ hours (120°C).

*While Meringue are baking, make Strawberry sauce if you like.

Turn oven off and leave meringue discs to cool completely in the oven with the oven door slightly open (with a wooden spoon or similar to hold it in place), leave approx. 3 hours or overnight.  Clean and dry mixing bowl and butterfly whisk.  Once cooked, remove from oven and place onto cooling rack, leave for a few hours to dry out as much as possible (I left mine uncovered for another day).

Strawberry sauce
Ingredients
250g fresh strawberries, washed and green tops removed
3 teaspoons honey (or 40g xylitol)
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Preparation
Place all ingredients into mixing bowl.  Cook for 3 minutes / 90°C / Speed 3.  Then mix for 10 seconds / Speed 5.  Transfer into a bowl and set aside.  Thoroughly clean and dry mixing bowl.  See below regarding assembly.

 

 

ASSEMBLY -
To serve
- Cream/Coconut cream – I would use approx. 500g of cream to top these discs.  For whipped coconut cream, use 2 cans chilled overnight and follow a whipped coconut cream recipe for instructions.
- Fresh berries or fruit of choice

To assemble meringue stack, place 1 of the discs onto a serving platter. Top disc with half of the whipped cream of choice, then decorate with fresh mixed berries and drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of the strawberry sauce.  Place remaining meringue disc on top, then repeat layering with remaining cream, fresh berries and 1-2 tablespoons of the coulis.  Serve immediately.

My tips
*Before I start this recipe, I do a lemon or vinegar wash on my bowl.  This video explains how and why you should do so.
*It is important that you start this recipe at least a day before you want to assemble it so that the discs have time to dry out properly.
*Use any fruit toppings that you like.
*This is best eaten on the day of assembly.
*For LCHF – You could substitute the tapioca flour for xantham gum.  I would try ½ – 1 teaspoon.  I haven’t tried this so can’t guarantee it will work.

ease: 7.5/10.  Just a few steps.
prep time: 50 minutes + cooling time
cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes 

total: 2 hours 20 minutes + cooling time

taste: 9/10 Not quite as good as I remember the “real thing” but a great dish in its own right.

would I make it again:  For special occasions, absolutlely. 

(paleo/LCHF) Spiced lamb burgers

Lamb has always been one of my favourite sources of protein.  In fact it was the first meat I ate when I broke out of my 15 years of  vegetarianism!

For as long as I can remember it ahs almost been traditional to have some form of lamb as part of Australia day celebrations.  This year I wanted something simple, that I could make ahead and not worry about while I had guests.  So these little burgers are the perfect solution.  Easy to make, make them the day before, loaded with flavour and served with your favourite burger bun, what could be better?   My suggestion is to make up several batches of these and pop them in the freezer so you have them on hand, they are already a staple in our repertoire.  If your house is anything like mine when you have guests for a BBQ, the men cook the BBQ and ladies generally do salad (and everything else!)  These can be cooked on the BBQ, salad and cauliflower rolls can be made earlier, which means you get to sit with a cool drink and chat.  I hope you enjoy it all!

(paleo/LCHF) Spiced lamb burgers (recipe by Fiona at Food 4 Thought).
No: Gluten / Grain / Dairy / Soy / Nuts
Contains: Eggs
Makes 6 burgers.

You will need
Frying pan/BBQ/Oven
Spatula
Egg flip or similar
Dinner plate
Coconut oil, ghee or lard for shallow frying
Cooling rack

Ingredients
1 clove garlic, peeled
150g brown onion, chopped into pieces
100g carrot, chopped into pieces
20g (1 Tablespoon) coconut/olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ - 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
300g lamb rump steak, trimmed of fat and sinew, cut into 3-4cm chunks OR 300g minced lamb
1 tablespoon vegetable stock concentrate OR 1 teaspoon finely ground salt
1 egg
To serve – toppings pf your choice.

Preparation

*If making cauliflower buns, start this recipe and you can make the burgers while the buns are in the oven.

Place garlic into mixing bowl and chop for 5 – 10 seconds / Speed 6.  Add onion and carrots and chop for 5 seconds / Speed 5.  Scrape around sides of mixing bowl, add olive oil and cook for 5 minutes / 100°C / Soft speed / MC off. Add cumin, coriander and chilli flakes, cook 2 minutes / 100°C / Soft speed / MC off.  Pour mixture onto a dinner plate and spread out thinly, set aside to cool.

If you are using minced lamb skip this step.  Without rinsing mixing bowl, add chunks of rump and mince on for 2 – 5 seconds / Reverse / Speed 7.

Add cooled vegetable mixture, stock and egg.  Mix for 30 seconds / Reverse / Speed 4.  You should have a paste consistency.  If not, mix for longer as this is what will help hold the burgers together during cooking.  Remove mixture from bowl and set aside.

If cooking immediately, place a large frypan over medium heat OR BBQ hot plate OR pre-heat oven to 180°C.  Moisten hands with cold water and divide mixture into six equal portions.  Shape into burger patties, cook immediately OR place on a lined tray, cover and refrigerate until required. See tips for freezing.

For frypan or BBQ, I cooked these for 2-3 minutes per side.  I baked them in the oven for 20 minutes.

Serve with toppings of your choice.  If you have any left over, store in an air tight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or freeze.

DOUBLING THIS RECIPE: You can double this recipe easily.  You may need to assist the final mixing step by using the spatula through the hole in the mixing bowl lid to make sure you get the right consistency before shaping the burgers.

My tips
* These burgers are very moist because they have no flour or breadcrumbs added to them.  You need to make sure you have a paste consistency after you have mixed everything together before shaping them.  This helps them hold together during cooking.
* I chop my meat on reverse because I like the texture I end up with.
* Change the flavour by substituting other herbs and spices to the mix.  Ras el hanout or garam marsala would be lovely.  Make it your own.
* Shaping – I made these slightly larger than the buns as they will shrink slightly during the cooking process.
* If you are not using these immediately, once shaped place on a lined baking tray and freeze them. Then place non-stick paper in between the burgers, stack and freeze for as long as your freezer instructs.
* You could substitute the lamb with beef or chicken if preferred.
* To reheat these I used an air fryer. 180°C for 4 minutes was perfect.
* Add any burger toppings that you like.

ease: 9/10.  Just a little bit of shaping required.
prep time: 15 minutes  
cooking time: 20 minutes 

total: 35 minutes 

taste: 10/10 These are great. No fillers, no extras, just pure flavour.  Yum, yum, yum.

would I make it again:  They are already a staple, especially in summer.  

(paleo/LCHF) Cauliflower buns/rolls

I’ve never been a big bread eater.  I remember as a child the only thing I really liked was plain white bread with vegemite and grated cheese and even that was only when I was quite young.  As I grew older and my palate developed it wasn’t something I gravitated to. So following a paleo lifestyle didn’t really present me with a “no bread” challenge.  However, when I want to have a burger, I like to pick it up and feel like I’m eating a burger.

I have always loved cauliflower and more recently I feel that I have become somewhat obsessed.  I want to try it as many ways as I can and I’m starting to realise just how versatile this inconspicuous little vegetable is.

These are something that I’ve wanted to ”play with” for a little while now.  You can use the recipe (minus the garlic and rosemary) as a base and create your own flavours.  Add your favourite burger and enjoy.

(paleo/LCHF) Cauliflower buns/rolls (recipe by Fiona at Food 4 Thought). 
No: Gluten / Grain / Dairy / Soy / Nuts
Contains: Eggs
Makes 6-8 complete buns/rolls.

You will need
Oven
Spatula
Egg flip or similar
Glass bowl
2 x baking tray lined with non-stick paper
9-10cm round cookie cutter or similar
Cooling rack

Ingredients
1 sprig (approx. 20cm in length) fresh rosemary, leaves only OR 1 tsp dried rosemary
1 clove garlic, peeled
400g cauliflower florets, chopped into bite-sized pieces
½ teaspoon fine salt
2 Tablespoons (30g) coconut flour
2 eggs
1 ½ – 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
Poppy/sesame seeds, to sprinkle on top (optional)

Preparation

Pre-heat oven to 180°C and prepare baking trays.

Place rosemary leaves into mixing bowl and mill for 1 minute / Speed 10 (If using dried rosemary, skip this step).  Add garlic and chop for 5 seconds / Speed 6.  Add cauliflower and chop for 4 – 6 seconds / Speed 5.  This should be a rice texture.

Scrape around sides of mixing bowl, add remaining ingredients and mix for 20 seconds / Reverse / Speed 4.  Scrape mixture into a separate bowl.

Place cookie cutter onto lined baking tray.  Take approx. 80g (1/3 cup packed) of mixture and pour into cutter.  Using hands or back of a spoon, press the mixture firmly into shape.  Complete with remaining mixture.  See tips for shaping. Sprinkle half with seeds if you wish.

Place buns in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, then turn over and bake for further 10 minutes or until golden and firm to touch.

*While buns are baking, make these burgers if you like.

Once cooked, remove from oven and place onto cooling rack, cool enough to handle and serve. To store, cool completely and store in an air tight container for up to 2 days.

When you want to use them, you can reheat them in a 180°C for 5 – 7 minutes or crisp them under the grill.

My tips
*Substitute any other dried herb if you don’t have rosemary.
*Shaping – Make sure the mixture is pressed in firmly.  To make the “bun tops”, once pressed into shape remove cutter then gentle press edges down so they are slightly thinner than centre and have a tapered appearance. 
*Add any burger and toppings that you like.
*We didn’t have any left over to check how they freeze but I think they would freeze quite well.
*To reheat these I used an air fryer. 180°C for 4 minutes was perfect
*For LCHF – You could add a couple of tablespoons of cheese in place of the nutritional yeast and some ham if you like.
*Rosemary - I find when using fresh rosemary (and a small amount) just removed from the stem, it is difficult to cut in the Thermomix.  I suggest you either take the leaves off the stalk and sit them on the bench uncovered overnight to dry out a little or put them on a lined tray and bake in oven for a few minutes to do the same.  

ease: 9/10.  Just a little bit of shaping required.
prep time: 20 minutes  
cooking time: 30 minutes 

total: 50 minutes 

taste: 9.5/10 These are great. They stand up like a “normal” bun.

would I make it again:  Oh yes.  

(paleo) Pavlova wreath

PHOTO TO COME

I have wanted to make a paleo “pavlova” wreath since I started this way of life many years ago.  I think I can adapt many things to “become paleo” however I may have met my match……for now.  Not that this recipe is a failure, it just isn’t as perfect as I would like, and here’s why.  I want a crunchy exterior and soft interior that all melts in your mouth.  After using 18 egg whites and trying different combinations of heated eggs, heated maple syrup, cold of both, coconut sugar ground or not (you get the idea), I finally had something that I am happy enough to share.  It has a soft marshmallow texture that melts in your mouth and begs you to take another bite.

I learnt A LOT during this process and can’t wait to resurrect this recipe and make it even better. I hope you enjoy this version. Whether it is a last minute gift idea or for your own pleasure, you should try these.

(paleo) pavlova wreath– serves 6-8 (recipe by Fiona at Food 4 Thought).

Ingredients
5 – 6 egg whites (approx. 180 – 200g in total)*
pinch salt
125g pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon tapioca flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Preparation
Preheat the oven to 150°C (fan-forced).  Line a baking tray with non-stick paper.  Turn the paper upside down and use a plate or bowl to trace around to create a circle, then use a smaller plate or bowl to trace in the centre.  I used 24cm diameter for my larger circle and 14cm diameter for the smaller one.  This will give you a ring shape that will allow you to create your shape.  Turn the paper over so that the tracing is underneath the paper, that way your ingredients won’t touch it.

Before starting this recipe I recommend you do a vinegar wash on your bowl and butterfly.  I place the butterfly whisk into position in the mixing bowl, add 1200g of boiling water from my kettle along with 200g of white vinegar (the cheapest you can find) and heat for 6 min / 90°C / speed 1.  Carefully remove the butterfly, empty contents of the bowl, dry everything thoroughly, replace mixing bowl into position and use the turbo function for 1 – 2 seconds to remove any excess water from under the blade.  This will ensure the bowl is as clean as possible.  Dry mixing again and get ready to start.

Insert butterfly into mixing bowl and leave MC off.  Place a jug or bowl on top of the lid and measure the maple syrup.  Set this aside.  Place egg whites and salt into mixing bowl and whisk for 3 – 5 min / speed 3 until egg whites become stiff.  Keep an eye on them and don’t over whip them.  Scrape the sides of the mixing bowl with the spatula.

Set the machine for 3 min / speed 3 and slowly pour the maple syrup through the hole in the mixing bowl lid.  This should take a minute or so.  Then add the tapioca flour a teaspoon at a time, then vanilla and lemon juice.  Continue mixing until time runs out.

Remove the butterfly whisk from the bowl and set aside.  Remove stiffened egg mixture from bowl and shape into a ring on the paper.  Smooth out if you like or leave it a little rough.  If there is excess mixture on the butterfly, once the mixture has been removed from the mixing bowl, place the butterfly whisk into position and mix for 5 sec / speed 4.  This should spray everything off the blade and allow you to scrape it from the mixing bowl.

Once shape is complete, place into oven and immediately turn oven down to 110°C (fan-forced), bake for 45 – 55 mins, until golden brown.  Once cooked, allow to cool slowly in the oven with door propped slightly open (use wooden spoon).

Leave overnight before decorating with whipped coconut cream and fruit of your choice.

Add your favorite toppings!

My tips: *I found it didn’t matter what temperature the egg whites were at.  If they were at room temperature they whipped up quicker, however if they were cold I whisked them longer and got the same result.  *The cooking time will depend on your oven.  My oven tends to cook quite hot.  If you know your oven is a little cooler then cook it at 120°C and keep an eye on it.  You will find this will go quite golden because we used maple syrup.

ease: 7/10.  Egg whites can be like computers, they tend to have a mind of their own  and you can never explain why it works one day and not the next.
prep time: 10 minutes 
cooking time: 50 minutes 

total: 60 minutes + cooling time

taste: 8/10 The flavour of this is delicious, i8t is just the texture that I would like to try and improve on.  :)

would I make it again:  Yes, for special occasions….and to try it again :)

(paleo) Cranberry and pistachio shortbread

Shortbread is one of the treats I enjoy and following a paleo lifestyle doesn’t mean I miss out.   I love the rich buttery taste and the slightly crumbly texture that almost melted in your mouth yet still had a little crunch.  That is exactly what I wanted from this recipe and I think I’ve got there.  After a few trials that I had to taste test (the hardest job of all) I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Whether it is a last minute gift idea or for your own pleasure, you should try these.

(paleo) Cranberry and pistachio shortbread– makes approx. 24 (recipe by Fiona at Food 4 Thought).

Ingredients
50g pistachio
220g blanched almonds, raw or activated if you like (see notes below) or use 220g almond meal
60g coconut oil, melted
40g maple syrup or honey
30g coconut sugar
30g tapioca flour
20g coconut flour
seeds from ½ vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
2 pinches ground rock or pink salt
25g unsweetened dried cranberries

Preparation
Line 2 x baking trays with non-stick paper.  Preheat the oven to 170°C (160°C fan-forced).

Place pistachio nuts into mixing bowl and chop for 3 sec / speed 5, remove from bowl and set aside.

Place almonds into mixing bowl and chop for 10 sec / speed 8, to make them into almond mealScrape around sides of mixing bowl with spatula.  If coconut oil isn’t melted, remove almond meal from bowl and set aside.

If coconut oil is melted, skip this next step.  Add coconut oil to mixing bowl and heat for 2 min / 90°C / speed 1 or until melted.

Add remaining ingredients (including pistachios) to mixing bowl and mix for 15 sec / speed 3 or until combined.  Layout a 40cm piece of cling wrap and scrape mixture into centre.  Flatten until mixture is approx. 2cm thick, wrap and place in freezer for 10 minutes.

Once chilled slightly, remove mixture from freezer and divide in half.  Rewrap one half and place in the fridge.  For the other half, layout a 40cm piece of baking paper and place an extra 40cm piece of cling wrap (or baking paper) on top.  Place the mixture in between the paper and cling.  Use a rolling pin to roll out to 8-10mm thick.  Cut out desired shapes and place onto lined tray.  Press the off cuts or mixture together, wrap in cling and place in fridge while rolling out the second half of the dough.  Remove second half of dough from the fridge and place between paper and cling and repeat rolling and cutting out process.  Combine all off cuts of mixture and repeat rolling and cutting out process until all dough is used.

Once shortbread are on trays, place into freezer for 10 minutes (*If you don’t have time to do this see my tips below).  Once chilled, place into pre-heated oven and bake for 12 – 15 mins (depending on your oven) or until golden.  Once baked, remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes on tray then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container in fridge for two weeks or freeze for up to 6 months.  Give these as a gift or serve to guests.

My tips: *If you feel the off cuts are becoming too difficult to work with, wrap in cling and place in freezer for 5-10 minutes to chill then continue.  *I used a 6cm diameter round cutter for my shortbread but anything will work.  *If you don’t have time to place the cut out shortbread in the freezer before cooking, you can place them straight into the oven and cook them for 8-10 minutes.  They will spread a little more and will have a slightly chewy texture but they are still delicious. *You can also substitute the coconut sugar with extra maple syrup.  You might find the texture is not as crumbly.  *During cooler months coconut oil will solidify.  The easiest way to melt it is to loosen the lid of the jar slightly then run the sides of the jar under hot water.  It will melt quite quickly.  *I activate nuts by soaking them for around 5 hours and rinsing them.  You can use them straight away  If you want them crunchy again, roast them (low and slow) in the oven.  This process decreases levels of anti-nutrients such as phytic acid.  You can find some more information here and lots of other places on the net.

ease: 8.5/10.  This is as easy as any other shortbread I’ve made.
prep time: 40 minutes (including chilling time)
cooking time: 15 minutes 

total: 55 minutes + cooling time

taste: 9/10 The feedback I got for these was wonderful.  One of my friends even wanted to buy some to give as a gift  :)

would I make it again:  Absolutely.  Especially if I need a quick treat to share with friends.

 

(paleo) Carrot cake and cashew cream frosting

One of the things I love to do most in life is to bake.  When I was (much) younger I used to sit on the bench and help my Mum cream together butter and sugar for the beginning of a cake - by hand of course - mixing it in the bowl with a wooden spoon.  I’m sure the butter would have been made by hand churning the cream (from the family cows) until it split into that gorgeous sunshine yellow and that silky buttermilk.  As I reflect on those times I can’t help but think how idyllic that was!

While a few things have changed (I’m too big to sit on the bench, I have found some wonderful healthy and tasty substitutes for butter and sugar, I use a Thermomix to make my own butter :)), one thing remains the same.  I still love to bake.  It brings me a sense of relaxation, of joy and a feeling that I’m sharing a piece of my soul to those who taste my creations.  I don’t eat desserts or cake that often anymore but when I do it has to be good, otherwise, what’s the point!

I like this recipe because the cake isn’t too sweet, it is firm enough that you could use it as a celebration cake and decorate it quite easily and it keeps really well.  You can put the icing on at least a day ahead of when it is needed, pop it in an air tight container and leave it in the refrigerator.  It can be for Easter or anytime of the year.  I hope you enjoy this recipe too.

(paleo) Carrot cake and cashew cream frosting – makes 2 x 19cm cakes (recipe by Fiona at Food 4 Thought).

Ingredients
cak
200g whole almonds (skin on), raw or activated if you like (see notes below) or use 200g almond meal
200g carrots (skin on), washed and chopped into 2cm pieces 0r use the same amount of finely grated carrot
20g (2 Tbls) coconut flour
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 pinches ground rock or pink Himalayan salt
50g coconut oil, melted
4 eggs
100g raw honey or maple syrup
seeds from ½ vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
1 teaspoon bicarb soda (baking soda)
60g raisins
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

frosting
150g raw cashews, raw or activated if you like (see notes below)
60g honey or maple syrup
3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
50g filtered water (you may need less if you have activated the nuts)
40g coconut oil, melted
seeds from ½ vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
1 pinch ground rock or pink Himalayan salt

Preparation
Line 2 x 19cm round cake tins with non-stick paper.  Preheat the oven to 180°C (170°C fan-forced).

For cake, place almonds into TM bowl and chop for 10 seconds on speed 8, to turn them into almond mealScrape around sides of mixing bowl with spatula. Add carrots and chop for 3-4 seconds on speed 6 or until chopped finely. Add remaining ingredients and mix for 15 seconds on reverse, speed 3 or until combined.  Pour into prepared tins and level with a spatula.

Bake for 20 – 25 mins (depending on your oven) or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.  Once baked, remove from tin and cool completely on wire rack before frosting.

For frosting, place cashew nuts into TM bowl chop for 10 seconds on speed 8.  Scrape around sides of mixing bowl with spatula. Add all remaining ingredients into TM bowl and mix for 20 - 30 seconds on speed 4 or until well combined and smooth.  Scrape around the sides of the bowl and repeat if necessary.  Pour frosting over each cake, assemble as you like and place into fridge until needed.

Decorate with whatever you like.

My tips: *You could make this in one 22cm cake tin then cut it once it is has cooked and cooled however it will be a little denser.  You would need to cook it for 45 – 55 minutes depending on your oven.  *You can add a handful of walnut pieces to this batter if you like.  *If you don’t have raisins you can substitute sultanas.  *During winter coconut oil will solidify.  The easiest way to melt it is to loosen the lid of the jar slightly then run the sides of the jar under hot water.  It will melt quite quickly.  *I activate nuts by soaking them for around 5 hours and rinsing them.  You can use them straight away  If you want them crunchy again, roast them (low and slow) in the oven.  This process decreases levels of anti-nutrients such as phytic acid.  You can find some more information here and lots of other places on the net.

ease: 8.5/10.  This is as easy as any other cake I’ve made.
prep time: 10 minutes 
cooking time: 25 minutes 

total: 35 minutes + cooling time and assembly

taste: 9/10 This was (it went pretty quickly) delicious.  Even my non-paleo friends decided this was “pretty good” for a healthy cake (and they went back for seconds). :)

would I make it again:  Absolutely.  Especially if I need a cake to decorate for a special occasion.

 

(Healthy) Caramelised onion jam

The weather has finally warmed up a little in Perth.  For me, that means my eating habits change.  I want to eat lighter, brighter food.  So it is almost time to say goodbye to my curries and wintery stews and hello to more salads, shakes and ice creams.   It also means the opportunity for more alfresco dining, BBQ’s and picnics.

One thing that never changes though is that I LOVE a good condiment.  With a curry I like mango chutney, tamarind sauce or my all time favourite, eggplant kasundi.  With a roast it has to be good gravy.  I also add sauerkraut on the side of many of my dishes because of the medicinal benefits.

So what do I want to accompany those summery dishes, like salad, sandwiches or even the base of a tart?  One of my absolute favourites is caramelised onion jam.  There is something about onions that have been cooked until they have converted their juices to sweet nectar and have that stickiness that makes you want to eat more.  The only problem is that this process is normally assisted by using some form of sugar, something I don’t eat any more.

So if I wanted some of my favourite little side dish, I needed to come up with something that would work with my lifestyle.

This recipe is super simple and as I mentioned, extremely versatile. One of the things that will be on my list of things to create very soon is a Paleo caramelised onion tart.  YUM!  I’ve used this jam in my Roast Beef Gravy and my Perfect Paleo Pies.  You can use it with BBQ meats, or even with a baguette and some aged cheddar cheese.  Even give it as a gift.  Whatever you like.

I really hope you enjoy the results of this recipe as much as I do.

(healthy) caramelised onion jam (recipe by Fiona at Food 4 Thought).
Makes approx. 2 cups.

Ingredients
½ red apple (approx. 100g), cut into pieces
600g onions (red or brown), cut into pieces
20g coconut oil, ghee or butter
20g olive oil
50g apple cider vinegar
20g coconut amino or 1 tablespoon vegetable stock paste
80 – 100g honey (raw or cold pressed)

Preparation
Place apple pieces into TM bowl and chop for 5 seconds on speed 5.  Scrape around the sides of the bowl.  Add onion pieces and chop for 4 seconds on speed 6.  Add coconut oil/ghee/butter and olive oil.  Cook for 20 minutes at Varoma temperature on reverse, speed 2 with the MC off.  If the mixture starts to splatter place the simmering basket onto the mixing bowl lid. (I didn’t need to do this but just in case).

Add the remaining ingredients and cook for a further 5 minutes at Varoma temperature on reverse, speed 1 with the MC off.  Scrape the base of the mixing bowl well to ensure mixture isn’t sticking.  Cook for a further  5 minutes at Varoma temperature on reverse, speed 1 with the MC off.  Mixture should be softened and darker in colour.

Store in sterilised jars in fridge until needed.

My tips:  *This is great with roast beef, steak sandwiches, salads, in gravy and in tarts.  Add it to cream cheese or cashew cheese to make an easy onion dip.  *Make jars of it for gifts.  If you would like to double the mixture, make sure you add at least 20 minutes to the cooking time.  *This will keep for approx. 3-4 weeks in the fridge.

ease: 9/10.  
prep time: 10 minutes 
cooking time: 30 minutes 

total: 40 minutes

taste: 9/10 I love this “paleo version” of something I used to make and eat A LOT.  Now I can eat it by the spoonful, guilt free.

would I make it again:  I think this will be my new Hostess gift when visiting friends.