Thursday, 19 December 2013

Larb Moo (Pork Salad)

Well, isn't Christmas just the biggest time sucker of the year! I feel as though I have been sorely neglecting this blog and instead spending loads of time stuck in traffic and running around town tracking down that 'one last present' for the random person you forgot about or that difficult relative that you put off until the last second! 

On the plus side, I think I am finally done, and there is a mountain of presents stacked under the tree waiting for delivery to the various receivers which will be a trickle effect over the coming week as we catch up with all of our family and friends. This is the fun part that makes it all worthwhile! 

I am going to put aside the dishes, the rest of the wrapping, folding the washing…oh, and sleep!… to quickly pop up this recipe for a thai Larb Moo (Pork Salad). We were having a hectic day the other day and I had some pork mince and not a lot of time, not to mention it was a blazing hot day and the humidity must have been closing in on 100% so it was not the time for an intensive or heavy meal. I was in the mood for something light, tasty and fast, so salad it was to be. 

I didn't add any chilli to my Larb as I was serving it to the kids, but I will put it in the recipe (optional of course) as it does round out that flavor balance that makes Thai food taste so good. The secret is in getting the right balance of sweet, sour, salt and spice so the addition of chill, even just a small amount, can really give you a total taste explosion. Traditionally, this dish is made with chicken mince, so you can easily use that instead, or any mince you like. I have also used less traditional vegetables in the salad, purely based on what we had in the fridge and what I know the family will eat. You can decide which vegetables are going to work for you.

Gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, nut-free, soy-free, sugar-free and can be made within 30 minutes…the perfect week night speed-meal!



Larb Moo

Gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, nut-free, soy-free, sugar-free

Ingredients:
500g Pork Mince (or any mince of your choice - chicken also works very well and is the traditional choice)
1tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp lemongrass, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
2 kaffir lime leaves
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 fresh red chill, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice

1 cup blanched broccoli
1 carrot, cut in half lengthways then thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 cups baby spinach, wilted
1 cup fresh coriander, roughly torn
1/4 cup fresh mint, roughly torn
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, cut in half lengthways then thinly sliced on the diagonal
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp coconut oil

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients (broccoli, carrot, spinach, coriander, mint, spring onion, and cucumber).
2. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, fish sauce and oil. Mix well to combine, then pour over the salad. Toss the salad well to combine the dressing.
3. In a frying pan over medium-high heat, heat the coconut oil. 
4. Add the lemongrass, ginger, garlic and chill and cook whilst stirring until the aromas are released. 
5 Add the pork and cook for about 5 minutes until cooked through. Remove from the heat. 
6. On a large serving plate, place the salad. Top with the pork mixture, then garnish with fresh coriander or mint. 

Enjoy!

x


Sunday, 15 December 2013

Brandy Truffles - Adults only!

Here's one for the grown-ups! I know that by adding brandy to these truffles it is not strictly clean eating, as alcohol shouldn't really feature heavily in a clean diet, but it's xmas! And brandy truffles are so very festive! Other than the small amount of brandy though, these are moist, decadent truffles that are totally clean and very addictive. You could substitute the brandy for orange juice or coffee. 

I borrowed the base ingredients for this recipe from the huckleberry farm newsletter, which was originally from www.nomnomnosh.com - and was instantly addicted. The recipe is for a brownie, but I decided to make it into truffles for that christmasy vibe. The recipe is gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free and uses only a small amount of coconut sugar to add sweetness (although you can use any sweetener you like). 


Raw Chocolate Brandy Truffles

Gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, soy-free

Ingredients:
1 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup cacao powder
2 tbsp coconut sugar (or your choice of sweetener - dates would work well)
2 tbsp cacao butter (you can buy this from most whole food stores - it is expensive, but you only need a small amount)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 tbsp brandy
1 tsp vanilla extract, vanilla paste or the seeds from 1 vanilla pod
zest of one orange
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup desiccated coconut

Directions:
1. In a blender or food processor, blend the almonds until a coarse flour forms. 
2. Over a low heat, bring a small pot filled with a little water to a gentle simmer. Place a heatproof bowl over the pot and gently melt the coconut oil and cacao butter. 
3. Once melted, remove the bowl from the heat. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for dessicated coconut and mix well to combine. 
4. Take heaped teaspoons of mixture and roll into balls. Place the coconut onto a small plate. Drop the balls into the coconut and roll gently to coat. 
5. Place the balls into the fridge or freezer to set. 

Enjoy!

x

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Chocolate Brownie Santa Hats and Roasted Herby Mixed Nuts

The christmas cooking, tasting, planning and eating has begun! I have started to trial a few homemade christmas treats and gifts. The first on the production line was Chocolate Brownie Santa Hats for an early christmas picnic to celebrate with hubby's stepsister who won't be able to make it to the big family celebration. These were a hit with the kids in particular, and are gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, nut-free, soy-free and free of refined sugar. The best part is that these are really easy to make, and utilize the gorgeous fresh strawberries that are in abundance at this time of year.


Chocolate Brownie Santa Hats

Gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, nut-free, soy-free, free of refined sugar

Directions: 
These santa hats are really just a combination of 2 super easy recipes - Chocolate Brownie Bites (recipe adapted from http://www.health-bent.com/treats/paleo-brownie-cake-bites), and my totally addictive Homemade Coconut Butter

Bake the brownie bites and allow to cool. If you don't have coconut butter already made, whip up a batch while you are waiting for the brownies to cook. The coconut butter will need to be firmish so that it doesn't run everywhere when you put it on top of the brownies (as mine started to a little as you can see in the photo). 

Take the green stem off of 15 medium sized strawberries. Once the brownies are cooled, put a dollop of coconut butter on top (you may have to use a sharp knife to level the tops if they are not flat enough for a strawberry to sit on). On top of the coconut butter, place a strawberry. Either serve straight away, or if you are waiting, place in the fridge. This will keep the strawberries cool and also allow for the coconut butter to set (the heat at this time of year can make it soften quite easily!).



The next recipe I have been putting together today is a big tray of these incredibly moreish Roasted Herby Mixed Nuts. Yum! I put together a mix of raw nuts, added oil and freshly chopped herbs, and roasted gently. I then place them in a small glass jar with a Christmas bow, and voila - yummy homemade christmas gift! You can use any mix of nuts that you like. These nuts are not only a great gift, but would also be an ideal addition to your pre-dinner snacks for your christmas party.


Roasted Herby Mixed Nuts

Gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, soy-free, sugar-free

Ingredients:

1/2 a cup each of any combination of raw nuts (I used cashews, hazelnuts, almonds and walnuts).
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh herbs (I used half thyme, half rosemary. You can use dried if you don't have fresh available)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
a couple of grinds of black pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 150C. Line a cookie tray (with slight sides) with baking paper.
2. In a medium bowl, place all of the nuts and the oil and mix to combine.
3. In a small bowl, combine the herbs, garlic, salt and pepper.
4. Tip the herb mix into the nuts and mix well to ensure a nice even coating.
5. Place in the oven, and cook until light golden brown (about 10-15 minutes, but keep a close eye on them as they can turn quite easily.

If you are making as a gift, allow the nuts to cool, then place into a small jar and tie a christmas themed ribbon.

Enjoy!

x

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Grilled Prawns with Fish Fingers and Avocado Dipping Sauce

One of the best things about summer is the delicious seafood and those long lazy evenings with a big plate of fresh morsels. The hot weather means that a meal of seafood and fresh crisp vegetables is all that's needed for a gorgeous dinner. A couple of nights ago my very generous mother-in-law dropped off a parcel of banana prawns (also known as big humongous suckers!). We made a delicious meal by simply grilling the prawns on the BBQ Au Naturel and serving them with a garlic butter dipping sauce.

I also made fish fingers - snapper cut into chunks then coated in coconut flour and pan fried, served with an avocado dipping sauce. The meal was completed with blanched green vegetables and a big fresh garden salad. The perfect summer meal!

I borrowed the avocado dipping sauce recipe from a book called Quick and Easy Paleo Comfort Foods by Julie and Charles Mayfield.






Grilled Banana Prawns with Fish Fingers and Dipping Sauces

Gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, nut-free, soy-free, sugar-free

Ingredients:
10 large prawns (cleaned, then either left as is, or threaded onto skewers)
l large or 2 medium snapper fillets, cut into large chunks or 'fingers'
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
zest of half a lemon (optional)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp coconut oil

25g butter or coconut oil
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and grated
juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 avocado
juice of 1 lime or lemon
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil (optional, depending on how ripe your avocado is)

Directions:
1. Start by preparing your dipping sauces. In a small blender or food processor place the avocado, lime juice, garlic, mustard, pepper and salt. Blend until smooth and creamy. If the sauce is a little bit too thick, add a small amount of oil at a time until it becomes your preferred consistency (I didn't need to add any but it will be up to personal preference). Scoop the dip into a serving bowl and set aside.
2. In a small pot over a low heat, melt the butter and add the garlic and parsley. Once butter has melted, remove from heat and add lemon juice. Mix well to combine. Pour into a small serving bowl, and set aside.
3. To prepare the fish place coconut flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder and lemon zest (if using) onto a large plate. Use a fork to blend the ingredients until well combined.  In a large frying pan, over a medium heat, heat 1 tbsp of the coconut oil. Take each piece of the fish that you have cut into chunks and toss it in the coconut flour mixture. Place into the hot pan. Repeat until half the fish is in the pan. Cook on one side until golden then flip and cook the other side until the fish is cooked through. Remove the fish from the pan and repeat the process with the other half of the fish pieces. You can do them all at one time, but I find they cook better if you don't overcrowd the pan. Place all the fish pieces on a large serving plate.
4. To cook the prawns, either cook on the BBQ on a medium heat for about 2-3 minutes each side, or grill on the stovetop if you don't want to use the BBQ.
5. Serve the meal with blanched green vegetables (we had asparagus and broccoli) and a fresh green salad (we used lettuce, tomato, cucumber and capsicum).

Enjoy!

x

Monday, 9 December 2013

Crispy Roast Chicken With Herb Butter, Cauliflower Mash and Vegetables

I'm pretty sure there must be a list out there somewhere that has the 'top 5 food cooking smells' on it, and somewhere on that list would have to be Roast Chicken…it's definitely up there with fried garlic and onions, hot baked bread, and bacon. 

This roast chicken was incredibly easy, and served with cauliflower mash, roast potatoes and carrots, and steamed broccoli, it was a delicious, nutritious meal that went down well with both hubby and the kids. Gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, soy-free and with the option of dairy-free, this meal is a great midweek staple that will impress but truly takes very little work at all! Because I used a butterflied chicken, the chicken was cooked in about 35-40 minutes so it can easily be whipped up after a long day which there seem to be a lot of at this time of year!



Crispy Roast Chicken with Herb Butter, Cauliflower Mash and Vegetables


Ingredients:

1 whole chicken (either buy it butterflied, or butterfly it yourself by cutting through the back bone with a sharp pair of kitchen scissors, and then flattening out. You could also cook it whole, but the cooking time will be longer).
1/4 cup butter or coconut oil (softened)
1/4 cup fresh or dried mixed herbs of your choice (I used fresh rosemary, fresh thyme and dried oregano)
1 clove garlic, peeled and grated
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste

2 cups cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp butter, coconut oil or olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder (or 1 clove garlic, grated)
1/8 cup coconut milk or 1/4 cup coconut milk powder
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 180C.
2. In a small bowl, combine the butter, herbs, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. 
3. Now for the messy part - using your fingers, gently separate the skin of the chicken from the flesh. You will create a pocket between the skin and flesh. Grab a lump of the butter and stuff it in the pocket. Massage the skin in order to spread the chicken around evenly under the skin. You will find that it will be on your fingers and some will ooze out, but this is a good thing - some of the butter mix on the outside will help to crisp up the skin. Repeat this process with both breast and both thighs - basically anywhere where there is thick flesh and skin that can be peeled off. 
4. Place the chicken in a roasting dish and cook for about 35-40 minutes until the skin is golden and crispy, and the juices run clear (pierce the chicken with a knife in the thickest part and allow some juice to escape. It should be clear with no pink to it).
5. Chop the chicken into quarters or rough chunks, depending on how many people you are serving.
6. Serve with Cauliflower Mash (see recipe), roast potatoes (or kumara), roast carrots and steamed greens

7. To make cauliflower mash, bring a pot of water to the boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, add cauliflower and cook until tender. Strain water, then add mustard, butter or oil, garlic and coconut milk. Mash well, or puree with a stick blender (I used this to make a really nice smooth mash, but you could also use a regular masher if you want a slightly more chunky mash). Season to taste


Friday, 6 December 2013

Cambodian Grilled Eggplant with Pork

I found a gorgeous recipe book in the library the other day called Authentic Cambodian Recipes. I am a sucker for the cooking section of the library, and even more so for books that are a little bit different and feature a type of cuisine or a style of cooking that is a break from the norm.

Always a sucker for eggplant, I soon honed in on this delicious sounding pork and eggplant. Light, fresh and delicious, the meal was super easy to make and was really smooth on the palate while still picking a flavor punch. Gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, nut-free, soy-free, we served this with a fresh coleslaw for an easy Friday night dinner


Cambodian Pork and Eggplant with Asian Inspired Coleslaw

(Pork recipe borrowed and slightly adapted from Authentic Cambodian Recipes written by Sorey Lang with Kanika Linden)
Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free

Ingredients:

Pork and Eggplant - 
2 large eggplants
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3 spring onions, chopped
400g minced pork
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 eggs, beaten
handful of coriander, beaten

Coleslaw-
1 cup red cabbage, finely sliced
1 cup green cabbage, finely sliced
1 cup cos lettuce, finely sliced
1 tomato, cut into chunks
10cm length of cucumber, cut into matchsticks
4 carrots, peeled and grated
large handful of coriander, roughly torn
Juice of 2 limes (or lemons)
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp water
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely grated
salt to taste
pinch of white pepper
1 red chilli, finely chopped (optional)

Directions:

Pork and eggplant -
1. Grill eggplants at 240C for 15 minutes until skin is dark and flesh is soft. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Peel skin and discard. Roughly chop the flesh and set aside.
2. Heat oil over medium high heat in a large frying pan. 
3. Add onions, garlic and pork. Cook until pork is just cooked through (5-10 minutes). Stir frequently to prevent from sticking to the pan.
4. Season the pork mix with the fish sauce and pepper
5. Add the eggplant and eggs to the pan. Mix ingredients well to combine then remove from the heat.
6. Serve immediately, garnished with plenty of fresh coriander. Serve with coleslaw (recipe below) and rice or cauliflower rice if desired.

Coleslaw-
1. In a large bowl, combine the cabbages, lettuce, tomato, carrots, cucumber and coriander.
2. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, honey, water, fish sauce, garlic, salt, pepper and chill. Mix well to combine
3. Pour dressing over the combined vegetables and toss well to combine.

Enjoy!

x




Thursday, 5 December 2013

Creamy Chicken and Mushroom with Kumara Mash

I have just arrived back from the oral surgeon for my pre-consultation for surgery to remove an impacted wisdom tooth - all booked and ready to roll for mid January! I am predicting I may be posting plenty of soup recipes that week! Thank goodness there was no availability before Xmas - can you imagine having to sit through xmas day eating soup and pureed apples while everyone else feasts on all the wonderful delicacies that Xmas has to offer!

It sounds really sad, but in a way I am almost looking forward to the day of surgery as the op itself is booked for first thing in the morning so I will be drowsy for the rest of the day and will be forced to sit, relax and do nothing at all but recover! I have visions of sitting propped up in bed, watching movies, reading books and taking naps whenever the mood takes me - A girl can dream right?!!

Last night for dinner we had a gluten free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, sugar-free version of  Chicken Alfredo - minus the pasta! Delicious, creamy and full of flavor this is a dish you can modify in so many ways. I added spinach and bacon to the traditional chicken/onion/mushroom combo, and I served it with kumara mash instead of the traditional pasta. There are some really good gluten-free pastas now available on the market for anyone who likes to stick with the pasta option, and there is also the choice of kelp noodles or making zucchini noodles for those who are opting for grain-free but prefer to stick to a 'pasta-like' option.



Creamy Chicken and Mushrooms

Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, sugar-free

Ingredients:
800g Chicken Thighs, chopped
270ml coconut milk
2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
2 onions, sliced
1 cup spinach, rinsed well and roughly chopped
4 rashers bacon (optional), diced
4 cloves garlic, grated or finely diced
2 tbsp coconut flour or tapioca
1 tbsp coconut oil
salt and pepper to season

Directions:
1. In a large pan, heat oil over a medium heat. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned.
2. Add onions, garlic, bacon and mushrooms and cook until softened.
3. Add coconut milk, spinach and coconut flour (add a tbsp or 2 to the coconut flour to make a paste before adding to the pan). Simmer for 5-10 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Season to taste

Serve with kumara mash, roasted pumpkin chunks, and steamed vegetables (I did broccoli and carrots - very kid friendly!)

Note:
To make kumara mash, chop 1 large or 2 small kumara, and add to boiling water. Cook until soft, drain water. Add 1 tbsp coconut oil, butter or ghee, salt and pepper and 1 tsp wholegrain mustard. Mash or puree until smooth - I like mine with a few chunks still in it, but everyone has a different preference. If it seems a little thick, add a bit of almond or coconut milk and mix in well to thin it a little.

Enjoy!

x

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Seafood Kebabs with Kumara Chunks, Green Salad and Kale Chips

A lovely light, fresh meal last night for dinner - these hot summer days (today NOT included!) are screaming out for seafood, salads and great vibrant flavors.


Seafood Kebabs

Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, sugar-free

Ingredients:
1kg mixed seafood of your choice (I used scallops, salmon and terakihi) cut into bite size chunks where applicable
2 large zucchini, cut into halves lengthways, then thickly sliced
1 green capsicum, cut in half then, half in the other directions, then thickly sliced
juice of one large lemon
1 tbsp dried (or fresh) dill
2 cloves garlic, grated
salt and pepper to taste
1tbsp coconut oil

Directions:
1. Thread seafood and vegetables onto kebab skewers in any order you choose. Place on a large plate.
2. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, dill, garlic, salt and pepper
3. Pour lemon juice mixture over over kebabs and turn the kebabs over a few times to make sure they are all coated. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or so (longer if you have the time, or cook straight away if not)
4. In a large frying pan, grill pan or on the BBQ, heat oil over a medium heat. Cook kebabs for around 2-3 minutes each side until the seafood is cooked through but still very tender. You can baste with any of the marinade juices left on the bottom of the plate.

Serve with roasted kumara chunks (cut kumara into chunks, coat in coconut oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper then roast for about 20 minutes), green salad and kale chips

Enjoy!

x

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Pumpkin Custard

Quick post to share the recipe for the pumpkin custard that I promised to all the Facebook followers yesterday. Today got away on me a little bit, but better late than never right?!

After making the delicious pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving over the weekend (if you missed it, here's the link) I had a few leftovers - a bit of pumpkin, a bit of coconut milk and a bowl of egg yolks left over from something else I had made earlier in the week (can't even remember what it was).

I hate to waste food, so the mission was on to create something that would use up all of the ingredients. This little number can be eaten as a dessert custard (I added a tsp of coconut sugar to the top and placed it under the grill to turn it into a creme brûlée style custard), added to breakfast for a nutritious and filling way to start the day, or omit the sweetener and it can be a savoury side dish for a dinner meal.


Pumpkin Custard/ Brûlée

Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, free of refined sugar

Ingredients:
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Optional: Additional 1 tsp coconut sugar to caramelise the top if you want to make a 'creme brûlée' style dessert

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 160C
2. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, pumpkin puree pumpkin pie spice and vanilla essence
3. In a small pot over a low heat, heat the coconut milk and sweetener until warm
4. Remove coconut milk from heat and pour into egg mixture, whisking continuously until all well combined.
5. Pour mixture into 2 ramekins
6. In an oven safe dish (such as a small roasting dish or pie dish), place the ramekins then fill the oven safe dish with water until it comes about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
7. Cover the ramekins with tin foil.
8. Bake for 20 minutes until starting to firm
9. Remove the tin foil and bake for another 20 minutes until custard has set, and top has become golden brown. Serve straight away with ice-cream if you want a delicious warm dessert, otherwise leave to cool then place in the fridge for a chilled breakfast and snack option.

10. If you would like to make this into a creme brûlée style dessert, sprinkle a tsp of coconut sugar over the top of the baked custard and place under a hot grill for a few minutes until caramelized. Keep a close eye on it! You can also use a small blow-torch if you are lucky enough to own one.

Enjoy!

x

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Banana Date Muffins

Yesterday was my father-in-laws birthday and as they live in the far south and we live central east we decided to meet in the middle at the botanical gardens for a picnic lunch. I had never been to the botanical gardens, and I was not disappointed…what a fantastic place! It was absolutely beautiful and the kids had a blast running around and checking everything out. There was a massive sculpture display on so there was some amazing art to look at, and the kids garden is such a well thought-out alternative to a traditional kids playground. There was a maze, a desert, a jungle and lots of cool little paths and walkways to explore.

One of the sculptures at the gardens - Hubby and the kids having an 'King Arthurs Sword' moment!

To turn the picnic into a birthday celebration it was decided that cake would be required. Being a stinking hot, gale-force wind kind of day I made the call that a traditional cake would probably not be the most practical idea, so we settled on making some muffins. There were a bunch of very dark brown bananas that were screaming to be 'caked' - decision made on the flavor!

The end result was these delicious, moist sweet little treats that were a hit with the whole family. Easy to pack for a picnic as muffins, but could quite easily be baked as a cake if you were wanting a more traditional birthday option. The muffins are also a good option to make into mini muffins and kept int the freezer to pop into school lunch boxes for a little sweet treat.


These muffins were gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, and free of white sugar. They use coconut sugar, dates and the bananas for sweetness, and I have found this wonderful culinary coconut flour from Natural Abundance which I sometimes use that creates a really light fluffy cake. This is a fantastic product to keep in the pantry if you like to do a bit of baking. It is similar in texture to a very light, fluffy desiccated coconut.

Banana Date Muffins

Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, free of white sugar

Ingredients:
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup culinary coconut flour
1/2 cup dried dates, roughly chopped
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter or coconut oil, melted 
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 160C. Line a 12 hole muffin tin (or 24 hole mini muffin tin)
2. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, sugar and dates).
3. In a blender or using a bowl and whisk, combine the wet ingredients (bananas, eggs, butter or oil). 
4. Combine the wet with the dry and mix well.
5. Put about 2 tbsp of mix into each hole of the muffin tin.
6. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown 

Enjoy!

x


Pumpkin Pie with a Pecan Crust

So as those of you who see my Facebook page will know, on Saturday we celebrated (belatedly) the wonderful Thanksgiving. My sister-in-law is American and has bought this wonderful tradition to our family, and now it has very much become a part of our lead up to Christmas. As with Christmas though, it is a very hot time of year to be cooking a massive feast and so this year we 'kiwified' it - we had a BBQ with an assortment of meats and seafood, and as an 'ode to turkey' I instead made turkey meatballs with a cranberry dipping sauce. Instead of green bean casserole, we had a fresh, crisp broccoli and asparagus salad, and in place of the traditional sweet potato dish, we had roasted new potatoes and carrots in ginger. Dessert was a little more traditional - pumpkin pie and apple pie…YUM! It wouldn't be thanksgiving without these two staples, and they were delicious served with cinnamon spice ice-cream and coconut raspberry ice-cream - all made clean of course! Here are a couple of pics of some of the delicious food that we feasted on…

 Broccoli, Asparagus, Spinach and Avocado Salad with Toasted Sesame Seeds

 Roasted Paprika Potatoes and Chunky Zucchini

 Fresh Green Salad with Mesclun, Capsicum, and Cherry Tomatoes

Turkey Meatballs with Cranberry and Orange Sauce

Glazed Carrots with Ginger and Parsley

 Apple Pie in Walnut and Almond Pastry

Creamy Pumpkin Pie with a Pecan Crust

This fantastic pumpkin pie recipe is gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free and free of refined sugar. Traditional pumpkin pie has loads of cream or cream cheese and a pastry shell, but this clean version has a very simple filling made from pumpkin and coconut milk, and is served in a pecan crust. Divine!

Pumpkin Pie with a Pecan Crust

Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free, free of refined sugar

Ingredients:

Crust
2 cups whole raw pecans
1 cup desiccated coconut
8 medjool dates (or 10 dried dates soaked in 2 tbsp boiling water for 10 minutes)
1/2 tbsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp coconut oil (or butter)

Filling
1 cup pumpkin puree (you can make you own from fresh butternut pumpkin, or use canned - see note below)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup maple syrup (you can use half a cup if you prefer a sweeter taste)
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (see note below)
2 eggs

Directions:

To make crust…
1. In a food processor or blender, blend all ingredients until well ground and sticky. It will take a few minutes for the stickiness to form - if you take it out too soon the mixture will be too dry and will not hold its shape well. If you find that it is not coming together, you can add another couple of dates or a couple more tablespoons of coconut oil to bring a little more moisture to the mix, but be careful not to make it too moist.
2. Once mixture has formed, press it into a pie tin with a removable base. Cover, and refrigerate for a few hours until firm. Once chilled, preheat oven to 150C. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

To make filling…
1. In a blender, add all ingredients (pumpkin, coconut milk, maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice and eggs).
2. Blend until well combined.

To assemble pie…
1. Preheat oven to 160C. Pour the pumpkin pie mixture into the cooled crust. Smooth the top.
2. Cover with foil (make a little tent so the foil doesn't stick to the top like mine did as you can see in the picture!
3. Bake for 35-40 minutes until filling has firmed (it does not have to be fully set, just no longer liquid)
4. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
5. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours to allow filling to set completely.

Serve with you favorite ice-cream (try this dairy free coconut one) or just on its own! For our thanksgiving dinner, I used the recipe for the coconut ice-cream the I just linked to, and added 1 tsp ground cinnamon and half a tsp ground ginger to make a cinnamon spice version which works very well with the pumpkin pie and apple pie.

Notes:
- If you prefer to use canned pumpkin, I recommend the Libby's brand from America. In Auckland I get it from Marthas Backyard, but I'm not entirely sure where you can get it elsewhere).
- To make pumpkin pie spice, I used this yummy blend from My Baking Addiction

3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice

1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves
Place all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Store in a small airtight container in the pantry and use as needed

Enjoy!

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