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Creamy Cauliflower Salad

October 1, 2014

Creamy Cauli & Egg Salad

Creamy Cauli & Egg Salad

Potato salad recipes can be so varied. Everyone has their own signature potato salad that feature prominently at the family barbeque.

My sister-in-law makes a good one: the potatoes are boiled to within an inch of falling apart, then they’re coated liberally with Praise mayonnaise and then laced in…you got it, BACON!!

This is far removed from the potato salad that my mother makes. She would cook the spuds, al dente, and then dress them in a lighter mixture of seeded mustard and salad dressing with lots of chives.

Did you know that undercooked potatoes have a lower glycemic index than overcooked potatoes? Decadently carb loaded, potato salad is a rarity in our house but I had a hankering for some, so I came up with this:

1/2 medium cauliflower
4 hard-boiled eggs
2 tabs mayonaise (preferably homemade)
1 tab vinegar + 1 tab vinegar
40g pickled gherkins (roughly chopped)
3 ribs celery, sliced
3 spring onions, sliced
1 tab horseradish (or dijon mustard)
60g salami, thinkly sliced and fried to crispy
salt & pepper
 

Prepare the cauliflower by chopping on SP 4 until coarsely chopped. Add 100g water & 1 tab vinegar and cook on 100ºC for 7 minutes. Drain and cool for 10 minutes.

Quarter the eggs and mix in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and garnish with the crispy salami on top. Easy!

It’s in the Rye of the Beholder!

September 27, 2014

Soft and light, this bread looks like rye!

Soft and light, this bread looks like rye!

Low carb bread, no yeast bread, no grain bread is all just pseudo bread to me. Please excuse my audaciousness.

But when you are offered no alternative but to be gluten-free, coeliac or diabetic, you can be forgiven for seeking out alternatives.

For me it is a paleo choice, but even then, I acknowledge that the whole concept of “bread” isn’t paleo! I would never use bread to make a sandwich but rather have it as a piece of toast with lashings of butter and perhaps some vegemite when some comforting is required. Sometimes I might have a piece of toast with soup, or a piece of fresh to wipe up some precious gravy or sauce.

This blog is filled with many “bread” recipes; some of them great and some not so. It’s been a learning curve for me and proof that recipes evolve and  tastes change. Also, some recipes are better suited as sandwich bread and some are better toasted. Due to the lack of gluten and (often) yeast, pseudo breads tend to be cakey or spongy and contain lots of eggs.

My latest challenge was working on a recipe that was as low carb as possible. Typically low carbohydrate breads rely on lots of fibre, protein and dairy. Commercial low carb breads are generally full of additives to achieve a good texture. Have you seen this hilarious video about the famous Julian Bakery bread in the US? It’s worth a watch!

Due to the sunflower & linseeds in this recipe, the bread is quite a dark colour which is akin to a light rye. It is not “woody” like some flax recipes I have tried and definitely is soft and flexible, making it child friendly!

I used some leftover almond pulp (instead of meal) from making almond milk which eliminated a bit of the oiliness that almond meal can make in a grain-free bread. And I’m sure that it could be adapted to make a delicious fruit bread, too, which I refuse to do as I’m a total raisin toast junkie and don’t want to jeopardise my sobriety!

I’m yet to serve it for breakfast with friends (to get a consensus) but I’m adding it to my list of favourites. It’s quick to mix up and cuts into 17 slices. My other favourite bread recipes are:

Fantabulous Gluten Free Bread

Miracle Flatbread

Fig & Walnut Bread

Yummy Fruit Bread

Quick Steamed Paleo Bread

rye

60g linseeds
50g sunflower seeds
120g almonds
35g psyllium husk
45g olive oil
200g water
1 teas salt
6 eggs
2 teas baking powder
1 teas honey (optional)
 
Mill the seeds & almonds for 10 seconds, SP 9. Add the remaining ingredients and blend for 30 seconds on SP 6.
 
Pour into a lined loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes. Cool before slicing.
 
Just incidentally, this cuts into 17 slices with each slice being 1 carb per serve.

Melt & Mix No Fuss Brownie Bites

September 24, 2014

Sometimes you just need a small chocolate hit!

Sometimes you just need a small chocolate hit!

Well, actually, you can make a lot of fuss really, as these are gluten-free, nut-free, coconut-free and dairy-free!! And paleoketo-friendly! Alas, not egg-free, calorie-free or fun-free!!! Too many exclamation marks??

You can thank me later!

120g dairy-free chocolate (I used sugar-free as well!)
1 tab chia seeds
40g cacao
70g rapadura (I used Natvia & stevia)
70g light olive oil
4 eggs
1/2 teas baking powder
1 teas apple cider vinegar
pinch salt
 
Mill the sugar and chia seeds on SP 9 for 10 seconds. Add the chocolate and pulse to chop and cook on 50°C for 2 minutes, SP 2 to melt.
 
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix on SP 6 for 30 seconds to combine well.
 
Pour into a loaf tin* and bake on 160°C for 15 – 20 minutes. It will puff up then sink on cooling. Its best not to overcook, so it will appear moist on the inside. Cut when cold a serve in small squares dusted with cacao.
 
* This makes a small slice – it is very rich – double the recipe for a larger batch.
 
 
 

 

Chinese Crispy Roast Pork (Siew Yoke) in the Slow Cooker

September 21, 2014

My husband likes it slightly over browned but  it's just as yummy.

My husband likes it slightly over browned but it’s just as yummy.

Do you ever stop and stare at the curious delights displayed in the Chinese barbecue shop window? Drool over the lacquered red Peking ducks, the dripping honeyed char siew pork neck and the trays of braised duck tongues?

I do.

I’m always in awe of the crispy skinned pork belly, with a rind so brittle and crunchy – how do they get it like that? Well, I’m about to tell you how, in a very non-traditional way, which is easy peasy and guaranteed!

Cantonese crispy roast pork, AKA siew yoke, is traditionally flavoured with Chinese 5 spice and fermented bean curd. I have skipped the bean curd part in this recipe as it is not something commonly found in kitchens although it does impart a musky salty flavour of the restaurant dish. I make my own 5 spice blend but you can use a good bought one kind but freshly ground spices add so much more flavour compared to bottled ones which may be months or years old. My recipe is here.

My kids devour siew yoke, typically served on plain rice with some steamed green vegetables and the juices from the pork. Nom nom nom!

I have previously posted about pork here and the process for crackling is just about the same but this time I made my siew yoke in my slow cooker as an experiment and it worked better than I imagined. The meat was moist and succulent as expected, and you could do this step a few days before you needed to serve it as it keeps really well in the fridge. Be aware that you will need to dry out the meat for a few days, uncovered in the fridge.

Start with a 1 – 1.5kg of pork belly that will sit flat in the bottom of your slow cooker. If you are located in Melbourne, I recommend you get your happy free range pork from my old school buddy, Liz here. She raises seriously good pork!

1 tab salt
2 tabs Chinese 5 spice powder
1 teas dried ginger powder
1/2 teas white pepper
1 cup (approx) of bone broth or water
2 tabs apple cider vinegar
1 tab honey

Mix the 5 spice, ginger & pepper in a bowl and rub into the meat side of the belly well. Give it a thick coating of dry spice. Flip the meat over and using a skewer, stab the skin all over (many many times) to perforate it. There is a scary specific tool for doing this in Asian grocers, but I don’t bother, a strong skewer does the trick.

Rub the pricked skin with salt and place in the fridge, uncovered for at least 2 days to dry.

When ready to cook, place skin side up into the slow cooker and carefully pour the stock (or water) around the meat, until it comes up to the level of the skin, without wetting the skin. Cook for about 2 – 3 hours, ensuring that the base doesn’t dry out.

Remove the meat and place on a lined oven tray and brush the skin with vinegar. In the slow cooker, mix in the honey well with the meat juices, adding a little water if the sauce is too strong. Set the juices aside.

Place the meat on the middle shelf of your oven and turn the grill element on high. The skin will puff and bubble in about 20 minutes. Watch carefully as it can catch quite quickly.

porkchinese2

Serve with salad or rice and the meat juices for dunking. My kids love it with homemade hoisin sauce too.

Slow Cooked Moroccan Goat

September 19, 2014
tags: , ,

Serve with cauliflower mash for an easy dinner

Serve with parsnip- cauliflower mash for an easy dinner

If you are a meat eater, which meats would you usually consume?

You might list beef, chicken, turkey, pork, and fish. But what about goat? My husband has always loved eating goat. But I admit that we don’t eat it very often as it is hard to find in mainstream butcheries.

I know a Halal butcher in town which stocks goat, already diced with bone in (the best way for a curry) but I admit that I seldom venture into the city.

But recently I was excited to discover that Danny from my favourite organic butcher stocks goat in all cuts so I bought a lovely leg to slow roast.

I was surprised to learn that goat meat rivals pork for worldwide consumption, with it being more popular than beef, poultry, or fish.

Part of the reason for its popularity is that the goat is a very useful animal that requires relatively little effort to care for. An acre of grass can sustain 10 goats versus two cows. And, we all know that goats are hardy creatures that forage, including washing off the line!

What I like about goat is that it isn’t a “mass-produced” meat. Rather, it is usually the product of small, local farms which are generally organic and grass fed.  Also, goats are less damaging to the grasslands than cattle, making them a truly sustainable meat animal. From a nutritional point of view, goat has less fat than beef OR chicken and has comparable protein to red meat.

It is an old-fashioned belief that male meat is stinkier than female meat in cooking these days, as goat meat is generally slaughtered for eating when very young, particularly in males before maturity.  (The ‘goaty’ smell is derived from older meat with musk glands and testosterone.) I think it has an even lighter, sweeter, flavour than lamb and understand why my husband loves it!

1.5kg goat leg
1 teas coriander seeds
1 teas cumin seeds
3 cardamon pods
1 stick cinnamon
1/4 teas peppercorns
6 cloves
1 teas salt
3 cloves garlic
1 knob turmeric
1 knob ginger
40g olive oil
2 large onions, quartered
600g tomatoes
3 bay leaves
2 pieces preserved orange or lemon skin, julienned
10 green or black pitted olives
30g currants
100g red or white wine or water
30g slivered almonds toasted
handful fresh coriander, chopped to garnish
 
Toast the spices and salt in the TM for 6 minutes on SP slow VAROMA temp. Mill on SP 10 for 10 seconds. Add the garlic, turmeric & ginger, and chop on SP 6 for 10 seconds. Add the oil and saute on SP 1, VAROMA temp for 3 minutes.
 
Add the tomatoes and turbo once or twice to chop before adding the bay, currants, preserved peel, olives & wine. Stir through.
 
Place the onions in the base of a heavy casserole dish and the goat leg on top. Pour over the sauce mix and bake, covered in a 130°C oven for 4 hours.* Check that the meat is falling off the bone before garnishing with the almonds & coriander before serving.
 
* You can do this in the slow cooker as well. Cook for 6 hours on low, turning over halfway.
  
Isn't this a cute goat?

Isn’t this a cute goat?

 
 

Its a saag!

September 9, 2014

Roasted veges with my saag have a more intense flavour

Roasted veges with my saag have a more intense flavour. I didn’t mix them in for the photo as it wasn’t very photogenic!

I love a good shag, I mean saag, don’t you?!

Unfortunately, it’s pretty hard to find one in my local vicinity. Most are made on canned spinach, stewed until the life force (colour) is cooked out and pretty insipid and tasteless. We have friends whose standard order is Lamb Saag (saag gosht) when we dine at an Indian restaurant so I have sampled enough to not bother ordering anymore! I will always ask if the spinach is fresh before I consider it.

One of my favourite Indian restaurants, Nilgiri’s in Sydney has a lovely one, but it’s not that frequent that I get to visit. And in another of my favourites, all the way in Bangkok, I had the best saag of my life! It was vibrant green, fresh & spicy but not overpowering and interestingly, minty! So I was very excited when my husband and I went there recently to get my saag fix.

Alas……nothing stays the same…..management had changed since our last visit and what we were presented with was pretty much a rendition of the aforementioned: canned, grey, insipid and tasteless….. Oh, what an anti-climax… but it did inspire me to get off my bum and do something about it! MAKE MY OWN!

Saag is typically a leaf-based “gravy” dish eaten in North India and Pakistan with bread such as roti or naan. It is usually made from spinach, mustard leaves, or drumstick leaves and served as a curry with meat, potatoes or paneer.

I like to keep some texture in my sauce and not use too many spices so that the spinach flavour is not overwhelmed. My husband is adverse to cumin so I like to toast a few seeds and sprinkle them on top of mine – not too many though! You could also make a tadka by tempering some ghee with dried chillies, garlic and mustard seeds and pouring that as you serve it.

I also use whatever “green” I have in the fridge: kale, silverbeet, spinach and even lettuce. Try a mix and see what you like.

I make this up and keep a batch in the freezer. The secret to a good saag is keeping it fresh! I don’t cook my meat or potatoes in the sauce because both require long cooking and this destroys the nutrients, colour and flavour out of the greens.

1 teas fennel seeds
1/2 teas dried chilli flakes
30g fresh ginger
1 knob fresh turmeric
2 cloves
1 large onion
50g ghee or avocado oil
1 teas salt
15g macadamia nuts
220g fresh spinach, silverbeet or kale (or a mix)
200g water
1 tab brown rice syrup or stevia to taste
large handful mint leaves
 
Toast the fennel & chilli flakes for 4 mins on SP slow on VAROMA temp.
Add the ginger, turmeric & cloves and chop on SP 9 for 5 seconds. Add the onion and chop further for 5 seconds. 
Add the ghee or oil and cook  for 5 minutes on SP 1, VAROMA temp.
 
Add the macadamia nuts and grind on SP 8 for 20 seconds.
 
Add the spinach & water and chop on SP 7 for 20 seconds. Cook for 6 minutes on SP 4 @ 100°C with the MC tilted.
 
Add the sweetener & mint and puree on SP 9 for 30 seconds. Check for seasoning and add a little extra water if you prefer it thinner. If you like more texture, remove a few tablespoonfuls of the mix before puréeing, then add back afterwards.
 
Garnish with some more mint, toasted cumin seeds or fried shallots. Serve with some naan or flatbread or rice.
 

For this dish I like to roast some root vegetables: turnip, swedes, pumpkin & potato and stir through the sauce.

For a lamb saag, slow cook some lamb pieces in a bare minimum of liquid and then stir through the sauce at the end.

For a potato saag, roast or steam some potatoes and then cook in the sauce for 10 minutes to absorb some flavour.

For a paneer saag, heat the sauce and add the cheese just to warm through.

 

It’s a Tiramisu Delight!

September 7, 2014

Almost raw, very vegan Tiramisu cake

Almost raw, very vegan Tiramisu cake

Whilst not a raw foodie, the concept intrigues me. I do believe that we should have a varied diet, both raw and cooked, hot & cold, liquid & solid, fresh & fermented. But all raw? I’m not so sure..

The paradox is that when one prescribes to a particular food choice, they inevitably try to replicate the non-prescribed foods in their way of eating!

I am a perfect example.

In my paleo lifestyle, I see it as a challenge to “paleo-fy” foods that would be otherwise prohibited. Like cake, and bread, and chocolate, and ice-cream, and more cake! I do this to bring awareness to the fact that a paleo diet need not be limiting. I also do it for my own sanity as I would go mad eating eggs and only eggs for breakfast everyday! And I have sweet tooth. But I think this analogy doesn’t quite fit with raw foodism. I understand the concept of enzymes and nutrient viability and I love the fact that raw foodism is undoubtedly whole and nourishing. But a shepherds pie and pizza are COOKED dishes! They don’t translate into raw! Do you disagree? Well, that’s my opinion, I’m not closed to the idea but maybe I’m biased!

This line of thought reminds me of my travels in Vietnam where there is a large Buddhist population who are vegetarians. We were recommended a vegetarian restaurant to dine in but were utterly confused when we saw the menu:

  • Chicken in black bean sauce
  • Pork Rolls
  • Beef with water chestnuts
  • Duck curry

Huh???

This restaurant prided itself on creating dishes from soy protein and konjac fibre to replicate (and very well, I might add) real meat. I thought the idea of being vegetarian was about taste and ecological and compassionate grounds rather than health. Which is a furphy anyway. It was an amusing dinner and quite awe-inspiring too, albeit not very healthy!

Anyway, I digress.

tiramisu2

My interest in raw AND vegan remains constant but not all-encompassing. A recent visit to an AMAZING raw food cafe in Sydney inspired me to make this cake for visitors tonight. It’s not quite raw but definitely vegan and almost positively paleo!

Many raw food cake recipes rely on a gelling agent to set them. Gelatine and agar agar are out as they need to be heated. The next best thing (apparently), is Irish moss algae.  It is better known as carrageneen, which has had a bad rap lately. Read more about that here. Despite whether its good for you or not, carrageneen is bloody hard to find locally!

I prefer to use konjac or guar or xanthan gum instead as they are much easier to find. I have spoken about konjac powder previously here and buy it from here. But guar gum works just as well, or xanthan gum works a bit better. It’s not a make or break ingredient in this recipe but it will improve the mouth feel and texture. The addition of coconut oil and cacao butter along with the xanthan gel gives this cake more substance rather than a moussey texture. You will need to make the gel the day before so it is completely smooth and absorbed. And soak your cashews at least 4 hours beforehand.

1/2 teas xanthan gum or konjac flour
120g water
 
Whisk the gum & water together in a cup and leave to gel overnight

The sponge in my tiramisu is actually based on a pancake batter. I didn’t want to use an excess of starch in the cake so I thought that a pancake would be easier to achieve than a thin genoise. It was! This recipe might sound a bit complicated but all of the components are very easy, start by melting the coconut oils before making the pancakes:

90g coconut oil
40g cacao butter
 
Melt on SP 2 @ 50°C for 5 minutes, or until combined. Set aside for the cake.
 
Sponge
75g rapadura or coconut sugar (I used Natvia)
150g gluten-free self-raising flour – I was lazy and used this soy free one instead of making my own
180g nut milk – I used homemade almond milk
40g macadamia oil
1 teas apple cider vinegar
pinch salt
1 teas baking powder
vanilla to taste
 
Mix all of the ingredients in the TM for 20 seconds SP 5. It should be a thick batter. Add a little water if too thick. Pour a 22cm pancake into a greased frying pan and cook on medium heat until the top is dry and bottom golden.  Do not attempt to flip – the pancake will be very fragile and will firm up on cooling. Turn out onto a baking paper lined plate and make the next one. You should get about 4 pancakes. Turn each one out onto a new piece of baking paper as they will stick together if stacked.
 
Filling
120g cashews, soaked in water overnight or at least 4 hours
240g homemade nut milk (I used almond)
100g coconut sugar
1 teas apple cider vinegar
1/4 teas salt
1 tab vanilla extract
50g maple syrup or brown rice syrup
40g xanthan gel – see above
90g coconut oil & 40g cacao butter melted – see above
40g cacao powder or cocoa
2 teas instant coffee
 
60g made up espresso coffee, cooled (I used strong dandelion tea)
1 batch of dairy-free whipped cream or coconut cream
40g dark chocolate, grated finely
 
Grind the soaked nuts for 10 seconds on SP 8. Add the milk, sugar, vinegar, salt, vanilla and syrup and blend on SP 9 for 2 minutes. Add 40g gel and the combined oils and mix on SP 6 for 20 seconds. It will be very smooth and glossy.
 
You will have about 760g of filling. 
 
Pour out 380g filling into a bowl and add the cacao to the remaining mix. Mix to combine well for 10 seconds on SP 7.
 
Grease and line a 20cm square or round cake tin. Using the tin as a template, cut the pancakes to fit. It doesn’t matter if they break. You will need 3 pancakes.
 
Line the bottom of the tin with a pancake and brush with the cooled espresso (or dandelion tea)
Pour in the chocolate mixture and smooth over. Top with another pancake.
 
Without washing the TM bowl, return the remaining mix and add the instant coffee. Mix to combine well for 10 seconds on SP 7. Pour over the second layer and top with the remaining pancake. Brush with any remaining espresso. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours to firm up before spreading the top & sides with cream. Decorate with grated chocolate if desired. 
 
 
To reiterate –  prepare the day before:
Soak the cashews
Make the gel
Make your nut milk – you will need about 600g (including what you will need if making the whipped cream)
 
To make this legally raw – omit the pancakes and layer the filling in a loaf tin.
To make this legally paleo – make the pancakes with almond flour.
To make this legally vegan – use whipped coconut cream instead of my dairy free cream.
 

 

 

 

 

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