Saturday, 24 December 2011

Pork and pear forcemeat stuffing (gluten free)

I made this stuffing as a variation on the traditional pork and apple as I was out of apples and none of us could face the thought of the supermarket on Christmas eve! I'll have to wait and comment on the success or otherwise after tomorrow.

900g pork mince (you can use sausage meat if you like - I bought a cheap joint and minced it)
4 slices gluten free bread
2 pears, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tsps mixed dried herbs (I used sage, thyme and basil)
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper

Mince the meat if not already done (my cheap plastic hand mincer works fine for this). Mix with other ingredients and put into a buttered oven dish or roll into balls. Cook in the oven for 10-30 minutes, until cooked through.

Edit. This was a tasty, light and sweet stuffing. It was popular with every one, although I thought it needed a little extra something to give it some zing. Will experiment with it as no one will mind seeing it again!

Christmas ham

I'm making a glazed ham as part of a buffet on boxing day. This recipe does use quite a lot of sugar but the amount in each serving is small and it's very tasty. I'll also be making smoked salmon crust-less quiches, dips with crudites, king prawns with garlic mayonaise, a big salad, a trifle, Christmas pudding and Christmas cake.

A ham large enough for all your guests
About 10 cloves
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp whole grain mustard
2 tbsp brown sugar

Boil the ham for 25 minutes per pound, plus 20 minutes in a large pan of water. You can do this in advance to save time. When the ham is cooled, push the cloves into it, spread around all over it. Score any fat on the top. Mix the honey, sugar and mustard together. Put the ham into a roasting pan lined with foil (this is important - believe me!), and spread the honey mustard glaze over the top and sides. Roast the ham for about half an hour (keep an eye towards to end to make sure it doesn't burn). When cooled you can slice and enjoy.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Beef stroga-not with matchsticks

I read a recipe for beef stroganoff this morning and really fancied making it for tea. Unfortunately I was lacking some of the ingredients but I improvised and came up with something very tasty!

1 large potato
Beef dripping for deep frying
150g mushrooms
1 onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp paprika (hot or mild)
800g minced beef
1 cup stock (anything but fish - I had chicken)
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup soured cream/creme fraiche/Greek yogurt
1 tbsp butter

Cut the potato into matchsticks (this link is useful for this). Put them into a bowl of cold water and set them aside. Then finely chop the onion and fry that and the paprika in the butter over a low heat. When the onion is translucent, add the garlic and sliced mushrooms and fry gently for another 5 minutes. Switch off the heat and set aside.
Rinse and drain the potato matchsticks then dry them using a clean tea towel. Heat the beef dripping (or whatever fat you are most comfortable deep frying in) in a very deep pan until a cube of bread turns golden and floats quickly. Add the matchsticks in small batches and fry until golden brown and crispy. Put them on a plate lined with kitchen paper and keep them warm in the oven until you're ready to serve.
Take the onion and mushroom mixture out of the frying pan and set aside. Season the mince and form into meatballs. Heat some cooking oil in the pan and brown the meatballs, in batches if necessary. Pour off the excess oil in the pan if your meat was fatty and then de-glase it with the stock. Put the meatballs back in and cover and simmer for 10 minutes until the meatballs are done. Remove the lid and put the meatballs in a dish in the oven to keep warm. Reduce the stock until thick at the bottom of the pan. Add the onion and mushroom mix and turn off the heat. When it has come off the boil add the lemon juice and add the soured cream slowly, mixing into the sauce. Taste to check for seasoning.
Pour the sauce over the meatballs and serve topped with the potato matchsticks.

We all really liked this although I would have preferred the sauce a little sharper. You could also add a dash of brandy to the stock while making the sauce. Another thought I had was to do mixed root vegetable matchsticks instead of just potato. I can see this recipe being made a fair few more times and tinkered with! But as it is it's very tasty.

Paleo friendly breaded chicken

Today's lunch is baked 'breaded' chicken from Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso. I can highly recommend this book - we've enjoyed every recipe we've tried so far and the exercise tips are great - the whole family has used them.

12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup almond flour
1 cup coconut flour
1 tbsp garlic powder
Pinch of salt and pepper
2 eggs *

Mix the flours, garlic powder and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture, let the excess drip off, then press into the flour mixture. Turn over and press in again, making sure that it's well covered. If I have any mixture left over I tend to press it onto the tops of the chicken before baking as it's so tasty! Put the chicken pieces onto a greased baking tray and cook in the oven at 180 oC for 35 - 40 minutes (until the chicken is cooked through and juices are clear).

* to make this recipe egg free you can use melted butter instead. It tastes amazing and sticks just as well but isn't strictly paleo.


Homemade custard is nice and easy and very tasty. You can make it without the flour but it's slightly tricker and you need to cook it over a double boiler. I tend to make this cheaters version!

10 fl oz cream
3 egg yolks
1 tbsp splenda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cornflour or arrowroot

Put the yolks, cornflour and sweetener in a bowl and mix. Heat the cream and vanilla to near boiling. Pour a little of the hot cream into the yolk mixture and stir quickly in. Keep adding the cream a little at a time until it's all combined. Pour the custard back into the saucepan and gently heat until thickened.

Gluten free banana bread

This recipe is slightly adapted from the paleo banana bread recipe here. We had it for a Solstice breakfast with hot custard. It was easy to make and really tasty! Mine isn't so paleo as I used sweetener instead of honey and butter, but still lovely and much healthier than standard grain based cake. My eldest son made this more or less by himself - it's quite a kid friendly recipe.

3 ripe bananas (riper the better)
4 eggs
2 tsp vanillla extract
60g butter or coconut oil (1/4 cup)
1 tbsp splenda
2 cups almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt

Line a loaf tin (I love those nifty premade loaf cases that are like cupcake liners) and preheat oven to 160oC. Slice the banana and put into a food processor. Crack in the eggs and add the butter/oil and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth. Add the sweetener, almond flour, baking soda and salt. Briefly blend to mix. Pour batter into tin and bake for 50 - 60 minutes - until a skewer comes out clean.

I think next time I'll add some dark chocolate chips just to make this extra indulgent! But it was sweet, moist and very tasty.

Spicy Stuffed Chicken

We had these for dinner last night. They were delicious but not perfectly shaped - you need to wrap them extremely tightly and use plenty of clingfilm. I served them with salad and raitha.
Makes 5.

6 chicken breasts or boneless thighs- skin on.
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 small onion
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp passata
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp coconut flour or dessicated coconut
salt and pepper
coconut oil or ghee for frying

Remove the skin from one of the pieces of chicken and cook (either fry, microwave, steam - whatever's easiest). Chop the onion and fry until translucent in the oil. Add the spices and fry for a minute. Then add garlic, ginger, passata, lime juice and chicken and cook for another minute. Add the coconut. Set aside to cool a little. Put the mixture into a food processor and pulse into a rough paste.
Put the chicken pieces one at a time between two pieces of clingfilm and hit with a pan or rolling pin until about 4mm thick. Divide the mixture between them, putting it in a line along the middle of the meat side. Using a large piece of cling film, roll each chicken piece into a sausage, skin side out, wrapping tightly in cling film and twisting the ends to form a sealed package. Put the wrapped sausages into the fridge to cool for at least two hours. Heat a pan of water to the boil and add the sausages. Simmer them for 20 minutes. Take out of the water. Carefully unwrap then packages and put the rolls into a pan with a little coconut oil to crisp up the skin. Serve sliced thickly.

Edit - you can also use 5 chicken pieces and left over cooked chicken or turkey. I did this with a small amount of left over turkey after all the curries and soups for some variety!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Creamy chicken crepes (Gluten free)

This was today's lunch made with left over roast chicken and went down a treat. It's very rich and filling with a nice salad. It served two adults and two kids who were all really hungry!

6 eggs
1 + 1/3 Cups cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
30g butter + a little more for frying
1-2 cloves of garlic (I used two but then I adore garlic!)
2 cups chopped, cooked chicken
Salt and pepper
Chopped fresh parsley to serve

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add 1 cup of the cream. Simmer very gently for about 5 minutes to reduce it and make it thick. Add the Parmesan, crushed garlic cloves, and season with salt and pepper. Stir over a low flame until the cheese is combined. Add the chicken and set aside for a few minutes (you might want to heat the chicken separately until it's hot through if it isn't freshly cooked).
Beat the eggs with the remaining 1/3 C of cream and season the mixture. Heat a little butter in a frying pan and when hot, pour in a small amount of egg mix - just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Swirl it around to cover the pan evenly and leave until set on top. Then up-end the pan over a plate and let the pancake drop out (flipping them tends not to go too well...). Continue until mixture is used up. Then divide the chicken sauce between the pancakes, sprinkle with chopped parsley and roll up.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Almond flour waffles

The blogger who posted this recipe for waffles has earned a place forever in the hearts of my children who are all in favour of sweet things. And also breakfast. These, topped with a pat of butter and some crisp bacon are the current best thing that can happen to them before 9am apparently!

1 1/2 cups almond flour (I get mine here)
2 tbsp xylitol
2 tbsp vanilla flavoured whey powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp salt
5 eggs
6 oz Greek yogurt
3 tbsp melted butter or coconut oil
1/4 cup milk

Grease a waffle iron and heat up. I found this works best with my iron set to about a third of the possible heat but they're all different! Separate two of the eggs and beat the whites to stiff peaks. Mix the almond flour, xylitol, whey powder, baking powder and soda, xanthan gum and salt in a bowl. Beat the egg yolks, remaining eggs. yogurt, milk and butter/oil together. Mix into the dry ingredients and then gently fold in the beaten egg whites. Spread onto your waffle iron roughly two spoonfuls at a time (doesn't spread out like thinner wheat batters I've used) and cook for 3-4 minutes. Makes about 10 in my waffle maker.

Gluten-free trifle

I made this for a big family buffet yesterday and it was very popular. The texture of the sponge fingers was fine in the jelly and they taste rather good out of it too!

1 pack of sugar-free jelly (or you could make your own with fruit and gelatin which would be even better!)
250 ml whipping cream (or double cream)
3 egg yolks
250 ml double cream
1 tsp corn flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp splenda (or other sweetener)
5 egg whites
1/2 cup vanilla flavoured whey protein powder
1 tsp cream of tarter
1 banana and any other fruit you like
2 tbsp chopped mixed nuts
1 tbsp grated dark chocolate

I got the recipe for the sponge fingers from this tiramisu recipe which is next on my list of things to make! Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks (tip the bowl and if they don't start to fall out then you're good) then fold in the cream of tarter and whey powder. My whey powder needed sieving before hand. It is also quite sweet but you might want to add a little sweetener here. Pour the mixture into a greased 9 inch pan and then bake at 160 oC for about 25 - 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Make up your jelly according to instructions and then leave to cool for a while, until luke warm but not yet setting.

Slice the sponge fingers into strips about 2cm wide and arrange in your trifle dish. Pour over the jelly mixture. One problem I had with these fingers over cake was that they float so you might want to weigh them down with something while the jelly sets. You can also add other fruit like raspberries or strawberries to the jelly (but not kiwi, pineapple or papaya or it won't set). Put the dish in the fridge to set.

In a bowl, mix the egg yolks, corn flour, vanilla extract and sweetener. Heat 250 ml of double cream in a saucepan until almost simmering then pour a little into the mixture in the bowl. Whisk it smooth then add a little more of the hot cream. Repeat until it's all combined then pour back into the saucepan and heat very gently until it starts to thicken. Take off the heat and keep stirring for a few minutes to keep it lump free. Set aside to cool.

Whip the cream with a pinch of sweetener if you like. Then assemble the trifle. I put a layer of sliced banana, then the custard, then whipped cream and top it all with the nuts and grated chocolate. If there are any kids in the kitchen then hundreds and thousands tend to happen too...

Wednesday, 11 May 2011


I was having a domestic goddess like day today and made three bottles of this! It's from a Jaime Oliver programme I think.

2 onions
2 tsps fennel seeds
2 heaped tsps coriander seeds
4 cloves
2 thumb size pieces of ginger
4 cloves garlic
2 red chilies
500g ripe tomatoes
handful of fresh basil
1 litre passata
250 ml red wine vinegar
50g brown sugar
12 level tbsp sucralose (splenda)

Chop and sweat the onions with a little olive oil for 15 minutes. Grind the fennel seeds, coriander seeds and cloves with a coffee grinder or pestle and mortar and add to the onions. Chop the ginger, garlic and chili and add. Halve the tomatoes and add with the passata, vinegar, sugar and sweetener. Cut the leaves off the basil and set aside. Chop the stems and add. Simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes. Take off the heat and add the basil. Blend it in batches and sieve. Bottle in sterilised jars.

Note - my kids liked this but much prefered the next batch where I used about 170ml of vinegar instead. I loved the sharper one but it's not so kid friendly.

Grain free chocolate chip cookies

My kids love me so much today! This is based on this recipe.

1 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup ground hazelnuts
1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
1 large egg + 1 yolk
1 heaped spoonfuls of sucralose (splenda)
1/2 tsp each salt, baking powder and vanilla extract
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Mix together the dry ingredients with the eggs and vanilla extract. Melt the coconut oil and stir into the batter. Put in tablespoon size drops on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes at about 170 oC.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Cauliflower cheese

Serves 4

1 large head of cauliflower
1 tsp mustard
300g cream cheese
4 tbsp cream
1 egg
1 cup cheese

Steam or boil cauliflower until stems are starting to soften. Mix together cream cheese, mustard egg and cream. Stir in cauliflower, season and top with cheese. Bake until golden and crisp on top.

Tuna melt

Serves 4

2 tins tuna in olive oil, drained
4 tbsp mayonnaise
4 tbsp creme fraiche
1 head broccoli
1 cup grated cheese

Cut broccoli into florets and chop the tender parts of the stem. Lightly steam until just beginning to soften (about 5 minutes). Mix the mayonnaise, tuna and creme fraiche in an oven proof dish and fold in broccoli. Top with cheese and bake until the cheese is melted and golden.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Pasta-free lasagna

Makes 9 servings

800g minced beef
8 large eggs
1 cup passata/jarred tomato sauce
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup red wine
1 slice bacon, chopped
4 tsp garlic powder
1 tub ricotta
1 tub cream cheese
2 cups grated cheese (I tend to use a mixture of mozzarella and Parmesan)

Beat 6 of the eggs and add a splash of water. Make into 3 large omelets and set aside. These act as the pasta layers. Fry the onion and brown the beef and bacon. Add the tomato sauce and red wine. Reduce to a thick sauce and season to taste. Beat together the ricotta, remaining eggs and cream cheese. Add the garlic powder. Spread a layer of the cheese mix in the bottom of an oven proof dish and put one of the omelets on top. Add a layer of meat sauce and continue layering until you've used up your egg 'lasagna'. End with a layer of cheese mix. Top with grated cheese and bake until the cheese is golden.

Breakfast casserole

The kids love this hot or cold. I think I actually prefer it cold. Lovely with some ketchup or salsa on the side.

Makes 9 servings

450g pork mince
6 eggs
200g cream cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup double cream
1 cup grated cheese

Spread the mince over the bottom of a large casserole dish. Beat together the eggs, cream cheese, garlic powder and cream. Pour over the mince and top with the cheese. Bake for about half an hour, until the eggs are set and the meat cooked.

I usually make this in the evening when I'm doing dinner as the kids are not prepared to wait in the mornings!

Lamb meatballs with herby gravy

This is a seriously rich and tasty dish! Goes equally well with pasta, mashed potatoes or over veg.

Serves 4

400g minced lamb/mutton
4 slices un-smoked bacon
2 cloves garlic
2 spring onions
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 pint (10 fl oz) beef (or other) stock
4 tbsp fresh dill or parsley, finely chopped
4 fl oz double cream
1 large egg yolk

Put the mince, bacon, garlic, onions and cinnamon in the food processor and blend until nearly smooth. Using wet hands form the mixture into meatballs. Brown the meatballs in batches in the cooking fat of your choice. Place into an oven proof dish with a lid. Pour the stock into the frying pan and bring to the boil, stirring to dislodge the tasty bits on the bottom. Pour the stock over the meatballs, cover and place in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the stock and keep warm. Pour the stock into a pan and simmer to reduce by about a half. Beat the egg yolk and herbs into the cream. Season. Take the stock pan of the heat and stir in the cream mixture. Heat over a very low flame for about 10 minutes until the mixture thickens. Don't' allow to boil. Pour over the meatballs and serve.