Sunday, 23 October 2011

Chocolate & Coconut Cake

So, my oven has been broken for a couple of weeks which has meant no baking and zero Paleo treats for me. Which is no bad thing as I don't like eating too many treats, Paleo or not.

However, as I am starting my Whole30 challenge soon and because I have been doing good with my results I decided to have my parents over for dinner today and to treat them to a Paleo chocolate cake.

This cake is perfect for a celebration or large family gathering as I figure it could easily feed 15 - 18 people! I had 8 for dinner and I only used about 2/3 of it and the portions were too big as the cake is quite luscious.

I know the chocolate is not 100% Paleo but the rest of it definitely fits the brief and a chocolate treat, as long as it is good quality is OK sometimes.

I was delighted with the results, and I hope you enjoy it too!

For the cake:
3/4 cup good quality chocolate at least 72% Cocoa solids and soya free
1 cup of coconut oil
1 cup Almond Flour
3/4 cup of cocoa powder
1 cup honey
10 free range eggs
1 tbsp of vanilla extract
2 tbsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
For the filling: 
(you could also just use some whipped coconut cream if desired)
2 avocados
1.5 tsp of cocoa powder
tbsp of honey
1 small ripe banana (optional, I just felt it needed a little more sweetness. This is up to you)
For the frosting:
(It is really lovely and can be used as a cake frosting or for cupcakes.)
1 cup of good quality chocolate
1/2 cup of coconut oil
3 tbsp of honey
1 tbsp of vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Melt the chocolate and the oil over a water bath and allow to cool (this is important as we don't want the eggs to scramble when we add later.
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well

Mix the eggs, honey, vanilla and cooled chocolate and oil in a bowl, beating well until combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet gradually combining well.

Pour batter into greased 9" tins which you have lined the bottom of.
Cook at 175C for 35 - 40 minutes until lightly browned and when a skewer comes out clean.
Remove from tins and take of baking paper. Cool on a wire tray.

You can bake the cakes the day before your party to save time and decorate on the day. Just wrap it in foil and keep.

To make the filling - Combine all the ingredients and blitz with a hand blender until smooth.
Spoon over the bottom cake and sandwich together.

To make the frosting:
Melt the chocolate and oil over a water bath
Add honey, vanilla and salt and stir well

Allow to cool in the fridge until thick.
Blitz with a hand blender until smooth.
If it is a little thick place over the water again until ready to spread. (or put in microwave for 10 seconds)
Smooth over the cake and garnish with dessicated coconut and strawberries.
The frosting will set a little again but is delicious!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

What To Know When Embarking on Whole30 this November!

Do you want to look and feel great this Christmas? Why not take on a new lifestyle that will help you not only feel better and healthier, but will help you loose weight and improve your body image at the same time?

But before you consider this, please consider this -what I speak of  is NOT a diet! It is not a 6 week detox after which you binge on all the bad foods again, because obviously doing so will undo all that good work!

The Paleo Diet is a lifestyle that mimics the eating habits and hunter gather ways of our ancestors -
it is a commitment to a new healthier lifestyle and way of life where grains, dairy, legumes, sugar and processed foods are restricted, and real, whole foods are eaten in abundance.

Now, before you loose your head and think "WTF WILL I eat"? The answer is unlimited amounts of beautiful healthy foods like red meat, fish and chicken ,veggies, fruit, nuts and good fats is what!

If you are new to Paleo it CAN be overwhelming and confusing. I myself am reasonably new to it too, having only started my new way of eating in July - but I already feel brilliant, have lost 12lbs, almost 6 inches from my waist and a better outlook on diet and nutrition. And I truly believe YOU can do it too!

The best way to start Paleo is to do as much research as possible for a couple of weeks prior to starting and then do a Whole30 challenge - Whole9's original program designed to change your life in 30 days.

Check out their website on where they describe their plan as ;

"Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, calm systemic inflammation and put an end to unhealthy cravings, habits, and relationships with food and eating".

The plan is a strict 30 day kick start to Paleo and helps prepare your gut for longterm Paleo ways. 

So the basic fundamentals of the diet are to NOT eat the following foods: 

  • Grains; including wheat, rye, spelt, corn, millet, rice and quinoa
  • Dairy: including cows, goats or milk's milk, cheese, cream, yogurts or sour cream
  • No sugars, processed or otherwise including honey, maple syrup or stevia. (once the Whole30 is over you may use these in moderation, but for this challenge they are not allowed)
  • No legumes including beans of all types (black, baked, kidney) or peas, lentils and peanuts.  No peanut butter either or soy sauce and products.
  • No alcohol (you may decide to reintroduce this after the Whole30) 
  • No White Potatoes. 
Also two other points:

1. Do not try to create Paleoised versions of your old favourites. Many people make Paleo pizza, paleo bread etc, and these are all fine in moderation after the Whole30, but not during. They are seen as a bad replacement, and not real foods in the grand scheme of things. 
2. No stepping on the scales - AT ALL for the 30 days!! 

So, are you ready to try this 30 day challenge and stepping stone towards a new outlook on food and life?
Join me from 1st to 30th November and do one thing to finish 2011 feeling and looking great while eating delicious foods! 

Email me if you think you might want to join in or contact me on facebook! 
I am by no means an expert but I will help in any way I can! 

Monday, 17 October 2011

Coconut & Lemon Salmon

I love salmon but sometimes I get sick of eating it the same old way and I miss sauces. So I decided to try this recipe and see how it went. And I really enjoyed it! Another successful Paleo recipe.

Serves 4

4 Salmon Fillets
1 small can coconut milk  (160ml)
1 tbsp fresh dill chopped
Rind of 1 lemon
Salt & Pepper
Juice of half a lemon

Place salmon fillets in an oven proof dish and season with salt, pepper and dill.
Grate the lemon rind over the fish.
In a bowl mix the lemon juice and coconut milk together and pour over salmon.
Place under a preheated grill for about 30 minutes until the fish is almost cooked through and the sauce is bubbling.
Let rest for 2/3 minutes before serving with or without the sauce.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Lamb Meatballs and Paleo "Pasta"

Autumn is most definitely here and the windy cool weather and shorter evenings are beginning to advance.

Autumn for me means hot soups, casseroles and stews. Ultimate comfort foods! 

I can't wait to get stuck into some new recipes and I think I deserve some baked good next week as I refrained from baking this week. 

Anyway, this recipe is very easy and nothing fancy, but it proves that even good family favourites can be Paleo-ised to keep the whole family happy! 

For the Meatballs: 
To make 8 large meatballs (to serve 3/4 people) 
1lb of minced lamb (or other meat)
1 large egg
Sat & pepper
1tbs fresh rosemary
1 tbs fresh thyme
1 tbs dried garlic
3 tbs olive oil
For Meat Pasta Sauce:
2 tbs olive oil 
250g plum tomatoes, chopped
100ml of water 
3 tbs tomato puree
1/2 red pepper, chopped. 
1 onion, chopped
4 x garlic, chopped
2 tbsp dried Italian Herbs
2 tbsp fresh basil 

To Make The Meatballs: 
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl (except oil) and form into meatballs. 
Place in the fridge until needed.
To Make The Sauce: 
Heat the oil in a pan and add the garlic and onions, stir for 3-4 minutes until just translucent. 
Add the chopped tomatoes, peppers and water and bring to simmer.
Simmer until the tomatoes begin to break down. 
Add the puree, herbs, salt and pepper and sugar.
Bring to simmer and reduce heat.
Cook for 25-30 minutes on a low-medium heat until the tomatoes have broken down.
Check for seasoning. 

In the meantime add remaining oil in another large pan and add the meatballs. Brown on all sides. 
Add the tomato sauce to the pan with the meatball, bring to the boil, reduce to simmer and cover. 
Cook for 25 minutes or until the meat is cooked through. Check regularly and add more water if needed. 

Serve with courgette pasta (shred 1-2 courgettes and steam for 2 minutes before serving) 

And that is it! A guaranteed family favourite!