Breakfast, Dips and spreads

Blueberry Chia Jam

blueberrychiajam

Happy new year! I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and had a good break. To get started cooking in 2016, I am sharing a recipe that we will be making in my GAPS For Breakfast workshop next week. This workshop is now sold out – sorry! – but I will be holding it again in April 2016. Details of other upcoming workshops are in the sidebar or on my Events page.

Chia seeds are not only loaded with nutrients, but also very versatile in cooking. For those with an egg allergy, chia seeds can be used as an egg substitute. Chia seeds can be used to make a delicious gluten-free porridge. And here they are used to make a pan of runny fruit set into a jam, without the added sugar of traditional jam. Instead I have just added a touch of honey for sweetness. Chia jam is also incredibly quick to make compared to traditional jam, which is more of a “project”. I hope you enjoy it!

Blueberry Chia Jam

300 g fresh blueberries

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons chia seeds

½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Yield – one small jam jar

Put the blueberries and honey in a pan and heat on the hob stirring frequently, until the blueberries have burst and the liquid is boiling. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the chia seeds and cook for another 10 minutes, continuing to stir.

When the jam has thickened, take off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Taste and add more honey if necessary. Cool to room temperature, then transfer to a jar and refrigerate. Keeps for up to one week.

 

Dessert

Cranberry Sorbet

CRANBERRYSORBET

Looking for a lighter Thanksgiving dessert that happens to be gluten and dairy free? Here is a tart and refreshing cranberry sorbet – very easy to make and perfect with a slice of pumpkin cake. It would also make a delightful Christmas dinner palate cleanser.

As well as being delicious and vibrantly colored, cranberries are packed with disease-fighting antioxidants. There’s something to be thankful for!

Cranberry Sorbet

600 g fresh cranberries

200 g caster sugar

pinch of salt

350 ml water

1 vanilla bean

juice of 1 lemon

Serves 8

Place the cranberries, sugar, salt and water in a large pot that can go on the hob. Slice the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds into the mixture, then add the beans as well. Bring to the boil, stirring well to dissolve the sugar, then simmer for about 10 minutes until the cranberries have popped. Cool to room temperature and remove the vanilla beans.

Puree the mixture in a blender or food processor. Add the lemon juice and taste – if it is too tart add a touch more sugar. Place a fine sieve over a bowl and pour the cranberry pulp into the sieve. Strain well, rubbing the pulp through the sieve with a spoon. Discard the remaining pulp. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Switch on your ice cream machine and pour in the fruit mixture. Churn until the sorbet is firm enough to serve, about 25 minutes. Serve immediately or freeze in a plastic container.

 

Dessert

Pumpkin Cake

pumpkincake

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I have been busy testing some new dessert ideas. I have not yet managed to produce a gluten and dairy free pie that meets my family’s approval – maybe next year? – but fortunately this Pumpkin Cake was judged a winner and I will be baking it again on Thursday. It is a moist almond-based cake with no gluten or dairy, but plenty of spiced pumpkin flavor. It would pair well with vanilla ice cream (try Booja Booja for a good non-dairy version, or make your own), although I am thinking of making some cranberry sorbet to eat alongside the cake.

I also recommend my Cranberry Amaretti for Thanksgiving or, for a dessert with no refined sugar, my Spiced Pumpkin Mousse Pots. 

 

Pumpkin Cake

2 medium bananas, peeled – about 150g

175 g pumpkin puree (I used Libby’s)

200g caster sugar

6 large eggs

200g ground almonds

1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground five spice blend

ghee or oil to grease the cake pan

Serves 8-10

Preheat your oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3.

On a plate or cutting board, mash up the bananas into chunks using a fork. Scrape into a bowl, add the pumpkin puree and blend in the sugar until smooth (I use my handheld mixer to do this).

In another bowl, whisk the eggs until frothy. Pour into to the banana/pumpkin mixture, and mix well.

Fold the ground almonds, spices and baking powder into the batter, then pour the batter into a 23cm springform cake pan, lined and greased (I used ghee but you could also use a bit of oil).

Bake for one hour. Cool on a rack, then remove from the tin.

Meat and poultry

Slow-cooked lamb with sage

sagelamb

What a week it has been. We are all still recovering from the shock of last Friday’s events in Paris. While none of my friends and family were hurt, many others were not so lucky.

Life goes on and I salute the Parisians who have continued to enjoy café life, with #jesuisenterrasse trending on social media.  But comfort food also has its place in difficult times. This simple but flavorful lamb dish requires virtually no prep, and will make your home smell divine during the four hours it cooks. My definition of comfort.

Slow-cooked lamb with sage

(from the French blog C’est Moi Qui L’ai Fait)

2 kg boneless shoulder of lamb

a good handful of sage leaves

200 ml dry white wine

salt and pepper

Serves 6-8

Preheat your oven to 230 C.

Trim any thick fat off the lamb shoulder, leaving a thin layer of fat. Place the lamb shoulder fat side down in a dutch oven and heat over medium flame on the hob, until some of the fat has rendered and the lamb has browned. Turn over and brown the other side.

When both sides are browned, take the pan off the hob and remove the lamb to a plate. Wipe the excess fat from the pan with some kitchen paper, then put the lamb back in fat side up. Cover the lamb in sage leaves, then pour in the white wine. Season with salt and pepper, cover and put in the oven.

Important: you must then immediately reduce the heat to 150 C.

Cook for around four hours, basting every hour.

To serve, gently separate the lamb into chunks using two forks.

 

 

 

Dessert

Spiced Pumpkin Mousse Pots

pumpkinpot

Holidays can be such a challenge when catering for special diets, and Thanksgiving is no exception. I started early this year testing some new Thanksgiving dessert ideas and came up with these Spiced Pumpkin Mousse Pots, which were a a big hit with my testers. I thought I would put the recipe up early as these would also make a fantastic addition to a Halloween-themed party.

Pumpkin is the ultimate autumnal food and I love cooking with pumpkin at this time of year. Pumpkin is particularly rich in vitamin A which aids vision, especially in dim light – definitely a good thing as the days get shorter! I used pumpkin puree from the supermarket in my recipe to keep these pumpkin pots quick and easy, but if you fancy a project you can make your own.

My recipe is adapted from Michelle Tam’s Paleo Pumpkin, Coconut & Maple Custard Cups. I love Michelle’s blog Nom Nom Paleo, and she also has a great app and cookbook. Do check it out if you are interested in Paleo cooking, and most of her recipes are also GAPS-friendly.

Spiced Pumpkin Mousse Pots (adapted from Nom Nom Paleo)

300 ml coconut milk

4 eggs

120 ml maple syrup

300 g pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground five spice blend

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

Makes 6-10 pots, depending on the size of your ramekins.

Preheat your oven to 170 C and boil a full kettle of water.

Heat the coconut milk in a pan over low heat on the hob, until warm but not boiling.

Whisk the eggs and maple syrup together in a large bowl. Very gradually add the warm coconut milk while continuing to whisk.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir until well-blended.

Place your ramekins in a baking dish, and fill the ramekins with batter. Just before placing the baking dish in the oven, pour enough boiling water into the dish to reach about halfway up the ramekins.

Bake for 45 minutes, then cool on a rack for 1 hour. These can be enjoyed at room temperature or chilled, and will keep for up to 3 days on the refrigerator.

Side dishes

Autumn Slaw with Honey-Ginger Dressing

slaw

The children have only just gone back to school but already it feels like winter is on its way. It has been rainy with grey skies these past few days, and there are already flus and coughs and colds going around. This crunchy Asian-inspired slaw is a wonderful source of immune-boosting antioxidants and vitamin C, but is also a riot of bright and zingy flavors and colors – just the thing to ward away the germs and cheer up a dreary evening.

We had this slaw last night with pulled pork wraps, a family favorite. But just add some leftover roast chicken or poached salmon, and you have a main course salad. It is also a great lunchbox option, as the flavors actually improve from resting for a couple of hours (but check whether your school’s allergy policy allows sesame seeds).

The inspiration for this recipe came from Jenny Rosentrach’s Dinner: The Playbook. In her “30 day plan for mastering the art of the family meal”, Jenny sets out a foolproof plan for getting family dinners on the table every night. Although not that many recipes in the book are allergy-friendly, it’s a good read if you struggle to get organized at dinner-time or just need to shake things up in your dinner rotation. Jenny also blogs at Dinner: A Love Story.

Autumn Slaw with Honey-Ginger Dressing

For the dressing:

1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (or rice vinegar if you are not on GAPS)

1 tablespoon fish sauce (look for a sugar-free version if you are on GAPS, such as Vietnamese Phu Quoc Fish Sauce)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

2 teaspoons honey

For the salad:

1/2 head of red cabbage, finely shedded (I use my Oxo Mandoline slicer for this)

3 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks

25 g baby spinach (a small handful), stems removed and finely shredded

10 snow peas, strings removed and sliced on the diagonal

1 tablespoon black sesame seeds

1 tablespoon coriander leaves, chopped

Serves 4-6 as a side dish.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a large salad bowl and whisk well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary (I find I don’t usually need to add salt as the fish sauce is salty).

Add the salad ingredients and toss. Serve immediately or chill for up to 6 hours.

Jenny Rosenstrach’s tip: “If you are afraid your kids won’t touch it, separate out the elements you are sure they will like and reserve some dressing for them as a dip”. Sounds sensible to me!

Dessert

Cherry Clafoutis (GAPS)

clafoutisrack

Over the past few weeks, the internet has been simply awash in recipes for cherry clafoutis. Yes, I realize it is cherry season. I too have been enjoying the sweet and plentiful cherries at the market and in my local shops. But I had not made clafoutis in nearly a decade, since I stopped baking with gluten and dairy. Finally, the other day after the umpteenth clafoutis recipe popped on my screen, I decided it simply must be possible to make a tasty gluten and dairy free version. And since the cherries I had to hand were very sweet, I had a go at making it free of refined sugar as well. Let me know what you think!

Cherry Clafoutis

500 g sweet ripe cherries, pitted

200 ml coconut milk

3 large eggs

75 g ground almonds

75 g pure vanilla extract

a bit of coconut oil or ghee to grease the pan

Serves 6-8

Preheat your oven to 175 C.

Grease your pan with a bit of coconut oil or ghee (I used a 26 cm cast iron skillet), and place the pitted cherries in a single layer in the pan.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender and blitz to obtain a batter-like consistency. Pour over the cherries, and bake for 45 minutes.

Cool for at least 15 minutes, then serve warm or at room temperature.