Breakfast, Dips and spreads

Pear Butter

pearbutter2

I love the magic quality of this recipe, in which just one ingredient – pears – cook in a bit of water until they are completely transformed.  The result is a naturally sweet spread perfect for toast or pancakes, or stirred into some natural yogurt.  It is also a great way to use up any pears that are less than perfect or slightly past their prime.

This is good fun to make with children. They can chop the pears and stir the pot, and will be amazed at how cooking can completely change an ingredient.

Pear Butter

4 large pears or 6 medium (about 1.2 kg total)

200 ml water

Core and chop the pears, but do not peel them, and put in a pan with the water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until pears are tender, about 1 hour.

Once the pears have softened, remove the lid and continue cooking for another 2-3 hours, stirring from time to time, until the mixture is smooth and brown and there is no visible liquid. You will need to stir more frequently towards the end of cooking, to avoid scorching.

Cool to room temperature and blend in a food processor or blender until smooth. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate.

 

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.

 

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.