Chilli Onions

chilli onions

chilli onions

Hmmm … hot stuff. Yummm. This recipe is easy peasy, and turns every dish it touches into something sublime. (For the record, my camera’s rubbish. These look a lot more appetising in the flesh).

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4-6 chillis of your choice, chopped
  • 2-4 (or more!) cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Salt, ginger and herbs and spices to taste
  • Optional: curry powder. I LOVE the Durban Curry spice from Imbali Blends. Awesomeness.

Method

  1. Heat the oil and add the onions and garlic.
  2. Add the chillis, salt and spices.
  3. Cook the mixture at a medium to high heat. If it starts sticking to the pan, add a little filtered water and keep cooking it.
  4. Carry on in this way until the whole mixture is thoroughly cooked: it’ll be soft, and the onions will be translucent.
  5. Spoon it over meals, or bottle it in enough olive oil to cover the mixture. Store in the fridge.
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Stir fry: chicken and pork

stir fryI LOVE stir fry. It’s so quick to whip up, and it really packs a nutritional punch, with very little effort. Chopping vegetables can be incredibly therapeutic, and adding all the ingredients fuels my creative juices. I always feel energised after eating stir fry, too. Perhaps it’s because the quick cooking time reduces nutrient loss. Or perhaps it’s because of the combination of iron-rich vegetables and delicious organic meat. Or maybe it’s just my addiction to chillies, always liberally poured on top of any stir fry I make! The sweet fruit adds a delicious kick to this recipe.

Here’s a recent supper sensation:

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 chicken thighs, roasted and chopped
  • Approx. ½kg pork neck
  • ½ a young, sweet cabbage, chopped
  • About 10 medium spinach leaves, chopped
  • 2 – 3 medium carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1 generous handful of raisins
  • A few cloves of garlic, to taste
  • Salt, paprika and ginger to taste

Method

  1. Gently heat olive oil in a pan.
  2. Sautée onions, garlic and spices for a minute or two.
  3. Add pork and stir fry until just brown – about five minutes.
  4. Add everything else except the chicken and raisins.
  5. Stir fry for about 5 – 10 minutes.
  6. Add the chicken and raisins, and heat for a few more minutes.
  7. Season to taste.

We served this with chilli onions and home-made mayonnaise.

Chococcino muffins

Chococcino muffins

Chococcino muffins

Experimenting a little with the delicious triumph that was our grain-free chocolate cupcakes, I decided to try chococcino muffins for an early evening kick. Here they are:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup nut butter – we used the delicious and imminently affordable macadamia nut butter at our local Spar, but you could use anything you prefer, or even make your own. I think sunbutter would work too, though you run the risk of the cupcakes turning green.
  • 1 tbsp coconut cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp ginger (optional)
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 3 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tbsp ground coffee
  • 4 tbsp raw honey
  • ½ cup raisins

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Combine all the ingredients except the raisins in a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Add the raisins and pulse for a few minutes.
  4. Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases.
  5. The original recipe I used said “bake for about ten minutes”. Ours took at least 20 minutes, so I recommend letting your nose guide you, and poking them with a stick when they smell done, to make doubly sure.

Grain free, sugar free, dairy free chocolate muffins (can be nut free)

Chocolate cupcakes - grain free and sugar free

Chocolate cupcakes – grain free and sugar free

This weekend has been a lot of fun for us! My friend is moving house, and we’ve had the joy of looking after her lovely kids for the weekend. She thinks we’re helping her. Heh heh. In fact, it’s all part of our evil plot to steal the adorable munchkins and keep them for ourselves!

Dexter, the young evil genius of the pair, decided we needed to bake chocolate cupcakes.  A super-quick Google search delivered a delicious-looking recipe for grain-free cupcakes, and a little inventive adding and substituting delivered my new go-to cup cake recipe (until the next one appears).

Chocolate Cup Cakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup nut butter – we used the delicious and imminently affordable macadamia nut butter at our local Spar, but you could use anything you prefer, or even make your own. I think sunbutter would work too, though you run the risk of the cupcakes turning green.
  • 1 small banana (optional but subtly delicious)
  • 3 large eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp ginger (optional)
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 4 tbsp cocoa
  • 4 tbsp raw honey
  • ½ cup raisins

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Combine all the ingredients except the raisins in a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Add the raisins and pulse for a few minutes.
  4. Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases.
  5. The original recipe I used said “bake for about ten minutes”. Ours took at least 20 minutes, so I recommend letting your nose guide you, and poking them with a stick when they smell done, to make doubly sure.

I’m off to bake another batch … and fill out some adoption papers, I think. This full-house thing really works for me. 😉

Super-safe SCD mayonnaise

Delicious home-made sugar-free SCD mayonnaise

Delicious home-made sugar-free SCD mayonnaise

Before starting SCD, I enjoyed mayonnaise, but I could take it or leave it. a few days without mayo made no difference. Since starting this eating plan and losing so much weight, however, getting all the calories we can get has become important. So has finding delicious food that we’re actually allowed to eat! That’s why this mayonnaise is such a Godsend. We love it, and don’t go more than a day or so without a fresh jar in the fridge.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp salt (we love Imbali Blends Herbal Salt)
  • 1 tsp paprika (optional but delicious. Again, we love the one sold by Imbali Blends)
  • 3 tbsp lemon/lime juice (apple cider vinegar is also good, or use a mixture of each).  You may prefer it more or less tangy, so feel free to experiment.
  • 1 tsp mustard. Feel free to experiment with brands, types and quantities.  Our favourite is the french wholegrain mustard sold at our local shopping centre. Make sure you check the ingredients in your mustard: no starch of any kind, and no sugar!
  • 1 tsp – 1 tbsp raw honey (optional)
  • 1 cup oil (not coconut oil. Olive oil is healthy; avocado oil is delicious)

Method

  • Blend all the ingredients except the oil until very well combined.
  • VERY slowly add the oil, beating all the time.
  • Store in the fridge for up to a week (if it lasts that long ;))

Paleo grain free pumpkin pie

easy crustless pumpkin pie

easy crustless pumpkin pie

Ever since I read my first Harry Potter novel all those years ago, I’ve had an obsession with pumpkin pie. Years of diligent research, selflessly sacrificing dessert opportunity after dessert opportunity to the quest, spending hours reading about, experimenting with and tasting variations of this sublime squash tart – all in the name of science; all in the interests of bringing YOU a better dessert. Because, after all, it is ALL about you. I am merely the unselfish object of scientific endeavour. (Not to mention, utterly addicted to pumpkin pie!). So, here it is:

Ingredients:

  • 450ml cooked pumpkin (here’s how I cook mine.)
  • 350ml coconut cream
  • 4 tbsp honey (or to taste)
  • 1tsp each cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
  • 1 drop clove essential oil
  • a pinch of salt
  • scant 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Method

  1. Cook the pumpkin (see this post).
  2. Preheat the oven to max.
  3. In a blender with the S-blade attachment, beat together the egg, spices, salt and bicarb until very well blended, light in colour and slightly frothy.
  4. Add the pumpkin and honey and blend very well.
  5. Slowly add the coconut cream and blend very well.
  6. Pour into a pie dish or (this works MUCH better) about ten small ramekins.
  7. Cook at max. temperature for fifteen minutes.
  8. Turn down the heat to about 220 degrees celsius and cook for approximately an hour. Check on it when it smells done. It’s done when a knife poked into the middle comes out clean, and the top is slightly brown.
  9. If you can, allow it to cool for at least 2 hours. I like it topped with some kind of cream, although we can’t tolerate any kind at all. Still good though!

How I cook pumpkin

pumpkin!

pumpkin!

I cook pretty much all my squash this way – even gem squash. The main thing is to pay attention: when it smells done, it probably is. This here is how I cook pumpkin for pumpkin pie:

  1. Go to the Farmers’ Market and buy a great big pumpkin (I like the bright orange ones best for pie).
  2. When you get home, carve a hole in one end, then bung it in the oven and roast it at about 200 degrees celsius until it smells cooked and the shell turns brownish and bubbles in places. (I guess this is an hour or two, but I usually don’t check).
  3. When it’s cooled a bit, cut out a wedge of it, scrape out the seeds and peel off the skin with a sharp knife.
  4. Chop it roughly, place the pieces in a sieve and allow the excess water to drain.
  5. This should be about 2 cups, or roughly 450ml.
  6. Set aside

Everybody’s favourite problem

I don’t know what I did or am doing, but all of a sudden my digestive system seems okay. I am a lot less bloated than even a week ago, and a lot more regular, too. Sorry for sharing that, but these things matter. A lot. My skin is almost clear and I am sleeping better (when I can find the time). The girls have seasonal rhinitis, but otherwise things are pretty good in our household at the moment.

It’s a little creepy, to tell the truth, since I really am not sure what’s changed.

It’s true that I have cut back on the coffee (not cut out, note). The same goes for sugars – I have less than one fruit a day, and about half a teaspoon of honey in the same period. (Unless I run out of coconut oil, in which case I need something in my cocoa besides the cinnamon, don’t I?). I’ve been having a quarter teaspoon of baking soda in half a glass of water every morning and evening, and taking market-made Swedish bitters (rather than the commercial kind). Maybe those things are helping?  I’ve also been drinking less water. I know that’s a little unusual in a health improvement, but I was having up to three litres a day until a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve read that doing that can dilute your nutrients and make you tired. Although in the end it turned out that missing out on four or five hours of sleep a night was in fact the cause of my exhaustion. Ta Da! Mystery solved.

So now my stomach is flat and comfortable, my skin is nearly presentable in public, my hair is shiny and I am slowly getting back my energy (which is sleep-related and not diet-related).

Here’s the problem: I can’t stop losing weight. When I stared this, I was at a comfortable weight. I wouldn’t have minded shifting two or three kilos, but I really wouldn’t have minded not shifting those kilos, either. I was fine. My main thought was better concentration and – most of all – a comfortable gut! okay, I have those, but even though I eat all the time, I am now *technically* underweight. What shall I do? It’s not a problem I thought I’d face in my life, ya know?

As a potential remedy, yesterday we introduced sweet potatoes. I was a little bloated afterwards, but nothing serious and that could well have been from the fact that, breaking my pattern, I’d had TWO bananas AND a pear during the day. I’ll try the sweet potatoes again today, and see what happens.

I also had the most amazing night’s sleep last night, weird dreams notwithstanding. So it’s Friday, and the outlook is good.

 

Goals

Last year I had two simple goals when it came to food, and in fact when I started the year I had no idea about either of them.

The first was to poach a perfect egg. I’d never achieved this and I had pretty much given up on the idea altogether. “Some people just can’t”, I told myself. However, during the course of 2012 I stumbled across a blog post (which, for some reason, I did NOT bookmark! How did that happen?!?), which explains the process in simple steps. In fact, the steps seemed so simple, I just had to give it a go. I did, and whaddya know? Perfectly poached eggs! Huzzah! I experimented a few times, with success each time, so I know it works.

The second goal I didn’t know I had for last year was learning to cook and serve delicious, beautiful food – without any grain or starch.

To be honest, I didn’t think it would happen. Until about six months ago I had virtually no interest in food preparation at all. I didn’t enjoy the process, and I certainly didn’t care very much how it looked. It was simple (the way I like things): 1 protein, 1 starch, 1 portion veg. Three fairly even divisions of food groups, neatly(ish) laid out on a plate. Your options, O Recipient of Meal? Eat or starve. See? Simple.

However, since discovering SCD, Paleo, GAPS and the wealth of attendant recipes, my culinary adventures have been transformed! I now love to cook, I take pleasure in delightful plating (which is a long way from looking good, but at least I know what the term means now – or even that the term exists!). Meal times are FUN, and one of my primary de-stress activities.

Fast-forward to NOW.

My culinary goals for this year are: (Maestro, drum-roll if you please) …

That’s it. Well, actually, there was something else but my brain is full and the other goal fell out. Ah well, I’ll add it if I remember.

Every one a coconut.

After the coconut milk had been made,  I still had no inclination to get to “work”, and besides, I was technically in the middle of home school. So while I listened to the girls reading, I made ice cream and macaroons.

The ice cream was a big hit and super easy:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • as much vanilla essence as you like (or none at all – I used just shy of a teaspoon)
  • honey (I used aboout 1.5 tablespoons, and found it rather sweet)

Blend everything well in a food processor, then freeze. This amount of mixture made six ice lollies, and froze reasonably fast. It was delicious but I think next time I will take it out of the freezer and beat it a couple of times to get the crystals out. If chocolate was allowed on the SCD I would definitely dunk the ice lollies in melted chocolate. So much of nice.

The macaroons were less successful. I’ve made macaroons many times and while I’m no Daniela, they’ve always been edible and in most cases people ask for more.

Not today.

I think I hadn’t squeezed enough coconut milk out of the coconut, and I also substituted honey for sugar, so almost immediately my light and fluffy egg whites swirled into slightly separated strangeness. I thought a tablespoon of macadamia nut butter would help to reconstitute the mass into something that would sort-of hold together, but that was a mistake and I knew that before I even opened the jar.

It wasn’t all bad, because after 20 minutes of baking, the macaroons began to resemble the correct consistency. I let them cool, scraped them into a bowl, and formed the lot into 9 little balls. Baking these yielded something … well … something. But it’s edible. And you don’t need a spoon.

I won’t post the recipe until I have one that works.