Monday, December 2, 2019

Christmas Cake Part Two - The Main Event

Okay, we've made our candied orange peel.  We've resisted snacking on more than two or three (or four... or five...) pieces.  We're ready to make some Christmas cake!

Ingredients

  • About 750 grams (1.5 pounds) assorted dried fruits - I used candied orange peel (diced), sultana raisins, Thompson raisins, yellow raisins, currants, prunes, dried cranberries (sweetened with apple juice), dried cherries, dried apricots, apple chips (smashed into crumbs), diced dried mango, and dried pineapple
  • 175g coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice plus 1/2 cup pineapple juice (you can substitute water for either/both, but you'll lose a bit of flavour)
  • 1 jar St Dalfour no-added-sugar orange marmalade (or 200g of other NSA marmalade)
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 eggs

Instructions

  1. Combine all the dried fruit, the coconut oil, coconut sugar, juice/water, and marmalade in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Bring up to a simmer and keep it there for about 10 minutes.  Set aside to cool for 30 minutes.
  2. While that's cooling, preheat the oven to 300F and line your springform cake tin with parchment paper.
  3. Once the fruit mixture has cooled, mix in the almond flour, cinnamon, and ginger.  Then beat in your eggs.
  4. Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 60 to 80 minutes.  Mine was done at 70 minutes.
  5. Leave to cool completely in the cake tin.
FYI, it seems this cake slices easier when fridge-cold.  At room temperature it's pretty crumbly.  But still tasty.

Christmas Cake Part One - Candied Orange Peel

We already make the Christmas Cake Muffins on a regular basis, and I find them very tasty indeed.  But, with the holiday season fast approaching, I wanted more...  But first, to make it authentic, I needed candied orange peel.

Fortunately, the Internet delivered, with this recipe which I will repeat here with my own notes.

Ingredients
  • A sauce pan of water
  • Two navel oranges with thick skin (this also works well with lemon peel replacing part of the orange peel)
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup water
Instructions
  1. Carefully score and remove the peel from the oranges in sections, then cut it all into thin strips about 0.5cm (1/4") wide.
  2. Boil all of the peel in the saucepan full of water for at least twenty minutes.
  3. Drain the peel well in a colander.
  4. In a saucepan, combine one cup honey and one cup water.
  5. Bring the honey/water mixture to a boil, stirring frequently to make sure they're well-mixed.
  6. Reduce heat and boil for ten minutes, continuing to stir frequently.  You're making a syrup here, trying to boil off some of the water.  Be VERY careful not to splash any of this on you.
  7. Add all of the orange peel to the hot syrup in the pan, mix well, reduce heat to low.
  8. Simmer for about 45 minutes.  Stir occasionally, but more frequently as you near the end of the cooking time.  Keep a VERY close eye on it as it nears the end of the 45 minutes, it's easy to scorch it.
  9. Remove to parchment paper to cool for 10 minutes.  Try to get the strips teased out into individual pieces, rather than having one big clump.
Now you can eat them as-is, dip them in melted chocolate, or use them in cooking.  Stay tuned for the recipe I used these in!

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Chocolate pie

Ever since I was young, chocolate pie has been one of my favourite desserts.  Kind of hard to achieve that in paleo, right?  Well, maybe not...

A while back, I'd found a six-pack of canned coconut cream at our local Costco.  It sat in the pantry for a bit while I tried to figure out what to do with it, until I found this recipe.  I've tweaked it just a bit, and I use this pie crust rather than the one in the chocolate pie recipe - Mrs. Caveman said the result was like eating "chocolate pudding on shortbread", I just called it delicious.  I'm out of coconut cream now, I guess I need to make another Costco run soon!

Ingredients

  • 2 x 13 ounce cans coconut cream (not coconut milk)
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp chocolate stevia
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • dash of salt
Instructions
  1. Prepare a pie crust, bake it, and allow it to cool completely.
  2. Open both cans of coconut cream, drain off the clear fluid (and discard), and put the coconut cream into a mixing bowl.
  3. Cream the coconut cream well with a whisk.
  4. Sift in the cocoa powder.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients, whisking well.
  6. Transfer into the cooled pie crust.
  7. Put the whole thing into the fridge for a couple of hours.
  8. Serve.
Three notes:
1. For a touch of class, top with grated chocolate.
2. This is a pretty rich pie.  That's not a complaint, just a statement of fact.
3.  Keep the leftovers in the fridge, covered with foil so it doesn't dry out.

Friday, April 19, 2019

An Amazing Deep-dish Pizza!

Okay, not really paleo if you're putting cheese on it, but I promise not to judge...  Anyway, this turns out pretty amazing for a paleo deep-dish pizza, and I really recommend it!  Original recipe was here, I've just tweaked the instructions to make them (hopefully) clearer.

Ingredients


  • 2 cups tapioca flour (tapioca starch)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp "Italian Seasoning Blend" dry herb mix
  • 1 cup just-boiled water
  • 1 Tbsp bacon grease or other high-smoke-point fat
  • Whatever you want to put on your pizza...
Instructions
  1. Place a 12-inch cast iron skillet in the oven on the middle rack.  Set the oven to preheat to 425F.  Once the oven has preheated, leave the skillet in the oven for at least 10 minutes.
  2. While the oven is preheating, put a kettle on to boil (for the boiling water).
  3. In a stand mixer or other suitable "implement of mass blending" (see note below) place the tapioca flour/starch, coconut flour, eggs, salt, "Italian Seasoning Blend", and olive oil.  Mix or blend until combined, then pour in the cup of just-boiled water while it continues to mix/blend.
  4. Wait at least 10 minutes, basically until the oven is preheated and the skillet is good and hot.
  5. Remove the skillet from the oven, add the tablespoon of fat, let it melt, and swirl it around in the pan to coat evenly.
  6. Put the dough into the hot skillet (carefully!) - I use a spatula to spoon it in as "lumps" of dough, then smoosh/smooth them around until it's a fairly even layer coating the entire bottom of the pan, up to the side walls.
  7. Place the skillet with the dough into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  8. Remove it from the oven, dress it, and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes.  (I sometimes switch the oven to "broil" for the last couple of minutes, if the cheese isn't quite browned enough for my liking.)
  9. Let it sit for ten minutes (because, well, lava-cheese!).
  10. Eat!!!
Note: the dough gets pretty thick, do NOT use a wimpy mini blender or small food processor unit.  Go big or go home!

And hey, how about a picture?
Image may contain: food

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Peach Cobbler

This recipe is based on Danielle Walker's Against All Grain, where it can be found in her Celebrations cookbook - I've only made a couple of tweaks.  My father has specifically requested we make this a time or two for family gatherings - I think he likes it.  We do too.

Ingredients

  • 6 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1.5 to 2 bags frozen(*) peach slices (about 600g each, about 2 to 3 pounds total)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup cashew butter
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup palm sugar (coconut sugar)
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup canned coconut milk (shake well first)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375F
  2. Put the coconut oil in a deep baking dish or dutch oven, and place it in the oven to heat up.
  3. In a saucepan, combine the frozen peaches, honey, lemon juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  4. Bring the peaches etc. to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cashew butter, arrowroot flour, coconut flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, and coconut milk.  Mix until well-combined.
  6. When the peaches and spices have simmered for 10 minutes, take the baking dish out of the oven, and CAREFULLY pour the peach mixture in.  The coconut oil will be hot, so it will make quite a lot of noise and could splash up a bit -- use care in this step.
  7. Once things have calmed down in the baking dish, spoon the batter over top, trying to get an even layer covering all of the peach mixture.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes or so, until the top is nice and brown.
  9. Serve warm.
(*) = I'm a huge fan of Alton Brown's.  He recommends using frozen peaches for this sort of thing, because the freezing process ruptures some of the cell walls and releases more juice during cooking.  I'd have to agree.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Low-carb Mac and Cheese (not Paleo though)

Disclosure: This post contains links to companies.  I do not receive money, or other consideration from these companies, and the links are provided for your convenience only.  These links should not be considered as endorsements of the linked companies or their products.

Hey, do you know about shirataki noodles?  Also known as yam noodles, these are zero-calorie, zero-carb noodles that have come on the market in the last few years.

At least one manufacturer, Miracle Noodles, has come out with ziti-style noodles.  (There might be more from other manufacturers; we buy ours from Low Carb Grocery.)

Anyway, it's been so cold lately that I got inspired to use the ziti-style noodles to make up a big batch of home-style macaroni and cheese, while keeping it as low-carb as possible.  It's not paleo because of the milk and cheese.  Here's how I did it.

Ingredients

  • 3 slices thick-cut bacon (the thicker the better!) cut into "lardons"
  • 4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) salted butter
  • 4 Tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 2 cups milk (I used 2% fat)
  • 0.5 tsp white pepper
  • 0.5 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp powdered mustard
  • 1 egg yolk (optional)
  • 6 packages ziti-style shirataki noodles
  • 4 cups shredded cheese (you can use one of those packaged blends from the store, or shred a bunch yourself - mix it up with cheddar, Parmesan, mozzarella, Gruyere, Swiss, and so on), divided into two portions of two cups each
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  2. Cook the bacon lardons and reserve them.  Keep the rendered fat for something else yummy - you won't need it for this recipe.
  3. Drain the ziti-style shirataki noodles in your sink and rinse with cold water.  Then boil them for two minutes, and drain well.
  4. In a sauce pan, melt the butter, and add the arrowroot powder to form a roux.  Cook the roux for a few seconds to let it brown up just a bit.
  5. While constantly stirring the roux, add in the milk.
  6. Heat the mixture, constantly stirring, until it thickens.  Stir in the white pepper, nutmeg, and powdered mustard.  (You've just made a bechamel sauce!)
  7. (Optional step!)  If you want, you can add an egg yolk to further thicken it.  Mix up the egg yolk in a bowl, and stir in a bit of the bechamel sauce to warm it, then stir the whole thing back into the sauce.  (If you just dump the egg yolk into the hot sauce, you'll end up with scrambled eggs in your sauce...)  I've made this both ways, and it turns out fine with or without the yolk.
  8. Add in 2 cups shredded cheese mixture, remove the sauce pan from the heat, and stir to combine.  (You don't want to keep heating the arrowroot mixture, or it will eventually, um, "unthicken".)
  9. When the cheese is melted into the sauce, combine your cheesy sauce with the noodles and cooked bacon lardons and put the whole thing into an oven-safe dish, such as a 9x13 pan.
  10. Smooth it out and top evenly with the rest of the shredded cheese.
  11. Put it in the oven for 20 minutes.  If you want you can broil it for the last minute or so to crisp up the cheese on top, but keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn!
  12. I recommend you let it sit for a few minutes after taking it out of the oven - that cheese will be lava-hot!
  13. Enjoy!

Incredibly rich chocolate buttercream frosting

I think I've come up with a frosting to accompany that orange cake recipe I published the other day.  A word of warning though - this is incredibly rich and decadent, and of course not exactly "hard core paleo" given that it's made with butter.  But the orange cake accompanies this frosting quite nicely, and I think I'll be looking for occasions to make this in the future.  The recipe is based off of this one, but I've altered the sweeteners a bit.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, salted
  • 1/2 cup erythritol
  • 1/2 cup "spoonable" stevia
  • 2/3 cup good-quality cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp chocolate stevia liquid
Instructions
  1. Cream the butter in a stand mixer (or use a bowl and a hand mixer).
  2. Add in the erythritol, spoonable stevia, and cocoa powder, and combine well.
  3. Add the almond milk slowly, making sure it's combined well with the mixture.
  4. Blend in the vanilla extract and liquid stevia.
  5. Ice your cake!