Bear Bone Broth

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Bone Broth – this stuff is as expensive as liquid gold if you buy it from the shops (and not necessarily all that nice), which is totally crazy because it’s cheap as chips to make yourself.  I do mine in my slow cooker (cue angles singing, I love my slow cooker) and the amount of hands on work that is required is actually minimal.  Win-win all round!

The one thing I would absolutely stress about this recipe is; do not skip roasting the bones first, this makes ALL the difference.

 

INGREDIENTS

2 kgs raw beef bones

2 large carrots, roughly chopped

2 large onions, roughly chopped

2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped

2 large celery ribs, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 bay leaves

Water to cover – quantity will depend on the capacity of your slow cooker

 

DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C.  Place your bones in a single layer in a baking dish lined with baking paper and roast for around 40 minutes.  They’ll smell wonderful when they’re done, trust me.

Now all you need to do is put everything in your slow cooker ensure there’s sufficient water to cover and put on low for at least 8 hours.  I do this in the afternoon and just leave it on all night.

When it’s finished cooking, strain out all the bones and veges and transfer to a bowl and cool to separate out the fat.  I personally don’t keep the fat to reuse, but I know some people do.  The broth should start to jellify as it cools, this is totally what you want as it indicates you’ve coaxed the gelatine out of the bones.   Now all you need to do is decant into whatever size servings you want (I find 1 cup lots are the most useful) and chill or freeze!

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Sneaky Sauce…

14 5 18 081I have to say, I’m actually pretty lucky with the vegetable consumption of my little bear cubs.  They do seem to have a preference for things beginning with ‘c’: cucumber, capsicum, celery, carrots and believe it or not, cabbage, I don’t know if this is coincidence or if the universe is trying to tell me something, I’m just going to roll with it and keep feeding it to them as, if there’s one thing I’ve learned with little bears, things change in the blink of an eye…

This sneaky sauce is based on a Tasty Junior recipe I saw one night and to be honest my initial thought was it would be most useful in upping the vege intake of hubby bear, but regardless of who needs to have the smuggled veg this is really tasty and super easy to use.  I just freeze it in 2 cup quantities and use instead of tinned tomatoes and tomato paste in everything from nachos to curry to spaghetti bolognaise.  I see no reason why you couldn’t also use it on a pizza base or even on sausages though I haven’t tried it like that myself.  Give it a go and let me know how it works!

 

INGREDIENTS

4 large carrots, diced

4 large celery ribs (leaves included), diced

1 large red/yellow/orange capsicum (bell pepper), diced

2 large onions, diced

2 large garlic cloves, diced

2 x 400g tins of tomatoes in juice

280g tomato paste

2 Cups of bone broth

1 heaped teaspoon of salt

Grind of black pepper

1 heaped teaspoon of dried oregano

1 heaped teaspoon of dried basil

1 heaped teaspoon of ground paprika

1 tablespoon coconut oil

 

DIRECTIONS

Sauté the carrots in the coconut oil in a large heavy based pan over a medium heat until they start to caramelise.  It’s really worth doing this slowly and not over a high heat as this is what dials up the natural sugars in the veges.  Once the carrots have started to brown and soften add in the onions and the garlic and continue to sauté for a few more minutes then add in the capsicum and celery and sauté for another few minutes.

 

Transfer your veges to your slow cooker and add in the rest of the ingredients, top up with water to fully cover your veges if you need to, then pop on the lid and leave it on low for ~8 hours or high for ~4.  I lurve things that just take care of themselves!!

 

Once you’re ready to get hands on with your sauce again, let it cool completely and then blitz till smooth.  I use a stick immersion blender and you would never know what the component parts of the dish were… sneaky 🙂

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BEETROOT & QUINOA SALAD

beetroot & quinoa salad

This is super simple, but super tasty.  Totally my kind of recipe!

We had a shared lunch at work today and this was my contribution.  Happy to say it went down rather well indeed.

INGREDIENTS

1 Cup uncooked quinoa

1 large or 2 small beetroots

2 large carrots

1 large handful of flat leafed parsley

½ Cup of toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds (mixed)

200g feta, I like goat or buffalo feta

4 Tbs olive oil

2 Tbs balsamic vinegar

1 Tbs maple syrup

 

DIRECTIONS

Cook the quinoa in water until the grains are no longer chalky and the water has evaporated.  Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

Finely shred the beetroot and carrot (my food processor does this, hallelujah!) and transfer to a large bowl along with the cooled quinoa, chopped parsley and crumbled feta.

Mix the oil, vinegar and maple syrup together and pour over the top, then give it a good mixing to coat everything in dressing.

Scatter over the toasted seeds and tuck in!!

Waldorf-ish Salad for One

waldorf salad

I suspect it’s a pregnancy thing, but I really, really like celery at the moment, I mean really like it.  To the extent that the following salad is my go to lunch every weekday.  Now I’m back to eating again I find myself craving after fresh, clean, slightly sweet, crunchy stuff and it certainly fits the bill.  It’s super easy and quick to throw together, just add a couple of crunchy seedy crackers (Little Bird Flax & Almond are my favourite at the moment) and you’re sorted!

INGREDIENTS

2 ribs of celery, roughly chopped

½ an apple, cored and diced

Small handful of walnuts

¼ ripe, but firmish avocado, diced

Optional, depending on how strictly Paleo you are, small cube of tasty cheese cut into slivers

Also optional if you’re not pregnant and raw eggs aren’t a ticking bomb, teaspoon of mayonnaise

DIRECTIONS

OK, now this is the hard bit, combine everything in a bowl and toss gently to mix.  Whew!  We made it, I knew you could do it!

News Flash!

OK, so it’s been over a month since my last post, ‘Where is Mama Bear’s commitment to her blog?!’ we cry.  Such tardiness is really not on.  You may well have thought I’d dropped off the face of the internet and you wouldn’t have been far wrong, I’ve pretty much dropped off the face of anything recognizable as usual human life however I have a very good/unpleasant reason for this.  Drum roll please…

I’m pregnant, yep, baby bear numero dos is on board.  Very exciting!  But I’m also suffering from Hyperemesis gravidarum.  Very awful!  So, I’m not cooking anything at the moment and until the thought, let alone the smell, of most of your basic food groups no longer makes me spontaneously retch I’m going to be an extremely useless food blogger because I’m pretty sure no one wants the recipes for my current diet of IV fluids and anti-emetics, oh yeah it’s that awesome.

However if it’s like my last pregnancy, and trust me I’m praying it is, I should be back to my usual rambunctious and comestibly (possibly not really a word, but suits my purpose) adventurous self in approx. 3 weeks.  I am counting down the days, no make that minutes till it happens.  Stay posted!

Baby Bear finds out she’s going to be a big sister:

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ZUCCHINI FRITTERS

zucchini fritters

Last weekend’s delivery from Grandma’s garden was baby golden zucchini.  Gorgeously fresh, having been picked from the garden not 30 mins prior, it was calling out for something simple to celebrate.  Bring on some fritters!

I get 4 fritters out of the below ingredients which is enough for myself and Baby Bear for lunch with a little salad on the side as Hubby does not partake of these particular little morsels, more fool him I say!

INGREDIENTS

1 small or ½ medium zucchini, grated and squeezed of excess moisture

2 eggs

1 scant Tablespoon of tapioca flour

Big pinch of salt and grind of pepper

Knob of coconut oil for frying

DIRECTIONS

Mix everything together except the coconut oil and stand while you get your pan ready to thicken slightly.

Heat a heavy based fry pan over a medium heat and when pan is hot add the coconut oil.  (You need the oil to be hot before you add the fritter mixture so it starts cooking straight away allowing it to get golden and crisp.  If you add the mixture to the pan before it reaches temperature the batter will start to absorb the oil and be flaccid and, let’s face it, a bit yuck.)  Let the oil melt completely and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.

Ladle in ¼ Cup measures of the fritter mixture and cook until you start to see little bubbles appearing in the top of the fritter dollops.  Check carefully to ensure the bottoms are golden brown then flip and cook the other side, till you’re golden brown top and bottom.

Then plate up and enjoy straight away!  I like to have mine with pesto, baby Bear likes to have hers with tomato sauce, each to their own 🙂

PALEO COCONUT YOGHURT

yoghurt

I really miss yoghurt.  Hubby Bear and I have always been fans of tangy, creamy, yoghurty goodness, but we thought that was off the cards once we’d started down the Paleo path.   Then I got the ‘Going Coconuts’ recipe book by Brynley King which includes, among many other wonderful looking things that I’m dying to try, a recipe for making yoghurt with nothing but coconut milk and pro-biotic capsules.

“Say no more Ms King, you had me at yoghurt!” I cried scrabbling into the kitchen to sterilize a large glass jar with boiling water.

I must actually admit to being a bit apprehensive about making the yoghurt as I did once attempt the alchemy with ordinary cow’s milk and yoghurt starter and quite frankly it was a disaster we can quickly draw a curtain over.  However my first foray into coconut yoghurt was pleasantly straightforward.  Maybe I was aided by the fact that the weather was so warm over the weekend or maybe the yoghurt gods were smiling down on me whatever it was making this stuff was a breeze.

INGREDIENTS

3 Cups of coconut milk (full fat)

2 pro-biotic capsules – I used, as Brynley suggested, the Inner Health Plus capsules

1 large glass jar with lid

DIRECTIONS

Sterilize your glass jar and lid, cup measure and whisk (I did this by pouring boiling water all over them).  Measure the coconut milk into the jar, break open the capsules and tip the contents into the milk.  Whisk together the coconut milk and pro-biotics put on the lid and leave to do its crazy yoghurt thing in a warm place for 10 – 12 hours.  I’m not kidding when I say our house is hot at the moment, we’re talking 28 C, so I just left the jar in Hubby Bear’s office where I knew little Baby Bear’s paws wouldn’t be able to nab it.

Once it’s sat in a warm place put it into the fridge for another 12 hours before sampling.  It will thicken up a bit more with standing.