BACON, GREENS AND MUSHROOM FRITTATA

frittata

You know how some nights you get home and you just want dinner to be sorted?  The house looks like a whirlwind has been through it, you’ve got loads of washing to put through, Baby Bear wants you to read ‘Munch Crunch What’s For Lunch’ for the thousandth time (no? is that one just me?) and you just want to do things as quickly as you can.

Well drum roll please for my go to easy to do, the frittata!  Veges, bacon and eggs, it’s got all the essentials in it and most of the time is spent just leaving it to do it’s thing in the oven, got to love it.

Apart from the bacon, eggs, milk, salt and pepper, you can pretty much add in whatever.  It’s one of those awesome ‘use up what you’ve got’ dishes that always seem to turn out great.  This is also great with any roasted pumpkin, kumara (sweet potato), yams or beetroot you might have left over.  Go wild, I dare you 😉

INGREDIENTS

5 large eggs, please make them free range if you can, you will definitely see/taste the difference

½ Cup of almond milk

Good pinch of salt and grinding of black pepper

1 Cup sliced button mushrooms

2 Cups shredded greens, we used baby kale and cavolo nero for this one because that’s what we’ve got in the garden at the moment, but it’s also great with broccoli, silverbeet etc.

150 – 200g diced shoulder bacon, again please make this free range if you can, piggies who aren’t free range farmed have a horrible, horrible life and you don’t want to be putting the end product of that into your body

DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat your oven to 180 C.

Sauté your bacon, greens and mushrooms in a heavy based pan over a medium heat, keeping it moving so it doesn’t catch anywhere.  There’s really no need to add anything to the pan for this as you get some fat rendering from the bacon and there’s plenty of moisture in the greens and mushrooms.  Once your bacon is just cooked through, your greens are wilted and mushrooms softened, transfer to your baking dish.  I use a silicone cake pan as it cooks well and is super easy to get out, but you can really use whatever you want, just remember the deeper the mixture in the dish, the longer it will take to cook right through.

Next comes your eggy mix.  Combine your eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a bowl or wide jug and beat well to combine.  Tip evenly over the veges and bacon in the pan and give a gently jiggle to distribute everything.  Then pop into the oven to cook for approx. 20 minutes.  However, as mentioned, time to cook will depend on the depth of your mixture in the pan.  You really don’t want to overcook this, so do keep an eye on it.  It’s done when the top is golden and there’s no wibble wobble if you shake the pan.

We had this with a super simple avocado and capsicum salad last night, as Baby Bear number 1 would say “tasty!”

frittata 2

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.

MOSTLY PALEO SAVOURY QUICK BREAD

quick bread

I have been lusting after cheese scones for a while now and this is the best I have come up with to sate the cravings so far…

I don’t usually have cheese and I think you could definitely leave it out here if it doesn’t fit with the way you eat, but I really felt like it!

I’m quite lucky in that my mother has a bumper crop of zucchinis at the moment so that’s what I put in, but I think you could happily add whatever veges you wanted to put in; some chopped spinach or silverbeet, some sautéed mushrooms, some semi dried tomatoes…

INGREDIENTS

1 ½ Cups almond meal

¾ Cup of tapioca flour

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking soda

5 eggs

1 ½ tsps. Cider vinegar

½ Cup grated zucchini

½ Cup grated sheeps milk parmesan

Handful of pumpkin and sunflower seeds for scattering over the top (optional, but nice)

DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat your over to 180 C.

Grease and line a loaf tin with coconut oil and baking paper.

Put all your dry ingredients together in one bowl and in a separate container (I use a large jug, perfect for pouring) mix together all your remaining ingredients, except the seeds.  Beat well to combine and then pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients.  Mix together until just completely combined and then tip into your loaf tin.  Sprinkle the seeds evenly over the top and then put in the oven to bake for ~35 mins or until golden brown on top and a skewer comes out clean.

Remove from the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack so the steam doesn’t make it soggy.  Eat within a couple of days or slice and freeze.

PALEO SUMMER SMOOTHIE

summer smoothie

I’m pretty passionate about eating seasonally and I also really like the idea of making the most of functional foods.  Everything in my smoothie below has some kind of great benefit for your body.

Bananas and plums are a great source of potassium.  Blueberries contain antioxidant properties.  Turmeric is anti-inflammatory.  Protein is important for body repair, energy and satiety.  Green stuff is just generally great for you.  Yoghurt provides you with beneficial bacteria for good gut health.  Cinnamon helps stabiles blood sugars. Brazil nuts provide selenium which is helpful for balancing mood and water hydrates.  Plus when you put them all together it tastes pretty delish.

I don’t like my smoothies too cold or too thick, the complete opposite of hubby bear, so I use fresh fruit in my smoothies, however if, like hubby bear, you like your smoothies thick and cold, just pop your banana and blueberries in the freezer the night before you want to make your smoothie and you’ll be good to go in the morning 🙂

INGREDIENTS

½ banana

½ Cup blueberries

1 plum

Handful of fresh turmeric

2 scoops protein powder (I use Clean Lean Protein)

1 scoop green stuff (I use Good Green Stuff) – this is optional and you could put in a handful of kale or other greens, but I like the taste of the Good Green Stuff

1 dst sp of coconut yoghurt (I am currently using Coyo passion fruit flavour, but this weekend I want to have a crack at making my own, watch this space!!)

½ tsp ground cinnamon

2 Brazil nuts

½ – 1 Cup water depending on how thick you like your smoothie

DIRECTIONS

Put everything into your blender and blitz!  Don’t you just love two step recipes?! 🙂

PALEO BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

blueberry muffin

Blueberry muffins are such a ubiquitous comestible that I feel like my cooking repertoire is incomplete without having a go to paleo version for those times when only a blueberry muffin will do.  You know the ones.

We’re very fortunate to be in the midst of blueberry season here and what better time to experiment with blueberry muffin recipes than when you can get punnets and punnets of them nice and cheap!

INGREDIENTS

½ Cup blueberries

3 eggs

2 Tbsps melted coconut oil

½ Cup coconut milk

1/3 Cup + 2 Tbsps coconut flour

2 Tbsps of maple syrup or coconut sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract

1/8 tsp baking soda

DIRECTIONS

Preheat your oven to 180 C.

Add all your dry ingredients to a large bowl.  Whisk together your wet ingredients in a separate bowl then pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients fold loosely together, then drop in the blueberries and gently mix together to distribute.  Line your muffin tray with patty cases and scoop your muffin mixture into each one.  Bake for 30 – 35 mins until they’re golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Store in the fridge if not using straight away.

blueberry muffin 2

Paleo Caramely Chocolatey Fudgy Thing

choc fudge slice

Inspiration for this recipe came very heavily from something I found on line and I would love to be able to credit where I found it, but I can’t remember!  I have made my own amends, but thank you to whoever pioneered the original recipe 🙂

INGREDIENTS

Caramely Fudgy Layer

1 C cashews, soaked overnight in the fridge in cold water or in hot water for 10 minutes

6 soft, squidgey Medjool dates, pitted

2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

1 tsp raw cacao powder

1 tsp vanilla extract or essence

Pinch of salt

4 Tbsp almond meal

Chocolatey layer

¼ C coconut oil

2 Tbsp. cacao powder

1 Tbsp. real pure maple syrup

2 Tbsp coconut milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Place cashews, dates, coconut oil, raw cacao, vanilla and salt in a food processor fitted with a ‘S’ blade. Process for 3-4 minutes, scraping the sides as you go along, until the mixture is smooth and sticky

Scoop the fudge mixture out into a square or rectangular tin lined with baking paper recommend you do the sides as well as the bottom. Flatten and smooth the top with a spatula and place the tin in the fridge while you make the chocolate layer.

To make the chocolate layer, gently warm the coconut oil, maple syrup, coconut milk, cacao powder and vanilla in a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of warm water until the coconut oil softens and you can whisk the ingredients together in a smooth chocolatey cream.

Take the tin out of the fridge and spread the chocolate over the top of the fudge, smoothing the surface with a spatula. Put back in the fridge for 2-3 hours to firm up and then away you go!

Paleo Picnic Chicken

picnic chicken

From where we live, if the wind is blowing in the right direction, the aroma of KFC wafts over from the restaurant a block away (if the wind is blowing in the other direction you can hear the cows from the park which is preferable, though thankfully you can’t smell the cows…).   Now there is nothing I can think of that would induce me to buy KFC, but it sure does smell good.

As I’ve mentioned we’re enjoying a stunning summer here in this part of the world and living next to a beautiful park as we do, meals not eaten as picnics are wasted opportunities.  Solution; Paleo Picnic Chicken!  I’m pretty sure that chickens aren’t constructed the way they are for the sole purpose that chicken legs make the perfect picnic comestible, but it has worked out nicely that way.

Whenever I bake chicken or pork chops I brine them before hand for at least an hour in the fridge (preferably overnight) as it really makes a difference in keeping them moist and not letting them dry out during cooking, but if you don’t want to do this step don’t worry about it.

Now it’s just Baby Bear and me at the moment as Hubby Bear is away, so quants below are adjusted down from what I’d normally cook to cover dinner and then lunch for the whole family.  This is probably the smallest amount of the seasoning I would make but feel free to scale as you feel would suit your needs.

INGREDIENTS

4 chicken legs (drumstick part not thigh) with skin on and brined in enough water to completely cover them and in which you’ve dissolved a Tablespoon of salt.  Take them out of the brine and pat them dry with kitchen towels just before you season

¼ Cup of coconut flour

½ tsp of salt

1 tsp of Dijon mustard

1 tsp of paprika

½ tsp of seasame oil

Optional – 1 Tbs coconut oil for the pan

DIRECTIONS

Pre heat the oven to 180 C.

Mix all ingredients baring the chicken in a wide shallow dish until completely combined.  Roll the chicken in the seasoning pressing in gently to ensure they’re all evenly and totally coated.

Add the coconut oil to the roasting dish and put into the oven to melt and for the dish to warm up.  When the dish is warm and the oil is liquid take out of the oven and place the chicken legs in ensuring you have sufficient space between them to allow even cooking.

Bake until cooked through (approx. 50 minutes), browned, crispy and delicious.

We had these with a big green salad and some parsley, mint and oregano aioli, in the park, with the cows.  Unfortunately at that distance you can smell the cows…

Mango Blueberry Paleo Ice cream

014

This is one of those wondrous spur of the moment concoctions that had no prior thought put into it at all, but serendipity arranged matters and there’s no arguing with serendipity.

Baby bear and I were grocery shopping yesterday when I saw a mango of such superlative ripeness that I could not possibly leave it behind.  So we left the shop with everything on the shopping list plus the perfect mango.

Half of the mango was devoured in a salad with fresh blueberries tossed with a squeeze of fresh lime juice and shards of chocolate protein balls – divine.  But with half the mango left and temperatures still regularly raising a wee shine on the forehead trusty Mr Snowy the ice cream maker was begging to be put to good use and so this morning Baby Bear and I made ice cream!

INGREDIENTS

1 Can coconut cream

1 ¼ C fresh diced mango

½ C blueberries

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

1 dessert spoon of maple syrup

DIRECTIONS

Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor fitted with an ‘S’ blade (I used my beloved stick blender) and puree until smooth.  Pour into your ice cream maker and churn as per manufacturer’s instructions.  If you don’t have an ice cream maker I would pour into a freezer proof container and let freeze almost all the way through before taking out and blitzing in the food processor or blender again and then re-freezing.  Do that around 3 times and it should create a reasonably aerated mixture.

Enjoy 🙂

Paleo Bagels

bagel

Season’s greetings everyone!  I hope you all had a safe and happy time with your loved ones.

Apologies for being silent for so long, the Bear family traditionally escapes after Christmas Day to a wee beach on the East Coast for some serious relaxing time.  It’s a stunningly beautiful place but there’s definitely no internet (I count myself lucky there is running water and electricity!) so we read lots of books (I can now recite Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack by heart) and went for lots of walks.  Hubby Bear didn’t wear a shirt for the entire holiday and spent lots of time out the back mowing the lawn, grilling meat over flames and growling happily to himself.  Baby Bear ate lots of sand and wore no clothes at all while I rediscovered the delicious joy of naps on sultry afternoons and continued to wear clothes, technically.  This might be a bit of a Kiwi joke, but ‘togs, togs, undies’ doesn’t apply when you’re at the beach all the time!!  For those of you who have no idea what I’m going on about, check it out here, you’ll be richer for the experience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-Lx2ihpGbc

Well the other tradition we have is bagels for breakfast with my family on Christmas day with salmon, capers, red onions, tomato and avocado.  The following is an attempt to Paleofy that tradition.  Give it a go!  (Eating them for breakfast with my family is totally optional unless you like that sort of thing, in which case more power to you but I should warn you my sister has been known to bite during discussions over who gets the last of the smoked salmon.)

INGREDIENTS

½ C tepid water

½ tsp sea salt

4 T melted coconut oil

1 ¼ C tapioca or arrowroot flour

1 egg

¼ C + 2 T coconut flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp organic poppy seeds

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 180 C.

Combine the water, salt and coconut oil in a medium bowl, then slowly whisk in the tapioca flour. Next add the egg and combine well. Now add the remaining ingredients and let it sit for 3-5 minutes to firm up a bit.

Roll the dough into 4 standard or 8 mini sized balls. Press your finger in the middle and shape into a bagel shape.

Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 18 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!!

bagel 2