Paleo Fruit Jellies

fruit jellies

Well, it’s getting close to ‘B’ (Brand new baby) Day now.  I started my mat leave this week and I now have a massive pot of mince blipping away on the stove to be portioned up and popped in the freezer, many, many tiny pink things drying in between rain showers outside (Spring time babies and washing, not a great combo) and several last minute and probably unnecessary online baby gear purchases winging their way towards me.

Little Bear is starting to get more and more interested and now frequently pats my tummy and tells me that she “loves baby sister”.   I am somewhat encouraged by this, but less encouraged by the fact she has also informed me she doesn’t want her toys anymore, “want baby sister’s toys now”.

I guess we’re not going to get away without some level of jealousy/adjustment and my mother-in-law has warned me I need to be particularly vigilant about Little Bear trying to sit on her baby sister. (Seriously?  Sit on her?)  Knowing Little Bear as I do I suspect we’re going to have to be more vigilant about her trying to incorporate Baby sister into her games of gymnastics (No!  Baby sister does not want to jump off the back of the couch onto the cushions!) or feeding her culinary creations largely concocted of dirt, leaves and some water she found at the bottom of a disused plant pot (mmmm, delicious darling!).

Whatever happens I guess it’s going to be another crazy adventure in the Bear Family and I keep reminding myself to enjoy this time where it’s just Little Bear and I and no one is projectile vomiting milk across the room or doing poo-namis in their nappies.  So on Monday we made these.  They are based on Pete Evans fruit jellies from his book, Healthy Every Day.  I’ve tried a couple of recipes before for making fruit jellies and this is the best I’ve come across.

Little Bear’s been a bit snotty lately so we made lemon & honey jellies, but you could make with any kind of fresh fruit juice, just adjust the level of honey based on the sweetness of the fruit you’re using.

INGREDIENTS

1/3 Cup fresh fruit juice

1 – 3 Tablespoons of honey

1 ½ Tablespoons of powdered gelatine

DIRECTIONS

Put the juice, honey and gelatine in a small saucepan and stir until the gelatine is incorporated.  Leave to sit and absorb for 5 mins.

Gently heat, stirring constantly, for approx another 5 minutes or until the honey and the gelatine is completely dissolved.  Do not let it come to the boil.  Pour the mixture into your mould (we used a silicone chocolate mould, but you could just as easily use an ice cube tray) straight away then transfer to the freezer to set for 15 mins.  They’ll keep happily in the fridge for a week.

Little Bear’s Grain Free Granola

granola

Things are starting to get more interesting when little Bear helps in the kitchen now.  She’s definitely discovering her confidence and it’s really becoming more of a case of me helping her rather than the other way around, sometimes this works out well, other times, not so much.  I like to think the below recipe was a joint effort, she’d probably disagree, either way it’s a winner with both of us.

INGREDIENTS

½ Cup sunflower seeds

½ Cup pumpkin seeds

½ Cup coconut, desiccated, shredded, however you like it, we used desiccated

¼ Cup chia seeds

¼ Cup linseeds

¼ Cup roughly chopped walnuts

¼ Cup roughly chopped brazil nuts

¼ Cup unsweetened apple puree

1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

Optional:

¼ Cup washed and dried sultanas

¼ Cup washed, dried and diced apricots

¼ Cup washed, dried and diced figs

¼ Cup cacao nibs

DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat your oven to 150 C on bake or fan bake.

Gently mix together all ingredients, except the optional ones if you’re using them, until well combined.  The apple puree helps it all become crisp and make little clusters so try and get that over everything if you can.  Once it’s all well combined, spread it out thinly and evenly over a large baking dish and bake for ~30 mins gently stirring and turn every 10 mins or so.

Let it cool completely and then stir in any optional extras you’re going to use.  Store in an air tight container.  Will keep nicely for a week.

We enjoy it with ½ a sliced banana and some almond & coconut milk.

Boiled Orange, Carrot & Almond Cake

boiled orange cake

This is a lovely dense, moist cake, with an amazingly vibrant orange flavour.  It does require a little pre-work but I promise you it is worth it.  Grandma Bear has lots of oranges on her trees at the moment and this is made with the small blood oranges which I don’t like eating fresh.

I tend to start this this day before making the orange puree and then leaving it in the fridge overnight, but whatever works for you.

If you can bear to leave it this is actually better the day after baking, but it’s still really good just cooled as well.

INGREDIENTS

350 – 375g orange puree

250g ground almond meal

150 – 175g grated carrots

Large handful of well washed and dried sultanas

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon of baking soda

50g coconut sugar

2 large eggs

DIRECTIONS

To make the orange puree, take approx. 4 small oranges (organic if you can get them because you’re going to be eating the skin) give them a cursory scrub and cover in a pot with cold water.  Bring them to the boil and then turn the heat down to keep them simmering for 2 hours.  Let them cool completely and then rip into chunks, removing any seeds you find on the way, and puree in your food processor or with a stick blender.

To make the cake, pre-heat the oven to 180 C on normal bake.

Combine the orange puree, eggs and sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.  Gently stir together all remaining ingredients into a big mixing bowl then add the orange, egg, sugar mix in to and stir until just completely combined.

Tip into a cake tin lined with baking paper, I use a 25cm round spring form tin, and bake for 1 hour.  Depending on your oven you may want to start checking the top after 45 mins or so to see if you need to cover with foil to stop the top burning.  Trust me the cake is so moist it will need the full hour of baking.  To test for done-ness stick a wooden skewer in the middle, it should come out reasonably cleanly with just a few moist crumbs sticking to it.  It if looks like it’s got cake batter on it, keep baking for a bit longer.  When cooked remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin before turning out.

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.