Tahini Banana Bread (vegan, flour-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free)

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“Mmmm.”

“It’s…different. The banana really comes through.”

Egg-free coconut flour recipes are a challenge! This is one of the few that works.

2 large bananas (the browner, the better)
½ cup tahini
⅓ cup maple syrup
⅓ cup coconut flour
¼ teaspoon ground vanilla bean
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 bar (250 grams) very dark chocolate, chopped (optional but recommended!)
Optional: other add-ins such as chopped walnuts, pecans, or dates

  1. Blend everything.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 30 minutes, or until browned on top.

Special thanks to anonymous Banana Bread demonstrator!

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Almost Paleo Chocolate Cake

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Adapted from the Paleo Chocolate Cake recipe at MyHeartBeets (excellent website!).

Tastes better than the “real thing”!

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Cake:

  • 1 cup almond flour or ground almonds
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 eggs
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped 90% dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Chocolate filling:

  • 1/2 bar 90% dark chocolate
  • coconut oil and coconut sugar (or sweetener to taste)
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup

Sugar-free buttercream frosting:

  • 100 g Swerve icing sugar (erythritol/stevia-based powdered sugar substitute, recently arrived in the UK!)
  • 50 g butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp. milk
  • small splash of Sainsbury’s “valencia orange extract” (in the baking section, optional), or similar flavouring if desired)

Sprinkles:

  • Non-paleo, store-bought sprinkles (however, there is a recipe for healthier homemade sprinkles at the ChocolateCoveredKatie website)

Cake:

  1. Mix ingredients (except for chopped chocolate) well, adding eggs last.
  2. Stir in the chopped chocolate.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes. (I used a large rectangular pan, and then cut it once horizontally, and once through the middle to make the layers. It held up to being cut well.)

Chocolate filling:

  1. Melt chocolate. Add maple syrup.
  2. Stir in coconut oil and coconut sugar or sweetener to taste, depending on how intense of a chocolate flavour you want – many people find 90% chocolate too strong. I would say I used about 2 tablespooons of coconut oil and about 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar.
  3. Spread between layers of cooled cake and, if desired, on top (beneath the frosting).

(Note that the cake at MyHeartBeets called for 10 oz of chocolate to make a chocolate ganache, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to invest more than half a pound of chocolate in frosting. I’m sure it’s good, however!)

Sugar-free buttercream frosting

  1. Mix everything with a fork or hand mixer until well blended.
  2. Spread on cooled cake.

Enjoy!

Amazing Apricot-Pistachio Cake – gluten-free, (optionally) sugar-free

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Amazing flavour far beyond that of an ‘ordinary’ cake! Moist and delicious.

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1 cup finely ground almonds
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 cup coconut sugar, sugar substitute, or regular sugar (or a blend of them)
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup fruit-sweetened (or sugar-free) apricot jam
7 eggs
Extra apricot jam for garnish
Ground pistachios for garnish

For people accustomed to ‘regular’ desserts, this cake can be made with regular sugar; however, in that case, a blend of regular sugar and coconut sugar is recommended to deepen the flavour.

The apricot-pistachio flavour was inspired by Persian pastries with apricot filling and pistachios.

1. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, and add in the wet ingredients. (This can be done by hand.)
2. Pour into a square baking pan. Bake at 350 F/180 C for 40-50 minutes, or until done.
3. When cool, spread remaining apricot jam on top of cake and sprinkle with pistachios.

Based on the low carb marmalade cake at http://buttoni.wordpress.com/2011/09/13/marmalade-cake/ (an excellent site for low carb recipes).

Photo taken by the founder of Recitries!

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new year’s plan & amazing paleo butternut squash sushi – with or without rice

Hello all,

It’s been a while, I know (sorry). That annoying thing called life snuck up and bombarded me with lots of things and I’ve been struggling to catch up. There have been a few recipe triumphs in that time (and a few disasters, but we don’t count those) which I’ve forgotten almost as soon as the dishes were washed- but this one I just couldn’t let go without a post.

But before that! As part of all this “new year new me” whatever I decided to do something I’ve been aiming at (and failing in) for a long time- cut out refined carbs. I love them, but alas it’s one sided as they play havoc with my health, hormones, weight, lots of things. Coming from a middle eastern background as I do I’ve always failed at avoiding them because seriously, all we eat is rice and bread, and I was raised in the UK so I quite like potatoes too. For the first time I came up with some acceptable substitutes for those, unlike the disgusting, unconvincing or incredibly time consuming ones I’d tried before. I’m going to assume you’re interested, if not skip to the food bit below.  Here they are.

1. Rice: substitute with cooked lentils. In the case of a stew, use the liquid to cook the lentils like a one-pot meal. This is so much less time consuming and much more palatable than that God-awful cauliflower rice everyone rants about (barf, seriously) which is so messy to make and time consuming to squeeze out and fry it dry enough not to taste vile. I really don’t know or care much if they class as legumes and aren’t paleo, that’s not why I’m making the switch.

2. Potatoes: use butternut squash, on the odd occasion we might want one.

3. my personal favourite- Bread: use hand-cooked potato crisps. I know I just said I won’t be using potatoes but I don’t care- this is important. Bread and pastry is a serious and harmful addiction for me, if a 25g bag of potato chips can give me something easy, fast and that I actually like to dip in my guacamole or use as a base for toppings instead of crackers, sandwiches or wraps then so be it. Otherwise I’ll be back to my 3 croissant a day habit and toasted white bread sandwiches on the side.  Bad.  Very bad.

So far these switches have been easy and taste good enough to be sustainable, almost a month in. That’s all I need right now. 8 weeks in and we’ll see if I’m ready to change a bit more.

So, the sushi.

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I was going to make some, but didn’t want to use rice. I googled paleo sushi and saw lots of suggestions to use cauliflower (what the hell is wrong with those people, yuk) or avocado, which I felt would be too rich to use in that quantity. I compromised and did two things: made some with a very thin layer of rice and lots of fillings, and used roasted butternut squash instead of rice in the others. And OMG that butternut squash was AMAAAAZZZINNGGGGG…. I actually preferred it to the rice, so did my other half. It’s subtle sweetness matches the flavour from the sushi zu (vinegar & sugar seasoning to the rest of us), you could add a little vinegar if you wanted but I felt it was delicious without. Just scoop out the soft roasted (cooled) flesh of a butternut squash, press it on to the nori (seaweed) as you would the rice, roll then enjoy.

Here are the other fillings we used, in no particular order and various combinations:

Japanese style omelette (add a little soy sauce and sugar or sweetener of choice before frying)
finely sliced red onion
baby kale leaves
fine strips of carrot
thinly sliced green apple
sliced sweet pointed red peppers
tuna flakes
mascarpone cheese
strips of emmental cheese
more roasted butternut squash as a filling

we might have used avocado and smoked salmon if we had any. Either way, still yum.

Everybody loved the squash sushi, even the skeptics. I’ll definitely, definitely be making this again.

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Roasted Eggplant (Aubergine) Salad

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The best way to get the best flavour out of an eggplant is to roast it!

  • 2 medium or 3 small eggplants (aubergines)
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 24 cherry tomatoes, chopped into fourths
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/8 cup vinegar (preferably balsamic)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional garnishes: walnuts, feta cheese, dried mint or oregano

Pre-preparation:

1. If you plan to be around other human beings in the near future, marinate the chopped onion in a mixture of salt, vinegar, and water for a couple hours. This will calm down the onion flavour and also infuse it with a gentle flavour, rendering it Socially Acceptable. If not, don’t worry about it!

2. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the eggplant whole and unpeeled in the oven and roast uncovered it for an hour, or until the peel is burnt and wrinkly, and the inside is tender. You may want to turn it occasionally. (Note: It should look burnt but not smell burnt; if it smells burnt, it’s overcooked!)

3. After the eggplant cools slightly, peel it and discard the peel. Then, chop the eggplant into bite-size pieces. Place it in a colander and allow it to drain for an hour .

Preparation:

1. Toss ingredients in an aesthetically pleasing bowl. Adjust the seasoning as desired.

2. Top with garnishes, if desired.

Don’t worry too much about the proportions – salad is forgiving!

Wholesome living tip: Eggplants, tomatoes, and bell peppers are all nightshade vegetables, which means that some people may experience pain or inflammation with excess consumption. If you feel this might be you, or if you suffer from chronic pain, don’t eat these vegetables every day!

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Welcome to our new author, Amina :)

Amina was the first person I know who put pictures and recipes of her adventures in food up on the Internet for her friends to share… She was also the person who introduced me to the possibilities of low carb & low sugar baking – something I would have believed impossible otherwise. I still remember the delicious apricot and almond slice I had the pleasure of trying once, when she made the long journey from her home to mine 🙂 to me she will always be the undisputed Queen of healthy dessert and the only justification I need to have cake for breakfast… We’re so grateful to her for agreeing to be part of this blog and look forward to trying some more of her amazing recipes.  Thanks Amina 🙂 and welcome! ❤