Sticky toffee pudding (Paleo, AIP, low FODMAP, dairy free, gluten free, egg free)
I thought I would attempt a sticky toffee pudding for my husbands birthday. I had visions of turning out a perfect sponge, dense enough to hold up to copious amounts of sweet rich toffee, interspersed with chewy crystallised 'dates'. I can only assume I was being guided by some kind of mystical culinary gods because against all odds, thats exactly what I made. When I took my first mouthful I was close to tears. It's probably been a good 6 years since i've eaten a sticky toffee pudding. Although AIP, low FODMAP, gluten and dairy free, this is decadent. Yes, it contains superfoods such as tigernuts and coconut oil, but this is definitely one to reserve for special occasions. I know its definitely on my Christmas baking list.
I used a 15 inch bundt tin, but you could make this in a standard cake tin or smaller pudding moulds. I was just trying to be fancy.
For the pudding
1 cup of arrowroot powder
2 cups of tigernut flour
1 teaspoon of vanilla powder (see below for AIP compliant version I use)
1 level teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
A pinch of salt
A dessert spoon of lemon juice
1/4 cup of melted coconut oil plus one tablespoon
1/4 cup of maple syrup
2 gelatin eggs
1 cup of tigernut milk
For the sticky toffee sauce
1/2 cup of maple syrup plus a tablespoon
1 and 1/2 cups of tigernut milk
A quarter cup of coconut oil
A pinch of salt
For the dates
If you are AIP only you will be able to add dates to the batter as you would a normal sticky toffee pudding. For this use 75g of chopped, pitted dates.
For a low FODMAP alternative you will need:
1 medium sweet potato peeled and diced into 1 cm thick discs (this is a low fodmap portion per slice - alternatively you could use a sweet squash)
2 dessert spoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees, 180 fan assisted
To make the low FODMAP 'dates'
Place your sweet potato discs onto an oven tray and drizzle with the maple syrup and coconut oil. Bake these in the centre of the oven for 35 minutes, turning frequently and ensuring the potatoes are coated in the oil and syrup. Once baked and caramelised remove from the oven and chop into small pieces - about 1/2 cm. Leave these to one side.
If you are using dates, place in a small saucepan over a medium/low heat. Cover with 75ml water and let the water come to a simmer. Cook until the dates are mushy and have absorbed all the water.
To make your sponge, sift all your dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and combine.
In a separate bowl add your lemon juice, coconut oil, maple syrup and milk.
In another bowl you need to make your gelatin eggs. Add 9 tablespoons of warm water and two tablespoons of gelatin powder (link below) Whisk immediately to ensure the gelatin does not clump together. Transfer the eggs to your wet ingredients and whisk thoroughly, incorporating all the liquids.
Gradually pour your wet ingredients in to the dry, gently folding the flour as you go. You should have a fairly thick pudding batter - not too runny, but not overly dense. Once you have fully combined all the sponge ingredients, stir through your dates or caramelised potatoes.
Spoon the batter into your cake tin and place this in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes until golden brown and firm to touch. The most important thing now is that you can scrape any remaining uncooked batter out of the bowl and lick the spoon like you did when you were a kid. It tastes EXACTLY the same.
While your pudding is cooking you can make your toffee sauce.
Add your coconut oil, maple syrup, salt and half a cup of tigernut milk to a medium saucepan and whisk together throughly. Turn the heat to medium low. The mixture will start to warm and thicken. Keep whisking frequently for 15 minutes until you have a reduced, rich bubbling thick caramel. At this point add in the rest of the tigernut milk and turn the heat up. You want to keep it bubbling and keep whisking until it reduces down and turns a rich toffee colour. This should take around about 8 more minutes.
Once your cake is cooked through, remove from the oven to serve immediately with the hot toffee sauce. Alternatively, you can let the cake cool in the pan to serve later. If using later, re-heat your sponge by wrapping it in foil and warming through in the oven for 12 minutes. You can always reheat the toffee sauce over the hob.
This pudding will keep for up to three days, but is best served warm.
Spanish lamb chops with patatas bravas and aioli (Paleo, AIP, low FODMAP, low histamine)
Spain is one of my very favourite places. Aside from the beautiful countryside and Mediterranean coastline, I find the people so warm and welcoming. I feel totally at home there and find eating out so much easier than I do in the UK. The restaurants are incredibly knowledgeable about coeliac disease and food intolerance and it's never any effort for them to adapt dishes. In the UK I often dine out in fear. If I request a meal to be adapted I am frequently met with a blank stare, the rolling eyes of disgust or am outright told they cannot accommodate me. I think I better move to Spain.
Part of the reason I feel other European countries can handle dietary requirements better than the UK is that the food is fresh and simple. They don't dress a dish up with a multitude of unnecessary ingredients in order to create flavour. They just prepare fresh produce and use simple herbs and seasonings to enhance its natural flavour.
Prior to my diagnosis I would adore sampling different tapas dishes - I couldn't get enough of the oily crispy textures of patatas bravas. In between courses I would devour slice after slice of bread smothered in aioli until I could barely breathe. Alas, those days are gone. With my potato and garlic consuming days nothing but a mere memory, I have recreated a couple of my favourite dishes and made them FODMAP friendly and AIP compliant. I have tried to capture the essence of the dishes as best I can and utilise simple ingredients full of natural flavour.
For the lamb
2 grass fed lamb chops (I buy all my grassfed meat from athleat - see below for a discount code!)
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
A pinch of himalayan salt or sea salt
For the patatas bravas
If you are low FODMAP and not AIP you can use 3 large potatoes peeled and diced into small cubes
For AIP use one whole swede, peeled and diced into small cubes
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil if you are feeling extra decadent
For the aioli
1 cup of drained canned artichokes
half a courgette
1/3 cup of garlic oil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
A generous pinch of salt
Place your lamb chops in a sealable container or dish. Add the olive oil, thyme, rosemary and salt and ensure that the chops are thoroughly coated in the seasonings. Cover tightly and transfer to the fridge to marinade for a minimum of one hour.
While the lamb is marinating, par boil your potatoes or swede over a medium heat until tender and soft around the edges. They are ready when you can easily pierce them with a knife. Drain them throughly.
Heat your coconut oil in a large frying pan over a medium/low heat. Once this is really hot add your swede or potatoes to the oil and let them fry. For an extra decadent oily, crispy texture add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Keep stirring to ensure they are coated in the oil and do not stick to the bottom of the pan. They should take about 20 minutes to fry over a medium/low heat.
While your potatoes are frying you can make your aioli by adding all the ingredients into your blender and blitzing thoroughly until you are left with a smooth, thick creamy sauce. You want this to be as thick as mayonnaise. Add more garlic oil to taste.
Remove your lamb chops from the fridge and heat a drizzle of olive oil in another frying pan over a medium heat. Once this is hot add your lamb chops and cook to your liking and brown on each side. I served mine pink in the middle, cooking for three minutes on each side.
Serve the lamb, patatas bravas and aioli with a fresh green salad or my mediterranean kale.
Mediterranean kale (AIP, Paleo, Low FODMAP)
Kale is a true super food hero. This nutritional powerhouse is packed with Vitamins A, K and C and loaded with essential minerals - calcium and iron. It also packs a hefty protein punch as well as being a good source of essential fatty acids.
This simple little recipe utilises this beautiful ingredient to create a refreshing side dish. The sharpness of the lemon with the kale makes it a great accompaniment to heavier meat dishes and works really well alongside my Spanish lamb and patatas bravas.
The juice of 1 whole lemon
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
A good pinch of himalayan or sea salt.
Add your kale to a pan of boiling water over a medium/low heat and cook until tender. You want to retain the vibrant green colour and not over cook this.
Once the leaves are tender transfer to a colander and drain off all excess water. Add your kale to a serving bowl with the olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Massage the seasoning and oil into the kale so the leaves take on all the flavour of the dressing.
The benefits of grass fed meat
I have to confess to being disgustingly ignorant to this subject when I first set out on my Paleo journey. I thought all meat was born equal, but was perhaps a bit more fancy if it came from Marks and Spencers. I was so so very wrong. My red meat intake was virtually non existent before I transitioned to a Paleo diet but it only took a few months to notice a vast improvement in my health once I started regularly consuming high quality meat. Aside from the fact that grass fed meat has a considerably better taste and texture, it also wipes the floor with conventional meat when it comes to nutritional value.
Grass fed animals are free to roam and graze, consuming from the land and eating a natural diet of grass and the occasional tasty insect. In being allowed to eat and live this way they are receiving a nutritionally balanced diet and are well cared for, which is apparent in the superior quality of the meat. Conventionally raised animals are fed an unnatural diet of grains devoid of vital nutrients. This is not only reflected in the health of the animal but also the poor the nutritional composition of the meat they produce. Conventionally raised meat is also treated with antibiotics and injected with hormones. I don't know about you but i'd rather pass on a dinner raging with hormones.
In comparison to conventionally raised grain fed meat, grass fed meat offers these nutritional benefits in significant quantities:
Considerably higher levels of Omega 3
Free from hormones
Considerably higher levels of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). CLA is a powerful antioxidant shown to exhibit cancer fighting properties.
Greater levels of vitamins and essential minerals. Grass fed meat contains much higher levels of vitamin E, vitamin C, beta carotene, potassium, calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium.
Organic or grass fed?
It is also worth noting that buying organic meat is not the same as grass fed. This was something else that I was blissfully ignorant to when I started out on my Paleo diet. If meat is labelled organic, that does not mean that it is free to roam and forage, it may simply mean it is fed a diet of organic grains. We are then left with 'organic' meat devoid of nutrients.
Where do I buy my grass fed meat?
Firstly do not be put off looking into grass fed meat by the cost. Yes, it can be more expensive but like a good pair of shoes, you get what you pay for. Better taste, better quality, higher animal welfare and richer nutritional content.
I buy all my meat from athleat, a company that truly understands the importance of high quality meat and the contribution diet makes to health. They are incredibly knowledgable and their customer service is excellent. The company is based in Glasgow and deliver throughout the UK and even to Europe.
The price for the quality is fantastic, and if you order on repeat you will get a discounted rate. If you become a regular customer you will find that you may not be paying much more than you would for supermarket meat, in fact in some cases it may even be less. I assure you its worth every penny - you can't put a price on your health after all.
The lovely people at Athleat have kindly allowed me to share a discount with you also, so as a new customer you will receive £10 off your first order over £50 (see link below).
I highly recommend checking them out - you really will notice a huge difference in flavour and quality.
The gut healing benefits of gelatin
If you are embarking on a Paleo diet and looking to improve your digestive health, you will no doubt have found gelatin and bone broth to be a recurring theme.
Lets get the ugly bit out the way first. Gelatin is a fine powder formed from the dehydrated skin, bone and tissue of animals. Now let's move on swiftly........as unappealing as this may sound, gelatin's health benefits are not to be sniffed at. It's powerful soothing and healing properties can help form a strong foundation from which to re-build your digestive health and support the healing of autoimmune conditions. You can use the powdered variety of gelatin throughout your cooking to thicken sauces, set desserts and make gummies (recipe below). Alternatively you can get your gelatin quota from bone broth. The gelatin is extracted during the long, slow cooking process that breaks down the bones and cartilage.
What are the benefits?
Digestion - The amino acid content assists in repairing a leaky gut by soothing inflammation and restoring a healthy mucosal lining. It enhances the production of gastric acid secretions which support the healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients. Gelatin also draws water into the digestive tract promoting better intestinal transit.
Joint health - Gelatin can reduce symptoms caused by arthritis and osteoporosis. It's anti-inflammatory properties reduce bone and joint pain and support the growth of strong bones.
Skin - Gelatin provides amino acids vital to the production of collagen. Collagen is integral in giving your skin a youthful, healthy glow and for preventing the much loathed cellulite. It can even help reduce wrinkles and protect the skin from UV damage.
Sleep - Gelatin is a rich source of glycine, known to contribute to improved sleep quality and anxiety management. Consuming gelatin to improve sleep is a gentle alternative to over the counter medications that come with additional side effects.
What type do I buy?
Making your own bone broth is undoubtedly one of the best ways to get gelatin in your diet. You can have it in place of tea as a warm drink and to form the base of soups and stews. If you are histamine intolerant however I urge caution with bone broth. Firstly the slow cooking process will elevate the histamine content as will the acidity of the vinegar used to break down the bones.
If you are squeamish about boiling bones or simply crave a gelatin quick fix, then buying a powdered form to add to gummies and desserts is the perfect gut healing solution. I highly reconmend Great lakes gelatin (see the link below). Great Lakes Gelatin is grass fed and from humanely raised animals and contains no additional nasties - this is not like the gelatin you pick up from the supermarket baking aisles. The red cans are great to add to liquids you wish to set. The green can is perfect to add to hot or cold liquids - stir a tablespoon into your tea or smoothies for an added tummy soothing boost.
This blog tells an ongoing story about me and my journey back to health and happiness. A boho soul always looking for my next European adventure. I am a Coeliac, Yogi, paleo advocate, dreamer, Bon jovi connoisseur, sun worshipper, snuggly jumper wearer and wife to my lovely Paulie.