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Category: cakes + muffins + cupcakes + cookies

Flourless Chocolate ‘Cloud’ Cake, and Fair Trade Month

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

~ Nelson Mandela

It’s very hard to “walk in another man’s shoes”, to truly understand what it feels to grow up in poverty, without access to many things people in other countries take for granted, such as having food on the table for every meal, having shoes to wear or having more than one pair, having access to healthcare, modern infrastructure, the opportunity to go to school, the possibility to have real chances to change your life for the better…

I remember growing up in Spain during a time when ETA, the Basque terrorist group, was in its full apogee and bomb scares were happening almost every week at our school. Every time we were told that classes were postponed for later in the day or cancelled, I always felt a pang in my heart and remember thinking that I much preferred to have to go to school every single day of the year than getting time off because of bomb threats. I also remember many kids being ecstatic about not having to go to classes; in fact, some of these kids who are obviously now adults, have admitted to calling in many of the threats that resulted to be fake.

[Read more…] »

San Nicolas and Chestnut & Drunken Raisins Muffins

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire

…are synonymous with wintery days and nights and the Yuletide season that’s upon us. For me, roasting chestnuts also brings back memories of growing up in Chipiona and my Spanish grandmother, whom we all called Tita Paca. She was one of the biggest influences in my life and someone that continues to be very important.

Today, which is the holiday of San Nicolás (Saint Nicholas), I remember her even more than other days. For Tita Paca, San Nicolás was very special. We used to do the traditional 3-Monday journey many times during the year, and on December 6th especially, we’d always try to go to church to visit him.

I’m not a very religious person, and in many ways, neither was my grandmother. Yet, she truly believed in Saint Nicholas and how he had helped many people during his lifetime, and as a saint, also helped our family steer away from harm…

Leovigildo used to travel the country roads on his horse-carriage from town to town in the provinces of Sevilla and Huelva, taking with him important items, money and foodstuff during the late 1800s. During those times, there were a lot of bandoleros – robbers – on horseback on the country roads. They were always waiting for the right moment to attack travellers and steal what they could. 

Leovigildo grew up in the town of Castilleja del Campo, in a humble home, where his mother used to have the portrait of an old man, with a white beard and a bishop’s hat on the wall. Leovigildo would ask his mother who that old man was, and she would always say, “just a saint… carry on”. And Leovigildo did, carry on. He wasn’t a religious man, in fact more of a republican and non-believer, but always an honourable and good person, never doing harm to anyone and always being just and kind. He was the father of one of my grandmother’s best friends, Carmelita. 

After Leovigildo married and already had a few children, he continued with his business. His wife used to always tell him to not travel at night and be careful, since the bandoleros were always a menace and he was always in danger of being assaulted. But Leovigildo had little choice if he wanted to keep his family afloat.

One night, whilst travelling the country roads, in darkness and all alone, he heard voices and noises… and then he saw a bright light ahead of him on the road. He thought of turning back, but couldn’t because the carriage couldn’t turn around. He used to boast that he was not scared of anything…but on this particular night, he feared for his life. He knew the bandoleros were many and very prepared, with lights and all… so he braced himself and carried on. 

Not being a religious man, he didn’t pray or ask God to help him. 

As he entered the bright lights, he saw an old man with a white beard sitting on the side of the road…and just then, Leovigildo turned to the man and said, “I know you! You’re the man in the painting that my mother has always had.” Just as he pronounced those words, the old man with a beard disappeared and so did the bright lights. 

He made his way home on that evening and many others, never, ever being assaulted or harmed…and never once telling anyone about this incident. Years later, when he was very old and agonising for days – the doctors kept saying that each day was to be his last – he found the strength to tell his granddaughter, Violeta, and my mother, who was also like a granddaughter to him, about the story. He still couldn’t really understand why that old man, Saint Nicholas, had chosen to appear to him on that dark night so long ago.. but he thought he owed him being safe all those years and wanted someone to know. 

Leovigildo died a few days later… on December 6th, the day of Saint Nicholas. 

This is a true story. One that my grandmother would tell me and my mother has told me over and over. And one that gives me goosebumps every time I remember it. San Nicolás also “gave signs” to my grandmother…and she believed that he answered all her questions that she would pose during the 3-Monday walks to see him at the Santuario de Regla, in Chipiona.

I have to admit I believe in him too, although maybe not quite the same way my grandmother did…and what I truly believe in, is his message of goodness and protection of those in need.

Today, on the day of Saint Nicholas, we should all – kids from one to ninety-two – be believers… believers in dreams and doing good to others.

I love this time of year that is approaching with the festive atmosphere, the lights, the decorations, the gathering of our family and friends, and yes, the roasting of chestnuts… the ones you find on street corners from London to Sevilla.

My grandmother is no longer with us, but her soul lingers and I remember her especially today and know that San Nicolás is somehow protecting all of us.

I remember her child-like excitement whilst opening packages on Christmas, her enthusiasm for everything in life, even the smallest things like roasting chestnuts in our fireplace.

I didn’t roast the chestnuts for this recipe, but rather cooked them on the stovetop to make them moist and supple. The muffins are a delicious combination of the seasonal flavours. I hope you enjoy and dream a little today…

CHESTNUT & DRUNKEN RAISINS MUFFINS

Ingredients, makes 9 large muffins:

350g chestnuts (about 50 chestnuts, plus some extra; I put in about 5 more)*
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup moscatel or brandy**
4 yolks
4 egg whites + 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup raw honey
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 cup almond flour

Method:

Cook the chestnuts in a large pot of boiling water, about 50 minutes. Make sure you add more water, if necessary, so the chestnuts do not burn. In the meantime, place the raisins in a bowl and cover with the moscatel.

Before the next steps, preheat oven to 180C (350F).  Prepare a large muffin tin with paper holders.

When the chestnuts are done, allow to cool before handling. Peel and purée in a food processor. Drain the raisins, reserving 2 tablespoons of moscatel. Set the raisins aside.

Add the 2 tablespoons of moscatel to the chestnuts and continue puréeing. Add the egg yolks, butter, and coconut milk and blend until smooth. Add the raw honey, orange zest, baking soda and sea salt. Pulse again until well blended.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Fold the chestnut mixture, almond flour and raisins into the egg whites until just blended.

Pour by spoonfuls into the muffin holders, about 2 spoonfuls per muffin. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and muffins are golden brown. Allow to cool before serving.

*Tip: Since you are cooking the chestnuts without peeling, add a few extra in case they are rotten or not nice on the inside. I used about 5 extra and I ended up discarding about 6 chestnuts after peeling because they were not right inside.

**If you prefer to make the recipe without alcohol, simply soak the raisins in water, orange juice or orange blossom water to make them soft.

 *****

 MUFFINS DE CASTAÑAS Y UVAS PASAS BORRACHAS

Ingredientes, para 9 muffins grandes:

350g castañas (son como unas 50, aparte yo puse unas 5 de demás)*
1/2 vaso uvas pasas
1/2 vaso moscatel o brandy**
4 yemas
4 claras + 1/2 cucharadita crema de tartar
1/3 vaso mantequilla
1/2 vaso leche de coco
1/2 cucharadita de bicarbonato de soda
1/8 cucharadita de sal fina, como una pizca
1/4 vaso de miel cruda
1 cucharada sopera de ralladura de naranja
1 vaso de harina de almendras/almendras molidas muy finas

Como hacer los muffins:

Cuece las castañas en una olla grande de agua hirviendo, como unos 50 minutos. Si hiciera falta, añade mas agua.  Entretanto, pon las uvas pasas en un bol y tapa las con el moscatel.

Antes de empezar con los siguientes pasos, precalienta el horno a 180C. Y prepara un molde de muffins grandes con su correspondientes fundas de papel.

Cuando las castañas esten listas, deja que se enfríen antes de pelar las. Pela las y haz un puré con el robot de cocina. Escure las uvas pasas, reservando 2 cucharadas de moscatel. Añade el moscatel al puré de castañas. Agrega las yemas, la mantequilla, la leche de coco y pulsa hasta que obtengas una masa suave.

Ahora incorpora la miel, la ralladura de naranja, el bicarbonato y la sal. Vuelve a pulsar hasta que este todo bien mezclado.

En un bol aparte, bate las claras de huevo con la crema tartar hasta punto de nieve. Con una espátula, pasa la crema de castañas al bol de las claras montadas. Añade la harina de almendras (almendras molidas) y las uvas pasas. Mezcla todo bien con las espátula, pero sin batir la masa. Queremos que quede con aire, pero que no se vean las claras montadas.

Echa como dos cucharadas soperas de la masa en cada molde de muffin. Hornea durante unos 35-40 minutos hasta que esten los muffins dorados y hechos. Se puede comprobar con un palillo de dientes. Deja que se enfríen antes de servir.

*Nota: Al utilizar castañas frescas sin pelar, siempre es bueno incluir unas cuantas demás por si nos sale alguna mala por dentro. Yo puse unas 5 demás, y tire como 6 después de cocer las.

**Si no quieres utilizar alcohol, en vez de moscatel, usa agua, zumo de naranja o agua de azahar para poner las pasas en remojo.

Fig & Olive Oil Tart

I was really debating whether to make this or simply eat the fresh figs. We bought some beautifully ripe figs the other day and I have been eating them for breakfast and as dessert; and I also used them in this delightfully autumnal recipe: Butternut Squash, Fig & Serrano Hash. 

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The problem is that I’m home alone for a couple of weeks, and I can’t possibly eat everything by myself… maybe I should be having dinner parties, while my husband is travelling for business. How does that sound? 😉

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Anyway, I was searching for a savoury fig recipe ideas to inspire me to make my own, but only found one that caught my eye. I will have to leave it for another fig occasion as I didn’t have two of the main ingredients nor anything substitutable. So, I decided that this tart sounded really good and perfect to keep around for breakfast, as well. I had to Paleolise it of course, and am very happy with the results.

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Mikel López Iturriaga is a reporter and blogger, who loves food and shares recipes on El Pais newspaper. I’ve been inspired before by a number of his ideas.

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Figs are very traditional in the Mediterranean cuisine, both in savoury and sweet dishes, and what better to pair it with than our very healthy olive oil and native rosemary!

A disfrutar!

Fig & Olive Oil Tart
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 9-10 figs, rinsed, dried and quartered
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground rosemary
  • zest of one lemon, about 1 teaspoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 1/3 cups ground almonds/almond flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • butter, for greasing
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Grease a tart tin with butter. The tin should be about 20cm (about 8in) in diameter.
  3. In a food processor, beat the eggs and honey for about 1 1/2 minutes, until light yellow.
  4. Add the olive oil, coconut milk, vanilla, rosemary, and lemon zest. Pulse about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the almond flour, arrowroot powder and coconut flour. Pulse until all is well mixed, about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Let stand about 5 minutes to thicken up a bit.
  6. Pour into a mixing bowl.
  7. Give it a stir and add about 3/4 of the cut figs to the dough. Give it another stir to mix well.
  8. Pour into the tart tin, scrapping the bowl with a spatula to get all of the dough.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes.
  10. Then add the remaining fig pieces on top, placing them in a pretty design, if desired.
  11. Bake an additional 10 minutes, then drizzle with some olive oil and bake 5 minutes longer.

 

Orange-Fennel Almond Cake with Orange Glaze

When I saw this recipe from Adobo Down Under, I was intrigued by the history behind it and how simple it is to create. I discovered Anna, from Adobo Down Under, through the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop, in which we both engage. Since then, I’ve been following her on Instagram and on Facebook.

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Adobo has interesting recipes, many of which are traditional Filipino, from where Anna originates. (She has another recipe for an insanely gorgeous purple cake made with ube – or purple yam – that I so want to make since she shared it… now, I must find the yams!)

My husband’s birthday was this week and he asked me to make a cake for his office. So I obediently did. 😉 I made him my Paleo Banana Bundt Cake, which is very tasty, and sent him off with a box of homemade macarons as well. (Yes, I know… the macarons are not Paleo, but are quite a lot of fun to make, and I am obsessed with them. I don’t make them that often anymore because they are loaded with refined sugars.)

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Anyway, I also wanted to have a cake at home, with which my husband could blow out his birthday candles… so Adobo’s cake looked perfect, as I had quite a few oranges laying around.

You only need two large oranges for the cake actually; however, I used one more for the topping, as you will see in the recipe. Additionally, I added a couple ingredients of my own, such as fennel seeds, and made it Paleo by swapping out the sugar for honey. The day before making the cake, I made Ras-el-Hanout spice blend and the scent of the fennel came to mind as a nice combination for the oranges. Fennel is a bit like anis, but not quite as powerful.

Note: My husband works in the chemical industry, and when I was explaining how the cake was made, he proceeded to tell me that the skin of the oranges is where most of the impurities and pesticides can be found. I’m guessing, as with other fruits and vegetables when cooked, the effect on our bodies of the impurities and pesticides are diminished.  However, if you’re very worried about this, then maybe peeling them prior to cooking would be an option. Of course the cooking time would need to be reduced. I haven’t tried it this way, and you would miss out on the texture of the skins, but it’s just a piece of information I thought I should through out there.

Orange Fennel Almond Cake with Orange Glaze
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • For the cake:
  • 2 whole oranges
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/3 cup raw honey (more or less to taste)
  • 1 1/4 cup almond flour (ground almonds)
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
  • For the glaze:
  • 1 orange
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • zest of 1 orange
  • additional fennel seeds for garnishing
Instructions
  1. Place the whole oranges in a deep pot and fill with enough water to cover them completely.
  2. Over low to medium heat, cook for about 1 hour. Set aside to cool.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).
  4. Grease a cake tin with some coconut oil. Set aside.
  5. When the oranges are cool, cut into quarters, remove any seeds and any inside white parts. Place into the food processor bowl. Pulse until smooth.
  6. Add the eggs, raw honey, vanilla, ground fennel and sea salt. Pulse until smooth.
  7. Add the almond flour, arrowroot powder and baking soda and pulse again until well blended.
  8. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 45-50 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat and allow to cool before glazing.
  10. For the glaze:
  11. Grate the orange and reserve the zest.
  12. Peel off what is left of the skin of the orange, and cut the flesh into small chunks.
  13. Place the orange pieces and the rest of the ingredients in a small pot, over low heat, and cook about 20-25 minutes until the orange pieces are caramelised. Allow to cool at room temperature.
  14. With an immersion blender, slightly puree. (Alternatively, you can leave with the chunks for a more rustic look.)
  15. Pour over the top of the cake and drizzle with some additional fennel seeds.
  16. Serve and enjoy!

 

Paleo Banana Bundt Cake

I feel very fortunate to be visiting with my parents for a few weeks. Living the expat life is fabulous in many ways, but being away from family is always hard. We have the opportunity to visit at least once, sometimes twice a year; and of course Skype helps with the distance to see each other often.

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But nothing beats in person, of course! While visiting, we are not only enjoying each other’s company and conversation, but we are also able to share experiences in the kitchen, which always brings us together. My mother has been making some delectable typical Spanish and Portuguese dishes, that I had been longing to eat again with her special touch. And I’ve been baking quite a lot more than I generally do.

I baked a Paleo carrot cake for my mother’s birthday per special request from my father. Okay.. it was her birthday and he chose the flavour. 😉 But we all enjoyed it.

I’ve also been making a lot of things to “teach” her how to bake Paleo style. The following cake is an example.

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Since going Paleo, reading about and experiencing the nutritional benefits of this lifestyle, I’ve been trying to share my new-found knowledge with my family. Every day cooking is very easy to adapt to Paleo. However, baking is a more complicated venture.

Nut flours, and coconut flour especially, react differently to heat and liquid content. And although in Spanish pastry making the almond is used quite frequently, my mother has never really baked with nut flours alone. Therefore sharing my recipes and techniques with her is helping her learn how to use them.

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(This is the batter with the swirl dropped into it. I apologise for the poor picture quality, which was taken late at night.)

Baking with bananas is a good starting point in Paleo/Primal baking. Bananas act as a binding agent and a liquid component at the same time. So it’s an easier ingredient to experiment with and add nut flours, coconut flour and/or starches, such as tapioca and arrowroot.

For this cake, I kept it simple. And it’s quite delicious and very easy to make; in fact, it’s a great recipe to share with children.

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(The swirl incorporated into the batter.)

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By making it in a bundt tin and adding the banana-cinnamon swirl, this cake is also a delicate and elegant dessert, which can be served at a party, yet works great for “every day” use.

We are enjoying it “bare”; but I do see it as a beautiful event cake with some icing….

By the way, I was inspired to make the banana-cinnamon swirls by this recipe from Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations.

Paleo Banana Bundt Cake
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • For cake:
  • 4 ripe bananas, thoroughly mashed (1 1/2 cups or 400ml)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup almond flour (ground almonds)
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • coconut oil, for greasing
  • For swirl:
  • 1 ripe banana, thoroughly mashed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Grease a cake tin with some coconut oil (I made a bundt cake). Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, blender, or by hand, blend until smooth the bananas, eggs, honey, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. (I did this by hand in a bowl, as I was being lazy and didn’t want to wash more dishes.)
  3. If using a food processor, pour the batter into a mixing bowl for the next steps.
  4. Add the almond flour and baking soda and mix well with a hand whisk.
  5. Add the coconut flour and mix well with a hand whisk.
  6. Pour the batter into the cake tin.
  7. For the swirl:
  8. Mash the banana and mix well with the cinnamon.
  9. Place spoonfuls of the swirl over top the cake batter and with a fork, cut the swirl into the batter.
  10. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

 

Paleo Shortbread & Tomato-Honey Jam Cookies – SABH

“Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?” …

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It’s that time of month again…to join in on the fun of recipe exchanges with the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop! I love the creativity and enthusiasm I find in all the participants; and very much enjoy being part of this special group.

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If you’re a blogger, you too can join! Just check out the instructions at the bottom of this page for all of the information.

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I’ve missed a few SABH lately and I really didn’t want to miss August’s “Cookie Monster” hop. So, I created this cookie especially for this event.

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Why tomatoes?

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Well, we bought a box of  5kg the other day and I need to use them up! In fact, I’m making a Dutch tomato soup, by special request from my husband, tonight, and I’m blanching and freezing up the rest for later use.

Paleo Shortbread & Tomato-Honey Jam Cookies
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: The Saffron Girl
Serves: 10
Makes 10 cookies/biscuits.
Ingredients
  • For the shortbread:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 1/4 cups ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • For the tomato jam:
  • 6 medium tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeesed orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • freshly ground rosemary (optional)
Instructions
  1. For the shortbread:
  2. Place the butter and honey in the food processor and pulse until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until a dough is formed.
  4. Create a ball or sausage with the dough and cover with a piece of parchment paper.
  5. Freeze for about 30 minutes.
  6. Bring out of the freezer and let stand 10 minutes before using the dough.
  7. On a sheet of parchment (or the same one used to freeze), roll out the dough with a rolling pin.
  8. Cut out desired shapes and transfer the cookies with a spatula to a a cookie sheet covered with a sheet of parchment paper.
  9. Bake at 180C (350F) for 6-8 minutes on the bottom rack. Remove from oven and let cool before touching, so they can harden.
  10. For the tomato jam:
  11. Peel the tomatoes with a sharp knife. (You can also scald them in water; but I personally find it easy to simply peel this small amount.)
  12. Cut the tomatoes into small chunks and place them in a medium sized pot.
  13. Add the honey and orange juice.
  14. Over low heat, cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  15. Add the ground cinnamon and nutmeg and mix well.
  16. Cook 5 minutes longer.
  17. Remove from heat and allow to completely cool.
  18. You can either keep the jam with chunks or puree it with an immersion blender for a smoother spread. Strain if desired. (I kept mine with chunks, as it gives it a more rustic feel.)
  19. Pour into a jar and refrigerate.
  20. For using the jam with the cookies, make sure you refrigerate at least an hour before applying to the cookies. Overnight is better.
  21. To assemble:
  22. Place about 2 teaspoons of the jam on a “whole” cookie.
  23. And place the cookie with a “hole” on top.
  24. Sprinkle with some ground rosemary, if desired.
  25. Repeat until you have completed with all the cookies.
  26. NOTE: You can add more flavour to these cookies for other recipes by adding in the dough one of the following, for example: rosemary, edible lavender, sesame seeds, or even chopped up nuts.

 

********

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The Sweet Adventures Blog Hop, or SABH, is brought to you by 84th & 3rd and monthly Guest Hostesses.

The August 2013 ‘Cookie Monster’ hop is open for linkup until 11:59 pm, Friday 23 August [AEST Sydney time].

IMPORTANT – The instructions below cover how to link up but if you aren’t sure of something don’t hesitate to ask! Detailed instructions can be seen here. Remember, SABH is open to all food bloggers but only new posts published after the hop goes live can be linked up.

  1. Add a link to this post somewhere in your post. You won’t be able to link up in the hop without a ‘backlink’ to this hostess post included in your post.
  2. Click here for the Thumbnail List code – Copy the code and add it to the bottom of your post in HTML view.
  3. Click here to Enter the Hop – Make sure to do this step so you appear in the list too! Add the link to your SABH post (NOT your homepage). Your entry will be submitted when you click ‘crop’ on your photo.

Use the #SABH hashtag to tell the world about your post! You can follow us on Twitter: @SweetAdvBlogHop and on Facebook /SweetAdventuresBlogHop for new hop announcements and general deliciousness. Thanks for joining!

This is a Blog Hop!

Zucchini, Tomato, Potato & Cheese Muffins (Nut Free)

These are a nice muffin to make in advance and have on hand for breakfast or a snack. They are filled with vegetables and nutrients. Additionally, they are nut free, which I tend to prefer when consuming something that is not a treat.

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From a definition point of view, these are probably more Primal than Paleo, as they contain raw cheese. I’m lactose intolerant; and in my case, I have no issues with cheese, especially made from raw milk vs pasteurised milk. Manchego is also a goat cheese, which is even easier on the digestive system than cheeses made from cow’s milk. (Plus, it’s really tasty!)

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(Ready for the oven, pictured above.)

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Pictured above are the muffins with some homemade chicken liver pate. A lovely combination!

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(The way the potatoes and the courgettes – zucchini – looked after cooked on the stove top, pictured above.)

Bon Appétit!

Zucchini, Tomato, Potato & Cheese Muffins
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Cuisine: French
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
Makes 12 muffins.
Ingredients
  • 1 medium zucchini (courgette), yellow or green, diced with skin
  • 2 medium white potatoes, peeled and diced (you can also use swede/rutabaga)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 50g butter (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 80g (about 1/2 cup) grated aged Manchego (or Parmesan or Gruyere)
  • 6 eggs
  • olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Prepare a muffin tin with the muffin wraps and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).
  3. Rinse and prepare the vegetables.
  4. In a pan, over low heat, add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and the diced potatoes. Cook stirring frequently until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Pour into a glass or ceramic bowl and set aside.
  5. In the same pan, over low heat, add another tablespoon of olive oil and the zucchini (courgette) pieces. Cook, stirring frequently about 5 minutes. Pour in the same bowl as the potatoes. Sprinkle with some sea salt, pepper and the herbes de Provence and mix. Set aside.
  6. In a small pot, melt the butter in the coconut milk over low heat. Cool.
  7. Beat the eggs in a medium mixing bowl. Add the cooled coconut milk-butter mixture and whisk together.
  8. Add the flaxmeal, vegetables, herbes de Provence, and grated cheese. Mix well.
  9. Add the coconut flour and baking soda; and if necessary fold in with hands instead of a whisk or spoon.
  10. Mix well again until everything is well incorporated and there are no traces of the flour.
  11. Taste, and add sea salt and pepper, to taste. Mix again.
  12. Place into the muffin wraps and sprinkle with a little bit of coarse sea salt.
  13. Bake for 40 minutes on the middle rack.

 

Chestnut-Flour Apricot Cacao Cake (Torta di Farina di Castagne e Cacao)

Chestnut flour is a lot of fun to bake with. It provides a nutty, yet sweet aromatic flavour to breads, tarts and cookies, which is very different from other nut flours. I use it a lot and have made the traditional Italian castagnaccio tart, pancakes, several breads, cookies, and even “peanut butter” cups. I also love to cook with the nuts themselves, making soups, adding them to dishes and purees.

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For a listing of all my chestnut recipes, please click here.

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Some weeks ago, I experimented with an eggless waffle made with chestnut flour and flax, whose flavour was really delicious. But the texture didn’t work out. I thought of recreating that for breakfast today, but I had added zucchini to the recipe and didn’t have any left. So, I’ll have to revisit that sometime soon…

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But today, I wanted to make something between a bread and a cake. My first experiment (of which I posted a picture on Instagram) has a nice flavour, but the texture is not quite what I was looking for. While I was on my walk, I kept thinking of how I could change the recipe and make it better.

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When I got home, I put out all the ingredients and then saw a recipe on the back of the chestnut flour bag that caught my eye: chestnut flour and cacao cake.

This is an adaptation of that recipe, making it gluten free, adding more eggs and fresh apricots instead of dried figs. I’ve kept it in grams, since it’s easier to adapt a recipe that way, but added cups for US conversion convenience. Therefore, some of the measurements seem odd, but are not really.

For me, it’s a keeper. I’m eager to know what you think!

Note: It’s better eaten the same day of baking or the day after. But after that, it tends to dry up a bit.

Chestnut-Flour Apricot Cacao Cake
Recipe Type: Dessert, Breakfast
Cuisine: Paleo
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 100g (1 cup + 1 heaping tablespoon) chestnut flour
  • 50g (1/2 cup) ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 3 eggs, separate
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 35g (1/2 cup) raw cacao powder
  • 50g (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) coconut sugar (more or honey, if you prefer sweeter)
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 25g (3 tablespoons) pine nuts (optional)
  • 3 ripe apricots, peeled and diced
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C fan (350F).
  2. Grease a pie/tart pan.
  3. In a clean mixing bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  4. In another mixing bowl, cream the egg yolks, chestnut flour, ground almonds, coconut sugar, raw cacao, baking soda and coconut milk.
  5. Fold in the egg whites and blend until the white is no longer showing.
  6. Fold in the apricot pieces.
  7. Pour into the pie/tart mold.
  8. Sprinkle with pine nuts, if desired.
  9. Bake for 35-40 minutes on the middle rack.

 

Paleo Pear Clafoutis or Flaugnarde

I keep eating the props… a very annoying and bad habit, when you’re a food blogger and haven’t yet taken the pictures for the blog post!  As with the case of the Paleo Sesame Wafer, I had to repeat this clafoutis in order to take pictures and create this post to share.

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Of course, repeating is not a bad thing, as we get to enjoy this delicious dessert twice, which by the way, is even better the day after it is made, when the flavours have a chance to blend into each other. I know clafoutis can be eaten lukewarm almost out of the oven. But if you can wait and eat this the next day, I think you’ll like it even better.

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Either way, give this a try! It’s really a treat for the palate.

Paleo Pear Clafoutis or Flaugnarde
Recipe Type: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6
Makes one 7-in pie.
Ingredients
  • 4 small pears or about 3 cups of fruit
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup ground almonds
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 100ml coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  2. In a mixing bowl, with a hand mixer beat the eggs until frothy.
  3. Dissolve the coconut sugar in a few tablespoons of the coconut milk. If needed, warm the milk to dissolve the sugar.
  4. Add the coconut sugar mixture and remaining coconut milk to the eggs. Beat well.
  5. Add the ground almonds and vanilla extract. Beat well.
  6. Finally, add the coconut flour and mix with a wooden spoon. Set aside.
  7. In a 7-in pie plate, place the fruit as you wish. (I used large chunks of pears; but if you’re using other fruit or mixed fruit, make sure it’s evenly distributed.)
  8. Pour the batter over the fruit.
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  10. Serve lukewarm or when completely cool. The next day it’s also delicious.

Salted Chestnut “Sugar” Cookies (Egg Free)

Don’t let the name fool you! These cookies are refined sugar free and better than the “original” sugar cookie. In fact, they are so good, I won’t tell on you if you eat the dough raw!…..

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They are quick and easy to make; and if you’re in a hurry, skip the fridge step and bake. (Refrigeration, however, helps the cookies hold their shape.)

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So, what are you waiting for? Go, give them a try!

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As a NOTE: Chestnut flour tends to make things a bit “browner” or darker. I baked my cookies on the bottom rack of the oven to try to keep them lighter. However, if you want them even lighter, do the same, and place something (like another cookie sheet) on the top rack to avoid the direct heat from hitting the cookies.

Salted Chestnut Cookies
Recipe Type: Easy
Cuisine: Paleo
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 15
Makes about 15 cookies.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup chestnut flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, solid and packed
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • coarse sea salt
Instructions
  1. Place the chestnut flour, coconut oil and honey in a mixing bowl.
  2. Knead with hands until a soft dough is formed and all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  3. Place the ball of dough on a piece of plastic foil.
  4. Roll into a sausage, about 1 1/2 inches (about 4cm) in width.
  5. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).
  7. Cut the dough into 1/2 inch (approx 1 1/2 cm) slices.
  8. Drizzle with coarse sea salt.
  9. Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for about 4 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven for the next step:
  11. With a fork, create a “mesh” imprint on each cookie.
  12. Return to the oven and bake an additional 4-6 minutes until golden brown.
  13. The cookies will be very soft to the touch straight out of the oven.
  14. Allow to cool at room temperature to harden before serving.

 

Chestnut-Cashew Chili Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are delicious, if I may say so myself! Really, they are. But I’ll let you be the judge, when you make them. The recipe is also a good starting point for experimenting with other flavourings and nut flour combinations.

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If you don’t like the Chili Chocolate Chips, make them without the chili, and add more honey to the cookie mixture. I personally like the sweet-spicy combo, as it provides an interesting and unexpected surprise in every bite!

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Chestnut-Chesnut Chili Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe Type: Dessert
Cuisine: Paleo
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 16
Makes 12
Ingredients
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, solid
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup ground, raw cashews (or ground almonds)
  • 1 1/2 cups chestnut flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey (add more if you prefer sweeter cookies)
  • 1/3 heaping cup of chili chocolate chips*
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  2. In a mixing bowl, with a hand whisk beat the eggs, coconut oil, vanilla extract and sea salt until smooth.
  3. Add the baking soda, honey and flours and knead with hands until all ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Add the chocolate chips and mix well.
  5. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet in spoonfuls, about 1 1/2 inch wide.
  6. Press down with fingers, so that the cookies turn out “flatter” and “rounder”.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  8. The cookies will be very soft to the touch right out of the oven.
  9. Allow to cook and harden before eating.
  10. They can be stored in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.

 

Panellets (Empiñonados) or Spanish Sweet Potato-Marzipan “Cookies”

Panellets are a traditional Spanish dessert for All Saint’s Day, which is 1 November. In the Catalan region of Spain, they are called “panellets”, or little breads, while in other areas, specifically in Sevilla (Andalucia), they are called “empiñonados”, because they are typically covered in piñones (pine nuts).

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I’m a bit early or late for the recipe, depending on how you want to view it. But either way, they are a delicious treat anytime of the year. Plus, they are very easy to make and are Paleo-friendly.

The basis for the recipe is the marzipan, which can be made with coconut sugar, honey or maple syrup to keep it Paleo.

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Marzipan should be sweet, and usually the recipes call for the same amount of refined sugar as of ground almonds in weight. I tried to decrease the amount of sweetener, and although the amount of honey used may seem like a lot, they are not that sweet.

While the typical panellets are coated with pine nuts, I decided to give mine a bit of the aroma of the Maghreb area by adding rose water, which I had purchased on our Dubai trip, and coating them in ground pistachios. I also coated some in desiccated coconut and another set in a mixture of desiccated coconut and cacao powder.

If you use pine nuts, beat an egg yolk and spread it over the balls with a brush before baking, to give the nuts a glossy finish. This is not really needed with the pistachios or other coatings.

You can also play around with the flavours, adding spices and different toppings, depending on what you prefer, or even use a different vegetable… !

Panellets (Empiñonados) or Spanish Sweet Potato-Marzipan Cookies
Recipe Type: Easy
Cuisine: Spanish
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 25-28
Ingredients
  • 3 cups ground almonds
  • 3/4 cup raw honey
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 190g)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon rose water (optional)
  • ground pistachios (or whole pine nuts)
  • desiccated coconut
  • cacao powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 190C (375F).
  2. Peel and cut into large chunks the sweet potatoes. Cook in plenty of water until tender.
  3. Once tender, drain and mash with a fork or spoon until a puree is formed.
  4. Add the raw honey and rose water and mix well.
  5. Add the ground almonds, and with your hands mix it all well until you have a paste, similar to marzipan. (Actually it is marzipan without the sweet potato.)
  6. Allow to cool.
  7. Then with your hands, create 1-inch balls out of the paste.
  8. Beat the eggs in a soup bowl or small dish.
  9. Dip each ball in the beaten eggs and then through either ground pistachios, whole pine nuts, desiccated coconut, or cacao powder or a mixture of coconut and cacao powder. (If using pine nuts, it’s nice to add egg yolk-brushed onto the balls before baking-for a glossy finish.)
  10. Bake the panellets for 10-12 minutes, turning around once half way through.

 

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