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Category: dairy free

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!

 

Roasted Pumpkin-Carrot Soup

What happens to pumpkin that is about 1 month old? not much really.. it’s still usable and edible! At least mine was. Before our USA/Mexico trips, I had cleaned out the fridge and frozen some vegetables in preparation. But some other things I had left out, like the butternut squash on the counter and carrots in the fridge. The carrots were limp, but still good enough for making soup. So, that’s what I did.

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I roasted both the squash and the carrots together; and I used half the squash to make waffles (a recipe I want to remake before I share) and used the other half for the soup.

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The curry mix can be used for any of your favourite recipes, and if you don’t like the seasoning, simply use your preferred spices to add flavour to this soup.

Enjoy!

Roasted Pumpkin-Carrot Soup
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 1/2 smallish butternut squash (or 1 heaping cup roasted pumpkin meat)
  • 5 medium carrots
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 cups filtered water (or 3 cups water and no milk)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons curry mix*
  • cooked bacon bits or jamon serrano pieces
  • cooked asparagus tips
  • drizzle of olive oil for garnishing
  • For the Curry Spice Mix:
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground fennel
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Cut the butternut squash in half and place in cut-side up in an oven proof dish.
  3. Rinse the carrots, and without peeling, place next to the squash.
  4. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until squash is tender.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to be able to handle.
  6. Remove seeds from the squash and remove the meat. For the soup, you’ll need 1 heaping cup of pumpkin meat (or a little more if you prefer).
  7. Peel the roasted carrots by carefully tearing off the skin with a knife. Cut both tips off, as well.
  8. Place the pumpkin meat, carrots and 1 cup coconut milk in a blender or food processor (or you can puree using an immersion blender as well).
  9. Puree until smooth. Add 2 cups of water and mix well.
  10. Add the seasoning and spice mix and stir until all is well incorporated.
  11. Place the soup in a pan and warm up over low to medium heat.
  12. In the meantime, cook some bacon / pork back rashers. Cut them into pieces. (If using jamon serrano, simply cut up some pieces, enough for the number of servings.)
  13. To plate: pour the soup in the bowls, sprinkle with some bacon bits/jamon serrano pieces and the asparagus tips, and drizzle with olive oil.
  14. For the Curry Mix:
  15. If your spices are “whole”, simply grind them up in a coffee grinder.
  16. Mix all the spices together for the curry.

 

Avocado Mint Chocolate Ice Cream (Dairy Free)

We have a love for avocados, as I’m sure most of you do too. They are just delicious almost any way and any time. I particularly love making ice cream with avocados, as it creates a very rich and smooth cream, almost like eating the dairy version.

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I thought of making my Avocado-Lime Ice Cream, since my father absolutely adores this recipe. But I was feeling lazy and didn’t want to grate all the limes and lemons for that, so I opted for something different this time and gave mint and chocolate a try in this super easy to make ice cream.

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OMG! This is really delicious, rich and smooth! I had to use regular chocolate chips, as my parents didn’t have any Paleo options in stock. Next time I make this, I’ll drizzle homemade chocolate overtop, as I did with the Cardamom-Infused Strawberry Ice Cream.

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Also, as my parents do not have an ice cream machine, we made it directly in the freezer. They also make the other ice cream recipes the same way. So don’t fret if you don’t have a maker… simply put the blended mix in sealable freezer container and freeze for at least 4 hours and voila!

Avocado Mint Chocolate Ice Cream (Dairy Free)
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 2 medium, ripe Hass avocados
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut/almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons mint extract
  • 1/2 cup Paleo chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, blend all of the ingredients except the chocolate pieces, until smooth.
  2. Add the chocolate pieces and pulse a few times to cut the chocolate up, if desired.
  3. Pour into the ice cream machine and follow the manufacturer’s instructions or place in a sealable freezer container and freeze at least for 4 hours, stirring every hour or so.

 

Asparagus Quiche with Spaghetti Squash Crust

The other day for breakfast, I made a similar quiche with smoked salmon and grated yuca as a crust, but the pictures I took were really bad. So, I didn’t think that I could create this post, while still in the US. (The light quality in Florida is surprisingly not good compared to my own kitchen in London. Who would’ve thought?! So the pictures are still not great, but okay enough I hope.)

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Today, we went to repeat the quiche again with yuca, but when we cut the yuca, we noticed sadly it was rotting inside. So instead, my mother and I decided that we would do a spaghetti squash crust, as we both love this vegetable.

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Growing up in Spain, I used to eat it every once in a while as “cabello de angel”, which is a candied spaghetti squash or “cidra” squash. But since then, I had not tried it again until last Christmas when we visited my parents. I absolutely love it, especially in savoury cooking. But I have not been able to find it in London yet… so whenever I’m at home with my parents, it becomes a special treat to eat spaghetti squash!

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I wish I could say I’ll be repeating this at home, but mostly likely not unless I find the squash in London… however, I’ll be making the yuca crust quiche again as soon as I can! I’ll be sharing the recipe too.. so stay tuned. 😉

Asparagus Quiche with Spaghetti Squash Crust
Recipe Type: Main
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6
Serves 4-6 or one 10-inch quiche.
Ingredients
  • 1 medium spaghetti squash (use about 2 1/2 – 3 cups of the meat for this recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large leek, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 5 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup coconut milk/almond milk/dairy milk (I used almond milk, as that’s all that we had left)
  • a bunch of thin asparagus (about 2 cups), cut in halves or large pieces
  • 1 medium tomato, cut in thin slices and then halve the slices
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).
  2. Carefully split the spaghetti squash in half. (It can also be baked whole, but it will take longer.)
  3. Remove the seeds and sprouts, if any, with hands.
  4. Place cut-side down on a baking pan.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes, or until tender.
  6. In the meantime, poach the asparagus in some water, until just tender. Remove from water and set aside.
  7. Allow the spaghetti squash to cool a bit before removing the meat with a fork.
  8. Mix about 2 1/2 to 3 cups of the meat with 2 tablespoons of butter and mix well.
  9. Add sea salt and pepper, to taste. (Remember that the egg mixture will also contain seasoning, so don’t go overboard.)
  10. Pat the squash into a quiche form, covering the sides and bottom.
  11. Bake at 400F (200C) for about 5-8 minutes, until golden and slightly crispy. Remove from oven and set aside.
  12. In a saucepan, over medium heat, cook the leek slices with the 3 tablespoons butter, until tender.
  13. Allow to slightly cool before pouring into the beaten eggs.
  14. Add the milk, nutmeg, sea salt and pepper to taste.
  15. Place the poached asparagus pieces on top of the spaghetti squash crust.
  16. Pour the beaten eggs and leeks over top, covering the asparagus evenly.
  17. Place the tomato pieces on top.
  18. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

 

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.

 

Sweet Spinach Pie with Basic Paleo Almond Crust

I found an interesting article the other day, “Three Ways Cooking Has Changed Over the Last 300 Years,” which I posted on my Facebook page.

“With help from food historian Annie Gray, Finnamore has been cooking – and blogging — her way through The Unknown Ladies Cookbook, a 300-year-old British compendium of family recipes. Jotted down by hand by several different women between 1690 and 1830, the recipes provide insights into the cooking habits of the Georgian and Regency periods. They also tell us quite a bit about how much culinary craft has changed over the centuries.” ~exert from “Three Ways Cooking Has Changed Over the Last 300 Years”.

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The article intrigued me, and even more captivating were the use of some ingredients, such as spinach in a sweet pie. Yes, I know we use vegetables in many sweet versions, especially zucchini, carrots, potatoes… But somehow, I hadn’t thought of spinach as something for a dessert. However, having said that, this dish was not considered a dessert, but a second course! 

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‘To Make a Spineage Tort:’ Sweet spinach tart – a surprising combination of sweet and savory ingredients. This recipe has been largely forgotten in Britain, but a very similar dish is still made in a parts of Provence during the Christmas celebrations. This would be served as a second course.

“Take 6 eggs, yolks & whites. Beat them well with a pint of sweet cream, a qr of a pd of crums of bread, a good handfull of spinage cut small, half a qr of currons, half a qr of almonds pounded wth a little rose water, half a nutmeg, half a pd of white sugar. Half a pound of drawn butter, 3 spoonfulls of brandy. Mix all well together. Lay paist thin at the bottom & sides of the dish & cross bar at top. 3 qrs of an hour bakes it.”

 I loved the sound of this and therefore have made my own version of sweet “spineage” tort, which I have found delicious.

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My version is of course Paleo and Primal. The crust is a basic almond-coconut crust, of which I only made enough for a 6-inch pie. If you plan on making a larger pie, you may want to double up the crust recipe.

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As for the filling: I also followed the basics of spinach, almonds, and eggs, added a bit of coconut flour for more of a baked-goods texture, and included the rosewater (the secret ingredient I’ve been mentioning on Instagram and Facebook). I know the rosewater can be overpowering for some, but personally I wouldn’t omit it. It adds depth and an exotic taste to the pie, and actually brings out a nice flavour in the spinach.

For a slightly less sweet version, reduce the coconut sugar to 3/4 cup.

Enjoy!

Sweet Spinach Pie with Basic Paleo Almond Crust
Cuisine: Old English
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
One 6-inch pie.
Ingredients
  • For the pie crust:
  • 1 cup ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of sea salt
  • For the spinach filling:
  • 300g fresh spinach leaves (1 cup cooked)
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rosewater
  • pinch of sea salt
Instructions
  1. For the crust:
  2. In a mixing bowl, knead all the ingredients together until a dough is formed.
  3. With your hands, press the dough into a pie plate, bottom and sides (I used a 6-inch round plate).
  4. Set aside.
  5. For the spinach filling:
  6. In a medium-sized pot, place the spinach and about 1 cup of water. At medium heat, bring to a boil, and cook about 5 minutes.
  7. Reduce the heat to low and cook an additional 5 minutes.
  8. Turn heat off and allow to cool in the pot with water.
  9. Once the spinach is cool, drain into a colander and press the spinach to remove all of the water. I pressed it with the back of a spoon.
  10. Put the spinach, egg yolks, rosewater and sea salt into a food processor. Pulse until a a puree is formed, about 1 minute.
  11. Add the almond four, coconut flour and sugar and pulse again until everything is well incorporated.
  12. Pour the dough into a mixing bowl.
  13. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  14. Fold the egg whites into the spinach mixture. Mix well until no white is visible.
  15. Pour the spinach filling into the pie crust.
  16. Bake at 180C (350F) for 35-45 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out dry.

 

Banana Chestnut Crunch Ice Cream (No Sugar, No Dairy)

You all know the “one ingredient” ice cream going from blog to blog and spreading through Facebook like wild fire, right? Well, I’ve never tried it. I love bananas, and banana ice cream, but banana alone as an ice cream intrigues me less…and although I love simple cooking and simple dishes, I also like to add something different to my culinary repertoire.  For me, it keeps things more exciting in the kitchen, where I spend a lot of my time.

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This ice cream came about for two reasons. Firstly, I love this fruit juice I used to get in a juice bar in Vistahermosa, en El Puerto de Santa Maria, in Spain. It was made with bananas, orange juice and strawberries. Every once in a while, I also have it at home, although I don’t tend to drink fruit juices too often. The combined flavours are really delicious, and as I was thinking with what to blend the banana, I immediately thought of this drink.

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Secondly, I wanted a “crunch” factor. I have found that chestnut flour is so versatile and fun, and it can be eaten “raw” when mixed with coconut oil and/or honey. (Chestnut flour is made from already roasted chestnuts.) So, the “crunch” in this is made with a chestnut-flour dough, sort of like “chocolate chip dough” ice cream, which my nieces and I used to adore getting at Dairy Queen. (Now, there’s another recipe to be made soon… )

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And one of the best things is that it has no sweetener at all. I’ve kept the natural flavours and sweetness of the fruit and the chestnuts.

So, we can all indulge a little without much guilt! 😉

Banana Chestnut Crunch Ice Cream (No Sugar, No Dairy)
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
No Sweetener added at all.
Ingredients
  • For the banana ice cream:
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • zest of one orange
  • For the “peanut butter” crunch:
  • 1/2 cup chestnut flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Blend all of the ice cream ingredients in a blender or food processor until a puree is formed.
  2. Pour into the ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. In the meantime, in a small bowl, mix with your hands the chestnut flour and coconut oil until a dough is formed.
  4. As the ice cream is churning, break off small chunks of the chestnut dough and drop them into the ice cream maker.
  5. Allow the ice cream maker to finish churning and then serve ice cream.
  6. Or store in freezer for later use.

 

Dutch Tomato Soup with Meatballs – Hollandse Tomatensoep met Balletjes

My husband, who’s Dutch, has been begging for me to make this dish for over a week now. The ironic thing is that I’ve never made tomato soup on my own until now. I always relied on my mother telling me what to do; and it’s been a long time since I’ve made tomato soup.

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Yup, you guessed it: I had to call her for her recipe. 😉 After speaking with her, I did a quick search on the internet to know if the traditional Dutch soup has any special spices or whether or not it is made with cream. My mother’s tomato soup is made with “hierbabuena” or mint; however, the Dutch version is quite basic, so I decided to keep it simple.

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Well, I got my husband’s seal of approval, both on the tomato soup and the meatballs. However, he did mention that in The Netherlands, the meatballs are cooked inside the soup?  I’ve asked a few Dutch friends for their versions of this, but I haven’t heard back yet… therefore, I’ll have to let you all know when I find out.

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The truth is I’ve never fried meatballs before, until this recipe. I have a couple of meatball recipes already on the blog, one is a family recipe, and the other is for a Spicy Paleo Meatball Soup, where in both I cook the balls in the soup/sauce.

However, in my quest for the proper ingredients of the soup, I ran into the advice of Mark Sisson. And I have to be honest, I rather like the extra flavour frying adds to the meatballs and the soup. And as I said, I got a “Dutchie’s” seal of approval on the overall taste… so that’s a few positive points in favour of frying! 😉

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(Yet next time I make this, I’ll try cooking them in the soup itself… I’ll get back to you on those results as well.)

The soup is delicious on its own and very easy to make. And while creamy, it contains no cream, not even coconut milk. So, if you’re not into meatballs, give this soup a go by itself. It can be accompanied by or garnished with pieces of whole, roasted vegetables, bacon bits, a drizzle of olive oil (or truffle oil, as a friend of mine suggested.. she’s the garnish queen, so I would take her advice!), a sprinkle of cheese (if you do dairy).. or anything with which you would like to pair the flavour of the tomatoes.

And as the Dutch say, “eet smakelijk”!

Dutch Tomato Soup with Meatballs – Hollandse Tomatensoep met Balletjes
Cuisine: Dutch
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Makes 36 mini meatballs and about 4 1/2 cups of soup (about 3 servings of soup).
Ingredients
  • For the meatballs:
  • 800g minced/ground beef (or half beef, half pork)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons flaxmeal
  • 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • some fresh parsley, chopped
  • coconut oil or butter, for frying
  • For the tomato soup:
  • 6 medium ripe tomatoes, peeled and cut into medium chunks
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into medium pieces
  • 1 celery stalk, cleaned and cut into pieces
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • parsley, for garnishing (optional)
Instructions
  1. For the tomato soup:
  2. Place the olive oil in a medium-sized soup pot with the carrots, onion, garlic and celery pieces.
  3. Over low heat, cook about 10 minutes, until the carrots and onions are slightly tender. Stir frequently to not burn.
  4. Add the peeled tomatoes, water, and bay leaf.
  5. Cook on low heat for 30 minutes.
  6. Turn off heat and allow to cool directly on the stove top.
  7. In the meantime, make the meatballs.
  8. For the meatballs:
  9. Mix all of the ingredients (except the coconut oil) together, by hand. Do so, until well blended.
  10. With a tablespoon measure, scoop out the mixture onto a cookie sheet (covered with parchment paper).
  11. Once all of the mixture is scooped out, with your hands form balls out of each tablespoonful.
  12. In a pan, add some coconut oil or butter (about 1-2 tablespoons) and brown the meatballs, a couple of minutes on each side.
  13. Place back on the cookie sheet.
  14. Bake at 180C (350F) for about 20 minutes, turning over half way. (Also, if you have two cookie sheets, place one on the middle and one on the top shelf. Swap them half way as well.)
  15. The meatballs can be cooked completely in the oven; however, they will not be as pretty as with this method, since they do release some liquids. This can also slightly happen even after frying. Simply scrape that off, if you want a prettier dish. If looks are not an issue, this doesn’t alter the flavour at all.
  16. Back to the soup:
  17. Remove the bay leaf.
  18. With an immersion blender or food processor, puree the soup.
  19. Pour it back into the soup pot. Add salt and pepper, to taste; and warm up.
  20. Add the meatballs to the soup, just before serving or in the individual serving bowls. (If they are slightly cold, you can also add them in the pot, while you warm up the soup.)
  21. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil for a nice touch.

 

Roasted Strawberry Custard Popsicles

I follow Cannelle et Vanille on Instagram, since I love Aran’s food photography and interesting ideas. I was ecstatic when her book came out last year and promptly purchased it. I have made a few recipes from it; and it has inspired me to create some of my own.

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Today is one of those days where I drew inspiration from one of her photographs. Aran posted some gorgeous    strawberries with thyme (much prettier than mine, as she’s a professional food photographer!), that she was preparing to roast. And since I had two packages of strawberries that were threatening to go bad on me, I thought what a perfect idea…for some ice cream!

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I wanted something super creamy, like a custard… so I used egg yolks in this recipe. If you’re worried about raw eggs.. don’t be. They are cooked.

None of my other ice cream recipes are made with eggs, except the rhubard semifreddo; and I must say the custard makes this ice cream spectacular! In fact, it’s so creamy that after putting it through the ice cream maker, I had to freeze it a bit longer to make it hard enough to scoop.

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However, after being in the freezer overnight, it was hard as a rock. So, I put it out to defrost a bit and forgot all about it… so instead of putting it through the ice cream maker again, I decided to make popsicles.

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They are a bit tangy, as I didn’t add much sweetener on purpose, since my intention was to pair the ice cream with a balsamic reduction. So, if you like things sweeter, just add more honey.

For a slight variation (last photograph): make an extra batch of roasted strawberries with the coconut sugar and blend with the immersion blender. Place this puree into the popsicle molds first. Freeze until it solidifies. Then place the strawberry custard mixture on top of that. Add some more of the roasted strawberry puree and insert a popsicle stick. Freeze again until solid. You will get a more colourful popsicle and also one with more intense flavours!

 

Roasted Strawberry Custard Popsicles
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
Makes 6 popsicles.
Ingredients
  • For the ice cream:
  • 300g strawberries (about 2 cups cut)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 cups coconut milk (if using canned, make sure it’s full fat)
  • 1/4 cup raw honey (more for a sweeter version)
  • 1/2 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 3 egg yolks
  • pinch of sea salt
Instructions
  1. For the ice cream:
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).
  3. Clean the strawberries and take the stems off. Cut in halves.
  4. Place them on a double sheet of parchment paper on a cookie tray or in an ovenproof dish.
  5. Drizzle with the lemon juice, zest and coconut sugar.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  7. In the meantime, in a pot over very low heat, mix the coconut milk and honey and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  8. Beat the egg yolks in a glass bowl and stir in a few tablespoons of the hot milk into the yolks, stirring constantly with a whisk.
  9. Add the arrowroot into the egg yolk mixture and mix well. Add a bit more hot coconut milk if necessary.
  10. Pour into the hot milk and continue cooking over very low heat until the sauce thickens and becomes a custard, stirring constantly.
  11. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Should you need to strain it, do so, while it’s warm, but not hot (you could burn yourself).
  12. Place the caramelised strawberries (with all the liquid, but remember to discard any lemon seeds) in the immersion blender or electric blender bowl. Pulse to liquify.
  13. Add the cooled custard and pulse to mix well.
  14. Add a pinch of sea salt and mix well.
  15. For popsicles:
  16. Pour the mixture in the popsicle molds and freeze.
  17. For ice cream:
  18. Place the entire mixture in your ice cream machine and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to churn.
  19. If you do not have an ice cream machine, don’t fret. Simply place the mixture into a sealable freezer container and freeze for about 4 hours, stirring every once in a while to avoid crystallization.
  20. For a slight variation (last photograph): make an extra batch of the roasted strawberries and blend with the immersion blender. Place this puree into the popsicle molds first. Freeze until it solidifies. Then place the strawberry custard mixture on top of that. Add some more of the roasted strawberry puree and insert a popsicle stick. Freeze again until solid. You will get a more colourful popsicle and also one with more intense flavours!

 

Chicken Masala

I am not passionate about the Indian cuisine; in fact, there are only a few dishes that I truly enjoy, and mostly have to be without much chili. Of course, I opine like this without ever having set foot on the Indian sub-continent… maybe a trip to India would change my mind and taste buds… In the meantime, tikka masala or chicken masala is one dish that I do like to order when going out. And it so happens that this dish is almost considered part of the national British cuisine! When eating out however, I’m always weary of the sauce and what is used to thicken it. Additionally, it’s invariably served with rice.

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So when I saw a version by The Urban Poser for a masala side dish, I knew I had to try it. What I’ve created below is an adaptation of Jenni’s recipe.

The unique component is the method of cooking the cauliflower “rice”, which makes the vegetable crunchy instead of mushy. My husband is not a fan of cauliflower “rice” and the only way I’ve enjoyed it before is as fried “rice”. However, after eating this, my husband was very complimentary and said he had not even noticed it was cauliflower at all!

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That’s quite a positive comment coming from his very critical palate!

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I created my own mixture of Garam Masala spices, based primarily on the recipe Jenni recommends, and added a few other spices of my own. You can, of course, simply substitute for a ready-made Garam Masala mix. The chili, I added separately in order to control the spiciness to my preference. Feel free to add more or less chili, depending on your taste.

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Also, I would recommend using dark chicken meat instead for a tastier and more moist version of this dish. I just didn’t have any on hand.

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(These last photos are the progression of the cauliflower cooking, so you can see the colour transformation.)

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Chicken Masala
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • 500g chicken breasts, washed and cut into bite-size pieces (if you prefer to use dark meat, it’s tastier)
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons green paprika pepper, chopped or julienne
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, partially peeled and chopped
  • 3 teaspoons Garam Masala, from the mixture below*
  • coarse sea salt, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • lard
  • butter
  • fresh cilantro
  • For the Garam Masala:
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Instructions
  1. Mix the spices for the Garam Masala and set aside.
  2. Clean the cauliflower and cut into large florets. “Rice” with a food processor. Set aside.
  3. In a wok or large shallow pan, melt about 2 tablespoons of lard.
  4. Cook the chicken pieces until done, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to brown on all sides. Remove from pan when done and set aside.
  5. In the same pan over high heat, melt about 2 tablespoons of butter or oil of preference.
  6. Immediately add the “riced” cauliflower and spread evenly over the bottom of the pan.
  7. Allow the cauliflower to fry until it starts to brown a bit, then stir it around, again spreading into an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Repeat a few times until the cauliflower starts to get brown and with slightly black flecks all over it. Remove from heat and transfer to a separate dish. Set aside.
  8. Again in the same pan, add another tablespoon or a bit more of butter and melt over low heat.
  9. Add the onion, garlic and pepper and sauté until the onion pieces are translucent.
  10. Add the carrots and zucchini and stir fry until “al-dente” or to your liking.
  11. Add 3 teaspoons of the Garam Masala mix, sea salt (to taste) and the chili powder. Stir well and cook about 1 minute.
  12. Add the chicken pieces and mix well.
  13. Add the 1/3 cup water and mix well. Cook until the water has evaporated, but a bit of sauce is left.
  14. Turn off the heat and add the “riced” cauliflower. Mix well.
  15. Serve immediately and garnish with freshly chopped cilantro.

 

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.

 

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