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Category: summer

Roasted Summer Vegetables, Red Mullet & The Borough Market

Here’s the dish for this post… but first a little bit about my visit to the Borough Market in London….(you can skip to the bottom for the recipe).

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A few days ago, I visited the Borough Market in London with a fellow Paleo blogger, Ceri, from Natural Kitchen Adventures. I had been wanting to go for quite some time, but for some reason it just seemed too far a trip. It turns out it’s not and it’s quite easy to get to. In fact, for those of you in London, it’s literally right above the London Bridge tube station and very close to the Shard. One word of caution though: take a few bags (and plenty of money!), as you’ll want to buy everything in sight! 😉

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Ceri and I met in person last year and had been wanting to do a market outing together for some time; and now we finally got around to it. She has been to the market many times before and acted as an impromptu guide, showing me around the vegetable, butcher, fish monger and specialty stands.

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If you haven’t been, it’s a must see, even if you’re just a tourist in London. It’s really a beautiful market with mostly organic produce, grass-fed meats and wild caught fish. I honestly can’t speak much about some of the specialty shops, as I didn’t visit them. But there are a load of places selling pastry, chocolate and sweets and even organic muesli and cereal mixes. There’s also a Spanish shop with a wide variety of cheese (many unpasteurised), jamon serrano, salted cod, and other traditional foods. And there are plenty of places to eat, although most of them are not Paleo-friendly.

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On one of our turns around the stalls, we bumped into Hook & Son, a raw milk supplier and producer of raw cream, raw yoghourt, raw butter and raw buttermilk. I hadn’t had raw milk since I was a child in Spain, so it was quite a treat to sample it again. I must say, it’s so delicious and creamy! And it didn’t even bother my tummy. I’m lactose intolerant and regular, pasteurised milk sits like a bomb in my belly. Granted, I only had a little bit… but Ceri and I did share an apricot-flavoured, sugar-free yoghourt and loved it! What’s even cooler about Hook & Son is that there’s a British documentary that has been made called The Moo Man. Stephen Hook, the very friendly and informative farmer, who attended to all our queries, is the protagonist (along with his herd and family) of the film, which apparently was a surprise hit at the Sundance Film Festival 2013. I look forward to finding a screening near us, as it’s supposed to be a very interesting and heart-breaking love story of Mr. Hook’s journey to remain organic and preserve his herd and farm. I also look forward to finding the time to visit his farm. But in the meantime, the good thing about Hook & Son is that they deliver raw milk all over England and Wales! That’s quite exciting for me, as I want to make good quality kefir and pasteurised milk doesn’t cut it. (For more information on the film, please check: moomanmovie.com.)

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Anyway, at the market, we really had to struggle to control our shopping impulses. Everything is so beautiful. The fruits and vegetables look simply amazing and picture perfect. So much so, that I actually succumbed and bought a purple cauliflower, some yellow courgettes (zucchini), purple kale, and some figs, which were simply just too expensive, but I hope worth it!

As we were ready to leave, Ceri took me over to The Ginger Pig stand, a butcher, specialising in organic, grass-fed lamb, beef, pork and poultry. We kindly requested some beef bones for broth and the nice butcher gave us a bag full!

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It was not easy to leave the market, but at least we left happy and already brainstorming how to use our purchases…

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And here’s a recipe with the yellow courgettes that I bought. I used both the yellow and green ones I had previously on hand to add more colour to the dish. But you can make this with just the regular green ones, and also add in aubergines, if you like (I would’ve added them, but didn’t have any left).

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Roasted Vegetables with Red Mullet
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2
Serves 2.
Ingredients
  • 6-8 red mullet filets, depending on appetite and size of filets
  • 1 medium green zucchini (courgette), sliced diagonally to make larger “rounds”
  • 1/2 large yellow zucchini (courgette), sliced diagonally to make larger “rounds”
  • 2-3 medium tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and sliced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, sliced lengthwise
  • Herbes de Provence
  • freshly ground rosemary
  • coarse sea salt
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • freshly chopped parsley
Instructions
  1. Rinse the fish filets and set on a paper towel over a plate. Sprinkle with some coarse sea salt and set aside.
  2. Prepare the vegetables.
  3. Preheat the oven at 180C (350F) while you set up the vegetables, as follows.
  4. In an ovenproof dish, alternate between the zucchini, tomato and onion pieces, layering until you have covered the dish and used up all the vegetables.
  5. Drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle some coarse sea salt over top.
  6. Sprinkle some Herbes de Provence (I used about 1-2 teaspoons) and some rosemary (I used about 1/2-1 teaspoon) over top.
  7. Place in the middle rack of the oven and cook for about 30-40 minutes until the zucchini are tender.
  8. Remove from the oven and drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar. Let sit a few minutes before serving to absorb the vinegar flavours.
  9. About 10 minutes before the vegetables are ready, you will need to cook the fish.
  10. Add some olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) in a pan and set the filets and garlic inside.
  11. Over low heat, cook the fish, turning over to cook each side, about 3-4 minutes on each side.
  12. (Red mullet filets shrink quite a bit and also may “shrivel” up. So, make sure to cook just long enough, but not overcook or it will be too dry.)
  13. Serve immediately with some freshly chopped parsley as garnish and the roasted vegetables as accompaniment.

 

Lamb Tagine with Vegetables, Honey & Dates

If you’re a regular follower of my blog and Facebook page, you will know by now about my passion for Moroccan food. While we were in Spain this past month, I bought a bunch of cookbooks, including a two Moroccan ones. And then my friend Pedro, from Colesterol Sin Fronteras, presented me with a third! So, I have no excuse but to use them, of course…

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Perusing through one of them, I came across the idea of a lamp chop and date tagine. But since I had some kale on hand and a few different vegetables than the recipe called for, I came up with my own concoction, which I share with you now.

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Lamb Tagine with Vegetables, Honey & Dates
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Moroccan
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2-3
Serves 2-3.
Ingredients
  • 600g lamb chops (about 6 smallish chops)
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and whole
  • 2 cups kale leaves, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 8 dates, pitted
  • 4 mushrooms, clean and cut into fourths
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • a few sprigs of saffron
  • 1 stick cinnamon, halved
  • 1 + 1/4 cup filtered water (more if necessary)
  • butter, ghee or oil of choice
  • 1/2 tablespoon raw honey (more or less, to taste, and optional)
  • coarse sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of sesame seeds, raw or roasted (optional)
  • some mint leaves, chopped (optional)
Instructions
  1. Rinse and and lay to dry on a plate or paper towels the lamb chops. Sprinkle with some sea salt and set aside, while you prepare the vegetables.
  2. In a tagine or other pan over medium heat, melt about 1-2 tablespoons of butter.
  3. Add the lamb chops and brown on both sides, making sure all of the blood is gone.
  4. Remove the lamb chops from the tagine/pan.
  5. In the same tagine/pan over low heat, melt another 1-2 tablespoons of butter.
  6. Add the onions and whole garlic cloves.
  7. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are almost translucent.
  8. Add the rest of the vegetables, turmeric, saffron, cinnamon and 1 cup water (add more water during cooking, if necessary, to not dry out the vegetables completely).
  9. Mix well, and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  10. Add the honey and mix well.
  11. Place the lamb chops back into the tagine/pan.
  12. Pour the remaining 1/4 cup (or slightly more if necessary) water over top.
  13. Cover and cook an additional 10-15 minutes (depending on desired tenderness of meat), turning the chops half way through.
  14. Season with sea salt and pepper, if necessary, or leave the seasoning to the individual plates.
  15. Garnish with sesame seeds and chopped mint leaves, if desired.
  16. Serve immediately.

 

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.

 

Stuffed Mushrooms with Bacon & Almonds РChampi̱ones Rellenos con Beicon & Almendras

I seem to have a bad case of brain fog, and I cannot figure out why. Although it could be due to eating out this weekend and eating a good dose of Japanese and Chinese food… if there’s one thing I’ve been very strict about avoiding is gluten and sugar since I started Paleo. However, when eating out, it’s nearly impossible to avoid one or the other or both, which can be very frustrating especially at Asian restaurants. Thankfully, I don’t have a really bad reaction to gluten, other than brain fog and a little bit of bloating. (Both of these “symptoms” I’ve only really noticed recently. Before going gluten free, I never appreciated that these symptoms were possibly due to gluten.)

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Anyway, it’s been hard getting back into the routine of things and blogging again. We were on a road trip for 2.5 weeks, and after getting home, I had to organise, clean and prepare the house for our family guests this past weekend. Needless to say, the blog was relocated to the back-burner (pun intended ;)).

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That doesn’t mean I’m not cooking on a daily basis. It’s just that I don’t have time to photograph the food and write about it. But as I feel that I’ve been neglecting my readers, I made an extra effort this weekend to at least take pictures of a new recipe that I developed for our tapa lunch yesterday.

After the whole Saturday of sight-seeing in London and wonderful weather, yesterday we stayed home and shared some Spanish goodies and tapas made especially for our family. I made a sweet potato Spanish tortilla and some individual milhojas de berenjenas (layered aubergines), while my husband cut some raw-milk Manchego cheese and some Caña de Lomo (a type of cured pork loin, which is a delicacy in Spain), we recently purchased in Spain. We also enjoyed anchovy-stuffed olives and marinated capers. And to top it off, I created the following stuffed mushroom recipe.

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We love mushrooms and have them often “al ajillo” or with garlic. I also incorporate them into a lot of dishes; but yesterday I wanted them to be the star on their own and decided stuffed would be a nice alternative and something a bit easier to make while we enjoyed the conversation with our guests.

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These mushrooms are easy to make. The primary work is in the chopping and preparation of the ingredients; but once you do that, the rest can be done in a jiffy.

Stuffed Mushrooms with Bacon & Almonds РChampi̱ones Rellenos con Beicon & Almendras
Recipe Type: Appetiser
Cuisine: Spanish
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 16 – 18 button mushrooms
  • 3 pork back rasher or pieces of bacon, cooked and diced
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • a handful of raw, blanched almonds
  • 10-15 black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter
Instructions
  1. Take the buttons off the mushrooms and set them aside. Clean out the mushrooms and rinse them in water to remove any dirt. Set upside-down on a paper towel to drain.
  2. Wash the stems and with a knife, chop into small pieces. Set aside.
  3. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter in the olive oil and cook the onion until translucent.
  4. Add the garlic and mushroom stem pieces. Cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently, to release any liquid in them.
  5. Add the back rasher pieces and cumin and stir well. Cook about 1 minutes and remove from heat.
  6. Place the mushroom caps with the open-side up in an ovenproof dish.
  7. Fill with the bacon-onion mixture. Set aside.
  8. Preheat oven to 180C.
  9. In the same saucepan, add a drizzle of olive oil and over low heat, brown the almonds, stirring constantly. Be careful not to burn them, as they will turn sour. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  10. Pour the almonds and oil into a mortar with the peppercorns. Ground with the pestle into coarse pieces.
  11. Spoon the almonds-ground peppercorn mixture over the filled mushroom caps.
  12. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes and serve immediately.

 

Pisto-Spanish Ratatouille

I’ve been kind of missing in action for the past three weeks, for which I apologise. We did our annual road trip to Sevilla, but this time coupled it with some work and appointments in Germany first. Since we were mostly on the road, I was only really able to update my Instagram and keep up a little bit with my Facebook page. I have to admit that I did take my laptop with me, thinking I would be able to have some free time and share a recipe with you during the trip. But that was impossible.

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It has not been until today that I was able to sit down and write a post with a recipe. That of course doesn’t mean we’ve not been eating at home since we arrived on Sunday afternoon. We have, but mostly old recipes and nothing new to share. However, if you follow me on Instagram, I usually post what we are doing for breakfast, lunch and dinner… if you’re interested, please do check it out.

During our travels, it seems like it’s always hard to get vegetables (especially in Europe), other than potatoes, on a regular basis in any restaurant. It’s quite frustrating, especially for me, as I rely on vegetables to keep me regular. So, travelling and no veggies makes for a lot of intestinal issues for me.

When we are “home” in Sevilla since it’s usually only a week, we buy food for making breakfast at home, but eat most of the rest of our meals out to make things easier and also enjoy a bit of vacation time away from the kitchen. Consequently, we eat at a lot of tapa bars. Tapas are delicious, but they are not a meal per se. You have to eat a number of them and most of them are not vegetable based. Having said that, that is actually changing now in Southern Spain, and you do see a lot of tapas such as stuffed mushrooms, artichokes with jamon serrano, and pisto (the Spanish name for ratatouille) more often than years ago.

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I completely fell in love with pisto on this trip. I used to hate it growing up and therefore hardly make it at home. But after a few wonderful tapas in Sevilla and a side in France, I’m hooked.

So much, that I made it at home as soon as I could. Here’s the recipe. I added a few spices, but you can make it without if you prefer.

Pisto-Spanish Ratatouille
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
  • 3 medium courgettes, partially peeled and diced
  • 2 medium aubergines, partially peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 paprika pepper (I used red, but any colour is fine), diced
  • 3 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (more if desired)
  • 2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground rosemary
  • coarse sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Wash, peel and prepare all of the vegetables.
  2. In a deep skillet, place 1/4 cup of olive oil and the onion.
  3. Over low heat, cook the onion until translucent.
  4. Add the pepper and cook 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add the rest of the vegetables and cook about 25 minutes, stirring frequently.
  6. Add the spices and seasoning and the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and cook an additional 5 minutes.
  7. (If you like your ratatouille less dry, add more than the 1/4 cup olive oil towards the end.)

 

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.

 

Spanish Spiced Hamburgers with Sweet Potato Chips

I’ve never really like hamburgers. Can you believe that? Well, okay, I’ll admit I love them off a barbecue grill with the right toppings and I especially love them with these spices.

My aunt Virginia, from whom I learned this recipe, makes a version of these, which are truly the only way I’ll eat a hamburger at home. And my husband loves them so much, he ate three the other night! (Mind you, he’s not Paleo and eats his with a burger bun.)

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I served these over a bed of wild rocket (arugula), topped them with some avocado and tomato slices, a sprinkling of fresh onions, and accompanied them with some sweet potato chips or crisps.

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For the sweet potato chips: simply peel the amount you want to use, slice thinly with a mandolin (careful to not cut yourself,  these things are very sharp), sprinkle with some coarse sea salt and toss in a bowl, then fry them in plenty of oil. I used olive oil in a deep pot (I haven’t yet opened up my deep fryer), turning them frequently with a slotted spatula to ensure they didn’t stick to each other and didn’t burn.

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I cooked my burgers in lard on a frying pan on the stove. The lard gives them an added flavour, but I imagine on the bbq they are also great.

Spanish Spiced Hamburgers with Sweet Potato Chips
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Spanish
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • 500g minced (ground) beef
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and very finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • coarse sea salt, to taste
  • a sprinkle of turmeric for colour (I used probably about 1-2 teaspoons)
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • lard, for cooking
  • sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced with a mandolin
  • olive oil, lard or other fat for frying the potatoes
Instructions
  1. For the hamburgers:
  2. Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well with hands.
  3. Form hamburger patties of the size you like. (I made 4 medium ones and a tiny one with this amount of meat.)
  4. Melt about 2 tablespoons of lard in a frying pan.
  5. Cook the burgers to your liking.
  6. For the sweet potato chips:
  7. Simply fry them in the grease of preference. I used a slotted spatula and stirred frequently to ensure they did not burn or stick to each other. They fry much quicker than regular white potatoes do.

 

Pork Belly Tacos with Pineapple-Avocado Salsa & Avocado Mayo

I am totally not a planner when it comes to food. In fact, I was explaining this to a friend the other day, how most days I determine what we are having for dinner by whatever I take out of the freezer in the morning. On occasion I do plan the evening before and sometimes I dream about a breakfast combination… but in general, I tend to surprise even myself, which for me makes eating and cooking so much more fun. 😉

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And many times, our meals are based around what we have available or something that I must use up, as is the case with this recipe and the pineapple that would soon have gone bad and to waste. I hate wasting food for many reasons, but I won’t go into that now.

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Here’s the combination for this dish: pork belly stripes made in the oven with a dry rub (get the recipe for the spice mix here), a pineapple-avocado-tomato salsa, an avocado mayo (recipe included below), and Paleo soft tortilla shells (get the recipe here)*. The tortilla shells can be made days in advance and frozen. I usually take them out of the freezer just a few minutes before heating them. They are easily warmed up in a hot pan with no oil or grease necessary, just a few seconds on each side.

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*For the tortilla shells this time, I halved the recipe, omitting the flaxmeal and cumin, since I knew the pork was going to be spicy enough. Plus, I doubled the amount of coconut milk in the recipe to make them slightly thinner.

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Pork Belly Tacos with Pineapple-Avocado Salsa & Avocado Mayo
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • For the pork belly stripes:
  • 1 kg pork belly strips
  • 2-4 tablespoons of Cinnamon-Chili Rub*
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon (or a bit more) of lard, cut into think slices
  • For the pineapple-avocado-tomato salsa:
  • 1 fresh pineapple, cut into slices and then diced
  • 1-2 ripe avocados (depending on size), diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • For the avocado mayo:
  • 1 medium avocado
  • juice of one lime
  • coarse sea salt, to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • For the set up:
  • fresh onions, for garnishing
  • Paleo Tortilla Shells*
Instructions
  1. For the pork belly stripes:
  2. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  3. Rinse and place the pork belly stripes in an oven proof dish.
  4. Sprinkle with the cinnamon-chili rub on both sides.
  5. Sprinkle with some coarse sea salt, to taste, and place the slices of lard on top.
  6. Bake for about 30-40 minutes on each side or until done, depending on the amount of meat on them. (I turn mine over about every 20 minutes.)
  7. Cut each strip into small pieces to use in your tacos.
  8. For the pineapple-avocado salsa:
  9. Mix the pineapple, avocado, and tomato and drizzle with the lime juice.
  10. For the avocado mayo:
  11. Pulse in a blender or immersion blender the avocado, lime juice and sea salt.
  12. Add the olive oil slowly and blend until all is smooth.
  13. For setting up each taco:
  14. Place some pork belly pieces on each shell (amount is up to you).
  15. Cover with some of the salsa, the avocado mayo, and fresh onions.
  16. Enjoy!

 

Cinnamon Chili Dry Rub for Meats

I made up this rub the other day for some pork ribs and forgot to post the recipe. Today, I’ve used it again for the pork belly tacos and we loved the combination of the flavours with the pineapple-avocado salsa.

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Cinnamon Chili Dry Rub for Meats
Recipe Type: Spices
Cuisine: Spice Mix
Author: The Saffron Girl
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/8 cup garam masala
  • 1/8 cup chili powder
  • 1/4 cup sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients together and use when ready.
  2. I store mine in a glass spice jar with my other spices.
  3. It’s great on red meat, pork, and even some fish.

 

Beef Brisket Stew with Dates

I found the inspiration for this recipe in a Spanish cookbook my mother has, wrote it down and have made it a number of times in the past. But since I started this blog, I hadn’t revisited this dish.

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It has a delicate combination of sweet and savoury flavours, which provide the brisket with depth and delicious aroma, and has an almost exotic feel to it. I’m happy I found the recipe again, as I plan to make it more often.

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Beef Brisket Stew with Dates
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Spanish
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Serves 3-4
Ingredients
  • 1.5kg beef brisket, rinsed and cleaned if necessary
  • 2 medium red onions, cut julienne style
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into medium pieces
  • 3/4 medium green paprika pepper, sliced julienne style
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 1/2 cups bone broth (or water, if you don’t have it; however, the taste will be different and you’ll need to adjust for salt)
  • 10-12 dates, pitted
  • coarse sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • olive oil (or fat of choice)
Instructions
  1. Prepare all the vegetables and dates.
  2. Rinse and clean the brisket.
  3. In a deep and large enough pot, place a few tablespoons of olive oil and the brisket.
  4. Over low heat, brown the brisket on both sides.
  5. Add the onions and poach.
  6. Add the carrots, peppers, dates and wine.
  7. Cook about 3-4 minutes.
  8. Then add the bone broth and simmer for 1 hour or until the meat is tender. (Turn the brisket over, every 20 minutes or so.)

 

Banana Coconut-Flour Spice Bread (or Cake), Nut Free

My mother asked me some time ago if I had a Paleo banana bread recipe. You see, I’m slowly converting my parents to the Paleo diet. They are trying to eliminate bread, which they only eat in the morning, and avoid baking with sugar. Everything else, except for the drinking milk that my father will not let go of, they are already pretty much on board.

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Ironically, I didn’t have a plain banana bread Paleo version until now. Last week, I experimented with bananas, grated beetroot and an almond flour based cake.* While I like it and the flavour is very nice, I was struggling with the fact of having a high concentration of nuts in the bread.

I wanted to come up with something healthier that can be eaten daily, in fact so my mother can use it as a replacement for her breakfast bread. Additionally, although the beetroot is a great flavour, it’s not something everyone has on hand in a pinch.. so I’ve opted for a more simple version of bananas alone to create a coconut-flour based bread instead.

With this, I not only feel comfortable that my mother can have a healthy bread, which she can eat daily, and I feel no guilt in indulging either!

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The result of this recipe is a flavourful bread/cake, that is light and fluffy. The spices provide an aromatic flavour, making the banana less prominent, which I personally prefer. However, you can omit the spices or swap them for the beans of a vanilla pod or vanilla extract.

The first time I made this, I added desiccated coconut to add texture; the second time, I omitted it. Both ways are delicious and nothing needs to be altered when omitting it.

If you want to make it sweeter, add more honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar, but remember coconut sugar also adds a dark colour. Feel free to omit the little bit of honey in the recipe if you prefer.

*The banana-beetroot cake I’ll be sharing soon. I have to make it again and take proper pictures.. but I promise it will be up!

Banana Coconut-Flour Spice Bread (or Cake), Nut Free
Recipe Type: Dessert
Cuisine: Paleo
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Makes one loaf.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup mashed bananas, make sure they are almost liquid (2-3 bananas)
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey (more to taste, for a cake)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt or a pinch of fine salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 5 egg whites + 1/2 teaspoon creme of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • Add in: 1/2 cup cacao nibs or chocolate pieces/chips (optional)
  • 1/3 cup desiccated coconut (for added texture, but optional and not essential to the recipe)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Grease your loaf or cake tin with some butter or coconut oil. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the mashed bananas, egg yolks, melted butter, honey, spices, and salt until smooth. Set aside.
  4. In another clean bowl, beat the egg whites and creme of tartar until very stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  5. Add the baking soda, desiccated coconut (if using) and coconut flour to the banana mixture and blend well. If you’re adding the cacao nibs or chocolate pieces, do so now as well, and mix well.
  6. Fold in the egg whites into the creamed mixture just until the egg whites are not visible. Do not over mix.
  7. Pour into the loaf or cake tin.
  8. Bake on the bottom rack for 45-50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

 

Paleo Blueberry-Raspberry Crumble

The only problem with this recipe is that it makes only 2 servings… I think you’ll be repeating, as I have, or just double it up for double deliciousness!

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I had never had a crumble before attempting making my own the other day. But this couldn’t be an easier sweet treat to make and you can use any fruit you like or have at home. Of course, if it’s a fruit that make not bake all the way through, try sautéing it a bit before adding to the crumble.

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The coconut sugar gives this crumble a slightly “brown sugar” flavour and I personally wouldn’t substitute that.

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Enjoy!

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Paleo Blueberry-Raspberry Crumble
Recipe Type: Dessert
Cuisine: Paleo
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2
Makes 2 ramekins.
Ingredients
  • For the filling:
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • For the crumble:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds/almond meal
  • 2 teaspoons coconut flour
  • pinch of coarse sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  2. For the filling:
  3. Rinse the fruit.
  4. Place all of the ingredients in a small dish or bowl, mix and set aside.
  5. For the crumble:
  6. Place all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
  7. Using your hands, cut the dry ingredients into the butter until it becomes a “crumble”.
  8. Spoon the filling into two ramekins.
  9. Top with the crumble.
  10. Bake (on middle or bottom shelf) for 12-15 minutes, or until the fruit starts to bubble and the crumble is crispy.

 

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