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Andalusian recipes, travel, and design

Tag: Breakfast

Leek Salad

This salad is usually served as a side dish at our home. But it can be eaten as a main meal or even breakfast, if desired.

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This salad served 4, as a side dish.

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Leek Salad
Recipe Type: Salad
Cuisine: Spanish
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 2 large leeks, washed and with some of the top layers taken off (if necessary) and cut into 2-in pieces
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, diced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • olive oil
  • freshly ground pepper and sea salt, to taste
  • herbs for garnishing
Instructions
  1. Steam the leeks until tender.
  2. Drain the water over a colander.
  3. Place the leeks on a serving plate and sprinkle the tomato and egg pieces over top.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and seasonings.
  5. Garnish with herbs, as desired.
  6. This salad can be eaten warm or cold.

 

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.

 

Quail Egg Stuffed Mushrooms

I find quail eggs simply adorable. Not only are they pretty, but they are fun to use in recipes, such as appetisers, garnish or as I used in this breakfast dish.

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This recipe is for 1 serving for a meal. It doesn’t take too much work and it’s healthy, nutritious and something different.

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(Beautiful quail egg shells.)

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(All my ingredients, chopped and ready to start cooking.)

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(Mushrooms with the stuffing.)

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(Mushrooms, stuffed and with the quail eggs on top, now ready for the oven.)

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(Ready to eat and served with the remaining stuffing sautéed with some kale, as a side.)

I hope you enjoy!

Quail Egg Stuffed Mushrooms
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves 1.
Ingredients
  • 6 medium sized button mushrooms (large enough to hold some stuffing and an egg on top)
  • 6 quail eggs
  • 2 slices of back rashers, cooked and minced (can be substituted for cooked bacon or raw jamon serrano pieces)
  • 1 small red onion, very finely diced
  • 1/2 stalk celery, very finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 mushroom stems, diced
  • a pinch of ground cumin
  • a pinch of ground rosemary
  • coarse sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • butter or fat of choice
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F), while you prepare the ingredients.
  2. In a pan, place the butter, onion and celery. Over low heat, cook until the onion is tender, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, mushroom stems, back rashers, spices and seasoning (if desired) and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Place the washed and de-stemmed mushrooms in an oven proof dish, with the inside facing up.
  5. Spoon some of the stuffing into each mushroom.
  6. Break the quail eggs individually into a small glass bowl and carefully pour one egg on top of each stuffed mushroom.
  7. Bake for 7-8 minutes.
  8. If you have leftover stuffing, as I did, you can sauté with some kale, for example and serve as a side to the stuffed mushrooms.
  9. Garnish with freshly cut parsley or cilantro, if desired.
  10. These also work well as an appetiser for parties.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Paleo Churros, the Real Deal

As I was frying these churros, my house was engulfed by the smells of the oil and the dough that transported me to the traditional churrerias in Spain. Eating churros in Spain equates to eating pancakes in certain countries… it’s not just about the  food, but the rituals that accompany it.

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For me, it reminds me of the many times my mother, my aunt and I would meet up in Sevilla to go shopping, first stopping to have a “churro con chocolate” breakfast around the corner from my great-aunt’s apartment in San Gonzalo. We still indulge in some churros with our afternoon coffee when we go shopping; but as we all see less of each other, it only happens when we are together in Sevilla.

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However, and this is a big one for me, I always have gotten an upset stomach after eating them. I don’t know if it’s the dough (made with wheat flour) or possibly the oils in which they are fried. But it hardly ever fails. So when I eat them out now, I usually have only one (and yes, I admit dipped in white, refined sugar, or dipped in chocolate as pictured below).

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But as I’m on a quest to Paleolise many of my favourite Spanish indulgences, I finally tackled the churro.

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My first attempt was based on the recipe for buñuelos (a fried-dough pastry, similar to choux) that I found in a book I bought on our last visit, called “Come Sin Gluten y Disfruta” by Begoñia Naveira. Yet, the dough was raw and still quite sticky inside after frying and baking. And honestly, it was a slippery glob when handling.

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As the process is slightly labour-intensive, I thought of giving up and trying it another day. But then my ambition and determination got the better of me, and I tried again. The secret to my success is the addition of coconut flour and altering the amounts of the ingredients a bit.

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These truly taste and feel like the real churros from Spain. I tried two ways: frying and baking. And while frying is the authentic way to make them, especially in olive oil, using a different oil (with a healthier smoke point, such as lard or coconut oil) will make them a healthier treat. If you want the real taste, though, frying them in olive oil is the way to go. And after all, this is a treat, so just don’t over-indulge!

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As for the baking: I like the results, but it’s more of a choux pastry then, instead of a churro. So… this recipe lends itself to more experimentation and to making some “Neapolitans” filled with cream and some delightful choux!

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I also froze some of the fried churros to see how they would “work” the next day. I took them out of the freezer, and stuck a few directly into the oven at 180C (350F) and heated them up for about 5 minutes (probably effectively 3 once the oven reached the temperature). They were delicious! I would say they were even better the next day!

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I left the choux-like mounds (pictured above) at room temperature overnight and they were also very nice the next day. They held their shape and texture, and the inside was still perfect.

And one last word of praise to this recipe: they do not seep in the oil when frying. The inside stays nice and dry, which is a really good thing since the real churros actually sometimes get oily inside.

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So go ahead and give this a try! I can’t wait to hear your feedback. Personally, I’m ecstatic that this worked and I know I can create more things with this basic recipe. 😉

¡que aproveches!

Paleo Churros, the Real Deal
Recipe Type: Dessert, Breakfast
Cuisine: Spanish
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) water
  • 100g (7 tablespoons) butter, measured when slightly softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea/himalayan salt
  • 33g (1/4 cup) coconut flour (scoop and scrape method)
  • 66g (1/2 cup) arrowroot powder (scoop and scrape method)
  • 3 eggs
Instructions
  1. Be prepared for some intense stirring and a bit of a workout. But these churros are worth it.
  2. NOTE: You will notice that the amounts are given in both metric and U.S. And although the amounts are not an exact conversion, they both work. I’ve tried it both ways to ensure both are foolproof. Don’t “mix and match”; either stick to metric or U.S. when making this recipe.
  3. I recommend preparing and measuring everything out before starting, as you will have to move rapidly and will not have time to measure once you’ve commenced the process.
  4. Also, crack the eggs in individual bowls before hand. (I always crack eggs separately when cooking/baking to ensure I don’t throw away a batch because of one bad egg.)
  5. Prepare your piping bag and tip as well. I used the Wilton 1M.
  6. Combine the coconut flour, arrowroot powder and salt together in one small bowl.
  7. Over low heat, in a medium pot, melt the butter in the water and when it starts to bubble, immediately, still over low heat, dump in the flours all at once.
  8. With a wooden spoon, stir vigorously until a ball is formed, which will be in about 30 seconds or less. (The dough will become a ball as you stir and will be sticky in itself but not stick to the pot. See photos attached.)
  9. Keep stirring for about 1 minute in total.
  10. Remove from heat and let cool about 5 minutes. (I actually timed this.)
  11. Add one egg at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition.
  12. The dough will slightly come apart when you first add each egg, but once you stir long enough, it comes back together, although never as dry as like in the beginning. (The dough starts to get noticeably stickier after egg number two.)
  13. Once all the eggs have been incorporated and the dough is well blended, spoon the dough into a piping bag.
  14. For Spanish looking churros, you’ll want to use a star or round tip. (Churros in Spain are typically either star shaped – pictured- or long round pieces.)
  15. Heat your oil of preference in a deep pot or a deep fryer (for an authentic Spanish taste, use olive oil).
  16. Once the oil is hot enough, carefully pipe the dough into the hot oil. You can use a pair of scissors to help you cut off the dough. (Be careful not to burn yourself or cause splatter.)
  17. Make either long or curled shapes.
  18. Fry turning over with a tong until golden brown on each side.
  19. Note: as the oil gets warmer, the dough will turn darker quicker, but still needs to be cooked through.
  20. Remove the churros from the oil with the tong and place on a plate prepared with paper towel (to absorb the extra oil).
  21. Serve immediately with thick, sweetened hot chocolate or dip in some coconut sugar.
  22. This dough also worked well in the oven, for a “healthier” version:
  23. Preheat oven to 200C (400F).
  24. Place a sheet of parchment on a cookie sheet.
  25. Pipe out desired shapes. Depending on what shape you choose, the baking time will have to be adjusted.
  26. For churro shaped rounds or “sticks”, bake about 8-10 minutes, turning over half way.
  27. For choux shaped mounds, bake 15 minutes. (These are also good the next day, stored at room temperature.)
  28. You can also freeze the fried/baked dough and reheat in the oven at 180C (350F) for about 5 minutes.

 

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!

 

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.

 

Sweet Frittata, Sweet Spanish Tortilla with Bacon!

A sweet tortilla or frittata, you ask? Yes, and it’s delicious and healthy! It’s the same basic concept of a pancake after all. In fact, the Dutch pannenkoeken and the German pfannkuchen are a flat version.

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I love Dutch pancakes and need to make a Paleo version to enjoy at home. But in the meantime, I came up with this recipe. You can add any fruit you have on hand, such as berries, apples, bananas, pineapple… the ideas are endless.

And if you have a sweeter tooth than I, you can add some coconut sugar to the mixture before cooking or sprinkle it over top before serving. Experiment with spices and bring it to a new dimension!

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Enjoy!

Sweet Frittata, Sweet Spanish Tortilla with Bacon!
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Spanish
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Makes one 8-inch tortilla/frittata.
Ingredients
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 egg whites, beaten until stiff peaks form
  • 1 heaping cup apples, diced
  • 2 bananas, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup desiccated coconut
  • 2 back rashers/bacon, crumbled/diced (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • coconut oil
  • orange zest (for garnishing)
  • lemon zest (for garnishing)
Instructions
  1. Cook the back rashers or bacon and set aside. When they are cool enough to handle, dice with a pair of scissors or crumble, if using bacon.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, and set aside.
  3. In a large, beat the eggs and set aside. (I beat mine with the electric mixer to make them fluffier, but by hand is fine too).
  4. In an 8-inch frying pan over low heat, add a few teaspoons of coconut oil.
  5. Add the apple pieces, the cinnamon and nutmeg, and sauté about 1-2 minutes. Remove from pan.
  6. In the same pan, add a bit more coconut oil, and sauté the banana slices, just until they are starting to become golden and caramelise, about 2 minutes. Remove from pan.
  7. Add the prepared apples, prepared bananas, back rasher bits, desiccated coconut, and coconut flour to the whole egg mixture. With a few swirls of the spatula, blend well.
  8. Fold in the egg whites and mix until well blended.
  9. In the same frying pan as before, add about 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, and heat over low heat.
  10. Add the tortilla/frittata mixture and spread out across the pan, by swirling the pan or spreading with a spatula.
  11. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  12. Then with the help of a flat plate or flat cover, cover the pan and flip the tortilla over and slide (uncooked side down) back into the frying pan.
  13. Cook for 2-3 minutes on this side.
  14. Flip again, if necessary to ensure it’s fully cooked.
  15. Slide onto a serving plate and garnish with some lemon and orange zest, if desired.
  16. Serve warm or cold.

 

Strawberry Chia Pudding

I’ve never tried chia seeds until yesterday. I had been eager to find out what they are like and to see if I like them enough to start using in recipes, especially puddings since I miss having a comfort food that’s easy to make.

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For my first attempt, I made a simple chia pudding with strawberries instead of just coconut milk. The result, I must say is delicious and quite filling. I may be experimenting with these seeds (at least enough to use up the package I purchased)… although in moderation, as there are controversial views on whether or not to include them in our Paleo/Primal diets on a regular basis. See here, here, and here for more information and make your own informed decision about consuming chia seeds.

Strawberry Chia Pudding
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 1-2
Ingredients
  • 1 cup strawberry puree (about 20 medium strawberries)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
Instructions
  1. Place the strawberries in a blender and puree.
  2. Add the lime juice and coconut milk and blend well.
  3. Pour into a glass container and add the chia seeds.
  4. Stir to mix well.
  5. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight, long enough for the seeds to absorb the liquids and create a gel.
  6. Stir before eating.

Puchero, Spanish Bone Broth & Egg Drop Soup

Growing up, I used to hate eating puchero or bone broth soup. I found it dull and boring, except for its slightly more special version as “sopa de picadillo”, which is with bits of jamon serrano, diced hard-boiled eggs, rice and maybe a tomato.

Later when we would go on the yearly El Rocio pilgrimage, for some odd reason, I loved a hot cup of “caldo” (broth) especially in the early mornings before eating breakfast. It was always chilly out as we started our journey each day around dawn and there was usually no time to eat a proper breakfast before the entire hermandad (brotherhood) would get the horses, mules and carriages ready for the camino (road). Caldo is something we have around all day during El Rocio pilgrimage, drinking a cup or glass at any time. It actually “does a body good” and as the Spaniards say is a “reconstituyente”, providing strength and adding needed protein, gelatin, salts and warmth.

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Of course, back then I didn’t realise the goodness in each cup of puchero/caldo/bone broth as I do today. Now I not only appreciate it, but make it frequently to drink alone, use as the base for a soup or for the dough of Spanish croquetas. As soon as you eat a few spoonfuls, you start to feel the energy pumping into your body! 😉

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The recipe I’m sharing with you today is simple. And you can alter it depending on the bones you have available or want to use. I particularly like using jamon serrano bones or pork bones with chicken meat and bones. It makes for a clear broth that is very tasty. But you can substitute for beef, lamb or a combination of all. It’s up to you. I also added two knobs of kelp seaweed to add iodine to the soup. It’s important to get enough iodine in our diets to ensure proper thyroid function. As we are using more and more sea salt or Himalayan rock salt in Paleo cooking, we are not always getting enough iodine as when we used iodized table salt.

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Jamon serrano bones provide a special flavour; however, if you don’t have access to jamon serrano, you could try asking in a specialty shop if they’ll sell you the bones after the jamon is done. Or if you’re up to it, give a good jamon serrano a try, by buying the whole leg and eating it at home like Spaniards do!

A good brand to buy is 5J’s; it can be more expensive, but the quality has never disappointed us. It’s so deliciously balanced, almost sweet to the palate and melts in your mouth. Ahhh.. I think it’s time to buy another one again in Spain! 😉

Jamon Serrano can be made with the back legs (jamon) or front legs (paleta/paletilla) of white pigs or the Black Iberian pig, which is an endemic species from southern Spain and Portugal. The best jamon comes from the Black Iberian pigs, especially if it’s fed only acorns. I recommend giving this one a try!

The cooking times for puchero/bone broth can vary. I let mine simmer about 6 hours on the first day and then another 4 hours on the second day. You don’t need to do that; but if you do, you must keep adding water, as it evaporates, and adjust for salt. You can also make the broth in a few hours and use the same day. But the longer you simmer, the more intense flavour and the more nutrients you will get out of the bones and ingredients.

Buen Provecho.

Puchero, Spanish Bone Broth & Egg Drop Soup
Cuisine: Spanish
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 1-2 ham hock or large piece of jamon serrano bone with meat on it
  • 3 chicken breasts or 4-5 pieces of chicken on the bone, whichever you have
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and cut in halves
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and whole
  • juice of one lemon (optional)
  • 3-4 carrots, cut into large chunks (no need to peel unless you want to eat them later)
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into large pieces
  • 2 knobs kelp
  • sea salt, to taste
  • filtered water
  • For the egg drop soup:
  • 1 beaten egg per person
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, place all of the ingredients (except the egg) and add enough water to fill about 3/4 full.
  2. Place over medium heat and bring to a soft boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 6-8 hours, adding water as necessary.
  4. Also remember to skim the ugly fat that comes to the top every once in a while, for a clearer and nicer broth.
  5. You can freeze the broth in small containers to use at a later date or you can immediately drink it, use as a soup or base for another recipe.
  6. Here, I’ve eaten it as an egg drop soup with 1 minced, chicken breast, some carrot pieces and a beaten egg.
  7. For the egg drop:
  8. Bring some of the broth to a boil in a small saucepan.
  9. Beat the egg, and slow pour it into the boiling broth, while stirring with a fork to create the stringy appearance.

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