Category Archives: fancy food

Sex begins in the kitchen!

Did I get your attention? A number of years ago I read a relationship book with this title.  It actually wasn’t so much about how food is the way to a man’s heart, it was about how all the little things we do to help each other (like cleaning up the kitchen!) can go a long way towards increasing our desire (specially us chicks who might need a little lead time ;-)!) for intimacy.  Given this is a food blog though and not a marriage blog I’ll turn my attention to sharing a few recipes that you might like to consider for a romantic night in tomorrow night for Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day is not a day on our marriage calendar that is given massive attention, however we do usually buy each other a card.  I’d much rather a gift or flowers at a random time than on a ‘required’ day, but given this year the day falls on a Saturday, and we have no other social plans, we’re planning on cooking a nice dinner (probably a family dinner), putting the kids to bed, then having dessert and watching a movie together.  Then it will be a date night at home and the boys will learn a little about the importance of Mum & Dad having time for our relationship without them.

I haven’t decided exactly what to cook, but here are a few ideas I’ve got that you might be inspired to try too.

If you’re after a 3 course meal, why not try this roasted field mushroom with rocket, persian feta (omit for paleo), sun-dried tomatoes and roasted beetroot chips for an entree? Mushroom+Beetroot

Here are a couple of main course suggestions, depending on what kind of protein your after.  I really like this eye fillet with mushroom & crispy sweet potato.

eye fillet mushrooms sweet potato

If you’d rather some lamb (or are feeding the family), why not cook a butterflied leg of lamb.  butterfliedlamgfigglazecooked

If fish is more your thing grill some fresh salmon and serve it with a fabulous salad, like this rainbow noodley one:vegespaghettisalador this pretty peach & greens salad:pretty peach & green salador even some good old brussel sprouts!

brussel sprouts

The pinnacle of any Valentine’s Day dinner is surely the dessert! Here are a few of my favourite desserts that I think qualify as ‘romantic’ and  fit within the ‘paleo or paleo-ish treat’ category.

These lemon coconut tarts are even AIP friendly and if you have a heart shape mould are even more perfect!

Lemon coconut tarts

Sexy Choc- caramel tart:

choccarmelcoconuttart Raw choc-nut raspberry tarts with banana ice cream: 

photo(5)

chocolate coconut ganache

 

Here is a super easy paleo-ish dessert. Chocolate coconut ganache with fresh strawberries. Bring 1 cup coconut cream to a simmer with 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste, turn off and after 5 mins stir in 100g dark choc till combined. Pour into little dishes (or tart shell) and refrigerate until set. Serve with fresh strawberries.

 

 

Or if paleo is not your thing and you want, what I think is the prettiest of desserts, have a go at this Pretty Persian Rose Ice Cream.

Well, hopefully that’s got the romance building in the air/kitchen!  I’d love you to post/comment with your Valentine’s Day meal ideas or after the fact, let me know what you cooked.  You can always tag your photos with #whatannabelcooks and I’ll see what you’ve made.

♥  Annabel x

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rhubarb, strawberry & lemon tart (AIP, paleo, gf, nf, eg, df)

I must say that it was how pretty this tart looked that made me want to make it! The second thing that intrigued me was that it was made with sweet potato flour.  If you follow my Facebook page you might remember the staged process it was to make the sweet potato flour! So after embarking on making the sweet potato flour, I had to use it up so I decided to make it as a ‘bonus’ for one of my recent cooking classes.

The recipe comes originally from AIP Lifestyle who have some great recipes, even if you’re not restricted by an AIP lifestyle! I added rhubarb and some pretty little dried rose petals to mine and served it with the ‘custard’ from the lemongrass & kaffir lime coconut icecream (ie just wasn’t churned in the ice-cream machine) but if dairy isn’t an issue it would be lovely (as are all tarts in my opinion) served with cream and ice-cream.

rhubard, strawberry & lemon tart

Continue reading rhubarb, strawberry & lemon tart (AIP, paleo, gf, nf, eg, df)

slow roasted honey ‘soy’ duck

Recently when I was visiting my family over Easter, Mum made slow roasted duck.  She made this version and it was beautiful, so tender! Last night, we had friends over and I made the version below but forgot to take a photo!  I didn’t have any orange/juice hence the switch to the ‘soy’ version.

2kg-ish whole duck, rinsed
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut aminos/tamari/soy
2 cups water
1 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil/olive oil/butter
1 teaspoon lemon juice

  1. Preheat oven to 175C/350F.
  2. In a small bowl mix together mix together the basil, ginger, salt and 1/4C coconut aminos or substitute and rub mixture all over the duck. Place it into a roasting dish with a lid.
  3. Add water.
  4. In a small saucepan combine the honey, coconut oil/butter, lemon juice and remaining 1/4 C coconut aminos. Simmer together over low heat until syrupy; pour a little of the mixture over the duck, saving the rest for basting. Cover dish.
  5. Bake/roast duck for 30 minutes. Turn duck breast down, reduce heat to 150C/300F and roast covered for another 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until very tender. If desired, turn duck breast up during last few minutes of cooking, to brown.
  6. Once removed and cooled slightly you can pull all the meat of the carcass.
  7. Serve with side of your choice (eg warm sweet potato and herb salad) and pour over some of the syrup.

Serves about 4-6.

NB:  I made this ahead of time and once I removed all the meat and got rid of the carcass, I left the juices/fat in the pan, and put it in the fridge for a few hours.  The fat the solidified and I scraped the fat off, threw it out and then put the meat back in the juice to warm just before serving.

NB for AIP or paleo use the coconut aminos and coconut/olive oil.

za’atar spiced labneh

IMG_1087 I think these little balls of yoghurty yumminess are perfect for Friday night drinks, broken up to spice up a green salad, or a perfect gift.  Now, go get a glass of wine, some crackers and snack away.

  • 500g greek yoghurt
  • za’atar spice mix
  • olive oil
  • thyme
  • salt & pepper
  1. To make the labne you scoop the yoghurt onto into a nut bag/onto a clean muslin cloth (or new rinsed chux will do). Pull up the corners to form a ball and tie a rubber band on the top. Suspend the bag over a jug by threading a wooden spoon through the rubber band and resting it across the mouth of the jug. Leave overnight (at least).  You can add the liquid that drips out to your green smoothie!
  2. Make balls from the labne, roll them in your hands then roll them in spice mix.
  3. Pour a little olive oil into the bottom of a jar, place a few balls in, more oil and repeat until the jar is full.  Stick a few thyme sprigs into the jar.

Enjoy.

zaater labneh cracker

paleo/raw bounty bars

paleo bounty bars.jpgI have thought about making these for a while and then as cacao is not AIP friendly forgot about them. The other day I had lunch at the Paleo Cafe with my friends Sharon and Lyn and Sharon brought out her secret stash of bounty bars for us for dessert! I was re-inspired to give them a go. Glad I did!
Coconut Filling

    • 1 Tbsp cacao butter (melted)
    • 1/3 cup coconut oil
    • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or to taste)
    • 1/2 cup coconut milk
    • 2 cups desiccated coconut
    • pinch salt
    1. Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until just starting to come together as a paste but don’t over process as you still want to have some of the texture of the desiccated coconut.
    2. Press into rectangular container lined with baking paper (I used 15cmx22cm) or into rectangular shape. Freeze until solid.
    3. Remove and cut into pieces (I cut mine into 18 but you could certainly make them larger or smaller)

coconut filling
Chocolate sauce

    • 3/4 cup cacao powder
    • 3/4 cup coconut oil
    • 1/2 cup maple syrup (or to taste)
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
    1. Place all ingredients into a saucepan and gently stir over medium heat until combined. Cool but don’t refrigerate before dipping.

To assemble

    1. Dip each piece of the coconut centre into the chocolate sauce and lay out on baking paper. Put in the fridge/freezer until set and repeat at least twice to get a decent coating of chocolate.
    2. Trim the ‘drippy’ edges of each bar with a sharp knife.
    3. Bounty bars do need to be kept in the fridge (or freezer) and remove just as you want to eat them as the chocolate sauce will melt at room temperature in warmer weather.

Makes 18
Any leftover chocolate sauce can be kept in a jar in either the fridge or at room temperature.
bounty bars

eye fillet, mushrooms and sweet potato crisps (AIP/paleo)

eye fillet mushrooms sweet potatoWe just finished this sensational dinner and so I just had to share it with you all! Eye fillet steak cooked to perfection by my hubby, topped with mushrooms (they are hiding a bit in this photo) and sweet potato spiral crisps.  It was served with a simple green salad on the side.  The crunch of the sweet potato makes this a complete winner for either an ‘above average’ mid week dinner, or a great meal for entertaining!

This recipe serves 2.

  • 2 eye fillets or steak of your choice
  • 300g sliced mushrooms
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 Tbspn olive oil
  • 1 Tbspn vegetable stock concentrate
  • 1 Tbspn coconut aminos or soy sauce (if you can have it)
  • 1 med sweet potato
  • 2 Tbspn coconut oil

Mushrooms:

  1. Fry onion and garlic in olive oil.  Add mushrooms and vegetable stock and cook until the mushrooms are soft.
  2. Add coconut aminos/soy sauce and stir though.

Sweet potato crisps

  1. Create spirals from the sweet potato using a spirialiser. (see picture below)
  2. Toss in coconut oil.
  3. Spread out on lined baking tray and bake in the oven (180C/350F) for 25 mins or until they have turned crispy but not burnt.  You may need to toss them around mid-bake so the edge bits don’t burn.

Steak

  1. Grill or panfry your steak to your liking whilst the sweet potatoes and mushrooms are cooking.

Place the steak on the plate, top with mushrooms and sweet potato crisps and serve with a green salad.  YUM!

This is my spiraliser – you can buy on eBay or I got mine from local farmers markets.

veggieslicer

lemon coconut passionfruit tarts (AIP)

When you’re following the auto-immune protocol (AIP) there isn’t much you can eat in the way of ‘treats’.  It is an elimination diet, and to be honest I guess the idea is that you also eliminate the ‘need’ for sugar and treats etc.  But being the sweet tooth that I am, I was excited to come across this recipe for lemon blueberry cupcakes that I could actually eat!

You do need a high speed blender/food processor or thermomix for this recipe.  I found it completely fascinating watching the desiccated coconut turn into a batter (coconut ‘butter’ I guess).

Without further ado, here is the recipe, and you can even check out my instructional video #2.  If you missed the first one, here it is.

  • 3 cups unsweetened desiccated or shredded coconut
  • Zest of one lemon
  • flesh of the lemon used for the zest.
  • ½ cup maple syrup/coconut palm syrup (maple is AIP, not sure about coconut palm but is has a very low GI)
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 passionfruit (or 1/2 cup berries to top)
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C(fan forced)/350F.  Line 8 muffin cups with liners. Or use mini muffins (makes about 20)…
  2. Place the unsweetened coconut in a blender/food processor.
  3. Blend on high until the coconut starts to turn into a paste (about 1-2mins), scrape down sides and blend again until it is like a batter – not too thick.
  4. Add the zest, lemon, maple syrup and sea salt.  Process until it comes together.
  5. Add the baking soda, and process just until incorporated.
  6. Divide batter into  muffin cups.  Sprinkle with passionfruit pulp or berries.
  7. Bake for 25-27 minutes (larger ones, or 15-20mins for minis).  You want them to be a little toasty but not burnt.
  8. Chill in the fridge before taking them out of the pan.
  9. Best served chilled for the best consistency.

lemon coconut tartsLemon coconut tarts