The only thing I grew up knowing that my Mum didn’t eat was brussel sprouts. I mean she ate everything else – lambs brains included, so I grew up thinking that brussel sprouts must be completely and utterly inedible, disgusting. I have no recollection of ever having eaten them under the age of about 38. I have no idea what ever possessed me to venture into the world of the unknown and attempt to cook (& potentially eat) a brussel sprout, but I’m glad I did. I have discovered that it IS possible to actually eat brussel sprouts, and what’s more, even enjoy them. I’ll have to cook them for Mum now!
This is now my second favourite way to eat them… My favourite is at a fabulous Argentinian restaurant in Sydney called Porteno – it’s one of their signature dishes, and let’s just say, AMAZING. Given I can’t eat at Porteno very often, eating brussel sprouts cooked in coconut oil and bacon is the next best way. Let’s face it, there’s not much that doesn’t taste better with bacon!
Really yummy brussel sprouts
500g brussel sprouts, halved or quartered
2-3 rashers bacon, diced
1 medium brown onion, diced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped or grated
1-2 Tbsp coconut oil (or butter is also good but not then paleo/AIP)
Lightly fry onion and garlic. Add in bacon. Fry for a few more minutes.
Add in brussel sprouts. Stir through stock. Once the brussel sprouts are well tossed in all the bacon/oil goodness, you might want to add in a tablespoon or 2 of water to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Covering the pan for a few minutes will help to soften the brussel sprouts a bit faster.
When they have softened (but not soggy!), season to taste and serve with your protein of choice!
ENJOY & see that brussel sprouts really can be yummy!
I 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
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.
Press into rectangular container lined with baking paper (I used 15cmx22cm) or into rectangular shape. Freeze until solid.
Remove and cut into pieces (I cut mine into 18 but you could certainly make them larger or smaller)
3/4 cup cacao powder
3/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup (or to taste)
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
Place all ingredients into a saucepan and gently stir over medium heat until combined. Cool but don’t refrigerate before dipping.
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.
Trim the ‘drippy’ edges of each bar with a sharp knife.
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.
Even if you don’t like kale, you just might like kale chips. I don’t really like it raw (I mostly use it in my green smoothies), but I don’t mind the chips. I have tried making them both in the oven and in the dehydrator. The process is the same but I think I prefer the oven as it’s quicker and I think they are a bit crisper. They are super easy and lots of kids (mine are an exception) actually like them too. Best eaten immediately!
1/2 bunch kale (any variety, the ones pictured are cavalo nero but curly kale is great too)
2Tbsp olive/avocado/coconut oil
1 Tbsp coconut aminos (optional)
cut the stalks out of the leaves and break them into ‘chip-sized’ pieces
Toss in a bowl with oil (& coconut aminos if you want to) – you can rub the leaves with the oil – it does need to coat the leaves but you don’t really want it dripping)
Sprinkle with salt (probably don’t need as much if using the coconut aminos)
OVEN METHOD – place on oven trays lined with baking paper and place in the oven (180C/350F) for about 10 mins but keep a good eye on them as they may only need 6-8. Remove, eat.
DEHYDRATOR METHOD – place on the shelves of your dehydrator and leave over night – mine needed 8 hours or so.
I have been asked a few times about some of the ingredients I use in a lot of my cooking – so here are the ones I usually use:
Coconut oil – coconut oil is a very healthy oil. For an excellent article on why coconut oil, see Irena Macri’s article. I usually buy the Nuigini one as it doesn’t have a really strong flavour and I like the jar it comes in (I am a packaging girl!). Depending on the weather it can either be solid or liquid at room temperature (in summer liquid and winter solid, in Brisbane anyway). It isn’t cheap but I did read that you should spend your money on the best quality fat you can. To give you an idea, I pay AUD$30 for the 1L jar and it lasts me 1-2 months.
Coconut aminos – they are basically a gluten free non-soy alternative to soy sauce. I use a lot in asian cooking or in marinades. I have these 2 different ones – the one on the left I get from my local organic markets and the one on the right is more easily available in most health food stores. I have just noticed with the Nuilife one though that one of the ingredients is birds eye chilli, so that won’t be AIP so check the different brews! They each cost my roughly AUD$10 a bottle
Buckini’s – I have blogged about these little ones before. Basically they are a fruit but for my they work as a ‘nut’ due to the crunch. You can sprinkle on poached fruit, on a salad, put them in your smoothies etc. Here is a picture of the brand I buy – Loving Earth. This particular one is the caramelized one, but if you buy the plain one it has no sugars 😉 For the plain 500g bag I pay about AUD$12.
If there are any other ingredients you’re not sure about, just let me know.
I don’t get any benefit for plugging these brands other than knowing I might have helped you out in your quest!
I not sure if I’m quite ready for Nigella to move over, but it was a little bit fun putting together this video for my friend Christine who wanted to come over to my place to learn how to roast sweet potatoes in coconut oil but couldn’t as one of her kids were sick. I said, “I should just video it and send it to you”, and so the seed was planted.
This is a pretty basic video – filmed and edited in iMovie by my 10 year old on my iPad. It’s probably a little bit long for what it is, but I hope you enjoy it!
Some days I simply lack inspiration for the family meal. Last night was one such night. I kept staring into the fridge looking for something exciting to jump out. All I saw was mushrooms and zucchini that needed using up and some chicken thighs. Here was my ‘mystery box’ moment. Not very exciting ingredients, but a meal needed to be cooked none-the-less. A further investigation found some bacon and sweet potato. So here is my ‘everyday chicken’ with roasted veggies. The secret in the veggies is coconut oil – if you haven’t started to cook with it, please do. It’s ultra healthy and doesn’t have a strong flavour. This meal might not win any Masterchef competition but it did get eaten by everyone in the family (well the chicken did), so that makes it a winner!
This little bite-sized dessert ticks all my boxes – fresh raspberries are always a luxurious indulgence, it’s got no added sugar and so I can convince myself it’s healthy. Actually, for a dessert, it is! It’s technically paleo (although I know desserts aren’t in the paleo spirit), it’s GF, grain free & raw (if that’s your thing). I made this for Valentine’s Day this year as it’s also I think a completely romantic treat. Whichever way you look at it, they are delicious. Try serving on a dessert platter with strawberries and chocolates.
Mix it up: You can also make these in smaller or larger sizes and play around with the filling and toppings (if you’re not dairy/sugar free try lemon curd/ dollop cream/ caramel/ chocolate ganache or tiny scoops of icecream topped with blueberries/grated chocolate/sliced banana/toasted shredded coconut etc etc.
This week I have a hankering for Thai flavours. Perhaps it’s the spring in the air & my kaffir lime tree FULL of fragrant leaves. This was last night’s dinner, tonight’s was a red chicken curry with black bean noodles but the photo didn’t turn out all that well!
“You should write down your recipes” declared my husband the night I cooked this meal.
From memory we were talking morbidly about the quality of meals the family might get if I wasn’t around, and so my husband was thinking if I wrote them all down then should one day he find himself without a regular mealtime cook he might have somewhat a chance of replicating some meals! Now, let’s make it clear, I have no intention of going anywhere, but it did prompt me to photograph the meal and write down how I made it, and hence, whilst it’s not the most dreadfully exciting meal, it is the catalyst to this blog and so deserves to be the subject to of the inaugural post. Continue reading mediterranean chicken→