Gluten Free Super Seed Goujons

img_5568

I absolutely loathe unloading my dishwasher.  I know it’s not the worst household chore, not by a long shot. I think it’s the mundanity of it, the fact that I do it every single godforsaken day.  I remember when my daughter was very small, washing bottle after bottle and staring down the barrel of another long day on my own with this tiny little person.  I had no idea what I was doing and no idea how to fill day after day, each one the same as the last.  And each and every Groundhog Day began with the dreaded dishwasher.  I could have cried (I think I probably did a few times) just with the boredom and repetition and the futility of it.  Sometimes, just for a treat, I would load our dirty breakfast things on top of the clean things and put it on again, just to avoid unloading it for another few hours. What a thrill! Ah, those heady, reckless days!

Even though my days are now much more interesting than back then, and I have no qualms with how to fill time, rather with how to make more of it, the dishwasher-hatred has never quite left me.  It’s one of the reasons I try to cook one pot dishes and adapt my recipes so I can make cakes in one bowl where possible.  I have little interest in a recipe that’s going to mean I have to unload my dishwasher even more often.

So you can imagine my horror, then, when the husband made pesto pasta and brocolli for the children at the weekend.  He used 3 pans!!!  Who does that?  One for the brocolli.  One for the pasta.  One to mix the pesto and pasta in.  WTF?!!!  I have gently suggested to him on several occasions, through the medium of four letter words, if making pasta, PUT THE VEG IN WITH IT!! And then when it’s cooked, stir through the sauce in the same pan. It’s not rocket science!!!

Mr Intolerant makes amazing roasts and no one can cook a better steak than he, but he does like to use rather a lot of utensils.  His favourite trick is to use a slotted spoon to dish out something highly inappropriate, say, a casserole, or bolognese, and then a second serving spoon to dish up the actual sauce.  Cunningly, I recently melted our plastic slotted spoon on to the hob, so that’s put an end to that! Ha! Oh yes, I’m no fool! The acrid smoke, molten plastic and gloopy hob were a small price to pay for marital harmony (well, for one less thing to argue about).

So…. these gluten-free seedy Chicken Goujons have to be something really special for me to go through the faff of using two or three plates. These went down a storm with my kids. I’m rather partial to a chicken nugget myself and have to say they were really, really good.

IMG_5564.JPG

One of the few things that small boy is virtually guaranteed to eat is breaded chicken.  It’s a shame no supermarkets seem to make organic or even free range chicken nuggets.  Making my own means I know the meat is good quality and organic. The other benefit of making these is that you are upping your protein and omega content with all these seeds, rather than breadcrumbs, which are pretty void of nutrition. My kids aren’t big fish fans so I love recipes like this that increase their Omega 3 intake. It’s worth the faff, I promise. The sesame seeds, in particular, make these really tasty.  Use chicken mini fillets rather than strips of chicken breast as a) it saves you chopping and b) they are so lovely and tender.

PS The first time I made these I coated half of the chicken pieces with seeds and then mixed breadcrumbs into remainder of the seeds and made the rest with a mixture of breadcrumbs and seeds, just in case my kids didn’t like 100% seeds, so that’s worth a try to avoid any potential wastage or fussiness.

img_5567

Gluten-free, low carb, high protein, high in omega 3, paleo, nutrient dense, super tasty chicken nuggets… need I go on?!

RECIPE (serves 4)

1 packet organic chicken mini fillets (about 400g)

1 large egg

40g ground almonds

50g golden linseeds (approx)

60g sesame seeds (approx)

E123F187-BAB9-4F36-8C47-A004253AB2F2.jpg

1. Whisk egg briefly with a fork in a large shallow bowl or plate.  On a separate plate, mix together sesame and linseeds. Have a lightly oiled baking tray nearby to place the newly made goujons on.

2. Tip ground almonds into a large plastic bag and season with salt and pepper (omit salt if making for young children).  Place mini fillets in bag, close and shake well, separating the pieces to ensure they are well coated in almonds.  You may prefer to do this in two batches.  Or you can do this on a plate, but that would entail more dishes to wash.

3. Next, dip the goujons, one by one, briefly into the beaten egg, allowing excess to drip off, and then into the linseed and sesame seed mixture.  Roll them around and make sure they are fully coated   Place on baking tray.  Repeat with all goujons.

4. Fry on a medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, trying not to turn or move too much as you risk losing your coating! Or bake in oven at 180c for 10-12 minutes. These will keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours before cooking so you can make a big batch in one go.

5. Curse, mumble and moan whilst loading all plates into dishwasher.

Perfect with chips, peas and ketchup or my kid’s favourite “wagamama” katsu style with rice, carrot, cucumber, sweetcorn  and a homemade amai sauce (honey and soy sauce mixed together) or for grown ups with a big salad…or chips 😍

img_5568

Earl Grey Tea Loaf with Marmalade Glaze

img_7450

Happy Half Term!  I hope you’ve all survived.  We’ve had a lovely quiet week not doing much, which I think we all needed.  One afternoon I was even lucky enough to ditch the kids with daddy and escape ON MY OWN!!  My lovely friend and fellow blogger Lauren over at Black Dog Living invited me along with her to celebrate Teapigs 10th Birthday.  We got to sample lots of lovely teas including their new limited edition Jelly and Ice Cream Tea, and eat cake.  It was amazing! We got to drink whole cups of tea, hot, and talk to other grown ups, with no kiddy interruptions.  I couldn’t quite believe I was at a day time party with no children or creepy entertainers, and no crying over Pass The Parcel.  In fact, the only crying was from us when we had to head home.

img_7380

As a Northener, I like a good strong cuppa with now’t messed around with.  And I think I have fallen in love with their Everyday Brew.  Sadly, it’s not cheap, so I will be saving it for special occasions (and hangovers, it would definitely blast a hangover away).  I do like herbal and fruit teas, too, but I often find they smell incredible but taste flat.  So, I wasn’t expecting much from the Jelly and Ice Cream tea, if I’m honest, but it was fantastic! It really does tastes as good as it smells.  Apparently, I now know, this is because Teapigs use the the whole leaf and whole spices and flowers.  Other tea bags tend to just contain dried up sawdusty bits and bobs, hence they lack the same flavour punch. You can find out more here About Teapigs

All those lovely tea flavours inspired me to try and incorporate them in a recipe.  So here is my Breakfast Bread. The tea gives it a rich flavour and also keeps the loaf lovely and moist.  I’ve used Apple purée and a tiny bit of honey to sweeten this naturally.  and, of course, it is gluten and dairy free. It’s a winner! Eat on its own or slathered with cold butter!

img_7388

img_7473

Gluten dairy and sugar free Earl Grey Tea Loaf

Earl Grey Tea Loaf with Marmalade Glaze 

INGREDIENTS

275g dried fruit (I used cranberries, raisins, sultanas and dried apricots)

300ml Teapigs Earl Grey Strong Tea (I used one tea bag, if using another brand you might need 2 tea bags)

zest of 1/2 orange (or lemon)

75g or 1/2 cup buckwheat flour

75g or 3/4 cup ground almonds

100g Apple & pear purée (I use Hipp purée pots)

5 tbsps melted coconut oil or butter

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

11/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

3 medium organic eggs

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1-2 tbsps honey

GLAZE

100ml Teapigs Earl Grey Strong Tea

2 tbsps St Dalfour Orange Spread (this is pure fruit and sugar free) or Marmalade

zest of 1/2 orange, thickly pared if possible

757d88a4-c8a3-43a2-a9fa-ef1c52d31fd6

METHOD

1. Oil and line a loaf tin and preheat oven to 170C fan.

2. Place dried fruit and orange zest in pan and pour over hot tea.  Bring to boil, cover and remove from heat.   Leave for 5 minutes so the fruit soaks up the tea and becomes nice and plump and juicy.  Alternatively, you can soak for several hours or overnight.

3. Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl.  Make a well in the centre and crack eggs into it.  Whisk eggs well with a fork, trying not to incorporate the dry ingredients too much.  Whisk in melted oil, then vinegar and honey.  Mix well.

4. Stir in cooled dried fruit and Apple purée.

5.  Pour into lined tin and bake for approx 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

MARMALADE GLAZE

When your loaf is almost ready, make your glaze.

1. Place tea and marmalade into a pan, along with thickly pared orange zest. Bring to boil and simmer strongly for about 5 minutes or until a syrupy consistency.

2. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes or so. Use a cocktail stick to make holes all over top of cake.  Pour glaze on top and allow cake to cool in tin.

Spinach Cupcakes – yes really!

img_6895img_6891img_6895

My 7 year old daughter is beyond excited for Halloween this year.  She always enjoys it, but this year I have been coerced into buying loads of decorations already and she would like us to have a party.  Arghhh, that means I really need to tidy my house!  In fact, I probably just need to nuke it.  Anyway, all this Halloween excitement got me wondering how I can make Halloween a little healthier. Trick or Treat is all about the sweets and chocolate… Imagine if you presented a bowl of fruit to a crowd of trick or treaters unfortunate enough to knock on your door?  It’s not going to happen, is it?  But, maybe we can make it a little bit more nutritious and give the kids a bit less of a crack-cocaine sugar rush? And definitely cut out the artificial colourings where possible.

First-stop, cupcakes.   Inspired by a big bag of spinach and my Sugar Free Buckwheat Banana Muffins recipe, I decided to see if I could make some  ghoulish cupcakes that were sugar-free, gluten-free and lactose-free… Ta-da!

img_6937

INGREDIENTS (makes 12 large cupcakes or approx. 16 medium sized)

50g or 1/2 cup ground almonds

75g or 1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1 heaped tbsp coconut flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 large eggs

150g spinach

1 banana

1 tsp vanilla essence

1\4 cup or 4 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup or 4 tbsp honey/maple syrup (I use a mixture of both)

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

METHOD:

1. Blend spinach, banana, eggs and vanilla essence until smooth.

2. Sift flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon into a large bowl. Add ground almonds and pour in spinach mixture.

3. Melt coconut oil and honey/maple syrup together in saucepan. Allow to cool slightly and then mix with rest of ingredients. Add apple cider vinegar (it will bubble up when you add the vinegar).

4. Spoon into cake cases, fill them quite high as the mixture doesn’t rise a huge amount.

5. Bake at 170C for 15-18 minutes until nice and springy and a skewer comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes in the tin and then transfer to a wire rack.

3DD800B4-419A-47DD-B080-8FD0155FC610.jpg

ICING

Now, the icing I used is not sugar free. In an ideal world I would make a sugar free frosting, but I reasoned I had done pretty well with the cupcakes and life is possibly a bit too short for sugar-free icing.  They are perfectly nice without a topping, see pic below.  If you want to make a sugarfree icing, instead whip the coconut cream with a tablespoon or two of raw honey (it is much thicker than pasteurised honey or maple syrup, which would make it far too runny) I have tried to keep my icing from being too sweet with some sugar substituted for coconut flour.

img_6936

INGREDIENTS:

100g unsalted organic butter, dairy free spread or a tin of coconut cream (you can buy small tins of this or refrigerate a can of coconut milk overnight, turn upside down and open, pour off liquid and you will be left with coconut cream)

75g icing sugar

2 heaped tbsp coconut flour (optional, just makes it less sugary)

1 tsp vanilla essence

2 tsp favourite milk or water (only if you are using butter)

1 tsp matcha green tea powder

METHOD

1. Allow butter to come to room temperature so that it is soft enough to whisk.  Alternatively, refrigerate coconut cream or milk for several hours or overnight. Whip butter/spread/coconut cream on medium for 1 minute until smooth and creamy.

2. Add coconut flour and 1/3 sugar and whisk well, continue to add sugar in thirds until well incorporated and icing is light and fluffy. Whisk in vanilla and milk, if using.  Alternatively, for a sugar-free version, whisk in some raw honey to taste.

3. When you are happy with flavour and consistency, whisk in matcha tea powder, using more or less until you have reached desired shade of ghoulish green.

And decorate! I had a go at making some dark chocolate spiders with a piping bag, they need much more practice! I also forgot to refrigerate them before peeling them off the baking paper so they broke easily – don’t make that mistake!!  Below, I also made some bloodshot eyeballs out of giant white chocolate buttons, sugar free 10o% fruit spread with a dark choc chip pupil, and poppy seeds made brilliant black sprinkles.

I still  can’t quite believe how colourful and vivid these cakes naturally are. My daughter was amazed by them, and for once she was free of criticism, hurrah!

Salmon To Make Your Skin Glow

I have rubbish skin. My daughter tells me so, often. I am a master in the art of concealer (Rimmel Hide The Blemish, if you’re asking. I’ve tried many and this is just THE best). I’ve never had them on my T-zone, always on my cheeks or jaw, like a teenage boy. I was told it is “male pattern acne” caused by too much testosterone. Jesus Christ! Could it get any worse? Also known as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. So my hormones are to blame. It will never be perfect but it has DEFINITELY got better since I cleaned up my diet.  Or perhaps it’s now that I am thirty-fucking-five and it’s harder for the spots to fight for space between my crow’s feet??? Anyway, it’s one of the reasons I try to avoid lactose as I notice it flairs up straight away if I have too much dairy, and I definitely think cutting out sugar has balanced my hormones, thus improving my skin.

So, last week, I was watching TV with daughter and a Clearasil advert came on TV. Daughter turned to me and said, in her kindest voice, with a somewhat patronising smile, “Don’t you get that Mummy…. You wouldn’t be the same without your spots” Sigh. She has also said on several occasions, with real fear in her eyes, “I won’t get spots like you when I’m older, will I?” I really hope she doesn’t, and remains peachy skinned and beautiful  throughout her teens. And twenties. And sodding thirties. God, when will they go?!!! She and her brother are totally screwed in the genetics department mind you, both me and Mr Intolerant have dreadful skin, so the odds are sadly stacked against them.

img_6163

Anyway, salmon is supposed to be good for your skin. And seeds. All those omegas and essential fatty acids. So here is a salmon and seed recipe to make your skin glow, or to at least make it slightly less shit, if you’re me.  I LOVE this salad, it’s easy, tasty and protein-rich. P. S. Try to buy wild salmon, my Mum told me farmed salmon is really bad for you, so it must be true. If you want to do your own research you can read about it here Wild Vs Farmed Salmon

SALMON PESTO CANELLINI BEAN SALAD

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

2 salmon fillets

4 tbsps pesto (dairy free pesto if you like)

extra Virgin olive oil

handful tomatoes, fresh or sunblush

salad leaves

1/2 courgette

1/2 tin canellini beans

1/4 small red onion or 1 Spring onion

4-5 radishes, sliced

lemon juice

balsamic vinegar

pumpkin/sunflower etc seeds

METHOD

1. Get your pan really hot, pat dry and season salmon. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and cook salmon flesh-side down on medium-high for 5 minutes.  DO NOT TOUCH IT. Not even a teensy bit, you want a nice crisp top.

2. Meanwhile drain and rinse beans, chop 1/4 red onion or spring onion very finely. Mix with beans, squeeze over lemon juice and season with lots of black pepper and a little salt.

3. Use a vegetable peeler to peel fairly thick strips from courgette (you want some bite).

4. You probably want to flip your salmon now if it’s had 5 minutes. Cook skin side down for another minute or two.

5. Place 2 tbsps pesto on each serving plate. Mix with about 1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil to thin it a little. Place courgette strips, salad leaves, bean mixture, tomatoes (halved if fresh) in pesto-y bowls and mix around a little. Drizzle with about 1 tsp balsamic vinegar (you don’t need much, you have a lot of flavours going on here) and place salmon on top.  Scatter with seeds.

Paleo Porridge

 

Oats are supposed to be very good for us, so when I first learned of the Paleo diet I was sceptical about cutting them out of my diet. But I did often feel tired, sluggish and bloated after my morning porridge.  So first of all I made  Chia Porridge which I found left me feeling much less bloated and also fuller for longer. Yippee!! I then decided to see if I could make a porridge that was completely grain-free, and this is the result!

This is my go-to breakfast which I adjust to whatever I have in the cupboard. I make enough for 2-3 breakfasts at a time and keep in the fridge for a super speedy breakfast. I would describe it as a cross between Bircher muesli and porridge and it is DELICIOUS!  My daughter often requests this, she loves it so much, and it’s lovely sending her off to school knowing she has a tummy full of omegas, amino acids and protein to keep her going through the day. 10 reasons to eat chia seeds

img_5355

My secret ingredient is…. Baby food! Yep. Toddler apple purée. I buy Hipp or Organix purees in bulk when they are on offer so I can have different flavours and always have them on hand to make this.

image

You are only heating this to speed up the soaking of the chia seeds, so leave it on a  low heat whilst you shout at the kids to get dressed/make packed lunches/referee fights, etc.

RECIPE (serves 2-3 depending upon greed levels)

I tend to really just thrown things in the pan when I make this so it is a recipe in the loosest sense. Feel free to adjust accordingly.

1 100g tub fruit purée (my fave is Hipp Apple and Pear)

About 2/3 mug full almond milk/water

About 1/4 mug full chia seeds

V. small handful raisins/chopped dates/apricots

2 tsps cinnamon

1 large or 2 small apples, grated

pinch salt

2 tbsp (ish) ground almonds

Ground flaxseed/pumpkin seeds/chopped walnuts

METHOD

1. Warm first 5 ingredients in pan for 5-10 minutes until chia seeds soak up liquid and produce a frog-spawn like texture 😂  The heat speeds up the soaking of the chia seeds. Alternatively, you can soak them for an hour or overnight and skip straight to next step. If soaking rather than cooking, you can have this like a Bircher muesli and don’t need to heat it at all. Add splash more milk or water if texture too thick.

2. Grate your apple and mix with pinch salt. I don’t know why but I just think it tastes nicer this way.

3. Take pan off heat and stir in ground almonds, this instantly thickens the texture. Add grated apole and stir well.

4. Stir through 1 tbsp flax/ handful seeds/chopped nuts if using and top with raw honey or almond butter.  It is AMAZING with almond butter.

OPTIONS:

If I have no apples or I am in a real rush, I make this with 2 tubs baby purée and skip the grated Apple.  Just add a few more chia seeds/ground almonds to thicken it up if necessary. This option is particularly DELICIOUS with the almond butter stirred through as it gives it some texture.

This is gorgeous with Apple and Raspberry or Apple and Mango purees too, swap the cinnamon for some vanilla essence or some desiccated coconut and add extra fresh raspberries or mango on top. YUM!

Let me know any other combinations that work for you, too.

image

Sugar Free Buckwheat Banana Muffins

These muffins are genuinely sugar free. Not sugar free but actually contain half a bottle of maple syrup or a cup of honey, or 1kg of dried dates, but genuinely 100% bona fide no added sweeteners. They are also wheat, gluten and lactose free. Hurrah! And… my kids actually even eat them. Can you believe it?!

I love adding fruit purée to my baking, it’s such an easy way to increase fibre and nutrients, but also makes everything more moist and full of flavour. What’s not to like? Use as ripe-as-possible bananas for this. This recipe also makes a great banana loaf, just bake in a lined tin for 45-50 minutes.

P.S. Don’t be put off by the vinegar, you can’t taste it, it’s there as a raising agent. Promise.

image

RECIPE (makes 10 cupcake size)

4 ripe bananas (medium or thereabouts)

3 eggs

4 tbsps melted coconut oil

2 tsps vanilla extract

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 cup ground almonds

2 tsps cinnamon

2 tsps mixed spice

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 tsps baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Optional – 1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans/walnuts/pumpkin seeds

Optional – 1/4 cup chopped dates

METHOD

1. Preheat oven to 170C (fan oven)

2. Whisk together wet ingredients.

3. Mash bananas into wet mixture.

4. Sift in buckwheat flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and add almonds. Fold in gently, ensuring all ingredients are well incorporated.

5. If using, stir through nuts and dates. As a yummy and very pretty alternative, you can add the nut and date mixture to the top of the cake mixture after you have put it into the tin, see picture of loaf I made below. To prevent it browning too quickly, mix with a little melted coconut oil to coat, and scatter over the mixture before baking.

6. Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean (longer for larger cupcake cases and 45-50 mins for a loaf. The loaf may need foil on top for the last few minutes if you use the nut topping and it starts to brown too quickly).

Enjoy warm with a mug of tea!

image

Intolerant Me

Nearly 20 years ago (that makes me feel old) I was diagnosed with an intolerance to wheat and dairy and advised to cut sugar from my diet.  Thus ensued several miserable years in my late teens and early twenties where I ate cardboard alternatives to bread and felt like a social pariah.  Remember, this was way before it was trendy to be ‘GF DF’ and there were very few alternatives tucked away in dark, dusty health food shops. Your university years are not quite so much fun when you are the boring one who can’t eat a kebab at 3am or share a pizza for lunch. A student budget doesn’t go far with free-from foods, either. Food became a source of anxiety, embarrassment, and somehow both an obsession and a chore.  Then, I met my future husband.  He laughed at my faddy intolerances and basically told me to man up. So, I started eating bread, and milk, and ice cream, and pasta.  It was so liberating, and my health seemed fine.

Several years, two kids later and a little squidgier and heavier, I was constantly tired and run down and decided to stop living on cakes, biscuits and toast just to make it through the day and to clean up my act. Out went processed and sugary foods and, having read about the paleo diet, I cut back on all grains, not just wheat. The prospect of going back to a life of deprivation was scary, but things have moved on so much. Cauliflower rice, courgetti, chia seeds, coconut yogurt, millions of recipes on the Internet, it was actually pretty easy. This time around, I also wasn’t too strict.

Having eaten like this for over a year now, I decided it was time to try and inflict some clean eating upon my family. In between healthy meals, we can be found munching on takeaways and dunking the odd biscuit and I am known to bribe my children with ice cream on a regular basis.