SCD gone Palaeo – Recipes from my Palaeo cookery class at JW3 – Part 1

During the month of June I got a unique and exciting opportunity to share my experience and knowledge in grain-free cooking and baking. JW3 – an exciting cultural centre in London (which I mentioned in my previous post) invited me to run a two part hands-on workshop on Palaeolithic Diet (Palaeo) cooking. Those of you who know me, know we actually try and follow the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) at home, but I figured Paleo was more ‘on trend’ so I adjusted my recipes to fit the Paleo diet rules. I decided to create totally vegetarian dishes. For a diet that is considered ‘the carnivore’s diet’ and is usually heavily meat based, a range vegetarian of recipes can be a nice change. There are also meaty options for some of the recipes, but that’s your choice now. These are the recipes we cooked in the first workshop:

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Paleo Dumplings

(Double the recipe to increase quantities)

Ingredients: Dumplings

2 large eggs
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
3/4 cup Blanched ground almonds and more as needed
2tbsp Coconut flour
1 kaffir lime leaf, finely chopped or crumbled if dry
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Vegetarian Filling
¼ roasted butternut Squash (cut into small cubes, toss in oil and roast for 30-40min until soft. For extra flavour sprinkle some chinese 5 spice)
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 clove garlic
2-3 Shitake mushrooms, choped into small cubes (fresh or reconstituted dry ones)
1 tbsp Bamboo shoots, sliced into stripps
1 spring onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Beef filling
250g minced beef
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely sliced
Ginger, one thumb sized piece, finely diced
Salt to your taste
2 Kaffir lime leaves, crushed if dry, chopped if fresh

Method: Dumplings:

  1. In a medium bowl, lightly whisk eggs with oil.
  2. Add the ground almonds and coconut flour, salt, kaffir lime and baking soda and stir until smooth. If the mixture is too wet, add more ground almonds. If it’s too dry, add some water, a spoonful at a time.
  3. Let mixture stand for 20 minutes so the flours absorbs liquid.

While the dumpling mixture is resting make the filling:

Vegetarian Filling:

  1. In a frying pan heat the oil on a medium heat.
  2. fry the Shitake mushrooms (if fresh, until they soften), then add the garlic and toss for a minute. remove from the heat and mix in the bamboo shoots and spring onion, just to warm them through.
  3. Add the roasted squash to the cooled pan and mix everything into a lumpy mash. Season to taste and set aside to cool slightly.

Beef filling:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, combine all the filling ingredients and mix very well.

Assembly and steaming:

  1. Prepare a plate or tray brushed with a little oil, to place the assembled dumplings on.
  2. With wet hands, roll some dumpling mixture between your palms into a ball about the size of a cherry tomato. Now, using your thumb, press into the ball and start flattening it out into your palm.
  3. Place a teaspoon of filling (veg or meat) in the middle of the flattened ball, then start folding the sides of the dough in to cover the filling. Seal the dough back into a ball and roll it again to re-shape into a ball. Place the stuffed dumpling on the oiled plate. Repeat this stage until you run out of dumpling dough and filling.
  4. Steaming: If you don’t have bamboo steaming baskets, place a small heatproof bowl upside-down in a deep saucepan (that has a lid) and place a lightly oiled plate on top of the bowl, then pour hot water half way up the bowl and bring back to a simmer. If you have steaming baskets, bring water to a boil in a suitably sized saucepan. Prepare about 5 greaseproof paper linings for your baskets and oil them as you go.
  5. Place the dumplings in your baskets or on the plate in the saucepan and steam for 4min (vegetarian filling) or 6-10min (for the meat filling). Try one to see if it’s cooked through and the filling is piping hot.
  6. Serve immediately accompanied with the Asian Dipping Sauce (recipe below) or in and asian broth.

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Asian Dipping Sauce

Based on a recipe by Kendall Conrad

Makes aprox 1 cup

Ingredients:

¼ cup toasted sesame oil
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice (2-3 limes)
2 tbsp white wine vinegar (not strictly Paleo but adds a lot of flavour)
3 tbsp honey
1 fresh red chilli pepper, seeded and finely sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 thumbnail size knob fresh ginger, crushed with the garlic
1 tsp salt

Method:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk well until the honey has dissolved (this can also be done in a blender or with a hand held blitzer). Hold back a few chilli slices to decorate.
  2. Transfer into a serving bowl and decorate with the reserved chilli flakes.

 

Fresh Spring Rolls

Based on a recipe by Kendall Conrad

Ingredients:

2 large courgettes
½ bag dried Shitake mushrooms
1 Mango, finely sliced into thin strips
1 Avocado, finely sliced and drizzled with a little lemon juice
3 small Carrots, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
½ bunch fresh mint leaves, sliced into thin ribbons
Optional 01 – One roasted chicken breast, shredded into strippes OR one grilled salmon filet, flaked. Both seasoned as you like.
Optional 02 – ½ bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Method:

  1. Place the dried shitake mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. set aside for a few minutes.
  2. Using a peeler, peel both courgettes in long ribbons over a large bowl. Continue around the courgette until you reach the core which can be discarded.
  3. Drain the mushrooms and slice into thin slices.
  4. Prepare a chopping board on your working area and arrange the chopped fruit, vegetables and herbs (and meat or fish if using) in separate bowls, ready for assembly. It will be good to have your serving plate/tray ready as well.
  5. Take two courgette ribbons and place them one above the other with a good overlap, then in one end of the ribbons place a few carrot matchsticks, a mushroom strip, mango and avocado slices, meat or fish if using and sprinkle a pinch of herbs. Make sure the filling is placed parallel with the bottom of the ribbon. It doesn’t matter if the filling comes over the top of the ribbon.
  6. Carefully roll the courgette ribbons around the filling and stand it up on the level bottom end, and onto your serving plate.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you have used up all the ingredients.
  8. Serve with the Asian Dipping Sauce. Can be made a few hours in advance and refrigerated.

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The last recipe in the workshop was the White Forest Muffins which I published in this blog before.

 

Wild Garlic Workshop at JW3

What an exciting opportunity I got – to lead some urban foraging workshop for a London-based community centre this spring. This will also result in some joint posts with my other blog where J and I post about our foraging experiences.

The first workshop is ‘Pick & Mix Will Herbs’ and focused on Wild Garlic and Stinging Nettles. For logistical reasons, and because of the warm and early spring, I only took the group to pick Wild Garlic. The Nettles will have already been too bitter at this point and most have already been through blossom and gone to seed. My solution was to pick, blanch and freeze early season nettles so they are good to go for the workshop day.

We started the workshop in Mill Hill, where the wild garlic ad already flowered and gone to seed, but the leaves were still very fragrant and good to pick.

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We then continued to JW3 which was buzzing with activity, to cook with our herbs.

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JW3 London has a beautiful, well equipped demonstration kitchen so after foraging the wild garlic we reconvened at JW3 HQ and made Wild Garlic Pesto (edited recipe below). I wanted the participants to have something to take home with them so each person got a jar of the pesto they just made but we also demonstrated how the pesto can be used to flavour a risotto dish and a simple and seemingly ambitious soufflé.

At the end of the workshop we enjoyed the fruit of our labour and a lovely lunch together.

Wild Herb workshop-lunch 2014-05-18

These are the recipes we learnt on the day:

Wild Herb Pesto:

Makes aprox 0.5 l

Ingredients:

2 large bunches Wild Garlic (Ramson)
1 bunch Stinging Nettles
100g Walnuts
50g Parmesan Cheese (optional)
2-3 Garlic cloves
150ml Olive Oil
Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 150˚c. Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until golden, shaking after five and seven minutes to make sure they brown evenly and don’t burn. You can also do that in a dry pan on a medium heat but I prefer using the oven.
  2. Once the Walnuts are browns place them, along with the rest of the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth, then season to taste. You could also make your paste the traditional way, using a pestle and mortar.
  3. Sterilise your storage jar and pour the pesto into it. Cover with a little extra olive oil and seal. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks. Alternatively, pour the pesto into ice-cube trays and freeze, then transfer the frozen cubes to a bag and keep in the freezer to use when needed.

– The following recipes are NOT Specific Carbohydrate Diet friendly as the ingredient used are grain based –

For a SCD friendly Risotto recipe follow this link

White Risotto with Wild Herb Pesto:

Based on a recipe by Jamie Oliver

Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 liter Stock (I used vegetable, made from a stock cube as it was the most practical way at the demo)
2tbsp Olive Oil
a knob of Butter (aprox 25g)
1 large Onion
2 cloves Garlic
1/2 head of Celery
400g Risotto Rice
350ml Dry White Wine
Salt and Pepper to taste
50g Butter
50g Parmesan Cheese
a handful of toasted Pine Nuts to decorate (or use some of the toasted walnuts you used to make the pesto)

Method:

  1. Heat the stock and Finely chop the onion, celery and garlic.
  2. Heat the olive oil and butter in a saucepan. Add the chopped onion, garlic and celery and cook on a medium heat very slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.
  3. The rice will start to fry so keep stirring it. After a minute it will start looking a little translucent. Add the wine and keep stirring.
  4. Once the wine has cooked into the rice add the first ladle of stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn the heat down to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly and unevenly. As the rice cooks it will soak up the stock, so keep adding ladlefulls of stock, one at a time while stirring it in to develop the starch. Continue doing that for about 15 minutes, until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. If you run out of stock, add some boiling water.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the 50g butter and parmesan. Place a lid over the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes. This will turn the risotto creamy and oozy like it should be. Check seasoning and amend if necessary.
  6. Divide the risotto between your plates and top with a generous dollop of the wild herb pesto. Decorate with some wild garlic flowers (if available) and the toasted nuts and drizzle some olive oil.

Wild Herb Soufflé:

Makes 8 individual soufflés

Ingredients:

For the Béchamel Sauce:
20g butter
1tbsp plain flour
150ml Milk
Salt to taste

For the Soufflé:
350g Nettle tops, washed and blanched. Finally chopped
100g Wild Garlic leaf, washed and finely chopped
1 heaped tbsp wild herb pesto
150ml béchamel sauce
10 sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped (optional)
8 mushrooms (optional, use any verity you like), shallow fried and roughly chopped
4 medium eggs (yolks and whites separated)
35g hard strong cheese (like parmesan, optional), grated, plus a little for lining the ramekins
Melted butter – enough to line the ramekins
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Make the béchamel sauce: In a medium-sized saucepan melt the butter, then add the flour and a pinch of salt, and stir well using a wooden spoon. Let the butter and flour cook for a minute or two, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Start adding the milk, a bit at a time, constantly stirring to dissolve the flour mix without leaving lumps. Cook over a medium heat, constantly stirring, until the sauce thickens to the consistency of custard. Leave to cool slightly and start preparing the soufflé
  2. Roughly chop the mushrooms and fry with a little oil until cooked. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  3. Heat the oven to 220°C. Brush the inside of the ramekins with melted butter and coat with a little grated cheese. Divide the sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms equally between the ramekins, placing a little in the bottom of each.
  4. Beat the egg yolks and stir them into the béchamel sauce (make sure it’s cool enough so the yolks don’t cook and become lumpy in the sauce), then mix in the nettles, wild garlic and pesto. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
  5. Beat the egg whites until stiff, then fold the nettle mixture into the egg whites and scrape into the ramekins, filling them to the top. Level off with a knife and run your fingertip around the very edge of each ramekin to make a groove in the mix (helps it rise evenly). Sprinkle over a bit of grated cheese.
  6. Bake for 12 minutes and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Flippin’ easy pancakes

Before coming to this country I never heard of Shrove Tuesday but like any tradition that has anything remotely to do with food, I embraced it and started flipping pancakes with a variety of toppings – as much As I tried, the sugar and lemon part of the tradition does not excite my taste buds at all.

Pancakes for me are weekend food, when you have time in the morning to indulge and surprise your other half with breakfast in bed, the kind that gives you energy for the rest of the day. When I started cooking the SCD way I naturally tried to find good replacements for my usual pancake recipe. After exploring some recipes I found online and in cookbooks, trying all sorts of ingredients such as ground almonds, coconut flower and cashew nuts, I finally landed on a recipe that really ticked all the pancake boxes: quick & easy to make, good flavour & texture and keeps you full for long.

Some notes on the recipe:

  • The recipe is child friendly. I usually use a small food processor to make the batter, but if kids are making it and they are not old enough to use sharp electrical appliances, they should use the manual option of the process.
  • The quantities make apron 10 small pancakes and 4-5 large ones.
  • I believe the first batch of pancakes is always a ‘sacrifice to the pancakes gods’ and usually rippes, scrunches or burns, so don’t panic if the first few pancake aren’t perfect, just hide them at the bottom of the pile.
  • I like using coconut oil for frying the pancakes. It burns at high temperature which makes it a bit healthier than other fats or oils, but the best bit about it that it fills the kitchen with scents that send me back to the streets of Bangkok.

Banana Pancakes

Based on this recipe, with my changes

Ingredients:

1 ripe Banana (the riper the better)
2 Eggs
1 tbsp nut butter (any nut butter you have at home, almond, cashew or peanut are all good, as long as they are pure)
1 tbsp Coconut Oil for frying (it’s good for frying as it burns at hight temperatures but you can use any other vegetable oil or butter/ghee you prefer)

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SCD Banana Pancakes batter, made in a processor and made manually in a bowl

SCD Banana Pancakes Ingredients

SCD Banana Pancakes Ingredients

Method:

  1. If you have one, chop the banana and it with the eggs and nut butter in a small food processor or blender and blitz to a smooth batter.2014-03-01 09.38.37
  2. If you are doing it manually, use a fork to mash the banana to a puree on a plate or cutting board, then place the banana in a bowl with the eggs and nut butter, whisk to a smooth batter.
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  3. Warm the oil in a frying pan on the hob to a high heat.
  4. Lower the heat to medium and using a small measuring cup to dollop the batter into the hot pan.
  5. When small bubbles appear on the pancakes, it’s time to flip them and fry for another minute on the other side (just like with wheat based pancakes).
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  6. Continu making pancakes until the batter is all used up, then serve with fresh fruit and drizzle honey on top.
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Enjoy.

SCD Lasagne with a vegan béchamel sauce

It’s been a while since I posted a recipe on the blog. I guess the blogging bug hits me intermediately, so I’m not very consistent with my posts, but I have been cooking SCD  and developing lots of recipes. I have also been posting on another blog, about foraging.

Back in the summer, during that courgette glut I talked about in my previous post, our neighbours gave us a HUGE courgette and I decided to tackle a recipe which will usually be a big no-no for SCD followers, Lasagne. The idea of replacing the lasagne leaves with courgette wasn’t that original. Moussaka is made with layers of meat and aubergine. The fun bit was coming up with a solution to replace the béchamel sauce.

Luckily we have a Vitamix blender, so I figured, if you can make a creamy feeling soup with no cream in it, you can make a creamy béchamel sauce with no milk or flour in it. Cauliflower gives the colour and body and raw blanched almonds give the rich, smooth texture. The result is a mild flavoured, light and very similar to the original, vegan and SCD friendly béchamel sauce.

Vegan friends, this is not a vegan recipe, but the béchamel sauce is purely vegan and can be used for any recipe that requires it. It keeps its texture and body well during cooking and tastes great.

Like in making traditional regular lasagne, before they invented the no-cook noodles, there are three stages to the cooking process. It’s a bit of a project, but it’s totally worth it.

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SCD Lasagne with Vegan Béchamel sauce 

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

1 oversized courgette or 4 large ones, sliced lengthwise into 1/2cm strips
Olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1kg minced meat (I used lean beef)
2 cans chopped tomatoes
A hand-full of Sage leaves (or 1tbsp dry)
A hand-full of fresh oregano (or 2tbsp dry)
Salt and Pepper to taste
For the béchamel:
1 large cauliflower
1/2 cup blanched almonds (raw, not roasted)
3tbsp olive oil
1/2cup hot water
1/4tsp nutmeg
Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 190˚c, line a large baking tray or two with aluminium foil and brush with olive oil.
  2. Lay the sliced courgette strips on the oiled tray and brush with some more oil, which will help them brown. If you want, season with salt and any other herb you like, then roast in the oven for 15-20min, until browned. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large pan or pot, heat some oil and brown the chopped onion first, then add the minced garlic and cook for a minute more.
  4. Add the minced beef to the pan and cook until it’s browned, then add the canned tomatoes and the herbs. If it’s all to dry, add some water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30-45min, mixing occasionally, until thick and cooked through, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Whilst the courgette is cooling and the meat sauce is simmering, make the béchamel sauce. Cut the cauliflower into large chunks and steam over boiling water (or in a steamer) until very soft. About 10min.
  6. Place the soft cauliflower and the rest of the béchamel ingredients into the blender and process, starting on low and slowly increasing to high speed, for about 3min, until you have a smooth, creamy sauce. Taste the flavour and seasoning and adjust to taste.
  7. Heat the oven to 170˚c and assemble the lasagne: In a deep, oven-proof dish ladle a small amount of your béchamel and spread it over the bottom of the pan. Place a layer of the courgette ‘pasts leaves’, then layer with a third of the meat sauce, then pour some of the béchamel. Place another layer of the courgette leaves, meat sauce  and béchamel, until you have used it all up. If you can eat Parmesan cheese, grate a layer on the top and place the lasagne in the oven.
  8. Bake for 30-40min, until you see bubbling along the sides of the dish. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10min so it sets and doesn’t fall apart when serving. Enjoy with a green salad and a glass of dry red wine if allowed.

 

Lots of courgettes! Lots of fun!

It’s summer (yes, an English summer, but summer non the less) and we are enjoying our neighbour’s glut of courgettes. Almost every day we get 5 or more beautiful fresh courgettes.

And so, I find myself making everything (SCD bread, SCD muffins, salads, roasted veg) with courgettes. But sometimes I’m stuck for inspiration.

The food channel is our guilty pleasure. We watch programmes about fatty, bready american diner food, beautiful baked cakes and dessert full of sugar and flour and many other foods we just don’t/won’t eat, but love to watch. One afternoon a recipe for courgette fritters caught my eye. It was, of course, made with breadcrumbs and feta cheese; and the fritters were deep fried, which is something I try not to do. But, it inspired me to experiment with making my own fritters, made the SCD way and baked/grilled, rather than fried.

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SCD Courgette Fritters

With a herby dipping sauce

Serves 4 as a meal or make them smaller for party finger foods

Ingredients:
2-3 Courgettes (depends on the size of the courgette)
200g Roasted Butternut Squash (optional, if not using, up the ground almond quantity)
100g Ground Almonds
50g hard cheese, such as Manchego, Parmesan or Pecorino, thickly grated
1-2 Eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive Oil

Method:

  1. Heat your oven to 200˚c. Line a large baking sheet with aluminium foil, then spread a thin layer of olive oil on it using a brush.
  2. Grate the courgettes on the thick grater (I used the food processor grating blade to save time)
  3. Squeeze the water out of the grated courgette, using the palms of your hands or twisting in a tea towel.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the roasted squash, ground almonds, 1 egg and seasoning to a thick paste. If the mixture is too thick, add the second egg.
  5. Add the grated cheese and squeezed courgettes and mix well until all the ingredients are well combined.
  6. Using your hands, shape patties and place them on the baking sheet, then drizzle a few drops of olive oil on top of each patty.
  7. Bake in the oven for 10min, then switch your oven to ‘grill’, move the tray to the highest level in the oven and grill the top of the fritters so they colour nicely on top for about 3-5min.
  8.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes before serving (this will make removing them from the tray easier).

2tbsp Herb Dipping Sauce:

Chop 2tbsp each of Parsley and Dill (or any other herb combo you like) into a bowl, mix in 2tbs SCD yogurt, 2tbsp home made mayonnaise and salt and pepper to taste.

Increase the quantities according to the amount of servings.

Serve the Fritters with the sauce and a green salad.

Enjoy!