Happiness Bread {gluten-free}

Happiness Bread is a soft savoury paleo bread, perfect for kick-starting your day, nay your year. It is also pretty much summing up the January I am having so far, I am feeling so positive and sunny that I really don’t recognise myself.

Happiness Bread is a soft savoury gluten-free and paleo bread, packed with sweet potato, nuts, seeds, coconut and turmeric. Perfect for kick-starting your day, nay your year.

I feel like I have changed drastically since giving birth 18 months ago. Not just because I have become a mother and all that entails but I have become less tolerant, more irritable and my sense of humour has drained dry. Also since my downtime is non-existent I never really relax. Basically I am joy, hey come and meet me.

But the major thing that has changed about me is my appearance. There’s no discreet way to approach this but I have put on a lot of weight. Okay so I have never been a size zero. I have always fought a vicious battle with my body and only have to think about a Cadbury’s Caramel to put on another kilo. But since I ballooned during the first sleep deprived months of motherhood my body has been resolute in its new- found magnitude. Despite what my clothes size will tell you I am actually quite a healthy eater. Salads are an obligatory part of my day, I avoid gluten, I only drink in moderation and I don’t eat junk or processed food. So why have I been rolling around North London like a beach ball this past year?

Happiness Bread is a soft savoury gluten-free and paleo bread, packed with sweet potato, nuts, seeds, coconut and turmeric. Perfect for kick-starting your day, nay your year.

Well, okay my food choices have relaxed slightly and I am eating more. Way more to counteract my everyday exhaustion and I do eat more cake than I used to due to baking for a living and recipe testing. Although what’s really changed is my fitness which has take a drastic nosedive. I am not a natural keep fitter but I have taken pride in the fact that since taking up training 8 years ago I have strived to subvert my tendency to curl up on the sofa with my cats by going for a run or doing a crossfit class. However after giving birth I have had two minor but significant setbacks. My back pain, caused by residual pregnancy issues, became so severe that I struggled to pick up Cole at all and I have a Morton’s neuroma which has meant running, jumping or any form of using the ball of my foot during exercise has been excruciatingly painful. I completely lost confidence in exercise as my body hurt too much, I stopped training and went downhill.

Happiness Bread is a soft savoury gluten-free and paleo bread, packed with sweet potato, nuts, seeds, coconut and turmeric. Perfect for kick-starting your day, nay your year.

Well these past couple of months have seen a little improvement, thanks to the amazing work of my physio, osteopath and personal trainer. My back has finally begun to loosen up, my Morton’s neuroma, although not gone, has become more manageable with a rigid exercise plan and I have just started doing cardio and actually working out again. As my body has been feeling better I have had more energy. So much so that I am now taking control of my diet; meal planning, mindful shopping and food prepping at weekends for the coming week. Plus it has helped that Cole is currently happy to stand on a stool and watch mummy make dinner, as opposed to running around the kitchen ripping the knobs off the oven and turning the dishwasher on and off. With this small change I have been able to eat better, eat less and have given up drinking, caffeine and sugar this month. I feel almost terrific and vaguely saintly.

Having a loaf of Happiness Bread helps me out immeasurably during the week. Baking it is a two-step process as the sweet potatoes need to be cooked before you can begin. I have started making sure I chuck a few sweet potatoes in the oven every few days if I know I am going to be at home for the next couple of hours. Cole thinks sweet potato is the best food invented so it’s a must to have some for him on dinner standby and then if I have the baked sweet potato on hand it only takes about 10 minutes to get this loaf mixed and in the oven.

Happiness Bread is a soft savoury gluten-free and paleo bread, packed with sweet potato, nuts, seeds, coconut and turmeric. Perfect for kick-starting your day, nay your year.

Happiness Bread is hearty and filling, packed with protein in the form of nuts and seeds and full of goodness thanks to the sweet potato, coconut oil and turmeric which is incredibly good for you. Tumeric is an antioxidant and has strong anti-inflammatory effects and is a great ingredient as you don’t need a lot of it for it to be beneficial. Plus the colour makes this bread so beautifully sunshiny. The coconut and turmeric flavour really come through and it is so delicious just slathered with butter or piled high with turkey and avocado – my current favourite way to enjoy it.

This is a paleo bread as well so ideal for anyone following that lifestyle and that means it is also gluten-free. The texture is almost cake like so cannot be used the same way you would use a sandwich loaf but it’s a great start to the day and will satiate you until lunchtime.

Happiness Bread is a soft savoury gluten-free and paleo bread, packed with sweet potato, nuts, seeds, coconut and turmeric. Perfect for kick-starting your day, nay your year.

Since introducing this bread to my morning routine I have felt very happy, it’s not just about the bread but having an easy and filling breakfast has definitely contributed to my general feeling of well being. Plus to cap it off I have even just finished reading a book, a trashy thriller mind, but a book nonetheless – so take that no downtime!

Happiness Bread is a soft savoury gluten-free and paleo bread, packed with sweet potato, nuts, seeds, coconut and turmeric. Perfect for kick-starting your day, nay your year.
Print Recipe
Happiness Bread
A soft savoury gluten-free and paleo bread, packed with sweet potato, nuts, seeds, coconut and turmeric. Perfect for kick-starting your day, nay your year.
Happiness Bread is a soft savoury gluten-free and paleo bread, perfect for kick-starting your day, nay your year.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Servings
10 slices
Ingredients
  • 400 g cooked sweet potato*
  • 4 eggs
  • 140 g cashew butter
  • 60 g coconut oil melted to liquid state
  • 75 g coconut flour
  • 30 g tapioca flour
  • 75 g walnut halves
  • 30 g chia seeds
  • 25 g flaked almonds
  • 25 g pumpkin seeds
  • 20 g sunflower seeds
  • 20 g sesame seeds
  • 15 g ground flaxseed
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Servings
10 slices
Ingredients
  • 400 g cooked sweet potato*
  • 4 eggs
  • 140 g cashew butter
  • 60 g coconut oil melted to liquid state
  • 75 g coconut flour
  • 30 g tapioca flour
  • 75 g walnut halves
  • 30 g chia seeds
  • 25 g flaked almonds
  • 25 g pumpkin seeds
  • 20 g sunflower seeds
  • 20 g sesame seeds
  • 15 g ground flaxseed
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
Happiness Bread is a soft savoury gluten-free and paleo bread, perfect for kick-starting your day, nay your year.
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 170°C and line and grease a 9 inch loaf tin.
  2. Beat the sweet potato, eggs, cashew butter and coconut oil in a large mixing bowl or food mixer.
  3. In another mixing bowl combine the coconut flour, walnuts, chia seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseed, turmeric, baking powder and sea salt.
  4. Tip the dry ingredients into the sweet potato mixture and beat until well combined.
  5. Pour into the loaf tin and bake for 50-55 minutes or until an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean.
Recipe Notes

*To prepare the sweet potato I bake my sweet potatoes by wrapping them individually in tin foil then placing them in a baking dish. I then bake them for between 1-1½ hours depending on how big the potato is. I then leave the potatoes to cool a little then unwrap the foil and peel away the skin with my fingers which comes away very easily. Then I refrigerate the potatoes until needed.

Sweet Potato and Feta Tortilla

Sweet Potato and Feta Tortilla

This feels like the first time in a couple of weeks where I have been able to take a breath. My prolonged absence from blogging wasn’t intentional at all but it is only now that I have been able to sit down properly and decide what I’m going to have for dinner instead of relying on cobbled together salads of no import, chocolate or fish and chips from Stroud Green Road.

We were forced to vacate the house for a week or so whilst our builders have been in, rescuing the sorry state that had become of our floorboards and giving our hallway and landing a new lease of life so it didn’t feel we were living in a run down shack. Many houses along our road have been sold recently and we’ve been passing them every day watching them being renovated and putting ours to shame. I decreed we simply had to do something about it before baby arrives and forces us suddenly to not care about such trivial matters as rotting floorboards and splattered tea stains on our walls.

Sweet Potato and Feta Tortilla

Not that the builders have left us yet, there is still one lonesome soldier finishing up the odds and sods, meaning that for the moment most of our belongings are still sequestered away in boxes in every room that isn’t being worked on. It makes searching for things like my camera cable and the plate that I simply must photograph my tortilla on nigh impossible. I did manage to find them both in the end but it was to the detriment of any sort of order that the boxes and rooms might have been in earlier today. My heavily pregnant state also doesn’t allow me to tidy any of it away which will be a lovely surprise to Luke when he arrives home late tonight after a long journey home from his meeting in Liverpool.

Not only has our house been taken over by builders but also in equal measure by cake as I have still been committed to my brilliant market stall and my kitchen has been the one room that has been builder free. This past weekend I took on a new challenge of hosting the café at Hornsey Flea Market. It was a long week of baking prep, actual baking and then two long days at the market which was a fantastic experience. The flea market was so wonderfully busy, it was estimated about 9000 people came through our doors throughout the weekend, most of whom needed some sort of sustenance. It was lovely to branch out and do some savoury baking as well as my usual flotilla of cakes which is how I developed my Sweet Potato and Feta Tortilla. It was a great gluten-free and vegetarian alternative to all the sausage rolls, pancetta and gruyere tartlets, spicy chicken croquettes and butternut squash and chilli scones which I was selling.

I made quite a few of these tortillas and they sold magnificently but I did keep one back for myself as it really is quite a special recipe. This tortilla simply bursts with flavour and spring like freshness, rich with the sweet potato but cool with feta and then packed with fresh coriander, parsley and mint. For ease I bake the tortilla in the oven instead of the traditional method of cooking in a large frying pan and having made the tortilla both ways in the past I haven’t noticed a difference to the end result.

Sweet Potato and Feta Tortilla

I recommend serving the tortilla for a weekend lunch, perhaps in the garden to make the most of this unseasonably beautiful weather. Dress the tortilla up with a herby salad and serve with a crisp glass of white wine.

Sweet Potato and Feta Tortilla
Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, finely sliced
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 2cm squares
½ teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
200g feta
5 medium eggs, whisked together
28g fresh coriander, roughly chopped
28g fresh mint, roughly chopped
28g fresh parsley, roughly chopped
75g roasted red peppers, shredded

  1. Heat the olive oil in a flat bottomed saucepan then add the onions. Cook on a gentle heat for about 20 minutes or until the onions are caramelised.
  2. Add the sweet potatoes and stir to thoroughly coat them in the olive oil. Place the lid on and cook for about 45 – 60 minutes or until the potatoes are softened.
  3. Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 170° and line and grease an 8 inch baking tin.
  4. Take the saucepan of the heat then crumble the feta into the pan, stirring with a metal spoon to combine but not too much as you don’t want the potato and feta to break down.
  5. Pour in the eggs, add the herbs with plenty of seasoning and mix together.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the baking tin, smoothing down so the surface is flat.
  7. Place in the oven and bake for about 40-45 minutes until just browning.
  8. Leave to cool for half an hour the tin before turning out. The tortilla is best served warm.
  9. Serve with the roasted red peppers piled on top.

Sweet Potato and Bacon Rosti: Day 19 of Whole30

These Sweet Potato and Bacon Rosti are simply divine for breakfast. Done. Enough said. See you next week.

Sweet Potato and Bacon Rosti

Well, maybe I’ll mention that this recipe is heavily adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman. I couldn’t recommend the cookbook enough, it’s everyday cooking and all the recipes are utterly tempting. It is based on her blog which has been going before food blogs were even invented. The amount of fabulous recipes she has included over the years is unsurpassed and she is always my first port of call if I need dinner inspiration. She is also lovely as I was very lucky to have the opportunity to hear her speak at one of Divertimenti’s culinary salons about food writing. Her rostis use white potato but since I am avoiding nightshades for the whole30 then sweet potato it is, plus I wanted to add bacon to make it into a complete breakfast food. I used two eggs instead of her one very large egg as my eggs are Burford Browns and tend to come up small-medium; I found that two of these worked very well at binding the mixture. I further paleoed up her recipe by using coconut flour instead of plain and ghee instead of butter. I have spotted no problems with these swaps; all that has resulted has been the most delicious and moreish rostis. of. my. life.

Sweet Potato and Bacon Rosti  |  Stroud Green Larder

Sweet Potato and Bacon Rosti  |  Stroud Green Larder

Sweet Potato and Bacon Rosti  |  Stroud Green Larder

Sweet Potato and Bacon Rosti  |  Stroud Green Larder

You will have to cook the rostis in batches, Deb recommends pre-heating an oven to warm, then keeping the cooked rostis on baking parchment in the oven whilst you make the others. I also used chefs’ rings which was another departure from the original recipe to ensure a nice round shape to my rostis. This did mean that I didn’t get any stray bits of potato sticking out and getting all crisp. If you don’t have chefs’ rings then you do get the added benefit of these crunchy bits but I used them as it meant I could fit four rostis at a time nicely in my saucepan and make the shaping and cooking quick and easy. Plus, neatness.

Sweet Potato and Bacon Rosti  |  Stroud Green Larder

Sweet Potato and Bacon Rosti  |  Stroud Green Larder

It should also go without saying that this is the kind of breakfast food that you won’t want to restrict to one mealtime, you’ll be wanting to make them for lunch and dinner as well. I’m here to tell you that you can! Have at it! Go wild!

Sweet Potato and Bacon Rosti  |  Stroud Green Larder

Sweet Potato and Bacon Rosti
Makes about 8 rosti

2 sweet potatoes (about 500g in total)
1 onion
30g coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
6 rashers smoked streaky bacon, grilled and cooled
Salt and Pepper
2 tbsp ghee

  1. Peel and grate the sweet potatoes and the onion.
  2. Add the coconut flour, baking powder and eggs to the sweet potato and onion shreds. Mix in very well with your hands squeezing so it all binds together.
  3. Cut the bacon into small pieces and add that to the sweet potato mixture too, mixing in so they are dispersed evenly.
  4. Heat a tbsp of ghee on a low-medium heat in a large frying pan. If you are using chef’s rings then lightly grease the insides and place them in the frying pan. Fill them up halfway with the sweet potato mixture, pressing tightly down with the back of a spoon.
  5. Fry for about 4 minutes, then gently remove the chef’s ring making sure the uncooked mixture doesn’t come with it. Check that the bottom of the rostis are lightly golden, if so then flip over with a spatula and fry on the other side for about 3-4 minutes until also lightly golden. Remove and serve or keep warm in the oven until they are all ready.
  6. If you are cooking these in batches, then you will need to add the other tbsp of ghee to the pan before you start on the next batch.

Rosemary Salt Encrusted Salmon with Sweet Potato Crisps: Day 3 of Whole 30

Rosemary Salt Encrusted Salmon with Sweet Potato Crisps
This is the kind of supper you will be needing on the Whole30, the kind that can be thrown together in a hurry after a long day.   Sweet potato is one of the few high carbohydrate foods you can eat on the Whole30 but that doesn’t mean we should go mad. I limit myself to sweet potato on days when I am really doing some punishing exercise and if it means I have to go for an extra run as I have a sweet potato craving, well surely that can only be a good thing. I just read through that last sentence and it made me sound ever so saintly, c’mon guys you know me, the days I get sweet potato are few and far between.

Sweet Potato Crisps  |  Stroud Green Larder

Sweet Potato Crisps  |  Stroud Green Larder

By cooking finely sliced sweet potatoes in a single layer on your baking tray, not only will you create some lovely crisps to be enjoyed as part of your meal (not as a snack, that just doesn’t sit right on the Whole30 plan) but they only take about 20–30 minutes in a good hot oven so they don’t require an awful lot of effort.

Rosemary Salt Encrusted Salmon  |  Stroud Green Larder

The idea here is to create a lovely balance of textures between the velvety soft salmon and the crisp discs of sweet potato. I love grilled salmon, and since it already has so much flavour all you really need is to help it along a bit with some flavoured salt, this cuts down on the preparation time so you’ve got more of an evening to chill out on the sofa. We have to cook so many meals from scratch on the Whole30 that quick and easy are the watchwords.

Rosemary Salt Encrusted Salmon with Sweet Potato Crisps  |  Stroud Green Larder

This really doesn’t require much of a recipe as it relies really on the pot of rosemary salt which I usually have hanging about in my storecupboard. If you want to make your own it is a quick 5 minute job which will save you plenty of time if you want to quickly pep up a lamb steak or season some roasted parsnips. Just take a few stalks of rosemary, strip them of their leaves and finely chop the leaves to within an inch of their life. Then mix in with about 60g sea salt and decant into a little jar. It will keep for a very long time. Of course, you can also do this with thyme, fennel or any of your woody herbs.

I served this with a mountainous pile of steamed kale which added some much needed greenery to the affair.

Rosemary Salt Encrusted Salmon with Sweet Potato Crisps  |  Stroud Green Larder

Rosemary Salt Encrusted Salmon with Sweet Potato Crisps
Serves 2

2 salmon fillets
1 tsp rosemary salt (or 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp finely chopped rosemary)
⅛ tsp ground white pepper
400g sweet potato
2 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp smoked garlic powder
½ tsp sea salt
A bit of black pepper

  1. Rub the rosemary salt and the white pepper into the flesh of each salmon fillet then set aside.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C and line a couple of baking trays with baking parchment.
  3. Peel, then finely slice the sweet potato into circles, if you have a mandolin then do use that, otherwise just thinly with a knife will also get the job done.
  4. Pour the olive oil, smoked garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper over the sweet potato circles and coat thoroughly. Then lay out onto the baking trays in single layers, don’t worry if they have to overlap a bit though to get them all in.
  5. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes, depending how thin you sliced the potatoes. They should come out when the very edges are starting to turn crisp. I’d recommend just taking a bite out of the largest circle to ensure they will all be cooked all the way through.
  6. Meanwhile pre-heat the grill to the highest setting, then when hot place the salmon under. I find that it is usually perfectly cooked when the surface has started to turn golden after about 10 minutes. Do check though by carefully inserting a knife into the fleshiest part as different thicknesses of salmon fillets will cook at different times.
  7. Serve the salmon with the sweet potato crisps and some steamed kale.

Oxtail and Sweet Potato Pie

Oxtail and Sweet Potato Pie

On a Saturday my husband will kindly offer to go to the butcher to get our meat for the week, usually so he doesn’t have to watch another Vampire Diaries episode. On his return I am treated to the grand presentation whereupon 85% of the items he brings back actually featured on the list he was given. Invariably there is a surprise or two to thoughtfully throw me off course. A more resigned edition of Ready Steady Cook which then usually involves a separate trip to the shops to buy whatever is needed to help prepare it. There are certain things which have been banned from this game, one of which is wild rabbit, which was greeted with stony silence after the third time it was produced out of the butchers hat in a matter of weeks.

The chefs special this week though was oxtail which was an excellent addition to our menu. Oxtail is definitely a weekend cut of meat as it takes a while to get really soft and juicy so benefits from a really slow braise. The results are always worth the wait and a little of it can go a long way due to the richness of the meat. I needed then an accompaniment to cut through the dark intensity and decided to make cottage pie but using sweet potato to make the end result a bit lighter. This was a new recipe which worked better than I had hoped. The melting meat bubbled up underneath, caramelising with the fluffy topping and making the edges all chewy. Adding a lot of dijon mustard at the beginning of the oxtail braise also helps to thicken the gravy without the addition of flour and imparts a creamy depth rather than a strong mustard flavour.

Just as the pie came out of the oven the sky suddenly opened up outside. Now I’m not saying that the rain is an essential element to this supper but it really was rather wonderful forking the piping hot pie into my mouth whilst looking out of a drowning window, the water thundering down onto the pane.

Oxtail and sweet potato pie

1 kilo oxtail
2 tbsp olive oil
2 sticks celery, diced
1 large onion, sliced thinly
2 large carrots, diced
1 litre stock
100ml dijon mustard
2 x bay leaves
2 x sprigs thyme
2 x cloves garlic, crushed
½ tsp white pepper
½ tsp salt
1 kilo sweet potatoes
30g unsalted butter
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper

  1. Rub salt and pepper over the oxtail then in a large casserole pot heat up the olive oil on the hob and add the oxtail.
  2. Braise the oxtail for about 10 mins until browned then remove.
  3. Add the celery, onion and carrots to the casserole pot and heat on a low heat for about 10 mins until softened. Remove from the casserole and set aside.
  4. Add the oxtail back into the pot, then pour in the stock, the Dijon mustard, bay leaves, thyme, garlic and salt and pepper. Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer. Cook for 2 hours then add back in the carrots, celery and onion and cook for a further 1½ hours until the oxtail is falling off the bone and the gravy has thickened.
  5. Remove the bay and thyme leaves and the oxtail bones. Make sure you remove the hard caps which may have fallen off the oxtail bones as they can be a surprise when you bite down on them.
  6. Pierce the whole sweet potatoes several times with a sharp knife.
  7. Wrap each one individually in foil then bake at 200°C for about 1¼ hours until the potatoes are softened.
  8. Scrape the each potato from its skin and then mash the bright orange flesh with the butter, nutmeg and salt and pepper.
  9. In an ovenproof dish, layer all the oxtail the add the sweet potato mash on top, dragging a fork over to allow the mash to crisp up in the oven.
  10. Bake in the oven for 30-40 mins at 180°C. Serve piping hot.