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, tapioca 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.

Matcha Protein Breakfast Shake

Matcha Protein Breakfast Shake

I like to think of myself as a pretty easy eater. ‘I will pretty much eat anything’ I will self-righteously declare to all and sundry. But if you dare to serve me breakfast then you’ll generally find I throw a sudden and unpleasant temper tantrum.

You see in my opinion breakfast is the worst. An amalgamation of all my least favourite things to eat; some because I am intolerant – gluten, oats and to a lesser extent dairy and some because I outright think they are heinous devil foods – eggs, mushrooms and baked beans.

Matcha Protein Breakfast Shake

So I have this horrid dichotomy of always waking up starving but delaying my body food until a more palatable meal comes my way, say lunch (although I am not averse to having lunch or even dinner for breakfast if I am feeling especially wanton).

Then, as the adverts say, I discovered protein shakes. Not smoothies, with endless helpings of fruit which dive me headlong into a sugar crash before 9am, but a less sweet and more nutrient packed shake. These take mere moments to prepare, just slam everything into the blender and whizz up, which I then consume whilst feeding Cole, clearing up his breakfast and getting him dressed. They are the ultimate fast food and don’t contain any ingredients that make my body want to heave – which can only be a good thing.

Matcha Protein Breakfast Shake

Whether you already have all these ingredients to hand depends on your love for health food shops. I am a bit of a health food junkie, in direct contrast to my cake obsession, and relish every nutrition fad going which means these shakes certainly don’t wuss out on that front. They are full of avocado, kale, banana, almond butter, chia seeds, hemp powder, flaxseed and of course matcha green tea powder and what made them an absolute winner for me was when I doused the whole lot in coconut water for liquidity. The result is creamy and refreshing and has been the perfect start to my day for a few weeks now.

Every ingredient in these Matcha Protein Breakfast Shakes has their place and are each filled with the most excellent health benefits, which you can google all about, plus because I have based the shake around protein, which you can find in the almond butter, chia seeds and hemp powder, it is so filling and satisfying.

Matcha Protein Breakfast Shake

The star ingredient in this breakfast shake though is the matcha green tea powder which I have been experimenting with as an ingredient, mainly in my baking, for a while now. It has such a unique flavour that becomes quite addictive. I have found though that various brands have different strengths and at the moment I seem to have quite a strong one in my larder. So I only used one teaspoon of matcha powder here but certainly feel free to add more if you are not getting enough matcha through for your tastes. Or if you haven’t had matcha before then one teaspoon is certainly a good place to start. If you’re not sure where to get this or any other of the ingredients in the list start with amazon which stocks everything you need. The only other endorsement I can give this recipe is this – it has definitely made breakfast time a much happier place for me to be; meaning less temper tantrums.

Matcha Protein Breakfast Shake

Matcha Protein Breakfast Shake

1 large shake

1 banana
½ avocado
25g kale (1 large handful), blanched
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 teaspoons ground flaxseed
3 teaspoons hemp protein powder
1 teaspoon matcha green tea powder
250ml coconut water
3 ice cubes

  1. Bung it all in the blender, blitz until smooth and away you go!
Matcha-Protein-Breakfast-Shake

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

I make no bones about it, these energy bars have been shamelessly ripped from the Nakd bar. I was completely reliant on Nakd bars when I worked as a TV Producer. I was either too busy to have breakfast so I grabbed one of these, maybe I had edits that ran over lunch so I kept going by pulling one of these out of my bag, or I was working late which meant that dinner was pushed until I got home at some heinous hour and my Nakd bars would once again save the day. I always had heaps of them crammed into my desk drawer, handbag and coat pockets.

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

Since I’ve been working from home, I haven’t found the need to rely so much on shop bought snacks, there is usually cake around or I’m recipe testing so I can munch on a bit of whatever I’m cooking or baking. Can you tell I was a bit more diet conscious when I wasn’t slouching around in tracky bums, baggy t-shirts and slippers all day.

Well, I’m upping the health factor in my life at the moment, making sure I achieve my 5-a-day, consume my 700mg of calcium and perhaps not rely on chocolate to fill the spare five minutes I have whilst waiting for the kettle to boil. With healthy eating comes healthy snacking so although I won’t rely on these bars like I used to it’s incredibly handy having something in that I can have if I need a sugar or protein hit. If I’m going for a long walk with Billy Buddy then I find that one of these is absolutely perfect for my dipping energy if I’m getting pulled around by an excitable little dog.

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

Having exhausted all the flavours of Nakd bars during my obsession with them I always wanted to give them a go myself, after all there is only about four ingredients listed on the back of the packets. I should have carved out time to do this years ago, as they were one of the easiest things to prepare. If you own a food mixer then that’s all you need to whizz up the ingredients before you press into a tin, refrigerate and then cut into bars.

When I set about making these I didn’t have any particular plan in mind other than I wanted to use up some of my dried cranberries; I severely overestimated how many I would need over Christmas and my larder is overrun with them. I love cranberry and macadamia together and then found buried in the back the remains of a packet of macadamias which hadn’t gone out of date yet – score! There weren’t quite enough nuts so I amped up the quantity by substituting almonds. I also added dates which are the main ingredient in any Nakd bar to bind the bars together, I used plump sticky medjool dates to add juiciness and deeper flavour. There are more dates than cranberries in this recipe but the dates add the background note whilst the overriding zingy flavour is of the cranberries. I couldn’t resist adding a tablespoon of freeze dried raspberry powder either for more berry flavour.

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

They worked out better than expected. The raspberry powder lifts the whole bar so it tastes fresher somehow. You can get raspberry powder from Father Christmas when he puts it in your stocking to open on Christmas morning or if you weren’t quite as lucky as I was then it’s easy enough to buy online.

These bars should keep for about a week in the fridge but you could also double the quantity I’ve suggested here and stick them in the freezer so you have lots to keep you going. I made mine in a smaller quantity of eight so I can move onto another flavour when these are done.

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

Makes about 8

180g medjool dates, pitted
75g dried cranberries
75g macadamia nuts
50g blanched almonds
1 tablespoon freeze dried raspberry powder

    1. Place all the ingredients in a food mixer and whizz up together for a few minutes until the nuts have completely ground into the dried fruit. It should come together into a sticky ball.
    2. Tip the fruity nuttiness into a rectangular baking tin lined with cling film so that the cling film hangs generously over the side of the tin.
    3. Press the mixture into the tin so the surface is completely even, then wrap the cling film back over the top to protect it.
    4. Place in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up then remove the cling filmed mixture from the tin. Peel off the cling film and cut into evenly sized bars.
    5. Wrap each bar back up individually in cling film or baking parchment then store in the fridge for about a week or keep in the freezer.

SHOP THE RECIPE

Here is the raspberry powder I used for this recipe.
Freeze Dried Raspberry Powder 150g
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Energy Boosting Snack Ideas – FREE PDF!

If you need more inspiration of energy boosting snacks to get your through your in between meal slumps then you can download my free PDF with 9 more ideas featuring exclusive content and also my favourite energy boosting recipes from the website. To access this amazing PDF you just need to click the link below!!

Cashew Chicken Satay with Carrot and Coriander Salad

Cashew Chicken Satay with Carrot and Coriander Salad

The deli counter was a big thing growing up. It was my favourite destination during our weekly trips to the supermarket and it was here that my sister and I were allowed to choose one treat to snack on in the car on the way home. I always, without a doubt, chose the chicken satay. Thinly skewered pieces of cooked dry chicken covered with a tasteless spices and rammed onto cocktail sticks. I loved them. I have no idea if you can still buy them anymore but I remember as soon as Mum had loaded the car up with the shopping, I would rummage carelessly through them for my promised chicken satay. As I clambered into the car I was already tearing the label in half which held the wimpy plastic deli bag together and brandishing my prize. Before the car engine had even been started the skewer had been devoured in one, two, three bites and the wooden stick tossed with abandon over my shoulder (until I was told off by Mum for littering the car and made to reclaim it dutifully).

My love of chicken on a stick has not diminished into adulthood. I usually wait until summer’s barbecue season before overindulging in chicken kebabs but as soon as the first of January hit I have been hankering after the chicken satay skewers of yore, except done, hopefully, a little better.

I am still coming to terms with my horrendous computer crash, which I suffered just before Christmas. One of the most frustrating things about losing all my work is all the recipes which I had great ideas for that have now been lost in the ether. Hopefully though if I thought of them once, I might recall them one day again. There are some ideas though that even though they went down with my hard drive they have never been relegated to the recesses of my mind. These, must have been the best of the bunch and are the ones I am now excited to share.

Cashew Chicken Satay with Carrot and Coriander Salad

This Cashew Chicken Satay is one of those recipes. I don’t know when I first thought of it but like all my greedy thoughts it was hastily typed into my laptop and saved into a list of hundreds of recipes, destined for the kitchen far into the future. However, for some reason, this recipe has stayed with me and has been saved from destruction by my memory.

I was so happy then when it worked out just as I had hoped it would, in fact, if I may be so bold I think it worked out better and is definitely going to become a regular part of my mid-week repertoire. Cashew nuts are just as tasty as the more traditional peanuts in a satay. They are slightly sweeter so they lend a more tempered and delicately flavoured result but one I actually think I prefer despite being a fully paid up member of the Peanut Butter Forever fan club. This also means it’s suitable for most January detoxes which tend to eschew peanuts. There is nothing I like better than adapting a recipe for a healthy eating plan and finding you have lost nothing at all in the translation.

Cashew Chicken Satay with Carrot and Coriander Salad

I paired my Cashew Chicken Satay with a bright rainbow carrot salad, singing with fresh coriander, the bite of spring onions ,the occasional heat of green chilli and the zing of lemon juice. This kind of salad is perfect for January as it’s robust and crunchy and jam packed full of drizzly rain busting flavour and colour.

Cashew Chicken Satay with Carrot and Coriander Salad

Cashew Chicken Satay with Carrot and Coriander Salad
Serves 2

For the Cashew Chicken Satay:
2 chicken breasts
100g natural unsalted cashew nuts
a small piece of fresh ginger, peeled
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 shallots, peeled
1 red chilli
1 stalk lemongrass, outside woody part removed
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon coconut or olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce or coconut aminos or tamari
2 teaspoons honey
100ml coconut milk

For the Carrot and Coriander Salad:
2-3 large carrots, grated
Handful of fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
Spring onions, roughly chopped
Green chilli, sliced thinly
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon salt
black pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Slice the chicken into strips and set aside whilst you prepare the satay sauce.
  3. Scatter the cashews onto a baking tray and toast in the oven for about 8 minutes. Remove the cashews from the oven and tip straight into a food mixer. Mix the cashews together to make cashew butter which could take up to 15 minutes but persevere until the cashews form a lovely smooth paste. (for more detail on making cashew butter see here).
  4. Add the fresh ginger, garlic, shallots, red chilli and lemongrass into the mixer and pulse everything together until smooth.
  5. Then add the ground coriander, turmeric, coconut oil, soy sauce and honey and mix again until you have achieved a smooth paste.
  6. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the satay sauce and set aside for making the pouring sauce later, cover and put in the fridge. Pour the rest of the satay sauce over the chicken pieces and rub into the chicken so that it’s thoroughly coated. Cover and place in the fridge for at least four hours but preferably overnight to marinate.
  7. Before you cook the chicken you can prepare the salad.
  8. Mix together the carrots, coriander, spring onions and chilli together in a large bowl.
  9. To make the dressing pour the lemon juice into a small glass and whisk up with the ground coriander, salt and pepper until the salt has dissolved. Carefully pour the olive oil in, whisking all the while until the dressing has emulsified. Pour over your salad and set aside whilst you finish the satay chicken.
  10. Turn your grill or griddle on to a high setting. Remove the chicken from the fridge and thread onto skewers until all the chicken has been used up. Place the chicken skewers under the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes each side.
  11. Whilst the chicken is cooking you can make the pouring satay sauce by taking your reserved 3 tablespoons of satay sauce and placing it in a small saucepan with 100ml coconut milk. Stir together and heat gently until it reaches a gentle boil. Remove from the heat.
  12. Serve your cashew chicken satay skewers over the carrot and coriander salad and drizzle over the satay pouring sauce.

Coconut and Chia Breakfast Bowl

Coconut and Chia Breakfast Bowl
I never know what to have for breakfast. I consider myself an incredibly unfussy eater as I will pretty much vacuum up anything, but when it comes to breakfast I stumble. I always wake up feeling a little nauseous, pregnancy or no pregnancy. I can’t do fruit – too acidic, dairy increases the nausea, I don’t like eggs and bread is a no-go for me except high days and holidays. The only thing that really sits well with me is protein and nuts.

Coconut and Chia Breakfast Bowl

I like my breakfast simple, quick and healthy and now it’s January and I’m looking ahead to the incredibly life changing year that’s in store for me I want to treasure my body and start each day with good intentions, even if I have succumbed to my Christmas chocolate stash by 4pm.

Chia Seeds

I’ve been making this Coconut and Chia Breakfast bowl for the past few mornings and it has fit my fussy bill completely. It’s not too sweet, it’s dairy free, has lots of protein from the nuts and coconut and is surprisingly filling. Plus I love chia seeds.

Coconut and Chia Breakfast Bowl

You can buy chia seeds from any health food shop and they are good to go on anything but they are best when paired with liquid. When cooked into the coconut milk they swell up to form little bubbles with a slight pop in the mouth. That is what I love about this breakfast bowl – the texture. Often I think I care more about the texture of a food than the taste and this one has it all; the creaminess of the coconut, the slight crunch of the almonds, the chew of the figs and the pearly goodness of the chia. It’s a terribly satisfying breakfast.

Coconut and Chia Breakfast Bowl

Since this only takes about 10 minutes to prepare I have been rustling it up with no effort in the mornings but if you enjoy those extra 10 minutes in bed I see no reason why you can’t make it the night before and fridge it until the morning, although it will mean that the finished result softens slightly but that might be to your preference.

I serve mine with either toasted coconut shavings or sliced banana, perhaps even an extra drizzle of maple syrup if I dare.

Coconut and Chia Breakfast Bowl

Coconut and Chia Breakfast Bowl
Serves 1

200g Coconut Milk
2 tablespoons Chia Seeds
25g Desiccated Coconut
30g Whole Almonds, toasted then roughly chopped
40g dried figs (about 2), roughly chopped
½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Maple Syrup

  1. Place all the ingredients in a medium sized saucepan.
  2. Bring everything to a gentle boil as you stir it all together.
  3. Turn off the heat and let stand for 10 minutes so all the coconut milk is absorbed.
  4. Serve with a topping of your choice.

Roasted Bone Marrow with Parsley and Sorrel Salad

My food tastes are ever evolving. I remember the first time we went to Fergus Henderson’s St John restaurant years ago and being intrigued by his Roast Bone Marrow and Parsley Salad which was his signature dish and is still on the menu today. At the time I was not adventurous enough to try it. This seems surprising to me to look back on this, as very little food these days intimidates me and the thought of eating bone marrow doesn’t seem outlandish as it once did.

Roast Bone Marrow with Parsley and Sorrel Salad | Stroud Green Larder

The inclusion of bone marrow on a menu is no longer shocking, most recently I was served a magnificent portion at Oslo in Hackney where they presented six deliciously huge shafts with hunks of bread for scooping out the unctuous melting marrow on a giant wooden board. It has also become very accessible to buy and there was a bit of a fuss when Waitrose started stocking it last year as part of their forgotten cuts range.

Roast Bone Marrow with Parsley and Sorrel Salad | Stroud Green Larder

Roast Bone Marrow with Parsley and Sorrel Salad | Stroud Green Larder At home, we regularly devote Sunday afternoons to creating wonderful Osso Bucco Milanese which has become one of our favourite family dishes. It is now so prevalent as part of our everyday ingredients that my husband I randomly bought bone marrow from separate vendors over the weekend for our meals this week, so our kitchen this week is bursting with this under appreciated cut of meat.

 

It’s encouraging to think that I, along with the rest of the British nation, are becoming more open minded about the food we eat, it’s not all shepherds pie, spaghetti bolognaise and roast dinners anymore. Although I do make a mean version of all three. The current food revolution in this country has been long overdue and seems to be picking up more steam year on year as we are embracing, not only our own discarded food heritage, but also launching headlong into discovering the best bits from other countries too. It is like we have been starved for decades living on our continued food rationing, not realising that the world has moved on. Well, in the past 15 years so have we and we’re throwing ourselves into every fad with gusto, hence the popularity for food trucks and street food. Let’s see which trends stick.

Roast Bone Marrow with Parsley and Sorrel Salad | Stroud Green Larder I opted yesterday to roast the bone marrow simply with a parsley salad, the way Fergus Henderson does it, adding citrusy sorrel to the proceedings to freshen it up. The marrow bones only take 15 minutes in the oven so they were quick to prepare for such a joyous treat. Plenty of fat dripped into the roasting dish which I promptly drained into a jar for roast potatoes at a later date. I also prepared more bone marrow than I needed which meant I could scrape out the marrow that I didn’t immediately want to put it in the fridge for an instant flavour injection for future meals. The marrow is wonderful for adding to sauces and stews, contributing a unique umami flavour and meaty depth, like the best stock cube you could imagine. I then put the leftover roasted bone shafts in a huge casserole dish with leeks, onions, carrots, bay, thyme and seasoning, filled it with water and simmered for hours to create an unparalleled beef broth.

Bone Marrow is also crazily good for you, nutrient dense and high in protein and the best kind of fats, so although it feels luxurious to eat, you can feel extremely saintly. And if you are still not convinced, it is excellent value. I bought 2kg for £6 which I will reap the benefits from for many meals to come over the next few weeks.

Roast Bone Marrow with Parsley and Sorrel Salad | Stroud Green Larder

Roast Bone Marrow with Parsley and Sorrel Salad
Serves 2

4 Bone Marrow Shafts
garlic cloves, crushed
50g sorrel
40g parsley
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
30ml extra virgin olive oil
seasoning

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Place the bone marrow shafts, bone side down into a large baking dish. Sprinkle the crushed garlic and some seasoning along the shaft then place in the oven and roast for about 15 minutes. The bone should just be turning gold at the edges and the marrow glistening. Remove from the oven
  3. Whisk together the Dijon mustard, lemon juice and seasoning and then pour in the olive oil in a slow steady stream, whisking it in until fully emulsified.
  4. Drizzle the dressing over the parsley and sorrel and serve with the hot bone marrow.

Chargrilled Steak with Sun-dried Tomato and Anchovy: Day 30 of Whole30

Chargrilled Steak with Sun-dried Tomato and Anchovy
My new food fad came about completely by accident last week. I had finished a particularly grueling personal training session and was so ravenous I could have eaten the entire contents of my kitchen, but so exhausted I didn’t have the energy to lift a finger. I think I stared vacantly into my fridge for a good ten minutes, willing the food to leap out and cook itself. Thank goodness I spied some skirt steak, the quickest cooking cut of beef there is. The injection of iron is perfect after exercise to replenish energy stores.

I had been meaning to make something with the half jar of sun-dried tomatoes that had been languishing at the back of the fridge for a while. So I seized the opportunity for a no-nonsense accompaniment to my steak and threw it in the blender. Then I basically just started throwing other stuff in the blender that seemed to go with it. It was the addition of the tin of anchovies though that turned this from a quick practical supper to a heady combination of meditteranean influence as the kitchen suddenly filled with the salty sweet herby aroma of summer. The sun streamed through the window as I threw my steak on the griddle and I ended up with the most divine heart strengthening salad I have had in my entire Whole30 month. And I have had a lot of salads.

Chargrilled Steak with Sun-dried Tomato and Anchovy  |  Stroud Green Larder

There was plenty of the sauce left over and I have pretty much been adding it to everything ever since. A couple of tablespoons went into a bolognaise I was making, a teaspoon went into some fresh tomatoes to bolster the flavour and I have even been dunking celery into it as a very satisfying snack. The anchovies inject such a deep intensity of savouriness without you even knowing they are there. The sun-dried tomatoes, which can sometimes be a little cloying by themselves, sing of sunshine sweetness whilst the red wine vinegar brings the two into check and the herbs boost the freshness.

Do make this and use it as a salad dressing, a bagna cauda type dip or a pasta sauce; add to your stews, soups or even use as the tomato base for your pizzas. It’s quick to put together and you will reap the benefit for many meals to come. I would imagine it would keep for about a week in the fridge, but it’s far to useful to last that long and mine most certainly didn’t. Luckily, I made some more.

Well, that was it. The very last recipe on my Whole30 challenge. It has been a very good month, I haven’t blogged about even half the lovely recipes I have discovered and I can’t say I have missed out on that much (but oh my goodness I can’t wait to have a gin and tonic). The only real unquenchable craving I’ve had is the actual act of baking which I can’t wait to get back to as soon as possible. Oh, and I have lost a little bit of weight which was the point of the whole exercise but not enough that I can rest on my laurels. So this will not be the end of everything I have learned on the Whole30. I am sure lots of what I blog about in the future will continue in the Whole30 or paleo vein but interspersed with a little bit more cake.

Chargrilled Steak with Sun-dried Tomato and Anchovy  |  Stroud Green Larder

Just as a quick note before you get onto the recipe. I originally made this with skirt steak but when I re-created the dish for the blog I could only get hold of rump steak. It was infact the biggest slab of steak I have ever seen in my life. Obviously you can use any steak you like but do bear in mind that every cut of steak will require different cooking times. The best guide that I have found is on Delia’s website if you are unsure.

Chargrilled Steak with Sun-dried Tomato and Anchovy
Serves 4

600g steak (skirt, rump, sirloin, whatever you fancy)
2 tbsp lemon and garlic oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper
200g sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
50g anchovies
2 tsp red wine vinegar
25g of fresh basil leaves
A tbsp roughly chopped fresh oregano
About 100ml olive oil
A large bunch of rocket
1 red pepper, sliced very thinly

  1. Mix together the lemon and garlic oil and Dijon mustard then rub it all over the steak with plenty of salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a griddle pan on the hob until smoking then place the steak in the centre and cook for about 3 minutes each side, depending on how thick your steak is. When it’s done to your liking then remove from the heat and leave to come to room temperature whilst you carry on with the dressing.
  3. Drain the sun-dried tomatoes and the anchovies from their olive oil, reserving the oil as you will need to add it back in later.
  4. Put the sun-dried tomatoes into a blender along with all the ingredients (apart from the rocket).
  5. Measure out the reserved olive oil from the sun-dried tomatoes and anchovies, you need 200ml. If there is not enough then top up with some extra virgin olive oil from your larder. Pour into the blender as well.
  6. Blend it all up until smooth. Check for seasoning before decanting into a jar and drizzling over your warmed steak. Serve with plenty of peppery rocket and slithers of red pepper.

Homemade Almond Milk

Homemade Almond Milk
When I was in my mid-twenties I was unwell a lot, I was missing a lot of time of work and since I had quite a busy job I was really feeling the strain. The days I did go into work I usually felt awful, constantly sick and exhausted with pounding headaches. The doctors tested me for everything but in their eyes I was fit and well. So under the advice of my personal trainer I went to a local kinesiologist to seek a more holistic approach, which was a fun if slightly batty experience. Kinesiology is the study of human movement and a series of simple tests on muscles is believed to determine any imbalances in the body. Since by this time I was fed up of going to the doctors for them merely to shrug and give me further blood tests the holistic approach seemed a welcome relief.

Homemade Almond Milk  |  Stroud Green Larder

Homemade Almond Milk  |  Stroud Green Larder

The kinesiologist put various food samples in my hands and tested my muscle response to see if any particular food group was causing an imbalance in my body and by eliminating the incriminating substances from my diet she hoped to determine the cause of my lack of energy and why I was frequently plagued by nausea and headaches. Now the results were not a short list; it turned out I was intolerant to mushrooms (yay, I hate them anyway), beer (ditto), soy (meh), marmite (hmm, I always quite liked marmite), wheat (oh) and dairy (noooooo). At the time I was subsisting on a diet of chicken baked in tomatoes and crème fraiche and I did so love my cups of tea; I couldn’t bear having to give these up.

However, if I thought about it, the dairy thing kind of made sense. As a child I was never able to eat cereal as the milk made my ears pop, like I had lost my centre of gravity, and since taking up the tea habit in my late teens I was never able to drink more than a couple of mugs before getting my patented ‘tea tummy’.

The inability to tolerate lactose is more prevalent in human beings than we realise. Most mammals cease to produce lactase after being weaned which means they become intolerant to lactose and although many human beings have developed lactase persistence into adulthood, meaning that they can digest lactose normally, Wikipedia says (so it must be bible) that in 75% of adults lactase activity is decreasing, leading to the intolerance of lactose.

Homemade Almond Milk  |  Stroud Green Larder

Homemade Almond Milk  |  Stroud Green Larder

Over the years I have managed to erase wheat from my everyday cooking, only saving it for my baking addiction and the odd burger from Meatliquor, which is why you see so many gluten-free recipes on this site. However, the dairy thing has plagued me off and on for years, I have been more than happy to treat myself to a bit of dairy for the odd recipe but slowly I found that I was consuming it every day again, mainly in my tea but also cheese, yoghurt and my own personal temptation, crème fraiche (seriously, I was adding it to everything).

Since I began to think about and then embark upon the Whole30 I have successfully managed to cut it out for 24 days and counting. Now, thank goodness the Whole30 allows caffeine as it has meant that I can happily still drink my beloved two cups of tea a day without any guilt. The reason I can do that… well now finally I am getting round to my point… is Almond Milk (cue halos and a heavenly chorus).

I see a lot of American paleo sites are a bit concerned about commercialised almond milk due the ingredient of carrageenan which is used as a thickener and which some studies show has slight carcinogenic properties. However, I cannot see it included in the ingredients list of my normal Alpro Almond Milk. Still, I have been keen to try my hand at homemade almond milk since the beginning of my Whole30 plan and I finally took the milky plunge this week. My word, am I glad I did, it’s like discovering almond milk again which has meant more angels and more heavenly music.

Homemade Almond Milk  |  Stroud Green Larder

I never really minded the substitution of almond milk for dairy in my tea, it was different, but for me cleaner than dairy, it has a sharper flavour and seems to strengthen the taste of the tea rather than soften it like dairy. However, since I like my tea as mighty as an ox this turned out to be the milk I was looking for. However, this homemade stuff is the real deal; richer, silkier, fresher, more nutty and made my tea feel much more luxurious, almost as if it had whole milk in it.

Before I started looking into it I couldn’t imagine how almond milk was made but it turns out that it’s pretty straightforward. You just soak the almonds in water for a couple of days, drain them and then blend with fresh water. The milk is produced immediately but you will want to strain through muslin to get rid of all the nitty gritty. It’s worth mentioning though that at the end of the milk making process you will be left with some soggy almond meal in the muslin after straining, I would heartily recommend you dry this in a low oven before keeping in a jar as they make an absolutely perfect breadcrumb substitution.

Homemade Almond Milk  |  Stroud Green Larder

Homemade Almond Meal  |  Stroud Green Larder

I am pleased that the Whole30 has made me embrace almond milk again and I know I will never go back to whole milk in my tea. I cannot say I will avoid all dairy in the future but it is certainly a good thing to keep to a minimum since I cannot deny that as soon as I limited my wheat and dairy intake the daily headaches and nausea faded away. I have lots of plans for this almond milk as its possibilities are so much more adventurous than just adding to tea but they do include a bit of baking and ice cream making and I can’t wait for my Whole30 to be over so I can get stuck in.

Homemade Almond MilkHomemade Almond Milk
Makes around 500ml
Adapted from thekitchn.com

150g whole unblanched almonds
500ml of water, plus extra for soaking

  1. Place your almonds in a medium bowl then pour over enough water so it covers the almonds by an inch.
  2. Cover with cling film and leave for two days for the almonds to soften.
  3. Drain and rinse the almonds then place in a blender with the 500ml water. Whizz up for a couple of minutes until it’s as smooth as you can get it.
  4. Place two layers of muslin in a large bowl, wide enough to gather up after you pour in the milk mixture.
  5. Pour the milk mixture on top of the muslin then gather up all the corners and tie up with string.
  6. Lift up the muslin ball and watch all the clean almond milk drip into your bowl. Squeeze the muslin ball to get as much milk as you can.
  7. That’s it. Pour the milk into a sterilised jar and keep in the fridge. You can reserve the almond meal left over in the muslin for breadcrumbs or baking.
  8. The almond milk only lasts for a few days so drink up quickly.

Almond Milk Tea  |  Stroud Green Larder

Sesame Salmon Tartare: Day 22 of Whole30

Sesame Salmon Tartare
So I am finally on my last week of Whole30. I will not lie to you, it has been difficult. It isn’t so much the everyday eating which is all well and good as I love a bit of a salad, I am happy to eat my fair share of protein and I will wolf down pretty much any vegetable you put in front of me. However, I have felt a bit out at sea when I plain don’t want to cook or am out and about and have to rely on someone else’s cooking.

Salmon Marinade  |  Stroud Green Larder

Salmon Tartare  |  Stroud Green Larder

Good luck to you if you want to eat at a restaurant on the Whole30, it’s not an easy prospect due to restrictions on carbs, dairy, legumes and sugar but I just about managed it this weekend due to The Maynard in Crouch End’s hog roast stall. It was a bit of a palaver as I had to order the two components of my meal separately. I went into the pub to order the side salad off their normal bar menu and then once it had arrived I went out to the front of the pub to the special hog roast stall they had set up that day to order my pork sans brioche burger. It worked well in my favour though as I think he took pity on me for just ordering a pile of meat and served me the biggest portion of pork you can imagine. It ended up being a delicious lunch but it was the third pub we had gone into to try and find food and my hunger was beginning to turn me into the Hulk.

Dressed Cucumber  |  Stroud Green Larder

Black and White Sesame Seeds  |  Stroud Green Larder

In my normal every day life I eat out at restaurants a lot. I like to try new food, sample the extraordinary dishes of talented chefs and also, since I spend so much time in the kitchen myself, I am always looking for a bit of a break where someone else can cook for me. It is my absolute bugbear, therefore, that when I am trying to watch what I eat there is so little catering for that in the big wide world. So excuse me if I have a mini tantrum; feel free to skip down to the part where I discuss the recipe below if you can’t bear it, I have some nice things to say about my new salmon invention. Still reading, okay, you were warned. I look forward to the days, as I know they will arrive soon, when more UK restaurants and pubs understand that you don’t need carbs to have an enriching, complex and exciting meal. Salads and vegetables should be celebrated and treated like the main event and not an afterthought or a side dish. I know I can eat like this at home so is it so difficult to eat like this out of home? A few restaurants already understand this kind of cooking implicitly, the Ottolenghi restaurants always have queues stretching out the door and round the corner and it’s no wonder, the sheer variety in their ingredients and flavours is outstanding. Bruno Loubet’s Grainstore in Kings Cross also prides itself on giving vegetables equal billing, if not the starring role, to the meat and their menu is always fantastic and innovative. However, until these kind of restaurants become more prolific and pubs offer a more diverse menu then we will have to satisfy ourselves at home.

Sesame Salmon Tartare  |  Stroud Green Larder

This sesame salmon tartare is a wonderful example of a carb free, sugar free and dairy free recipe which is just so satisfying and bounteous with all kinds of levels of flavour. It seems a bit fancy but it is really just a gussied up salad with no more skill required than just a bit of chopping and stirring. But then you taste it and you come right back to fancy again.

Sesame Salmon Tartare  |  Stroud Green LarderWhen you mention raw fish you tend to think of sushi or ceviche which can sound a bit clever and terrifying as you are dealing with raw fish. However, just make sure you trust where your fish is coming from and you’ll be fine to prepare either one at home. This recipe lies more on the ceviche side than the sushi side as the lime juice in the marinade ‘cooks’ the fish. The salmon is absolutely delicious on its own with a definite hint of umami but with the addition of lightly dressed cucumber and naked avocado it becomes a proper event. It’s the kind of food that requires you to sit at the table and savour every mouthful. Don’t skimp on the sesame seed garnish either, if you can’t get hold of the black sesames just use the white ones, as they provide such a welcome delicate crunch to compliment the soft salmon and the creamy avocado.

Sesame Salmon Tartare  |  Stroud Green Larder

This recipe is perhaps a tad too much for two but if you serve it for four then it’s an excellent starter if you are having people over to dinner.

Sesame Salmon Tartare
Serves 2-4

350g salmon fillet, skin removed
Juice of 3 limes
25ml sesame oil
25ml coconut aminos (or soy sauce if you are not Whole30)
1 chilli, sliced thinly
2 avocados
½ cucumber
2 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp light olive oil
1 tsp black sesame seeds, lightly toasted
1 tsp white sesame seeds, lightly toasted

  1. In a medium sized bowl mix together the lime juice, sesame oil, coconut aminos and chilli.
  2. Then dice the salmon into small cubes and submerge into the marinade. Stir everything together so the marinade can fully absorb into the salmon then put cling film over the top and place into the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, peel, de-stone and slice the avocado thinly, arrange it at the bottom of your serving dishes.
  4. Then prepare the dressing for the cucumber by mixing together the rice vinegar and olive oil.
  5. Peel and scoop out the seeds from the cucumber. Dice it very finely then add it to the dressing, mixing it all up thoroughly. Pile the cucumber on top of the avocado on your serving dishes.
  6. Then arrange your salmon on top and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds.

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.