Meat & Vegetable jerky

The original idea for jerky that has vegetables in it as well came from www.pantrypractitioner.com.au/news.php (look down the newsfeed and click the link to download a pdf). We've just started making it regularly again and have made a few minor adjustments, so here they are.

Firstly, she uses an Excalibur dehydrator, which comes with nice flat square trays which are easy to line with baking paper. We have a different type of dehydrator, an Ezi Dry, which is round with a central hole. You can buy solid inserts that you can line the trays with. If you need to use baking paper, it will be trickier to cut for this style of dehydrator. (The reason we bought this one instead of an Excalibur is that it isn't as big, and doesn't take up as much bench space.)

Because of the different shape, we shape the mix into small, individual, flattened patties, instead of one piece rolled out and marked into squares.

Lastly, based on a recipe from Heidi Jean on the GFCFNN discussion forum I used to frequent, I'm suggesting milk kefir as an alternative to ACV for the marinade.

This makes a large amount of jerky, so feel free to reduce the quantity.
  • About 2kg minced meat (we usually use premium beef, but higher fat mince is fine, or try lamb, pork or whatever you like)
  • About 1 cup apple cider vinegar or milk kefir
  • 1 Tbs celtic sea or himalayan salt (or more to your taste)
  • Herbs, spices or garlic of your choice
  • Up to 600gm of minced or grated vegetables, such as onion, carrots, pumpkin, beetroot, zucchini, broccoli - I find 300-400gm enough, and usually use 100gm onion and 200gm or so mixed other veges.
Mix together everything except the veges in  a large bowl. Get your hands in there and squeeze everything together really well so that the acid from the ACV or kefir will "cook" the meat as it marinates and destroy any pathogens. Then add your veges and mix well again. Cover with a large plate and marinate overnight in the fridge.

Next day, set your dehydrator to HIGH or about 68C. Form little patties and flatten them to no more than 1 com thick.

You can see in the picture that they are on a solid insert at this stage.

Dehydrate for about 3-4 hours. By that stage, they should be firm enough to take them off the solid insert and place them (the other way up) on the mesh tray, to allow better air flow and drying.

After a total of 6-8 hours, they will be dry on the outside, but still moist on the inside. If you will be keeping them in the fridge and eating them within a few days, you can stop there. 

But if you want to keep them longer, you need to keep them going until they are crisp and dry all the way through, up to 24 hours.

These make a perfect Paleo, GAPS or low carb snack that is a bit better balanced than pure meat. 

If you want some extra fat, use them as crackers and spread some butter on top! A slice of tomato or cucumber on top of that would be good too.


How to Store Ferment starters

As well as posting reciptes on this blog, I also collect links to lots of great recipes from all over the place on my Pinterest board, including most of the recipes on this blog.

But sometimes I come across something that I can't Pin, usually because there's no pinnable picture. Yesterday, I found a great page on how to store your ferment starters when you go away, and now after blogging this page here , I can also share the link with my Pinterest followers.

Custard

At our Wellington Xmas GAPS group meeting, I asked what foods people would miss at Xmas, and someone said that being dairy free, she missed custard. So here are three different custard recipes.

The first one is RUSSIAN custard, from the GAPS bookThe Healthy Home Economist has the recipe HEREThis is a raw dish, made from just egg yolks and honey. It is usually used as a cream substitute on GAPS. But if you added a little vanilla, it would taste more like the custard we're used to. 

The second is a MILK custard, but using honey instead of sugar. This is only GAPS friendly in the very last stages when you can have a little unfermented dairy, as long as it is raw.
  • 1 cup raw milk
  • 1 cup raw cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • pinch Celtic sea salt
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • ¾ tsp vanilla essence (or one vanilla bean)

This makes a hot, runny custard. Heat up the milk & cream to just short of boiling. Meanwhile, if you have a double boiler, beat the egg yolks and salt together in the top part. Otherwise, find a bowl that will sit on top of a pan of boiling water, and use that. Pour the hot milk & cream slowly into the egg yolks, whisking most of the time. Set on top of a pan of simmering water, and whisk till it thickens (about 10 mins). Take off the heat, whisk in the honey and vanilla essence and serve immediately with fruit crumble, pie, ice cream or fruit.

Variation 1: 

If you are using a vanilla bean, scrape out the seeds and add them to the milk and cream in step 1.

Variation 2: If you want a thick custard for something like a trifle topping:

Instead of putting the cream in with the milk, put into a small bowl and let it come to room temperature before starting the custard. Sprinkle 1 Tbs gelatin over the top of it, and carry on with the custard. After it has thickened, stir in the cream & gelatin and stir till the gelatin has dissolved. Let cool a little, pour onto the sponge & jelly layer of your trifle and refrigerate.

Variation 3: Thick custard with banana (the version pictured)

After taking off the heat and adding honey & vanilla, add one or two sliced banana, and stir. Cool a little, then refrigerate.

The third version is COCONUT custard.

This is the same as the milk custard, except that you use 1 1/2 cups of coconut cream. Look for a brand with no preservatives & other additives.




Fruit Jelly and Fruit Mousse

Another gelatin recipe we've been having quite a bit lately is real fruit jelly. To get a consistency more like commercial jelly, you can use fruit juice, but we've been using the whole fruit.

  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1 cup black currants
  • 1 1/2 cups room temp water
  • 3 Tbs gelatin
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • small amount of natural sweetener of your choice
If your berries are frozen, get them out a couple of hours beforehand to defrost. 

Put the water in a medium sized pan and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. While it softens, zizz everything else together in a blender or food processor.

Gently heat the water and gelatin until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Add about half to the blender and zizz. Then add the rest and zizz well.

Pour into 4 or 5 dishes and put in the fridge to set. You can put it all in one bowl, but it;s then very tempting to just have another mouthful and another and so on!

Mousse

To convert the recipe to a mousse, replace the water with 1 cup raw milk or cream and 1/2 cup yoghurt or yoghurt cream. Sprinkle the gelatin on the milk or cream and add the yoghurt to the blender separately.

You can make all sorts of different flavours of mousse or jelly just by changing the fruit around. Strawberry & banana is also nice.

The version in the photo is Berry Mousse with another layer on top of Yoghurt mixed with fermented cream and raspberries. And a little gelatin in that layer too.

Gummy Stars

This is a Mommypotamus recipe, which I found  posted on the Auckland Mums: Super Nutrition for Babies and Beyond facebook page.

I'm in the mode of thinking of Xmas recipes at the moment, and these would be a great recipe for GAPS kids who are ok on honey.

  • 1/3 cup lemon (or lime) juice (about 3 large lemons)
  • 3 Tbs gelatin
  • 3 Tbs honey
  • Mummypotamus added some natural food colouring, but I didn't and they still came out a nice colour.
Put the lemon juice in a small pan and sprinkle the gelatin on top. When it's softened add the honey, and stir all together over a low heat till the gelatin is dissolved.

The first time, I just poured it into a glass dish, put in the fridge till set, then cut it up into squares. The second time I used some chocolate moulds. They went into the freezer for a while, then into the fridge. I used the pointy end of a sharp knife to prise a corner out, and then peeled each one out. This amount made about 24 gummies.

Now go and visit Mummypotamus and see all her other great recipes, including her guide to the Ultimate GAPS Xmas recipes

She also has a fabulous looking book full of DIY organic beauty recipes. Just what every GAPS household needs.

Cod liver oil jellies

Recently, I've been trying a few different ways to use gelatin. First up was making cod liver oil jellies. The original recipe came to me from Nadine. Her kids used to love the Green Pastures gummy fish, so when they were discontinued, Nadine started making her own. I've tried a few different variations and most of them have worked fine. So first here's the method, then a few different combinations. 

Put the water in a medium sized pan, then sprinkle the gelatin over the top. When it has softened, heat the water gently, stirring till the gelatin has dissolved. Take off the heat and add the honey and coconut oil, stirring till dissolved. If you are adding an extra flavourings, add them at this stage. When the mix has cooled down to body temperature, whisk in the cod liver oil. Pour into a tray lined with baking paper, and put into the fridge. When it's set, cut into 24 pieces. Each is equivalent to about 1 tsp cod liver oil, a std adult dose. Cut smaller for kids.

Nadine's original - Jaffa
Chocolate cinnamon

Replace the orange with cinnamon, and can also add an extra tsp of raw cacao powder. As there is stevia in the cinnamon, the honey can be reduced a little too.

Skate Jaffa
Choc Orange Cinnamon (makes 30 pieces)
Anyway, you get the picture. You can mix things around a bit and they all pretty much work. You get the goodness of the gelatin and an easier way to take your cod liver oil. Skate liver oil has a lot of the same properties as the butter oil, so using either Royal or skate will complement the Cod nicely.

There was one combination that DIDN'T work as it separated into two layers:
But I put it all in the mini food processor and zizzed it up and now we have a jar of citrus cod/skate gel. So that's all good too.

Carrot Pulp Bread


We've been juicing a bit recently and thinking about whether we could use the pulp for other recipes. One thing we've been doing is soaking ground chia and flax seeds, mixing them with the pulp, along with some Himalayan or celtic sea salt, then drying them in the dehydrator to make crispy crackers. Note that these are only suitable in later stages of GAPS.
 
Then I went looking for GAPS friendly bread recipes and found this recipe. I was looking for a more savoury recipe, so made a few tweaks. I also made a bigger version. Here's how it ended up.

  • 6 largish eggs
  • 1 tsp celtic sea salt
  • 3oz / 85gm melted butter (or mix of butter & coconut oil)
  • 12oz / 350gm / 2 tight packed cups carrot pulp left over from juicing (usually a little beetroot too)
  • 1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 9oz / 255gm / just under 3 cups ground almonds (or ground cashews, hazels or sunflower seeds or coconut flour)
  • 1.5 Tbs cider vinegar
Turn on the oven to 175C and line a loaf tin with baking paper. Then just throw it all in the food processor, starting with the eggs and salt. Once they’re well beaten, add the other things in the order of the list, beating well after each addition. Once the baking soda and cider vinegar are in there, get it in the oven as quickly as possible as they will be working their rising magic. Bake for 50 to 60 mins on 175C. 

The first 2-3 times, I used ground almonds. Then last time I used raw cashews instead and that was quite different. The photo is the cashew version. Both versions were delicious.

Notes: I started off putting the tray of water in the bottom, but last time I didn't and I couldn’t tell the difference. I haven’t needed to let it sit in the tin for 10 mins either.

Baked Oatmeal

I just happened upon this recipe for baked oatmeal today, which sounds like a fabulous change from porridge for breakfast. I love that it can be made ahead of time, easing up time constraints in the morning.

It's no good for people who are GAPS or GF, but if you're fairly healthy and following a basic WAPF diet, it should be great!

Christmas Morning Almond Muffins

I tried another version of the Xmas morning muffins, this time with almond flour, for those who can't have coconut. The texture was quite different, but still very good.

  • 2 cups ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon or mixed spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 eggs
  • 8 Tbs (100gm, 4oz) butter or coconut oil, melted
  • 4 Tbs honey
  • 4 Tbs juice from an orange
  • Grated zest of the orange
  • ½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • 1 cup frozen cranberries

Line a 12 muffin pan with patty pans. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, baking soda and spices.  Stir in cranberries. Blend together eggs, butter or oil, orange juice, honey, salt and zest.  Mix the two together. Pour batter into muffin pans. Bake at 350° for about 20 minutes. If the tops start to get too brown, cover with some brown paper or foil. Cool and serve.

Twice Baked Pumpkin

Ya know, I've never been that fussed on pumpkin. I love butternut pumpkin in soup, but the usual big grey pumpkin leaves me cold. But there are 4 ways that I actually quite like it - which is good, cos it's such a handy GAPS vegetable.


The first is in bread or cake - I've already posted recipes for Cashew Bread and Coconut Almond bread, which both have pumpkin as an optional ingredient.


The other 3 are "Twice baked pumpkin".


Cut your pumpkin into pieces, scrape out the seeds and place spaced out on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for about an hour at 175C, till a knife goes through easily. Scrape the flesh away from the skin and put into a food processor with a little salt and some ghee. Process till smooth.


1. With feta (not GAPS friendly, or at least not till later stages):


Put 1/2 of the pumpkin into a baking dish. Sprinkle a generous layer of feta on top (1/2 to 1 block). Pour on the rest of the pumpkin. Grate some tasty cheddar cheese and mix with breadcrumbs or ground almonds. Sprinkle on top. Put back in the oven for about 15 minutes till the cheese is nicely browned.


2. With peanut butter


A chance comment from a client about putting peanut butter into pumpkin pie lead to this variation. When you add the ghee and salt to the food processor, also add a couple of large spoonfuls of peanut butter - preferably either Reilly's or your own homemade. Zizz till smooth, pour into a baking dish and bake for about 15 mins. It's amazing the difference this makes to the taste.


3. Souffle.


This version comes from Emma on the GAPS Australasia Support Group. She makes it with butternut squash and calls it Pumpkin Pie. Her version is a sweetish breakfast dish. Make the peanut butter version above but also beat in 6 eggs that have been whisked up in a separate bowl. Bake for 15 minutes or so till firm and lightly browned. Serve as a vegetable side dish. Or for breakfast or dessert, top with shredded coconut, ground up nuts or berries.


Versions 2 or 3 can be part of our GAPS Xmas Feast.

Chilled GAPS soups

At this time of year, hot soups aren't as appealing as during winter. So I've been searching for chilled soups for our daily dose of GAPS stock. I'm especially looking for red and green soups that would be nice for Xmas Day. I haven't actually made any of these yet, but hopefully will get away from the computer for some recipe testing over the weekend.


Borscht:
  • Make Dr Natasha's borscht recipe from the GAPS book. Let it go cold. Puree or keep it chunky - your choice. Chill. Serve with the recommended garnishes.
  • Or this recipe looks good too. Omit the sugar from the soup recipe, and of course no potato to garnish. Use your own cultured cream or drained yoghurt.
Gazpacho:
Green soups:


Spinach Roulade

A spinach roulade is a classic dish that can be varied by using different fillings. The mozzarella and tomato version, which is good either hot or cold, comes from Rose Elliot’s Vegetarian Kitchen. A couple of other variations have been included. The red with green looks very festive and this would make a nice Xmas entrée, side dish or to cater for a vegetarian family member.

Note that the recipe as it stands isn't suitable for GAPS as these cheeses are not GAPS friendly. You may be able to tolerate them later in the diet, or you could substitute harder cheeses. 

The Roulade:
  • 450g (1 lb) fresh spinach or 175g (6oz) frozen
  • 15g (1/3 oz) butter
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • grated nutmeg
  • 4 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese           

Set the oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a 23 x 33 cm/9 x 13” Swiss roll tin with baking paper, extended a bit up the sides.

If you're using fresh spinach, wash well in sinkfuls of cold water, then put it into a large saucepan & cook over a high heat for 7-10 minutes, or until it is very tender. Keep pushing it down into the pan with a fish slice as it cooks. Or, cook frozen spinach in a tiny amount of boiling water, just enough to prevent it from sticking to the pan; it takes the same length of time.

Drain the spinach into a colander and press it very well to extract as much water as possible. Put it into a food processor, along with the butter, egg yolks and the seasonings, and whizz it all at top speed to make a smooth, creamy-looking puree. Whisk the egg whites until they stand in stiff peaks, then gently add the spinach mixture and carefully fold into the egg whites, incorporating as well as you can without stirring too hard. Tip into the tin, level the top gently and sprinkle it with 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the top is springy. While the roulade is baking, prepare a piece of baking paper to turn it out on to, by sprinkling it with the rest of the Parmesan. 

The Filling:
  • 2 x 150g/5 oz Mozzarella cheese, packed in water (OR 100g feta, OR 250g ricotta)
  • 4 medium tomatoes (OR a red capsicum)
  • 3 - 4 sprigs of fresh basil (OR small bunch fresh parsley)

Drain the Mozzarella & slice thinly (or crumble the feta); cut the tomatoes into thin rounds (or capsicum into chunks) & chop the basil (or parsley).

Putting it together

Take the roulade out of the oven and turn it out on to the baking paper. Peel the paper off the roulade, and add the filling:
  • Cover with a layer of Mozzarella slices (or other cheeses) 
  • Then a layer of tomato rounds (or capsicum)
  • And finally chopped herbs and salt and pepper to taste.

Roll up the roulade, starting at one of the long ends. Serve immediately, or put on a plate, cover with foil & put it into the oven, at 160°C/325°F, for 15 minutes or so. 

Mushroom Nut Roast

A few years ago I went in search of a nut roast recipe, and was interested to find they were all so different. So I made up my own composite, picking all the tastiest sounding ingredients. And I was surprised how delicious it was. It keeps well in the fridge, and can also be frozen. 

This is a handy recipe if you have vegetarians in the family. For Xmas Day, they're festive made in star shaped tins, or mini loaf tins, and can be made in advance. At other times of the year, it's a satisfying any time snack for even a dedicated carnivore like myself.

If you’ve only got a small food processor, or are only feeding 1 or 2 people, it might be easier to make a half mixture.
  • 1 Tbs each butter & extra virgin olive oil (or 2 Tbs olive oil)
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 baby leek (optional), sliced and rinsed
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
  • 2 large mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups crispy cashews
  • 1/2 cup crispy brazils
  • 1/2 cup crispy walnuts
  • 1/2 cup crispy almonds
  • 2 small slices bread (starch free is fine, or you could omit it), roughly torn into chunks
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • Your own favourite fresh or dried herbs
  • 1 egg (can be left out, if you don’t tolerate eggs)

In a large food processor, grind together almonds, cashews, brazils & walnuts until they’re the consistency of large breadcrumbs. Add the bread. Process again. Sauté onions, leeks and garlic in the oil and butter. Add mushrooms, and cook till softened. Add to the food processor along with seasonings, herbs and the egg. Process till smooth. Cook in a greased, lined ring tin, for about 40 mins at 180C, or in four individual tins for less time. 

Gingerbread Xmas Cookies

Last Xmas I had a go at making gingerbread Xmas shapes, which turned out reasonably well. This year I was going to tweak my recipe, but discovered that another GAPS blogger has beaten me to it. So no need to reinvent the wheel. If gingerbread is something that appeals to your Xmas spirit, I'll just send you over to Thinking Outside the Box. Thanks yet again dansmumm.

Marinated fish in coconut cream

Usually I serve this in a bowl. But at the moment, my thoughts are on Xmas and I can just see a platter full of kebabs, with the white of the fish alternating with red and green veges. If Xmas Day is hot (but with it having dropped to 12C in Wellington today, who can be sure it will be?), fish kebabs would be a light and refreshing alternative to a roast. They could even be tossed on the BBQ for a minute on each side. Here's my regular recipe, plus thoughts on kebabs.
  • ½ cup lemon juice (3-5 lemons approx)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 500g (1/2 lb) firm white fish (see note below for good types of fish)
  • approx 100ml (1/2 cup) coconut cream
  • slice of red onion, chopped up finely
  • about ¼ telegraph cucumber, chopped up small
  • handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • mesclun or other lettucy type greens

Start preparation 24 hours before you want to serve. Mix the lemon juice and the salt together in a medium sized bowl. Cut the fish into chunks that are roughly 2 cm (just under 1 inch) a side, and mix together well. Press the fish down, so that the juice covers it. If the lemon juice doesn’t cover the fish, add a little extra. Marinate in the fridge for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.

Drain the fish well, put into a clean bowl and stir in the coconut cream. I don’t measure it; I just slosh in enough so that the fish has a nice coating. Chop up the salad veges and stir them in. 

The amounts given are approximate and will depend on your taste and how you are going to serve it. If you are serving it as a main meal, you’ll want to add more vegetables than if it’s an entrée. You can vary the vegetables as well, eg by using spring onions or capsicum.

Kebabs

Leave the fish to sit in the coconut cream for an hour or two. Then thread onto skewers, alternating pieces of fish with your choice of raw salad vegetables – e.g. cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, capsicum, radish or baby turnips. Cold, cooked roast vegetables such as pumpkin could also be interesting.

Xmas kebabs

For the red veges: cherry tomatoes, capsicum or red onion
For the green: cucumber (or zucchini if going on the barbie), celery, green capsicum

What fish should I use?

Good fish to use: terakihi, kawahai (with the brown meat cut off), cod, mullet, halibut, skipjack or albacore tuna
Fish to avoid: Gurnard, bluefin or yellowfin tuna
If in doubt, ask the fish seller for a recommendation 

Beetroot dip

I love baby beetroot, and we got some picked fresh from my sister's garden last week. I turned them into a beetroot dip which we served with fish for dinner.
  • Baby beetroot (5 of them made a dip that served 2 of us for 2 dinners)
  • Cultured cream, homemade yoghurt or yoghurt "cheese" (ie after dripping out the whey). For a dairy free option, homemade mayo would probably work fine.
  • A little himalayan or celtic sea salt
You can add extra flavourings, though I didn't this time. Some possibilities (choose one only!):
  • Horseradish cream is a classic addition (check for non-GAPS ingredients)
  • I've used PureWasabi by Coppersfolly as a horseradish substitute before
  • Lemon juice, ground cumin, ground coriander seed, crushed garlic
  • Or just the lemon juice and cumin
Trim the beetroot, leaving about a 1cm of stalk and tail. Wash well, but leave the skins on. Put into a pan and cover with cold water and a little sea salt. Simmer till they can be pierced with a skewer, approx 45-60 minutes, depending on size. Drain off the water and cover them with cold water, till they're cold enough to handle. Slice off the two ends, and you'll be able to slip the skins right off.

Put into food processor with a couple of tablespoons of the sour cream or yoghurt, and zizz. Add more sour cream till it comes to a good consistency, and seasonings to taste. (Sorry, I didn't measure anything). I didn't even take a photo, the one above is pinched from another site. But it's there so you can get a rough idea of what the colour and consistency will look like.

This would  make a lovely Xmas dinner starter, with a bowl of guacamole and maybe a third bowl of chicken liver pate. Make some biscotti from starch free bread, or cut up some vege sticks or chunks to go with it.

Dukkah

Ok, this probably isn't an authentic dukkah recipe. I didn't even look on the net to see what usually goes into it. I just grabbed a few things I had in the cupboard. I think these were the quantities:
  • About a cup or so of nuts: tamari roasted almonds and cashews, pistachios
  • About a tsp ground cumin seed
  • About a tsp of curry powder
Zizz in mini food processor till it resembles bread crumbs. Keep in a jar in the cupboard, and use to spice up your sauerkraut salad.

To make it fully GAPs or WAPF, it would be better to use your own "crispy" nuts. You might then need to add a little sea salt.

Sauerkraut Salad

Some people love sauerkraut. And some people just don't like it at all, but know it's good for them. When you're first introducing a tiny bit of kraut into your diet, you can usually hide it in something, but once you're up to 2-3 tablespoons, it's harder to hide. One way you can make it more interesting is to vary what goes into your sauerkraut - carrots, red cabbage instead of green, some beetroot.

We've recently been enjoying sauerkraut salad. This would be good if you're still easing into GAPS, or later on, when you're digesting raw vegetables well. It's not suitable for the early stages of GAPS Intro.


This is enough for two people:
  • About 4-5 Tbs sauerkraut
  • A carrot
  • Or an apple
  • Or 1/2 a beetroot
  • A little red onion, finely chopped (optional, if you can digest it)
  • 1-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 Tbs chopped nuts and seeds or homemade dukkah
Grate the carrot, apple and/or beetroot. Or roughly chop them, then zizz in a mini food processor till in small chunks. Mix everything except the nuts and seeds together, then stir those through.

This particular salad looks very carroty, as the original sauerkraut also had carrot in it.

For Xmas, I'd use zizzed beetroot and apple, and some chunkier pieces of almond. Maybe serve it on a lettuce leaf  such as baby cos.

Dr Fife's magic oil

There is a drawback of cooking with coconut flour that you've probably all noticed - things stick to the tin like crazy! When  possible (eg when making a loaf) I use baking paper to line the trays.


But for muffins, it's more difficult. Pattie pans don't work. One possibility is to cut a square of baking paper and slide it into the muffin trays.


Or you can use Dr Fife's magic oil. He talks about it in his book "Cooking with coconut flour". He doesn't ship it to NZ, but did share the secret with me - it's a combination of coconut oil and lecithin. He didn't tell me the ratios, but after some trials, this is what I came up with.

  • Measure ½ cup (3.5 oz, 100g) coconut oil in the jar you want to store it in. 
  • Put into a bowl of hot water till melted. 
  • Stir in 1 tsp of liquid lecithin.
Keeps fine in the cupboard for ages.

Christmas Morning Muffins

I love Nigella Lawson's recipes, even though most of them are full of white flour and sugar and other things we don't want to have on a WAPF diet, let alone GAPS! I love her passion for food and her ideas. This morning her recipe for Xmas Morning Muffins arrived in my Inbox, and I could immediately see how to make them GAPSy. My recipe is a variation of Bruce Fife's Honey Blueberry Coconut Flour muffins.


For those who can't have coconut, see the almond flour version I tried later in the week.


  • 1/2 cup sifted coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon or mixed spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 6 eggs
  • 4 Tbs (50gm, 2oz) butter or coconut oil, melted
  • 4 Tbs honey
  • 4 Tbs juice from an orange
  • Grated zest of the orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup frozen cranberries
Grease a 12 pan muffin tray with Dr Fife's magic oil, or line with baking paper. Sift the coconut flour, baking soda and spices into a bowl and mix thoroughly. Blend together eggs, butter or oil, orange juice, honey, salt and zest.  Mix the two together until there are no lumps.  Stir in cranberries. Pour batter into muffin pans.  Bake at 400 degrees F (205C) for about 16-18 minutes.  Makes 12. (If you want to make less bigger muffins, adjust cooking time accordingly.)


Note that there is a small amount of baking soda, which is technically not GAPS legal. For most people, that small amount shouldn't cause a problem, and I think the texture would really suffer if you left it out. Use your own judgement, or talk to your GAPS practitioner about it.


For my first trial, I used just the mixed spice (in place of the original cinnamon and nutmeg). Ian thought it was spicy enough, but I didn't, so next time I'll add the 1/4 tsp nutmeg as well.


They came out a nice consistency, both warm and cold, and didn't need a spread. But they would be extra good with ghee, sour cream, or yoghurt cheese. Or maybe even sour cream or yoghurt cheese mixed with some lemon juice and honey.


Next day PS: We just had one each out of the fridge for morning tea. Ian had his plain and I cut mine open and spread with coconut ghee. Both ways were great.

Cranberry Sauce

Turns roast turkey, chicken or duck into a Christmas treat.


This is an easy sauce, made from the recipe on the frozen cranberry bag, but using natural sweeteners instead of sugar.
  • 1 cup frozen cranberries
  • 1 tart apple, peeled and grated
  •  Juice of one orange
  •   Zest of half the orange
  • a bit under 1 cup rapadura, shakkar or muscavado sugar
Simmer berries, juice, zest and sugar together till sugar melts and glazes the berries, and berries are hot. Add grated apple. Simmer lightly for 5 minutes. Put into blender and pulse blend until berries are broken up but still chunky. Serve at once. Or make ahead of time, store in the fridge or freezer till needed, and reheat. It's also good cold.


Use the leftover turkey and leftover sauce to make a yummy meatloaf.

GAPS friendly version

Replace the sugar with 1/2 cup honey. After pulsing, taste and add more honey if needed.

White Christmas slice

We recently discovered dried strawberries. Not the sugar coated, preservative laden things you might have seen in the supermarket, but ones where strawberries are the only ingredients. I found them in Hardy's Health food shop. They're so sweet, it's hard to believe there's no added sugar. Anyway, I got thinking about how they would be a good substitute for glaced cherries in some Christmas recipes, and had a hazy memory of something called White Chrismas.

When I googled it, it turned out to be a rice bubble slice with glace cherries, Kremelta, and dessicated coconut and of course lots of icing sugar. So today I've been playing with versions of creamed coconut slice, and here's what we've got so far.

Version 1 used creamed coconut, coconut oil, vanilla essence, dried strawberries and sultanas. I didn't add extra sweetener. It tasted ok, but nothing special, just an everyday slice. For version 2, I used cocoa butter instead of the coconut oil. I added some mixed spice, and replaced some of the strawberries with dried pawpaw (cos I didn't have enough strawberries). It was much more Christmassy.

If you wanted extra sweetness, you could add a little honey. If you wanted some rice bubble like crunch, you could add some chopped nuts.

So here's the final recipe - well, as final as these things get. I'll probably tweak it again next time I make it. But we've got a lot of slice to eat before the next trial!
  • 250ml (1/2 jar) creamed coconut
  • 50g coconut oil -OR- cocoa (cacao) butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1-2 tsp honey (optional)
  • 50g dried strawberries (or other red dried fruit of your choice)
  • 50g apricots, pawpaw or pineapple
  • 50g sultanas or raisins
  • 50g almonds, cashews or macadamias (optional)
First, get your jar of creamed coconut softening in a bowl of hot water. (If you've got a jar already prepared, you won't need to do this). Next, line a plastic container that's about 15x20cm, or 12x25, or similar, with baking paper. Prepare your fruit: stir through the raisins and sultanas and remove any stalks; chop the rest into small pieces with kitchen scissors or a sharp knife. (note: choose fruits that are free of sweeteners and sulphites)

If you're using nuts, chop them up. (Best nuts for flavour, texture and digestibility are ones that have been made into "crispy" nuts, but raw or roasted unsalted will also do).

When the creamed coconut is soft enough to get out of the jar, scrape it all into a food processor and zizz till smooth. You might need to jab any big bits with a knife to break them up a bit more, and zizz again. When it's smooth, pour half back into the jar for another batch later on, or for adding to soups or stews.

If you're using cocoa butter, grate that and add. Or just spoon in the right amount of coconut oil. Add the other flavourings and zizz till it's all mixed together and smooth. Add the chopped fruit and nuts and pulse just enough to mix them in, but not mush them.

Pour into the container and mix around a bit to make sure the fruit and nuts are evenly dsitributed. Refrigerate for an hour or so, till hard. Lift the baking paper and contents onto a chopping board, and use a large knife to cut into small pieces, 1-1.5 cm wide. Gather up the corners of the paper, and you'll be able to stuff the whole lot back into the container, put the lid on and back into the fridge.

If you want to make them look pretty, spoon the mixture into mini muffin patty pans that have been stuffed into mini muffin trays. Or use foil thingies that are designed for truffles.

More GAPS festive ideas...

A quick post to pass on someone else's great ideas. I spotted them on Thinking Outside the Box blog and didn't want them to get lost. Thanks Dan's mum!
Click on the Festive category over on the right for a bunch of other GAPS festive ideas including boiled Xmas cake, Easter buns, chocolate and fudge, party menus and Xmas menu.

Mayonnaise

I was talking to somebody about homemade mayo the other day, and that reminded me what a good GAPS dressing it is, and a great way to incorporate your olive oil. 

Mix together in food processor till well blended :
  • 1 whole egg, at room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ Tbs lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp Dijon style mustard or 1/4 tsp dry mustard powder
With the motor running, add one drop at a time:
  • ¾-1 cup extra virgin olive oil (preferably from NZ)
Once about a 1/3 of the oil has been added, you’ll be able to add the rest in a small stream. If it starts to get very thick before you add all the oil, you don’t need to use it all. 

It will keep in the fridge for about two weeks.

Variations:

Garlic mayonnaise:
Add 1-2 cloves crushed garlic instead of the mustard

Curry mayonnaise:
Add 1 Tbs curry powder. Use this to make a chicken salad with cold diced chicken, organic green grapes, fresh bean sprouts and crispy cashews. Or add your favourite salad vegetables, and try out different crispy nuts, such as walnuts or slivered almonds.