Need a silly easy recipe for refined sugar free chutney? Look no further…

refined sugar free chutney
When I returned from a year of living in Cambodia in 2006, it was with a very heavy heart. I was down and out and ridiculously vulnerable. I worked briefly for my friend’s (now ex) husband which did not end well. Then I worked for a year for a man who was essentially the male version of Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada.

Yes. He was that bad!

He’d come into the office the morning after watching The Apprentice thinking he was Lord Al. Firing people left, right and centre over the silliest things. I was one of his right hand wo/men, and stood on the correct side of him. Until I dared to disagree with him that is, then he turned on me quicker than milk left in the blazing sun. We were on a jolly up in a foreign country. It was the catalyst for my second mental breakdown, hitting rock bottom and turning my life around. I guess in a way I have a lot to thank him for.

refined sugar free chutneyYou might be wondering what all this has to do with refined sugar free chutney?

After I was eventually freed from that particular toxic environment I couldn’t face getting another job. So I set up my own business making dips and chutneys from my little kitchen in Streatham. Having recently gone refined sugar free (this was 2007) I wanted to create food that would appeal to people eating like I was. Alas, it was way ahead of it’s time, and ended up bankrupting me. You live and you learn though, and I genuinely would not change a thing.

Life lessons like that sometimes take, well, a lifetime to gather. In the year that followed they were plentiful and shaped the way I now think. Especially when it comes to money. This might sound silly to some, but if you aren’t taught financial well being at a young age it can have devastating consequences. More on that topic another time.

Just like all my other recipes, this is also low in natural sugar. Regular readers will know by now that nothing winds me up more than someone calling a recipe sugar free only for it to be loaded to the hilt with sugars and sweeteners. Most food in it’s natural state (fruit, veg, grains, nuts…) contains some form of sugar. If you aren’t adding any to your recipe you wouldn’t call it sugar free you would say no added sugar.

I’m sharing a small batch recipe here, but it lends itself marvellously to being made in a bigger batch. I once turned 200kg of onions into 500 jars for a trade show. My friend said the house smelled like pickled onion monster munch and refused to sleep on our couch in case the scent never came out of his clothes. Oh how different things are now, eleven years later with three children to keep me busy.

refined sugar free chutney

What you’ll need to make a small jar of my refined sugar free chutney

A clean 350g jar, you can sterilise it if you wish
Small lidded saucepan
Spatula
Sharp knife
Chopping board

refined sugar free chutney500g onions
1/2cup or 120ml vinegar
(I’ve used raw organic cider vinegar here but balsamic also works wonderfully)
1/4cup or 35g sugar
(I’ve used organic coconut blossom, but muscovado works great too. You could use honey, but I feel that cooking honey for this long would be a waste of all the gorgeous nutrients. You could also use maple syrup or coconut nectar)

Method

– chop your onions any way you wish and place them in your saucepan

– sprinkle over the sugar

– pour over the vinegar

– place on the highest heat for about 30 seconds, then turn down low and put the lid on your saucepan

– simmer for one hour, checking in every 10 minutes or so and stirring to ensure it’s not getting burnt

– add a small drop of water to loosen the chutney if it does start getting a little bit stuck to the pan

– allow to cool and decant into your glass jar, keep in the fridge

– wow all your friends at barbecues with your home made condiments

– this is a perfect accompaniment for burgers. Check out my trio of easy home made burgers

 

 

**this blog for paleo chocolate sponge cake has been written by my 8yo daughter Polly**

Hi it’s Polly here. I haven’t written a blog in a while so I thought I should. I love baking and this is probably the best chocolate cake that you could ever possibly make, but you probably know that from looking at the title.  

I started my cooking journey when I was about 2 years old and used to sit on the kitchen side mixing a few things in a bowl. I remember that it made me so happy. I started properly cooking alone when I was 7 years old.

Recently I went though my mums old cooking journal that she wrote before we went Paleo, and changed the recipes to make them Paleo friendly. For example, instead of gluteny flour I used almond flour, instead of normal sugar I used coconut sugar or honey.

This is how I invented my winning chocolate cake, which is the nicest cake I’ve made so far. I’ve made it for a few people’s birthdays, and even my really fussy friends ate it and loved it.

😀

Ingredients for Paleo Chocolate Sponge Cake:

paleo chocolate sponge cake1 cup Ground almonds (But if they are fine then 1/2 a cup)
1/3 cup Coconut Sugar
1/4 cup Cacao
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/2 Tea spoon Bicarb
1/4 Tea spoon Vanilla powder (If using Vanilla Extract you will need 1 Tea spoon)
3 eggs

For Butter cream

100g Raw Butter
2 heaped spoons of Cacao
1 heaped spoon of Honey
1/2 Tea spoon Vanilla (If using Vanilla Extract you will need 1 Tea spoon)

Method for Cake:

– Preheat your oven to 170c

– Grease your tin 

– Mix Together Ground almonds, Coconut sugar, Cacao, Vanilla and Bicarb

– In another bowl Whisk together your eggs and Oil

– Put in tin

– Bake for 15-20 Min’s

Method for icing: 

– Soften your butter (But don’t leave it so long it melts)

– When it is soft add your honey

– Then add your Cacao

– Put into a piping bag and pipe on top and in the middle if you want 

Me and my mummy making Paleo Chocolate Sponge Cake

Click here for more blogs by Polly

Show stopping dessert: paleo caramel slice. This pudding is free from all grains including gluten, as well as refined sugar

I absolutely adore creating decadent show stopping desserts, and they don’t get much better than my paleo caramel slice. With Christmas just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about what will get cooked on the big day. Here’s another suggestion for you to add to the memory bank, or Pinterest board.

paleo caramel sliceYou might be wondering what separates my puds from the millions of others on the web? The short answer is that mine are usually healthier. Like for like, they will almost always contain less sugar than other similar recipes you’ll come across. This includes natural sugars, because as I’ve mentioned before, natural sugar is still sugar. Sweeteners derived from fruit, honey or maple are better for you overall, providing they are pure. Let’s face it though, most people are addicted to sweet things. I believe, along with many experts, that the only way to truly get a grip is by having a lot LOT less.

This paleo caramel slice is not meant for everyday elevenses. It’s supposed to be a once in a special occasion show stopping dessert. For entertaining and celebrations – I’ve had excellent feedback from everyone who has tried it. What more could a wannabee chef ask for?

Ingredients for 10 slices

(base) 200g ground almonds
50g coconut flour
60ml coconut oil and extra for greasing the dish
tsp vanilla
(caramel) 150g butter
150g coconut palm sugar
(chocolate topping) 100g cacao butter
20g cacao powder

paleo caramel sliceMethod

– grease your dish with coconut oil and preheat the oven to 170C

– make the base by combining all the base ingredients together and rolling into a ball

– place the ball inside the dish and flatten out with your hands, once flat use a fork to prick the dough all over, then bake for 15 minutes

– after your base is cooked, and while it is cooling, make your caramel by heating the butter and coconut sugar over a med heat, stirring occasionally

– once the ingredients have melted, remove from the heat and whip it hard with a hand whisk to bring it together. After about fifteen seconds you will start to see luscious caramel forming before your eyes. I use salted raw butter, but you could use unsalted and add a pinch of sea salt, or leave it without salt. Goats butter also works well

– as soon as the caramel is ready, pour evenly over the base. If you are short on time you could place the dish into the freezer for ten minutes to cool, otherwise allow to cool down on the kitchen side. It’s vital that you place it on to a completely flat surface otherwise it will set wonky and ruin the aesthetics

– once cool, make your chocolate topping by melting the cacao butter and cacao powder in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Once melted pour on top of the caramel, or use a piping bag to create funky patterns like Polly did here, then leave it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve

Non-Alcoholic Paleo Christmas Cake

I’ve once again teamed up with a fabulous bunch of free from bloggers, to bring you a wonderful selection of free from Christmas food this year. Please check out the links at the bottom of this post for more details. 

My family has been eating the paleo way for almost six years now. We aren’t perfect eaters, and subscribe to the 80/20 principle, which gives our life a healthy balance. By and large however, this means that we do not eat any grains (of which gluten is just one, but the most publicised one), or refined sugar. We do eat a little dairy in the way of raw milk, cheese, and home fermented goat milk yoghurt and sour cream, but steer clear as best we can of commercial dairy.

Between eating like this, and my recent leap into teetotalism, I wanted to create a non-alcoholic paleo Christmas cake. One that we could all enjoy and doesn’t have the excess sugar, unnecessary ingredients and alcohol you would usually find in a traditional version.

Sugar is sugar people!

Unrefined or not, dried fruit is exceptionally sweet, and the icing alone on most Christmas cakes (especially shop bought) amounts to diabetes on a plate. Apart from anything else, my Hubby is not a fan at all, so I had to put my thinking cap on, and get creative. 

non-alcoholic paleo christmas cakeDid you know that the purpose of soaking the dried fruit (and nuts if you’re using them like I am) in alcohol is to make them super moist? Feeding the cake with booze is partly for preservation purposes, but also for flavour. Nothing more, nothing less.

Tea which has been brewed and cooled down works just as well to soak the fruit and nuts overnight. Not using booze also means that you don’t have to make the cake too far in advance, and can leave it until the week of Christmas. Also it’s best to use organic dried fruit, because it will be sulphite free which is always a good thing! 

I have used Earl Grey tea, because it gives the cake and wonderful smell and flavour. For some reason, bergamot reminds of the beach, and elicits happy memories of far flung holidays and adventures. Not exactly Christmassy, but it makes me smile so I’ll call that a win.   

If you really want a boozey cake, then you can substitute the tea for alcohol of your choice, make it a month in advance and feed with 1-2 tablespoons each week. 

Non-Alcoholic Paleo Christmas Cake that is free from all Grains (including Gluten), Dairy and Refined Sugar

Ingredients for a very large cake, approx 20 servings  
250g grated carrot
200g chopped dried dates
200g sultanas 
200g cashew nuts
100g chopped dried apricots
100g ground nuts (almonds or pecans work great)
non-alcoholic paleo christmas cake100g coconut flour
120ml coconut oil
250ml cool brewed Earl Grey tea
4 large free range eggs
tbsp vanilla

Method
– Get a large bowl and add the dried fruit, cashews and carrot
– Give it a good mix, then pour over the cold tea 
– Cover the bowl and leave the mixture to soak overnight
– In the morning preheat your oven to 150C and prepare a large cake tin by greasing it well and lining with baking paper
– When you’re ready to start cooking add the ground nuts and coconut flour to your bowl of soaked loveliness  
– Give it a big mix
– In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, vanilla and coconut oil together
– Pour the wet mixture all over the bowl of other ingredients and give it a good stir
– Pour the batter into your tin and brush with a tbsp of coconut oil 
– Bake for an hour, ensuring that the cake is completely covered in baking paper
– Take out of the oven and allow to cool completely
– Store in an airtight cake tin and decorate as you please on the big day 

non-alcoholic paleo christmas cakeCheck out the other #FreeFromChristmas posts from these fabulous bloggers

Dairy Free Kids

Easy Peasy Foodie

Free From Fairy

Free From Farmhouse

Glutarama

Gluten Free Alchemist

Intolerant Gourmand

Julie’s Family Kitchen

Le Coin de Mel

Paleo Crust (aka Modern Food Stories)

The Adventures of an Allergy Mummy

The Peachick’s Bakery

**I created this recipe for non-alcoholic paleo Christmas cake myself, but would like to say a huge thanks to the wonderful people at Unsplash for the gorgeous photos**  

This month I’m teaming up with a bunch of fabulous free from bloggers, to bring you the very freshest, seasonal recipes. Check out the links at the bottom of this post for more details. The recipes I’m sharing today all use beetroot as the main ingredient.

Not only is it delicious and very plentiful right now, but it’s also exceptionally nutritious. Due to it’s high vitamin C content, beetroot could help boost your immune system, and fend off coughs and colds in the cooler months. It’s also high in potassium and manganese, and contains folate which is a B vitamin.

Personally I think beetroot is way underrated, and we should all be enjoying it as much as we can while it’s still in season.

Beetroot and goats cheese quiche, with a grain free crust

Ingredients (for 6-8 slices)
(pastry) 150g finely ground walnuts
60ml oil or melted butter
(filling) 3 free range eggs
200ml goat milk, or free from milk
Tbsp dijon mustard
Half a leek, cooked until soft in a little oil or butter
2 tbsp oil or two large knobs of butter
Salt and pepper
200g beetroot, peeled and cut into little discs
Tbsp dried mixed herbs
100g goats cheese, cut into little discs

quiche

Method:
– preheat your oven to 170C fan assisted/180C non-fan/350F/GM4

– coat the beetroot slices in a tbsp of oil/melted butter, the mixed herbs and a little salt and pepper then arrange on a non-stick baking tray and roast for 40 mins. When cooked allow to cool, but leave the oven on

– when the beetroot is almost ready, grease a flan dish well with oil or butter

– to make the pastry simply combine the ground walnuts with the oil/butter in a large bowl and mix well. Place into the centre of the greased dish and flatten down with the back of a tablespoon until the bottom and sides of the dish have a thin even layer covering them

– if you have a powerful blender or food processor whizz up the eggs, milk and mustard for about 20 seconds until you have a frothy milkshake consistency

– if you are mixing by hand, whisk your eggs for a full minute to get them nice and fluffy, then gradually add the milk, then the mustard last

– spoon the leeks over the bottom of the pastry, and arrange your beetroot on top. Scatter the goats cheese over the top of the beetroot, then pour the egg mixture all over

– bake for 30 mins, allow to cool and serve with a huge salad

Fermented Beetroot with Garlic, Ginger and Balsamic Vinegar

Ingredients (for two 500ml jars)
2 medium sized beetroot with leaves attached
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, grated finely
large clove of garlic, chopped finely
tbsp sea salt
filtered water

fermented beetroot

Method:
– before you start, ensure that the jars you are using are sterile

– grate your beetroot bulbs and chop up the leaves, then place in a large bowl

– add the garlic and ginger and mix well

– sprinkle over the salt, then pour over the balsamic vinegar and mix well

– pack tightly into your two jars, then cover with as much water as necessary to ensure the beetroot is totally submerged

– place on a tray with a cloth underneath and lightly screw the lids on. Check at least once a day for a week to ensure that no extra water is needed, and that it’s fermenting as it should be. The longer you leave this to ferment, the tastier it will become

Ridiculously healthy beetroot chocolate cake

Ingredients (for 8-10 slices)
4 eggs
200g freshly grated beetroot
100ml coconut oil
100g coconut flour
50g coconut sugar (you may need more according to your taste)
25g cacao powder
tsp vanilla

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Method:
– preheat your oven to 170C fan assisted/180C non-fan/350F/GM4, and grease an 8-inch cake tin

– beat the eggs with the sugar, oil and vanilla until light and fluffy

– put the beetroot into a large bowl, and add the cacao and coconut flour, mix well

– pour over the egg mixture and incorporate well

– pour into your cake tin, and bake for 30-40 minutes until cooked all the way through

– serve hot or cold, I like mine with a big dollop of fermented double cream

I also used powdered organic beetroot in this paleo rainbow cake to colour the pink layer


Check out the other #FreeFromHarvest posts from these fabulous bloggers

Intolerant Gourmand – GF, DF Blackberry Flapjacks

Intolerant Gourmand – GF, DF Apple Crumble

Glutarama – GF, DF, EF Beetroot Brownie Cake

Easy Peasy Foodie – Copy Cat Nando’s  

The Adventures of an Allergy Mummy – Butternut Squash Soup with a Kick

Free From Fairy – Sausage Stuffed Marrow

Dairy Free Kids – Apple and Blackberry Crumble

Paleo Crust – Vegan Roast Squash and Ginger Soup

The Peachicks Bakery- No. 17 Allotment Pickles

Free From Farmhouse – Vegan Pumpkin Lentil Pasta

Gluten Free Alchemist – Mocha Pear Upside Down Cake

Julie’s Family Kitchen – GF Almond, Pear and Chocolate Cake 

Le Coin de Mel – Vegan Pasta with 10 Hidden Veg Sauce