Healthy Christmas Puddings (Gluten, Dairy, Sugar free)

Healthy Christmas Puddings (Gluten, Dairy, Sugar free)

I love these little puddings around Christmas time.  They have all the delicious flavour of a traditional Christmas pudding but won’t leave you feeling bloated and awful.  I made these in my Thermomix, but they are easy to make without.  I have written up both versions below.

The Shrinking Hubby’s Healthy Christmas Puddings

(makes 8 small puddings)

What you will need:

  • 250 grams (9 ounces) fresh dates (pitted)
  • 1 orange roughly chopped (leave the skin on!)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sultanas
  • 1 cup dried apricots (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds (extra for garnish – optional)
  • 30 mls (2 tablespoons) brandy – optional (but it is Christmas!!!)
  • 3 organic free-range eggs
  • 200 grams (7 ounces or about 3/4 cup) almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Spice mix

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice

How to pull it together (using a Thermomix)

Put the dates and the whole orange (roughly chopped) into the bowl and blitz speed 6 for 5 seconds.  Scrape down bowl.

Add 1 cup of water.  Cook 100 degrees, speed 1 for 15 minutes.

Add 30 mls brandy (if using) and blitz for 30 seconds speed 9.

Add 200 grams almond meal, the dried fruit and almonds, 3 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and mix reverse, speed 5 for 15 seconds (or until well combined).

Grease 8 small pudding ramekins with coconut oil (or butter) and sprinkle about a teaspoon of slivered almonds into the bottom of each.  Spoon the mixture evenly into each ramekin.  Place filled ramekins into a large baking dish.  Create a bain-maree by filling the dish with enough boiling water to come half-way up the sides of the ramekins.

Cover all the ramekins with a sheet of baking paper and top with foil pressed tightly around the edges to seal.

Bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit)  for 1 hour 15 minutes.

If not eating straight away, they refrigerate beautifully.  When ready to serve steam (or heat up) for about 8 minutes, invert and serve with a dollop of cream or if you prefer some homemade custard.

How to pull it together (without a Thermomix)

Place the dates, whole orange (roughly chopped – keep the skin on!) and 1 cup of water into a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the dates and orange are soft.  Set aside to cool.  Add the brandy and whiz in a food processor until a smooth paste is formed.

In a separate bowl, combine the date paste, almond meal, dried fruit, almonds, eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.

Grease 8 small pudding ramekins with coconut oil (or butter) and sprinkle about a teaspoon of slivered almonds into the bottom of each.  Spoon the mixture evenly into each ramekin.  Place filled ramekins into a large baking dish.  Create a bain-maree by filling the dish with enough boiling water to come half-way up the sides of the ramekins.

Cover all the ramekins with a sheet of baking paper and top with foil pressed tightly around the edges to seal.

Bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit)  for 1 hour 15 minutes.

If not eating straight away, they refrigerate beautifully.  When ready to serve steam (or heat up) for about 8 minutes, invert and serve with a dollop of cream or if you prefer some homemade custard.

Enjoy!

Salmon with Pesto Zucchini ‘Noodles’

Salmon with Pesto Zucchini ‘Noodles’

This dish was seriously tasty and super quick and easy.  I’d been craving pesto spaghetti and this really did the trick without the refined carbs.  My pesto recipe uses lemon juice so the tangy flavour works brilliantly with the salmon, although if you didn’t want the fish you could have a bowl of the Pesto Zucchini noodles on their own too!

I have tried many spiralisers to make vegetable ‘noodles’ and the GEFU Spiral Slicer Spiral Fix is by far the easiest and most effective I’ve used.

Salmon with Pesto Zucchini Noodles

Serves 2

What you will need:

2 Salmon fillets

About 1 cup of the Shrinking Hubby’s Pesto (link here or see below) (you may wish to use more or less depending on your taste)

4 Zucchinis (courgettes) topped and tailed

Olive oil, salt and pepper

Lemon wedges (if using) to serve

How to bring it together

Create the zucchini noodles using a vegetable spiraliser.  Place noodles in a colander, sprinkle liberally with good quality sea salt and drizzle with a splash of olive oil.  Toss and let sit for about 30 minutes.

When ready to prepare the meal, you can either barbeque or pan fry the salmon (brush with a little olive oil, season with sea salt and pepper).

Meanwhile heat the pesto in a fry pan or wok, when warm, add the noodles and toss until they are coated and the noodles are heated.

Place the noodles on a plate and top with the salmon.  Sprinkle with some chilli and serve with a squeeze of lemon if desired.

Enjoy!

The Shrinking Hubby’s Pesto

What you will need:

1/4 cup pine nuts dry roasted (you can do this in the oven on some baking paper or in a non-oiled pan on the stove – keep an eye on them – they can burn quickly!)

1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves

2 small garlic cloves (or 2 teaspoons good quality organic minced garlic)

3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1/4 cup olive oil

juice of 1/2 a lemon

sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

How to pull it together:

Place the pine nuts, basil, lemon juice, garlic, parmesan, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor (I used my Thermomix) and process until finely chopped.  Gradually add the olive oil while the motor is running in a thin stream until well combined.

Tasty Spiced Chicken

Tasty Spiced Chicken

This is a fantastic spice mix and works well on any cut of chicken – I have used it on Chicken Marylands and baked it for a dinner party, you could use a whole chicken cut into pieces or last night we had it on Chicken thigh fillets barbecued with some coconut oil.  I think it would make a delicious whole roast chicken too.  It’s really very versatile (and so ridiculously easy!!)

Tasty Spiced Chicken

Spiced Chicken Mix

In a bowl mix together the following spices:

  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander (cilantro) seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

spices

How to pull it together:

Put the chicken cuts you are using (I used organic chicken thigh fillets) in a clean plastic bag with the spice mix.  Toss well until Chicken is covered.

Cook to your liking!  We barbecued these in some coconut oil  which added a  delicious flavour, and served with some blanched asparagus for a light yet very tasty meal.

Enjoy XX

Roast Pumpkin and Chickpea Salad

Roast Pumpkin and Chickpea Salad

Here is a new delicious and fresh salad which is full of flavour and nutrients!  We have had it with some pan fried salmon for an easy mid week dinner (and leftovers were perfect for lunch the next day) or it goes beautifully with a curry.  I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot of this one in our house this summer :).

Roast Pumpkin and Chickpea Salad

What you will need:

  • About 1kg (2 pounds) of diced pumpkin
  • Olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teasoons ground cumin
  • 1 400g can (14 oz) of chickpeas (preferably organic and salt free)
  • 6 shallots (scallions) chopped
  • 1 large lemon juiced and rind grated
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves (cilantro) roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (dry roasted)
  • 1/4 cup chopped feta
  • 1 cup chopped green beans
  • salt and pepper

How to pull it together:

Line a large roasting tray with baking paper and turn on oven to 200 degrees celcius (390 degrees Fahrenheit).

In a large bowl mix the pumpkin with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons ground coriander and 2 teaspoons of cumin.  Season with sea salt and cracked pepper and toss to mix so that the spices coat the pumpkin.

Lay the pumpkin out on the baking tray (keep the remaining marinade in the bowl) and put in the oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, drain and rinse the chickpeas.  Place them in the same bowl as the pumpkin and toss to coat.

After the pumpkin has been roasting for 20 minutes, add the chickpeas to the tray and roast for a further 10 minutes.

In a jar or a bowl mix/whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice and lemon rind, salt and pepper.

Steam the green beans for 2 minutes (or blanch them in boiling water for 2 minutes).  Drain.

In a large bowl add the roasted pumpkin, chickpeas, 1/2 of the chopped shallots, beans, coriander, feta and dressing and toss gently to combine.  Top with remainder of shallots and pine nuts and serve.

Enjoy XX

 

Zesty Salsa

Zesty Salsa

It’s so quick and easy to whip up a tasty little salsa and makes such a refreshing change to steamed veggies or a green salad.  Don’t be restricted what I’ve used here – you can use what you’ve got in the fridge, some organic corn kernels would be nice here too.  We enjoyed this with salmon but would be delicious with chicken or steak.  It is the perfect accompaniment to my chicken schnitzel (recipe here).  I had the leftovers with a little bit (1/2 cup) of brown rice and a tin of tuna for lunch the next day – was really yummy!

Zesty Salsa

(serves 2-4 as a side dish)

What you will need:

  • 1 Avocado diced
  • 1 cucumber peeled and diced
  • A handful of button mushrooms diced
  • 1/2 red capsicum diced
  • 1 green chilli (seeded) finely chopped
  • 1 roma tomato or a few cherry tomatoes diced
  • 1/4 red onion finely chopped
  • About a 1/4 cup of fresh Coriander leaves (cilantro)

For the dressing:

  • The juice of 1-2 limes (depending on your taste)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

How to pull it all together:

Shake or whisk all the dressing ingredents together.  Combine the chopped up veggies into a bowl.  Gently toss the veggies with the dressing and serve!

 

 

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