It is a little over a year since I started my new approach to life. A healthier, happier me. I haven't made big changes but last spring, when I decided that I needed to turn things around, I started off with a very big change to my diet which helped me kick start my metabolism - I spent a few weeks on a wholly paleo diet. Since then, I've learned a few things about generally reducing the amount of grains and unrefined sugar in my diet and I've found a nice settling point for me but I do quite regularly still cook paleo dishes.
For those not familiar with the paleo approach to eating, it is based on the concept that paleolithic man lived a healthy, long life with just the foods that they could forage. A paleo meal is usually grain-free, dairy-free, and free from refined sugar and refined vegetable oils. Other foods should be unrefined where possible, and produced using natural processes.
Coconut Oil is big in the world of paleo cookery because it is a healthy, unrefined fat that can be used in both savoury and sweet recipes. I'd never used it until very recently when Monkey Nutrition asked me to give coconut oil a whirl as part of my healthy eating approach.
Coconut Oil comes in a jar in a solid state. As it warms, it melts. In the recent warm weather my jar of coconut oil turned totally liquid and see-through!
|coconut oil in its raw form|
I've used my coconut oil successfully in paleo curries which I absolutely love and I've even tried it as a simple fat for cooking eggs but I do notice the flavour when I use it this way. This weekend, I even tried it for baking and I think it is blimming brilliant!!!
I made these paleo chocolate and raspberry cupcakes which are gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free (but they do contain eggs).
I'm not awfully proud of the recipe (I need to work on my sugar-free frosting attempts!), so I'm not going to share it with you in detail but I was actually reasonably surprised at how tasty the cupcakes were, and how much they rose without flour and raising agents. The girls absolutely loved these cakes.
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
150g raw honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
125g ground almonds or almond flour
65g cocoa powder from a responsible source
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the frosting
30g coconut oil
50g fresh raspberries, plus extra for decoration
Mix all of the ingredients together roughly with a wooden spoon, or an electric mixer.
Place the batter into 9 cupcake cases and cook in an oven (approximately 170 degrees centigrade) for about 25 minutes, until they are risen and the surface of the cake has crusted over.
Allow to cool.
Melt the 30g of coconut oil in the microwave or over a low heat and combine with the fresh raspberries. Mash with a fork, or an egg-masher and then place in the fridge for 30-40 minutes.
Spread the frosting over the cakes and decorate with fresh raspberries.
Monkey Nutrition's Coconut Oil costs around £10.99 for a 500ml jar.