raspberry crumble (grain-free, paleo, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free)

Summer days are those on which it’s perfectly acceptable to rise at a ridiculous hour only to stuff yourself with copious fresh fruits and green smoothies before venturing out into the garden for a few hours to pick a cornucopia of home-grown raspberries.

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And then eat them, naturally. And use far too many conjunctions and prepositions in one sentence.

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When we moved in to our current house, we were told about the raspberries. We were forewarned, yet now we find ourselves spending hours in the garden, gently caressing the vibrant, delicate berries, squeezing them gently at their crowns before lifting them, hands cupped, to the masses of previously picked berries in our overfilled trays. Hours spent laughing, teasing, joking; hours spent living. It’s such a shame the summer doesn’t last forever.

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Crumble, though? I’ll take crumble any day. This raspberry crumble is comforting and cosy, and embraces you with its warmth and love, the stewing fruit flowing through your body like a sip of warm tea and crispy topping tying the sweet, tart juices interspersed with bursts of pure berry together.

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At times, all you really want is a refreshing chilled summer salad with a tall glass of lemonade and flavoured ice, but if you’re having one of those days, I urge you to bake up some of these. It takes 5 minutes to whisk up the ingredients, carefully rinse your berries, cover them in the crumbly combination of almonds, coconut, cinnamon and cane sugar, and pop them in the oven. They transcended every single one of my expectations; the crumb was perfectly tender and crunchy, the fruit soft and gooey yet recognisable.

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Enjoy, and between you and me, it’s perfectly okay to double the topping, dump everything into a larger dish, bake it up, and eat it for breakfast. It happened. With a green smoothie, naturally.

 

raspberry crumble

by Alessandra Peters

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

 

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 3/4 cup ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tbs cane sugar
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 cups fresh, ripe raspberries

Instructions

1. Preheat your oven to 350F/180C.

2. Evenly distribute your raspberries between four small ramekins.

3. Mix together all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl until you get a crumbly mixture with a few large chunks. If it is too dry, add half a teaspoon more coconut oil and continue doing so until you achieve the desired consistency.

4. Sprinkle the topping mixture all over the berries.

5. Bake for 11-12 minutes or until golden brown.

6. Let cool for 5 minutes, then serve.

7. Enjoy!

NOTE: If your raspberries are a bit tart, sprinkle them with a bit of cane sugar before adding the crumble mixture on top.

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chocolate macaroons (grain-free, paleo, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free)

I can live without most foods – I think being intolerant to over 72 foods proves that – but chocolate? I opine that chocolate is cathartic to the soul. I have been making my own chocolate for a year or so now and I can absolutely, positively declare that I will never, ever revert to the greasy, pathetic ‘chocolate’ sold in the shops. Seriously, try it; it’s incredible. Also, I’ve never had a macaroon.

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What?! I’ve never had a macaroon?! No, I haven’t. I know. How did the mixture of gloriously crunchy desiccated coconut, fluffy mounds of whipped egg whites and sweet, familiar sugar escape my grasp in the fourteen years I’ve been on this planet? And guess what? I don’t think I’ll ever taste a ‘traditional’ macaroon. Why would I want to revert to refined, over-processed sugar and whites of a chicken’s unfertilised eggs? I really don’t. How about a wholesome, healthy, and deliciously tasty chocolatey macaroon which is incredibly crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside? ‘Hark!’ the kitchen angels sing!

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Throw together some crunchy desiccated coconut, silky, smooth coconut oil, rich and creamy coconut milk, sweet and mild agave nectar, dark, deep cacao powder, and heavenly vanilla extract, mix it up, scoop it together, and bake. Done. The perfect little bites for when you’re craving a dose of chocolate.

The usual caveats here: these are so utterly yummy that if you’re watching what you eat (or if you’re sensible enough to think that you really shouldn’t be eating 12 macaroons in a day – well done to you), you’ll want to freeze some for later. Trust me, they’re just too tempting!

Loosely adapted from the wonderful Jenni at The Urban Poser!

chocolate macaroons

by Alessandra Peters

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Keywords: dairy-free egg-free gluten-free grain-free paleo soy-free sugar-free vegan

Description: Delicious, dark, and chocolatey macaroons full of goodness! Made with three types of coconut, a splash of agave, and some cacao powder, these are as pure as you’ll get when it comes to macaroons!

Ingredients (12 macaroons)

  • 2 cups fine desiccated coconut
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

1. Preheat your oven to 320/160 degrees.

2. Mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl until everything is well incorporated.

3. Using a small ice cream scoop, melon baller, or teaspoon, scoop out macaroon mixture, making sure to press the mixture right down into the scooper before releasing onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper which has been greased with a bit of coconut oil.

4. Bake for 9-10 minutes, but keep your eye on them! They burn quickly.

5. Let rest for 10 minutes before you handle them so that they can firm up.

6. Enjoy!

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grilled peaches with coconut milk ice cream (vegan, paleo, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg-free)

Farmer’s markets are one of the pure joys of summer to me – juicy, ripe fruit,  fresh vegetables, and the simple, old-fashioned exchange of a few coins in return for a smile and a bag of lovely home-grown produce. The taste of freshly picked fruit is like no other; bland, lifeless supermarket fruits disappoint winter and winter again after each summer filled with farmer’s markets.

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My memories cling themselves to tastes – I imagine smiles all round and the sun searing my back in Turkey every time I bite into a ripe apricot, hospital gowns and mushy food every time I sniff broccoli sprinkled with nutmeg, and I’m transported to my 9-year old self running around Disneyland fully clothed in pink with Minnie Mouse ears every time I lick a strawberry popsicle. Somehow, my brain creates episodic food memories; often times, the simple foods are the most salient in my mind.

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Things couldn’t get any simpler than these delicious grilled peaches with coconut milk ice cream. Familiar, sweet peaches with a spoonful of creamy, tropical ice cream are quite magnificent. If you have an ice cream maker, you can create soft-serve like peaks of rich coconut milk ice cream, but if you don’t (neither do I!), just pop it in the freezer and take a few minutes to stir it every half an hour or so. I suggest you make the ice cream a day in advance so that you can enjoy this dessert whenever you feel like it – just grill some peaches and start enjoying!

 

grilled peaches with coconut milk ice cream

by Alessandra Peters

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

 

Ingredients (serves 4)

    For the Grilled Peaches

    • 4 ripe peaches
    • 4 tablespoons sugar (you could try a sugar replacer like agave syrup, too!)

    For the Coconut Milk Ice Cream

    • 1 can full fat coconut milk
    • 1 vanilla bean (or 2 tsp pure vanilla extract)
    • 4 tablespoons sugar (again, you could use agave or maple syrup)

    Instructions

    For the Ice Cream

    1. Empty the coconut milk into a large bowl. Split the vanilla bean in half and then use the flat side of your knife to scrape out all of the seeds.

    2. Stir the vanilla bean seeds and the sugar into the coconut milk and put in the freezer.

    3. Stir with a fork every half an hour or so until just frozen. Scoop in to a plastic airtight container, then place in the freezer again for at least an hour. Serve or keep in the fridge for up to one month.

    For the Grilled Peaches

    1. Preheat your grill to 180 C / 360 F and place the oven rack on the highest position.

    2. Cut all the peaches in half and scoop out the stone using a teaspoon or your fingers. Arrange on a flat baking tray, then sprinkle each peach half with about half a tablespoon of the sugar. Grill for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and slightly wrinkly! Enjoy while warm.

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    cannellini bean and spinach meatballs with tomato sauce (gluten-free, grain-free, vegan, paleo, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free)

    It’s July, it’s too hot to do anything other than lay outside in the sun, and I’m making meatballs with tomato sauce. Why? They’re so easy to prepare, they’re such an easy, light dinner, and they’re immensely summery. I mean, they’re not even meatballs; they’re actually a myriad of crushed cannellini beans and fresh baby spinach in a thick, bright red tomato sauce, and they’re amazing. It’s halfway through summer and I’m still using the correct they’re. Shouldn’t this be banned or something?

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    As I served these to a patiently waiting gaggle of assorted family members huddled around our ancient wooden table, worn from so many long, cold winters spent outside, bursts of Dutch and English mingling through the air, and a copious amount of laughter erupting every few seconds, I smiled. Everybody was blissfully unaware of the outside world, enjoying the simplicity of family who had each come from entirely different corners of the world with stories of their travels, perkily coloured drinks in a collection of odd glasses, and fragrant, vivid foods splayed across the table. This is life, I thought; this is wonderful.

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    The June Daring Cooks’ challenge sure kept us rolling – meatballs, that is! Shelley from C Mom Cook and Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to try meatballs from around the world and to create our own meatball meal celebrating a culture or cuisine of our own choice. Everyone loves Italian food so I decided to do something with cannellini beans, juicy fresh tomatoes, and the gorgeous baby spinach I’d picked up that day. Feel free to take this very simple base recipe and run with it – by the way, little children (and big ones, too) make fantastic bean mashers. Enjoy!

    Cannellini Bean and Spinach Meatballs in a Tomato Sauce (gluten-free, grain-free, vegan, paleo, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free)

    by Alessandra Peters

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Ingredients (serves 4)

      For the Meatballs

      • 1 can cannollini beans, drained and rinsed
      • 75g fresh baby spinach, chopped
      • salt, oregano, and pepper, to taste

      For the Tomato Sauce

      • 500g fresh tomatoes, quartered
      • 50ml water
      • salt, oregano, and pepper, to taste

      Instructions

      1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).

      2. In a bowl, mash the cannollini beans to a thick paste with your hands. It’s okay if there are some bits! Add in the spinach and seasonings to taste.

      3. Roll the mixture into small balls in your hands and bake for 10 minutes or until their aroma just starts to fill your kitchen! Let them cool for a couple of minutes before you add them to the tomato sauce.

      4. For the tomato sauce, add the tomatoes to a tablespoon or so of garlic infused oil (or normal oil and a chopped garlic glove) on medium heat. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, then add the water, taking care to not burn yourself as it will splatter! Keep simmering for another 5 minutes or so until the tomatoes break down. If needed, ‘squash’ them with a spatula. Stir for another 5 minutes while the sauce thickens, then turn off the heat.

      5.When your meatballs are done, add them to the sauce carefully. Let it infuse for a minute, then scoop out the meatballs and slather with tomato sauce.

      6. Enjoy!

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