Peanut butter bliss balls

peanut-butter-bliss-ballsI’ve been craving peanut butter lately so decided to experiment with peanut butter bliss balls.

I’ve tried lots of recipes but most contained shredded coconut which i didn’t find worked particularly well with peanut butter.

I’ve landed on this recipe which tastes AMAZING and is super simple – containing just four key ingredients and optionally some good quality dark chocolate.

Health benefits

Dates are rich in a range of minerals and vitamins including iron which is lacked by so many women, especially pregnant women. They’re a good source of magnesium which is known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties and has been linked to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, assisting with arthritis and is also beneficial for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.  

Dates contain high levels of soluble fibre which helps food pass through the digestive tract and as such they’re often prescribed for those suffering from constipation.

Cashews are rich in monounsaturated fats which are said to be good for the cardiovascular system and may be particularly beneficial for diabetics. They are extremely high in copper which plays an important role in many physiological processes within the body including iron utilisation, production of melanin and development of bone and connective tissues. They’re

a good source of phosphorous, manganese and magnesium which balances calcium and is essential for healthy bones, nerves and muscles.

Peanuts are actually a legume rather than a nut and are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and oleic acid, a healthy fat also found in olive oil. Peanuts are a good source of antioxidants, minerals copper, manganese, niacin and folate as well as vitamin E and protein.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3 tablespoons good quality peanut butter (or even 4 if you love peanut butter)
  • 8 medjool dates, stones removed
  • Half a teaspoon good quality salt
  • Optional (if you like chocolate chips): 20g high cocoa content dark chocolate (i choose 70 or 85%).

Method

  1. Place the cashews, dates, peanut butter and salt in a food processor and blend until the ingredients are well mixed but there are still small course chunks of nuts
  2. If you’d like chocolate chips, chop the chocolate into small chunks to make chocolate chips
  3. Add the peanut butter mixture and chocolate to a bowl
  4. Roll into 8-10 bliss balls

Makes 8-10 bliss balls that will keep in the fridge for several weeks.

Slow cooked oxtail

slow-cooked-oxtailI recently bought some oxtail by accident (it’s vacuum sealed on the same supermarket shelf as the beef hearts I feed my cat). Stuck with something I’d never cooked before I decided to experiment with a casserole which turned out to be delicious!

Oxtail is the name commonly used for cow’s tail. It’s great for using in casseroles as the slow-cooked meat has a wonderful flavour combined with the bone marrow and other properties found in the tail (sounds a bit stomach churning but it honestly tastes really great!).

The consumption of oxtail renders similar health benefits as bone broth which is widely credited for boosting the immune system and digestive health. Oxtail is rich in minerals and  slow cooking it releases collagen/gelatin and amino acids including proline, glutamine and arginine that are thought to be particularly beneficial for gut health and integrity.

This recipe might look a bit fiddly but it’s super easy to make and the vegetables I’ve listed are a guide only. Casseroles are designed to tenderise tough cuts of meat and for you to use whatever vegetables and herbs that you have on hand. I’ve seen plenty of oxtail recipes that include thyme – I didn’t have any so didn’t include it but feel free to throw in a couple of sprigs and serve with whichever fresh herbs you like and have on hand. You could also substitute the onions with a leek or two.

Ingredients

  • Approx 2 kilos / 4.4lb of oxtail on the bone
  • 500ml / 2 cups good quality beef stock/bone broth
  • 250ml / 1 cup red wine
  • 4 medium sized carrots, roughly chopped into smallish chunks
  • 4 sticks celery, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 200g / 7oz mushrooms (I used button mushrooms) cut in halves/quarters depending on size
  • 2 finely chopped garlic cloves / teaspoons minced garlic
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves

Method

  1. Bring a heavy based frying pan to a medium to high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil then “seal” the oxtail (brown lightly on all sides). You will probably have to do this in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Once sealed, place the oxtail in the bottom of the crock pot / slow cooker
  2. Clean the frying pan, again bring to a medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Fry the onion and garlic for a minute then add the celery and carrot for a couple more minutes until the onion starts to turn translucent
  3. Add the tomato paste and stir through then add the beef stock / bone broth and red wine for thirty seconds or so and transfer the mixture to the slow cooker / crock pot. Place the bay leaves on top.
  4. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours
  5. Once complete, allow the casserole to cool sufficiently until it’s a reasonable temperature to handle (but not cold or it will set) then using rubber gloves remove the bone, excess fat and cartilage from the casserole
  6. Reduce the casserole over a low heat on the stove until it’s the desired consistency (around 10-15 minutes). Consume what you wish and freeze the rest in batches.

Serves 6

BBQ eggplant and french onion salad with rocket, feta and pine nuts

bbq-eggplant-french-onion-rocket-salad-2It’s spring in Australia which means the weather is warming up and people are dusting off their BBQs (if they were ever out of use). Eggplants are in season so what better than a BBQ eggplant and french onion salad to accompany your favourite BBQ cut of meat or fish.

Cooked eggplant is a good source of fibre along with a host of other vitamins and minerals. Eggplants are rich in phytonutrients, many of which contain powerful antioxidant qualities including one of the most powerful free-radical scavengers in the plant kingdom.

French onions are also rich in phytonutrients, particular flavonoids (like eggplants, thanks to their purple colour). Flavonoids contain a host of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities that have been widely credited for supporting cardiovascular health and helping reduce the risk of cancer.

Rocket/arugula is a lesser known member of the cruciferous vegetable family (think kale, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage) and contains chlorophyll which is thought to help block the carcinogenic effects that may be caused by grilling foods at high temperatures.

This salad works beautifully topped with pine nuts and feta – I like to use goat’s feta but use whatever you like best.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggplant/aubergines (medium to large)
  • 3 french onions (medium to large)
  • 100g / 3.5oz rocket/arugula or mixed salad leaves
  • 100g / 3.5oz good quality feta (I like goat’s fetta)
  • 50g / 1.75oz pine nuts
  • Half a lemon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Dressing

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons good quality balsamic

Method

  1. Pre-heat the BBQ to medium-high heat and allow to heat for 5-10 minutes
  2. Cut the eggplant/aubergine into slices around 1.5cm or half and inch thick and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  3. Cut the onion into wedges and drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil
  4. Place the eggplant/aubergine and french onion on the BBQ
  5. The eggplant will need to cook for around 12 minutes on the first side then around 8 minutes on the second side (check during this time however to make sure it doesn’t burn)
  6. The french onion will need to cook for around 10 minutes total – turn a couple of times during this period so that it’s nicely cooked all over
  7. Remove the eggplant and onion from the BBQ and allow to cool
  8. Bring a frying pan to a medium to high heat then add the pine nuts and toast for a minute or two until lightly browned. Be careful not to burn as the pine nuts cook quickly
  9. Meanwhile mix up the dressing and place the rocket in a large salad bowl
  10. Cut the eggplant/aubergine into large chunks and add to the salad along with the rocket and BBQ French onion
  11. Add the dressing a little at a time until the rocket and vegetables are lightly coated (you may not need the whole lot) then crumble through the feta and top with the toasted pine nuts

 

Serves 4

Healthy chocolate orange truffles

img_8948These truffles are my favourite sweet treat of the moment. Dipped in dark chocolate they have a bitter-sweet taste that satisfies my sweet cravings without wanting me to go back for second and third helpings.

Health benefits

Almonds are rich in monounsaturated fats which when consumed in their natural form have been associated with lowering the risk of heart disease. They are a good source of vitamin E, magnesium and potassium and antioxidants and their consumption has been credited for helping the body lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and protect against diabetes.

Dates are a high in fibre and are a good source of a variety of minerals. They are often recommended for those suffering from constipation and their nicotine content is thought to help alleviate a variety of intestinal disorders. While naturally high in sugar, consuming together with almonds and chia seeds (as in this recipe) means that their effect on raising blood sugar after consumption is mitigated.

Chia seeds are considered by many as a superfood thanks to their high Omega-3 fatty acid content which is important for heart health and brain function. They are extremely high in fibre, calcium, antioxidants and trace minerals are a great non-animal source of protein. In fact their high antioxidant content is thought to help the body absorb the antioxidants from chia seeds.

Cacao is one of the most nutrient dense natural foods on the planet with 40 times more antioxidants than blueberries. Cacao is one of highest sources of iron in the plant world and is rich in magnesium and calcium and many other trace minerals. Regular consumption of cacao is thought to help reduce insulin resistance and blood pressure as well as reduce the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.

Oranges are famously high in vitamin C and a study by US and Canadian researchers published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found evidence to suggest that the consumption of orange peel was as effective at helping lower bad cholesterol as many cholesterol lowering drugs.

Ingredients

  • 200g/7oz medjool dates, pitted
  • 100g/3.5oz almonds (I use activated almonds, dry roasted are good too but if not you can use raw almonds)
  • 100g/3.5oz dark chocolate with a high cocoa content (I choose 85% but 70% works too)
  • 45g/1.6oz shredded coconut
  • 4 tbs orange juice (freshly juiced)
  • 3 tbs finely grated orange peel
  • 3 tbs chia seeds
  • 2 tbs cacao powder

Method

  1. Combine the chia seeds and orange juice and allow to stand for 10 minutes
  2. Place a glass bowl over a pot of hot water (but not boiling) and break the dark chocolate into it and leave until it has melted
  3. Add the almonds to a food processor and blend until coarse. Remove 1.5 tablespoons and set aside
  4. Add the dates, cacao, shredded coconut, orange peel and chia mixture to the food processor (along with the almonds) and blend until smooth
  5. Roll the mixture into ~20 balls
  6. Using a fork, roll and coat the balls in the dark chocolate
  7. Place the balls on a sheet of grease-proof paper and sprinkle with the coarsely ground almonds that you’ve set aside
  8. Cool in the fridge for at least 30 minutes

Makes ~20 truffles. Will keep in the fridge for several weeks.

Almost paleo banana berry bread

almost-paleo-banana-berry-bread2I’m pregnant at the moment and have been craving banana bread. In an effort to come up with a recipe that’s tasty AND nutritious I’ve been experimenting with different ingredients and have landed on the following which I find works well. It’s gluten, dairy and refined sugar free so great for those with food intolerances.

Health benefits

I use a good portion of freshly ground linseeds/flax seeds which are extremely high in omega-3 essential fatty acids (higher than any other plant-based food) and are excellent for cardiovascular health. Linseeds are rich in lignans which are fibre-like compounds that have been credited for helping reduce the risk of cancer, in particular breast cancer. Linseeds are also considered to be particularly beneficial for the digestive tract thanks to their mucilage (gum) content.

In place of gluten-free flour I’ve used amaranth which is an ancient Aztec seed with similar properties to quinoa. Amaranth is relatively high in protein and contains the amino acid lysine rendering it’s protein a “whole protein” which is particularly beneficial for vegetarians. The peptides in amaranth contain anti-inflammatory properties which are thought to help those suffering from conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and stroke. Amaranth contains rutin which has been linked to strengthening capillary walls and helping to protect against varicose veins.

For a great flavour boost I use almond meal. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, healthy fats, minerals and antioxidants and have been proven to help lower bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.

In place of butter I’ve used coconut oil which is nature’s richest source of saturated fat. Contrary to conventional medical advice, the saturated fat in coconut oil is thought to help the body lower bad cholesterol and increase the levels of healthy cholesterol and therefore promote cardiovascular health.

Bananas are a good source of potassium which helps the body maintain normal blood pressure and berries are low in sugar and high in antioxidants.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 ripe bananas (if they’re small I’ll use 3, if they’re large I’ll use 2)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 70g/half a cup of ground linseeds/flaxseeds*
  • 70g/half a cup of amaranth flour
  • 60g/half a cup of almond meal
  • 30g/quarter of a cup of tapioca flour/starch
  • 125ml/half a cup of coconut oil, melted
  • 80ml/one third cup sweetener of your choice (maple syrup, coconut nectar, honey, dark agave)
  • 100g/1 cup mixed berries (I use frozen berries if fresh aren’t in season)
  • 1 teaspoon good quality baking soda (choose aluminium free)

*I like to grind the linseeds/flaxeeds myself (I use a coffee/spice grinder) to ensure that they are fresh as their fats oxidise over time.

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Grease your baking tin
  3. Add the ground linseeds/flaxseeds, amaranth, tapioca and baking soda to a mixing bowl
  4. In a food processor (you can use a blender if you don’t have one) mix the eggs, sweetener and ripe bananas and coconut oil for a minute or so until smooth and fluffy
  5. Add the banana mixture to the dry mixture and mix well
  6. Fold in the berries
  7. Add to the tin and bake for 40 minutes. Insert a skewer, if it comes out clean remove from the oven. If not allow to cook for a further 5-10 minutes.
  8. Once removed from the oven, allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool

 

Chicken with fennel, tomato, eggplant, capsicum and chorizo

tomato-chicken-fennel
It’s winter in Australia and fennel’s in season making it a great time to enjoy this crunchy, slightly sweet vegetable.

Fennel is rich in fibre, is a good source of vitamin C and according to the World’s Healthiest Foods contains a unique combination of phytonutrients making it rich in antioxidants. One of it’s phytonutrients – anethole, helps the body block against a potentially strong gene-altering and inflammation-triggering molecule. This unique anti-inflammatory effect is thought to help the body fight against cancer.

Having recently returned from Spain I thought I’d try a Spanish inspired chicken dish with fennel, chorizo and plenty of vegetables.

This dish contains aubergine/eggplant which like the other vegetables in this dish is rich in antioxidants. One compound found in almost all eggplant varieties is chlorogenic acid which is one of nature’s most potent free radical scavengers, and is credited for its antimicrobial and antiviral qualities as well as helping the body lower bad cholesterol.

Yellow capsicum/(belle) peppers are extremely high in vitamin C and a range of other antioxidants – regular consumption of which is thought to help fight against the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Similarly tomatoes are rich in many of the same nutrients as capsicums/belle peppers and are one of nature’s highest sources of lycopene. Lycopene has been credited with for helping prevent hardening of the arteries (a major cause of heart disease) and for helping fight a range of cancers including prostate, breast, lung, bladder, colon, pacreatic and uterine cancer. Interestingly, the lycopene in tomatoes is more easily absorbable by the body when the tomatoes are cooked. Similarly, consumption with fresh basil aids lycopene absorption.

Chicken adds a good serve of protein and the chorizo adds a great flavour boost, however if you’re not keen on chorizo this can be omitted.

Ingredients

  • 600g/1.3lb chicken thighs, cut into chunks around 4cm/1.5 inches in size
  • 1 medium sized chorizo, finely sliced
  • 1 x 400g tin/14 fl oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 punnet 250g/ 9 oz cherry tomatoes OR 1 x 400g tin/14 fl oz can of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 medium sized fennel bulb (the white part), finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized eggplant/aubergine – roughly 300g/10.5 oz
  • 1 medium to large yellow capsicum/(belle) pepper
  • 1 Spanish (red) onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Generous handful of fresh basil leaves

Method

Notes: if you are making this whole dish in a single pan then you will need a very large, deep and heavy based frying pan. I don’t have one so start everything off in a large frying pan then transfer to a big pot.

  1. Heat a pan to a medium-high heat and then add a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook the chicken in batches (so as not to overcrowd the pan) until golden brown then set aside
  2. Clean the pan and bring to a medium heat then add a tablespoon of olive oil and fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes until they start to turn translucent
  3. Add the fennel and chorizo and cook until the chorizo starts to brown
  4. If the pan is starting to dry, add another tablespoon of olive oil (or a little water if you prefer) then add the eggplant/aubergine and capsicum/(belle) pepper and cook for another 5 minutes until the vegetables have started to soften
  5. If necessary, transfer the vegetable and chorizo mix to a big pot, then add the crushed and cherry tomatoes and chicken then simmer for half an hour
  6. When ready to serve, stir through the fresh basil leaves

Enjoy alone or with some brown rice or your favourite grain (cauliflower cous cous /rice works well too).

Slow cooked beef and barley soup

slow_cooked_beef_barley_soup
This recipe makes a delicious hearty winter soup that’s rich in protein and fibre and is substantial enough for an evening meal.

Barley is a good source of trace minerals manganese, molybdenum and selenium. Manganese supports healthy bone structure while molybdenum plays an important role in helping the body detoxify acetaldehyde, released as a by-product of yeast, funghi and alcohol metabolism. Selenium aids cognitive function, boosts the immune system and supports fertility in both men and women.

Barley is one of the oldest consumed grains in the world. It’s high in dietary fibre, providing food for “friendly bacteria” in the large intestine and its dietary fibre is high in beta glucan which helps lower bad cholesterol and protect the body against heart disease.

Cooking the vegetables together in a single pot using low heat preserves many of their nutrients and makes a wonderfully balanced meal with a good serve of beef to add plenty of protein.

To make the barley more easily digestible by the body I like to soak it overnight (see notes under Preparation) but if you’re short on time this step may be skipped.

Ingredients

  • 500g/18 oz chuck steak or slow cooking beef (use a good quality, grass-feed beef)
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 100g/3.5 oz kale
  • 1 x 400g tin or 1 x 14 fluid oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 100g/3.5oz pearl barley – thoroughly rinsed
  • 500ml/1 pint bone broth or beef stock
  • 375ml water/13 fl oz water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation

If you have time, soak the barley overnight (or for up to 24 hours) with a teaspoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (if you some available). This will help neutralise the phytic acid and make the barley easier for your body to digest (for further information refer to Dr Weston Price). Once complete, drain and rinse thoroughly.

Method

  1. Heat a heavy based saucepan to a medium-high heat then add a tablespoon of olive oil and cook the beef in batches (so as not to overcrowd the pan) until brown all over then set aside
  2. Clean and heat the pan again to a medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil and cook the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes until they start to turn translucent then add the carrot and celery and cook for another minute or two
  3. Add the beef back to the pan along with the crushed tomatoes, bone broth/stock and water and bring to a simmer then transfer to the slow cooker/crock pot
  4. Cook on low for 6 hours then add the barley and kale and cook for another 2 hours
  5. Serve sprinkled with your favourite chopped fresh herbs

Serves ~6

Snapper with capsicum, olive and caper salsa and wilted spinach

snapper-salsa-spinachThis is a delicious, light and tasty dish that’s easy to prepare and bursting with nutrition. Here are some of the health benefits.

Capsicum/belle peppers are rich in vitamin C and contain an abundance of carotenoids. Cartonoids are antioxidants that help the body fight free radicals, boost the immune system and if consumed regularly through diet help protect the body against cancer and heart disease.

Capers are high in antioxidants and are an excellent source of the flavonoid rutin which strengthens capillaries and support healthy blood circulation.

Olives are rich in a diverse range of phytonutrients noted for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, some of which are unique to olives. One special unique quality of olives is that they contain properties that have been shown to act as anti-histamines at a cellular level, which is particularly beneficial for those suffering from allergies.

Basil contains unique antibacterial qualities that have been linked to helping inhibit several species of pathogenic bacteria that have become resistant commonly used antibiotics  (types of bacteria that can cause infection).

Spinach is well known for being rich in iron but it’s also an excellent source of magnesium and folate and just one cup serve (which is slightly less than that used in this recipe) contains almost 1000% of the RDI of vitamin K, which is plays an integral role in optimal bone health.

Snapper and other white fish fillets provide a good source of lean protein.

INGREDIENTS

Fish

  • 4 x 180-220g (roughly 7 oz) snapper fillets with skin on (or you can use any other similar tasting white fish fillets)
  • 2 x tablespoons ghee or if you prefer you can use grape skin oil (both have a high smoke point)

Salsa

  • 1 x red capsicum/belle pepper
  • 1 x green capsicum/belle pepper
  • Half an onion (I like to use red/Spanish onions)
  • 1 tablespoon small capers
  • 50g / 1.75oz pitted black olives
  • 1.5 x tablespoon olive oil
  • 1.5 x tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Good handful of fresh basil leaves (around 15g/half an oz)

Spinach

  • 200g/7oz baby spinach leaves
  • 1 garlic clove finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

METHOD

Salsa

  1. Place the capsicum/belle peppers under a medium-high grill until the skin starts to turn black. Turn until blackened on all sides then place in a plastic bag (ideally a sealable plastic sandwich-type bag) for 10 minutes or so and allow to cool. You can achieve the same effect by cutting the capsicums/belle peppers in two, removing the seeds and placing on a bbq (skin side down) for around 10 minutes.
  2. Finely chop the onion, capers and black olives and place in a bowl then cover with the red wine vinegar and olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper
  3. Once the capsicums/belle peppers are ready, remove from the plastic bag and peel off the skin. Remove the seeds from the middle and roughly chop then add to the salsa mixture
  4. Finely chop the basil and mix through the salsa

Fish & Spinach

  1. Bring a stainless steel frying pan to a high heat. Once hot add the ghee or grape seed oil then add the fish, skin side down. It will want to curl up so if possible add a fish weight (the same effect can be achieved by pressing the fish down with a heavy stainless steel).
  2. Allow to the fish to cook for a couple of minutes until you can see it’s cooked almost half way through then turn and cook the other side for a couple of minutes
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the spinach by bringing a separate frying pan to a medium high heat.
  4. When the fish is almost ready, add the the olive oil to the pan and fry the sliced garlic for 30 seconds or so then add the spinach and flash fry until it’s wilted (this shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds to a minute)
  5. Season the spinach with a little salt and pepper

Transfer the spinach to 4 plates, place the fish on top and top the fish with the salsa. If you prefer, this dish works nicely on a bed of steamed green beans or with a mixed leaf green salad.

Serves 4

 

Broccolini with toasted almonds and pancetta

broccolini-pancetta-almonds2It’s winter in Australia and broccolini is in season. A member of the cruciferous vegetable family, broccolini is rich vitamin C and just a single cup serve contains the recommended daily intake of this vitamin which is a powerful antioxidant. Broccolini is also rich in vitamin A, an essential nutrient for eye health and contains plenty of potassium which helps support brain function, muscle growth and a healthy nervous system.

This recipe makes a great side dish and the pancetta and almonds really boost the flavour making it appealing to the whole family.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch broccolini
  • 35g/1.25oz pancetta
  • 30g/1oz almonds (you can use raw or toasted if you prefer), roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Method

  1. Steam the broccolini for a couple of minutes until tender but still nice and crunchy
  2. Bring a frying pan to a medium-high heat, add a little olive oil and toast the almonds for a couple of minutes until they’re just starting to brown. Set aside
  3. Again, bring a frying pan to a medium-high heat, add a little olive oil and cook for a minute or two each side. Set aside
  4. For the last time, bring a frying pan to a medium heat, add a little olive oil and cook the garlic for 30 seconds or a little more until lightly turning brown then add the broccolini to the pan for another minute.
  5. Serve the garlic and broccolini sprinkled with the fried pancetta and toasted almonds

Serves 2

Pulled beef and black bean chilli

pulled-beef-blackbean-chilli
This is a versatile dish that’s guaranteed to please the whole family.

I like to cook it in the slow cooker but it works just as well in a pan on the stove, you simply need to allow plenty for the meat to tenderise so that it melts in the mouth.

I make the chilli with either black beans or red kidney beans which are a great source of fibre and an excellent source of the trace mineral molybenum, which helps the body detoxify sulfites. They’re also an excellent source of folate which is essential for pregnant women, particularly in the first trimester. However, if you’re paleo you can omit the beans as the dish does work without them.

Ingredients

  • 600g or approx 1.3 lb chuck steak or slow cooking casserole beef diced into chunks around 5cm or 2 inch square
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red capsicum/red bell pepper
  • 1 medium to large brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic or 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 cups (half a litre or 1 pint beef stock or bone broth)
  • 1 x 400g tin or 12 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 x 400g tin or 12 oz can black beans/red kidney beans OR 250g or 9 oz cooked black beans/red kidney beans
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground paprika

Method

Note, I soak and cook all pulses and legumes myself in order to make them more digestible. Refer to the Dr Weston Price foundation for more information on the benefit of this process. Instructions are at the end of this recipe. If you don’t have time simply used tinned/canned beans.

  1. Bring a frying pan to a medium-high heat and add a little olive oil then cook the beef for a couple of minutes on each side until nicely browned (it’s likely you’ll need to do this in 2 batches so as not to overcrowd the pan). Transfer the meat to the slow cooker/crockpot or set aside
  2. Again, bring a frying pan to a medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil then cook the onion, garlic and capsicum/bell pepper until the onion is just starting to brown and the vegetables are soft
  3. Add the stock, crushed tomatoes, cumin, coriander and paprika and allow to simmer for a minute then transfer to the slow cooker along with the meat and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. Alternatively, transfer the meat back to the pan and simmer for ~3 hours until the meat is tender and falling apart. If cooking in a pan, you may need to add some extra water during the process if the chilli starts to dry out
  4. If using a slow cooker, once complete transfer the chili back to the frying pan and add the beans then cook for 10 minutes or so until it’s reduced to the consistency you like. If cooking on the pan, once the meat is nice and tender, pull it apart using a knife and fork then add the beans and cook for a further 10 minute.

Serve with some thick natural yoghurt (or sour cream if you’re more of a traditionalist) and plenty of fresh coriander either on a bed of brown rice or with some warm soft tacos.

Serves ~ 4 people.

Preparing and cooking red kidney/black beans

For both red kidney and black beans, soak for 12 hours in plenty of filtered water with a little acid medium (a generous tablespoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar work well). Once the process is complete rinse well.

To cook, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and allow to boil for 10 minutes then simmer for around half an hour for black beans or one hour for red kidney beans. Test to ensure they’re cooked and if necessary, allow to simmer for a little longer.

If you prepare a large batch you can freeze portions for later use.