Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Bacon Stuffed Twice Baked Sweet Potato Jackets

It's getting more and more difficult for me to enjoy fluffy baked sweet potato without some bacon somewhere alongside. Especially since I started enjoying the sweet potato mash recipe in the book Eat Drink Paleo

And while I totally love mashed potato with bacon mixed in, I've started to prefer these twice-baked beauties here. 

The first bake gives you that irresistible fluffy, golden mash. The second bake crisps up any bacon you have sticking out and then turns the top of the baked potato kind of crispy in places and helps crisp up the skin (because that's full of fibre, you know). 

This recipe is totally AIP-compliant, although if you have reintroduced it, it would be amazing if you can add a little butter to the mashed potato mixture. Otherwise, either use a little hot bone broth, some mild flavourless coconut oil, or a drizzle of avocado oil instead. 

Bacon Stuffed Twice Baked Sweet Potato Jackets
Serves 2
2 large sweet potatoes (orange flesh)
4-6 rashers of smoked, streaky bacon
drizzle of avocado oil, flavourless coconut oil (or butter if you can eat it - it's not AIP though)
pinch of salt
small handful of snipped chives

First, preheat your oven to gas mark 7/210ºC and scrub the sweet potatoes in cold water. Dry them thoroughly and pierce them three or four times with a sharp knife. Place them on a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender on the instead and fairly crisp on the outside. Take them out of the oven, carefully split them open (but don't cut all the way through) and leave them to cool down. 

Carefully lift the now fairly-cooled potato and, using a spoon, scoop out the flesh of the sweet potatoes and drop it into a bowl. 

Heat a frying pan on a low to medium heat and fry the bacon rashers for a few minutes on each side until some of the fat has rendered down and the bacon is crisp. Turn off the heat and leave to cool slightly. 

Snip the bacon, using scissors, into small chunks and drop them into the bowl with the mashed potato. Add a little pinch of salt, and pour in any bacon fat in the pan. Add the chopped chives, and the oil or butter, if using, and give everything a good mix. Gently spoon the mixture back into the sweet potato skins and then slide back into the oven for a further 10-15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are piping hot and the skins are crisp. Serve straight away. 

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Easy Pan-Fried Chicken Hearts with Garlic and Herbs

Squeamish about eating hearts? 

There's no need to be. 

Hearts are actually really very good for you. They're packed with vitamin B12, which is important for energy and mood. Honestly, people go to their doctors to injections of this stuff - you can get it a lot cheaper and tastier by eating more organ meats. 

It actually really gets to me how we humans are very happy to cut the breast, legs and wings from a chicken and then chuck away the bones, liver, kidneys and heart of the bird. I've said before that I'd love to be a vegetarian for ethical reasons but I just don't do well on a vegetarian diet. The next best thing for me then, as a meat eater, is to eat as much of that animal as possible, so less goes to waste. The neck is used for gravy, the bones for stock, the liver pan-fried as a cook's treat and the hearts can be cooked in just a few minutes. It's only right. 


Back to the chicken hearts.

It was my first time eating them, and I was incredibly surprised. They're not chewy - I imagined them to be full of tendons and valves and stuff - but they were smooth and succulent. They tasted sweet - not gamey like liver or kidney, but similar to the creamy sweetness of a really good pâté. And they take just a few minutes to cook. It's probably one of the easiest dinners you'll ever make. And if you've never eaten hearts before, I'd say chicken is a good place to start.

The hearts came from free-range online butcher Farmer's Choice. I've been cooking with their meats for quite a while and it is always of great quality. And when you're buying things like hearts, liver and kidneys, quality matters. 

Pan-Fried Chicken Hearts with Garlic and Hearts
Serves 2
1 tsp mild (unflavoured) coconut oil
3 rashers of streaky, smoked bacon
1 x pack of chicken hearts (260g)
1 clove garlic, grated
2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
1 teaspoon of salted butter (optional - leave out for strict AIP)

First, melt the coconut oil in a small frying pan and chop the bacon into strips. Fry them gently for 3-4 minutes, until the bacon fat renders down and you're left with golden, slightly crisp bacon. Lift out with a slotted spoon onto a nearby plate, leaving the bacony juices in the pan. 

Next, quickly cut off the fatty tops of the chicken hearts. Put the pan back on the heat and then add the trimmed hearts, frying for 2 minutes or so, until just sealed and starting to cook. Add the garlic and parsley and continue to stir-fry until the hearts are just cooked. Don't over-cook them. You'll see they're cooked through when you can't see any blood, but cut a couple open just to make sure. Just before serving, add the small teaspoon of salted butter, if using, and melt down to give everything extra richness and flavour. 

Serve with a sharply-dressed salad. 

This post was supported by Farmer's Choice. Please do go along to their website and find out more.  

Thursday, 19 November 2015

AIP Matcha Smoothie Bowl

Smoothies in a bowl. 

To begin with, I did wonder what was the point of spooning your smoothie from a bowl rather than drinking it from a glass, but then I got it. You can make it thicker and more indulgent (good) and then add in a load of colourful, beneficial ingredients. 

Like these.  

Unlike many smoothie bowls, this one doesn't contain any nuts, seeds or dairy. No coffee, cocoa, chocolate or milk. So it's vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and totally AIP-compliant. 

I've also picked fruits that aren't really high and concentrated in sugars - like dates. The only fruit in there is a banana, a few chunks of mango and the juice of an orange. You can tailor this to suit your own tolerances if you're sensitive to the sugar in fruits - use a bit less mango if you like, or substitute it for something else - papaya would also work. Another thing to bear in mind is that this amount serves 2 people - so you're looking at half a banana, half a handful of mango and half the juice of an orange per person. 

I also wanted to add something that was a bit of a morning pick me up - so there's a spoonful of matcha. Matcha contains lots of good things like antioxidants and polyphenols that it's thought can lead to health benefits. The Wellness Mama has a good post on the benefits of including matcha in your diet. Matcha does contain caffeine though, but this is ok in moderation on the autoimmune protocol.

Feel free also to add a scoop of protein powder to this if you usually use it. 

This smoothie bowl isn't meant to be a daily thing - but if you fancy a change from bacon and eggs - or you want something sweet it's full of good things that'll set you up for the day. 

Matcha Smoothie Bowl
Serves 2.

1 banana, peeled
1 tbsp coconut yoghurt (or use coconut cream)
handful of fresh spinach leaves
small handful of chopped mango
juice of 1 orange
1 tsp matcha

for the topping: 
handful of frozen berries - I've used raspberries and blueberries
1 tbsp desiccated coconut


In a blender, or using a stick blender, blend up the banana, coconut yoghurt, spinach, mango, orange juice and matcha until smooth. Pour into bowls and top with the berries and coconut. 

This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you decide to click on a link and purchase an item, the price you pay remains the same but I might receive a small commission. This money goes back into the blog so that I can continue to create free recipes for you all. 

I've added this to Phoenix Helix's Recipe Roundtable where lots of AIP recipes are shared.. go check it out for more autoimmune protocol inspiration.