Friday, 22 July 2016

Papaya and Strawberry Smoothie

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There seem to be endless combinations of foods you can put in a smoothie. And although I usually like to add greens to mine, sometimes you just want something fruity - colourful, but not too sweet. Something that's still nutritious and you know it's doing your body some good.

And at those times, you need a smoothie like this. 

vitamin c rich papaya and strawberry smoothie - aip vegan vegetarian dairy free

Since we've been sharing a fruity smoothie every day, we've noticed a change in our complexion (kind of rosier, healthier) and we seem to have escaped the coughs and colds that have been going around the neighbourhood. Smoothies are a great way to take in a load of vitamin C, which powers our white blood cells, which in turn gobble up the invaders and bacteria that just aren't welcome in our bodies. Vitamin C is important. And most of us won't need it in supplement form. A kiwi fruit has more than the vitamin C you need in one day. 

Tell me you've seen that cool video of a white blood cell literally chasing down and then gobbling up a bacteria. 


Here it is. This is totally going on all the time. Amazing. 

Papaya is another of those vitamin C superfoods - 100g of this peachy-coloured fruit has just over 100% of the vitamin C you need in a day. And, blitzed into a drink with coconut milk and strawberries it makes a pretty delicious drink actually, too. 

Before you get to the recipe though, a note: if you're sensitive to sugar it might be wise to restrict your intake of very fruity smoothies - you'll easily drink up a lot more sugar in the fruit than you would normally eat in one go. That's why I like to usually add leafy greens (kale, spinach, coriander leaf or parsley) to mine, to give it a boost of greens. I've specified that this recipe serves 2-3 - I'll drink fruity smoothies like this in small glasses, rather than in those huge handled glass jars, which I reserve for my less sugary green smoothies. 

As a treat though, it's beautiful - velvety smooth and not too sweet. 

You might even want to make one for a refreshing summer pud. You could also freeze it in ice pop moulds for fruity lollies in the summer. 

Papaya and Strawberry Smoothie
Serves 2-3
3 thick slices of papaya (I peel a fresh papaya, discard the seeds, slice and store in a bag in the freezer)
1 frozen banana
200ml full-fat coconut milk, or your preferred choice of milk
5 medium strawberries, the tops taken off

Place all the ingredients in a blender and whizz until smooth. 
Drink and enjoy!

Looking for more AIP recipes? Check out my ebook SPICE, which has over 90 recipes suitable for the elimination stages of the autoimmune protocol, as well as lots of information on how to use different herbs and spices in the kitchen. 

Made this recipe? Let me know on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Chicken, Bacon and Basil Power Salad

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I might be old-fashioned, but the sight of a plate practically bending under the weight of loads of colourful veggies and beautiful tender chicken always gets me. 

All that goodness...

chicken bacon basil salad - aip pegan lchf lowcarb paleo dairyfree nutfree

And it's so tasty. I've got soft lettuce; crunchy, peppery radishes; tender chicken and sweet, earthy black olives. Add some crispy smoked bacon and a spoonful or two of that creamy basil dressing and dinner (or lunch, or even breakfast if you like) is sorted. 

It's perfect for a packed lunch - my husband takes a chopped up version of this in a jar to work. Or just enjoy it leisurely, at home, whenever you like. 

But what makes this salad such a power salad chock full of nutrients? 

chicken bacon basil salad - aip pegan lchf lowcarb paleo dairyfree nutfree

The creamy part of the dressing comes from half an avocado - so you're getting some healthy fats, vitamin C and vitamin E. Then extra vitamin C from the lemon juice and the veggies. Basil leaves might usually just be thought of as something to decorate the plate with, but by blending them up in this dressing you get to eat more of them without noticing. And they're actually good for you. Basil's a great source of vitamin K (that helps in healthy blood clotting), manganese and vitamin A. 

This is one healthy salad. 

Chicken, Bacon and Basil Power Salad
Serves 2
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, thoroughly cooked and then cooled (or use a couple of handfuls of leftover cooked roasted chicken from the fridge, if you have some handy) 
4 rashers of smoked, streaky bacon
1 small round lettuce
6 radishes
8-10 black olives, pitted
one 30g bunch of basil leaves
50ml extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
pinch of salt
half a medium-sized ripe avocado, skin and stone removed

Chop the cooked chicken, or slice it, as in the photos - and put to one side. Grill the bacon rashers until golden and crisp (you'll have to turn them over half way through). Leave it to cool slightly. 

Meanwhile, wash and shred the lettuce with a sharp knife and then arrange it on two serving plates. Place a cooled cooked chicken breast in the centre of each plate. Quickly trim and chop the radishes and scatter on the olives. Chop or break up the crispy bacon and scatter it over the plate. 

To make the dressing, pick off a few of the smallest basil leaves from the bunch and reserve for the topping. Put the rest in a powerful blender (I use a Nutri Ninja with IQ for this) along with the extra virgin olive oil, the lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Add the flesh from half an avocado and blend until smooth, for about 7-10 seconds. 

Using a tablespoon, drizzle the dressing over the chicken. Season the salad with a pinch of salt if needed and then serve, scattering over the smaller basil leaves reserved earlier. 

Do you love the fresh, summery fragrance of basil? Do you want to know which herbs and spices you can use on the autoimmune protocol? I've written a 90+ recipe ebook called SPICE that deals with AIP compliant herbs and spices and suggests new ways you can perk up your cooking. Download it now, on your Kindle device or Kindle app.

Have you made this recipe? Let me know on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook

Monday, 18 July 2016

AIP Chinese Style Crispy Chicken with Sweet and Sour Vegetables

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Sweet and Sour Chicken, Chinese Style. 

I ate that stuff for years - tender chicken breast coated in a puffy, crisp batter with a little polystyrene cup of bright orange sweet and sour sauce. Yeah, it was a bit gloopy - and disconcertingly almost kind of neon in colour - but I loved it. I'd power walk from my office at 5.30pm on a Friday to the Chinese takeaway that was on the way home and order a bagful of those crispy balls (10 of them), the sauce and a mahoosive tub of egg fried rice. I'd plonk down on the sofa, all by myself, settle in for a night of Friends and Frasier on the TV and eat the lot. 

But it's not the most healthy, really, is it? I never managed to figure out what was in the sauce, and when I made sweet and sour sauce myself once it tasted nothing like the takeaway stuff. The batter was crisp and golden on the outside, but always had this gooey inside that stuck to the chicken in sticky clumps. And the chicken was often chewy and overcooked. 

But this. This is healthy. 

AIP paleo crispy chinese style chicken with sweet and sour sauce and vegetables

In fact, it's totally AIP compliant. 

I've become OBSESSED with creating AIP compliant and paleo dishes that taste as close as possible to all the takeaway treats I've eaten over the years (and there were a lot). All the ones I've made so far are in my ebook SPICE

I've tried a lot of sweet and sour sauce recipes, but most of them contain tomatoes, which gives it the reddish/orange colour. Many of them also have quite a lot of sugar - far more than the 2 tablespoons of honey in this one. This sauce is made with just a few ingredients, and it tastes so much like the real thing - better, in fact - that it will totally curb a Chinese takeaway craving, if when you get one. 

AIP paleo crispy chinese style chicken with sweet and sour sauce and vegetables

The chicken is coated in tapioca flour, so it retains a light crispness. And I think the sauce and veggies have just the right amount of sweet-sour balance, but feel free to tweak the vinegar/honey ratio if you need to. 

I think this is best served as it is - with no rice, just the chicken and veggies on a plate together. 


AIP Crispy Chicken with Sweet and Sour Vegetables
Serves 2
6 heaped tablespoons tapioca flour + 1 tsp for later
good pinch of salt
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 tsp cooking fat (I use mild, unflavoured coconut oil)
150ml chicken stock or broth
1 large carrot, peeled and trimmed and then cut into matchsticks
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 thick slice of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons runny honey
2 tablespoons good quality apple cider vinegar (I use this one)
2 Pak Choi cabbages, washed, trimmed and sliced
2 spring (green) onions, washed, trimmed and chopped
pinch of salt

First, mix together the 6 heaped tablespoons of tapioca flour and salt in a bowl and put to one side. 

Chop the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and gently drop them into the bowl with the tapioca flour, turning them so they are well coated. Melt the cooking fat in a large frying pan and fry the coated chicken for 4-5 minutes, turning as needed, until sizzling and golden and just cooked through. Cook the chicken in batches - if you try and try too many at once they might just turn soggy in the steam. Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/200ºC/400ºF and transfer each batch of cooked chicken pieces to an ovenproof dish once cooked to keep warm in the oven. It will only be a few minutes, which is the time it takes to make the sauce, so you need to make sure the chicken is cooked now.

While the chicken pieces are keeping warm in the oven, make the sauce. 

Pour the chicken broth or stock into a saucepan (you could rinse out the pan you cooked the chicken in if you like, and use it for the sauce, to save on washing up). Add the carrot sticks, the chopped garlic clove, ginger, honey and apple cider vinegar. Bring to a low simmer and stir occasionally. The sauce will gradually reduce (about 3-4 minutes) and become slightly thicker, although keep your eye on it so it doesn't burn. Once the carrot sticks are just tender - I like them still a bit crisp - throw in the Pak Choi and the chopped spring onions and stir, until the cabbage has wilted. Quickly stir in the teaspoon of tapioca flour to thicken the sauce and season with a pinch of salt if you think it needs it. 

Serve the vegetables and sauce on a plate and arrange the crisp chicken pieces on top. 

Are you looking for more AIP and paleo recipes that will help curb your cravings for takeouts? Want to know how to perk up your cooking with autoimmune protocol-compliant herbs and spices? Check out my ebook SPICE, available on Amazon Kindle devices and apps now. 

This recipe has been posted in Phoenix Helix's AIP Recipe Roundtable