Baked Almond Crusted Prawns

Inspired by local Essex boy, Jamie Oliver. He has some good ideas, particularly if you like rustic food and can’t be bothered with fussing over presentation. Rustic food needs to be phographed well but as always, I can’t be bothered. If you try this recipe out, do send in some pictures inshaaAllaah.

Ingredients
Ground almonds/almond flour
Salt
Crushed red chillies
Roasted garlic and herb mix seasoning
Chopped flat parsley (optional)
Pinch of cayenne (optional)
Pinch of Paprika
Lemon zest
Prawns
Egg

Method
In a small bowl mix all the ingredients together but NOT the prawns and egg. In another small bowl, lightly whisk the egg. Dip the prawns into the egg and then place them into the ground almond mix. Remember to use one egg for adding the prawns to the eggs and then putting the eggy prawns into the ground almond mix. Then use the other hand to cover the eggy prawns with the dry mix. Use separate hands to avoid eggy-almond hands.

Place them on a non-stick tray and very lightly spray this with oil. Pop the prawns in the oven for approximately 12-15 minutes mak on gas mark 4 and you should turn them half way through to give them a nice even ‘tan’.

Serve with veg and a nice wedge of lemon. Squeezing fresh lemon juice on top of these prawns is just delicious!

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Washed prawns, whisked egg and ground almond mix… and a bit of the oven tray

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Close up of ground almond mix

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Ready to go in the oven

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Just out the oven with a tan

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Dished up ready to eat! Remember to add loads of lemon – yum!

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Benefits of Grapes

Grapes are brilliant and I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t like them! Admittedly I don’t think I like them in their dried form (raisins and sultanas) but I’m working on it… eventually… inshaaAllaah… baby steps…

I’m quite fussy when it comes to grapes. I don’t mind seeds but I have to say crunchy, crispy grapes are the best. I know I like crunchy and crispy foods but honestly, squidgy, over-ripe grapes aren’t the same. Unless they’re Italian grapes. Italian grapes are quite large and tend to come in bigger bunches, sadly supermarkets don’t really stock them as far as I’ve seen. They’re also sweeter and juicier.

I’ve had grapes for breakfast on numerous occasions. The best way to have them, I think is sliced in half (green and red/black grapes) with a drizzle of honey and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. And you can top it with a tiny amount of fresh corriander or parsley if you want. Of course you can just have it as a snack too. I sometimes add watermelon, galia melon, yellow melon or honey dew melon to the mix if I have some handy.

Grapes are also mentioned in the Qur’aan, Allaah says:

وَجَعَلۡنَا فِيهَا جَنَّـٰتٍ۬ مِّن نَّخِيلٍ۬ وَأَعۡنَـٰبٍ۬ وَفَجَّرۡنَا فِيہَا مِنَ ٱلۡعُيُونِ

And We have made therein gardens of date-palms and grapes, and We have caused springs of water to gush forth therein. (Ya-Sin 36:34)

Ibn al-Qayyim writes that the Prophet salallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam was reported to have liked eating grapes and watermelon. Allaah knows best if he salallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam them together but that’s not the reason why I eat grapes and melons together, in fact I didn’t even know of this quote until very recently and I’ve eaten this combo since about 2010 (strangely specific…)

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A few more detailed health benefits of grapes:

  • Migraine. Home remedy for migraine is ripe grape juice. Should be taken pure (no additional water) early in the morning. (That’s the strangest thing, I’m pretty sure I’ve craved grapes several times when I’ve had a migraine in the past but I neever knew this!)
  • Blood cholesterol. Pterostilbene , a compound present in grapes helps lower the cholesterol level. Saponins in grape skin prevents the absorption of cholesterol by binding with it.
  • Alzheimer’s disease. Resveratrol in grapes reduces the levels of amyloidal-beta peptides in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Grapes can enhance brain health and delay the onset of neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Kidney disorders. Grapes reduce the acidity of the uric acid and help eliminate the acid from the system thus reducing the pressure of the kidneys.
  • Heart disease. Grapes increase the nitric oxide levels in the blood which prevents blood clots thus reducing heart attack incidents. Antioxidants in grapes prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which blocks the blood vessels.
  • Indigestion. Grapes prevent dyspepsia. They cure indigestion and irritation of the stomach.
  • Anticancer properties. Resveratrol acts as anti-inflammatory. Effective in breast and colorectal cancers. Anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins have properties of anti-proliferate which can inhibit the growth of cancer causing agents.
  • Prevents cataract. Flavonoids in grapes reduce the damage caused by free radicals such as cataract apart from age related problems, heart disease and cancer.
  • Macular degeneration is age related loss of vision. Studies suggest 3 servings of grapes daily to lower the risk of macular degeneration by over 36%.
  • Asthma. Due to the high assimilatory power of grapes, moisture present in lungs increases. Grapes have therapeutic value for asthma.
  • Breast cancer. In a recent study, purple colored Concord grape juice helps prevent breast cancer. Experiment was conducted on laboratory rats. There was a significant reduction in breast tumor mass after they were fed the grape juice on the experimental basis.
  • Fatigue. It’s not the dark grape juice that gives an iron boost it’s the light and white grape juice that prevents fatigue because it replenishes the iron content in the body. So go for the light and white grape juice for boost not the dark one.
  • Antibacterial activity. Red grapes contain antibacterial and antiviral properties to protect you from infections. Its antiviral property is effective against poliovirus and herpes simplex virus.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

I actually don’t like chocolate cake but because it was paleo and looked good I figured I may as well try it out and perhaps it’ll get me off my chocolate waffle addiction (yeah right).

Making this cake, with thanks to Rebecca over at the Barefoot Coconut for the recipe, was pretty fun and very different to what I normally do. I’ve never had to whisk just egg whites and it felt strange making a cake for myself.

My thoughts on this cake: At first it did have a bitter smell and taste to it, I thought I baked it for too long as it ended up needing 28 minutes. I initially had it warm but later in the evening I had another slice (they were tiny, honest!) and it tasted much better. It’s a really rich cake so you can’t have a lot in one go and if it’s just for one person, I hear it freezes well. I’ve frozen mine, not defrosted a slice yet but when I do I’ll edit this post to give you my verdict then. Oh, I forgot to mention, it’s more like a brownie than a cake but that’s a good thing if you like them. I think in total I got about 14 slices out of a 9″ round cake. Won’t be baking this for a while I think!

Now you have the recipe, here’s how I did it (kind of… didn’t show you everything, just the fun bits)

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Whisk the egg whites into fluffy clouds

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Turned upside down to make sure they’re stiff enough. I’m not nasty enough to hover it over my head (or brave enough!)

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Melted butter and chocolate is so glossy and nice. Added vanilla, honey and something else to this… forgot what so check the recipe! Added raw honey btw, almost got through the whole bottle!

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Seriously, that’s one way to get through honey you’re not keen on but know it’s good for you. For me, it’s an acquired taste but living according to the Sunnah is very important… even if it does come in the form of a chocolate cake

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Fold the glossy melted choc mix in with the fluffy cloud-like egg whites. It does look a little gross at first I’ll admit and it takes a lot of folding to make sure you mix it properly. Every time I thought I was done I found another large unmixed bit of melted choc! Got there eventually… I think

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Egg whites and melted choc folded together. Looks much more appealing now!

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Put it into a 9″ baking tin. I use reusable greaseproof sheets. Unlike my normal GLUTEN cakes this fell out the tin nicely and wasn’t stuck to the sheets. Much easier when it came to cleaning up. Awesome.

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Cake baked. It did smell a bit strange and bitter to me. The size was overwhelming for someone who doesn’t actually like chocolate cake *gulp*

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Out the tin – nice smoothish edges and sides

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Chillaxing before being attacked….

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…Attacked!

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Et voila! Oh it looks so good maashaaAllaah! Topped with raw honey, raw cream and served with yummy fruits. Makes it feel oh so much healthier and good for you!

Benefits of Strawberries

Strawberries! Such a beautiful red, sweet tasting jewel! A fruit which is loved by almost everyone and it’s used in so many desserts, shakes and smoothies and makes a fantastic snack.

As a child, I hated strawberries yet I loved strawberry Ribena… thankfully my opinions of both have been completely reversed! Even as an adult, strawberries were really a fruit I would buy or eat even if we had some at home. Whenever I ate strawberries they tasted a bit sour, tangy and never juicy of sweet. I’ve come to the conclusion that since turning gluten-free and paleo that perhaps my taste buds have been cleansed and my ability to taste and appreciate food has improved. That or strawberries until that point just didn’t taste as nice? Either way, I’m glad I’ve developed a love for strawberries. I love topping my chocolate waffles with them (which I’ve not had in ages by the way, go me! Although it’s mostly because I only have one tin of coconut milk left and don’t want to waste it as I can’t be bothered to order more. Plus I order it from Abel & Cole and that and coconut oil are the only things I buy from there and I don’t use either too often).

Anyway, I have strawberries almost every day. I love slicing them up with bananas, drizzling them in honey and topping them with mixed seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dark chocolate chips and ground almonds. It’s such a simple yet delicious snack. Occassionally, I vary the fruits I use and can include blueberries and grapes but strawberries and bananas are the perfect combination. I have bananas every single day in this way… my day doesn’t feel right anymore unless I’ve eaten a banana… I’m not sure if that’s a good thing though! This snack is uber healthy and it beats regular strawberries and cream!

These ‘postcards’ are from Oasis Advanced Wellness, I follow them on Facebook (I’m not encouraging people to sign up or join as it can be a big waste of time but I use it to save time by having interest lists instead of being a fb junkie and watching my newsfeed all day. I basically have beneficial posts all in one place and it takes minutes to whizz through it all. Kinda like google reader and others like it but I choose to follow specific pages where I can get good info from). OAW are pretty cool and I’ve saved all their ‘postcards’ which I intend to share with you over time so keep our eyes peeled.

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Random and fun facts about strawberries:

  • Strawberries also prevent constipation and even colon cancer because they wash away harmful toxins in our intestines.
  • Strawberry consumption also increases memory.
  • Strawberry has antioxidants that protect our immune system. So try a strawberry dipped in melted chocolate for a double boost of disease-fighting antioxidants.
  • These red berries also keep our eyes bright. Studies on eyesight reveals that eating at least 5 strawberries a day could keep your vision clear.
  • Pregnant women may also get a good amount of folic acid from eating strawberries.
  • There are about 200 seeds in every strawberry
  • A 100g serving of strawberries will serve you for just 50 calories – that’s a whooping 0g of fat – Another punnet anyone?
  • Strawberries can help whiten your teeth. The acids in the fruit help to remove stains.
  • Strawberries are full of a special substance called ellagic acid which can help fight cancers.
  • They are also full of flavonoids, which form part of the strawberry’s red colour. They are known to help reduce cholesterol from clogging up the heart’s arteries.
  • Eight strawberries have more vitamin C than an orange, that’s 140% of our daily recommended amount
  • Strawberries can also be white or yellow and some can even taste like pineapples
  • The strawberry plant, along with its good mate the raspberry plant, are members of the rose family.