Caramelised Pineapple

by Susan Smith in

As much as I like the sweet-yet-tart, juicy freshness of a properly ripe pineapple, when I’m feeling down in the dumps this Caramelised Pineapple recipe lifts the spirit by transforming the pure and simple into something more like comforting confectionary with a flavour profile redolent of candy-floss. Yum! Very appealing, no matter what your age or state of mind.

Yes, I know that pineapples are full of natural sugar (fructose) and should be eaten in moderation but they’re also a good source of antioxidants, particularly vitamin C, minerals and an enzyme called Bromelain, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer compound. 

In short, this wonderful, sticky, caramelised dessert is not only fast and simple to make, it’s really good for you too. For a zingy, nutritious taste of the tropics, I recommend you tuck in!

Caramelised Pineapple (V) (serves 4)


1 organic, fair-traded pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into thick wedges

20g organic coconut oil (or organic unsalted grass-fed butter)

2-3 tbsp organic maple syrup

To Serve

A sprinkling of organic ground cinnamon

A sprinkling of Sukrin Icing sugar

Fresh mint leaves, torn

Organic creme fraîche - optional

Ingredients primal recipe.jpg


Melt the coconut oil (or butter) with the maple syrup in a large, heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat.

When it is hot, add the pineapple wedges to the pan and with a pair of tongs, turn to coat all the pieces evenly with the syrup.

Continue to fry the pineapple for about 4-5 minutes on each side, frequently turning them over with in the pan until they’re caramelised to a deep golden brown. 

Stack the wedges onto a warm serving platter or individual plates and dust over with a little cinnamon and Sukrin icing. Decorate with torn mint leaves scattered over. 

Serve immediately with creme fraîche, if liked



Whole pineapples should be stored at room temperature, while cut pineapple should be stored in the refrigerator. 


Carbohydrate 35g Protein 1g - per serving

Lucky's Nut Truffles

by Susan Smith in ,

As I write this blog I’m sat at the end of my hallway with my computer balanced on top of a pile of books, hemmed in by displaced furniture and various bits of office paraphernalia (phase 3 of our annual home improvement and re-decoration schedule has been going on for what seems an interminable 4 weeks already) whilst my man stands next to me with his computer resting on a still unwrapped furniture delivery, trying to research plant variants that have sprouted in our garden, which we don’t recognise.

We’re not green-fingered, but we do like to try and make sense of our green space without destroying all life within it. You only have to look up to see that we’re unusual in this respect. It seems that the majority of people are hell-bent on ‘managing’ nature, particularly when it comes down to so-called tree maintenance a.k.a. the ceaseless year-round topping, lopping and felling of trees. Question: When is a tree not a tree? Answer: When some idiot has butchered all its magnificent branches back to stubs and spindly, finger-like projections have grown in place of the beautiful tree-shaped canopy that once was…or cut it down completely to an ugly stump. 

Stupid is as stupid does. I’m convinced the obsessive compulsion to mess with trees is a form of egocentric behaviour that satisfies man's craving for power and control. With big tool in hand - I mean chain-saw - I believe the power rush they get from hacking, sawing and destroying a living entity is an addiction that feeds on itself. Not only do they spoil the look of the trees that still stand, the resulting pitiful, topped and disfigured specimens are left with open wounds that are vulnerable to attack from invading pathogens (fungi and bacteria). Cutting back, thinning out and removing branches destroys a tree’s natural defences - the tree bark that protects the underlying tree tissue. It also threatens its life support system - the loss of leaves that are every tree’s source of food. Exposed to the sun, the cuts are in effect death wounds and the removal of a large percentage of leaf-bearing branches, starvation.

If a starving tree has enough energy, it will send out multiple shoots beneath the cuts to try and replace its leaves as quickly as possible. These new shoots will never be as strong as the original branch they emerge from and can easily snap off even years after they’ve grown back to the size that the tree was before it was attacked. Furthermore, trees can’t heal - they try to defend themselves by closing off their wounds with a tough, woody substance called wound wood. A tree’s ability to seal off its wounds depends on many variables; its age, species, health and vigour, the size and shape of the wound and the time of year. If a tree can’t respond quickly to its injury it falls prey to rot, insect infestation and wood decay, which in turn leads to a loss of vitality and vigour that results in the tree’s inevitable decline, dieback and structural failure.

It is of course a cunning way for tree cutters to future-proof their industry. If you didn’t need the services of a tree surgeon before, you most certainly will when your decayed and dying trees become a health and safety issue for you and your neighbours!

Despite all the ugliness surrounding them, people still have embedded in their sub-conscious that regular tree felling and pruning is both necessary and good. "It lets in more light; it prevents tree root damage to property; it stops the mess trees create (have they not heard of a broom?); wet leaves are dangerous; tall trees block TV/Sky/Broadband reception; it spoils my view; I can’t see the sky (!); I need the space for off-road parking…" are just some of the excuses given. Then there are the unqualified tree surgeons stalking the neighbourhood for mature trees that they can cash-in on, knocking on doors and persuading homeowners that their trees are an imminent threat unless they are cut-back. I give them short thrift, but many folk are convinced.

What these people don’t seem to know or appreciate is:

  • Trees give us oxygen and oxygen helps us breathe - a mature tree in season produces as much oxygen as ten people inhale in a year!
  • Trees give birds and animals shelter so if you cut them down you’re messing up their homes.
  • Trees help clear the air of heat and pollutant gases. 
  • Trees clean the soil - trees filter dangerous chemicals and pollutants out of the soil, which helps assure our food security. 
  • Trees absorb carbon dioxide and help stop global warming.
  • Trees help conserve rain (to prevent drought) and reduce the likelihood of flooding. They fight soil erosion by protecting the soil from surface flooding - binding soil to sloping land with their roots.
  • Trees help control noise pollution.
  • Trees mask ugliness and keep unsightly structures from view.  
  • Trees save energy. In winter they act as wind breaks - breaking the force of cold, blustery winds and reducing the cost of heating your home. In summer, strategically planted trees around your home shield your property from UV rays and reduce the need for air conditioning.
  • Trees give us food - e.g. nuts and fruits.
  • Trees improve human health and well-being. As well as offering cooling shade and protecting us from the sun’s harsh rays, they are aesthetically pleasing to look at. Full of life, strong and magnificent, their beauty is more than skin deep. Exposure to trees and nature calms the mind and uplifts the soul. Being in a natural environment surrounded by trees can lower blood pressure and heart rate. Hospital patients who have a view of trees from their window heal quicker, take less drugs and have fewer post surgical complications than those who don’t. Even babies born to mothers that live near to trees are less likely to be underweight. 
  • Trees increase property values significantly - they not only beautify your property and the surrounding area, there is less fear and violence in well-planted, green spaces than there is in and around homes in barren neighbourhoods. Houses surrounded by trees sell for 15-25 percent higher than houses with no trees. 

Since trees do so much to benefit humans, we think it’s best to leave them alone to do their job. No radical pruning of healthy trees is required or allowed! Our reward is a semi-wild garden that nature has developed into something quite Disney-like. As well as owls, doves, pigeons, innumerable songbirds, hedgehogs, mice, frogs, bats, the occasional pheasant seeking refuge from the local Sunday shoot, and a hungry female sparrowhawk that knows for sure there are rich pickings to be had, we live harmoniously alongside a small army of grey squirrels that are accidentally planting more trees.

Because humans have destroyed so much of the natural landscape, squirrels have been forced to adapt to a more urban environment to survive. Grey squirrels have adapted more successfully than their red squirrel counterparts, but that doesn’t excuse the widespread racism against grey squirrels, which vilifies them with exaggerated claims that they damage/kill trees by bark stripping and excuses the culling of them because, according to urban myth, grey squirrels are deemed pests that destroy property and cause a decline in red squirrel populations. As with the obsession for tree-pruning, it’s all a load of twaddle. Both red and grey squirrels strip tree bark to build their dreys (squirrel nests) and to get to the underlying wood as a source of nutrition when times are hard but, unlike human crime against trees, the damage they cause is minimal and it doesn’t kill the trees. Here are the facts about the demise of red squirrels and, as you might expect, it’s mostly down to humans!

Given that the natural habitat of squirrels is now disappearing at a rate of knots, they make their dreys in any tree-like structure they can find. Four years ago, around the time our next door neighbour cut down an entire copse of eighteen mature trees, one beautiful, dedicated, mamma squirrel sought shelter on our roof under the solar panels, where she built her drey and tried to raise her kittens (baby squirrels). Sadly, it was not meant to be. Somehow, mum sustained a fatal injury to her back and later that day (Friday 13th April 2012) two kittens fell out of their nest and slid straight off the roof - three storeys high - directly onto the solid concrete path outside our back door. What to do? Tiny, helpless and with their eyes still closed, we had no choice but to take on the immediate squirrel care challenge in front of us! 

In the first few weeks of life, baby squirrels don’t do much more than eat, sleep and grow. However, it wasn’t long before our two little boys became gorgeous handfuls of wriggly, noisy, messiness that took over our lives completely. Active during daylight hours, they lived right next to my desk in our home office. Despite the immense parental responsibilities thrust upon us, we soon discovered what a life-affirming joy these intelligent, industrious, characterful and acrobatic critters are. With the help and support of Clarissa Summers we loved and cherished little Kipp and Lucky 24/7, until they were about six months old and ready to be released back into the wild. Our boys may be long gone, but our love and respect for squirrels lives on.

Whether chasing each other from tree branch to tree branch, jumping around in the tops of our trees, sitting perfectly still in the classic squirrel pose with their tail arched over their back, pausing in front of us to munch on a nut or cheekily peering through the window to get our attention, squirrels are without doubt the cutest, most entertaining of all the wildlife species living in our garden, and we happily pay the price to secure their allegiance. Not only do we make executive-style squirrel boxes to keep them warm and safe, we’re also their most reliable food source - namely, an all-year-round supply of best-quality walnuts (their favourite), hazelnuts and, when in-season, acorns too. It’s part of a deliberate plan. The squirrels have learned how to exploit our generosity by approaching us with charming gestures that signal their need for more nuts, and we know that large quantities of these will be stored in the ground. As squirrels don’t always remember where they’ve buried their nuts, there’s always the potential for some of their cache to take root and grow into new trees.

Helping squirrels survive and thrive in captivity very much depends on what you feed them. As well as whole nuts, fruit and veggies, I used to make my two boys nutritious seed and nut balls that helped them grow strong and kept them noisily bouncing around their cage for hours. It seems timely that today’s recipe for Lucky’s Nut Truffles (no prizes for guessing why I’ve called them that) are an energy ball equivalent for humans. These blissful little bombs of goodness mix protein, vitamins, fibre, minerals and essential fats and are a chocolatey, nutty delight to enjoy any time you need an energy boost. Sweetly satisfying and sustaining, Lucky’s Nut Truffles are ideal for a pre or post workout snack, yet still dainty enough for some after dinner indulgence. Incredibly moreish, I suggest you squirrel away a plentiful stash for yourself in the refrigerator, where they could (but I predict won’t!) last a couple of weeks.

Lucky’s Nut Truffles (make about 22)


100g organic raw walnuts

100g organic raw hazelnuts, unskinned

15g raw cacao powder

100g Medjool dates, pitted (about 6)

1 ½ shots (60 ml) freshly brewed espresso-strength coffee

1 tbsp smooth almond butter

3 tbsp coconut butter

2 tsp organic ground cinnamon

2 drops organic liquid stevia

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

50g organic shredded coconut, for coating


Pre-heat the oven to 180℃ / 350℉ / Gas mark 4. 

Put the pitted dates into a bowl and pour over the hot coffee. Set aside.

Place the walnuts and hazelnuts together on a baking tray and toast for 8-9 minutes. 

Place the shredded coconut on a separate baking sheet and toast at the same temperature for 5-6 minutes, or until a deep golden brown. Leave on the tray to cool.

Tip the toasted nuts - it doesn’t matter if they’re still warm - into a food processor bowl and blitz until finely chopped. Don’t allow all the walnuts and hazelnuts to become totally smooth as some slightly larger, crunchy pieces in the mix adds texture. Empty the ground nuts into a bowl and set aside.

Add the dates, coffee, cacao powder, almond and coconut butters, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract and liquid stevia to the now empty processor bowl (no need to wash it first) and process until the mixture clumps together into a sticky, gooey paste. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times to ensure an even mix.

Add the toasted nuts to the paste and pulse everything together until the nuts are evenly distributed.

Using a dessertspoon, scoop the dough into individual bite-sized portions (approximately 17g each) and roll anti-clockwise between the palms of your hands into smooth, round balls.

To finish, roll the truffles in the toasted coconut. 


Carbohydrate 6g Protein 2g - per truffle

Chocolate Orange Brownies

by Susan Smith in

Excuse me for boasting but these are simply the nicest, fudgiest, most intense chocolate-orange flavoured brownies I’ve ever tasted! Dusted with non-caloric icing sugar and studded throughout with crunchy walnuts (decorate with a sprig of holly for good measure), these no-added sugar brownies capture the look and taste of Christmas in every delicious bite-full. 

I think they’re a brilliant, low-carb alternative to Christmas cake. And, they’re definitely not Terry’s, they’re mine!  

Chocolate Orange Brownies (makes 12)


180g unsalted butter, cut into cubes - plus a little extra for greasing

280g good quality dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)

160g walnuts

3 large organic eggs

100g Sukrin Gold

Zest of 2 large organic oranges, finely grated

1 tbsp pure vanilla extract (I used Ndali as it doesn't contain sugar)

180g finely-milled organic tiger nut flour

50-60ml freshly squeezed orange juice

Sukrin icing sugar, for dusting



Pre-heat the oven to 180℃ / 350℉ / Gas mark 4. Grease a deep sided brownie baking tray (mine measured 18cm x 32cm) and line the bottom and sides with non-stick (parchment) paper. I recommend a single piece of paper cut and inch or so bigger than the dimensions of your baking tray and then cut down into each corner (with a pair of scissors) so the paper sits flat in the tin.

Break up the chocolate into small pieces and put into a heatproof bowl with the butter. Set the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and leave to slowly melt, stirring occasionally. Alternatively, you can do this directly in a saucepan over a very low heat, stirring regularly. However, to avoid the risk of overheating the chocolate, take the pan off the heat whilst there are a few small lumps of chocolate still not melted - the residual heat will be enough for it to continue melting without spoiling. Allow to cool.   

Chop the walnuts into rough pieces (I do this by pulsing them a few times in a food processor) then set aside. 

Put the eggs, Sukrin Gold and vanilla essence into a large bowl and whisk together until well blended and really frothy. I use an electric whisk and allow about 8-10 minutes to get enough air into the mixture. N.B. Sukrin Gold doesn’t behave like sugar in this recipe insofar that, unlike some cake mixtures, this one won’t become mousse-like no matter how long you whisk it for!

Stir in the melted chocolate and butter mixture, then fold in the walnuts and tiger nut flour. 

Finally, add enough fresh orange juice to loosen the mixture a little and then pour into the prepared tin. The mixture should be just soft enough (though not runny) to find its own level in the tin but you may need to spread it out evenly with a flat spatula. 

Bake at 180℃ for 25 minutes - test with cocktail stick, it should seem ever so slightly under-cooked i.e. a few moist crumbs should stick to the cocktail stick when you withdraw it. 

Cool in the tray, then cut into 12 even squares.

Lightly dust with Sukrin icing sugar before serving.


Carbohydrate 18g Protein 6g - per brownie

Tiger Nut Horchata

by Susan Smith in

In the heat of summer our thoughts are often wont to turn to ice cream. However, with my new found friend the tiger nut, otherwise known as chufa (pronounced Choo-fah), I’ve discovered a serious contender when making my first batch of ice-cold Tiger Nut Horchata. There can simply be nothing more refreshing, or good for you, than downing a glass of this Spanish-style refreshment on a hot day.

Tiger Nut Horchata a.k.a. tiger nut milk is a delicious creamy, milk-like drink that can be best described as ‘liquid gold’ for the health conscious. Tasting so good and loaded with resistant starch, raw tiger nut milk (and whole organic tiger nuts eaten as a snack) are a veritable powerhouse of nutrients (see my last two blog posts for more information). Suffice to say, tiger nuts are an original Paleo superfood with a ratio of carbohydrates, fats and protein so similar to human breast milk it almost beggars belief. Tiger nuts are, after all, just a brown, wrinkly vegetable tuber!

In spite of its name, tiger nut milk is both nut and dairy free, which is an absolute boon for people who are lactose intolerant or who suffer from a nut allergy. It’s also gluten-free so coeliacs needn’t go without either. You can use Tiger Nut Horchata as a milk replacement in tea, coffee, poured over our Nut & Seed Granola for breakfast, and pretty much for everything that calls for normal milk. Naturally sweet, tiger nut milk is non-allergic, safe for diabetics and, since tiger nuts do not contain inflammatory omega-6 fats, Tiger Nut Horchata makes for a much healthier alternative to dairy milk or other nut milks.

Most recipes I’ve found for Tiger Nut Horchata (Horchata de Chufa) are full of refined sugar (up to 200g of sugar per 250g of tiger nuts) but because tiger nuts are intrinsically sweet-tasting, I think it’s debatable whether tiger nut milk actually needs any added sugar at all. In the end I decided to stay true to Spanish tradition (I confess my tiger nut milk did taste a little ‘thin’ without) but I have so moderated the amount and type of sweetener in my Tiger Nut Horchata, it still faithfully follows Primal and Paleo dietary guidelines. My sweeteners of choice in this unique recipe are small amounts of raw organic honey and liquid stevia, which both make the grade (to see why, please read The Definitive Guide To Sugar on Mark’s Daily Apple). The end result is a slightly thickened, rich, creamy, sweet (but not too sweet), seriously satisfying vegetable milk that’s fit for the gods.

Using heathy sweeteners rather than refined sugar, I can well imagine Tiger Nut Horchata justifiably becoming the world’s next healthy-drink ‘craze’. And, with that thought, I drink to your good health. Salud!

Tiger Nut Horchata (makes 1000ml / 1 litre)


250g organic tiger nuts, covered with cold water by 5cm (2”) and left to soak overnight at room temperature

1000ml (1 litre) fresh, filtered water

40ml raw organic liquid honey (I used mild-tasting Raw Health organic acacia flower honey)

2 drops liquid stevia (*see note below for Vegan Tiger Nut Horchata) 

Organic ground cinnamon

Fresh ice cubes

Whole cinnamon stick(s), if liked



Take your Nut Milk Bag and set it over a deep bowl. 

Drain the tiger nuts, rinse them well under cold water then drain again and tip into the blender container. Add the filtered water, the honey and 2 drops of liquid stevia, then secure the lid and blend on high speed until completely homogenised and smooth - this will take about 3-4 minutes (depending on your blender). After blending, if the mixture seems a little too hot to handle, allow it to cool down before proceeding to the next step.

Carefully pour the blended tiger nut mixture into the nut milk bag, tighten the tie at the top of the bag to hold everything inside, then using your hands firmly squeeze out all the liquid until you’re left with only dry tiger nut pulp.

Cover the bowl containing the tiger nut milk and cool completely, then transfer to a glass bottle or lidded container and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. 

To serve, third-fill a glass with ice (small ice cubes are best), shake or stir your chilled horchata well then pour over the ice and sprinkle a large pinch of organic ground cinnamon on top (**see note below) 

For a final flourish, add a whole cinnamon stick to each glass and use as a swizzle stick to distribute the cinnamon flavour throughout your drink.  


You’ll need a powerful blender and a strong Nut Milk Bag to ensure this simple Tiger Nut Horchata recipe is a breeze for you to make on a regular basis. You can use 2 or 3 layers of wet cheesecloth or cotton muslin to strain your tiger nut milk through but the Nut Milk Bag sold by Love Tree Products is strong, re-usable and easy to clean. it also produces a silky-smooth milk with no bits in it. I personally wouldn't want the mess, the faff or the unpredictability of making a DIY version!

*To make Tiger Nut Horchata vegan, simply leave out the raw honey and double the drops of liquid stevia (to 4) for the same level of sweetness.

It’s recommended you don’t discard the tiger nut pulp, instead dry it out in an oven and use as a substitute for desiccated coconut. Alternatively, convert into nutritious Tiger Nut Energy Balls

** I actually prefer to put my refrigerated horchata into a blender with half dozen ice cubes and whizz together for about 10 seconds to break up the ice for a super-cold drink that doesn’t smack you around the mouth with ice cubes every time you take a sip (it was Sarah that insisted I put a single ice cube in the glass for the photographs!) You can also put the horchata into the freezer for about an hour to turn it into a ‘slushy’. Which suggests to me that I should be creating a tiger-nut-milk-based recipe for ice cream, sooner rather than later!

To calculate the carbohydrate content of this recipe I’ve referenced whole tiger nuts, not tiger nut milk. Although carb grams per serving looks relatively high, there is a significant amount of tiger nut sediment that’s discarded after squeezing out the milk. Also, some of the carbohydrate content in raw tiger nuts is in the form of a unique fibre known as resistant starch, which cannot be absorbed by the body in the process of digestion. This means it passes through your system without deleterious effects on blood sugar or insulin levels. Similarly, you don’t obtain significant calories from resistant starch either.

However, resistant starch is a highly beneficial pre-biotic that feeds the friendly bacteria in your gut, which in turn provides numerous health benefits that can ultimately assist in weight loss. Your healthy gut flora actually need this ‘food’ to survive and thrive, Thus, Tiger Nut Horchata is recommended for even the most carb sensitive individual. Even if you are trying to lose weight, it’s more important to focus on eating real, nutritious food than to worry unduly about counting grams of carbohydrate or calories. The message is: ditch all grains, legumes, refined sugar and unhealthy processed seed oils and fats, and your carbohydrate and calorie intake will happily take care of itself!

Caution: Tiger nuts and tiger nut flour have very high amounts of resistant starch which, if you’re not used to, can cause discomfort and bloating when eaten in large amounts. It is therefore advised that you slowly introduce resistant starch into your diet (less than a teaspoon per day) and gradually increase your tolerance to your particular comfort level, which will hopefully be about 15-30 grams a day. 


Carbohydrate 55g Protein 5g - per 250ml serving of Tiger Nut Horchata (without ice)