Paleo chocolate cake with creamy avocado chocolate frosting

Paleo chocolate cake with creamy avocado chocolate frosting
Paleo chocolate cake with creamy avocado chocolate frosting

I have been baking chocolate cakes two weekends in a row. Last weekend was a photo assignment for FishHead Magazine with Laura Vincent‘s addictive chocolate cake with vanilla milk chocolate ganache. I tried to paleo-lize her recipe as much as I could and it turned out really well, taste-wise. I was supposed to make another batch using the same recipe but I came across this Naked Chocolate Cake recipe by Teresa Cutter of thehealthychef.com. All the ingredients are Paleo-friendly and her chocolate cream frosting using avocado sounds interesting, so I gave it a go.

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Date cake with ginger wine and coconut sauce

Date cake with ginger wine and coconut sauce

Every time I browse through Donna Hay magazines, I get awestruck. The photos are fantastic, the slow-animation effects on their iPad app are out of-this-world amazing. But what about the recipes, are they as good as they appear to be? Actually, I haven’t tried one until now.

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JD’s lemon and coconut cake

Lemon and coconut cake
Lemon and coconut cake

After a fervent search for a lemon and coconut cake recipe, I finally settled for Katie Quinn Davies’ http://www.whatkatieate.com/recipes/gluten-free-lemon-and-coconut-cake. Her cake looked SO WILD I just had to shoot something like it. So I handed over the recipe to my master baker and he took out the food processor which started whirling soon enough. He was like a boy with a new toy.

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JD’s bread pudding II

Bread pudding with raisins
Bread pudding with raisins

Making bread pudding is a great way to recycle unwanted or leftover bread that would otherwise be thrown away. I always keep stale bread in the freezer. JD used them all up when he made bread pudding the first time. I had one shot of what was left of the pudding. It went fast and furious, from the oven to our stomachs. Then he did it again! This time I had the chance to play with my camera and props before we consumed it.

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Easy herbed booze bread

Easy orange ginger cider bread with kawakawa and basil
Easy orange ginger cider bread with kawakawa and basil

Kawakawa bread! It’s a long time coming. This super plant kawakawa has made several appearances on this blog. The peppermint after-taste makes this booze bread truly remarkable. JD scored high with this one!

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Easy Brazilian cheese bread (Pao de Queijo)

Easy Brazilian cheese bread (Pao de Queijo)

JD’s version of another wonderful easy recipe from a rock star of a food photographer, my idol Katie Quinn Davies of What Katie Ate.  The main and most important ingredient is tapioca starch which you can easily find in Asian stores. If you want to make gluten-free cheese bread, you’d love Katie’s Pao de queijo recipe!

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Easy berry cider bread

Easy berry cider bread
Easy berry cider bread with black olives, sun-dried tomatoes and piquanté peppers

JD’s special gift to me this Christmas is this: For the month of January, he will put on his master baker hat and he will bake anything I wish for. I just have to give him the recipe and he will do the rest. Fair enough. I got me a pastry chef for 31 days!

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Simple joy #11 JD baked this! Easy savoury beer bread

Easy savoury beer bread
Easy savoury beer bread

I have a funny story to tell. I found an old parchment of America’s Declaration of Independence from a Goodwill store in Portland, Oregon. I thought it would be a good table prop so I asked my loving partner-in-crime JD to bring it to Wellington since I couldn’t fit it in my luggage at that time. This weekend I found a reason to finally use it. JD, who is an American, baked bread for the first time in his entire life! Alas, he is free to make his own bread from this day forward!

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Sweet Potato and Fennel Gratin

Sweet potato and fennel gratin

The Food Network Channel can be addictive. It’s a good thing I don’t have a television set! I never knew who Ina Garten was until I saw The Barefoot Contessa on TV while housesitting for friends in Portland, Oregon.

Ina’s potato-fennel gratin stuck to mind because it was so easy to make. You can prepare it ahead of time, keep it in the fridge then bake it when you’re ready. Which was exactly what I did on several occasions. I adapted her recipe and used what was available: parsnip instead of fennel and for this recipe, sweet potato instead of plain boring potato. The result is that extra sweetness that makes this an ideal companion to the roast turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. Not that we celebrate Thanksgiving here in Kiwiland. But there is a lot to be thankful for. Every day that we are alive should be Thanksgiving Day.

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