Paleo Spice Cookies

Makes 2 ½ dozen

Paleo; no gluten, grain, dairy, cane sugar or soy; with option for peanuts

Dark, moist and chewy. Rich with spicy flavours – and spices are high antioxidant achievers. Low starch and high protein helps regulate blood sugar levels.

Lovely as a snack, for lunch boxes, or as a morsel of dessert on a platter with fresh fruit. Or for sharp colour contrast, sprinkle a platter of cookies with whole freeze-dried raspberries. They and the coconut products listed are all in most supermarkets. Or serve a cookie beside a small parfait glass of Chia Pudding (see my 4 recipe options), or my Vegan Caramel Nut Ice Cream. Read more

Vegan Caramel Nut Ice Cream

Makes about 3 cups

Paleo, vegan; no gluten, dairy, soy or cane sugar

Keep frozen fruit on hand and this can be made in 5 minutes. Cool, creamy, crunchy and naturally sweet. Thanks to the combination of fruit, nuts and legume (peanut) it is also a good source of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. Unlike most frozen banana mixtures, this one stays creamy when frozen and stored, rather than becoming rock-like. Read more

Cumin and Rosemary Crackers

Makes 32
Paleo, vegan; no grain, gluten, dairy, egg, or legumes; low FODMAPS; with nut-free option

Wonderfully crisp, crunchy, stylish and flavourful. Very easy to make, yet deceptively alchemical. Before baking, the mixture looks like porridge, not crackers. The change in structure is thanks to the linseed and chia seeds. Their high soluble fibre content absorbs much of the liquid and acts as a strong binding agent. They are also a good source of minerals and prebiotics which can help gut health. Read more

Salted Caramel Chocolate Nut Tart

Serves 12-16
Vegan, Paleo; no gluten, grain, dairy, soy, legumes, egg, citrus or cane sugar

I have prepared this often and I don’t think anyone has eaten it and not released a pleasurable sigh like a happy balloon.  Originally a recipe from the excellent gourmandeinthekitchen.com, I have made numerous adjustments, especially to simplify instructions, decrease sweeteners, and make the ganache-style topping creamier. The result is rich and satisfying, so serve in small portions. Read more

5 Minute Strawberry Jam

Makes 3/4 cup

Paleo; vegan; no grain, gluten, dairy or cane sugar

Vivid, fruity and fabulous. Just 4 ingredients, 5 minutes prep and about 15 minutes for chilling. Use on toast, or for a snack or dessert dollop on or ripple through coconut yoghurt or my Apricot Whip. Or sandwich between cookies or cake layers. Make while summer berries are at their luscious best. Or experiment with other seasonal fruits. Read more

Chia Dessert or Breakfast Pudding: 4 Fast Fab Flavours

Chocolate; Apricot Coconut; Apple Cinnamon; Vanilla Fig

Serves 2; 5 minutes prep

Raw vegan and Paleo; no gluten, grain, dairy, egg, soy or cane sugar

Yes, it might seem incongruous, but this is thick, creamy and dreamy enough for dessert while having superfood nutrient levels to qualify as breakfast.

Chia looks like tiny dark sesame seeds. It is similar to linseed or flaxseed in its nutrition powerhouse properties such as soluble fibre, protein, Omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron. It has more antioxidants – including flavonoids, quercetin and phenolics – than many berries and other fruits. For digestibility, chia does not need to be ground or cooked like linseed does. Soaking though will maximise its high soluble fibre content, which is excellent for weight and blood sugar management, liver and bowel function. Read more

Quinoa ‘Rice’ Pudding

Serves 2

Vegan; no gluten, dairy, egg, cane sugar; with options for soy

My daughter grew up as I did with a fondness for homemade rice pudding. More recently, my baby granddaughter tried this dessert quinoa-style and gave her approval. Versions of rice pudding are found in most cuisines. Possibly first developing in Persia, it was mentioned by the Romans, Confucius, Shakespeare and the Buddhist sutras. Sometimes different grains were used but the principle was the same.

This version is just as sweet and delicious as one using white rice and highly refined sugar. Quinoa is high in protein and along with dried fruit and cinnamon creates a relationship between parts that helps regulate blood sugar. Any left-overs make a great breakfast served hot or cold. Read more

Chocolate Nut Fudge

About 50 tiny pieces

Vegan; no gluten, dairy, soy, cane sugar – or cooking required

Really, really good. The results are gourmet while the skill level required is primary school. Two colleagues – Linda Outhwaite and Jamie Smith – inspired me with their versions of this super simple and luscious confection. The high cocoa density adds a caffeinated thrill – as well as ample magnesium, calcium, iron and antioxidants. Among the latter are phenols linked with lowering high blood pressure. Some studies show this effect is negated if the chocolate includes milk, which seems to impede absorption. One type of phenol is flavonoids including (yes, another sub-category) epicatechins. These score impressively on the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) score. This is used to assess how much power an antioxidant has for preventing destruction from free radicals. In excess free radicals are involved with premature ageing and disease. Read more