Dairy Free ‘Butter’ Recipe

If you don’t want to read this post and have just come for the recipe – which is fair enough – just scroll down to the bottom.  If you like reading me, then stick around, friend, it’s lovely to have you.

So I’ve pondered whether to be dairy free over the last few years.

I’ve read dairy will make you fat.  I’ve read dairy will boost your weight loss.  I’ve read dairy will protect your bones;  I’ve read dairy will filch calcium from your bones.  I’ve read that dairy is full of hormones that will mess up your system;  I’ve heard dairy will help balance your hormones.

Personally, I love dairy.  I’ve always adored creamy sauces;  melted cheese;  cheese in quiches, sandwiches or even just a block to be nibbled on.  Mozzarella?  Oh my.  Roquefort?  I’m all your’s.  Shall I move on from cheeses?  Okay.  Yoghurt.  Oh Greek yoghurt with honey and nuts;  black cherry yoghurt;  hazelnut yoghurt.  Full fat, low fat, no fat.  Who cares?  Just feed me yoghurt.  And butter.  Oh, butter.  My mother, due to wartime rationing, which had excluded butter and made her childhood a thing of margerine misery, had vowed that from the moment she was able, she would never, ever have margerine in her house again;  and no matter how poor we ever were, she never did.  Butter was queen of our fridge.

Dairy.  I love dairy.

And what, after all, is a baked potato that is not slathered in butter and cheese but a poor imitation of a baked potato?

But somehow over the last few years, I’ve fallen a little out of love with dairy, sufficient to be able to view it more dispassionately.  And actually, for me it’s the ethical problem I have with dairy farming – to me, worse than meat farming – that’s been the decider.  I’ve walked out on dairy, and I’m afraid – although she might not have accepted it yet – it really is over.

So, having experimented with a few recipes, this is my new dairy free butter;  or Bootang, as I affectionately call it, because rather like Wu Tang Clan, it’s a lovely word to say.

As a little aside, it has very few ingredients.  This isn’t because I don’t know my way around a kitchen;  I really do.  However, over the last few years I’ve become so sick of recipe lists that are so long that even I find myself overwhelmed and give up.  I’ve come to think it’s really just showing off;  and although I’m not a Jamie Oliver fan, I do think he’s caught the zeitgeist by bringing out a cookbook where no recipe has more than 5 ingredients.

So here, finally, at last is my unashamedly simple recipe for Bootang.


 

Bootang

Bootang isn’t pretending to be butter;  there can be no real Pretender to the butter crown.  What it’s supposed to do is all the things butter does on, its own merits – bring depth of flavour when frying, add a little creamy saltiness when spreading, bring a little lipsmacking when melted over something.

It is a savoury recipe, although if you wanted, I’m sure you can adapt it for baking.

The nutritional yeast can mean it sticks a little if you fry at too high a heat, but for me it contributes enough to the flavour that it stays in.  Leave out the saffron if you don’t have any, and are feeling a little stoney-broke.  Strangely, TK Maxx has a section of gourmet foods going cheap, and they often have saffron strands.  Just saying.


 

In a microwaveable bowl, combine 1 cup coconut oil and 1/2 cup rapeseed oil.  Microwave on full power for one minute, and then in 30 second bursts until the coconut oil is fully melted.  Combine the oils with a fork, and then add 1/2 tsp salt2 tbsps nutritional yeast1/4 tsp turmeric and a pinch of saffron strands.

Beat lightly with a fork and leave to cool.  When fully cooled, place in the fridge for an hour, then beat again with a fork to ensure elements combined.  Repeat this every half an hour until you have a fully combined mixture with a buttery texture.  You may still be able to see individual nutritional yeast flakes, but I think they’re rather pretty.

If you forget to check and then race to the fridge to find it’s a solid block – don’t worry.  You may still be able to warm it enough by beating it to combine the elements.  If not, leave it out for a little while until just slightly softened and then beat.

If you can be bothered – sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t – whisk the mixture just before it reaches solid.  This adds a delicious lightness.

Store in a lovely glass jar in the fridge and use wherever you would have used salted butter.

Nutprococo II

Due to a cupboard shortage yesterday, I had to improvise when making my Nutprococo and what a lucky cupboard shortage that turned out to be.  Nutprococo is my go-to when I’m craving not just sweet but satisfaction too – chocolaty chewy crunchy and not too sweet. Low carb, low GI/GL and it’s paleo too if you substitute the tsp sweetener for honey;  and it’s tailored to fit into an alkaline diet too.  Whether it’s low calorie or not depends on how much you eat.

And that I am sharing my new & improved Nutprococo recipe with you is proof that I love you very very much indeed.

Warm & Fragrant Moroccan Chicken

This has such a rich, complex mesh of flavours – fragrant, warm, spicy – but all of them delicious.  This is definitely on my All Time Top Ten favourite dishes.    

If you want to Paleo it, then exclude the chickpeas;  if you want to LowCarb it, then exclude the raisins and if you’re feeling particularly determined, the chickpeas too;  if you want to LowCal it, then go easy on the oil and de-skin the chicken thighs.

This does great on my Starch days.


 

In a wide frying pan, using a tablespoon or three of oil (I prefer rapeseed) and a moderate heat, brown 12 chicken thighs (I prefer to keep them on the bone, but de-skin them first);  this should take between 5 and 10 minutes.  Depending on the width of your frying pan, and if you prefer, brown them in batches – just ensure you’ve returned all the chicken to the pan for the next stage.

Add to the pan 1 onion, sliced and 2 garlic cloves, crushed.  On a low heat, stir together for 5 minutes.  Now add 1 tbsp rose harissa (if you can’t get that, then harissa will do);  a good pinch of saffron (if you’re feeling flush);  1 tsp salt;  1 cinammon stick (or 1/2 tsp cinammon if you don’t have any to hand) and a good few grinds of black pepper.  Add to this 600ml chicken stock, bring to the boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes.

Add 75g raisins and 2 x 410g cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed.  Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.  Remove cinammon stick.

Serve alone or with couscous or flatbread.

Nutprococo

This won’t spike your blood sugar and it will fill you up – however, I make no claims that it’s especially low calorie, although the carb count is deliberately kept low.  It’s also relatively high in protein and fibre, so the GI/GL load is low.  It’s packed with goodness and is something you could eat as a meal in itself.  It’d taste rubbish with a salad though.


 

Break 100g 85% dark chocolate into pieces and place into a large mixing bowl.  Microwave in 30 second bursts on full power, gently stirring between bursts, until the chocolate is melted – this took 2 minutes 30 seconds in my microwave.  Add to this 2 tbsp peanut butter powder (such as Tru-n).  Stir to combine.

Break 100g pecans into pieces and stir into the mixture, along with 100g pumpkin seeds100g dessicated coconut, 1 tsp sweetener (I use Whole Earth Sweet Granules with Stevia) and up to 1/3 cup redbush tea. Stir until fully combined.

Eat warm as a “pudding” on its own or with cream or slightly thawed frozen banana;  or store in a tub for later. I don’t know if this would have an expiry date. Mine has never lasted long enough to find out.

This can be spread out into a baking tray, portioned and frozen to make a more portable treat.

 

Parsnip Rice

This Parsnip Rice is delicious in all sorts of contexts – personally I can eat it off the spoon – but it’s especially great for making grain-free sushi:  simply use it in place of rice.


 

In a food processor, pulse 250g raw parsnip, and to it add 1tbsp apple cider vinegar – although cyder vinegar, which is easier to find and cheaper, is fine;   2 tsps miso paste – I like Tesco’s own, but experiment;  1/4 cup pine nuts1/2 tsp salt,  himalayan or otherwise;  and 1tbsp rapeseed oil, or your preferred oil.

Pulse again.  Enjoy.

I adapted this from a recipe by  the very wonderful Russell James, The Raw Chef.

Instant Cherry Pie

I do this with frozen sweet dark cherries – my favourites are Tesco or Sainsbury’s own (I’m afraid not Asda’s morello cherries, they aren’t sweet enough) – and my nuts of choice are almonds.  Experiment with ingredients and amounts – these are simply the amounts I like – you may prefer more nut, less fruit.  If you want to make it extra luxurious, pour some cream over it.  Or creme fraiche, if you’re me.  If you strongly feel the need to sweeten the cherries then do.  Personally, I don’t.


Ingredients

Defrost 200g frozen cherries for 90 seconds in a microwave.  Pulse 75g almonds in a food processor until the consistency of crumble.  Sweeten cherries if required – personally I don’t.  if you’re going to I’d recommend Whole Earth Sweet Granules with Stevia, which for me has a convincing taste without an unpleasant aftertaste or blood sugar spike.  Gently stir cherries and pour over the almonds.  Add cream if you’d like, or creme fraiche if you were me and eating dairy.

Stuffed Chestnut Mushrooms

If you’re feeling flush and can find them, try this with mini Portobello mushrooms.  Chestnut mushrooms are a little cheaper and much easier to find.

All mushrooms release alot of water when cooked, and I find this ruins the stuffing in them;  so the preparatory grilling of the mushrooms is my way around that.  Experiment with the stuffing – the lime juice might not be to everyone’s taste, but I love it.  Use this recipe as a base for what pleases you.  I have these for breakfast – the night before I grill the mushrooms and make the filling.  The next morning I stuff the mushrooms and cook them.  They are surprisingly filling and easily do me until lunch – or even 4 o’clock or so if that’s how it has to be.


 

Destalk 250g chestnut mushrooms, and turn them so the gills are facing down, place them on a rack over a container that will catch the water they release, and grill them for 5 or 10 minutes, depending on your grill.  The tops will begin to wrinkle as the water is released.  Place them gill side down on paper towel until you’re ready to stuff (and be astonished at how much water they’ll still put out!)

Meanwhile, finely chop the stalks, melt a sliver of butter in a small frying pan and fry the stalks until they stop putting out steam, which takes about five minutes on a low-medium heat.  Take the pan off the heat and leave to cool for a few minutes.

Then add the juice of half a lime, a heaped dessertspoon of tahinia heaped dessertspoon of a seed mix (sunflowers, pumpkin seeds, linseeds – whatever you choose;  pine nuts are good if you’re feeling wealthy);  a heaped dessertspoon of nutritional yeast (Sainsbury stocks it, otherwise Holland & Barrett or most health stores, alternatively online);  2 finely chopped sundried tomatoes;  a handful of basil leaves finely chopped.  Combine ingredients, and this makes the stuffing.

If you want to eat immediately, stuff the mushroom cups and cook on 200°C for 15 minutes.  Alternatively, refrigerate the cups (still on paper towel) and stuffing separately until ready to eat.

This recipe is adapted from the delicious Ella Woodward/Mills.