Chinese cabbage (or Napa cabbage) is oblong in shape with crisp stems and frilly greenish-yellow leaves. (Napa is a Chinese word that translates roughly as 'leaf'). This cabbage variety is sweet and softer than the regular green cabbage and makes delicious summer salads. It also contains less water than regular cabbage, making it perfect to use in salads to prevent the dressing from being watered down.
Chives are a herb but are also a close relative to garlic, shallots, leeks and spring onions. Chives have a delicate garlicky, onion-like aroma and can be used in place of spring onions in recipes for a more gentle flavour.
Chuck steak is an economical beef cut. It's a tougher cut of beef that works well for slow-cooked and baking meals, it has a lovely rich flavour. Beef is an excellent source of protein. Our body needs protein to rebuild damaged tissues. Chuck steak is rich in minerals - calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, niacin and vitamin D.
I am sure you will notice as you read my recipes that cinnamon appears quite frequently. It lends itself to savoury and sweet dishes. I have used ground cinnamon in my recipes if not stated otherwise. The best cinnamon to use is Ceylon (Verum). It has huge health benefits in regulating blood sugar levels. Cinnamon has antifungal properties and candida (yeast overgrowth) cannot live in a cinnamon environment. Added to food it inhibits bacterial growth, making it a natural food preservative and these are just a few of the benefits.
Cloves are one of the highly prized spices, recognised all over the world for their medicinal and culinary qualities. Cloves have a strong distinctive sweet flavour, use the whole bud or ground and just a little goes a long way. The spice contains healthy benefiting essential oils and a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, selenium and magnesium. Cloves also contain a good amount of vitamins A, K, B6, B-1, C and riboflavin. Purchase organic (I use the Simply Organic brand).
In the majority of my recipes where I use dried coconut, I have used finely-shredded desiccated coconut (unless I have stated otherwise). Make sure you are purchasing unsweetened and organic - many regular brands contain preservatives (sulphur dioxide).
An excellent soy free alternative to soy sauce and tamari. It comes from the sap of the coconut tree and has a sweeter flavour than soy sauce and is not as salty. Coconut aminos can be purchased from health food stores or online. This is one of my favourite ingredients.
Coconut butter is a healthy and nutritious spread made with 100% coconut. Add to smoothies or just eat out of the jar when a sweet treat is needed. It is so easy to make yourself, saving you lots of money, see recipe on page 304 of The JOYful Table cookbook. It can be warmed and mixed into slices and bars to give a rich coconut flavour. An added benefit is that it does not melt as easy as coconut oil and stays firmer in the recipe.
I use this extensively throughout my recipes; from soups to dinners to desserts and cakes. I think it is the best dairy-free alternative. It gives so much flavour and creaminess to a wide variety of dishes. When purchasing in the can read your labels, even some organic brands contain gums and thickeners, choose full-fat not low-fat versions. I use Honest To Goodness organic cream 400ml and Ayam which isn't organic but has no additives or thickeners and is much creamier and thicker than other brands (that's why I love it), it comes in 400ml, 270ml and 140ml size cans.
Use organic coconut flakes, which does not contain preservatives (sulphur).
Coconut flour is made by drying and grinding the meat of a coconut to a fine texture. Coconut flour is a low-carb flour that's an excellent source of dietary fibre and protein. It's a good grain-free and nut-free alternative but does require a larger amount of liquid than normal when used for baked goods. When replacing in a recipe that calls for wheat flour (or almond meal), use this guide; 1 cup of regular flour = 1/3 cup coconut flour, add an extra egg and an extra 1/3 cup of liquid. It can be used in soups, gravies and stews as a thickener and adds a boost of nutrition. Coconut flour may promote stable blood sugar levels and a healthy heart. In addition, it may have antibacterial properties and aid digestion and weight loss. There are now quite a few brands of coconut flour available and they all seem to perform differently depending on how coarse the texture is. In my recipes, I used Organic Coconut Flour from 'Let's Do Organic' and 'Red Tractor Foods' I like their finer texture.
I use this extensively throughout my recipes; from soups to dinners to desserts and cakes. I think it is the best dairy-free alternative. It gives so much flavour and creaminess to a wide variety of dishes. See coconut milk recipe on page 299 of The JOYful Table cookbook. If purchasing in the can read your labels, even some organic brands contain gums and thickeners, choose full-fat not low-fat versions. I use Honest To Goodness organic cream 400ml and Ayam which isn't organic but has no additives or thickeners and is much creamier and thicker than other brands (that's why I love it), it comes in 400ml, 270ml and 140ml size cans.
Coconut oil is one of the most nutritious fats to cook and bake with. Use organic extra-virgin coconut oil which is unrefined and unbleached from non GMO coconuts. Coconut oil has a high smoking point and it is slow to oxidize due to its high saturated fat content, thus, resistant to going rancid. Some studies suggest coconut oil helps with digestion, including irritable bowel, tummy bugs, candida and parasites due to this oil containing short term medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), which is a healthy form of saturated fat.
Coconut sugar is produced from the sap of the flower bud of the coconut palm tree and is a natural food sweetener. I use it when a dry sweetener is required. It has the benefit of a low glycemic index (low GI 35 compared to sugar at 68) and nutritional content. Use in baked goods as an occasional treat but don't overindulge. For a finer texture, add your coconut sugar to the small bowl of a food processor or blender and blend for 8 seconds or until it reaches a fine powder. The colour will lighten once ground.
100% pure organic coconut syrup is another liquid natural food sweetener that can be used in paleo recipes as an alternative to raw honey or 100% maple syrup. Coconut syrup is extracted from the sap of the coconut blossom. It has a sweet caramel or toffee flavour and blends well into homemade chocolate and delicious on pancakes. It has two reasons it stands out, its low glycemic index (low GI 35 compared to sugar at 68) and the nutrient content (vitamin B complex, vitamin C, amino acids and other important minerals). Use as a treat just like other natural food sweeteners and don't over indulge.
Coconut Vinegar is make from raw coconut tree sap. It's perfect for adding to salad dressing, it's a little sweeter than Apple Cider Vinegar. My favourite brand is 'Coconut Secret', which is organic, gluten-free and non-GMO. Coconut vinegar is unheated and is a live product which is naturally aged, full of prebiotics that promotes digestive health. Purchase from health food stores or online.
This is the liquid found inside young coconuts. It is packed with electrolytes, excellent for after exercise. Coconut water contains potassium, calcium and magnesium and is also a natural hydrator. I use it in my smoothies and have added it to a few of my recipes. You can find it in health food stores and supermarkets. Ensure you read the label carefully as some contain preservatives and/or sugar and may not be 100% coconut water.
You will be able to find a recipe for cultured coconut yoghurt online using grass fed gelatin or tapioca starch for thickening. If purchasing a commercial yoghurt, read labels as many use vegetable gums and additives. Coconut yoghurt can be made in a yoghurt maker or a Thermomix machine. If you can tolerate some dairy natural organic Greek yoghurt can be used in it's place.
Coriander is also know as cilantro. The fresh chopped green leaves in large amounts are a good source of vitamin C. The fresh leaves are an ingredient in many Indian, Thai, and Mexican dishes. They are usually tossed through just before serving as the heat can diminish the flavour. The dried fruits are known as coriander seeds, the seeds have a lemony citrus flavour when crushed. The word coriander in food preparation may only be referring to the ground seeds not the plant.
Cos or Romaine lettuce is a variety of lettuce that grows a taller head of firm leaves. It also tolerates heat, unlike most other varieties of lettuce. The heart of the cos lettuce with the outer dark leaves removed, is known as a baby cos lettuce and is a touch sweeter than the outer leaves. They are very easy to grown yourself, we have a small back yard and grown them in pots. Harvest when the leaves are crisp and head is full of colour (the more mature the plant the more bitter the leaves).