Bangers & Mash

Classic British!

Bangers and Mash is a simple comfort dish enjoyed throughout many homes in Britain and served as simple food in many of our pubs.

The dish consists of sausages over mashed potatoes with a good serving of thick gravy. Vegetables sometimes accompany.

Already paleo if the ingredients are sourced carefully and sausages without filler are procured, but there are a couple of tweaks to turn this dish into fine paleo comfort food.

Let's put the dish together ...

Set the oven to 200C and put in 100% meat sausages to cook, turning them every so often. Being all meat, the skins should be pricked to allow the fat juices out. We will use these juices in the mash.

Meanwhile prepare the vegetables you want with the dish. Cabbage is great and very green cabbage perfect! I used Savoy cabbage here.

Also, get some celeriac boiling to mash up. I include a few cubes of daikon in the mix for a subtle kick. When ready, simply mash as you would potatoes ... pour over the juices from the sausages.

Finally, make up a gravy from stock, flavouring it with leek or mushroom and thickening at the end with arrowroot.

Plate up with the cabbage first, then the mash and place the sausages on top of the mash. Pour over the gravy slowly so that the flavourings remain on top of the sausages and the liquid pours into the bowl. Tuck in and be comforted!


Wild Salmon with Vegetables, Avocado & Eggs

Possibly the perfect paleo meal! Meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, avocado and nuts all on one plate.

Wild salmon has a better omega 3:6 ratio than farmed salmon, the flavour is more intense and the colour much deeper - simply poached, all that flavour and colour is for the most part retained.

Perfect partners to salmon are avocado and green vegetables; intense green vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli and asparagus. Any, or all, of these can be included in your version of this dish. I used kale.

Perfect partners to kale are bacon and eggs. Eggs should be free range at the very least, woodland reared are best since the chickens are left to roam, peck and scratch for grubs natural to their diet, and the taste difference is evident. The bacon should have been outdoor reared and not artificially plumped with steroids.

Let's put the dish together ...

Begin with a pan of bouillon brought up to the boil and boil any hard vegetables for most of their required cooking time. Lower the heat to below a simmer; just warm. Immerse the fish.

Bring a second pan of water and white distilled vinegar to the boil, lower the heat, swirl and drop in the first egg. Allow it to poach just beyond hardening the white around the edge, retrive and place in a bowl of cold water to cease the cooking. Poach the second egg the same way and place into the cold water.

Using a large frying pan, fry off some chopped streaky bacon - streaky bacon has the best flavour, good fat and the right saltiness to work with the kale. When ready, add a good block of butter to the pan and put in the kale, tossing it in the butter and bacon. Spinach can be treated in the same way, although broccoli and aspragus would be poached in with the fish.

Slice up an avocado and place at one end of the plate. Sprinkle a few pine nuts over and even a little extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil over the top.

Return the eggs to the simmering poaching water and cook through leaving the yolk runny. Retrieve the eggs and dry them on a paper towel. Collect the fish and dry it on a paper towel also.

Place the kale and bacon at the other end of the plate to the middle and place the fish in the middle over the kale. Place the eggs atop the kale towards one side of the plate. Arrange the vegetables in any gaps.

Finally, garnish. Cut some daikon into matchsticks and mix with some soured cream. Add in herbs, like parsley, chive, or whatever takes your fancy at the time and spoon the cream over the top of the salmon. If you have excluded dairy from your paleo diet, simply skip this and sprinlke some chopped herbs over.

This dish is about putting together a whole bunch of paleo goodness on one plate - there can be many variations on the theme.


Calf Liver & Mushroom Gravy with Poached Egg

Livers are rich in vitamin A and iron, and a great thing to eat every so often.

Like chicken livers, calf livers can be pureed into a pâté, the most famous of which is pâté de foie gras made from fatty duck livers. For this dish, we're interested in a few slices of calves liver and we're going to fry it.

Time to fry some offal ...

First, make up the gravy from a thick stock and let some slices of mushroom infuse in. I like chestnut mushrooms for their darker colour and strong flavour. Some thinly sliced onion and even garlic can be included. Let the gravy warm through for a good while - 15 minutes, or so, to ensure that all the inclusions have softened up and melded into a deep, unctuous gravy.

Next, prepare a pan of boiling water and a good slosh of white distilled malt vinegar. This is for the poached egg, which should be done last. Crack an egg into a ramekin or small bowl in preparation.

Fry off slices of calves liver for a couple of minutes each side and then lower the heat to baste repeatedly in butter while you make the poached egg.

Bring the water to the boil and then drop the heat so that a gentle simmer is evident with smaller bubbles rising from through. Swirl the water gently to create a little whirlpool in the centre and then gently pour the egg into the swirling water which should spin the white around the yolk.

Poach the egg for a few minutes, keeping an eye on it so that you retrieve the egg with a draining spoon onto kitchen paper once the white has solidified, leaving the yolk runny.

Plate up ...

Pour the thick gravy onto a plate and lay the slices of liver over.

While you're fiddling with the egg, drop a few spears of asparagus into the frying pan to use the remainder of the fat to warm through.

Dry off the egg by flipping it over on the kitchen roll and gently place on the plate aside the liver slices.

Lay the asparagus spears between the poached egg and slices of liver, garnishing the dish with a little parsley or salad leaves. Salt the egg if necessary and give the whole dish a good grind of fresh black pepper.

Great at any time of the day, I find this dish a really good late breakfast.


Chilli Con Carne

Chilli Con Carne is a great dish and one which requires only a mere tweak to become paleo.

Red Kidney Beans are poison! Simple as that. Leave them out and bring in the colour and that slight texture with paleo-friendly foods - aubergine, red or green peppers.

Then, there's the tacos or tortillas. Corn or flour-based, these are contra-paleo. You're now thinking that Chilli Con Carne is perhaps not a great dish to simulate in the paleosphere. I am not a great fan of mimicing non-paleo foods but this dish becomes equally fun and tasty when made as a paleo dish; a different dish, not necessarily simulating the original.

Chilli is best enjoyed with some accompaniments - guacamole, cachumbar, pickled chillis, salsa and yoghurt. All these can be prepared alongside while the main feature is cooking.

Without further ado, let's put the dish together ...

You'll need the following:
  • Beef Mince (2lb)
  • Onion (Large)
  • Garlic (2 Cloves)
  • Chillies
  • Chopped Tomatoes (400g)
  • Tomato Puree (1 tbsp)
  • Worcestershire Sauce (1 tbsp)
  • Aubergine
  • Black Pepper
  • Sea Salt
The compressed version:
  1. Brown off the mince in a skillet.
  2. Add Worcestershire Sauce.
  3. Add a chopped onion and sliced garlic cloves.
  4. Add chopped tomatoes.
  5. Add squirt of tomato puree.
  6. Add chillies.
  7. Simmer for 1-2 hours, adding water as necessary.
  8. Add diced aubergine.
  9. Simmer on for a further 15 minutes.
... and the long version:

Place a large pan with a lid on the heat and get it warming up. Meanwhile, chop an onion. Fry off beef mince without any additional fat or oil and spend some time breaking it down further with a wooden paddle so that the texture is almost ground beef. If some of the meat gets very coloured, great! It's all flavour!

Once coloured, add in the chopped onion, a good squirt of tomato puree, perhaps some Worcestershire Sauce and a slug of tequila. Put the lid on sharpish! The steam will soften up the onions and deglaze the base of the pan in one.

After a few minutes, add a can of plum tomatoes and break up. Add water where necessary.

Add your chillis now. I use a variety of chillis to build up a wall of assault! I use Bhut Jolokia for the intense heat; just a little. Scotch Bonnet adds a subtle alternative flavour. One or two plain green chillis, de-seeded, for the crisp green flavour and I often add a little ginger for the high notes. Put in whatever chillis float your boat or are available to you.

Simmer away for a couple of hours and about half an hour before serving add in chopped aubergine, red and green peppers, whatever it is you want to colour it and give an alternative texture.

Meanwhile, prepare the accompaniments ...

Greek yoghurt to cool down the heat is easy - take the lid off and put in a bowl.

Likewise, pickled chillis can be removed from the jar and placed into another bowl.

Guacamole is simple - just blend a couple of avocados with a squeeze of lime juice, from a lime NOT a bottle! Place in another bowl.

Cachumbar is an Indian accompaniment and works really well with Chilli Con Carne - chop some onion, cube some tomato and cucumber and mix together in a bowl. Add some finely chopped green chilli as well if you like.

Salsa? Break down some tomatoes, add a drop or two of vinegar and some chillis. Chopped pickled chillis work great here. Pour into a bowl.

Finally, the tortillas. Use a crisp lettuce.

I favour Cos for the long leaves and strong spine structure and rather than wrapping the food, use the lettuce leaf more like a taco. Wider leaves will wrap like tortilla.

Take a lettuce leaf, spread some guacamole over, sprinkle some cachumbar, add a good helping of Chilli Con Carne and top with spoons of salsa and yoghurt. Enjoy :)


Cod Italienne with Callaloo and Cockles

We're culture hopping here but both are bright and vibrant, and go together so well.

Cod Italienne it simply Italian inspired baked cod - tomato sauce, basil, buffalo mozzerella; Callaloo is Jamaican.

Callaloo, traditionally, uses amaranth leaves as the main constituent ingredient. Amaranth is a superb source of vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin B6, vitamin C, riboflavin, and folate, and dietary minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese. Paleo superfood!

Cockles are shellfish which are often served pickled in the UK, and form part of the traditional Welsh breakfast. Often coupled with laver bread, which is boiled seaweed, cockles partner perfectly with Callaloo.

Let's build the dish ...

Make up a tomato sauce in the frying pan by frying off onion and garlic before pouring over a tin of peeled plum or chopped tomatoes. Simmer away until a most of the water has evaporated and you have a thicker sauce.

Make final adjustments to flavour with salt, pepper and chilli.

Lay a couple of cod fillets in an overproof dish. Any firm white fish can be substituted, but there is something so right about wild Atlantic cod.

Pour the tomato sauce over, scatter chopped black olives over and lay slices of buffalo mozzerella on the top, garnishing with whole basil leaves.

Bake in the oven at 180C for 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the Callaloo in a frying pan with a little butter and sprinkle some cockles in just to warm through.

Place a few asparagus spears on the top and let them warm through, retaining their crunch.

Serve up with the Callaloo in a ramekin at one side of the plate, the cod as the main feature and a few spears of asparagus over the top.


Leftover Chilli Con Carne Pancake

Pancake?! It's okay ... start breathing again! I've not gone all neolithic on you - I just call it a pancake since it's not strictly an omelette.

Let's get cracking ...

In one frying pan heat up the leftover Chilli Con Carne and bring the heat down to evaporate any excess water without burning.

In a dry non-stick frying pan make the pancake by adding a teaspoon of water per egg and whisking well, whipping a little air into the batter. Again, just crack an egg or two into a bowl, add a teaspoon of water per egg and whisk. Easy, eh?

The pancake should be thin - this is not an omelette, so use half the number of eggs than you would for an omelette for your size of pan.

Place the pancake on a board, butter it with some guacamole, spoon some Chilli Con Carne in and roll up.

Serve with a few drops of green Tabasco and maybe some cachumbar.


Belly Pork with Celeriac Mash and Green Vegetables

Seriously, is there anything better than belly pork?

Slow cooked, with its crisp rind, salty fat layer, then layers of darker meat and lighter meat, pork is delicious and a fantastic paleo source of protein and energy. The trick is slow cooking.

Let's cook some belly pork ...

Heat up your oven as high as it will go - mine goes up to 250C. That is a good starting point.

Prepare the belly pork by scoring the skin with a sharp knife or razor blade. Rub a generous amount of pure sea salt into the cracks. I use Maldon brand.

Place the belly pork with the skin side up onto a cooking rack over an overproof tray and drizzle just a little extra virgin olive oil over the skin.

Put the tray into the oven and close the door. Cook on that high heat for up to 30 minutes, until the skin is crackling up. If it has not done this within half an hour, don't worry ... we'll sort that out at the end. The pork will spit and crackle, explode even. Don't open the oven - leave it!

After the skin has crackled up or half an hour has passed, pour in a litre of water into the tray - this will help keep the pork really juicy.

Turn the temperature down to between 90C and 120C. Lower is better, but will require longer. On 120C cook for 3 hours, 100C for 4 and at 90C you can leave it in all day. The longer it is cooked, the better!

Whenever you are ready to eat simply prepare some vegetables. Celeriac and daikon mash is a great accompaniment, as is tenderstem broccoli and some cabbage.

If the skin has not crackled up, switch the grille on full and keep a close eye on the process so that the top does not burn.

Retrieve the pork from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes while you make a gravy from the juices in the tray. There will be a lot of fat in there, so pour the liquid into a more cylindrical container to skim off the floating fats. The remaining juices should be returned to the tray and heat up while you bring all the colour and flavour off the base of the tray. Thicken with a little arrowroot.

Plate up - vegetables first and then the gorgeous slices of belly pork, pouring the gravy over last. Cutlery is for vegetables, fingers are for meat! Get in there and get it in you belly!

Potted Beef

Similar to paté, Potted Beef uses the meat rather than the organs.

Grass fed beef is one of the sheer pleasures of paleo eating - get some cheaper steak from such an animal, cut up into a few pieces and dust with a pinch of nutmeg.

Place in an ovenproof dish with a tight lid on a low heat for a good, long time. Setting the oven to around 100C and leaving the meat in overnight is perfect!

Next day, the meat should mash easily with a fork.

Come on! Assemble the dish ...

In a bowl, place the meat, a splash of anchovy essence, maybe a little more nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mash up and transfer to ramekins.

Cover the meat with melted butter and transfer to the fridge to set hard.

To plate up, place a ramekin of the Potted Beef on a plate and accompany with some crisp lettuce leaves in place of bread. Spread the meat on the lettuce leaf and enjoy.


Stig Stew!

Stig Stew is the perfect lazy paleo staple.

Gather up all the meat and all the vegetables you can find. Dice the meat - steaks, organs and sausages are all good. Sausages should be 100% meat with no filler. You can also use shellfish in with meat, something common to Lancashire Hotpot - oysters and mussels make great accompaniments to red meat.

Dice the vegetables into inch cubes. Aiming for a three to four hour cooking time in order to soften the meat and cook it down to a gorgeous unctious texture,  assemble the vegetables into the order they will be added to the stew - firmest first, for longest; softest last, for the shortest amount of time.

Root vegetables, like potatoes, swede, carrot should go in first, squashes, celeriac and medium firm vegetables after about an hour and finally soft vegetables, like courgette or aubergine about an hour from the end. Mushrooms can be added at any stage and if you are going to add peas, green beans or stringless beans, primally okay, add these about half an hour from the end.

The cooking liqour is made up of meat stock representative of the majority of the meat, so a beef stock if the meat is predominantly beef; chicken stock for white meats - chicken, pork and darker, game birds; lamb for lamb, mutton and goat, even ostrich.

For a really rich stock, add in half a pint of strong Stout!

So, let's assemble the dish ...

Using some animal fats, brown off the meat in a frying pan and add to the cooking pot. The cooking pot can be a large pan, crock pot or a slow cooker.

Fry off any mushrooms in the remaining fat to soak up all the cooking juices. Deglaze the pan with a little water or wine. Add to the cooking pot.

Add the initial vegetables, the stock and top up with water - bring to the boil and hold the heat at boiling for up to half an hour. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for three to four hours, adding the remaining vegetables at their respective times.

Add aromatics - herbs and even a handful of pickled capers. Finally, stir in some arrowroot in water to thicken the stew.

Stig Stew is about imagination! Put in whatever it is that you enjoy, whatever you have to hand or have to use up.


Deli Meat, Egg and Pickle

Quick easy starter, entrée or snack.

Pickles are perfect partners for deli meat and eggs. Pickles are good for normalising acidic levels in the stomach, especially for gastric reflux sufferers and coupled with eggs makes for a really good small meal, starter or snack.

It's easy ... let's put it together ...

On a clean white plate, place a slice of deli meat - this could be peppered steak, salt beef, bresaola, parma ham, serrano ham, pastrami; anything of that nature. A blob of horseradish, mustard, sour cream is optional.

Place a boiled egg onto the meat. The yolk of the egg can be removed and mixed with other ingredients - pickled capers and chillis is one of my favourites. Devilled is another idea.

Place a sliced pickled gherkin around the egg and garnish with some salad leaves, peas shoots, dill, something green and compatible in taste with what you've put together.

I often put a couple of spears of asparagus lightly fried in butter for the crunch and some fat.

This dish is about imagination and pushing your artistic flair. Put together small combinations of food that you enjoy - ensure the plate is bursting with flavour and that each ingredient can stand out in its own right.


Paleo Salsa Fresca

Mexican, also known as pico de gallo - literally, "rooster's beak" since the salsa is eaten by picking up pieces with the thumb and forefinger.

The salsa fresca is a fresh, simple accompaniment to any main meal.

Similar to Indian Kachumbar.

Why paleo? Well, many such salsa can include fruit which is not outright shunned by paleo, but the fructose is not especially welcome.

To make up a salsa fresca, simply combine cold, uncooked crunchy ingredients - onion, spring onion (scallion in the Caribbean), tomato, cucumber and radish.

Add in some pickled ingredients - chilli, garlic, anything you like.

I love asparagus, and this is the only cooked ingredient. Drop some tips into boiling water for a couple of minutes and plunge into ice cold water - this will cease the cooking, retain the colour and chill the down fast. Toss into the salsa.

Splash in a little fresh lime juice and garnish with some coriander leaf.


Steamed Cod with Kale and Sweet Potato Chips

The classic British Fish & Chips is battered fish served with thick chips of potato deep fried in dripping.

This was an early attempt at a kind of paleo Fish & Chips, sans batter around the fish and using sweet potato for the chips, or thick fries in some languages.

So, to business ...

This is a quick meal to prepare, so get all your equipment together and prepare all the food

Set up your multi-tier steamer up with chopped kale in one layer and your fish in the top layer, protected from the fierce steam by sitting them on some kitchen foil.

The fish can be accompanied by some ginger, lemon or other aromatics to steam through, or dust with something like paprika, cayenne pepper or chilli powder once on the plate.

Setup your fryer and get it to the correct temperature.

For guidance on frying, I have written an article about selecting the best fat and method of frying: http://livingintheiceage.pjgh.co.uk/2011/11/chips.html ... you could also shallow fry softer root vegetables like sweet potato or squash in a little lard or dripping.

Ready? Go!

Pour some boiling water into the base of the steamer and set the kale and fish steaming.

Gently lower the chips into the fat and let them fry through.

Serve up with the kale as a bed to lay the fish on and set the chips alongside. Cube some feta, if you like, to accompany the fish, perhaps dust the chips with a little chilli powder.

Simple, clean flavours ... enjoy!


Laver Bread with Bacon, Eggs, Mushrooms and Asparagus

Laver Bread is a Welsh delicacy and often served as part of the Welsh breakfast along with bacon, eggs and cockles.

Made from boiled seaweed Laver Bread, or Bara Lawer in Welsh, is a fantastic source of iodine and best fresh from the local market if you live in Wales. We can enjoy this delicacy from tins and a good online supplier can be found here: http://www.laverbread.com - they sell cockles, too.

People who IF (that's "intermittent fasting") know that breakfast, or "break fast" can happen any time of the day and so a good Welsh breakfast in the evening is just the ticket.

Let's get our brecwast wedi ei goginio ...

Warm up your laver bread in a pan.

Get some bacon under the grille.

Fry up some thick slices of mushrooms in fat and fry a couple of eggs. Finally, fry off a few spears of asparagus.

Plate up - put the laver bread in a ramkin at one side of the plate and lay out the fried ingredients. Garnish with green leaves.

Scoop out the laver bread onto slices of mushroom and bacon, dip the asparagus in and into the yolk of the fried eggs. Blasus!


Brisket and Enoki Mushroom Soup

Brisket is one seriously tasty cut of beef and a very thrifty cut! I always buy more than I'll need for a meal, cook it all and enjoy the left overs.

Enoki mushrooms are a Japanese variety used traditionally in soups. With a curious appearance, crisp texture and a subtle flavour they lend themselves to accompanying meat.

This soup makes a quick and easy starter ...

Bring some bouillon up to temperature in a pan.

Bouillon is a broth made from a simmering of mirepoix, bouquet garni and some bones. You can look up mirepoix and bouquet garni but here's a cheat - you can buy powered bouillion which only needs a generous tablespoon in a litre of water. If you wanted to make up your own, it's onion, celery and carrots (the mirepoix), thyme, bay and sage tied together (the bouquet garni), some bones and water - simmer for a few hours to extract all the flavour, freeze excess as appropriate.

Bouillon can also be purchased in powdered form.

Toss in some pieces of beef brisket and enoki mushrooms.

Lower the heat, pour in some cream and some white pepper.

Serve out with dill as garnish.


Beef Brisket with Lamb Kidneys and Mushrooms

Beef brisket is a great cut of meat - cheap, full of flavour and when slow cooked, a real paleo treat packed with protein and energy. The trick is slow cooking. I will warn you now - this recipe uses beer. You could try to find a heavy flavoured gluten-free beer or simply use water.

Let's cook some brisket ...

Prepare the brisket by sealing it in a frying pan and a small amount of fat.

Dice up some lamb kidneys and some mushrooms - I like chestnut mushrooms for the stronger flavour. Gently fry these in the remaining oil. Finally, add some chopped onions and whole garlic cloves to the pan and saute for a few minutes.

Transfer the kidney, mushroom, onion and garlic to a slow cooking vessel - I use a tagine; a crock pot or slow cooker would happily suffice.

Place the brisket on top and pour over beer to about half way up the brisket.

Put the lid on the vessel and slow cook for a few hours, turning the brisket every hour.

When you are ready to eat, prepare some vegetables - I like a celeric and daikon mash, tenderstem broccoli and cabbage. Carrots, stringless green beans and peas are also a good accompaniment, the latter being primally acceptable.

Meanwhile, rest the brisket wrapped in tin foil.

Retrieve the kidney and mushroom pieces and wash them clean of any onion matter.

Pour the juices to a suitable container and blend to a thick gravy. Transfer to a pan and bring to the boil, returning the kidney and mushroom to warm through. Add a little arrowroot at the end to thicken.

Plate up - vegetables first, slices of brisket on top and pour over the thick gravy allowing chunks of kidney and mushroom to fall over the dish.