Steamed Cod with Japanese Vegetables

Simple, clean, honest flavours in a light, colourful dish.

Almost raw with all ingredients cooked as little as possible, if at all.

Begin by peeling and slicing carrot and daikon. Place in a bowl and splash over a generous amount of mirin - Japanese rice vinegar. Set aside.

Prepare the fish by simply lining a steamer with kitchen foil, laying the fish on a couple of slices of lemon, topped with ginger and maybe a little sea salt. Set aside.

Quarter the pak choi and set aside.

When ready eat, place the steamer over and cook the fish in the hot steam for literally a couple of minutes - this is perfect for white fish like cod, which will cook rapidly. Insert the tip of a knife into the middle of the fish and touch your lip - still cold, steam for another minute, or so, checking regularly.

In a dry pan pre-heated, toss in the pak choi and cook through as little as you can - just enough to take the raw edge off and permit a little sweetness to come from the warmth while retaining all the crunch.

Meanwhile, drain off the excess mirin from the carrot and daikon, toss in a chopped red chilli, stir in some chopped coriander and a few seeds - sesame is obvious; I didn't have any so a sprinkle of flax seeds fitted in perfectly.

Take a mound of the carrot and daikon and place in the middle of a wide bowl. Lay the pak choi around on side and the fish on top, garnishing with some chopped red chilli and perhaps a leaf of coriander.

Enjoy the crisp, clean flavours.

Scallops on an Omelette Duvet

On an omelette duvet? Really?

We had a bit of fun on Mark's Daily Apple forums coming up with names for this dish. Scallops in Bed led to consideration of the bed clothes and one thing led to another ... Scallops on an Omelette Duvet.

What's involved?

Scallops in their shell, some seaweed, a Japanese omelette and a creamy sauce.

First, carefully part the scallop from its shell and wash the shell well. Remove the coral from the scallop and the membrane around the white part of the scallop. Clean off any membrane from the coral and wash both the coral and the white in clean water to get any sand out.

Prepare the seaweed. I buy a bag of dried sea vegetables which need nothing more than immersion in hot water for a few minutes. Once revitalised, drain off, retaining the water.

The sea(weed) water forms the basis of the sauce, into which finely chopped shallot, garlic and the scallop coral is placed and warmed through for a few minutes, puréed and passed through a fine sieve back into the saucepan. Add cream at this point, set to simmer and reduce.

Japanese omelettes are very thin - one large egg and a tablespoon of water is all that is needed. Whisk the egg thoroughly, almost to a foam. Pour into an 8" skillet for make a 6" omelette, flip when necessary to cook on both sides.

Place the omelette on a board and cover with the seaweed. Roll it up and slice into inch wide section, placing two or three sections into each scallop shell.

Reduce the sauce further. Now thickened, salt to taste, toss in some chopped coriander and pour over the omelette duvet.

Melt some butter in the skillet and colour the scallop whites. Place onto the duvet.

Serve in a shallow bowl.


Cassava Yorkshire Puddings

Possibly Yorkshire's most famous export goes fusion!

Yorkshire, largest county in England, in Great Britain and in the United Kingdom; practically a nation, and certainly thought as such by its countrymen.

Yorkshire, land of green and grey, land of thin lipped drizzle, skinny whippets and proud people sound in their history, their principles and their outlook. Yes, I'm a Yorkshireman!

Since going paleo, my beloved Yorkshire Pudding has been off the table since it is made with wheat flour. I have had a go at it with sorghum flour and that worked out pretty well, but sorghum flour is really beyond paleo.

What is more happily fringe paleo, yet this side of the fringe, is cassava flour.

Rethinking the classic Yorkshire Pudding and taking inspiration from Pão de Queijo I wondered whether a wetter version would work out like Yorkshire Pudding - crisp on the outside, stodgy on the inside; starting with a batter and cooking in cupcake trays to make mini-Yorkshire Puddings.

This is practically baking and so ratios are important, although not that important.


The ratio is 2 cups of solids to 1 cup of liquid.

The two cups of solids are cassava starch and cheese - one and a half cups of tapioca starch and half a cup of grated cheese. I used sour starch (Yoki brand polvilho azedo) and pecorino cheese. Pecorino is a hard Italian sheep cheese (from pecora, or sheep in Italian) with a good sour, salty tang.

The one cup of liquid is milk and melted butter at one third butter, two thirds milk ratio. I used Yorkshire butter from pastured cows and buttermilk - a fermented milk from the residue of cream that has been churned out to make butter.

You also need one egg.

Simply, combine all the ingredients together in a bowl and whisk together. That's it!

The will make enough batter for 12 portions when poured into cupcake trays, which you need to cook for 15-20 minutes at 200C. That's it!

In the oven, they will puff up. They will also drop once removed from the oven. Extending the cooking time to 20 minutes will have them more puffy, erring on the light side at 15 will have them drop.

Enjoy on their own, served with food, exotic or domestic, in place of traditional Yorkshire Puddings with a Sunday roast or the day after, cooled as a bread for paté or something equally delicious.


Yorkshire Pudding
Pão de Queijo
Polvilho Azedo


Frizza? Paleo finds pizza via the frittata!

Simply using egg as a base, Frizza can be eaten as per pizza, in slices, so long as it is not too loaded up; as frittata, when well loaded up; keeps well in the fridge for cold leftovers.

Here's how ...

Assemble your constituent ingredients!

I had some shredded lettuce, green pepper, green beans, cucumber, tomato, leek, spring onion and chilli salsa left over, quite a lot of it, which chilled overnight had released a lot of its juice. With the remaining juice squeezed out, this will be the structure of the frittata.

I love mushrooms in omelettes, so slice up and fry off some thinly sliced chestnut mushrooms in pork fat and set aside.

Cheese topping is a must! Grate some cheddar cheese.

What makes everything taste fantastic? Bacon! Shred up some slices of good, fatty streaky bacon, fried off and set aside.

With the bacon grease still in the pan (a 10" skillet), pour in six eggs cracked into a bowl and whisked with a fork to just break the yolks.

Turn the heat down a little - we're not making an omelette or scrambled eggs. Keep lifting the egg mixture and gently moving it around the pan until a good base has started to cook but there is still egg to be cooked through.

Start to load in your ingredients - first, the leftover salsa, which will work with the remaining uncooked egg to produce a good firm base once cooked through.

Cover with the mushrooms, the bacon and the cheese. Add in a little sea salt if you like, perhaps some chillies, chilli powder or sauce, and any other flavours you want at this stage.

Once the base of the Frizza is firm, which will become evident by steam escaping between the Frizza and the pan where you can put a palette knife in just to lift gently, transfer the pan to the grill, broiler or whatever you call your overhead head sauce.

Once the cheese is fully melted, slide out onto a board. Cut into slices and dig in!


Offal Stew

Offal, organ meat, variety meat, whatever it is you call it, offals are the organs, offcuts and dog-ends from the butchering process - kidney, liver, lung, heart, brain, tongue, trotters, all manner of meats which paleo eaters keen on "nose to tail" consumption will no doubt be salivating at.

Slow-cooking offal meats is a superb way of making up a seriously tasty and thrifty dish.

It's not at all awful ...

Chop some shallots, carrot, celery and garlic, placing in a lidded oven proof dish. Toss in some button mushrooms, a couple of bay leaves and a few springs of thyme - strong flavours to accompany, balance and counterpoint strong meats.

Cut up and quickly flash off any meats - lamb kidney and heart in my dish, padded out later with some small 97% Pork Sausages. Toss into the oven proof dish.

Add a little tomato purée to thicken and round out the flavours, pouring over beef stock until the stew is covered.

Cook for four hours at 150C, removing the lid for the final hour, tossing in any ingredients which don't want a long cook time - I added some courgette pieces and some 97% Pork Sausages.

This final hour will reduce the liquid, thickening it, but if you want it just a little thicker feel free to add in a heaped teaspoon of arrowroot in water or strain off the stew, reducing the remaining stock on the hob whisking in butter to thicken and then pour back over the stew.

Retrieve the bay leaves and thyme springs, serving simply with something green to accompany.


Pan Fried Tilapia Kholrabi Mash

Tilapia is a fresh water fish which lends itself well to strong flavoured dishes, not overpowered nor overpowering in flavour.

Kholrabi, also known as the German turnip, is the swollen root of a cabbage variant with a juicy, fragrant flavour and perfect for mashing.

First, peel, cube and boil the kholrabi. Steam some green beans over, too.

Mash the kholrabi and place a generous potion on a plate.

Toss the green beans in oil in a frying pan with some chopped tomatoes.

Pan fry the tilapia in your favourite fat for a couple of minutes each side and lay over the mash, the green beans alongside and some chilli and ginger to garnish.


Chacarron Macarron

You got me ... it's a totally made up name, but then so many dishes are.

Chacarron Macarron is a peculiar song by Panamanian crazies El Mudo: Chacarron Macarron.

But, what's it got to do with eggs?

Well, the name just seemed right for the dish for some reason ... it reminded of something a child might put together thinking it was sophistamicated when actually it is kind of naive and a bit higgledy piggledy.

Damn good, though!

Is there some method to this madness?

You boil a couple of eggs and halve them, removing the yolks.

Next, you place the eggs on a board and the yolks next to them, with olives in a good dot of green Tabasco. Squirt some wasabi over the yolks and fill the whites with caviar.

Enjoy with a good slug of something that makes you happy - tequila, gin, champagne, water, whatever floats your boat.

This is a fun dish. Enjoy!

"ualuealuealeuale ualuelaelaellalea, alsualsualualauusualulus alsualsualualauusualulus ualuealuealeuale ualuelaelaellalea, alsualsualualauusualulus alsualsualualauusualulus" ... ad nauseum


Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Dolcelatte

The purple sprouting season has just started ... it is short lived, so get it while you can!

Cultivated by the Romans, purple sprouting broccoli has only recently risen to prominence. Especially good when young and tender, purple sprouting broccoli should have a strong colour in the head and stalks should cleanly snap when broken.

One classic combination with to steam and serve with anchovies. I like a different kind of strong pungency to offset the strong flavour of the broccoli - Dolcelatte.

Dolcelatte is a blue veined, creamy Italian cheese from cow milk created really for the British market as a less pungent Gorgonzola. Fat content is higher in Dolcelatte, something like 50%!

To make the sauce, simply place some Dolcelatte into a saucepan with a little cream and on a very low heat let it melt - that's it.

Steam the broccoli for a few minutes, having split any thick stalks down the middle with a knife. Take off the steam, remove the lid and allow the bulk of the steam to escape.

Serve out the broccoli, pouring the sauce over.

Served as a starter or as a vegetable accompaniment to meat, purple sprouting broccoli with a Dolcelatte sauce is divine!

The latter works especially well with some good steak and a few chips - potato lengths deep fried in dripping.


Poached Egg over Shredded Spring Greens and Rice Noodles

Quick and easy carb-up!

Rice noodles are a simple source of carbohydrate which, according to Wikipedia, "their principal ingredients are rice flour and water. However, sometimes other ingredients such as tapioca or corn starch are also added in order to improve the transparency or increase the gelatinous and chewy texture of the noodles." so, essentially starch; all the phytates are in the husk which has been removed in the process.

Spring greens are very close to wild cabbage, genetically, and grown primarily in northern Europe where its tolerance of cold winters is valued for an early spring supply of edible leaves, very rich in vitamin C, folic acid and dietary fibre.

To prepare the dish, simply roll up a few spring green leaves, shred and steam for a couple of minutes, transferring to a frying pan where the residual steam will cook the noodle through.

Add in some flavours, like ginger and chilli.

For the poached egg, crack an egg into a ramekin taking care not to break the yolk.

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.

Add a generous splash of white distilled vinegar to the water you used to steam the greens, get it up to a rolling boil and then drop the heat. Gently swirl the water and carefully pour the egg into the vortex to poach.

Poach the egg, retrieve and dry off by resting it on a folded kitchen paper towel.

Serve out into a shallow bowl with the spring greens and noodles as the bed for the poached egg. Slit the egg to allow the yolk to run out through the bed, sprinkle some sea salt over and enjoy.


Cod Ceviche and Salsa over Mushroom Velouté

Old World meets New!

Ceviche is a method of curing fish, marinating in citrus juice - lime or lemon.

Velouté is a classic French sauce meaning velvety and made from stock, roux and cream. We don't need the flour part of the roux since this will be thickened with the butter alone, cream and mushroom.

First, marinate slices of cod fillet in generous amounts of lemon juice. The slices should be little over a centimetre thick, sliced from a larger fillet on an angle. Add in some chilli powder or cayenne pepper for a little bite.

Allow the fish to marinate for a good hour.

Meanwhile make up the salsa and velouté ...

To make the velouté, soak some dried porchini mushrooms in hot water for a few minutes, then blend the lot to a fine puree. Pass the mixture through a sieve taking out any large pieces of mushroom, leaving a thick mushroom stock.

In a pan, melt some butter and whisk in mushroom stock with an egg whisk. Keep a little of the stock alongside to top up as necessary, but the heat should be kept low after the initial melting. Add a little cream and set the pan to reduce and thicken.

For the salsa, divide, an avocado removing each half from the skin. Cube up and place in a bowl. Slice some little tomatoes and segment an orange or grapefruit. Add to the bowl - the citrus will keep the avocado from going brown.

With the cod cured through, drain off the excess juice and sit the cod pieces on a piece of kitchen roll to dry off. No need to pat dry.

Spoon out the mushroom velouté onto a plate, placing the salsa over, gently laying the cod pieces over and garnish with chive, coriander or chervil.


Pan Fried Tilapia

Some days, you just want something quick and nutritious - today was one of those days. Food shopping, I happened across some fillets of tilapia that had been dramatically reduced in price and simply had to have them.

Off the cuff, I thought pan-fried and accompanied with something green would do the trick.

... and that was pretty much what I did.

Drop something green into boiling water to just cook through. I went with some tenderstem broccoli.

Warm some butter in a frying pan. Yes, warm, not fry up; we don't want the pan searing hot or it will burn the butter and the fish - we want the fish to warm through, remaining soft and delicate.

Place the fish fillets into the butter and allow to cook through on one side for a few minutes. Do not fiddle with the fish! Just leave it there and let it cook.

Gently lifting with a fish slice, turn the fillets over. Add more butter and baste regularly as the fish cooks on the other side for a few minutes.


Drain off the veggies, place on a plate to accompany the fish.

I also quickly fried off some mini-leeks and added a good blob of soured cream to the side of the plate.

Perfect! Paleo perfect!


Dressed Crab Linguine

Something special for St Valentine's Day.

Crab Linguine is perhaps my wife's favourite meal.

I make it up for her quite a lot using courgette linguine, but once in a while she really hungers for proper linguine which we don't have in the house since moving away from eating grains. Starches have a role in the paleo diet and so, sourcing a gluten-free pasta made from cornstarch and rice flour, I was happy that the linguine was inoffensive enough to eat.

To work ...

Take a dressed crab, collect the white meat and set aside in a bowl. Chop some parsley or coriander and some chilli. Add to the white crab meat along with a good squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

Make up a velouté from the brown meat. Velouté is a classic French sauce meaning velvety and made from stock, roux and cream. We don't need the flour part of the roux since this will be thickened with the butter alone, cream and crab meat.

In a pan, melt some butter and whisk in fish stock with an egg whisk. Keep the stock alongside to top up as necessary, but the heat should be kept low after the initial melting. Put the brown crab meat in and stir around, adding more stock.

Pass the mixture through a sieve to remove the largest pieces and any white meat that got in there - you can put this sieved meat into the white crab meat bowl so there is no waste. Add a little cream and set the pan to reduce and thicken.

Boil the linguine as per instructions, drain off and drop into a frying pan with some butter. Toss in the butter and then add in the white crab meat mixture. Toss together.

When you are ready to serve, collect the linguine and turn it back into the crab shell. Garnish with a couple of coriander leaves.

Set the shell in a lake of velouté or have the velouté alongside in a pouring vessel. It is also fun to whizz up a small portion of velouté with a hand blender to spoon the froth over the linguine.


Irish Soda Farls

Farls? Yes, bread!


I know I have said before that there are some foods which are just more authentic when eaten with bread but my reason for making this up is actually for reasons of fusion.

Good excuse, anyway, and I'm sticking to it.

Why? Really why? Well, I cooked a fantastic brisket of beef on Sunday and predictably cooked way too much which is always welcome for cos lettuce and pulled beef wraps for lunch, but the left over gravy and uneaten beef on the plate was too much for me to throw away. I cannot abide waste.

Setting aside into a pan and adding in a half teaspoon each of cumin, coriander and chilli powder and a sprinkling of risotto rice, that'll do for a Beef Mulligatawny Soup for dinner on Monday night.

Many soups are accompanied by a starches - taking inspiration from those hot African soups, where a fufu ball is dropped into the middle, I did consider just that. Likewise, thinking of thick paratha or roti breads eaten alongside curry, I combined the two and came up Irish!

Yes, my mind works in mysterious ways ...

Soda Farls are potato breads. Combining potato with flour is about all there is to it. Potato is the starch and flour the filler. We can't use wheat flour, but we can use something like sorghum.

Sorghum is actually a pseudo-grain, so not a grain at all, and the flour is not at all glutenous, so you're not going to get the same texture as wheat flour dough. It will form a firm texture. Sorghum flour is used extensively on the Indian sub-continent where it is known as Juwar Flour.

Take one large potato, peel and boil. Mash and set aside to cool. This will weigh in at something like 8oz and perfect.

In a mixing bowl, rub 1oz or butter into 3oz of sorghum flour. Add a heaped teaspoon of baking powder and a pinch of salt, a handful of chopped spring onions or leek and then the mashed potato and a couple of tablespoons of double cream. Most recipes will say milk, but cream is so much better.

Combine into a dough and roll out gently to make a half inch thick bread. Transfer to an ovenproof plate or dish and score lines across the diameter of the bread, not all the way through, but sufficient to divide up easily after cooking.

Bake in a pre-heated oven set to 200C for 30 minutes.

Serve out with butter lathered all over! The bread, not you, although that might be fun ... Valentine's Day tomorrow :)


Spicy Pulled Beef Brisket

Admittedly, not much of a meal, more a "while you wait" kind of snack.

While cooking beef brisket for dinner, I like to regularly turn it. Towards the end of cooking, I like to trim off any excess fat. At this point, a little chunk of meat might accidentally fall off ... Chef's Privilege.

To cook beef brisket, I like to brown off the outside and sit it in an ovenproof dish over some chopped shallots.

Sauté off some lamb's kidneys and quarter some mushrooms - throw over the meat.

Make up a good amount of liquor from beef stock and water, pour over and set in the oven at 125C for 4-6 hours.

Upon cooking, perfection!

Back to the principle of Chef's Privilege ...

This is where the Chef gets to sample the meal prior to finishing and serving.

Here, I simply pulled the beef into shreds, dotted Tabasco sauce all around (the Habanero variety) and some over the top, crowning with a couple of cubes of feta cheese to offset any fattiness, since this piece of meat was trimmed along with the excess fat.

Good taster and enhanced the anticipation.

Sloppy Grok

You got it! Sloppy Joe!

The origins of this sandwich are mysterious ...

Some maintain that it was José García, owner of a Havana bar nicknamed 'Sloppy Joes's' due to his ropa vieja sandwich which became known as a "sloppy joe". Others maintain it originated in Sioux City by a chef named Joe who made "loose meat sandwiches".

You can read all about it here: An Ode to Sloppy Joe

Variations exist, but it is essentially a ground meat sauce in a burger bun.

We can keep it paleo ...

First, the meat sauce, which is simply onions, minced beef, garlic, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, thyme, perhaps some carrot. I used leftover Chilli Con Carne but will most definitely make this more traditionally in future.

For folks culturally foreign to this American delicacy, think of it as all the ingredients you'd use to make a burger, but then don't make a burger ... make a sloppy burger.

Next, the burger bun, for which we'll use a couple of portobello mushrooms. This is not substitution, this is supplanting the bun for something much more fun, nutritious and actually more tasty ... by far.

Get your griddle hot and place the mushrooms on their tops with the darker underside exposed. As they warm through, the juice therein will sweat out. When there's a good amount of juice collected, flip over carefully so as to capture all the juices under the mushroom and press down with a slice to boil all that flavour back into the mushroom, while evaporating the steam.

You'll be left with mushrooms which are not soggy, but fully retained in flavour.

How better to accompany this feast than with a condiment and a side?

The condiment, tomato ketchup ...

Easy to make - take some tomato puree and flavour with a gastrique of cider vinegar and honey, some salt and a touch of arrowroot in lemon juice. Ensure that the ingredients are thoroughly combined in a blender.

Honey? Honey is more than sweetener - natural and loaded with complex medicinal effects ranging from immunity boosters to anti-cancer and anti-microbial properties. It passes the hunger/gatherer principle. The honey I used is local (very local, like a mile or so away) from Denholme Gate Apiary.

Arrowroot? It's just a starchy thickener. Don't fret.

Don't like the idea of either? Don't put them in. Fancy Stevia instead? Well, it's a banned food in Europe, so out of my recipe, but feel free. I don't know enough about Stevia, having never tried it, but think that a chemically extracted powder is not really within the spirit of paleo.

You could buy a primal-friendly ketchup - Tiptree brand is pretty good, organic and hand-produced. Actually, Heinz now make an organic version of their ketchup which uses tomatoes grown free from pesticides and contains no MSG or HFCS! It's a strong step in the right direction, Heinz!

The side, primal slaw ...

Shred come white cabbage, grate some carrot, slice from red onion, glob of soured cream, spritz of sherry or cider vinegar, pinch of salt, stir, done!

Serve out onto a clean plate, first mushroom down, meat filling on top falling out for artistic effect, good glob of ketchup, good helping of grated cheddar cheese, second mushroom on top and a helping of slaw alongside.

Naturally, feel free to use much less meat than pictured and eat this conventionally, picked up with all that good stuff oozing out and falling back onto the plate!

Messy food is good food ...


Pork Rind Schnitzel

Schnitzel, traditional Austrian dish of flattened escalope breaded and fried. Traditionally, veal is used, although pork or turkey work well.

The trouble is ... the breadcrumbs.

Coating with starch flour is just not right at all and gluten-free breadcrumbs are practically frankenfood, but there is a way.

Let's keep it paleo ...

How? Pork Rinds!!!

When posting this on Mark's Daily Apple forum, I inadvertently named the thread 'Porn Rind Schnitzel' and pulled in a good few people hoping for a little more, but very pleased with what they did see. With that in mind, the instruction to "bash your meat" might be a little more something you'd expect from the guys over at Modern Paleo Warfare, but bear with me over the method.

First, make the breadcrumbs ...

Take some pork rind and whizz it up with a blender. That's it! Do cover it, though - this stuff will fly out and all over your kitchen unless properly contained. Guess how I know that?

If you've made your own crispy rinds from pork skin, great! Otherwise bought work out fine - as with all things, get the best you can and avoid anything with MSG or yeast extract (MSG incognito) and go for straight-up pork rinds with no added ingredients.

Next, give your meat a good bashing ...

I had a couple of pork escalopes and just flattening them out with a meat tenderising mallet is fine. No need to wrap in clingfilm, but if you are going to be using a rolling pin or wine bottle, covering the meat with some greaseproof paper works out just fine.

Lay out the crumbs on one plate and whisk an egg on another.

Make up the rest of your meal and plate up - this last bit takes almost no time.

Warm a couple of frying pans up, dip the meat both sides in the egg then into the breadcrumbs and quickly into the frying pan. Flip over after a couple of minutes. Done!

Serve out with a wedge of lemon.


Rethinking Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower rice is a perfect paleo accompaniment to all manner of dishes where regular rice would otherwise be called for.

It is, however, a bit of a pain unless you have a food processor ... or microwave oven.

Here's a quick and simple way, rethinking cauliflower rice ...

Rice should be soft comfort food. Contemplating the texture is the key to rethinking cauliflower rice, so the end result should feel like rice even if it does not necessarily look like grains of rice.

Carefully cut the florets from the stalk of a cauliflower, halving, quartering and trimming the excess stalk from each floret.

Over a pan of boiling water, steam these cauliflower florets for a few minutes until soft enough to crush with a fork but not too soggy.

Remove from the steam and leave the lid off - the cauliflower will remain warm while the excess water evaporates out.

When ready to serve, tip out into a wide bowl and crush gently with a fork until the desired texture is achieved.


Daube de Boeuf Provencale

From Wikipedia: "Daube is a classic Provencal stew made with inexpensive beef braised in wine, vegetables, garlic, and herbes de Provence, and traditionally cooked in a daubière, a braising pan."

"Variations also call for olives, prunes, and flavoring with duck fat, vinegar, brandy, lavender, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, juniper berries, or orange peel."

Daube does takes some preparation ...

One day in advance, get the meat marinating in red wine - diced beef. Follow the Chef's rule that you should only ever cook with wine that you would be happy to drink. Would be ... if drinking alcohol is not within your paleo template, you don't have to drink it. Fear not! Once in the oven, the alcohol is cooked out.

I went with Cabernet Sauvignon from Languedoc, the region right next to Provence. Good wine, which I am more than happy drinking!

Place the beef in a dish, along with some diced streaky bacon or lardons, some thyme, sage, maybe fennel, even anchovy for salty pungency and certainly some minced garlic. The meat will npw marinate happily covered in the fridge until you come to cook it.

On the cooking day, a good couple of hours in advance of meal time, pre-heat the oven to 180C.

Collect the marinated meat from the juices and sear in a hot frying pan. Any liquid should be poured back into the bowl of juices so the meat does not cook in steam - we want it browned.

You may need to do this in stages, but once the meat is browned, transfer it to a lidded ovenproof dish.

Peel and chop a few shallots, slice some carrot and add to the ovenproof dish along with a couple of bay leaves, some black pepper and more garlic, the cloves simply halved this time.

Zest some orange peel into the mix, too, and add any of those optional aromatic flavours like prunes, lavender, nutmeg and cinnamon at this stage.

For the roux, melt a little lard or dripping in the pan and sprinkle over arrowroot. Allow the arrowroot to colour slightly, then de-glaze along with all the meat flavour in the pan with the reserved marinating juices.

You will notice that the juice is especially meaty as the wine has tenderised the meat overnight and small particles of meat will be in the juice.

Pour into the ovenproof dish and place in the oven at 180C for a couple of hours, removing the lid after one hour for the sauce to reduce and colour up.

Take care to stir the Daube a few times throughout this last hour and maybe 20 minutes before serving, scatter in some green olives.

Serve out with some greens, or more traditionally, with boiled white rice or frites, fried in goose fat or lard; enjoy with a glass of the same wine you used to marinate. Garnish with parsley.

Mighty Breakfast Scramble!

It snowed like blazes last night and so a damn good walk in the hills is in order. Nothing like starting the day with something awesome, especially if you want an active day.

Best just grab whatever is to hand and stuff it all in a pan ...

It's pretty much that, but does require a little forethought or it really will be a mess.

Preparation ...

Get some bacon under the grill, set some sausages frying and get some thick slices of mushrooms frying in butter which you prepare the rest.

Halve some small tomatoes, or quarter larger ones, shred a few greens, slice some pickles and chop some herbs - coriander, here. Grate some cheese - cheddar is good.

When the bacon and sausages are done, set them aside. Slice the sausages on the slant. Get some cubed chorizo warming though and pop the tomatoes into the same pan as the mushrooms.

Warm up a heavy bottomed pan and dot the sausages around. Crack in a few eggs and let them start to fry. Arrange the bacon over.

My crappy old heavy based non-stick pan will do for now. I know ... I know ... the horror! Non-stick pans and all, but I can't use cast iron on my ceramic hob.

When the eggs are just about done scatter over the mushrooms and tomato, scatter the chorizo and sprinkle over the chopped greens, pickles, blueberries and finally the grated cheese.

Transfer to the oven to sit under the grill for a short while to keep things warm and melt the cheese.

Garnish with chopped herbs.

Carefully, remembering where the eggs were, lift out good portions onto a plate trying to keep the yolks intact; or just eat straight out of the pan.

Get about your day ...


Japanese Curry

Introduced to Japan by the British rather than the Indians, as an approximation of hot curried food.

So popular now in Japan it is simply called 'curry' and you will find curry roux packets widely available ... except for back here in Blighty, so I guess I'll have to dream up my own concoction.

Imagining this to be more akin to Beef Mulligatawny, as in the famous Heinz soup, just thicker, I set about a spice blend akin to that and kept it very simple to ground coriander, ground turmeric and some chilli powder.

How so?

This looks to be one of those meals that seems to have cooked forever, can be re-heated and probably is, combining fresh ingredients each time.

I sat a pound of casserole beef in some water at 125C for a few hours on Saturday morning. I don't recall how long, but a long time. Chuck it into a slow cooker ... job done.

With softened beef, collect the water for a gravy later.

Seal the meat it in some coconut oil and tossed in the dry spices - coriander, turmeric and chilli powder. Be ready to pour in some water! That spice concoction is like mustard gas!

You could just use a garam masala blend, but my wife really does not like something in that blend, so I didn't.

Sprinkle in a beef stock cube and some arrowroot in water to thicken. Traditionally, flour would be used, but wheat really is bad so we're going to stay well clear. At a push, sorghum flour might be okay but we only need to thicken it.

Let it colour and finally pour over the reserved water, stirring in a teaspoon of tamarind paste and some ground black pepper.

Intermission ...

Tamarind? Is that even paleo?

Well, I don't quite know - it is a member of the Fabaceae family, and so technically a legume, although we're just using the seed from inside. Seed? Yes, the seed. So, um ... paleo?

Well, I don't know ... Either way, tamarind has a unique sour flavour which is the absolute key to this dish. In the spirit of paleo, I did my hunter/gatherer thing and collected a tub of pure tamarind extract from the local supermarket and tasted it. It didn't kill me and had a curious flavour. Being the largest and strongest in my tribe, I took the challenge! I'll eat some and see if it's okay ... it was!

Back to the main feature ...

Toss in a chopped carrot and some peas and then transfer back to the ovenproof dish.

Cook at 180C for a couple of hours.

Serve out with some rice, dressing the dish with some fresh coriander leaves.

White rice is one of those ingredients that is peripheral to the paleo diet, tolerable, but not ideal. Beyond paleo, Perfect Health Diet authors Paul & Shou-Ching Jaminet would call this a "safe starch" and it is with this in mind that I am perfectly happy to include white rice as part of what I would call a paleo+ diet.


Enchiladas Suizas

From Wikipedia: "Suiza, or Swiss, is an adjective that indicates the dish is topped with a white, milk or cream-based sauce, such as Béchamel. This appellation is derived from Swiss immigrants to Mexico who established dairies to produce cream and cheese."

We'll be keeping this paleo with cream cheese pancakes to wrap around a spicy stuffing and a flourless cheese sauce over.

First, make up some cream cheese pancakes ...

1oz of cream cheese and an egg makes two 6" pancakes, so multiple that simple formula as necessary. I have also found that a good knob of melted butter whisked in just before pouring really helps flavour and non-stickiness.

Next, make up the stuffing ...

I made a simple spicy stuffing from a carton of chopped tomatoes, a chopped red pepper, some steamed cauliflower broken down further in the pan and a good portion of small prawns. Spiced with paprika, black pepper and a Scotch Bonnet pepper, and given some oregano aromatics.

Cooked through for a good hour to ensure all the ingredients were well combined, cooked and soft, and water reduced out.

Finally, the cheese sauce ...

Warm up some single cream in a pan and stir in a generous potion of grated cheese - cheddar is perfect. Add a little nutmeg for a warm aromatic and set on low to reduce slightly and keep warm. No flour needed!

Time to build the dish!

Take a pancake and fill with the stuffing. Roll around and lay into an ovenproof dish.

Pour over the cheese sauce, sprinkle over some chopped herbs and bake in the oven at 180C for 20-30 minutes. A few minutes at the end with the grill on to darken the cheese works well - grill, broiler, salamander, whatever your language dictates.

Serve out and accompany with a side salad - I made up a marinated mushroom, green pepper and red onion warm salad, marinated in lemon, lime and sherry vinegar.

Marinated Mushroom Side

Marinated in lemon, lime and sherry vinegar, this warm salad is an excellent accompaniment to rich dishes, especially dishes rich in cream.


Slice some mushrooms, some green pepper and make some onion rings from a red onion.

Mince some garlic.

Soften some butter in a frying pan, add the garlic and toss the mushrooms until just cooked through and all the butter soaked up.

Toss in the green pepper and red onion and toss through with the mushrooms.

Slide out into a bowl and squeeze over a good lemon wedge, lime wedge and splash over some sherry vinegar. Splash some green Tabasco over, too for a gentle warming kick.

Shave some fennel and sprinkle over along with some shredded spring onions.

Allow the salad to cool and marinate - liquid will be released, so just before serving soak it up with a kitchen towel.


Guacamole Cauliflower Mash

After the success of Bangers & Mash (Redux) using cauliflower and cheese together to form a mashed potato-like consistency and having taken note of how much my wife enjoyed our recent Cauliflower & Avocado Side, I wondered if the two concepts might actually work together.

Only one way to find out ...

Steam some cauliflower - one head is fine for two people and a good quantity to blend with half an avocado, which will deliver the flavour and colour.

Take half an avocado and place it in a blending pot with some feta cheese. I got the tip that feta cheese can give a slight graininess, reminiscent of mashed potato. Blending these two ingredients together forms a firm, dry paste.

Once the cauliflower has steamed to a soft consistency remove the lid and allow the steam to escape. This step is important so as not to end up with a wet mash.

Once the steam has really died down but the heat is still within the cauliflower, spoon it in the blending pot.

Cover with some grated cheddar cheese - mild, uncoloured is perfect.

Blend together!

Check for consistency. Too sloppy? Add more cheese. Too firm, add in a little more avocado.

Once you reach a consistency that can be served out onto a plate without losing its shape altogether, you've got the right consistency.

Salt to taste - the cheese should give just enough saltiness to offset the other ingredients, but add in a little sea salt if need be.

Taste-wise, it is a little like a firm guacamole and granted, green mash is not everybody's idea of an appetising looking meal, but it is tasty.

But, what to eat it with?

Well, fusion is always fun, so taking the concept of British Bangers & Mash, how about just drop a few sausages on top? Maybe some soured cream over?

I went for spicy sausages and a thick chilli sauce accompanied by a light salad.

... maybe something for Hallowe'en? Fingers? Blood? Green slime?