Peruvian Fried Fish

In my desperation to stretch out sea bass over seven days, particularly to our Friday night spicy meal, I turned to our South American friends and a dish called Tacu Tacu ...

... or so, I thought.

Tacu Tacu is some kind of Peruvian dish, that's for sure, but when I googled (love google) the matter, I found fried fish with spicy lentils and some rice. I later found that Tacu Tacu is something quite different, so the title remains as it does, not Tacu Tacu.

Anyway ...

It's Friday! We survived! We won! We got through another week, we worked it, we did our thing and we did it well; but now, it's the start of a beautiful weekend, cold, bright, sunny and full of all the things we hope will bring us joy, recovery, recouperation and drum up the strength to get out there and do it again for another week.

But no, Friday is about kicking back and saying, "Fuck, yeah! I did okay this week." ...

We need fun, flavour, spice and some booze, so ... let's get on with it, eh?

First, lentils ... second, rice ... neither are paleo, so if you're one of those paleos who cannot abide the notion of folks eating outside of the box just look away and carry on ... LOOK! A MAMMOTH! GO! No, serious! GO! There's a mammoth! Go get it!

Phew! We've ditched our purist friends who can go about keeping the straight and narrow, erm, straight and narrow ... let's have some fun! It's Friday ... Fry ... Day.

First, lentils ...

Lentils are part of the Fabaceae or Leguminosae family: legumes, and as such have no place in the paleo diet, yet are tentatively acceptable as part of what I would call a paleo+ diet.

Legumes as a family represent a wide spectrum. When considering food sources, one does need to look at the whole, the big picture - red kidney beans represent the most toxic end of the spectrum, while lentils represent the least toxic. Beyond paleo, Archevore author Kurt Harris makes no mention of legumes, in fact, considers them a useful food source although not ideal.

Legumes MUST be prepared by soaking and then pressure cooking. Canned legumes will have already been soaked and then pressure cooked, or super-heated with steam.

Second, rice ...

Rice, especially white rice, is a simple starch. Eat it, eat it every now and again and don't worry.

Arsenic? Yeah, maybe ...

Okay, so we're ready to roll, right?

First, cook them lentils - lentils, can of, green, onions, garlic, tomato puree, chillies, more chillies, something else hot, more chillies, Worcestershire Sauce and more chillies - we want this hot!

Rice, boil it, drain it, stir in some parsley.

Ready to eat?

You've gutted, cleaned, scaled and filleted your fish, so drop the fillets in a skillet with some butter.

Plate up - lentils on one side, rice on't t'other, fish in the middle.


Drink? Tequila! Tequila ... lots of and enjoy it.

Tequila! It makes me happy ...

Yeah, there's an egg on there ... fry an egg! What? You want a support group?

Of course, this, like always is inspiration ... do your fish the way you want to, spicy, coz it's Friday, accompanied with whatever you like.

Just have some fun. Life is hard enough without complicating it with strict diets.


Almond Crusted Sea Bass

Day four of seven ... fun with sea bass.

Tonight, almond crusted over parsnip purée and kale, both absolutely and perfectly seasonal.

First, peel, cube and boil the parsnip.

Next, clean, scale, gut and fillet your fish. Set the fillets on a greased ovenproof tray with a little butter on top and pat on flaked almonds.

Put into the oven for 15 minutes at 200C (400F). The butter will melt and the almonds colour up while the fish cooks through.

Meanwhile, steam some kale and keep it warm. Puree the parsnip with a hand blender.

Finally, using a concentrated fish stock, pour in a little cream and a pinch of saffron. Reduce slightly to concentrate the flavours and thicken up.

Ready to eat?

Serve out onto a plate with a good helping of the parsnip purée, some kale, the fish on top and the sauce around the outside.

Gorgeous! I licked the plate clean and then set to work on cleaning my Mrs' plate. Saves on the washing up, eh?


Sea Bass over Broccoli Steak

Day three of seven ... fun with sea bass.

Tonight, pan fried sea bass over a steak of broccoli and an Italian salad - just a bunch of things hanging around in the fridge, really.

First, take a head of broccoli and cut it in half. Make a second cut straight through the half head just to the outside of the stalk leaving you with a steak just short of an inch thick.

Broccoli is an excellent source of Vitamins C, A & K.

Par-boil the broccoli and then fry off in a skillet with a little butter.

Next, clean, scale, gut and fillet your fish, slashing each fillet on the skin side so that it doesn't curl up when fried in a skillet.

The Italian salad is made up of some pepperoni I had in the fridge, courgette, black olives, capers, pickled garlic, basil and black pepper. Pepperoni is not even slightly paleo, primal and not really very good for you, but it tastes good and we had some left over from a junk food Breakfast Paezza last weekend.

Simply fry the lot together in a skillet.

Finally, fry off the fish. Fry on the skin side until crispy and then flip the fillets over, turning the heat off to cook through.

Serve out, broccoli steak in the middle, good squeeze of lemon juice, salad around the outside and fish over the top. Done.

Baltic Salad

Just a quick starter ...

Pickled herring, caviar, tomato, radish, gherkin, dill and leftover celeriac purée. That's about it!

I was pleased to find that celeriac purée goes so well with caviar. It's just missing an egg ... which I boiled and then forgot about, damn it!


Sea Bass over Celeriac Purée

Day two of seven ... fun with sea bass.

Tonight, served simply with some celeriac purée and a garlic mushroom jus.

First, get some celeriac peeled, cubed and boiling.

Celeriac is absolutely seasonal at the moment and a great resource of Vitamins C & K.

Next, clean, scale, gut and fillet your fish, slashing each fillet on the skin side so that it doesn't curl up when fried in a skillet.

Prepare the garlic and mushroom jus by immersing some mushrooms in fish stock and gently warming while the celeriac is boiling. Just before serving, drop in some crushed garlic and some herbs, adjusting the saltiness to taste.

So, with the celeriac now softened, blend it with a hand blender and some heavy cream. If cream is not a part of your paleo template, just keep blending and try to blend some air into it - this will lend a creamy texture.

While you're doing this, just place the sea bass fillets into a skillet with some butter. Fry on the skin side until crispy and then flip the fillets over, turning the heat off to cook through.

Serve out with a good helping of celeriac mash, lay the fillet over and spoon the jus around the plate, dropping the mushrooms over the fish.

Scallop Mulligatawny

You know what? The great thing about surplus and leftovers is that they often inspire you to make considerable leaps of creativity and come up with a novel twist on a classic dish.

From the Tamil milagu thanni, or "pepper water", Mulligatawny was popularised in the West by Heinz as a soup.

The Heinz soup is dark brown, rich, peppery with small chunks of beef and bulked with rice. Other versions are more yellow, laced with turmeric.

With leftover gravy from my weekend Lamb Stew and a glut of scallops, I set about putting the two together ...

The peppery gravy was easy - just take the leftover gravy, let it out a little with water to break it from gravy into a soup and spice it up: black pepper, chilli, ground coriander and turmeric.

The Heinz soup is bulked with rice. I went with some steamed cauliflower, gently crushed and added to the soup.

Finally, slice a few scallops up and sauté in butter. Mine were huge, so slicing up was necessary, but if yours are smaller, just saute them off whole.

Serve out: soup in a bowl and the scallops in the middle, garnished with herbs.


Sea Bass with Sauce Vierge

The first of seven days of fun with sea bass ... no, really!

Tonight, we had sea bass fillets with roasted sweet potato, orange, mange tout, courgette and a sauce vierge.

First, prepare the fish - clean, gut, scale and fillet the fish, slash the skin through and set aside.

Next, take a sweet potato, peeled and chopped into segments, push them into the oven for about half an hour at 200C (400F) with a little dripping.

Chop up some courgette and settle into a steamer with some mange tout.

Segment an orange.

When the sweet potato is about ready, steam the green veggies and pan fry the fish in a skillet with a little butter, skin first until crispy, then flip over and turn the heat off, allowing the residual heat in the skillet to cook through.

Finally, the sauce vierge: a French sauce of oil, lemon juice, tomato, caper and anchovy.

Soften a couple of anchovy fillets in some olive oil, adding in the chopped tomatoes, capers, onion, garlic, chopped basil and finally some lemon juice.

Plate up with the vegetables and orange scattered around, the fish fillet placed over and the sauce over the top.



Seven Days of Sea Bass

I have no idea how, but I have a freezer full of sea bass!

My wife joked that we should eat nothing but sea bass until it's gone ... which got me thinking ...

So, this (coming) week we will mostly be eating*: Sea Bass.

Roasted sea bass with roasted sweet potato, orange segments, steamed courgette and sauce vierge.

Grilled sea bass with set celeriac purée with a garlic mushroom jus.

Steamed sea bass over citrus dressed broccoli with capers and anchovies.

Almond crust roasted sea bass with parsnip purée, fried kale and a saffron sauce.

Steamed sea bass with spicy green lentils and white rice. Tacu Tacu.

Poached sea bass pieces with prawns, sea vegetables, asparagus, ginger, chilli and lime. Hot & Sour.

Pan fried sea bass over garden peas with a pea & mint purée, scallops and fish velouté.

... sound fun?

* Fans of 'The Fast Show' will get the reference.


Spicy Prawns with Mango & Avocado Salad

Some things are just born to go together ...

Make up a scattered salad from wedges of mango and avocado, dressed up a little with some very thinly sliced cucumber.

Take a good bunch of prawns, chopped coriander, chillies, garlic and ginger, some lime juice and sauté away in a skillet.

Pour over the scattered salad and garnish with horse ear spring onions and a few wedges of lime around the plate.

Simple ...

Breakfast Paezza!

On the back of junk food for breakfast that we enjoyed last weekend, here's a pizza, of sorts, this week ...

Not strictly a pizza, this is actually a thin frittata dressed as a pizza.

With these kind of meals, it is best to prepare all the ingredients beforehand.

We'll need some grated cheese, shredded bacon and onions, sliced mushroom, slices of tomato and some pepperoni.

First, grate the cheese - a mix of coloured medium and white mature cheddar is always good.

Next, shred some bacon and onions, which should be fried off in a skillet, after which a few thinly sliced mushrooms can be softened, coloured up and cooked through. Set both aside.

Take six eggs - this will make a good base in a 10" skillet. Beat them and pour into the skillet (something like 10" base is good). Here's the technique - keep lifting the cooked egg up and mess it up, mess it around. We're not making scrambled egg, but more like an omelette.

Before the egg has fully cooked through, drop in some of the cheese along with the shredded bacon and onion - this will for a kind of base. Cook on until the cheese begins to melt and the eggs are cooked through.

Remove from the heat - the residual heat in the skillet will harden the base, but we don't want it overdone.

Spread the mushrooms over, then distribute the tomato slices and pepperoni slices around. Yes, pepperoni ain't paleo, but then neither is cultivated vegetables nor domesticated meat ... which, in a roundabout way, I'm saying it doesn't really matter if it's a one off ... call it a cheat or call it just living, you choose.

More cheese over't top, some black pepper and settle it under the grill/broiler to cook the pepperoni through and melt the cheese.

Your paezza is ready! Enjoy! I did ... burp!


Spiced Plaice Taco

Spicy fish tacos ... too gorgeous!

It's Friday! In my house, Friday is spicy food night and to celebrate the end of a work week, a light overindulgence in sensible indulgences always goes down a treat ...

Back to the food - we're having plaice. When you think spicy, you don't automatically grab a plaice, but actually, you should - it is a flavoursome fish with a good flesh structure that can hold its own, even with some spice.

First, we need to make our salad - a simple cucumber and red onion salad, marinaded with red wine vinegar.

Do you need a method for that? It's thinly slice the cucumber and red onion, slosh some red wine vinegar over and leave it for about an hour, turning through every so often. Drain off the vinegar and mix in some chopped herbs: dill and oregano.

The fish needs nothing more than a few minutes under the grill/broiler.

Place the fish on a plate, squeeze over some lime and slosh some of your favourite chilli sauce over. Sorry to disappoint and not come up with a totally primal chilli sauce (which isn't a great trial, but anyway) ... Buffalo Sauce Tabasco!

Pile up some of the salad at the end of the fish and garnish with some shredded sun-dried tomatoes, steeped in chilli infused oil.

Time required for the marinated salad aside, this is a five minute meal.

Serve with some guac, greek yoghurt, whatever other little accoutrements you like and enjoy.

The taco? Easy! Gem lettuce.


Pan Fried Sea Bass over Cabbage with Cauliflower Puree

Dead quick, really flavoursome and seriously fulfilling.

Shred some cabbage and get it steaming.

Take some cauliflower florets and get them steaming.

Shred some bacon and warm it through in a skillet.

In a large skillet, pan fry some sea bass fillets on the skin side, then switch the heat off and flip the fillets over to cook through.

Tip: To prevent the fish from curling up in the pan, on the skin side, slash the skin through a few times.

Just before you serve, purée the cauliflower with a little cream and sea salt.

Serve out the cabbage first, scattering some mixed seeds over, fish on top, bacon over, lemon wedge, chive garnish. Finally, get all cheffy and put little blobs of the purée around the plate ... or just a good glob of it under the fillets.


Smoked Haddock with Mushroom Sauce over Cauliflower Steaks

Smoked haddock just seems to work so well with mushrooms in a cream sauce. What better than to partner it with a simple vegetable and enjoy the singular flavours?

To the kitchen ...

First, let's get the sauce going, for which we need some mushrooms, sliced and softened in butter. Pour on some fish stock and simmer gently to reduce slightly, concentrating the flavours. Pour on some cream and reduce gently until thickened.

Next, the cauliflower, which is simply sliced through into steaks about an inch thick and pan fried in butter, lowering the heat to cook through. I got this idea from a vegetarian website of all places and they're really onto something here ... just needs some natural protein on top!

Finally, the fish. Take a good portion of smoked haddock each and steam it over some boiling water for a few minutes while the other side of the cauli steaks cook through.

Serve out, cauliflower steaks as the base, fish on top and spoon the sauce over, garnishing with chopped dill.



Shellfish Stir Fry over Courgette Rösti

Simple shellfish stir fry, but first, let's look at the rösti ...

Rösti is a Swiss potato dish and in its purest for is quite simply grated potato fried in a pan of butter and committed to the oven to cook through.

Rösti can be more broadly defined as a potato dish with the addition of cheese, bacon and onion, and in our case, even more broadly, made from courgette and carrot.

For two, grate about half a courgette and half a carrot. Double in volume with grated cheddar - I went for mature for a really strong flavour. Crack in a couple of eggs for binding, salt and pepper for flavour. Mix well.

Take a couple of skillets and warm up some fat. Drop half of the mixture into each skillet, pat down and lower the heat so that the underside cooks through and does not burn. After a few minutes, flip over and cook the other side through.

Meanwhile, the stir fry ...

Shred up whatever you want to include - I went with lots of spring onion and some stringless beans. Relax! They're practically all pod.

Begin with some shredded bacon, then toss in the vegetables.

Add in a little ginger, chilli and garlic for spiky flavours and some rice wine vinegar just to keep things from sticking.

Finally, toss in a good bunch of shellfish - I had some really good prawns and some cockles.

Stir together, cook through and serve up.

Place the rösti on a plate, spooning the stir fry over and accompany with some chilli dipping sauce.


Blueberry Cheesecake

I've got simple tastes for dessert - Ice Cream, Panna Cotta and Cheesecake.

Anticipation ...


1/3 natural probiotic yoghurt
2/3 cream cheese - pure, not Philadelphia please

Whisk together with a touch of honey if you want the sweetness (I don't, so didn't) and don't use lemon - it unbalances the next ingredient and for sourness, we've got the yoghurt.

Scrape half a vanilla pod (if making for two) or a whole pod (if making for four).

Spoon out into Chef's rings.

Take half of your blueberries (the bigger ones in the bunch) and warm them through in a skillet until they soften. Crush 'em ... crush 'em well and re-introduce them to the rest of the berries. This is a sort of rough compote.

Spoon the berries over the top and settle in the fridge to set. Give it overnight ... because ...

As it sets, the whey will fall out of the mix. Drink it! It's good.

When you come to serve up, the ring will just slide off cheesecake.

Served ...

Good, eh?

Base? We don't need no stinking base! This is about the cheese!

If you must, some crushed hazels would be okay, but they'll be soggy with this method. Replace the natural yoghurt with Greek yoghurt and there should be no whey fallout. When removing the ring, you'll need to warm it. So, just give it a warming hug with your hands and it will slip off easily.

Other substitutions? Mascarpone in place of the cream cheese, soured cream in place of the yoghurt, crème fraîche, perhaps, you get the idea ...

Harissa Chicken with Cauliflower Couscous

Harissa is a Tunisian spice paste made from a blend of chillis, garlic, herbs and other spices.

Rose Harissa is a gourmet paste that has the inclusion of rose petals, giving a deep colour as well as offsetting the unnecessary burn of the chilli.

The result? One seriously flavoursome paste which retains a good kick!

There are a number of recipes that you could follow to make your own Harissa, but they're all pretty much grinding down chillis, garlic, herbs and spices down in a pestle and mortar, adding in rose petals, grinding some more and softening it all up with oil.

I buy mine. I like the Belazu brand: "Rose petals are one of over forty spices added to give this paste its unique aroma and complex, yet unmistakably spicy, taste. Harissa was originally a staple of Tunisian cooking but is used throughout North Africa as a seasoning or condiment. It has a hot kick to it but the rose petals in the sauce provide a unique balance to the chilli heat."

Harissa can be spread over meat and roasted, added to soups and stews, spread over flat bread, the options almost limitless.

Here's we're simply going to lather the chicken in Harissa and let it marinate ...

I had some chicken thighs which were covered in the paste, lemon juice and left to marinate in the fridge overnight.

When ready to cook, just place them onto an ovenproof plate and cook through at 200C (400F) for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the couscous ...

Couscous, of Berber origin (Seksu, meaning well rolled, formed and rounded), couscous is made from millet so not a lot of use to paleo people.

One obvious substitution is cauliflower couscous, florets simply steamed, crushed and then dried and coloured up in a dry frying pan.

Serve out onto a plate with a good helping of couscous, the chicken over the top and some vegetables alongside.

Breakfast Burger & Chips

Even more leftover fun ...

You had friends round, made a glut of beef burgers which were absolutely awesome but you grossly underestimated just how filling 100% nothing else added burgers could be.

"100% nothing else added burgers"?

Barely even touched, either! Here's how ...

Get some minced beef (that's ground beef for non-Brits, for whom ground beef is something else ... a much finer mince ... in fact, given that folks in the States call prawns "shrimp", what do you call shrimp? In the UK, we call shrimp "shrimp" and prawns "prawns") ... I digress ... get some minced beef.

Minced beef comes out in long strings. Do as little as you can to upset these. In previous recipes, I have advocated quite a rough handling, practically blending the meat fibres almost to a slurry by squeezing the meat through your fists a few times, but not this time!

Season the lot - sea salt and black pepper (so, 99.9999999% now).

Take a reasonable amount of meat (maybe 6oz?) and gently roll it together into a ball. Press down so that it becomes something just under an inch in thickness and about 5" in diameter.

Fire up your grill, griddle pan, BBQ, whatever you're going to cook them on, get it really hot and then drop the burgers on.

Place a dot of butter on the top of each burger (so, now 99.999%). The butter will melt through into burger making it extra moist!

After a few minutes, flip over, enjoying the whole lot setting on fire as the excess juices flow out. Do not be tempted to press the burgers - we want all that goodness in there.

After a few more minutes, pop the burgers onto a plate and get stuck in with however it is you're going to eat them, reserving leftovers for this dish.

Now we get to it ...

Shred an onion and get it caramelising in butter.

Once the caramelisation is underway, sprinkle over some ground coriander and some chilli flakes, then lay a burger each over the top, sliced in half through the centre to make two thinner burgers - the inside part will start to soak up flavours.

Make up a really meaty beef gravy from stock, boosting with mushroom. Pour over the burgers and let them simmer, concentrating the flavours.

Meanwhile, cook some chips. That's fries or frites, depending upon your language. I went with the frites method, thinly sliced and fried in beef dripping for a superb golden colour.

Serve out ...

Chips in a bowl, retrieve the burgers and spoon the onion gravy over the chips, burger on top, remaining gravy, light salad and a boiled egg. Fried or poached would be absolutely awesome, too!

Eat! Eat! Eat!


Lime Infused Trout with Rice, Beetroot, Asparagus and Orange

More leftovers ...

First, let's get the contentious one out of the way: is rice primal? If white rice is not for you, please do carry on with cauliflower rice.

The rice was kept aside from my Pilchard Kedgeree, packed into a ramekin and refrigerated.

Making from fresh, boil, then simmer some rice with a few other ingredients: carrot cubes, maybe peas, green beans, chilli, turmeric, coriander, bouillon, that kind of thing. You want a nice savoury rice.

If you're doing it with cauliflower, steam and crush your cauli, then fold it into the other ingredients in some fat in a skillet.

Lay (place?) a couple of plaice fillets on a greased tray and squeeze a load of lime all over, along with a little sea salt.

Pop under the grill (or broiler, depending upon your language ... an overhead heat source, anyway) for just a few minutes.

Meanwhile, boil some asparagus tips and set aside.

Plate up with the ramekin of rice at one side, the fillets taking pride of place and then dot over a few extras: the asparagus tips, some pickled beetroot and some orange segments.

Why? Well, they all seem to work together, oddly. Two kinds of sweet with the orange and the pickled beetroot, and two kinds of early with the pickled beetroot and the asparagus. Couple that with the sour lime in the soft fish, that bounces off everything else on the plate.

The flesh should just pull away from the skin perfectly. Feel free to eat the skin as well.

What a mélange ...

Cauliflower Stalk Soup with Flaked Smoked Salmon

Pure leftover fun!

You've enjoyed your cauliflower however it is that you did it, but it galls you to throw out all those lovely stalks ... similarly, you have a little leftover fish of some sort: smoked salmon fillet, in my case.

Put them both together and enjoy a practically free starter.

Here's how ...

Soften some onion or leek and garlic in butter.

Shred the cauliflower stalks and toss them in.

Pour over stock and boil until the stalks are fully softened.

Blend well in a food processor or with a hand blender. Blending seems to work better and the longer you do it, the creamer it all becomes ... bet you're glad you used a generous amount of butter in the first place, eh?

Serve out into a bowl, dropping in your leftover fish into the middle.


Pilchard Kedgeree

You read that right: Pilchard Kedgeree.

First, let's get the contentious one out of the way: is rice primal? If white rice is not for you, please do carry on with cauliflower rice.

Kedgeree is one of those totally fake exotic dishes. It is damn tasty, though!

So, boil, then simmer some rice with a few other ingredients: carrot cubes, maybe peas, green beans, chilli, turmeric, coriander, bouillon, that kind of thing. You want a nice savoury rice. If you're doing it with cauliflower, steam and crush your cauli, then fold it into the other ingredients in some fat in a skillet.

Serve out into a bowl.

This is my lunch, so to be eaten cold ... allow the rice to cool, or carry straight on if you want it hot.

Open a can of pilchards. These are cheap fish! Sardines, I believe, but Atlantic, or something like that. Wiki provides the following: "the terms sardine and pilchard are not precise, and what is meant depends on the region. The United Kingdom's Sea Fish Industry Authority classifies sardines as young pilchards. Another criterion suggests fish shorter in length than 6 inches are sardines and larger ones pilchards."

Canned fish like this is pretty low brow, but we have no pretentions.

As with all fish, you get a great pack of vitamins and minerals, especially selenium and omega-3, and a huge (no, HUGE) helping of B12. Being low in the food chain, pilchards are very low in contaminants like mercury but as we well know ... nature already sorted that problem out for us.

Drop a few fish bodies over your rice, spaced with boiled eggs and garnished with some 'erbs.

Perfect now, or cooled for lunch tomorrow. ... can't wait!

As an aside, I wonder just how good canned fish is given that it is super-heated to cook through and then canned. That super-heating surely does something quite bad to the fats. Is there a nutritionalist who can give us some insight?

On the back of that, canned fish gives us a cheap real food, even if it is the poor relation.

Prawn & Enoki Chowder

Just a quick and easy starter ...

Shred some onion or leek and soften in some butter in a skillet.

Cube some root veggies, tossing them in the butter and get them boiling in bouillon (or chicken stock, fish stock or other light stock) to soften.

Once softened, toss in some prawns, enoki mushrooms and something green - I went with green beans. Relax! They're all pod.

Pour in some cream and reduce.

Serve out, garnished with dill.


Griddled Swordfish with Broccoli Cheese Bake

Fast becoming my favourite pre-Fencing protein, swordfish is a fantastic fish, thick, juicy, meaty and very much the same sort of pleasure as eating a good fillet steak.

Naysayers would tell us that we shouldn't eat this often since it's high in mercury and mercury is bad for our organs and blah blah blah ... good job we don't swallow conventional wisdom easily, because it turns out that nature already sorted this out for us.

The short version? Selenium protects against over-ingestion of mercury ... and, guess what ... swordfish is rich in selenium, as is all seafood.

So, as our ancestors would have done, completely and utterly unarmed with institutionalist nonsense, let's just eat this gorgeous fish, enjoy it and not worry one bit.

Before griddling our fish ...

Take a small broccoli floret per person and try to cut them through the stalk in a way which gives large flat surfaces. If you do it just right, you can divide a floret into three, straight down the stalk.

Steam the florets for a few minutes until al dente.

Lay the floret pieces out in a shallow ovenproof dish, scatter over some shredded red onion, leek, garlic, chilli, then pour over some cream and top with grated cheddar.

Pop this into the oven for 10-15 minutes, grinding some black pepper over and crunching some sea salt over upon retrieval.

Back up! If dairy is not a part of your paleo/primal template then don't do it. Simply steamed and then laid out on the plate with a squeeze of lemon juice and a splash of extra virgin olive oil would do absolutely perfectly. Maybe some shredded bacon over?

Meanwhile, heat up your griddle pan and get the swordfish cooking through.

Serve out ... simple as ...

Sea Vegetable & Enoki Mushroom Soup

Here's a quick and easy way of getting your iodine, unsupplemented ...

Dried sea vegetables, procured from the supermarket Japanese section, steeped in bouillon (or bone broth if you have some) and spiced up with ginger and chilli. Make more interesting with some mushrooms - enoki variety in my case.

Mushrooms are packed with yet more antioxidants, making is one seriously heart-healthy starter.

Sea vegetables are not only a fantastic source of iodine, but possibly a unique source of vanadium. Reading up, vanadium appears to play a multi-faceted role in regulation of carbohydrate metabolism and blood sugar.

If somebody with a better grasp of biochemistry than me (that's everyone, then) can offer further insight, I'd be very grateful. Let's hear from you in the comments.


Smoked Haddock over Sweet Potato & Kale Mash

Smoked Haddock is just gorgeous! Deep, sumptuous and soft. What better than to partner it with some paleo comfort food? Sweet potato mash.

Quick and easy ...

Peel and cube a sweet potato, and get it boiling.

Shred up some kale and place it in a steamer over the boiling sweet potatoes.

When the sweet potatoes are about done, place the fish in another steamer lined with tin foil over the pan. The fish will take only a few minutes to cook through.

Drain the sweet potatoes, add in a few knobs of butter, some grated cheese and then the kale on top. The heat will melt the butter and cheese, so when crushing gently and stirring together, a sticky green and orange mash should emerge.

Pour in the juices from the fish.

Spoon out a portion of the mash onto a plate, laying the fish over and garnish with some herbs - chives in my case.

The mash could be pepped up with some shredded leek - one for next time.


Sea Bass with Pickled Fruit Salad

Too gorgeous! Simply too gorgeous!

Take a really good fish, sit it over some simple white vegetables, salad ingredients and some fruit ... and enjoy.

So, first, deal with your fish. Gut it. Scale it by rubbing a knife up and down the skin under running water, clean it out and sit it on a board for filleting.

Fillet. Slash the fillets on the skin side so that they don't curl up when cooked and set aside.

Shred some red onion and fennel, pickled garlic, pickled chilli and black pepper, slosh a little cider vinegar over and let it steep.

Shred some white cabbage and boil it, drain and infuse some flavour from marjoram.

Soften a little butter in a heavy based skillet, fry the fish on the skin side for a few minutes, turn and switch the heat off finishing the fish in the heat of the pan.

Peel and segment an orange.

Dish up ...

Cabbage down first, some chopped chicory and then the fish.

Scatter the orange segments around with some cockles and the marinated salad over the top.

Whoa! This is very fine indeed! We had a really nice Chablis alongside.

For the doubters ... orange worked so well with this, lifting the fish to something quite sublime! Do not skimp on the orange!

Leftover Chilli Mushroom

Leftovers are great, aren't they?

Whether an instant meal, reheated, or the start of a new one, leftovers give us the chance to apply our creative minds to put together a different dish from an already cooked dish.

Of course, you could just heat it up and eat it ... or you could put it with something else.

Too little for a full meal? Pad it out, or make a tasty starter!

Using leftover Winter Chilli, I put it over a large mushroom, topped with cheese and some Greek yoghurt for a starter.

Simply pop your large mushrooms on a griddle until the liquid boils up through, flip them and press them down to evaporate all the liquid but retain the flavour, load up with Chilli, top with cheese and sit them under the grill for a minute or two.

Crown with Greek yoghurt and eat.

Winter Chilli

Your favourite chilli recipe can take on a whole new personality when partnered with a seasonal vegetable.

If you're anything like me, you'll like your Chilli regularly. We have Chilli once a week, varying the meat from minced to diced, sometimes adding in pork, sometimes switching entirely to fish, other times to turkey or chicken ... but my minced meat Chilli remains the most commonly undertaken.

My method ...

Take a couple of pounds of minced beef - that's ground beef to you folks over the pond. Brown it off in a large lidded skillet along with some coconut oil.

Meanwhile, chop a large onion, a few cloves of garlic, a couple of chillies and a some ginger root. Blend this lot together with a hand blender until it is a slurry.

While the meat is browning, add in some beef stock and reduce, allowing the darkness to colour up well with the meat.

Pour in the onion slurry and cook through, adding in a carton of chopped tomatoes afterwards.

Finally, a good dollop of tomato puree, an over-generous helping of ground black pepper, a seriously good helping of oregano, some paprika, a little cayenne pepper, cube of 100% chocolate (cocoa powder would do fine) and a good pint, or more, of beef stock.

Lid on and let this lot simmer together for at least an hour.

Lid off, heat up and reduce.

That's my basic Chilli with several levels of heat - ginger, garlic, paprika, black pepper, chilli and cayenne pepper. Vary the chillies for different flavours.

Now the seasonal thing ...

Add in some cubes of pumpkin at the last stage, while the excess liquor is reducing. The pumpkin will cook through and go soft, but still retain some shape.

Of course, this concept can be continued throughout the year, including a different seasonal vegetable each month - aubergine, marrow, summer squash and winter squash are a few of my favourites.

Serve out, as is, or with some lettuce leaves for scooping up, some guac alongside, Greek yoghurt, simple salsa, you know the drill ...


Smoked Mackerel Pâté

Simplicity itself ...

Smoked mackerel is available very cheaply at just about every supermarket you might care to mention and quickly turned into a delicious starter.

Take a smoked fillet per person. Into a bowl, remove the flesh from the skin and take care to pick out any straggling bones.

Squeeze some lemon juice over the fish for some zing and add a half teaspoon per fillet of horseradish or mustard, perhaps chilli powder; something to give it some bite as well.

Stir in a good tablespoon per fillet of Greek yoghurt, natural probiotic yoghurt or some mayonnaise. You could even just stir in some extra virgin olive oil.

Sea salt and freshly milled black pepper are mandatory.

Stir, stir and stir some more until the flesh is broken up and all the ingredients well combined.

Serve out onto a plate with a few things to accompany - salad ingredients and an egg, naturally.


Griddled Swordfish with Spicy Pepper Sauce

Who's for some steak? Swordfish steak?

Swordfish is a fantastic fish, thick, juicy, meaty and very much the same sort of pleasure as eating a good fillet steak.

Naysayers would tell us that we shouldn't eat this often since it's high in mercury and mercury is bad for our organs and blah blah blah ... good job we don't swallow conventional wisdom easily, because it turns out that nature already sorted this out for us.

The short version? Selenium protects against over-ingestion of mercury ... and, guess what ... swordfish is rich in selenium, as is all seafood.

So, as our ancestors would have done, completely and utterly unarmed with institutionalist nonsense, let's just eat this gorgeous fish, enjoy it and not worry one bit.

Swordfish works so very well with a spicy pepper sauce, so let's get that started.

Coconut oil into a skillet and half a shredded red onion softening, pour in a carton of chopped tomatoes. Give it a generous teaspoon of tomato purée and get it boiling down.

Shred a romano pepper - you know, those long, sweet red peppers, and toss into the pan along with a couple of shredded chillies and a few cloves of minced garlic.

Lower the heat and let it simmer away, improving all the flavours as they play together. Reduce and thicken.

I like something green, too, so went with a steamed courgette.

I also halved some brined black olives to sprinkle over the sauce.

Warm your griddle pan through and pop the swordfish steaks onto it - a few minutes each side is sufficient to cook through, yet retain that meatiness without overcooking.

Serve out ...

Good helping of the sauce, the steak alongside, slice of lemon, courgette over and the black olives over the sauce.


Grilled Plaice with Samphire and Duchess Potatoes

Plaice is one of those fish that is best done as simply as possible - pan fried or grilled. Either way, serve out in a way that the flesh can simply be slid off the skin, or just eat the lot - the skin on the white side of the fish is as good as the flesh.

Sole or skate would be perfect replacements.

Sometimes known as Glasswort or Sea Asparagus, Samphire, a corruption of Saint Peter the patron Saint of Fishermen, is a vegetable that grows in the marshes along seaside river estuaries.

Beginning their growth season in the autumn and continuing through the winter until the start of the warm season, whether sautéed  steamed or blanched, samphire is perfectly seasonal and such a treat for eating with simple seafood and a little carb.

Nutritionally, samphire is packed with goodness - strong iodine and in vitamins A, C, B2 and B15, amino acids and minerals, such as iron, calcium and particularly magnesium.

Presenting, samphire ...

Duchess Potatoes are a neat little treat. I don't think it would work too well with other roots, but if white potatoes are not part of your paleo template I think a couple of rounds of sweet potato alongside, simply baked, would be just right.

To make Duchess Potatoes, boil a white potato, mash is, add in the required amount of butter to get it to that smooth, ready to eat stage and then fold in an egg yolk.

Pipe the mixture into an interesting shape - using a crimped nozzle, you can achieve really interesting shapes, but I went with a straight nozzle for a change. Pipe out onto an ovenproof tray and slip it into the oven for a few minutes to bake through and crisp up.

Concerning potatoes: white potatoes have long been vilified by the paleo community, its sweet cousin made the darling, but I cannot find much difference between them in terms of starch or insulin response.

White potatoes do seem to be more accepted amongst ancestral eaters, but the same words of advice are true for any starch: don't over-do it.

Todd gives us a sound consideration of potatoes on his Primal Toad website.

Back to it ... let's cook.

This is a quick dish, so get prepared.

First, get some potatoes boiling, mash 'em and make the Duchess Potatoes. Slip them into the oven.

While the potatoes are cooking through, place the fish fillets onto a greased tray and pop them under the grill/broiler.

Make up a quick warm salsa with whatever you have to hand and quickly fry it through - I went with cubed courgette, ginger, chilli, baby leek and some shredded green beans. Oh, and a few cockles ... just because.

The samphire? Just drop into boiling water while you plate up, drain and place a mound on the plate.

Ready to eat?

Slide the fish onto the plate, covering with the warm salsa. Place the Duchess Potatoes and a mound of samphire alongside.

Fantastic flavours! Simplicity, yet an intriguing complex of flavours.

King Oyster Mushroom with Scallops and a Creamy Leek Mash

I had the great fortune of finding a glut of exotic mushrooms at a really nice supermarket while out today.

One was a particularly pleasing king oyster mushroom, which I had to do something special with ...

Scallops, anyone?

Scallops seem to go so well with mushrooms. That's a given, but, how to get the best from this mushroom?

I decided to take a few slices out of the middle of the mushroom and simply flavour them, colour them up, warm them through in a little butter.

More butter added to the skillet and the scallops were coloured up, brown butter poured over when plated.

Alongside, I made a quick potato mash and mixed it with shredded baby leek, piped out.

In all, gorgeous ... and I have a little mushroom left over for a small starter of risotto.


Shepherd's Pie ... proper Shepherd's Pie

What's "proper" about it, then?

Well, it's made with mutton and it's not ground/minced ... it's a piece of shoulder.

Mutton is from older sheep with a strong, fully developed flavour lending itself perfectly to slow cooking and simple flavours.

Several hours earlier ...

In the morning, simply lay your mutton shoulder in a large casserole dish, cover with water, add some salt, pepper, garlic and a bay leaf.

Set it slow cooking for the day ... 125C/250F for as many hours as you can.

Hours later ...

Retrieve the mutton joint and chop up roughly. Save the stock for later, excess for soup, skimming off as much fat as you can, reserving it for frying off the onions and mushrooms, excess stored in a ramekin in the fridge for later.

Fry off an onion and a good few mushrooms - I find chestnut mushroom perfect with this.

Return the chopped mutton, onion and mushrooms to the casserole dish.

Chop a couple of carrots and add to the dish.

More garlic and some herbs - I went with rosemary and marjoram.

Cover with stock and add a good splash of Worcestershire Sauce, a good couple of tablespoons of tomato purée, a little sea salt and some black pepper.

Pop back into the oven at a higher temperate for an hour, or so. 180C/350F is good. Ensure that the juice evaporates and thickens - we don't want a sloppy pie!

After a good hour, toss in some peas. You can skip this if peas are not part of your paleo template - they're more pod than legume; I'm okay with them every now and again.

Take a cauliflower, remove the stalks saving them for soup, cut up removing as much stalk as you can and get it steaming.

Once steamed, crush with a fork.

With the casserole fully reduced, spoon the crushed cauliflower over making a crust. Scatter some grated cheese over and pop under the grill/broiler for a few minutes.

Again, if cheese is not part of your paleo template, just skip it. If it is, great! I went with Gruyère.

Serve out into a bowl, dig in and enjoy! Warming, filling and a seriously hearty dish ...