Highlights - May 2013

Chilli Con Carne 2.0

Lighter than beef and able to take on so many flavours ... CCC 2.0!
Spring Garlic Lemon Poussin

Celebrating the height of spring, a simple, flavoursome and very good dinner.
Pan-fried Sea Bass on Griddled Watermelon

Warm, caramelised watermelon. Who'da thunk it?

Chilli Con Carne 2.0

Chilli Con Carne 2.0
Good evening, folks ... it's Friday night and time to kick back, enjoy the evening and eat Chilli!

For many, Chilli is about the beef. It's diced or minced beef. Beef. Got it?

That said, there's no reason why we couldn't make it with other meats. I know ... I know ... some folks half and half with pork, but let's look outside the box.

Turkey Mince!

Yes, minced turkey. It's a lean meat, which means you can couple it with your favourite paleo fat, takes on flavours well and cooks quickly.

My regular method is to hand blend onion, garlic, ginger and chilli to fry off after thoroughly browning beef mince. Add in beef stock, tomatoes, tomato puree, Worcestershire Sauce (Salsa Anglais), paprika, ground coriander, ground cumin, oregano, marjoram and black pepper. Water and let it simmer for a couple of hours.

Turkey mince is a lot quicker ... and gives us an opportunity to do things just a little differently.

Brown off some mince. One pound between two is plenty.

Finely dice an onion, crush some garlic and shred some ginger.

Make a well in the meat, drop in a good cube of coconut oil and in go the onion, garlic and ginger. Stir around and get it well cooked.

One carton of chopped tomatoes, some tomato puree, ground coriander, ground cumin, black pepper, oregano and marjoram. No Worcestershire Sauce this time.

Now, we need some colour and crunch. You could put just about any vegetable in for some interest, but I want to make the chillies the big deal.

I have some large (and so, mild) cooking chillies. Sorry, no idea on variety - they're just sold in bags as 'Chillies', but I know they're quite mild ... which is great, because we can add a lot in.

Several chillies, red and green, sliced up.

Chicken stock, water and on a good simmer, reduce.

Maybe 30 minutes later, we're ready to eat! See, I said it was quick!

Meanwhile, simply make some accompaniments ...

Holy Guacamole, Pico de Gallo and some wraps: British Cos lettuce leaves.

Pico de Gallo

... and your favourite Tequila alongside.

Yeah, the speed on this could be a new favourite for 'Chilli Night'. Chilli Con Carne 2.0, indeed!

Wild Garlic

Wild Garlic
... now in full bloom.


Pan-fried Sea Bass on Griddled Watermelon

Pan-fried Sea Bass on Griddled Watermelon
Fish & Fruit!

Here's a lot of fun ...

Fish does seem to work well with fruit. I'm not sure why, but it does.

Tonight, we're playing with some watermelon and some sea bass. I'll try to write this up as I made it, but it was a simple case of freestylin' ...

I knew I wanted some squash. Squash and fish. So, fish gutted, scaled, filleted and ready to pan fry, squash peeled, sliced into nice inch thick sections and committed to the oven set to 180C for about half an hour, just basting in goose fat.

Even after preparing a couple of plates with spinach, rocket and watercress, olive oil, olives, balsamic vinegar, Tabasco and some Icelandic ash salt it is going to be a meagre dish.

Pak Choi. I have one. Halve it, griddle it and pop that in the middle. It's still a bit meagre.

The griddle pan is out, hot and ready to cook through anything dropped on it.

Watermelon? Will it griddle? Only one way to find out ...

So, take a good inch thick slice through a watermelon, peel and take a couple of good steaks each ... and pop them on the griddle pan.

I griddled these for about 5 minutes each side, so plenty of time for the squash to cook through and you to prep the plates with some nice green salad leaves and flavour. The fish needs no more than a couple of minutes on the skin, flipped and it will cook through in the heat of the pan.

Looks like we're ready ...

Let's just re-cap. Squash in then oven in some fat, prep your plates with a salad and flavours, griddle the watermelon and pak choi ... and fry off your fish, skin side first in a skillet.

Put the plate together, placing the watermelon steaks over the salad, fish on top garnished with lime and herbs; dill, here; squash pushed in where you can.

The mix of sweet from the watermelon and squash is intriguing. Two kinds of sweet to work so well with the fish, soured by lime and dill, complimented by the salad and enhanced with the flavours therein: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Tabasco and Icelandic ash salt.

Sea Bass & Watermelon ... who'da thunk it?

Cheesecake for dessert ... just the cheese ... no cake!

Our new kitten approved:

Porthos du Vallon


Venison with Mashed Potatoes and Asparagus

Venison with Mashed Potatoes and Asparagus
I found a couple of lovely pieces of game venison at my local farm shop. Killed in the field, I am happy with that.

So, what to cook it with?

Simply does it ...

Something green and some starch. Oh, and mushrooms. To me, mushrooms go so well with venison, especially chestnut mushrooms.

Begin by boiling up some peeled and cubed white potatoes.

Get your griddle pan on, heated up and drop the steaks on, cooking both sides and then setting aside to rest.

Griddle the asparagus now. Mine were pretty thick, so I cut them in half.

Sauté off some sliced chestnut mushrooms in butter, adding in a little beef stock and all the juices from the resting venison.

Now, here's how to make the perfect mashed potato ...

Forget using a ricer, although that's good if you want to take a shortcut. What you want is a metal masher with small holes. Mash, mash, mash and mash ... no butter at this point.

Once mashed and smooth, now we add butter. You can add in cream, too, if you like for an extra special mash, but butter is good. Normandy or Jersey salted. Gorgeous!

Using a spatula, you fold the butter in allowing it to melt. Add more butter ... more definitely is better.

Now, here's the Cheffy part ...

In the pan, you scoop the potato together into a ball and then swirl that ball around the pan to perfect it. Using the spatula, cut the ball in half and serve a perfectly formed half ball per person, notching in a few slashes.

Pour out the jus, placing sliced meat on top.

Greenage alongside. Season the meat with black pepper, crushing a little sea salt over the potato.


Power Breakfast! [Seafood Edition]

Power Breakfast! [Seafood Edition]
I tend not to breakfast during the week, but this week I'm on leave and following on from Sunday's Power Breakfast, I really fancied something to eat this morning.

More Power Breakfasting ...

Seafood, this time: cockles and shrimp, avocado and boiled eggs over spinach. Probiotic goat yoghurt alongside.

Shrimp in the UK is a different species to what is called shrimp in the US - we call those prawns. Our shrimp are much smaller, almost maggot-like, really dense in flavour and goodness. Cockles are a bivalve mollusc, protein-rich and strong in iron.

Boil a couple of eggs.

Wilt some spinach in your favourite paleo fat - goose fat, for me. Spread out on a plate.

Slice up an avocado and lay onto the spinach, boiled eggs halved alongside.

Cover with cockles and shrimp ... or whatever seafood you have available.

Garnish with dill, which works so well with seafood, and sprinkle over some chilli powder.

I served a helping of probiotic goat yoghurt alongside.


Spring Garlic Chicken Broth

Spring Garlic Chicken Broth
Two poussin carcasses, the cooking lemons, a splash of cider vinegar and get it on a low simmer for several hours ...

Several hours later ... the carcasses will have released all their goodness and you'll be left with a very flavoursome and VERY micronutritious broth.

More flavour? I shredded three leaves of wild garlic into it.

Wow! WOW!!!


Spring Garlic Lemon Poussin

Spring Garlic Lemon Poussin
Poussin is a young chicken, typically under 28 days old.

You guys over the wrong side of the pond might know Poussin as a small cross-breed of Red Cornish Game Hen, which is about twice the size of a Commonwealth Poussin.

Our chicks weigh in at 400-450g, never exceeding 750g which might make it a Spring Chicken. I guess you guys find your Poussin about that weight.

Anyway, one people divided by a common language ...

We've got birds to cook!

Prep? Simply stuff a lemon wedge into the cavity and gently release the skin to push a good slice of butter up there. Salt and pepper over. Done!

Done? Pretty much ... just bung it in the oven set to 180C for 45 minutes.

Shred an onion and set it in the fridge - this will reduce the pungency of the onion which we'll use later.

After 45 minutes, take the poussin out and set aside to rest.

Skim off the fat from the juices and pour some boiling water over, maybe add a little chicken stock to firm up the flavours.

Squeeze in some lemon juice - this cannot be too lemony, trust me ...

Traditionally, you'd toss in some shredded spring onions, lettuce and peas but I'm doing this a little different: pak choi, the shredded onion and some frozen peas.

Now, the piece de resistance: wild garlic. Three or four good sized leaves shredded and added into the green gravy, flowers scattered over once served.

Serving is simply making a bed of green gravy with the poussin placed over the top, garlic flowers scattered around ...

Consume noisily, hungrily and enjoy every bit of meat and skin you shred from that carcass which you can enjoy, simmered with a touch of cider vinegar as a soothing bone broth the following day.

Power Breakfast!

Power Breakfast!
It doesn't get much better than this!

Liver, onion, bacon, seaweed and a MEGA-egg!

All power foods. Yes, bacon is a superfood ... honest.

Simply fry off some shredded onion in your favourite paleo fat - goose fat, for me.

Add in some reconstituted dried seaweed.

Toss in some lamb's liver and good outdoor reared bacon.

Sprinkle with chilli powder and serve over an egg.

How do you make an egg better? Make a MEGA-egg! Simply crack a fresh egg into collected egg whites (maybe you made some Hollandaise the other day) to make one huge egg.

That's it ... garnish with superfluous greenery if you like, otherwise dig in, be charged up and get about your day.

Keto-breakfasting at its very best!


Turkey Mince 'No Taters' Cottage Pie

Turkey Mince 'No Taters' Cottage Pie
I'm not averse to potatoes, but looking back through some old recipes I was reminded just how good cauliflower mash is.

Doing things just a little differently, I decided to use turkey mince. Low fat, turkey mince gives us the opportunity to add in whatever fat we choose to - here, coconut oil.

Deviating further, I wanted a more spicy version.

Begin by browning off some turkey mince in coconut oil. One pound for two people is good.

While that's browning, dice up a medium onion and toss that in, stirring through.

Dice up some other veggies. I went with some aubergine (eggplant) and courgette (zucchini), sufficient to double the amount in the pan.

Now, the flavours ...

Garlic first, several cloves. Now, graze through your spice cupboard! I added in some ground coriander, ground cumin, black pepper, paprika, chilli powder and some powdered chicken stock.

Squirt in some tomato purée and stir through. The purée will help to thicken the dish as well as bring in some depth of flavour.

Allow that to cook through in the pan and pick up some toasted flavour. Don't let it stick!

Cover with water and simmer through until the liquid is well reduced.

The mash? Cauliflower ...

Take a cauli, trim the leaves off, core it and steam the florets. Once soft, allow the steam to evaporate off and mash it together with some cheddar cheese.

Transfer the meat sauce to an ovenproof dish and spoon the mash over. Bake at 180C for about 20 minutes.

Turkey Mince 'No Taters' Cottage Pie

You kept the cauli leaves didn't you? No? Shame on you! Yes? Great! Take the better ones, shred and steam them.

Serve out, Cottage Pie with shredded cauli greens alongside.

Crab Bisque

Crab Bisque
Bisque. Classic French cuisine; a smooth, creamy, highly seasoned soup based on a coulis of crustaceans.

Don't let that panic you ... it's actually pretty easy when done primally.

You need some crab and the shell, preferably a couple. I collected the shells from a couple of Shetland Dressed Crabs, which we enjoyed as they were dressed, mixed with some tinned crab.

You'll also need some onion, carrot and celery (the mirepoix), herbs: bay, thyme and tarragon (the bouquet garni), cayenne pepper, tomato purée, lemon juice, butter and fish stock. Double cream, too. Traditionally, wine and brandy would also be in, but I have neither ... so I went on without.

There ... all those French terms that make those classic dishes seem impossible really are nothing more than adding in real ingredients.

In a pan, soften some butter, a medium onion, a carrot and a stalk of celery finely diced. Drop in the herbs: one bay leave, a couple of sprigs of thyme and a couple of springs of tarragon. You can tie them all together if you like, making them easier to retrieve later.

Put the crab shells in and pour on a good pint of fish stock. Simmer for an hour, during which time all the flavour from the shells should be released into the stock.

Retrieve the herbs and the shells. Traditionally, you'd smash them up and blend the lot at the end passing it all through a sieve, but (a) I don't have a food processor and (b) I'd like all the goodness to end up in the soup, rather than any bits strained off. This is a Primal Bisque!

Now, toss in some crab flesh. I used 250g of canned.

Add a good squirt of tomato purée, a little cayenne pepper, more if you like it really fiery, and some double cream - just enough to lighten the soup without overpowering the flavours. Maybe 150ml?

Bring up to temperature ... not boiling, but hot.

Now blend it. I do have a hand blender, which works perfectly for soups. I added in more butter here which thickens the soup further and a good squeeze of lemon juice to bring out the fullness in all the flavours.

Pour out into a bowl and enjoy. Glad you didn't sieve it now, eh? Of course you are!

As a reminder, if you wanted to make this more traditionally, add in some white wine and brandy, crush the shells, blend the lot in a food processor and strain it through a fine sieve. Have fun!


Breakfast ... Primally

I could make the time, I guess, but I prefer those few extra minutes of sleep over eating something ... I could be prepared and have something ready to grab and eat on the go, but prefer to simply continue my overnight ketosis and fast my way through to lunchtime where I enjoy a good salad.

I find myself a sharper person through the morning; more focussed.

Cordain maintains that our ancestors would not have eaten breakfast of the type and at the time that we do in the West, but if they did eat anything upon waking it would be leftovers from the meal the night before or whatever was easily obtainable in the immediate surroundings ... perhaps the morning lay of eggs?

Cordain encourages us to consider our meal frequency and timing, and places most emphasis upon the evening meal which should be the focus and provide tribal time. Lunch is simply food which is easily obtained while hunting and gathering, eaten on the go; small amounts.

So, fasting through breakfast, a light lunch and a good evening meal is the recommendation.

Weekends are different ...

No work to get up for, a more relaxed awakening and potentially a more active day ahead, breakfasting is something I "do" at the weekends ... and ... you guessed it, it's leftovers and eggs. Almost always.

Surplus poached chicken and leftover macerated salad served with avocado and cottage cheese:

Remainder of a packet of smoked salmon, fried leftover baked potato and leftover salads served with avocado and scrambled eggs:

Leftover chicken and peppers from a Friday meal of Chicken Fajitas served over spinach and some scrambled eggs alongside:

Leftover Chilli Con Carne with fried rice served on a banana pancake:

Surplus poached salmon served with leaves, bacon and a poached egg:

Leftover Curried Seafood Rice bulked out with some chopped lamb's liver and a boiled egg:

... you get the idea.

You don't need to think with leftovers ... just put them together with eggs and you have breakfast.


Curried Seafood Rice

Unashamedly, a Perfect Health Diet dish, quick to prepare when you're feeling a little peckish late at night ... and if there's leftovers, can be bulked out for breakfast.

Curried rice is simply a case of boiling some rice and then frying off with some spices.

Get some rice boiling, drain and allow to steam off for a few minutes.

Seafood, I had some swordfish which I skinned and cut into bite sized pieces, and some squids which need nothing more than the insides pulling out and a thorough cleaning under running cold water.

In a frying pan, cook off the seafood in some fat. My fat of preference is goose fat.

Now, in goes more fat, the spice blend and the rice.

My spice blend is coriander, cumin, turmeric, chilli powder, asafoetida and fenugreek. Quantities are not particularly important; "enough" is the right approach.

Add in any veggies at this point, allowing the heat to just cook through but retain a good crunch. I'm hazy on the detail, but I tossed in some tenderstem broccoli, red pepper, green pepper, all chopped into small pieces, and some frozen peas ... at a guess.

Wolf down, leaving leftovers for breakfast (pictured) which can easily be bulked out ... in my case with some chopped lamb's liver fried off and then the rice added into the pan with yet more goose fat, served with a boiled egg. Everything is better with an egg.

Salad Niçoisesque

Salad Niçoise
Salad Niçoise is a simple salad of tuna, anchovies, tomato, green beans, potato, boiled egg and olives served with or without leaves.

I had some fresh tuna ... it seemed daft not to ...

As with much French cuisine, this dish has been elevated to such gastronomic height that many consider it out of their reach for preparation in their own kitchen.

Relax ... it's just a salad.

To the ingredients. We have our mandatory list but we can also deviate. I went with tuna, squid, boiled egg, tomato, potato, green beans, capers, black olives, olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and black pepper.

Green beans? They're fine ... Mark Sissons gives us his usual cool and balanced opinion on the matter.

Okay ... to work ...

Boil your eggs. I simply pour just boiled water over room temperature eggs and let it gently boil for about 10 minutes.

Boil a few salad potatoes. 15 minutes should be fine and in the last five minutes drop in some green beans. Once cooked, drain, retrieve the beans and drop in a good knob of butter and swirl the potatoes around in the butter. Set aside.

Prepare the squid by removing the outer skin, pulling the insides out and separating the tentacles from the head, turn inside out and give 'em a thorough clean under running cold water. Cut into slices and fry off in a pan with just a touch of fat. Set aside.

On a griddle pan, sear the tuna. If you don't have fresh, canned is fine.

In a wide brimmed bowl, drop in a handful of mixed salad leaves, some quartered tomato, black olives, capers, the potatoes (and the butter), quartered eggs, green beans and then the tuna broken up and squids scattered over.

You don't need a fancy dressing, but if you want ... just make up an emulsion of olive oil and lemon juice, salt and pepper. Easier just to slosh some olive oil over, squeeze over some lemon and season to taste.

That's it ... nothing complex, just a simple salad.


Turkey Laab & Sweet Potato

Turkey Laab & Sweet Potato
It's Thursday and with my other fencing class this evening, I need to feed up after work quickly and have some time to rest beforehand.

Baked sweet potato is fast becoming a favourite, the energy release slow and constant through the evening.

Keeping a regular meal interesting is simply a case of putting the thing you like the most about it with something else each time. I know that sounds kind of "Well, duh!" but often folks miss the obvious, thinking variation comes from bringing something new every time. Just combine and re-combine your favourite elements.

I've made Laab a couple of times now and really enjoyed it. It's a simple Thai/Lao dish of cooked minced meat and flavour - simple.

As mentioned, the other constraint is time ...

After a day at work, the commute home and then the pressure of getting something cooked, eaten, get ready and get back out on the road by seven thirty is a challenge. Yes, I could cook something beforehand just to warm up and yes, I could take something to work to eat at, say, four o'clock, but I like something freshly cooked, so quick & easy is the key.

Seafood works ... so does fine meats, like fillet ... so does turkey mince.

Turkey mince is superb and, without going into every part of the nutritional profile, basically, it's a good, almost pure protein. It cooks quickly and has a great texture without requiring the longer cooking that minced beef does.

So, we need to cook something quickly ... here's 30 minutes.

First, the sweet potato ...

Begin by setting the oven to 220C (425F).

Take a large sweet potato and cut it in half longways ... might as well do two large ones, since there'll be leftovers which will do well for lunch tomorrow. Grease a tray with your favourite paleo fat (goose fat, in my case) and place the sweet potatoes face side down, forking the backs all over.

Let them cook ... they'll be done after about half an hour, retaining some good texture.

Now, the Laab ...

Take a large skillet, some of your favourite paleo fat (since turkey is very lean) and brown off the turkey mince. I used 500g for two and we have sufficient leftovers for lunch, along with another sweet potato half. As you brown the mince, break it up and keep breaking it up until you've got a good ground texture.

Turn the heat down.

Now, flavours: fish sauce, ground coriander, black pepper, chillies and, traditionally, lime juice which I used Yuzu instead. That's it. Done. Easy, eh?

Finally, the salad ...

While sweet potato and this Laab would make a fine meal, some cooling salad flavours are always going to be good.

I went with a few slices of cucumber, shredded into matchsticks, shredded spring onions and a tomato, chopped. Need more fat? Have an avocado, too.

Ready to eat?

Lay the sweet potato onto the plate and push some butter in (optional), spooning the Laab over. Avocadoes around the edge, salad scattered over.

Toppings? We have some Cottage Cheese, too, and a pickled chilli as garnish.

Fuelled up ... time to get out there and stab friends in the chest for the evening ...


Shetland Dressed Crab

Why mess with it?

All the work has already been done ... just grab a fork and enjoy.

Beautiful! That's all.


Lamb Broth

Lamb Broth
When it comes to soups, there are no rules!

You need some liquor, some meat and some vegetables. Put it all together and that's soup. Rustic soup.

The catalyst for this soup was a lovely piece of lamb fillet that I found in the reduced section at the supermarket at a seriously knocked down price.

If that's all I had, I could simply pair it with vegetables and make up some stock ...

... but in the freezer, I had gold!

Some weeks ago, we'd had a Lamb Stew with a load of pieces on the bone. The lamb had slow-cooked all day and after serving, we had loads of liquor left over so the bones went back in for a few more hours of cooking. That was frozen.

So, from the freezer, we have some lamb bone broth.

I also collect all sorts of trimmings, stalks and what-not from vegetables to go into soup, which is usually puréed. All I'd collected was some tenderstem broccoli and asparagus stalks so they were easily topped, tailed and cut into small pieces.

Add some onion and garlic to the broth along with a carrot.

The lamb fillet needs almost no time to cook, so just slice it up and drop it in.

Reduce to taste, adding sea salt, black pepper and parsley for aromatics and flavour.

Last minute, brainwave ... it's spring ... Spring Greens! Shred some up and chuck 'em in.

Serve out into a wide bowl and get in there! Seriously nutritious broth full of goodness, full of texture and full of flavour.

Total cost? £1.24 for about half a pound of lamb, some trimmings, some leftover cooking liquor and a few veggies. Now that's good, frugal eating!


Beef Fillet Steak

Fillet Steak
Fuck all this fish! Some days, only a steak will do ...

Fillet steak, completely naturally reared, killed with captive bolt and absolutely gorgeous! I do miss meat.

I have been somewhat quiet about my move away from meat. You might well have noticed that I eat a lot of fish and maybe the lack of meat slipped by.

Well, there's a reason ...

Where I live, there is so much religious meat that is passed into the food chain unlabelled that I cannot ... almost ever ... tell whether the meat I am eating has been well slaughtered.

Well slaughtered? Yes! Rendered senseless, quickly, efficiently and irreversibly, prior to bleeding.

I don't apologise for bringing this right into your face. We are primal and paleo eaters and invest a lot of time and effort into ensuring that the meat we eat has been well reared - outdoor reared, naturally fed and free of anti-biotics and other modern intervention.

What about beyond that? What about how that animal is killed?

Humane slaughter might well be an oxymoron, because in the end the animal is dead, is food and is going to sustain our lives. Let's take a leaf out of our ancestors' book and consider that beast - we're going to hunt it down, kill it and now we're going to eat it.

No. We're not ...

We're going to let a slaughterman do it. Out of sight, out of mind and out of reach of our conscience. I'm not going to challenge you too hard, because that is not for everyone, but I would encourage you to look at some slaughterhouse videos and consider the plight of the animal that you are about to eat.

Slaughter is not pretty.

Slaughtering an animal should be done with reverence. It should be done quickly, efficiently and, I think, quietly.

Some months ago, I watched the video contained in Don Matesz' post: Human Slaughter ... a cow is killed, so be warned. I watched this video and yes, it affected me, but not in the way that Don intended, but it stopped me in my tracks.

The video is actually a very good example of how to slaughter an animal well - she is killed quickly, one bolt, done fast. Her rolling eyes, lolling tongue and her "what did you just do to me" expression is the reason you might be tearful, but actually, these are all signs that she has been rendered senseless. Irreversibly rendered senseless and without any way back. That is the key - she will not come round in a few minutes.

What struck me was to consider how the meat that I ate was killed and whether it was killed well.

I looked into it ...

... and I concluded that most often I could not tell how the animal was killed, particularly whether the animal was religiously slaughtered, without first rendering fully and irreversibly senseless. The animal might come round prior to slaughter, might not fully and painfully aware of the slaughter. Slaughter, not kill.

That turned me away from eating meat ...

If I could kill the animal myself, I could eat it. If I knew the death of the animal was done quickly and efficiently, by captive bolt, great! If the animal was shot - game, for example. Great! These are animals I could eat.

Religious meat? No thanks!*

Granted, some, perhaps most religious meat is killed in exactly the same way as non-religious meat, albeit with a rolling tape of prayers running, but some is not. The RSPCA have some really good information on this which you can look into yourself:


Since, in the majority of cases without the full and proper information, I could not tell whether the meat I got was religious or otherwise ... I gave it up.

Thankfully, here in the UK we can get meat clearly labelled with both farm and slaughterhouse. Supermarket meat is not yet doing this routinely, but much of the meat I see at our local Farm Shops does. If not, the butcher there can look it up - you'll get the codes for the slaughterhouse, but little more information around methods of slaughter.

Contact those slaughterhouses and ask what their methods of slaughter are. They're all coded and you can look them up here:


All meat can be traced through the whole system so the information is there. Learn your farmer and slaughterhouse codes ... keep a list of known good farmers and abattoirs in your wallet and ask to see the codes for any meat you might buy. UK only, of course. YMMV.

Meanwhile, if I can't tell ...

I'll stick to fish. Baltic and North Atlantic, naturally.

Oh, did I say? I loved this steak, so thank you to the farmer, the slaughterman and most importantly, the cow. You know I don't mean that lightly.

Best put that meat with good things: onion, mushroom, asparagus and potato.

* One for the '70s kids there. Remember 'Nuclear Power? No thanks!' slogans from the CND?


Poached Salmon & Aioli

With wild garlic just beginning to flower, an alternative aioli springs to mind ... aioli over poached salmon.

Now for some perfect partners ...

Grapefruit. No, really, pink grapefruit works especially well with salmon, the citrus cutting through and that subtle sweetness really adding to the party.

With the grapefruit comes juice, and so we can make up an alternative aioli, which, traditionally, is simply an emulsification of lemon juice, egg yolk, olive oil and garlic.

...a "semen-like sauce", if you believe Wiki. Yum? Not!

Er ... proper food ...

First, let's poach the salmon. I don't want anything too salty, so the salmon simply sat in some boiled water on a low heat for about 20 minutes, which gives us ample time to put the rest together.

The aioli is simply a case of taking the juice from segmenting half a pink grapefruit and squeezing the juice from the remaining carcass into a bowl. Add two egg yolks and whisk in olive oil is a very slow stream. You'll see when you've got the right consistency, which should be light but just past whipped.

Last, add in some shredded wild garlic.

What else? A couple of fun sides ... Swede Remoulade and a Vegetable Salad.

Swede Remoulade? Dead easy - just grate some swede, add some mayonnaise (which you can make or just buy a good mayo ... check the ingredients) and a touch of mustard. Voilà! Swede Remoulade.

Vegetable Salad? Take the grapefruit segments and fold into shredded raw fennel, adding in some very gently cooked tenderstem broccoli and asparagus. Fold together and add some sea salt and black pepper.

Is your fish ready? 20 minutes should have done it.

Retrieve the fish, dry it off and place it centrally on the plate and spoon over some of the aioli, salad and remoulade each side.

Perfect combinations, each element bringing its own thing and each offsetting any overindulgences any other part might.

(Mostly) Raw Primal Lunch

Raw Primal Lunch
For work, I usually have a simple salad: lettuce, some pockets of interest, something fatty and some protein. No carb coma in the afternoon for me.

But what if ... for whatever reason you omit to make up a lunch the night before and lack the time in the morning to sort it out?

Easy? Take a raw lunch!

That's the great thing about primal eating. You can put a meal together with real food so quickly.

Raid the fridge ...

Here's smoked mackerel (protein), cottage cheese (more protein, good fat and sufficient carb), boiled eggs (all manner of awesome ... I always keep a few pre-boiled eggs in the fridge), avocado (more awesome ... and great fats), tenderstem broccoli (something green), tomato, radish and chilli (just because ... everyone likes whole chillies, right?).



Seared Tuna with Curried Rice, Tenderstem Broccoli & Salsa

Seared Tuna
Britain is a rainy island, especially so if you live in the shadow of a mountain range like the Pennines.

Today was the first day I'd call summer - granted, summer is nowhere near upon us but we get so little good weather that we celebrate every little we get.

Today was a lazy day, high, hot sun, good walk around the valley and the perfect day for a few ciders.

Anyway, food ...

What better than a simple dish of seared tuna, some rice alongside, some good clean veggies and a salsa of cucumber, wild garlic, red onion, spring onion and orange, eh?

Begin by preparing the rice - boiled with some salt and a Madras blend of spices: turmeric, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, asafoetida and chill.

Warm up your griddle pan.

Make up a nice salsa of cucumber, red onion, spring onion and orange segments ... or whatever crisp, juicy salad ingredients you have in. The orange juice takes the raw edge off the onions. I also shredded in some wild garlic, just because.

Sear the tuna on the griddle pan and sit the tenderstem broccoli over the boiling rice just to take the rawness off.

Serve out ...

We finished this meal with some Berry Cheesecake topped with buleberries and raspberries.

No base, Baby! No base ...

Man vs Cheesecake


Back to rain this week, no doubt ...


Italian Meatballs

Italian Meatballs
We don't eat meat often, preferring fish, but there's been this pack of minced meat sitting in the freezer which really should be used ... it's a half and half of beef and pork mince, and about a kilo in total (two pounds ... ish).

Put the meat into a mixing bowl and add the following:

  • one chopped onion and several cloves of garlic (to taste) ... which I actually hand blended
  • Parmesan or Pecorino cheese ... I used pecorino and grated about 4oz
  • oregano ... dried is fine; a good teaspoon
  • parsley ... fresh and chopped; several leaves
  • generous splash of Worcestershire Sauce
  • sea salt and black pepper
No need for breadcrumbs or rusk filler. Bread was only ever included to bulk out the dish - we have enough with the meat here.

Mix well and then form balls about 4oz in weight.

Assemble on an ovenproof plate and cook through for about 45-60 minutes at 180C (350F).

Meanwhile, make up the sauce ...

Again, chopped onion, blended, a carton of chopped tomatoes, sea salt, black pepper, wild garlic and a good glass of red wine ... a Milanese Sangiovese in my case.

Simmer for the remainder of the cooking time.

Ready to eat?

Spoon a little sauce into a bowl and place a couple of meatballs on top, more sauce over, olives alongside, more cheese over and garnish with parsley.


Poached Salmon, Spinach, Beetroot & Swede Remoulade

Spring is about simplicity ... simplicity and vibrant colours.

I have some lovely salmon in and just wanted a quick, hassle-free dinner, easily prepared, and full of  colour and flavour.

Let's take a quick look at what we'll be eating ...

Salmon fillet, pickled beetroot, spinach, swede, mayonnaise, mustard and lemon juice.

Now, how to put this together ...

In a pan of boiled water, place the salmon fillets in and lower the heat to a very gentle simmer. If you like, you can add bouillon in here or a little sea salt. At the end, keep the liquour as a base for a soup.

With the salmon on, peel some swede and grate it. How much? Enough. If there's too much, great! Something to base a packed up office lunch around.

To the swede, add some mayonnaise, mustard, black pepper and lemon juice. Stir together. That's a remoulade. You can make up your own mayonnaise or use your favourite store bought mayo. Do check the ingredients, though.

Some chives or dill would be nice in the remoulade. I intended to use dill, but completely forgot.

Back to it, and soften some spinach in a frying pan with some butter. Once softened, switch off - we don't want mush.

We're probably about 10 minutes in here, so the salmon is most likely cooked through.

Retrieve the salmon from the poaching liquor to drain. Remember, keep that liquor - it will make a good soup.

Spoon out some of the remoulade onto a plate, placing some spinach alongside and some chopped pickled beetroot over and lay the fish over the top. I added a spoon of goat yoghurt and a good sprinkling of Icelandic ash salt. Garnish as you wish.

If you took the opportunity to poach a couple of extra salmon fillets, let them cook and enjoy them for lunch the following day with the left over swede remoulade and a fresh green salad. More pickled beetroot, naturally.

Mushroom & Wild Garlic Soup

Mushroom & Wild Garlic Soup
I'm really enjoying to the full the spread of wild garlic that our valley has produced, shredded over salads, adding green to sauces and that lovely bite to all manner of soups.

Paired with mushroom, we have something close to heaven.

Wild garlic has a flavour of really leaky leaks. Take the flavour of the green part with the bite of the white part and the subtle sweetness of chive and amplify it ... several times ... you're somewhere close to wild garlic.

I've made this soup a couple of times, the first including the trimmings of some potatoes which were cut specifically for the main course and again (pictured) without.

The recipe is the same, through ...

You'll need butter, mushrooms, black pepper, chicken stock, onion and wild garlic, and optionally potato.

For two, I used about a centimetre off the end of a stick of goat butter since mushrooms can really soak it up. Soften a small onion, chopped and then add in several mushrooms. I used the chestnut variety and put in probably eight or ten, sliced. Allow the mushrooms to soften.

Grind a good amount of black pepper over and pour in a pint of chicken stock. Add any potatoes at this point, chopped into small cubes - an amount the size of a couple of salad potatoes is plenty.

Simmer until all the ingredients are really soft.

Shred up six or eight wild garlic leaves and toss into the soup.

Blend up, ensuring all the ingredients are mashed up, but not overly puréed. Some texture is nice.

If only I knew my wild mushrooms, this could be really superb.