Highlights - June 2013

Salmon Consommé

Classic French ... done well enough to keep it seriously simple!
Cod Steaks ... and a Sort of Deconstructed Ratatouille

Fun and fresh! Perfect with pesto ... Wild Garlic Pesto
Turkey Burgers! [Done Proper]

Burgers ... a simple primal howto.

Roasted Chicken Thighs & Veggies

Roasted Chicken Thighs & Veggies
Sunday Dinner ... done easy.

Chicken thighs and veggies. I went with Jersey Royal Potatoes (get 'em while they're still in their short season) and some butternut squash, then marrow, carrot and spring greens all steamed.

With 45 minutes total cook time, get your oven pre-heated to 200C.

Prepare a roasting dish with your favourite paleo fat (yes, goose fat for me), into which you place the veggies you want to roast: potatoes and butternut squash. Poke in a number of cloves of garlic (skins on), some lemon wedges, chopped leek, sprinkle sea salt over, herbs, too: parsley and thyme.

Cover with foil and into the oven for 15 minutes.

Remove the foil and lay the thighs over.

Commit to the oven for another 30 minutes.

Towards the end of the cooking time, steam any other veggies you want: marrow, carrots, spring greens and podded peas, here.

Tip the lot out onto a large plate and place in the middle of the table, each person helping themselves.

Remember to reserve the bones for broth!

Turkey Breakfast Pattie

Turkey Breakfast Pattie
I had some turkey mince left over from the other night's burgers ... so it was a no-brainer to do the same again for breakfast.

With an egg, naturally ...

Turkey patties are simply turkey mince, some chopped chillies, garlic, ginger, ground coriander, black pepper and sea salt or fish sauce.

You don't quite make a burger, since turkey mince can be quite wet ... but fire up your griddle pan, grab a handful of the meat mix and sort of throw it onto the griddle, spreading it out before it sticks.

We'll be frying an egg shortly, but first let's turn our attention to something green: samphire, here. Gorgeous stuff, so get it when you can and enjoy the hell out of it while it lasts. Asparagus would do well here, spinach, collard, dandelion greens, radish leaves ... anything very green and pack full of K.

Fry your eggs.

Serve up ... burger down first, greens over, egg on top. Superfluous garnish here is pea shoots.

Boom! What a breakfast! Now get out there and rule the day!


Fish Shito with Spring Green Vegetables

Fish Shito with Spring Green Vegetables
Shito? It's Ghanaian ... you know, from Ghana; a paste of chillies and dried shrimp. It's a condiment and perfect for pepping up a soup or stew.

This is a simple soup/stew made up as I went along, but the ingredients are as follows:

  • Fish - some white fish
  • Onion
  • Tomato - chopped tomatoes and tomato puree
  • Spring vegetables - stringless beans from the vine, peas, in pods from the vine, asparagus and samphire
  • Flavours - garlic, ginger, more chilli, coriander, turmeric, dill, sea salt and black pepper
So, straight to it?

Fire up your favourite deep frying pan and get some fat melting - coconut oil, here.

Dice and fry off some onion. For two, I used half a large onion.

Peel and mince a couple of cloves of garlic, and toss in.

Spices - a sprinkle of ground coriander and turmeric is great!

Drop in some fish - white fish, a good helping.

Mix well into the spices and pour over a carton a chopped tomatoes, along with a good squirt of tomato puree.

Sea salt and black pepper, fresh chilli, fresh ginger and a tablespoon of shito. If you can't find shito, just grind up some chilli, salt and shrimp in a pestle and mortar.

Water ... cook on.

While it's cooking drop in some veggies. I went with what's seasonal and very available to me: stringless beans from the vine, peas, in pods from the vine, asparagus and some samphire reserved for garnish.

Hungry? Serve out into deep dish bowls and garnish with the samphire.

If you're thinking that my description of the fish is a little vague and that it might have something to do with the fish you've just read about in my Paleo Pussy! post, you might ... erm ... be onto something.

What? Come on ... three kilos of fish for a quid! It's too tempting not to ... besides, the bloomin' kitten gets most of it anyway, scavenging, so spicing it up is a way of keeping our dinner for ourselves ...

Paleo Pussy!

No! No on both counts ...

You're not going to see some cavegirl porn, nor am I going to show you how to prep and cook a cat. No.

We are going to consider our pets, though: dogs, cats, rabbits, mice, whatever it is that we keep as pets.

Me? Cats. We have three. Two older cats around 15 years old now, both from the same litter, brother and sister, and a new lad who is somewhere between three and four months old and rapidly becoming "the boss"!

Cats are predators.

Our older cats have been raised as many do, on cat food, tinned and dry. Cat food is, itself, disgusting and when you look at the ingredients you see that only something like 4% of the food is actually meat, the rest filler - rusk, often.

Cats are predators.

Cats have no need for or taste for vegetables. Cats eat meat. Left to their own devices, they hunt - they catch mice, rats, rabbits, voles, whatever they can.

When we got our new kitten he had digestive distress which manifested itself as loose stools and a mess to clean up, especially on him being a long hair. No, that was not fun ... not for him, or for me.

Knowing the principals of paleo eating, I spent some time looking at the ingredients in the food that was on offer for cats. It is possible to buy "good" cat food, and the food we give the little one is tins of mostly fish and some simple starch (tapioca), a good ratio; likewise, the dry food is 80% meat.

The older cats are also transitioning to this new food, which they are wolfing down where otherwise they'd be pretty unimpressed with the regular offering.

As if I needed to say, the kitten is now well beyond his digestive issues, now eating good, real food suited to his evolutionary needs.

Can we do better?

We can, actually. We could feed our pets meat, every day. Alas, my income does not stretch to that and when we're eating cheaper sources to make ends meet, the cats don't get ideal ... but do get the best we can afford.

Can we do better?
Today's fish is Trout a la Creme ...

Yes! Our local Chippy (colloquial term for Fish & Chip shop) bags up all the tail ends of the fish and sells them 3 bags for £1, each bag being around a kilo. That's around three kilos of fish for £1.

Incidentally, our local Chippy fries in beef dripping, a tradition that is held dear to fryers in the north of England, and an establishment that I am happy to patronise because of this. Chips are great for days when we are very active, the fish, yes fried in flour batter can simply be cracked open and the fish eaten, batter discarded.

Back to this fish ...

Defrost and sort through. These are the tails from fish that are battered and fried for humans, collected up, bagged and frozen. They're fresh and they have very few bones in, not that a cat would have an issue avoiding the bones, but the little one ... well, all of them ... wolf the food down so quick, I'd hate for them to get caught on a bone, so I simply slice the bones out and they eat the rest.

Happy cats indeed!

Beyond this, I am actively encouraging scavenging, an activity that is evolutionarily accordant for our young mog. Trying to pinch our food, begging for scraps and being treated to occasional (okay, regular) pieces of meat and fish thrown to him whenever I'm in the fridge.

The older cats also get the scraps, but they're not too bothered. They like to chill out, which generally means the kitten gets their scraps.

Here's my little kitten lying here purring away as I type.

Food for thought ...

Fillet Steak & Lamb's Liver

Fillet Steak & Lamb's Liver
... because I can!

Breakfast, and the Mrs wanted Egg & Chips. It works different for guys 'n' gals, and she does seem to do better on the carbs than I do, so a good pack ahead of a busy day is not going to be an issue.

These chips were Jersey Royal Potatoes, simply sliced, par boiled and then fried off in goose fat. Easy enough. Fried eggs over, and she's done.

Me? I do like the fat, but I'd prefer a couple of things I picked up at the supermarket for an absolute song the night before ... a good sized fillet steak discounted from shy of £8 down to just over £2 and some lovely lamb liver for literally peanuts; 75p for 400g.

Plates were dressed with some spinach, sliced tomato, capers and a drizzle of olive oil, grind of black pepper and a little Icelandic ash salt.

Fillet steak, simply seared, liver, too. Liver down first, fillet steak sliced and placed over, rare, naturally.

I also had a few chips and a blob of leftover guac alongside.

Paleo breakfasting at it's very best. Does it get any better?


Turkey Burgers! [Done Proper]

Turkey Burgers!
Pardon my French parlance ... it's Friday night. In case I do ...

It's Friday night! We've survived another week doing our thing, doing it well, doing it fucking well, but now it's time to kick back, enjoy the coming weekend and set Saturday morning up for a hangover from a tribal Friday night!


Turkey mince, garlic, ginger, chillies, ground coriander, sea salt and black pepper.

Portobello mushrooms, lettuce, tomato and avocado.


Griddle on ... portobello mushrooms on ...

Why? Because we don't eat bread! We eat nutritionally sound food, always, and without exception. So, get your portobello mushrooms on the griddle underside up until the liquid comes forth and then flip them ... pressing down and getting all that flavour back inside.

Oven ... 150C ... keep the mushies warm.


Turkey mince.

Easier, quicker and IMO better than beef mince for flavour and protein; spice up with chopped chillies, garlic and some minced ginger, sea salt, black pepper and coriander.

Turkey mince (in packets) can be sloppy. You're NOT going to form a burger, so just ball up the requisite amount of meat and throw it onto the grill pan. Press, squash and round the meat quickly on the pan.

Cook through, nothing more than a mere few minutes each side.


Mushrooms as the "bun", burgers inside.

You made some guac and sliced some tomatoes while you watched the burgers, right?

Beauty! Proper job, that.


Scallop & Seaweed Soup

Scallop & Seaweed Soup
I don't need to say that chicken broth, from bones, is one of the healthiest things you can eat. Packed full of goodness, all manner of micro-nutrients and all manner of health benefits.

Seaweed, too, with super-amounts of calcium and protein-wise, almost as rich as legumes.

Let's put the two together ...

Chicken broth is simply a case of gently simmering bones for several hours to soften and extract the goodness. As a side note, if the bones are soft enough to crush, you can make a paste out of it ... experiment with flavours, but mace is good and it's nice combined with chicken livers to make a pâté.

I digress ...

We have our stock. Seaweed, I buy dried. Reconstitute in the stock.

Now add flavours: fish sauce, chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced carrot, garlic, ginger, chill and onion.

Just prior to serving, sauté off a couple of scallops each and drop into the middle.


Pan-Fried Sea Bass with Peppers

Quick and easy ...

I've no recipe, since this genuinely was "grab all the real food you can find and put it all together".

I used red cabbage, green pepper, red pepper, yellow pepper, swede, orange, sea bass and a spinach pesto.

If you want to make a direct repeat, make up the pesto with spinach, hazelnuts, cider vinegar, olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. Blend.

Boil the cabbage, steaming the swede over the top.

When you're ready to eat, get some of your favourite paleo fat melting in a skillet, colour up the swede chips and retrieve.

In the same pan, fry the peppers. Retrieve.

Warm the cabbage through.

Pan fry the sea bass fillets.

Peel and segment an orange - orange goes so well with sea bass.

Plate up.


Zero Effort Belly Pork

Zero Effort Belly Pork
Perfecting belly pork is one of those activities that ends up as a ridiculous set of processes verging on voodoo!

Some begin with room temperature meat, others, it must be chilled. Some pour boiling water over and pat dry, others sit the pork over a steam bath. Olive oil, others don't. Salt; again, others don't. Some begin with their oven at the highest it can be and lower immediately, others raise the heat at the end ...

Uuuuuuhhhh!!! Deep breath ... and relax ...

Let's just cut through all that and I'll show you how I do it - succulent meat, gorgeous fat and lovely cracking ... with almost no effort.

Keep Calm and Cook Paleo

Set your oven to 150C. That's 300F for the imperialists amongst us and Gas Mark 2 for the (British) old timers.

Take your pork out of the fridge, so no need to get it to room temperature. Don't fiddle with it other than to slash the skin (a Stanley knife blade is perfect here) and sprinkle a good amount sea salt over. No oil, please. Why? Oil does not cook well. That, and this cut of meat is so full of good fat that we don't need or want more ... why pollute the party?

Pop it into the oven on a wire rack over a tray. Pour about a pint of water into the tray - hot, or cold, it doesn't matter. The water will keep the oven "wet" so the pork doesn't dry out. I've tried this with and without the water, and I find the water works.

That, and you can pour off the juices easily enough into a jar to scrape off the good fats once cooled. Lard as a fringe benefit? Belly pork really is good!

Leave it for about 4 hours.


Prepare your veggies and a nice jus.

I went with spring greens, which are coming to the end of season and Jersey Royal Potatoes, again, coming to the end of their short season.

My jus, simply leeks sautéed in butter, garlic added, some chicken stock and arrowroot to thicken. Strain off the solids prior to thickening.


So, about ready to eat ... here's the crackling.

No fussy temperature adjustments, just flick the oven over to the grill/broiler.

Keep your eye on it! This will take little more than a couple of minutes and will burn if left too long, but watch it and retrieve the meat at the perfect moment. The skin will puff up and crackle. Oil actually suppresses this, hence my warning at the top about not oiling the skin. Salt does help the crackling, again, as advised above ... but it will disappear and fall off if you oil the skin.


So, collected from the oven, set it upside down, crackling side down while you plate up the veggies. This will allow the fats to run back into the joint.

It also makes cutting easier - slice through the fleshy part, then crack through the skin. Easy, eh?

Meat, fat, carbs and greens. Perfection!


Basa over Jersey Royal Potatoes

Basa over Jersey Royal Potatoes
More parcel baked fish ...

With the short season for Jersey Royal Potatoes coming to a close, here's a little celebration of these wonderful 'taters.

The fish takes about 15 minutes to cook through, so fire up your oven to 200C.

Making fish parcels is simply a case of putting in good flavours and allowing the water in the fish to make its own sauce. Into a kitchen foil parcel, I went with a bed of leeks, placed the fish on, a slab of butter over, sea salt and black pepper.

Wash and scrub the potatoes, then cut into chunks. Prepare any other vegetables. I went with carrot and tenderstem broccoli, which steamed over the potatoes.

Ready to cook?

Pop the fish into the oven. Boil the potatoes and steam the veggies.

Remove the steamed veggies after a few minutes and allow the steam to evaporate off. Don't worry about them going cold - we're going to wet all the veggies up in fat later on.

When the potatoes are cooked through (shy of 15 minutes), drain and drop them into a skillet with your favourite paleo fat. Yes, goose fat for me. Pour in the other veggies, too, to enjoy a good coating in fat.

Serve out with the veggies in a bowl, or onto a plate, and gently lay the fish fillet retrieved from the oven over the top.

As I said, the fish makes it own sauce. The leeks can be just broken up and used to garnish the fish, the sauce poured over.

Lovely job!


Parcel Baked Pollock with Roasted Roots

Parcel Baked Pollock with Roasted Roots
Pretty much a repeat of last evening's dinner, tonight, an Atlantic white fish: Pollock.

First, get your oven on pre-heating. Set it to 200C.

My fish was frozen, having forgotten to defrost it, so it'll need about 40 minutes; the roots around 30. If your fish is defrosted, it won't want more than 20 minutes, so roots in first, then the fish in that case.

Make up a parcel for the fish. Ovenproof paper or kitchen foil is perfect. Put in flavours which will compliment the fish: fennel, lemon and wild garlic here, for white fish. Butter, too, which will make a sauce with the fish cooking juices.

Commit the parcel to the oven.

Peel and cut up the roots. I went with carrot and swede. Lay them on a tray with your favourite cooking fat: yes, all together now ... "goose fat, for me" ... and into the oven for half an hour.

Meanwhile prepare any other veggies you want. Cauli and some green beans here, which I'll steam about 10 minutes from the end of cooking.

Ready to eat?

Plate up with the veggies down as the base, retrieve the fish and gently lay over, pouring the cooking juices over. Garnish with some 'erbs.


Parcel Baked Tilapia with Steamed Veggies

Parcel Baked Tilapia with Steamed Veggies
Joy! I love it when a parcel of fresh fencing blades arrives at work. Inspected, they look okay, so racing home to fit them ... the non-electric ones sorted out quickly and I'm very pleased with them. The electric one gave me some difficulty, leaving me wrestling with a test box and a multimeter for a good couple of hours ...

... it's now eight o'clock and the Mrs is muttering about us missing out on our evening walk and how she'll have to go to bed soon. That's woman-speak for "I'm hungry ... are we going to have dinner some time soon?".

Okay, okay ...

When you're absolutely stumped, the best thing to do is put down whatever it is you're doing and go do something else. Cook.

We need something putting together quickly, and I need to get the lunches sorted out too ...

Baked, pan-fried or steamed fish is always a quick meal; the longest cooking time is the veggies.

So, oven on. 180C. Boil a kettle.

Make up a couple of parcels of fish. I used tin foil, a slab of butter sliced off the end of a stick, some shredded fennel, the fish on top and some lemon juice over, salt and pepper.

Fold up the foil and bung them in the oven.

'tis the season for some superb food, most of which is not paleo, just about primal, but since they're fresh from the vine and a variety which we see such a short season of, it's a crime not to ...

Jersey Royal Potatoes, freshly podded peas and stringless green beans. Broccoli and carrots make up the remainder.

Wash and hand peel the Jersey Royals, slice 'em and get them boiling. No Jersey Royals? Use salad potatoes. Don't do potatoes? Swede, turnip, celeriac, the choices are bountiful ... something rootical.

Veggies, just slice, pod, cut, whatever, and choose your favourite steamed veggies.

After about 5 minutes of boiling, sit the veggies over the potatoes in a steamer.

After another 5 minutes, they'll be done, so drain the 'taters and set aside for the remainder of steam to evaporate off. No need for butter as we'll be pouring over the fish parcel butter.

Lid off the veggies to let the steam off.

Plate up! Roots down first, veggies over.

Retrieve the fish from the oven and carefully place over, pouring the juices over the whole dish. Garnish with superfluous greens; parsley, in my case.

Voilà! Simple parcel baked fish an veggies. Naturally, change the fish (if white, keep the fennel and lemon juice, salmon or trout like dill and perhaps even lime?) and make your selection of veggies, but here's a quick 15 minute meal.

After dinner, I mused a little more, prodded my multimeter on that wretched electric blade and figured it out. It was the spring in the barrel which was not connecting the tip properly. Stretched spring, better ... new spring, perfect. Poor do for a brand new fencing blade, though.

In all, a good evening ...



Yes, www.livingintheiceage.co.uk ...

I've moved the site up to a top-level domain of its own. Migration is now completed and hopefully you didn't notice the change, but do take a second just to update your bookmarks.

Any links back to the old domain will continue to work, but will be redirected to the new domain ... even pages from the old domain will be redirected. You won't notice anything unless you look at the URL bar (where you type in the address) where you will see that the old domain has been automagically transmogrified into the new one!

What does this mean?

Well, nothing really. I'm not looking to make any major changes to how I do things; Living in the Ice Age will remain my personal adventure in ancestrally inspired eating.

More, soon ...


Pacific Salmon & Spring Vegetables

Pacific Salmon & Spring Vegetables
Isn't it great when nature delivers a bountiful plate?

Asparagus is bang in season, peas are just perfect straight from the vine, green beans are as big as they're going to be and Jersey Royal potatoes are absolutely perfect in their short season.

What a joy when such a tryst happens!

Perfection on a plate can be had, accompanying that bounty with a good piece of fish and a light sauce.

Let's get straight on with it ...

First, prepare the sauce: Hollandaise, here. Crack a couple of eggs and place the yolks into a bowl, whisking in some lemon juice. Half a lemon will do. Reserve the whites for something, or other, maybe fritters? Sit that aside. We'll use it later.

Peel and slice the potatoes. Using a large pan, boil the slices.

Meanwhile, pod the peas, de-string the beans and slice, prepare the asparagus and place the lot in a steamer.

In another steamer, place a couple of fillets onto a piece of kitchen foil. I had a couple of really nice pieces of Pacific salmon, which made a nice change from my usual Atlantic and Baltic salmon.

As the potatoes just start to turn over from crunchy, settle the steamer pans on the top of the boiling water, fish first, green veggies stacked over. Both will take only two or three minutes.

Take a good slab of butter (maybe a couple of centimetres off the end of a stick) and get it melting in a pan.

Retrieve the potatoes and allow the last of the water to steam off, plating up with the green veg and the fillet on top.

Now, the sauce ... which only takes maybe 30 seconds, so don't worry about the food going cold.

Place the bowl with the whisked egg yolks over the boiling water and keep whisking while you pour the melted butter in. Lift the bowl off the steam every so often to prevent the eggs from scrambling. If the sauce gets too thick, just as a drop of cold water and whisk. That's your Hollandaise. Pour over the fish and garnish with herbs: chives are perfect.


Cod Steaks ... and a Sort of Deconstructed Ratatouille

Cod Steaks ... and a Sort of Deconstructed Ratatouille
Beauty! Sainsbury's do North Atlantic cod steaks, frozen in packs of six for a reasonable price ... and best of all ... they're perfectly rectangular! I had to have some. Sad, I know, but I do like regularity.

From frozen, cooking takes about 30 minutes at 200C giving me plenty of time to dream up an accompanying meal.

I have courgette which really does need using up, some of which went into an impromptu starter of courgette fritters, the rest as ribbons.

I have some of chorizo which has been hanging around for quite literally ice ages; and it goes well with cod, so that's in.

Jersey Royal Potatoes are now in full swing, so that crop I picked up from the local farm shop came in handy. One each.

To complete the flavours, some sourness: tomato ... and a wild garlic pesto.

Looking at what will be on the plate, it might appear intentionally like a deconstructed ratatouille if only there was some aubergine on the plate. Maybe next time I'll do exactly that.

Re-capping all this rambing ...

It's [ingredients] cod over courgette ribbons with chorizo, Jersey Royal Potatoes, tomato and wild garlic pesto. Salt and pepper to taste.

While the cod is cooking, the rest of the meal is easy to cook through and assemble.

Peel, slice boil a couple of potatoes, just enough to cook but remain firm.

In a skillet, gently fry off some chopped chorizo and just before serving, toss the potatoes in the fat.

Shave a courgette into ribbons with a vegetable peeler and lightly steam through for a couple of minutes once the fish is ready.

Slice a tomato through and make up a pesto.

Serve out, scattering the ribbons over the plate, the potato and chorizo over, tomato slices in and amongst, cod as the crowning piece, pesto to garnish.

Wild Garlic Pesto

Wild Garlic Pesto
Literally, a paste, pesto is classically made up from basil, garlic and pine nuts, pounded into a paste.

Pesto can be made from all manner of herbs and nuts to provide a bountiful array of tastes; here, wild garlic and hazelnuts.

Someone has decimated my nearest resource of wild garlic. I'm not pointing a finger, but that patch was very close to a fine restaurant who seem to be making a big deal of the seasonality of wild garlic at the moment ... but I digress.

Reaching one of my other nearby patches, I collected up a little more than I usually do with the intention of making up batches that could be stored as pesto and garlic butter.

Keeping the concept local, I simply blended the wild garlic with hazelnuts, pouring in a little olive oil (perhaps rape seed oil would have been a more "local" thing to do, Yorkshire being the finest producer of rape seed oil, mechanically extracted) and souring with cider vinegar rather than lemon juice. Sea salt and black pepper to taste and you're done.

Bonus idea: Wild Garlic Butter. Simply blend some wild garlic and whip into butter. This can be frozen.

Courgette Fritters

Courgette Fritters
... a spur of the moment starter.

With surplus courgette that would be leftover from the main course and a couple of egg whites sitting in the fridge, this little starter was whipped up in no time!

... from scratch, you'd need:
  • Courgette - half a courgette works out well for two people, serving a couple of fritters each
  • Onion, Garlic & Chilli - onion should be about half the volume of the courgette, the chilli de-seeded and thinly sliced and wild garlic work out really well if you can get hold of some
  • Sea salt, black pepper and spices - coriander and cumin give this a warming Middle Eastern flavour
  • Eggs - Use one or two whole eggs or just the whites if you've used the yolks for something else and are wondering what to do with the whites
  • Starch - for binding; arrowroot, manioc, cassava, potato, whatever it is you use
  • Fat - for shallow frying
Grate the courgette, slice up the onion and chilli. Mince the garlic. Mix together in a bowl.


Crack in an egg and mix with a fork. The egg should give the mix a sloppy feel. Add another egg if you don't think it's quite wet enough.

Spoon in the starch a little at a time and mix into the courgette. I use polvilho azedo (or, "sour starch"), the kind used for those Brazilian Cheese Puffs. You're looking for a loose mix, but don't sweat it if it looks too loose.

In a skillet, warm a generous amount of fat - goose fat, in my case. You can pour the fat into a ramekin for another use after cooking.

Using a spoon, drop in dollops of the courgette mix and cook through. They will self-level, so no need to press down or stress about rounding the shapes. Flip over a couple of times to ensure that the fritters are well cooked each side.

Serve up with a cooling bowl of yoghurt and lemon juice alongside. Don't do dairy? Squeeze some lemon juice over and enjoy.


Goan Seafood Curry

Goan Seafood Curry
Last time I made this, it was a meal of freestyling, feeling my way as I went. Tonight, the same meal was put together with a sense of purpose, putting together something I might call a recipe. Yes, you read that right ... a recipe!

The chief reason that I do not post up in the traditional "Ingredients ... Method" manner is because I simply do not cook like that. Furthermore, I feel very strongly that primal eating should not be like that - it should be a case of taking what food we have and making the very best of that with what we have available rather than specifically buying in a bunch of ingredients to make up a meal verbatim, missing all the fun of impromptu cooking.

This very dish is put together in just that manner. In fact, all "curry" dishes are put together like that - start with the key ingredient and flavour it up with "store cupboard" ingredients.

Here, fish. Nothing Goan. North Atlantic Pollock.

So, the ingredients ...
  • Seafood - the focus of the dish. Anything between half to a pound of seafood will do, any type, any origin, but make sure it is wild.
  • Curry Paste - Make your own. Chop a large onion, some garlic, ginger, chillies, add cumin, coriander and turmeric at the least, fenugreek and asafoetida perfume things further. Black pepper and a little fish sauce for saltiness and more fishiness. Blend.
  • Tomatoes - One or two will do. Any variety, but plum are probably best.
  • Coconut Milk - one standard can. 400g, is it? Again, check the ingredients: coconut flesh and water will do just fine. If it's a little light, just beef it up with some dessicated coconut later on.
  • Aromatics - Bay leaf and black mustard seeds.
  • Boiled Egg - All meals are better with an egg, and this is perfect with a boiled egg over the top.
  • Rice - White rice. If you don't do rice, cauliflower rice will do just fine or steamed greens would be gorgeous.
This will feed two.

... and the method:

Begin by preparing the fish. Gut, scale, fillet and skin ... or have your fishmonger do it for you. Pollock is a very cheap fish here in the UK, seen as a great alternative to cod and haddock, but does have a stronger structure perfect for curry. This pollock was fished from the North Atlantic.

Now, the tomatoes. Draw and X into the bottom of one or two tomatoes and immerse in boiling water for a minute. Remove and set aside to cool down.

Lower an egg into the water and boil it. 8-10 minutes for hard boiled.

Peel and chop an onion, a few cloves of garlic, some ginger, a few chillies and your spice blend: cumin, coriander and turmeric at the least, fenugreek and asafoetida also feature in mine, along with some cayenne pepper for a little more heat, black pepper and a good splash of fish sauce.

Blend the spice paste and fry off in some coconut oil in a skillet.

Drop in the fish, chopped into pieces along with some frozen prawns.

Open up a can of coconut milk. Something around 400ml will do fine. Pour it in and scatter in a tablespoon of dessicated coconut.

Push in a bay leaf and a tablespoon of black mustard seeds.

Let that simmer and reduce while you cook your rice, or steam your veggies, or whatever it is you're cooking to accompany. It will darken a touch as it reduces.

Ready to eat?

Serve up with the rice or veggies as a bed, spooning the curry over and chopped egg alongside. Garnish if you like - I did, with a few leaves of parsley.

Very good, indeed!

As I said above, this will feed two ... or one hungry Yorkshireman who, with a little self-restraint kept some back as leftovers for breakfast.

Combine the leftovers with some chopped lamb's liver and sliced mushrooms, stirring in a few peas if you like. Again, boiled egg alongside. Notice the double yolks? We've had loads of these recently - like two eggs for the price of one.

Goan Seafood & Liver Biryani.


Pan-fried Sea Bass on Griddled Watermelon [Redux]

I made up this dish the other day repeated tonight with purpose and refined a little.

30 Minutes

Peel and slice some squash pieces, committing them to the oven set to 200C, cooking off in your favourite paleo fat: goose fat, for me.

Prepare the watermelon steaks. Two each is good, maybe a couple of inches square.

20 Minutes

Place the watermelon steaks on a griddle for ten minutes (each side).

10 Minutes

Turn the watermelon.

Prepare a plate - lettuce leaves, black pepper, salt, some salad ingredients, perhaps some balsamic vinegar, maybe Tabasco, maybe olive oil.

Gut, scale, clean and fillet a sea bass. One fillet each, cut in half to give a couple of pieces each.

3 Minutes

Warm some butter in a frying pan.

Cook the sea bass fillet pieces skin side down.

0 Minutes

Turn the sea bass over to cook on the flesh side in the heat of the pan. Pan off.

Dish up, squash pieces on the plate, pouring over the fat if you like.

Watermelon steaks pushed in and amongst, sea bass pieces over.


Pan-fried Sea Bass on Griddled Watermelon

Eat, enjoy ...


Tilapia, Garlic Crush Potatoes & Egg Salsa

Tilapia, Garlic Crush Potatoes & Egg Salsa
I saw this idea for an egg salsa on the BBC's 'Saturday Kitchen' yesterday. I can't remember what it was put with, but a few potatoes and a piece of fish sounds perfect.

Get a couple of eggs and some salad potatoes boiling ... different pans, naturally.

Meanwhile, dress a couple of plates with salad leaves.

Drop some asparagus into the boiling potatoes and retrieve after a couple of minutes. Cut in half through the stem if they're really large, and spread them about over the salad leaves.

The eggs should be ready after about 10 minutes, so immerse under running cold water, peel and leave to cool in cold water for a couple of minutes.

Make up the base of the salsa with lemon juice, olive oil, black pepper, sea salt, chopped pickled gherkins, chopped capers and then chop up the egg well and add. Stir together.

Take a couple of cloves of garlic, skin them and crush them well.

When the potatoes are soft, drain and set aside for the last of the water to evaporate off. Drop in a generous knob of butter and crush roughly with a fork, stirring in the garlic after.

Scatter the potatoes over the salad, topped with the egg salsa.

Now, fry off the tilapia in a frying pan with a little fat. The fillets take little more than a minute, or so, each side.

Lay the fish onto the plate and garnish.

I had a little puréed beetroot, red wine vinegar and olive oil in the fridge, so that went over the top. Herbs will do just fine.


Salmon Consommé

Salmon Consomme
You're right ... posh French cuisine.

Reputed to be a royal pain to make, involving culinary skill gleaned only in the finest kitchens of the finest restaurants, Consommé is the reserve of gastronomes and the rich.

But, it's just stock ...

No, really ... it's just stock.

Sure, it's clarified and elevated to some lofty height, as is all French cuisine, but it's still just stock.

Wanna know how? It ain't that fancy, either ...

So, quick cruise through the supermarket while picking up some cider and I happened upon four decent salmon fillets for £1.89! They're at their "sell by" date, but by no means past their best and at under half price, it was in my basket like a flash!

They'll do for lunches next week.

Home, simply drop the fillets into sufficient water to cover, add a little bouillon in (just buy it powdered and leave all the heavy techniques to those French Chefs, eh? Check the ingredients, mind) and simmer very gently for about 20 minutes.

That's the fillets done. Remove from the liquor, let them cool, cover and place in the fridge until required. They're fine like that for a couple of days.

We have the liquor left ...

Easy enough just to add some veggies and serve as soup. Very good, very flavoursome, very micronutritious!

Better, and so easy, simply sieve the large bits out then pass the liquor through a sieve with a piece of kitchen towel. Pass it again through two sheets and again if you want it really clear.

There you have it: Consommé! No complex, faffy processes ... just Consommé, done well enough.

To serve, you're supposed to pour it really gently over a bowl of perfectly cooked bits and pieces - mushrooms is a popular choice, and if I'd had the foresight to pick up a box of exotic mushrooms, this would have been especially spectacular ... but I didn't, so a bowl of simple Consommé it is.

Naturally, you can do the same thing for bone broths or any boiled, or poached meats.

Voilà! C'est tout.