Highlights - July 2013

Green Soup & Poached Trout

Giving some love to the simple green soup - essentially, a soup from what would usually go in the bin!
Grilled Beef & Samphire

Simply, perfect partners.

What's better than Cheesecake?

Steamed Pollock with Sumac Pesto

Sumac. Sub-tropical and temperate shrubs which grow predominantly across Africa and North America producing a reddish spice with a curious zesty flavour used in Middle Eastern cuisine, primarily.

I picked up a pot at the supermarket, having never cooked with it, with the intention of using it as part of a spicy marinating stock for lamb shanks.

Tonight's dinner was quite literally a grab a bunch of ingredients and put them on a plate kind of meal.

Our kitten has just been neutered and so, is being treated ... he's eating our fish! I have a good deal of pollock in and he's getting some, we're eating the rest. He's fine, by the way, recovering really well and doesn't seem to miss them.

So, enough about the mog's bollocks, over to this 'ere pollock ...

Simply steamed for a few minutes.

... and veggies ...

Again, steamed, and roasted.

I found a tomato in the fridge, so that was sliced and arranged on a plate.

I also had a couple of carrots, peeled and steamed, cocquina squash, peeled and roasted in goose fat, tenderstem broccoli, steamed, courgette, peeled into ribbons and steamed.

I found an orange, so peeled and segmented.

... and that set me on the path for zesty flavours to top the dish.

I have herbs: parsley and tarragon. Tarragon meets zesty flavours well. I have some hazelnuts and olive oil, and so, a pesto began to take shape. Stopping short of a squeeze of lemon juice, I added some sumac. Sea salt and a little pepper, and we have one delicious pesto.

All the food cooked and put together, pesto spooned over, we have dinner.

Yes, a bit of a mess, completely freestyling, but that's generally how I do it, tonight just especially do. It panned out and it was fantastic!



What's better than Cheesecake?


Cheesecake is a perfect Paleo+ dessert made from single ingredient cream cheese and cream. Please please please check the ingredients - there is no need for gums, fillers or other ingredients.

Cream cheese is a cheese from cream ... nothing more. Cream is cream ... nothing more.

Made for our neighbourhood BBQ, yes, I could have taken round good meat, but our host had that covered with a superb array from a local farm shop.

I took a dessert ... I would have got a snap of the cake being served out, but it went ... in seconds ... literally, seconds. I'll do two next year.

So, Mega-Cheesecake ...

I have a 10" cake tin with a removable band - perfect for this.

You can make a base if you like - use what you will, gluten-free biscuits, coconut flour, whatever. I usually don't both with a base, since the cream cheese is the whole point of this but in this case, I did ... I used Digestive biscuits (not paleo, not even by a long stretch) and coconut oil.

Coconut oil is so much better than butter. It sets rock solid in only about half an hour, so mash up some biscuits, soften some coconut oil and pour into the biscuits. Spread out across the base of the tin and set in the fridge.

Once set, make the cake!

Two parts cream cheese and one part cream. To give you some hints, I used a 300ml carton of cream and 600g of cream cheese. Whisk together with some vanilla bean paste and a hint of honey - local Yorkshire honey from the Denholme Gate Apiary, for me, one tablespoon. Spoon over the base and pat down level.

Dress the cheesecake with strawberries, cut in half and laid out in circles, one large one as the prize in the middle.

Beautiful, eh?

Mega-Cheesecake was no match for a bunch of hungry Halifaxers ... we decimated this poor cake in seconds!

Warm Ceviche

Chef Martin Morales was on the BBC's 'Saturday Kitchen' this morning, Peruvian, he now runs Ceviche in Soho, London.

His dish was ceviche, but warm ...

Ceviche is a curing method. Simply generously cover seafood with lime and within the hour, the flesh will be cooked. Chef Morales made up a blended paste of spring onion and chilli pepper to put over his sea bass and clam ceviche, then warmed through on a banana husk over a burner.

My version used what I have to hand: haddock.

Cut into small goujons and covered in lime juice, chopped chillies and some fine parsley tops were added. 20 minutes, or so, later, the fish was almost cured through.

Placed on some kitchen foil and then in a lidded pan, a mere couple of minutes are sufficient to warm through. The first hint of steam gives us the clue that it's ready.

That's it ... warm ceviche.

To serve, being breakfast, some scrambled eggs. As a dish for later in the day, a light salad would do well, perhaps in a wrap?


Cottage Cheese & Samphire Salad

Cottage Cheese & Samphire Salad
Bloody Hell! Where's the meat ... or fish?

Yeah, some days you just fancy something very light and very simple. Truth be told, I'd not got anything defrosted. My bad.

Anyway ...

In the absence of fish or meat, dairy provides a good protein and carb balance, and from good sources it's not at all bad.

I guess dairy was kicked out of the initial definition due to perceived intolerances by most of the population that was being considered. Once Paleo went global, huge and vast portions of the world showed themselves not to be intolerant, and even the scope of dairy opened up - sheep, goat, reindeer, buffalo; and huge and vast portions of the world showed that dairy was simply not an issue.

If you are not lactose intolerance, carry on ...


Lactose intolerance aside, there is the secondary issue of A1 beta casein; a protein has been implicated as a potential factor in diabetes mellitus, ischaemic heart disease and also as a modifier of behavioural symptoms associated with some neurological conditions such as autism.

You will find that most of the cow milk that you encounter will be A1 type, from Fresian and Holsten breeds representing the majority of milk cows in Europe, the US and Australia. A2 type milk can readily be had from other species:  sheep, goat, reindeer, buffalo; but there is hope for cow milk: Guernsey and Jersey breeds carry a very high incidence of A2 type milk.

For real world eating, fermented and fatty dairy is safest from cow milk and many ancestral eaters are happy to include them in their diet, myself very much included.


Here, Cottage Cheese, a curd cheese made from setting milk with rennet.

That's the cheese ... simply spoon over some samphire which has been immersed in boiling water and retrieved quickly. Nutritionally, samphire is packed with goodness - strong in iodine and in vitamins A, C, B2 and B15, amino acids and minerals, such as iron, calcium and particularly magnesium.

Chop some salad ingredients over: tomato, cucumber and chilli.

Garnish with boiled egg slices.

So, presenting a light, vegetarian and ancestrally-focussed dish: Cottage Cheese & Samphire Salad


Poached Trout (Again)

Poached Trout
I absolutely adore trout! Lighter than salmon yet also a sound, fatty fish with a delicate yet robust flavour.

Protein, fat and carb ratio clocks in at something like 65% 35% 0%.

Quick meals can be made up since trout seems to take to poaching more quickly than salmon ... and so, here's another idea*.

Our local supermarket packs up the less plush fillets into a Basics packaging; the tail fillets, smaller loin fillets and so on, usually a couple or even three for around £2.50.

Simply skin and drop into boiled water set on a low heat for a few minutes while you prepare the rest of the meal.

Veggies - here, a couple of slices of salad potatoes, slices of courgette, some peas and a couple of slices of tomato. There's fennel shavings in there, too.

Boil and steam the veggies you want warm and scatter over the plate, placing the fish on top with a good glob of Greek yoghurt or crème fraîche. Garnish with herbs.

Yes, there's an egg salad at the back - that was the starter which, since we wanted to eat outside and enjoy the glorious weather we're having, I simply plated both up together and off we went ...

* in all honesty, it's just poached a fish and lay it over whatever veggies you fancy. It's nowt fancy, just good, real food eating with an ancestral eye on the ratios.


Grilled Mackerel

Grilled Mackerel
Mackerel is a phenomenal fish!

Oily, full flavoured with a delicate yet well textured flesh. Versatile, too, taking to smoking as easily as it takes to simple grilling; blended, makes a great pate.

But what of nutrition? I did say it was phenomenal ...

Along with a strong protein profile, well balanced fatty acids and a host of micro-nutrients, the mackerel is known to be anti-carcinogenic, boosts immunity, aids cardio-vascular function by cleaning the blood and lowering blood pressure, and aids in the development of cells in the brain and nervous system, protecting against their degenerative disease.

What a fish!

Let's just take a moment to give it up for the humble mackerel.

So, mackerel in hand, clean it up and gut it, running clean water through the digestive cavity and up through the mouth.

Cleaned, simply slash the skin a few times on each side and stuff with flavour.

We've just been to the Bingley Show the day before and I came away armed with a bag of cheese and some farmhouse butter.

I blended some butter with ginger, chilli, spring onions, coriander, sea salt, black pepper and lemon juice.

Spread the paste over the fish, working it into the slashes.

No fucking around ...

Get it under the grill. That's proper English for an overhead heat source, so broiler, I think for folks the other side of the pond, but if you use your grill just wrap the fish in tin foil to prevent the juices from escaping.

Grill for maybe three or four minutes each side and then serve out.

I served out over a plate of samphire, pouring the juices over.

Gorgeous! Too gorgeous! Enormously satisfying, satiating and a great breakfast. Now, let's get about enjoying a fine day ...


Fish Fingers!

Fish Fingers!
Fish Fingers! No, really!

Some times you just want some junk food. Here in the UK, Fish Fingers are almost as large an institution as Yorkshire Puddings.

Simply, fish in breadcrumbs, but so accessible, cheap and quick to cook. The crunch is sublime.

That's the purpose of fish fingers ... but, how do that and keep it paleo?

We need to look to Italy for influence and Africa for the ingredient. Curious? Gari. Like semolina, gari (ground and dried cassava) comes in various grades from fine, to coarse to almost breadcrumb in consistency.

I have a bag of the coarse stuff in, bought out of interest and never really had much of an idea how to use it other than to put a crispy crunch onto things, as I might rolling in semolina. In fact, gnocchi rolled in gari are superb!

Before we do the fish, let's get the rest of the dish together ...

I went with some roasted butternut squash (cook in goose fat for about 30 minutes in the oven at 200C), some steamed marrow (maybe 10 minutes over boiling water) and some rocket leaves.

I also made up a tartar sauce. For two ramekins, two large egg yolks whisked with lemon juice and olive oil. Add a dot of mustard, some black pepper and sea salt. Whisk well. Stir in some chopped pickled gherkins and capers, stir in then pour into ramekins and chill in the fridge.

Now the fish ...

In a wide bowl, pour in some gari, then season with sea salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and marjoram.

Take some fillets of white fish. I went with pollock and cut into strips ... goujons is the posh word, Fish Fingers for fun! Roll the fingers in the gari powder and shallow fry off in your favourite paleo fat - yes, goose fat for me.

Each side needs about 3 minutes to cook through and crisp up. Move it too early and you'll get a chewy and gummy collapsed fish. Three minutes ... leave it! Turn ... three minutes.

Scatter over your plate and dip into the tartar sauce.

... can't find gari? Potato flour would do at a push, I guess, but I doubt you'll get the same breadcrumb-like crunchy texture. Any other ideas, drop them in the comments.

... if you do find gari, have a good play with it. You can make up an African food called eba, which is much akin to polenta.

Chicken Liver Parfait

Chicken Liver Parfait
Something for a nourishing starter, snack or just because ...

Chicken Liver Parfait, to give it its proper title, "parfait" the French for "perfect", and it is.

Worried? Yeah, I know ... French cuisine ... posh terms, complex processes; but, you know me ... I'll break it down and show you that it's easy and you really don't need a recipe, just real food, a frying pan and a hand blender.

Let's get to ...

Chicken livers. I used 400g raw, trimming off sinews, green areas (which are bitter) and teasing off anything which looked okay. Net result, possibly 350g of liver. This will make two glasses, as pictured.

Where were we? Livers ... now dice them and gently fry them off in a pan with butter. Real butter. Lovely stuff. Don't colour up the liver, just warm it through until it's not pink any more.

Drop it into a blending receptacle. I have a hand blender, so a Pyrex jug. If you have a food mixer, go nuts.

Flavours ...

I popped in a sprinkle of mixed spice - cinnamon, nutmeg and paprika. Just a little. Sea salt, black pepper and a little more melted butter. Oh, and double cream ... just a smidge.


Pass through a sieve. Nah! Don't! First, it's prissy and second, it's pointless.

You're done. Spoon into glasses.

Faffy French side note - you can use a spray of Marsala, Sherry or Brandy just to pep up the mix.

Now we need to seal it ... because we're going to keep it for some time ... yeah, right!

But, do this anyway ...

Melt butter. Pour over. Pop into fridge to chill. The butter will act as a natural barrier to keep the liver parfait just so.

When serving, bring up to room temperature, so the butter can be enjoyed. Hungry primals will pick off the disc of butter, eat it and then plunge unwashed fingers into the parfait. Feel free to use the celery and carrot sticks, or just eat them afterwards.

Perfect, eh? Fuck, yeah!


Grilled Beef & Samphire

Grilled Beef & Samphire
I'm predominantly a pecse-paleo; seafood orientated. When I do eat land animals, it is invariably offals or the fatty, slower cooked cuts ... or fillet.

Tonight, we had some thin steaks. I'm not sure of the cut, but they were tender, like fillet, and could be eaten raw without being chewy.

With the beef, I looked around for things to accompany ...

It's warm, so salad leaves. I have a glut of green olives, so cut a few through and scattered over the plate. I have a baked potato left over, chilled, so that was sliced through into chips and fried off in goose fat. I also have some samphire.

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.

Whether sautéed, steamed or blanched, samphire is perfectly seasonal and such a treat for eating with beef, the salty punch marrying perfectly.

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

To work ...

Fire up your grill/griddle pan. I have a ridged cast iron plate.

Quite simply, the steaks were dropped onto the griddle and given 90 seconds each side while the potatoes were just coloured up and warmed through in goose fat.

Samphire needs nothing more than immersing in boiled water for a few seconds.

Retrieve the meat from the griddle and let is sit for a couple of minutes while you finish off the chips and warm, and drain, the samphire.

Scatter over the plate of salad leaves and olives.

Sauce. I have the end of  a bottle of Chipotle Sauce from Trees Can't Dance.

Alas, they're now gone. Shame. They had a good selection of sauces from real food, free from preservatives, colourings, flavourings and so on ... just real ingredients. Shame.


Parcel Baked Salmon

Parcel Baked Salmon
Parcel baking is godsend for busy people.

Simply bung your meal into a parcel of kitchen foil or ovenproof paper and bake in the oven. Fish takes 20-25 minutes, meat longer ...

... in fact, I'm reminded of a favourite lamb dish that I've not made in absolutely ages: Lamb Kleftiko, a Greek/Macedonian technique where the food is put into a parcel and baked in a covered pit, underground.

In the style of the Klephts, the etymology of the modern term: kleptomania, the Klephts were a mountain tribe of sheep rustlers. The underground cooking pit was to hide the fire from open view.

That's an aside ...

Tonight, salmon. Leeks, fennel, fresh peas and crème fraîche accompany, with some sea salt and black pepper. I also dotted in a couple of slices of leftover potato.

Into the oven for 25 minutes, unpack and arrange on a plate over salad leaves.

Job done, light meal made ... now off to my fencing class.

Chocolate & Vanilla Ice Cream

Chocolate & Vanilla Ice Cream
Wise up sucker! Ice cream, indeed ...

We've got paleo ice cream, here. Chicken Liver Parfait, to give it its proper title, "parfait" the French for "perfect", and it is.

Worried? Yeah, I know ... French cuisine ... posh terms, complex processes; but, you know me ... I'll break it down and show you that it's easy and you really don't need a recipe, just real food, a frying pan and a hand blender.

Let's get to ...

Chicken livers. I used 400g raw, trimming off sinews, green areas (which are bitter) and teasing off anything which looked okay. Net result, possibly 350g of liver. This will make two good ramekins - the picture at the top is after I had a go at it in the fridge, feeling peckish in the middle of the night.

Where were we? Livers ... now dice them and gently fry them off in a pan with butter. Real butter. Lovely stuff. Don't colour up the liver, just warm it through until it's not pink any more.

Drop it into a blending receptacle. I have a hand blender, so a Pyrex jug. If you have a food mixer, go nuts.

Flavours ...

I popped in a sprinkle of mixed spice - cinnamon, nutmeg and paprika. Just a little. Sea salt, black pepper and a little more melted butter. Oh, and double cream ... just a smidge.


Pass through a sieve. Nah! Don't! First, it's prissy and second, it's pointless.

You're done. Spoon into a ramekin.

Faffy French side note - you can use a spray of Marsala, Sherry or Brandy just to pep up the mix.

Now we need to seal it ... because we're going to keep it for some time ... yeah, right!

But, do this anyway ...

Melt butter. Pour over. Pop into fridge to chill. The butter will act as a natural barrier to keep the liver parfait just so.

When serving, bring up to room temperature, so the butter can be enjoyed. Hungry primals will pick off the disc of butter, eat it and then plunge unwashed fingers into the parfait.

Perfect, eh? Fuck, yeah!

That's the chocolate ... now, the vanilla ...

Parsnip Cream - a simple blend of one parsnip, boiled, drained and blended with cream. That's it. One decent sized parsnip makes one ramekin (above).

Serve with celery sticks, carrot sticks, whatever sticks float yo' boat.

Did I mention liver is a paleo superfood? Chicken, parfait; Lamb, perfect; cow, beauty!

Do it, have fun, don't worry about quantity and ratio, just clean up, dice, cook, blend and lightly wet up ... preferably with butter and set in the fridge.

The inspiration came from a visit to our local pub which just happens to have all manner of awards, accolades and general industry good-feeling, including Yorkshire's Pub of the Year for gawd knows how long ... and they've a mighty fine restaurant alongside.

... which put out a lovely piece of venison with duck liver parfait for my Mrs on her birthday this weekend passed, washed down with a damn good Perrier. Laurent Perrier, naturally.

So, Chocolate & Vanilla Ice Cream. True, there's cream in them, there pots.

Bacon & Mushrooms

Bacon & Mushrooms
... a man cannot live on fish, alone.

I am not dogmatically pesce-paleo. My reason for moving to fish is two-fold: first, simply because I prefer fish, meat, I can take or leave; second, as real food eaters, we often invest so much effort into sourcing well reared meat that we forget the final stage: the slaughter

I don't want to eat badly slaughtered meat.

I got some lovely bacon in from a rare breed farmer, streaky, of course.

Eggs would be great, but I do have some really good chestnut mushrooms in.

Keeping it really simple, the bacon was grilled and the mushrooms fried off in a lard collected from belly pork drippings.

That's it ...

Superfluous pea shoots over for greenage and a good few splashes of Chipotle Tabasco.

Perfect! Even an egg could not make that more perfect.


Poached Trout Salad

Poached Trout Salad
Phew! Hot and sunny at last ...

We've had a great spell of really good weather for a good number of days now and more to come!

I don't think we're quite setup for it on our rainy island and when we do get the odd day, we go mental, bust out the BBQs and crates of beer ... any extended period of such weather, we lose inspiration.

Looking to more sunny climes, I was inspired by a simple salad with a fish.

I'm using trout. Scots loch trout. Salmon would be absolutely fine. Sea bass would also be really nice, a tail fillet, simply fried off.

I've also got a handful of salad leaves, salad ingredients: cucumber, tomato, green olives, feta cheese, capers and pickled garlic; and a small portion of salad potato.

The salad was leftover from the weekend.

So, poached trout ...

Gut and scale the fish. If you've got a whole fish, reserve the thickest part at the head end for steaks, chopped straight through the fish. The tail end will give two really good fillets sliced from the bones. Pin bone and skin the fillets released from the tail.

To poach, simply immerse in boiled water and set the pan on a low simmer for around 5 minutes. These thin fillets take almost no time to fully cook through. For a posh poach, infuse the poaching liquor with tea. Tea poaching works for salmon, too.

Salad potatoes are lovely this time of year and you only need a couple of small ones or one large one per person, sliced and boiled for maybe eight or ten minutes.

Trout is reasonably fatty, but we can get more good fats in by swirling the drained potatoes around in butter with some herbs: dill, here. Tarragon would also be nice and both would work with trout or salmon.

Build the plate, based on a handful of salad leaves, scattered salad ingredients over, potato slices and then crown with a fillet, or two, of trout. Crème fraîche over, pea shoots to garnish and a slice of lemon to splash over.

Light, yet satiating.


Mutter Paneer

Is it paleo? Not even slightly! Is it primal? It could pass as primal ...

Should such a recipe even be here? Living in the Ice Age is my food blog - the things I eat and the things I enjoy.

Mutter Paneer is a North Indian favourite - simply, curd cheese and peas in a spicy sauce.

Mutter Paneer is also one of my favourite curries.

I expect the first raised eyebrow and furrowed brow will be over the peas. Yes, peas are legumes, but I would encourage you to read Mark Sissons' article on green beans and peas: Are Peas and Green Beans Healthy?

These peas are from the vine, hand podded and about as fresh as you can get. From Mark's article, I note that cooking dramatically reduces the phytate and despite his lack of firm details around agglutinin, we know from n=1 that eating freshly picked peas is not an issue. That said, this is not a regular meal by any stretch.

Back to it ...

Peas, podded. Cheese, unpacked and cubed up. How much? 8oz of cheese and a cup of peas will do admirably.

Cheese? Not paleo, no. Primal, yes, with strings attached ... and those strings are raw, fatty and fermented. Hands up! I bought this cheese and it's pasteurised, set with lemon juice.

Paneer can be procured from most supermarkets in the UK now - it's simply cured curd cheese. Being North Indian and a firm favourite amongst vegetarian Sikhs, the cheese is cured with lemon juice rather than rennet ... which comes from cows.

You can make it yourself by warming up milk, curing with lemon juice which will separate the milk into cottage cheese curds, strain the whey from the curds and then press the curds overnight. Or, buy a block.

The peas should be put on to cook through, which for fresh peas, I prefer a light simmer for a longer time than boiling for a short time.

Set them simmering and let's make the sauce.

For the portion we're cooking (8oz of cheese and a cup of peas, for two) shred a small onion and sauté gently in a frying pan with ghee or butter for about 15 minutes during which time, the onions will soften and caramelise. Sprinkle over your spice blend: turmeric, cumin, coriander, fenugreek and asafoetida; a teaspoon of the first three, half a teaspoon of the last two. Black pepper and sea salt, too. Cloves are used quite a lot in North Indian cooking - add in two or three at this stage.

We're going to blend the sauce, so scrape the onions into your blending container. I use a hand blender and a Pyrex pouring jar.

Next, tomato. You want one or two plum tomatoes, peeled, which you do by drawing an X into the bottom of each and immersing in boiling water for about 60 seconds ... that pan of peas you've got will do fine. Retrieve the tomatoes and the skin should peel off easily.

Dice and add to your blending container along with three or four cloves of garlic ... and blend.

In your frying pan, add a little more ghee (or butter) and fry off the cheese cubes. Gently, so as not to colour them up - I prefer the white to shine through, but some do prefer the cheese firmer and coloured up. Your choice, but I would advise the former.

Pour the sauce over and warm through.

Drain the peas and toss into the cheese and sauce along with your preferred amount of fresh green chillies.

Add some fresh coriander, reserving a few leaves as garnish.

Serve out, fresh leaves for garnish and a couple of cubes of butter to make the dish especially creamy.

Sufficient for two ... or one portion for a hungry Yorkshireman. Grab your diggers and pile in!


Nordic Pickled Beetroot Starter [Quick & Dirty]

Nordic Pickled Beetroot Starter
Pickled beetroot is really cool!

Whether packed or in jars, pickled is such a fun way of enjoying beetroot.

I like both, but jars of pickled beetroot offer us a fun way of presenting eggs once the beetroot has all been eaten. Simply boil a couple of eggs and pickle them overnight in the remaining coloured vinegar, topped up with water if necessary. Next day, you'll have purple eggs!

That's an aside ...

Here, the eggs were simply boiled, sliced and presented on a plate with sliced pickled beetroot.

Crème fraîche over, sprigs of dill to garnish and black pepper, icelandic ash salt and some paprika for texture and colour.

þar! Nordic Pickled Beetroot ... a perfect, simple starter idea.


Crab & Celeriac Linguine

Prior to paleo eating, my Crab Linguine was one of my wife's favourite dishes; a simple preparation of crab, chillies and lime over linguine.

Paleo eating has knocked traditional linguine out and a reasonable replacement can be found in juliennes of courgette or carrot ... but ... I think I've found a perfect linguine now.

Last week, while nosing around a Polski Sklep (Polish food store) near work for some roasted red peppers, I happened upon a jar of what looked like noodles.

The best I could get out of the shopkeeper at the time was that it was celeriac. Upon returning to work and translating the ingredients, it was, indeed, celeriac, in salt, vinegar and ... sugar.

Gah! No drama - simply soak in water for an hour and we're good to go.

So, this evening, I set about making up a small portion of Crab Linguine as a starter ... the main yet to be thought through. I tend to think on the fly as I cook and have little to no idea what will end up on the plate - it just happens. As it happens, the starter simply got bulked out and combined with the bare bones of the main course to make a single larger meal. We had cheesecake in the fridge for dessert.

You need a can of crab meat or a couple of dressed crabs. Something like 250g of meat for two. Of course, dressed or undressed crabs would be perfect, but canned is so much more accessible. Chillies, several, since this dish curiously can take a lot ... well diced. Linguine; be it juliennes of veg or these curious noodles of celeriac.

Having already used half of the jar, I had to bulk out with courgette, which I made ribbons.

To cook, it's simply a case of softening some of your favourite paleo fat in a large frying pan, warming the veg through, shredding the crab meat over and adding in the chillies. Squeeze of lime before serving and some fresh herbs, be it flat leaf parsley, coriander of here, dill.

It takes a couple of minutes, in reality, so I left that part of the meal until the end ...

The remainder of our dinner here was a half thought-through main course of cod steak over griddled watermelon with some garlic crushed potatoes for the Mrs, leftover curried rice for me ... over samphire.

The Crab Linguine made a perfect centre piece.

The cod was simply parcel baked in the oven for 20 minutes with a little butter while the potatoes cooked through, garlic added and the buttery sauce from the cod to wet it up. Crush with a fork. My rice was just fried through in goose fat. Samphire needs no more than a couple of minutes immersed in hot water while the Crab Linguine was cooked through.

Serve out in an appealing manner ... superfluous greenage over; pea shoots in my case.

I really do need to get myself one of these ...


Salmon & Broccoli

Salmon & Broccoli
There's not a huge amount to write about this, and you might be looking at the picture thinking I've fobbed you off with such a simple dish.

But ...

Within simplicity is often great complexity.

Here, perfect flavour combinations, each enhancing the other.

We have: pan-fried salmon, steamed broccoli, griddled watermelon, lemon and pea shoots.

I first got the idea of griddled watermelon from the BBC's 'Saturday Kitchen'. I forget the Chef, but it was a damn fine idea and I enjoyed it pretty much straight away with some pan-fried sea bass. Watermelon has a subtle flavour, which really enhanced when it is griddled; a subtle sweetness which works so well with fish, enhancing the full flavour.

Lemon performs a similar role with fish, again enhancing the flavour, tickling the sour receptors and opening the palate to a wider range of flavours. Lemon also works well with broccoli.

Salmon and broccoli is a no-brainer - they go together.

So, pan fry the salmon in butter, basting as you go, steam the broccoli and griddle the watermelon.

Serve up with the watermelon under the fish and the broccoli all around, lemon wedge on top to be squeezed all over. Pea shoots garnish just for a final punch of concentrated flavour.

Done again, I think I'd use tenderstem broccoli ... purely aesthetic.

Green Soup & Poached Trout

Milestone! 500 posts!

What a great dish to mark such a milestone; a dish I make a lot, yet its simplicity, its vagueness in ingredients and method has left it on the sidelines rather than as any star attraction in my recipes.

Time to big it up for the Green Soup!

Green Soup is my use-up dish.

We had cauliflower the other day, so stalks and leaves reserved, turnip the other day, too, which left after preparation left me with a few odd sized chunks and tonight, we're having broccoli ... so ...

All those leftovers, bits, offcuts and trimmings simply get sautéed in butter in a large soup pan along with something oniony ... leek greens and a little of the white, here, bouillon added and topped with water.

Garlic in, some black pepper and perhaps a little more sea salt to flavour just right and we're done.

After a light boil for 10 or 15 minutes, the whole lot is blended up with a hand blender.

If you want to make this up from scratch, simple sauté off some chopped onion or leek, then, pretty much any green veg.

The soup could be served like that: a fantastic bowl of vitamin K.

Better, drop in some protein ...

I had some poached trout sitting in a bowl in the fridge that was simply flaked and dropped into the soup when serving.

Naturally, any protein is fine: chicken, white fish, salmon, perhaps prawns ...

... a great little starter.


Coley Escovitch

Coley Escovitch
Most likely Spanish in origin, Escovitch is a Jamaican preparation for fish. You'll notice the similarity in sound to Escabeche, similar in process.

Escovitch is a curing method.

Take a couple of fillets of fish - Red Snapper would be the obvious one, but I had coley. Lay them in a tray.

Add some flavour: ground coriander, perhaps cumin, cayenne pepper (Jamaicans would use Scotch Bonnet ... again, I didn't have any in), black pepper, some sea salt and then cover with shredded onion.

Now the curing liquid: lime juice. Lemon juice is also fine, or a mix. One large lime covered two large coley fillets. Vinegar is also used; cane vinegar, keeping close to the Jamaican process, although any will do - I used a capful of cider vinegar.

Now leave it for at least a couple of hours, overnight is better.

Unlike Escabeche, Escovitch is cooked. Usually fried.

When you're ready to eat, simply place the tray into a pre-heated oven set to 180C for about 20 minutes.

Serve out and accompany with something like avocado and shredded peppers.


Mushroom Baked Basa Fillets over Spring Colcannon

If you like butter, this one is for you!

First, a spin around the ingredients: White fish (Basa fillets, here), spring greens (or curly cale, green cabbage, that sort of veggie), potatoes (Jersey Royals, here), butter, some more butter, yet more butter, cream, mushrooms, sea salt and black pepper.

Colcannon is a recipe you already know how to cook because it comes with a thousand names: Bubble & Squeak, Hash, Stoemp, Stampot, Bikesmad, Pyttipanna, even Rumbledethumps.

It's a green veg with potato. I celebrated the end of seasonal veggies with some spring greens and Jersey Royal potatoes. Regular white potatoes will do, as will curly kale, green cabbage, even spinach at a push.

Naturally, if you don't "do" potatoes, mashed cauli might work, but I'm more inclined to think a mix of celeriac and perhaps some daikon, mashed, would do the trick.

Let's get on with it ...

Oven on at 180C (350F?) and get it warming through while you prepare the fish parcels.

I went with Basa, although most white fish will do perfectly well here. Haddock works better than cod when it comes to mushrooms, and smoked haddock particularly. Halibut would be lovely. I had basa.

Take a couple of fillets and place one on a sheet of kitchen foil or baking paper. Place a good wedge of butter on and the other fillet on top. This will meld with the juices to make an instant sauce, which we'll make extra special with some cream at the end. Just a touch of sea salt, then some slices mushroom over and some black pepper.

Seal up and pop the parcels into the over. They'll want 30 minutes.

Prepare your veggies and get the potatoes, or roots, on and boiling. Place the greens over the top in a steamer pan. It doesn't matter if these are ready after even 15 minutes; it'll keep warm and there's a little after-prep to do.

Once soft, drain and mash the potato (or roots), adding in a good helping of butter - the wetter the better, but not overly so. In with some shredded spring onions or leek. In with the greens. Stir together. More butter if necessary ...

Set aside and wait for the fish.

Once cooked, retrieve the fish from the oven and pour of the juices into a frying pan along with the mushrooms.

Serve out the colcannon with the fish fillets over the top.

Meanwhile, you'll want to bring the juices to the boil and pour in some cream, continuing the boil to reduce. This will only take a couple of minutes and warm the main dish through handsomely once poured over.

Pour over the fish and garnish with some superfluous greenage: pea shoots, here.

My Mrs has put this up there in the Top 10 of "dishes to definitely do again". I will.


Swordfish with Red Pepper Sauce

Swordfish with Red Pepper Sauce
Don't you just love it when a plan doesn't come together? You get to improvise ...

I found a couple of fantastic pieces of swordfish at the supermarket, really thick steaks with a great texture.

Swordfish doesn't have a lot of perfect partners, but it does seem to like subtle sweetness ... before, I've partnered with dragon fruit, sometimes mango and chilli even kiwi fruit.

That subtle sweetness could also come from peppers; capsicum, I believe our friends over the pond would call them. Roasted, to be precise.

I had intended to make up an Ayvar Sauce (Ajvar, in alternative spellings), a central European condiment of roasted red peppers and aubergine. Billed as Serb/Croat, you will also find this in neighbouring Hungary, where they pep it up further with paprika, even spiced paprika. Ayvar is caviar.

I say intended, because I was certain that I had an aubergine in, but at dinner time ... it could not be found. What's the betting I'll find it tonight?

Anyway, from work, I popped across the road at lunchtime to the Polish Shop (Polski Sklep) and found a large jar of roasted red peppers. Yes, I could have done it myself, but come on ... our central and eastern European cousins are the masters at this kind of thing; preserving seems almost instinctual to them. I also found a jar of shredded celeriac. Cool!

Upon googling the ingredients, since they're in a number of presumably European languages but not English, I found sugar in the celeriac. Shame, but no drama - once home, I soaked it in water for an hour, changing the water a couple of times. The roasted red peppers were good to go.

So, home and ready to make dinner ... no aubergine.

Okay, so I have roasted red peppers, combine with a small onion, chopped, some garlic, some paprika and a squirt of tomato purée: Red Pepper Sauce. In a frying pan on a low heat, just warm it through in a little olive oil.

Griddle pan on, swordfish on and cook it through.

I'm also having something green. Spinach or collard would be perfect here. I went with samphire. Broccoli would also be a good choice. Samphire needs nothing more than immersing in boiling water for a couple of minutes, which I did at the end while plating up.

Swordfish done, plate up ...

Swordfish down, red pepper sauce over, samphire and that shredded celeriac alongside.

Gorgeous! I'll do this Ayvar Sauce another time ....


Corned Beef Hash

... a little off-trail eating, and a comfort food treat.

Our friends over the water may know this meat as Bully Beef and I've shown you my regular autumnal meal here before, maybe a couple of times. I've also had a go at proper corned beef, brining some brisket, which turned out very well indeed.

Tonight, I'm using a slightly different method to produce a lighter ... dare I say it, summery version.

First, fire up your oven at 180C and get a baking dish warming through with your favourite paleo fat: goose fat, here, beef dripping or lard would be perfect.

Ingredients are simple and pared back to basics: potatoes, onion, garlic, corned beef and tomato.

Potatoes are not "paleo" but then neither was saturated fat only a short while ago. Some paleo eaters are coming to the idea that potatoes are not all that evil, but Cordain still holds out on this one. I've read his take on this again and again, and while I have absolutely no reason to doubt him and certainly no argument to counter him ... I eat potatoes. I seem to do well on them.

These potatoes are Jersey Royal Potatoes.

In their short season, we snap them up and eat them whenever we can. I've written a good deal about meals with Jersey Royals recently, but this is a celebration of this potato; a dish kept simple.

You can read all about Jersey Royals here: http://www.jerseyroyals.co.uk/

Sufficed to say, they're protected with PDO status, farmed on the island of Jersey in soil close to the sea fertilised with vraic; seaweed. The texture and taste is unique.

So, fat melted ... chop up some Jersey Royals and spread them around your roasting dish, scattering over some chopped onion and a few cloves of garlic, whole and skin on. Mix well and settle into the oven for 30 minutes, or so.

Meanwhile, open up a can of corned beef and cube it.

Also, shred a couple of chillies and cut a couple of tomatoes into large chunks. This will feed two.

After 30 minutes, the potatoes should be almost cooked through. Jersey Royals have a firm texture which will remain through to the served dish, but inserting a knife into the white of the potato should not feed gritty.

Scatter the corned beef over the potatoes and back into the oven to warm through for maybe 10 minutes.

Get some cabbage on, steaming. White cabbage will be perfect.

After that 10 minutes, scatter the chilli over and the diced tomatoes. Back in for a final 5 minutes.

Serve out, cabbage down, Corned Beef Hash over. Grind some freshly milled black pepper over and we're done.

For extra attention, the cabbage could be tossed through some fat. Better, leftover cabbage (say, from a Sunday Dinner) could be warmed through in a frying pan ... and ... Damn it! I forgot the fried egg. Eggs make any meal better - a fried egg over is absolute perfection.