Highlights - September 2013

Salmon Tagliatelle

Rice noodles. Neolithic food is back on the menu!

Not only but also ...

Tenebrio Molitor Noodles

Eat bugs!

Definitely part of the modern hunter/gatherer diet and certainly part of the paleo diet.
Sprats & Root Hash

As autumn draws in, hashes are just perfect ...


Sprats [Nordic]

Easy B&M

Bangers & Mash. Classic British comfort dish, simple and unfussy; a warming plate of sausages over mashed potato with a simple gravy.

Yesterday, I cooked up a brisket of beef, simply immersed in beef stock, onions, garlic, black pepper and bay leaf.

Today, that's the gravy. Leftovers.


Banegrs - Sausages, for which I used Debbie & Andrew's 97% Harrogate Pork Sausages. Wheat, gluten and dairy-free.

Mash - Potato, for which I used a sweet potato.

Gravy - Yesterday's leftover gravy infused with sliced mushrooms.

Seasoning - Sea salt and black pepper.

Fats - Butter and goose fat.

Bangers & Mash

Set your oven to 180C(350F?).

Pop the sausages on an ovenproof plate with a little goose fat and into the oven - these will take about 30-40 minutes. Turn every 10 minutes, or so.

For two, take a decent sized sweet potato, cut in half and place on an ovenproof plate flesh side down, spike the skins all over with a fork and smear some goose fat over the skins. Into the oven - again, these will take 30-40 minutes. Convenient, eh?


Make up your own, pour out a pre-made or use up some leftovers ... your call. Either way, drop some sliced mushrooms in for a really full flavour and more interest on the plate.


Retrieve the sweet potato from the oven and plate up, removing the skins if you want to ... you don't have to. Sweet potato cooks out to a soft flesh, so no need to mash away like white potatoes. Just push a couple of pieces of butter into the flesh and you're done. That's the mash.

Retrieve the sausages, placing three or four each over the mash. Sorted. That's the bangers!

Spoon the gravy over, grind a little freshly milled black pepper over and perhaps a little sea salt, mushrooms spooned over the cop as the crown.

Awesome, easy, almost effortless Monday dinner.


Aubergine Turkey Chilli Sweet Potato

Aubergine Turkey Chilli Sweet Potato
I'm really into sweet potatoes at the moment and it's Friday: Chilli Night!

So, let's put them together ...

The Chilli Con Carne is a variant of my CCC 2.0 recipe based on turkey mince, which tonight includes aubergine ... or eggplant if you're language is that way inclined.


Chilli - turkey mince, coconut oil, onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, black pepper, sea salt, mushroom stock, chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, oregano, marjoram, cocoa powder, paprika and aubergine.

Sweet potato - erm, sweet potato and goose fat.

Salsa - tomato, cucumber and radish.

Chilli Con Carne

Oven on at 180C (350F) and pop a decent sized sweet potato in, cut in half and flesh side down on an ovenproof, spiked all over with a fork and smeared with goose fat.

That'll take about 30-40 minutes, which gives us ample time to make up a Chilli.

In a large heavy-based skillet, for two, brown off a pound of turkey mince. It's lean, so we can add in a good fat - coconut oil.

While the mince is browning, chop a good sized onion, three or four cloves of garlic, some ginger and chillies to your taste - I like it hot, so used a Scotch Bonnet pepper. Blend all that lot together.

With the mince now browned, pour in the onion sludge and muddle around to cook off the rawness.

Now, empty your spice cupboard! Actually, tonight we're a little reserved, but sprinkle over some oregano and marjoram - maybe a tablespoon each; black pepper - half a teaspoon, perhaps; paprika - a teaspoon-ish; cocoa powder - around half a teaspoon.

Pour in some mushroom stock. Beef stock will do admirably.

Pour in a carton of chopped tomatoes and give it a squirt of tomato purée.

Mix together and add a little water if necessary.

Cut off the outside centimetre of an aubergine. It's the dark skin we want here, to simulate the vibrant colour of red kidney beans. Chop into bean-sized pieces and stir into the Chilli.

Turkey mince cooks through really quickly, so leave the heat on high to reduce.


Just slice up some tomato, cucumber and radish ... or whatever salad ingredients you have.


Sweet potato down, open it out a little, drop of butter, spoon over the chilli and scatter the salsa over. Eat, drink and enjoy your Friday night!


Parcel Baked Salmon & Blackberries

Parcel Baked Salmon & Blackberries
Blackberry season is coming to its end ... and so, a dish to celebrate that season.

I've been enjoying blackberries straight from the bramble when out walking. Truth be told, I gorged on them on occasion and had to slink back home for a light dinner.

I've also been enjoying them in jelly, but turning to a savoury dish, blackberries seem to work really well with salmon.


Salmon, fennel, shallots, leek, asparagus, carrot, potato, sea salt, black pepper and butter.

Beetroot and blackberries alongside.

Dill, mustard and butter for a sauce.

Spinach and rocket for garnish.



Beetroots need about 40 minutes at 200C (400F?) so get your oven on, peel and chop the beetroots down into wedges.

In an ovenproof dish, just melt a little of your favourite paleo fat and tip the beetroot wedges in.

Into the oven ... 40 minutes.



Our parcels will need about 20 minutes, which gives us time to put them together now the beetroots are roasting.

Par-boil any root veggies for about 10 minutes. I went with some salad potatoes, halved, and carrots chopped into good chunks.

Onto a good square of baking paper, make a base of shredded leek, shallots and fennel.

Asparagus, then, as a raft and the salmon fillets on top, crowned with a good slab of butter.

Arrange the par-boiled veggies alongside, give it a good grind of black pepper, a good sprinkle of sea salt, pour the sauce over [read on] and commit to the oven for 20 minutes, half way through the cooking time for the beetroots.


Simply, done combine cream with mustard and dill.

I didn't have any cream, so my parcels went in without sauce and I made up a butter mustard sauce to go over once served.

Chopped dill, lots, lemon juice, good squeeze, melted butter and an egg yolks.

Whisk together. That's your sauce.

So, two ideas ...


Just before the food is ready, melt some butter in a skillet and wilt your spinach and rocket. Naturally, any greens will do - dock, dandelion, radish, whatever you have to hand.


Once cooked, just open up the parcels and dump into a bowl. You can leave it on the paper, or tip it off.

Give a portion of the beetroots alongside, some blackberries and pour the sauce over the fish, garnishing with the greens.

Until next year, blackberries ...


Blast from the Past! Curried Parnsip Soup

Autumn is officially upon us!

After a sharp spell of Artic breeze, we're once again enjoying that late September warm spell, but all around the office are coughs and sniffles.

Thankfully, unlike last year, I'm not affected ...

... just in case, here's a blast from the past ... exactly one year ago: Curried Parsnip Soup

Beetroot & Feta Salad

Beetroot & Feta Salad

Lunch, I like something light and tasty. Salads work out great! Lots of lettuce, pockets of interest, protein, fat and a boiled egg on top. Cheese, be it cottage cheese, hard cheese, feta, whatever is a great salad ingredient and when sourced well, perfectly primal.

Feta, a crumbly, aged, brined curd sheep cheese from Greece, enjoys PDO status. Only feta from Greece made exclusively from sheep milk, or up to 30% goat milk, can bear the label Greek Feta. Get the real deal!


Lettuce, rocket and spinach. Cucumber, tomato and green beans.

Beetroot, feta, anchovies, olives and egg. Black pepper, sea salt, chilli powder and mustard. Dill.


Lettuce forms the base. I used cos, shredded; rocket and spinach, again, shredded, boost the flavours over which diced tomato, cucumber and green beans are scattered.

Peel and cube a beetroot, scattering over along with cubes of feta.

Garnish with anchovies, olives and a smear of mustard. English mustard is good here, coated on the back of a spoon and tapped over the salad.

Black pepper and sea salt. Dill sprigs.

Boiled egg on top, dusted with chilli powder.


Welsh Rarebit

Welsh Rarebit
Welsh Rarebit is NOT cheese on toast!

I repeat ... Welsh Rarebit is NOT cheese on toast!

You can read all about Welsh Rarebit on Wiki, the history, the variants, but in a nutshell, it's cheese, let out with milk or ale, thickened and poured over bread.

Bread? As ancestral eaters, we don't eat bread ... we can enjoy something far superior in terms of flavour and nutrition: the mushroom.


Portobello mushroom.

Cheese, beer and cream.


Mushrooms contain a lot of water and as such can leave an unappealing spill on the plate.

Two solutions: first, enjoy the mushroom uncooked; second, griddle the mushroom underside uppermost until the liquid comes up, flip and press down to cook off the water but absorb all of the flavour back into the mushroom.


Cheese, beer and cream.

First, the cheese - you can use cheddar, something crumbly like Caerphilly, Cheshire or Lancashire, even stilton.

Welsh Rarebit

I used Blacksticks Blue, a gorgeous coloured stilton from here in northern England, which will work perfectly with a little splash of the beer I'm enjoying while cooking. Guinness Foreign Extra.

Just a splash, maybe a tablespoon per serving - the purpose is just to let out the cheese just a little. Likewise, cream; just a splash.

Welsh Rarebit

Warm up gently and stir constantly while reducing to a thickened, but not thick sauce.


Serve as a starter, as part of a light lunch with some salad leaves alongside or as a side attraction to a main meal.

Mushroom down, pour the source over. Simples.

Sprats [Nordic]

Sprats [Nordic]
Following on from yesterday's breakfast, I still have some sprats left.

Today, Nordic.


Sprats. No sprats? Anchovies would be good, small sardines, small herrings or whitebait would do.

Potatoes, carrot, beetroot, onion, garlic, chilli, black pepper, sea salt, goose fat and spinach. Marjoram to cook, parsley to garnish.

Yoghurt, dill and lemon juice.


Dice up the roots, sautéing off the potatoes and carrots in your favourite paleo fat - goose fat, for me. Add the beetroot in later.

Give the skillet a good grind of black pepper, a pinch of sea salt and a sprinkle of dried marjoram. Oregano would do fine.

Continue to sauté over a medium heat until the roots are starting to soften, which might be around 10 minutes. Add in the beetroot at this point.

Add a chopped onion, sliced garlic and a couple of chillies, shredded.

Sauté on until soft, which might take another 20 minutes, or so.

Lay a generous handful of spinach per person into the skillet and let it wilt.

Meanwhile, a sauce ...


Per person, a couple of heaped tablespoons of your favourite yoghurt and a generous amount of chopped dill. Good squeeze of lemon juice and stir together.

Use whatever yoghurt you like. Greek, regular cow, perhaps goat, sheep, even. I used a gorgeous sheep yoghurt from Dorset, here in the UK.

Now the sprats ...


Eat them whole. Heads, tails, guts, the lot. Eat them whole.

If you're at all queasy about heads, cut them off. Actually, from there you can gut the fish by squeezing the belly up to where the head was. The guts will come out. Wash and you're done.

Otherwise, just make a small incision behind the gills and squeeze the belly up to the head to draw the guts.

Or, leave them in ... it's all good flavour!

You can pan-fry sprats or you can grill them. I prefer the grill. You say tomato, I say tomato. I'm British, and a grill for me is an overhead heat source: broiler, salamander.

Pan frying can be quite violent, leaving your sprats broken up and the fats over-cooked. Grill 'em. Lay your sprats out on a piece of kitchen foil and place under the grill on high. Two or three minutes each side is perfect.

Sprats [Nordic]

Timing is less important than how they look - the skins should be just bubbling. Watch the fish, not the clock.


Fold the wilted spinach through the hash and plate up.

Sauce over, then the sprats. More black pepper, perhaps some more sea salt, certainly some flat leaf parsley to garnish.

I popped a couple of figs alongside ... a boiled egg would be equally good.

Sprats over beetroot hash with yoghurt dill sauce.


Enchiladas Suizas ... Cheesefest!

Last time I made this, it was for Pancake Day ... you know, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, whatever you call it. Anyway, it's been about six months and we really fancied a Saturday night treat.


Method was exactly the same as before ...


I made a beef mince and prawn stuffing with cauli rice.

Back up! Minced beef and prawn? Yes! It works! Simply brown off some minced beef with chopped onion, garlic, chilli and ginger, a good splash of Worcestershire Sauce (which I am let to believe that Mexicans love as Salsa Anglais), some tomato purée and beef stock. Pour in some chopped tomato (not too much, say, half a carton to a pound of beef). Simmer on for a couple of hours. Pour in some small prawns which folks from the US might call shrimp. Steam some cauliflower florets, crush with a fork and stir into the meat - this is the rice.


Make up some manioc tortilla. Something like a cup of manioc flour to four eggs to half a cup of grated parmesan will do perfectly. I hate parmesan, so used pecorino, a hard sheep cheese. Manchego would do equally well. This will make about six to eight 6" tortilla, so adjust accordingly.

Likewise, a pound on mince, a cup of prawns and a reasonable cauliflower will fill those 6-8.

Go on ... roll 'em up!

Roll up! Roll up!

Cheese Sauce

Now for the Swiss bit ...

Understand that we don't need much. No need to go all neolithic and drown this great food in cheese; just a little will do just fine. I used a blend of mature and medium cheddar. Some. I don't measure, so don't know how much, so "some" will have to do as my explanation.

Cheese, grated, melted in single cream. No need for flour. No need for thickener. If you get the cheese to cream right, it works. Grated the cheese, then on a low heat add as little cream as you think you will get away with and only add more if you cannot get the cheese to melt without going hard them moment the pan is lifted off the stove.

Pour the sauce over and pop it into the oven at 175C for about 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile ...

Pico de Gallo

While these Enchiladas are gorgeous on their own, just a little Pico de Gallo perfects the dish.

Simply chop up some tomato, cucumber, spring onions and add in some sweetcorn, omitting the later if it's not a part of your ancestral diet.


Collect the Enchiladas from the oven, serving a couple each and scattering the Pico de Gallo over.

Dig in and enjoy!

Tenebrio Molitor Noodles

Tenebrio Molito Noodles
"No way! You dirty git!" ... or words to that effect when a consignment of mealworms arrived in the post this morning.

"Don't you dare! DON'T YOU DARE!" ... as I chased her around the house, mealworms in hand.

These are boiled and dehydrated mealworms. High in protein, fat and little else. Protein. Fat. Simple as ...

No need to be squeamish. It's not like they're wriggling.

Having eaten these, I have to say, I'd be quite happy with live mealworms ... as is ... or flash fried.

These, I simply added as a topping/garnish to some Singapore rice noodles warmed through in goose fat with some chillies on top.

Very nice, indeed!

Again? Definitely.


Mealworms are the pre-pupae of Tenebrio Molito, a species of darkling beetle. Mealworms are perfectly good for human consumption, although typically you'll find them in pet shops as food for reptiles, fish and birds.

They're protein. Protein and fat ...

From: Mealworm Care
Live Mealworm Nutritional Values
Protein: 20%
Fat: 13%
Fiber: 2%
Water: 62% 
Dried Mealworm Nutritional Values 
Protein: 53%
Fat: 28%
Fiber: 6%
Water: 5%
Boiled and dehydrated, as you'll find in pet shops, they just want a quick flash fry to warm through and kill off any potential nasties. Beyond that, dropped into the human stomach, not much is going to survive that good vat of acid.

To that end, I reckon live mealworms should be my next target. Fishing bait, here I come ...

Sprats & Root Hash


During the working week, I tend not to have anything in the morning and break my overnight fast around noon with a light salad, egg and some fish. Our main meal is in the evening.

Weekends are different ...

Eating well in the morning and enjoying a later dinner works well for us. With a breakfast meal ready, we enjoy a leisurely morning with the BBC's 'Saturday Kitchen' and then get about our day.

Today, is sprats.

Sprats, Latin Sprattus, a distinct genus within the same family as sardine and herring. These sprats are from the Baltic. Needless to say they are similarly oily and loaded with good omega-3. Highly anti-inflammatory, they make perfect partners with a light leafy salad and great bedfellows to a good, starchy hash.

Today is hash.

Hash is simply whatever veggies you have diced and fried. Root hashes can be from any sort of root: potato, carrot, parsnip, celeriac, daikon, beetroot, the list goes on. Today, I went with potatoes and carrot. Tomorrow (sprats, again) I may well go with beetroot.


Sprats. No sprats? Anchovies would be good, small sardines, small herrings or whitebait would do.

Potatoes, carrot, onion, garlic, chilli, black pepper, sea salt, goose fat and spinach. Marjoram to cook, parsley to garnish.

Yoghurt, mustard and lemon juice.


Dice up the roots and sauté off in your favourite paleo fat - goose fat, for me, carrots and potatoes as the roots in a cast iron skillet.

Give the skillet a good grind of black pepper, a pinch of sea salt and a sprinkle of dried marjoram. Oregano would do fine.

Continue to sauté over a medium heat until the roots are starting to soften.

Add a chopped onion, sliced garlic and a couple of chillies, shredded.

Sauté on until soft, which might take another 20 minutes, or so.

Lay a generous handful of spinach per person into the skillet and let it wilt.

Meanwhile, a sauce ...


Let's stick to the classics, eh?

Mustard works so well with this kind of fish. From mustard vinaigrette with herring to mustard cream over sardines to ... yoghurt and mustard.

Per person, a couple of heaped tablespoons of your favourite yoghurt and a half teaspoon of mustard. Good squeeze of lemon juice and stir together.

Use whatever yoghurt you like. Greek, regular cow, perhaps goat, sheep, even. I used a gorgeous sheep yoghurt from Dorset, here in the UK. English mustard, too; none of that 'orrible French stuff or (Good Lord!) American. Puh! Mustard should be English and should be Colman's. Lemons? Amalfi, naturally.

Now the sprats ...


Eat them whole. Heads, tails, guts, the lot. Eat them whole.

If you're at all queasy about heads, cut them off. Actually, from there you can gut the fish by squeezing the belly up to where the head was. The guts will come out. Wash and you're done.

Otherwise, just make a small incision behind the gills and squeeze the belly up to the head to draw the guts.

Or, leave them in ... it's all good flavour!

You can pan-fry sprats or you can grill them. I prefer the grill. You say tomato, I say tomato. I'm British, and a grill for me is an overhead heat source: broiler, salamander.

Pan frying can be quite violent, leaving your sprats broken up and the fats over-cooked. Grill 'em. Lay your sprats out on a piece of kitchen foil and place under the grill on high. Two or three minutes each side is perfect.


Timing is less important than how they look - the skins should be just bubbling. Watch the fish, not the clock.


Fold the wilted spinach through the hash and plate up.

Sauce over, then the sprats. More black pepper, perhaps some more sea salt, certainly some flat leaf parsley to garnish.

I popped a couple of figs alongside ...

Sprats over root hash with yoghurt mustard sauce.


Haddock in a Mushroom Cream Sauce

Haddock in a Mushroom Cream Sauce
Haddock is a fantastic fish!

Like practically all fish, it's a great anti-inflammatory source of protein. Alas, it's light in fat ... so does like to be accompanied with good fat.

Haddock seems to work perfectly with creamy sauces or sloppy mashed potatoes, full of butter and cream. Haddock also partners very nicely with mushroom.


Haddock, mushrooms, cream, butter, white pepper and sea salt.

Veggies to make the dish: salad potatoes, savoy cabbage, leek, carrot and goose fat. Boiled egg alongside.


On a greased ovenproof plate, lay out the haddock, sprinkle a little sea salt over and place a decent dot of butter on each fillet.

Cover with kitchen foil and commit to the oven set to 180C (350F?) for 30 minutes. It will cook through in its own juices and the melted butter.

Mushroom Cream Sauce

In a skillet, sauté sliced mushrooms in butter. Once the butter has been absorbed by the mushrooms and they've cooked through a little, pour over some cream. We'll be adding the juices from the fish plate later, so don't go overboard on the cream. Perhaps 50ml per person and a couple of mushrooms each.

Sprinkle some white pepper over and drop the heat to its lowest, perhaps even off to allow the mushrooms to colour through in the cream while the fish cooks.

If the sauce reduces too much, just add a little water to wet it up again.


Boil an egg each.

Peel and set aside. Eggs alongside is just perfect for this dish. Perfect for any dish, really. Eggs rule!


Savoy cabbage and salad potatoes.

Maybe 10 minutes after putting the fish in the oven get your potatoes boiling and cabbage steaming.

In another skillet, shredded leeks and matchstick carrots can gently soften in goose fat, or your favourite paleo fat.

Just before everything is ready, tip the steamed cabbage into the skillet with the leeks and carrots, and toss through with more of your favourite paleo fat.

Drain the potatoes. Wet up with butter and herbs.


Retrieve the fish from the oven and carefully remove the kitchen foil. Careful! Steam burns!

Pour the juices into the mushrooms and cream sauce, raising the heat to a boil and reduce while you plate up.

Cabbage down first, fish on top, potatoes alongside, egg, halved the other side.

Sauce reduced, pour over and garnish with herbs. Parsley.

Eat and enjoy! My, oh my ... what a meal!


Whole Sea Bream

Whole Sea Bream
Whole fish. Simplicity itself, and something which can be done as easily at the side of a river over a wood fire as in the kitchen.

I'm in the kitchen and so fired up my oven to 200C (400F?).


Take your fish - sea bream, for me; scale, gut and clean up.

Lay the fish on a piece of kitchen foil, place it over something flavoursome, stuff the cavity with flavour place a good piece of butter on top and fold up the parcel nice and tight.

No fucking about ...


Lemon, fennel and shallots, for me. Salt and pepper is good. Herbs are good. Garlic, also. Butter gives an instant sauce to pour over.

I place the fish on lemon slices, stuffed the cavity with fennel, slab of butter on top, shredded shallots over, sea salt and black pepper. Done.

Place the parcel into the oven for 30 minutes, or thereabouts, which gives us plenty of time to prepare some veggies. Since the oven was on, I roasted some parsnip and carrots in goose fat.

If you're preparing this out in the wild, lay the parcel on the coals and give it a good half hour which gives you time to forage about for something to serve alongside.

Check that the fish is cooked by inserting the tip of a knife into the flesh for a few seconds and test against your tongue. Cold or just lukewarm? More cooking. Hot? Argh! It burnth! Eat!


Whole fish like this is the focus. Serve minimally. I had some roasted roots alongside and some rocket. Spinach would have been really good, but ... hey ... that's a whole other retrospective.


Gently draw the skin away from the flesh. Eat one side, flip over and repeat. Do we really need a 'Haynes Manual' on how to eat fish?

Pick through the bones with the cat who will find an abundance of flesh on those bones to lick off. Whatever is left, keep for stock ... after washing off cat drool, naturally.


Coq au Vin [Snubbed by Escoffier]

Coq au Vin [Snubbed by Escoffier]
Burgundian French - a simple stew of rooster in wine, lardons, mushrooms, onion and garlic.

Specifically, the rooster is an older bird with tougher meat than a chicken, hence the need to tenderise the meat in wine.

Coq au Vin is a rustic, peasant dish and I was keen to see what Escoffier had to say on the matter ...

Nothing! Nada! Nought! Zero! Zilch!

Well, so much for the King of Chefs, eh? Le Guide Culinaire has over 80 pages dedicated to chicken and over 200 recipes therein ... but not one of them details this classic French dish.

So, turning my back on the heights of gastronomy, I relied upon my instincts and decided upon a course where the ingredients and method are really pared back and kept true to the rustic roots of the dish.


Using chicken thighs and red wine, spiced with bay leaves and star anise, slow-cooked with bacon, shallots, garlic and mushrooms in a chicken stock we'll have a simple, rustic dish worthy of any French peasant.

You'll also need something to thicken the sauce, since the traditional flour coating over the chicken is not going to work for us. I used arrowroot at the end.

Chicken & Red Wine

Chicken thighs, skin on. I went with three each. Many recipes suggest removing the skin and I understand why, but we're paleo eaters and not going to be at all phased by a fatty dish. Skin is very fatty and will release all that fat during cooking, leaving us with a bowl of chicken swimming in grease.

We can render some of that out by gently frying off the chicken pieces in a skillet. Gently, so the skin does not overly colour up, but sufficient to release the grease ... which we'll reserve in a ramekin in the fridge for cooking with another time. Schmaltz, essentially.

Wine. We want the acidity but not the bitterness of the alcohol, so ... pour about half a bottle (for two people served three thighs each) into a pan and raise the heat to boiling.

You can boil on for a few minutes or risk setting your kitchen on fire with a much more fun method! Strike a match over the pan and after an initial WOOF! you'll see a blue flame which will gradually die down ... when it's gone, so has the alcohol.

Coq ... au Vin
Settle the chicken into an ovenproof dish, like Pyrex or a cast iron Dutch oven, cover with the wine and push a few bay leaves in along with a couple of star anise. Leave overnight, preferably in the fridge.

Lardons, Shallots & Mushrooms

Ready to cook? Get your oven on and set to 150C (300F?).

Fry off some lardons or streaky bacon. Tilt the pan to collect the fat and scatter the lardons over the chicken.

Peel some shallots and add to the chicken. Peel and toss in a few cloves of garlic.

Pour over a handful of button mushrooms each onto the chicken.

Top up with a little chicken stock just to cover and grind some black pepper over.

Into the oven for a couple of hours with the lid off so that the sauce can evaporate and reduce ...

I prefer a couple of hours on a lower heat than one at, say, 175C (350F?) ... your call.


Traditionally, Coq au Vin would be served with egg noodles or mashed potato.

I could ... but read a recipe for gluten-free Focaccia that I thought would be perfect. It was, or rather would be if we liked that kind of thing but found it very heavy, stodgy and really not to our liking. YMMV. Next time, I'll try some rice noodles.


Ready to eat? Our Coq au Vin should now be cooked, darker in colour with the sauce well reduced.

Skim off any residual fat from the surface. There will be some, since we have the skins on, but it won't be too much.

Spoon out the chicken pieces, shallots and mushrooms into wide-brimmed bowls and pour off the sauce into a pan. Heat on, add in some arrowroot to thicken. Taste. Happy? Pour over the chicken.

Yum! Sod the Focaccia! It was consigned to the bin. Shame.

The Coq au Vin was delicious! Lovely chicken, superb sauce, very filling and very satiating even without the optional stodge.


Salmon & Scallops

Salmon & Scallops
Well, autumn is here ...

Wind, driving rain and much lower temperatures make for perfect walking weather out in the hills. I got a reasonable ten miler in, came home soaked a grinning from ear to ear. Love it!

Dinner is Salmon & Scallops with an early autumn salad of butternut squash, boiled egg, tomato, beetroot and tenderstem broccoli, flavoured with dill, black pepper and sea salt. Fat? Goose fat for roasting and butter for sautéing.


Oven on, set to 200C (400F?). Most of the work is in the prep.

Boil an egg each, peel, cool and slice. Set aside.

Slice a tomato. Set aside.

Peel and cube some beetroot - one medium per person is fine. Set aside.

Peel and cube some butternut squash and set aside for roasting.

Trim some tenderstem broccoli and set aside for steaming later.


The squash takes the longest, so pop the cubes onto an ovenproof plate with some good paleo fat. Goose fat, for me. This will need about half an hour in the oven.

Meanwhile, continue the prep ...

The cold ingredients can be arranged on the plate - get artistic.

The warm ingredients can be cooked through as required. Butternut squash in first, tenderstem broccoli on last, needing only a couple of minutes steaming.

Salmon & Scallops

Fillet and skin a good piece of salmon loin. Cut into good sized pieces.

Scallops, just clean up - remove the coral and membrane. You can reserve the corals for a sauce, which I completely forgot to cook but will put a few notes together at the end.

In butter, cook the salmon pieces through over a medium heat. Turn the salmon over once the pieces are coloured through up to about half way, noting how long it took. Turn and leave them for the same length of time.

Remember to steam the tenderstem broccoli.

Retrieve the salmon and place on a piece of kitchen towel to rest while you sauté the scallops. Serve out the broccoli now and place the salmon on the plate as the crowning piece.

Sauté the scallops in butter - one minute, then flip over for large scallops, 30 second for small.

Push the scallops in between the other ingredients on the plate. Again, be artistic.


Not quite an afterthought - more that I simply forgot to make one. What a ditz!

The sauce should be prepared and just kept warm before cooking the fish through ...

Using the corals from the scallops, a little double cream, just a dash of mustard and a little lemon juice, blend together and warm through very gently in a pan. It's a sort of velouté, I guess.

Yes, the dish was a bit bland, dry and really lacking something ... the sauce. Doh! The sauce!

Next time ...


Japanese Beef & Bamboo

Japanese Beef & Bamboo
I love LIDL!

We've one just over the road from work, which I like to stroll around on a lunchtime every now and again ... and come away with all manner of random.

Last visit, I bagged a jar of bamboo shoots.


Keeping it really simple, I decided upon a clean, spicy dish of Beef & Bamboo for which I used: minced beef (500g for two people), jar of bamboo shoots, green beans, spinach, ginger, garlic, chilli, black pepper, fish sauce, Worcestershire Sauce and coconut oil.


Some folks are fine with their minced beef cooked for as little as quarter of an hour. Personally, I like it well cooked through, nice and slow. Browned off in a lidded pan with some coconut oil, given a damn good splash of Worcestershire Sauce and maybe a pint of water, lid on, heat lowered and left to slowly cook through for about and hour, maybe longer.


The jar was simply bamboo shoots in water. Nothing else added. I still drained and washed it through and added to the beef.

The beef is now cooked but still has a little liquid in there ...

Green & Spice

Green beans added, along with garlic, ginger, chilli, black pepper and fish sauce.

Stir through and continue to reduce with the lid off.

Once the liquid was almost reduced, I added in spinach. How much really is up to you. I used what we had, which was maybe half a bag - a bag being (I don't know ...) 260g? I really don't do weights and measures.

Spinach wilted, stirred through and liquid completely reduced, we're ready to eat.

On its own it's fine! I served a little white rice alongside for me and a few salad potatoes for my Mrs.


Ackees, Callaloo & Smoked Haddock

Ackees, Callaloo & Smoked Haddock
Native to tropical Western Africa consumption of ackee fruit takes place mainly in Jamaica and is a staple of Jamaican cuisine, their national fruit and the key component of their national dish - Ackee & Saltfish.

Notice the order of the words? Ackees are the attraction, saltfish is the sideshow.

Ackee is related to the lychee and produces a pear-shaped fruit. Green unripened fruit can lead to poisoning. When ripe, the fruit bursts open to reveal a bright orange/yellow flesh, perfectly edible with the consistency of lightly scrambled egg.

Callaloo, again Jamaican, traditionally uses amaranth leaves as the main constituent ingredient.

Amaranth is a superb source of vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin B6, vitamin C, riboflavin and folate; dietary minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese. Paleo superfood!

I can get both of these ingredients canned and keep them in as store cupboard staples for times just like these - when I want a quick and tasty dinner with minimal fuss and preparation.


Smoked haddock, ackees and callaloo.

Butter, cooking fat, carrot, Scotch Bonnet pepper, garlic, scallions, tomato, egg, rice, black pepper and sea salt.

Lemon and parsley.

Smoked Haddock

Wrap your smoked haddock in kitchen foil with a little butter and commit to the oven set to 180C (350F?) for 20 minutes.


Boil an egg per person.


Boil your rice, press into a greased ramekin and place upside down in the corner on a waiting plate. The rice will keep warm while you cook the rest of the dish and once the ramekin is removed will leave a pleasant mound of rice on your plate.

If rice is not within your ancestral template, don't worry ...

Traditionally, Ackee & Saltfish would be eaten with some plantain, breadfruit, yam, fried dumplings or hard dough bread. Plantain, breadfruit or yam would work out really well, as would these bread balls. That, or there's always cauliflower rice.


Meanwhile, warm the callaloo through in a pan and just keep warm while you cook the rest of the dish. Add a generous knob of butter just before serving.


Drain the ackees. Slice up some carrot into long matchsticks. Dice tomatoes and shred scallions - that's spring onions. Finely shred a Scotch Bonnet pepper.

Melt your favourite paleo cooking fat in a heavy-based pan. I went with goose fat, but coconut oil would be really good. Toss the carrot through a few times - you want the carrot warm, but not sogged. Just a little cooking is perfect.

Add in the ackees. Toss well and warm through.

Now the Scotch Bonnet pepper, shredded. Use it all if you like it hot, just a bit if you only like a likkle tickle. Garlic, too - skinned and sliced thinly.

Finally, the scallions and tomato just to toss through and serve out. Salt and pepper to taste. Remember, the smoked haddock might be salty, so go easy there.


Serve this lot in the middle of the plate, pushing a bowl of callaloo onto the plate and lay a couple of egg halves on top. Callaloo and eggs are just lovely together - in fact, a sort of Eggs Florentine could be put together using callaloo.

What a lovely spread of colour! If the callaloo was not alongside, I'd wilt some spinach into the ackees.

Retrieve the haddock from the oven and lay over the ackees, butter poured over and wedge of lemon with a sprig of parsley to garnish. Eat.


Lamb Kidney & Beetroot Salad

Lamb Kidney & Beetroot Salad
Full title: Lamb Kidney Over Spicy Beetroot Salad with Crispy Courgette Fritters and a Sumac Hinted Greek Yoghurt Dip.

Let's break that down ...

Courgette Fritters

First, the Courgette Fritters - these were a spur of the moment thing when I realised that I only had two small beetroots and the meal might be a little meagre. Given they're not a main part of the meal, they're optional - you can follow the link and have fun for yourself.

So, the main components of the meal are Lamb Kidneys, Beetroot Salad and a Sumac Hinted Greek Yoghurt Dip.

Greek Yoghurt Dip

You need: Greek yoghurt, lemon and sumac.

Most can be made up front, so the Greek Yoghurt Dip is simply Greek yoghurt with a good splash of lemon juice, then spooned into little dishes to sit at the side of the plate and sumac sprinkled over.

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.

Beetroot Salad

You need: Beetroot (one large per person), red wine vinegar, chilli, black pepper, sea salt and mint.

The Beetroot Salad is simply a case of peeling and grating beetroot, then adding flavours. One large beetroot each is good. Mine were kind of medium, hence the extra bite alongside with the Courgette Fritters, but one large per person is good.

Once grated, splash a little red wine vinegar over. Black pepper, finely chopped chilli and a little sea salt just lifts the flavours and permits the natural sweetness to really shine through.

Let that marinate for maybe ten minutes and fold a generous amount of chopped mint through. Spoon out onto your waiting plates.

Lamb's Kidney

You need: Lamb kidney (as necessary), butter and optionally, Sherry and cream. Wooden skewers.

Clean up the kidneys, removing the membrane around then and the fatty core. The fatty core is fine when slow-cooked, but fried off, it's best to remove it.

Cut in half so as to be manageable for skewering once cooked.

Melt the butter and fry off the kidneys. Through the cooking, they will release liquid. I tend to think they're done once the liquid has evaporated.

Skewer and lay on the beetroot salad. Serve and eat.

Optionally ...

Optionally, you can de-glaze the pan with Sherry and stir in some thick cream for an instant sauce to pour over. I didn't, but you can.

Naturally, you've spotted that this is skewered offals and more naturally suited to a barbecue or grill. If you want to do that, go ahead. Pre-soak the skewers in water so they don't burn, thread the prepared kidneys onto the skewers, perhaps interleaved with onion or pepper slices, and grill 'em.

Whichever way you do this, have fun ... they're offally good!


Conceptualising: Presentation of Pig

I'm going to go off on a tangent here to bring in a new idea ...

I love cooking. The process and the presentation really floats my boat. Beyond that, or rather before that, it's the planning and conceptualising of the dish; and so, this is the first of what I hope will be a number of posts conceptualising ... well, fantasy dishes.

Think of it as a category for Ancestral "Foodies". Is now the right time to coin the term Neo-Paleo?

So, over on MDA forums, a fellow primal, asked about what she could do with leftover pork stock boiled down from bones.

There were some good suggestions, but I was in a really creative mood and went from a reasonable suggestion to plain silly ... and in that silliness came one really sound idea; an idea I certainly want to try out some day.

My idea went along the lines of ...
Make a jelly? 
Ham stock set with gelatine. 
If you can set it in long blocks, it will cut into cubes nicely which can be pushed in here and there into whatever dish you have. Bonus bone broth boosted with gelatine.
... and continued in my usual style ...
It's quite cheffy, too, if you fancy making an attractive looking dish, say, a presentation of pig ...
... resulting in a concept:
... a plate of pulled pork, pressed belly, bacon, perhaps chorizo, piece of bone with marrow, cracking skin, maybe an ear, quenelles of chilled lard granita and cubes of stock jelly. 
... a few mushrooms on, maybe truffle, braised fennel and pea shoot garnish.
... and so, my concept: Presentation of Pig. Thoughts?


Carborama! Yes, Carbonara, but not the usual ancestral style seeking a low-carb version – this is the carb version and a direct replacement, if you like, to regular wheat pasta Carbonara.

Paleo is becoming less carb-phobic and a real eye-opener can be had by reading the Jaminet's book 'The Perfect Health Diet'. On active days, energy from carbohydrate is perfectly acceptable.

Excited by finding some good rice noodles in my local supermarket, I had a play with them a few days ago and at the time, we both remarked that it would be fun to try them as a Carbonara.

So, here it is ...

Carbonara is an Italian pasta-based dish with an egg and cheese sauce. The cheese is usually parmesan or pecorino, both hard and give a salty taste to the dish.  The filler often comes in the form of pancetta, lardons, bacon and sometimes veggies. The meat and veggies are cooked in a heavy-based pan while the pasta is boiled alongside. The pasta, once cooked, is added to the meat and veggies, heat switched off and the egg sauce poured over to be cooked through in the residual heat.

The prep is minimal and the cooking time, for this, much shorter than when using wheat pasta. Five minutes of prep and five to cook should be about right. Quick and easy!


Even with the conventional version, there is some debate around the sauce as to whether whole eggs should be used or just the yolks. Even recipes where all the egg is used, a further yolk is often added for that gorgeous creaminess which brings us to the second debate which is around the inclusion of cream. To cream or not to cream; that is the question ...

Fatty dairy is perfectly acceptable to a Paleo+er and a Perfect Health Dieter, as is cheese. Let’s make the luxury version.

Carbonara Sauce

Grated manchego, a Spanish sheep cheese not dissimilar to pecorino, a couple of eggs, whole and no further yolk since our eggs do have large yolks, and finally, a good splash of double cream, a slightly fattier cream compared to heavy cream which folks from the US might be more used to.

So, that’s your sauce:  cheese, eggs and cream.

How much? Well, I don't weigh or measure, but once stirred together there was probably about half a pint of the raw sauce. Weights and measures really are not essential; grate what you think is a sufficient amount of cheese on a fine grater and then crack in an egg, stir, crack in another until you've got a slurry. Splash of cream if you like and that's your sauce.

Meat & Veg

Your filler can be anything, even seafood - prawns work well. I went with bacon, mushrooms and asparagus for me. In a heavy-based pan just fry off the bacon, add in a little lard, fry off the mushrooms and last, add in the asparagus to warm through. Lower the heat to keep warm.


Meanwhile, cook the noodles. Mine need three minutes in boiling water and should then be drained. I simply switched the heat under my pan with the meat and veggies off and lifted the noodles straight out of the water and into the skillet. The small amount of water that the noodles bring is no big deal.


Pour the sauce in and fold through thoroughly until the cheese has melted and the eggs cooked through in the residual heat. That is important, since direct heat will scramble the eggs. Still edible, but not especially palatable.


Serve the dish out immediately from the pan and get stuck in!



As an interesting observation, I ate this a good couple of hours prior to an evening of sports fencing after which I noted that I had not drunk as much water as I usually do and did not suffer that transient lag that I usually do after about an hour of activity.


Cod, Cabbage & Peas

Cod, Cabbage & Peas
Something simple for a Monday evening ...

We both enjoyed an intermittent fast through the day, having last eaten on Sunday evening, and so a low-carbohydrate dinner was in order. Simply, protein and fat.


Cod, cabbage, peas, asparagus, chicken stock, goose fat and coriander.


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?

So, to work ...


Roast the cod in the oven at 200C (400F?) for about 20 minutes.


Meanwhile melt some fat in a heavy-based skillet. I used goose fat. Use your favourite paleo fat. Melt some fat and saute the cabbage for a couple of minutes.

Pour over some chicken stock, sufficient to cover and reduce until it is fully evaporated and the flavours imbued into the cabbage. This, conveniently, takes about 20 minutes too.

Maybe five minutes from the end, toss in the peas and asparagus.

If the stock evaporates too quickly, just add a little more until all the veggies are cooked through to how you like them.


Serve out: cabbage down first, cod on top and garnish with herbs; coriander, for me, well chopped. Black pepper and sea salt to taste.


Seafood & Cabbage Curry

Thanks, Mom! Paleo Mom!

I have some tilapia ... and I have a white cabbage ... and carrots ... and prawns .... and I have some spinach! It's almost as if Paleo Mom and I cook the same things and have the same things to use up.

What better than a curry?

Like Paleo Mom, I began with a good amount of coconut oil in a heavy based skillet into which went shredded cabbage (half a white cabbage) and grated carrots (one large) to stew away in their own steam for a few minutes. This is for two people. I could have made enough for leftovers, which would be gorgeous re-fried with a fried egg on top for breakfast, and may well do next time.

At this point, I sprinkled over my favourite spice combination: ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric, asafoetida and fenugreek. Black pepper and celery salt. More: four cloves of garlic, some ginger and half a Scotch Bonnet pepper.

Mix well - you do not want a Scotch Bonnet surprise!

Once the veggies are starting to soften, pull them to the edges of the pan and drop in your tilapia (cut into strips) and prawns. Add more fat if you think it necessary. Pull the veggies over to cover and after a couple of minutes fold together.

Any seafood will do, naturally, firm-fleshed is best to keep together in the pan.

Cook on until the seafood is all cooked through and fold in some spinach just to wilt. If you like coconut, drop in some creamed coconut here - it'll give the dish a real depth.

Serve out, accompanied with a good helping of Piccalilly alongside.

What a lovely dish! We both agreed that some cauliflower would really boost this dish and I'll be putting that in next time. Neither of us like coconut, so we left out the coconut cream - very South Asian. We're much more used to Northern Indian/Pakistani cuisine up our way.

Thanks, Mom!


Salmon Tagliatelle

Salmon Tagliatelle
Tagliatelle? Yes, that IS pasta!

There's nothing like a break from the old routine. I have been re-reading the Jaminet's 'Perfect Health Diet', a book I find absolutely inspiring, and was reminded of rice noodles.

Shopping, I found a pack of really good noodles, quite wide and the ingredients simple listed as: rice flour, tapioca flour and water. PHD-friendly, then. Living in the Ice Age-friendly.

If "safe starches" are not within your ancestral template then this is not for you ...


Let's just take a moment to spin round the food we're going to cook: salmon, rice noodles, double cream, watercress, pecorino cheese and broccoli. Sea salt and black pepper, too.

Salmon and broccoli is a no-brainer. Perfect partners. Salmon and watercress is a no-brainer. Perfect partners. This is looking good!

Cream sauces do need a little salt lest they leave the dish tasting a little flat. I pepped up my cream sauce with cheese - pecorino, an Italian sheep cheese which has a lovely salty tang and less of the pungency of parmesan which I find overpowering.

So, to work ...


First, poach your salmon. Place the salmon is a pan and cover with boiling water. Add some sea salt. Leave it there for around 10 minutes, perhaps with a gentle flame underneath.

Watercress Sauce

Meanwhile, the cream sauce. Somewhere around 100ml per person is good. I use double cream which, I believe, is akin to heavy cream that folks in the US will be used to. British double cream is slightly creamier (around 48% fat compared to around 40% fat for heavy cream), but it doesn't matter - we're going to reduce it anyway.

Blend the cream with watercress. How much? However much you like. Use a lot if you want a really vibrant green sauce (like I did), or a little if you just want a hint. Blend a lot or blend a little - your choice.

Pour into another pan and gently reduce by a third. Just a gentle flame is good. If the cream becomes too thick, add a dash of the poaching liquor to let it our again - you really won't need much as a teaspoon will make a thickening cream sauce quite wet again.

Once the fish is poached, retrieve it, set it aside and steam or boil the veggies. You can use more than broccoli if you like, but I kept it quite simple.

After a couple of minutes of steaming, set aside. I like broccoli to retain its firmness and after even only a couple of minutes, the florets will be soft.


Drop the noodles into the water and follow the instructions. Mine suggested three minutes.

Meanwhile, grate some cheese into the sauce and add a little black pepper. The heat will melt the cheese, but do assist with with some stirring.


Noodles ready? Drain and pour them out into a wide-brimmed bowl.

Pour the sauce over, salmon on top and veggies alongside.

I'm sure you've noticed that if an egg was dropped in, this might make an interesting carbonara, of sorts. I still have some noodles, so that will no doubt be my next adventure.


Why I don't "do" recipes ...

I don't "do" recipes.

Recipes constrain ...

Recipes force a lack of imagination with ingredients and steer the Cook away from inventive action during the cooking.

As ancestral eaters, we are intelligent, inventive and experimental. We understand that food sources are seasonal, regional and often limited in availability. Furthermore, our template might permit some foods which other ancestral eaters will not.

When we cook, we get to know our ingredients. I said "get to know", since often we can be cooking for the first time with a new ingredient and have no idea how it will turn out. All those flavours that we put into our ingredients to make a meal should be done on the fly - adapt to taste.

Do not constrain yourself with a recipe.

What if ...

What if you did not have something listed in the ingredients? What if the ingredients list something you will not eat? What if the method requires a gadget or a means of cooking that you do not have?

Will you ever be able to make the dish? You can, through substitution - use a different ingredient or gadget or means of cooking.

You could be making a classic dish, yet find several recipes that list different ingredients, different cooking times and look quite different to each other? Will you ever be able to make the dish? Often recipes conflict, but you read between the lines and form your own opinion on the matter.

Almost immediately, we've rendered the recipe useless since we are not adhering to it. Consider whether you needed the recipe to being with.

Do not constrain yourself with a recipe.

Recipes are merely a guide ...

Furthermore, the means by which we gain knowledge around cooking has changed. The traditional recipe book has been subsumed by the TV programme - a Chef will walk through a dish from start to finish and talk about the food they are cooking as they go.

... that is where I'm coming from.

What you see here, what you read here is quite literally what I did. It is utterly pointless to list ingredients from the outset, but from the picture and the ramble, you'll get a sense of the dish ... upon which you'll base your decisions around the ingredients you want to put in and how you want to cook them.

In all seriousness, does anyone assemble, verbatim, all the ingredients onto the work surface and follow the step-by-step method?

You might if you're not a confident cook, or perhaps doing some baking where weights and measures really do count. But, we're ancestral eaters, so the latter is out and the former is something that you really can do something about.

Do not constrain yourself with a recipe.

You can be a confident cook ...

Ancestral eating does not require weights and measures. I have to use the phrase, but what did Grok do?

Our archetypal ice age fellow would have taken whatever food sources were present and available to him, and eat them. Today, we cook meals, but the principle remains: take real foods and put them together. Confidently.

You really cannot get it wrong. Cook something, put fruit alongside. Forget to cook something and eat it raw with the rest of the meal. Enjoy those first looks in the fridge, discovering something that you need to use up and take your dishes in a random direction. Savour those last minute brainwaves where you suddenly see something that you think would work.

For the most part, cook meat very little or for a long time. Fish, fry off until opaque throughout or steam for a mere few minutes. Vegetables rarely need more than a few minutes steaming or boiling and try to err on the undercooked side - if you're waiting for meat or fish, veggies can always be re-warmed in a frying pan, "wet up" with a little fat.

Do not constrain yourself with a recipe.

Weights and measures? Don't!

As ancestral eaters, we do things differently. Our intake ratios are quite different, we rely more on fat energy, we might eat more since we are active, we might eat less since we are not being undermined by grains and beans which make nutrients bio-unavailable.

We should eat sufficient. We do not snack, so our mealtimes are when we replenish ourselves and prime ourselves for the period until we eat next. If we are hungry in between, we might eat earlier or might eat more. Over even a short period, we understand how much we need to eat, and that is our only measure.

Don't weigh and don't measure - cook sufficient and enjoy leftovers. Enjoy leftovers for breakfast, or as the foundation for a new dish, sparked by your imagination.

Do not constrain yourself with a recipe.

Use your imagination and encourage creativity ...

The first bite is with the eyes. Attractive dishes are the product of imagination and creativity. There is no set definition of an "attractive" dish - put your meals together in a way that YOU think is attractive. Surprise your partner, your family, your friends with something pretty, something daring, something fun ... yes, food can be witty!

Do not constrain yourself with a recipe.

Lean to love food ...

Understand food. Understand which ingredients work well together and then get outside the guidelines. Remember your favourite combinations, tastes and textures. Understand flavour as distinct from taste - the spices, herbs and umami that enhances and amplifies taste.

Experiment. Always try out new things, be it a new ingredient or a new combination. Be inventive. Enjoy what you cook but moreover, enjoy cooking.

Let ingredients be your inspiration, your mantra being "take real foods and put them together".

Let nature be your personal shopper, your mantra being "eat local, seasonal and organic".

There is an abundance in meat, shell/fish, eggs, veggies and fruits.

I challenge you to never eat the same meal again. Ever!


Lomo Saltado

Lomo Saltado
Hola! Hola to all my Peruvian visitors - you're few and far between, but you are there ... so this one is for you. I hope I did it well?

Chef Martin Morales was on the BBC's 'Saturday Kitchen' yesterday and he made up a simple dish, which I guess is kind of comfort food for Peruvians (much akin to the British obsession with Fish & Chips, I would think) ... and it looked good, tasty and something I really fancied doing.

Chef Morales tells us that this is actually a fusion dish - Chinese traders brought their influence to Peru, namely soy sauce and spices. I'm not going to use soy sauce, but I do know what it tastes like so can work in a number of complimentary flavours to get the same effect.

Lomo Saltado is beef, marinated in vinegar and spices. It's that simple and so we should keep it simple ... and primally approved.

Maybe an hour before you want to eat, get the marinade started.

Lomo SaltadoI used red wine vinegar, tamarind paste, anchovy paste, garlic, ground coriander, black pepper, lemon juice, tomato purée and chilli paste. Mix well. I would have used ground cumin too, and you should, but my Mrs abhors the smell and taste ... so it was left out.

Basically, we've got a red wine vinegar with a sort of Worcestershire cum Soy Sauce ... from scratch.

Drop in your meat - sirloin is good, fillet, perfect. Skirt, I believe is a popular cut for this, as it topside. I went with fillet, cut into good sized chunks maybe an inch and half square.

Let that marinate for an hour.

Lomo Saltado is a simple dish and the remainder of the ingredients are: onion, tomato and chips. Red onion is often used, but don't stress if you only have white - shred it; the tomatoes are skinned and de-seeded, then chopped into slices; the chips (that's fries for continental and States-side folk) are quite thick-cut.

I went with potato chips/fries, par boiled by dropping into cold water and raising the temperature quickly on the hob until the water just begins to boil, then drying off and shallow fried in goose fat.

If potatoes are not within your ancestral template, there is an abundance of roots and tubers which could be used. Sweet potato jumps to mind, but having now eaten this, celeriac or jicama would be perfect, even just raw juliennes alongside. Mooli, likewise, raw julienne.

While the chips are cooking through, bring a heavy-based pan up to temperature and with a little coconut oil, just soften off the shredded onion until it begins to colour. Toss in the beef pieces, leaving the residual marinade behind and keeping it moving - "jumping beef", they call it! In with the tomatoes so they don't simply mash up and finally, a good handful of roughly chopped flat leaf parsley.

Serve up ...

Many pictures online, you'll see the chips/fries mixed in with the beef. I served them side by side.

I have since found Chef Morales' recipe online. Although I don't "do" recipes, I think I did it justice.

We enjoyed a fine wine alongside. Malbec is perfect with beef and I'm sure there are good Peruvian Malbecs out there, Argentine, certainly, but that would be culturally offensive! I went with French, finding Argentine often too much in flavour and completely lacking the subtlety of old French. Discuss.

La Patrie Cahors Malbec 2011

Pork Scratchings!

Pork Crackling
I made Belly Pork Stir Fry yesterday, for which the skin is not required.

Today, for a little snack, I made Pork Scratchings!

The belly pork is cooked, skin on at a low(ish) temperature (say, 150C for 3 hours) and then removed to cool down ready for the main dish.

Skin removed, just a little fat on the inside and even left overnight in the fridge this will still work ...

Put your grill on high; as high as it goes. My grill goes up to 250C, but I have done this quite happily at 220C.

Pop the skin (outside up) onto a tray and under the grill ...

Now watch it!

Watch it closely! The skin will puff up, but left too long it will burn ... quickly!

Remove once the majority has puffed up as much as it is going to before you smell or see any part burning. It's a compromise - you might not get it all perfectly puffed up, but we DO NOT want any part of it burned.

Turn over and sprinkle good sea salt over the juicy fat which will absorb all that good salty flavour. Optionally, flavour - Chilli Powder!

Enjoy as a crunchy, salty treat.