Mucky Eggs! [Scrambled Eggs & Pickled Herring]

Another breakfast ...

Scrambled Eggs & Pickled Herrings diced in, pickled chillies over.

Burp! Good, not great.

I'd rather have put the fish with the spinach and had the eggs alongside. Something for next time, at least.


Saracen's Breakfast!

Saracen's Breakfast!
Another play on my Galette de Saracen and so a quick and simple one ...

Inspired by the French regional Galette de Sarrasin, or buckwheat crêpe, I set about making my own take using more primal-friendly ingredients.

I am not wholly against using buckwheat - it is, afterall, not actually a grain, nor a cereal, but a seed and curiously related to sorrel, knotweed and rhubarb, and entirely gluten-free.

Anyway, you'll need ...

One banana, one egg, three tablespoons of coconut flour and a teaspoon of baking powder.

Blend the lot together and pour the batter into a skillet. Cook off one side and flip it over.

You're done!

Load it up with whatever you want ...

I had some pork pieces kicking around, so on they went along with some English mustard.

Chuffing beauty!


Vegetable Stew [Leftovers]

Yesterday's leftovers make another meal today ...

Proper Primal Peck [Paleo Renegade]

Proper Primal Peck [Paleo Renegade]
I'm not absolutely sure what led to what and had me reading about the Renegade Diet since I hate the notion of Diets (capitalised) but The Renegade Diet appears on the face of it to be something very familiar to paleo, primal and generally ancestral eaters and very close to something I wrote about here, inspired by Cordain's notion of ancestral food timing.

It's a framework, like the Primal Blueprint, incorporating eat, sleep, work and fast.

The foundation appears to be a long fast of 16 hours. Once you've eaten in the evening, fast for 16 hours. I tend to eat around half seven, or so, and be done by eight, so sixteen hours later takes me to noon the following day ... about the very time that I like a light lunch ... like this.

The Renegade Diet breaks the fast ("breakfast"?) at this point and begins a period of "undereating" with light, easily digestible foods mostly protein and fat: white fish, yoghurt, avocado, vegetables ... sound familiar? Four hours. Carbs are okay, but keep 'em low ... small amounts, say, from berries. Again, hunter/gatherer-style. After that four hour period, a new period of "overeating" comes into play, during which we're to feast. Carbs are in, from simple sources like root vegetables.

I have not read the eBook which you can go and find for yourself, but on the face of it this all seems very familiar and something I came to myself through ancestral eating - notably, Cordain, but through Sissons, too.

Furthermore, this is exactly what J Stanton is talking about in his excellent (and free) guide to practical ancestral eating: Eat Like a Predator.

Beyond how and when to eat, J gives us a simple guide about what to eat: "foods that can be picked, dug up or speared ... mostly speared" ... and so, my lunch is fruits like avocado and tomato, that can be picked, meats or fish, usually fish, eggs, and keep the things I can dig up for my evening meal.

Cordain's notion is borne out here; that the main meal of an ancestral human's day would have been early evening, breakfast skipped, scraps of leftovers at most and small items that could readily be grabbed or quickly speared and gobbled down during the day - a fish, a lizard, a small mammal, an item of fruit, a handful of greens.

Summary? Skip breakfast, enjoy a light, protein and fat orientated lunch, feast in the evening! As J would say, "Eat like a predator ... fast ... and gorge; prey graze".


Vegetable Stew

Beans, properly prepared, represent a reasonable source of protein while their dietary dangers are reduced to a level that our bodies in good order can deal with.

I was reminded of this after our daughter gave us a granddaughter the other day and I set about to fill her freezer with good food that can easily be defrosted and heated through. She eats vegetarian. I don't want to make her up ugly, heavy pasta dishes, but I do want to make her something good, wholesome and primal, and therein lies a problem: protein.

What I did was to make up a huge batch of vegetable stew: onion, squash, aubergine, courgette, peppers, mushrooms, chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, marjoram, Worcestershire Sauce, a touch of bouillon, sea salt and black pepper. Butter beans provided the protein, to be boosted with cheese, freshly grated and melted over upon re-heating.

Sounds reasonable ...

Vegetable Stew

It was a compromise, but nevertheless, good food with protein from acceptable sources, both primally and from a vegetarian standpoint.

... and so, I thought it's about time we had another experiment.

I made up exactly the same for us. It was very tasty and the beans made an interesting change for us. I do have to confess that I wimped out on trusting them for protein and quickly fried off a piece of tail end sea bass fillet each. Without the fish, it would be perfectly vegetarian.

We have leftovers ...

Tomorrow, they'll be mixed with some sausages and grated cheese over, maybe a fried egg.


Lamb Chipolata [Anglo-Italiano]

Lamb Chipolata
Cruising through the supermarket on Friday night for a nice bottle of wine, I noticed big reductions on gourmet sausages. Selecting a number of high/total meat content packs, I have some venison sausages, some beef sausages and some lamb chipolatas.

Looking for something quick and easy on a Saturday night, I opted for the lamb.

What goes with lamb? Well, it's a heavy meat, often very fatty and really liked spikey flavours to cut through - balsamic vinegar, asparagus, feta cheese, mint sauce, all classic combinations.

I decided to go with a sort of Anglo-Italian approach: mint and peas, but also spinach and balsamic. Vegetable accompaniments are mashed potato, asparagus and shitake mushrooms.

When building up a simple dish like this, consider the ingredients. Consider how you can make each element special, full of flavour and an integral part of the experience.

Simple sausages can be sensational ...
  • Sausages - gently fried in olive oil
  • Mushrooms - very lightly fried in olive oil
  • Mashed Potato - boiled until soft, mashed with minced butter and lots of butter
  • Asparagus & Peas - immersed in boiled water, nothing more
  • Mint Sauce - Chopped mint, balsamic vinegar and sea salt
  • Spinach - raw
Yeah, that mint sauce is interesting, isn't it?

So, pretty much do that ...

Each element is made up in its own pan and kept warm so that the symphony rises to a crescendo when it hits the plate.

Simple guide, sausages on first, next potatoes, pour boiled water over asparagus and peas, make up the sauce, lightly fry the mushrooms, mash the potato, dress the plate with spinach ...

... and plate up, intermingling the cooked ingredients. Sea salt and pepper, mint sauce applied generously. Glass of good red alongside, heaven.

Breakfast Squid Curry

Watching Chef Rick Stein on the BBC's 'Saturday Kitchen', he's in India. Podicherry, to be precise, and he made a lovely looking vegetarian curry of potato and peas.

Duly inspired, I headed to the kitchen for breakfast. I had all the ingredients in, as well as a bag of squid pieces at the back of the freezer. I've no idea if squid is even remotely a curry ingredient, but I don't see why not.

Great! So, a seriously good paleo+ breakfast shall ensue ...

You'll need:
  • Seafood - Squid, here, prawns or firm fish would do admirably
  • Vegetables - Potato, courgette and peas
  • Spices - Ground coriander, ground cumin and turmeric, fenugreek and asafoetida are optional
  • Bulk - Onion, garlic, ginger, chillies and tomato

Well, I never weigh or measure ... "sufficient", is my usual answer.

For one (my Mrs abhors curry), I had about 250g of seafood, one large baking sized potato, half a red onion, one small salad tomato, one garlic clove, two chillies (I like heat), slice of ginger, three inches off a courgette, small handful of peas and about a teaspoon of each of the core spices, half a teaspoon of the optional. Pinch of sea salt and a little black pepper. Okay?

Quick tip: Frozen seafood can be defrosted under running cold water and will be ready to cook within a few minutes for things like prawns and squid, maybe 10 minutes for a small fillet of fish, longer for larger.

Let's get to it ...

Curry like this should not be overthunk! It is simply vegetables and spices. There is no secret to this, no hidden method, no acquired technique, just vegetables and spices.

First, peel and cube some potato and par-boil it.

Might as well boil an egg, too. It is breakfast, afterall.

Now, we'll make the curry ...

As a bare minimum, you'd want ground coriander, ground cumin and turmeric. I also like fenugreek and asafoetida, and that's pretty much my spice mix. I use real chillies, sea salt, black pepper and if tomato based, I like some paprika in there, too.

Curry is best with ghee, but butter will do if you keep the heat down to keep it from browning.

So, in a skillet, melt some butter or ghee, adding in some shredded onion - this is a quick and easy breakfast style curry so no need for all that low heat, half hour of caramelisation.

Add in the potatoes and sprinkle over the powdered spices.

Add the courgettes, the peas, a chopped tomato, de-seeded and shredded chillies, minced garlic clove and a little ginger, shredded.

Add the seafood, gently fold together and cook through for a few minutes. I like to add a good knob of butter just towards the end - it makes all curry so much better.

Serve out, sea salt and black pepper to taste, egg to garnish, fresh herbs too if you have them.


St Valentine's Day Dinner

St Valentine's Day

Ribeye Steak

I found a lovely pair of ribeye steaks at our local farm shop, locally grown, organically, and locally slaughtered, not religiously.

Steak is simple. It's a meal in itself, but there are other ingredients which make is quite excellent: red onion, asparagus and shitake mushrooms. Sauce, too, a simple cream and green peppercorn.

Method is easy ...

Heat up a cast iron griddle, drop the steaks on and turn after a few minutes. Let rest for a couple of minutes.

Meanwhile, put all your vegetables into a frying pan with a little of your favourite paleo fat and cook through. You want the crunch, so keep the heat down a little and keep an eye on it.

Sauce is simply double cream and green peppercorns. Reduce a little, pouring over the steak once served.

Ribeye Steak

Dessert was strawberries and whipped cream.


Haddock & Puy Lentils with Cream Mustard Sauce

Haddock & Puy Lentils
From an ancestral perspective, lentils represent the least offensive of the pulses which we're told to avoid at all cost. In actual fact, they're a pretty good source of protein and all manner of micronutrients, their negative effects rendered out of the equation by soaking and boiling.

Good to go, then? Well, yes ... and no. I am far from advocating pulses, even benign pulses, as a regular thing but every now and again, they make a welcome change and make a great tasting dish. In fact, isn't that what being alive is all about? Eat, sleep and be well? Keep a perspective on it, eh?

With apologies done, let's see what this dish is about ...

It's haddock fillets, simply pan-fried and laid over a bed of puy lentils, mushroom, courgette and spinach, cream and mustard sauce over.

Fish - Haddock & Butter
Lentils - Puy Lentils, Onion, Garlic, Parsley, Mushroom, Courgette, Tomato Puree, Worcestershire Sauce & Goose Fat, Parsley & Spinach
Sauce - Cream & Wholegrain Mustard

Puy Lentils

Puy lentils, a Protected Designation of Origin green lentil variety from the Le Puy region of France owes its distinct character to the terroir within which it grows.

Take a skillet and melt some of your favourite paleo fat, sauté off some chopped onion, drop in a few  mushrooms to soak up any remaining fat, add courgette, garlic, tomato puree, Worcestershire Sauce, sea salt and black pepper. Chopped parsley, too.

As a benchmark, 400g of lentils will feed two, one onion is needed.

Set aside on a low heat to reduce and concentrate the flavours, stirring in a generous handful of spinach as you start the fish.


Pan fry the fillets in butter.


Warm through some double cream and stir in a helping of wholegrain mustard.

How much? Your choice! Go by taste. Reduce gently, adding literally drops of water if the sauce becomes too thick.


Make a bed of lentils, fish over, sauce on top and garnish with something, or other. I had chives to hand which worked very nicely.


Cod & Orange

Fish and fruit is a curious combination which always seems to work even if logic dictates to the contrary.

Cod is a tough one to pair with fruit, but I found an interesting idea in an Icelandic cook book ...

Tonight, I put together a delightful dish of cod, orange, black olives, savoy cabbage and some par-boiled and sautéed potatoes. That's the ingredient list - if you're going to make this up, you'll also need some of your favourite paleo fat and something to garnish, chives in my case.

The orange seemed to really bring out the flavour in the cod as well as enhancing the natural sweetness of the cabbage, all anchored with those few slices of potato as a base while the olives punched through periodically with yet another flavour and oily effect.

Straight into it ...

Peel, slice and par-boil some potatoes.

This is the base of the dish, so if potatoes are not within your paleo template then pick something else. I would not advise sweet potato for fear of tipping the balance on the sweetness of the dish and particularly the effect of that sweetness on the other ingredients. Squash would be a good choice - steamed through.

Remove the potatoes and continue with the boiling water and a steamer of shredded savoy cabbage over.

Peel and segment your orange.

Take two skillets - in the first, sauté your potato slices in your favourite paleo fat for a few minutes (yes, "goose fat, for me") and then get your second skillet on the heat with more of your favourite fat (butter, now) and lay your cod fillets in, presentation side down. Three or four minutes and flip them over, switch off the heat and let the remaining flesh cook through in the residual heat.

Serve up ...

Potatoes down first, savoy cabbage intermingled, cod interspersed with orange segments, olives all around and garnish over the top.

Eat, enjoy ...


Bury Black Pudding

Practically an institution here in the North of England, Black Pudding comes no more authentic than from Bury market.

Pig blood and fat. Some contain rusk as filler, but it's pig blood and fat. As a sausage.

Simply cut in half and gently fry in butter. When it is flipped over and cooked on the back, the casing will shrink and can be removed.

Serve with whatever you like ... mushrooms, potato wedges, fried tomato and a boiled egg, in my case.

Blood never tasted so good! If you like your offals, you'll love this.Nutritional highlights are iron, vitamins B12 & D, sodium, fat and protein.


Tuna, Fried Potatoes & Sharon Fruit Salsa [Filthy Friday Food]

Ahhh ... another week down! Friday night, and time to let our hair down ...

Curiously, I was given a bag of Chilli Doritos during the day and far be it for me to throw away food, I thought we'd enjoy them as a little pre-dinner snack with cheese, soured cream, pickled chillies and guacamole alongside ...

Filthy Friday Food

... and onto the main course: Seared Tuna, Fried Potatoes, Red Cabbage and Soured Cream.

Filthy Friday Food

Using a pre-baked potato, chilled over night and cut into wedges, fried potatoes were simply a case of frying these wedges off in some coconut oil.

Shredded red cabbage on the plate, soured cream dotted over.

Sharon fruit cubed up, squeeze of lime and chopped chillies stirred through.

Meanwhile, a good slab of tuna was searing on a cast iron griddle. Once seared, cut into slices and assemble the plate by mingling the tuna slices in and amongst potato wedges, salsa over, pickled chillies and chive to garnish.

Awesome! Absolutely awesome!


Mega-Baked Sweet Potato

Tuesday. Fencing night, and I need something light, fulfilling, fast energy, slow energy and protein.

What better than a sweet potato?

What better? Sweet potato loaded with goodies!

Mega-Baked Sweet Potato

Go mad ...

Sweet Potato

Spike all over, cut in half and commit to the oven face down on an ovenproof plate for half an hour, or so.

Once soft inside, retrieve and crush up the insides pushing in a good slab of butter.


I emptied the fridge ...
  • Spinach softened in a little butter
  • Boiled egg, sliced
  • Bacon, shredded and fried off
  • Cucumber and tomato sliced into matchsticks
  • Avocado, halved and sliced
  • Cottage Cheese (single ingredient)
  • Chives
  • Splash of Tabasco all over (the food)
Two forks, one in each hand ... wolf it down!

Now, off to stab friends in the chest for the evening ...


Cod, Chorizo, Sprouts, Carrots & Lemon Butter Sauce

I've made this a number of times now in various guises, but don't think I've presented it here ...

Cod & Chorizo is a no-brainer - it just works.

Cod with steamed vegetables works - sprouts and carrots, perfectly.

Cod seems to like simple butter sauces or be drowned in heavy dairy and herb sauces. Here, a simple butter and lemon sauce with chives.

Let's spin around the ingredients ...
  • Fish - Cod and butter to pan fry
  • Chorizo - Chorizo, nothing more
  • Vegetables - Sprouts and carrots
  • Sauce - Butter, lemon juice, white pepper, sea salt and chives
Yes, that simple.

First, get the vegetables prepared and steaming.

Once the vegetables are almost ready, warm a skillet and cook through chunks or slices of chorizo. Pour the vegetables in and sautee through in the fats release.

Warm another skillet and melt some butter, frying off the cod for three or four minutes on the presentation side, switch the heat off, flip over and finish off in the residual heat for a few minutes while the vegetables keep warm and you whip up your sauce.

In a pan, melt some butter, turn the heat off and whisk into some lemon juice. Don't overdo it - just a splash, taste, little more if need be. Whisk in to make an emulsion. Whisk it ... whisk it again. Touch of white pepper, sea salt perhaps if using unsalted butter and a generous amount of chives.

Serve out, vegetables and chorizo as a bed, fish on top and sauce over.


Pork Crackling Joint & Creamed Endive

Pork Crackling Joint & Creamed Endive
It might have been a couple of weeks ago, by Chef Stephen Terry showed off an interesting idea on the BBC's 'Saturday Kitchen' which I was half listening to ...

It was creamed chicory, or endive if you're that way inclined which I have used in the title for disambiguation.

I can't remember what it was that he cooked it with - perhaps fish, it would be great with haddock; perhaps chicken, could have been pork.

Anyway, I had had a pork crackling joint in the freezer for a few weeks having bought it from the reduced section and immediately frozen it. It's a pound in weight and cost be £1.19. We don't eat a lot of meat, pork even more rarely, but at just over a quid I simply could not resist.

Pork Joint

Ingredients: Pork Joint & Sea Salt

Defrosted, sprinkle of sea salt over the skin and into the oven at about 150C (300F?) for about an hour and a half. Low heat to cook through and keep the meat succulent, flick over to grill for a few minutes to crisp up the skin and get it crackling.

Remove from the oven, wrap in kitchen foil and let rest.

Apple Sauce

Ingredients: Cooking Apple & Cider Vinegar

What with the creamed chicory, I'm not doing a gravy, but I do want something else to accompany the pork.

Apple Sauce. Simply peel and core a cooking apple, cube up and set on a low heat in a pan with a little cider vinegar to help prevent browning. Leave it to mush up.

For a warming sauce, simply add allspice, perhaps cinnamon, maybe even a little cumin. We had leftovers, which just got a little cinnamon and a scoop of ice cream for dessert.

Creamed Chicory

Ingredients: Chicory, Butter, Cream & Chives
Other Vegetables: Savoy Cabbage, Potato & Butter

Cook your vegetables. I went with mashed potato, savoy cabbage and this creamed chicory idea.

I'm sure I don't need to explain the two former, but the latter is a case of taking a chicory heart per person, slicing lengthways, frying off in a little butter and pouring in some chicken stock to reduce. How much? Well, sufficient to cover, I guess, then reduce. You'll have to do more reduction if you use a lot, less if you use less. Once reduced, stir in some cream, some chopped chive and just reduce to thicken.

While that final reduction is going on, mash up your potatoes, cut the pork and serve out the apple sauce.

Well, this creamed chicory is genius! Absolutely gorgeous and most definitely a "do again".