If you are in any way normal, you will be looking at this thinking WTF? And yes, I did too when it finally came out of the oven…..
Part of a good paleo/primal regime is embracing as much of the animal as you can. I really can’t stomach much in the way of offal, none in fact so it’s not an area in which I’ve had much success. When we were shopping in Morrisons this week I saw these bad boys. Pigs trotters. And they were reduced to 89p. Can’t go wrong, I thought. Mark was up for trying them so I put them in the trolley.
I then started googling for recipes (that didn’t involve too many other ingredients as I was feeling particularly lazy). I found a recipe for honey-roasted trotters on the Jamie Oliver forum which sounded both easy and nice. It involved simmering the trotters for an hour, then covering them in honey & brown sugar and finally roasting them in the oven. Sounds nice, yes? They came out looking a bit scary (as you can see in the picture!) but smelled ok and I was convinced they’d taste better than they looked.
And maybe they would have been – if I could find anything in there to eat! It was literally ALL bone, gristle and sinew. Neither of us could find ANY meat at all! I’m sure there must be something otherwise how could you have recipes for it? We were totally baffled. I’m sure I went wrong somewhere along the line but I’ve no idea how.
Now my flare up is starting to come back under control I have started to re-introduce my normal primal foods back into my diet. Given that I’m still off the dairy (one of the worst offenders) I’m probably leaning towards Paleo but it’s much of a muchness. I have also been reading “The Gut Makeover” which talks about building up good bacteria in your belly and much of that is down to veg. With that in mind, I’ve been trying some new things. The hardest thing I’m finding is breakfasts – no cereal, grains or dairy makes conventional breakfasts quite tricky. In Robb Wolf’s Paleo book he suggests some different options and that’s what I’ve gone with this week.
First up was this:
This unlikely breakfast is Sausage & Greens. It’s Black Farmer Chipolatas (3) fried in olive oil with shredded greens. I cooked them well, but the suggestion was until just wilted. This is then topped with some crumbled walnuts for a bit of extra protein.
It’s actually delicious! I was sceptical I must admit but I loved it. It took quite a lot of eating but kept me full until lunchtime. I’m definitely having it again.
The next one was a variation on the theme (meat/veg/nuts) and is bacon with plum tomatoes and crumbled walnuts. It sounds like a weird combination, I know, but again it’s bloody gorgeous. I mean, it has bacon which never fails to be delicious. So it’s on to a winner right from the start… The tomatoes & walnuts just add to the lushness.
The third new breakfast was a smoothie. I didn’t feel very hungry one morning this week so I thought I’d try a smoothie. I’m not really a fan of “green” smoothies. The look rank and smell even worst. So I cobbled this one together out of things I had in the fridge. So we had frozen blueberries, a small banana, soya milk and some cocoa flax. It was delicious and very, very filling. The downside was that is was a whopping 30g carbs. Which is a LOT for your first meal of the day on a lower carb diet plan! So it’d be a treat breakfast (really?! not likely is it), not an everyday brekkie.
My fourth & final new recipe is another invention. I quite often do a roast chicken on a Sunday and then use the leftover meat for meals on Monday & Tuesday (with the bones being turned into stock of course!). I’d planned to use the leg meat in a stir-fry but wanted to do something with the breast. In my dairy days that would involve a creamy sauce but that wasn’t an option. So, inline with my “bumping up the veg”, I raided the fridge and came up with this hotpot. It had carrot, parsnip and courgette diced and sauteed in butter. I then added the cubed, cooked chicken and some stock. I let that simmer until it had reduced then transferred to an oven dish. This was topped with sweet potato slices. Mark also had cheese grated on the top of his. This was baked in the oven until the sweet potato went crispy. It was delicious! The only thing was, the sauce was a bit runny (as you can see in the pic). I’m not sure how I can thicken the sauce without flour or granules (both of which have gluten) so if anyone has any ideas I’d appreciate it. Anyway this is a new favourite and I’m going to make it again this week.
For Mothering Sunday we went round to Mum & Dad’s for afternoon tea. I’m desperately trying (despite the ongoing socialising problems) to stick to my Primal Eating. It’s proving tricky as it seems that every week there is a booby trap waiting for me. So I decided that I would try and find some Primal “cakes” to take as my contribution….
Now, Primal cakes are a bit weird. Cakes with no sugar and no flour would be I suppose. They are kind of key ingredients. With that in mind, I made these two:
The top ones are Cranberry and Chocolate chip “scones”. They are made with coconut flour and almond flour which gives them quite a dry texture. But the cranberries and chocolate chips do offset it slightly. You definitely need a cup of tea with it though. Good job it was for afternoon tea!
The bottom tray are Thumbprint cookies. These are made with almond flour again. I actually quite liked these. But that might be because of the jam (which isn’t primal!)
I got both of these recipes from a blog called Paleo Newbie (www.paleonewbie.com) which has tonnes of paleo recipes to try out. I’ll definitely be coming back to that….
As a savoury offering I went for a total non-primal, retro favourite – Vol au Vents! Cheese & Ham to be precise. These went down a whole lot better. It was basically just a white sauce with a shed-load of cheese (cheddar & parmesan) and loads of ham – all stuffed into yummy puff-pastry shells. They disappeared pretty sharpish!
Following on from our meal out in Swanage the other week (https://101in10012014.wordpress.com/2016/02/07/day-867-29-go-out-for-12-meals/) I decided to try and recreate something similar to the amazing Shepherd’s Pie that I had.
I had some diced beef in the freezer along with some mince from my last muscle food box. So I fried that off and put it in a pan, along with some diced carrot, parsnip, onion and celery. I added beef stock and red wine and left it to simmer for the Ireland rugby game (so about an hour and a half). For the topping I diced swede, sweet potato and white potato and then, once cooked, I mashed half of it and “crushed” the other half. It all smelled amazing. I then put it in the oven topped with a bit of grated cheese. The finished result is the picture on the far left. I have to say it was bloody gorgeous. As you can see I made several helpings!
If I was going to do anything differently I’d probably add more grated cheese to the topping and mix it in rather than having it sitting on the top. I’d also make some spare red-wine gravy just to add a bit more wet. All in all – a great success!
For Christmas Mark bought me the new Hairy Biker’s cook book “Meat Feasts”. It’s brilliant. There’s loads and loads of recipes I want to try out, most of which will fall in line with primal/paleo principles. So all good.
The first recipe Mark wanted me to make was the Lancashire Sausage Hotpot. This was (unsurprisingly) made with sausages instead of the usual lamb. They put black pudding in theirs but as I don’t like it, I just used more sausages. I used the Morrisons gluten-free herby sausages and they were lovely. Really tasty. I didn’t use as much potato as they said either – it was loads! I think maybe because I used a mandolin to cut them I ended up with hundreds of slices, whereas if I’d cut them by hand they’d have been thicker so I wouldn’t have had so many. It ended up being 700g instead of 1kg. So quite a difference. Anyway, here are the before and after photos:
It smelled amazing while it was cooking and tasted fabulous. It easily provided 6 portions so we’ve had it for the last three nights running!
Can’t wait to try the next one….
This morning I felt like baking. I don’t know why as it’s not something I do very often but today I had a hankering. Since going Primal, baking has been somewhat less enjoyable. Standard recipes are pretty much out of the window once you try to take out flour and sugar! Most primal/paleo recipe books are American and so not only use American measures but also weird American ingredients. Which makes trying to use them a pain in the butt. Step forward Hemsley & Hemsley. Although not strictly primal, they are pretty much there and so it was to “The Art of Eating Well” that I went searching.
Sticky toffee pudding was one thing that caught my eye…. and then I realised that it made 10 portions. When there are only 2 of you and one is trying to lose weight, this is a very.bad.thing. So I came across Sultana & Cinnamon Cookies. I had all the ingredients and it sounded nice and quick to make so I got cracking.
It’s a bit of a strange recipe as it doesn’t really have any binding ingredients. You have ground almonds, bicarb, cinnamon, butter, vanilla extract and maple syrup all mixed together in a bowl. Then the sultanas are added last. (I used currants as that’s what we had). It was quite a dry mixture but it did hold together. 11 minutes later, these babies came out.
They are actually quite nice although it’s a weird texture. They are easily handled but are quite crumbly to eat. The middles were better as they were a bit more chewy. In the book it said if you liked them chewier to make them thicker so I think I’d do that next time. And I do think I’ll make them again as a treat. The best thing, in my opinion, is that they are satisfying but not moreish. So I was tempted to pig out on them. Double result!
Last night we had steak for dinner. Normally I would do chips for Mark but this time, inspired by my new book (Deliciously Ella) I decided to try some Sweet Potato curly fries instead. These aren’t in the book so I had to guess at times/temperature and it wasn’t looking promising. They looked pretty rubbish when I took them out of the oven, hence no photograph. But we ate them anyway and they were delicious! I was really surprised (and pleased!).
I’ll definitely try them again in the future. I have since found some instructions (http://ironwomaneats.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/spiralized-sweet-potatoes-yes.html)so next time they should look like this: