Archive for the ‘Paleo/Primal’ Category

I waste far too much time lately, sitting – little old cat on my knee – scrolling through all the pretties on Pinterest.
I even find some interesting recipes – including this one.
Sue has a huge, and hugely prolific lemon tree. I have been using her lemons to make fruit jellies for her. Gelatine is very good for you if you have diarrhoea – which is a side-effect of this chemo…

The juice is great, but I remembered a pin I found which suggested dehydrating then grinding the zest for use as a condiment.
It is really easy to do – produces a powder that looks for all the world like gold dust – and, with its gentle – almost caramelised lemon flavour – is just as good dusted over fish, as over a dessert.
I’ve also used it dusted over roast chicken.






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2 tbsp butter
1 small onion – chopped
1/2 cup rindless bacon – finely diced
1 large cauliflower – florets
100ml dry white wine
1.5 litres chicken stock (or beef)

In a large saucepan, melt butter. Add onions and bacon and fry gently until the onions are soft.
Add the cauliflower and wine, stir and let it bubble a bit.
Add the stock and a cup of water and bring to the boil.
Simmer until the cauliflower is soft.
Munch with a stick blender.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This recipes is based on one that was in the Cuisine magazine recently.
It is delicious!

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I went with Sue to her meeting with her Oncologist.

The man is a pompous git, but Sue said he listened this time, and explained better too.

She, however, is her own worst enemy.

She was asked how she was feeling… ‘Fine’ she said brightly.


I butted in… fine  – if you consider constant diarrhea, and having to ‘remind’ your legs how to work each time you stand up, to be ‘fine’.

That changed the atmosphere a bit. PG (pompous git) sat up a bit straighter and read his notes.

He thinks her reaction to the chemo is not an allergic one, rather that she is having a ‘rough time of it’. That the nursing staff were asking about her breathing was not so much that they expected her to be unable to breathe, rather that it seems a patient’s perception is that they are unable to breathe – the reality is, your breathing is just fine.

It seems – if a chemo patient is going to have an adverse reaction, it is always during the administration of the last 5mls of Oxalyplatin… my questions for next time: “If that is the case, why do you administer the last 5mls?” “Who decides how much Oxalyplatin a patient needs?” “Is Oxalyplatin always packaged in that particular dosage”? I’ll be going to all her Oncologist appointments from now on – if only to keep her honest!

I’m spending this afternoon at the hospital with her as she undergoes her third chemo treatment.

She is quite cheerful at the thought of another treatment. (Killing the fking cancer cells). I am shitting myself.

On a much happier note, we are having the most amazing weather! We have had a string of hotter than hot days – which is something unheard of in my area! The cats and I are struggling to keep cool – though they all have their ‘hidey’ places where they hunker down and wait the heat out.

Despite the heat, my crock-pot has been doing overtime. I’ve been making batch after batch of bone broth, which I then reduce down to cubes of jelly deliciousness. The cubes are easy to store, and added to a cup of hot water, make a really tasty and nutritious broth.

There have been days when Sue has been unable to eat anything, but she cope with the broth.Summer 2012 025


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Still on a middle-eastern kick… I made this beetroot salad. I thought it was quite nice, but ate it again the next day, added some crumbled feta cheese and found it much improved…

250g (2 – 3) beetroot
1 small red onion – grated
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup evoo
1/4 cup walnut oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup lightly roasted walnuts
2 tbsp rosewater
Steam or boil beetroot until tender (this can take about an hour)
Rub skin gently to peel, then cut into small dice
Place in a large bowl and add onion and fresh herbs
In a separate bowl combine the oils and lemon juice. Season
Toss beetroot and walnuts in dressing
Sprinkle with rosewater just before serving

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I’ve been cooking a lot from my newest cookbook – Tagines & Couscous by Ghillie Basan, and I’m thrilled to say – we’ve been enjoying the results – I’ve made Creamy Shellfish Tagine with Fennel and Harissa, and it was delicious. I’ve never cooked with fennel before, but I’ve decided I really like it.

I also made Beef Tagine with Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Ginger and Ras-el-Hanout… which was described as ‘fairly firey’ and – given that we don’t really do firey in this house, was a bit daunting. But, it turned out to be very gentle. I suspect we may have a different blend of ras-el-hanout and that may be the difference. Though, it is difficult to imagine a spice blend that includes rose petals, as ever being firey 🙂 I perked this tagine up with a generous blob of yoghurt with lots of mint chopped in, and some finely sliced slivers of preserved lemon. And, in complete fairness to the author – she does suggest doing just that!

Anyway – I have been forgetting to tell you how this romance with middle-eastern flavours came about.

You may remember that, while we were on holiday in Auckland earlier this year, I got brave enough to contact a blogger friend and we all met for lunch… Hi Bev 🙂

That went so well, that I got brave all over again when we went to Wellington for a long-weekend. I asked Julie – who writes a lovely blog about her cat Poppy (yes – I DID steal my Poppy’s name from her Poppy!) http://poppyq.blogspot.co.nz/  You can meet Poppy and her Julie too. We met for a drink, then went to dinner – to a tapas place near our hotel. The food was lovely – as was the company – so you can blame Julie for this fascination with these flavours. 🙂 Meeting fellow bloggers comes highly recommended!

And, look what I found on my last trip to the supermarket

I know corn is not Paleo/primal (corn is a grain – great for birds and rodents, not so great for people) HOWEVER – sometimes I just want to pretend… ok? Don’t shout at me!

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New Toys

I bought myself some new baking pans… my old metal ones were a bit manky-looking, and I’d heard good things about these pans

… this is one of the new pans – don’t you just love the colour?… Kermit green… there is no way to overlook these. They are VERY bright!

They’re also very floppy, so you have to put them onto a tray to bake with them, but they work really well – no greasing required – my breakfast eggie things just pop right out…

I over-filled them… eggs (3 small free-range), finely chopped bacon, finely chopped onion, some grated cheese, milk, salt and pepper…but, they still came out of the pans easy as 🙂

These little quichey things make an easy and filling breakfast – a couple of these, and I don’t need anything for lunch. Great result all around. I love these new toys 🙂

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Dad’s friend had given them a huge bottle of fresh cream – mum gave it to me, and I decided to try again to make custard.

I’ve never made good custard – it usually refuses to set… or separates. But, I figured… free cream… why not?

Custard-based desserts are often the only option on a restaurant menu that are suitable for those of us with ‘gluten issues’. I don’t usually  make it to the dessert course, but I am partial to panna cotta – that lovely Italian ‘cooked cream’… and I love the English version – the posset (don’t you love that word? – sounds all medieval to me)


200g good quality dark chocolate – chopped
2 cups (500ml) cream
4 free-range egg yolks
1/3 cup caster sugar – plus extra to sprinkle
1 – 2 tbsp Cognac, Armagnac or Cointreau – optional (oh please!)
Pre-heat the oven to 120c
Put chocolate and cream in a large heat-proof bowl over simmering water
Stir occasionally until melted and combined, then remove from heat
Put egg yolks and sugar in a large clean bowl and beat until thick and pale
Slowly whisk in the warm chocolate mixture, a pinch of salt and the alcohol if using.
Strain the mixture into a jug, then divide among 6 200ml ramekins
Put the ramekins into a deep roasting pan, then pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins
Cook 25 – 30 minutes until the custards are just set with a slight wobble.
Carefully remove the ramekins from the water bath and allow to cool
Chill the ramekins in the fridge for at least 2 hours
When ready to serve, sprinkle with a thin layer of extra sugar and caramelise  with a blowtorch or place under a hot grill for 2 – 3 minutes.
Serve immediately

Well! They set beautifully – I was a little worried they were too set, but they were crunchy on top and silky smooth underneath, so I think I might have broken the custard hood00.

They were however, sweet enough to make my eyebrows hurt – I would make them in smaller dishes next time – and cook them for a shorter time…

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Fat Head

I want to share with you something my blogging friend Lynda blogged today. http://achangeoflife.blogspot.co.nz/

Lynda is following the same ‘diet’ I am, but she doesn’t cheat. I am not as disciplined… or rather I wasn’t as disciplined until I found her blog and started to become aware of her amazing results. I am much better these days – and as a result, my weight is finally starting to come off. I’m still having some wine, but the daily sweet potato and squares of dark chocolate are now real treats – once in a blue moon, not everyday. And, even though I’ve done all the reading and ‘know better’, I have only just started to add in some fat – butter is your friend my friends, as is coconut oil… and olive oil… all that delicious saturated fat….mmmmm 🙂

Because I care for you, please – put aside a little time, go visit Lynda’s blog  and watch the video

Fat Head… the movie

I hope it will change your life


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I had a dinner-party disaster a few weeks ago… so bad that my confidence was VERY dented.

We had invited some friends and bought an expensive piece of pork to roast (these friends don’t ‘do’ roasts – they make a mess of your oven (!) When these people want a roast dinner, they phone the butcher and arrange to collect their roast (perfectly cooked) at whatever time suits them…)

Anyway, all was well until one couple turned up late… an hour late…

I will never cook a roast meal for visitors again. Experiments in Tajines and casseroles are ongoing… and I bought a new cook-book 🙂 – more on that another day…

But, I found this recipe for roast pork in our local newspaper recently. It’s by Ruth Pretty – who is one of NZ’s best caterers (I go to her cooking school each year for her “Christmas” class – it’s such a huge treat). In my experience, Ruth’s recipes never fail, and I love that she tells you how far ahead you can do each part. I’ve included her recipe for Apple Sauce – though I haven’t made it yet. The fennel rub for the pork is absolutely delicious. The roast was wonderful and the leftover meat the next day was very moreish… confidence somewhat restored… thank you Ruth.


Recipe by Ruth Pretty

8 cloves garlic
2 tsp rosemary leaves – finely chopped
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
whizz all together and rub generously all over pork before you roast it.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days
Apple Shallot Sauce
2 apples – peeled, cored and cut into 12 wedges
145g onion – peeled and cut into wedges (or 16 shallots)
8 garlic cloves – peeled, halved
1 bottle sauvignon blanc
1 cup tart apple syrup (use maple syrup if you can’t get this)
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 – 2 tbsp brown sugar
Put the apples, onions, garlic and wine into a saucepan.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and lightly boil for 40 – 45 minutes until the liquid is syrupy and the vegetables are soft.
Add the balsamic vinegar
Remove from heat and add brown sugar to taste.
Cool and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Re-heat to serve

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Because I’m the kind of cook who needs a recipe… and because that ‘instant’ mayonnaise is so good…


Roast 9 large cloves of garlic (toss garlic cloves in oil, wrap tightly in foil and roast at 180c for 20 minutes)
Add to blender when you’re making the basic mayonnaise
Caesar Mayonnaise
To the basic mayonnaise add – 1 tbsp capers, 1 tsp chopped anchovies, 2 cloves garlic, chopped parsley and grated parmesan
Tartare Sauce
1 large gherkin, 1 tbsp capers, dill
Chilli and Lime
2 tsp chilli sauce, 1/4 tsp minced garlic, lime juice and zest
Avocado Mayonnaise (thanks to Judith for this idea)
1/2 a large, or 1 small avocado blended in to basic mayonnaise
Lime and Coriander
1 tsp wholeseed mustard, 2 tsp runny hunny, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 bunch fresh coriander – chopped
Spiced Mayonnaise
toast 2 tsp of whatever spice – cool, then add to mayonnaise either whole, or ground
Fennel Mayonnaise
1/2 tsp Fennel seeds, lightly crushed; 1/2 tsp Pernod (optional); 2 tbsp chopped fennel fronds
Truffle Mayonnaise
Add 3 tsp truffle oil to mayonnaise

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