As I enter week two of Paleo, there is one recipe that I made earlier this year that is lingering in my mind as containing pretty much all the sins of Paleo but all the glories of delicious food. Funny, the things I thought I would be craving – coffee, chocolate, hummus…not so much…but if you put one of these in front of my right now, I would step on you to get one.
I found this recipe in the same folder I found the recipe for the Smoked Trout Empanadas.I’ve changed it a bit to include the chili and the original chopped the salami and mozzarella and mixed them together.
I’m not sure if the lure here is:
The gooey, melty cheese
The crispy breadcrumbs
The spicy salami
The silky sauteed eggplant
The slighty sweet tomato sauce
The little hit of chilli
Or all of the above
But believe me, the sirens are singing this song loud and strong. And you will be too if you make them. So crispy, so cheesy, so gooooood….
I’m not going to say much this time (because I might cry). I’m just going to let the pictures speak for themselves.
As a group we decided that our December book club option would be “healthy”. We had three options to choose from – a gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free dessert book – yeah I know…why bother right? The second was tempting. It was a book espousing the benefits of the alkaline diet. I was utterly sold on the health benefits then I read that the book was endorsed by Victoria Beckham. I refuse to take recipe endorsements from someone who looks like they haven’t eaten in the last 15 years, so, the only choice for me this time round was
Plus, I have a teeny tiny secret crush on Pete…just try take a deep look into those baby blue eyes and tell me I’m wrong. Bad move. You would have had a much better chance to point out that the mouthwateringly super delicious kebab he’s holding is made from beef heart. Yecchhh…
Come back Posh Spice, all is forgiven.
Then again, he has lovely white teeth too.
So, via a process of reasoning that was basically…I’d rather eat the pages of the book..posh spice…you’re hot…I’m going paleo. And in the words of those modern-day philosophers George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley
If you’re gonna do it, do it right”
I’m doing this all the way. Two weeks of paleo meals should be enough for me to judge the book and the diet. And you know paleo should be easy, it’s meat and veggies right?. Which is pretty much what I already eat. This is going to be great!!!! I can’t wait…
One Week Ago
Dear Paleo Diary,
You don’t mind of I call you Pete do you? It makes feel like I’m actually talking to you. Ok, now I don’t want to sound like some whiny little bitch right from the start but I thought this was supposed to be meat and veggies.
So how come I have just spent a small fortune buy a ton of stuff, some of which I had never ever heard of?
Slippery Elm Powder
Pau D’arco Capsules
They refused to sell me the magnesium chloride I needed for the cashew turmeric spread. They said they sell it as bath salts and they could not condone me eating it.
WTF Pete? Seriously. What? The? Fuck?
And for the love of hopscotching Jesus:
Do you have any idea how much all that is going to cost? And that’s just for the muesli.
If I turn over the next page and you tell me I also need to buy quinoa, I’m going to find you and punch you right in your pearlywhite teeth.
Once for the quinoa. Once for calling your daughter Chilli. Can we all just get over the foodie people naming their children after ingredients? They’re children. Not recipe inspirations.
My shopping bill for the week is DOUBLE what is normally is. But my seeds and nuts are soaking for my muesli and crackers.
I’m on top of this.
I did buy another book on Paleo because I found your breakfast and work lunch options a little limited. Also, I looked into making some of your cultured or fermented vegetables. They take a minimum of two weeks to ferment so that’s not happening. I have some kimchi in my fridge. That will have to do.
Getting worried. How will I survive without my basic food groups – cheese, chocolate and chickpeas? What about booze? Is that Paleo? Surely those cavemen were fermenting something? And now we come to one of the problems I am having with this Paleo diet thing. Everyone seems to have their own idea of what is and isn’t allowed.
A couple of sites I looked at were kind of ambivalent about alcohol. They were a little bit like…well, you really shouldn’t but if you feel you must then some choices are more Paleo than others. Other sites? Absolutely forbid it. Vis a Vis:
Really, annoyingly same with the buckwheat which is now soaking for my crackers and muesli….
Pete, you gobshite,
I already hate this. And it’s only Day One. Woke up dying for a cup of coffee.
Coffee is another one of those yes / no / maybe items on Paleo.
I had bought almond milk for my muesli so I was good for the dairy.
Turns out coffee with almond milk and no sugar sucks. Bye bye coffee, it was fun knowing you.
I put my crackers in the oven, where they needed to cook for 6-8 hours and tootled off to Body Balance class. BTW – they looked disgusting. Overnight they had gone all gelatinous and gloopy. See the photo above.
Back from Body Balance and quite hungry. However, my crackers still have another seven hours to cook and don’t get me started on the muesli.
A slice of ham
Half an avocado
The muesli is a hot mess. Pete, you say to dry the soaked nuts and seeds with paper towel or a dish cloth. Problem is, the chia has gone all to jelly and sticks to everything Eventually I decide to put the nuts in the oven with the crackers to dry them out,
A slice of ham
Half an avocado
A handful of almonds.
The crackers are done and they are awesome. The muesli ingredients are still wet. Decision time. I can cook some Paleo muffins from the other book so I will have something for breakfast tomorrow.
But then the nuts will need to come out of the oven because they need to cook at 50º. And the muffins need to cook at a normal temperature.
Nuts out, muffins in. If sounds like some vague sexual innuendo so be it. I’m too hungry to care.
The muffins are good. Well they would have been, if I could have tasted them. I ate the first one so quickly I burnt all my taste buds off.
Have started making the Lamb Harira which will be my lunch for the next few days. Quelle surprise the buckwheat needs to soak overnight and the soup needs to cook for four hours.
NOT. FUCKING. HAPPENING.
The buckwheat is going to soak for considerably less than that. At which time it will be added to the soup. According to some websites I shouldn’t even be eating it anyway. The only reason I’m even bothering with it is that I had to buy it specially so there is no way I’m not using it.
The harira is ready. It’s a bit more like a stew than a soup, I think the buckwheat sucked up some of the liquid. Tastes pretty damn good though. Mind you, a wet paper bag would taste good about now.
The m****er f***king muesli is still not dry.
I’m fed up and I’m going to bed.
Best thing I’ve eaten all day was the muffins. And they came from the other book.
Bastard. I hate you. And your baby blue eyes.
PS. They say one the side effects of the Paleo diet is a certain crankiness. Thank goodness I haven’t experienced anything like that and I am still my sweet and sunny self.
Have a fabulous week. And eat some cheese and hummus for me!!!
Paleo Breakfast Muffins
Paleo friendly breakfast muffins, bake ahead and take into the office all week
About a billion years ago, the wonderful team at the Spice Peddlers sent me some fabulous Ancho Chillies to have my evil way with. I had never cooked with Ancho chillies before so this was a totally new and delicious experience for me.
I also have a new manifesto for my Spice Peddler treats – I’m going to try to cook one thing in the spirit of which it was intended and then I’m going to go kind of out there with the next one. So, to familiarise myself with the anchos and also to push my own boundaries I decided to make a ceviche. I have always been terrified to make sashimi or any “raw” fish at home in case it killed me. And before you start shouting, I am aware that ceviche is technically cooked but it’s not like it’s been crumbed, fried and coated with cheese is it?
But I did it and hey, still alive!!!
And it was super delish!!!!
So why the century ceviche I hear you ask? First I am fond of alliteration but second…the last post I wrote was the hundredth for this blog!!!
So let’s all raise a glass of something (Jenny, I hope it’s another of those Joan Crawford Cocktails) and join in as I do a little celebratory dance….
It seems fitting to celebrate this milestone by showing off some of the ingredients from the amazing team at the Spice Peddlers. They have been such big supporters of this blog and I, in turn adore them and their products!!! The ancho chilles were a very dark blackish red colour, and quite fleshy. They were not not very hot at all but were quite fruity and had a touch of sweetness ( this actually went really well with the scallops which are also slightly sweet.
The perceptive of you may have noticed from the photos that my ceviche is loaded onto a very un-Mexican pappadam. I guess traditionally this should be a tortilla chip. However, we had gobbled all of them with Joan Crawford Danti-Chips and I couldn’t be bothered going back to the shops so pappadams it was. And in some weird Indo-Mexican affinity they actually worked quite well with the ceviche.
The last 100 posts have been super fun to do and I am really looking forward to the next 100. In fact, I have so many ideas for posts at the moment, I feel like I have the next 100 already planned.
I was going to end this with one of my favourite ever Blur songs “End of A Century” then I realised the key lyric is “End of a century, it’s nothing special” which is completely wrong because whilst I love doing this you guys are what makes it special. Thanks to you all for reading and your comments, it is always lovely to hear from you.
You’re the best.
So, as you wax on, wax off this week, make it fabulous!
A few weeks ago Jenny at Silver Screen Suppers invited her readers to celebrate the launch of her book of Joan Crawford recipes by taking part in a cookalong. I was so excited to be a part of this and I set Melbourne Cup Day as the day because strangely enough, I was going to be at the races on the actual day.
Jenny very kindly provided us with three of Joan’s recipes. One was for Crepes Suzette. Having recently had Crepes Suzette expertly cooked for me at the Lotus Blanc in Cambodia, I thought I might give this a miss. I wasn’t sure my attempts at flipping and flaming would compare. However, I was well and truly up for the other two, starting with
Joan’s Crawford’s Danti-Chips
I was so excited about these. I was even more excited when the jars of devilled ham were two for one at the local supermarket.
And then, dear readers, I made a newbie, amateur, doofus mistake. Because logic should tell you that when you are confronted with a jar of pink paste called Devilled Ham, you just need to accept that all it contains is ham and…other….stuff. Don’t ever go wondering what that other stuff might be. For the love of all that’s good in the world….
DO NOT EVER READ THE LABEL ON THE BACK OF THE JAR OF DEVILLED HAM.
And yes, I am shouting at you. Because it was over a week ago and I still feel sick thinking about it. And you know, Deviled Ham was one of my pleasures in life. Admittedly not high on the list but it was there. And now it has gone. Forever. Just like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
I’m not going to tell you what was in it. Just don’t read the label. Even though now you really want to. I know you do. do not give into the temptation. Imagine that jar of Peck’s Paste is local Nazi Colonel and you are an oversexed French Cafe owner hiding some English airmen and a priceless painting of The Fallen Madonna with The Big Boobies and resist!
(And if you had absolutely no idea what that last bit was about, your parents obviously didn’t watch enough British sit coms during your formative years….
You can find out more about that particular tangent here:
So anyway, I chose the vegetarian option. I used a mushroom and spinach tapenade for my chips. He had the devilled ham, Far be it from me to spoil anyone’s enjoyment of life the way mine has been destroyed. Plus, we have two jars of it to get through. Ignorance? Bliss.
These do look really pretty though don’t they? And they tasted really delicious. I added some chopped up pickled chillies to my pickle garnish and they went really well with the other flavours as well as adding a little colour.
We ate these mid’-afternoon whilst watching the races. And believe me, it took no time at all for that plate to become this…
STEAK WITH ROQUEFORT
Later on in the evening it was time for the second of Joan’s recipes and….it’s making my mouth water even as I think about it.
Ooooohhhhh yeah…Steak with Roquefort come on down. (Although technically mine was Steak with Stilton as the local supermarket does not stock Roquefort).
We had this with some kale and beans I also doubled up with a book club recipe and made the Turmeric and Cumin Potatoes from Persiana. Which were also super!
Meal to remember!!!!!
Steak and any sort of blue cheese is amazing. And Joan’s little twist with the….not telling…you need to buy the book to find out….is awesome!
Oh, and if, like me you happen to have some leftover corn chips from the Danti-Chips and some leftover roquefort mixture from the steak you can combine these with any leftover kale and some very finely chopped red onions to create a delicious spin on Nachos the night after!
Hopefully Joan would approve!!!
Thanks Jenny for the wonderful opportunity to be a part of this!!!! I loved the recipes and can’t wait to see the rest of the book!
I think it’s only fair this week to have the sign off to come from the lady herself. Have a fabulous week – maybe think about how you can add some old Hollywood glamour into your life. And buy Jenny’s book! If the recipes I tried are any reflection it will be awesome!!!
Those of you who don’t live in Australia may be unaware that the Melbourne Cup is run on the first Tuesday in November. The Melbourne Cup is our version of the Kentucky Derby or Ascot or the <<insert the biggest horse race from your country here>>.
They call it the race that stops a nation because, come tomorrow at around 3:00pm, just about everyone in the country will stop what they are doing to watch, or listen to, the running of the Cup. If you happen to live in Melbourne, you get to stop for a hell of a lot more than that. We get the WHOLE day off work. Seriously. We don’t go to work all day because for about 5 minutes in the afternoon some horses run around a track. It’s awesome, the most mad and random holiday ever!!!
And because we’re not working, if people aren’t actually going to the races, they have parties and bbq’s or set up parties in the car park at the track, kind of like tail gating but classier. Every one dresses up and the weather is generally good – it’s party time here!!! Apart from the hay fever. That’s still sucking.
And what better way to celebrate your Cup Day holiday, than this adorable vintage salad from Rosemary Mayne-Wilson’s Salads for All Seasons and the accompanying MC Cocktail which I made up to go along with it?
The unifying element between the two is pineapple. And can I just say. Forget Chanel #5. Forget even this gorgeous Sohum Mint Tea perfume which is my current favourite perfume (Notice how even my perfume is named after food?)
Pineapple has got to be the best smell in the world. When I opened that can? I just wanted to take a big swim in that glorious scent. Soooo good. And yes, I used pineapple from a can. Fresh pineapple is great. If you happen to live in Cambodia…OMG, the best, sweetest most heaven scented pineapple ever…or you have a couple of spare hours to pfaff about with peeling and coring and taking the eyes out and blah blah blah. As far as I am concerned, canned pineapple is the way to go.
What was not so good was the tinned crab. It was….fairly bland is a nice way of putting it. Completely tasteless would be another. Despite that, the pineapple was sweet and the dressing was surprisingly good. I think that if you used fresh crab meat this would become super good.
RMW recommends decorating this with crab legs. Even if I had made this using fresh crab I would find that a bit creepy. I used some chopped up chives and mint (both can I add, fresh from my garden)!
Alternatively you could forgo piling the crab into and onto the pineapple rings and mix them together and serve in these amazing bits of crabby kitsch!
I would still use the watercress to line the crab bowls. That peppery goodness added a real bit of zing to this dish.
But I will tell you something totally weird. As I was making it, I believed I had spotted a huge flaw in the logic of this salad. Cos that’s the kind of thing I think about, The logic of food. As I may have said a couple of times before, it’s nice to see that Philosophy major isn’t going to waste!
So, here was my concern. You pile your crab meat onto and into the hole of your pineapple ring. However, the law of gravity would suggest that when you picked up your pineapple ring that the crab meat in the hole would not, should not lift with the ring….
Weird thing is? It totally does. Well nearly totally does. A smidgeon of crab may remain on the plate but it will lift. You need to pack it in fairly tight though.
I would definitely make this again. But I would definitely use fresh crab meat.
So, what do you do with the leftover juice from the can of pineapple? Well, if life gives you pineapple juice, I say make a super refreshing and tasty as hell cocktail. I also happened to have a bottle of Midori hanging about. It was given to me as a housewarming present when I moved into my old apartment. How on earth it managed to survive 13 years I have no idea. Anyway on that bottle was a tag and on that tag was a recipe for a cocktail called a 24/7 which was Midori, Chartreuse, lime cordial and pineapple juice. I made this and it was ok. Then I made a second one where I subbed in some fresh lemon juice for the lime cordial and it was much better. Then I made a third…(see what I mean about being surprised that bottle hadn’t been drained long ago?) where I added a splash of ginger beer. And ladies and gentlemen, we had a winner!
I’m calling my version the MC – Midori and Chartreuse, Melbourne Cup…
Oh, and the left over salad dressing? Was really good on some oysters the following day! It had that Bloody Mary Shot vibe about it. Kind of retro in it’s own way!
I will be spending Cup Day cooking up a Joan Crawford inspired Romantic dinner for two courtesy of Jenny at Silver Screen Suppers…stay tuned, I think it’s going to be awesome! Whatever you do, I hope it’s fabulous!