March 29, 2012

Spinach Shiitake Burgers



Finally, time for a new recipe! It's so convenient that I had to be in class today (instead of work) and in order to get there I didn't have to leave until 12.30 PM. That way I had lots of time to enjoy myself in the kitchen in the AM.
A few months ago, I found this recipe for 'Green Pork & Shiitake Sliders' on'the Nom Nom Paleo website. After reading it, I decided I wanted to make these burgers. However, a few things needed to be adapted because I can't get any Red Boat Fish Sauce nor Coconut Aminos over here. (Note to self: bring some from my next trip to the USA)
Oh and I'm not really into celery either, and more importantly: I'm intolerant to pork. I only make an exception for bacon every now and then, because that's just worth it. I'm still praying this is just a temporary intolerance.
All in all, I had to make some major changes to the recipe so I decided to make my own version. It worked! It doesn't cost nearly as much time to make these, and they're well worth the effort. I'll be making these again, that's for sure.
Spinach Shiitake Burgers (serves 4)
Ingredients:
- 3 large handfulls of fresh spinach
- 1 medium red onion, minced
- 5 large shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 500g ground beef
- 1 egg
- 8g fresh cilantro (a small bunch), finely chopped
- 3 heaping tablespoons desiccated coconut
- 1/2 tsp salt
- freshly ground peppercorns to taste
- 1 tsp garlic powder
1. Heat 1 tsp of the coconut oil in a skillet and stir-fry the spinach until just wilted. Transfer to a plate and allow to cool for a few minutes.
2. Heat 2 tsp of the coconut oil in the skillet and stir-fry the minced onion and shiitakes until soft, this will only take a few minutes.
3. Finely chop the spinach with a sharp knife.
4. Add the ground beef along with the spinach, onions and shiitakes, egg, cilantro, coconut, salt and pepper and garlic to a large bowl.
5. Mix everything with your hands until well-combined.
6. Divide the mixture into 4-8 equal pieces, rol each piece into a ball and flatten them on a plate to make burgers.
7. Heat the remaining coconut oil in a frying pan and fry the burgers for 3-5 minutes on eacht side (depending on the thickness of your burgers) over medium heat until browned and cooked.
8. Serve with veggies of your choice and enjoy!

March 15, 2012

[CrockPot] Moroccan chicken stew



Today I used my CrockPot slowcooker for the 2nd time. I loved coming home to a hot meal, ready to eat. Especially since it tasted good too!
For the recipe, I basically threw some chicken and veggies in that were lying around in my fridge, added some spices and it actually worked out really well.
It's completely Paleo, it tastes good and it only took me 10 minutes to make just because I had to chop the vegetables. It doesn't get easier than that! Moreover, who says cooking paleo meals is time-consuming? Just invest in a slowcooker and you'll have a number of meals before you know it. All you have to do is put it on and in the mean time you can go about your daily business. No cooking stress whatsoever!
[CrockPot] Moroccan chicken stew (serves 2)
Ingredients:
- 2 chicken breasts (approx. 200g each)
- 2 onions, cut in half and thinly sliced
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 1 eggplant, diced
- 150g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 tsp Ras Al Hanout
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp powdered garlic
- 1/4 tsp curcuma
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp creamed coconut concentrate, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1. Put the chicken breasts on the bottom of the Crockpot and divide the onions over them. Throw in the dried herbs and spices, and the chopped coconut cream concentrate.
2. Divide the other vegetables over the chicken and put the lid on.
3. Cook on low for 8 hours.
4. Shred the chicken with a fork at the end of the cooking time and mix well.
5. Divide the dish over 2 plates and garnish with fresh cilantro. Enjoy!

March 12, 2012

Stuffed peppers




I aquired a 'thing' for peppers lately. I love them! Oven roasted or sauteed over low heat with some onions.
Today I made stuffed peppers. The recipe below serves 1 person, but of course you can make as many as you wish; just double the recipe.
These peppers are very convenient to serve when hosting a dinner. They look impressive, are easy to prepare and you don't have to worry about them while they're in the oven. (in the mean time you can whip up some side dishes, or if you're well-prepared, chat with your guests)
I'm keeping today's post short. I'm about to head to bed, after all, sleep is important.
Stuffed peppers (serves 1)
Ingredients:
- 1 large, red bell pepper
- 150g ground beef
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp raisins
- 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 1/4 tsp beef seasoning
- 1 handful fresh spinach leaves
- 1 egg
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
2. Rinse pepper, cut off the top and remove the seeds. Put the pepper in a shallow oven dish and bake for 15 minutes.
3. In the mean time, chop up the top of the pepper, except for the stem.
4. Heat a skillet over high heat and brown the ground beef. Add the chopped onion, pieces of pepper and spices and sautee until the veggies are softening.
5. Add raisins and stir in the spinach until it's starting to wilt. Remove the pan from the heat to cool.
6. After approx. 10 minutes, stir the egg into the beef mixture.
7. Remove the pepper from the oven and stuff it with the beef and egg mixture. Put it back into the oven and bake for approx. 50 minutes until soft and done.
8. Serve hot and enjoy!

March 11, 2012

Homemade bacon


Today, I'm not posting a recipe of my own, but something I made for the first time last week. And it was a succes.

Bacon!

Up until 2 days ago, I was convinced everyone loves bacon. Except for vegetarians and vegans, but even they sometimes eat fake bacon. Yet, I was wrong!
During lunch at work, one of my colleagues had bought a salad at the restaurant, which came with 3 rashers of bacon. She put them on the side of her plate.
I couldn't resist asking: 'Aren't you going to eat those?'. 'No, I don't really like those' she replied. Guess who ended up enjoying her bacon?? ;-)

Making my own bacon was something I'd wanted to do for quite a while now. After all, most store-bought bacon isn't that healthy because of the large amount of additives and perhaps even a bigger load of salt. My parents once gave me a chunk of pork belly from their butcher, that piece had been in my freezer for a while now.
Making your own bacon isn't something you do within a day, no, it takes 8 days before you can enjoy your bacon. It's worth it.
Really worth it.

I made my bacon by following Jen's Gone Paleo's recipe for 'Homemade bacon'. It just doesn't make sense for me to post my own recipe. This one works.
All I can do is give you some tips:
- Make sure to use a meat thermometer.
- Use a sharp knife so you can nicely slice your bacon.
- Try this and enjoy it!

All there's left for me to share are some pictures.



March 7, 2012

Eggs in pepper rings with bacon



Breakfast has always been my favourite meal of the day, and the biggest one to be honest. Right after switching to a Paleo nutrition, my breakfast mostly consisted of fruit. I ate about 5 pieces of fruit in the morning, along with a handful of nuts. The thought of having meat or eggs for breakfast just hadn't occured to me. Since the fruit wasn't able to keep me going until lunch at all and I suffered from a blood sugar crash around 11AM, I decided to do things differently.


I started having eggs for breakfast. I figured 2 eggs would be enough, along with some fruit and nuts. I didn't get that blood sugar crash anymore, but instead I just got really hungry around 11AM. I gradually started increasing protein and fat in my breakfast, and instead of fruit, I started eating a large amount of vegetables. That's the way I've been eating for years now, and it still works for me. I feel energized all morning, don't need a big lunch, am seldomly really hungry and what's even better is that I no longer suffer from any blood sugar crashes at all.


Last week I figured that frying eggs wasn't all that convenient: when breaking an egg, it never really ends up nice and round. The egg white just runs everywhere and it doesn't look pretty when you intend to use your egg to top a hamburger with. I know there are some silicon molds available to get the job done, but I didn't feel like buying those. While browsing online, I stumbled upon something else: cut a bell pepper into rings and use it to hold your egg together. It's a simple idea, yet convenient and it tastes good too. As seen on the pictures below, some egg white still ran under the pepper rings, but most of it stayed nicely inside. Of course I couldn't resist adding some bacon..






Eggs in pepper rings with bacon


Ingredients:
- 1 red bell pepper
- 30g bacon pieces
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp coconut oil


1. Rinse the pepper, cut off the top and bottom and remove the seeds. Cut the pepper into 3 rings of approx. 1,5 cm (a little more than 1/2 inch) thick.
2. Heat coconut oil in a frying pan and fry the pepper rings over medium heat on one sice.
3. Flip the rings and divide half of the bacon pieces over them.
4. Carefully crack an egg above each ring and divide the other half of the bacon over them.
5. Fry for approx. 10-15 minutes over medium heat, until the whites have set, but the yolks are still runny.
6. Serve hot and enjoy!


March 5, 2012

Meatza!



Despite the fact I haven't been eating any milk products or gluten for over 5 years now, and no grains at all over the last 3 years. There still was something I used to miss, especially after just having cut out grains and milk from my diet. Pizza. It's a kind of comfort food, something that's just an easy meal, but even something as simple as that can be missed at times.
Not because of the grains and cheese, but mostly because you used to enjoy making and eating it. Every once in a while, my mom and me would go into the kitchen on a Sunday morning and would create a huge pizza. As big as the oven's baking tray. We made a thick base and a loaded it with a huge amount and variety of toppings. Our pizza was the best. Mostly because we'd made it ourselves.
After I had just started my diet, there have been some more or less failed attempts at recreating a pizza. The base usually ended up a little dry and the vegetarian cheese that was on top wasn't that much of a success either. I actually gave up the dream of making a pizza, and accepted that it was just something from the past. Until this weekend.
I'd read about the 'Meatza' in a couple of paleo cookbooks already. It looked good; pizza with a meat crust. I love meat. Yum! And because I had been wondering what I'd make with ground beef this time (making hamburgers every weekend is yummy, but some variety never hurts), I remembered this all of a sudden. So I decided to make my own take on the meatza.
And it worked. It was yummy, and so much better than a regular pizza. Plus, the whole process of making it and picking out the toppings was equally fun at the least.
Meatza (serves 2)
Ingredients:
- 500g ground beef
- 4 tbsp dried Italian herbs
- 1 tsp powdered garlic
- salt to taste
- 1 can of diced tomatoes
- 125g bacon pieces
- 1 onion
- 1/2 red bell pepper
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2. Mix the ground beef with 2 tbsp Italian herbs, garlic and salt in a bowl. Knead into a large ball.
3. Put the ball on the baking tray and flatten it with damp hands until you end up with a round, 1/2 cm thick piece of meat, about the size of a pizza.
4. Bake your 'pizza' base approx. 15 minutes until done.
5. Allow the base to cool for a while before carefully draining the fat that has come out of the meat from the baking tray.
6. Pour the diced tomatoes into a saucepan and add 1 tbsp Italian herbs. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for approx. 15 minutes, until thickened to your liking.
7. In the mean time, chop the onion and pepper into thin strips.
8. Put a skillet over medium heat and sautee the bacon until it starts to turn light brown, add onion and pepper.
9. Stir the bacon and veggie mixture regularly, until the vegetables have softened.
10. Spoon the tomato sauce over the meat base and divide the bacon and vegetable mixture over it. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tbsp of Italian herbs over it.
11. Bake your meatza for approx. 10-15 minutes until the sides start to brown.
12. Cut the meatza in half, serve and enjoy!

March 1, 2012

Bacon wrapped dates, but better



And it's time for a new recipe!
Cooking is what's kept me busy last weekend: I made party snacks for 50 people. Yes, that is quite a lot of work. I spent 6 hours in the kitchen. (and still needed help in the last hour just to get everything done on time)
These were on the menu: mini-muffins with chocolate frosting, puff pastry filled with bacon, apple and onion, smoked salmon with guacamole, meatballs, chicken skewers and bacon wrapped dates.
That last one is my favourite. Dates with bacon. Sweet and salty, meat and fruit, not all hearty, not all sweet. The best of both worlds. In my opinion, it couldn't get much better. Oh how I'd have loved to have eaten the whole dish with approx. 60 dates all on my own. Only if I hadn't known that they were actually meant for others to enjoy. (I won't deny 'test tasting' a few though)
Until someone gave me a tip: stuff the dates with a dried apricot. That sounded interesting. I also enjoy dried apricots, but I was a little wary for them to cover up the taste of either the dates or the bacon.
A few days ago, I found organic bacon in a store. On sale. Meaning I couldn't go without buying it. When the weekend was over I still found myself craving for dates with bacon, and I just so happened to have those at home, along with some dried apricots. The bacon was about to go past its sell-by date, the dates had been calling my name for days from the drawer they were in, so I decided to give it a go and create apricot stuffed bacon wrapped dates.
All my doubts were immediately blown away: this is even better.

Apricot stuffed bacon wrapped dates (10 pieces)

Ingredients:
- 10 dates
- 5 dried apricots
- 5 strips of bacon
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2. Make an incision in the dates lengthwise and remove the pit.
3. Cut the apricots in half and stuff each date with a piece of apricot.
4. Cut the strips of bacon in half and wrap each piece around a stuffed date.
5. Place the dates onto the prepared baking tray and bake them in the middle of the oven until the bacon starts to crisp, approx. 15 minutes.
6. Allow to cool for a few minutes, serve and enjoy!

February 19, 2012

Bacon-apple burgers



It's already been 10 (!!) days since my last post. Oops. It wasn't because of a lack of new meals, but because I had to attend some classes. Not that that's the best excuse, but still.
In the mean time, I started working out again, CrossFit! How I love that!! I knew I'd missed it, but after my first workout I was sure. I can't go without sports. It makes me feel beter physically, and it certainly improves my overall mood as well. Therefore, I see no reason why I shouldn't do sports. It's a good kind of addiction.
I also made a new, delicious meal. Bacon-apple burgers. I was inspired by a dish from my new cookbook, which I bought last week. It's called: MEAT. by Adrian Richardson. It's chock full of everything you want to know about meat; different preparation and cooking methods and techniques, and a number of tasty recipes. I actually went to the cooking supply store to get myself a mini-muffin tin, but I couldn't resist buying this book.
Something else they had at the store was a CrockPot. Something I laid my eye on over a year ago already, and hadn't bought yet. It might be a feminine trait, but as soon as I like something and want to have it, I'm prone to feel like I also need it. As you might have guessed by now, after another day of doubting whether to buy it or not, I ordered it. My CrockPot SCV1600BS. It'll be mailed to me next week, and I already can't wait.
Along with my CrockPot, I also ordered another 8kg-pack of grassfed beef. Which includes a whole lot of stew meat, perfect for my CrockPot. That's going to save me a huge amount of time, last week it took 6 hours to turn 2,5kg beef into 3 different stews.

Now, here's the burger recipe. I enjoyed it twice: once for dinner (with a carrot salad and sauteed onions and peppers), and once for breakfast (with eggs in a nest of kale, apple and onion).
Bacon-apple burgers (serves 3)
Ingredients:
-
500g ground beef
- 125g finely diced bacon
- 1 egg
- 1 apple
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
1. Add ground beef, bacon, egg, salt and pepper to a bowl.
2. Rinse the apple, peel it and discard the center. Coarsely grate the apple pieces and add them to the beef in the bowl.
3. Mix the contents of the bowl until well combined. Separate into 6 equal pieces and roll them into balls.
4. Flatten the meatballs into burgers of your desired thickness and put them onto a plate.
5. Heat coconut oil in a frying pan and fry the burgers for 1 minute on each side until golden brown. Then lower heat to medium and fry them for another 3 minutes on each side until cooked.
6. Serve with veggies of your choice and enjoy!
Tip: These taste great with a fried egg on top!

February 9, 2012

Limits and Paleo Cinnamon Rolls



Yay! I just signed in for a CrossFit WOD, tomorrow night. I finally have some energy to do sports again, how I missed that! My recovery seems to be speeding up this week; last week I could hardly climb some stairs, now it's an easy job. Last week I intended to clean my home but I wasn't able to do more than change the bed sheets (after which I had to sit down), today I cleaned the whole place and changed the sheets. And I still have lots of energy left!
Moreover, my enthusiasm has returned over the last couple of days. (meaning I am now more fun to be around with..)
There only lies 1 problem: it's easy to go over my limits. Even though I have a lot of energy now and feel well, my limits aren't where they once used to be yet and they're vulnerable. How do I know? From experience. I've been feeling  well so often before, after which I took on too much work and had to recover for a while again. I think many people will recognize this, even after recovering from a flu or injury.
That's why I'm using a new strategy now: I'll wait until my energy levels are sufficient and will slowly build from there. I'll give my body a chance to adapt, instead of wreaking havoc on it again. There's only one way to do this, and that's by listening to your body. Everyone's limits are different and every body shows different signals when going over them. Some people are in pain when they're pushing their limits too much, some get a cold all of a sudden and for me it's fatigue that sets in to let me know I've gone too far.
Limits are everywhere: mental and physical. Your body responds to stress in all its forms, that's why you can be physically tired from trying to make a deadline all day while all you've done is sit behind a desk. And you can get trouble concentrating the day after a really tough workout. They all influence each other.
The body is a complicated 'machine' and all we can do is listen to it and try to accomodate to those signals by eating well, relaxation, exercise, etc.
This morning I made this recipe as a 'dessert after breakfast' (or mid-morning snack). Before going paleo I used to love Danish pastries, they were my favourites at breakfast buffets in hotels. These cinnamon rolls brought back that memory and I loved it! I got the idea for this recipe from these Cinnamon Rolls, from What Runs Lori. I adapted the recipe a little and baked them in a different way. The good thing about these is that you can easily make them for one.

Cinnamon Rolls (serves 1)
Ingredients:
- 2 tbsp coconut flour (+1 tsp extra when your dough is too sticky)
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp coconut milk (or water)
- 2 tsp honey
- raisins (or other dried fruits)
1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
2. Mix coconut flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a bowl.
3. Add vanilla, egg, coconut milk and honey and stir well until there aren't any lumps anymore. Let the dough sit for a few minutes to allow the coconut flour to absorb the liquids.
4. Put a 15cm wide strip of parchment paper on a flat surface and scoop the dough on top.
5. Shape the dough in a rectangle of approx. 7x20cm, using the back of a spoon.
6. Divide the dried fruits over the dough.
7. Use the parchment paper to turn the dough into a roll, starting on the narrow side.
8. Cut the roll in half, using a sharp knife and place them on top of the parchment paper, cut side down.
9. Transfer the rolls and parchment paper to a baking tray and bake until golden, approx. 25 minutes.
10. Allow to cool and enjoy!

February 4, 2012

Shredded beef with pumpkin



Comfort food still is a favourite these days. Not just because it's been freezing and the thick layer of snow outside, no, mostly because the side effects of my treatment for HPU (pyroluria). Apparently you can get quite some side effects from supplementing large deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals. Just to make something clear: these deficiencies weren't caused by my way of eating. HPU (pyroluria) is a genetic condition where very little zinc, manganese and vitamine B6 can be absorbed into the body. This causes deficiencies to an extent where it's impossible to supplement them with just food. That's why I'm taking quite some supplements these days. They don't just cause a slight improvement in my energy levels, but they also make my head spin and have the tendency to turn me into an emotional wreck at times. Beats the hell out of PMS. Fortunately for me, it should get better in a month or so. Can't wait.
In the mean time I make sure my meals are tasty. It might not be a good idea to comfort oneself with food, but boiled veggies and a tough piece of meat won't make me any happier either. After all, cooking can have  a great therapeutic effect (everything does, as long as you enjoy it), so I gladly cook my way through this time.
In this recipe, I roasted a chunk of meat in the oven right until I could easily shred it. I roasted the veggies along with the meat, so I could easily turn it into a coarse puree. Yum!

Shredded beef with pumpkin (serves 4)
Ingredients:
- 2 large onions
- 1 small pumpkin
- 1/2 bulb garlic
- 600g rib roast, boneless
- 1 tsp pimenta powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 4 tbsp fresh cilanto or parsley
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
1. Preheat oven to max. temperature.
2. Heat coconut oil in a Dutch oven and chop the onions in the mean time.
3. Sautee the onions over low heat in the pan. In the mean time, wash the pumpkin, discard the seeds and dice it.
4. Separate the bulb of garlic into cloves and peel them. Add them to the onions in the pan along with the pumpkin.
5. Sautee everything for a minute or so before removing the pan from the heat.
6. Pat the rib roast dry with a paper towel and rub it with the dry spices.
7. Put the roast on top of the vegetables in the pan and cover with a lid.
8. Transfer the pan to the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 170 degrees Celsius.
9. Roast everything for approx. 3 1/2 - 4 hours, until you can easily shred the meat with a fork.
10. Remove the pan from the oven and shred the meat with 2 forks.
11. Mix the shredded beef with the soft vegetables and divide over 4 plates.
12. Coarsely chop the cilantro or parsley and use as garnish. Serve and enjoy!

February 2, 2012

Apple scones



Almost every weekend, the same thing happens to me: I feel like baking. To be honest, I also get that feeling during the week, but I only get baking on weekends. After all, my freezer is filled to the brim with meat and eating everything I bake at once isn't that much a good idea for my health (and weight..).
I made these scones twice so far. The dough turned out quite differently in both cases, while using the same ingredients in the same amounts. Turns out the size of the eggs you use actually matters. I used large eggs the first time and medium the second. It didn't affect the flavor, yet it was impossible to form scones with the first batch of dough and they turned out a little stickier. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but I still liked the result of the second batch a little better; it was more 'scone-worthy'. That's why this recipe clearly calls for medium sized eggs.
Apple scones (10 pieces)
Ingredients:
- 2 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, liquified
- 2-4 tbsp honey
- 2 medium eggs
- 1 sweet apple, core discared and finely chopped
- 1 handful of raisins
- 1 handful of chopped walnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2. Combine almond flour, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger in a large bowl.
3. In another bowl, whisk the eggs together with the coconut oil and honey.
4. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and stir until well combined and a thick batter forms.
5. Stir in the apple, raisins and walnuts.
6. Put small heapings of the batter on the baking tray, keeping them approx. 1 inch apart, and shape them into scones by using your hands. When your batter is really thick and sticky, it helps to wet your hands a little before you start shaping.
7. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool, serve and enjoy!

January 31, 2012

Pumpkin-avocado salad



It's salad time! Since I'm having 1 vegan meal a day these days (to give my liver a rest..) and those meals need to be paleo as well, however without adding too many nuts, that can be a hassle sometimes. I usually end up having avocado + veggies or a vegetable curry (with coconut!). There's less room for variation, after all, I have to exclude animal protein, yet it also means a new and fun challenge to prepare a good meal despite the restrictions.
A salad is a good options when it comes to a meal like this, and it usually is the easiest one too. A salad however, should be a little filling, so I came up with the idea for this avocado and pumpkin salad.
Pumpkin-avocado salad (serves 2)
Ingredients:
- 1 medium pumpkin
- 2 avocado's
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- zest of 1 lemon
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with aluminium foil.
2. Rinse the pumpkin, pat it dry and put it on the baking tray. Bake for 1 hour until done. Allow to cool to room temperature.
3. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Put one half in your fridge to use in another meal.
4. Dice the remaining pumpkin half and put it in a bowl, it's ok to leave the skin on, it's edible.
5. Cut the avocado's in half, discard the pits and dice the flesh. Add to the pumpkin in the bowl.
6. Top the vegetables with the cinnamon, lemon juice and -zest and olive oil and mix carefully.
7. Divide the salad over 2 plates and garnish with the pumpkin seeds and cilantro. Serve and enjoy!

January 26, 2012

Roast shoulder of lamb



It's been a while since my last post; due to some health problems I simply didn't feel like it. By now, I'm on my way to recovery and I started cooking enthusiastically again. So, to make up for the recent lack of posts, I'm posting a recipe for a tasty piece of meat today.
Roast shoulder of lamb, it looks impressive and is really easy to make. A few weeks ago I got this cut from my parents and up until a few days ago it was waiting in my freezer to be prepared. Today was the day. Partially because I picked up an 8kg pack of grassfed beef yesterday and had to make room in my freezer.
As far as lamb goes, I hadn't tried that much yet; I liked ground lamb and lamb steak, but that was about it. Starting today, I have a new favourite! Shoulder of lamb. The meat tastes great and after slow roasting it like I did, it's really tender and falls apart while not being dry at all. I'm definitely going to make this more often!
Roast shoulder of lamb (serves 4-6)
Ingredients:
- 1 shoulder of lamb (approx. 1,5 - 2 kg)
- 1 bulb garlic
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- freshly ground black pepper
- 15g fresh rosemary sprigs
- 2 tbsp olive oil

1. Preheat oven to maximum temperature.
2. Break the garlic bulb into cloves and peel them. Put them, along with half of the rosemary, in a roasting pan.
3. Put the shoulder of lamb on top of the garlic and rosemary and rub it with cumin and pepper.
4. Drizzle with olive oil and put the remaining rosemary on top.
5. Cover tightly with aluminium foil and transfer to the oven. Immediately lower the temperature to 170 degrees Celsius.
6. Roast the lamb for approx. 3,5 to 4 hours, until you can pull the meat apart with a fork.
7. Remove the roasting pan from the oven, transfer the lamb to a plate and cover tightly with aluminium foil. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before shredding and serving the meat.
8. Serve with vegetables of your choice and enjoy!

January 11, 2012

Coconut crusted chicken



Sometimes you feel like having some comfort food. A tasty meal that'll provide you with energy, not just physically, but mentally as well. Sounds like take-out pizza? No.. Comfort food can be healthy, and paleo. There even is a whole cookbook dedicated to paleo comfort food: http://paleocomfortfoods.com/ 
By the way, I own this book and I can recommend it to anyone! There are some really tasty recipes in there.

Last weekend I was visiting my parents, who by the way also eat (mostly) paleo (and I'm so proud of them for doing so!), and my mom served me breaded chicken. Breaded sounds like it's far from paleo, but this version was. She 'breaded' the chicken with coconut flour, desiccated coconut, egg and some spices. Delicious!
What logically followed was me asking her how she did that and asking her for (demanding) the recipe.

I made my own version today. I didn't use any desiccated coconut, not exactly by choice, but because I used too much coconut flour and spices and didn't want to throw that away. So I decided to dip the fillets in there again instead of desiccated coconut. It tasted different from my mom's version, but was really tasty nontheless. If you decide to use desiccated coconut, it'll sweeten the dish, which tastes good by the way. You can get creative with the spices, feel free to add whatever you think would taste good.

Oh and just so you know, it's a lot of fun to flatten a chicken with a frying pan! So helpful to relieve your frustrations.. (make sure you don't damage your pan though, don't smack it onto the chicken too hard!)
Here's my version of coconut crusted chicken:

Coconut crusted chicken (serves 2)

Ingredients:
- 2 chicken breasts (approx. 200g each)
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1 tsp ground paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp thyme
- 1/4 tsp ground chili flakes
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsp coconut oil

1. Put both chicken breasts next to eachother on a chopping board and cover them with plastic wrap. Make sure the breasts are approx. 2 inches (5cm) apart.
2. Take a heavy skillet of frying pan and carefully slam the chicken with it to flatten. (this doesn't take too much force)
3. Beat the egg and pour onto a plate.
4. Mix the coconut flour with the spices on a plate and cover the chicken with it on all sides.
5. Dip the chicken into the egg and coat on all sides, then dip in coconut mixture again until well covered.
6. Heat the coconut oil in a skillet or frying pan and fry the chicken over medium heat for approx. 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked.
7. Serve immediately and enjoy!