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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Steak with Mushroom Sauce


It’s Good Friday and the sun is shining! It is bitterly cold, but at least I can see sunshine and spring flowers, so I can pretend in my mind that it’s finally Spring! Today the party prep begins in earnest, but not before a tough kettlebell workout to brush away the cobwebs of not having got a workout in yesterday (shock horror!)

I love a nice juicy steak. It’s not really barbeque weather, so I had to make do with making this in my grill pan. The creamy mushroom sauce perfectly complimented the slightly bloody meat juices. I think this would have been even better made with sirloin instead of rump which had some tough connective tissue running through it. The flavour was amazing though. You could use any cut of steak that takes your fancy. If you don’t do dairy, just omit the cream or replace it with a little chicken or beef stock, or wine for a richer flavour.

Steak with Creamy Mushroom Sauce (serves 2)

2 rump steaks (or any other cut)
1/8 tsp dried thyme leaves
250g chestnut/ brown mushrooms, sliced
4 spring onion/scallions
Knob of butter
2 tbsp double/heavy cream
1/4 tsp white pepper
Freshly ground black pepper

Get your steaks out of the fridge about 30 mins before cooking to allow to come up to room temp.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and sauté the spring onions and mushrooms until tender.
Add some salt to draw out the juices in the mushrooms, then add the white pepper and some freshly ground black pepper.
Add the cream and allow to cook on a medium heat to reduce a little and thicken slightly.
Heat up your griddle pan until it is really hot.
Meanwhile pat the steaks dry with paper towels.
Generously season with salt, some freshly ground pepper and the dried thyme leaves on both sides. As I have said before, don’t season the meat with salt until just before you put them in the pan as the salt begins to cure the meat and change it’s flavour.
Sear the steaks on the hot griddle pan. How long depends on how thick your steaks are and how you like them cooked. My rump steaks were about 1 1/2 ” thick and I cooked them for roughly 5 minutes each side for medium.
Plate up and spoon the mushroom sauce over the top.
Serve with some steamed veggies, or for a decadent treat, some creamed spinach.


Asian Pork Belly Slices with Stir-Fry Veggies


I’m gearing myself up for the Oxford Cambridge Boat Race this weekend. Every year we have a party as the race goes right past our living room window. It seems like a good excuse to have a party anyway! This will be my first time doing all Primal catering for a party! This means there will be lots of recipes coming your way soon, providing I have time to write everything down and then photograph the finished product whilst under pressure of getting everything ready on time with guests around (and champagne being drunk!)

I have now become a regular customer at my local butcher. Everything is either organic or free-range and there is information on the farmers and their animals on the walls for you to read while you wait in the queue (I have never been there when it is empty). I bought 2 pork belly slices on the weekend because I liked the look of them, but then realised I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. Luckily, inspiration struck at the right moment, and I decided they could be rubbed with Chinese 5 Spice powder and baked then served on a bed of stir-fry veggies. It was delicious and very easy to make.

Asian Pork Belly Slices with Stir-Fry Veggies (serves 2)

2 pork belly slices
1/2 tsp Chinese 5 Spice powder
Sea/pink Himalayan salt
A sprinkling of garlic powder
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 pak choi, sliced
2 courgettes, sliced
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
1 onion, cut into large dice
3 cm piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 green chilli, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp coconut aminos
1/2 tsp fish sauce (check it doesn’t contain any nasties!)

Preheat the oven to 200C.
Rub the pork belly slices with the spice powder, some salt and use about 1/4 tsp of the toasted sesame oil to rub over the strip of rind to crisp it up.
Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 40 mins, turning halfway to make sure the crackling goes crunchy on both edges.
Melt the coconut oil in a wok.
Add the veggies, garlic and ginger and stir-fry until they begin to soften.
Add the coconut aminos and fish sauce and stir to coat well. Cover with a lid briefly to let the veggies cook a little more in the steam.
Plate up the veggies and place the pork belly slice on the top.
Drizzle the remaining toasted sesame oil over the entire dish just before serving.

Blood Orange Curd


I really want to go for a run, but it’s so frickin’ cold at the moment I just can’t. I know it sounds wimpy but running in freezing temperatures brings on athsma-like symptoms which I haven’t had since I was a teenager. I also get really bad Reynaud’s Phenomenon in my hands and feet when it’s really cold. I definitely chose the right career didn’t I? Outdoor fitness instructor! Luckily for me someone invented chemical hand warders! I’m now thinking I might get myself some battery-powered heated socks (yes, they exist!)

I haven’t posted any sweet treats for a while, so here’s one to keep you going. This time of year is great for oranges. My favourites are the beautifully sweet and juicy navel oranges and the tangy blood orangs. I am intending to make a trifle type of dessert on the weekend, and I wanted it to somehow involve blood oranges and egg yolks as I had a whole Tupperware container in my fridge full of them (as I’m using extra egg whites in my breakfast eggs). I thought that a curd swirled through my trifle would be quite delicious. Watch this space for the whole trifle recipe (provided it doesn’t turn out to be a disaster like last weekend’s dessert). I could actually just spoon this stuff straight into my mouth from the jar, it is that delicious! Luckily I’m trying to lose a few pounds and have managed to engage my willpower 6 days a week (the 7th is my cheat day). Feel free to eat it directly from the jar, spoon over some delicious homemade ice cream or use as a filling for a Paleo tart. If you don’t do dairy, feel free to substitute ghee or coconut oil for the butter. Or better still, divide into smaller jars and give to friends or family as a gift. You can’t beat the gift of curd!!!

Blood Orange Curd (makes a large jar)

Zest of 2 blood oranges
Juice of 5 blood oranges
12 egg yolks
90g butter, cubed
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp honey

Beat the yolks lightly in a bowl, then stir in the blood orange juice so that it forms a pink liquid.
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and then place over the pan of boiling water.
Cook over a medium to low heat for around 20 mins, stirring regularly until the mixture reaches a custard consistency. If you don’t stir it enough, the egg will congeal.
Once it has reached desired consistency, strain through a sieve into a jar for storage.
Try not to eat the whole jar in one sitting!

Lamb Shanks “Osso Buco”-Style with Gremolata


Apologies for my blog post hiatus. I’ve been busy gardening (in the snow!) which means less time for cooking plus my man is taking holiday time which means we have done more going/eating out over the weekend than usual.
I was planning on a cheat day dessert post, however it turned out as a bit of a disaster (it was edible and tasty, but not up to my usual standards, so I’m not going to share my failings with you).

This lamb shank dish was inspired after reading Tim Ferris’ “4Hour Chef”. His recipe is very easy and sounds delicious, but I felt the need to tweak it a little and add some fresh and zesty Gremolata into the mix too (it is traditionally served with Osso Buco). I’m not a massive parsley fan but the flavour of the herbs, garlic and lemon really complimented the rest of the dish, so don’t skip it. This was the first time I have ever cooked lamb shanks and I was very pleasantly surprised with the result. I will definitely do them again, perhaps with a more Middle Eastern flavour – watch this space for that.

Lamb Shanks “Osso Buco” Style with Gremolata (serves 2)
2 lamb shanks
1 red onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, sliced in half lengthways and widthways
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp porcini rub mix (see skirt steak recipe)
2 cups white wine
2 tbsp EVOO
sprinkling of dried rosemary
Salt and pepper

For the Gremolata
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, minced

Preheat the oven to 180C
Rub the porcini seasoning mix over the meat and allow to sit while it comes up to room temperature, meanwhile prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Sauté the onion and celery in 1 tbsp EVOO until onion begins to turn translucent. Add the garlic and cook briefly. Remove from heat.
In a casserole dish with a tight fitting lid, place the carrots in the bottom to make a shelf for the meat.
Place the lamb shanks on top of the carrots.
Spoon the onion, celery and garlic mixture over the lamb.
Pour the wine into the bottom of the dish (do not pour over the meat).
Pour the chopped tomatoes over the meat.
Season with salt, pepper and a sprinkling of dried rosemary.
Pour the remaining EVOO on top, cover with lid and put in the oven for 2 hrs.
To make the Gremolata, combine the finely chopped parsley, lemon zest and garlic in a bowl. That’s all there is to it!
After 2 hours, remove the casserole from the oven.
Serve up the lamb, carrots and sauce with some additional veg and celeriac mash. Spoon the Gremolata over the meat just before serving.
Enjoy the meltingly tender meat falling off the bone!

Cheat Day Meal!


I LOVE a good burger. My boyfriend and I make it our lives’ work to find the best burger in London. He is a big fan of the Kimchi Burger at the Hawkesmoor, although he is also quite keen on the burgers from pop-up turned permanent Patty and Bun. Personally, I thought the burgers I made were pretty awesome, and better still, I know that the meat is organic and from grass-fed cows (and very fresh as I purchased it that morning from the butcher). My burger expert was impressed with my offering and gave it his seal of approval!

Burgers with Slaw and Sweet Potato Fries (serves 3)

500g grass-fed organic minced beef (not too lean)
6 small slices smoked cheddar (optional)
Salt and pepper
Homemade mayo to serve (I made wholegrain mustard mayo)

2 large carrots, shredded
1/2 Chinese cabbage (Napa), shredded
3 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
2 tbsp EVOO
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Sweet Potato Fries:
3 sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into French Fry sticks
2 tsp bacon fat
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180C
Melt bacon fat on a baking sheet in the oven.
Place sweet potato sticks on baking sheet and toss with your hands to coat with the fat.
Sprinkle over the seasonings and toss again to ensure they are well distributed.
Bake in the oven for 30 mins.
Prepare slaw by placing shredded cabbage, carrots and sliced spring onions in a bowl.
Add dressing ingredients and toss well to mix.
Put a griddle pan on to heat up (it needs to get really hot).
Put minced beef in a bowl.
Add seasoning and mix well with your hands, breaking up and squashing the meat as you mix to help tenderise it. Resist the temptation to season the meat in advance – add the salt only just before you are ready to cook it as the salt begins to cure the meat if left for any length of time.
Form into patties.
Pace in the hot griddle pan over a high heat. Cook for a couple of minutes each side, depending on the thickness of your patties and how well you like them cooked. Err on the side of underdone as you are going to put them in the oven briefly.
Remove from the pan and place on a baking sheet.
Place the cheese if using on top of the patties and pop into the oven for a minute or so, until cheese is melted.
Plate up with sweet potato fries and slaw. Add a dollop of homemade mustard mayo if you like and any other toppings that float your boat.
Who needs the dry, tasteless bun?

Individual Banoffee Pies


This was my ‘cheat day’ sweet treat. It was even better than I thought it would be (although maybe part of that was the anticipation as I made it the day before). I constructed each one in an individual ramekin, so that there would be no leftovers to tempt me after my cheat day was over. You could easily increase the ingredients and make an entire pie if you are catering for more than 4 people. For those of you who don’t do dairy, place a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight. Remove the solids and save the liquid for another use. Beat the coconut solids with a whisk or hand mixer until light and fluffy. Use this whip instead of whipped cream.

Individual Banoffee Pies (serves 4)

For the base:
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
2 tsp coconut sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp coconut flour
40g butter, melted

1 1/2 cups caramel sauce (recipe to follow)
227ml whipping cream
2 bananas, sliced
1 square dark chocolate to grate over the top

Preheat oven to 170C.
Place all dry ingredients in a food processor and blitz until dry crumbs form.
Pour in the melted butter and blitz again to incorporate.
Divide the mixture evenly between the ramekins and press down firmly into bottom and slightly up the sides.
Place in the oven for 10 minutes.
Remove and allow to cool completely.
Divide the caramel sauce evenly between the ramekins.
Place sliced bananas on top of the caramel sauce.
Finally, smooth whipped cream over the top and grate a little dark chocolate to garnish.

Caramel sauce (makes about 2 1/2 cups)
12 medjool dates, pitted and torn in half
Boiling water
1 cup coconut milk
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Put dates in a saucepan.
Just cover with boiling water.
Bring up to the boil and allow to cook on high heat, stirring occasionally until the water has evaporated and the dates are mushy.
Turn off the heat and add the coconut milk to the hot dates and allow to melt.
Transfer to a blender and blitz until smooth.
Allow to cool completely.
Any leftovers can be frozen for another recipe.

Slow-Cooked Skirt Steak with Porcini Rub


Saturday was cheat day for me on my diet. I ate and drank and made merry! I felt ready to get back on the straight and narrow for the week yesterday (despite a very small hangover). The good news is that I have some great recipes to share with you from my cheat day…all in good time.

This was not a cheat day meal! I had some skirt steak left over from another dish. It was a little on the tough side, so I decided it would need to be done in the crock-pot. The result was a lovely tender piece of meat, although it probably halved in size and made very small portions for 2 people so I have adjusted the recipe a little to reflect this.

Slow-Cooked Skirt Steak with Porcini Rub (serves 2)

At least 400g skirt steak (350g was not really enough for 2 people when cooked)
1/3 cup dried porcini mushrooms
Pinch of dried thyme
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper corns
2 red onions, sliced
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
1/2 cup beef stock

In a food processor, blitz the porcini mushrooms, thyme, garlic powder salt and pepper corns until they form a fine powder. This may make more than required for this dish, depending on the size of your piece of meat. Any left over will keep in a ziplock bag for use in another dish.
Pat the beef dry with paper towels. Completely coat it with the rub (sides and ends too). This can be done a day in advance, wrapped in cling film and left in the fridge.
Lay the sliced onions in a pile in the centre of the bottom of the slow cooker.
Place the sprigs of thyme on top of the onions.this will form the ‘shelf’ for the meat to lay on to cook.
Pour the beef stock into the bottom of the slow cooker.
Place the meat on the onion and thyme ‘shelf’.
Cook on low heat for around 10 hours.
The beef stock and onions will make a nice jus which you can pour over the meat when plated up.
Serve with steamed veggies.