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Lamb Biryani

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This horrible weather just makes me want to stay at home and eat comfort food! Last night I had a real hankering for Indian food with it’s rich comforting flavours. Luckily I had some organic lamb leg steaks in the fridge, and half an enormous cauliflower. I was struck with a great idea – lamb biryani using cauliflower instead of rice. I also threw a bit of kale in there for some extra greenery, fibre and nutrients. I also happened to have half a can of coconut milk left over from something else, so in that went too! The resulting dish was exactly what I was after! Tasty, satisfying, easy and pretty quick.

Lamb Biryani (serves 2)
Ingredients:
2 lamb leg steaks, trimmed of excess fat and cut into cubes
1/2 large cauliflower, finely chopped
1 red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1″ piece ginger, finely chopped
6-8 large kale leaves, tough stems removed and leaves chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 can coconut milk
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup chopped coriander/cilantro leaves
Sea salt

Melt the coconut oil in a large pan and once really hot, add the lamb and sear. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate.
Add the onion to the remaining fat in the pan. Sauté until soft.
Add the ginger and garlic and stir fry until fragrant.
Add the vegetables, lamb and spices and salt to taste and stir well so that everything is mixed and coated with spice.
Add the coconut milk.
Cover and simmer for 10-15 mins until the cauliflower is well cooked, but not mushy.
Remove the lid, break the cauliflower up with a spoon so that it resembles rice grains.
If there is quite a lot of liquid in the pan, turn the heat up and reduce until the dish is fairly dry.
Just before serving, stir in chopped coriander/ cilantro leaves.

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Moroccan Beef Stew

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I’m back! Did you miss me?
I know it’s been forever since I last posted, but with good reason…I’ve spent the last 3 months working on cruise ships performing and teaching belly dance. It was a fantastic experience! I met some amazing people and saw some amazing places and generally had a great time. It was weird though to rely on someone else cooking for me every meal every day! It was pretty straightforward sticking to a Paleo/Primal diet (although you never really know if there are some nasty hidden ingredients), but on the whole I did well and I lost weight too! I think I’m probably the first person in history to lose weight on a cruise ship! It’s quite terrifying to watch how much and what people eat when allowed free reign of the buffet!

I was at a friend’s house for dinner the other night. He made the most delicious lamb and prune stew with – kind of Moroccan spiced. I had some beef in my fridge and decided I would try to recreate it at home the next day so that Mr (not entirely) Grain Free could try it (he wasn’t with me on Friday night).
The result was delicious, although I think the flavour of lamb suits the spices better, so I would urge you to make it with diced lamb leg if you can get it. If you’re not a lamb fan, do not worry, it is still delicious with beef.

Moroccan Beef/Lamb Stew (serves 3-4)

500g stewing steak/ leg of lamb, cubed
1 cup prunes (pitted)
1 red onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, smashed
2 large carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp EVOO
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tbsp red chilli, finely chopped
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
Sea salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180C
Put all ingredients except the coriander leaves in a large lidded casserole dish – no need to brown the onions or meat first (honestly it makes no difference and just makes extra work).
Give it a good stir so that the liquid and spices coat everything.
Cook in the oven for around an hour and a half. Check after an hour to make sure the liquid hasn’t all cooked away. You can always add a little more chicken stock if it is already looking a bit dry.
Just before serving, stir in the chopped coriander leaves.
I served my stew with cauliflower ‘cous cous’ (made the same way as cauliflower ‘rice’)

Minty Lamb Kebabs

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The weather has been freakishly hot here in the UK. So much so that I haven’t really felt like cooking at all. Most of my meals have been salads and things that require very little time spent in a hot kitchen with the oven on! Hence why it’s been so long since I posted! I did however find the time/ inclination to make this very easy lamb kebab dish over the weekend. It would have been delicious cooked outdoors over charcoal, but it was still very tasty cooked in the oven.

Minty Lamb Kebabs (serves 2)

Ingredients:
2 lamb leg steaks (about 150g each), cut into cubes
2 cups mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped
3 tbsp EVOO
2 red onions, cut into chunks
1 red pepper, large diced

Prepare the marinade. Dump the lamb into a ziplock bag along with the garlic, mint, EVOO, salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
Massage the bag so that all the lamb gets coated.
Leave to marinate for a few hours or overnight if possible.
Preheat oven to 180 C or fire up your grill/BBQ .
Thread lamb cubes alternating with the veggies onto skewers.
Bake in oven for 20-25 mins.
Serve with a mixed leaf salad.

Harissa Lamb Meatballs with Moroccan Spiced Vegetable Sauce

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Today was the micro pig party for my niece! 2 small pigs basically snuffled their way around my sister’s garden on leashes whilst the kids brushed them and fed them carrots. Just an hour earlier, I had stuffed my face with a porchetta roast and loved every bite of it! I guess years of vegetarianism end up causing a reverse reaction – I am now obsessed with eating meat! The porchetta recipe will be uploaded soon, but I felt it was insensitive to put it up today along with a picture of one of the pigs! Instead I have decided to share yet another meatball recipe with you. Lamb with Harissa in a Moroccan spiced veggie sauce. When you buy your Harissa, check the ingredients to make sure it doesn’t contain any dodgey ingredients (non-Paleo vegetable oils, sugars, additives etc).

Harissa Lamb Meatballs in Moroccan Spiced Veggie Sauce (serves 3)
Ingredients:

For meatballs
500g lamb mince
1 onion, finely chopped
A few sprigs fresh mint, leaves chopped
1 tbsp Harissa paste
Himalayan salt

For sauce
3 courgettes, large diced
2 peppers, large diced
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp Harissa paste
1 can tomatoes
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Himalayan salt.

Mix the meatball ingredients together in a bowl.
Form into balls with your hands.
Fry in a deep saucepan or work until browned on all sides and some of the fat has rendered out.
Pour off most of the fat.
Add the veggies and sauté until they begin to tenderise.
Add the spices, Harissa, tomatoes, salt and balsamic vinegar.
Allow the dish to simmer for at least half an hour until the meatballs are cooked and the vegetables are tender.
Serve on cauliflower ‘rice’ with a dollop of full fat Greek yogurt if you like.

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Micro pig at the party today.

Scrumptious Skewers

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I ordered some diced chicken leg to come with my organic food delivery last week. I seem to recall thinking I would make some kind chicken curry. I promptly forgot all about said chicken leg and defrosted some lamb leg steaks. I then rediscovered the chicken, after I had already planned to make some kind of lamb skewers, so I decided to do a double dose – both chicken and lamb but with different marinades for each. The result was absolutely delightful (if I do say so myself!)

I began marinating the meat in the morning and cooked it in the evening, but you could even begin marinating the night before. These would be great done on the barbeque, but as it’s still snowing intermittently here in London, firing up the barbie is not an option right now!

Smokey Chicken and Indian Spiced Lamb Skewers (serves 3-4)
Ingredients:

2 red peppers, cut into chunks
1 yellow pepper, cut into chunks
2 red onions, cut into large chunks

For the chicken skewers
400g diced chicken leg (you could also buy thighs and dice them yourself)
1 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp EVOO
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
Sea salt and pepper

For the Lamb Skewers
400g lamb leg steaks, fat and sinew removed and cut into cubes
3 tbsp EVOO
1 tsp cumin powder
2 heaped tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
2 large cloves garlic
Sea salt and pepper

Put all the ingredients for the chicken skewers into a large ziplock bag.
Try to get most of the air out and seal the bag, then massage the chicken well, until the marinade is well mixed and coating all of the chicken.
Repeat the same process with the lamb skewer ingredients.
Put both ziplock bags into the fridge and leave to marinate for at least 3 hours.
Place some wooden skewers into a baking dish and cover with water and leave to soak until needed (this will stop them burning in the oven or on the grill).
Preheat oven to 180C (or fire up barbeque).
Prepare the veggies then thread a mixture of meat and veggies onto the skewers. I recommend keeping the lamb and chicken separate so that the distinct flavours of each remain intact, but this is not essential.
Bake in the oven for 30 mins.
I served mine with some steamed broccoli anointed with grass-fed butter. Divine!

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A Paleo Version of an English Classic

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I can’t think of a more quintessential English dish than Shepherd’s Pie. To me, it epitomises winter comfort food. To make it low-carb/ Paleo, I substituted mashed swede (rutabaga) for the traditional mashed potato. The result is a slightly sweet, far tastier topping. I used a mixture of lamb and beef mince, but you could use just one or the other (bear in mind that if you make it with just beef, it is no longer Shepherd’s Pie but Cottage Pie instead – ok lesson over!)

Paleo Shepherd’s Pie (serves 5-6)

500g lamb mince
500g beef mince
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 leek, finely sliced
1 carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
350ml beef stock
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 large swede, diced
Large knob of grass-fed butter
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180C.
Put the swede on to boil or steam while you prepare the rest of the dish. It will take at least 30mins to steam (less to boil), but it needs to be really tender.
Brown the meats in a frying pan until all liquid has evaporated and only fat remains.
Add the onion, leeks and garlic. Fry until they start to tenderise.
Add thyme, carrot, celery and seasoning.
If there is a lot of fat still in the pan (lamb mince is usually quite fatty), you can skim some of it off if you like (I didn’t and had to do it later after already serving some of it, which was quite tricky).
Stir in beef stock and tomato purée. Leave to simmer for 10 mins or so.
Once swede is cooked to the point of being really tender, drain and mash with a potato masher. Add the butter and season well with salt and pepper.
Transfer the meat mixture to an ovenproof dish.
Top with the mash.
Bake in the oven at 180C for 45 mins.
Serve with green veg.

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