Nearly Paleo Brunch

You see, I wrote this blog post once already and the recipe was so good, WordPress ate it. Sadly, I’ve now forgotten most of what I said…

This is what we had yesterday, for the meal that happens at around 3pm on a Sunday when you’ve been rushing around and realise you haven’t actually had any food since breakfast. We have it often, with different ingredients depending on what’s in the fridge, but this particular combination was so good The Husband wanted me to save the recipe. So I thought my blog was a good place to store it.

Note – this recipe serves four lightweights, three normal people, or two people who are really hungry. It’s not entirely 100% Paleo, and it’s definitely not Kosher. However, if you wanted to sacrifice the Paleo side, you could probably make it with Viennas… or if you’re feeling very adventurous, vouscht (I’ve never ever seen the ingredients on any pack of vouscht or Viennas, but I really doubt they’re gluten free. They are however, very definitely dairy free:-)

Ingredients:

  • Sausages. We used Sainsburys 97% Outdoor Reared sausages. Not strictly Paleo but we figure that if there’s 97% happy pig pork, there’s only 3% for the anti-Paleo ingredients. We typically use 12 chipolatas, or six normal sausages. Around 375/400g per packet anyway
  • Onions – one
  • Courgette – one
  • Mushrooms – six large
  • Sweet Pepper – one
  • Olive Oil – one tablespoon
  • Tomato Puree – one tablespoon
  • Stock Cube – one. We make our own stock cubes, by making stock out of a chicken carcass and various vegetables, then reducing the liquid down loads and freezing it in ice cube trays. I suppose you could use a Paleo friendly stock cube dissolved in a tablespoon or so of water

Method – 1:

  1. Fry over the sausages in the olive oil until they’re just brown
  2. While they are frying, chop the pepper, onion, mushrooms and courgette but keep them separate
  3. Cut them up into three or four pieces per sausage depending on how much patience you have
  4. Add the onions and courgettes, and fry until the onion starts to go translucent
  5. Add the mushrooms, pepper, stock cube and tomato puree
  6. Mix well and keep frying until the sausages are cooked through
  7. Eat

Method – 2:

  1. Chop all the solid ingredients and fry in the olive oil, tomato puree and stock cube until the sausages are cooked through

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Which method you use should depend on how hungry you are. This is not a souffle recipe – if you change the ingredients, amounts, or cooking time it doesn’t matter in the slightest:-) I am keen to hear however from fellow Jewish Paleo lifestyle followers (there has to be a better way to phrase that!), from anyone who dares to try the above with vouscht or Viennas, or from anyone with a loved variation of the recipe…

 

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Lard and the Lack of Logic

Please note – the blog post below reflects my own personal opinions, beliefs and experiences. It is not intended to offend, or to disrespect anyone else’s beliefs, opinions or practices.

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I am a Reform Jew. I was born into a Liberal Jewish family. In the UK, these are fairly similar, to the extent that they share a Rabbinical college, and whichever you are is usually determined by which type of Synagogue is closest. In London, it was a Liberal Shul, in South Wales where we live now, it’s a Reform Shul. Because I had a split family, London and South Wales, I actually had my Bat Mitzvah celebrated twice – once in a Liberal Shul and once in a Reform Shul.

This is only really relevant because we don’t keep Kosher. My family have never kept Kosher, and now, living in South Wales, married to a Pagan, I don’t feel any need to keep Kosher. I believe that the Kosher laws were very sensible in their day, ensuring that animals were treated with respect, and that foods that could easily spoil in hot weather were taboo. In this day and age, I feel it’s more important to eat free range or organic food.

I still have residual guilt about my non-Kosher status, plus a load of cultural influences cascading through the family from my grandparents and their grandparents – so that even though I’m quite happy to eat sausages and bacon, I don’t like roast pork or pork chops, and I would never have so much as considered using lard for cooking.

However, eating a truly Paleo diet is rather expensive, and slightly beyond our budget at the moment, so we’re having to make a few compromises. A lot of the recipes we’re following use coconut oil, which is ferociously expensive. Great for Paleo cakes and sweet (ish) treats, but not necessary for savoury dishes. So far we’ve used olive oil as a substitute where possible, but that doesn’t react well to high heat, so last week I bought some lard. Just a plain ordinary block of lard in a packet.

We’ve had quite a few fry ups, and I’m astonished to say they tasted great. We also had fried mushrooms – my current craving is for fried mushrooms, so I expect I’ll find a reason why I shouldn’t eat them fairly soon – and they were also lovely. I am rather surprised at the lack of, well, porky, bacony flavour. And even more surprised that I don’t have retributory feelings of nausea or a lightening bolt style poorly tummy.

And yet – I still don’t feel comfortable. There is no logic to this whatsoever. I will not stop eating bacon or pork sausages, ham, or salami. So in future, when we’re feeling flush I’ll go with coconut oil or possibly goose fat, and olive oil when times are tight. I’ll try to get some suet and experiment with that. But, as it turns out, lard is just one step too far.

Emergency Desserts

Mayim Bialik, one of my heroines, Jewish Neuroscientist and Actress, has posted up to an application I’ve never heard of (snapp? I feel old) an easy and relatively quick to make dessert:

http://app.snapapp.com/MothersDayRecipeDownload

that is taken from her new vegan cookbook which I am saving up for. Even though I will probably never cook a vegan recipe. Although if I had the book I might…

However, this did get me thinking about emergency desserts. There are times in everyone’s life where nothing but a dessert will lift the spirits, and often, those are the times when energy levels are low and life is, frankly, disorganised. Mayim’s dessert looks easy and delicious, but you have to wait two whole hours for it to set in the fridge! Also, I’m not sure how often I’ll have peanut butter and coconut milk in my cupboard at the same time as I’m having a crisis, and popping into the local village shop is not likely to help. However, in our family we do have a couple of desserts that are suitable for dire emergencies, and require very little planning or preparation.

I think this is my favourite for speed, likelihood of having the ingredients in my house, ease of getting them in the local shop/garage if I haven’t, and general feeling of wellbeing after consumption. I also want to mention that although I have not intentionally copied this recipes out of any cookery books, and as far as I’m aware I completely made it up, it’s possible that it was once invented by someone else – in which case I apologise.

Chocolate Cream
Note – if you use very dark chocolate, which has low sugar levels, and since they’ve decided that saturated fat is no longer bad for us, this is a pretty virtuous dessert. It is however, extremely rich – use with caution.

Ingredients: Dark chocolate, clotted cream. Or double cream. Or single cream. (I’ve tried it with marscapone cheese – that really was an emergency – and it was a disaster, feel free to try it if you want to take the risk, but I won’t join you).

Method: melt the chocolate in the microwave, or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water (the microwave is quicker). 10-15 seconds at a time, and then stir and then wait a minute if you’re using the microwave – that way you won’t burn it.

When the chocolate is all liquid, or when it’s mostly liquid with some lumps in it, depending on how desperate you’re feeling, stir it into the clotted cream. Or double cream. Or single cream.

Put into the fridge until set. Or just wait until the mixture’s cooled down enough to not burn your mouth.

Eat.

Feel better.