Paleo-ish

Hearty Lamb Stew w/Cream, Mushrooms and Sweet Potatoes

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Fall is upon us, and winter is coming. Therefore we need something warming and filling. Whenever my sister pays me a visit we always end up in the kitchen cooking something delicious – check the fridge inventory and maybe do some shopping, and then it’s so spontaneous, we make it up as we go along, checking out several recipes for inspiration. This is our latest creation: a lamb stew filled with nourishing vegetables and broth with lots of pepper for warmth; ideal for a chilly night under the blanket with the latest Netflix series. 

This was enough for three hungry people with some leftovers for breakfast. Speaking of which: DFB (dinner for breakfast) FTW!

  • 500 – 900g lamb meat – we used shoulder with bones which worked perfectly. Sooo tender …
  • 4 onions
  • 3 – 4 handfuls of mushroom, preferably wild
  • 1/2 garlic
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 2 medium sized sweet potatoes
  • 1/3 litre heavy cream – you can also use coconut milk
  • a dash of white wine, if you have
  • chopped seasonal herbs – we used rosemary, thyme and lovage
  • salt and pepper to taste

We started chopping the lamb meat into good sized bits (I like them a bit large) and added to a casserole with just enough water to cover. We let it boil ferociously for about half an hour with lovage and thyme to get the meat as tender as possible and to get the most out of the bones and marrow. This gave a rich broth. Meanwhile we browned/softened the onions, mushrooms, rosemary and garlic in butter. The longer you cook the onions, the thicker your stew. The lamb was added and the lamb casserole deglazed with white wine. Add chopped leek and heavy cream and let boil for 10 – 15 min. Add chopped asparagus and let simmer some more until the asparagus has softened. We sautéed the sweet potatoes in another skillet and added to the stew toward the end to better control its texture. Season generously with pepper, and some salt to taste. 

Enjoy! Hope y’all will have an adventurous and colorful fall; and don’t forget to breathe in all that clear, fresh air! The way it looks now, fall is getting to be my new favorite season.

 

A Taste of Provence

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French cuisine always had a special place in my heart. No, it’s not all about baguettes – it’s much, much more. Ingredients are mostly local: fish from the Mediterranean Sea; tomatoes, squash and salad from local farms; olive oil from centuries old mills; local wine and cheese; high quality meat etc. I love the fact that they don’t seem to save the good stuff in restaurants – whenever you get a salad, even just a couple of leaves next to the main course, it’s always sprinkled with a homemade vinaigrette. France is actually quite paleo friendly as long as you refrain from eating all the bread they keep throwing at you during restaurant visits. And the croissants. And the pain-au-chocolats. And the crêpes. But yes yes; very paleo friendly.

Here are some of the highlights from my very recent (in fact I am still there) gastronomic tour of southern France. Bon appétit!

Roasted, locally farmed chicken w/ratatouille:

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Selection of grilled mediterranean seafood w/salad and mashed potatoes w/olive oil:

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Salad of tuna and celery sprinkled w/olive oil and balsamic vinegar:
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Salad w/grilled squid:

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Omelet w/bacon and emmetal cheese, salad and a beautifully viscous vinaigrette of lemon juice and olive oil:

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Salmon mousse w/cream:

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Lamb w/herbs, mushrooms, vegetables and carrot purée:

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Chicken w/vegetables and a chive cream sauce:

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Salad of cured duck, fried duck, foie gras and roasted potatoes:

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… and the obligatory glass of rosé wine.

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I use Trip Advisor and instantly find the best restaurants nearby. I have been in the area before: see this delicious recipe for quail in raspberry vinegar that I made as a participant of a five day cooking school the last time I was in France.

Not paleo, but just I want to show you our breakfast table at the guest house. Isn’t it cozy?

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Scrambled Eggs w/Arctic Wild Chives

2013-08-08 11.29.35… or Allium sibirica, “siberian onion”; larger and milder than regular chives. We picked these right outside our rental cottage in Honningsvåg, Norway! The eggs were whisked up with ham, cheese, chopped cherry tomatoes, black pepper and a generous load of these chives. I used them as I would scallions.

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Our Grand Feast of Ice and Fire (spoilers)

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The pictures from our Game of Thrones night are here! As mentioned earlier, my sister and I hosted a “Feast of Ice and Fire” last weekend, and it was a sumptuous success. We watched the first seven episodes of season 3 of the HBO show and dined on the most splendid meal I have ever participated in creating.

Most of the recipes are either taken from or inspired by A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Offical Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer, but we added our own touch. See earlier post for review. I absolutely recommend this book to any fan.

I’ll include from which book of the Song of Ice and Fire series each dish is taken, and by whom it was eaten (hence the “spoilers” tag).

Appetizers

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Vaktelegg, daddler, jordbær osv.

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Dates Wrapped in Bacon. This is the only dish not from the book, but all you fans out there know that it definitely could be. We felt it was consistent with all of George R. R. Martin’s other abundant food descriptions. And by the way: It. Was. Delicious. 

Remove stones, wrap in bacon and bake at 200°C for 15 minutes. Yummy.

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Beverage: Local apple cider, produced on a farm nearby.

Starters

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Cream of Mushroom and Snail Soup. The first course at King Joffrey’s wedding feast in A Storm of Swords. We made snail the optional ingredient for the guests.

Vegetable broth, heavy cream, mixed mushrooms, leeks, spring onion, parsley, thyme, oregano and canned snails (stuffed in decorative shells if you like).

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Cheese and Onion Pie. Also a dish at King Joffrey’s wedding feast.

Pie dough, eggs, onion, cheese, herbs, nutmeg, pepper. Our own recipe.

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Salad at Castle Black. Eaten by Jon Snow and his Night’s Watch buddies at their initiation feast in A Game of Thrones. Up on the Wall you need to think preservation – dried nuts, legumes, fruits and meat; and storable vegetables.

Baby spinach and other baby leaves, chickpeas, raisins, olive oil, salt and pepper. From the book, slightly altered.

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Sansa Salad. Eaten at the afternoon feast of the Hand’s Tourney in A Game of Thrones. More lavish than the Castle Black one, this salad clearly represents the more extravagant southern style in Westeros.

Mixed leafy green salad, diced prunes, walnuts, raspberries, mint leaves, edible flowers and a dressing of raspberry vinegar whisked with olive oil, salt and pepper. From the book, slightly altered.

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Beverage: Valhalla Mead, a Danish brand. Good quality mead, we found; is a tempting alternative to wine.

Main Course

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Quails Drowned in Butter. Eaten by Tyrion and Lord Janos in A Clash of Kings. OK, much to our very short-lived disappointment we didn’t get the chance to buy real quail. But we did get so-called “spring chicken”, which is much smaller than regular chicken. It even tastes more like quail, in my opinion.

Spring chicken, butter (lots of it), salt and pepper. Our own recipe.

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Buttered Carrots. Eaten by Cersei and Tyrion in A Clash of Kings. As the chicken was so brutally drowned in it, we substituted the butter for coconut oil here.

Chunky carrots, coconut oil, parsley, vegetables broth; cooked until soft. Our own recipe.

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Beverage for the main course: Red wine of the house, ale of various colors and tastes – most from a micro brewery called Ægir (being the Norse god of brew-craft, Ægir supplied the citizens of Åsgard with ale). They are exquisite.

Dessert and snacks

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Baked Apples. Eaten at a feast in Winterfell in A Clash of Kings. My favorite dessert right now.

Cored apples, a good chunk of butter, honey and cinnamon. May be served with whipped cream. Our own recipe.

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Lemon Cakes. Known as Sansa Stark’s favorite, these cookies appear all the time in the books. They are made from a 1690 Elizabethan recipe. Which is pretty cool, and the fact that they don’t taste like a 300-year-old recipe even cooler.

Flour, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, milk. Straight from the book.

Mulled wine med blits

And, last but not least: Mulled Wine. We’d be no true fans if we didn’t include it. A classic among the Night’s Watch, especially good for warming your insides after a long patrol on the Wall. Our guests were given the choice between Medieval Mulled Wine (right) and Southron Mulled wine (left). Some chose both.

Medieval Mulled Wine: red wine, ginger, rose pepper, sugar, nutmeg, nuts and dried berries (optional).

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Southron Mulled Wine: red wine, clementines, cloves, orange juice, ground cinnamon, cinnamon sticks, fresh ginger, honey, sugar, lemon juice.

From the book, but we added a little star anise to both wines.

Decorations and Atmosphere

Important stuff, and of course lots of fun! We used natural materials like earthenware, wood, worn metal, furs, linen, roughspun, etc. We had tapestries, maps, candles, swords, musical instruments and music (from the HBO show, medieval music, from Skyrim, from Sims Medieval, the Hobbit, some folk music etc.).

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The Table:

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The room:

DSC_03452013-06-01 13.37.42Replica of a tapestry found in a Viking Ship.

DSC_0198DSC_0207The Quizzle House Sigil. Read the story here.

DSC_0247 DSC_0255 DSC_0258Laughing Storm HelmetSer Lyonel Baratheon’s helmet. Read the story here.

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The hosts:

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DSC_0512Lady Quizzle. Current Head of House Quizzle.

DSC_0499Younger sister Quizzle. Joined the Night’s Watch after a marriage dispute with her family, where she is now concealing herself as a man.

The guests:

DSC_0496Mie a.k.a. Halgrim Half-shirt the Braavosi.

DSC_0493Sofya, noble Craftswoman of the Free City of Norvos.

Leia Lannister… and Leia, draped in her Lannister Crimson.

All in all it was an evening most epic; I strongly urge you to repeat if:

  • you are a fan
  • you like to cook
  • you like to eat
  • you like awesome things.

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Anticipating our Feast …

Feast Anticipation

… finally! A week from now my sis and I will be hosting a Game of Thrones night – or a “Feast of Ice and Fire” as it’s been popularly called. Inspired by the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, it will feature the following:

  • a viewing of season 3 this far. I have – you won’t believe it – actually been saving myself and … I. can’t. wait.
  • a medieval atmosphere most splendid! We’ll have furs, tapestries, music and lots’n’lots of candles, and most importantly …
  • … food! Which I am perhaps even more excited about than season 3. OK, maybe equally excited. But it’s gonna be great – appetizers, several courses, and of course: plenty of mulled wine!

Also, good company. My sister has even designed a family House Sigil. This is geek level 100. I will be posting it (and the story behind it) next week, along with pictures and the glorious menu – stay updated.