Recipes

Beef Patties with Garlic and Cilantro

ImageMaking beef patties with ground beef, bacon, garlic, chopped onions, nutmeg, dried basil & rosemary, butter, some eggs, pepper and lots of fresh cilantro. Lots of bacon, too. Oh, I already said that. Served with asparagus, homemade coleslaw, stewed spinach and mustard.

I made these patties quite large and liked it. How long you work the batter makes a lot of difference – I usually take my time and the texture is amazing. Gave them a real fry on both sides before turning down the heat and covering the pan to let them cook without losing much water. Another cool secret to get them real juicy is put some extra water and fat into the batter – I used unsalted butter in this case, you can use coconut oil. This makes the patties a solid meal that will nourish you for days! I didn’t need so much salt because of the bacon, but a little is required, though – they will be best that way.

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In Chile where I live now they tell me that most of the chilean beef products are grassfed (i.e., not fed corn or soy, only grass) – so the ground beef I bought today probably is. Gotta dive deeper into that, only reason grassfed could be the default is if chileans have, well, a lot of grass. All the beef I’ve tried so far, be it filet or ground beef; grilled, roasted or boiled, have been delicious.

Paleo Pancakes

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These grain-free pancakes are plain magical. I slowly started giving up hope to find a simple pancake recipe with something as good as (or better than) wheat gluten to make the batter stick together. This one has two ingredients, banana and egg, and will hold together surprisingly well during cooking. And the banana makes the pancakes taste so good!

Gives 5 thin pancakes of 12 – 13 cm in diameter. You’ll need:

  • 1 banana
  • 2 eggs (if the banana is large I use 3 eggs)
  • 1 – 1 1/4 tsp sea salt (optional)
  • a little water (optional, to make a more runny mixture)
  • pinch of vanilla (optional)

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Mix all ingredients well with a hand mixer or in a blender. You want the batter really smooth, not chunky (holds better that way). I like to make them a bit salty (love salt – sweet contrasts!). Fry the pancakes as usual, on medium heat. In my experience these paleo pancakes take a little longer to cook than wheat pancakes. Well worth the wait.

SAMSUNG CSCThere are a couple useful hacks to consider:

#1: Your equipment. An old, un-even frying pan will not yield good results! The batter sticks more easily than with regular pancakes. You’ll need: a) A good quality pan with a smooth surface b) A brand new, cheap one (cause they’re always good when new).

#2: Finding good bananas. Bananas aren’t bananas it seems – most have this rough texture in the mouth, a strange sort of friction of tongue against gums … you know what I mean, right? Right. Well, I thought all bananas were like this, then I tried some fair-trade bananas that were so smooth and delicious and completely lacking in said friction. They also work better in the batter for some reason. My perception is still clouded as to what is the pattern behind all this – is it the production method, size, ripeness (though I don’t think so, they were smooth but not sickeningly sweet like overripe bananas) or simply the variety?

Good thing I live in Chile now! A lot closer to banana sources (as opposed to Norway). I will brave unknown terrain, I will walk through fire and I will find an answer to this mystery. And make an update to this post.

Serve with some fresh homemade strawberry jam (strawberries + hand mixer + pinch of stevia, leave it chunky), bacon or your second favorite pancake spread after bacon.

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By the way, I’m thinking of changing the subtitle of this site to something along the lines of: “Living the Primal Life in Chile”. What do you think? Too cheesy? That’s pretty much the case though!

Take care 🙂

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.

 

Crispy “Breaded” Chicken

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When I first discovered paleo, the decision was easy and the transition from my old diet uncommonly painless. I eat what I want, as much as I want, whenever I want – which works because I simply don’t want food with grains anymore. My body doesn’t either. Do I miss certain foods? Yes. Pasta? No. Bread? No. Rice? Um … little bit. But my meat and vegetables make me feel like a king. I do have weaknesses though. They are:

  • potato chips
  • crêpes salées (“salt pancakes”)
  • breaded things

Potato chips: easy. I eat potatoes from time to time, so making my own chips from regular or sweet potatoes with a good quality oil and sea salt works well.

Pancakes: with a bit of practice, also easy. There are plenty of good paleo pancake recipes i circulation, including ingredients like eggs, bananas, almond flour, coconut flour, gelatine etc. I’m still working on a recipe that doesn’t fall apart in the frying pan (sad to say, there is nothing like wheat gluten to bind things together – yet), but the result is always tasty.

UPDATE: After some experimentation, here it is: My best paleo pancake recipe so far!

Breaded things: more of a challenge. Each time I had a schnitzel I kept telling myself: “It’s only a tiny bit, I won’t be sick from such a small amount, surely?” Wrong. I learned that over and over again – and so began my quest to find a suitable alternative. I tried making fish fingers with almond flour and eggs, but wasn’t satisfied. The coating lacked in crispness and taste. Finally the magical ingredient became apparent: pork rinds. My favorite snack.

Crush the pork rinds in a mortar or food processor. Mix up with some almond flour if you like. I added paprika powder for color. Whisk a couple of eggs, roll your chicken chunks in them and then in the pork/almond mixture. Fry on high in coconut oil or bacon fat. I served it with an egg/tuna salad and a sweet & sour orange sauce from paleodietlifestyle.com.

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Edible Wild Plants: Weed Omelet

Weed omelet
… or crustless pie if you would. I’ve done some baking with almond flour (finely ground almonds) lately, and the results have been gooorgeous. I would argue that an almond flour pie crust is even tastier than one with regular flour … but the problem is: an almond overload isn’t healthy either. They contain a lot of polyunsaturated fats (I won’t go into the details, but this article gives a reasonable explanation on the dangers of a high, I repeat: high PUFA consumption). They also contain tiny amounts of the toxic hydrogen cyanide, which of course becomes a substantial amount with an excessive intake. One cup of almond flour contains about 90 almonds. That’s a lot of almonds, and imagine using three cups per cookie dough!

But enough with the almonds, which are only really a part of this recipe through their absence. What is present though, is more weeds! I picked a nice batch of stinging nettle and goutweed; added them directly (after a gentle cleanse) to about 8 whisked eggs along with some ham, cheese, a chopped onion, cherry tomatoes and pepper; put some more cheese on top and baked in the oven for about 20 min. Serve with some mixed salad, and you have a great supper. Ummm yeah.

Keep calm and love weeds!

Pesto Special

Pesto Ingredients

Pesto was one of my first culinary romances. I guess I was about thirteen when I started making it regularly, and it has a special place in my heart. It’s one of the most versatile condiments you can make – goes with fish, chicken, red meat, seafood, vegetables, in soup, as flavoring in mayo or other sauces, on stews and stir fries … on anything really. I’ve wanted to do a pesto special for a long time, so let’s get to it and take a look at the essential ingredients!

Basil

Herbs. Traditionally basil, but you can use any herb. Basil-only pesto is great, and very aromatic. Some basil types have an almost clove-like taste and smell. But from the wonderful world of herbs you can take your pick; use one, all of them or a select few. Experiment. Find out what you like. I use what’s at hand. That’s usually basil and flat leaf parsley (I buy it in large bundles at markets) but occasionally a few sprigs of thyme (though I never liked too much of this one in pesto) make it into the mortar. If you really want quirky you can go collect some edible weeds in your area. No kidding! There are a lot of aromatic and nutritious weeds out there, for example dandelion, nettles or goutweed. Consult an expert, and make sure you don’t pick anything too close to traffic!

Garlic

Garlic. The only variational possibility here is really the amount, and for that I have this simple rule: If the pesto is to be eaten immediately, I use less (about two bulbs to a full mortar); and if it is to rest overnight, I use more (4 – 5 bulbs).

Walnut

Nuts. Most recipes call for pine nuts, and they are delicious – but expensieve, and not unique. At first I exclusively used pine nuts, and though they are certainly suitable because of their high oil content; so are walnuts. I now mostly use walnuts and pistachios in an about 50/50 ratio, and find this works very well. If you desire variation in texture, try almonds. You’ll get a much thicker paste with less nuts, and the taste and feel reminds (not surprisingly) of marzipan.

Olive Oil

Oil. The ingredient with which I have been the most consistent through the years, I have kept to olive oil (although I did cheat once with coconut oil and liked it). Olive oil is one of my favorite ingredients whatsoever, I simply love the taste. Strangely enough I’ve used it less after I discovered the paleo diet. Must be remedied.

Parmesan

Cheese. This is actually the one ingredient one can do without – if you do a strict paleo your pesto will be just fine with the four previous ingredients. But cheese does make everything better, of course! The traditional pesto cheese is Parmesan, which is great. I like the Swiss Gruyère, and since it frequently occupies my fridge, it goes in the pesto all the time. For a time I was hooked on cream cheese, which gives a soft, smooth and rounded result.

Ingredients

As for equipment a food processor or hand mixer works fine – and is of course ideal if you need to upscale. But truly fine pesto is made in a mortar. Sounds a bit old-fashioned? Try it for yourself – you’ll be surprised at the revelation of flavors and how they blend in a considerably subtler way when the ingredients are ground, not cut. The word “pesto” itself comes from the Italian pestare, which means to crush or grind. So be a geek and get yourself a nice big mortar, fill it up and pound away. Mine (the picture above) is granite and I’ve come to love it as it’s decorative, too. I suspect I will acquire several others in my life.

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The technique will come to you. It’s really easy. A tip though: crush the garlic first, so it’ll be evenly spread. And don’t add too much oil in the beginning – it’ll be all over you! You’ll work out the scale too, just add ingredients little by little while grinding. Season to taste with sea salt and plack pepper. But be careful! When I do this, there’s a rear danger that I “taste” half of the pesto …

Hope you enjoyed this pesto special, and most of all I hope you’ll enjoy making it! It feels really good to bash and beat and see the pesto taking shape. Also for me just working oil into things is soul nurturing. But I’m a little weird. In a good way.

Quail in Raspberry Vinegar

Quail in Raspberry Vinegar

A couple of years ago I attended a five-day cooking class in Provence. The chef’s name was Patrick and he was eccentric as fuck. He’d lived all over the world with his own restaurants, knew many celebrities (including Ridley Scott and Claudia Cardinale), loved young blond women (slowed down the car once to have a look at one) and spoke with the perfect cliché French accent. He is now retired from the restaurant business and lives in a beautiful rich man’s villa on the top of a hill with a breathtaking view of the Luberon Valley and runs a cooking school with his wife. Pretty nice life.

The other attendees were a middle-aged brother and likewise sister from Australia. And 21-year-old me. It was fun. By day we were on a mission somewhere in Luberon – plenty of stunning villages there, I mean, real beauties. Stone houses and steep, paved streets. Olive and almond trees everywhere. Flowers poking out of every crack. I want to live in one of those one day.

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In the evening we cooked and the rest of the night was spent dining on what we cooked. A four course meal every night with plenty of rosé wine both during and after cooking (and for lunch, and apéritif) – how about that? Anyway, I learnt a lot and recreate dishes from the classes from time to time. This is my version of “Quail in Raspberry Vinegar”.

You’ll need one quail per person – two if they are small. Wrap them in bacon and place in a baking dish. Dab some raspberry vinegar on top, and add a little water to the bottom of the dish. Bake at 200°C for about 25 min. When done use the liquid from the dish to make the sauce. I added some heavy cream, the rest of the raspberry vinegar (I had a small bottle), some fresh herbs, salt and pepper. Serve with asparagus and raspberries.

Damn fancy fine meal.

See also: http://www.famous-provence.com/