A few weeks ago I surprised myself by falling headlong into a crush. A deeply passionate affair, with lots of fire and gasps of pleasure. Ahem.
I discovered duck eggs. In particular, I discovered fried duck eggs.
I’ve long maintained a strong anti-egg stance. After several miserable experiences with boiled and fried eggs as a child, I have long held a belief that eggs were best suited to being baked into cakes. At a pinch, I’d eat scrambled eggs or an omelette, but you would never, ever catch me eating a boiled (soft or hard), poached or fried. So what changed?
A few weeks ago, Dave broke his collarbone while playing football (soccer) with Lucas. Bear with me, I’m getting there. I ended up dashing into the supermarket to buy something, anything, to get change for the hospital (horrendously expensive) carpark. I grabbed the first thing I saw and a few hours later I found myself staring in bewilderment at a bag of pre-chopped swede (rutabaga across the pond, neeps to my fellow Scots) and carrots. After scratching my head for a while I remembered seeing a root vegetable hash somewhere on the internet and decided to make that. And since hash is accompanied in just about every recipe by a fried egg, I decided to add one to my plate, too, despite loathing them. (I think my brain was truly scrambled by stress.) To my utter surprise, I found myself enjoying the egg! And the next day I picked up a carton of duck eggs at the supermarket and reprised the precious night’s dinner with even better results. Duck eggs are awesome! I have discovered the joys of poking at a wobbly yolk and watching liquid gold pour over cubes of crispy-edged vegetables. Fantastic. My conversion to the church of fried eggs is vastly amusing all of my friends and family. I’m keeping my eye out for goose eggs (even richer?) and after watching a nature documentary the other day, I’m pondering how I’d get hold of an ostrich egg…
Cauliflower is a wonder vegetable as far as I’m concerned.
When we first started eating primally, I was astounded at how well it substituted for rice alongside curries. Okay, so it still tastes of cauliflower and you’ll never convince anyone that they’re eating actual rice, but it eats so well alongside a blisteringly hot curry! It’s a delicious mind-trick that I will happily go along with for the rest of my life. (And it is so nice to not feel bloated after a curry any more.)
After a few weeks of cauliflower this, and cauliflower that, I began to wonder if cauliflower rice could be used to make a risotto. After all, I’d already done mash, rice and couscous with it… So I began to experiement and was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked.
This flavour combination is a nod to an Angela Hartnett risotto that I used to make quite regularly in Past Grain Times. The main reason I loved her risotto was the way the gorgeously sweet peas contrasted with the incredible salty crunch of the pancetta. Pea and ham had always been an awesome combination but this really stepped things up another notch. I added some cooked chicken thighs to up the protein level to ensure tummy-filling happiness.
A few notes on alterations you might wish to make. Pancetta is awesome (especially if homemade), but really, you could use any bacon you have to hand for this dish. Just chop it up and get it nice and crispy. I’d say that this risotto is about 80% Primal as the Philly soft cheese is rather on the processed side. If you can find some old-fashioned cream cheese from a deli, I’d totally go for that instead and perhaps add a sprinkle of dry herbs in with the onions at the beginning. To make this paleo rather than primal, you could try replacing the cheeses with a few tablespoons of coconut cream or coconut manna–I haven’t tried this myself, just speculating here!
If my younger self could meet me now, she’d be absolutely amazed that I am eating cabbage on a near daily basis. Willingly.
I grew up loathing cabbage, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. All three are now my culinary best friends. It’s amazing how tastebuds improve over time, or perhaps I’m just better at cooking them than my mum was? Who knows, but it never ceases to amaze me that I am happily chowing down on a big bowl of cabbage for lunch.
This may not look like much, but let me assure you that it is delicious. A tough of butter, a little onion and some decent meat turn cabbage into a lunchtime feast. I grill up a tray of chicken thighs each week for easy lunches–my little boy loves them–and they are awesome in this, but it works beautifully with leftover brisket, diced ham, whatever. It’s all good, and good for you too.
Given my blog’s name, you might be forgiven for expecting my first food-related post to be about cauliflower, however quite surprisingly I find myself without any on the menu today.
What I do have is celeriac dauphinoise.
The celeriac is a very underrated vegetable. It would undoubtably get more press if it was prettier; I often think it looks like a brain that has somehow escaped from its jar. Luckily I have a very sharp knife, so feral jar-escaping pseudo-brains aren’t a major concern.
Celeriac makes a great low-carb substitute for potato in the French classic dauphinoise. Now, don’t expect celeriac to taste like potato; it has its own particular charms. It’s a little like celery, but not obnoxiously so, and a little nutty, too. Mostly it is delicious. You can use many different cheeses to top the dauphinoise; I’m partial to Parmesan, but it also works very well with Cheddar. A strong blue cheese would be glorious. As you can see from the recipe, you don’t need very much to create a delicious result.
Today’s dauphinoise was served alongside some roast pork belly, some of the vegetables I roasted it on, and some very garlicky spring greens.