Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Uncle Ben's Grains and Lamb

I don't really eat too many grains any more - maybe a few oats from time to time, and some white rice. But Uncle Ben's said that they wanted to send me something new that was coming out, and they did. 

They sent me some packets of rice mixed in with other grains like quinoa. 

Now, I eat paleo pretty much all of the time, because I'm trying to keep my over-excitable immune system happy. But my family don't - they do eat healthily, don't get me wrong - but they can eat grains and the odd conventional treat, too. I also know that there are some of you that like your grains, and this seemed like quite a handy thing for you to know about. I mean, it microwaves in a couple of minutes. 

That's pretty handy.

The packs come in different varieties - this one was '5 whole grains' and comes with wholegrain rice, red quinoa, millet, pearl barley and wild rice. It's pretty mildly-flavoured and I thought that it would be best off made into something else rather than just microwaved and tipped out of the pack onto the plate. So I stir-fried it with some lamb. 

I basically fried lamb mince in a dry pan until browned and then added a chopped red onion, a chopped garlic cloves and some finely chopped kale that I had at the bottom of the fridge. I tipped in the '5 whole grains' and stir-fried it all together and finished with a little swirl of avocado oil. They all gobbled it up and I wondered to myself if I could ever have otherwise been able to get my kids to eat these wholegrains. Probably not. 

The packs themselves, as the label proudly states, are free from artificial colours, flavourings and preservatives - but a quick read of the ingredients and they do contain soy sauce, red pepper, sunflower oil and spices to flavour it. Just in case any of you are watching those.

All in all, I think it's a handy way, if you eat grains, to have them in the kitchen ready for a quick stir-fry like this one. I used to love Gwyneth Paltrow's quinoa recipe with kale, spring onions and a fried egg on top and I can see it totally working with this, too.

Find more information on 'rice and grains' at the Uncle Ben's website

Monday, 27 July 2015

Slow Cooker Beef Bone Broth

Bone broth. 

It's totally trendy now, with caf├ęs in the US serving it - I'm wondering when it'll catch on over here, to be honest. 

But until then, I'm going to have to make my own, which isn't really any big deal, because I make it in a slow cooker. 

Here's how I do it. 

First, I get a pack of beef bones from grass-fed bullocks - I get them with my meat order from Well Hung Meat Co - but ask your butcher. Butchers often used to chuck in bones for free but since the paleo thing, they're in quite high demand, so you'll have to pay for them most likely. But they're not that expensive. And you'll have enough broth for a good few days. 

I roughly chop one onion and a carrot and chuck it into the base of the slow cooker and then I just add a couple of unpeeled cloves of garlic and a handful of fresh thyme sprigs. A good pinch of salt and then I drop in the bones. 

Next, I boil the kettle and pour about 500ml hot water over the bones and veggies and then replace the lid. It then gets left on the low setting. I usually do this before I go to bed and then wake up to the smell of freshly cooked broth. 

The next step is to strain it. 

I get a jug and balance a sieve over the top of it, and then ladle in the broth so that the sieve catches any bits of onion skin or garlic. See the fat there, starting to separate as the broth cools down? I usually skim most of that off because I find it easier to drink. Save it in a little pot and you can use it to cook with if you like (beef dripping makes INSANE oven chips. Just saying). 

I then cool the broth down quickly (usually by plunging the jug into a sink half-filled with cold water - don't let the water trickle in over the top of the jug, though) and then cover and keep in the fridge. It will probably turn into jelly - this is good - and then spoon out a mugful and heat it up until it's piping hot, when you want it, usually in the microwave (very un-caveman-like but handy). 


Thursday, 23 July 2015

Paleo Takeout by Russ Crandall - Review

On this day, how lucky was I?

A photo posted by Jo Romero (@joromerofood) on

Incredibly lucky.

I was asked if I wanted to review a copy of Paleo Takeout, the new recipe book by The Domestic Man, Russ Crandall. And I agreed, being a bit curious as to how exactly you would be able to recreate favourite takeaways on a paleo diet. And surely, the whole point of craving a takeaway is that it's instant (well, enough time to ring up or order online and have it delivered to your door) and fuss-free. You don't have to cook. The recipes would have to be, you know, pretty easy to make, to be successful.

Well, I can tell you that it totally is.

The book's layout is modern, down to earth and it explains everything. There are sections on Chinese, Japanese, American and South East Asian foods. Each one comes with a photo and all the recipes are straightforward and easy to follow.

As I've mentioned before, although I eat paleo because it's what seems to keep my psoriasis under control, my family eat mostly paleo but if they fancy a takeaway, they ring up and order one. It's their chance to feel dirty and eat something trashy out of a plastic container. They sit there, tummies full, surrounded by little white, fluffy prawn cracker crumbs. They LOVE their takeaway. So, I thought - this would be a perfect time to test out the children (and the husband) on paleo and healthier takeout meals. Would they hit the spot? 

The first recipe I cooked from the book was the Chilli Fries. I left out the chillies, because no one in the family likes them - I'd created a beefy, tomato sauce with flavours of garlic, cumin and paprika. I ladled it over Russ's perfect oven fries and took it to the table. They LOVED it.

And it didn't stop there. The Vietnamese Pork Meatballs were bouncy and full-flavoured and took just a few minutes to grill. I served it with his fried rice and they gobbled all that up, too. The seasoning you pour over the rice at the end of cooking was really tasty. It's what elevated the dish from the usual fried rice I make to something that tasted a LOT more like a takeaway.

Then I kept going. I made the kebab-style Gyro meat and served it with a Greek Salad for dinner one night, and ate the burger with the buns for lunch.

Check out those buns. 


So what's next? I already have chicken in the fridge to make chicken with cashew nuts, pork for the Char Siu and the girls are pestering me for chilli fries again sometime soon. 

And if you have to avoid nuts, eggs or are on the AIP or Whole 30 diets, you can find a list of subs you can make, where possible, here. So you can totally enjoy these recipes, too.

The recipes, photos, writing and layout of this book is brilliant. But the best thing is that Russ has featured recipes here that you really do crave. They fit in the real, modern world. Burgers, noodles, curries, flatbreads and fried rice. I haven't put this book on the bookshelf with the others - it's propped up on the kitchen worktop behind my fruit bowl, just in case I need sudden inspiration for something to cook - or when everyone fancies a takeaway.

I realise I've written nothing but praise for this book, but it's all truthful. It's food my kids love, I love and it's fun to make, too. Makes takeaway night a hell of a lot cheaper and healthier, and that suits me.

Oh, and don't underestimate the sense of achievement you get from making paleo burger buns from scratch in just over 15 minutes. Brilliant.

Check out Paleo Takeout on Amazon now (affiliate link):


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