Food, Fun and Face!

Welcome to my blog! I'm starting this blog to add some spice to some of your kitchens! I follow a primal lifestyle which basically means I eat a whole bunch of vegetables, good meats, some fruit, nuts and seeds and a little dairy. I avoid eating all grains and try not to eat processed food and limit the amount of sugar I throw down my throat. Basically the name of the game is to eat REAL FOOD. Sounds simple right? But sometimes people find it hard to start to eat this way. So this blog is here to help you (and me) throw together some awesome tasty food . So please stay a while and get your creative kitchen juices flowing again!!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Palos Ranchos

It's nearing the end of week 2 of the Spring Clean Challenge at CFNZ and our flat is in full swing of clean eating.

The first week we had a minor blowout of the budget which I'll post up a vid about soon. But this week we have been able to come well under budget.

What I'm learning more and more is that leftovers go a long way.

We were in the kitchen this morning and were going to make some sort of an egg scramble thingy with some left over roast pork from last night when it came to me: Palos Ranchos!

This is my spin on the Mexican dish Huevos rancheros.

It's super simple to make and tastes awesome.

Basically you can throw in any leftovers and veggies you have lying around. There is never a strict ingredients list! Just make sure you get some spices in there to jazz it up.

Ingredients:

Leftover meat or bacon
1x medium Onion
Some silver beet or spinach
1 tsp dried Oregano
1 tsp dried Thyme
1 tsp crushed Coriander Seeds
2x Tins crushed Tomatoes
Eggs
Butter
Salt and Pepper


Put a pan on high heat and drop a couple of knobs of butter into it.

Slice up your onion and drop into pan.

Cut up your leftover meat or bacon and add to the pan.



Let that fry away. Season with salt and pepper.

Add your dried spices and crush up the coriander seeds and then add to the pan also.




Give it all a really good stir.

Slice up your silver beet or spinach and then after a couple of minutes add that to the pan.




Give it all a good stir and let it fry for a few minutes.

Then add 2 cans of crushed tomatoes to the mix. For those on a budget we are using Pam's tinned toms as they are only 99 cents a can from Pak n Save.




Give that as good stir and turn the heat down to a medium heat and let the mixture come up to a good simmer.

Then crack your eggs over the top of the mixture in different spots on the pan.




Put a lid on the mixture and let it simmer away for about 5 mins. Depending on how you like your eggs done you can leave it on the stove for longer or less. You choose!


Enjoy.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Primal Shepard's Pie

The spring clean challenge is now under way and hopefully all of you who are taking part in it are making some good food choices and cooking up a storm!

For the most part people seem to be able to get a handle on cooking something for breakfast and getting a good meal at dinner time. But sometimes we all struggle with what to eat for lunch.

It's really hard to find a good clean meal out there if you haven't prepared something earlier.

So the key is preparation! On the Sunday before the challenge kicked off we took the time to make a primal shepard's pie. This has been our lunches for the first part of the week.

It didn't take long to cook and it has paid off in the form of us not being cut short at work and having to resort to buying crappy food wherever we may be.

Seeing as we are doing this challenge on a budget here's what the cost of the pie was about $26

We got 8 good sized lunches out of the pie. Not bad food economy!

Ingredients:

1kg Beef Mince
Half bag of frozen veggies
2 Cans diced tomatoes
1x Cauliflower
3 Small Onions
2x Eggplants
Smoked Paprika
Dried Thyme
Dried Oregano
Salt and Pepper
Couple of knobs of butter
Olive Oil



First thing to do is turn the oven on to 200°C.

In a pot put a couple of inches of water and then cut the cauliflower up and add to the pot. Turn on to a high heat and put a lid on.

We are going to steam the cauli until its soft and then whizz it up to make the "potato" top to our pie.


Put a good deep dish frying pan on a high heat and add a couple of glugs of olive oil.

Slice up the onion and add to the frying pan.



While the onion is frying away you can slice one of your eggplant up into circles.



Grab a large baking tray/dish that has some depth to it.

Drizzle some olive oil on the bottom of the baking tray and then put a layer of the eggplant down.




OK back to the frying pan. Add all of your mince and break it up and stir it round.

Then season with salt and pepper and add about a Tbsp of the paprika, thyme and oregano.

Stir and mix it all up.




Once that's all mixed in and the mince has browned add half a bag of mixed frozen veggies.




Give that a good stir then add the two cans of tinned tomatoes.


Give that all a good stir and let it simmer away.



By this stage the cauliflower should almost be done.

Take the lid of the cauliflower and stick a knife into the florets of cauli. If the knife goes in easily then they are done. It may take some time for the cauli to get to this point so just be patient and let the meat mixture simmer away while the cauli steams.

Once the Cauliflower is ready drain off the water (keep the cauli in the pot you have just steamed it in) and then add a couple of knobs of butter and season with some salt and pepper.



Then get a stick blender and whizz it up into a mash. If you don't have a stick blender then pop it all into a food processor and use that to blend it up.

If you don't have either of those good luck using a fork...



Next thing to do is to pour out your mince mixture into your tray all over the eggplant base.



Then cut up the other eggplant and layer that all over the top of the mince.



Then pour out the Cauliflower mash all over the top and smooth it out nice and evenly.

















Season the top of the pie with salt and pepper then pop it in the oven for an hour.

Should come out looking something like this:




Once the pie cooled we just stored it in the fridge as it was in the tray but if you have lunch boxes you can divide the pie up into the lunch boxes and store it that way. If you are only cooking for 1 or 2 people then you can put your lunch boxes in the freezer and the pie will keep for longer.

This pie is super simple and amazingly tasty.

Enjoy!








Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Spring Clean Shopping List: Week 1

So I thought since we are trying to buy all this amazing good food on a budget that I would post up here our shopping lists for each week.

I've done a lot of driving around to different veggie stores and supermarkets over the last couple of months to find the best deals on meat and veg.

I'm all for supporting local establishments like butchers. Especially if they are well priced and have good quality meat.

The guys at Saint Johns Butchery are awesome. Their address is 113 Felton Matthew Ave, St Johns.

They always have amazing cuts of meat and are always doing specials that match what you could get at supermarkets or other cheap butchers.

Here's what out meat bill looked like for the week. Remember that this will feed four hungry mouths for the week.



Try to buy meat that is cheap at the time. Lamb at the moment is ridiculously cheap and roasting them up for dinner with veg makes the leftovers a great lunch for the next day.

Here's the food bill from Pak'n Save:


Pak'n Save really is cheaper than the other supermarket chains. Overall they seem to be just that little bit less expensive than other places.

I've found that they also do some really good deals on veggies. Better than some of those stand alone veggie stores dotted around the place. We went in there on this shop and pretty much just bought what was on special (and therefore in season!).

If you know of any other veggie stores around Auckland that are better priced please post to comments below!!

So the combined supermarket and butcher shop came to $268.4 for 4 us for the week. That comes in under our budget of $300 a week for the four people. With the leftover money we have each week we will put aside and see how much we can save over the course of the challenge!










Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Spring Clean Challenge!

At the gym we have kicked off on the annual spring clean challenge.

For roughly 8 weeks we will all be trying to eat as cleanly as possible while adhering to a paleo/primal nutrition plan. And of course getting into the gym and training our butts off!

For this years challenge Kristy and I have decided that we will be keeping to a tight-ish budget for our food and drink bill each week.

After a little bit of research online about what the average income in NZ is and what would be the lowest average incomes in NZ, we decided to set the task of only spending $75 a week per person on food and drink.

This equates to just under $11 a day per person. Doesn't sound like much but we are hoping to show that it is more than enough. Too many times people say to me "It's far too expensive to eat healthily and to eat the way that you do". After this challenge we will try to prove all the nay sayers wrong!

Below is a quick video showing the food that we bought for the first week. Seeing as there are four of us at the flat, everyone has agreed to the $75 limit a week. So for four people for the week we have $300 to spend on food.



 



So stay tuned for some new recipes and a few videos to show you all the awesome things you can make on a budget!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Steak Chilli

This is another one pot wonder. It's my spin on a Jamie Oliver recipe.

My taste for spicy food is starting to increase. I used to be a crying baby when it came to eating anything with a kick to it. But now I seem to be able to handle it a bit more. (Look mum all grows up!) So I'm branching out and trying to make some traditional spicy foods with a primal spin.

I guess traditionally chilli to me has always been with mince meat and beans. This time I decided to omit the beans and use steak instead of mince.

Any stewing type beef will do in this recipe. I used chuck steak.

Give yourself a few hours for this one to cook so might be a good one to try on your day off.

Ingredients:

2kg Stewing Steak
Olive Oil
1 Cup Black Coffee
2 Heaped tsp Cumin
2 Heaped tsp Paprika
1 Heaped tsp Dried Oregano
2 Fresh Bay Leaves
2 Red Onions
3-4 Fresh Chillies
2 Cinnamon Sticks
10 Garlic Cloves
Salt and Pepper
4x 400g Tinned Chopped Tomatoes
2 Tbsp Honey
3 Capsicums
Optional: Sour Cream


(Nb: For some reason there is beef stock in the picture above. Not sure why but disregard it as it's not needed!)

Okay, into the good stuff.

Put a large casserole type pot on a lowish heat.

Peel all your garlic cloves and slice finely. Put to one side.

Peel and dice your red onion.

Pour a few glugs of olive oil into the pot.

Add the cumin, paprika, oregano, bay leaves and onions.

Give it a good stir and fry for about 10 mins or until the onions have softened.


At this point make a cup of black coffee. Don't drink it. Please. It's for the dish.

Chop up half of your fresh chillies and add them to the pot. If you like it quite hot then leave the seeds in. If you like it milder then deseed the chillies. The fresh chillies I got from the supermarket were not at all that hot so I also added 3 tsps of fresh minced chilli from a jar I had in the fridge.

Also add the cinnamon sticks, sliced garlic and a good pinch of salt and pepper.



Give it a good stir then add the cup of coffee, the tinned tomatoes and the honey.

Cut the steak into just over bite sized chunks and then add to the pot and stir away.

Cover with a lid and on a low heat let it simmer away lightly for 3 hours. Stir it occasionally.

After the 3 hours is up remove the lid and with 2 forks break apart the meat chunks. It should fall apart.

Slice up your capsicum and add to the pot.



At this point chop up the rest of your fresh chilli and add to the mixture. Have a taste of it first and if it's already spicy enough for you then don't bother with adding the rest of the chilli.

Leave the lid off and let it simmer for another 30 mins, stirring occasionally.



Serve into a bowl and if you desire add a dollop of sour cream. I recommend this!



I also ended up adding some extra smokey Jalapenos from this brand of Mexican stuff:


You can buy them from some supermarkets and places like nosh and farros. They ended up complimenting the chilli perfectly!

Enjoy.





Tuesday, 7 August 2012

A day in the life...

I am happy to say that I am now on holiday for some much needed rest!

This means I'll be able to post up some more awesome primal recipes for the world to see.

Also for the month of August I'm tightening up on my nutrition and trying to eat more clean.

The main goal for the month isn't to cut sugar and treats out completely, as this is not realistic, but to drop a few things like chocolate that were becoming daily snacks!

So I thought I would post up here what I have eaten in the last 24 hours.

Here is yesterday's breakfast:


This took no time at all to prepare. It's simply a sirloin steak with fried onion and broccoli and a fried egg. Also a dollop of Dijon mustard to go with the steak.

Lunch:


This was leftovers from dinner the night before. It's Jambalaya. The recipe for this I've posted before.

I find that the meal people will falter on the most when they are trying to eat clean is lunch. If you walk out that door in the morning and you haven't already got anything in your hot little hand to eat for lunch then you will be more likely to put something in your face that you probably shouldn't.

So leftovers is the perfect lunch meal. Just put it in a lunchbox and you're done.

Dinner:




This was the best Chili I have ever made. Ever. Full stop.

It looks a bit sloppy here but I tell ya it was outstanding. I'll post the recipe for this tomorrow.

So on this day I ate 3 meals and that was that. No snacks. And to be honest I didn't feel like any.

I find that I eat snacks or treats near the end of the day not because I am hungry but because I just want to put the sugary goodness in my face.

So since I'm being a little stricter over August I'm holding out to temptation to eat something sweet after dinner and after a few minutes the urge passes and that's that!

Today's breakfast:


I was in a bit of a rush, (meaning I didn't want to wait for anything to be cooked), and put together this for breakfast.

A couple of hard boiled eggs that were already boiled, some rare roast beef, tomato, cucumber, feta and some avocado.

T'was all delish.



Thursday, 12 July 2012

Roast Scotch Fillet with Veggies

It's been far too long since my last post.

The funny thing with primal eating is that I find myself cooking the same meals quite frequently. When you are on to a meal that tastes awesome and works, why not eat it often?

Over the last couple of months I've found that I've been eating pretty much everything I have posted here previously on a regular basis.

The food is tasty and easy to make and especially over the winter months all you want to have is something easy. I've been eating a lot of roasts. Turn the oven on and put the food in and wait. Can't really mess that one up now!

I spent a little time in America with the lovely Kristy just recently and the trip away to the states taught me (as it always does) that there ain't nothing like a home cooked meal made with fresh NZ produce. We are pretty lucky here to be able to buy quality meat and veg freely from wherever you shop.

So here's something I made a few nights ago.

Ingredients:

Whole piece of scotch fillet (any size you want)
Half a Pumpkin
Some Yams
Broccolini
Sea salt
Whole black peppercorns
1 Lemon
Couple of Rosemary stalks
4 Garlic Cloves
Olive Oil




Preheat the oven to 220°C

Chop the pumpkin into medium cubes. In a roasting tray add the cut up pumpkin and yams.

Strip the rosemary off the stalks and add to the pumpkin and yams. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Season also with salt and pepper.

Pop the pumpkin and yams into the oven.



Now grab a mortar and pestle and add to it a generous handful of the peppercorns.

Also add a generous handful of the sea salt.

Pound the salt and pepper until you break up all the peppercorns. Add to this now the garlic cloves peeled.

Smoosh and pound it all together in the mortar until all the garlic is mixed in.

What we are doing here is making a rub to go all over the meat.




Now it's time to rub the pepper mixture all over the meat. Ideally you want your meat to be room temperature, so pull it out of the fridge a couple of hours before you are going to start to cook. All good if you don't have the time for this however.

On a board you want to spread the pepper mixture out nice and evenly.

Try and cover an area that is just big enough for you to roll your meat through.


Then go ahead and roll the meat through the rub and cover the meat entirely.




Now put a frying pan, that is able to go in the oven also, on a high heat.

If you don't own a pan that can also go in the oven then that's no problem you will just have to transfer the meat to a small roasting dish before you put it in the oven.

Once the pan is nice and hot add a small amount of olive oil.

Add the meat to the frying pan and what you want to do is sear the meat on all sides. Don't forget the ends of the meat also.



Once the meat has been seared then pop it in the oven.

Depending on the size of your roast the cooking time will vary slightly but for my piece here, which was almost the width of a standard frying pan, I cooked it in the oven for 30 minutes.

If you like medium rare to rare then you won't go wrong for leaving it in there around the 30 minute mark.

After the 30 minutes is up pull the meat out of the oven. (Also a good time now to give the pumpkin and yams a good stir.)

Transfer the meat to another dish and cover with foil.

This is what mine looked like coming out of the oven:



Now you have to be strict on yourself here.

Let the meat rest for at least 20MINS. That's right I said 20 mins.

The longer you let the meat rest the better. Plus you need that time for the pumpkin and yams to finish cooking.

Once the 20 mins is up roughly on allowing the meat to rest it's time to cook the broccolini.

Put a pan on high heat and add some olive oil. Drop in the broccolini and also now add the juice of the lemon and season with salt and pepper.

Put a lid on the pan if possible and fry the broccolini for about 3 to 5 mins.




While the broccolini is cooking you can slice up your scotch fillet.




Now time to plate up!

Pull the pumpkin and yams out of the oven.

Assemble a few slices of your meat and some of each of the veggies on your plate and enjoy!

The salt, pepper and garlic crust on the meat should be enough seasoning!


Monday, 14 May 2012

Best Primal Cake Ever!

I don't usually get into making sweet things for desert.

I prefer to eat something like blueberries and coconut cream and a little 85% dark chocolate for desert if I really feel like it.

But everyone seems to love cake!

This recipe was given to me by the lovely Kristy, and changed only minutely.

It has to be the easiest cake to make ever. And it tastes amazing.

Ingredients:

2 Bananas
1x Can 440G Dole Crushed Pineapple
3x Eggs
100g Melted Butter
1/3 Cup Dessicated Coconut
4x 70g Packets Ground Almonds (roughly 2 2/3 Cups)
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1x tsp Ground Cinnamon
1x Block 85% Green & Blacks Dark Chocolate
Optional:
Handful Frozen Blueberries
1x Apple Chopped


First thing to do is to turn your oven on to 180°C.

Then roughly cut up the butter and put in a microwaveable dish with a saucer or 'lid' over it and put it on for around 45 secs or until melted.



In a large mixing bowl, mash up the 2 bananas until they are nice and runny using the back of a fork.

To that, add the can of crushed pineapple, juice and all.



Then add the 3 eggs and melted butter.


Give it a good mix. Just using a fork is good enough.

Then to the 'wet' mixture add all the dry ingredients.

Add the ground almonds, coconut, baking powder and cinnamon.


Give the mixture a really good mix so as everything is combined well.

Once you have mixed it all together you can now add the block of chocolate which you will have to break up into whatever sized pieces you desire!

This is also a good time to add any chopped apple or frozen blueberries if you want them in the cake.

I recommend adding blueberries and chocolate. So good!


Then pour your cake mixture into a cake tin. I use a non stick tin. If you don't have one you will have to grease the inside of your tin with a little butter before pouring in the cake mixture.

I then garnish the top of the cake with a few small squares of the dark chocolate but that's not really necessary!


Then pop your cake in the oven and cook for 1 hour. If you are unsure whether or not the cake is ready then push a knife into the middle of the cake and if when you pull it out, it comes out cleanly with no mixture on it then it's done!