Vegetable Geek!

I had SUCH an exciting weekend! Whilst some might have been off hiking mountain trails, jumping out of aeroplanes, swimming along city rivers, I …. well… I went to the supermarket! “OMG! You didn’t?” “Like, WOW man!!”  Yeah… OK, not the most exciting way to spend a weekend I’ll grant you, but seriously, it was very exciting to me. Let me show you…

Now do you see? For those of you who live in more exotic places, I’ll remind you that this is a supermarket in a small, North Yorkshire town, not central London! I mean, seriously? This is beyond exciting to me! I was also very excited to use my lovely ‘shroom basket to bring home some of my goodies in. If you follow me on instagram you’ll have seen this basket in the making process. I am beside myself with pleasure when I look at it, and can’t quite believe that I managed to do such a good job of the sewing.

Isnt that a lovely sight?

But look… there’s more (said in a Jimmy Cricket style. Don’t know who Im talking about? Eek, showing my age there! Here, http://youtu.be/IC4TaV8HEzw

Fab stuff! Lots of ingredients there that Ive never used before, even though I was vegetarian for over 20 years! I definitely eat way more vegetables now than I ever did. We had samphire for the first time with kedgeree  – a family favourite that I paleoified (that will be a word in the next oxford english dictionary!) I’ve been experimenting with the artichokes today – what a stunning vegetable that is! – and there will be a recipe to follow later this week.

The rest of the veg is waiting impatiently for me to pull my finger out and use it before it starts to go off, something of a problem in a modern house in the midst of a heatwave. Talking of which, this is the first time I’ve ever known creamed coconut to liquify in the packet, but it was very handy for a lovely recipe experiment I decided to start working on at 10.30 pm the other night. More of that later, I need to work on my piping skills before I share it with you, but I’ll just say chocolate orange… I’ve also been playing with a very exciting recipe, not one of mine I’m sorry to say, but one the the very clever Tara from Primal Power developed. My children are SO delighted with it I can’t tell you – my 10 year old son actually did a happy dance before leaping on me for a hug when he saw these…

Last night I used the same dough to make pizza. Yes, actual, real, crisp, holds together without crumbling, pizza. It was a momentous occasion in our house! This recipe is bloody brilliant for those of us who have children who sometimes just want to eat “normal” food but who can’t because it just hurts too much. Tara is selling this recipe for the very good value price of $3.95 and honestly, it is well worth it, she has clearly worked really hard to develop this and could have charged way more for something this good! Seriously, go and get yourself a copy. Click here to visit Primal Power.  We used swede in our version which worked really well, and is pretty cheap right now. I will be doing further experiments with this dough and will probably be putting up some recipes in the near future that use it.

ETA: We made Enchiladas and Samosas with it! Totally bloody awesome stuff frankly!

Later this week I’m going to be sharing our path to paleo with you, and talking about a seriously inspiring lady who was partly responsible for our massive change in diet. Til then… eat your veggies  and tell me about them, I’d love to know what your favourites are and how you keep them in good shape in this weather!

TTFN

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A World Without Wheat

My friend Elaine sent me a link to an article the other day – it was this one – go and read it, I’ll wait for you to come back….

We were driving out to the seaside for my daughter’s birthday trip later that day; we drove past fields of wheat and I couldn’t help wondering what a world without wheat would look like.

Image

Wheat field image from FWallpapers.com

I tried to imagine what would take the place of the vast expanses of gently swaying grain crops, and I got a bit excited! (I’m a simple soul, it doesn’t take much!) Would they be filled instead with vegetables and fruit or grazing livestock? Would we see smaller fields with more hedgerows? Probably not, as in Lincolnshire where they grow a lot of vegetables, the fields are pretty industrial sized.

Would we need more fruit, vegetables and meat to make up for the grain products that people commonly fill up on? Or would eating more nutrient filled foods, and fat, mean we needed to consume less food not more?

I’m not a scientist, so I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I guess if it’s true that 80% of the world population is going to stop eating wheat, we are going to need to ask these questions sooner rather than later.

Wheat, and other grains, take up so much of our available soil that it would change the world, and the little country I live in, extensively. This would have a massive knock on effect for farmers, which in turn would mean big changes in food production and food supply – effectively the entire way our economy and lives are run would change. 

It takes around about 1300 litres of water to grow 1kg of wheat! Our family of 6 directly uses 150,000 litres of water a year – that equates to approximately 115 bags of flour, or just under 2 and a half bags a week! That’s quite a shocking figure when I think about it – we would very easily have consumed far more than that when we were eating wheat – breakfast cereals, pasta, bread, pizza, biscuits etc etc ad infinitum! That is an awful lot of water for a product that caused us a lot of pain and weight gain!

Obviously everything we eat uses water, and probably in equally large measure to the amount wheat uses. Though I’d have thought that when you are growing your own veg and making use of grey water or harvested rainwater you are going to reduce the usage quite considerably, I don’t know, I’m not a scientist.

What I think isn’t taken into consideration though is this: we need to be careful with our water consumption, so with that in mind, isn’t it better for us to use water to grow food that is actually going to help maintain our health, instead of wasting it on a product that is, increasingly, highly toxic to human and animal life? 

Isn’t this a conversation that we need to be having now? I would love to be able to find decent, unbiased, truly scientific information about this subject, but it seems that, as with so many issues related to human and animal health, there are too many polarised opinions to really get at the hard facts. 

I don’t want to hear that going vegetarian or vegan will save the planet, because I just don’t buy that argument – it doesn’t stack up on so many levels for me. I don’t want to hear propaganda from CAFOs or organic farmers; I certainly don’t want to hear how monsanto crops are going to save us all from starvation; I want hard facts not twisted to satisfy an agenda. Is that possible, do you think? Am I alone in caring? What do you think?

 ETA: Just read that Monsanto are effectively pulling out of Europe

 

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Kitchen Cock Ups

Creating paleo cakes is quite an art form. Whilst cooking with gluten free flours isn’t always a doddle, it is infinitely easier than the paleo friendly flours, particularly when you are limited even further by allergies to nuts and bananas, which most sweet paleo dishes seem to use. 

When I come up with a new recipe, which involves baking, sometimes I get it right straight away – I consider these times flukes! Mostly there are days of cock ups and washing up mountains that would surely rival Everest*.

*This may or may not be an exaggeration. 

sometimes though it’s possible to use a little creativity and turn the cockups into a glorious success! Today was one of those days, but more of that later.

 Take my luscious lemon bundt cakes as an example. Here’s how they ended up looking 

 

Pretty good huh? I know it makes me one to bite into one and slowly lick that lemony centre out!You can make your own, the recipe is here. But they didn’t start out like that, oh no, see for yourself… 

 

 

I had two totally failed batches and a further 4 tweaked attempts before coming up with the perfect result. Thankfully my children don’t mind the failures, most of the time at least, so there isn’t too much waste, but the financial implications can be quite high given the price of many paleo friendly ingredients. 

Yesterday I decided that I wanted to create a coconut cake. I wanted to see if it would be possible to create one that was created completely from coconut. A tall order as coconut flour is, quite frankly, a complete bitch of a flour to work with! Fair play to me for giving it a go, I was even vaguely hopeful that it might work at one point.

Of course it would have stood more than a fighting chance if it had been cooking in an oven and not…. under the grill! Duh! I’m still getting used to the new to me oven. My question to Neff is this: who in their right minds thought an oven come grill was a good idea?! Someone who doesn’t cook I would wager!

My teens thought it was hilarious, and I’m not entirely sure when the leg pulling will stop. Perhaps as their birthday approaches? We shall see.

Fairly obviously it didn’t work and I was left with a soggy mass of crumbs. I was not a happy bunny I can tell you, and then the internet died. Could the day get any worse? I decided to go to bed just  to be on the safe side.

 

This morning I awoke with a genius idea – don’t you love how a good night’s sleep can do that? Truffles! Way back in the depths of time when school cookery lessons were called home economics, and dinosaurs still roamed the earth, I had been taught to make rum truffles from…. cake crumbs! Yay! Thank you crappy all girls boarding school, you finally taught me something useful! 

I set to work: remembering to turn on the oven not the grill, (although in this instance the grill may have worked more quickly) I dried the very soggy crumbs out a bit before weaving magic with raw chocolate and more coconut and… well see for yourself what I think of kitchen failures…

 

Do you want to see what they look like inside? Go on then, here is the, gratuitous (coco)nutty chocolate ball shot… (you knew that all girls school was a convent right? Yeah, that’s my level of humour still, sorry!)

 

 

 Not bad huh? I’m still working on the coconut cake, when I get it right I’ll share the recipe for it and the truffles, when the broadband is up and running again. The iPad is great, but I can’t build web pages on it. Boo hiss! 

PS I’m doing whole 30 at the moment, did I mention that? No cakes were consumed in the making of this blog post, except by my children! Lucky so and sos. You can keep up with my whole 30 progress on the page in the header area.

TTFN 

if you’re interested in keeping up with us you might like to like creatively paleo on facebook or follow us on twitter or instagram or if pinterest is your thing we’re there too! Social media whores, much?!

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