Paleo-friendly Bars

We have recently tried adopting the paleo way of eating. This is based on the understanding that human bodies have not yet evolved to break down food that have only been introduced in the last hundred thousand years. There are a lot of resources on the internet about this, and we would encourage you to look them up.  Bottom line is, remove dairy, legumes, potato, grains and all processed food in your diet. Meat, fruits, nuts, seeds and veggies you can eat in abundance.

Anyway, this paleo-friendly bar recipe is inspired by such, and could help those partial to sweets.  (Just FYI, been doing paleo for 3 weeks now, and have lost 2 kg [Baz here], feeling better, no sugar crash. Although I also fit in at least five Body Combat sessions a week. But I eat a lot. I mean, a LOT.)

Ingredients:

200g ground almonds
50g unsweetened shredded coconut
1 dozen chopped medium pitted dates
2 free range eggs
Handful of walnuts or other nuts
1 tbsp honey
Handful of linseed / sunflower / pumpkin / sesame seed mix
A bit of water maybe 2 tbsps
2 tbsps peanut butter
2 tbsps coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all the ingredients together. It should feel a bit doughy and moist. If not, add a bit more water.  If you want it sweeter, add more dates.

Pack and flatten into a baking pan. 20-25 minutes at 180C. Let cool before cutting into bars.

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Note 1: Try and experiment with different nuts. And maybe use pandan extract or cloves instead of vanilla.  Next time I’ll include a bit of fennel seeds for that fresh liquorice taste! 😀

Note 2: Some claim peanuts are non-paleo. Perhaps use almond butter instead if you want to be super strict.

Asian Beef / Pork Mince

Trying to stick to the Paleo diet, I needed to find more interesting recipes before the curse of food boredom ruins my determination.  I had some lemongrass leftover from the trip to the Real Food Festival, so I planned dinner around it. Picked up some shallots, lettuce and beef mince on the way home and got cooking as soon as I got in.  Already had some pork mince in the fridge so I thought I’d use that as well.

Here’s the list of ingredients:
500g beef mince
500g pork mince
3 stalks lemongrass
5 shallots
3 cloves garlic
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp fish sauce
as much chilli as you can handle (I used cayenne)

To start, I browned the meat and really broke it up.  Mince has a tendency to clump together if not constantly stirred and tumbled. I normally cook mince until all the water has dried up and the fat renders out. Then I leave it to fry and brown in its own fat, and soak the excess fat away with a paper towel.  [Tip the pan at an angle until the fat gathers at the bottom, then let the paper towel do its work ;)]

While the meat is undergoing the Maillard reaction, chop the lemongrass stalks, garlic and shallots finely. Pretend to cry to add a bit of drama.

Once the meat is a little brown, add all the other ingredients and take off the heat. Adjust fish sauce / chilli / lime to taste. That’s it. Really simple.  Traditionally, dry roasted brown rice is added to the dish for a bit of a crunch. I left this out as this is supposed to be a Paleo dish 😉 You can add nuts if you wish!  Serve on little lettuce leaves and enjoy until satisfied.

[‘Fessing up: I forgot to add mint, so shred it and mix in if you fancy. About a handful will be enough.]

The Cameron Grill

We have been visiting Scotland annually to take a break from the hectic London lifestyle. Cameron House is located along the tranquil shores of Loch Lomond and provides much needed tranquility in its surroundings.  The lush greenery offers a stark contrast to cramped city living. This is the place for definitive mooching, if you insist not to do anything at all.  😉

But of course, wherever we are, food still sits high up the list.  A daily visit to the gym ensures that the extra calories we consume are spent (more or less, less).  Within the castle are a couple of restaurants and a really atmospheric bar.  We have spent many a night drinking until last orders in the The Great Scots Bar.  But that is for another time…

Our second visit to the Cameron Grill was greeted by the usual cheerful Scottish hospitality.  Nothing much has changed except for the addition of the salmon bar, where you can choose from a selection of smoked salmon for your starters or mains.  They have also opened up what looked like a VIP room. Unfortunately, we weren’t to be seated there. Dayum. Haha

To start with, we had smoked duck, ham and eggs and tomato broth.  The duck was so-so, five very thinly-sliced pieces didn’t really deserve their £12 price tag. The vegetarian option was the spring vegetable and tomato broth which our friend didn’t particularly rave about. The ham and eggs though, brilliant. Little discs of sweet/salty ham and a Scotch egg with runny yolk and tomato jam. Nom nom.

We are in Scotland, so the mains have to involve something of bovine origin. A rib-eye steak, a sirloin steak and a chateaubriand for two. These were served with simply roasted rosemary tomatoes, onion rings and chips.  The steaks were thoroughly enjoyed by our friends.  The chateaubriand, which is thick-cut beef tenderloin, was beautiful. Really, it was. Cooked medium-rare, this was better than anything we’ve had inLondon, even in the famed steak houses. ‘Nuff said.

For the third course, we opted for the salted caramel mousse and textures of chocolate.  We were stuffed after the mains so we shared these treasures. The former was a pyramid-shaped mouse on top of a sponge covered in salted caramel, served with chocolate ice cream and elderflower jelly. Nice enough dessert but could have done with more salted caramel. More salted caramel. (Did I say more salted caramel?)  The other dessert was chocolate in four forms: sponge, mousse, delice and ice cream. A truly nice way to end the meal. 😀

While all the food weren’t earth-shattering, the total experience had been and (hopefully) will always be great.  Friendly staff members and impeccable service. And the best part is, the Cameron Grill delivered what was expected: excellent quality beef.

The Cameron Grill / Cameron House /Loch Lomond/ Dunbartonshire / G83 8QZ