Category Archives: Paleo

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Asparagus Sweet Potatoes with Bacon

bacon-asp-webIngredients

400g (1lb)fresh asparagus, root ends trimmed

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & diced

8-10 strips thick center-cut bacon

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

3½ tablespoons olive

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1 pinch cayenne, or to taste

coarse salt & fresh ground peppercorn, to taste

shaved parmesan, to garnish

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200C (400F).

Lay strips of bacon over baking sheet & roast for 12-15 minutes, or until crispy and then remove bacon from oven & allow bacon to cool on paper towels.

In a food processor pulse cooled bacon for a few seconds & set aside.

In small mixing bowl toss sweet potatoes, cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, 2t olive oil, salt/pepper and cayenne to taste.

On a lined baking sheet in a single layer, spread seasoned sweet potatoes and place in oven for 20-25 minutes, turning potatoes after 15minutes, baking until tender with slightly crisp exterior. Remove sweet potatoes from oven and set aside to cool.

In shallow glass baking dish spread asparagus evenly, in a single layer and drizzle 1½tsp olive oil over asparagus, add garlic, salt/pepper and toss to ensure even coating.

Roast the asparagus uncovered in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until asparagus just tender, stirring intermittently.

When cooked remove asparagus from oven and toss with lemon juice.

Lay roasted asparagus over serving dish or wooden board, top with sweet potatoes, then bacon, shaved parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste.

YMCA Roasted Vegetable Green Salad

YMCA-salad-webServes two as a main or four as a side

I have to dedicate this recipe to my mother, #1 lady and more with a look that stopped several politicians in their tracks when she wanted to say something to them.

I would come home from school as a kid, and yes, I would ask “MUM, what’s for dinner”. Often her answer was “YMCA” “Yesterday’s Muck (meal) Cooked Again” usually served with meat cold cuts and homemade relishes and cheese.

Leftover roasted vegetables served on a bed of fresh seasonal greens, dressed with a nutty oil, lemon juice and a nice sweet balsamic is an everyday winner for me.

Ingredients

3 cups diced leftover roasted vegetables. Sweet potato and pumpkin are my choices

1 medium red onion, cut into 8 wedges

1 medium brown onion, cut into 8 wedges

1 red bell, green or yellow pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks

4 tbsp Brookfarm Macadamia oil or extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 tsp sea salt, divided

1 tsp pepper, divided

2/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

2 tbsp good-quality red wine vinegar

2 to 3 tbsp honey

180g (6 oz) loosely packed mixed seasonal fresh salad greens

Method

Preheat oven to 200C (400F)

In a large bowl toss the onions and bell pepper with 3 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper.

Spread them over a rimmed baking sheet and roast until tender, about 20 minutes, turning over halfway through the baking time. Add the 3 cups roasted vegetables on the top of them to warm for the last 10 minutes and sprinkle the walnuts over to top.

While this finishing whisk together 1 tbsp of oil, vinegar, honey and the remaining 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper.

Toss the greens in a large bowl with half of the dressing. Divide among 4 plates.

 

Let the vegetables cool for about 5 minutes then transfer to the large bowl and toss with the remaining dressing. Spoon over the greens and serve warm.

 

Serve as a side with cold cuts, YMCA roasted meats or hot BBQ’d meats.

Tangy Chicken Nibbles with Blue Cheese Dip

A great starter and one that I have been making for years and love with a passion. If blue cheese is not something you like use a fine grated strong cheese in its place.  

Ingredients

1kg chicken wings or chicken nibbles

3 tsp paprikaTangy-Chicken-Wings-web

2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

1 tsp sea salt

½ tsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

Tangy Chicken Wing Sauce

1 tbsp of good olive oil

5 tbsp tomato sauce of choice

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp Tabasco

1 teasp. Dijon style mustard

Juice of ½ a lemon

Blue Cheese Dip

75g blue cheese, mashed

100ml Greek style natural yoghurt

Cut the wing tips off each chicken wing and discard.  Then cut each wing in half through the main joint.  In a large bowl mix together the paprika, black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper and fresh thyme.  Add in the chicken wings and toss until coated the spices.

Heat the oven to 200˚C (400˚F).

Mix together the tomato sauce, oil, honey, Tabasco, mustard and lemon juice.

Cover and rest for 30 minutes and then add the sauce and mix well to coat evenly.

Line a large roasting tin with tin foil then spread the wings over the foil.  Place in the preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes, turning the wings half way through.

Mix the blue cheese into the yoghurt and serve with the wings, celery sticks and a green salad.

Sweet Balsamic Braised Beef Cheeks

beef-cheek-webBeef cheeks are a cut that has come into flavour in the paste couple of years. This aside it’s a wonderful cheap cut to cook with and with a little bit of effort plates up looking like you and friends are dining out.

This cut is a very heavily worked muscle so long and slow cooking lets all of the connective tissue break down and allows the meat to impart its great flavour.

Once cooked it will fall apart and is great to serve on potato or sweet potato creamy cheese mash.

Ingredients

4 by 250g (1/4lb) beef cheeks

4 tbsp olive oil, divided

1 medium onion, halved and diced

2 rashers of smoked bacon, sliced into pieces

3 gloves garlic, crushed and diced

2 bay leaves

1 sprig rosemary

1 sprig thyme

1 800g tin diced tomatoes

200ml red wine

200ml beef or chicken stock (broth)

150ml Sweet Balsamic Reduction

Salt and fresh ground black pepper to season

Method

Preheat oven to 160 C

Season the beef cheeks on both sides with salt and pepper. Rest for 10 minutes.

In a heavy based Dutch oven or oven and stove top casserole dish heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium high. Once hot add 2 of the beef cheeks and brown on both sides. Place on a warm dish and then brown the final two and set aside.

Add the rest of the oil and the onions. Reduce the heat to medium and brown for 5 minutes. Add the bacon and garlic and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.

Add the bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, diced tomatoes, red wine, stock (broth) and bring to a simmer.

Once simmering add the beef cheeks back and make sure they are covered by the juices and add the Balsamic Reduction. Lightly stir.

Cover and place in the oven for 3-3 ½ hours. Stir a couple of times making sure the beef cheeks are covered with the sauce.

Once cooked and falling apart serve on a creamy mash and salad on the side.

Sweet Balsamic Caramelized Onions

Sweet-Bals-Caramelised-OnioCaramelized onions are an easy and inexpensive addition to so many meals and can be made ahead of time. This recipe offers a sweet and slightly herby flavour without the addition of additional sugar using two ingredients that I love.

Makes about 1½ cups

Ingredients

⅓ cup good olive oil
2 large onions
1 red onion
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp Jomei’s Sweet Balsamic Reduction

Method

Slice the onions in half, then slice very thin.

Heat the Oil in a large skillet over medium low heat.

Add the onions and season with salt. Stir constantly until the liquid evaporates from the onions. You must stir so the onions don’t steam in their own juices otherwise they will not caramelize. This takes about 15 minutes.

Reduce the heat to a medium low, add the thyme and Jomei’s Sweet Balsamic Reduction, stir well and cook an additional 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are a rich golden brown.

Scale this recipe to your own needs. I double this and cook in a larger skillet making as many batches as required.

Grilled Aged Rump Steak

bal-steakwebRump steak is for me a delicious choice and there’s no need to splash out on an expensive cut. You can mix and match your sides with this recipe and for a crowd its easy to scale.

For me its very important that the steak is well aged and a thick cut. Have a chat with your butcher, they will be able to help.

Serves 4

600g (1.5lb) thick piece of rump steak

2 cloves of garlic, halved

2 tbsp sweet balsamic vinegar reduction, plus a little extra

Put the beef in a wide shallow dish and rub it all over with the garlic halved and then chop the garlic roughly. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper and  the sweet balsamic vinegar. Leave to marinate for 2 hours or covered over night in the fridge.

Make sure your barbecue or grill is really hot before starting to cook.

Barbecue (or grill) the beef for 3-4 minutes on each side, depending on how thick it is. Take off the barbecue and cover with foil for 5 minutes, then slice thinly across the grain and serve with the meat juices.

Add a drizzle of olive oil and sweet balsamic vinegar if you like.

Serve with sweet potatoes roasted with rosemary and garlic and fresh salads on the side.

Bacon Wrapped Roast Beef Fillet

Roast-Beef-Fillet-webBeef fillet (tenderloin) and bacon are two meats I love. This recipe is my “go to” when I have a whole grass fed, beef fillet on hand and streaky bacon. Hmmmm, when do I not ever have streaky bacon in my fridge.

A nice piece of beef fillet has its own flavour and in this recipe I don’t add any additional flavour other than seasoning.

Ingredients

1kg (2.2 lbs) beef fillet (tenderloin), ends trimmed so its of uniform sizing

salt and pepper to season

400g (1 lb) streaky bacon strips

Olive oil

Method

Lay 2 overlapping sheets of plastic wrap, measuring a 75mm (3 inches) longer than each end of the beef tenderloin, on a flat work surface.

Season the beef all over with fresh ground salt and black pepper. Rub the seasoning in to get even coverage.

Taking one piece of streaky bacon wrap it around one end and then with another wrap the other end. Continue with bacon strips slightly overlapping them in this fashion moving towards the centre until covered. I wrap the bacon firm around the fillet.

Tie roast with butcher twine to maintain shape. This will produce a uniform shape once its finished cooking and will look a million dollars what you carve it at the table.

Place the roast in the center of the plastic wrap and place one side of the wrap over the fillet and roll to overlap. Complete this a second time making sure the wrap is nice and firm.

Chill in the fridge for at least one hour.

Preheat an oven to 200ºC (400ºF) and remove the roast from the plastic wrap.

In an oven proof fry pan or skillet over medium heat, warm the oil and when hot add the roast and sear one side for 2-3 minutes until its evenly browned and roll to brown all sides. Then brown the ends. The bacon should render fats and you shouldn’t need to add more oil.

Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for medium-rare, about 30-40 minutes.

Transfer the roast to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 10-15 minutes.

Serve with your choice of seasonal fresh vegetables. I serve with a rosemary red wine jus.

Crispy Duck Breast over a Red Thai Curry Sauce

Duck-red-curryInspired from a dish I have eaten many times, street food, in Thailand when I was living there.

Key feature to the dish is the crispy skin of the duck breast. (This is the thing that so many people get stressed about with duck, we can show its not hard at all to do).

Personal note:

This dish has a slight fusion, Chinese, Thai, Pacific

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 Skin-on duck breast
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh peppercorns (ground)
4 fresh green chilli, seeded and chopped very fine
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 ½ cups coconut milk
½ cup chicken or vegetable stock, water can be used if there is no stock
4 tablespoon red curry paste
2 tablespoons raw sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
10 green seedless grapes
½ cup pineapple pieces
10 cherry tomatoes

for the garnish
2 green or red bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 tbsp Thai basil, sliced
2 leaves kaffir lime leaves, sliced into fine slivers

Method

Mix the Chinese five-spice powder with the salt and rub the duck breast on all sides.

Place duck skin down onto cold, un-greased and oil-less pan. Turn up the heat to high and allow duck skin to crisp. Do not touch, move or flip duck until meat is cooked half way and skin is crisp, about 5-7 minutes. Flip duck to cook other side for an additional 5-6 minutes. Once underside is cooked, angle pan to cook the edges of duck.

Remove duck from the pan to a warmed plate and allow to rest. Don’t cover as the skin will absorb the steam and will loose the crispy texture. It will rest easily for 10 minutes.

In the hot pan sauté the red curry paste, peppercorn, garlic and chili with duck fat for 30-45 seconds and add coconut milk and stock/water to pan and bring to a boil.

Once its come to a rolling boil add and stir in the grapes, pineapples and tomatoes. Add sugar and fish sauce. As soon as curry sauce starts to boil again, stir in bell peppers and remove from heat. Stir in the Thai basil and sliced kaffir lime leaves.

Add the sauce evenly to two warmed bowls. Slice the crispy duck breasts and place on top of curry sauce. Drizzle coconut milk onto duck and serve (optional).

Can be serve with steamed jasmine rice as a side or as it is.

Pan Fried Trout with Passionfruit Dressing

Pan-Fried-Trout-webRemove the pulp from two ripe purple passion fruit and push it through a strainer to remove the seeds. You should have about two tablespoons of thick extract. 

Ingredients 

For the passionfruit dressing 

2 tbsp thick passion fruit extract

1 tsp sugar or honey

3 tbsp neutral tasting oil (Sunflower oil)

A few sprigs of fresh coriander, leaves only (save the stems)

1/4 tsp freshly grated young ginger

1/4 tsp finely sliced hot green chilli

Salt to taste

Chop the coriander leaves finely and whisk all the ingredients together to make an emulsion. Set aside. Whisk again just before serving. 

For the fish 

Serves 2 

1 medium to large trout, cleaned

1/2 cup finely chopped shallots

1/2 cup Olive oil

2 tbsp butter

salt and pepper

Finely chopped coriander stems 

Method 

Pat the cleaned fish dry and then rub a mixture of salt, pepper and chopped coriander stems over and inside the fish. 

Heat the oil and butter in a pan (you can bake or grill the fish too, but trout loves this butter bath!) and add the shallots. 

Stir for a minute, then add the fish. Cook both sides on medium heat, 5-6 minutes each side. Remove to a platter and serve it up by removing the meat from each side of the fish with a side of roasted tomatoes or creamy mashed potatoes and a dollop of the passion fruit dressing over the fish.
 

It also makes a terrific salad dressing – perfumed, sharp and with just a little bite.

Scallops and Mushrooms with Passion Fruit Vinaigrette

scallops-mushrooms-2-webScallops and Mushrooms with Passion Fruit Vinaigrette served on Parsnip Purée.

Combined recipes serves 4 as a starter.

This is a wonderful time of the year, harvest season and New Zealand grown passion fruit are one of my loved produce.

The first thing we have to make is the passion fruit vinaigrette as it develops while its resting.

If you like you can use pulp from whole passion fruits with the pips in for added crunch and texture. I like the vinaigrette this way. If you don’t them, the seeds then place the pulp from the fruit in a fine sieve over a bowl and with the back of  teaspoon pass the pulp through the sieve into the bowl.

Passion Fruit Vinaigrette

Ingredients

3/4 cup passion fruit juice, strained, no seeds or with seeds as above.
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Zest from one lime
1/3 runny honey
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme. Lemon thyme is great
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 cup olive oil

Method

Mix passion fruit juice, mustard, honey, zest, vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper in a blender or whisk briskly. If you are including the seeds whisk only. Do not combine in a blender.

Slowly drizzle in the olive oil whisking until all of the oil has been added and the ingredients have emulsified, come together.

Taste for seasoning and adjust as required. 

Parsnip Puree

This can be made just before the scallops. Its a classic and well worth the energy to prepare as a bed for the final dish.

Ingredients 

200 g parsnip, finely sliced
300 ml full cream milk
1 bay leaf
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method 

In a medium sized pot over a medium heat add the milk, parsnip and bay leaf and bring to a simmer. When the parsnip is cooked, about ten minutes transfer parsnip and half the milk into a blender, pulse a few time, season with sea salt & freshly ground pepper, then add extra virgin olive oil and pulse. Leave to rest in warm place. 

Scallops with Mushrooms 

12 large or 16 small scallops
160 g chanterelle  or small brown button mushrooms
3 tsp olive oil
1 tsp butter
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 
salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup Passion Fruit Vinaigrette 

Rinse the scallops and dry them thoroughly. Place them between two layers of paper towels, pat dry, and repeat with fresh towels. It’s very important to make sure the scallops are completly dry so when they hit the heat they will caramelise and develop great colour. If they are too damp they will poach in the oil and butter. Set aside. 

Brush the mushrooms with a pastry brush to remove any earthy bits that may be clinging to them. This is the best way to clean them, for they will retain all of their earthy flavour.  

Delicately trim off the earthy bottoms off the mushroom stems, retaining as much of each mushroom as possible. Slice the largest mushrooms in half. 

Heat 1 tsp of olive oil on a medium high heat in a large,  heavy-bottomed skillet or frypan. Add the mushrooms and sauté over high heat, stirring very gently. Cook for about 3 minutes until they begin to release their juices. Add a pinch of salt and grind in some black pepper, stir and set aside in a warm bowl with all the juices from the skillet. Give the skillet a quick wipe, no need to wash. 

Assemble the minced garlic and chopped parsley on a small plate next to the stove.

Heat the remaining 2 tsp of olive oil in the heavy-bottomed frying pan. When it;s hot but not smoking add the butter. Let it melt, combine with the oil and then add the scallops.  

Allow the scallops to sear over high heat for one minute, not much longer. Do not disturb them while they are cooking as we want them to develop wonderful colour.

Flip them over after 1 minute, they should have a nice golden brown colour on the side tat was on the heat. Cook the same was for one minute. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds to allow the garlic to release a sweet flavour. We don’t want to cook the garlic on heat for too long.

Add the cooked mushrooms and allow them to heat through for another minute. Turn off the heat and.

Add the chopped parsley and Passion Fruit Vinaigrette and stir to combine, gently. We want to ensure the vinaigrette coats all of the ingredients but not stiring it to a point where the mushrooms break apart.
On warmed plates spread a heaped tbsp of the still warm parsnip purée. Arrange portions of the scallops on top of the parsnip purée. When all of the plates are prepared spread and drizzle the rest of the mushrooms and juices over the plates.

Serve immediately, accompanied by a side salad of diced fresh tomatoes and mixed salad greens that have been seasoned with some fresh chopped basil and olive oil.

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