Monday, 23 December 2013

Fermented Mango Vomit

When a ferment recipe says to leave a gap at the top of the jar, they don't mean a half a centimetre gap.

It's incredibly humid here so I thought I would ferment a thing or ten while I can get them done quickly. I've been making watermelon and its rind, cucumbers with cumin seeds and cloves (I only discovered the taste of cloves the other night on a Christmas party ham, and I'm still trying to work out how to cook with them), asparagus and radish, and I also made some mango ferments.

Just one mango for now. I sliced him up, slid his cheeks into my French jam jars (there's something I never thought I'd say), added some water and starter from my watermelon syrupy almost-alcohol, and left him there while I had breakfast.

Come the next morning and I came to see if he was ready. His lid was tight so I knew he needed a breath of air so I naively picked him up and unscrewed his lid. PHRFRRFRAAAAGHGHH. I think that's about how it went. It was not a fizzzz, it was not a pop!, it was not a bubble bubble rising rising bubble aaaaand overflooooooww..., it was a full on vomit of mango gunk.

Despite the appealing imagery, I licked my sticky fingers covered in goo. The goo was delicious. Still sweet. I probably should've kept it going another day but it was just so sweet and just enough tang to make it taste fermented and I didn't want it to become alcoholic too... so I rinsed him and popped him in the fridge.

I took the other one and brought him over the sink. I very slowly twisted it half a degree and let out some air. Once it had stopped fizzing I cracked it open a teensy bit more. And again. And again. My fingers were slippery from rinsing them from spew so I grabbed a towel to twist a little bit more. I twisted a little and then I realised I'd gone too far.


Vomit-covered tea towel.

Rinsed them off and put the mango in the fridge, only to be taken out half an hour later as a non-jam, non-chutney, some type of fruity topping for my zucchini pancake (I've been having a lot of those lately, with carrot too).

Fermented Mango

Starter or a previous batch of fermented fruit or vegetables, optional

Cut up, scoop out, fork out, mash up, or squeeze the mango flesh out of the skin and off the stone. Squeezing the stone helps :) Keep any squares/scoops a uniform size.
Add the mango to a jar that's at least twice as large as the amount of mango that will fit in it, or divide the mango into separate jars.
Add 1 - 3 tbsps starter or liquid/brine from a previous ferment, then fill with water until all the mango is covered.
Add the lid and set aside for 1 - 4 days on the counter, burping when needed.

Sunday, 1 December 2013


So I tried to make mayonnaise and for the third time it failed me.


So I left it and came back to it after dinner. I tried it with another yolk but you're meant to add the oil to the yolk not the yolk to the oil. HALF A DOZEN EGGS GONE. 

There goes breakfast.

But I didn't want to waste my emulsion that was failing to thrive. So I gave him one last shot at becoming a well made, respectable member of our household.

This time I added the oil to the yolk like I was meant to, and prayed to the food gods that my baby would come to life. And he worked! However, just to keep him on the safe side, I kept him little. So I only ended up making half a little jar of concentrated fat. Yum yum :)

However, in the midst of all that initial tantruming, I made dinner (hence I tried it again after I ate). And what was for dinner?

Yams. Oh sweet yams, I would say that I love you more than sweet potatoes but most people don't understand you and thus I must categorise you two together into one amazing unit.

But I have not explored my yams enough to have found this before, and was I excited.

I partied around the room and yelled at my unenthusiastic brother to LOOK at my awesome psychedic yam.

Like, just look at it!

And so I roasted it with some little bity zucchinis and made some yummy chippies for dinner.

On a completely different note, this morning the Fairies that Cater for Women, Monthly (who have generally been very lazy when it comes to me) visited, and I won't go into detail, but I was ultra excited to use this pure piece of silicon.

However, it may have been the excitement that had gotten a hold of me. I'll try again tomorrow, after I work out how to get... a bandaid...

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Coconut Yoghurt

Short story: I made some yoghurt.

Long story:

My brother got an ice cream maker for his birthday, and the person who was more excited about it was me. One of the only seemingly pointless kitchen appliances I've been to scared to ask for! Sure, it's tiny, but I'll keep it churning!

My issue, however, was that we were out of any form of canned coconut, and I couldn't make the ice cream.

So on the weekend, I got dad to take me to the supermarket and I bought $20 worth of Aroy-D (I don't care about the unlabelled potassium stuff). Walking through the dairy aisle for dad's food, I saw a little expensive container, and I said Coconut Yoghurt. Last time I'd bought a coconut yoghurt it mysteriously disappeared. I decided to buy the orange lidded pot and keep it in my sights at all times.

And then it hit me. I had all this coconut cream and all these little bacteria. Why don't I combine the two?! It made sense to me. So I hogged the oven for 24 hours and followed the recipe that's posted on Michelle Tam's site but isn't hers.

You may as well go to her site for the guest post, I haven't changed a thing.

It was pretty runny. However, if you put it in the fridge (as you should once it's ALIVE...) you'll get more creamy Greek style yoghurt on top, and a thickish probiotic coconut water underneath that you could have in smoothies or whatnot. Or toughen up and mix it together and pour it like (thin) heavy cream on your passionfruit and blueberries.

A note of... warning, however (it's not that bad). If you pour it on something cold like mango sorbet and let it sit for a bit, the delicious fat will solidify and you'll get an awesome cracked effect.

I'll definitely have to hog the oven some more.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Banana Pudding from frozen bananas

I've been eating stacks of bananas lately. They've just been a high carb breakfast dessert and they go well with the chocolate recipe that hardens when it hits something cold. My excuse is that my stress levels are very, very high and I need carbs to bring them back down, the coconut oil for my saturated fats, and the cacao (I haven't been too naughty with my chocolate and having cocoa) for the magnesium. Magnesium for sleep, carbs for sleep, and yet I woke up twice this morning, both times when it was still far to early to function.

You know what else is fantastic for sleep? Gelatin. Instead of the thick slabs of steak or any other muscle meat high in inflammatory tryptophan, gelatin has anti-inflammatory glycine, which, in short, helps you get to sleep faster.

So I added some lovely gelatin into my life and into my breakfast dessert (a girl's gotta eat :) ). Now the question is: why the hell am I eating foods that promote sleep when I've just woken up??

The reason I've used frozen bananas is due to what I have on hand. Remember that humongous box/branch of 121 bananas I got at the beginning of the year? Well, we're nearly through them all. Nearly. And so that is where the bananas are from. Fun fact: did you know that bananas are meant to have seeds in them? I've seen pictures of it; it looks like an absolute pain to eat around.

Also. I may have made a mistake in my recipe when I made it. You see, I was following Fast Paleo's banana pudding (I don't think hyperlinks work on my phone, so here's their recipe ) they had coconut milk. It's just that I've had previous experiences of poor gelatin measurement, and so when I think I've made a trayful of jellies, what I've really made is an accident waiting to happen. I'd reach up and confidently slide the mini patty pan tray out of the top shelf of the fridge, thinking that all the goop would be gelatinified enough to stay intact, and a flood of goop would cascade down, liberally coating my top and the floor, as well as some of the fridge insides. This has happened on more than one occasion, mind you. I didn't want to make the mistake again (weak gelatin foods are REALLY sticky and gross). But my recipe turned out to have far too much gelatin, so I've scaled down in the recipe.

PS. That has honey on top, it didn't leak.

Banana Pudding from frozen bananas

3 bananas, peeled, halved and frozen
1 1/2 tbsp gelatin powder
2 tbsps hot water, optional
cinnamon, to taste

Take the nanas out of the freezer and chop them into chunks. It's easier than it sounds. If you want them roasted, sprinkle the cinnamon on now and pop them in an oven for 20 mins or until you can smell them. Mmm... If not, leave them out on the bench for about half an hour, or until they're pretty much thawed out.
If you haven't cooked the bananas, dissolve the gelatin in some hot water, and add as much water as needed until the gelatin is all dissolved.
Pop your soggy bananas, cooked or not, in a blender. As cinnamon if you didn't before, or if you want more. If your bananas are cooked, add the gelatin now. Purée on low until all the mixture had conglomerated and has come together to make one big happy breakfast dessert family.
Pour into moulds, or mugs, or thimbles if that's your thing. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until set.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Kidney Omelette with Sweet Potato and Broccoli

I haven't updated this thing in two months. Honestly, it feels much longer. I feel like I've done a lot of paleo foodie stuff to say, but I probably won't even remember a quarter of it. Let's see... I've pissed myself off for not going to the raw milk farm when we went to New Zealand, one of the main reasons I went, I've done heaps more research about why we shouldn't diet (read: MATT STONE ROCKS MY SOCKS), I've bought two of the latest health bundles, I've given up listening to every.single.annoying. webcast webinnaire videos where people talk really slowly because it clogs my inbox, and I'm down to one drawer of bananas left in the freezer. Unfortunately, it's still pretty full, so I'm wishing for a cow for Christmas.

Some more, actually somewhat exciting things that have happened:

- My birthday! I woke up to the best birthday present - my first acknowledgement of a somewhat ok metabolism:

I also made a coconut oil pie and a watermelon cake to celebrate (oh, and an organic roast chicken) and I'll post a recipe for that later. Some day. One day.

- I bought my first pair of lululemon yoga pants. I feel like my life is complete. I never had a pair of proper yoga pants for the whole year or so that I actually trekked it out to the yoga place to die for an hour on Saturdays.

- I've fully cooked sweet potato vermicelli, and it's alright. It's just like thick rice vermicelli. Awesome.

- My ferments have actually worked! I lost hope in my many, many strawberry kvasses so I gave up, read about fermenting for a bit, and then stuck some cabbage and a cucumber or two in jars. And a bunch of asparagus in the St Dalfour's jam jars I've been wanting to ferment asparagus in ever since I saw them. And guess what?


Ahem. Moving on.

- I'm doing the HSC. So, in layman's terms, I have the right to stress every second of the day for the next 365 days, as of about last week (the end of the exams). And thus, I have woken at 4am the past few mornings, despite my copious banana eating. Humph.

- I had proper 'junk' food yesterday. I went to my friend's party (just a few movies with just a few friends) and they ordered pizza for dinner and honestly, it looked gross anyway so I looked like an anorexic while I said that I'd had dinner before I came (true story though). But the birthday cake came out and it was a passionfruit cheesecake and I was like 'you know what? I've already had butter twice today and I don't want to look like a restrictive twat who refused to eat normal food and Matt Stone says that junk food is good for you so...' And I grabbed the cheesecake slice that had been one of the first ones cut (my friend was starting to get them all messy). And so I took my cute little forkie and dug into the sweet cream cheese. And boy did it taste sweet. Other people said it was remarkably sweet as well, so it wasn't just me. And I started to realise what 'full' meant. It opened my eyes to feeling my stomach instead of feeling how much is left on the plate. And so I didn't want to finish the cheesy bit; I didn't want any more. And so my friend who eats everything, ate the rest :)

- I've fallen in love with awful offal. I hazarded taking the kidneys out of the freezer, and I soaked them for 24 hours before frying the teeny chopped pieces in a large amount of butter. Delish!

Which brought me the inspiration for this recipe :)

Kidney Omelette with Sweet Potato and Broccoli

2 lamb's kidneys, preferably from lambs who had previously frolicked in meadows
2 eggs, preferably from chickens who had dug up their own wormies for tea
about ten of those smaller florettes of broccoli that are at the top of the head of broccoli
a tennis ball size chunk of sweet potato (I never know how much sweet potato to eat)
as much butter as your inner dairy gods will accept as sacrifice
Half a grove of olive oil, to serve (or just a drizzle, to taste)

Freeze the kidneys, then take them out of the freezer for half an hour, slice lengthways, cut out the white bits and chop up the meaty bits into teeny chunks. Pop into a mug with water and a splash of apple cider vinegar or other vinegar, cover with cling wrap, and put it in the fridge overnight. Strain, then soak in plain water for another 4-6 hours (or until dinner time, if that's when you're having them). Strain and put them in paper towel to dry.
Bring a pot of water to a boil, chop up the veggies quite small, and add them to the pot. Cook them up until al dente/not overcooked.
Put half of your butter/fat in a fry pan, cook on medium so the fat sizzles and once the milk solids stop bubbling so much, add the kidneys, don't touch then for thirty seconds, then do the really cool chef flick-of-the-wrist move to toss the kidneys, leave them for ten seconds, repeat another two or three times, and then take them out of the pan quick smart.
Beat the eggs in a small bowl. Add them to the fry pan that was just cooking kidneys, in the rest of the butter if needed. Cook it low and slow - if it's quite thick, your pan is too small. It needs to be quite thin. Keep it frying on low until all the egg is cooked.
Strain the veggies and dry them. Mix the kidneys in with them, and pour the mixture onto one side of the omelette. Fold the rest of the omelette on top like a blanket.
Somehow transfer the omelette to a plate and drown in olive oil (or drizzle, or neither if olives aren't your thing).

Friday, 13 September 2013

Grass Fed Beef

Seeing as we're FINALLY starting to see the shelves holding the food in the freezers, along with my accumulated disgust for the off- and weird-looking muscle meats mum gets from the moderately sized supermarket down the road, I decided to take charge and pick myself up a quarter of a grass fed cow.

Now, I haven't actually got it yet (or ordered it!), but I'm ultra excited. And mum's all like ''It's going to take up so much room in the freezer! You don't understand how much room it'll take up! Whinge whinge whinge!" That's why I eat my mango ice cream after every meal, silly.

During my procrastination session today, I found a study about wild ruminant fat and it's here for all those geeks out there (like me) who love to pretend they can understand all the fancy schmancy scientific speak.

I read the hypothesis, which said that, if a pre-agriculturist (ie Grok) got most of his fat from an animal (which would have been a wild ruminant at the time, such as a wild boar), his dietary fat would be based on whatever was in that fat. I love how they differentiated between wild and CAFO meat here, because it's already obvious to them that CAFO meat has a skewed fat content.

The results? Um, ok, so I don't want to go into what's under the title 'Results', but some of it said that bone marrow is mostly monounsaturated fat, brain has the lowest omega-6 : omega-3 ratio (I think?? I'm just guessing that's what n-6 and n-3 are), and there's about 1% of conjugated linolic acid (CLA) in marrow and none in brains.

They concluded that whatever they actually found here - I could've very easily have interpreted that all wrong pretending I can read fancy schmancy scientific speak - is very similar to pastured meat, but not the same as grain-fed meat. Two things from that: what is their definition of 'pastured', and since this experiment was on elk, deer and antelope, who's farming, selling and/or eating grain-fed antelope?

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Don't be stupid.

You know how that voice in the back of your head that tells you when something is stupid?

I can hear that voice. It's very clear. It's a bit of a mocking tone, saying 'Duh, Jordie, don't do that! It'll ruin your chances of living happily and innocently afterwards!'

I don't block it out. I don't ignore it or anything. It's just that sometimes, where there's a will there's a way, even if that means hitting the sane and logical voice in the head and going 'Duh, Little Voice, you can do this and not die!'


'Duh, Little Voice, you can cut slippery kaffir lime leaves with a sharp knife and not stab yourself!'

and, my favourite,

'Duh, Little Voice, you can pour hot caramel onto a balloon!'

Moral of the lesson: Don't. Be. Stupid.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Fifth Day of Spring

Like I said, it's the fifth day of spring and I have gazillions of bacteria and other general lifey stuffs in my jars!

Yesterday they didn't look so promising so I was glad that some bubbly action was going on when I had a look at them this morning. That and the combined effect of pretty much neglecting them opening-wise for the jars that are hard to open and not pressing the weird carrot salad thingos down once they started floating. I actually have no hope in that one.

And I tried an orange from the bag that the orange segment ferments are from. They are the blandest and least tasting oranges I've ever tasted! (however, I must admit my orange tasting hasn't been challenged much) So I also don't expect much from those. I did put a pinch of sugarcane sugar in them, but that doesn't mean it'll actually work.

Anyway, enough about my gloomy bacteria that are set up for failure:

I popped into the physics class this afternoon, just for fun. And even though I did gather a partial headache which barely happens to me any more, it was actually FUN. Yes, I am saying that learning about how wavelengths are entertaining and enjoyable. I learnt a heap of random stuff I won't be able to use apart from cool party trick conversations ('Did you know that that star is mostly helium?'), mostly that the visible wavelengths (light) that a gaseous element emits when heated is unique to whatever that element is (for example, helium emits orange, green and blue wavelengths, because of how far electrons jump across electron shells), that the word 'assess' in an exam question means that you have to state one side and give reasons for it, and that the elements that make up a star can be shown in the aforementioned 'blueprint' each element had.

And we had a discussion about whether copying someone's exact molecules and locations of such and whatnot, and replicating them elsewhere, was moral or not and if that's the same person or not. I don't think it would be. I think there's other things in the human that we have absolutely no idea about. Like why living outdoors more is better than living in the exact same way, but inside and all artificial and stimulated. There's gotta be stuff that we're missing out on when we chemically replicate stuff. For example (I'm just throwing this one out there), if there's some chemical or hormone or SOMETHING in breast milk or exchanged between mother and daughter when breast feeding that we just don't know about yet, and we give our babies formula made of all the stuff we do know, they're not receiving all that unknown good (or bad) stuff, and thus not being as nicely developed as another in the same environment but with a boob in their face instead of a plastic piece of junk. 

Actually, come to think of it, why the hell do we use friken PLASTIC bottles to feed our babies??

Monday, 2 September 2013

Fermenting Time!

On the second day of spring, ... da da da da da da...
Three strawberry kvasses
Two orange juices
And a half jar of salty carrots!

Ok, so just ignore the fact that it doesn't fit...

I can't wait to sing On the fifth day of spring, ...da da da da da da....
Four trillion yeasts
Three trillion other microorganisms
Two jars left
And a very very happy tum-my!

Oh, and that's a jar of sauerkraut that gave my babies their starter. It's like their mother (no pun intended).

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Cognitive Development - Really?

Studying for early childhood, I came across this scale in my textbook. It's logical. It's accurate. It's correct. But it opened my eyes to how kids see things.

You know how kids are more 'cavemany' than adults? This definitely proves that. I remember reading somewhere that babies under six months are the only ones to understand the whole Schrödinger's Cat theory thing. This charty thing kinda enforces how children think so much less scientifically and more based on really basic stuff that we should all just worry about.

Also, have you ever read one of those reports like 'Chimp completes an IQ test' which say that they have the brain of a two year old or a five year old or thereabouts. You notice how that doesn't go above about a six or seven years old?

Maybe we're not meant to mentally develop too much more than teenage years. Which is when we're really meant to be having babies. ENOUGH THINKING for now! Back to studying!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

My Right Hand Needs a Holiday

It's nearly exam week - the biggest exams of the year, where we're tested on the whole year of stuff. I better be writing more notes than what I will be writing in the exam, or my hand will die...

Time of high stress is when you mostly want to go on holidays, so in the time that isn't really spare but I procrastinate in anyway, I've been doing a bit of reading and thinking about health. Ok, obviously, but more so in the aspect that maybe diet isn't the most important aspect as to how you develop, age and die. I especially loved the NY Times 'The Island where People Forget to Die'. Google it if you want. I'm going to Ikaria one day.

I was watching some sbs show while packing up slices of banana bread to sell and a cook was up in some mountains in a traditional tribe area in Thailand and made some meat thing that was put in a bamboo tube, topped with a banana leaf, and put in a fire to cook. And as I watched him lovingly and rustically creating this age old dish, I realised that the reason why we love recipes is the fact that they're passed down through generations, like a story. And it has a story of instruction to keep you alive, but there's a side that comes from that tribe, or from that family, or from the heart of the one showing you how to make it.

Recipes aren't instructions for making something to keep you alive.

Recipes are special stories that provide you with love in your heart to make you thrive, physically (the food) and emotionally (the love).

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Sweet Potato Souffle

It was one of those mornings where you don't want to get up for an hour.

So I didn't.

This brekkie (or meal for any time, really) is perfect for one of these types of mornings, ie, when you have time for it to cook but you're not bothered to physically do much. It's really simple and you could do it with your eyes closed - which is the state you're in to start with!

I based this recipe on a brekkie I tried one day. It was meant to be 'warm sardine and sweet potato dip' but the temp was put up too high for it to just 'warm up' so it turned into a souffle! Sardines have never tasted better! But the cucumber I was meant to use as the dip-holder tasted really boring in comparison. Anyway...

Grab your prebaked sweet potato and mash it up in an ovenproof ramekin or bowl.

Whisk an egg and mix it in. If you're feelin' fancy, dust in some cinnamon too.

In the same fancy manner, smooth out the top and pop it into a preheated oven and go back to bed for half an hour after all your hard work.

I tried to make some roasted macadamias to go with it...

and ignoring the fact that it's unstable and expensive I roasted them in macadamia oil. Like goes with like, right?

But... um... I spent too long doing nothing while waiting for my souffle to cook.

I put a little maple syrup on top of the souffle when it had about 7 - 10 mins left, but it didn't make all that much difference.

Take the souffle out of the oven and go back to bed for another ten minutes. It's hot. Believe me. And it's going to stay hot for a while.

Top with whatever you fancy. I spooned on a bit of kefir and tried some of my little bombs of burnt nuttiness.

NB. I only called it a souffle because it rose. Don't assume it's puffy and airy and doesn't weigh a thing. Take a scoop and see how almost puddingy it is!

Sweet Potato Souffle

Serves 1

1 1/3 cups baked sweet potato
1 egg
cinnamon (optional)
maple syrup (optional)
something creamy like yoghurt, kefir, double cream or coconut butter (or ice cream?!), for serving

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Mash the sweet potato in an ovenproof bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, then add to the sweet potato.
Mix until combined, and add cinnamon and/or maple syrup if using.
Place the bowl in the oven and bake for 20 - 30 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean.
Serve with creamy topping.

This might be better with coconut flour to make it less dense, and maybe some baking powder to fluff it up. And maybe some baking paper too...

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Carrot Cupcakes

I made up a batch of carrot cakes to get me through prelims. There was a heap left so I made a bigger cake out of it. And writing this now, I've realised that I completely forgot to add the dates... Oh well.

Five years ago, I asked mum once for a carrot cake for lunch (back when I had no idea what 'health' was) and for probably the rest of the year, I'd always get a not-too-fluffy, not-too-dense carrot cupcake with maybe not enough nuts and a load of sugary cream cheese icing. I only wanted a batch of them.

So after so many lunches of getting utterly bored of orange cake and becoming sickened by the cloyingly sweet and creamy icing (I can still remember it...) I gave up on the humble carrot cake. I haven't had one in five years after all the trauma I had from the monotonous lunches.

But I wanted to make a cake today and we had a bag of carrots in the fridge, ready to start being more bad than good, so carrot cakes it was. And mum got mini cupcake tins, so my cupcakes HAD to be little. I didn't care if it ended up being little crumbles of carrot shreds and macadamias. 

On another note, I didn't create this recipe, so I'll pop LIBK's recipe here and say that I substituted the nut butter with regular cow butter (because you can never have too much butter) and put in some roughly chopped macadamias, fresh ginger and finely dessicated coconut (which didn't add to the flavour at all). And I lined the big baking tin with coconut oil, with the smear of my fingers. Oh, and I left out the dates, which I suggest you don't do. Not that they're awful, they're just not ultra sweet.

Roasted Head of Cauliflower

I found this idea back when I was new to the entire 'healthy' bandwagon. On one of those vegan or vegetarian blogs (I can't remember), they had a recipe as a joke for a 'roasted head of cauliflower' mocking a 'roasted head of (insert animal here)'. And I'd remembered it because the post was funny, how she had to 'sacrifice this head of cauliflower' and it was a big joke and yaddah yaddah yaddah.

For once, we actually got an entire head of cauliflower (as opposed to half of one) and we had people coming over so I asked nicely if I could make a roasted head of cauliflower. No one knew what the hell I was going on about so I made it anyway.

We eat a lot of plain, boiled veggies, so this was fine to us, but if you like a bit of spice in your life, toss on some Indian spices like cumin and... whatever else they use. And use ghee for that matter too. I used tallow on it and it didn't really work because a. the fat hardened before I could baste the head and b. the cauliflower went cold at the table and when we went back to have some more of it, it had a funny mouthfeel due to the hard fat on top.

Roasted Head of Cauliflower

Serves 8

1 head of cauliflower
3/4 cup oil of your choice
herbs and spices (optional)

Place your head of cauliflower in a steamer and cook until as cooked as it would be if you blanched it. (I did this by putting it in a strainer over a pot of boiling water).
Take it out, drain it, and put it in the fridge uncovered for a few hours so that it is dried out somewhat and isn't so wet.
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (180 burns the top, have a look at the pictures).
If using herbs or spices, mix them into the oil.
Place the head on a roasting tray and brush some of the oil onto all of the outside of the cauliflower.
Place it in the oven for 15 - 25 minutes. Halfway through the cooking time, take it out to baste it with some more of the oil.
Serve hot and with a large knife, and cut it like a cake.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Nut-Free Schnitzel

As a child, one of my most favourite meals was chicken schnitzel. I had it just about every night. I had it so often that mum and dad gave up with the whole flour and egg thing, and skipped just to the breadcrumbing. So then my grandmother's lovingly made, non skimped chicken schnitzel was a million times better.

The other day, I had an epiphany for a paleo remake of schnitzel, and I wanted to see if I could remake it. I made up a big batch of chicken tenderloins and an eggplant round (to test it out) and lovingly made my non-skimped, paleo schnitzel.

Afterwards, I laid my big chickeny breast schnitzel and the lone breaded eggplant on a bed of shredded and boiled TO PERFECTION Brussels sprouts (they looked so good that even my brother asked if he could 'try the lettuce') and ladled on some of my LINK slow and perfect meat tomato sauce. And it was DIVINE. It looked like heaven too. It seems to be the best meals I don't take photos of.

So I tried to recreate it with the eggplant. I got an eggplant, sliced it up, salted it, let it sit out for a day and a half (the longer, the better!) and got around to making a big batch of eggplant schnitzel.

I laid out my bowls of arrowroot, egg and coconut and the dunking commenced.

The still-wet eggplant rounds were dusted in probably too much arrowroot...

Then covered in egg (sometimes it didn't want to stick)...

And they were given a coating of finely desiccated coconut to schnitzel them up.

There's my first one.

Once I'd made all of them, I glugged out some olive oil (honestly, I suggest using a much more stable oil like tallow or coconut oil, because they ended up tasting very PUFA-y) into two frying pans and plonked them in once the oil was hot.

Back to replicating my perfect tomatoy dish that I made last time, I got a ladle and ladled out some of my pumpkin soup and put it in a pot, and then got a ladle of the worst osso buco of my life (osso buco + water = my hopelessly failed attempt at broth, I had no bones available) and popped that in the same pot. Of course, it wouldn't be the same solanine taste (duh, there's no tomatoes in basic pumpkin soup) but I wanted the same sort of rich, thick, vegetable-creamy (you know what I mean?) ladle sauce to spoon over my schnitzel like a parma. I heated it up, tasted it - still tasted boring, but oh well - and poured it lavishly over the breaded eggplant.

The photos accurately depict the meal's tastiness.
Before Sauce:

After Sauce:

As you can see, the eggplant schnitzel was the ultimate STAR OF THE SHOW and the pumpkin-osso buco-bleugh sauce just ruined it.

You know what also ruined it?

The fact that mum ate the rest of them.

Chicken (or Eggplant) Schnitzel

Serves 4

4 chicken breasts (or 2 large eggplants)
2 cups tapioca starch, tapioca flour or arrowroot
3 eggs (you can go with 2 but it's better to have more)
3 - 4 cups finely desiccated coconut
Stable fat, for frying

If using chicken breasts, cut each breast into three or four equally sized sections (about the size of a tenderloin). If using eggplant, cut into rounds, lay on absorbent something and sprinkle with salt. Let the butter juices leach out for at least 30 mins. Pat down with some more, dry absorbent stuff.
Place the tapioca/arrowroot in a bowl, crack the eggs into a separate bowl, and pour the coconut into a third bowl. Whisk the eggs until combined.
Dip the chicken (or eggplant) pieces, one at a time, into the tapioca/arrowroot, covering the piece. Then dip into the egg, covering the piece, and then into the coconut, then place on a separate plate or dish. Continue with the remaining pieces of chicken/eggplant.
Heat up the fat in a deep frypan. Fry each piece in the fat until cooked on one side, then turn and cook on the other side. Take it out once it is golden brown. Repeat with the remaining pieces until all are cooked.
Serve with vegetables, homemade mayo, melted cheese or some delicious sauce (don't ruin it with a bland sauce!)

NB: Once it's cold, the chicken schnitzel goes a little gummy between the chicken and the arrowroot, so I'm yet to work out a substitution - probably coconut flour. In the mean time, just eat it while it's hot! Not that it's incredibly inedible being a little gummy, it just doesn't stick to the chicken as well.