Marvellous Mutton

Marvellous Mutton

We tried a leg of mutton yesterday for Sunday lunch from John and Patsy Price over at Bryn Belted Galloway Beef and it was fantastic.

It was the first time we have cooked roast mutton and have been eager to try it. The flavour is more developed and stronger than lamb with a firmer texture, but definitely not tough at all.  The fat also tasted wonderful.

Mutton is from a sheep over two years old, while Hogget (also very nice!) is from sheep between 1 and 2 years of age. Mutton is a beautiful dark red meat and is often cooked on a lower temperature for longer (thus suited to slow cookers).

Prince Charles has been an avid campaigner for mutton – see the Mutton Renaissance website. Also, check out Bob Kennard’s Much Ado About Mutton website (he has recently published a book by the same name). On both websites there are tips on choosing and cooking mutton as well as some historical facts about this much-underused meat. There is also a new campaign just launched called Make More of Mutton, so hopefully demand for mutton will increase.

I was interested to hear Helen Pickersgill from Weobley Ash Farm in Herefordshire talk about mutton on a recent episode of Countryfile (hat tip to Make More of Mutton for the link). Helen explained that research has shown mutton from a pasture-raised animal around 5-7 years old has an even better Omega 3:6 profile (around an ideal 1:1) than that of younger sheep (the profile increases favourably with age).

We prepared our joint by making small cuts in the skin and stuffing in garlic and fresh rosemary. We then seasoned it and placed the joint in a slightly oiled roasting dish with some small onions from the garden cut in half.

We gave the joint a 15 minute sizzle on around 220 degrees before lowering the temperature to around 180 and cooking for 25 minutes per pound, basting frequently. We then covered and rested it for 20 minutes while making a gravy with the juices and onions. We served it with swiss chard from the garden and roast squash.

I noticed that the roast mutton recipe on Much Ado About Mutton favours a much longer cooking time (150 degrees for 2-3 hours covered in foil). Although ours came out very succulent and not at all tough, we will try the slower method next for comparison.

We will definitely be cooking more of this lovely meat!

Trying new recipes

Trying new recipes

One of the best things about Paleo has been trying new recipes from some of the excellent cookbooks and websites out there. Very often we have just adapted old recipes using Paleo-friendly ingredients.

For a list of our favourite books and websites, pop over to the Resources page. Sarah Fragoso, Michelle Tam, Diane Sanfillippo, Melissa Joulwen and George Bryant are some of the amazing cooks out there sharing fantastic recipes.

I have added some new recipes that we have tried from some of our favourite books and websites since adopting Paleo (and some old recipes too).

As always, I hope they demonstrate that eating this way is not hard or without enjoyment! I hope to add many more as the website progresses!

Bolognese Sauce

Berry Crumble

Chicken Liver Pate

Spicy Beef Liver

Thai Chicken Curry

Paleo Chocolate Mousse

Macadamia Pesto

Spicy Pork Tenderloin

Lamb Kebabs and Baba Ganoush

Sweet Potato Chips

Check out the Recipes page for some more…

Coconut Coffee Creamer

Coconut Coffee Creamer

We have stopped the dairy altogether – apart from butter – for a while now and we are feeling so much better. We were having cream in coffee and occasional hard cheese, as well as some goats milk too. Richard ate quite a bit of Greek yoghurt. We both found that dairy produces similar symptoms to gluten – really strong cravings, difficulty in knowing when to stop eating, digestive upsets, bloating, etc. I know dairy is a ‘grey area’ in Paleo and is a contentious topic. Many eat high fat dairy and can tolerate it well, but for those with auto-immune issues dairy can be a trigger. Listening to some of the talks at Paleo f(x), dairy was consistently mentioned (along with gluten) as a problem. I guess the same RW rule goes for everything – cut it out for 30 days and see how you look, feel and perform.

Going back to black tea is fine and one of the things that I would like to do is explore the range of exotic teas available that are specifically not for drinking with milk. When you eliminate milk, obviously the more delicate, perfumed tea becomes more attractive and ordinary breakfast tea tastes quite harsh. There is a lovely old-fashioned tea shop in Hay on Wye and I have resolved to try all their wonderful teas.

With coffee, I can drink it black when out and about. I always think of this quote on cutting out dairy from Melissa and Dallas over at the excellent Whole 9:It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Giving up heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.’  I love that! I guess that puts it into perspective. The nicer the roast, the nicer it is to drink black so in a way it is a real test of the quality of coffee served.

For coffee at home, we have been experimenting with coffee creamers and after much internet scouring, finally found a recipe that works and tastes great from the excellent blog Following my nose. I reproduce the recipe below – thank you so much Patty! Make a batch of it up and store it in the fridge for a few days or more. It doesn’t separate as much as pure coconut milk and you don’t end up with bits floating around your cup. It will firm up in the fridge to a lovely mousse consistency.

Coffee creamerIngredients
1 can of coconut milk
1 or 2 eggs (we use 2)
Vanilla to taste – we have been using the upgraded vanilla that I brought back from Austin and use around half a teaspoon
2 tablespoons of coconut oil (melted)

Put the coconut milk, eggs and vanilla in a blender and mix thoroughly.
Add the melted coconut oil and blend for a couple of minutes.
Store in the fridge.

We did try this as a ‘cream’ for serving with fruit by blending 2 egg yokes, the cream only from a can of coconut milk, vanilla, coconut oil and a little lemon zest. In a separate bowl we whisked 3 egg whites until stiff and then gently folded them into the coconut mixture. Chill until firm and then use as a cream substitute on berries – delicious!

 

Meaty muffins and dehydrators

Meaty muffins and dehydrators

These delicious muffins over on the Recipes page are adapted from a recipe in Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso – thank you Sarah.

We change the ingredients according to whatever is in fridge or freezer and they make a perfect breakfast, lunch or snack. Forget those bird food cereal bars and eat one of these instead. They are seriously delicious. We make extra and freeze them so that Richard can take them out the freezer before he leaves for work and have them for breakfast when he gets there. Just pop them in the microwave to warm them up but they are just as nice cold. We often use frozen peppers in quick recipes as they are more economical. Frozen spinach is really handy too as it cooks so quickly. Morrisons is definitely better than the Co-op brand – it retains its shape and doesn’t turn into a soggy mess. We use minced beef, minced lamb, minced pork, bacon – whatever you have to hand.

It is hard to find sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil rather than sunflower oil. Waitrose sell them (Cook’s Ingredients range) but I’ve been having a look at making our own sun-dried tomatoes as they are expensive to buy. Apparently you can dry them in the oven, but a dehydrator looks more efficient and easier on the energy consumption. We did look at getting a dehydrator last year so that we can make snacks like jerky. Trying to find jerky without a host of additives and sugars is hard, and when you do it is really expensive so it makes sense to prepare your own. Dehydrators range in price from around £100 to the latest super-duper model at around £399. Excalibur seems to be the preferred model but the Sedona digital (£399) is also quite impressive. You would have to dehydrate quite a lot of food to make it worthwhile, but if you have a glut of vegetables in the garden or get a good deal on your meat it would work out well. You could also dehydrate herbs. The world of dehydrating is new to me, but it looks like a valuable addition to the paleo diet.

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