Monday, 1 September 2014

Pork Liver and Bacon Pâté

I didn't make pâté at home for years, thinking it was complicated and would end up too expensive to buy the ingredients for. Might as well buy the stuff in the shops, right? 

Well, as I discovered, shop-bought pâté can contain things like cream, milk, potato starch, nightshade and seed-based spices - all things that can cause allergies in some people. And, quite often, the livers used are not from the highest-welfare animals. A pot of my favourite pâté would last me a couple of servings - and cost around £4. Nowadays, I make it myself, practically for free. My butcher chucks in a free bag of liver so all I need to come up with are the other ingredients, that I usually have knocking around the kitchen anyway. 

The pork liver pâté is sweet, and the bacon gives it a lovely smokiness and richness. Another wonderful way to get those nutritious organ meats into your diet.

I've adapted this recipe from The Paleo Mom's liver pâté - I often make it, and it's delicious. But there were so many changes and tweaks I made in the end that it became a bit unrecognisable from the original - so I've set it out here for you.

And one more thing: most chefs will say that you can ruin a pâté if you cook the liver for too long. And while everyone else cooks their livers until they're still pink in the centre, I choose to cook pork and chicken livers until they're JUST cooked through, because my young children eat this quite regularly and it makes me feel a bit better about it. But do what works for you. 

Pork Liver and Bacon Pâté (Allergy Friendly, AIP, Paleo, Gluten-free, Dairy-free)
Makes approximately 10 servings
4 rashers smoked, streaky bacon
half a cup of good fat (I use a quarter cup (about 3 tbsp) of butter and a quarter cup of coconut oil) - For strict AIP use lard, bacon fat or coconut oil
1 small onion, peeled and chopped roughly
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp dried sage
1 small sprig of rosemary, washed - and the spindly leaves stripped off and chopped
2 bay leaves
good pinch of mace
half a teaspoon dried thyme
350g pig's liver
100ml white wine

First, fry the bacon rashers in a dry non-stick pan until they are golden and some of the fat has rendered down. Lift the cooked bacon out of the pan and put it on a plate, to one side. 

If you have any bacon fat in the pan, tip it into a measuring cup and top up with your choice of fat, to a quarter of a cup. 

Put this quarter cup of fat into the pan and gently cook the onion and garlic until softened. Add the sage, rosemary, bay leaves, mace and thyme. Next, chop the pig's liver into bite-sized pieces and add these to the pan, shaking and stirring so they cook evenly. Chop up the cooked bacon rashers you reserved earlier and add these too. Once the liver has sealed on the outside, pour in the wine and let it bubble up for 2-3 minutes until the smell of alcohol has gone. Remove the bay leaves and tip in the remaining quarter cup of fat. Cook for another 1-2 minutes. 

Once the liver is cooked to your liking, and the fat has melted, tip everything into a bowl and blend with a stick blender until smooth. 

Scrape the mixture into a loaf tin lined with cling film, smooth over the top and leave to cool. Once cool, cover the top tightly with cling film so that it touches the surface of the pâté and keep in the fridge for 1-2 days before eating. The flavour gets better with a little time. 

Once your 1-2 days are up, cut the pâté into slices and wrap with cling film, individually, before freezing. When you want to eat the pâté, take it out of the freezer and defrost in the fridge. Eat the same day. 

Friday, 29 August 2014

The Bacon, Egg, Spinach and Beef Burger

If there was a burger that could legitimately be eaten for breakfast, this would be it.

There's bacon and eggs, grass-fed beef and spinach leaves wilted in a little chopped garlic. It all works together beautifully - the salty, smoky bacon; the rich beef; a soft tangle of earthy spinach leaves and then the silky yolk running down the lot. Made you hungry yet? 

Feel free to enjoy this in a bun if you want to - I just pile the whole thing up on a couple of little gem leaves for crunch instead. And it's autoimmune-friendly if you leave out the egg. 

The Bacon, Egg, Spinach and Beef Burger
Serves 4

8 rashers streaky bacon, smoked
cooking fat of your choice
1 small onion
400g beef mince
200g fresh spinach
1 chunky clove of garlic
4 eggs

First, fry the bacon in a dry pan, until crisp - lift it out of the pan and leave to one side. 
Finely chop the onion and fry in the bacon fat you have left in the pan (add a little more fat if you need it) with a pinch of salt. When the onion is soft, transfer to a bowl and allow to cool. 

Once cooled, add the minced beef and mix until just combined. Form into patties and then place into the now empty pan, to cook. Cook for around 5-6 minutes, or until fully cooked through so no pinkness remains. 

Next, dump the spinach leaves into the pan you cooked the burgers in, along with a chopped clove of garlic and a pinch of salt. It'll wilt down fairly quickly. In a separate pan, heat some fat and fry the eggs. 

Serve, piled up, in a bun or on lettuce leaves. 

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

My New E-Book - AIP and Paleo Snacks and Quick Lunches

The autoimmune protocol is a really restricted diet. It's designed to reduce the symptoms of autoimmune disease, based on the premise that to heal your body, you first have to heal your gut. 

And it works. After more than 20 years on conventional Western medicine for my psoriasis, it's almost gone - and not because of steroid creams - but because of me managing yoga, stress-relief and a healthy diet. Added to this, I'm suddenly (quite accidentally) free of the anxiety, depression and worry that plagued me up until now. I wish I'd found out about it sooner. And it's not just me, lots of other people have found it works, too. 

To start healing on AIP, you go on an elimination diet and then start reintroducing foods to see if you tolerate them. And - in the beginning - it's very restricted. No eggs, dairy, gluten, grains, nuts, seeds, refined sugar... 

Main evening meals and breakfasts are easy: desiccated coconut 'porridge' with coconut milk and berries. Bacon and avocado. Smoothies. Minced meat hash. Stews. Roasts. Fish and seafood. Soups. 

But snacks?

There was a snacking problem for me when I started the AIP. I'd be so good for breakfast, but if I got hungry at 10am I was stumped on what I could eat. Added to this, there were cupboards full of non-AIP treats (that belonged to the rest of my family) waiting for me if I went looking around the kitchen. I was soon tempted by other things - biscuits, cookies, slices of cake. Not good. And when I was being good, I soon got bored of handfuls of leftover chicken and salad. So I started coming up with my own ideas for snacks that were AIP-compliant and wouldn't therefore leave me red and itchy (or worse) the next day. 

Thinking that other people might be experiencing the same, I put all my snacking ideas and recipes into an e-book. There are over 40 recipes and ideas for AIP compliant snacks and quick lunches - those dishes where you want something a bit more substantial than a sweet potato slice and some guacamole. There are ideas for packed lunches, quick nibbles you can put together and eat at the kitchen worktop - also fries, soups and salads - and savoury foods you can serve (or take to) parties. A few of the recipes are from the blog - but there are lots of new ones specially created for the book, too. 

I hope it helps. Let me know what you think!

You can download AIP and Paleo Snacks and Quick Lunches worldwide, from the Amazon Kindle store.  

AIP and Paleo Snacks and Quick Lunches - UK Store
AIP and Paleo Snacks and Quick Lunches - US Store


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