Archive for the ‘Dinner’ Category

Sumptuous Thai-style steak marinade

October 26, 2011

Want to know a simple trick to elevate your humble hunk of steak to stellar heights? Fish sauce, along with fresh garlic and ginger, is an easy way to add an umami depth of flavour to your next steak dish – whether a straightforward meal of steak and veggies or perhaps a beef salad. Once you try a simple marinade like this, you may never go back to plain, undressed steak again.

Some other marinades I’m keen to try soon are the coffee marinade from The Food Lovers Primal Palate and similarly, their chimichurri marinade. Fun times.

Fish sauce steak marinade

  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger root, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce

Marinade for 3-6 hours in the fridge before cooking. Ensure meat is brought to room temperature before cooking. For an even better taste, consider using a cast iron grill or the great Aussie barbie.

* Enough for 4 medium size steaks

Marinated steak

Marinated steak with steamed and grilled veggies


Lazy meals: Meatballs with zucchini “pasta”

September 27, 2011

Spend a little more on quality mince beef and you can be rewarded with a meal unlike anything you’ve tried before with the housewive’s staple. If you can source some free range or organic mince beef that has been aged, it’s well worth the effort. The meat that I used was pasture fed Black Angus from Argyle Prestige Meats which I bought at Harris Farm Markets.

Pastured mince angus beef

Pastured mince angus beef

This dish is another of those lazy-but-oh-so awesome Paleo-friendly dishes that I love to make and then savour. Meatballs put the ‘comfort’ back in comfort food, but the beauty of this dish is that the zucchini “pasta” is a great stand in for the grain variety. I’m not going to post a recipe for the meatballs as everyone seems to have their favourite recipe for meatballs already, but I wanted to post this all the same as an idea of a great dish that can come from sourcing the best ingredients you can and applying those to a favourite recipe with impressive results. This may all sound like hyperbole, but when you really get in to Paleo cooking, your tastebuds search out good quality ingredients instead of addictive, but empty and damaging, hits of wheat and sugar.

Here are the details for making the zucchini “pasta”: make the pasta threads themselves by slicing the zucchini into julienne strips, then dunk in boiling water for 2 minutes only and then drain. Use 1 zucchini per person that you are serving.

Meatballs with zucchini "pasta"

Meatballs with zucchini "pasta"

Lazy meals: Dukkah oven-roasted chicken

September 26, 2011

Dukkah is undoubtedly one of my favourite discoveries, food-related that is, of the last few years. I really think one of the keys to success to implementing a healthy diet is the vast array of amazing and delicious spices out there – there is infinite variety and creativity in the spice world (no, not *that* Spice World). Dukkah is a ground nut and spice combination with a few varieties available. It can be bought at either a spice store, specialist grocery store or even in the big supermarkets – the brand I like is Table of Plenty which is available at Coles.

At home, chicken and fish seem to be the most complimentary options when cooking with Dukkah. This recipe is for Dukkah oven-roasted chicken and it’s super easy to prepare, taking only 10 minutes before it goes in the oven.


4 tbsp dukkah
2 tsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 or 4 half (or 2 full) chicken breasts with bone in. Skin either on or off.

Dukkah chicken ingredients

Dukkah chicken ingredients


Preheat oven to 180 deg celsius or 160 deg celsius for fan forced oven. Combine the dukkah, oil and lemon juice in a small bowl then coat the chicken breasts with the mix.

Breasts take between 30 and 50 minutes, depending on the size of the breasts. To check they’re ready, stick a fork in the chicken – if the juice runs clear (not pink) then they are done.

Serve with roasted and steamed veggies and baba ganoush.

Dukkah roasted chicken

Dukkah roasted chicken with roasted and steamed veggies

Winter meals: Zucchini “pasta”

August 3, 2011

Pasta is without a doubt one of the best comfort foods around and is generally a convenient fallback for many a busy and hungry eater. But since grains are out on Paleo, what is one to do? Enter the zucchini! This dish is easy and really adaptable for making your old favourite pasta dishes. It’s easier if you have a mandoline to slice the zucchini up in julienne style, but can be done manually. My fave Paleo blogger, Nom Nom Paleo tracked down a julienne peeler and uses that. I think I’ll have to get one myself as my Masterchef mandoline is a pile of crap it would seem 😦

Zucchini ready to be sliced

Zucchini ready to be sliced

I’ve made this zucchini pasta twice, the first time with some amazing Spring Hill aged beef mince to make meatballs in tomato sauce and the second time was to make a basil pasta with veggies.

You really can treat it just like pasta, the only differences are that you obviously have to “make” the pasta threads themselves by slicing the zucchini and it literally needs only 2 minutes dunked in boiling water only – otherwise it goes floppy, and no one likes floppy, soggy things right? I would prepare 1 zucchini per person that you are serving.

Cooked zucchini pasta

Cooked zucchini pasta


Basil pesto zucchini pasta served with juicy steak

Basil pesto zucchini pasta served with juicy steak

Winter dinners: Bunless burgers

July 31, 2011

Of course, burgers are not season-discriminatory – you can get your burger fix at any time of the year. But there is something about scarfing down a juicy burger in winter to quell those hunger pangs. I promise that you will not miss the bun if you put together your fave ingredients in an almighty stack and then serve with homemade tomato ketchup.

Here are the ingredients I used:

Burger patties:

1kg Lamb mince
1 large egg
1 small white onion or spring onions
2 tbsp chopped rosemary

(this is enough to easily feed 5 or 6 people or can be used for plenty of leftovers for easy lunches)

Lamb burger patties

Lamb burger patties

Filling for each burger:

Free range bacon
1 large egg
Sliced unsweetened canned beetroot
Mixed green leaves
Large mushroom, peeled and stalks removed

Now, I’m far too lazy tonight to go into any detail about how to cook the burgers because they’re so easy…I’m just going to whet your appetite with a picture jumping out at you from the screen 🙂

For the paleo-purists, I do eat potatoes occasionally. I actually used to have a god-awful intolerance to them (so bad that I felt like I’d been hit by a truck which lasted three days) but now that my leaky gut seems to be a lot better, that food intolerance is history!

Bunless burger

Bunless lamb burger

Winter dinners: Braised chicken with ginger and star anise

July 20, 2011

Winter seems to have suddenly ramped up here in Oz, stirring an unmistakeable desire to create tasty comfort food. This dish delivers on that front and is super easy to put together. It also makes for some great leftovers to save coming up with something for lunch (or dinner as the case may be).

Chicken thighs are  a fattier cut of chicken, however they are well suited to a slow cooked dish and tastier than breast meat. Remember, don’t be afraid of animal fats in your cooking – this is how we create hormones, get flavour from meat and go away from a meal genuinely satisfied.

I think a lot of people may read this post and think “I make this sort of thing all the time, so this is Paleo?!” and the answer is a resounding “YES!” Believe it or not, a lot of meals ARE paleo-friendly. I hope that goes some way to assuring people that Paleo isn’t really all that hard if you plan ahead. A lot of your favouite dishes may already be Paleo-friendly, or may just need a minor tweak here and there.

I should note here for the Paleo purists that I do eat a little white rice – the reason being that it’s low in the phytates we avoid in grains (much lower than brown rice) and I really believe I would do my head in if I tried to avoid it. Especially eating out socially. I only eat it at night though when I eat most of my carbs. This also helps my blood sugar stay nice and happy during the daytime.


1 kg boneless and skinless chicken thighs
1 tsp sichuan peppercorns*
3 x 2cm piece fresh ginger, shredded
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
80mL chinese rice wine or sherry
60mL tamari** (or coconut aminos if you can source them)
1 tbsp honey
1 star anise
3 spring onions, thinly sliced diagonally


Cut each thigh in half. Put the chicken pieces, peppercorns, ginger, garlic rice wine/sherry, honey and star anise in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 2 hours, or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.

Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with spring onions and serve with steamed white rice and a vegetable side dish.

Serves 4.

Braised chicken with ginger and star anise

Braised chicken with ginger and star anise

*Sichuan peppercorns are available at many Asian grocery stores.It’s well worth seeking them out to create some heat in the dish.

**Tamari is a better choice than soy sauce as it’s gluten free, however it still has soy in it. Some Paleo cooks use coconut aminos instead – I have bought these from iHerb, but they’re not quite the same. I think a little tamari, maybe mixed with the coconut aminos is acceptable, unless of course you have an issue with soy (it is known to be one of the biggest food intolerances around)