Tuesday, 27 November 2012

A week of Paleo meals

Meal planning - economic, sustainable, and removes the need to make a decision about dinner when I get home from work. My budget is a bit limited at the moment, so this week's meals were designed to take advantage of some special offers and such like. I try and get nutritious and cheap. And as you can see I spare no expense for displaying my weekly meal plan at home.

Last week's meals included:

Sunday - Roast duck
Non-free range, was on offer at Lidls. If I'd had the money I would have bought free-range. Roasted, along with root veg. We ate the breast for dinner, the legs and leftover veg made lunch the next day, and the leftover carcass is in my freezer waiting for me to boil the left over meat off and add it to some of the stock made previously from a free-range duck. One duck; three meals. It made a change from chicken.

Monday - Bacon and kale

Cooked chopped bacon and onion until the onion was soft. Added kale to the pan, added a dash of water, put the lid on, and waited for it to cook for a few minutes. The kale was 90p for a bag, bought from a local farm shop. I don't know how much was in there but it was enough for the two of us and very nutritious. The liver marinated in milk for a bit before I added it at the end. I actually forgot to take the liver from the freezer the night before, so I just marinaded it for an hour or so and it didn't seem to make much of a difference from my normal 12 hour marinade. I know the milk isn't paleo, but it's a small amount and at the moment I'm convinced it makes a taste difference. Worth it I figure if it gets me eating liver.

Tuesday - Chicken, cucumber and courgette ( zucchini, for american readers)
Another peasant recipe adaptation. No photos were taken because I actually messed it up a bit and I'm a bit ashamed. In short, I fried up some onion and chicken portions. Once the onion was cooked I added some water to the pan, put the lid on and let the chicken cook. In the mean time I grated up a cucumber and a courgette. I should have drained the courgette but I didn't. Once the chicken was cooked I added the cucumber and courgette and cooked through. It tasted well enough. The original recipe didn't have courgette in, but I bought loads when it was on offer over the weekend.

Wednesday - Slow cooked lamb scrag

Every time I buy scrag from the butcher (sold as stewing lamb) I get asked if I want it chopped up and I say no. I kind of like having it whole, and now I think about it I think it probably makes it easier to fish the bones out when done because the bones are whole. I added the lamb, some cabbage, carrot, and some potato and water. Originally the lamb, cabbage and carrot filled my slow cooker but it cooked down nicely. I can't remember what seasoning I added. From a £3 piece of lamb scrag I made not only dinner but also four lunch time portions. That's about 50p per portion of meat.

Thursday - Omelette

The butcher had an offer on some local free range eggs so I bought lots. I used some of the before mentioned special offer courgettes, a reduced priced red pepper and some frozen diced swede. It was better than the swede suggests. I used about a dozen eggs and had enough for dinner and then lunch the next day. Omelette is a simple meal but certainly one I enjoy.

Friday - actually didn't happen because I was on my own and didn't feel like dinner

Photos were taken from my phone so sorry they aren't great. If you want any more information about any of the food or recipes please leave a comment and ask.

Sunday, 25 November 2012



Walk a very excited dog who wants to walk really really fast in the wind up and done some steep hills.

Come home and clean the hen house out.

Sweep down patio and lug shovel fulls of straw, chicken poo and falled leaves to the compost heap.

Then turn compost in a very confined space so you can't reply on levers to do the work.


This is practise for later on when I plan on lugging bags of gravel and stones around in order to replace the lawn, plus have to replace one of our fence posts because it's been blown on an angle in the strong winds in the last few days. I'm still feeling a big guilty for skipping out on going to the gym on thursday, but when it's replaced with rest and real world movement I feel much less guilty.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

I have no lawn left

This post is less paleo and more urban/gardening/homesteading.

I was chatting with a friend of mine who has been doing some work with the local water company. Apparently this year has seen several months where we've not only had double the normal rainfall but more than double. For a bit of context.

Recently I've not seen my back garden in the light during the week. It's because of work hours and where I live. So this last weekend during a patch of sunshine I decided to see how it was doing whilst I did my weekly chicken cleanup. Well if I once had a lawn in my garden, I don't any more. Thanks hens. They've eaten nearly everything in their reach and winter has hardly started. We could have another 6 months of wet, and certainly we'll have a few more months of poor light. It's just mud and grass roots in patches out there. So I've decided that I my lawn needs to be replaced and this has been my thought process so far.

At the moment it's used for the chickens to scratch around in and for the dog to eat his food in. I want to grow food in it. Back in the summer (all two days) I was also know to sit out in it and read. So the space needs to be something safe for the chickens, safe and comfortable for the dog, and space for a seat.

I would like to rebuild the shed (it's falling down) and replace it. I will see about moving it from it's current location at the end of my garden, where it's in the sunniest spot, to somewhere that gets more shade.

I want to grow food, and because of the chickens and dog it will have to be done in raised beds (out of cocked leg height) and be able to be protected from the birds. It's a small space that we have so I think to get the best from it in terms of food I will try experimenting with permaculture and forest garden ideas.

So I will need to get myself some kick-ass weed sheets to cover my garden (SO glad it's small). I hear reports via the family of some stuff that has stood up to 3 or 4 years without a problem. I don't want to be ripping up my paths in a couple of years because weeds are growing through. Following the permaculture principle of being efficient, it makes sense to do the best job I can in the first place. I'll probably cover my paths with rounded gravel and use cement blocks for my raised beds, but that's not certain.

This will however all have to wait until this nasty nasty rain passes. Actually it will have to wait for the new year. Until then I have a mud pond in my garden instead of a lawn.

I'll post some plans and some photos when I have a chance to take some in the light. Also this weekend I will do another post of a week's worth of paleo meals. I've even remember to take photos of a couple of meals.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Bacon Vs Bread

I'm pretty sure that I read recently an article about how we should limit bacon because of it's high levels of salt. The article pointed out that bacon is one of the foods high in salt that we often eat, along with bread. It's easy to find articles that say we should limit salt/sodium in our diets but I don't think I've ever seen the recommendation that we should not eat bread the way they tell us not to eat bacon.

The truth is that many people eat bread daily. It's not uncommon for a person to eat a couple of slices at breakfast (toast for breakfast) and then another couple at lunch (sandwich), and that's a conservative estimate for the amount of bread many eat. It's certainly about what I used to eat. Bacon however is something that few people eat daily.

According to fitday.com a slice of white bread has about 141mg of salt, so about 282mg of salt in one sitting, or nearly 4000 in a week.

A slice of medium bacon is 184.8mg, so a couple of rashers in one sitting is about 370mg. So although there's more salt per slice, who eats four rashers of bacon a day?

Again according to Fitday bacon has more protein and fewer calories (more fat, but depending on source it's not such a bad thing) and bread has more carbs. But then no one has dry toast for breakfast, there's always at least some kind of spread and usually some jam or honey or other spread. So by the time you've added spread fat-wise they're probably about equal. So bacon gives you less salt, more protein and less carbs. The only problem is that bacon is more expensive.

Most importantly bacon is tasty. More tasty than bread. Most bread. Actually the best bacon will always beat the best bread, even if the best bread will beat poor bacon taste-wise. To me anyway. So in bread Vs bacon - bacon wins, just don't eat it like it's going out of fashion. Apart from anything variety of diet makes it's better nutritionally and taste-wise.