the diet factory: paleo patty

Food fads fascinate me.

Lately I’ve been reading about the Paleo Diet. Which essentially is a diet based on the eating habits of the paleolithic era. Yes, that’s the one with cavemen that had just discovered tools and fire.

Based on the hunter-gatherer diet, one consumes meat, fish, shellfish, leafy vegetables, fruit, seeds (and insects). The modern paleo puts potatoes, dairy and wheat onto the list of no-nos, and suggests one undertakes occasional fasting (to mimik when the paleo-shops are shut).

I do agree that consuming the least amount of processed food is better for us. The ethos of this diet is almost right. And it’s a big step up from the Dukan Diet which told us to only eat protein, become terribly constipated and then eat a kilo of prunes to get back on track to being our same fat selves only feeling clogged and blotchy and now frightened to leave the house. But my brain is substantially larger now than my paleo pal (about 31%) and my life expectancy as a first-world supermarket-warrior is 80 years compared with her 20 years.

I think if we asked Paleo Patty, she would choose the goats cheese with crusty bread, olives and a lovely little Cab Sav too. She’s not that silly.

Homo heidelbergensis skull



deconstructing the 70’s: the prawn cocktail

Some nights you just want a light dinner – a little bit of protein and a lot of fresh taste. And you want it in 5 minutes from now. Enter the prawn cocktail – but not all fiddle-fussy like you know it. This is the prawn cocktail 2010’s style. Deconstructed. Chunky. Real.

prawn cocktail dinner

On each plate, place:
A wedge of lettuce (either iceberg or ½ a baby cos)
Avocado, sliced chunky
Prawns, peeled, with tails on
a sprinkle of chives

2 tbsp whole egg mayonnaise
½ lemon, juiced
pinch of caster sugar

Whisk dressing to combine and drizzle over the above.

* For a more traditional dressing, add ½ tbsp tomato sauce.

the family lifecycle of the common cold

It always hits the weakest first. The toddler goes down. It’s messy, demanding and exhausting …for everyone.

As parents it is your responsibility to carry the load. The load is in the shape of a small box or basket in which you carry emergency supplies: A box of tissues; a packet of wet wipes; an absorbent rag; the thermometer; and, the children’s panadol. This basket is carried from room to room, as you follow them on their distracted disillusioned rambling path of one short lived entertainment to the next.

By day three it’s getting really nasty. Those clear boogers that you thought were unappealing at the time have turned green and gluey. The double-nostril-green-bubble-sneeze is a frequent occurrence. So frequent it doesn’t even make your stomach turn anymore. Child-free friends look on in undisguisable horror.

But what’s the absorbent rag for, you ask? The cough that ends in puke. Enough said.

Evenings degenerate into a whiny noise. My whinging is driving me crazy. “Would you watch TV please?! I just want to have a shower at some point today. Cook your own damn dinner!”

It’s now day four. You couldn’t smell a week old prawn in the sun if it was stuck to the front of your shirt. Your nose is raw from the tissues that claim to be as soft as duck down. You opt for using the wet wipes to blow your nose. They’re cool and comforting. Hubby says that you remind him of changing nappies. It’s the smell of wet wipes on my face. I can’t smell it. I don’t comment.

Poppet is full of energy again. She’s bouncing off the walls. “Dance, mummy! Dance!!” She’s as harsh as a Russian gym instructor and I feel like a Sun Bear. Maimed and hobbling around, hunched, sad, and missing every beat. “Dance!!”

Day five: I’m crunching on Tissue Salt pills like beer snacks.

As day six rolls around I’m back on board. I’m thinking a trip to the park might be nice today. The bedroom door creaks, and slowly, Daddy the Flu Zombie emerges.

Roy Lichtenstein

image: Roy Lichtenstein, Still Life with Glass and Lemon (1974)

devil’s cocktail

Devil's cocktailIt doesn’t taste as evil as it sounds. It’s quite a sophisticated drink with a light wine-like flavour that is suited to evening supping.

45 ml port (I used an aged Tawny)
45 ml dry vermouth
½ tsp lemon juice

Fill a mixing glass with ice.
Pour port, vermouth and lemon over ice. Stir to well chilled.
Pour into a chilled martini glass.
Garnish with lemon rind, or nothing.

chicken fennel and apple salad

A lovely lighter (one bowl) family meal.

I’ve only just discovered the fennel bulb in the last couple of years and now I like it so much that I grow it in the garden. It has a wonderful fresh slightly aniseed flavour and a super crunch factor. I’m yet to try roasting it because I can’t get past using it in salad.

1 BBQ / roast chicken, skinned and shredded
1 large bulb fennel, thinly sliced
2 red apples, thinly sliced
⅓ cup lemon juice
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup parsley, chopped
½ cup pecans, toasted, chopped
½ cup whole egg mayonnaise
1 tbs maple syrup
salt and black pepper to taste

Place fennel and apple in large serving bowl and toss with 2 tbs of the lemon juice to prevent browning.
Add chicken, onion, parsley and pecans (leave a small amount of nuts to garnish) to bowl and toss to combine.
Whisk mayonnaise, remaining lemon juice, maple syrup, salt and pepper together in a small jug.
When about to serve, dress the salad and toss to combine.
Top with extra pecans.

Chicken apple fennel salad