Monday, February 15, 2010

Zzzz-Day Weekend - Recipes for savory frittata and choc-raspberry muffins

The beau & I joined my folks in Daylesford this weekend for a pleasant family getaway. I was still lugging my drug's side effects with me (i.e. fatigue, wooziness, and hormonal disruption in the form of mood swings, raging appetite, and some unexpected feminine issues), but I fought to stay as alert and pleasant as possible - something I found easier to manage on Saturday once I gave in to a couple of handfuls of cashew nuts for afternoon tea. Apparently keeping my fat intake up helps immensely with countering whatever particular hormonal disruption the drug is causing.

Breakfast: hard boiled eggs for the road trip - an early start. The beau 'forgot' to have breakfast and tried to pull the old "Oh, I better get something from McDonalds cos I forgot to eat before we left..." Not so fast, boy-oh! I boiled four eggs, and knew I would only need two, so I peeled the other two and popped them in his gob faster than he could say McMuffin.

Lunch: we met with my folks at Pipers By The Lake in Ballarat for a 'light' late lunch before our early dinner plans. The lightest non-neolithic offering was the eye fillet beef steaks on broccolini (and a pile of asparagus, apparently). I was hungrier after lunch than before, so I succumbed to Mum's big bag of cashews, a nut I had previously been sure that I didn't like. Well, in this state of hyperphagic hovering anyway, it would seem that I do indeed like them.

Dinner: I booked us an early seating at Mercato in Daylesford, where the menu promised many primal options, and I was keen for some fish. As the FOD turned out to be barramundi on potato mash, bathed in an unfriendly sauce (can't remember exactly what the waiter said), I ended up going for the kangaroo fillets, hold the potato. Well, they didn't hold the potato, but they did serve up a posh side salad of wilted greens, avocado and feta cheese, which I shall certainly reproduce with my own twist for my next dinner party!

Taken with the beau's iPhone - don't buy one of those if you like your phone to double as a half-decent camera! I love my Sony Ericsson C905...

After dinner, we returned to our rented residence for movies and - against my will - snacks. I actually wonder whether my mother didn't believe me when I told her about this weird drive to eat I'm currently experiencing, so she put the platter of meats and cheeses right in front of me... Well, she believes me now. I wish she had bought wheaty and sugary garbage, because I would never be compelled to consume something that could harm me. The down-side of teaching her about nutrition... So, the plan for Sunday was to make up for a bit of excess with a normal-to-low eating day...

Sunday - Valentine's Day

After a very deep, generous sleep, we rose from the luxurious bed in our cottage to be greeted by an entire lack of hot running water. The house was build in the mid-1800's, but we were still expecting a few mod-cons... Fortunately, I'm more than accustomed to skipping a shower or two, so I headed to the kitchen to breakfast on salmon sashimi. Sadly, my ever-efficient mother had already unpacked the fridge, and had left my salmon fillet out on the bench after packing everything else away for the drive home. I opened up my room-temperature fillet, and sliced a bit from the middle, but it was lacking in taste and texture. It would have been fine had I some lemon juice (since plain sashimi is best chilled), but without it I couldn't manage more than two bites. Ah well, I was eating light anyway... Having identified the positive effects of fat consumption on my side effects' symptoms, I bought some double cream (51% fat, practically solid!) and devoured a spoonful for breakfast.

We passed through the Daylesford Sunday Market on our way out of town, hoping to find the organic meat supplier that my parents had spied in Ballarat - they put up a stand at a Saturday market near Pipers but it closed before the beau & I arrived. There was no meat to be found, but plenty of trashy trinkets, so we hopped back in the car and made our way back to Melbourne for our Valentine's Day celebrations. The day was teetering on the edge of disaster from a very early hour: the beau had been up frequently throughout the night, tending to work issues, and thus was pretty tired; I was in my usual fatigued state, coupled with some off-schedule PMT to deal with; it was a two-hour drive back home, and as soon as we arrived we were heading to the first part of our V-Day (or as it felt, Zzzz-Day) plans - to see the live cinema streaming of the play, Nation, performed at London's National Theatre.

After the show, it was off home, and the beau was banned from the kitchen whilst I whipped up some secret picnic fodder:

Ham, feta & red capsicum frittata, roast chicken, and fresh garden salad for the beau.

I served myself a frittata sans capsicum, a bit of chicken, and a generous chunk of double brie for the fat content.

The frittata muffins were made much like my Mini Frittata recipe details, but lazier as I was pressed for time:

Simple Savory Frittata - Single Serve Sized

1. Heat the oven and grease the muffin tray holes with butter.

2. Dice 400g ham (free-range and unadulterated), 180g smooth feta cheese, and one large red capsicum. Combine in a large bowl.

3. Spoon diced mixture into muffin tray holes - don't pack tightly. Fill holes evenly, and the mix should be no higher than level with the top edge of the tray.

4. Crack 7 or 8 eggs into a cup and beat until yolks are combined with whites. Pour egg mixture evenly over dived mix in tray, filling to around the 3/4 level.

5. Bake in moderately hot oven until risen and firm to the touch. Turn off oven and allow to cool with oven door ajar before removing - this will ensure the bottom of the frittata cooks properly and may make them easier to remove from tray. If they stick, loosen gently around the edges with a knife.

Delicious served hot or cold. They keep well in the fridge if you need to make them a day or so in advance.

These treats were served to the beau at Moonlight Cinema's V-Day Screening of 'New York, I Love You'. Unlike the beloved 'Paris, Je T'aime', this one wasn't terribly romantic, and a bit slow, so there was time to notice the lack of padding between us and the ground of the Melbourne Botanical Gardens, but at least no one can see you shifting around and sprawling on top of piles of blankets under the cover of darkness... Plus, on V-Day, no one would really care what other couples got up to on their picnic blankets...

As a special V-Day surprise, I experimented with making choc-raspberry muffins based on the chocolate sponge recipe of eggs and cocoa. Success, although how I failed to photograph it, I'll never know! But here's a photo that is fairly similar to what my experiment ended up looking like, although my mixture was much darker and denser - I didn't bother separating the eggs, but the mud-cake result was just as satisfying, if not more so!

Here's what I did:

Choc-Raspberry Muffins

1. Heat oven to moderate and grease a mega-muffin tray hole with butter or coconut oil.

2. Combine 40g unsweetened cocoa, 3 pastured eggs, and around one teaspoonful of sweetener (stevia & xylitol here, for the beau) in a bowl, preferably using an electric beater.

3. Spoon mixture into muffin pan until hole is half-full.

4. Add a layer of fresh or frozen (not defrosted) berries on top of the cocoa mixture, and top with more cocoa mixture until berries are covered.

5. Bake until risen and firm in the centre. Turn off oven and allow to cool with oven door ajar before removing - this will ensure the bottom of the muffin cooks properly and may make it easier to remove from tray. If it sticks, loosen gently around the edges with a knife.

Serve warm or cool with cream (or cream cheese, as that was all I had left in the fridge).


I was meant to step-up the drug dose last night, which is why I organised to take today off work. Yeah, forgot to boost the dose. Oops. So now I either do it tonight and risk crashing through my 11 hour day tomorrow, or put it off... I wanted to also call my GP to talk about my reaction to the drug, but I couldn't get through. Oh well. I'm feeling good though - upping the fats, and restricting myself to animal products again. Also, my protein powder has arrived, so I will have that to help control my urge to feast as well as hopefully help me to shed the gain. I'll be more-or-less following the Six-Week Cure Shake Weeks program, sticking to meat and eggs for dinner. The powder is making its journey to me via the beau, so today I went for the carnivor-friendly foods that were already in my fridge:

Breakfast/Lunch (eating window from 11:30am til 4:30pm) - roast chicken leftover from the picnic yesterday...

... and haloumi fried in copious amounts of coconut oil and macadamia nut oil. The haloumi was just the messenger, really. I bought the macadamia nut oil to make mayo with, but haven't tried yet, so I figured I'd try cooking with it - yum! I could possibly eat it alone too; something I can't stomach with coconut oil, no matter how I try...

I also had a leftover ham & feta frittata, and my eating for the day was all done by 4:30pm (satiety- & calorie-wise). I metaphorically locked myself out of my kitchen, sticking to tea and water for the rest of the evening. I kept myself busy with a bit of a bodyweight exercise, and then half an hour of sweeping the back patio and pulling out chunks of grass squeezing their way through the paving stones. Hard work, and quite a bit of sweat, so I'll be grateful for my hot running water tomorrow morning!


TrailGrrl said...

Well, for a crappy iPhone pic, the steak sure does look good. And I am going to try to make the muffin frittata things. I need to have something I can grab and eat on the go or take with me.

Don't worry so much about being hyperphagic. One time I was on prednisone for about 2 weeks and I ate a 22 piece of prime rib... I mean my brain should have known that it was a lot of food, but still. I did eat all of it. And the appetizer we got as well... I can't remember what it was.. maybe carpaccio or some fried ravioli. As long as it was there, I would keep right on eating.

Great food pics! I need some meat. Had a higher-carb weekend and now I need a good hit of red meat.

Drumsticks wrapped in BACON? Well, everything is better wrapped in bacon... even bacon.


TrailGrrl said...

22 OUNCE piece of prime rib. Sorry about not catching the typo.


Dexter said...

Here in the states we have a TV doctor -- Dr Oz. (how fitting for me to be telling you about him). My wife watches him for entertainment and she called me in for the segment regarding the 5 best superfoods in the world to eat for longeveity. And #5 on the list is the fish you turned down in favor of kangaroo filets...Barramundi...because it feeds on plankton and not other mercury contaminated fish. And it is loaded with Omega 3s.

Have never even seen Barramundi fish here in our markets. I will have to ask.

Dr. Oz is not paleo friendly, but sometimes he does get it right.

Jezwyn said...

Cheers TrailGrrl; I'm not worried about hyperphagia now that I've identified the problem (and now that I've found the real name for the drug I'm on and read the wikipedia entry, increased appetite is listed as a frequently occurring side effect, so I know I'm not crazy!) and can actively control my portions and access to food. Can't eat if it's not there. And I'm not worried anymore that my body was wanting food because it 'needed it' since I'm assured that it's a false hunger, safe to ignore.

I might wrap tonight's pork chops in bacon - pig is tastier wrapped in more pig :D

Hey Dexter! I've heard of Dr. Oz, nothing good of course, given that he's the guy that has failed Oprah so brutally, yes? But yep, barramundi has a lot going for it in terms of nutrition and sustainability thanks to ease of farming and quick life cycles, but I'm just not a dry, white fish person :) I'll only eat fish-that-tastes-like-fish if I cook it myself in a tasty cream sauce. Plus, the barra was going to be served with a sugary sauce and on top of potato mash, so nooooo... I should clarify my choice so as to avoid barra-bashing!

Zedgirl said...

Been following your blog for some months now and thought it’s about time I said hello. It’s great to see another Aussie that has an interest in cooking and experimenting with primal food. There doesn’t appear to be that many of us in Australia - well not on the internet anyway. Just wanted to let you know that I use a combination of macadamia oil and HIGH-OLEIC sunflower oil when making mayonnaise. I’ve posted about it here if you're interested: -

Doreen said...

Hi Girl,
I've been following your blog for awhile as I begin my primal journey.
I love your posts and am always hungry after looking at your pics!
I have a question. How do you cook or what is haloumi. It looks good but I don't know what it is!

Shantel said...

Everything is better wrapped bacon. Couldn't agree more!

Thanks for you comment.
I love trying your recipes. Doing the crackers again today with the egg white and really thinking I need to try that chocolate raspberry muffin thing! YUM!

I wanted to know what haloumi is too.

Jezwyn said...

Cheers Zedgirl - I had a crack at making mayo with just maca oil and failed miserably since I don't have a good food processor, just a bowl attachment to my stick blender. Maybe I should make a birthday present wishlist - I'm 25 on Feb 28th! :) As for the Aussie thing, I've found a few bloggers, and I just found the CrossFit Aussie network, with groups in most major cities, and the forum of CrossFit Vic in particular has a very paleo focus. I'm currently considering joining as an exercise experiment, although it's a bit of a hike from home... I'm thinking I'll go for a bit to learn how to use kettlebells, etc, and then work out myself at home...

Thanks for reading, Doreen - I love that my food stimulates more appetites than just my own! :)

Hi Shantel! Can't wait to find out how you go adding egg white - sounds very promising! And the muffins are ridiculously good, and good if you need some portion control via single servings :)

Haloumi is a salty white cheese, apparently quite similar to Mexican frying cheese, though I've never tried it. You can find more info on Wikipedia -