Monday, March 1, 2010

The End of Summer & Suffering

Time sure becomes tight when you're going through drug withdrawal whilst also preparing for a big birthday party! But it's good news all around - I'm feeling like my chipper self again (and am trying to ignore the NINE kilograms I'm carrying post-DepTran; here's hoping it is easy enough to shed), and my birthday party was very successful, both food- and fun-wise. I'm already looking forward to throwing a bash for the beau's next big day, although that's not until April... We seem to have enough leftovers to last us from now til then though - and not to mention the massive supply of alcohol now in the cupboard! I somehow ended up being given three bottles of wine as gifts - not bad for a non-drinker... So that means I'll have to throw some dinner parties to help share the wine with friends who don't mind a bit of tipple, although then they often bring a bottle of wine anyway, even if I tell them not too... Ah, what a hassle my life is. :P

So to briefly catch up on the eats of late - there have been lots of protein shakes during most days, so rather than bore you with every little detail, I'll just post some shots of the best actual food from each day of the past week:

Monday

Rockling coated in egg, almond flour and spices, a la my White Fish Fingers recipe.


Tuesday

Oopsie pizza, topped with smoked salmon, smoked bacon, and green capsicum.


Look how foldy!


Wednesday

A circular fry-up of zucchini, tuscan sausage from Jonathan's, fried eggs, and pepperoni.


Thursday

Jonathan's chipollatas & fried eggs


Salmon sashimi!


Friday

I intended to fast for the day, but since I was up half the night cooking desserts and crackers and such in preparation for Saturday's party, I had to nibble on a few things to check the flavours. I avoided sampling my desserts though, relying on the beau for the yay or nay.

First up I made Choc Date & Walnut Balls, forming both balls and slice pieces for variety. I then tried to make the recipe using the usual dried apricots, but the batch was drier than usual I suspect, as the mixture failed to hold together. I was left with a bowlful of finely chopped nuts and apricot, so I had to get a little bit fancy...

First I made apricot nut biscuits by adding coconut flour and almond flour, as well as eggs and coconut oil:


I then thinned the mixture with water and more oil to make a batch of muffins - some with added cocoa, some without:


(Photo credit - party guest Dorothy S.C. - see her photo blog, Arrows To The Underground)

I then used the rest of the mixture to make an incredibly dense yet surprisingly moist apricot & nut loaf - it disappeared within seconds or serving it on the day, which is why I'm left without a shot of it! The muffins were just as good, but their large size scared off party guests who were already full of the other menu items...

I then made up a batch of Sunflower Sesame Crackers - another one that quickly left the plates!

I then cooked up a HUGE batch of my delicious pumpkin soup - it was really hard not to spoon it straight into my mouth!

And finally, I made my birthday cake - a vanilla & cinnamon cheesecake on a nutty coconut crust, topped with whipped cream and berries. The guests couldn't believe it was sugar-free!


With everything in the fridge, I finally toppled into bed at around 2am...

Saturday

I ended up stuck in the kitchen, serving course after course, and didn't have enough hands nor time to get photos of everything, so you'll just have to imagine it...

Guests were greeted by platters of soft cheese, roasted nuts, primal crackers, and a number of primal dips: beetroot, spinach & basil (using cashew nut butter), and smoked salmon and olive.


(Photo credit - party guest Dorothy S.C. - see her photo blog, Arrows To The Underground)

Shortly thereafter, an array of single-serve Cauliflower Pizzas were served; some vegetarian, some with pepperoni and ham, and some with anchovies. Gone in a flash.

Then out came the fried chicken drumettes with caveman chicken sauce. The next day, my brother called to invite himself out to dinner on the condition that I would make him more chicken. And he's not a fan of fatty food. Win.

Once people had time to digest those (and the last few late-comers had arrived and were hanging out for some food), I heated up the pumpkin soup and served it with crumbled sunflower sesame crackers as croutons. Rave reviews! I'm really happy with this recipe - I don't have to measure anything any more, so I know I'll be able to make it forever.

That was the end of the savory courses, so then out came the muffins, balls & slices.


(Photo credit - party guest Dorothy S.C. - see her photo blog, Arrows To The Underground)

And finally, after we were into the swing of 80's SingStar madness, we whipped out the cake and topped off our happy bellies with delicious saturated fats! What a feast! And lots of happy faces! :)

Sunday

After sleeping most of my actual birthday away, I didn't want to eat anything but protein shakes until dinner time. This was a little awkward as my Mum wanted to take me out for a birthday lunch, but we all went along to a little place in Melbourne Central before going to the movies (I get a free ticket on my birthday).

When we finally arrived home, I whipped up tasty bits and pieces for the beau & Mum, focussing on one of the recipes I wanted to try for the party but didn't get around to trying - the fried goodness that others know as Popcorn Shrimp!


I treated my shrimp in the same way I do my fried chicken and fried white fish - coated in egg & then coconut flakes, almond flour, herbs & spices. Then into the coconut oil until browned and crunchy. Om nom nom!

Monday

Today, after weighing in to note a starting point for March (currently weighing more than I did this time last year, how crushing), I continued my protein shake ritual, breaking for dinner of two favourites - cooked & peeled prawns, and salmon sashimi!


And since the beau doesn't like raw salmon, I tried something to tantalise his taste buds... I kept the sunflower crackers that weren't quite the right shape, so I put them in a shallow bowl and crushed them back into sesame seed-sized crumbs. I then dipped the salmon fillet in egg and rolled it in the crumbs, then repeated the egg/crumb process. I then fried up the coated fillet in coconut oil, and served it on top of romaine lettuce to a boggle-eyed beau who squealed excitedly upon spying and then tasting the fishy treat!


So now that I've kicked the DepTran out of my system, and am reminding myself that it's NOT normal to want food late at night when there isn't a drug driving my hormones, I'm enjoying the return to tackling the challenge of creating small but satisfying meals that my particular physiology prefers!

13 comments:

Shantel said...

Well happy belated birthday!!! Sounds like everything was a smashing success!
My birthday is Thursday and I plan on making that Choc-Berry Pie you have on here. It looks sooo good!!

Sandy said...

Ah, I never actually thought how awkward it was to separate coconut and then recombine it so it mimics fried food! Moments like that remind me that I'm often still Primal and not fully Paleo...

Your popcorn shrimp look breadier than mine do. I think that's partly because of the almond flour and partly because... well... you can find almond flour. I echo the sentiment that here in anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better state of Texas, there's no such thing as almond flour. Only almond meal. Because it's bigger.

Jezwyn said...

Thanks Shantel! I look forward to seeing how you go with the pie.

Howdy Sandy! The diff between Primal and Paleo is the position of saturated fats - I don't buy into the whole "making neolithic lookalikes isn't paleo" bollocks, especially there are people in both camps who approve/disapprove of creating 'processed' products. Using coconut oil to fry things is a bloody good move, since so many paleos don't get nearly enough fat! I worry for their nutrient absorption.

I use almond meal. If yours is too chunky, just blitz it further in the food processor. Or blanch your own almond and blitz them to make the flour (meal is generally defined as floured almonds that still have their skin). I used dessicated coconut for my shrimp, so that's even less fine-floury. Have you got a picture of your prawns somewhere so I can see what you mean?

Whitney said...

Alright - you can't put a scrumptious looking birthday cake photo in front of a pregnant woman and not link to a recipe!

Evil! ;)

Eileen said...

Thanks for sharing your efforts! I need to try the oopsie pizza recipe- the dough looks amazing! How are you dealing with eating out? Most of the foods you show, you made. It is so tough when eating out especially with others- any words of wisdom?

Jezwyn said...

Haha, sorry Whitney! Here's my basic cheesecake recipe, though I tend not to measure quantities these days:

Crust:

Almond flour & coconut flour - about a cup combined.
Chopped nuts - about half a cup
2 or so eggs
Coconut oil or melted butter - add enough until all ingredients stick together.

Topping:

500g softened cream cheese (18 oz)
250ml whipping cream
2T gelatin powder, dissolved in 1 cup boiling water.
1t vanilla essence
1t cinnamon powder
1/4t stevia

Method:

Preheat oven to moderate and grease/line a springform tray.

Combine all crust ingredients and press into base of tray.

Bake until crust is golden, then remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Mix topping ingredients with a stick blender until smooth. Pour over crust, and refrigerate until set.

Top with extra whipped cream and fresh berries.

Enjoy! :) Not totally primal, but better than most cakes!

Jezwyn said...

Hi Eileen,

I don't go out very often since I don't like not knowing what kind of meat & fat they're using. When I do go out, I make sure to go to decent places where they serve grass-fed meats and allow for specific cooking instructions (i.e. cook with butter if I ask them to).

I do get very frustrated when I go to a restaurant and EVERYTHING has somehow been garbage-ified and I have to pick around things or make so many special requests. This tends to make me grumpy and depressed since I think about all the other customers mindlessly inhaling the garbage, especially if it's expensive!

Plus, I love cooking, so I have no reason to want to go out. If I don't feel like cooking, I go for a roast chicken from a place up the road that doesn't use stuffing. There might be some junk used when coating the chicken, but I can always peel off the skin if need be. Their coating is certainly far less sticky and non-chicken-tasting than other places!

And if I go out somewhere and there's absolutely no option, I just don't eat. I just drink water. It's better than being depressed by my food and not enjoying it even if it makes my company feel weird. People who want to force you to eat just so they don't feel stupid/fat have their own issues - I say that I'm not hungry or I've already eaten, and if they're decent people they'll accept that. :)

Lucky said...

You always post such gorgeous food pics. Lovely. Makes me hungry, too! Nice composition and color as well.

Happy Birthday, and may you have many, many more! 25 - you are just a young'n!

Aeruynh said...

Happy Birthday!!

I'm new to your blog, but just went over your last twenty or so blogposts - and loving it! You're such an inspiration for paleo\primal foodies! I can't wait to try out some of your recipes - I'm even thinking about going pure meat for awhile to see how I react to it - when you eat just meat, you eat eggs too, but do you eat cheese also? (Just checking a list of what I can do - your "usual" omelette looks amazing - so clever to make an omelette into something with topping (turned filling) and making it edible by hand!)

My birthday is coming up at the end of march (I'm an -85 too), and I'm definetly trying out the choc-cherry tart, or pie or the cheesecake... lol dilemma!

Thanks!

Jezwyn said...

Hi Aeruynh (is that like Erin?)!

Thank you! Glad you like the blog - and glad my recent med muck-ups didn't scare a new reader off! :)

I'm about to go back to all-meat also, since my body isn't loving being back on the Eades' Six Week Cure shakes. I sometimes include an egg per day, but no dairy. I can tolerate including dairy, but I thrive better without it I reckon. And now, with my ghee and my huge supply of tasty coconut oil, I will keep my meat moist using that - until I make more lard!

Go the choc-cherry, I say - it could be a huge lats hurrah to fruit & nuts before you go all-meat! :D

Whitney said...

Thanks for the recipe! I appreciate it. I'm trying to figure out what to do about birthdays and the like as far as Paleo is concerned. I'm getting there, but slowly! ;)

Jezwyn said...

Cheesecake isn't paleo, but it can fit into a lacto-paleo lifestyle, and many primal lifestyle followers allow a bit of low-lactose dairy.

If you're not too worried about fructose on occasions, you could do a pile-cake of fruit rings - pineapple, cantaloupe, watermelon... And top it off with berries and banana slices, etc. Kids love it!

I also make little muffins with almond flour and egg - if you whip the egg whites separately, the muffins fluff up well, and if you add a little stevia or other sweetener, or a bit of banana or berries, they can be quite tasty.

Aeruynh said...

Hey Jezwyn - yes it's like Erin - pronounced something like Arun, with a rounder E\A sound.

My actual name is Kari , though :-) Aeruynh's just my blogger nick.

I'm probably going to try both types - choccherry and cheesecake (just because I can, lol. One for my folks, and the other for my friends.)

Thanks!