Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones

Don't throw away your chicken bones folks...

Don’t throw away your chicken bones folks…

I am taking my new-found conversion to carnivore very seriously indeed: today found me creating bone broth having read so many people enthusing about it online.

Basically, it’s stock – the long, slow cooking of bones and vegetables until you have a densely flavoured liquid you can use either as a flavouring for gravies, risottos, soups or drink it as it is. Enthusiasts claim all kinds of marvellous qualities for broth – immune system bolstering, hair, skin and nail improving, cellulite curing and gut healing.

Sadly, no-one said: “Actually, this truly amazing broth also turns you into THE most skilled writer, capable of rattling off 20,000 witty words a week that everyone wants to read. AND it kills off any desire to drink red wine.”

Still, worth a try for the qualities quoted in the second para if not the third hmm? As is my wont, I researched recipes online and then cobbled something together of my very own, using the world’s most marvellous culinary creation – the slow cooker.

Bone Broth AKA Chicken Stock:

  • 500g (roughly) chicken bones*
  • 2tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots,, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
  • 8-10 black peppercorns, ground in a pestle and mortar (optional, I put these in because I like heat)
  • Handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • Handful fresh sage leaves

Put all of the ingredients into your slow cooker and cover with cold water. Place on a low setting and cook for roughly 4-18 hours (the longer you leave it, the more mineral content you get out of the bones). You may need to top the water levels up from time to time. Strain once finished and use the liquid for stock or add a little sea salt to taste and drink as a broth.

 

 

*You can store chicken bones in the freezer until you’ve built up enough of a quantity.

 

 

Advertisements

The Power of Paleo

Salmon super skin recipe

When I gave up office work, I made a lot of plans for the lifestyle I wanted to lead.

Free from the tyranny of the nine to five and without a daily one and a half hour commute, the headiness of more freedom to plan my day was intoxicating. I’d be getting up early still, I decided,  I would immediately get into my work-out gear and I’d head out each morning, come rain or shine for a daily walk/run. I might also throw in 10 minutes or so of morning yoga to ensure I can still cut my own toenails post 60. I’d add in the odd lunchtime gym session and I’d ensure there was fresh air a-plenty every single day.

Oh, and I’d tidy the house from top to bottom and create a minimalist haven where ideas could freely flow, magically imbibing me with prodigious writing capabilities…

OK, OK some of this stuff fell by the way side.  The early starts…? Ho hum! Freed from the shriek of the six-thirty am alarm, I allow myself to wake up naturally these days. As it’s summer, that’s often 4am so I go back to sleep till 8-ish. Ahem, sometimes 9-ish. And our house remains gloriously stuffed full of weird junk. I’m just not hard enough for that ‘one-in/one-out’ malarkey.

However, certain things have happened. I’ve been reading for sometime about the benefits of a Paleo lifestyle – there’s a much better explanation of Paleo principles here, but basically proponents advocate emulating the hunter-gatherer lifestyle. The bulk of your diet is meat, fish, eggs and veg, with plenty of natural fats, and a little bit of fruit. You do the odd bit of fasting. You get plenty of sleep, plenty of fresh air and sunshine and you do lots of low-level movement every day, with the odd sprint added in. (You’re pretending to run away from a mammoth/sabre-toothed tiger, say.)

Freelancing/home working does make such a lifestyle more possible. Fresh air does feature more often in my day-to-day life. It’s almost intoxicating. Sunshine is a little harder to come by, seeing as my location is the west of Scotland, but when it comes I make a point of getting out in it. And the diet? Much easier to follow when you’re working from home as knocking up protein and salad lunches is very do-able.

I struggle with the digital detox, especially now that I’m freelance as checking my emails frequently seems compulsory, and the odd TV programme in bed always feels like a nice treat.

Over all though, Paleo living gives me a lot more energy. There are no more afternoon slumps (though from time to time, I take advantage of my non-office working life and take a cheeky wee siesta) and there are productive evenings. Next week, the de-clutter begins…

 

Victoria Beckham Scoffs Enormous Cheesecake…

282045-victoria-beckham

Vickie B – pic courtesy of the International Business Times

A friend of a friend of a friend once told me a story about Victoria Beckham

Apparently, the Beckhams are actually lovely employers (the friend of a friend etc knew someone employed by them), but they do (allegedly) insist on one stipulation from their employees – thou shalt not eat in front of Victoria.

I am intrigued. Is such a rule put in place because Victoria turns feral when faced with people tucking into food? There you are, innocently eating your cheese and ham sandwich and about to dive into that home-made flapjack when suddenly Victoria ATTACKS you. She snatches the sandwich from your lips and wolves it down in seconds. She grabs the flapjack from your hands and crams it into her gob. She finishes the food and howls at the moon, “GIMME MORE!!”

Oh please, let my imagining of this story be true! Anyway, I mention this as I am conscientiously trying to live as Paleo as possible (more of this in the next blog post), so I fear a feral moment of my own may well be coming on soon.

If such a wild deviation from the path of the hunter-gatherer diet did present itself, it would probably take the form of Mama Highheelsandpinkglitter’s white chocolate cheesecake. Don’t bother with that baking cheesecake nonsense and instead create this lovely vision of white deliciousness…

Enjoy – and if you do want to go feral on it, I’d recommend reading the following guide to The Attack on The Cheesecake

White Chocolate Cheesecake (serves 10-12)

Sunflower Oil for greasing
40g unsalted butter
50g dark chocolate
200g packet hob nobs
250 g marscapone
200g Greek yogurt
500g white chocolate (cheaper stuff melts better)
75g castor sugar
284 ml double cream, lightly whipped
Cocoa powder for dusting

Lightly oil a n 8-in loose bottomed cake tin with the sunflower oil. Melt the butter and half the dark chocolate in a pan, then stir in the biscuit crumbs until well mixed. Press on to the base of the cake tin and chill.

Melt the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. When it’s melted beat in the marscapone, yogurt and sugar.

Fold the whipped cream in and pour on to the biscuit base.

Grate the rest of the dark chocolate and scatter over the top of the cheesecake, then dust with sieved cocoa. Chill 4 hours or overnight.