Sourcing Good Food in U.K and/or Ireland


Derval

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Definitely, definitely make your own ghee! It's so easy. I use Kerrygold unsalted. I buy a load of pats at a time and stick them in the freezer; you can melt it straight from frozen.

 

Here's how I make ghee:

Put butter in saucepan on low heat.

Leave to do its own thing on the back burner while I get on with cooking other meals.

Once it's melted and it's starting to get a bit bubbly and more angry, move it to smallest burner to bubble away for a bit longer (I'd have it on the smallest burner the whole time, except that my small burner is on the front of the stove, and I usually make ghee while making other meals so I prefer to have boiling hot butter towards the back as I'm quite clumsy!). 

Remember in a panic that I've got ghee going and switch off the burner. Sigh with relief that it's not burnt (or if the bits on the bottom look a bit brown, remember that ghee is supposed to taste a bit toasty and nutty).

Strain through a sieve lined with a double layer of muslin. 

The whole process should take around 20 minutes, but Better Butter in Well Fed is left to go for an hour, so it's really quite difficult to make a mistake!

 

I usually make my own nut butter, but that's more because if I bought it would be too easy for me and I would just end up eating the whole jar in one sitting. If I have to make it then I'm less likely to put the effort in. I'm not entirely sure it's cheaper per kilo; I baught organic almonds and organic cashews at As Nature Intended for £16.00 and £14.00 a kilo which is possibly how much the meridien stuff is in Holland and Barrett. Of course you can get non-organic nuts for much cheaper; again I think I go for the most expensive ones almost as a deterrent: if I only allow myself to buy organic then I won't buy too much at a time, hence I won't gorge on them (I'm sensing a pattern here that nuts are FWB for me!!)

 

Here's how I make nut butter:

Roast nuts in oven until brown and toasty

Leave to cool

*Put in food processor (I have a Kenwood)

*Walk away and leave it for five minutes.

*Come back, scrape down if it looks like it's not doing anything.

*Walk away.

Repeat starred steps two or three times more.

When you think it looks done, scrape it down again, switch the food processor on again and walk away for another few minutes (seriouesly, it always needs longer than you think!)

The mixture will be runny and warm; you should be able to pour it easily into your jar.

Lick spoon and food processor clean.

I usually just make single nut butters (mostly because I'm never organised to have sufficient quantities of lots of different nuts) but last week I didn't have enough cashew nuts to make a single jar so I did equal quantities of almond and cashew nuts and it was very good, better than the single nut versions.

 

The other thing I think is definitely worth making yourself is mayonnaise; but I'm sure you all know that already!

 

Eating out in London: yes, nandos is OK but generally I find it difficult, just because it's not a very relaxing experience! You think that you've read the menus carefully, you've checked the websites, etc., but when it actually comes to ordering it's stressful to think about what they've put in the food that you've forgotten to mention you can't eat. On the Whole30 website they make it sound easy to just quiz the waiters and so on, but food service is set up so different here in the UK: the waiting staff don't HAVE to make a super big effort to ensure a big tip. I'd say the more you pay (i.e. the fancier the restaurant) the easier it is to get good food, partly because they'll listen to dietary requirements, and partly because they tend to be more into sourcing good meat and veg, using local produce, etc. There is a paleo friendly street stall: http://feedmeprimal.co.uk/ (run by a friend of mine; food's amazing. I believe she's also at Sunday Upmarket this summer). There is one paleo restaurant soon to open in London (http://puretasterestaurant.com/), but they've had trouble finding premises so it's going to be a while yet. Not helpful for London, but Paleo has opened in Leamington Spa: http://www.paleorestaurant.co.uk/; the menu looks amazing!

 

Brekafast options:

After three Whole30s I have FINALLY come to terms with eating just normal meals for breakfast (i.e. not making a distinction between what I would eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner), although I don't really eat eggs other than in the mornings. I cook breakfast for my boyfriend and I most days, and they are usually fairly functional rather than delicious (in comparison to lunch and dinner, which both take a great deal of thought and effort!). As a guide, here's what we've had this week (can't remember what Monday's was):

Tuesday: Courgette hash with poached eggs (http://www.theorganickitchen.org/blog-tutorials/poached-eggs-over-zucchini-hash/)

Wednesday: No time for breakfast in the morning so I brought a tin of mackerel in spicy tomato sauce (WARNING: the Waitrose essential mackerel in spicy tomato sauce has glucose in. I'm not Whole30ing yet so it was OK) and had it with meze-y stuff -- olives, sundried toms, cherry toms, beetroot, cucamelons (an exciting find at the farmer's market)

Thursday: Beef sausage and kale stirfry (from this: http://naturalkitchenadventures.com/paleo/sausage-cavolo-nero/)

Friday: Veal and broccoli with cashewnuts stirfry (recipe inspired from this: http://paleomg.com/beef-and-broccoli-cashew-stiry-fry/; I marinated the veal last night and I left out the honey)

 

I wish I could say I was super organised and chopped everything up the night before but that would be a lie. It would be easier on myself if I did though; perhaps that'll be my mission for the next whole30! The easiest breakfast thing I do is some sort of shakshuka: http://naturalkitchenadventures.com/recipe/braised-eggs-shakshuka/ -- as long as you have eggs, onion and a carton of chopped tomatoes, you've got a warm, (relatively) hands off and quick breakfast.

 

I find that when I've had a good trip to the farmer's market at the weekend, and made plans in my head for recipes (I don't plan exactly what to eat on each day) my week is so much easier. I usually have some sort of cooked vegetables in the fridge (roasted red peppers, roasted beetroot, roasted mix veg or ratatouille) so I can throw things together, and lots of quick-cook greens (spinach, kale, chard). I usually spend Sunday (or more likely Monday!) prepping food for the week. 

 

I've waffled on enough; hope this is helpful!!

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Thanks for the food stall tip, TDC! Will check that out next time I'm in that part of town. Venison chilli... lovely!

 

Also love shakshuka for breakfast and it just improves in the fridge if you make enough to last a few days. My another quick breakfast go-to has been frozen leaf spinach cooked in the microwave, with poached/fried eggs on top. With ghee in the spinach. Yum!

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I work full time and have a toddler - we all leave the house at 7.45am so I hear you on the breakfast front ..I usually do one big frittata or frittata muffins if I think I will need it to go or do a big sweet potato hash.  Today I made pork breakfast sausage patties and fried up a big batch of mushrooms so will be having sausage/mushrooms/eggs for the next few days.  I also like this http://meatified.com/slow-cooker-breakfast-meatloaf/ as makes a lot and then I cut a slice and pan fry it with some eggs.  Often I have a cup of soup as well to up the veg quota. 

 

For gravy, either put some onions and carrots under your roasting meat and then make the gravy with chicken stock but no flour as usual and mash up the onions and carrots whilst it's bubbling away to thicken it or use arrowroot powder as a sub for cornflour.  It makes the gravy a bit glossy so I prefer the first option. 

 

On restaurants in London, I manage to eat out 3 times a week and stay reasonably compliant but it is much harder during a whole 30 than just aiming for reasonableness in between!  Loads of places do a Tuna Nicoise salad (potatoes now in yay!) and ask for no dressing but a bottle of olive oil to be safe.  http://www.therealgreek.com/menu/food is a good chain option as well as Carluccio's has a gluten free chicken and hazelnut salad (again olive oil on the side) .  I agree that top end restaurants can be easier.  I often call or email in advance my requirements especially if I'm eating with clients as don't really want a long debate and then agree with the restaurant in advance what I'm going to eat.  Marcus Wareing is supposedly doing me a replacement taster menu for a meal in September, we shall see!! 

 

Hope you are getting on ok.  I've done 3 now over 18 months and been reasonably compliant in between, I absolutely love feeling this way.  I've never made my own ghee though so am feeling like I have been missing a trick, this is definitely on the list now! 

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Thanks so much for the shakshuka idea TDC. Loving the change!. Loubee, it sounds like you have your hands full. Would you mind showing us a draft of the email you sent out? Definitely need to try that recipe praxis project. However am in search of a recipe with beef mince for tonight :-)

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My boyfriend is always asking me 'where does the wet come from'...meaning...how do you aways manage to make paleo-friendly gravy?? If I do a roast I usually line the bottom of the roasting tin with veg (carrots and onions as a bare minimum, can also add red peppers, squash, courgettes, etc.). Depending on how I'm feeling I might leave them as is and serve them as a roast veg, or if I've already got loads of veg to go with the roast I'll whizz them up in my immersion blender* with whatever drippings there are from the tin and from the plate after carving. I've never made the nomnompaleo chicken and gravy, but that's mostly because I don't see the point of spending four to six hours over cooking roast chicken when I can spend an hour and a half (I usually get a small chicken just for two of us) but I would like to try it sometime. 

 

For other meals that need 'wetness' I usually just make a sort of onion gravy: sweat some onions until soft, add salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, dried herbs (usually thyme but depends on what the meat is), allow onions to caramelise a bit, add some stock (or if no stock, add water). It won't be as thick as your usual flour-roux gravy but it's tasty. If you want to thicken it a bit you can add some arrowroot, but that makes it more gloopy, a bit like you get with a cornflour gravy.

 

For Chinese meals I tend to go for the gloopy feel as they usually do use cornflour in a lot of their meals. This is a good recipe base for a sauce: http://paleomg.com/beef-and-broccoli-cashew-stiry-fry/ (by the way, if no one has seen my previous post about coconut aminos, the cheapest way to get it is shipped directly from the US. Go to iherb.com and use my discount voucher code PJQ508 or go to this link: http://www.iherb.com/?rcode=PJQ508). I've done the Maths -- if you order four bottles they cost just over £4 each; if you get 7 bottles it's just under £4. It's still pricey per bottle, I know, but I do like the flavour, and the four bottles tend to last me quite a while. They keep well in the cupboard, and seem to last months in the fridge. Obviously it depends on how much you use them but I last bought a batch in January and have only just finished the last of the four bottles so for me it's worth it.

 

 

*TOP TIP: get yourself an immersion blender. I asked for a food processor or blender for my birthday last year. My grandparents and sister clubbed together to get me the kenwood with mini blender, jug blender, all attachments, bells and whisteles etc. My aunty bought me a tesco own brand immersion blender. Guess which one I use more??! More often than not I use the immersion blender -- for mayo, for whizzing up pate, gravy, the ubiquitous Malaysian base of onion-chilli-garlic, whizzing up coconut milk with frozen berries to make instant sorbet (WARNING: not Whole30 friendly!) etc. I do use the food processor for bigger stuff (e.g. to grate carrots and cabbage for a big coleslaw or to make nut butter) but the immersion blender is my god send!

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Oh yes, I meant to say. In the previous two Whole30s I've done I've always had a frittata or frittata muffins available in the fridge. I haven't done it for a while, I think I got a bit sick of them. I've not always been a big fan of eggs and although I've come round to them now, I think I did overdose last time! Perhaps also I tried to do my own fillings and flavourings, which meant I ended up making the same thing over and over -- maybe if I actually follow some recipes they'll be better. They are a nice and quick thing to have in the fridge, though, for those days when you've got no inspiration for breakfast, or haven't got time to make something fresh.

 

This week I'm planning to make these for grab n go purposes: http://naturalkitchenadventures.com/recipe/baked-egg-in-bacon-nests/

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That biltong has sugar in. Otherwise, great resource, thanks! I might get myself some of the nuts, nut butters and powders. Have you used any of the vegetable powders? Be interesting to know how they can be used!

 

Paleo Britain (http://www.paleo-britain.co.uk/) and Perfectly Paleo (http://perfectlypaleo.co.uk/) are two websites for buying paleo products and Primal Snack Box is another resource (http://primalsnackbox.co.uk/). All pretty pricey, as all paleo-branded products are. The fact of the matter is the paleo movement is a lot more advanced in the US than in the UK so there are more resources. On our side, though, are generally higher agriculture and animal welfare standards! :-)

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I finished my Whole120 last month. This thread was really helpful so I'd thought I'd add some of the foods and where I bought them from.

 

Asda

 

They do a couple of varieties of cooked ham , bacon and  pancetta that are compliant on ingredients, but were a no for me on not being outdoor reared.

the best thing I found was venison steaks, two steaks for £4, often these were as tender as fillet steak.

Was cheapest for organic mushrooms, cauliflower etc.

 

Tesco

 

Good for organic sweet potato, cucumbers and spinach.

Butchery counter had the cheapest outdoor reared pork, free range chickens, British lamb chops and beef roasting joints, depending on what was on offer, the beef was nothing special taste wise but it was consistently tender and used sliced for breakfasts and lunch boxes. worth mentioning again, this was the only place I could find compliant fish sauce.

 

Waitrose

 

Waitrose was the only place I could find high welfare, complaint bacon, the air dried free range smoked or unsmoked was the only compliant one I found. The quality of the meat on the butchers counter was excellent and there are often bargins and also rarer cuts, like ox cheek, bavette etc. Waitrose is also good for seafood. My latest discovery is the Aberdeen Angus frozen 1/4lb burgers there are currently on offer, and contain Beef, salt and black pepper. They also do a good quality complaint chorizo.

 

Amazon

 

I found amazon best for everything coconut, using subscribe and save with 5 items a month you can save an additional 15% I found this Milk good, and have tried most of the coconut oils going with whatever is cheapest closest to the order date, you can save a lot tracking the prices. We currently have a 4.6kg organic coconoil brand tub, which was a lot cheaper than the smaller tubs.

 

For emergency lunches, both M&S and Sainsbury's do pre cooked roast beef that is compliant.

 

If you can find them olives et al do complaint marinated olives, these were on amazon but seem to have stopped. 

 

My greatest single discovery was plantains from our local indian grocer, these became a staple.

 

Free range chicken thighs were cheapest from our local butcher.

 

From time to time www.musclefood.com do offers  on grass fed rump steaks and grass fed mince, I would say the quality was average but the price was less than half supermarket prices if you find the right voucher codes.

 

I had some compliant bacon from delivered from Devon Rose, but I found it overly salty.

 

I hope this helps people tracking down complaint things.

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To add to this: Paleo Nutrition Wales do sales all the time on bulk buys and the meat is superb. Over the past few months we've both 10 packs of mince, 10 packs of sirloin steak, 10 packs of pork, etc...it's great to just have these things read in the freezer. If you like them on Facebook you'll get info on their sales. Currently they have a sale on mince and rose veal.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just a heads up: I made the nomnompaleo slow cooker roast chicken last weekend. It was so good we planned to do it again, but ran out of time and ended up roasting our chicken as normal in the oven. The difference was enormous: the breast meat was much dryer out of the oven. On the plus side, the skin was crispy! So it's a toss up really. Thinking back, though, I don't remember feeling deprived of crispy chicken skin while eating it. Perhaps I helped remedy that by making her cracklin' chicken which is pretty much the best thing I've ever eaten. Ever. 

 

PS: I know this is off topic of sourcing good food!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been searching high and low for a budget friendly coconut oil. I find most places charge around £6 for 300ml. This week I went to my local Sainsburys (it's one of the large ones) and they have KTC Coconut Oil 500ml for £2.50!! It's not organic, but it's 100% coconut oil so might interest those on a slightly tighter budget.

 

I now use either duck fat or coconut oil for cooking depending on the dish I make.

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Hi menyala, the KTC coconut oil is RBD oil (refined, bleached and deodorised). You know how it doesn't taste of anything? That's because the processing of the oil removes all the flavour. Coconut oil should taste of coconut oil; which is why I limit its use to Asian dishes. The manufacturing process of this coconut oil necessitates it going through the RBD process - it is made from copra, which is dried coconut flesh which is then subjected to high heat to extract as much oil as possible from it. Some argue that the RBD process produces an inferior oil and the further chemical processes can be quite dangerous, healthwise. I don't really know the extent of this, but I do choose virgin coconut oil over the RBD stuff. Virgin coconut oil is expensive because it takes more coconuts to produce a smaller amount of oil. Coconut oil made from copra is an efficient way of producing a lot of oil whereas virgin coconut oil is produced from fresh coconut meat, which yields a smaller amount per coconut. Moreover, the manufacturing standards are a little higher. You don't need to buy organic coconut oil - in fact there isn't really such a thing as organic coconut trees as the plantations are naturally organic; the difference is that the organic ones have been certified organic. In actual fact they are no different than non-organic plantations. It's so that places who need to be able to offer the organic label to their food can do so. There is also little difference between virgin and extra virgin so there's no point going for the latter.

 

I've done a lot of research on coconut oil prices and the Coconoil stuff I posted above is the cheapest I've found, per gram. I usually buy three 960g bottles at a time and they last me a good 6 months. As I said, I tend to use it only for Asian food, which I cook quite often. Otherwise I make my own ghee (a pat of butter's worth of ghee lasts me a week) for the majority of my cooking, and duck or goose fat for roasting.

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Yup, I second TDC. I buy from Coconoil too, also three tubs at a time, also lasts me about six months. I don't use coconut oil in anything I don't want to use the coconut taste for, but having said that it is yummy on roast veg (particularly butternut squash with some cinnamon, and cauliflower with paprika and cocoa powder) and obviously for curries etc.

 

If I'm not using coconoil I tend to just use olive oil (I hate the taste of ghee).

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