During the month of June I got a unique and exciting opportunity to share my experience and knowledge in grain-free cooking and baking. JW3 – an exciting cultural centre in London (which I mentioned in my previous post) invited me to run a two part hands-on workshop on Palaeolithic Diet (Palaeo) cooking. Those of you who know me, know we actually try and follow the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) at home, but I figured Paleo was more ‘on trend’ so I adjusted my recipes to fit the Paleo diet rules. I decided to create totally vegetarian dishes. For a diet that is considered ‘the carnivore’s diet’ and is usually heavily meat based, a range vegetarian of recipes can be a nice change. There are also meaty options for some of the recipes, but that’s your choice now. These are the recipes we cooked in the first workshop:
(Double the recipe to increase quantities)
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
3/4 cup Blanched ground almonds and more as needed
2tbsp Coconut flour
1 kaffir lime leaf, finely chopped or crumbled if dry
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
Fresh ground pepper to taste
¼ roasted butternut Squash (cut into small cubes, toss in oil and roast for 30-40min until soft. For extra flavour sprinkle some chinese 5 spice)
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 clove garlic
2-3 Shitake mushrooms, choped into small cubes (fresh or reconstituted dry ones)
1 tbsp Bamboo shoots, sliced into stripps
1 spring onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
250g minced beef
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely sliced
Ginger, one thumb sized piece, finely diced
Salt to your taste
2 Kaffir lime leaves, crushed if dry, chopped if fresh
- In a medium bowl, lightly whisk eggs with oil.
- Add the ground almonds and coconut flour, salt, kaffir lime and baking soda and stir until smooth. If the mixture is too wet, add more ground almonds. If it’s too dry, add some water, a spoonful at a time.
- Let mixture stand for 20 minutes so the flours absorbs liquid.
While the dumpling mixture is resting make the filling:
- In a frying pan heat the oil on a medium heat.
- fry the Shitake mushrooms (if fresh, until they soften), then add the garlic and toss for a minute. remove from the heat and mix in the bamboo shoots and spring onion, just to warm them through.
- Add the roasted squash to the cooled pan and mix everything into a lumpy mash. Season to taste and set aside to cool slightly.
- In a medium sized bowl, combine all the filling ingredients and mix very well.
Assembly and steaming:
- Prepare a plate or tray brushed with a little oil, to place the assembled dumplings on.
- With wet hands, roll some dumpling mixture between your palms into a ball about the size of a cherry tomato. Now, using your thumb, press into the ball and start flattening it out into your palm.
- Place a teaspoon of filling (veg or meat) in the middle of the flattened ball, then start folding the sides of the dough in to cover the filling. Seal the dough back into a ball and roll it again to re-shape into a ball. Place the stuffed dumpling on the oiled plate. Repeat this stage until you run out of dumpling dough and filling.
- Steaming: If you don’t have bamboo steaming baskets, place a small heatproof bowl upside-down in a deep saucepan (that has a lid) and place a lightly oiled plate on top of the bowl, then pour hot water half way up the bowl and bring back to a simmer. If you have steaming baskets, bring water to a boil in a suitably sized saucepan. Prepare about 5 greaseproof paper linings for your baskets and oil them as you go.
- Place the dumplings in your baskets or on the plate in the saucepan and steam for 4min (vegetarian filling) or 6-10min (for the meat filling). Try one to see if it’s cooked through and the filling is piping hot.
- Serve immediately accompanied with the Asian Dipping Sauce (recipe below) or in and asian broth.
Asian Dipping Sauce
Based on a recipe by Kendall Conrad
Makes aprox 1 cup
¼ cup toasted sesame oil
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice (2-3 limes)
2 tbsp white wine vinegar (not strictly Paleo but adds a lot of flavour)
3 tbsp honey
1 fresh red chilli pepper, seeded and finely sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 thumbnail size knob fresh ginger, crushed with the garlic
1 tsp salt
- Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk well until the honey has dissolved (this can also be done in a blender or with a hand held blitzer). Hold back a few chilli slices to decorate.
- Transfer into a serving bowl and decorate with the reserved chilli flakes.
Fresh Spring Rolls
Based on a recipe by Kendall Conrad
2 large courgettes
½ bag dried Shitake mushrooms
1 Mango, finely sliced into thin strips
1 Avocado, finely sliced and drizzled with a little lemon juice
3 small Carrots, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
½ bunch fresh mint leaves, sliced into thin ribbons
Optional 01 – One roasted chicken breast, shredded into strippes OR one grilled salmon filet, flaked. Both seasoned as you like.
Optional 02 – ½ bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped
- Place the dried shitake mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. set aside for a few minutes.
- Using a peeler, peel both courgettes in long ribbons over a large bowl. Continue around the courgette until you reach the core which can be discarded.
- Drain the mushrooms and slice into thin slices.
- Prepare a chopping board on your working area and arrange the chopped fruit, vegetables and herbs (and meat or fish if using) in separate bowls, ready for assembly. It will be good to have your serving plate/tray ready as well.
- Take two courgette ribbons and place them one above the other with a good overlap, then in one end of the ribbons place a few carrot matchsticks, a mushroom strip, mango and avocado slices, meat or fish if using and sprinkle a pinch of herbs. Make sure the filling is placed parallel with the bottom of the ribbon. It doesn’t matter if the filling comes over the top of the ribbon.
- Carefully roll the courgette ribbons around the filling and stand it up on the level bottom end, and onto your serving plate.
- Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you have used up all the ingredients.
- Serve with the Asian Dipping Sauce. Can be made a few hours in advance and refrigerated.
The last recipe in the workshop was the White Forest Muffins which I published in this blog before.