Paleo Bacon Burgers

It snowed!  The weatherman has been threatening that it would for what feels like ages and finally this morning we woke up to a lovely fresh blanket of it in Kilburn.  London just looks so much … nicer when it’s covered in snow.   Or in Spring.  Or just about any time it isn’t raining actually.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE London.  I was born here and it’s doubtful I’ll ever leave, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it when it even when it’s raining.

Anyway, there is a point to this post and that is that it’s cold.  And when it’s cold I want to eat comfort food like burgers so I thought I’d post my favourite Paleo burger recipe because it’s pretty much all I can think about today.

The recipe is from my absolute favourite cookbook, Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain and there’s over 150 Paleo friendly recipes made up of breakfast ideas, main meals, sweet treats and even some mocktails! The photography is beautiful, the layout’s easy to navigate and the recipes themselves don’t call for any hard to find or ridiculously expensive ingredients which make it ideal for me and anyone else who doesn’t have much time after work to spend in the kitchen.

I have slightly adapted the recipe from the book as I haven’t had a chance to make any barbecue sauce in a while and I like to bake my burgers rather than grill them but they always come out juicy and delicious with a wonderful flavour.  Needless to say there’s never any leftover!

Recipe adapted from the Against All Grain cookbook:

For Burgers –

1 pound ground beef
4 slices cooked bacon (chopped and reserve the fat)
3 tablespoons tomato puree
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ sea salt
Dash of paprika

For Mushrooms –

1 tables reserved bacon fat
4 ounces chestnut mushrooms
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1 garlic clove
¼ teaspoon sea salt

Preheat the oven to 200c.

Cook the bacon and chop up into small chunks.

To make the burgers mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and once combined form 4 patties about 1 inch thick each.

To make the mushrooms, heat the reserved bacon fat in a skillet over a medium heat. Add all the ingredients and cook for about 15 minutes until tender.

I like my burgers well done so cooked them for about 8-10 minutes.

And voilà …

"Against All Grain" Bacon Burgers

“Against All Grain” Bacon Burgers

I served mine with sweet potato fries and homemade ketchup. Delish!

How low can you go? Carb fear and acne

No Carbs

I’m obsessive compulsive. I pretty much aggressively plan every second of my day, every day. I’ve always done it and it’s always driven me and those around me a little bit crazy! So when I first started eating a low carb diet in July 2012 I took to it with some serious gusto and didn’t once stray from my planned meals. There was no phasing it in for me; I went cold turkey on all wheat, gluten, sugary treats and my beloved salt and vinegar crisps. I lost over a stone and a half in that first 2 months and felt great but I was still having problems with my digestion and IBS which is when I came across Paleo.

With that went all grains and dairy and for a long time I felt absolutely amazing. Then, after about a year, things started to change and I had no idea why. My IBS went into overdrive and I was having regular outbreaks of acne all over my chin and jaw line that got worse with my cycle – not attractive. And we aren’t talking small little pimples; we are talking about massive, inflamed spots that were painful and far too red to cover with even a shovel load of make-up. I tried various lotions and potions, none of which worked of course and the more frustrated and stressed I got about it, the worse the acne got. It didn’t help that my GP literally told me that if I wasn’t willing to take the pill, there wasn’t anything she could give me and to eat more bread to stop the constant mad dashes for a bathroom. Erm, right then – needless to say I haven’t been bad for a follow up with that one!

Around this time I had started doing my own research anyway and came across this blog post on ditching low carb and some stuff started to make sense. I’d never actually counted carbs before but like Anne Marie I had a total fear of them! I thought that if I ate too many I’d put on all the weight I’d lost and so gave up ALL fruit and wouldn’t dare touch a sweet potato. Turns out I was lucky if I was getting even 30g of carbs on some days. No wonder my hormones were all over place and my skin was breaking out so violently. My body was trying to tell me something!

I’ve now realised that although I was eating only Paleo approved (and low fodmap) foods, it was what I refused to eat that was causing me problems. Obviously it won’t work for everyone, but my body needs at least 100g of carbs a day to feel healthy and nourished. Also, I now know that you need sufficient glucose stores for skin healing, and to speed up the recovery of acne scars so I’m looking forward to ditching the foundation in the not too distant future!

I should say that although I now know you can go too low, you won’t find me huddled in the corner scoffing cookies. I think I’ll stick to my almond flour banana pancakes and maple syrup. And I won’t be beating myself up about having the odd gluten free pizza either! Because sometimes, it would just be rude not to …

Top Tips for Figuring Out the Farmers Market

Farmers Market

Well, here goes!  My first blog post of 2015 and I thought what better way to start than focusing on health.  It is January after all …

Ever since I became Paleo I’ve been very conscious about what I’m putting into my body and discovering what local produce there is available to me in London. So my new Sunday morning activity has become exploring some of my local Farmers Market – doing my weekly shop and trying some of the delectable food on offer.   Not only are Farmers Markets a great opportunity to support British farmers and local growers, but you also have the opportunity to ask questions about their produce and make sure you’re buying the healthiest and most nutritious food on offer!

Don’t get me wrong, this can sometimes be a bit of a chore.  Especially if you’ve been out until the wee hours on a Saturday, or if it’s ridiculously cold and even getting out of the onesie seems like a wildly unachievable ambition.  I also know from experience that your first visit can be very daunting and a little overwhelming. With so many stalls selling similar produce, it’s hard to know which to buy from and what you’re supposed to be asking for!  But if you’re organised and prepare you can get everything you need and even come away feeling full (try before you buy people)!

So before you grab your bag for life, here are some things to consider:

Plan in advance: Before you visit the market it’s a great idea to decide exactly what you need for the week and write a list. That way you’ll have a rough idea of your budget should be and more likely stick to it. You’ll also have a chance to decide how much space you have to store the meat you buy; there’s no point buying huge amounts of food that you can’t sufficiently store!

When: The earlier the better when it comes to arrival time to avoid the crowds or missing out on your must haves. However, if you’re looking for bargains and happy to buy what’s left, closing time would be better for you. Most sellers would rather sell their stock at a discount than have to take it all back home.

Bargain Hunt: When arriving it’s best to have a wonder around and look at all the stalls and produce available before diving in and making your first purchase. This is the only way to make sure you get the best produce at the best price. It’ll also give you a chance to …

Ask questions: Knowing what to inquire about was what I found most daunting but being able to ask the right questions about your meat and/or veg such as where it came from and how it was cultivated is the biggest advantage of buying from a farmers market. Some things you should be asking are – Is this red meat grassfed? Is this poultry/these eggs free range? Are these fruits/veg organic? Do you use pesticides?  If you’re too shy or worried about sounding stupid, most stalls have their email address listed on the markets website so you can contact them in advance to ask your questions!

Finally, have fun! I go with my boyfriend and we make a leisurely morning of it with coffee (and in David’s case PIE!). The stall holders are a friendly bunch and there’s always a vast array of hot food on offer to try and you can even just go for brunch!

You can find your local London Farmers Market here http://www.lfm.org.uk/