TSL’s ‘Anything Goes’ Meatballs (AIP Friendly)

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TSL Meatballs

(Image by LM for TSL)

One of the topics of conversation at the AIP picnic on Sunday was this: –

 What do you eat on the AIP when you can’t face cooking?

And, it’s a good question. It was mooted that perhaps there might be a ‘secret squirrel’  restaurant here in Sydney that could cater to one in the elimination phase of the AIP. Sadly, if there is, I have yet to find it.

My not-so-sexy answer for those nights you can’t face cooking is this: -

Have a secret stash in your freezer!

Anyone who is well versed in cooking for a special diet – autoimmune or otherwise – knows that the first step is preparation. In fact, preparation is likely the second and third step, as well. Preparation is e v e r y t h i n g !

Here at Casa TSL, I’m a massive (not just big, baby. MASSIVE!) believer in cooking once to eat twice, thrice or even more if I can get away with it. If you’re going to the trouble of preparing good, wholesome REAL food from scratch, do yourself a favour – double the recipe and freeze the extras.

And, one of the easiest, most economical staples to have in your secret freezer stash is meatballs.

Miracles are like meatballs, because nobody can exactly agree on what they are made of, where they come from, or how often they should appear. (Lemony Snicket, ‘The Carnivorous Carnival’)

Meatballs are a bit of a wonder food. They’re portable. Kids love them. They’re versatile. And, this particular recipe can be amended to suit whatever you happen to have in your larder…

If you have lamb mince instead of beef or pork, then go with that. Fancy mint or coriander (cilantro) over parsley? – no problem! Prefer grated carrot or zucchini to silver-beet. Done! Only have spring onions (scallions)? That’s fine, too.

Here’s my stand-by freezer stash number for you:

TSL's 'Anything Goes' Meatballs (AIP Friendly)

  • Servings: approx. 38 balls
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

TSL Anything Goes Meatballs

Ingredients:

450g x grass-fed beef mince (ground beef)
450g x happy pork mince (ground pork)
1 x small onion, peeled and chopped
1 x garlic clove
1 x generous handful flat leaf parsley
1/2 x cup chopped silver-beet/chard
1/2 x teaspoon salt
1 x Tablespoon fat

Method:

1. Throw all the ingredients except the meat into your food processor and give a good whizz until thoroughly minced and mixed.

2. Add your minced meat and mix again.

3. Using a Tablespoon as a measure, roll spoonfuls of the mixture into balls and pop onto a plate.

4. Heat a large fry pan over a medium heat with your fat. Fry the meatballs in batches – about 5 minutes before turning and repeating.

5. Serve!

E N J O Y !

TSL Meatballs in Root Vegetable SOup

We served our TSL ‘Anything Goes’ Meatballs in Root Vegetable Soup with Parsley Oil
Parsley Oil Recipe coming in the next post!
(Image by LM for TSL)

How do you like your meatballs?

The Great Sydney AIP Picnic!

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The Three AIP Amigos

The Three Amigos
Rory from The Paleo PI
Jo (me!) from This Sydney Life
Kirstie from The Nutritionista
(Image by TSL)

What do you get when you mix ten followers of the Autoimmune Protocol with five kids and three puppies in the Sydney Botanical Gardens on a Sunday afternoon in March? – The inaugural Sydney ‘AIP Supper Club’ Picnic!

After the success of our first ever Australian AIP Supper Club shindig last November; Rory (from The Paleo PI), Kirstie (from The Nutritionista) and I thought it would be a great idea to extend our group to fellow AIPers in the general Sydney vicinity.

We had no idea what to expect, but we put the call out over social media to join the three of us for our first extended AIP Picnic (and crossed our fingers that it wouldn’t rain)…

AIP Picnic Invitation

The invitation…

What can I tell you?

We had a blast!

Such a great time! I’m not sure about you, but I reckon’ its a pretty big call to turn up for a picnic with a bunch of people you’ve never met, and may have only ‘seen’ on the internet.

So – to those of you who took the plunge and came along to the picnic, we say…

Thank you!

It was so wonderful to meet fellow AIP peeps and swap war stories with others who get it, over food you know you can actually eat without the worry of experiencing a flare.

TSL AIP Picnic

Picnicking AIP Style…
(Image by TSL)

Everybody brought a plate. And, we dined very well!

Kirstie’s AIP Celebration Chicken Salad rocked! Rory’s always popular Bacon Wrapped Dates made the trip up from Canberra with him. We had a lovely selection of meat balls, sweet potato and spinach patties and fruit.

Super special mention and a HUGE shout out must go to the lovely Alaena from Grazed and Enthused.  We had two recipes from Alaena’s fabulous blog featured at our picnic - Avocado Carob Fudge and Cranberry Relish Meatballs. Did you realise you’re so famous in Sydney, Alaena?

Wanna see what I took along…?

Cranberry Relish Meatballs

Cranberry Relish Meatballs
Recipe from Grazed and Enthused
Recommended by TSL!
(Image by LM for TSL)

AIP Gingerbread People

AIP Gingerbread People
Recipe by Tyler over at Primitive Homemaker
Also recommended by TSL
(Image by LM for TSL)

Anybody can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathise with a friend’s success. (Oscar Wilde)

It was heart warming to hear of the successes people are experiencing through implementing healthy and positive changes to their diets and lifestyles. And, for me, it reinforced that the choices I am making are definitely the right ones for my health.

TSL AIP Picnic

Some of the Sydney AIP Picnic Gang
(Image by TSL)

We’ll be holding another picnic and will keep you posted. Do feel free to leave a message if you’d like to be included in the next invitation mail out.

We’d love to see you there!

 

You Won’t Believe it’s TOMATO-FREE Ragu Bolognese (AIP-Friendly)

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TSL Tomato Free Ragu Bolognese

TSL Tomato-Free Ragu Bolognese
(Image by LM for TSL)

If kids can learn how to make a simple Bolognese sauce, they will never go hungry. It’s pretty easy to cook pasta, but a good sauce is way more useful. (Emeril Lagasse)

Until just over a year ago, when I started on this Autoimmune Protocol caper, I’d been trying to teach the teenager how to make a good Bolognese sauce for quite some time. I reckon’ everybody should have a good Bolognese recipe in their repertoire…

The thing is, a good Bolognese takes time to cook properly. Hours. And, the teenager likes food that is more immediate…

And then, I started the protocol. And my lovely BEST EVER Ragu Bolognese became naught but a memory. Because, a good Bolognese is traditionally made with tomatoes.

Until now

This week is all about Ragu Bolognese here at Casa TSL. And, my personal mission to create an AIP-friendly version of this winter staple. In other words, without tomatoes.

And, I’ve cracked it! In fact, LM says this even trumps the original tomato-based version. Bold words!

In addition to my beetroot and pumpkin-laden Tomato Passata Replacement, this number also has the added benefit of both bone broth and chicken livers. Not only does it taste great, but you can be sure you’re getting some good gut repairing bone broth and a big hit of vitamin A from the liver. It’s a great way to sneak some more liver into your diet if you’re a little funny about offal…

The thing about Bolognese is that, while it does take a long time to come to its full flavour potential, because you’re making a large amount, you have enough for a big crowd. In fact, once you portion it up and pop it in your freezer, there’s easily enough for eight to ten in this recipe.

And, with Bolognese in your freezer, you have a seriously good meal only minutes away.

Spaghetti is love. (Mario Batali)

TSL Tomato Free Ragu Bolognese and Zoodles

Tomato Free Ragu Bolognese on Zoodles
aka green spaghetti!
(Image by LM for TSL)

We served ours over oodles of zoodles (zucchini noodles) this week. But it could just as easily have been placed into lettuce cups with some avocado and coriander (cilantro). Or, served over lightly steamed veggies.

Tomato Free Ragu Bolognese

  • Servings: approx 8 - 10
  • Time: 4 1/2 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

TSL Tomato Free Ragu Bolognese

Ingredients:

About 500g grass-fed Beef mince
About 500g happy pork or veal mince
Coconut oil (or fat of choice)
About 225g happy chicken livers
2 x medium onions (chopped)
4 x large cloves of garlic (minced)
About 150g speck (or pancetta), chopped
800mls of my tomato-free passata
500ml beef bone broth (preferably home-made!)
Fresh herbs of choice (basil, parsley or whatever you have to hand)
Salt & Pepper (omit pepper if in elimination stage of AIP)
Sea Vegetables (Optional, but so good for you! I use this one)

Method:

  1. Heat your oven to 140°C/275°F
  2. Heat your largest frying pan over a medium heat. Add a generous dollop of coconut oil. Gently fry the onion and garlic until softened – about ten minutes. Give it a stir every now and then.
  3. Add the chopped speck to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes. Transfer to a large casserole (my beloved le Creuset holds just over 4 litres).
  4. Add some more coconut oil to the pan and turn the heat up to high. Add the minced beef in batches to brown. I use a wooden fork to break it up in the pan. Add the cooked mince to the casserole. Repeat until all your beef is browned.
  5. Do the same with the pork mince. While the pork mince is cooking, rinse the chicken livers and pat them dry  with a paper towel. Trim off any sinew and chop them into teeny-tiny pieces.
  6. Once the pork is browned and transferred to the casserole, heat a little more coconut oil and briefly brown the chicken livers. Add these to the casserole.
  7. Place the casserole over a direct medium heat and give everything a good stir. Add the tomato-free passata, bone broth and a generous seasoning of good salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the sea vegetables, if you are going to. Go on – dare you!. Stir again and allow to come to a simmer.
  8. Add the chopped leaves of about half a bunch of basil or parsley, stir and place the casserole in the oven (without a lid) for 3 1/2 hours. I give it a stir every hour or so. You should end up with a thick, unctuous meaty sauce with only a teeny bit of liquid.
  9. Check for seasoning and add the remaining half bunch of your herbs.
  10. When the sauce has cooled, divide it up. I use my scales and measure out 250g portions which serves two.

E N J O Y !

This recipe features in the Phoenix Helix Recipe Roundtable 

 

Tomato Passata Replacement (AIP-Friendly)

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TSL Tomato Free Passata

(Image by TSL)

I generally avoid temptation unless I can’t resist it. (Mae West)

A while back, I wrote a wee piece on Autoimmunity and the Removal of Nightshades from Your Diet. I’m still ‘officially’ off nightshades. I use the inverted commas because I’ve discovered that white potatoes – in moderation, at least – seem to be ok for me; and, because I’m pretty sure I’ve inadvertently had the odd nightshade when I’ve been out for a meal.

Nightshades are pretty ubiquitous and most people have no idea what they actually are.

I’m not game to ‘officially’ reintroduce nightshades for two reasons. The first is that Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) sufferers (that’s me!) tend to be particularly sensitive to them; and second, a fellow HS comrade-in-arms recently suggested to me that, when it comes to nightshades, “the dose makes the poison”. So, I’m limiting my nightshade consumption to when I’m not so in control of the ingredients in recipes.

But I miss them. Tomatoes, in particular.

In my past life, I was a lover of ratatouille. In my opinion, the perfect veggie accompaniment. But full of eggplant, capsicum and tomatoes… ALL nightshades.

And, my go-to BEST EVER Ragu Bolognese, like most good Italian meat sauces, has a generous helping of tomatoes. I used to always have a stash of portion-sized ragu in my freezer. The perfect last-minute meal stand-by… But, since going nightshade-free that is no longer an option.

TSL Tomato Free Passata

(Image by TSL)

At home, I make a large batch of tomato sauce and freeze it in meal-size portions in freezer bags. (Joe Bastianich)

Well, I’ve decided that I won’t be held prisoner to my tomato-free existence any more. I want to have ragu back in my freezer again – for those nights I just can’t face cooking.

So today, I bring you my tomato passata replacement. This is the jar of goodness that you use when a recipe calls for tinned tomatoes. It’s 100% AIP-friendly. It tastes good and it’s good for you.

This recipe makes a generous amount of passata replacement. One of the biggest challenges on the autoimmune protocol is the need to plan ahead – so, with this recipe, you’ll have extra left over that you can pop into your freezer for the next time a recipe calls for tomatoes, passata or otherwise.

And, it works beautifully with my revised AIP-Friendly, You Won’t Believe Its Tomato-Free Ragu Bolognese.

This baby is made with roasted beetroot and pumpkin. The roasting really brings out the flavour of the vegetables. And, then we add fresh herbs to make the whole thing sing…

Tomato Passata Alternative (AIP Friendly

  • Servings: 2 - 4
  • Time: 90 minutes minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

TSL Tomato Free Passata

Ingredients:

500g x beetroot (about 3 generous-sized beets)
500g x pumpkin (about 1/3 medium-sized pumpkin)
1 x onion
2 x Tablespoons fat + extra for drizzling (I used coconut oil)
1 x generous handful flat leaf parsley
1 x generous handful fresh basil
2 x cloves garlic
500mls x water
Salt

Method:

1. Heat your oven to 180°C/350°F.

2. Slice off any beetroot leaves and give the beets a good scrub under water with a brush. Wrap them individually in foil. Pop into a roasting dish.

3. Slice the pumpkin into two. Drizzle with a little fat. Add to the roasting dish.

4. Roast until cooked – about 60 minutes. I check every 20 minutes and test with a sharp knife.

5. Let the beetroot and pumpkin cool on the bench. Once cool enough to handle, peel the beets (I use plastic gloves to prevent my hands from staining) and remove the pumpkin skin.

6. Peel and finely dice your onion. In a large-ish pot, heat your fat over a medium-low flame. Add the onion and sauté gently until translucent.

7. While the onion is cooking, pop your beetroot, pumpkin, parsley, basil and garlic into the bowl of your food processor. Blend thoroughly until smooth.

8. Add your pureed vegetables to the sautéed onions. Stir.

9. Add water and stir until smooth. Turn down the heat and allow to simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.

10. Check for seasoning and salt to your taste.

E N J O Y !

This recipe features in the Phoenix Helix Recipe Roundtable

 

What’s the Deal with Coffee…?

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TSL What is the deal with coffee?

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love my coffee.

I really love it. I even wrote about how much I love it back in October of last year when I finally successfully reintroduced coffee back into my diet.

After nine e n t i r e months off the black gold, no less…

At the time I was drinking it with my BEST Homemade Dairy-Free Creamer. Now, I have one cup a day with some good quality runny cream. I am a happy girl.

It is sublime!

But, here’s the thing. Coffee affects people in different ways.

Even the very knowledgable Chris Kresser says he considers “coffee to be a gray-area food, and by that I mean that the scientific research suggests that it’s beneficial when it’s well tolerated by the individual, but it’s not always well tolerated.”

And, people are often a little confused about this. So, today we’re looking at just what the deal is with coffee.

I like coffee because it gives me the illusion that I might be awake. (Lewis Black)

The good:

* Coffee is a known stimulant. In the brain, it apparently blocks the function of an inhibitory neurotransmitter (brain hormone) called adenosine. By blocking adenosine, caffeine actually increases activity in the brain and the release of other neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine. This makes us feel more alert.

*Caffeine can boost metabolism

*Coffee contains a pretty reasonable amount of several vitamins and minerals. It is also the biggest source of antioxidants in the standard diet. To be fair, this possibly says more about the state of the standard diet than the health benefits of coffee.

*It smells good. It tastes good. It makes you feel good!

The bad:

*When you consume coffee, your cortisol levels rise, along with other stress hormones like epinephrine and norepinephrine. This increase can last anything up to six hours. That’s a lot. These chemicals increase your body’s heart rate, blood pressure and tension levels – that ‘fight or flight’ response. Given the increasingly stressful lives we now lead, increasing ‘fight or flight’ reactions can be a big problem. Excessive cortisol production can lead to a variety of health issues, including an overactive immune system, disrupted sleep, impaired digestion, and depression.

*Coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant that can cause problems in some people and disrupt sleep.

*Drinking coffee on an empty stomach, think first thing in the morning, stimulates hydrochloric acid production. This can be a problem because HCl should only be produced to digest meals. If your body has to make HCl more often in response to regular cups of coffee, it may have difficulty producing enough to deal with a large meal.

TSL Coffee Beans

Black Gold!
(Image from here)

Sarah Ballantyne, my go-to girl on all things autoimmune related, is in agreement with Chris Kresser with regard to individual differences in our ability to deal with coffee. She says, “Those people with autoimmune diseases should take special care with consumption of coffee as their systems are particularly sensitive to irritants and they have a much higher likelihood of an immune response to coffee (because they have a much higher likelihood of gluten intolerance and food sensitivities in general). Overall, coffee gets the “proceed with caution” label.”

So, after a nine-month hiatus from drinking coffee while attempting to heal my poor ailing gut and kick this HS problem to the side-line, I will continue to drink my morning coffee. Because I love it and I don’t seem to experience any particular negative effects from one cup. But, I will limit it to one. And, I’ll keep a weather eye out…

What do you think about coffee?

‘I Can’t Believe it’s Liver!’ Duck Liver, Thyme and Orange Pâté

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TSL Duck Liver Pate

(Image by TSL)

I was chatting with The Bacon Mum after our recent Autoimmune Connection session and she mentioned one of her secret-squirrel tips for travelling on a restricted diet was to freeze individual portions of liver pâté and then have them on hand for breakfast with slices of apple… Genius!

I know eating organ meats of any description can be one of the biggest hurdles for anyone embarking on an AIP caper. For many, there’s often something off-putting about offal. In fact, in an effort to get his head around the subject, my good mate, Rory over at The Paleo PI has created an Offal Rating Scale

Mr Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liverslices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencods’ roes. Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine. (James Joyce, Ulysses)

I grew up eating my Mum’s chicken liver pâté. In fact, I’d hazard a guess that her chicken liver pâté might even be the most requested dish in her recipe repertoire. Within our family, at least. It’s SO good!

Just writing about it makes me wish I was sitting in the kitchen in Auckland with my Mum eating her pâté…

But I’m not. Sadly. And, when we were growing up, I don’t think even my Mum knew just what a favour she was doing for us. Liver is such a nutrient dense food.

Want to know just how nutrient-dense? According to the good peeps over at Weston A. Price: - 

Liver contains more nutrients, gram for gram, than any other food. It provides:

– An excellent source of high-quality protein
– Nature’s most concentrated source of vitamin A
– All the B vitamins in abundance, particularly vitamin B12
– One of our best sources of folic acid
– A highly usable form of iron
– Trace elements such as copper, zinc and chromium; liver is our best source of copper
– An unidentified anti-fatigue factor
– CoQ10, a nutrient that is especially important for cardio-vascular function
– A good source of purines, nitrogen-containing compounds that serve as precursors for DNA and RNA.

So, if you take away nothing else from this post, it should be this:

Eat. More. Liver.

And, if you find the idea of eating liver a challenge, I think pâté is probably one of the best ways to ease your way into it.

And, it’s even easier when you use poultry livers (from happy birds, of course!) Duck and chook livers are creamier and more subtle in flavour than those from lamb or beef. Especially with the addition of a little enhancement by way of citrus or even alcohol*…

Instead of chicken livers (à la my Mum), I picked up some gorgeous duck livers from Feather and Bone. The ducks from whence these livers came were pasture raised at Jum Jum Farm. Very happy ducks!

Here at Casa TSL, we’re continuing with our reintroductions, so this number has butter in the recipe, which is traditional for liver pâté. I used some lovely Pepe Saya cultured butter in mine. SO good, but it is entirely possible to make a very good pâté without any dairy – just substitute the butter for lard, coconut oil or – even better – duck fat! 

Unsure how to eat your pâté when you are off bread? – Easy, tastes great with fresh apple slices or try it with carrot and celery sticks. Or, smear some on cucumber slices.

Duck Liver, Thyme and Orange Pate

  • Servings: 5 - 6 ramekins
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

TSL Duck Liver Pate

Ingredients:

175g x best butter, unsalted
500g x fresh duck livers (can substitute chicken livers)
1 x onion
2 x cloves of garlic
2 x sprigs fresh thyme
1 x Tablespoon fresh orange juice
zest of one orange
2 x Tablespoons cognac
60g x clarified butter/ghee, melted (optional)

Method:

1. Start by completing your mise en place (which is just a fancy chef word for preparing your ingredients). Clean and trim your duck livers. Peel and finely chop your onion and garlic cloves. Zest and juice your orange.

2. In a large frying pan, heat a tablespoon of your butter until melted and foaming. Add half the duck livers and fry until golden but still pink in the middle. About 2 minutes each side.

3. Repeat with the second half of duck livers.

4. Pop the cooked duck livers and all the lovely juices into your food processor.

5. Heat another tablespoon of butter and add the onion, garlic, fresh thyme, orange juice and zest. Cook on a medium-low heat until the onion is translucent.

6. Add your cognac. Give the mixture a good stir to release any sticky bits in the bottom of the pan.

7. Remove and discard the thyme stalks. Add the contents of the flying pan to your food processor along with the remaining butter. Mix thoroughly. I scrape the sides of my food processor and mix again to ensure a smooth consistency.

8. Taste for seasoning. Hold yourself back from eating too much! Spoon into ramekins and refrigerate.

9. Optional – If you are serving at a dinner party or want to be fancy-schmancy, cover the top of your pâté with a little melted clarified butter/ghee. It’ll look great and it will last a little longer, too.

E N J O Y !

* the alcohol is cooked off

World FAMOUS Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Sultanas, Capers and Hazelnuts

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Roasted Cauliflower Salad

(Image by TSL)

I’ve promised you this salad for a while now. Ever since it became my ‘go-to’ dish over the Christmas break. It’s so easy to make. And, if you’ve never tried roasted cauliflower florets before, you’re in for a treat!

Trust me when I say, “It’s a winner!”

I was going to post it last week, but I got a little side tracked by the gorgeous wee baby cauli’s at the markets. And, instead I gave you my Whole Roasted Cauliflower. (I know! Two cauli’ recipes in the same month. What is the world coming to?)

This week I picked up the ‘Mama Cauliflower’ at the markets. A lovely big one. And so, today I am pleased to give you my take on an Al Brown recipe my Mum cut out of the paper…

Cauliflower is available year-round here in Sydney, but it seems to be absolutely everywhere I look at the moment. Which doesn’t upset me one bit. I L O V E cauliflower.

To be fair, it’s a recent love affair that has sprung up over the past couple of years as I discover the incredible versatility this benign-looking vegetable brings to my cooking repertoire…

TSL Roasted Cauliflower Salad

SO good!
(Image by TSL)

I used to be into ‘forbidden fruit’, but I’ve moved on to ‘verboten vegetables’
― Josh Stern

You can eat it raw – as part of a crudités selection (GREAT with homemade aioli!). You can add it to salads.  And, of course, you can use it in your cooking – whole, cut into steaks, mashed, roasted, steamed. It’s a particularly good base for herbs and spices, too.

Cauliflower has lots of vitamin C and B6. And it offers useful quantities of folate, protein and fibre, too. It is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables. And, in the past, here at Casa TSL it may have been overshadowed by its green cousin broccoli…

But no more! Broccoli-shmoccoli!

Well. Not really. Just for today’s post…

Just one observation – cauliflower seems to shrink when it is roasted. Do make sure you get a large one for this recipe, or even consider two.

And here it is. Your Roasted Cauliflower Salad. As promised. I hope you like it.

Oh! – and if you omit the nuts, this baby is AIP compliant, too!

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Sultanas, Capers and Hazelnuts

  • Servings: 2 - 4
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from a recipe by Al Brown

TSL Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Ingredients:

1 x large cauliflower
6 x Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
2 x Tablespoons capers, rinsed and dried
1/2 cup sultanas
1/2 x cup hazelnuts (omit if in the elimination phase of AIP)
1/2 x cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
Juice of one lemon
Salt

Method:

1. Heat your oven to 180°C/350°F.

2. Wash and cut your cauliflower into small florets. Pop into a roasting dish with 4 tablespoons of the EVOO. Salt generously and mix well. Roast for 30 – 45 minutes until a little brown and crunchy.

3. While the cauliflower is roasting, dry fry your hazelnuts until toasted to your liking. Pop the nuts aside. Using the same pan and a drizzle of EVOO, fry your capers off in a little olive oil.

4. When the hazelnuts are cool, roughly chop.

5. Mix the roasted cauliflower, capers, raisins, almonds and parsley in a bowl. Finish with the remaining olive oil, lemon juice and a generous serve of salt.

E N J O Y !

The HUMONGOUS Homemade Mayonnaise Post (2 Recipes!)

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TSL Waldorf My Way!

Model: the teenager
(Image by LM)

Homemade mayonnaise is the second-most important salad dressing to learn how to make from scratch.

At least, that’s what I think. The first is a really good house-made vinaigrette. Your stand-by, if you like. The one you make all the time.

But, a mayonnaise is arguably the MOST important sauce. Because it is just so versatile.

If you’ve never made real mayonnaise from scratch, you don’t know what you’re missing. Really. There is just no comparison with the bought stuff that comes out of a bottle.

Real mayo’ tastes A M A Z I N G

And, it is surprisingly easy to make. Don’t believe me? I managed to use a little elbow grease and whisk up made-from-scratch mayo’ while on the boat bobbing around at sea over the Christmas holidays in New Zealand. Not an electric hand beater or blender in sight…

I don’t remember my Mum ever buying ready-made salad dressing. And, even my Dad is slightly famous for his take on the eponymous Highlander sweetened condensed milk dressing that is seemingly part of every childhood in New Zealand…

TSL Sweetened Condensed Milk

Highlander Sweetened Condensed Milk
Highlander Sweetened Condensed Milk Salad Dressing: some variation of
1 can condensed milk
1/2 can vinegar (pretty sure my Dad swears by malt vinegar!)
1 tsp mustard powder
(Image from here)

And, the bought mayo’ – even the high-end boutique-style expensive kind – is usually made with canola oil. And, we don’t touch canola oil here at Casa TSL. No we don’t. Because it’s a highly processed polyunsaturated vegetable oil.

Of course, the downside is that real mayonnaise also contains egg yolks. So, it has to be said that it’s only acceptable autoimmune protocol fare if egg yolks have been safely reintroduced.

And, it almost goes without saying that you want to ensure your eggs come from happy chooks and are as fresh as possible.

This weekend just past, we celebrated the teenager’s birthday by way of a BBQ lunch. It was a scorcher! 34° (that’s about 93° for you Americans!) here in Sydney. LM threw a few steaks on the barbie and I whipped up my take on a Waldorf salad – celeriac, celery, green apple (all julienned with the mandolin); mixed with parsley, celery leaves, a few activated walnuts and dressed with my super special TSL dressing, which uses mayo’ as a base…

TSL Waldorf Salad

My take on Waldorf Salad
(Image by LM)

I first learned about the wonder that is mayonnaise made with my stick blender from the lovely Barbra and Jack over at CutterLight blog. They posted a recipe. It blew my mind that making a mayonnaise – from scratch – could be THIS easy. No more slowly drizzling my oil into the food processor. No more worrying about the chance of it curdling. No more ‘mayonnaise elbow‘!

Since then, I’ve played with the recipe. Tweaked it to accommodate my dietary quirks and tastes.

So, here’s my take on mayonnaise made with a stick blender. I promise it tastes great and it’s a doddle to make!

Homemade Mayonnaise

  • Servings: 2 cups
  • Time: less than 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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TSL Mayo Ingredients

2 x egg yolks – as fresh as possible and at room temperature
1 x Tablespoon organic apple cider vinegar
1 x Tablespoon water
Generous pinch of salt (I use Himalayan sea salt)
1 cup macadamia nut oil. Avocado oil works well, too.
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Method:

1. Pop your egg yolks, vinegar, 1 tablespoon water, and salt into a tall beaker. I used the one that came with my stick blender. Very slowly, pour in your macadamia/avocado oil so that it settles on top of the other ingredients.

2. With the blender held against the bottom of the beaker, pulse until the mixture begins to emulsify. 3 or 4 pulses should do it. Keep pulsing until most of the mayonnaise is emulsified. This won’t take long. Definitely less than a minute. Slowly move the blender up and down through the sauce to mix thoroughly.

3. Transfer the mayonnaise into a bowl. Using a hand whisk, slowly pour in the olive oil and lemon juice. Whisk until very well combined.

4. Taste for seasoning.

E N J O Y !

Vulgarity is the garlic in the salad of life.- Cyril Connolly

I’m particularly partial to garlic and love a good aioli. And, for the uninitiated, aioli is just a fancy (French) term for garlic mayonnaise.

Aoili - bash 3 fresh garlic cloves with 1/4 of a teaspoon sea salt using a pestle and mortar. Add the garlic to your egg-yolk mixture at step I. You will not need any more salt.

Tartare Sauce is a wonderful addition to fish and marries beautifully with ox tongue.

Tartare Sauce – make mayonnaise as above. Stir in chopped gherkins, drained capers, freshly chopped parsley and chives along with a little finely diced shallot.

For my Waldorf Salad dressing, I wanted something just a touch sweeter. Like his father, the teenager has a bit of a sweet tooth. I also wanted something a little more runny. So, here’s the mustard mayo’ dressing that I folded through my salad…

Honey Mustard Mayonnaise Dressing

  • Servings: 1/2 cups
  • Time: less than 2 minutes
  • Difficulty: really easy
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TSL Honey Mustard Mayo Dressing

1/2 x cup fresh homemade mayonnaise (see recipe above)
1 x teaspoon seeded mustard
1/2 x teaspoon runny honey

Method:

1. If you are making this dressing immediately after making homemade mayonnaise, use the same bowl. Whisk the ingredients together.

2. Taste for seasoning.

E N J O Y !

 

The GREAT Autoimmune Protocol Update – One Year On

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TSL One Year On

One Year On
(Image by TSL)

Next week I hit my one year anniversary on the Autoimmune Protocol. On Tuesday, to be precise. Not that I’m counting. Much.

Not sure what the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) is?

It’s a nutrient-rich elimination diet that removes foods that irritate the gut, cause gut imbalance and activate the immune system.

You can read more about it here.

It’s been a wild ride, this past year. Life changing, even. So much so, that I thought I should share some of the experience with you.

Did you know?

Autoimmune diseases are on the rise across the western world. Here in Australasia, they currently affect 1 in 20 people. In the United States, there are over 50 million sufferers. Pretty sobering stuff.

What exactly is an autoimmune disease?

According to the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, Autoimmune diseases can be defined as,”a broad range of related diseases in which a person’s immune system produces an inappropriate response against its own cells, tissues and/or organs, resulting in inflammation and damage. There are over 80 different autoimmune diseases, and these range from common to very rare diseases. Some autoimmune diseases affect mainly one part of the body (such as multiple sclerosis, autoimmune thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes) whilst others can affect many parts of the body (such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis and systemic vasculitis).”

As with many life-altering events, an autoimmune illness is almost guaranteed to cause you to re-evaluate your priorities.

― Joan Friedlander, ‘Women, Work, and Autoimmune Disease’

 

My particular autoimmune issue is Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS), sometimes known as acne inversa. HS is a painful, chronic skin disease that causes abscesses and scarring on the skin – usually in very uncomfortable places. Frankly, it’s horrible.

I have suffered from HS for over twenty years. And until this year, I never talked about it.

What I have learnt in the past year on AIP

In a nutshell, I have learnt that it is possible to put my 20+ years of autoimmune related illness into remission by making dramatic changes to my diet and lifestyle.

– TSL

And, if that was all I learned, then I would be a very happy little Vegemite.

But, here’s what else I learned…

Diet

Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. And, when it comes to what we eat, the Autoimmune Protocol is literally a manifestation of this. The protocol removes all potentially inflammatory foods from the diet to enable the body to heal.

TSL Hippocrates

Hippocrates
(Image from here)

And yes, it does take work. And planning. And requires a level of commitment that many of my friends have found difficult to understand.

But. In return, as you start to heal, you feel F A N T A S T I C. Truly. Brain fog lifts. You wake in the morning feeling energised. Bloating disappears.

You will develop an appreciation for the sort of food your grandmother (or maybe even great-grandmother!) probably cooked. Fresh. Seasonal. Local. Full of flavour.

I don’t even go to the supermarket anymore. The farmers market is my supermarket.

Gut Health Matters

Really, the protocol is all about improving gut health. But there are two things that I now do religiously that I believe have significantly improved my health.

And, they are all to do with my gut.

1. Bone Broth

I now make bone broth regularly from a mixture of bones from pasture raised animals. It has become a staple within our diet here at Casa TSL. I make it into soup, use it in sautéed veggies, add it to gravies and just drink it.

I alternate the type of broth I make so I am maximising the vitamin and mineral benefits. Last week it was beef bone broth. The time before that, it was duck.

2. Fermented Vegetables

We eat at least a tablespoon of home-made fermented veggies with every savoury meal. Think sauerkraut. I make the fermented vegetables about once a month from vegetables and salt. That’s it.

Fermented vegetables add all sorts of beneficial bacteria to my gut that I would not otherwise have in my diet.

And, one more thing – both bone broth and fermented veggies are ‘cheap as chips’ to make.

TSL KRAUT

The latest ferment
(Image by TSL)

Sleep

It is becoming more and more apparent, in this fast-moving era of getting twice as much done in half the amount of time, that we are not getting enough sleep. This is making us sick. We are designed to need sleep. It’s when our bodies regenerate.

In my case, I had a home invasion just over ten years ago. Bit scary. Three men in balaclavas decided to have a look around my home at 4.30 in the morning and I caught them. Fortunately, they weren’t very interested in me. Just my stuff. But – it messed badly with my ability to sleep.

Now, I make sure I’m in bed between 9.30 and 10pm. Every night.

And, I really understand the value of a good night’s sleep. But it took some work. And some time. And it involved resetting my circadian rhythms by implementing my own personal ‘Operation Sleepy Time’ ritual.

I’m pretty sure LM will tell you I’m a nicer person to be around as a result.

Stress

I didn’t know I was stressed. I didn’t know I was a constant worrier. Until I worked out that I was a complete stress head. And, on top of that, I managed to hide it from almost everyone. Can anyone relate?

Of all the changes I have made over the course of the past year, and that I continue to work on with the AIP, how I manage stress is the most difficult for me. By far. In fact, it’s a biggie for many people. Sarah Ballantyne wrote a great post on her personal battles with stress recently.

TSL Andrew Weil

Andrew Weil
(Image from here)

Coming up with strategies that work for you are key to managing stress. Yoga didn’t cut it for me. Meditating on my own sends me to sleep. But. I love walking in nature.

And my fabulous doctor, Kate Norris recommended the Buddhify app. It’s a personal meditation assistant that really seems to be working for me.

And, I’m a great fan of Andrew Weil’s 4-7-8 breathing technique.

Community

We human beans are social creatures. Even us introverted types. Connecting with quality people really matters and has an impact on our health*. This AIP caper has unexpectedly connected me with an amazing and generous community of other autoimmune sufferers around the globe. I am immensely grateful.

So what now?

Now, I keep going on the protocol.

In terms of my diet, I keep slowly reintroducing foods. I know more of my food triggers than before. And, I know that these are different for everybody. Gluten will never be my friend. And, HS sufferers seem to have big problems with nightshades – so, I’m a little scared to try tomatoes and eggplant and chill. Although I do miss tomatoes dreadfully. Bizarrely, the odd white potato doesn’t seem to be an issue.

I keep working on managing stress and making sure I get enough sleep. I make sure I move everyday. Bella (the poodle) gets lots of love!

My autoimmune affliction has affected me in many ways – physically, emotionally, and no doubt psychologically. But, in a weird way, I’m a little bit grateful to have it.

Without it, I wouldn’t have overhauled my eating habits. I’m healthier now than I’ve been in years. People comment on how wonderful my skin looks. Me, who had chronic acne as a teenager.

I would not have addressed my stress levels and less-than-stellar sleeping routine. And, my hormones and gut health would have further deteriorated.

I am lucky. My autoimmune issues are not life threatening. I won’t die from HS. But, they have been serious enough to give me a big wake up call about what really matters to me – my health. My loved ones. A meaningful career.

And this past year on the autoimmune protocol has been life changing.

If you have any questions about the Autoimmune Protocol or Hidradenitis Suppurativa, feel free to drop me a line.

*conversely, spending too much time with ‘energy sucking’ people can be detrimental to your health!

 

 

“Holy Herbed Whole Roasted Cauliflower, Batman!”

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TSL Whole Roasted Cauliflower

(Image by TSL)

Ever since I came back from my Christmas break in New Zealand, I’ve been meaning to post about my take on Al Brown‘s roasted cauliflower salad. And I will. Promise.

It’s just that I got a little side tracked this week…

While I was at the farmers market on Saturday, I found the most perfectly formed little cauliflowers. I bought one, thinking I would make the salad. Only, when it came time, I couldn’t bring myself to chop it up. It was so pretty. TRULY! And, then I told myself that, “Really, it was too small to do justice to a salad”.

And, so this wee number for whole roasted cauliflower was born.

TSL Bella and Hanging Herbs

Bella sunning herself next to my hanging herb patch by Missy K
(Image by TSL)

I have a super-special mate (Australian vernacular: mate = friend!). Here at Casa TSL, she is affectionately known as Missy K. And, among other things, Missy K is known for giving awesome pressies. This Christmas just past, she made me a hanging herb garden. She’s the ultimate D.I.Y. lawyer!

I love my hanging herb patch.

The best thing about having herbs growing in your garden (or, in my case on my wall) is that you use them more often in your cooking. And, when I say more often, I really mean all the time.

Which can only be good for me. 

Now that I have such a variety of gorgeous smelling greenery, I’m experimenting. I’m branching out from my usual – parsley, rosemary and thyme. In the past, I might have bought some coriander (cilantro) for a recipe. Now I have it all in my wee garden. At my fingertips.

So, for this recipe, I used oregano. And, the house may have smelled the littlest bit like a pizza parlour while the cauliflower was cooking…

In fact, LM walked in the door and wanted to know what smelled so good!

Whole roasted cauli’ is a great way to experiment with herbs and spices. I’ve kept this number AIP-friendly (the toasted hazelnuts are completely optional). If you prefer a different herb, then just switch it out. Thyme would work equally well.

And, if you’re fine with nightshades and seed spices, then have a play. The potential flavour combinations really are endless. Think about adding some of the following:

- Ground cumin

- Turmeric

- Fennel seeds

- Ground coriander

- Cinnamon

- Mustard seeds

- Paprika

Whole roasted cauliflower is an impressive way to serve your vegetables. This little number would be a great addition to a dinner party table. It looks fabulous.

Herbed Whole Roasted Cauliflower

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 50 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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TSL Roasted CauliflowerIngredients:

1 x organic cauliflower
Salt (I use Himalayan sea salt)
2 x Tablespoons coconut oil or lard
Small handful of fresh oregano, finely chopped (can substitute 1 x teaspoon dried oregano)
2 x cloves garlic, minced
zest and juice of half a lemon
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), for drizzling
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
Small handful hazelnuts (optional – omit for elimination phase of AIP)

Method:

1. Heat your oven to 180°C / 350°F. Remove the outer leaves of your cauliflower and pop into a roasting dish.

2. In a frying small pan, dry fry your hazelnuts over a low-medium heat. Keep your eye on them – they will burn quickly. Once toasted, roughly chop and set aside.

3. In the same pan, gently melt one Tablespoon of fat. Pour the melted fat over your cauliflower. Season generously with salt. Pop into the oven and roast for 35 – 40 minutes until golden.

4. When your cauliflower is almost ready, melt the remaining fat. Stir in your oregano, minced garlic, and lemon zest.

5. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and reduce the temperature to 160°C / 320°F. Pour the herb-infused fat over the top of your cauliflower and pop back in the oven for a further 10 minutes.

6. Serve the cauliflower with a drizzle of EVOO. Squeeze over the lemon juice and garnish with fresh parsley and optional toasted hazelnuts.

E N J O Y !

This recipe features in the Phoenix Helix Recipe Roundtable.