Paleo on a budget

Edit (15 April 2014): I lost interest in the paelo diet and abandoned this post about half way through the experiment. I was doing some reading online and came across some interesting articles. This blog post talks about how grains are historically part of the human diet and references this article which summarises a study from the University of Utah. It seems that whatever you choose to believe regarding the human diet, you can find resources to support those beliefs. Classic confirmation bias.

Regardless of whether humans have evolved to eat grains or not, doing the paleo diet (or any diet for that matter) is a great exercise because it puts constrictions on your cooking and forces you to get creative and try new things. One of the biggest takeaways from this paleo exercise was the recipe for vegetables slowly cooked in butter. I regularly cook this now and it has become my go to meal when I don’t know what else to do. It is also a delicious way to eat vegetables and so is perfect for anyone who doesn’t get enough of them. I know that Rob gained an appreciation for brussels sprouts cooked this way. I think I’ll do a separate blog post on this recipe.

Photo 5-02-2014 16 36 43

Not long ago Rob and I decided to buy a week’s worth of meat online from It’s a bit of a shame because there is no building a relationship with your local online store clerk.

Here’s what we ordered:

Name Price Quantity Total
Scotch Beef Steak Mince
Weight: 0.454kg (1lb)
£2.45 1 £2.45
Pork, Haggis And Herb Sausages
Weight: 0.454kg (1lb)
£1.63 1 £1.63
Diced Turkey Breast
Weight: 0.454kg (1lb)
£3.61 1 £3.61
Scotch Pork Loin Steaks
Weight: 0.198kg (7oz) [+£0.56]
£1.97 2 £3.94
Scotch Beef Rump Steak
Weight: 0.198kg (7oz) [+£0.59]
£4.15 2 £8.30
Chicken Breast Fillets Pack of 10 (5-6oz)
Weight: 1.42kg (3.13lb)
£10.80 1 £10.80
Chorizo Picante
Weight: 0.250kg (9oz)
£3.15 2 £6.30
Delivery Day: Tuesday
Date Picker: Tuesday, February 04, 2014
Special Instructions: leave with receptionist
Sub-Total: £37.03
Shipping: £4.99
Tax: £0.00
Order Total: £42.02


It seems to be good quality too as the “Scotch” meat meant that it adheres to Quality Meat Scotland standards. Plus, Campbells supply the meat to many of the top restaurants in Scotland. All I need now is a plan of what to do with all this meat. I don’t usually plan my dinners because I like to just go with what ever I feel like at the time. This means I end up doing a daily shop, which is a huge waste of time.

One thing worth noting is that I’m in the middle of a paleo experiment1. I’ve been eating paleo for the last week or so and I’m finding it quite difficult. Hopefully this planning will make the diet easier to cope with meaning I’m more likely to see it through.

Here are the meals I plan on cook. Chorizo isn’t mentioned because it will be my lunch 😀

Chicken Breasts

Last week I tried a recipe for pan fried chicken in butter caper sauce. It was delightful and easy so I’ll do that one again. The only problem is that the recipe doesn’t specify what vegetables to serve on the side. I’ll have to think on this.

Since I’ve got 10 chicken breasts, I’m sure I can squeeze two meals out of them. Right now I’m feeling like some sort of burger minus the bun. Bacon, onions, lettuce, pineapple, beetroot, egg, mayonaise/coleslaw.

I don’t think beetroots are strictly allowed on a paleo diet, but if I was on a strict paleo diet, I wouldn’t have lasted this long. Beetroot stays.

Beef Mince

The Meatza

A friend of mine on a similar diet recently gave me the recipe for a meatza. It’s a pizza made with a meat base. I’m just going to make this one on the fly. I’ll either make it first and buy what looks good at the supermarket, or I’ll make it last and use up what ever I have left in my food box.  I’ll at least need tin tomatoes and mozzarella.

[Recipe to come]


I’ll fry the sausages, deglaze the pan, and make a quick sauce. Need another vegetable side dish.

Turkey breast

Rob wanted to do a stir fry with this and that sounds good to me. Something like this will suffice:

Toast pine nuts. Fry in coconut oil over high heat: garlic, ginger, chili; add onion, capsicum, asparagus; add turkey breast. Add loads of coconut oil2 and pine nuts. Adjust seasoning with lemon, soy or fish sauce, and honey. Serve.

I ended up using ghee instead of coconut oil because it has a higher smoke point and I cranked the heat. I also used so much during the cooking that I didn’t feel the need to add more at the end. I also forgot to buy lemons so I ended up using red wine vinegar. I adjust the seasoning in a stir fry the same way I do it for a curry. You want equal parts sour, sweet, salty, and spicy.

Rump steak

If I’m feeling keen, I’ll do the steak à la Tim Ferriss’s sexy time steak from the 4-Hour-Chef. If not, I’ll probably just dry brine it and fry it. Yet again, I need a side dish.

Pork Loin Steaks

I think I’ll stick to the old faithful on this one. Marinade in salt, pepper, and EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), then fry on the girdle pan until only just cooked. I’ll need a side dish that includes sauerkraut this time.

Side dishes

Buttery Carrots
Fry roughly chopped carrots in lots of butter on low heat ~ 40mins or until soft.

Caramelised onions
fry onions in oil, medium heat ~ browned. Leave on low heat until caramelised or ready to serve. Add vinegar and honey before serving.

Seared asparagus tips
Fry asparagus in butter over med-high heat ~ skin changes texture. Don’t let the butter burn. Serve with salt sprinkled over top. If you’re willing to splurge for the cheese, top with slices of manchego while it’s still hot.

Whole baby button mushrooms fried in butter over medium heat ~ juices have been release. Season & serve. This is really good if you have parsley butter. I’ll blog about parsley butter another day. If you’re already doing buttery carrots, you can throw the mushroom in with those when the carrots are almost done.

Roasted veggies
Chop carrot and sweet potato. Generously coat with EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), salt, pepper, and pimentón. Roast @ 180C ~ soft. Turn every 15 or 20 mins (or less if they start to fall apart) and if convenient, keep roasting until the sweet potato goes crispy on the outside.

Zucchini noodles
I just did some poking around the internet and I found this recipe:
Julienne zucchini. Mix with salt, let stand ~ 20mins. Rinse, pat dry. Dry fry ~ 3mins.
This would probably go nicely with a French recipe that I just heard about called pistou which is basically basil, garlic, and EVOO. I think I’ll just wing it.

Roasted brussels sprouts
No one seems to like brussels sprouts. I do admit they can be bad sometimes, but it’s like anything. If you buy avocados, tomatoes, or pumpkin in Scotland, you’re going to have a bad time. This recipe looks pretty good, and I haven’t tried roasting them before, so here we go.

Carrot mash
I’ll post the recipe when I figure it out.

I’m still quite short on vegetable side dishes. We’ll see what happens over the next week and I’ll update this post as time goes on. Watch this space…

Wednesday 05/02/2014
Today I bought all the stuff I need to make the turkey stirfry and the meatza. I went to the middle eastern supermarket for the ghee and while I was there I picked up some garlic, ginger and chili. I think the clerk must have assumed I was middle eastern because I saw him reduce the price by £3. Or maybe he just had respect for my beard. The rest of the stuff I got from Lidl. Minus the ghee, the meat and not counting all the stuff I already had (like soy sauce), The approximate cost of the ingredients was £6. This was basically ginger, garlic, chili, capsicum, courgette, tin tomatoes, and cheddar (they were out of mozzarella). That puts the approximate cost of £12 for the two meals, each serving two people. Not bad actually…

2. I find that without either carbs, or fat, it won’t take me long to get hungry after eating this. That’s why I add a heap of coconut oil at the end.

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