Eating Clean Living Paleo

Eating Clean Living Paleo | Rachel Devcich

On the Inside cover of Eating Clean Living Paleo there is a chalkboard guide to Paleo 101. This is author Rachael Devcich’s informal, easy-to-read (and understand) summary of what it means to eat Paleo.
There is research, but as she suggests, you can go do that yourself. This cookbook isn’t about converting you – it’s about embracing food.
The second item (beneath eat lots of locally grown Vegetables with plenty of colour) is MEAT & BACON. Yes the capitals do add emphasis but more noticeable is the cursive script that says ‘its own food group’. Admittedly, this possibly refers to the next item which includes seafood but for anybody who thought the Paleo regime meant returning to the diet Fred and Wilma Flintstone – this is an excellent introduction to an array of colourful and appetising options that won’t have you eating tuna and salad leaves every day of the week.
And yes, they do include bacon. A favourite (especially if you have fussy kids) is the bacon-wrapped pear stacks. At first glance you think it’s just pancakes with bacon – but this is Paleo so abandon your closest gluten reference points and imagine layers of kumara and pear wrapped in streaky bacon and topped with crispy sage. There is something magic about pairing bacon with fruit and pear works really well, the sweetness of the kumara also comes out once in the oven so it is worth making sure (depending on your oven’s temperature) that they’re in for a good forty minutes.
A number of the breakfast options include asparagus and avocados. These two greenies are a firm favourite in the paleo kitchen and when it’s in season there’s little excuse not to pair them with salmon, poached eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes and chorizo, even as the base for your mousse (avocado not the asparagus) – but when the prices are soaring during winter it would be good to see some a few different green visitors making their paleo breakfast debut. The nuts and bacon staples nevertheless will always stand in good stead.
Devcich’s lunches are also a highlight. Using artisan sausages as the substitute bread roll she has a range of suggestions including homemade mayo, avocado (of course) microgreens (yes, they do exist) and a range of sauces such as good quality French mustard and horseradish.
Some of the dishes will seem quite pedestrian. Leek and Salmon quiche anyone? Sure, nothing too fancy about that but instead of using traditional flour or even those handy pastry sheets (!) the base for this paleo pastry is almond meal and linseed. Visibly the only difference is really a different colour to the pastry (and the texture too) but on the taste-o-meter this definitely rates a high.
The Fancy-Pants Scroggin is another instant win – for the workplace or the playground. Yes, fresh fruit can’t be replaced but dried cherries, apricots, apples with some toasted almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate? How could you go wrong? Especially if you have cacao nibs in there too – way better than munching on a bag of crisps.
The salads again are a mixture of some fairly traditional combinations (blue rocket super salad and avocado, orange and kale salad) but the purees and the chips are good value.
Roasted fennel and parsnips? Yes, they were all part of Sunday roasts but suddenly now they can be regular sides any day of the week and if you use the word ‘chips’ it can be easier to convince some young patrons. The beetroot ones are next on my list!
The dinner recipes are just as much fun. Make your own dukkah, invest in pomegranate molasses (yes, it’s available from the Middle Eastern shops as well as the fancier organic ones too) and combine mint and pistachio for the perfect crust for your lamb cutlets. Nothing revolutionary but still deeply satisfying.
The only slightly disappointing recipes are the ones that seem to skip over the value of key ingredients or the techniques themselves. For example, there are over 300 different kinds of chillies so when deciding to make a Mexican dish invest in the time and research to make sure you get the right one. The bird’s eye and red chillies are certainly easy to find at the local supermarket but while it might be difficult to procure the right kind it’s worth finding which variety best suits the meal and choosing roasted, smoked or even marinated options, each contributing to a different taste. Similarly, with the curry and satay recipes techniques for maximizing taste might demand a few more questions such as should the spices be dry fried? Slowly crushed in a mortar pestle or blitzed in a food processor? Is powder good enough? Should the onions be caramelized first and then the garlic and ginger added?
More questions than the recipe probably has space to provide answers for but if all else fails be inspired by Devcich’s paleo creations and ask Chef Google for backup.
The desserts are probably the crowning delight. Chocolate goodness oozes from the closing pages with ‘instant banana choc-ice cream’, ‘espresso soaked choc stuffed figs’, ‘forest berry brownie’ and a few citrus treats to finish.
It’s a handy cookbook and definitely one that makes paleo eating and living easy, accessible and simply quite delicious. If you experiment with a few of these recipes in no time you’ll walk straight past the cereal, bread and pasta isles – feeling better than before.