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Valentine's Day Dining, Caveman Style!

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The most Googled diet of January 2013 and a popular choice with long-term dieters and New Year's Resolutioners alike, everyone is (still) talking about the Paleo Diet.

Whilst I don't subscribe to Paleo as such, the premise on which it's based is fairly sound - high in protein, fibre and healthy fats and championing fresh and unprocessed foods i.e. quality foods that would have been available for our Stone Age predecessors to hunt and gather. Though I prefer and advocate a more flexible approach to dieting (I'm not giving up dairy or peanut butter for anyone), on the whole, Paleo is significantly less faddy than many 'Diets' on the market.

So with Paleo-mania ever on the rise, it seemed possible that upcoming Valentine's celebrations may present an issue for those who don't wish to deviate from their Primal plan. Fear not, dear Dieters, for I am here to help.

2013-02-08-PaleoRecipesValentinesDayHP.jpg

Behold, my Romantic Meal for Two - Caveman Style...
 

Appetiser

Impressive to look at, yet deceptively simple to prepare, scallops always make an excellent starter.

Sauteed Scallops with Basil (2 servings)

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped
10 scallops, rinsed and patted dry
1 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 lemon + 2 lemon wedges
Extra basil to serve

Directions:

Heat oil in wok or frying pan over medium-high heat.
Add garlic and chopped basil and cook for about 30 seconds.
Add scallops.
Season with salt and pepper and squeeze 1/4 lemon over scallops.
Cook for 2-3 minutes, flipping scallops and stirring frequently.
Top with fresh basil leaves and add a lemon wedge to serve.

Romance Bonus: Basil is a well known aphrodisiac, as are shellfish.
 

Entrée

A classic sharing dish, paella is a perfect meal for two. For the main course, we give this classic a Caveman twist. My recipe calls for chicken and shrimp, but feel free to substitute these with the meat and/or seafood of your choosing!

Paleo Paella (2 servings)

Ingredients:

300g cauliflower, riced (see below)
100g shrimp
150g skinless chicken breast, chopped
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large red pepper, chopped
150g mushrooms, chopped
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1.5 cups chicken stock
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 170C.
Heat oil in frying pan over medium-high heat.
Add garlic and onions and cook for 3-4 minutes, until caramelised.
Add chicken and cook until browned.
Add peppers and mushrooms and saute for 10 minutes.
Add tomato and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add 2/3 cup of stock and cook until mostly reduced.
Add seasonings.
Add riced cauliflower rice and shrimp, saute for 2-3 minutes.
Add remaining stock and cook until half the liquid is reduced.
Put in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.

Romance Bonus: This recipe is chock full of testosterone-boosting zinc.

Extra note: How to rice cauliflower:

Using a food processor, process fresh cauliflower until it is the size of rice grains, either using the plain steel blade or the shredder blade. Alternatively, you can shred it with a hand-held grater.

Steam or microwave in a covered dish for 8-10 minutes. Don't add water- just let the moisture in the cauliflower do the work.
 

Dessert

There's little need to explain why chocolate is a good idea, so straight to the recipe...

Chocolate Raspberry Pots (2 servings)

Ingredients:

80g raw 70%-85% cocoa chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
100ml canned coconut milk
100g fresh raspberries

Directions:

Using a high speed blender or food processor, blend chocolate, egg and vanilla at high speed.
Heat coconut milk in a saucepan over a medium heat until steaming but not simmering.
Gradually add coconut milk to egg mixture, blending as you go.
Divide raspberries into two ramekins, leaving a few aside to garnish.
Pour chocolate mixture over.
Cover and chill in the fridge for at least two hours.
Garnish with extra raspberries.

Romance Bonus: It's chocolate!
 

P.S. Romance aside, this is a pretty tasty menu for the Singletons amongst us too! Coupled up or not and Paleo-ing or not, give these recipes a try for a fun, fabulous and fat-loss-friendly Valentine's Day!

P.P.S. What's your take on the Paleo diet? Have you tried it, heard of it, been a long-time follower of it?

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