Supermarket sweep

Hunting chicken breast fillets in the chilled aisle.  Gathering mixed seeds from beside the Pringles.  Plucking punnets of plums from the fruit section.  CaveMammy’s weekly forage involves less running through woods with a knapsack and a spear and more sedate pushing of a shopping trolley through the neon aisles at Lidl.  But if you’re interested in eating primal, there’s a lot you can pick up at the local supermarket and it can often be much cheaper than in special “health food” shops.  There’s a good primal blueprint shopping list here that will give you an idea of the kind of foods you should be filling the trolley with and here’s where I get my main ingredients:

Lidl (I use the one near the M50 in Finglas but the stock is generally the same in them all)

I get nice avocados here, broccoli and cauliflower, carrots, onions and garlic, peppers, parsnips, tomatoes, celery, sweet potatoes and normal potatoes.  I’ve a real tendency to stick to the same veg but I try to branch out and sometimes pick up beets, aubergines, green beans, spinach and squash.  I love mushrooms but CaveHusband can’t stand them so I always neglect them.  I need to start cooking them for the boys so I can get them on Team Fungi.  In the meat section I pick up packets of beef pieces for casseroles, chicken breasts for curries and gorgeous lamb loin chops and pork chops.  I get their fab Angus steak every few weeks or so as well.  They sometimes have game meats as a promotion and I would experiment with those when they do.  I never get fish here because all our weekday meals are meat or egg based and so it wouldn’t still be fresh by the time I get to make it.  I’ve been trying to get some fish into our diet at the weekends but am failing miserably, mostly because of complete lack of confidence in buying and cooking it.  I’ve heard that there’s a good fishmongers in the Honest 2 Goodness market in Glasnevin industrial estate on Saturdays and I’m going to try to get down there more regularly and pick up fresh fish for Saturday’s dinner.  For fruit in Lidl, I get apples and bananas (these are the only fruits that CaveBoy will eat), whatever berries they have in or on special that week, cherries, peaches and plums if they’re there, pears, sometimes grapes as CaveBaby loves them cut in half, oranges, kiwis (another CaveBaby favourite, he sucks the green flesh off the skin), lemons for flavouring drinking water and for adding juice to curries. I’ll sometimes also get a pineapple or some other tropical fruit (they’ve had passion fruit, pomegranates and star fruits recently).  Lidl’s not fantastic for nuts and seeds but they do have a new seed mix that’s handy (see the good finds photo below) and big bags of californian walnuts that are gorgeous (also in photo).  Also pictured is their canned coconut milk, cheap enough and lovely and creamy for a dessert, and their Greek yoghurt which is lovely over berries, sprinkled with some nuts and seeds.  I get their olive oil and butter for cooking and they’ve a grand range of dried herbs too.  Cheese is an in-moderation item on primal but we go through one block of their medium mature cheddar almost every week.  Not sure how moderate that is really!

Good finds in Lidl (pictured against a leafy background for that authentic hunter gatherer atmosphere):

Aldi (again, I use the one near the M50 in Finglas but mostly the same stock)

Aldi is great for nuts and seeds.  I go there every few weeks and stock up on sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds, whole and ground almonds and hazelnuts.  They also have a lovely dark chocolate that’s 85% cocoa (Lidl have a nice one too that’s 81% but the Aldi one is smoother).  Seeds are crazy expensive at the health food shops so it’s great to be able to get good quantities at a good price like this.  Sunflower seeds can be ground up, mixed with sesame seeds and a little water and baked to make a kind of primal cracker (recipe here) that can REALLY help if you’re missing breads and crunchy grainy things.  Ground almonds can be used in place of flour in baking (although do be careful as it adds a sweet flavour that flour doesn’t so it can change the taste).  One thing I use ground almonds for is to thicken up my mix for a tuna bake – it does make it taste sweeter but it seems to go down well.

Good finds in Aldi:

Health food shops

And then there’s a few things that I like to have and can really only get in health food shops at the minute (and they’re dirty expensive at that so the sooner they start appearing in Lidl, the better!).  Chief amongst are coconut oil and almond butter.  Coconut oil is great for frying (although I don’t make enough use of it to be honest) and is also a ingredient in a primal energy bar that CaveHusband sometimes makes that never lasts very long in the fridge.  And I LOVE almond butter, especially a spoonful or two of it spread on slices of red apple or pears and you can also make a nice grain-free pancake with it (as per this recipe).

Holland and Barrett haul:

And that’s CaveMammy’s hunting and gathering done for another week.  Time to lug the bounty back to the Cave in our bearskin shopping bags.

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