Refreshing Watermelon Salad with Mint and Crispy Bacon

I bought a watermelon the other day – the first I have bought this year.

See here for how to select the perfect watermelon.

I knew that I did not want to just eat it as a snack/fruit – where is the fun in that…  I wanted to make something with it.

Besides, if the kids had just devoured it as fruit there would have been nothing for me to blog about!

This was the dish that I came up with to use it.


This salad is a really delicious side-dish (I paired it with oven-baked sweet potato fries and some cold roasted chicken and it was wonderful!), but it also would make a refreshing summer appetizer.

Don’t forget to save the watermelon rinds to make lacto-fermented watermelon rind pickles.

This recipe is Elimination Stage AIP if you leave out the toasted cashews – you won’t miss them, honest!   Just add a little more bacon… Cashews are a stage 3 reintroduction.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Watermelon Salad with Mint and Crispy Bacon

serves 4-6


  • 4 oz bacon rashers (Try to find some from pastured pigs, preferably in a sugar-free cure)
  • 3lb watermelon (about ¼ of a large watermelon)
  • 6 radishes
  • 4 green onions
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • ¼ cucumber
  • mint leaves from 4-5 stems of mint
  • ½ cup cashews – toasted (optional – leave out if strict AIP or you have not yet managed to reintroduce them)
  • juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 2-3 tbsp avocado oil
  • sea salt to taste

The first thing you need to do is to cook the bacon until it is crispy.  I like to do this in the oven.  Once the bacon is cooked, cool it and then tear it into small pieces.

Toast the cashews – I often do this in the oven while cooking the bacon.  Watch them like a hawk – they go from toasty brown and just right to burned in seconds!

Prepare all the veggies and the watermelon.

You need to slice the watermelon into ¼ inch thick triangles – I like to cut the quarter of watermelon in half length-wise, remove the rind and then slice as it gives a good sized piece.

Slice the radishes thinly and chop the green onions.  Halve the cucumber and slice thinly.

Tear the mint leaves into small pieces.

Next you are going to zest the lime and squeeze out as much juice as possible.

Now to assemble your salad.

Place the watermelon slices in a large bowl, then add the radish, green onion, avocado, mint and lime zest.  Toss well with your hands.

Squeeze the lime juice  in to a small jar and add the avocado oil.  Season to taste with salt.  Seal the jar and shake well to mix.

Pour the dressing that you have just made over the salad, and toss well with your hands.

Divide among the serving plates, then sprinkle the bacon and toasted cashews (if using) over.


Serve at once.

Shared at Full Plate Thursday 5-15-14

Shared at Pennywise Platter

Shared at Thrifty Thursday Week 60

Shared at Gluten Free Friday #91

Shared at Paleo AIP Roundtable #28

Apricot Lassi – A Primal Beverage To Cool Your Mouth When Eating Spicy Food

Lassi is a beverage from the Indian subcontinent, designed to minimize the fire in your mouth after eating very hot curries.  Traditionally a savory, salted lassi is served, but occasionally, a sweetened, fruit based version, more suited to the Western palate is made.

This is a very nutritious drink for growing kids, but is also very cooling if you are eating a spicy curry.  The fat in the yoghurt and milk help remove the effects of the capsiacin, which is fat soluble.  As a result, it will do a much better job of cooling your mouth than plain water.

If you are dairy free or strict Paleo, you could probably sub in coconut yoghurt and coconut milk for the dairy…  I haven’t tried it because hubby and I happily eat really spicy food and don’t need the cooling effect of the fats (the kids do).  Just be sure that whatever you sub in contains a fair amount of fat as it s that which dissolves  the capsaicin from the chillies and causes the cooling effect.

The fermented dairy in this recipe makes this a stage 3 AIP reintroduction.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

This is what J and I made to go with our spicy Goat Curry…..  This is the first time you have encountered J cooking in the kitchen.


Apricot Lassi

serves 4


4 apricots (ours were a little over-ripe, but any stage of ripeness would work fine).  You could also sub in peaches or nectarines or any fruit that takes your fancy.

1 cup full-fat yoghurt – live-cultures are preferred, and if you live in an area where you can obtain raw dairy use that.  If you keep your own milk producing animals even better still…

2 cups full-fat milk – preferably raw and non-homogenized (in Canada this is not available unless you keep your own goats or cows)…  use the best you can

1 small (child sized) hand full of mint leaves

1 tbsp raw, unpasteurized honey

1 pinch of salt


Halve your apricots and put them in your blender (ours were a little over-ripe – no problem in this recipe!)


Add 1 cup of full-fat yoghurt (live cultures preferred).


then add the mint, milk and honey.


Blend at a high speed until smooth


Pour into a jug


Chill until ready to serve.



Pork Vindaloo, Coconut “Rice” and Raita

Vindaloo, Vindaloo, Vindaloo, Vindaloo, na na
Vindaloo, Vindaloo, Vindaloo, Vindaloo, na na

Anyone remember the Vindaloo song from back in the 80’s?  It was written and sung by a British band called Fat Les and was adopted as the unofficial anthem for the England World Cup team in 1998.

Why am I talking about this song?  Because I made pork vindaloo for dinner, and I found myself humming it while cooking it…

Vindaloo is a spicy curry from the Indian city of Goa.  The name Vindaloo is thought to derive from the Portuguese Vin d’ alho.  Vin means wine, alho means garlic.  And this is a curry that contains vinegar and garlic in large quantities….

In it’s Anglicized form, it is regarded as an incredibly hot dish, often eaten by “Real Men” after a night on the town – as in “are you man enough to drink 15 pints and eat a vindaloo”…

But it doesn’t have to be fiery hot – by making it yourself at home you can control the heat simply by reducing (or increasing!) the amount of chilli peppers that you add.

The main reason for making this was because I had taken 2 packs of pork butt steak out of the freezer and  I decided that I fancied a hot curry – besides we haven’t had vindaloo in a very long time!

I based my recipe on one from Easy Indian Cooking by Suneeta Vaswani. It isn’t a specifically paleo cookbook, but a lot of the recipes are adaptable.  This particular one is on page 102.


I had to make some adaptations to make it paleo – Vindaloo usually contains potatoes – and indeed this one does call for 1 cup of grated potato.  I replaced that with diced rutabaga (I like the chunks). It also calls for 1/2 tsp of granulated sugar which I simply eft out, and I used coconut oil in place of the vegetable oil.  I also left out the vodka.  Other than that, I pretty much made it as it was.

I was a little disappointed with the heat level of this curry – it was barely hot at all.  Not sure if it was my dried chillies or if I just need to add more of them.

This is an AIP stage 4 reintroduction recipe because it contains chilli peppers.

The presence of the chilli, pepper and cumin in this recipe mean that it cannot be altered to make it 100% AIP compliant.  Black pepper and cumin are stage 1 reintroduction ingredients,

The raita contains yoghurt, which is a stage 3 reintroduction as this is a fermented dairy product.

When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Pork Vindaloo

(based on a recipe on page 102 in Easy Indian Cooking by Suneeta Vaswani)

serves 6


2lb boneless pork (I used 4 boston butt pork steaks – mine had bones in so I simply cut them out)

1.5 tsp salt

10 dried red chillies (use more or less depending on how spicy you want it to be)

10 black peppercorns

10 whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp mustard seeds

10 cloves of garlic – peeled

1 piece of peeled ginger root – 1″ square

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp coconut oil

2 sliced onions (I actually added 2.5 as I had half a red onion kicking around so I used that too)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 small rutabaga – peeled and diced

1.5 cups bone broth or water


This is the awesome pork I was using:


Take your pork, remove any bones and dice the meat into bite size pieces.  Rub with the salt and set aside.

Take a blender and make a spice paste for the meat – add the chillies (you can remove the seeds to make it less spicy if you want – this curry wasn’t particularly spicy as far as I am concerned), the peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, cumin seeds and mustard seeds.  Grind to a powder.  Add the garlic, ginger and 1 tsp vinegar.  Blend to a paste.  Rub into the pork, cover and set aside in the fridge for a couple of hours.

One you are ready to cook your meat, heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat.  Add the onions and cook to a golden brown colour


Add the pork and brown it well for around 5 minutes.  Then add the diced rutabaga.


Stir in the vinegar and 1.5 cups of water or bone broth (I used bone broth).

vindaloo4 - Copy

Mix well, cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the pork is cooked and the rutabaga is tender – around 30 minutes.

I served this with Coconut Kale “Rice” and a raita.


Coconut Kale “Rice”

serves 6

1 small head of cauliflower

1 cup unsweetened coconut

1 bunch kale – chopped

3 green onions – chopped

2 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 can coconut milk

salt and pepper to taste

Trim your cauli and then blitz it in the food processor until it is tiny pieces that resemble grains of rice.

Mix in the coconut, kale and green onions.

Stir in the coconut milk and season to taste with salt and pepper.

And serve at once.

Heat the coconut oil in a wok or large skillet and add the cauliflower mixture.  Toss and cook over a medium-high heat until it is all heated through, the kale is wilted and the cauliflower is tender.


serves 6

(based on a recipe on page 126 of An Indian Housewife’s Recipe Book)


The purpose of a raita is to cool the mouth down.  The yoghurt it contains has fat in it, and it is the fat that helps cool your mouth down.  This curry didn’t really need it as I was a bit disappointed with the heat level.  It isn’t paleo becuse of the yoghurt.  This is more a primal condiment.

I based this recipe on one in a very tatty cookbook I have owned since the early 90’s – An Indian Housewife’s Recipe Book by Laxmi Khurana.  But again I made some changes.  I didn’t add the chilli powder that was called for, and I added plenty of chopped mint for it’s cooling effect.



500ml (16oz) Greek yoghurt

90ml (3floz) milk

110g (4oz) cucumber – peeled and sliced

1 onion – chopped finely

1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp mint leaves – finely chopped

This particular recipe was cooked by C

Peeling the cucumbers

Yes C really does wear that hat in the house all the time!

Peel the cucumber, remove the seeds and grate it.

Place in a dish and add all the remaining ingredients.  Mix well and chill until needed.


Serve dolloped on top of hot curries.

After we were done making the raita, while we were waiting for the curry to cook, I took a photo of the hat that C had made using a knitting loom…