Paleo Christmas dinner

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….mainly in my lunchbox.

xmas dinner

Parsnip chips and sprouts are starting to make up a lot of my meals now the festive season is upon us and it is certainly helping me to get in to the festive spirit.

Christmas is stereotypically a time of gluttony and overindulgence. We always reach for that second mince pie, the cheeseboard after dinner or that extra glass of mulled wine.

I hold my hands up to this too, for Christmas becomes yet another occasion whereby we justify over eating as treating ourselves. I have been known to go Furious Pete on a chocolate orange before the main event then promptly open another one straight afterwards.

Christmas doesn’t have to mean gaining a few extra pounds though. Mince pies and mulled wine are fine in moderation but if you don’t want to overindulge this festive season then why not give this Paleo Christmas dinner a try.

It’s so hard to please everyone when making a Christmas dinner but for someone following a Paleo plan or wanting to watch what they eat this month then this dinner will hit the exact same spots that a “regular” Christmas dinner would. Dane and I were left in an absolute Christmas food coma after eating this and immediately gravitated towards the sofa to lie very still for a good 15 minutes.

The sprouts before...

The sprouts before…

The sprouts after...

The sprouts after…

We were incredibly excited to rustle up this Christmas dinner and in particular the sprouts which were bursting with flavour from the bacon lardons and sweetness of the raisins. The pine nuts complimented the crunch of the roasted sprouts and apple perfectly.

We had cauliflower mash, roasted parsnips and carrots, broccoli and of course turkey which was cooked to perfection, if I do say so myself. We even made our own cranberry sauce which was the only non-Paleo element of the dish and totally optional of course.

xmas dinner 3


You will need:
1 turkey crown/whole turkey
Parsnips, chopped in to chips
Carrots, chopped in to chips
Brussels sprouts
Pine nuts
Bacon lardons/bacon rashers
1 cooking apple
Gravy granules
Orange juice
Brown sugar

To make:
– Start by preheating the oven to about 200 degrees and then pop the turkey in. We bought a medium sized joint which we added a bit of salt, pepper and basil to. It needed about 50 minutes in the oven but timings will differ depending on the size of the meat.
– Put the chopped parsnips and carrots on to a roasting tray and cover with mixed herbs and olive oil before roasting for about 30 minutes.
– For the sprouts:  chop them in half and put on a baking tray before adding roughly chopped garlic, cranberries and apple. Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes before frying off your pine nuts and bacon lardons, adding them to the sprouts along with the raisins and roasting for a further five minutes.
– To make the cauliflower mash boil the finely chopped cauliflower until well cooked and then mash after draining and add seasoning to taste.
– When the turkey is almost ready, boil the broccoli and make the gravy and then you’re good to go.

To make the cranberry sauce: (not Paleo)
This sauce is seriously simple and can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.
You will need:
-100g brown sugar
-100ml orange juice
250g cranberries
Start by adding the sugar and orange juice to a pan and then heat until boiling. Add the cranberries and simmer for about 8-10 minutes until they soften.
Once they have simmered for long enough, turn the heat down and the sauce will begin to thicken as it cools.

IMG_5957 IMG_5958

That’s pretty much it, Paleo Christmas dinner is done.  It really is simple to make and no fancy utensils are needed it’s just about getting your timings right.
Let me know if you make it and how you get on.

Merry Christmas 🙂




Race report: Guy Fawkes 10

Jim Coldwell is a City of Hull AC runner and a member of CrossFit Hull.
You can follow him on Twitter @J_Coldwell

race report 3

Remember, remember, six Yorkie bars, four KitKats, an Aero and a Milky Bar wait for you at the finish.

The build up

I had heard the Guy Fawkes 10 was a tough, hilly, we-don’t-have-hills-like-these-in-Hull kind of race – ideal for my first competitive race back from injury then.

Or maybe not.

This was my first race representing City of Hull AC (CoH) since joining the club a few months before. Training with CoH as well as attending weekly track sessions had an instant impact on my running – I ran a PB at the Vale of York half marathon by four and a half minutes.

The evident improvements made the frustration of being struck down with tendonitis just the week after even more frustrating. As any runner would tell you, putting your feet up for a few weeks is as challenging as completing a race, irrespective of distance. But, reluctantly, rest I did and I was fit and raring to go on race day.

Anyway, with it starting and finishing in Ripley, North Yorkshire – just a stone’s throw away from my hometown of Knaresborough – and safe in the knowledge that there would be the mother’s Sunday roast waiting for me after, I would have been hard pressed to convince myself to withdraw even if the injury hadn’t subsided.

The race

I am definitely a runner that enjoys the smaller, club organised races compared to the larger, more commercial, mass participation ones – not to say there is anything wrong with those, of course. But, you get the feeling the former are organised by people who care about runners’ experiences, not just the state of their cheque book.

Guy Fawkes 10, organised by Nidd Valley Road Runners, is the epitome of this. For a measly entry of £12, you get an extremely organised event from start to finish – ample parking, efficient race number collection, a well marshalled course, two drinks stations and every runner’s real reason for racing, a well-stocked goodie bag and a t-shirt!

And the positives don’t stop there.

The start is in the shadow of the stunning Ripley Castle, the finish in the courtyard of the castle, the three climbs are quirkily named – Birstwith Brute, Swincliffe Swine and For Fawkes Sake (enter and you’ll find this is aptly named) and the scenery along the route is stunning.

So, what’s the course like?

It’s hilly, very hilly.

The first mile and a half is slow as the route is narrow and mix of Tarmac and trail. Once this part has been safely negotiated, the race opens out.

A couple of steady climbs takes you to Burnt Yates before dropping down Clint Hill into Birstwith. Around mile four, the first of the three main climbs falls. Birstwith Brute is a steep ascent but relatively short, around 300m.

The remainder of the first half of the race is a steady descent, a perfect chance to recover from the Brute!

The respite doesn’t last long though as, around mile seven, you are faced with Swincliffe Swine. Again, not a long climb but sharp and breath-taking.

Recovery this time isn’t as easy as your legs tire, although the stretch through Hampsthwaite and over the river helps to take your mind off that.

Now, the finish line is in sight, just over another hill!

At mile eight, For Fawkes Sake kicks in. For me, the toughest of the climbs. Winding up a narrow country road for around 400m, the name couldn’t sum up every runner’s feelings better.

After conquering the final main climb, it’s time to release the handbrake and let the legs take you where they want – you’ll have no choice, trust me.

From the outset, the Guy Fawkes 10 felt like a proper runner’s race. And the finish emphasised just that. With just 200m to go, one last challenge awaits – a sharp 100m climb right to the tape.

If you didn’t enjoy running, if you didn’t understand the challenges that every runner faces in each race, irrespective of distance, and if all that went before you at this race wasn’t to the standard it was, you could be forgiven for thinking this was a cheap shot from the organisers. However, despite my legs being ridden with lactic acid, it brought an approving smile to my face!

Crossing the line in a time of 1:13:20 and with a negative split of just over three minutes was a pleasant surprise given the lack of training leading up to the race. To be honest, this was probably more pleasing a result than the half-marathon PB a month or so before.

The race was over but the event…far from it.

The goodie bags handed out at the castle were filled with Nestle, one of the race sponsors, chocolate – six Yorkie bars; four KitKats; an Aero and a Milky Bar. A great haul!

The next job was to collect a finisher’s t-shirt before cracking open the complimentary bottle of water and taking in the picturesque surroundings and walking back through the village to the car park.

This was my first experience of the Guy Fawkes 10 but it definitely won’t be the last.

Remember, remember, the first Sunday in November.

race report 1 Race report 2