Unusually, for someone who embraces Primal living, I don’t eat much meat. When I do it’s a) because 'fast' meat dishes like steak and salad are my go-to easy option when I'm just too busy or b) I believe it’s the best or only option available to me when I’m eating out. Either way, in spite of enjoying the taste of meat and knowing that it can in fact be a nutritionally sound choice, I’m usually at odds with my decision.
I was in fact vegetarian for over a decade because I believe that the animal cruelty involved in factory farming of around two in every three farm animals today (that’s over 50 billion animals a year!) is an abomination; a testament to man's stupidity. Not only is our insatiable appetite for cheap food causing so much suffering to farm animals, it’s trashing the environment and fuelling climate change too. Quite apart from the stress and disease that cramming farm animals together causes, it seems obvious to me, and somehow only fair in the face of ‘farmaggedon’, that human health is also at risk. By eating meat from animals that have been routinely injected with drugs such as antibiotics and growth hormones and animals given unnatural animal feed - grains grown with pesticides, herbicides and fungicides - we’re exposing ourselves to disease too. So if you want to protect your health, the answer is to only eat pasture raised meat - namely, meat from animals that have been allowed to roam freely on lush grass. I recommend Green Pastures Farm.
That said, these Little Ham and Egg Pies (original recipe from Simple Food by Jill Dupleix) have been a life-saver when I’m on the move and I’ve needed something quick and easy to eat. Tasty and sustaining, they really come into their own when we’re working flat-out at a Mirror Imaging wedding. Travelling between venues, Sarah drives whilst I feed these little protein packed morsels into both our mouths at the same time!
Also handy for a school lunch box, picnic fare, a high protein snack after a work-out, breakfast on the run, to serve with drinks, or served warm for a light supper or brunch. I’ve even converted the recipe into making ‘tiny’ ham and egg pie canapés using quails eggs and Parma ham! Little Ham and Egg Pies are all-rounders. They’ll keep for up to three days in a refrigerator.
Little Ham and Egg Pies (Makes 12)
1 tsp olive oil or butter
12 slices best quality ham
12 large organic free range eggs, preferably pastured
2 tbsp double cream
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp chopped parsley
4 tbsp Parmesan Reggiano, freshly grated
Heat the oven to 180℃ / 350℉ / Gas mark 4
Lightly oil a 12 hole muffin tray with melted butter or olive oil
Line the base and most of the sides of each mould with a slice of ham. Break an egg into each hollow.
Drizzle a little cream over each 'pie' and scatter with sea salt, pepper, parsley and parmesan.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the egg is just set and starting to shrink away from the sides of the tin.
Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then run a small knife around the mould to loosen the ham and egg. Remove to a wire tray.
If there are any straggly pieces of egg white left on the bottom of the ham just wipe away for a neater appearance.
Eat warm or at room temperature.
Buy the best quality ham you can afford, preferably organic and free-range.
Your average slice of processed meat does not come from a grass-fed pastured animal so don’t base your diet around cured meats such as bacon, ham charcuterie etc. A little eaten occasionally is okay but treat cured meats as an adjunct to vegetables, fruits and fresh meat.
Also, go easy on the salt when you’re seasoning these ham and egg pies because often processed ham is heavily salted already.
Carbohydrate 0g Protein 13g - per serving