The desire to blitz some of the myths and misconceptions about the Paleo diet prompted Irena Macri to start her blog in 2012 and she quickly won a legion of fans and followers. The passionate cook is on a culinary mission to show the diversity of the Paleo way of eating using beautiful fresh produce and flavours inspired by many cultures and cuisines. To that end, her recipes utilise all-natural ingredients and focus on nutrition, variety and taste. Cooking and eating food should be a sensory experience and for that you need great flavours, colours and textures, Irena explains. You also need to experiment with texture and flavours to come up with new ideas. For example, there are foods that people would not consider to cook or to eat raw, but quickly sauteed lettuce with a little garlic is a great alternative to raw lettuce, and raw zucchini noodles are great in salads. Similarly, adding vanilla and cinnamon to savoury dishes creates more complex, warmer flavours, and adding savoury spices like pepper to strawberries can elevate a dessert to the next level Through her experimentation, Macri enjoyed an aha’ moment, when she learned more about umami, which is often called the fifth taste’. Umami has now become an important part of my cooking evolution and helps me to achieve that beautiful, savoury, well-seasoned flavour, she says. There are certain foods that are naturally high in umami (for example, anchovies, mushrooms, fish sauce, tomato paste, parmesan cheese, miso and tamari/soy sauce), so I add them to a lot of my savoury dishes.
For several years (since her boyfriend took on a job in the UK), Macri has been living a digital nomad lifestyle, split between London and Sydney. I love to travel and it’s been great because I have so many European cuisines on my doorstep, which is good for research for my blog, she enthuses. Regardless of which city she is in, her slow cooker gets constant workouts. Slow cooking is one of the best and healthiest ways to prepare meat and you can use cheaper cuts as they will still result in tender texture, she adds.
Like all Foodstagrammers, Macri gives some thought to how she arranges and photographs her food. Good lighting is the key and by that I mean natural lighting, she points out. I find that pictures with a particular colour scheme or simply lots of colour get a lot of likes and comments – I think that’s because they seem to be bursting with so many nutrients. People also like to know at a glance what their food might taste like – so if I’m taking a photo of chocolate and hazelnut muffins, I will try to show drizzled chocolate and roasted hazelnuts scattered on the plate, indicating the ingredients inside.
AUTE PALEO SHOPPING
Prawns and mussels Grass-fed beef and lamb Eggs Cheese
Fresh vegetables Seasonal fruit and berries Butter Olive oil Coconut oil Fresh herbs Spices
Paleo chocolate muffins with strawberries
People love seasonal foods. It’s all about trying to return to older ways, when we were more in tune with nature. So pictures of stews get lots of likes in winter while gorgeous-looking peach and cream popsicles always get the thumbs up in summer
Eat Drink Paleo Photo Gallery
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