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Moved to Europe, now I have very limited cooking facilities - help!

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  • Moved to Europe, now I have very limited cooking facilities - help!

    Hello, MDAers. I recently moved from the US to the Netherlands, and I'm having trouble translating my primal/paleo lifestyle into Dutch! The apartment where I'm living has very limited cooking and food storage capabilities. I have a stove top and a microwave, but no oven of any sort. My fridge is essentially the size of a fridge you'd find in a college student's dorm room (i.e., tiny!). The freezer compartment is hardly bigger than a postage stamp. So far, I've been eating meat (chicken, ground beef, sausage) cooked in a frying pan, salad dressed with oil/vinegar, raw veggies, and fruit. I'm going to be bored to death if I eat this way forever, so I'm turning to you guys for help!

    1. I need recipe ideas or general cooking advice for my limited facilities. Obviously, I can't cook in bulk and store large quantities of food. My grocery shopping is essentially limited to what I can carry home from the supermarket on my way back from work. There's plenty of fresh meat, fruit, and veggies available (if I can manage to read the labels...). I'm not so sure about the availability of other primal/paleo staples.

    2. What cooking implements or supplies will be the most useful to me? I have the bare necessities - a frying pan, a few small pots, a spatula, some wooden spoons, a few knives. What else should I buy? Keep in mind that I have very little countertop and storage space and I don't want to accumulate a lot of things, since I will almost certainly be moving within the next 6 months.

    3. Any other primal/paleo advice and resources from European (especially Dutch!!) MDAers or those dealing with similar limitations would be so welcome.

    Thanks!
    Primal Journal - Zinnia

  • #2
    I just got one of these and I love it.

    Amazon.com: Instant Pot IP-LUX60 6-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker, 6.33-Quart: Kitchen & Dining

    It is a pressure cooker or a slow cooker. Plus you can brown meats in it like for a pot roast. You don't have to get two pans dirty. Has a timer and automatically switches to a keep warm setting when done cooking.

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    • #3
      This is just me, but I do not like the way microwaves cook. I had one in my kitchen, I asked the landlady to remove it (she was really surprised) and got an oven you can sit on your bench (replaces the microwave) I was a bit worried about how it would cook, but I am very happy with it. You can sell it when/if you leave.

      I've had to put it on a little white Ikea table to give me more bench space and this has worked.

      It always takes a while to find the shops that have the goods you need. See if you can find a local co-operative supermarket. Also try the local Asian supermarkets as the coconut oil is cheaper and you get a few more exotic things.
      Life. Be in it.

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      • #4
        Can you get a Tangine or a slow cooker?
        If you get a difuser plate to set on the burner you can use the tangine to slow cook all sorts of stuff into yummyness.
        I have a le cruset tangine (cast iron base) so it can be used to brown meat etc before putting the heat down. Exspensive but soooo worth it, i use it quite a bit (osso buco is my fave)
        Every time I hear the dirty word 'exercise', I wash my mouth out with chocolate.

        http://primaldog.blogspot.co.uk/

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        • #5
          Hi and welcome to the Netherlands. If you have any questions about labels or other things about living here I might be able to help.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by DinoHunter View Post
            Can you get a Tangine or a slow cooker?
            If you get a difuser plate to set on the burner you can use the tangine to slow cook all sorts of stuff into yummyness.
            I definitely second the slow cooker! You can do worlds with a frying pan, pot and slow cooker will do a lot of the oven stuff you are missing. Good luck and enjoy!

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            • #7
              I would just work with what you have and go with lots of soups. They do not need to be stored in the fridge, are versatile and yum. Stir-fires is also good in the stove-top only situation.
              My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57916.html
              When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

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              • #8
                When I was living in Africa I had no refrigeration at all. At dinner I always cooked enough to have one more meal of leftovers and it went into a Tupperware container overnight and I heated it up the next morning for breakfast. That took care of two meals and lunch was always something smaller.
                You are an animal on this planet and the rules of engagement are non negotiable.

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                • #9
                  Could you get a toaster oven? Ours is smaller than our microwave, but I can fit our 8x8 pyrex in it. I use it to bake things when I don't want to turn on the oven. Would likely expand your possibilities.

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                  • #10
                    Are you sure you can't fit more food than you think in your fridge? We have a very small fridge in our trailer and when we go camping I can keep enough food (mostly meat) in that (minus the produce which is in a cooler), to last our family of 4, a week. The freezer is tiny, but can hold a surprisingly large amount of food (last time I had 16 hamburger patties, a package of sausage, a roast, 2 steaks, and a couple small packages of bacon in it.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks for the suggestions everyone. Unfortunately Paleobird's awesome looking pressure cooker combo gizmo won't work for me here, but I'll definitely look into getting a crockpot. I've used crockpots before with varying degrees of success, but for some reason in my mind crockpot = huge batch of food so I didn't really consider it a viable option given my limited fridge space. It sounds like I should reconsider. I do want to get a toaster oven, but have been reluctant because of space constraints and also the fact that I would have trouble transporting one back to my apartment. I guess these issues are relatively small but they just seem a lot more daunting on top of an international move and the overwhelming task of trying to figure out a new country.

                      Stir-fries and soups will definitely be part of my cooking repertoire. CaveBug, what kind of food would you leave out in a tupperware overnight? I'm not a huge germ-o-phobe but the idea of eating meat that's been unrefridgerated for 12 hours kind of makes me uneasy. Not very Grok of me, I know :P

                      Mamame, I'm impressed with your fridge-packing skills. Maybe I just need to brush up on my kitchen tetris.
                      Primal Journal - Zinnia

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                      • #12
                        Zinnia, anything that has been cooked will do just fine without refrigeration. In fact, the flavors will improve in soups and stews. Always did, always will, no matter what the fridge manufacturers lead us to believe. And once it's winter time, you gain the 'hang it outside the window' fridge
                        My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57916.html
                        When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

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                        • #13
                          You could order an oven online and have it delivered.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Leida View Post
                            And once it's winter time, you gain the 'hang it outside the window' fridge
                            I just have to hope the seagulls don't get to it first!

                            jasperb, do you have any recommendations about where to look online? Websites in Dutch are ok - Google Chrome with built-in translation is a miracle!
                            Primal Journal - Zinnia

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                            • #15
                              I just have to hope the seagulls don't get to it first!
                              Cats as well My cousin's tom-cat used to pull his weight by bringing home fish once in a while. Lol, packaging is the key.
                              My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57916.html
                              When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

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