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Posts from the ‘Dinner’ Category

A supermarket salad dressing-free fridge: say hello to a Creamy Coriander and Lime Yoghurt Dressing.

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Since jumping onto the whole food, additive free bandwagon a few years ago, not one salad dressing bottle has appeared in my fridge, unless of course it was made by me. What that means is when at home, I always know what I am feeding my body. There are no food colourings, additives or preservatives lurking in my salads. Yes, it does mean my dressings have a short shelf life and yep, that means I have to make it and eat it quickly…but isn’t my health worth a little extra preparation time every now and then?

There is no doubt that the speed at which we all now live, indeed our expectations around ease and efficiency (the desire to have everything at our fingertips) has created habits that often do us more harm than good.

Did our great grandparents buy salad dressings with 27 ingredients, most of which we can’t even pronounce? Nope. I bet most of them made their own mayo with their very own elbow grease (imagine!). They made the time. I know we are all very busy people, but I’d rather be a little busier in the knowledge that the nutritious food I consume is good for me – such that myself and those around me can look forward to a healthy future.

Creamy Coriander and Lime Yoghurt Dressing.

This dressing works beautifully on the Thai inspired quinoa fish cakes in my eBook, A Nourishing Kitchen (see below), on salads, as a dip, in wraps – you name it! It’s perfect for summer.

1 cup loosely packed coriander, leaves only
1/2 cup greek yoghurt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 heaped teaspoon lime zest
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 teaspoons coconut vinegar (white will also suffice)
Pinch of sea salt

Throw all ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth. The sauce may be a little runny initially. Refrigerate and it will thicken up.IMG_8168

Spicy Yoghurt Marinated Roast Cauliflower.

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I have become a little obsessed with cauliflower over the last couple of years as a fantastic alternative to starchy root vegetables. My two favourite recipes are cauliflower rice (you can find my broccoli/cauliflower rice recipe here) and the most delicious cauliflower puree of all time (yep, I love it that much) which resides in my eBook, A Nourishing Kitchen.

Here’s a few other reasons why you should be loving cauliflower too:

Antioxidant
An excellent source of vitamin C and manganese (as well as a broad range of phytonutrients), cauliflower provides two core conventional antioxidants, which help lower the risk of oxidative stress on our cells.

As per this study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Chronic oxidative stress, meaning the chronic presence over overly reactive oxygen-containing molecules and the subsequent damage to our cells by these molecules—is a risk factor for development of most cancer types. By providing us with such a great array of antioxidant nutrients, cauliflower helps lower our cancer risk by helping us avoid chronic and unwanted oxidative stress.

Anti-inflammation
As an excellent source of vitamin K, cauliflower provides us with one of the key anti-inflammatory nutrients. Vitamin K acts as a direct regulator of our inflammatory response. Like chronic oxidative stress, chronic unwanted inflammation can significantly increase our risk of cancers and other diseases (especially cardiovascular diseases).

Cardiovascular
By virtue of having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, cauliflower consumption is protective against cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. This is particularly noticed where there is inflammation of blood vessels/decreased blood flow to organs, such as in artheroslecerosis. By decreasing chronic inflammation, cauliflower is able to maintain the patency of the blood vessels and keeps excellent blood flow to essential organs of the body.

Digestive
The fiber content of cauliflower, nearly 12 grams in every 100 calories, makes this cruciferous vegetable a great choice for digestive system support. (steadyhealth.com)

Nutritional
Cauliflower also contains vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine) and B9 (folic acid). It serves as a good source of proteins, phosphorus and potassium.

Spicy Yoghurt Marinated Roast Cauliflower.

This recipe was inspired by the talented Sarah Britton from the My New Roots website. Not only is it super easy to prepare but it looks absolutely stunning on the table! Personally I feel it will be a welcome addition to the Christmas table this year. Feel free to play around with the spices. Here’s a handy tip: if you are short on time, simply grab a jar of tandoori paste, or any curry paste you choose, and stir a heaped tablespoon in with the yoghurt. A marinade ready to go in two minutes and really very tasty indeed. 

1 full cauliflower, leaves removed, stem chopped down to base (so that it sits flat).

Marinade:
1/2 cup greek (or other thick) yoghurt
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 heaped teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
Good pinch of sea salt

Preheat your oven to 400F/200C and line a baking tray with baking paper. In a bowl, mix together all the marinade ingredients then fully coat the entire cauliflower, including underneath. Pop into the oven for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of your cauliflower. Drizzle with lots of lemon juice to serve.

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Broccoli fried ‘rice’ – the rice free fried rice.

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I believe in keeping things simple, really simple. Hence this REALLY simple recipe. This recipe was created by total accident, after receiving my Thermomix a year or so go, having no real understanding of it’s sheer power. I had meant to roughly chop my broccoli and ended up with broccoli ‘risotto’ for dinner – not my intention but a welcome mistake nevertheless.

This ‘rice’ makes for a great side dish or a main with other added bits and pieces thrown in. Go get creative I say.

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Broccoli fried ‘rice’.

This makes enough for 2 sides, so double the recipe for a family of 4. I’ll let you in on a little secret too. I didn’t have quite enough broccoli so I improvised with some cauliflower. Feel free to make this with either vegetable, or combined like I have.

1 large head of broccoli, including most of the stem, ‘riced’ (throw it in a food processor or grab a knife and chop finely).
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup stock (I use homemade beef stock…recipe to come shortly!)
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 small red chilli,finely sliced (more if you like it spicy)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 heaped teaspoon coconut oil, for the pan.

Heat a medium sized frying pan or saucepan on low-medium heat. Add the coconut oil. Saute` the onion, garlic and chilli for a couple of minutes, or until onion is translucent. Add the cumin and turmeric and cook until fragrant (a minute or two). Up the heat of the pan to medium-high and throw in your broccoli, followed by the stock. Give it a good stir and cover the pan with a lid. Leave for about 3 minutes to steam up and cook, giving it a quick stir to check it’s not sticking. Remove the lid and give it another minute or two to allow the liquid to totally evaporate before serving. I like mine with a bit of crunch but if you prefer your veg well cooked leave the lid on for an extra couple of minutes. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

The benefits of Kimchi, and a Kimchi recipe.

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The Benefits of Kimchi

Kimchi is a spicy and tangy fermented food originating from Korea, where it is typically eaten with every meal, thus making it is a day-long family affair. Kimchi works well in fried rice, in spicy kimchi soup, or simply as a side dish. It is a great digestive aid to get the juices flowing before dinner. And, if you have never ventured into the world of fermented foods, Kimchi is a great place to start.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, fermented foods are a very important part of our diet and have been used in many cultures to preserve foods, aid digestion and promote the balance of health bacteria within the gut. Read more about the benefits of Fermented Foods here.

It is important to note that fermented foods (eg kimchi, sauerkraut) differ from cultured foods in that they ferment by way of bacteria naturally present in the food. Cultured foods (eg yoghurt, tempeh, kombucha) add bacteria and require a starter. Both fermented and cultured foods add ‘good’ bacteria to your digestive system, they just do so through differing processes.

With all this talk of bacteria, you’re probably wondering, “…am I going to get ill from this bacteria laden kimchi?” Let me assure you, it is only good bacteria we are talking about, and this recipe is completely safe. Keep it in the fridge once prepared though, ok?!

So, as promised, here is a delicious recipe for kimchi. Adapted from a book by Sandor Ellix Katz “Wild Fermentation”, this recipe was given to me by a delightful Gwinganna Naturopath, Sarah McKenzie, during my recent visit to the extraordinary lifestyle retreat. This is a great project to consider for the weekend as the recipe takes two days to complete.

Pop some on the table as a tasty little side. This kimchi is from Peace Love & Vegetables.
Pop some on the table as a tasty little side. This kimchi is from Peace Love & Vegetables.

Spicy Kimchi Recipe

Sea Salt (or Celtic/Himalayan)
Half a large drum cabbage
12 radishes
2 carrots
1 onion
1 large chilli
1/2 bulb of garlic
3 tablespoons fresh ginger

Mix a brine of about 1 litre of filtered water and salt to taste (approximately 1 tablespoon). Taste as you go and add the salt gradually so as not to over salt. Stir to dissolve. The brine should be salty, yet palatable.

Coarsely chop the cabbage, slice the radishes and carrot (I like to use purple carrots). Let these vegetables soak in the brine overnight, covered with a plate to submerge. At this stage you may ad other vegetable if you so wish (seaweeds, green beans, beetroot etc).

The following day, prepare the herbs and spices. Grate the ginger, chop the garlic and onion, remove the seeds from the chilli and chop finely (or throw them in whole). Kimchi can absorb a lot of spice so go for it! Don’t worry to much about perfecting quantities.

Drain the vegetables that were soaking, and reserve the brine, If the vegetables taste too salty you can give them a quick rinse with cold water. If not salty enough, add more salt and give a good stir.

Mix the vegetables with the ginger/garlic/chilli/onion paste, then pack into clean glass jars (500ml or 1 litre). Pack tightly and press down on the vegetables until the brine rises. If necessary, add a little of the reserved brine to submerge the vegetables. If you chose to screw on the lid at this stage you may want to open it every few days in order to let out some pressure. Or you may chose to cover the top of the jar with a muslin cloth and affix with a rubber band.

Ferment in your kitchen or other warm place. Taste the kimchi every day. After about a week of fermentation, and when the mix tastes ‘ripe’, affix the lid and store in the fridge. Done! This recipe will keep for a couple of months, but let’s face it, it’s quite unlikely to last that long.

Spicy yoghurt marinated chicken breast.

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I reckon I love yoghurt more than anyone I know. I probably eat more of it than anyone I know too – every single day without fail, I get closer to the bottom of the container. So I was a little bit chuffed to be asked to be an ambassador for five:am yoghurt, because let’s be honest, supporting a product you love is anything but work. One of my promises to five:am is to create yoghurt inspired recipes so you’ll be seeing many more of these in time. I am determined to start bridging the gap between sweet and savoury yoghurt creations. This (quite clearly), sits firmly in the savoury camp. Easy as and tasty to boot.

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Spicy yoghurt marinated chicken breast

This marinade is enough for 2 small chicken breasts, or 1 very large, as mine was.

2 small/1 large chicken breast, sliced into strips
1/3 cup full fat natural or greek yoghurt (I used Five:am natural)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/3 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 garlic clove, crushed
5cm piece fresh ginger, finely grated
Good pinch of salt and pepper

Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add the chicken and pop in for the fridge for at least 4 hours or over night. To cook the chicken, heat large pan until hot and add coconut oil. Cook on both sides for a few minutes, until golden brown. Do not turn chicken too often, this can make it tough. You could also pop this under the grill.

This chicken is delish for left overs – it goes beautifully with a lovely fresh salad, combined with steamed vegetables or with quinoa cooked in veggie stock.  

The Jolly Green Giant – a children’s delight.

(Firstly, apologies to those of you who received an incomplete blog post in the middle of the night – it was a draft copy that was clearly a little eager to hit your inboxes! Here we go with take two).

It’s a particularly wet, blustery and chilly day in Melbourne today so what better way to greet the day than with a tummy warming soup. Today’s recipe is one for the children, a recipe that I very much hope will help you, as the parent, fight a winning battle and encourage more greens into your children’s diets.

You may recall I wrote a little review on a beautiful children’s book recently, Supercharged Food for Kids. The author of this gorgeous book, Lee Holmes, has given me permission to share a recipe from the book with you all today. I hope the children love it!

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THE JOLLY GREEN GIANT

  • Two cups of chopped mixed greens (zucchini, cucumbers, lettuce, spinach, celery, broccoli for example)
  • 1 TBS extra virgin of olive oil
  • 2 cups homemade chicken or vegetable stock(or filtered water)
  • 1 cup coconut milk no additives
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Celtic sea salt
  • Black pepper

Heat olive oil in pan and cook vegetables on medium heat. Add stock and coconut milk. Remove from heat and blend. Add the nutmeg and the sea salt and black pepper and blend.

For over 90 gorgeously creative recipes, plus oodles of tips and tricks to help you ensure your little people are getting the very best start, you can purchase Lee’s book here for $18.

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A wintery roast pumpkin and apple soup (it’ll never be simply pumpkin soup again).

It’s winter here in Australia and that means hearty, tummy warming meals that sustain, rejuvenate and nourish. In winter is good to try and eat more cooked than raw food – typically this is what our bodies crave. Having said that it is vital to have a component of raw food in your diet to ensure you are filling your body with the nutrients it needs. In doing so, it is good to just slightly heat your cold smoothie or juice, but only so much that it is luke warm, so that the chill is removed. If you have a thermomix for example, it is a good idea to pop your juice or smoothie into the thermomix on speed 1 at 37 degrees for 5 minutes (thank you to my gorgeous friend and talented health coach Jackie Isles!). This ensures the food remains raw and its nutrients are not lost through the heating process. Be mindful too of the temperature of the water you drink each day, particularly on rising. I drink lemon and apple cider vinegar with water each morning and fill the glass with half boiling/half cold water. It is also important to eat more grounding foods in winter, your body needs heavier meals to support it. So think root vegetables like carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, parsnip and beetroot.

Which takes me on to the real point of this post and that is to share with you a truly delicious and perfectly apt winter soup recipe! Inspiration for this recipe comes from my dear friend Joanne Antoun who introduced me to this soup during a stay on her (rather chilly) Jindabyne property earlier in the year. I swear it’ll never be plain pumpkin soup again.

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Coconut roasted pumpkin and apple soup
This soup will  feed 6-8 people. I make it and freeze it in portion sizes for a rainy day. The apple gives this pumpkin soup an extra zing – it is suprisingly delightful.

1kg pumpkin, chopped into smallish pieces
2 apples, peeled and chopped roughly, quartered would be fine (my preference if for a sweeter style of apple)
1 litre of organic or home made additive free vegetable or chicken stock
1 brown onion, peeled and cut into 1/4 or 6th’s
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Turn your oven on to 200 degrees celsius. Throw your pumpkin, apple, onion and (unpeeled) garlic into a bowl and drizzle with coconut oil, give it all a good shake or stir. Spread onto a baking tray and put into the oven for 15 minutes. Remove and flip the veg etc over. At this point, remove the garlic if it is burning and/or cooked. Place the veg and apple into the oven for a further 15 minutes. Remove, ensuring the pumpkin is tender and add to a large saucepan with the stock and salt and pepper, to taste. Add your (now peeled) garlic. Bring to the boil and turn down to a simmer for ten minutes. Finally, pour the soup into a blender and blend until really smooth, checking your seasoning. You may need to blend this in portions.

Serve as is with crusty bread. I have served this with a dollop of Greek yoghurt and grated apple on top, it was a perfect combination.

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