Zucchini ribbon salad with almesan shards

Zucchini ribbon salad with Almesan shards

I do miss my vegan days sometimes. Being vegan opened up my world to a heap more variety and dare I say it, culinary creativity…yet closed the door to a whole lot more food than I care to give up (marinated goats feta for example). I much prefer being flexitarian, or ecotarian, or some other label that I haven’t encountered, to describe someone who eats like a vegan, taking advantage of alternatives, and who also eats consciously, mindfully and wisely.

Which lead me to revisit an old favourite cookbook, Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Veganomnicon. Honest, you don’t even have to be vegan to appreciate some well-crafted recipes. So, despite having parmesan in the fridge, I made something different, something more, with a bit more creativity, loads of taste, and some health benefits thrown in. I made Almesan.

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Broad beans with garlic and jamon

Broad beans with garlic and jamon

It’s not often we see these little nuggets pop up in healthy recipes. And when they do, well most of the time it’s pretty un-inspiring if you ask me, possibly a lay-over from sour-cream doused 80s style recipes which is my recollection, along with leathery, tough, tasteless. It was the one thing my mum probably didn’t nail (she is a pretty darn good cook otherwise). Then, I was introduced to double peeled broadies. See, mum missed this vital step in making broad beans go from “ugh” to “freakin’ amazing!”.

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Eat dinner like a pauper

October 22, 2013 — 6 Comments
Green bean, potato, fennel salad with smoked ocean trout and whipped tarragon feta

Green bean, potato, fennel salad with smoked ocean trout and whipped tarragon feta

So the Chinese have this saying – which I wrote in my last post – “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a merchant, and dinner like a pauper.”

Why? Well it’s all in the aim to lose some excess pudge. And if you want to look at it all science-like, there’s a host of biological substances that are regulated by not overeating too late.

Practicing what I preach (which I assure you, I can fall off the wagon sometimes), I wanted something light – and tasty – for dinner. Can’t beat the crunch of fresh fennel and perfectly blanched beans in combination with the soft potatoes and textural smoked fish.

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Breakfast sugar free granola made by my gorgeous sister-in-law.

Breakfast sugar free granola made by my gorgeous sister-in-law.

Being a breakfast worshiper, the importance of eating time has been an influencing reason to my love of the first meal. It’s no new concept, the Chinese knew that eating too late – related to the horary cycle, circadian rhythms, and being too close to bed time – will slow down digestion. Actually, we have a saying:

Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a merchant, and dinner like a pauper.

What happens when digestion is slowed down? We put on weight. It’s kinda repetitive for me to say this, but I’ll say it again for impact: when the digestion is slowed down, we can’t process our food. When we can’t process our food in the manner of extracting nutrients and expelling waste, all that we eat gets pushed out into our system as a toxic, dirty, repugnant waste to get stored between our fat cells…making us fatter.

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source: favim.com

source: favim.com

There was a point in time where I felt deeply disempowered about my health. It was a time I was broken, physically, emotionally, mentally. It’s gravely concerning when you think about it, that we are not taught how to live our lives in a manner that keeps us well, outside of murky, generic and often contradicting information. If we want to help ourselves, then it’s left to just that – ourselves. That’s probably what’s brought you here, now.

Concerned with prevention rather than cure, Chinese Medicine is based off an entirely different model to evidence-based Western Medicine. Medicine as we know it here in the West has it’s limitations. It’s amazing at diagnosing and treating what is already broken, at which point – the tumour, high cholesterol, diabetes, autoimmune disease – is already a long way down the path of ill health. See, no one spontaneously gets diabetes. There is years of warning signs beforehand and we’re just not taught to look for them or know what to do about it. Enter, Traditional Chinese Medicine.

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Happy food

Happy food

I view my job here on foodiecure as a curator of healthy recipes. My favourite healthy recipes are based on what people have been eating for centuries. Our forebearers ate seasonal, simple and local. Laden with fresh, health promoting herbs achieves more than faddish superfood diets will. The clincher? Taste. Traditional cuisine never scrimps on taste.

To me, a bland diet is just going to create bland people. Look at how passionate the Italians are! And those Mexicans, well aren’t they just the happiest people living off the happiest food? Which brings me to the recipe of the moment.

You’d be forgiven for thinking a black bean soup is a bit humble. Actually, it happens to be one helluva tasty soup. It’s party in a bowl, make me feel good type of food. The trick is all in the preparation. The likes of Heston and Ferran also used common foods, to which they applied fancy preparation techniques that resulted in outstanding cuisine. Here, we downgrade the fancy a few notches and use the Mexican age old trick of charring and flavour layering, totally changing the flavour – and the joy – of the soup.

This recipe has been reproduced from the gorgeous Thomasina Miers‘ cookbook Wahaca Mexican Food at Home. Enjoy!

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Warm Carrot & Nori Salad

September 3, 2013 — 3 Comments
Warm Carrot & Nori Salad

Warm Carrot & Nori Salad

 

This salad was born out of a craving for carrots of late. Unable to get enough, I’m eating carrot in all forms lately, and especially loving the plank-cut style, cooked to al-dente. Coming into Spring, I am conscious to boost immunity – which is quite ironic because as I write this, I’m laid up in bed with some sort of bug. We can help ourselves in Spring by protecting the Lungs – the governor of immunity – and by regulating the Liver – the governor of Qi. Dark green, chlorophyll rich foods are the perfect tonic for both.

Source: favim.com

Source: favim.com

No denying it is an awkward topic, yet we all know a good poo is satisfying. Don’t squirm. If you were honest, a clean, complete poo is exciting, right? In my family, we get so thrilled by this biological process, we’re inclined to tell each other about our toilet successes. This goes way back, thanks to my health-loving father, perfectly setting me up for a career in Chinese Medicine. To us Chinese Medicine folk, details of your excrement gives clear and concise information about what is happening inside, so in that sense, it’s good to take notes.

One obvious bowel quality is constipation. People who suffer from infrequent motions really know about it. Not only is life in their body a constant uncomfortable, it is hard to loose weight, you’re bloated, have digestive issues, facial pimples and brain fog.

After being prompted by a reader for help, I’ve curated these tips to get you some productive toilet time.

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Moist and light and nutritious

Moist and light and nutritious

I have to start off by apologising. I certainly don’t post enough gluten free here. I was gluten intolerant for a bit – which was harrowing – then I fixed things up by cleaning up my diet and stress levels and loading up on pro-biotics and been fine ever since. I was lucky, I got onto it early.

Despite how much I could eat pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I like to ease the load on my digestive system. When I heard about them, I couldn’t help but to try them myself. I really do love beans.

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French onion and roast cauliflower soup

French onion and roast cauliflower soup

No, it’s not what you think, foodiecure hasn’t gone on some erotic bent. But lately, the french bughas got me thinking all things gastronomic pleasure. The story behind this dish is I was walking home from work…the clinic being south side, and I live north side, and you see, I needed to get my Qi flowing after a day sitting down. As I wandered through the chilly Euro tinged streets of Melbourne, rugged up in a leather jacket, scarf, knee high boots and flat cap, naturally all I could think of was French Onion soup and Pinot Noir. Naturally. My minds eye drifted to the roast cauliflower in the fridge that I had cooked the night before – with the intention of doing something way more boring – and that’s how I got the brainwave to add the voluptuous flavours of roast cauliflower to rich, hearty, deeply caramelised onion. In soup format, it makes it better and easier to digest – especially good for the majority of us who need to protect our digestion.

~ The recipe ~

makes 2 main serves or 4 entree

1/2 head cauliflower, roasted
knob butter
good drizzle of olive oil
1 med – large onion, sliced and caramelised (approx 25 mins)
2 c. vegetable stock
white pepper
salt, to taste
truffle oil
rye sourdough cut into rounds with a cookie cutter
Gruyère or similar hard cheese (I only had manchego in the fridge which worked fine!), grated

  1. Caramelise sliced onions on low heat, lid on, with olive oil and butter (if unsalted, add a pinch of salt) for a good 25 mins. You want the onions to be nice and brown (not burnt), sweet and rich in flavour. About halfway through add a good grinding of fresh white pepper.
  2. Bring the cauliflower and vegetable stock to the boil, then simmer, lid on for 20 mins (do this while onions are caramelising). This will make for a nice rich base for the soup. If your vegetable stock is unsalted, add a pinch of salt here.
  3. Once cauliflower done, puree really well until super smooth. Make sure the consistency is quite runny, you want an almost broth consistency, with that same richness. If you have one, pass through a chinoise for added smoothness.
  4. Add cauliflower ‘stock’ to the onions, bring to the boil then simmer to meld the flavours for about 10 minutes. The longer the better. Up to 45 mins would be divine.
  5. Test for seasoning and adjust (ideally you season enough through the middle stages you don’t need to salt at the end…this results in a well composed dish as opposed to salt-sitting-on-top-at-the-end kind of thing. Read this post for more info.
  6. Scoop into bowls and top with sourdough rounds and grated cheese. Put under broiler (grill) until bubbly and golden, then drizzle with some truffle oil for added decadence. Buon appetit!