Featured

Purple Cabbage & Nori Salad

Ingredients:

Serves 4

  • 4 cups red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup nori, shredded
  • 1 cup cucumber, diced,
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbps chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds

    Asian Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey

Method:
1. Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl and toss until thoroughly combined.
2. Mix all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake to mix.
3. Pour dressing over salad.
4. Enjoy!

Featured

Fermenting Food; Is it good for you?

Pickling and fermenting food has been around since the existence of humans eating food. It served as a way for food to last longer when electricity and refrigerators didn’t exist and it is versatile with many different types of food groups. But is it actually good for you?

In the age of wannabe health gurus and hipster millennial’s preaching kombucha and kefir, and the popularity influx of kimchi and sauerkraut, we automatically think that this type of food is good for us and there is a reason for that.

First of all, what does fermenting foods mean? During the process, microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast or fungi convert starch and sugars into alcohol (no- I don’t mean vodka) or acids (the good kind).

For starters, fermented foods are really beneficial for your gut. Fermenting foods produce probiotics (live microorganisms intended to provide health benefits when consumed) which assist in restoring the good bacteria in your digestive tract, which in turn can alleviate digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Additionally, by boosting healthy bacteria in your gut, the ability to absorb more nutrients is improved because fermentation increases the availability of vitamins and minerals.

Fermenting foods have also seen to improve the immune system. This is due to the studies that have shown that gut health can heavily impact your immune system AKA a healthy gut equals a healthy body. Well not entirely- it just helps, A LOT. A reason for this is because when pickling food, you’re usually using fresh vegetables which are high in vitamins and minerals like zinc, vitamin C, and iron which aid your immune system and boost those (bad) bacteria fighting white blood cells.

Another health benefit of fermenting foods is that it can potentially boost your mood and mental health. Have you ever heard of the gut-brain axis? Well, it’s a recent ongoing study that has connected the gut to the brain which links emotional and cognitive centers with intestinal functions, and these healthy bacteria have seen to impact such interactions. In simpler terms, the gut can influence our mood, so making sure our gut is healthy, can also mean keeping in check with our mental health.

Image result for gut brain axis monash

To sum things up; Yes, fermenting foods is good for you in many different ways. It has been proven by our ancestors and now by our present researchers, and there will be more findings to come. That’s the wonderful thing about nutrition- there is always new research and information for us to investigate and learn about. I’ve only stated a few benefits of fermenting food but that is enough to get you thinking (and eating) about fermenting your own foods.

It’s also important to note that fermented foods may not be great for your gut if you have digestive tract issues- consult your nutritionist, dietitian or GP for further info.

If you’re interested in learning about fermenting foods, check out my recipes and social media for a short ‘how to’ on this.
And, if you’re in Melbourne, there are many workshops (some even for free) that teach the community on how to ferment food.

For any nutritional or food questions- just send me an email in the contact box below.

Eat well & be happy,
Jaz

References:
Healthline
BBC Good Food
FODMAP Everyday
Annals of Gastroenterology

Prawn Risoni Salad with Goats Cheese

Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

  • 15-20 prawns, shelled
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1 cup risoni (orzo)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup coriander, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 200g goats cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

1. In a large pot, fill with water and heat in on a high heat until boiled. Add salt and risoni and cook for 6-8 mins or until al dente. In the last 2 mins of cooking the pasta, add the peas.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium frying pan on a high heat add 1 tbsp olive oil. Add prawns and cook for 30 seconds- 1 minute. Flip and cook for a further 30s- 1 min. Set aside.

4. Reduce heat to medium. Add chopped onion to the pan and cook for 3-5 mins or until translucent. Add garlic and cook for a further 1 min. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Once all components are cooked, add to a large bowl. Add coriander and goats cheese to the bowl. Toss to combine. Enjoy!

Fresh Oysters with Lemon and Rosemary Oil

Makes 1 small jar of oil

Ingredients:

  • 1 dozen fresh oysters
  • 2 large sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. In a small saucepan over a very low heat add oil, rosemary, zest and juice of one lemon and a pinch of salt and pepper. Infuse oil for 30-40 mins, careful not to make the oil hot or it will burn.
  2. Pour into a heat resistance jar, seal and your oil is ready to use!

Tarragon Roast Chicken

Serves 6-8

WATCH BEFORE: How to Truss a Chicken

Ingredients:

  • Whole chicken
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup tarragon (1tbsp for stuffing), finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp sage, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp thyme, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 apple or onion

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius. In a small bowl combine, breadcrumbs, 1 tbsp tarragon, rosemary, sage, parsley, thyme, melted butter and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, set aside. (Mixture should hold together)
  2. Check to see if chicken is clean on the inside (if not, give it a quick rinse with cold water, the outside of the chicken does not need to be rinsed), then stuff chicken with the bread crumb mixture. Leave approximately 1 inch and stuff with a whole apple or whole peeled onion to secure any stuffing mixture falling out during cooking.
  3. On a lined roasting tin, place chicken. In a small bowl, combine softened butter, the rest of the tarragon and a pinch of salt and pepper. With a pastry brush, cover entire chicken with butter mixture.
  4. Roast for approximately 90 mins or until clear juice is seeping out of the chicken. Baste chicken with butter mixture every 15-20 mins. When cooked, leave to rest for at least 15 minutes. Carve and serve!

Garlicky, Bacon Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • Approx 20 brussel sprouts, ends chopped off
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 5-6 rashers bacon, diced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tbsp rosemary
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 parmesan cheese

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°. Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil. Add brussel sprouts and cook for 2 mins. Drain then set aside.
  2. In a frying pan, cook bacon on a medium to high heat or until just golden. Add the onion and saute for 2 mins until just translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 min.
  3. In a large bowl, combine brussel sprouts, bacon mixture, herbs and butter.
  4. In a lined medium baking tray, add sprouts and cook for 15 mins or until starting to brown.
  5. Sprinkle parmesan over the sprouts then cook for a further 3-5 mins or until melted.

Gingerbread Whoopie Pies with Vanilla Cream Cheese Filling and Ginger Toffee

Makes 8 individual pies

Total 90 mins

INGREDIENTS

For the pies:

• 2 cups all-purpose flour

• 1tbsp ground ginger

• 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon

• 1tsp ground nutmeg

• 1tsp ground cloves

• 1 1/4 tsp baking soda

• 1 tsp salt

• 1 cup buttermilk

• 1 tsp vanilla

• 1/2 cup butter, softened

• 1 cup packed brown sugar

• 1 large egg

• For filling:

• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

• 1 1/4 cups icing sugar sugar

• 2 cup cream cheese, softened

• 1 tsp vanilla essence

For the toffee:

  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger

Method

1. Preheat oven to 160° C

2. Whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, and salt in a bowl until just combined.

3. Beat together butter, vanilla essence and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, (about 3 minutes). Add egg, beating until fluffy. Reduce speed to low and alternately mix in flour mixture and buttermilk, scraping down side of bowl occasionally, and mixing until smooth.

4. Spoon 1 tbsp mounds of batter about 3cm apart onto large, lined/greased baking pans. Bake for 11-12 mins or until tops are puffed and cakes spring back when touched, transfer pies with a spatula to a rack to cool completely.

5. To make the filling beat together butter, icing sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla in a bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.

6. Spread a rounded tablespoon filling on flat sides of half of cakes and top with remaining cakes.

7. To make the toffee sprinkle a thin layer of caster sugar on a small saucepan over a medium heat. Once the sugar has melted, sprinkle another thin layer of sugar. Do not stir or use a spoon. Once melted, sprinkle another layer of sugar. Repeat until all sugar is used and sugar is a golden colour.

8. Sprinkle the ground ginger, swirl around by holding the handle of the saucepan and carefully moving around. Then carefully pour the toffee onto a lined baking tray and leave to cool completely.

9. Once toffee has cooled, lay another sheet of baking paper then gently bash with a rolling pin into a fine crumb texture.

10. Dust pies with icing sugar and ginger toffee sprinkles.

Matcha Pancakes

Makes 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1 tbsp matcha powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup honey or raw maple syrup (optional)

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, matcha, baking powder and salt. Mix until combined.
  2. In a smaller bowl, mix milk, egg and sweetner if using.
  3. Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour in wet mixture and mix until fully combined.
  4. Heat a large non stick pan on high Add two large spoonfuls of batter and reduce heat to low. Cook for approx 3-4 mins or when pancake has lots of bubble on the surface. Flip pancake and cook for a further 3-4 mins.
  5. Repeat with the remaining batter. Top pancakes with your favourite toppings.

Lemon and Blueberry Scones

Makes 6-7 Scones

SUGAR FREE

Higher in fibre

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 60g olive oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. In a large bowl, add flour and olive oil and mix until combined.
  2. Make a well in the centre. Add 1 cup of milk. Mix with a flat-bladed knife or silicone spatula until mixture forms a soft dough, adding more milk if required. Add in blueberries, zest and juice. Turn onto a lightly floured surface.
  3. Pat dough into a 2cm-thick round. Using a 5cm (diameter) round cutter, cut out 6-7 rounds. Place scones onto prepared baking tray, 1cm apart. Brush tops with an egg wash. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and well risen. Transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm cream and honey.