Category: recipes

not porridge, oatmeal

not porridge, oatmeal

We used to call this porridge but now it’s oatmeal which sounds less stodgy and more superfoodbloggy, but don’t let that put you off if, like me, you’ve had a gutful of the superfood thing – it’s incredibly delicious and so easy your dog could make it. I have it every single day and never tire of it.

oats porridge nuts raisins
That’s Gary in the background, a lonely fighting fish.

Chop up a couple of cups of raw oats in your food processor with an optional tablespoon of psyllium husks and a handful of chia seeds. Store in a jar in the pantry.

oats nuts oatmeal jar

Toss into food processor your own preferred quantities of nuts (almonds, brazils, etc), seeds (pepitas, sunflower seeds etc), muscat raisins and coconut. Chop so it’s still chunky. You’ve just prepared about two week’s worth of porridge oatmeal.

 

Recipe

2 cups oats

some psyliium husk (optional)

boiling water to cover

microwave for a minute

add handful of nut/raisin mix, and a big slug of pure maple syrup

top with blueberries – they have just been proven by Harvard researchers to be even better than you thought

 

To serve, put about half a cup of your porridge in a bowl, add enough boiling water to cover and microwave for a minute. Stir in a large handful of the nuts mix, and add maple syrup. You won’t think about food again until lunchtime.

The Angry Almond in Perth (Subiaco and Nedlands) has everything you need.

AngryAlmond.jpeg
Angry Almond, Rockeby Road Subiaco (conveniently two doors down from Jean-Claude Patisserie)

Keeping It Off

Keeping It Off

Not another diet article, you say? I know…it’s become so boring, we are so over-informed, over-fed and under-nourished these days.

For the past year and a quarter I have been seeing a doctor who specialises in bariatric (read: fat) medicine. I wrote about this earlier this year and so far on my own journey the weight (about 13 kilograms) has stayed off for a year. It may not always but it’s where I am for now. I just want to tell you what I found out. If like me you’re an old yo-yo dieter trying to keep the weight off and you’re finding it tough, this might help.

If you’ve been at your goal weight for years (or forever) you have it sorted: perhaps read this instead.

loving earth fudge brownies

It isn’t really important how you take off excess fat. What matters is that, as you age, you do. Of all the health problems associated with being overweight, one that puts a firecracker up the proverbial in my age group is the knowledge that excess fat is ageing.

A sensible friend pointed out tonight that there are many roads that can get you there. Some have had fabulous success with the 5/2 Fast Diet. Others swear by going Paleo, others Vegetarian. They are all very different approaches and once you find something that agrees with your body and you can stick it out, hooray.

I never had a problem until I left school and spent a year in Idaho wondering why my clothes seemed to be shrinking so much. Thirty years later I am armed with tools and working at it. Recently I attended a sort of exit seminar in which Dr Rensburg talked about keeping weight off and it was really useful information.

First a quick look at the basics of getting it off:

  1. It’s normal to feel hungry. We should feel genuinely hungry at least once a day.
  2. You’re supposed to feel uncomfortable when you’re hungry, otherwise you’d starve to death: It’s your body telling you to refuel.
  3. Generally we all in the western world eat far too much. Eat much less.
  4. Some people are excellent at storing fat – they once kept the species going. It sucks in this day and age and culture but there it is. You’re either a polar bear or a hummingbird and if you’re a polar bear you just have to eat more sparingly than those who seem to eat constantly and never gain weight (the hummingbirds).
  5. Make what you do eat count. Look up ‘nutrient density’; put down the two-minute noodles.
  6. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. You’re a grownup.
  7. Weigh yourself each morning (I know this one causes people to react with horror). This way you don’t need to count calories ever; the scales do it for you. Up a bit eat less, down a bit eat more.

Maintaining is a bitch for we polar bear types. This is why the scales can be your friend; your calorie counter (because we know there is nothing more depressing than actually counting calories). A lot of people say do not use bathroom scales. I say use them in the morning before you eat to get an idea of where you’re at and how you’re doing. If you’re getting on more than once a day, you’re obsessing: stop that.

Here are a few ideas I picked out from the recent talk.

  1. Expand your discomfort zone: We all live within a comfort zone but in order for it to feel really comfy you have to step out from time to time to appreciate it. If you always feel full, you’ll hate even a tiny bit of hunger.
  2. Sometimes choose foods you don’t like so much. You’re less likely to go hammer and tongs and go back for seconds.
  3. Help with fatty acid release by taking cold showers (but they can’t be hot then cold; just all cold). This is harder than it sounds.
  4. Eat less.
  5. Go for a paleo style of eating (I realise this doesn’t suit everyone). However if you’re faced with freshly baked  Yallingup Woodfired Bread don’t say no!
  6. Eat whole foods, nothing ‘low fat’ – just less of it. 
  7. Exercise how you wish but include some walking or running and some weight-bearing.
  8. Laugh and smile – it releases endorphins (happy hormones).
  9. Sleep: lack of sleep raises stress hormone levels which can cause adrenal fatigue which is bad for a heap of reasons, one of which is that you tend to overeat and your metabolism doesn’t function as effectively.

Crazy as it sounds: have a bit of fun with it. Although I have to admit I am really struggling to find a cold shower fun.

cold shower psycho

Energy Balls (Amazeballs #2)

Energy Balls (Amazeballs #2)

I wasn’t kidding when I said it was impossible to go wrong with the amazeballs, consequently our recipe here at home has morphed with each making and currently it’s proving an easy winner and looking better than ever before.

Lately I have been leaving out the raw cacao powder for some variety and rolling them in a really lovely desiccated coconut I found at The Angry Almond. Rather than weigh the ingredients into the thermomix (food processor), I sit it on the same shelf of the pantry as the jars of ingredients and just throw them in, hence the measurements in handfuls rather than grams.

Energy/Superfood/Bliss AmazeBalls

  • 3 handfuls almonds
  • 1 handful cashews
  • 2 handfuls pitted medjool dates
  • 1 handful each of gogi berries, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas, shredded coconut
  • Big Tbsp coconut oil, small Tbsp coconut sugar if you want extra sweet.

Grind the nuts a bit first then add everything else, form into balls (or press into a muffin tin) and roll in desiccated coconut.

energy bliss superfood balls

Bliss.

 

I [sort of don’t] Quit Sugar: Granola

I [sort of don’t] Quit Sugar: Granola

On the advice of a sensible friend who recently quit sugar and has not cried into her vodka soda once about it, I picked up Sarah Wilson’s new cook book in the flesh the other day. I already had her book on kindle but since I decided to catch up on six seasons of Mad Men I don’t even know where the kindle is. There’s nothing like flicking through an actual real life book when cooking.

It’s called I Quit Sugar which I know is going to put some of you off and draw others like a bear to honey. Perhaps, like me, you fit into both categories.

This is a fantastic cookbook although I am not sure about the name. While it will immediately appeal to the anti-sugar purists (I tried and failed this and am now simply anti-purist) it has loads of really gorgeous recipes suited to the committed sweet toother. Some of the really beautiful ‘sweet’ recipes in it that are actually sweet enough on their own, or alternatively lend themselves really well to a few glugs of maple syrup or coconut sugar (my two favourite sweeteners).

Coco-nutty Granola Sarah Wilson

This is my own version (very close to the original) of Sarah’s Coco-Nutty Granola as I have made it twice now – the first time it was quite easy, the second time it was ridiculously easy and “ridiculously easy” is a pre-requisite for getting a recipe up here. I’ve linked the title above to Sarah Wilson’s recipe at her website.

Coco-Nutty Granola Ingredients
These storage jars make finding stuff in the pantry and fridge easy – from IKEA.

Coco-Nutty Granola

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups unsweetened coconut flakes (or shredded)
  • 2 -3 cups nuts (I used almonds, brazil nuts and cashews)
  • handful chia seeds
  • handful goji berries (optional)
  • 1 tbsp spice (cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg)
  • 80g coconut oil
  • big splash of maple syrup (optional)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup raw muesli (fine without this)
  • a few apricots

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 120* C.
  2. Use a food processor/thermomix to chop nuts, apricots – not too fine.
  3. Combine all ingredients and spread on a baking tray covered with baking paper (it doesn’t matter if it’s a little deep).
  4. Bake for 20 mins, toss and turn, keep baking till golden brown.

coconutty granola

Sarah’s recipe calls for a total baking time of 20 mins but mine took closer to 40 so just keep an eye on it.

Brazil nuts are a good inclusion if you want to up your selenium intake as they are a very rich source. If you’re having trouble finding unsweetened coconut flakes, try the link in the recipe or here and check out Supercharged Food, it’s a great site for whole-foodies and a flat shipping fee of $10.50.

Easy Peasy: Persimmon Brekky & Stuffed Spuds

Easy Peasy: Persimmon Brekky & Stuffed Spuds

Food Prep: Hate it (mostly).

When I want to paint a room, the only way to do it is buy a big tin of paint and pour some into a tray, roll a roller into it and start painting. I have not left out a single detail. My husband Rob boringly always says “preparation, preparation, preparation” and says it the three times, irritatingly. So now we only use Barry who does all our painting for us. Being in a very old house with a lot of timber there is regularly some painting to be done.

It’s the same with cooking – because I do not want and could never afford to have Barry do all our cooking and food prep, I will spend a day having a Condiment Day, where I make all the things that are so nice added to food like pesto, tomato sauce, béarnaise, mayonnaise, pasta sauce, umami paste and so on. All so that the rest of the time I don’t need to bother with all that.

In light of all that here are two meals that have pleased us all here and are perfect for the busy working/stay-at-home/unemployed mother:

Baked Spuds Stuffed With Whatever’s Handy

No one needs a recipe for this – it’s just more of a reminder.

Bake however many potatoes you like, takes about an hour and can be done the day before if need be.

Once well-baked cut in half, scoop out the soft potato and sit skins on baking tray.

Bake skins to crisp them up a bit sprayed with oil and salt/pepper for 20 mins 180 C

In a pan saute onion and bacon with maple syrup, salt and pepper, then add fresh vegetables, chopped and herbs.

Mix with the potato, stuff the skins, sprinkle with cheese and bake for 15 minutes.

stuffed potato skins stuffed potato skins before stuffed potato skins cheese

The other one is the result of The Local Grocer. I had a Seasonal Box delivered and with it came two persimmons which I have never before bought or eaten.MSF persimmon

I chopped one up in my food processor (thermomix) along with some shredded coconut, gogi berries and chia seeds (superfoods alert!) and it was amazeballs. Try it with a few macadamia nuts as well.

persimmon brekky persimmon brekky 2 persimmon brekky 3

Blog Love

Blog Love

If you’re serious about wasting time there is no better way than following heaps of blogs and there is a site that lets you do it all in one place: Bloglovin’. You just go to the site, type in the names of the blogs you like and each day a summary will be sent to your inbox in a single email with all your favourite blog updates.

Here are some of the blogs the sensible friends are lovin’ right now:

Man Repeller: This is how she defines the title: “outfitting oneself in a sartorially offensive mode that may result in repelling members of the opposite sex. Such garments include but are not limited to harem pants, boyfriend jeans, overalls (see: human repelling), shoulder pads, full length jumpsuits, jewelry that resembles violent weaponry and clogs.” It’s pretty cool.

Who What Wear: Whoever runs this site is a hard worker; it’s updated constantly with fashion trends and style notes. It includes style tips from stylists, what the celebs are wearing, various blogs within the blog, look of the day and product of the day. Fashion mecca.

The Sartorialist snaps uber-cool people on the street and posts them up. I can never even aspire to the level of cool I see in these pages but it’s lovely photography and gorgeous clothes. Today there are gorgeous New Yorker’s in pyjama style clothes. You’d think it would be comical but it somehow is beautiful instead.

Flourish Magazine is one I have mentioned it before but worth another shout and not just because it’s run by my good buddy Jane Willis. I was searching for someone to make a proper party cake the other day and asked Jane for a recommendation. She threw the question onto her Flourish Facebook page and within minutes there were about 14 replies with great local suggestions – the advantage of having a successful, well-connected local blogger on the books. If you want to source something in Perth, just flick Jane a note.

A Subtle Revelry is the go to spot for party DIY ideas, craft ideas (my house is a craft-lover’s wasteland, but it could be for you) and there are some interesting recipes – for instance today is how to make your own bagged microwave popcorn.

Olivia Palermo is a mainstay of fashion blogging but be warned, that sweet little cardi you think you will source for Autumn is liable to set you back eight hundred dollars. For cheaper fashion links look toward The Londoner or Buy Now Blog Later (although if you’re over 40 you also run the risk of becoming the proverbial mutton dressed as….).

Smitten Kitchen is gorgeous and the name says it all. She has a book which I haven’t got but looks lovely. Very popular food blog, like What Katie Ate. I sometimes judge a food blog by how boring/tricky the muffins look (muffins should be simple, delicious and easy) – check these out for beautiful Greek-yoghurty coconutty easy muffins. Beautiful.

Cheating with Bellini is a fairly new local blog by a pretty young mum I run with, Rosie. She has great taste in food and recipes so it’s worth following for those thermomix types who are interested in a variety of interesting tips, hints and dishes such as David Lebovitz’s Fresh Ginger Cake.

Style and Focus is a local Perth blog discovering and showcasing local style and creativity.  It is a newish blog by two highly accomplished women, Jo Carmichael, stylist and Jody D’Arcy, photographer with seriously lovely photography, a great eye for beauty and fascinating interviews. These bloggers also have their own sites. They find stuff we all wish we had and post it up…. I think I might need a bar cart for my veranda.

Stockholm Street Style – It’s a little bit like The Sartorialist but it’s Scandinavia, home of the best TV series’, best clothes, happiest souls and my pin-up guy (apart from you of course Rob), Alexander Skarsgard….it’s where I will be born when I am next reincarnated.

Hej då.

Parmigiana

Parmigiana

My sister-in-law Claire put me onto this amazingly simple and wonderful recipe a few years ago. It’s one that has never failed to impress the kids and a great one to make for someone you want to drop a meal in to (mainly because it’s not casserole or lasagna).

Pesto or Tomato Parmigiana

Step 1: buy some free range chicken or veal parmigiana (always easy to find Mt Barker chicken parmigiana) and lay it out on a tray covered with baking paper.

chicken parmigiana

Step 2: spread either passata from a jar (pizza tomato paste works very well) or homemade tomato sauce over half the parmigiana’s. Spread homemade pesto over the others.

Step 3 Top with grated cheese or parmesan and bake for 20 mins in a moderate oven.

parmigiana chicken cooked

I wasn’t kidding when I said it would be easy. I severed – I mean served – them with potato fritters and salad and sliced my hand in the process. I haven’t taken a finger off yet but I think even that would be worth working with a good sharp knife.

cooking injury

Happy school holidays to those celebrating the end of endless school lunches and sporting drop off and pickups. I’ll be on the veranda if you need me…

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