I don’t know about you but my appetite is hugely affected by the temperature outside. When it’s hot I love light, fresh meals that don’t take too long to prepare and that can be enjoyed outside under a tree on a blanket or on the side of the pool, or even at the beach. I take any opportunity to include summery flavours like mango, coconut, pineapple, watermelon, basil, coconut…oh wait I already said coconut. Yep I love coconut. I sneakily incorporated it into this dish, along with mango and a few other unusual ingredients. The combination might sound a bit strange, but this one is a winner! We had this on a balmy summers evening last month when there was no breeze when I quite frankly would’ve been quite happy to eat a bowl of watermelon (if I lived by myself). This was the next best thing…
Nuts, the perennial of life for any vegetarian, has now been proven above its other feats to have life prolonging capacity.
Having long been known as nutritious (and by many health conscious as a “superfood”) these little guys were previously known to lower cholesterol and diminish insulin resistance.
Most of these claims were met with scepticism, with the most common question being – ‘how does lowering cholesterol or improving insulin function really even help me?’.
Published last month in The New England Journal of Medicine, was the largest prospective study to date on nut consumption. With 76 464 women and 42 498 men, the authors concluded that those who ate nuts less than once per week had a 7% decrease in mortality and those who ate nuts up to 7 times per week had a 20% reduction!! And that goes for any type of nut too.
Good news right? Great news you say ……especially for those of you aiming to push past 95 and spend every last waking hour squeezing a bit more out of life. But what about those who are more stuck in the reality of the next few years rather than the twilight of time? Maybe you hate the though of living out your life in a hospital bed or rattling with pills into old age? There’s more good news!
There is a beautiful café that recently opened near the suburb where I grew up. I went there with my mum and sisters and we had a lovely morning chatting over breakfast and coffee. I ordered the pear and ginger loaf with caramelised banana and Greek yoghurt – wow, I was impressed! This one of course was made with processed flour and white sugar. I simply had to healthify this one (I know that is not really a word).
What is good about it? The psyllium husk, pears, and buckwheat boost the fibre content. The almond meal, nuts, and seeds provide healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats, including omega-3 fatty acids. It is also a protein packed loaf to help keep you full and curb any sugar cravings. It is gluten-free as buckwheat has no gluten and is actually not derived from wheat in any way. This recipe can also be sugar-free if you use stevia instead of honey or maple syrup.
½ cup almond meal
1½ cup buckwheat flour
¼ cup ground flaxseed/chia
2 tablespoons psyllium husk
3 ripe juicy pears
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup milk of choice
1 tablespoon oil (coconut/olive)
2 tablespoons sweetener (honey/maple syrup/stevia)
2-3cm piece of ginger
¼ cup chopped walnuts
3 chopped medjool dates
Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Line a bread tin or silicon loaf pan (22cm x 9cm x 6cm) with baking paper. Sift almond meal, buckwheat flour, flaxseed/chia, and psyllium husk into a bowl. Wash and deseed one pear and combine with vanilla, baking soda, milk, eggs, oil sweetener, and ginger in a blender. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Add the walnuts and dates and fold through. Cut the remaining two pears into 8 wedges each. Fill bread tin with half the batter and spread evenly. Top with half the pear wedges. Cover with the rest of the batter and top with the remaining pear wedges. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. You may need to cover it with some baking paper if it starts to brown too much. Let cool in tin. Slice and enjoy with caramelised banana, yoghurt, and a drizzle of honey. It is also divine with some fresh ricotta and honey or a smear of almond butter. Enjoy!
Do you also have a hard time making a tasty stir-fry without using some kind of condiment/sauce/paste that contains copious amounts of sugar, oil, or salt? If you’re a food label reader, you probably know that it is really hard find a product in the supermarket isle dedicated to Asian food without one of these featuring as one of the first 3 ingredients. Unless you want to pay $10+ for a jar labelled organic or gourmet that actually contains REAL flavours, spices, and herbs then this recipe is for you! It is flavourful and delicious without any of the nasties.
makes 5 – 6 large portions
1 pack rice noodles
1.5 litres boiling water
500g free-range chicken breast (cubed)
500g bean shoots
1 large carrot (julienned)
1 large bunch fresh mint (roughly chopped)
1 large bunch fresh coriander (finely chopped stalks & roots, roughly chopped leaves)
4 cm piece fresh ginger (grated or finely chopped)
2 cloves of fresh garlic (grated or finely chopped)
1 large stick of lemongrass (finely chopped)
1 large chilli (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons salt-reduced soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 large lemons or 3 limes
Add rice noodles to boiling water in a large bowl and drain after 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, heat pan on high and add sesame oil, stalks and roots of coriander, ginger, garlic, lemongrass and chilli. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Add chicken and stir-fry until cooked through. Add the bean shoots and half the carrots. Stir-fry for another 2 minutes. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, honey, and the juice of 1 large lemon and mix through. Take off heat and stir through half the mint and half the coriander leaves. Divide the rice noodles into bowls and spoon over the juice from the bottom of the pan. Cover noodles with stir-fry mix and top with fresh carrots, mint, coriander, and lemon/lime wedge.
Nutritional Information per serve:
1500 kJ (360 kcal)
6g fat (1g sat fat)