Saturday, December 20, 2014

Celebrate w/ Superior Gold Salmon

The last 12 months would have to have been the quickest I have ever experienced. No doubt, largely due to the fact that we had our first child a little over a year ago. You only have to ask any parent and they will agree that once you start having kids the years speed up. 

So here we are again, about to celebrate Christmas and reflect on the year that was 2014. This year we have decided to go with a seafood themed menu rather than spend too much time prepping in a steamy kitchen. 

Australian Summers are too humid for my liking and I really don't fancy being a hot sticky mess as a result of spending too much time in a hot kitchen with the oven blaring and several pots bubbling away. 


So this year I have come up with some perfect paleo friendly Summer Christmas and NYE menu ideas inspired by premium Tasmanian Superior Gold Smoked Salmon.




Smoked Salmon Bites
makes about 24 pieces


These primal friendly smoked salmon bites provide the perfect starter to any celebration. SO simple to prepare, they taste amazing and look impressive. 


The Connoisseur Cuts as the name suggests is pre-cut into small flaked pieces which make it the perfect choice when time is at a premium. The salmon itself has a lovely flavour after having been slow cured and double smoked over Beechwood.

ingredients
100g pack of Superior Gold Connoisseur Cuts Smoked Salmon
6 medium radishes sliced into thin discs
1/2 cup full fat sour cream or greek yogurt ( if paleo you can omit this)
A handful of fresh seasonal herbs of your choice ( dill, basil or parsley work best)



method
Top each radish disc with salmon, a dollop of the sour cream or greek yogurt and some fresh herbs.




Smoked Salmon w/ Apple,Mint & Fennel Salad
Serves 4

This salad is divine and perfect for our warmer months. Best of all it is fresh, super quick, easy to prepare and paleo friendly. The combination of flavours really works and the sweetness of the apple and mint combines well with the crunch of the fennel and the silky texture of the fresh smoked salmon.

Photo source: Superior Smoked Salmon 

Why not continue the Tasmanian theme and enjoy a bottle of bubbles from the same region. I can highly recommend this bottle of Arras.


Do it with style

To get you in the mood for celebrating, this year the talented Georgie Kay from Gorgeous shares with us her favourite tips for the perfect celebration.

Keep it simple, less is more.
Try to resist the urge to ‘theme’ your occasion, and never underestimate the impact of simplicity. Choose a colour and run with it, for New Years Eve we suggest a touch of gold.

You cannot do a party without fresh flowers.
Use one flower variety per vase and then cluster your vases by hue. Look at vessels you already have around your home that could be used as a vase. Items like your grandma’s teapot or a water jug can make for a beautiful display.

Things don’t have to match.
Your party will tell a story if there is an eclectic feel to the styling. Using different chairs or mismatched crockery and cutlery adds layers of texture to your table. You can find beautiful, unique pieces at warehouse sales!

A handmade touch will personalise any occasion.
Simple DIY touches, like handwritten place cards, add individuality and warmth to your table. They are also cheap, easy and fun to make.  Similarly, a hand painted herringbone or spotty paper tablecloth will add personality to your occasion and could be an activity to share with your family. 

Surprise and delight your guests.
Don’t limit your imagination. Perhaps you could serve food on an unexpected object like a colourful tile, or transform your garden by hanging fabric from tree branches. For a New Years Eve party, an unexpected take home gift of a recovery breakfast recipe. 

I absolutely love fresh crunchy asparagus when paired with smoked salmon. For the perfect seasonal paleo inspired smoked salmon breakfast I can highly recommend this recipe of Boiled Eggs with Smoked Salmon Wrapped Asparagus.  

The perfect breakfast - wholesome,tasty and easy to prepare - Photo: SGSS



How will you celebrate Christmas and NYE this year?

Follow me on Instagram for more smoked salmon recipe ideas.


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Monday, December 8, 2014

Paleo Summer Mushroom Salad

In the lead up to the Christmas rush, who wants to spend endless hours in a hot kitchen preparing meals? Definitely not me. Besides, Summer is best celebrated by enjoying meals that are light, easy and quick to prepare. 

Eating fresh,wholesome foods is an important part of living a paleo lifestyle and we include mushrooms in our meals several times a week as they are a powerhouse of nutrition. Full of natural Vitamin D, mushrooms also contain selenium and ergothionene - antioxidants that play a role in supporting our immunity. 


Incredibly satisfying, research shows that those of us that eat mushrooms tend to eat less throughout the day when compared to people who don't eat mushrooms. They have also been shown to lower the risk of breast cancer in women and further research suggests that they may have a role in reducing the incidence of other hormonal cancers like prostate cancer. 

This salad has so many delicious ingredients and it is absolutely brimming with nutrition and goodness. The perfect balance of greens, mushrooms paired with bacon and eschalots, a little sweet potato, and good fats from walnuts make this the perfect meal. One of the great things about this salad is that the first 2 steps can be done the day before if you prefer, but are still quick and easy enough to be done on the same day if you so choose.

Really simple to make, this salad will make the perfect addition to your Summer recipes. And whilst I would love to say it makes the perfect accompaniment to a meal - Pete and I found ourselves devouring the whole salad as a main one night - It was honestly that good.

Paleo Summer Mushroom Salad
An original recipe by The Food Mentalist


ingredients
salad:
5 cups mixed seasonal salad greens of your choice ( we used a mix of kale and baby tuscan kale)
350g button mushrooms (quartered)
300g sweet potato (peeled)
1 lebanese cucumber 
2 eschalots ( finely sliced)
2 rashers of middle bacon (rind removed and cut into 2cm size pieces)
1 cup raw walnut pieces* 
cracked pepper
1 tbs butter or coconut oil
Olive oil ( to bake sweet potato)

dressing:
3 tbs olive oil
3 tbs apple cider vinegar
cracked pepper


method
1. preheat oven to 180'C and slice sweet potato into 1/2cm rounds. Place on a sheet of baking paper and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for about 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the salad. 

*About 5 minutes before you take the sweet potato out of the oven - add the nuts to the same tray and allow them to roast lightly (optional).

2. Heat a little butter or coconut oil in a fry pan and add mushrooms, eschalots and bacon pieces. Add some cracked pepper and cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat until the bacon is cooked and the mushrooms have soaked up all the delicious flavours in the pan. Once cooked, set aside to cool.


Next, place washed salad greens in a large bowl with the sliced cucumber and add the remaining ingredients. Drizzle with apple cider vinegar and olive oil and a generous amount of cracked pepper. Toss well to combine.

Serve as a side salad or a complete meal with a lovely glass of fresh mineral water with lemon or a glass of crisp white wine or cider.

Happy Summer!

Enjoy x



For more recipes, mushroom facts and information head to the Australian Mushroom Growers Association @ www.powerofmushrooms.com.au


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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Kid-Friendly Paleo Banana & Date Muffins

So I knew I wanted to make a paleo friendly muffin that would appeal Mr W and to kids of all ages. We had some ripe bananas and fresh dates on hand so I scoured the Internet and found this Martha Stewart recipe which I paleo pimped to suit our household. The result was impressive. So much so that the word 'more' spilled out of Mr W's mouth today. If I'm honest, he was on the verge of saying it anyway but these muffins sealed the deal.

Now buckwheat isn't considered strictly paleo and falls into the grey area along with quinoa. However, it is considered a 'cheat' food by many who follow paleo and primal lifestyles. If you would prefer to avoid it, substitute it for coconut flour which works just as well.

Kid-Friendly Paleo Banana & Date Muffins
Makes 8 


ingredients
1/2 cup coconut (or buckwheat flour)
2 tsp gluten free baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp pink salt flakes or sea salt
4 large free range/organic eggs
1 banana, mashed
3 large fresh dates
2 tbs shredded coconut
2 tbs raw honey
1 tsp organic vanilla essence or paste

method
Heat oven to 170 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. In a bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In another bowl whisk together eggs, banana, honey and vanilla. Fold through the coconut and chopped dates.

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry and pour batter to fill 3/4 of each liner. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. 

Cool on a wire rack.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cashew Mustard Dressing

New Zealand's Annabel Langbein is known as The Free Range Cook on her popular TV series now in its third series. To accompany the new series, Annabel has just released her new cookbook Through the Seasons. 


Through the Seasons is a visually stunning and informative cookbook that will appeal to those who love fresh seasonal produce.

The cookbook is as it sounds - a celebration of the seasons with handy tips, growing guides, recipes and links to video demonstrations studded throughout.   

I was instantly drawn to this recipe for Cashew Mustard Dressing which tastes divine and is so easy to make. I have tweaked it ever so slightly by changing the ingredient of honey to raw honey to fit in with a paleo and/or primal lifestyle.

Also, just make sure your seeded mustard doesn't contain any nasties like sugar or added preservatives etc. 


Cashew Mustard Dressing
adapted from Annabel Langbein's recipe
Photo Source: Annabel Langbein


ingredients
½ cup roasted cashews
1 tbsp seed mustard
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp raw honey
½ tsp salt
about ½ cup water, to thin




method
Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend to a smooth sauce. Thin with a little extra water if desired to reach your preferred consistency. Store in a jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.


Enjoy x


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Vanilla Chia Pudding w/ Maca Caramel & Macadamia Crumbs


This pudding is one of my favourites and is perfect for entertaining. I just love chia seeds and this was the first time I had used the delicious maca powder.

Maca powder is made from the maca root which grows in the Andes Mountains of Peru. Referred to as a superfood, it is revered for its wide-ranging benefits to the hormonal system and its aphrodisiac qualities.  If you want to know more about the wonderful benefits of Maca Powder, the team at I Quit Sugar have put together a bluffer's guide to Maca.



Vanilla Chia Pudding w/ Maca Caramel & Macadamia Crumbs
Makes approx 6 individual servings or one large pudding


ingredients


Vanilla Chia Pudding
1/2 cup of chia seeds
2 cups of coconut milk (or any other non-dairy milk of your choice)
3 tablespoons of maple syrup (or any other liquid sweetener of your choice)
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract or 1 pod scraped
1 pinch of Himalayan crystal salt or sea salt
Maca Caramel
1 cup dates
2 tablespoons maca powder
Himalayan pink crystal salt, to taste

3/4 cup water, more or less as needed 

Macadamia Crumbs
1 cup raw macadamia nuts

method
For the chia pudding:
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, stir well and let rest for a few minutes.
After a few minutes whisk together with a fork or metal whisk and place in the fridge to set for 3-4 hours or overnight.
For the Maca Caramel:
To make the caramel: blend all the ingredients until smooth and thick. Put this in the fridge for about 2 hours. 
For the Macadamia Crumbs:


Lightly toast the nuts in a hot pan then set aside to cool. Using a food processor pulse the macadamia nuts until they resemble a fine crumb unless of course you prefer a few chunky pieces.

To serve:

Spoon the chia pudding mix into individual serving dishes or ramekins, spoon a little maca caramel on top and sprinkle with macadamia crumbs. 



This tastes incredible and is you can enjoy it for dessert without any guilt. 


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Cubanía Coffee Jelly Cubes

I love a good strong coffee ( who doesn't!?) and when Nespresso sent me their new Cubanía pods to try I knew I had to turn them into these wonderful cubes of coffee jelly goodness.


With an intensity of 13, Cubanía is a bold blend of Arabicas which has been specially steam treated to obtain a dense texture and powerful bouquet with complex aromatics and strength, but without an overwhelming bitterness.



Sarah Wilson (from I Quit Sugar) loves gelatin and discusses it's amazing health benefits in her article my latest gut health obsession.

Some of these include:

  • It is high in anti-inflammatory amino acids;
  • Boosts metabolism;
  • Keeps your skin looking good and your hair and nails strong and healthy;
  • Aids digestion;
  • Fills you up and keeps cravings in check;
  • Helps to balance hormones;
  • Has a healing effect on joints;
  • Aids in liver detox; and
  • Assists with insomnia


Now before you rush out and buy a packet of gelatin from your local supermarket be warned - Not all gelatin is created equal. 

To get access to all the amazing health benefits you must purchase a good quality grass fed gelatin like this Great Lakes version which I buy from iherb. You might be able to purchase it from a good health food store but you will probably pay a premium.




The best and easiest way to introduce this type of gelatin into your diet is by adding it to smoothies, stews, sauces and to these jelly cubes which are perfect to snack on 
in-between meals.


Cubanía Coffee Jelly Cubes

ingredients
1 cup of strong brewed coffee ( I used Nespresso Cubanía)
3 tbs grass fed gelatin
2 cups coconut milk ( warmed)
2 tablespoons of maple syrup ( add/subtract depending on your preferred sweetness)
1 tsp vanilla essence
coconut oil or spray for greasing


Method
Stir together the coffee and gelatin in a bowl.
Heat the coconut milk on the stove until warm and then stir in the maple syrup ( or other non-refined sweetener) and vanilla. Then, add it to the coffee mixture. Stir until combined. 

Pour the mixture into a lamington style tray or dish that you have greased with coconut oil. 

Place in the fridge to set for 3-4 hours. 

Once set, remove from the fridge and slice into cubes.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge and consume within 2-3 days.

Enjoy.