Category Archives: Tips for Right Living

Kumari’s (quick) beetroot (a side dish)

I saw her grating, stirring, tasting and serving – all in a few minutes. This was it.

beetrood

  • Beetroot, grated
  • green chili (as required), de-seeded and sliced OR one or two dried red chilies OR a dash of chili powder
  • I tomato, chopped
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • Juice of lemon – to taste
  • salt
  1. In a splash of oil, toss in the fresh chili or dried chili or chili powder, if using.
  2. Stir a bit and add chopped onion.
  3. Stir fry till the onion is translucent, add chopped tomatoes and continue stir frying.
  4. When a paste forms, add the beetroot, stir till just cooked, add salt.
  5. Dress with fresh lemon juice before serving.

Healthy, and terrific with either rice, chappatis or wraps.

Pix from the net, with thanks.

Mum’s wonderful, wonderful Buttermilk

The eternal go-to during Indian summers. There are so many varieties and recipes, but the one you are used to is the only one that hits all the right spots !

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For 2 glasses :

  • 3 tbsp thick yoghurt, whizzed in a blender
  • Separately, give 3 shallots, 1 green chili and some fresh coriander a quick buzz in a blender to break them up and mix them up, but not too finely
  • Salt
  • Water

Mix the lot together. Make a jug and stick it in the fridge !

Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Option : Add a bit of ginger and a few curry leaves while blending the shallot mixture. Or even a lemon leaf … (from your garden or Asian supermarkets).

Pix borrowed, with thanks, off the Web.

Shikanji – Homemade Lemonade

Traditional Indian lemonade, this is a summer favourite … and with current sweltering days and soaring temperatures … a welcome relief !

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Shikanji
  • 1.2 litres of water
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • black salt to taste
  • Pepper powder, to taste
  • A pinch of powdered cumin or ginger or chaat masala spice blend
  • Mint or basil, to garnish

 

Gently heat water and sugar together, stirring to dissolve.

In a jug, mix the lemon juice, powdered black salt, powdered pepper and sugar water and stir well. Chill in the fridge.

Flavour with a hint of cumin or ginger (powders) or a pinch of the chaat masala spice blend (available in stores).

Serve over ice, garnished with mint or basil.

Aaaaah !

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Pix off the web, as always, with thanks.

Sangeeta’s Quinoa, Chia & Flaxseed crusted Chicken

Another from Sango’s kitchen, table, imagination, research, cookbook …

  • 200 gms chicken breast boneless
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chicken fillet
Marinade
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp Coleman’s double superfine mustard powder,  into a paste with 1 tbsp cold water
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 cloves of garlic finely grated
  • finely chopped herb of your choice, basil or coriander
Crust  
  • 2 tbsp quinoa raw, whole
  • 2 tbsp chia seed raw, whole
  • 2 tbsp flax seed raw, whole
Grind the above very coarse together – best to start with the flax seeds before adding the quinoa and chia.
  • 2  tbsp almond meal
  • 3 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp dehydrated cheese flakes (optional)
Mix all the above four dry ingredients together.
  • 2 to 3 tbsp cold pressed oil
  • 20 gms butter (optional)
  • 1 whole egg beaten with 1 tbsp of water
  1. Slice the chicken breast in half, lengthwise, so it is thinner and will cook quicker.
  2. Place between two sheets of cling film and use a meat hammer to beat it out to make it a little more thinner. The ideal thickness should be 1/2 an inch. Marinate a minimum of 2 hours up to overnight, in the fridge.
  3. Heat a pan and add 2 tbsp of any cold pressed oil.
  4. Take the chicken out of the marinade and hold up so the excess marinade is removed.
  5. Dip in the beaten egg, and again drain of excess egg wash.
  6. Place gently on the dry crumb mixture, coating both sides.
  7. Just before putting it into the hot pan, add 20 gms of butter (optional) to the heated oil, and as it melts and amalgamates with the oil, place the crumbed chicken gently into the pan, lower heat and keep the pan closed , flip the side gently and cook till both sides are a golden brown.

Pix off the web, and with thanks.

Sangeeta’s Beet Hummus

I have the very very good fortune of knowing gifted, intuitive cooks who – apart from being close friends – are willing to share recipes, thoughts, innovations, suggestions.

Sangeeta is one such, and one of my dearest treasures is the handwritten cookbook she gifted me over 30 years ago.

Now a passionate advocate of Intermittent Fasting (IF) and healthy eating, Sangeeta continues to experiment and tweak, and this hummus recipe is the first of many to come (I hope) from her current kitchen.

  • Half a cup of chickpeas, soaked overnight (none of the canned stuff)
  • Salt
  • half a sliced onion
  • 2 pearls sliced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Sesame seeds, roasted and soaked for at least an hour
  • Beetroot,
  • Whole garlic
  • Italian seasoning
  • pickled lemon
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Cook the chickpeas on low heat in plenty of water, adding a little salt halfway through. Keep skimming the top of water to remove any grey foam.
  2. Add the onion, garlic and bay leaf to the water.
  3. Roast beets in oven with the whole garlic, salt and some Italian seasoning, covered, for the first 20 minutes and then open, so it caramelizes a bit.
  4. Once everything has cooled down, blend the lot with some pickled lemon ( I chuck  them in some salt and leave  them to pickle for about 2 weeks … tastes good in so many things).
  5. Adjust seasoning and serve drizzled with olive oil.

Served it with crudites, wholewheat pita grilled with olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper and chicken kebabs.

Thanks much Sango, as always !

Pinhead or steel cut oats for Brekkers

The Sangeeta version.

 

A bowl of slow cooked pinhead oats, lavished with thick coconut milk, bananas, pomegranate and some macadamia nuts !

Delicious !!

My mantra is soak everything for at least 7 hours !

Pix off the net, with thanks …

Burratinas before dinner …

This gets done in a flash when all the ingredients are assembled … fresh burratina from Puglia, tomatoes on the vine, sweeter than sweet, olive oil, fresh basil, avocadao oil, a terrific balsamic reduction and a dash of salt and pepper.

  1. Place a burratino in the serving dish, drizzle the avocado oil over it.
  2. Add sliced tomatoes, scatter the basil leaves.
  3. Grind a bit of sea salt and pepper onto the cheese.
  4. Splash a bit of the balsamic reduction over it in a nice ruby red rich squiggle.

Tastes better than it looks, these pix don’t do it justice. But oh, the burst of flavours, the freshness of the ingredients, the crunch of the seasoning. Don’t need a single thing more.

Some pix of ingredients off the web, with thanks.

 

Sylvia’s Poached Chicken

With Syl’s recipes, the making is as easy as the reading.

Thanks much.

  • 2 or 3 chicken breasts
  • Garlic paste or ginger-garlic paste
  • whatever herbs you have lying around
  • tiny amount of salt and pepper (just for the flavour)
  • few peppercorns
  • a bay leaf
  • few cloves
  • 1 tsp chicken stock powder
  • boiling water, to cover and a bit
  1. Marinate the chicken with garlic, herbs and salt and pepper for as long as you can but one hour is just fine.
  2. Place the chicken, peppercorns, bay leaf and cloves in a frying pan, pour boiling water over and place on a stove. Add the stock powder, let the water come to a boil for a minute.
  3. Turn off the heat, leave the chicken in the pan till the water cools.
  4. Now you have poached chicken that’s not dry. And you can use the cooking liquid as stock or a base for chicken soup.

Pix borrowed off the net, as usual, with thanks.

Pam’s stir-fried Paneer

Another light, easily made dish. Stir fry, serve.

Paneer is a fresh cheese from South Asia, particularly the Indian subcontinent. It is unaged, acid-set, non-melting farmer or curd cheese, made by curdling heated milk with lemon juice, vinegar or any other food acids.

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  • paneer, cubed
  • a bit of oil
  • whole jeera (cumin)
  • pinch of sugar
  • green capsicum, cubed
  • 1 big onion, cubed
  • salt
  1. Heat oil in a wok, add the cumin/jeera and when it sputters, add the capsicum and onion and stir fry till just about done.
  2. Add the paneer, sugar and salt and give it a bit of a toss till flavours are blended.

Great with chappattis or rice.

Thanks Pam.

Pix borrowed off the net.

 

Pam’s Beetroot Salad

Had this @ Pam’s on a hot summer afternoon, at lunch, and it was lovely.

I normally dislike beetroots, but these half boiled ones retained a hefty crunch.

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  • Beetroot, parboiled, chopped fine
  • 1/2 to 1 big onion, chopped fine
  • 1 tomato, chopped fine
  • green chili (as per taste), de-seeded, chopped fine
  • dressing – salt, pepper & lemon juice
  • chopped coriander to garnish

Toss all together.

Pix off the net, with thanks.

Chia Pudding for Breakfast

Came across this recipe somewhere, can’t remember. Sounds interesting.

for 3

  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (adjust to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • fresh cherries or berries for garnish
  • a small handful of toasted nuts – almonds, crushed pistachios, for garnish

Combine chia seeds, almond milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a container that can be sealed – like a mason jar.

Stir well, refrigerate overnight.

Top pudding with berries and nuts before serving, chilled.

Pix off the web, with thanks.

Kuko’s Grilled Peppers

I know this sounds like a no-brainer … but when served piping hot, with meat and salad on a cold Gurgaon evening, music playing, wine in hand and catching up with old friends after yonks, it was delicious beyond belief.

  • Green, red and yellow peppers, sliced, de-seeded, pith removed
  • olive oil
  • crushed garlic
  • oregano
  • salt and pepper
  1. Marinate all of the above for a couple of hours.
  2. Grill in a pre-heated oven, over a surface sprayed lightly with olive oil.
  3. Turn over once after a few minutes, grill till just done, not limp.

This can be made with yellow and green zucchini as well.

Pix off the web, with thanks.

‘Kitchadi’ elevated to a party dish !

Lentil and rice based Indian comfort food – heartwarming, nourishing, filling and especially for those days when you don’t have much stuff at home or want to finish bits and bobs of vegetables.

We usually make it on Mondays, when supplies are low, we haven’t yet been grocery shopping and I want to spend as little time as possible even thinking about a meal.

These amounts serve 6 people.

With a little experimentation (steaming instead of cooking), it turned out looking pretty good, fit for a party !!

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  • 1 cup masoor dhal
  • 1 big tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp hing or asephoetida
  • 1 big onion, chopped

Pressure cook the above with some water – just above the level of the ingredients. When done, strain the dhal, tomatoes and onion, keep aside and save the cooking water.

  • 1 brinjal, diced
  • 1 raw banana, diced
  • murunga leaves
  • any left over vegetables, all diced
  • 1 big onion, diced

In hot oil, sputter mustard, add onion and stir fry till brown. Add all the vegetables and stir fry for a few minutes till done. Keep aside.

  • 1 1/2 cup Ponni or Basmati (or both mixed) rice

Cook the rice. Just as the water is almost absorbed into the rice, add the cooked vegetables and the dhal mixture along with the saved cooking water.

Cover and cook till done.

If steamed in a rice cooker, it can be upturned and served like a cake in the pictures.

  • Mustard
  • Urud dhal
  • curry leaves
  • murunga leaves

Sputter the mustard first, then add the urud dhal, then the curry leaves and finally a whole bunch of murunga leaves. Use this as a garnish any which way.

Pix of ingredients off the web, with thanks.

Vermicelli for Breakfast

This vermicelli uppuma is a staple in many south Indian homes, a quick breakfast dish that is satisfyingly simple to make.

  • Big onions, chopped
  • curry leaves
  • mustard seeds
  • grated ginger
  • urud dhal
  • dried red chilies
  • roasted vermicelli
  • a little water

Banana, on the side

  1. In hot oil, sputter the onions, curry leaves, mustard, ginger, chilies.
  2. Add roasted vermicelli, saute well.
  3. Add a little water and cover. The vermicelli will absorb the water as it cooks.
  4. Serve with sliced banana

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We like to eat it with a banana, but it goes with anything – some yoghurt, or mango pickle … or just by itself !

Pix off the Net, with thanks.

Kuko’s Celery Soup

Continuing the Kuko kitchen legacy … an absolutely delicious soup in its simplicity.

  • Celery, chopped
  • 2 big onions, chopped
  • garlic, crushed
  • chicken stock
  • dash of cream
  • 1 boiled potato (optional) for a thicker soup
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 tbsp port wine
  1. In olive oil, saute the celery, onion and garlic. If using the potato, add. Cool. Blend. Strain.
  2. Return to heat with the stock mixed in. As it simmers, add the cream, sugar. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Take off the heat and swirl in the port or whatever wine is on hand.

Pix off the web, with thanks.

Kuko’s Grilled Mushrooms

I’m a sucker for food that delicious, easy to prepare and involves the least work.

So these few posts are all things Kuko, as she whips them up effortlessly, remains elegant and relaxed and entertains with gracious facility !

  • Button mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed, patted dry
  • Finely chopped onion
  • cheddar cheese
  • a dash of mayonaisse – a tablespoon or more
  • breadcrumbs
  1. Mix the cheese, onions and mayo and stuff the mushroom caps.
  2. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
  3. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes till browned.

Utterly delicious ! She said the addition of the mayo makes all the difference and she picked this tip up when she was in the Philippines.

Pix off the web, with thanks.

Kuko’s (Indian) twist on a salad dressing

To give regular salad dressing a bite …

… sputter in olive oil, some mustard seeds, curry leaves and a couple of dry red chilies.

Mix this into the vinaigrette and lift with the addition of a couple of tablespoons of fresh orange juice.

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Goes brilliantly with grated carrots.

Pix off the web, with thanks, as always.

Brekkie, in some style !

Veggies are good at breakfast, I read, they are especially good, as they’re nutritious, full of antioxidants, provide very few calories per portion, and are packed with fiber—which is filling because it takes up space in your digestive system. Fiber also slows digestion, which means you’ll have a steadier supply of energy over a longer period of time.

So rooted in the fridge this morning and voila :

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A simple fried egg-white, stacked on walnut bread cut to size and garnished with a light salad of cherry tomatoes, avocado, some parsley, some Japanese cucumber and pomegranate arils tossed with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Oops … forgot to mention the most important part – a layer of hummus (made sans garlic) between the egg and the bread !

Tasted every bit as good as it looked !

Thanks Veron.

The info on veggies for breakfast from http://time.com/4583581/healthy-food-meal-protein/?xid=newsletter-brief

Apricots. Apricots. Apricots.

The fruit is everywhere, warm, orange, gold, offering all kinds of suggestions.

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Sauces. Appetizers. On the side.

Three recipes I haven’t yet tried. Sound delicious though.

As an accompaniment, from Alon Shaya, Executive Chef and Owner of Shaya in New Orleans.

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  1. Stir together :
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp orange juice

2. Whisk in

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp water

3. Set aside.

4. Chop into 2 cm pieces :

  • 3 apricots
  • 2 tomatoes

5. Toss with the prepared dressing (above). Sprinkle with 2 tbsp sesame seeds and serve with grilled fish.

As a sauce, from Eric Banh, Executive Chef @ Ba Bar in Seattle.screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-1-00-45-pm

  • 2 cups diced, fresh apricots
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  1. Cook the above over medium heat for about 10 minutes, till the alcohol evaporates and the sauce thickens.
  2. Transfer to a blender and puree till smooth.
  3. Drizzle over roasted vegetables, grilled bread or baked chicken.

As an appetizer, from Jason Hotchkiss, Director of Culinary Operations @ the Patio Group on Goldfinch in San Diego.

screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-1-21-49-pm

  • 6 fresh apricots, halved
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • shredded basil
  • chopped cucumber
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  1. Drizzle the cut sides of the apricots with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
  2. Grill over high heat, flesh side down for about 2 minutes or until charred.
  3. Cool. Cut into wedges. Arrange, top with the feta, basil, cucumber and lemon juice.

None of this is mine, neither the recipes not the photographs. All borrowed – with thanks – from print and the internet !

Another easy, filling Brekkie

Trying to make the mornings easier, healthier and fast, on-the-go; with food that’s good on the table and in the system.

So this is Veron’s – googled, I think, off the net.

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Almond milk, thinner as it is from regular dairy, and off a different non-milk white – ivory ? – doesn’t photograph as well, but it tastes far better. (That’s my take).

  • A couple of tablespoons of rolled or steel-cut oats, per person, soaked overnight in almond milk.
  • Transfer to a bowl, mix in a dash of honey (optional), more almond milk if required, and arrange sliced banana, pomegranate arils and blueberries.
  • Sprinkle cinnamon powder and chia seeds, enjoy.

Mango cubes, ripe and succulent, should make a great alternative / addition ?

 

A Green and Delish Breakfast

So, no grains. Nothing acidic. Light yet filling. Tasty.

This is entirely Veron’s creation and it was so good, so good.

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Boiled eggs, halved. Yolk discarded.

Avocado into guacamole sans tomatoes (and it tasted better).

Organic kale chopped, freshened with a simple olive oil/lemon juice/salt/pepper dressing.

Roasted pine nuts.

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And for those who wanted grains and yolk, a different version. Wholemeal walnut bread. The yolks atop the guacamole.

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Try it for that sense of total well-being after the meal !

A Sunday lunch with prosecco and friends

Unplanned, on-the-spur-of-the-moment and impromptu, this lunch was sunny, sparkly, air-conditioned and frothy both in liquid sustenance and atmosphere : good cheer, good friends, good food (even if I say so myself).

With Raising Sand (Robert Plant and Alison Krauss), thank you Neena.

Menu

Prosecco, prosecco, prosecco. And good old G & T. And fresh, tender coconut water.

Ok, so these are not my pictures, they’re off the web, but they encapsulate the moments and are the visual ooh’s and aah’s elicited by chilled bliss on a humid summer day.

On to the food :

Kurmur, crunchy, fresh, crisp, in bowlfuls, with the drinks.

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Melon with proscuitto and a honey mustard vinaigrette. (The vinaigrette was part of the plan, but it didn’t get made).

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Here’s the recipe anyway – 4 tablespoons of your best olive oil, 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 20ml runny honey, 1 1/2 teaspoons of wholegrain mustard and a pinch of salt – mixed and stirred and shaken. Got the recipe off the net and the pix were stunning.

A Curly Kale Salad with tomatoes, olives, cubed feta, a minced red onion, cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced red radishes and Japanese cucumber, sliced mushrooms – and for the kick – fresh betel leaves, minced. The whole lot gently tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper. And just a dash of apple cider vinegar. Pomegranate arils. Roasted sunflower seeds, scattered.

A word about the kale. A serendipitous discovery – this was organic, fresh, crunchy and wonderfully green. Home delivered by Ben of Sustenir Agriculture which practices urban farming in Singapore.

Urban farming, thus described : controlled environment agriculture : growing plants without ever exposing them to the outside world, using artificial lighting, exacting specific nutrients and controlling every aspect of the air and water environments … perfecting a plants habitat: giving them exactly what they need, when they need it. Their lack of exposure to the hazards of traditional field farming (insects, temperature changes, cleanliness and purity of water, parasites and inconsistent levels of sunlight) … ergo clean, healthy produce …

Yes, it tasted clean. And healthy. And fresh. And good, considering : kale is the king of healthy leafy greens, a widely regarded super-food that brings more nutrients to the table than any other green on the market. Rich in beta-carotenes, Vitamins K,C, A and calcium, consuming it raw, cooked or juiced will give you boundless energy. With the highest anti-carcinogenic properties of any salad, this is the mighty green that might just save us all!

Arabian Beef Kebabs

These were especially delicious, a new recipe.

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  • 1 kg minced beef
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 fresh cup coriander leaves
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • big onion, chopped fine
  • 3 cloves and 4 cardamom, and some cinnamon, blended
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • salt
  • 100g olive oil or butter
  • ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  1. Mix all together well.
  2. Set aside for 30 to 45 minutes.
  3. Shape, pan fry.
  4. Garnish with mint and coriander leaves.

Pita wedges tossed with sea salt, olive oil and freshly minced rosemary.

Hummus and Baba Ghanoush.

Roast chicken with chunks of butternut squash and sweet potatoes. Smoked salmon with cucumber and soft cheese.

And dessert was Mango Fool with Lime and Toasted Coconut

A puree of Alfonso mangoes (in season), swirled with the zest and juice of half a lemon and Greek yoghurt, chilled, then spooned into ramekins and topped with toasted coconut flakes and sprinkled with black chia seeds. (Couldn’t find passion fruit which was part of the recipe – a drizzle of passion fruit seeds. Substituted with chia).

One did float on the bubbly a bit, which is why my photographs are less than par. Some pix borrowed off the web.

Kumari’s Mutton & Drumstick Curry

Kumari, Mum’s helper, brought a gift of six fresh, bright green murungakas – as they are called in Tamil – with the injunction, complete with recipe, that I was to take it to Singapore and cook it for Mum, with mutton.The murungas had been gathered from her garden, and from the tree across the wall, from her neighbour’s garden.

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Murungai is the fruit of the Moringa oleifera tree (family Moringaceae) and its long thin seed pods resemble drumsticks, hence the name.

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 1.57.08 PMMoringa leaves are popular in South Indian cooking, containing as it does, all of the essential amino acids – the building blocks of proteins. But this is the first time I had heard of the seed pods being cooked with meat and it sounded interesting and I gave it a try. It was delicious.

 

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  • 1 1/2 kilos of mutton, cleaned and cubed
  • 2 big onions, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 to 1 1/2 drumsticks, fresh, in 2 1/2″ lengths
  • Garam masala powder or 1/2″ of broken cinnamon stick, 4 cloves, 3 pods cardamom, a scant teaspoon of fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 to 3 tbsp coconut milk
  • Chili powder
  • Dhaniya (coriander) powder
  • Haldi (turmeric) powder
  • Salt
  1. Boil the drumstick pieces in a little water mixed with salt and turmeric powder, till just done, still firm. Keep aside.
  2. In hot oil (in a pressure cooker) sputter the garam masala and as the fragrance is released, add the onion and fry.
  3. When translucent, add the ginger-garlic paste, fry till aromatic. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry to a paste.
  4. Add the mutton and the powders, stir well, add a bit of water and pressure cook till just done.
  5. Open, add the cooked drumstick pieces and the coconut milk and give it a swirl. Let it heat up and dish out and serve with steaming hot basmati rice.

Murunga leaves (moringa in both Tagalog and Bahasa Indonesia / Malay) are particularly good for health and googled images provide details.

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This is one dish that will return to the table. Definitely. Apart from the various made with the leaves.

Images googled off the net, with thanks.

Rice Dishes

Tried out a number of easy rice dishes, all good, all quickly done. You could either use a rice cooker or make it in a pan.

CoconutMilk

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Coconut Rice

  • 1 cup rice
  • big onions, chopped
  • green chili
  • cinnamon stick, broken
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt
  1. Sputter the cinnamon stick in hot oil, add the chopped onion and green chili and brown.
  2. Add basmati rice, then the salt, mix well.
  3. Mix the coconut milk and water, add and cook till just done.
  4. Tarka with mustard seeds, urud dal, dry red chilies, curry leaves.

 

Mushroom Rice

  • Big onions, chopped
  • garlic, chopped
  • 1 star anise
  • lots of sliced button mushrooms
  • chicken stock
  • green peas
  • lots of coriander leaves
  • salt
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups warm water

 

  1. Sputter the star anise in hot oil, add the chopped onion and green chili and brown.
  2. As it turns golden, add the mushrooms and peas and stir till just turned colour. Add basmati rice, then the salt, mix well.
  3. Add the coriander leaves and the chicken stock (either as liquid stock with the water, in which case adjust the amount of water accordingly, or crumble the stock cube into the rice).
  4. Add the water and cook till just done.

 

Mint Rice

  • Oil
  • Cumin seeds
  • Fennel seeds
  • Green chilies
  • Cloves
  • Big onions, chopped fine
  • lots of fresh, chopped mint leaves
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups Basmati rice, washed, drained
  • 2 3/4 cups warm water
  1. Sputter the cloves in hot oil, add cumin and fennel. Then add the chopped onion and green chili and brown.
  2. As it turns golden, add lots of chopped mint and keep stirring till brown. Add basmati rice, then the salt, mix well.
  3. Add the water and cook till just done.

Pictures off the net, and thanks for the loan.

Ambrosia

This quintessential southern American salad (or dessert) was a light and refreshing to end a light and refreshing plated dinner at the peak of Singapore’s hot, humid, steamy summer (having jettisoned the traditional cherries, marshmallows and cream).

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I don’t know where I discovered the recipe years ago, but the slip of paper in my book had excellent scrawled beside it, so obviously it had been tried, tested and had come out tops …

It was fun rediscovering it : sourcing the freshest coconut in the wet market, watching the grim and focused vendor balance the coconut on a tin can, use a small knife in swift, precise, clean strokes to strip the brown pith off, slice through the meat, release the coconut water ; quartering it in two quick movements. (Fresh coconut is an absolute imperative, I gathered, from reading an interesting piece on ambrosia).

Examining a pile of pineapple from Malaysia. Seedless grapes from Chile. Black. Mandarins, tangerines, murcotts from Florida, Pakistan, Australia. Picking and choosing.

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  • 4 oranges, segmented, seeds and pith removed
  • grated zest of 1 orange, and juiced
  • 1 tbsp clear honey or light muscovado sugar
  • small bunch of small seedless grapes, halved
  • 1 small pineapple, cubed
  • chunk of fresh coconut, shaved into thin slices or a handful of fresh grated coconut
  • handful pecan halves
  1. Add honey or sugar to the zest and juice, mix well.
  2. Add grapes and pineapple to the orange segments and juice.
  3. Stir coconut into salad.
  4. Sprinkle with pecans before serving.

Ambrosia is traditionally served as part of the Thanksgiving meal in America. It is a perfect dessert after a rich main course.

A Beer Marinade for Chicken

Rooting around for something different, to marinate 3 chicken legs overnight for a quick lunch with a salad. Nothing much in the fridge, except the beer, and a few onions.

Came out pretty well, except tried to pan fry instead of grilling it and that didn’t cook the chicken, so turned everything into a pressure cooker and gave it a couple of minutes after the whistle.

That did the job and the marinade came out as a thick sauce which was pretty darn good.

IMG_0906Marinade

  • 1 big onion, chopped fine
  • parsley, chopped fine
  • few cloves garlic, minced
  • splash of olive oil
  • sea salt
  • cumin powder
  • chili flakes
  • a can of beer

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Breakfast in a Mason Jar

This worked brilliantly – easy, delish and convenient. The Cuisinart smoothie-blender is very ergonomic and this came out tops. And the Mason jars are great to walk around with …

The Banana Bonanza (for 2) IMG_0920

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 tablespoons raw oats
  • 8 almonds
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 cup vanilla flavoured Greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 a cup (or to taste) skimmed milk
  • a few cubes of ice

Blend, blend, blend.

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Watermelon Steak Salad

On a visit to Vancouver a few weeks ago, I had a phenomenal Tuna Watermelon Salad at the Fable Kitchen in Kitsilano, with chunks of seared tuna tossed with feta, cucumber, egg, anchovy and guanciale (cured meat from Italy, prepared from pork jowl).

I came across another watermelon salad recipe and it was pretty good. (I can add the seared tuna when I learn how to sear tuna !)

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  • arugula
  • pitted black olives, roughly chopped
  • pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds
  • red onion, finely chopped
  • unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped
  • fresh mint, chopped
  • goat’s cheese
  • pita wedges, to serve
  • a whole watermelon

Dressing

  • a dash of Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • a dash of caster sugar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  1. Mix the ingredients for the dressing, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl mix arugula, olives, seeds, onion, pistachios and mint, set aside.
  3. With the skin on, cut 2.5 cm slices from the mid section of the watermelon, slice the skin off to make watermelon ‘steaks’, pick out and discard seeds.
  4. Crumble the goat’s cheese, add to the arugula mixture, add dressing, toss.
  5. Place a watermelon steak on each plate, top with arugula mixture, serve with the pita wedges.

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Spice Options

I can’t see myself making these, but found the idea appealing – freshly ground spice mixes for the occasion !

Found this in a magazine, as I do on the odd occasion I read magazines, usually in waiting rooms …

Caribbean Jerk (makes 2 tablespoons)

Use as a marinade mixed with a little honey and olive oil; brush on poultry before BBQ-ing.

jamaican-jerk-seasoning

 

  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes

Mexican Seasoning (makes 1/4 cup)

Use to flavour burritos, tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, chili con carne, empanadas and soups … or sprinkle on corn chips.

picxelMMA

  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp crushed chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Brazilian Tempero Baiano (makes 1/4 cup)

Use as a dry rub for meats, in marinades or to flavour soups, braises and seafood.

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  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp white peppercorns
  • 1 tsp crushed chili flakes

Cajun Mix (makes 1/2 cup)

Use as a dry rub or marinade for meats and seafood, or sprinkle on popcorn.

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  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp flaked sea salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp  ground black pepper

Moroccan ras el hanout (makes 2 tablespoons)

Use in marinades for meat, as a base for tagines and in rice pilafs, couscous or curries.

Ras-El-Hanout

  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp corander seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom seeds
  • 1/2 tsp hot paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice

Grind to a fine powder.

Pix off the net, recipes from a magazine, thanks to all.

A Cleansing Crunch of a Salad

Beetroot, Carrot, Sprouted Mung Bean and Mint Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing

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Some days you just feel your palate need a cleansing crunch and this salad is perfect for it. I just happened to have the ingredients on hand and hoped it would work – and it did.

  • I medium sized beetroot cut in thin strips – as close to julienne as you can be bothered with
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 1/2 cup sprouted mung beans
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves torn up a bit

Honey Mustard Dressing

  • 1 tsp Dijon style mustard
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 2 generous tsp olive oil
  • a squeeze of lime
  1. Lightly cook the beetroot in a small saucepan with a little water. You want to retain the crunch. Cool. (The beetroot can be left uncooked as well, depending on your preference. You may choose to grate the beetroot so it’s quite fine and doesn’t require cooking).
  2. Mix all the salad vegetables together in a bowl.
  3. Mix the dressing ingredients together.
  4. Combine the two.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste … and it’s ready.

Bon Appetit

This is to kick off the memories : Paris 2009 with friends : a holiday of the senses, an effervescence of food, an exploration of haute cuisine, gastro-tourism, Michelin stars, Michelin guides and just plain ordinary eating.

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The compact, businesslike (soon to be rated Michelin discovery) Le Gaigne in the Marais quarter (third arrondissement) makes a persuasive case to the purse; it is a reason to dress up for some fine dining, and best of all, is just around the corner. Preceded by the ritual of trying on outfits, shared make-up and compliments, the five course Le Menu Dégustation, each paired with a wine and exquisitely served on slabs of black slate, is both delightful and a trifle disappointing. The seafood starter in a shot glass – Verrine de Coquillages en gelée, mousse et coulis de Céléris – is not unpleasant and deserves mention if only for the layered, pureed, spinach; and the braised endives with ham or Millefeuilles d’Endives étuvées et véritable jambon de Paris de M. Leguel, is an out and out winner, a mélange of the sweet, the sour and the piquant.

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The closely packed tables are enveloped in a buzz of conversation, rising and falling in a miscellany of accents. The food is local, organic and fresh, and if organic is unavailable, ‘alternatively produced’ replacements are substituted, where possible. Chef Mikael Gaignon is young and known, having worked in two Pierre Gagnaire restaurants and this, Le Gaigne, is his first restaurant as patron. Given the prices are not Michelin star prices, it certainly offers value for money – and the wines are superbly matched.

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Ladurée (75 Avenue des Champs-Elysées, Tel : 01.40.75.08.75), opened as a tea room in the 1930’s  at a time when women were not allowed to enter cafés (an exclusive domain of men) and soon became hugely successful with the ladies of Paris. Today, a brand unto itself, it is famous worldwide for its pastries and double-decker macaroons (of which 15,000 are sold everyday according to their website). These legendary macaroons featured in a scene between Marie-Antoinette and Ambassador Mercy in Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette.

Originally founded in 1862 as a bakery, it was burnt down in the Paris Commune uprising of 1871 and rebuilt as a pastry shop. It came into its own in 1930 when Desfontaines, the grandson, came up with the idea of sticking two macaroon shells together with creamy ganache (a whipped filling of chocolate and cream), reinventing the macaroon originally introduced by Catherine de’ Medici to France in the 16th century.

The celadon interiors and the waiting in line is an experience in itself, almost like being caught in a boudoir web within a time warp. Brunch has a very ‘ladies who lunch’ feel to it, made inelegant by recalcitrant swiveling seats which make it hard to look graceful, much less balance a china cup of tea delicately. Depending on your taste, the macaroon is either a fantastic melt-in-your-mouth experience, or not quite all that it is cracked up to be.

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Ladurée macaroon boxes are available from their counter at the Charles de Gaulle airport (should you want to take some home) and it is recommended that the macaroons be eaten within three to four days.

Le Trumilou (84 Quai de L’Hotel de Ville, Tel : 01.42.77.63.98,) will be remembered for a perfect meal on a sunny autumn day, a Sunday lunch of escargots lusciously awash in butter and garlic, chilled Sancerre, foaming Leffe, canard pruneaux (duck with prunes), ris veau (veal sweetbread), oeuf a la neige (floating islands) and tarte aux pommes, apple tarts, warm and melting.

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dsc07351It will be remembered as a quintessential French bistrot experience; traditional farm fare and dishes lovingly cooked for hours … and warm sidewalk café crèmes served in the sun, fueling hours of insouciant banter; and your table’s giddy, infectious good humor snags the attention of the man at the adjacent table (ostensibly reading a French translation of Dan Brown’s latest offering) … all this, followed by a siesta on the banks of the Seine on a sunny afternoon.

Le Baiser Salé aka The Salty Kiss (58 Rue des Lombards, Tel : 01.42. 33. 37. 71) is for the nights, for the atmosphere and the perfect evening of jazz, (no fancy wannabe jazz bar in an upstart slick street); this is cellar and decrepit loft, knee to knee in appreciation with other music lovers. A jazz festival is on, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latino, salsa, merengue, R & B, fusion … and tonight is mellifluous and the mojitos, margaritas and 1664’s enhance the sweetly evocative articulations of sax and bass guitar.

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For a quick dinner before the show, or between shows, nip across to La P’tit Cantine (22 Rue des Lombardes, Tel : 01.42. 71. 44. 48) for a decent meal of meat and wine.

Le Connétable (55 Rue des Archives, Tel : 01.42. 77. 41. 40) is a chance encounter turned good. The bread is fresh and crusty, the Côtes du Rhône deeply red and invigorating, and the conversation is about men. Pork filet mignons in a Roquefort sauce, veal medallions, rump steaks in (green pepper) saus poivre vert, celery puréed with butter and cream … unpretentious food and robust wine.

Known for its local artists and chanson music (a la Edith Piaf); tonight, in the cellar-cave below, three painfully young men sing French a cappella, gentle croons, warbles and a harmony that has the young audience rapt. Berets are doffed; a battered saucepan is passed around for coins.

Angelina (226 Rue de Rivoli, Tel : 01. 42. 60. 82. 00) is the renowned Parisian gourmet teahouse in the elegant style of the Belle Époque era, designed by the French architect Edouard-Jean Niermans. An institution since its inception, it is known both for its clientele (aristocracy, fashion designers, authors, philosophers et al) as for its Mont Blanc gateau and hot chocolate (closely guarded century old proprietary recipes). The famous Mont Blanc – as well as most of their gateaux – have all been consumed by the end of the day, so if the intent is to eat, get there before teatime. The queues are long and so is the waiting time. The house special, the African Hot Chocolate, is worth every second of the patient wait and the sorbets are richly satisfying, beyond any imagination.

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Restaurant Le 404 (69 Rue des Gravilliers, Tel : 01.44.71.57.81) Le 404 restaurant … exhibits all the vibrant flavours and colours of North Africa. Retrofitted into a 16th century building, 404’s interior is all Berber with pouf seating, exposed beams and stones, tooled leather, authentic artifacts. … The menu features all the dishes … from that part of the world: couscous, tagines, grilled meats, skewered things. The wine list features some unusual Mahgrebi bottles … Grab a drink at Andy Wahloo’s, the sibling bar next door – everybody does, and ‘everybody’ includes show-biz and celebrities.

The evening is an sensory extravaganza; the warm glow of Moroccan lanterns, suspended, lamps and candles holders of iron fretwork dispersing flickering light on dishes heaped with Middle Eastern fare, meat, pigeon, chicken, semolina, pickled lemons, nuts, dates, figs, raisins; the fragrance of spices – cumin, coriander, saffron, chiles, ginger, cinnamon, paprika; a décor of earthen hues, the murmur of conversation, the hiss and sizzle from the stove, the pop of a champagne cork … epicurean hedonism.

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Our last dinner in Paris, Le 404 remains burnished in the memory as a golden experience, beginning with the first mojito, redolent with fresh mint. Chilled Chablis follows with fava beans & olives, Mechoui Maison (roasted shoulder of lamb), pastilla pigeon plat (wild pigeon in pastry), tagine poulet citron (chicken with preserved lemon and olives) and the couscous 7 legumes. And to end a meal of meals, salade d’oranges et fleur d’ orange and pastilla dattes (pastry with dates) accompanied by fresh, aromatic coffee.

Le Pain Quotidien, 18-20, Rue de Archives, Tel :  1 44 54 03 07, is a quiet delight, part of a global chain that first opened in Brussels in 1990. Bakery and communal table; breakfast, lunch, brunch (organic where possible, with vegan and vegetarian options) and simple boulangerie fare – soups, salads, tartines, homemade pastries, handmade organic bread – artisanal dishes, community eating at a long wooden trestle table.

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No gastronomic journey is complete without a nod to junk food and the Googrill beef and chicken burgers at Quality Hamburger Restaurant (63 Boulevard Saint Michel, Tel : 01.42. 71. 44. 48) … ils sont délicieux, elles sont parfaits.

Bon appétit, says the garçon, placing the bottle of Sancerre on the table, gently.

And so we do, meal after meal after glorious meal.

Pantry Checklists : Veg and Vegan

This one I stumbled upon, from link to link to link,  a useful checklist, if you need one. Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 6.16.50 pm

V e g e t a r i a n  &  V e g a n  P a n t r y  C h e c k l i s t

Grains & Seeds

Brown Rice High in fibre and low GI, and rich in selenium which reduces risk of cancer and heart disease.

Regular Rolled Oats Lowers bad cholesterol, helps lower blood pressure, is filling and stabilises blood sugar.

Buckwheat groats A great budget friendly pantry staple. Soak overnight with your favourite dairy free milk and turn it into a healthy bircher muesli for breakfast the next morning. Toasted buckwheat is fantastic sprinkled over salads too. Buckwheat is gluten free and higher in protein than rice, millet and corn.

Polenta A slow releasing carb with low GI, it contains a good range of vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, vitamin A and zinc. Firm polenta is a great gluten free base for a range of toppings (such as caramelised onions and mushroom) and also makes fantastic chips.

Black Rice High in antioxidants. So high in fact that a spoonful of black rice contains more antioxidants than the same serve of blueberries. Use in place of white rice, for sushi and even burgers.

Sunflower seeds Toasted sunflower sprinkled over salads add a lovely crunch and are also high in vitamin E and contain compounds that can assist in lowering cholesterol.

Quinoa – White, Red or Black A complete protein – important for vegetarians and vegans. High in fibre and iron. Great in a variety of uses from salads, burgers … can even be used as a rice replacement in risottos.

Millet  Millet is a great gluten free, easily digestible grain, high in iron, protein and fibre. It is also quite cheap too (much cheaper than quinoa). Great in salads and  makes a mean veggie burger too.

Pumpkin Seeds Sprinkle toasted pumpkin seeds in salads. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids and are high in zinc.

Barley Can be used in a variety of ways from salads, as a rice replacement in risottos and in soups. Nutritious and high in fibre, can assist in lowering cholesterol and is apparently helpful for postmenopausal women.

Sesame Seeds Toasted sesame seeds are a great addition to salads and stir fries. They are also a great source of calcium, protein, and iron. Sesame seeds are also a wonderful source of copper which is beneficial for anyone suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

Chia Seeds Chia Seeds are a great high quality protein, they are also high in fibre and antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids. They are also a wonderful egg replacement for vegan bakers!

Beans & Lentils

Chickpeas High in fibre : 2 cups of chickpeas are all that is required each day to meet your daily fibre requirements. Chickpeas are also iron rich and filling. Use in salads, stir fries, and of course chickpeas are the basis of everyone’s favourite dip – hummus.

Black Beans High in fibre, antioxidants and protein, black beans are an extremely rich source of the trace mineral molybdenum. Molybdenum assists with breaking down and detoxifying sulfites found in foods like salads and wines.

Kidney Beans Fantastic in stews, high in vitamin K which is good for the brain and nervous system. And like all beans are high in fibre.

Lentils High in protein and fibre. Use in salads and soups.

Cannelloni beans A wonderfully creamy bean, cannelloni beans are low GI, high in fibre and antioxidants and at home in everything from salads, stews to soups.

Nuts

Almonds Use to make your own dairy free milk. Toasted flaked almonds are also a great addition to salads.

Cashews Great roasted and added to granola.

Pistachios Pistachios are high in B6, which is wonderful for the nervous system. Pistachios also contain two carotenoids, called lutein and zeaxanthin, which are not found in most nuts and function as protective antioxidants, defending tissues from damage from free radicals.

Hazelnuts Hazelnuts are incredibly high in folate and are packed with B vitamins. They are wonderful, toasted, sprinkled over salads.

Flours

Chickpea (Besan) flour Makes a fantastic gluten free flour, great for a whole variety of uses from crepes, crackers and even pasta.

Almond meal (or almond flour) makes the most fantastic gluten free cakes.

Wholemeal Flour Wholemeal (also called whole wheat) flour is a great, healthier replacement for regular white flour. It has a slightly nuttier flavour and is denser than regular white flour.

Sweeteners

Honey Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Used by the ancient Egyptians for medicinal purposes. Also good for sore throats.

Brown Rice Syrup Has a low GI of 25 compared to the 64 of regular white sugar. Brown rice syrup is made from fermented brown rice which breaks down the starch in the grains, then the liquid is removed and heated until it reaches a syrup-like consistency.

Pure Maple Syrup A fantastic alternative to sugar. Containing over 54 antioxidants, maple syrup also features high levels of zinc and manganese – wonderful for the heart and boosting the immune system.

Oils

Olive oil  Reserve extra virgin olive oil for dressings and finishing off a dish. Olive oil contains oleocanthal, which mimics the effect of ibuprofen in reducing inflammation.

Coconut Oil  Has a high heat point, so can be used in stir fries or for frying. Also anti fungal, antibacterial and antiviral. Said to be great for bloating!

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar An old remedy to help improve digestion, it is also said to help lower glucose levels.

Condiments

Balsamic Vinegar Originating in Italy, Balsamic vinegar is a wonderfully thick syrupy vinegar that is a wonderful antioxidant. It was also an ancient remedy for headaches!

Soy sauce Wonderful in stir fries, soy also adds a fantastic depth of flavour in a range of vegetarian dishes. Try adding a little soy next time in place of salt and taste the difference!

White Miso Great for soups and in salad dressings or marinades. Miso contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein and also restores beneficial probiotics to the intestines.

Tahini Wonderfully high in calcium- perfect if you are on a dairy free diet. Also rich in minerals such as phosphorus, lecithin, magnesium, potassium and iron.

Canned Goods

Tomatoes Tinned tomatoes are wonderful in stews and soups,  also handy for quick pasta sauces.

Coconut Milk Place a tin in the refrigerator overnight and scoop out the thick cream on top and use as a dairy free cream. Coconut milk is also wonderful in curries and soups.

From Delicious Everyday – a vegetarian food blog with a collection of vegetarian recipes for everyday life. The recipes focus on fresh seasonal ingredients and celebrate fresh, healthy whole foods.

Rocket Pesto a la Syl

Rocket was growing in wild profusion in the garden bed. One of the few things growing in any sort of profusion in our veggie patch at Rema Rainbow Valley, Panchakshipura, Tamil Nadu. IMG_4964 (1)So I thought I’d find a good use for it – beyond a salad.

IMG_4969 (1)I had eaten rocket pesto before but never tried to make it, or indeed any sort of pesto.

Had time on my hands and a renewed interest in trying out new recipes. So I looked on line for a recipe and came upon one by Jamie Oliver. As only Jamie does he encourages you to play with the ingredients and so I did. His ingredients, my quantities.

Recipe loosely based on Jamie Oliver’s recipe, sourced from the Net.

  • 2 tightly packed cups freshly picked and washed rocket leaves (stems and all)
  • 15 cloves garlic (small Indian variety – probably use 6-8 of the fat ones you get in Australia)
  • 1/2 cup shelled walnuts chopped up a bit (next time I make this I’m going to increase it to 3/4 cup or 1 cup)
  • extra virgin oil as needed. I used 3 or 4 generous slugs
  • Juice of half lemon (in the absence of lemons I used juice of a whole lime)
  • 4 tbsp grated Gran Padano parmesan (the last of my stock)
  • Salt and pepper to tasteIMG_4965 (1)
  1. Place the rocket leaves and add a couple of generous slugs of olive oil in a blender’s jar. Blend.
  2. Separately, (or do this first) blend together the garlic cloves and walnuts.
  3. Combine the two blended mixtures.
  4. Add lime/lemon juice, grated parmesan, salt to taste and pepper, if using. I didn’t – the rocket was very peppery.
  5. Add a bit more olive oil if you like – I did.
  6. Mix well, enjoy.

I gave our gardener Govindappa a taste of the pesto.IMG_4968 (1) Normally he has very finicky tastes for anything but good South Indian food. He savoured this one, gave it the tick of approval.

He likened the slightly bitter taste of the rocket to bitter gourd and remarked it must be good for diabetics and for controlling blood pressure. Maybe it is!

150 Calorie Snacks

The last of the Good Housekeeping reprints … for those with a yen for the Mediterranean lifestyle, and the in-betweeners between meals.

Mediterranean-Diet-Reduces-the-Risk-of-Suffering-a-Cardiovascular-Related-Death

  • 1 heaped tbsp houmous with strips of courgette, carrot and red or yellow pepper
  • 40g cheese and an apple
  • 25g plain 70% dark chocolate (about 2 squares)
  • 25g seed, nut and sultanas, mixed
  • 25g pistachios, walnuts, cashews or almonds … or a mix
  • a nectarine and 3 apricots
  • 170g carton Greek 0% low fat yoghurt with blueberry, plus a peach.

Picture from http://www.scitechdaily.com.

Veronica’s Chicken ‘Aroma’

Cutting calories and food portions gets  repetitive and boring : its the same old, same old with some slight variations, at least as far as I am concerned. Its a drag to explore new variations on 100 or 150g of chicken per meal, month in and month out. Veronica, who is a part of the how shall we cook the chicken today dilemma produced this absolutely delish dish, skewered and very lightly pan fried – from watching a TV program on Indonesian food.

Measurements are, as they say in India – andaz se – or as per your preferences – increase or lessen as you desire.

Boneless chicken breasts, cubed

Coriander powder

Cumin powder

Chili powder

Turmeric powder

Garlic, minced

Shallots, minced

Ginger, minced

Curry leaves

Salt

  • Marinate the chicken pieces in the coriander, cumin, chili and turmeric powders for at least an hour.
  • In a dash of oil, fry the onion, garlic and ginger till fragrant and just browned.
  • Add the chicken pieces and marinade, and a bit more oil, if necessary. Stir fry till just done.
  • Season with salt, add the curry leaves, give it another good stir and its ready to eat.

 

 

400 Calorie Lunches

These may hold a few surprises – so little yet so much … or vice versa.

Guacamole & Pita

  • 2 tbsp guacamole with 1 wholemeal pita,85g rocket and 1 tbsp olive oil / vinegar dressing.

Salad

  • Salad leaves, a few cherry tomatoes, 1/2 sliced avocado, 50g goat’s cheese, 1 tbsp pistachios and a drizzle of olive oil.

Year: 2008 Month: 07 Page: 165-184Chickpea & Chorizo Salad

  • 3tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1½ x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 125g (4oz) chorizo, skinned and diced
  • ½ red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 large red pepper, finely sliced
  • ¼ cucumber, deseeded and diced
  • 3tbsp each roughly chopped mint, flat-leafed parsley and coriander

Mix together the vinegar, oil, garlic, lemon zest and juice in a large bowl. Add the chickpeas, chorizo, onion, pepper and cucumber. Season, toss everything together, then add the herbs. Toss lightly again and serve.

Year: 2005 Month: 06 Page: 204Roasted Tomato Salad

  • 900g (2lb) plum tomatoes, halved
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 5tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 ripe but firm avocados, peeled, stoned and thickly sliced
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan) mark 6. Put the tomatoes into a shallow roasting tin, cut side up. Season, scatter with garlic and drizzle over 2tbsp olive oil. Roast for 40 45min.
  2. Meanwhile, make the salad dressing. Mix together remaining oil, chilli and balsamic vinegar in a large bowl.
  3. Transfer tomatoes and any cooking juices to a large serving platter and leave to cool. Add avocado to the dressing and toss to coat. Spoon over tomatoes.

Year: 2012 Month: 08 Page: 148Deluxe Fig & Ham Salad

  • 200g (7oz) fine green beans, ends trimmed
  • 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 slices white sourdough bread, cut into large cubes
  • 4 Little Gem lettuces, quartered lengthways
  • 85g pack Parma ham
  • 4 figs, quartered
  • 1tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½tbsp cider or white wine vinegar
  1. Bring a small pan of water to the boil and cook the beans for 4min or until tender. Drain and leave in a colander to steam dry until needed.
  2. Heat 1tbsp oil in a large frying pan and fry bread cubes, tossing frequently, until golden and crisp. Season with salt and set aside to cool.
  3. Arrange lettuce quarters cut-side-up on a large platter. Roughly rip the Parma ham slices in half lengthways and weave among the lettuce quarters. Dot over the figs, beans and toasted bread cubes.
  4. In a small jug, mix together the Dijon mustard, vinegar, remaining oil and some seasoning. Drizzle over the salad and serve.

Chicken & Feta Frittata (with leftover chicken)

  • ½tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 100g (3½oz) baby spinach
  • 225g (8oz) cooked skinless chicken, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 2tbsp roughly chopped fresh basil
  • 6 large eggs, beaten and seasoned
  • 100g (3½oz) feta
  1. Heat the oil in an ovenproof 20.5cm (8in) frying pan. Gently fry the onion and pepper for 10min until softened.
  2. Preheat grill to medium. Add spinach to onion mixture and leave to wilt for 30sec. Add chicken and basil, then pour over the eggs. Cook over a low heat for 8-10min until just set.
  3. Crumble feta on top, then grill until cooked through. Cut into wedges. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Year: 2012 Month: 02 Page: 152White Bean Salad

  • ½tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ red cabbage
  • 2 courgettes
  • 410g tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 100g (3½oz) stale unsliced bread, torn into small chunks
  • 125g ball low-fat mozzarella, torn into small pieces
  • Handful basil leaves, chopped
  1. In a small bowl, whisk the red wine vinegar and olive oil together with plenty of seasoning and a splash of water to make the dressing.
  2. Cut out and discard the tough core from the cabbage, then finely shred the leaves and put into a large serving bowl. Peel the courgettes into ribbons, using a y-shaped peeler, and add to the cabbage bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and dressing, and toss well to combine. Serve.

All recipes, information and pictures from http://www.goodhousekeeping.co.uk/

300 Calorie Breakfasts

The last entry, this one and the next two contain information on Mediterranean eating fundamentals. The credit for all the hard work and good information goes to the September 2013 issue of Good Housekeeping. They’ve kept it simple and made it easy !

Oats

Oatmeal with Fruit & Nuts

  • Combine 25g rolled oats with 100g  plain 2%fat Greek yoghurt and leave overnight.
  • Stir in half a grated apple, 6 chopped almonds and 1/2 chopped mango.

Pomegranate & Berry Smoothie

  • In a blender, whiz together 50g berries, 1/2 banana, 50 ml pomegranate juice and 125ml low-fat yoghurt with a handful of crushed ice.
  • Serve with 6 walnut halves.

Yoghurt & …

Combine 150g plain 2% fat Greek yoghurt with any

one of the following :

  • 1 tbsp roasted chopped pistachios, 2 chopped dried apricots and a pinch each of cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • 85g berries, 1 tsp orange blossom honey and 2 tsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 sliced nectarine, 1 tsp runny honey and 1 tbsp toasted pine nuts

Mediterranean Muesli

  • Combine 25g rolled oats, 2 tbsp plain 2% fat Greek yoghurt, 2 chopped walnuts, 2 chopped dried figs and 2 chopped dates. Serve topped with a few berries.

Scrambled Eggs, Med style

  • Beat 2 eggs with 1/4 diced pepper, 1/2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, 1/2 tbsp sliced olives and 4 halved cherry tomatoes. Cook in a non-stick pan with 1 tsp butter over a moderate heat, stirring, until just set.
  • Serve with a slice of thin toast.

Toast with Cheese, Fruit & Nuts

  • 1 slice wholemeal toast spread with 1 tbsp or 25g Philadelphia Light, topped with 1 sliced pear and 2 chopped walnuts.

Fresh Fruit Plate

  • 200g prepared fruit such as peaches, strawberries and oranges, 1 tbsp toasted flaked almonds, hazelnuts or cashews and 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds.

That’s one week of recipe options !!

Photograph borrowed from http://www.violetfashionart.blogspot.com.

The Mediterranean Way

Much has been written and discussed about this uber-healthy diet and food lifestyle. I came across this set of simple RULES to print and stick on the fridge – so as you don’t forget, or wonder … or lapse. Even if you do, this daily reminder should put back on track very soon.shutterstock_94559782

THE MED DIET RULES

DailyCALIFORNIA WALNUT COMMISSION MEDITERRANEAN DIET

  • 2 portions or 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 portion or 25g walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts
  • 7+ portions or 80g to 100g of fruit and vegetables
  • 1 to 3 portions or 150ml dairy products
  • 3 to 6 small portions or 25g wholegrain bread, rice, pasta or other grains
  • 1 small glass wine (optional)

I love the last one, but the article goes on to emphasise that it is optional, so exercise some judgement.

WeeklyMediterraneanDiet

  • 2 to 3 portions or 100 to 150g fish or any other seafood
  • 3 + portions or 150g cooked weight of pulses
  • 1 to 2 portions or 100 to 150g poultry

 

 

Monthlyred-meat-660

  • Up to 4 portions or 85g to 125g red meat

 

 

 

In addition, minimise sugar, salt and processed food, fill up on fresh vegetables and salads, use olive oil and butter ( yes, butter !) instead of vegetable oil and margarine.

And follow the RULES as a guideline .

Photographs have been borrowed from http://www.news.discovery.com, http://www.foodscienceacademy.org, http://www.techglam.com and http://www.blisstree.com

Are all changes good in a food programme ?

There will be changes to your body when you start a food programme – that is the whole point. But are all these changes for the good ?
lettuce-variety

A friend wrote in about her spouse who lost 10 kg on his nutritionally controlled diet but developed painful hemorrhoids, possibly because he did not vary his vegetable intake, or consume sufficient greens. Another friend found her nails getting brittle, but the nutritionist upped her calcium intake and that was sorted out.

The takeaway from these shared experiences is that one must be aware of changes to one’s system while on a food programme, and more importantly, share this with the nutritionist or doctor or whomever is guiding the programme.

Some points to keep in mind :

  • Rotate your fruits – eating the same one most days (like apples, because they are convenient) with perhaps a pear/papaya for relief may not provide a balance. Include softer fruits like peaches, bananas etc.
  • Eat leafy vegetables even if these are not favourites. Green vegetables are insufficient, they need to be supported by the leaves – spinach, sprouts, lettuce. Have them as soups or salads.
  • Have a bit of rice occasionally. A little change always helps.
  • Monitor the intake of dairy products – milk can contribute to insufficient bowel movements, if your body is inclined that way.
  • Don’t change your diet too drastically and suddenly – it will show on your skin and face.
  • Lastly, look out for warning signals and tell your dietician so that they can modify your diet. Nothing is too frivolous or serious not to warrant mention.

As another of the gang sagely commented, “every body responds differently and that’s why there are so very many theories out there. its a matter of finding the one right for you.”

Emails were exchanged, all with good tips, suggestions.

“… go for the water, the greens and the feedback, and I personally would recommend a laxative or two.”

“Try adding a lot of lettuce, sprouts (the leafy ones like alfalfa, pea, wheatgrass), and how about wheat grass powder in water ? First thing in the morning ?”Blog-27-Image

“pl do consume yr full quota of water and salad”

That’s the whole point of this blog. Shared information for better results !

Check these posts :

15 Healthy benefits of Wheatgrass Juice you never knew.

Pictures from http://www.dillnerfamilyfarm.com/catalog/i149.html and www.getsomezen.com.

 

Strangely beautiful Veggie Mix for Wraps

Just cooked my 1/2 cup veggies for lunch. Yum.

I doubled the quantity (for tomorrow as well) so I’ll just give you ingredients.

Image
Handful of green beans diced in 1 cm pieces
Handful of corn kernels
Handful of peas
1 red onion
Chili flakes
Panch Phoran
Garlic flakes
Pinch of Za’atar – Middle eastern spice mix with lots of parsley, oregano, sesame etc.
Mint sauce (bought – no oil)

So, I dry fried the onions on a low fire, then sprinkled a generous few dashes of chili flakes, 4-5 garlic flakes, pinch of panch phoran and the za’atar.

Meanwhile microwaved the beans, corn and peas for one and a half minutes. Tossed the vegetables into the pan. Added a generous dash of mint sauce and salt to taste.

Piled it onto my warmed up pita bread, topped it with a slice of cheese.

Strange but beautiful.

Sunshine on a Plate : tian of tomato

Came across this recipe by Chef Reynaldo Arriola of Halia Restaurant in Singapore. Haven’t tried it, but reads delicious and sounds healthy !

Vine-ripened tomatoes have the perfect balance of sugars and acids, as well as flavour. Teamed with ripe mango and avocado, and just a dash of seasoning … sounds mmmm.

1 vine-ripened tomato, blanched, peeled, de-seeded and diced, mixed with 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 ripe avocado, diced,  mixed with 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

salt, pepper

2 slices each of green and yellow courgettes, blanched

1/2 stalk chive, chopped (optional)

1 sprig chevril for garnish (optional)

  1. Keep all ingredients separate. Season tomatoes and avocados with salt and pepper.
  2. In a round glass mould (or individual glass ramekins), place tomatoes at the bottom, then the avocados and top with the mangoes.
  3. Garnish with the courgette slices on the side, chives and chevril. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over it.

 

A page from Marc Perry’s BuiltLean website

Came across this while googling images … very informative (and reassuring … we are doing it right !!!)

Marc is the creator of the BuiltLean Program and Editor-in-Chief and Producer of the BuiltLean blog and videos. A fast rising fitness star, Marc has appeared on NY1, NBC and various print and online media including Men’s Fitness, Self, BusinessWeek, and BusinessInsider. A former Wall Street Finance Analyst who gained over 30 pounds from a sedentary lifestyle, Marc’s mission is to develop efficient, sustainable approaches to getting lean and fit and help educate and inspire others to improve their health. Marc earned his B.A. from Yale University and holds numerous exercise certifications.

Many readers have been asking about foods that they can incorporate into their daily diet that can help promote fat loss and create a feeling of fullness. Well you asked for it, now I am delivering!

In my opinion, the best fat loss foods are not just “healthy”, but must pass the following checklist:

(1) Not calorie dense (I have one exception)
(2) Help fill you up
(3) Create only a small release of insulin
(4) Easy to procure/prepare

So let’s get started…

Fat Loss Food #1: Egg Whites

egg white fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

This is a favorite of many natural body builders and fitness models because it’s 100% pure protein, containing 4 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbs and fat, and only 16 total calories. Want 10 egg whites for breakfast? Sure why not, it’s only 160 calories and will fill you up. An egg white omelet with some veggies and low fat cheese makes for a great breakfast, while a few egg whites from a hardboiled egg can make for a great snack any time (add some high fiber fruit, like an apple, or blueberries for extra bonus points).

Fat Loss Food #2: Low Fat Yogurt

yogurt fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

Low fat yogurt is a great way to get a compete protein source, a lot of calcium, and a nice tart flavor to help satisfy your cravings. There are a variety of yogurts, but I would go for those that are not too high in added sugars. For example, it’s better to get plain yogurt and add in the fruit yourself. You should also consider non-fat Greek yogurt, which contains a solid 22 grams of protein in only a 1 cup serving and a mere 120 calories.

Some studies have found that eating yogurt can help in fat loss. It may be due to the fact that calcium reduces a fat cells’ ability to store fat. Or, it may be due to the branched chain amino acids present in dairy products. Either way, low fat, or non fat yogurt deserves to be part of the Top 10 Fat Loss Foods.

Fat Loss Food #3: Low-Sodium Turkey

turkey fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

Turkey without the skin is among the lowest fat meats available on the market. You also don’t have to worry about cholesterol, because it has none. To cap it off, it’s also pretty easy to eat on the go. Want to eat 8 ounces of turkey breast? Why not, it’s only about 240 calories and packs a protein punch. I recommend removing the skin, which is all fat, but if you have the skin, just eat in moderation.

Fat Loss Food #4: Apple

apple fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

This is a favorite of mine, because it’s easy to carry around and eat on the go, but it’s also very nutritious and high in fiber, so it helps fill you up. An apple contains 24 grams of carbs, 3 of them being from fiber, and around 80 calories in a medium sized apple. I personally like the taste of green apples the most, but the various types of apples don’t make much of a difference in terms of calorie content.

I do, however, suggest you try to get organic apples when you can. I can’t handle tasting chemicals in the skins of apples that are not organic anymore. Blueberries came very close to making it on to the list because they are so high in fiber and antioxidants, but I think an apple is just easier to eat on the go.

Fat Loss Food #5: Lettuce

lettuce fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

While lettuce is not that high in fiber, it requires more calories for your digestive system to digest than the lettuce contains. Pretty cool, huh? This is known as a negative calorie balance.

The main reason lettuce made this list is that you can put as much lettuce as you want in a big bowl, fill it up with veggies, lean meats, maybe some beans for some starch, and you’re good to go. The other great quality of lettuce is that it takes a long time to eat, which is a good thing. It takes up to 20 minutes for our brains to sense that we are full. Ideally, the darker green the lettuce, the more antioxidants and the more nutritious.

Fat Loss Food #6: Low-Sodium Chicken/Vegetable Soup

soup fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

Similar to lettuce, drinking soup at a meal can slow you down, which helps your brain register that you are full. It also helps fill you up and is very low in calories because most broth based soups are low in fat, assuming they haven’t been doused in oil.

Like lettuce, you can throw in a lot of veggies and lean meats to make it more nutritious and filling. Healthy Valley has some pretty good low sodium soups, just be careful because some soups have outrageous amounts of sodium, like over 900mg of sodium per 1 cup serving, which is 40% of the suggested daily intake of 2300mg.

Just be careful if you order soups at a restaurant they don’t have any cream added.

Fat Loss Food #7: Almonds

While very calorically dense, almonds snuck onto the list because healthy fats are great in moderation, and almonds are among the best healthy fats. An almond is technically the seed of the fruit of the almond tree and is a great source of vitamin E and manganese. While almonds are not a “complete” protein source, a quarter cup of almonds offers solid 6 grams of protein.

almonds fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

Some weight loss studies have shown that the calories from nuts like almonds don’t seem to add weight as compared to other foods with the same amount of calories. The theory is that our bodies do not absorb calories from nuts very efficiently.

Either way, be careful not to munch on almonds all day long, because calories can add up fast. Only a quarter cup of almonds contains 140 calories and 15 grams of fat, which means one cup is a solid 560 calories and 60 grams of fat! A handful (about a quarter cup), on the other hand, makes for a great snack.

Fat Loss Food #8: Oatmeal

oatmeal fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

I love oatmeal because it’s filling, but doesn’t provide many calories. My favorite oatmeal is Kashi Go Lean vanilla, which only has 160 calories per serving, but you’ll be amazed at how much it fills you up because it has 6 grams of fiber. For you hardcore types, McCann’s Steel Oats and Traditional Quaker Oats have almost no sugar, but provide natural carbohydrates that will help fuel your workouts, without spiking your insulin levels. One more thing, if eating enough protein at breakfast is a problem area for you, then consider mixing in some whey protein, use skim milk instead of water, or a cup of egg whites.

Fat Loss Food #9: Low-Sodium Tuna

tuna fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

There’s a joke that many natural bodybuilders smell like tuna fish, because they are always eating cans of tuna all day long. The tuna you get at the Deli that’s filled with mayo does NOT count. In fact, mayo is a fat loss disaster, because it’s so calorically dense. I chose tuna because it’s easy to carry around for a high protein snack on the go. Of course, a tuna steak, and most fish for the matter are great sources of protein and healthy fats as well.

Fat Loss Food #10 Broccoli

I never used to eat broccoli as a kid, but fortunately I started eating broccoli after college and I developed a taste for it (as long as it’s steamed, I can’t stand raw broccoli!). Feel free to add it to your salads, or as a side with your lean meat, but you can’t go wrong with broccoli. Well, actually, let me clarify that.

broccoli fat loss Top 10 Fat Loss Foods

If you smother it with sodium/sugar filled teriyaki sauce and stir fry it, broccoli can lose its appeal. Sautéed broccoli is still a heck of a lot healthier than French fries, but steamed is ideal. In general, vegetables are phenomenal fat loss foods and more veggies could have easily made it on this fat loss list.

As you probably started to notice, you can mix and match these 10 fat loss foods to create a number of different healthy, low calorie, nutritious snacks and meals to help you reach your fitness goals.

Delicate, yet filling Chicken Soup

Chicken soup can be quite bland but this one has some oomph to it. I made it last weekend while we stayed over at some friends home in the Barossa (South Australia). You make it in two stages but it’s really simple.

Makes 4 Man serves or 6 for smaller helpings (as recommended for right living!)

One large organic chook (I bought mine at the famed Schultz Butcher’s in Angaston)

4-5 large pods of garlic pounded to a paste

1/2 a small onion also chopped and pounded to a paste

1/2 tsp salt flakes

1 tsp coarse ground pepper

Small dash of olive oil

Rosemary sprig

First Stage : Mix all the marinade ingredients together. Pat the chook dry and massage this marinade all over and into the cavity. Leave for couple of hours. If longer, stick it in the fridge.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Before putting the chook into pre-heated oven, drizzle a very small amount of olive oil over it (in a roasting dish) and cook for 35 – 40 minutes. Check from the 20 minute mark onwards to ensure it is not browning too much. Lower the heat if required. Remove when mildy browned and before the meat starts drying out.

Stage 2 : This is where we cheat a bit.

2 litres of store bought chicken stock.

I leek sliced (white part only)

1 large potato peeled and cubed

1 tbsp olive oil

Freshly milled black pepper (a few generous twists of the grinder)

250gms Brussels sprouts finely sliced (or use spinach instead)

In a large casserole dish gently saute the leeks in olive oil. When wilted and starting to get brown edges, add the pepper, potatoes and stock. Bring to a boil and let allow to simmer until the potatoes are cooked through. Set aside until ready to serve.

To serve : Carve approximately 200 gms of chicken breast meat (discarding the skin) per serve of soup. Bring the soup/stock back to the simmer, toss in the sliced Brussels sprouts and give them 3 minutes to cook through. Add the chicken pieces to the soup and stir very gently until the chicken is warmed through.

Serve in warmed bowls and pass around some finely chopped parsley on the side.

Enjoy !

There is usually enough chicken (dark meat) leftover for sandwiches the next day.

Egg Whites : Masala Toast

Add spice to your breakfast !

“Egg whites are recommended in most diets and I go nuts trying to think up new ways of making them interesting.  I recently tried this version of the classic french toast.  I call it Masala Toast.  It’s easy.” – K

egg-white-fat-loss

3 egg whites, beaten well
Half a small onion, chopped
A small tomato chopped
Some coriander, chopped
A pinch of chili powder
Salt to taste
2 slices brown bread

  • Fry onions to a light brown in very little olive oil. Keep aside.
  • Mix salt, chili powder, onion, tomatoes and coriander to egg whites.
  • Cut the bread into 2 halves, i.e. triangles.
  • Heat one teaspoon of olive oil in a pan.
  • Dip one triangle into the egg mixture. When soaked well, drop into the pan.  Spoon some of the onion mixture on to the top.
  • Let it cook on a slow flame for some time and when the egg looks set, flip it over carefully and cook the other side.
  • When it is cooked, slide onto your plate and enjoy.
  • Repeat with the other triangle of bread.

Tip : Cook on a low flame – you will need less oil.

Picture borrowed from http://www.builtlean.com/2010/10/12/top-10-fat-loss-foods/. This is a great article as well – Top 10 Fat Loss foods.

Indonesian ‘sambal’ grilled Fish

This has to be one of the easiest and most delish of fish dishes !
  • Marinate fish fillets with salt and a fair bit of coriander powder (I used mackarel).
  • Pound garlic, green or red chilies and shallots into a coarse paste.
  • Pan fry the fish in minimum oil, remove, add the ground mixture and fry a bit. Return the fish to the pan, toss & saute, and voila … ready to eat.

A Light Grilled Fish

The programme calls for 200g of any fish, and one of the gang shared her recipe, with her trademark throw-it-together-depending-on-what’s-in-the-refrigerator.
  • Douse 200gms of Basa (fish) fillet in a coriander, lemongrass and shallot paste moistened with Meyer lemon (off my tree) juice, and a skimpy dribble of olive oil.
  • Grill.

I could have another 200gms!

From a newspaper : This Chinese fruit has age-shrouded origins but experts judge it to be a Mandarin-lemon hybrid. With dark yellow skin and flesh when ripe, it is tart but sweeter than a regular lemon, with an orange blossom note to its aroma. These are lemons with added complexity.

Preparing yourself for a new food programme

Having recently embarked on a new food regime to re-balance and recalibrate one’s metabolism for optimal functioning, we had to undergo a week of preparing the body – a kind of cleansing or detox. Here are the fundamentals.

8 – 10 glasses of water a day.

6.15 a.m. : One glass of water before coffee

Green tea, twice a day

2 cups of vegetable salads every day

  • Use low fat salad dressings like vinegerettes, salsa, herbs, no/low oil dressings
  • Use onions, tomatoes, radish, cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, capsicum / coloured bell peppers, sprouts, salad leaves

200ml of milk and 100gm yoghurt every day

Cooked dishes

Use low fat bases like tomato-onion, spice, coriander-mint or vinegar based gravies.           No high fat bases with almonds, cashews, cream, coconut, cheese, other nuts and/or garnishes like raisins, extra ghee etc .

  • Breakfast is HEAVY and dinner is LIGHT
  • Salad with every breakfast – bigger, heavier vegetables
  • Salad with every dinner – using salad leaves

Non-Vegetarian

  • Chicken – only lean cuts – no skin and fat, no organ meats.
  • Fish – fatty fishes like king fish, pomfret, sardines etc, NO shell fishes – prawns, mussels, crabs, lobsters etc
  • No Red meat

Grilled/Tandoori chicken and fish are excellent ways to cook

Do not overcook, do not use butter or other fats to bast, cook or marinate the meat.         Use a tsp of oil as an option.

Good Fats

Include walnuts, almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and virgin olive oil or cold pressed flax seed oil

Calcium : Very important – do not have with a meal, or with tea or coffee

Wild Olives

Wild olives, anybody ?

Wild Olives

One of the Gangof480 mailed this picture with the message : In my yard. Aren’t they pretty? I am going to have a crack at pickling them. Must be a recipe on google.

How lucky is she to step into her yard to pick this bounty as and when ? Or even to sit in the patio, sipping a coffee, with this view ?

There are plenty of recipes for pickling olives, one of the gang found this recipe on Green Prophet.

Olives are eaten with almost every meal in the Middle East, sometimes even at breakfast. Organically grown olives are the most delicious. Dried and salty or plump and succulent, glowing in gem-like green, black, brown, and purple, olives … some people like their olives hot with fiery chilis. Some prefer them tangy with preserved lemons, or mellowed with bay leaves. You can pickle and season fresh olives by the kilo if you want, and it’s not hard. You will need a knife or a hard rock, and a mason jar or any other large jar with a tight-fitting lid.

It’s in autumn that olives are harvested and appear in the markets. The olives marinate in plain salt brine, changed daily, for a week. During that time their original bitterness will leach out into the water. In the following 4-8 weeks, they marinate in fresh brine and seasonings.

  • 1 kilo fresh olives
  • water
  • salt

After a week, you will need:

  • Olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • chili peppers to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Optional: oregano, thyme, rosemary, grains of black pepper, allspice

Rinse the olives, drain. Discard spoiled ones.

Either cut three slits in each olive or crush them with a clean rock, a few at a time. If crushing, only press hard enough to crack them open, not mash them.

Put the olives in the jar.  Cover them with water. Make sure there are none floating – weigh them down with a small saucer or drape a clean recycled plastic bag over the surface of the water to keep them under.

Change the water every 24 hours. Do this for a week.

The olives will lose their bright color as their bitterness leaches out. When the olives are uniformly darker, taste them to judge if they’re ready for brining. If they’re still bitter, soak them and change the water for another few days.

Once the olives are ready, drain them and put them in a large bowl while washing out their jar.

Make a brine. This is:

10 grams of salt for every 100 ml. of water or  7 tablespoons of salt per half-cup of water.

Mix well. Replace the olives in the clean jar. Pour the brine over all. Add herbs and spices to taste. Cover the olives with plenty of olive oil to exclude air and prevent spoilage. Close the jar. Leave it alone for a month, then taste an olive every week or so till you’re satisfied.

Always remove olives for serving with a clean, dry spoon. Keep the majority in their brine and seasonings – they will only improve.