3 Tips to Eating well for Gut health this Christmas

Christmas & family gatherings can be the most challenging time for people with food intolerances and allergies—or even just for those of us trying to eat a little better. Not only is it a time of excess to celebrate with friends and family, but it is also the time when foods are prepared communally—and let’s face it, ‘traditional Christmas food’ (in the western world) is far from healthy. At best, it’s just eating too much delicious roast veggies (if that’s possible), and at worst, it’s rice pudding eating competitions and an extra 5kg.

Food is central to life and eating together—whether it be brunch with friends, family meals, ice cream and popcorn in front of a movie, or the Christmas feast, food is a way to bond, share, and care for each other. Making the change due to health issues or living with allergies that require you to eat differently can be isolating, alienating, attract unwanted attention and teasing, or leave you hungry. Even though eating differently (whether it be dairyfree, glutenfree, cane sugar free, vegetarian, vegan, free range only, or nut free) can mean that you feel physically better, with less headaches, body aches, clearer skin, or even healthier weight, it can be emotionally challenging when everyone around you is sharing in something you would rather not eat. It can also be hard if you’re away from the comfort of your fridge and pantry at home.

So, here are my holiday survival tips.

#1. Prepare. Come with snacks for when everyone else is having cheese and crackers. Don’t be caught out. Make sure you always have something ready to go in case non-allergy-friendly dinner is dished up. The worst thing is to be caught hungry surrounded by people who are eating.

#2. Replace! Choose your favourite dish, the one Christmas dish you just ‘can’t live without’, and make an allergy friendly version. Make it edible—something that everyone can eat!

#3. ….and bring extra! No doubt your friends and family will be curious about what you eat, and they’re probably going to want to try whatever amazing dish you whip up. While it can be an additional load on the preparation to make extra to share, this can pay great dividends in allowing others to experience that food can still tasty delicious when it’s different. Instead of an argument about the validity of various food choices, it’s often better to just focus on eating delicious food. Opening the door for others to explore eating for their own health as well can allow for a sense of connection & understanding that would otherwise be missing.

You never know, next time someone else might bring food that’s ‘Edible’!

For gut health specifics including supplements for healing, dietary changes, meal sizes, chewing and more, as well as body-friendly food inspiration, see ‘Edible’ by Angela Flack http://www.ediblethebook.com.

Workshops!

Now the initial rush of establishing Edible with suppliers throughout Australia is complete, I’ve begun my favourite part: meeting with people, and talking about food!

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So far I’ve enjoyed workshops and talks at festivals and healthstores throughout NSW & Qnsld.  In the coming months I will also be running my own workshops, with a few exciting plans in the pipeline! Are you on our mailing list? Click here to join.

For a full list of upcoming events, see the Events Page.

Real food: Goje Frozen Yoghurt

This year I had the absolute pleasure of stumbling across a new and absolutely darling store popped up in Yarraville, Melbourne. I had a chance to chat with the young owners, Jelena & Goran (21 & 27, respectively) about their experience setting up their own business, working in the food industry and really focussing on good, wholesome food. Here’s what they said.

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 What motivated you to start your own frozen yoghurt store?
Basically our background was nothing to do with yogurt. Goran is in Supply Chain Management and I was in my final year in Science with a major in physiology. We eat really well 80% of the time and have a really active, well balanced, healthy lifestyle—I like long distance running and Goran is a cycling enthusiast. Even when we have our weak moments we still eat wholesome, real food and nothing overly processed.
That said, from time to time, you still feel like a really nice treat but don’t want it to be a chemical nightmare. When we found out about how frozen yogurt is made—powder (with 30+ ingredients) mixed with milk, or sometimes just water—we were astounded! There’s no regulation about what people can label as natural—and there’s no regulation about what people can label as ‘frozen yogurt’! As long as there’s a culture in these powders it’s still classified as yogurt but it’s definitely not a fermented, wholefood.
We really wanted to give consumers an option to have frozen yogurt that is honest, guilt free, and goes back to the traditional way of making yogurt. At the time we had no idea—but we’re actually the first in Australia to make frozen yogurt the way we do.
We also wanted to use more wholesome, less processed sugars i.e raw sugar, panela, stevia (whole green leaf) & rice malt syrup.

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What has been most challenging thing about running your own business?
We’re a single store and making yogurt on a small scale is ridiculously expensive. Culturing times vary between 10-17 hours depending on the milk we use, so  it’s labour intensive. We use real quality milks—proper farm milk, inside out almond milk, and quality thai coconut cream to make our coconut milk (this minimises ingredients compared to a store bought coconut milk). Because it’s not a mass produced chemical powder, other retailers can sell at a much cheaper price point. Ultimately, we’d be pricing a bit higher but need to stay competitive. Logistically also getting fresh yogurt deliveries can be a lot harder. It’s funny that the less ingredients you use the more expensive it is!
What is the biggest lesson you have learned? 

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It’s been surprising for us to realise how disconnected people are from their food.  I’ll often see mums posting on the community page about an unlimited cup of a powdered frozen yogurt for a set price and how great the offer is without thinking maybe as to why they can offer it so cheaply. The machines really desensitize people from what they’re consuming for sure.

 
What is the most rewarding thing about running Goje?

I guess the most rewarding thing is really just being proud to sell a product we believe in. Not a lot of people get that kind of opportunity—so I’m pretty thankful. It’s also really nice when I get customer feedback about how they can taste the quality and just how it tastes real. Just makes sense to me to flavour with real fruit and use real ingredients.

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Ultimately the slow food/real food movement will come down to educating consumers about their food. That’s when we’ll begin to see a real shift towards wholesome, nourishing foods.

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I absolutely loved the dairy-free and naturally sweetened frozen yoghurt options! A real godsend for vegans, people with food intolerances or anyone looking to enjoy a treat while still eating well! The real food toppings were a far cry from what’s available at cold rock, that’s for sure. I’d love to see a Goje everywhere!

~Angela

 You can see more about Goje on their facebook and instagram below.

https://www.facebook.com/gojefrozenyogurt

http://instagram.com/gojefrozenyogurt 

gorannjelena

Edible: Now in Print!

Edible: Plant-based, Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Naturally Sweetened Wholefoods. By Angela Flack.

As of November 2014, Edible: The book is now in print and available for purchase from ediblethebook.com. 426 pages, full-colour recipes, referenced to journal articles. We ran crowdfunding via kickstarter Sept-Oct of the year, which was eventually quite successful, and I completed many of the book deliveries in person through November and December. Membership of the Facebook recipe & discussion group is growing, and feedback is good so far—it’s very rewarding to see Edible embraced by people from all walks of life! I’ve now begun work on the cooking videos ordered through the kickstarter and will be uploading these in the coming weeks (are you subscribed to the youtube channel?).

Edible is now stocked in over 30 stores up & down the East coast of Australia (for stockists, click here). In the coming months the Edi-van will be hitting the road, so keep an eye out for us! Join the mailing list for information on upcoming events in a town near you.

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Hope to see you soon!

Angela.

Nut balls!

Secrets of the wild, wild west here folks!

Just kidding. Everyone knows how to make these. OR do they?

50/50 nuts and dates. Almonds work well, as do macadamias.

Step 1. Combine in food process.
Step 2. Turn it on.
Step 3. When the mix starts to clump, pull it out in handfuls.
Step 4. Roll these into balls.

Optional: Add lemon zest, coconut flakes, mesquite, cocoa, coconut oil, a pinch of Celtic Sea Salt or Himalayan Rock Salt. Refrigeration also optional.

Ta da! Feed them to your friends.

Edible the book sent to print!

As of last week, the offset print has begun on ‘Edible: plant-based, dairy-free, gluten-free, naturally sweetened wholefoods’. Full colour, fully referenced to journal articles, all 436 pages of prettiness. Print will be complete by the end of September, expected to arrive in Australia mid to late October.

Throughout September we are running crowdfunding for the print run 🙂

Check out the website at http://www.ediblethebook.com for more information.

Chocolate pudding in a mug

Made a mudcake. It was amazing.

I really need to stop adding things into edible (the book) or it will never be finished. Seriously.

So I’m just gonna leave this here. It hasn’t been re-tested, just made it up the other day.

Have fun!

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1 C buckwheat
1 C almond milk
4-8 Tbsp. rice malt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. stevia powder
4-6 Tbsp. raw cocoa
1/4 C arrowroot flour
Stevia-sweetened dark chocolate

Step One. Pour into 3 small mugs, or 2 big mugs.
Step Two. Microwave seperately, 3-4 minutes.
Step Three. Melt sugar-free choc with a small amount of almond milk.

Serve in mug or up-ended on a plate, drizzled over with chocolate.

Chocolate is best melted in a bowl sitting in boiling water, to prevent burning.

Literary Criticism

Yo! Long time no talk. In preparation for the publication of ‘Edible’ (plant-based, gluten-free, naturally sweetened, wholefoods!) I have been reading widely. And I mean, really widely. I have delved into the majority of the popular diets books, including D’adamo’s ‘Eat right for your type’ and Dr Atkins heart-stopping ketosis brilliance, and spent some time making out with ‘Healing with Wholefoods’ (Paul Pitchford) and ‘Eat to Live’ (Joel Fuhrman)… plus all the related sciencey literature along the way. Which brings us to now.

Page 125 of ’80/10/10′, a book by Dr Douglas Graham, an advocate of a raw, plant-based diet low in fat. He states that the saturated fat in coconut oil is artery clogging, which he then links to a scientific article. As a blessed individual with a university education, I have the luxury of accessing said article, in it’s entireity, via my university library. I read the whole thing. Nowhere does it say anything about artery clogging by coconut oil. The conclusion states ‘the results demonstrated the potential beneficiary effect of virgin coconut oil in lowering lipid levels in serum and tissues and LDL oxidation by physiological oxidants.’ Blood fat reduced, bad cholestrol less oxidised. So, uh, what?

Unfortunately 80/10/10 contains many of such, what I would consider ‘minor misdemeanors of fact’ or ‘creative exercising of poetic licence’. None concerned me as much as this one. Making counter-culture and anti-mainstream claims is wonderful, in my opinion. And noone knows anything for sure, really. The deeper you go down the rabbit hole, the deeper it gets. But presenting health claims as apparently supported by scientific literature, when the said literature says the exact opposite, is gross negligence. I would have liked to say so myself to Dr. Graham, but google didn’t know his contact details. Anyone?

I’m off to double and triple check my references, kids. Happy eating & Happy everything!

~AngelaImage

UPDATE. Page 153. ‘In spite of what we are told, consuming protein will not assist in the muscle building process’. Is that true? I’m not sure. The supporting ‘reference’ has nothing to add on the matter. 😐

If I had to eat it every day for the rest of my life…

I don’t want to make any absolute statements here. Tastes change, and I am currently preferring simple foods due to the recent encounter with eucalyptus oil (don’t ask). But today someone asked me ‘If you had to eat it every day for the rest of your life, which vegan meal would you choose?’, and next to my current infatuation with banana on rice chia fruit bread, this curry was my answer. It is sweet and creamy without the inclusion of coconut milk. Although coconut is widely used as a dairy replacement for vegans, it is less of an option for those with allergies, or with various blood types, such as O. This curry is cheap, tasty and simple. It lends itself easily to adaptation and meets basic nutritional needs. Like beans, lentils are high in protein, but are much easier to digest. For those of you new to the glories of lentils, you may be surprised to learn (as I was) that although they are called red lentils, they will turn yellow when cooked. Who knew?

Anyway. Use a rice cooker to make this dish even simpler. You can chuck curry ingredients in the rice cooker and turn it on to cook. It will simmer without burning, turn itself down to superlow when it’s done (how does it know?!) and keep the food warm til I’m ready to eat. If cooking in a pan, fry an onion in oil, before adding the other ingredients. Add garlic at this stage as well, if that’s your thing. I omit these for simplicity.

Basic Red Yellow Lentil Curry
1 ½ C red lentils
3 ½ C water
1 tbsp. curry powder
1 medium sweet potato, chunks
fresh ginger, chopped
1 bay leaf (remove to serve)
Herb or celtic sea salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in rice cooker, walk away and enjoy your freeedom.

Options include sliced apple (sweetness to balance out the spice), zucchini chunks (this is almost a must), peas, or stir through baby spinach leaves through the hot curry prior to serving.

Nice on its own, or with pappadums. 🙂

Pumpkin Scones

nom nom nom.

1 1/4 C brown rice flour
2/3 cup arrowroot flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon celtic sea salt
3/4 C organic kent puree (quarter, remove seeds, bake in some water until soft)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 1/2 tbsp honey

Mix it all together, bake 15min @ 200°c, leave to sit.

Served here with cinnamon nuttelex and orange date marmelade.

Where do you get your protein? & Making Blue Dye

You know you’re a foodie when you spend half your pay on hemp seeds and acai berries, and can’t wait to get into the kitchen and spend 5 hours making a mess (and then cleaning it up). And you know your friends are too if they are on the phone begging you to tell them what you just made.

In my kitchen tonight, I had goji berries, spirulina, golden pea protein powder and hemp seeds, plus the usual suspects: flaxseeds, tahini, dates, raw cashews, pepitas. Some macadamia, walnuts and a red cabbage completed things.

Why red cabbage? In half-asleep half-awake land last week I had a vision that I wanted to make a reality. First, I required blue dye.

Cut cabbage.

Boil cabbage.

Strain cabbage.

Reduce liquid.

Add a teensy tiny bit of bi-carb soda. If it turns green, add lemon. Set aside.

Freshly grind nuts and seeds- here is macadamia, cashews, walnuts, pepitas, hemp seeds and flax.

Mix something wet and something dry together in a bowl with your hands until everything is used up, and you have this:

You can also add cocoa to stuff.

Everybody love parfait

It’s been a busy few weeks.

Lots of cooking, lots of travelling, lots of trial and error. Lots of smoothies, and lots of strange new ingredients that the jury is still out on.

Apparently spirulina in a glass of water is the limit to my healthy-hippyness. Shudder.

Exploring Sydney has resulted in some new favourite haunts, like Dr Earth in Newtown and Nourishing Quarter in Surry Hills. I have tasted the best vegan cheesecake and rosewater flan of my life in the past two weeks, and both were naturally sweetened. Winning.

Finally back into my own kitchen, like coming home. Nothing like a decent cook-sesh to straighten me out.


Berry Crumble.


Kanten (a macrobiotic jelly).


Parfait! Everybody love parfait. (Kanten layered with banana custard and tofu cream).


Sticky-date with caramel sauce.

Three desserts and three sauces later, and I’m trying to figure out why I feel slightly nauseous.

White kumera & pea curry FOOD to balance it out, as found here.

My friends are wonderful cooks, and when they tell me about their dinners I wonder why I am the one posting things online. It is a strange habit, but one that makes me happy.

And we could all do with more of what makes us happy. 🙂

White Macadamia Protein Cookies

My treat for this week: Vital protein powder. Which leads naturally to: Cookies.

1 C brown rice flour.
1/2 C vanilla protein powder.
1/2 C Rice malt syrup.
1/2 C macadamia oil or nuttelex
1 tsp guar gum.
1 tsp baking powder.
1/4 C macadamia pieces
CINNAMON because it’s amazing in all things
Generous pinch celtic sea salt.

Optional: White cocoa butter.
Tahini- also amazing in all things
Some arrowroot powder.

Mix with hands, get messy. Roll into balls, bake until brown at 200ish for 10-15ish minutes.

Makes 8 cookies. Best eaten fresh. The protein powder makes them a little drier than usual so either wetten up your batter, or dunk them in tea.

Note that the amino acid profile of the protein powder once cooked is reduced, so if body-building DO NOT BAKE YOUR PROTEIN POWDER INTO COOKIES. ^_^

Explorations… and Sorbet.

Sunny Saturday finds me at Leisure Coast Fruit Market, Fairy Meadow. A long overdue trip. The temperature inside the market is goosebump-chilly, but I spend a good hour or so carefully perusing the shelves anyway. The mass of goodies are notated in my ‘Product list’.

Anyway, what I really came here to get, was bananas. To make Dun Dun DUNN! …Sorbet. Although you probably surmised that from the blog title. Without further ado:

1. Slice ripe bananas.

2. Freeze.

3. Blend with other ingredients.

4. Nom.

Exhibit A: 1 Banana combined with 6 frozen strawberries…

..sprinkled over with choc vanilla nibs.

Exhibit B: The sky/your imagination/cooking skill is the limit.

Left to right: Banana strawberry; Caramelised carob pecan; Cinnamon.

Coat pecans in sticky liquid of choice (carob molasses in this case, though maple syrup would also work) and watchfully heat in oven until coating caramelises.

In some blenders, you may need to add a liquid (such as rice or almond milk) to facilitate the blending. Pause blending and stir often. Mushing with fork helps too.

Other sorbet versions such as those here suggest peanut butter mixed with cocoa powder. Have fun kids, and post any cool variations you come up with 🙂

Recipe for disaster

My cooking tends to parallel my emotional life. I have been reading ‘The Gabriel Method’, about how important it is to not starve yourself of anything, be it the nutrients your body craves or the yearnings of your heart. I move away from myself, and then I return and wonder how I ever left. Sorting through interesting emotions, I tend to find myself creating equally interesting kitchen concoctions. I have been cooking sporadically and with less vigour than usual, with my attention instead on curling my hair and dancing in the sunshine, moving house, getting a job, enrolling in post-grad, completing my travel blog, and publishing a recipe book. And yet from amongst the mess emerged this strange and wonderful creation. For a few days I wasn’t sure exactly what it was I had created, coining it my ‘unintentional flan’ in reflection of its distinctly egg-like texture. While eating the final mouthful of the dish (literally), it hit me like a ten tonne truck. I was tasting a long forgotten but adored treat from my childhood.

Custard Tart.

Prior to my wholefood, balanced life, I used to inhaled this artificially coloured, dairy and sugar laden dessert as if it constituted food. And now I had created my very own. Less pretty, definitely. In an inappropriate base, and not as sweet as I’d like. But edible, and therefore worth sharing.

Custard Tart.

500gram silken tofu
1/4 cup 1/2 C maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut cream
1 tbsp nuttelex
1-2 tbsp arrowroot powder
1 tsp agar agar
vanilla extract
cinnamon
ginger
nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves

pour runny mix into base. sprinkle over with cinnamon. put in oven at 180 for an hour or so. cross fingers.

Speaking of base: I took an awesome looking recipe, and tailored it to what was in my kitchen. Up to a point it was delicious; however I Do Not Advise following in my pepita and millet-y footsteps. At least not in this instance. Get more pecans in the first place and avoid needing to substitute. The original pecan base recipe can be found here.

Base.
1 cup oats
1 cup 2 cups pecans
cinnamon
vanilla
1 tsp nuttelex
salt
1/4 C 1/2C maple syrup
some leftover buckwheat flour
1/4 cup puffed millet
pepitas
pinch bicarb

Blend. press into greased pan. bake til brown.

In keeping with my general weirdness at the moment, and to compensate for it not being sweet enough, I topped mine with mixed banana and pumpkin. Don’t do that. (Ever. Seriously). Get the pecan base right the first time, or put it in a gluten-free pastry. Add in the extra sweetener, and you’ll be good to go.

The mission for a balanced, informed and wise perspective on wholefoods continues. On how to not diet (The Gabriel Method), On sugar addiction (Potatoes not prozac), On honey here, and for other glorious links (as always) check my Facebook page. Bless. xx

Vegan Sweet Potato Bake

Thinly slice 1-2 large sweet potatoes. Cover with water in baking dish and place in pre-heating oven while preparing other ingredients.

Make a roux. I used 2 tbsp arrowroot, 1 tbsp corn flour, 1 tbsp nuttelex 1 tbsp macademia oil; any equivalent thickener will do. (Roux- one part flour to one part oil; heat until starch molecules open and become white).

Gradually add 1 tsp of vege stock and 2 cups soy/rice milk.

Caramelise one large leek according to instructions here.

Layer cream sauce, sweet potato, caramelised leek, drizzled tahini, and roughly chopped fresh organic silverbeet.

Top with pine nut sauce found here,  nutritional yeast and gluten free rice crumbs or equivelent.

Cook until browned and potatos soft: an hour at 200ºC.

Banana cake and other wonderful

The summer brought with it good news:

Bananas under two dollars, after the ridiculous $12.98 through winter.

Neither of my housemates are big bakers, but there has been a banana bake recipe on the fridge basically since I moved in, and one or the other seem to bake the cake or bread at least once at week. My mum used to make similar and the delicious, caramel smell has been torture. Torture, I tell you.

So, I began.

Effort one had too much bicarb. Effort two stuck to the roof of my mouth. Effort three burned, but with the edges trimmed was devoured as a friends birthday cake.

Today, excess from a friend’s parents garden landed me a bag of tiny and suspect looking bananas. I grimaced and whined my way through peeling them. I poked and sniffed at their squishyness once they were in the bowl. I mixed according to Banana Cake Attempt #3 and then…. BAM. A batter that tastes like mum’s.

This one goes out to the bananas.

Vegan, glutenfree Banana cake/ bread
3-4 overripe bananas
1/2-1 c sweetener
1/3-1/2 c rice bran oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla concentrate
1 1/2 c brown rice flour
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 heaped tbsp arrowroot powder
1 tsp bi carb soda
1 tsp baking powder

Stir-it up, lil darlin… Stir it up. Pour into greased/lined tin. Bake until the knife comes out clean.
(Approx 40 min at 200°C)

Adjust the sweetener according to how sweet the bananas are. The older they are, the more the sugars will have caramelised.

Oh and… I am finally jumping on the lentil bandwagon. A little belated, for a glutenfree vegan. Eh.


Find the recipe here. I added baby spinach at the end, and stirred through a little extra cumin. I served this dish with grated tofu and mushrooms, with a tablespoon of vege spread stirred through.

Om nom nom.

Cook-fest

Tonight, I’m gonna record as I go. First, the supermarket.

Next, the kitchen, and some exciting new ingredients that I am looking forward to experimenting with.

I have had an inkling towards creating a dream pizza for a while now. It has been budding in the back of my mind, and I saw an amazing looking recipe for a base from scratch . I am however, yet to explore sorghum gum. So while that idea remains on the bucket list, tonight I was ecstatic to discover some tiny round gluten-free, vegan pizza bases at my 2nd-from-local supermarket.

Layered as follows:
Spread with organic tomato paste and chopped garden basil
Caramelised organic leek
(chop leek, fry in olive oil until browned, reduce to half heat, mix in a cup approx 1 tsp of stock powder, 2 tsp of rice malt syrup, a splash apple cider vinegar and half cup water. add to pan and simmer leek 5mins until it begins to thicken. Voilà).
shredded organic spinach, 2 branches sans stem
Thin sliced pumpkin coated in cinnamon and olive oil, briefly grilled to soften
Pine nuts
Vegan cheese (I used tofutti as a treat)
drizzle over mushroom olive oil

Bake 6-8minutes at 220.

Demolished in as long as it took to chew; I can confidently say this is my favourite of all the pizzas I have ever consumed.

Next. BBQ Sauce. Since moving to naturally sweetened foods, this is one addition I have missed; no doubt today marks the beginning of a lifetime of sauce-ploration.

Fry 1/2 purple onion in olive oil until soft, add 1 tbsp of rice malt syrup and continue heating.
Add 1/2 tin tomatoes, 1 tbsp coconut oil, tsp ginger, paprika, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp rice malt syrup/honey, 1 tsp arrowroot powder. 1/2 cup water. Leave to simmer 1/2 hour. Let it stick to the bottom but not blacken- add a depth of taste to the sauce. add another half cup water and stir continue simmering until desired thickness. add spices as you please. (Next time I will try sweetening with molasses).

And then, Rice Balls.
toss 1/2 red onion and 1/2 cup brown rice in a few tbsp of rice bran oil over heat. add 1/3 celery, chopped. continue to toss. gradually add white wine vinegar and allow it to completely evaporate ‘tostatura’, as done with risotto.


Add 1/2 cup of stock. reduce heat, continue to add water. grate 1 carrot and add to mix. add 1-2 tbsp tom paste. mix through shredded spinach. once rice is cooked and water absorbed, turn off heat. mix through 1/4 cup of chia seeds to taste. these will absorb any extra water and add a little crunch. let sit.
spread a dry surface with rice crumbs. sprinkle with cinnamon. roll rice balls in mix, applying pressure to surface of balls until the outside is dry and relatively firm. shallow fry. Serve with BBQ sauce.

Prior to having a cleaning-kitchen-surfaces fit (an unusual, though regularly irregular occurrence for me), rants to housemate while laying on the kitchen floor, and dancing insanely to Angus and Julia Stone, I also made naughty Lindt dark chocolate sweet n salty licorice bullets tonight, to serve with garden baby strawberries tomorrow.

How much of this? he says.

Cooking in my kitchen: There’s no eggs to be cooked through. Real fruit and vegetables vary in wetness and size. I don’t know where the scales are kept or how well done you like your pumpkin; I rarely shop with a recipe in hand. I’m not sure how tart the lemons will be. And I am in possession of a poetic licence.

I’m not much for recipes. But I want you to try this delicious thing I created the other day, really I do. So I will tell you what I used (if I remembered to write it down) and you will need to meet me part way.

Use a splash. A pinch. A handful. Balance the ingredients with each other, not me. Taste it, smell it, feel it and decide for yourself. If you see an image of it slightly different, or you have some leftover raisins to use up, exercise your god-given liberties. Take responsibility for what you create, and make it your own.

I’ve heard it said that it’s about the journey, not the destination. And while I want the destination to be lovely, pretty, perfectly risen and textured; In truth, I’m not sure it will be. And frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.

I want you to make a mess. I want you to have fun. I want you to explore and create and discover, and report back, or not.

Keeping company with slightly offbeat and wonderfully spontaneous combinations is how I roll. So, please recreate and correct my so-called ‘recipes’. I’d be disappointed if you didn’t. x

‘Hungry for Change’

Okay. So it’s about time. And I’m just gonna come out and say it.

I’m offically a foodie. An organic buying, locally grown supporting, ideologically committed foodist. It’s not just something I like. It is crucial to me. The soft drink aisle has been dead to me for longer than I remember, and my food shelves are filled with a range of organic grains and seeds. I’m happy this way.

I suspect this will come as no great revelation to anyone except myself; similar to when I came home from Morocco and solemnly announced to my mother that I am a vegetarian- she rolled her eyes. My mother had been carefully coercing me into more mainstream animal consuming behaviour for the 21 years that I was in the closet.

Today, I ticked off an entry of my post-university to-do list. I watched Food Inc. And I kid you not, I cried. Tears of compassion, but also relief. First hand reporting of real-life experiences is what I require, as heart-wrenching as it can be. Things are the way they are because everyone is doing their best within a system that is inherently flawed. The people working within the system wish for change as well. And it is possible.

Here are some of my favourite quotes:

‘A culture that just views a pig as a pile of protoplasmic inanimate structure to be maniuplated by whatever creative design the human can foist on that critter, will probably view individuals within it’s community and other cultures in the community of nations with the same type of disdain, disrespect and controlling type mentality’.

‘Is cheapness everything that there is? [Work goes into] creating the mystique of cheap food.. when actually, it’s very expensive food. When you add up the environmental cost, societal costs, health costs… the industrial food is not honest food. It’s not priced honestly, it’s not produced honestly, it’s not processed honestly’.

‘To eat well in this country [America] costs more than to eat badly. It will take more money, and some people simply don’t have it. That’s why we need changes at the policy level, so that the carrots are a better deal then the chips’.

‘Imagine what it would be if as a national policy we said we are only successful if we have fewer people going to the hospital next than last year. The idea then would be to have such nutritionally unadulterated dense foods, that the people who ate it actually felt better, have more energy and weren’t sick as much. That’s a noble goal’.

‘You have to understand that we farmers are going to deliver to the marketplace what the marketplace demands. People have to start demanding good, wholesome food of us. And we’ll deliver. We’re very ingenius people, we’ll deliver’.

I didn’t think it was possible for me to feel this way about one American, let alone three… but I have so much love and adoration for these beautiful, smart men. I want to hug them.

If you are even remotely curious about why the world is the way it is, do yourself a favour and check this out. I am not sure there are many other things that could be considered as important.

www.foodincmovie.com

I am very curious to find some information relevant to the legislation and farming practices here in Australia. No doubt as with many things, America in this instance serves as a warning for the smaller countries considering following in their massive, corporate footsteps.

God forbid.

Mission Cookable

Okay so university is finished for the year, with a little more money for ingredients and some spare time, it is time to attack my vegan ‘to create’ list, as follows.

  • Rice pudding
  • Gluten-free homemade pizza
  • Homemade iceblocks
  • Homemade baked beans
  • Stuffed sweet potato jackets
  • Lentil soup.
  • Mussaman curry from scratch
  • Lemon sago

 

Let’s begin!