Light Lunch

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prawns

Lunch today was a 7.5km walk followed by Kylie Kwong’s Salad of King Prawns, Avocado & Watercress from her book It Tastes Better. The honey and soy dressing really brought out the sweetness of the prawns. Definitely a do-again.

Click here for the recipe. http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/food/recipes/recipe/-/7473717/salad-of-king-prawns-avocado-watercress/

Something on the side

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On the side

A plate of Iceberg Lettuce with Beanshoots, Cucumber, Herbs and Nuoc Cham went really well with the Gai Yang Chicken. Super refreshing.

Nuoc Cham
(While not a Chin Chin recipe, they do serve this classic Vietnamese dipping sauce at the restaurant accompanied by these greens.)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp finely chopped palm sugar
1/2 stem lemon grass, pale section only, finely chopped
2 long fresh red chillies, finely chopped (deseeded if you like)
1 garlic clove, crushed

Combine the water, fish sauce, lime juice, vinegar, palm sugar, lemon grass, chilli and garlic in a jug and stir until the sugar dissolves. Serve.

Juicy Stuff

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Juicy Stuff

For the last month various 6 packs of PHD Green juice have been arriving, freshly extracted on my doorstep. And I’m loving it. They’ve helped to keep my mid-afternoon snacking at bay and also supply an extra dose of green leafy vegetables. In fact, I’m enjoying them so much I’ve started investigating juicers and extractors with a view to buying one. However, while drinking the juice might be pleasant, researching juicers is headache inducing.

To save you some pain here’s what I’ve discovered so far.

I haven’t found any scientific evidence to prove that juicing your vegetables is any healthier than eating them. But, if you’re not getting enough in your regular diet, drinking some vegetables isn’t going to hurt.

Every self-appointed internet juice guru seems to extoll the benefits of raw, cold pressing rather than the faster centrifugal machines, as the produce is not “cooked” by heated-up rotary blades. However, Marcus Antehi, founder of “Juice Press” in the States, has tested this theory and concluded that the blades can heat up during the initial pulverizing phase of cold-pressing too. Not great when you consider that cooking can destroy vitamin C in many vegetables. However, there seems to be another significant factor to consider when deciding what type of extractor to buy. Oxygen.

Below is a comparison between centrifugal and twin gear juicers from takepart.com that I found really helpful.

“High-speed juicers (aka fast or centrifugal juicers)
These juicers shred produce with a sharp blade, then separate the pulp through high-speed spinning to yield thin, pulpless juice. They tend to handle carrots, beets, and apples better than leafy greens or wheatgrass… The blades and spinning mean the foods you’re juicing come in contact with more air during the process; that oxidization causes nutrients to break down quickly, so you should drink a serving as soon as you make it. The machines also generate about two degrees Fahrenheit of heat—a tiny amount, but many juice proponents believe that also destroys nutrients.

Triturating juicers (aka twin-gear juicers)
These top-of-the-line juicers are for the seriously dedicated enthusiast. They turn at a slower speed than a masticating juicer, and by pressing foods between two interlocking gears, they extract a larger volume of nutrient-rich juice from leafy greens and other vegetables, fruits, herbs, wheatgrass, and novel ingredients (to most of us, anyway) like pine needles… The major drawback here is price.”

From my investigations it seems twin gear juicers are about twice the price of centrifugal ones. But, as it’s the green leafy juices I’m after, these are the ones I should probably go for. Now I’m getting a headache from the price tag. I might keep drinking my PHD Green juice and hope that Santa wins the lottery this year.

Here are links to some of the articles I’ve been reading if you’d like them.
http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/04/24/jane-says-all-juicers-arent-created-equal
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/health/juicing/
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/17/dining/the-rush-toward-cold-pressed-juices.html
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=raw-veggies-are-healthier
http://www.fi.edu/learn/brain/micro.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/08/juicer-types-cold-press_n_2618000.html

Lunch

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Lunch

Today’s lunch break was filled with a yoga class followed by Salmon in Banana Leaf.

As an Australian living in Auckland, I sometimes feel as though I’m missing out on the new tastes and experiences my friends enjoy across the ditch. So, I like making recipes from my favourite places to get a taste of home from time to time. This recipe is from the iconic Melbourne restaurant Chin Chin and is nothing short of amazing. The recipe appeared on the goodfood.com.au website ahead of the restaurant’s book release. The time required to make all the elements would normally relegate this to a weekend recipe but, I couldn’t wait that long. I did all the prep the night before so it only took 15 minutes to cook today. It also gave the salmon the chance to marinate overnight which they recommend.

I’m definitely going to serve this at my next dinner party, it’s that good. And, as I’ve got left over curry paste and chilli jam it’s going to be a breeze. Click on the pic for the recipe and you can serve it at yours too.

RIP Atkins

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RIP Atkins

A few years ago when I was trying to lose weight (unsuccessfully) a friend plainly said to me, “If you want to lose weight, stop eating.” Fast forward to a few years later and Michael Mosley of the BBC has finally caught on to my friend’s advice. I watched his documentary recently where he concluded by recommending we fast for two non-consecutive days a week. Mosley says it works “in a similar way to the feast and famine lifestyle of cavemen, it restricts calories and gives the body a chance to repair itself”. He lost 12kg, no longer has diabetes, reduced his cholesterol and no longer snores. Sounds great doesn’t it? Based on this I bought his book which contains some menus for the fasting days and I’m assuming more detail on the health benefits.

Lucky for me, I also happen to have a couple of friends who’ve been on this diet for the last 6 months. Their results have been a little different to Mosley’s. Both of them have always been in to fitness and exercise around 4 days a week at high-intensity, including on their fasting days before their meal. More than Mosley I suspect. They say they enjoy the diet but have only lost about 1.5 – 2kg each. Not much over 6 months. The reason for this is what they eat on their non-fasting days; whatever they like without a thought of the calories. Both have realised that if they want to lose weight they should probably cut back on those days as well. Not quite the hamburger eating scenario that was promoted in the documentary.

Fortunately weight loss is not a motivator for them (both look great) and now they’re in the routine they’re happy to continue with the hope that some of the other health benefits may flow through. Not that they have any problems there either but, they’re thinking of their future.

Apparently Mosley has now relaxed his diet regime as he was losing too much weight. Perhaps he should follow the one my friends are doing.

For more information on “The Fast Diet”, click on this link. http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/michael-mosleys-five-biggest-health-myths-20130920-2u3vb.html

Bringing a “plate” to my friend’s BBQ.

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My friend Kim hosted the second BBQ of the season on Sunday. She’s always a great host but has no confidence in the kitchen and can barely work her own oven, let alone sharpen a knife. Bearing this in mind, I was all too happy to bring a couple of salads along when she asked and took the opportunity to cook things that might be a bit higher in fat than I’d usually make. I made myself feel better about this with the knowledge that they were going to be shared around so, Alex and I wouldn’t be finishing them by ourselves.

Mixed Grain Salad
100g red quinoa, rinsed
100g white quinoa, rinsed
100g French green lentils, rinsed
100g pearl barley, rinsed
30g butter
2 cloves garlic. crusned
2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
25g pumpkin seeds
25g sunflower seeds
25g chopped almonds
1/4 bunch mint
1/4 bunch parlsey
2 spring onions, sliced
Sherry dressing
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
120ml extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

For the mixed grain salad, place red and white quinoa in separate saucepans, cover with cold water to come about 1cm over quinoa. Cover and bring to the boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 – 12 minutes or until water is absorbed.

Meanwhile, cook lentils in a saucepan of water for 15 – 20 minutes until tender, then drain. Toast pearl barley in a dry frying pan until golden, then transfer to a saucepan and cover with cold water. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes until tender, then drain.

Melt butter in a small saucepan and when foaming add garlic, thyme, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds and cook until toasted. Remove from heat and cool. Coarsely chop mint and parsley. Combine grains, seeds and almonds in a bowl with chopped herbs.

For dressing, combine vinegar, sugar and oil in a small bowl and whisk well. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to combine. Garnish with spring onions.

Serves 6

Dinner

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Dinner

Do you think there might be tumeric in this? Dinner is Neil Perry’s Tagine of King Prawns, Chickpeas, Almonds and Cherry Tomatoes served with cous cous and green beans. Delish and if you’re trying to lose weight like me, leave the oil out of the Chermoula. It will be fine.