Mar 25, 2011

Do you like slimy seaweed?

Coz I LOVE the stuff!

Check this out...

It looks like it's come straight out of the ocean - which will be my next plan of attack - but this one I got from my local Asian grocery.
It's kelp (which I LOVE) but I had never seen it sold like this. I couldn't get over how long and big it was. I still can't!

Quite the seaweed-junkie right here I got stuck into it straight away and whipped up these babies for dinner-

Seaweed Rolls

Use whatever fillings you like, all your favourites, so your seaweed rolls are AMAZING!

I stuffed mine with:

bok choy
enoki mushrooms

Nothing fancy-pancy, but my god did they taste EXTRAORDINARY!

So fresh, crunchy vegies, soft seaweed... I dipped a little here and there into some tamari just for a kick, put my feet up, and totally BLISSED OUT!

Mar 23, 2011

A Morning to Chill

So Melbourne - you sure did show me all your glory this weekend just gone. I was blessed with very warm sunny days, the Equinox moon that was ENORMOUS and shone so brightly, new friends made, beautiful faces, amazing food, lots of laughs, literally running through the city, and a host in Omid who made me feel right at home.

It was also the final weekend of Omid Jaffari's Botanical Cuisine Tour. We were busy busy busy right up until the very last minute making sure everything would be perfect and every guest looked after, so once the weekend came to a close we made sure we all put our feet up - with bowls of strawberry sorbet or slices of chocolate ganache ;) I then went for a run around, in and out of and through the Botanical Gardens which really helped me ground myself and clear my head.

But as I am still waiting on some piccies from the crew down south, I've got nothing to show you!! - except the beautiful Miss Lucy Stegley and I, who I am so happy to have met finally.

Other than that, I flew back Monday morning (so early) and headed straight to work in the pouring rain! I'm now on emotional-spiritual-physical-mental R&R for the rest of the week as I haven't had a day off in what will be 3 weeks by this weekend and I've just been going and going and going!
But how blessed am I this morning to have had my shift at work swapped with my amazing boss, meaning I got a sleep in, morning brekkie on the back deck in the sun after my meditation and rebounding, and now have some time to show my blog some LOVE! I am one happy camper :)

Already I'm feeling alot better! All my bus-i-ness has prompted me to think more about my life - what I'm filling it with, my values and beliefs, my time... And I've almost filled an entire new journal mulling over it all! I'll be sure to write more on it all once it's clearer in my head :)

Until then, take it easy. Enjoy this thing we call LIFE. BE IN IT! DO things less, and BE a part of things more.

Sending out gallons of GREEN LOVE and WHITE LIGHT to you all! Happy Wednesday :)

Mar 16, 2011

Botanical Confectionary

Salivating much?

Is that not one of the most beautiful desserts you've seen? Wait til you see the rest! This baby is one of many creations from Omid Jaffari - Melbourne Botanical Cuisine chef extraordinaire! And last Sunday was Day 2 of his Sydney tour.

The Botanical Confectionary Workshop - aka dessert day!!
And oh - my - god! If ever a menu has gotten better and better and BETTER with each course served, this was it!

We had a full house again (of course - its desserts!!) with a couple of new faces, and we were all blessed with another spectacularly warm sunny day :)

Tables set, music on, waters poured...

Omid, Maya and I all made sure the day was chilled and relaxing for all our guests so that they could INDULGE a little (well alot) guiltfree... every morsel, every taste, every texture, every flavour, and intriguing combination that was to pass their lips and linger on their taste buds had to be perfect. And so (drumroll please) in order of appearance (and almost order of crowd favourites to be honest), the deathly sins were as follows…

- "Gimme Summer That" Smoothie
- Strawberry Granita
- Salt of the Earth; Chocolate Mousse on Chocolate soil and candied citrus
- Coconut, ginger and lime sorbet
- Green smoothie
- Blueberry flan with lavender syrup and triple-candied citurs
- Panna Cotta with fresh passionfruit and edible flowers
- Lemon granita with sweet cinnamon drizzle

We re-arranged the order of dishes last minute and it worked perfectly! Granitas and sorbets cleansed palates after rich chocolate dishes, and the sweet green smoothie mid way helped to bring everyone back down to Earth after their Heaven highs :)

The presentation Omid has perfected with his dishes is the most beautiful thing to watch for anyone with 'perfectionistic traits'... um, cough cough... ;)
This beauty was the Blueberry flan and it was the number one favourite.

... Until this baby entered the room...

Welcome the Panna Cotta. Close your eyes and imagine this - a creamy yet refreshing-sweet-coconutty-sorbet-like-textured-petite-little-beauty... contrasted so SO well with the TANG of fresh passionfruit. Got it? YUM! This was the winner. Hands down. Said by all.


In my opinion - dare I stray from the crowd - the chocolate mousse has to be THE best thing I have EVER tasted in my life! EVER! (lucky for me I’ve had leftovers in my fridge all week)
Soft, smooth, melt in your mouth… A deep rich chocolate flavour, with a hint of dragonfruit peppered throughout ever so subtley … a touch of candied lime gently perched ontop with a pinch of sea salt to finish it off… every little detail thought of and teamed up perfectly. Oh and the chocolate soil underneath - whoah! Holy moley!

Yep that's me alright! Totally blissing out on chocolate mousse.
It was another successful day, full of fun and laughs, wonderful conversations had, questions passed around and bouncing off each other for answers... I love moments like these. Days like these! I was blessed with a whole weekend of it! Like-minded people coming together and HAVING A BALL!

So this weekend I'll be down in MELBOURNE for the final leg of the Botanical Cuisine Tour which is going to be quite the Grand finale and I get to indulge in more of everything I loved so much about last weekend! There will be more chef's in Melbourne, more dishes, more guests, more surprises! I cannot wait! I'll be busy busy making sure everything is ready and everyone knows what they're doing but know we will all pull it off with a BANG! I'll be sure to let you all know how it goes next week sometime. Until then... put those tongues back in your mouth ;)

Mar 14, 2011

An 8-Course Raw Vegan Degustation Menu

Right now I feel like the luckiest girl alive! As I sat at work beginning this post munching on my delicious kale, tomato, buckwheat, dulse and mung bean salad, I read that I've been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award at !! Wow!

Now in the darkness of the evening at home, I've made myself slightly ill having eaten too much chocolate ganache tart and lime chantilly left over from the weekend, I sit here only skimming the surface of the excitement within me that has come about from one of the best weekends ever!

I spent the weekend helping my girl Maya out, and assisting Omid Jaffari on his Sydney Botanical Cuisine Tour -

"Botanical Cuisine is a simplified approach to life and food that is focused on all things artistic and heirloom, where organic, seasonal produce is enough to please the eyes and the palate"

We had set up in quite the idylic setting really - harbour views from an absolutely stunning home in Cremorne. We set up white table cloths. Sparkling waters with lime wedges. And individual roses on each place setting - yes I did stop to smell them this time :)

Saturday morning we were busy little bees getting ready for an 8-course raw vegan degustation menu complete with recipes, hints and tips, tricks of the trade, questions, tastings, chatter and more. With a full house of 24 guests we began and over 4 hours worked our way through...

- Vanilla Sky Smoothie
- Raspberry soup infused with lemon thyme and vanilla, with strawberry gelato
- Shaved daikon radish marinated in orange blossom honey and cinnamon with shiitake mushrooms, curly sprouts and lavandula
- Pea, mint and dill soup
- Coconut, ginger and lime sorbet
- Eggplant and macadamia tart with olive tapenade and sunblushed tomato
- Chocolate ganache tart with lime chantilly
- Lemon granita infused with lemon honey, drizzled with cinnamon syrup

Shaved daikon radish marinated in orange blossom honey and cinnamon with shiitake mushrooms, curly sprouts and lavandula

Happy hungry ladies before their Pea, mint and dill soup

A mighty rich Chocolate ganache tart ... was served with lime chantilly (life saver - so deliciously rich)

Lemon granita infused with lemon honey, drizzled with cinnamon syrup. Perfect afternoon refresher and palate cleanser after the yummy choccie

Eggplant and macadamia tart with olive tapenade and sunblushed tomato

Maya, Oliver and I were running around making sure everything ran smoothly - which I am very pleased to say it all did. Everyone that came along enjoyed themselves and the company had, ate lots, asked plenty of questions, learnt new techniques and recipes, enjoyed a lazy Saturday afternoon by the pool, and went away with a little more inspiration for their kitchen fun at home.

I was buzzing with energy when we finished up for the day! I couldn't keep it in! I drove home in the afternoon sun, windows down, music up loud, and went for a solid bush run when I got there. I felt amazing!!

Cleaned up the system with a big kale salad, then chilled out with some Star Wars :)

Before we woke up to do it all again on Sunday - only better.

Sunday was DESSERT DAY!

So stay tuned...

Mar 9, 2011

Fizzy Fermented Foods anyone?

First up - my Apple-Cranberry-Walnut Grawnola finally made it out of my dehydrator and OMG!

I've been snacking on it all week straight from the jar I kept it in, that I only managed to get one proper brekkie out of it!! Served to moi (but of course) at work one morning with my brazil nut milk and a tasty 'nana it was out of this world. Kept me going and going and going... there will definatley be more where that came from!

But I wanted to make mention about fermented foods and good bacteria this time 'round (quite a jump from grawnola but hey). We touched on this in class the other day and it prompted me to dive a little deeper as I realised I had been eating miso and fermented cabbage salad, whilst also drinking kombucha this past week... all fermented foods high in good bacteria... but is there a fine line between good and bad? And how much one "should" have?

I still hear contradicting theories on all this bubbly stuff so I wanted to try and shed some light on the subject for those of you new to it all (but will let you in on a little secret - I'm still perfecting this myself)...

Fermented foods.

When I used to read those two words the same thoughts always came to mind - Rotten. Fizzy. Off. Stinks. Gross. Etc etc etc...
I suppose to a degree I wasn't far off. But since then I have learnt alot more and can appreciate the fizzy "off-ness" to certain things. Getting hungry yet?

Let me explain -

These so called "off" foods also known as fermented foods contain something I'm sure you've all heard of before; PRObiotics. Sold in the fridge at the health food shop... good to take after you've been on anti-biotics... what else though?

(NOTE: they are IMPERITIVE to take after a course of anti-biotics).

These little PRObiotic guys are basically living organisms - yes I mean bacteria - but they are the GOOD bacteria (just think "bacteria" eats things... good bacteria eats bad things, bad bacteria eats good things... I know which one I want more of). The good guys hang around in the large intestine keeping it happy and are said to have a miriad of health benefits (although some research is not conclusive on this; see further down*).
Foods such as miso, saurkraut, and yoghurt (thinking sour, fizzy, off again right?) are all fermented and therefore high in PRObiotics - the GOOD stuff!

Fermented cabbage salad from IKU Wholefoods

So that's step 1... (or could be Step 2... kinda like how Star Wars came out decades ago, but later on came the PREquels... ok having a Star Wars moment, sorry guys) Moving along...

Step 2 (or Step 1 - depends on how you look at it) PREbiotics.
These babies are a little different (but just as important) They promote the growth of PRObiotics. So without them, no PRObiotics can breed and make more beautiful PRObiotic babies to keep your guy happy :)
And that's when we can run into troubles and get tummy upsets, bloating, gas, yeast infections, IBS and more.
PREbiotics are easy enough to find in foods like onions, asparagus, garlic, jerusalem artichoke (used as low GI sweetener in David Wolfe's Sun Sweet raw chocolate flavour YUM), and two of my favourites - yacon syrup and bananas.

* This "in-conclusive research" I speak of... there have been tests to show probiotics and prebiotics provide a miriad of health benefits, but there are also alot that state otherwise. For this reason, all I can suggest is to try them for yourself and see how you feel, as most people notice a difference. Getting them either from the real deal foods, or from your health food store if you're in need of much higher therapeutic doses (such as if you've been on the contraceptive pill or anti-biotics for some time).

For me personally, I feel GREAT when drinking kombucha (fermented tea - yes it's fizzy) each morning on an empty stomach, and when having miso in my diet every now and then. My fav thing at the moment are nori rolls I make with an unpasteurised barley miso paste spread on the bottom and then stacked with vegies and sprouts - YUM!

So, in my opinion it's good to make sure you're getting both PRObiotics and PREbiotics in your diet, but my only caution would be to ensure you're getting them from a bunch of different foods and not just one. And see how happy your gut can be :D

Mar 1, 2011

My Wellness Weekend

So if I were to be totally honest with you guys (not that I'm not usually) Id briefly mention that I've been struggling personally for the past month, and over the weekend I hit a deeper low, which led to me doing things I am not proud of. My past has seen me very easily slip into periods where I stop looking after myself. In every way, shape and form.
Was I aware of all this? Yes and no. But a few days ago, I knew I needed to do something that would gently put me back on the path of healing.

So my weekend was this - backyard nude sunbaking, big green salads, juices, running through soft sand, yoga, beautiful talks with a close friend, crying to my mum who I hadn't seen in weeks, reading, journalling, creativity in the kitchen, sungazing, getting in the ocean, studying (hey; it had to be done)... and now I'm back on my healing path even if it still feels a little akward and tricky to stand up on.

And given everything I'm so passionate about, healing can have so much more benefit if teamed up with great, simple, easily-digestible foods. So here's where I started Saturday morning. A quick, easy, delicious brekkie when you're wanting something different to your regular smoothie - a Superhero Brekkie!!

Put a tablespoon or two of chia seeds in your bowl and add coconut water, plain water, nut milk, or whatever liquid is your current fav, and stir in in and let it sit for 5 or 10 mins. Then add anything and everything you like! I've got sprouted buckwheat, pepitas, sunflower seeds, goji berries, bee pollen, activated almonds, cinnamon, cacao, coconut, and yummy scrummy banana! Keeps me going and going and going and going...

Or something a little different if you plan ahead - you can start whipping up some gRAWnola mid-week for a weekend treat! I had some in the dehydrator all last week that I'll post for you guys in a few days. Apple-cranberry-walnut grawnola! SO GOOD! Just gotta blend me up some brazil nut milk to go with it! Ooh, or maybe I'll try hemp seed milk... hmmm.... yum either way... ok now I'm hungry again.

And the rest of my weekend (aside from the nude sunbaking, study, yoga, chats with people etc)...

Sunday morning I ventured down to Curl Curl before dawn to catch the sunrise. There were quite a few surfers out as well as one guy doing some fishing, and we were all starting our day with Mother Nature, who was giving us her absolute best. Pinks and purples in the sky. A gentle breeze. Warm weather.

I ran up and down the beach a few times through the soft sand , working up a good sweat, before the sun began to rise from the horizon...

Out of this world! It was absolutley stunning. I sat there sun gazing before getting in the surf and feeling the cleansing healing properties of the salt water I love so so much.

I had felt that it was exactly what I needed (even though a big part of me felt I should have been utlising the time to study for an exam I had today) and I was right. It felt nothing short of perfect for me. I needed the reflection time. The grounding time. The salt water and sea breeze. My soul belongs at the beach, in the sand, in the surf. With the sun on my skin, I'm never more alive and it does something to me I can't describe. And as the sunshine then decided to say it's goodbye for the reminder of Sunday only a short 30minutes later, it made my getting out of bed at 530am all the more worthwhile.

Next stop - Frenchs Forest Organic Markets to grab a few things. And I was so lucky to run into Maya doing her shopping, and then Jess and Will who were also doing theirs.

Organic baby plums, nectarines, peaches, pears, grapes... (if you want a really great read on organics that my nutrition class spoke in length about last week check out Kate's blog)

Loads of fresh herbs, plants, lettuces... I grabbed some Scottish kale that I LOVE so much, some rockmelon, green apples, pears, alfalfa and bananas... as well as lemon and ginger KOMBUCHA! YUM! (will post more about this and the fermented cabbage and miso I've been into the past few days soon also)

Chatted to a few peeps I used to see there each week when I got down reguarly (things have been hectic for a while I havn't gotten down!) and we exchanged stories, smiles, laughs, and more. I love it down there :)

And with a few of my ingredients I made this last night for dinner - kale, alfalfa, carrots, celery, avocado, sultanas, olive oil and tumeric. Amazing if I do say so myself. A must try! Tumeric is a fantastic anti-inflammatory so great for any coughs and colds starting to appear, and really good for arthritis or joint inflammation. Just incase you're interested ;)

Look after yoursevles and one another. Live. Laugh. Peace and Love to you all from the bottom of my heart xx