Sunday, 6 December 2015

To weigh or not to weigh?

Are you a “weigher” or not a “weigher”?

I weigh myself daily. It's a habit now and I am comfortable with it as part of my morning routine. I was obese for years and hid from the scales. Denial was definitely not a successful strategy for me. Now I actually find the relative stability of the numbers reassuring. Yes, there is fluctuation from day to day and week to week, but knowing I am in the general ballpark is useful for my maintenance.


I am three years into a major weight loss and I need to be aware to avoid regaining weight as that is the general pattern for many people. For me, knowing is always much better than wondering or denial.


But for others, jumping on the scales can be anxiety inducing. They can fill people with fear and cause a good day to turn into a bad day filled with self-loathing and guilt. And they can de-rail any wonderful progress that’s being made as far as healthy eating or exercise.


Think carefully about your relationship with the scales. Is it an interesting exercise in self-monitoring, or is it an emotional one about self-esteem? Are you better off weighing yourself regularly or better off chucking the scales in the drawer and getting on with your life?


There's no right answer and one size doesn't fit all.













Christmas gifts from LGH

It's three weeks to Christmas! Don't forget the Lean Green and Healthy book if you wish to get a special present for someone (or yourself!!)
To order an electronic ebook to read on your iPad or computer (or print yourself) order here http://bit.ly/LGHebook or to order your quality professionally published paperback copy of the LGH book delivered to your door order here http://www.lulu.com/shop/lyndal-parker-newlyn/lean-green-and-healthy/paperback/product-22463742.html
Both ebook and printed copies available worldwide heart emoticon
Lyndal from LGH


Saturday, 7 November 2015

Do you like to colour in?

Colouring in for mindfulness and meditation is all the rage at the moment. I like to colour, but more than that I like to draw. So here's my colouring picture for today for you - I drew it while I was enjoying a relaxing cup of tea this afternoon. You can download and print the image to colour it in, or if you want the PDF come and join the Lean Green and Healthy chat group here on Facebook and you can download it from the files section.

Enjoy!
Lyndal at LGH





Sunday, 25 October 2015

BACON CAUSES CANCER?? OR DOES IT ??


There has been a lot of breathless excitement in the tabloid media this morning comparing bacon to tobacco or asbestos as far as cancer risk. (which is actually no surprise) I thought Id go straight to the World Health Organisation and read their report on cancer risk. Here's some excerpts from the section on colorectal cancer (the whole thing is LONG so I have pulled out relevant bits - the whole report I linked at the end):

"Colorectal cancer incidence rates are approximately ten-fold higher in developed than in developing countries, and it has been suggested that diet-related factors may account for up to 80% of the differences in rates between countries.The best established diet-related risk factor is overweight/obesity, and physical activity has been consistently associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer. These factors together, however, do not explain the large variation between populations in colorectal cancer rates.....

Studies have shown a strong association between per capita consumption of meat and colorectal cancer mortality but not with poultry or fish.... Overall, the evidence suggests that high consumption of preserved and red meat probably increases the risk for colorectal cancer.As with meat, international correlation studies show a strong association between per capita consumption of fat and colorectal cancer mortality ....



Many case--control studies have observed association between
the risk of colorectal cancer and high consumption of fruits and
vegetables and/or dietary fibre. On balance, the evidence that is currently available suggests that intake of fruits and vegetables probably reduces the risk for colorectal cancer....
Some prospective studies have suggested that a highintake of folate is associated with a reduced risk for colon cancer . Another promising hypothesis is that relatively high intakes of calcium may reduce the risk for colorectal cancer....

There is almost universal agreement that some aspects of the ‘‘westernized’ diet are a major determinant of risk; for instance, there is some evidence that risk is increased by high intakes of meat and fat, and that risk is decreased by high intakes of fruits and vegetables, dietary fibre, folate and calcium."

So based on this report we should eat more fruit and vegetables, more fibre, less fat, less meat and processed meat and if you do eat meat then focus on poultry and fish.  Treat your bacon as a treat food. Make sure we get enough folate (from green leafy vegetables) and calcium (from vegetables, fish, dairy or calcium fortified alternatives) and avoid heavily processed foods.
Now, there's a surprise!! ;)

Oh and one more recommendation: don't get your health advice from the tabloid media!

Lyndal at Lean Green and Healthy HQ
--------------------------
Full WHO report is here http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/publications/trs916/en/gsfao_cancer.pdf

Australian Dietary Guidelines recommendations on meat are here:
https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/five-food-groups/lean-meat-and-poultry-fish-eggs-tofu-nuts-and-seeds-and

Monday, 5 October 2015

Zucchini and vegetable slice


I've seen lots of zucchini slice recipes, usually involving up to 10 eggs, heavy cream, lots of hard cheese and rashers of bacon making them tasty but only suitable as "sometimes" food. I have given these recipes the LGH magic wand to make a more nutritious option that you can eat more regularly if you wish. It's tasty and also versatile and can be eaten hot or cold. Add whatever you have in the fridge for a delicious summer meal.
My version had zucchini, carrot, onion, fresh parsley, dill, peas, spinach and red salmon - but this recipe has flexibility to use whatever is in your fridge!

Ingredients
 2 large zucchinis
2 large carrots
1 onion
a cup of whatever other vegetables you have handy (fresh frozen or canned) such as spinach, corn, peas, shallots, capsicum
fresh or dried herbs
1 cup of leftover rice or canned cannelini beans or chick peas for low GI energy
200g can red salmon (optional - consider adding diced tofu for protein if you are not a fish eater)
1 cup wholemeal self raising flour
5 eggs (whisked)
squeeze of lemon juice
1/2 cup grated low fat cheese


Method: 
Preheat oven to 200 C
Grate your zucchini and carrots into a large bowl
Finely dice onion, herbs and any other veggies and add all into the bowl.
Add rice or drained beans and can of salmon, season with salt pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice
Mix everything well then add flour, whisked eggs and mix through
Sprinkle cheese on top
Spoon into a well greased cake tin /baking dish and bake for 30-40 mins or so until golden on top and springy. Slice into squares. Serve hot with a salad or vegetables, or cold .

Serves 8-10
Keep for 3 days in the fridge or 4 weeks in the freezer.

Bon appetit!



Friday, 2 October 2015

Deliciously decadent chia pudding


Chia seeds seem to be one of the newest "superfoods" on the block and get mentioned everywhere. These little black (or white) seeds are probably closest in taste and texture to poppy seeds, but with a whole lot more exciting properties. 
Chia seeds are derived from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family. They can be eaten raw or added to foods and have some pretty impressive nutritional properties:
  • Omega 3 fatty acids– These essential fats that are important for heart health and brain function. Chia seeds are unusually high in omega 3s, and one of the best plant sources. Of the 30% total fat found in chia seeds, more than half is alpha linolenic acid (ALA), which is the plant form of omega-3. 
  • Fibre - Chia's 34% fibre is higher than that of flaxseeds (linseed) or sesame seeds, and works out to be about 10g in two tablespoons (which would make a significant contribution to the 25–30g it's recommended we consume daily). Chia seeds are so high in fibre you need to be careful not to go overboard when you first start eating them- or your belly will notice!
  • Protein and calcium - They are also an excellent source of protein and extremely high in calcium – at 631mg per 100g, this is five times the level in milk (although it may not be so readily absorbed).
  • Chia is also a source of other important minerals including iron, magnesium and zinc. Oh – and it's gluten free, too.
Not surprisingly, many foodies claim chia is a "super" food and list all sorts of health benefits, many of which are over-rated. But while it is a food with some nutritional advantages, it is not magical. What we do know from limited evidence is that including chia seeds as part of a healthy diet may help improve cardiovascular risk factors, such as lowering cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. And although claims of weight loss may be far-fetched, the claim that chia helps you feel fuller for longer is likely more valid, due to its high fibre and protein content.
So what can you do with chia seeds?
Add them wherever you like.I have long been using them sprinkled on breakfast cereal or added to porridge and bakers put them in pancakes, bread, muffins and cakes. But the neat thing about chia seeds are their ability to retain water- in fact they will soak up ten times their weight in liquid - making them ideal for setting and "gelling" puddings and sauces. Apparently they can be used as an alternative to eggs? (Can't say I've tried that one).
I was a little skeptical in making chia puddings as I have bought commercial ones from the supermarket before and to be honest found them gag-worthy - the one I bought in a little tub was cloyingly sweet, watery and a little slimy and went straight in the garbage. So with some hesitation I tried them at home without a completely different outcome - I think using Greek yoghurt changed the texture to a rich creaminess which was divine!
Here's the recipe:
CHIA BREAKFAST PUDDING
1 cup milk (cows milk, almond, soy, whatever)
1 cup Greek yoghurt
1/3 cup chia seeds
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBSP honey or maple syrup (or stevia or whatever sweetener you prefer)
a sprinkle of cinnamon
Fresh fruit
Method:
Mix milk, yoghurt, vanilla, cinnamon and honey in a jug and whisk until smooth.
Add chia seeds and stir well. Let sit on the bench for 20 mins or so until it starts to set then stir again to ensure the seeds haven't all sunk to the bottom.
Pour mixture into four containers and cover in the fridge overnight to set fully. You can eat them in 2 hours but they taste best after 8 or so.
I layered them with strwberries, blueberries, passionfruit pulp and coconut. I sprinkled almonds on the top of mine and ate it out of the jar, my husband spooned his into a bowl and topped it with muesli. Delicious!

OTHER OPTIONS
Once you have the liquid : seed ratio right, then go wild. Blend fresh or frozen berries with your yoghurt, add nutmeg and star anise for a chai flavour, use coconut milk (watch the saturated fat) and sliced mango for a tropical summer feel, or add oats or quinoa to make a bircher pudding.  They also work for dessert options as below:
CHIA MOCHA CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
Want the amazing texture of chocolate mousse with extra health benefits? Chia puddings can go there too! 
1 cup milk (cows milk, almond, soy, whatever)
1 cup Greek yoghurt
1/3 cup chia seeds
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract or coffee extract for a mocha flavour
2 TBSP honey or maple syrup (or stevia or whatever sweetener you prefer)
berries and choc chips for topping (or nuts, honeycomb, crushed cookies, whatever!)
Method:
Mix milk, yoghurt, vanilla/coffee, cocoa and honey in a jug and whisk until smooth and the cocoa is well mixed through.
Add chia seeds and stir well. Let sit on the bench for 20 mins or so until it starts to set then stir again to ensure the seeds haven't all sunk to the bottom.
Pour mixture into four containers and cover in the fridge overnight to set fully. I poured ours into fancy dessert glasses and topped with fresh raspberries and dark choc chips. You can eat them in 2 hours but they taste best after 8 or so.
Bon appetit!
For more recipes like this one, follow the Lean Green and Healthy page on Facebook, join our friendly chat group or to have all the tips together at your fingertips, order our LGH ebook online - buy now

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Potato salad recipe (and the wonders of resistant starch!)

Like many other diabetics, I have to tread carefully with white potatoes. The high carbohydrates and high GI nature of potatoes means that they push my blood sugar up - even though they are nutritious and delicious! That is, unless I eat them in potato salad.  So why are cold potatoes different to warm potatoes? Its all because of a wonderful component called resistant starch.
So what is resistant starch? 
Resistant starch is a type of dietary fibre that is fermented in the large bowel and feeds the gut microbiome - the bacteria in your bowel that do so much good. Despite the messages to eat more fibre, and people are doing that, most people are increasing their fibre with processed foods like cereals, which don't necessarily contain resistant starch. More fibre yes, but all the great health benefits, no.  There is evidence that a healthy gut microbiome plays a role in preventing diabetes, obesity and some cancers, and may even have a role in mental health, so it’s worth taking a moment to understand how to keep it healthy. So rather than just eating any kind of fibre, we particularly need to be eating more resistant starch for a healthy gut and a healthy body.
So where do you find resistant starch? 
It can be found in some starchy fruits and vegetables (eg bananas and sweet potatoes), in legumes (have I told you how awesome beans, chick peas and lentils are lately?) and interestingly,  in some cooked and cooled starchy foods. Cooking and cooling starchy foods like rice, pasta and potatoes, and eating them cold, lowers the GI and increases the amount of resistant starch. Add some healthy fats and lemon juice and you lower the GI further – so when it is too warm to eat beautiful lentil soups and chick pea curries, change to summer starch foods like potato salad, rice salad and pasta salad!

Add lentils to your meals, cook and cool some rice to add to salads, diced and roast some sweet potatoes to throw in everything – there are loads of easy ways to get slow burning energey and make your bowel bugs happy at the same time.
For resistant starch goodness, add
lentils and beans to everything!
For more interesting information on resistant starch check out this post from Precision Nutrition here:
All about resistant starch

Most potato salads have heavy creamy dressings which are often also quite sweet and can stack on the calories with unnecessary fats. Not mine! So I guess I should share my magical potato salad recipe too!





Ingredients:
white potatoes (you can add sweet potatoes as well for added colour and flavour)
2 hard boiled eggs
Greek yoghurt
red onion
fresh parsley
dijon mustard
whoelgrain mustard
honey

I haven't listed amounts here as you can really fiddle with this until it tastes right for you.

Method:
Roughly chop your potatoes ad steam them with skins on until tender. You can get lower GI potatoes called Carisma from Coles) but any potatoes will work for this. Adding orange sweet potato (kumara) will make it extra interesting! 

Hard boil two eggs, chop them up and pop them in the fridge to cool, along with your potatoes. About an hour in the fridge or half an hour in the freezer should do the trick.

Finely dice a red onion, a bunch of fresh parsley. If you want extra bursts of flavour you could also add chopped gherkins, capers, capsicum, a tin of corn or even a little bacon. 

For the dressing mix a cup of plain Greek yoghurt with a tablespoon of dijon mustard, a tablespoon of grain mustard and a drizzle of honey.  Mix well then fold the dressing through the potatoes, eggs, onions and herbs.

Serve with a quarter of lemon to squeeze on the side. Left overs will keep in the fridge for 2 days or so (if you don't eat it all first!)

Bon appetit!


Potato salad makes a delicious and nutritious side dish




















Monday, 28 September 2015

The LGH e-book is LIVE


So after three years of a Facebook page with 25,000 followers, two years of a blog with over 45,000 views and now dozens of people saying "I wish you would put all these tips together and write a book" - I did it!  The Lean Green and Healthy eBook has been launched and is so far proving to be very popular. 

This is a fad-free lifestyle manual for not just losing weight, but also gaining health.
Chapters include: 
Why are we all getting fatter? 
What diet should I be following? 
What does a balanced meal look like? 
What about sueprfoods? 
What about exercise? 
Motivation tips and a selection of my favourite recipes. 

To keep prices down I have published it as an eBook. You can get it on Amazon as a text only, or direct from me for a colour PDF - which you can read on iPad, iPhone, android (using PDF reader, ibooks or the kindle app) or on your computer. 

Hey, you can even print it yourself if you want to!

So if you want to join the happy LGH club and get all the tips at your fingertips, go to  http://bit.ly/LGHebook and order using credit  card, debit card or your PayPal account. Once payment is received you will be emailed the download link within 24 hours. 

The book is priced at $AUD 9.99 (which is around $7 USD) so I think it's a pretty good deal!

Have you already bought the book? Let me know what you think in the comments below. I'm excited!

Thanks for your support
Lyndal@ LGH













Sunday, 26 July 2015

Warm winter quinoa porridge - my favourite morning recipes.


Quinoa porridge with currants, cinnamon, strawberries and maple syrup.
The winter has been cold and I've been cooking porridge for breakfast most mornings and thought I'd share with you some of my tips. Most of us know how to make porridge from oats, but I can't eat oats, so my experiment this winter has been with quinoa. And what a successful experiment it has been!

Are you a quinoa fan? Quinoa looks like a grain but its actually a seed and comes from a relative of the spinach plant, and what a tasty and versatile seed it can be. Cooked by itself it has a mild nutty flavour, but will rapidly absorb whatever flavours you cook it with. You can use it plain in place of rice or cous cous, or cook it flaked like oats. It's gluten free, low GI (it has a glycaemic index of 53) and is high in protein. What's not to love? (for more on quinoa click here --> Notes on quinoa

First decision you need to make is if you would like to make your porridge with whole grain quinoa or with quinoa flakes. Flakes will give you a creamy porridge very similar to oats, and are much quicker to prepare and cook. They are, however, a bit less versatile. Whole quinoa seeds take longer and give you a chewier nuttier texture, but the one bag of quinoa can be used for all manner of things, from salads to risottos. I tend to mix it up a bit from day to day, so I'll give you the instructions for both.
Clockwise from top: quinoa seeds, chia seeds, currants, quinoa flakes, pepitas
(shredded coconut in the middle and bananas and strawberries of course!)

Creamy porridge with quinoa flakes
This is my rapid everyday porridge and gives you a creamy finish.
Ingredients:


  • 1/2 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1 cup milk of your choice (I use dairy but rice, soy, almond milk would work fine too, you could also cook in water if you prefer)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1-2 tsps something to sweeten - I use honey or maple syrup, but you could use brown sugar, stevia or anything else
  • small handful of currants (optional)
Method:
  • Put 1 cup milk in a heavy based pot on low heat. Add vanilla essence. Bring to simmer.
  • As soon as it is simmering turn heat down and add quinoa flakes, cinnamon and currants. Stir on low heat for 2-5 minutes until milk is absorbed and creamy texture is achieved. This doesn't take long so don't walk away!
  • Serve with a drizzle of your favourite sweetener, fruit, nuts or whatever toppings. 
Optional extras:
Peanut butter, banana and honey quinoa porridge. Heavenly!
  • I've already mentioned the currants - I love adding them in with the cooking porridge and they add a bit of caramel sweetness to the porridge, like a surprise!
  • I also enjoy chia seeds, which are packed with fibre and omega 3 fatty acids, I usually stir a tablespoon through at the end for crunch.
  • My standard go-to toppings are fresh strawberries or blueberries, a tiny sprinkle of shredded coconut, flaked almonds and pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Frozen berries would also work fine as would any poached fruit.
  • You can try grating apple into your porridge and adding a little more cinnamon, some maple syrup and crushed walnuts to taste like an apple strudel!
  • If you're feeling like a tasty comforting treat try adding a spoonful of peanut or almond butter at the end of cooking to melt into your porridge, and top with sliced banana and a drizzle of honey. Just amazing!


Chewy porridge with whole quinoa
If you have a little more time, only have some whole quinoa seeds handy or prefer your porridge more chewy and less creamy then here's an option for you. I like it both ways and tend to mix it up a bit - strictly speaking this is not really like oats porridge at all, but hey, it tastes good too! Whole quinoa takes around 20 minutes so if I'm making it this way I tend to get it cooking the night before while I'm cleaning the kitchen after dinner, then pop it in the fridge ready for the morning.


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa (white quinoa is the quickest to cook and mildest in flavour, I tend to use a mixture of white red and black just for colour and a bit more taste!)
  • 1 cup milk of your choice (I use dairy but rice, soy, almond milk would work fine too, you could also cook in water if you prefer)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1-2 tsps something to sweeten - I use honey or maple syrup, but you could use brown sugar, stevia or anything else to taste
  • Nutty chewy whole quinoa is another choice for breakfast
  • small handful of currants (optional)

Method:
  • Wash your quinoa seeds well in a fine sieve under running water (quinoa has a natural coating called saponins to protect it and this can taste bitter. Many commercial supplies have been pre-washed, but if you're not sure, spending 5 minutes to rinse it is well worth the time). 
  • Put 1 cup milk in a heavy based pot on low heat. Add vanilla essence. Bring to simmer. 
  • As soon as it is simmering turn heat down and add quinoa, cinnamon and currants.
  • Cook slowly in a covered pot on low heat for 15-20 minutes or so until milk is absorbed and quinoa is chewy but not hard. Check it regularly so it doesn't burn on the bottom
  • Once it's cooked I keep it in a container in the fridge, and when ready to serve in the morning add a splash of milk and give it 60 seconds on high in the microwave for steaming porridge!


Optional extras:

Blueberries, chia seeds, a sprinkle of coconut and walnuts! 
  • Just like with the flakes, I often add currants - I love adding them in with the cooking porridge and they add a bit of caramel sweetness to the porridge, like a surprise!
  •  My standard go-to toppings are fresh strawberries or blueberries, a tiny sprinkle of shredded coconut, and I often add crushed walnuts - another tasty source of omega 3 fatty acids and the flavour mixes well. 
  •  If you feel like something a tad more exotic, add cinnamon, star anise and some cardamon seeds as the quinoa is cooking and serve with yoghurt and a drizzle of honey. Tastes like a chai latte! 


If you need any better reason to consider cooking breakfast, have a read of my blog post on the beauty of breakfast here, and for another tasty option you might like to try cooking up some of my mini-breakfast frittatas (great for lunchboxes too!) or mix your own muesli. 

However you decide to make it, I hope you enjoy your lovely winter quinoa. Share with me here or on Facebook any other flavour ideas you may have!

Bon appetit!








Saturday, 25 July 2015

25,000 Facebook friends


Today isn't just any Saturday night here at LGH headquarters- tonight we have had our 25,000th friend join us on our Facebook page. WOW! Thank you everyone for spreading the word about simple eating, home cooking and living a healthy lifestyle, about moderation, balance and making changes that last. Stop dieting, stop following crazy programs and all that self torture. Love yourself, be happy and just eat real food! Share with your friends and lets keep on spreading the word! 

Lyndal

 Lean Green and Healthy

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Feeling special

Well, I haven't been blogging nearly enough lately - our page has been going gangbusters on Facebook, and the chat group is busy, active and supportive, but I haven't always got around to penning my thoughts in here.
This morning's wonderful surprise from my GP colleague Edwin Kruys means I need to get back to it- and get my book finished too!

Read his list of top Australian GP bloggers - yours truly gets a mention along with a bunch of talented medical colleagues, I'm among illustrious company!

http://doctorsbag.net/2015/07/20/top-australian-gp-bloggers-2015/


Thanks Edwin!

Oh and if you haven't found us on social media yet:
http://www.facebook.com/leangreenandhealthy
http://www.facebook.com/groups/LGH.chat
and I'm @LGHtweets on twitter
Share the lean green love!! hahaha

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Thai green curry cauliflower and coconut soup


Another rainy day means another soup recipe - and another successful experiment! This is another delicious fragrant and spicy soup that will warm you up, its vegetarian and vegan friendly, cheap and easy to make and is quite low in carbohydrates.

The major ingredient in this soup is cauliflower, and even those who are not cauli fans are unlikely to realise it!  It has a similar texture to a potato soup but without all the high GI carbs.  Cauliflower is a fantastic vegetable and as a part of the brassica family (also known as cruciferous vegetables) cauliflower contains antioxidants, phytonutrients, lots of fibre and is high in vitamin C, B6, K and folate. Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like cauliflower decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion, increased energy, and overall lower weight.

The coconut milk in my recipe does add more kilojoules and fat, but it is not too much across this big pot of soup, and I have chosen a reduced fat variety. If you are closely watching your saturated fat intake you could consider using evaporated milk and a few drops of coconut essence instead.  If you're in Australia you can buy a low fat evaporated milk that is coconut flavoured for exactly this purpose! 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large leek sliced
  • 1 bunch coriander
  • 1 whole head of cauliflower roughly chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1  can reduced fat coconut milk
  • 2 TBSP Thai green curry paste
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic (or 2 cloves fresh garlic chopped)
  • 1 tsp minced ginger 
  • 1 TBSP dried paprika
  • 1 TBSP dried chilli flakes (omit if you don't like it spicy!)
  • Greek yoghurt and coriander leaves or sliced shallots to serve

METHOD:

  • Slice leek, roughly chop cauliflower,  chop stems of coriander just above the roots, set leaves aside for later. 
  • Toss onion and coriander stems in a heavy based pot with olive oil, garlic, ginger, paprika and chilli flakes and saute for a few minutes. If you are not a fan of coriander or you don't have any fresh, use 1 tsp of dried ground coriander seeds. 
  • Add chopped cauliflower and saute for a few minutes. Add green curry paste and stir for 5 minutes until fragrant.
  • Add vegetable stock, coconut milk, a pinch of salt and black pepper.
  • Simmer for 30 minutes on low heat until cauliflower is very soft.
  • Whizz with a stick blender or food processor until your soup is thick and creamy. 
  •  I served in a bowl with a dollop of Greek yoghurt in the middle. Serve topped with chopped shallots or coriander leaves for extra bite, or lemongrass stems if you have them. Delicious with a slice of dense multigrain bread or a traditional sourdough to soak up the flavour. 
Easily serves 6 hungry people :) Bon appetit!

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Tonight's taste test - Curried carrot and red lentil soup


Tonight is cool and wet so it's time to start winter cooking. I decided to make an experiment tonight and it worked!! A delicious fragrant and spicy soup, this one is vegetarian and vegan friendly, cheap and easy to make and very filling with lots of fibre and low GI carbohydrates from the lentils (which are from the legume family). 

Legumes are foods like peas, beans and lentils and they are nutritional powerhouses with fantastic nutrient qualities, a great source of plant based protein, low GI carbohydrates and resistant starch. The coconut cream in my recipe does add more kilojoules and fat, but it is not too much across this big pot of soup. If you are closely watching your saturated fat intake you could consider using yoghurt or evaporated milk instead. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 brown onion diced
  • 1 bunch coriander
  • 4 large carrots diced
  • 1.5 cups dried red lentils
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2  can reduced fat coconut cream
  • 2 TBSP Thai red curry paste
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic (or 2 cloves fresh garlic chopped)
  • 1 tsp minced ginger 
  • 1 TBSP dried ground cumin
  • 1 TBSP dried chilli flakes (omit if you don't like it spicy!)


METHOD:

  • Dice brown onion, chop stems of coriander just aboove the roots, set leaves aside for later. 
  • Toss onion and coriander steams in a heavy based pot with olive oil, garlic, ginger, cumin and chilli flakes and saute until onion is transparent
  • Add red curry paste and stir for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
  • Add diced carrots and saute for 2-3 minutes until softened then add lentils and stock.
  • Simmer for 30 minutes on low heat until carrots and lentils are very soft.
  • If you like your soup lumpy, leave it as is. I whizzed mine with a stick blender until thick and no large pieces remain.
  • Add reduced fat coconut cream to taste (I used a bit less than 1/2 can) and stir through chopped coriander leaves in last 5 minutes to serve.
We each had a small bowl to taste test it and then I filled five containers for the freezer so this recipe could easily serve 6-8 people.

Bon appetit!