Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Papaya Boat with Coconut, Tahini, Banana Chia Cream

Isn't it a little odd how I can get my hands on such juicy tropical fruit, smack bang in the middle of Melbournian winter?  I'm always taking a whole container filled with melons and mangoes and paw paws to school. It's a little funny how our fridge is literally overflowing with bargains that we hunted down at the local fruit and veggie shop. Dragon fruits, mangoes, persimmons, papayas, watermelon, star fruit, every fruit you can find on a tropical island is bound to be in our fridge at some point in the week. The trick is to really get you know your fruit and veggie shop properly. What time do they close? That's usually when they put the prices down. Do they have a discount trolley? Many people think that discount trolleys are mainly filled with rotten stuff that no-one wants to buy. However mum and I have realised that the fruits and veggies that you find in the discount box, or in the discount trolley are quite perfect. Buying fruit and veggies from the local green grocers is also a whole lot cheaper that buying from your average supermarket. Take my word.

Today I made a mini coconut, tahini chia cream, papaya boat topped with goji berries and pepitas. I was inspired by a papaya coconut tahini smoothie that my friend made for me, but I just love eating papayas straight from their skin and I also wanted to make a vegan reprise. The papaya tends to lose it's flavour when you put it in a smoothie, unless of course you add a heap of sugar to it, which I definitely didn't want to do. 

The coconut milk, dates and tahini actually go really well together, the banana brings it all together and the chia seeds simply added texture.

3 tbs coconut milk
3 tsp chia seeds
3 tbs water
3 tablespoons shredded coconut
1/2 a small small banana
1 medjool date
1 tbs organic tahini
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1. place chia seeds in the water, and let rest for 10 minutes
2. place the rest of the ingredients in a blender and blend until the mixture becomes smooth
3. add in the chia seeds and pulse until combined
4. spoon the seeds out of the papaya and spoon the cream into the crevice 
5. top with whatever you want and enjoy! 

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Meal In a Jar

This week I went raw! Even though I am so proud of myself, I felt that the entire week was surprisingly easy and super  fun. I didn't feel like I was doing anything out of the way or extraordinarily different. It was so easy to just come home, mash up a whole heap of veggies in our high speed blender, and then spoon it on to some swiss chard leaves for a raw veggie green wrap. No cooking, no chopping board, hardly any washing and best of all, it was soo tastey and really healthy!

I will add some more recipes as to what I ate this whole week but I am hoping to continue raw food for a very long time. I have to warn you that there is a misconception that when doing the raw food diet one has to be 100% fully raw.  Most people actually eat around 50-50 raw to cooked or 75-25 raw to cooked or anything other ration they want really as long as they are incorporating as many raw green living foods as possible into their diet. 

I encourage all of you do do some research, and if you think it's your thing, give it a go.  I look up to raw foodists like Fully Raw Kiristina and get most of my inspiration from her. Thanks Kiristina!

Today I whipped up something of my own, which I think is quite clever seeing as I recently had my braces tightened and can't really chew anything remotely chewable. I'm not really sure what to call it so I've dubbed it "meal in a jar" because it is packed full of nutrients, fibre, iron, magnesium, potassium, protein, calcium... oh well the list goes on. It simply consists of layers of carrot banana fig smoothie and grounded flax seeds, sunflower seeds, chia sees, coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds and a few dried goji berries within a jar.

1 fig
1 carrot
1 banana
1/2 cup water
1 tbls hemp protien
cinamon to your taste
1 inch ginger

flaxseeds 2 tsp
chia seeds 2 tsp
goji berries 1tsp
1 tsp sunflower seeds
1 tsp pepitas
2 tsp shredded coconut

1. blend all the ingredients for the smoothie together in a high speed blender and transfer into a bowl
2. pulse all the ingredients for the grinde and stop when it becomes a fine crumble
3. layer it in a jar as shown above or simply eat together in a bowl

Friday, 18 July 2014

Reduce your stress: three handy hints

If your just having one of those weeks where you seem to be dragging your left foot behind you wherever you go, or if your system is on overdrive, or if stress has a death hold on you, just stop. Yup even stop reading this post and just sit in your chair for a few minutes and take a few deep breathes. Sometimes, more often than I should, I have these weeks but I've found that doing simple little things, the tiniest minuscule things help you get through the week a little less scathed.

Tip 1: Rather that opting for your daily egg and bread combination, or your bowl of cereal or oats, try something different at least once and start of your day with a fruit salad! Eating fruit in the morning is the perfect way to debloat and detoxify your body because it's so easy on the digestive system. Fruit, unlike carbohydrates, digests a whole lot faster, leaving you lighter, and more energetic than ever. Most people really need that extra boost of energy, but the nutrients in the fruit salad will sustain you until about mid morning. waddya know? I suggest slicing up a variety of fruits and placing them in a bowl and sprinkling them with cinnamon, lemon and coconut flakes. Those of you out there who are enjoying the blessed summer, exotic fruits have bucket loads of nutrients and are better absorbed by your body in the morning especially in an empty stomach. Maybe a mono meal of cantaloupe? Maybe watermelon? Bananas? So quick, so easy!

Tip 2: Meditate for a few minutes a day. Even 5 minutes is enough to do the trick. Sit yourself down somewhere quiet. Place your hand on your stomach and feel yourself breathe as your stomach moves up and down. Just focus on your breathing, the sounds around you and your head space. If your mind wanders, don't worry because it's perfectly normal. Simply use your steady breathing as an anchor to bring you back to the present. Here is a great site that I use to aid my meditation for a Smiling Mind

Tip 3: This week I created a great face mask for glowing skin. I've only tried it on my skin colour which is medium brown. I used avocados because they are filled with vitamin A, good for purifying the skin of dead cells, turmeric, (also a great anti-inflammatory for those who are prone to acne or the occasional break out) and oats or buckwheat to leave your skin soft and supple and to relieve irritation and redness. The turmeric will tint your skin, however if your dark, it adds a glowing tint. For lighter skin, I suggest using it at night time and possibly a little less of it or add more oats to balance out the colour.

1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tbs of oats
half an avocado

1. add warm water until it just covers the 2 tbs of oats in a bowl and wait until it's soft.
2. In a blender add all the ingredients and blend until smooth
3. apply to face and wait for 15 minutes before washing of with water or a hot wet towel.

I really hope that was useful :)
Enjoy your week everyone

Monday, 7 July 2014

Markets: A lost world

Its 9 am. Saturday, mid mornings have a foggy, welcoming lazyness to them. The sun is out in midwinter Melbourne.

It's a good day and I can tell you that it's not a subjective opinion. It is a fact that today is a brilliant day because the sun has managed to finally get up out of it's bed of grey sheets and peep in to say hello. About time really because due to the last few blustery days, my rabbit has not been able to go for her daily walk-abouts in our back yard and was sitting like a cranky old lady, thumping all through her waking hours, which is unfortunately also when I sleep.

I grab my cloth market bags, chuck on my favourite pair of jeans and head to the local farmers market.

Markets always have a certain "it factor". One is always affected by the electrical buzz of excitement that touches your skin as soon as you enter market grounds. It's raw. It's real. You can feel it in the air, smell it in the air around snack stalls, wafting up into your nose and tickling your appetite with exotic cultural cuisine; stalls of sugar coated roasted nuts from Switzerland, various sticky sweet pastries from Denmark, Crepes and Galettes from France, fried rice, dumplings, caramel popcorn. It goes on. You can hear it in the conversations around you, a mixture of excitable childish squeals and soft intrigued murmurs and simple happy human interaction buzzing along to a steady communal rhythm.

The veggies are always shinier and tastier, the people more interesting. The things you find never cease to amaze you. Did I mention free taste samples galore!? I'm Sri Lankan, what can I say, we just love free food. It can be something like free pea protein and I'd still sneak in for a double taste test. Might I add that pea protein tastes surprisingly good.

I encourage all of you to find our where your local farmers market is located and head over there this weekend and just enjoy the carefree nature of a Saturday morning out. Eat, drink, shop, smell, feel, hear see. Indulge in every sensation and I'll doubt that you won't find more. :)

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The coconut tree I once took for granted

My great grand uncle's house in Jaffna was where I spent the last few years of my permanent residence in Sri Lanka. 

I loved it very much. Often, it's great yellow-creamed walls, and sandy yards filled with jasmine bushes and their lovely perfume float back into my adolescent mind now and then. It was the smell of balmy summers and  orange tinted skies. But I still can't forget the singularly magnificent, large coconut tree that stood out the front of our family home, snuggled in among the landscape of rural Jaffna
It was a king. A benevolent king whose role in life was to provide it's people (the residents of my great uncles estate), with beautiful coconuts whenever possible. 

Coconuts were an average normal part of our everyday life in Jaffna. My great grand-fathers owned coconut estates, just like many other men who lived in villages like ours all over Sri Lanka, and I was their typical coconut loving grand daughter.  Where we here in the western parts of the world enjoy an apple or two during the day (unless your like me and devour a few more than what's considered normal), those in Sri Lanka can joyfully relish the unique flavours of beautiful young coconuts all day long, either bought off the streets from vendors for a reasonable fare, or picked off their own trees by their very own hands. With home grown coconuts come a certain satisfaction in slurping down the juice of a coconut straight from your own yard. As a child, I grew off coconut juice as if it was the elixir of happiness. I slurped it down, inhaled it's sickly sweet flavour and indulged in its beautifully white flesh. We cooked with ripe coconut flakes and used it in all of our dishes - puddus, varrais and sweets and things. I used the empty shells as bowls to. We played with empty coconut shells in our front yard and used them to collect various miscellaneous things. 

But then we left Sri Lanka and it was quite some time before I tasted the subtle, sweet flavours of coconut juice again, when I went back to Sri Lanka for a holiday. I almost cried yesterday, when there, nestled in amongst ripe bananas and weird and wonderful exotic fruits, lay a bunch of beautiful, young, green coconuts whose shells shone like the beautiful memory of my great grandfather's glistening bold spot. Hehe

                  (This website has amazing photo's from all around the world, celebrating the diversity of our world; its cultures and lifestyles, people and food.)

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Tomato pomegranate salad with avocado mint dressing

Weekends are my favourites because it is literally the only chance I get to cook, or rather, throw-things- together-that-are-edible.

I'm taking a very interesting fitness/health elective an I'm absolutely loving it. We're learning so much about training techniques, the systems of our body and of course nutrition. We just recently had a lesson on food combining and I have been putting it to practise. I encourage you all to search it up because it's theory is very interesting.

The basic theory is that different kinds of food digest in different ways. The mistake we make in our everyday diet is mixing together too many different kinds of foods all in one go and they end up reacting very badly in our stomachs, which is probably why lots of us experience bloating, indigestion and all sorts of other tummy problems. I am warning you, it is not an easy feat because we are so used to eating a specific way, but lots of people do feel a whole lot better eating this way

Our assignment for this week was to go home and make something which was
1) gluten-free
2) refined sugar free
3) as healthy as can be

I went online and researched a little and went on (which is a fantastic website might I add) and was inspired by a beautiful pomegranate and tomato salad. Not all of the ingredients were on offer at my veggie market so I adapted it a little and made my own dressing. Click here for the original recipe. However, it used pomegranate molasses, which must add a whole new dimension to the salad, but unfortunately, I don't just stock up on pomegranate molasses.

Tomato pomegranate salad with avocado mint dressing
 Ingredients (salad):
200gm cherry tomatoes diced
200 gm yellow cherry tomato200 gm plum tomato
4 medium vine tomatoes1 red pepper
1 small red onion
1 cup chickpeas
2 pomegranates
1 cup
(dressing)1/2 an avocado
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil1 tsp cayenne pepper 
1 tsp ground coriander
2 medjool dates
small clove garlic
small handful mint salt
1)dice all the tomatoes, onions and red pepper 
2) chop parsley finely and add to a bowl with all the diced veggies and pomegranate along with the chickpeas 
3) in a blender add all the ingredients for the dressing and salt to your taste and blend until well combined 
4) Add salt to taste
5) serve together with dressing or with dressing on the side 

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Papaya, persimon, aavocado, capsicum and other stuff smoothie bowl!

Hey guys! Few! The last few weeks have been very hectic but I have survived. It was just one of those weeks where I wasn't listening to my body and as a result, it took revenge on me, bombarding me with headaches, fatigue, back aches, leg aches, morning sniffles and breakouts. Je ne sommes pas dans mon assiette. I hope that French reference was correct haha. But one good thing is that with all my tests and assignments handed in for now, I can relax this weekend, something I haven't been able to do in a long time.

After a very good nights sleep, I woke up feeling amazing! That pesky little head ache that hung around for the entire week had disappeared and I felt good so I decided to celebrate with a smoothie bowl.

It is a little unusual but I needed a way to use up all that exotic fruit that my mum had brought in this week. The capsicum and ginger add in just the right amount of heat for a cold morning, and the papaya and persimmon added in the colour for autumns, and the cilantro and mint added in the perfect freshness. And of course, the Pepitas, flax seeds and walnuts added in the boost of iron that my body was craving the entire week as well as a good crunch.

1 cup papaya
half a red capsicum
half and avocado
a handful of cilantro
1 persimmon
1 teaspoon ginger
3-4 leaves of mint
1 teaspoon flax seeds
1 handful pepitas

crushed walnuts
Acai Berry powder

1. Blend all the ingredients for the smoothie together
2. Pour the mixture into a bowl and top with any of your favourite toppings :)