You will know from previous posts that I love Jicama. It is widely used in Asia and South America but has quite a short season here in Australia and is at the farmers markets right now!
It passes under the guise of many names: Mexican Yam, Mexican Turnip, Yam Bean, Chinese potato, to name a few. You can also find it at your local Asian greengrocer if the local market doesn’t have it. The best ones are smooth and shiny without wrinkles with a papery light skin. You eat the root part only – beware the leaves & flowers are toxic – and it varies in size depending on species. The inside is creamy white with a crisp texture that resembles a cross between a raw potato and apple. The flavour is slightly sweet and starchy, and can be eaten raw or cooked. I like to eat it both ways as a salad or cooked vegetable dish but my favourite way is in the popular popiah, a Malaysian dish. Find my popiah recipe here.
As a root vegetable, Jícama has low carbohydrates compared to sweet potatoes or normal potatoes and is composed of 86-90% water. It is really high in vitamin C and is an excellent source of oligofructose inulin, a soluble dietary fibre. Inulin is a zero calorie sweet inert carbohydrate. It does not undergo metabolize inside the human body which make jicama an ideal sweet snack for diabetics.
Prepare it by topping and tailing the root and using a knife peel the skin away in strips. You can use a vege peeler but there is no need as it peels very easily.
This recipe is an adaption from my kale salad recipe that I do in my Paleo class. It’s a good introduction to kale as the ‘kale-i-ness’ is offset by the crunch and sweetness of the jicama. You can always substitute a zucchini and small apple for the jicama if you don’t have it. The dressing is oh-so-yummy and keeps for a good 2 weeks in the fridge. I have not added salt to the dressing recipe as the kale has quite a bit of salt in it. If you are using this dressing for another salad, you will need to add about ¼ teas salt.
INGREDIENTS (for dressing)
1 clove garlic
40g sunflower seeds
80g filtered water
Juice & rind of 1 orange
60g macadamia or olive oil
1 teas Dijon mustard
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tab nutritional yeast
pepper to taste
Mince the garlic, orange rind & seeds in the TM for 10 seconds on SP 9. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix on SP 9 for 1 minute, stopping to scrape down if required. Set aside, the dressing will thicken a little bit on standing.
INGREDIENTS (for salad)
100g chopped kale leaves, spines removed
½ teas salt
1 large jicama, peeled and julienned*
3 large radishes, julienned*
1/2 red capsicum, diced
1 orange, segmented
1 large handful mint
Without washing the TM bowl, chop kale and mint on SP 5 for 5 – 10 seconds until shredded to desired consistency. I prefer it coarser but many prefer it finer.
Add the salt and mix on SP 4 reverse for 20 seconds to bruise. Place in a bowl with the jicama, capsicum and radishes and combine with enough dressing to coat. Garnish with orange segments.
*You can roughly chop the jicama and radishes if you prefer, I like to julienne them for presentation. Grating them will cause them to release too much water and they will go soggy. You could also spiralise them too!
If you have never been to Thailand or Vietnam, you haven’t really tried a decent papaya. Many a papaya-loathing person will be converted after trying its Asian counterpart. I am one of them!
Originally from southern Mexico, there are two kinds of papayas commonly grown in Australia; “red papaya” which are sweet and fragrant and “yellow pawpaw” which are not so sweet and I find a bit turpentine-y. Either kind, picked green, is called a “green papaya”. Unfortunately, most cultivars are genetically engineered as they are susceptible to viral infections and mould spot which significantly alters the taste.
Papaya contains lots of vitamin C and pectin, and a variety of phytochemicals, including carotenoids and polyphenols. The green unripe fruit is high in papain, a protease used for tenderising meat and other proteins. Its ability to break down tough meat fibres has been used for thousands of years and is now included as a component in powdered meat tenderisers and digestive enzyme formulas.
I love eating the red ripe fruit sprinkled with a little lime juice and I have used the unripe green fruit raw in salads or cooked in curries. Whilst I have used banana flower buds in cooking I have not tried papaya flower buds which are widely used in Indonesia, stir-fried or stewed. Even though I usually discard the black seeds, I know that they are edible and have a sharp, somewhat bitter taste. You can dry them and grind them as a substitute for black pepper. If you have a tree, you can eat the young leaves, steamed like spinach.
This smoothie recipe is a treat for me. As most of my smoothies are vegetable based, I make an exception with this one as it reminds me of the refreshing ‘shakes’ you get in Thailand. It’s wonderful on a hot day and fills you up.
½ – 1 cup diced red papaya
1 teas chia seeds
1 tab protein powder
a couple of macadamias or other nuts
½ – 1 cup of water, depending on the thickness of the smoothie
dash vanilla powder
Blend on high-speed until smooth. Serve really cold on ice.
Is green juice passé? Are we done with cute cupcakes and French macarons? I always thought those little meringue discs were over-rated. Food trends ebb and flow, influenced recently by new food science. Buzz words like ‘umami’ and ‘superfood’ no longer buzz!
I wonder what new trends will start in 2016.
I hear that seaweed is going to be the new kale and smashed cucumber on bread is the new avocado on toast.
Apparently camel milk is the new coconut water; I do like coconut water, but believe it has to be drunk straight out of the coconut, I’m not sure about milk drunk straight out of the camel! Have you noticed that craft beer (and the beer cocktail) is hotter than wine? Oh, and move over cold drip coffee cocktails, I think that sticky cinnamon scrolls are going to prevail.
Perhaps wishful thinking on my part, but no… I don’t need the distraction!
On a more sober level, I have been seeing quite a bit about roasted cabbage recently so I thought I would give it a shot – and it is seriously yummy.
Poor cabbage always got a bad rap in the past, it has connotations of poverty and farting! But it is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K, and is also a good source of vitamin B6 and folate.
There is research on cabbage phytochemicals to discern if some cabbage compounds may have anti-disease effects. Such compounds include sulforaphane and glucosinolates which may stimulate the production of detoxifying enzymes during metabolism and may have protective effects against colon cancer.
In addition to its usual purpose as an edible vegetable, cabbage has been used historically as a medicinal herb for a variety of ailments. The Ancient Greeks used it as a laxative, and for liniments used to help bruises heal. Indeed as a poultice, its cooling properties can treat abscesses, soothe sore feet and relieve croup. Not to mention the old cabbage leaf in the bra trick for engorgement during breast-feeding – it worked for me! Pretty amazing really!
The ancient Romans and Egyptians recommended it for drunkenness—both preventatively to counter the effects of alcohol, and to cure hangovers. This traditional usage persisted in European literature until the mid-20th century. Well, who would have thought!?
So prepare this salad and be confident that you will be hangover free, constipation free and use any leftovers for your sore feet or boobs!! Well…. perhaps the constipation part, maybe…!
half a green cabbage
3 tabs toasted sunflower seeds
2 tabs goji berries
40g red wine vinegar
1 tab balsamic vinegar
90g olive oil
1 teas salt
a few sprigs of thyme
salt & pepper to taste
In the TM add the vinegars & olive oil, salt & thyme and blend on SP 7 for 10 seconds.
Cut the cabbage into wedges and toss on a baking tray with 3 tablespoons of salad dressing. Roast in a hot oven 200°C for 15 minutes and then turn the pieces over. Continue to bake at 180°C for another 10 minutes. Drizzle with more salad dressing to taste and garnish with the sunflower seeds and goji berries. Taste for seasoning & serve.
Are you ‘zoodle-ing’ yet? Hands up if you ‘spiralise’ ? Have I got you stumped?
Zucchini, and zucchini noodles have featured regularly in my diet for a few years now in an effort to keep up with my husbands love of pasta. Making noodles out of vegetables is a very easy way to get more vegetables, less carbs and paleofy pasta dishes without making a huge compromise. And I really love zucchini!
Just like durum spaghetti, the zucchini noodles act as a carrier for sauce, without adding a huge amount of flavour. The texture is similar, slippery and you can wind them on your fork, just like pasta! You can use any vegetable but I find zucchinis convenient because they can be served raw or lightly blanched and they are really easy to prepare.
This salad is beautiful and fresh and light and can be put together very quickly. I don’t often use peas, but I really like the burst of sweetness they give in this dish in contrast with the saltiness of the goats cheese. Of course omit the feta if you are dairy free. (I use goat feta because it sits much better with me than cows feta – plus I love the flavour.)
In a bowl, mix the zucchini, capsicum, mint and peas, then pour over the dressing to marinate for at least 10 minutes. Garnish with the feta before serving.
3 zucchinis, spiralised
½ small green capsicum, thinly sliced
½ cup green peas, fresh or frozen is fine
50g feta cheese, I love to use Merediths goat feta
handful of mint leaves, shredded
Juice of 1 lemon
40g olive oil
¼ teas salt
black pepper to taste
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 pinch garlic powder
2 teas red wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
Mix the dressing ingredients in a bowl, or whiz up in the thermomix.
I added some flaked hot smoked salmon to this salad for a more robust meal – it was sooo good; you could use canned salmon or tuna too.
*This is not a paid endorsement. For further tips on how to spiralise, see here.
Happy New Year everyone!
I hope that you had a lovely Christmas time doing exactly what you wanted, and with whom you wanted to be with. I did. And I had a restful and rejuvenating holiday to boot! Did you overindulge? Did you eat too much? Hmm…, I think that I did; not just for the festive season but for most of the year! I am so glad 2015 is over and that 2016 is here to be had!
I lagged behind everyone else in seeing “That Sugar Film” and “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead”, in fact, I only saw the latter this week. Last year, I didn’t want to know. It was a difficult year dealing with the stress of the death of a loved one and the ensuing fallout. Grief on top of illness and work caused me to retreat, become lazy and seek pancakes!
But I curiously watched “Fat, Sick & nearly Dead” and admired the precocious Australian, Joe Cross, as he travelled across America, following a juice fast to regain his health. The outcome was that he lost 50kgs and no longer needed his medications (for his auto-immune problems). Go Joe!
I have lots of opinions about the film and it’s concepts, but that’s not what this post is about. My point is that the 2010 film gave me some motivation to ‘get back on the wagon’ to feel healthier. Over the last year, sugar and starches (ie. rice, tapioca, cornmeal, buckwheat) made too big an appearance in my diet and I put on 5kgs! Knowing how much a healthy weight (or lack thereof) affects your health, I want to start 2016 fresh and vibrant and energetic and happy: in other words, get my MOJO back!!
So in the spirit of Joe Cross, I am going to ‘drink’ my breakfast and afternoon snack. I have never been one to drink my calories**. I think it edits some important aspects of the digestion process and quite frankly, I just love to eat.
I also disagree with the process of juicing, removing the important fibre that slows down the sugar absorption by your body. So when I say juice, I really mean smoothie as I do whole vegetable & fruit drinks in my Thermomix, warts and all. You can use a food processor or magic bullet if you are sans Thermomix.
Using ice will help break down the fibre and make for a smoother drink, but add enough water so that you don’t make a ‘slushy’ …. but slushies are good too!
My smoothie recipes are always vegetable heavy with very little fruit. When you stop having added sugar, you will be amazed how sweet some vegetables are. The addition of fat will help slow the sugar down too.
Green Mojo Smoothie
1 handful ice
½ cup water or nut milk
1 handful of leafy greens (I used silverbeet)
½ a peeled lemon or lime
1 knob ginger
1 teas chia seeds or linseeds
¼ apple (I use about an eighth)
1/8 avocado for fat and creaminess (or you could use coconut oil, olive oil or flaxseed oil)
1 tab protein powder
1 teas cinnamon*
Optional extras: mint, turmeric, maca or spirulina powder
Add the ingredients in the above order and blend up well until smooth, adding more water if required. Drink and adjust that halo on your head!
*I ran out of cinnamon so I used a drop of essential oil which was yummy.
**Mostly the reason why I don’t drink alcohol.
So what are you doing on Christmas day? Are you hosting a big family ‘shebang’ or perhaps visiting friends? Perhaps you are recovering from a very hectic year and hiding out with a chocolate cake and a bottle of wine! Or maybe you are braving the masses and going to a restaurant?
In years past my husband takes over the kitchen for Christmas. He goes all out with the roast turkey or roast pork, ham and all the trimmings. Depending on who is here, there may be 4 – 15 people and the only thing I am responsible for is the Christmas pudding and brandy sauce, which are always made ahead, so I get to be superfluous for the day!
More recently we have been away over Christmas, which has been lovely experiencing it in different cultures and weathers. I am reminiscing fondly about my very first white Christmas last year. This year we are going away again but travelling late on Christmas day so a big hoo-ha is out of the question. Instead, we’re having a very relaxed breakfast. I plan on cooking a big batch of pesto scrambled eggs served with fresh ham off the bone and perhaps some fruit salad and granola with coconut yoghurt. While the kids go off to their respective girl-friends’ houses later in the day, I plan on packing for our trip and maybe kicking back with a video or two with my brother, who is coming to house sit.
Inevitably scrambled eggs is not going to last us all day, so I will make an easy salad and perhaps some cheesy bread to go with it. The aim, though, is to be relaxed and stress free. I am so relaxed about it, that when I went to make mince pies yesterday, I was too lazy to roll the dough* and line pie tins, so I made a gluten-free fruit mince slice instead: it tastes just a yummy with less effort. Home-made mince is much better but picking up a jar of the bought stuff is easier if you haven’t got the time or inclination!
I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends, thank you very much for your support and good wishes throughout the year. I look forward to sharing many more culinary and healthful delights with you in 2016.
120g raw almonds
80g tapioca flour
80g coconut sugar
180g cold butter or ghee
Homemade fruit mince – about 1 cup
Mill the rice & linseeds on SP 9 for 1 minute. Add the buckwheat, almonds and sugar and mill for 30 seconds on SP 9. Add the tapioca, salt, egg & butter and mix on SP 6 until it just comes together as a dough. It will be soft and not too sticky.
Press 2/3 of the dough into a rectangular tray and prick with a fork. Bake at 165°C for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and spread a layer of fruit mince over the top. Crumble over the remaining dough and bake for a further 15 minutes until the top is lightly brown.
This is delicious served warm with ice-cream but will be quite crumbly to cut. It slices much better cold and I like to serve it with a cup of tea!
*If you are inclined to make mince pies, I would use this grain-free recipe for the pastry.
There’s no ‘eggnog’ in my marshmallow but it is the silly season and a time when, as a non-drinker, I get a taste for drink! My pudding is laden with brandy and my custard full of booze; the rum balls are rum-my and check out my fruit mince! I even had half a glass of champagne at my work Christmas party recently which means it MUST be Christmas!
Traditional eggnog is made with milk and cream, sugar, eggs and spirits such as brandy, rum or bourbon. It’s often garnished with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon or nutmeg and can be served warm or cold.
The origins and ingredients used to make eggnog drink are debated. Eggnog may have originated in England; having simply developed from posset, a medieval European beverage made with hot milk & eggs. The “nog” part of its name may stem from the word noggin, a Middle English term for a small, carved wooden mug used to serve alcohol.
My marshmallows are eggnog in flavour only! I have spiced them with dark rum and nutmeg & cinnamon. They are really just an excuse to make marshmallow, which I love – especially as a sweet treat after a huge Christmas feast. They are light and pillowy and make good use of all of the egg-whites you will have left over after making the brandy sauce. For a more traditional eggnog recipe see here.130g water 60g coconut sugar – I used half Natvia 25g gelatine 1 teas honey scraped seeds of 1 vanilla pod 30g dark rum or bourbon or whisky 1 pinch each of nutmeg & cinnamon* 2 egg whites 1/2 teas cream of tartar 30g toasted coconut with ¼ teas ground nutmeg stirred through Whip the egg-whites with the cream of tartar in a VERY CLEAN TM bowl with the butterfly in on SP 4 at 37°C for about 5 minutes. The time will depend on the eggs, size and temperature. They should be light & fluffy. Set the egg-whites aside but don’t worry about cleaning the bowl. Add the water, sugar, vanilla, gelatine, honey, rum and spices to the TM bowl and heat to 80°C, SP 2 for 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Fold the syrup into the egg-whites until well combined, trying to keep as much volume as possible. This can also be done in a stand mixer too. Pour into a (baking paper) lined square tray and refrigerate until set. Cut into cubes with a wet knife and roll in spiced coconut to serve. Store in a airtight container in the fridge. * or better still, 1 drop each of food grade nutmeg essential oil and cinnamon essential oil