Thursday, November 3, 2011

Purple Broccoli...or Cauliflower that has had some sun?

We had a dilemma in the garden last month with the growing of our brassicas...
I remembered planting purple broccoli (which we had a disaster with last year) and I know that if cauliflower sees too much sun it turns purple, so when it came time to pick and eat these glorious purple creations, we weren't sure which they were!
Needless to say it is easy to tell...the cauliflower, which actually didn't look like a trditional cauliflower either, just to make it trickier, has a slightly 'grainier' texture when cooked and also losese its bright purple glow and turns a pale greenish white. The purple broccoli holds its colour more and acts like broccolini.
They were both absolutely delicious and I have decided that if we are lucky enough to grow them next year, I will be calling them regal caulibroc!

Dancing for Birth™ - I wish I knew about it while pregnant!

Guest Blog - Hela Donela

Unbooked recently added a new vendor to their pages: Aya Bellydance that offers prenatal bellydance lessons. My interest was roused and I wanted to know more. I had heard of bellydance, of course, but not of prenatal or postnatal bellydance."I wish I knew about this while pregnant", I was thinking. I simply HAD to learn more,( who knows there might be bubs #3.... )

Aya from Aya Bellydance explained to me: "Dancing for Birth™ Classes incorporate dance moves from around the world (African, Belly dance, Latin, Caribbean) that best prepare the expectant mother to give birth. 

You’ll become stronger, more agile, feel more at ease in your body and feel prepared mentally and emotionally to embrace your unique birth experience. 

During the class you will also be learning valuable childbirth preparation skills and natural pain coping techniques that will build your confidence in your own birthing ability and wisdom."

Apparently babies whose mothers take Dancing For Birth™ prenatal and postpartum dance classes love the motion of dancing and are easily soothed after birth by being held while dancing. 

Aya adds another benefit: "You will also regain your pre-pregnancy shape and tone more quickly when you continue Dancing For Birth™classes with your baby after their birth."

Doing more search on the internet, listed the following benefits of bellydance during pregnancy:

Strengthening pelvic and deep abdominal muscles and all those muscles specifically used for giving birth, thus facilitating the process of delivering and of recovery.

  • Relaxing the body. 
  • Improving self esteem.
  • Promote good posture.
  • Help maintain general fitness.
  • Help maintain a god sense of balance.
  • Relieve back ache.
  • Promote socialisation, if performed in classes.
Some people call it bellydance for birth, others dance of the womb, or as Aya calls it 
Dancing For Birth™
Whatever the name just watching the women dance makes you move and feel like joining in.





Monday, October 3, 2011

Organic Wholefoods are the KEY

Organic wholefoods , locally sourced where possible and in season are the KEY to amazing vitality.

Plus One Mums and Plus One Wellbeings top choices for amazing energy are listed here.

Cook and prepare with love and share with those you want to nuture, and who nuture you.

Choose a variety of vegetables.

Choose seasonal fruits.  Berries are amazing with their lower sugar content.

Nuts and Seeds

Fresh lean meats and seafoods

Eating foods we know are not good for us is a form of self abuse on varying levels. So paring things back to support local produce and local industry is the smartest way to go. For yourself , your  body and for the environment.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tis the season for spring cleanin'

So whilst you are thinking about throwing out old clunky dusty old furniture and clothes, take a think about how you are going to clean up your insides after the long cold winter…  Months of hearty meaty stews, pastas, wine, hot chocolates, bread and cheese have probably cluttered up your inners, and even increased your own internal storage systems (if you know what I mean…).  While in winter you can cover it all up and pretend all is still clean, healthy and svelte underneath the layers, all it takes is the first warm weekend for the blinkers to get ripped off and realization to kick in.

Now, you can’t guzzle soap and shampoo, detergent and bleach to expect to get the same clean feeling on the outside that you want on the inside… So how?  Well, there are a number of cleansing programs and products available at the moment, try just water fasting which is a fairly extreme way to let you body do its own cleaning.  You can try surviving on lemon juice/syrup concoctions  or you can try to do a juice cleanse.  There are definitely pros and cons to each type of cleansing you do, but there are more nourishing ways than others too.

A juice cleanse is method of cleansing that not only uses the body’s own toxin removal system, but is able to enhance the process through the natural properties of good organic produce.  Fruits and vegetables should be part of everyone’s daily diet, and not just once a day, at least twice a day! And juicing is a fabulous way to get huge doses of those naturally occurring infection, cancer fighting antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.  Just think – your lunch salad has maybe 1 carrot, half a cucumber, handful of baby spinach, 2 tomatoes, some fresh herbs, ¼ capsicum and a sprinkle of seeds.  But juice all this up and get around 300mls of juice which is just over a cup.  That might feel like a snack, but probably won’t feel like a meal.  BUT double those amounts and you get a hearty satisfying juice, THEN do that for at least 5 times a day – WOAH – your body will be so dosed up on fresh raw goodness that it won’t know what is happening!

Now, those with a bent for thinking about the logistics of HOW, will be thinking to themselves, but that is a lot of fruit and veg I have to buy, then store in the fridge, then juice, and then….clean and wash up.  And you would be right!  It can be a mission.  There are certainly people out there that can help you, well, do it all for you and deliver you a fresh little esky each morning for your cleanse.  But it also something you can do yourself.  Here are some recipes you can try yourself at home.  Dust off the juicer, get the markets/grocery store and get stocked up!

Green Juice

1 cucumber

2 apples

1 pear

1 bunch kale

1 lemon

Orange Juice

3 carrots

1 orange

3 sticks celery

1 cucumber

Pink Juice

½ beetroot

2 carrots

2 apples

1 lemon

Small piece of ginger

Try these yourself at home – they are delicious, nourishing and packed full of rich antioxidant goodness to get your insides spring sparkling!  If this does seem like too much, check out Schkinny Maninny in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.  They can juice up and deliver for your juice cleanse, book online at or on 1300 021 601.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Is it time to Spring Clean your Fitness?

Is it time to Spring Clean Your Fitness?
by Sally Symonds, Healthy Life Mentor and author of  “50 Steps to Lose 50kg . . . And Keep It Off” & “50+ Recipes to Lose 50+kg . . . And Keep It Off”

I change personal trainers almost as often as I change shoes – well not quite . . . but you get the idea. 
Don’t get me wrong, “I’m not fussy,” but as a qualified PT myself, I do like to ensure that my money is well spent. 
I’ve had three great long-term trainers – one became a musician, one became a fencer, and one moved to a gym too far away for me to go regularly. 
Admittedly, 95% of the time I actually only use a PT to hold the pads for me while I box.  But most people use their PTs for much more, which I why I am constantly surprised by people who see the same PT year in and year out, despite getting very little changes or results. 

If our cleaning lady doesn’t clean properly, we find someone else. 
If our drycleaner doesn’t clean our clothes properly, we go somewhere else. 
If we are unhappy with the hairstyle inflicted upon us at the hairdresser, we change stylists. 
Why are we so reluctant to change our personal trainers if we aren’t getting the results we want?

Perhaps part of the reason is the bond we build with them. 
For many people, their PTs have replaced their hairdresser as their confidante [or gossip buddy?].Perhaps we're scared they'll share all our secrets . . . perhaps they already do?

In the fitness industry, like any other, there are good practitioners and not so good ones.  

However, there are at least 25 000 personal trainers in Australia at the moment, as well as countless other online exercise and wellness coaching programs. 

My advice is: don’t be afraid to leave if you aren’t getting what you want or need.  It’s your money and your time and your body. 

If you aren’t happy, don’t quit altogether – just quit that particular PT and try someone else. 

Sure, it can be a tad awkward if you end up going to someone else at the same gym, but awkwardness fades – wasting your time and money doesn’t. 

For more information on weight loss and healthy living visit

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Yellow Belly and Murray River Cod Sashimi

This is perhaps the most delicious feast we have enjoyed at home EVER!

Home made nigiri and sashimi from yellow belly and cod caught that day from the beautiful Narran river.

There is very little to say other than it was 8pm when I got home and by 840pm we were feasting on this spread!

My nigiri forming skills could use a little work, but it still tasted amazing!

We have eaten some pretty spectacular Japanese in some great places in Sydney and Melbourne and I can tell you, that this definately compares...if not beats!

YUM, my mouth is watering just looking at it again!
An Aussie inspired Japanese FEAST!
Yellow Belly and Murray River Cod sashimi, nigiri and served with rocked (which we then drizzled boiling sesame oil over!)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Wilful Tastelessness

Willful Tastelessness

 Guest Blog by Sally Symonds, Healthy Life Mentor and author of  “50 Steps to Lose 50kg . . . And Keep It Off” & “50+ Recipes to Lose 50kg . . . And Keep It Off”
I’ve just finished reading Margaret Heffernan’s new book, Willful Blindess: why we ignore the obvious at our peril.  Although Heffernan doesn’t consider food at all, it did make me think about willful tastlessness – how society continues to eat food which both tastes bad, and is bad for you, without really confronting the issue.  It’s true that studies have shown that sugar is more addictive than cocaine[1] so certainly part of this phenomenon is chemical, rather than merely logical or emotional.  However, logic and emotion can’t be discounted entirely.  One of the hallmarks of most great chefs is fresh ingredients, not preservatives.  While most chefs agree that fat is flavour, and sugar comes a close second, it’s still so easy to taste the difference between fresh flavours and cardboard cut out dinners.  Or it was.  Now, many people are so used to eating “rotmuck” (as my mum would say) that they’ve lost all sense of what real food tastes like.  Certainly in our busy lifestyles we need to have some fast food options (whether from the food court or our freezer or pantry) on hand, but they still should be real food – not pseudo-imitations of food – and taste accordingly. Willful tastelessness, just like willful blindness, becomes a habit. 
However, the longer we ignore the issues underlying the habit, the worse they become, as anyone who has been on the dieting merry-go-round, getting bigger year after year, most certainly knows.

For more information on weight loss and healthy living visit

[1] Lenoir M, Serre F, Cantin L, Ahmed SH, 2007 Intense Sweetness Surpasses Cocaine Reward. PLoS ONE 2(8): e698. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000698

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Why do we expect so much of ourselves?

Guest Blog by Meg Campbell

I ponder this question often as I know that my expectations of myself do not always serve me. I continue to be surprised at what I try to achieve on any given day. Even as I become more and more aware of my needs and how important it is to nurture myself, I still allow myself to be stretched with commitments. I think women these days put tremendous pressure on themselves to do 'everything'-have a career; keep house; be a caring , loving mother/wife/partner/daughter etc; maintain significant friendships......the list goes on.

Recently I headed away on a family holiday-the last as a family of three! I'm 30 weeks pregnant now and had been looking forward to this break for months. Rather than slow down and prepare myself for our trip, I jammed in as much as I could before our departure. As a result, I found myself sick 2 days before we were due to leave and for the first 4 days of our time away.  The ironic thing is that I always advise people to slow down prior to their holiday to avoid falling in a big heap when they actually stop!

This experience was so disappointing but yet another reminder that I need to honour and respect myself always; I will continue to focus on balance in my life, daily movement and quality nutrition and try not to overcommit myself as I often do. It’s true what they say, “If you don’t have your health, you have nothing”!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Asian Greens

I went away for a week last week and when I got home- the veg patch had gone crazy! The tiny broccolli is now ready to pick, the cabbages are getting hearts, beetroots are finally taking hold and the mulberry tree is abundant with fruit and foliage!!!
The Asian greens were the most prolific though. We had been harvesting the odd leaves from our bok choy for stir fries - but I had to hack into the others to let in some light for the other plants around them!
I picked: Malaysian Lettuce (Armaranth), Chinese broccoli, a whole Bok Choy, Mizuna and another stringy green I can't remember the name of. These are particularly easy to grow and they don't take a lot of care. They would be fab in pots andmake a beautiful looking (not to mention tasting) border in a flower garden! We have even given Bok Choy as thank you gifts instead of flowers!
Along with a big handful of deliciously sweet sno peas, a huge bunch of coriander, a couple of kaffir lime leaves, chilli and lemongrass - and a meal is made!
Asian Green YUM

All I did then was simmer a can of coconut milk (Ayam brand is the ONLY one I will use as it has not additives at all) with some water, the kaffir lime leave, split chilli, lemongrass, coriander root, palm sugar and fish sauce, until it was delicious tasting and had good flavour. I had some broccoli and zucchini in the fridge which I added next, until they were just tender.
I then added the greens and snow peas until they wilted, but still had some crunch (the peas).
To serve I topped with mountains of coriander, shredded Kaffir Lime leaf and chilli and some tofu which I had lightly fried in some olive oil.

Quick, healthy, freshly picked and delicious!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mushie reflections

I have been searching through my photos from last seasons harvest and realising two things a) how slack I have been on blogging and b) how gorgeous our garden is and how much I can't wait until spring is here with all her abundance!

In the meantime, whilst our crop is growing nicely (which it is by the way, we have new broccolis and cabbage forming, rocket and snow peas going well and tasting great, our artichokes are going to be out of this world and the herbs are all adding fantastic flavour!), I thought I would hit you with a recipe from our wild harvest selection - mushrooms!

My husband found these after rain earlier this year, in abundance and perfect! Often you struggle to beat the bugs to wild mushrooms, resulting in disappointment,or gritty mushies; we lucked in this time!

There was then the decision about what to do with the abundance - we of course enjoyed a few days worth of meals from these!

I did a wonderful mushroom risotto, simply with garlic, onion, vegetable stock, white wine and the musrooms - it was delicious and topped with parsley and a bit of parmasan..perfect!

I also did a gorgeous stuffed mushroom with home made ricotta, tomatoes and basil, served with one of our first golden nugget pumpkins (simply baked), this was a creamy, mushroomy treat!
Not to mention...FREE! (the featured corn and zucchini are also out of the garden)!

Even though we don't live in Utopia as far as fresh produce is concerned, we still glean a lot from our wild larder...mushrooms are a rare treat, but recently we have also enjoyed a wild duck camp oven, yellow belly and murray river cod sashimi and sushi and popcorn yabbies....BLISS!
Stay tuned for the brag!

Plant, Harvest, Cook, Enjoy ;)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Veggie Patch Pesto

Welcome to Autumn!
Well it has been a while since I have posted, mainly because the garden has not provided much eating as we have been in getting it ready for the autumn planting.
We are running about a month behind of schedule, but we do have our snow peas just starting to fruit and some beetroot growing well.
We harvested kilos of pumpkin, so they have kept us in soups and risottos for a while and we harvested lots of okra, which was a first for us this year, but we got them too late and some of them were a bit woody! We did enjoy a few coated in besan flour and deep fried as a nice nibble before a delicious Indian curry!
We have an abundance of rocket at the moment, so last night I thought I would make a pesto to go with some gluten free spaghetti as an easy and quick meal!
I always have a spare bag of nuts in the cupboard, in this case they were walnuts, so that is what I used.
We also still have some basil hanging in there, so I picked a good handful of leaves to toss in as well.
A squeeze of lemon juice, the bag of nuts and a very, very generous handful of rocket and basil leaves was blitzed very well with enough oil to loosen it, I also added a few shavings of Parmesan cheese and sprinkle of salt and pepper.
I thought it wasn't nutrient dense enough, so I added a few florets of broccoli and cauliflower and blitzed them too with the juice of one lemon! I thought this would also be a great way to get kids eating extra veggies without knowing!
Tossed through hot pasta and topped with some extra Parmesan cheese, the pesto was really delicious with a glass of great preservative free red!
Perfect next to the roaring log fire...I do love Autumn!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ricotta and joyful flowers

We have zucchini and pumpkin plants growing and producing like crazy in the garden which is bringing in the bees, it is divine to hear the sound they make!

However, because of the flood water all around us the mozzies are ferocious and are making gardening almost impossible - you have to rug up so much that you nearly die of heat, there has been some picking going on, but not much else I have to admit!

But, back to the flowers!
I adore stuffed zucchini flowers, but they are so fiddly so I don't do them very often, but I got the urge and a little time up my sleeve on Saturday so thought I would whip up a batch!
Make sure you only pick the MALE flowers, or you will not end up with any fruit!

First I made the ricotta -
Ricotta is SO easy and is a million times better than the store bought stuff (unless you can get to a good which case this stuff is heaps less expensive and just as good) - I will NEVER buy it again!
1 litre UHT milk brought about 90 degrees (just before boiling) and add 50ml lemon juice (or vinegar) and remove from heat. Let it rest for about 10-20 minutes so the milk curdles and strain through a lined sieve. Leave for 30-40 minutes before refrigerating in a container. You can add a tbs of salt and mix through, but I prefer to add this later when I use it for cooking/eating!
I just use clean CHUX to line the sieve!

Ensure that all the bugs etc are gone from the flower and give a good dusting (I don't wash them as it destroys the flower usually).
Mix together ricotta (amount will depend on how many flowers you have, but allow approx 1-2tbs per flower), pinch of salt and pepper, zest of a lemon, squeeze of lemon juice and fresh chopped herbs (I used basil but you could use anything that was fresh and handy and is your favorite!).
Stuff the zucchini flowers with the mixture (be very careful and very patient!)
The little stuffed gems, ready for their next preparation!
I like to coat the stuffed flowers with a light tempura...I am afraid I am not very good on measurements with this, I just go by feel and eye...
Approx 100g flour with one egg and enough ice cold water to make a thickish batter (thick enough that it really coats a spoon). IT is important for the water to be cold...not sure why?
Don't get all the lumps out, it adds to the crunch later on.

Coat the flowers and fry (shallow is fine).

Sprinkle with a little sea salt and SERVE HOT!!!
Sorry for sideways shot...but you get the picture! Encased
in light crispy batter, soft and zingy inside..Zucchini flowers are delicious!