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* Super Foodie Live *

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The Yoga Barn 2

Savasana View at The Yoga Barn, Ubud, Bali (September, 2015)

The New year heralds a fresh start, a new perspective, a switch, a transformation. For Super Foodie, it means a new domain – superfoodie.live – and the drive to connect more. Connect with the Super Foodie community, with loved ones, myself, my aspirations, the world, lightness, brightness and life itself.

Super Foodie (Adventure) has been around for four years now and has been ticking along in the background; however, it required a refresh to better reflect my lifestyle. The name of the new domain is significant as it reminds me and hopefully you as well to live, to be alive, be energetic, resilient, alert, conscious, present, to live in the now, to be aligned with light. There is no space for ego, negativity, darkness and certainly not for people who don’t make you feel good.

Super Foodie will continue to bring you snippets of the best and brightest super foods and recipes from near and afar, cool places to visit, rad things to do etc. but in a more consistent and enlightening fashion.

So here’s to 2016 and being a more alive and connected you and me, embracing the now and remembering that life is limitless, so dream big.

“Whatever you do or dream you can do – begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it”. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

* Beetroot and Pumpkin Dahl with Smashed Avocado and Coriander *

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We’ve just returned home to Dunedin from an incredibly inspiring three month adventure in Europe, gratefully avoiding the bitter winter in New Zealand.  Apart from a few blustery days in Norway and England, we were basking in the warm European summer the entire time. Now that we’re home I’m acclimatising, as even though it’s officially spring, the warm weather doesn’t usually kick in until later in the summer – occasionally not until autumn. What I’ve been craving upon returning is a warming dahl to heat me from the inside out and provide a rejuvenating boost of nutrients which my body demands after living the good life in Europe.

I’m a big fan of beetroot and its incredible health benefits and antioxidant properties, which you can read about in my recipe for Beetroot, Feta and Mint Salad with Orange and Tahini Dressing. Another super food wunderkind is pumpkin, a highly nutritious vegetable that lends itself perfectly to a hearty dahl. Pumpkin is a low-calorie staple which is both filling and high in dietary fibre, which assists in lowering bad LDL cholesterol levels. Pumpkin’s bright orange colour is from its high concentration of carotenoids, which repel free radicals in the body and help prevent cardiovascular disease and other infections. Pumpkin is a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C, both of which boost the immune system, perfect for the inconsistent weather. It’s also a natural diuretic, which flushes out toxins and waste material from the body, leaving you spring-cleaned and detoxified.

This recipe was created completely by chance as I had to use up some of the tired looking veggies I’d all but abandoned at the bottom of the fridge. The beetroot gives the traditional pumpkin dahl recipe a beautiful depth of flavour and the ruby red colour is pure delight. The avocado also adds a rich creaminess which satisfies on a cosy night in. Thankfully beetroot and pumpkin are still in season, so make the most of it while it lasts. Serve the dahl with brown rice, quinoa or with soldiers (fingers of toast) drizzled with olive oil.

Beetroot and Pumpkin Dahl with Smashed Avocado and Coriander

1 1/2 cups of brown lentils, rinsed well

A large onion

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

Olive oil, plus extra for the smashed avocado

A large knob of ginger (3 cm), finely grated

2 teaspoons of cumin seeds

2 teaspoons of coriander seeds

2 teaspoons of mustard seeds

A teaspoon of tumeric, ground

A teaspoon of cinnamon

700 grams of pumpkin, chopped into small pieces

3 large beetroot, thoroughly washed and chopped into small pieces

6 cups of water (1.5 litres)

2 organic vegetarian bouillon cubes

Himalayan rock salt and ground white pepper to taste

A large avocado

A bunch of coriander (cilantro), rustically chopped

In a saucepan, cook the lentils in water until tender. In another large saucepan, heat the olive oil to a medium temperature. Add the diced onion and cook until translucent. Add the crushed garlic and cook for another minute. Lightly ground the spices in a mortar and pestle and add to the saucepan and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently. Add the pumpkin and beetroot and sauté for a minute or so. Add the water, bouillon cubes, salt and pepper and stir well. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for about 40-50 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked and the flavors have developed. Puree with a stick blender, then add the lentils and cook for a further 5 minutes.

In a mortar and pestle or bowl, smash the avocado flesh, olive oil and coriander until a smooth consistency is reached. Arrange a good portion of dahl in a bowl with the chosen accompaniment. Place a spoonful of the smashed avocado with coriander on top of the dahl and garnish with more chopped coriander. Enjoy the warmth whilst dreaming of the forthcoming summer sun.

Serves a hungry crowd

* Kale and Chard with Avocado *

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Now this may look like a rather humble dish, but I assure you it is anything but.  I’m all about making vegetables the star of a meal and this dish truly showcases kale and chard as the main event, with avocado contributing a rich serving of nature’s butter. A way that I like to enjoy this dish is on toast with a generous serving of beetroot hummus, which makes a simple, nutritious dinner for busy people.  Add a poached egg on top for extra sustenance.

Kale is a stellar vegetable that is part of the brassica family (which also includes broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts).  It rates highly in the area of carotenoids and flavonoids, the antioxidants which protect cells from free radicals.  Kale is high in fibre, with one cup providing 20% of the recommended daily dose and also contains a high quantity of vitamin C, vitamin A and manganese.  Kale also has the ability to lower levels of cholesterol and through the steaming process, this is further enhanced.  The fibre components in kale work more effectively binding together with bile acids in the digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. As a result of the binding process, it is easier for bile acids to be excreted and viola! your cholesterol levels are lowered.

In Dunedin you can buy kale at the Saturday Farmers Market and is currently in season, as is chard and avocado.  Or if you are extra-amazing, grab some from your garden that you prepared earlier and get chopping.

Kale and Chard with Avocado

A big bunch of kale (any kind you wish – green, curly, purple, Russian)

An even bigger bunch of chard (also known as silver beet or Swiss chard)

Half an avocado, diced

A generous sprinkle of Himalayan rock salt

A dash of pepper

Juice of half a lemon

Heat a pan to a moderate temperature.  Wash kale and chard thoroughly, remove stalks and cut in a rustic fashion.  Once pan is heated, add the kale and chard and put the lid on.  Steam for a couple of minutes until wilted.  Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Transfer to a serving bowl and add diced avocado. Enjoy own its own or as an accompaniment to fish or meat.

* Beetroot Hummus with Thyme and Honey Roasted Carrots and Broccoli *

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I just have to look at this dish and I feel energised.  Beetroot hummus, thyme and honey roasted carrots and broccoli florets make a delightfully colourful appetiser to entertain a crowd and ensure that your loved ones get an antioxidant hit.  Hummus is such a practical, nutritious food which originated in the Middle East and has spread far and wide.  In the last 8 years or so, the hummus market has exploded in New Zealand, with many new players and numerous variations of this humble dip.  However, why pay so much for a super cheap food that you can make so easily at home?  And what about those little plastic containers which have to be shipped off to China to supposedly be recycled?  Not to mention all of the additives, preservatives and whateverives which are present in the store-bought varieties.  Take control of your diet, grab a food processor and get stuck in.

You can play with this recipe as you like.  If you want to reduce the oil content, or omit it altogether, add an equal quantity of water.  Or if you have a juicer, juice a beet or two, add it to the mix and watch the colour brighten. I am a firm believer in adding good quality fats to your diet where possible and there are some über-healthy fats in this dish to make your skin glow and hair glisten.  Olive oil, sesame oil and tahini provide a wonderful combination of vitamins E and A, calcium and carotenoids, which protect your cells from the damaging effects of free radicals and enhance the functioning of your immune system.  Broccoli, carrots and beetroot also provide a hearty dose of folate, vitamins A, K and B6, as well as ample dietary fiber to aid digestion and ensure optimum health and vitality.

The beautifully designed ceramics featured in the photo are available from Whiteroom – Dunedin’s design destination.

Beetroot Hummus

3-4 beetroots, cubed

A tablespoon of sesame oil

A sprinkle of Himalayan rock salt

A sprinkle of pepper

A cup of chickpeas, cooked and cooled (or from a can, rinsed well)

3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped

3 tablespoons of tahini

1/4 of a cup of extra-virgin olive oil

A teaspoon of cumin

The juice of a lemon

The juice of 1-2 beetroots or cold water

Preheat oven to 190ºC. Place the cubed beetroot, himalayan rock salt, pepper and sesame oil in a roasting dish and bake for 40 minutes until cooked.  Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and whiz.  Extra oil, water or beetroot juice may be added to obtain the desired consistency.

Thyme and Honey Roasted Carrots and Broccoli

3-4 large carrots, sliced diagonally

A tablespoon of honey

A tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil

The juice of half a lemon

A few sprigs of thyme, stems removed

A sprinkle of Himalayan rock salt and pepper

Place carrots in a separate roasting dish.  Add the honey, olive oil, thyme, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Roast carrots for about 4o minutes until nicely cooked. Blanch a head of broccoli which has been chopped into florets.  Arrange beetroot hummus, thyme and honey roasted carrots and broccoli on a platter and serve.

* Tomato, Bacon and Sage Soup *

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Oh my gilly gosh, you have never tasted soup this good.  This recipe was created by my Beau, who felt we needed something seriously nutritious on a Sunday afternoon following a rather social weekend – and the result was delicious.  The combination of flavours is perfect and the bacon gives the soup substance and heartiness.  In our home we tend to roast a free-range chicken once a week and create a stock from the leftover bits and bobs, which is used as the base for this soup.  I’ll also warn you now – this soup is seriously moreish so there is a high chance of a few spats over the last spoonful – and watch out for the cunning tactics of your fellow clan attempting to distract you from the pot’s contents for an extra morsel.  On the rare occasion that there are any leftovers,  a cannellini bean or lentil stew may be created, which I’ll write the recipe for another day.  Don’t be put off by the complexity of this recipe, the finished product will be truly be worth it’s weight in tomatoey gold.

Did you know that cooked tomatoes are better for you than raw ones?  Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, the phytochemical that makes them red and which also has significant antioxidant properties.   Research has shown that through the cooking process, tomatoes boost their antioxidant properties even more as the level of phytochemicals increases  The higher level of lycopene is good news as it devours at least 10 times more oxygenated free radicals than vitamin E.  And as the weather in Dunedin turns from balmy Indian summer to freezing overnight, we need all the warming goodness we can get.

2 cans of whole-peeled tomatoes

A can of tomato paste

6 bay leaves

8 fresh sage leaves

2 finely diced onions

2 tablespoons of olive oil

4 cups of chicken stock

3 – 4 rashers of free-range shoulder bacon, fat trimmed off and cut into strips

2 teaspoons of Worcester sauce

7 cloves of garlic, diced

2 -3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 a cup of white wine

A  teaspoon of white pepper to taste

A tablespoon of honey

Parsley for garnishing

In a saucepan, heat two cans of whole-peeled tomatoes and a can of tomato paste on a low simmer and add 6 bay leaves to the pot.  In a frying pan, saute onions at a high temperature until they start to sweat and add finely chopped sage leaves.  Add two cups of stock gradually and simmer until the onions are translucent.  Add the onions to the pot tomatoes.  Place frying pan back on the heat and add the other tablespoon of olive oil.  Once the oil is hot, add the bacon and two teaspoons of Worcester sauce and saute. When the bacon is getting nicely browned, add the garlic and fry for a minute.  Add half a cup of white wine to deglaze the pan.  Once the wine has been absorbed, add the last 2 cups of stock and simmer for a couple of minutes, then mix into the pot of tomatoes and simmer gently.  Add the Parmesan cheese, white pepper and honey, then, after a couple of minutes on the stove, give it a mash and allow to simmer for 5 to 10mins.  Garnish with parsley and serve.

* Banana and Coconut Pancakes with Roasted Stone Fruit and Coconut Yoghurt *

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If you’ve ever had the luxury of eating banana pancakes in Thailand, you’ll know just how delectable they are.  These are a take on the pancakes I chose off the restaurant menus in Thailand time and time again.  Light, fluffy and seriously moreish, they are sure to get you in the good books with whoever put you on the naughty chair (errm, sorry about that, honey).  This recipe is perfect if you have a crowd to feed, as the pancakes keep well in a warm oven in between a couple of paper towels whilst you finish off rest of the batch.  The combination of the pancakes with the roasted stone fruit and coconut yoghurt is such a winner that this is sure to become a Sunday morning staple.

Coconut has received a great deal of press recently. as it is often hailed as a superfood but also has a high content of saturated fat, which is linked to heart disease.   However, coconut  also contains lauric acid, which is a super foodie star.  Lauric acid may help raise good cholesterol levels and is antimicrobial, which supports the immune system.  Coconut also contains vitamin C  and potassium, which coupled with potassium-rich bananas in this recipe, is sure to pack a punch. My advice is to enjoy the benefits of coconut in moderation and head out for an afternoon stroll with your honey to further cement your place in their Good Books.

Pancakes

3 free-range eggs

3 bananas

1/3 of a cup of coconut milk (reserve the cream at the top of the can for the accompanying yoghurt)

2 tablespoons of oat bran

1/3 of a cup of wholemeal flour

3 tablespoons of coconut flakes plus a handful for toasting

A teaspoon of baking soda

A teaspoon of cinnamon

A teaspoon of vanilla paste, a vanilla pod or 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla extract

Coconut oil for cooking

Measure the dry ingredients into a bowl, mix together and form a well in the centre.   Mash the bananas and put aside.  Beat the eggs until nice and fluffy and add the coconut milk and vanilla.  Add the bananas and then place all the wet ingredients in the well and mix until combined.  Heat a small amount of coconut oil in a pan and spoon the batter into the pan.  N.b. these pancakes tend to flip better if they are smaller, usually 3 in the pan at once works a treat.  Cook until the upper side is covered with bubbles.  Turn the pancakes and cook the other side until golden brown.  Place on a plate in between two paper towels and rest in a warm oven.  Repeat with the rest of the batter until you have a mound of delicious pancakes.

 

Roasted Stone Fruit

3 – 4 nectarines

3 – 4 plums

A tablespoon of apple syrup, agave or pure maple syrup

1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla paste or vanilla essence

The zest of a lemon

Heat the oven to 180°C.  Cut the stone fruit into halves or quarters depending on size and place in an oven dish.  Mix the syrup/agave with the vanilla and lemon zest and drizzle over the fruit.  Bake in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes until perfectly roasted.

 

Coconut Yoghurt

A cup of yoghurt

A tablespoon of honey, melted

Coconut cream from the top of the can of coconut milk

Mix all of the ingredients together and put in small ramekins.

 

To serve:  Stack the pancakes on a plate, add a good serve of roasted fruit and arrange the ramekin of coconut yoghurt so that it looks pretty.  Garnish with toasted coconut flakes and a fresh sprig of mint from the garden.  Drizzle apple syrup or maple syrup over pancakes and devour.

Serves 2, with leftovers for snacking on later (if you’re lucky).

 

* Chocolate Spice Bliss Balls *

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Bliss balls are convenient wee gems of chocolaty goodness, perfect for any time of the day (or night).  When I have them in the house, I may have one (or three) for breakfast with fruit, when I’m craving a sweetie treatie or needing some energy before I hit the gym.  They are super easy to make,  keep well and can be frozen and then eaten straight from the freezer.  I’ve adapted this recipe from a traditional bliss ball recipe I was given years ago to make them healthier and even yummier, with the addition of a dash of spice and the hint of orange.

These delightful chocolate spice bliss balls are vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free and jam packed full of energy.  They also have a high cocoa content – which means you get the chocolaty hit and numerous health benefits.  Cocoa is doing great things out there in the big, wide world – it has a large component of flavonoids , which are an effective antioxidant.  These flavonoids are known to  decrease blood pressure, improve blood vessel health and reduce cholesterol levels. Cocoa also has an uplifting effect on mood due to its content of phenylethylamine, which has a mood elevating effect somewhat akin to amphetamine-type substances. And my, doesn’t it feel good to be doing good.

Put the following dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside:

½ a cup of cocoa powder

1/2 a cup of sesame seeds

1/2 a cup of nuts of your choice (I used walnuts)

1 cup of  coconut, thread, chips or dessicated

In a saucepan, bring the wet ingredients to the boil, stirring constantly.  Continue to boil for a few minutes.

1 cup of chopped, pitted dates

1 cup of smooth or crunchy peanut butter

4 tablespoons of honey, agave or rice malt

1/4 of cup of  water

The zest of a whole orange

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 a teaspoon of mixed spice

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.  Form into balls as big or small as you like.  Roll in coconut, cocoa powder. sesame seeds or leave plain.

Put in the fridge on a baking paper-lined tray and allow to rest.  Enjoy any time  for a chocolaty energy hit, sans guilt and a sickly belly.