Monthly Archives

June 2014

Flourless Chocolate Pots

June 28, 2014

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Morning, friends. I wrote this blog post earlier this week when I was feeling a little sentimental, loved up on chocolate and…love. Which is the same thing, really. Anyway, here it is. We’re talking darling chocolate pots. It’s a good day.

…..

I’m sitting here on a wintry Monday afternoon, cup of tea to my left and my husband to my right. With two perky, open laptops we’re sitting at the kitchen table, a shared blanket on our laps and wrists on the keyboard, fingers dancing on w, o, r, k as we work. I spent the morning on tasks for my private practice business before making us roasted parsnip and boiled egg salads for lunch. Then I vacuumed the house and am now sitting down to blog a little. It’s almost time for a snack as I’ select which photographs I want to include in this post for flourless chocolate pot. So naturally I feel our snack should involve chocolate…we’ll see. The National is playing through my earphones (my farm friend Tim got me onto them and I am obsessed) while Ben is speaking to schools and doing his thing.

I love these photos. Beyond the obvious warm from the oven gooey chocolate cake factor, they make me happy because it’s me and you. I made these on a Saturday spent at home with just us two. We needed that day, nothing on our agenda besides doing our most favourite things together. Just us. For breakfast I made us spelt diner pancakes and we affirmed these as our most favourite variety yet. Then there was a roasted carrot salad, which I will be sharing here shortly, and a vindaloo simmering away (which I will also be sharing here shortly). My goodness, that vindaloo was good.

In the afternoon I read this book mum picked up from the op shop (which reads so easily and feels like a trashy magazine but a little educational at the same time as I have babies on my brain (though this is not a pregnancy announcement) and a love for all things Oliver) while you watched X Men on your computer. I’m happy you got to be a couch potato, you needed a break. Plus I made you run in the morning and you’re still telling me your “glutimous maximus” hurts, so it must have been a good one (or perhaps just long overdue).

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My natural hair colour is coming through after years of dying. You say you like it and I like that. These days I’d rather buy the good chocolate than visit the hair dresser. In fact, before making pancakes you cut two inches off. When I decide I want to do something I want it done straight away! That Saturday I wanted a haircut. Thanks for letting me bully you into taking the scissors to my locks and paying you in pancakes. And for taking these photographs of my flourless chocolate pots. I rewarded you with gooey cocoa pudding taken from the oven a minute too soon because that’s how you like them best. We make a good team, you and I. Let’s hang out again soon, just the two of us.

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Flourless Chocolate Pots

Serves two

Ingredients
80g Dark Chocolate (>70% cocoa), roughly chopped
50g Unsalted Butter
¼ cup Almond Meal
¼ cup Raw Cacao
¼ teaspoon Sea Salt
¼ teaspoon Baking Soda
1/3 cup Honey
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 tablespoon Milk
2 Eggs, lightly whisked

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and lightly grease two pots with butter (my pots were 9cm diameter and 6cm deep).
2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, allowing it to bubble and brown. When nicely browned and fragrant (nutty and delicious, like a batch of croissants) add the chocolate and stir with a wooden spoon, allowing it to melt.
3. To this same saucepan add the almond meal, cacao, salt, baking soda, honey, vanilla, milk and eggs. Stir well to combine.
4. Pour the mixture into the greased pots and bake in the hot oven for ~15-17 minutes. You want the centre a little (or a lot) gooey and the sides a little more fluffy/cakier. It’s better to undercook them than overcook so check from ~12 minutes, depending on the size/depth of your pots and your oven strength. Mine are usually done at 16 minutes. Serve with creme fraiche and berries.

Heidi xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carrot Cake Porridge

June 25, 2014

Good morning, friends!

Today for Wednesday Breakfast Club I have another keenly adorned bowl of porridge to fill your morning. Sometimes I do want plain porridge, I swear. There are days when only rolled oats and creamy milk will do…maybe with a few nuts. But then there’s those days when I just GO nuts and want more. More flavour, more texture, more toppings… This was one of those more mornings.

Did you eat a lot of carrot cake growing up? I didn’t. Cream cheese frosting? Pfft, please, what even was that? Frosting to me meant powdered sugar + cocoa + warm water. When left to my own devices I’d make a tidy bowl of frosting for a snack. It’s apparently confession Wednesday, Mum and Dad. I would also steal the matches, light them and watch them burn. That’s not odd…

Anyway, perhaps my lack of carrot cake knowledge allows me to call this porridge assembly “carrot cake” without any sense of blasphemy. If you do feel this name to be misleading and misrepresenting of the popular cake that I now actually adore, why not throw a spoonful of cream cheese on top and we’ll call it even. That’d really light my fire.

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Carrot Cake Porridge

Serves 2

Ingredients
1 cup Rolled Oats
2 tablespoons Organic Sultanas (I prefer to go preservative-free when buying dried fruit)
1 & 1/2 cups Milk
1/2 cup Water
100g Carrots – I used 3 small (purple!) ones, which equates to ~1 cup grated carrot
A pinch of ground Cinnamon and Ginger (readers suggest mixed spice and nutmeg too – YES!)
2 tablespoons toasted, chopped Walnuts (or Sunflower Seeds, as I used today)
A drizzle of hulled Tahini and Pure Maple Syrup for toppings

Method
1. In a small heavy based saucepan, soak the oats and sultanas in the milk for at least 15 minutes – 30 minutes (or even longer) is desirable, allowing for noticeably creamier porridge.
2. Add the water and cook your porridge over low-medium heat for ~15 minute, stirring every now and then, encouraging it to become nice and plump and soft and creamy. Add more milk or water if required and in the last few minutes of cooking add the grated carrot and spices, stirring to combine.
3. Meanwhile, heat a non-stick pan over low heat and gently toast your walnuts until golden.
4. Serve the porridge into bowls, topped with a drizzle of tahini and maple syrup to taste, plus the seeds and, if you desire, a sprinkle of sea salt.

What did you eat for breakfast today?

Heidi xo

Lentil Meatballs, part two – on mashed parsnip and butter beans with pesto

June 23, 2014

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So this is the other way I’ve come to devour my lentil meatballs… on a generous bed of mashed parsnip, swimming in a pesto pool. There’s a lot to love here, folks.

Sara‘s recipe, from which these lentil balls are loosely adapted, calls for a lemony pesto sauce and indeed it is a completely delicious marriage. Carrot tops made this pesto a little different and a little lovely. I find this parsnip mash the perfect platform to host a drizzle of pesto and my ever generous dousings of extra virgin olive oil. The farm has provided us with the most beautiful parsnips, I’ve been mashing them with such glee, I’m starting to forget mashed potato ever existed.

And because I encourage clients to eat legumes for their health benefits and general tastiness, I put a few in the mash. It’s a great way to introduce legumes to those who profess to dislike these nutritious belles. I prefer a rough mash, a bit of texture… extra grooves for extra virgin olive oil to seep into, if you will. But you can elegantly puree the mixture if you desire. Whatever floats your lentil meatball boat.

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Lentil Meatballs 

Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen‘s Lentil Meatballs

Makes ~18 balls

Ingredients
1 cup Whole Green Lentils
2 & ½ cups Water
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon diced Anchovy fillets* (from a jar, in olive oil)
¼ cup Breadcrumbs
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
½ cup smooth Ricotta
2 Eggs, lightly whisked
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf Parsley
Zest of ½ a Lemon
A pinch of both Smoked and Sweet Paprika
A pinch Sea Salt and freshly Cracked Pepper

*these are optional, though if leaving out you might like to salt your meatballs a little more keenly.

Method
1. Rinse the lentils in water, then place in a pot and add the water. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for ~15 minutes, adding more water as necessary to prevent it drying out. When fork tender, drain and allow to cool.
2. When cooled, puree the lentils in a food processor until smooth (I don’t mind some lumps).
3. Add the lentils to a mixing bowl with all the other ingredients. Stir well to combine and leave the mixture to sit for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
4. Using moist hands, roll the mixture into balls then place on a plate and allow them to chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
5. Place the balls on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for ~15 minutes until lightly browned on both sides, turning the balls halfway through baking (note: for a crispier ball, brush with olive oil before baking). Serve with the mashed parsnip and butter beans plus a generous spoonful of pesto and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.


Lemony Carrot Top and Basil Pesto

Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen

Ingredients
2 cups fresh Basil leaves
1 cup Carrot tops
1 clove Garlic
1/4 cup Pinenuts
1/4 cup freshly grated quality Parmesan cheese
A pinch of Sea Salt
Juice of 1 Lemon
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (more for a thinner pesto)

Method
1. Add the basil, carrot tops, peeled garlic clove, pinenuts, parmesan, salt and the juice of half the lemon to a food processor.
2. Drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil as you blitz the ingredients into pesto land. Taste and add more lemon and more oil/salt as desired.
3. Store in a sealed jar in the fridge with a layer of olive oil over the top.

Mashed Parsnip and Butter Beans

This recipe makes a decent amount of mash, depending on the size of your parsnip.

To fancy this recipe up add some grated parmesan, fresh thyme leaves, sautéed onion and/or roasted garlic.

Ingredients
1 large Parsnip
1 x 400g tin Butter Beans (you can use any canned legume here but butter, white and cannellini work particularly well)

Method
1. Peel and chop the parsnip into cubes, then place into a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil on the stove and cook for ~15 minutes until fork tender (cooking time will vary depending on the size of your cubes).
2. Rinse the beans and in the last minute, add them to the parsnip to heat through. Strain the beans and parsnip then mash, seasoning with a bit of pepper. Taste and adjust for seasoning as desired. I find a good parsnip doesn’t need any salt, especially if you’re adding the canned legumes which are usually in a salty solution.

 

Heidi xo

 

Lentil Meatballs, part one – in a skillet with passata and pasta

June 21, 2014

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Spaghetti and meatballs mean one thing to me and my food heart. Saturday night, on the couch with an episode of Mad Men and a never ending packet of tim tams glass of wine. My most favourite meatball recipe involves three kinds of meat, plus pancetta, plus anchovies, plus it’s good. Really, really good. But you know what? Lately I’ve been wanting to add more lentils to my life. So I decided to make some lentil meatballs.

I suppose they’re not really “meat”balls, as they certainly lack in meat (though I kept the anchovies because I’m a sucker for these salty, omega-3 rich beauties), but the name “lentil balls” just doesn’t sound as dainty. Or delicious. And though I have to say they’re not particularly dainty, they are rather delicious.

This recipe is lightly adapted from Sprouted Kitchen‘s lentil meatball recipe. I baked the balls (they really hold together better baked compared to pan frying) and then added them to a pan of olive oil sauteed onions. In goes a jar of quality passata and then it’s all popped into the oven. Cook your pasta and ten minutes later you have dinner. Vetta pasta sent me some of their high fibre pasta to sample and I must say I’m impressed with the fibre content, which is double that of regular pasta. The price is also comparable to other pastas on the market, but Vetta is Australian owned and use Australian wheat (and in the case of this high fibre variety, oat fibre). It also taste like it should, unlike other certain high fibre “noodles” out there. Nice. Thank you, Vetta!

I thought the wheat pasta tones and meatballs in the pan were a stunning contrast and compliment to the bricks, so I took them outside to be photographed. Actually, I got distracted deciding which books I want to order online for my birthday (in September, not even close!) and all of a sudden it was too dark inside to photograph this recipe inside. But hey, now I have books on order AND lentil balls. Who’s winning now?

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Part two of this lentil meatball business is coming up, as I found another way to serve these nutritious nuggets. I might even prefer this alternative way of serving them…though as long as there’s an episode of Mad Men and a glass of red wine involved, I’m happy.

Lentil Meatballs in a skillet with passata and pasta

Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen‘s Lentil Meatballs

Makes ~18 balls

Ingredients
1 cup Whole Green Lentils
2 & ½ cups Water
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon diced Anchovy fillets* (from a jar, in olive oil)
¼ cup Breadcrumbs
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
½ cup smooth Ricotta
2 Eggs, lightly whisked
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf Parsley
Zest of ½ a Lemon
A pinch of both Smoked and Sweet Paprika
A pinch Sea Salt and freshly Cracked Pepper

Sauce Ingredients
1/2 a Brown Onion, diced
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 cups Passata

Pasta, to serve. I used Vetta‘s high fibre penne here.

*these are optional, though if leaving out you might like to salt your meatballs a little more keenly.
Method
1. Rinse the lentils in water, then place in a pot and add the water. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for ~15 minutes, adding more water as necessary to prevent it drying out. When fork tender, drain and allow to cool.
2. When cooled, puree the lentils in a food processor until smooth (I don’t mind some lumps).
3. Add the lentils to a mixing bowl with all the other ingredients (besides the onion, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and passata). Stir well to combine and leave the mixture to sit for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
4. Using moist hands, roll the mixture into balls then place on a plate and allow them to chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
5. Place the balls on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned on both sides, turning the balls halfway through baking (note: for a crispier ball, brush with olive oil before baking).
6. Meanwhile put a pot of salted water on to boil for your pasta. Heat the oil in a large skillet that can go into the oven and sautee the onion with a small pinch of sea salt over medium heat for ~5 minutes until soft. Add the balls to the pan, turning them to allow ~20 seconds browning on each side, then add the passata. Give the pan a shake, then pop it all in the oven for ~10 minutes until the sauce is bubbly and thick.
7. Drain the pasta and serve with the lentil meatballs, passata and extra parmesan. Oh, and that glass of red wine.

Heidi xo

 

 

The Morning Toasting Hours

June 17, 2014

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Waking in the hour of six, my most favourite hour, and rugging up for a winter walk is a practice I crave. It centres my body, helping me to focus my mind and dart into the morning with vigour and clarity. To have vigour without clarity leads to a generally unproductive morning, I find. And this is something that, more often than not, will happen when I wake and reach for coffee without first planting my feet outside.

I look forward to my morning wanders. This time of year warrants a pair of gloves and snuggly jacket, but I prefer a coat of woollens to a coat of sweat. The sleepy winter sun has lead me to push my walks later than usual, but I’m still getting out in those morning toasting hours. I’ve tried walking in the evenings, a romantic ritual I picked up when traveling Italy and which I find to be terribly encouraging of good health and slumber. But I miss my morning walks. There’s something special about this time…

The hour of six and seven have distinct personalities. And if I sleep in, I mourn the loss of these hours. I’d rather wake early and enjoy the slow than snooze and miss it all. In the hour of six, the medicinal properties of coffee are infinitely more apparent. Eye lids rising with the sun, it is this very cup which beckons me from the comfort of bed and sees me reach for my jacket before heading outside. The hour of seven smells of toasting bread, waiting for the day’s spreads. Maybe jam or butter. Usually vegemite. I swear I can smell people dotting vegemite on their toast from the street as I pass and gather hunger…but only at seven am.

As I morning walk along the houses in my neighbourhood, I picture the scene inside. The clatter of mugs and indecision between English breakfast or green tea. Is it a day for tights and a skirt, or slacks? Will I have muesli or porridge? Or toast?

Today I chose tights, my tea was green and I had toast.

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♥ Flinders Sourdough toast, one slice with butter, warmed leftover roasted pumpkin cubes, a drizzle of cinnamon-kissed maple syrup and toasted pumpkin seeds.
♥ The other slice with butter, sliced radish, parsley, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and cracked black pepper.
♥ Green tea.

 

What did you have for breakfast today?

 

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Heidi xo

 

A Look In My Fridge

June 13, 2014

Hi, friends!

Today I’m over on Simple Provisions showing you what’s in my fridge. Don’t we love a good snoop? Here’s the link to my fun fridge talk with Amelia.

Amelia’s blog is one of my recent favourites. We have both contributed to Alphabet Family Journal, both love a good apple or olive oil cake and both have a thing for jaffles. She’s my kind of lady.

Happy weekend!

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Heidi xo

 

A Sweet Breakfast Date

June 10, 2014

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I adore breakfast dates with friends.

When a certain breakfast-loving friend and I get together, she always orders muesli or porridge. She can’t help herself and I love that about her. She just adores muesli. What’s more, my friend cannot find the splendid, wholesome muesli varieties we have in Australia back home in the USA, so whenever she’s home she gets her fix. I get that. And obviously I knew I would be making muesli when my friend and her husband came for a sweet breakfast date at our home yesterday.

When you really love your muesli-loving friends, you take the oats and nuts and coconut and dream it into toasty granola. You serve it with yoghurt, because this is something your friend also adores. And you make a cashew cream to go with because you had a glut of cashews lying around and why not? Defrosting some raspberries adds a little colour to the table the same way a bunch of flowers will, but you get to eat the raspberries…so that’s clearly a more desirable decoration.

It’s a special breakfast date, so you add a generous dab of butter and a drizzle of maple syrup to the bananas as they caramelise in the pan. And because you really love your friend, you add a splash of rum to the bananas.

Breakfasting right with friends. That’s what long weekends are for.

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Cashew Cream

Note: you need to start this recipe the night before serving.

Ingredients
2 cups Cashews (raw, unsalted)
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Optional extras: 2 medjool dates, pitted and softened in boiling water and/or pure maple syrup. Some cinnamon or ground cardamom would be lovely, too.

Method
1. Place the cashews in a large bowl and cover generously with water. Leave to soak overnight.
2. In the morning, rinse the cashews and place in a food processor with the water and vanilla. Puree until smooth, stopping the processor to scrape down the sides intermittently. Taste and add sweeteners and spices as desired. For a thinner cream, simply add more water.
3. Store in an airtight container in the fridge and use within a few days. Serve with granola, alongside cakes as a vegan cream or even as a cake ganache/icing.

Butter Rum Bananas

Ingredients
3 Bananas
30g Unsalted Butter
1 tablespoon Pure Maple Syrup
1 tablespoon Rum

Method
1. Slice the bananas in half lengthways and then in two or three segments (depending on the size of your bananas, for larger ones, cut them in half and then into thirds)
2. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the bananas flat side down. Cook for a couple of minutes until golden and caramelised, then use tongs to flip them on their other side and cook for a couple more minutes until golden and caramelised.
3. Drizzle the maple syrup in the pan and then the rum. Cook for a minute until the bananas get coated in a sweet, sticky sauce, then remove them from the pan to a serving platter.

My present favourite granola recipe (link).


Heidi xo

 

 

Tahini Maca Fudge

June 7, 2014

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Alright, folks, here’s the deal. I’m certifiably obsessed with tahini.

Am I late to the game? Perhaps. Is it the most delicious spread ever created? Indeed. Am I spooning it onto everything that seems right and some things that don’t? You know it.

Previously I was eating only unhulled tahini (which uses the whole sesame seed and hence is higher in nutrients) and feeling a little blasé about the whole sesame paste business. Unhulled tahini can be a little bitter, you see. But since discovering the creamy, sweet side of hulled tahini (which contains less minerals but, hey, is still a darn good food) I am now, well, obsessed. Obsessed as in, there’s a jar of tahini on my bench at all times. It’s a ‘why even bother putting it away in the cupboard?‘ situation.

My friend, Peta, opened my eyes to the beauty of tahini and honey on toast. My other friend, Yasmeen, is a long-term tahini lover (tahini and carob molasses is totally the new PB&J). And then there’s my friend, Hannah, who has been slathering tahini in, on and around baked goods/spoons since the dawn of time.

My point is, others have been on the tahini bandwagon long before I jumped aboard and stuck my fingers in the jar. If you’re one of these savvy sesame folk, please let me know how you’re enjoying tahini. I’d love to have even more excuses to leave the jar on the counter.

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Tahini Maca Fudge

Adapted from a recipe on Lidia Bier’s facebook page (Lidia is a Melbourne-based Naturopath with ace vegan recipes & inspirational eats).

Notes: you can totally omit the mesquite powder if you like, it just provides a nice sweetness to help combat the interesting flavour of the maca powder (simply add more maple syrup in place of the mesquite). And then again, you can leave the maca out all together, I’m just keen on trailing its reported hormone regulation benefits and this was a tasty way for me to eat more of it! Some raw cacao or nut butter in the mix would surely be sensational. Have a play!

Ingredients
1/2 cup Hulled Tahini
1/2 cup Coconut Flour (from health food shops)
3 tablespoons runny Coconut Oil
1 tablespoon Maca Powder
1 tablespoon Mesquite Powder
a pinch of Sea Salt
2-3 tablespoons pure Maple Syrup (to taste as per sweetness preference)
3 tablespoons Water

 

Method

1. Mix the first 6 ingredients together in a mixing bowl along with 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup and 2 tablespoons of the water. Stir well using a big spoon until the mixture is smooth.
2. Taste and adjust for more sweetness and water as desired (note: the mixture will be very sweet freshly mixed, but after chilling in the freezer it will not taste as sweet). The texture will be wet and moist but not sloppy. Coconut flour sucks up a lot of moisture, so add a bit more water if your mixture is on the dry side.
3. Pour the mixture into a small dish (I use a mini loaf pan) generously lined with baking paper. The size does not really matter, here, it’s whatever size you’d prefer your fudge bites. Just keep in mind that a deeper pan will require longer setting time. Press the mixture down hard and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon (wet the spoon with water to help spread it out without sticking). Place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to set (fold the baking paper over the top to protect the fudge).Note: The flavour will be most enjoyable and stronger when the fudge has rested outside of the freezer for a couple of minutes, so keep this in mind when cutting into portions and serving. Store in the freezer (it keeps well, I’ve had fudge in my freezer for three weeks and still found it to be super tasty).
Heidi xo

 

 

 

Milk

June 4, 2014

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I think I’ve spoken about my childhood milk behaviour before. I wasn’t the most milk-loving child, adding but a few droplets to my cereal and only consuming a glass if it contained half a tin of milo, whirled into a chocolate stream. Milky cocoa pops were a fine holiday treat because it was just like a chocolate milkshake. But I was certainly not a fan of pure milk. I grew up on Rev and the thought of a glass of milk, let alone full-cream milk, made me want to barf. Skinny milk was like water, you know? I was able to deal with it. Just.

Easing into my early twenties, my coffee order was always skim. I’d be horrified if I were presented with a full-fat latte, the creaminess was entirely too much to handle. Needless to say I hated cream, too. Ahhhh to be young and foolish.

I find the way our tastes change to be fascinating. These days I’m nutty about milk, it’s a prime feature in my fridge. I still cannot quite fathom a plain glass but I’ll decorate it with just a touch of raw cacao (exercising such refined adult restraint, my younger milo-mad self would be proud/ashamed) and a banana, maybe some nut butter and cinnamon and call it a smoothie. I adore milk in porridge, there’s nothing more comforting in the morning than a creamy bowl of warm rolled oats and milk. And while I will likely top it with a few fancy embellishments (some things never change), my preference towards the flavour of pure milk and oats is quite new to me. And I’m loving it, I really am. I’m a full-cream girl now.

Let me just explain why…

Alright, there’s a few things to mention along with my full-cream fan girling. It might seem like a big deal over nothing, I mean, it’s milk!! But “what milk do you drink?”, “why do you use butter when you’re a Dietitian?”, “is full-cream dairy better for me?” are questions I receive terribly frequently. And while diet is a very personal, individual thing, I’m going to talk about my choices for a moment in the hope it clarifies a few things about the way I eat.

For me, personally, full-cream milk feels like the right choice. It is a food that sits well with me, I feel energetic and vibrant and nourished drinking it and I source my milk intentionally.

I am proud of the fact that I have a supremely healthy diet and lifestyle. Farm-fresh and organic vegetables make up the bulk of our meals, and we jazz things up with a variety of wholegrains (rolled oats, quinoa, pasta, wild rice, freekeh, millet, the list goes on…) and quality sourdough bread plus lots of extra virgin olive oil (oh, the research in that area is compelling and delicious). I also eat at least a handful of nuts and seeds every day (almond butter, tahini, walnuts, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds…) as well as a little fruit, some dairy with minimal added ingredients, sustainable happy eggs, oily fish (predominately anchovies and sardines, the small and sustainable omega-3 rich beauties) and a little grass-fed meat and organic, free range chicken (where I can, I am not perfect with this endeavour but whenever I buy it I make sure it’s in line with my desire to consume mindfully and sustainably). I’m not perfect, no-one is, but I do generally eat fantastically well and this is something I am proud of. I cannot tell you the last time I ate a pre-packaged highly refined snack, I just dislike them, they makes me feel blah. If I want a doughnut, I make or buy a good one, if I want hot chips I get the best darn hot chips I can find (or duck fat roasted potatoes…). Food and cooking is a hobby to me, so I happily spend time in the kitchen in place of other activities and if I know I’m busy, I meal prep (which is key to consistently eating well). I’m fortunate in the location I live and the fact that I can generally choose my own work hours, but I love my lifestyle so I work hard to keep it a reality. Eating well does not have to cost more money but it might take more time. I am also active with nature walks and yoga, I drink in moderation (Campari or red wine, please), I don’t smoke, I do not suffer a lot of stress and I get 7-8 hours sleep most nights. And I drink full-cream milk.

Dietitian speak.

It’s funny that I need to justify my choice with this self-loving paragraph (I know, I know, I sound like I’m just tooting my own horn and the amount of “I do this” in that paragraph makes me cringe), but I feel it’s important to do so.

You see, I eat butter and drink full-cream milk. And I am also a Dietitian. In my profession, we tread carefully around these foods. The recommendations are to avoid full-fat products after the age of two, however there is research that suggests dairy fats are perhaps not the significant contributor to disease we once thought. Hallelujah, right? Well, yes, but wait a second…before you go loading up your toast with butter you need to be real and answer a few important questions….

Do you eat pre-packaged foods regularly or even semi-regularly? Are packets of highly refined crackers and breads and snack bars and cereals and yoghurts loaded with added sugar and soft drink (diet or otherwise) a part of your diet? If so, your fat and sugar and sodium intake is likely edging higher and therefore I’d encourage you to cut back on processed foods completely before you jump on the full-cream bandwagon. Unfortunately not everyone is willing to give up on these “food-like” substances found in the supermarket, we’ve come to rely on these convenience foods, I get that. But adding butter and full-fat dairy to a diet full of highly processed, pro-inflammatory (disease-encouraging), high sugar, high sodium “food” is likely not the best health move (especially if you’re trying to manage your weight). Get back to real food, use extra virgin olive oil as your preferred fat source (with some good omega 3s) and then we’ll talk about full-cream milk. Some yoga and time in nature might be a more important immediate health switch, though. As I said, everyone is different. Phew.

So, what milk do I choose?

Milk from happy, grass-fed, sustainably raised cows, that’s what! There is just no comparison in the end product and the impact on our environment. Yes, it’s more expensive than Supermarket milk but that’s a choice I make. I skimp on other things and prioritise quality food. I hope I can encourage you to pay a bit more for milk from happy cows (if you’re not already), or find a farmer near you who can provide you with quality milk. Milk is a fundamental part of many people’s diets, so I think it makes sense to ensure your drinking the good stuff. Taste and nutrition is good motivation in itself, without even considering the significant environmental impact you can make by switching your support as a consumer towards sustainable farming practices. Milk from happy cows that aren’t stressed and are eating what they’re born to eat (pasture fed!) is better for us, the environment and the cow. If you aren’t convinced, do a little research and taste the difference.

A brand I favour is Demeter Biodynamics, and you can find good, local-to-you brands via this link. The goal is finding a farm where the cows are sustainably farmed and pasture-fed, with bobby calves raised alongside retired dairy cows (usually in factory farming they’re sent to be slaughtered). Demeter Biodynamics have a range of products (not just dairy), but we usually buy their full-cream homogenised milk and sometimes their organic butter (which isn’t local to us but it’s delicious). If you’re not a full-cream lover, Demeter have a low-fat product as well (see their milk range here and search for stockists near you -their goods are quite widely available). We don’t buy this all the time, in fact, often we are at Ritchies and go for Paul’s organic. But that’s a pretty fine choice at the end of the day too. It’s about small, sustainable steps in the direction of supporting the right people.

Wednesday Breakfast Club.

I’m a few days late for my May addition to My Mindful Kitchen (where I search for sustainable producers to support and devour, one each month for 2014!). These photos were taken last week but I wanted to share it with you for Wednesday Breakfast Club, so I made this smoothie bowl again today. It’s made with Demeter milk, and although it is topped with a few fancy things I believe milk to be the key ingredient, the shining star, the true reason for its greatness. And because this milk is so sweet, you really don’t need additional sweeteners.

It’s better than a chocolate milkshake, that’s for sure.

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Milk Loving Smoothie Bowl

Serves 1

Ingredients
1 frozen Banana
1 & 1/2 cups quality Milk
2 heaped teaspoons Maca Powder (optional)
1 heaped tablespoon natural Peanut Butter (or almond butter)
A sprinkle of Bee Pollen (something indulgent I’m playing with), toasted Sunflower Seeds and Pepitas plus a sprinkling of Sea Salt to decorate

Method
Slice the frozen banana (if not already sliced) and puree in a blender with the milk, maca, peanut butter. Taste and adjust as desired (add a little honey if you want it sweeter). Pour into a bowl and top with some bea pollen and toasted seeds and sea salt.

 

What did you have for breakfast today? and what milk do you drink? Please share any great producers you know of or are supporting. We’re in this together!

 

Heidi xo