Veggie okonomiyaki

I am preparing to cook a vegetarian dinner for a few friends in a few weeks… well, vegetarian and seafood. I want to try and cook a whole vegetarian dinner though.

Now, I eat vegetarian meals throughout the week but nothing terribly stylish or presentable that would feel like a special Saturday night dinner.

Love and Lemons is one of my favourite blogs. Everything is so fresh and inventive — and the photography is fabulous. And it has wonderful vegetarian, vegan and seafood recipes. A natural first stop for my venture!

Tonight I made Veggie Okonomiyaki. It’s amazing. Took me all of 10 minutes to prepare — could have less than this but I didn’t have a mandoline. It was so fresh and tasty… and this is completely the wrong thing to say but it reminded me of a McDonalds cheeseburger – what!?

Make this its amazing.



Stop the press – the best broccoli soup ever.

So, I realise that I just did a post about broccoli soup.  I was so into it that I tried my own variation of a broccoli soup – and not to toot my own horn but it is freakin delicious!

It was supposed to last the week but I’ve eaten half of it already – oops!


Heat a pan and add 2 cups of vegetable stock. Add 1 and 1/2 heads of broccoli, chopped, including stalks and 2 chopped zucchinis. Add 1 cup of water. Sprinkle with garlic powder.

Simmer until ingredients have just turned soft. Add the juice of 1 lemon. Blend.

Once blended add 1/4 cup  of light cream and season with salt and pepper.

The lemon makes it amazing.

A green winter warmer

I know I am not alone on this but as soon as the cold weather is here I just want to make soup.

I think I like the soup making often more than the soup eating even!

My only slur against soup (except for when you make pumpkin soup, and you have to cut up a whole pumpkin and your knife keeps getting stuck and you break out in a sweat – I really find that annoying) is that after eating it I can easily be hungry again in an hour, especially since now there is  no bread consumed along with it.

So was intrigued by my new favouritee blogger, Scandi Foodie’s Creamy Green Soup. It uses oats to thicken it – and they defnitely fill me up! And also the creamy part was not caused by cream, but milk and the oats melting together – so much better for me and my bum.

The recipe calls for green beans, zucchini and broccoli – such an easy way to consume so much green goodness in one sitting.

Beans are great for Vit C and K, folate, potassium and also source of catenoids, which is a form of Vit A that acts as an antioxident. The bulk of the zucchini‘s nutrition is in its dark green skin, the rest of it is largely water so has practically no calories. The Vit A in zucchini is good for immune development and growth. And we all know broccoli The Super Food! High in Vit C and dietary fibre and lots of lovely cancer fighting properties — cannot get enough broccoli!

It was super easy and to be honest I wasn’t sure how adding the oats would work but it just slowly bubbled away and thickened up…

It looks much more appealing once blended!

It was very thick. Next time I will add more milk or water.

This recipe I think would work well with onion or lemon added. I did serve with some grated parmesan which was yummy.

Now I am a dope because I forgot to photograph the finished product so I am borrowing Scandi Foodie’s photo which was my initial inspiration after all!

refocus… and some amazing nut bread

So its been awhile…. I had a car accident about 4 weeks ago. It wasn’t too serious but serious enough to give me a good fright and some nasty whiplash. Work and a very long daily commute had exhausted me and I’ll be honest I went into a bit of a tailspin and was very sad for a few weeks there. So after watching episode upon episode of TV series- Downton Abby, Community, Cougar Town (yes, you heard it) and 30 Rock, the love of some lovely people and hugs from S, I am mending and back to feeling more like me.

Without a doubt though I slipped right back into those bad eating habits when I was down — could not get enough chocolate! I have become a sugar fiend again. AND, boo, I have started craving dessert after dinner again, ahhhh took me so long to kick that bastard! I have also noticed I reverted back to eating less and larger portions – a system I know does  not work for me cos I am a starvin marvin by the time I eat again.

With the help of my friend the Internet I have found some sensational new recipes, and clever bloggers. And  I am all focused for this week being my zero sugar, low carb-back on the horse-week.

One thing I have really missed since cutting out  bread is eating avocado and goats cheese on toast, not because of the toast, but because it is such a superiour vessel for the avocado. So I was thrilled to find this recipe for Nut and Seed bread which I am going to make the basis for all my avocado gorgings this week. Yipee!

This bread is crazy good for you – cashews, pumpkin seeds and almond meal mixed with eggs, olive, walnut and pumpkin seed oils (could not find pumpkin seed oil in my wide search of 1 health food store on the weekend in a rush so I substituted it with macadaemia nut oil instead – worked.)

And it literally took me 10 minutes from first blend to into the oven. And it looks so pretty!

Props to my new favourite blog Scandi Foodie for this fabulous recipe.

Curry in a hurry

I always seem to be making dinners in a rush…. Either home late and tired, or I have a list of things to get through. I cherish those nights when I’ve had time to contemplate at length and leisurely cook a meal – tonight was not one of those nights though, haha!

I’ve had a fabulous weekend away up the river. We arrived back at home fairly late to a rainy, grey city. I think its always good to start the week by having a nutritious dinner the night before. I had one and a half fish fillets in the freezer so based my dinner round this. I decided on fish curry. Never cooked a fish curry before, chicken curries a-plenty but not fish.


Chopped fish fillets into large cubes

Chunky slices of 1 and 1/2 zucchini

1-2 cans of water chestnnuts

few big handfuls of baby spinach

a big spoonful of yellow curry powder

Kashmiri Krush by Screaming Seeds Spice Co (optional)

Mix of herbs: Thai basil, coriander, curry leaves and lime leaves

Coconut milk or cream


Heat a pan and add the coconut butter, quickly add the yellow curry paste and the Kashmiri Krush. Add fish.

Cover and seal the fish with the curry mixture. Add zucchini. Cover with lid and leave for a few minutes to steam.

Add coconut milk and let simmer. About 5  mins later add water chestnuts and the spinach. Bring back to simmer again. Top with herbs. Once herbs have wilted its ready!

Serve with a good squeeze of lime juice.

The whole thing took about 15-20 minutes and it tasted so good!

I think it would taste fine without but the Screaming Seed mix I think made a real difference. Picked it up in the butchers shop when up the river. It was a mix of black mustard seeds, fenugreek seed, coriander seed, garlic, tumeric, cumin seed, sea salt, chilli, fennel seed, cardamon seed and cinnamon. Yum-o.

Tasty cauliflower comfort food

Hi there!

This little recipe is my adaptation of the ol potato bake. I love it cos its quick and it fits the bill for those days when you need a cosy meal on the couch.

Plus there’s some goodness in there too.  I know this seems a bit silly I used to think because cauliflower was white it didn’t have much nutritional goodness but the thrilling discovery is — it has loads! Its low in fat and carbs but high in dietary fibre, folate and vitamin C. It also has ‘Sulforaphane’ whch may protect against cancer and also a chemical which helps repair DNA and can prevent the growth of some cancers. You can imagine as soon as I found this out  I upped my weekly intake of cauliflower.


Steam up a whole heap of cauliflower. Once its fairly soft drain and mash up with a fork. Sprinkle with some garlic powder whilst still steaming hot.

Pop on a few big spoonfuls of cottage cheese (which is low fat and also quite high in protein). I find I like to also grate some parmesan over it as it adds a stronger taste.

Top with some cold, smoked salmon, which has been seasoned with salt and pepper and lemon juice.

Sometimes I add some avocado, sometimes I don’t. And topping with fresh chopped dill is also delish.

Another speed dinner

My prep and cook time for dinners is getting shorter and shorter as my job is picking up. Fish is my friend here — so yummy, and I find it so easy to make it taste favoursome with very minimal effort. Win!

Picked up some snapper, damn it because I can’t remember what variety of snapper because it was white fleshed snapper. Big long fillets.

Oven on 200, big piece of foil, roughly chopped some dill, season with some garlic, chilli, salt and pepper. Wrap up in foil. Bang into oven.

In meantime I browned some pinenuts, washed some rocket, steamed a few slices of zucchini and covered my random little salad with a lil grated parmesan.

Fish is done. All on a plate. Eat….Bam!

A spoonful of sugar goes a long, long way….

Todays post is a continuation of my fascination and discovery about the power of food to address health and illness. And how it seems to be to be so easy for doctors to prescribe medication without even bothering to raise the question of diet in many instances. I am not a doctor or have any official training, my opinion here is formed from personal experience and research from other experts in their field. I don’ think I’m advocating no drugs and medication but simply not to view them as the first or only treatment. If we can eat naturally occuring food that our bodies over hundreds of years of evolution have been developed for surely we should consult there before introducing newer developed properties if we can.

My passion around this subject has been sparked recently in relation to the health of a loved one. And my friend, and budding naturopath, Shannon shed some initial light on how diet can help or even trigger illness in some cases.

I did some research about migranes…. someone close to me has been prescribed something to prevent the onset of migranes as the diagnosis suggested it could be aggravating other health issues. Here is what I found and what I will be sharing with this person about how diet could be playing a major role causing those migranes:

Deficency in magnesium.

This site spoke at length about how it can be quite difficult to get enough magnesium in your diet. And how processed foods and other badies in our “modern” diet can actually deplete the magensium we do manage to consume. High protein diets can also pose a challenge ensuring an adequate magnesium intake. And something I found ironic — taking calcium supplements to prevent osteoporosis etc without the proper counter balance of the ol mag mineral can cause seperate health issues, doh!

Magnesiums’ role in relation to migranes is that it helps relax muscles and artieries in your body and your brain.

Food allergies or sensitivities.

These apparently are at the core of triggers of migranes. It could look quite daunting as there is 25+ commonly eaten foods which are linked with possible causes for migranes. Outside the more commonly throught of processed meats, aged cheeses, wine, beer and caffine.

The ‘triptans’ in chocolate, wine or cheese or artificial sweeteners like aspartame, nitrates or processed foods are very common for causing headaches and migranes.

Livestrong site had a comprehensive, easy to read list of these.

Given the range of foods that are there a good first approach could be avoiding the top billing bad guys — eliminate caffeine, sugar, chocolate and processed meats for a few weeks and see if there is a change. And then work through the list… there are some surprising ones in there like tomatoes, corn and apples.

Other things that can cause migranes arer dehydration, high blood pressure, vitamin deficiencies, gastrointestinal problems, musculoskeletal problems.

Given how common some of those foods are you can imagine how easy it could be to be eating away on an apple thinking you are being healthy and you are actually going to give yourself a horrible headache! Although saying that, how simple could the solution be to just give up apples!

Fish fusion

So I have started buying more white fleshed fish to eat for dinner. For 2 reasons really, firstly its just so quick and easy and the other is I didn’t realise how high in protein fish white flesh fish actually is.

I had a hankering for those crisp, fresh flavours of a Thai salad. Google and Taste kindly supplied me with this recipe which I adapted.


Sesame fish

  • white fillet of fish
  • light dusting of flour
  • almond meal
  • sesame seeds
  • 1 egg
  • splash of milk
  1. Lightly dust fish with flour, dip in egg and milk mixture.
  2. Combine almond meal and sesame seeds in a bowl, coat fish in mixture pressing it onto the fish.
  3. Cook fish in pan with a little olive oil, browning fish on each side.

Thai salad

  • 1/2 loosely packed cup Thai basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 loosely packed cup Vietnamese mint, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 loosely packed coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • mixed salad leaves
  • fried shallots (alternatively finely chopped red onion rings)
  • soy
  • 1 chilli, seeded, finely chopped
  • few drops of sesame oil
  • juice of half a juicy lime
  1. Combine all leaves in a bowl. When ready to serve top with shallots and dressing.



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Thinking about my brain

I think about my brain all-the-time.

There is a family history of Alzheimer’s and dementia and I think that is what sparked my interest in how to keep my brain young and spongey!

And the first book I read on the subject was amazing! “The Brain that changes itself” by Norman Doidge. The overall theme that I took away from the book is that your brain is capable of constant change, and if you treat you brain in the right way it can be change which keeps your brain strong and sharp for a long time. Now this was a few years ago but I don’t remember the book specifically referencing diet as one of the contributors but it certainy mentioned exercise and making sure that throughout your life you learn new skills, like a sport or language or musical instrument.

Doing new things does not always come naturally to us humans who generally seek out comfort zones in life. I can certainly count myself in that group. I started tennis lessons last year. Whilst I had played a bit as a child with my Dad I have never had a lesson or played a game. Taking lessons in something you are not good at as an adult it quite disconcerting! But I do love tennis now, I still just use it as a nice social time to have with my girlfriends.

Came across this article today on the New York Times: Science Facebook page: How Exercise Could Lead to a Better Brain.

Who excercises like this though!?

This article basically is saying to us that excercise makes us smarter. Going for a swim or walk can prevent our brains from shrinking which they naturally start doing from our late twenties (OMG!!!) and it can also improve cognitive function. Excercise improves our brain muscle and makes it stronger.

Whilst I was on this train of thought I looked at what foods are supposed to be good for our memory and general brain health. The consensus from multiple sites seems to be:

  • avocadoes
  • salmon
  • blueberries
  • wholegrains
  • chia seeds
  • some caffiene as well (which I am taking as a nod to continue to enjoy my morning latte)

Don’t think I will ever get tired of this subject! I kinda love also that whilst our brains are so vital they are still largely a mystery to science but then such relatively simple things have a big impact our brain health.

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