Kangaroo Bolognese

Some people can’t understand how I (or anyone) can eat our ‘national emblem’. The vegetarians’ and vegans’ opinions are justified but any other carnivore (or omnivore, for that matter) cannot complain about me eating ‘Skippy’ if they don’t think twice about eating ‘Daisy’, ‘Babe’ or Nemo!

Kangaroo meat is higher in protein than beef, naturally lower in fat as well, and provides the haem iron I choose to include in my diet. Added to the fact that it is considered ‘Game’ (wild caught) and therefore likely to be a much ‘cleaner’ source of animal protein to consume than the chemical-laden animals being farmed for bulk consumption.

From an anthropological perspective, humans evolved thanks to these kinds of meats: hunters (physically active people) originally had to chase down highly active creatures in order to eat. Daisy wasn’t docilely ‘grazing in the fields’ back then. It was suggested by one of my favourite fitness/nutrition/neuroscience gurus Paul Taylor that “you are the animal you eat”…

On with the story…

I picked up a kilo of kangaroo mince on sale and since I find the ‘mini-chore’ of divvying up individual portions kind of onerous, I decided to create something immediately to lighten my workload. I’m not usually a pasta fan, but somewhere along the line I’d bought some gluten free macaroni and since I’ve been trying to get rid of it (and cannot simply throw it out – wastage is a Sin!) for a while, “spag bol” came to mind.

Straight to the Thermie. Too. Easy. I literally walked in the door at 1:15pm and was eating by 2pm.food fervour

I threw 1 garlic clove, a roughly chopped brown onion, carrot & celery stem in the bowl and almost pulverised them (which ultimately resulted in a very smooth bolognese consistency) for 8 seconds on Speed 7. Then I threw in 20gm of olive oil, the 400gms of Skippy mince (instead of ‘Daisy’ & ‘Babe’) and various herbs (basil, nutmeg, parsley & a bay leaf) and set it on to cook for 10 minutes @ 100ºC, Reverse Speed 1.

In this time I apportioned the remaining kangaroo mince, put away the rest of the groceries and the already-used-ingredients, and pulled out the ones I had yet to use: red wine, tomato paste, tamari, the gluten free macaroni and parmesan cheese. And a zucchini, which I chopped up finely. (My usual bolognese recipe includes more vege – like capsicum & mushrooms – but I didn’t have my Thinking Cap on today. I was more interested in Time-Saving.)

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While the bolognese simmers away in the Thermomix, the Magic Bullet pulverises the parmesan…

Finally, I added the zucchini, 80gm red wine, 60gms water, 2 tspns tamari & about 300gm tomato paste, set the time to 16 minutes, again @ 100ºC, Reverse Speed 1 then set to work on the other elements:

Since I’m not yet an expert at multi-skilling with my Thermomix alone, I prepared the pasta to cook on the stovetop, boiling the electric jug first (ala Jamie Oliver-style) not just to speed up the process but also to minimise electricity usage a tad. Once the GF macaroni was bubbling away, I pulled out my handy little Magic Bullet, threw a chunk of parmesan in and grated that up in seconds. Everything was ready. I had time to begin the clean-up!

The alarm for my pasta went off literally seconds after the Thermie signalled she was done. Perfect timing. A heavy-duty meal – enough to feed four – complete within 45 minutes… Brilliant!

 

 

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Gluten Free Fruit & Seed Loaf

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Raisin toast is loaded with sugar so I need to create a GF version minus excessive added sugar…

I used to have a real weakness for fruit toast. But I knew before I went off gluten that fruit loaves are full of sugar so I began limiting my ‘splurges’ anyway.

But I do miss ‘raisin toast’ from time to time, so my quest is to try to create a gluten free version that’s as similar to the ‘real thing’ as possible, minus the excess sugar of course. Trial and error is the only way, with the aid of heaps of research – Googling & others’ blogs! – and the courage to ‘alter’ (or ‘bastardise’ as I like to say) recipes. That kind of courage I definitely do not lack.

The loaf I just made was the result of an adaptation of Cyndi O’Meara’s gluten free bread recipe included a couple of Thermomix recipe books. I altered the dry ingredients a fair bit (due to both lack of some & preference for others), added a selection of spices, seeds, preservative-free dried fruits (these worked to sweeten the loaf more than the meagre amount of coconut sugar I opted for) and the kicker: I replaced xanthan gum & egg with soaked chia. I’d discovered this idea on a blog somewhere recently and then saw it used in a complimentary recipe on the Thermomix website.

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served up warm with my homemade butter

So… it turned out heavier than your typical commercial wheaten fruit loaf, but toasted up, I think it made the grade: particularly considering the vast majority of ingredients I used were unprocessed, which as far as I’m concerned is the most important thing.

If you don’t have a Thermomix the recipe should still work (you’ll have to buy your flours pre-milled) but will involve a lot more elbow grease in the mixing stages! Here’s what I used this time around:

2 tbspn chia seeds, 8 tbspn water, 280gm whole buckwheat, 100gm brown rice, 40gm dried chickpeas, 1 heaped tspn whole cloves, 35gm cornflour, 1 tspn cinnamon, 1 tspn nutmeg, 1 tspn garam masala, 10gm instant yeast, pinch (Himalayan) salt, 20gm coconut sugar, 400gm lukewarm water, 30 gm macadamia oil, 1 tspn vanilla essence, 1 tbspn apple cider vinegar, 80gm chopped dates, 80gm sun raisins, 45gm pumpkin seeds (pepitas), 40gm sunflower seeds.

Firstly I put the chia seeds and 8 tbspn water in a jar, shook it up and left it to ‘absorb’ while milling the buckwheat, brown rice, chickpeas & cloves in the Thermomix (1 minute, Speed 9). I added the remaining dry ingredients (cornflour, the powdered spices, yeast, salt & coconut sugar) and mixed lightly (15-20 seconds, Speed 4-5) before adding the water, oil, vanilla, vinegar and chia seed gel for another 15-20 seconds on Speed 5-6. I finally added the dried fruit & seeds, mixing gently on Reverse, Speed 1-2 for 20-30 seconds (to be honest, I can’t recall how long). Ready to empty the ‘batter’ into my greased & lined loaf tin, I placed it directly into the cold oven so it could ‘prove’ for the 15-20 minutes it takes to heat up to 180º. (The appliance in my rental home is ‘ancient’ & even though it is fan-forced, it’s pretty ‘slow’.) So from go to whoa, it should take about an hour: 20 minutes proving + 40 minutes cooking @ 180ºC.

Don’t expect a sweet cake-loaf: as I said earlier the meagre amount of coconut sugar is literally swamped by the other ingredients. So much so that the next time I cook this (or something similar) I’ll leave it out altogether and simply up the dried fruit content. Oh and nuts, I’ll definitely add chopped nuts. I’ve also read that the longer the dough (in this case ‘batter’) proves the better, so next time I might let it sit for longer before turning the oven on… I’m not sure if this applies to heavy gluten-free-grain-and-seed-floured doughs but if someone out there knows, please speak up!

 

Dessert for Breakfast

So there’s this Thermomix recipe that I’m in love with. It’s classed as a ‘breakfast’ dish, but to my mind, it’s TOO luscious and (here comes the Health Nazi) not really packed full enough of nutrients to constitute an everyday healthy meal. (I’ll talk about my typical breakfast choice another time.)

But it’s Sunday. And while I am waiting for my first attempt a gluten free fruit loaf to cook, I have to put something in the belly.

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The first time I made CADA I fell in love with it

CADA stands for Coconut, Apple, Date & Almond. It’s incredibly simple. You throw all of these ingredients in and Turbo a few times. Voila! The recipe asks for coconut flesh which personally I never have on hand, so my version replaces it with shredded coconut after the mix hits the serving dish. Then I add cinnamon and thick greek yoghurt and I swear it’straws just like eating apple pie with cream. Or apple crumble. Kind of.

food fervourToday I dropped the coconut in favour of some strawberries. For this single serve, I used ½ a green apple, approx 30gms (6-8) dates, 35gm roasted almonds and a handful of fresh strawberries. I’d recommend (Thermie user or not) you blast the almonds, dates and apple first then add the strawberries for the final ‘wazz’ since they’re too soft to withstand a heavy beating. Topped with 2 substantial dessertspoons of Greek yoghurt and about a teaspoon of coconut sugar, it was to die for! Next stop will be the blueberry version….

Green Smoothies Don’t Have to be Green…

Take this for example:food fervour

In fact, I’d say most of the green smoothies I make are brown. Because I LOVE cacao. Why not have a chocolate flavoured smoothie if you have the choice?

Cacao is the raw form of cocoa and therefore even more nutrient dense. And its (delicious) strong flavour helps disguise the bitterness that many kale varieties posses. The smoothie I just made (pictured) had 4-5 kale leaves in it and it only took 2 heaped tablespoons of cacao powder (oh ok, and the dates) to camouflage the acrid (but oh-so-healthy) green.

You really can have a lot of fun experimenting with green smoothies. If you are new to them, work off the ratio of 60% fruit to 40% greens until you acquire a taste.

For this particular smoothie (it made enough for two, by the way) I threw 2 bananas in the Thermomix, with 4-5 de-stemmed kale leaves, about 2 heaped tablespoons of cacao powder, 4-5 dates, a handful of (frozen) blueberries and approximately 300mls coconut water and blended it all on for about 40 seconds on Speed 9. For non-Thermies, blend for as long as you need to on the highest speed (to really break down the dates and kale).

I shouldn’t have any muscle cramps for the rest of the day, with the amount of magnesium (thanks to the Cacao & coconut water) in this drink. 😉

You Don’t NEED Ice Cream…

I have a sweet tooth, there’s no doubt about it. So satisfying the night-time urge I usually get can be tricky, considering I generally try to avoid sugar.

food fervourThe best thing to do is …make something yourself. This is pretty much my entire philosophy towards food anyway. If YOU make it, you KNOW what’s in it. It’s that simple (aside from being really important).

I used to looooove ice cream. I could eat whole tubs in one sitting, no joke. But I just don’t need to, don’t WANT to, buy it anymore because I have found the perfect, more nutritious substitute. Greek yoghurt.

Full fat Greek yoghurt. Because fat really does satiate. And I find Greek yoghurt less tart than natural yoghurt (maybe it’s just me, but it makes me feel like I’m eating thick cream…). Unlike its other dairy relatives, yoghurt is full of natural probiotic organisms = Good for the Gut!food fervour

I’ve made so many varieties in the past, but my favourite usually involves blueberries, banana, cacao in some form and a teensy bit of either maple syrup or coconut sugar (IF I even feel like I need added sweetness). Like this one I’ve just gobbled down tonight.

It’s too easy and too quick and these are two of my favourite things! Quick. and. Easy.

I sliced one banana, grabbed a handful of blueberries and plopped them in a bowl with 3 heaped dessertspoons of yoghurt. I scattered maybe a dessertspoon of cacao nibs over the top then drizzled about 1-2 teaspoons of maple syrup over it all. Bloody yum!

Cacao Avocado Mousse

The final touch for the best Mother’s Day pancakes is another too quick-and-simple but nutrient dense treat that can be enjoyed entirely on its own. Or with fruit (especially blueberries)! I love my fruit, can you tell?

The avocado makes this dish. Its naturally creamy texture and bland taste make it one of the most versatile super foods out there and I think people are only just beginning to discover its true potential. It’s the (very healthy) fat content that makes it work as a mousse…a mousse full of vitamin E; not what you’d expect to find in a conventional nor commercial version.food fervour

So, grab 1 small avocado, ¼ cup (approx 20gm) cacao powder, 1 dessertspoon maple syrup and IF you want to thin it down so it’s like a runnier ‘sauce’ over the pancakes, you’ll also need at least ¼ cup (45gm) milk (any kind you prefer) milk. Or even coconut water coz it’s naturally sweet, and well as (phyto)nutrient dense.

Simply throw it all in your chosen blending appliance, ‘wazz’ it ups few times, scraping down the sides in between. Actually, because avocado is so easily broken down, you could pretty much blend by hand. If you wanted. Meh, save your energy!

Soooo easy. And soooo good.

 

Quick Warm Salad with Avocado & Sautéed Bacon

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I wanted avocado but I wanted something warm. And of course I wanted a variety of veggies. But what protein?

I’m over throwing feta into everything. And then I remembered I had bacon in the freezer. Now I rarely touch cured meats because of the nitrates in them, but I always have some chopped up and stored in the freezer for the (very) rare occasion I feel like fried rice. Or a soup…or something. Like Matriciana.

Not that I’m into pasta either (especially since I went gluten free, and beyond that, choosing to avoid processed foods) but I know of that dish and know that bacon and chilli go well together. Oh, look at that! There’s some chillis in the freezer too, right under the bacon! With the frozen ginger and turmeric. “Right!” I think, “this will show you, Head Cold.”

Chilli likes broccoli too. And so do I. So it was all too simple.

food fervourI threw a de-seeded red chilli, a clove of garlic, a piece of turmeric and a piece of garlic in the Thermomix and chopped them up, then added the bacon and about 20gms olive oil and sautéed all that for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, I filled up & turned on the kettle, chopped up some broccoli and snow peas, then blanched them in a saucepan with the kettle’s boiling contents. I dissected and scooped out my avocado halves, chopped up some cherry tomatoes & a shallot, then drained the broccoli & snow peas and threw them on top of the rocket bed. I placed the avocado halves in the centre and scattered the cherry tomatoes around. The sautéed bacon & spices smothered the avocado and I sprinkled the shallots over the top. A decent hand-squeeze of half a bush lemon finished it off.

It took me less than 15 minutes to make, it tasted great and guess what? My nose has stopped running 🙂