One of my favourite summer recipes for healthy hormones, heart & brain......

One of my favourite summer recipes for healthy hormones, heart & brain......

Another yummy recipe from the day I spent with fellow blogger Sara Delaney, trying out new dishes especially for happy hormones and a healthy heart. Sara does the superb photography, I do the cooking and we both get to do the eating!  It's a very mutually beneficial arrangement!  This one is our twist on a salad nicoise, featuring salmon and silver anchovies as the heroes..........

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A brunch recipe bursting with health.......

A brunch recipe bursting with health.......

I love trying out new recipes, especially ones brimming with health, so to spend the day with a fabulous photographer whilst cooking an untried dish from my favourite chef, and eating it, doesn't get much better than that! Add the mix of doing this in a stylist's home and it's quite the perfect day for a nosey blogger.

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Quick & easy Asian fishcakes.

Quick & easy Asian fishcakes.

If you're a regular reader, you'll know how much I love trying out new recipes.  Especially Jamie Oliver's recipes. I love him!  He's so enthusiastic and cares so much about the health of the nation that I always check his site online if I have something to cook and am not sure how to do it.  And this one's healthy, quick & oh so tasty.

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Nasturtium cheese spread.

Nasturtium cheese spread.

This year, for the first time, I grew nasturtiums in my herb pot and got into adding the lovely peppery leaves to my meals.  The leaves and the flowers are both edible: the leaves give you a big boost of Vitamin C and the flowers just make the food look so pretty. So a double whammy. (You can buy edible nasturtiums in most stores when they are in season, in the summer)

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A healthy summer salad that takes 2 minutes!

A healthy summer salad that takes 2 minutes!

You probably know by now that I love quinoa and that the kid folk at Quinola Mothergrain are enabling me to feed my addiction with a regular supply of red, black and plain quinoa. I'm not just saying it's the best I've ever eaten 'cause it's free, it really is the nicest quinoa I have ever cooked - and I have done vats of the stuff in the past - and this one never looks like frogs spawn or goes all slimy like so many others do!

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How to make baba ganoush/aubergine dip.

How to make baba ganoush/aubergine dip.

I am going to share something you may not know about me!  My mother was Bulgarian and met my Dad in Prague oh so many years ago!  I was born, in London, when she was just 19 and although it was the 50s and olive oil could only be found in pharmacies in those days, she was the most amazing cook and I grew up on the healthiest, Mediterranean-type diet you can imagine.  One of my favourites was what she called "kyopilo", which I assumed was Bulgarian, but I can't find this name anywhere on the net to confirm! (Please let me know if you happen to be Bulgarian).

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A quinoa mushroom risotto.

A quinoa mushroom risotto.

This is a recipe I put up on Instagram last week, so if you aren't on there yet, here it is for you. (And come & join me there so you don't miss anything!) I have taken a recipe from Quinola Mother Grain, who are the kind folk who keep me stocked up in quinoa, and have turned it into a vegan/vegetarian version which is more nutritious but just as tasty as a rice risotto. And it's much easier & quicker to make! See quick video at the end.......and please subscribe to my You Tube Channel I will be doing a video a week come September: recipes, fashion tips, & anything that helps my lovely, loyal audience. Any requests, let me know!

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How to enjoy quinoa!

How to enjoy quinoa!

I have always found quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) a bit of a dull grain albeit a highly nutritious and healthy one. But, thanks to the Seasalt Cafe in Clovelly, (my favourite beach) in Sydney recently, I discovered black quinoa which is way more tasty and crunchy than its slightly slimy white cousin! Thank you for the recipe Chef.

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Vegan/vegetarian pasta with parmesan.

 Vegan ravioli. Rocket, macadamia & basil pesto.  Washed down with a glass of red wine!

Vegan ravioli. Rocket, macadamia & basil pesto.  Washed down with a glass of red wine!

I don't eat much pasta but when I come across a fresh, handmade, organic ravioli , which also happens to be vegan or vegetarian , I knew I'd found something rather special to put in the freezer for an emergency meal, unexpected guests or even a visiting vegan! I found this delicious pasta at the weekly Byron Bay Farmer's Market recently.  (How I wish we had a market like this at home!) Made by the Byron Gourmet Pasta Company, owner Tom Ahern uses only locally sourced ingredients: the vegan ravioli is made from rocket, macadamia & basil, & the vegetarian option has added ricotta cheese.  Both are completely yum!

And to bang my 'eat clean, eat local' drum yet again, who doesn't love parmesan but hates the way most of it is mass produced?  Well the local Pimp My Salad people have come up with a fab vegan alternative: cashew parmesan, which sprinkled on the ravioli made it taste like the real thing and when served with a green salad, and washed down with a glass of red wine, made the meal just perfection personified and totally vegan. (Yes, I even checked the wine!)

You can, on-line, buy the cashew parmesan & all the other vegan goodies that Extraordinary Foods make such as kale chips, coconut "bacon" bits, & seed sprinkles etc., with a special discount they have agreed to give you.  Just pop in the code SUZI15 to get 15% off at Extraordinary Foods.  Much cheaper than the shops.

 Coconut parmesan completes this vegan pasta meal.

Coconut parmesan completes this vegan pasta meal.

For those of you adventurous enough to make your own ravioli, the ingredients can't be hard to put together. Macadamia nuts are used a lot here in Australia and make a very creamy cheese substitute once they're ground up.  Just add basil pesto & a bit of rocket & you've got a delicious vegan ravioli filling. And for the rest of us who want vegetarian & maybe can't source macadamias that easily, a little added ricotta cheese will do the trick.

Meanwhile, I will be hunting for a similar version of this awesome pasta once I'm back in the UK, pity I can't bring it back in my case!

Do let me know if you can find products like these in your local Farmer's Market or if you make your own pasta and fillings.  I will be extremely jealous either way!

I'm off to New Zealand for a week so I can renew my Australian visa by leaving the country & coming back in. Really looking forward to a bit of city life in Wellington & a complete change in temperature. 

See you soon,

An Australia Day recipe, Coronation Chicken & Salad.

 A friend at my first Australia Day party some 4 years ago!

A friend at my first Australia Day party some 4 years ago!

Happy Australia Day to all Ozzies, or, as so many of my friends here call it, 'Invasion Day!'  I thought I would post a recipe that's a suitable alternative to throwing some prawns on the barbie while quietly enjoying my intentional irony by making it a Coronation chicken recipe!

Apologies to anyone reading this shivering in the Northern Hemisphere, but this is a goodie to keep by for Summer.  First the chicken. 

 My version of coronation chicken. 

My version of coronation chicken. 

INGREDIENTS

A whole cooked chicken, pulled

1 tablespoon of mayonnaise

1 tablespoon of mango chutney

1 dessert spoon of curry powder

Sultanas (optional) I just don't like them on my food!

Seasoning. I've used kale sprinkles, from the Pimp Your Salad range, by local Byron producer Extraordinary Foods (thank you Jan for introducing me to them).

HOW TO

Too easy.....and a great one to do ahead of time.......just pull the chicken off the bone, place in a bowl, and mix the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl, adding a bit of liquid to thin it, if necessary. Mix the dressing through and keep in the fridge before serving. These ingredients are for 4 people so just double up on the sauce the more chicken you're serving. 

And if you have vegans or vegetarians coming, here's a salad they'd enjoy as an alternative.

 A really healthy salad with feta, black olives and coconut bacon, which tastes like the real thing.

A really healthy salad with feta, black olives and coconut bacon, which tastes like the real thing.

What could be healthier and easier than a huge mixed green salad with chunks of feta and black olives and ......wait for this one.......coconut bacon bits, that taste exactly like bacon! Another yum product, that's totally vegan, from the people who make Pimp Your Salad. I'm totally addicted and we need them in the UK!

You can buy kale sprinkles, kale chips, coconut bacon, cashew parmesan & a host of other vegan treats using a special discount code that Extraordinary Foods have agreed to give you. Just pop in the code SUZI15 to get 15% off.

For vegans, just pass on the feta, add avocado to the salad and give them extra coconut bacon & kale crisps!

I've also added a little serving of Mara Seaweed, sustainably produced in Scotland., furikake is a great seasoning for any buffet dish, especially avocado, salmon & even potato salad. It's a blend of chilli, sesame & dulse, so adds a bit of a bite & a big serving of health!

So that's my effort for Australia Day. Hope you enjoy the recipe & interesting extras. I will add baked sweet potato wedges for the carb fans (frozen of course, it's far too hot for all that prep!) and that's it, let's hope someone brings the pudding & prosecco!

 One of my favourite summer buffet meals: coronation chicken & a mixed green salad.

One of my favourite summer buffet meals: coronation chicken & a mixed green salad.

Let me know if you try this & see you soon,