Back to basics: the healthy placemat

Back to basics: the healthy placemat

Thank you Jeff Novick for your sensible healthy eating placemat  (2013). If you don’t already know Jeff his website has tons of sensible information and will help you revitalise your eating regime. The Five Pillars of Healthy Eating: 1) Plant-Centred– Centre your plate and your diet around minimally processed plant foods (fruits, vegetables, starchy vegetables, roots/tubers, intact whole grains, and legumes (beans, peas & lentils). 2) Minimally Processed – Enjoy foods as close to “as grown in nature” with minimal processing that does not detract from the nutritional value &/or add in any harmful components. 3) Calorie Dilute – Follow the principles of calorie density choosing foods that are calorie adequate, satiating and nutrient sufficient. 4) Low S-O-S – Avoid/minimize the use of added Salts/sodium, Oils/Fats and Sugars/sweeteners 5) Variety – Consume a variety of foods in each of the recommended food...

Smooth butter bean baguette

Bruschetta 1 baguette 1 large tomato chopped 1 ripe but firm avocado, diced 1/4 cup minced red onion 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 1/2 tsp salt Ground pepper Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the baguette diagonally into 16 to 20 slices, each about 1 inch thick. Put the slices on a baking sheet and bake for 7 to 10 minutes until lightly browned and toasted to your liking. Put the tomato, avocado, onion, basil, oil, lemon juice, and salt in a large bowl and mis well. Season with pepper to taste. Butter Bean Spread 1 can (14 to 16 oz) butter beans, drained & rinsed 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 clove garlic, minced 1/4 tsp salt 1/8 tsp ground pepper 1 to 2 tbsp water Put the beans, oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor. Process until creamy, stopping occasionally to scrape down the work bowl. With the processor running, add 1 to 2 tbsp of water as needed to achieve the desired consistency. Process again until very creamy. To assemble, spread a rounded tablespoonful of the bean spread over each baguette slice, scoop out 2 tbsp of the tomato mixture with a slotted spoon and top the bean spread and serve...
Soul food from a Southern gal

Soul food from a Southern gal

Bianca Phillips has the passion of generations of Arkansas cooks in her blood. With mama Delores and granny Ruth, she has successfully redefined and re-created the best, and homeliest dishes from her beloved childhood. Now we can all benefit from three generations of soul-warming country cooking as Bianca has compiled dozens of family favorites in a new cookbook Cookin’ Crunk. She says “crunk” – a Southern slang term for getting excited – conveys her passion for veganism and for her Southern roots. The Arkansas native happily admits her recipes originated in the family kitchen: “I’m not a trained chef just a Southern gal who grew up hovering around the knees of my mama and granny in the kitchen. As a result my recipes are far from pretentious and gourmet – just simple comfort food free of meat and other animal products.” “Ive been vegetarian since I was 14 and went vegan at 24 – at first my mom said ‘no cheese – you have gone crazy!’ . “But now when we eat out together, she has what I have!” Her mom has been a huge supporter,  even creating a vegan version of her legendary cornbread dressing, which is included in the cookbook. Bianca says she rarely cooks the same thing twice though she loves tofu. “I most often cook a tofu scramble, and maybe the vegan pimiento cheese,” she said. Savory dishes in Cookin’ Crunk include Butter Bean Bruschetta, Chocolate Gravy, served over Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits, Southern Fried Tofu Chicken and a great vegan interpretation of chicken and dumplings. Bianca shares her Southern vegan pantry essentials, revealing her adventurous...
Creamy lasagne holiday pleaser

Creamy lasagne holiday pleaser

A stack of rich and creamy lasagne is a crowd pleaser and this one is no exception. It’s vegan & gluten-free and doesn’t take long to make the separate sauces. I usually layer either eggplant or zucchini slices in between the tomato and almond sauces, depending on what I have in the refrigerator. Loosely described recipe follows:

Where are those adzuki beans?

Where are those adzuki beans?

After a visit to my produce store some years ago, I came home bursting with the enthusiasm you can only get from black eyed peas, adzuki beans, dark chocolate covered almonds and wild rice. It was the day I had my Pantry Epiphany: It was then that I stopped fiddle-faddling around with packaging and brown paper bags and started to wholesale collect large wide-mouthed welcoming jars and vessels of all sizes. I love this San Diego kitchen and  I think it may inspire more of us to line up our grains, beans and chickpeas and get serious with our organisational skills. Start today! Traditional Kitchen by Encinitas Closet Designers and Professional Organisers Neat Method San...
Easy broccoli soup

Easy broccoli soup

White tableware usually leaves me cold. Until it is showcasing a glorious vegetable! If you have virginal white soup bowls its worth making Broccoli Soup just to admire the fashion statement – oh and it’s healthy too. Recipe courtesy of the  Forks Over Knives the Cookbook INGREDIENTS 3 large leeks, white parts only, sliced and rinsed 1 tsp thyme leaves 4 cups broccoli florets 4 1/2 cups vegetable stock 3 tbsp nutritional yeast Salt and pepper METHOD Place leeks in a large saucepan and sauté over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add water 1 to 2 tbsp at a time to keep the leeks from sticking to the pan. Add the thyme and cook for another minute, then add the broccoli, vegetable stock, and yeast. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to medium heat and cook till the broccoli is tender – about 10 minutes. Puree the soup using a blender, return to pot and season with salt and pepper to...
The Great Life Cookbook

The Great Life Cookbook

Authors Priscilla Timberlake and husband Lewis Freedman RD share their story of hosting community macrobiotic dinners since 1995 in one of the most endearing cookbooks you will ever read- THE GREAT LIFE COOKBOOK. More than a collection of recipes, the book serves up a monthly feast with 12 full dinner menus, each bursting with color as they balance the seasonal tastes of the five elements of macrobiotic cooking – fire, earth, wood, water and metal. Every menu is created with a communal eating or a large family dinner in mind. So the dishes are well balanced, include starters, soups, entrees and desserts, and lots of helpful tips for cooking on a grand scale. “Our dinners have evolved to be as inclusive as possible, meaning they will be agreeable to most people. All meals in the book are plant-based, dairy-free, vegan, macrobiotic and gluten free with oil-free options.” Priscilla and Lewis got the idea of weekly communal eating after her mom visited Myanmar and was invited by two Burmese sisters to a regular communal dinner they served at their home. “The atmosphere was full of family, the food was vegetarian and it was delicious!” . They started their own Friday night ritual in 1995 and insist cooking for friends is not as “scary as you might think!” Priscilla said: “When cooking for a crowd all you need is intention, ingredients, a few large pots and pans and a cooking space you feel good spending time in. “The common practice of gathering together for meals can have a transformational effect on a person. “There is something that happens energetically when people...
Oodles of veggie noodles

Oodles of veggie noodles

Thank goodness for inventive minds! My current favourite kitchen gadget is my award-winning veggie spiralizer Veggie Twister which transforms zucchini and carrots into some pretty convincing pasta shapes.
I’ve been cranking out the noodles and making a fabulous almond carbonara sauce using almond butter and sun dried tomatoes for my “zoodles”.

Pantry basics

Pantry basics

What’s in your Gentle Kitchen pantry? If you are a highly organised, experienced (much admired) cook there may be some exotic spices, or something guaranteed to produce a sure-fire quick-fix dinner or a much-loved recipe preserved from the kitchen garden.

Blossoming vegan inspiration

Blossoming vegan inspiration

Our July date at Cafe Blossom was a birthday celebration – and we weren’t disappointed. On a summer day this pretty New York Upper West Side restaurant gave our party of four foodies a warm welcome. We  toasted the birthday girl with a very nice glass of The Vegan Vine cabernet,  chosen from a decent selection.  Alex our server was a great host and answered all of our  menu questions, always good when there are non-vegan dining partners. There is a competitive selection of starters: The black eyed pea cake ($8) made from yukon potato was a generous serve and delicious with a  creamy chipotle aioli. We also liked the mushroom ravioli ($10) with divine truffle butter. The autumn sweet potato rolls (gluten free, GF) were packed with coconut noodles, peppers, avocado and served with almond-ginger dipping sauce we all had to try! With the live nachos and beet ravioli there is a good choice of GF options. Entree salads are colorful and beautifully assembled. Try the quinoa salad with its  black beans, sweet corn, diced peppers, watercress, toasted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, accompanied with mango guacamole and poblano pepper dressing. The zucchini linguine is raw and gluten free- a great summer lunch entree, with almond butter cream our non-vegan friend really enjoyed. You might like to try the delicious pistachio-crusted tofu (how can we get that recipe!) or the bold  seitan frites au poivre with its spicy peppercorns and horseradish. The restaurant also serves a good veggie burger as part of a range of sandwiches for around $14. Side dishes, including grilled tofu, start at $5. The dessert menu at Cafe Blossom is worth waiting for....