JULY RAMBLES: TURMERIC, TAHINI AND TURNING ORANGE.

It’s been a while in between posts. A long, but super quick while it seems. Right now I’m just wanting to share with you the things that are happening in my kitchen right now. I want to share my adventures because we really do live in the society where there is this reliance on packaged food, which isn’t always sunshine and daisies for our health. I also feel that sometimes dietitians get a bad rap for being in bed with big food and promoting a whole lot of packaged foods

But hello, here we actually are, encouraging people to go back to eating whole foods.

When I reflect on the classic Australian diet (based on my experience of growing up in a rural Australian family without the european or asian influences), meat and 3 vegetables (and more often than not, potato, carrot, peas & corn) is a big thing. This is such a common dinner reported from clients. The classic Australian food is often flavoured with salt, pepper and tomato sauce. Australians love a BBQ where commonly a coleslaw and green salad will be served along side the classic bbq staples. Meat pie & vege, fish & salad, tacos, spaghetti bolognese are often on the menu. I think of vegetables generally boiled, steamed or roasted with just a spray of oil. Onion and garlic are classic add ins to our meals. I’m being very generic here, fyi, and excluding dietitians, chefs and foodies from this assumption.

I always say food is one of the biggest pleasures in life, and therefore it should be flavoursome and enjoyable. I can eat vegetables everyday, several meals per day, and I attribute that to different cooking methods. (Maybe I’m also a bit weird) If you only cooked steamed pumpkin, broccoli and carrot every day, I don’t blame you for thinking vegetables are boring. When I think of other cuisines from around the world, I think of lots of herbs and spices. Wonderful combinations of flavours that turn can vegetables into the hero, with less focus on the meat component. And really, I believe we can learn a lot from them. When I reflect back on my early days of cooking meals, chilli flakes, cinnamon and mixed herbs were staples in my kitchen. My life in Melbourne and my love of eating out and trying new cuisines, together with my love of cooking and my ever increasing recipe collection has my developed my palate and I’ve explored a whole lot of new herbs and spices, and my jar of mixed herbs really doesn’t get used much these days.

Enough of my rambles. Please, step into my kitchen.

TURMERIC

You may have heard of a golden latte? It was all over social media after the Matcha green tea latte thing, and mixed amongst the beetroot latte. A golden latte is a blend of turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper and milk (soy, almond or coconut) milk with a few other bits and pieces added. The spice of the moment which creates the vibrant golden yellow colour (that will stain your clothes) is Turmeric. Turmeric is a spice often used within asian and middle eastern cuisines. It’s used in many curries, in vegetables and meat dishes, to colour boiled rice. There is some research about potential medicinal uses – its anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce aches and pains; protection against cancer and Alzheimer’s disease has been mentioned but need further research in that area.

What I’ve been eating:

  • Golden latte (served with almond milk – but I totally wish I was offered coconut because that sounds yum)
  • Turmeric scrambled eggs (I add in a teaspoon to my eggs whilst beating)
  • Turmeric fried eggs.
  • Turmeric & cumin roasted cauliflower (nice and spicy with the addition of chilli; I made this to suit my amount of cauliflower & reduced the oil)
  • Turmeric & tahini roasted cauliflower

TAHINI

Probably one of my favourite things on earth. It’s sesame seed paste. The sesame seeds are either hulled or unhulled, then lightly toasted and stone ground into a paste. It is often used in Middle Eastern, Turkish & African cuisines. It is a good source of polyunsaturated fats. It also has vitamin E, iron and magnesium. The not-as-creamy unhulled variety gives the added bonus of calcium and extra dietary fibre so a great addition to a vegan diet. 

What I’ve been eating:

  • Tahini on everything
  • Salmon & soba noodle salad with this dressing
  • Drizzled on a roast vegetable & chicken salad
  • Drizzled on porridge (not so much lately as I’ve been enjoying eggs for breakfast)
  • Stir fry sauce
  • These oat and tahini cookies are currently in the oven
  • I’m thinking of cooking this again tonight: Green beans with freekeh and tahini

GREEN VEGETABLES

I’m not going to explain green vegetables. Everyone knows that we including green vegetables in a good idea. 

What I’ve been eating:

  • Zucchini/spinach/green beans/asparagus pan-fried in garlic infused extra virgin olive oil – generally my standard option, I often have these with my breakfast
  • Broccolini pan-fried with chilli and evoo is currently in the lunch box
  • Grilled zucchini, pea and feta salad (think lemon zest, mint and olive oil)

ORANGE VEGETABLES

Sweet potato, pumpkin and carrot are very frequent in my kitchen. These vegies are a great source of  Beta-carotene which is a powerful antioxidant that is converted to vitamin A in the body. Eating beta-carotene is best known for eye sight. Consuming foods rich in beta-carotene may also be protective against some cancers and asthma. 

What I’ve been eating:

  • Roasted orange vegetables are my jam (I use either my garlic evoo or evoo spray) & is the main way I am eating them.
  • Pumpkin wedges and goats cheese (this one has a sage – burnt butter – balsamic drizzle)
  • Sweet potato with rosemary
  • Pan-fried sweet potato (pre-cooked potato reheated in a non-stick pan produced really nice crsipy edges)
  • Roasted baby carrots (amazing)
  • Carrot cake porridge

And because I seem to have been eating a large amount of orange vegetables (somedays breakfast, lunch and tea…), I may have an orange tinge to my palms and around my finger nails. Not joking. I promise you I have not faked tan since last year, and the whites of my eyes are still white, so my liver is fine. It is suggested that a high intake of dietary carotenoids may contribute to this. The only thing about this, it’s just not orange vegetables, carotenoids are also found in many of my dietary staples – spinach, beans and broccoli (although not as high amounts). Happy Sunday.

CAULIFLOWER

Cauliflower is from the same family as broccoli and is a good source of vitamin C, dietary fibre & folate. When cooking with cauliflower I find it holds it shape & takes on the flavours of your dish really well. 

What I’ve been eating:

  • Roasted cauliflower with tumeric +/- tahini or cumin, or even ginger would be amazeballs.
  • This roasted cauliflower and macadamia salad is on the cards for this week.
  • Cooking soups or curries is another way to love cauliflower.

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