Category Archives: LFW Fit and Healthy

Cooking Indian!

Namaste! It’s no secret that here at LFW we just love Indian food, and one of our faves is aloo gobi, a great tasty dish made from potatoes and cauliflower, and which is also vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free. The interesting thing about this dish is you can make it a number of ways including dry, wet (with sauce), with chilli, without chilli, and with an added vegetable such as peas. OK, so that’s probably a real no-no but I do have an Indian friend who always includes peas, so there you go.

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The thing to remember when cooking Indian food is that traditionally both wet and dry dishes are served together, and there must be one of each—dry and dry, or wet and wet, is, apparently a no-no.

The secret to a good aloo gobi seems to be getting the right mix of spices to suit your taste. So with some trial and error we came up with one that was just right—for us anyway.

LFW’s dry aloo gobi (serves 4)

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What you need: 1 medium cauliflower cut into medium-large florets*, 2 medium sized potatoes cut into cubes*, ½ cup peas, 1 onion chopped, 1 cup chopped tomatoes, ½ teaspoon crushed garlic, and a handful of fresh chopped coriander. Spices: ½ teaspoon each of garam masala, cumin, ginger, turmeric, ¼ teaspoon of red chilli powder (see note below), and extra virgin olive oil for cooking.

*Make sure the cauliflower florets are larger than the potato cubes so they cook through around the same time, and your cauliflower doesn’t turn to mush before the potatoes are cooked.

Note: if you prefer a more fragrant, rather than a spicy dish, omit the chilli powder, and add a teeny-tiny pinch of saffron which is a sweet spice. Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, but fortunately you don’t need a lot!

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What you do: place the cauliflower and potato in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Cook for about 8 minutes—until the potatoes are cooked, drain and set aside. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a heavy frypan or skillet and fry the onion and garlic until soft. Mix together all the spices—using a mini whisk, and sprinkle over the onion and garlic and toss together. Add the cauliflower, potato and peas and toss together until heated through. Finally add the chopped tomatoes and stir well. Add a good handful of chopped coriander and mix again.

As this aloo gobi is a dry dish you need to serve it with a wet dish such as dhal, a wet curry, or riata, and traditional Indian breads such as naan or roti.

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Rocking the Casbah with Moroccan Lamb!

Using the lovely lemons off our tree, we’ve come up with another super easy, tasty lamb special. Moroccan lamb with herb and lemon couscous … yum! Check out the recipe below.

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Moroccan lamb—serves 2

This is a really versatile dish and you can use lamb cutlets, steaks, or even a rack or leg of lamb. Although there seems to be a lot of ingredients, this is a really easy recipe. We used cutlets, but if you’re using a rack and leg of lamb you can either slow cook in the slow cooker or your oven, or even on the BBQ or spit. And, if you to go all out with the Moroccan theme, cook it in a Tajine—one you can cook and serve in would be really impressive!

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Colourful Moroccan tajines (or tagines) in the market. Image sourced

What you need: 6 lamb cutlets (three per person), ½ small red capsicum thinly sliced, and extra virgin olive oil for cooking. Spice mix: 1 teaspoon each of ground cumin, ginger, and salt, ¾ teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, coriander, cayenne, and allspice, and ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves. Couscous: ½ onion finely chopped, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 small garlic clove finely chopped, ½ cup water, ½ cup vegetable stock, ¾ cup couscous, 1 cup of finely chopped parsley, mint, and basil (together), ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice and a little zest for decoration.

What you do: Mix together all the spices using a mini whisk—the type you use to whisk salad dressing or hot chocolate—until well blended, and rub over the cutlets. If you’re cooking a large rack or leg you will need to double the quantity. Heat the extra-virgin oil in a heavy frypan or skillet and sauté the capsicum. Add the lamb and cook to your preference.20170719_174834-1_1500528658457

Couscous: Cook the onion in ½ tablespoon extra-virgin oil until soft, about three minutes; add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds stirring constantly. Add the water and stock and bring to the boil. Stir in the couscous, cover and remove from heat. Let the couscous stand for about 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork and stir in the herbs, remaining ½ tablespoon of oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Decorate with a bit of lemon zest and small sprig of parsley. Enjoy!

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Lamb, leeks and lemons

Despite the icy frosts we’ve been having lately, we’re still getting an amazing crop of lemons off our old tree and apart from bunkering down on a cold night with a VAT and slice of lemon … what else to do with them?

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We’ve been doing a bit of experimenting lately with leeks, and came up with a super-easy, and super-tasty, recipe for Greek lamb with leeks and lemons—you’re welcome!

What you need (serves 2): 6 lamb cutlets (three per person), juice of one small (or half large) lemon (you don’t want it too lemony), 2 cloves finely chopped garlic, handful of finely chopped fresh oregano,  a pinch of fresh rosemary, and extra-virgin olive oil for cooking.

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What you do: Whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, oregano and rosemary, and pour over the lamb. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least six hours. Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a heavy frypan or skillet and sauté the leeks, add the lamb and cook to your preference. We prefer our lamb slightly pink in the middle, but it’s up to you. If you prefer you can also grill or BBQ the lamb—great for summer! Plate and serve with our special Greek salad or fresh steamed veggies.20170708_180407-1-1_1499554254622

LFW’s Greek Salad (aka Mediterranean Salad)

What you need: 8 baby Roma tomatoes halved, 1 small Lebanese cucumber sliced, 12 pitted black olives, 1 small red capsicum finely sliced, couple of slices of finely sliced red onion (go light on the onion as it can be a bit overpowering), and a small block soft feta. Dressing: 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon finely chopped oregano.

What you do: Heat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Place the Roma tomatoes on small, lightly oiled oven tray, drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes and roast for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Whisk the salad dressing so it all blends together. Gently toss the sliced cucumber, black olives, capsicum, red onion, and roast tomatoes in a large bowl with the salad dressing. Crumble the feta over the salad and serve immediately.greek-summer-salad-2

Bon appetit! or if you’re Greek—Kalí óreksi!

Get on Board the Swing Train!

Have you heard of SwingTrain? This is a brand new fitness workout inspired by Vintage Vibes and Street Dances, and brought to you by Savoy Dance Canberra, and is the first place in Australia to offer this fantastic workout based on swing dance. SwingTrain is a terrific fitness regime open to all levels of fitness and you don’t need any special gear—just your favourite workout clothes and sneakers.

So what is SwingTrain?  SwingTrain is the vintage inspired cardio workout launched by BBC Dragons’ Den success Scott Cupit and backed by Deborah Meaden, and was launched at the start of this year. It now has 45 venues across the UK and has been recruiting in Australia, and the very first Australian SwingTrain opened in Canberra on Saturday 6 May.

Swing fitSwingTrain is an elating exercise experience accompanied by the vintage vibes of swing, gospel, rhythm & blues and jazz, and is a marked difference to the electronic music that dominates the majority of cardio exercise classes. The fitness regime was developed by Scott Cupit, the award winning London-based, Australian, dance teacher and entrepreneur. Now, SwingTrain is launching under the guidance of investor Deborah Meaden, and local Canberra dancer and fitness instructor Cathie Gough, Founder of Savoy Dance which offers weekly swing, slow balboa and tap classes here in Canberra, has been selected as the first SwingTrain trainer in Australia.

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Cathie Gough, owner and founder of Savoy Dance Canberra, and first Australian SwingTrain instructor.

“We’ll be fostering both fitness and friendships at the SwingTrain Canberra sessions,” says Cathie. “The music and atmosphere is designed to be supportive and uplifting, so that participants don’t even realise they’re burning up to 500 calories an hour because they’re smiling so much. The best thing about SwingTrain is that it’s accessible to everyone, no matter their age, fitness levels or abilities. We will always warmly welcome absolute beginners to fitness. All that’s required is a desire for a positive experience.”

No dance or fitness class experience is required and qualified SwingTrain fitness instructors lead participants through a series of fun, follow-along moves inspired by the vintage street dances of Charleston, lindy hop, and shag. The full body cardio workouts exercise legs, arms and core, as well as developing coordination and mental agility through memorable routines. Each SwingTrain session lasts for an hour, including warm-up and warm-down times.

“Each routine throughout the workout has elements that can be adjusted for different levels, so you can take it at your own pace,” explains Cathie. “The overall program does aim to burn calories, so if you have an injury, be sure to let the instructor know in at the start of class, so they can keep you in mind as they take everyone through the program, and make sure you take care of yourself. Mothers who are nursing little ones are most welcome to bring their babies along to class and attend to them as needed; I am a new mum myself and encourage gentle exercise for mums!”

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SwingTrain is an aerobics workout and is open to all ages, and people are welcome to come and watch a class first before they decide to participate. For more information and to book a class visit Savoy Dance website, or SwingTrainCANBERRA FB page.

Weekly classes will take place every Saturday 9.30am at Kmotion Dance Studio (54 Northbourne Ave Canberra City). Classes cost just $14 at the door.

Stone the Fruit!

Have you notice how good Aussie stone fruits are at the moment? Peaches, plums, nectarines, mangoes, and cherries—so yum, and so good! But you can do so much more with stone fruit than popping them in a fruit salad, so we’ve sourced some great recipes to take you right through the day—from breakfast to mains and dessert—and get your daily intake of three pieces of fruit at the same time! We’ve also included veggie/vegan options for the salads and dessert. You’re welcome!

Breakfast

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Best Aussie breakfast with best Aussie fruit!

Muesli with nectarines and pomegranate is a super-easy and super-booster start to the day. Just get your favourite muesli and add slices of nectarine, pomegranate seeds*, and passionfruit pulp, and top with dollop of natural yoghurt. Delish! Vegans can find Kingland vegan yoghurt in Canberra at selected Coles Supermarkets.

*If you’ve never tried pomegranate, all you do is cut them in half and scoop out the seeds. But remember to remove all the yellow pith around the seeds as it’s very (very) bitter and will put you off ever having pomegranate again … not to mention ruining your muesli …

Main—Baked salmon or chicken with nectarine salad

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Baked salmon with peaches and salad

Roast your chicken as normal, and bake the salmon as per our recipe in Seven Days of Eating Healthy, and serve with poached peaches or nectarines, or one of our great salads below.

Salads and sides—Nectarine salad

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Roast chicken with nectarine salad and potato wedges

You will need one nectarine and a couple of large radish per person, plus a few rings of Spanish onion. Cut the nectarine into quarters then in half again, thinly slice the radish, and onion, add the dressing, and gently toss together in a large bowl. Decorate with a bit of greenery—rocket or baby spinach leaves. This salad takes a light oil and lemon dressing really well. Just add two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, one tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and a teaspoon of white wine vinegar in a bowl, and whisk together until well blended.

Rice salad with mango—serves 2

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Thai rice salad with Aussie mangoes

This salad looks and tastes terrific, and you can give it a Thai kick by adding a teeny amount of finely chopped chilli in your dressing. For two people we used 2 cups of cooked rice, and 3 cooked Tiger prawns each. Cook your rice as normal and set aside to cool. Slice up some cucumber, red (Spanish) onion, and lightly steamed green beans. Then cut your Tiger prawns (tails off) in half lengthways and toss the veggies and prawns into the rice. Add lemon dressing (see above) and finely chopped chilli (optional) and mix well. Decorate with nice cubes of fresh mango and a bit of coriander. Vegetarians and vegans can substitute lightly steamed mushrooms and sprigs of broccolini for the prawns.

 

 

Dessert (serves 2 – 3)

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Individual plum crumble—serve with cream or ice-cream

This is a really simple take on your regular apple crumble. We made individual plum tarts but you can easily adjust the recipe to make a large one. You can also use peaches instead of plums. You will need one plum per ramekin. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Slice the plums (no need to peal, but you might prefer to peal the peaches) and place in the ramekin. In a bowl, rub together ½ cup of SR flour (wholemeal or GF if you prefer), ¼ cup raw sugar, pinch of cinnamon (optional), and 4 tablespoons of cold butter*, until it resembles large crumbs—alternatively, you can throw everything in the food processor and whiz until crumbed—then spoon onto the plums. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the plums are soft when tested with a skewer, and serve immediately with cream and/or ice cream.  Delish!

*Vegans can buy Honest to Goodness coconut butter online, or from Ainslie IGA, and Over the Moo vegan ice-cream from Evatt IGA, Twenty One Café and Groceries in City West, or check Over the Moo website for other outlets.

Summer Soup!

It’s been a bit cooler lately so we got back in the kitchen and used up some left over cauliflower, and made a fab summery soup that’s dairy-free and includes a veggie/vegan alternative. It’s also great for a lunch, main, or starter … what more could you want!

What you need

1 small knob butter or 2 teaspoons coconut oil, ½ regular onion chopped, 1 teaspoon crushed garlic, ½ cauliflower chopped into chunks, 2 small potatoes chopped, chicken (or veggie) stock, and ground black pepper to taste.

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Cauliflower soup with bacon and parmesan. Image by LFW

What you do

Place the butter, garlic and onion in a medium to large saucepan and sauté until the onion is soft. Add the cauliflower and potato, enough stock to cover, and a few grinds of black pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer until cooked and mash with a potato masher. Allow to cool then pour into a blender and blend until smooth. If it’s too thick at this point just add more stock, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach the right consistency. We served it with local organic bacon cooked until crispy and cut into small pieces, a sprinkle of shaved Parmesan, and a few bits of rocket. It’s also great with fresh crusty bread, or warm bread rolls. You can also freeze any leftovers.

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Cauliflower soup with sautéed mushrooms. 

You can make it veggie/vegan by substituting sautéed mushrooms for the bacon and using shaved vegan cheese. You can also get great GF buns by Pure Bred from Coles or Woolworths. And yes, I’m still waiting for Baker’s Delight to make a GF option.

Seven Days of New Year—Day Seven!

We really hope you’ve enjoyed our Seven Days of New Year as much as we’ve enjoyed compiling it and taste-testing the recipes, and today we’re finishing with one of our favourite mains, and serving it up with some tasty stir-fry Asian greens, and our crisp and crunchy Asian Slaw from Day Five.

If you liked Seven Days of New Year, check out our other recipes in LFW Eating Healthy, and LFW Food and Wine tabs. And don’t forget to Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter. Enjoy!

Ginger Baked Salmon

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Ginger Baked Salmon 

What you need: 1 large fresh salmon fillet per person (skin on), ¼ cup sweet sake* (Japanese rice wine—optional), 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons light soy sauce, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 1 tablespoon minced ginger, 2 tablespoons finely chopped green shallots (spring onions), and salt and ground pepper to taste.

What you do: Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray with double foil so it overhangs the tray and will wrap the dish and place the salmon fillet(s) on the foil. In a bowl, mix together the sake, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, and spring onion. Whisk until well combined, and pour over the fish. Wrap the overhanging foil lightly over the fish and place in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes depending on how well you like your salmon cooked. Remove the salmon from the tray, sprinkle with lightly ground salt and pepper to taste, and plate and serve immediately.

*If you are unable to find, or don’t want to use, sake, you can substitute a good quality sweet sherry.

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Stir-fry Asian greens with mushrooms

Tasty Asian greens include broccolini, snow peas, green beans, and choy sum, and a few sliced button mushrooms. Heat oil in frypan or wok until smoking then add 1 crushed garlic clove, 1 teaspoon minced ginger, and 1 finely chopped red chilli (optional). Toss well for 1 minute, then add the greens and mushrooms. Stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes until just tender, then toss in ¼ cup oyster (or light fish) sauce and stir well. Sprinkle with a few peanuts or cashew nuts and serve immediately.