Category Archives: LFW Fit and Healthy

The Network of Possibility

Dr Kim Vella started the Network of Possibility to fill a gap for safe and inspiring networking for women.

Networks. They can inspiring. They can be a talkfest that adds no value to your life.

On a personal front, Kim Vella finds networking where people ‘tell, sell or yell’ frustrating and exhausting so she started her own, for those in the work world and those outside it.

The Network of Possibility is a philanthropic initiative designed to unite community-minded Canberra women who want to use their time, energy and skills to give and learn from others.

‘This is not your typical networking group,’ says Kim who is an accredited executive coach with a PhD in Sociology from ANU.  ‘It’s designed as a neutral and inclusive space focused on your purpose, not your level, status or rank. We don’t shove our business cards down people’s throats. We don’t need to present elevator pitches or prove ourselves. We already know that everyone who comes is worthwhile.’

The Network of Possibility invites a guest speaker to each event, someone who has or is making a significant transition in life. Their stories are truly motivating.

Dr Danielle Klar, owner of Plumery Jewellery

This month, on 28 November, Dr Danielle Klar will talk about her journey to jewellery. Danielle was on a career trajectory and determined to become the Secretary of a department. Then she was diagnosed with cancer and later told she had life-threatening clots in her legs and lungs. She almost lost her life.

At the November Network, Danielle will talk about the process she went through to get to where she is today, which is working part-time as a GP in her husband’s medical practice and part-time with her daughter in Plumery, the bespoke jewellery business Danielle started during her long recovery.

Butterfly Wings Brooch is a brooch and a pendant. Nearly 25cts of ruby invisibly set, and over 1.5cts of diamonds.

Other Network guests have included Kristen Holzapfel who spent several years working as a child protection social worker. While her career was rewarding, it took its toll and nearly broke Kristen’s heart and her body. Kristen turned her experience into something positive, writing a book called Selfless: A social worker’s own story of trauma and recovery.

The Network has also had guests such as Pip Seldon, from the Healthy Tradie Project and Kerstin Oberprieler from Pentaqest which provides gamified experiences.

While many career women attend the Network so do those who aren’t currently working. ‘These could be women on maternity leave, or mental health leave, or someone just taking a break,’ says Kim. ‘Sometimes it’s hard for these women to find an inspiring space. The Network fills that gap because it’s completely non-judgmental. You don’t have to put your wares on display.’

Kim wanted the Network to be purely philanthropic, and so it is. A silent auction is held at each one raising money for three women’s charities—Karinya House, Toora Women Inc., and YWCA Canberra.

It was a light bulb moment that led Kim to develop The Network of Possibility. She was at a ‘typical professional networking awards event’. She sat beside a female lawyer in the public service who was settled in her career but not entirely happy with it. She didn’t want to change jobs but was looking for meaning and purpose, to feel more fulfilled. She said she didn’t know where to find it.

‘This inspired me to create a group where women could come together to get a sense of purpose and meaning with no strings attached,’ says Kim. ‘The Network attracts women who want to expand their circles of influence and drive change in another way. We share defeats and triumphs and learn from others. The Network makes peoples’ hearts sing.’

If you’d like to attend the 28 November Network of Possibility, book here.

 

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Perfect Pomegranates

Here at LFW we’ve recently become enamoured with a somewhat overlooked fruit—the pomegranate! As a child I remember eating pomegranates—imported from the Mediterranean—during the northern hemisphere summer, but here in Australia they can be a rare find, even in the summertime. The pomegranate was thought to originate in Iran (formerly Persia), and through Pakistan and northern India, and quickly spread to other areas in the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and central and south Asia.

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The pomegranate is a really interesting fruit … a pain (and not to mention messy) to get the arils out, but worth it in the end. So if you’ve often looked at a pomegranate and thought what on earth do I do with that?; here’s your answer …

Once you have your pomegranate, cut it into quarters and you’ll see all the bright red arils—they’re not seeds by the way—the seed is inside the aril, both of which are edible. The white/yellow pith surrounding the aril is very bitter and you need to remove the aril from the pith before consuming. Open up the quarters and gently push out the arils with your thumb, discarding all the pith and hard outer skin. You’re best doing this over a large bowl as it can be messy, but you will end up with bowl of lovely red, juicy arils.

Then what? Well, here are just a few ideas, but first … do a taste test. The arils can be sweet or sour depending on the ripeness of the fruit, which is hard to tell until you’ve tasted the aril. Most of these recipes call for sweet or very lightly tart arils, so if the arils are very sour it’s best to use them in juices or salads with sweet fruits.

Smashed Avocado on Toast—how simple is this … GF bread, ½ an avo, and sprinkle with pomegranate arils.Avocado and pomegranate on toast

orange and pomegranate juice

 

Breakfast Bowl—healthy and colourful … nectarine, kiwi fruit, GF muesli, natural Greek yoghurt, and pomegranate (see featured image).

Juice—add 1 cup of pomegranate arils to your apple and carrot juice, or apple and beets, or orange juice—you can ring the changes with colour by using standard navel oranges, or lovely red blood oranges.

 

Or something completely different:

Pomegranate and Beetroot soup (serves 2-3)

What you need: 1 tablsp extra-virgin oil, ½ onion finely chopped, 2 large carrots diced, 1 large parsnip thinly sliced, 800ml vegetable stock, 2 cooked fresh beetroot diced (not tinned beetroot in vinegar)—you can buy ready-cooked beetroot in most large supermarkets, ½ teasp ground coriander, 2 teasp fresh dill finely chopped, natural yoghurt, and the arils of one pomegranate.

beet pomegranate soup

What you do: heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the carrot, onion and parsnip until soft, then add the coriander and cook for a further two minutes. Add the beetroot and stock and bring to the boil then simmer for 20 mins. Add 1 teasp of dill and simmer for a further five minutes. Allow to cool. Extract the juice from the pomegranate arils—you don’t want the seeds inside the aril, just the juice. You can do this using a lemon squeezer—we did say pomegranates were messy; then add to the soup to taste—somewhere between three and four tablespoons. Blend well using an upright or stick blender. Serve warm sprinkled with the remaining chopped dill, a swirl of yoghurt, and crusty bread.

Lamb with Pomegranate Glaze

What you need: 3 cups pomegranate juice (see above recipe for extracting juice from the arils), 1/2 cup sugar, 2 teasp fresh oregano very finely chopped, 2 cloves minced garlic, and either a leg or rack of lamb for roasting, or lamb chops or steaks to grill or BBQ.

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What you do: place pomegranate juice and sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir constantly until it turns to a thick syrup—about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm by placing the pan in a container of hot water. Mix together the finely chopped oregano and minced garlic to make a paste and spread over the lamb, then brush lightly with the syrup saving some for later. Cook the lamb to your preference and allow to rest. Mix the remaining syrup with the pan juices to make a gravy/sauce, pour over lamb and serve immediately.

Bon Appetit!

Cool Coleslaw!

Let’s not beat about the bush here … I hate shop bought coleslaw. There, done. Supermarket coleslaw—and the one from a fairly well known fast food chicken outlet, which I won’t mention—swamped in mayonnaise and sweetened to death, is just not for me. Coupled with the fact that we have a lactose-free person in the household—which means no mayo or sour cream in sight—we haven’t had coleslaw in the house for years. Until now!

Coleslaw 1

I don’t know why I didn’t come up with something earlier, but making chicken burgers the other night, and over the basic salad of lettuce and whatever else, it dawned on me that you really don’t need mayo or cream to make coleslaw. So … here’s our light and tangy, and super-easy, version of coleslaw, and it’s vegan!

Cool Coleslaw—serves 6 as a side dish

What you need: ¼ small savoy cabbage finely shredded, ¼ small red cabbage finely shredded, 1 medium carrot grated, finely chopped green ends of a couple shallots (spring onions) optional.

Dressing: the dressing is based on a simple French vinaigrette with a twist.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice (fresh is best), 1 small garlic clove crushed, and 1 good teaspoon of Dijon mustard.

salmon burger with coleslaw

Super healthy salmon burger with  vegan coleslaw

What you do: toss all the veggies together in a bowl and set aside. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together (using a mini whisk) until well blended and pour over the veggies. Toss well. This will give you a light coating of dressing on the coleslaw; if you prefer your coleslaw wetter just add more of the dressing.

If you don’t want to make your own dressing just buy a classic French dressing and add the garlic and mustard, but be careful as most dressings contain sugar and salt—sometimes in ridiculously high quantities.

And check out our healthy burger recipes at Burgers are Back! in the Food & Wine tab.

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Yummy chicken burger with vegan coleslaw and salad

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.

aloo gobi3

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)

aloo gobi1

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!

aloo gobi2

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.

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.

Cathie Swing fit

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!”

Swing Fit 2

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.