Category Archives: LFW Fit and Healthy

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.

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

muesli-with-nectarine-and-pomegranate

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

baked-salmon-with-peaches-and-avocado-salad

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

roast-chicken-with-nectarine-salad-and-potato-wedges

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

thai-rice-with-mango

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)

plum-crumble-tart-2

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.

cauli-soup

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.

cauli-soup-with-mushrooms

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

baked-salmon-with-miso-glaze-and-snow-peas

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.

stir-fry-greens

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.

Seven Days of New Year—Day Six!

Day 6! And if we’ve worked this out right, it’s also Saturday, so we’re splurging with Hot Dogs! Yes … Hot Dogs!  Way to go!

hot-dog-bacon-and-avo

Hot Dog with avocado, salad, and  crunchy bacon pieces

But hang on there … hot dogs? Well our hot dogs are healthy hot dogs. We’re using real meat GF sausages (not your horrible pink Frank things), GF or whole-grain hot dog buns, and some great toppings. And, we’re serving them with one (or two) of our great salads that we published earlier. So try one of our guilt-free hot dogs. Yummy! And the kids will love them too!

hot-dog-with-cole-slaw

Hot Dog with crispy, crunchy home-made coleslaw

Start out with good quality sausages and buns and add either, or a combination of, slaw, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, Asian pickle, avocado, salsa, Spanish (red) onion, and anything else that takes your fancy. Just remember to go carefully with cheese and dairy as they will boost your fat intake.

sausage-and-asian-pickle

Put the HOT in hot dog with spicy Asian pickles!

Seven Days of New Year—Day Five!

The topic for today is salads! And we’ve got a couple of great healthy salad recipes that you can use for a light lunch or as a side salad with your main meal. And don’t forget our lovely Salade Verte recipe from yesterday.

First up is our super simple Beetroot Salad

beetroot-walnut-salad

Beetroot and walnut salad

What you need: 1 large can whole baby beets or beetroot wedges, 1 large pack Mesclun* salad mix (or mix your own with a variety of salad leaves, baby spinach, and rocket), chopped walnuts, one medium piece low-fat Feta cheese, and white wine vinegar, Balsamic vinegar, and olive oil for dressing.

What you do: Drain and cut the whole beets into quarters, or large wedges in half. Rinse the salad leaves, shake well, and place in a bowl. Add beets, walnuts, and small pieces of Feta and toss. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1 tablespoon each of white wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar in a sealed jar and shake well (or whisk together in a large bowl). Pour over salad and toss gently. Serve immediately.

*Substitute a soft blue cheese if you prefer, although higher in fat it does add a bit of a kick (and colour) to the salad. Mesclun originated in Provence and is a mix of all small, young salad leaves, in, more or less, equal proportions.

And next … our crunchy and kick-ass Asian Slaw

asian-slaw-2

Kick-ass Asian Slaw!

What you need: 1/4 of green and red cabbage (that’s in total—not one quarter of each), 1 green apple, 1 carrot, 1 finely chopped red chilli, ¼ chopped mint, ¼ cup coriander, 1/3 cup roughly chopped peanuts or cashew nuts, and 1 tablespoon sesame seeds—nuts and seeds are optional.

Dressing: 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 2 tablespoons light soy or fish sauce, ¼ cup fresh lemon or lime juice, and 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil.

What you do: Finely shred the cabbage, coarsely grate the carrot and place both in a large bowl. Thinly slice the apple and then cut each slice into thin matchsticks and add to the bowl. Then add the chilli, mint, coriander, nuts, and sesame seeds and toss lightly. Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a sealed jar and shake well. Pour over the slaw in the bowl and toss well. Serve immediately.

thai-crab-cakes

Thai Crab cakes with corn salsa at 222 Silom

This salad is fantastic served with our Thai Fish Cakes (see recipe in Cooking Thai 101—Thai Fish Cakes).

Seven Days of New Year—Day Four!

Day four and we’re over half-way there! Today we’re offering up a light lunch or dinner with a great recipe for an old favourite with a new twist—French stuffed eggs. So add a bit of je ne sais quoi to your healthy eating and go à la française. Ooh la la!

French Stuffed Eggs (serves 3 – 4)

french-stuffed-eggs

French stuffed eggs

What you need: 6 large eggs, 1 tablespoon good quality light mayonnaise, salt and pepper to taste, and fine chopped parsley to garnish. ½ cup finely chopped reduced-fat ham,1 tablespoon finely chopped green end of shallots (spring onion), 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, salt and freshly ground black pepper, 2 slices of bread (regular or GF), extra virgin cooking oil spray.

What you do: Place eggs in a single layer in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. When bubbling vigorously, cover, turn off the heat, and leave on the hotplate for 15 minutes. Run under cold water and cool. Shell eggs, cut in half, and scoop out the yolk into a bowl. Add the ham, shallots, parsley, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste, mix well and spoon back into egg whites. Place the bread in a food processor and pulse to coarse crumbs. Top each egg with the breadcrumbs and coat lightly with the cooking oil spray. Heat the grill and place the eggs on the baking paper. Grill for 1 minute until the breadcrumbs are brown and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

salade-verte-with-pear

Salade Verte (green salad)

Serve with a Salade Verte—the classic French mixed green leaf salad, to which we add cucumber, and thinly sliced fresh crisp pear and crunchy walnuts. All tossed in a light French dressing. Bon appetit!