Monthly Archives: May 2013

Mussels in Spicy Tomato Broth

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musselsAs a serious seafood lover it probably isn’t hard to believe that I seriously love mussels..especially the big juicey kinds. Combine these with a tasty spicy tomato broth and some crusty ciabatta and I am in seventh heaven! Now that the nights are getting cooler, there is really nothing better than sitting down to a big steaming pot of fresh mussels in a hearty tomato broth and the one I dished up on Thursday night certainly did not disappoint!

Not only is this delicious but it is also very low in fat and mussels are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, selenium (an antioxidant compound that fights free radicals in the blood stream) and iodine (which plays an essential role in the production of our thyroid hormones that essentially help control our metabolism.) Mussels are also good sources of protein, iron and vitamin B12 (a vitamin found predominantly in animal food sources that plays a role in the metabolism of every cell in our bodies and is essential for normal brain and nerve functioning.)

Ok so now that I have managed to convince you all that mussels will probably be featuring on your dinner tables tonight I suppose I should probably give you the recipe!

What you need…

1 kg punnet of fresh mussels

2 tins of crushed tomatoes

1 cup white wine

2 brown onions

2 button mushrooms

3 cloves garlic

handful of pitted kalamata olives

bunch of parsley

1 fresh red chilli or chilli flakes

lemon

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

pinch of saffron

loaf of ciabatta/sourdough

What to do…

Turn on your oven to moderate heat (180degrees).

Finely dice the onion and chilli and slice up the garlic as finely as you can. Add the onion to a large saucepan/pot over medium heat with a good splash of olive oil. Saute until soft and cooked through then add your chilli, garlic and the other spices and cook for a further 1-2mins. Grate half the lemon and add the rind to the pot along with the mushrooms, tinned tomatoes, chopped olives and white wine, stir through and then allow to simmer on low heat for about 5-10minutes.

Place your bread on a tray and chuck it in the oven to crisp up for 5 or so minutes.

Add your mussels and the juice of half the lemon then cover with a lid for about 5mins or until all of the mussels have opened up nice and wide. (if any are still firmly shut discard them!)

Have a taste of your broth and if you think it could do with some more spice sprinkle over some chilli flakes and some chopped parsely.

Grab your bread out of the oven and you’re good to go!

Enjoy!

A

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Spicy Pumpkin and Coconut Soup

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pumpkin soupNow that winter is approaching my cravings for delicious hearty soups are ramping up quickly, so I thought I better get cracking on coming up with some tasty winter warmers! I have always LOVED pumpkin soup and I thought what better way to spice it up a bit than to throw a bit of chilli into the mix! Not only is this recipe SUPER quick and easy, it is also cheap to make and tastes ridiculously good…(if I may say so myself)!

What you need…(for 4 people)
1kg of jap or butternut pumpkin
3-4cups of vegetable stock
1 fresh red chili
1 heaped tsp of green curry paste (you can alter this to make it as spicey or mild as you like!)
1 large brown onion
1 clove crushed garlic
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
100ml low fat coconut milk (or use coconut flavoured evaporated milk if you want to be extra weight/heart conscious as it contains for less saturated fat than coconut milk)
fresh coriander
nutmeg
low fat yoghurt and poppadums to serve

What to do…
Chop the pumpkin up into chunks and dice up your onion. Place a large saucepan over medium heat on your stove and add a splash of olive oil. Then, add your onion and saute until soft and transparent. Add your garlic, chopped chili, curry paste and ginger to the pan and saute for another 1 -2 minutes.

Add your cut up pumpkin to the pan and add enough stock to cover the pumpkin. Bring to the boil and then allow to simmer away until the pumpkin is soft and cooked through. I just used a hand held whiz stick to blend up my pumpkin soup mixture but you can transfer your mixture to a food processor if you have one! Either way, blend away until the soup mixture is smooth and relatively lump free!

Add your coconut milk and stir through before serving up into some nice soup bowls. To each bowl, add a sprinkling of nutmeg and some fresh coriander along with a good dollop of low fat natural yoghurt! And you’re ready to eat! Easy huh?

Enjoy!

A

Jamie’s jerk pork, grilled corn and crunchy tortilla salad

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jerkpork2Jamie Oliver…you did it again!! I have never been much of a pork fan and have rarely used it in my cooking, but as this week is all about experimenting and trying new things I decided to give his Jerk pork recipe a go..and I can tell you now I was not disappointed! Actually no, I would maybe even go as far as saying that the flavours in this dish blew my mind and I have no doubt it will be making an appearance on the dinner table at my place again soon!

Not only did I love the combination of flavours in this dish but when looking at it from a nutritional point of view, it ticks alot of boxes! Pork fillet for one, is one of the leanest cuts of pork with only around 1-2g of fat per 100g, making it a fantastic low fat source of quality protein.Pork also contains a range of other important nutrients including essential vitamins such as B12, B6, thiamin, niacin, as well as minerals such as zinc, selenium, iron and magnesium.

With plenty of vitamin C from the chillies and coriander and an impressive dose of antioxidants from the tomatoes the Jerk sauce also certainly packs an impressive nutritional punch! And as for the salad? What’s not to love about a delicious combination of fresh salad veggies(full of important vitamins and minerals, avocado (rich in the “good” monounsaturated fats that help lower cholesterol) and the satisfying crunch of toasted low fat corn tortillas? Nothing! It was all delicious and I highly reccommmend you try this one!

Rather than re-writing out this whole delicious recipe I thought I would just share a link to Jamie’s 15 minute meals video which explains the whole recipe step by step by the king of healthy fast food himself! Thanks Jamie!

Enjoy!

Growing Green Fingers

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IMG_0758Ever wondered what our food would be like without herbs? I for one, feel that my world as a Nudie Foodie would not be the same without my beloved herbs! Especially fresh herbs picked straight from the ground! Imagine how dull and tasteless your Thai Beef Salad would be without that zingy flavour from the fresh coriander leaves or imagine a roast leg of lamb without out it’s famous partner in crime, Rosemary. Even dried herbs can do wonders to an otherwise fairly dull tasting dish. A sprinkling of mixed dried herbs can bring a boring old spag bol to life and a Greek salad is not a Greek salad without some dried oregano to bring the dish together is it not?

Not only do herbs add flavour, depth and colour to meals, they also contain a myriad of nutrients that help us ward off illness and stay strong and healthy! Although I clearly adore herbs and use them religiously in my cooking, I am well aware that fresh herbs are not cheap! Especially if you are like me and use them in your cooking on a daily basis! So, I’ve decided to let you in on a little secret… Save yourself some coin and invest in your own mini herb patch! Now I know what you’re thinking…”But I live in the city¬† and I don’t have room for a garden!”

herbs6

My little herb patch in the city!

Well if this is you, then I have some good news….ANYONE can grow some green fingers and grow a mini herb garden, even if you live in an apartment! All you need is a small balcony or windowsill, some good quality herb pots and fertiliser and then treat your herbs with some tender loving care! You don’t need masses of pots or different herbs, just choose the ones you use most often. Trust me, it is just the handiest thing to be able to decide what you’re having for dinner at the last minute then just duck outside (or to your windowsill) and pick a fresh bunch of your favourite herbs straight out of the soil!

From my experiences and from what my mum taught me growing up, some herbs are easier to grow (and maintain) than others. Basil, rosemary and mint are three such herbs that seem to withstand the test of time and can tolerate hotter temperatures than some of the others. Trust me, if these herbs can flourish and thrive even in the 45 degree heat of my parent’s garden in Central West QLD then they must be pretty tough! Coriander on the other hand is unfortunately very difficult to grow without the right climate conditions, so don’t be disheartened if you have trouble keeping this little baby alive!

Though I live in the inner city, I am lucky enough to have a court yard with enough room to grow quite a collection of herbs including basil (which almost grows like a weed at times!), parsley, mint, rosemary, oregano, chives and sage. And I am telling you now my life would not be the same without it!

So, if you haven’t thought about giving it a go before, why not visit your local nursery or farmers markets next weekend and pick yourself up a couple of different types of herb pots and try your hand at becoming a green thumb! Not only will it save you a bucket load of cash in the long run (with a small herb pot costing you as much as one bunch of fresh herbs from the supermarket), but you will also be doing your little bit for the environment as a supporter of sustainable farming and food production!

Still not convinced? Have a look at the nutritional benefits that a couple of my favourite herbs have to offer…

Parsley and Basil-

These herbs are great sources of minerals including iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium, which are all required for a range of important daily bodily functions.

They are also rich in many antioxidant vitamins including vitamin A and beta-carotene (Vitamin A is known to have antioxidant properties and is essential for vision), vitamin C (a powerful antioxidant), vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory) and a number of other forms of antioxidants.

Both of these herbs are also very rich in vitamin K, which is essential for many coagulant factors in the blood and plays a vital role in the bone strengthening function by helping the mineralization process in the bones.

But it doesn’t stop there, Parsley leaves are also rich in many essential vitamins such as vitB5 (pantothenic acid), VitB2 (Riboflavin), VitB3 (Niacin), VitB6 (Pyridoxine) and VitB1 (Thiamin), all of which play vital roles in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism!

Enough said! Let’s get growing!!

A