The Inaugural Young Chef’s Showcase Dinner

30 Dec

The past few weeks have flown by and I finally have time to share with you about the beautiful dinner I attended on the 18th of December. ALMA – The  International  School  of  Italian  Cuisine, INTERNATIONAL  EXTRAVIRGIN  OLIVEOIL  AGENCY   in  collaboration  with INTERNATIONAL  OLIVE  OIL  ACADEMY – Australia presented the “Young Chef’s Showcase Dinner”.

This event followed the Armonia International Olive Oil Competition and the dishes were prepared by the winners of the professional chefs category. When I arrived at the Cammeray Golf Club I had the opportunity to mingle with some of the EVOO producers that I missed during the excitement of the awards ceremony a few weeks back.

A selection of EVOO was on offer to sample with bread, baby vegetables and champagne before we were seated for dinner.

Crudites Dipping EVOO

I sat with Alese who joined me as a winner in the enthusiasts category of the competition and Mr and Mrs Joslyn – the parents of young chef Alex who also won with his chocolate mousse. I was dying to try it since he showed me a picture!

Alex's parents

Table group shot

Jayne Bentivoglio (Director of Rylstone Olive Press) and Mauro Martelossi (International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Agency Executive Director) addressed the guests before dinner.

Jayne Mauro

We began with an Amuse Bouche of Asparagus with Dehydrated Olives.

Appetiser

Entree was by Elizabeth Fiducia from Jamie’s Italian Sydney

Crudo of Hiramasa Kingfish, lemon jam, peaches, apple and EVOO served with 2010 White Label Hawkes Bay Pinot Grigio

Entree

Main was by Kevin Nguyen from Quay Restaurant

Confit of Hapuka fillet, squid noodles, Shitake Speck Italiano, olive oil broth, seasonal vegetables, olive oil emulsion served with 2010 White Label Hawkes Bay Chardonnay

Main

Dessert was by Alexanda Ian Joslyn from Ormeggio at the Spit

Olive oil white chocolate mousse, EVOO biscuit, yoghurt and rhubarb jelly served with 2011 Grant Burge Alfresco Moscato Frizzante

Mousse Dessert

Dessert

 I wish I could begin to explain the harmonious flavours, the crunches, the way a rich looking emulsion and elements of the dessert simply melted like air on my tongue leaving behind the pure essence of extra virgin olive oil. No description could be vivid enough to convey how immensely delightful this meal was! The wines were superbly matched – too bad I was driving.

Menu

Congratulations to all the chefs involved. They had barely slept for 48 hours in preparation and their dedication was evident. 

Young chefs presentation

To top off the evening, Jamie’s Italian in Sydney was announced as an Extra Virgin Olive Oil Restaurant and is only the 2nd restaurant in Australia with this title following Pilu at Freshwater. This is an exclusive circle open only to those restaurants who use certified extra virgin olive oils of excellence that have gone through the very stringent selection process of the ARMONIA competition.

Chefs

It’s been a fantastic journey since entering the olive oil competition and I’m very excited to see what these talented young chefs will be doing in the restaurant scene over the next few years. 

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Cocoa and Roasted Hazelnut Butter Ravioli with Cherry, Strawberry & Blackberry Compote and Vanilla Mascarpone

29 Dec

Since getting a pasta machine for my birthday I’ve been in my element and wrist deep in dough.

Merry Christmas Sheet

Fettuccine

Last night I made fettuccine with speck, onion, garlic, grape tomatoes, chilli and rocket. It is incredibly satisfying to eat a dish that has been made entirely from scratch including the fresh pasta.

Unfortunately I was too impatient to take photos before we sat down to eat but I can tell you about dessert… I licked the plate at the end – seriously! There are a few processes to this but it’s worth the effort. I made 12 ravioli (only served 6 between 2 people) and have dough left over to experiment with another dish.

Cocoa Pasta

2 1/2 cups plain 00 flour

1/3 cup pure, unsweetened cocoa powder (I used organic)

3 eggs

1/2 cup water

Cocoa and Hazelnut Butter

1 packet of roasted hazelnuts (approx 150g packet)

1 dessert spoon of pure, unsweetened cocoa powder (I used organic)

1 teaspoon of honey (I used a flat teaspoon for just a hint of sweetness)

Himalayan Pink Salt

Berry Compote

6 strawberries

6 cherries

6 blackberries

Vanilla Mascarpone

2 heaped dessert spoons of mascarpone

1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste (not extract)

Heat the oven to 200°c and place the hazelnuts in a baking dish and roast in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes until the aroma starts permeating the kitchen and they are golden brown. If they still have the skins on, place the hot nuts straight into a clean tea towel and cover them. Start rubbing over the tea towel and the skins will peel off. Repeat this again when they cool to remove any stubborn pieces of skin that are remaining.

Put the cooled hazelnuts (keep approx 20 aside) into a food processor and blend until it becomes a smooth nut butter. Add the cocoa powder and blend again. Add a pinch of salt and honey to taste. Blend again and taste. The remaining hazelnuts will be used later and I ate a few while I was cooking – who can resist the intoxicating scent of freshly roasted hazelnuts?!

To make the pasta, mix the flour and cocoa powder together on a clean work surface. Make a well in the centre of the flour, place the eggs in the middle and slowly mix in using your fingers. Start adding a little water to bring the dough together as you keep kneading to a smooth, firm consistency. I found that I had a lot of water left over so only add a very small amount as you go along. The dough should be moist but not sticky. Once it comes together, cover in cling wrap and leave in the fridge for 1 hour.

Cut the dough into 4 pieces and roll through the pasta machine from 0 to the thinnest setting to create a lasagne sheet. Keep adding flour if it becomes sticky. The first sheet was long enough to cut in half and create the bottom and top layer of the ravioli. Spoon teaspoons of the hazelnut butter along the pasta sheet as shown below and place a whole roasted hazelnut in the centre with the point down so it doesn’t pierce the pasta.

Ravioli Filling Ravioli Filling 4

Place a sheet of pasta over the filling and seal using a handheld ravioli cutter. Dust with flour and keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to cook the ravioli.

Filled Ravioli

Rinse the fruit, remove the cherry stalks and cut the tops off the strawberries. Leave everything whole. Put all the fruit into a small saucepan over low heat and warm through until the natural juices start to ooze out. Turn off and leave them in the heat until ready to serve.

Bring a pot of water to the boil with a heaped dessert spoon of sugar. Put the ravioli in and if they rise to the surface try pushing them under the water to make sure they cook evenly. Being my first attempt, I realised that I need to press the pasta around the filling to eliminate air pockets which make the pasta float – practice makes perfect! Bring a frypan to high heat (not smoking hot). Just as the pasta is cooked to al dente, melt a generous amount of butter in the frypan and using a slotted spoon transfer the ravioli. Fry them quickly on either side so some of the moisture evaporates and they become slightly crispy but not so long that the butter burns.

To serve, mix the mascarpone and vanilla together. Place the warm ravioli on a plate with some compote, drizzle the juices over the top and serve some vanilla mascarpone on the side (it will melt if you put it on top of the warm ravioli).

Cocoa Ravioli Ravioli dessert

Now when you taste this you will understand why I licked the plate!

My Chocolate Mousse Wins in the Armonia International Olive Oil Competition

8 Dec

I received an email a few weeks ago from Roberta Muir (Sydney Seafood School Manager) announcing the 1st Armonia International Olive Oil Competition to be held in the Southern Hemisphere. The invitation was open to anyone who wanted to enter for a chance to compete. The condition was that olive oil must be the star ingredient and olive oil chocolate mousse immediately came to my mind. I was so excited when Roberta replied saying that I was in! I could hardly contain myself.

I made a trial batch of mousse at home and timed myself to make sure I could complete the dish within 2 hours and have it beautifully presented for the judges to taste.

When I arrived at the Sydney Seafood School on the 20th of November I met the other 9 contestants who were also passionate about food and cooking. The energy was building as we were ushered in to prepare and setup our equipment at the stations. I took all my own ingredients, except for the EVOO, and any special utensils and equipment needed including mum’s reliable old electric beater for good luck!

Sign setting up ingredients Beater

Gary Mehigan (MasterChef) and Alessandro Pavoni (Ormeggio at the Spit) were the judges and Mauro Martelossi (International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Agency Executive Director) and  Giovanni Pilu (Pilu at Freshwater) welcomed everyone and opened the competition.

Gary, Giovanni, Mauro, Alessandro

Opening competition

We tasted a variety of unlabelled EVOO and selected the ones we felt would work best with our dishes.

EVOO tasting

We began cooking and the judges circulated the room asking questions and marking us on various areas including organisation and cleanliness.

© Lyndon Marceau / marceauphotography

Gary took pictures of the dessert bowls I purchased especially for the competition. He was on the lookout for something to use at Fenix and said these would be perfect.

© Lyndon Marceau / marceauphotography

Gary

Once my mousse was in the fridge I walked around the room to see what the other contestants were preparing. My senses were on overload with the scents and sounds of salmon poaching, cake baking, prawns sizzling and spaghetti boiling. It was like a beautiful symphony wafting through the air.

Chocolate mousse in the fridge

Spaghetti alle Vongole was the first dish completed and Alese, the contestant who cooked it, shared some with us while it was being tasted by the judges. It was absolutely delicious!

Spaghetti being cooked Cooking spaghetti

© Lyndon Marceau / marceauphotography © Lyndon Marceau / marceauphotography

My Olive Oil Chocolate Mousse was next. 

Mousse is ready

I placed the bowls on the table in front of Gary, Alessandro, Mauro and Roberta and explained why I chose to prepare this dessert. “I don’t like very sweet desserts so I chose this because the olive oil adds a beautiful savoury element. The fresh raspberries add some tartness and the sprinkle of himalayan pink salt at the end brings out the notes in the chocolate and olive oil. I also added some pistachio dust and a drizzle of olive oil to finish.”

© Lyndon Marceau / marceauphotography

After I left the judges to try my mousse I ate some delicious poached salmon prepared by Kurt, freshly baked wholemeal focaccia and roasted vegetable salad by Antonella, salmon ceviche and octopus salad by Daniel, kale chips by Alison and olive oil cake by Katrina. The cake was so moreish and I found myself saying “this is my last piece” about 6 times!

Roasted tomatoes Roasted veg salad Salmon ceviche

Ross cooked a restaurant quality poached kingfish dish, Stefano made a seafood platter fit for a Roman king and Irena’s dish was a poached prawn salad that looked too good to eat.

Seafood platter Prawn Salad

We continued to eat and share recipes as we waited for the results. It was announced that we would find out at a ceremony held on the 3rd of December! We gathered together for some photos and wished each other good luck.

© Lyndon Marceau / marceauphotography © Lyndon Marceau / marceauphotography © Lyndon Marceau / marceauphotography

On the 3rd of December I joined my fellow food enthusiasts along with professional young chefs and olive oil producers. Awards were handed out to producers for several categories including packaging, organic and different varieties of olive oil. Congratulations to everyone but I must mention a few in particular.

Alto Olives which I see regularly at Eveleigh Markets on Saturdays,

Alto Olives

The Little General which I have posted about before (when ever I bump into Nadia we end up talking about the Festa Delle Salsicce in Griffith, yum!) and last but not least, Rylstone Olive Press. This is the mystery olive oil that I used for my chocolate mousse. They were all unlabelled, numbered bottles so we had no idea of the varieties or brands.

lucky number 21

One of the owners of Rylstone Olive Press, Jayne Bentivoglio, was at the ceremony and collected so many awards that I lost track! At one stage Jayne was asked by Joanna Savill (Director of The Sydney Morning Herald Sydney International Food Festival) to wait so she could collect a few awards at once before returning to her seat.

Jayne Award

Jayne invited Alese and I to visit the Rylstone Olive Press farm during harvest season (April – May) next year and prepare our dishes again using their oils. 2013 is going to be an exciting time!

Congratulations to all the chefs!

1st Kevin Nguyan – Quay  Restaurant (Confit of Bass Groper Cheek, Shaved Calamari, Shitake, Speck & Olive Oil Broth, Olive Oil Emulsion)

2nd Alexander Joslyn – Ormeggio  at  the  Spit (Olive Oil & White Chocolate Mousse, Olive Oil Powder, Biscuit, Yoghurt & Rhubarb Jelly)

Grand Mention Diplomas

Elizabeth Fiducia – Jamies  Italian, Sydney (White Chocolate and EVOO Risotto with Rosemary, Roasted Peaches and EVOO Pistachio Crumble)

Kyu Wang Lee – Balla  Restaurant (Poached Olive Oil Sword Fish with Asparagus Puree, Heirloom Tomato)

John Javier – Quay  Restaurant (Scampi, Macadamia, Chamomile and Olive Oil)

Peter Gilmore (Quay Restaurant) and Ross Lusted (The Bridge Room) were there to present the awards with Giovanni Pilu. Kevin was overcome with emotion when he realised that he was off to Italy for a week to attend the ALMA cuisine school. My eyes filled with tears when I saw how passionate Kevin was about the work he does with food because I feel the same spark.

Winning chef Chef announced Announcing chef

I’m not a chef but food stimulates my senses and makes me feel alive. The sensation of dough between my fingers, the fragrant notes in olive oil, the textures of food on my tongue – these experiences are as important to me as the breath in my lungs.

Alexander Joslyn showed me a picture of his dish which was an Olive Oil & White Chocolate Mousse (as mentioned above). We had much to talk about! I can’t wait for the upcoming “Young Chef’s” Showcase Dinner when I will have a chance to savour the dishes prepared by the chef contestants. I’ll be sharing a post about this special event in the coming weeks.

Alex, Giovanni, Ross, Mauro

Chefs

Finally, the food enthusiast awards were announced.

3rd Alese  – Spaghetti alle Vongole

© Lyndon Marceau / marceauphotography

© Lyndon Marceau / marceauphotography

A.NZ.SA Olive Oil Championships Presentation

2nd Ross – Olive Oil Poached Yellowtail Kingfish with Asparagus and Lime Vinaigrette

© Lyndon Marceau / marceauphotography

© Lyndon Marceau / marceauphotography

A.NZ.SA Olive Oil Championships Presentation

1st my Olive Oil Chocolate Mousse

A.NZ.SA Olive Oil Championships Presentation A.NZ.SA Olive Oil Championships Presentation

I couldn’t believe my ears when it was announced. In 2013 I will attend a 5 day Professional Olive Oil Sommelier Course and cooking classes at Sydney Seafood School as my prize.

Award Trophy

I’m grateful to have been involved in such an amazing competition and to have met so many people who share my love of cooking and food in various capacities.

A.NZ.SA Olive Oil Championships Presentation

My passion for olive oil is not new but my interest to learn more about this complex natural ingredient is growing. During my holiday to Spain back in 2010 I visited an olive oil museum and went nuts! Everyone that I bought presents for received tins of olive oil and its surprising that customs didn’t stop me for questioning due to the high volume of oil I packed into my suitcase. No, not shoes, olive oil. 

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I’ve experimented with my Spanish olive oil in recipes like Zucchini, Cocoa, Olive Oil and Walnut Cake. So by this stage, one question that may be on your lips – how did I make the mousse? The answer is…

150g good quality dark chocolate (I used Callebaut 53.8%)

100g extra virgin olive oil (again, make sure it’s a good quality oil. I used a medium fruity Rylstone Olive Press EVOO)

250g pouring cream

Fresh raspberries

Pistachio dust (finely ground pistachios)

Himalayan Pink Salt (fine)

A little more EVOO to drizzle at the end

Slowly melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. When smooth and glossy, mix through the olive oil until well combined. Set aside to cool slightly while you whip the cream until it reaches soft peaks.

Gently fold the cream into the chocolate and olive oil mixture. Don’t mix it too much or you’ll knock the air out of the cream and your mousse won’t be as light and fluffy. Serve at room temperature or put in the fridge to chill for an hour. If you leave it in the fridge for longer it will set firmly and the texture will become grainy due to the fat molecules in the olive oil solidifying. It will melt in your mouth but the texture won’t be smooth and silky.

I spooned the freshly mixed mousse straight into the individual dessert glasses before putting into the fridge. To serve, sprinkle with pistachio dust and just a little salt to bring out the chocolate and olive oil notes.

© Lyndon Marceau / marceauphotography

A few raspberries are perfect to add some tartness and cut through the richness of the mousse. I prefer to use fresh berries picked from my mum’s garden when there are enough of them ripe at once.

garden fresh berries raspberries

Drizzle with a touch of EVOO. Enjoy!

© Lyndon Marceau / marceauphotography

The professional photos I’ve shared in this blog post were taken by Lyndon Marceau and can be viewed here.

You can view a full list of the winners and awards here.

Prawns with Dukkah, Lemon & Extra Virgin Olive Oil

28 Oct

The fish markets are the best place to get fresh seafood in Sydney (besides having a generous friend who likes to fish) and I rarely buy it anywhere else.

I bought some beautiful large prawns to have as entree for our family barbecue a few Sundays ago and they didn’t last long.

I have a bulk supply of pistachios on hand that I use for rolling my chocolate truffles in so I made some dukkah to go with the prawns.

1kg of prawns, peeled, deveined and tails left on
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh lemons

1/4 cup of freshly ground, roasted pistachios
2 tablespoons of golden sesame seeds (these are un-hulled and have more flavour than white sesame seeds)
1 teaspoon of cumin powder
1 teaspoon of coriander powder
A sprinkle of salt (I used Portuguese sea salt)
A sprinkle of chilli flakes

Natural yoghurt
Freshly chopped coriander, roots and leaves

Pan fry the prawns on high heat in some olive oil on both sides until they curl up, turn white and start to brown. They won’t take long to cook. Squeeze over a generous amount of lemon juice and transfer to a serving plate.

Sprinkle the hot prawns with salt and generously dust with the dukkah. Drizzle with good quality extra virgin olive oil and garnish with lots of fresh coriander. To serve, mix some fresh coriander through the yoghurt and place the bowl in the centre of the platter for dipping. Best eaten with your fingers.

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Sugar Free Super Food Muesli

21 Oct

I’m not into measuring when I cook unless it’s completely necessary. I like to use my instinct and senses – taste as I go along, use my hands where possible. So you’ll have to experiment to make this muesli or create your own version.

I prefer salty foods unless I’m really craving something sweet. So much so that I added some salt to my muesli (as usual) but no honey or coconut sugar.

As the base I used raw (not toasted) muesli mix (oats, pepitas, almonds, coconut, sesame seeds). The toasted ones tend to have canola or vegetable oil and maple syrup, honey and added sugar. They also seem to have a lot of raisins and sultanas.

I mixed in a generous amount of shredded coconut, more almonds and a few walnuts. I melted some extra virgin coconut oil and mixed it through the muesli mix in a baking tray with my hands.

I toasted it in a hot oven and kept stirring to ensure the top layer didn’t burn. The nuts and coconut contain high levels of natural oil and can burn quickly if you leave it for too long.

When it was toasted enough I added more coconut, dried goji berries and dried golden berries, chia seeds and crushed some whole cocoa nibs. I left it to cool before serving with natural yoghurt, blueberries and a heaped dessert spoon of Loving Earth Rainbow Super Food Blend

When the powder mixes with yoghurt it turns to a beautiful rich purple tone. You may need to add a little milk of your choice to stop the powder from sticking to the bowl.

This kept me full until late afternoon! I couldn’t even eat lunch. I did however manage to fit in a bowl of olives with a Gin & Tonic on my way to Sculptures By The Sea.

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Coconut, Cocoa & Hazelnut Smoothie

25 Aug

This is an adapted version of my coconut smoothie

Simply add:

1 dessert spoon of extra virgin coconut oil
1 dessert spoon of pure cocoa powder
6 roasted hazelnuts

Blend with the water and flesh of 1 young coconut and voila! I like the crunch of the hazelnut pieces and the texture of the coconut flesh.

Adapt the recipe to suit your taste and create a smoothie deserving of a royal ceremony complete with dancing girls wearing grass skirts and coconut bras!

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Sautéed Kale with Tahini and Sesame Oil Dressing

12 Aug

Well I completed my first City2Surf today and not being a runner I set myself a goal of 2 hours. So when the text message flashed on my phone showing 1:40:53 I was elated!

With adrenalin running through my body I made my way to the physio team tent. I do yoga with some of these people who have been running for years so it was great to swap stories. I was lucky enough to get a free massage while I was there too.

I moved on to my favourite book cafe for lunch and ended up having a round table style discussion with 2 South African men, a Jewish lady originally from Israel, her Northern European husband and another lady who joined us for a brief coffee.

It all began when my lentil stew drew attention. I told everyone I had just completed a 3 week detox and it turns out that the lady and her husband are just beginning. Her weakness is baking and she also finds detoxing difficult because of the big traditional Shabbat meal on Friday’s.

The only solution she has come up with so far is to become Christian but she said her kids would kill her! The diet she was raised on included lots of salad so she feels better on a lighter diet or even completely raw.

Her husband on the other hand needs hot food as do I. I really feel the cold more than most people so I prefer warming foods and don’t even like drinking cold water.

I explained how I’ve been craving tahini and cut out red meat. We both agreed that we don’t like acidic foods like oranges and also avoid capsicum. Due to the similarities in what the ladies’ husband and I like and dislike in food it’s possible I am also an A blood type. I’ve been told this many times but am yet to investigate.

The men beside me were drinking green tea (which I avoid) and hot water with fresh lemon, ginger and honey. We both agreed we would prefer it without honey but he forgot to mention that when ordering.

Getting back to cravings, I talked about eating lots of walnuts and the husband was so happy. His wife started challenging him and apparently they have been debating whether almonds or walnuts are better.

The South African man drinking the green tea said that the nuts need to be activated and I laughed as I told him how I always get in trouble from my friend about this.

The lady drinking coffee was fascinated by how much we all knew about this topic and left after a short while.

Everyone went back to their books and I proceeded to reply to all the text messages about my finishing time in the race. The lady started to ask me about the race and my exercise routine and it turns out she’s had training in virtually every sport and at one stage was working out for 2 hours a day.

I finished my stew, thanked the group for the lively discussion and headed towards the buses. I then met a young man who was in the military for 4 years and was dying for fresh vegetables anytime he went home.

He gave me tips on keeping up energy levels by increasing calcium (hence the tahini cravings) and magnesium to help with muscle cramps. He explained that he was going for a medical school entry interview tomorrow so opted not to paint his face bright red today in zombie style for the race just incase it didn’t all wash off.

So all in all I engaged in lots of stimulating conversations surrounding food and nutrition today.

Today was no exception when it comes to the tahini cravings so to get my daily dose I modified a previous recipe.

I sliced and sautéed some kale and broccolini and drizzled it with a dressing of tahini, sesame oil, lemon juice and salt. I served this over red quinoa that I cooked last night, smoked rainbow trout (something else I can’t get enough of lately) and topped it with chilli flakes and a mix of sesame seeds, seaweed and salt.

So I had a triple dose of sesame – tahini, sesame oil and sesame seeds. All that was left to do was eat… open sesame!

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Sunday Porridge

5 Aug

The sun was glorious this morning so I made breakfast to eat outside in the garden. This gave me energy for a jog around Centennial Park in preparation for City 2 Surf next Sunday!

1 cup of oats
1 pear peeled, cored and diced into cubes
Water
Turmeric powder
Cinnamon powder
Chia seeds
Sesame seeds
Walnuts
Extra virgin coconut oil
Himalayan pink salt

Put the oats in a small saucepan and cover with water. I use my own judgement with this and add more water during cooking if needed. Sprinkle in some turmeric, cinnamon and salt.

Bring to the boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the pear cubes and continue cooking. Stir to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the saucepan.

When the oats are cooked (I test by tasting it) serve into a bowl, mix through the desired amount of coconut oil (I use 1 teaspoon per serve) while the porridge is hot. Sprinkle with the nuts and seeds to suit your taste.

The pear adds just the right amount of natural sweetness.

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Coconut Smoothie

4 Aug

I’ve been on a detox for the past week and I have to say I’m feeling amazing. The first few days left me feeling tired, cranky and overly emotional but that has lifted.

I’ve eliminated alcohol, white rice and bread, potato, red meat, cow dairy, sugar, caffeine and mushrooms. I don’t drink coffee, black or green tea so that has been easy to avoid.

My daily diet includes brown rice, green vegetables, avocado, coconut oil, fish, walnuts, tahini, soups, lentils, hot water with lemon, goat’s dairy, the occasional slice of rye bread or egg.

I usually have a colonic irrigation every 6 to 12 months when I feel my body needs a cleanse. After my holiday to France, Italy and New York it was time to be selective about what I put into my body. I can only handle over indulgence for a short period.

I mention coconut regularly on my blog and last night I made a delicious smoothie. It’s so simple.

Break open a young coconut, drain the water and reserve. Scoop out the flesh and put it in the blender until it reaches a fine consistency. Add some of the coconut water and blend. Continue this until you reach the desired consistency.

You can add cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, green vegetables, parsley or whatever else you like but it really is perfect just like this.

On my way for the second colonic!

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Roasted Fennel, Blood Orange and Buffalo Mozzarella

24 Jul

During the warmer months I love to serve crisp fresh fennel sliced with blood orange and spanish onion.

I also crunch on fennel alone. It helps with digestion and I feel the effects immediately, even as I’m eating it. It has such a clean, fresh flavour.

Food that is so naturally beautiful and in season has to be good for you. Just looking at the stain glass pattern of these blood orange juice vesicles gives me an appreciation for this heavenly fruit.

My winter version of fennel and blood orange salad is just as simple and full of colour.

Serve this with roasted potatoes, pork and crackling and you may never want to eat a roast any other way.

1 large fennel bulb
2 blood oranges
1 buffalo mozzarella
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt

Rise the fennel and cut off the stalks. I reserve these to eat fresh while I’m cooking. Cut the fennel in half lengthwise and then in half again so you are left with quarters. Slice the quarters evenly and lay on a baking tray.

Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and bake at 200°c until they start to become golden and caramelised. They will still be firm but you can continue to cook them if you prefer a softer texture.

Peel and segment the oranges.

Remove the fennel from the oven and toss the orange segments into the baking tray so they are just warmed through. Layer the fennel and orange segments onto a serving dish.

Tear the mozzarella using your hands and scatter over the top. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Garnish with some fennel fronds for colour and a touch of that trademark anise taste.

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