Saturday, 11 December 2010

Crunchy Granola Suite 2- Spicy Pear Gingergbread Muesli

It's taken me a while to get to posting this. I've made this muesli twice now. The first time was disappointing, which was very sad, perhaps I expected too much of it. I made a few mistakes with the first attempt. I tried cooking it with the oven fan on- not a good idea, it was much too dark, almost burnt- don't do it. I didn't put enough spice in, and I actually found the sugar a bit much. 

So, this time, I've cut back the sugar and ramped up the spices. I love gingerbread, and was keen to try to flavour a muesli this way. I have a wonderful Herbie's spice mix- Quartre Epices Sweet that helped with the genesis of this idea. A heady mix of allspice, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. I love the warm spiciness of those wonderful, flavourful aromas of gingerbread and it's relatives like pain d'epices and speculaas. The other muse for my muesli making exploits was Wayfaring Chocolate, who makes a mean looking muesli when she's not wayfaring, or scarfing down chocolate (although she insists on calling it granola)

  • 2  cups  rolled oats (not instant)
  • 2/3 cup rolled barley
  • 1 cup (120g) pepitas
  • 1  (20mL) Logicane Low GI sugar
  • 3 tblsp (60mL) golden syrup
  • 1 tblsp (20mL) sesame oil
  • 1 tblsp (20mL) canola oil
  • 1 tsp quatre epices- sweet (allspice, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2/3 cup (140g) dried pears, rehydrated, drained, and chopped

1. Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F). Mix oats, barley and pepitas in a bowl.

2. In a separate, larger bowl, whisk together the sugar, molasses, sesame and canola oils, and spices. Tip the oats and pepitas into the wet ingredients and stir well to combine.
3. Spread the mix onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes,  take out and stir  to avoid its edges burning.
4. Add  the chopped pears and stir through, then put muesli back in the oven for another 8-10 minutes, until starting to look toasted. Remember, the muesli will crisp up as it cools.
5. Eat multiple handfuls from the baking tray as the muesli cools.

Barley is very low GI, in fact one of the lowest GI foods. Sadly rolled barley is moderate GI, but I still have more than half a packet in the cupboard, so it needs to be used up. And the overall GI should still be low.
Last time the moisture from the rehydrated pears kept the muesli soggy instead of delightfully crisp. But the texture of the pears was much improved, so I hydrated them again, and then baked them separately, and stored them separately, and just put some on each morning for breakfast. 

I particularly love cinnamon and can't usually get enough of it. So I added some extra. And a touch of ginger- I can't believe I didn't think to add it the first time. I've had this a few days now for breakfast and I think next time I'll add even more spice- it's not quite there yet for me. 

I've used golden syrup in this twice now, and despite me thinking that it would be Fantastic, you don't get much of a note from it. I think I will try another syrup next time- molasses or treacle perhaps. I've got a rather large jar of treacle lurking in the back of the pantry. It's always fun to find a use for something that has otherwise been rendered useless. 

Monday, 29 November 2010

Indian Spiced Kumara

We here at Adventures are happy to be featuring ingredients riding on the crest of popularity. Last week it was ingredient of the moment quinoa. All gluten free and trendy. Today it's kumara. It's in vogue. It could save African children from dyingKumara is the Maori word for sweet potato, and is replacing sweet potato as a term in Australia as well as New Zealand. I like the sound of it. Kumara.

I love kumara, and I love dates. So this recipe for Sweet Indian-Spiced Sweet Potato cried out to me for me to make it when I saw it a week or so ago. It's almost low GI, well, medium GI probably, possibly low GI. And it tastes great, so that's good. Of course, I tinkered, through both necessity and desire. And it was good.

Kumara is medium GI (61). Dates are low GI- although I'm not sure how this can really be- (39-45), a veritable health food. I like to think of medjool dates as nature's caramel.

The observant among you will notice slightly more than 6. No point in cooking with dates and not having a cooks treat. 

Indian-Spiced Kumara

2 kumaras, diced
6 medjool dates, pitted and chopped
2 tblsp sultanas
1 tblsp soy sauce
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/3 cup water

Steam kumara in microwave until tender. Set aside in a bowl.

Place the rest of the ingredients in a blender, and blend until creamy.

Pour sauce over the kumara, stir to combine. Season if desired.

The original recipe had sugar but I used wondrous sweet medjool dates, and it really was quite sweet enough, I think it would have been cloying with added sugar, it was more than fine without.
It's probably a bit silly to use both garam masala and curry powder. I can't imagine that this is a tradition use of indian spices by any stretch. But I didn't have any chili powder in the house. And it worked out ok.

This was a really versatile dish. I served it with couscous (medium GI 65) and green veg (asparagus and zucchini this week), and it made a great work lunch. My lunch is almost vegan, well apart from the butter I use to cook my couscous, but you could avoid that, I don't want to.

I used some for my pizza this week.

Indian spiced kumara, red onion and capsicum pizza

I turned leftovers into wraps on the weekend, the sweet note was really nice then too.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Japanese Quinoa Salad

Oops I did it again. I was half way through making this before I realised that it was Accidentally Vegan (well it would be if you use vegetable stock, which I did and leave out the honey I guess). It could be gluten free, if you used the tamari (I think that's GF, although I'm not a GF expert).

It's great where inspiration can strike. Thumbing through this weeks Good Living (the Tuesday Food and Wine supplement in the Sydney Morning Herald) my eyes lit up at the kids recipe- a spinoff from the Junior Masterchef phenomenon no doubt. Japanese Quinoa Salad.

I had some fabulous quinoa in the pantry and thought it would look fantastic in this salad.

Actually I think it looks prettier uncooked and in the packet, but it's still a nice effect.

Japanese Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 large carrot, peeled, julienned, blanched
1/2 red capsicum (bell pepper), julienned
Large handful snow peas, topped, blanched
1 small cucumber, washed, julienned
1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped
1/2 cup cashews, toasted, roughly chopped
1 toasted nori sheet, ripped into bite sized pieces
2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
Baby spinach leaves, washed

Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp finely grated ginger
1 tsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp honey, optional

Wash the quinoa by rinsing it in cold water and strain well. Put washed quinoa and stock into a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil, then lower heat, cook over low to medium heat for 25 minutes, or until soft, and water absorbed. Set aside.

Combine cooled quinoa, carrots, capsicum, snow peas, cucumber and spinach. Add the coriander, cashews, sesame seeds (reserving some to serve).

To make the dressing, mix all ingredients and stir lightly.

Dress the salad and toss lightly, sprinkle with nori and extra sesame seeds.

OMG I can't believe how delicious this salad is. My new favourite lunch, and I haven't even had a chance to blog my old favourite lunch yet. Interestingly, both involve quinoa. Although not all quinoa experiments are as successful as I found out today when I toyed with a sweet quinoa dish.

Suggested as suitable for 8-12 year olds to make, but is easy enough for adults to make too.

I can't stand raw carrot, and think it's actually inedible, and since I've already eaten some once this year, I decided to modify this recipe by cooking the carrots, and greening it up, with some snow peas and spinach. I was planning to add asparagus (just because I love it, and the season will end soon) but the stuff available yesterday was about as thick as my forearm, and didn't look appealing.

I  upped the amount of cashews because it seemed a bit stingy, and you can never have too many cashews now can you? And I doubled the amount of coriander, just because I love it so.

I just realised I forgot the ginger from the dressing! Oops. Still delicious. I used the honey, I may try it without, I was planning to, but it really is delicious as is, did I mention that? So now I don't really want to mess with perfection.

 Because this makes a reasonable amount of salad, and since I'm using it for work lunches it will last me the majority of the week, so I only made up the quinoa, carrot and capsicum. Then each day I add fresh greens to it in my lunch box. And I carry little containers with the seeds/nuts/nori/dressing to keep them fresh and crunchy, to keep the texture nice. No point in having soggy salad just because you're at work, there has to be one highlight to the day.

I'm planning on topping it with the asian flavoured tofu that I have lurking in the fridge (no-one else in the house is in danger of touching it!), but didn't get around to that today. I'm sure it would work with a tin of soy beans mixed through as well.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Little did I know when I started eating low GI a few months ago that I would end up with Gluten Free, Sugarless Chocolate in my paws. It wasn't an expected turning for me. This is not the sort of food product that I would have even noticed a few short months ago. And possibly I know why.

I'm always rather concerned when my food contains warnings. Particularly if they need to warn that Excess Consumption may have a Laxative Effect. Great. How much is Excess? Will one block cause me to run to the loo? One line? Half a block? Eight kilos of it? How much? This warning is because the first ingredient I now notice (more than cocoa butter which comes second in the Lemon White Chocolate) is maltitol. Maltitol is an artificial sweetener, which is poorly absorbed (thus the diarrhoea warnings), and so even though it has a moderate GI (69 in my book, but I see different and lower values on the web), it has little effect on blood sugar levels. Ah, wiki tells me that the United States classes maltitol in the Generally Recognised as Safe club, and that the potential laxative effect may occur if more than 100 gm/day is consumed. Whew, I've never got near that.

The thing that most concerns me about maltitol without googling it for hours is that it is made from corn. I haven't read all of Michael Pollan's work, but I have read part of the corn section in The Omnivore's Dilemma. He talks about the dangers of monocultures in agriculture, and how this forces us into heavier reliance on fossil fuels and chemicals to negate natural pests. He also tells us that the carbon in corn is naturally different so that scientists can test meals to see how much of the carbon came from corn (I can't remember the intricacies of how), and if you pulverise a hamburger from a fast food "restaurant" then I think it was something like 70% of the carbon came from corn! Although this article on the Scientific American site, gives a figure of up to 93%! All rather frightening. 

This first low GI chocolate experience one wasn't too bad, I think. I don't remember it being awful at any stretch (I bought this a month or two ago, near the start of the blog, and I didn't realise that I would use it here). I don't remember it very well actually, I may have to try it again to be sure. 
Why, why can't I turn this around?

I had high hopes for this next one. I'm not sure why. Perhaps I do have an underlying optimistic streak after all? The girl in the chemist (yes, that is where this sort of treat lurks, in the chemist, that should have been warning) gushed about how nice this particular chocolate was when I bought it, she said the staff had all tried it and thought it was really nice. 

Sadly, it wasn't Really Nice. In fact it wasn't even nice. It was Awful. The artificial lemon smell was really quite overpowering and smelt like they may actually manufacture this in the Shower Power factory. That fake lemon smell is ok, if you want to clean the bathroom, but if you want to eat a yummy chocolate, well, it's not what you're looking for. Why is it only when I get it home and open the packet, I see the Artificial Vanilla and Lemon Flavours padding out the ingredient list?

The chocolate itself I found soapy with a grainy texture. It was Awful.

I've just noticed a warning on the back of the pack, that it isn't recommended for kids under 3 years of age. You know, if they can't eat it, then I don't want to either. Although that doesn't apply to everything of course. They can't eat whole nuts because they might choke on them, but at least they aren't considered toxic. 

Oh great and I just noticed it was expired (08 2010). Urgh. I can't imagine that explains my experience, but it's still annoying. And should have been another clue.

I surely must be an optimist, as on a recent trip to Bathurst, I was caught short without adequate supplies of antihistamines and panadol, so as I fronted up to the counter at the chemist (oh dear God I'm in there again) I noticed this little packet. Now I'm not a great fan of Darrel Lea chocolate as a rule. They do make a Chocolate Caramel Snow Bar that I liked as a youngster, but I generally don't buy any of their stuff from year to year. So, I'm not quite sure why I bought it, but I did. 

To be fair, it had quite a reasonable snap when I broke a piece off. It looked ok. But it wasn't good in the mouth. It almost tasted like compound chocolate with a nasty edge to it, so much so that it was a bit of a struggle to finish even this modest 50gm bar. But finish it I did, although it did take a couple of days. 

Monday, 15 November 2010

Never a dull moment with lentils

The Young Ones may never have had a dull moment with lentils, but I imagine that the rest of us have. Lentils have a bad reputation, not altogether fully deserved I believe. I have made and loved a brown rice and lentil soup for 15-20 years. I'm well aware that it does sound Rather Awful. But everyone who has tried it always wants the recipe.

Lentils are low gi wonders. They are nutritional powerhouses- full of protein, fibre and nutrients. And they are tasty too. There are different varieties to play with as well. I used some Australian grown Puy style lentils that I had lying about the house.

Browsing through the Essential Ingredient recently I noticed they have some black lentils, which I think they called Lentil Caviar. That is possibly going a bit far, but I know what kind of lentils I'll be trying next.

So my eyes lit up when flipping through the latest issue of Cuisine (a marvellous food mag from New Zealand) and I saw Ray McVinnie's current Quick Smart article. More a series of food suggestions than actual recipes, this month he features lots of delicious suggestions for grains, pasta and pulses- all right up my low GI alley.

Lots of fabulous suggestions- Spicy Quinoa and Pork, Barley and Asparagus Bake, Orzo with Roast Pumpkin and Kumara. The one that really caught my eye first was Lentil Egg Salad. It looked the perfect weekday work lunch suggestion. Easy to prepare ahead, yummy, and an excuse to have some bacon and eggs, and call it healthy.

Lentil Egg Salad

Boil some green or brown lentils in plenty of water with half an onion, a carrot and a stick of celery until the lentils are tender. Drain, discard the vegetables, toss the lentils in a little extra virgin olive oil, season and serve in a salad with cos leaves, soft-poached eggs, watercress sprigs, crisp bacon, capers, walnuts and a dressing made by pouring a big splash of red wine vinegar into the fat in the hot bacon pan after the bacon has been added to the salad.

I cooked up a batch of lentils and then made it into quite a different lunch each day for the week.  I think it's quite a hangover from my (lengthy) student days that I can quite happily eat the same thing for 3 or 4 days in a row. By day 5 though even my tolerance is wearing a bit thin. This lunch was good for padding out a week, it was reasonably different each day depending on what left overs I had to play around with. One day I used the leftover mango and blueberry salsa.

Another day I had some chopped mushrooms, corn and capsicum. It was quite the production in the staff dining room, cutting my egg and avocado and shelling pistachios.

I forgot to take photos of the first few days, which I thought were the best with leftover asparagus and mashed kumara. You could use basically anything and get a different, tasty, low GI lunch every day.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Roasted Broadbeans

These have to be one of the biggest surprises of my "low GI journey" thus far. I would never have predicted that I would like broad beans, or indeed that I would try- and like roasted broadbeans. I remember being vaguely apprehensive about even buying them, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. They appear to be more aimed at modern middle class mums looking to put something other than chips or muesli bars into their youngsters lunch box for school- billed as "lunch box Fava-rites". Oh dear. We get it. 

But 40 somethings on a low GI path can enjoy them too. They are actually a tasty snack as claimed. I've never been much of a one for a packet of crisps. Indeed, I'd buy something like that maybe once every five to ten years, but these are good for those moments when you need some crunch and salt. They even make an easy snack to slip into your bag to take to the movies, and to share with your unsuspecting, but immediately suspicious friend- who turned out to like them too. 

And they do seem moderately healthy. They are low GI. A good source of protein. The fat is probably a bit high, but given they're packaged in handy portion controlled 25 gram packets- that only gives you a modest 6.1 grams of fat. And I like that the ingredients are all those with names, not numbers.
 Even better, we're doing a good thing for the environment by eating them, as broad beans are one of the "green manure" crops used to fix nitrogen and replenish the soil after other crops have been grown.

And we get a tasty snack out of the deal too:

Even the dog likes them:
Please Sir may I have some more?

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Dining Out Low GI

It is possible! Even in a relatively small town, with a small range of options. I've been lucky enough to have a few meals out in the past few weeks. This is what I chose that didn't blow the GI budget.

Lunch with a friend and Mr Adventures at Bensons. You have to love the pumpkin, walnut and fetta salad on the lunch menu. Sadly the oven had been set to scorch for the pumpkin that day- it was almost petrified in texture. Still tasted ok. And I never buy red leaves to eat at home, but they always make them taste nice.

And then an excuse to have breakfast at Benson's with Grandma Adventures. I've long loved the mushrooms and spinach on toast. It's cooked in a garlicky sauce. Yum. Now you can have an option extra of a poached egg. Of course I ordered grain bread under that pile of veg. And I had a green tea instead of the usual smoothie treat that (used to) I like.

A family lunch at the Union Bank- chickpea felafel wrap with salad. Probably not what I would previously have ordered. But it was tasty. And as everyone else ordered fish and chips, and as the serves are very large, I got to eat a piece of fish too.

Master Adventures loves a cheese plate. He made short work of this. I must admit to helping. Those dried apricots were by far the best I've ever had. Must find out what brand they use, they were astonishing. The cheese was great too, and the little pot of fruit paste- possbily peach- absolutely delicious. I tried a dried muscatel- they still don't work for me- all those little seed. Blech.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Broad Bean Felafel Fritters

My broad bean experimentation continued with another recipe from the same Sydney Morning Herald article (Caroline Velik, Spring Means Beans, 28/9/10). This time for Broad bean felafel fritters with minted yoghurt. I never got around to making the minted yoghurt as I had plenty of homemade cheese that I was experimenting with at this time.

These delicious fritters combine broad beans with chickpeas. Chickpeas are low gi and help to counteract the medium gi rating of the broadbeans, making these fritters a low gi treat.

I was Really Surprised at how much I loved these. They are absolutely delicious. I would love to make these for most of the year. Sadly the broad bean season is quite short, so I bought another kilo of broad beans today, so I can enjoy another batch of these soon. Best thing is my husband doesn't like chickpeas, has convinced himself that he doensn't like broad beans either, so I get to eat all of these without any competition.

Broad Bean Felafel Fritters

1kg fresh broad beans
400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup loosely packed coriander (cilantro) leaves
1 cup loosely packed mint leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 red chilli, seeded and sliced
1/2 lemon, zest and juice
1/2 cup plain flour for dusting
Vegetable oil for frying

Remove broad beans from their outer shells. Bring a pot of water to the boil, add beans and cook for a couple of minutes until soft. Remove and drain. Peel off outer pod and set aside. Put beans and chickpeas in a food processor and pulse to combine.

Add coriander, mint, salt, pepper, garlic, spices, lemon zest and juice and pulse until finely chopped.

Use your hands to shape the mixture into 10-12 small patties, then lightly dust with flour to coat.

Heat oil in a large frying pan and cook fritters on both sides until lightly browned. Drain on paper towel and set aside. 

The picture suggestion in the original article just had the fritters, with minted yoghurt served with a rocket salad. I decided to make a wrap, with avocado, rocket, grape kumatos, and homemade soft cheese. It was fantastic. The fritters are so light and fresh tasting compared to regular felafels. Wonderful. These fritters are absolutely delicious. If you're trying to eat low GI or not. They're just delicious, my favourite sort of low GI experience- food that you'd choose to eat regardless.

The minted yoghurt was just 1 cup plain yoghurt, mixed with 2 tblsp shredded mint leaves.
These could be gluten free if you use a gluten free flour at the end, and using a gluten free wrap obviously. 

Saturday, 30 October 2010

White Bean Puree, or my Accidental Vegan, and Almost Raw, Lunch

Inspiration can strike any time or any place it seems- even in the Staff Dining Rooms of the world. Not for the food that exists there obviously, it really is uninspired and pedestrian, and sometimes downright inedible. But occasionally you may find an old Women's Weekly lying about, that has an attractive sounding recipe. Such as this one from November 2009. Truth be told, I'm sure that this edition would also be lurking about somewhere in the house too, but I found it in the Staff Dining Room. And today it became my Accidentally Vegan Lunch. Vegan isn't quite my thing. It's fine for those who want it of course, and fine for the occasional lunchtime dalliance. But I'm not vegan, and I'm not even vegetarian.

How I made it look for the photo

Butter beans are low GI (I used ready canned ones, which have a GI of 36, if I'd been more prepared and cooked them at home, then the GI is even lower!)

White Bean Puree

300gm can butter beans, rinsed and drained

40gm ground almonds
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 medium clove garlic, crushed
45 mL extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra, to serve
sea salt, ground white pepper
ras el hanout

1. Process beans, almonds, lemon juice and garlic in a food processor until smooth

2. With motor running gradually add the olive oil until thick and creamy. Season

3. Transfer mixture to a saucepan. Stir over low heat until warm. Transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with ras el hanout.

How it looked when I actually ate it. 

Of course I modified the recipe.
The original recipe called for a 400gm tin of cannellini beans, and I only had a 300gm tin of butter beans. So I used those, and did a 3/4 recipe.

I was distracted, and so added most of the oil, before realising I was supposed to blend the other stuff first (Note to self- read the recipe all the way through- hey I just noticed the warm it up in a saucepan bit- I didn't do that either, hmmmm I really need to make this again, and have a go at making the recipe, I will try warming the leftovers tomorrow), not that I think it mattered a whole lot. My texture was more rustic than thick and creamy. Still tasted fine.

The ras el hanout is my own addition. I have a magnificent tin of it that I got from Maha in Melbourne on my last visit. Just the smell of it is intoxicating. Which you need, just in case you accidentally make yourself a Vegan Lunch. You could of course use a myriad of other spices- sumac, za'atar for instance.

I hate raw carrot (nearly as much as celery), so I peeled them lightly to make them (marginally) more palatable. This was a bit too much of "eat what's good for you", and I still have at least half a bunch of baby carrots for tomorrow. Oh goody. I think I might have to blanch them too.

Ok, so the beans are cooked, and I blanched the asparagus.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Cucumber Rounds with Smoked Salmon

It's fun to take inspiration and ideas from lots of different sources for foods that taste great and still fit within my new low GI world. Because if it doesn't taste great, then really, well, I don't want to eat it anyway.

This quick and easy hors d'oeuvre came about as a suggestion in Curves Fitness and Weight Management Plan book, that my lovely friend Veronica gave to me.

The photograph isn't all that good, something about my skills as a photographer's wife I fear. Perhaps I'll remake them sometime soon and get a better shot. 

Easy as. It's simply smoked salmon and cream cheese on rounds of cucumber used instead of crackers. I had some sheeps yoghurt cheese to use up the night I made these so I used that instead of cream cheese. Even Mr World ate them, although there was some grumbling about the non-use of crackers.

Creamy Vegetable and Barley Soup

I've been wanting to make this soup for a few years now. A combination of a snowy weekend (in Spring!) and my low GI leanings finally spurred me on. I'd wondered about it before- lots of vegies, and using skim milk powder for the Creamy part is unusual and something I hadn't used before. My version is  based on a recipe from diabetes 2 by Jody Vassallo, part of the Health for Life series.

For some reason I seem to forget to take photos of meals that I mainly make for lunch. So this is the very last time I ate it, when I added some left over creamed corn to it to pad it out. Not exactly representative of the soup, but you get the idea.

Barley has one of the lowest GI values of any carbohydrate food (25), and it actually lowers the GI of any meal. It's not a food that I have eaten all that frequently, but I can sense that it may be in my future. I have used it in soups a few times, but not regularly, and have never tried it as a side dish. There is a recipe for Pesto Barley in the same book that might be tasty.

Creamy Vegetable and Barley Soup

1 cup (195g/6 1/2 oz) pearl barley
2 tsp canola oil
4 eschallots
2 large carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium parsnip, chopped
2 medium zucchini (courgette), thickly sliced
300 g (10oz) pumpkin, chopped
Sea salt, freshly ground pepper
2 large sprigs thyme
6 cups (1.5L/48 fl oz) hot reduced salt vegetable stock
1 cup (150g/5 oz) fresh or frozen peas
1 cup (200g/6 1/2 oz) fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 cup (100g/ 3 1/3 oz) skim milk powder
2 tblsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 Put the barley into a large pan, cover with water and cook over medium heat for 40 minutes or until the barley is soft. Add extra water during cooking if the barley is drying out. Drain well.

2 Heat the canola oil in a large pan, add the eschallots, carrot and celery. Cover and sweat over low heat for 10 minutes until soft.

3 Add the parsnip, pumpkin, thyme and stock and bring to the boil. Season to taste. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add zucchini. Cook for a further 15 minutes until vegetables are soft.

4 Add the peas, corn, and barley and simmer for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked. Add skim milk powder and parsley.

Serves 6

per serve fat 4.5 g, protein 17.5 g, carbohydrate 48.5g, fibre 10.5g, cholesterol 5.5mg, energy 1280 kJ (305 cal), gi 38 low

I made quite a few modifications to the recipe, with ingredients and technique.
The recipe called for leek but as there were no leeks available when I made this,  I substituted 4 eschallots. For some reason onion terminology is very confusing in different countries, this is what an Australian means by eschallot or french shallot.

Even though the zucchini were thickly sliced, I didn't want to cook them for half an hour so I added them 15 minutes in.
I'm always suspicious of recipes with no seasoning, and don't think they taste all that good, so I added salt, pepper and a couple of large sprigs of thyme (just because I'd bought some for something else so had it on hand)
The original recipe added the peas, corn and milk powder at the same time. The milk powder bubbled up and looked lumpy. I would add it at the end, after the peas and corn had cooked.
It was quite nice, I'd be happy to make it again.
Cross-posted to soupsoupglorioussoup

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Blueberry Salsa

Is there anything better than smoked chicken salads as the weather starts to warm? Perhaps it can only be bettered by adding a delicious blueberry salsa. I've just rediscovered this recipe. I used to make it years ago, in those halcyon days before children I suspect. The blueberries in the past few weeks have been sensational, wonderfully sweet, and I began reminiscing.

This recipe is from one of Donna Hay's earliest books- At My Table, which has been out of print for some time I believe. I remember this book was the first time I discovered Donna Hay. I bought it when I was seconded to Albury in my intern year in 1998, oh so long ago. It has stacks of great recipes, lots of which I used to make. And lots of the recipes fit perfectly into the low GI lifestyle.

It's quick, ever so simple and tastes fab. And it gives you an excuse to have some extra mango lying about the house- never a bad thing, even if you've done too good a job at encouraging your child to like mango, and he becomes stiff competition for leftover mango.

Blueberry Salsa

250gm (8oz) blueberries
1/2 mango, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 tblsp (20mL) soft brown sugar
3 tblsp (60mL) raspberry vinegar

Place the blueberries, mango, onion, sugar and vinegar in a bowl and mix to combine.

The smoked chicken from Woolies is wonderful. The smoked chicken from the Masterchef supermarket sucks.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Balsamic Tomato Salsa

This was Absolutely Fantastic. I'll be making this again and again. My favourite kind of food to cook at home, wether I'm on a low GI diet or not. Ridiculously easy to make, and tastes glorious. I'm already thinking of different ways to use it. It would be great with salmon or lamb. You could adapt it to make a delicious pasta sauce, use it as a sandwich/wrap filling. It would have been nice with some shaved parmesan added on top.

The recipe was from the Sunday Telegraph Body + Soul last week (17/10/10), and reprinted from the October issue of Good Taste. The recipe as presented was for Chicken with Silverbeet and Balsamic Tomato Salsa, which would have been all low GI. Making it for a 9 year old as well as myself I didn't risk the silverbeet and chickpea combo (even though he likes chickpeas), instead using some pasta and vegies.

Balsamic Tomato Salsa

200gm punnet grape tomatoes, halved
1tbsp balsamic vinegar
Sea salt, ground pepper
2 tblsp pine nuts
1 tblsp snipped fresh chives

Heat oven to 190C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place tomato, cut side up, on tray. Drizzle over vinegar. Season to taste. Bake for 5 minutes. Add pine nuts and bake for 4-5 minutes or until tomato collapses and pine nuts are toasted. Transfer tomato, pine nuts and pan juices to a bowl. Add chives and toss to combine.

Because I was making this for a child to eat, I only used about 2/3 of the balsamic vinegar (he didn't like it anyway, but did eat some). The child of course had a higher ratio of pasta on his plate- bribery is everything. He decided that he almost liked the pine nuts so that's a win.
It took much longer than 9-10 minutes in my oven (everything always does, I suspect it's the oven)
We had mashed kumara, with the cauliflower and asparagus.
I was hoping to use grape kumatoes (or tomaccoes as Mr Adventures refers to them) but of course there was none at the shops yesterday.