So Can You Cook? 38

Saturday is Takeaway!

nu⋅tri⋅tion  [noo-trish-uhn,
1.the act or process of nourishing or of being nourished.
2.the science or study of, or a course of study in, nutrition, esp. of humans.
3.the process by which organisms take in and utilize food material.; nutriment.
5.the pursuit of this science as an occupation or profession.
1375–1425; late ME < LL nūtrītiōn- (s. of nūtrītiō) a feeding, equiv. to L nūtrīt(us) (ptp. of nūtrīre to feed, nourish ) + -iōn- -ion

Related forms:
nu⋅tri⋅tion⋅al, nu⋅tri⋅tion⋅ar⋅y, adjective
nu⋅tri⋅tion⋅al⋅ly, adverb

So, now that we know what nutrition is, we can cast all that aside, and make some decisions about it for ourselves. We are adults…right!

It doesn’t matter whether you watch the morning programs on tv, or the so-called current affairs programs at night, there is bound to be someone, at some stage, telling you what you should, or more often than not, should not eat. I don’t know about you, but I get a bit sick of it. Okay, I don’t eat the super diet that I supposedly should be consuming, but my diet, by and large,isn’t all that bad. I do cook my own meals 4-5 nights a week, and they do usually involve salads, meat, poultry, fish, fruit and vegetables, so they are what I consider to be reasonably balanced. I eat breakfast, I have a light lunch, and that on its own is pretty good going as far as I’m concerned. However, I refuse to be a food nazi, someone who views food as ‘just fuel for the body’, or an out and out vegetarian or vegan. I like meat, and no one with a sense of rightious superiority is going to tell me that I shouldn;t eat it. I don’t believe in diets (and aren’t there some idiotic diets out there!), nor do I believe in stupid trends like ‘detox’ diets. Anyone with half a brain knows that the kidneys and liver are there specifically to do that – detox. If they are working properly, they don’t need any help, though those making money out of the products probably don’t agree.

But what it really boils down, anda point that is often ignored, is to enjoy eating, making it a pleasure and something that can be used to help you wind down and relax. My lazy night of the week is Saturday night. I don’t cook – full-stop. It can be a pizza, or hamburgers, or fish & chips or even – heaven forbid – one of the three or four times a year when I will say “let’s do Hungry Jacks”. But we do it, and we enjoy it because we are not doing it all the time. And as for comfort foods, well they are just that, as are junk foods provided they aren’t the be all and end all of your diet. I enjoy my “Krispy Kremes”, and my potato chips and chocolate (Mmm), and during winter my hot chocolate with a couple of ‘Tim Tams’,
and nobody is going to make me feel guilty about it. I drink full-cream milk, eat full-fat cheese and have about 4-6 eggs a week (not to mention the bacon I often have it with). And it is the enjoyment aspect of it that I like to emphasise. I eat healthy meals on most occasions, and I can see absolutely nothing wrong with a treat or a comfort food being thrown in there when I feel like it. It is all about balance, and not feeling guilty about having a little extra something here or there.

So, the following recipes are for for the 4-5 nights a week when we do eat healthy, nutitious meals – what we do the rest of the time is nobodies business…so enjoy.

A couple of these are from my favourite Aussie chef Bill Grainger.

Toasted Grain & Nut Cereal:
125g unsalted butter
¾ cup honey
1½ teaspoons vanilla essence
500g rolled oats
1 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup shredded coconut
¾ cup unsalted pumpkin seeds
1 cup rye flakes (try Health Food stores)
1 cup chopped, dried fruit such as sultanas, apricots or apples

Preheat oven to 170°C. Place butter, honey and essence in s small saucepan. Cook gently over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until honey and butter are combined. Place remaining ingredients, except fruit, in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Slowly stir in the butter mixture, making sure that each grain is evenly coated. Spread the cereal over a large baking tray and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the grains are crisp and very lightly browned.. Stir occasionally to stop mixture sticking to the baking dish.
Remove cereal from oven and allow to cool. Add dried fruit, and stir through evenly.
The muesli can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
MAKES 1.5 kg

Goat’s Cheese and Lentil Salad w/Roasted Beetroot
4 medium-sized beetroots
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
! Cup of Puy lentils
¼ cup diced Spanish onion
¼ cup seeded and diced tomato
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
To serve:
Mint leaves
8 asparagus spears, blanched and cooled
200g goat’s cheese
Extra-virgin olive oil, to drizzle

Preheat oven to 220°C. Place beetroot in a small baking dish and drizzle with the olive oil, salt & pepper. Cover with foil, place in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a knife. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Set aside.
Placelentils with 1½ cups water in a medium saucepan, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain.
Place warm lentils, Spanish onion, tomato, extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar, salt 7 pepper in a bowl, stir and set aside.
Peel beetroots by rubbing gently with your hands (I recommend using gloves, and wear an apron) until they come off. Slice beetroot vertically into 1cm thick slices.
Stir mint & parsley through lentils.
To serve, Divide lentils amonst 4 plates, top with a few sprigs of mint and the asparagus. Slice goat’s cheese into generous slices and place on top. Add beetroot, and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.

Spicy Chicken Salad with Lime:
4 Chicken breast fillets
Olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cucumber
1 cup coriander
1 cup mint leaves
1 teaspoon ground Szechuan peppercorns (spice section of supermarket)
1 tablespoon fish sauce (or to taste)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
To serve;
2 cups finely shredded iceberg lettuce
Lime wedges

Preheat oven to 200°C. Brush chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brown chicken in a frying pan, then transfer to a baking dish. Bake in oven for 15 minutes or until the juice runs clear when pierced with a knife or skewer. Remove from the oven, and leave to rest for 20 minutes. Shred chicken into strips.
Slice the cucumber in half lengthways, and remove seeds using a teaspoon and discard. Slice thinly on the diagonal.
Place chicken, cucumber, coriander and mint in a large bowl. Sprinkle with Szechuan pepper, fish sauce, sesame oil, lime juice and spring onion and toss until well combined.
To serve, divide iceberg lettuce among 4 plates and pile chicken mixture on top. Serve with extra lime wedges.

Fresh Tomato Pasta:
1kg vine-ripened tomatoes
1 tablespoon sea salt
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
300g spaghetti
1 cup lightly packed basil leaves, torn
To serve;
Parmigiano Reggiano

Score a cross in the base of each tomato. Place tomatoes in a large bowl and pour boiling water over them. Drain after 10 seconds, then peel the skin away from the cross. Halve the tomatoes, and squeeze to remove the seeds and excess juice (or use a teaspoon to scoop them out). Chop tomato flesh roughly, place in a sieve over a bowl and sprinkle with sea salt. Leave to drain for 30 minutes.
Place drained tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and zest, garlic chilli and pepper in a bowl and stir. Leave for 20 minutes for flavours to combine.
Cook the spaghetti in rapidly boiling salted water according to packet instructions, Drain well. Toss through the tomatoes with torn basil leaves and serve with freshly shaved Parmigiano Reggiano

Tim Alderman
Copyright 2014


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