Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Le Cru in Epicure today

Congratulations to Le Cru on appearing in today's Epicure (The Age). I guess it would have been nice if the reviewer had an understanding of the cuisine. On the other hand, it is interesting to read how it looks to the standard restaurant reviewer.

This is typically the situation when some brave soul breaks new ground. At first no one really understands (you might even be thought a little crazy). After all, there's nothing to compare it to except the prevailing paradigm. Then an inkling of understanding slips through as the idea becomes more accepted. Finally it seems to become a part of the terrain. We only have to look at how vegetarian food is now a standard item on most menus (i mean, at least you can order a vegetarian meal and the chef won't look at you strangely).

Helena's tips for dining out on raw food.
Unless you are going to Le Cru for the evening, choose a good quality restaurant known for fine cuisine. Don't worry about prices, after all there's only so much they can charge for beautifully prepared fresh vegetables. Then, when you order, look for a fresh salad on the menu and ask for that. Check that they don't add any cheese or cooked vegetables and ask if you can have the dressing "on the side". You may want to check what is in the dressing, particularly if you are vegan as well as raw and don't want honey in your food.
If nothing on the menu is to your liking, then you can always ask if the chef could prepare you something using only fresh vegetables. You could, for example, suggest a garden salad with avocado.
If the restaurant really cares about their food they will be only too happy to explain how they prepare the dishes on the menu. A good chef will enjoy the challenge of creating a dish for your needs (though some do rile at the thought of preparing a meal with only vegetables, as this is still generally not considered a "real" meal).
It is that easy. No need to make excuses, or present a big list of what you can't eat. Just know that a good chef is more than capable of preparing a decent salad with fresh greens, and a good quality restaurant will always have a stock of fresh vegetables.
There are now a few places that also serve organic food, though in most restaurants the organic fare is limited to the meat, dairy, eggs and coffee. Funny that. Did you want chemicals in your lettuce?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Pad Thai Noodles with Spinach Curry Sauce

Spinach, known as the popeye vegetable, has been the mantra to many a growing child. Eat your spinach and you'll have muscles like popeye. And it is true. Spinach is one of the best plant sources of iron, but remember that absorption of iron from plant sources is greatly improved when combined with foods high in Vitamin C. In the Pad Thai noodles recipe below grapefruit not only gives it that smart tangy flavour, but also serves to improve the uptake of iron from the spinach.

Just as important as iron for muscular and bone strength is Vitamin K. Spinach is one of the high sources of Vitamin K, along with kale and cauliflower. As well as promoting bone health, it's main function is the control of blood clotting and it also regulates calcium levels in the blood.

Only carrots and parsley contain more beta carotene than spinach. This special nutrient is required for making Vitamin A, important for eye health and vision.

Is this enough to convince you that spinach is good? What about the fact that around 49% of calories in spinach come from proteins? It is the richest known source plant protein, providing 12% of recommended daily requirements (depending on serving size).

And no mention of spinach should be without a reference to oxalic acid. In it's inorganic form oxalic acid is known to be harmful to the body. It can cause calcium deficiency and kidney stones. However spinach, when eaten raw, contains oxalic acid in it's organic form. This has a number of benefits, including promotion of peristalsis in the gut. It combines well with calcium and aids assimilation in the digestive tract.

This recipe is a bit of fun to spice up a special occasion, but it is also a good one to make beforehand and have on hand for that busy moment when you don't have time or don't feel like preparing a meal. The sauce will keep in a jar in the fridge for up to three days.

Pad Thai Noodles with Spinach Curry Sauce

For the Noodles
Marinate 1/3 red onion in 2tbsp Nama Shoyu for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, julienne the following:
2 zucchini, small
1/2 capsicum (red or green)
the meat from 2 young thai coconuts
Chop 1 medium grapefruit into chunks, removing the pips
Combine all these ingredients in a bowl with 1 cup mung bean sprouts. Mix together well.
Fresh Thai Herbs
1/3 bunch mint, chopped
1/3 bunch coriander, chopped
1 small red chilli, seeded and chopped
Mix herbs together and reserve a small amount for garnish. Add to the noodles.

Spinach Curry Sauce
2 cups spinach
1 cup coconut water
2 medium tomatoes
3 tbsp fresh coriander
1/2 avocado
1 tbsp olive oil
1 stick celery, large
2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds (i like to grind these first, then add to the mix)
fresh chilli, to taste
Combine all the above ingredients in the blender and mix to a sauce consistency.
This will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Now arrange the noodles into bowls and pour spinach curry sauce over. Garnish with herbs and serve.

Tips: If you have one, use a spiraliser or mandolin to make zucchini noodles. If you can't find fresh mint leaves, substitute with parsley. Make the sauce the day before to save time and give the flavour time to develop.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Glass or Plastic

It started with this really interesting eco-innovation - a glass driveway. An interesting way of recycling glass. What i most liked about this idea was the porous nature of the surface. We have lost so much ground water due to run-off in urban and built-up areas. Concrete and asphalt is very unforgiving and very solid.

Then Ben sent me this link to some information about glass and plastic. Thank you.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

raw for thirty days - special

If you haven't already watched this film, it is a "must see". Yes, there is a cure for diabetes and it doesn't involve complicated medical procedures or an arsenal of pills and injections. In "Raw for Thirty Days" six people with diabetes confront their inner demons and create shifts in their outer lives through simply changing what they eat. Of course it is never just one thing that contributes to life change but by changing just one thing, changes can happen in other areas.
The film features experts David Wolfe, Dr. Gabriel Cousins, Tony Robbins and many others, and is one of the most inspiring films i have ever watched. I wrote about it in an earlier post shortly after my first screening. At that point i had only been raw for six months. How different my life is now, 12 months later.
So far, i have watched this film three times, and still enjoy it. There is so much information in it and a great story. As it happens, for the next few days it is possible to buy the 2 disc DVD set "Raw for Life" at half the listed price.

Click on this link here to purchase a copy --> http://rawfor30days.com/cmd.php?af=891358

Or if you already have a copy, why not buy one for a friend or family member.

When you purchase "Simply Raw: reversing diabetes in 30 days" for this special price, in addition to the DVD set, you'll receive the following five bonuses:

* Bonus 1: Download of CD #1 and #2 from David Wolfe's "21 Days to Health Program"

* Bonus 2: "Kitchen Gadgets" 40 Minute Instructional Video by Raw Food Chef Cherie Soria of The Living Light Institute

* Bonus 3: Jennifer Cornbleet's Favorite 5 Recipes from her Book "Raw Food Made Easy"

* Bonus 4: A One Month Raw Menu Planner by Tera Warner of "The Raw Divas"

* Bonus 5: Audio Interview with Ani Phyo on How to Stay Raw While Traveling

Monday, September 21, 2009

Creamy Kale and Avocado Salad

Tis the season for kale. Often shunned because it's leathery texture can be unpalatable, and sometimes reserved for or disguised in the green smoothie.

But hey, let's celebrate kale. Try it marinated in this tasty salad and gain an appreciation for one of the most nutrient dense leafy green vegetables. Kale contains double the amount of calcium compared to broccoli or silverbeet. It is a great source of chlorophyll, iron, vitamins C & A as well as being one of the best plant sources of sulphur - the beauty mineral. Sulphur helps build strong nails, hair and supple skin.

Kale, a member of the brassica family, is a descendant of wild cabbage. It is a cool climate vegetable and the main growing season in Victoria is between Autumn & Spring. Thanks to the dedication of our local organic growers there are now several varieties available. Two popular ones are the dinosaur kale - sometimes known as Tuscan Kale - and Red Russian.

This recipe makes two medium serves or four side servings.

1 bunch dinosaur kale
1 large tomato
1 medium avocado
2 stalks of celery
2-3 tsp lemon juice (1/2 med-large lemon)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
5gm dulse leaf (small handful)

De-vein the kale (remove the stalks) and finely chop the leaves into a bowl. Add salt and massage well until kale wilts. Add lemon juice and massage again.

Dice 1 stalk celery and the tomato. Cut dulse into small pieces. Combine celery, tomato and dulse (or nuts) into the kale. Reserve some celery leaves, dulse and tomato for garnish.

Blend avocado, remaining celery stalk and olive oil into a creamy sauce and pour over salad. Mix in well until kale is completely coated.

Arrange in salad bowl and sprinkle dulse over the salad. Garnish with celery leaves and tomato pieces.