Friday, December 23, 2011

Is that a zucchini in your pocket?

I am quite notorious in my house for sneaking in “surprise” ingredients into mine and my future husband’s food. I’ll often present him with an odd coloured smoothie, funny shaped muffin or an exotic new dish and enthusiastically announce “Guess what’s in it!”

He’s had turkey meatballs instead of beef, wombok cabbage omlettes and random wheat free, gluten free, dairy free, raw, vegan cheesecake made with silken tofu (which he couldn’t even tell the difference)!

So this Christmas we are in charge of dessert and I remember having a sensationally decadent chocolate cake in North Fitzroy one night and wanted to try and recreate it... Oh yeah and it had ZUCCHINI in it!!

Here is the recipe we’re using from naturopath Petrea King’s cookbook Food for Life:

· 300g dark Lindt chocolate. Chopped
· 200g unsalted butter
· 5 eggs, separated
· 1 cup raw or brown sugar
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 2 cups hazelnuts, whizzed in a food processor until fine
· 1 cup zucchini, grated
· 1 cup wholemeal flour
· 1 teaspoon baking powder
· Chopped hazelnuts, grated chocolate to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC.

2. Brush a 22cm round cake tin with melted butter or coconut oil. Line the base with baking paper.

3. Gently melt the chocolate and butter in a saucepan stirring until smooth.

4. Using electric beaters, whisk the egg whites until stiff.

5. Place the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla in a medium-size bowl and using the electric beaters (no need to wash from whisking the eggs), whisk until creamy.

6. Fold the hazelnuts and zucchini through the chocolate mixture until well combined.

7. Fold in the flour and baking powder, then using a metal spoon, fold through the stiffened egg whites and pour into the prepared cake tin.

8. Bake for 1¼ hours or until skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean.

9. Cool in the tin for 20 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

10.Decorate with chopped hazelnuts and grated chocolate.

Merry Christmas boys and girls xx

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Act local.

I wandered through the farmers markets in town today and filled my bag with spelt bread from Bellingen (20 mins south of Coffs), bananas from Woolgoolga (20 mins north) and then bought a piece of gluten-free zucchini slice from a little old lady who was doing a roaring trade with all her scrumptious looking homemade treats. I went over to a local business and they ground up some fresh peanut butter for me, then bought the softest bamboo top from a lovely little shop that sells Australian owned and made goods. Afterwards I went into four different op shops and bought a stack of empty jars to put tea light candles in.

Here are Essential Health’s top 10 ways to support your local community:

Visit your local farmers market
Grow your own herbs, fruit and veg and make a compost heap
Pass on old clothes, sheets and blankets to an op-shop
Hand down old toys and out grown clothes to your friends who have kids
Donate money to your Surf Life Saving Club
Adopt new pets from the RSPCA rather than the pet shop
Buy your coffee at a little café rather than a big chain
Volunteer at the RSPCA, a retirement home or soup kitchen
Get crafty and make cards, toys and decorations this Christmas

What things do you do to support the town and country that you live in?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mind chatter.

Who should I thank in my wedding speech?
Where should I take the girls for our staff Christmas party?
What do I feel like for lunch today?
What clients am I seeing this week?
Should I get those new Lorna Jane tights?
Maybe I’ll book another reflexology treatment this week?

Many thoughts floated through my head this morning as I strolled over the headland listening to my iPod. Then all of a sudden I saw something purple out of the corner of my eye. I meandered off the track, bent down and to my delight I saw my first Fringed Violet flower.

I’d only seen photos in my Australian Bush Flower Essences book and had always secretly hoped to find one. The flowers are only about the size of a five cent piece and the delicate petals are as soft as a feather.

I was mesmerised for a minute or two then sat down on the grass on the edge of the headland and drank in all the beauty of the crashing waves, playful families, the warm sun on my skin and the salty air. This my dear friends, is called being MINDFUL.

When you focus on the present moment that you are currently in, all mind chatter ceases and you can be truly free from your mind.

Don't miss out on all the natural beauty that is right in front of you because your mind is too busy running amuck. Where are you right now? What can you see/feel/hear/taste/smell? Give it a try. You will feel liberated.