Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Delicious ways with random bits

One of the things I love about our vegie box is the way that it makes me more creative in the way that I use vegies. I will shamefully admit that in the early days I used to give lots of the 'non-edible' bits (like silverbeet stems, carrot tops and beetroot leaves) to our chickens without stopping to wonder whether I could eat them myself. But after several years of getting regular boxes, I started to notice that lots of the lovely young produce still has leaves or stems attached, sometimes bits you never see when the vegies are sold in the supermarket. This made me wonder what other people did with their 'random bits' and after some googling and experimenting, I have developed a small (but expanding) repertoire of things to do. Some ideas (I have also included a few links with ideas from the web - there are plenty more out there!):

Baby beetroot leaves - if they're small, add them straight to salads (use like swiss chard), and they can also be sauteed or stir-fried.

Also see this page on how to use beetroot leaves.

Fennel leaves - a delicious addition to tomato-based pasta sauces (chop finely and add towards the end).

Check out this page on what to do with fennel leaves.

Silverbeet stems - (this also applies to rainbow chard) - delicious chopped very small, sauteed with onion and garlic and the silverbeet leaves, and added to a frittata or pizza.

Check out this recipe for braised silverbeet stalks.


Daikon leaves (sorry, no photo!) - I love daikon and often just chop it and eat it raw. I have also discovered you can use fresh leaves like rocket in salad (though they are milder in flavour).
See this page for ideas on how to use daikon leaves.

My latest discovery is carrot tops. They always look so lush and green and edible - why don't we usually eat them? In my seaches, I came across this wonderful webpage which has all sorts of great suggestions such as making them into ravioli filling or wilting them with bacon. Check it out!

Other things you might not have thought of...

Mother-in-law introduced me to the wonders of bok choy as a delicious salad vegie. She uses it two great ways:

- an entree in which you wrap delicious delights like slivers of lychee, small pieces of chilli and tiny bits of lemon up in large bok choy leaves as tasty asian-inspired parcels.
- a raw chopped vegie to sit over crispy fried noodles, topped with sauteed chicken or fish and a spicy coconut sauce.

These days I will often just slice it finely and add it to any kind of salad - it has a great combination of mild leafy greens and crunchy stems.

P.S. Speaking of using the bits of our vegies that we often just compost, those of you with kids, did anyone see the corn dolly made out of sweetcorn husks on Playschool last week?

Posted by Lien

Monday, September 10, 2012

Quinoa with fennel and anchovies

I love a hot lunch. Even when I am home alone, I will make up a vegie pasta and then indulge myself in a solo meal (sometimes getting to catch up on a novel). So one weekends, when we are all at home, hot lunches are pretty much obligatory.

Today, being Sunday (read: day before vegie box arrives) we are in 'using up bits' mode. I still had some fennel left over from last week and half a zucchini, so decided to make a fennel and anchovy one pot wonder to feed the hungry family. If you'd like a vegetarian option, just substitute the anchovies for a few black olives (I might throw some of those in too!).

To feed 3 people (two big, one little) I used:
1 small onion, diced (I had half a medium sized one left from something else)
2 cloves of garlic
I bulb of fennel (chopped), bulb and leaves
half a zucchini, chopped into small pieces.
6 salted anchovy fillets (to taste)

Sautee the onion, garlic, fennel bulb and anchovies for about 10 mins or until soft. Add 1 cup of quinoa* and 2 cups of water or stock. Bring to the boil and cook for about 10 mins. Stir in the chopped fennel leaves and season with pepper (there should be enough salt from the anchovies or olives). Cook for a few more minutes until the quinoa is ready.


Note: I like a large proportion of vegies to my grains, but you can play around with amounts to suit your taste.

*Quinoa is a gluten-free grain that can be substituted for rice. It's available in the health food section of most supermarkets.

Posted by Lien

Thursday, September 6, 2012

What Are Green Smoothies?

For those that don’t know I have recently published a book called “The Green Smoothie Bible”. I have hence been asked to post some green smoothie recipes, but thought I would give some background as to what they are, and why they are so awesome! 

People who have introduced green smoothies in to their diets have reported many health benefits. Raw food eaters in particular have embraced this nutritional powerhouse to boost their already nutritious diet, and to find that missing element to achieving excellent health and vitality.

Green smoothies are non-dairy, fruit smoothies with greens blended through them. Greens are incredibly nutritious, however people struggle to eat enough of them with regard to quantity and many find them hard to digest. It has been suggested that this is due to not having enough stomach acid, and not having enough jaw strength to chew them till they are a creamy consistency. Blended greens have their structure ripped apart and are effectively pre-digested. Adding fruit makes them taste great and is also a clever way of getting more greens into your diet.

Given the variation of produce around the world, and the huge number of green smoothie recipes available, in my book I have arranged all of the recipes into categories. For those passionate about eating with the seasons, there are chapters for spring, summer, autumn, and winter. There are recipes for green smoothies for children, recipes for superfood fans, for those with specific concerns like weight loss or cardiovascular health, and many more.

Here are a few guidelines for my green smoothie recipes:
  • Recipes make enough for about 1 litre of green smoothie unless otherwise stated. This is enough for about 2 servings.
  • Specific types and amounts of greens are not given unless a particular flavor or nutritional benefit is desired.
  • If just “greens” is stated, use whatever raw, leafy greens you like, and as much or as little as you like.
  • If you’re new to green smoothies, start with a small handful of mild greens, like spinach, and with time you will naturally increase the amount and variety you use.
  • Use good quality ripe fruit. Unripe fruit will make your smoothie taste unpleasant.
  • Try to buy organic produce and, if possible, from farmer’s markets, where the produce will be fresher.
  • I also recommend using the best source of water possible and at a minimum, filtered tap water.
  • Slice or break fruit into appropriate sized pieces for your blender. The larger and more powerful the blender, the larger pieces it will handle, such as quartered apples. Less expensive or small blenders will require smaller pieces of fruit.
  •  It’s assumed that fruit such as bananas, mangoes, melons, and papaya are peeled, and that stone fruit and cherries have stones removed.
  • Apples don’t need to be cored; however, pears do.
  • Specific blending times are not given, as this will vary among blenders. You will get to know your own blender well and will learn to know when your smoothie is ready.
  • For more information on different blenders, see here. I use a Thermomix which is da bomb!
  • If your blender tends to make your smoothie warm, use ice cubes in place of some of the liquid in a recipe, or use some frozen fruit in place of fresh fruit. Ice blended through a smoothie can also aid the breakdown of particularly fibrous ingredients like whole lemons and celery, to help create a smoother smoothie.
  • Be careful not to regularly consume green smoothies that are very cold to avoid potential digestive strain.
  • Be sure to check the smoothie’s flavor and consistency before serving, since ingredients will vary in size, texture, and sweetness.
  • If it’s too thick, add more water or other liquid.
  • If it’s too thin, add more fruit or 1–2 Tbsp. of chia seeds.
  • If it’s too tart, add sweetener, like stevia, xylitol, agave, honey, dates, or maple syrup.
  • If it’s too bitter, add lemon juice, sweetener, and/or vanilla extract
As you experiment with making green smoothies, you will realize that some ingredients just don’t go well together in green smoothies, like pineapple and cacao, or coconut and tomatoes, but there are seemingly limitless green smoothie possibilities, so you’re certain to come upon winning combinations. All of my green smoothie recipes have been designed with flavor and texture pairing in mind. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Here is a beginner’s smoothie and I will post more over time:

3-4 bananas (ripe but not super ripe)
1.5 cups water, or almond/rice milk
Handful of raw spinach or silverbeet leaves
1 tsp vanilla
Blend for 1-2 mins till creamy

For more info, go to my website www.kristinemiles.com or www.greensmoothiecommunity.com

or email me at kristine@kristinemiles.com  


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

In which I convert the masses with kale pizza...

So I made some kale pizza.  The scene went something like this...

The Mr: what are you making?
Me: pizza…
The Mr: yum!
Me: …kale pizza
The Mr: aww oh no!

But in the end I think I won the sceptics over.  The four-year-old even declared, 'mummy I like kale now! …but only in the oven!' and requested kale topping when I was next making pizzas.  The two-year-old admittedly picked all the kale off and just ate the dough but he is going through a bit of a green food aversion so I probably shouldn't have expected miracles!

I'm not going to give you a pizza dough recipe as I think it's a pretty personal thing.  If you are looking for inspiration I often use this one.

For the kale topping:

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves finely slivered
300g kale
100g cheddar grated
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and add the onions.  Once sizzling, reduce the heat to low and cook gently, stirring from time to time, until they are soft and golden, about 10-15 minutes, adding the garlic halfway through.

Shred the kale into 1/2 -1cm wide ribbons.  Stir thm into the onions and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring often, until the leaves have wilted.  Season with salt and pepper.

Spread on your pizza base, top with cheddar and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for 10-12mins at 250C.

This enough to make 3 pizzas.  The recipe comes from Veg everyday! (I'm a little bit in love with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall!!)