The Porridge Diaries: Banana, Almond and Cinnamon Porridge

IMG_3637It seems winter is well and truly on its way, and I’ve already bored you enough in previous posts about my dislike of winter so I’m going to get straight to the point today.

Pretty much all I want to eat for breakfast throughout winter is a nice big bowl of porridge. It’s just so tasty and satisfying, not to mention, healthy too! If want to here me ramble on about the benefits of porridge I urge you to visit one of my earlier posts here.

I also love that you can experiment so much with porridge so I generally like mine just a little bit fancy, especially if I’ve got some extra time on my hands like on the weekend.

And so, I have decided that throughout this year I am going to do a series of posts called ‘The Porridge Diaries’ in which I share my love for all things porridge, plus my favourite recipes to you guys.

So to kick this series off I have a recipe for Banana, Almond and Cinnamon Porridge by the one and only….Jamie Oliver!!!! Who would have guessed?!

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Recipe

Banana, Almond and Cinnamon Porridge

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 small, ripe banana
  • 1 tablespoon flaked almonds
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon honey, to taste

Directions:

  1. Place the oats and milk in a small pan over medium heat. Mash half the banana and put it into the pan, along with half the honey and cinnamon. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon.
  2. Bring to a steady simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring as often as you can to give you a smooth creamy porridge – if you like your porridge runnier, simply add a splash more milk or water until you’ve got the consistency you like.
  3. Turn the heat off and add the poppy seeds, as well as the leftover cinnamon and honey to the porridge, stirring to combine. Let it cool slightly.
  4. Meanwhile, add the almonds to a small non-stick frying pan over a medium heat (there’s no need for oil) for 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly golden, stirring occasionally.
  5. Slice the other half of the banana.
  6. Serve porridge in a medium-sized bowl with banana, almonds and a drizzle of honey.

Notes:

  • I like my porridge really creamy so I use milk to cook it, but more traditional Scottish recipes use the same amount of water and a pinch of sea salt, then finish it with a little bit of milk.
  • The lower heat you cook the porridge on, the better it will be.
  • You can use quick oats instead of rolled oats if you’re pushed for time but I think rolled oats taste far better, and have a much higher nutritional content.

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My favourite kinds of porridges usually involve bananas to some extent. I particularly love adding some mashed bananas to the porridge mixture, whilst it is cooking because they become even mushier and add the taste and creamy texture of the finished product.

I’m all about trying new things so if you guys have some awesome porridge recipes or ideas, comment below and I might feature them on my blog!

I hope you enjoy this recipe just as much as I did and let me know if you try it.

Tanisha xx

Mushroom and Lentil Bolognaise

It’s quite embarrassing to say that this is actually the first pasta recipe I have put on this blog. I mean it’s meant to be a food blog for ATHLETES for god’s sake, and everyone knows pasta is the bee’s knees food for any athlete. But nevertheless, I’ve got a decent carby pasta recipe for you to savour in its delightfulness. So if you’re carbing up for a big event on the weekend, such as the HBF Run For a Reason for those of you in WA, then this recipe’s for you!

But be warned…this isn’t your traditional bolognaise. This one’s for the vegetarians of the world, who want to the bolognaise minus the meat.

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Recipe

 

Mushroom and Lentil Bolognaise

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 brown onion, peeled, 
coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, halved
  • 2 1/2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • 4 large (about 385g) field mushrooms
  • 200g (1 cup) French green lentils
  • 410g can Ardmona Rich 
& Thick Tomatoes & Paste
  • 375ml (1 1/2 cups) vegetable stock
  • 400g btl tomato pasta sauce
  • 375g pkt dried wholemeal spaghetti
  • Finely grated pecorino, (or vegetarian hard cheese) to serve
  • Chopped fresh continental parsley leaves, to serve

Method:

  1. Process onion, carrot, celery and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped (but not a paste). Heat 1 1⁄2 tbs of the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion mixture and bay leaves. Season. Cook, stirring, for 6 minutes or until soft. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, process mushrooms in food processor until finely chopped (but not a paste). Heat remaining oil in pan over high heat. Cook mushrooms, stirring, for 3 minutes or until soft.
  3. Stir onion mixture and lentils into mushroom. Stir in tomato, stock and pasta sauce. Reduce heat to low. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes or until lentils are tender. Season.
  4. While the lentils are cooking, cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain.
  5. Top spaghetti with bolognaise and sprinkle with pecorino and parsley.

Notes: Photo and recipe can be found here.

 

This recipe was from the Body + Soul section of The West Australian way back in November last year. In this section there is always another sub-section in which the B + S nutritionist, Lisa Guy, provides a recipe. I always look forward to reading this part because Lisa always comes up with some really great recipes and writes about the nutritional benefits of them too. So this is what she had to say about this recipe:

Carrots contain the potent antioxidant betacarotene, which has been shown to have anti-cancer effects, and is essential for healthy eyesight and skin. Onions are high in quercetin, an antioxidant that helps lower cholesterol and acts as a natural anti-inflammatory. Mushrooms are high in vitamin D, a deficiency which is linked to increased vulnerability to infection and risk of bone fractures. Green lentils are rich in iron, essential for red blood cell production and transporting oxygen. Tomato paste is a source of lycopene, which can help lower the risk of cancer.”

I’m actually one of the few people in the world who doesn’t particularly (how do you say) enjoy the traditional meaty bolognaise. The problem is, it is my sisters absolute favourite thing to eat. She’s practically head-over-heels in love with it. But me, not so much. I will eat it if we are having it for dinner but I won’t particularly enjoy it. That is why this recipe is so good! I actually enjoy eating it and so did my meat-loving family (even my sister!). Better yet, she can’t stand mushrooms, and she ate this with no hesitations, despite them being one of the main ingredients (probably due to the fact that they were put in the food processor and I didn’t tell her they were in there until afterwards)!!

Tanisha xx

Mothers Day Feast

IMG_3980 (1)So, after much deliberation (not really, read: procrastination) I finally bring you the post I mentioned last week about my Mothers Day Feast.

Now, if you have absolutely no idea what I am talking about then, here, let me fill you in. So last week, on Mothers Day (obviously) I cooked my family and I a massive lunch to share. It turned out really well so I was intending on posting all the recipes the same day but I never got round to it. So what better time to do it then now, when I have mounds of study and homework I should be doing instead….oops!!

The first recipe I bring you guys is this Chicken Pie. It was the main component of our lunch, and was super tasty and filling.

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Walker Family Chicken Pie

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg chicken thighs, sliced
  • 1 each onion and carrot, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 2 leeks (pale part only), thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup (50g) plain flour
  • 1 cup (250ml) thickened cream
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbs chopped tarragon
  • 150g Swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups chicken stock (estimate)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 ½ sheets puff pastry

Method:

  1. Heat a fry pan with a little olive oil. Place the chicken thighs in the pan and cook for 5 minutes, or until just browned. Add some butter to the pan and cook the leeks for 4 minutes, season. Repeat with mushrooms.
  2. Place chicken, onion, carrot, bay leaves, leeks, Dijon, tarragon and mushrooms in a large saucepan covering with chicken stock. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, skimming off any impurities that rise to the surface. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour. Set aside for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a 3cm-deep, 26cm x 30cm baking dish.
  4. Add flour and cream to the chicken mixture and place in the prepared dish. Lay pastry over, pressing edges to seal and crimping with a fork. Brush pastry with egg, then bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden and crisp, and filling is hot.

Notes:

This recipe is adapted from Delicious Magazine May 2015 Issue.

 

The second component of our meal was roasted potatoes. In our family we usually have these beauties about once every two weeks or so, and we never really follow a recipe as such, so I’ll provide you with Jamie Oliver’s recipe. His version are very much similar to what we do at home, with simple flavourings such as salt and pepper, fresh herbs like thyme and rosemary, and a big glug of olive oil….they sure are a winner!

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Our main meal would not be complete without a wholesome salad. Instead of the light, fresh salad we would normally have, I found a recipe for this zucchini, sweet potato and haloumi salad on Taste.com and thought it would be great for this cooler weather…and boy was it!

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Roasted Sweet Potato, Zucchini & Haloumi Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 550g sweet potato, peeled, cut into 1.5cm pieces
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 70g (1/4 cup) low-fat Greek yoghurt
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 250g light haloumi, cut into 1.5cm-thick batons
  • 4 (about 900g) zucchini, peeled into ribbons
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped, plus extra leaves to garnish
  • 1/2 cup continental parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pistachio kernels, toasted

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C/170°C fan forced. Place sweet potato on a lined tray and drizzle with half the oil. Season and toss to combine. Roast, stirring halfway through cooking, for 30 minutes or until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the yoghurt, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar in a bowl. Season.
  3. Preheat a barbecue or chargrill on medium-high. Spray haloumi with olive oil. Cook, turning, for 2-3 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.
  4. Combine zucchini and remaining oil in a bowl. Season. Chargrill zucchini, in 2 batches, gently tossing, for 1-2 minutes or until just tender. Combine sweet potato, haloumi, zucchini, chopped mint and parsley in a bowl. Drizzle with yoghurt mixture. Sprinkle with pistachio and extra mint.

Notes:

I got this recipe from here.

 

Of course this lunch was not complete without dessert. So, what a better way then to complete the meal with nothing other than the humble crumble (wasn’t even pre-prepared!). Crumble is the ultimate dessert in my family, and as I have mentioned earlier in one of my previous posts, it also happens to be my downright favourite dessert. It’s perfect anytime of the year but is a particularly good way to make great use of the seasonal apples and pears in abundance around this time of the year. This particular recipe is a little different to the usual, as it doesn’t include any oats, but is still great and quite healthy. Also, it can easily be made gluten free by omitting the self-raising flour and adding more almond meal, or just replacing it 1:1 with any other gluten free flour. Enjoy!

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Pear & Coconut Crumble

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 5 beurre bosc pears
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 125g pitted dates, chopped
  • 1/3 cup (75g) self-raising flour
  • 1 cup (100g) almond meal
  • ½ cup (70g) slivered almonds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • To serve (optional):
  • 300ml double-thick cream
  • Good quality ice cream

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
  2. Peel and core the pears, rubbing the flesh with half a lemon to prevent them from going brown. Cut into thin wedges, then place in a 22cm round baking dish. Add the dates, 1 tbs coconut sugar, juice from the remaining lemon half and 2tbs water, and toss well to coat. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes or until just tender.
  3. Meanwhile, to make crumble, combine butter, flour, almond meal, almonds, cinnamon and remaining ¼ cup (35g) coconut sugar in a bowl.
  4. Remove foil from baking dish and stir pears to coat in syrup. Sprinkle crumble over pear mixture, then return to oven and bake, uncovered, for a further 20 minutes or until crumble is dark golden and pears are tender.
  5. Serve warm with double-thick cream and/or ice cream.

 

Notes:

I served mine with Connoisseur Caramel Honey Macadamia ice cream but it would go great with vanilla ice cream, cream, or even custard.

This recipe is from Delicious Magazine May 2015 Issue

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As well as beautiful food, we had a beautiful table setting thanks to my awesome grandma and flowers from our garden. I hope everyone else had a great day as well and treated their mums well.

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Tanisha xx

Vegetarian Savoury Breakfast

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Hello all, and Happy Mother’s Day to all you cool mums out there!

I had such a great day today after getting up early for the Mother’s Day Run this morning with my family, then leisurely making my way back home to cook a big feast for our Mother’s Day Lunch. And now, I am feeling extremely tired but very accomplished.

I was hoping to do a big post on my lunch today as it was very successful but I’m not feeling up to it, so I bring you something a bit more simpler but just as good!

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Recipe

Vegetarian Savoury Breakfast

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 slice of sourdough or good quality wholegrain bread, toasted
  • A large handful of baby spinach
  • 2 button mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 small avocado
  • 1 tbsp feta, crushed
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • A few fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon good quality dukkah*
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

  1. Heat a little olive oil in a non-stick frying pan on low heat. Place the mushrooms, garlic and oregano, and cook for 5 minutes, season to taste. Remove from pan and wilt the spinach in the same pan for about 2 minutes.
  2. Boil some water in a small saucepan, with a tsp of vinegar. In a small, shallow bowl crack the egg. Place in the saucepan and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl smash the avocado, and combine with the feta, lemon, coriander and season to taste.
  4. Combine all the elements on a plate and top with dukkah.

Notes:

* I used Table of Plenty Macadamia Dukkah

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As I have gotten older I have noticed I have increasingly disliked meat more and more, particularly red meat, which I have never really had a taste for. Up on the top of the list of foods I dislike the most is roast with gravy, steak and fish. Yes, at times I can be a very fussy eater but when you give me something I like, I won’t stop at anything to eat it.

So this recipe was just something I came up with one morning when I was craving something healthy, substantial and savoury. It is loosely based on my family’s version of the Big Breakfast without a few of the meat, and more time consuming counter parts.

It is a great breakfast, brunch or even lunch meal for vegetarians, and omnivores alike, who want something that’s café worthy but also healthy too. It is also very well balanced with an abundance of vitamins and minerals from all the veggies, healthy carbohydrates from the bread, healthy fast from the avocado and protein from the eggs.

You sure won’t be disappointed!

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My dog seems to like it too!

Tanisha xx

Spinach and Ricotta Rotolo

IMG_3696I’m one of those people who’ll take anything for free, doesn’t matter what it is, if it’s free then I’ll have it. Most of the time it’s just junk and I never end up using it. So in a matter of weeks my mum would have found a legitimate excuse to put anything that’s lying around in the bin. But not this time… Last month we were going through the checkout at Coles when I saw a Coles recipe magazine so, being me, I picked it up and started looking through the pages. Surprisingly it actually looked pretty good. But then it got better, I realised it was for FREE! Score!! So I took it home and haven’t used it since. Until the other day when I made this beautiful pasta dish, oozing with cheesy goodness. It’s a winner! IMG_3686 Recipe Spinach and Ricotta Rotolo Serves 6 Ingredients:

  • 8 fresh lasagna sheets
  • 1 large bunch English spinach
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 600g fresh ricotta
  • ½ cup finely grated parmesan
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup tomato pasta sauce + ½ cup
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese
  • Basil leaves to serve

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Cut off all the stalks on the spinach leaves and remove the stalks. Wash leaves thoroughly and roughly tear apart. Place in a large frying pan with a little olive oil and cook until wilted, tossing every so often. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Squeeze to remove excess liquid.
  3. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until golden.
  4. Combine spinach, onion mixture, pine nuts, parmesan and ricotta in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Place one lasagna sheet on a clean on a clean work surface. Spoon one-eighth of the ricotta mixture over the lasagna sheet. Starting from 1 short end, roll up to enclose filling. Repeat with remaining lasagna sheets and filling. Use a knife to cut each pasta roll into thirds.
  6. Combine the tomato and pasta sauce in a bowl and spoon into the base of a 25cm-diameter baking dish. Place pasta rolls, cut side up, side by side, over the sauce.
  7. Cover with alfoil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and pour over the rest of the pasta sauce and sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese. Put back into the oven with the alfoil and bake for another 15 minutes. Sprinkle with basil leaves.
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I topped mine with some basil pesto, olive oil and some more basil!

Notes: If you want a more substantial meal serve this hearty pasta dish with a nice garden salad. Source: Coles Free Magazine – April 2015 This dish is very similar to spinach and ricotta cannelloni, and so, is great for vegetarians, especially if you want something more hearty and filling. With the super power of spinach and the delightfulness of the fluffy ricotta you’ll be wanting more and more! Enjoy, Tanisha xx

Minted Hot Chocolate

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Who doesn’t love a good hot chocolate? Better yet, who doesn’t love a hot chocolate that’s healthy but still tastes just as good? I mean, they’re the best things you can have to cheer you up on a cold and gloomy winters day. So with winter well on its way down here in the Southern Hemisphere I’ve brought you a refreshing twist on the classic hot chocolate. Enjoy!

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Recipe

Minted Hot Chocolate

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbs mint leaves
  • 250ml (1 cup) water
  • 375ml (1 ½ cup) milk
  • 100g (2/3 cup) dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar

Directions:

  1. Place mint leaves in a bowl. Boil water and pour it over the leaves. Let it stand for about 10 minutes.
  2. Heat milk. Break dark chocolate into pieces; add to hot milk. Stir until chocolate has dissolved.
  3. Strain the mint and add the liquid to the to chocolate milk. Reheat. Sweeten to taste with sugar.IMG_3781

The Lowdown:

Just because we’re athletes doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy one of life’s greatest pleasures.

Surely by now you’ve all heard the wonderful news that chocolate, dark, in particular does, in fact, have some remarkable health benefits. It has been known to reduce things like depression and stress, is full of beneficial antioxidants and can boost your brain power.

But did you know that consuming dark chocolate may help improve your athletic endurance. What?! Yes, you heard me right. When small doses are eaten alongside regular exercise your performance could be boosted by up to 50% according to a study conducted by scientists at UC San Diego. This is because dark chocolate contains the plant compound epicatechin, which appears to stimulate muscle growth in a similar way to vigorous activity such as jogging. (Cohen, 2011)IMG_3766

But before you go smash down that whole block of Cadbury’s Marvelous Creations or some Ben & Jerry’s, just remember that only a very small amount of DARK chocolate is needed to intensify the effects of a workout. Any more and it won’t even make a difference.

Tanisha xx

Sources:

http://www.laweekly.com/restaurants/dark-chocolate-may-improve-athletic-endurance-2382321

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2037556/How-dark-chocolate-boosts-fitness-exercise.html

Ricotta and Basil Pancakes with a Tomato and Avocado Salsa

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Mother’s Day is just around the corner so if you’re looking for the perfect brunch idea, this one’s for you!

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Recipe

Ricotta and Basil Pancakes with a Tomato and Avocado Salsa

Serves 3

Ingredients:

Pancakes –

  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ¼ cup milk
  • 1 ¼ cup wholemeal self-raising flour
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan
  • Olive oil
  • Greek-style yogurt, to serve

Salsa –

  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • ½ lime zest and juiced
  • Small bunch of coriander

Method:

  1. Whisk ricotta and egg in a medium bowl until combined. Whisk in milk and flour. Stir in basil and parmesan, season.
  2. Heat a large non-stick frying pan with a small amount of oil. Pour ¼-cups of mixture into pan, allowing room for spreading. Cook pancakes for 2 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile make the tomato salsa by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl and seasoning.
  4. Serve pancakes warm with salsa and Greek-style yogurt.

Notes:

  • You can add some spices to the pancake batter to give it extra flavour. I suggest cumin, coriander seeds and garlic.

Source:

  • It seems that Women’s Weekly can do no wrong. This is just one of the mouthwatering recipes from their Superfoods book, which I got out of the library some time ago. You can always be sure that when you are buying one of their books that the recipes with always work because they test their recipes dozens of times to make sure they are in tip-top shape.

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It’s been a very long time since I have posted a savoury breakfast recipe. In fact I think the only other time I have was in my very first post, which in fact were also savoury pancakes! But don’t be fooled, just because I don’t do it very often, doesn’t mean they aren’t any good.

This is a great way to use up ricotta as it only has a very short shelf-life once it has been opened. We don’t get ricotta very often but when we do we always seem to fall into the trap of either making Spinach and Ricotta cannelloni or Sweet Ricotta Pancakes because they both make good use of fresh ricotta. But this recipe was a nice change to our usual sweet ricotta pancake breakfast fare.

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The Lowdown:

This is a very nutritious and well-balanced meal that helps keep you full and energised all through the morning. They are actually really filling, as I only needed three to fill me up, and my mum and sister only needed two, which is less than normal pancakes would! This is due to the balance of essential nutrients found in the salsa ingredients and basil, the protein from the Greek-style yogurt and you even get some of your daily wholegrains from the wholemeal flour.

These tummy-loving pancakes can be both a breakfast and lunch dish and are great for vegetarians but if you want, you can serve them with some bacon for some added protein.

Tanisha xx