Category Archives: Superfoods

Nobody cares about your protein intake until they find out you are vegan

As a chef, one has to keep up with food trends and how food evolves and most importantly, special diets, whether it be for health, religious or ethical reasons. Living in Cape Town, this was in my face all the time, no one wanted to offend the vegan by not having a vegan friendly option on the menu, the pescaterian had to have a vegetarian option as well as fish available because on that day, they just never knew what they feel like, or dare have a Tim Noaks superfan and not have Banting friendly water available that has not been infused with fresh fruit because, God forbid, there would be too much sugar coming too close to their lips.

I will never understand the whole sugar free, dairy free, gluten free, low protein, calorie free diet. What do you eat then? Let’s take a moment to appreciate the humorous side of this…

Just to be clear, I am not a vegan, I believe eating a balanced diet. right portions and exercise for a healthy lifestyle, but I can really get behind some well thought out vegan food. Artichoke at the Midlands Kitchen (KZN Midlands) is a local authentic vegan restaurant with a small menu, which suits the environment and caters for the diners whom normally end up having fruit salad as a meal because a chef couldn’t be bothered to put a balanced vegan friendly meal together.

Kolleru Bowl – R65
Couscous, sweet corn, mushrooms, spinach, cannilini beans, carrots, beetroot and hummus, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and sunflower seeds.

This is served hot, which I was lucky enough to get a few mouthfuls of, but having been out with my Misters, they kept me preoccupied which resulted in my food getting cold, it was just as delicious.

On a side note, this is not a review of the restaurant, I went exploring with my little dudes and we ended up here, which inspired this post.

Back to special diets. Having worked in a hospital environment for a while last year, realizing how extremely important it is to follow certain dietary requirements is life or death. Having said that, I also never realized how ‘hotel like’ a hospital is and that those menus that you tick when you are laying in bed with your bum airing, really is more of a guideline than an actual menu. Wait until I have to have a hospital stay!

There is research that says we should be eating a plan based diet, and then there is research that says meat is a must for humans to consume. So I get you are asking yourself, what exactly is this rant about?

The bottom line: for the love of all that is holy, stop being a dick about other peoples food choices. No one cares about your opinion.

Love and bubbles



Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Soup and some Chia Seeds

This is my contribution to international soup day which recently just passed.

Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Soup

1 kg tomatoes
2 biggish red peppers (deseeded)
1 onion
1 tsp garlic
½ spring fresh rosemary, chopped
1 cup beef / vegetable stock
2 tots sherry
1 tin tomato paste
olive Oil
fresh basil

Cut a cross into the top of the tomatoes, with the peppers place onto a roasting tray, sprinkle salt, pepper olive oil and rosemary. Roast at 200°C for 45 minutes.

Chop onions and fry off in a little olive oil and a sprinkle of sugar until nicely caramelized, deglaze the pot with 1 tot of sherry, add garlic and tomato paste, fry until the oils starts slowly splitting from the tomato paste, deglaze the pot once more with the 2nd tot of sherry.

Add your roasted tomatoes and peppers and cook off for 10 minutes.  Add  salt & pepper and blitz up.  Add the fresh basil and blitz more until smooth.  Your soup at this stage will be really thick.

Add 1 cup of stock of choice and cook over a low heat for about 3 hours.  If your soup thickens up to much, just add a little more stock and cook out more.  You want the end result to be thick but not to chunky.

Add desired seasoning to taste and enjoy with fresh bread.

I roasted 2 or 3 cloves of garlic and just rubbed my ciabatta with it, with some fresh goats cheese, and it complimented the soup wonderfully.

I like to add Chia seeds to my soup.  I had done a little post about Chia seeds before, but here is a some more that I learnt and a slight update on how I am using it.

After further research on chia seeds, I have learnt the more nutritional way to use them.  Take 1/3 cup of chia seeds to 2 cups of water, mix and place in the fridge.  You are looking for a gel type substance that can last in your fridge for 3 weeks.  That is the substance you add to your smoothies or soups to really get the full punch of the chia seeds.  The gel that is formed is ready to eat in 10 minutes, however the longer the chia seeds stand in a liquid (water, juice smoothies etc) the more you will benefit from the nutritional value of it. Just an update on how chia seeds improve your lifestyle:
Provides energy
Boosts strength
Bolsters endurance
Levels blood sugar
Induces weight loss
Aids intestinal regularity

So I am going to start with a new challenge I have set myself this winter.  I am going to start with having chia seeds 3 times a day, eat healthy and properly, and slowly bring in basic exercise again, and of course, take my yoga seriously again.  Time for a change of life, maybe that will motivate me again!

Get yourself some!

Chickpea Greek Salad

A while ago I was thrown a curve ball in for a lunch order. This gentleman was a vegetarian but it had to be gluten free. I was stunned, because one could easily balance a vegetarian meal with a pasta of sorts, or even a nice gourmet sandwich. But gluten free…eish.

So I did a Chickpea Greek Salad, but I made it slightly more interesting. The best part is this keeps my healthy eating / living theme going strong.

Chickpea Greek Salad

1 can of chickpeas drained and rinsed
red cabbage
calamata olives
Danish feta
Balsamic vinegar
Olive Oil
Chia Seeds

Create your salad in the style you wish, as you can see I enjoy large chunky pieces, I am not a huge fan of chopped salad style salads. Drizzle with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar and some chia seeds on top.
Well balanced salad. You can use it as a filling for a wrap as well.

Rawlicious Challenge – Mung Bean & Goji Berry Sweet Potato and Day 31 of March Food Photo Challenge

I rolled both Tandy’s challenge as well as the final day of March Food Photo Challenge into one today. My recipe is for Mung Bean & Goji berry Sweet Potato, topped with Roasted Beetroot Yogurt Dressing.

The whole Raw Food concept really does intrigue me, however, I do find it really difficult to to go complete raw, hence why my recipe is not 100% Raw, but again, you can just make the salad part and that would be classified as Raw.
I did a lot of research for this challenge, and chose certain ingredients for reasons.

The sweet potato, I admit freely that it has to be my top 5 ingredients to work with. I have to try and stick to low GI due to the insulin resistance I have in my body, so the sweet potato is my replacement for potatoes. The sweet potato stabilizes blood sugar & improves response to insulin; it is high in vitamin A & beta carotene, which therefore results as a great superfood for the skin.

I used Mung Beans, instead of cooking, I just sprouted them, when you do this, you release Vitamin C in them, to add to the other packed vitamins A, K and B6, mung beans are high in fibre and slow down the release of calories into the blood stream, as well as slow down of digestion which also stabilizes blood sugar. Although a bean, it has a low content of protein so you can’t use it as a complete meal.

Goji Berries are recently acquired goodness. I have to admit, I do enjoy them. Also known as one of the superfoods, Goji berried are great for stamina, weight loss and maintain blood glucose levels. These little berries are a great immune system booster and enhance the body to fight off diseases, lowers blood cholesterol, as well as great for the skin.

Beetroot, being not only on my list of top 5, is also a great antioxidants. Beetroot is a rich source of carbohydrates, a good source of protein, and has high levels of important vitamins, minerals and micronutrients. It is a good source of dietary fibre, has practically no fat, and no cholesterol. This makes beetroot relatively low in calories

Mung Bean & Goji Berry Sweet Potato with Roasted Beetroot Yogurt Dressing
Serves 4 – 6

4 medum size sweet potato
½ cup mung beans
40g yellow & 40g red peppers
1 tsp fresh ginger
1 tbsp goji berries
½ cup spinach
½ yellow cling peach
1 small fresh chilli
2 button mushrooms
1 large beetroot
½ cup plain low fat yogurt
fresh rosemary
balsamic vinegar
fete cheese
Chia seeds

Wrap the sweet potato and beetroot (with a splash of balsamic vinegar) individually with tin foil and roast off in the oven for 60 minutes at 200 C. ( Now this part is not part of a normal Raw Diet, so you can either omit this part and have this as a salad, or you can cook your sweet potato at 47 C for I am going to guess a good 5 – 6 hours, and you can use raw beetroot.)

Dice up the yellow pepper, ginger, peach, mushrooms, and chilli, add to the mung beans. You want it all more or less the same size. Crumb the feta cheese into the mixture and add goji berries.

Once the beetroot is ready, cut up and place into a food processor with the yogurt, and some chopped rosemary. Season. You want a smooth consistency.

Cut open the sweet potato and scoop some out so you have a hollowing which you can fill. Shred the spinach and add to the mung bean salad. I like to add a little of the dressing in the pocket, and then add the mixture on top, drizzled with a little more dressing. Of course you have to finish it off with some chia seeds sprinkled on top, just because they are so good for you!

boring tuna sandwich gets a little face lift

We have this wonderful little bakery in the village which does a variety of different breads which is made with stone ground flour. There is a lot of debate regarding flour and the usage of it. We only use stone ground in the restaurant, by far a much more superior quality in your product.

My last little stop, I picked up a crackly wheat bread, which has to be one of my favourit breads…well top 5 at least because nothing beats a proper sourdough cibatta.

With this, I was having a conversation with a friend, and she mentioned she always makes a boring tuna sandwich, which I never understand. To me, sandwiches are such a fun thing, you can go wild and just have fun with different toppings. I love gourmet sandwiches! So I took her boring tuna sandwich and gave it a slight face lift and sent her a picture…

Boring Tuna Sandwich to a more upbeat sandwich

1 can shredded tuna in water
1 green chilli
1 heaped tbsp mayo of choice
Danish feta
1 tbsp chia seeds
balsamic reduction

Drain the tuna, dice up the chilli and mix together with tuna and mayo. Build your sandwich from there. It’s such a quick lunch and a healthy option.