Sunday, 26 October 2014

Lemon Soufflés

So I've brought you my recipe for chocolate soufflés before (click here if you missed it), but even more simple are these lemon soufflés. Light as air with a super citrus tang, made from only lemons, egg whites, cornflour and a little bit of sugar. I have adapted these from a Donna Hay recipe and they make for a very impressive dessert! The recipe makes 3 large individual serves, but you could use smaller 3/4 cup ramekins and divide the mix amongst 4.

Lemon soufflés
1/3 C lemon juice
1 Tbsp castor sugar
¾ Tbsp cornflour
2 large eggwhites at room temperature
2 Tbsp castor sugar, extra
Icing sugar, to serve

  1.      Combine lemon juice, 1 Tbsp castor sugar and cornflour in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for ~8mins or until thickened. Transfer to a large bowl and refrigerate until cold.
  2.      Pre-heat oven to 180°C and prepare 3 x 1-C capacity ramekins by brushing lightly with margarine (or spraying lightly with oil) and dusting with castor sugar. Place on a baking tray.
  3.      Beat eggwhites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Pour in extra castor sugar in a thin stream and beat until thick and glossy. Set aside.
  4.      Beat lemon mixture from the fridge until smooth. Gently fold eggwhites into the lemon mixture.
  5.      Spoon into prepared ramekins. Smooth the tops with a spatula and run a knife around the edge of each ramekin (to ensure the soufflés aren’t caught on the sugar and rise evenly).
  6.      Bake for ~10-12mins or until the soufflés have risen and are just golden on top. Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately (they will start to drop almost straight away once removed from the oven). 

Serves 3.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Fooditian: The new (more aptly named) title for trained foodies (AKA Dietitians)

I may have the word ‘diet’ taking up a significant portion of my professional title, but the truth is, I wish I didn’t. The word diet conjures up many negative connotations of restriction, guilt, hunger and images of boring, uninspiring food. And unfortunately, when client’s come to see me they often think that is what I’ll put them on. But that’s actually not what Dietitians are all about (would you ever have guessed?).

I like to educate people about healthy food, give them new recipes and meal ideas to try, get them excited about food and teach them how to decipher food labels so that they can choose healthier products themselves. I like to show people how to get in touch with their own body and listen to the signals it is sending them. Not actually hungry? Then don’t eat. Feeling full but enjoying a delicious meal? Then stop, save the leftovers for the next day and enjoy it twice! And believe it or not, we have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to medical conditions too. In fact, we studied ‘medical nutrition therapy’ or ‘clinical dietetics’ at university and have a good understanding of the relationship between food and the body (how does food impact on cholesterol, or blood pressure, blood sugar levels or energy levels, bowel function, or appetite, recovery from surgery or healing of wounds, body composition or athletic performance? We could tell you). Some of us even work in hospitals and determine tube feeds to sustain patients while they can’t eat for themselves, or in aged care and encourage higher calorie foods in malnourished older residents. So it isn’t all about weight loss. And heck, even in ‘weight loss’ cases, it isn’t all about weight loss.

The aim is to give someone the power to make their own decisions and to support them through that process. Sure, we can make suggestions, but ultimately it’s not up to us what actually goes into their mouth. In fact I try to avoid giving out meal plans because I know they aren’t going to be stuck to. And that’s ok! Food is about so much more than just fuel, or an energy in energy out equation, it’s about pleasure! Do you really want to miss out on a piece of cake on your birthday or order salad at a famous Italian pasta restaurant? I sure wouldn’t. Be flexible and be kind to yourself. Eat well most of the time and those few occasional treats aren’t going to do you any harm.

My tip? Stop focusing on the numbers on the scales. Focus on you, how you feel and the health benefits associated with your healthy lifestyle. Want to find out more about food and how it affects you? Speak to a Dietitian- it’s what we do! Or maybe we should change our title to Fooditian (do you think it’ll catch on?).

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Chermoula spiced beer bread

There's something very satisfying about making your own bread, especially the smells that come wafting out of your kitchen while it's baking! I wanted to start with a relatively easy recipe that I could flavour with a new chermoula spice mix I'd discovered in a spice appreciation class (see here for more on this). So I cast my mind back to food technology in high school when we'd made beer bread (I know, beer in school? Surely that's not allowed now!). Now, I'm no lover of beer, or any alcohol really, but when it comes to cooking and you're left with just the flavours, it seems to work so well! Not to mention, the yeast in the beer helps this bread to rise beautifully.

I served my bread with chermoula-rubbed lamb and onion
skewers, grilled vegetables (capsicum, eggplant, zucchini,
mushrooms and spinach) and tzatziki and hummus on
the side- delicious!

Chermoula is a North African spice blend made of cumin, paprika, onion, turmeric, cayenne, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper and coriander leaves. It goes really well with grilled meats and vegetables and gives a spicy Moroccan flavour. If you don't have access to chermoula, any other herb or spice mix will do, or the bread can be just as good without any other flavour additions (as it lets the beer shine through).

Chermoula spiced beer bread

3 ¼ C plain wholemeal flour
330mL bottle of beer (dark ale recommended), at room temperature
1 tsp dry instant yeast
1-2 tsp salt
Optional: 1.5 Tbsp chermoula or other herb or spice mix

 1. Combine flour, yeast, salt and chermoula (if using) in a large bowl. Run beer bottle under a tap of running hot water for a few minutes to warm. Add to bowl and stir gently to combine.
2. Knead dough on a floured surface and return to bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm spot for at least 1 hour.
3. Punch down mixture (press with your fist a couple of times) to get rid of any large air bubbles. Again, cover and let rise for at least 2 hours or refrigerated overnight.
4. Form dough into a loaf and place on a lined baking tray. Sprinkle the top with plain flour and slash with a knife (forming 1 vertical line or 3 angled lines). Cover and let rise for another 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 230°C.

5. Put 8-10 ice cubes in a tray and place at the bottom of the oven (this will humidify the oven allowing a nice crunchy crust to form on the bread). Put bread tray on the middle rung of the oven and bake for 20-35mins or until the bread has risen and the crust is nicely browned.
6. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing.

Makes ~15 small slices.