Category Archives: Dinner

Fibre: The Original Sexy Superfood

When was the last time you discussed your bowel movements at a dinner party? It seems fibre intake and subsequent bowel activities are not a popular dinner conversation. Trendy superfoods like acai and goji berries, spirulina, cacao and wheat grass seem to be the focus when discussing superfoods.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love an acai breakfast bowl – spirulina shot and raw cacao coated goji berries do excite me. However, expensive ingredients from exotic locations are omnipresent whilst fibre is often considered passé.

Long before noni juice was purported to aid digestive discomfort and maca was heralded for …

Read the complete article on TheUpside Blog HERE

For wholesome nourishing and utterly delicious high fibre breakfast options, see HERE

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Let’s go to Uncle for dinner

A little while ago one of my friends suggested Uncle for a dinner catch-up. To be honest, when she first mentioned it, I wasn’t that taken. I couldn’t help but think another Modern Australian/Pseudo Vietnamese restaurant in Melbourne?! Really??!!

Okay, I was wrong.

Uncle, located in Carlisle Street St. Kilda, is actually a breath of fresh air.

Forget the food for a moment, the atmosphere is gorgeous, upon entering you’re greeted with cheery polite staff. Half of Uncle is an outdoor terrace so you can dine al fresco. I do like dining with fresh air. Considering I’m a nutritionist, I’ll leave the design speak to the experts but will say it is elegantly decked out in furniture and finishing’s that compliment the atmosphere and food.

Winning so far.

If that wasn’t enough in the bathroom there is Thankyou hand wash and Who Gives a Crap toilet paper. Both these companies donate significant funds to those in need, be it providing water or sanitation to developing countries. You may not know this but I get really excited over companies with a social conscience.

Another tick to Uncle.

Now for the food…

There are options for all dietary requirements. From a separate menu for the gluten avoiders to options for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. There was recently a menu change but luckily my new favourite, the lime cured hapuka, coconut, pomegranate, chili on betal leaf remains. If you look closely the betal leaf is actually a love heart, so how can you go wrong   😉 I noticed this when my sister and I were there celebrating me passing my yoga teacher training exams.

The hapuka fish is cooked beautifully. Importantly the fish is not doused in coconut rather it is respected as an ingredient. The coconut merely compliments. Pomegranates provide a bit of juicy freshness and the chili is just enough.

Lime cured Hapuka Fish on Betal Leaf

Lime cured Hapuka Fish on Betal Leaf

I recently ordered the whole fish with ginger soy and fragrant herbs. Once again, the fish was cooked beautifully, it was light and came off the bone easily. Although my favourite part was the generous supply of fragrant herbs. There’s nothing worse then receiving a plate of beautiful food with just a token green or herb. Herbs contain antioxidants, vitamin C, folate and fibre so deserve to be celebrated as much as the main item.

Whole fish with ginger soy and fragrant herbs

Whole fish with ginger soy and fragrant herbs

My only gripe was with the saltiness of the ginger soy.

I dream of a world where salt addition in food is controlled at the table but with a quota to prevent oversalting. You may think I’m a killjoy, I just worry about the implications of too much salt. There really is no denying excessive salt is disastrous to blood pressure. I can’t apologise, I’m just thinking about your health.

Uncle3

There is a substantial drinks menu. However, the tick for me was the friendly addition of a lemon wedge in my mineral water. Sometimes the simple things are often the best 🙂

I went to Uncle for a friends farewell dinner. We needed a special restaurant for a special friend.

uncle

Now for the nutrient analysis..

The menu is based on fresh seasonal ingredients that easily speak for themselves. The flavours are intricate but not overpowering. A talented chef, yes yes!!

It has become common place in our society to order side dishes or miss out on vegetables and salads. There are sides on the menu such as the delicious and crunchy mixed leaf salad. However, there are generous vegetable additions to the main dishes so sides are not an essential.

Food is designed to be shared which is fun but it also ensures greater variety in food intake so more gorgeous nutrients for our body-mind.

In Summary

Uncle serve fresh food with flavour. There is something for everyone. However, I would love to see less salt in the dishes.

Score: ***(*) 

3.5 out of 5

Love, Respect, Nourish by Sharon's Nutrition Melbourne restaurants

Cauliflower Pizza

Pizza is an interesting food.

It has the potential to be nourishing and wholesome with plentiful vegetables, yet so often the goodness is lacking.

Sorry to bare bad news but let’s face it, thick white bread covered in salty processed meats, then doused with excessive sauces and cheese is not going to do a thing for glistening skin, energy levels and concentration.

Enter, my cauliflower pizza and suddenly the story has a happier ending.

See here for my feelings about cauliflower.

This recipe is a winner. It is still on the indulgent side with the cheese addition, so should be consumed only occasionally.

Prepare the base for your guests and let them top it themselves for an interactive dinner party

or top it with my favorites, rocket leaves, pine nuts and herbs as I have in this recipe. Just be warned, once you serve this to your guests, they may never leave.

Cauliflower Pizza

Cauliflower Pizza

Serves: 1 Cauliflower Pizza per person

Ingredients 

1 Cup Grated Cauliflower

3/4 Cup Cheese

1 Egg

1 Tablespoon Dried Mixed Herbs

1/3 Avocado

1 Tablespoon Pine Nuts

Handful of Rocket Leaves

Method:

Preheat oven to 180C.

Shred/Grate Cheese.

Mix grated cheese with grated cauliflower.

Beat egg. Add egg to cauliflower/cheese. Mix to combine.

Line small pizza pan or baking tine base, with baking paper.

Evenly spread pizza ingredients onto pan to form pizza base.

Top with mixed herbs.

Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, or until pizza browns, cheese melts and pizza is slightly firm.

Remove from oven.

Top with avocado, pine nuts and rocket leaves.

Optional: In a mortar and pestle pound basil and spinach leaves with a little olive oil to form a paste. Spread lightly over the pizza as a pesto sauce before topping with the avocado, pine nuts and rocket.

Quinoa Sushi

I like to be honest and say things as they are; particularly when it comes to health recommendations. I’m not harsh but in my consults I offer realistic solutions instead of sugar coating and making blanket statements that lead to naught.

Having said that, a common question i’m asked is what my thoughts are on sushi. The common white rice sushi with the token vegetable and small meat, fish or tofu portion.

Honestly speaking, i’m not a fan.

There is too much white rice and not enough vegetable or protein for me to gloriously recommend this as a health food. Replace the white rice with brown rice, the fiber content lifts and the corners of my mouth begin to lift into a smile. Add more vegetables and i’m even happier.

However, one of my preferred sushi is quinoa sushi. This recipe is heavy on the vegetable load so is already a winner in this nutritionists eyes. The addition of quinoa boosts the good fats, protein and slow digesting carbohydrates. All up, this is an exceptional lunch offering that won’t have you yawning and reaching for those nasty chocolate bars by mid afternoon.

This quinoa sushi is also delicious with my aromatic prawns. See here for the recipe.

Aromatic Prawns with Quinoa Sushi

Aromatic Prawns with Quinoa Sushi

Ingredients:

1 Cup Cooked Quinoa

Water for Quinoa Preparation

1/2 Avocado

Tofu (or any other protein source you prefer, this dish is delish with cooked tuna or sashimi grade raw fish), cut into thin strips.

Nori (seaweed) Sheets

1/2 Lebanese Cucumber, thinly sliced

1/2 Cup Shredded Lettuce

1 Teaspoon Wasabi

Tamari and Fresh Grated Ginger for Dipping

Method:

Quinoa preparation varies according to grain size. Check packet instructions. However, as a general rule, allow 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa. Bring to the boil. Add quinoa.

One boiling, reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes.

Fluff with a fork.

Allow quinoa to cool.

Mash avocado, then mix with cooled quinoa. Set aside.

Place 1 sheet of nori on a flat surface.

Spread the avocado and quinoa mixture on 1/3 of the nori sheet. Spreading the mixture to the ends of the sheet.

Add shredded lettuce and cucumber over the avocado/quinoa.

Place tofu over the lettuce and cucumber.

Roll nori sheet away from you, tightly.

Seal the edge of nori sheet with small amount of wasabi. (a little water can be used in place of wasabi).

Cut the sushi roll into small pieces.

Serve with a dipping sauce of grated fresh ginger and Tamari.

Optional: Serve with more wasabi on the side.

 

 

Beetroot Pancakes

Beetroot Pancakes topped with snow pea sprouts, mixed leaves and vegan dill cashew cheese

Beetroot Pancakes topped with snow pea sprouts, mixed leaves and vegan dill cashew cheese

I like beetroot, a lot! See here for my download on the benefits.

Other wise, stay here for this stunning recipe. I make beetroot pancakes for a quick dinner but they are equally suited to breakfast or lunch.

I prefer pikelet size pancakes but if you prefer larger size morsels, use a larger pan 🙂

Ingredients: 

1 Beetroot, grated

1 Cup Buckwheat Flour

1 Egg

1/2 Cup Milk (I use unsweetened almond milk or quinoa milk)

1/4 Cup Sparkling Mineral Water

1/4 cup Buttermilk

Macadamia Nut Oil

Method:

Sift buckwheat flour into bowl.

Add egg to buckwheat, mix.

Add grated beetroot, mix.

Whilst stirring, slowly add milk, sparkling water and buttermilk. I prefer to do this step with a fork, rather than a beater or processor to prevent over mixing and enable the sparkling water and buttermilk to combine gently.

Note: depending on the absorption of the buckwheat flour, you made to add slightly more flour or liquid. The batter should be wet and thick but not overly sloppy from the liquid.

Heat pan to high heat.

Once hot, add 1 tablespoon macadamia nut oil, allow to coat the entire pan.

Turn heat down to medium heat.

In batches, ladle beetroot pancake mixture into pan. – careful not to overcrowd the pan.

Cook on each side for 2 minutes or until the pancake is colored and ‘browned’.

Repeat process until all the batter is used. May need to add another 1 tablespoon macadamia nut oil or wipe down the pan between batches.

Serve with leafy greens and either cashew cheese or ricotta cheese for a hearty meal.

 

 

Aromatic Prawns

Prawns are one of those foods that seem to draw a crowd. Whenever I run cooking sessions or Market Discovery Tours that include prawn recipes, the sessions sell in record time. I understand why…

Other than being delicious, they adopt flavors beautifully.

Nutritionally speaking, they are an excellent source of the antioxidant astaxanthin, which is beneficial for boosting the immune system and preventing inflammation within the body.

Prawns are also an excellent source of selenium, another awesome nutrient for boosting the immune system.

If that wasn’t enough, prawns are a beautiful protein source. They contain all essential amino acids (the basic building blocks of protein) in ideal quantities, which make then a high quality protein source. This is excellent news for those wanting to be healthy.

Although prawns contain beneficial fats such as DHA and EPA, there is a warning. The downer with prawns is their cholesterol content. If cholesterol is an issue tread lightly with your portions.

Prawn Recipes

I love prawns in recipes that respect these delicious morsels.

When little is added so the true flavor and texture of prawns are able to shine through.

This is one of my favorite recipes, the amount of garlic, ginger and chili added can reflect your taste buds. Here I provide a guide but feel free to change accordingly.

I love serving these gorgeous aromatic prawns atop of quinoa sushi for a wholesome meal and crowd pleaser. They are the perfect accompaniment to your entertainers menu.

Aromatic Prawns with Quinoa Sushi

Aromatic Prawns with Quinoa Sushi

Serves 2

Ingredients:

10 Peeled, deveined local prawns, tails intact

2 fresh Garlic cloves

Fresh Ginger, Grated (to taste)

2 Tablespoons Macadamia nut oil (I used Brookfarm Macadamia Nut Oil infused with Lime & Chili)

1/2 Lemon

Optional: Chili Flakes

Method:

Marinate prawns in garlic, ginger and macadamia nut oil for minimum 1 hour (overnight is okay too).

Heat pan on medium heat until hot.

Add prawns to pan (no need for additional oil as there is oil coating prawns from marinade)

Cook prawns for 2 minutes on either side, or approximately 10 seconds after they turn pink.

Note: Do not overcrowd the pan.

Remove prawns from pan when cooked, then squeeze the juice of lemon onto prawns.

Optional: Sprinkle chili flakes over the prawns.

 

 

Cauliflower Rice

Some may say that all vegetables have been created equally.

However, this would likely disappoint cauliflower.

I understand too much science speak can make people’s brain hurt. However, cauliflower is very special, you see it contains glucosinolates. Before I lose you with the science, stay with me. These glucosinolates within the humble cauliflower have a profound impact on the body’s detox and cleansing system.

Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, broccoli and broccoli also boast these properties. They are all part of the cruciferous vegetable family.

You see, there is no need for drastic detox diets and starvation cleanses to rid your body of waste.

Simply increase your consumption of cruciferous vegetables. These powerful veggies boost the body’s antioxidant support and action an anti-inflammatory response. This is excellent news for reducing the risk of certain lifestyle illnesses and diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease and some cancers such as stomach and colon cancer.

Just be sure to always consume the stalk, there is so much goodness and fibre in this part it is a shame to waste.

  

Two of my favorite ways to serve cauliflower are roasted with lots of cinnamon and nutmeg or lightly steamed then topped with generous amounts of fresh dill.

My other favorite way is as cauliflower rice.

This “rice” is beautiful served as a salad with roasted beetroot, parsley, goats feta cheese and crushed nuts. It also goes perfectly with my aromatic prawns.

Cauliflower Rice with Roasted Beetroot, Parsley, Feta and Crushed Mixed Nuts

Cauliflower Rice with Roasted Beetroot, Parsley, Feta and Crushed Mixed Nuts

Serves 3:

Ingredients:

1/2 Cauliflower, stalk included

1/2 Broccoli, stalk included

1/2 Red Onion

1 Tablespoon Macadamia Nut Oil

Optional: 2 Tablespoons Tamari

Optional: Sprinkle dried herbs or ground spices e.g. cinnamon, turmeric, paprika, curry, mustard.

Method:

Finely chop red onion. Set aside

Grate cauliflower into a bowl (or use a food processor) to achieve small bits. Set aside

Lightly shave/peel the tough outer edge of broccoli stalk.

Then grate broccoli into similar size as cauliflower. Set aside.

Heat pan to medium heat.

Add macadamia nut oil and onion.

Let onion become soft and opaque BUT not browned.

Once onion has softened, add cauliflower and broccoli to pan. Mix to combine then cover pan with lid.

Cook for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once cauliflower and broccoli have softened, remove from heat.

Add Tamari and mixed herbs. Mix to combine.

Serve