Easy Asian Soup – Sinead Style

I often like to experiment a little in the kitchen and I’d like to think that this soup/broth base is a bit of a signature dish for me. I definitely think it gets better the more I make it and I love trying new combinations or slight variations.

I’ve made it with chicken, beef, tofu, noodles or no noodles and added either fresh carrot and bean sprouts pho-style or cooked mushrooms and bok choy in the broth. You can honestly do whatever tickles your fancy! Just recently I tried it with fish for the first time and I think it’s safe to say this is my favourite combination yet. I’ll definitely be making it again in the coming months as the weather gets cooler!

These measurements are roughly for 1 serve but it’s pretty easy to add extra to stretch this out to serve a few people.

Easy Asian Soup - Sinead StyleIngredients:

  • 500ml Chicken Stock (home-made or organic is best but I only had powdered salt-reduced stock on hand and it tasted just fine)
  • 250ml water
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1-2 garlic cloves – finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon salt-reduced soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/3 head of broccoli – cut into bite sized florets
  • 1 small bunch bok choy – end chopped off and leaves halved
  • Half a large carrot – sliced in 0.5 cm thick slices
  • 2 mushrooms – sliced
  • 1/2 a large barramundi fillet
  • Half a small red chilli – de-seeded and finely diced (or to taste)
  • Small handful coriander – torn slightly

Method:

In a medium saucepan heat the coconut oil and fry the garlic for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken stock and water and bring to the boil.

Once boiling add the soy sauce and fish sauce and reduce heat to simmer.

Arrange the fish in a steaming basket on some baking paper and place over the broth.

Once fish is almost cooked through (pull apart slightly with a knife to check this – should be just slightly pink in the middle) add the broccoli and carrot to the broth, stir and place the steam basket back over the top. Let simmer for approximately 5 mins.

Next add the bok choy and mushroom to the broth, stir and place the steam basket back over the top. Let simmer for 2 mins.

Turn off the heat and remove the steam basket from the saucepan. Pour the broth and vegetables into a large bowl and the arrange the fish on top. It will break apart a bit but that doesn’t matter.

Garnish with the coriander and chilli and enjoy!

Sinead xx

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My two cents’ worth on the paleo debate

Holy guacamole! There’s been a lot of heated discussion of late regarding the paleo lifestyle and it’s current Australian poster boy, Pete Evans. Poor Paleo Pete has really copped it from the media after his attempted release of a Paleo cookbook designed for very young children that contains a recipe for a DIY formula that experts claimed could kill a baby. Unfortunately all this negative media coverage has resulted in the Paleo lifestyle getting a bad rap, which doesn’t need to be the case if it is researched and understood properly.

I am neither for or against the Paleo approach. This is because I love bread and I love cheese. Actually scratch that, I ADORE cheese! However, I am also very aware of how my body feels after consuming too much of these things. That is I feel clogged up, sluggish and bloated. It’s following these moments, as I’m sipping my warm water with lemon or apple cider vinegar to get the digestive system working properly again, that I can understand why people follow and love the Paleo lifestyle.

There are so many different opinions on Paleo and whether or not it’s the right way to go. Personally I’ve made my own opinion on Paleo and it’s potential benefits/obstacles by reading the views of the following people who have the biggest influence on my cooking, eating and general healthy lifestyle:

Sarah Wilson - I Quit Sugar

Sarah Wilson – I Quit Sugar

  • Sarah Wilson and the I Quit Sugar team address the key concepts and benefits of Paleo on these pages:

https://iquitsugar.com/a-bluffers-guide-to-paleo/?nonce=9f24063ccf

https://iquitsugar.com/24-paleo-facts-you-need-to-know/?nonce=185ff36e97

Michelle Bridges - 12WBT

Michelle Bridges – 12WBT

  • Rachel Sadler represents Michelle Bridges’ and the 12 Week Body Transformation team’s point of view on Paleo here:

https://www.12wbt.com/blog/nutrition/is-paleo-the-right-way-to-go/

Pete Evans - Healthy Every Day

Pete Evans – Healthy Every Day

  • Pete Evans gives information regarding the principles of The Paleo Way using this PDF:

https://d2x6ttyazlxoaj.cloudfront.net/wp-content/themes/paleoway/images/what-is-paleo.pdf?13

Daniel Churchill - The Healthy Cook

Daniel Churchill – The Healthy Cook

  • And Daniel Churchill discusses his philosophy and reasons for living the Paleo lifestyle on his website:

http://www.danielchurchill.com.au/about/my-philosophy/

By sifting through the overwhelming amount of information it’s clear to me that Paleo is often perceived incorrectly as just being all about meat and eating lots of it. This is far from the truth, in fact many of the recipes found within Dan & Pete’s books contain more vegetables than meat and there are plenty of vegetarian friendly options. The key principles are eating wholesome and healthy food that’s un-processed and could have been ‘gathered’ or ‘hunted’ back when we were cave-men. Reducing added sugar, keeping active, avoiding caffeine and restricting alcohol are all recommended traits of the Paleo lifestyle on which I think everyone can agree are sound and healthy principles to live by.

I think it’s ridiculous when people claim that the Paleo lifestyle is dangerous. How can living by the principles mentioned above be detrimental to your health? And when people use the example of ‘the cavemen didn’t live as long as we do now’ as a reason against Paleo, this is easily explained by the huge advances in medicine and technology we have now.

On the other hand I don’t agree with completely cutting out dairy, grains, legumes and all starchy vegetables. This is partly because I enjoy all these things, and also because I believe everything in moderation and at safe levels is ok (although added sugar is something I attempt to avoid altogether). Furthermore by adopting a less restrictive approach to things I find my healthy lifestyle easier to maintain and adhere to in the long run.

One thing we need to remember is everyone is different and no single diet or lifestyle is going to suit everyone. I’m lucky in that my body is able to handle dairy with no problem and that medium levels of gluten are ok but some other others are not so fortunate. Experiment and discover what suits you best and before long you’ll be able to turn that ‘diet’ into a healthy, happy and sustainable lifestyle.

Sinead xx

Coconut & Mango Sweet Green Smoothie

Here’s another combination I tried recently and loved. There is nothing better than using up the contents of one’s fridge and freezer and creating something delicious in the process!

Ingredients:

  • Flesh of one mango – frozen
  • Flesh of one small coconut – frozen (4 frozen coconut cream cubes would work perfectly with this as well)
  • 1 cup Pure Harvest Coco Quench (or whatever milk alternative you prefer. Regular Full Cream, Almond, Oat or Coconut & Almond milk would work as well)
  • 1 large handful baby spinach
  • 1 small handful mint leaves
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Chia seeds for topping (optional)

Method:

I let the frozen coconut flesh and mango thaw a little bit and then added all ingredients and blended together to create a lovely, thick and almost sorbet-textured smoothie. Top with some chia seeds if you like.

Coconut & Mango Sweet Green Smoothie

Coconut & Mango Sweet Green Smoothie

Sinead xx

Two paleo bread recipes that actually taste good and are easy to make!

I don’t know about you but when I see the words ‘paleo’ and ‘bread’ in the same sentence I get pretty sceptical. I mean, what’s with all the bizarre flour substitutes and types you have to put in them? No I am not going to buy a $15 bag of buckwheat or arrowroot flour just to use 2 tablespoons for one particular recipe and then leave it in my pantry for 9 months. Give me easy, simple and tasty any day of the week!

Having tried and tested the following two recipes I can safely say that they are pretty much fool-proof (I am a hopeless baker and both of these turned out perfect!) and delicious just lightly toasted with some full-fat butter at any time of the day.

My only word of warning with these recipes is that they are quite moist due to the high amount of vegetables in them and therefore do not keep for long even in an air-tight container (I was so devastated when I discovered the mould on my sweet-potato paleo bread!). The best way to make these last is to slice up and freeze into two-slice portions with a piece of baking paper in between.

Paleo Inside-Out Bread

This recipe is from the I Quit Sugar for Life book and actually calls for the dreaded Arrowroot flour mentioned above. As I obviously did not have this on hand I just substituted for some good old Woolworths brand Gluten-Free flour from the health food section and it turned out perfect!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal
  • 3/4 cups arrowroot (Woolworths gluten-free flour is fine!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/3 cup pitted olives, halved
  • 3/4 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/3 cup finely diced ham
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons pepitas

Method:

Preheat the oven to 160C and line a loaf tin with baking paper. In a large bowl, mix together the almond meal, arrowroot (or gluten-free flower), salt and bicarbonate of soda. In a separate bowl and using a fork, whisk the eggs lightly with the apple cider vinegar. Add the parsley, olives, zucchini, ham and cheese and whisk well, then add the egg mix to the dry ingredients. Mix well to combine, then pour the dough into the prepared loaf tin and sprinkle with pepitas.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top starts turning golden and a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack. Allow to cool for five minutes before slicing. Freeze leftover slices between sheets of baking paper in a ziplock bag.

Paleo Inside Out Bread courtesy of Sarah Wilson, absolute favourite!

Paleo Inside Out Bread courtesy of Sarah Wilson, absolute favourite!

Sweet Potato Paleo Bread

With only 6 ingredients, it doesn’t get much easier than this recipe! I love the fact that the sweet-potato adds a bit of sweetness. Pumpkin would work great with this too, in fact I think I might try it this weekend!

Ingredients:

  • 400 g steamed and pureed sweet potato.
  • 4 free range eggs.
  • pinch of sea salt.
  • 50 g coconut oil or butter.
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder.
  • 300 g almond meal.

Method:

Preheat your oven to 160 degrees. In a food processor, mix the eggs, oil and sweet potato. Spoon this mixture into a bowl and add the ground almonds, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Pour into a paper lined baking tray and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. Leave this to cool for an hour before slicing it with a sharp knife to serve.

Sweet Potato Paleo Bread

Sweet Potato Paleo Bread

Hope you enjoy these as much as I did!

Sinead xx