Recipe: Ensalada de palmitos y palta (hearts of palm and avocado salad)

I make variations of this salad every time I cook a Peruvian-themed meal. What makes it Peruvian? The avocado, palmitos, botija olives and the fact that is seasoned with lime juice and olive oil. Serve as a side for pretty much anything.

Ensalada de palmitos y palta (hearts of palm and avocado salad)
Yield: 4-6 servings as a side dish

Ensalada de palmitos y palta

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head of lettuce, leaves torn
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 3 radishes, sliced
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 palmitos (hearts of palm), sliced
  • 10 black olives (preferably botija)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • olive oil
  • salt to taste

Directions

  1. Prep ingredients and place in a salad bowl.
  2. Season with lime juice, olive oil and salt.

Recipe: Peruvian ceviche

Classic Peruvian ceviche (cebiche or seviche are the proper spellings that nobody uses anymore) consists of 4 ingredients: fish, lime juice, onions and chillies. It is normally served with sweet potato and choclo (Peruvian white corn). Less common accompaniments include potato, yuca (cassava), yuyo (seaweed), rice (!). Cancha is normally served as a snack, although some restaurants serve some as part of the dish. Buen provecho!

Peruvian ceviche
Yield: 5 servings as an entrée

Ceviche

Ingredients

  • 1/2 red onion
  • 500g white fish fillet, such as snapper
  • juice of 5-7 limes
  • red chillies, such as birdseye, sliced (optional)
  • salt, to taste

To serve

  • coriander
  • choclo (Peruvian white corn) or regular corn, cooked
  • sweet potato, cooked

Directions

  1. Finely slice onion and soak in cold water. You can do this step a few hours in advance. When ready to start preparing the fish, drain onions in a colander.
  2. Cube fish, mix with onions and place on a serving platter. Season with salt.
  3. Cover with lime juice. Serve immediately or reserve in the fridge if you like your fish more marinated.
  4. When ready to serve, check the seasoning and garnish with coriander. Serve choclo and sweet potato on the side.
Macro Natural Nut Mix

Product Review: Macro Natural Nut Mix

Woolies has recently launched a snack pack called Macro Natural Nut Mix. The bag contains 5 single-serve packs 5 and costs $3.99, making a convenient and reasonably-priced snack. Sadly, convenience also means extra packaging.

Each pack contains 30g of nuts (almonds, blanched peanuts, walnuts and cashews), which is the recommended serving size in the Australian Dietary Guidelines. Note that the nuts are either raw or blanched and unsalted, making them healthier than the roasted and/or flavoured varieties.

Nuts contain healthy fats (mainly monounsaturated and some polyunsaturated fatty acids), as well as some protein and fibre. They also contain appreciable amounts of micronutrients such as vitamin E, folate, magnesium, calcium, and selenium. When tolerated, nuts should be consumed regularly in sensible amounts as part of a healthy diet. I prefer to freeze nuts for texture and to help protect the fats from going rancid.

Each serve provides:
Energy: 777kJ
Protein: 6.7g
Fat 16.5g
Saturated 1.7g
Carbohydrate 2.0g
– Sugars 1.6g
Fibre 2.5g

For more information about the health benefits of nuts, visit Nuts For Life.

Huon Salmon to Go Deli Bites

Product Review: Huon Salmon to Go Deli Bites

Huon, the well-known Tasmanian salmon producer, has launched a new line of ready-to-eat products called Salmon to Go.

Huon Salmon Bites

I bought a bag of Deli Bites, hot smoked natural flavour, which only contains salmon, salt and natural wood smoke. Other hot smoked options are blackened spice, lemon pepper and sweet chilli, and there is also a cold smoked one. The product’s selling point is convenience, as it can be easily added to pastas, salads or pizza, as suggested on the package. The bag contains 250g of salmon, which at $6 is significantly cheaper than other smoked salmon products. In my opinion, this is a clever way of using those bits and pieces that would perhaps otherwise end as food waste.

Huon Salmon Bites

This product is a great source of protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids:
Protein: 26.3g
Fat 9.4g
– saturated 2.1g
– polyunsaturated 2.5g
   omega-3 1.4g
    EPA 441.8mg
    DHA 639.2mg
   omega-6 1.1g
– monounsaturated 4.3g
– trans 0.1g

Huon Salmon to Go Deli Bites are available in the refrigerated section of major supermarkets.

To learn more about this product visit Huon’s website.

Recipe: Pescado sudado (Peruvian steamed fish)

This is another Peruvian classic dish, very easy to make and very comforting. “Sudar” means to sweat, the name reflects the fact that the fish is cooked by the steam produced by the liquid at the bottom of the pan.

The recipe calls for a couple of Peruvian ingredients (ají panca and chicha de jora), which can be found in a few stores in Sydney (contact me if you’re interested), but can be substituted if needed. While this dish is mainly made with fish only, my mum makes a killer version with fish and scallops, and a friend makes one with mussels.

Pescado sudado (Peruvian steamed fish)
Yield: 4 servings

Sudado de pescado

Ingredients

  • ~800g white fish fillets (I used snapper)
  • 2 tbsp oil (I used coconut oil)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp ají panca (or other red chilli paste)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree or passata
  • 2 tomatoes, thickly sliced
  • 2 red onions, thickly sliced
  • 3/4 cup chicha de jora (or white wine or plain kombucha or a combination)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice of 1 lime, optional

To serve

  • coriander leaves
  • rice (or cauliflower rice)

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add garlic, ají panca, tomato puree, plus half of the onion and tomato slices and cook at low-medium heat for 10 minutes.
  2. Add liquid and bring to a simmer.
  3. Season fish fillets with salt and pepper and arrange them on top of the sauce ingredients.
  4. Top fish with the rest of onions and tomatoes, cover pan with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Add lime juice if desired, garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice or cauliflower rice and a side salad.

Recipe: Huevo a la rusa (Russian-style egg salad)

Despite its name, this dish is a Peruvian classic. So much so that I’ve been told it’s called “huevos a la peruana” (Peruvian-style eggs) in Chile. It is basically a spin-off of the traditional Russian Olivier salad, with the addition of eggs and golf sauce. It’s always served as an entrée, usually in “menú” (affordable set menu) eateries.

Huevo a la rusa (Russian-style egg salad)
Yield: 3 servings

Huevo a la rusa

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 cup peas
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup (preferably homemade)
  • lettuce leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Boil or steam the eggs to your liking (I steam mine for 10 minutes). Cool down with tap water. Peel, halve and reserve.
  2. Peel, cube and steam potatoes and carrots.
  3. Blanch or steam peas.
  4. Once vegetables have cooled down, mix them with 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise.
  5. Mix the other tablespoon of mayonnaise with the ketchup.
  6. Arrange lettuce leaves on 3 plates, place vegetable mix on top. Top with one halved egg and the mayo/ketchup sauce.
Cafe Lola

Review: Cafe Lola (Hobart, TAS)

One morning, breakfast at the conference was muffins and fruit. I silently turned around and reached for my phone to search for the nearby cafes I had bookmarked. The nearest one was Cafe Lola and I was extremely glad I found it.

Cafe Lola is located right on the wharf and it’s hard to miss – just follow the coffee-centric signs.

Cafe Lola

Cafe Lola

Their menu reads “At Lola we believe good food begins with sourcing locally and ethically, wherever possible, then preparing all our food fresh combining paleo and clean-food philosophies. Most importantly treating our food and customers with care, so you can enjoy being healthy and happy.” From my experience, it seems they do practice what they preach.

As I found out, coffee in Hobart is not cheap but fortunately this was an exception. My long black was not only decently priced ($3.50) but also decently sized and did not disappoint.

Long black

Long black ($3.50)

Even though I knew I would have a lot of food throughout the day, the brekkie paleo pod with soft scrambled eggs, bacon (or smoked salmon), spinach and kumara hash-brown sounded too good to miss. It was as wonderful as it sounds and very, very filling.

Brekkie paleo pod

Brekkie paleo pod ($15.50)

Even though the breakfast menu reads somewhat “normal”, most of the items have been revamped. For example, the toast is either gluten-free or rye and the spreads are home preserves. The granola, served with honey yoghurt and berries, is gluten-free, as are the ricotta & buckwheat pancakes with crispy maple spec (sic), orange & cardamom butter. The poached eggs come with sweet potato fritters, seared spinach & smashed avocado. You get the drill.

For lunch, they have pods in which you choose a base, a protein and an optional extra side. They also have gluten-free, paleo and regular cakes, slices and biscuits to grab and go.

Cafe Lola will remain bookmarked for my future visits to Hobart.

The Bottom Line
Coffee: 4.5/5, good and cheaper than the average in Hobart.
Food: 4.5/5, locally and ethically sourced produce, many gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and paleo options.
Service: 4/5, friendly and polite

Cafe Lola
1/1 Franklin Wharf
Hobart TAS 7000
(03) 6236 9934
Website

Lola Espresso Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Naturally Good Expo

Last weekend I attended the Naturally Good Expo, a trade-only event for businesses interested in natural food, therapies and goods. I, of course, attended as a private practice dietitian to 1) know what are the market trends that my clients might be exposed to and 2) try products that I can recommend to my clients and/or use myself.

I tried a multitude of Bounce®-type energy balls, raw/protein bars, alkaline water, turmeric products, chocolate bars, plant-based protein powders and greens powders. To be honest, I think those product categories are reaching saturation point and it’s hard to differentiate between brands.

Matcha and turmeric drinks

The most interesting products I personally came across were:

Goat milk chocolate

Egg white protein bars

Sauerkraut crisps

One trend I was pleased to see is bone broths in different presentations (liquid, powdered, in a paste for reconstituting), as well as collagen and gelatin products. These natural jellies were pretty awesome, too.

Bone broth, jelly and nut milks

Natural jellies

Fine Fettle won the retailer’s choice award for best food product, which doesn’t surprise me – I’ve been a fan for a long time (see my most recent review of their products <a href="here).

Estofado de pollo

Recipe: Estofado de pollo (Peruvian chicken stew)

This is one of those dishes that I used to hate as a kid and now I crave when homesickness kicks in. I think the main reason I dreaded it was that my mum or aunties cooked it too often.

I think mum has forgotten my aversion to estofado because she didn’t tease me when I asked for her recipe last time I spoke to her. Turns out that her recipe is simpler than what I imagined, and I managed to make it taste virtually the same. Except that now I like it :)

Estofado de pollo (Peruvian chicken stew)
Yield: 6-7 servings

Estofado de pollo

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 1.85kg chicken drumsticks
  • 1 red onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1.25 cups chicken broth
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced
  • 0.5 cup frozen peas
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Heat the ghee or oil in a pot. Season the chicken drumsticks with salt and pepper and brown. Reserve.
  2. Lower the heat, add more ghee or oil if needed and cook the onion and garlic for 5-10 minutes until very soft and translucent.
  3. Add the tomato paste, chicken, chicken broth, carrot and potatoes. Stir, cover and cook until the chicken is done, about 20-30 minutes.
  4. Add the peas and check the seasoning.
  5. Serve with white rice and/or vegetables.

Product review: Healthy Everyday meals by Pete Evans

Now that some Woolies shops are stocking Healthy Everyday meals, I took the opportunity to buy a couple and sample them without committing to a big online order. These meals have been designed by Pete Evans and made by Paleo Cafe, which means they are free of gluten, added sugars, etc.

Healthy Everyday meals

One thing that had caught my eye from the website is that the meals stay good for way longer than other ready-made meals we sometimes purchase. This is because the meals are packed in vacuum sealed bags, which make them look less sexy (think hospital food) but increase their shelf life. This also meals that the range includes only foods that can keep well in this type of packaging, so things like salads are off the menu.

Healthy Everyday meals

We tried the BBQ pulled pork with pickled cabbage & sweet potato mash and the cottage pie with sweet potato mash & rich vegetable gravy. Despite the aforementioned “meh” look, both meals looked way better when plated and heated, and tasted even better. We found the serving sizes were decent (each one weighs ~400g, definitely smaller than our usual meals) and provided a good amount of protein and fibre.

BBQ pulled pork

I paid $13.50 for each meal at Woolies, more expensive than the price per meal if you buy directly from their website, but not necessarily if you consider shipping costs. I think the extra dollars over say a takeaway meal are worth paying considering the quality of ingredients and flavour.

Cottage pie

Healthy Everyday
Website