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).

Recipe: Pimiento relleno (Peruvian-style stuffed capsicum)

Full disclaimer: this in not an authentic Peruvian recipe. The traditional dish is called rocoto relleno, rocoto being a special type of Peruvian really really REALLY hot chilli that I haven’t been able to find fresh in Australia. You can find them jarred but IMO it’s not the same. They jarred version is wet and soggy, characteristics that are particularly unappealing when talking about vegetables you’re about to stuff.

*Real* Peruvians (i.e. not my husband) like their food spicy, so they don’t mind their rocoto relleno to have a bit of a kick. Wimps and kids might prefer to have their rocoto boiled multiple times in water, vinegar and sugar to minimise the heat or have pimiento (capsicum) instead of rocoto.

Rocoto relleno is a dish typical to Arequipa, the white city. The filling is the almighty Peruvian filling based on beef mince, onion, garlic and chilli. The cheese in traditional recipes is paria, a salty fresh cheese. The closest substitution I’ve found here in Australia is sheep and/or goat haloumi. Rocoto relleno is commonly served with a side of pastel de papa, basically a potato bake. I recommend serving it with a leafy green salad instead.

Pimiento relleno (Peruvian-style stuffed capsicum)
Yield: 4 servings

Pimiento relleno

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 250g beef mince
  • 250g pork mince
  • 1 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 2 tbsp ají panca (Peruvian red chilli paste – you can sub any chilli paste)
  • 4 large capsicums
  • 4 olives, pitted
  • 2 boiled eggs, halved
  • 8 slices (about 240g) sheep and/or goat haloumi cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to a moderate-high temperature (180-200°C)
  2. Heat the ghee or oil in a saucepan. Add meat and brown.
  3. Add onion, garlic and ají panca. Cook until meat is fully cooked and onions are soft.
  4. Cut the top off each capsicum and carefully remove the internal membranes and seeds.
  5. Fill each capsicum halfway with meat, add 1 olive, 1/2 boiled egg and cover with more meat.
  6. Top filling with 2 slices of cheese and cover with the capsicum “lid”.
  7. Pop in the oven until the capsicum is soft but not soggy and the cheese has started melting. Serve with a green salad.
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

Recipe: Puré de espinaca (spinach mash)

This is such an easy and middle-class recipe that I’m almost ashamed of posting it. But it brings warm memories of my childhood and of food from home. Eat with roast chicken, burger patties, fried eggs… whatever you fancy!

Puré de espinaca
Yield: 4-5 servings

Puré de espinaca

Ingredients

  • 0.5 kg potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 0.5 cup chicken broth or milk
  • 1-1.5 cups spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Peel, cube and cook potatoes.
  2. Mash potatoes while hot, add butter and mix.
  3. Heat up broth/milk, pour over spinach in a blender and blend until puréed.
  4. Add spinach mix to potatoes, mix well and season.

Recipe: Jugo surtido (“assorted” juice)

The funny thing about this juice is that the name tells you nothing, however everyone in Lima (possibly in Perú) knows exactly what to expect. The taste of a classic jugo surtido is, I’m sure, ingrained in the memories of millions of limeños who have ever set foot in a juguería (juice bars). When I was growing up, the best juguerías could be found in mercados (markets). Popular flavours were papaya, lúcuma con leche (lúcuma and milk), fresa con leche (strawberries and milk), plátano con leche (banana and milk), surtido and especial (surtido plus algarrobina and egg). I hated lúcuma until my mid-20s, the other single-fruit ones were common at home and especial was too intense for me. Therefore, surtido was my go-to choice.

Jugo surtido
Yield: 2-3 servings

Jugo surtido

Ingredients

  • 1/4 papaya
  • 2 slices cooked beetroot
  • 1 banana (fresh or frozen)
  • 6-8 strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2-2.5 cups water

Directions

  1. Blend all ingredients, pretend you are in a Peruvian mercado and enjoy.

Review: New breakfast menu at RealFood Connection (Camperdown)

RealFood Connection has just launched a new breakfast menu. This is one of my favourite cafes in Sydney because everything is gluten-free and many items are also dairy-free. In addition, because they also offer a meal delivery service, there are always delicious and healthy takeaway meals you can grab if you don’t feel like cooking.

I was a bit sad to see that the chunky bacon and sweet potato hash had left the menu but excited to try a couple of the new items. But first, coffee.

Long black

Long black ($3)

The breakfast platter was our favourite, just because we like a lot of variety on our plates. As we say in our country, “en la variedad está el gusto”. This is a meal for big appetites and comes with two free range eggs (poached, scrambled or fried), bacon, haloumi, avocado, roasted pumpkin, leafy greens and two slices of toast. The buckwheat toast is the new default, replacing the paleo toast which is still available for extra $2. I loved how the flavours complemented each other, especially the sweet caramelised pumpkin and the salty haloumi.

Breakfast platter

Breakfast platter ($18)

Even though I’ve had the paleo pumpkin and chia seed toast, which is made on premises, I ordered a slice to compare it to the buckwheat toast side by side. The buckwheat one is sturdier and blander, the paleo one is bigger and has more flavour. Choose according to your priorities.

Buckwheat toast, paleo toast

Buckwheat toast, paleo toast

We also tried the beef brisket and sweet potato hash, a generous serve of grass-fed pulled beef brisket sautéed with sweet potato and greens, and served with two free range poached eggs. It’s a hearty breakfast full of flavour, perfect for winter. I have to admit I liked the chunky bacon hash a bit better (because bacon), but I can see myself ordering the brisket again in the near future.

Beef brisket and sweet potato hash

Beef brisket and sweet potato hash ($15)

RealFood Connection
2 Sterling Circuit
Camperdown NSW 2050
(02) 9516 0267
Website
On Facebook

Real Food Connection Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Paleo Cafe (Burleigh Heads, QLD)

Although Paleo Cafe is a franchise and so 90% of the menu is the same as in Sydney, the one in Burleigh was a convenient 10-minute walk away from where we were staying. It’s bigger than the Bondi Junction branch as you can see in the photo below.

Paleo Cafe Burleigh Heads

Paleo Cafe Burleigh Heads

Our breakfast started off with coffee: long black, almond milk flat white and signature iced coffee (espresso mixed with almond and coconut milk, topped with coconut coffee ice cream, honey and cacao nibs).

Almond milk flat white, long black Signature iced coffee

Almond milk flat white, long black, signature Iced Coffee

They have a couple $10 breakfast specials, including the classic bacon & eggs with free-range eggs, your choice of regular or nitrate-free bacon, sautéed spinach, herb-roasted tomato and Paleo toast. Below is one served with nitrate-free bacon and one with smoked bacon and avocado instead of tomato. The toast was on the cakey side, but it was nice anyway.

Bacon & eggs

Nitrate-free bacon & eggs ($10 on special)

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Bacon & eggs with avocado instead of tomato ($10 on special)

Eggs Benny with pulled pork

We also ordered the eggs Benny (poached free-range eggs, sliced avocado, cherry tomatoes, creamy hollandaise on Paleo English muffin), plus extra pulled pork.

Eggs Benny plus pulled pork

Service was friendly and fast. If you’re on the go, you can pick one of their takeaway meals or a protein bar.

Paleo Cafe Burleigh Heads

Paleo Cafe
1/4 Park Ave
Burleigh Heads QLD 4220
(07) 5659 1808
burleighqld@paleo-cafe.com.au
paleo-cafe.com.au
On Facebook

Paleo Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Marie Anita’s (Burleigh Heads, QLD)

We recently spent 3.5 days in the Gold Coast, attending a Buddhist course. We stayed, as usual, in an apartment building. We had great kitchen facilities and shops nearby but given that Maria Anita’s was only 250 metres away, I didn’t cook at all.

Coffee

Everything in this cafe is gluten-free and refined sugar-free, and ingredient quality takes priority. All dishes are made with free-range meats, wild-caught fish, organic produce when possible, etc. There are dairy-free, grain-free and vegan options throughtout the menu.

Philosophy and suppliers

I contacted them through Facebook to let them know I would be taking some photos and their response was both quick and affirmative. We found service on site was warm and friendly, although slow (good things take time). Keep that in mind if you’re in a rush.

Pantry shelf

Milk alternatives for coffee and tea include organic coconut milk (extra $0.5), and raw almond or cashew milk (extra $1.2). There is also the option to add cold-pressed turmeric juice (extra $1.2) to your brew.

Golden chai, long black

Golden chai latte ($5.2), long black in a mug ($4.4)

There’s a wide selection of cold beverages such as raw nut milks made with organic raw almond or cashew milk, fruits and spices. The hippie version of the humble milkshake, if you wish. For example, the spiced banana caramel banana pictured below, which contained banana, lucuma, mesquite, and cinnamon.

Spiced banana caramel banana raw cashew milk

Spiced banana caramel banana raw cashew milk ($8.50)

Organic blenders (aka smoothies, $9.50), made with organic fruit and veggies, are another good option if you’re after a liquid meal. The protein-packed, featuring activated seeds, fermented brown rice protein with super greens, spinach, pear and organic coconut milk, was a popular choice.

The breakfast menu features usual suspect (poached eggs on toast, pancakes, waffles) in their gluten-free, super food-packed upgraded versions. We tried the organic baked portobello mushrooms, organic labneh, sorghum toast with extra free range poached eggs and free range streaky bacon, and the free range poached eggs, sautéed organic greens, avocado, organic living sprout medley and salsa verde with extra sorghum toast and sustainable hot smoked salmon. Out of the three options of toast on the day, we chose olive and garlic. Best gluten-free toast ever.

Free range poached eggs

Free range poached eggs, plus toast and hot smoked salmon ($25.50)

Organic baked portobello mushrooms

Organic baked portobello mushrooms, plus poached eggs and bacon ($22)

There are also daily specials, like the bruschetta in the photo below.

Bruschetta

Bruschetta

People who like sweet breakfasts would enjoy something like the buckwheat pancakes, berry compote, organic pure maple syrup, organic coconut yoghurt.

Buckwheat pancakes

Buckwheat pancakes ($18)

Breakfast is served all day, but who wants breakfast when the lunch/dinner menu has so many appealing options? We tried: roast organic beetroot salad, organic labneh, free range streaky bacon, dukkah, seasonal greens, free range shredded Angus beef cheek, radicchio lettuce bowls, avocado, organic seasonal salad, raw cashew hollandaise sauce, pan seared wild caught fish, organic coconut spinach, organic spiced quinoa, toasted coconut, organic living sprout medley and 150g pecan-crusted free range petite eye fillet, organic sweet potato mash, sautéed spinach, organic spiced tomato chutney. All were delicious and I would happily order them again. I also got to try a forkful of the raw vegetable patty, organic seasonal salad, smashed avocado, organic living sprout medley, raw cashew hollandaise sauce, also very tasty.

Roast organic beetroot salad

Roast organic beetroot salad ($19.50)

Free range shredded Angus beef cheek

Free range shredded Angus beef cheek ($24)

Pan seared wild caught fish

Pan seared wild caught fish ($26.50)

Pecan-crusted free range petite eye fillet

150g pecan-crusted free range petite eye fillet ($28)

Raw vegetable patty

Raw vegetable patty ($17)

Last, but not least, there is a counter full of healthy treats to grab for dessert or as a quick(er) meal on the go. I had a bite of the apple crumble muffin, raw mango & coconut cheesecake and triple coconut muffin, all of them awesome.

Raw mango & coconut cheesecake

Raw mango & coconut cheesecake ($17)

Treats

Muffins

Marie Anita’s
1863 Gold Coast Hwy
Burleigh Heads QLD 4220
(07) 5659 1324
eat@marieanitas.com.au
www.marieanitas.com.au
On Facebook

Marie Anitas Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Product review: Chrissy’s Cuts sausages (plus recipe inside)

These paleo-friendly sausages are made with quality cuts of meat that come from ethically farmed free-range and grass-fed animals. In addition, they do not contain any fillers, flours, nitrates or additives. I love her tagline “because meat shouldn’t be a mystery”.

Pork shoulder sausages with bacon and maple syrup

The current varieties on offer are beef brisket with smuggled greens and pork shoulder with bacon and maple syrup (killer combo!). I got a pack of the latter to sample. As you can see from the photo below, the ingredients list is super clean.

Pork shoulder sausages with bacon and maple syrup

Instead of just cooking the sausages and throwing them on a pile of coleslaw (my default modus operandi), I decided to use them to make a version of a breakfast that I’ve been digging lately: Scotch eggs. I normally use pork mince and season it with herbs and spices, but these sausages made everything so much easier. This can literally be a 2-ingredient recipe (if you serve it sans dipping sauce), and works beautifully for breakfast, as party/picnic food or as a snack on the go.

Bacon & maple Scotch eggs with chipotle mayonnaise
Yield: 2-4 servings

Scotch eggs

Ingredients

To serve

  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, homemade if possible
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp chipotle powder

Directions

  1. Hard-boil the eggs to your liking. Here’s my method: put in a pot, cover with cold water, bring to a boil and wait 2 minutes. Turn heat off, leave eggs in the pot for 20 minutes. Drain water off the pot, leave eggs to cool down for approximately 50 minutes.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
  3. Squeeze sausage contents from the casings. Divide in 4 even portions.
  4. Extend a portion flat in the palm of your hand, forming a circle. Place an egg on top and wrap it with the meat. Make sure the coating is even and there are no gaps.
  5. Put wrapped eggs on a tray and bake for 20-25 minutes or until browned.
  6. Mix mayonnaise and chipotle powder.
  7. Dip eggs in chipotle mayonnaise and enjoy.

Chrissy’s Cuts
www.chrissyscuts.com.au
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