For the first time in about 10 years I went camping last weekend. It looked good on paper but in my mind, camping equipment when camping is not just desirable but quite essential and given that we have none, I had a few reservations about the weekend. BC (before children) I used to camp often and even spent 6 months travelling around Australia in a tent. Lake Leschenaultia in the hills of Perth was our destination this time and my concerns upon arrival about what we didn’t have was replaced with the undeniable fact that it didn’t matter. Whats not to like about spending time with friends in the bush relaxing, toasting marshmallows in the fire and listening to the wildlife (and hoping that your children don’t get bitten by a snake while crashing around in said bush)? Of course, one of the cornerstones of camping is the bush BBQ and naturally sausages do find their way onto the plate. They smell SO good. Continue reading “Sausages do Sizzle”
Have you ever received a gift you didn’t quite know what to do with? Let me tell you about one of those gifts. My best friend at primary school was Fiona and she had a very friendly and community minded mother called June. When I was around 10 years old, June gifted my mum an unusual package containing some interesting smelling batter. It was a Friendship Cake. Mum kept that cake going for a long time and every 10 days we were treated to a delicious cake originating from this Friendship Cake batter. It drifted around our school community and beyond for several years. Of course everyone baked then and buying cakes and biscuits was frowned upon. The original Friendship Cake or Bread (as it is known in the US) is thought to have been developed by the Amish. There is even a website and a novel dedicated to it. Fast forward some years to present day where I find myself immersed in Friendship Cake. I love to bake and baking is making a comeback thanks to the plethora of reality cooking shows such as Masterchef. But there is another aspect to this cake that appeals to me. Life just keeps getting busier and in our rush to get everywhere fast and do more we don’t seem to have the time to stop and say a meaningful hello to people or engage with our neighbours or get that sense of community that is so vital. My Friendship Cake has been travelling around the neighbourhood, school community, up north, down south since June this year and is going strong. Its not a chain letter and no one will suffer great mishaps if they drop it, forget to stir or feed it. Although if you drop the batter, its not pretty. My parents always taught me that you should accept a gift with good grace and the spirit in which it was given even if you don’t think it is right for you and of course, always remember to say thank you. With this in mind, when offered the gift of Friendship Cake many people are intrigued by the concept and some are doubtful that a batter can thrive over 10 days at room temperature.
Combine 1 cup each of plain flour, milk and white sugar in a large bowl with lid using a wooden spoon. This Day 1. Do not refrigerate and don’t be deterred by the interesting smell that emanates from your mixture, its just doing what its meant to, fermenting! Day 2 through to Day 10, stir with a wooden spoon. On Day 5 feed your batter again with 1 cup each of plain flour, sugar and milk. (You may need to use a whisk when feeding the cake to prevent lumps). On Day 10 take out three cups and give one each to three friends. The remaining batter is yours to make a delicious cake with! I have a few recipes that I use that have been modified but today I share my Carrot Cake recipe. I also have Chocolate and Lemon Coconut, so if you are planning on getting one started just let me know and I will post them up too. ______________________________________________________________
Carrot Friendship Cake
To the remaining batter from Friendship cake once divided and given add: 1 cup sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons each of cinnamon and bicarb soda 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg 2 teaspoons baking powder 2 teaspoons vanilla essence 2 eggs 1/2 cup poly or monounsaturated oil 1 cup sultanas or chopped dates 2 large carrots, grated Mix all ingredients well and pour into one large or two smaller loaf tins and bake in a moderate oven for approximately 50 minutes. ______________________________________________________________ If you happen to live around the Scarborough area in Perth, I have three portions of the batter to ‘friend’ today, just let me know if one of them has your name on it. Otherwise, start your own, engage with your own community and every time you stir your cake, think about the great friends you already have and those that you are yet to meet.
What is your game plan for Peak Performance Party-Going?
I can almost hear the sound of reindeer hooves clattering in the distance, with the rapid approach of Christmas. This is the time of year that I always get asked about how to avoid the festive season average weight gain of 2-3 kg. It is pointless advising you on not what to do because I think that you will probably go ahead and do it anyway. I’m not the party nazi but perhaps we should focus on the bigger picture. I know how hard it was for me to lose the 3 kg that found me in Italy this year and I am not willing to do battle with it again. That means that I need a game plan and I picture my day as a football game with four quarters and then work out strategies to manage each of those quarters.
First Quarter: wake up to 10-10.30am
Second Quarter: Morning tea – Lunch
Third Quarter: After Lunch – 4pm
Fourth Quarter: late afternoon till bedtime
Sunday afternoon I have a look at my week and work out my challenges, not just from a logistical aspect but from a nutrition and performance angle too. This is crucial with all of you probably having many commitments over the next few months. Some of my corporate clients find themselves at cocktail parties, dinners and other functions most nights of the week during November and December and will plan their alcohol and food intake at the beginning of each week to maintain their fitness and performance. It takes hard work to be healthy, so balance out the bank account with some exercise in return for the Christmas goodies.
Prunes – PAC-MAN’S BFF?
People always laugh when they find out that I eat six prunes at breakfast every day. Laugh they may but I love them and inherited this habit from my grandad whom I called Pa. He was way ahead of his time with his healthy eating habits and his meals tended to merge as he was such a slow eater. My visual of Pa to this day is of him sitting at the dining table at breakfast making his way through a bowlful of every high fibre cereal there was available including bran, wheatgerm and his beloved prunes. Naturally some time ago I was very happy to discover that prunes are not just a source of fibre but rich in antioxidants. Antioxidant is such a buzz word but many people don’t really know what they are.
Anybody over 30 years of age reading this newsletter will remember the hugely popular PAC-MAN game where the PAC-MAN had to do lots of “gobbling” of the Power Pellets to give himself the power. In the same vein our bodies are constantly subjected to free radicals which we produce either through metabolism or by environmental factors like UV rays and pollution and they damage our cells. Antioxidants just like PAC-MAN, gobble up the free radicals (Power Pellets) and reduce the damage they can cause including the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. It is possible to measure the antioxidant content of food by it’s ORAC score (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity). The most common antioxidants include: Vitamins A, C, E, selenium, polyphenols and flavonoids (chocolate).
But back to prunes. They have a very high ORAC score making them one of the best antioxidant sources, particularly in the fruit world. Researchers in the US suggest 3000-5000 ORAC units per day will minimise the damage caused by free radicals and improve longevity and 100g of prunes (12 prunes) has 5570 ORAC units which settle’s the score for the entire day. The US Department of Agriculture produces an ORAC list per 100g of food and other top scorers include:
Dark chocolate: 13,120
Brussels sprouts: 930
Prunes wrapped in dark chocolate, where do I get some?
Sago plum pudding
4 level tablespoons Sago
1 large cup milk
1 large cup bread crumbs
1 cup brown or white sugar
1 cup sultanas, dates or raisins
2 tablespoons butter
1 beaten egg
1 small teaspoon bicarb soda
Essence of lemon or vanilla
Soak sago overnight in milk. On the next day mix all ingredients, melting butter and dissolving bicarb soda in a little water.
Steam in greased covered pudding basin for 2 ½ hours. Turn out and serve with custard.
(Grated carrot – about 1/2 cup – may be substituted for the egg.)
iPee Daily is a hydration assessment tool designed to be easily used by athletes and active, healthy people. It is a scientifically based tool which provides a valid and reliable assessment of waking hydration status. iPee Daily combines the latest in technology with scientific based findings to provide a practical solution to maximise daily performance at work, training, or competition. It is currently available through the iTunes App Store. iPee Daily was created by EPS Nutrition (all accredited Sports Dietitians).
If you haven’t already, check out ‘The Grumpy Guide to Food’, a very hilarious program that aired on ABC1 on Tuesday 22nd November. You will be able to find it on iView or the internet.
Wishing you a happy and safe festive season and a healthy New Year and I look forward to continuing our conversation next year.
The best days go the fastest. Keep up. Eat well.