The food matters project

Rock your Farmer’s Market and a Spring Quinoa Salad

Rock your Farmer’s Market and a Spring Quinoa Salad


Happy Spring everyone! And what better way to celebrate than with a trip to the local Farmer’s market. 
Farmer’s markets are such a wonderful resource. Not only do you come home with fuller shopping baskets, fuller wallets and better quality produce than supermarket shopping, but you have the pleasure of mingling with the producers of your food – what a treat! I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Byron Bay farmers market in northern New South Wales, and met some fabulous people with beautiful goodies to share.

I found an amazing fava bean tempeh infused with Tasmanian wakame which was completely delish. 

My next favourite was the sprouts. Sexy little broccoli sprouts still in their own dirt, so that you can just cultivate them as you need and they are still alive and vibrant right to the end!


Add a fabulous selection of vegetables and fruit, artesian cheeses, raw food creations, beautiful handmade breads, and loads of other wonderfulness. So how do you get the best from your farmer’s market? My hot three tips are:

1. Go early or late. Early and you will be able to nab all the super produce, late and you are most likely to score a bargain with stalls selling off the last of their produce. Buying in season, and in bulk will also keep costs down.

2. Talk to the growers! They will be more than happy to chat with you about how and where their products are grown/produced, how to best care for it, and usually some great ideas on what to do with it!
3. Plan out your meals, or at least some of them, for the week so that you can be a little more focussed on what you need and you won’t end up with a fridge full of

For the love of tea, and an antioxidant sorbet.

For the love of tea, and an antioxidant sorbet.

Green Tea and Raspberry Sorbet

Tea is one of the oldest drinks in the world, and has traditions entrenched many cultures. We are so lucky to have a huge variety to choose from, but today I am just talking about green tea.

GREEN TEA leaves are blessed with catechins, the gatekeepers of wondrous amounts of antioxidants, as well as anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and antibacterial properties.  That’s right, drink some green tea and reduce your risk of colon, skin, lung, prostate and breast cancer; and the likelihood of cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative disease. And slow adverse effects of ageing while you’re at it! 

But why stop at drinking it as a tea. The Food Matters Project recipe for this week – Raspberry Cabernet Sorbet, inspired me to to make a green tea, raspberry and mint version. Cracker-packed full of antioxidants, this sorbet is a delicious little dairy-free treat. Wrong time of year for sorbet? Not on hot apple pie!

Green Tea and Raspberry Antioxidant Sorbet
Makes about 2 cups
1 tablespoon good quality green tea
10-15 mint leaves, roughly chopped
225g raspberries (frozen)
1/4 cup silken tofu (or coconut milk)
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup

Pour 1/2 cup boiling water onto the green tea and steep for 10 minutes.
Pop the raspberries, tofu and maple syrup into a food processor or blender and process until just combined (you will probably need to scrape down the sides).
Drizzle in 5 tablespoons of the strained, cooled green tea infusion and add the mint leaves and process just enough to combine. Don’t overprocess or it will turn into a raspberry liquid!

Serve straight away. You can freeze and serve later, but be sure to allow time for it to soften before serving (anywhere from 15 – 30 minutes or more depending on the temperature).

Beet-tastic Beetroot ‘Sandwiches’, and Michael Pollan

Beet-tastic Beetroot ‘Sandwiches’, and Michael Pollan

Beetroots, Beta vulgaris, or Beets – whatever you call them, they are bountiful, bossy and beautiful. Bountifully full of nutrients, bossily and unapologetically messy, and beautiful in colour, flavour and appearance.
Beets strengthen the heart, improve circulation, purify the blood, benefit the liver and intestines, and were traditionally used for nervousness and to calm the spirit – lovely.
They are packed with vitamin C, B vitamins-especially folate, vitamin A, potassium, manganese and potassium. They also contain one of the best non-animal forms of iron.
Beetroots are super versatile in that you can eat them raw, roasted, steamed, pickled, as a soup, a dip, in salads, in stews and as chips. They are also an awesome flavour match for apples, balsamic vinegar, bitter greens, carrots, ginger, lemon, orange, cheese, walnuts and garlic, just to name a few. 
Beets are a great example of using the whole food, with the beet and the leaves being edible – the early Romans actually only ate the leaves (apparently). 

So as this week is my week to host the Food Matters Project, I couldn’t resist the sexiness of these little Beet “Sandwiches”. Not only do you get the goodness of the beetroot, but some extra green goods, nutty nutrition and goaty greatness – super!

The original recipe from Mark Bittman’s ‘The Food Matters Cookbook’ goes like this.
2 large beets, peeled if you like
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed
Sea Salt
4 ounces (110g) fresh goat cheese
1 1/2 cups shelled pistachios (or walnuts would also be fabulous here!)
1 bunch watercress, baby spinach, arugula/roquet (about 2 cups of leaves)
Black pepper

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees farenheight (200 degrees Celsius). Slice the beets about 1/8 inch thick, using a mandoline, food processor, or sharp knife. Grease a

Home-made sauces and stocks, your pathway to convenience!

Home-made sauces and stocks, your pathway to convenience!

Vegetable Stock Bouillon

Homemade stock bouillon. I had never considered making this myself until I came across it at 101 Cookbooks and had to do it! I usually make my vegetable stocks on the stove, but for those times that you don’t have 5 hours to slowly draw the flavour and nutrients out of your ingredients, this is a fab ‘cheats’ method. 
Stock bouillon is a wonderful thing to make because you know that you are not eating any of the added extras that are often found in stock cubes or powdered stocks such as preservatives, yeast extract, MSG, and sugar. You can use this stock in soups, stews, risottos, or anywhere you need a vegetable broth. The flavour is so fresh and clean, and you can adjust it by adding whatever vegetables and spices you like to make it your own. I’m thinking about a capsicum and chilli version next time. Here’s what to do.

You will need:
75g leeks, chopped
100g fennel bulb, chopped
100g carrot, chopped
100g celery, chopped
20g sundried tomatoes, sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
100g fine celtic sea salt
50g fresh herbs, roughly chopped (I used parsley and coriander)

Add the leek, fennel, carrot and celery to a food processor and process until chunky. Add tomatoes and garlic and process some more. Add the salt, process until incorporated. Finally add the fresh herbs and process until smooth-ish. I left mine quite chunky as I like to see the little pieces of loveliness floating around.
Keep in mind that this is quite a salty stock, and you can play around with the amounts according to your taste. This version uses around 3/4 tsp to 1 cup of liquid when making recipes. You can keep the stock in the fridge for a