baking, BBQ accompaniments, DIY, Easy Recipes, Healthy dinner ideas, Home cooked, Prepare ahead of time, vegetarian

Lentil and Quinoa Stuffed Capsicums

These make a good veggie lunch or can be a side to any roast dinner.

You’ll need:

5 or 6 traffic light capsicums all around the same size
3/4 cup quinoa
1/2 cup aborio rice
1/2 cup French (blue) lentils
1 medium onion, diced
1 stick celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 -3 cups chicken or veg. stock
salt and pepper

This is an absorption method recipe. You could also use a rice cooker for this mixture.
Heat up 1 Tablespoon of oil in a heavy based deep pan. Fry the onions in the oil until they are translucent. Make sure the heat is not high as you don’t want to brown the onions. Then add the rice, quinoa and lentils. You could rinse these in a sieve before you add them in if you like. Mix to combine with onion and add in the stock. Place the lid on top and let simmer for 5 mins. Stir the pot every 5-6 mins. it should take around 15 mins to cook.
You can vary this recipe by adding different seasoning or combinations like bacon and onion to fit the occasion. You could also add toasted almond slivers, sultanas or walnuts in the rice.

When cooked, allow to cool for 5 mins or so while you prep the capsicum.

Line a deep baking tray with greaseproof paper. Wash the capsicums and pat dry with a paper towel. Cut the tops off about 1 inch from the stalk and remove the seeds inside and in the top. Place them on the tray.

Stuff each capsicum with the quinoa and lentil mixture.
Replace the lid of the capsicum.
Spray with olive oil spray and season with salt and pepper.
Baked in a mod. oven (180 deg) for 15-20 mins, or until the outer skin of the capsicum has cooked.

Serve with a side of your favourite protein or salad.



Breakfast Rituals

B is for breakfast, brunch.. what are your rituals around the first meal of the day?

Good Morning,

How do you spend your time when you’ve just woken up?
What are your rituals?

Most people acknowledge that Breakfast as a meal is important. But I think it is actually so much more.

Instead of taking the stance on breakfast and its role in weight maintenance which reminds me of work, I think I’d rather comment that I’ve noticed that it is highly important that you are focused on something in the morning.

Starting your day well is important. Having a routine, or a ritual amount of things to focus on.
Its a good way to start the day.

One of my clients said recently, “if I don’t have something in the morning, I tend to run into a bit of trouble at the back end of the day”.. meaning – he turns into a big grazer as his body drives him to eat to make up for lost time.. sound familiar?

I’ve started going to the gym more regularly and I am finding I am very hungry in the mornings now. This is not a problem though, as I do to love to eat!
Another positive benefit of the gym!! 🙂
Todays breakfast is two slices of toast and cereal. Coffee, and my vitamins. A look at the paper. It may not sound like much, but its my wake up routine, its how I gear up for the day. I eat to my appetite for the day and the training I’ve been doing. Oh, and then there is the weather.
At the moment its pretty cold here in Sydney, so I’ve been focused on warming foods that will take me out the door tummy happy. Cereal and cold milk is out.

My top 5 of the moment:

1. 2 free range eggs, fried in a non stick plan with a small slick of sesame oil.
2. porridge or oatmeal (depending on your hemisphere), flavoured with cinnamon, brown sugar, and salt.
3. toast with peanut butter (super crunchy please… i have PB&J on occasion, if I’m feeling weary);
4. hot buttered toast with sesame seed covered crust (thanks bakers delight)
5. hot milo and a banana

I’ve been making a tray of oatmeal once a week and dividing it up into ‘slices’ that I can serve myself like a pudding through the wintery mornings.
Todays one is apricot, cinnamon and coconut – and I’m really looking forward to eating it tomorrow!

I prepared half a cup of coconut flakes and about the same (ok maybe more) of chopped dried apricots.
Pop these in a pot with 2 cups oats and 2 cups water. Bring to the boil.
Add a 1/2 or more if you want it super cinnamon-y (i added about 1 teaspoon as I like a lot), and also add milk if you want to boost the protein content of the porridge. Bring to the boil, and add a sprinkle of salt to taste.
I don’t add sugar in when I am cooking the porridge as I like to see the brown sugar melt in the minute before I eat it.
Pour into a bowl or empty tray, or cake tin, and set overnight. Cut a slice in the morning, and dress in a bowl with milk and sugar. Heat to serve!
You could also use coconut milk to make it more coconutty to the max if you like. I avoid coconut milk and cream as much as possible because I have a family history of cardiovascular disease, and the addition of coconut flakes here is really enough for me.



chopped dried apricots and moist coconut flakes

chopped dried apricots and moist coconut flakes

my porridge oats setting in the tray

my porridge oats setting in the tray


A is for Avocado

I have decided to write an A – Z on food/diet topics, and the first post I am going to make around this is on Avocado.

My friend Carlos (who sounds Spanish but is actually Malaysian Chinese) asked me a question about avocados and their role in weight loss, around the topic of clean eating a couple months back and I’ve been thinking about this ever since.

Australians are mad about avocados. There is a serious lack of avocado on toast in the northern hemisphere, unless its in an antipodean cafe (where they get the avo obsession), or in mexican eateries. Or in a fancy food feed like that of Alan Passard from Arpege in Paris where I viewed this lovely avocado and vanilla souffle desert recently

So why are we so obsessed?

Avocados are deliciously creamy, and a pretty healthy food. The benefits of eating avocado come from the high monounsaturated fat content. Avocados also contain Polyunsaturated and Saturated fats, in smaller amounts. In essence its down to food chemistry. Monounsaturated fats have been shown to be cardio protective. For more info on the specific nutrition including a vitamin breakdown have a look at this great interactive rollover graphic courtesy of the Australian Avocado association, here

What are they good for? Raw food diets, breakfast, cardiovascular disease or weight loss diets (in sensible portions of course), the obvious raw food meals like salads and not so obvious but more unusual substitution in sweets i.e.. in chocolate mousses or smoothies for example. Its a bit versatile, and can be classic or unconventional – and I think thats what we like about it, besides its good creamy taste which is actually healthy for you.

How to enjoy Avocados? Replace traditional spreads like butter or margarine with the green goodness – on bread, toast or sandwiches. Blend it in a smoothie with almonds and oatmeal, mash it into potatoes, or mix it into cake batter or icing. The options are great, and the health benefits are worthwhile. Good for you. And so green.

Recipes to follow.