Mothers Day Putia

Mothers Day Putia Style: 7 ways to thank your Mum

 

Mothers Day Putia

For more than 100 years we have been celebrating Mums on Mother’s Day.  Mums need to be pampered, spoilt and to take it easy on Sunday 10th May 2015.  For a start, what you must do is clear the decks on Saturday. That means give her a hand with the washing, grocery shopping and housework so that it is done and dusted and out of the way for Sunday.  You don’t want her distracted by the basket of laundry or feeling guilty that the fridge is empty apart from cheese wine and crackers. Next must-do is to sign her up to Netflix to watch her favourite TV series late on Sunday afternoon so that she can watch House of Cards and fall blissfully asleep on the sofa!

7 Ways to Thank Your Mum and Celebrate Mothers Day Putia-Style.

1. To kick off Mothers Day Putia-style, why not start with breakfast at Putia.

Has she tried the spiced pumpkin waffle with salted caramel sauce? Or autumn fruit compote and mascarpone? 

Mother's day breakfast Putia

2. Or what about some tasty local preserves?

From Putia Panty give her a range of delicious handmade jams, relishes and pickles made from local ingredients and hand chosen for our pantry.

Mother's Day gifts putia pantry

3. Make lunch a special occasion at Putia, where we honor Mums and they eat for free*.

Dine in the dappled shade of the Poinciana tree,  sip on Italian Prosecco and listen to live music.

*Conditions apply.

Mother's Day lunch Putia

4. Surprise her with a gift voucher to a Putia cooking class in Brisbane.

Enhance her skills in her favourite cuisine.

Mother's Day Putia Cooking Class

5. Give her Putia Pantry personal cleansing products – the Coconut, Lemongrass & Coffee Detox body sea salt scrub smells and feels so fresh.

Putia Products Cleansers

6. Why not surprise her with a ticket to the Hampton Festival on the following Sunday? Join Dominique on her City and Country Tour, starting with breakfast at Putia. Travel by bus together to the festival of seasonal fresh produce, wineries, restaurants, market stalls, cooking demonstrations and art exhibitions.

Mother's Day Gift Hampton Festival

7. Enjoy Lindeman’s Wines – Early Harvest: lighter in calories and lighter in alcohol. How much more healthier can we get? 

Mother's Day Lindemans Early Harvest

Finally, post an absolutely gorgeous pic (flattering angle and lighting please) of her on Instagram as a fabulous memory of the day!

 

 

comfort food healthy snacks

Tips to make comfort food – Healthy Snacks

Snacking in winter or for comfort is easy and often we don’t even know we are doing it. Here are some indulgent and healthy snack ideas to take you through winter.

I hope you have enjoyed my healthy tips to make comfort food. Please feel free to share your tips to get you through the colder months!

I also have some great cooking classes on offer during June at Putia Pure food Kitchen including; Risotto, Gnocchi and Pasta, Winter Comfort Cooking and Singles Winter Comfort Cooking, Breakfast Like a King, Fabulous Organic Growing and Northern Italian Favourites.

comfort food healthy snacks

Comfort food is all about meals and ingredients that keep us feeling nurtured, warm and wholesome during those cold days and chilly nights, and these tips are a sure way to keep the winter blues away and still feel like you are staying true to your healthy self.

  • Try having spiced popcorn that you have made yourself. Roast off almonds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds with a tsp of olive oil and a tablespoon of tamari or your favourite curry powder. Add a little salt and pepper and bake until golden and crunchy.
  • Make your own herbal teas by infusing ginger with mint and a stick of cinnamon. Drink this for a warming drink. You can add a little honey and lemon if you feel poorly.
  • If you are entertaining, use a lighter style red wine and bring it to a simmer with lemon and orange peel, a stick of cinnamon, a couple of cloves, a few slices of ginger and a tbsp of orange blossom or rose water and simmer  this until fragrant. Drink warm for a twist on that comforting  glass of red. For hot chocolate fans, blend together dark dutch cocoa, with a good pinch of cinnamon, a few drops of vanilla essence, a pinch of chilli and some honey or a little sugar. Pour over your warm milk or hot water and enjoy.
  • My favourite healthy chocolate substitute (as we all know that chocolate is a winter favourite) is blending together fresh dates with dutch cocoa, cocoa nibs, soaked nuts and a table spoon of coconut. Roll into balls and again in coconut. Eat one when you feel that sugar hit urge.

Tips to make comfort food – Healthy Dinners

Lasagnes or pastas are easy winter and comfort food but can be full of high fats and heavy if you are not careful in the preparation. This post gives you some great pointers on how to prepare this time honoured favourite healthily, as well as delicious stews and other winter favourites.

There are also some great cooking classes I have on offer at Putia Pure Food Kitchen .

Comfort food is all about meals and ingredients that keep us feeling nurtured, warm and wholesome during those cold days and chilly nights, and these tips are a sure way to keep the winter blues away and still feel like you are staying true to your healthy self.

brasied veal with applescomfort Cooking Dinners

  • Use lasagne sheets layered with roasted vegetables or your favourite meat sauce and top with a mixture of crumbled ricotta, feta and a little parmesan instead of the heavy white sauce. Again, you can mix together lite sour cream or yoghurt and a couple of eggs instead of using the white sauce or cheese. Blend through chopped lightly steamed broccoli and asparagus, flavouring it with lemon zest and basil.
  • For a lighter style of lasagne, you can use crepes, softened rice paper sheets, or thin slices of pumpkin, potato or sweet potato, slightly steamed and then layered in between your meat or vegetables. Homemade tomato sauce is great and you can add in chicken, turkey or lean beef mince for a hearty bolognaise. A great tip is to add in a diced onion, stick of celery and a diced carrot and cook this off first in a little water or oil until softened and starting to caramelise, this gives great flavour to the sauce and bulks it out with vegetables. Add in a little balsamic vinegar and rosemary, thyme and basil to the sauce as you start to cook the vegetables and simmer the sauce for at least 30 minutes.
  • Casseroles, stews and slow cooked meals are ideal for winter and keeping them lite is easy by draining off extra oils that come from browning the meats before adding in the vegetables and stocks. Cooking your onions and meat in a little water instead of the oil helps cut down added fats. Using lots of seasonal winter vegetables also bulks out the dishes giving you great flavour and a healthy main meal. Use different sides instead of mash potato. Try buckwheat, bourghal, wild rice, quinoa and high protein grains.  When slow roasting, add a little water with fresh herbs or a tin of tomatoes for a delicious gravy. Make sure to skim off the oil that will rise and sit on the top.
  • For that bowl of hot chips, slice your potatoes into wedges or chunks and steam or boil until still a little crunchy. Drain and toss with 1 tsp of olive oil and your favourite seasoning. Cook these on baking paper on an oven tray in a hot oven of 220 until golden. Try mixing it up and using sweet potato, parsnip and potato as a combination.
  • Pizzas are so quick to make from scratch. Mix 1 7g sachet of yeast with ½ cup of warm water and place it in your oven set at 30 – 40 c to foam. Pour this into 200g of flour and add in a dessert spoon of olive oil and enough warm water to form a dough. Knead to a smooth ball and cover with a towel allowing it to sit for 20 – 30 minutes to rise. Roll out thinly, preheat your oven as high as it goes and then top the dough with your favourite toppings. Keep them to a minimal 4 and always include 2-3 vegetables. Sprinkle over a little shaved parmesan and cook on a pizza stone or straight onto a preheated baking tray for 10 minutes until crunchy. Top with leaves, rocket or spinach.
  • Use pita bread or flat bread instead of making your own dough.

Tips to make comfort food – Healthy Lunches

Lunches can be a little tricky in the cooler days and cold salads and sandwiches sometimes just don’t do the trick.

I love vegetable and hearty soups, they are such a great way to incorporate all the vegetables you need and are easy to make, store, freeze and reheat.

Comfort food is all about meals and ingredients that keep us feeling nurtured, warm and wholesome during those cold days and chilly nights. These tips are a sure way to keep the winter blues away and still feel like you are staying true to your healthy self.

Healthy Comfort Cooking Lunches

Cooking classes are another great way  to pick up helpful tips and tricks and at Putia Pure Food Kitchen during April and May there are some great classes on offer. This includes Stress Free finger Food with a Twist, Clean Food Naturally, Meatless Meals in Minutes, and Seafood Classics. Book your cooking class today!

  • Soups are a fantastic way of warming up without adding on any extra kilos. If you love creamy rich soups try substituting low fat yoghurt, sour cream or adding a handful or dahl or lentils, a potato, or even sweet potato into the pot. Blend for a velvety texture.  Soups are made mostly on stock or water, seasonings and vegetables, grains such as barley, pasta or beans. You can also add small pieces of meat, chicken or fish. Enhance the flavour without adding unnecessary fats by using fresh herbs. Winter minestrone or chicken and vegetable soups are wonderful with the addition of thyme, sage, oregano and parsley either with or without a tomato base. Lighter soups using zucchini, asparagus, broccoli and even lettuces are beautifully flavoured with chives, basil, lemon zest, lemon thyme, mint, dill and coriander.
  • Using your lentils and a variety of dahls not only make great soups but are also delicious turned into patties, and either baked or fried in a non stick pan. Add in your favourite vegetables and serve them with minted yoghurt and a homemade chutney.
  • Those flaky buttery home made pies are delicious and perfect for colder weather although the pastry can pack a punch on the hips. Try an Italian style pastry using only wholemeal  flour, olive oil and water, rolled thinly and filled with spinach greens, ricotta, herbs and eggs, baked until golden. It makes an ideal lighter style lunch or dinner and still with that real home made feel.
  • Filo pastry is a perfect lighter option for a comfort food filled with creamy chicken, spinach and mushrooms or tuna and vegetables. Or for a vegetarian option, pumpkin and roasted red onion or spiced lentils. Substitute any of the creamy sauces for a white sauce made with a little olive oil and flour and skim milk, or an egg mixed with low fat yoghurt, adding in some shaved parmesan, low fat feta or ricotta and loads of fresh herbs. The crispy filo is fantastic lightly sprayed with olive oil before baking to achieve that golden brown colour.

Tips to make comfort food – Healthy Breakfasts

Comfort food is all about meals and ingredients that keep us feeling nurtured, warm and wholesome during those cold days and chilly nights. These tips are a sure way to keep the winter blues away and still feel like you are staying true to your healthy self. Over this next couple weeks I will share some healthy tips to try through the colder months for Lunches, Dinners and even Snacks.

Healthy Comfort Breakfast

Breakfasts are always an important start to the day and sometimes it’s quicker to grab a coffee and run out the door. With these quick breakfast tips, your days will start with an energy boost and keep the hunger pangs at bay.

  • Instead of just plain oats, mix up a collection of spelt, rye and triticale oats for a hearty porridge. Cook it with diced apples and cinnamon drizzled with natural honey
  • Quinoa, millet and even polenta make a delicious breakfast porridge and are fantastic sprinkled with linseeds, almond and sunflower seeds. Served with warmed berries or diced winter fruits, it’s full of protein, warming and keeps you full for longer.
  • Try hot crumpets or toast topped with ricotta and bananas and grilled until golden. You can drizzle on some maple syrup or mix a little honey with ginger and a tsp of water and pour this over the bananas.
  • Tasty homemade baked beans are fantastic for a comfort breakfast and simple when using tinned kidney or borlotti beans. Fry up a little onion, and garlic, add in some sage, parsley and oregano for a Mediterranean flavour. Or warm with the onions a blend of ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, and paprika, for a fragrant start to the day. Add in a tin of diced peeled tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with your favourite toast and steamed or sautéed spinach or poached eggs.
  • Potted eggs baked in ramekins or muffin papers along with tomatoes, capsicum, spinach and mushrooms are also easy to throw together and tasty for breakfast.
poached cod and noodle salad

Cool as a Cucumber

After developing and putting together the recipes for my Home-style Vietnamese cooking class (April 21) on the weekend, the sun was belting down and the palm sugar and lemon grass punch was flowing. I realized that the best way to keep cool during these hotter days is to surround yourself with clean, cool foods.  Vietnamese cooking or shall I say non-cooking is as refreshing as it gets, with luscious salads, splashes of lime, bites of chilli and loads of crispy fresh vegetables. 

 

cool as a cucumber

Here is my summer buster salad that fits for lunch or dinner with full crunch. Substitute whatever vegetables you have in the fridge. A tip for the kitchen, see if you can pick up a vegetable shedder from any good kitchen shop. This will ensure that your vegetables are all finely cut so that you have this amazing collection of colour, texture and flavor.

If you like the sound of this recipe and would like to try your hand at a few more then book in now for my class on the Tuesday 21 April 10am to 1.00pm. Click here for the schedule or book now.


Vietnamese poached cod and noodle salad with Asian flavours

Serves 4

Poaching the fish

  • 300g Blue eye Travalla or Blue eye Cod fillets
  • ½ cup brown onion, sliced
  • 2 tsp ginger, sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp lemon grass, crushed
  • 4 tbsp coriander roots
  • 3 cups fish or chicken stock just to cover the fish

For the salad

  • 200g rice noodles soaked in hot water until softened  and drained
  • 1 cup red capsicum thinly sliced
  • 1 long red chili, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • ½  cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cucumber, thinly shredded
  • ½ cup bean sprouts
  • 1 cups white cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup carrot, sliced in match sticks or grated
  • ½ cup coriander leaves and stalks, chopped
  • ½ cup picked Vietnamese mint

For the dressing

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp of ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp tamari or light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp sugar (optional)

Method

  1. Place all the poaching ingredients except the fish into a fry pan and pour in enough stock to just cover the vegetables. Bring the liquid to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and place the fish in the liquid, the liquid must cover the fish, poach the fish for 10 – 15 minutes or until a knife inserted into the fish can pull the flesh apart.
  2. Remove the fish from the liquid and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Drain the vegetables out of the liquid reserving the liquid and bring it back to the boil to cook the noodles.
  4. Cook the noodles as per directed on the packet , drain and  rinse in cold water, toss with a few drops of oil and set aside. The cooking liquid can be frozen and kept as a stock for a seafood soup.

For the dressing

  1. Blend all the ingredients together in a blender or food processor and set aside.
  2. Place all the prepared vegetables into a large salad bowl, toss through the noodles and pour over a little of the dressing, flake in the barramundi and toss over the sesame seeds.  Divide the salad into individual bowls and drizzle over a little more dressing.

 

hot cross bun and cranberry pudding

Hot cross breakfast

I always relish the days after feasting. There always seems to be leftovers that are lovingly re-enjoyed.

If you have a creative culinary line running through you, you will be able to turn them into all sorts of new and amazing delicacies that will continue to surprise the family and even yourself.

Here is a delicious breakfast recipe for those hot cross buns that always seem to reappear even after you thought that the last one had been toasted, generously loaded with butter and devoured.

hot cross bun and cranberry pudding

Hot cross breakfast

Serves 5-6

  • ½ cup cranberries
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 4 medium sized eggs
  • 300ml pouring cream
  • ¼ tsp vanilla bean paste
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 275ml milk
  • 700g hot cross buns

Preheat oven to 180.

Place the cranberries into a bowl and cover with the boiling water. When the water has cooled, whisk in the eggs, cream, vanilla, sugar and milk. Immerse the hot cross buns into the egg mix and allow them to sit in there for 15 minutes until soaked.

Grease a baking dish or similar with a little butter. Lay the hot cross buns into the baking dish whisk the remaining mixture and pour this over the buns ensuring that the cranberries are evenly distributed. (If you have left over Easter eggs you can break a few over the mix as well).

Bake this on the middle shelf for 50 minutes until golden brown and firm to touch. Serve hot or cold with maple syrup,  ice cream, cream or yogurt.

Find more recipes to inspire you this Easter

 

Feast at Work and Celebrate

I have really come to believe that food is the ultimate ice breaker when it comes to getting to know new people or strengthening relationships with those who you already know.  We all love to eat. Sharing a meal with friends, family and even strangers can and does conjure feelings of joy and a sense of belonging.  

I have a saying: “Through the sharing of food we share life and one is never lonely or hungry.”

Being able to make a connection with people, especially those we work with is very important as we usually spend more time with them than our own families. A  connection made though the sharing of a meal can open lines to better communication,  patience, tolerance and  understanding. We can learn cultural rituals and lessons that are quite often priceless and not usually found at the lunch table. For the past couple of years I, among many other food identities and Australian chefs, have been an ambassador to “A taste of Harmony.” A week-long event from the 16th  to 22nd of March,  funded by the Scanlan Foundation.

The event gives workplaces an opportunity to celebrate and create an awareness around cultural diversity through sharing of food in the work place. Celebrating with food promotes conversation, cultural acceptance, unity, and understanding. Not to forget the advantage of stepping outside our comfort zone and trying something different – which in my mind always brings an essence of humility. Our dining experiences would be quite bland without our fellow foreigners landing on our shores and bringing to the table their life, culture and history on a plate. Being able to experience the foods, food rituals, traditions and recipes from others has really shaped Australia into the culturally-rich table it is now.

 

It doesn’t matter if your workplace is big or small or if it is culturally rich or not during this week. Register online at A taste of Harmony, pick a couple of recipes from different cultures and cook up a storm! Organise others at work to do the same and have a banquet of a celebration.

We have such an amazing collection of world cultures and cuisines right here on our doorstep. If you don’t have the opportunity to travel to exotic countries yourself, A Taste of Harmony and celebrating it is the next best thing.

Check out my recipe on the Taste of Harmony website here.

Experience and share a world of different flavours with our cooking classes at Putia Pure Food.

juices

Our fridge is the sanctuary of our kitchen

To me a healthy, organised and clean fridge means a healthy body and an organised kitchen! If you have stumbled with your new years resolutions of starting the year on the right foot and making some changes in your eating and lifestyle, and your fridge is still full of left over pizza, soft drink and something unrecognizable growing in the vegetable crisper then I am here to help. These simple tips will have you on the way to cooking with ease, eating a wider variety of healthy foods and give you all the pleasure that you will need from your chilled kitchen companion.

Fridge Organisation Tips

• Start by going through all those little bottles and jars in the fridge door. Check the use by dates and decide if the ones that you haven’t used in the past 3-4 months are ever going to get used…if not then I hate to say but its time to say goodbye. Those that you use regularly, sit them where you can see them.

If you have two or more of the same product open, then combine them into one jar and think where you can incorporate the relish, mustard, condiment in your next dish. It could be added as a marinade for grilled or barbeque meats, as a condiment to have on the side of your next roast or mixed with olive oil and a little vinegar as a tasty dressing for your salad.

• Homemade salad dressings are so easy to have on hand and can use up the bits and pieces of left over herbs that you have lying around as well.

• Keep all your dairy items together and incorporate a wide variety including yoghurts, cottage cheese, hard cheeses, quark (a German cream cheese – very low in fat and extremely versatile for dips, desserts and spreads) ricotta and cream cheese.

• For quick snacks and even quicker dinners have your celery, carrots, capsicum and any other vegetables that you enjoy, prepped, peeled and cut into batons. Store them in containers that allow the air to circulate and stay fresh. That way they are ready for you to dice, slice or simply munch on when you get hungry.

• Keep a variety of cherry tomatoes, round and gourmet tomatoes for salads, sandwiches and adding to vegetable or side dishes.

• Instead of having whole fruit in the fridge – which I find boring at times to eat, buy one each of your favourite fruits and make a container of fruit salad. Keep it stored in an airtight container and it will last the week. That way you have a wonderful mixture of flavours and colours as a high fibre low fat snack to take to work, for the kids at school of for a simple dessert with ice cream or yoghurt.

• When you buy your lettuce whole, wash it and break it up into leaves storing it in a lettuce crisper so that it’s easier for you to toss together a delicious salad.

• Along with your basic vegetables, commit to buying 3-4 other vegetables that you haven’t tried. Change them weekly to give you variety. You will eventually make it through all of our wonderful vegetables we have on offer and build up your repertoire of recipes. Aim to cook a different vegetable dish every night using up to 4 different vegetables.

Taking on these few simple hints you will notice a huge difference in the way you feel, and the ease of which you can prepare your meals. Aim for a ‘clean out the fridge day’ every week or fortnight depending on when you go shopping to use up the leftover fruit and vegetables.

That way, you will not only keep your fridge fresh, you will save money, save on wastage and you body and wallet will thank you.

To take your freshly organised and healthy fridge to a new level, why not grab some more ideas from our cooking classes? Perhaps you could take a class in ‘Healthy Desserts,’ ‘Food as Medicine’, or ‘Creating Healthy Meals in Minutes?’ See our class schedule for more details.

10 great tips for thinking outside the lunchbox

With school back in full swing and mothers, fathers and carers working back into a routine the weekly lunch menus are now up for debate. Now, just hearing that our nation’s lunchbox staple the vegemite sandwich has taken a kick from nutritionists for its lack of sustenance and nutritional value for our growing children, it’s a challenge for all parents to come up with healthy ideas that don’t come in colourful crackly plastic.  So while the clock ticks and amongst the morning hustle and bustle in getting out the door here are a few lunch ideas for the whole family to enjoy.

If you would like even more information come along to one of my specialised cooking classes for inspiration.

We have demonstration and hands on classes with ‘Kids Cooking in the Kitchen’ Booked Out (7 April), ‘Kids cooking’ and ‘Thinking outside the lunchbox’ (14 April and one for adults 15 April), and ‘Food for picky eaters’ (14 April).

Click here for my cooking class schedule.

Here’s my tips for healthy, interesting lunchboxes:

1. Make a plan, set up a menu and get organised.

2. Avoid highly processed meats, cheeses, and drinks.

3. Opt to save the lollies, dried fruit bars, chips, chocolates for special occasions on the weekend and encourage your family and children to eat healthy better choice foods during the week.

4. Mix up the breads with rye lavosh wraps. Corn, pink or green vegetable tortillas are great for colour. Seeded and multigrain breads and bread rolls and mini bagels are handy and not so messy.

5. Rice paper rolls and sushi are a great alternative and can be made the night before. Fillings can include chopped chicken, grated apple, avocado, lettuce with a light mayonnaise, curried egg with spinach, tuna mixed with sour lite cream and corn, diced vegetables and salsa.

6. Instead of sugary jams and chocolate pastes opt for firm ricotta blended with banana and cinnamon or whole nut spreads with sultanas and lettuce.

7. Other bread spreads ideal for a savoury lunch include hummus, tzatziki, salsa, pesto and low fat cream cheese.

8. Use left over vegetables and meat. Dice up and mix with rice, pasta or cous cous for a healthy salad.

9. For snacks, try toasted pita bread, rice crackers of corn thins with low fat dip, cubed cheese and cherry tomatoes; home popped pop corn, savoury muffins, vegetable slices or whole meal fruit muffins.

10. I encourage you to get your children involved in the baking of muffins, healthy slices and to select and create their favourite healthy snack to take to school.

Variety in all aspects of the lunch box is the key to keeping you and your family happy, and healthy too. I’m sure you will discover that the lunch box chore will soon become a pleasure.