Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Coconut crazy

I really thought I was the last to know, but just in case you were like me a couple of months ago, I wanted to spread the word on the wonders of coconut oil.

You like me, probably heard all about how saturated fats are bad for us for us. Yes, this is true but not all of them. The bad stuff that we should avoid is the man-made processed stuff (hydrogenated). Coconut oil however is made up of naturally occurring saturated fat, and apparently is really good for us and has some amazing health benefits.

Why's it so good?

Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, which is deeply nourishing and the same type found in mumma's milk. Seeing as the latter's not always easy to comeby and not quite a tasty (unless you are a bubba), this is your next best bet. It has antiviral, antifungal and antimicrobial properties. It's also a rich source of  medium-chain fatty acids, which means it's easily digested in the gut (doesn't need to be broken down) and is immediately burned by your liver for energy. So, not only a great food for our kids, but also for us big kids.

So, some of the health benefits I've been reading about that coconut oil boosts include and are not even limited too:
  • Supporting your immune system
  • Improving your heart health
  • Increasing your metabolism
  • Promoting a lean body and weight loss
  • Hair and skin care

What to choose?

So, next step is choosing the right one. When you start to look there are a few types and it can be a little confusing. From what I've read, what to look for is the unrefined, cold pressed stuff. Why? Well, the unrefined is minimally processed and made from the first pressing of raw fresh coconut, without the addition of any chemicals and so has the higher nutritional content. Cold pressed is better than expeller pressed which again retains the most nutrients by pressing the coconut and extracting the oil at low temperatures. You'll just lose a few more nutrients when it's expeller pressed, as temps get higher. Some say, it's not that huge a difference.


Talking of high temps though, coconut oil is great for cooking - in fact the word on the street is that it's the only oil we should be cooking with!  Why? It's the only oil stable enough to withstand the heat of cooking. Even extra virgin olive oil which was our preferred cooking oil, should only be used on salads, to add to your dips, or drizzle on steamed veg... basically on dishes that don't require heating. This is because the heat destroys the antioxidants and can actually oxidise the oil.


You'll find that your coconut oil is either solid and pearly white, or transparent and oily and this can change throughout the day! It's all dependent on the room temperature. Coconut oil solidifies at temps below 26ish degrees celsius. So, if it's warmer than this, you can expect it to look like runny oil. If you have a preference for keeping it solid, you could always store it in the fridge. If you want it runny, you can spoon out what you want to use and place in a bowl, over some hot water. It doesn't take long to melt.

Other uses

As well as using internally, there are lots of other things you can use your coconut oil for... body moisturiser, leave in hair treatment - will make hair greasy, so you have to leave it on when at home and have no visitors, before washing off, nappy rash cream. Papa Wolf loves it for after shave! i.e. For soothing razor burn and moisturising skin. Some even use it along with some other ingredients as a deodorant and toothpaste. I've yet to try this!

Currently we're trying Flannerys own, Certified Organic Extra Virgin, cold pressed oil (pictured above), which was on special at $12.99 for 650mls. We have a jar in the kitchen for cooking and one in the bathroom for making us beautiful!

Anyway, if interested in this wonder oil, there's sooooooo much info on it on the net and is defo worth looking up.

Has anyone got a favourite brand of coco oil? And any cool things you're using it for? Love to hear.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Etsy in Springwood: Creative Markets

Not sure if it's come through yet, but I love a good market. Yesterday we went along to the Creative Markets at Springwood. It's like a mini Etsy! Lots of really cool homemade goods - from baby clothes and soap to bread and jewellery and cushions and candles. 

There were lots of highlights, and I wanted to buy everything, however I was a little restrained this time and just picked up a few bits:

Rosita's Creations

Rosita had some gorgeous handmade crochet pieces. My favs were these little booties, just $12. I've actually put an order in for a bespoke pair (hehe, sounds so flash), so will take a pic, once I have them. I also love her bobble beanie hats!

Papa Wolf went off with Essie and found this lovely fabric stall Fabrics 4 u 2, sporting some lovely hats. We picked this one! The hats are reversible, so we can go floral or spotty (as modelled below!) with our chosen bonnet. If you can't see what you like, they'll also make to order. $22 for our lovely bucket hat.

Knead Dough

Can't go to a market without buying something to eat! That's a rule. Yesterday we tried out Knead Dough's preservative free onion and parmesan cheese focaccia with fresh basil. 'The best foccachi I've ever had' quoted PW.


For those who've been before, and those who haven't, the location is about to change to Springwood Road State School. You should find the info on their website. The Springwood Creative Markets are the last Sunday of every month and I can't wait for the next one!

* Also Creative Markets run another one, boutique stylee, at Mount Gravatt. Will have to try that one out out too. Wooohoooo, more markets here we come.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Home-made butter

This week my greatest kitchen achievement was making BUTTER. I am so ruddy proud of myself, but really it's not hard at all and although I'd love to pretend it is and that I'm turning in to a super whiz in the kitchen, that would be a down right lie.

My first home-made butter (left) and buttermilk (right)


So, my reason for making butter? I had a carton of cream about to pass it's sell by date. Don't think it's probably that cost effective to make butter, not sure. Unless that is, you're lucky enough to have a Clara-belle (cow!) in the garden.

This is how bad I am in the kitchen, I didn't actually know that cream makes butter. D'oh. I thought it might make cheese. But, now I know: cream = butter and milk = cheese. I'm learning, wooohoooo.

About to go out of date cream!


I looked up a lot of home-made butter recipes, many of which used a food processor... probably the easiest way. However, if you don't have one, like me, there are other alternatives, such as blender (check!) or electric hand-held beater (check!), or amazing arm strength/physical endurance (not check!) cos you can apparently put your cream in a jar and shake it for 15 minutes. Who has 15 minutes to spend shaking a jar? Not me. In the end I mostly followed The Cheerful Agrarian's simple and brilliant instruction.

I left the cream out of the fridge for about an hour before making my butter and I didn't completely finish the whipping procedure in the blender as it sort of stopped working. So I transferred the very whipped cream in to a bowl and finished it off with the electric beaters (maybe should have used these from the start). Was soooooooooo cool seeing the separation... that yellow 'cottage cheese' type butter and buttermilk separate. See The Cheerful Agrarian's piccies, I didn't get time to snap the process, was on borrowed time with the little bear due to wake up. Once I'd drained all the buttermilk (and saved for later use), I rinsed my butter and then wrapped it in some baking paper. Voila.

Sooooooo good! It tasted just like good butter.

Cauliflower, potato & broccoli soup (made to accompany lashings of butter on bread for tea!)

I went on to make a cauliflower, potato and broccoli soup, just so we could have bread with lashings of home-made butter to join it. 

For the soup, I sautéed some leek and garlic, then added my cubed potato, cauliflower and broccoli for 5 mins, topped with a litre of 24 hour brewed chicken stock I started on Sunday night. Simmered for 20 mins, blended, and finally added a little cream. Before serving up, I grated a heap of vintage cheddar on top and cut some thick slices of walnut sourdough we'd brought, with lots of butter. Essie had the soup with us... not the bread and butter. Poor little thing missed out!


What to do with the buttermilk?? Lots of choices, once I started looking... could have made pancakes or biscuits, but I decided to go all Nigella on that b'milk. I used it to marinade (along with some olive oil, garlic, cumin, maple syrup and seasoning) some chicken thighs following a Nigella recipe. Although, she used drumsticks. Papa Wolf then took over and rather than roasting as I'd intended to do in the evening, went all Deep South on me and coated the thighs in organic flour, celtic sea salt, freshly ground black and white pepper and paprika and shallow fried it. Accompanied with sweetcorn, drizzled in butter. Oooh maaaaaan. Grrreat.

Marinated chicken, cooked chicken & corn on the cob
We weren't the only busy ones in the kitchen this week. Check out baby bear...

Monday, 20 May 2013

Sweet as and still nutricious

Happy Monday y'all! LFW have been cooking up some sweet treats over the past week. Some for bubba bear, some for mamma and papa bear and some to share. It's gone something like this, plus a little organic info I've found out along the way:

Organic butter

Everyday zucchini bread (as reported last week). Buckwheat and coconut milk pancakes. Slight variation on last week's. Soooo delish - with natural yoghurt spread on and raw honey drizzled on top. Bubba bear had a couple of strips with organic butter on hers. Good fat apparently, such as butter, is an essential macronutrient for growing bubs. It can easily damage and stores any chemical or pesticide so it's one of the more important things to buy organic if you can. It's blooooooooooooody expensive. So, we mainly only use it for Essie. What's a bit of fat damage between parents!!

Sulphur free apricots

Finally managed to purchase some preservative free dried apricots as well. Been looking in our local supermarkets for weeks... a sure sign of the ones to avoid are any that are bright orange. Dried apricots should be dark, more brownish in colour than orange. To keep them orange they put in sulphur dioxide, a substance that can trigger asthma. I ended up buying some online from Daintree Organics. Dried apricots are really nutritious - rich in iron, potassium and betacarotene. It also has some laxative properties... which means you could try using a little dried apricot, instead of pear if your bubba (or anyone in the family) is in need of a poo! So, best make sure I don't overdo it, now I've found some.

Pesticide free apples

To kick start Essie's dried apricot experience I stewed a handful with some organic apple. Again, will only use organic apples for the bear, since finding out that your bog standard apple has more pesticide residue on it than any other fruit or vege... as many as 48 types apparently.

Other dried fruit dish I made up was a quinoa, apricot and banana concoction. Yummmmmmmmmmmy for big and small.

Essie also at last got to try a home-made custard. A baked coconut and banana one. Two for Essie, one for mamma and papa to share! Well, we had to 'taste' to make sure it was ok.

A brand new ingredient we also tried last week was raw cacao (bean like seed that cocoa and chocolate are made from). Cacao is according to some another superfood, jam packed with antioxidants. Papa Wolf put together a cacao milk for us! Be careful with this stuff though, I don't think you need much, I felt like I'd had a triple espresso after it. I think PW might have needed to hold back on the portion size when serving for moi.

Last but not least, PW whipped up Dan & Steph's frangipane tart last night, packed with pistachios and pomegranate on top. Quite enough sweet treats for us I think. That should most definitely keep us going until.... tonight!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Laadeeda loaf: Zucchini/Courgette bread

This morning I whipped up my first ever 'bread'. A sweetish, are you ready for the list... zucchini/courgette, sultana, pumpkin seed, spelt flour (white and wholemeal) loaf. Another Jude Blereau, Wholefood for Children hit and it's super easy. Didn't even have to sieve the flour. Case of mixing it up with grated zucchini, sugar, sultanas, seeds, cinnamon, baking powder, dulse flakes (sea vege!), butter, egg, milk, dash of vanilla and baking in the oven for about an hour on 180 degrees. Am making my way through her whole book I tell ya.

Jude also has a brand new book out Wholefood Baking. If her Everyday zucchini bread is anything to go by, the new book is most probably a MUST!

By the way, don't get me wrong, it's not alwaaaaays like this. Last night Papa Wolf spent 58 seconds cooking dinner. It was 1030pm after catching up on emails and researching soap nuts (more on those later) and it was an egg done in the microwave. If that's not fast food, don't know what is. 

Bon appetit


Monday, 13 May 2013

Piglet lowdown

It's been a little while since we discussed our weekly food menu, so in short, it's been something like this over the past couple of weeks...

Vege and coconut dahl. Lamb shanks cooked with apple. If you've never tried that combo, you must, it's sooooooooo good. First time I tried it, was a Gordon Ramsay recipe: roast leg of lamb though, not shank, cooked with apple, honey and cider.... OMG it's great, but this one I made was more Jude Blereau than Gordon and much more suitable for little bears (no booze and honey). Fresh whiting cooked in butter (papa bear made!) with my broccoli, cauliflower, caper and feta salad on the side. Slow cooked grass fed beef casserole. Cheese on toast with home-made, but brought from school fete, pineapple chutney. Two lunches in a row cos couldn't resist. Nigella's easy peasy mushroom, lemon and thyme linguine. I used fresh lemon thyme growing in the garden and I always throw in a ton more mushrooms. I love that fungi! Matar keema (super easy minced lamb curry). Tasmanian Rib Eye fillet from Super Butcher. Good prices if you buy in bulk and are in the area! Broccoli, potato and stilton soup, made with my first ever fresh vege stock. Mother's Day buckwheat and ricotta pancakes, with maple syrup (thanks Papa Wolf). Essie enjoyed a few cut off strips of this too, cept for she had hers with some organic butter. Essie's also been getting in to the whole egg thing a lot more. According to my friend Jude (I love Jude!), they're deeply nourishing and so I've been boiling an organic egg, depending on the size, we brought some large ones and mixing the egg yolk (discarding the whites, well I've been eating them!) with the likes of roasted sweet potato and a little coconut oil one day, the whiting, broccoli, potato and cauliflower mash up another and today combined with warmed beetroot, carrot and ginger. The little bear's also now tried and had sardines. Mixed up with a little yoghurt  lemon, fish sauce and ghee, which lessens the crazy fish flavour and is delish. Turned in to finger food, when spread on wholemeal toast and cut in to soldiers. In fact we've been really going for the finger foods. Other feeding herself items include: steamed sugar snap peas and broccoli, cheese, banana and watermelon. 

Let's hope this love affair of brocolli continues

Bear enjoying some buckwheat

Think this kinda sums things up. I'm not telling you all the ordinary things we've had, like eggs on toast, or left over soup for dinner tonight followed by a whole block of red Lindt. Whoopsie!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Beefy's, burritos, burgers and beaches

No baby markets or fresh food markets this weekend. Nope, instead a quick, spur of the moment getaway to the Sunny Coast and some gorgeous family time. Here's what we got up to.

Hit the road and first stop, Beefy's. Angus Steak pie. Skin Thing. Essie's first pair of shipskin uggies. Mooloolaba. Newport Holiday Apartments. 14th floor. Lovely view, great location. The Twilight Market at the Wharf. Children's books, cards, grass fed beef burritos. Sunshine. Swings by the beach. Bacon & eggs. Concious Life Festival. Chocolate and coconut milkshake. New friends. Granny & Pa. Crumbed snapper and chips. Champagne (magnum!). Beach. KD! Rain. Toasted muesli, yoghurt & fruit salad. Packing. Burgers and pistachio, orange and poppy seed cake. Home sweet home.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

8 foods we should always buy, apparently!

I am feeling rather bloody proud of myself right now and it's kinda by accident. Apparently, according to Dr Alejandra Carrasco, who I found on Mind, Body and Soul's website, there are 8 foods that we should always buy and without even realising it, this household is doing just that. Read her interesting article here and see how we fare below.

1. Avocados 

In our place, you will usually find avocados - you can't beat a good home made guacamole, although I'm ashamed to admit that I had to throw 2 away today. I went to do an avo concoction for Essie's lunch and they'd gone super soft and brown, d'oh. We hardly ever, ever waste food like that, but they were neglected, due to all of the other new foods we've been eating and trying this past week. Very upset.

2. Berries 

We always have a box of blueberries in the freezer. These are mainly used for breakie - porridge and the odd smoothie. Sometimes as a solo fruit, other times with bananas. Whereas Essie has been eating her berries with apple and rice.

3. Cruciferous veges 

Tonight we had a yummy cauliflower, brocolli, potato, spring onion, caper, basil and feta salad. I also made a cauliflower cheese for the bubba a few weeks ago and always try and steal a few teaspoons of that when I can.

4. Coconut oil 

I really think we must have been one of the last to know about the benefits of coconut oil. Seriously a few weeks ago I had no clue how super this produce was/is. That was then and now, we've started using it loads and practically most days. Can most certainly tick this one on the list.

5. Fermented foods

Well this is a newy and funnily enough a couple of months ago Papa Wolf picked up a tub of kimchi from one of the local Asian stores in the city. This was my first time eating it and we just finished it off last week. Yummmmy rotten cabbage.

6. Leafy greens


I'm proud to say, and Popeye would be impressed, there's not a week goes by where we don't buy a big bag of spinach and devour it. Also picked up some kale on the weekend at the markets to try.

7. Eggs

We eat a lot of eggs in this house. As we all know I'm the recipe queen, however eggs or should I say omelette's are the only thing I can do freestylee and I really do whip up a mean one, almost pizza-esque. As a result we have eggy omelettes every week. I was particularly spoilt too this weekend, when Papa Wolf whipped up a a lime and coconut brûlée. Maaaaaan I love eggs. 

8. Turmeric

Have been using Tumeric a lot more again lately, since my book love affair with Wholefood for Children. This week in my Baby Kichari.

8 out of 8, wooohooooo. Knowledge is power hey. What about you?