December 31, 2011

New Year's Menu

Another year has come to an end – and what a year!! 

It’s been an incredible year, highlighted by a career change, an engagement and a new home. After 6 years in Australia, I am finally starting to feel at home here, and I have finally found my place.

Towards the end of 2011, I took some radical steps towards even a healthier, happier future.  I went back to being a vegetarian (which I’ve been for the past 10 years on and off), I quit sugar (you can read about it here) and dairy, I changed my exercise to be more holistic and gentle, and had a clean start in our new home after ditching most chemicals (you can read more about it here) used in our daily cleaning and beauty routines. All of this, I’m sure, will have even greater benefits in the long run.

I am looking forward to continuing on this clean path in the New Year. I will strive to be even more mindful about my surroundings, the environment and my impact on it. I will make every effort to have a natural approach in all areas of my life – from mindful consuming and chemical-free cleaning to eating clean and locally. 

There will be some changes and challenges I am looking forward to in 2012. We are, as most of you know, getting married in a few months' time and planning a wedding (although a small and modest one) is at the same time exciting and somewhat stressful. I am also taking up a personal challenge by going back to 'school' for one year. I will share more details about this later, but I am beyond excited to begin my studies.

Here is my menu for this New Year's celebrations. It's a celebration of seasonal produce and clean and fresh flavours. I've taken a couple of my old favourites and added the delicious open sandwiches on to the menu. Enjoy!

I wish you all a happy, healthy and beautiful year ahead!

New Year's Open Sandwiches

Sweet Potato Flatbread

250g cooked and mashed sweet potato
100-125ml almond milk (recipe here)
150g wholegrain spelt flour
1 egg (free-range, organic)
pinch of sea salt

Grilled Vegetables

1 eggplant, sliced crossways
2 zucchinis, sliced
3 tomatoes, sliced
olive oil, for brushing

Rosemary Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
pinch of sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Preaheat oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

2. Mix the mashed sweet potato with almond milk to a mixture that resembles loose mashed potato. Add the flour, egg and salt in to the mixture. You should have a soft dough (the softer dough, the softer bread). Knead the dough lightly (just enough to mix all ingredients well) and turn the dough on the baking tray. Dust your fingers in some extra flour and spread the dough on the tray (about 1-2 cm thick). 

3. Baked for about 20 minutes or until the bread feels firm to touch and has brown spots on top. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

4. Heat a grill pan and lightly brush the sliced vegetables with olive oil. Cook all vegetables (in batches) for 2-3 minutes each side. 

5. Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a bowl and drizzle the vinaigrette on top of the cooked vegetables. 

6. Cut the flat bread in squares and top with grilled vegetables. Serve warm.

I am planning to serve these with a green soup like this one.

And these stuffed capsicums will make a lovely main course for the New Year's Menu