Sadly I’m old enough to remember the release of Kermit’s not-so-chartbusting hit, “It’s not easy being green.” (Incidentally I couldn’t recall exactly what was so hard about being green, so I had to find the YouTube clip. And yes… you’re welcome!)
Regular readers will know that I am FAR FROM the healthiest person to walk this planet. Indeed, if there was a spectrum of healthy-eaters to not-healthy-eaters, I’d definitely be nearer to the latter.
I’ve confessed to my dislike of a range of scary vegetables, leafy stuff and almost anything green. (Which in itself is strange because – as a youngster – my fave colour was green and I had a two-toned green bedroom! #randomfact)
However… I recently succumbed to
blogger peer group pressure and tried a few ‘green’ things that weren’t quite as scary as I imagined and tasted a lot better than I expected.
During my recent trip to the Gold Coast, I had the opportunity to participate in a healthy raw foods cooking class with some fellow bloggers (in addition to my ill-fated attempt at stand-up paddleboarding!).
Now… the combination of ‘healthy’, ‘raw’ and ‘food’ in the same sentence would normally make me gag, however… we were provided with a menu beforehand and I was (instead) agog with excitement as I discovered we were to make brownies and cheesecake and the like.
I was – understandably – less enthused about the green juice and the green soup. However… always one to try anything (okay, so that’s not true, but I felt obliged with others around) I *ahem* willingly tasted all on offer.
Alessandra Alfredo worked as a chef and pharmaceutical rep before circumstances (family illness) forced her to research healthier food options. A font of information about all things food and nutritional, Alessandra now runs The Healthy Gourmet, on the Gold Coast in Queensland, offering private and corporate cooking classes as well as catering services.
We had the good fortune to gather in Alessandra’s kitchen to watch her work her magic with a heap of raw foods (ably assisted by fellow Brazilian, Vanessa).
For those in the know, Raw Foodism is ‘a diet involving uncooked, unprocessed and often organic and wild food’. Food is not heated above 40-46C (104-115F). Alessandra doesn’t strictly advocate raw foodism, but prefers organic and unprocessed foods as much as possible. As we were participating in a raw food ‘cooking’ class, Alessandra made five different recipes with only a food processor (well, plus a bowl and spoon and knife and stuff. Obviously!).
Smoothies and home-made juices are SO ‘in’ right now and my fellow bloggers had already attempted a range of variations and were relatively expert. Only yours-truly struggled with the notion of putting green leafy things in something I was about to drink.
The Healthy Gourmet’s Mean Green Juice (Fat Sick and Nearly Dead):
4 stalks of celery (carrot or another ‘hard’ vegetable would work instead)
1 cucumber (a ‘fruit’ vegetable like tomato or capsicum could be substituted, but remove most of the seeds)
ginger to taste
2 green apples (or a similar sweet fruit)
6 leaves of kale
Obviously no ‘method’ is needed. You just put it in a blender / food processor (in stages if necessary) and blend. This juice reeks of healthiness and is rich in: dietary fibre; Vitamins C, A, K, B6; calcium; iron; manganese; and magnesium.
I’d most definitely swap the cucumber for something else, but other than that… it was actually quite yummy. And I couldn’t taste the kale. At all. (Thank god!)
And then we came to the soup. Not my favourite dish of the day, although it did taste of some things I really enjoy!
The Healthy Gourmet’s Alkalising and Energising Green Soup:
1 small zucchini (chopped)
2 stalks of celery (chopped)
2 cups of raw spinach
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup coriander
2 slices green pepper
1/8 cup raw onion (chopped)
1 small clove of garlic
1/4 cup raw almonds (soaked overnight if possible… I think that means they’ve been ‘activated’!)
1/4 tsp sea salt to taste
1.5 cups of filtered water
juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon
Method: Place all ingredients in the food processor (except the salt) and process to your desired consistency (and warmth if you have a vitamix/thermamix etc). Alternatively you may pour the soup into a saucepan and gently warm over a low heat. Or… just have it chilled (which is what we did). The soup can be garnished with seeds or sprouts.
Now, I don’t like avocado and Alessandra confessed that she was also most certainly not a fan. However, it’s used to give the soup its creamy texture and its taste disappears into its fellow ingredients.
My fellow diners all enjoyed this soup immensely. I loved the texture as well as the taste of coriander, garlic and lemon coming through.
When I was at a health retreat (years ago) we started each evening meal with soup and I can most-definitely see the benefits of quenching one’s appetite in winter with a warm soup, or in summer with something cool, before tucking into a main meal.
And then we got onto our main course, starting with Zucchini Pasta and the yummiest sauce EVER! But more on that next time…
Are you a lover of juices, smoothies and soups?
Any interesting recipes to share?
Can you believe I ate green stuff?
PS. This experience motivated me to try a smoothie when out for breakfast last weekend. I’m sure it wasn’t as healthy as Alessandra’s but, still… (small steps!)
Disclaimer: I had the opportunity to participate in the cooking class compliments of Tourism and Events Queensland. Thanks to our lovely host Shelley and Alessandra (and Vanessa) from The Healthy Gourmet.