Sesame Tuna

This is a very simple and easy way to enjoy a fresh, high quality piece of tuna. I find, it is a perfect entrée meal to share or a snack for two on the weekend.

I was served a similar dish in one of the Melbourne’s restaurants years ago and since, I have been using this idea to experiment with different coatings and sauces. This method is so versatile. So, next time you see a beautiful piece of tuna in the shop, get it and have a try.

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Sesame Tuna

Ingredients:

Fresh tuna, a piece about 250g
Sesame seeds
Black pepper (optional)
Oil
Cucumber

Sauce:
Soya sauce
Fresh wasabi
Ginger (optional)

Method:

1. Thoroughly wash tuna and paper dry. Mix sesame seeds with a bit of cracked black pepper and roll tuna in it. Press harder, so more seeds stuck to the fish to fully cover the whole surface.
2. Heat oil in a frying pan on medium and fry tuna on all sides. When first frying, notice how much time it takes to change the colour for 2mm in thickness. Then apply the same time on each side. This should take a few minutes in total.
3. Cut the fish into slices and serve immediately with some shaved cucumber and a traditional soya-wasabi sauce. Alternatively use Wasabi Mayonnaise from this earlier post.

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Breakfast Cookies

I created Teff cookies and I found them magical. First, one cookie keeps you going for a few hours and also, they are great for weight management.

Besides Teff’s high-fibre and high-protein qualities, which were mentioned in the previous posts for Teff recipes, this super grain also contains vitamins K, B1, B2, B3, B6 and C, which is unique for a grain. Combination of minerals is also admirable, just a few to mention: copper, zinc, magnesium, iron (which is easily absorbed), and what is the most attractive for me is high amounts of calcium. If your body, like mine, doesn’t agree with dairy products, Teff is a very good option for calcium consumption. This array of vitamins and minerals found in Teff makes it a healthy, weight-managing and bone-strengthening food.

There is also a nut butter ingredient in my recipe. My choice is a cashew nut butter, which I love using for my desserts. However, a similar result can be achieved by using peanut butter. Peanuts have more protein than any of the other nuts. Also, peanuts champion the other nuts with plant Sterols, which can help lower bad cholesterol in your body and reduce the risk of heart disease. Cashews have the lowest fat content (the same as pistachios), although peanuts aren’t far behind.

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Breakfast Cookies

Ingredients:

1.5 cups Teff flour
1/4 cup Rice Malt syrup
1/4 cup Maple syrup
1/3 cup sunflower oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Cashew nut butter
1/4 cup macadamia pieces

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 175C. Keep all the ingredients at room temperature.
2. Mix all the ingredients except Teff flour in the bowl using just a tablespoon until consistent.
3. Add Teff flour to the mixture and using your hands mix and form a baton.
4. Place baking paper on the large tray and roll the dough baton with your palms to make it 5 cm in diameter.
5. Cut in half, then each half into two, and again until you get 16 pieces. Form a cookie smoothing the edges of the each piece and layout on the tray. Bake for 12 minutes.

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Hawthorn Tea Recipe

Hawthorn (Greek Crataegus) is a beautiful plant that grows in all continents now. The leaves, flowers and berries have health benefits and they are used to produce medicine for heart diseases.

The British Homeopathic Review revealed of Dr. Green (Ireland):
“… For many years had a reputation for the cure of heart disease that caused patients to flock to him from all parts of the United Kingdom. He cured the most of them and amassed considerable wealth by means of his secret. 

For, contrary to the code, he, though a physician in good standing, refused to reveal the remedy to his professional brethren. After his death … (in 1894), his daughter, a Mrs. Graham, revealed the name of the remedy her father had used so successfully. It is Crataegus oxycanthus …”

The health qualities of Hawthorn are still being researched:
‘This study was to investigate the anticancer effects of the peel polyphenolic extract (HPP) and flesh polyphenolic extract (HFP) from hawthorn fruit in human MCF-7 breast cancer cells. It was found that the polyphenol and flavonoid contents of HPP were significant higher than that of HFP. Both HPP and HFP inhibited cell growth in a dose-dependent manner with …, suggesting that HPP was more effective against MCF-7 cells than HFP. … All these findings indicate that hawthorn fruit, especially its peel, is an excellent source of natural chemopreventive agents in the treatment of breast cancer.” (Food Chemistry, Volume 141, Issue 2, 15 November 2013, Pages 1008-1018)

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Hawthorn tree, Daylesford

In autumn (April for Australia) the berries can be picked and dried. Alternatively, the flesh of berries can be preserved with the inner pips removed. The berries are best brewed in a teapot fresh or dried.

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Hawthorn Berries

To make hawthorn berry tea take one tablespoon of fresh berries for one cup of tea, crush them between two spoons and cover with boiling water in a pot. Fresh berries will brew in 10 minutes. Dried berries need to be boiled first and simmered for about 20 minutes.

This tea is only for leisure, if you need to use Hawthorn as medicine please talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

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Lemon and Cashew Dessert Recipe

Cashew tree produce cashew apples, and cashew apples have cashew seeds. The green seeds are processed, and we find them as light brown cashew nuts on the food store shelves.

From a traditional stir fry to a modern cashew milk, from breakfast to dinner, cashew nuts prove to be more versatile every day. Health benefits of the cashew nuts inspire not only many of us who experiment with home cooking but also some food manufacturers.
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Pumpkin Bread Recipe

In addition to being healthy, pumpkin also contains another healthy ingredient, that is pepitas, or pumpkin seeds. Pepitas are very rich in minerals such as zinc, magnesium and iron. They are also high in protein content, about 20%. Unfortunately, like many other nuts and seeds, pepitas contain anti-nutrients like phytic acid, or phytate, that can make all the previously discussed important nutrients less bioavailable when you consume them. These anti-nutrients bind to minerals, especially zinc and iron, and the minerals cannot be absorbed.

I found a study that was specifically designed to research this factor in pumpkin seeds. It concluded, ‘The subsequent digestion under intestinal conditions showed that Zn becomes less accessible, indicating that antinutrients like naturally present phytate may be responsible for complex formation in the small intestines, thus reducing the potential for Zn bioavailability.’ (Food Chemistry, Volume 128, Issue 4, 15 October 2011, Pages 839-846)

So, if you plan on consuming seeds or nuts on a regular basis, it would be wise to soak or sprout them, that is what doctors advise. Unfortunately, ‘the soaking of whole seeds for 24 h can lead to leaching of iron and, to a lesser extent, of zinc ions into the soaking medium.’ The same applies to all legumes and grains. The good news, it was also proved that fermentation can completely hydrolyze the phytic acid. (Food Chemistry, Volume 138, Issue 1, 1 May 2013, Pages 430-436) And by the way, the heating also causes phytic acid reduction.

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Pumpkin Bread

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Pumpkin Soup Recipe

The pumpkin is a large fruit that is so versatile that it can be used in many sweet and savoury dishes. Pumpkin is packed with vitamins and minerals. Of note, it is very high in vitamin A and C, potassium and the minerals copper and phosphorous. Pumpkin is also very low in calories.

NPK fertilizer is often used to grow pumpkin. NPK stands for Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium. One study from 2012 evaluated the influence of NPK fertilizer on protein, fibre, fat and carbohydrates, which collectively are called proximate content. The main focus of the study was to assess the effect of NPK fertiliser on antioxidant activities and antioxidant phenolic compounds in immature and mature fruits of pumpkin. It was found that ‘Between the control and the highest fertilizer rate, proximate compositions decreased by 7–62% while the antioxidant profile decreased by 13–79% for both immature and mature fruits. Across all the measured parameters, mature fruit had higher proximate contents and higher antioxidant concentrations.’ (Food Chemistry, Volume 135, Issue 2, 15 November 2012, Pages 460-463)  It seems like buying very ripe pumpkin is a good idea. The conclusion made was ‘ For the high health value of pumpkin fruits to be maintained, little or no NPK fertilizer should be applied.’ Unfortunately, considering NPK can be organic fertilizer, how do we know how much of it was used in the pumpkin we buy?

Here it is my version of pumpkin soup that can convert anyone into becoming a pumpkin soup lover.

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Pumpkin Soup

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Avocado Breakfast Recipe

Avocados

Avocado is an amazing fruit. It’s been very popular amongst healthy eaters for years now. No wonder why we have this sudden wave of avocado popularity. Any cafe you come in for a breakfast will have an avocado dish, I could say it is basic now.

Avocados are very healthy. Mostly for two important things: antioxidants and phytosterols. Phytosterols are plant cholesterols, they compete with cholesterol and get absorbed in our body. So, eating more avocados will protect your heart and brain.

If you wonder why the avocados are sometimes stone-hard on the shelfs of the retail shops, the following could be an answer for you. There is an effect of harvest date on the nutritional compounds and antioxidant activity in avocado. You can ripen avocados at +25C for the best effect of the fruit’s health benefits. Antioxidant activity in avocados harvested earlier then stored at cold temperatures was much higher than in the later harvested fruit according to this research. It was concluded, ‘Therefore, avocado can be harvested earlier for economic benefits according to the market and can keep high nutritional value for human health benefits.’ (Food Chemistry, Volume 135, Issue 2, 15 November 2012, Pages 694-698)

According to another scientific research, avocado oil is richer than olive oil in total phytosterols, although olive oil has higher in vitamin E and retains it for longer during the heating (180 °C). (Food Chemistry, Volume 132, Issue 1, 1 May 2012, Pages 439-446)

Another interesting fact, ‘For all varieties, seeds contained the highest antioxidant capacities, phenolic content, and procyanidins, whereas the pulp had the lowest.’ (Food Chemistry, Volume 122, Issue 4, 15 October 2010, Pages 1193-1198)

I am very curious now, about the avocado seeds 🙂

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Avocado Breakfast

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