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

Ingredients:

500g roasted pumpkin
2 eggs (alternative: 2 tablespoons of white chia seeds for Vegan)
1/2 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon himalayan salt
1 teaspoon Bi-Carb soda
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup teff flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour
3/4 cup amaranth flour
100g pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

*1 standard size silicone bread form or 3 mini bread forms

Cooking:

1. Bake the whole pumpkin at 195C for an hour then check for readiness by pressing onto the pumpkin. If it is not soft, reduce the temperature to 160C and keep for another 30 minutes. Let it cool down.
2. Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds. Using a large spoon scoop out the pumpkin flesh and measure 500g for the bread. The rest can be frozen, or stored for 3 days in the refrigerator if placed into the dry clean glass container.
3. Save about 20g of pumpkin seeds for topping the bread later. Crush the rest of seeds in the coffee grinder for a few seconds or mortar.
4. Mix all the ingredients except those saved pumpkin seeds for topping. Transfer the dough into a silicone bread form and sprinkle with the rest of pumpkin seeds.
5. Bake standard size bread at 180c for 35 minutes. If needed switch off the fan. Bake mini breads for 25 minutes.

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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

Ingredients:

1kg ripe sweet pumpkin
2 tablespoons light olive oil
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon paprika (flat)
1 cup light goat milk
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

Seasoning as desired

Method:

1. Cut pumpkin into 2cm pieces, coarsely chop onion and garlic
2. In 3l pot with olive oil cook prepared onion and garlic for 1 minute on low heat
3. Add pumpkin to the pot with 1 cup of water.
4. Simmer for 20 minutes or until pumpkin is soft.
5. Transfer the pot and using a blender process cooked vegetables into a smooth puree.
6. Add paprika, milk, salt and pepper and return back to the heat until the soup starts boiling.
7. Put dry pan on medium heat and fry pumpkin seeds until they start to make noise.
8. Spread pumpkin seeds over soup just before serving in individual bowls. Alternatively serve the seeds separately.

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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

Ingredients:

1 avocado
1 egg
1/2 grapefruit
Himalayan salt and pepper
1 teaspoon mayonnaise
*2 slices of healthy bread or a bread substitute

Cooking:

1. Boil the egg for 5-7 minutes.
2. Cut avocado in half and scoop out the flesh into a cereal bowl. Peel and place the egg into the same bowl.
3. Using a fork mash the avocado and egg.
4. Squeeze the grapefruit juice over the avocado mash.
5. Combine all the ingredients. Enjoy on the favourite toast or your bread substitute.

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Zucchini Patties Recipe

Zucchini

Did you know that zucchini is a fruit?

In addition to the inelegance of this fruit, a green zucchini looks very similar to a cucumber. Nutritional values of both are similar too, a zucchini is a little higher in calories and protein, whereas a cucumber is higher in its fibre content. The vitamin and mineral content is significantly higher in zucchinis.

You can eat zucchinis raw or cooked. Steaming or stir-frying them are the most common methods of cooking. Below, I am suggesting my zucchini patties recipe that I have been improving for the last 8 years. My latest modification was to remove the dairy component. Please enjoy, they are so simple to make but they are delicious and always surprise new tasters.

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Zucchini Patties

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Trout and Beetroot Salad Recipe

Enjoy this divine salad. It’s a perfect entrée for any occasion and season. Dairy free and gluten free, but it had to have leek, my apologies to those with fructose intolerance.

Trout and Beetroot Salad

Ingredients:

1 tainbow trout
Cooking salt
15 cm white leek
500g white sweet potato, purple skin
800g beetroot
1/2 cup mayonnaise
*1-2 days required to cure the
fish.
* Springform (~20cm)

Cooking:

1. The day before: Fillet the fish and salt in about 2 tablespoons of cooking salt for max 17 hours only. Alternatively cover the whole cleaned and scaled trout in copious amounts of cooking salt for 37-48 hours. Wrap in plastic bag and store in the chiller section of the fridge overnight.
2. Boil the beetroots for 40 minutes on low heat. Check their readiness by using a toothpick, it should go through to the middle without too much resistance. Drain the water.
3. For the bottom layer: Dice the potatoes, and finely slice the leek. Add both to a pot with enough water to just cover the vegetables and cook on medium heat. Once soft, make a mash and press it to the bottom of the springform covered with baking paper.

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4. Second layer: Wash, dry and fillet the fish if it was cured whole. Then dice the fillets and lay out evenly.

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5. Third layer: Peel and coarsely grate the cooked beetroots. Add your favourite mayonnaise to the beetroot and mix. Make a third layer in the form with the mix, cover the spring form and place it in the fridge to set for a few hours.

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6. Carefully remove the salad from the form, and cut into 6-8 segments like a cake. Serve chilled.

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Spicy Capsicum Soup Recipe

Dear Melburnians,

This is for you, from me with love 🙂

The winter will be over soon, my nectarine tree is full of buds and my daffodils are out!

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Ingredients:

1kg lamb cuts on the bone
2 bay leaves
1 onion
2 medium carrots
2 large capsicums
1.5 cup steel cut oats
1/4 cup jalapenos, marinated or fresh.
1/2 cup chopped marjoram
500ml tomato sauce, with no additives.
Optional: chili or cayenne pepper.

*5l Pot

Cooking:

1. Boil lamb in 2L of salted water to make a stock. Season as desired. Remove the meat and run the stock through a sieve. Cut the meat off the bones and return to the pot.
2. Place the pot with stock back on the heat and cook finely diced onion, grated carrots, diced capsicum, sliced jalapenos and oats for 10-12 minutes. (Alternatively, grilled and skinned capsicum can be used.)
3. Add tomato sauce, spice and marjoram, simmer for a few minutes and the soup is ready. Serve with Greek yoghurt or sour cream.

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