Spring has sprung folks! The farms and gardens of Oz are turning out wonderful fresh seasonal goodies from far and wide…
Green with Avocado Envy
It’s time to start tucking into green salads as a side dish or a light meal, and all the right ingredients are cropping up.
Lovely, leafy, iron-rich lettuces like radicchio, oak leaf, mignonette and frillice are all on the menu, and cucumbers packed with vitamin C are ready to crunch.
Plus, the treat that tastes too naughty to be good is ripening on trees everywhere. That’s right – the avocado is in season. As well as being rich in easy-burning monounsaturated fats, avos provide nearly 20 essential nutrients including vitamin E, B vitamins (including folic acid) and twice as much potassium as bananas, as well as fibre. These helpful green fruits assist in the absorption of nutrients from other fatty foods as well. So, why not indulge today!
That crunchy, white-flowered vegetable the cauliflower is back. Humble as can be, this veggie should toot its own horn a bit more! Cauliflower boasts stacks of nutrients like B vitamins (including folic acid), omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin K, proteins, phosphorus and potassium. It’s also a great source of vitamin C and manganese, both powerful antioxidants.
Cauliflower is detoxing, cancer-resisting, anti-inflammatory and great for the digestion, heart and blood vessels, reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease. Phew!
12WBT nutritionist Georgie Moore says: “Cauliflower is often considered a boring vegetable, but think out of the box and it can be made a very popular guest on your dinner plate.
“Try mashing cauliflower. Boil it until soft and drain, leaving a bit of sogginess. Then grab your hand blender and puree until smooth. If you want a bit more jazz, add a small amount of parmesan cheese.”
Georgie also recommends a delicious soup. “Cook up a cauliflower head in some stock with an onion, garlic, fresh chives and spices of choice. Once cooked, allow the soup to cool a little and puree until smooth. Serve with crunchy bread and a dollop of low-fat Greek yoghurt,” she says.
Gorgeous to taste if not to look at, this little root is so healthy it’s considered medicinal. It has a cheeky, spicy fragrant flavour that some may find old-fashioned, but thanks in part to Thai dishes, ginger has seen a resurgence and is now very much back in vogue.
“Ginger is a root vegetable and can be purchased in bulbs. There are few things more refreshing than fresh ginger,” says Georgie.
Ginger is useful for boosting a flagging appetite; improving the absorption and assimilation of essential nutrients; clearing the sinuses and preventing colds; easing tummy cramps, nausea and gas; and relieving joint inflammation. It’s also an aphrodisiac!
“To use, simply peel – the easiest way to do this is with a sharp pallet knife – and then either shred, thinly slice or crush,” says Georgie.
She suggests adding ginger to a salmon fillet stir-fry. “It’s also a great flavour enhancer for a salad dressing – add a small bulb to some olive oil, vinegar and crushed garlic and season to taste. There’s a lot of flavour in this dressing – a little goes a long way,” she says.
Everyone loves bananas, especially animals, birds and insects, so be very grateful to the clever farmers who brought you your ’nanas unharmed.
“Bananas are one of the most convenient pieces of fruit and they are so accessible here in Australia,” says Georgie. “The banana comes in its own skin, tastes incredibly creamy and lush, is packed full of nutrients such as potassium and is so versatile.”
The fibre and natural sugars in bananas mean they pack a powerful energy boost and can fuel a workout without filling you up. Bananas also contain nutrients that combat depression, strengthen the nervous system and regulate blood sugar, reduce swelling, aid weight loss and strengthen bones and blood cell production, plus protect against kidney cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and blindness!
“If you’re after an easy, quick breakfast on the run, chop up a banana and blend it with a cup of low-fat milk until smooth. This will fill you up and contribute to your dairy and fruit intake for the day,” Georgie says.
Sweet as Strawberries
A punnet of fresh, clean strawberries (ripe now from Queensland or WA) is a great sweet treat, and only needs a drizzle of honey and some yoghurt to become the perfect breakfast or dessert. Strawberries are a great source of vitamin C, dietary fibre and folic acid. And they’re simply delicious!