A Cut Above Nutrition is here…

After 3 long years of study I’m now a qualified nutritionist. Yay! I actually loved the study (think I’m a bit of a nerd!) . It was very rewarding after all the years since I last studied to get that part of my brain functioning again. There were certainly initial doubts of will I be able to do this & late nights cramming plus moments where I didn’t think my brain could hold one more muscle name or vitamin function. Then there were the biochemistry lectures where I had the embarrassing knack of being able to fall asleep, even when I put myself in the front row. Not a great look.

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I’m so excited to be using all this knowledge & combining it with my love of food. My mission is to share this love & hopefully encourage others into the kitchen. I hope to help make cooking easier & more enjoyable as I strongly believe the path to good health requires you to cook. Food from the supermarket laden with chemicals & minimal nutrients is just not the way.

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We recently held a lovely delicious & nutritious dinner to celebrate. I love setting a table & thanks to Zjoosh for the beautiful tableware & glassware & Cumquatmay by MJ for the superb flowers. It all came together pretty as a picture. The menu was all nourishing food with old favourites given a healthy twist, like my mother-in-law’s pate with turmeric, & some experiments too. The raw veggie salad (recipe below) looked so pretty & was so flavoursome, definitely nutrient dense! The guilt-free Avocado Chocolate Mousse went down pretty well too.

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I’d love you to follow A Cut Above Nutrition on facebook & instagram. Here you’ll find regular delicious & nutritious recipes & health tips. Also, let me know if you’d like a nutrition consultation in the ‘Cut Above’ kitchen. I’m really enjoying developing personalised eating plans for clients & they seem to be enjoying the taste testing 🙂

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Have a wonderful week.

Share our healthy love of food.

Wendy

Wendy Middleton
0403 861 117
Nutritionist
Adv Dip Nut Med, ATMS 50532

 

 

Raw Veggie Salad with Pomegranate

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A delicious & nutrient dense salad.

Ingredients

1/4 iceberg lettuce, finely sliced
1/4 small red cabbage, finely sliced
1 large beetroot, grated
1 zucchini, grated
1/4 red onion, finely sliced
3 radishes, finely sliced
Handful of snow peas, finely sliced
Handful of flat leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
Seeds from 1/2 pomegranate
4 tbsp mixed seeds (sunflower, pepitas, chia, sesame, flaxseed)
2 tbsp roasted cashews

Lemon dressing:

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp raw honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 lemon, zest & juice
Sea salt & pepper

Directions

Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar & shake well.

Add all salad ingredients to a bowl except pomegranate seeds. Toss through dressing.

Remove seeds from pomegranate by cutting pomegranate in half & hitting back of fruit over the salad bowl. The seeds & juice will release easily.

Due to popular demand….

We’ve had so many requests for our Raspberry Bombe recipe since we posted a photo on instagram recently. It’s lovely & easy to make & looks so pretty. You can play around with different versions – chocolate flakes with salted caramel sauce sounds good to me.

Raspberrry Bombe 2

Remember to follow us on instagram & facebook to keep up to date with all our latest recipes & entertaining tips.

Wendy

Raspberry Bombe

A tasty & pretty dessert that's sure to impress.

Ingredients

500g fresh or frozen raspberries
3 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
600ml cream
2 tsps rose water
12 medium meringues
Garnish: raspberries, pistachios, dried rose petals

Directions

Puree raspberries in a food processor. Pass the puree through a sieve to remove the seeds. I do this in batches for the best result. Stir icing sugar through puree.

Whip cream until soft peaks form & stir through rose water.

Set aside one meringue to use as a garnish. Break remaining meringues into chunks & stir through cream. Gently fold 2 tbsps raspberry puree into the cream mix so you create swirls. Don’t stir too much.

Line 25cm x 11cm loaf tin with cling wrap, leaving plenty of overlap to cover the top. Spoon mixture into the tin & press down gently. Fold cling wrap over the top & freeze overnight.

Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving. Turn onto a platter & drizzle a small amount of raspberry puree onto the loaf, then top with pistachios, raspberries, crumbled meringue & rose petals.

Serve with remaining raspberry puree.

Serves 8

A delicious summer salad

Our Vietnamese Chicken Salad is a hit when we serve it in noodle boxes at cocktail parties. I love the combination of salty, sweet & sour with a hit of chilli. We add lots of fresh herbs that give it a flavour burst. Coriander & mint are a beautiful combo but it’s the Thai basil that really adds a unique flavour.

Vietnamese Noodle Box large

It’s a complete meal in itself, wonderful on these hot summer nights. Absolutely delicious with prawns too.

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Love you to give it a go & feel free to comment below. If you’re looking for other salad ideas just click here .

Wendy

Vietnamese Chicken Salad

A delicious summer salad.

Ingredients

Dressing:
 1 chilli, chopped (remove seeds if you'd prefer less heat)
 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
 1 tbsp palm or brown sugar
 2 tbsp fish sauce
 2 tbsp lime juice
 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
 3 tbsp macadamia oil

Salad:
2 chicken breasts, poached & shredded
1/2 Chinese cabbage, sliced thinly
2 Lebanese cucumbers, julienned or sliced thinly
2 carrots, julienned or grated
Large handful mint & coriander leaves
Small handful Thai basil
Optional: Garnish with fried shallots

Directions

Dressing: Pound chilli & garlic in a mortar & pestle (or chop finely). Stir sugar & lime juice until sugar dissolved. Then add garlic, chilli & remaining ingredients.

Salad: Shake dressing & pour over chicken. Add all salad ingredients & combine.   Garnish with extra herbs. Enjoy.

Serves 6

 

My favourite salad at the moment….

I love the way a salad becomes a favourite & gets served over & over before being laid to rest when another comes along. This Mexican Salad with Black Beans, Avocado & Jalapeños is my favourite this holiday season. Why??? For a starter it looks good! We eat with our eyes first. Who doesn’t love hearing the oohs & ahhs as a dish is brought to the table.  Secondly it’s so tasty. The black beans, corn, capsicum, red onion & avocado go so well together whilst the  jalapeño gives this salad a hit of heat. I love to serve it with plain corn chips on the side to use as dippers or to crunch over the salad. A dressing of sour cream & jalapeños drizzled over the top makes this salad a winner for all the family.

MexicanSalad

Thirdly, it’s loaded with nutritients with a balance of protein, quality carbohydrate & healthy fats. By making sure you include this trio in all meals you’ll feel fuller for longer & less likely to snack between meals. I’m so passionate about this combination of delicious AND nutritious. For the last 3 years I’ve been studying & am now a qualified nutritionist. Woohoo! I can’t wait to implement so many of the things I’ve learnt into our catering.

Did you know black beans are an excellent source of protein, fibre, iron & magnesium?  In times of stress magnesium levels become quickly depleted. It’s very important to keep our intake of magnesium containing foods high as it is needed for over 300 functions in the body. Black beans are also a wonderful source of iron. Iron carries oxygen throughout the body & is so important for optimal mental & physical performance.

When buying black beans in tins try to buy organic & BPA free. Many conventional cans are lined with BPA & you don’t want this hormone disruptor leaching into your food.

We’re all hearing nowadays about the importance of including healthy fats in our diet. Avocado is a wonderful source. It’s full of monounsaturated oleic acid, the same fatty acid found in olive oil making it fantastic for heart health. Eating a healthy fat with foods containing fat soluble vitamins A, D, E & K ensures maximum absorption too.

I’d love you to try this recipe.  Did I mention it’s quick & easy too 🙂

I’d also love to hear what your favourite salad is.

Happy holidays.

Wendy

Mexican Salad with Black Beans, Corn & Jalapeños

A family favourite.

 

 

Ingredients

3 corn cobs

1 red capsicum, diced

400g can black beans, rinsed & drained

1 avocado, diced

1/4 red onion, diced

1 tbsp jalapeños, diced finely

1 baby cos lettuce, shredded

1/2 cup sour cream

Tortilla chips (I like Mission brand)

Lemon or lime wedges & coriander leaves to garnish

Directions

Bring water to the boil in a saucepan & add corn. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from saucepan & allow to cool. Remove kernels from the cob.

Add all ingredients to a salad bowl, except sour cream & tortilla chips.

To make dressing add 1-2 tbsp of brine from the jar of jalapeños to sour cream. Mix & then drizzle over salad.

Garnish with tortilla chips, lemon or lime wedges & coriander leaves. Serve extra dressing alongside.

We’ve made thousands of these…..

If there was a competition for rolling rice paper rolls with your eyes closed I would be the winner!   (I just tried to work out how many of these we have made over the years & I’d say it’s more like tens of thousands).  Our 5-Spice Duck Rice Paper Rolls with Hoisin are served at most of our events. They can be tricky but I’ve ironed out all the little kinks over the years & come up with a fool proof way to make them. Below you’ll find all my tips.

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I actually find making these very therapeutic. I set up an assembly line, this is often in the early hours as the sun rises, & start rolling, rolling, rolling. As my boys wake they sleepily gobble down one or two. I might be a bit strange but I love a production line! I find as my mind quietens it allows solutions to problems, creative ideas & lots of other things to pop up. The caterers’ form of meditation you could say.

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Anyway….why make rice paper rolls? Firstly they’re nutritious. They’re a great way to combine fresh vegetables & herbs with your choice of protein, e.g. chicken, seafood, beef, duck. Add some healthy fat such as avocado or a homemade satay sauce & you have a beautifully balanced snack that will keep you satisfied. And they’re gluten free. Secondly they’re fun to make & the kids can do it themselves..yay! They’ll enjoy making their own version. Lastly they’re delicious of course 🙂

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Below is our recipe for Satay Chicken Rice Paper Rolls, including an easy peasy way to poach chicken. The satay sauce is from a very special cooking school, The Red Bridge Cooking School in Hoi An, that I had the pleasure of attending last year. If you’d like any information on that please feel free to message me, because I could go on & on! But I hear optimal blog length is 300 words & I’m running out of them!!!

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Ok so onto the rice paper rolls. We recently taught these at our Delicious & Nutritious cooking classes & it was so much fun. Start by laying out all your ingredients in bowls. Then dampen a tea towel with water (so the rice paper won’t stick). Fill a large bowl with warm water & add 6 rice papers. Leave for a minute until soft. The longer you leave them the more likely they are to fall apart so don’t get distracted 🙂 Place rice paper on the tea towel (you’ll fit 6). Then pat dry with a clean tea towel. Add your sauce in a strip a couple of centimetres up from the bottom of the rice paper. Place your chicken (or other protein) & julienned vegetables on top of the sauce. Then place your herb of choice (mint or coriander are my favourite)  a couple of centimetres from the top with the good side face down. Then roll once starting from the bottom, fold in the sides & continue rolling. I can feel an instagram animation coming!!

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These are perfect snacks with summer coming up. You can go simple for easy family snacks or fancy (prawns, mango & mint anyone) for sure-to-impress entertaining.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions….seriously, call the Cut Above hotline anytime. If you’d like to spread the word & share this blog with friends that would be wonderful too 🙂

Wendy

Satay Chicken Rice Paper Rolls

A delicious & nutritious snack.

Ingredients

Chicken breast
, cooked & shredded
Carrot
Lebanese Cucumber
Chinese cabbage, or iceberg lettuce
Red capsicum
Mint
Coriander
Rice Paper Rolls (my favourite brand is Rose, has a red rose on the packaging)

Satay Sauce 
½ tsp crushed garlic 
2 tbsp crunchy healthy peanut butter 
2 tbsp light soy sauce 
1 tsp brown sugar 
½ cup coconut milk
1 tsp lime juice

Directions

  • Add chicken breast to baking dish. Add shallots, lemon, parsley, kaffir lime leaves or any aromatics you have on hand. Top with water until chicken is covered. Cover with foil & cook 30 minutes at 180C.
  • Julienne cucumber & carrot, slice capsicum thinly & shred lettuce.
  • Wash herbs.

Satay Sauce

  • Place all ingredients (except lime juice) in a saucepan & stir over medium heat for a minute until all ingredients are combined.
  • Remove from heat & add lime juice.
  • Add more coconut milk if you prefer a thinner consistency.

Rice Paper Rolls

  • Soak rice paper 30-60 secs in warm water.
  • Lay on dampened tea towel & pat dry.
  • Add satay sauce, top with shredded chicken, julienned vegetables & herbs.
  • Wrap & roll.

This is where it all began…..

Anzac biscuits were the first recipe I made as a young girl. I still have the cookbook I used…The Margaret Fulton Cookbook.…complete with pages splattered with mixture. I have always been more concerned with the finished product than the tidy up!

My three boys have grown up eating these…crunchy on the outside chewy within and they have become a family favourite. Nowadays I try to throw in some healthy bits such as chia or pumpkin seeds but I must admit they’re not wolfed down quite as quickly as the original.

Anzac biscuits + cookbook cropped small

My mother, Beverley, was Margaret Fulton’s assistant on that famous first cookbook. So for me Anzac biscuits have a special spot. My mother was a wonderful cook & entertainer although I do remember many burnt sausages for us four kids as she prepared for others. I fondly recall the opulent dinner parties she put on. My favourite part was waking up in the morning & gobbling up the left over After Dinner Mints as my parents recovered from the festivities.

I love experimenting with new versions of old faves & this Caramel Anzac Slice is so delicious. The caramel is very addictive…try & stop at one square…I couldn’t.

Anzac slice small

Basically it’s a biscuit base, topped with caramel & then an Anzac crumb. Good quality caramel or Dulce Leche can be a bit expensive particularly when you can’t keep fingers out of the jar! Below you’ll find an alternative that just needs a bit of forward planning but is super easy.

I also love this recipe as all you need is a bowl, wooden spoon & a baking tin. Old fashioned baking, no fancy equipment required. Minimal washing up, yay!

I hope this becomes a family favourite for you too.

Wendy

PS. I’d love to receive your comments & feedback on our first post. Also, follow us on instagram & Facebook for all the latest recipes & cooking tips.

Caramel Anzac Slice

  • Servings: 20 slices
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A scrumptious slice based on the classic Anzac biscuit with the addition of a delicious caramel centre.

Ingredients

Base:
1 cup (150g) self raising flour, sifted
½ cup (40g) dessicated coconut
½ cup (90g) brown sugar
140g unsalted butter, melted

Topping:
1 cup (75g) shredded coconut
1 cup (90g) rolled oats
1/3 cup (115g) golden syrup
80g unsalted butter, melted

Caramel:
380g tin store bought caramel or Dulce de Leche
(Or 1 tin sweetened condensed milk & make your own, see below)

Directions

METHOD Preheat oven to 180ºC. Line 20 x 30cm tin with baking paper.

Place flour, desiccated coconut, sugar and 140g melted butter in a bowl and stir until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Using the back of a spoon, press the mixture into the base of baking tin.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Place the shredded coconut, oats, golden syrup, and remaining butter in a bowl and mix to combine.

Spread the caramel over the cooled base and then spoon over the oat topping. Bake for a further 15-20 minutes or until golden.

Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares to serve.

Easy Peasy Homemade Caramel

Remove label from tin of condensed milk & place in saucepan. Cover with water & gently simmer for 3-4 hours. Remove from saucepan & allow to cool before opening tin.