Deliciously Ella Plant Based Recipes

I don't know about you, but I am a total sucker for cookbooks. Sure, blogs and websites and instagram are all awesome inspiration and I regularly end up recreating dishes or even just condiments and seasonings I've seen online, but nothing beats the loveliness of a solid, old-fashioned cookbook.
plant based ella cookbook

My new kitchen helper is Deliciously Ella The Plant-Based Cookbook by Ella Mills (Woodward), published by Hachette Australia (RRP $32.99). All photographs by Nassima Rothacker.

The following recipes are my favourites from the book. I'd love you to tag me if you make them and want to share a photo to instagram! I'm at @cat13gram.

Vegan Deliciously Ella Plantbased Recipe Lentil Balls

HERBED LENTIL BALLS
WITH TOMATO RELISH
AND GARLIC CREAM


I know these may sound a little strange, but they taste amazing – especially
sitting in a bed of tomato relish and dressed with garlic cream. They’re
full of flavour thanks to the thyme, rosemary, parsley, garlic and onion.
I love them served simply with some brown rice and salad.

MAKES 10

150g dried green lentils
1 large onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tablespoons buckwheat flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
handful of parsley, roughly
chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
salt and pepper
for the tomato relish
6 tablespoons tomato purée
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
100ml water
handful of parsley
pinch of ground cumin
pinch of chilli powder
pinch of smoked paprika
for the garlic cream
100g cashews, soaked for at least
3 hours then drained
10 tablespoons almond milk
3 garlic cloves, roasted (see
page 35)
splash of lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 200.C (fan 180.C).

Start by placing the lentils in a pan of boiling water. Cook for
20–25 minutes until tender but still with a slight bite. Once cooked,
drain and leave to cool to room temperature.

While the lentils are cooking, place the onion and garlic in a pan
over a medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and cook
for 5–10 minutes, until soft. Then leave to cool to room temperature.

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until
it forms a thick paste. Scoop balls of the mixture out of the food
processor using an ice-cream scoop, smooth them a little by rolling
them in your hands if you like, then place them on a baking tray
and bake in the oven for 35–40 minutes. Check the lentil balls are
cooked through by inserting a knife into the middle of one ball –
if it comes out clean they’re ready, if not bake for a little longer.

While the balls are in the oven, prepare the tomato relish and garlic
cream. Simply place all of the ingredients for the relish in a food
processor and some salt and pulse until smooth. Then do the same
for the garlic cream, adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve the
lentil balls piled high with the relish and garlic cream.

TIP
These are delicious served warm straight out the oven – if you’re
doing that then gently warm the tomato relish too.

Vegan Deliciously Ella Plantbased Recipe

YELLOW THAI CURRY


Aubergines are one of my favourite ingredients to use in a curry as they
soak up all of the flavours like a sponge. I’ve lost count of how many
bowls of this curry I’ve eaten in the last few years; when I’m having a
busy week I pop into the deli and devour a bowl with brown rice – it’s
warming, hearty and always keeps me going for hours. This one also
happens to be one of Matt’s favourites too.

SERVES 4

for the curry paste
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped
1 red chilli, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger,
peeled and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 lemongrass stalk, bashed and
roughly chopped
1 lime leaf
31/2 tablespoons coconut oil

for the curry
2 red peppers, deseeded and cut
into bite-sized chunks
1 large aubergine, cut into bitesize
pieces
100g button mushrooms
100g baby corn, cut in half
olive oil
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 x 400g tins of coconut milk
(see tip on page 174)
1 tablespoon tamari
handful of Thai basil,
roughly chopped
salt

Preheat the oven to 240.C (fan 220.C).

Place all of the paste ingredients in a food processor and blitz
until smooth.

Place the peppers, aubergine, mushrooms and baby corn in a baking
tray with a little olive oil and salt. Roast in the oven for 10–15 minutes,
so that they take on a bit of colour, then remove and leave to one side.

Next, place the coconut oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium
heat. Once hot, add the curry paste and cook for 5 minutes until
soft. Add the coconut milk and tamari and bring to the boil – then
lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and
blitz using a hand blender, then pass through a sieve to remove any
unwanted bits (if needed). Place back on to a medium heat and
add the roasted vegetables, then cook for a final 5 minutes. Try not
to overcook this curry – the sauce only needs this short cooking time
and there is a chance it could form a layer of oil on top if you cook
it for longer and reduce it too much.

Once everything is cooked through, sprinkle with a handful of chopped
Thai basil.

TIP
You could make a double batch of this curry and freeze half for
another day. It freezes so well and is really easy to cook straight
from the freezer – just place it into an oven set at 200C (fan 180C)
for 20–25 minutes until cooked through.


SPICY MISO AUBERGINE AND BROCCOLI SALAD


This salad was a real hit in the deli, and it’s one of my go-tos as well.
We used to serve it cool, but have recently discovered a new love of
serving it warm, straight out the oven and couldn’t recommend that
more. The dressing is partly what makes this so good and I use it a lot
in other dishes – the ginger, miso, sesame and lime mix is a real winner.

SERVES 2
AS A MAIN DISH,
4 AS A SIDE

2 medium aubergines, chopped
into bite-sized chunks
1 large head of broccoli, chopped
into florets
pinch of chilli flakes
handful of coriander, chopped
handful of sesame seeds
salt and pepper
for the miso dressing
4 tablespoons miso paste
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger,
peeled and grated

Preheat the oven to 240ºC (fan 220ºC).

For the dressing, blitz the miso, lime juice, vinegar, sesame oil,
ginger and some salt and pepper in a blender until smooth. If
you don’t have a blender, dissolve the miso paste in a tablespoon
of boiling water then stir through the other dressing ingredients.

In a large baking tray, mix the aubergine with the dressing and
roast for 30–35 minutes. At this point, remove the tray from the
oven and switch the oven over to the grill setting. Mix the broccoli
florets with the aubergine, then place the tray back in the oven for
another 10 minutes until the broccoli is lightly charred on top and
the aubergine is soft and golden.

Once cooked, remove from the oven, place in a serving bowl
and sprinkle with the chilli flakes, coriander and sesame seeds
before serving.





Nourish - Two Superfood Salads to Love

From my new cookbook of choice, Nourish by Amber Locke (published by Mitchell Beazley, $24.99), two recipes that you can add to your lunch or dinner repertoire. Excellent for a solo meal or make it for family, friends or the workmate who has the same, boring ham and cheese sanga every day. 

Edamame Bean Salad Vegan

Edamame beans are young soya beans that are picked before they start to harden so they’re tender and fresh – a bit like young broad beans. They’re a great source of protein and are a general all-round nutritional super-food, and are particularly beneficial in a vegan diet.
They’re combined here with poppy seed-specked avocado and served on a bed of matchstick carrots (I’ve used purple, orange and yellow carrots).

Any citrus or creamy dressing, or the spicy Rose Harissa Dressing would work well with this salad.

  • 3–4 large carrots, scrubbed or peeled
  • 1–2 ripe avocados
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 300g (10½oz) shelled edamame beans
  • dressing of choice

Cut the carrots into fine matchsticks (there’s no need to peel them if they are organic) using a mandolin or julienne peeler, or coarsely grate them – they’ll taste just as good. Place them in a serving bowl.
Halve, peel and remove the stones of the avocados, then cut the flesh into large chunks. Put the avocado chunks in a bowl and lightly coat in the poppy seeds.
Place the edamame and avocado on top of the carrots, pour over the dressing of your choice and mix well to combine.

Protein boost...
Seared, poached or barbecued salmon goes well with this salad. Cooked, shredded tofu also an option.

Mango Beetroot Kale Radish Salad

For this salad you can either chop the kale finely or break it into pieces and massage it in the mango dressing. It can get a bit messy, but tastes delicious! I’ve cut the yellow beetroot and pink watermelon radishes into decorative shapes for the photograph, but slice, grate or shave them as you prefer. If you’d like to serve a dressing with this salad then I recommend the Orange Vinaigrette (see page 127).

  • 2 large bunches of kale
  • 2 teaspoons cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 ripe mangoes
  • 1 large raw yellow beetroot, scrubbed or peeled
  • 1 large watermelon radish or 5–6 regular radishes, trimmed
  • Orange Vinaigrette (optional)

Tear the leafy parts of the kale away from the stems (save these for juicing) and remove any tough veins in the leaves. Tear the leaves into 2.5–5cm (1–2in) pieces and place in a large bowl.
Anoint the kale leaves in the olive oil and start to massage and scrunch them with your fingers. It will take a while for the leaves to yield but they will gradually start to soften and become more pliable and tender. They’re done when they feel silky soft.
Peel and stone the mangoes. If the mangoes are really ripe it’s a good idea to massage them into the kale as they may be difficult to cut up neatly. Simply mush them up with your hands and get going.
Slice, grate or shave the beetroot and watermelon radish, or cut into decorative shapes and scatter them over the salad just before serving.
Pour over the orange vinaigrette, if using.





November Reads

I know it's low-tech, old school to still love reading things that don't require an "On" button. I think it's entirely healthy and necessary to get your eyeballs off a screen and embrace the tactile nature of books. Especially when they are as weighty and beautiful as Dr Lisa Cooper's ode to her floral business and lifestyle, The Flowers. I am also inspired and motivated by 2,100 Asanas. What would Mr Iyengar say? I imagine he'd do them all with joy and energy, ultimately.
Thrown into the mix is some fiction. Time spent in another parallel universe is excellent for the mind and spirit. Even if it is a brain-twisting, dark mystery. Here's my November picks (and they also make great Christmas presents. Bonus.)
Sydney florist Dr Lisa Cooper has compiled a beautiful collection of photos and stories from the farms where she sources her flowers through to her unique bouquets. We see the studio, the shop, the growers. Love the stories of the family, friends, artists and florists who have inspired her. The Flowers by Dr Lisa Cooper (Murdoch Books)
Daniel Lacerda (Mr. Yoga) has compiled the complete 2,100 Asanas in this fabulous tome. Each pose is performed in photographs with instruction, the English and Sanskrit names and a guide to modifications. Especially inspiring is the inclusion of the recommended Drishti (focus in the pose) and the chakras affected. The book breaks the poses into 8 categories: standing, seated, core, quadruped, backbends, inversions, prone, and supine, then from the basic to the challenging. 2,100 Asanas The Complete Yoga Poses by Daniel Lacerda (Murdoch Books)
An account of the introduction of Buddhist Art across Asia, especially in India. Author, Dr A. S. Bhalla delves into the architecture and meaning behind monasteries, statues, design features that reflect the spirituality and faith of Buddhist artists and monks as their work appears in different forms of Buddhist art (architecture, sculpture and painting) from Afghanistan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka in South Asia to Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand in Southeast Asia, and China, Japan and South Korea in East Asia. Beautiful illustrations of temples, paintings and sculptures. If you have any interest in the Asian landscape, Buddhism or architecture, do this. Buddhist Art in Asia by A.S Bhalla (Austin Macauley Publishing)
Carrie Brownstein, guitarist of punk-indie trio Sleater-Kinney, is a natural writer and author. I suspected as much, being a fan of Portlandia, which she co-writes with the equally hilarious Fred Armisen. I have been guilty of lumping Sleater-Kinney with the riot grrrl movement of the 90s, but in fact this label rubs Brownstein the wrong way and years upon years of journalists referring to the "all girl" band or asking what it's like to have no men in the band has made her quite prickly about that definition. Fair enough. Sleater-Kinney were a great band - whatever the gender! This is a sometimes uncomfortable delve into family, the sacrifices made for creative endeavours and the reality of life on the road. And seriously, I thought my family were weird, but I'm outrivalled here. Between her runaway anorexic mum and her gay dad, Brownstein makes a case that if you're a born creative and you run on passion, intensity and a bit of crazy, there's a tribe of people out there for you. Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein (Hachette Publishing)


Yoga Books For Inspiration

I start my Yoga Teacher Training this weekend, and I won't lie, I'm nervous about launching into it. I'm excited, too. And mostly, I feel that it's the right choice. As someone who questions herself constantly, to feel so sure about something speaks volumes to me.
I want to be practicing, exploring, teaching and sharing yoga for the rest of my life. Flowing, vinyasa, meditation-on-the-mat yoga.

With that in mind, I've added to my bookshelf. Three different but inspiring yoga books.

Yogavataranam: The Translation of Yoga is intended for those studying yoga. It is an exploration of Sanskrit intended for university courses, yoga students and self study.
The Indian method of learning Sanskrit is by memorising texts and then learning what they mean. The Western approach is to learn the alphabet, grammar, syntax and then build the vocabulary (like all language lessons of my school years!). This book by Zoe Slatoff-Ponte incorporates both methods. It promises

  • step-by-step instructions on writing the alphabet 
  • sidebars on Indian philosophy and culture
  • a glossary of Sanskrit terms
  • original translations of passages from classic yoga texts including Yogasutra, Bhagavadgita and Upanisads
There's web-based audio files linked to each chapter so that you can perfect your pronunciation too. I know this is a book I'll be returning to...a lot.
The Eight Limbs of Yoga looks deceptively slender and thankfully, it fits in my handbag so my guilt over not reading what is on my bookshelf can accompany me every day, everywhere. This is "a handbook for living yoga philosophy".
This little volume shows how to apply the principles of yoga to everyday life and our perspective on the big and small issues. This is not designed to be academic or deeply investigative. Perfect for yoga students and also just the mildly curious. 

The Eight Limbs of Yoga are:
  1. Yama: The first limb, yama, deals with one’s ethical standards and sense of integrity, focusing on our behavior and how we conduct ourselves in life. Yamas are universal practices that relate best to what we know as the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
  2. Niyama: This has to do with self-discipline and spiritual observances. Regularly attending temple or church services, saying grace before meals, developing your own personal meditation practices, or making a habit of taking contemplative walks alone are all examples of niyamas in practice.
  3. Asanas: These are the postures practiced in yoga, with the ultimate aim of caring for and nurturing the body. Through the practice of asanas, we develop the habit of discipline and the ability to concentrate.
  4. Pranayama: Generally translated as breath control, this fourth stage consists of techniques designed to gain mastery over the respiratory process while recognizing the connection between the breath, the mind, and the emotions. 
  5. Pratyahara: This means withdrawal or sensory transcendence. It is during this stage that we make the conscious effort to draw our awareness away from the external world and outside stimuli.
  6. Dharana: As each stage prepares us for the next, the practice of pratyahara creates the setting for dharana, or concentration. Having relieved ourselves of outside distractions, we can now deal with the distractions of the mind itself
  7. Dhyana: Meditation or contemplation, the seventh stage of ashtanga, is the uninterrupted flow of concentration.
  8. Samadhi: Patanjali describes this eighth and final stage of ashtanga, samadhi, as a state of ecstasy. At this stage, the meditator merges with his or her point of focus and transcends the Self altogether.


Do Your Om Thing is a memoir by Rebecca Pacheco, better known as @OmGal . Bec challenges the idea of the perfect yogi - flawless in their intentions, integrity, every living breath and perfectly executing every pose every time. It is an exploration of what it is to love yoga and to approach it as it ought to be approached, as a road to wisdom that isn't about striving to be the best, or to master everything, stop and pin a badge on yourself... Yoga is going to be different things at different times of life and circumstances. The idea of yoga off the mat is really explored. How to merge ancient philosophy and traditions from an Eastern world into a hectic, constantly evolving Western world is the cause of much angst for yogis (isn't it? I find it is!) and to read Bec's memoir is to find humour and joy in being imperfect but deeply curious and passionate about yoga as a practice and a school to learn about your everyday self and your infinite self.

Mulga's Magical Colouring Book Finally! This one is for fun. An exercise in mindfulness, this colouring book is by Sydney artist Mulga, a freelance illustrator, poet, mural painter, t-shirt designer and market stall master. He draws quirky animals, zombies and bearded ragamuffins. I am starting with the seahorse, because...well, why not start with the seahorse?



Conflict Between loving the Superficial and Leading a Meaningful Life

It might be hard to believe considering how often I write about skin and makeup, but I do feel a true conflict over
a) my deep passion for yoga, health and a meaningful, creative life AND
b) my ecstasy over discovering an incredible lipstick shade

Does one mean the other shrinks in importance or value? I hope not. The way I choose to see it is that I lead a blessed enough life that I can find the joy and thrill in something as simple as lipstick and nailpolish. I also go crazy for an amazing editorial in Italian Vogue. 
That said, I'm thoroughly enjoying Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathan (out through Hachette)and read biographies and autobiographies of powerful, spirited and creative women like Judy Cassab, Peggy Guggenheim and Coco Chanel.
I am a complete set of contradictions and it does bring me great angst, but so many things bring me great joy and without doing any harm to anyone, so I am trying to find peace in that!

Now that I've come clean on my contradictions and conflict over my love of the superficial, I have to share the things that are thrilling me the most. And look, makeup is an artform. It's creative expression, endless variations on texture, colour and application. It's playing with crayons or painting watercolours made into a daily ritual. Even the Egyptians were poisoning themselves just to have a kohl-rimmed eye. It's ancient. There's culture and tradition in it. 

If it brings you joy, and it harms nobody, indulge with me...

Urban Decay Naked Skin is vegan, weightless, perfect coverage foundation from the cult beauty brand that is best known for their nude eye palette range. I am all about perfect skin and foundation that conceals without looking obvious, and definitely survives a yoga class and a full day or running around without resulting in blemishes. This ticks all my boxes. Exclusive to Mecca Maxima. Check out their Top 10 UD Obsessions!

Dior Secret Garden IV is the amazing campaign featuring Rihanna. The mini-film is incredible (view it!) Look, I won't be jetting off to Paris or investing in a Dior handbag anytime soon, BUT I discovered the products that were used to achieve that French Film Star bombshell lip and that's romantic enough for me. She is wearing the Rouge Dior lipstick shade #941 Cannage and the Lip Liner Thrilling Plum #943 (Rouge Dior Couture @ Myer)

Paleo Basics: interview with Scott Gooding

I do not advocate fad diets. I'm not vegan or gluten/dairy intolerant. BUT I know that many people have sensititivies, allergies and reactions to particular foods and that is where the appeal of the paleo diet lies. I've just got my hands on Clean Living Paleo Basics by Luke Hines and Scott Gooding, published by Hachette Australia ($17.99).

There is a growing and valuable recognition that whole foods (unprocessed, as close to natural state as possible) are the best choice for optimum energy and health. For example, eating an organic apple from your local market beats an apple & nut muffin from the supermarket.

I love Luke and Scott's recipes - including smoothies, snacks, salads, dinners and sweet treats. It's a great reference for healthy, basic meals that are great for one or for the whole family. Luke and Scott are both qualified personal trainers in the fitness business too so they know food has to fuel an active, fit lifestyle.

I was really lucky to have Scott and Luke talk to me about their book and their paleo lifestyle. If you loved them on My Kitchen Rules, or even if you didn't catch it (like me!), here they are. Please note, these are OPINIONS on diet and health, not facts. What works for your body is different to your neighbour and your friend. 

I love Luke Hines' approach to lifestyle. "My mantra that I live by is Train Smart, Eat Clean and Feel Good. We must have synergy between how we move our body, what we consume and the way we think about life. It is about achieving balance, through mindfulness," he says.

While Luke gave me some fabulous information and opinion, it was Scott Gooding's responses on food, healthy mindset and wellbeing that really appealed to me. As a trainer, a chef, an author and a businessman, he's truly an inspiration.

Has your diet always been health-based or was there an event or issue that lead you to this focus?
I have always tried to eat healthy to the best of my knowledge at the time, looking back I can now see flaws from a health perspective in many foods I used to eat but I guess that is all part of the journey.  There have been a few events that have shaped what types of food I consume, one is particular was an injury I sustained in my back - my focus then became sourcing a diet that wasn't pro-inflammatory - hence the Paleo diet.

Dairy is a great source of calcium. How do you ensure adequate calcium in the Paleo diet?
Dairy may have calcium but it also contains many proteins and hormones which are designed for a growing calf, these compounds cause gut irritation and inflammation.  Cruciferous veggies such as broccoli provide an abundant source of calcium as does fish, shellfish, offal and meat.

A highly active and fit body usually requires adequate carbohydrate. Does it take time for the body to adjust to new sources of energy? What are the side effects?
If you are training at high intensity I believe you should be consuming some extra carbs, but generally minimal carbs is the way forward.  There is a transition between fuels sources which can leave you feeling unable to perform maximally and can leave you feeling fatigued but the body is quick to adapt.  Push through the transition period and then the body will acclimatise.

Beyond diet, what other approaches to exercise lifestyle and wellbeing do you recommend and live by?
I believe we should move our body everyday, whether its a gym session, walk, salsa, pilates or swim.  The session should be hard enough to work up a sweat and evoke a feeling of satisfaction or accomplishment on completion.  I think its paramount that we "switch off" from the modern world of social media, email and texts - this is vital for positive (real) communication.  Its certainly an area that I personally need to work on but I'm making in-roads

I have survived a deadly eating disorder and I am concerned by restrictive or extreme approaches to diet as I feel vulnerable people can vastly restrict their food intake under the guise of a healthy regime. Do you accept that there is a need to educate on paleo but not to demonise whole food groups?
Absolutely, knowledge is power ...and once you have knowledge you'll have the power to make informed choices around your health and lifestyle.  Its important to not demonize certain food groups but knowing why we eat some and not others is the key.

What's a great paleo lunch for someone without A lot of time to prepare but wants energy throughout the afternoon and before a 5.30pm workout?
Healthy food or paleo food often gets branded with the notion it takes time to prepare but it can be as simple as a fritatta, poached eggs with sweet potato fritter, lamb chops with broccolini, leftovers from the night before.

Here's a recipe from the book - Zucchini Linguine with Poached Rainbow Trout - fabulous choice for lunch or dinner!


Follow Scott and Luke on Facebook, Twitter and their website

Clean Living Paleo Basics by Luke Hines and Scott Gooding, published by Hachette Australia ($17.99)