The Organic Butler Blog

July 23, 2017

The valuable benefits of barley and how to cook it!

When we think of cereal grains, we tend to gravitate towards the more familiar types; wheat, oats, rice and corn. However, being willing to experiment with different kinds of grains can inspire creativity, and also provide health benefits.  Pearl barley contains many valuable nutrients such as B vitamins, iron and manganese, dietary fibre, and essential amino acids (which are the building blocks of protein). The systems in our bodies which convert food energy into usable, chemical energy require these nutrients to function effectively. Barley is also considered to be a good friend to the large intestine, promoting a healthy gut environment by producing short chain fatty acids, and assisting in the removal of cholesterol.  Barley is an incredibly versatile ingredient and can be used in soups, stews, salads, desserts or to replace rice in a risotto. The slightly chewy texture and nutty flavour pair particularly well with Italian-style recipes, but are a welcome addition to many different meals.  Here’s a recipe to encourage you to give pearl barley a go in the kitchen. Feel free to experiment with different kinds of vegetables, depending on what is seasonal and available.  Vegetable and Barley Soup (Family serve) 1 cup pearl barley 1 litre vegetable stock 2 cups water 2 garlic cloves 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/4 cup white wine (optional) 2 stalks celery 1 carrot 2 ripe tomatoes 2 potatoes 1 zucchini 2 cups spinach 1 piece of lemon peel Salt and pepper Herbs:  3 bay leaves 10 fresh oregano leaves,  1 sprig of rosemary,  Small handful of fresh parsley Prepare all […]
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July 16, 2017

Rainbow Chard and Mushroom on Avocado Toast

Serves: 4 Ingredients:  2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric 2 cloves garlic 150 g Swiss brown mushrooms 5 – 6 cups of washed, chopped rainbow chard 1/4 cup water  Juice of 1/2 lemon 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds 2 teaspoons soy sauce Toast and avocado to serve.  On medium heat, fry garlic and turmeric in olive oil for a couple of minutes. Add mushrooms, rainbow chard and water to the pan. Stir through. Allow to cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.   Add lemon juice, sunflower seeds and soy sauce.  Cook for a further 5 minutes. (It’s ok if your vegetables still have some texture!) Serve on top of toast with avocado. Or, serve as a side dish for dinner.  Rachel Mason is a nutrition student who loves cooking, writing and photography. She spends much of her time reading the latest research about health, and considers good nutrition to be an important part of holistic wellness. Rachel takes a creative approach to food, particularly focusing on colours, textures and interesting flavour combinations. Her simple recipes focus on whole food, plant-based ingredients, and are often taste-tested by her 2 young nieces who love to help out in the kitchen. In her spare time you’ll often find Rachel exploring new cafes or walking trails with friends and family, or curled up with a novel on the couch. Get to know Rachel over at www.floraandflow.com
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July 16, 2017

Spiced Squash and Peanut Slice

Spiced Squash and Peanut Slice Makes: 16 squares The sweetness of this slice really depends on the sweetness of the butternut squash – which can be difficult to predict. You can add some chopped, dried dates or sultanas (around 1/3 cup), or substitute the rice malt syrup for honey, if the mixture is too savoury for your taste. Have it for breakfast, or a snack – its a great option lunchbox option for kids (especially if they help to make it).  Ingredients: 1 cup butternut squash/pumpkin 1 cup rolled oats 1 cup spelt flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg 1/3 cup rice malt syrup 1/4 cup peanut butter  1/4 cup olive oil 1 tablespoon ground linseed (soaked in 3 tablespoons of water for 15 minutes) Preheat oven to 180 °C (fan forced). Line a square baking tray (24x24x5cm).  Grind linseed with a mortar and pestle, add water and allow to soak for 15 minutes in a small bowl.  To prepare squash, slice into 1cm rounds, remove the skin and cut into quarters. Place in a microwave proof bowl with a dash of water and steam in the microwave for 3 minutes (or until squash is soft). While squash is steaming, add rice malt syrup, peanut butter, olive oil and soaked linseed into a medium-sized bowl.  Remove squash from microwave, mash it and add about a cup’s worth to the other wet ingredients. Mix through and set aside.  In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, spelt flour, baking powder and […]
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July 3, 2017

Organic Farmers & Market Seasonal Report – 3rd July 2017

Whats available at a glance? New: Squash, Strawberries, Ruby Grapefruit. Gone for now: Red Cabbage, Red Capsicum, Juicing Carrots, Normal Carrots, Chilli, Peas, Corn.   The Report from the Melbourne Market  Organic Produce from Australian Farmers.  Organic Vegetables: Artichokes, Beetroot, Broccoli, Baby Broccoli, Green Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery,  Cucumber, Fennel, Eggplant, Mushrooms,  Snow Peas, Parsnip, Corn, Cherry Tomato, Tomatoes, Turmeric, Zucchini, Onions (Red and Brown), Potato, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin, Organic Herbs: Garlic, Ginger, Coriander, Mint, Parsley, Rosemary. Organic Leafy Greens: Lettuce, Kale, Leek, Rainbow Chard, Silverbeet, Spinach. Organic Fruit: Avocado, Apple, Ruby Grapefruit, Banana, Chestnuts, Kiwi Fruit, Lemon, Limes, Mandarines, Nashi Pears, Navel Oranges, Pineapple, Passionfruit, Strawberries.   The Report from Cafresco Organic Farm – Koowee Rup.  Artichoke, Broccoli, Baby Broccoli, Green Cabbage, Cauliflower, Rainbow Chard, Fennel,  Kale, Onions, Pumpkin, Silverbeet, Romanesco.   The Report from Peninsula Fresh Organics – Baxter. Iceberg Lettuce, Kale, Collard Greens, Radish, Bok Choy, Parsley, Bunched Beetroot, Broccoli, Savoy Cabbage, Wombok, Silverbeet, Fennel, Spring Onions, Romanesco. Head across to the shop now and place your order for a delivery this week!
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July 1, 2017

Roasted Fennel, Cauliflower and Orange Salad

(Serves 4 as a side salad) Ingredients 1 fennel bulb 1/2 large cauliflower 1 orange 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds Salt and pepper to taste Cooking 1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan-forced).  2. In a small jar, pour olive oil, the juice of 1 orange (and some zest if you would like), grated nutmeg, balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Screw on the lid and shake the dressing for 30 seconds.  3. Chop fennel and cauliflower into large chunks (you can peel apart the fennel layers and cut them as you go). Place them onto a large baking tray. 4. Pour 3/4 of the dressing over the fennel and cauliflower, making sure that all the pieces are coated. 5. Bake for 40 minutes. 6. Remove tray from oven and sprinkle over pumpkin seeds.  7. Bake for another 5 minutes (or until everything looks golden). 8. Before serving, pour the remaining 1/4 of the dressing onto the roasted vegetables and mix through. 9. Sprinkle the salad with fennel fronds and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Rachel Mason is a nutrition student who loves cooking, writing and photography. She spends much of her time reading the latest research about health, and considers good nutrition to be an important part of holistic wellness. Rachel takes a creative approach to food, particularly focusing on colours, textures and interesting flavour combinations. Her simple recipes focus on whole food, plant-based ingredients, and are often taste-tested by her 2 young nieces who love […]
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July 1, 2017

Ginger and Pear Winter Oats 

When the cold has set in, you need something warming that will start your day off right – these Winter Oats will hit the spot. (Serves 1) Ingredients 1/2 large or 1 small pear 1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger 1 tablespoon water 1/2 teaspoon raw honey 1/3 cup rolled oats 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)   Raw almonds and allspice to serve Cooking 1. In a small pot, combine the chopped pear, water, honey and ginger. 2. Cook over a low-medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring regularly. 3. Add the rolled oats and milk to the pot.  4. Cook and stir regularly for up to 10 minutes, or until the oats reach a nice, creamy consistency (Tip: pre-soaking the oats in some water  for 10 minutes before hand will reduce their cooking time and the amount of milk needed).  5. Pour into a bowl and enjoy with crushed raw almonds and ground allspice sprinkled on top.  Rachel Mason is a nutrition student who loves cooking, writing and photography. She spends much of her time reading the latest research about health, and considers good nutrition to be an important part of holistic wellness. Rachel takes a creative approach to food, particularly focusing on colours, textures and interesting flavour combinations. Her simple recipes focus on whole food, plant-based ingredients, and are often taste-tested by her 2 young nieces who love to help out in the kitchen. In her spare time you’ll often find Rachel exploring new cafes or walking trails with friends and family, or curled up with a novel on the couch. […]
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June 25, 2017

It’s worth it: why you should buy certified organic, and what that means

Whilst searching for an optimal way to feed your family wholesome, nutritious foods, you have probably come across various claims and classifications which get a bit confusing sometimes. What to choose – “certified natural” or “certified organic”? Is “contains organic ingredients” good enough? Finally, is the certification process even worth it, or is it just another way the governmental bodies are trying to extract more dollars from the farmers and food companies? In short – yes, purchasing produce that is “certified organic” is well worth it, and this is one of the most important things to factor in when planning your shopping. Why? Well, sit back and keep scrolling, as this is just what we’re about to discuss in this material.   Organics at a glance A popular belief that “organic” simply means “chemical-free” is completely false. In fact, organic certification is an entire system of growing and handling produce, which guarantees that organic products are: Free of synthetic chemicals, fertilisers and GMO’s Ecologically sustainable Compliant with rigorous standards Produced with market integrity and transparency in mind In other words, organic produce is great for your health, the farmers and the planet – this is why it’s very important to support sellers who choose to go through the process to certify their products organic.   Natural or organic? At a glance, it may seem like “natural” is good enough, and all-natural foods must be as good as organic. Unfortunately, this is not the case! To put it simply, “natural” is not an official certification, and such foods may be produced […]
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June 25, 2017

How to eat your stress away and become more productive

If you’re a high achiever persistently climbing a career ladder in a competitive business world, high levels of stress are probably no news to you. And we’re not talking occasional “good stress” here, which is essential for inspiration and motivation [1]. The stress we have in mind here is a chronic, exhausting one which keeps you tired, irritable and unproductive [2] – not exactly the qualities sought after in the corporate world, let alone the after-hours which are supposedly for family and friends, not stressing even more. If you’re suffering from chronic stress, you’re not alone – for instance, insomnia, one of the key indicators of stress, affects approximately 9-12% of the population, making the affected individuals over 10 times more likely to have clinically significant depression and anxiety [3]. This makes stress-related issues more prevalent than heart disease and cancer, placing an enormous financial burden on both your own wallet and the society as a whole [3]. However, knowing that there are other people suffering the same issues while voluntarily participating in the dreadful 24/7 grind doesn’t quite cut it – wouldn’t it be much better to reduce your stress levels by implementing some simple techniques? Fortunately, thanks to the almighty internet, it’s not too hard to find a starting point: it seems like all it takes is a couple of yoga postures and a few clever mindfulness techniques, and you’ll be just fine… …except there is a large elephant in the room that gets ignored way too often, whereas we are convinced this must be a starting point. […]
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June 25, 2017

My Food Philosophy – Rachel Mason

The path to understanding food and my own health has been a long one for me. As someone in my mid-twenties, I’m definitely still learning. I hope that continues – learning is key to growth. I’ve always struggled with gut sensitivities, so I made the decision to start studying postgraduate nutrition, in the hope that I might gain a deeper understanding of how to eat well, live well and help others to do the same. While the course content has been incredibly enlightening, I’ve spent hours and hours of my own time reading books, listening to podcasts, watching documentaries, experimenting with recipes, and pondering the ways in which food can impact our bodies, minds and the environment. The information is endless, the opinions often appear to contrast, and the conclusion that I have come up with is that the science can be a bit overwhelming. However, there are a few key things that I have latched on to, and would encourage you to do the same. Plants are our friends. Plants are a phenomenal source of all kinds of wonderful nutrients. Fibre is the structural part of fruits, vegetables, seeds, grains, nuts and is digested by the bacteria in our large intestines. The bottom line is that this process and the byproducts created by the bacteria are really important for maintaining the health of our bodies and minds. Try to eat food that is as unprocessed, and as close to its natural state as possible. Food that is highly processed has been stripped of most of the valuable nutrients that […]
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June 25, 2017

Moroccan-inspired Sweet Potato & Broccoli Soup

(A family-sized serve) Ingredients 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon paprika 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger  1 medium white onion 2 cloves garlic 1/2 red chilli (optional) 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 carrots 1 sweet potato 1 head of broccoli 1 small romanesco (or cauliflower) 1L vegetable stock 1 lemon (zest and juice) 1/2 cup coconut milk Salt and pepper to taste Preparation 1. Finely chop garlic and chilli. 2. Roughly chop onion and carrot. 3. Cut sweet potato, cauliflower and broccoli into pieces of around the same size. 4. Combine all dry spices (coriander, cinnamon, paprika, turmeric, ginger) and cumin seeds in a small bowl, ready to add during the cooking process.  Method  5. Put a large pot on a medium heat and add the olive oil, onion, garlic and chilli. Allow them to fry for a couple of minutes, stirring continuously.  6. Add the spice mix to the pot and mix through (if the spices start sticking, you can pour in a dash of water). Let the spices cook for a couple of minutes – you should start to smell their fragrance.  7. Add the carrot, sweet potato, broccoli, cauliflower, vegetable stock, coconut milk, lemon zest and lemon juice. Give the soup a stir.  8. Turn up the heat and bring it up to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer with a lid on for about 30 minutes (or until vegetables are completely cooked through).  9. Take the soup off the heat and blitz, using a […]
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