Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Shimmy & Shake!

I think I may have been born a dancer but in the wrong kind of body - at least going by today's rail-thin dancer physique. I used to dance quite a bit in my younger years, and when I was a University student I spent a lot of time in group fitness classes, dancing around, punching the air, doing high kicks... You get my drift. Boppy cardio, nothing muscular - even my legs wouldn't really feel a burn.

Since discovering the importance of strength training and the down-side of endurance exercise, I had been playing around with HIIT, Tabata, CrossFit... And, to be honest, I found them all pretty boring. Grunting and sweating and stop-starting? Bleh.

So I started playing around with the more-lyrical-yet-bloody-difficult art of Yoga, which I'm really enjoying, but it too started to get a bit 'samey'.

Enter belly dancing.

I've only been to two classes, but I'm apparently a natural, and everything just feels natural - my body was meant to move this way. It's still hard work, especially on the always-bent legs, always-raised arms, and always-undulating abs. It's great for back flexibility, and reverses the tension I build up in my shoulders and neck when I spent long periods at my desk.

However, the real delight I gain from the classes is the deep-rooted, primal urge I feel when performing the movements. There's something absolutely instinctual about this manner of moving. It's nowhere near the airy-fairy feeling of ballet and aerobics - this sensation is rooted in the earth, and my head is flooded with feminine imagery and feminine connections.

Another bonus - having boobs and bum is actually a bonus, since they emphasise my smaller waist as I shake and drop my hips and shimmy my shoulders! There are two twiglets in my class, and you really can't see what they're trying to do. It's all about the figure 8 - and I'm not talking about the movement!

I could push myself to exercise even if I wasn't enjoying it, since I know how important activity is for health - but why force yourself to do something you don't love? Belly dancing doesn't feel like work - actually, it feels more like sex. ;) And with the mad group of girls I'm dancing with on Mondays, that's the usual topic of conversation! Without over-romanticising the practice, I think belly dancing is the closest I'll get to the way traditional societies operate: women have their activities and rituals, the tribal instincts drive interactions, there's a fire for dancing around, and many reasons to celebrate...

And - let's face it - most guys would rather watch a curvy woman with an exposed midriff shimmy and shake than some boyish twig bounce around in glo-mesh. It's just natural.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Recipe: Chunky Chicken Burgers

Inspired by the new free-range chicken mince available at the local supermarket, I figured I'd get my hands dirty and make a variation of my usual burgers with a lighter, spicier finish. I thought my days of enjoying chicken were over, but these guys will be entering regular rotation!


500g chicken mince
4 eggs
1 red capsicum, diced
1 small fennel bulb (1/2 cup when diced)
2T chopped basil (I prefer fresh, but didn't have any)
2T chopped parsley
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1T paprika
1t salt (optional)
3T-ish almond flour

Optional extras I'll be playing with next time around:
Diced bacon, pre-fried
Chopped onion, pre-fried
Sun-dried tomatoes
Curry powder or cumin

(Check out the eggs above - they're from Swampy, my raw milk supplier from Warrnambool. His hens haven't been laying for the past couple of months, but a cartoon greeted me when I went to my organic grocery last week. They're fabulous - and they still have dirt on them!)


1. Preheat oven to 175°C. Line a baking tray with foil, and grease lightly with coconut oil.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except almond flour. Stir until all items are combined.

3. On a clean, dry, flat surface, sprinkle almond flour in a thin layer, ready to coat burger patties.

4. Warning - chicken mince is very sticky! Using your hands if you dare, section the mixture into desired portions, and roll and squish into patties. Place patties onto the floured surface, pressing lightly and flipping so that both sides have a light coating. This is not meant to be as dense as other coatings, i.e. that of my Fried Chicken Fingers.

5. Place coated burgers onto prepared tray, and place into oven.

6. Bake until edges begin to brown and meat is cooked through.

Serve atop romaine/cos lettuce (if you have large enough leaves or small enough burger patties, you can use the leaves as a wrap for holding the burger). The beau took his with slices tomato, shredded cheese, and a little tomato sauce. I would also be more than tempted to top future burgers with a fried egg, maybe some cooked onion slices, and some homemade mayonnaise... Yum!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

We Interrupt To Bring You The Following...

That there, my friends, is the way I presented my Choc-Avocado Mousse at a pot luck gathering last week - surrounded by whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Mmmm! I also brought along my Coconut Chicken Curry and cauliflower rice; another hit, especially since everyone was expecting nothing more substantial than finger food snacks. Faces lit up once they had real food in their bellies (and not just because they could now 'safely' drink more alcohol!).

I've been run off my feet of late, with illness hitting my household, and the end of the year for my seniors sneaking ever-closer. So that, along with more rip-offs of my recipes floating around the Internet, has been killing my urge to blog regularly. I know there's no such thing as true culinary originality, but if you're going to steal my primal/paleo recipes to put on your own blog, you could at least change the quantities and photos... Or, even better, give me the credit I'm due. I always do. After all, my main drive for taking risks in the kitchen is to inspire you guys - I could happily live on nothing but sausages for the rest of my days.

For those of you who can't fathom the idea of snag after snag (you clearly haven't tried Jonathan's sausages!), you will soon have a huge recipe resource at your virtual fingertips:

I was invited by Doug of Health Habits a while back to offer up some of my tastiest primal recipes to be part of a collaborative Paleo e-Cookbook. Since then, a massive number of primal cooks have jumped on board (and I've been traveling through their blogs to see what kind of stuff they're offering up, which has lead me to the sad face I demonstrated earlier...), and the resource is promising to be quite an exciting product! The best part - it will be free! Doug's effort is to get paleo nutrition out there, and remove the mystery of what you can cook with paleo ingredients. Some of the recipes are, of course, going to get the "bleurgh neolithic re-enactment is EVIL" fascists' knickers in a twist, but who cares? If the average parent who wants their kids to be healthy find the book and starts making cookies without gluten grains and sugar, I call that a win.

So, keep an eye out in late September. I will be sharing the book through my blog as soon as it's available. But, for goodness' sake, if you try the recipes and put the results on your own blog, share the link love. You'll make that person who went through a lot of produce perfecting the balance of ingredients just so you could do it yourself without a risk very, very happy.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Recipe: Choc-Avocado Mousse, & My Tropical Breakfast Party!

As a treat, I made a fruit-based breakfast for myself and my parents as I was staying at their farmhouse for the weekend. Before dealing with the hot elements of the meal, I made a new treat I primalised from an old favourite:

Choc-Avocado Mousse


2 very ripe avocados (1/2 a fruit per person, minimum)
1/2 cup unsweetened cacao powder
1t or more cinnamon powder

Optional - some sweetener, some shaved dark chocolate, a pinch of cayenne, a splash of lemon or lime, a touch of vanilla, chopped berries, a mashed banana... The possibilities are endless!


This one's a doddle! Scoop out the flesh of the avocados, and combine with the cacao (and sweetener) with a blender or a spoon and elbow grease. Done!

Serve immediately, or chill in the refrigerator before needed. A wonderful, rich accompaniment for a fruit dessert, or pancakes! And I love it on its own - such healthy fats, gourmet flavour, and all the goodness found in cacao.

Serving suggesting: use as a dip for fresh strawberries - oh my word!!

My Tropical Breakfast of Kings!

What do you get when you combine:

Sliced banana, fried in coconut oil and sprinkled with cinnamon

Mixed berries - mine were frozen, so I defrosted and partially cooked them by dry-frying.

Choc-Avocado Mousse


Almond Pancakes?

Here's what!