Chef believes health begins with wholefood

As a wholefood chef, Angie Cowen is interested in the role food plays in health and wellbeing, but that is only part of the story.

She passionately believes food should also appeal to the senses.

"I feel that humans, we're quite aesthetic - if something looks good and it smells good and it tastes good that is really covering all the bases," she says.

Cowen is giving a cooking workshop on Saturday to teach participants the basics of the wholefood approach from sourcing fresh, in-season produce to preparing meals.

Wholefood is food that is eaten as close as possible to its natural state without additives, processing or refining.

The workshop has been organised by yoga teacher Kelly Ryan, whose business Little Branches Big Trees combines her interests in health and sustainability, including yoga, meditation, nutrition, homeopathy, permaculture and education.

The workshop runs from 9am to 3pm, starting with an optional yoga session in the morning and ending with a lunch where participants get to enjoy the dishes they make in the cooking class.

"It's all about looking at food for absolute nourishment, as well as tasting good and looking great," Cowen says.

Cowen believes the Western world has lost a lot of traditional knowledge about how to prepare food.

"There are lots of little tips and tricks about how to eat," she says.

"The workshop for me is about showing how easy it is to cook really good food that not only tastes good and is healthful to the system, but also looks fantastic."

The workshop will include bone broths and how to make them nutrient dense.

"Awesome, luscious, yummy desserts" will also be on the workshop menu, as well as mains and some of the seasonal produce available now for spring and summer salads.

Preparing wholefood can take a little more forethought and preparation - soaking grains before they are cooked, for example - but Cowen says it is not hard to do.

"It's about saying, okay, where is your five hours a week so that you can make your bone broth and your really healthful dips and dressings.

"Then when you are whipping something up like a salad or a broth you can make it really quickly and add the pan-fried fish or the steamed vegetables [for a] hearty, delicious meal."

The workshop is on Saturday at Uniting Church Hall, Corrimal. For bookings and information go to www.littlebranchesbigtrees.com.

ANGIE COWEN’S CUMIN QUINOA CAKES

(Serves 3 to 4)

Ingredients

 1 cup white/royal quinoa

2 cups filtered water, for cooking quinoa

1 med brown onion, finely chopped

2 tsp ghee (clarified butter) or extra virgin coconut oil

1 tsp finely grated ginger

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tsp cumin powder

1  tbsp tamari

1 tbsp tahini, hulled

1 egg, lightly scrambled

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Sesame seeds for rolling

Method

■ Place well-rinsed quinoa and water in a small pot with lid on and bring to the boil. 

■ As soon as it comes to the boil lower heat as low as possible.

■ Quinoa is cooked when all water has evaporated and quinoa is soft to bite into (approx 15-25 mins depending on your stove top). 

■ Once cooked, set aside to cool.

■ Set oven to 180 degrees.

■ Place onion and ghee in a small frypan and cook on a low heat until onion is nice and soft.

■ Once onion is soft, add ginger, cumin and lemon zest and cook for a further minute.

■ Add onion mixture to quinoa and to that add tamari, tahini, egg and cayenne pepper and mix until well combined.

■ Take a golf ball-sized handful of the mixture and roll it into a neat ball, then flatten slightly to get the shape of the cake. 

■ Roll in sesame seeds and place on a lined baking tray. Continue until all the mix is finished.

■ Bake in oven for 20-25 mins or until the sesame seeds have turned a slight golden colour. 

Enjoy!

(Serves 3 to 4)

Ingredients

 1 cup white/royal quinoa

2 cups filtered water, for cooking quinoa

1 med brown onion, finely chopped

2 tsp ghee (clarified butter) or extra virgin coconut oil

1 tsp finely grated ginger

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tsp cumin powder

1  tbsp tamari

1 tbsp tahini, hulled

1 egg, lightly scrambled

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Sesame seeds for rolling

Method

■ Place well-rinsed quinoa and water in a small pot with lid on and bring to the boil. 

■ As soon as it comes to the boil lower heat as low as possible.

■ Quinoa is cooked when all water has evaporated and quinoa is soft to bite into (approx 15-25 mins depending on your stove top). 

■ Once cooked, set aside to cool.

■ Set oven to 180 degrees.

■ Place onion and ghee in a small frypan and cook on a low heat until onion is nice and soft.

■ Once onion is soft, add ginger, cumin and lemon zest and cook for a further minute.

■ Add onion mixture to quinoa and to that add tamari, tahini, egg and cayenne pepper and mix until well combined.

■ Take a golf ball-sized handful of the mixture and roll it into a neat ball, then flatten slightly to get the shape of the cake. 

■ Roll in sesame seeds and place on a lined baking tray. Continue until all the mix is finished.

■ Bake in oven for 20-25 mins or until the sesame seeds have turned a slight golden colour. 

Enjoy!

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