Welcome to my tales of cookery school, food and travel

The first 30+ posts of this blog describe my experiences as I complete a nine month cooking course - the City and Guilds Diploma in Food Preparation and Culinary Art. I did this after I moved out of full time employment and it was purely selfish - I love food, cooking, eating and drinking. Subsequent posts are about, food, travel and adventures.

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Friday, 29 March 2013

Progress on the 7 day juice fast: halfway

So far, so juicy.  I haven't yet fought the cats off to gobble their biscuits or woken at midnight to consume the contents of the fridge - which is full of fruit and veg anyway.

Day 2:  I wake with a thumping heart, feeling a bit light headed - but that is because the h-g has positioned the banger (bird scarer) virtually outside the bedroom window.  Waking to the what seems to herald the opening shots of a small war does tend to make your heart beat faster. 

It is close to grape harvest and bird peck on the fruit is a problem. The bird scarer is a gas gun and it explodes at random times during the day.  It is loud.  I'm not sure about the birds, but it certainly activates my fight or flight response. The h-g will arrive home to find me dead of a heart attack induced by excess adrenaline.

8.00am:  First juice today is a rockmelon, blueberry and raspberry with a bit of apple. I pureed in half an avocado which made the colour much less attractive but the juice very smooth and delicious.  The general wisdom is to puree bananas and avocados and add later rather than trying to juice them.  Also, at this point I decide I will eat blueberries and raspberries  rather than juice them as I have gone to all the trouble of growing them and it feels like sacrilege to put them through the juicer for such a meagre result.  This is unlikely to be a problem though as the season is pretty much shot and our plants are on their last fruiting legs.

11.00am   I slam down an apple, lemonade (our oranges won't be ripe for a while, but the lemonades seem to go all year) and celery juice - delicious! 

1.30pm:  STARVING!  I stop whining, dry my tears and drink a can of harden up.  Or in reality
Joe's mean green juice
Joe's Mean Green Juice.  Kale (luckily I am growing Tuscan Kale, aka Cavolo Nero), cucumber, celery, apple, ginger and 1/2 lemon, though I use a lime that's what we've got. Yum, but be careful how much ginger you use.


I do feel a bit tired, but it is likely that is just me readjusting back to NZ time. 

7.00pm: Another green juice, this time spinach, zucchini (I knew I'd find another use for them) yellow capsicum, broccoli, cucumber, lime, ginger.  Tastes fine, but as anticipated, I'm getting bored.

Tonight I get everything ready for a morning juicing marathon as I have to be at work by 8.00am.  I have had a bit of a headache all day, so I am not sure what that's about.

Day 3:  A day in the kitchen helping cater for the Omaka Classic Fighters, an biannual air-show that runs over Easter and attracts thousands, is easier than I thought.  Although the aromas of all manner of savoury dishes and baking permeate the air, I manage to hold fast (no pun).  Having juiced up the night before helped.   My fellow chefs don't quiz me about the whys and wherefores of my strange regime so mercifully there is no need to go through the whole reboot story. 

Best juice so far - watermelon  pineapple and ginger.  It is tempting to overdo the fruit based juices as they are so much nicer, but of course the micronutrients in the green vegetables are important.  Adding ginger and lemon helps.  The rule of thumb seems to be about three quarters vegetables and one quarter fruit.

Feel okay, but still have a wee bit of a headache and am tired - but that might just be nine hours on my feet in a hot kitchen!

Day 4:  Wake up ready to toss the towel in - or eat it - hungry! Make myself a watermelon, ginger and pineapple juice and blend in a banana and it tastes goooood.  Make my brother an espresso and really want to drink one myself, it smells so gooooood.

Have been reading the forum on the rebootwithjoe website and it seems common to feel headachy and a bit nauseous, certainly in the first few days as the body detoxes from (or craves for more likely) all the good stuff we generally enjoy.  I had thought after a week at the Golden Door that I would be past this, but I must be more toxic than I thought!  Apparently it gets better after about day five, but I may not last that long.

So at the half way mark - it is now lunchtime - 10 hour day at work tomorrow.  Pray that my resolve holds. 










Tuesday, 26 March 2013

All juiced up and ready to go

After an enjoyable week of clean living at the Golden Door in Queensland I am feeling fine. 

I mean, you have to be feeling pretty healthy after a week abstaining from the things that make life enjoyable, otherwise why would you do it?  No alcohol, no caffeine, no meat red or white, no sugar, little bread: in return you get quite delicious meals cooked by a passionate chef who knows how to get maximum flavour without using any of those things, along with lots of exercise, stretching and meditation (for a full review see my next two blogs).  


But I am taking it to the next level - as they like to say on Masterchef.  There was no TV either - or cell reception, or internet - fabulous!.

Rainforest chalet accommodation at the Golden Door
Some of you may have heard of Joe Cross, or seen his documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.  At 41, Joe weighed some ungodly amount and was suffering from a rare autoimmune disease and reliant on pharmaceuticals.  He decided to "reboot" his body by going on a juice fast for 60 days, then followed it up with another few months of fruit and vegetable, nuts and seeds kind of diet.  For the long story google him, or go to his website.

The short story is he lost a truckload of weight, cured himself of the disease and is living happily ever after as an evangelist of juicing.  Needless to say he has a veritable legion of acolytes (of which it would seem I may be one)and has won himself a lasting place in the hearts of the shareholders of Breville.

So, I am not fat (at least, not very), and I'm not sick (though it would be good to reduce or do away with the cholesterol and blood pressure meds), and as far as I know, I'm not nearly dead. However it would be useful to wind back the damage wrought by the last 18 months "fat is flavour" mantra.  Incidentally, fat does carry flavour, but it is also perfectly possible to create delicious food without it, as proven by the excellent cuisine at the Golden Door.

Channeling Lady Macbeth, I "screw my courage to the sticking place" and make a public commitment to the fellow guests at the Golden Door that I will undertake a 7 day juice fast and blog about it. And here I am.

I am not sure if seven days is wimpy or not, as when you peruse Joe's website you find people doing 15, 30 and 60 day reboots.  However the next week happens to work for me and as the stay at the Golden Door got me over the caffeine and alcohol cravings, I may as well carry on.  The hunter-gatherer is away and I don't need to do any cooking - shame about the guest coming to stay over Easter!  

Don't worry, it's my brother and I will see he doesn't starve. 

Behold the Red Devil
Here we are at day one.  I won't blog every day as that may be too tedious for you to read.  I weighed myself this morning and will let you know what impact there is at the end of the week.  Though of course this is primarily for health, not weight loss (yeah, right).

Challenges ahead for the week include two days when I am working (yes, as a chef)..... and boredom.  I really do like to eat. 

So today's menu started with what is already a favourite juice anyway.  Remember the beetroot, carrot and apple salad?  Well, leave out the seeds and the vinaigrette and chuck the whole three key ingredients in the blender and there you have it.   I think you will agree it's worth it for the colour alone - I'm calling it the Red Devil. 

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It is a far cry from the Pink Devil, a rhubarb cocktail I created before embarking on my Queensland sojourn.  As you can see, vodka is a key ingredient, along with a touch of Malibu, squeeze of  lime juice and of course, rhubarb syrup.  Well, be fair, you have to find something to do with all that rhubarb.

After going to the gym, around lunchtime I made a juice of spinach, celery, and apple, and added a rockmelon and a lemonade (sort of a cross between a lemon, grapefruit and orange in taste, if you can imagine that) to lessen the "green" flavour.  It was okay, but needs tweaking before it is delicious.

I suspect rockmelon will be appearing frequently, as the hunter-gatherer has been growing them this summer and we have about 20  which are ready or almost ready to eat. - or juice in my case.

The h-g's excellent rockmelons

Mid afternoon, another Red Devil - mainly because I needed to take a photo for this blog.

So far, so juicy. 

Closing now and will post again in a few days - if I haven't gnawed off my arm.