With Christmas just around the corner, I’m excited to be holding my Christmas Baking Masterclass next Wednesday evening at our Healthy Chef Headquarters in Sydney. We'll also be filming the event so you can catch all the action as we live-stream the event on Facebook! We are scheduled to start at 6pm AEST. Watch me showcase spectacular festive inspirations from my New Healthy Baking cookbook, such as Raw Christmas Cake served with Mango Turmeric Custard, Graham Cracker Shortbread and Buckwheat Olive Oil Scones with Blueberry Chia Jam and more!
What I love about this time of the year is being able to make spectacular foods that are quick, healthy and delicious, without bloating you out. By mastering a few of my top secrets in the kitchen, you'll be able to get a delicious meal on the table in around 60 minutes.
1.FOCUS ON DELICOUS PLANT-BASED INGREDIENTS
I base my menu around fresh, plant-based ingredients that are full of fibre, antioxidants and vitamins your body will love!
I find myself relying heavily on produce that needs very little done to it so I create raw salads of fresh vegetables, leaves and herbs that only the need a generous drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon or balsamic vinegar.
Desserts at the Healthy Chef household rely mostly on fresh summer fruit that include piles of dark ruby cherries and mango cheeks carresed with a squeeze of lime. I also love making iced watermelon gelato that refreshes and cleanses the palate. You'll find the recipe for my watermelon gelato in my Healthy Baking Cookbook.
Green also tends to be a feature colour on my feative dining table. I make coolers from pineapple juice, matcha tea, lime juice, lemongrass and muddled mint. This is a spectacular drink which compliments my zucchini noodles scented with fresh basil pesto and macadamia parmesan.
Any healthy festive menu needs lots of fresh, plant-based ingredients which are full of fibre, antioxidants and vitamins. You can easily prepare a festive spread that will take 60 minutes from start to finish.
A favourite on my table is a classic caprese salad made wtih heirloom tomato and bufallo mozarella. Alternatively, my Pumpkin Salad with Tahini + Pomegranate, a popular recipe from The Healthy Chef Recipe App, is a showstopper. Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes are magnificent served alonside a bowl of smashed avocados lightly spiced with green tabasco, sea salt and lime.
2. KEEP IT SIMPLE
Good fresh produce needs very little done to it, so don't overcomplicate things. I like to adopt the less is more principle as I don't want to denature the goodness and vitality from the ingredients I use. I also encourage the whole family to be invlolved in preparing the food - made with love and happiness.
Cooking comes from the heart... so pick your ingredients according to the season and prepare it simply. I encorage people to use my recipes as a base and then to add their own personal touch of inspiration.
3.REINVENT THE CLASSICS WITH A HEALTHY TWIST
In my cookbook Healthy Baking, I focus my recipes to be low in natural sugars to avoid all those blood sugar and insulin spikes that come with eating traditional desserts. My signature No-Bake Christmas Puddings served with Mango Custard is raw, which means you don’t have to bake it like a traditional Christmas pudding.
My Strawberry Crumble is spectacular served hot or cold and my Citrus Salad with pistachio, raw honey and fresh thyme, adds a refreshing and natural vitamin C boost.
4.FOR CHOCOLATE LOVERS
I have a whole chapter dedicated to chocolate in my cookbook Healthy Baking. Cocoa and good quality dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and has a rich luxurious flavor. I use Naked Chocolat Dark for recipes that require a smooth, rich and sophisticated flavour. For raw chocolate desserts I use Naked Chocolate Mylk which has a lighter flavour profile....you can also use a good quality raw cacao powder.
My Chocolate Gingerbread Men are always a big hit at the Christmas table and they are perfect dunked into icy cold Cinnamon Chai Cashew Mylk.