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The Pounamu Prophecy - birth of a book Two women, two cultures and an ancient Maori prophecy that will change their lives. That's the tag line for The Pounamu Prophecy - my first novel. It has been a slow process, interrupted by moving...


Can I eat mussels if I have high cholesterol?Can I eat mussels if I have high cholesterol? The short answer is yes - you can eat mussels if you have high cholesterol. Mussels are low in kilojoules, cholesterol and fat. The little fat they do have is mostly healthy unsaturated fat with plenty...


Bran MuffinsBran Muffins These bran muffins (adapted from a recipe by Alison Holst) are super filling - a great snack when you are trying to control your weight. Enjoy these muffins with a cup of tea but don't expect to absorb...


Beat the flu with Chicken Noodle Soup It’s Queen’s Birthday holiday today in New Zealand and thank goodness, the sun is shining. I’m sitting in a sunny room writing this post, sheltered from the icy wind blasting up from Antarctica....


My nanna's recipe for homemade Rewena (Maori) bread Rewena Bread Step 1 1 c flour 1 tsp sugar 1 potato Peel and cut potato into small pieces. Place in pot with 1 cup water, lid on, and simmer to mashing consistency. Mash, cool and when luke...


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Shakshuka – the perfect weekend lunch

Posted on : 01-08-2016 | By : Cindy | In : Colourful taste, History of Food, My idiot-proof recipes, Spices, Uncategorized





Each time I sit down to write a few thousand words of my next novel I am transported to the Middle East and a world of exotic flavours – pyramids of fiery saffron and cumin, bunches of fragrant herbs, dusky green figs, succulent grapes and golden olive oil. Admittedly shakshuka would not have been around in first century Samaria – tomatoes did not find their way there until centuries later – but it is certainly a popular dish of the region nowadays.

It’s easy to make and is a gourmet alternative to eggs on toast. The thick, harissa laced tomato sauce adds a healthy boost of antioxidants and flavour. I love the fun of cracking eggs straight into their little nests in the sauce and the amazing colours once you sprinkle a little feta and parsley on at the end. Truly delicious!


1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 red capsicum, finely chopped

1-2 stalks celery, finely chopped

2 x 440g can tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon sugar (enhances the tomato flavour but you can leave it out)

2 teaspoons ras al hanout (from Herbie’s Spices)

1/2 teaspoon harissa paste (or more if you like more heat)

1 teaspoon paprika (for the colour)

5 – 6 eggs

Feta cheese

Parsley, chopped

Heat olive oil in large pan on moderate heat. Add onion, garlic, capsicum and celery. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring, until onion is clear. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and spices. Cook gently for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. make slight dents in sauce and break an egg into each one. Cover pan with lid and cook for a few minutes until eggs are done to your liking. Remove from heat. Sprinkle over feta cheese and parsley.

The Green Drink – for healthy DNA

Posted on : 12-05-2013 | By : Cindy | In : Drinks, Super-healthy...er...stuff



Unhealthy eating can cause as much DNA damage as exposure to radiation. This is just one little gem of information I picked up from listening to Dr Michael Fenech,  Research Group Leader in Genome Health and Nutrigenomics at CSIRO, speak at a seminar for dietitians last week.

He described how a deficiency of folic acid in the body can be more damaging to our DNA than unsafe doses of radiation. We all know that healthy eating has a huge effect on the body but to hear it in terms of the effect on DNA somehow adds more power to the argument.

Plenty of folate in your body means longer telomeres. Telomeres are like the hard bits at each end of a shoelace. They are strips of DNA at each end of a chromosome which protect the DNA in the chromosome. Each time the cell divides the telomeres get shorter. When they get too short the cell can no longer divide and becomes inactive or dies. Researchers measure the length of a person’s telomeres as one indication of DNA damage and consequent aging.

So what we want is long telomeres, not short ones. Eating processed meat, a high homocysteine level (caused by low folate intake), low B12, obesity and stress are all associated with shorter telomeres – not a good thing.

My scoops for 12.7.2009

Posted on : 12-07-2009 | By : Cindy | In : Food safety, Kids nutrition, Policy watch & public health, Research, Scoops, Super-healthy...er...stuff, Vegetables


Found these digging around on the net … mostly from down under!

dgrGlenn Cardwell: Getting kids to eat their veggies … Vegetables were probably never that big in the human diet. We evolved eating meat, seafood, nuts, seeds, fruits, tubers, fungi, berries and insects because that’s where the kilojoules are. When you need energy (kJs/Cals) each day to survive, why bother eating a leaf (lettuce), a flower (broccoli) or something else that is mainly water …

c: I don’t subscribe to the evolution theory, I’m more a creation girl – it makes me feel more special. And the people I have read about who lived 3-4000 years ago definitely knew their grandparents.  But I love the idea of talking positively to your children about vegetables! What about kids and meat?

Dieticians missed point on story: 60 Minutes – National – NZ Herald News … TV3’s 60 Minutes says criticism by nutrition experts on its report on the effects of food colouring on children was disappointing and failed to focus on the real issue – that Britain is phasing out some artificial colours while New Zealand is doing nothing….

c: Medical and other science experts such as dietitians get exasperated with some media reporters who either deliberately or out of ignorance use anecdoctal evidence or dubious ‘studies’ to sensationalise their story. Of course dietitians don’t condone artificial colours and, whether or not  they cause your kids to ‘lose the plot’, it would be good to see these unnecessary additives phased out.

Editorial: Don’t tinker with our daily bread – Health – NZ Herald News … It is not too difficult to see why many public health authorities support the mandatory fortifying of bread with folic acid. No one questions folate’s effectiveness in reducing the incidence of certain birth defects, notably spina bifida, if it is taken in sufficient quantity around the time a woman becomes pregnant …

c:Nice commentary but there are hints of negative effects on the US population –update today on kiwiblog and read my own folate posts.

Omega-3 deficiency causes 96,000 US deaths per year, say researchers … Omega-3 deficiency is the sixth biggest killer of Americans and more deadly than excess trans fat intake, according to a new study. The Harvard University researchers looked at 12 dietary, lifestyle and metabolic risk factors such as tobacco smoking and high blood pressure and used a mathematical model to determine how many fatalities could have been prevented if better practices had been observed …

c: This is really interesting but keep in mind it’s an analysis of numbers – and we all know how they can be manipulated! Still, I’ll be sure to keep up my weekly salmon dinner and salmon sushi snacks – delicious.

A rural town in Australia has voted overwhelmingly to ban the sale of bottled water over concerns about its environmental impact. … Campaigners say Bundanoon, in New South Wales, may be the first community in the world to have such a ban…

c: Good on them! Why pay for something you can get naturally. Bottled water has its place – it’s made it trendy to drink water – that’s got to be a good thing. But if you want to be even more ‘on trend’ and eco-friendly simply drink filtered tap water (see TIME mags megatrend on this).

Blood glucose control ranks high in US death causes

c: From the same mathematical analysis as the omega-3 story.  Blood glucose ranked 5th and omega-3 ranked 6th in preventable causes of death ie it doesn’t include accidents. I’m surprised at inactivity ranking 4th. I’d better go for that bike ride – even though it’s freezing cold outside and I’d rather sit inside and eat cake!

Price of milk too much for many families, study finds – Nutrition – NZ Herald News … Price increases for milk and other dairy products are having a detrimental effect on children’s health, University of Otago researchers say …

c: This means almost 2 out of 3 Kiwi kids don’t drink milk daily – that’s terrible! Instead of cereal with milk what are they eating for breakfast – toast and a can of fizzy? Perhaps we will have to re-introduce milk at schools. How about banana smoothies or Milo instead of sausage sizzles and lollies (see my article on toddlers healthy bones).

Recipe for my healthy Bean Salad

Posted on : 06-05-2009 | By : Cindy | In : My idiot-proof recipes


1/4-1/2 cup each of red kidney beans, lima beans or any others you like. Use a mix of red, brown and white.

Soak overnight in cold water.

Drain off water.

Boil with lots of fresh water for 30-45 minutes until cooked. Do not add salt or the beans will go tough.

Drain and cool.

Cover with vinegar mix: Boil together 1 cup brown vinegar, 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup water and 1 teaspoon salt.

Add chopped raw celery, cauliflower and red onion.

Store in the fridge.