Junk Free June Day Two – How’s it all going? (+ Recipes for Cuban Beef and Blueberry Quinoa Porridge)

As day two comes to a close, I must say I don’t feel in the least bit deprived. In fact, I feel as though I’ve given myself permission to eat even MORE delicious, decadent and wonderful foods than usual. I enjoy junk food as a convenience more than anything so it’s been a relief to have no excuses to fall back on fish and chips or a piece of toast. Having the time and space to cook as much as I do, as well as a background in professional cookery really does make a difference though. I’m not sure if this would be quite as enjoyable if I were having to trudge off for 8 hours of work each morning.

Cuban beef and capsicum casserole ingredients 2The morning kicked off with another green protein smoothie. I aim to follow the tried and true Tim Ferris 4-hour-body rule of 30 in 30, having 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking. It works great, especially blended with some berries, kiwifruit and leafy greens, I’ve also significantly cut down on caffeine by replacing my morning coffee with a rooibos tea (naturally caffeine free, similar to black tea).

Aside from the fleeting sugar craving which is easily resolved with some carrot sticks or a kiwifruit, things are going pretty well! Here’s a couple of recipes that I’ve made (and devoured) over the past 24 hours:

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Cuban Weef and Capsicum Stew with Lime and Coriander Black Beans

Cuban beef and capsicum casserole with lime and coriander black beansThis was last nights dinner, and was a hit even with those not following junk free June! You can make it as mild or as spicy as you like by adjusting the amount of chili you use. I made this on the stovetop as I needed it in just a few hours, but if you’ve got the time to kill this would make a wonderful slow cooker meal to greet you when you arrive home in the evenings – the smell of cumin is just wonderful! But don’t forget that capsicums go bitter with slow cooking, so add them in right at the very end. You can also make up the beans in the rice cooker, or in a slow cooker if you are cooking them from unsoaked.

Beef Stew Ingredients:

Beef – I used gravy beef, but go with whatever’s cheap, the cheap cuts are the best when it comes to slow cooked stews.

  • Onions – 2, sliced.
  • Capsicums – 2, sliced.
  • Dried red chilis – I used 4, but adjust for your own taste
  • Cumin powder – a couple of teaspoons
  • Cinnamon – a teaspoon
  • Tinned tomatoes – 2x tins
  • Stock – beef or chicken
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Beef Stew Method:

  1. Heat oil in a large pot or casserole pan and add beef, gently brown for a few minutes and then add onions, chilis, cinnamon and cumin.
  2. Cook until onions are translucent and the spices are heated enough to release their flavours
  3. Add tinned tomatoes and stock
  4. Leave to simmer on low, covered for at least 2 hours. Checking regularly to stir and prevent sticking,
  5. Once beef is cooked to the point of falling apart, turn the heat up a little and remove lid
  6. Cook down until sauce is thick, stirring to break the beef up.
  7. Add capsicums and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  8. Season with salt and pepper before serving

 

Coriander Black Beans Ingredients:

  • 2 tins of black beans, or an equivalent amount of pre-soaked dry beans
  • 1 lime – zested and juiced
  • Large handful of chopped, fresh, coriander
  • 1/2 a cup of chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper

 

Coriander Black Beans Method:

  1. Add beans and stock to a saucepan and bring to a simmer
  2. Season with salt and pepper and cook down until reduced and most of the liquid is gone
  3. Stir through the juice and zest of one lime and the handful of coriander
  4. Serve alongside the Cuban inspired beef.
     
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Blueberry and Cardamon Quinoa Porridge with Toasted Almonds and Honey

Blueberry and cardamon quinoa with honey and toasted almonds
I’m a sucker for porridge, steel cut oats are my absolute favourite. For breakfast this morning I thought I would experiment with a different kind of porridge that I had heard a ton about but never tried. Quinoa is considered a high-protein, nutrient dense superfood and much like oats, is very versatile in its flavours.

The texture was excellent and the flavour was somewhat nutty, complemented by the toasted almonds.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk, almond milk, soy milk.. any milk you like really
  • 1/2 cup of frozen berries (I chose blueberries)
  • 4 cardamon pods
  • Handful of toasted almonds and coconut
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon


Method:

In a small saucepan add the quinoa, water, milk and cardamon and bring to a simmer. Cook for 8-10 minutes.

  1. Add blueberries and cook for another 5 minutes.
  2. Add honey and cinnamon, stir
  3. Turn off the heat, replace lid on pot and leave to sit for 5 more minutes.
  4. Serve with toasted almonds and coconut.

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