I’ve been thinking a lot about balance recently and how to achieve it. What is it with these golden states that everyone is trying to possess? I guess it’s part of this modern lifestyle that we want to have it all and do it all, and sometimes we don’t even know what the ‘all’ is. Sometimes it seems like the grass would be greener somewhere else or in the past or in the future. at another time. Could life be easier if only you were doing things differently?
Rather than possessing something (balance) should we try a different approach? What can I actually change right now?! Is it really all just about perspective?
So on the weekend when I was mulling over the fact that I didn’t feel productive enough or that what I do with my time isn’t worthy enough, and I was worried that I might be missing out on something, I realised that really all I was doing was chasing my own tail. I needed to find some clarity (and a better perspective). So out I went into the garden, put my earphones in and listened to Bill Withers and pulled weeds. It always works wonders.
What I realised is that I want to live a life full of inspiration. And all that comes down to is how I see things. All the things. I want to be really involved in my own life not get so wrapped up in where I want to be and haven’t reached yet that I miss where I am right now. I want to make lovely things and good food, and connect with people. I want to do things for others and I want to leave people feeling good.
Maya Angelou, what a wise lady you were: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I want to live like that! I want to be honest and real.
And I really want to share. Because it’s nice.
My son has really been wanting strawberry yoghurt this week. And every time I go to buy it, I hesitate because it either has sugar in it, or potentially something far, far worse. I’ve been having this idea for a while about roasting some fruit to make a loose kind of a jam (without sugar) and just stirring it through plain yoghurt.
I got my act together (and remembered at a time other than during the morning breakfast rush) and roasted up some strawberries, with a little xylitol for sweetness, and vanilla. I couldn’t resist coming up with a few other variations too – persimmon yogurt for me and papaya and lime for my daughter.
Real fruit swirled through natural yogurt – not a new idea, but a good one. Simple, quick and delicious. Happy bodies and happy kids.
Roasted Strawberry and Vanilla Yoghurt
makes around 3 1/2 cups
Strawberry has got to be one of the most classic yoghurt flavours and rightly so, but sometimes strawberry yoghurt that you buy is way too sweet and misses the fragrance that a truly ripe strawberry can have. I love roasting strawberries because it amplifies their perfume and is a really easy way to make them seriously jammy. If your strawberries aren’t so amazing roasting somehow helps bring out their flavour. I roasted mine with a little xylitol to keep the sugar levels down but up the sweetness, and a vanilla pod just because.
• 300g strawberries (frozen or fresh) roughly chopped
• 1 vanilla pod, split
• 1 1/2 tablespoons xylitol
• 500g natural yoghurt
• 2-3 tablespoons xylitol extra (to taste)
Preheat your oven to 180° C / 350° F / Gas Mark 4. Place the roughly chopped strawberries, vanilla pod and xylitol into an oven proof dish and bake for 10 minutes until the strawberries are fragrant and syrupy. Allow to cool before stirring through the natural yoghurt, also stirring in any additional xylitol if you would like added sweetness.
Papaya and Lime Yoghurt
makes around 3 – 3 1/2 cups
Papaya in the Winter time is such an exotic treat; when I was a kid we would travel to Far North Queensland (Great Barrier Reef country) every Winter to visit family and escape the cold and we would always take a drive to the Atherton Tablelands and visit a papaya farm. We would drive home with a huge box full – the skinniest ones were always the sweetest – and that would be our breakfast every morning for our entire holiday.
In Queensland we always called papaya by the name paw paw – and the red variety we would simply call red paw paw. One of my first experiences buying red paw paw in Melbourne and I was quickly corrected by the greengrocer who told me that these were in fact papaya. You say papaya, I say paw paw…
Anyway, papaya and lime has got to be one of the greatest combos out there. Top it off with a little drizzle of honey (orange blossom if you want to be fancy) and you have a delicious tropical treat. My daughter loves paw paw, so this one is her favourite. This combo would also be totally amazing paired with coconut yoghurt.
• 350g – 400g papaya flesh, skin removed and cut into small dice
• zest and juice of 1/2 lime
• 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
• 500g natural yoghurt
In a small bowl stir together the papaya cubes, zest and juice of the 1/2 lime and the honey. Allow to sit for a little while for the flavours to mingle, then stir through natural yoghurt.
makes around 3 1/2 cups
I grew up with a persimmon tree in my backyard, so persimmons are a fruity delight that I hold close to my heart. They were the only edible that grew in our yard, so it was a real treat when they were ready to eat. Harvesting involved getting up on top of a ladder and laying them all carefully into an old apple box, and storing them in the cool of the garage until they were fully ripe. There are a couple of different varieties of persimmon out there, but all you really need to know is that they are all good to eat when they are fully and totally soft. You can get some that you can eat hard and crunchy, sliced thinly into discs (and these are delicious), but beware because if you eat one of the astringent variety (the kind that are supposed to be eaten soft) when it is hard it will make the inside of your mouth feel like cotton wool – for ages.
Persimmons are just so good that they really don’t need anything extra. Up until this past season I had never even bothered to eat them any other way than ‘au naturel’. But they are so sweet and naturally saucy that they work really well stirred into natural yoghurt and topped with some nuts and coconut if you want to make yourself a proper breakfast bowl.
For stirring through yoghurt, make sure the persimmons are really squishy, like they have already turned themselves into jam, and just stir a few tablespoons of the delicious flesh directly through your yoghurt.
• 300g persimmon flesh, skin removed
• 500g natural yoghurt
Simply swirl the persimmon through the yoghurt. So good.
And if you’d like to learn how to make your own yoghurt here is a good tutorial, the only important thing to remember is to buy a tub of natural yoghurt with active cultures for your first batch of homemade yoghurt, and then you’ll be set!