I have Teresa to thank for my first ever green smoothie.
I was sitting in a cafe in Avalon on Sydney’s northern beaches when I saw this huge shining glass of green goodness being delivered to another table. Intrigued I ordered one of my own, along with a delicate poached chicken salad and gluten free cookie. My mind was blown, healthy food could taste that good?
The cafe was of course owned by Teresa Cutter ‘The Healthy Chef,’ and I’ve been an avid follower of this lady’s amazingly nutritious recipes ever since. No longer running the cafe, classically trained chef and nutritionist Teresa is now the founder of ‘The Healthy Chef’ brand – where she produces her own range of organic food products, writes popular cookbooks such as the 80/20 Diet and inspires individuals and companies to adopt a deeper commitment to healthy living. Did I mention she’s also a qualified fitness trainer and kickboxer? I’m kind of in awe (and want to use the word go-getter way more than necessary). I’d like to introduce you to the wonderful ‘Healthy Chef’ – Teresa Cutter.
What’s your food philosophy?
Keep it fresh – keep it simple – cook for health as well as taste and be kind to yourself.
A health food store can be a confusing place! What are your essential ingredients?
I agree! There are so many different products out there these days. I like to stick to the basics – again, keeping it simple and pure. My pantry staples include some quality cold pressed extra virgin oil oil, macadamia oil, raw nuts and seeds, cacao, manuka honey, lemon, celtic sea salt, beautiful fresh herbs and spices, pasture raised organic eggs and plenty of green leafy veggies.
If you were trying to encourage a friend to eat healthier, what would you cook for them?
Something purely delicious! Eating a diet based on fresh whole foods should be exciting and appetising. I would whip them up something seasonal and awesome like my yummy strawberry crumble with coconut sorbet, kale salad with creamy chunks of Persian feta or my energizing earth burgers with cinnamon roasted sweet potato.
Let’s talk sweat. What do you do to stay active?
I love cycling, walking and MMA (mixed martial arts). I was inspired to cycle by my grandparents and to do martial arts, by my husband. I took up martial arts for self-defence and submission wrestling basically was part of its evolution and it’s awesome! I am kinder to myself these days due to injury (as I was rather competitive) so I don’t take things as hard or serious as I used to. Fitness figure/ body shaping was a big part of most of my 20s. I loved it and it helped me become a better personal trainer and chef. It made me have a better understanding on how diet and exercise can shape your body to however you want it to be.
Any tips on getting started in the health and wellness business?
Follow your passion. Pick where you want to be and work hard to get there. Do what you can to up-skill, whether its short courses in health, listening to podcasts or reading up on what you can or studying your area of interest through a college or university. There are stacks of great courses on exercise, personal training, nutritional medicine, naturopathy and many more.
Your go-to meals and snacks when you’re travelling
I focus on supporting my immune system and energy levels by eating fresh plant based foods. My favourite on-the-go snacks are a healthy chef protein shake with coconut water, trail mix with raw nuts and goji berries, a superfood smoothie, fresh green juices or smoothies, fuji apples, bananas and my awesome chocolate protein power balls – when I need a chocolate hit!
Health mantra: Listen to your body.
The Local Roundup:
Best Cafe: I love café’s that base their menu on beautiful, seasonal whole-foods. More and more cafes are following this philosophy are popping up which is awesome to see!
Best Beach: Sorrento Beach in Perth, Western Australia.
Best Walk: My all-time favourite walk is from Hillary’s to Trigg along the coast in WA.
Where I’d take a tourist: Technically I’d be a tourist too, but I would take them to Kamalaya wellness sanctuary in Koh Samui, Thailand. It is my haven! – Such a wonderful place to unwind and refocus on health and wellbeing.
A recipe from Teresa: Christmas Pudding – My Healthy Chef Secret Recipe
Christmas isn’t Christmas without a traditional pudding. I love the fragrant aroma of cinnamon, vanilla, orange and nutmeg infused into plump sun-dried fruits then finished off with a home made proper egg custard poured over the top. This is a recipe I designed especially for YOU ! It features in the December issue of Women’s Fitness Magazine and it needed to fit into the healthy chef philosophy and be Purely Delicious !
For those who prefer a more traditional style of baked pudding, keep reading below – all bases are pretty much covered here. Please keep an eye out for this Friday’s post on my purely delicious baked fruit cake.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT THEM:
My Christmas puddings only take 5 minutes to make. What I love about them is that they’re so easy to make and you feel great after eating it, as it won’t bloat you out like traditional versions and they are gluten free too!. The dried fruit adds sweetness and moisture, so you don’t need to add extra cane sugar or added fats like most traditional puddings. Almond meal adds protein, vitamin E + the good heart healthy mono-unsaturated oils which are anit-inflammatory to the body. They can be eaten warm topped with proper vanilla bean custard. or cold served with my lush mango coconut custard (see recipe below).
225g fresh pitted dates – approx 10 – 15 dates depending on their size
zest from 1 orange
250g organic dried apricots, chopped
150 g (1 ½ cups) almond meal / ground almonds
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground ginger
80 g white chocolate, melted for decoration – optional (please see other great topping ideas below)
Combine dates, orange zest, apricots, vanilla, ground almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a food processor.
Process until mixture is combined and looks like fine crumbs.
Spoon mixture into a large bowl and add 1 – 2 tablespoons orange juice then mix again. Your pudding mix should come together in the hands when lightly squeezed.
Divide puddings into 6 small puddings. The best way to do this is to line the base of your desired mould with glad wrap and press the pudding mixture into it firmly.
Invert the pudding and remove the glad wrap. Repeat until all the puddings are formed.
Melt white chocolate in a small bowl that is set over a simmering pot of water.
Spoon a little white chocolate over the tops of the puddings if using and garnish. You can use goji berries, fresh cherries or anything you fancy. Alternatively omit the topping if you wish.
Arrange onto a serving plate and set aside until needed.
Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
I love to make double the mix so I have extra for second helpings. Serve puddings with cold mango coconut custard or warm with proper vanilla bean custard.
PLEASE NOTE: YOU DO NOT NEED TO BAKE THESES PUDDINGS !
Nutrition per serve
Makes 6 puddings
Protein: 7.6 g
Carbs: 36 g
Total Fat: 16 g
Saturated: 2 g
Fiber: 7.8 g
Mango Coconut Custard
1 mango, chopped
1/2 cup coconut milk
Juice from ½ orange
Combine all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Serve chilled along side puddings.
OTHER SERVING SUGGESTIONS + GREAT TOPPING IDEAS
1. Garnish with fresh red cherries or raspberries
2. Top with thick yoghurt in place of custard
3. Serve with sour cherry compote or smashed raspberries
4. As an alternative to white chocolate combine 100 g melted cacao butter with 100 ml coconut cream and 1 tablespoon maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix well and drizzle over the puddings then allow to set.
CHRISTMAS PUDDING (baked traditional version)
COOK 1hr 15mins
450g pitted dates
1 whole orange, chopped – YES WHOLE including skin.
1 1/2 cups (375ml) water or orange juice
1 ½ cups (250g) raisins
1 2/3 cups (250g) organic dried apricots, chopped
3 cups (300g) almond meal (see notes)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground ginger
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 180C fan or 200C. Grease 10 x ½ cup dariole moulds.
Combine dates, orange and juice into a saucepan and bring to boil.
Simmer for 15-20 mins until all liquid has evaporated and dates and orange are soft. Set aside to cool.
Place date and orange mixture into a Vitamix or food processor and process until a paste forms.
Transfer to a large bowl. Add sultanas, apricots, almond meal, spices, eggs and mix well. Add another egg if needed.
Divide between prepared pudding / dariole moulds.
Place into a deep baking dish.
Pour enough hot water to come half way up sides of pudding bowls.
Cover with a layer of each baking paper and foil, pressing around edges of pan to completely seal.
Bake for 1 hr 15 mins.
Invert puddings onto serving plates.
Serve with proper custard and enjoy.
Nutrition per pudding:
Protein: 8 g
Total fat: 15 g
Saturated: 1.3 g
Carbs: 38 g
Sugars: 36.6 g
Fiber: 7 g
1 cup wholemeal spelt flour can be used in place of the almond meal in this recipe. Please add additional 1/4 cup macadamia nut oil + 1 teaspoon baking powder if doing so.
CONNECT WITH TERESA