Masterchef. What do you reckon?

I am NOT the reality TV type. I have never watched a home renovation/makeover show or gotten into the “got talent” type thing, BUT last year I sort of got stuck into Masterchef and this year it’s got me again!

It all started when I read a tweet about thermomixes being used on the show. I thought I would check out the particular episode that featured the thermo and I just got sucked in from there. And I definitely am a sucker.

At first I watched it just because of my curiosity around what can be achieved with food. I still judged it quite harshly, seeing it as an experiment about pushing people to their limits and seeing what they can do under extreme pressure then adding in some Big Brother-esque personality clashes for entertainment. I figured it was probably rigged by the 3 fat guys that ate all the food and as you might have guessed I had a few problems with the ingredients used on the show too.

BUT, the more I watched, the more I grew to appreciate what the show was offering viewers – a relationship with food. Let’s face it, the show uses ALOT of animal products, but there is complete transparency about the origins of the food and how it is processed, something which I appreciate in regard to all food but especially with animal products.

The show is not afraid to document how whole animals are divided into specific cuts and how the animals are raised and then processed. Some viewers (and even contestants) have struggled to watch this “graphic” food preparation and I think that’s a good thing. So many people mindlessly chow down on meat with very little concern or awareness for what it actually is. Awareness is a good thing, even if it’s difficult to swallow. It allows us to appreciate the journey that our food has been on to reach us, whether we choose to eat meat/dairy or not.

The other thing I think that masterchef offers its viewers is a passion for creating amazing food. Even though there’s alot of meat and dairy used in the show, there are also a stack of veggies, fruits, grains, legumes and herbs. Many of the accompaniments are vegan or could easily be converted. The plant-based components of each dish have been created with excitement and enthusiasm – AWESOME!

The other thing that I found exciting about last year’s competition is that the top pick contestants tipped to win got booted in the final rounds and the prize went to the underdog! Legendary! Maybe it isn’t rigged after all.

Even though I probably wouldn’t eat many of the dishes made on the show and I don’t necessarily agree with many of the ingredients, I am still curious about how it’s done. I am not disillusioned about animal products being a major part of a conventional diet and so I can accept it for what it is, even though I wouldn’t choose it for myself.

And I must say, I do get a kick out of seeing a bit of Thermomix fame! What about you? Are you into it?

 

Orange & Thyme Sticky Sauce

This sauce can be used in stir-fries, as a dipping sauce, atop cooked veggies or to glaze baked tofu or meat. It’s also a good way to use up excess oranges that you thought you would get around to running through the juicer (not in this wintery weather).

We have thyme growing in a pot near the kitchen so it’s easy for us to use the fresh stuff but dried thyme is fine for this recipe. In fact, if you don’t have any, swap it for rosemary or basil or just leave it out all together! Whatevs!

orangesauce

 

Ingredients:

  • 450-500g Fresh Orange Juice
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1-2 Clove of Garlic
  • 40g Rapadura
  • 1 tsp Salt

 

Method:

– Juice oranges and weigh. Set aside in a bowl.

– Place onion & garlic in TM bowl and turbo until chopped. Cook on 100 degrees, speed soft for 3 mins.

– Add remaining ingredients and cook on varoma temp, speed 2 for 15 mins. If the sauce has not reduce enough for you then cook for a few more minutes.

Thoughts On Soy

Soy isn’t for everyone. I think that for someone giving up dairy, soy is a great option but some people prefer to avoid it altogether. Read this for more info about the potential dangers of soy.

I went full circle with Soy. When I had dairy in my life, I thought soy milk tasted horrible but when I kicked dairy for good, soy was much easier to consume and I grew to love it. I explored other dairy free milks and struggled hugely with the gag factor! Oat milk and rice milk are good options for most milk applications like hot drinks, cereal, baking etc. Personally though, I can’t really stomach them! We occasionally make our own nut milk (recipe soon) which is great for smoothies and a few other things but doesn’t cover all bases in the same way that soy does. Also soy is a milk that my husband and I can agree on and because we don’t use much milk in our household, choosing soy reduces our waste (we used to have our own milks but there was too much wastage!).

Many of the recipes on this website use soy and if you have dairy in your life, then you can substitute dairy directly, no problem. However if you are dairy-free then please note that some of these recipes will recommend using soy for best results (Vegan White Sauce) for example, but others will allow you to choose the non-dairy milk that you prefer.

I am not an expert when it comes to dairy fee milks so if you want to share your experience or resources then please do! Basically the main reason that people like to avoid soy (milk in particular) if because it is acidifying and can cause hormonal disturbances. I don’t consume a large amount of soy milk so I am not at all worried about this, but if I was consuming large quantities then I would probably switch to rice or nut milk.

Another issue with soy is that much of it is genetically modified. Always choose organic soy to ensure you are not being exposed to GM food.

I’m not trying to staunchly defend soy but I do think that there’s alot of unnecessary scare-mongering out there about it especially when you consider meat and dairy for example are also acidifying and can cause hormonal disturbances. Moderation is key.

Apparently, fermented soy foods like tempeh and tamari have less dangers.

I eat tofu about once a week, I don’t go for processed mock meats at all. I can’t eat tempeh (because of the yeast-based flavourings that are added to it) but I would it I could. I use tamari on occasion and have about 3-4 hot drinks made with soy milk each week and the occasional cake. It’s not a whole lot really.

I’m not worried but I totally understand that some of you want to avoid it altogether. As far as our recipes are concerned, when we list soy as an ingredient, my all means try out an alternative, explore what’s possible and let us know!