After working together for the past five years, Sprout cooking school’s dynamic dietitian and cook duo has turned their most popular cooking class into a book.
Released today, Chryssidis and Hann’s Quick. Easy. Healthy. is designed to inspire home cooking that is simple and inexpensive to prepare, tasty and nutritious – dishes that the whole family can enjoy on an average weeknight.
The pair have built a culture around a food lifestyle they share through their multi-faceted business Sprout, which incorporates a cooking school, a health studio (chiropractic, dietetics, physiotherapy, podiatry and psychology), corporate team building and catering services, and now the new cookbook.
They say their philosophy isn’t about health products, “superfoods”, diets or strict eating plans, but rather about learning to cook, building healthy habits and gaining a better understanding of what it means to eat good food.
“I work as a dietician because I want people to be aware of how they can nourish their bodies easily with fresh wholesome ingredients seasonally,” says Chryssidis.
“The seasons are nature’s way of ensuring that we eat a varied diet and remain interested in food.”
Quick. Easy. Healthy. offers more than 70 recipes using easily sourced ingredients. It is divided into four chapters by season and each recipe offers detailed nutritional information and tips, as well as ingredient substitution ideas for vegetarians and others with specific dietary needs.
“I particularly enjoy autumn because fruits such as figs, pomegranates and quinces come into season that we can’t get at other times of the year,” Chryssidis says.
“And as we get towards the end of summer, people are starting to get over cold salads and grills and starting to use their ovens more. The good thing about summer vegetables that are still available into early autumn, such as zucchinis, tomatoes, capsicums and beetroot, is that they can be cooked as well as eaten fresh.”
Here, Chryssidis has shared one of his favourite autumn recipes from Quick. Easy. Healthy. – a vegetarian risotto and side salad using seasonal beetroot, fennel and oranges.
“Most people think that risotto is not healthy, but the problem is not the food but how we eat it,” he explains. “If you prepare it without including vegetables or you don’t accompany it with a side of salad, then it’s not going to provide the necessary nutrition.
“It’s interesting that fruit like oranges and kiwis that are so full of vitamin C come into season right when we need them most as we head into the cooler months with the threat of colds and flu.”
Beetroot and Goat’s Cheese Risotto with Fennel and Orange Salad
This big beautiful pink risotto is earthy, rich and creamy, and partnered with the fresh zesty fennel and orange salad it makes a delicious vegetarian dish.
40g (¼ cup) pine nuts
1 litre (4 cups) salt-reduced chicken or vegetable stock
1 tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 handfuls basil, leaves picked, stems finely chopped
220g (1 cup) Arborio rice
80ml (1/3 cup) dry white wine
60g goat’s cheese, crumbled
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Individually wrap the beetroot in foil, place on a tray and roast for 1 hour or until tender when pierced with a knife.
Add the pine nuts to the tray for the final 5 minutes of cooking, to toast. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Put the stock in a saucepan and bring almost to the boil, then remove from the heat.
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic and basil stems, and cook gently, stirring occasionally, for 1–2 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the rice, increase the heat to high, then add the wine.
Once the wine bubbles away add the stock, a splash at a time, waiting for each addition of stock to be absorbed before adding the next. This process will take about 16–18 minutes. Stir occasionally. If you run out of stock and the rice needs a little more cooking, then add a little hot water. Meanwhile, put on some disposable gloves and peel the beetroot — the skin should slip off. Dice the beetroot and reserve.
Fennel and Orange Salad
1 small fennel bulb
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
1 tbsp olive oil
To make the salad, thinly slice the fennel, segment (or peel and slice) the oranges and combine in a bowl. Dress with the apple cider vinegar and olive oil and set aside to serve. Stir the beetroot into the rice to stain the rice pink. Transfer the risotto into four serving bowls, top with the goat’s cheese, toasted pine nuts and the basil leaves, and serve with the fennel and orange salad.
Nutrition tip: Bulk the risotto rice out with vegetables.
Substitution: If you are looking for a low-GI, higher-fibre alternative, consider using quinoa or pearl barley instead of rice.
Nutritional information (per serve)
Energy 2116 kJ (506 cal)
Sat Fat 4.4 g
Sugar 14.1 g
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