Friday, May 20, 2016

It's a Revolution, it's got Food. I'm in!

I like positive stuff.
And who wouldn't, when Oscar Wilde puts it so elegantly:

"With freedom, books, flowers and the moon, who could not be happy?"

For sure, I've got freedom in my life - making the choices I want, not getting persecuted for my religious beliefs, deciding whom I want to befriend.

And for sure, I've got books. God of Small Things and Kite Runner are my evergreen favourites, and I'm still making slooooww but steady progress on Clayton Christensen's How Will You Measure Your Life.

Flowers: I'm channelling their vibrance and cheer, creating desserts that bring light and colors to happy people digging into my tarts, slicing into birthday cakes I make or snacking on good ol' balanced-eating granola.

So that leaves the moon.

That's a tough one.

The moon is something lofty and out of reach. An eye-blazing yolk high in the sky that I have to make a stretch to even come close to its shadow, an eternal goal of unattainability.

But I'm gonna try.

This is where positivity comes in.
And never overlook the power of individual actions.

Which is why Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution movement resonates with me. That, and the subject of food, of course.

Small actions by everyone build large traction, and all over the world people are getting off their butts and taking steps to get involved with sensible eating.

It's not just about big radical changes that move mountains, but also about everyday efforts that really can't be dismissed.

I think about it in concentric circles.

Do what we can in our little spheres, and be an influencer to the people around us. I try, whenever I get the chance, to use baking and food as a tool to facilitate and enable. Positivity isn't all fluffy cutesy unicorns, but a lot of real, livable steps each one of us can take to build a network of positive actions and a strong community.

Jamie Oliver's done much of the heavy lifting, building a solid network of usable, actionable resources to better eating and food responsibility. Tons of ways and tips we can get in on it, plenty of easy, manageable steps we can all practice.

The Food Revolution is also here in Singapore, and it's always seeking ambassadors to help share the movement of good eating with the community.

Another inspiring movement is FeedBack's Feeding the 5000: spotlighting the insane amount of perfectly edible food thrown out, just because it doesn't meet cosmetic standards.

Closer to home, the Food Bank Singapore has made it so accessible for folks to drop off non-perishable supplies - a much better idea than letting all that edible food sit in a heap in the bin.

Another outfit Food from the Heart bridges the gap between hunger and food waste with bread and food items from bakeries, hotels and restaurants.

As part of the inaugural, eight beautifully architectured films centering on food were screened and Tasteology really stood out for me. Looking at concepts of the food chain segments, chefs, experts and scientists shed light on issues that influenced each stage, and took a long hard look at food wastage and sustainable food sources.

There are so many avenues for us to get involved, to learn and to make positive changes. We just have to seek, and be open to changes making a difference to health and happiness.
> Make Maple-Ginger Cider Switchel, you won't regret it 

In line with Food Revolution Day (today!), I'd like to raise my little fork and knife and share a super simple grilled fish and veggie plate that you can get ready in half an hour. Perfect for those quick dinners after work, or when you're strapped for time.

It's hardly a recipe, really more of an assembly that anyone can do... read on and you'll see!

Easy Grilled Fish with Veggies Plate
Serves 2

- 2 bunches of kale (or however much you want to eat, nothing scientific    
  about this)
- 8 jumbo asparagus or 12 regular asparagus (the jumbos just stand up
  better to the grilling heat)
- 1 ripe avocado
- 2 fillets of your favourite fish - I have here, salmon and halibut
- Seasonings: olive oil, sesame oil, coarse salt, pepper, paprika, dukkah -
  any flavours you like, really

This is an extremely forgiving recipe that can be adapted in numerous ways, depending on the ingredients and quantities you have on hand, so mix it up as you need. The only real rule here is to keep all the ingredients dry so it crisps up and doesn't produce a well of moisture while grilling in the oven.
  1. Preheat oven to about 200 degrees Celsius.
  2. Veg prep: Julienne kale roughly, peel off the tough skin of asparagus spears at their base. Lay out on grilling tray and season with salt, pepper, olive oil and chilli flakes (optional). Pop them into the oven. 
  3. Fish prep: Lay fish on grilling tray, pat dry if needed. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and seasonings you like. My favourite is to add additional dash of sesame oil for fragrance, dust with paprika and top off with dukkah and sesame seeds. Pop fish into oven about 10 min after veggies go in, they should all be done about 15 min or so after, depending on the type of fish and the thickness of your fillets. Go with your eye and trust your nose. If it looks cooked and smells delicious, you're about there. 
  4. Peel and halve avocado. Give it a quick blast in the oven if you like a bit of char, or eat it straight - just as good. Plate everything, give a final sprinkle of salt flakes, grab your fork, dig in.
Make it, eat it, share it, pass it on.
Let's celebrate the joys of food and eating.

> Check out Jamie's Food Revolution recipes - told you he's making it easy for us to have fun and be a part!