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Newsletter March 2011

Dear Friends of Growing Raw,

Lately I've been researching how to make healthy food look more appetising. After all, our appetites involve more than just our taste sense. Sight and smell are vitally important too.

A meal that is visually appealing is more likely to be relished. In the case of kids, without visual appeal you're unlikely to even squeeze a taste test out of your little ones.

I've picked up a few useful tips that might help you too:

  • Plates: Select plain plates that have a contrasting colour to the food you're serving. Usually chefs recommend choosing a plate size that won't dwarf your food. If you do go for a larger plate than necessary, drizzle some sauce or sprinkle some seasoning to decorate the unused area. Of course, make sure you start off with a clean plate!
  • Garnish: Use interesting colours and shapes to create garnishes for your food. Use a potato peeler to make ribbons of vegetable and fruit skins, scatter evenly sized cubes over your meal or challenge yourself to cut out shapes like hearts or flowers.
  • Sauces and Dressings: Leave the sauce until last and consider where you'd like it to be on the plate before you start. Instead of pouring it on quickly use a teaspoon to add small amounts at a time. Another option is to place the sauce in a small bowl at the back of the plate (which leaves the actual meal as the star in the foreground.)
  • Shine: A trick of the trade is to mix a little olive oil with a teaspoon of warm water and lightly brush it over food before it's served. This adds a slight shine. This trick is especially useful if the food has been sitting a while and you want to quickly revive it's appearance before serving.
  • I have to say all these ideas were a revelation to me! As you can tell from the food photographs on Growing Raw I'm a slap it on the plate kind of girl... However, I am changing my ways. Let me know if you're interested in a more detailed article on making your healthy menu look really pretty!

    Turns out I've been photographing food all wrong too! You're supposed to position the camera at or slightly below the level of the food so that the dish appears more "significant"!!! My apologies to all the long-term Growing Raw faithfuls who have suffered through my inglorious top-down shots for nearly two years now. I will reform!

    New Articles on Growing Raw

    First of all, check out these just for fun vegetable sculptures I spotted at the local show last month. Some very creative kids around here! Good fun.

    Further to last month's work on healthy eating plans I've been building up some resources about healthy menu options for different times of the day. This healthy breakfast menu has some fresh ideas and recipes to give you the best start to the day, and these healthy nutritious snack foods will help you stick to your diet.

    I'm still having a great time exploring new combinations and adding to my best salad dressing recipes page. Today I discovered an avocado, cucumber, lemon and chilli salad dressing that is the bees knees. Check it out.

    Other new recipes on Growing Raw include broadbean and basil salad and summer squash vegetable soup. Thanks to Emily and Jason for sharing their abundance of giant yellow squash!

    Ever been to a BBQ and felt like you were missing out on your veggies? Here's a guide on how to grill vegetables including some super-tasty marinade ideas. I hope this is handy soon for all of you in the Northern hemisphere - your Winter has been long enough already! Although the leaves have started turning for the rest of us down south, we still have a a couple of weeks to make use of the BBQ and enjoy eating outdoors.

    I've been wondering for a while about why fresh healthy food keeps tasting better and better for me, so I did some research on how our taste buds rejuvenate. It was really interesting to learn what kills our taste buds and what we can do to recover from a loss of taste and smell caused by unhealthy eating and a polluted environment.

    Phew, I'm just realising I've been kinda busy! I thought I'd eased off this month... In my own garden I've been harvesting potatoes, zucchinis, eggplants, silverbeet, salad greens and herbs. The tomatoes have been slow for everyone this season, but the rockmelons are coming and the basil is growing beautifully.

    I've been delighted by my two star recruits this year (Tessa and Korben) who have helped me keep on top of the caterpillars. It's amazing what giving your kids plastic bug-catchers can do for your garden pest problems!

    All the best until next month,


User Reviews of
Starwest Botanicals

My selection of herbs and spices were delivered quickly and were of the best quality I have seen. Great service, fantastic products. Fresh organic herbs from a supplier I trust. - Susan S.

Overall, it was a very positive experience.... they treated me in an exemplary manner when I first ordered from them. I got exactly the product I needed/ordered/expected vis-a-vis the sprouting wheatgrass seeds. I would certainly order from them again for anything that specific. - geo442