Sunday, June 28, 2015

Healthy Rejects.

We are a wasteful society and many of the kitchen habits that we observe, serve no economic nor health conscious purpose. Many of our habits in food preparation are not based on nutrition but on cultural preferences. Having worked as a chef (for more years than I care to remember), the customer is not overly concerned with nutrition, rather than theater.

Over the years, I was trained to cook food which was enticing to the eye and tantalizing for the palette. Rarely were people concerned with nutrition or health care when dining out. As a result of this, most chefs prepare the prime cuts and discard, or process them into other dishes. These days, we are smarter and more educated in the ways of food preparation and nutrition; never the less, these cultural habits die hard.

Your local supermarket are more likely to buy in their vegetables pre-packed, so the goodness has already been leached out of the vegetable in its natural state, so you will have to find a local grower or greengrocer who will sell them whole and unprepared. If you are cheeky like me, I ask for the discarded stuff as they will only get binned as waste.

Here are my top ten rejects that I never throw out.

1.       Broccoli and Cauliflower stems and leaves
Full of goodness and great in minerals and plant sugar, leaves and stems carry the nutrition to the flower head, but provided awesome flavour, texture and colour to a meal. Leave them attached to the flower and cut off as you need them. Cut them into bite size pieces and blanch in boiling water for 1 minute, cool in cold water and add to your stir fry. Great with the flower or on their own.

2.       Beetroot leaves
Fantastic washed and mixed raw with your other salad greens such as celery leaves, lettuce, beansprouts and rocket. I drizzle virgin olive oil and pink Himalayan rock salt, cracked pepper and Moroccan seasoning.

3.       Cabbage outer leaves
Why discard the dark green outer leaves? They are full of iron and taste fantastic when treated as you would Norrie or Sushi sheets. Cut the vein out of the centre, blanch in boiling salted water for 30 seconds and plunge into cold water and lay flat in the fridge for an hour or so. Lay flat, rub sesame oil on one side and fill with a mixture of sprouts, grated veges, sliced meats of seafood and roll up like sushi. Wrap in cling film and slice when cold.

4.       Potato skins
Fully ripened (not green) skins are an excellent source of vitamin c and roughage. Scrub them well and either rub olive oil into them and bake or cut and boil. Even in creamed potatoes, that nutty earthy flavour is a bonus. Alternatively, peel them and store in water until you have the oven on next and toss in salt, seasoning and roast.

5.       Orange and lemon skin
Never miss an opportunity to zest and grate the skin off citrus fruit. Why peel and discard it? I use a potato peeler  to remove the skin and infuse in olive oil to use on salads, deserts, and in roasted root vegetable. Alternatively, I eat them whole, yep skin and all.

6.       Lettuce outer leaves
You can cook lettuce, yep that right and its great. Instead of breaking off the outer leaves and throwing them, rinse them and roll them into cigar shapes and plunge in boiling salted water. Remove when limp and season to taste. Alternatively, fill them as with the cabbage leaves and  serve them hot, cold or as an accompaniment to a meal. They don’t keep too well due to water content, but serve straight to the table and what an addition to any meal.

7.       Garlic and onion skins
Save all the hassle of peeling and chopping, put them whole into stocks, soups, sauces etc. Not only do they add flavour but they add colour as well. Of course, they are not too good for chewing, but they work well in the garden in plant drinks, mosquito and greenfly repellent.

8.       Fennel stalks and leaves
Most stores sell the fennel without the stalk (bulb only), but the stalks and leaves are fantastic in salads, soups and stocks. The smell is great and fits well when chopped and tossed in olive oil and salt as a salad. The larger stalks can be woody, but cut in to small pieces, blanch and cool and you won’t know the difference.

9.       Pumpkin skin and seeds
Butternut, Green Skin and  Buttercup are great winter squashes. I bake them whole and eat skin and all. The seeds can be scooped out and roasted, and sprinkled on salads. They make great soup when cooked  and blended, and require no flour or thickening. Add nutmeg and cinnamon and turn into pumpkin pie. Don’t waste the skin by peeling it away, before cooking, cook it first then remove it, if you prefer. As with most vegetables, the vitamins and minerals generally lay under the surface, so capitalise by leaving it in place. Just wash before use.

10.   Celery leaves and crown

Most people throw the good parts away when eating celery. Always leave the stalks attached to the crown (base) and cut stalks away as you need them, then put into a polythene bag and into the fridge. Cut the leaves away as you need them and use in salads, stocks, soups, sauces, and in stir frys. When all that left is the crown, use it in stocks, or in your roast pan to flavour gravies and sauces. Sometimes, I use the crown as a roast vegetable with parsnips and carrots.


As with all foods these days, one should NEVER blindly trust that what you are buying is free of harmful pesticides and chemicals, regardless of what it says on the label. Buy local and support local and where possible - GROW your own or get into a cooperative where you can exchange goods for services. My last resort is a supermarket. Eat seasonal, Bottle or freeze in season, buy bulk and most of all, don;t be fooled by tags such as "organic", "healthy", and other marketing trends. Remember, eat foods that don't need a label where practical.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


The only difference between being in a rut and being in a grave, is a grave has an end to it.

Many people get stuck into a rut and the same old same old lifestyle of events and none events, a bit like "Ground Hog Day:. Is that you?

There are many benefits in hiring a life coach, but those benefits need to be honestly assessed and achieved. This is primarily achieved as a result of a good 360 degree assessment of the clients (your) needs.

Coaching is primarily about asking questions; questions which are both insightful and empowering.

Anyone can ask questions, but the timing and relevance of them, can build up and pull down. Finding fault is easy, finding solutions is an art and strategic in the discovery of self and one’s preferable future.

Prior to engaging a client, I establish a clear picture of the client’s willingness and motivation to achieve their preferable outcomes. If these cannot be readily defined at the outset, the outcome is more likely to be that of a dream than a vision. Not all business is good business, particularly when one considers we are dealing with PEOPLE not PRODUCTS. The outcome must be a win-win or the process can be a long hard slog.

Here are the key questions I always ask prior to taking on a client. 

If the client cannot initially answer them, then we are at base camp, and preparation needs to be done, prior to taking the journey.  Of course, there is NO magic formula, as all manner of “life” issues can affect the way one sees things today. Tomorrow’s perspective, could be vastly different.

So, are you ready for a collaborative and strategic coaching partnership? 

Can you answer these questions now?

1.       Why – Do you need a life coach?

2.       What – Do you want to achieve?

3.       What – Is, and has been stopping you to-date?

4.       When – Do you want to achieve this by?

5.       How – Will achieving these goals look and benefit you?

Once we have a consensus on these questions, the next phase is to build a strategic plan of action, with a clear risk assessment, highlighting the road blocks and likely objections that will surface during the sessions, and hold the client accountable to it.

This is the crucible of all coaching. 

Coaching is not just recognising ones strengths and weaknesses; it is the planning, execution (and most of all), the accountability process. Few individuals ever achieve their full potential without accountability. 


Because human nature is like water, it naturally takes the least path of resistance.

An old proverb goes like this “Man is born to strife, as surely as sparks fly upwards.” Coaching keeps one honest, accountable, and focused.

Are you ready for that? 

Sunday, June 14, 2015



Loyalty is seen in our choice of purchase, our preference in service provider, but mostly in the way we relate to people. It is a quality and characteristic which is only ever appreciated and truly tested during the opportunity to devalue, discredit or dishonour is presented. Loyalty rarely seeks a reward, for it is reward in itself.

Recent generations have re-defined loyalty.

Companies around the world are dealing with the high cost of turnover for Gen-Y employees.
70 percent of them leave their first job within two years of joining, reports Statistics say that in the next three years, as many as 75% of your organizations top performers will leave the organization for greener pastures – are we prepared to replace future leaders, and at what cost?
The paradigm has shifted – millennials expect loyalty from their employer, whereas boomers gave loyalty.
It is not A fault or THEIR fault. Downward salary pressure on entry level jobs, competition at all levels, less and less jobs in the market have forced millennials (and other generations) to make spot decisions without the soft landing that has existed in the recent past.

Loyalty is I believe, being re-defined as we speak. Relationships are being defined by the same criteria that corporate bodies use and that is the "bottom line". The 80's saw a new term used in restructuring staff levels. Firms have always laid off workers, but in the 1980's, you started to see healthy firms laying off workers, mainly for "shareholder value.” 
In their announcements of pending staff cutbacks, firms would say, "We are doing this in the long-term interest of our shareholders", thus depersonalizing responsibility as being "in the name of profit".

Today, loyalty from employees to employers is on a parity. Unfortunately, the same measure is often used between relationships, friendships and groups of all persuasions. The criteria used for loyalty is "whats in it for me", "What benefits do I get". Once the benefits cease, so does commitment.

I recently received a telemarketers call trying to tempt me to switch power and water companies. The generation "Y'er", couldn't believe me when I told him how long we had been with my present company and he laughed! "We cam save you 20% on your bills, why wouldn't you switch, it just makes sense, doesn't it?" His criteria for switching was money not loyalty, but then
again, I am not a generation "Y'er".

Loyalty is to individuals, not just companies.

The debate over employee loyalty comes down to the actions of the more dominant side of the relationship — the firm. “The employee/employer relationship has changed because of the firms. You hear people say that ’employees just don’t care about having long-term employment relationships.’
The 1980s, was all about “taking control of your career, and your life". With the advent of businesses placing profit ahead of loyalty, loyalty was re-defined.

People have always wanted to be more in control of their lives, what’s different now, is how the firms treat employees.

Wharton management professor Adam Cobb, rationalizes the reciprocal exchange between employer and employee by saying “It seems strange to me to be loyal to a firm that I know has no loyalty to me,” and sure enough, it does make sense, unless one defines loyalty as something that one GIVES, without reciprocal expectation.

Having spent the greater part of my life investing as a volunteer in none profit organisations (often without payment, reward or physical benefit), never basing my loyalty as conditional on their loyalty to me.

With the shift in a global work force, import and export driven economies, transferable pension schemes and a weakening in reciprocal loyalty between firms and individuals, one can only assume that the level of commitment from both parties will weaken further in the years to come. How does that translate:

To you and I? 
To you and yours?
To voters and politicians?
To countries and nations 
To Pastors and congregations? 
To comunities and neighbours? 
To parents and children? 

The final word must come from and intensely loyal character called Ruth. Ironically, she never uses the term loyalty, but her determined ACTION does. As St. Francis once said. "In all ways and means, preach the gospel and if that doesn't work.....use words!"

Ruth 1:16-17 ESV But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”