Channelling my inner Gwinny

As winter draws to an end and the thought of exposing my additional padding to the world in lighter summer attire (I know, it’s practically the tropics here in Wellington), it is time to tone up and consume less. Doing some exercise wouldn’t go amiss either – if only my body wasn’t so broken from doing just that (note to self, marathons are not a natural pursuit).

So it was timely that a colleague lent me her new cookbook, “It’s all good” by Gwyneth Paltrow. Let’s face it, about the only thing Gwinny and I have in common is that we both have sons with names beginning with ‘M’. And looking at Ms Paltrow on the red carpet, I’ve always thought that my M eats more in one meal than she does in a week. Yep, I was a skeptic.

While there is a long list of stuff GP doesn’t do (sugar, gluten, dairy, red meat, wine….), there’s a longer one of what she does recommend eating to get your mind, body and soul in sync. It includes foods you can’t help but love: nuts, olive oil, eggs, avocado, chicken, chilli, fresh veg and herbs…..

There is some attractive photography throughout the book, but, dare I say it, a few too many of GP styled to perfection in model like stance (yes, I’m envious of her elegant non-cellulite pins). And the odd, “super-healthy, vegan, non-nightshade” descriptor accompanying a recipe almost lost me (it’s written for a US audience). But, I persevered.

I’m glad I did. At first glance I wasn’t sure about accessibility – almond milk, Canadian maple syrup and organic everything are not for the budget conscious. But,on closer inspection, most of the recipes call for few ingredients. It’s about really tasting the food and giving it a lift with a relatively easy dressing.

I’ve tried two recipes in recent days – both with a bit of ingredient tweaking, both stupidly simple and both delish.

The jury’s still out as to whether I’ll buy the book – but it has had some impact. I am thinking a little differently, and trying new recipes. A litre of almond milk and a new bottle of maple syrup (watch your syrups – some well known brands have added sugar) made their way into my supermarket trolley yesterday. Don’t fear though, so did a couple of bottles of wine and, of course, some cheese. Gwinny probably wouldn’t approve, but it’s about making it work for you.

IMG_7250Recipe 1: Roasted cauliflower and chickpea salad

I know that nothing sounds remarkable or even tasty about this. The colours are dull and flavours can be bland. Never-the-less, I had a cauliflower (and not much else) lurking in the fridge so I gave it a crack. An inspired decision if I do say so myself. What a refreshingly easy make and delicious eat.

What you’ll need

1 head of fresh cauliflower, cut into florets, washed and dried

1 can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and dried

Extra virgin olive oil

Seat Salt


1 T Dijon mustard

1 T seeded mustard

1 T white wine vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper

Extra virgin olive oil – recipe says 1/4 C, I used a good size splash

Handful of chopped parsley

Note: I didn’t have seeded mustard and used a yummy pomegranate balsamic (probably evil due to the sugar! )instead of the wine vinegar.

How to make it

Heat oven to 200C.

Mix together the cauliflower and chickpeas and a good drizzle of olive oil and sprinkling of sea salt. Pour onto a baking paper lined oven tray and bake until soft (40 minutes ish).

IMG_7249Whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour over the cauliflower/chick peas while still warm. Serve warm or cold. (Above is my attempt alongside the book image.)

Recipe 2 – Sautéed corn with Chimichurri

What you’ll need

4 ears of corn (I used a can – not much fresh corn about at the moment, and I also added a tin of drained chickpeas)

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

2 T Chimichurri (South American Pesto – see below)

IMG_7273How to make it

Heat the oil and cook the corn for about five minutes until softened. Even though I used canned corn and chickpeas, I did the same. Stir through the chimichurri and serve hot or at room temperature.


1C Italian parsley

1/2 C corriancer

2 cloves garlic

1 Jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped (I used chilli flakes instead)

1/3 c extra virgin olive oil

3 T red wine vinegar (I used an aged sherry vinegar)

1/2 t ground cumin

Sea salt

Blend together and sit for 20 minutes or so before using. Yum!

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