Meet the Flipp Family

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New Zealand has some of the most perfect conditions in the world for dairy farming.  Plenty of wide open spaces, lush green grass and moderate temperatures.  We are a nation of milk drinkers and in the year ending June 2014 New Zealand dairy companies processed 20.7 billion litres of milk.

Recently we wrote a blog post on what organic truly means.  It means that what you are eating is in its purest form, no synthetic pesticides have been used, no antibiotics, no genetic modification.  It also means organic farmers have to work harder to sustain the health of soils, ecosystems and stock.

Julia and I are huge advocates for organic products so were happy when Anchor introduced an organic milk to the market, which is available throughout New Zealand.  The Anchor Organic milk is sourced from Manawatu farms, including the Flipp family farm in Te Oroua Downs.  For the Flipp’s, dairy farming is in the family.  Mark Flipp’s Dad started as a share milker before buying their Manawatu farm in 1980.  The farm has expanded, from 109 ha in size and milking 180 Friesians in 1980, to 508 ha and 600 cows in 2015. Wow!  Mark Flipp made the decision to turn his farm organic in the mid-2000s and became officially certified in 2010, at the same time as joining the Fonterra programme.

We were lucky enough to interview the Flipp family who answered all our questions on organic farming.

INTERVIEW –  
J&L: Why have you chosen to farm organically as opposed to conforming to general intensive methods?

Flipp’s: We have chosen to farm organically to be self-sufficient and not rely on outside resources because we prefer to work with the ebbs and flows of the land and seasons to get the best results it can provide. I also like that organic farming feels closer to how NZers used to farm, say, 50 years ago – I like that traditional practice.

Can you tell us differences between the two from a general farming perspective? Through the organic process, what benefits from grass to glass are delivered to the consumer?

While I couldn’t tell you the differences first-hand between organic and intensive farming (because we have always farmed in a similar way using lower inputs before we became officially organic), organic means farming the property to what is it naturally capable of.

Day-to-day differences include things like weeding manually or using a machine to pluck them out from the paddocks, rather than using any sprays. When we say organic farming uses lower inputs, we mainly mean we have relatively lower livestock numbers compared to intensive farming. This is because organic farming means we’re more exposed to the elements and fluctuating seasons so need to lower risks by having smaller herd numbers.

Benefits to the consumer with organic products mainly comes from peace of mind to know that what you are consuming has been organically grown and produced.

How long does it take to become an organic certified farmer in New Zealand? Are the regulations and standards quite rigorous?

It takes three years to become organically certified with the government-owned regulation body AsureQuality. The regulations and standards are very rigorous, but nothing good comes from anything easy.

What would be your advice to a farmer considering switching to organic farming?

Anyone thinking of switching to organic farming requires a passion, a belief and patience. But we think it’s worth the hard work because of the feel-good factor, slightly higher financial benefits (although an intensive farmer might disagree).

Dairy farming has been in your family for years, what do you enjoy most about it?

I enjoy farming with nature, not trying to change her e.g. Harvesting surplus pasture in the spring to feed to the animals in winter and summer months, rather than using outside inputs to supplement those months or using irrigation.

What is something a lot of people don’t know about organic farming but should/would be interested to know?

A lot of people probably don’t know the big paper trail required with organic farming for auditing purposes. But it’s important it’s a rigorous process to become certified organic, as a key part of of Anchor Organic milk is that it’s verified and traceable and it’s good for consumers to know where their produce is coming from.

Thank you Flipp family!

Lx

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Blackberry Swirl Cheesecake

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Today is our blogs 3rd Birthday! 3 whole years since we started on this crazy journey of sharing recipes with you!  We did not start our blog with any intention of being where we are today – meeting all of the amazing and incredible people we have, working with brands we have been fans of for years, signing a book deal with the biggest publishing house in the world (still blows our mind), getting to travel to dream destinations or running our own cooking workshops and have people turn up! None of that ever crossed our minds but we are so happy it has and feel greatful every single day to be able to do what we do! So thank you for coming along on this ride with us.

To celebrate our 3rd Birthday I decided that I would share one of my favorite cake recipes on the blog.  When I made this cake yesterday I wanted it to be super special and a little bit different from how I normally make it, so for me that was adding on chocolate, of course.  After the cake had set and I had a bite the first thing that came to my mind was “wow, this tastes like a Jelly Tip“.  An ice cream like layer, berries and chocolate. So delicious, yet so guilt free.  As it is not Summer yet I have used frozen berries and all the nuts I use are bulk purchased from Alisons Pantry (cost saving method!).

If you are vegan, dairy free, refined sugar free, gluten free or LCHF this recipe will fit in with your dietary requirements.  This cake truly is delicious and very filling, please try and let me know what you think.

Enjoy! Jx

Blackberry Swirl Cheesecake
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • Base
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 6 medjool dates, pitted and soaked in water
  • Filling
  • 3 cups cashews, soaked in water overnight
  • ¾ cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • ¾ cup coconut oil, melted
  • Berry/Chocolate Topping
  • 1.5 cups frozen blackberries (or raspberries)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 50 grams 70% dark chocolate
  • ¼ cup coconut cacao nibs
Instructions
  1. To make the base, drain medjools, place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until well combined and ingredients are sticking together.
  2. Press base mixture into a lined 20cm spring form cake tin and set aside.
  3. To make the filling drain cashews, process all ingredients in a food processor except coconut oil, and process until well combined. Keep the food processor on and slowly pour in coconut oil - process until smooth and creamy.
  4. Pour cheesecake filling over base and place into the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
  5. To make the berry topping, add the berries and maple syrup into a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour over the cheesecake filling and use a chopstick or knife to swirl through the first cheesecake layer. Set aside
  6. Melt the chocolate gently in a pot on the stove top and drizzle over the top of the berry sauce. Sprinkle over coconut cacao nibs.
  7. Place cheesecake into the fridge for at least 4 hours to set.

 

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Top Wellness Tips for our Canine Best Friend’s

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As a pet owner I worry about my diet just as much as my dog’s, after all, they are part of the family and I want only the best for them to ensure that they live long and happy lives.  It’s easy to tell when humans aren’t feeling their best, but with pets, it can be a bit trickier. Luckily, Pawl B More, the world’s first canine pet health expert, has provided us with his top tips to help you make sure your best friend’s health is in perfect form.  Pawl is Australia’s first talking Naturopathic dog who is fronting the freshly launched Ask Pawl online advisory service for pet owners.  You can go online, ask Pawl questions on canine health and wellness and he will respond with a video! There are many simple things that we can do to to achieve optimal wellness for our fur babies and Pawl explains below – with a certified vet checking his answers off 😉

 

 

 

 

  1. Nose to toe checks

By performing simple health checks regularly, you’ll be able to tell when we’re a bit off colour and if veterinary assistance is needed. Starting from the nose and working towards our toes, check for: dry noses or nasal discharge, red/weepy eyes, loose teeth, inflamed gums, and any lumps and bumps on our body. Next, look for red dots (a sign of fleas!), dry/flaky skin, and any sneaky ticks. Finish off by checking for any swollen joints and monitoring our toenail length.

  1. Get physical

Just like you, us pets need to stay active, not only to keep our waistlines trim but to help us manage conditions like arthritis as we age. Don’t worry, 24km half marathons aren’t needed! You can start us off with 15-20 minutes and work towards 30-40 minutes, 4 times per week of ball throwing, jogging, walking or even swimming, which is gentle on bones and joints.

  1. Protect against creepy crawlies

There’s a lot of little fellas’ out there trying to latch onto our coats for a free feast! These fleas and ticks can cause pretty nasty health consequences, so it’s important that at the first sign of excessive scratching, you perform a full body check, find a vet recommended flea treatment and use a gentle, sulphate-free flea wash for us. We also wouldn’t mind some scented candles sitting next to the bath…

  1. Keep those pearly whites sparkling

Our smile is our best asset, so keep an eye out for: inflamed gums (very red), wobbly teeth and brown tartar (spots) on our teeth. These can be a tad uncomfortable and indicate our oral health isn’t in its best form. Book us in for a clean with your vet, and look for some tasty oral-health chews that we can snack on to keep our chompers in good nick.

  1. Make it sulphate free!

Our skin is just as sensitive as yours. Sulphates are foaming agents that can dry us out and strip our skin of its natural oils, causing us to get itchy, flaky and very uncomfortable, so we prefer washes that are sulphate free.

  1. Clean our environment

To help keep pesky fleas and allergens away, regularly wash our beds (and that blanket you adore that we like to sneak a nap on when we think you’re not watching), as well as vacuuming floors and couches.

  1. Look after wounds

Any deep wounds that could become infected need to be checked out by a vet. But our smaller nicks and scratches can be looked after with Manuka Honey, an age old remedy that helps heal cuts, wounds and burns. Make sure to use medical-grade Manuka honey, which is sterilised and creates a barrier against contamination. We’ll resist the urge to lick it off!

  1. Ease aching bones and joints

Older dogs often have aching joints, so it’s important to ensure we’ve got a diet high in Omega-3’s to help reduce joint inflammation. You can keep it simple and find a great supplement powder to sprinkle on our food- we won’t even know you’ve done it, you sneaky thing!

  1. Clean our ears

If we’re shaking our heads, rubbing our ears against the floor, or have signs of blood blisters on our ear flaps, then we may have a build-up of wax and potential ear infection. Make sure you bring us to the vet for treatment! A gentle cleaning earwash can be used on weekly basis to prevent any nastiness from occurring.

  1. Give us a gutful!

It makes sense that if your diet is full of healthy bacteria, vitamins and minerals, ours should be too, right? We need plenty of good bacteria to help provide intestinal balance and prevent digestive dysfunction like diarrhoea. Minerals like magnesium can help support strong bones and teeth, and basic vitamins keep our health in tip-top shape.

  1. Keep us out of the cold!

We may be furry, but we still feel the winter chill and are susceptible to sniffles from time to time. Reduce our exposure to the cold during the winter months by giving us somewhere warm and dry to dwell, with a bed raised off the cold floor. Our tresses need a bit of TLC too – a nice conditioning spray will take care of dryness and dandruff (snow is meant for the snowfields only!)

Pawl B More 3_

ABOUT PAWL

I’m a Kelpie cross Border Collie and am 5 dog years (34 human years). I grew up on a farm in South Australia and my parents were grape farmers. I have finished a degree in Pet Health at the University of Australia and have been consulting since. I love anything outdoors but have really got into surfing down at Bondi Beach since moving to NSW. I am now working with Blackmores as the world’s first pet health expert “spokesdog” and look after the PAW by Blackmores advisory service called askpawl.com.au You can come see me any time and ask me questions on pet health & wellbeing and I’ll answer you with a video.
ABOUT PAW BY BLACKMORES

Pure Animal Wellbeing (PAW), is the natural pet healthcare range from Blackmores Animal Health division. The PAW by Blackmores range includes innovative, vet-recommended supplements and products to benefit pet health, including clinically proven products for joint, digestive, ear, wound and skin care and a grooming range free of nasty sulphates and chemicals. Developed by vets and inspired by nature for products specifically designed to keep your pets healthy and happy so they can enjoy the best of life.

Jx

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Mixed Berry and Millet Muffins

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Muffins can be savory or sweet and I have to say I prefer the latter.  After switching to a (mostly) gluten free diet these are a snack I am not able to enjoy all too often unless I make my own at home.  A mixture of almond meal and millet flour has been used as the base for these delightful morsels.  Millet is a small seeded grass that is naturally gluten free and millet flour is made by stone milling the hulled millet.  That’s it, no further processing.  High in protein and fiber, and high in B vitamins, magnesium and potassium, millet it is a welcome change from refined white flour.

I prefer my muffins made with creamy butter and milk, and of course choosing organic where possible so these are made with grass fed butter and Anchor Organic milk.  Warmed up with yoghurt these are a delightful treat everyone will love.  If you do not have mixed berries substitute with pear, apple or banana.

Mixed Berry and Millet Muffins
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast | Snack
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup millet flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup coconut nectar
  • 1 organic egg
  • ¾ cup Anchor Organic milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence.
  • 1 cup mixed berries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees fan bake. Grease muffin tin with baking paper or butter.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together almond meal, millet flour, salt and baking powder.
  3. In a separate medium bowl mix together butter, coconut nectar, egg, milk, and vanilla essence.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients together. Mix well and gently fold in the mixed berries.
  5. Divide mixture among prepared muffin cups. Bake muffins for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Enjoy! Lx

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Healthy and Delicious Food Workshop

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We are excited to announce that we will be holding our very first food workshop in Auckland on Sunday 2nd August. This is something that Libby and I have wanted to run for sometime so that we can share our favorite recipes, show people that healthy doesn’t mean boring and share our own personal food journey.

The class is 2 hours long and will be held at Auckland Seafood School. During the two hour class you can enjoy tasters of each recipe created and you will leave with recipe cards and a baking bag of goodies.

Ticket can be purchased through iTicket here > http://bit.ly/1NWWApr

We look forward to meeting you!

J&L x

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What does Organic truly mean?

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It’s no secret that New Zealanders love for organic food is on the rise and you know times are changing when mainstream brands like Anchor launches an organic range of its milk.  Not so long ago, consumers used to only be able to purchase organic food products in a health food store or at the local farmers markets; now there are whole aisles dedicated to organic products in the supermarket. Hurrah!

It’s always good to have an opinion and even better when it’s an informed one – while we know organic is good for us, could many of us actually define what truly ‘organic’ produce even means?

Essentially it means farmers use mainly the resources already on their farms. Organic means that what you are eating is in its purest form, no synthetic pesticides have been used, no antibiotics, no genetic modification. It does mean organic farmers have to work harder to sustain the health of soils, ecosystems and stock. This is because an organic production system is designed to increase soil biological activity, maintain soil fertility, enhance biological diversity within the whole system and recycle plant and animal waste (compost anyone?) in order to return nutrients back to the land.

“Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality for all life involved”

  • The International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements.

So what does it take to obtain organic certification in New Zealand?

At the moment in NZ, organic produce isn’t always strictly audited. So any certification is generally voluntary – but there are globally recognised certifying bodies like AsureQuality, which is government owned and a strict regulator e.g. under their organic certification, farms have to have converted to organic for a minimum of three years before being considered. They carry out annual audits to to renew and maintain organic certification.  That is no easy feat for organic farms and I imagine an expensive process.  Organic Farmers must have plans in place that would be invoked should there be a natural disaster or shortage of feed due to extreme weather conditions.  It doesn’t just stop at the farm though, it’s the whole process e.g. to be deemed organic, slaughtering of organic products and the processing of them cannot be contracted out to a party that is not organic certified themselves.

Why do we prefer organic?

To be certified, organic livestock farming must be free range, have access to pasture, open air exercise areas, open air runs, provide protection against rain, wind, sun and extreme temperatures and the maximum hours of artificial light must not exceed a maximum that respects the natural behavior of the animal.  For most people choosing organic is for ethical reasons, just as nature intended!

In reality, organic is not always the most affordable option and as milk is a staple in just about every household we applaud Anchor for stepping up their game and introducing relatively low cost certified organic milk to consumers with the bonus that it is available in supermarkets all around the country.  It’s giving consumers more choice. The Anchor Organic range also prides itself on traceability – the grass to glass story, as Anchor can trace any bottle of its organic milk back to the exact farm it has come from; I think this transparent journey is often a strong motivating factor for a lot of organic consumers when they make purchases as I know it is for myself personally. This way you know that what you are eating/drinking/wearing is produced in a way that benefits the land and animal – you can’t get much better than that!

Jx

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Quinoa Porridge

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Creamy warm porridge during Winter is the ultimate breakfast comfort food and a fantastic way to start the morning off.  Traditionally porridge is made with oats but after spotting quinoa flakes I decided to try them out.  Quinoa flakes are a gluten free grain that cook very quickly.  Being a complete protein they are superior to oats when it comes to nutritional value and 100 grams of the flakes contain over 14 gams of protein.

With the launch of Anchor Organic milk I went and purchased myself some full fat (blue top) to cook the quinoa flakes in.  It tastes the same as regular milk but knowing that it is produced using sustainable farming methods makes it all that much sweeter.  With organic foods being on trend brands can sell their products are a premium, and sometimes rightly so – the cost to produce organic food is more expensive for the farmer especially when it comes to production of dairy.

Serves 1

Ingredients

Porridge:
1 cup quinoa flakes
1 cup Anchor Organic Milk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch sea salt

Toppings:
1 cup mixed berries
2 tablespoons manuka honey
1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped.
1/4 cup coconut chips or desiccated coconut

Topping ideas: 
peanut butter, banana, yoghurt, chia seeds, seeds and nuts.

Method

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a boil. When the milk boils turn the heat down to low and stir in the sea salt and quinoa flakes.  Stir occasionally for 3 to 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and place aside.
2. Let the porridge sit for 3 minutes and stir making sure it is think and creamy.
3. Place the porridge into a serving bowl and top with manuka honey, walnuts, mixed berries and coconut chips.

Lx

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Low Carb Tacos

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Serves 3-4 people

Ingredients

600 grams organic chicken breast, cut into small pieces
1 cup quinoa
1 brown onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup cherry tomato’s, chopped into cubes
1 small cos lettuce, leaves removed
2 avocados, halved, pip removed and sliced horizontal into strips.
1/3 cucumber, cut into small cubes
Juice of lime or lemons
Pepper

Method

1. Place the quinoa along with 2 1/2 cups of water into a pot and cook on a medium heat for 15 minutes.  Set aside in a bowl.
2. Heat a pan over medium heat, add a dash of oil and simmer the onion and garlic for 2 minutes.  Add the chicken, paprika, cumin, chili powder and oregano. Cook for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Take off the stove and add to the bowl of quinoa, mix well.
3. Place  a large spoonful of the chicken and quinoa mixture into each lettuce cup.  Sprinkle cucumber and tomato over along with the avocado.  Drizzle with lime or lemon juice and garnish with cracked pepper.

Enjoy. J&L x

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Creamy Chocolate Mousse

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Lib and I first made this recipe a few years ago with the inclusion of peanut butter.  It’s hard to believe that the main ingredient is avocado! The mousse is a perfect substitute for traditional dairy mousse, it is so creamy, thick and rich in chocolate flavour.  A great topping for cakes instead of frosting, spoon onto slices of banana or have by itself after dinner.

This recipe we have not used a lot of cacao as it can be quite biter and everyone has a different taste preference, so adjust with extra rice malt (any liquid sweeter will do) or add extra cacao if you like its strong taste.

Serves 2-4

Ingredients

2 ripe avocados
½ cup coconut cream
¼ cup cacao powder
¼ cup rice malt syrup
1 pinch of salt

Method

  1. Place all ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth and creamy.
  2. Serve straight away or store in a refrigerator for an hour before serving if you want it extra thick. Store mousse in an airtight container in the fridge.

Jx

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Chili, Ginger and Garlic Cabbage

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My best friend’s father Michael first cooked me this dish, many years ago.  I had never tried cabbage before (I had always thought it smelt a bit funny) but as soon as I ate this, I was hooked.  This is now one of my favorite meals, it’s also the cheapest – read the ingredients list to see why.  Super tasty, full of flavor, low carb, low fat, no fuss and you can whip it up from wo to go in 10 minutes.

Ingredients:

½ a head of cabbage
400 grams of organic chicken
½ cup of cooked black rice (or brown)
2 tsp of ginger, grated
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 fresh red chili, finely sliced.
1 Tbsp of Sesame Oil
2 Tbsp of Tamari
1 tsp of Coconut Oil 

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Method:

  1. Cut chicken into small cubes and fry in a wok using coconut oil on medium heat until chicken is cooked through. Set chicken aside in a bowl.
  2. Place ginger, garlic, chili into a wok on a low heat and gently fry.
  3. Cut the cabbage into square like pieces, nothing too small or it will wilt and go soggy. Place into the wok with garlic, ginger and chili.
  4. Add sesame oil and tamari, stir through so that the sauce is covering the cabbage. Place lid on wok – this will allow the heat to gently steam the cabbage making it soft.  Occasionally stir.
  5. Once cooked combine with chicken and rice.

Jx

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