The amazing Dr Libby Weaver and Chef Cynthia
When Libby and I received an invite to the launch of Dr Libby's new book, Real Food Chef, we were very excited. Dr Libby's PR darling Imogen had seen our blog and thought that the book was something we would love - she was more than right. This is Dr Libby's third book and her first two were New Zealand number one best sellers so we knew we were in for a treat. Dr Libby has teamed up with Australia's leading organic whole-food chef, Cynthia Louise to create a cooking system based on increasing the amount of plant food and greens in your everyday eating.
Real Food Chef is based around recipes using whole food or ‘low human intervention foods’, the way it comes in nature. Libby and Cynthia have put together meals that are simple, easy to make, no fuss and family friendly. They don’t involve crock pots or hours slaving over the stove. Who has time for that?
Lib (my sister) is studying Holistic Nutrition and that is just one of the many things Dr Libby specialises in so Libby looks up to her and follows what she does closely. I have known about Dr Libby for a few years and love how she is an advocate of clean living. Dr Libby's mission statement is "To educate and inspire people, improving their health and happiness, and through that process, create a ripple effect that transforms the world", and you only have to meet her to see that she lives and breathes this.
On a chilly Tuesday night Libby and I made our way down to the Seafood School at the Auckland Fish Markets for the launch. It was a small intimate group, only 50 of us. A few familiar faces with the likes of Body Beautiful’s Casey Green, Aja Rock and NZ’s Hottest Home Baker host Colin Mathura-Jeffree. Once there we were ushered into the classroom, all very excited, big smiles on our faces in anticipation of what exactly we were going to be shown.
Dr Libby (on the left) and Chef Cynthia.
Chris, Dr Libby’s husband, was standing at the front of the room and introduced us to Libby and Chef Cynthia. Chris gave a bit of background info on how the book came about and what the night would involve. As soon as Chris said we would be sampling some of the dishes my mouth started watering - have you seen that berry cheesecake on the front cover of the book?
Dr Libby is one of those people who makes you feel good about yourself, she is always smiling, its infectious. Chef Cynthia is gorgeous, with long caramel locks and an amazing tan from living and working in Bali. The two of them are a good looking team and feed off each other’s energy. They met at a health retreat in Queensland where Cynthia was a chef and Libby was setting up the wellness curriculum. They used to spend hours in the kitchen talking about health and food and cooking and have remained friends for years and years. All I could do was sit there and smile in awe of what they were saying. Their words of wisdom and expert knowledge in a range of topics left me feeling inspired and wanting to know more.
First up Cynthia made three different smoothies, using spinach, coconut water, banana, chocolate and berries. They were delicious! Cynthia has been drinking green smoothies daily for fifteen years (maybe that's where she gets her glow from?). We sampled San Choy Bow which is a mixture of quinoa, chickpeas, mushrooms, ginger, chilli, kaffir lime leaves and lots of other delights.
San Choy Bow
Coconut Mint and Coriander Raita – this was one of my favourites, made using flesh from coconuts, herbs, diced vegetables. The base is coconut yoghurt that was made from scratch and can be sweetened to make a breakfast yoghurt, you can freeze it (pretty much everything Cynthia made for us could be frozen), use it as a dip or serve with just about any main.
Coconut Mint and Coriander Raita
One of the highlights for me was being introduced to Kelp Noodles – made from brown seaweed. They contain high amounts of iodine which our body needs and are a low calorie, gluten free alternative to pasta. The best part, you don’t need to cook them. Hallelujah! These are definitely going to become a staple part of my diet. All of the dishes that Cynthia cooked were done so by heating the pan with macadamia nut oil, Dr Libby also recommended the use of coconut oil for cooking. A block of cacao butter was passed around, it smelt divine. It is chocolate in its rawest form and Cynthia uses this instead of your more traditional chocolate which is laden with refined sugar. Macadamia Nut Pesto and Raw Satay Sauce were also sampled, if you have a Vita Mix these can be made in about two minutes.
Another highlight was watching Cynthia make the White Chocolate and Blueberry Cake, no word of a lie it took her less than 20 minutes.
White Chocolate and Blueberry Cake
When the samples came out we all had to wipe the drool away from our mouths. The White Chocolate and Blueberry Cake is hands down one of the most incredible foods to have ever passed my lips. Knowing that it is made from foods that are nutritious for me made it just that much better. Dr Libby said that the base can be eaten for breakfast... yes please!
As well as specialising in Holistic Nutrition Dr Libby also has a Ph.D in Bio Chemistry and completed her Ph.D examining biochemical and nutritional factors in children with autism at The University of Newcastle, Australia – impressive right? Along with nutritional information Libby was also able to give us an insight into processes and how your body works and reacts when certain foods are eaten.
The whole night was such an enjoyable experience and we had a little Oprah moment at the end when we were gifted a copy of the book. Every single dish we tried was wonderful, the textures and flavours were amazing. Each dish looked exquisite. The little tips and tricks I learnt that night from Dr Libby and Cynthia will stay with me forever.
I cannot recommend the purchase of this book enough, such a treasure to have and a beautiful gift (we purchased one for our Mum). Real Food Chef is filled with recipes, beautiful images, quotes to inspire and food education. No matter where in the world you live you can get your hands on a book via Dr Libby's website here.