Maggie hones in on health
MAGGIE Beer is a purveyor of flavour and culinary delights, and one of Australia’s most well-known food personalities. I must profess an absolute weakness for her burnt fig, honeycomb and caramel ice-cream; and her Pheasant Farm pate is a must for any antipasto spread. So when I saw her latest cookbook offering, I was quick to put my hand up to review.
Her latest book offer is not just a collection of recipes, it is a recipe for life.
After being named the Senior Australian of the Year in 2010, Maggie met Alzheimer’s researcher Professor Ralph Martins and they bonded over a love of food. Martins advocated for good food, exercise and mental stimulation, and how those three things can stave off the devastating effects of dementia.
Martins and Beer teaming up and sharing their passion for food and a healthy lifestyle was always going to be a winning combination – like lime and mint or, as the cliche goes, peanut butter and jelly.
The book starts with easy to digest information about Alzheimer’s (did you know that by the age of 85, the average Australian has a 40% chance of showing signs of dementia?), and looks at cultures around the world that have the best longevity and quality of life among its senior citizens, plus the building blocks that make a healthy diet.
What follows is 200 recipes from breakfast to dessert that combine these principles in gorgeous-looking meals.
I’m a sucker for a good cookbook. I drool over the pictures, read the recipes and introductions, and then plan when I’m going to carve out time in the kitchen to test them.
From Maggie’s Recipe for Life I selected the mango, lime and coconut sago pudding. It combines flavours that I love – mango, mint, lime and toasted coconut. I’ve never eaten or cooked with sago before, but the picture made it look amazing and I was up for the challenge.
Turns out the biggest challenge in making this recipe was finding sago. I looked in two local supermarkets and couldn’t find any. In one I found a packet that said “tapioca seeds (sago)” on it. I even stood in the aisle of one googling “the difference between tapioca and sago” (answer: they come from different plants). Tapioca seeds were going to have to do.
It was simple to make and tasted great. It even looked like the picture in the book, which is always a win.
Maggie Beer’s latest cookbook has a focus on recipes to promote good health.