Mag­gie hones in on health

The Daily Examiner - - TASTE - — Vanessa Horstman

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.

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