In recent years we’ve come to realise that the gut is pivotal to a healthy metabolism, a healthy brain and a healthy immune system.
The explosion of scientific research in this field — with CSIRO at the forefront — has also led to the discovery that feeding our gut bacteria with a particular type of fibre called resistant starch is a major piece in the gut health puzzle.
This book provides information on how the gut functions and what can go wrong, along with advice and lots of delicious recipes that are high in fibre and resistant starch.
Following is one of the recipes:
CHEAT’S CHICKEN PAELLA
Preparation 20 minutes, plus standing time; Cooking 45 minutes, plus rice cooking time
olive oil spray, for cooking
600g chicken breast or thigh fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 large red capsicum, seeded, 1⁄2 finely chopped and 1⁄2 thinly sliced 1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 1⁄2 cups (375ml) salt-reduced tomato passata
pinch of saffron threads, soaked in 2 Tbsp boiling water for 10 minutes 150g broad beans
1 1⁄2 cups (180g) frozen peas
150g green beans, trimmed
1 cup (185g) cooked basmati rice 2 cups mixed salad leaves lemon wedges, to serve
Heat a heavy-based frying pan with a lid over medium heat and spray with olive oil. Add the chicken and cook, stirring for 4-5 minutes until browned all over. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Spray the pan with a little more olive oil, then add the onion, chopped capsicum and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in the paprika and cook for 30 seconds. Add the passata and bring to a simmer. Stir in the saffron mixture, chicken and 125ml water and bring to the boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
Preheat the oven grill to high. Line a baking tray with foil, top with the sliced capsicum and grill for 5 minutes or until softened and the skin is slightly charred.
Cook the broad beans in a small saucepan of simmering water for 3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon, run under cold water and double-peel. Add the peas to the pan of simmering water and cook for 3 minutes or until tender. Drain. Cook the beans in a saucepan of simmering water for 4 minutes or until tender but a little crisp. Add the capsicum, broad beans, peas and beans to the chicken mixture.
Divide the rice among 4 plates or bowls, top each bowl with one quarter of the chicken and vegetable mixture and serve immediately with the salad leaves and lemon wedges to the side.
11g fibre per serve; good source of resistant starch.
— Serves 4
CORIANDER AND LIMEMARINATED STEAK WITH LENTIL, QUINOA AND WATERCRESS SALAD
Preparation 25 minutes, plus 20 minutes marinating and 10 minutes cooling time; cooking 30 minutes
1⁄4 cup (60g) lactose-free natural yoghurt
600g rump steak, all visible fat removed, cut into 2cm cubes
2 tsp tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) olive oil spray, for cooking
Coriander and lime marinade
1 stick celery, chopped
2 spring onions (green tops only), roughly chopped handful coriander leaves
1 fresh long red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
Lentil, quinoa and watercress salad
1⁄2 cup (100g) tri-colour quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 red capsicums, seeded and cut into quarters
200g tinned salt-reduced lentils, drained and rinsed
150g watercress sprigs
2 zucchini, sliced into rounds 200g salt-reduced feta, crumbled small handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
To make the marinade, place all the ingredients in a blender and blend briefly until a coarse, chunky puree forms. Place 1⁄4 cup (60ml) of the puree in a small bowl, then stir in the yoghurt and mix until well combined. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate until required.
Transfer the remaining marinade to a large bowl and add the beef.
Add the tamari and stir to coat well. Cover with plastic film and marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
To make the salad, place the quinoa in a small heavy-based saucepan and cover with 1 cup (250ml) water. Bring to the boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 10-12 minutes until most of the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Drain, if necessary, then transfer to a bowl and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven grill to high. Place the capsicum, skin-side up, on a baking tray lined with foil, then grill for 8-10 minutes until softened and charred. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic film and leave to stand for 10 minutes, then peel off the skin and finely chop the flesh.
Add the capsicum to the bowl of quinoa, then add the lentils, watercress, zucchini, feta, coriander, lime juice and olive oil and season to taste.
Just before serving, heat a heavybased frying pan over high heat, then spray with olive oil. Working in batches, add the steak and sear for 2 minutes on each side for medium — rare or until cooked to your liking. Divide the steak evenly among 4 plates and serve with the quinoa salad and yoghurt sauce.
— Serves 4
11g fibre per serve; low fodmap; good source of resistant starch
ABOVE LEFT: The CSIRO Healthy Gut Diet, by Pennie Taylor and Michael Conlon, MacMillan, $39; ABOVE RIGHT: Coriander and lime-marinated steak; TOP: Cheat’s Chicken Paella.