Monthly Archives: February 2015

Food is our medicine: Turmeric

Indian Turmeric Abstract“Medicines derived from plants have played a pivotal role in the health care of both ancient and modern cultures,” says the WHO. One of the prime sources of plant-derived medicines is spices. Turmeric, for example, has been consumed over the centuries around the world.

Turmeric is the dried powdered root stalks of the turmeric plant—a member of the ginger family—from which the orangey-yellow pigment curcumin can be extracted. The spice turmeric is what makes curry powder yellow, and curcumin is what makes turmeric yellow. Because it is so drying and heating in the body, turmeric needs to be used judiciously – one part turmeric to 6 parts cumin, fennel or especially coriander, which are cooling.

This article in Autumn Leaves explains why turmeric is important and when it can be beneficial.


The Blue Bird sings – and for longer hours

BlueBird extThere’s a shortage of Kiwi-fare vege cafes open for dining in the evenings, especially on Saturday nights. So I was delighted to hear last week that Dominion Road’s The Blue Bird is now opening to 9pm on several weekday evenings and trialling a later time open on Saturdays until 9pm – at least for now. Whether they continue these later hours will depend on how busy they become.

Sometimes what you want in a meal is really good quality comfort food. Something tasty but not too spicy, filling but not heavy. At The Blue Bird, whether you’re vegan, lacto-vegetarian, vegetarian, or gluten-free, they cover all the bases.

Blue Bird interiorIn addition to their standard menu – and their tofu burger is the best in town – they have a cabinet with a changing array of hot and cold foods, cakes and sweets, all made in house. (Including the focaccia bread for the tofu burger, and yes they do a gluten-free version). I have shared a slice of their pineapple and coconut cake with a friend and we found it delicious, especially when the sweetness was balanced with a little plain yoghurt. Their coffee is excellent.

Early on this hot February evening I enjoyed a generous serving of Hazelnut Loaf, made with lentils, herbs and rice flour bread and served with their own tomato and onion sauce($9.50). Vegan and gluten-free, it was truly comfort food. I could have added a side of Roast Vege Salad or Thai Ginger Slaw, but in fact would have liked a crisp light green salad to add a little crunchy summertime perfection.

Blueberrycheescake-BlueBirdThe Loaf was filling but the Blueberry Cheesecake looked irresistible, so I took a slice home ($6.20). Egg free and gluten free, it was nevertheless a real cheesecake, complete with sweet biscuit base and tangy/sweet blueberry glaze, to which I added a little plain yoghurt. And it wasn’t overly rich, as are many of the raw food cheesecakes being made with ground almonds and/or cashews and coconut oil.

The cafe is open from 8am Monday to Saturday. It closes at 3pm Monday and Wednesday and is open until 9pm on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Saturday evening bookings are recommended if possible to assist. You’ll find the menu on their website

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