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Making vegetables the 'heroes' of your diet

Whole Food Slow Cooked author Olivia Andrews has written over 120 recipes designed to get families enjoying more vegetable-based dishes while keeping meat-eaters happy and healthy . . .

Olivia Andrews is on a mission to get people eating more vegetables. Dubbed the new flexitarianism, she suggests people make vegetables the ‘hero’ of their diet and move meat to the side of the plate without cutting it out.

Olivia is the culinary director for meal-kit delivery service Marley Spoon in Australia and an ambassador for Nutrition Australia’s Tryfor5 campaign. She is kept busy as a food writer, recipe developer and food stylist.

She is the author of the internationally bestselling books Whole Food Slow Cooked and Healthy Thermo Cooking for Busy Families. Olivia has also worked for Feast magazine and MasterChef.

Amen for my ramenTonkotsu ramen is well known for its very long simmering of pork bones, breaking down the collagen, marrow and fat, turning the stock creamy, rich and white. This version contains quite a few ingredients that give you that pop of ‘umami’ savouriness: mushrooms, kombu dashi, miso paste, soy sauce, tomatoes. It has only half the calories of a traditional tonkotsu ramen, is low in saturated fat, and is ready in a fraction of the time. For a vegan ramen, omit the boiled eggs.


4 × 4g (? oz) sachets of kombu dashi powder

4 large dried shiitake mushrooms

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil, rice bran oil, or even light olive oil

2 onions, coarsely chopped

1 carrot, coarsely chopped

4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

4cm (1½ inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

120g (4oz) white miso paste (about 5 tablespoons)

90ml (3 floz) mirin

4 roma tomatoes, halved lengthways

4 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste or tahini

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 tablespoons cooking sake

4 tablespoons soy sauce

300g (10½ oz) dried ramen noodles, or 500g (1lb 2oz) fresh noodles


2 soft-boiled eggs, shelled and cut in half

1 nori sheet, cut into 4 squares, or seaweed snacks

Sesame salt

Thinly sliced spring onion (scallion)

To make a dashi stock from scratch, soak some dried kombu seaweed with the dried shiitake mushrooms in 4 cups (1 litre) water for 1 hour


• Put the kombu dashi and dried mushrooms in a large heatproof jug. Add 4 cups (1 litre) boiling water, stirring to dissolve the dashi powder. Cover and set aside for at least 30 minutes to soften the mushrooms, then discard the woody stems.

• Heat the oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the onion, carrot, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, for 3–5 minutes, or until the onion is charred and deep golden.

• Reduce the heat to medium and add the kombu stock and mushrooms, adding 6 cups (1.5 litres) water to make up 10 cups (2.5 litres). Bring the broth to just below a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 45 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.

• Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a small baking tray with baking paper. Combine 1 tablespoon of the miso paste and 2 teaspoons of the mirin in a small bowl. Rub the mixture over the cut side of the tomatoes, then place the tomatoes on the baking tray and roast on the middle shelf of the oven for 30 minutes, or until dried out slightly, lightly caramelised and softened.

• In a bowl, mix together the remaining miso paste and mirin, the sesame paste, vinegar, sake and soy sauce. Strain the soup mixture through a fine sieve, reserving the mushrooms, and discarding the remaining ingredients. Return the broth to the pan with the sesame paste mixture and mushrooms. Bring to just below a simmer over medium–low heat, then reduce the heat to low and keep warm for 20 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.

• Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and cook the noodles according to the packet instructions.

• Divide the noodles, broth and mushrooms among four serving bowls. Top with the roasted tomatoes, boiled eggs and nori, sprinkle with the sesame salt and spring onion and serve immediately.

• Serves 4.

Three Veg and Meat: Flip The Balance on Your PlatePublished by Murdoch BooksRRP: $45.00
Tonkotsu ramen.