Q&A with Little Bird Organics
You were one of the first raw cafes to open in Auckland, what made you want to make this move?
I had this pipedream of opening a wholefoods café and product line since I was in my early 20s - but it wasn’t until I suffered serious illness that I got into raw foods and experienced first-hand how much of a difference adding more raw foods into your diet could impact your health. The café was a space I could bring together all my passions - health, organics, environment and food and I thought Auckland needed something like this. I also really wanted somewhere I could eat everything.
I opened the café to give people an experience of what this type of food could be and to inspire them to do more of this at home – hoping to subtly change the way people eat and think about food one meal at a time.
Where do you get your food inspiration from?
Lots of my original food inspiration came from travelling and the different guests that would stay with us when I was a young. Being gluten free and dairy free most of my life I have always orientated towards food from cultures that don’t often use those ingredients like SE Asian, Japanese and Indian food. But I don’t have a lot of time for travelling now so I mostly get any new inspiration from the produce and ingredients available as well as new cookbooks and pintrest.
Can you share with us your favourite recipe/image?
This is such a yummy fresh recipe – it’s one we made for our Unbakery App. I love using any kind of green leaf as a wrap for things, rather than replacing with a gluten free bread alternative which don’t often taste very good and compete with the delicious flavours in the food (see below).
Do you think the amount of people eating wholefood has increased over the last few years? if so, what do you think the reasoning behind this is?
Yes it definitely has increased a lot over the past few years, which is awesome. People are much more open to the idea that the quality of your food affects the quality of your life. I think it’s a combination of people finding dissatisfaction in the conventional approaches to health and wellbeing as well as the abundance of science that is coming out that backs up almost everything the alternative health community has been saying for a long time.
Also if you think about it - it’s just common-sense, fuelling yourself with good quality wholefoods as nature intended is probably going to give you a better quality of life.
What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty is a reflection of how good you feel, physically, mentally and emotionally. There is nothing more beautiful than someone who is grounded and confident in themselves and is willing to share that with an open heart.
What are three words you live by?
Feel, Trust, Try
RECIPE: Thai rolls with papaya, herbs and a spicy thai dipping sauce
This dish has a few components that you need to prepare ahead, but once they’re made they’ll store in the pantry for many weeks and the rest of the dish is simple to put together.
The dipping sauce is deliciously moorish and can also be used as a dressing for a creamy Thai slaw.
I usually account for 3-4 spring rolls per portion with dipping sauce on the side as a small lunch or entrée, but they make a fantastic party finger food as well – who doesn’t love a summer roll!
Make time 40 min
Makes aprox 16- 20 small spring rolls
4 large heads of bok choy
1/2 packet kelp noodles (we use Sea Tangle brand)
½ tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon grass (grated)
6 tablespoons tamari
1 telegraph cucumber
1 medium carrot
2 cups bean sprouts
1 ripe papaya
Handful of fresh mint roughly torn or chopped
Handful of fresh coriander roughly torn or chopped
Handful of Thai basil roughly torn or chopped
Handful fresh chives
1/2 cup cashews, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons raw almond butter or 1/4 cup almonds (soaked for 12 hours)
1/4 cup cashews (soaked 2 hours)
1 Clove garlic, crushed & chopped
1 Tbsp ginger chopped
1 kaffir lime leaf
1 Thai red chilli, seeds removed & finely chopped (or 1-2 tsp. dried red chili flakes – depending on how hot your chillies are)
1 ½ tablespoons Tamari
4 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
1 tablespoon Brown Rice Vinegar
2 tablespoons coconut sugar or 1 medjool date
1/4 – 1/2 cup water
Pinch of salt
Optional - 2 tablespoons of tamarind water
Wash the kelp noodles well in a sieve. Mix with the tamari and leave to marinate for 30 mins until they become soft. Strain off some of the tamari, then add the sesame oil and grated lemongrass to the noodles, lightly toss and set aside.
Cut the very end of the base of the bok choy and separate all the leaves – you will only use the larger outer leaves that are able to be rolled, some of the inner ones will be too small.
Place the leaves you are using in a bowl. Cover with hot water until the leaves become pliable then submerge immediately in ice water. You don’t want to cook them so work quickly – they should still be a vibrant green colour – that’s where all the goodness and flavour is so don’t leave them in the hot water for long.
Prepare the vegetables by julienning the carrots and cucumber finely on a mandolin. To prepare the papaya remove the outer skin with a sharp knife, then cut in half and remove the seeds with a spoon then cut into batons around 1cm x 8cm. You may have some extra papaya left over, save it for breakfast or snack away while you’re cooking.
To assemble lay out the bok choy leaves so that the base is closest to you and the inside of the leaf is facing up.
Place a small amount of the carrot, cucumber and bean sprouts at the top of the base portion of the bok choy leaf. Add aprox tablespoon of kelp noodles, and a papaya baton along with a couple of leaves of each herb and a sprinkle of crushed cashews.
Roll the base part of the bok choy leaf over the filling, tuck it into the rest of the leaf and roll it up tightly.
For the soaked nuts you will need to rinse well before using in a sieve.
In a blender, combine almond butter or almonds with cashews, ginger, garlic, chili, tamari, and lemon or juice. Add 1/4 c. of water and blend well. You may need to add more water (add a little at a time) to get this to a consistency that is similar to mayonnaise, make sure it is not to runny or the flavours will be watered down.
Dipping sauce will store in the fridge for 4-5 days.
Use up any leftover dipping sauce tossed through some noodles or poured over a simple salad for a burst of flavour.