December 31, 2011

New Year's Menu

Another year has come to an end – and what a year!! 

It’s been an incredible year, highlighted by a career change, an engagement and a new home. After 6 years in Australia, I am finally starting to feel at home here, and I have finally found my place.

Towards the end of 2011, I took some radical steps towards even a healthier, happier future.  I went back to being a vegetarian (which I’ve been for the past 10 years on and off), I quit sugar (you can read about it here) and dairy, I changed my exercise to be more holistic and gentle, and had a clean start in our new home after ditching most chemicals (you can read more about it here) used in our daily cleaning and beauty routines. All of this, I’m sure, will have even greater benefits in the long run.

I am looking forward to continuing on this clean path in the New Year. I will strive to be even more mindful about my surroundings, the environment and my impact on it. I will make every effort to have a natural approach in all areas of my life – from mindful consuming and chemical-free cleaning to eating clean and locally. 

There will be some changes and challenges I am looking forward to in 2012. We are, as most of you know, getting married in a few months' time and planning a wedding (although a small and modest one) is at the same time exciting and somewhat stressful. I am also taking up a personal challenge by going back to 'school' for one year. I will share more details about this later, but I am beyond excited to begin my studies.

Here is my menu for this New Year's celebrations. It's a celebration of seasonal produce and clean and fresh flavours. I've taken a couple of my old favourites and added the delicious open sandwiches on to the menu. Enjoy!

I wish you all a happy, healthy and beautiful year ahead!

New Year's Open Sandwiches

Sweet Potato Flatbread

250g cooked and mashed sweet potato
100-125ml almond milk (recipe here)
150g wholegrain spelt flour
1 egg (free-range, organic)
pinch of sea salt

Grilled Vegetables

1 eggplant, sliced crossways
2 zucchinis, sliced
3 tomatoes, sliced
olive oil, for brushing

Rosemary Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
pinch of sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Preaheat oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

2. Mix the mashed sweet potato with almond milk to a mixture that resembles loose mashed potato. Add the flour, egg and salt in to the mixture. You should have a soft dough (the softer dough, the softer bread). Knead the dough lightly (just enough to mix all ingredients well) and turn the dough on the baking tray. Dust your fingers in some extra flour and spread the dough on the tray (about 1-2 cm thick). 

3. Baked for about 20 minutes or until the bread feels firm to touch and has brown spots on top. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

4. Heat a grill pan and lightly brush the sliced vegetables with olive oil. Cook all vegetables (in batches) for 2-3 minutes each side. 

5. Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a bowl and drizzle the vinaigrette on top of the cooked vegetables. 

6. Cut the flat bread in squares and top with grilled vegetables. Serve warm.

I am planning to serve these with a green soup like this one.

And these stuffed capsicums will make a lovely main course for the New Year's Menu


  1. Lovely dishes! So colorful and refined.

    Best wishes for 2012! May the new year bring you joy and happiness.



  2. Happy new year Maria! Have a lovely, clean & healthy 2012!

  3. Maria, sounds like an incredible year! Your steps to be even healthier and cleaner are very inspiring. Love the link to the green cleaning. Even though we use green cleaning products, it makes much more sense to use things you find in the pantry. I MUST try the sweet potato flatbread. Thinking that would be the perfect crust for a veggie-packed pizza at our New Year's party tomorrow. Happy New Year to you!

  4. Happy New Year Maria! Lovely menu!

  5. Beautiful menu and pics as usual! Congrats on the eventful year and best wishes for a happy and delicious 2012!

  6. Beautiful! Your flatbread is something I will certainly be trying out soon -- so versatile and pretty!

  7. happy new year Maria! hope you have a wonderful new years xx

  8. Tuolla tavalla summarynä se kuulostaa tosiaan valtavalta muutokselta mitä kaikkea olet viime vuonna päättänyt muuttaa :D Way to go!! Tuossa olisi meille kaikille paljon esimerkkiä! Olen aktiivinen kemikaalicoctail-blogin lukija ja nuo asiat ovat kyllä minuakin mietityttäneet mutta en ole saanut tehtyä mitään radikaalia tuolla saralla. Menestystä uuteen vuoteen, toivottavasti olet yhtä aktiivisena blogimaailmassakin :)

  9. I am a vegetarian also. Cutting out sugar completely - that is a big, brave step!
    I wish you health and happiness in the year to come.

  10. Maria, I do hope to have you there as my role model, in more ways than one, in 2012! No, personally I am not aiming for vegetarianism, but want to be more in that direction! In all other ways I am 100% with you, so hope to be kept on the straight and narrow :) ! I DO hope you and your partner will have a supremely happy and successful year!

  11. gorgeous food maria, it will be a truly delicious New Year. I love that you're sharing just how delicious sugar free can be and sharing your journey with others. may 2012 be all you hope for.

  12. All looks delicious, enjoy your feats and happy New Year

  13. Your sweet potato flatbread open sandwiches look amazing!!!

    I'd love for you to submit your delicious recipe to Vegolicious, a food photo gallery of the best vegetarian recipes on the web. You can submit your entry here

  14. Happy New Years to you!! Love how colorful your choices are!

  15. These are all so beautiful! Cheers to a happy, healthy 2012! One of my resolutions is to meet fellow bloggers/foodies in person. Perhaps one day soon I will venture out to Australia to visit my family and, while I'm at it, have the pleasure of meeting you :).

  16. This looks great. Doesn't apple cider vinegar/all vinegar count as sugar? I am sugar free and have been avoiding it, but maybe I can include it.

  17. Hi Tana,

    ACV has 0.4g of sugar per 100g, so it's pretty safe to use :-) Brown rice vinegar is also a good alternative. The only one (as far as I know) to avoid is balsamic vinegar which is heavier in sugar.


  18. Happy New Year :) What a beautiful vibrant menu :)

  19. I like your sweet potato flatbread. I'll try that recipe!


Thank you for your comment!