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Caralee Fontenele

The Gold Coast lawyer turned cookbook author's new book, Nourishing You.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I have been lucky enough to be a Gold Coast resident since 2003. This is where I have raised my kids, created my career and business and I could not be happier to now be a Gold Coaster, even if I do still have a slight kiwi accent.

What do you love most about living here?
Of course, I love the beaches and lifestyle, but the biggest thing that I’ve come to love and appreciate is the incredible community we have on the Gold Coast. Especially now, as these weeks unfold, it is amazing to be part of such a generous and supportive business community.

Tell us about your new cookbook, Nourishing You…
I was invited to be part of a campaign in Queensland called Dancing CEO’s to raise awareness and funds for domestic violence. The commitment to raise funds is large, so I got my thinking cap on and came up with the idea to create a third cookbook where I could donate the pre-sale proceeds to the campaign. I wanted to tie the theme of the book into issues that busy women have. Particularly that as women, we tend to place our own nourishment at the bottom of our priority list. As a lawyer running a medium-sized law practice in a difficult area of law, separation and divorce, I see all too often how women put their own needs last. We simply cannot pour from an empty cup to nourish our minds, bodies and spirits, we need to have more fuel in the tank for ourselves and our families.

Nourishing You has a focus not only on the foods that we eat to nourish ourselves but also elements of how to nourish your mind, body and spirit. I share lots of tips and strategies on how to carve out time, so that you can make your own nourishment a priority. There are also 100 amazing gluten, dairy and refined sugar-free recipes, that are made with real ingredients. The recipes are different because I am a busy mother and lawyer, rather than a chef so my recipes are simple, using easy to source everyday ingredients. My favourite chapter is called, ‘better than take-aways’. This is where I share recipes of take-away favourites that you can cook at home in less than 20 minutes. Things like healthy versions of pad thai, butter chicken, fish tacos or green curry. Perfect now in times when we are needing to be cooking more at home. More than ever, we need to be nourishing ourselves and getting back to the basics of life.

What are some of the most nourishing foods we should be eating right now?
Right now, more than ever before, we need to be looking after our wellbeing both physically and mentally. Along with eating loads of real foods including lots of veggies, we also need to be feeding our minds with positivity, moving our bodies even if it is in front of a youtube dance or yoga class and being out in nature when we can. In terms of foods, with extra time at home, we can get back to the basics of life, focus on home cooking using real ingredients.

Can you talk to us about some of the quickest, easiest recipes available in your book?
The book has tons of recipes for breakfast that are vegetable loaded. There are soups made from simple, humble ingredients that are nutritious and super tasty. Salad bowls for lunches or main meals, again with simple but delicious combinations of ingredients. I show you how to make an at-home salad bar so that creating bowls is a breeze. For dinner, there is a chapter full of dishes that are better than take-away and include all of your favourite dishes that you normally order, but I show how they can be made in less time and for a fraction of the cost. Of course, no recipe book is complete without sweet treats. Many of the sweets have hidden veggies in them such as the Zucchini Brownies and Spiced Carrot Cake Balls.

What is the process of creating a cookbook?
It is quite the process and commitment, but it is fun and creative which is the part that I enjoy! I lay out what each chapter in the book will be and then dream up different recipe ideas to suit each chapter. Then I get cooking, testing and trialling — my family love this part. Once I have nailed down the dishes I want to include, I get in touch with my incredible food photographer and stylist, Jo Anderson, who is also a local. I go to her studio over many days and cook all the recipes for her to style and shoot. Every single recipe in the book has an image because I love recipe books where you can see exactly what the meal looks like. In creating Nourishing You, I wrote the first chapters that teach you how to nourish your life, not just with food but in mind, body and spirit, and once all the text was complete, the book went to an editor. This all then went to the graphic designer, local Belinda Chatfield, who did an incredible job. Once the book is finally put together, it goes off to the printers which is roughly around a 4-month process of getting proofs, finalising everything and getting the book shipped. Right now, I am excited to get a hard copy in my hand! I am so proud of how the book has turned out and can’t wait to share the recipes and the incredibly important message with everyone.

Do you have a favourite recipe to cook from home?
I go through phases. Because I am so creative in the kitchen it is hard to stick to one recipe. I will make one thing five times over a few weeks and then not make it again because I move on to my new favourite creation. Right now, I have been making a beautiful simple Indian Dahl recipe which you can find on my website here: https://caraleefontenele.com/easy-home-made-indian-dahl/

Where can we find your new book?
My cookbook is online for pre-sale right now here. If you buy a pre-sale copy, I will sign it for you and you will be the first to get your hands on it! Once the book is released, you will be able to find it where all good books are sold and on my website here.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast:
Coffee spot: I love Merlo at Ferry Road Markets or Roost in Southport. These are both local to me and make great coffee.
Cafe for breakfast: I mostly make breakfast at home, but if I do go out I love Darkk at Chirn Park for a lovely breaky.
Restaurant for dinner: There are so many great places on the Gold Coast, honestly, we eat home a lot because I love to cook. But if we do go out it is somewhere simple like the local Korean BBQ, where we cook together as a family and eat simple real food.
How does your weekend usually look: We have a small yacht, so every moment we can we go sailing to enjoy nature, visit secluded spots and view the amazing wildlife that we have here on the Gold Coast. Boat living, cooking, swimming and hanging out as a family in nature, these are all the things that I love.

Recipe: Mexican Breakfast Hash

You’ll need all the energy you can get this weekend with three full days of dancing on the cards at Blues on Broadbeach. To start your weekend right, cook up this simple and healthy breakfast hash and you’re good to go!

2 cups pumpkin in 1cm cubes
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1Ž2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
A pinch of salt
1 garlic clove, crushed
1Ž2 onions, diced
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1Ž2 cups of red capsicum, diced
1 cup of zucchini, diced
1 and a 1/Ž2 cups spinach
4 eggs
Juice of 1 and a 1/Ž2 limes
1 avocado
1/4 of a red onion, diced
A handful of fresh coriander

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius. Peel the pumpkin and cut into small 1 cm cubes. Place the cubes in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, smoked paprika and cumin. Toss so each cube is well seasoned. Place the pumpkin on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 15 minutes or until tender.
While the pumpkin is roasting, in an oven-proof frying pan sauté the crushed garlic, diced onion, diced capsicum, diced zucchini and 1 tablespoon of the diced jalapeños, for 3 to 4 minutes. Once the onion becomes translucent add in the spinach, lime juice and 1 teaspoon of cumin. Cook for another minute and then set aside.
Once the pumpkin is cooked add it to the pan with the veggies and stir to ensure everything is evenly mixed. Create 4 wells in the mixture and crack an egg into each hole.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes until the egg whites are cooked.
In the meantime mash the avocado with 1 tablespoon of diced jalapeños, diced onions, the juice from half a lime and a pinch of salt.
Once the eggs are cooked serve with the smashed avocado and a handful of fresh coriander.
Serves 2
Preparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time 25 minutes

For more great recipes by Gold Coast local Caralee Caldwell, check out her page here.

Recipe: Apple and pork meatballs

Life is busy, we get it. That’s why simple, tasty dinners are the name of the game and these meatballs are extra delicious and oh so easy to whip up.

1 medium carrot
2 small apple’s
1cm knob fresh ginger
1 cup of shredded coconut
2 table spoons of coconut amino
500g of ground pork mince
1 lightly beaten egg
Chilli flakes to taste
Pinch of salt
Coconut oil for cooking the meatballs

Grate the carrot, apples and ginger, place in a bowl and combine. Add the shredded coconut and combine. Add the mince, coconut aminos, chilli and pinch of salt to the mixture. Beat the egg in a small bowl and add to the mixture, combine ingredients. Use a teaspoon to roll the mixture int o meatballs. Heat a pan over a medium heat on the stove with the coconut oil, when the pan is hot place the meat balls in in the pan. Be careful not to over crowd the pan and do a couple of separate batches. Gently turn the meat balls individually in the pan until they are brown and cooked through. You will be able to see that they are cooked because the apple will start to caramelise in the pan and they will look and smell delishimo! Serve with your favourite dipping sauce and a side of steamed vegetables or on a bed of cauliflower mash.

For more great recipes by Gold Coast local Caralee Caldwell, check out her page here.

Recipe: Banana and Cinnamon Muffins

There’s nothing better than a sweet, mid-morning treat to boost your spirits. These muffins are absolutely delicious, healthy and so easy to whip up.

1 cup dried dates
2 ripe bananas
1⁄2 cup coconut flour
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of baking soda
Pinch of salt
5 eggs
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
1⁄2 cup of water
1 teaspoon of coconut oil (for greasing muffin pans)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and grease a medium sized 12-hole muf n pan with coconut oil. In the food processor, process the dates and coconut our until it is nely blended. Add the bananas, cinnamon, baking soda and salt; process until combined. Then add the eggs, coconut oil and water, and process until well combined. Pour the batter into the muffin pans and place in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until they spring back when you press on the top of them. Top with fresh banana or serve plain.


For more great recipes by Gold Coast local Caralee Fontenele, check out her page here.

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