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The culinary career “has just unfolded organically”

Christchurch sisters Margo and Rosa Flanagan, aka the ‘Two Raw Sisters’, held a workshop in Dunedin last week. Rebecca Fox caught up with the busy couple.

In just three years, Margo and Rosa Flanagan have created their own kitchen, published three cookbooks, traveled the country several times, and launched their own app.

And it’s not going to end there.

Rosa and I are go-getters. If we have an idea, we do it, ”Margo said.

Inspired by growing up with parents who own their own businesses, it felt natural for the couple who, after struggling with their health, found a new direction.

It just happened organically. We never thought we would work together and do this, but we seized the opportunities as they arose. ”

They are happy to speak openly about their health issues – Rosa, a former elite athlete developed an eating disorder and Margo struggles with chronic fatigue and endometritis – to help encourage more openness about them. health problems.

“We had become unhealthy obsessed with being healthy. “

The two have found that adjusting their plant-based diet helps their conditions, although they are quick to point out that they are not vegetarians – they eat meat and fish – but their meals are. first based on plants.

”Everyone is different. We have always said ‘all eaters are welcome’. We are promoting a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, not weight loss, ”said Rosa.

Part of this is creating tasty and satisfying dishes that show people how to use the veggies they’ve been eating for years in different ways.

“It’s about being inventive – you don’t have to involve superfoods or expensive ingredients.”

For them, it’s not about jackfruit, banana blossom, or vegan meat substitutes with foreign additives.

“ We use whatever is in the pantry or the refrigerator – oats, coconut, pumpkin, chickpeas. ”

We ask the couple all the time if they get along. The answer is yes, most of the time. They play on each other’s strengths and give themselves space when they need it.

Margo attended culinary school in the United States before returning home and Rosa studied nutrition as a complement to her athletic career.

Based in Christchurch, where they grew up, they have a test kitchen that they use as a base for developing recipes, workshops, demonstrations and corporate events.

Their down-to-earth approach puts a smile on your face when you realize they’ve hit the nail on the head – a pantry full of packets of exotic spices used once and expired in 2016, or half packs of random grains ranging from quinoa to millet filling the shelves.

They are advocates of using what you have in the pantry first before buying anything else. So instead of slavishly following a recipe, even one of their own, they encourage people to use what is in their pantry first.

So their new book Salad uses around six different spices in different combinations to add flavor.

“We want our recipes to be used as guidelines and bases.”

They are quick to point out that iceberg lettuce does not appear in the book because that is not the purpose of salads, they say. Sautéed or steamed vegetables aren’t bland either.

“In the morning, people take the chicken, steak or fish out of the freezer for tea but don’t think about the vegetables – they are an afterthought.”

Their goal is to make visually appealing and flavorful salads with lots of texture, flavor, color, and nourishment.

“It’s amazing what you can do with limited pantry staples.”

They recently launched an app that gives people access to more recipes and tips and has a handy feature where people can put the ingredients they have and receive recipe suggestions.

“Cookbooks are great, but people are visual and want to see how we do it. “

Their journey has seen ups and downs and the couple had to learn to stick to one or two projects rather than whatever they wanted to do.

“It has been a winding road, but it made us stronger. “

Smash and herbs

“You must always have potatoes for the boys” is something our mom always said when planning a dinner with friends or our Christmas party.

Rosa and I always thought boiled potatoes were pretty boring, so we took them to the next level with a spearmint pea burst and punchy candied lemons.

This one is for the boys in your family who can’t live without their potatoes. Delicious served with any meat, fish or poultry.

1.5 kg potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces

pinch of sea salt

the water

To serve

fresh arugula

1/2 mint and pea smash recipe

1/4 cup frozen peas, blanched in boiling water then drained

fresh herbs, coarsely chopped

Half a candied lemon, flesh included, finely chopped

2 tablespoons of black sesame seeds

extra virgin olive oil

Mashed peas with mint

A great substitute for avocado smash in winter. In the summer, we like to add an avocado and / or use half peas, half edamame beans. It is best to prepare this dip just 1 to 2 hours before serving to ensure it retains its fresh and vibrant green color.

3 cups frozen green peas, blanched in boiling water for 5 minutes then drained

zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 garlic clove, crushed

large handful of fresh mint, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons of tahini

good pinch of sea salt

Place a large pot of salted water on high heat. Bring to a boil, then add the potatoes and boil for 15-20 minutes, or until tender. Drain, then roughly mash about half of the potatoes, leaving the rest whole.

On a serving platter, start with a layer of fresh arugula followed by potatoes, mint smash, peas, herbs, candied lemon, black sesame seeds and a drizzle of ‘extra virgin olive oil. Repeat the layering process 1-2 times.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.

For the smash: place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until blended. You don’t want it to be super smooth – keep a bit of texture.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Beetroot, Peanut Butter and Raspberry Avo Mud Cake

For 8 people

We like to dream big when it comes to desserts. When we brainstormed ideas for our ‘sweet salad’ recipes, we wondered how we could incorporate vegetables in a sweet way. The result: a beetroot avo mud cake like no other.

Beetroot Avo Mud Cake

1¼ cup buckwheat or oatmeal

1 cup of coconut sugar

flesh of 1 avocado

1 cup of vegetable or dairy milk

½ cup of cocoa powder

½ cup of coconut oil, melted

2 eggs or 2 flax eggs (see tip)

1½ teaspoon of baking powder

1 tsp of vanilla bean paste

pinch of sea salt

½ cup dark chocolate, roughly chopped

2 cups grated raw beets

Peanut butter shell

½ cup of coconut oil, melted

3 tablespoons of peanut butter

pinch of sea salt

To serve

2½ cups raspberries, thawed

coconut yogurt

¾ cup dark chocolate, roughly chopped

½ cup peanuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 180 ° C and line a 23 cm cake tin or cake tin with baking paper.

For the cake, place the buckwheat or oats in a blender or food processor and blend until you get a fine flour. Add the rest of the ingredients except the dark chocolate and the beetroot and mix until you get a smooth chocolate mixture. Add dark chocolate and beetroot and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Once cooked, put in the freezer until cool.

For the peanut butter shell, place the ingredients in a small bowl and mix until you get a smooth beige liquid. Put aside.

In a small bowl, coarsely mash the raspberries with a fork.

To assemble, cut the mud cake into pieces and place half at random on a large, flat plate. On each piece of mud cake, place crushed raspberries and coconut yogurt. Drizzle with half the shell of peanut butter and finally sprinkle with half the dark chocolate and chopped peanuts. Repeat, gently building a second layer on top. Use immediately.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 days.

advice: To make 1 flax egg, mix 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and let stand for 5 minutes, or until thickened.

Roasted cauliflower, lentils, tabbouleh and cumin yogurt

For 6 persons

Like all of the salads in this book, this one is filled with so many textures, colors and flavors. Serve as is or with avocado, salmon, lamb, beef or chicken.

Preheat the oven to 200degC

1 head of cauliflower, roughly chopped

1 red onion, sliced

1 teaspoon of ground turmeric

1 teaspoon of ground cumin

pinch of sea salt


Cumin yogurt

¼ cup coconut yogurt

2 tablespoons of tahini

1 teaspoon ground cumin zest and the juice of 1 lemon pinch of sea salt

2 to 3 tablespoons of water, to loosen

Lentil tabbouleh

400g canned lentils, drained and rinsed

handful of kale, discarded stems and finely chopped leaves

handful of fresh herbs, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

2 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped

½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped

½ cup flaked almonds, toasted

Preheat the oven to 200 ° C. Place the cauliflower, red onion, turmeric, cumin and salt on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and toss to combine.

Roast for 10 minutes, then put the oven on grill and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Take out of the oven and let cool slightly.

For the cumin yogurt, place all the ingredients in a cup and mix. Put aside.

For the lentil tabbouleh, place all the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix gently.

To serve, use a large flat dish or divide between plates. Start with a layer of cauliflower, followed by lentil tabbouleh and cumin yogurt. Repeat for 1 to 2 more coats.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

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