The Wholesome Cook

December 1, 2015

The Wholesome Cook

Martyna Angell was 12 when she discovered her passion for cooking – rummaging through the kitchen and preparing a dinner menu for her parents to order from. That passion has since evolved into a love of blogging, styling and photography, culminating in her cookbook The Wholesome Cook.

profile: How do you achieve a healthy and balanced diet?
martyna: I follow the 90/10 rule – eating well 90 per cent of the time, eating the best food for my body, avoiding additives, preservatives and excess sugar, and indulging a little. If you are starting to make the change to wholefood, go 80/20 or even 70/30. The other tip is not stocking ‘offenders’. It is easier to reach for junk food and overeat when it’s there in your pantry. If you do buy them, opt for the smallest packet and treat it as your indulgence.

profile: How do we navigate the landscape of over-processed foods?
martyna: The first is sticking to eating real foods like vegetables, fruit, pasture-raised meat and wild seafood. The second is getting to know the processed foods you buy. Read the ingredients on the back, not just the marketing spiel on the front. Quite often “light” or “no added sugar” products contain artificial sweeteners or fruit juice concentrates that are far worse than a little unrefined sugar. You will also avoid ingesting a whole range of additives and preservatives.

profile: How can we avoid temptation during the festive season?
martyna: The festive season is, in a big way, about getting together with your loved ones and sharing a meal together, indulging in the season’s bounty and treats. There’s nothing wrong with that. If you follow the 90/10 rule you can relax it a little and go 70/30, and if you’re cooking from scratch it will be easier to know what’s in the food you’re sharing. To balance things out, include more salads and vegetables in your menu and try to have a serving of vegetables with your breakfast or enjoy a wholefood smoothie instead. This way you’ll be able to indulge a little later.

Coconut Poached Chicken and Crab Salad

Coconut poached chicken and crab salad

Coconut Poached Chicken

  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 2 chicken breast fillets


  • 1 ½ tablespoons raw cashews
  • 2 tablespoons shredded coconut
  • 1 cup cooked crabmeat
  • 2 cups mixed salad greens
  • 1 small Lebanese cucumber, seeds removed, chopped roughly
  • ½ long red chilli, deseeded and sliced finely
  • ¼ small red onion, sliced finely
  • 1 small handful Thai basil leaves
  • a few Vietnamese mint leaves

To poach the chicken, place water and coconut milk in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the chicken breasts and bring back to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for two minutes. Turn off heat, cover with a lid and allow to stand for 25 minutes for the chicken to cook through. Once ready, remove chicken from poaching liquid and slice thinly, or shred with your fingers.
Meanwhile to make the salad, toast cashews and coconut in a small frying pan set over medium heat, stirring until golden. Combine all remaining salad ingredients, including chicken, in a large bowl and toss to mix well.

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