A salad to suit the season?

Reading over and editing this post I realised how many times I used the word Spring. It starts to sound funny if you say it too many times, but unfortunately Oxford dictionary doesn’t have any good alternatives.

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We’re getting to the end of Spring over here in Australia, and although I’m excited about the beachy, holidaying climate that summer is bringing, it’s sad to see those cool, breezy Spring days go.

Because Spring is the season before Summer, here in the Southern Hemisphere, its the time every gym membership goes on sale, Halloween stashes quickly get thrown out, and green smoothies and salads are glorified.

The idea of munching on a bowl of bitter green leaves drizzled with vinaigrette sounds highly unappetizing to me, but I am reminding myself not to be too cynical about salads – with the right ingredients they can taste great, and they do have numerous health benefits.

So this Spring I worked with some of my favourite ingredients to create the perfect Spring salad.

You will need:

  • 1 medium common tomato
  • 135g tinned salmon
  • Mixed green lettuce leaves
  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • Heaped tsp of dried chia seeds
  • 100g chopped canned beetroot
  • 50g avocado

Cost: approximately AUD $10   Calories: 380

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Perfect! xx

My New Acai Bowl Recipe

Acai Bowls have been a craze in Sydney for the past year or so, with so many acai-focused places popping up that I now have a mental list of spots for the best bowls in the city (check out Bare Naked Bowls and The Fruitologist).

But, every now and again (usually when the bank balance is looking sheepish) I make a cheap, easy, TASTY, homemade acai bowl for breakfast or lunch.

Most of the ingredients are inexpensive and can be picked up at your local Supermarket, but the problem comes down to sourcing the actual acai powder. For some reason every brand wants to charge exorbitant prices for a tiny bag of acai (probably because the acai berry can only be found in Brazil).

My hack is the Creative Gourmet Organic Acai Puree (only $8!!).

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It contains little individual packets of acai puree that you can add to your acai bowl.

For my recipe you will need:

  1. 1 x Creative Gourmet Organic Acai Puree pack
  2. 20g Smooth Peanut Butter (Mayver’s is my hands down favourite)
  3. 50g frozen strawberries
  4. 50g frozen blueberries
  5. 1/2 cup water
  6. 1 medium banana
  7. Dried Chia seeds & Shredded Coconut to garnish

Approximately 340 calories. Time: 10 minutes

Method:

  1. Blend the acai packet, water and frozen berries together until a thick smoothie consistency is formed.

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2. Pour blended mixture into a bowl.

3. Chop up the banana and place on top, then weigh out 20g of peanut butter.

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4. Sprinkle the chia seeds and shredded coconut on top (tasty added health benefits).

Mmmm!

Lid & Jar| Cafe Review

I started off this week with breakfast at Lid & Jar in Chatswood. It’s a lovely cafe in a peaceful, contemporary setting with plenty of space to relax and enjoy your meal, but I do find it on the upper end price-wise.

I had a tough time choosing between what I got and their fluffy French toast with bacon drizzled in maple syrup, but in light of all I ate at Easter last weekend, I ended up going for ‘the green bowl’. This was a raw mix of kale, avocado, broccolini, asparagus, zucchini and egg, drizzled with pesto and a sprinkle of quinoa. The meal itself was lovely (but not that filling – I was hungry again a couple of hours later), but I complemented it with a black coffee which (even for a keen coffee fan like myself) tasted incredibly sharp and bitter.

Veggie-packed Healthy Frittata

I love Frittata’s because they are delicious, but also because of their versatility – they can be served hot or chilled and for lunch or dinner. My recipe packs in lots of veggies, making the Frittata filling but low in calories. You can ch0oose to mix and match veggies depending on what you feel like (other options are capsicum, regular tomatoes, pumpkin, mushroom & asparagus).

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For a sweet taste and carbs to fill me up, I use sweet potato as the base of the Frittata but this can be substituted for baby potatoes if you prefer. The meal takes about an hour to prepare if you are a slow chopper (like me), but if have a knack for cutting greens it should only take about 30 minutes.

You will need:

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 4 spring onions
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup feta
  • 1 zucchini
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 of cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C.
  2. Chop up the sweet potatoes and zucchini into cubes and fry in fry-pan with turmeric and olive oil, until golden brown and cooked through.
  3. Chop up the cherry tomatoes, spring onions, feta and basil. Also loosely chop the baby spinach.
  4. Whisk the eggs, milk and salt in a large bowl until smooth. Then stir through the basil.
  5. Put the sweet potatoes and the zucchini fry into the base of a cake tin. Cover with baby spinach, tomatoes and sprinkle with spring onion.
  6. Pour egg mixture over all other ingredients in cake tin, making sure to cover everything.
  7. Cut up feta into small blocks and place on top.
  8. Cook for 25 minutes, or until egg looks bouncy and cooked through (I check by inserting a skewer – make sure it doesn’t come out goopy).

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Voila! Homemade and delicious.

xx

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Egg yolk yellow ~ 8 eggs needed for this dish!

Calories don’t Count on Christmas! Mince Pies and Mulled Wine for Breakfast.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

After stuffing myself silly with turkey, ham, pumpkin, potato, feta salad, veggies, custard, mince pies and truffles, on Christmas Eve, I woke up this morning to a tree full of presents and a slightly-less eager family who just wanted to sleep in. 

Luckily I managed to get them out of bed by 9am – motivating them mainly with warm, fruit-mince tarts that I freshly baked. 

I woke up at 7am and got inspired from a recipe in my Mum’s old Donna Hay cookbook. 

I needed to prepare the filling, and combined the following in a bowl and set it aside in the fridge: 

  • 1cup Granny Smith Apples, finely chopped
  • Pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon
  • Dash of Brandy
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 3 tsp lemon rind
  • 50g butter melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup orange juice

In the mean time I used cookie cutters to cut little circles in shortcrust pastry, and place them into greased cupcake baking trays. Then I prepared my star toppings using a smaller star cookie cutter. 

After the hour was up I took the filling out the fridge and distributed it into the moulds. I placed the little star cut outs on top of each one, and brushed them all with melted butter. 

After popping them into the oven (160C/320F) for 25-30 minutes, I dusted them with icing sugar and voila!

Everyone enjoyed fruit mince pies, gourmet chocolate truffles (from Belle Fleur Fine Chocolates – a boutique chocolate shop in Sydney’s Inner West), and mulled wine whilst opening presents.

I got very spoilt this Christmas, and got a Mimco Supernatural Medium Pouch, some cute Kikki K stationary and the Antler Aire Large Suitcase

Clearly I was spoilt by family and friends – hope you had a wonderful Christmas and got everything you wished for!

xx