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.

***

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

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Perfect! xx

A Home Cooked Meal for Fathers Day

When I realised Father’s Day was fast approaching, I had the usual annual freak out… What am I going to buy Dad? Is there anything he’s mentioned he wants? Is there anything I know he’ll like? 

The freak out is due to Dad never wanting anything material, as he always says he would much prefer a hug (odd, I know). Since I’m not going to just wake up on the big day, give him a hug, and consider my job done, I decided this year I’d cook a big lunch with all his favourite meals.

I kept it super simple. Dad’s favourites are the simple dishes; lasagne, sausages, chops, lamb shanks, vanilla ice cream, milk chocolate… you get it.

So, I decided to do lasagne, with a twist.

Cheesy Eggplant Lasagne. Think gooey cheese, creamy chickpeas and aromatic tomato arranged together to create a steaming Italian comfort food.

IMG_8806.JPG

The eggplant soaks up all the delicious creamy tomato sauces and becomes a soft mess that tastes divine with the chickpea/almond meal base and cheese oozing through out. This went perfectly with a simple side salad.

IMG_8770

For dessert, we enjoyed my favourite Healthy Apple Crumble recipe with Connoisseur white chocolate/raspberry ice cream (hands down our favourite store bought ice cream).

IMG_8782

I finished the lunch by giving Dad a letter I had written with Lindt’s creme brulee milk chocolate – a Lindt flavour I haven’t seen before but I hope they keep stocking the shelves with it because it was the perfect mix of crispy caramel notes and creamy milk chocolate.

Even though we kept it simple, it was nice to enjoy a home cooked meal, instead of the usual big fancy thing we do at a restaurant.

xx

 

Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 6.35.16 pm.png
Cascade Blue for Father’s Day

 

 

 

What I Eat in a Day (II) | Cafe Review

Helloooo I’m back with another what I ate in a typical day. Here my diet is completely omnivorous with no funky veganism/vegetarianism or health restrictions – but stay tuned for my post when I try going vegan for a week (could be wonderful or a disaster I guess we’ll see).

I started the day off with breakfast with a girlfriend 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 quite pricey (I paid $23 AUD for my breakfast).

Breakfast .jpg

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.

Afterward, I hit the gym and did a Body Attack session, which is probably my favourite class offered by Fitness First, but it is full on and meant I was very hungry when lunch time clocked round.

lunch.jpg

Lunch was homemade and super easy – just a multigrain wrap, smeared with hummus which was topped with avocado, 2 warmed up falafels, mayo and a sprinkle of parmesan. This was very tasty and filled me up all the way to dinner, which is surprising because I’m usually snacking all throughout a typical day.

For dinner, I steamed half an eggplant and a sweet potato and had that with a fillet of salmon. I usually just do my salmon pan-fried with a drizzle of oil and salt + pepper. I finished off the day with one (definitely had two) of these m&m cupcakes my best friend and I made the other day.

IMG_6305.JPG

And that’s what I had in the day – the calories would have come to approximately 1300 (minus the workout session – Body Attack burns 500 calories).

What’s the best thing you ate today? Let me know – I’d love to chat below 🙂

Screen Shot 2017-04-15 at 3.38.52 pm.png
Neutral tan for a typical day

xx

Mother’s Day Feast

Cake header.jpg

Today was Mother’s Day, and to treat Mum I decided to prepare a lovely Sunday lunch that she enjoyed.

As usual, it took way longer to prepare than I expected. I woke up at 9am and immediately started baking, and was going flat out until 1pm when lunch was served.

For the meal I decided to do wine-braised chicken (with white wine, carrots, red onion, rosemary, red grapes and pine nuts), and an asparagus & grilled halloumi salad.

I do enjoy baking, but I’m not too good when it comes to experimenting, so I stuck fast to Jamie Olivers recipes from his cookbook. I’ve found that if you really follow the recipes he gives you will produce delicious meals that taste like they’re actually restaurant quality.

chicken.jpg
Wine-braised Chicken

For dessert, I went all out with Mum’s favourite cake – a white chocolate mud cake. I always use the Taste recipe when I make the cake, but I halve the mixture because the amount they prescribe actually makes 2 regular sized cakes (you could definitely stick with the actual quantities and pile the 2 cakes on top of each other with creamy ganache in the middle).

It was a lovely day, and I treated Mum to a mani-pedi voucher at our local salon, to top the day off.

IMG_6918.JPG

What do you usually do for mum on Mother’s Day?

xx

574826b2978a52628bb28202ec36a739.jpg
Champagne Pink for the Perfect Mother’s Day

The Cafe that Has it All | Wild Sage

Wild Sage, Cammeray is a bustling brekkie, lunch AND dinner destination that you won’t want to miss. The menu has such a wild range of food options that even the fussiest eaters could find something to appease them. So bring along your pickiest friends, but if that hasn’t got you convinced their relatively – remember we are talking Sydney Lower North Shore guys – cheap prices will.

I went for breakfast with a friend and was amazed at the array of food options. I found it difficult to choose between their sweet chia pod with coconut yogurt/crunchy granola and their savoury ‘Healthy Bowl’. In the end, I decided to splurge and handed over $18.90 for the savoury option which was a delicious fusion of avo, grilled haloumi, quinoa, spinach, poached eggs and a shot that had hints of ginger. It was even tastier than it sounds.

You’ll be sitting in a large open room, with lots of other tables so its a great spot for an event or a large group of people. The restaurant is decorated with colourful artworks and pot plants, hung amongst glass panes.

Wild sage brekkie.jpg

For lunch, I recommend their chilli pulled pork slider bun, which is perfectly tender and will satisfy your spicy cravings. Pair that with a sweet beverage from their extensive drinks menu – perhaps their Pineapple/Mint frappe or fresh coconut water served in the shell.

And there’s more. For dinner, dress up and take a special someone to indulge in one of their share plates. I’m a sucker for good seafood so my favourites would have to be the seared scallops with aioli or the King prawns served with steamy garlic bread. I’m going to be honest with you, the mains do get quite pricey as the restaurant becomes more expensive for dinner. But, it will be worth it when, for $32, you can have Wagyu striploin or marinated lamb cutlets.

As much as I want to delve into explaining all the great food options available, it would take too long. Hop onto their swanky website (which is as beautifully crafted as their food) if you have further foodie questions you want answered (http://wildsage.com.au/)

Give this modern Australian cuisine a go, and enjoy a meal out with friends!

xx

Screen Shot 2017-03-02 at 9.45.22 pm.png
Mahogany brown for contemp0rary Australian food

 

 

 

Fairytale Breakfast Destination

Bread & Circus Wholefoods Canteen combines fairytale and farmers market in Alexandria’s very own Foodie Warehouse. The cafe was just a 15 minute stroll from Erskineville station.

BreadCircus_15_RK_24_LR.jpg
Photo courtesy of http://breadandcircus.com.au/

This cafe gives a new meaning to flexitarian, with great brekkie and lunch options that let you unleash your inner vegetarian (with some cheats).

For breakfast, you can choose to indulge in biodynamic eggs flavoured with parmesan, herbs and truffle oil, or treat yourself to their must-have cardamom spiced banana bread. Each meal is around $20, but if you don’t want to break the budget you can get fluffy biodynamic essene bread with avo for $10.

For lunch you can discover roasted beetroot topped with warm goats cheese or keep an eye out for their ‘sandwich boxes’ with preservative free ham or grass-fed sustainable beef. The menu changes daily, so you’ll want to go back again (and again) for more.

Get your coffee fix with their blends that use beans from Columbia and Guatemala. Tea junkies are spoilt with an array of black and herbal delights, my favourite was the Himalayan Earl Grey.

The canteen has a dreamlike feel with its light wood benches and pastel pink walls, which are bountifully decorated with fresh fruits and veggies.

I went with a close friend, and it was the perfect cafe for brunch to catch up, so definitely make a date and enjoy this hidden gem.

xx

screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-2-07-36-pm
Pastel pink to go with the theme of this sweet spot

Calories Don’t Count On Christmas | XMAS 2016

Of course, my favourite saying came out to play again this year – there are no calories on Christmas.

I started off the day with a cheeky candy cane cookie (Vegan recipe – my friend made them for me) and a T2 Choc Chip Chai with soy milk.

Traditionally my family has celebrated Christmas Day by opening presents in the morning, and then having a large Christmas lunch, which always becomes dinner as well because we all sit around talking into the night.

So, in order to save room for the huge Christmas lunch to come, I busied myself making a Bread & Butter Pudding. The whole ‘distract yourself so you save room for lunch’ thing was a bit of a flop because I ate half the pudding as I was making it.. worth it though.

artisan-bread-butter-306801

For starters we had assorted cheeses (Camembert, Brie, Cheddar) with biscuits, salami slices, bread sticks, beef jerky sticks, chopped veggies with avocado dip and tomato relish. These were savoured with mulled wine, pina coladas and champagne.

At the main meal there was an array of dishes but I had some smoked ham, roast chicken and prawns. We also had a quinoa, kale and roast beetroot salad that I made.

alcohol-blur-bottle-696215

By desert I was so full but made room for some bread pudding, a bit of traditional Christmas pudding soaked in Brandy, and a fruit salad with custard/vanilla ice cream.

Despite the food coma I had a huge treat myself and such a wonderful day.

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone had a lovely day, whether you celebrate Christmas or not.

xx

Girl’s Day Out

It was mum’s birthday last Friday and I wanted to make it super special this year, because over the past few years I have been really busy and stressed around this time and I felt I hadn’t really treated her properly for her birthday in a long time.

To make the day memorable, I planned it out well in advance. The morning began with a massage with a local masseuse which I booked a couple of days prior.

Mum really love experiences over more ‘stuff’ so I made sure I organised things that would be special memories.

After her massage I picked her up and we went to lunch at a French Restaurant (which has a string of great reviews and recommendations) called Le Bouchon.

The lunch was even better than I had anticipated, the restaurant is in a cosy hole in the wall setting, but has elegance and style with its walnut coloured wooden tables and gold plated decor. The authenticity of the French cuisine was enhanced as all the waiters were French and went above and beyond to ensure we had a pleasant dining experience. I ordered a Crispy Pork Belly in a crushed apple sauce, and Mum decided to be a bit more adventurous and got Sauteed Calves Liver with parsnip chips, which to my surprise was actually really tasty. We shared a glass of white House Wine as Mum isn’t a big drinker and enjoyed chatting for a couple of hours.

eiliv-sonas-aceron-1245177-unsplash

After lunch, we set off to the shopping mall and I bought her a pair of black leather boots as she has been saying lately that her current pair are a bit worn down. Then we went to a nail salon and we got shellac manicures done together.

***

For dinner I wanted to surprise Mum with a home-cooked meal.

I consulted a traditional English cookbook for recipes that are perfect for the drab and windy weather we have been having recently. For the entree I made corn scones with an avocado and soft cheese topping, garnished with capers and diced bacon.

For the main meal we had a chicken and leek hotpot with a chickpea and feta salad. Finally for dessert I challenged myself to make an apple pie.

lucy-heath-176681-unsplash

The whole meal actually went really well and Mum loved all of it, which surprised me because something always seems to go awry when I work in a kitchen with lots of things boiling and bubbling and timers constantly going off.

What would a birthday be without presents, as I mentioned earlier Mum isn’t a massive fan of ‘things’ and doesn’t like candles, homewares, perfumes or make up.

So, I opted in for a $50 gift card for Dymocks and I spent $100 on a voucher for a high tea for two at the Queen Victoria Building Tea Room.

Overall it was a very successful day and I had so much fun treating Mum!

xx