birthday week eats

last week i celebrated a birthday! i turned 40 minus 3. i also decided that i deserved to eat and drink special things cooked by other people and not in my kitchen.  here are a few delicious morsels i savoured for you…

birthday dinner @ Chiswick
birthday dinner @ Chiswick

a meal of delicious seafood at Matt Moran’s Chiswick.

twilight cocktails @ Bar 36
twilight cocktails @ Bar 36

i’ve always maintained that Bar 36 (aka Blu Horizon bar at the Shangri-la) makes the best vodka martini. a birthday martini is becoming my yearly tradition!

 

paleo-friendly brekkie @ the local
paleo-friendly brekkie @ the local

brekkie at Sotto in North Sydney

Veuve & blooms
Veuve & blooms

because birthday girls drink bubbles!

lunch @ Cooh
lunch @ Cooh

i read about this new organic, sustainable cafe (Cooh) and had to go! i had smoked trout with roasted beets, radish, goats feta mousse and a seed crisp. soooo good.

i’d definitely have a birthday week do over!!!

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choc fudge coconut bars | paleo recipe of the week

Chocolate & coconut. 
How could a dessert possibly get any better?!!

I found this delicious, gluten-free, paleo-friendly sweet treat via Swiss Paleo.

choc fudge coconut bars IMG_20130507_221312

food glorious food

this is what i’ve been cooking lately



roast chicken & veggies for a dinner with friends


lamb shanks for the cold winter nights


paleo big brekkie


mussels en provence


mid-week paleo chicken fajitas


weekend steak, scrambled eggs & veggies


buffalo wings with blue cheese sauce for footy night


chicken & date tagine

flourless, sugarless chocolate cake

🍒🍎🍌🌽🍆🍠🍕🍔🍗🍪

have you been cooking up a storm? what’s been on your plate of late?

weeknight feeds | chicken cacciatore 

I love the simplicity of this dish; not only is it super quick and easy to make but it bursts with delicious Italian flavours!

It’s a one pan weeknight wonder! Just adjust the ingredients for however many people you’re feeding.


Ingredients:

  • 8 chicken thighs
  • a punnet of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup deseeded kalamata olives
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • handful fresh thyme leaves
  • sea salt & ground pepper
  • olive oil
  • flat-lead parsley

Optional:

  • couscous to serve
  • garden salad to serve

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180•C.
  • Drizzle an oven proof dish with olive oil, sprinkle chicken thighs with salt and pepper and place into dish.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients in a haphazard manner
  • Cover with foil and place in oven for 40-45 mins, removing the foil for the last 10 mins.
  • Sprinkle with parsley before serving
  • Tastes best with couscous and garden salad
  • Serves 4

melly’s famous rocky road!

I love rocky road! I make it twice a year; at Christmas & Easter, so I guess it’s my Aussie holiday rocky road! It actually changes a little each time I make it, but it’s basically the same with a few tweaks…here’s this year’s version which I know you’ll love; just don’t blame me for hyper kids or a possible diabetic episode…!

this recipe makes a lot; so make sure you share it at the office or party!

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ingredients

  • 3 x 250g bags of marshmallows (I use the Pascall Marshmallows)
  • 2 x dark chocolate melts (I use Cadbury cooking melts)
  • 2 x milk chocolate melts (again, I use Cadbury cooking melts)
  • 2 x 250g bags of gummi bears (I use Trolli gummies)
  • 1 x 216g Cadbury’s Cherry Ripe Share Pack (Treat size), chopped into little squares
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup extra shredded coconut reserved for sprinkling on top
  • 1 cup salted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup glazed maraschino cherries, chopped

kitchen supplies

  • large tray; like a lamington tray 30cm x 20cm x 3.5cm
  • baking paper to line the tray
  • saucepan for boiling water
  • glass bowl for sitting on top of the saucepan to melt chocolate
  • large bowl for mixing all ingredients
  • mixing spoon

method

  1. create a bain marie by boiling water and melting all the chocolate in the glass bowl on top of the saucepan (make sure the water doesnt touch the bowl, only the steam will melt it)
  2. melt the chocolate and let cool just a little
  3. mix all the other ingredients into a large bowl
  4. line the tray with baking paper
  5. pour melted chocolate onto the ingredients, mix thoroughly
  6. pour into the tray and spread evenly, the sprinkle with remaining coconut
  7. refrigerate before cutting into small squares
  8. eat & enjoy!!!

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whole30 | two weeks down

Jay and I are doing the Whole30 program.

What is Whole30 you might be asking?

It’s a revolutionary way to change your life; you’re health, your emotional attachment to food and your relationship to your body and exercise.
You can read all about it [here]

Basically we are doing away with alcohol, sugar, grains, legumes, dairy and healthy-treats (referred to as Sex With Your Pants On) for a full 30 days!
But don’t focus on what is being avoided, focus on the positive; whole food, healthy – as close to nature as possible – food, detechnofying (is this actually a word?!?) and simple movement for a month.

It’s been a little challenging. The no alcohol is what’s really got me. I usually have a glass of wine or a martini every night. And not snacking between meals has been challenging (snacking avoidance is also about temperance) although I’ve still been having at least one snack a day, like late-afternoon I have some beef jerky or a handful of nuts.
I’ve also gotten a little sick, Jay calls it the “carb flu” but Whole30 says its not unusual to get a little sick as your body is trying to rid itself from all the toxins in the first week or so, the immune system is a little overloaded. So days 7-11 I struggled with an ear and sinus infection which was not fun.

Today is Day 14. And you should see my skin and eyes; clear and sparkling! I’ve always had pretty good skin, but I can really see a difference. And my clothes feel a little looser. I am enjoying the food; eating naturally but all the cooking is pretty intensive! Last night was the first time we ate out since starting to program; we went to Mumu Grill which specialises in grass-fed beef & free-range pork/chicken. It was weird not having a glass of wine with the meal (especially on a Saturday night) but we made great food choices and left feeling satiated, not bursting at the seams and with dessert, wine & the other extras, dinner was so cheap!

Here’s a few pics of our food over the past week:

homemade paleo muesli
homemade paleo muesli

made with no grains; just seeds, nuts & coconut. I have this with coconut milk or homemade almond milk.

brekkie; bubble & squeak with poached egg
brekkie; bubble & squeak with poached egg

a great way to use left over veggies; bubble & squeak fry-up topped with a poachie

breakkie; scrambled eggs with hamburger beef pattie & kale salad
breakkie; scrambled eggs with hamburger beef pattie & kale salad

grassfed beef patties with scrambled eggs and a kale & tomato salad

lunch; mince fry-up & salad
lunch; mince fry-up & salad

super quick to prepare; grassfed beef mince & onion with a salad of kale, tomato, jicama & blanched broccoli

coconut chicken 'nuggets' with sweet potato sticks & waldorf salad
coconut chicken ‘nuggets’ with sweet potato sticks & waldorf salad

so yum! chicken nuggets made with freerange organic chicken mince, Thai spices & rolled in coconut then shallow fried, served with sweet potato sticks & waldorf salad (without the blue cheese and made with paleo mayo)

dinner; mushroom burger with sweet potato wedges
dinner; mushroom burger with sweet potato wedges

mushroom bun, grassfed beef pattie, salad & paleo mayo served with sweet potato wedges

steak, sweet potato & zucchini grilled on the bbq with salad
steak, sweet potato & zucchini grilled on the bbq with salad

grassfed scotch fillet barbecued with sweet potato & zucchini and served with a quick salad of blanched broccolini, green beans, pepitas & cranberries

meatloaf muffins & zoodles
meatloaf muffins & zoodles

grassfed beef mince with chopped veggies & herbs to make a ‘meatloaf muffin’ served with zucchini noodles and homemade basil pesto

the adventures of melly; sans sugar

A year ago, if someone had suggested that I “quit sugar” I would have literally dropped to the floor and rolled around laughing. Me, the eat-a-full-bag-of-gummy-bears-maybe-two-in-one-sitting, quit sugar? Yeah right! But after reading Sweet Poison and being kinda obsessed with Sarah Wilson’s blog and books and instagram for a while, I thought it made complete sense to join her I Quit Sugar (#IQS) 8 week program (#IQS8WP) when it came on offer. When I say sugar I mean fructose. The evil stuff that effects and is processed bio-chemically the same in your body whether its from a can of Coke, a handful of peanut M&Ms or from fruit.

So, how’s it going? you might ask….

Week 1

Piece of cake, well not literally of course, is what I thought when I read the weekly newsletter that included all the details for the first week ahead; meal plan, shopping list and big Sunday cook-up. It actually was really enjoyable to have someone else plan out the week’s meals and they were damn good! I can’t begin to describe how delicious the Paleo Inside-Out Bread is. The Sunday Cook-Up was fun! So much food that I had to set up guard to save Jay eating it all! And the aromas wafting out of my kitchen…think whole roasted chicken, pumpkin & sweet potato puree, 2 loaves of paleo bread and paleo muesli.

The instructions were to gently & gradually wean myself from the sweet stuff; ditch sugar in my coffee (1 point for Melly; I dont take sugar in my coffee), eat a piece of whole fruit instead of drinking a glass of juice (1 point for Melly; I generally dont drink fruit juice unless Jay’s BFF comes to stay in which case I buy almost every version of expensive juice under the sun because that’s our Husbands-BFF-and-wife thing) and opt for whole-fat dairy instead of skim because manufacturers add sugar to low-fat dairy to create the same full-fat flavour. I know. Bastards! (0 points for Melly but ditching the skim I would go!).

my rendition of Sarah Wilson's Paleo Inside Out Bread YUUUUUM!
my rendition of Sarah Wilson’s Paleo Inside Out Bread YUUUUUM!

Week 2

This is where it got interesting. (1) No fruit for 4 weeks! To baseline our no-sugar-bodies so that we can reintroduce later. (2) Make better alcohol choices ie: a glass of red instead of my precious sparkling (WTF?!) and strictly no fizzy drink mixers like Coke or Lemonade (no issue there, yuck!) or dessert wine, which actually was harder to ignore than I expected as I went out to dinner with friends and they all shared a really nice, expensive bottle of champers AND dessert wine. Dammit.

But my face looked thinner and I felt less bloated. And the paleo muesli….oh the paleo muesli…..

beautiful little clusters of deliciousness; paleo muesli
beautiful little clusters of deliciousness; paleo muesli

Week 3

Okay. So I might have had a little slip. Maybe a big slip. My darling best male friends, King & Dobbo, have been feeling a little stressed about our upcoming separation from them (you’d think we were moving countries and not just a little apartment move 15 minutes away), so they’ve been saturating themselves in our company. We had a Friday night out dancing (champagne), Saturday dinner out (more champagne and I may have had a scoop of icecream floating in a shot of Frangelico),  mid-week dinner at their place to help them choose a feature wall paint colour (yet more champagne, this time a fancy bottle of Perrier-Jouët that they had been saving to give me on my birthday in October) and then breakfast on Sunday which was more like brunch which involved a brioche beef burger. Grains AND sugar. Save me Jebus.

my fave men; Dobbo, Jay & King
my fave men; Dobbo, Jay & King

That gets us to Week 4…

Today, quite literally, I would murder my own grandmother for a giant gummy python. Let’s put it down to me coming off an epic crash from last week and the fact that week 4 includes a 5-day detox from all that is good in the world ie: no fruit, coffee, alcohol, grains, and did I mention no coffee??? Did I also mention that today is Day 1 of Week 4? Did I mention no coffee or alcohol? Oh, how will I survive…

On the upside, this is what I had for breakfast – jealous?

paleo bread with avocado & feta smash and a poachie
paleo bread with avocado & feta smash and a poachie

So, this week, amongst the stress of packing, moving, going to my night course and preparing for some upcoming weekend project changes, I will be getting back on track. No grains (yay for Happy Paleo Melly!), no caffeine, no fructose & no debauchery of any kind.

Hope you have a great week too!

my delightful IQS book
my delightful IQS book

 

 

citrus roast chicken | recipe

I love these Autumn days.
Cool, sunny weather encourages us to get outside and stroll barefoot on the grass and then head back into the warm comfort of the kitchen when the temperature & sun goes down.

Ive gotten the slow-cooker out of storage and have been making a few more roasts in the oven. I love autumn food!

Here is a perfect roast chicken with a zesty difference,
perfect for Sunday roast!

recipe via Etsy

whole roasted citrus chicken
whole roasted citrus chicken

Citrus-Roasted Chicken

1 whole chicken
1.5 tablespoons sea salt
2 teaspoons mild paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
Zest of two Meyer lemons
Zest of one orange

spices
spices

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the sea salt, paprika, black pepper and citrus zests. Use your fingers to break up the zest and incorporate with the dry spices.

Rinse and dry the chicken. Apply the rub. You may have some leftover, depending on the size of the chicken. Carefully place the chicken in a roasting pan.

zest

rub

Quarter the lemons and oranges. Nestle some in the cavity of the bird, and tuck the rest into the roasting pan. If desired, truss the legs together with kitchen twine. It’s not necessary, but it’s a nice touch and keeps everything secure.

Let the bird sit on the counter, coming to room temperature, for about an hour. (The bird will cook more evenly if it goes into the oven from room temperature than from cold.)

pre-roast

Roast the chicken at 400 degrees for about an hour. It should be done when a thermometer registers 165 degrees at the thickest part of the thigh.

Remove the chicken from the oven, and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

All photos from Kimberley Hasselbrink

zucchini linguine, basil pesto & spinach

I’m sharing a really special secret with you. This salad is my Absolute Fave!

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Because my husband’s motto is ‘it’s not a meal unless there’s meat in it’ I usually make this when I’m alone or as a side dish for dinner.

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Ingredients:
serves one
– 1 zucchini, made into vegetable “linguine” (using a vegetable slicer like a Spirooli aka Chef Avenue 3-in1 Vegetable Slicer)
– 1 tbsp basil pesto
– 1 tbsp pinenuts or sliver almonds, toasted
– handful baby spinach
– 2 tbsp grated pecorino or parmesan

Method:
Mix all ingredients; zucchini “linguine”, basil pesto, toasted nuts & baby spinach together in a large bowl. Top with grated pecorino and serve!

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