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…
a meal of delicious seafood at Matt Moran’s Chiswick.
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!
brekkie at Sotto in North Sydney
because birthday girls drink bubbles!
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 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!
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
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
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)
melt the chocolate and let cool just a little
mix all the other ingredients into a large bowl
line the tray with baking paper
pour melted chocolate onto the ingredients, mix thoroughly
pour into the tray and spread evenly, the sprinkle with remaining coconut
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:
made with no grains; just seeds, nuts & coconut. I have this with coconut milk or homemade almond milk.
a great way to use left over veggies; bubble & squeak fry-up topped with a poachie
grassfed beef patties with scrambled eggs and a kale & tomato salad
super quick to prepare; grassfed beef mince & onion with a salad of kale, tomato, jicama & blanched broccoli
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)
mushroom bun, grassfed beef pattie, salad & paleo mayo served with sweet potato wedges
grassfed scotch fillet barbecued with sweet potato & zucchini and served with a quick salad of blanched broccolini, green beans, pepitas & cranberries
grassfed beef mince with chopped veggies & herbs to make a ‘meatloaf muffin’ served with zucchini noodles and homemade basil pesto
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….
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!).
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…..
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.
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?
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.
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!
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
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.
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.)
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.