My summer of salads on Paleo

Just at the end of October last year, there was one word everywhere. Paleo. People were talking about it, people were on it, I was reading about it and boy are there so many blogs about it. A friend was in my ear about it and her sales technique was rather effective; “You can eat meat, chicken, seafood, fruit, vegies, nuts and seeds. But no wheat, added sugar, carbs or dairy.” Seemed simple enough and it was. In the 6 week lead up to a day dedicated to my love of pudding, custard, ham, turkey, mince pies and basically the kitchen sink, Mr ELG and I committed to the Paleo diet. If you’ve read any of my past posts, you will know I am not one to diet (apart from the 21 day wonder diet pre wedding). Food is just too damn good to give up which is why I believe this Paleo diet does wonders for me and Mr ELG. By Christmas day, I was minus six kilos and Mr ELG was looking damn fine having shed 12 kilos.

I am proud to say that Christmas day lived up to all of my foodie fantasies and travels thereafter took me to Melbourne where I was eating fresh grilled lobster and sipping champagne on new year’s eve, to Main Ridge where I was plucking plump strawberries off the vine, to Balnarring where I was chowing down dried fig and gorgonzola pizza at Ciao Bella and finally to the Portsea pub where a glass of Paringa Estate Pinot Noir made me ever so thankful that I was lapping up my summer days; living to eat.

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So this week I am back to the grind, back to the rat race and back to Paleo. The silly season is over and the coast is clear, free from dangling carrots of snacking here and sipping there. It’s by no means a new year’s resolution because again I have no patience for those goals but I am resolute to be fit, be free, know tone and have boundless energy to run after a soon-to-be-terrible-two year old.

And so today and tonight has been coloured by my summer of salads. Sticking to the rules and guided by the refreshed energy of a new year; I feel like a kid with pack of pencils about to colour in way outside the lines.

Armed with a fridge full of fresh food, these are the last two salads I have whipped up from scratch getting rave reviews from Mr ELG and having him go back for seconds. And lastly, I hope you’re also enjoying a fabulous summer; living to eat!

Lunchtime salad

1 packham pear (chopped), 1 handful walnuts (chopped), 1/4 cup cornichons, 1/2 Spanish onion (finely sliced), 1/2 Lebanese cucumber (chopped), 2 cups rocket leaves, 1 handful grape tomatoes, 2 shallots (finely sliced), 1 x 300g chicken breast (poached and sliced), 1 handful continental parsley (chopped). Mix a dressing together of a good lug of extra virgin oil, juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 heaped Tbsp of Dijon mustard.

Combine all ingredients and enjoy the lunchtime crunch. Serves 2.

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A salad for tea and throw in a barramundi too

2 x 250g barramundi fillets, 1 lemongrass stalk (white bit chopped), 1 handful coriander (chopped), 2 garlic cloves (crushed), 1 tsp fish sauce, 1 Tbsp Tamari sauce, juice of 1/2 lime, 1 Tbsp olive oil. Combine all ingredients in a zip-lock bag and marinate for 30 minutes.

1 mango (diced), 1/2 red capsicum (thinly sliced), 2 cups baby spinach leaves, 1 handful grape tomatoes, 1 shallot (thinly sliced), 1 Tbsp sesame seeds, 1 Tbsp Tamari sauce, 1 Tbsp lime juice, 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Combine all ingredients.

Pan fry barramundi for a couple of minutes on each side. Skin should be crisp and caramelised. Serve with salad and sprinkle some extra sesame seeds on your barra before serving.

Lemon yellow leaves in Orange

There’s something so clean and crisp about country air first thing in the morning when the only thing lingering is the faint smell of smoke coming out of nearby chimneys after a fire has been smoldering all night warming up the heart of a home.
I’m in Orange this weekend, thankful to Mr ELG who has whisked me away with MM in tow for a surprise getaway.
Up and about early we stopped in at Byng St cafe; a block away from where we’re staying.
The sun is out and the leaves of the trees above are lemon yellow in colour. The bright rays are streaming over the balcony as I eat my yummy brekkie roll. It’s the perfect balance of egg, crispy bacon, Swiss cheese, rocket and tart chutney. A hot cappucino tops off the taste.
Love, love, love

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Published in: on April 28, 2012 at 12:37 am  Leave a Comment  
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Eat Love Go dream…no pizza involved!

Saw this on Saturday and thought Huh??? Thought I might have to go and have a chat to the owner about some copyright issues… 🙂

But as I walked away; my mind began to wander and maybe this whole blog thing could one day lead to a little shop that I would love to own and run. Called Eat Love Go. A little cafe with vases of fresh flowers everywhere…where I could make my favourite ricotta hotcakes with chocolate honeycomb butter or on every second day I could alternate and make my apple pancakes with cinnamon yogurt and golden syrup….whatever I love to eat! There will be the Barossa Breakfast blend by Scullery Made Tea of course, as that’s another love. And if pancakes are not taking my fancy then I will always whip up some of my Chocolate and Apricot gourmet muesli inspired by another loveFarmer Jo.

And don’t worry I do see there to be more than just breakfast on the menu but I need to do some more thinking and dreaming…

And what about the GO? Well, I’ve recently taken up some freelance writing in Travel (have a look at Travel Hunch if you’re curious) and if you have read some of my previous posts, you will know that on my travels here and there, I do like to pick up things which remind me of where I have been. So it might be some Carthusia perfume from Capri on the shelves next to some hot pink Pretty Ballerina ballet flats from Cannes, placed next to a shantung silk scarf from Launceston….a small selection of loves evolving over time!

Well…just a thought of mine and thanks for reading!

 

Published in: on April 1, 2012 at 11:05 pm  Comments (1)  
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Friday night cooking

There is something about Friday night cooking that I’m not a fan of. I just opened the fridge, then the freezer trying to rumble up some inspiration to get the juices flowing for what to cook tonight but as always there was zilch, nudder, nothing.

Someone also made a comment to me during the week that there hasn’t been a lot of go and eat posts of new places on ELG for a while and with no excuses to offer you or reports that I have been in a cave due to hibernation (wrong season!), I honestly put it down to being a mum and having a small fry on the go. After too many stares from people when MM made a small shout during entree or having a fair few people trip over the wheels of the pram even though I have tried to shove it in the corner – I admit I have become one of those mums who just prefers to be at home for meal times, where MM can scream as much as he likes and leave the staring to Mr ELG and I .

But last Friday night, I put that all to one side and braved the outside once again to try my luck at Pizza Moncur…dinner for the ELGs in the heart of Woollahra. Diagonally opposite the Woollahra hotel and next door to the well loved Big Mamas, Pizza Moncur has suburb sophistication written all over it with its black and wooden design. A lovely French waiter pointed us to a table kerbside with plenty of room for MM and his stroller to sit on the pavement. The menu had both the usuals (four cheeses) and the unusuals and between the two of us, we had one of each. Mr ELG can not go past a Quattro Formaggi although I note this one had haloumi which is on the rare side and I chose a Mediterranean style consisting of red peppers, scallops, chorizo and chili jam.

Pizzas were served on a square black slate and the base is thin with texture with extravagant amounts of topping. Both pizzas were in one word; divine. Clear tastes, hot and crisp just out of the woodfired oven and the accompanying friendly service finished off the night. There were no stares from other patrons as MM was on his best behavior and as we ate piece by piece, we noticed that the restaurant also does a roaring trade of takeaway on foot and scooters delivering boxes to the door.

Hmmm and as the clock approaches 3pm, I am still wondering what’s for dinner tonight?

Happy Friday!

Pizza Moncur @ 101 Queen Street, Woollahra NSW 2025

Published in: on March 23, 2012 at 3:37 am  Leave a Comment  
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Sensationally Smitten

Happy Pancake Day!

OK I know I am 5 days late but we celebrated it all the same this morning in my kitchen with a sensational pancake recipe with inspiration drawn from Smitten Kitchen. I recently came across Smitten Kitchen after my ongoing search for the greatest birthday cake recipe…MM is turning 1 in April. In one of her posts, she boasts that she has found the recipe of all recipes when it comes to birthday cakes. When it comes time to baking the birthday cake, I will let you know. Another recipe that took my interest recently is the Chocolate Fudge Cake posted by Hostile Bacon. Miss Ren (of Hostile Bacon)and I share a love for a cake mixer and have had one or two discussions about the innocent Kitchenaid Stand Mixer and its all-reigning asset status in the kitchen…

So getting back on track with Pancake Day; the three ELGs were sensationally smitten. As usual, there was no rush to the corner shop so in PJs I used what was in the pantry so the original Smitten Kitchen recipe has been altered. The result was the pancakes were light, fluffy, golden and the mixture was easy to whip up and held itself together when it came time to flipping the pancakes in the pan. Mr ELG and I had them with the works; dusted icing sugar, squeeze of lemon juice, raspberry sauce and light drizzle of golden syrup. MM had them on his Bunnykins plate in an extremely watered down version. His pancakes were eaten bare but still woofed down all the same.

Apple and Raspberry pancakes

Ingredients:

4 small apples (I used Gala apples but any would do) peeled and grated

2 eggs – beaten well

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup natural yoghurt

1 1/2 cup self raising flour

pinch of baking powder

1/4 cup caster sugar

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

To serve:

Dollop of apple and cinnamon natural yogurt

1 banana – halved and sliced lengthways

golden syrup

raspberry sauce (if not your own then Cuttaway Creek is the next best thing!)

half a lemon

icing sugar to dust

Method:

Combine wet ingredients and lightly whisk together in a small bowl. Combine dry ingredients and make a well in the centre. Add wet ingredients and grated apple; whisking it all together until just combined. Add cinnamon and vanilla extract and stir in.

Brush a hot pan with some butter so it is thinly coated. Add two large tablespoons of mixture and flip over when bubbles start rising to surface. Place slices of banana between two cooked pancakes and dress with remaining ingredients according to personal taste. Makes 8

Eat. Love. Enjoy!

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Published in: on February 25, 2012 at 11:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Post with the most!

It’s rare for me to write a post that ticks all 3 boxes but here’s a wrap up of yesterday…

EAT – to start with…oven baked sourdough and prosecco, moving onto fresh, clean tastes in salads such as  yummy Insalata Caprese with ripe red thickly cut tomatoes and creamy mozzarella slices, tuna nicoise salad with poached eggs, bresaola with rocket and shaved pecorino, cucumber ribbon, pine nuts and ricotta and warm stuffed eggplant. Pasta was next with a bolognese penne and a seared tuna and parsley orecchiette before mains arrived of seared swordfish with tomatoes, capers and extra virgin olive oil and crispy pork belly accompanied by lemon wedges and rocket. Dessert could not be forgotten and for Mr ELG and I, this was arguably our highlight….Eton mess with dollops of cream, fresh vanilla bean and plump sweet strawberries followed by a selection of cheese; both creamy and hard with pear and crackers. A cappuccino finished me off!

LOVE – family on hand to look after MM (BIT’s new codename aka Mini Mister), sharing a table with 14 closest and dearest pals over a long Sunday summer lunch where conversation flowed, laughter was bursting at the seams, yummy food was there to be divulged and life couldn’t be sweeter.

GO – Cafe Sopra above Fratelli Fresh on Danks Street, Waterloo Sydney. The private room where the Italian feast never stops.

Published in: on January 30, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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Time for tea and no oranges

After 2 weeks of solid eating and no holding back for another golden gaytime, extra dollop of custard or another piece of cheese; it’s now time for tea and no oranges. In other words; I am on a detox. I have chosen the Quick Cleanse 7 day version and Mr ELG and I are on day 2. So far so good and no major headaches or withdrawals. To put it simply, it’s unlimited fruit and vegetables with oranges omitted, no coffee or caffeine-related drinks, no meat or chicken, lots of water and raw nuts, fish every second day, unlimited tofu and lentils and vitamins three times a day. Yes, I could do this without buying into the program, but at this time of year structure is welcome to get the body back into gear.

So last night in front of the telly when all I could think about was Lindt passion-fruit intense chocolate, I begrudgingly went and made myself a herbal tea. My only saving grace for the next 5 days.

Since having BIT, I have never consumed so much tea as I do now. I don’t know what changed as I still drink coffee (when not on detox) but suddenly herbal tea is no longer reserved for librarians and old ladies. I do have a preference for chamomile, peppermint and ginger and am still not swayed by the berry blends. When I was breastfeeding, a friend recommended the Weleda nursing tea and who knew if it was actually contributing to the supply, but I found it to be a supremely calming ritual at the time much to Mr ELG’s dislike who used to always comment the house smelt like Chinese medicine.

I took this photo of tea being brewed at Revolver Cafe in Annandale. A friend ordered peppermint tea and I love the way so much effort is put into one cup of tea complete with its own minute timer too.

And yesterday amongst all of the tempting madness in a shopping centre where I looked one way to see hot churros rolled in cinnamon or the other way to see chocolate ice-cream; I was a very good girl and took myself off to T2 to order a takeaway herbal tea. It was an iced Turkish Apple and Rose tea – all pretty with the rosebuds floating on top. And if I just closed my eyes, it tasted just like a golden gaytime! Don’t worry, I know I’m dreaming!

Revolver Cafe @ 291 Annandale Street, Annandale NSW 2038

Published in: on January 10, 2012 at 3:20 am  Comments (1)  
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The letter F

I am seeing the letter F a lot these days and sounding it out as I go through the alphabet with my son. F is for fish. F is for flamingo. F is for fox. F is for frog. F is for Felix (BIT). And this morning F is for French toast, frangelico and fairy floss.

I love my French toast buttery, crisp on the outside and gooey and eggy on the inside. I usually use brioche but today I used leftover pannettone. I also had leftover fairy floss in the fridge; green pistachio fairy floss. It has a fine texture with a delicate nutty flavour and looks like it should be decoration for a fairy wonderland instead of an ingredient.

The result was Mr ELG saying it was the best ever French toast so I will share this magnificent recipe with you just in case you also have these leftovers in your pantry post silly season:

Frangelico French toast with fairy floss

Ingredients:

8 eggs

2 cups milk

1/2 cup pure cream

Juice of one orange

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp ground nutmeg

60ml Frangelico

Zest of one lemon

8 slices of thickly cut panettone

100g Pariya Pashmak pistachio fairy floss

50g butter

Raspberry sauce, strawberries and maple syrup to serve

Whisk all ingredients together and dunk slices in custard mixture until bread is soaked through. Heat 20g butter in pan and cook slices until golden brown each side. Keep cooked French toast warm in oven until ready to serve.

Plate up two slices each, sprinkle with raspberry , strawberries and maple syrup. Finish with fairy floss scattered over the top and serve immediately. Serve with crispy bacon if desired!

Serves 4

Enjoy licking the plate!!

Published in: on December 29, 2011 at 4:42 am  Leave a Comment  
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I love Aussie Bill!!!

My Dad aka Aussie Bill is amazing! With no stomach at all due to stomach cancer several years ago, Dad still adores food; eating it and cooking it and it is because of him that I inherited my love of food and adoration of the finer things in life. Dad lives in China and the minute he gets off the plane from Hong Kong, he heads straight for the nearest shop that sells pies as meat pies are one of his weaknesses. Food is always on Dad’s mind. Whether it is first thing in the morning or a midnight snack, I know he is always thinking about what to eat next! For much of his life Dad was in the catering business refining his culinary skills and defining the art of being a Chinese chef. For much of my childhood I used to think Dad was a magician as he could whip up meals in seconds.

In Sydney for Christmas, Dad loves eating homemade Christmas cake and custard. He loves his ham, nibbles on cheese, gorges on succulent turkey and has lashings of gravy.

And tonight the magician and his magic returned. Despite the piles of leftovers in the fridge from yesterday’s festive feast, he always knows what the family favorites are and what makes my sisters and I smile. Chinese food, the real stuff. The home cooked food that you can’t order in a restaurant yet takes minutes to make. I’ve seen him do this magic show plenty of times and tonight’s show did not disappoint. There was fresh ingredient fanfare. There was the cloak and dagger surprises and of course there was the staple rabbit out of the hat moment when dinner was ready in a flash leaving us all oohing and ahhing in amazement. Tonight Dad weaved his magic with prawns, pork mince, egg, barbecue pork, shallots, bean sprouts, snapper, sweet corn and chicken soup and duck. I left the table tonight thankful I was wearing elastic around the waist and even in more adoration of the magic of my Dad.

Published in: on December 26, 2011 at 12:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The 24 year old Italian

It’s no secret that I love to eat Italian food. So when it was my turn to pick a Sydney restaurant to celebrate an early Christmas and mark the end of a brilliant year with friends, I drew up a shortlist of ten restaurants of which quite a few were Italian. The criteria was simple…..bloody great food required! From a bit of simple research, reading this and that – this is what I came up with:

1. Sepia

2. La Scala

3. The Devonshire

4. Almond Bar

5. Il Perugino

6. A Tavola

7. Assiette

8. Duke Bistro

9. Sake 

10. Buzo

I questioned do I try somewhere new that has had rave reviews or do I book somewhere tried and true. After some discussion with Mr ELG, I went with the latter.

Numero cinque; Il Perugino

I first went to Il Perugino 11 years ago. Memories of that night are bloody great food, no menus with the waiter telling you what is being served instead and lots of people talking, chatting and simply enjoying their food. Over the years I have been back numerous times and the memory never changes; just the people at my table and the food of course, as the seasons change. Situated on Avenue Road in Mosman, Sydney next door to the drycleaners, Il Perugino has been in the same place for 24 years, run by passionate people who describe the menu to you like poetry. Last night as I was listening to the menu (they did introduce postcard menus a couple of years back but go through the detail all the same), I was salivating from one course to the next and the food wasn’t even in front of me yet. At the next table, a man was devouring a steaming bowl of fresh seafood while his friend had ordered the lamb shank and I watched the meat just melt away from the bone. With Antipasti on the way, this menu had too many choices; a lovely position to be in rather than no inspiration at all.

Teasing the tastebuds, the Antipasti was laid in front of us and did not fail to excite. Button mushrooms, artichoke hearts, mussels, fritters and eggplant swooped in seconds.

Next up for me were the duck, sage and burnt butter crepes. Mr ELG ordered the salmon carpaccio. One word; delicious. Actually two words; magnificently delicious!

As a main, Mr ELG and I ordered the same dish (very rare) and again, from the kitchens of Il Perugino came a marvelous flavour from such simple ingredients; pappardelle, zucchini, garlic, olive oil, parsley and vongole.

We couldn’t not eat dessert and the four of us with no hesitation each ordered a sweetie with the promise to share. The tiramisu was tantalising, the limoncello cheesecake with baked rhubarb and blood orange gelato was so refreshing, the warm apple and walnut cake was comforting and the passion-fruit creme brulee made it hard to share!

As I looked around the room last night on the Tuesday before Christmas, all the tables were full and there were babies, children, young and old enjoying the moorish moments. Il Perugino is a local to be loved and in fact, numero uno in my mind.

Il Perugino @ 171 Avenue Road, Mosman Sydney 2088

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