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Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Grilling Frenzy

One of the great things about holidays that I love is that you get to prepare lunch at home, when you want. And that means it's always fresh. I normally take sandwiches to work just because i've been used to it since school, but if it's got something like salad in it it gets so soggy and just gross =(. And I don't like taking leftovers or similar because it's not fresh and has been sitting in my bag probably growing bacteria =P. It's just not the same.

So I take every opportunity I get to cook and eat all my meals at home =). I just enjoy it more. Yesterday I had some left over eggplant left from my baba ganouj craze that I needed to use up, and I also had some polenta (corn grits) I bought a few weeks back when I went a bit crazy at the Lebanese grocery shop. So I got cooking! Honey and Garlic Grilled Eggplant and Grilled Polenta Cakes. And a bit of salad =). Yummooo!! AND so healthy!!


I've never made or tasted polenta before, but I'm familiar with how it is traditionally prepared - boiled with water and simmered until thick, turning it into a bit of a mush. I know I'd have texture issues with this one, but I was curious to taste it, so I went and did a bit of research and found alternative ways to prepare it. A common way is to prepare the polenta, then spread it into a slab and chill until solid. It can then be cut into squares/rectangles that can be grilled, turning it into polenta cakes so to speak. And that's just what I did. I prepared the polenta the previous day and then chilled it overnight, allowing it to be easily sliced and grilled. The good thing is you can prepare alot, chill it overnight then cut it into slabs and you can just store them like that in the fridge and then take as many as you like out at will and grill them whenever you feel like it. No need to come home after work, hungry as a nutter and have to wait around for eons and prepare from scratch! And they taste real nice! Love the texture, bit more solid and with a familiar corn taste.

They could be more neatly prepared, but not bad for a 1st attempt!
And we all know how much I love eggplant, so no need to elaborate on how gorg it is just marinated in honey and garlic (another fav) and then grilled to charred, creamy perfection. Mmmmm!


Grilled Polenta Cakes

Normally there is a recipe for preparation on the packet, I've put how I made it + how to make the grilled cakes. It doesn't yield much, probs enough for 1 or 2, but its very easy to double =). 

Ingredients
2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
40g polenta (corn meal)

Method
1. Bring water and salt to boil in large saucepan over high heat, gradually whisk in polenta.

2. Once all is added, turn heat to medium and simmer mixture until polenta no longer sticks to side of pan (approx. 20 minutes). Whisk every 2 minutes to prevent mixture sticking and burning to the bottom.


3. Place a piece of baking paper on a rectangular tray and spread polenta evenly over the paper. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate until firm/overnight. (I popped mine int he freezer to see if it firmed it up quicker, and it did, but i just popped it in the fridge for the next day).

4. Once firm, cut the polenta into rectangles/squares (desired size). Brush each piece with olive oil and grill on pre-heated (medium-high)  grill pan for 5-7 minutes on both sides, until golden


5. Serve with grilled eggplant (recipe below =) ).



Honey and Garlic Grilled Eggplant 
Adapted from Beyond Salmon

Ingredients
1 eggplant
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
3 mashed garlic cloves (original recipe calls for 2 but I love garlic =P)
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper


Method
1. Wash and slice eggplant into 1/2 inch round slices. Place on tray lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Leave for 15 minutes then pat dry with paper towel. This draws out all the moisture and bitter taste (esp. if an old eggplant), which results in a creamier and more subtle taste.


2. To make the marinade, mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl, add salt and pepper to taste.


3. Pre-heat grill to medium-high heat, brush with olive oil. Dip each eggplant slice in marinade, covering them well, then place on grill till charred on each side (approx. 3 minutes each side - depends on your grill, the heat and how charred you want it to be). Brush with marinade as you flip them.


4. Serve with polenta cakes and salad.




Ooooo last post for August! Last post for WINTER!!! Enjoy!! xx

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

ENOUGH FOOD! (Briefly =P)

As a dietitian, food is your life. You practically eat, breath and sleep food. Constantly asking people what they're eating, educating on what and what not to eat, prescribing diets, writing out meal plans....the list goes on. And so, naturally, food is always on your mind. I'm not used to this much focus being on food - I mean, of course during uni you learn all about it, but there has always been a focus on diet-disease relationship i.e. the background info that you need to do your job, rather than food itself.

But all this focus on food is starting to take it's toll on me. All through my breaks I'm looking at food magazines, I feel this compulsive need to always cook something or eat something, I'm constantly formulating shopping lists for all the things i want to make. You've probably noticed from alot of my recent posts I've been cooking QUITE alot. And I've noticed that alot of the other dietitians at work talk about the restaurants they go to, the food they make, the alterations they made to recipes blah blah blah. ENOUGH! I mean, I LOVE food, most of all cooking it, but this is just too much! If i was a chef i wouldn't mind all this chatter about food because I'd be constantly making and then subsequently eating it. But, as a dietitian, its all talk!

And so, I would like to take a brief break from all things food related. Don't worry! I'm not going to stop cooking (or eating) delicious food. In fact, my next post is actually gonna be on what I made for lunch today no joke =P. I just needed a break, and what better way to do so than go snap happy on such a beautiful day =D.










Top: Unlabelled (Melbourne)
Jeans: Topshop
Boots: Tony Bianco
Jewellery: Wanderlust + Co., ASOS


Hope you had as much fun in the sun as I did =) xx

Monday, 29 August 2011

Nail Polish Collection/Obsession?

I've been having alot of friends come over in recent times, since I can't really afford to go out much at the moment due to attempts at saving for my big trip at the end of the year. One thing that seems to amaze them all is my nail polish collection.

Now, before I shock you all, I'm just gonna ease you into it. Here is a picture of my collection about 3 months ago...


When I took this picture I thought my collection was quite large, and it is for the average girl I guess. The thing is, I kept finding all these colours that I liked and combinations that worked really well, and I just kept buying them one by one. Before I knew it, I ended up with this, without even realising how much I had actually bought until everyone would come into my room and go "HOLY CRAP!"....


Anyone care to count them for me? Pretty sure there's over 100 there...


Believe me, I've seen much MUCH larger. This is actually nothing compared to some collections.

I'd love to see how much this collection is worth over here - I bought most of them overseas/online and they retail here at nearly double the price. And I wonder why I'm running out of cash....

And onto my latest manicure! I've had black shatter in my nail polish collection for a while now. It's just that I have such a large collection I don't get to wear it often. Well, larger than you're average collection.....

I struggled to get good accurate pictures of this one on my camera, the colour just didn't turn out right.


So I tried taking them on my phone, which sorta worked. 



This is L.A. Girls 'Disco Fever' with OPI Black Shatter over the top. Apparently this polish should glow underneath black light, but I don't have one. But imagine how cool it would look with the black shatter over the top! Should go out clubbing to check it out...

A day later and I'm already bored of it =P. Expect another post soon haha. 


=D xx

Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

Hi guys! I had another great weekend, catching up with friends and just chillin. Hopefully I can get some posts up on what we got up to, once I can get my hands on some decent photos. There are still some posts from a while ago that i need to put up! But yes, I will get to those hopefuly sometime this week =).

This week I have a break from work placement! Great time to chillax and just catch up on life. Today I did my brother a favour and made him this ice cream he had requested. Well, i attempted to make it, but I fail at watching milk boil apparently and it all just went blergh. Hopefully I can give it another go and post it up since it's a really interesting one! Anyways, as a result i had all these egg whites left over. I struggle to find ways to make use of them when i make ice cream. I normally just make meringues but there's only so many of those you can make and subsequently eat. So I did a bit of research and found a recipe for Chocolate Coconut Macaroons. Omg so nice! AND easy! Just like little clouds of chocolate, and the mixture is so additive you'd be lucky to be putting anything in the oven in the first place when you make these.


Chocolate Coconut Macaroons
Adapted from Joy of Baking

Ingredients
115g dark chocolate
3 large egg whites
1/4 cup cocoa
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 & 1/2 cups shredded coconut

Method
1. Preheat oven to 165C (325F). Melt chocolate in heatproof bowl in microwave (about 1-1.5 minutes).
2. Whisk egg whites, cocoa, sugar, salt and vanilla until combined.
3. Stir in melted chocolate + coconut. Place in freezer for 15 minutes to firm the mixture up.
4. Place tablespoons full of the mixture onto a baking tray lined with baking paper (about an inch apart from each other)

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the macaroons look shiny.
6. Take them out of the oven, transfer to wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes


Enjoy!! xx

Sweetness The Patisserie, Epping

About 1 or 2 weeks ago I was in Epping catching up with a friend over coffee, and she took me to this little patisserie down the road which I had often passed but hadn't thought of venturing inside.


Unfortunately I didn't have my camera on me so I can't show you all the cute and yummy stuff they had on for sale, or even the gorgeous interior which was so cute and quaint and you can look right into the 'factory' where they make all their products. I actually didn't know it was going to be that good! I always looked at it from the outside thinking it was just another lolly shop but gosh was I wrong. They have ALL SORTS or really nice things for sale...wish I wasn't so broke =(.

Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Marshmallows and Whoopie Pie
The marshmallows taste divine when toasted/melted over fire....


They have the most extensive marshmallow flavour range i have ever seen! Bit like Jelly Belly but more tame. Definitely going back to sample!!

Sweetness The Patisserie
8 Oxford Street
Epping, Sydney
NSW, 2121
http://www.sweetness.com.au/

SWEETNESS The Patisserie on Urbanspoon

=) xx

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Truth or Bare

Hi guys! I'm so glad it's Wednesday, only 2 more days till the weekend! And I have a week off next week which is GREAT! Can catch up on some sleep and relaxation. Nearly half-way through work placement, it's so tiring I'm glad it seems to be going a bit faster these days.

Anyways, enough about my mundane life. Well, I guess not, since this is my blog eh. Hahah, anyways I did my nails again a few days ago, so please excuse me if they look a bit chipped etc etc. I actually did this design on one of my friend's last week, but i didn't get a chance to take some pictures so I thought I would re-create it since I really liked how it turned out.

First of all, I used Milani 'Truth or Bare' which I LOVE just by itself.


Stands out better against black I think =)

And now for the pretty design! It's a bit messy because I did this one while sitting on my bed. Bad idea. And the top coat made it run a bit =(.


Oh how I love my lightbox and it's instant photoshopping abilities =P

And again, thought I'd share one of my most played songs at the moment. Never heard of this band before, found out they are some Irish boy band, featuring some cute eye-candy ;). Very addictive beat!


=) xx

Monday, 22 August 2011

Shoe love.

ASOS 'Pumpkin' Suede Platforms

xx

Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio, South Yarra

There have been so many blog posts about Burch & Purchese on Chapel St in Melbourne lately, mainly due to the fact that heaps of foodie bloggers headed down to Melbourne recently for the Nuffnang Blogopolis Conference.


Even though I was in Melbs purely for no reason at all, I thought I'd add my own post on Burch & Purchese =). I guess it's just a testament to how awesome this place is. It's so quaint and cute, and smells of sugar. So basically I should live here =P.



Most awesome ingredients wall! Wish I had one at home....


OH LOOK! Its Dan Purchese (left) and Ian Burch (behind the lady)!

And of course we couldn't leave the place empty handed =P.

Raspberry milk chocolate block, caramelised cocoa nibs, half salted caramel + half chocolate hazelnut spread, chocolate, hazelnut, caramel and mango spread; gold bullion bars (filled with salted caramel)

My jar of salted caramel + hazelnut spread is completely finished now. And all I needed to eat it was a spoon. We also picked up some desserts to try, and Kalli felt the need to set the table nicely...


Clockwise from top left: Roast pumpkin seed cake with chocolate, maple syrup and bacon;
Raspberry and white chocolate mousse with honey and lychee;
Dark chocolate mousse with mandarin and salted caramel;
Chocolate and vanilla mouse with caramelised pear and hazelnut

They were all much more complicated than I make them out to be, they each came with a nice little description card as well which was nice. And they all tasted incredible! The roast pumpkin one was interesting to say the least, but I couldn't really taste the bacon, I've always wanted to try the maple syrup/bacon combo that Canadians and Americans seem to love, might give it a go over the weekend...

Mmmm.


Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio

647 Chapel St
South Yarra 3141
Ph: (03) 9827 7060
http://www.burchandpurchese.com/

Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio on Urbanspoon

And after doing this post, yet again I have Melbourne blues =( xx

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Chillin'






Late night travel planning ftw


Early Sunday morning cake baking....mmm

Hope you're all having an awesome weekend =) xx
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