Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Books for Cooks

I had only 2.5 days in Melbourne this Christmas week and a list of all the things that i wanted to do and something that i have meaning to do for several years now was to visit a very special shop in Fitzroy called "Books for Cooks".

I entered into this amazing store full of rows and rows from floor to ceiling from wall to wall of cook books, i was in cook book heaven!

About Cooks for Books - they are Australia's specialist independent new & second-hand cookery book store; run by cooks & lovers of good food for cooks & lovers of good food. Have over 28,000 new, out-of print, second-hand & antiquarian cookery books & food & wine related titles in stock (five rooms, floor to ceiling jam-packed).

Have Australia's largest culinary book collection for sale. Whilst they can't stock every cook book there is, we try to stock every good cook book, new & old, we can find. They have books for professionals, students, enthusiastic amateurs, novices as well as children.
But they are not just about cookbooks. They also have books on food writing, food history, food science, wine writing, food & wine guides & just about any other food related area you can think of.

So, if your after that particular food & wine book for someone special in the near future than this is the spot to go first!

It is worth a look if your a foodie...


Mich xxx

A picture and some text supplied by Book for Cooks.
Photography and remaining text copyright michelle 09

Aurora Spa Retreat

Hi Ladies,
Happy Holidays to you. Hope Santa was good to you all?

A few days before Christmas day i was in Melbourne visiting friends and decided that i needed a unique experience of total body bliss to start to wind down after a busy year and get myself prepared for holidays and year ahead ... Aurora Spa Retreat .... 2 Acland Street St Kilda VIC.

If you are looking for total body pampering and relaxation then this place is for you. Located, Level 1, The Prince Hotel it has everything you need. They offer a wide selection of treatments and club memberships. I treated myself to the 1 hour Relaxation Full Body Massage, however i would love to work my way through the entire treatment list....hint hint !

However, the 1 hour Relaxation Full Body Massage was just what i felt like and it was soothing and complete. I cleansed my soul with lush cups of herbal tea's throughout the treatment and simply absorbed the angelic peaceful atmosphere.

Kitya Karnu means "Salty Stones". Aurora's signature treatment "Kitya Karnu" - while you lie in the steam room they apply your chosen essential oils, followed by Himalayan salt exfoliation, then a wattleseed protein polish and placement of cool river stones over the meridian lines of the body. Treatment continues with a facial cleanse and hydration mask and ends with a hair treatment, scalp massage and a refreshing seasonal hydrating mist sprayed over the body.

The Therapeutic value of having this treatment is that it boosts circulation, removes dead skin cells, stimulates skin, hydrates the scalp, hair and face.

Doesn't this sound wonderful - I know that definitely I'll be having this treatment next time I visit the team at Aurora !

Mich xx
Photo and some text supplied by Aurora Spa Treatment remaining text copyright michelle 09

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Spirit of Christmas All Year Round

Today I went to the wonderful Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne and spent a few hours in this lovely place. I just love the whole vibe and there are sustainable lifestyle organisations, a large artistic community, a radio station as well as the vegetarian cafe Lentil As Anything. This cafe has a donation operated system - you eat and then donate whatever you like instead of being charged a set amount. This relies on honesty, integrity and appreciation by the average person. And, to make it that little bit more amazing, they use organic produce and serve fair trade tea and coffee! The cafe began in 2000 in St Kilda and now has expanded to five locations. So, in the spirit of Christmas, let's just remember that all year round, people are genorous and giving at Lentil as Anything!

To be inspired, have a read of their sign - it gives me warm fuzzies!!!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Organic Wine to Celebrate the Festive Season!

I must say that I do love a nice glass of wine or bubbles and the upcoming festivities have really had me searching. I have found a few picks that I wanted to share with you. Rosnay have just released the first organic sparkling rose which is sumptuous, matched perfectly with a Sydney rock oyster or two. Then there is the Tamburlaine sav blanc which I adore with a salmon carpaccio or a fennel salad. Tamburlaine is conveniently located opposite the Golden Door Health Retreat where I run detoxification programs - the irony kills me! But, organic wines are a must - a report just released by the Pesticide Action Network found that hazardous pesticides were found in many samples of conventional wine. My last pick is Coates organic rose which is a more full bodied wine - gorgeous with a slice of melon wrapped in proscuitto.

So, go ahead and enjoy the festive season with a glass of organic wine in hand! Merry Christmas to you and your family,

Emm xxx

Monday, December 14, 2009

O Organic Produce to the Rescue!

On the weekend I organised an event for a very eclectic group of people and between them the dietary requirements were really varied - coeliac, vegetarian, dairy free, vegan and seafood allergy to name a few. I searched high and low to find a caterer that would be able to help me out. Most had no idea what I was talking about – I was amazed at their lack of knowledge. Finally I came across O Organic Produce and they were incredible. I go to their gorgeous cafe in Crown Street, Surry Hills and adore everything they do.

Now you know how much I love all things organic and when I read the O Organic promise I felt that I had found a kindred spirit! They promise “To create wholesome delicious food using fresh local produce where possible. To support our organic farmers. Respect the earth and stay true to the body's needs. Our promise is to create flavoursome food that is innovative and memorable.” How beautiful is that! I often enjoy popping in to the cafe for a fair trade coffee and an egg and bacon roll (sounds naughty but I feel virtuous as it is organic!).

Mick, the vibrant owner, organised all the food for my event without a hitch and he knew exactly what a coeliac must avoid! Everyone loved the delicious organic fare and I particularly enjoyed the Vietnamese rice paper rolls, inside out Nori rolls and vegetable tarts. I was hoping for a little left over’s for lunch the next day but there was barely a crumb in sight! I had a chat to Mick the next day and he explained to me how the Heart Foundation has just given them a tick.

So, if you need catering organised without stress and enjoy supporting a sustainable business then give O Organic a call. Once again Mick, the whole experience was perfect and I will be back for more!


Summer Raspberry Chocolate Cup

I can find nothing more pleasing then finishing a meal with raspberries and chocolate.

Raspberries are in season and natural antioxidants. Dark Chocolate too is a natural antioxidant - so go on what are you waiting for ? Eat Moderately but do enjoy!

I made this quick recipe over the weekend and must tell you was just perfect.

Here is my recipe;

Summer Raspberry Chocolate Cup

Serves 2

1 cup organic natural yoghurt

2 tablespoons organic cocoa powder

1/2 punnet raspberries

1. In a small bowl mix together the yoghurt and cocoa powder until well combined.

2. Spoon yoghurt mixture into two glasses and top with berries and eat immediately.

Mich xx

recipe, text and photo copyright michelle 2009

What colour am I ?

Reaching vitality is not just about eating the right food it is also about your lifestyle - the way you lead your life, both in your appearance and image and stress management practices. I was lucky enough to recently be a guest at a Make-up and Colour day, inspired by the book "What colour am I ? by Chris Rewell. I learnt about what hair, jewellery and fabric colour suit my skin tones and it was a fantastic day, i wish i had done something like this 10 years ago, but never mind you move forward and since completing the day course, everyday i have had someone comment on how nice i look. I didn't think that changing the colour of your make-up or the tones in your outfit or choosing the right colour jewellery to wear would make such a difference but it has. Thank you to Vicki and Annie (Consultants) for the day and Chris Rewell for her book "What colour am I? ". For more information about Chris Rewell - Image Consultants visit; http://www.chrisrewell.com.au/ and for information about the book visit; http://www.whatcolourami.com.au/.

Take care everyone... Mich xx

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

5 Minute Dinner !!!

After a busy day and 1 hour exercise, i was so hungry and tempted to buy fatty take-away such as fish and chips and all sense and good reason went out the window but then i remembered that i had a bottle of organic ready made pasta sauce in the fridge and a can of cooked organic beans in my pantry that i cooked a healthy refueling dinner in under 5 minutes. I wanted to share with you my quick, yummy and filling recipe.
5 minute dinner - serves 1
1 x 400g can organic cooked mixed beans (butter beans, chick peas, white beans, red kidney beans)
1 cup ready made organic pasta sauce
1 tablespoon chilli paste or fresh chilli, finely chopped
grated cheese and cooked spinach, optional for serving

1. In a small frypan, heat drained beans, pasta sauce and chilli together until hot.
2. Spoon into a bowl and serve with a grated cheese and spinach.

Tip: This recipe can be divided by 4 and served for breakfast with a slice wholemeal toast and a poached egg.

Eat well and happy cooking...... Mich xx

recipe, text, photo copyright michelle 09

Why Organic?

As i mentioned in a earlier blog, i have not always eaten organically until this past year and i must tell you that i can notice the difference between eating something grown and produced organically to something commercially made; i notice the difference in both taste and quality. The fact is that i know that what i am eating is grown locally or within Australia and it is grown without using synthetic chemicals. i am not going to go into all the details about organics now as we will be covering Organics in the book; but i just wanted to give a little insight into why i choose to eat organically.

A interesting website to read is; www.trustorganic.org.au; the Organic Federation of Australia, provides information about Standards for Organic and Biodynamic Products and helps consumers identify credible organic products.

Mich xxx

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Product of the Week - Steady Stick Water Bottles

Refill and Reuse - that's the message that I want to share with you today. I spent many summers on the beautiful island of Ithaki, Greece, and by the end of the season, horrible plastic water bottles would line the coastal roads!

We all know what BPA plastic does to us - it’s carcinogenic and slowly poisons every little cell. BPA is not a molecule that you want floating around in your body and you need to avoid it. Quite a few water bottles that I have looked into have a thin, clear plastic inner lining that contains BPA so make sure that yours doesn’t. Steady Stick water bottles are made from BPA free hard plastic with technology pioneered in the States in 2008. There are no petrochemicals in Steady stick bottles – yay!

Just fill these reusable bottles each week and quench your thirst in all the places where you typically buy or carry bottled water. I add chlorophyll to mine for alkalizing and coconut water for electrolytes – amazingly beneficial for your health. Support the reduction of plastic waste. Save money and the environment. Go ahead... reduce bottles!

Apart from being an organic nut, I am also a carbon friendly kind of girl! So, these bottles receive “Product of the Week”. If you have a fav product that you would like in this category just post a comment.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Veggies, Fruits & Fish - Natural Antidepressants!

Wow - this is exactly the kind of research that makes me so excited! I am very happy to share this with you and the whole book will be full of this "Food as Medicine" approach. Get ready, hold onto your hats and start your journey to happiness!

A very interesting study from the University College London in the UK followed 3,486 people for five years. At the end of five years, they matched their depression to their diet.

They found that the most depressed individuals consumed "processed food" (heavily loaded by sweetened desserts, fried food, processed meat, refined grains and high-fat dairy products). In contrast, the least depressed people consumed a diet of "whole foods" (heavily loaded by vegetables, fruits and fish).

Depression is a surprisingly common symptom. Before you turn to pharmaceutical antidepressants, start with changing your foods. If you eat a healthy diet your depression may subside. I strongly encourage you to take a good hard look at your diet – the best and most effective way is to write a food/mood diary and begin to notice any trends that appear. How did you feel an hour after you ate that coffee and banana bread this morning?

I always see improvements in mood when processed nutrient-poor food is removed and replaced with whole, organic and nutrient rich food.