Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Australia Day

How good does it feel to be an Australian, I am proud of our nation and yesterday, i joined thousands of people at 6am with 18 colourful hot air balloons ascending into the dawn skies, a landmark Australia Day tradition in Parramatta park since 1985. Happy Australia Day everyone! Enjoy life. Mich xx


Picture and Text copyright Michelle Thrift 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

True Religion Espresso Bar – these girls ROCK!


There is nothing like being in the company of people who are genuinely passionate about their craft and I was delighted to have the chance to interview Mariella Traina and Natalie Mandel. Their espresso bar, True Religion, is located on bustling Darling Street, Balmain. It is a pocket of a place and thanks to an edgy Melbourne meets Sydney fit out, looks brilliant. Mariella, a trained chef, owned Froth cafe in Leichhardt for 5 years before embarking on True Religion with Natalie.

The first thing that I noticed when they opened was their funky logo – it’s a coffee bean with devil’s horns and tail. As Natalie explained, coffee was originally considered the Devil’s drink so this is a cheeky twist on that. As for the name of their venture, they are both devoted to coffee and it’s a type of daily worship that we all partake in.

The main vibe definitely has an organic emphasis and of being true to the clean, simple flavours that great produce lends itself to. Both girls love eating out at Billy Kwong for the same reason. Their coffee is independently roasted and custom blended to meet their high standards. Their single origin is used for short blacks/macchiato and changes every 2 weeks. Even their decaf is Fair-trade, rainforest alliance and mountain water filtered from Mexico – and for decaf it tastes like the real thing. Luckily you can buy their coffee as well!

True Religion has gorgeous food – the things they do best are made on site while they outsource tasty treats from Adriano Zumbo. Staying true to traditional recipes and allowing ingredients to shine is evident in all their dishes. For example, Bircher muesli is left unadulterated and made according to the original recipe.

I must say, I have changed my daily routine to swing by True Religion and get my coffee – I am so fussy with my coffee and very few places actually get it right. These girls have won me over with their consistency and incredible skill in making my daily caffeine hit. They are a tribute to the Holy Grail of Caffeine and I congratulate them on their passion.

True Religion are open from 6 –4 Tuesday to Saturday and then 7-3 Sundays. Mondays are spent dreaming of coffee and refuelling for another week!

Emm
xxx


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Organic + Love = Sublime



Today was 43 degrees and felt just like standing on a street in Dubai – or sucking in the exhaust of a jet plane! Either way, the result was floppy hair, a red face and a painfully slow pace. I headed out on my usual Saturday - the Orange Grove Organic Markets. By 9am, I was perusing the produce at Johnny Bucknall’s stand. He is the only person I buy from as he brings produce down from Mangrove Mountain, which is an area that has a lot of organic farms. The water I drink also comes from an organic farm at Mangrove Mountain, Alpha Water. That’s another blog altogether!

So, Johnny is watching all of his produce rapidly wilt in the blistering heat and begins to inform us the greens are now two for one. Well, even though I get carried away without any persuasion, this had me spinning in circles! Instantly my eyes did a “Matrix” like configuration, my brain almost imploded with recipes and I began dashing all over the place with my large basket.

As I was racing to clinic I threw all my purchases in the fridge and got to work. 7 hours later as I picked up my numerous bags, I began to think of the best strategy for all of my spontaneous greens. Kale, which is my all time fav vegetable, could be used in my smoothies. The rocket would be perfect for lunch tomorrow with some shaved fennel, parsley and grilled tuna. But, what I didn’t realise was that I purchased a heap of stunning basil.

Of course, I had to make pesto and it needed to be done ASAP. So, I arrived home, poured a lovely glass of wine, put my feel good music on and got to work! First, can I say that one of my all time loves is to find amazing produce and then cook it. I prefer to keep it simple, let the ingredient shine, and always add a lot of love. I can’t cook when I am grumpy or angry – it just ends up tasting bitter and horrible. So, when I am feeling so happy and positive like today, my food always tastes amazing.

So, here is my recipe but promise me that you will only make this when you have plenty of free time, some gorgeous organic ingredients and a smile in your heart.

Emma’s Pesto
Ingredients – they are all organic of course, that’s another reason this taste incredible

3 cloves of garlic

100gr parmesan – luckily I live in Haberfield and am spoilt with choice but I love one from Reggio Emilia in Northern Italy, ask the deli to grate it for you

50gr pistachios – lightly toasted

2 large bunches basil

1 cup extra virgin olive oil (I use my mum’s cold pressed organic extra virgin)

Rind of 1 lemon

Pepper to taste

Method

Blend the parmesan, garlic and pistachio nuts. Take a minute to smell this – so gorgeously aromatic, nutty, sharp and tangy all at once! Slowly add the basil and ½ cup EVOO. Then pop in the lemon rind, pepper and ¼ cup EVOO. Blend until you are happy with the consistency. Store in a glass jar, use the remaining EVOO to pour over the top of the pesto and create a seal to prevent oxidation of your masterpiece.



Text, recipe and photo © Health Equals Vitality 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Emma’s Interview on Bondi FM

Last week I was interviewed by the gorgeous Corby Sue all about detox. Bondi FM is Australia’s only private radio station and it is set in an eclectic space on Curlewis Street. A little doorway, some painted footsteps and the smell of coffee will lure you in from the sidewalk. As their website says BondiFM is “international, multi-cultural with a strong community focus and a soft spot in our heart for all things funky and experimental BONDI 88 FM is the not-so-secret lovechild of millions of diverse music lovers who transport the beach into their living rooms to top up their tans.” Sounds like my kind of fun! According to stats, more overseas visitors tour their website than the number of tourists who actually visit the world famous beach!

Corby Sue is a very talented woman – she is a personal chef, runs cooking classes, designs menus and is a radio presenter amongst other nifty things. Our interview focused on Detox and we had a ball chatting about all things healthy – detox does not have to mean colonics and juice fasting! The radio studio at BondiFM is in the cafe so go and watch the action over a bite to eat. As soon as I have the podcast i will put it on the website and let you know.Corby, I want to thank you for a fantastic afternoon and I look forward to sharing your table again soon, xxx.

On another note, I really want to inspire you to make some changes and become the best you can be. It’s a new decade and a beautiful time to cleanse any negative habits. I did an interview with the men’s mag FHM about Detox and my main point was that detox can be easy if you are shown how! As you well know, I detox every Feb and Sept and this time I have decided to blog my daily progress. This will be a valuable source of information for you as I will cover my food as well as all those little tricks I have discovered over the years of detoxing. So, send the link out to friends, become a follower and get ready to detox!

Emm
xxx

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wild Edible Greens






On a recent hunt to find "Wild Edible Greens" for juicing i found it extremely difficult to find any in Sydney. When i phoned various health food stores and produce centres people questioned my asking for such things as Kale and Dandelion leaves ??? i was beginning to wonder what i had gotten myself into, surely it can't be that hard to find locally farmed wild edible greens ?

After a few days of Internet surfing and phone calling, i found a local supplier called "Alfalfa House", at last i found a store that spoke my language.

As stated on their website; www.alfalfahouse.org

"Alfalfa House is a not-for-profit cooperative that aims to provide, where possible, minimally packaged and minimally processed, affordable, wholesome, organic food to its members."

What a wonderful store to have so close and to know that it exists. If you have some free time it is worth checking out the website and visting the store.

So, Thank you Alfalfa House for having a place for like minded people to go and shop!

I am so happy to know you are here!

Can anyone share with me a time that they have tried to look everywhere for a particular ingredient and have not been able to find it ???

Happy Juicing and Eat Well !

Mich x

Text Copyright Michelle Thrift 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Luscious Wines - Guilt Free and What Tasty Little Numbers!


I recently spent a few days at the Golden Door Health Retreat as a guest presenter and what a wonderful few days it was! As I drove through the countryside at dusk, I was reminded of just how glorious the Hunter is. An unusually high summer rainfall had left in its wake fertile, green, rolling hills covered in vineyards. It took all my willpower to keep on driving and focus on the weight loss seminars and superfood cooking workshops that was about to keep me busy – damn that work business!

So, after I had completed my days of inspiration and motivation, I set off down the road to visit Lou Davidson at Tamburlaine Winery. You may remember my pre Christmas post about organic wines where they featured as one of my favourites. I love so many things about this place it’s hard to keep it to a short blog but I will try my best!

First of all it is their commitment to organic that impresses me the most. They started making their way organic in 1998 and were certified in 2001. Becoming a certified producer is no mean feat and it takes time, money, passion and a strong belief to get that little logo! All the kitchen waste and water is recycled, seaweed fertiliser is used on the grounds, extreme heat in the warehouse is combated by straw bale insulating, high pressure steam is used to kill weeds, and even the tractors are run on soybean oil! Now for this Eco Girl, that’s a lot of ticked boxes!

Secondly, Lou has the absolute perfect venue for a dream event – as she showed me around I already had my next birthday planned out. Casuarina Catering organise all the food – ingredients are sourced locally and the menu sounds delicious. There is the most gorgeous lake with a perfect balcony for pre dinner cocktails. Add a live band, romantic candles, some organic wines and it sounds like an exceptional night out!

Tamburlaine has an export market that is increasing as we speak – those clever folk in Sweden and China know just how terrible chemicals are. So, take advantage of the member’s discounts and join up, order your next dozen bottles and know that when you sip that gorgeous drop, you are participating in a clean, green product that tastes stunning. Thanks again Lou, for your wonderful tour.

Emm
Xxx

PS My personal fav is the 2008 Verdelho at the moment

PPS Mich, I couldn’t help but have a little taste

PPPS BUT I bought lots more for us to share!


Monday, January 18, 2010

Cup of Tea Anyone?

Everyone knows how much I love a cup of therapeutic herbal tea and now I have found the absolute answer to my busy days! T-Sac Disposable Tea Filters.

Enjoy loose leaf tea in these convenient, simple to use, and ecologically friendly tea infusers! The T-Sac filters are ideal for those who dislike the mess commonly associated with loose-leaf tea - that's most of us! Uniquely designed with a gusseted bottom which allows the tea leaves to completely unfurl, thus increasing the flavour and strength of the tea. T-sac tea filters also have a paper flap which is perfect for tucking under the lid of a tea pot or a travel mug.

Best of all, they are made from 100% natural, unbleached, and chlorine free paper. As I make my own Rejuvenation Tea, which is a loose leaf organic blend, these tea filters are the perfect accompaniment to make a quick cup. I used to have to brew up a pot, which often meant that I would be wasting tea – a thing of the past now. Whoever invented these little beauties gets my thumbs up for practicality and sustainability! I usually find them in a Japanese tea shop or order them online.

Emm
xxx

A Country Life.....

I have the very good fortune to have one of my best friends living in Wingello, right in the middle of the Southern Highlands. Every month I take a few days off to meander down the Hume and stay overnight. Simona is from Abruzzo in Italy and I love the hospitality that greets me – a bed so cosy that it reminds me of staying at my Grandmas, beautiful food and the most relaxing atmosphere. I can’t get mobile phone reception (bliss!!!) and I fall asleep to the sound of wind in the trees.

Today I awoke to the most gorgeous sunny morning and happily sipped my coffee on the back porch soaking up the warmth. Much to my delight a neighbour came over with the two dozen eggs we ordered. They got my stamp of approval when I opened the tray to find they were still covered in dirt and the odd feather. This is what real eggs are and I grew up eating these at my Grandma’s farm. The yolks are so yellow it’s amazing and the taste so much more intense.

We then traipsed off to “Arcadia”, the local fruit and vegetable shop. I had commented to Simona that the rocket salad at dinner last night was like the true wild rocket that I rarely see in Sydney. So we went in search of this prized rocket at Arkadia. I only had $10 on me and I mentioned to Simona that I needed an ATM – she burst out laughing and said “Emm, you can’t possibly spend more than $10 at Arcadia!”

Vi, who runs this wonderful little shop, is there every day of the year except Christmas day. We pulled up to the shop, which is more like an open shed, to find a treasure trove of produce. Most of it is local and people either sell it to Vi or swap it for something else. I bought 2kg juicy carrots, a whole head of celery, a cos lettuce and a big bag of the gorgeous rocket – all for $5! Now, I know the produce is not organic but it is home grown, local and most people use seaweed fertiliser, not chemicals. I can’t even buy a bag of rocket that big for under $5 in Sydney!

So, a country life may be just the thing I need – it is certainly on the long term drawing board! Simona and I have visions of sharing vegetable harvests, making jams and enjoying nice long nights around the dinner table. Thanks again Vi!

Emm

xxx

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cook Book and Recipe Survey

Do you have a favourite cook book or recipe ?

I have been collecting recipes and receiving and buying cook books since primary school. While our schoolmates played games at lunch time, my girlfriend and i would sit together and read recipes from magazines and play grown ups pretending if we had a large family to feed what would you cook them for dinner! Most days we recipe exchanged, menu planned and picked out our favourite recipes and just laughed at how much fun it was going to be when we got older to cook these meals for our friends and family.
Today, i often think back to those sweet childhood memories wondering how can I bring back the joy of picking a meal without having to worry about food allergies, how much fat, sugar, salt is in each dish and have i got enough vegetables and or protein in the recipe ? How do you maximise the flavour and eye appeal of the recipe ?
I would have to say that i have hundreds of cooks books and thousands of recipes for inspiration in my collection but who's counting! Cook books and recipes come in various styles depending on how a author would like to present their work.
To me having that special family favourite recipe is priceless !
Happy Cooking and Keep Well Everyone !
Mich xx
Text Copyright Michelle Thrift 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bircher Muesli





Hello everyone, what a great day today is! This morning i started my day with a bowl of Bircher muesli and it was such a good feeling to know that i had tick started my day with a wholesome, enriching and simple recipe.

My Bircher museli recipe is a slight variation from the original Bircher-Benner muesli which consisted of rolled oats, lemon juice, cream, grated apple and ground hazelnuts.

According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; "Muesli was introduced around 1900 by the Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner for patients in his hospital,[2] where a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables was an essential part of therapy. It was inspired by a similar "strange dish" that he and his wife had been served on a hike in the Swiss Alps. Bircher-Benner himself referred to the dish simply as "d'Spys" (Swiss German for "the dish", in German "die Speise"). Muesli in its modern form became popular in western countries starting in the 1960s as part of increased interest in health food and vegetarian diets."

So, I have created my own take of this historical dish. My recipe is high in fibre, antioxidants, vitamin C and low in fat. Keep this in fridge covered for 3-5 days.

So, here it is; dig in and enjoy;

Bircher Muesli

Serves 6

2 cups complete multigrain porridge (rolled rye, brown rice flakes, rolled oats, rolled barley, blueberries, sultanas, goji berries)

2 cups (500ml) premium organic orange juice

1 cup (250ml) natural plain organic yoghurt

1 tablespoon organic agave nectar

In a large glass bowl mix together all ingredients and leave covered overnight in fridge. The next day, stir and taste checking that grains are soft. Once grains are soft and dried berries are plump, serve 3-4 tablespoonfuls muesli into a large glass bowl and top with slices of your favourite in season fruit such as nectarine, peach and pear.

Eat and enjoy !

Mich xx

Text, recipe, food styling and photo copyright Michelle Thrift 09

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Take Away Coffee Cup for The Modern Girl

Ok, so most of us buy a take away coffee on a regular business day. My criteria up until now has been NO styrofoam, definately Fair Trade and a splash of dashing barista smile. Little did I realise that the world of T/A coffees was about to be revolutionised until I popped in to O Organic and saw their Keep Cups. These nifty little numbers are 100% recyclable, have a 4 year lifespan (that's longer than any barista!), are lightweight, durable & travel friendly.

And based on my current coffee consumsption, if I use a Keep Cup, I will save 416 paper cups annually as well as 1kg plastic lids, 5kg of landfill and 429mjs of energy - now this simply has to define sustainable!

So for this eco girl, I now have a Keep Cup in car, both clinics and home!

Thanks Mick at O Organic for his winning barista smile.

Emm
xxx

xxx


Chocolate Almond Sweets



Hi Everyone, i received a lot of enquiries for the sweets recipe i mentioned in my blog yesterday; so here it is;

Chocolate Almond Sweets
(pictured above)

Makes about 8-12 squares
2 x 45g sugar-free dark chocolate bars, melted
1 cup organic roasted almonds or cashews
1/2 cup organic sultanas (optional)

Mix together melted chocolate, nuts and sultanas until well coated and combined. Pour onto a greaseproof paper lined tray and spread slightly. Chill in fridge until set. Cut into squares and keep in fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Happy Cooking!

Mich xx

P.S. Also received request for the Chocolate Coated Prunes. I don't have a picture of this one but here is the recipe - enjoy!

Chocolate Coated Prunes
Makes 12-15
1 x 45g sugar-free dark chocolate, melted
12-15 whole organic pitted prunes
1 wooden skewer
Spike prune using a wooden skewer as a handle to dip in chocolate, swirl to coat, place on a greaseproof paper lined tray, repeat process until all prunes are coated. Chill in fridge until set. Keep in fridge until ready to serve.

recipes, photography and text copyright michelle 09



Monday, January 4, 2010

Sugar-Free Dark Chocolate


As some of you may remember i am a big fan of chocolates especially good quality rich dark 70% . I enjoy little pieces regularly and for me the more bitter in taste the better.
I have found a chocolate that is sugar free and I absolutely love it! Over the holidays i made chocolate and almond sweets and chocolate coated prunes and received great comments by my guests and everyone wanted to know what chocolate had I used - they all loved the taste and texture .. so here it is...the secret is out; this chocolate not only tastes great but is also good for you!

Well Naturally Sugar Free Dark Chocolates
'0% sugar...70% cocoa...100% taste!'

Rich dark chocolate
70% cocoa
Natural antioxidants
No chemical sweeteners
No artificial colours and flavours
Low in carbohydrates
Low GI for slow release energy
Gluten free

Vitality Brands Worldwide have caramel, mint, Valencia orange, rich dark 70% chocolate bars to choose from and other products in the range; check out the website for further details.


This chocolate can be found at leading supermarkets in the health food aisle and health food stores.

So after your detoxing this holiday season, try a bar and see if you too become a fan.

Eat chocolate in moderation with a healthy balanced diet and exercise program.

Enjoy.

Mich xx

Picture and some text supplied by Vitality Brands Worldwide.
Remaining text copyright michelle 09.

Walking



Happy New Year to you all...



Well, if your anything like me and most of the population these holidays, i am sure we have all eaten and drunk too much and have had little exercise.



I am sure that by now you have set yourself new goals for this year and i hope this includes a exercise and diet plan. You may even want to consider starting with a detox program to tick start you off ???



For me, it will be consuming a well balanced natural diet and starting lot's of walking.



I like to go for a walk before and after work…. It helps me to relax into the day and helps me to unwind at the end of the day. It also helps create and burn an appetite! After this holiday season i am going to walk 1 hour daily.


The National Heart Foundation Australia has a very good walking program it is Australia’s largest network of free community-based walking groups, led by volunteer Walk Organisers. Heart Foundation Walking makes being active easy, even for those not used to being active;



Click on the link below for more details;


http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/sites/walking/Pages/default.aspx

What type of exercise do you like doing ?

TIP: Consult your Doctor and/or Naturopath before starting any new diet and exercise programs.

Mich xx


Photo and some text supplied by www.heartfoundation.org.au
Remainder text copyright michelle 09

New Year 2010 has arrived!


Well another year has passed and what a year 2009 was! I wrote on a piece of paper all the positive and negative things that had happened in my life last year and was presently surprised at the outcome - the positive side was much longer...Yippee. I am looking forward to this fresh New Year and have a made a list of all the goals that I want to achieve for 2010... i have a motto that i am going to follow this year too ...."it's never to late....".

New Years Eve for me was quiet but most enjoyable; I made a most delicious Thai Chicken & Mango Salad; here is my recipe; Serves 1 if very hungry or 2 as entrée.
This salad is light and refreshing!

1) Marinade for 30 minutes; (2) organic thigh fillets, sliced with 1 tab grated ginger, 1 tab grated garlic, 2 tab sweet chilli sauce, 2 tab lemon juice, sea salt, 1 tsp fish sauce. Heat 1 tab olive oil in frypan or wok. Cook chicken until marinade is syrupy and chicken is well browned and cooked; about 15-20 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside, keeping oil in pan.
2) Slice 3 shallots, diagonally and saute shallots until just soft and started to crisp. Remove and set aside.
3) Slice I small cucumber, diagonally and set aside. Prepare remaining ingredients; 2 tab chopped coriander, 2 tab chopped mint, 1 mango sliced, 2 cups baby spinach, washed.

4) Arrange on a platter, start with spinach, top with cucumber, then shallots, mango, chicken and herbs.


Dig in and eat immediately! Yum !


Mich xx


Photography, food styling and text copyright michelle 09

Bopha Devi Does it Again!

I went to Bopha Devi (Goddess of Divine Heavenly Flower) at the Docklands in Melbourne for our final family dinner - 10 days straight of eating, drinking and making merry! My parents love this place and are always telling me about their latest favorite dish so it had a lot to live up to! I have never eaten Cambodian food before (not sure how I missed that one!) so I wasn't sure what to expect.

The restaurant is gorgeous, very Melbourne and the food was amazing. It is an exotic fusion of Chinese, Indian and French influences and the emphasis is placed on the freshness of the ingredients and simplicity of cooking. This allows the aromas, flavours and textures to shine. I must say, it was incredibly healthy and the use of herbs and spices was very clever. From star anise to lemongrass to ginger, each flavour was expertly matched.

We shared everything as that way you can really make the most of the experience. Not one dish failed to impress me. We started with a selection of Little Bites that were tasty and had me fighting over the last piece of prawn cake with my 21 month old niece! The mains were equally as delicious and all accompanied by a lovely Pizzini Pinot grigio from the King Valley. I particularly loved the pan fried barramundi with julienne ginger and salted soybeans. I really loved this restaurant so if you are heading to Melbourne, make a booking and enjoy!

PS. Yes - Detox month is coming soon!!!

Emm
xxx