Thursday, January 21, 2016

Walnut Cacao Smoothie

This recipe is so good, you'll thank me for sharing it with you. It comes from the new Superfoods 24/7 Cookbook by Jessica Nadel, creator of the food blog Cupcakes and Kale



What I love about this smoothie is that it uses good old plain water to blend it all together. I was skeptical as to how it would taste given this fact, but I was really happy with the end result and make this most mornings when I'm at home. 

Sweet, chocolatey and full of omega-3's and antioxidants - you will absolutely love it!

Walnut Cacao Smoothie
Makes 2





ingredients
25g walnuts
250ml filtered water ( chilled if possible)
1 frozen banana
2 pitted medjool dates
2 tsp cacao powder
1 tablespoon almond butter
2-3 ice cubes

Sprinkle with
1 tsp cacao nibs

method
I literally throw it all in together and blend. Pour into a glass and sprinkle with the cacao nibs.

Jess suggests you first blend the first 4 ingredients and then add the remainder and blend again. See how you go.


For an extra boost add a shot of cooled espresso and blend. 

Enjoy x



Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Food Mentalist's Christmas Gift Guide 2015

All wrapped up for 2015!

Welcome to The Food Mentalist's 2015 Christmas Gift Guide. We've hand-picked the best items for the foodie friend or family member to make gift giving that little bit easier this year. Without further adieu (and in no particular order) here are our favourites.






Peugeot Salt and Pepper Mills

Peugeot has been manufacturing salt and pepper mills for 141 years.

The Peugeot story began in 1810 with brothers, Jean-Peirre and Jean-Frederic Peugeot, who, converted their family grain mill into a steel foundry. In 1850 they created the Peugeot Lion emblem which has been stamped onto every product ever since. It symbolises strength, quality and the sharp “teeth” of Peugeot products. 

Twenty four years later, in 1874 the brothers created the pepper mill as we know it today. 

Over a century later, Peugeot remains at the forefront of salt and pepper mill innovation and design, developing an extensive range of traditional and modern mills in a variety sizes, colours and finishes.


Peugeot also create cheese graters, coffee grinders, hand blown glass decanters and a range of wine accessories – Oh and a few cars too! 

All Peugeot products are still manufactured in France today. Furthermore, Peugeot’s famously reliable steel mechanism is proudly reflected by a true unmatched lifetime guarantee.


Peugeot Paris Duo Salt and Pepper Mill u' Select - Chocolate 18cm 

Everyone has their own preference when it comes to seasoning their meal and Peugeot recognises this with its patented u'Select system, which offers 6 pre-selectable grind settings for both mills. We absolutely love this. You simply turn the ring at the base to select which level you like, be it coarsely ground pepper or super fine salt.

Genius.



This set comes in chocolate beech and is super stylish. The set will make a great addition to any table setting.




RRP $129.95

Salt crystals and peppercorns included.

I have found the set online for $79.00


Paris Antique Collection Salt Mill 22cm

This stunning Salt Mill ( Also available in the Pepper Mill) is a statement table piece. Handcrafted, it brings back the nostalgia and magical charm of time gone by and represents the exceptional quality Peugeot is renowned for.


Salt crystals are included and the unit is easy to clean and fill. The mechanism has also been treated to resist the corrosive effects of salt and allows for fine and course salt, you simply twist the little mechanism on the top of the mill. 

It is presented in a beautiful gift box and will make an exquisite gift for any friend or family member.

RRP $100

Salt crystals or Peppercorns included.

I have found this unit online for $69.00



Zeli Electric Salt and Pepper Mill 14cm - Silver


This duo are a must have for any tech-savvy family member or friend. The Zeli are sleek, modern and So. Much. Fun.

Not only does the Zeli offer the reliable grinding mechanism Peugeot are famous for, but these beauties also boast a handy little light that switches on underneath the unit when you depress the button on top. Perfect for that candlelit dinner or when you need to season something you are cooking just prior to serving. When I used them for the first time, I wanted to keep seasoning my meal just to watch the light turn on. Ha! 

As always, the grinding mechanism comes with a lifetime guarantee and the mills themselves come with a 2 year guarantee. 




RRP $99.95 each. 

Salt crystals, peppercorns, batteries and spare light globes are included.

I have found them online for $74.95 each




Nespresso Gift Ideas


My love for all things Nespresso is no secret. In fact, we've converted many of our family and friends too. This Christmas the team at Nespresso have some great accessories and coffees on offer which we really love. 

If you don't have a machine but are interested in finding out more they have a great selection of machines that will suit every budget. We bought Mum an Inissia a few years ago and she loves it.

Nespresso are offering Free Standard Delivery on all orders until 31 December 2015.

Here are some of our favourites.



Nespresso Limited Edition Variations

The delicate flavours of Nespresso's 2015 Variations are delicious. Inspired by scents of the festive season, they have released three new flavours - Ciocco Ginger,Vanilla Amaretti and Vanilla Cardamom Variations Grands Crus for a limited time only. My favourite is the Vanilla Cardamon and Pete likes the Ciocco Ginger. If you are near a store, pop in and try before you buy.



RRP $8.40 ( for a sleeve of 10 capsules) or gift sleeve containing all 3 for $25


Click here to purchase

Nespresso Limited Edition VIEW Bonbonnière

Everyone needs something to keep pods in and this makes the perfect stylish addition to any kitchen and a great gift for Nespresso fans this season. It sits perfectly next to our Nespresso machine and allows for quick access, especially when we are in a hurry in the morning.  

It holds 50 capsules ( not included) and comes perfectly packaged in a gift box.




RRP $35

Click here to purchase


Nespresso Limited Edition PIXIE Espresso and Lungo Kit

Whether you prefer a strong Espresso or a Lungo with milk, we love the funky new Nespresso PIXIE cup set. It will make the ultimate gift for the coffee connoisseur in your life. These have made a great addition to our home. We love the sleek modern design and the double-walled stainless steel cup protects our hands from getting too hot.

They are lovely to drink from they remind me of the iconic Nespresso capsule. 

They come in Espresso (80ml)and Lungo (160ml) sizes to match the Nespresso Grands Crus.




RRP $65 ( for a set of 4 cups ( 2 Lungo (160ml) and 2 Espresso (80ml))

Click here to purchase


Nespresso Pure Collection – Pure Lungo Cups

Designed to release the intensity and aromas of Nespresso Grands Crus, these are perfect for those who enjoy a Lungo, Latte or Flat White. Nespresso actually engaged Swiss design studio BIG-GAME to create this range. The studio played with Nespresso's iconic Monogram shape and transformed crisp angles into softer curves.





Each cup is perfectly shaped to feel ideal in the hand. Made of porcelain, these are contemporary yet timeless and will definitely make the perfect gift for any coffee enthusiast. 

They come beautifully packaged and are priced at $38.00. I have just the person in mind for these.

Set of 2 Lungo Cups and saucers in porcelain (180ml).

RRP $38.00

Click here to purchase 




Wüsthof’s Kitchen Surfer III

When it comes to making knives, Wüsthof really know their stuff. Synonymous with form, function and quality, Wüsthof's history can be traced back to 1814. The red and white Trident logo ( seen on the handle) has been Wüsthof’s symbol since around 1895.


With home cooking in mind, Wüsthof has created a third edition of the Kitchen Surfer. Reflecting on its name the Kitchen Surfer has been carefully designed to allow its user to 'surf' through food preparation. 

It has been designed, engineered and manufactured in Solingen, Germany.

This knife is extremely impressive and has all the properties amateur and professional cooks will love - it embraces the fun and creative side of cooking by being versatile to a wide range of different food items. 

It was through the love of experimenting knives with a wide range of dishes that inspired Wüsthof to combine a traditional Cook’s Knife with an Asian styled blade shape.



The cutting edge of the Kitchen Surfer III is rounded like a cook’s knife, whilst the blade surface is sharpened to a thin flexible edge, which is styled the Asian way. The extremely sharp edge ensures perfectly cut food items, whether it is vegetables, meat or finely chopped herbs. Its really comfortable to handle and easy to use. We absolutely love it.






This knife comes in a nice little package and is available at a reasonable price, making it the ultimate gift for the cook in your life. 

Like all Wüsthof products the Kitchen Surfer III is made with the highest quality of materials that is set to last a lifetime and comes with a warranty that follows suit.

For more information on the Wüsthof range visit their website or Facebook Page

RRP $149.00

I have found the Wüsthof Kitchen Surfer III online for $81.00. 

Click here to purchase.


Maxwell and Williams – Blush Rectangular Platter

I fell in love with this Blush platter the moment I spotted it as part of the new Maxwell and Williams Spring and Summer Range. For those who love a good tea party and entertaining, this platter will bring some pastel elegance to the tabletop and is perfect for hosting a whimsical afternoon tea.  


I love the curvy design and if you are not into pink, it also comes in white and blue. There are other pieces in the collection and each piece is made from prestige porcelain and detailed by hand with 24 carat gold for a touch of vintage charm. This will make a gorgeous affordable Christmas gift for those who enjoy entertaining. 

The platter is 30cm x 18.5 cm and also comes in white and blue.

RRP $19.95

The Blush Platter is available at a range of stockists including David Jones Stores.

I have found the Blush Platter online for $15.95.

Click here to purchase

To find your closest stockist click here



Tanita InnerScan Body Composition Monitor

We've been using Tanita scales for years now and they form an important part of our healthy lifestyle. 

Used by health and fitness professionals as well as physicians and clinicians, Tanita is considered the gold standard of bioelectric impedance monitors (BIA) monitors. 



"Tanita’s goal to remain at the forefront of medical-related technology and health initiatives contributed to the establishment of the Tanita Medical Advisory Board, a team of independent senior research scientists, obesity and nutrition experts from all over the world who advise on the scientific development of BIA technology ensuring the highest accuracy is achieved. In addition, Tanita invests in over fifty different scientific research and educational programmes worldwide across the medical and academic sectors and has published a number of articles in medical journals which all share the same common goals of reducing obesity and promoting healthy, active living". - Tanita

Some of this model's many features include:
  • Healthy Range Indicator
  • Adult, Child and Athlete Mode
  • Metabolic Age ( up to 50)
  • 4 Electrodes for accurate reading
  • Healthy Children's Body Fat Range
  • Advanced Dual Frequency
  • Program memory for up to 4 persons per household as well as Guest mode.
  • Maximum weight 150kg
  • 5 Year warranty
The InnerScan also measures the following:
  • Body Fat %
  • Total Body Water
  • Visceral Fat
  • Basal Metabolic Rate
  • Physique Rating
  • Muscle Mass
  • Bone Mass
  • Total Weight

RRP $209.00

The first thing you will notice about these scales is that they are nice and sturdy when you step on. They are easy to use and have so many handy features. They offer a great way to stay on track and monitor what your body is really doing. 

The Tanita InnerScan Body Composition Monitor (BC-541) will make the perfect Christmas gift for those you know who are interested in health and fitness. 

I have found this scale on sale online for $145. 

Click here to purchase 



GreenPan - Milan Range 20cm Frypan

I have been raving on about GreenPan to my family for the last few years, urging them to replace their existing pans with the GreenPan.

Traditional non-stick pans can blister, peel and release harmful fumes into your kitchen and food. GreenPan was the first company to create a painted Thermolon ceramic non-stick coating which is 100% PTFE and PFOA free. It is made from natural minerals rather than synthetic nasties like other non-stick pans.

Since 2006 GreenPan has been offering a safe alternative to traditional non-stick cookware and is supported in Australia by a lifetime guarantee against manufacturing faults and defects. 

GreenPan proudly sponsors “My Kitchen Rules”, which airs on Channel Seven from January to April, with contestants using cookware from GreenPan's Stockholm Collection. 


The Milan collection features state of the art 3D surface technology. Three unique surfaces ensure optimal oil distribution across a variety of different food categories resulting in healthy, evenly cooked, great tasting meals every time. You don't even need to add butter or oil if you don't want to. Cooked foods simply glide right out of the pan onto the plate.



The 20cm (Smooth) pan is designed suit eggs and pancakes, but will cook anything well. Paleo-friendly pancakes are now a breeze at our house. It also makes the perfect frittata and I no longer lose any of my scrambled eggs to the stick of our old pan. 

Known for its excellent food release and long lasting non-stick coating this pan will make the perfect gift for the health conscious family member or friend who prefers a sustainable product which is safe to use and good for the environment. 

RRP $ 99.95

GreenPan is stocked nationally in Australia by leading independent retailers. A list of all GreenPan stockists is available online.

I have found the GreenPan Milan 20cm Smooth Pan online for $69.95.

Click here to purchase.



Tupperware Budding Bakers Set 

Most of us grew up with Tupperware and you probably still have some in your kitchen cupboard. Their quality is SO good that they actually offer a lifetime and quality guarantee.

As a foodie, I love baking and so I must tell you about some of Tupperware’s baking range. If you know someone in your family or a friend who simply loves baking then the Budding Bakers Set will make the perfect Christmas present. 


Waffle Form not included in Budding Bakers Set
Until 27th December 2015, the Budding Bakers Set Guest Offer includes the following:

1 x Bake 2 Basics Decorating Bag – 30cm (includes five nozzles)
1 x Thatsa® Bowl Mini, 1.4L –  (includes thumb handle)
1 x Thatsa Bowl Junior, 3L – (includes thumb handle)
1 x TupperChef™ Spatula Thin – 30cm
1 x TupperChef Spatula Medium – 27.5cm
1 x Bake 2 Basics Slimline Digital Scales 

( Scales have a limited 2 Year warranty)

All for $133  (RRP $207)



There is also great selection of silicon baking forms on offer, including the waffle form (pictured above), perfect for quick holiday breakfasts. 

You can pre-mix and store dry ingredients in the modular mates range so its ready to go when you need it. If you are like me, then you may also wish to use one of the modular mates to safely store the decorating bag and nozzles.



To find out more or to purchase the Budding Baker’s Set or any of the individual products visit the Tupperware Website.

To find Tupperware near you click here



Smash - London Lunch Tote




Did you know that taking your lunch to work is a healthier option and its the easiest way to save money each week? Smash have created their "Dining at Work' range - Stylish insulated lunch bags designed to appeal to adults. The range is both sophisticated and functional and can be incorporated easily into your daily routine to help transport healthy home-made meals to work.  


I have been testing out the London Lunch Tote for the last few weeks and I really love it. It's perfect for my commute to work and easily holds an ice brick, my lunch and a few snacks or pieces of fruit. It's insulated so you don't really need to add an ice brick if you don't want to. 

I've already had several people comment on it and ask where I got it. 

The tote has a high density thermal insulation to keep my lunch fresh and a strong durable zipper to keep everything nicely contained within. It is lead, phathalate and BPA free and can be wiped down easily.

For these reasons I have included it in this year's Christmas Gift Guide. A great gift for those who commute to work and/or a great addition to the office Kris Kringle. 


The range is available for purchase at Woolworths and Officeworks stores. Prices start at RRP $12.00




I hope you have enjoyed discovering some of our favourite things this Christmas and we are confident your loved ones will enjoy them too. 


Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any further questions about any of the products above. 

Have a safe and happy Christmas & New Year.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Candelori's Restaurant - A review

Candelori's Italian restaurant has just won 3 hats in the Gault & Millau Restaurant Guide for 2016. And, I can say, it is well deserved.

We often forget to look outside the concentration of restaurants that Sydney has on offer, tending to dine around the CBD and surrounds. But Candelori's is testament to good Italian cuisine worth venturing out of the city for.

The restaurant opened in 1999 and is the fourth successful restaurant venture for the Candelori Family - having run restaurants for the past 35 years.

Just before the Friday dinner rush
A new renovation and menu revamp was the impetus for our recent visit. 

We started the evening with Suckling Pig Croquettes. They arrived served with fresh herbs, sea salt and lime aioli.

Suckling Pig Croquettes (3) $16
The crumb coating is crisp and encasses a soft pillow of suckling pig meat. It is well seasoned - perhaps borderline too salty, but the aioli and lemon wedge balance out the richness and saltiness. 

Next, we decided to design our own Maialino Board with local Sydney Wagyu bresaola and truffle salami, mozarella di bufala, Candelori's own crumbed stuffed green olives and aged buffalo parmigiano from Parma in Italy.



Heaven

Everything was fresh and delicious. The feta stuffed olives were just a tad too salty for me but very delicious nonetheless.

The next dish we tried was the Smoked Duck Breast Salad ( $29) 


A generous salad packed with fresh wedges of sweet fig, perfectly smoked tender duck breast, beetroot, baby leaves, crisp radish and roasted hazelnuts. Definitely my kind of salad. Even if I had visited and only tried this salad, I would have left completely satisfied. An absolute gem, and something I could eat every day.

If its pizza or pasta you are after, Candelori's staff were quick to point out to us that they do offer gluten free versions of both. And by the look of dishes that continued to flow out from the pass, we will be heading back this Summer.

By this stage we were rather full but Mr Candelori insisted we sample the new dessert menu. Being a little apprehensive about how I would react to 'all that sugar', we sampled a taste of each and were pleasantly surprised by the balance of each of the desserts on offer. 

Art on a plate - The New Dessert Menu @ Candelori's

For those of you who wish to indulge - all of the desserts were pretty amazing. 

Baked meringue ( main above) was impressive. Baked for 12 hours, the meringue shell is filled with poached pear, rhubarb and fresh cream and finished off with a dusting of lemon sherbet powder. 

The chocolate mousse ( top right) was dark and rich, yet balanced by a zingy passionfruit curd in the centre. 

The Italian version of the creme brulee was probably the least sweet of all the desserts -despite the crackly glass sugar top. The custard was a creamy pistachio creme served with mandarin sorbet which added the most sweetness to the dish. The crostoli looked nice but was a little lost on the plate. 

If semi freddo is your thing, then Candelori's choc-orange version will impress. I loved the freeze dried blood orange segments on top. The semi freddo itself was fairly sweet but was good in that it didnt exhibit any of the nasty freezer crystals that can often plague this dessert. A very good version indeed. The textural elements of this dessert were spot on.

The San Valentino ( Bottom right) was simply stunning. White chocolate mousse with raspberry jelly and biscotti. Whilst, a visually stunning summer dessert, I would suggest you share this one though as it is rather sweet. 

My favourite of the night, however, was from the Special's menu - A creamy ( not overly sweet) pannacotta style disc ( second from top right) topped with lime, fig and poached pear. It was truly divine. All the flavours worked exceptionally well together and the dessert was not overly sweet. A true indulgence. If you visit and it's on the specials menu make sure you try it.

We had a great evening at Candelori's and we look forward to visiting again soon. Its definitely a great dining destination for foodies.

We also noticed on the night that the restaurant also boasts an excellent private space perfect for functions of up to 60 guests. 



Candelori's
685 The Horsley Drive
Smithfield NSW 2164

Lunch
Monday-Friday 12pm-3pm 

Dinner
Monday-Saturday 6pm-10pm

Tel:02 9729 1155

BOOK ONLINE


The Food Mentalist & Guest dined as guest of Candelori's.




Tuesday, November 10, 2015

My Food Bag : Review

Give me a new way to streamline the working week and I'll jump on it. Especially when it comes to meals. I don't know many people that wouldn't agree, especially when you are juggling work and a busy family. 

Enter My Food Bag  - A food delivery service, helping remove the hassle around planning meals. With a strong focus on fresh seasonal wholesome ingredients, the service offers a range of meal plans to cater to singles, couples and families. 

The recipes are designed by Head Chef and Dietician Nadia, and are easy-to-follow, use quality ingredients and are packed full of delicious flavours.  

There are six different food bags which cater for singles, couples and families.






Recipes and folder


Eating Seasonally


The meals are seasonally focused, which means better choice and quality of the produce available. By doing this Nadia and her team are able to create recipes that avoid using imported produce that has sat around for months in cold storage. 


Fresh ingredients delivered to our door
Recipes typically take between 20-45 minutes and don’t require fancy equipment. Recipe cards and a folder are included and give clear instructions on how to prepare and cook your meal.

What we tried

My Family Food Bag = 5 Main Meals - Feeds 2 adults and 2 children.

Firstly, everything we tried was delicious. All ingredients were fresh and of excellent quality. And portions were also spot on. I LOVED the fact that they also deliver on a Sunday as I have previously found week day deliveries can be tricky.


Here's what we tasted:



Asian Baked Salmon Parcels w/ Mash & Greens



This was by far my favourite meal - A good dose of healthy fats, protein, buttered mash and blanched greens.

Mild Indian Chicken w/ Vegetable Rice and Carrot Salad


I was surprised by this one, it was nice and easy to prepare, the flavours worked well,  and we felt like we were getting a decent amount of vegetables with our dinner. I even took some to work the next day for lunch. I loved the raw carrot salad with a touch of honey and olive oil. I was skeptical but have since made it again. Yum. 

Lamb Meatballs w/ Tomato Sauce & Risoni


We are huge lamb fans at our house so this was quite popular. I didn't have the risoni but Pete and the little one demolished it. There was enough for his lunch the next day too.

Peppered Steak w/ Hand Cut Sweet Potato Chips, Garlic Greens & Bernaise Sauce


Yum is all that needs to be said about this meal. A great balance of protein, vegetables and healthy carbs. Deeelicious. The beef was tender and full of flavour too.

Bacon, Cherry Tomato, Avocado & Cheese Quesadillas


This one was probably the least popular of the dishes this week largely due to the high carbohydrate factor. The salad was fresh and very much welcome and the bacon and red onion combination was super tasty.


I can highly recommend My Food Bag. Check out their great range of meal options by visiting their website.


The Food Mentalist sampled the above menu compliments of My Food Bag