Monday, March 30, 2015

Taste the Difference with Heat Beads

In case you haven't noticed, the quintessential Australian barbecue has undergone a change and we can thank the popularity of 'southern' style smoked meats in restaurants and cafes. Buffalo wings, beef brisket and pulled pork are just a few of these tasty treats and they are easy to do yourself.


Here at home we've had a gas bbq for a few years ( mind you, we haven't used it in quite a while mainly because it guzzles up the gas and its annoying to clean) - Seriously, who has the time!

So when the team at Heat Beads asked me if I wanted to try the good old fashioned coal bbq to taste the difference I got excited again about cooking outdoors. I was curious as to whether it did offer a noticeable difference in taste.

Heat Beads Chimney Booster & BBQ Starter Chimney - Far Left
Heat Beads are an Australian owned and operated company and I remember Dad prepping the heat beads coals to add to our home built bbq up the back when I was a kid. It always took what seemed like ages to get going!

I must admit, I had visions of us battling with rolled up newspaper and starters to get the coals hot. But I was pleasantly surprised to find out that technology has advanced somewhat since I was a kid. 

The Chimney Booster and BBQ Starter 
The Heat Beads range now includes the high quality Heat Beads Firelighters and the Heat Beads BBQ Starter Chimney. The most recent addition includes the Heat Beads Chimney Booster which cuts BBQ lighting time to just 12 minutes. 

So with my Weber and Heat Bead accessories I got Pete on the case and I assisted, ahem, supervised...

Actually I marinated some delicious organic chicken wings in minced ginger, garlic, apple cider vinegar and a little raw honey. We also grilled and smoked some free range pork chops. 

The Heat Beads Chimney Booster was super easy to use and super quick! The coals and hickory smoked chips we added gave the wings and pork a delicious smokey flavour. Very different to the flavour that we usually get from cooking on our gas barbecue. 

I also found that keeping the flavours of the marinade simple allowed the smokiness from the coals and the wood chips to permeate the meat. The meat itself had a lovely subtle smokey flavour and remained tender and moist.

Preparing for deliciousness
Smoking it up
Smokey free range pork chops and marinated organic chicken wings
We served our smokey meats with a big tasty green salad of kale, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and carrot zoodles. 

Click here for more great BBQ tips and demos. 

This is a sponsored post.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Win: Earth Hour Launch - Planet to Plate

Earth Hour has just released Planet to Plate: The Earth Hour Cookbook - ahead of Earth Hour on Saturday 28 March 2015 at 8.30pm. 

Photo Source: Earth Hour
Earth Hour began in Sydney 2007, initiated by WWF-Australia to raise awareness about the effects of climate change. Since then Earth Hour has spread to 162 countries and over 7,000 cities, making it the world's largest environmental movement.

Photo: Earth Hour
The cookbook is a collection of 52 delicious recipes from Australia's biggest culinary names including Luke Mangan, Neil Perry, Colin Fassnidge, Kylie Kwong and Sarah Wilson.

The cookbook celebrates Australia's food and farmers and helps to remind us all that we need to address global warming in order to keep up our supply of fresh and healthy homegrown food.

Photo Source: Earth Hour
My favourites include Neil Perry's Spanish-style chicken casserole, Justine Schofield's Stuffed tomatoes and Dani Valent's CAN-DO Muesli.

Proceeds from the sale of the cookbook will go to supporting Earth Hour's work with schools, small business and community groups.

To purchase your copy of Planet to Plate head to earthhour.org.au and/or register your event for Earth Hour 2015.

WIN

To win one of two (2) copies of Planet to Plate: The Earth Hour Cookbook simply tell us your top three (3) tips for sustainability. Perhaps you recycle or reuse? Or have a tip to help reduce energy consumption? Or you may have a favourite farmers market you frequent?  

* Please include a valid email address with your answer so you can be contacted if you win.

Entries are open to Australian residents and close at 12pm, Friday 27 March 2015.


TFM received a copy of Planet to Plate for review purposes.



Sunday, March 1, 2015

Thriller Live - Lyric Theatre - Sydney

After a very l-o-n-g week, I took Mum to the theatre on Friday night to see Thriller Live - a celebration of the career of the world's greatest entertainer - Michael Jackson.

Photo source: Thriller Live 

It was my first visit to the Lyric Theatre at Sydney's The Star, and I was very impressed. The theatre itself was comfortable with ample leg room and good vantage points from all seats. 

But nevermind the theatre - what about the show?!!?

I wasn't sure what to expect, but what can I say other than WOW!

To give you some background: Thriller Live first debuted in London in 2009 and has been going strong ever since - with a world tour, 26 countries and over 3000 shows globally. It has also earned the titled of the the West End's longest running show in the Lyric Theatres 125 year history.

Photo Source: Thriller Live
The tributes begin with tunes from the Jackson Five and move through to the 1990s, with about 30 of MJ's biggest hits including Billie Jean, Bad, Man In The Mirror, Smooth Criminal, Black or White, The Way You Make Me Feel and Thriller. 

This tribute show is jam packed full of energy which doesn't abate during its two and a half hour production. An impressive multi-level set, complete with screens takes the audience on a journey from nightclubs to the streets of New York, while energetic dancers bound across the stage reminding us of the classic MJ moves.

Many of the cast are from London with Australia's Prinnie Stevens one of the lead vocalists. All six of the lead vocalists do an impressive job, although Australian Mig Ayesa's diction needs a little work. He would also benefit from losing his fake American accent which comes across as somewhat strained and cheesy during the commentary. 

Prinnie Stevens : Photo Source: Thriller Live

Alex Buchanan was by far the standout performer - he absolutely nailed every song he sung and his dancing was flawless. Prinnie Stevens was a close second, her vocals were impressive and she brought a great sense of fun and professionalism to the stage as the only female lead vocalist.

Sean Christopher impersonates Michael Jackson brilliantly during Billie Jean & Smooth Criminal. Dressed in white, with glove, and hat pulled down low - it's easy to get lost in the moment and imagine you are watching the real deal. His moonwalk had the crowd cheering.

By the end of the show, the crowd was on its feet, swaying and dancing to the tunes. It was a great night out and the perfect way to end a busy week. 

I'm off to purchase some MJ classics. 


Thriller Live is playing at The Lyric Theatre in Sydney for 3 weeks only. To buy tickets click here


The Food Mentalist & Guest attended Thriller Live as guests.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Paleo Orange & Raspberry Friands

I love the idea of being able to enjoy the odd treat. But, traditional friands, muffins and cakes are laden with nasties that are simply more damaging than the small amount of pleasure one may believe they bring. 

However, all hope is not lost. This paleo version is definitely worth sharing. 

With no refined sugar or flour, these friands are different because they use macadamia meal rather than the traditional almond meal. The result is that lovely buttery nutty flavour you get from macadamia nuts.

Inspired by a friand recipe in Luke & Scott's Clean Living Fast Food, I made these as a test batch and they turned out so well I have made them several times since. 

Paleo Orange & Raspberry Friands
Makes 8

ingredients
1/2 cup raw honey ( slightly less if you prefer less sweetness)
180g butter, melted
1 cup macadamia meal
3/4 cup coconut flour
4 free-range eggs ( organic if possible) - at room temperature
2 tbs orange zest
1 tsp fresh orange juice
8 raspberries

method
Preheat your oven to 200'C (180 fan-forced) and line a friand pan with 8 friand paper cases.

Combine honey, melted butter, macadamia meal, coconut flour, eggs, orange zest and juice in a bowl and mix well. 

Spoon mixture into friand cases and insert one fresh raspberry into each muffin so that it is just visible on the surface.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 5 minutes.

Serve with herbal tea or espresso if desired. I like to have one on occasion with a jasmine tea.

Store in the fridge in an airtight container or freeze individual friands in aluminium foil.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Win the Ultimate Cleaning Duo with Omo & Jif

Moving into the world of solids with a baby was an interesting experience to say the least. Not only did I have to worry about the nutritional content and variety of the food I cooked, but the experience was at times somewhat challenging. It was fine whilst Mr W. was on puree's and would happily consume whatever concoction I whizzed up, but fast forward a couple of months, introduce a strong will and a little independence and you start to get the picture. 

Did someone say food fight?

Regular food splatters and destruction ensued and so did my OCD for keeping things neat and clean. I quickly discovered I needed a laundry product that was tough on stains and could happily compete with Mr W's new found love of bolognese sauce.

As a parent you soon learn that food stains ( particularly bolognese and beetroot related) can often be the hardest to get out of their clothes. And when kids are learning to feed themselves even the best bucket bib ain't gonna cut it.

Late last year I attended a Mum & Kids Bloggers Brunch where I met a great group of fellow bloggers and their kids and discovered some fantastic new 'Mum & Kid-Friendly' products. Omo and Jif  were two such products which promised to make my life a little easier.






What I love about OMO Ultimate is that it actually works, it can remove stains that have been there for up to 48 hours and I no longer have to pre-soak. Woohoo! 



Jif has been in my house since I was a kid. I remember Mum using it. Jif Easy Lift Bathroom is as its name suggests - EASY! It's lift-action formula quickly softens and detaches dirt and soap scum so you don't have to waste time with endless scrubbing. It also leaves the surface streak free - as it should. 



Thanks to team at Unilever and The Food Mentalist you too can try these products and see for yourself just how effective they are. We are giving away the Ultimate Cleaning Pack containing :

1 x Jif Bathroom 750ml Spray (RRP $6.49) and
1 x Omo Ultimate 1L- ( RRP $12.99) ( top or front loader)

To enter tell us why you simply must try these two products. Entry is open to Australian Residents only and closes next Sunday 8 February 2015 at 12pm.

Don't forget to leave a valid email address so you can be contacted if you win.

This is a sponsored post.




Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Raw Chocolate Bounty Bars

When I made these a week or so ago, I posted a few pics of these on social media and had so many people ask for the recipe. 

So here it is. 

They are definitely a healthier option than any commercial chocolate bar.

I like to cut them up into bite size pieces and wrap them in foil. That way, they last a lot longer and I can take a small square to work to have with a cup of green tea after lunch.


Raw Chocolate Bounty Bars


ingredients
3 cups shredded coconut
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
pinch sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
2-3 tbs maple syrup
1 cup (200ml) organic coconut milk

for choc topping
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup cacao powder
2-3 tbs maple syrup, rice malt syrup or raw honey
1 tbs cacao butter

method
Add all ingredients into a bowl( except for the coconut) and whisk until well combined.

Next, add coconut and stir through until all the pieces are well coated with the wet mixture.

Pour mixture into a lined lamington tray which has been greased with coconut oil or lined with baking paper.

Smooth the surface as best you can with a spatula or the back of a spoon and place in the freezer to set.

Meanwhile, make the chocolate topping by melting the coconut oil and cacao butter in a pot over a low heat. Add the sweetener and cacao powder and stir until combined. 

Remove from the heat and wait until it has cooled a little and started to thicken ( about 10 min). Then simply remove the tray containing the coconut mixture from the freezer and pour over the chocolate topping. Place back into the freezer for at least an hour ( or overnight). 



To slice into bars (or squares) simply remove from the freezer and leave on the bench for 5 minutes to make it easier to slice.

Wrap pieces in foil or store in an airtight container in the freezer.



If you follow a paleo lifestyle then you will know that these kinds of treats are to be consumed on special occasions only and are definitely not an everyday kind of food. Better yet, make them when you know you have a few people over and share them.

Enjoy in moderation.