Sunday, June 28, 2015

Food Society - Darlinghurst

Food Society, a bar and restaurant is located on Riley Street in Sydney's Darlinghurst. An unassuming facade conceals a hidden gem which reminds us of visiting Nan's house. A fun welcoming 1950's vibe fills the space, complete with gorgeous florals, lace and mismatched cups and saucers. We instantly feel relaxed as we settled in for their award-winning vodka high tea.

We started with a delicious vodka cocktail, Watermelon Caiprioska -  topped with wild watermelon iced tea and watermelon ice-cubes. Divine.

The savoury and sweet high tea tiers  soon followed, along with the option to continue with a vodka selection or down the path of warming fragrant teas. We chose the latter as it was cool outside and seemed fitting.

Each morsel was fresh and flavoursome, the teas were equally delicious and service was attentive.

Food Society's seasonally changing menu of Modern Eastern European offers modern twists on Polish, Czech, Bulgarian and Balkan Cuisine in the cooler months, and inspiration from the Adriatic in summer. Small and larger plate options make up the menu, with meals designed to share. There are some good paleo and primal friendly dishes as well as house-made gluten-free bread option.

My girlfriend and I found ourselves lingering at Food Society long after we finished. We were still nursing our delicious fragrant tea, sure. But also relishing in the fun, relaxed vintage vibe, along with other cool customers. 

A great place to relax and enjoy some great food and drinks with friends,family or even a date. 
Food Society

Lower Ground Floor, 
91 Riley St. Darlinghurst, Sydney, NSW

Thursday to Saturday: 5.30pm until late 

Vodka High Tea 
Saturday: 11.30am to 5.30pm
bookings essential for Vodka High Tea!

The Food Mentalist dined as a guest of Food Society.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Cauliflower, Currant and Almond Paleo Couscous w/ Herbies Spices

Herbies in Sydney's Rozelle is somewhat of an institution,packed full of interesting and delicious spices and cooking inspiration. On the 7th of July, they will celebrate their 18th year in operation. Congratulations guys!

They recently introduced a new spice kit to their range - The Low Calorie Spice Kit (RRP $35.00)

It includes the following spices:

  • Lemon & Herb Pepper
  • Ras El Hanout
  • Greek Seasoning
  • Sumac
  • Mild Curry Powder
  • Berbere Spice Mix

The kit also includes 13 delicious recipes most of which are paleo and primal friendly. To give you an idea, I have included one of them below which utilises the Ras El Hanout 'Top of the Shop' spice - An exotic blend of 23 different spices, including saffron.

Cauliflower, Currant & Almond Paleo Couscous

300g cauliflower florets
1 tbsp currants
1tbsp flaked almonds
1 tsp fresh mint, finely chopped
1 tsp olive oil ( or coconut oil)
1 tsp Herbies Ras el Hanout spice mix
2 tsp preserved lemon, very finely chopped
salt to taste

Process cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles fine rice like grains, similar to couscous. 

Heat oil in a large frying pan and add cauliflower and spice mix. Cook over medium heat, stirring, 5-7 minutes, until lightly browned and cauliflower is cooked.

Add currants, almonds, mint and preserved lemon and stir to combine. Season to taste and serve. Can be served hot or cold.

To win one of Herbies new Low Calorie Spice Kits - Please leave a comment telling us which spice couldn't live without and why. Don't forget to leave a valid email address so we can get in contact with you. Enter as many times as you like. 

The winner will be drawn on Saturday 4 July 2015. The winner will be announced on The Food Mentalist blog, Facebook & Twitter pages and contacted via email shortly after.

Competition is open to Australian residents only.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Caramelised Pumpkin w/ Basil & Black Olives

This recipe is super easy, tastes great and will impress dinner guests. Serve alongside your favourite protein - this literally goes with everything. The salty olives balance out the sweetness of the roasted pumpkin. Divine.

Caramelised Pumpkin with Basil & Black Olives

½ pumpkin ( butternut, kent or jap), cut into wedges about 1cm thick
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs raw honey or maple syrup
2 handfuls of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
¾ cup ( about 100g) of pitted black olives, roughly chopped
zest and juice of 1 lemon
sea salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180’C.
Place pumpkin on a baking tray lined with baking paper and drizzle with olive oil and raw honey or maple syrup. Season well with salt and pepper and bake for 30-35 minutes or until tender and caramelized.
Combine basil, olives, zest and juice in a separate bowl and set aside.

Remove pumpkin from oven once cooked and serve sprinkled with the basil and olive mixture.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Food Allergy Awareness Week

This week is Food Allergy Week (17-23 May) and it is important that we all know what to do if a reaction happens, how to minimise the risk of a reaction and to understand and support family and friends living with food allergies.

It took me about ten years of suffering to discover I had allergies to both wheat and soy. Which subsequently led me to choosing my paleo lifestyle

My soy allergy is the more severe of the two - with a reaction occurring within minutes of consuming it. If I have just the tiniest amount of soy milk, soy sauce, tofu or any other direct soybean product I will literally be in agony. Very quickly. I remember going to a new popular Ramen restaurant with some work colleagues once and before I left the restaurant I was literally bent over in pain. 

Over the years, I managed reactions with over the counter IBS related medication but nothing really worked properly. Over a six-month period, I underwent a series of medical and food related tests under the guidance of an excellent clinical immunologist and allergy specialist. 

From my experience, the consumption of processed foods and leading a busy lifestyle can make it very hard to work out what may be causing sickness and/or allergic reactions in our body. You really have to listen to your body and if you find it hard to work out, please see a specialist and get tested.

Food allergy now affects 1 in 10 infants* and about 2 in 100 adults. The most common triggers in childhood are egg, milk, peanut and tree nuts. Other common triggers include fish, shellfish, sesame, soy and wheat. 

Anaphylaxis is a generalised allergic reaction, which often involves more than one body system (e.g. skin, respiratory, gastro-intestinal and cardiovascular). A severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis usually occurs within 20 minutes to 2 hours of exposure to the trigger and can rapidly become life threatening.
Knowing what to look for is very important, especially when it comes to children who may not be able to advocate for themselves when a reaction is occurring. Here are the signs and symptoms to be aware of:
Mild - Moderate Reaction

  • Hives, welts or body redness
  • Swelling of the face, lips, eyes
  • Vomiting, abdominal pain, tingling in the mouth

Severe allergic reaction- ANAPHYLAXIS
  • Difficult/noisy breathing
  • Swelling of the tongue
  • Swelling or tightness in the throat
  • Difficulty talking and/or hoarse voice
  • Wheeze or persistent cough
  • Persistent dizziness or collapse
  • Pale and floppy (in young children)

Ninety percent of allergic reactions are caused by: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy. However, any food can trigger anaphylaxis. It is important to understand that in some people even very small amounts of food can cause a life-threatening reaction. Food allergy is the leading cause of anaphylaxis outside the hospital setting.


A food allergy is an immune system response to a food protein that the body mistakenly believes is harmful. When we eat a food containing that protein, our immune system releases massive amounts of chemicals, triggering symptoms that can affect breathing, one's gastrointestinal tract, skin and/or heart.
Symptoms of food allergy may include; swelling of the lips, face and eyes, abdominal pain, vomiting, hives, swelling of the tongue, breathing difficulty, or a sudden drop in blood pressure. If left untreated, these symptoms can be fatal.
Avoidance of the food is the only way to prevent a reaction.
Adrenaline is the first line treatment for severe allergic reactions and can be administered via an autoinjector called the EpiPen® or the Anapen®.
Approximately 10 people die from anaphylactic reactions each year in Australia and some of these may have been triggered by food.


For more information and training check out the below links:

* Osborne et al. Prevalence of challenge-proven IgE-mediated food allergy
using population-based sampling and predetermined
challenge criteria in infants. J Allergy Clin Immunolol 2011; 127: 668-676
Please feel free to share any personal stories you have about food allergies below so we can all be better informed.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Paleo-Friendly Papaya Chicken Curry

Using seasonal produce is an important part of eating healthy and living sustainably. With papaya and papaw currently in season I was keen to experiment with it in a savoury dish for something a little bit different. 

Gerard Kath, Papaya Australia President, says that this seasons' great quality can be attributed to minimal rain and generally favourable papaya and papaw growing weather.

In case you were not aware of just how amazingly good these two fruit are for you here's the science:

Nutritional Benefits

  • contain soluble and insoluble fibre, necessary for digesitve health;
  • contain a unique combination of antioxidants that assist our immune system;
  • contain skin protective nutrients;
  • are an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A and provides nearly three times as much fibre as 1/2 cup of brown rice per serve; and
  • are suitable before, during and after pregnancy due to the high folate, vitamin C and essential nutrients that promote a baby's growth and development.

Tips & How To Choose A Goodie:

1. To choose a ripe fruit - lightly press underneath the stem and it will give a little to the pressure;

2. They are fragile, a few dark spots or blemishes on the skin are normal;

3. Ripen in a fruit bowl but then store in the fridge once ripe - enjoy within two days;

4. Allow to sit out of the fridge for about 5 minutes before you eat it to maximise flavour;

5. To speed up ripening, place in a paper bag with a banana.

Now for the recipe - This is SO quick and SO easy and tastes INCREDIBLE. This has become a firm favourite at our house and will make a regular appearance on our table during papaya season each year.

Paleo-Friendly Papaya Chicken Curry
Serves 4

1 tbs olive oil
1/4 korma curry paste ( try to choose one with no added sugars)
500g papaya, peeled, deseeded and mashed
400ml can coconut milk ( organic if possible)
2 free range or organic chicken breasts, thinly sliced
1 red capsicum, sliced into strips
Handful of Kaffir lime leaves ( optional)

Over a low heat, heat oil and korma curry paste in a pan or casserole dish until fragrant.

Add papaya and coconut milk and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and allow to simmer.

Add chicken and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add red capsicum and cook for another 2 minutes.

Serve with cauliflower rice *

Easy Cauliflower Rice
Wash & cut into pieces
Crumb using a food processor or grate it using a grater. Use what you need and store the remaining in fridge. It can also be stored in the freezer.
Fry it in olive oil, coconut oil or quality butter until tender. Season with S&P.

Garnish curry with thinly sliced Kaffir lime leaves and season to taste.

* Using a chopped onion in your cauliflower rice is optional. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Rocky Horror Show - Sydney

“It’s just a jump to the left”

Photo Source : The Rocky Horror Show
The Rocky Horror Show, the musical, has been popular with audiences around the world for over 40 years and it’s easy to see why. It’s fun, energetic and just a little bit different.

Well, actually it’s very different. Quirky, fun and a little bit sexy.

Having only vague memories of the movie as a child I was unsure as to what to expect on opening night at Sydney's Lyric Theatre.

I was blown away.

Overall, performances were stunning. A great combination of witty dialogue, singing, dancing, great costumes and lots and lots of fun.

Photo Source: The Rocky Horror Show
Starting with the lead - Craig McLaughlin, who won the 2014 Helpmann Award for Best Male Actor in a Musical for his performance in last year’s Rocky Horror Show in Melbourne, is amazing as Frank N Furter. With only the occasional Aussie twang sneaking into the dialogue early on in the show, he does a fantastic job as the risqué character.

Amy Lehpamer is equally impressive as Janet and Stephen Mahy is convincing as her partner Brad. I am a huge fan of Lehpamer, having seen her perform as Christine Colgate in the 2013 Sydney production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.  

Bert Newton is refreshing as the Narrator, his quick wit, experience and professionalism evident as he plays off responses from the audience.

In fact, all the performers deserve praise for their roles. 

The audience is encouraged to participate, particularly during The Time Warp when most of the audience jumps to their feet bouncing away to the set moves. The die-hard fans that arrived in themed costume also impressed us. It adds to the fun vibe of the show.

A crazy, fun and sexy night out. Highly recommended.

Photo Source: The Rocky Horror Show
The Rocky Horror Show, Sydney Lyric, The Star, Pyrmont; $69-149.

Sydney – Until the end of May
Melbourne – From 12 June…

The Food Mentalist attended opening night as an Official Rocky Horror Blogger