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 and/or register your event for Earth Hour 2015.


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.