Saturday, October 27, 2012

You say tomato...



I love making breakfast on the weekends. It's nice to be able to put some time into making a healthy and delicious start to the day and then enjoy eating it while relaxing and reading blogs. :)

I also try to make it a little different every week to keep it interesting.

This week I didn't feel like eggs so I put a little extra effort into what is basically tomato and cheese on toast.

Mexican Roasted Tomato Toast
Serves 2

1 punnet grape tomatoes
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs mexican or morrocan seasoning
1/2 avocado
1 tsp smokey jalapeno sauce
1 tsp lime juice
Salt and pepper
4 slices of bread (I used Burgen soy and linseed)
2-4 tablespoons grated tex-mex style cheese (I used a cheddar mix, you could also use a fresh cheese like ricotta which would probably be more authentically mexican.)

Method
1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Cut tomatoes into quarters and place in a bowl. Add olive oil and seasoning and toss to combine.
3. Arrange tomatoes on baking tray in a single layer. Place into oven and cook for 15 - 20 minutes until they are just starting to blacken at the edges.
4. Meanwhile, mash 1/2 an avocado in a bowl and add jalapeno sauce, lime juice, salt and pepper.
5. Once your tomatoes are ready remove from the oven and place back into the bowl you mixed them in. You can turn off the oven and place the bowl back inside to keep them warm while you toast your bread if you like. :)
6. Toast your bread.
7. Spread avocado mixture onto bread, top with tomatoes and sprinkle with cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy! Ella xx

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cocktail Hour




On occasion I enjoy a cocktail in the evening. I like to relax and enjoy a drink whilst having a quiet moment or a stimulating conversation, whatever I'm in the mood for.

One of my go-to cocktails is this simple Cranberry Vodka Spritzer. It's delicious and low calorie.

An of course, a gal's gotta eat. I hate to sound like party-pooper, but most snack foods are way to calorific for my regular cocktail hour parties. So I eat delicious foods that are not unhealthily high in calories or chemicals. I am OBSESSED with dill pickles. Seriously, I eat two jars a week. They are the kind that are on McDonald's burgers and I love to eat them with some mustard for dipping. And as you can see in the pics I have recently rediscovered mini-rice snacks which I bought in a jumbo packet from Costco (more on that place another day). They are just the ticket for a little crunchy flavour, although I do find it easy to eat too many, hence the souffle ramekin serving size.

Cranberry Vodka Spritzer

Place 3 cubes of ice in a lowball glass
Add 1 measure Absolut Vodka, 80 mls Ocean Spray Light Cranberry Juice, 1 Tbs lime juice
Fill to top with sparkling mineral water



Enjoy!

Ella xx

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Jewellery Update DIY




I have two sets of jewellery - my real jewellery e.g. diamonds, silver gold and my fun jewellery e.g. a random assortment of paste gems and plastic goodies. Sometimes the fun jewellery holds significant sentimental value and is just as precious to me, but other times I end up thinking "What is this hideous piece of junk?" after a couple of months of wear.

So, in order to get some use of these pieces that are no longer "hot", I have done a little DIY makeover on them. I decided to attempt this DIY project after being inspired by a work colleague who suggested it to me. I then looked around online and saw plenty of people were using this method to update their jewellery so I thought: why not?

Colourful gems and elaborately beaded jewellery is really in right now but it can be hard to find the exact design and colours that you want for the right price. An easy and fun way to get the colourful jewellery you want is to paint them with nail polish. Sounds crazy hey? Well, actually it's not that crazy. Nail polish paint is actually quite long lasting and easy to apply evenly; and most convincingly of all you probably have plenty in the bathroom cupboard!

The first piece I have attempted is a pair of faux-pearl earrings. They started off a creamy pearl colour with gold edging and findings. I lined up my nail polishes and without much planning started painting. It took about 3 coats on each of the beads to get them nice and even and shiny, which didn't take long as the polish dries really quickly. I then used a silver metallic polish to go over the edges and findings. I am really pleased with the results and can't wait to wear them!

I am really pleased with the results, however, I think that I will purchase some bright yellow or lime green nail polish to add punch to the colour schemes if I attempt this DIY again.

Jewellery Update DIY Step-by-Step

Step 1 - Collect old jewellery and colourful nail polishes.
Step 2 - Plan out your colour scheme.
Step 3 - Apply 3 coats of nail polish to beads/gems.
Step 4 - Apply 1 - 2 coats of nail polish to metallic areas if needed.
Step 5 - If you want your jewellery to last longer and have more shine, apply a top coat.

Wear them with a DIY smile!

Ella xx




Wednesday, October 10, 2012

An easy weeknight meal


Last  night I made an easy weeknight favourite of mine that is super quick and nutritious to boot! It is full of vegetables and you can make a large batch to keep for leftovers and lunches. If you don't eat fish you can make this without the adding the fish at the end and use vegetable or chicken stock instead of the fish stock.

Thai (ish) Yellow Snapper Curry

Serves 4 (with some leftovers)

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
1 brown onion, diced
1/2 jar Thai yellow curry paste 
2 red chillies (bird's eye), finely diced
1/2 kilo baby chat potatoes, cut into quarters
1 sweet potato, cubed
1 can coconut milk
1 cup liquid fish stock
1 Tbs fish sauce
1 Tbs brown sugar
2 cups long grain rice
2 cups green beans, halved
1 capsicum, diced
1 large fillet of red snapper or fish of your choice, cut into half palm size pieces

  1. Gently heat the olive oil in a large pot (I used my french oven).
  2. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until translucent.
  3. Add curry paste and chillies, fry off for 1 minute.
  4. Add potatoes and sweet potato, stir to thoroughly coat with paste mixture.
  5. Add coconut milk, stock, fish sauce and brown sugar. Turn up the heat and simmer on a low heat for 15 -20 mins.
  6. Begin cooking your rice using our preferred method. I use a Sunbeam Rice Perfect rice cooker and I recommend it highly.
  7. When potatoes are cooked through and soft (test with a fork or skewer), add the beans, capsicum and snapper pieces, gently pushing them into the sauce. Turn the heat back up and cover. Cook until fish is cooked through (5 -8 minutes).                     If you are unsure about if the fish is ready you can gently test a piece by pushing with your finger to see if is the right texture, if should feel firm and spring back. Otherwise you can cut a piece at the thickest section to check the colour.
  8. Serve over steamed long grain rice with a lemon wedge and garnish with coriander (if desired, I didn't have any last night!)



Enjoy!

Ella xx

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

On the Road

On the Road, Official Pinterest

Last night we decided to cap off the long weekend by going to see a film. We were lucky that the Dendy cinemas were showing On the Road. I had been looking forward to seeing this film adaptation  as I had read much about it on the interwebs.

I read Jack Kerouac's famed novel a few years ago, but many of the characters and happenings were still quite fresh in my mind before going to the film last night, so I was nervous that I would be disappointed. Mr Canbella had not read the novel (quelle horreur!) so he had no such concerns. We were both looking forward to seeing Sam Riley in action as we both loved him in Control.

The film is directed by Walter Salles who, most notably, directed the wonderful film The Motorcycle Diaries which I have watched and enjoyed many times. You can see the thread of visual and conceptual thought extending from The Motorcycle Diaries through to On the Road. Most obviously, both are road movies, but also they follow the journey of a young man becoming something great, focusing on the experiences that make him such.

On the Road is beautifully realised, with wonderful atmosphere created throughout. At times, it seemed to move through and past events too speedily for my liking, although I must admit that this is a price that must be paid when adapting a novel to film. I do think that the desperate, languid, waiting feeling that I felt in many parts of the book was missing as the film sprinted forward through plot points. And most of the sex scenes seemed far to visceral to me, as in the novel I felt that they were much more about Sal's reaction to the action, rather than the action itself. In the film it became about your own reaction to the sexual goings on, with much of it played for titillation and sensation, I think it really lacked the depth of the novel (of course).

The performances in this film are great. Most of the actors are very recognisable but they all completely become their characters, including Sam Riley who takes you along on his journey as Sal. I found his voice work, particularly in the voice overs, really drew me into the character and the story.




At 1 hour 37 minutes the film is quite long, but it really squeezes in the action so you never feel it has stagnated. I enjoyed the journey and definitely recommend you see it for yourself!

Ella xx


Monday, October 8, 2012

I want to ride my bicycle.. and bake some cookies


Today it is Family and Community Day in Canberra. Personally it has been: get sucked into the Pinterest vortex, ride your bike around the neighbourhood like a newb and delicious baking day. Pretty much a typical day then...

These cookies are inspired by the accidentally large quantities of PB2 that are in our pantry. I was a little enthusiastic about being about to order them from an Australian supplier and may have purchased an embarrassing amount. PB2 is amazing stuff. I use it instead of normal peanut butter on my toast and it is unbelievably good sprinkled on top of vanilla ice cream.

I made these as a treat after returning from a bike riding lesson around the neighbourhood (yes, for me!). Despite the indulgent sounding name these cookies are actually not too bad for you. They are a low fat and low sugar treat in comparison to regular and store bought cookies, especially if you are discerning with the amount of chocolate chips. Due to the fact that they have almost no fat the texture is more like a muffin top than a cookie but they are irresistibly delicious anyway! (Disclaimer: I am not a qualified nutritionist)

And now, the recipe:

Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup Chocolate PB2
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup instant oats (I used Quaker Oats because they are my favourite)
1/2 cup Natvia for baking
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup SR cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tbs Nuttelex Olive Oil spread
1/2 cup Nestle white, milk and caramel chips

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius (fan forced).
  2. Live two baking trays with baking paper.
  3. In a large glass bowl mix PB2 and water with a whisk. (Use the whisk for all the mixing)
  4. Add oats, Natvia, egg and vanilla bean paste and mix to combine.
  5. Add SR cake flour and baking powder and mix.
  6. Add Nuttelex spread and mix. (It should easily work through the mixture)
  7. Lastly, add chocolate chips.
  8. Use two dessert spoons to scoop mixture on to trays. I made 15 regular sized cookies.
  9. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, depending on your oven and the size of your cookies.
  10. Remove from oven and cool on trays.

Enjoy!

Ella xx