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Intimacy on the Plate – For V Day

It’s coming…you know what I mean.  THAT day…with the hearts and flowers and enough cute to make a cynic like me do a lot of this: đŸ™„.  This year instead of regaling you with a bad date story (because I couldn’t think of one) I’m going to share some recipes designed to rev you up in all the right ways!!!! 

Many, many months ago, someone emailed me and asked if I would review a book for a friend of his.  I agreed and he sent me the book.  Which I promptly lost.  Not entirely my fault.  It disappeared when my computer died last year.  So I ended up buying it because a promise is a promise right?  Even if it is a year or so late!

So here it is – Intimacy on The Plate!

Intimacy1

That cover!!!! 

It’s so gorgeous and also highly suggestive!!!!  You don’t have to be Doctor Freud to get that allusion do you?  

The philosophy of Intimacy on The Plate is simple:

Amen to that!

Intimacy on The Plate is also lots of fun! 

Some of the recipes have saucy names in keeping with the theme.  You’d really set the scene for your romantic evening by serving any of these:

  • Passionate Foreplay Salad
  • Striking Night Salad
  • Champagne Foreplay
  • Erotic Baked Mushrooms
  • Hot Love Beverage

Some are possibly not so well named or thought out:

Trout in a Banana Coat and Beef in a Banana Blanket are both not for me.  Or, I think anyone I would want to seduce.

And Watermelon Slash?  Has connotations that are also not for me.  But I’m sure it’s making someone out there’s heart race a little!

But Intimacy on The Plate is not just about funny names.  It is meticulously researched.  It took Olga Petrenko nearly a decade to write and it is obvious she knows her stuff!!!! 

Mango, Avocado and Trout Salad

For example, let’s look at this Mango, Avocado and Trout Salad,  Not only was it DELICIOUS and so pretty – the mix of colours was gorgeous – but did you know this about the main ingredients?

Mango

  • In India and Pakistan, Eve tempted Adam with a mango, not an apple
  • In India, it is recommended that men with sexual problems eat lots of mangoes

Avocado

  • The ancient Aztecs called the avocado tree “the testicle tree” because of the way the fruit hangs in pairs from the branches.
  • Avocados contain phytosterols which awaken sexual desire in men and women
  • The high fat content can help to give energy to any physical activity

Trout

  • Is full of zinc and selenium which promote the production of testosterone.

This  Tuna Avocado Boat?

Tuna Avocado Boat

Contains both egg and onions.  Both of which are aphrodisiacs on their own.  Olga says:

“If you combine eggs with onions they become an even greater aphrodisiac. In fact, adding garlic and onions to food was forbidden in monasteries because it could cause inappropriate sexual desire”.

The Red Caviar Charm Appetizer shown below contains salmon and the aforementioned eggs

Red Caviar Charm AppetizerSalmon

  • Contains melatonin which is necessary for cellular rejuvenation.
  • Contains pyridoxine which improves cellular metabolism, mood and endurance.
  • Contains arginine which is required to produce nitric oxide which produces better quality erections.  And ladies, you don’t miss out either, because it also improves lubrication.  

And finally, the Pineapple Chia Smoothie, that was the first photo.

Pineapple Chia Smoothie

Ha!  We all know how pineapple is good for the boys right?  Wrong!  You can give him all the pineapple in the world and it isn’t going to change a thing!!!!

It does contain B vitamins to increase physical strength and energy though.

The bromelian in pineapple which is also found in bananas, another ingredient in this smoothie, helps in the production of seratonin.

Bananas also contain enzymes that strengthen the male libido and B6 which helps female anorgasmia.

Here’s a link to the website for Intimacy on The Plate, containing the recipe for the Mango, Trout and Avocado Salad and a few of the other recipes mentioned above.

Intimacy on The Plate

Whether you are looking for seductive food for THAT or any other special day, want some new and tasty recipes or, if like me you are a total food geek and love to learn more about anything to do with food then I can heartily recommend Intimacy on The Plate!  Maybe even buy it as a gift for that special person this V Day!

Have a great week!

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Blackberry, Lemon and Thyme Coconut Water & Book Review – Drink Less in Seven Days

I guess like many people, at the start of the year, I made a resolution to decrease my alcohol intake.  I started on the 8th of January so am now nearly a month into my Dry-ish January.

Drink Less in Seven Days

One of the things that helped me stick to this was a book that I requested from Net Galley called Drink Less in Seven Days by Georgia Foster.  Georgia is a clinical hypnotherapist and alongside the written version of the book, there are also 4 “Hypnosis Hub” recordings that readers are encouraged to access to help them with the program. 

One of the great things about Drink Less in Seven Days is that Georgia (and I”m going to call her Georgia because she kind of feels like a friend) is totally non-judgemental about how much you drink, why you drink, why you feel you drink too much etc.  I feel that this is an area where people carry a lot of shame and negative feelings and to have someone who approaches an emotional issue like this with absolute objectivity is helpful in driving the desired behaviours.  She’s on your side!

Blackberries

There are two main parts to Drink Less in Seven Days.  The first is how your amygdala (the part of your brain that deals with emotions and fear/stress responses) can actually work against your efforts to quit or reduce your drinking.  It shows you how to move your decision to drink away from this very instinctive part of your brain to your prefrontal cortex which is the part of your brain that is more concerned with considered decision-making.  

Blackberries

I found this part of the book fascinating, particularly the parts where she spoke about silencing your inner critic. 

However, it was the second part of the book, where Georgia broke down different personality types. what triggers them to drink and how to circumvent these triggers that I found most useful.  (Also fascinating, if like me you love a good theory of behaviour and the ability to proclaim “Yes!!!!  That’s me!”). Because it makes total sense right?  If you drink out of social anxiety (which is me a little bit) your methods to success will likely be different to someone who drinks because everyone around you is (also me a little bit).  

Thyme

The biggest take away for me was starting to understand what triggers my wanting to drink and learning alternative strategies should I decide not to.  I think a really important thing about Drink Less in Seven Days is that it is NOT about quitting drinking altogether.  It is about cutting down to a level that you are comfortable with, whatever that is for you.

Blackberry Thyme Coconut Water2

But Does It Work?

Okay, so here’s the real deal.  In the almost month since I decided to have my reset I have drunk alcohol three times which is a whole heap less than what my normal consumption would have been.

ONE of those times, (the first) I totally over consumed. But in my defence, it was a belated New Year’s Eve party. 

The second time I was down in the dumps about something (possibly drinking too much at the belated New Year’s Eve party).  But it was a much more controlled effort – just a couple of glasses of wine.

The third time was at a BBQ for Australia Day.  I was perfectly comfortable not drinking but ultimately succumbed to a bit of peer pressure.  Again, I nursed a couple of ciders and a red wine through the evening.  In retrospect, I should have listened to the hypnosis hub recording on social drinking before the bbq.  

In the month, I have been to pubs, bars and restaurants, entertained at home and been entertained at other people’s homes so it’s not like I have been hiding at home.  I have been around alcohol and people drinking as much as I ever was.  I barely notice if people are drinking now let alone want to join in!

Having said all that I am also doing my reset or detox or whatever it’s called with my closest friend and I think that type of peer support is invaluable to the success of a  venture like this.  

Blackberry Thyme Coconut Water3

Will I drink again?  Almost definitely. For me, this experiment was never about giving up altogether.  And I have far too much fun making cocktails for this to give it up completely!  However, I feel that moving forward I will be able to drink in a more mindful considered way. 

 

Thank you to Netgalley, Georgia Foster and RedDoor Publishing for the ARC.

Blackberry Lemon and Thyme Coconut Water

Since I have not been drinking I have been looking for non-alcoholic ways to satisfy my thirst that were also interesting.  Because let’s face it…water can get plain old boring after a while.  I didn’t want to load up on carbonated drinks which were full of sugar and if I allowed my love of Coke Zero to run free I would be so caffeinated I would never sleep again!

So I searched through my recipe collection and found a recipe for a Blackberry, Lemon and Thyme Soda from ReclaimingProvincial.com.  The site seems to be no longer active but the link will take you to the Facebook page (which, at the time of writing had not been updated since December 2016 which is a real shame!)  đŸ˜˘  

I made the same blackberry lemon and thyme syrup as Carey but whilst she added water and carbonation, I kept mine as a syrup.  I have added the syrup to sparkling water for some fizz but my favourite way to have it is to add some of the blackberry syrup to a glass over ice and top with coconut water.

Blackberry, Lemon and Thyme Coconut Water4

This is very refreshing and not too sweet. You can taste the berries, the coconut, the lemon and the herbiness of the thyme so it is also quite a complex drink.  

And so pretty to look at!

Here’s the recipe:

Blackberry, Lemon and Thyme Coconut Water
A lovely complex refreshing non-alcoholic drink
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For the Syrup
  1. 1 cup of blackberries, slightly muddled (or chopped, if using frozen berries)
  2. 1/2 cup of raspberries, slightly muddled (or chopped, if frozen)
  3. approximately 1 dozen sprigs of fresh thyme
  4. zest and juice of 2 lemons
  5. 2 tsp pomegranate molasses
  6. 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  7. 1/2 cup of sugar
  8. 3 cups of water
For the drink
  1. 350ml coconut or sparkling water
  2. ice cubes
  3. Additional thyme and blackberries to garnish
Instructions
  1. Combine the syrup ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture has reduced by half and is thick and syrupy.
  2. Remove from the heat. Allow to cool completely.
  3. Take out a potato masher and mash the berries to get ever last drop of juice out of them.
  4. Now strain out all the solids.
  5. Taste. If too sweet add more lemon juice or some citric acid or some red wine or apple cider vinegar. If too tart, add more maple syrup or sugar. (Bear in mind that if you are using it, the coconut water is sweet so do not over sweeten at this stage.
  6. Pour into a bottle, seal and keep in the fridge until ready for use. This will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge. If you can make it last that long.
For the Drink
  1. When ready to serve, pour fill your glass to about a quarter* with the blackberry syrup. Add plenty of ice and top with coconut or sparkling water.
  2. *I found a quarter was about right for my taste, you make like it weaker or stronger - play around with the levels of syrup and water to find what works best for you.
Notes
  1. If you did want to make this a cocktail, a splash of gin or vodka wouldn't go astray!
Adapted from Carey Nershi - Reclaiming Provincial
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
Blackberry Thyme Coconut Water1

Have a great week!!!

See you next time with some tips for Valentine’s Day feasting!

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All The Z’s – Part 4 – Zitronenauflauf

Zitronenauflauf is the German (?) name for a delightful lemon dessert that is a cross between a soufflĂŠ and a pudding.  And it’s delicious.  I love lemon in sweets so this was a perfect choice for our Z Dessert!

Zitronenauflauf3

 

The recipe for the Zitronenauflauf comes from a recipe book called Best of The Bake-Off Recipes by Trevor Wilson.  But seeing as it is from 1969 is not THE Bake-Off that we all know and love but, as the cover tells us from the Butter White-Wings Bake-Off.  Whatever that may have been.  

Bake Off

I don’t normally put the recipes so close to the top but I felt this one deserved some special attention.

Zitronenauflauf Recipe

The pudding ingredients are what you would expect – butter sugar, flour, lemons.  The addition of green apples is a nice touch and worked really well!    No problems there at all!

Zitroenflauf

But let’s take a closer look at the wine sauce.  Notice something missing?

Zitronenauflauf6

Maybe I’m being too picky but in my book?  If you’re going to call something wine sauce, it damn well better have wine in it.  Maybe back in ’69, they had to euphemise and everyone knew  “grape juice”  meant the hard stuff.  And now because it doesn’t have a string of emojis next to it, the subtleties are lost on us.    If it said  “Grape juice” đŸ˜œ đŸˇ then maybe we’d have a clue.

For the record, I used a dessert wine instead of grape juice in mine and it was delicious!

Zitronenauflauf4

The Zitronenauflauf has two layers, the top is a gorgeously light and lemony sponge.  Below this, there is a custardy, more pudding-y layer with the apples.  It is lovely on its own but with that sauce…oh my…its next level!  And it is super fun to put on your best German accent and repeat the word Zitronenauflauf.  

So, one more Z to go….and with it, the reveal of the book that is taking the place of The A-Z as the book I will be cooking from over the next….lord knows how long…it’s a whopper – 560 pages all the way from 1972.  I think it’s going to be fun…

Have a wonderful week!

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Vegemite and Pale Ale Gougères

Today, January 26,  many Australians will be celebrating Australia Day.  On the good side – it’s summer, it’s a great time to get outside and have a bbq and, if you are not in the midst of a dry January, have a few drinks with some friends.  On the downside, the day itself is becoming increasingly fraught for all manner of reasons – some of which you can read about here for a considered view and here for the opinions of a lunatic.  Hey  America…you’re not alone with your President, we have a Prime Minister (well ex-Prime Minister) who says dumb offensive shit too.  And whilst he might not be orange or have a mad comb-over, there was .this….ewwwww.

Vegemite and Pale Ale Gougeres

But we are not here to get political.  We are here to eat, drink and be merry.  Because it’s a long weekend.  And we’re going to celebrate with some Australian food.  If by Australian food we mean something that we have totally  (mis)appropriated from another culture.   So let’s get to it shall we?

 

Gougères are the French version of what we in Australia would call a cheese puff.  And they are delicious!  Feather-light pastry flavoured with cheese makes for a perfect snack.  Particularly if you happen to be imbibing something of an alcoholic persuasion.  Making it a perfect start to this weekend’s round of bbq’s.  

Vegemite and Pale Ale Gougeres4

But we’re not celebrating Bastille Day…we’re celebrating Australia Day…so how to “Strayanise” these delicious French delicacies?  Well, first we’re going to throw a little Vegemite into the mix.  Now, I’ll be the first person to admit that I…ahem…”borrowed” the idea of the Vegemite Gougères from Rosie Birkett’s recipe for Marmite Gougères.

Vegemite and Pale Ale Gougeres3

And then, to make it even more Australian, I substituted the water in the recipe for beer.  I used the Gage Roads Little Dove Pale Ale as the beer for this because it is my absolute favourite and I had some in the house but you could sub in your own favourite.

Vegemite and Pale Ale Gougeres2

The gougères are delightfully light.  The combination of vegemite, cheese, cayenne and the very slight hint of beer go so well together that it would be a real shame to only save these for one day of the year!

Vegemite and Pale Ale Gougeres
A tasty snack based on a classic French recipe
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Ingredients
  1. 120g unsalted butter
  2. 150ml whole milk
  3. 1 1/2 tablespoons Vegemite
  4. 75ml Pale Ale
  5. 150g plain flour, sifted
  6. 4 eggs
  7. 100g cheddar, grated, plus 1 tablespoon extra, for scattering
  8. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  9. big pinch freshly ground black pepper
  10. 1/4 teaspoonfreshly grated nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line 2 large baking sheets with baking parchment.
  2. Put the butter, milk and Vegemite and ale into pan over medium heat and bring to the boil.
  3. Add the flour and beat very quickly with a wooden spoon, over the heat, until the mixture is smooth and pulls away from the side of the pan (about 2-3 minutes).
  4. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a minute.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until the mixture is thick and smooth and glossy.
  6. Stir in the grated cheese, peppers and nutmeg.
  7. Spoon the mixture into the piping bag fitted with a nozzle. Pipe little rounds (about the size of a chestnut) onto the trays, leaving space between each mound to allow for rising.
  8. Alternatively, just spoon small spoons of the mixture onto the tray.
  9. Scatter over the remaining cheese.
  10. Bake for 20–25 minutes, until puffed and golden.
  11. Serve warm. Or cool on a wire rack and reheat in a 180°C oven for a few minutes until they crisp up.
Notes
  1. The gougères can be made in advance and frozen once cool.
Adapted from Rosie Birkett - A Lot On Her Plate
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
If you’re celebrating, have a wonderful day and enjoy the long weekend!

If not, make these anyway, they’re awesome!  

But remember…Vegemite

Back with more Z Food next time!  Have a fabulous week!

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All The Z’s – Part 3 – All The Zucchini

You knew it was coming right?  There was never going to be a showcase of Z recipes without a recipe for zucchini.  Except there’s not just one zucchini recipe…there’s going to be four.  Because it’s midsummer and my zucchini plants have gone berserk. I have been eating zucchini at least once a day for weeks. I have given away dozens of them.  And they just keep coming!  So I have to keep finding things to do with them.  Here is a summary of this summer’s dishes…so far…

This flatbread recipe came via Australian Gourmet Traveller and it is so good – not to mention almost too pretty to eat!  If you don’t want to make your own bread, you can sub in a flatbread of your choice.  But the bread is pretty easy and gives you a huge dose of smug!

Seriously three zucchini plants are producing enough to feed a small army!  And they grow so quickly.  One second they are tiny, the next literally as big as my arm!

Zucchini 4

But here’s the thing…up until recently, I wasn’t that big a fan of zucchini.  I recall it from childhood as being a bland soggy mess.  My conversion came when I tasted it raw in a salad one day.  And it was super good!  Zucchini Salad (2)The above salad is so easy to make and became my go-to whilst on holidays – I chopped a heap of carrots, zucchini, celery and cheese and kept them in a container in the fridge.  Whenever I got a bit peckish, I would get out some lettuce, sometimes crumble in some hard-boiled egg,  add a splash of dressing and roll up for a healthy, tasty snack!  The recipe is from my old fave Rosemary Mayne Wilson’s Salads For All Seasons.

Rosemary suggests a mayo dressing for this salad.  I vote no on that.  My preferred dressing for this salad is a vinaigrette with a good dollop of mustard in it.  Try it…you won’t regret it.

Recpe: Raw Zucchini Salad - RMW

Okay, here’s one for the meat eaters!  Although I was not very complimentary about a lot of the meals in Pete Evans’ paleo cookbook, Healthy Every Day, these turkey and zucchini patties were an exception.  They are awesome!  I make them all the time (sometimes I even have to buy zucchini to make them!).  I don’t use the egg in this recipe.  I find the mixture is already quite wet without it.  (Pete also doesn’t tell you to squeeze the water out of the zucchini which you need to do).  

Zucchini Turkey Patties4

And here’s Pete’s recipe:

Turkey & Zucchini Patties – Pete Evans

The eagle-eyed of you may have noticed the fourth dish nestled in below the turkey patties in the photo above.  The last recipe in the zucchini extravaganza is a Zoodle Cacio e Pepe.  (Zucchini noodles which cheese and pepper).  A lot of recipes I have found for this cook the zoodles.  We’re not going there.  I far prefer raw zucchini to cooked so mine is kind of a Cacio e Pepe carpaccio…

 

Zoodle Cacio e Pepe

Zoodle Cacio e Pepe

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 tbsp Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 finely chopped mint (optional)

Instructions

  • If you have a spiralizer, make noodles out of your zucchini.
  • If not, use a vegetable peeler to make long thin strips of zucchini.
  • Place in a bowl and toss through the olive oil, lemon juice, black pepper and cheese.
  • Top with the mint if using.
  • Serve straight away
http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/2018/01/22/zs-part-3-zucchini/
Have a wonderful week!  I’m off to harvest more zucchini!

Before we go though, tell me what is your favourite zucchini recipe?

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