June 11th, 2011

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

This Week's Column - Bend & Stretch, Reach for the Carbs

Published in the Bondi View and City News.

Now that it’s well and truly winter, I’m a little torn! One moment I’m all about winter greens, wracking my brain for new uses of baby Brussels sprouts; the next I’m rugged up eating Cadbury’s chocolates! Comfort or health - bear with me while I explore the options…

Go Health
If you live in the Eastern Suburbs or CBD, Hamilton Kings - owner of the popular Bondi Social overlooking the iconic Bondi Beach - will deliver you a healthy meal. A far cry from the “tasteless diet food” offered up by some other diet brands, Moving Meals offers a “supplementary service as opposed to being stuck in a contract needing to order 21 meals a week.” When he created the company, Hamilton was thinking about “people who worked long hours, who are health conscious, too tired to cook at the end of the day.” At my office, everyone gushed over presentation. The dishes, which included Hamilton’s personal favourite, Steamed Salmon with Soy, Coriander and Lemon, certainly looked appetising. They tasted good too, though our resident vegetarian wished for some tofu in the Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls. A few of us did reach for some supplementary carbs - but we’re not exactly gym-bunnies. Being able to order for same-evening delivery up until 5pm each day did impress me - perfect for that four o’clock slump when you just KNOW you’ll be working back!

Craving Comfort
I’ll be honest: when I saw that Cadbury commissioned a Galaxy Research Poll to uncover ‘what to bring to, when you’re told not to bring a thing’, I was a little scathing. While it’s great to hear Aussies are rebellious (84% of people will bring something even when asked not to) I didn’t think it was earth-shattering to see chocolates trump the list of what we take to a daytime shindig. What did win me over though was taking their delivered box of Cadbury Favourites into the office to share around. My colleagues were so delighted, they all stopped work and spent a moment connecting. In a busy workday, it’s the moments like these that make you glad you got out from under the doona!

Hater No More

Another highlight of my office week was taking delivery of my own meter long baby Brussels sprout stalk bearing nearly fifty buttons! It seems not many of my colleagues knew how these much-maligned vegies grew. I could barely wait to get home and get out my paring knife! We’ve had them all manner of ways since then, but the surprising winner, beating out pan-fried halves with bacon and chestnuts, was shaved baby Brussels sprouts lightly sautéed with lashings of butter. If you’re curling up your nose up remembering them from childhood, give them another go! We’ve learned a lot about cooking them since those days. If you keep them in the pan for less than six minutes, they won’t have that sulphurous smell you remember. I was a hater once too…

Penny-Pinching Pizza
Another product that helped me through my busy month was a Barilla Pizza Kit. It was the night before payday; the cupboard was bare; and really, as far as home made pizzas go (it’s hard to top an Amalfi Woodfired Pizza Oven), this actually beats the pre-made bases I’ve tried. Barilla have gone all out to make it easy, down to including a sachet of oregano and a tin of tomato!

Toppings of course are left to personal choice. In my case, that was what the fridge contained – rather fortuitously some amazing pork smallgoods from Campisi's Continental Butchery.

My tip is: when the instructions tell you to ‘spread your dough over their piece of supplied baking paper’, do it between two sheets with a rolling pin. No mess, but a much thinner result than any other ‘spreading’ method I could think of!

Mushies & Milk
I’m still clamouring to get a peek into the LiSun Exotic Mushroom Tunnel in the Southern Highlands. Tours are running on Sunday 12th June, 2011. While you’re in the neighbourhood, you can also visit Thistledown Creamery Ewe’s Milk Cheese Dairy and pat the lambs from their free-range herd of Awassi & Eastern Friesian sheep. Playing with baby animals and watching cheese making is free, but the magical mushroom tour will set you back thirty bucks. Eating both cheese and mushrooms kind of balances each other out doesn't it?

To close, I’d like to offer an apology and retraction to the folk at Avido Restaurant & Wine Garden. So dazzled was I by the stunning rope work (I do run The Sydney Hellfire Club after all), that in last week’s City News (2nd June, 2011) I attributed it to the wrong Melbournian! The correct designer was of course Sarah Parkes.