Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Quinoa & Millet Sushi

Hello lovely people! I did another guest post for the fabulous beauty & wellbeing site Wellness WA. This time I decided to try and make some Quinoa & Millet Sushi, inspired by Janella Purcell. Yep, I'm loving this quinoa & millet combination! It's perfect for porridge, mixed into a salad or...added to sushi!

I find that the millet really helps the seeds stick together, even though it's a little bit more fiddly than traditional white rice. 


Hannah x

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Quinoa with parsley pesto, cranberries, toasted hazlenuts & mushrooms

Hello :) Several days ago I stumbled across this cookbook called Vegetarian at my local library. Turns out I want to cook just about every recipe, quite literally. The photography is fabulous and there are such interesting & gourmet vegetarian recipes. I don't own many cookbooks, but I decided to purchase this one, knowing I'll probably be testing out every recipe. There's even instructions on how to make your own nut milk, tofu, ricotta and sprouts!
The first recipe I decided to try is the Quinoa with parsley pesto, cranberries, toasted hazelnuts & mushrooms. It just worked out that after a trip to the markets last Sunday, I had already bought most of the ingredients without realising! The dish is quite like a risotto, using quinoa as the base & lots of mushrooms! It was the first time I'd used porcini mushrooms (for the stock too), and the flavour is just incredible! 

Recipe: Quinoa with parsley pesto, cranberries, toasted hazelnuts & mushrooms (adapted from Vegetarian by Alice Hart)

serves 4
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes 

15g dried mushrooms (porcini, for example)
30g butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
250g mixed fresh mushrooms, sliced if large (I used portobello & cremini)
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
175g quinoa
100g dried cranberries*
1 quantity parsley pesto with hazelnuts**
a squeeze of lemon
75g hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

* I substituted dried cranberries for goji berries, because dried cranberries always seem to be sweetened
** To make parsley pesto whiz up 1 garlic clove, pinch of sea salt, large handful of parsley leaves, 60g hazelnuts, about 100mL extra virgin olive oil and 70g parmesan. I don't tend to bother with measurements, but blend and keep tasting. 

Place the dried mushrooms in a heatproof measuring jug and add enough just boiled water to reach the 350mL mark. Set aside.

Melt half the butter with the olive oil in a deep frying pan. Keep the heat high and fry the mixed fresh mushrooms briskly for a couple of minutes, stirring until they are golden. Tip into a bowl and set aside. Return the pan to a slightly more gentle heat. Add the remaining butter and the shallots to the pan and cook for a few minutes until softened. Add the garlic and quinoa and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes until the quinoa takes on a pale, golden colour. 

Strain the soaked mushrooms through a sieve, reserving the water, and roughly chop, then add them to the quinoa. Pour in the strained mushroom water and bring to the boil. Throw in a good pinch of salt, then lower and heat and simmer gently for about 18-20 minutes until the quinoa is soft and the liquid is absorbed. Fold in the cranberries and reserved browned mushrooms and set aside. 

Stir a couple of tablespoons of pesto through the salad, plus a squeeze of lemon. Spoon a little more pesto over the salad and sprinkle with hazelnuts. Best served warm. 

This is a beautiful dish, and with every bite you get the flavours from the porcini mushrooms, the crunch of the hazelnuts, sweetness from the goji berries and general deliciousness of the parsley pesto.

And I love that it has the flavours of a mushroom risotto, but without the heaviness of arborio rice. 

Hannah x

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Beauty: Lavender Buttermilk Cleanser

Hello :) Happy Sunday! I've almost forgotten I actually start uni next week, after a very long few months of holidays! Today I'm just relaxing, reading & cooking. I'm basically just trying to take it easy before I start tackling a study and work balance. And my early morning starts are about to commence again, yipeeeee!

Now this beauty post is oh so simple and requires only two ingredients, which you may already have!

Lavender Buttermilk Cleanser (by Carla Oates)
"This delightful cleanser will give your complexion a lovely glow. Buttermilk is an effective astringent and has a noticeably toning effect. It brightens then skin and helps even out tone and reduce pore size"

1-2 drops lavender essential oil
1/4 cup buttermilk 

Drop the lavender oil into the buttermilk or milk, mix well and bottle. I store mine refrigerated for about a week.

I find this to be a lovely cleanser, especially in the morning. You see, in the evening I use a different cleanser that helps remove my tinted sunscreen etc. But in the morning, I find all you need is something simple to feel refreshed and ready to go! 

Hannah x

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Millet & Quinoa Coconut Porridge

Hello :) It's funny that no matter how many breakfast/brunch recipes I post, pondering what I shall eat most mornings seems inevitable. But recently I have put into practice the secret to quick & super tasty breakfasts. Pre-cooking! So the night before, I cook whatever grains/seeds I want the next day (usually a few mornings worth), and then it's simply a matter of heating them with milk & topping with whatever suits. Two of favourite seeds of late? Millet & quinoa. They work fantastically well together and take about the same time to cook, creating a delightful porridge indeed.

Millet & Quinoa Coconut Porridge (enough for a few mornings...)
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup millet*
coconut milk (refrigerate in a container)

*the reason I used more millet is simply because it's a lot cheaper than quinoa!

Directions- (the night before)
Place the quinoa and millet in a saucepan with a few cups of water. Bring to the boil and simmer until the seeds are cooked and and fluffed up. This should take about 10-15 minutes. Always add more water if needed. Leave to cool for a little while, then refrigerate in an airtight container.

Directions- (in the morning)
Place however much of the mixture you want in a saucepan with the same amount of coconut milk and heat until the seeds and milk are warmed through. I cook about 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup, depending on how hungry I am. Add more coconut milk on top (or milk of your choice), then top with some fruit, nuts or seeds.

Topping ideas: Sliced banana, goji berries & unsweetened shredded coconut
Topping ideas: Sliced nectarine & goji berries

This recipe also happens to be perfect at the moment, as I'm quitting sugar. Coconut milk is naturally sweet in taste and I definitely don't feel the need to add honey/agave/maple syrup on top! 

Want another idea? How about cooking up some brown rice the night before, for a nourishing bowl of brown rice porridge :) 

Hannah x

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Raspberry Mini Muffins (& Quitting Sugar For 8 Weeks)

Hello :) Yep, I've just started as of a few days ago, Sarah Wilson's I Quit Sugar program...a how-to quit sugar in 8 weeks. First of all, this post is not about lecturing anyone into quitting sugar too. But basically I've been reading Sarah Wilson's blog for a little while now & was always intrigued by her articles and interview with David Gillespie (author of Sweet Poison). It's interesting stuff indeed.

Well the other day, after drinking a large fruit juice I had a really bad headache and just felt like I had no energy. I was intrigued to why this was the case and started reading a lot more about sugar, deciding I'd really like to give the program a go. I don't consider it a diet (and definitely do not want to lose weight), but see this as an experiment and opportunity to try new foods and alternatives. I'm going to be taking note of my skin, energy levels and mood. So I'll be saying "no" to raw sugar, maple syrup, fruit juices, honey etc for 8 weeks and "yes" to sweet alternatives such as coconut milk, coconut water, stevia, apple cider vinegar and liquorice tea.

I've only just started, so I'll probably be letting you know how I go. And I have lots of delicious recipes to try too! The first being these raspberry mini muffins. They happen to be (as well as sugar free), dairy free, gluten free & grain free. You're probably now wondering "well, what is in them?" They actually have a base of almond meal, with coconut milk, grapeseed oil, eggs and frozen raspberries (or blueberries). And liquid stevia, which I'm experimenting with for the first time.

Raspberry mini muffins (link

They make 12 muffins, or 30 mini muffins which I made. To be honest I couldn't really taste the sweetness from the stevia. But they're still really tasty & nutty in flavour with a pop of sweet raspberries. 

I'd like to know if you use stevia to replace sugar? And what sugar alternatives do you love? 

Happy baking!

Hannah x

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Beauty: Eyebrow Threading

Hello :) This Sunday I shall (hopefully) be educating myself and some of you lovely people about eyebrow threading; a method of hair removal. The reason I've chosen this topic, is because I had my eyebrows threaded the other day! I've been getting them done every few months for about a year, after a friend recommended a place. Eyebrow threading is an ancient Eastern practice, popular in Arab countries as well as Asia. Although, it's obviously a growing trend in the West too! But what is it exactly...?

Basically, eyebrow threading requires a twisted, thin cotton thread and more specifically, two strands which are twisted and rolled several times, forming an X. The centre of the intersection grips the hair strand, pulling it from the follicle.

Pros of Eyebrow Threading
- Cheap! Mine costs $10.
- Quick. It takes under 5 minutes.
- It's not messy as there aren't any wax strips or creams.
- As it removes the hair from the root, it lasts quite a while.

Cons of Eyebrow Threading
- Ouch! Yep, in my opinion it does hurt.
- The skin around your eyebrows will be red afterwards. Well it is for me. So I usually get them done on the way home, when I'm not going out that night ;) Although it calms down after an hour.

I don't think eyebrow threading is really a do-it-yourself hair removal method though! I'd recommend going to a salon to get your eyebrows done. I tweeze out any stray hairs in between appointments, but apart from that...I leave it to the pros!

Oh look! Here's a photo of myself, a few hours after getting my eyebrows done. I always specify I want them natural looking, but shaped. And I also had my hair cut recently, as you can kind of see. It's a short bob, which I love!

To watch a lady thread her eyebrows, watch this clip :) 

Do you get your eyebrows threaded/waxed etc? Tell me people! 

Hannah x

Friday, February 17, 2012

Jamie's Italian

Hello :) For lunch on this Friday, I decided to go with Adrian to Jamie Oliver's newish Italian restaurant  in the city. I'd seen reviews & simply wanted to check it out for myself. I thought by going for lunch we'd avoid queues (as you can't book), but alas we had to wait around 20 minutes. It was all good though!

Complimentary bread was a nice way to start!

For drinks, I had a strawberry & elderflower fizzy mineral water and Adrian opted for a white wine. I enjoyed my fruity, fizzy drink. It was certainly refreshing!
Polenta chips with rosemary, parmesan & sea salt to share. These crunchy morsels were delightful!
I had a buffalo ricotta ravioli and oh my! Super rich and creamy, with a hint of lemon. 
Adrian chose a mushroom ravioli (?)...well we forget the exact name. But it was really tasty! I had some and probably preferred this actually! 

There were so many yummy options to choose from & most of them reasonably priced too. I loved the decor and vibe...definitely checking it out again! 

Jamie's Italian is at 107 Pitt Street, Sydney. 

Hannah x

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Rye Soda Bread

Hello :) Every Saturday, I usually buy a loaf of bread. Either from the markets or from a local deli. But on this rainy Saturday, I decided to bake my first loaf of bread. Rye Soda Bread. It was a most enjoyable process. Sifting the flour, adding the buttermilk, kneading the dough...

And I must say, I was very impressed with the results. It's easy & quick to make, taking just under an hour to bake. The loaf was dense, rustic & crusty...perfect with a slab of butter. 

 Rye Soda Bread (recipe)

Have you baked your own bread before? Any recipe links? I cannot wait to make another loaf! 

Hannah x

Friday, February 10, 2012

Flowers, oatcakes & teapots

Hello :) This is a post about flowers, oatcakes and teapots.

I've really enjoyed going to my local flower shop lately. The lady is just so lovely, and we end up talking about tea (which is also sells, along with takeway coffee). This is the last bunch I bought & they are gorgeous! To be honest, I've forgotten what they're called other than they start with the letter L. Anyone know? I photographed them next to some oat cakes, which I made the other day (recipe link) & are superb! Packed full of oats, walnuts and wholewheat flour, they're a filling little muffin.

Now onto teapots. I found this teapot & teacup set today. At Vinnies too! This is one of those times when a lady can never have enough teapots!

Well I think it's adorable. It was tried & tested this afternoon, and oh it makes a marvellous cup!

And there you have it... simple pleasures :) 

This weekend is going to be filled with trips to the market & cake baking! 

Weekend plans? 

Hannah x

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday Beauty: Basic Mask Mix

Hello :) This Sunday Beauty post will be on making a basic (face) mask mix. It involves 3 dry ingredients, which you can mix with other fabulous ingredients to make into a paste. I've already written a post about face masks (here), but the difference with this mix, is it involves a great cleansing & detoxifying clay!

Recipe: Basic Mask Mix (courtesy of Feeding Your Skin)
1/2 cup fine oatmeal
1/2 cup clay to suit your skin type*
2 tablespoons almond meal

*Green clay is the most absorbent and suited to acneous, oily and neglected skin; pink is purifying and toning and suitable for all skin types; red helps treat sensitive skin and broken capillaries; white is the gentlest, soothing and suitable for all skin types; and yellow is recommended for restoring tired and neglected skin of all types.

I used an olive green clay bought from (here)

How to store?
Combine the ingredients and store in a jar in a cool, dark cupboard. I halved the recipe & used a small T2 glass jar to store the contents. These jars are great for storing skincare products (as well as tea!) This one costs $3, and there are larger sizes. 

How to use?
1. Cleanse, to prep your skin
2. Simply take 1 teaspoon or tablespoon of the basic mask mix and mix with several ingredients. You can use milks, yoghurt, eggs, mashed fruit, herbs, essential oils (1-2 drops per mask)- and make a smooth paste
3. Massage the mask on your face & leave on for 15-20 minutes
4. If the mask becomes too tight, spray or dab with water to soften

The ingredients I used to make a mask the other day were: 1 teaspoon of the basic mask mix, honey, coconut milk & mashed avocado

Ta-daa! Obviously I don't have it all on, because I didn't want to look too crazy! 

5. After 15-20 minutes, rinse the mask off with lukewarm water. 
6. I like to massage 1 drop of rosehip and jojoba oil mixed with a little water onto my face & neck afterwards, for extra glowy and hydrated skin :) 

My skin felt really soft & cleansed afterwards. It's just having a home! 

Do you like using or making face masks? 

By the way, I'm so happy I've started this segment :) It's so fun experimenting with homemade beauty  & I have so many other great recipes/products to share! 

Hannah x

Friday, February 3, 2012

Simple Kale Omelette

Hello :) This kale omelette is very simple indeed. But too simple to blog about? I think not! It was inspired by a few reasons. First of all, we had half a bunch of kale that was being neglected in the fridge, since I decided to make another delicious batch of the broccoli & kale coconut curry soup the other day.

Second of all, we had half a block of feta to eat. Poor feta! I always seem to have a recipe that uses half a block, and the rest seems to get forgotten about. So the basis of most of my meals is really using up ingredients.

And my final reason is that sometimes a lady tires of oats for breakfast every freaking day!

Recipe: Simple Kale Omelette 
What you shall need...
Large handful of kale
Small handful of feta
2 eggs
1 clove garlic, crushed
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to season
How you shall cook...
Add 1 teaspoon (or thereabouts) of extra virgin olive oil to a pan & 1 clove of crushed garlic and heat for a minute or so. Then, add a large handful of torn kale leaves and let it sizzle and wilt for a few minutes. Add 2 whisked eggs and small handful of crumbled feta and wait for a few minutes. Perhaps you'd like to dance to the radio or make a cup of tea in the meantime. But don't let it burn! After it's set flip the omelette over on the other side for about 15 seconds. Then... voila! Fold it in half, season to taste & eat that tasty omelette...

So I had this simple kale omelette for breakfast this morning. It was quick, tasty & a fantastic way of getting a serve of nutritious kale in the morning. 

Hannah x

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Super scrumptious pancakes!

Hello :) I will now proceed to delight you with some super scrumptious pancakes, I've been making in the past week. Enjoy!

1. Blueberry buttermilk pancakes. 
Heidi alerted me about a week ago (here), to the deliciousness, that are these cakes of the pan! And...I've already made them twice already, in the space of a week. The first time I made them, I wasn't entirely sure if everyone had eaten breakfast so I halved the recipe so it made 6. Well it would appear everyone was quite eager for the pancakes, so we had to each have 1.5. Ha! I learnt my lesson & on Australia Day we were treated to 3 pancakes each for breakfast.

But how do they taste? 
Kinda really yummy! It's a recipe by Heidi Swanson, who calls it her "favourite pancakes recipe". They're full of buttermilk goodness, and I used spelt flour too. A touch of sugar, some baking soda & eggs and that's pretty much it. So, they're very simple to make. I didn't make the blueberry maple syrup, but just added blueberries to the pancakes, when they were cooking.

Recipe: Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

2. Banana Bread Pancakes.
So, I'm kind of in love with this recipe from the ever wonderful Sarah. It's dairy free, sugar free & gluten free...and tastes amazing! I had completely forgotten they were banana bread pancakes until I tasted them, and they do really taste like it! You basically blend up walnuts & oats into a flour, and whizz up a banana, nut milk (I used soy), maple syrup etc. It has all the core ingredients of a delicious banana bread, in a pancake form. Genius!

I did find them a little fiddly to flip in the pan, but that's hardly a downside! I can hardly wait to make them again, this weekend :) 

Seeing as I usually just whip up my usual crepes most weekends, it's been fun to jazz it up and experiment with more pancake recipes!

See you on the flip side (aha! get it?)

Hannah x