Friday, September 30, 2011

Agnolotti with Roasted Pumpkin & Sage



Roasted pumpkin and sage add a gourmet touch to this tasty vegetarian pasta main.
 
Ingredients (serves 4)
700g butternut pumpkin, peeled, cut into 2cm cubes
2 pinches chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
Olive oil cooking spray
625g fresh ricotta and spinach agnolotti pasta
80g butter, chopped
1/2 cup fresh sage leaves
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Shaved parmesan cheese, to serve
 
Method
1. Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Place pumpkin in a bowl. Add chilli and coriander. Spray with oil. Stir to combine. Arrange pumpkin, in a single layer, on baking tray. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and tender.
2. Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water, following packet directions, until tender. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta to pan.
3. Meanwhile, melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook sage and walnut for 3 to 5 minutes or until butter is golden and sage crisp.
4. Add pumpkin, sage mixture and reserved cooking liquid to pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Toss over low heat until combined and heated through. Serve topped with parmesan. 

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Eat your way to healthier skin in 7 days!



Body+Soul have shown us how to make the changes you need for healthier skin in just seven days! Your skin’s health is an indicator of your internal health, so here is how to keep it looking and feeling good…

Monday
Eat oily fish. Healthy omega-3 fats, which are found in oily fish (salmon, trout, mackerel), help keep skin soft and supple. Anyone with dry or inflamed skin will benefit from increasing their omega-3 intake. Vegetarian sources include nuts, seeds and flax oil, or try a good-quality supplement.
 
Tuesday  
Boost your berry intake. Berries are an excellent source of vitamin C, an important nutrient that helps the skin’s collagen production. Berries are also rich in antioxidants, which help protect against the free radical damage that causes wrinkles. Other excellent sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, broccoli and parsley.
 
Wednesday  
Add some avocado. Avocados are an excellent source of vitamin E, one of the most powerful antioxidants, that also helps neutralise free radicals. Vitamin E cream helps soothe dry skin. Other good sources of vitamin E include olive oil, nuts, seeds, wheat germ and wholegrains.
 
Thursday 
Snack on pumpkin seeds. They supply your body with the mineral zinc, which is needed for healthy wound healing and to balance oil production in the skin. It is also useful for treating many skin conditions such as eczema and acne. Sunflower seeds, eggs, nuts and oats are also rich in zinc.
 
Friday  
Eating a few Brazil nuts every day will supply you with a good dose of the antioxidant selenium, which is needed for tissue elasticity. It also helps reduce cell damage from free radicals. Other good sources of selenium include wheat germ, salmon, eggs, garlic and wholegrains.
 
Saturday  
Go bananas! They are a great source of vitamin C and contain the trace mineral silica, which is essential for healthy skin. The body uses it to make the connective tissue collagen. Other food sources of silica include kelp, whole oats, buckwheat, brown rice, green leafy vegies and alfalfa.
 
Sunday  
Munch on carrots. They are packed with beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, which helps to promote the skin’s repair and maintenance. A deficiency in vitamin A usually results in dry skin. Other foods that are high in vitamin A that you can try include liver, spinach, chilli, sweet potatoes and apricots. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Dressing Table by Clare Press



Join designer, journalist and fashion industry darling Clare Press as she explores the essence of chic in The Dressing Table, your go-to guide for the life lived stylishly.

Clare spills the style secrets of everyone from designers Jank, Fleur Wood and Jenny Kee to legendary editors Anna Piaggi and Diana Vreeland.

Sharing advice on the practical - how to care for your vintage clothes, how to shop for what suits you, how to give the perfect tea party - and the whimsical - nine excellent costume party themes, how to get the holiday feeling without leaving home. This book brings the world of fashion, glitz and glamour that little bit closer.

With a clever anecdote and some sage style advice for every occasion, The Dressing Table is an exploration of the true meaning of style.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Warm Chicken Schnitzel Salad



Try your hand at this delicous warm chicken schnitzel salad with pink lady apples, pumpkin and blue cheese. Its sure to be a winner at the dinner table.
 
Ingredients 
For the pumpkin:
½ small butternut pumpkin, peeled, seeded and sliced into 1cm thick wedges
1 tbsp olive oil
1 sprig fresh thyme 

For the chicken:
2 cups dried breadcrumbs
1/3 cup continental parsley leaves, roughly chopped
4 chicken breasts (160g each), pounded to 1cm with a meat mallet
½ cup plain flour
3 free range eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup olive oil 

For the vinaigrette:
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Australian Pure honey
3 tbsp olive oil 

For the salad:
1 Pink Lady apple, cored, cut into quarters and thinly sliced
3 tbsp continental parsley leaves
2 celery stalks, cut into 3mm thick strips on an angle
1 small head red fancy lettuce, leaves separated and torn into large pieces
½ cup crumbled blue cheese
¼ cup toasted walnuts

Method 
1. Preheat oven to 240˚C, toss pumpkin with the tablespoon of olive oil and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Place onto a tray and in the oven for 15 minutes or until caramelised and tender. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
2. While pumpkin is cooking, mix the breadcrumbs with the chopped parsley in a medium mixing bowl.  Season the flattened chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and lightly coat in flour. Shake off any excess.
3. Dip chicken in the egg allowing any excess to drip off, then coat the chicken evenly with the breadcrumbs. If there are any breadcrumbs left over after the first coat, press the chicken fillets into the crumbs a second time for a thicker crust.
4. In a large frying pan heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat and cook chicken in two batches for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown and cooked through, adding more oil as needed.
5. Remove chicken from the pan to a baking tray and place in warm oven while preparing salad.
6. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the vinegar and honey. While whisking slowly add the 3 tablespoons of oil in a thin stream and season to taste with salt and pepper.
7. In a large mixing bowl, gently toss the apples, parsley, celery, and salad leaves with enough vinaigrette to coat and season to taste with salt and pepper. 
8. Slice each breast into strips and place chicken on top of each salad, drizzle with any remaining vinaigrette and serve immediately. Mound the salad onto serving plates and top with the pumpkin, blue cheese and walnuts.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Menu's Rubber Vases



Remember that fear of knocking over your mum’s special crystal vase? It will never be an issue again with Menu's Rubber Vase.
 
These funky and fabulous vases will never break if knocked over, and you’ll never have to worry about chipped edges again!

The vase is made from a soft, pliable, sturdy rubber, in a range of beautiful colours. It’s a simple design that manages to look elegant, modern and unconventional all at the same time, and is sure to brighten up any table you put it on and match beautifully with any bouquet. Plus you can even fold the spout in to create a bowl-shaped rococo-style vase.

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Luminology Candles



We have stumbled across Luminology this week, and we are dying to get our hands on one of their amazing soy candles.

The new Mantra Collection features 6 new soy candles inspired by the East. Created from the purest, innermost beings of the earth, Luminology soy candles are hand-crafted treasures that are as artisan as they are lovely. 

Each impeccably crafted candle comes in a modern porcelain vessel that is color coded to the fragrance of the candle. When the candle has been spent, the bowl can be washed and used for decoration. If you’d prefer it for snacks, the interior glaze is food safe! The candles are a great way to pamper yourself, but with the keepsake bowl, it can be a gift that keeps on giving! 

With spa inspired fragrances like Patio (a blend of sage, chamomile and green tea), Garden (a blend of white tea, peony, berries) or Vista (a blend of honey, fresh tea, citrus), you will have a hard time choosing which one you want to indulge in first!

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Best Spring/Summer Salads


Salads can be healthy, satisfying meals on their own or perfect accompaniments to main dishes. Whatever sort of salad you're after, Taste have got a great selection of salad recipes guaranteed to please. Here are our favourites…


 

Ingredients (serves 6)
600g butternut pumpkin, deseeded, peeled, cut into wedges
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp honey
2 tsp sesame seeds
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tbs honey, extra
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 x 150g pkt baby spinach leaves
1 x 75g pkt toasted pine nuts

Method
1. Preheat oven to 220°C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Place the pumpkin in a large bowl. Drizzle with oil and honey. Season with salt and pepper. Gently toss until the pumpkin is well coated. Place in a single layer on the lined tray. Bake, turning once during cooking, for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle evenly with the sesame seeds. Return to oven and bake for 5 minutes or until the seeds are lightly toasted. Remove from oven and set aside for 30 minutes to cool.
2. Combine the lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, mustard and extra honey in a screw-top jar and shake until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Place the pumpkin, spinach and pine nuts in a large bowl. Drizzle with the dressing and gently toss until just combined. Serve immediately.


 

Ingredients (serves 6)
200g sourdough baguette, cut into 1cm cubes
olive oil cooking spray
6 rashers rindless bacon, chopped
1 large cos lettuce
50g parmesan cheese, shaved  

Caesar dressing
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 large garlic clove, chopped
4 anchovies, chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil

Method
1. Make Caesar dressing Place egg yolks, mustard, garlic, anchovy and vinegar in a food processor and process until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add oil until dressing thickens. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
2. Preheat oven to 200°C. Arrange bread on a large, flat baking tray. Spray with oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss bread pieces gently to coat, spraying with more oil if necessary. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden. Set aside to cool completely.
3. Meanwhile, heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add bacon. Cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes or until bacon is crisp and golden. Drain on paper towel.
4. Tear lettuce leaves into 3cm pieces and place in a large bowl. Add bacon and croutons. Pour dressing over salad. Season with salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine. Top with parmesan. Serve. 


 

Ingredients (serves 4)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 brown onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 x 400g cans brown lentils, drained, rinsed
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
80g baby spinach leaves
650g chicken breast fillets, trimmed
1/2 cup reduced-fat tzatziki dip, to serve

Method
1. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add onion. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add lentils and red wine vinegar. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until lentils are heated through. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in spinach. Season with pepper.
2. Wipe frying pan clean with paper towel. Add remaining oil to the pan. Heat over medium-high heat. Add chicken. Reduce heat to medium. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes each side or until just cooked through. Transfer to a board. Stand for 3 minutes.
3. Thickly slice chicken. Add to lentil mixture and toss to combine. Spoon salad into serving bowls. Serve with tzatziki.
  

 

Ingredients (serves 4)
4 single chicken breast fillets
2 Lebanese cucumbers, halved lengthways, thinly sliced diagonally
1 bunch baby pak choy, leaves separated, finely shredded
110g (2 cups) trimmed bean sprouts
1 bunch fresh coriander, leaves picked
1 bunch fresh mint, leaves picked
125ml (1/2 cup) sweet chilli sauce
2 tbs fresh lime juice
1 x 100g pkt Chang's Crunchy Noodles

Method
1. Bring a large deep frying pan of water to the boil over high heat. Add the chicken and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Drain. Transfer to a plate. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
2. Meanwhile, combine the cucumber, baby pak choy, bean sprouts, coriander and mint in a large bowl. Whisk together the sweet chilli sauce and lime juice in a small jug.
3. Finely shred the chicken. Add the chicken and noodles to the cucumber mixture. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss until well combined. Serve immediately.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Freshen up your table with AURA



Freshen up your table for Spring with AURA's new Ena table linen. Ena has been hand-crafted in India using age-old printing techinuqes in super soft cotton.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Spinach & Ricotta Crepes


 

These savoury crepes are joyfully easy to make and joyfully easy to eat!

Preparation Time 15 minutes
Cooking Time 35 minutes

Ingredients (serves 6)
1 bunch of English spinach, ends trimmed, washed, with water clinging to leaves
45g (1/4 cup) pine nuts
1 tbs olive oil
1 brown onion, halved, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
480g (2 cups) fresh ricotta
Pinch of ground nutmeg
12 crepes (see related recipe)
375ml (1 1/2 cups) passata (tomato pasta sauce)
80g (1 cup) coarsely grated cheddar
Mixed salad leaves, to serve

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Place the spinach in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes or until wilted. Drain well. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool. Use your hands to squeeze any excess moisture from the spinach. Coarsely chop and place in a large bowl.
2. Heat a medium frying pan over high heat. Add the pine nuts and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until toasted. Add to the bowl with the spinach.
3. Add the oil to the same pan and heat over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the onion softens. Transfer to the bowl with the spinach mixture. Add the ricotta and nutmeg and stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Place 1 crepe on a clean work surface. Divide the spinach mixture into 12 equal portions. Spoon 1 portion of spinach mixture down the centre of the crepe. Roll up firmly to enclose filling. Place in a large ovenproof baking dish. Repeat with remaining crepes and spinach mixture, placing the crepes side by side in the baking dish. Spoon the passata over the crepes and sprinkle with cheddar.
5. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese melts and crepes are heated through. Serve with mixed salad leaves. 

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Friday, September 16, 2011

The Yantra Mat



The Swedes swear by it and with its cult-like following in the UK and US, it’s been a hot topic of conversation with women and men in another 19 countries worldwide. Finally, Australia is about to see what all the fuss is about! Landing down under is the Yantra Mat – the non-invasive, portable and affordable acupressure mat boasting instant overnight improvements for stress, sleep deprivation, muscle tension, aching joints, neck and back pain, circulation problems, or simply a lack of energy.
 
With its roots in traditional Chinese medicine, the healing art of acupressure dates as far back as over 4,000 years ago where ‘nail beds’ were used to heal stressed bodies and minds. The Yantra Mat brings this philosophy back to the here and now, with its rows of raised ‘flowers’, specially designed to create 8,820 acupressure contact points.

The Yantra Mat is suitable for almost everyone, all you have to do is lie down and the mat will take care of the rest. Surprisingly comfortable, the first sensation you’ll notice is a gradual warmth spread along your body – a sign of increased blood flow and a natural response to acupressure. The pressure points calibrated to give equal pressure provoke the kind of clarity and focus that usually comes from prolonged mediation or intense physical activity, and help release endorphins and oxytocins which can be felt immediately and promote relaxation and a restful sleep.

The Yantra Mat is your very own mobile remedy for stress, fatigue, headaches, back or neck pain. Complete with a handy travel bag, it’s easy to use at home, work, as part of yoga or even when travelling. For best results the mat should ideally be used for 20 minutes a day.

The Yantra Mat is made of cotton and foam rubber padding and is available for $84.95 in purple, green and black.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Introducing New Royal Doulton 1815 Tableware



A contemporary collection for the present inspired by the past, the Royal Doulton 1815 collection is a sublime balance of an artisan design inspiration nearly two centuries old, re-interpreted for today's style of living. The collection includes beautifully coloured tapas dishes in an array of colours, rustic wood serving boards, drinkware in blue and tableware in white, blue and green.

The Royal Doulton 1815 collection is now available from David Jones, Myer and selected premium independent retailers.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Haloumi, Lentil & Rocket Salad



Haloumi that's crisp on the outside and deliciously soft in the centre is the golden glory on top of this colourful, flavoursome salad from Taste.
 
Preparation Time 10 minutes
Cooking Time 10 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)
1 x 400g can brown lentils, rinsed, drained
1 x 250g punnet grape tomatoes, halved
2 Lebanese cucumbers, ends trimmed, halved lengthways, thinly sliced
60g baby rocket leaves
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp caster sugar
2 1/2 tbs olive oil
1 x 180g pkt haloumi, cut into 8 slices
 
Method
1. Combine the lentils, tomato, cucumber, rocket and onion in a large bowl.
2. Place the lemon juice, sugar and 2 tablespoons of oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk to combine.
3. Pat the haloumi dry with paper towel and brush with the remaining oil. Heat a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add half the haloumi and cook for 1-2 minutes each side or until golden. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining haloumi, reheating the pan between batches.
4. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Divide the salad among serving plates. Top with the haloumi to serve.
 
Notes
Swap it: Swap the haloumi for 4 chicken breast schnitzels. Marinate the chicken in extra lemon juice and olive oil. Cook for 3 minutes each side.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

How to spring clean your garden



Make the most of your spring gardening urges by whipping your garden back into shape after winter and preparing it for a hot, dry summer ahead. This is a great time to start a vegetable garden, establish new garden beds, plant just about anything, renovate your lawn, spruce up neglected areas and to give the garden its once-a-year feed of fertiliser. HomeLife have given us their 10 top tips for ways to direct your spring gardening urges to get the most from your garden. Make a start this weekend and follow the rest of the action plan over the weeks ahead!

1. Feed 
Early spring is the best time of the year to give everything in the garden a good dose of fertiliser. After the next fall of rain, scatter slow-release or pelletised fertiliser over your garden. As it breaks down and filters into the soil, it is absorbed by growing roots and used to fuel growth and flowering.

2. Lawn update
Apply a slow-release complete lawn food to all grass areas. Use a metal rake to remove any build up of thatch (dead growth giving lawns a spongy feel underfoot). If the lawn is looking sparse, reseed or returf bare areas. Before replanting, dig in organic matter and water over the area with a soil wetting agent. Keep everyone off areas that are being renovated until the new grass is growing vigorously.

3. Plant vegetables
Early spring is a rewarding time to plant vegetables, whether you’re starting a new garden or popping some herbs in a sunny window box. Vegies and herbs to plant now (or after the last frosts in frost-prone areas) include summer salad vegies such as tomato, snowpeas, capsicum or chilli, lettuce, cucumber, basil, rocket and parsley.

4. Quick colour 
Add instant colour with pots of cineraria, pansy, polyanthus or flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Also plan ahead for flowers later in the year. Buy punnets of late spring and summer flowers including petunia, phlox and impatiens (a good choice for shade). Seedlings can be planted in garden beds or popped into large pots for strategic bursts of colour.

5. Plant just about anything 
Remove plants that have died or are past their best, or extend your garden to accommodate new plantings. Prepare for new plantings by clearing grass and weeds, then digging organic matter into the soil. When working out where to place a new plant take into account the amount of space that’s needed as it grows both across and up (see plant labels for information on plant size).

6. Clean and mend
Warmer weather means more time spent outside eating, relaxing and entertaining. Check outdoor furniture and outdoor sitting areas in preparation for convivial times ahead. Wooden furniture may need to be repainted or re-oiled. Nuts and bolts should be checked and tightened. Canvas chairs may need to be cleaned or re-covered. Also, clean the barbecue and replenish gas bottles. Paving and other hard surfaces benefit from a vigorous sweep to remove accumulated leaves and dirt. Mossy or slippery paths can be cleaned and treated with a once-a-year product.
 
7. Re-pot
All container-grown plants, including indoor plants, which have been in the same pot for several years, or that have outgrown their current pot, can be re-potted now. Place plants into slightly larger pots with fresh potting mix or trim roots and replant into the old pot but with fresh potting mix. If you only have a few pots, buy a bag or two of potting mix. If you have a large number of pots, buy a load of premium potting mix from a landscape supplier to save time and money
 
8. Prune
Plants that have already bloomed or have frost damage can be pruned to encourage new growth. Also remove old canes from perennials and grasses to make way for fresh spring growth. To keep shrubs, perennials and annuals in bloom over the months ahead, remove spent flowers regularly.
 
9. Top up mulch

A quick way to spruce up the garden, cut weeds and save water at the same time is with a load of organic mulch. Remove weeds and encroaching grass from under trees and throughout garden beds and then spread mulch over exposed soil to a depth of about 5cm thick (for more advice on how to mulch, see ‘What to do this week’).
 
10. Water features
Top up water features and clean out ponds by removing accumulated leaves and rubbish that’s blown in over winter. Remove dead stalks from pond plants and scoop out algae. Re-pot water plants such as waterlilies before returning them to ponds. 

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Triple Choc Cookie



Nothing beats timeless, classic baked treats, so revisit these crowd-pleasing triple-choc cookies!
 
Ingredients (makes 32)
185g butter, softened
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 2/3 cups plain flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100g dark chocolate, cut into 1cm pieces
100g white chocolate, cut into 1cm pieces
 
Method
1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Line 3 baking trays with baking paper.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg. Beat to combine. Sift flour, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda over butter mixture. Stir in chocolate.
3. Roll level tablespoons mixture into balls. Place on prepared trays, 5cm apart. Flatten slightly. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until light golden. Stand on trays for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve.
 
Notes  
Creaming: Beating butter and sugar together (creaming) gives a light texture and greater volume to your baking. Butter should be at room temperature. Beat until pale (around 5 minutes).

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