Easy as Pie

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This was my first ever attempt at making a pie. Sure, I’ve heated up my fair share of party pies, but never have I actually made a pie from scratch. I am not naturally gifted when it comes to the culinary arts, however, my pie received rave reviews from arguably the harshest food critic on the planet; my FATHER. So, it’s safe to say my chicken and leek pie is a ‘winner winner chicken dinner!’ *Disclaimer; although I techinically am not supposed to eat pastry…I did, because life’s too short to eat pastry free pie.*

Ingredients:

puff pastry

600g chicken

1 leek

1 bulb of fennel

Mushrooms

1/2-1/3 litre chicken stock

1/2 cream

tbsp garlic

1/2 tbsp- 1 tbsp Tarragon (or to taste)

2 tbsp cornflour or white flour

 

Method:

Roast chicken in oven with salt and pepper for 40mins or until cooked. shred and set aside.

Fry leeks, fennel and garlic together in a pan until soft. Add mushrooms and cook until soft.

Add half of the stock and shredded chicken and let simmer for 5-10mins- add some more stock if it evaporates.

Add tarragon and stir through, then add flour (make a little paste beforehand so it doesnt go lumpy in the pan)

Once thickened, add cream. Once it has reached pie sauce thickness turn off pan and add pie filling into lined pie dish. Egg wash pastry before baking.

Bake at 180 degrees until pastry is golden and cooked.

Et VOILA!!

 

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Leg warmers: Fact or Fiction?

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Ballet is a very expensive sport/hobby/art/job. Not only do you need pointe shoes but you need demi pointes that are essentially broken pointe shoes and these ain’t cheap!  I just forked out $94 dollars for a new pair of demi’s and $8 for ribbons! Then, the pointes were $120 plus leotards that are around $45-$60, legwarmers $15 (not essential but they make you look legit) then tights at $16.95 a pop. Speaking of tights…

Last night at ballet, I was so excited to road test my new shoes that I completely forgot about my tights. Which would’ve been fine if I was a size two and it wasn’t winter. But alas my thunder buns were jiggling round in the freezing cold. And whilst I was wearing leg warmers, their name is very misleading and really they were just keeping my ankles warm.  In my whole dancing life I have never gone bare leg! My nan use to threaten it to students that forgot their ballet tights and that were wearing the incorrect attire, but she never went through with it. And now here I was at 30 looking like a swimmer that had stumbled into a ballet class. I contemplated doing it in my trackies, but they are so bulky you can’t dance properly anyhow! So I thought ‘YOLO, it’s not like you’re naked!’ And god-damn it was liberating! I can’t say how liberating it was for the person standing behind me though….

Cold War with the cold sore!

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Its coming down to the final weeks of my diploma and while I don’t consider myself stressed (I happen to adopt the French attitude of work/life balance…more life, less work) I woke up this morning with a dirty rotten cold sore. I have only had 3 in my life so I can’t really complain and I feel sorry for chronic cold sore sufferers, but obviously the (minimal) stress and winter weather have been prime real estate for this bastard to prosper. BUT aside from the aforementioned, I actually think the reason I now have a fat lip (not the Kylie Jenner good kind) is because my diet in the last week has been atrocious. I have smashed foods that I normally wouldn’t…doughnuts, popcorn, ice cream, bread! This has really brought home the fact that our diet and food choices directly impact our body balance.

So to help boost your immune system in the colder months (and all year round really) amp up the vitamin c. Hence the reason for that particularly plain lunch I had today pictured above! And yeh it’s in loads more foods other than oranges…and orange juice…stay away from that! Try adding these to your meals:

Capsicums/peppers, dark leafy greens, kiwi fruit, broccoli, berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, peas.

 

 

 

Frita-ta-ta-ta-ta

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My boyfriend had never eaten fritata before and I had never made one. I figured, seeing as he didn’t even know what Fritata was, if my attempt was a massive fail he would be none the wiser. My gamble paid of and it tasted awesome and it is now one of his favourite dishes. This is possibly the easiest dish on earth to make. And I am defintely no Gordon Ramsay! It is impossible to stuff up and you can put anything you want in it. I do half vegetarian and half bacon for my meat eating other half. Lasts for days and great for winter!

Ingredients:

  • 1 red capsicum
  • 1 brown onion
  • garlic
  • 2 potatoes (skin on)
  • 1 sweet potato
  • mushrooms
  • asparagus
  • parsley
  • spinach
  • 150ml cream/almond milk
  • 8 eggs
  • parmasen
  • feta
  • tasty
  • chilli flakes
  • rosemary/oregano or any herbs

Method:

  1. sautee onion and garlic and chili flakes
  2. microwave potato/sweet potato till its soft enough to cut into thin slices
  3. chuck all your veggies in with onion and sautee with herbs
  4. chuck bacon/meat in if you want
  5. whisk eggs, cream, parmasen and parsley
  6. layers potato slices in the bottom of dish
  7. spread veggies over ‘tatoes
  8. poor egg mixture over veggies
  9. layer sweet potato on top
  10. sprinkle loveing with tasty cheese and feta
  11. cook for 45 mins 180degrees (or until egg is cooked)

Happy Hour at the Barre

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This is our local. Our drink of choice is water, we get high off endorphins and at the end of class I am walking like a drunkard as my legs turn to jelly.

Each ballet class starts with “barre” work as a warm up for the rest of class. The term ‘warm up’ is misleading. Don’t let the smile on my face fool you, I am not enjoying myself! (I probably just made a mistake and had a chuckle). There is nothing easy about the barre! It is hard work and sometimes you wish the class ended then and there. But you have to psych yourself up and will your legs to get through the next sections of leaps, turns and pointe.

This is our Wednesday night ballet class. Between us there’s a lawyer, a uni student, a personal trainer, school teachers, and one school student. Although we lead very different lives, the thing that brings us together is ballet. Us “old girls” purely do ballet because we love it! (and because its great exercise).

I came here to dance

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If Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, then a dance class is the bitchiest. Especially if it is a casual drop in one, where you have people from all waks of life and levels. From the wannabe Beyonces to the “I was on Broadway” types, it is a melting pot of personalities, ego’s and drama set against some music with lots of air kisses.

I went to Sydney Dance the other day, which is the Australian equivalent of the Broadway Dance Centre. It is a ‘come as you please’, no experience necessary dance school. It has 4 classes running at any one time, 7 days a week. Pay your entry and your in the club. That’s what I love about it. There’s no pressure, no pre-requisite. I don’t need to commit to a 12 month membership, nor do I need to panic if I miss a lesson, as the content of class changes day to day. I just pay, dance and leave.

For many people though, (I find in particular the ones that have just discovered dance) they do become regulars and the dance class becomes their second home. And like any good gaurd dog, they become very territorial. The teacher becomes their master and they desperately try to outdo one another to get the teachers attention. And heaven forbid if any newcomer should stand in their spot, they will slowly and passive aggressively force you out, till suddenly you find youself dancing out in the corridor…that’s for the lucky ones. For the not so lucky ones, you may cop a jazz hand or two in the face.

I have no problem hanging in the back, but if you’re going to stand in the front line, please move down the front. I get so aggravated when the front line starts in the middle of the room and there are 50 other people tring to cram in behind. So, to counteract said problem, I moved past the regulars and stood right down the front. I mean really, how much room do you need for a few soubresaut or some twerking.

There were gasps as I went and stood in front of the die hards . They couldn’t believe the audacity and all looked like they’d sucked on too many lemons. Meanwhile, the newcomers up the back were smiling and winking at me in admiration and appreciation. A few even said thankyou. They began to surge forward, finally given freedom and its safe to say the “front line” were well and truely miffed.

Even though you are wearing every bit of dancing apparel known to man, this does not make you a better dancer or give you more authority than anyone else.  Yes, you may look the part with your legwarmers, leotards, the latest shoes, sweatband and “dance is my life” t-shirt , but at the end of the day you still paid your $22 entry just like the rest of us.

Everyone is there for the same reason…they love to dance, so be considerate and share the love.

 

Popeye’s spinach smoothie

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If Popeye was around in this day and age and was a health fanatic, crossfit devotee vegan who milked his own almonds….I would imagine this is how he’d get his daily dose of Spinach.

I was dubious when I first read what was in this recipe as I’ve never believed that chocolate and spinach should be used in the same sentence let alone the same meal, BUT I tried it this morning and it was surprisingly, very very surprisingly tasty. Now not McDonalds chocolate thickshake tasty, but for something so healthy it was quite nice and we all know how gross healthy can be (avocado and chocolate milkshake I’m looking at you)

One tip- I had no ice this morn so it was a little warm, but with either a frozen banana or some ice it is a really great option for a healthy, nutritious, quick start to your day.

Choc Walnut Smoothie – by nutritionist Steph Wearne

Serves 1

1 banana/ or frozen

1 handful of spinach

1 scoop protein powder

1/2 tablespoon cacao powder

1 tablespoon chia seeds

2 tablespoons walnuts

1 cup of milk (cococnut/almond/cows)

1/2 cup water

ice (optional)

Blend all ingredients together at high speed until smooooootttthhhh.

 

All in the family

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I am fortunate enough to belong to a family who owns a dance school. This is defintely a bonus when you are wanting to practice ballet and need help with your training. My grandmother and her sister started the school in Balmain around 70 odd years ago. My cousin now runs ‘Honeybrooks School of Dance’ and I am a teacher there. Thanks to dancing, we are a very close knit family.

The ranga in this picture is my cousin Jess. We have spent many hours at the studio over the years dancing together and as a result are very close. She doesnt hesitate when I ask her to help me with my ballet, either joining in with me or pushing my leg up to places a leg is not designed to reach (i think she also secretly enjoys inflicting pain on me as payback hahah).

Jess is a beautiful dancer, has great technique and a lovely dance quality. But, like me, was never the cookie cutter mold of a ballerina. My ample bottom and her ample top does not a ballerina make. Despite this, we find ourselves at dance class every week, slogging it out, not just because we are forced to (okay maybe a little, when it is your family business it’s hard to chuck a sickie) but simply because we are doing what we love!

The exercise effect

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Everyone knows that regular exercise is good for the body. But exercise is also one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health. Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts overall mood. And you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits. Research indicates that modest amounts of exercise can make a difference. No matter your age or fitness level, you can learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to feel better.

And while we’ve all heard health guru’s carrying on about how amazing exercise is (like they’ve just dropped LSD at woodstock) it isn’t until you put it into practice that you realise the true power of exercise over both the body and mind.

Take yesterday for example. My morning got off to a great start. My client had a really positive workout sesh and we both felt awesome after it. So to continue this high, I thought I’d go to Yoga. Unfortunately that’s where my high ended…abruptly…with a car accident. Not a serious one (thank god no one was hurt) but when your not accustomed to having car crashes, even a minor one is still a shock to the system. To make matters worse, as I was trying to exchange details with the other driver, this horrible bystander decided to get out of her car and abuse us for blocking traffic (even though we weren’t). It took all my effort to keep the tears at bay. By the time I got back home, (my car wouldn’t make it to yoga) I was a mess. It was probably the shock sinking in and the tears wouldn’t stop flowing. I wasn’t just upset about the accident, I was also upset because it had a ripple effect on the rest of my day/life. I had been sick so hadn’t been to yoga in weeks and I was really looking forward to getting back into it and finding my ‘zen’ again. Also, I was suppose to train 3 clients later that day and no car meant no training, which meant no income. And to top it off I was suppose to go to ballet class in the evening and I couldn’t get there. The transport wasn’t the only issue, I was also scared to drive.

It was around this time of self wallowing that I thought maybe I should jump on the exercise bike and just do a quick workout. It wouldn’t involve driving anywhere and it would at least be some sort of exercise for the day. So I reluctantly jumped on. After the first 3 minutes, I felt incredible. By the end of the ten minutes, I had completely forgotten about the accident. My mood lifted from despair to total “c’est la vie”. I really felt so much calmer and happier. And it was only moderate speed for 10mins on a bike, in my room in my pajama’s.

I guess that’s why they say to people that are upset to go for a walk and calm down. Cause thats exactly what exercising does.

So next time, if your feeling down or angry or upset, try going for a little walk or do a few star jumps before you reach for the ice cream tub, or the nearest throwable object.