Archive for 2015

Review: Schkinny Maninny Juice Detox Program

Monday, 21 December 2015

The team at Schkinny Maninny kindly sent me some (adorable) eskies of fresh juices to try out their detox program. Every day, a cute mini esky gets delivered to your doorstep with six bottles of fresh juices (and soups or even salads, depending on what program you choose) and for either 3 or 5 days, you do a cleanse with just juices.



As some of you know, when I was in Nepal doing yoga, I did a 'cleanse' as well. It was basically - apples for three days (6 apples on day 1, then 3, then 1), then a day of no foods, and then a day of 'cleansing' via a salt-water flush. It's an ancient yogic intestinal cleansing process called Shankaprakshalana, and I really do think it's super helpful, but would probably not do it at home. (Read more about the whole process here and here)



Anyway - compared to that, I thought this juice detox would be way easier, so I happily agreed to do it. There are a bunch of different programs you can pick from and all you do is decide what you want to have, order it, and it gets delivered to your doorstep (or your workplace, wherever you want). I leave for work quite early in the morning, and was worried that my juices would get delivered too late (there's a 5-10 am delivery window), so I let them know and my mini esky was at my front door before 6 am every day.

I did the Active Juice and Soup Cleanse, and was super excited when my mini esky arrived on Monday morning. I loved most of the juices and soups, which come in 500ml bottles and a sticker which tells you what order to drink them in. As a person who drinks a lot of water, I thought that 500ml of juice would be really easy to consume, but they were surprisingly really filling. Most of the time I couldn't finish my juices, so kindly donated the rest to my family, but I also never had 6 bottles in a day, because I was so full.

On day 1, the juices came with a little gift pack with a welcome card, and some detox tea bags, foot bath salts.


While I did miss the actual sensation of chewing/eating (although you do get a tiny container of seeds to chew on if you need it!) and also cooking food, it was really nice to know that my day's meals were sorted and ready to go. Each day, the esky comes with a little card which debriefs you, and outlines how you might be feeling or side effects. I had a strong headache on the second/third days which was really strange for me, but the info card let me know that it was a common side effect. I also got support emails ['Day 1 - it has begun!', 'Did you sleep okay last night?'] which were really cute to read.


In terms of the juice flavors, I wasn't a huge fan of some of the juices, like the ones with sesame seeds and brazil nuts (so the breakfast and night time juices). The spinach soup was good for a bit was too lemony so I could only eat a bit of those. Apart from those, however, everything was really delicious. My favorites were probably the Pine Root (beetroot, carrot, apple, ginger, and pineapple) and the Rocky Orange Show (orange, rockmelon, mint, apple, cucumber). The soups were also really good. I heated half up in a bowl and then poured the remaining cold juice over, so it was kind of gazpacho tasting with lots of herbs and spices for flavour.

At the end of the cleanse I felt really fresh and energetic. I found that the third day was the most difficult, not because I was actually hungry but I just wanted to eat something. All in all, it was a really good way to detox, especially when the juices were so good. Check them out on Schkinny Maninny and get your own mini esky :) 

Here's a sample of the menu!

Monday
Schkinny Banana Smoothie - banana, almonds, sesame seeds, oats, almond milk
Schkinny Leap Frog - cucumber, kiwi, spinach, parsley, apple
Schkinny Carrot and Cashew Soup - carrot, pear, cashew nuts, ground coriander seeds, ginger
Schkinny Beet Froot Tingle - beetroot, carrot, apple, ginger
Schkinny Rockin Tomato Soup - tomato, chickpeas, rocket, celery, tuscan spices
Schkinny Sleep Well - almonds, brazil nuts, water, cinnamon, Medjool date

Tuesday
Schkinny Banana Smoothie - banana, almonds, sesame seeds, oats, almond milk
Schkinny Water Frog - watermelon, orange, spinach, kiwi, parsley
Schkinny Lentil Luncheon - tomato, carrot, lentils, Moroccan spices
Schkinny Rocky Orange Show - orange, rockmelon, mint, apple, cucumber
Schkinny Colly, Meg and Lee Soup - cauliflower, butter beans, celery, parsley, nutmeg
Schkinny Sleep Well - almonds, brazil nuts, water, cinnamon, Medjool date

Wednesday
Schkinny Banana Smoothie - banana, almonds, sesame seeds, oats, almond milk
Schkinny Leap Frog - cucumber, kiwi, spinach, parsley, apple
Schkinny Spinach Soup - cashews nuts, spinach, celery, lemon, leek, almond milk
Schkinny Pine Root - beetroot, carrot, apple, ginger, pineapple
Schkinny Vego con Carne - tomato, kidney beans, parsley, celery, Mexican chilli
Schkinny Sleep Well - almonds, brazil nuts, water, cinnamon, Medjool date 

Thursday
Schkinny Banana Smoothie - banana, almonds, sesame seeds, oats, almond milk
Schkinny Leap Frog - cucumber, kiwi, spinach, parsley, apple
Schkinny Lentil Luncheon - tomato, carrot, lentils, Moroccan spices
Schkinny Beet Froot Tingle - Beetroot, apple, carrot, ginger
Schkinny ButterSeed Soup - pumpkin, butterbeans, parsley, cumin, coriander, onion
Schkinny Sleep Well - almonds, brazil nuts, water, cinnamon, Medjool date 

Friday
Schkinny Banana Smoothie - banana, almonds, sesame seeds, oats, almond milk
Schkinny Pine Ginger Splice - pineapple, apple, ginger, spinach, parsley, kiwi
Schkinny Carrot and Cashew Soup - carrot, pear, cashew nuts, ground coriander seeds, ginger
Schkinny Cage Fighter - carrot, celery, cucumber, apple, ginger
Schkinny Rockin Tomato Soup - tomato, chickpeas, rocket, celery, tuscan spices 
Schkinny Sleep Well - almonds, brazil nuts, water, cinnamon, Medjool date

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Raw Salted Caramel Slice

Monday, 6 July 2015

This slice is raw and vegan. It is also delicious, rich, creamy and decadent, and very easy to make. I basically only use a few key ingredients: raw cacao, coconut oil, medjool dates, and nuts, and process it in my food processor. Use any nuts that you like, I used walnuts as it’s all we had, but it’s also delicious with pecans or almonds, anything goes!



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I highly recommend a high-powered food processor for this, otherwise this 5 minute recipe is going to take a long time. Trust me, I speak from experience.

You can add or decrease the amount of maple syrup (or any other sweetener of your choice) in each of the layers, depending in your sweetness preference. You could also add in other dried fruit like sultanas or apricots, or put in frozen blueberries in the coconut layer, mix in jam, do whatever you feel like!


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BASE LAYER
  • ¼ cup walnuts (or any nut of your choosing)
  • 4 medjool dates, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, and then drained
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

Prepare the tray of your choosing by lining with baking paper. I have a small, 8 x 5” slice tray which I use, but you may need to adjust the recipe if your tray is bigger or smaller.

If your coconut oil has solidified, put the jar in a bowl of hot water and leave until the oil melts into clear liquid.

Process the nuts first, and then add the dates, and pulse until your desired textured level is achieved. I like my base layer semi chunky, so I don’t process it for too long, but if you want yours smooth, keep pulsing. Add the coconut oil to pull it all together, and press evenly into your tray. Put the tray into the freezer while you move onto the next layer.

SALTED CARAMEL LAYER
  • 8 medjool dates, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes and drained
  • 2 tbsp coconut cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds, soaked in 2 tbsp of hot water for 10 minutes

The chia seeds should have absorbed the water so pour in half of the coconut cream and let sit. Process the dates and remaining coconut cream until creamy, and then add in the chia mixture and the salt. Pour onto the base layer, smooth, and return to freezer.

COCONUT LAYER
  • ¼ cup dessicated coconut
  • 2 tbsp coconut cream
  • 2 tsp maple syrup

Process the coconut until it is fine and sand-like. Add the coconut cream and maple syrup, and pulse until combined. Pour into the pan, smooth, and return to freezer.

CHOCOLATE TOPPING
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp coconut cream

In a small bowl, mix together the oil and cacao until combined and smooth. Add the maple syrup and cream and stir until thick and smooth. Pour over the salted caramel layer and tap the pan on a benchtop to ensure it is smooth and flat. Freeze for another 15 minutes, and slice with a knife dipped in hot water, and dried. Serve immediately, or store in the freezer.

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Chocolate Fudge Cake with White Chocolate Malt Ganache

Friday, 5 June 2015

I made this cake for a friend’s birthday a few weeks ago. It’s three layers of very moist and fudgy chocolate cake, sandwiched between layers of Milo white chocolate ganache, covered in vanilla buttercream with chocolate sprinkles, drizzled with dark chocolate ganache, and then topped with edible flowers, mint leaves, meringue, edible glitter, a Snickers bar, a flake, desiccated coconuts, rose teahibiscus tea, some peanut M&Ms, and some pastel sprinkles.





It took me so long to find edible flowers in Sydney, so for a while I was just using normal flowers with the stems inside a bit of straw and wrapped in foil/cling wrap, if they were going to be poked into the cake, or just placing the flowers on top of some parchment paper on top of the cake, and removing everything before serving. Luckily I managed to find some at Harris Farm, which sources them from Byron Bay Organic Produce. If your local doesn’t, you can try calling them to order some in for you. Or you can order directly from here. A small 20g box costs $7.95, and is enough for me to cover one cake.

The flowers come pre-packed in an assortment, so you may not get a choice on what coloured flowers are available. This box I used was very yellow/orange, so I added in some other colours by using the rose and hibiscus tea, mint leaves, and the sprinkles, just so it was more colourful.

I’m such a huge fan of flowers to decorate, because it’s just so beautiful. I’ve been decorating all the cakes I’ve made for the past few months with flowers and it just makes me so happy, especially because it’s so simple but so beautiful.




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Guest Post: The Tastes of Sicily

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Hi everyone! The lovely Hanna is guest blogging today. She's a freelance editor who is living in Italy, and she's going to introduce some of the typical dishes in Sicily. Make sure to leave her a note to say hi in the comments (:

Every year, Sicily attracts thousands of tourists to its shores. This island is not just a place for getting tanned in the summer – it offers a complete package to interested travellers. It is chock-full of archaeological treasures, the history is rich, the panorama is stunning, and the cuisine is just divine. These are all reasons to get a holiday villa in Sicily full of facilities and close to central areas. There is so much to do and see to ensure that you will have some of the best times ever.

Sicilian cuisine is complex. This is evident in the various dishes to be found there brought about by its history of interracial influences and the fertility of its land and marine life. Every dish is a poetry and every wine a song. From the slopes of Mount Etna down to the pristine shores, there is food to taste and a wine to match it. A gastronomic experience in Sicily is a perfect way to have a perspective about the island’s cultures and traditions. Culinary tours are some of the most typical ways to do this where one can get hands-on cooking classes and taste wines and dishes of the regions.





Participants visit areas to know local products and have a bite or two of local dishes or drop by wine cellars for wine tasting. If you like this idea, check out italyandwine.info for more wine tasting trails in Sicily. While it is impossible to know all the dishes in just a few days, at least you can get to know the more popular ones.  Meet the popular arancini, which are fried rice balls with some filling inside like rag├╣ or mozzarella. Also snack on sfincione, a typical Sicilian type of pizza that has tomatoes, anchovies and onions which you can buy from the local bakery. Caponata is a famous salad-appetizer, with ingredients of eggplants, capers, olive and celery, and sometimes artichokes are used.





Renowned for seafood dishes, you will discover that swordfish is a typical ingredient used in pasta or as a main course. Pesce Spada alla Ghiotta is a swordfish dish typical of Messina. Pasta con le Sarde uses sardines, preferably fresh, and flavored with wild fennel, to name a few. Dine on salame di tonno, dried fish roe, or bottarga. Recipes go on and on and ingredients used are always seasonal and varied. Pasta alla Norma which is perhaps the most popular Sicilian pasta dish, is macaroni with eggplant cooked in a light tomato sauce and topped with grated salted ricotta. There is also Sicilian couscous which reflects the Arab influence in the place. If you happen to be in Santa Cristina Gela or in Piana degli Albanesi,  try the Likenge which are pork sausages flavored with fennel, salt and pepper, similar to the Italian luganega.





Sicily is also a place to taste different cheeses. There is Pecorino with variations flavored with peppercorns and other spices. Cacciocavallo is a favorite to use with pasta and is perfect to complement stronger wines. Aged, salted cottage cheese, ricotta salata is a popular cheese often used with dishes. There are a lot of other cheese products such as provola, tuma and primo sale, to mention a few.

Desserts. Sicily is a haven of sweets. Cannolo, perhaps the most sensational, is filled with ricotta cheese and candied fruit and even dark chocolate. Cassata is a sponge cake drenched in liquer and contains ricotta, vanilla and candied fruit. Granita Siciliana comes in many flavours and variations as well as their gelato. Try the ones of pistachio! Frutta martorana resembles fruits and vegetable and are made with almond flour and vanilla can be perfect gifts back home.


The dishes of Sicily are varied and rich and there’s wine to match each. For culinary tours , you get to visit wine cellars and taste some wines such as Mamertino di Milazzo and Nero d’Avola . There are also olive oil tasting itineraries. Before booking your holiday, you might need a Sicily tourism guide to plan everything you need to know about your holiday and your adventure into Sicilian cuisine.



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