[Recipe] Protein Granola & Superfood Bowl

In order to maintain a healthy body which of course is core to a healthy mind, it’s crucial to stay organised! In our busy lives we often forgo nutrition for convenience so I wanted to demonstrate a two part healthy breakfast recipe.

Firstly, my Protein Granola, once you make this you will never go back to store bought. The freshness and crunch, combined with the ability to customise the ingredients to whatever your tastes desire is what makes this special. Take 30 minutes of your Sunday to prepare this and you’ve got breakfast sorted for weeks.

Secondly, my superfood bowl, don’t be intimidated by the exotic ingredients I’ve used. Take the concept of combining some yogurt, home made granola and fresh seasonal fruit and run with it. Again, like most of my recipes, I encourage experimentation. Go to your local grocery store and pick the most seasonal delicious looking fruit, slice it up fresh in the morning and you’re laughing. I’ve also made a chia pudding, you may have seen these in the store and been intimidated, but as you will see it’s ridiculously easy. All it takes is a handful of chia seeds combined with a liquid of your choice – water, nut milk or even juice! Put it in a sealed container in the fridge and it will last around a week, did I mention breakfast sorted?

The last and most fun elements I’ve used are the bright, colourful, healthy superfood powders that I sourced from Unicorn Superfoods. Life is better in colour and I can’t believe that these vibrant powders are all natural with no additives! Plenty of studies have shown evidence that the presentation of food actually does make it taste better! This is a great way to get children in the kitchen and excited to eat something healthy too. Unicorn Superfoods have also done their research and have indicated the potential health benefits for each of their superfoods.

Ok enough preamble, watch the recipe and read the steps below.

Protein Granola

You will notice that my recipes are more food for thought than a strict set of rules. This is because, the best way to learn to cook is by experimenting. Try things and get it wrong, at least you’ll know what not to do in the future! This will give you that “chef’s intuition” for what sounds right.

Ingredients

  • Honey – 300mL, but tailor this to how much of the next ingredients you use
  • Vanilla pod – scrape out the seeds as demonstrated. This isn’t an essential ingredient, but really makes this recipe pop, so use it if it’s in your budget
  • Rolled oats – at least two cups
  • Puffed rice – at least two cups
  • Nuts – choose your faves! I chose almonds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.
  • Dried fruit – I used goji berries and cranberries. Again, choose your faves! I saw dried blueberries at the store the other day, they are definitely going in next time!
  • Cinnamon – just a reasonable sprinkle

Method

  1. Melt the honey and vanilla together on the stove
  2. Mix the oats, puffed rice, nuts and seeds together.
  3. Pour the melted honey over oats mixture and mix well.
  4. Place in a shallow baking tray and smooth out into a thin layer. Bake for 25-30 mins at 150C, stirring occasionally to ensure it doesn’t burn. You’ll know when it’s ready, that delicious nutty aroma will fill your house.
  5. Remove from oven, sprinkle over the cinnamon powder and stir in the dried fruit.
  6. Let it cool to room temperature before placing in a sealed container. The cooling releases moisture which helps it store better.

Superfood Bowl

This is the creative part! The main ‘recipe’ here is the chia seed pudding, for the rest, tailor it to what is seasonal, fresh and to your taste. For instance, I found a very cheffy Australian native ingredient called finger lime and couldn’t resist trying it out. And who can resist edible flowers!

Ingredients

  • Chia seeds – I used about a tablespoon, scale this to your batch size. They really expand so just try a little at first
  • Almond milk – I used half a cup. Do use whatever milk takes your fancy; soy, rice, oat, macadamia, goat (don’t use goat milk)
  • Pink Pitaya Superfood – around a teaspoon, or until you get the colour just right
  • Honey – as sweet as you like 😉
  • Natural yoghurt – read the label!! I don’t want to see any added sugar, gelatin or other funny things in there.
  • Ocean Blend Superfood powder – same deal, be an artist!
  • Frozen mango
  • Lime juice
  • Fruits: pink dragonfruit (otherwise known as pitaya), blueberries, raspberries, finger lime, flowers (the precursor to fruit right?)
  • Home made Protein Granola

Method

  1. Mix the chia seeds, almond milk, pink pitaya powder and honey together thoroughly. Place in the fridge until set.
  2. Slice up the frozen mango cheeks, place in a blender with lime juice and pulse. Add a little water if you find it’s not blending.
  3. Mix together yoghurt and Ocean Superfood powder
  4. Prepare your fruit
  5. Get creative in the bowl!
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3 Easy Steps to Perfect Skin for Men!

Are you ready for it?

  1. Cleanse twice daily
  2. Moisturise twice daily
  3. Scrub twice weekly

Guide complete right? It’s really is that simple! But let me explain why those three steps are all you need and some tips on how to perform them correctly. At the bottom I’ll link to some products that I personally use, this is not a sponsored post, I’m just letting you know what works for me.

Step 1: Cleanse

 

Why: The most common skin complaints are largely are due to the buildup of oil and impurities such as dust and dirt that we encounter throughout the day. These impurities clog our pores and lead to the buildup of bacteria which can cause those little infections known as pimples!

How: The science is simple, a little lukewarm water to soften up the oils and a gently applied cleanser to wash all the impurities away. Gently rub the cleanser in circles to work up a light lather, gently! Facial skin is sensitive, save the scrubbing for your bi-weekly scrub session. Wash the lather off and pat dry your face with a clean towel, not a handtowel as they will generally be covered in the same oils you just washed off.

When: Twice per day. First thing in the morning and just before bed. Overnight your skin builds up oil and is pressed up against your bacteria-laden pillow – sorry but it’s true! So wash it all away first thing and I guarantee you will look and feel amazing for the rest of the day. Then just before bed cleanse again to wash away all that dirt, sweat and grime that has accumulated from all sorts of sources throughout the day. A cleanse before bed is a must!

Bonus Tip: Wash and change your pillowcases often, this will prevent the buildup of skin irritating bacteria

 

Step 2: Moisturise

Why: Moisturising offers many benefits to the skin, delivering hydration and essential nutrients to skin cells. This prevents your skin from drying out and also keeps your skin healthy, preventing the signs of aging.

How: This one’s pretty simple, post-cleanse apply some men’s moisturiser all over your face paying special attention to areas that commonly dry out on your face. As I spend countless hours in front of the computer screen and rarely get enough sleep (does anyone?), I end up with quite tired eyes so I also apply a gel moisturiser specially formulated for waking up those tired yes.

When: Straight after your morning and night cleanse.

Bonus Tip: Use sunscreen daily, at least SPF15! Nothing will damage your skin faster than the suns rays!

Step 3: Scrub

Why: Scrubbing (or exfoliating) removes dead skin cells and the harder to wash away grime that cleanser doesn’t reach. It makes way for new healthy skin cells and will really help to prevent those pesky clogged pores.

How: Cleanse as instructed, then wet your face with lukewarm water again. Use a small amount and gently rub in circles, don’t get too vigorous, remember that sensitive face of yours!

When: Twice per week. However, if you have particularly dry skin or get irritation from scrubbing you can reduce this to once per week.

Bonus Tip: Over-scrubbing or cleansing sets your the skin’s oil glands into overdrive, creating excess oil. So, don’t go overboard, keep it to the frequencies recommended in this article.

Professional Treatments

The guide I’ve written above is great for keeping your skin healthy and preventing premature aging. If you have a specific skin condition or would like to get some expert advice on exactly what your particular skin type needs, it’s best to visit a professional. If you look closely at the photos above, you will notice that I have some reddening on my nose and upper cheeks. I also have a little red birthmark on my cheek (ok maybe hard to notice, but I see my face every day 😉

I went to see my good friend at Star Medispa in Sydney to get some treatment and ongoing skincare advice. The first thing that my friend, Alyona did was run some imaging on my skin which revealed a slight vascular skin condition.

Skin is laced with capillaries that transport nutrients and oxygen in the blood. Broken capillaries, blood vessels prominent near the surface of the skin or a concentration of blood vessels in a specific area of the skin can give rise to vascular skin conditions such as spider veins, rosacea, birthmarks, and other similar conditions.

Alyona advised that I need to use products which cool and sooth the skin and also advised that I should cut back on spicy food and red wine – oh no, my favorite! For the dark circles under my eyes, she recommended more sleep…also some specially formulated eye cream containing peptides. I’ve ordered some of this Dermalogica Eye Reversal Complex which I have yet to try, I’ll let you know how it goes when it arrives.

 

I had some amazing treatments, this mask felt like a big layer of bubble gum but my skin felt absolutely amazing afterward.

The most amazing part was the laser treatment, remember that red mark on my cheek? Gone! The photos at the beginning of the article are post-treatment, go back and have a look, no more mark!

Products

Clinique has in no way sponsored this post, this is just a brand that I genuinely use daily and recommend. Also, if you do end up purchasing it through the Amazon links I’ve provided, I get a little kick back and it costs you no extra.

If you have any products that you use and love, comment below and let me know, I’d love to try them out!

Cleanser: Clinique Charcoal Face Wash

Face Moisturiser: This one is a very personal choice as everyone’s skin is different. I recommend that you try a few until you find just the right one. Definitely use moisturisers formulated for men, as men and women’s facial skin chemistry is different.

Eye Moisturiser: Clinique For Men Super Energy Eye Gel – This eye gel has a special rolling applicator which really calms and soothes your eyes and is specially formulated to reduce puffiness.

Scrub: Clinique Men’s Face Scrub

[Recipe Video] Stuffed BBQ Ocean trout straight from Sydney Fish Market

Ingredients

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 kg whole ocean trout
  • 1 small handful whole almonds
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, leaves picked
  • 1 loaf of bread, preferably stale
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 12 marinated artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
  • 4 rashers bacon
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small handful fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • 5 tablespoons fat-free natural yogurt

Method

  1. Turn on your BBQ to preheat while preparing the recipe. I use some wire racks to place the prepared fish on, just to keep it above the surface of the BBQ and prevent burning or sticking. Be sure to grease the racks and have them ready to put in place.
  2. If you didn’t have your fish filleted, watch the video and follow my instructions. I didn’t demonstrate this but carefully pin bone the fillets. Run your hand along the flesh and you will feel a little line of bones popping up, grip them tightly with the pin bone tweezers and pull them out one at a time.
  3. Place a few lengths of cooking string on a large chopping board, then lay down some rashers of bacon right in the middle and scatter over some sprigs of thyme. Lay your ocean trout fillet, skin side down, right on top of the bacon. The bacon will protect the fish from getting burnt on the BBQ, keep the flesh moist and will become irresistibly crispy.
  4. Lightly dry fry (no oil) the almonds in a pan for a couple of minutes – watch them carefully as they don’t take long – then bash them up using a pestle and mortar. Try to get some powdery and some chunks. Put the almonds into a bowl and rip in the mint.
  5. Take the crusts off the bread and whiz it up in a food processor. Add the lemon zest, chopped garlic, artichoke hearts, and a good splash of olive oil to the bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix it up well then taste it and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  6. Sprinkle the mixture over your prepared fillet, really pack it on as it’s so delicious you won’t want to miss out on any. Carefully place the other fillet of the ocean trout on top, followed by bacon rashers and a few sprigs of thyme again. Now secure it all together with the cooking string – I do three loops of the string before completing the knot as it holds more secure. Trim off the excess and you are ready to go!
  7. Place in the middle of the preheated BBQ, closet the lid and cook. The bacon will go golden and crispy. Use a temperature probe at the thickest part and remove the fish when it reaches 60C.
  8. Season the yoghurt generously with salt and pepper and add a little lemon juice.
  9. When the fish is ready, cut the string and serve the fillets with a nice drizzle of yoghurt and a green salad. Give everyone a lemon half on their plate so they can squeeze the juice over their fish.

[Lookbook] Fashion guide – how to wear floral prints

In Sydney, Australia spring has truly sprung. Us Sydneysiders are blessed to live in a city which explodes with colour at the first signs of summer. From the majestic purple of jacaranda trees to our iconic yellow wattle blossoms we are roused from sleepy winter by an impressive display of colour.

This Lookbook is a celebration of spring flora that should serve as inspiration for your next outfit.

For floral prints, often less is more. If you have a killer print, let it speak for itself and don’t over accessorise. Lighter coloured shirts like the example above are great for a daytime affair like a  sophisticated lunch. The soft finish, stretch fabric of this Politix shirt keep it breathable and fresh in the daytime sun.

The shirt below really reminded me of Australia’s famous gumtrees with their rust fringed deep green leaves. I couldn’t resist snapping of photo of me blending in behind this little bush.

 

Following the less is more rule, keep your trousers simple, single solid tones like the blue to the left or add a bit of texture with a soft linen stripe as seen on the right.

When evening sets in you can opt for darker tones and more complex patterns. Throw on a well tailored jacket and accessories, lapel pin, pocket square, watch. Try to pick single colour from the pattern and match your accessories with that, either going for an adjacent tone or mix it up with a complimentary colour – know your colour theory!

 

Most importantly be confident and have some fun! Wearing a floral shirt is a statement about yourself, it tells the world that you are fun, carefree and probably a little cheeky. Own it!

[Hotel Review] 48 Hours in Dubai…well the FIVE Palm Jumeirah Hotel

Prior to this trip, I had been to Dubai probably 5 or 6 times, for a total of about 90 minutes each time, which means I’d been in Dubai for a grand total of around 9 hours. Those hours were mostly spent in the vast Dubai airport frantically shuffling my plane cramped legs to the next flight. Obviously, as a traveler, this was an unacceptable situation which I rectified on my way back from a Christmas trip to the Swiss Alps. I booked a two night stop over and went about researching hotels, food, bars, sights, and tours.

This article was initially going to be simply titled “48 Hours in Dubai” and it was going to be one of those typical “how to get around, eat here, see that” kind of guides. However, these plans were interrupted when I made the fortuitous mistake of booking the FIVE Palm Jumeirah Hotel. I’ll state up front that this isn’t a sponsored post, I just happen to have really enjoyed my stay at Five Palm Jumeirah.

I’ll start with the ethos of the hotel and origin of the name “FIVE” because it really does resonate throughout the hotel and explains why I was grounded there. This is best explained through this quote from their website:

“Our philosophy is based on the Five Elements; EarthWater, Fire, Air and Consciousness. These keep us grounded in everything we do as we reshape what it means to be hoteliers. We understand time is the ‘new’ luxury and at FIVE Palm this starts from the most basic service to the highest level of expectation. In this way, we hold ourselves accountable to provide a perfect luxury getaway for all our guests.”

Due to the grounding nature of these Five Elements, I’ll admit I hardly left the hotel, instead, I embraced Earth by indulging in a massage:

There was plenty of Water (and mojitos) to be enjoyed by way of the multiple pools:

Fire represented through sunset serenades cooly exhaled through shisha smoke:

The freedom of Air from the spacious rooftop lounges:

And I guess Consciousness through writing this article. It’s very refreshing to see that they give back to the community through supporting Project Udaan which aims to save children’s lives through preventing human trafficking.

A contributing factor to me not being able to leave the hotel was the sheer quantity of gorgeous restaurants and bars. My first food stop was at Praia Restaurant and Lounge, which features beachside Portuguese inspired cuisine with a Japanese twist that is well supported by a creative cocktail menu.

My masculinely pink cocktail was a Pomos Fizz – Gin, pomegranate, rose water, pistachio orgeat, lemon, it was unique without being over the top and was perfectly balanced. I, of course, clicked away some photos while I waited for my Pink Swordfish Tataki. The meaty texture of the swordfish was softened by some slight curing and was expertly paired with a little tropical salad, again it was well balanced so I can tell there is some experience in the kitchen.

Whilst exploring the hotel I noticed a special massage and 3-course lunch deal which I just couldn’t pass up. I quickly headed over to the spa and booked myself in. The spa was, of course, luxurious and the massage rooms were actually little separate huts which gave an indulgent sense of privacy.

The main event was of course lunch, I was supremely excited because it was at the authentic Italian Ristorante, Quattro Passi lead by Chef Antonio Mellino, holder of two Michelin stars! I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves:

The service, presentation and the food were of course immaculate. This theme was repeated throughout the hotel. Being a solo traveller, when dining or enjoying a beverage alone the staff would expertly sense whether or not I wanted to be left to my own devices (read: iPhone) or engage in conversation. The staff in the lobby were more than happy to discuss the sights of Dubai and give me tips on what to see; of course, I’m exaggerating about not leaving the hotel and did manage to do a little exploring. I had myself booked into a Middle Eastern Food Pilgrimage with Frying Pan Adventures, but it was canceled due to last minute illness of the tour guide, I promise I’ll go along next time Arva!

There was so much to do at FIVE Palm Jumeirah that I didn’t even make it to the fusion brasserie BLVD On One or sample the authentic Chinese cuisine at Maiden Shanghai. The rooms were, of course, lavish and spacious, generously adorned with gold and marble.

What lessons have I learnt from this trip to Dubai? Definitely not to just spend 90 minutes there on a stopover between flights. Also, to book an extra 48 hours to allow myself to fully enjoy the FIVE Palm Jumeirah and actually go exploring the other sights of Dubai. Total hours in Dubai so far: 57.