My review of the Tefal OptiGrill

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Thanks to Bing Lee, I was given the opportunity to test and review the Tefal OptiGrill.

The OptiGrill is one of Tefal’s popular kitchen products.

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Product features:

It cooks 6 different types of meat plus vegetables to different cooking levels.

It automatically adjusts the cooking times for different types and thickness of meat.

The automatic cooking indicator changes colour and beeps to let you know where your cooking level is at.

It has both a manual function (for cooking vegetables) and a frozen function.

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Why I like it:

It comes with a recipe book full of delicious recipes that I have tried and was loved by the family.

It’s “hubby-friendly”.  Since I come home late from work, hubby easily uses the OptiGrill to cook dinner without any fuss.

I love how the cooking indicator changes colour depending on the doneness of your meat.  When it moves to the next level of cooking it will beep. You don’t even need to be in the kitchen while your dinner is cooking.

It’s slick looking.  It can be left out on the bench and it won’t ruin the look of your kitchen :)

Easy to clean.  I dislike using appliances that have 101 pieces that need to be taken apart and washed.  The plates on the grill can be taken off easily and placed in the dishwasher.

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I read reviews online of the grill and I’m not the only ones that love it.

One down side is that it’s too small for a large family.  I can comfortably use it for my family of 2 adults and 2 young children.  When I think of larger families, it may take longer to cook as the plates may be too small.  Meals will need to cooked in batches.

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I first tried cooking lamb chops.  It was recommended to chose boneless meat as the bone will prevent a uniform level for cooking on both sides of the meat.  Since we already had the lamb chops, we tried it anyway.  To me, the chops were cooked perfectly.  We also grilled slices of potatoes.  I used a recipe in the recipe book that came with the grill. You need to make sure you slice the potatoes the same width. The thinner potatoes were not cooking as fast.  I found myself keeping an eye on it and removing ones that were already done.  To me, that’s not too much of a big deal.

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Our next meal was burgers at my son, Thomas’ request. After placing the burgers on the grill, I simply selected the burger option and waited the cooking level indicator to turn to medium.  It was that simple.

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RRP: AUD$229.95

It can be purchased at Bing Lee for $199 (at the time of writing this post)

If you are looking for a grill that is convenient, healthy and easy to use, I suggest you purchase the Tefal OptiGrill.  I’m glad I’ve got one :)

Bon Apetite,

Cherrie

 

In need of comfort this winter: Vetta Pasta with a creamy sausage sauce

 

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It’s cold out.  And when it’s cold out, there’s nothing better than a home cooked meal shared with the family.  I like to eat slow cooked casseroles or ragu that has been simmering away all afternoon.  The problem with winter comfort food though, is that it slowly stacks on your weight without you knowing until it’s summer time. You try to put on your favourite pair of shorts or skirt and find that it no longer fits!

Vetta Pasta

I was introduced to Vetta Pasta’s new Smart Pasta range; one is High Protein Low Carb and the other is Cholesterol Lowering.  These two healthy options comes in different shapes so you can cook any pasta dish you want.

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I tried the High Protein Low Carb Penne and could not taste the difference over traditional pasta.  I have a Nigel Slater recipe that I like to cook for the the family but since I have the healthier pasta, I wanted to change the original recipe to a slighter healthier one too.  I also added a breadcrumb topping to add texture to the dish.  If you don’t use all of the topping, place in an air tight container for use next time.

 

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I have also tried the Cholesterol Lowering Spirals.  If you would like to try Vetta’s recipes for their new range, you can find them here.

 Ingredients:

  • 4 of your favourite pork sausages,taken out of the casing and crumbled
  • olive oil
  • 400g of Vetta Pasta high protein low card Penne
  • 200ml white wine
  • a small handful of chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tbs of whole grain mustard
  • 200ml light evaporated milk

Method:

  1. Put a large pan of water on boil for the pasta
  2. In a frying pan, add the olive oil.  When hot, add the crumbled sausages and fry till cooked through.
  3. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions
  4. Pour the wine into the frying pan and let it sizzle.  Scrape the bottom of the pan to get anything that got stuck.  Add the chopped basil.
  5. Add salt and the mustard.  Pour in the evaporated milk and bring slowly to a simmer.
  6. Cook for a further minute or two, making sure to stir now and then.
  7. When the pasta is cooked, drain the tip into the cream sausage sauce.  If too dry add some of  the pasta water.
  8. Serve with a garnish of basil leaves and top with breadcrumb mix. (recipe below)

 

Breadcrumb topping:

  • 1/2 cup of fresh breadcrumbs
  • I clove of garlic, crushed finely
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 tbs of chopped fresh herbs, any will do ( I used rosemary and parsley)

Breadcrumb mix method:

  1. Pour some olive oil into a frying pan then add the breadcrumbs. Toast a little.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and warm through.  Put aside.

 

Pasta and Ingredients were courtesy of Vetta Pasta and KeepLeft PR

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

 

Deanna’s Ice Cream Birthday Party with Harry

Deanna Ice cream birthday party

Do you know it’s International Ice cream month? No? well, you do now…

It just so happens July is also Deanna’s birthday month. What better way to celebrate than having an ice cream party. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of winter here in Melbourne, ice cream is always welcome with my family.

Deanna was lucky enough to create her very own flavour to celebrate. Harry’s ice cream asked us to create a flavour that they would make for us in their factory in Brunswick. After many discussions between Deanna and myself, we came up with…

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Cotton Candy ice cream with marshmallow pieces and strawberry swirl. It definitely is a fun flavour with a touch of a princess :)

Along with the Cotton candy ice cream, we were also sent Pavlova and sticky date flavoured ice creams. O.M.G. that sticky date! I had various toppings that our guests were able to add.

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We had our family over to help celebrate and had lots of fun doing it.

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Thanks to Harry’s Ice cream, we were able to have our creation made up in a couple of weeks. It usually takes 6 months of research to develop their perfect flavours before it hits the freezer shelves of Woolworths supermarkets. You can see Harry’s full range here or you can also see my recipe of Leche Flan Ice cream using Harry’s base ice cream recipe here.

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Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

Lots of Pizza eating during the Melbourne Pizza Festival 2013

As I mentioned in my previous post, the Melbourne Pizza Festival is on right now.  For more information, read about it here.

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I was fortunate enough to have been invited to attend a couple of events.  I was also honoured to have met the Pizza Festival Director, Matteo Rubbettino.  Matteo created this festival because he wanted Australians to experience the variations of pizzas from different regions and to showcase the pizza makers that create their pizzas with passion and skill.

I attended my first event at Feldman’s in Fitzroy where Chef Andrea Caroli, works his magic on creating delectable pizzas.  Along with Jason Pitt looking after us, my pizza experience at Feldman’s was a memorable one.

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Hubby and I enjoyed 2 pizza’s  at Feldman’s.  One was the Bocconcini,  gorgonzola, semi dried figs, prosciutto.  This pizza is one of their more popular ones.  The sweetness of the figs counteracts the saltiness of the prosciutto and gorgonzola.  It was fantastic.

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Also tried the Tomato, fior di latte, italian sausage, mushroom, smoked scarmoza.  I’ve never had fior di latte (mozzarella made from cow) or scarmoza cheese before, so I had to try this one.  It, too was tasty.  I’m glad we made the right choices.

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Our second Pizza festival event was at Za-Za’s in Richmond.  Za-Za’s is a trattoria in true casalinga style: warm and welcoming, expressive and passionate, with plentiful food and excellent coffee.  The service is friendly and personal.  Morena Miceli likes to make sure her customers are well fed and happy when they leave.  This time hubby and I decided to take the kiddies along as they too, love pizza and we knew they would enjoy the true taste of pizza served at Za-Za’s.  And, of course, they did.

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We tried The Bufalina Pizza, which  has Italian tomato salsa, local buffalo mozzarella by Giorgio Linguanti of That’s Amore Cheese, basil & E.V.O Oil  It was light and fresh.  There was plenty of sauce and cheese.

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We also tried the Pucinella Pizza, which was amazing.  It is half Margherita & half Calzone filled with leg ham &  Fior di Latte.  The ham in the calzone was amazing and full of flavour.

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I’m glad we attended events of the Pizza Festival.  It gave us the opportunity to try authentic pizzas at amazing restaurants.

If you want to attend events, you still have time.  The festival will come to a close this Sunday 30th June 2013 where a closing event will be held.  You can purchase tickets to attend.  It’s $25 for all-you-can-eat pizza.  Now that’s a deal!  Check out their website here to find out how to get your hands on these tickets.

I attended the 2 events courtesy of Kathryn from Keepleft PR and Matteo of Pizza Festival.

Buon Appetito,

Cherrie

Eco Burger from Lord of the Fries

All Melbournians have heard of Lord of the fries. And all have an opinion of them. Like it them or not, they have become a Melbourne icon. Lord of the Fries are a Melbourne based chain that pride themselves on providing fast food made with locally sourced ingredients. All of the menu is vegetarian and there are also, gluten free, vegan, halal and kosher options.

I was invited to try their new burger called the Eco burger. It is the classic 100% vegetarian faux meat LOTF pattie with Beetroot Darwin sauce and Mozerella cheese. To be honest, I've never been one to go out of my way to eat a vegetarian burger but I found this burger really tasty and worthy of the drive to their Chapel street store. As a meat lover, there's no fooling me that the patty is not meat but none the less, it was perfect as a vegetarian option. So a vegetarian or not, I think people need to try out this new burger because it's that good.

Of course, no trip to Lord of the fries is complete without an order of their chips. We ordered the Large box ($6.95) with the African sauce (extra $2) which is their Belgian mayo plus ketchup plus onions. Super tasty and they were very crispy.

I tried the new Eco burgers courtesy of Keep Left PR Agency and Lord of the Fries.

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

 

Bendigo Street Milk Bar, Richmond

When I hear the word “milk bar”, it congers up images of a small corner store filled with the essential grocery items and display windows filled with lollies and candy. As a child I would buy a 20cent bag of mixed lollies and it would last me all day. But this milk bar is different.

I was happy to hear that the Bendigo street milk bar was still alive and operating. Many years ago, my mum and auntie used to work a couple of streets down and used to frequent it for lunch. During school holidays, my brother used to work with my mum for a few weeks. My auntie will call their lunch orders ahead and would send my brother down to pick it up. He has fond memories of his regular egg and bacon rolls :)

I had the opportunity to head down with my Little Man for brunch. I was met with friendly staff who were more than happy to help me with the menu.

I started off with a latte and my Little man had a babycino complete with marshmallows.

Since the Little man already had breakfast, he really wanted the brownie that was on display. It was dense and fudgy. So good.

I had the warm breakfast salad. It had salad leaves, bacon, tomatoes, shaved Parmesan, avocado and a poached egg with a lemon and olive oil dressing. It was tasty, fresh and something I can eat over and over again.

They have an outside courtyard, which is accessible through a small hall way to the back door of the cafe. A family were happily eating and chatting away.

I will definitely like to return and try their lunch menu. Their display case of different sandwiches and their specials board menu sounded amazing. The staff were super friendly and the place felt comfortable where you can just sit and have a cup of coffee as the world skipped by.

The Little man and I enjoyed our complimentary meal courtesy of 360 Immerse Agency and Bendigo Street Milk Bar.

Bendigo Street Milk Bar on Urbanspoon

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

 

Endeavour beer 2012 Growers Ale. A Review.

I have to admit, I am not a big beer drinker but when I was offered to try this new craft beer, how can I say no?

Endeavour beer is the baby of 3 blokes who love beer and are all about creating beers from the ground up, using the freshest barley and hops. They have recently released their 2012 Growers Ale. It's a craft beer made in Australia made for the Australian summer. It's made with all Australian Galaxy and Southern Saaz hops making it 100% Aussie.

It is perfect for a summer's day. I found it refreshing, smooth and light. As a person that doesn't drink too much beer, this went down really well on a warm Summer's evening and found myself reaching into the fridge for another.

I also wanted to try it with a meal. Hubby suggested an Asian inspired meal so I made fried rice and stir fried beef and vegetables. The beer complimented the flavours of dinner and helped freshen and lighten the meal a little.

So if you're looking for something light and refreshing to quench your thirst or a drink to go down well with your dinner, I think this Endeavour beer Growers ale is perfect for you. I know I will keep a 6 pack in my fridge.

I recieved product samples courtesy of Trish Nicol Agency and Endeavour beer

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie