Fancy a Fika?

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Friendly, Funky and Fresh. That is the three words I would use to describe my favourite Cafe in Manly: Fika Swedish Kitchen. Best known for nailing a good  coffee, Fika also nails a good feed. As a matter of fact, ‘fika’  translates to ‘taking a break for coffee and a bite to eat’ in Swedish and it does so perfectly. Hearty food,original menu options and a beautiful Scandinavian set up will leave you wanting to come back for more.

Friendly

Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset

This place has an incredibly friendly atmosphere. From the cheerful staff, the smiley, content customers to the inviting interior design (see photo above for cute ‘hej, hej’ sign at the counter), Fika has a perfect ambience to boost up your mood. The staff is attentive, well-informed and keen to answer any questions you may have regarding the sometimes atypical menu options.

Funky

Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset

One notable feature of this cafe is its set up. The Scandinavian styled interior design is characterised by minimalism, simplicity and functionality. I am a big fan of the wooden furniture, simple yet very charming table setting and the calming colour palet of blue, white and yellow. To polish it all off, Fika has great tunes playing in the background. Puts a smile on my face every time!

But what makes Fika so funky is its ability to mix lollie bags with jugs of cider (and doing so harmoniously). I mean, have a look at the menu online and try to find something that doesn’t appeal to you. That’s right, what’s so cool about Fika is that, sitting at the one table, you could have:

  • Your mate indulging in a greasy Scandinavian inspired hot dog with a Pistonhead Custom Lager beer.
  • His girlfriend, a bit hungover, who has chosen a lighter option consisting of the ‘Refuel’ cold pressed juice (banana, filtered water, coconut, kale, spinach, pineapple, mango, lime, kiwi) accompanied by the Knäckebröd crispbread with free range egg and Kalles caviar.
  • Your little sister who has gone for the Swedish Breakfast Tray (fralla, muesli and natural yoghurt, boiled egg and orange juice), a Belgium hot chocolate and a cinnamon roll on the side (yep, she’s hungry).
  • And you have chosen ‘The Champion’ (sauteed forest mushrooms with horseradish cream & free range poached egg on sourdough) because you rock. And you thought, why not, I’ll have the Bryggkaffe Swedish brew coffee as well.

Honestly though, I haven’t even covered one tenth of the menu here. The portions are generous and the food is busting with flavour. There are also many affordable options with $10 weekly lunch special being a hit.

Fresh

Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset

I first heard of Fika Swedish Kitchen because of its popularity for nailing a good coffee. Being a foodie, I was attentive to the food and was thrilled with the quality of the meal brought to my table. You can hear and smell the food being prepared. I had the sensation that my grandma had just baked the fresh cinnamon rolls for me. Awesome stuff.

Ps: if you check out Fika on a Sunday you may be lucky enough to fall upon one of the infamous nutorious muffins :)

Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset

 

 

Advertisements

Something To Get You Through Monday Morning

I’m on a bit of a roll with banana-based recipes at the moment. I just hate chucking away over-ripe bananas when they are so perfect for baking. So this time I created a breakfast banana muffin recipe inspired by my beautiful friend’s recipe, thanks Kelsey!

Makes approximately 8 small muffins.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 over-ripe mashed bananas
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1tsp cinnamon

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees and prepare your muffin tints with muffin holders.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut oil and honey. Add the eggs and whisk well.
  3. Add the mashed bananas and milk, followed by the banking soda, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Mix well.
  4. Add the flour and oats to the mixture and mix together using a large spoon (mix until combined). You can add extra ingredients here if you like such as chocolate chips or nuts.
  5. Fill your muffin holders about two-thirds of the way. Sprinkle a few oats on top.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean).
  7. Enjoy!!!

I loved serving these muffins with yogurt sprinkled with honey on the side. These are also great take-away snacks!

If you have any suggestions please feel free to shoot them to me!

Let’s talk about girls (and their issues with food). There, I said it.

R U OK? 

Today is ‘R U OK?’ Day. A day to remind us that a simple question can do a lot.

In this context, I have decided to write about a rather contentious topic. A topic which is difficult to put into words and even more difficult to discuss publicly. However, I have chosen to write a post about it because I think that it is something we need to talk about. Why? Because I am sick of witnessing so many women feeling so guilty for eating a piece of cake, when we have way bigger fish to fry. It may sound silly to some of you, so you don’t have to read on, but I do know a number of girls who have fallen into some degree of depression over this so, in my opinion, it is definitely worth addressing.

Firstly, although I am primarily targeting this post towards girls (simply because I feel that girls are the ones concerned by this more than boys), I am by no means excluding any gender.

The myths about the ‘superfood’ trend (or whatever you want to call it)

Right, so… Girls, let’s talk about food.

Far too many young women are uncomfortable and unhappy about the way they look. One of the biggest causes of this is the over ‘healthy’ trend which has begun to spread everywhere. Everyday we are bombarded with information about what we should or shouldn’t be doing. It seems that the obsession is ‘how to loose weight?’, ‘what’s the best work out to do?’, ‘what is the best detox to do?’ and the list goes on.

Sorry but that just makes me sick.

It’s so freaking stupid that we let ourselves get so carried away with it all. I’m sorry to break it to you but all of these so called ‘healthy’ brands and advocates for healthy/sports only really care about making money. Ok, maybe not all of them, but 99% of them maybe?

Yep, I fell for it too

What can I say… I will admit that I completely fell in this silly vicious cycle too. Thankfully, I stopped myself before it got out of hand as I realised what type of person I was becoming. I also catch myself occasionally falling back into that sort of frame of mind but I quickly move on to something else, something worth my time and worry.

Your guide to a healthy, balanced and happy self

The good news is I have some advice to give to all of you. And I would LOVE for you to get back to me if you have any questions or would like to share your story/advice/thought with me too!

The key is to: keep it simple!

Rule number 1: Don’t over think it

Do not over think what you eat. It is very important to eat heathy, however, there is a difference between being healthy and being ‘over’ healthy. Think back to when you were a child and did not understand the concept of how ice-cream could be bad for you. Eat what you want! Eat bread! Eat three proper meals a day and stop the snacking. When I go to France I witness people who love their food and eat lots. They just know when to stop and they don’t over think it.

Rule number 2: Don’t over do it

Don’t exercise like a maniac. Be active, yes, definitely. That is so important. But you don’t have to do something if you don’t want to. If running is not your thing then walk. Walking to work if a great start. Or doing yoga or joining a team sport maybe? Quit the gym if it makes you unhappy and puts you in a shit mood. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Rule number 3: Don’t follow it

Stop following those stupid Instagram accounts of women who spend their lives spray tanning and staring at themselves in the mirror. Or the accounts that only drink green tea and almonds for breakfast. Read a book instead, or catch up on the world news.

To sum it up

The less you think about it the better you will feel and the better you will look. I promise. If you need to chat to anyone please feel free to contact me.

For more information about R U OK? Day click here.

Need-Help-Now

Nutty over Nutorious

Let me introduce you to everything nutty and inbetween’: Nutorious (be careful, it’s addictive)…

Screen shot 2014-04-29 at 2.34.11 PM Screen shot 2014-04-29 at 2.34.25 PM

Screen shot 2014-04-29 at 2.34.42 PM

Screen shot 2014-04-29 at 2.35.39 PM

Less than a year ago, my friend Jim launched an Instagram account displaying his passion for delicious and healthy food. Not only is it rather unconventional for a 20 year old male to be so gifted and passionate about cooking, what’s even more amazing is the fact that Jim’s creative flair never ceases to flourish. Nutorious mixes flavours, scents and spices in a way that constantly leaves you wondering how his recipes only get better and better. Take for example Nutorious’ iconic muffins. A dozen muffins are sold every morning at one of Sydney’s best Cafes called The Penny Royale and every day a new flavour comes out which always leaves you mouth-watering.

I would describe Jim’s food as healthy and innovate cafe style cooking. His Instagram and Tumblr are full of fantastic ideas for recipes especially for breakfast and lunch. Nutorious also documents excellent food places around Sydney which provide lovely inspirations for Cafe lovers like me! I would definitely recommend you check it out.

Screen shot 2014-04-29 at 2.34.53 PM

Screen shot 2014-04-29 at 2.35.56 PM

 

 

 

 

 

Follow Nutorious on Instagram here

Follow Nutorious on Tumblr here


Screen shot 2014-04-29 at 2.35.13 PM
Screen shot 2014-04-29 at 2.33.48 PM

How to satisfy good food cravings in Cambodia and Laos

It has been less than a week since I’ve been back from my trip in South-East Asia. I cannot help to constantly reminisce on the amazing memories I have made along the way. As promised, here is a short guide to some of the best places to eat in Cambodia and Laos.

Cambodia
1) Sala Bai Hotel School
I CANNOT RECOMMEND THIS PLACE ENOUGH!!! I would definitely rate it 5/5 and would say it was the place I ate at during my whole trip :)
Not only does the food taste delicious, the dishes are innovative and presented in a creative manner. What is also attracting about this restaurant is the whole humanitarian project behind it. In a nutshell, Sala Bai is a Hotel and Restaurant School created by the French NGO Agir pour le Cambode which each year trains – free of charge – about 100 young disadvantaged Cambodians. So the Sala Bai school promotes the establishment and growth of the Cambodian vocational training system, the sustainable development of tourism, the reduction of poverty and the fight against human trafficking in Cambodia.
Given the nature of the restaurant (being a school), the menu is a ‘set menu’ which comprises of an entree, main and desert. The drinks menu has a wide selection of choices with yummy cocktails (and mocktails) to watch out for!
Here is an example of what you can be expected to be served:
– Deep-fried vermicelli with tofu and pork. A combination of traditional Khmer appetiser, flavoured with fresh coriander, shallots and Khmer dressing.
– Traditional Khmer chicken curry and yellow mango.
– Sweet chilled black sticky rice, fresh seasonal fruits and sweet milk.
The service is impeccable (clearly the students are well taught) and the atmosphere of the restaurant is charming as the place is stylishly decorated and has a relaxing yet sophisticated feel to it.
Here are some photos from my lunch:
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
Location: 155 Phoum Tapoul, Siem Reap.
For more information about Sala Bai and it’s ongoing project head to: http://www.salabai.com/html/
2) Friends
One of Phnom Penh’s best-loved restaurant and another good-cause dining place, this venue specialises in tasty tapas bites that are a must-try! I would recommend getting a few tapas and plates to share. The traditional Khmer curry called the ‘Amok’ is particularly delicious. Prices are rather low with tapas ranging from US $2-$5 and mains from $6.
Location: 215 st 13, Phnom Penh.
Below are photos of the restaurant (note: the photos are just taken from the internet as I did not bring my camera out with me when I went there!)
friends1 friends2
3) The Temple Club
Located in the famous ‘Pub Street’ of Siem Reap, if you don’t visit this place for lunch/dinner or by night for a drink or two, then you have to try one of its 3-hour cooking classes!
Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
I went to the Temple Club for dinner and I had the pleasure to watch a traditional dancing show as part of my meal for free! This place gets busy at night. It literally transforms itself from a rather family/touristy orientated restaurant to a very groovy, loud and busy dancing bar in the late hours of the evening. Great atmosphere!
The cooking classes there are really worth doing. My friend and I joined an afternoon class and we had such a great time. The classes are only US $10 which is also a bonus.
Below are photos from our cooking class (note that the quality of the dishes clearly give you a good idea of what you can expect to be served at the restaurant if you just went there for lunch or dinner!):
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
Location: Pub Street, Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Laos
I didn’t go to that many restaurants in Laos actually. I loved going to the markets and buying fresh local fruits and I also ate at some of the many street stalls. Just an advice though: if you are going to eat at the street markets be careful about what you are getting – I would recommend staying away from the meat and fish and sticking with simple rice, vegetables and stir fries! Banana chips are a yummy snack which are found everywhere in Laos and Cambodia!
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
In Luang Prabang you will find the best street markets (both in terms and food and shopping). I also recommend eating by the Mekong River at night. There are plenty of cheap yet really charming restaurants by the river which offer a wide variety of food on the menu catering for all tastes!
 laosfood6Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetlaosfood8
The one ‘Western’ cafe which I did fall for is called Joma. I have to admit that once in a while it does feel good to eat a fresh salad which you know is safe to eat as the vegetables have been cleaned in purified water (you can get very bad food poisoning if you eat raw food in Asia – I can talk from experience!). Joma amazingly provided for my western style cravings! I LOVED their ‘Taco salad’ and their sandwiches are great as take-away food which can be eaten on a day trip. For coffee and tea lovers this place will also be your new best friend. Good news is there are a few Joma cafes around in Asia!
Jomalaosfood3
Location: Chao Fa Ngum Rd, on the main road near the post office, Luang Prabang.
For more information about this cafe click here.
P.S: Click here to access a good lonely planet webpage with recommendations regarding dining for a good cause in Asia.

Yum – it’s brunch time!

To me the definition of brunch is a perfect combination of breakfast and lunch food on a plate incorporating sweet and savoury flavours harmonically. Well, the BayLeaf cafe in Byron Bay truly masters my kind of brunch!

My mum and I shared a beautiful brunch platter after yoga and I simply could not get enough. Have a look at the photos of our brunch and you’ll see what I mean.

P.s: BayLeaf makes amazing coffees as well (always a bonus).

20140114-091452.jpg

20140114-091539.jpg

For an urbanspoon review head to: BayLeaf review

Happy discovery of the day: Raw organic food bar in Byron

20140111-142609.jpg
Lucky enough to spend my holidays in Byron Bay, I have been enjoying the many encounters with healthy/green/organic food and juice places. Today I discovered the ‘perfect’ (well, in my opinion) cafe. This wonderful place is called ‘The Naked Treaties – rawganics living food, loving vibration’. Raw, organic, vegan, fair-trade, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free and handmade, this place portrays Byron in a nutshell! As a matter of fact, this food brand was hand created in Byron Bay ‘with blessings and love’. I am referring to it as a brand because any cafe can actually stock and sell some Naked Treaties products.

20140111-173156.jpg

As you walk past the cafe, it is simply hard to resist to have a quick wonder around. The laid back, colourful decoration is very inviting. Once you are in the shop it is even harder to walk out without trying something (if you are able to make a decision on what it is you would like to have as you may be overwhelmed by the range of choices!) Some of the things which may attract your senses include the raw chocolate bars, the fridge full of delicious looking food (including salads, muesli, fruit salads, etc) or, of course, the array of juices and smoothies available.

20140111-172710.jpg

20140111-172940.jpg

I decided to have the ‘I am compassionate’ green superfood thick shake which comprised of (Zesty Vanilla Lime Pudding) Lime, Avocado, Banana, Greens, Almond Milk and Cinnamon. The drink was delicious. Quite strong in cinnamon flavour which I particularly enjoyed. However, I did find it quite substantial and since I already had a green smoothie that morning I may have overdosed on bananas and rich smoothies which made me feel a bit too full!

20140111-144056.jpg

20140111-144605.jpg

I feel like I should have opted for the kale pizza instead which incorporated a safran and flax seed base with kale, tomatoes and olives topped with a yogurt and cashew dressing (YUM)! Mum bought the family some raw chocolates which were incredibly tasty. I had the ‘bounty’ one which was a pure coconut mixture covered with dark raw chocolate. Other flavours included cranberries, sneakers (caramel and almond) and praline with macadamia – DELICIOUS!

Here is a photo of my mum sitting down in an outside area of the cafe where her and I enjoyed relaxing while I drank my smoothie :)

20140111-142609.jpg