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Lifestyle

How to get your kids to eat more vegetables

5th September, 2018

Finding ways to get kids to eat vegetables is a constant challenge for most parents. I know it’s something that we have to deal with in our household on a daily basis, and finding new and creative ways to make vegetables appealing can become an impossible task at times. This is why I’ve enlisted the help of paediatric nutritionist and founder of Wholesome Child Mandy Sacher, who shared her great insights on kids nutrition on the blog a few weeks ago. Here she shares her tips on how to deal with a child who isn’t really big on vegetables, and how to make it a process that’s less stressful and more fun.

Create a “rainbow” plate

“Many children I see are repetitive vegetable eaters—meaning that they eat the same limited range each and every week. Whilst all vegetables are beneficial, the ultimate goal is to eat a diverse range of colours and groups to get the maximum benefit. We all eat with our eyes first, so it makes sense to engage your child visually when encouraging them to eat more variety. Encourage your little one to create their own rainbow plate, it’ll engage their imagination and will lead to a nibble or two!”

Include one new veggie a week—and lead by example

“There’s often a strong connection between children who eat the same vegetables each week and parents who do the same. Through parents expanding their own repertoire, children will have an opportunity to see and taste a variety—and watch their parents enjoying the broader range, too!  Try salad veggies, cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and brussels sprouts, and starchy vegetables like pumpkin or sweet potato.”

Don’t forget beans and legumes

“Beans and legumes are our most nutritious plant foods. Rich in proteins, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, fibre, minerals and phytochemicals. Hummus, lentil soup, bean stews and chickpea falafels are a fantastic way to introduce legumes to your child. Try kidney beans, navy beans, black beans, adzuki beans, chickpeas and lentils. For canned varieties, look for BPA-free cans wherever possible and rinse well beforehand to reduce sodium levels.”

Include sea vegetables

“Due to its high calcium content, seaweed strengthens bones and teeth. It’s also high in iron, has antimicrobial properties and is a good source of essential vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre which helps prevent constipation.

Nori, rich in vitamins A, B1, B2 and C as well as iodine also contains protein. Use it for sushi, shred it over salad or create veggie-filled seaweed wraps filled with julienned carrots, cucumber, shredded chicken (or protein of choice) and avocado. If your child likes the seaweed snack packs that are commonly found in supermarkets, seek out varieties that are free from additives such as MSG or added sugar.”

Remember to use fresh herbs and spices 

“Basil is packed with essential oils which are known to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Use in tomato-based pasta sauces, sprinkle on pizza and mix into rissoles. 

Mint soothes upset tummies and improves digestion. Chill mint tea with a dash of raw honey or add fresh mint leaves and orange slices to water and serve in place of juice. 

Oregano is often used to treat respiratory tract disorders, gastrointestinal disorders and urinary tract disorders.  Add to chicken, lamb or beef dishes. 

Parsley is rich in many vital vitamins and keeps the immune system strong, tones the bones and heals the nervous system.  It also helps to flush excess fluid from the body and support kidney function.  Add to smoothies, chicken soup and pasta sauces.

Spices – as well as adding flavour, spices such as turmeric, ginger and cinnamon are packed with nutrients too. Add turmeric and ginger to chicken soup, sprinkle turmeric on cauliflower and add cinnamon to pumpkin and butternut squash.”

Create a veggie patch

“Children love planting seeds, watching them grow, and eventually harvesting what they have planted. It’s the best way to help them make the association between earth to plate, and to engage their curiosity about different varieties of vegetables. If outdoor space is limited, start off with herbs such as basil or oregano, or better yet get involved with a community garden.”

Shop for and cook vegetables together

Encourage your children to touch, smell and engage with their food.  Let them help with grocery shopping and encourage them to pick up new vegetables from the shelves and place them in the trolley themselves – this begins the engagement with the new food.

Little ones tend to be more willing to eat what they’ve helped to prepare and it’s important for them to be exposed to vegetables in their raw state and to understand how the texture and look of a vegetable changes when it’s cooked. Get them involved by asking them to peel carrots and potatoes (using kid-friendly graters), cutting lettuce with a plastic knife or adding grated vegetables to muffin batter.

It’s important for parents to be patient and to recognise that change is often slow with children.  Don’t be disappointed if they don’t eat the new vegetable or food the first time it’s offered – stay positive and freeze what’s not eaten and offer it again – persistent repetition is key here.”

What are some creative ways you’ve used to encourage your kids to eat more vegetables?

Lifestyle

Luke Mangan’s top 10 tips to impress at your next dinner party

23rd April, 2018

With restaurants in Australia, Japan and Singapore and fresh from a $1.5 million renovation of his restaurant the Glass Brasserie in the Hilton in Sydney, Luke Mangan knows the key to a good dining experience. However if unlike the chef and restaurateur you don’t have a team of chefs helping you cook up a storm at home, never fear because Luke has shared his top 10 tips for a successful dinner party. After all if anyone would know how to feed a room full of people with ease it’s a man who is at the helm of restaurants that serve hundreds of diners in a single evening! The next time you’re having people at yours, be sure to keep these tips top of mind for a memorable, stress-free and best of all, enjoyable event.

1. Keep it seasonal

Always plan your menu and try to make it seasonal. There is nothing better than cooking with fresh seasonal produce – it’s also much more cost effective.

2. Simplicity is key

Try not to be too tricky with your menu, cook dishes you know and are comfortable with so you can spend as much time with your guests rather than being stuck in the kitchen, while everyone else is enjoying themselves.

3. Don’t be afraid to delegate

One tip to avoid last minute stress is to delegate. Don’t feel like you have to do everything just because you are hosting. Your friends won’t like to arrive empty handed anyway, so let them be part of the preparation. And don’t be afraid to assign people certain things, that way you wont end up with five plates of the same salad.

Need some table inspo? Take inspiration from the setting at Luke’s restaurant, glass brasserie

4. Create a welcoming vibe

Creating the right ambience is the easiest way to relax people. Candles are a must and soft lighting creates a warm and cosy environment, especially when entertaining in winter. Always have music playing but not too loud; it creates a lovely ambience in house.

5. Check guests’ food requirements

To save yourself the embarrassment, check any dietaries or dislikes ahead of time. Nothing worse than having guests not being able to eat your food – that’s what they’re there for right?

6. Intimate is best

Don’t feel like you need to invite everyone! Keep numbers intimate and minimal – nothing worse than signing yourself up for cooking for a group of 30 guests!

7. Make dessert ahead of time

Choose a dessert you can make ahead of time and keep in the fridge or freezer. By the time you get to dessert the last thing you feel like doing is getting back in the kitchen to finish off the last course!

8. Serve communal meals

I love to serve my dishes “family style”. By placing everything in the middle of the table your guests can help themselves to as little or as much as they like; it is a nice interaction at the table and creates conversation.

9. Keep it relaxed

Most importantly, keep it relaxed and fun; if you’re relaxed then your guests will be relaxed too.

10. Don’t forget the drinks!

And if all else fails, there’s always wine!

 

Date with Kate, Lifestyle

Date with Kate: Jamie Oliver

14th May, 2017

Lunch with Jamie Oliver. Pic: Fairfax Media.

Jamie Oliver is a celebrity chef, cookbook author and owner of the Jamie’s restaurant empire. His rise to fame began with his television show The Naked Chef and was followed by a cookbook that became a bestseller. He has strongly advocated healthy eating and cutting out junk food and in 2003 was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire. Oliver, 41, chatted to me about why he is back in Australia, his biggest hurdle and what excites him most about his food empire.

What are you visiting Australia for? 

I’ve basically come over to dot the i’s and cross the t’s on buying back my Australian business, which was a franchise and they went into receivership. There was nothing wrong with the JI [Jamie’s Italian] business but it got dragged down with the mother ship and it’s never happened to me before so it’s a bit of new one for me. But the good news is that we bought it back and I’m now 100 per cent owner of my [Australian JI] restaurants, instead of a partner of my restaurants.

What was your first reaction when you first heard Keystone was going into receivership? 

I was like OK, why? The business is really good, we are really busy, we get low grumbles, they are all profitable, so why? And then you just realise that you are part of a bigger picture and you can’t control it.

Was the plan to always buy Jamie’s Italian back?

Definitely for me, I’ve just never done it before and it’s not necessarily straightforward – other people wanted to buy it as well and that was challenging.

What are going to be the biggest changes to Jamie’s Italian restaurants? 

There is now no difference to the UK and Aussie business and that’s a first, because internationally we always go with a partner because they have local knowledge and always we learn from them as well. The Aussie operators that used to own this business were brilliant but we are where we are and I think we are in an ever better place than we were before.

What can we expect on the new menu? 

The JI menu is comfort food – we make pasta every day, we make our bread every day, we have got a long list of super-food salads, grills, steaks, pizza, antipasti. It’s not designed to be complicated or show off; it’s fun, dynamic comfort food for sure. But we try to be good value for money and be all over the welfare – farm visits and all of that stuff. They are busy, buzzy restaurants.

Do you have a favourite dish?

That’s a toughie, it’s like asking which one of your kids is your favourite! … I also like the menu to be predictable. Being predictable is almost underrated, everyone is always trying to be super f—ing cutting edge!

What motivates you to keep improving your culinary skills?

It’s a constant journey. I’ve just been in Puglia – I’ve been cooking with nonnas for the past 12 months on and off … it’s not about the recipe, it’s about the heart and the soul and what it means.

You have television shows, books, restaurants, the cookery schools and the endless merchandise. What excites you the most in the “Jamie” empire?

Back home at the ranch, it’s just a very creative, exciting thing to do … I cook every day, I’m writing most days, even designing a fry pan; it’s utterly exciting because it’s all to do with giving you a more [enjoyable] cooking experience. Everything that I do is energised by the ability to solve a solution, so I don’t see any difference between writing recipes, [creating] product … Ultimately, everything is about raising the bar. And for me, the concept of getting “non cooks” to have a go, it gets me really excited.

You’ve had a huge impact on British health food reformation. What are you most proud of? 

I think having a general contribution … just changing the conversation, changing the tone, just moving things on a bit, is what I’m most proud of. But if it was a single thing, probably the school dinner campaign in the UK. We were feeding them s–t 190 days of the year and there were no standards, so to be central to the government creating those standards in the first place is amazing.

What’s been the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome?

So many! I think just resistance to change, humans just f—ing hate change, they really do. I’m not that bright; if you look at what I’ve done in the last 20 years, none of it is clever, it’s all just really basic – don’t feed kids s–t everyday! It’s not revolutionary, it’s really f—ing basic! … It always amazes me how basic my challenges are.

You married your childhood sweetheart, Juliette Norton, in 2002. How did you know she was the one? 

I just did; I’ve been with her since I was 18 and I remember the first time I ever met her, I absolutely fell in love with her and I think she has been on the whole journey with me from The Naked Chef on. She has been a pillar of strength for me. I couldn’t haven’t have done what I’ve done without her and she has always kept home and the kids down, which allows me to be more dynamic outside … She is a very private person, she is not outgoing, she’s not in the public eye like I jump around. We don’t talk about work when I go home, never. You would know more about my work life than she does. So we just keep it normal and simple. And it seems to work.

How do you juggle it all?

I have every weekend off, we have our holidays down and that’s a good start, and then I have a handful of girls who look after my time really brilliantly, and then we get amongst it. It’s a busy family now – five kids!

What else will get up to while you are in Sydney?

Squeeze in some lovely breakfasts. There are an amazing amount of people from my area who live in Sydney; we normally get them all together on my annual visit.

BITE SIZE

WE WENT TO Jamie’s Italian, Pitt Street, Sydney CBD

WE ATE “Classic Meat Plank” fennel salami, artisan mortadella, prosciutto and Angus bresaola, with mini buffalo mozzarella, pecorino and chilli jam, pickles, olives and purple slaw

WE DRANK Vermentino, Margaret River

JAMIE WORE Private White jacket, Tiger jeans, Adidas sneakers

KATE WORE a Karen Walker dress.

 

Lifestyle

The staples of Italian cooking according to 10 William St’s head chef

18th January, 2017

I love Italian food. In fact, I love it so much it was the type of cuisine I served at my wedding. This is why I decided to chat to Enrico Tomelleri, the head chef at 10 William St, a cosy wine bar and restaurant in Sydney’s Paddington that serves up some tasty Italian fare. Here we chat about his philosophy to cooking, what ingredients he always has on hand and the one mistake people make when it comes to Italian cooking…

What was your aim when you took over as head chef at 10 William St?
The main aim has been accepting the challenge and having the chance to deliver food that I like to our customers. After a few years at 10 William St I got to know what they want and what they like.

Why do you think 10 William St has been so well received?
10 William St has been so well received because it is a fun little bar that serves good wine and honest food. You can spend a night there every week without getting over it. This simple formula is the reason why we have the chance to work with a lot of regular customers.

What has inspired the menu at 10 William St?
The menu is constantly changing and we get inspired by what is in season and what our suppliers are recommending at the time. Having a solid base of Italian food is a good start.  I like to collaborate with the rest of the team trying to find a fun and interesting way to create a dish by twisting some of the classic recipes that we know. That helps to keep us motivated.

The cosy interiors of 10 William St

What’s the key to great Italian cooking?
It could sound obvious but the key is to follow the seasonality of the ingredients. It is also a good ethic to follow and the right way to respect and to deal with your food and with your customers.

What are some common mistakes people make when it comes to cooking Italian cuisine?
The spelling of “Bolognese” sauce!

What’s your philosophy when it comes to cooking?
I try to use [the least amount of] ingredients as possible trying to exalt the main one. Also, at the moment, I focus on the sustainability of them.

10 William St head chef Enrico Tomelleri

What’s your favourite Italian dish to cook?
I like to cook any kind of risotto.

What’s one Italian dish you love to eat?
I guess a good pizza is probably unbeatable

What’s one dining trend you think has been done to death?
Burger perhaps… but there is always room for a good one.

For those who love cooking Italian food, what are some ingredients you must always have on hand at home?
Garlic, anchovies and a bottle of good olive oil (maybe some fish sauce..)

 

Lifestyle

My fave places for high tea

13th May, 2015
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High Tea at the Hotel Centennial

One of my favourite things to do with the girls is to have high tea, it’s such a nice way to spend an afternoon. I’ve managed to check out a few great high tea locations around Sydney from doing my Date with Kate interviews and I’ve started to develop a list of go-to spots. So in case you’ve got a high tea date coming up soon, here are my top spots to spend an afternoon drinking tea (or champagne if you’re indulging!) and enjoying sweet treats.

Luxurious: The Langham Sydney

The newly refurbished Langham Hotel hosts afternoon tea in its Palm Court area. I recently went here to do a Date with Kate with Gemma Ward and found it to be a really beautiful spot. The sweets were all amazing, but I especially loved the scones with cream and jam and their mini macarons. Everything was really delicate and pretty.

Great setting: The Hotel Centennial

I’ve always loved The Centennial as a lunch or dinner spot because the food is so great. I really love the venue so I was pleased to hear that they now also offer high tea. The Scarlett Lounge (as you can see below they even have a Scarlett Johansson portrait on display) is a really great setting and the food is delicious. Be sure to book at least 24 hours before to save yourself a spot.

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The perfect backdrop for high tea at the Centennial

Best view: The Park Hyatt

I did a Date with Kate with Catherine Martin here and I just think you can’t go past the view. Not only is the food great but a beautiful sunny day spent overlooking Sydney Harbour is really unbeatable.

On-the-go: Westfield Sydney Tea Salon

This is located right in the midst of the bustling Westfield Sydney however its cute white picket fence makes it feel slightly more secluded and is a great way to enjoy high tea in the middle of a busy day spent shopping. I went here to do a Date with Kate with Sophia Grace and Rosie and Sally Obermeder and had a great time.

Rustic and relaxed: Burnt Orange

Located in a beautiful house, with surrounding bushland and a great view of Middle Harbour, Burnt Orange is great on a winter’s day. It’s got a lovely rustic atmosphere and I think it’s a the perfect spot to while away an afternoon.

For chocaholics: Shangri-La Hotel Sydney

I did a Date with Kate with Naomi Watts here and really loved the location. And if you’re a chocaholic you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven. The Shangri-La now offer a high tea that includes three tiers of chocolate-y treats including everything from cakes, to macarons and brownies.

 

 

 

Lifestyle

My favourite breakfast spot

12th January, 2015

boathouse

We’re pretty spoilt in Sydney as far as places to eat go but I can’t go past sitting down for breakfast at Balmoral Beach. One of my absolute fave spots is The Boat House and I get my coffee there every morning. It’s a really beautiful place to sit and have breakfast and just enjoy the great view. If it’s a bit cooler or it’s not the best weather I  will head to the Bathers’ Pavilion just down the road. It’s a picturesque spot, not to mention the fact I just love food. I can’t go past the fruit platter, avocado on toast and scrambled eggs. Bon appetit!

What are your favourite breakfast spots?

Photography: goodfood

Lifestyle

My fave Sydney dinner spots

1st December, 2014
Chiswick in Woollohra

Chiswick in Woollahra

 

We’re definitely spoilt for choice in Sydney as far as dinner spots go but these restaurants hold a special place in my heart – and in my stomach!

Fratelli Paradiso, Potts Point

Italian cuisine is my favourite type of food. Fratelli Paradiso has really great service and I could eat everything on the menu! They also have a beautiful wine selection and the staff are just always super friendly.

Fei Jai, Potts Point

I love going to Fei Jai during lunchtime. They do a great yum cha. It’s not your traditional yum cha, it’s fine dining yum cha and it’s just delicious food. I love tasting all the different dishes and it’s really great for sharing.

China Doll, Woolloomooloo

I love Chinese food and China Doll is one of my fave spots. It’s a great place to go with friends plus you can’t beat eating by the water! Woolloomooloo is such a beautiful location.  I think it’s also a really great place to go if you’re dining out for an occasion.

Chiswick, Woollahra and Art Gallery of NSW

Chiswick has really delicious homestyle cooking.  It serves all your classic favourites such as roast lamb and roast chicken. It’s great for a relaxing Sunday lunch with friends.

What are your fave dinner spots?

Image: venue.net.au