Detoxed

Day 2 went by without any major dramas. Ben was meeting up with a friend for dinner and I succumbed, couldn’t resist. But before you protest, it was not a disaster. We chose Japanese so that I could sip on miso soup whilst they gorge on sashimi and ramen. Miso soup was allowed if you were really hungry – I was indeed really hungry, not to mention cold. I did cheat a little though and ate some edamame. But they are super healthy, so I declared myself having passed Day 2 of the detox.

The final big day. I was again amazed to find myself jumping out of bed in the morning full of energy. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked into the mirror. Healthy glow? Rosy lips and cheeks? Shinier hair? Maybe I was still sleepy-eyed and couldn’t see properly, but this whole new glowing me kept up all day. Beyond happy. Although I was getting really sick of the juices. I’m going to dream of a big fatty bacon and egg sandwich, and no more lemons and celery for a … long while.

I don’t think I’ve ever gone without food for a day.

One person, three days, 18 bottles of juices. Doable? Absolutely doable.

But no food.

What? No food?

For a couple of minutes, I contemplated this, rolled the thought around in my head and decided that it’s no biggy. After all, it is only three days. If I can’t do this then where’s the self-discipline? Where’s the commitment?

So with full self-confidence, I entered this three-day juice detox.

Ben: you are going to cheat.

Day 1

7:15am: The alarm sounds, I jump out of bed and get ready for work.

7:50am: I make myself a warm lemon water drink to take in the car and drink on the way to work. They recommend this to kick-off your detox every morning.

8:20am: I arrive at work and finish my lemon water.

9am: The first juice of the day is apple, lemon, parsley, silver beet, cos lettuce, cucumber and celery. It looks too green to be tasty, but it’s surprisingly harmless. I give my usual morning coffee a miss and realised that I don’t really miss it that much.

10:30am: Morning tea in the kitchen. I drag myself over to be sociable, fully knowing that the temptation would be great. Hey, it’d be a test of self-discipline. To my dismay, the kitchen table was full of cakes, sausage rolls, chips, biscuits and lollies. I gulp down warm water like there’s no tomorrow and avoid eye-contact. I quickly make my excuses and leave the room. First temptation test passed.

11am: Second juice. Orange, acai berry, cucumber, pineapple, carrot and broccoli

I’m apprehensive about the broccoli but the juice tastes more sour and carrot-y than green, so I declared it passable. Nice, even. Colleagues joke that they have to set up a countdown for me for each juice I have and take a picture of my facial expression after the first sip. Ha ha.

12am: It’s lunch time. The body clock kicks in and I feel a little deprived. So I go for a walk to the shopping centre. Bad idea. I pass lots of cafes, pubs and restaurants along the way. Do not look, do not stop, I tell myself. Retail therapy is great, I even won $2 on a scratchy. I decided to pop into the supermarket for some ingredients to make wontons on the weekend and came out unscathed.

1:10pm: Juice number 3: carrot, mint, cucumber, cos lettuce, silver beet, celery, parsley. This tasted like vegetables. Not very nice at all. Surprisingly, I don’t feel hungry.

3pm: The beetroot, carrot, apple, lemon, spirulina and ginger juice is a-calling. It’s really tasty and kind of sweet. Provides the much-needed afternoon sugar kick. I still don’t feel hungry. What’s wrong with me?

5pm: The cleaner’s going to wonder why I have so many empty juice bottles in the bin. Home time.

5:30pm: Downing juice #5 (lemon juice, water, agave nectar and cayenne pepper) whilst making a lasagne. Ha, biggest mistake I know. I’m making it for the boy and the smell is intoxicating. I manage to get by with tasting a tiny strand of beef mince.

7pm: Dinner time. The super-delicious looking lasagne for Ben and the super-dodgy looking juice # 6 for me (coconut milk, vanilla bean, cinnamon, agave nectar, raw cashews). My juice is, surprisingly, one of the best tasting juices of the day. The raw cashews give me something to chew on, which I miss terribly. Ben goes for seconds, and some left-over chicken wings from last night. I swallow hard and look away.

Ben freaks out and offers me food. I try not to be cranky and lets him know that the more he talks about it the more I am going to cave in.

I don’t cave in, and silently pats myself on the back.

9pm: I’ve taken my shower and has a dull headache, apparently one of the side effects of detoxing. I think it’s nearly bedtime. But not before I watch another episode of Chuck and wait for my hair to dry. This was one of the hardest days of my life.

Two more days to go.

The importance of frugality

We began exploring the virtues of frugality yesterday. Today, the journey continues with….STICKY DATE PUDDING!

This has to be the easiest dessert to make, ever. It also has to be the most delicious and humble dessert, ever. Drizzle some [pour on heaps] butterscotch sauce, pop it in the microwave for 15 seconds and away you go. Soft, tender and warm, look at it swimming in the velvety sauce!

It may be cheap to make, but the sticky date pudding definitely does not skimp on the taste.

Sticky date pudding, take 1

Sticky date pudding, take 2

Being frugal

Nothing is certain but death and taxes. Add to that, bills. Lots of bills at the same time (funny how all good things come at once). Desperate times call for desperate measures, it’s time for some penny-pinching and belt-tightening. This is all for the greater good, so that I can heedlessly spend up on lavish shopping trips in Dubai and keep my savings at a respectable level for future contingencies.

So how does one embark on frugal living? Well, one can easily start with some thrifty dinner ideas such as a simple yet delicious pumpkin soup. We topped it off with some bacon and egg sandwich – not exactly the most frugal thing, but everything were already in the fridge/pantry.

It also helps when the boy eats everything and anything you make. Bless him and bless my (soon-to-have) Chanel.

Cooking the pumpkin soup

Awesomeness

The rest of Melbourne

It was a whirlwind weekend in Melbourne. We went to the Tim Burton exhibition. It kicked-ass! Tim Burton is clearly talented but probably has a wicked and somewhat distorted mind. No wonder some illustrations he did for children’s books never found a publisher, they were seriously twisted. It was very crowded though, and we had to go around twice to be able to see everything. No photos were allowed. Boo!

Entrance to the Tim Burton exhibition

Clear sky in Melbourne. Not for long.

Ben sporting his new transition lenses. Haha

End of Hosier Lane (where Movida is).

I also found a pair of very comfy TOMS shoes on sale and it was in my size.

The lightest and comfiest shoes ever! Perfect for wondering around all day.

The Press Club

It was a rainy Sunday. We headed down to George Calombaris’ restaurant at the edge of the Melbourne CBD. We were early because we had a plane to catch. Pushing open the heavy wooden door, I thought that the restaurant was already full judging by the commotion going on inside. But it was just the staff. Everyone was working with each other to get things ready for the lunch service. It was great teamwork made more fun to watch by the semi-open kitchen. All the things you see on TV are true – there were waitresses checking the alignment of the glasses and getting that last speck of invisible dust off a table. But of course, we only saw minor last-minute checks, all the preps were already done by the time we sat down.

Sunday is Kerasma lunch at The Press Club, meaning that you have a three-course chef’s selection consisting of  various plates of food to share. We were told of the proteins that comprise the lunch, but nothing else until things started to appear on the table. First things first, some fantastic bread with olive oil and volcanic rock salt, which they kept topping up without being asked. Fabulous.

The entree was a combination of an amuse bouche (duck consomme – didn’t take a picture, but you can sort of see it in the first picture to the left), a duck salad with beetroot, a little salad of salmon and kingfish(?) infused with ouzo and some pork meatballs with sliced green apple and pomegranate. The duck salad was really light and went well with the consomme (I love duck, but never had duck consomme before but it was surprisingly tasty). The ouzo-infused fish was a bit bland, but they were good as a starter. The meatball was tasty and the apple provided a refreshing contrast.

Duck salad (right) and sashimi-type salad (left)

Pork meatballs with green apple

For the main, we were first served some grilled swordfish with smashed potato and mushrooms. Simple yet delicious. This was the highlight of my meal. Then they brought us several plates loaded with food. There was chicken with pistachio and some sort of crispy concoction – this was quite nice, tasted like a BBQ chicken (excuse my unsophisticated pallate!). Risoni with lamb (beautifully cooked and delicious) and quinoa (a type of grain) served with Greek yogurt (surprisingly tasty). There were so much food that we had trouble finishing it all.

Swordfish with smashed potatoes and mushrooms.

Doesn't look great together, but they were delicious. Risoni and chicken (top left); swordfish (top right); quinoa (bottom)

I wasn’t too keen on dessert after all this food. The dessert was a panna cotta with raspberry jam and popcorn on the top. There were also some very sour but amazing orange jellies in a raspberry sugar dust.

The meal was very reasonably priced for what you get ($65 per person) and I didn’t even have dinner because I was seriously stuffed.

Panna cotta and orange jelly

Movida

I love the idea of tapa, sharing little morsels of delicious and delicately crafted food around the table is my idea of a great meal. Movida was featured on Masterchef and we were eager to try it out.

It took me a while to figure out which one is the right Movida. There are four of them to be exact, but the original tapa bar is at 1 Hosier Lane. The place was buzzing with people – well it was full to be exact. I’ll get to the point – the food was mind-blowing but the service was slow and luke-warm. But back to the food:

This is their special of the day – oyster with a potato foam and a sour dipping sauce (can’t remember exactly what it was). The oysters were plump and juicy and the accompaniments fabulous.

The famous Bomba featured on Masterchef. One word, yum.

The costilla con sorbrasada – roasted lamb cutlet encased in a pork and paprika pate. I couldn’t really taste the pork and the lamb was a little under seasoned and over-cooked. A little disappointed. But the paprika taste was there and I love paprika 😉

The viera – baked scallop with jamon and potato foam. Movida must have a chef that specialises in seafood. This one was also outstanding.

The anchoa – anchovy on crouton with smoked tomato sorbet. The anchovy didn’t taste too fishy. I could eat a dozen of this!

This was another one of their specials of the day – some sort of meat (lamb perhaps?) encased in squid with squid ink sauce. It looked a little weird sitting on the plate, but tasted good. Had to be careful with the squid ink though, it stains.

On to the desserts – this is tarta – sheep milk cheese cake with lemon sorbet. Yummiest cheesecake ever and a healthier kind too 🙂

Golden, crispy churros with drinking chocolate. The chocolate was not too sweet, just the way I like it. It was divine and I could easily have had another serving.