Saturday, September 20, 2014

Last Night's Defs-not-a-mistake Calorie Fest

A couple friends of mine had the brilliant idea of making Friday night dinner/time to show everyone how cool you can really be in the kitchen/catch ups, a reoccurring thing. In general we'll rotate who's house we'll have it at, and this week I got to pretend I was Nigella Lawson and get kooky cooky in the kitchen (DOES THIS COUNT AS A PUN??).

So we ate some things that I lovingly prepared with my own hands (tears and sweat included)*. I don't know if you remember the little dinner party I cooked for in Amsterdam, back in February, but I tried one of the recipes from that again. I made the Goats Cheese and Asparagus Galette, and for dessert, I made my own ice cream, flavoured with Italian ground coffee beans.

*Don't worry it's all OH&S approved

There was some troubleshooting and things I altered this time around for the galette. The last time I found the goats cheese I had used was slightly too strong and overpowered the dish, and I had also used three cheeses for the mixture, with mozzarella and parmesan added to the goats cheese. So this time around, I made sure to buy a softer, more mild goats cheese (a soft French chèvre) and decided to do a 2:1 ratio of chèvre to fetta instead.

As for the dough, I used wholemeal flour instead of white, which I feel resulted in just a little more crunch to the pastry. A mistake I also made last time, was taking out the galette slightly too early, it was cooked through just not as crunchy and flakey as I would have liked it. Often with an egg wash, you can feel as if the pastry is done before it actually is, so don't be afraid to really wait for that golden
brown colour.

And the ice cream... Well I might just keep that a secret for now and make a seperate post on it down the line. In a few words though: easy, variable and incredibly creamy and delicious. (No ice cream maker needed !)

New post soon,

Margot Ana xx

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Introducing: The Red Smoothie

So I'm back in Sydney, and back in my own home, which means back to the daily grind but also to routines and old favourites. Now, having my blender back at my full disposition, I thought it only appropriate to share a recipe that I created and make on the reg (you can be sure this has been tried and tested a few times).

I'm assuming that most of you have heard of the infamous green smoothie - some of you may love and support the idea and some of you may shudder at the thought of drinking liquid spinach and fruits (personally, I've been caught out making my own green smoothies but you know, to each their own). Well if you fall into the B category and like smoothies, fear not. Here is another healthy (vegetable free) alternative with its own set of mega-nutritious benefits (your foodie/health-freak/hipster friends will be proud).

Note: Recipe can be easily modified to be vegan.

The Recipe:
-1 handful of frozen mixed berries (makes your smoothie nice and cold without watering it down with ice cubes) - the ones I used were organic
of a pink grapefruit (a quarter is pictured, but I do recommend halving that quantity)
-2 tablespoons of dried goji berries 
-1 tablespoon of oats 
-1 tablespoon of honey (or more to taste) - to make vegan, you can replace this with agave nectar
-1 cup and a half of almond milk 

The Health Benefits Low-down:
Ok so let's start with the berries. I used a mix of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. Blueberries are such an amazing little fruit, they are rich in the kind of antioxidants that will help you with arthritis, age-related memory loss and various eyesight problems, including cataracts. Raspberries on the other hand contain more fibre and help lower cholesterol and even manage type 2 diabetes. They also have antioxidants such as vitamin C and anthocyanins (these are what give the berries their vibrant pigment) that can aid you in maintaining healthy skin and hair. Strawberries however can do all of the above as well as being a good source of folate and B vitamin (which reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease for example) - so maybe think twice before passing by these babies in the fruit and vegetable section at your supermarket, because they are a lot more powerful than they appear ! 

The pink grapefruit has slightly less mind-blowing health benefits like its berry buddies, but is a hefty source of vitamin C and is low GI as well as low in calories (approximately 40 calories in a medium grapefruit) - and it adds a nice tart citrus flavour to the smoothie. 

The goji berry is kind of like the wise elder in the bunch, used for thousands of years not just in a culinary sense but in medicine too. Branded a superfruit, many have claimed this berry to be rejuvenating, which is probably due to its powerful antioxidant properties and polysaccharides, which together help boost the immune system. This superfruit is also packed with vitamin C and fibre and high in iron, calcium and zinc. 

And finally, the delicious almond milk - which is naturally a little sweeter than other milk alternatives (great for smoothies !). I just buy plain almond milk (no vanilla flavour or anything), which happens to have less calories than light milk by about a third. Not only a source of calcium (and almost 99% percent fat free) it is also naturally free from lactose, gluten and cholesterol.

Now let's get into the smoothie:

First prepare your grapefruit by cutting it into an eighth and slicing away the skin - I just glide my knife right between the skin and the flesh of the grapefruit. Then cut it into smaller chunks so it blends slightly easier.

Next, load up your ingredients into the blender. There isn't really a particular order that you have to do this in, but I like putting my frozen fruit on the bottom so the blade blends through it nicely and putting my liquids in last. 

Blend for about 2 minutes (less if you have a smoothie setting, which I do, and/or a powerful professional tier blender) or until all your ingredients have been blended right through. Do not strain (you'll lose all those nutrients found in the seeds and micro bits of fruit left behind).

The recipe makes enough to fill about 2 smaller glasses or one big glass.

Enjoy and be sure to follow my blog or like my facebook page to be certain not to miss a post. 

xx Margot Ana

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Amsterdaminator *

*Margot Ana, coming up with cheesy post titles since '11

If you guys remember, I was in Amsterdam for the first time a few months back, I even wrote a blog post while I was there. This month I was back, for some June sunshine and some fast-paced daily cycling – done to a peppy upbeat playlist of course.

I met up with my dad while I was there, and my cousin Elise (you may remember her from such international trips as Marrakech and Florence) was celebrating a milestone birthday, so we invited her up to Amsterdam to celebrate. We rented in a really cool apartment right next to Amsterdam's Oosterpark via AirBnB and rented bikes in order to get the full DUTCH EXPERIENCE. With some super busy days lined up, we'd come home absolutely exhausted, so thankfully there was a hip beer garden around the corner which we retreated to for some unwinding with a fresh Dutch beer.

Top 3 highlights of our trip and recommendations:
- Cheese tasting by one of Amsterdam's most prestigious cheese companies (click here to learn more.)
- Mata Hari, a really cool bar in Amsterdam's red light district
- Vondelpark, Amsterdam's largest recreational park, amazing place to relax, play music, read a book or even do your weekly injection of fitness.

And then of course you have the Rijks Museum, the Anne Frank House and other usual museums and attractions.

(You can even do the UNSPEAKABLE and go to one of Amsterdam's many Coffeeshops...)

Till next time,
xx Margot Ana

Friday, May 30, 2014

Stuff I've Been Diggin' Recently #2

Since the last one got some hype (I look at my stats wow, I'm so scientific), I thought I might do a Summer edition of "Stuff I've Been I've Diggin' Recently". 

We've been enjoying a lot of Summer weather since it's coming to the end of Spring, so naturally, we've had to crack out the flip-flops and get out to enjoy the sunshine. Also scroll to the end of the post for some healthy Summer (or any time of the year really for my Australian buds) recipes that I've discovered ! I'm still reading the book I pictured in the last post, so unfortunately nothing new yet on the literature front, but a lot of fun new buys and old favourites. 


EOS lip balms: Bought these babies back in NYC and I've been obsessed with the green one pictured on the left.  It's honeydew scented/flavoured and works incredibly well. I was a little tired of my potted lip balm, because being out and about I didn't want to stick my finger into the pot every time I needed some lip balm and get sticky fingers (or really just transfer the germs into the pot). The bright coral one is yet to be used but I am so pleased with its green counterpart, I'm sure I'll love it too. 

Ralph Lauren flip-flops: I'm not really much of a flip-flop fan to be honest, usually because they aren't a shoe I really wear about (aside from by the beach/pool/lake etc.) and I really liked these because I thought they were the dressier cousin of the typical flip-flop... And also the natural leather/navy/white combo attracted me as soon as I walked into the store and I had a Ralph Lauren fangirl moment (if they even exist).

Sugarpova Gumballs: Praise needs to go to Maria Sharapova for these, they are bloody tasty. They have a strawberry/lemon flavour to them, very zesty and refreshing and also they are in the shape of tiny pink tennis balls so what is not to love ??

Polysianes Body Cream: Sun means hydration which means moisturise. This smells so good and also does what it's supposed to without leaving you feeling greasy and sticky. And it's less mainstream than the Body Shop so you can feel hipster at the same time. Win win ?

Vichy Self Tanner: So this looks like a small bottle, but it's mostly to correct your tan-lines-gone-wrong. And if you're not much of a sun-tanner, get a bigger tube and get some colour without the health risks ! (That's a real win.) This is also very moisturising and is good for just coming out of winter (Hi, I have vampire legs and tanned arms). I also bought their spray on sunscreen which is alcohol free and is non-greasy, I highly recommend !

Fun nail polish: For me, it really wouldn't be Summer without weird/cool/bright colours on my nails. Here's a little selection of colours I'm really loving right now: (left to right) Essie - 'The More the Merrier', OPI - 'I Eat Mainely Lobster', Essie - 'Meet Me at Sunset', KIKO - '389 Mint Milk'

The Recipes
Something for everyone this season.

For the vego:
Chopped kale salad w/ creamy almond-ginger dressing. Click here.

For the meat lover:
Steak sandwiches w/ shallot-thyme aioli. Click here.

For your sweet-tooth:
Click here.

For your inner-mixologist:
Click here.

*All photos and content are copyrighted to Margot Alais, with the exception of any linked material and its products. You are prohibited to use any original content and material, unless permission is obtained from the author herself. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Firenze, Florence, Call it What You Want !

After a beautiful trip to Florence (Seriously Margot can you maybe stop with all the travel posts – don't worry I have something different lined up for the weekend) I come back with a credit card that I will be putting away – and hoping it covers itself in dust and cobwebs – as well as a whole bunch of photos of the beautiful city.

*Also, a little side note, yes it's true, the food is wonderful and I put on the obligatory kilo (or two).

I would also like to give a shout out to the American girl and her friend who were seated next to my cousin and I at Moyo Bar in Florence, your conversation* was kind of too hilarious not to eavesdrop. So thanks for that dude ! (*A fascinating fusion of chatter on illicit substances, intercourse with her landlord and "really really" missing American coffee – okay seriously though, I draw the line, Italian coffee is magical, like what even is your deal ??)

xx Margot Ana

*All photos and content are copyrighted to Margot Alais. You are prohibited to use any of the above material unless permission is obtained from the author herself. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Montréal in Black & White

Observing passersby and the views Montréal has to offer. Sometimes things are just more beautiful in black and white. 

"When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. 
But when you photograph people in black and white, 
you photograph their souls." 
- Ted Grant

xx Margot Ana 

*All photos and content are copyrighted to Margot Alais. You are prohibited to use any of the above material unless permission is obtained from the author herself.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Where Frank Sinatra Seems the Most Appropriate

If any of you guys follow my instagram, or have seen my last post, you will know that my cousin Laura and I went to...


You will probably also know it's been over a week since I got back and... Haven't posted any photos.  Now the pictures I did take obviously don't document everything I did, mostly because the museums, galleries and shows I went to had rules and I wasn't allowed to photograph once inside the premises. However for the stuff my real camera missed, I have my sneaky instagram treasures...So check it out for more – if you haven't already ! 

So without further a do, please let the pictures speak for themselves. 

xx Margot Ana 

Central Park

Top of the Rock & Chrysler Building 

Greenwich Village 


Last rainy day in NYC...

*All photos and content are copyrighted to Margot Alais. You are prohibited to use any of the above material unless permission is obtained from the author herself.