Mambo Italiano

Sooooo I know lately I’ve blogged more about food than fitness but let’s face it, you need food to fuel your fitness AND food is life !

I love watching any good cooking show and I’m a self confessed addict of the foodnetwork which is a great channel and website supporting all things good food.

It stars celebrity chefs, all sorts of great cooking shows professional and amateur and a whole lot more great content related to awesome food and cooking.

So I settled on the couch last Saturday to watch Ballerina Bertinelli. She is an awesome home gourmet Wizz with an Italian background and the particular episode I caught was called “honey do day”. It was basically an episode featuring her making some amazing and easy enough recipes to bribe her hubby to get stuck into the chores that needed to get done around the house.

Her list wasn’t short but the food she cooked in the episode was amazing. In particular one dish I couldn’t get outa my mind and I was glued to the screen as she made it. 

It was Prosciutto Bruschetta …. I HAD to make it. I HAD to eat it and I wanted it NOW!
That day after my BodyAttack class I was still dreaming about this awesome snack so I grabbed a loaf of crusty bread with a nice soft flesh, some Prosciutto, I big chunk of mozerella, fresh basil and I know I always have olive oil and garlic at home. 
I did the rest of my groceries and headed home to make myself a little piece of Italy!

I cut the bread into slices just under an inch thick, layed them on a baking paper lined tray, drizzled them with olive oil and placed them in my pre-heated oven at 200 c.

After about five minutes then flipped them, drizzled more olive oil on the other side and popped them back for about another three minutes. 

While this was happening I cut my mozerella into generous slices but not too thick. I also cut my fresh basil into ribbons. 

When I pulled the bread out after doing the second side it had a perfect crust protecting the soft dough in the centre and I cut a clove of garlic in half then rubbed it over one side of each slice. 
An awesome smell of warm olive oil and fresh garlic filled my nose and I was in heaven!!!

I then placed a layer of mozerella on each slice of bread and piled some Prosciutto on top. I made sure to be generous with the Prosciutto as this was brunch and I hadn’t eaten since my attack class.

This went back in the oven for around ten to twelve minutes. I kept a close eye on it so it came out perfectly baked with the mozerella creamy and melty and the Prosciutto just the right combination of crispy and soft and chewy.

When done perfectly I showered it with the ribbons of basil and it was good to go … YUMMM

MATE !!!! IT WAS SIMPLY HEAVEN!! I imagined myself sitting at some fancy Al fresco cafe in Italy with the sound of the fountains in the distance and hot Italians walking by. 

My own little piece of Italy and it was HEAVEN !

You can check the detailed recipe on the foodnetwork. I usually make everything bigger and generally double the ingredients. 

If you wanna get a little bit gourmet and you’re looking for a simple place to start give this a try!

I give this recipe a four outta five cos it’s so simple and oh so delicioso !!!

4/5 ****/*


Masters of Marrakesh 

Saturday night I had the pleasure of travelling to another country through food. I know it sounds cliche but the flavours and dishes I enjoyed made me feel as though I was eating in Dubai or some other exotic middle eastern country.

I was excited by my good friend to attend her birthday dinner. She was turning thirty and had toyed with the idea of going to another restaurant who failed to get back to her husband, the organiser for more than two weeks. He called, he emailed and he tried on a number of occasions but the restaurant made no effort to reply at all. Quite apaulling really considering they are in “hospitality”.

So with a lack of response from the original desired venuw, my friend and her husband threw their hands in the air and said “stuff it, we’ll go here”. “Here” is an awakening of the senses through middle eastern food at a stylish well themed venue in the Valley known as Mecca Bah. Little did we know this would turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

As I walked in the ambience was great. I sat at one of two long tables that had been reserved for the eighteen gusets including myself and positioned myself second from the end of one of these tables. I was sat with my back to the centrally located bar which was a 360 degree architectural feature that looked amazing.  

Across from me was my friend her husband and both of their respective mums who I made a point of saying hello to properly out of respect and because they’re both lovely ladies. All those sat across from me had a wall behind them and we’re sat on bench seating. Covering the wall from behind the bench seating back rest all the way up to the ceiling was a cleverly decorative copper tone mirror tiling that not only looked great but added to the theme and put in in prime position to observe absolutely everything that unfolded during the night.
In particular one for the bar staff caught my eye as he was a fast worker, professional and very handsome. He seemed to call the shots for the other two beverage attendants who arrived for their shift shortly after I sat down. 

I watched him most of the night as he almost danced from one drinks order to another and choreographed the other two staff tasked with filling orders for drinks. But this blog is not about handsome young hospitality workers who know their way around a bar, it’s about the food.

Oh my goodness the food. We all had a couple of drinks and then there was a back and forth on what food would be ordered. The table I sat at had decided to go with the banquet. Being indecisive it was an easy option for me so I joined the decision. 

The banquet started to arrive with the starters first. Sweet potato falafel on tahini sauce, kataifi pastry baked with a middle eastern cheese filling and mini boureks of spicy lamb and pine nuts. All three were amazing and perfectly prepared. The venue was confident without being aroogant and as part of the decor they had large screens running short films of the prep for the food. All three starters were featured on the screens and looked so stunning that I was sure I would in some way be disappointed when the actual food arrived, however I was not. It was just as well presented as what we had been watching on the screens and the perfect blend of spices, fragrance and high quality ingredients slowly took all of us to a far off land. With each bite taken around the table eyes grew wider and smiles crept on faces. My personal favourite would have to be the sweet potato falafel with tahini sauce. The outside perfectly crispy, the inside perfect texture just short of being dry and that tahini sauce which from what I could tell was blended through a yoghurt base were Devine. 

Unfortunately I failed to grab any pics of our starters. They were just too delicious and we ate them too quickly. 

A few more drinks and some funny stories later our mains started flowing to the table. 

The chicken kebab on tabouleh and spiced rice with yoghurt sauce looked amazing. I didn’t get to try this dish as it was very popular and other diners ate it up real quick. I didn’t mind as I was saving myself for what I knew was coming. Those at the table who did eat this dish said it was as delicious as it looked and cooked to perfection, I heard one of our group describe how well the yoghurt complimented the dish.

Next to hit the table…

Moroccan spiced clamari with bean salad. I could very happily have eaten a full meal of just this. Cooked to absolute perfection, it was as though some god had drifted down and whispered the combination of spices to use on calamari right into the chef’s ear as he prepared this dish I was honestly in awe of its perfection and pretty sure I ate more than my share (sshhhh don’t tell the others hehehe)…

Followed very closely by the first of two awesome pizzas…

Harissa spiced tomato, haloumi, eggplant and parsley perfectly finished with just the right amount of oil drizzled on top. The haloumi had just the right amount of bite or kick to it as it had been kissed with chilli and married like it was born to be with eggplant. Yuuummmmmmaaahhhh my mouth is watering right now as I write this …

The second pizza arrived shortly after…

This parcel of perfectly baked pizza dough with a filling of spitroasted lamb, just the right amount of creamy yoghurt on top and seasoned with sumac then topped with rocket …  No words. I literally had no words. As I let the awesome flavour and textures overwhelm me with happiness I had nothing to say because it was so delicious. I looked across the table and my friend who was celebrating her birthday and I could see the experience had the same effect on her. We were both in foodie heaven….

These were all accompanied by the jewel in the crown….

A salad of fresh roasted beetroot cooked Al dente, dressed with an flavour packed spiced oil and tossed through rocket and baby radish. Broken up ever so slightly with a tease of fresh chopped onion. It was as awesome as the rest of the meal and perfect for breaking up the heavier dishes around the table…

So there were no belly dancers that night but I can promise you all of our bellies were dancing with joy at the amazing food we had enjoyed. 

Mecca bah knows how to rock the Moroccan spiced and everything that comes along with it. Highly reccomended you check it out. 
4/5 ****/*

Expanding your comfort zone

Ok, so recently I have had a bit of a struggle getting back to a level of fitness I’m happy with. Part of this is down to a love of beer, part of it is a need for me to reconnect with my ‘why’ and recently I realised a big part of it is due to doing the same thing all the time.

When I realised this I made a commitment to myself to start trying different things in the gym and out of the gym that are still working towards getting fitter. I wanted to focus on trying things I haven’t tried before and set a goal of trying just one thing that’s new to me every week. 

You can imagine how lucky I felt when shortly after this I saw notifications for a free Olympic Weight Lifting Workshop with Crux training that was being hosted at my local Fitness First, Fitness First Toowong by a PT I trained with for a few months last year. So I jumped at it. Entered my name on the list and sacrificed one of my weekly BodyAttack classes to try something new on Saturday 25th of March. 

Anyone who knows me knows my love of BodyAttack and missing a class (even though it’s only one) is a big deal. The day crept closer and I had a couple of moments where I thought “maybe I should just go to Attack”. But I stuck to my commitment and rocked up to the workshop a little before 9:45am. I’m pretty confident in general so wasn’t really nervous about introducing myself and registering, then I found a spot on the floor and started with some foam rolling(I suffer from tight calves).

A well mannered gentlemen foam rolling to my right introduced himself to me and I rightly assumed he was as new to Olympic Lifting as me. The number of participants grew steadily leading up to 10 am when it was due to start. There was a great mix of really fit looking guys and girls, right down to people just starting on there fitness journey.

Me personally. I’ve been amazingly fit and in awesome physical shape but now would probably rate myself around a 3 or 4 outa 10 in fitness and keen to see improvements or better yet get back to my peak fitter.

So the host who was as I mentioned previously a PT I had trained with last year and all round strength and fitness enthusiast called us all to gather around him and did his introductions to the session. He didn’t ramble on and on just more of a welcome and this is to help you guys learn technique for Olympic lifting. 

Then he had all participants find enough space, by my count there were 25 of is so we stood in a fairly organised grid and he had us do a couple of body weight squats as he walk around and assigned us each a number. 

By this stage I’d already relaxed into the session and was focused on getting my movements right. So he moved through us assigning a 1, 2, 3 or 4 to each of us. Initially I thought it was to manage us properly and ensure we all got the required coaching and in a way I guess it was but I quickly realised he had also been assessing our movement and mobility so we were grouped with others who moved similarly and displayed the same level of mobility. 

We all lined up under his direction he started moving us through the session. He had some well seasoned helpers to make sure everyone got the attention and follow up coaching needed to help Prefect the technique. I felt so comfortable and all who helped in coaching me in my technique as well as everyone else who attended were absolutely great. 

Now I’ll admit I thought I wasn’t going to get a decent workout from the session but I was so wrong. It lasted 2 hours and I was sweating and feeling the burn from about 20-30 minutes in. They broke the movement down into 4 movements and guided us through progressively not moving on until everyone had each movement down pat. 

It was awesome with great peer support and fantastic guidance and everyone was really respectful of each other – plus I walked away having nailed the basics. I really really affirmed my decision to try something new each week and will continue to do so.

I can see how the professionals get hooked on the technique. Theres a lot to think about and while it’s fairly fast from start position to end, every single lift is like a journey and you really get to know your own body.

If you’re in the Toowong area, and a member of Fitness First I strongly reccommend you hit up Tony or one of his crew at Crux Training for tips and guidance with Olympic lifting or any other personal training enquiries. They also offer remedial massage and further information can be found at their website.

Also Tony if you read this thanks for being an awesome role model and a great inspiration. 

The amazing Mr Edwards 

Hey y’all. Been a while since my last post but here I am. Never fear I promise they’re gonna start coming quicker and more regularly (there’s a joke in there somewhere but I’ll keep it clean)

So hey you remember that tv show years ago about a horse and it was called the amazing Mr Ed ?! Yeah will this blog has nothing to do with him at all hehehe.

It’s about an awesome place on Brisbane to grab dinner when you wanna impress someone and not spend too much. I recently had the pleasure of eating at Mr. Edwards. Located on the corner of Edward and Margaret St in Brisbane CBD.

It was a team dinner generously paid for by the company I work for and as soon as we walked through the door we were greeted by Julia who was to be our server for the evening. The lay out was great, with the space cleverly maximised. The theme was well done, remeniscant of an old English ale house with real leather high backed chairs for some of the tables for two and beautiful wood used for all the tables.  The lighting was set very well, not too bright and not too dark.

The menu is amazing with individual beer and wine selections appearing in their own respective menu. The beer list boasted an amazing selection including a great range of rare and popular IPAs, a few of these numbers were my choice of beverage for the evening. 

The food featured on the menu was very classy without a crazy price tag and seemed to provide something for any discerning diner. The ‘special’ for the night was 3 courses for $25 and was amazing value. If select you had the choice of starter, main and a desert from a set special menu.  My friend opted for this and here is a peak at the starter she selcted…

Her main course looked amazing as well and she assured me the taste matched it’s appearance, I didn’t get a shot of it as I was aware I’d started to look like one of those crazy people that has to photograph every bit of food they see (I’m slowly getting there). 

While I was tempted by the 3 course option, looking at the menu I simply could not go past the beef cheek. Slow cooked for 14 hours, I knew it would be amazing and melt in my mouth or I would never come back to this fine looking establishment so I ordered the beef cheek. Before getting stuck into that, our lovely boss had selected some sides for the table including duckfat potatoes, and thick cut chips coated with Parmesan…

The chips were to die for and I had to force my self to stop eating them or I would have struggled to find room for my cheeky number I chose for a main. A short wait and about half way into my second beer the lovely smiley Julia started to deploy our mains. All dishes were presented beautifully and by all account tasted amazing. 

Looking around the table at the mains others had ordered, I hands down believe I chose very wisely. 

The meat absolutely melted in my mouth, it was seasoned to perfection with a beefy flavour that would be hard to beat even with a good old rump steak. 

I make no apology for featuring 3 pics of this amazing dish as it deserves nothing less! Served with perctly mashed potato and a sauce that could only have come from heaven…

This dish was amazing and took the concept of comfort food to a whole other level. Every single element of the dish complemented the next like a well choreographed dance of flavour. 

You Mr. Edwards have outdone yourself. Strongly reccommended for any romantic meals or special celebration.  

4/5 ****/*

Putting your best foot forward

I am crazy about fitness and getting a really great work out at an absolute minimum of three times per week.

I am at my happiest when I train six days a week and depending on what is happening with work and home life I manage between four and six work outs per week (admittedly recently it has been four more often than not).

Training keeps my sane, it is the only space in my life currently where I am fully in control and makes me feel empowered and in control.  My first blog spoke to the power BodyAttack and my passion for the program.

BodyAttack can be quite an intense work out and requires a lot of athletic movement.  Every time I step into a studio to do an Attack class I feel like a warrior going into battle and all good warriors make sure they are armed with the right equipment to win.  The most important equipment used in the Attack world are our shoes.  I have always been a Nike boy through and through, I have tried changing it up once or twice moving to some high profile brand competitors over my years but always end up back with what I know best, what makes me comfortable – NIKE.

My current Attack shoes are reaching the end of their life so I went out at the weekend and treated my feet to a new pair of Nike Pegasus Zoom 33’s these babies are the bomb.

I tried on about 12 pairs of other Nikes and when I shop for a new pair I am always sure to run, jump, lunge and move around in the store whike I have both shoes on.  After all how else are you expected to know how they’re gonna feel?!

So there I was flying round the store in the shoes I tried on and the support they gave was great, they really support proper stepping in plyometric movement plus when I landed any jumps, straight or lateral they really softened the impact. All in all impressed

I’ll let you know how they go when I break em in at the weekend.

#getfitordietrying #attackforlife

Hash tag – Burgers are life 

So everyone who has a soul loves a really great burger. For a while there it looked like burgers were dead and all we could get was mass produced cardboard posing as a burger. Yes I mean HJs and Macca’s. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I fully appreciate the healing properties of some of these ‘posing as a burger’ options when hung over. I craaaave with a capital ‘C’ the good ol’ Zinger with double bacon and cheese from KFC when hung over. 

However, as a true burger lover it is nothing short of heavenly when you find that ‘burger place’ that fills the hole in your sole. When I grabbed a burger after my Attack class one Saturday at the same shopping centre my gym was in, I went there! Yes, THERE! Actually went to heaven with the burger I ordered at the Burger Co. in Indooroopilly Shopping centre.

They’re double cheeseburger made me INSTANTLY wantto order another. The briosch bun was amazingly fresh with just the right amount of sweetness, the two Angus beef patties sourced from the attached butcher were ground on-site and made into the most juicy and perfectly seasoned patties I had tasted in years. Each party was topped with melted bitey cheese slices, topped with dijonnaise that tasted like the sauce of the gods and finished with house made pickles. 

If you’re looking for a burger place that will make your heart sing, you simply gotta head out to ‘Indro’ and find you way to the lower level across from Coles to eat an amazing burger at the Burger Co. attached to

4/5 ****/*

Hashtag – attackforlife

As I begin my blogging carrier I have a very clear vision for how I want it to appear and what I want readers to take from it.  I want people to want to read it, not only for pleasure but also because they take something from each piece they read.

To start I want to blog one fitness piece, two food pieces(one eating out review and one recipe made with love from my kitchen straight to your table) and finally one ‘favourite’ piece which could be anything from a trendy new product I have recently purchased to some ridiculously priced luxury item I may never be able to afford(you know the type I mean, and yes we can always dream).

So this is my first ever fitness piece and will be followed by many amazing more over the years to come.  We all have a relationship with fitness and like all relationships there is good and not so good.  If you think about a time in your life you reflected on a relationship that forced you to be better than you are and allowed you to bathe in happiness you knew would never leave, you may just be almost close to my love for BodyAttack.

BodyAttack is a 55 minute, sports inspired cardio workout that builds strength and conditioning.  It’s an all over body workout with two cardio peaks, strength and conditioning somewhere in the middle and wraps up your work out with some core strengthening movements then a stretch for parts of the body that worked the most.

That’s the straight forward definition, but speak with any regular BodyAttacker and they will tell you BodyAttack is life.  And to be perfectly honest with you, for me, that is exactly what it is.  I found BodyAttack in a bid to spend more time with someone who had just become very special in my life.  They were a group fitness instructor and personal trainer with a tight schedule,  I would barely raise a sweat twice a week and the only way to spend more precious time with them was to attend their group fitness classes.

The first time “I DIED”… You may laugh, but I actually thought I was dying.  Running, Jumping, doing push ups and intense lunges jumping from one lunge to the next – I didn’t want to embarrass my special friend so I pushed through and made it to the end of the class.

As we all worked through the stretches to some uplifting but gentle music, I slowly floated back to my body and realised I wasn’t dead.  I swore I would never do it again, however I took up a dare to attend three times the following week and I never back down from a dare.

The workout grew on me so quick and after the first week of attending three times, I was already feeling the BodyAttack High.  This may sound crazy but I even started to see results, after just two weeks.  I was converted.  I started looking for as many BodyAttack classes as I could find to attend.

I started pushing myself harder and harder – as hard as I had ever pushed myself before and the results came so quick!  Pretty soon the challenge wasn’t enough and I wanted to achieve something more.  Time flew and I had been solidly attending BodyAttack classes, improving my fitness class by class, for just over a year and decided I was ready.  Almost as if it were meant to be, as soon as I started thinking about doing my initial module training to become an instructor, my special friend mentioned there was an opening to attend the training through a program with the health and fitness company we both worked for – “FItness First”

I attended the training and not long after, I attended the Advance Instructor Module and I can’t imagine life without Attack!

There is more, so much more than this to how BodyAttack not only transformed my life but also continues to save me every year.  But I don’t want to overload you all in my first blog so I’ll wrap up my personal story relating to the program there, at least for this post.

If you are keen on trying something like this fitness class reach out and I can point you in the right direction.  If you think its too much too quick there is an option to do what is known as the ‘smart start’ which is effectively half the class to start with then build from there.

BodyAttack can be found in most majour chain health clubs and if youa re shy but keen to try you can always google it to find a class nearby.  BodyAttack burns an average of just over 700 calories and I guarantee if you attend five times in two weeks you will find space in the program to empower you to make leaps and bounds in progress to your personal fitness journey!