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Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Viva la revolution!

The slow food revolution!

The rules of engagement are simple:
  • Eat clean, fresh, whole foods
  • Chew slowly
  • Do nothing else while eating
  • Focus on and enjoy what's going into your body
Easy enough, right?...Right?

There is NO doubt, growing up in a Greek household has contributed to my eating habits. My paternal Grandmother and namesake, Yiayia Kyrany,  grew up and raised her six children in times of great hardship. Food was a luxury and therefore when available, it was to be enjoyed and appreciated regardless of what or how much was on offer. So, like sands through the hourglass, these childhood and early adult life experiences determined her mindset and beliefs which shaped her attitude and wisdom as she aged.

So, there she was. A woman with healthy appreciation of and positive relationship with food. A bona fide member of the slow food revolution. That's right punters, apparently this ain't some hot new trend...my Yiayia Kyrany had her finger firmly on the pulse back in the 20's!

It's true that my Grandmother would chew soup regardless of others having finished their meal and clearing plates around her. Regardless of being the subject of mocking. Yes, she remained true to her ways. Her philosophy and mantra was simply this, 'Eat slowly, live longer' and she made it to 96 so there must be some method to this so called madness. 

You might then appreciate my absolute confusion with respect to her polar opposite way of thinking when it comes to food and how others engage with it. I suspect this too came about as a result of the aforementioned hardship, however the idea that food is not to be wasted IE. everything on your excessively over portioned plate was to be eaten...yes, ALL of it. The philosophy and mantra in this circumstance - 'Eat, Eat, EAT!'.

Being set in her ways coupled with strong support (similar to that of Kim Kardashian's brassiere) and encouragement from an entire race determined to prepare enough food to feed a small town and proceed to force feed it to you at each meal time has made it difficult. Oh, and let's not forget the double serve of guilt that's dished up when declining a third serve of something. 'You sick?' 'You no like it?' 'Eat, Eat, EAT!'

On the one hand, I wholeheartedly count the many and varied pleasures of the culinary world among the greatest on Planet Earth. The ability a shared meal has to bring people together, to open the lines of communication and the comfort it provides is to be (pardon the pun) relished. And if you're like me, the great satisfaction one feels in preparing something delicious for family and friends is truly wonderful.

Without doubt, some of my fondest stories and memories involve food.

All that said, you might appreciate that learning to balance the act of food for fuel vs. eating until you need to undo the top button of my pantaloons is a challenge and a skill that I'm hoping, no, intend to acquire. How's that for positive affirmation!

Here's my plan...I'm going to pay more attention, really take my sweet time and savour the flavour. You heard me, when I sit down for a meal, I aim to do it with 'joie de vivre!' enjoying every single bite whilst thinking of my Yiayia Kyrany.

Even all those years ago, she was definitely onto something...




Sunday, 21 August 2011

Spring is my destination...

In the words of the Jackson Five, 'Can you feel it?'  I can.

The days are getting longer, the layers are lighter. Yes, Spring is on its way! So here are some fun things (for the lads and the ladies) to plan and do...

Hit the link below to try on any and all of the fantastic nail polish colours in the OPI range. You can choose nail length and skin tone to get a true reflection of how the colours will personally suit.

Careful...it's addictive!

http://opi.com/nailstudio/nailstudio.swf

Looking for a way light hearted yet personal way to let your friends know you're thinking of them? Drop in at http://sendables.jibjab.com/ where you'll find ECards, dancing videos and hundreds of ways to say everything from Happy Birthday to Bye Bye Baby!

Feeling a tad floppy after yet another 'It's too cold to exercise, best get home for some comfort food' Winter? Shake (literally!) those Winter blues with some Zumba baby! This fun fitness sensation is the self-proclaimed “latin-inspired, easy-to-follow, calorie-burning, dance fitness-party” and i've been assured I'll be sporting a J-Lo booty quicker than she can find her fourth husband!

If you're based in Brisbane, you can get hip on the floor J-Lo style at The Met, Fortitude Valley where they pump up the sound system, lighting rig and visual wall giving you a genuine 'club style' (innit) experience. Sounds right up my alley. Wonder if Pit Bull will be hanging about?... http://www.zumbafitbrisbane.com.au/

PS. Clubs across Australia undertake Zumba classes each week - jump online and check it out in your home town.

While you've got your groove on, visit http://www.islandvibe.com.au/

This annual festival held over three days in October on the magnificent Stradbroke Island offers punters a wonderful fusion of music, dance, food, art, craft and culture.

Get yourself a ticket for one, two or all three days and jump to the jungle rhythms of Afro Mandinko, grind to Ghettafunkt and get down to the Dubmarines. And if you do manage to get along please, please, please be sure to head to the Big Top for some smooth and sexy lyrical freestyling from Charlie 2na (pronounced two-na). There's nothing fishy about this fellow. He is a lyrical gangster. Boom!

While you're there, I do encourage you to extend your stay beyond Island Vibe and make a wee holiday of it so you may enjoy all the island has to offer. It really is a perfect time of year and you'll feel a million bucks for it...I promise.

For all things Stradbroke Island, you can start here http://stradbrokeisland.org/

My work is done here. If this hasn't got you thinking about getting fit, fab and funky then you may as well give this a shot...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xW1fXL3s7bk

I can!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

My Fantasy Island

It's Exhibition Day in Brisbane today. Yes, that's right interstate and international friends, we Brisbanites are rewarded with a public holiday each year to make our way to what is fondly termed "The Ekka".

You can check it out at http://www.ekka.com.au/

Personally, I have no desire (regardless of the temptation of the famous and exclusively available Strawberry and Cream ice cream) to attend. So you might appreciate I've taken the opportunity to relax...to do and think about the important stuff. 

I began the day with a delicious coffee, ran a few small errands, prepared a delicious leg of lamb accompanied by Risoni before relaxing in front of the computer, listening to tunes and surfing and somehow wound up (as you do on Exhibition Wednesday) contemplating my TOP 10 celebrity crushes. My "Fantasy Island" if you will. I told you, the important stuff.

So here they are, in no particular order and subject to change...

I hope your day has been as productive and enjoyable as mine.

Oh, and you're welcome.

1. Zachary Quinto

 Only a man of disturbingly abnormal hotness can look good as Spock


2. Rhys Coiro

Short hair, long hair, any which way...I don't care

3. Ryan Gosling

The handsome, intelligent SNAG...AND he likes to Salsa


4. Joseph Gordon-Levitt

He's come a long way since 3rd Rock from the Sun


5. Bradley Cooper

Scrum-diddly-umptious and funny AND clever


6. Ryan Reynolds


Refer # 5

7. Jake Gyllenhall

Sweet as sugar, dark as Donnie


8. Johnny Depp

Vintage Gold


9. Josh Harnett

Loved him since I saw him in Lucky Number Slevin


10. Robert Downey Jr.

Bad boy come good. Enough said...



Sunday, 14 August 2011

It's so easy being Green

Although the Cafe Latte will always be in style, there are people a plenty converting to tea, in particular, the Green variety. Anna Tamvakis chats with an Aussie leading the drive to grow some of the best in the world right here in our own back yard.

Anthony Somers is a quietly spoken man with a passion for Green tea. He is also a crusader for Viticulture, the cultivation of grapes often used for the production of wine. "The easiest way to understand Viticulture is to consider this, agriculture feeds the planet by providing resources for consumption while horticulture encompasses plants, orchards - the pleasures of life". Viticulture is an extension of the latter according to Somers.

While enjoying a freshly brewed pot of Green tea you could be forgiven for momentarily drifting away to the "Land of the Rising Sun" however may be surprised to learn it has been produced in a town called Medowie, "Place of many Trees" in the Hunter region of New South Wales.

A self confessed nomad, Somers suggests he's returned to the town because that's where his job is, however as he turns toward me and continues talking about the project his underlying knowledge and excitement is overwhelming. "Japanese Green tea has been cultivated in Tasmania for over ten years now and we are working with Japanese counterparts on experimental growth on the North NSW Coast. The reality of an ageing farming population in Japan coupled with a lack of desire amongst their younger generations to continue the tradition, represents real opportunity for us to be exporting to the Japanese and other Asian markets".

The Chinese have known about the medicinal benefits of Green tea since ancient times, using it to treat everything from headaches to depression. Today, scientific research in both Asia and the West is providing hard evidence for the health benefits long associated with drinking Green tea. A 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded "Green tea consumption is associated with reduced mortality due to all disease excluding cancer".

Somers has personally experienced the benefits of enjoying Green tea and confirms that he has developed a healthy addiction. "My cholesterol levels have decreased dramatically since I started drinking it".

Although Somers' transition from grapes to tea has been a smooth one, communication with Japanese business associates is sometimes lost in translation. The way Australia and Japan conduct themselves professionally is very different and the language barrier is a real one, yet the desire to create "Ichi Ban Cha" (which translates to Number One Tea) is a priority for all involved. Somers description of the processing of the leaf indicates the tea is treated with the utmost care and consideration. "The processing is not done by hand yet the machinery replacing the manual process is such that the leaves are pressed together, even the temperature is regulated to match that of a human being" Somers says.

The pureness of energy in the mission undertaken by Somers is apparent and his commitment unwavering. He is very proud of the product he is helping create. "Being involved in this makes me feel good. Rather than producing a product that harms or creates negative social impact, I feel I'm contributing in a positive way".

It sounds as thought the humble cuppa is in excellent hands.

Excuse me, it's time to put the kettle on.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Welcome!

I am compelled.

Compelled by the many wonderful and tragic things we are surrounded by and with.

So here I am, my first foray into blogging.

I have no clear direction at this point. Personally, I am at a crossroad of evolution (as is in my humble opinion) the world and thought it appropriate to document because...

a) I really do believe both stories will be groundbreaking! 
b) I find i'm forgetting things

So although it's seemingly aimless at the present, I'm hoping that anyone reading this will also feel compelled.

I'll rely on you to agree or tell me otherwise.

Until then...loving you, loving me.

Tough Love Tamvakis.