Saturday, April 23, 2011

On The Couch: Paul

What's the story? Two nerds (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) fresh from Comic-Con embark on a road trip of the alien hot-spots around the US of A where they come across a crude, pot-smoking extra terrestrial called Paul (Seth Rogen). And of course, it wouldn't be an alien movie without some well-suited men toting guns in hot pursuit. 

Why it's worth seeing on Cheap Tuesday... I didn't find this movie nearly as hilarious as the woman sitting next to me who laughed so hard (and so loudly) no one in the cinema could miss it, but it was a funny flick – if not a tad silly. Take your man along.

Friday, April 22, 2011

On The Couch: Attention, Glee fans!

It's no secret I have a slightly-unhealthy-bordering-on-obsession-style crush on Darren Criss. So you can imagine how excited I was when I saw the new Glee soundtrack (out today) is full of his rocking vocals. I literally did a little jig as it downloaded on iTunes. Lucky, no one else was around to see it.

If You Want To Read A Really Inspiring Wellness Blog...

Check out The Wellness Warrior. It's penned by former glossy mag writer Jess Ainscough who, after being diagnosed with a rare and agressive cancer called Epithelioid Sarcoma, became a self-confessed "carrot juice-guzzling, lentil-loving vegan" on her path to natural healing. The blog is inspired by Jess' journey but also has heaps of really easy-to-digest info about general health and wellness. If it's a topic that peaks your interest, this is definitely one to add to your favourites (if it isn't bookmarked already).

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What's The Single Best Exercise Of All Time?


This interesting article asks that very question. And the winner... Is it swimming butterfly or doing squats? Brisk walking, burpees or high-intensity interval training? Or how about a simple exercise that combines the benefits of all five, suggests kinesiology expert Martin Gibala. “Sprinting up stairs is a power workout and interval session simultaneously.” Ah-ha! So it turns out running up steps just might be the single best exercise after all.

On The Couch: New At The Box Office This Week...

Not sure what to see at the cinema this weekend? Here are a few of the price flicks hitting the silver screen today...


Fast Five


Going Meat-Free On Good Friday?

Maybe you're religious, maybe you're not. But for some strange reason even non-church going folk like my mum seem to get funny about scarfing down a steak on Good Friday. So if you're giving meat the flick, but running short on creative vegetarian recipes, I've got the goods...

Jamie Oliver's Broccoli And Pesto Tagliatelle

You'll need:
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • Large bunch fresh basil
  • 70g parmesan cheese
  • Salt
  • 400g dried tagliatelle (I have found it works just as well with fettuccine)
  • 4 tablespoons green pesto (I use pesto dip for a less potent flavour – but you need to use a little extra)

What to do:
1. Wash and peel the potato and cut it into thin shavings using a speed peeler. Slice the end off the broccoli stalk. Cut little broccoli florets off the head and put them to one side. Halve the thick stalk lengthways, then slice thinly. Pick the basil leaves and discard the stalks. Grate the parmesan.

2. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the tagliatelle and broccoli stalks and cook according to the tagliatelle packet instructions. Two minutes before the tagliatelle is cooked, add the broccoli florets and potato slices. Drain everything in a colander over a large bowl, reserving some of the cooking water, and return to the pan. Roughly chop half your basil leaves and add to the pan with the pesto and half the parmesan. Give it all a good stir and if the sauce is too thick for you, add a splash of the cooking water to thin it out a bit.

3. Divide your pasta between serving bowls (this recipe makes four to six serves). Sprinkle over the rest of the parmesan and the remaining basil leaves.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

On The Couch: Scream 4

What's the story? Right from the moment the first blonde gets stabbed in the stomach and slides down the wall in a pool of blood (which pretty much happens before the opening credits even get a chance to roll) you know what you're in for with this flick – lots of fake blood, cheap thrills and villains that just won't die.

Why it's worth paying $17.50 to see... The original gang – Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette – are back in fine form for this one and joined by an impressive cast of young stars, including Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Kristen Bell, Anna Paquin, Adam Brody, Shenae Grimes and Lucy Hale. As Ghostface moves through Woodsboro taking its people out in spectacular fashion, this film is exactly what you hope it will be – a playful take on the slasher movie genre that is so bad, it's good.

The Perils Of Popcorn.

If you've ever been to the cinema with me, you've no doubt heard my spiel on movie popcorn... Did you know a medium popcorn and soft drink combo can contain as much fat as three McDonald's Quarter Pounders or five Cheeseburgers?

Well, you do now. I hate to be a fun-buster but there's a reason it tastes so good – it's covered in butter and lots of it. But it's not all bad news. Pop it yourself and you can have three cups for under 100 calories! And you'll probably save a small fortune, too. But I'll leave my rant about candy bar prices to another post...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cake It Till You Make It

I'm good at lots of things – find-a-words, vacuuming, colouring in between the lines and I once won a biscuit-eating competition at the Easter Show – but, suffice to say, baking is not my strong suit. So when I find I recipe that even I can pull off, I feel compelled to share. Think of it as kind of like a really tasty community service announcement...

Coconut & Lime Cake

You'll need...
  • 125 g butter, chopped
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1 1/4 cups caster sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups dessicated coconut
Lime syrup:
  • 3 limes, rind finely shredded, juiced
  • 1/2 cup white sugar

What do to...
  1.  Preheat oven to 180C. Lightly grease and line a 6cm deep, 22cm (base) springform cake pan.
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Transfer to a bowl. Add eggs and milk. Stir until combined.
  3. Combine flour, sugar and coconut in a bowl. Add milk mixture. Stir to combine. Spread mixture into pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  4. Make lime syrup. Combine 1/2 cup lime juice and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes or until syrupy. Stir in lime rind.
  5. Pour hot lime syrup over hot cake. Allow cake to cool in pan before releasing side of pan. Cut into slices and serve.

Would You Wear Toe Shoes?

The Superficial

So Scarlett Johansson went running in Malibu last week – and it got everyone talking. "She's pregnant!" said the tabloid glossies. But what got my attention was Scar-Jo's footwear. The girl runs in Vibram Five Fingers, otherwise known as "those weird toe shoes".

Back when I wrote a health page for Shop Til You Drop, I went to a media briefing with a guy from Vibram who talked about this new-but-old concept of barefoot running. The basic idea is that we are made to move and our bodies are built to give us all the natural support we need to run effectively, but when we start interferring with shoes – whether they be sky-high stilettos or support trainers – well, that's where the problems start.

So now companies like Vibram are starting to make shoes that are basically not like wearing shoes at all. And they're way popular. Terra Plana came out with th Vivo Barefoot shoe and it sold out in the US in three days.

You should be able to get the gist of what the movement's all about from the video below. I can't say I'll be giving up my running shoes, but The Barefoot Professor puts foward a pretty compelling case...

Monday, April 18, 2011

You Got The Skills?

Dear Colleen

In my mind there is one thing that can make or break a gym class: the instructor. And it's tricky because everyone has different likes and dislikes, but there are a few things instructors do that I think most people find très annoying...

1. They sing along to the music. You can tell me you want "more, more, more" from me, but you're not Usher and there's a good reason your vocals didn't make it onto his last album.

2. They scream in your face – and it's scary. At 7.15am, let's take the aggression down a notch. And while you're there, maybe the mic volume, too.

3. They don't push you. I had one spin instructor who told everyone to "turn it up" but then quickly followed it with an "or don't, if you don't feel like it". Seriously?

4. They play the same music. Every. Week. Shake it up, or I'll shake things up by going to someone else's class.

5. They talk to you like you're fresh out of kindergarten. "Bend from the hippies my darlings." Hips, they're just called hips.

What's your take? What do you think makes a good instructor?

On The Couch: Paper Giants

If you weren't one of the 1.2 million plus Aussies who tuned in to Paper Giants last night on the ABC, do yourself a favour and run home after work, click here to watch the full first ep, then sit down at 8.30pm tonight to watch the second installment. You won't regret it.

A Dramatic Reading Of Gwyneth's Cookbook.

I've posted before about Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook. Now it seems you can enjoy a dramatic reading of this culinary masterpiece My Father's Daughter to the theme of Shakespere In Love. The brainchild behind this video deserves a pat on the back.