Native Box Review + Giveaway!

Native Box Review + Giveaway!

First of all, Happy Australia Day to all my Australian readers! I plan to spend the day with friends eating delicious food and relaxing by the pool.

It seems like a lifetime ago now, but over the Christmas period I was fortunate enough to be gifted a Native Box. Due to all the craziness that Christmas brings, I am only now sharing my thoughts about the box with you. The amazing people at Native Box have also kindly given me one Native Box to giveaway so read till the end to find out how to enter!

Beautiful gift box!

Native Box is a gift box proudly filled with Australian eco-friendly sample products. This box is delivered straight to your door, and depending on your subscription level you could be receiving this gem inclusive of the very best eco-conscious products to sample each month!

It’s a cost effective way to familiarise yourself with eco-friendly brands and to sample some of their product offering!

Unfortunately I was unable to test all the products as there were ingredients in some of the food that I cannot eat. However, here is my review of the products I could test:

Light hand cream

The Australian Bush Flower Essences hand cream is ideal for summer as it’s very light and non greasy yet still moisturising. It also has a subtle fresh citrus fragrance which is fitting for summer. I really like this size as I can easily carry it in my bag without it taking up too much space.

Softening body wash

To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised at the large size of the Seraphina body wash sample. After using it, my skin has definitely become noticeably smoother. Although there isn’t a strong fragrance it leaves my skin feeling clean and fresh. The Seraphina products are specifically designed for people with sensitive skin such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, severely dry skin or easily acned skin.

Delicious dried mango!

Growing up in Cairns we would always have freshly dried mango in the house from the local markets. When I opened up the Native Box and saw this packet it immediately brought me back to summer time in Cairns. Whenever I am gifted food products out of habit I always look at the ingredient list. Much to my delight, the Essentially Natural dried mango really has been naturally dried as it contains 100% mango. It is quite soft in texture and is definitely something I enjoyed as a snack!

Gift voucher

I have actually just placed an order with Biome using this voucher. It is an eco store specialising in eco friendly products for the body and home. I was quite impressed with the diverse range of products they offer. There are three stores in Brisbane however they also ship throughout Australia and internationally. I look forward to receiving my package this coming week and testing out the products!

I personally believe Native Box is a beautiful gift to send in place of flowers to someone who is unwell or who is celebrating a special milestone such as a birthday or a new parent. It’s also an ideal way to treat yourself – everyone loves receiving packages in the mail (as this is a rare occurrence these days!) so why not have this gift box to look forward to once a month?!

Here’s how to enter the Native Box giveaway: This competition is now closed!

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Native Box Winner

I hope all my fellow Australian’s have an amazing Australia Day!

Red onion and goat feta tartlets

In my last post I promised to share with you the delicious filling for the gluten free tartlet shells I made. These red onion and goat feta tartlets are the perfect entertaining appetiser as they are bite sized yet filling enough to serve with drinks.

Before I share the tartlet recipe, Woolworths have kindly donated two $50.00 gift cards for me to giveaway to YOU – simply enter the Woolworths gift card giveaway here and entries are open to Australian residents only till 7pm AEST Wednesday 22 January 2014!

Red onion and thyme

The earthiness of the red onion and thyme complement the sharpness of the goat feta.

Cooking down the onion

As the red onion becomes translucent by adding the thyme to the fry pan the herb creates a beautifully fragrant filling.

Gluten free tartlet shells

What I love most about these tartlet shells, besides being gluten free, is they can be pre-made then stored in the freezer. All you then have to do is make the filling, bake the tartlets and you have a scrumptious appetiser to serve your guests in little to no time!

Egg filling

By mixing the almond milk with the eggs for the filling it ensures it goes that little bit further and the tartlets don’t taste too heavy.

Ready for the oven

Make sure you fill the tartlets to the top, I did this by spooning the egg filling over the goat cheese.

Perfect to serve when entertaining!

These tartlets will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for two days or in the freezer for up to two weeks! Simply warm in a 180C/350F oven for 10 – 15 minutes then serve!

Red onion and goats feta tartlets

Makes approximately 40 tartlets

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch of gluten free pastry tartlet shells
  • 1 red onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 TBSP fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup goat feta, crumbled
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 TBSP almond milk
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line baking tray with baking paper. Line tartlet shells on baking paper.
  2. Place red onion and coconut oil in a small fry pan over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes or until onion has softened then mix in thyme.
  3. Place 1 tsp of red onion mixture in each tartlet shell then top with 1 tsp of crumbled goat feta.
  4. Whisk eggs, almond milk, salt and pepper together.
  5. Spoon approximately 1 – 2 TBSP of egg mixture into each tartlet until the goat feta is covered.
  6. Place in oven for 10 – 15 minutes or until cooked. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Don’t forget to enter the Woolworths gift card giveaway here!

Back to Basics: Gluten Free Pastry + Woolworths Giveaway!

Like many of you, I’m already back into full time work for the year. Knowing first hand when you’re working one of the last things you feel like and have time to do is cook lavish meals during the week. So, I’m starting a ‘Back to Basics’ series which will include basic recipes so you can prepare healthy yet simple food.

To start off this series, I’m bringing you gluten free pastry. This pastry can be used for tart bases, pie crusts and quiche bases. These are all great dishes to make on the weekend to have on hand during the week or mini versions are perfect to serve when entertaining.

Woolworths Macro Gluten Free Self Raising Flour

I have been fortunate to be gifted some Woolworths Macro Gluten Free products to try out and Woolworths have kindly donated two $50.00 gift vouchers to giveaway – keep reading for details on how to enter. My favourite product is their gluten free self raising flour as it’s quite a fine flour so it is great to make pastry with, and it is soy free! I try to avoid using soy products and often gluten free flours and products unfortunately contain an element of soy.

I was pleased with the overall taste of the flour and was surprised how long this packet lasted especially since I am always cooking.

Resembles breadcrumbs

As coconut oil is used instead of butter in this pastry, I actually chilled the flour for a few hours before using it to ensure the coconut oil was able to slightly solidify when worked into the flour.

Adding the eggs..

Traditionally pastry is made with just egg yolks however I used two whole eggs for this pastry as I found the gluten free flour needed the egg white to make a more workable dough.

Kneading the dough

As there is no gluten in this pastry you don’t have to worry about overworking the dough. Kneading it just helps it come together and ensures it can be rolled out easily.

Ready to chill

The dough needs to be chilled in the fridge for 30 minutes so that it is easy to work with when rolled out.

Rolling out the chilled dough

Make sure the surface is lightly floured to prevent the dough from sticking to it when rolling out.

Beautiful and smooth

This is what your pastry should look like once rolled out: thin and smooth.

Cutting out mini tart shells

To cut the tart shells out, use a cookie cutter or a circular object to ensure they are all the same size.

Ready for the oven

It is important to grease the tart pan well so the shells can be removed easily – there’s nothing worse than breaking tart shells!

Mini tart shells all cooked!

Once cooked, these tart shells will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days and in the freezer up to two weeks – just place shells between layers of baking paper to prevent them from sticking together.

Back to Basics: Gluten Free Pastry

Makes approximately 40 mini tart shells or 2 large tart shells

Ingredients:

Method:

  1. Combine gluten free self raising flour and baking powder in a large bowl.
  2. Add coconut oil then using your fingertips, work it into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Add water and eggs then mix with a wooden spoon or spatula to a dough.
  4. Turn pastry onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.
  5. Shape into a disc, wrap in glad wrap then place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 180C/350F and lightly grease 24 mini tart tins with coconut oil.
  7. Roll pastry out on a lightly floured surface to 5 mm thick.
  8. Cut out circles and re-roll the scraps until all the dough has been used.
  9. Push tart rounds down gently with your fingers in the tart tin.
  10. Bake tart shells for 10 minutes and leave to cool at room temperature.

Delicious tart filling!

Keep an eye out for my next blog post where I will share a healthy filling recipe for these tart shells!

Enter for a chance to win a $50.00 Woolworths gift card: This competition has now closed!

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Ringing in 2014…

Happy New Year to you all!

I’ve been in Sydney the past week so I do apologise for the belated new year wishes. My sisters and I went away for a girls trip and it was such an amazing way to start 2014. I always love visiting Sydney, I think it’s the hustle and bustle of the city and all the amazing cafes and restaurants the city has to offer…

Buckwheat pancakes with gingerbread cream. Emma Lauren Food.

Last pancakes of 2013

Before I left for Sydney these were the last pancakes I enjoyed for 2013. I made buckwheat pancakes then topped the stack with gingerbread cream (I used the filling from the raw gingerbread tart – YUM!) and maple walnuts. Who says you can’t devour healthy yet delicious food?!

New years cook up!

New Years Eve was celebrated in style with friends and family just outside Sydney. The following morning, we started the new year by cooking up a feast of scrambled eggs with buckwheat toast, roasted vegetables, mushrooms with spinach, tomato, avocado and olives.

Raw lasagna and a trio of salads

Whenever I travel I always search for healthy cafes in that particular city to try out. I came across Sadhana Kitchen located in Enmore in Sydney and convinced my sisters to go for lunch there. We shared the raw lasagna and a trio of salads as we wanted to keep some room for dessert… I was quite impressed with the food there, it was fresh and full of flavour.

Raw mocha cake!

For dessert we shared the raw mocha cake where every mouthful tasted like heaven. It was smooth and decadent – basically everything I love in a raw cake!

Soft shell tacos – fish and chicken!

On Friday evening I travelled by ferry to Manly where I caught up with good friends for dinner. Being locals, they definitely know all the best places to eat and took me to Chica Bonita, an amazing mexican restaurant. We enjoyed their guacamole with corn chips, veggie fries and a soft shell taco each – all very reasonably priced too! What I love most about mexican food is that it’s usually gluten free and quite healthy!

Breakfast bruschetta at Pure Wholefoods

The next morning in Manly we ventured to Pure Wholefoods. I was really impressed with their menu and the array of salads and desserts in their cabinet. As I prefer to start my day with a large meal I devoured the breakfast bruschetta with homemade beans and a rice milk latte.

Stunning Sydney

There’s something very relaxing about taking the ferry as your mode of transport. Fresh air and beautiful scenery – what more could you ask for?

I hope you all had amazing New Year’s celebrations and are ready for a fantastic 2014!

Do you have a favourite cafe/restaurant in Sydney?