Sole Exploration #4 – Nike Free Flyknit +

It took me a long time to come around to the Nike Free line. I’ve always admired the sleek running silhouette, but I thought wearing runners casually, especially with jeans was a fashion statement best left in the 1990s. But late last year I had a foot injury and ended up taking a punt on the free line, and ended up loving it.

The sole is what gets me. Although its minimal compared to the classic running shoe, the Free 5.0 sole still provides enough cushioning, even on the harsh pavements. Coupled with Nike’s latest flyknit technology, it makes for a seriously cool pair of kicks.

Nike Free Flyknit+

Nike Free Flyknit+

 #4 – Nike Free Flyknit + – Game Royal/White-Blue Glow/Atomic Green

WherePro Direct Select

When – November 2013

Did You Know? – Nike Free was a line introduced in 2004 at the cusp of the barefoot running trend. Flyknit debuted in 2012 in essence to provide a formative knit sock like fit shoes.

The Good – Comfort, comfort, comfort. These puppies are like socks with soles. The waffle free sole is non-slip even on wet lino. The upper hugs the foot giving it adequate support even when moving laterally. It’s light and it flies!

The Bad – The material can pinch at first, and of course it offers no real protection against the elements, but as long as you stay away from construction sites and things to stub your toes on, you’ll be sweet.

Photographic Mood – Urban Ninja

Nike Free Flyknit+

Epic Post Xmas Lunch Feast – Part 3 – Dessert

Check out the mega Part 2 – Pulled Pork Tacos

Ah, and to the end of the meal we come. Barely with enough room to move, we desperately pry more stomach space for a thoroughly satisfying end to an epic feast.

I admit that I’m not as well versed in baking or desserts compared to the other culinary crafts and Ice cream and other frozen delicacies have definitely played main roles in various scenes of multiple cooking fails in the past. I’ve certainly created enough 2 litre sorbet ice blocks in my time.

Why don’t I just buy an ice cream churner you ask? Because I’m stubborn and I don’t like too many impalements cluttering the kitchen, same reason why I don’t have an electronic hand whisk or a stand mixer. And probably because I’m slightly masochistic, I love the torture of having to hand whisk egg whites, cream or creaming butter and sugar by hand.

Anyway, in light of my failures, it’s surprising that this is perhaps my most successful ice cream recipe by far. Semi Freddo means half-cold in Italian, although it tends to melt faster than ice cream, it definitely tastes like ice cream. Don’t try and skimp on the cream/eggs either if you want it to work and not turn into a cream ice block.

White Chocolate, Macadamia & Lime Semifreddo with Macerated Summer Fruits

White Chocolate, Macadamia & Lime Semifreddo with Macerated Summer Fruits

White Chocolate, Macadamia & Lime Semifreddo

250g white chocolate
100g macadamia nuts (lightly toasted and crushed)
zest of 1 lime
4 eggs
1 vanilla pod
400ml single cream
50g sugar

lightly grease a 2 litre loaf tin or container with oil/butter then line with cling film

Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a bain-marie (or microwave). Set aside to cool.

separate the egg yolks and whites. Whip the yolks over a Bain Marie on low heat. Add sugar and beat until pale and silky. Make sure the temperature isn’t too high as it can scramble your eggs. Once done, add to the cooled melted chocolate.

Split the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and add to the cream. Whip the cream until soft peaks. Whip the egg whites until soft peaks.

Fold everything together lightly along with the nuts and lime zest.

pour into tin/container. Freeze for at least 4-6 hours. Even better overnight. Keeps in the fridge for 2 weeks.

fruit

Macerated Summer Fruits with vanilla sugar, mint & butterscotch schnapps

1 punnet blueberries1 punnet strawberries
1 punnet raspberries
1/3 punnet red currants
1 handful fresh round mint
1 tablespoons vanilla sugar
2 tablespoons butterscotch schnapps

Cut strawberries in half and add to a large mixing bowl along with the other berries and currants.

finely shop the mint, and add to the fruit along with the sugar and schnapps. Mix well, and slightly mash some of the berries (around 1/3).

Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before use.

finished

Sole Exploration #3 – Vans Chukka Slim

I didn’t grow up with many pairs of hip canvas soles, preferring the craziness of 90s chunky sneakers instead. Perhaps it was my mum’s influence; she would always refer to plimsolls as peasant shoes because they reminded her of the shoes that her entire generation in China wore as kids because they were the cheapest shoes available. Now much older, I have fallen in love with the dress down look of plimsolls (and let’s not forget the hip surfie/skate iconography) but sadly my feet really don’t agree. I could never comfortably wear Chuck Taylors because of how narrow they are and most plimsoll soles are too flat and provide less than adequate cushioning. In fact after a brief hipster period late last year, I threw away all my plimsolls after a solid month of recovering from metatarsal inflammation (ouch right?). But I guess I couldn’t stay away for long, and soon found myself in possession of a pair of Vans, my first in fact.

Vans Chukka Slim

#3 Vans Chukka Slim – Marl Grey

Where – Ebay

When – November 2013

The Good – The upper is beautiful knitted grey marl which makes it surprisingly cosy. It also cuts a slimmer silhouette than most vans which is awesome for us chicks because most Vans cut such a masculine profile. The mid-cut goes well with skinny jeans or even shorts/dresses/skirts. They’re hip without being overly trashy and the grey goes with everything.

The Bad – Plimsoll soles. Man the zero heel cushioning means if you’re a heavy heel striker like me, prolonged bouts of walking will hurt.

Photographic Mood – Late 70s Beach Deck

Vans Chukka Slim Grey Marl

Vans Chukka Slim Grey Marl

Vans Chukka Slim Grey Marl

Epic Post Xmas Lunch Feast – Part 2 – Pulled Pork Tacos

Okay I hope you left the majority of your stomach space free after the epicness that was Part 1 but…

…Oooohhh baby, are you ready for some pulled pork tacos? Here’s part 2 of my post Christmas lunch feast, the good stuff, the main stuff, the stuff…that matters…

Pulled Pork Tacos with Apple Slaw, Pickles & Mustard Mayo

Post Christmas Feast - Pulled Pork Tacos

Oh mai GAI…will you look at that? Is it speaking to you? 3 months later and it’s still speaking to me. This has got to be one of my most ambitious projects ever. When you get up at 7am to put shit in the oven, you know you’re going big. For the pulled pork, to provide the best result you HAVE to plan ahead, at least 1 day in advance, more if you value your sanity, this is definitely not a wing it type job. I store bought my tortillas but if you have the time and energy to make your own after cooking this much food then kudos to you. Also don’t forget the pico de gallo and guacamole from part 1 are perfect to add to the taco, as well as some sliced tomato, coriander (cilantro) sprigs & jalepenos. But enough fluffing about, let’s get to it!!!

Post Christmas Feast - Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork

1.5-2kg pork shoulder (preferably on the bone but my supermarket had it as a shoulder roast without the bone so that’s what I used)
3 medium brown onions

RUB
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil

Combine all the ingredients for the rub in a mixing bowl. Mix well, then apply and massage into the pork shoulder. Wrap and leave to marinate for at least 2-3 hours or even better overnight in the fridge (Especially if you’re cooking it for lunch, I marinated mine overnight and threw it in the oven at 7am and it made the table by 1pm).

Preheat oven to 155C/311F. Cut the onions roughly into quarters and line the bottom of a large baking dish. Place the pork on top of the onions and then cover dish with foil.

Bake for 2.5 hours. Then take foil off, continue to bake uncovered for 1.5-2 hours or until pork is nicely coloured and falling apart. (You may have to turn the heat up a little bit for the last couple of hours if you’re on a tight deadline)

Take the pork out of the oven, cover with foil and rest for 20min. Using 2 forks roughly pull the pork apart (ha) and making sure to mix in the gravy and onions from the bottom of the pan.

Try not to demolish it before it makes it onto the tortilla

Post Christmas Feast - Apple Slaw

Apple Slaw

1/4 head purple cabbage (shredded)
1/4 head white cabbage (shredded)
2 granny smith apples (cored & sliced into matchsticks)
2 scallions/shallots (finely chopped)

DRESSING
1 tablespoon whole egg mayonnaise
2 tablespoon sour cream
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
salt & pepper

Combine dry ingredients in a large salad bowl. Combine dressing ingredients, mix well and add dressing to the salad, making sure to coat everything. (Use your hands!)

Leave the slaw to sit for 20-30min in the fridge before serving. (As a kid I used to think coleslaw was “coldslaw” because it was meant to be served cold. And even now warmish slaw gives me the heebie jeebies. Serve yours cold please!

Post Christmas Feast - pickles

Quick House Pickles

2 radish bulbs (thinly sliced)
1/2 spanish onion (thinly sliced)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
salt & pepper

Add the radish and onions to a mixing bowl. Combine the sugar, vinegar, salt & pepper in another bowl, mix until sugar is completely dissolved. Add the pickling liquid to the radish & onions. Allow to seep for 20-30min. Squeeze excess vinegar out before serving.

If you don’t have a mandolin slicer or something like that to slice your pickles really thin then make sure you leave them to pickle a little longer.

Mustard Mayo

2 tablespoons whole egg mayonnaise
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Combine everything and mix well.

Post Christmas Feast

Post Christmas Feast- Finished Plate

And if you still have room for more food…next up in Part 3 is DESSERT

White Chocolate, Macadamia & Lime Semifreddo with Macerated Summer Fruits

Semifreddo