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You won’t believe me if I told you that I have never worn singlets or tank tops in my entire life until recently. Ok, it is not 100% true, the only time I wore singlet were during PT sessions at school. Even then I felt so exposed wearing singlet and utterly embarrassed about those chubby arms. I was a fat kid back then. Actually this shouldn’t come as a surprise because I’m sure I am not the only person who is self conscious and has body issues. But everything is going to change this year as I slowly turning into a health freak. True story.

Never thought I would say this, but I actually enjoy being outside and stay active, and addicted to gym! “Active”, “gym”, “stay healthy” – I rarely swear but those words are like filthy words just came out of my mouth. Then, there are words like “creatine”, “reps”, “metabolic”, “casein”, “vascularity”, “BCAAs”, “HIIT”, “cardio”, “bench press”, “legs curls”, “traps and lats”, words never appeared in my vocabulary until now, I chew them up and spit them out like lollies. By now, if you were rolling your eyes and muttering out, “Oh, pleeeaaaassee….” over this post then yep, we will never be friends. 

I guess after food blogging for over eight years and combining with the inevitable midlife crisis, my body started telling me that I need to do something about it. It all started in May last year. I still remember quite clearly what happened after I came home from a massive culinary trip to Dubai last year, my body was bloated beyond recognition. As soon as I landed in Australia, The Pom came to pick me up at the Gosford station. As we were driving home, I asked him to make a quick stop at our local gym; I think his jaws just dropped. Right there and then, I signed up for the gym and went for my first work out the same afternoon. It hurt like hell but also possibly one of the best things I’ve ever done for a long time. It took quite some time for me to find the motivation, every push and every lift were hard work. It took me a good six months before seeing results. Every little bump on my arms, legs, chest, shoulders gave me that tiny little excitement and made me push even harder at the gym. And god bless all the hot men at gym that inspires me keep going back! 

However, as much as I enjoy the exercise and feeling great, not being able to have a proper diet will always be my downfall. Being a foodie and working with food closely ain’t helping with my diet. Sticking to clean eating and the thought of having that sexy six packs (not the booze), hmm nope, not going to happen. Having said that, I try my best to eat healthy, the evening meals at home haven’t been that exciting but it is definitely working. Weekends are my “cheat days”, that’s when I am allowed to have some alcohol and indulge myself a little bit, ok, a lot! 

Thank god I haven’t fallen into any of those fab paleo, no sugar diet. Another kitten dies every time I mentioning those words. I strongly believe that if you want to lose weight and look good, do some bloody exercise! By no means I am a dietician or nutritionist, but to have a healthy “balance” lifestyle, isn’t it as simple as keeping a “balance” diet and not by cutting out a whole food group? Oh, and exercise of course. 

But let’s put everything back in perspective. It’s been over 15 months since I started working out and “try to” eat healthy regime – I am still consider obese, the muffin top won’t barge and far from being a poster boy. However, I do feel great and the hour glass body figure has gone. I don’t mind the occasional gym selfies if that’s what it takes to give myself a pat on the back for all the hard work I’ve put in and some confidence boost, #hatersgonnahate. 

Since I started the regular work outs, I finally feel good about myself and comfortable enough to wear singlets. But the funny thing is, I actually don’t own any singlets. So lately I’ve been rummaging through my wardrobe looking for old baggy clothes, cutting the sleeves off and turning them into tank tops! 

Yes summer, I am ready for you! 

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Here I would like to share a recipe from my “Have You Eaten?” cookbook. This salad simply shouts out SUMMER! I love using fruit such as mango, pomegranate or apple in salads. For this salad, I used the big, round, juicy watermelon and jazzed it up with tomatoes, goat cheese and candied walnuts. It is so refreshing with the sharp goat cheese sets off the sweetness of the watermelon nicely. 

Summer watermelon, goat cheese, cherry tomatoes and candied walnut salad
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) watermelon flesh, cut into cubes
  2. 400 g (14 oz) punnet baby roma (plum) tomatoes, halved
  3. 20 g (3/4 oz) chèvre (goat’s cheese)
  4. ________________________________
  5. CANDIED WALNUTS
  6. 100 g (31/2 oz/1 cup) walnuts
  7. 110 g (33/4 oz/1/2 cup) sugar
  8. 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  9. pinch of ground cinnamon
  10. pinch of salt
  11. ________________________________
  12. BALSAMIC DRESSING
  13. 2 tablespoons walnut oil
  14. 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  15. juice of 1/2 lemon
  16. 1 teaspoon finely chopped mint leaves
  17. pinch of salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F/Gas 3) and line a tray with baking paper. To make the candied walnuts, place the walnuts on a baking tray and toast them in the oven for 5 minutes. Alternatively, toast them in a dry frying pan over medium heat until lightly coloured. Remove and set aside to cool.
  2. Melt the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly to break up any lumps. Once the sugar has fully melted and is amber in colour, add the cayenne pepper, cinnamon and salt and mix well. Quickly add the walnuts and stir to make sure all the nuts are nicely coated in the toffee.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and spread the nuts on the prepared tray to cool. Once cooled and hardened, break them into smaller pieces and keep them in an airtight container until ready to use.
  4. Whisk together all the ingredients for the balsamic dressing and set aside.
  5. To assemble the salad, gently mix the watermelon and tomatoes together in a mixing bowl, then transfer to a serving plate. Sprinkle with the walnuts, then crumble the chèvre over the top. Drizzle with the balsamic dressing.
A Table For Two http://www.atablefortwo.com.au/

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