My ideal temperature is about 27 degrees Celcius. If the weekend is coming up and the Bureau of Meterology is telling me that it’s going to be that temperature on the weekend, do you know the first thing I think of? That’s right – beach.
If you’re on my Instagram, you will know that my favourite beach is Balmoral, and I have a certain rock that I like to claim as being mine. It overlooks the main beach, there’s always a nice breeze which means you never get too hot sunbathing (with SPF 30+ coconut lotion, please – although I still tan regardless), noone building sandcastles next to your head, and you avoid the sand. Sand on your towel, sand in your hair, sand stuck to your SPF 30 plus-sed glowing skin, sand trailing after you get back home and walk through the house, and sand stuck inconveniently in those nooks and crannies that you know I’m referring to.
It was a couple of weeks ago that I visited. Incredible YES to the fact that because I travel into the city everyday for work the 40 min bus ride to the beach was free (pretty much the only advantage of the Opal card). I like to get to the beach early, around 9.30am so I can get my sunbathe on 1. before the crowds arrive; 2. I avoid the main UV danger time of lunchtime; and 3. I’m home for a delicious home-cooked lunch instead of giving into temptation and getting calamari and chips.
So this last time I visited, I set myself up on my rock, looking out at the beach and crystal-blue water with my shades on and hair blowing in the wind, stripped down to my bikini and lay back in the morning warmth and reached for my coconut lotion…to have my phone ring. It was mum. And she wanted to chat. So, being like the dutiful daughter I was, I obliged.
She had gotten it off her chest about 40 minutes later and once I hung up the phone, I realised I was way too hot and turned over. Ten or fifteen minutes like this and I realised I hadn’t put any SPF on and quickly sat up and slathered myself all over. But the damage was done. I went home an hour later feeling overly-warm, made lunch, and in the mid-afternoon when I went to look at myself in the mirror, I had a stomach the colour of a summer sunset. Over the next couple of days of slapping on Laser Clinic’s Laser Aid (wonderful for sunburn), my burn transitioned into possibly the worst bikini tan lines I’ve ever seen. And no, a photo will not be uploaded here of said lines, but I can say that I will be avoiding the beach for a few weeks.
A tan is great for making you look like you’ve lost weight. A salad does the same thing – legitimately. I had bought some beans one evening intending to make a Nicoise salad, but never got around to buying the other ingredients. I was at work one afternoon and felt like cooking a steak that evening, but didn’t know what veges I could have with it. Beans by themselves are so bland. I had a Google search and stumbled across Not Quite Nigella‘s recipe for a Green Bean Salad, and with a few other ideas I loosely threw something together which turned out to be jaw-droppingly delicious. This recipe will definitely be staying in my repertoire. It’s beautiful with any grilled meat or even just on its own.
To serve two, you will need:
- 300g green beans, topped and tailed, longer ones halved;
- One teaspoon butter;
- One bunch small red radishes, washed, root removed and sliced thinly (preferably with a mandolin);
- 6-8 squares of marinated feta cheese;
- One punnet fresh oregano leaves, about one loose handful;
- One loose handful fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves;
- One medium-sized purple eschallot;
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil;
- 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar;
- Lime juice, salt and freshly cracked black peppercorns to taste.
Make the chimichurri by pulsing the oregano, parsley and eschallot in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, a squeeze of lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into a bowl or airtight jar and put to one side.
Bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil and blanch the beans in the boiling water for one minute so that they’re bright green but still crunchy. Remove from the heat, drain and wash the beans under cold running water to stop the cooking process. I like my beans quite crunchy, but if you prefer them softer cook them for another minute max.
Heat a medium frying pan over low heat and add the teaspoon of butter. Toss the blanched beans in with the melted butter to get them beautifully glossy and buttery. Turn off the heat and add the sliced radish.
Serve in a bowl to share or onto a plate. Break up the feta between your fingers and toss over the beans and radish slices. Spoon over the chimichurri, crack over some black pepper and dig in.
For the Sydney-siders – this Thursday I’ll be going to the exclusive opening of Neil Perry’s new establishment, Burger Joint, in World Square. Keep your eyes peeled! If my schedule allows, Friday’s post will be all over it like aloe vera on hot flushed skin 😉