Restaurant Review: The Cove at Drummoyne

This weekend I am resting at home because I am sick. I was suppose to be at work but due to my blocked nose and wailing "I'm siiiiiiiick" all around the house I am at home reminiscing about last weekend where I was well and out having brunch and shopping. Last weekend I took my family out to brunch at The Cove at Drummoyne. It was the first day of sunshine after weeks of rainy Sydney weather and there was much excitement among my siblings.

The restaurant is beautifully situated facing Iron Cove with glimpses of waterfront views no matter where you are sitting! Sadly the restaurant did not do bookings on weekends so we had to wait 40minutes as we needed a table of 5. If you are looking to go I can't stress enough that you should book on weekdays and be prepared to wait on weekends if you have a big group. The place was very popular due to it's great location and the customers appeared to be mostly mothers and joggers.

After finally getting a seat we were eager to start ordering. Food came out in a reasonable time.

I had the speciality home made baked beans with spinach and bacon on house loaf and topped with a poached egg $18.50

This was very yummy and my brother was taking a large portion of my baked beans away because it was so delicious! Baked beans are a great source of fibre and protein which both help to keep you feeling full for longer. They are also low GI, fat free, has been shown to lower your cholesterol and are a great source of vegetable/legumes. This means that incorporating baked beans in your breakfast will give you slow releasing sustained energy, contribute to a serve of vegetables and thus keep you going until lunchtime! Is there any other reason not to eat beans?? (Okay it may cause flatulence.....)

I'm not a big fan of bacon, not only because of the fat and salt content but I just don't like the taste so I shared most of my bacon with the family. The bacon in this meal wasn't the leanest I've seen but the fat could easily have been trimmed off.

The spinach is another great vegetable serving! And the poached organic and free range egg was perfection. Eggs are a great source of nutrients. Just imagine it's suppose to nourish a growing chicken! The heart foundation recommends it's healthy to consume up to 6 eggs a week.

This is the dish my dad originally ordered. It was another house specialty of smoked Tasmanian salmon with rocket, avocado and fetta cheese on house loaf $18.50. My dad doesn't like fetta cheese so gave this to my mum.

Funny story while eating:
Mum: This salmon isn't very salty compared to some other salmon I've had
Dad: It's Tasmanian salmon
Mum: Is the water in Tasmania less salty?  

Salmon is a great source of good omega 3 fatty acids!

My dad swapped the salmon dish for this: Panini with fried egg, bacon, onion jam, rocket and aioli $12.50. My dad called this the rich man's bacon egg roll.

My sister decided to go for a sweet dish: Crumpets with ricotta, strawberries and honey $13.50.

Ricotta is a really great low fat cheese that is soft and easy to spread. Use it instead of cream. However the calcium content of ricotta is not as great as for hard yellow cheeses like cheddar.

My brother wasn't adventurous enough to try ricotta cheese so he had the scones with cove berry jam and cream $5.50

We also had a few coffees that I didn't get to take a snap of it. I am not a great coffee drinker (It gets me jittery) so I can't really comment on how great the coffee is but my parents are both baristas and drink coffee daily. They said the coffee was really good and creamy and they used a good quality chocolate powder.

I had previously been to the cove once to have breakfast and had: 

Chorizo, mushroom, fresh tomato, rocket and sweet paprika omelette $17.50
The omelette was great and filling but I felt the eggs were a bit dry. See that yellow slice between the bread? It's butter. Lots of it. Don't judge me but I've never had butter on toast until a couple of days before this outing! With the new discovery I got a little too happy with the knife and slathered too much butter on... It wasn't pretty....

Also had a slice of banana bread with banana, ricotta and honey $5.50 that day. It was just ordinary to me.

The bill for our family brunch was over $70 so I wouldn't say it's the most affordable brunch but the food was delicious, the service was courteous (despite the long wait) and the view was fantastic.

Health factor?

  • The breakfast menu included a number of healthy choices and many meals had at least some vegetable addition. 
  • There is wholemeal bread options and also gluten free breads for those with coeliac disease. 
  • They have some nice berry smoothies as well  
  • Ask them to trim the bacon or pick dishes with no bacon 
  • Avoid spreading too much butter on the bread (Like me!)
  • Choose dishes without the bĂ©arnaise sauce 
  • Choose dishes with the vegetables such as rocket, spinach, asparagus, mushrooms, tomatoes and avocado

Look at this view! I would happily go and have breakfast or try their lunch and dinner options again but with my student budget it might have to be reserved for special occasions only!

What have you been up to this weekend?

Birthday Cakes- Strawberry and Cream Cake

Today is my dear sister's 12th Birthday and on the weekend I made this strawberry and cream cake at her request!

I said she could request any cake she liked as long as we had the equipment to make it and she picked a strawberry and cream cake!

Recipe from: Seasalt with Food

As it was a special occasion I didn't do any healthy variations to it as it wasn't something we would be eating all the time. See dietitians can have cream and cake too! My siblings both loved the cake but they said my chia seed cupcakes were better (recipe coming soon).

(However I couldn't resist using low GI sugar and spreading less cream on it!)

After finishing a slice of cake my 9yo brother proclaimed "I don't like junk food. Everytime I eat something super fatty or oily or sweet my tummy doesn't like it!"

It wasn't too long before he rejected the rest of his cake slice and went to the bathroom!

Oops I really didn't want to end on a bathroom note so here's another pretty cake picture!

Are Detox Programs the Way to Good Health?- The Clean Program

Earlier this week, while browsing Bryan Boy (a popular fashion blog) I came across a diet I hadn't seen before. It's called the Clean Program. Eager to find out more I played the 2 videos he attached:

The diet seemed to have a good foundation at the beginning, remove the obstacles and add what is lacking. All good right? Until I heard the doctor’s solution:
His diet is based on a juice at breakfast, a solid food lunch from his approved list of foods and another juice for dinner and throughout the day a cocktail of supplements. 

According to him all foods consumed should meet the following criteria:
  • Free from packaging or processing including canned foods, foods in any boxes and all fast foods
  • Remove foods that are known allergens: egg, dairy, gluten, soy, corn, shellfish, nuts, nightshade plants
  • Reduce acidic and mucous forming foods such as red meat, dairy and wheat
  • Remove foods that cause inflammation such as processed and refined grains, sugars and hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats
  • Remove caffeine, sodas and alcohol
  • Remove foods that suppress liver detoxification such as grapefruit and oranges
  • No pesticides, growth hormone or genetically modified foods. Choose wild fish not farmed.
I must admit I have not read his book but I have read both the positive and negative reviews on Amazon and checked out his website as well as other reviews on the diet. The reason why I decided to comment on this diet is it is quite a typical detox diet.  Many people often love trying detox diets as it promises quick weight loss, feelings of well being and is temporary.

Let me just say, I am an advocate of a healthy lifestyle and to me a detox is not a lifestyle.  I have read many diet books: Some rubbish, some great and others fantastic! Sometimes behind lots of jargon and emotive language, it becomes difficult to distinguish a good diet book from a bad one. More often than not detox diets belong in the rubbish and dangerous category.  

Here is why I don't support his Clean Program:
  1. A 21 day detox is not a balanced diet. Your body has systems in place to clean and filter itself. It does not need a detox! Most people who go on detoxes return to their previous diet right after which doesn't change their lifestyle at all and often any weight lost is gained back, sometimes in places you didn't want it to go to....   
  2. A diet should not eliminate whole food groups. I believe there are no bad foods and there is a place for all types of foods in a healthy diet in varying amounts. Dr Junger's reason's for excluding certain foods are unfounded on evidence based science (such as the dairy and mucous example) and people with no allergens should not be cutting out certain foods based on their potential to be an allergen. It's like saying people with no fear of heights should not be sky diving because of the potential of dying, or people shouldn't swim due to the potential of sharks. You get my point. Cutting out a large variety of foods means the possibility of missing out on essential nutrients which is probably why Dr Junger has a multitude of supplements to sell you. 
  3. Liquid diets aren’t very fun. I mean really do you want to only have one solid meal a day? Could you keep that up as a lifestyle? The other thing that comes with liquid meals is weight loss. There isn't very much energy/calories in a cup of vegetable juice and if this was a long term diet it would lead to loss of muscle mass and malnutrition. 
  4. He promotes colonic cleanses if you are not emptying your bowels every day. That has to flag a warning sign up for people! While for some people it may be normal to empty your bowels every day for others it may be every 2-3days. As one of my lecturer's once said "your bowel is as individual as your face." Colonic cleanses and laxatives can be expensive and dangerous and can affect the nutrients your gut is absorbing or more seriously your electrolyte balance. The diet puts in the minds of its customers that the body needs to be flushed clean to make it pure and healthy and that only clean foods can enter the system.  
  5. His supplements are ridiculously expensive!! A balanced diet doesn't really require the input of supplements. However you can purchase his 21 day detox kit for $250 which includes 6 bottles of shakes and supplements. He also sells 1 month supply maintenance kits that also sell for $100+.  Hmm I thought he said you shouldn't be eating anything packaged?  
The thing is many diet books have characteristics of the traits I described above so look out for them the next time you read/hear about a new diet book. The truth is a healthy lifestyle incorporates a balanced diet and exercise. Doesn't sound like it sells books because it's pretty boring sounding right? But it doesn't have to be!! Which is what I'm trying to show you in my blog ;) 

There are a lot of claims I haven't addressed and many people still say they feel better after a detox. Here are a few further reading articles that might help answer some other questions:

Recipe: Baked Pear Dumplings

When I saw these on I knew I wanted to make them! I happened to have some delicious pears on hand, bought some pastry and I was all ready!

The recipe is from Jenius and hers was adapted from BBC Good Food.

I didn't have any 5 spice or almonds or cooking chocolate.....

Baked Pear Dumplings

Serves: Makes two pear dumplings (to be halved to serve four)
Preparation time: 10-20mins depending on how skilled you are with shaping pastry
Cooking time: 30mins
Cost: $1.92 (dependent on whether it's pear season or not)

  • 2 sheets of store-bought shortcrust pastry
  • 2 ripe pears
  • 50g Lindt 70% cocoa chocolate with almonds
  • milk to glaze

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200°C.
  2. Melt the chocolate
  3. Pull the stalk out of each pear and keep them aside.
  4. Core the pears using an apple corer or sharp knife - make sure you scoop out all the seeds.
  5. Cut both sheets of pastry into a circle about 20cm in diameter. Reserve some to make the pastry leaves.
  6. Fill the pears with the chocolate mixture.
  7. Brush the edges of the pastry with water and fold the pastry up around the pear, keeping the shape of the pear. Press to seal and trim off any excess. Brush with milk (or egg whites) and sprinkle with caster sugar.
  8. Make some pastry leaves to stick them to the tops of the pears. Stick a reserved stalk back in each and bake on a baking sheet for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden.
Per pear: Energy:2482kJ/592.8kcal, Protein: 9.35g, Fat: 25.3g, Saturated fat: 13.5g, carbohydrate: 70.7g, Sodium: 315g, Fibre: 6g

I dusted some cocoa powder on some blueberries with a bit of yoghurt and left over almonds from the chocolate. It looks so pretty and yummy doesn't it!

I made 2, one for my sister and one for me and it looked so pretty we were super eager to eat it. And then it was taste test time and....

We HATED it!!!!!!!!

I had never eaten baked pears before so maybe I just don't like the taste of it.... I will probably never make this ever again! I was able to consume half of it before I gave up and threw it away but my sister took a few bites and threw away the rest.

Here are the problems I identified with this dish:
  • For extra fibre, I did not peel the pear so the pear wasn't easily sliced and it didn't stick well with the pastry. I could lift the pastry right off!
  • When I was melting the chocolate I added a bit of milk to make it more liquid... when it was baked the watery part separated from the chocolate! 
  • The pastry was a lot harder to shape around the pear than I imagined! I had to do a lot of patching up with spare pastry bits! 
  • Well some cooking experiments can just fail, even really simple looking ones
Nutritionally speaking
Despite the star of the dessert being a fruit, this dessert is actually hiding a lot of energy/calories. Most of the calories come from the pastry which is also the biggest source of saturated and total fat in this dish. In fact it is the pastry that is hiding away all the good stuff inside it!

The only plus side is the dish is quite low in sodium.

I would personally not have this dessert again because my own one came out tasting horrible! But for those that do like cooking with pears, stick to ones that are poached and treat the pastry type dishes as a sometimes dish. The amount of energy/calories in this dish is equivalent to a meal on its own, no matter how much you try to healthify it with more berries or yoghurt! 

Remember pears are still great fruits to have that are especially high in fibre so have them as is with the skin intact!

Fruit and Yoghurt Parfait

I am a sucker for sweet treats. When I eat out I always flick to the back of the menu first to look at dessert to plan my whole meal around it. I often remark I have a separate stomach for dessert no matter how stuffed I feel. This might have spawned from being deprived of desserts all my life as my family does not have them due to it not being a big part of our culture. The closest I got was fruit. So when I discovered the land of pretty desserts, pastries and chocolate, it became very hard to control myself!

It was actually my 11yr old sister that told me about parfaits. She told me that in French class she learnt parfait is french for the word perfect. When I google imaged the word parfait I came across a myriad of pretty pretty food! I couldn't help myself, had to make it!!

Most American parfaits called for a lot of cream, gelatin and ice cream so I looked more favourably on the ones with fruits and yoghurt.

Parfait Ingredients

  • Yoghurt
  • Muesli/Weetbix/nuts
  • Lots of fruit!!

It's VERY simple to make it doesn't even need a recipe. Just experiment with what looks the most tasty to you and voila! A restaurant quality dessert!

I had a lot of fun making this with my sister and she loved it!

My cup is a plastic one I got at the Wicked show and it lights up! I kept it and now it's come in handy!

This is the one my sister made all by herself!

Use your best crystal or fancy glasses and it really looks like a $15+ dessert at a restaurant!

For my treat I added a bit of low fat whipped cream to the top in an attempt to make a peak at the top and failed! I also put a dusting of cocoa powder. Other things you can add include dried fruit, honey, wafer biscuits,chocolate shavings, frozen berries, chia seeds, crushed nuts etc!! Endless possibilities.

One of my dietitian friends recommended adding Weetbix to yoghurt and I've never looked back! The weetbix adds a little extra nutrition kick and gives the yoghurt some texture. As an added bonus the weetbix won't go soggy in yoghurt. 

Importance of Calcium
One of the other things I've been doing lately is trying to get my sister's calcium intake up. As she is in her growing stage I want her to be tall! Hopefully taller than me and I'm sure everyone knows of calcium's importance in nurturing bone growth. She has slowly incorporated milk but another fun way to do it is through yoghurt! And this dessert is a fun way to do it. Each of our desserts used 1 tub of yoghurt (we used the single serve ones of 175g). 

I usually choose Yoplait Forme as they have sticky date, cheese cake and apple pie flavours! Don't be fooled by the names, they actually only have 0.2g fat, <1% added sugar, use halal gelatine and have 315mg calcium.

For a comparison, a normal adult (19-50yr old) requires 1000mg calcium so this 175g tub of yoghurt can provide over 30% of the requirements for the day.

A 250ml glass of milk provides about 300mg of calcium so milk is also a great source of calcium. Soy milk in Australia is also fortified with calcium but some organic ones do not so make sure to check the label. 

Yoplait forme compared to other low fat yoghurts (based on single serves)
  • Yoplait Forme: 315mg/175g serve
  • Vaalia: ~230-369mg (depending on flavour and size of serve (150g/170g))
  • Ski D'Lite: ~ 318mg/200g serve
  • Nestle Diet: ~164mg/150g serve
As you can see calcium content can vary greatly between different yoghurt products and even between different flavours of the same brand so check the calcium content when buying!

Please note I am not sponsored by any of the above brands and my choice of yoghurt is a balance between flavour preference and nutrition between all the yoghurt consumers at home. The comparisons I made were solely based on calcium content alone and did not take into account any other claims by the different yoghurts companies.

Oh and almost forgot to mention: 
  • Fruit: Fruit in the parfait adds to your vitamin C intake, soluble and insoluble fibre, potassium (depending on fruit) and lots of antioxidants!  
  • Muesli/nuts: Contributes towards your fibre and good fats and depending on the type of nuts used can also be good sources of B vitamins, Vitamin E, selenium, magnesium, manganese and other trace vitamins and minerals   

    Isn't it great to end a day with a pretty and tasty dessert and knowing it will be good for you? 

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    The information presented on this blog acts as general nutrition advice and is not tailored to meet individual needs. It should not be used as a replacement for any medical advice you have recieved from medical practitioners. Please discuss any concerns for your health with your doctor or Accredited Practicing Dietitian before starting a new dietary or exercise regime as they can give more personalised recommendations.

    I make every effort to ensure information on Nutrition with Wendy is correct and up to date however nutrition is an evolving field and discrepancies can arise. If the information here appears incorrect or out of date please let me know and I will do my best to update my posts.