Uncategorized

Possibilities with paint

Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan

Anybody that knows me understands that I am the most impatient person in the world and that watching paint dry would not be something you would be likely to find me doing. With decorative Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan even the most impatient person can enjoy fast and fabulous results.

My homewares store, Bent on Life is not just the little sister of Bent on Food, it is an equally special place filled to the brim with beautiful things all lovingly selected for our customers.
When we started trading at Bent on Life in 2009 we were fortunate to find some really special French Provincial furniture from a Melbourne supplier. Unfortunately that company ceased trading late last year and we were left with a gap. Over the years we often picked up old pieces and we wished that we had a quick easy, and effective way of restyling each piece. We began to search for a product that would allow us to do this and we found Chalk Paint™ decorative paint by Annie Sloan. We looked up the website, read the blogs and decided that this product was a perfect fit for our store. We applied to be stockists and we were over the moon when our application was approved. This is an exclusive product and is only found in very beautiful outlets.

Before the paint is dispatched, we must undergo training  on how to use it and how to help our customers create beautiful pieces. So I wrote this blog on a flight home from Melbourne after 2 days of training that involved lots of painting.  The Annie Sloan team live and breathe the product and our trainer Barbara was very knowledgeable and talented so she made painting with this amazing product seem easy. And guess what? It really is the easiest way I have ever seen to transform furniture and much more, the results are amazing.  We managed to create some beautiful finishes and I enjoyed every moment; but the best thing? You can do it too.
My staff and I can’t wait to share this product with you, start saving all those old pieces that you were thinking of throwing out as you will soon be breathing new life into them and creating beautiful additions for your home. Think any style that suits your decor and you can do it with this product; French Provincial (our favourite), retro, country, Art Deco, vintage, and much more is possible.
The paint requires no primer, and it doesn’t smell making so you can paint just about anywhere and almost anything!

I will be bringing you some more ideas in future blogs, with classes set to begin soon. Keep an eye on the website or join the mailing list to find out more.

You can also visit Annie Sloan’s blog  to get more tips and see some of the beautiful creations that can be made.

Blog -Annie Sloan


   Shop at Bent online for Chalk                                                   Paint™ by Annie Sloan

Uncategorized

Just Bent


Once again I have put aside my blogging for far too long. I really enjoy sitting down and putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, but something else always needs doing and the blog goes down to the the bottom of the the very long list. Today is different; my wonderful staff gave me the day off and I decided to enjoy a spot of baking and a spot of cleaning, and before you say anything, I actually enjoy cleaning, sad but true. I love to play music really loud and sing while I clean, but mostly I love the finished product, a clean house.  And finally before a glass of wine and some left over restaurant food, I am going to write my blog.

I thought I would start with a yummy recipe which has been adapted from AWW, this is the moistest gluten free cake that I have ever made and it is incredibly tasty. I made this yesterday at home and added orange blossom water to make it a little more Mediterranean,  changed the sugar to brown,  also adding baking powder to make it a little lighter. You can add ginger or dates, I sometimes add organic ginger syrup. I enjoy cooking at home, even if my kitchen is a little small. Home is where I find peace and serenity, a happy little haven in the bush complete with my pets and the native animals.

Gluten free pistachio and almond cake

Ingredients
125g pistachio kernels
3 cups almond meal
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
5 eggs
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
250g butter melted, cooled
3/4 raw sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon baking powder (gluten free)
Oil for brushing pan

Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C or 160 degrees fan forced.
Brush cake tin around 250mm x 150mm in size.
Grind pistachios (keep around 30 to place on top of cake)
Using a whisk combine ground pistachios, almond meal, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in large bowl.
Beat eggs lightly, melt butter and combine.
Pour into almond mixture and stir to combine.
Pour batter into greased pan.
Place pistachios on top of batter.
Cook for around 35 minutes. 
Meanwhile place raw sugar, honey and water in saucepan and heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil, uncovered for about 2 minutes.
Pierce cake with toothpick and pour hot syrup on to cake.

Just Bent

I have decided to change the name of my blog from Bent on Food to “Just Bent” as I want it to reflect the many things that make up the “bent” brand and concept.  There are some exciting new products and initiatives coming up as we celebrate 10 years in business in 2014 and I want to be able to blog  about both my businesses along with anything else that may make its way to the “bent” stable. I also believe that values and beliefs are very important when creating and delivering a brand and I would like to share some of the values that make up “bent”. I will be blogging about life and the lives of those who cross my path. We will talk food, wine, music, sustainability, travel, home decorating, business, coffee, lifestyle and anything that pops up. I will also share some of my favourite blogs, I hope you can follow my journey.
Cheers,
Donna

Uncategorized

Cooking with kids is cool

I have found a new love, it is one that I am quite suprised about considering I am the most impatient person I know, but I really do enjoy teaching kids to cook. I love how excited they get when they watch their pizza dough rising in the oven, I love how the kitchen allows them to lick their fingers and get flour all over their clothes. I can even cope with the mess they make because they are enjoying themselves so it just doesn’t matter.

Kids are cool, especially as they haven’t got that attitude yet that comes with teenage years, innocence is bliss and simplicity is king. I always remember when my little brother was around 5 years old, he had toys galore but he preferred to hang out in a washing machine box that my sisters and I painted in bright colours with $1.50 worth of paint. Its the same with cooking, a few eggs, some flour, and an oven makes them happy.

Kids love to cook and it is not just a fun pastime, it is a life skill. I am always thrilled when I bring some produce from my property and the children are excited that I actually grew it. Some of the children have their own chooks and a vegetable garden, others are from the city and love to hear about the farms that their new friends live on. The most amazing thing is that they all love to cook.

We will be teaching a range of classes in the school holidays, and most recently we have begun to run kids parties, where kids can get their friends together for a birthday party and even get to make their very own cake. We also love to run paddock to plate classes where they get to collect their own eggs to make pasta with. The options are endless.

For information about Bent on Kids cooking classes and paddock to plate tours, call Donna on 
0419 490 312 or email donna@bentonfood.com.au
Uncategorized

A Taste of Vietnam

A few months ago I was fortunate to fulfill at least one of my many dreams and travel to Vietnam.  Last year when Karenne from Travelworld Taree suggested I take a cooking tour, I was just a bit more than interested. I wanted a trip where I could get amongst it, where it would be all about the food and the culture with some relaxation time thrown in. Mostly I wanted to learn to cook like the Vietnamese do. My goal was to take a bunch of foodies on a trip that would teach them to cook a great Vietnamese meal and showcase the food of the region.What I wasn’t aware of was that some of the group didn’t think they would be cooking at all, instead they had planned to relax while their partners cooked. I was thrilled that after the first class in Ha Noi everybody cooked their way through Vietnam with great gusto, 

Eugenie, Adrian, Kath, Robert, Chris, Janet, Donna, Penny, Bill and Zung

We were extremely fortunate that our guide for the 2 weeks was as passionate about this country as we were excited to be there, Zung stayed with us for the entire trip, taking us to some of his more local restaurants and showing us behind the scenes. Zung will be our guide next year and I look forward to meeting with him again.





Our first experience with Vietnam was flying into Ho Chi Min City with fabulous views of the Mekong Delta, amazing snakelike waterways weaving their way around the tapestry of rice paddies and crops. We flew straight to Ha Noi to get some rest before our cooking lesson and tour of the Hom Cho (markets) the next day.  






Our teacher for the day was Miss Mo and she took us to the local markets where we were introduced to a vast array of seafood, meats and exotic fruit, along with many motorbikes tearing through the bustling market place threatening to knock us over. We survived the first of many of these experiences and I grew to enjoy the craziness. Ha Noi is a bustling city but it has a less hassled feel than other Asian cities I have visited. 


Being in the food industry, I was a little unsure of the meat that sat all day on tables without any refrigeration, collecting dust from the road. I secretly hoped that we were not going to be cooking this meat. I had a giggle to myself as I thought of what Josh, the local health inspector would make if it. 

Our first day of cooking was held at Hoa Sua Vocational Training School where economically disadvantaged youth learn to be chefs and hospitality workers. The kitchen where we spent the day was alongside the commercial kitchen and the students were quite interested in what we were doing there. Our menu was to deep fried Vietnamese spring rolls, sweetcorn soup, rice noodles with grilled pork and for dessert we made mung beans in syrup. It was a most enjoyable day and we were all extremely thrilled with our first day of cooking