Last year I was stupid enough to try and run a half marathon with no training. Yes, that’s right, NO training, not even a little 5km run within weeks of the big event. Amazingly, I managed to run all the way till 17km, and it was only then that my body gave up and I had to walk the rest. The worst part was the recovery though. I literally couldn’t move the next day, and it took me a good ten minutes to simply get out of bed.

This year I decided to do it all again, but with the difference being that I was going to train properly. I’m a very stubborn person, and when I set my mind to a goal, I give it 110%. This meant that for 12 weeks leading up to the race, I was training 6 days a week, in the morning before I went to work. It sounds crazy, but it very quickly became a habit, and on the few occasions where I skipped a morning run because I was sick, I really missed it. I never thought I’d become one of those people that were addicted to exercise, but by some strange phenomenon I think I have.

Anyway, all the hard work did pay off. I ran my half marathon last week, and I ran it comfortably. For me it was not about the time (which was nothing spectacular), but it was about finishing the race, finishing it well and enjoying it. There were so many things along the 21.1km run that really put a smile on my face. To the parkrun volunteer standing on St Kilda Rd yelling out words on encouragement, thankyou. Parkrun has become an integral part of my Saturday mornings, and everything associated with it makes me smile, so it was heartening to see a parkrun fluoro vest whilst I was trying to run four and a bit parkruns.

To the band that was singing Prince’s Raspberry Beret as we ran onto Albert Park Lake, thankyou. That song is one of my favourites, and despite huffing and puffing somewhat, I still managed to sing a few lines to myself as I was running.

To Melissa, who was standing on St Kilda Rd as I came back up from Fitzroy St, thankyou. It was so exciting so see you standing on the median strip, cheering everyone on, and hearing a ‘GO MONICA!!’ as I ran past! It certainly put a spring in my step, and a noticeable increase in my pace which can my seen on my Garmin stats.

But I don’t think anything excited me more than being able to run onto the MCG. I was so glad that I had something left in the tank because I absolutely ran my heart out as I entered Melbourne’s great sporting cauldron. I sprinted past people, I soaked in the atmosphere, and as an Indian, all I could think about was the fact that I was competing on the same turf that Sachin Tendulkar had competed on. It was just a little bit special.

Of course, once the half marathon was over, my stomach demanded some attention and I was desperate for food. I came home, devoured a massive bowl of risotto, ate half a pizza, and yet I was still starving. Greasy, salty foods are what I always crave after a run, so I decided that I could only be sated if I could get my hands on a burger and chips.  I wanted somewhere reasonably local, because I really was too tired to trek anywhere too far, but I wanted something good. In recent weeks my Instagram feed has been full of burgers from YOMG in Glen Waverley, so this is where we decided to go.

7pm in Glen Waverley and the place was pumping. It still amuses me to think that Glen Waverley is now a place where people come to hang out, and you have to struggle to find parking! When I was at high school, it was just another suburb, nothing special, and you definitely wouldn't plan a big night out there. How times change!

There was a line at YOMG and there was someone at the front writing names down on a waiting list. We were told there would be a ten minute wait for a table, and that if we wanted we could order right then and there, and by the time our food was ready, there would probably we a table ready too. This sounded like a good plan to us.

The menu is simple. YOMG were originally focused on frozen yogurt (hence the name), but the Glen Waverley branch has broadened its offerings to include burgers, fries and milkshakes. There are also chicken wings but this was of no interest to me!  There were two vegetarian burgers on the menu, the Hipster and the Mr. Potato Head. The Hipster was a mushroom burger, and I had been having a lot of mushroom burgers recently, so I opted for Mr. Potato Head. The other half went for one of the specials, which was a chicken burger with Southern fried chicken. We also chose some loaded fries, namely the Fetta Fetish. After all, the only way to improve deep fried potato is to serve it with cheese. The other half also decided that running 21.1k deserved a reward in the form of a milkshake so upon recommendation from one of the staff he ordered a salted peanut butter caramel milkshake. It sounded so indulgent!

As promised, our table was ready in about ten minutes, and almost as soon as we sat down, our food was ready too. The burgers and fries are served in cardboard containers on a tray which makes for excellent food porn photography. You only have to follow the #YoMyGoodness hashtag on Instagram to see how much fun people are having!

After our first bite, it was clear that YOMG knew their burgers. They were exactly what we wanted in a burger. This was no burger trying to disguise itself as healthy. These burgers weren’t hiding the fact that they were oily and fatty, but they were also not skimping on taste and flavour either. The Mr. Potato Head burger was definitely the right choice. To the person who thought of substituting a vegetable patty for a couple of potato cakes, you should be awarded a medal of some sort. It was genius. Add some cheese, some slaw, pickles, mayo, sauce and a fried egg, this burger was a heaven of sorts. It was exactly what my body was craving and I was a happy diner.

The other half was also very content with his burger. I don’t even remember exactly what was in it, but I know there was fried chicken and bacon. Apparently these ingredients are the key to a man’s heart.

I had high hopes for the loaded fries. There was a big container of chips, generously topped with fetta, dukkha, oregano, spring onion and a squeeze of lemon. It sounded amazing, but unfortunately I think it was a little too much. Loaded fries run the risk of becoming soggy too quickly, and this was the case here. It was also extremely heavy, and so we struggled to finish it. I think if would want fetta on your fries, Jimmy Grants does a better version. It is much more restrained, but it means that nothing gets soggy, and the subtle hint of fetta is more than sufficient.

The milkshake however was delicious. Sweet, with the hint of saltiness to bring out the flavour, which was truly indulgent. I am not a big peanut butter fan, but this was good.

When we finished our meal and left, there was still a queue of people waiting to order and get a seat. This was indicative of how good YOMG is. It’s not the healthiest meal, but that is the least of my concerns when I’ve just run a half marathon! It is however super yummy, and a brilliant option when you want a cheat meal.

YOMG - Yo My Goodness Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Located in a small alley, at the top of a flight of stairs, is a place you may never have known existed – unless you are a ramen enthusiast. I had never tasted ramen before. It is a Japanese noodle soup, usually made with a meat based stock as the base, which doesn’t make it very vegetarian friendly. Fukuryu Ramen however, has developed a vegetarian ramen, made with a vegan broth and miso paste, which meant that I could taste it!

We got there for a late dinner one Saturday night. The restaurant was fairly large and only about half full, so finding a table was not an issue. All the ordering is done first at the counter and paid for before you take your seats. I was sure I was going to try the ramen, but the other half is not a soup fan, so instead he decided to try a variety of small dishes.

We sat down, got ourselves some self serve water (they have a choice of chilled, room temperature and sparkling!) and waited for our food. It wasn’t long before the dishes started to arrive.

Our first dish was some okonomi balls. These were fried balls filled with egg and pork belly and served with Japanese BBQ sauce and kewpie mayo. The other half said these were ok, but he wasn’t blown away. There were very heavy, and he didn’t manage to finish them all.

Next to arrive was the chicken karaage, which seemed to be the Japanese take on KFC. With Korean fried chicken, one of the latest fads, it seems only fair that the Japanese put their spin on it too. The chicken was served with citrus mayo and some fresh cabbage salad. In what was becoming a theme for the night, it was deemed to be OK, but again, nothing special.

My ramen arrived next and I was excited. On the tables there were a variety of condiments that you could add to your dish, so I added some chilli flakes. There was also a variety of sauces and oils, but I decided to take the conservative approach because nothing seemed to be labelled and I am sure that some of the condiments would have had fish sauce in them.

The vegetarian miso ramen came with buttered corn, grilled pumpkin and a gooey egg. There was also some soft noodles, mushrooms and sunflower seeds. The broth was lovely and light, and very comforting. The egg was perfect, and whilst I may not be a ramen connoisseur, I know a good egg when I taste one.  I had ordered a regular size ramen which was perfect for me. They also do a large size, but I think this would be too much for most people.

The other half still had another side dish to eat. He had ordered soft shell crab mini sandwiches. These were soft shell crabs served with cabbage and spicy mayo in a steamed bun. These were deemed to be delicious, but way too spicy. I think there were equal proportions of crab to spicy mayo and it was just too much. In the end the other half tried to scrape off as much of the mayo as possible, but it was still too spicy.

We also ordered some curry chips. I am a sucker for anything deep fried and I can rarely go past chips. In line with the latest craze of loaded fries, Fukuryu Ramen and loaded they fries up with some Japanese potato curry (yes, potato with potato) and cheese. The chips weren’t bad, but like all loaded fries, it was a very heavy dish, and because of the curry, the chips went soggy very quickly.

We also ordered a green tea parfait to finish off the meal. Unfortunately I am not a matcha fan, so I really didn’t like this dessert. It was basically matcha soft serve topped with cream. I forgot to take a photo of this one too, so you’re just going to have to trust me on this.

Fukuryu Ramen are also on the social media train. For any selfie you share of your food with their hashtags on Instagram, you can score yourself a free green tea soft serve. Once again, I’m not a fan, so not worth it for me, but for matcha lovers, I’m thinking this is a good deal!

On the whole we weren’t blown away by the meal. The ramen was lovely, but none of the sides were anything special. Still, if you are on the hunt for a decent ramen, perhaps Fukuryu Ramen is worth a visit.

Fukuryu Ramen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclaimer: I dined here courtesy of Zomato and Fukuryu Ramen, however I was not paid for this post and all opinions are my own.
At the recent Age Good Food awards, Tipo 00 received the accolade for Best New Restaurant and also was awarded one hat. Given our recent dining experience, I can confidently say that the awards were deserved. Named after the traditional flour used to make fresh pasta, Tipo 00 prides themselves on their housemade pasta, but to be honest I think they do a pretty good job with everything else on the menu too.

We went there for dinner, and not wanting to have to decide what to order from the menu, we decided to indulge in the Chef’s Table option. $55 for a selection of entrées, two pastas and a dessert sounded fabulous, and the waiter told us that he could easily accommodate my vegetarian requirements, so we were all in!

The meal started with a series of small plates to share. Our first dish of the night was a mushroom and truffle arancini. These were delicious bites of a crisp and crunchy shell, full flavoured risotto and delicious gooey cheese in the centre. Mushrooms are one of my favourite flavours so, for me, this was the perfect start to the meal.

Our next entrée was a complimentary serve of bread, but in true Tipo 00 style, they took it one step further than a usual restaurant.   The bread was a freshly baked focaccia, and served with it was some fresh ricotta drizzled in basil oil. The flavour of the basil, the creaminess of the ricotta and the soft bread, made this dish amazing.

Our third entrée was my favourite. We received some beautifully dressed heirloom tomatoes, croutons of sour dough and the shining star of the dish, a big hunk of burrata. For those of you who haven’t had burrata before, do yourself a favour and try it. It is AH-MAZING. I don’t think anything I could write about this cheese would convey how good it was. You’re just going to have to trust me when I say that you need this in your life.

We thought this was the end of our entrées, but suddenly there was another dish placed on our table. Our last small dish was braised globe artichoke hearts, served with almonds and parmesan. This dish was definitely not as good as the burrata, but it was still good. It was served piping hot, and the contrasting textures of the artichokes and the almonds made it an interesting dish.

As we waited for our mains to arrive (I might add that the service here is super quick, so we didn’t wait long at all!), we took the opportunity to watch the chefs work at the semi open kitchen. Working at a large marble benchtop, it was special to watch them at their craft, whether it be shelling prawns, shaving prosciutto off a leg of ham or kneading dough.

Our first pasta dishes arrived. I received a cauliflower tortellini in a burnt butter sauce. Tipo 00 weren’t lying when they said that they prided themselves on their pasta. I am lucky enough to have some pretty amazing homemade pasta on a regular basis courtesy of some pretty amazing Italians in my life, and this Tipo 00 pasta was right up there. It was soft and melted in my mouth. The cauliflower filling was also beautifully flavoured and the rich butter sauce complimented it perfectly.

The other half received his first non vegetarian course of the night. It was a squid ink tagliolini with squid and botarga, which is a cured fish roe. This dish looked so pretty, and was deemed to be very tasty too.

My second dish was a stinging nettles and saltbush risotto served with pink peppercorns. Vibrant green in colour, and garnished with little pink droplets, the texture of the risotto was perfectly creamy. As expected, it was also full of flavour, and whilst I was a little disappointed and not being able to experience the amazing pasta again, the risotto was still appreciated.

The other half received what he declared as his favourite dish so far. It was a potato gnocchi served with braised duck, porcini mushroom and pecorino cheese. The gnocchi was described as soft and fluffy, but the highlight was the sauce. Rich in flavour, with tender pieces of duck, he said it was possibly one of the best sauces he had tasted. Big call for an Italian.

We also received a salad to have with our mains. It was a rocket, radicchio and pear salad dressed with lots of delicious, sweet balsamic.  The bitterness of the radicchio contrasted the sweetness of the pear and made it work. I hadn’t tried this combination before, but I think I may make it myself.

And then it was time for dessert. Tipo 00 had possibly saved the best for last. We had been eyeing off the desserts on the other table and suffering from a little bit of food envy, but to our excitement, we received two mini dishes of the infamous tipomisu, the Tipo 00 take on tiramisu.

There were little cakes of rich chocolate and coffee, and dollops of creamy mascarpone. Then the waiter poured hot, thick salted caramel over the dish. Oh boy. It was special.  I’m not usually a big fan of chocolate desserts but somehow this hit the spot. I think it was the salted caramel sauce that really made this dish, I could have drunk that by the cup.

We also received a second dessert to share. It was a lemon myrtle panna cotta served with toasted almonds, dehydrated mandarin and mandarin coulis. Panna cotta is one of my favourite desserts and this one was good. The flavours were delicate and fresh, making it the perfect ending to the meal.

Our experience at Tipo 00 was a special one. This is definitely a restaurant worthy of its accolades. Just make sure you book. It was busy on the night we went, and given all the recent publicity, I can only imagine that it will get busier.

Tipo 00 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
This post is brought to you by Nuffnang and Mission Foods

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always had an aversion to sandwiches for lunch. They were so boring, usually went soggy because mum put tomato in them, and the biggest problem was probably that we never got nice bread, it was always the super processed stuff from the supermarket. All through primary school and high school I was always the daggy kid that brought her lunch in a container. Even when I didn’t have access to a microwave, I was much happier eating cold rice and curry than a soggy, squashed sandwich.

Fast forward a decade or two (jeez it has been a long time since I was at school), and my lunch world has changed. I still love leftover rice and curry, but there are so many other options that are available now.

I was recently sent some Mission Red Quinoa, and Chia wraps. Both quinoa and chia seeds have recently become very popular superfoods, and whilst I am usually skeptical of supposed health food fads, these grains really are quite good for you! Both grains originated in Central and South America and are integral to the diet there. Chia and quinoa clearly worked for the Aztecs and Incas because they did some pretty amazing things, namely Chichen Itza and Machu Picchu.

The Mission wraps take all the goodness of these superfoods and present them in a convenient wrap form. To me, usually wraps mean an extremely processed form of food, but these Mission wraps are all natural and contain no artificial colours or flavours. They are also a great source of fibre, omega 3 fats, calcium and protein, but most importantly they are soft and taste great.

What I like best about the wraps was the resealable pack. Make sure you don’t open them at the top, there is actually a sticky panel down the side that you can peel open, and then restick if you don’t need the whole pack. Brilliant!

I decided to try a couple of things with the wraps that would make delicious brunch or lunch recipes.

Firstly I made a brunch burrito. I am lucky enough to regularly receive some super free range duck eggs, and these eggs are amazing. The yolks are golden and so rich, and when scrambled they are simply delicious. I made some of these scrambled eggs, added some grated tasty cheese and some baby spinach. Dressed with some chipotle aioli, this made a perfect brunch burrito. Soft wraps, creamy eggs and oozey cheese make me very happy.

I also decided to make a tempeh stirfry to fill the wraps with for lunch. I had some tempeh in the freezer, and having never cooked with tempeh before, I decided that this was a good way to try and use it.

Tempeh Stirfry in Red Quinoa Wraps


200g frozen tempeh (you can use the plain or flavoured varieties), thawed and chopped into small cubes
2 carrots, julienned
1 capsicum, cut into thin strips
1/2 large eggplant, cut into small pieces
¼ bunch spring onion, chopped
Small knob ginger, chopped finely or grated
1 tbs soya sauce
1 tbs tomato sauce
8 Mission Red Quinoa Wraps


1.    Heat some oil in a large skillet or wok and fry the tempeh until it is golden.

2.    Add the ginger and fry it off.

3.    Next add the carrots and capsicum and toss through for a few minutes.

4.    Add the eggplant, and sauces and mix through. If the mixture seems a bit dry and is sticking to the pan, add a little water.

5.    Cover the pan with a lid and let the vegetables cook for a few minutes.

6.    In the meantime, heat the wraps in the microwave. The wraps can be heated in the packet, just make sure to take out the little silicon pouch!

7.    Place the wraps on a plate, and fill with the stir fry mixture. Be careful not to be too greedy and overfill, otherwise you will end up with a big mess while eating!

8.    Wrap and eat!

The Mission Wraps are available at Woolworths and selected independent supermarkets for a RRP of $4.79. More information and other recipe ideas are available on the Mission Foods website.

Disclaimer: I received these products courtesy of Nuffnang and Mission Foods, however I was not paid for this post and all opinions are my own.