Photo: Daniel Purvis All Creative
.Mandy Nash is an Adelaide makeup artist and body painter, behind Mandy’s Makeup. I was privileged to be granted time to pick her brain recently in the name of novel research. (My current work-in-progress aptly features a dreamy makeup artist/body painter heroine!) After heading to Mandy’s office in a chic shared space in the city and being handed a glass of cucumber water, I switched on my phone’s voice recorder and we got down to the nitty-gritty…
Hi, Mandy. How’d you come to be who you are today? What were you like as a child?
As a kid, I was always really arty. I always had a pen or a paintbrush in my hand. I was a really crafty kind of kid. There was a troop of little kids who lived next door; they’d come around and I’d make them up and we would make funny home videos. So, when I look back, I guess without realising it, [being creative] was always kind of ingrained in who I am. And then obviously I did a lot of art at school.
Did you go to art school?
I wanted to go to an art school after high school but my mum convinced me to take the traditional, conditioned route of going to uni. So I enrolled in a Bachelor of Media at the University of Adelaide, and after my first year, I was starting to get a bit antsy.
I also worked in this café, and on Saturdays, I’d do a split shift and in between [the lunch and dinner shifts], I’d do makeup in the bathroom to go out to town afterwards. One day, my bosses there followed me in and said, "What are you doing in here?" So I showed them, and did one’s makeup and the other’s hair with my crappy little bag of products. That was when one of them suggested, "Why don’t you do a makeup course?" And it had never actually crossed my mind, ever. I never thought of it as a job at all, because [the profession] wasn’t very prominent then.
I’m 26 now, but I was 18 then and it was before Instagram; [makeup artistry] wasn’t so accessible. Though I recalled seeing girls walking around town with their little bags and cases. I kind of thought of it like Frenchie from Grease. So I decided to give it a whirl. I deferred uni for six months and did a Certificate II in Makeup Services [over three months] at Media Makeup in the city.
How’d you get work to begin with?
My first job was at a photographic studio. I was there for about a year-and-a-half and that was really beneficial because they also gave me a crash course in basic hairstyles. And then you really learn on the job. It’s just from experiences and repetition. You’d get clients every hour on the hour for a seven-hour shift and that could be a family or a guy and girl. If you’re doing that quite a few times a week, you’re really getting the experience, not only in your skillset, but how to consult with people and different demographics.
Through that, I was able to connect with quite a few photographers and start my freelance work. You develop this collaborative relationship where you’ll do makeup for them for whatever project they want to do or vice versa.
So one day I went out and bought some face paints for my own project and that started the body painting. I didn’t study how to do that, I just started doing it.
At the photographic studio, I was then given the opportunity to leave the studio and head out to malls and body-paint the promo team to create a bit of a spectacle!
How different is it painting a canvas to a human?
With body painting, your canvas is live, so you need to take into account things like that the model is hydrated, that they’ve had a wiggle every now and then, that they’re keeping their energy levels up because they’re taking positions for a long time. You also want to make sure that they’re warm. My recent exhibition pieces [photos of head-and-shoulders body art] took about two hours to create.
Personally, I like to focalise on the face. The face is my hero and the body just assists. I call my work, like, a fusion. I use face paint, makeup and ‘fabrication’, where I adhere parts on like feathers.
Your go-to makeup products?
I predominantly use MAC. It’s just good quality and it’s a good price-point. I also used to work there so I have in-depth product knowledge! I’d highly recommend MAC’s ‘Vanilla’ pigment for highlights in the inner corner of the eye and the brow bone. You can also mix it with foundation if you want that to be more iridescent, use it on your cheekbone or do a wash over your eye. It’s my all-time favourite!
[MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in] ‘Soft and Gentle’ is similar. It’s a highlight but in a compact version. MAC Painterly Paint Pot is another key product—it’s an eye base that neutralises the lid and brow bone and gives your makeup a 16-plus-hour wear.
Oh, and there’s Strobe Cream, another of my true loves. MAC’s actually patented it. It’s the best for a really fresh, hydrated, dewy skin. Very popular on runway models, it’s a moisturiser with a beautiful iridescence to it. If you can’t tell, I am a big fan of highlighting!
Photos (above and below): Haley Renee Photographer
Photo, above: Sven Kovac
Photo, above: Gee Greenslade
Sarah Belle is a seriously funny writer from Queensland. She has a short tale in the FREE chick-lit ebook anthology, Winter Heat (which I happen to be in, too!), and she's also a part-time vegetarian. We like! I chatted to her, plus nicked a yummy recipe of hers to share.
Hi, Sarah. How long have you been (mostly) vegetarian, and what inspired you to make the change?
I’ve only ever eaten chicken, fish and steak. Pork, bacon and ham have never appealed to me while veal and lamb are babies and I can’t eat babies.
I saw a German video on Facebook last year about Emma the milking cow who had come to the end of her ‘useful’ life from a farming perspective. Most of these cows are then killed, but this one was taken in the back of a horse float to a paddock where she was free to live out the rest of her days in peace.
However, she was terrified in the float and began to cry. Yep, a crying cow! I found myself in tears because the terror on her face was real, she feared death. (Link: https://binged.it/2bOFfEx.)
It occurred to me that I had never given a thought to what animals go through on their journey to my dinner plate. Even though as a kid I was a rabid protestor of fur seal clubbing, whaling and all other cruelty to animals, I hadn’t considered that farming animals experience love, fear, sadness or any other emotion we credit as solely ‘human’. But of course they do - ask any dairy farmer how long a mother cow mews for her calf after he is taken away so we can drink her milk.
After processing all this, my conscience wouldn’t allow me to eat steak, which was hard because I loved steak. A small eye fillet with pepper sauce was heaven! However, a year later, I am now repelled by the flavour of steak, and considering the horrors of live exporting, I feel that I am making my own stand. I respect everyone else’s choice but have made a commitment of my own and am feeling good about it.
Your favourite go-to vegetarian dishes?
I haven’t quite succumbed to the proper vegetarian diet of tofu, nut meat or beans, but I eat loads of veggies, eggs, tuna, chicken (I am only 85% vego!), and nuts and seeds.
Have you ever snuck a vegetarian character or recipe into a story you’ve written?
I haven’t as yet! I usually don’t write about food because I’m not a foodie as such. I wish I was a foodie because people get so excited about different dishes whereas I’m really boring and am happy eating a peanut butter sandwich!
Sarah Belle’s Multi-vore Cannelloni
1 box of cannelloni shells
2 x 375g tubs of smooth ricotta cheese (I use low-fat, but regular is fine)
1 packet of thawed frozen spinach
1.5 jars of Paul Newman’s bolognaise sauce
Salt, pepper, garlic and mixed herbs to taste
Grated mozzarella and parmesan cheese
Mix the ricotta, spinach, egg, salt, pepper, garlic and herbs in a bowl to form the filling.
Grease a large rectangle roasting tray - one that will enable you to lay two rows of cannelloni shells.
Place the filling into a large piping bag and pipe into cannelloni shells. (Carla - Or use a spoon and cover the bottom end of the shell with your other hand!) This is messy so I do it over the baking tray (that way all the filling is still in the dish).
Once full shells are laid in baking dish, spread any remaining filling mixture over the shells.
Cover shells with bolognaise sauce for the vego option. For the meat option, cover with a traditional meat bolognaise sauce or add bacon to the vego sauce.
Sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan cheese, and refrigerate until needed. I usually cook this up to two days in advance. I think sitting in the fridge allows the flavours to mingle a little better. It also reduces cooking time.
Bake uncovered in a 180C oven for 40-50 minutes until cheese is golden!
Serve with garlic or herb bread and a tossed green salad.
I've always been a wannabe vegetarian, lasting just three months as a pescatarian (seafood-eating vego) before a roast lamb undid me!
But I do try to avoid red meat, as yummy as it can be, and in my quest to do better, I'm starting 'meat-free Monday' posts, featuring some author pals. Melbourne's Madeline Ash (pictured), who has had an amazing TWO books up for romance awards recently - Her Secret Prince and You For Christmas (both with Tule Publishing) - kicks things off...
Hi, Madeline. How long have you been vegetarian, and what inspired you to make the change?
I’ve been vegetarian for almost 10 years. I was inspired by a few things. Initially, it was the poor treatment of animals destined for the table. I’ve seen some horrifying videos, and I didn’t want to support that human behaviour or the meat industry by purchasing the product. I know some smaller farmers care for their stock, but since I couldn’t guarantee that all meat I ate had been treated well, it sat better with me to avoid it all.
There were also the environmental issues (so much deforestation to make land for cattle grazing), and the sustainability issues with animal agriculture – we don’t have enough land to support the current growth rate of the meat industry into the future. JD Robb’s In Death series has it right when most characters have to eat soy in the future and steak is a luxury! I’m actually slowly transitioning to veganism (haven’t figured out chocolate yet) because dairy cows pose the same issues. There is space for us all to live on a plant-based diet :)
Your favourite go-to vegetarian dishes?
I fall back on the Quorn product range a lot, available in the frozen section of most supermarkets. They have meat-free mince, diced 'chicken' pieces, schnitzels, nuggets, sausages, and more. I can make bolognaise with the mock-mince or a stir-through 'chicken' dish pretty quickly on a work night. It’s a great range that’s starting to release more vegan products, too. The schnitzels are my favourite, served up with veggies and roasted potato!
I also love red lentil, carrot and tomato soup (with onion, garlic, ground cumin and coriander). It’s so quick, full of protein, and yummy. Or a proper veggie soup with lentils when I have more time.
Mexican is also handy for weeknights. I’ll admit to cheating with the Old El Paso range: refried beans, Mexican beans, taco shells, salsa, and some fresh veggies. It’s got protein with the beans, and goodness in the lettuce, tomato and avocado. Yum!
Ever snuck a vegetarian character or recipe into a story you’ve written?
I used to do it all the time before I was published. I couldn’t write a non-vego character. Now I just don’t focus much on what my characters eat, and it’s easier that way! As for a recipe…I had a character cooking a vego chili at one point – in my head, I knew it was my boyfriend’s recipe, so they were in for a good meal :)
Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Carla. I hope you enjoy the kidney bean curry, if you have the chance to give it a go!
Madeline's Ramja Masala (Kidney Bean Curry)
Ramja masala is a spiced, creamy and popular Punjabi curry, made with kidney beans.
I adore this recipe, recommended by my cousin-in-law who cooks amazing curries. I’ve always found it hard to replicate the depth of flavour found in dishes from Indian restaurants, but this one nails it. You might be thinking that a curry made primarily from kidney beans must be boring beyond belief, but trust me on this. You can also add veggies for variety.
I will often double this recipe when cooking for a group (and leftovers are never a bad thing). Feel free to go a little heavy on the spices – I’m a chronic over-spicer when it comes to garam masala and ground coriander!
2 cans of kidney beans, strained and rinsed
2 brown onions, diced
4 tomatoes, diced
4-6 garlic cloves + 2 inches ginger + 2 green chilies = crushed together into a paste (either using a mortar and pestle, or a bar mix). You’ll end up with 2 TBS paste.
3 tsp ground coriander
¼ to ½ tsp red chili powder
½ to 1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ground fenugreek
2 TBS olive oil or 3 TBS butter (if vegan, use nondairy alternative)
5 TBS cream (if vegan, use cashew cream*)
Salt as required
*Cashew cream: If you want to make this recipe vegan; soak ¼ cup of cashews in water just before you start cooking. When ready to add cream, drain cashews, then add a fresh ¼ cup of water and blend together. Stir this through as a cream alternative.
Heat the butter/oil on low heat. Sauté the onions until they are caramelised or golden-brown. Take care not to burn them, or the curry might become bitter.
Add cumin seeds and cook until they begin to crackle.
Add ginger-garlic-chili paste (if you made more than 2 TBS, you might still want to add it all), stir in and sauté for 30 seconds on low. Add the diced tomatoes (this might seem like a lot of tomatoes – just do it). Sauté for several minutes until the tomatoes become soft.
Add all of the ground spices: turmeric, red chili, coriander, fenugreek, and garam masala. Stir and sauté for a minute or two, then add the kidney beans. Stir for a minute to mix together.
Add 2 cups of water and desired salt (I usually add ¼ tsp).
Simmer with the lid off for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. We want those kidney beans to be soft and full of flavor, so when it starts sticking, add more water. The end result should not be watery, but more of a thick gravy. To help thicken the curry, you can mash some of the kidney beans.
When you are happy with the consistency of the curry, stir in the cream. Simmer for another minute or two.
Serve curry with steamed rice or naan (I love garlic naan). I also serve with steamed green veggies, but that’s less authentic!
I am the unlikeliest of food bloggers - I don't deny it. I've always preferred eating to cooking, and the hubby is the main chef in our house. (Though, strangely, I do like reading cookbooks, and cutting out recipe articles ... for James to make!)
But my cooking is improving, and the powers-that-be at Tasting Australia (South Australia's world-class food and wine event) let me tag along to its two-day Words To Go blogger conference as part of its festivities this May.
The first day involved a forum with speakers including US foodie author Mark Kurlansky, renowned food bloggers Jennifer Lam, Jacqui Lim and Thang Ngo, travel editor Max Anderson, and more. Then it was on to an evening feast fit for a king at Hilton Adelaide's Coal Cellar + Grill (and, yep, we checked out the cellar!)
The next day included breakfast with TV chef Poh Ling Yeow at her Adelaide Central Market eatery Jamface, a market tour, a loooong lunch at institution Lucia's, and a meander around Le Cordon Bleu's Regency Park campus (including a chocolate tasting, in case we had any more trouser buttons to pop open).
Some things I learned about food blogging along the way:
* Forget dimmed, mood lighting at restaurants - bloggers prefer the lights blaring so they can get the perfect shot of each dish. Pray your makeup's looking flawless ;)
* Digging into a share plate straightaway is a no-no - wait until everyone has got a pic before going anywhere near the fare with your fork (and get used to eating your food slightly cold).
* Sometimes it's more about how the food looks on a particular plate than the actual taste - it's all about the perfect pic, non? Bonus points for taking your dish outside to capture the natural light when photographing.
* Staring at your phone at the table (and anywhere else) is perfectly acceptable.
* "Naughty talk" among food bloggers includes competing over the weirdest dish you've ever eaten (deep-fried tarantula, anyone?) and the most expensive.
* Fact: you can feast for two days straight and have it all laid on for you at a bloggers' conference, and still be hungry for dinner (I can personally vouch for this!).
Anyway, I had a blast and met a bunch of lovely, interesting folk. Here are some pics from my foodie journey to tantalise/taunt your tastebuds!
Photos: James Elsby
I've been wanting to do this for a while - make pasta from scratch, like my nonna used to. My nonna had passed on a pasta maker to my big sister, Natalie, and I finally got around to borrowing it.
Okay, my husband, James, is the one who ended up doing the dirty work, but then my brother-in-law is also the head pasta chef in their household. (He even makes chicken tortellini from scratch - jealous!)
Our twin boys, aged two, helped throw the flour around a bit more. And James spoke a lot of 'French' throughout, though making an Italian dish ;) He also complained of a crick in his neck and I said my nonna would have done it all without moaning - he did, however, point out she was half his height and would have been closer to the kitchen bench. Despite James' complaints, he did mumble something about the pasta tasting 'fantastic' once we sat down to eat.
We kept it simple by tossing pesto and parmesan through at the end. For step-by-step instructions on making pasta, visit Recipetips.com.
Would we do it again? Me: yes. James: maybe.
PS. If you happen to be down Seaford way in SA on Thursday night, November 5, I'm doing a library talk and freebie workshop. Would love to see you there x
Forget bulletproof butter coffee. My mum has come up with her own trend - adding orange zest to her cup of milky (black) tea!
My parents' orange tree, below left, has been overloaded lately and they're not the type to waste a thing. Plus, according to LiveStrong.com, raw orange peel has 1.5 g of protein and is a source of potassium, riboflavin, vitamin A, calcium and beta-carotene. And I usually put the peel in the compost... (Mum cuts up the zest by hand with a knife the old-fashioned way!)
Orange is a colour of Halloween, right? So I thought adding a little tang to your tea would be appropriate right now. (Mum also sent me off last week with a tub of mashed potato and sweet potato with spinach - from the garden, below right - but I ate it too quickly to include a picture, soz. Naturally though, orange was again a dominant hue.)
Speaking of all things spoooooky, I'm currently reading - and loving - Miranda Beverly-Whittemore's Great Gatsby-style thriller, Bittersweet, as pictured above. My younger sister, Daniella, put me onto it. She always finds gems (the last one was Grace Grows by Shelle Sumners). Which is why I always sneak a look at what Daniella has on the 'reserve' shelf at the local library, next to mine! Read Bittersweet and weep (if you're an emerging author like me, knowing you'll never pen such a masterpiece). Sigh...
I recently did a magazine shoot with my mum for Yours Magazine. Professional hair and makeup artists were on hand, so our manes came out looking a little bigger than we're used to. But, hey, if it's good enough for The Real Housewives of New Jersey... It was a fun shoot :)
I also just had a short story come out in Kid Magazine. You can see a glimpse of it, below, or check out the full yarn here.
Meanwhile, maybe because it's spring-time, I've busy been reading a lot of vego books, like Kimberly Snyder's The Beauty Detox Solution and Celia Brooks’ 5:2 Vegetarian, as below. (I've gone, largely, pescatarian.) Both authors work with celebrities, as you do!
Anyway, I've noticed some similarities with Snyder's message particularly and the traditional Italian style of eating.
For example, eat 'light to heavy' (I remember visiting rellies in Turin and thinking it weird when they served us salad first, then the pasta - but that's exactly what Snyder advises to do to line your stomach first), eat seasonally plus lots of greens and wholefoods (der), cut back on dairy or eliminate it altogether (there's a reason Italians only have cappuccinos in the morning and love their fruit-based gelati), never mix protein and carbs (think how the courses are separated at an Italian wedding), and get into raw, cultured veggies.
Okay, so the Germans can lay claim to sauerkraut, but there's got to be some health benefits to all the pickled eggplant etc. Italians consume (even if it's just that they're, you know, vegetables).
Finally, below left is another healthy 'care package' Mum recently dropped off for me. Isn't she lovely? Plus, there's a pic of MasterChef fave Poh Ling Yeow to the far right - we recently had a family outing at the Adelaide Farmers Market and enjoyed some paella and pancakes at her 'Jamface' stall. Check it out! Until next time x
Want to know what it’s REALLY like to have rambunctious twin boys? Check out my blog post on Mother & Baby here (pretty please). The article is inspired by Debra Messing, above, playing a mum to twins in new TV series The Mysteries of Laura - and my real-life take on it. Happy reading... especially if you're twin-less and can just sit back and laugh ;)
What I like about dropping around my parents' place is my mum always comes up with awesome meals to fill my stomach in a hurry. It doesn't matter if it's 3pm - she'll ask if I'm peckish and I'll get something that could really qualify as lunch or dinner.
Like the other day, when she made her own version of the Turkish pastry, gozleme, above (the kind you'd buy at a food truck at a fashion market). The 'snack' was served up to me in mere minutes.
She grabbed shop-bought pita bread, threw inside the pockets some cooked spinach, diced fresh onion, grated cheese, and salt and pepper, Then she buttered the outside of the pockets and dry-fried them in an electric frypan (as in, she didn't used any cooking oil). Once the cheese melted and the 'sandwiches' felt firm, she took them off the heat.
Accompaniments were lemon (of course) and some of her pickled chilli topping. (Cut up any sort of chilli from the garden and cook in the microwave. Once heated, add in a teaspoon of sugar and a little bit of vinegar, and whack it in a jar. The stuff will keep for 1-2 weeks, and can be used on sandwiches, in soups etc... so long as you can stand the heat!)
Mum, you've got to dial it down a notch if you don't want me continually turning up on your doorstep...
I lasted as a fish-eating vegetarian (or pescatarian) for about three months. My book club pal, Jennifer Benisz, above, clearly has more willpower. She's been vegan for two years. I chatted to the popular Instagrammer about going vegan for gorgeous site The Carousel. Check out the interview here! It's made me think about trying the vegan thing for a few weeks just to see if it boosts my energy. No better time to try than spring, eh?
Finding my inner peasant...