Archive for Food & Health

 

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Do More Running

6 February 2016

Run: 1 Feb 2016Hi everyone!

Yep, one of my goals for the year was to: do more running.

I’m not trying to focus on any distances or speed; I just want to simply get back into it and try to find the love again.

So.

I did three runs this week, yay!

1) A short 2.5km run at my usual pace of 6:30 min/km.

2) An interval run – 30 second sprint and 30 second walk, for 10 minutes. I was absolutely shattered after that!

3) A long 12.5km run at my usual pace of 6:30 min/km. No stopping, except to drink some water!

The days have been really hot, so I have been waking up at 5:30 – 6am to go for a run, or waiting until 7pm when the heat has subsided. The fact that I can drag my ass out of bed in the morning, says a lot about how much I’m loving the feeling of being fit and strong again.

I’ve also been following yoga, pilates and workout videos at home, in the evenings, which has been – surprisingly – lots of fun.

I definitely have my fitness mojo back and I’m making the most of it!

Mango, Cucumber and Spinach Smoothie

This is my very horribly coloured, but delicious fruit smoothie with mango, pineapple, cucumber, mint and coconut water!

 


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Perth City Bridges Run: Thunderstorm

30 January 2016

Perth City Bridges Run Jan 2016

This weekend, I scheduled a run on a day the forecast was: 100% chance of rain and thunderstorms.

I guess I was hoping that the weathermen got it wrong!

I woke up bright and early at 5:30am, met up with my brother-in-law at 7am and we ran/walked a distance of 15km around the river, bridges and city.

I probably ran about 12km and walked 3km. My pace averaged around 6:30min/km.

I felt great after! I wasn’t drained or exhausted or suffering any pains.

I think I’ll work on some interval running to increase my speed and strength.

But overall I’m happy with doing regular 12km distances and I’ll stick with that for a bit. I might even be able to hit the 21km half marathon mark earlier than I thought!

Anyway, turns out that we started so early that we missed all the rain and thundery action. We didn’t get wet at all.

We even managed to squeeze in a coffee and chat later. Brilliant start to the weekend!

 


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Juicy Awesomeness from Pure Glow Cleanse

29 January 2016

Let me say one thing: I’m not a big fan of juice cleanses!

Personally, I don’t like the idea of drinking only juice for 3 or 5 days.

BUT…

I love drinking juices and smoothies as part of a healthy daily diet and lifestyle.

For me, I make myself a juice or smoothie every one/two/three days.

And when I DO drink one, it replaces a meal – usually lunch.

I have a big breakfast in the morning, a juice/smoothie in the afternoon, I eat healthy snacks, then my dinner is usually at 6pm.

My thinking: If I drink a big cup of yummy, low-sugar, green juice and feel full… I probably won’t be tempted to reach for a quick muffin / pie / ham and cheese croissant when I walk past some at the shops haha!

Pure Glow Cleanse

So, the lovely team at Pure Glow Cleanse sent me a 6 pack of their juices to try out.

I’ve known of Annette, one of the founders, for a number of years, when she used to write as a health and wellness writer. She had a very down-to-earth, not-hardcore, real-life kind of voice in her writings and I enjoyed reading her stuff. So when she launched Pure Glow Cleanse, I took notice of it and I liked that her juices contained no added sugars, no weird herbs, no laxatives, no vitamin extracts, and no protein powders.

How it works: You can select a 1 day, 3 day or 5 day cleanse and choose a pre-set selection of juices to be delivered to your door.

Or you can create your own 6 pack from a menu of their juices, which is what I did.

They were SO YUMMY!!

I have to tell the truth, I felt a bit irritated, because I thought I was quite good at making smoothies and juices… and tasting these juices made me sigh, because they were just amazing… and now I feel that mine are quite ordinary and mediocre in comparison.

Sooo… I take my hat off to the team! These juices are absolutely superior in quality and taste.

They tasted so clean, fresh, rich and smooth. No grittiness. No chunks. Well mixed. Lovely combinations.

Pure Glow Cleanse

Yes they are super expensive though!

They work out to be something like $10 a bottle. Which yep, makes me wince and raise my eyebrows. One of the juices was simply watermelon, cucumber and lime! Ok it was absolutely delicious, but $10?

However, on the other hand, if you wanted to create 18 juices (for 3 days), you’d have to buy heaps of ingredients (cos lettuce, kale, avocado, apples, pears, lemons, limes, watermelon, beetroot, carrots, ginger, dates, almonds, etc etc etc) wash them, store them, make the juices…. then have heaps of leftover vegetables that would probably go off?

And if you want to have less wastage, you’d have to buy less ingredients, which means you’ll just have a smaller variety of juices, so you’d probably get bored of them? And then be less inclined to make them?

So there definitely is a market for time-poor people, who don’t want the hassles of making their own juices!

As for my favourite juices :

The Matcha Milk was simply amazing. Made from matcha (green tea), spirulina (seaweed), almonds, cashews, basil nuts, dates and vanilla… omg its taste made my toes curl from sheer pleasure!

The Cafe Au Late was a close second, it was soooo delicious! It had cold drip coffee, almond, cashews, brazil nuts, dates and vanilla.

Good Karma (the Orange one) was made from carrots, grapefruit, green apple, ginger, turmeric and lemon.

Green Guru (green juice) had kale, cos, cucumber, celery, been apple, mint and lemon.

Anyway, if you are looking for some high quality juices to try, or try a juice cleanse, do check these guys out!

Have an amazing weekend!

xxx


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My Running Watch: Garmin Forerunner 15

28 January 2016

Garmin Forerunner 15 Watch

I picked up a new toy for my run this weekend – a running watch!

It’s a Garmin Forerunner 15 (AUD$249) which I bought off eBay at an absolute BARGAIN price – hardly used and in perfect condition.

It’s a slightly older model and apparently a good entry level running watch. The top level Forerunner is something like AUD$699. Ouch! I bought the small sized watch and they only came in three “sporty” colour choices – bleh.

I resisted buying a running watch for years, because I didn’t want my runs to focus so much on gear and gadgets.

I had an overkill of gear and gadgets from my cycling days…. and what I love about running is the fact that I can do it while being so light and free.

Anyway, in the past, when I first started to run, I opted to just run with my smart phone to track my distance and speed.

However, I found that my sweat/body heat fogged up the camera lens and all my photos turned out weird. So I stopped using my phone and started using a Jawbone UP24, which was a gift. But that’s just a simple pedometer which tracks steps and sleep. The distance and times were not very accurate.

So! I’ve finally made the switch to a running watch to keep track of my times and distances.

It came with a heart rate tracker, which I’ve been told by my hardcore running friends, is very useful and steps up my running to a whole new level… but eeep, I don’t think I’ll go there yet!

I want to keep my runs sweet and simple!

Looking forward to another long run this weekend. Hope you all manage to get out and about too!

xxx


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Kickstarting My Fitness

20 January 2016

Road Running

Ha this photo made me crack up! I’m matchy matchy with the road! But I don’t know if it’s funny, lame… or possibly dangerous?

Whatever the case, I don’t actually run on the road, as I get super paranoid about being hit by a car.

A Fitness Update :

1) I’ve been running once a week, doing 3 – 4kms. Now I’ve increased it to twice a week, doing 5 – 6km distances.

I’m hoping to do longer distances (12 – 14kms) on the weekends.

2) I’ve also been going hard at my fitness workout program (just a series of exercises I made up for myself), twice a week.

3) Healthy eating has resumed. I’m slowly getting my portion sizes under control too.

4) I’ve started to do a bit more exercise with my boys too. They have expressed a desire to get fit before school starts, so I’m leading them through a few training exercises.

I really enjoy teasing them and the sarcastic banter between us, because at the moment I’m fitter than they are, and I have more stamina. But I’m sure they’ll overtake me really soon then I’ll be left far behind!

I’m feeling so much better these days.

All the endorphins, the dull ache of my muscles, the feeling of building strength in my body and the good sleep that comes after… all makes me feel very happy and satisfied. It’s so good for my mental state!


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James Parker Sushi and Sake Bar, Northbridge

13 January 2016

After weeks of drooling over other people’s Instragram photos, I went out with a bunch of girlfriends for dinner at James Parker Sushi and Sake Bar in Northbridge.

In fact, I like it so much that I went a second time, with a different group of girlfriends.

James Parker Sushi, Northbridge

I really liked the spacey woodwork entrance of the restaurant. It felt a bit 2001: Space Odyssey.

The service was fantastic. The wait person helped us with ordering, making sure we didn’t order too much, and she was very patient with our indecision.

James Parker Sushi, Northbridge

My absolute favourite dish was the Fresh Tuna Aburi ($21).

It was served on a bed of spinach, and topped with other condiments and a lovely ponzu sauce. The tuna was deep pink, wonderfully fresh, and the sear was done perfectly.

The flavours, the textures, the freshness… it was orgasmic!

James Parker Sushi, Northbridge

I also enjoyed the Wagyu Beef Tataki with ponzu sauce jelly ($20).

The beef slices were delicious. However I felt that there was a bit too much ponzu jelly with each slice, which overpowered each mouthful with an intense sourness that I didn’t like. I had to scrape off some of the jelly to enjoy it.

James Parker Sushi, Northbridge

Next up, we had the Assorted Sashimi of JP ($52).

I winced at the price of this dish. But I guess with sashimi, you usually get what you pay for.

This assorted plate was lovely, fresh and I enjoyed it. It wasn’t mind-blowing, but I felt it was good value.

We also had a few sushi rolls, not pictured (Eel Dragon Roll $20, Soft Shell Crab Spider Roll $20, and our favourite, the Aburi Wagu Roll $20) and they were very delicious too.

James Parker Sushi, Northbridge

The let down for me was the Soft Shell Crab ($18) as it was a bit soggy and too salty. I think I should have chosen the Chicken Karaage instead.

Would I go again? I think yes.

I like that it offers a simple, easy, fresh sushi menu, in a cosy, yet modern setting.

The location is central, with lots of late night cafes and bars to move on to after dinner. The service is great and lots of parking options available nearby.

James Parker Sushi and Sake Bar
182 James St, Northbridge
(Corner of James and Parker Street in Northbridge)
www.james-parker.com.au

James Parker Sushi X Sake Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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Truth: I run, so I can eat fried chicken

2 January 2016

Run 2016

Haha isn’t this so clichéd?

It’s 2 days after the new year and I’ve decided to start to run more regularly!

Actually what really happened… was that I went shopping with my 12 year old son to buy school supplies and we were both craving KFC chicken spicy wings.

So we bought, we ate (omg it was soooo good!) and we totally regretted it after.

I felt really gross after that, so I had to go for a run late in the evening.

I smashed out 5km and I was pretty happy with that.

But maybe next time I can just go without the fried chicken? Ha not likely!

(Adidas Originals ZX Flux – approximately US$70)


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Spiced Vanilla Christmas Cookies

18 December 2015

Christmas Vanilla Spiced Biscuits

I made a huge batch of delicious Spiced Vanilla Christmas Cookies for my neighbours and friends!

I made about 80 biscuits in total, then I was sooo over it and refused to make any more. However they were SO YUMMY that my kids (and myself) ended up eating about 20 (over a week) and so we only ended up giving away 12 packets (4-5 biscuits in each) away.

Next time I think I’ll make stars, or round shapes, because my Christmas tree and Christmas men shapes were much too big and a gift bag of 4 biscuits looked really inadequate. I think 8 stars would look much nicer.

The recipe that I used is a variation on Jamie Oliver’s Ginger Bread People recipe, because I don’t really like ginger flavoured biscuits, plus I discovered that my ground ginger was out of date by 6 years haha!

The cinnamon and nutmeg add a gorgeous, subtle flavour to the sweetness of the biscuits, so it doesn’t taste like a boring butter cookie. I only used 1/4 teaspoon of the spices (instead of 1/2 teaspoons), because I don’t like super-spicy biscuits.

Christmas Vanilla Spiced Biscuits

Christmas Vanilla Spiced Biscuits

Christmas Vanilla Spiced Biscuits

Christmas Vanilla Spiced Biscuits

Spiced Vanilla Christmas Cookies
(Makes about 14-18 cookies)

125g unsalted butter
100g soft light brown sugar
3 tbsp golden syrup
300g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
2. Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a small pot on low heat, until the sugar is dissolved. Stir until well combined.
3. Mix flour, bicarb, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg into a large bowl and stir.
4. Pour the butter and sugar mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir well until it becomes a dough.
5. Cut the dough in half. Place each dough ball onto each baking paper paper. Flatten them out to 5mm and cut out with shapes directly on the paper.
6. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Decorate with icing and store in an air tight container. Mine were still delicious and crunchy after 7 days!

Enjoy!

Christmas Vanilla Spiced Biscuits

As for the decorating… I was VERY STRICT with my icing instructions, that my kids helped me for 10 minutes then left me alone haha! I did let them make silly biscuit men! And I promised that I’ll make another batch for them to decorate how ever they want – after Christmas.


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Fruit and Veggie Inspo

15 December 2015

Fruit Plate Inspiration

My kids are pretty good eaters and they enjoy their cut fruits and vegetables.

I wouldn’t say they love it, but they will happily eat through a mixed plate that I put in front of them.

Part of my push to get them to eat so much fruit and vegetables, is because I’m slightly embarrassed to say that I don’t pack a super-healthy lunch box for my kids.

They just want (1) a simple sandwich, usually vegemite or honey on wholemeal bread (2) some savoury, cheese biscuits and (3) half an apple. Not exactly great brain food.

Basically, they want to QUICKLY SHOVE the food into their mouths and run off to play. They don’t want to sit still long enough to eat.

So yep, they come home and they are starving.

In fact, they will INHALE ANYTHING edible that I lay out on the table within their reach – I figured I may as well put something healthy in front of them.

Anyway, here’s a few snaps of some fruit and veggie plates that I’ve put together in the last few months!

Fruit Plate Inspirationtplate02

Fruit Plate Inspiration

Fruit Plate Inspiration

Fruit Plate Inspiration


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Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes (Dairy Free)

8 December 2015

Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes

Again, before you judge me as being a crazy health freak, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it :)

Having a container of these in my freezer, has SIGNIFICANTLY reduced the amount of regular chocolate and ice cream I eat each week!

Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes

I prefer to make mini cheesecakes, instead of one large one.

This is because the cakes have to be frozen and when you want to eat them, you have to take them out and defrost them for 30 minutes. Much easier to defrost a couple of small cakes, than 1 large cake.

Plus they look hella cute.

Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes

This recipe is based on my Raw Coconut and Lime Cheesecake, but I dump the lime and add chocolate and more dates.

Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes

(Makes about 18)

Filling
1 cup raw cashews soaked overnight (or at least 4 hours!)
1 cup of pitted dates, chopped
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
½ cup coconut cream
2 tablespoons of desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons of cacao powder
½ teaspoon vanilla essence

Base
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup of dates, softened in water, drained and chopped (pitted dates are fine)
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
2 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoon of cacao powder
pinch of salt

Decoration
½ cup of shredded coconut
½ cup of raspberries

1. Line a loaf tin (or a spring cake tin) with grease proof paper, or grease with coconut oil.

2. Base: Using a food processor, blend the almonds, dates, coconut, coconut oil, cacao powder and salt until it turns into an even grain.

3. Evenly spread and firmly press the mixture into the base of the tin. Pop into the freezer. You can do this the day before. I would cover the cake tin with cling wrap first.

4. Filling: You can either rinse out the food processor, or use a high-powered blender for this. Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. You might want to adjust the taste by adding more lime juice or maple syrup. It’s supposed to have a limey punch!

5. Pour the filling over the base, smooth the top and pop into the freezer for at least 4 hours. I like to cover the tin with cling wrap to prevent it from drying out or absorbing any smells from my freezer.

6. Take out the cake to defrost for 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Decorate with sliced limes, crushed nuts and shredded coconut.

Enjoy!

xxx


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Double Layer Chocolate Cake with Flowers

20 November 2015

So this is not really a recipe sharing post. As in, I’m not sharing the chocolate cake recipe that I used, because it wasn’t that good.

I was actually just practicing my cake decorating skills and seeing if I could bake two small cakes at the same time in my oven. Answer is: Yes!

Double Layer Chocolate Cake With Flowers

I snipped a bunch of pretty flowers from my mother’s garden and made sure that I washed them and patted them dry – because one time I found a whole lot of baby grasshoppers in them EEEEEEPP!! That’s because my mum doesn’t use any chemicals or pesticides on her roses!

Double Layer Chocolate Cake With Flowers

Then I made up a bowl of chocolate frosting.

Again I’m not going to share the recipe, because I don’t know the measurements of the ingredients.

I made it from leftover ganache (melted chocolate and cream) that someone gave to me and I added icing sugar to it until it was a good spreading consistency.

It tasted amazing – rich and creamy, yet still soft, buttery and fresh.

Double Layer Chocolate Cake With Flowers

I stacked the cakes up with a layer of chocolate frosting in between them.

I kept the whole thing looking messy and natural looking.

Double Layer Chocolate Cake With Flowers

Then I decorated it with slices of oranges, raspberries, blueberries, chopped walnuts, pepitas, roses and flower petals.

It looked so good! I was so happy with it!!

(Everyone said it tasted amazing, but I thought the cake was a bit dry and crumbly…)


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Cupcake and Cake Stand Gift

8 November 2015

Cupcakes For Curi

I had wanted to do this for the longest time!

So the other week, I wanted to say a great, big, heartfelt thanks to my hair stylists – a husband and wife team at Curi Hair in Subiaco.

I feel very thankful and grateful to them for supporting me and my blog. They have become my friends over the years and I love catching up with them each time I pop in.

So I made some chocolate cupcakes, iced them and decorated them with red roses from my garden, bought a lovely glass cake stand and presented the whole lot to them!

I’m so happy with how it turned out!

(I bought the cake stand from Wheel&Barrow, but the model I bought is sold out now.)

 


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Atomic Cafe, Claremont

6 November 2015

The other day I took my 12 year old out for lunch, to spend some time with him, chat and just hang out.

We both love eating good food and talking about food, so he is an excellent eating companion! Would you believe he likes to take photos of food too?

You should have seen the both of us, mother and son with our smart phone cameras – HA how embarrassing!

We went to Claremont Quarter and sat in Atomic Cafe, which has a raised, open-air aspect, overlooking the central outside square. It was a lovely, spacious place to sit, with lots of natural light, and was not noisy or echoey at all.

Atomic Cafe, Claremont

I ordered the Chicken Bruschetta with grilled chicken, tomato, avocado, rocket, basil infused olive oil on ciabatta toast – $14.50

Yep it was a bit pricey, but it was really excellent!

The avocado and tomatoes were the perfect temperature, the chicken was delicious and marinated nicely (not too overpowering). I could not fault it, except the fact that I was hankering for a dollop of mayonnaise.

I had a soy flat white too, which was “just ok”.

Atomic Cafe, Claremont

My son had eyes bigger than his stomach…

He ordered a milkshake (can’t remember how much that cost, maybe $6?) with the Classic Burger, which had a beef patty, cheddar cheese, cos lettuce, tomato, Spanish onions, toasted bun with french fries – $17.50.

Ouch! Very expensive!

But again it was really delicious. I had to help him eat the fries.

Despite the high price, it was such a great place to sit for an afternoon meal, that I will definitely be back to try some other lunch offerings from the menu.


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My Favourite Hummus Recipe

3 November 2015

My Favourite Hummus Recipe

I love eating fresh hummus (or houmous) and so do my kids!

It’s a great way to gobble up a whole lot of raw vegetables.

It’s easy to make, there’s no cooking involved, I just have to whiz everything up in a food processor.

You don’t have to make it with tahini. Most times I use 2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt.

I always like to throw in different ingredients, like a few pieces of sundried tomatoes, or grilled eggplant, or sautéed onions, or chives, coriander or parsley leaves.

My Favourite Hummus Recipe

400g can of chickpeas
1 tablespoon tahini (or 2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt)
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Put everything in a good food processor and whiz it all up till well combined! If the mixture is too chunky, add a bit more yoghurt or lemon juice or water – whatever your tastes prefer.

Optional – Sprinkle paprika or dukkah over the top (my favourite dukkah recipe here).

Enjoy!

xxx


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Mama Nyonya Kitchen, Canning Vale

1 November 2015

A few weeks back, my parents invited us out for dinner with extended family and some friends – there were about 18 of us altogether!

We went to a new Malaysian restaurant called, Mama Nyonya Kitchen, in Canning Vale (all the way down south of the river, at the Canning Vale Markets), specialising in Malaysian hawker food and Nyonya / Peranakan dishes.

Mama Nyonya Kitchen, Canning Vale

The place was clean and new, the decor was modern and fresh, and the staff were friendly and efficient. 

Since there were so many of us in our group, I expected to have to wait a looooong time for our food – so I armed myself with paper and pens for my kids, to play word/drawing/puzzle games.

Mama Nyonya Kitchen, Canning Vale

However the food arrived quickly. And my hungry hoard of children were very happy indeed.

We ordered Mixed Satay Sticks of 3 chicken and 3 beef satays for $13.80 and they arrived with onions, cucumbers and pineapple.

Mama Nyonya Kitchen, Canning Vale

Deep fried marinated chicken wings (in house special recipe), four pieces for $8.80.

My dad ordered these for the kids, but the adults nabbed them all because they were really tasty.

The fried skins were absolutely perfect – crispy and crunchy on the outside with soft tender meat on the inside.

Mama Nyonya Kitchen, Canning Vale

We decided to let our boys share meals, so we ordered a few familiar dishes for them to pick and choose from. The Hainanese Chicken Rice ($11.80) looked and smelled pretty good. I didn’t try it, but all my boys really enjoyed it.

Mama Nyonya Kitchen, Canning Vale

One of my boys requested the Nasi Lemak Special, which at $16.80 seemed quite expensive. It arrived and it was HUGE! It looked very impressive and it was pretty good.

They were very generous with the size of chicken rendang pieces; there was also sambal prawns, sambal ikan bilis (anchovies), acar, egg, fried anchovies, cucumber and roasted peanuts.

We probably should have ordered the slightly cheaper Nasi Lemak with Chicken Rendang ($14.80)… because the special version was just a bit too large for a hungry 10 year old boy, even though we did share.

Mama Nyonya Kitchen, Canning Vale

My husband chose the Beef Rendang $13.80, with rice on the side. He really enjoyed it.

The meat was lovely and tender, and the sauce was suitably fresh and tasty.

It had a real homestyle taste and texture to it, just like the way my mother makes beef rendang.

Mama Nyonya Kitchen, Canning Vale

My choice was the Bak Kuh Teh $29.80 (serves 2, only available on weekends). I shared this with my dad!

Bak Kuh Teh is a slow-cooked broth with pork ribs, pork belly, mushrooms, tofu and a whole lot of special Asian herbs and spices. It’s thick and soupy and you eat it with rice noodles.

Everything was fresh, the meats were succulent, the noodles were cooked perfectly – it was really good! I was very happy!

Overall, I’d say that the dinner serves were nice and large, the food was delicious, tasty, fresh and homey; the staff were friendly, they didn’t rush us out after we finished eating, the tableware were all new and clean, the atmosphere and layout in the restaurant was great for families and groups.

It did seem expensive, but I think I am happy to pay a bit more for the good service, relaxed atmosphere and positive dining experience with my family.

Mama Nyonya Kitchen
Canning Vale Markets
Shop 12, 280 Bannister Road
Canning Vale, Perth

You can check them at Mama Nyonya Kitchen (Facebook Page)

Or read reviews on TripAdvisor or Zomato.

Hope you enjoyed my photos! I’m hungry now!


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My Favourite Green Smoothie

21 October 2015

For me, I don’t really like my green smoothies to taste like vegetable juice!

You know, the ones that are made from *just* spinach, kale, apple, celery and coconut water. To me, they are not really smoothies.

Green Smoothie

I prefer my green smoothies to be a bit more like a delicious, creamy milk shake!

Most of the time I will “skip” the usual breakfast of eggs, avocado, bread, oats, granola and fruit, and have one of these smoothies for breakfast. Then follow it with a bowl full of nuts and seeds as a snack. Then have a filling lunch.

Or I might have a full breakfast, then have a green smoothie for lunch. It’s pretty filling!

Anyway, after lots of trial and error, I’ve created my favourite recipe! Hope you like it!

My Favourite Green Smoothie

Half an avocado
Half a small pear
1 cup of spinach
Slice of pineapple (I buy canned pineapple and keep the rest in a glass bowl in the fridge)
1/3 cup of natural yoghurt or vanilla yoghurt
1/2 teaspoon of lime rind
1 cup of coconut water
1 teaspoon of honey (optional if you like your smoothies a bit sweeter, or you could use the whole pear, or 6 green grapes).

Whiz everything up on a high speed blender and enjoy!

xxx


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Char Siu Pork Belly Buns at Typika, Claremont

1 October 2015

Being the school holidays, I often find it to be a rare treat to be in the company of just ONE of my kids.

The moment TWO kids are at their friend’s house, I say to my remaining child – Let’s go to a cafe!

Today I wanted to try out a new dish at Typika, in Claremont.

Unfortunately for me, I got stuck with my 6 year old. Don’t get me wrong, I love the little guy, but he just doesn’t LOVE trying out new and interesting dishes. He’s not a foodie. He just wanted chicken nuggets and chips.

But of course, I totally ignored his request and ordered what I wanted to eat:

Typika, Claremont

I had the Sticky Char Siu Pork Belly with steamed buns and pickles ($24).

The buns were absolutely perfect. They had a fresh, soft, top (not stale, leathery or crusty), with a springy and fluffy middle. They soaked up the sauce well, and they held their shape when stuffed with the filling. They were so lovely to eat!

Typika, Claremont

The peanuts were sweet, salty, crunchy, with a hint of chili. They were so good and totally addictive.

My son didn’t want any, so I ate them all!

The pickles were a nice accompaniment too. They were different to typical pickles, in that they weren’t very sour or vinegary. They tasted mild and fresh, which I actually liked.

Typika, Claremont

The pork belly was fantastic!

The char siu marinade had a delicious balance of sweet, salty and smoky flavours. The pork was fresh, tender, sticky and had an excellent ratio of fat. It wasn’t overly salty, which is often the case when I eat it at Chinese restaurants. It was good.

However, I think it could have been grilled a little harder so that the outside was crispier and had more of a crusty crunch.

Typika, Claremont

I also bought a coffee for myself and a honey joy for us to share.

When everything arrived, my son decided that he didn’t want any of the pork, or buns, or pickles, OR peanuts… so I ended up eating it ALL BY MYSELF! I felt like such a pig! I was so full.

Typika, Claremont

The honey joy was really good too. It’s been years since I’ve eaten a honey joy! I remembered how much I enjoyed the sweet buttery, caramel stickiness, mixed with the crunchiness of the corn flakes.

My son ate half of it, and I managed to eat the other half, because I couldn’t bear to see it go to waste.

I’ve dined at Typika before – several times for both food and coffee – and I have always enjoyed the experience. Cheers Typika!


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Raw Coconut and Lime Cheesecake

23 September 2015

Raw Coconut and Lime Cheesecake

This dessert is a raw, dairy-free, gluten-free, no-bake recipe!

Ok before you judge me as some crazy health freak… let me just say this: I eat WAY TOO MUCH ICE CREAM.

At the end of the day, when the kids are in bed, the kitchen is cleared, the house is tidied… of course I like to put my feet up and relax. I don’t drink wine. I eat ice cream.

Or chocolate.

OR chocolate ice cream AND chocolate biscuits, depending on my day!

Well, this cheesecake is a nice healthy, low sugar alternative. It is really delicious. You would never think that blended cashew nuts would have the same consistency as cream cheese! It does! And it’s lovely.

I love the sweet and slighty salty flavours (from the pistachios) and I put a bit of cacao powder into the base, to give it a hint of chocolate.  I only have one slice each evening with a cup of herbal tea, which is so much better for me than a bowl of ice cream!

Not to mention I’m slightly intolerant to cow’s milk, so I always end up with a slight tummy ache and a bloated gut before bed. But do I learn the next night? No! Haha!

Raw Coconut and Lime Cheesecake

I put together the recipe from 4 different recipes I found on the internet, and from my own trial and error. I’ve made it 3 times already, tweaking it here and there. Hope you like it!

The only annoying thing about this recipe is that you have to soak the cashews overnight, then you have to freeze/chill the cake for at least 4 hours. Then you have to defrost it for 30 minutes before serving… which means you pretty much can’t eat it until the next day.

Raw Coconut and Lime Cheesecake

YUM! SO good!

Raw Coconut and Lime Cheesecake

Raw Coconut and Lime Cheesecake

Filling
2 cups cashews soaked overnight (or at least 4 hours!)
3 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 cup coconut cream
¼ cup desiccated coconut
½ cup fresh lime juice
Grated rind of half a lime
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 tablespoons of maple syrup

Base
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup chopped dates, softened in water, drained (pitted dates are fine)
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
2 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoon of cacao powder
pinch of salt

Decoration
Lime slices or grated lime rind
½ cup of shredded coconut
½ cup of crushed pistachios

1. Line a loaf tin (or a spring cake tin) with grease proof paper, or grease with coconut oil.

2. Base: Using a food processor, blend the almonds, dates, coconut, coconut oil, cacao powder and salt until it turns into an even grain.

3. Evenly spread and firmly press the mixture into the base of the tin. Pop into the freezer. You can do this the day before. I would cover the cake tin with cling wrap first.

4. Filling: You can either rinse out the food processor, or use a high-powered blender for this. Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. You might want to adjust the taste by adding more lime juice or maple syrup. It’s supposed to have a limey punch!

5. Pour the filling over the base, smooth the top and pop into the freezer for at least 4 hours. I like to cover the tin with cling wrap to prevent it from drying out or absorbing any smells from my freezer.

6. Take out the cake to defrost for 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Decorate with sliced limes, crushed nuts and shredded coconut.

Enjoy!

xxx


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Gluten Free Chocolate Raspberry Tart with Hazelnut Crust

31 August 2015

A few weeks ago, I made something a little special for dessert!

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

This recipe was originally a mish mash of several RAW Gluten Free Chocolate Tart recipes that I found on the internet (pure and simple, rawmazing, bare root girl).

But my tart isn’t raw, because I use roasted nuts (they taste better!), I baked the base (roasted nuts and coconut is HEAVEN) and raw desserts use a lot of dates (I hate dates!).

The base is so delicious! Almost like a protein ball crossed with chocolate granola and it holds together really well. You can pick up a slice and it’ll stay in one piece. It is biscuity, crunchy and I have been baking it with sliced fruit on top to make simple fruit tarts.

Enjoy!!!

Gluten Free Chocolate Raspberry Tart with Hazelnut Crust

Crust/Pastry
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup of walnuts
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoon on cacao powder
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 teaspoon on vanilla essence

Chocolate Filling
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 cup of coconut oil
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
250ml coconut milk

1 cup of frozen raspberries
1/2 of frozen raspberries (to serve)

*Chocolate Filling Alternative
(I often run out of cacao powder, so I sometimes use this, plus it’s much simpler)
150g of dark chocolate
250ml coconut milk

1) Preheat oven to 180C.

2) Use a food processor to blend the crust ingredients. I don’t suggest using a high speed blender, because you don’t want the crust to be so fine and powdery. I think the crust looks better with chunky bits!

3) Press into a 24cm flan tine, or 21cm spring base tin. Work into the bottom and up the sides to create an even crust lip. Place in oven for 10 minutes. Let it cool.

4) Gently melt the coconut oil (or chocolate) then add cacao and maple syrup. Let it cool.

5) Pour filling into base, spread out the raspberries evenly over the top. It’s OK if they sink into the filling. Put into freezer to set for 2 hours. Leave in fridge to defrost for 30 minutes before serving. Sprinkle more raspberries over the top to serve.

I loved the sharp tang of the raspberries with the mellow chocolate filling! But my children found the raspberries a bit too sour and would only eat it if I put a bit of ice cream or maple syrup on top.


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Lamb Pho Soup (for the Slow Cooker)

20 August 2015

Lamb Pho Soup Noodles

I LOVE making this pho soup! And my family loves to eat it!

We eat it with noodles or rice. It is absolutely delicious, warming, hearty, rich and comforting.

It’s quite easy to make too, especially when I use a slow cooker.

In authentic pho, you’re supposed to use beef bones and pre-boil them. But I like to use lamb shanks for my soups, because they are easy to buy, they are a cheap cut, I love the softness and taste of lamb, and there is no “cooked blood” mess to clean up. Plus I don’t have to pre-boil them, which reduces the prep time.

In authentic pho, you’re also supposed to char or grill the onion and ginger. I’ve made the soup without charring, and it tastes just fine, so it depends on how much time you have (or how lazy you are).

Sometimes I make this soup and just serve it over brown rice, spinach, broccoli, thinly sliced carrots, cabbage and cucumber… because I can’t be bothered buying rice noodles + sprouts + mint + coriander to make proper pho.

This is my version, which was created from a mishmash of 3 online recipes, but I tweaked them to make it easier for me.

I tend to throw everything together in my slow cooker in the morning and dinner is ready 7-8 hours later!

Ingredients
Broth Ingredients –
4 lamb shanks on the bone
2 medium onion
1 piece of ginger (10cm)
2 garlic cloves, bruised
1 tsp whole coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon of cardamom
1 whole star anise
1 large cinnamon stick
6 cloves
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of fish sauce (I don’t like fish sauce so I use soy sauce instead)
1L of beef stock
5L of hot water

To Serve
500g of rice noodles
2 spring onions
150g of bean sprouts
bunch of coriander
bunch of mint leaves
lime wedges
soy or fish sauce
chilli

Method
Char the onion and ginger over a naked flame or pop them under the grill for 15 minutes (turning regularly). I usually pop them under the grill while I gather the rest of the ingredients.

Roughly chop the onion and ginger and throw into the slow cooker. Add garlic, coriander seeds, cardamom, star anise, cinnamon, cloves and salt.

Add lamb shanks to the pan and stir them around a bit to coat with the spices.

Add 1L of beef stock and 5L of hot water. Set on low and forget for 7 hours!

After 7 hours: Turn off slow cooker and let it rest/cool for 30 minutes while you prepare the noodles, garnish and slice vegetables.

Skim off the fat from the soup. Carefully lift out lamb shanks and meat. Shred the meat and keep warm.

Strain all the onions, ginger, garlic, spices from the soup and discard. I just use a fine metal sieve and scoop everything out.

To serve: Reheat the soup. Taste the soup and adjust flavour with more soy or fish sauce. Arrange noodles, meat, mint, coriander, sprouts and spring onions in large bowls, and then pour hot soup on top.

(In the photo above, I bought 300g of beef fillet steak, sliced it thinly, put on top of the noodles (still raw) and poured the hot soup over the top).

Enjoy!

xxx


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A catch up with girlfriends at The Standard, Perth

7 August 2015

My cousin was in town recently (visiting from London) and we organised to catch up with some of our childhood girlfriends over dinner. We decided to go to The Standard in Northbridge.

I’ve been here 3 times already – I really recommend it as a great place to have dinner and drinks!

Each time I’ve visited, I’ve taken my big DSLR camera and taken photos of what I’ve eaten. But each time, the photos turned out looking quite awful because the lighting in the restaurant is low and red in colour. Even with colour correction, I still can’t make the photos look “natural”.

So here is my third attempt to take photos of the delicious food at The Standard!

There were 5 of us and we ordered 5 plates of food to share.

The Standard Perth

First we ordered the Crisp eggplant salad, grapefruit caramel, pea tendrils and chilli ($18).

I really enjoyed the combination of flavours in this salad. I always love coriander and sprouts. The grapefruit caramel was sweet and citrusy and made quite a nice dressing.

I was expecting the eggplant to be a bit more crisp, crunchy and tasty… but it was chunky, soggy and lacking in a flavour that added to the salad.

The Standard Perth

This was my favourite dish on the menu: Grilled Chicken, rice noodles, peanuts, herbs and nuoc cham ($22).

YUM! The wait staff instructed us to shred the chicken apart, pour the chilli all over it and toss everything into a noodley salad.

The chicken was gorgeously marinated with salty Asian flavours. The dressing on the noodles was tangy and fresh. And the chilli brought everything together. It had minced ginger and garlic in it (much like Hainanese chicken rice chilli) and gave the noodles an amazing punch.

I’m a big fan of fresh Asian flavours with grilled chicken and this dish was just superb!

The Standard Perth

My other favourite dish for the evening: Glazed pork cheek, crisp jowl, broad bean and brussel sprouts ($26).

The pork was amazing! So soft, tender, tasty… it was cooked to perfection. The little bits of crispy pork fat that melted in my mouth made it all the more heavenly. The crunchy texture of the crisp jowl balanced the softness of the meat nicely.

The Standard Perth

We ordered the Beef brisket, brioche, pickle, Russian dressing, buttered cabbage ($25).

The Russian dressing turned out to be a creamy, cheese sauce, with a bit of tang to it (vinegar? mustard?).

I was a bit dubious at first, but everything on the plate was full of bold and delicious flavours, that I liked it in the end. The beef was lovely and soft, and the brioche was a nice touch.

I thought this dish was “pretty good” (I prefered the grilled chicken)… but my girlfriends LOVED it. When they ate it, their eyes rolled back and they’d go, “Oh god that’s so goooood!” and all throughout dinner someone would randomly exclaim, “MMMmmmm! That brisket is AMAZING!”

We also ordered Fava chips, mushroom ketchup and aioli ($9) but I didn’t like them, so I didn’t take a photo of it. I just found it too salty and I didn’t like the taste of the fava, which is a broad bean.

The amount we ordered was perfect for us.

I definitely want to go back again to try the Garlic Clams, the Yellow Fish Curry and the Mushroom Doughnuts. And maybe next time I’ll go during the daytime and take some photos of the food in natural light!

It was a fantastic night with good food and good company!

The Standard Perth
28 Roe St, Northbridge, WA
www.thestandardperth.com.au

 


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Mini Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes

30 July 2015

Mini Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes

I’ve been baking again!

I recently made some gluten-free (flourless) mini chocolate cupcakes and topped them with crushed Oreo icing and a mini Oreo biscuit.

I used my gluten-free chocolate cake recipe because it’s one of the best and yummiest cake recipes I know.

The cupcake was – not surprisingly – moist and delicious. It was a bit like a light, soft, cakey brownie. I reduced the amount of sugar in them since I was going to put an icing topping on them, so they tasted lovely.

Mini Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes

I made 16 mini cupcakes for my girlfriend’s birthday party and they were a HIT!

They looked great and had such a big visual wow factor.

I used a silicone cupcake baking tray (instead of cupcake cases) because I love the look of a naked cupcake :)

Mini Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes

This is what they looked like in the centre!

Gluten-free chocolate cake recipe
(Recipe makes about 18-20 mini cupcakes)

Ingredients
100g unsalted butter
140g dark chocolate, chopped
60g of brown sugar
3 eggs, separated
140g of almond meal

Oreo Butter Icing
125g butter, cubed and left at room temperature
1 1/2 cups of icing sugar
1 tablespoon of milk
4-5 Oreos, finely crushed in food processor

1. Preheat oven to 160C. Spray vegetable oil over a silicone mini cupcake tray, or prepare 16-18 mini cupcake cases.

2. Slowly melt chocolate, butter and brown sugar, until smooth. Then let it cool for 5 minutes.

(You can melt it in a bowl over hot water, or melt it in the microwave. I just melt them in a small pot on the stove, on VERY low heat!)

3. Whisk the egg whites until you can make firm peaks when you lift the whisk up. I use an electric hand mixer.

4. Add the egg yolks into the chocolate mixture, then stir in the almond meal. Mix until well combined.

5. Fold in the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, until well combined. Scoop a tablespoon of the mixture and fill each of the cupcake cases until they are 3/4 full. The cake will rise only slightly.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until your skewer comes out clean. Take out of the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Lift out the cupcakes and put them on a rack to cool completely.

7. Make butter icing by mixing butter and icing sugar with an electric mixer for 5 minutes until thick and fluffy. Use a large tablespoon to scoop in the crushed Oreos a bit at a time. Mix well until you like the colour/Oreo concentration of the icing.

8. Pipe the icing onto the cupcakes and decorate with a mini Oreo on top!

Enjoy!

xxx


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2 Brown Men, Malay Cuisine at Tan’s Food Court

26 July 2015

My dad, my mum and their friends love food. Having all been born and raised in Singapore or Malaysia, they ALL love to cook and eat the food of their childhood. So I consider them to be my local experts at finding the best value and best tasting Singapore/Malaysian/Malay/Chinese eateries around Perth!

The other day my dad took us to Tan’s Food Court, Canning Vale. It is a fairly new food court; I heard there had been a few bumpy starts in the beginning, but it I now officially open with 8-10 new, exciting food court stalls.

There is a stall that specialises in roast ducks and roast porks, classic Singapore/Malaysian style hawker foods, Indonesian food, Vietnamese food, Thai food, dim sum styled dishes, and Indian and Malay hawker food.

Today we tried out some classic Malaysian dishes from 2 Brown Men Indian and Malay Cuisine. Love the name!

2BrownMen Malay Cuisine at Tan's Food Court

When we arrived, the food court was almost empty. That didn’t deter us, because there was a queue at the 2 Brown Men shop!

That was a good sign.

Speaking of signs, I took a quick snap of their menu.

(There was lots more on the menu, I just didn’t have enough room to post up the whole thing. I’ll upload it to their Facebook page.)

2BrownMen Malay Cuisine at Tan's Food Court

The prices were pretty awesome for Perth’s hawker food standard.

Mamak stlye food is only available from 12 – 7:30pm. Malay cuisine is only available on weekends. And Roti Pratas are available mornings to 12pm and evenings from 4pm – 7:30pm.

2BrownMen Malay Cuisine at Tan's Food Court

First up we tried the Mee Goreng Chicken ($9). It was amazing!!

The noodles were dry (no puddles of sauce) and absolutely jam packed with flavour. There was a perfect balance of sweet, salty and spicy.

Most mee gorgeng that I have eaten, have a “clean” look about them, as if the noodles were lightly tossed in sauce – like a healthy noodle salad.

But these noodles looked like they have been fried up really well and the noodles have soaked up the sauce, making them super tasty, without being gluggy or sticky. Soooo yummy!

2BrownMen Malay Cuisine at Tan's Food Court

Next up, we ordered Mee Rebus ($8.50).

This was so fresh and flavoursome. You could taste the fresh spices and the balance of sweet and sour in the gravy.

All my aunties and uncles raved about how authentic the flavours were. They said, “See how the sauce is rich, thick and coats all the noodles? That’s how it’s supposed to be. If the sauce is thin, soupy or watery, then it’s not authentic. This has been cooked perfectly!!”

And their eyes would roll back and a content smile would spread across their face… and I knew they were reliving some kind of childhood memory of the “good old days back home when a bowl like this would cost them $1.20″.

2BrownMen Malay Cuisine at Tan's Food Court

This is always a favourite of mine: Roti Prata ($3)

It had lovely texture; it was crispy and flaky, not too doughy or tough, it was easy to tear and good to eat. It could have been a bit more fluffy, but otherwise it was fantastic value!

2BrownMen Malay Cuisine at Tan's Food Court

Lastly we ordered this for my kids, for their “dessert”.

Roti Tissue ($4.50) is similar to roti prata but it is much thinner and cooked to be very crispy, served as a cone, and covered with melted margarine and sweetened condensed milk (or sugar) on top.

It was crunchy, crispy, buttery, sweet, and a bit salty – ah it was delicious and addictive!

It crumbled and shattered as we broke it apart and within a blink of an eye, it was all gone and the kids were screaming for more!

I really enjoyed eating at 2 Brown Men. Next time I’m dying to try the Nasi Lemak, Mee Siam and Mee Soto.

2 Brown Men
Tan’s Food Court
46/48 Catalano Circuit, Canning Vale
(Corner of Bannister Road and Forum Ave)

2 Brown Men Facebook Page

Enjoy!

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5K Run with a $5 Coffee!

15 July 2015

5 Dollar Run

Haha! Look what I found while I was on my run!

Money! Of the paper variety!

Then on the way home, I took a detour and bought myself a takeaway coffee!

You can probably tell how EXCITED I am by the number of exclamation marks I’ve been using!!!!!

Best! Run! Ever!

Have a fab day everyone!!


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Fresh Handmade Noodles at Kitchen Inn, Kardinya

13 July 2015

Kitchen Inn, Kardinya

Yum! My girlfriends and I met up for lunch at Kitchen Inn, Kardinya.

We ate their famous handmade noodles and it was amaaaaazing!

Kitchen Inn, Kardinya

We ordered the Braised Pork Flat Noodles and a few other dishes, but these noodles were definitely the winner.

They were just so fresh and cooked to perfection!

It made me realise that all the other noodles eating experiences I’ve had in the last few years… just paled in comparison.

The sauce was delicious and tasty. The braised pork was soft and succulent and the mince was very tasty to eat.

If I were at home, I would have licked the bowl clean.

Next time I’m hoping to try the Kolo Mee (Prawn Noodles), Curry Laska Noodles and the Kampua Mee (BBQ Pork Noddles).

Not all at once though :)

 

Kitchen Inn
19/17-23 South St,
Kardinya WA 6163

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Chin’s Noodle House and their Famous Peking Duck

29 June 2015

My sister, who is living in London, was recently back in Perth for a short visit.

Whenever she is in town, she likes to schedule in a very efficient eating tour of all her (our) favourite childhood eats.

And I am always VERY happy to throw my clean-eating, gluten-free, carb-free, pseudo-paleo eating regime out the window and tag along – haha!

This particular day, we had an extended family dinner at Chin’s Noodle House in Leeming.

There were 22 of us all together and we ordered tonnes of our favourite Chinese dishes, including one of our favourites: Chin’s Famous Peking Duck.

Chin's Famous Peking Duck, Leeming

YUM!! It’s been YEARS since I’ve eaten Peking Duck!

I remember eating it in various Chinese restaurants throughout my childhood. We were always celebrating someone’s birthday, or someone being in town, with a 10 course Chinese banquet dinner.

I never liked the chili crabs, or the garlic prawns very much – Peking Duck was always my favourite.

This dish comes as a 3 Course Meal ($63).

Chin's Famous Peking Duck, Leeming

1st course consisted of sliced, crispy duck meat served on crepes with spring onions, cucumbers and a special duck sauce.

The duck skin was soooo crispy, with a little bit of tasty fat clinging to the underside of the skin. The duck meat was succulent, tender, and so yummy.

I was in absolute heaven!

Thankfully I was sitting next to my 6 year old son, who merely raised his eye brows at the thought of eating duck skin, so I snatched it up quickly and said something like:

“Aww you don’t like it? Okay Mummy will eat it for you…”

(There was none of that carry-on “Now you know the rules. Just take one bite and see if you like it. It’s really yummy! Come on, just try it. It’s like a mini kebab. This is crispy skin! You like chicken skin, this is kind of the same…”)

Chin's Famous Peking Duck, Leeming

2nd course was a clear duck soup, with preserved salted vegetables, sliced tomatoes and soft tofu.

So the duck pancakes were good, but this clear soup was even better. I sipped it slowly and ceremoniously, to prolong the flavour in my mouth. It was salty and sour, with hearty undertones from the duck and spices. It was utterly delicious.

My kids loved it too. My 6 year old had 2 bowls of it and demanded more. Too bad buddy.

Chin's Famous Peking Duck, Leeming

And lastly for the 3rd course, diners get to choose how the shredded duck meat was to be served. You can have the duck stir fried with bean sprouts and ginger, or with dry chilli sauce, or with rice/egg noodles.

We chose Sang Chow Bow, which was the stir fried duck served with lettuce leaves.

Again it was tasty and simply delicious!

We ordered plenty of other food, including roast crispy chicken and plum sauce, sizzling Japanese bean curd with diced chicken, salt & pepper squid, lamb, vegetables and bean curd in claypot, kai lan with garlic sauce and I think I might have missed one or two.

Chin's Famous Peking Duck, Leeming

And lastly, we ordered one of our childhood favourites: Fried Ice Cream!

It’s a ball of ice cream that has been dipped in breadcrumbs and quickly deep fried.

Actually… I have never liked Fried Ice Cream, nor has any of my siblings! It’s just one of those things that my parents, Aunties and Uncles ordered for us, because THEY liked it as kids, so we were made to eat it.

So to continue the tradition, I  ordered it for my kids and suggested very strongly that they should eat it too!

Chin’s Noodle House
51 Farrington Rd, Leeming, WA

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My Favourite Dukkah Recipe

23 June 2015

Dukkah

I love eating dukkah! I sprinkle it on everything.

Dukkah comes from Egypt and it’s a dry seasoning blend made from roasted nuts, seeds and spices. Traditionally Egyptians use fresh bread to dip into olive oil and then into the dukkah mixture.

For me, I use it on my lamb, chicken, salmon, warm salads, eggs and on my avocado on toast in the mornings. I’m totally addicted to it.

I prefer a hazelnut base, but you can make it with pine nuts, pistachios, almonds, cashews, pine nuts or macadamia nuts.

My Favourite Dukkah Recipe
(Adapted from this recipe)

2/3 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 180°C. Bake hazelnuts in a tray for 3 minutes until toasted. Then rub the hazelnuts between a tea towel to remove the skins. Coarsely whiz the hazelnuts in a food processor and then transfer to a bowl.

Place the sesame seeds in a frying pan, heat up over a medium heat and stir for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Toss them into the bowl with the hazelnuts.

Then place coriander seeds and cumin seeds in the frying pan and stir for 2 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and pestle, pound until finely crushed. Add to mixture in the bowl. Add the pepper and salt, mix well.

Store in an air tight container.

Enjoy!


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Mini Orange and Almond Cupcakes (Gluten Free)

15 June 2015

Over the last few weeks, I have been trying to perfect my baking and cake decorating skills.

I’ve been enjoying myself SO MUCH and I think I’m getting better.

Anyway, I have been struggling to find a truly moist cupcake recipe, with low sugar. So the other day I used an Orange and Almond Cake recipe, and made them into cupcakes. They were simply amazing!

They were so moist, so soft, so fragrant, and SO lovely to eat.

Mini Orange and Almond Cupcakes

I reduced the amount of sugar in the cupcakes, but I decorated them with a little blob of butter icing.

That little bit of creamy sweetness on top really rounded out the mellow orange flavour of the cupcake.

Mini Orange and Almond Cupcakes

Omh nom nom!

Mini Orange and Almond Cupcakes

So moist and so delicious!

Mini Orange and Almond Cupcakes (Gluten Free)

Ingredients (Makes 24 little cupcakes)

1 large orange
100g brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
125g almond meal
1/2 tsp baking powder

Butter icing
125g butter, melted
1 1/2 cups of icing sugar
1 tablespoon of milk

Boil a large pot of water. Clean the orange and place into the boiling water and simmer on low for 2 hours. When done, drain the water and cool the orange to room temperature. The orange pips add a bit of bitterness to the cake, which I like. But my kids don’t like the taste, so I tend to scoop out out the pips for a smoother taste.

Puree the boiled orange (with skin) with a hand blender or in a blender, or in a small food processor. I used my high-speed Nutri-Bullet blender.

Add brown sugar and beaten eggs to the orange puree and give it a good stir.

Stir in the almond meal and baking powder. Pour out into cupcake molds or mini cupcake cases.

I spray cooking oil into two silicone 12-mini cupcake molds and make about 24 mini cupcakes.

Bake at 160°C for 30 minutes, until golden brown on top or skewer comes out cleans!

Mix up the butter icing, and decorate with a little slice of orange.

Enjoy!

xxx


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Gastronomic Happiness at the Taste of Perth 2015

4 June 2015

I was kindly invited to the recent Taste of Perth food tasting event!

Do you remember my post about the event from last year? For some reason I thought it was an INDOOR event, so I wore such an inappropriate outfit and almost froze to death! Anyway I LOVED the food last year and was thrilled to be invited back again.

This time I brought a friend… and I wore more clothes!

My girlfriend and I were given complimentary entry tickets, and we had to purchase our own tokens (called Crowns). We bought $40 worth of Crowns each and headed over to our first gastronomic conquest.

Taste of Perth 2015

Behold the Rotisserie Suckling Pig Slider (with kimchi slaw and kewpie mayo) – $8 from Bib &  Tucker.

Oh my, the idea of suckling pig and kimchi… it was a match made in heaven.

My friend and I both bought this for our entree and it was just amaaaaazing. I wanted to eat three.

Taste of Perth 2015

We both hit up El Publico and I ordered the Pork Belly Taco, featuring grilled pork belly served with roasted pineapple, salsa picante and chicharon – $8.

I didn’t know what half those things were… but it was delicious.

The salsa had a bit of heat to it and bite after bite, the taco was bursting with flavour.

The sizzling fat of the pork belly, the tangy pineapple, the fresh coriander and the hot chilli salsa… it was all such a winning combination!

I think this was my favourite dish for the whole night.

Taste of Perth 2015

My friend ordered the very popular Lamb Ribs, twice cooked and served sticky with sesame, cucumber and lime – $12.

I had a little bit to taste and it was really yummy. It too had crispy fatty bits and the lamb was so soft, juicy and tender.

Taste of Perth 2015

Next up, we went to Nobu and Silks. Their stalls were next to each other and our mouths were drooling from the tantilising aromas.

I was craving some sashimi, so I ordered the Nobu Seared Salmon Sashimi, with chocolate, yuzu karashiso miso, cocoa nibs and friend kataifi – $10.

I didn’t read the small print and didn’t realise there was chocolate with the sashimi? CHOCOLATE AND RAW FISH??

If I had known I probably would have chosen a “safer” dish.

But OMG it was SO GOOD!! I was practically licking the paper plate!

I LOVED the mixture of sweet chocolate and salty miso, and the combination of squishy fish and crunchy kataifi (shredded pastry).

Taste of Perth 2015

My friend fancied some fancy prawns, so she chose the Silks Wok Fried King Prawns with asparagus and chilli sea salt – $22.

She didn’t have enough Crowns to buy it so she had to find a pay station to top up her Crown card.

I didn’t taste it, but it looked really crunchy, fresh, and my friend was pretty happy with it!

Taste of Perth 2015

Lastly, we both bought a Tiramisu from Modo Mio ($8) and we both ordered a coffee ($4) from an espresso truck.

The tiramisu, while it didn’t look very spectacular, was just divine to eat!

We found a table, sat down, enjoyed our dessert and coffee and chatted about our evening.

In total I spent $38. I had $2 left on my card which I donated to a charity collection set up at the exit. My friend spent $54.

If I had purchased my own entry ticket (Silver Package which includes $25 entry + $30 Crowns + my own additional $10 Crowns), altogether my final cost for the evening would have been $65.

It was an enjoyable and novel night out – with great food!

Once again, I was very inspired to go out and try food from some of the best eateries in town. Next on my list is El Publico, Mary’s and Nobu.

Thank you for the fab night Taste of Perth and I’ll be seeing you next year!

 

 


day of week

Vanilla Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Popcorn

29 May 2015

Vanilla Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Popcorn

In my quest to develop my cupcake-making skills… I made some vanilla cupcakes topped with salted caramel popcorn this week.

Much to my children’s delight, I didn’t hold back with the sugar and butter.

I must say, they looked pretty amazing in the end!

Vanilla Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Popcorn

I did a lot of careful research and chose a vanilla cupcake recipe, a salted caramel popcorn recipe and a caramel frosting recipe… from three different sources.

Unfortunately I’m not going to share the recipes with you, because I wasn’t 100% happy with any of them in the end. However, I completely accept that my technique and execution was probably a bit off too!

The cupcake recipe I used was much too sweet and a little bit dry. I want my cupcakes to be much more fluffy and moist. They turned out so plain (and boring) that I decided to scoop out the core of each cupcakes and fill it with a bit of caramel frosting.

The caramel frosting, while it had a lovely texture, it was just way too sweet!

The salted caramel for the popcorn wasn’t smooth. The sugar crystalised as the caramel cooled, so it looked grainy. Probably not enough butter? It also made the popcorn go a bit soggy. I’ve made delicious, crunchy caramel popcorn before, so I know I can do it – I just need to find the recipe.

In fact, it was ALL SO SWEET, that even my kids couldn’t eat a full cupcake each.

I pretty much used 1 cup of white sugar for the cupcakes, 3 cups of icing sugar for the frosting and 1 cup of brown sugar for the caramel.

Yikes! That’s a terrifying amount of sugar!

Salted Caramel Popcorn Vanilla Cupcakes

So now that I look at these cupcakes… even though they look absolutely stunning and much like the ones I see in the shops, I don’t think they are worth it. I don’t feel good about making something so unhealthy for my friends and family.

I’ll be looking for much healthier options and substitutes now.

But at the same time, I’m still hoping to make them look amazing.

My quest continues!