After every holiday my first few days back always are packed full of veg and fruit, trying to clear my system from too many holiday treats! ;) This was Tuesday nights dinner full of delicious goodness, cleaning my body and mind after the best weekend back home in Sydney. So easy and tasty, everybody should keep this one on the weekly menu.
Sweet potato salad pockets
2 whole sweet potatoes (medium size, perfect for one sweet potato each)
2 chicken breasts (marinated in garlic and salt and pepper)
1 cup grated cheese (we used tasty)
1 medium sized beetroot
small bunch coriander
greek yogurt for topping
pumpkin seeds for some extra crunch
Place washed and pricked with a fork sweet potato in the oven on 180 degrees and allow to cook until soft, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile cut up chicken into cubes and marinate in garlic, salt & pepper, oil, then cook on grill for about 10-12 minutes. Grate cucumber, carrot, beetroot and cheese. Once sweet potato is cooked and soft cut open and add grated cheese, the chicken and salad ingredients. Top with greek yogurt and pumpkin seeds.
I used these ingredients and it tasted fab, but if these items aren't regular in your fridge you could switch it out and use some other toppings, just try to make it as healthy as possible. Avocado would have been an amazing finish too, but they weren't ripe yet. Love the combo of hot and cold, soft and crunchy all in the same meal. YUM!!! Happy healthy eating :)
Saturday nights in are one of our favorite ways to spend the Saturday night. A bottle of wine, some cheese, good food, dessert and of course Netflix. Why would we go out?
Saving money is one of our big goals for 2016, a wedding to plan and pay for, additionally we are looking at property in Australia; we all know how expensive that can be! Where am I going with this, well making affordable delicious dinners at home has become a skill of mine and I thought I would share.
Super simple salad-Italian style
2 cups mixed tomatoes (I used Cherry tomatoes because they are much sweeter in Singapore and you can't always get your hands on good quality larger mixed ones)
Tip: If your tomatoes are hard when you buy them, ripen next to bananas in a warmer spot in the house for 2 days and they will taste lots sweeter. I leave mine in the fruit bowl they start to smell delicious and the color is beautiful.
1 red chili sliced finely
Fresh marjoram leaves 1/2 cup roughly
Fresh Basil leaves 1/2 cup roughly
Mozzarella balls torn
Olive oil 1 tbsp
Slice tomatoes (if cherry tomatoes in half) and layer tomatoes on a plate. Scatter the sliced chili and herb leaves over the tomatoes. Lastly tear up the mozzarella carefully and place over the tomatoes and chili. Dress the salad with lemon juice, olive oil and salt. It was the perfect side dish with our chili tomato and prawn pasta, coming soon!! :)
Hey Everybody, Who is a pancake lover?? I am, that's for sure! Being pancake week I thought I would share some breakfast recipes! I can remember it being one of the first things I learnt how to cook as a child. It became a weekend ritual for me when I was a kid, making pancakes for my younger brothers, and more importantly myself. Over the years I still crave them when the weekend arrives. So, recently I have opted for some healthier options to kill the cravings and satisfy that breakfast need. I thought I would share 2 recipes that are our weekend favourites.
Banana pancakes: These are so simple!!
1 banana mashed
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
Pinch of cinnamon
Mash the banana in a bowl, then add the egg and whisk it together till in forms a thicker paste. Finally add in the dry ingredients and stir it all together. Cook in coconut oil for about 2min per side (or golden brown). Be careful not to dry these pancakes out, they taste rubbish over cooked.
I love these ones served with peanut butter, banana and some maple syrup or honey!!
Almond & lemon pancakes
3 tbsp lemon juiced
1 cup almond flour (ground almonds in the blender)
1/2 cup oat flour (ground oats in the blender)
2 eggs separated
1/2-3/4 buttermilk or greek yogurt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
In a bowl combine all the dry ingredients and give it a mix, then leave to the side. In another bowl beat with a mixer or whisk, the milk (or yogurt) egg yolks, vanilla and lemon juice till smooth. Add this wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir to combine.
Lastly whisk the egg whites with a beater or whisk till soft peaks. Then fold the egg white into the pancake batter slowly and gently.
When cooking pancakes use butter or coconut oil to give it a nice flavour. Pancakes need about 2-3 min per side, once they bubble slightly on one side flip them over! These are great served with fresh fruit. apples, dates, berries, banana or even lemon juice and honey.
Bangkok you got me crazy right now! For someone who has lived in Singapore on and off now for 7 years I have never ventured to Thailand’s capital. With it being so close to Singapore we are practically neighbors it was about time we made the visit. I’m definitely glad we did.
It was a lovely day at school Friday celebrating the Chinese New Year with parades; lion dances, Hong boas and mandarins the festivities were in full swing and everybody was busting for the long weekend. After an early finish Friday Ryan and I scooted off to the airport where we were happily awaiting our delayed flight at the bar. Upon arriving in Bangkok at sharp midnight we dropped the bags at the hotel and went out searching for some excitement. Different smells on every corner, lights blaring, music booming, skirts just long enough to cover what ever was hiding underneath, we were staying right in the thick of all the action. After a nightcap at one of the bars with cheap and cheerful beers we made our way back to bed for long sleep and lay in (oh I do love weekends & holidays).
Saturday morning after loading on buffet breaky (pancakes, omelets, tropical fruit) we got the train to Mo Chit to see one of the largest markets in Asia, Chatuchak. I like being on the train you see so much more, get a feel for everyday life, hanging with the locals + it was dirt cheap and you skip that unpredictable Bangkok traffic! The markets are beyond huge 15 000 stalls to choose from, so where do you start? We entered via the train station entrance, so easy to walk straight from the train to the market, picked ourselves up a coconut and begin searching. We had nothing really that we needed to buy, but it was just enjoyable to see all on offer; bags, shoes, candles, jewelry, books, food, electronics, sex toys, animals, flowers- they really had it all. We walked out with some household items, standard purchases for me.
Tip: Make sure you have a plan when you enter you could lost in there for days and end up sleeping amongst the fake purses, have a meeting point or take a photo of the entry point so you have an idea at least of how to get out.
On our train home from the markets we stopped at a couple of other spots on the line (I think Sanan Pao was one) and had some lunch. There were lots of nicer shopping malls around this area, some with your standard Louis Viton, Hermes and others with boutique shops and Thai stalls selling fakes, it was a great mix and paradise for shopaholics.
The afternoon consisted of some roof top pool time, with some Singhas by the pool. Ryan hit the gym and I got some sun!
On the Saturday night we got dolled up and taxied to Banyan Tree hotel. The roof top bar I had heard was meant to be amazing and the gossip was correct, the view and breeze was incredible. Bangkok looked so glamorous from up top, where you couldn’t smell all it’s character. I would highly recommend stopping for a cocktail and watching the sunset. We had booked dinner there but once we saw the prices and that meals were all western, we made a plan B.
So, we got back in the taxi after a few fancy beverages and heading back into town, Sukhmvit Soi 11 to be exact. This street had lots of bars and restaurants to choose from, with a mix of people and cuisines. We choose Zanzi Bar and had amazing curries, and moneybags, yum!
Sunday we were up a little earlier and off to find Grasshopper bike adventure tours. It was a whole day adventure 10.30 till 5 and boy it was awesome. I had booked in advance and chose the boat and bike tour around old and new Bangkok. (Grasshoppers have lots of different tours, so check them out). We saw the new Bangkok full of trendy bars and backpackers, got the boat up the Chao Praya River, road through old Bangkok and local villages till we reached a spectacular temple where we participated in a Buddhist prayer ceremony and had amazing local Thai feast for lunch. Our bike back took us through windy streets, dusty roads and old sewage pipelines, but it was all an awesome way to get to know Bangkok in all its glory and we liked everything we saw!
Our final night in Bangkok we went out with a BANG! Another fancy roof top bar on the Sofitel with a great happy hour deal 1 for 1 cocktails, wine and beer! We were impressed. The view again was awesome; it was a narrower balcony so you had to walk around the building to see all the different views, quite an experience. From here we walked to an incredible steak restaurant. Argentinean steak and meat restaurant that would have any meat lover impressed. El Gaucho had a butcher inside where you could choose your meat for your meal, a detailed wine list (which is awesome for Thailand) and every side dish possible to go with your meal. We ordered Pork ribs and a steak with a bunch of sides to share and were stuffed! Big portions and really well done food, it was an awesome finish to the holiday!
Bangkok recommendations: Find a central hotel within walking distance to the train line and make sure it has a pool, you feel rather sweaty and dirty after a day exploring. Visit at least one roof top bar, there are plenty, many of the fancier hotels have them. Try some super local Thai food, sometimes the best food isn’t the place that looks the most appealing (don’t judge a book by its cover), so branch out and follow the locals. Visit the Chao Praya River, go for a walk along the pathway, have a drink near it, or take a boat trip up it. Stay out past 10pm, that’s when all the exciting things start to happen; find a bar in a popular strip and people watch-such a great city for it. Safe travels friends!
Each weekly menu plan is different in our home. I try to be organized as much as possible, prepping on the weekends, shopping every 3 days, so ingredients are fresh but sometimes the weekend is full of friends and drinks, and so creativity and spontaneous menu planning can often occur. There are a few go-to meals that are often on the menu in our home. We love frittata and the ingredients used change every week, dependent on what we have or don't have in the fridge. Sometimes it's halloumi cheese as the topping (cause we have it) other times its cheddar, feta or even brie. We are frittata crazy, plus I love that Ryan can make this one on his own, yippee!
This week on one of my crazy unplanned meal nights I used up random ingredients left in the fridge to create something truly beautiful, a warm salad.
It was a winner, so quick and easy to make and so delicious, which is why I want to share it!
Pumpkin, chorizo & chickpea warm salad
I used half of a whole small pumpkin
Roast pumpkin, skin left on (I used Jap pumpkin because that's what was in the fridge but butternut would be awesome too)
1 can chickpeas
2 stalks of rosemary finely chopped
2 cups baby spinach
Homemade croutons (Use old crusty bread, wholemeal or sourdough is perfect option, tear into small chunks and pan fry in olive oil and salt till light brown)
1 garlic clove
2 chorizo sausages
Preheat the oven first to 180 degrees. Chop pumpkin into chunks (your preference) and place onto a tray already covered in olive oil and salt then sprinkle chopped rosemary over the top. Give the pumpkin a good toss in the oil, salt and rosemary. Bake the pumpkin in the oven for 30 minutes or until browned slightly and cooked through (try not to overcook and make the pumpkin mushy). Cook the croutons in the pan; I used a clove of garlic to give the croutons some extra punch. Allow cooling once fried. Start to cook the chorizo sausages in the pan straight after. Add baby spinach, chickpeas, croutons to a salad bowl. Once the sausages and pumpkin are cooked, add them into the salad and mix it all up. My salad was warm when I served it and it was perfect. I had it again the next day at work cold and still awesome, so you could make it in advance and have it cold. I hope you enjoy as much as I did!
I think the title gives it away but I'll type it again just for fun, I'm getting married!! Yipppeeeee
Little did I know that Ryan was planning on popping the question on our Japanese adventure. (I literally did not see it coming) Friends and family thought it was coming, we have been together coming up to 5 years now, live together and of course I love him to bits, still I was genuinely so surprised when he told me to shut my eyes and when I opened them he was down on one knee. So I have so much more to tell you about Japan, now that my exciting news is out there- here are some of the details you must know about the snow.
1. Make sure there is snow! The first day we arrived, looked around the small cute village, umm where's the snow?? Luckily the mountains were covered in the stuff, so we could still ski, it just meant there was no beginner slopes open down the bottom (lucky me, not). My confidence had to improve rather quickly, with intimidate runs, advance and expert being the only options. The last 2 days of skiing were amazing the snow had started Christmas Eve so by boxing day the village, the trees and cars were all covered with the stuff, making everything around look magical.
2. The transport to get there is synch! You can buy the unlimited rail pass-which I mentioned in my last post is great; gets you around most places with that. Another option is to just buy a single or return train ticket on the day depending on your plans. It's a good idea to reserve the seats a few days in advance- not wing it like us on New Years Eve and try and get back to Tokyo (that was a mission). From Tokyo it is about 1h40m to get to Nagano station. You can stop here have lunch, walk around, shop, there's things to do and see, or just jump straight on a bus to head to the slopes. The busses here go to quite a few different ski areas in the region, and most run on the hour. Hakuba covers a large area of mountains and village at the snow, so make sure you know what spot yours is, so you get the right bus. Our stop was the last at Happo bus terminal, right near the Happo gondola and ski slopes. This was an additional hour from the station. Once we arrived in Happo Hakuba we were a 5 minute walk from the bus terminal, at Hakuba Springs Hotel. So within 3 hours we were in the snow and ready for some action.
3. Pre-book your restaurants once you get there or even before you arrive! There is so much information online that you can plan ahead. This time I didn't because I didn't know what to expect, which meant we had to book things last minute, so we missed out on a couple of hot spots in the area. Although every place we ate at was excellent too, Japan really does food so well. Recommendations include: Mimi's and Sharaku
4. Rent ski gear-depending on how much of an avid skier or snowboarder you are will affect your choice but the equipment including googles, jackets, boots etc, were really reasonably priced in the area. We thought it would be extortionate like places in Australia are for skiing, so we brought jackets, pants, boots etc, but we really didn't have to. You can travel so much lighter if you don't, which is awesome if you are moving around different parts of Japan.
5. Get your partner to ask you to marry them!! It truly was such a special occasion, like everybody says. Wherever you get engaged is going to be special and I love that mine was on Christmas morning, with the snow finally starting to fall outside, still in my pyjamas, just the two of us :) I am one lucky girl taking my sparkly snowflake with me on my finger forever.
Where do I start, umm, well.. let me tell you, that JAPAN is absolutely amazing! FOOD, people, shopping, transport, mountains, wildlife, scenery, buildings, colours and language are just mind blowing. It was an unforgettable trip, and I'm not just saying it because I got engaged!!! Ekkk
So, I am going to start with Tokyo the largest city in the world full of madness and so much excitement, not smiling isn't an option! We landed bright and early from a night flight in Tokyo Haneda airport at about 8am Saturday morning. My first completely Japanese experience happened in the bathroom, where I was greeted with a warm seat for my tush, harmonious music to tune out any unfortunate bathroom noises and a ridiculous amount of buttons to play with. Flush was the last one I was going to use, before wash, blow dry, heat- I think the only button missing was vibrate :)
Our next adventure was to make it to bustling Shibuya, which we thought would be easy ( I liked our confidence, you need it there). The train system is frightening when first given the map and told your stop is somewhere in the middle, with 20 different coloured lines running in different directions, I was wondering if we could just get a taxi!? DON"T!!! It is all apart of the experience + taxi's unlike other Asian cities, taxi's are extremely expensive, comparative to US, UK or AUS prices.
Standing at the airport train station, with mount Fuji visible form the window was the first of many breath taking moments on the trip! Nature just takes my breath away. Seeing as everything was in Japanese we thought we would ask around for anybody that speaks English??? (Not many people do, but they will still help) This kind elderly man (who spoke next to no English) said he knew where we wanted to go and would show us. (Now imagine, you're in Sydney, London, or New York city and you are trusting a complete stranger with 0 English to guide you half way across the city-shall we go for it?) Well, there wasn't many other options, so we followed the kind man onto the next train and onto our exciting adventure!
After this kind soul had taken us onto the right coloured train line to get to our stop (given us the number of stops till our destination) he thought we would be ok to continue the rest on our own. Glad he trusted us too! :) We arrived in Shibuya before lunch and made our way straight to the AirBnB apartment we had booked in advance, it was such a lucky find. The inside of the apartment was nothing to rave about, but the location was close to the best restaurants, shops, night clubs, bars, coffee stops and train station -so we were over the moon. We dumped our bags, put a couple more layers on (because it was freezing) and set out for food!!!
The apartment owner suggested a local ramen place, and we were in! We made our way down the streets, till we found the hidden gem and stepped inside a tiny room seated with about 12 spots for the lucky people that were able to snag one. As we walked in we were greeted by every staff member in the room with a shout いらっしゃいませ (irasshaimase) it means 'welcome'. Almost every Japanese restaurant does this, I loved this! You pay before you eat, and you order and buy your meal through a vending machine at the entrance; this was a completely new experience. We, being tourists had no idea and needed a little assistance from our new other non-English speaking friend. He gave us a dummies menu in English with some basic words and pictures. As soon as we saw a picture with noodles, we knew that was the one. This was the first of many warming ramen dishes, which should be an essential on a winter Japan trip. Soy sauce ramen soup was my favourite, but salt ramen was also delicious, just a stronger flavour. If it is your first time trying ramen, go for soy sauce, our western taste buds seem to fancy it more.
I love going home! For anybody that lives abroad (I hope you agree with me) there is nothing better than the feeling of arriving home. I was eagerly peering out the window the whole flight, counting down the hours till touch down! My brother was waiting at the other end, and oh how good is family (one of the only things I like better than food, oh and Ryan <3). We went straight to Kirribilli from the airport (beautiful spot, if I won the lottery, that would be my investment), got beers from the bottle-O, sandwiches from the deli and parked our bums under the Harbor Bridge. What a view and what a city, so lucky to call it home.
My favorite places to see in Sydney!!!
>Kirribilli and or Blues point
>Woolloomooloo Wharf (restaurants include; China doll, Ottos)
>Manly beach (take the ferry from circular quay)
>Cermorne point (do the walk around the point 30-40 minutes, it's beautiful)
>Chatswood Chase shops (a cultural food pit in Sydney, plus great shops there-boutiques and brands)
>Oxford street (vintage shops and boutiques shops & restaurants)
>Parramatta Lake walk (Grab a coffee there, and sit out watching the birds fly over the lake)
>Newtown- Kings street (the pubs there are brilliant)
>Redfern-Everly Markets (Kylie Kwong an Aussie legend is often there)
Just a few snapshots of my long weekend at home! My home, family and city- I hope you enjoy a visit as much as I do. <3
Simple dinners are a necessity when working full time ahhh. This meal can be put together in a 30min including oven time! Yes, please!!!
1 red onion thinly sliced
1 red chilli thinly sliced
Mixed roasted red peppers sliced (I used pre-made ones kept in a jar with olive oil, if you don't have, you can just use fresh ones)
2 chirozo sausages chopped
Handful baby spinach
60 grams or 3 tbs crumbed goats cheese
Basil leaves torn for flavour (6 small leaves)
Parsley leaves to garnish for flavour
Pre-heat oven to 180degrees. Slice onion, chilli, sausages and peppers. Add the onion and chilli straight to the pan once sliced, so it starts to caramelize. Add the chopped sausage and cook with the onion and chilli for 5 min. Whilst sausage is cooking whisk the eggs together in a large bowl and add a splash of milk, salt and pepper. Stir through baby spinach and herbs in the onion and sausage mixture, place peppers over the mixture then pour the egg mixture into the pan. Crumb the cheese over the top and leave for a couple of minutes before placing in the oven to bake for 10-15minutes. Voila, 30 minute meal, which makes for a great lunch the next day!
When the Kale obsession hit Australia last year some time, I just couldn't get into it! Firstly it was like taking home a bush ready to plant in the garden, they give you so much at the markets. I had no idea what to do with it. My only Kale knowledge was that this stuff is the superman of the vegetable family.
I tried Kale chips, but they didn't quite hit the spot, it ruined my scrambled eggs and I wasn't a massive fan of it in smoothies (prefer baby spinach). So when I saw it here in a Singapore deli, organic kale all the way form Australia, I thought why not give it another shot (even if it was $12 a bunch). I was determined to make something delicious with it. I cut it up and cleaned it as soon as we got home so it didn't look so intimidating sitting there in the fridge. This lead to some exciting green dishes for the week.
My first goal was to make a crunchy salad with the mighty green, and so of I went on creating..
1/2 bunch kale (or 2 cups torn kale, washed and tried)
1 small sweet red onion sliced
1 red apple (pink lady are the best) thinly sliced
6 stem thyme leaves (leaves removed)
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 small fennel sliced finely
1 lemon juiced
Wash and clean kale, apple, fennel and thyme leaves. Tear the kale up into bite sized pieces and place into the salad bowl. Slice onion very finely, along with the fennel and apple. Scatter over the kale and toss around in the salad bowl. Pull the thyme leaves off the stem and add to the bowl, be careful not to bruise the leaves. Cut the lemon open and squeeze the juice over the leaves and apple (so it doesn't brown and gives it a lovely fresh flavour). Pan fry (without oil) the pine nuts in a non stick fry pan till browned all over (golden brown). Once cooled toss over the salad and serve. Serve with balsamic and olive oil, I just coated the salad on my plate, that way I saved the left overs for lunch the next day (and they weren't soggy) Happy eating :)
This recipe is one to rave about the sweet and citrus flavours together with the great texture of kale makes it a delicious one to share with friends. I served ours with gourmet beef sausages from the butcher, but it would be beautiful with lamb chops, steak or even to accompany a roast dinner with potatoes.
There was over half a bunch of kale left to use so I made 'clean out the fridge soup' with home made chicken stock. Using up all left over vegetables makes for a healthy clean soup, with superfood kale giving it some extra power. I also added it to our stir fry this week, along with capsicums, carrots and chicken. Saving all our dinners this week.. Thank you Kale! :)
My life really does revolve around food! I love learning about produce, reading new recipes, trying to create my own. Here are some of my food, travel and creative journeys, I hope you find them interesting or just delicious!