Saturday, January 17, 2015

Pippies wok-tossed with chilli & Asian basil

Recipe adapted from Luke Nguyen


1 ½ cups water
2 lemongrass stalks, bruised, finely sliced
1kg pippies/vongole
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon finely diced garlic
1 tablespoon finely diced red Asian shallots
1 tablespoon corn flour mixed with 1 tablespoon water
2 long red chillies, finely sliced
1 handful Asian basil leaves
green shallots, to garnish


In a large saucepan, bring water to the boil. Add lemongrass and pippies. Cover and cook until pippies open slightly (roughly 4 minutes).

In a bowl, add sugar, fish sauce & oyster sauce. Mix until sugar dissolves and set aside.

Strain the pippies, reserving its broth.

Heat a wok to high, add oil, garlic and red shallots, followed by the pippies, then wok toss for 1 minute.

Add the sauce and 6 tablespoons of the pippie broth, toss for a further minute, then add the dissolved corn flour.

Add chilli, pepper and Asian broth and toss to combine.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Gluten Free Banana Bread

I had some leftover ripe bananas sitting in my fruit bowl today. Not wanting them to go to waste nor put them in the freezer since I often forget about the things I put in there, I decided to make banana bread. Since I'm trying to cut out wheat and refined sugars from my diet at the moment, I made a gluten-free version. This banana bread is much lighter in texture and healthier to eat. It's also very simple to make and very tasty. Making this at the start of the week means I now have something healthy to snack on for morning or afternoon tea. Especially since I still enjoy eating desserts :)

Recipe adapted from Teresa Cutter's The 80/20 Diet recipe book


1 ¼ cups mashed ripe banana (about 2 large bananas)
3 eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons rice malt syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup coconut oil
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups almond meal
2 teaspoons chia seeds
chopped walnuts, to decorate (optional)
1 extra banana, sliced, to decorate (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease base and sides of a 7cm deep, 11cm x 21cm (base) loaf pan. Line with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang at both long ends. 
  2. Combine the mashed banana, eggs, rice malt syrup, vanilla extract, coconut oil, cinnamon, baking soda and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the almond meal and chia seeds. Mix well until combined. 
  4. Pour batter into loaf pan. Decorate the top of banana bread with sliced banana or a handful of chopped walnuts. 
  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  6. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Lift onto a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into 10 even slices.
Notes & Tips
  • Cover the top of the cake with foil if over-browning
  • Keeps in the fridge covered for up to one week

Friday, January 9, 2015

Hummus Dip


1x 400g can chick peas, drained, rinsed 
½ teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons tahini paste (sesame paste)
Up to ½ cup olive oil


Blend all ingredients together in a mini food processor until smooth. Add oil last, a little at a time. Depending on the taste and consistency you like, add as much as necessary up to the 1/2 cup.

Serve with paprika sprinkled on top and extra olive oil drizzled over the top.

Pearl Barley & Smoked Paprika Minestrone Soup

Warm, hearty and healthy soup

Recipe adapted from, April 2014


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 brown onion, diced into 1cm cubes
1 carrot, diced into 1cm cubes
1 zucchini, diced into 1cm cubes
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2x400g cans diced tomatoes
1.5L-2L vegetable stock
⅓ cup pearl barley
400g can barlotti beans, rinsed, drained
½ bunch kale, shredded
flat leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped, to serve


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add onion, carrot, zucchini and garlic. Cook stirring for 5 minutes or until onion softens.
  2. Add paprika and stir to combine. Add tomatoes, stock and barley. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes or until barley is tender. Add beans and kale. Stir until kale wilts. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Divide soup among serving bowls. Sprinkle with parsley to serve. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Chocolate Protein Balls

I first came across chocolate protein balls when I was watching the reality tv show Recipe to Riches. In this show, everyday home cooks have the opportunity to take their home recipe and turn it into a product to be sold at Woolworths supermarkets. Each week, there are different food categories and contestants battle it out to be the final winner in that category. Viewers can then buy the winning contestant's product, straight from the supermarket shelf the day after the episode goes to air! The more products that are sold, the greater chance the contestant has of seeing their product on the supermarket shelf permanently and win the competition/tv series. I absolutely love watching this show. It's very inspiring, interactive and entertaining. Someday, I wish I can create something worthwhile to enter!

In season 2, I think on the third week, they had a health food category and the product that won was called "Choc Bombs". Basically these were chocolate protein balls made from cashews, dates, chia seeds, cacao, protein powder and coconut oil. I bought this product and absolutely loved it. They were a great snack to eat on my way home from work when I would feel peckish and since they were individually packaged, I was able to conveniently keep them in my handbag. Since purchasing this product, I've wanted to try making my own protein balls. I found a few recipes online and I tried the one from Women's Health magazine today since it had the ingredients most similar to the Choc Bombs. The taste was pretty spot on! Next time I make this recipe, I'll try adding the chia seeds and coconut oil.

Makes 16 balls


1 cup raw cashews
2 tablespoons rice malt syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 medjool dates, pitted
2 tablespoons cacao powder
½ cup desiccated coconut, for coating


Place cashews into a mini food processor and blend until smooth
Place remaining ingredients (except the desiccated coconut) and mix until well combined
Roll a tablespoon of the mixture into a ball
Roll ball into dessiccated coconut until evenly coated
Place ball on a plate lined with baking paper
Place in the fridge to set

Notes & Tips

You can cheat and buy cashew butter rather than making your own-  I wasn't able to find any in my health food store though.

I found rice malt syrup in the health food section of Coles supermarket. If you can't find this product, substitute with honey instead and adjust the sweetness to your taste. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Chocolate Berry Power Smoothie

They say breakfast is the most important meal in the day as it fuels your body, so what better way to start than with a power smoothie!

This recipe is by Melissa Ramos from her Remodel Sexy Cookbook. It's very quick and easy to make, plus it tastes really nice.

In Melissa's recipe she also adds 1oz E3 live and a generous handful of spinach. I didn't have both these ingredients so did without it.


1 cup unsweetened almond milk
½ cup frozen mixed berries
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 tablespoon cacao powder
1 tablespoon coconut oil


Combine all ingredients in a high powered blender, pour and enjoy

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Papaya, Carrot & Sweet Corn Soup

Home style Chinese comfort food. This is great to drink in Summer or Winter for hydration


½ papaya, peeled and chopped into large chunks
1 sweet corn- chopped into large chunks
1 carrot, chopped
750ml-1L water
80g rock sugar
2 honey dates
1 ginger slice
1 white fungus (optional)

  1. Add all the ingredients into a pot and boil for 10 minutes
  2. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes
  3. Serve warm or cool

Sweet Basil Seed Drink

This is a really cool and refreshing beverage to drink on a hot summer day like today! Sometimes I make it ahead of time in the morning and by the afternoon, it's ready and cold enough to quench my thirst and cool me straight down.

It is a bit of a strange drink though since the basil seeds turn gelatinous once soaked in water. I also sometimes like to add some grass jelly cubes to this drink to make it more like a sweet dessert soup.


3 cups hot water
Approx 50g rock sugar, or to taste
2 teaspoons basil seeds
Mint, to garnish

  1. Mix the water, sugar and basil seeds together in a bowl and stir until sugar is dissolved
  2. Stand for 5 minutes before cooling in the refrigerator. 
  3. Add ice cubes prior to serving
Notes & Tips

I normally leave the drink in the fridge for at least 45 mins so that it has enough time to cool down. 

You can also add honey to this drink if your prefer it sweeter

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Penne boscaiola with asparagus

Recipe adapted from Super Food Ideas, October 2011 issue, page 24


400g penne pasta
1 tablespoon cornflour
½ cup chicken stock
300ml evaporated light cream
1 tablespoon olive oil
100g bacon, diced
x2 chicken minute steaks
200g button mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 green onions, sliced (or 1 small brown onion)
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1cm slices
¾ cup frozen green peas
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
Parmesan cheese, grated

  1. Cook pasta in a saucepan of salted boiling water, following packet directions, until tender. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, place cornflour in a bowl. Add the stock. Stir until smooth. Add cream and whisk until smooth. Set aside. 
  3. Heat oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium high heat. Add bacon. Cook, stirring, for 4 minutes or until golden. 
  4. Season chicken steaks and add to pan. Cook for 1 minute each side or until golden. Remove chicken steaks onto a plate to rest.
  5. Meanwhile, add mushrooms and garlic to pan. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Add onion and asparagus. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until onion is tender.
  6. Add cream mixture and peas to pan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened and asparagus is tender. Add pasta and lemon rind. Slice up the chicken steaks and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with some grated Parmesan cheese.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Stir-fried hoisin pork and beans

Recipe adapted from Feast Magazine, October 2014 issue, page 36


375g green beans
¼ cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 spring onions, sliced
1 long red chilli, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ teaspoon ginger, finely grated
500g minced pork
chopped chillies, extra to garnish (optional)

  1. In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the green beans for about 3 minutes, or until just tender. Using tongs, transfer the green beans to a plate lined with paper towels and cool to room temperature. 
  2. Combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil in a jug. Set aside
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add the spring onions, chilli, garlic and ginger, and cook for 1 minute or until softened. 
  4. Increase heat to high and add the pork. Cook for 7 minutes or until browned and slightly crisp.
  5. Add the hoisin, soy sauce, sesame oil and beans, and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  6. Serve with steamed rice.
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