Summer Salads

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I recently bought a veggie spiraliser on-line, which is great for making “pasta” (zucchini pasta here). I decided to use it today and felt like making lots of salads, so went down to the local market to get some fruits and veggies. Getting close to Christmas (nothing opens over holiday here..boo hoo!) everyone is mad shopping to stock up all the foods they need for a few days. I just realised all morning is gone shopping, making salads and cleaning up the mess that I created in the kitchen. I wish I could concentrate on reading and studying as much as I do on cooking 🙂

Anyhow after spending hours in the kitchen, I ended up making about four different salads for the weekend, which are zucchini pasta salad (photo above), roasted beetroot and pumpkin salad, potato and green bean salad, and lastly watermelon and cucumber salad with cottage cheese (photo below). I like keeping it simple. So dressing for all salads pretty much consists of apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, mustard seeds, pepper, and extra-virgin olive oil. Simple dressing like this not only has low calories but also doesn’t ruin the original taste and vibrant colours of the veggies. Just the way I like it!

I might take some of these down to the park on the weekend for a little picnic since the weather is so great here, only about 30 degrees. Despite a good weather, I’m dying to have winter Christmas with lots of snow! Ah..homesick again. I hope everyone has a safe, healthy and happy holiday.

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Vanilla and Cacao Raw Cheese Cake

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Here is my second attempt to make “raw cheese cake”.

This time I added vanilla in the first bottom layer and cacao powder in the second layer. I added a bit of vanilla yogurt when blending, which helped to get smoother consistency. Very happy with that:)

Who doesn’t like vanilla and chocolate flavour? Well..It has always been my favorite ever since I was young. Even now when it comes to choosing dessert menu, vanilla + chocolate or either one always attracts me. Vanilla panna cotta, chocolate mousse, chocolate truffles, vanilla bean ice cream, mmm,, sounds yummy but unhealthy >.<

I purchased a packet of cacao powder from the local health shop a while ago and started using in baking and making dessert instead of using chocolate or cocoa powder. Unprocessed raw cacao powder contains high anti-oxidants, magnesium, iron, copper, calcium, potassium and zinc. It helps to regulate blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and build the immune system. It is also an aphrodisiac and mood enhancer. Not to be confused with cocoa powder, the nutritional value is definitely so different. Colour and smell is very similar to cocoa powder, but it has more bitter taste than sweet. Knowing all that, there is no guilt any more having a piece of chocolate muffin, chocolate brownie, hot chocolate or chocolate cheese cake like this, as long as you make them healthy at home. It is good for you!

I picked up beautiful lavender today on the way home after my morning walk. It’s hanging upside down at the corner of my computer screen now. It looks gorgeous and smells amazing. I’m so lucky to have kind neighbors who have nice herbs out on the streets:)

Raw Cheese Cake

Honey Gift Jars

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I cannot believe Christmas is only a week away.

You can see people everywhere shopping for Christmas gifts at the shops. It is just a crazy time of the year.
I don’t like buying presents just for the sake of buying because you have to for Christmas. I like more of a surprise thoughtful gift whether or not it is small. Christmas for me is to have a family time with some carol songs and good food back home, not much buying presents.

Daniel and I got invited to Christmas lunch from his friend this year. So I made infused honey jars for them, inspired by Sarah B from My New Roots.I was lucky to come across her blog a while ago when I was searching for some healthy recipes. She puts up awesome photos of food, recipes and her stories, which I’m so addicted now. I haven’t actually followed any of her recipes yet, though her post on this edible gift idea rang a bell for me. It is personal, healthy, pretty, versatile to use, simple to make and special.

I put cinnamon sticks, star anise, pink pepper corns, walnuts, fennel seeds and sliced ginger in the jar, and covered honey over it. Decorate with Christmasy ribbon and let it infuse. I made a big jar for myself as well to have it in my tea or on my breakfast muffin or on salads (maybe with Gorgonzola cheese, walnut, pear and rocket leaves?). It is sitting in my fridge now looking so pretty. I cannot wait to try it 🙂
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Braised pork with rice and crunch salad + coconut bread

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I’m not a big fan of eating meat (pork here) though I try to incorporate a variety of protein in my cooking for Daniel.
I cooked braised pork shoulder in Asian barbeque sauce. It just fell apart when I tried to pick it up with tongs after being cooked in the oven for about 3 hours. You know that is a good sign as well as a nice smell around the house 🙂
For the salad, I mixed grated carrots, beetroot, red cabbage, bean sprouts, coriander and parsley.
So crunchy and refreshing – goes well with hearty meat dish like that.

Pork is considered as quite fatty meat, though depending on what cut you buy and how you cook, you can eat them healthy.
Pork is high in vital nutrients such as phosphorus, selenium, zinc, potassium and copper. Vitamin B1 found in pork helps the growth and repair of muscles and nerve tissue. Riboflavin for skin health, vitamin B6 for metabolism, iron for energy, zinc for immune system, protein for building muscles. So if you choose unprocessed lean cuts and trim most visible fat, it is good for overall health.

I also baked a coconut bread which turned out to be so moist inside and crusty outside. I’ve become a huge fan of coconut after studying nutrient.
Well..I was scared of having any fats in my diet. I used to have everything non-fat or diet products just because “fat” sounded so bad and fattening to me.
It turned out I was totally wrong. You need GOOD fats, not BAD fats in your diet. Coconut is one of the good ones. Yes, it has a high saturated fat content (about 92% of the fatty acids). But you need good quality saturated fatty acids for the health of your bones, protecting your liver and heart.

Coconut stabilises your blood sugar, lowers cholesterol, hydrates you. Also lauric acid found in coconut oil has strong antifungal and antimicrobial properties.
It is extremely stable in heat, which means, unlike other types of oils, it doesn’t get oxidation and release free-radicals (causing cancer) while cooking. On top of all that, it can be used for pretty much everything e.g. cooking, baking, moisturiser for your skin and hair, etc. So I always keep a jar of coconut oil next to my stove for cooking and also under the basin to use on my skin after shower.
It smells amazing when you bake with coconut flour or flakes. It tastes good and fills you up because of its high fat content and dietary fibre.
So try to use more coconut products – coconut water, coconut oil, coconut flour, coconut flakes, coconut butter, coconut cream, never ending…….

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Kimchi

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My darling Kimchi..

This is two jars of red and white Kimchi that I made a few weeks ago. Good to go now after a right amount of fermentation.
Kimchi is a Korean traditional side dish and one of the world’s healthiest foods.
Why it is good for you? It has high dietary fibre, but low calories. It is fully loaded with vitamin A, B and C, calcium and iron.

Most importantly, lactobacilli is found in Kimchi, that is healthy bacteria crucial for your gut health.
It helps with digestion, prevent yeast infection and fight against the growth of cancer.
It is made of cabbage mixed with garlic, chilly, ginger, onion, fish sauce and pepper.
Different types of Kimchi are made at different times of the year in Korea. Koreans consume so much of Kimchi everyday in every meal.

Myself? I didn’t eat this goodie for years when I moved to Australia.
I helped my grandma and aunty to make Kimchi in Korea, but honestly didn’t know all the ingredients and recipes. I was kind of scared of making them >.<
Then after a few attempts and failure, I can now make a okay Kimchi by myself. Yay! Definitely no where close to my aunties proper one, but it tastes fine by me:)

You need to wash chinese cabbage throughly and get rid of outer leaves. Cut them in halves and put lots of good quality salt between the leaves. Leave it for 30 mins up to one hour until the cabbage gets tender.
While you are waiting for this happen, you can make a paste that will go between the leaves, that consists of half cup of coarse chilli powder (not for white Kimchi), one table spoon of minced garlic, minced ginger, fish sauce, chilli paste and grated onion. Mix all together until you get a paste consistency and season with salt and pepper. You can add other vegetables here, like carrots, spring onions, chives, etc.
Rinse the cabbage and then mix with the paste really well. Put it in a sterilised jar and store in fridge for a couple of days before serving.

Seriously once you make one, you will realise it is not that hard and it is so versatile to use for other dishes. You can have it with rice, noodles, meats or even with salads.
I find myself I don’t get much digestion problems in Korea as long as I stick to Korean traditional diet since it is mainly rice, vegetables, fermented foods and some meat and fish.
It is so nice to see other food bloggers who try to make Kimchi at home and put recipes up. I should promote more Korean food myself because it is so good for your health.
Eat more Kimchi and your gut will be smiling 🙂

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