Lamb Bulgogi and Quinoa Stuffed Capsicum

Stuffed capsicum

Bulgogi is marinated thinly sliced beef dish, one of the popular Korean foods. Beef should be tender and melting in your mouth. Basic marinade is soy sauce, garlic, ginger, chilli, onion and sesame oil, but everyone has their own twist on the marinade in Korea that makes the Bulgogi flavour different  from house to house. My mum’s secret weapon is using purée of acidic fruits which breaks down meat protein and therefore makes it tender when cooked. It also helps to balance sweet and sour. Normally kiwi fruit, Asian nashi pear, apple or pineapple works well. You need to make sure you don’t leave meat in the marinade too long otherwise it will end up all mushy.

I don’t usually cook lamb because of strong smell of it, but this lamb Bulgogi was not too bad actually. I’m surprised it tasted as nice and tender as traditional beef Bulgogi. To make Bulgogi you need thin slices of meat either beef or lamb. If you cannot find in the supermarket, go down to your local friendly butcher. They can help you with that. Marinade meat for an hour or two. Cook in a frying pan in high heat. It’s thin marinated meat so shouldn’t take long to cook. My tip is not to crowd the pan otherwise temperature drops down and the beautiful juice all comes out of the meat. Quickly stir-fry and serve with sesame seeds on top. I served Bulgogi with a stuffed capsicum and red cabbage sauerkraut. I cooked half cup of quinoa with turmeric and mint first. Then put it in the halved red capsicum and cook in the preheated oven (180) for 20 minutes until capsicum is tender. I topped with cottage cheese and roasted pepitas. It was very tasty and well-balanced flavours – sweetness from roasted capsicum, nuttiness from quinoa and pepitas, and creaminess from cottage cheese. Delicieux!

Roasted Pepitas

Roasted pepitas

A delicious healthy snack is here – spicy roasted pepitas! I like sprinkling nuts in my salads for a nice crunch and nutty flavour. I’ve been using raw hulled pepitas so far. But OMG! after I toasted pepitas in the oven today, I’m definitely going to use roasted ones from now on. It is so addictive I cannot stop snacking on them.

Pepitas are amazing because…
– they are high in magnesium good for your blood pressure and heart
– zinc in pepitas supports your immune system, sleep, mood, eye and skin health, insulin regulation and male sexual function
– they are one of the best sources of plant-based omega-3 fats
– healthy fats, antioxidants and fibres in them may provide benefits for your heart and liver health
– pepitas are rich in tryptophan which converts to serotonin, which in turn converts to melatonin “sleep hormone”. Eating pepitas before bed may help with a better night’s sleep.
– their anti-inflammatory effects may help with arthritis

I coated raw hulled pepitas with cinnamon, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, maple syrup, coconut oil and Himalayan salt in a mixing bowl. Then spread well on baking paper in a single layer. Roast in the preheated oven (170-180) for 10-15 minutes or until browned. Stir them every 5 minutes because spices can burn. Let cool before transferring into the jar. You can use any spices or sauce of your choice  for example tamari, chili and lime, cacao powder, curry powder, honey and ginger, etc. It is super easy to make, a great snack (beer snack?) as well as beautiful addition to your salad. Seriously good 🙂

Raw Apple Tart

Raw apple tart

An apple a day keeps the doctor away! As well as being crunchy and tasty, apples are packed with vitamin C great for your immune system and prevent you from heart disease, cancers, bad cholesterol and tooth decay. The quercetin content in the apple skin helps to reduce inflammation. Cinnamon also reduces inflammation and balances blood sugar. Apple and cinnamon is a match made in heaven! It sounds like a yummy dessert, right? But it is more like breakfast or morning snack. I will explain why…

Have you had a hotel buffet breakfast before? Yes.
Did you go for bacon, eggs, bread, etc before fruits? Did you feel tired after eating? Maybe yes.  Oh no. I bet your stomach was not that happy 🙁
If you’ve had no problems before, then lucky you! you have super strong stomach.

You need to have fruit only in the morning, not after midday. The reason being is your liver that works hard to eliminate all waste from your body is most active between midnight and midday. Fresh fruits don’t require the liver function that much and get digested pretty quickly within 30 minutes. So ideally you have fruits until midday to let your liver work. I don’t follow this rule to be honest, but I do eat fruits alone before having other foods because if you have starches and protein with or before fruits, the fruits get caught in the stomach and start fermenting, which makes acid and indigestion. I hope it makes sense. So big No No to fruit dessert! If you want fruits for dessert, have desserts before main! better for your stomach. Digestion requires quite a bit of energy. So if you stuff up, there is no wonder why you feel more tired after eating.

Raw apple tart

My first attempt to make raw apple tart. Simple ingredients, no oven required, real quick, fool-proof and delicious!

For the base
I used 150g of blanched raw almonds, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder, 1 teaspoon of tahini and a pinch of Himalayan sea salt. Put all ingredients in a food processor and whiz up until it gets paste consistency (it might take a while, be patient!). Spread well with back of the spoon or your fingers at the bottom of baking tin. Keep in the fridge while you are making fillings.

For the filling
Thinly slice 6 small granny smith apples. Mix with maple syrup, coconut vinegar, cinnamon powder, ground nutmeg in a big bowl and sit aside for 30minutes. Then put the mixture in a food processor. I like to have still big chunks in mine, but you can blend really fine if you like. Spread mixture on top of the base. Put it in the freezer for 30 mins to 1 hour until the tart feels firm to touch. Slice them up squares or triangles (sharp knife in hot runny water should help if you struggle to cut). Serve cold with thick Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey on the side.

Variations: you can add pitted dates in the base to make it sweeter and easily bind together. You can also add apple puree in the tart filling between the layers of apples. Top with granola, coconut chips, raisins, etc to decorate.

Raw Kale Salad

Kale Salad

Having raw salad can be a little challenging for your digestion. I don’t go 100% raw diet, but when I cook my veggies I always cook them al dente with very little water to preserve all good nutrition. I made sautéed kale salad with garlic and mushrooms before. Today it is massaged kale salad with cottage cheese, walnuts and pomegranates. It is super easy to make. And wilted kale has soft texture although it is raw.

5 heads of kale
1 table spoon of coconut oil
a table spoon of coconut vinegar (white wine vinegar if you don’t have it)
a teaspoon of celery salt (sea salt or any kind you have at home)
100g cottage cheese
handful of walnuts (any nuts of your choice)
1 pomegranate
pomegranate molasses
salt and pepper

Wash and drain 5 heads of kale. Get rid of tough stems and tear leaves into small pieces. I then added kale leaves, coconut oil, coconut vinegar and celery salt in a big mixing bowl. Make sure your hands are clean. Start massaging and wilting down kale (it should take only a few minutes). Mix cottage cheese, walnuts and pomegranates to the kale salad. Serve with pomegranate dressing – pomegranate molasses (you can use pomegranate juice + honey instead), coconut vinegar, e.v.o.o, salt and pepper. It can easily serve 4-6 people. Just add your preferred protein on the side.

Food blog26

Drink your painkiller

Tumeric Drink

Turmeric is one of the world’s most powerful natural healers. Its active ingredient called curcumin has been known for centuries to have potent medicinal properties. I discovered this anti-inflammatory turmeric tea not long ago when I was searching for home remedies for pain. I only knew turmeric as one of the ingredients of curry, but didn’t know about all these magical effects on your body. Yes, unfortunately I do suffer from frequent muscle/ joint pain and headaches. I used to take panadols, neurofens and even stronger painkillers for it – not good for my stomach. For some reason I’ve been getting night cramps and pain in my back recently (sorry for complaining in my blog >.<). I have to admit I do need more exercises to keep myself away from all pain, though I’ve been lazy not doing any weight training or Pilates, which usually works for me. Moving on…. more about turmeric!

Turmeric is an anti-microbial, which means it fights against bacterial and viral infection, especially effective in cold and flu. It’s a natural liver detoxifier. It has shown to prevent and stop some cancers and type 2 diabetes. It is also a natural anti-inflammatory painkiller. To make a turmeric drink you can use fresh turmeric root or turmeric powder. It can be also served cold or hot – both are really nice.

1 cup of mildly hot water ( not boiling hot, you don’t want to kill all the goodness in the ingredients )
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1 teaspoon of grated ginger ( use ginger powder if you don’t have fresh ginger )
1 teaspoon of maple syrup ( honey or agave syrup if you want )
1 teaspoon of bee pollen (optional)
1 teaspoon of maca powder (optional)
1 teaspoon of goji berries
sprinkle of cinnamon powder (just because I like cinnamon on anything)
If it is hard for you to drink, try with squeezed orange juice or any kind of fruit juice for sweetness. You can also use herbal tea instead of hot water e.g. green tea, lemon& ginger tea, camomile tea.