Summer is all about simple and easy-to-make meals, especially colourful salads. Thanks to the abundance and variety of vegetables at this time of the year, it is so much fun putting together tiers of flavours and textures in your salad. It is my staple food of choice and the centre piece of the meal. I absolutely love roasted beets and pumpkins because sweetness and complex flavour after roasting is incredibly comforting. Not only that, you could also use them in a myriad of ways – making into a soup, adding into your baking goodies, making beet dips or making salads like this.
This is the salad that puts you back on a healthy track after a not-so-healthy weekend or holiday things. Whenever I see kale at the markets, I feel like it is my duty to get them and create nice salads. Kale is fantastic for the base of salad, but feel free to use any greens instead like spinach, arugula or frisee. We all know green leafy veggies are good for health, right? Chlorophyll helps to cleanse, rebuild and replenish red blood cells and boosts energy. Phytonutrients in glorious greens strengthen your immune system and protect from cell damage. Greens also high quality protein, building blocks for our body. So go green!
1 bunch of kale leaves
1 cup of diced pumpkin
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp of smoked paprika
salt and pepper
1 tbsp e.v.o.o
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup or raw honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Dice beetroot and pumpkin and place in a large bowl. Add olive oil, smoked paprika and season with salt and pepper. Toss well and spread in a baking tray. Place in the preheated oven (180) for 15 minutes or until cooked. In the mean time, tear kale leaves into bite sizes. Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well. To assemble the salad, place cooked beet, pumpkin and kale in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over salad mixture and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Christmas and this time of the year to me is all about reflecting on what has been happening in your life and planning for the new coming year. Yes, just a quite one. We walk around the streets full of bright lights and carols and look around window displays, maybe snow too. I think I enjoy the excitement and anticipation more than Christmas day itself. That is how my family ‘celebrates’ Christmas, not a kind of tradition having to cook a giant turkey or mountains of foods in an utterly chaotic kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, I like a celebratory Christmas feast, too. Anyhow, I made a little Christmas treat here (excuse my love affair with making sumptuous desserts at the moment). Cacao is rich and bitter sweet and pink peppercorns add a bit of spicy savoury yuminess. Total deliciousness full of antioxidant and mood enhancer without refined sugar or dairy. This is real clean eating 🙂 Keep them in your freezer for hungry emergencies or sweet craving moments. Enjoy and I hope you all are having a great time with your family and loved ones x
Ingredients (makes 8 mini cups)
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp raw cacao powder
2 tbsp almond ground
1-2 tsp honey or any of your favorite sweetener
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
a pinch of sea salt
a bit of water
Combine all ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Add a bit of water if too dry. Spoon the mixture into little molds and top with pink peppercorns. Chill in the freezer and serve cold.
As the holidays approach, we love indulging ourselves in all the favorite foods – wine, cheese platter, chips, meat, etc. I’m seeing a lot of Christmas ads at the shops like cold meat platter, prepacked dips, tons of cheese and crackers, discounted chips and soft drinks. Seriously? Plan ahead and shop smart. I want to see more fresh seasonal homemade foods on the table that are made with love.
This is a great finger food and a healthy delight, perfect for entree or appetiser. You can taste freshness in every single bite. It is healthy, crunchy, light, pretty and no mess to eat. You can put any kind of fillings in lettuce cups, maybe add some protein (fresh diced tuna, chopped poached chicken breast, boiled eggs) to make a complete meal. Mine just had some veggies for afternoon snack. Butter lettuce and endive both work quite well to hold the fillings in, but endive has a fairly bitter taste. I will list some good flavour combinations below, but feel free to be creative and make your own 🙂
boiled egg salad
braised lentils with feta cheese
chorizo, halloumi, tomato salsa
apple, brie cheese, currents, walnut
Asian minced pork
prawns, mango, avocado
Mediterranean couscous salad
beef with horseradish sauce
I finely chopped tomato, avocado, kale and celery. Put them in a mixing bowl and dressed with simple dressing made of lemon juice, olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the filling onto the lettuce cups. Serve as entree or snack.
One of my besties lives in NYC. She moved out to NY a few years back to become a physio and seek for a better lifestyle. The move to a foreign country must have been hard as I’ve done it 10 years ago and I totally understand what she has been going through. Well I would love to be with her as a companion when she needs me though NY is so far far far away from Australia. Thankfully she met a great guy who takes a good care of her and they are happily married. I visited her last May spring time over there and enjoyed wandering through the very heart of the city, enjoying some cheesy sightseeing, exploring little streets and devouring delicious foods. One of the things I miss most is, of course without doubt, New York bagels. You cannot beat fluffy dark pumpernickel bagel smothered with a thick generous amount of cream cheese accompanied by a black coffee. We accidentally found this awesome place called Zucker. If you happen to visit NYC, please check out this place. It is so ridiculously good. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I visit my dear friend and NYC again next year. So I’m making a open sandwich, great for breakfast or lunch. Easy to assemble though flavour combination works so well – pumpernickel, goat cheese, beetroot and balsamic. Delicious! This is how I treat myself to beat post-NYC blues 🙂 Please look for my previous post if you are wondering how to make bagels at home here.
Ingredients (single serve)
1 pumpernickel slice
50g goat cheese
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
a drizzle of balsamic glaze
pepper to taste
green salad to serve
Grate beetroot and mix with balsamic vinegar. Set aside. To assemble, place pumpernickel slice on a plate, spread goat cheese and top with beetroot. Drizzle balsamic glaze and season with pepper. Serve with green salad on the side.
I don’t know if I can call this recipe. Sometimes there are recipes or the things I make that are too simple and ordinary to share. I still post here anyway just to give you an idea what you can do with chia seeds. Chia seeds are a well known nutritional bunch – less calories, more fibre, loaded with antioxidants, high in omega-3 fatty acids, great vegan protein source. You can use for baking, making puddings, jam and smoothies. Awesome awesome ingredient you need to stock up in your house!
Summer definitely brings an abundance of beautiful sweet fruits. When I grew up in Korea, the way I know it is nearly summer is by finding mountains of little watermelons at the markets. Mum used to make a yummy fruit punch with watermelon and melon balls – my after-school treat. Oh I miss it so much! I don’t understand why kids need sugary cordial or artificial juice these days. This healthy drink truly takes me back to my childhood, full of a summer vibe in it. Refreshing watermelon, bright pink colour and energising chia. I think it would be a mighty fine addition to your Christmas table or in your little picnic box.
2 cups of diced watermelon
1 tbsp of chia seeds
lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp of maple syrup or raw honey
a pinch of sea salt
1 cup of sparkling or soda water
Put all ingredients except sparkling water in a blender and blitz until all combined. Chill in the fridge and add sparkling or soda water before serving. You can replace it with coconut water if you are not a fan of carbonated drink.