Mushroom and Sunflower Seed Pate

sunflower seed pateSunflower seeds are a good source of selenium which helps to control cell damage and prevent from cancer. Minerals such as magnesium and copper in sunflower seeds are beneficial for your skin and hair and bone health. A handful of sunflower seeds (about 30g) has more than half of the copper you need daily. They are also an excellent source of vitamin E that acts as antioxidants and helps to protect cell damage from free radicals. It is easy to add them into your breakfast cereal, salads, bread, muffin and soup. I made this vegetarian pate with sunflower seeds, which is a great snack or party finger food. Oh you can even add into your sandwiches or wraps. Lightly cooked mushrooms give a rich, smokey and earthy flavour. You can also replace mushrooms with roasted capsicum or sun-dried tomato or avocado for different flavours.

sunflower seed pate1Ingredients

100g sunflower seeds
200g button mushrooms
1 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp thyme
1 tbsp coconut amino sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
a squeeze of lemon
1 tsp Himalayan salt

Soak sunflower seeds for a couple of hours or overnight. Rinse and drain. Lightly toast in a pan over medium heat. Take it off the heat and set aside. Roughly chop mushrooms and cook with coconut amino sauce, garlic, cumin, thyme for 5 minutes or until cooked al dente. Put toasted seeds and mushroom mixture into your blender, add olive oil and lemon, and process until you get a desired pate consistency. Season as you go. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight so that the flavour can develop. Serve with raw veggies, bread, chips or crackers.

Cherry Pumpkin Almond Salad

I cannot think of a better way to welcome in summer than this pretty colourful salad with sour cherries. It looks very Christmasy indeed. Holiday cooking can be so involved with ham, fruit cakes, pavlova, etc which would easily make you feel ten kilos heavier in a couple of days. Frankly, I would be just happy to have a few of my favorite salads accompanied by a chilled sangria, which I’m going to do this Christmas, yes! I think when it comes to create the best foods either salads, pizza or desserts, the rule of thumb is to make it simple, using a choice of a few ingredients. Well balanced flavours and texture makes a great dish without overdoing or over complicated. For example, this salad consists of sweet roasted pumpkin, sour cherries, salty creamy feta, bitter sweet spinach, crunchy nutty almonds and zingy balsamic. What not to love? You will have to try hard not to dance with your shoulders 🙂 Devour every bite of it x
cherry pumpkin almond saladIngredients (serves 2)

1 cup of sliced pumpkin
1 cup of pitted cherries
1 cup of spinach salad
a handful of toasted sliced almonds
30g feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic glaze

Place pumpkin on a baking tray and cook in the preheated oven (180) for 15 minutes or until cooked. Combine spinach, pumpkin, cherries, crumbled feta in a large bowl. Dress with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving plate. Sprinkle toasted almonds and drizzle balsamic glaze before serve.cherry pumpkin almond

GF Vanilla Crepe Cake

vanilla crepe cakeWhile the not-too-sweet breakfast muffins make me happy waking up hungry in the morning, I crave for something rich and decedent once in a while. This crepe cake is not only gluten-free and dairy-free, great if you have food sensitivities, but also deliciously light in texture by using brown rice flour. I insist healthy version doesn’t mean it sacrifices the flavour. A hint of cinnamon, saltiness and sweetness from salted caramel is heavenly. So I call this the glory of sweet breakfast cake 🙂 The cake is better to be pre-made and chilled in the fridge before serving, though you can also serve warm straight away. Just roll them up or fold twice like you would serve crepes. You can also see my other crepe recipes here and here.

Ingredients (makes one serve as picture shown)

1 egg
100g brown rice flour
1 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
2/3 cup almond milk
a pinch of sea salt
coconut oil for making crepes
salted caramel for filling
cinnamon powder for dusting

Lightly beat egg with a whisk and then add all other ingredients. Set aside for 10-20 minutes. Mixture should be fairly runny. Add a bit of almond milk if too thick. Heat a crepe pan or non-stick frying pan over low-medium heat. Add a dollop of coconut oil into a pan and ladle a crepe batter into the middle of the pan. Swirl the pan in a circular motion to spread the batter thin and evenly. It should take only a minute each side to cook. Repeat with the rest of the batter. I spread salted caramel between the layers and built the cake on a serving plate. (I used a jar of salted caramel that I bought from the farmer’s markets). Place in fridge for a couple of hours to set.vanilla crepe cake1


Chickpea Tofu Salad

I recently discovered this soy-free and easy-to-make tofu on the internet (here and here). Burmese or Shan tofu it is. My grandma and aunties used to make tofu at home, which takes so much time and effort and in fact is daunting for me to do on my own. On the other hand, this chickpea tofu requires only three ingredients and is dead simple similar to making polenta. Compared to soy tofu, it is has a nice nutty flavour. Perfect for making chips, salads, fillings for sandwiches or wraps, topping up your soup or adding in stir-fries. I think adding other flavours into the tofu mixture would be nice such as oregano, chilli flakes or sesame seeds. Have fun making x
chickpea tofuIngredients (2-4 serves)

150g chickpea flour
a pinch of salt
450g boiled water or stock

Place chickpea flour and salt in a large bowl. Bring water or stock to a boil in a pot. Pour it into a bowl slowly as you whisk rapidly so that it gets thick with no lumps. Pour the mixture into a tin lined with a cling film and spread the surface evenly with a spatula. Let it cool and refrigerate more than an hour or until it firms up. Loosen the edges with a knife or spatula and slice portions as needed.

I cut it into little squares and lightly pan-fried a couple of minutes each side in coconut oil. Then served with watermelon, goat cheese, greens and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

Roasted Vegetables in Miso Broth

A smell and sound of the miso soup boiling away on stove. Mum’s cutting vegetables on chopping board. All busy herself in the morning to feed us a beautiful nourishing breakfast. This is a home feeling that comes to my mind  in a minute when I think of my mum, home and weekend morning. All the details that others cannot perceive, but me. There is nothing as nostalgic as the food of home. Isn’t it strange what you eat as a child dictates what you crave when you grow up? What is your home feeling? Oh, maybe I’m getting a bit of home-sick.

Miso soup in Korea is quite different to the ones you get at the sushi restaurants here. Korean version has a richer flavour with loads of ingredients in it. Tofu, clam, potato, zucchini, spring onion and mushrooms beautifully  arranged and cooked  in a large stone bowl. That is the main dish right in the middle of the table for us to share. Mum ladles a soup for my brother and me. I don’t consider myself the pickiest eater, but definitely want to get what I want. More tofu! She gives extra tofu in mine because she knows my taste. We also have a small bowl of rice and kimchi on the side. That’s right. To me, miso soup is the highlight of the meal, not the side. It always calls me when I crave a hearty home meal or should I say, when I miss home.

It is a simple dish to make, trust me. All you need is rice, vegetables, miso paste and vegetable stock. A great way of using up the veggies in your fridge! I seasoned and roasted chopped veggies in the preheated oven (200) for 15 minutes until they are cooked al dente. Boil miso broth in a pot and cook rice (I used a quinoa and bean mix) in another pot or rice cooker. Serve rice and roasted veggies in a bowl, and ladle the soup around it. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Serve warm.
miso soup