Jeju Island

jeju1This is not a food related post but I thought I will share some of the photos from Jeju Island a couple of years back and show you what this beautiful island offers. Jeju is the southernmost and largest island in South Korea, created 2 million years ago by volcanic eruptions. It has beautiful national parks, waterfalls, beaches, caves and museums. Being an island, there is a variety of fresh seafood, seaweed, mushrooms and tropical citrus fruits. Plenty of delicacies! It is a popular destination for both Koreans and westerners to have a nice getaway since it takes only a couple of hours from Seoul.
jeju2I’ve always been more for mountains than for ocean. Entrance to the national park had a sign saying “stress-free zone”. I literally felt stress-free, all freshened up and clear in my mind after walking through the forest. Stunning! When we stopped over green tea farm in the afternoon, I was in awe. Peaceful green field won my heart immediately and organic green tea tasted so divine.
jeju4Now, food is very important part of the trip and I was not disappointed. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day in Korea. We eat like a king in the morning. This is abalone porridge served with little side dishes. This island is where you want to be if you are a fan of seafood. I assure you that you will delight your taste buds with fabulous Jeju cuisine and never feel hungry while travelling.
jeju5It is hard to pick just one favorite Korean meal for me but this is definitely on top of the list. A bowl of rice, seaweed soup, grilled fish, kimchi and namul (cooked vegetables with sesame dressing). So nutritious and delicious! I will be happy to have that every morning, please.
jeju6We discovered this “Sea & Blue” cafe when we were driving along the coast line. The owner was so friendly and had a bit of story to share. He made a drip coffee for us and explained step by step how to brew a good coffee. It tasted so good and I loved his smile 🙂
jeju7What a fantastic trip it was! We hired a car and drove around the island for 4 days, but if you are really into walking, there is about 200km of connecting walking paths (13 routes), called “Olle” which was inspired by the famous Pilgrim’s trail in Spain and made on Jeju island in 2007. It takes you to unique and hidden forests, mountains, beaches and places with beautiful landscapes. Sounds amazing? One of my besties has done a few times already and highly recommended if you want to feel surrounded by nature and tranquility. It is a good opportunity, too, to meet other travellers and locals. I would love to do “Olle” and climb up Halla mountain next time when I visit there.

Spiced Grain Salad

Multicultural food experience is one of the things I enjoy living in Melbourne. I’ve definitely gained many culinary experiences since I moved here. It is so great you can explore authentic foods from different countries in one city. Many immigrants like myself would agree that the way the dishes are prepared, cooked and served here is not exactly same as the traditional ones are, but I think it is inevitable to have a bit of fusion to adapt Australian culture.

I’m experimenting and mixing up different ingredients in my cooking as well like this grain salad. The only way of eating rice used to be simply cooked in a rice cooker or making a rice porridge when I was back home. I never thought about adding rice into salads, which has become one of my favorite ways of jazzing up a boring veggie salad. I’m also using exotic spices that I didn’t even know the names or how to use them. The flavours as well as their healing power in different spices is so amazing. I used brown rice, mung beans and toasted buckwheat in this salad for different textures, but feel free to use any legume or beans you have in pantry. I made a big batch and served a little warm for a lovely simple supper. Then I had leftovers for work lunch next day as you can easily leave it in fridge and serve cool. Either way really is delicious!


1 cup of brown rice
1/2 cup of mung beans
1/2 cup of toasted buckwheat
1 caramelised beetroot (1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp brown sugar)
1 cup of chopped parsley
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp wholegrain mustard
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp turmeric
salt and pepper to taste
handful of pepitas

Soak brown rice and mung beans overnight or at least 4 hours. Place brown rice, mung beans and toasted buckwheat in a pot, cover with cold water, bring it up to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until cooked. Drain and set aside. Heat olive oil, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a pan and add diced beetroot. Cook on low-medium heat until caramelised. To assemble the salad, place cooked grains, beetroot and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Add olive oil, lemon juice and spices. Mix well to combine. Check seasoning and transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle pepitas on top.

Vegan Bolognese + Zucchini Pasta

I’m so bean-overloaded tonight 🙂 Let me start with saying “you must try this bolognese”. I wanted to have something hearty after a stressful day. Bolognese and socca was a first thing that came up in my mind. Easy enough, I already had ingredients in hands including soaked beans. I’m not normally a bolognese person and was also skeptical about making a vegan version of it. However, the smell, flavour and texture of this bolognese is surprisingly no different to a conventional recipe and even better (I dare to say). Nutritionally, you have a good amount of whole grains and vegetables in one bowl. I used two types of beans, mung beans and adzuki beans, for different texture here. Lentils will work really well too if that’s what you have in pantry. I also used a back of spoon to mush beans once the sauce was thickened instead of blending, which will give you a more meaty texture. Even meat eaters will get pleasantly surprised by the fact that there is really no meat in this dish. It is kept well in freezer so feel free to double up the recipe and keep the leftover in freezer for later use.
vegan bolognese
Ingredients (serves 2)

1 medium sized zucchini
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 cup of dried mung beans and adzuki beans, soaked overnight
1/2 onion
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tomato, chopped
1 cup of green beans
1 carrot, chopped
1-2 cup water or vegetable stock
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Drain and rinse soaked mung beans. Cover with cold water and bring it up to a boil. Simmer on medium heat for 15-20 minutes until cooked. Take it off the heat, drain and set aside. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add coconut oil and chopped onion into a pan. Stir and cook until translucent and fragrant. Then add beans and all other ingredients into a pan and simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes or until the sauce is thickened. In the mean time, use a vegetable peeler to make zucchini noodles. Season and dress with olive oil. You can leave the bolognese sauce as it is or blend it up if you want a smooth texture. To serve place zucchini noodles into bowls and then ladle the bolognese sauce on top. Garnish with Parmesan or nutritional yeast and a drizzle of olive oil.

GF Vanilla Quinoa Pancakes

January flew past so fast before I knew it. Isn’t that funny how time flies by as you get old whereas day by day goes so slow when you are a teenager. Apparently, that is because adults have more routines and things planned in their life than teenagers do. Teens are confused creatures, don’t know what they want to do or want to be and are also more likely a daydreamer and thinker. They are more creative and have more fun and laughs. I cannot agree more. I always make to-do-lists, plan my day/ month/ year and live in a rut without changing or challenging myself with new experiences. I’m sure we all have moments time to time asking ourselves ‘oh I used to love drawing’, ‘I wish I continued playing piano’, ‘I just want to sit down and read a book from cover to cover without getting disturbed’ or something like ‘I just want to relax and do nothing’. Why is it so hard to relax ourselves these days? We are stressed, worry too much, think too much, always surrounded by social media. It is so sad to hear people get withdrawal symptoms from not using computer, tablet or mobile phone. Imagine losing internet connection or mobile signal even for a day. What a nightmare!

Having all these in my mind, I enrolled myself to a 6-week photography introduction course this month. I’ve been meaning to learn how to use my camera properly. Learning something new always excites me and feel little butterflies in my stomach. I’m so looking forward to using new camera skills for my blog and travelling. I also decided to restrict myself using social media and internet since my addiction has reached a high level. I easily lose a track of time in an overwhelming amount of information and inspirations on the internet and instagram that keeps on flowing and flowing. Yep, time management!

How do you manage your time? What do you do for fun or relax?
quinoa pancakes
This pancake recipe is super easy to make and delicious. Simply double up the recipe to serve two people or more. Perfect treat for the weekend. Enjoy x

Ingredients (3 pancakes, serves 1)

1/2 cup quinoa flour
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp flaxmeal
2 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
a pinch of salt
1 egg
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tbsp coconut oil for frying

Lightly beat egg and milk in a large bowl. Add all dry ingredients into egg mixture and whisk to combine. Set aside for 5-10 minutes. If batter is too thick, add a little bit more of milk. Heat coconut oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Ladle batter into a pan. Flip when the bubbles start to form on top and cook for another 2 minutes. Repeat with the rest of batter. Serve warm with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.

Grilled Leek with Lentil Salad

Grilled Leek1We don’t have this kind of giant leeks in Korea, but only skinny spring onions. I was amazed how big the leek can be at the market. They taste like garlic, very spicy when eaten raw or undercooked because of sulfur-containing compounds called allicin. Allicin is anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal. Leeks have a good source of vitamins, powerful antioxidants and anti-cancer benefits. So add more leeks into your diet! For example in your stir-fry, frittata, soup, salads, terrine, etc. It is very versatile and incredibly sweet when cooked. This salad or side dish will go really well with any kind of protein or just by itself 🙂


1/2 of leek
1/2 cup of cooked French lentils
1 tsp of coconut oil
1 tsp of harissa paste
5 green olives halved
1/2 onion caramelised
1 tsp olive oil
a squeeze of lemon
1 tsp of cottage cheese
salt and pepper to taste
parsley for garnish

Slice off most of the green tops. Halve the leek bottoms and run under cold water to remove any grit. Steam the leeks until just soft and then set aside. Brush with coconut oil and grill them over medium heat until you get nice grill marks on each side. Meanwhile, cook the French lentils until soft. For harissa dressing, mix harissa, olives, caramelised onion, olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Arrange grilled leeks on a serving plate. Spoon cooked lentils and harissa dressing over the leeks. Garnish wish cottage cheese and parsley on top.

Grilled Leek