What’s the best way of starting the day in the cold season? Warming and soothing porridge! With the darkness and the cold weather, I crave warm and hearty meals like soup, stew, root vegetables and spices. It’s amazing how your body knows what you need in different seasons. I have made a millet porridge here, but you can substitute with quinoa, amaranth or other grains that you have in your pantry. You can also make so many variations with the different toppings and flavours. The millet takes up to 20 minutes to cook. So if you are busy in the morning it’s a good idea to soak or precook in advance for the next morning or even make it the night before and heat it up in the morning.
Ingredients (serves 2 or hungry one)
1 cup millet
2-3 cups of hot water
a pinch of salt
1/2 tsp of cinnamon powder
1 tsp of cacao powder
1 tbsp of honey or maple syrup (adjust the amount to your personal taste)
Add millet and hot water in a pot and simmer for 20-25 minutes until cooked (soaked millet will take less). Stir occasionally so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot and add more water if needed. Take it off the heat and add the rest of ingredients and stir well. Ladle into bowls, add milk of your choice and top with crunch nuts or fruits.
Parsley is one of the herbs I fell in love as I started cooking. When I was a child, I thought it was just a garnish on the side and not edible. I was totally wrong! It is so vibrant and delicious. Not only is the oil and aroma incredible but also it is packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Of course, fresh ones are superior in flavour and nutrition compared to the dried form. For storage, you need to wrap them in dampen paper towel and place in a plastic bag inside the fresh section of fridge. You can make salads, salsa verde, quiche, pasta, pesto, etc. So versatile, right?
This pesto is a little different to traditional pesto recipes that use basil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and olive oil. I added coriander leaves for more herby fragrance, tahini for creaminess and crunchy walnuts. You can use this pesto for pasta, gnocchi, marinade for fish, chicken or steak, spread on bread and dressing for roasted vegetables.
1 cup of parley leaves
1 cup of coriander leaves
1 heap tbsp of tahini
handful of roasted walnuts (roast natural walnuts in dry pan)
1/4 cup of olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp of minced garlic
1/2 tsp of minced ginger
salt and pepper
Rinse and roughly chop parley and coriander leaves. Place them and other ingredients in a food processor. Blend all and transfer to a sanitised jar.
For my lunch, I mixed this pesto and green peas and served on a slice of sourdough with a dollop of cottage cheese.
I never get sick of baked zucchini slice. It is in fact what my regular breakfast, snack and lunch looks like. Even if the base is pretty much same, I can be creative and change the toppings and fillings depending on what I feel like to have or what I have in the fridge. I can happily have it at any time of the day either served warm or cold. It lasts well in the fridge for up to a week so you can make on the weekend and take it to work lunches. You can serve a little green salad on the side or even top with smoked salmon, sliced chicken breast or whatever protein you like.
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 small zucchini grated
1 small carrot grated
1 small brown onion sliced fine
1 cup of Parmesan cheese grated
1 cup of cooked lentils
1 cup of wholemeal flour
50g feta cheese
1/2 tsp of chili flake
salt and pepper to taste
Heat coconut oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the zucchini, carrot and onion, season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes until lightly golden. Place in a large bowl with cooked lentils, lightly beaten eggs, flour, grated cheese and chili flake. Mix to combine and spoon the mixture into a baking dish lined with baking paper. Top with crumbled feta cheese on top and bake in the preheated oven (180) for 35-40 minutes until golden and cooked. Allow to cool before slicing.
I had a little experiment in my kitchen today using cooked quinoa. I love making savoury breakfast loaf with grated veggies like zucchini, carrot, beet and parsnip. I have to admit I eat the whole loaf everyday – my addiction, I know! This time I added cooked quinoa in this zucchini loaf and am so happy with the results. Quinoa is high in protein with all 8 essential amino acids, rich in fibre and low GI. Not only these health benefits, it makes bread light and super moist without adding nasty butter or oil. Hallelujah! This loaf doesn’t contain any sweetener and in fact has quite plain flavour. So you can top up with your favorite spread like nut butter, tahini, goat cheese, avocado or banana.
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup grated zucchini
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 cup brown rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp flaxseed meal
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
1/4 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp fennel seeds
a pinch of salt
sesame seeds for a sprinkle on top
In a bowl, combine all dry ingredients including spices. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs and add in grated zucchini, cooked quinoa and melted coconut oil. Combine dry and wet ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with a spatula. Pour the mixture into a prepared loaf tin and bake in the preheated oven (180) for 40 minutes or until cooked. Allow to cool before slicing.
I was so glad to find a bag of ground black sesame seeds at the Asian grocery today. I think black sesame seeds are nuttier and more fragrant compared to white or brown kinds. These little black guys are an excellent source of copper and a very good source of manganese. They are also a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, molybdenum, selenium, and dietary fiber. So what do these nutrients mean? Eating them helps to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, prevent osteoporosis, migraine and PMS, protect your liver from oxidative damage. Amazing right? They are good for you inside out, as well! Powerful antioxidants and antibacterial properties in them help to nourish and detoxify your skin. So we will all look glowing and dewy after eating them, in theory anyway 🙂
The way I like using them is lightly toast and sprinkle over salads or stir-fries or noodles. Nuttiness and crunchiness brings the dish up to another level. Don’t forget it looks pretty, too. I added ground black sesame seeds in my baking today. A slice or two of this black beauty has become my favourite breakfast and snack. Enjoy x
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2-3/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 cups of almond flour
1/2 cup of black sesame seed powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Gently whisk eggs in a bowl and add melted coconut oil, coconut milk and coconut sugar. Put all other dry ingredients in in a separate bowl and combine well. Add wet mixture into the bowl and combine well. Pour the cake mixture into a prepared loaf tin and bake in the preheated oven (180) for 40-45 minutes until cooked. Let it cool before slicing.