Creamy Salmon Orecchiette

 
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There are some days when I open the fridge and all that’s there are leftovers. If you’re like me, this is when I get the most excited because it means it’s time to get creative in the kitchen. If there’s two things I always have ready, it’s red rice and pasta (versatile and simple carbohydrates which are ready to accompany any leftovers)!

That day I had a whole lot of fish dip that would’ve gone bad, so I decided making a pasta dish was the right idea.

Note: The fish dip I use in this recipe is a slightly different dip from my original recipe. In this version I used two additional ingredients: turmeric powder and one small red onion. It really added a lot of punch to the final flavor and made an awesome base for my pasta!

What you need:

  • saucepan

  • frying pan

  • spatula

  • pasta drain

  • food processor (or chopping board & knife)

What goes in:

  • my fish dip

  • anchovies

  • red chilis

  • olive oil

  • pink salt

  • grounded black pepper

  • orecchiette (or any other pasta. I recommend something like a spiral pasta or a penne if you can’t find orecchiette)

  • italian parsley

What to do:

  1. Bring some water to a boil in the saucepan. Once boiling bring the temperature down to medium heat and add a pinch of salt and a dash of olive oil. Add in the orecchiette.

  2. Place the anchovies, red chillies, and a handful of italian parsley into a food processor. Season with pink salt and grounded pepper.

  3. Once the pasta is cooked, drain the pasta and keep a cup of the starchy water aside.

  4. Place the frying pan onto medium heat and add the red chilies and anchovy paste. Once it’s start sizzling, add in the leftover fish dip and add a dash of olive oil. Add a dash of the starchy water and using a spatula mix it in with the rest of the ingredients in the pan until it unifies as one sauce.

  5. Add in the pasta and mix it all up until all the pasta is coated well. Taste here and season with pink salt and grounded pepper if needed.

Time to devour this nutritious and delicious plate!

 

 

 

Peanut Butter Rise & Shine Porridge

 

For those of you who are allergic to nuts, I am sorry, but this recipe is not for you. For those of you who can eat peanut butter but don’t enjoy it, I have no sympathy for you. Peanut butter makes me happy! It tastes amazing, the texture is addictive, and its versatility is worth an applause. A known companion to apples, sometimes carrots, to PB&Js, and of course thanks to TV chef Jamie Oliver, peanut butter can also be used for a Gado-Gado (apparently), which is a classic dish from my hometown of Jakarta.

I woke up madly craving peanut butter and I didn’t think eating it out of the jar for breakfast was the move, so my brain went to work and viola the peanut butter rise & shine porridge is born and ready to brighten up all your mornings. Get excited! 

What you need:

  • saucepan

  • wooden spatula

  • measuring cup

What goes in:

  • rolled oats

  • peanut butter (either smooth or crunchy depending on preference)

  • fresh milk (you can substitute this with any other kinds of milk)

  • manuka honey

  • nutmeg powder

  • almonds (optional)

  • pink salt (optional)

Toppings (optional):

  • granola

  • chia

  • flax seeds

What to do:

  1. Add about 1 ½ cups of fresh milk into the saucepan and place over a medium to high heat. Add the almonds into the saucepan and bring to a boil.

  2. Once the milk is boiling, bring the heat to a low to medium heat. Add about 2 cups of rolled oats. Note: If too much of the milk has evaporated, add as much milk as needed to keep the porridge at the right texture. Not too watery and not too dry or thick.

  3. Add two to three tablespoons (or to taste), a pinch of pink salt, a pinch of nutmeg powder and one tablespoon of manuka honey (or to taste) into the saucepan.

  4. Stir the mixture for about 10-12 minutes, until the oats are cooked.

  5. Place in a bowl or deep plate and top off with granola, chia seeds, and flax seeds.

This peanut butter deliciousness is FINALLY ready to enter your belly!

 

Avo Sun-dried Tomato Bowl

 
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Still buzzing from my birthday trip to Bali back in August, I was romanced by the complex flavors which came to light through my vegan food adventures in Canggu. What surprised me the most was not that vegan food was so widely available throughout Canggu and other parts of Bali (specifically in areas where foreigners have made their home), rather it was the variety of dishes and flavors in vegan cuisine that I never knew was possible. The Rendang Burger at Peloton Supershop in Canggu and the Pink Beetroot Latte at Kynd Community are some of the standouts from my tasty discoveries.

My first interaction with veganism was when I was living in Los Angeles. There was good vegan food there, but compared to what I tasted in Bali, I’ve got to give it to the Aussie’s in Bali who brought the cuisine to life for me. It’s not just in the presentations, but also in the creativity of the menus. (Look through the different cafes in Melbourne on Instagram and you’ll notice how alive their passion for cafe culture is, which is translated in the creativity of their food and presentations. But, of course, not all of the good cafes in Melbourne are vegan). Through my adventures in Bali, I have been inspired to create vegan dishes which are just as tasty and beautiful to look at. Here’s my simple rendition of a vegan bowl, packed with nutritious healthy fats and delicious flavors.

What you need:

  • knife

  • chopping board

  • three bowls

What goes in:

  • avocado

  • small red onion

  • ½ lemon

  • sun-dried tomatoes (in olive oil)

  • pesto

  • pink salt

  • fresh grounded black pepper

  • thyme

  • red rice

What to do:

  1. Use about 6 pieces of sundried tomatoes. Chop the sundried tomatoes into fine pieces and place into a bowl. Season with a pinch of salt, pepper, and a dash of thyme powder.

  2. Add one teaspoon of pesto into the bowl and mix well. Set this aside for now.

  3. Chop the small red onions into fine pieces.

  4. Slice the avocado in half and cut into small squares. Tip: I cut the avocado into squares in its skin and then push it out at the end.

  5. Add the small onion and avocado into another bowl. Add the juice of half a lemon and season with salt and pepper. Then mix well.

  6. Place a bowl of cooked red rice into a bowl. Then top it off with the avocado mixture and then the sun-dried tomato mixture.

Now it’s time to enjoy!

 

Japanese Yakiniku Bowl

 

If I had to choose one type of cuisine to eat for the rest of my life, my answer would be Japanese. The variety and flavors in Japanese cuisine make it a winner in my books. Honestly, the lure of what the Japanese call ‘umami’ is too good to resist.

Note: My recipe is likely not an authentic Japanese recipe, but here’s my take on the famous Japanese yakiniku bowl. Enjoy!

What you need:

  • saucepan

  • chopping board

  • sharp knife

  • chopsticks

What goes in:

  • red onion

  • two cloves of garlic

  • spring onion

  • enoki mushrooms

  • bok choy (Chinese Chard) *Spinach works well here too, but I like the crunch of bok choy

  • thin slices of red meat

  • yakiniku sauce

  • coconut oil (not a very Japanese but it’s what I predominantly use in my cooking)

  • red rice (or your choice of rice and/or base)

  • pink salt

  • grounded black pepper

What to do:

  1. Chop the red onion into long slices. If it’s a palm sized red onion use half, but if it’s a small red onion use the whole onion. Finely dice the garlic. Chop off and throw away the end of one stem of spring onion, then chop into small circular pieces.

  2. Heat the saucepan over a medium heat. Add a tablespoon of coconut oil. Add the red onion and garlic. Cook until browned.

  3. Add the yakiniku sauce. Let it simmer for a few seconds.

  4. Start laying each meat slice into the simmering sauce. Cook over a low to medium heat. I find the best way to cook the meat, so it doesn’t overcook, is use chopsticks to dip each slice of meat in the simmering sauce in a swaying lateral motion.  Using the chopsticks sway the meat on one side and then onto the other side until it is cooked. Note: Try not to cook the meat in one clump of meat, I find this will make the meat tough as part of the meat will tend to overcook. If you can’t use chopsticks, tongs work well as well. Also, remember to cook the part of the meat which was held up by the chopsticks or tongs.

  5. Once the meat is cooked place on a plate and set it aside. Add in the bok choy and cook until it is wilted.

  6. Turn off the stove and get your rice or choice of base ready in a bowl.

  7. Use the chopsticks to lay each meat carefully in the bowl.

  8. Pour the rest of the vegetables and sauce onto the bed of meat. Top it off with the spring onions and the bowl is ready to be devoured!

I’m salivating just from typing this up! Enjoy!

 

Salmon Yogurt Dip

 

What you need:

  • food processor

  • knife

  • chopping board

  • rubber spatula (or regular spatula or spoon is fine too)

What goes in:

  • three packs of smoked salmon

  • red caviar

  • celery

  • half a cucumber

  • 100g of sundried tomatoes

  • fresh dill

  • two garlic bulbs

  • one small red onion (or half of a large red onion)

  • greek yogurt (I used Fage)

  • softened cream cheese

  • pink salt (regular salt is fine too)

  • grounded pepper

  • baguette or crackers 

  1. Chop the celery into medium size chunks. Chop the cucumber in half. Keep one half in the fridge. Chop the other half of the cucumber into medium size chunks. Add both into the food processor.

  2. Add the garlic, sundried tomatoes, onion, and fresh dill into the food processor. Season with about a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Pulse the mixture twice or three times. The mixture should still be quite chunky.

  3. Add half of the softened cream and about half a tub of fage into the food processor and pulverize until mixed well. Tip: If you prefer a chunkier dip, pulse the mixture once in step two and only pulse the mixture two or three times after the yogurt and cream cheese have been added.

  4. Mix in the red caviar and it’s time to eat. 

This one will get even your tongue dancing (it's that good)! 

Tip: The dip goes really well with Japanese seaweed crackers too!

 

Nutty Protein Pancake

 

Yes, like most humans, I do have those days where I am madly craving pancakes. I mean honestly who doesn’t love a soft stack of fluffy edible pillows. If you aren’t a fan of pancakes (GASP!), I have nothing more to say to you.

Here’s the truth, I have been trying for too long to make a good pancake batter. I tried to use the different types of healthy alternatives to regular flour. Quinoa flour, flaxseed flour, and a few more I can’t recall anymore but I have failed to make a delicious stack. Probably due to my lack in baking skills, the texture never ends up right or it ends up tasting a little funny. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), my cravings for pancakes has never subsided. Thus, here I was walking down the supermarket aisle, tempted to have another go at a healthy batter. To my avail, I came across Bob’s Red Mill 10 Grain Pancake & Waffle Whole Grain Mix. This is where my pancake success story begins! (I don’t know if my excitement is translatable, but I AM MAD EXCITED that I’ve finally found a healthy pancake mix).

What you need:

  • large mixing bowl

  • small bowl

  • whisk

  • frying pan or griddle

  • paper kitchen towel

  • spatula

What goes in:

Toppings:

  • chia seeds

  • agave nectar (honey or maple syrup works well too)

What to do:

  1. Crack the egg open and separate the yolk from the white. Use the cracked egg shell to separate the yolk from the whites. Hold the yolk in one side of the shell and then passing it on to the other half of the shell; allowing the whites to drop into a bowl.

  2. Add the pancake mix, protein powder, and a pinch of baking soda into a mixing bowl and set aside.

  3. Lather some coconut oil onto the frying pan using a paper kitchen towel and leave the pan or griddle on low heat. This is to ensure the batter doesn’t stick to the pan or griddle. (I suggest scooping a tablespoon of coconut oil or pouring some into a small dish before using the kitchen towel to soak the coconut oil).

  4. Whisk the egg whites for a few minutes until it turns into a foam. Add the yolk in and whisk again. Once whisked well, pour the egg into the mixing bowl.

  5. Add the peanut butter and start whisking the mixture. Then pour the milk into the bowl. Note: If the mixture is too thick, add more milk. If the mixture is too watery, add more flour.

  6. Turn up the heat to medium heat. Wait 2-3 minutes before pouring the batter. Slowly pour the batter onto the pan or griddle. Pour towards the center of the pan or griddle, making sure there is enough space for the pancake to expand into a circle. Pour the desired amount for the desired size. Note: The more batter you pour, the thicker and larger the pancake becomes. Also, once the batter has been pour onto the pan or griddle, do not add more batter to the same pancake.

  7. Wait until the pancake starts to bubble all over, then that’s when you know it’s time to use the spatula to turn the pancake over. Pay attention to the sides of the pancake to judge whether the pancake is cooked through and ready to plate.

  8. Drizzle agave nectar onto the pancake and sprinkle chia seeds to top it off. Honey or maple syrup works well here too.

Enjoy these fluffy beauties!

 

 

Coconut Oil Yaki Udon

 

There’s a lot of things I love about Japanese food, but it’s always a strong contender for my palate. Simple and delicious. This is my take on the well known Yaki Udon, one of Japan’s star pub food. More commonly known to be listed on the menus of Izakayas (Japanese bar food), with my own twist on things of course. The unconventional use of coconut oil is what made the discovery of this recipe so pleasing. Enjoy!

What you need:

  • saucepan

  • frying pan

  • chopping board

  • chopsticks (or if chopsticks aren’t available, a fork will do)

  • strainer

What goes in:

  • pre-packed udon noodles

  • japanese fish cake

  • soft tofu or tofu of choice

  • yakiniku sauce

  • sesame oil

  • fresh spring onions

  • red onion

  • garlic

  • pink salt

  • sesame seeds

  • ground pepper

  • coconut oil

What to do:

  1. Start the water to boil. Once the water is at a boil. Throw in the pre-packed udons, cook for a few minutes before emptying into a strainer.

  2. Chop up the spring onions, red onion, and garlic. Throw the ends of three strands and chop the rest of the spring onions. Dice up the garlic until fine.

  3. Heat up the frying pan at medium heat. Add the tablespoon of virgin coconut oil along with the garlic and red onion, cook until browned. Then add a pinch of pink salt and ground pepper.

  4. Once the garlic and red onion is browned, throw in the udon and add about four tablespoons of yakiniku sauce and two tablespoons of sesame oil, or to taste. Sprinkle some sesame seeds before adding the tofu. Using the chopsticks to mix all the ingredients in and lacquer the noodles with the delicious juice in the pan.

  5. All that’s left, is to sprinkle fresh spring onions!

Time to enjoy this grub!

What makes this recipe special is the sweet touch of coconut oil. Coconut oil adds an unexpected but incredibly pleasant sweetness to the dish. As usual, just another recipe made on a whim, dictated by my loving tummy.

 

Spiral Anchovy Basil Pasta

 

Pasta is one of the most versatile ingredients around and I absolutely love it! You can really do anything with pasta (although the Italians out there might cringe at this statement).

I’ve always loved the classic aglio olio. A lot of why I love it so much is because it’s not so heavy on the sauce. In an aglio olio dish you’re really able to appreciate the texture and flavor of the pasta itself, without the clutter of the heavy sauces! The classic aglio olio dish is what has inspire this dish. Enjoy!

What you need:

  • pot

  • saucepan

  • spatula

  • food processor and/or chopping board

  • sharp knife

  • strainer (not necessary, but makes draining the pasta a lot easier)

What goes in:

  • brown rice vegetable spiral pasta

  • half of a green and yellow capsicum

  • a handful of fresh basil

  • sundried tomatoes

  • small can of anchovies

  • two cloves of garlic

  • two small chillies (or to taste)

  • pink salt

  • ground black pepper

  • virgin olive oil

What to do:

I like to chop most of my raw ingredients first and get everything ready before heading for the stove. It keeps me organized throughout the steps and helps me to avoid over cooking the pasta.

  1. Place two cloves of peeled garlic and the two chillies into the food processor, add a dash of salt and pepper and blend until fine. Then empty out the food processor. Alternatively, chop both ingredients until fine and season with salt and pepper. Place the ingredients aside once completed.

  2. Add the fresh basil, anchovies, and sun dried tomatoes into the food processor and pulse until fine. Alternatively chop all ingredients until fine. Make sure to add a dash of salt and pepper as well.

  3. Add water, a dash of virgin olive oil, and a dash of salt into the pot. Start heating the pot.

  4. Use the chopping board to chop half of a capsicum into small dices. Alternatively, instead of using two halves using one whole capsicum works as well.

  5. Once the water starts to boil add in the pasta. Cook for a couple of minutes. Stir the pot once in awhile. Note: Make sure not to boil the pasta for too long. You want to end up with an al dente pasta not a soggy pasta. Remember after boiling, the pasta will be cooked more with the other ingredients.

  6. Pour the pasta into a strainer to drain and leave a little of the starchy water in the pot. Let both rest aside.

  7. Heat the saucepan on a medium to low heat and add a dash of olive oil. Add the garlic and chillies and cook until the garlic browns. Once browned add the basil mixture into the saucepan and mix well.

  8. Add in the cooked pasta, a dash of the starchy water, and some olive oil. Mix well until all the pasta is coated well with the mixture.  Taste and add a dash of salt and pepper if needed.

And it’s time to plate!