Healthy Avo Smash, poached Egg and Eggplant

MAKE BREAKFAST AMAZING AGAIN.

and make it at home.

SO many people spend anywhere between 15 – 30 dollars on their Sunday brunch, each week! Now, if you are willing to put in the 10 minutes of time it will take to make the food, you are going to save so much money. This particular recipe is so simple and easy, and you can actually make most the elements ahead of time and keep them in the fridge to use in other recipes. To top it off, there are plenty of ways to tweak this recipe for a new flavour each and every time, that way each Sunday will be amazingly special.

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Here comes the tricky part – the avocado. Why is it tricky? How many times have you cut open an avocado thinking it is the right softness to use, only to find it horribly hard or yucky and black? Oh it happens to all of us. The trick is to just understand the firmness. When you grab the avo, I normally do this with my non-writing hand to check, it should be firm enough to give a little resistance, but soft enough that you can push the skin in. Some people seriously have a knack for this.

To the avocado I always add some kind of cheese. In this recipe I went for cream cheese, but some delicious crumbly feta or ricotta are perfect substitutes. If you are vegan, then go ahead and add just a touch of Silken tofu to add a delcious creamy element to the avocado smash. I also add a hint of sumac because I just love the tangy spice that it provides, a squeeze of lime, which preserves the green color, and some parsley too. If not parsley you can add chives, or dill even to just freshen up the avocado even more. You can also add a touch of paprika if you like a little heat to your breakfast.

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In terms of the egg, I went for a yummy runny yolk by poaching my egg, but my parents personally love a good ol’ sunny side up. So no matter what the preference, you can use it. If you prefer scrambled, then add some of the cheese you used in the avo smash to the eggs. To poach the egg – I cannot believe I forgot to take photos! – add a touch of lime juice or vinegar to your pot of hot water. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, generate a vortex by making circles in the water using the end of a spoon. I like to crack the egg into a little bowl before Β this point to make life a little easier because once the vortex has been made, you just want to slide the egg straight into the centre, slowly and gently. The egg should swirl around and essentially fold up on itself. I remove the egg as soon as I can see that the white has cooked off using a slotted spoon, but keep cooking the egg to your liking. Make sure you set it aside to dry off a little on some kitchen paper.

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Now this is the part I do beforehand. The roasted eggplant and the tomato-basil sauce. Stay tuned for the recipe, but any kind of tomato relish or even left over pasta sauce would work well. For the eggplant, I cut it up in thin slices and placed them in a roasting tray. I coated the eggplant generously with olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper and roasted them at 180 degrees celcius, until the eggplant is beautifully golden and soft and has started to caramelise a little.

Here is the recipe card for this particular breakfast recipe!

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Creamy Beetroot, Mint and Pecan Dip

What do you do with left over beetroot? You make easy dip ofc!!

I love making dips at home. Firstly, you know EXACTLY what is in it! That is the best part. There is no added sugar, there are no preservatives, and no fake stuff. Plus, making dip is SOO easy! Trust me, once you start making your own, you will not go back to anything from the store. And this one is just so simple!

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You can make this same recipe using tinned beetroot directly, but I love the sweetness that beetroot picks up from roasting it. It does mean the dip takes a bit longer to make, but it’s an easy step with no fuss. Just clean, peel, slice, roast and rest. o real heavy work.

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I like using pecans in this dip, largely because I always have pecans in the house.But you can use pine nuts, hazelnuts or even almonds. Literally grab what you have lying around to give this dip a delicious nutty texture and flavour. The mint just makes this dip so fresh and is the perfect compliment to sweet beetroot and the nuts too.

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Now if you have left over feta, go ahead and add that with the cream cheese. It will add a tasty salty element to the dip. Plain cream cheese works a treat, and that is usually how I do it.

All you need to do is blitz everything in a food processor until smooth and creamy and then serve with some chips, a touch of paprika and olive oil. Yum yum!

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Bang Bang Broccoli

Okay so I have been wanting to make this recipe for AGES! But every time I ended up buying broccoli it was for some other recipe, usually a Thai curry, or a stir fry. So FINALLY I had a whole bunch of broccoli left, and I had a free Saturday (full disclosure I was actually meant to go out for a fancy dinner but got a tad bit sick the night before *sigh*). So here we go.

Now the first awesome thing about this recipe is that you can make it completely VEGAN! Yay! πŸ™‚ Otherwise it is ofc 100% vegetarian, so a bonus. This recipe is quick, simple and works fantastic as a 3:30pm snack, or even an accompaniment for lunch. Simple, delicious, crunchy and healthy – what more do you need?

So you want to start by cleaning the broccoli really well. It’s the kind of vegetable that a lot of mold and/or bugs can really latch onto. Use lukewarm water to soak the broccoli for around 3-5 minutes, and then pat dry on paper towels. Make sure you dry it off well, otherwise the batter will not coat the broccoli properly.

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Then make the sauce. Oh the sauce. SO much delicious in on little go. Set the sauce aside so that it reaches room temp, and thins out as well. This is important to ensure you get a consistent coating of the broccoli when you toss it all together. I add garlic powder to my recipe because I love that added hit, but if you aren’t a fan then omit it completely. If you choose to use Sriracha in your sauce, then skip the garlic powder otherwise the flavour will be far too overpowering. Trust me.

Next up, the batter. You want to start by mixing the apple cider vinegar with the milk, even if you are using a vegan milk substitute. This will basically make an instant buttermilk for you. You can use buttermilk, but I personally like the fruity tartness of the apple cider vinegar. In a bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and hot sauce. Pour in the milk and vinegar mixture and whisk everything well until the batter is nice and smooth.

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Cut up the broccoli into little chunks and add it to the batter, coating each piece really well. Make sure the stem is coated nicely too.

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I like to set these aside for at least 5-10 minutes, just to soak up all of that hot sauce goodness. It is so worth it. After that, toss each piece into breadcrumbs, before dropping them into your deep frying over medium heat. Fry them until they are beautiful and golden brown. Remove them and let them rest on some paper towel. You need to let these settle for a few minutes, allowing the paper towel to soak the oil, before salting the chunks. Finally toss them into the delicious sauce and then serve them up.

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Need the recipe card? It’s right here!

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Have a go at this insanely easy, but incredibly delicious recipe. Side note. My sister HATES greens. She is only 10, and well, she behaves like most 10 year olds and despises broccoli. But, interesting, she ate these yummy morsels. She did think they were a little spicy, but hell she still ate them.That is the important part πŸ™‚

Restaurant Review: Green Peppercorn

Green Peppercorn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I had heard so many awesome things about Green Peppercorn and I am so happy my bestie took us out to check it out. What better way to celebrate good friendship than with Thai food? I feel like its the perfect cuisine with the balance of the spicy, the creamy, the sweet, and the sour. Some of my favourite restaurants happen to be Thai πŸ˜› I think Green Peppercorn is a new addition to the list πŸ˜›

Tucked away above a bar, we basically completely missed the sign. It’s like those brain teaser tests, where there is a colour spelled out, and it’s written in a different colour. Like GREENΒ or BLUE.Β Furthermore, the sign is right in front of a staircase… so it definitely threw us all off a little. Anyway, up the long and funky staircase we went where on the ground floor there is a wall of mirrors and while climbing I just remember some form of cool painting.Β 

Once you enter the restaurant, it’s a loud and casual set up. On the left was the large and very well equipped bar, while on the right and ahead there are plenty of tables. We went on a Wednesday, so ofc a booking wasn’t really necessary. Now even for a Wednesday, there was a decent crowd… enough for the sounds of laughter and chatter to drift out to the staircase.

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The menu boasted with plenty of items to choose and select from. The drink menu was vast, and the food… blimey there was heaps of it. Green Peppercorn offers all the classics like green and red curry, pad thai and pad kee mao, while serving up plenty of the irregulars. The good thing is that there is a great selection of vegetarian options, and plenty of really exotic and fun flavours. I mean how many times do you see betal leaf and 2 pages of salad options? Not very often.

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We ordered the following:

  1. roast red duck curry
  2. thai papaya salad
  3. lamb massaman curry
  4. chicken pad thai
  5. pandan creme brulee x 3

The food came to us fairly quickly, and was served up with a beautiful steaming pot of jasmine rice. We accompanied our food with the classic coconut water ofc, served up right in a coconut. It really can’t get better than that in my opinion. The first thing i notice about food is the smell and boy did everything smell fabulous. First thing to reach us was the roast red duck curry and it looked and smelt divine.

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The first, and last time before this, that I had eaten duck… I honestly didn’t enjoy it. it was chewy and little odd tasting to me. So obviously I was a bit apprehensive to try this one, but alas… the bestie knows best! Her choice did not dissapoint! Now at first glance the serving size seemed really small… it is comfortably enough for one person. The plate itself was gorgeous, and you can see the beautiful roasted pieces of duck floating in the curry. The duck was cooked perfectly, with a light crispy skin and nutty meat. The curry was fairly mild but the green peppercorn (lol see what they did there?) and chili pieces packed some fire to the bowl. I definitely recommend this dish πŸ™‚

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Oh the papaya salad was stunning. It was light, and spicy, and sour and sweet all at the same time. How does that even happen!? The dressing was truly fabulous. I mean that was the real star of this dish… like good enough to spoon out and drink it alone. I don’t ask condone doing that. The dressing is quite spicy. It will clean out your sinus completely.Β Back on track. The salad. Get it. Because it is scrumptious and is a great way to compliment the creamy curries. My goodness… my mouth just filled up with saliva just thinking about it.

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The lamb massaman curry was another stellar dish. It was just so hearty and wholesome! This curry I thought was on the heavier side, and I definitely couldn’t finish it alone. I’m always a little worried with Lamb because it really does have to be cooked just right. Boy was this was perfect. The meat literally fell off the bone and my friends were left to contemplate whether or not they were going to tackle the marrow too. The meat was flavorsome and succulent, and the curry was lightly spicy but truly delicious. Another one to add to the recommendation list for sure!

As far as pad thai goes… I didn’t think this one really bought anything new to the table. At $12.90 I guess I expected something a litttttle better than the regular take out style ones, but I personally didn’t note much of a difference. On that note, it was still a really good bowl of noodles. Would I have it again there? Probably not… I think you are much better off trying something you wouldn’t find on a regular take out menu there – it will be worth the bucks.

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Now finally to the dessert. Oh blimey this dessert. I had dreams of this dessert. I still have dreams of this pandan, caramelly, coconutty creme brulee. The crack was perfect, the dish was delish, the taste was honestly heavenly. Even if you only go there for dessert… just get this. It is worth it. I want to go back just for this dessert. Back to the serious stuff. Size wise I think it’s a little too big for one person, as the boys realised after it came out, and is a perfect little dish to share between two. Its not too sweet, which is fabulous, and the coconut is not overpowering at all. In fact the coconut tastes real, and not synthetic like a lottt of coconut desserts nowadays.

And ofc… we forgot to take a photo of dessert -_-

I must add a note about the service. I wouldn’t call it fantastic, but it is decent enough for the evening. I felt like they took a little too long to come around to our table to take the order, but were in more of a hurry to clear the table away. Not sure if I liked that… but I thought I may as well mention it. One thing I did LOVE though was the fact that the general manager of the restaurant – the attractive bearded man roaming around the restaurant πŸ˜› – would go around to every single table to hear their thoughts on the food and offer up some light and funny conversation. He came around to us twice with something funny to say which I think was really quite great.

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Now to the ranking:

Food: 9/10

Perhaps even a full score… but I think the Pad Thai let it down.

Service: 7/10

I loved how the general manager came to us, but otherwise the service is really quite average

Ambiance: 10/10Β 

Green Peppercorn has really nailed this. The bar is fantastic and everyone was just so happy and casual which is great to see.

Originality: 9.5/10

The half point is only because of the fact that there was nothing new to the pad thai, but otherwise the expansive menu is truly original and truly wonderful.

Overall: 8.875 (to be exact) Β /10 (haha)Β 

okay 9/10 πŸ˜€

Yay food. Let me know what you think once you’ve visited this place! I would love to see if you thought different πŸ˜€

 

 

 

Coconut and Lime Tapioca Pudding

Finallllly I am getting around to writing up this delicious recipe. The cold Sydney weather with the really late onset of autumn rains made for the perfect weather to whip up some of this stuff. I don’t make it often… but when I do, it doesn’t last for long at all. I guess I just love pudding, whether it’s tapioca or some spiced Indian kheer.

The recipe is super simple, and can be tweaked in so many ways. You can make it with whole milk, or cream sometimes, or coconut milk. It goes perfectly with whatever seasonal fruit you can get your hands on! But a point to remember is that tapioca is one of the purest forms of starch you can find. If you are trying to cut down that blood sugar then most definitely avoid this stuff at all costs!

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You might be wondering… well duh? Why make a dessert if you are trying to cut down on sugar intake? Well tapioca can be used to make savory food too . At home we make a spiced tapioca meal during fasting periods as an alternative to rice or breads. I’m moving way off track here.

Coconut and Lime pudding! How can anyone resist the combination? It’s fun and tropical and really refreshing. It’s the kind that works wonderfully well during the hotter months and cooler months too. Here’s that simple recipe

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Right? Simple. And it works a treat. It’s the easy dessert that you can whip up in no time. Perfect for those last minute dinner parties or a quick treat for an every day dinner.

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Vegetarian Pizzas Four ways

I invited my friends over, fairly last minute I must say, and decided I should cook something EASY for them. Mainly because every time we do end up cooking, it is so complicated or attention heavy that we don’t end up spending quality time together. So I figured some yummy home-made pizzas were the easiest way to go.

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Now… i bought pre-made pizza bases from Aldi because not only are they cheap, but they come with a an oily-garlicly spread all over it. I find that these bases don’t dry out AT all which is wonderful.

I chose to make 4 different pizzas to mix things up a little you know. Keeps things exciting πŸ™‚ To start this big post post, we need to make my pizza base sauce first. I use this sauce all the time for my homemade pizzas because it just works and tastes really great on the pizza. Here is my simple recipe, and you can make it a few days in advance and just keep it in the fridge before you use it.

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Now we move onto my balsamic glaze. This is the thing that can make your ordinary pizza into something truly extraordinary. You can drizzle it over almost any pizza topping, but I love it over my Rocket and Goats cheese pizza. It just compliments the goats cheese so damn well! I add a little extra sugar and salt to my reduction just to cut down the really strong flavour of the vinegar. Here is the recipe!

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Now to the main star(s). I’m starting with my Spinach and Feta pizza. I pack it with capsicum, onion and olives too for a really vege-ful bite. Basil is an essential piece of the pizza too, along with some cherry tomatoes. This is just a classic pizza, packed with flavour.

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Number two is my honest favourite pizza – rocket and goats cheese pizza with balsamic glaze. It is so freaking easy, and it is one I love. My friends enjoyed it too. They mmmm-ed so I’m going to say yes they like it very much.

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Number three is the easy magherita. Packed with tomatoes, basil and cheese, you can never go wrong with it.

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Number four is basically a variation of the maghertia, just with a pesto base. It changes the flavour completely and just changes up the tastes. It’s a great way to use up any left over basil pesto in the house πŸ˜€

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So have a go at these four super simple but yummy pizzas. I asked my friends like 10 times to tell me if they enjoyed it… and they said yes… so if you all hate the recipes…

Blame it on them.

❀

 

Apple and Date Halwa

Halwa, or Indian pudding (I guess we could call it that) is a seriously delicious dessert with roots in the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East. It is typically served warm, but tastes wonderful cold too. It is truly a favourite in my house, and we make it as a treat for a celebration or festival.

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Now, my mother usually makes Halwa using semolina and banana, while back in India I have had it made with carrots and milk solids (mawa or khoya) OR believe it or not… bottle gourd. It’s fairly heavy on the sugar, which is obviously not so great for anyone trying to lose weight, or control their sugar.

This recipe is 100% inspired by the Happy Pear but it is most definitely a superbly different halwa recipe. Why? Because this one is 100% sugar FREE! Yup. That’s right.

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Now this halwa does turn out not so sweet, which I personally don’t mind, but as a note I think next time I will definitely add over some agave nectar or some rose syrup. Honey would work too, but really to each their own πŸ™‚

Before starting this recipe, make sure your dates are really well soaked. This is where we get the sweetness in the halwa and it’s essential that these are softened prior to cooking. They should break apart wonderfully once in the pot and caramelize with the rest of the halwa.

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Now, I used semolina in my halwa because it is a great standard ingredient. Traditionally, ghee would be used to cook Β the halwa and I do recommend using some. My first attempt, I went with all coconut oil and i found that most people didn’t enjoy the coconut undertones to the dessert. It would be better instead to use grapeseed oil as it’s flavour profile isn’t as deep as coconut.

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Oh and better yet… Diabetic Daddy Dearest actually ate thirds of this halwa. SCORE!!! The texture turned out really smooth and has a really nice apple flavour with hints of the sweetness from the dates… and that sweetness is like a really subtle and soft caramel πŸ™‚

I would realllly love to hear what you think about this recipe, and I would love you to know what kind of recipes you want to see! πŸ™‚