Food For Four

Breakfast Oat, Blueberry and Banana Smoothie

Posted on | May 22, 2015 | Breakfast, Healthy, Smoothies | No Comments

blueberry banana almond chia breakfast smoothie

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day but it’s the most neglected meal of my day. When it comes to breakfast we make it a priority for our children to have a nutritious meal to have a good start to their day. But for my husband and I it’s not a priority as we’re too busy rushing around in the morning trying to get everything ready. Plus we are very sleep deprived parents so we rather have that extra couple of minutes of sleep than waking up early for breakfast. Most days I’m lucky if I’m out the door with a piece of toast hanging out of my mouth. For years the husband prefer the convenience of a Up & Go. I honestly don’t know how he drinks that thing almost every day of the week for years.

I recently bought a Nutri Ninja as it was on sale and I’m loving it. I know I’m very late to the smoothie bandwagon but having a smoothie for breakfast is the answer for a quick, convenient and nutritious breakfast. I love the beautiful flavours of this smoothie and better still it’s very nutritious for you. Love the combination of oats, blueberry, banana, yoghurt, milk, raw almonds and throw in some superfood like chia or flaxseeds for extra goodness. I also love that it’s so quick to just throw all these ingredients together and just blend and you’ll have something that tastes good and is good for you to start the day out great. Smoothies are such a great way to get add extra nutrients to your day. This smoothie is by far our family’s favourite. I’m still experimenting with the green smoothie but it’s not something I’ll drink for breakfast.

breakfast blueberry and banana smoothie

Breakfast Blueberry, Banana and Oat Smoothie

Serves 1 (makes 500ml)

Ingredients

3 tablespoons rolled oats
1 ripe banana
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 teaspoon chia seeds or flax seeds
10 raw almonds
3 tablespoons Greek yoghurt
1 cup soy/almond/low fat milk

Method

Add all the ingredients in to the cup of your blender. I always put the hard (almonds) ingredients closest to the blade. So depending on the type of blender you have you may add the hard ingredients as first or last.

Blend all the ingredients until become smooth consistency. Pour into glass and serve.

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Dahlias at Blue Mountains Botanic Garden

Posted on | May 4, 2015 | Flowers, Garden | No Comments

Thought I’d share some images of these gorgeous dahlias to help brighten up this grey and gloomy Monday. These dahlias were in full bloom when I visited the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden during Easter. I love their vibrant colours and the interesting formations of the petals, especially the dahlias which were shaped like a ball. The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mount Tomah is a great garden to visit and it’s one of our favourite garden to explore. Have a great Monday!

ball dahlia

Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah

Blue Mountain Botanic Garden

Dahlia Blue Mountain Botanic Garden

Dahlia

dahlia ball

Mount Tomah Botanic Garden Dahlia

Dahlias at Blue Montain Garden

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Zucchini Noodles with Prawns and Thai Chilli Jam

Posted on | May 1, 2015 | Asian Recipes, Quick Meal, Thai | No Comments

Zucchini Noodles with Thai Chilli Jam

I love love the idea of turning zucchini into noodles. Substituting zucchini noodles for pasta or noodles is a simple and clever way to get that extra veggie intake into your day. The zucchini noodles gives the dish an overall freshness and best of all it’s so healthy for you.

zucchini noodles

There are many different ways you can make your zucchini noodles. If you have a vegetable spiral slicer then you can achieve long and curly zucchini noodles, or you can make straight noodles with just a knife or peeler. I do like the zucchini noodles to be long and curly. I have a non-fancy vegetable spiraler which is so easy to use and creates really long and curly zucchini noodles.

Zucchini Noodles with prawns and thai chilli jam

Eating a bowl of zucchini of noodle is healthy for you but it doesn’t have to be boring. I’ve recreated my favourite Thai flavours in this zucchini noodles with chilli jam and basil. I’ve added the prawns (you can use chicken if you like) for protein and capsicum for extra sweetness. This dish is just full of flavours and best of all it tastes good and is good for you.

Zucchini noodles

Zucchini Noodles with Prawns and Thai Chilli Jam

Serves 2

10 prawns, peeled and deveined
6 zucchini
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons oil
1 small red capsicum, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon Thai chilli jam*
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
approx 15 fresh basil leaves

Method

Make zucchini into noodles.

Combine the Thai chilli jam, soy sauce, lime juice into a small bowl and stir well.

Heat a large pan on medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the zucchini noodles and cook for (2-3 minutes) until tender (remember not to over cook the noodles and the noodles should still be slightly crunchy). Once cooked transfer the noodles into a bowl to rest. The noodles will release moisture and you should drain the water from the noodles.

Wipe the pan clean. Add 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until translucent. Add prawns and cook until tender (3-4 minutes). Remove prawns and garlic from pan.

Add capsicum over medium heat and cook for about 1-2 minutes until ender. Return the zucchini noodles and prawns to the pan. Pour in the sauce. Add the basil leaves and stir through with the noodles. Cook for about 1 minute. Have a taste of the noodles and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Remove the pan from heat and serve the noodles.

* For convenience I have bought my Thai chilli jam from a supermarket. As the taste of the chilli jam varies, you should taste test and adjust the amount required.

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Cherry Picking in Young, NSW

Posted on | December 24, 2014 | Fruit Picking, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

pick your own cherry orchards young nsw

Allambie Orchard Young

cherry picking allambie orchard young

cherry picking young nsw

cherry picking at Allambie Orchard in Youngcherry picking in young

cherry picking in young nsw

pick your own cherries in young


pick your own cherry orchards in young

allambie orchard young

IMG_4089

cherry picking in young nsw

How irresistible are those glossy and delicious cherries hanging on the trees?

Cherries are at their peak at the moment and just the perfect timing for the Christmas season. I love having cherries during Christmas.

If you are like us and love the experience of picking your own cherries then head to Young for many of the pick your own cherry orchards. Young is referred to as the cherry capital of Australia, and it is about 4 hours drive from Sydney. I could never convince the husband to drive that far for cherry picking. He’ll tell me to save the time and effort and just buy it from the shops. But where’s the fun in that?

We did end up driving to Young, but we started our journey from Canberra. Earlier in December we were staying in Canberra and decided to do a day trip to Young, which is only 2 hours from Canberra. There are many orchards with pick your own to choose from. I decided to go to Allambie Orchard mainly because I’ve seen the pretty pictures on their website.

Unfortunately it rained on the day we were at the orchard and we couldn’t do much picking. We were lucky we had a break in the weather for about 45 minutes before the storm came. I love how the rain made the cherries look really glossy and fresh in the photos.

Young usually holds it’s annual Cherry Festival on the first weekend of December. They hold all sorts of fun festivities during the whole weekend of the festival. It is really the busiest time for the town. It is also the busiest weekend with lots of tour buses bringing cherry pickers.

The cherry picking season starts usually from mid November to January. It is highly recommended that you check with the individual orchard before you come to ensure they are open and have cherries to pick. It is a long way to come so you don’t want to be disappointed. I also highly recommend staying overnight and Young has many accommodation options. The Young official website has a list of all the orchards for you to choose from. Also don’t forget to try the homemade cherry pies in Young!

 

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Pan Fried Pork and Cabbage Dumplings

Posted on | August 20, 2014 | Asian Recipes, Chinese | 2 Comments

homemade pork and cabbage dumplings

Our family love all types of dumplings. We affectionately call our kids ‘Dumpling Monsters’ because they love dumplings so much. We are lucky very that our local area have so many Shanghai restaurants with really good quality dumplings. Although we mostly eat dumplings out, I occasionally like to make my own simple dumplings to freeze to use for those last minute meals.

With the weather being so cold and we have been staying in quite a bit, I was able to make dumplings at home many times. I also started making my own dumpling wrappers. The first time I made it I was really surprised at how easy it is to make the dough and roll out the wrappers. Since then I have not use the store bought wrappers. But I must warn you that it is quite time consuming to make the wrappers (especially when I’m rolling out 45 wrappers for each time I make dumplings). Homemade wrappers are so much softer and they are easier to stick together so you don’t need to seal with water. I would still use the store bought wrappers for the convenience. These dumplings are great to make a huge batch and freeze for later. I love steaming these dumplings and pan fried to finish off. I recently discovered that they are called pot stickers as well. The restaurants just call them dumplings.

homemade pork potstickers

making dumpling dough

With the amount of dumpling wrappers I had to roll, I seek the help of my sous chef. To roll out the dough you need to have dowel rolling pin. I didn’t have one so I cut off the handle of my wooden spoon which did the trick.

homemade dumplings

Pleating the dumplings on one side is really easy and it looks so good too.

how to fold a dumpling

Pork and Cabbage Dumplings Recipe

Makes about 45 dumplings

Dumpling dough

4.5 cups* of plain flour
boiled hot water (roughly about 2 cups*)

Filling

500g pork mince
300g finely shredded Chinese cabbage (put cabbage into bowl and add 1 teaspoon of salt and allow to sit for 20 minutes to draw out the water)
2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
4 spring onion thinly sliced (white and light green part only)
7 dried shiitake mushroom (rehydrated in hot water)
4.5 tablespoons soya sauce
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons stock/water
2 tablespoons rice wine

Method

To make dumpling dough

In a medium mixing bowl, add the plain flour and make a well in the centre. Slowly add small amount water at a time and mix the flour with a spatula. Keep adding and mixing the flour until all flour are combined (you don’t have to use all the water). Knead the dough inside the bowl to combine all the lumpy bits together. If the dough does not come together easily the add a teaspoon of water. If too sticky the add some flour.

Transfer the dough to a slightly floured work space. Knead the dough with the heel of your hand for about 5 minutes. You should get a smooth and slightly elastic dough. Cling wrap the dough to rest for an hour.

To make dumpling fillings

In a medium bowl, add pork mince, grated ginger, spring onion, shiitake mushroom. Squeeze excess water from the chinese cabbage and add to the mince mixture. In a small bowl add soya sauce, sesame oil, white pepper, rice wine, sugar and stock/water. Stir mixture until sugar dissolved. Pour this seasoning over the mince mixture and mix and fold until everything in combined.

To make dumplings

Once the dumpling dough are rested you can make the dumplings. There is a large amount of dough in this recipe so cut up the dough into quarters. Using one quarter at a time roll out the dough to into a thick log with a 4cm diameter. Cut the cylinder into 1.5cm thick. Flatten the disk by pressing down the the palm of your hand. Using a dumpling dowel, roll ONLY inwards from the outer edge of each circle, so you maintain a regular circle. If the dough is a bit sticky then sprinkle some flour. Roll out a couple of wrappers.

Once you have rolled out some dumpling wrappers, spoon a tablespoon of the filling onto the centre of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper over and press the centre then pleat only one side of the dumpling leaving the other edge straight. This gives the dumpling a nice crescent shape.

Panfry the dumplings

Panfrying the dumplings give a crispy bottomed finish. Filled a medium or large nonstick fry pan with about one centimetre of water and a dash of vegetable oil. Assemble the dumplings in the fry pan and cover. Allow the dumplings to steam for about ten minutes. Keep an eye on the dumplings so when all the water evaporates open the lid. The little bit of oil that remain will help crisp up the bottom (add more oil if required). Serve immediately with dark vinegar or chilli oil.

pan fried pork dumplings

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