Food For Four

Korean Sweet Potato Noodles (Japchae)

Posted on | May 25, 2015 | Asian Recipes, Korean, Recipes, Vegetarian | No Comments

Korean sweet potato noodles japchae

I love eating Korean food but when it comes to cooking it my skills are quite limited. Jachae is one of my favourite Korean dish to make as it’s so easy and very tasty. I love the slippery chewy texture of the glass noodles made from sweet potato starch. This dish is so deliciously vibrant with many different vegetables. I prefer the vegetable only version but you can add marinated beef to the noodles as well. To maintain the best texture of the vegetables I like to stir fry them individually. This dish makes a perfect light snack or side dish. Love the taste and fragrant of the sesame oil and toasted sesame seed in this dish. Enjoy!

Japchae Korean Sweet potato noodles

Korean Sweet Potato Noodles

Serves 4

Ingredients

250 grams sweet potato noodles
1 bunch English spinach (approx. 200 grams)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
6 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water, stem removed and sliced
1 large carrot, cut into thin strips
1 capsicum, thinly sliced
2 stalks spring onion, cut into 5cm lengths
oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 heaping teaspoon toasted white sesame seeds

Sauce:
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2½ tablespoons sugar

Method

Bring a large pot of water to a boil then add the noodles into the boiling water. Stir the noodles so they don’t stick together. Cook for about 5 minutes until the noodles are soft and chewy. Drain the noodles. Cut the noodles with a pair of scissors a few times. Place the noodles into a large mixing bowl. Add about 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil to the noodles and give it a stir so they don’t stick together.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil and blanch the spinach until they are wilted (about 1 minute). Drain the spinach under cold water to stop it from further cooking. Squeeze the water from the spinach with your hands. Cut the spinach roughly several times. Place the spinach on the side next to the noodles in the mixing bowl.

In a small bowl, add the sugar, soya sauce and sesame oil. Stir until the sugar dissolved and set aside.

Heat up oil in a small fry pan. Add garlic, mushrooms and carrot. Cook until slightly soft then add capsicum. Cook until carrot and capsicum are soft then transfer to the noodles.

Cook the onions until slightly soft add the spring onion and cook for another minute. Transfer the onion and spring onion into the noodle bowl.

Mix all the ingredients in the mixing bowl together. Pour the soy sauce and sugar mixture into the noodles and give it a good mix. Taste the noodles and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

To serve, transfer to a large serving plate. Garnish with sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds.

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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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Vietnamese Avocado Shake (Sinh Tố Bơ)

Posted on | January 15, 2015 | Recipes, Vietnamese Recipes | No Comments

avocado shake vietnamese

My family loves avocado and I grew up eating avocado as a sweet snack. When we were young the only way our family know how to eat avocados was as avocado shake/smoothie or just simply avocado with condensed milk. For a long time we didn’t have a blender to make smoothie, so most of the time we just ate avocados with spoonfuls of condensed milk poured into avocado halves and scooping the flesh with the spoon. When I introduced my husband to the avocado and condensed milk combination he thought it was the strangest think and it has taken years to convert him to like it. Of course these days we enjoy avocados in many variety of dishes including sweet and savoury.

Avocado shake are very popular at Vietnamese fruit shake/ dessert bars as well as in Vietnamese restaurants. It’s very simple with just avocado, condensed milk, fresh milk and ice. The avocado shake is so creamy, smooth and perfectly chilled. Most people drink the avocado shake/smoothie with their meals at restaurants but I find it’s a bit heavy and prefer to have it on its own as a snack.

Avocado Shake Recipe

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 ripe large avocado
1/4 cup condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh milk
10 ice cubes

Method

Scoop the flesh of the avocado into a blender. Add the condensed milk, fresh milk and ice cubes. Blend until smooth consistency. Taste for the desired sweetness, otherwise add more condensed milk and blend some more. Pour out to serving glass.

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