Summer Salad In A Jar

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It’s Summer and we are in 2017! Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2016 has been good for you, but I hope even more that 2017 will be an amazing year with lots of opportunities for you to strive on, lots of love, happiness and that everyone will be in the best of health!

To start the year on the right note, I decided to change the way we eat, and steer it towards eating as healthy as possible! So when Croud Australia contacted me to send me a WW Freshbox that’s completely vegetarian by the Aussie Farmers Direct, I couldn’t say no!

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 It’s a box filled with fresh vegetables and beautiful produce! What’s great about each box is they come with recipes that you could follow too! How easy is that? I love the convenience!

When I saw what I had in my box ( 3 meals for 2 people, $64) a few ingredients jumped out at me and I really wanted to make a vibrant salad that we would be able to even have it on the go and with a salad “dressing” that would be exciting for the taste buds too.

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So I decided to make a kale & basil toasted walnut pesto and it absolutely binds all the ingredients together! The perfect dressing (and healthy too with a superfood in it!) for the salad and if you have people you’re making for that loves and needs meat (like the mr), you could easily grill some meat and pop it on as well! It’s a really versatile recipe, and you can add your favourite ingredients too!

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Don’t you just love the colour? It tastes absolutely amazing too!

So here’s the recipe for the perfect Summer salad!

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Summer Salad in A Jar (An original Food Made With Love recipe)

For the kale & toasted walnut pesto:

40g toasted walnut

80g kale leaves, stem removed

35g basil leaves

2 large garlic cloves

80g grated parmesan

1 tsp salt

150ml olive oil

Steps:

  1. Add the kale, basil, garlic cloves and salt in a food processor and pulse for 10 to 12 times, till you get a fine chop.
  2. With the motor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl. Scrap the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add the walnuts, garlic cloves & parmesan, continue to pulse until the mixture is well combined. Set aside.

Note: I used this as a dressing for my salad, but you could use this in your pastas, or coat it with some grilled chicken!

For the salad:

350g butternut pumpkin, cut into cubes

1 red capsicum, sliced length-wise

1 can of chickpeas, drained

1 large handful of rocket leaves

1 large handful of baby spinach leaves

30g Greek style feta, crumbled

3 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp salt, and extra for seasoning

ground black pepper

2 tbs olive oil

Steps :

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Line the baking tray with some aluminium foil, drizzle with 1 tbs of olive oil, and place the butternut pumpkin and red capsicum onto the tray. Season the butternut pumpkin with the smoked paprika and season with some salt. Bake for 20 mins or until the pumpkin is tender. Set aside to let it cool down.img_1784-1
  2. In a small nonstick pan, heat 1 tbs of oil over medium heat. Add ground coriander, cumin & salt, and cook for a minute. Remember to keep stirring, so that it doesn’t burn. Add the drained chickpeas and stir for 5 minutes or until lightly toasted and the chickpeas are well coated with the spices. Set aside.
  3. To plate : In a large jar, place the rocket and baby spinach leaves into the base. Add the butternut pumpkin and the red capsicum then sprinkle with the crumbled greek feta. Top with the spiced chickpeas and finally the kale & toasted walnut pesto.
  4. You could shake it gently to coat the contents with the pesto dressing, or if you have access to a plate, pour it out and mix it gently. Enjoy on its own or with some grilled meats!

           ENJOY!

Remember to always cook and bake with love!

xx

PS: Thank you Croud and Aussie Farmers Direct for this opportunity to try and love the Freshbox! Will be trying some of the recipes that are on the website too! Stay tuned, more recipes to come!

{Spencer Cooks} Hainanese Chicken Rice

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One thing I truly miss is the food from back home. So when I got hold of the recipe of Hainanese Chicken Rice from the Taste of Asia Thermomix cookbook, I HAD TO try making it. Of course, I also had to make the dipping sauces, or else it wouldn’t be complete.

Prior to having Spencer, I have made chicken rice before, and it turned out great. But the multilayer cooking does make it a lot easier, and I have to say, the taste definitely doesn’t lose out to cooking it in the traditional way! Plus it was a huge hit with the two boys! hehe HOORAY!

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One thing I cannot do without when having chicken rice is the dipping sauces. Especially this ginger dipping sauce! I usually buy them off the shelf at an asain supermarket, but I love that I am able to make it from scratch and also to get it on the table in about 5 mins!

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Of course, the chilli dipping sauce too!

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This is definitely is and will continue to be the staple in our house. Succulent chicken pieces with flavourful rice, I cannot think of anything that is more comforting for dinner.

I was asked by a customer at a Varoma cooking class recently to post about how I cooked my chicken rice. Sorry it took so long, but here it is! Step-by-step! I hope you all will enjoy it as much as we do!

Hainanese Chicken Rice (Adapted from Taste of Asia)

Ginger Dipping Sauce

120g young ginger, peeled

50g eschalots, peeled

100g vegetable oil

1/2 tsp salt

Steps:

  1. Place ginger and eschalots into the bowl and chop for 5 secs/ Speed 7. Scrape the side of the bowl.dscf5285-1
  2. Add remaining ingredients and blend for 20 secs/ Speed 8.dscf5286-1
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and cook for 5 mins/100 deg C/ Speed 2. Pour into bowl or mini thermoserver, and set aside to have with Hainanese chicken rice.

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Note : Can be kept in a jar for 1 week or frozen for 3 months.

Chilli Dipping Sauce

100g big red chillies, cut into 3 pieces

20g ginger, peeled

50g garlic, peeled

80g white vinegar

1 tsp salt

1/2 tbs sugar

Steps:

  1. Place chilli, ginger and garlic into the bowl and chop for 5 secs/ Speed 8. Scrape the sides of the bowl, and repeat process for 2 more times.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and blend for 1 minute / Speed 6.
  3. Add salt and sugar. Pour into a serving bowl or mini thermoserver and set aside.

Hainanese Chicken Rice (Serves 4-6)

2 tsp chinese wine

2 tsp light soy sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

1 whole chicken (about 1.7kg)

4 cloves of garlic

2 spring onion, cut into half

8 slices of ginger, peeled

4 eschalots, peeled

1 tbs olive oil

300g jasmine rice, rinsed

1.5L chicken stock

2 pandan leaves

A packet of bean sprouts

Fried shallots & thinly sliced spring onion, to garnish

Steps :

  1. Mix the chinese wine, soy and sesame oil in a small bowl and rub it all over the chicken as well as inside the cavity.dscf5297-1
  2. Stuff two cloves of garlic, spring onion, and 4 slices of ginger into the cavity and place into the Varoma dish. Make sure the chicken doesn’t cover all the holes to ensure the steam can be circulated. Set aside. dscf5301-1
  3. Place the remaining garlic, ginger and eschalots and oil into the bowl and sauté for 2 mins/ Varoma temperature/ Reverse, Speed 2. Add the rice and sauté for 2 mins/ 100 deg C/ Reverse, Speed 2. Pour mixture into the steaming basket and place pandan leave in the middle and set aside.dscf5309-1dscf5312-1
  4. Place 1 L of chicken stock into the bowl. Place the steaming basket of sautéed rice into the bowl as well and set the Varoma into position. Steam for 20 mins/ Varoma temperature/ Speed 4. Remove the steaming basket from the bowl, and place the rice into the Thermoserver to keep warm while the chicken continues steaming. dscf5303-1
  5. Top up the bowl with another 500ml of chicken stock. Replace the Varoma back into position and continue cooking for another 30-45 minutes/ Varoma temperature/ Speed 4, depending on the size of your chicken. In the last 10 minutes of steaming, add the bean sprouts around the chicken to steam. dscf5313-1
  6. Mix 3 tsp light soy sauce, 2 tbs of hot water, 1/2 tsp sesame oil and 1/4 tsp of sugar in a bowl. Chop up the chicken and pour this sauce over the chicken before serving.

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Garnish with fried shallots and thinly sliced spring onions. Serve with the two dipping sauces prepared and a thick black soy sauce.

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Tuck in and enjoy!

Would love to hear what you think after you’ve tried this! Email me photos of your creation as I would love to see them!

Follow me on Thermolove to get more inspiration!

Remember to always cook and bake with love!  

Toddler Eats : Cheesy Chicken & Veggies Meatballs

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Now that Lochlan has turned one (where did time go??), I’m trying to wean him from purees and introduce chunkier food, to encourage him to chew. Don’t get me wrong, he knows how to chew. But just prefers the purees cause he could finish it much quicker. haha So this marks the start to my new series of Toddler Eats! Hopefully it will be helpful to mummies out there who also want to try different foods and make them from their kitchen when time permits!

I decided to try making something I thought he might like! I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a good meatball? Especially with the addition of cheeeeese! These are quick and easy and you could have it on its own or mix it with pasta and some homemade tomato sauce and viola! Meatball pasta!

Meatball pasta

Lochlan’s Verdict : 2 1/2 meatballs (together with other food for dinner and strawberries for dessert hehe). I think thats a not too bad start!

 With the addition of cheese, you don’t even need to add salt to it. So it’s perfect even for babies from 10 months! Especially if you wanna do Baby-Led-Weaning. hehe Perfect finger food! These are not just for your little ones at home, the mr and I enjoyed it too!

So here’s the recipe, do give it a shot and let me know what u or your kiddos think!

Cheesy Chicken & Veggies Meatballs (A Food Made With Love Original Recipe)

Ingredients : Makes 24-26 meatballs

250g mince chicken (or meat of your choice)

2 stalks of spring onions, finely sliced

1 small carrot, grated

1/4 apple, grated

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1/2 zucchini, grated

2-3 florets of broccoli, finely chopped

50g cheddar cheese, grated

1 egg

Ground black pepper, to season

Ingredients

(I’ve got a double yolk! Lucky me! hehe)

Steps :

1) Preheat your oven to 170 degrees celcius. Spray/Oil a baking tray/ casserole dish and set it one side.

2) Mix all the ingredients in a big bowl until well combined.

Mixed till well combined

3) Using a tablespoon, roll the mixture into balls. Do note that the mixture will be a bit wet and sticky. Wetting your hands might help in the rolling process.

Rolled out

4) Place the meatballs onto the baking dish, and bake for 12-15 mins, until the meatballs are cooked through and/or slightly browned.

All baked

5) Serve as is or you could cook it in a homemade tomato sauce and toss it through some cooked pasta for a variety!

Enjoy!

P.S : You don’t have to grate the vegetables if you’re cooking for yourself or older kids and want more texture. Just finely diced them and it would be as delicious! Also you could always change the types of vegetables in the meatballs, find a combination that wins the most votes in your house! (:

Have a lovely weekend everyone! Remember to always cook and bake with love!

Till the next post, xx !

Ratatouille & A Good Food and Wine Tickets Giveaway!

Ratatouille

I’ve always wanted to give this a try. Ever since I watched the little rat who could cook this dish perfectly in Ratatouille! The vibrant colours just catches my eye instantly, and I think it’s such a celebratory dish – A celebration of colours!

Also, it was my brother’s birthday and I just wanted to cook him something special! Of course, I didn’t only cook him one dish, I made 4! haha This dish pairs perfectly with seafood, so I made some white wine and cream mussels, homemade garlic bread and mushroom risotto! Mmmm!

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mushroom risotto

Don’t you love just cooking for people you love? It’s seriously something I love to do. And seeing their reaction when they take the first bite, it’s worth all the time and effort!

Ratatouille

Making the ratatouille was so much fun! One reason was that I got to play with the mandolin. Slicing those vegetables into the same thickness couldn’t be any easier! Fastest prep ever! haha So if you would like to impress your guest the next time u cook for them, I highly recommend making them ratatouille! My family loved how it looked, and enjoyed every single bite!

Ratatouille

Ratatouille (Adapted from The Walsh Cookbook)

Ingredients : 

1 medium green zucchini

1 medium yellow zucchini

1 eggplant (preferably the thin ones)

1 red capsicum

1 yellow/green capsicum

3 tomatoes

1 red onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 can of tomato puree

1 tsp red chilli flakes

1 tsp italian herbs/ mixed herbs

1 tsp salt

2 tbs olive oil

Parmesan cheese

Steps :

1) Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius. Try to get the vegetables around the same size, so that they would look neater in your dish! Slice all the vegetables using a mandolin and set aside.

2) Heat a cast iron pot (or any pot that can be used in an oven) over a medium-high flame. Add the olive oil, garlic and onion and sauté till fragrant, careful not to burn them, as they will have a bitter after taste. Add in the tomato puree, salt, herbs & chilli flakes, and allow it to simmer for 5 mins.

3) Carefully arrange the vegetables, alternating the slices of zucchini, eggplant, capsicum and tomato. Continue laying them till you fill your dish and cover with a baking paper to allow it to steam and cook, keeping all the juices in. Bake for 45 mins.

Covered with baking paper

4) Remove the baking paper and sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top and serve!

How easy is that? And I can promise you that everyone will definitely enjoy this! So definitely give it a try when you can!

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Okie. So now… time for the GIVEAWAY!

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So everyone knows the one event I look forward to every year is no doubt the Melbourne Good Food and Wine Show. Endless food & wine, beautiful produce and you get to meet your favourite chefs!

Good Food Theatre

This year, I am lucky enough to be given 2 double passes to giveaway to my readers! Whoopeedoo! What’s more exciting is that this year, Ainsley Harriott will be there for all 4 days of the show (5-8 June), along with Miguel Maestre & Alastair McLeod! So you definitely don’t want to miss the show this year! I can still remember when the Mr bought me tickets to a Private Dining session with Manu Feildel 3 years ago! Definitely a dream come true and an experience I will never forget!

How do you win those tickets? Easy!

  • Leave a comment and share with me the favourite dish you love to cook for your loved ones for a special occasion!
  • This giveaway is only open to Australian residents! (Sorry international readers!)
  • Please join me on my journey! Follow me on FacebookInstagram and Twitter! Let me know once you have followed me!
  • You may re-enter daily! One entry a day! (Oh yeah!)
  • Winners will be announced on the 29th of April, 10pm.
  • Winners will be picked via random.org and notified on this blog post and via email.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s go!

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WINNERS!

Congratulations to Good Food Good Karma and Ross! Here’s what they said :


Comment Number 8 Winner 1 - Number 8

Comment number 6 Winner 2 - Number 6

Salmon and roast! Two delicious things I too would cook for loved ones at a special occasion! Congrats again and I will be in contact with you soon, through email! Thanks everyone for participating!

Disclaimer : The tickets were given in compliments of Red Agency and I wasn’t paid to run this giveaway. 

Going Healthy : Cauliflower Rice Salad

Cauliflower rice salad

Hola dear readers! Obviously I still wish I am back in Barcelona. hehe Have you ever felt the need to cut down on food and eat better? After all the good food (and don’t get me started on the amounts haha) that I’ve eaten in Europe, I decided to try and eat a little healthier when we got back. The thing that has been going around alot these days is the Paleo diet. Don’t worry, I’m not on it! haha I, for one, cannot go through a diet for the life of me. Plus my dearest husband will never allow me to. He’s a firm believer of exercise and eating everything in moderation. hehe But there are a few recipes out there which caught my eye and I’ve written down in my recipes-to-try list! hehe One of which is the cauliflower rice!

Cauliflower rice

I was intrigued by the cauliflower rice ever since I’ve seen it on instagram  (follow me on @lianneelow). It’s not rice, but it’s cauliflower that is made to look like rice, and it’s absolutely delicious! hehe There are many different ways to make it and there’s no right or wrong way. The best thing about it is that you can flavour it any way you want! Absolutely anything that you fancy!

Cauliflower rice with dishes

I had mine two ways. One as a substitute for rice/quinoa (with dishes) and another in a salad! They both worked really well but I am addicted to the salad. Which is the recipe I’ll be sharing with you today. And trust me, even though you don’t intend to change your diet, this is something you definitely should try making! Plus, there’s no harm in having something healthy yes? hehe

Cauliflower Rice (Adapted from Nom Nom Paleo)

1 head of cauliflower (cut into small pieces)

3 shallots, finely sliced

1-2 tbs olive oil

1 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground coriander

A bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

cauliflower

Steps : 

1) In a food processor, pulse the cauliflower into the size of couscous or rice grains.

2) In a heavy-based pan, heat the olive oil and sautéed the finely sliced shallots until its soft and aromatic. When it’s softened, add the cauliflower and stir until it is well coated and mixed thoroughly.

3) Season the cauliflower rice with the garlic salt, ground ginger and ground coriander. Cover the pan and allow it to cook for 5-10 minutes. Season with freshly ground pepper and fold in the fresh coriander.

cauliflower rice salad

Cauliflower Rice Salad (Original recipe)

2 cups cauliflower rice

200-300g butternut squash, cubed

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 pint cherry tomatoes (250g, sliced into halves)

Juice of 1 lemon

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 can of chickpeas, drained

salt & pepper, to season

handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Steps :

1) On a lined baking tray, place the butternut squash and sprinkle paprika and salt. Drizzle some olive oil over. In a preheated oven (180 degrees celcius), bake the butternut squash for 15-20 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

2) In a small bowl, emulsify the oilve oil with the lemon juice and set it aside.

3) In a large bowl, place the cauliflower rice, then top with the butternut squash, cherry tomatoes and season with salt & pepper. Drizzle the emulsified lemon juice and olive oil and add in the chopped coriander. Give it a good mix until well combined.

Cauliflower rice salad

4) Eat it by the spoonful or keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days.

my lunch

I had mine with some extra pine nuts and a hard boiled egg for some extra protein! hehe See, you can have it anyway you fancy!

Enjoy and remember to always cook and bake with love! 

Kale Chips Two Ways

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Sorry for the long pause dearest readers! I’ve been away in Singapore spending time with my family and friends so didn’t really have the time to post the delicious food I’ve been having! But I promise that I will be sharing with you my food adventure in my next few posts! But before I do that, I want to share with you a super snack : kale chips !
Kale is not something I’ve eaten often. But the few moments that I had the chance to have it, I absolutely loved it. I had them as a side to my mains but never had it as a snack before. Some time last year, I’ve seen people making kale chips and I really wanted to make some myself. So when I saw some at Dandenong Markets this morning, I had to get a packet.
Kale
When I got home I couldn’t wait to get started! Just the idea of having a healthier snack option was enough to make my belly happy! hehe Especially since I’m trying to get back into a healthier lifestyle. That’s my goal set for this year (: So if you’re like me, and would like to have an option of a healthy snack. Do give this a go! The hubs and I are totally addicted to it now and it’s barely been 12 hours since I’ve made it!
So be warn, cause these are definitely addictive! hehe
Cayenne & Sesame kale chips
Cayenne & Sesame Kale Chips (A Food Made With Love original recipe)
1/2 a packet of kale
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper  powder
1 1/2 tbs toasted sesame seeds
1/2 tbs olive oil
Steps : 
1) Preheat the oven to 150 degrees celcius. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Trim the tough stems from the kale and discard. Cut the larger leaves into smaller pieces (about 2 inches); leave the small pieces whole.
2) Place the leaves in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Give it a good toss. Season with salt, cayenne pepper and toasted sesame seeds. Give it another good toss, to make sure the leaves are well coated.
3) Arrange the kale on the baking sheets in a single layer and bake for 10 minutes before rotating and bake for another 5 minutes until crispy. Remove the trays from the oven and allow them to cool for a couple of minutes. Transfer to a large serving bowl.
Single layer kale leaves placed on baking tray ready to be baked!
Chilli & Parmesan Kale Chips (Adapted from Whole Foods Market)
1/2 a packet of kale
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs grated parmesan
Steps :
1) Preheat the oven to 150 degrees celcius. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Trim the tough stems from the kale and discard. Cut the larger leaves into smaller pieces (about 2 inches); leave the small pieces whole.
2) Place the leaves in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Give it a good toss. Season with garlic salt, chilli powder and the grated parmesan. Give it another good toss, to make sure the leaves are well coated.
3) Arrange the kale on the baking sheets in a single layer and bake for 10 minutes before rotating and bake for another 5 minutes until crispy. Remove the trays from the oven and allow them to cool for a couple of minutes. Transfer to a large serving bowl.
Chilli & Parmesan Kale Chips
Super kale indeed! Definitely something everyone would enjoy!
Ps : Remember to always cook and bake with love! (:

Okonomiyaki

I love Fridays! It’s not just a short day at work, but I also get to try something new for dinner which ushers in the weekend! So I decided that we shall have a Japanese-themed dinner! (: After searching Tastespotting for some inspiration, I decided on two dishes for the night : Okonomiyaki & salmon, shiitake and edamame  soba noodles!

So what is okonomiyaki? It is actually a savoury pancake that is mainly made up with cabbage and anything you wanna put in it! I’ve had it a couple of times, and really love it with the combination of mayonnaise and bbq sauce. Since it was Friday, we had ours with prawns! (:  I realised that I have been having heaps of Korean, and was really craving for some Japanese. I have to say though, I’m really lucky that the mr eats everything, so I am able to cook what I wanted. And he would happily eat it! hehe PHEW!

I think it turned out really well for a first-timer! (: But a pity I didn’t shred my cabbage thin enough so it was a little chunkier than I wished, and a little difficult to shape it into nice circles when pan-frying it. But besides that, it was really simple and yummy! And one thing I really enjoyed was alternating the sauces and using the toothpick to make the marbling effect on top of the pancake! hehe

Okonomiyaki (adapted from Las Vegas Food Adventures)

2 cups green cabbage, finely shredded

6 fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

330g prawn, deveined and cut into half

1 cup plain flour

1 tbs corn flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

2/3 cup stock (I used fish stock, but you can always use chicken or dashi)

1 egg

salt, to season

Steps :

1) Combine the flour, corn flour and baking powder and mix it well. Mix the fish stock and egg together, and combine with the flour mixture. Mix until you get a thick pancake batter.

2) Add the cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, prawns and garlic to the batter. Season with salt. Heat a non-stick frying pan on medium fire, and add some vegetable oil. Add half of the pancake mix and flatten it to the depth of the prawns with a spatula.

3) Cook the pancake for about 10-15 minutes, flipping several times, until both sides are golden brown.

4) Serve it hot, drizzle the top with japanese mayonnaise and homemade bbq suace (recipe below).

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Bbq Sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup Soju/ Sake

1/2 tsp brown sugar

1) Mix everything together and whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved. Place in a squeeze bottle, so you could easily drizzle on the pancake.

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ENJOY!

PS : Stay tuned for the recipe of the salmon soba noodles !