Miso Noodle Soup with Hoisin Tofu

Just when I thought I picked up all the kindy bugs, I just got another one this week. I was feeling pretty terrible today and was thinking of ubering some Japanese ramen. But I was so hungry I didn’t want to wait 40 minutes for delivery. I really wanted soup but I have ran out of stock. So while I was scouring the pantry, I found some Instant miso soup that I had bought in Singapore. So my lunch crisis was solved.

This noddle bowl for one was inspired by Vegan Ramen bowl from Chloe Flavor: Saucy, Crispy, Spicy, Vegan. The soup base is a lot different and quicker to prepare. I did cook my tofu and vegetables in hoisin sauce and add it to the soup last, similar to Chloe’s recipe.  This dish only took me 15 minutes to prepare and gave my insides a warm hug. 

 

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Orecchiette with Tofurky Sausage and Broccoli

Orecchiette is one of my favourite pasta since I was a child. It actually means ‘small ears’ and originated from the Italian region of Puglia (the heel of the boot). It is traditionally paired with rapini (Orecchiette alle cime di rapa) or a tomato based sauce with horse meat (Orecchiette con ragu’ di cavallo). However, since these ingredients are rarer and/or not appetising, I often see it paired with sausage, broccoli and chilli.

This is a veganised version of a recipe by Jenn Segal of Once Upon a Chef, which was adapted from Lidia Bastianich’s recipe found in  Lidia’s Italian TableI used Tofurky Sauage in place of Italian sausage as well as a salted organic vegan butter and vegetable stock. Jenn also uses Pecorino Romano, which is my favourite Italian cheese, but I held back, as I’m trying to go completely dairy free right now. There is plenty of flavour in this dish, so you really don’t need cheese or even a vegan cheese substitute. Of course, I tested this recipe on my meat and dairy loving partner, who approved of the flavours and didn’t add any sneaky cheese when I wasn’t looking. This recipe is quick and easy and of course delicious as well.

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Ginger Anzac Biscuits

Last Wednesday we celebrated Anzac day in Australia and New Zealand. This day commemorates and remembered the soldiers fought at Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire during World War I. It also celebrates all Australians who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. Anzac Biscuits originated from WW1, as these biscuits were originally made by women’s groups and wives and sent to the soldiers. They were specially made with ingredients that would travel well, which typically included rolled oats, flour, sugar, butter, golden syrup, baking soda, boiling water, and desiccated coconut. It still remains a tradition to make Anzac Biscuits for this national holiday, but they are also popular to consume throughout the year as well.

Anzac biscuits are usually quite hard. I have never been a huge fan of them, as I prefer softer biscuits that don’t break a tooth. Homemade Anzac biscuits are a little softer then the hard commercial ones, but they do have chewy whole oats, which I’m also not a fan of. Most people do love them though, so I guess its a preference for me.

I never make Anzac biscuits myself, but we were having a BBQ with the family for the day and I really wanted to make something sweet. My intention was to use up the Buderim Crystallised Ginger, which I bought by accident when I was looking to replenish my Buderim Naked Ginger snack stash. I have been addicted to dried ginger since Marco’s Feast of the Seven Kingdoms. They are a great substitute for late night chocolate cravings and nobody likes them except me, so win win. I asked the kids if they prefer muffins or cookies and cookies won, so when I was looking for some inspiration I thought why not spike some Anzacs with a ginger infusion.

My recipe is a little different to the original. Most modern recipes call for butter, whole rolled oats, boiling water, golden syrup or treacle, and white or brown sugar. I wanted mine to be soft and chewy, but without raw oaty flavour and overly sweet taste. So I grind the rolled oats, skipped the golden syrup and traded regular sugar for coconut sugar. I also added some ground ginger and crystallised ginger, which gave a pleasant ginger flavour, that even the kids liked since the baking took away the ginger burn. These are also vegan, which is you can share with your vegan and dairy intolerant friends. I’m pretty happy with this recipe so I think this will be a tradition that I will continue every year.

 

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Coriander Pesto Noodle Bowl

We aren’t huge fans of coriander in my household. It’s not a herb we cook with a lot or use as a garnish. One way that I do like to use it is when I make Coriander Cashew Pesto, to serve with potatoes (eg. Roasted Potato Salad with Coriander Pesto Aioli). Something magical happens when you blend it with cashews and the taste transforms into something really different delicious. Another way I love to have it is with noodles and sauteed vegetables.

This is a delicious 15-minute meal that you can make when you hangry and need to get some healthy greens in your body asap. I whipped this up last night after my toddler was put to bed and I finally had some peace to make something without complaints. After it was made and eaten I figured the rest of the family would probably have enjoyed this too. I just won’t mention its coriander next time…

You can make this dish gluten-free, by changing the noodles. I really like the crunch of green beans and bok choy, but you can use any quick cooking greens. If you don’t have cooked or can chickpeas,  swap for tofu or some whole cashews. The Coriander Pesto can be made ahead of time. I also used this batch for in a chicken schnitzel and salad sandwich, on top of brown rice crackers and dollop on homemade veggie pizza.

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Mini Blueberry Cupcakes with Blueberry Jam Frosting

For Octavia’s 3rd birthday this year, I made some special cupcakes for her big party, with her favourite fruit of the moment, blueberries. These mini cupcakes are a great size for little people and dessert tables with a few options.

This recipe is similar to the cupcakes I made last year for her Trolls 2nd Birthday. This year I changed the fruit, shrunk them down, used less sugar in my frosting and organic butter inside of Nutlex. I found that the butter did better in the heat since Nutlex seems to melt and separate. If you have a better dairy-free butter alternative in your country then feel free to make them vegan. If you can’t get a good quality vegan butter then an organic grass-fed butter is the healthier option if you really want to include the frosting.

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Restaurant Review: PappaRich, Garden City

Since I got back from holidays I have still been craving Singaporean food like crazy. I love the flavours and variety of the cuisine. Kway Teow, Laksa, Satay, Nasi Lemak, Roti, Kaya, Kopi…all so good. So when I discovered a new Malaysia restaurant serving all of my favourites I was over the moon. PappaRich recently opened a restaurant at Garden City Shopping Centre in Brisbane.

Pappa Rich is a Malaysian chain restaurant. They have locations in Wintergarden (Brisbane CBD) and Gold Coast. They have more locations across many cities in Australia, New Zealand, United States and Asia. Although PappaRich is a chain,  it doesn’t serve mass produce food. From what I could gather,  they are consistent with their quality and authenticity of Malaysian cuisine and the food is all cooked freshly on site.

The menu consists of multiethnic dishes from Malaysian, Chinese and Indian cuisine “with a twist of South East Asian flair”. So there are many of the classic dishes that I saw in Singapore, which also features all of these cuisines. The menu is broken into breads (eg. kaya toast), dim sum, noodles (eg. fried noodles, noodle soups), rice (eg. Hainanese Chicken Rice, Nasi Lemak), roti (pastry with curry), satay (sticks), sharing (meat and vegetable mains), vegetarian, signature dishes (best sellers), desserts (eg. puddings, iced kacang), and beverages (eg hot or cold teas and coffees).

 

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4# Life Update: meeting plans and goals

Hi guys, hope you’re having a great weekend. How is everyone going with their New Years resolutions?

At the beginning of this year, I announced my New Years Plans and Goals. I had three major plans for this year:

  • travel to Singapore
  • getting my driving licence
  • go back to university.

Well so far, so good. I have already gone and returned from my trip to Singapore. I am currently in the middle of organising my photos and writing my travel series for this trip. My most recent posts were my Singapore buys and experiences in Little India. The next two posts will be about China Town and the Singapore Zoo, so stay tuned.

If your interested in some of my other travel stories I have updated my Travel Adventures page. I have made some colourful tabs so you can click on them to find the posts that are associated with each country.

I have also added a Travel Series page with all my trips chronically ordered. From here you can select by the trip, to see all posts in that series.

 

 

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Vegan Ricotta and Veggie Lasagne

All this recent celebrating has left me feeling heavy and tired. It all started with Marco’s birthday Feast of the Seven Kingdoms, continued with Christmas, New Years and Serbian Christmas. All that delicious food was meat and dairy heavy, which are the two things that I don’t run well on. They were also not great for eating during the heat of summer. So as part of my New Years goals, I am going to start eating lighter. I still wanna enjoy my favourite homely dishes, but I need to modify them a little.

This lasagne is a quite light and guilt free. It has no dairy and is packed full of protein and flavour. Tofu has been used in place for real Ricotta. I adapted the ricotta recipe from Chloe Coscarelli’s Rockin Ricotta. The blend of ingredients doesn’t have that typical soy flavour. It tastes light and bright. There is no need for cheese substitutes either.

Feel free to make alterations to the lasagne sheets or vegetables. Gluten-free pasta can be used instead if semolina pasta doesn’t agree with you. Shredded carrot, shaved broccoli or baby spinach would all work nicely.

I made this dish for my daughter and her little cousin, who is seven. Octavia gladly gobbled it up because lasagne and tofu are her favourites. My niece, however, isn’t a big fan of tofu, but she still gave it a try. She was very happy with it. The only thing she complained about was the mushrooms, but since there weren’t many she agreed to eat them. I admit it’s not the prettiest lasagne, but if the kids liked it, mission accomplished.

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Hot Smoked Salmon and Ricotta Ravioli

As promised I have written for you today my recipe for Hot Smoked Salmon and Ricotta Ravioli. I prepared this dish for my family on New Year’s day, using my new Kitchen Aid attachments that I received for Christmas. I was lucky enough to get the Pasta Roller and Ravioli Roller from Santa, which I had been dreaming off for years.

I first used an electric pasta machine when I did a cooking class in Milan.  I couldn’t believe how easy it was and wished someday I would get my own. Since then I have been using a manual pasta machine, but I needed a second person to help me. Now I can do it all myself and lucky for little Octavia I can cook her favourite pasta anytime now.

For this recipe, I prepared the pasta from start to finish using my KitchenAid Stand Mixer, Pasta Roller and Ravioli Roller. If you don’t have these items, you can still prepare the pasta dough by hand, use a manual pasta machine to roll the pasta sheets out thin and then fill and cut the ravioli by hand. The ravioli attachment does give you some half-sized ravioli, that you wouldn’t have if doing completely by hand. I still cooked them since they are great for checking if your pasta is cooked through enough. In the KitchenAid Ravioli Roller booklet, it does recommend the setting to use with the Pasta attachment. I did go a bit thinner when I made my pasta sheets since I had already done a trial. The setting they recommended gave me ravioli that was so thick that the filling didn’t shine.

If your dairy free, you don’t need to use ricotta. In the future, I would probably use an alternative, as it doesn’t make much difference with for the filling. You just need something that will help make the salmon a little bit creamy when blending. If you don’t have eggs, you could always use soft tofu for the pasta dough. This is something I am yet to try but wouldn’t mind seeing how it turns out. I recommend the New Zealand  King smoked salmon fillet, which I bought from Aldi. Otherwise wild or organic smoked salmon filet would also be great. If you can’t get smoked you can always use good quality freeze or frozen salmon, which you could and cool in preparation.

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Srećan Božić: Merry (Serbian) Christmas

Today our family celebrated the Serbian Orthodox Christmas. It was held at my mother-in-laws home, where we were greeted with “Srećan Božić” and given 3 kisses on the cheeks.

Serbian Christmas held every year on the 7th of January. They follow this date from the Julian calendar, which was created under the reign of Julius Caesar in 45 BC. Other countries that are celebrating on 7th include Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Israel, Egypt, Eritrea and Ethiopia.

I’m not Serbian and Marco has been here living in Australia since he was 7 years, so we are not informed about all the traditions. My inlaws lived in Serbia when it was a communist country as well so I’m not sure they follow the religious customs for this day. They did mention fasting on Christmas Eve, but that was it. It was wonderful to celebrate their Christmas with a delicious Serbian lunch and luckily this year the whole immediate family were able to attend.

We started the meal with chicken soup with vegetables and pasta. I think this is like a Domaća supa (domestic soup). This was followed Pogača (bread), which everyone has to grab at the same time and rip off a piece. This was accompanied by the roasted lamb, roasted potatoes, carrots and pumpkin; Serbian green salad,  and sarma (cabbage rolls). For desserts, we went a bit vegan. My sister-in-law made a Double Layered Chocolate Fudge Cake (linked photo last time I made it) from the Oh She Glows Cookbook. I made the Crispy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie from the Oh She Glows app (which I also made for my Christmas).

Do you celebrate Christmas on the 7th or on an alternative date?
What do you traditionally eat for Christmas?

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Göteborg: a sunny afternoon

I thought I would have finished sharing this Euro Trip before the new year but only a couple more stops to go. After visiting the beautiful Swedish cities of MalmöYstadLund and Heisenberg, we spent one afternoon in Göteborg. This was not the first time we have visited Göteborg and we saw most of the sites last time. I will share the best of Göteborg in a future post.

We came to Göteborg to see Marco’s uncle. Unfortunately, he was unable to spend more time with us, but it was worth the trip to spend the afternoon with him. This was the first time Octavia had met him but she got along with him straight away, possibly because he looks so much like her grandfather.

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Weekend roundup of delicious eats

Over the past weekend and mid-week, we have been eating out quite a bit so I thought I’d share some of the photos and details of these delicious eats. These include some restaurants and cafes on the Gold Coast and in my hometown of Brisbane.

This roundup started from last weekend when we took a little break to the Gold Coast.  We stayed in two family hotels, at Sanctuary Cove and Benowa. We don’t normally do hotel crawls, but it was great fun to do. We got to experience two different places and give my toddler new surroundings to explore.

 

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