Sunday, November 27, 2011

A friends specialty dish :)

I wanted to share with you also a wonderful dish I ate a girlfriends house this weekend. Cooking for each other is a great way to eat healthy, save money and share our favourite recipes. I had heard great things about her infamous 'chicken dish' and it was great to try it.

Although I don't have the exact recipe on me, the chicken breast fillet was stuffed with sundried tomatoes and spinach, and wrapped in proscuitto. Oven baked, the chicken was tender and succulent. She served it with a side of home-made, fresh, zesty guacamole which went really well with the chicken.

The salad was my doing- tomato, cucumber and lentil salad with haloumi cheese. This was also very enjoyable and a perfect accompaniment to this healthy meal. It was so simple and easy to make, I used this recipe from (my fave website)---

So next time you are trying to save money or attempting to eat out less (difficult, I know) why not invite some good friends over, get them to bring a side dish or a dessert and eat in instead of eating out? Attempt to create your own restaurant quality dish at home... my lovely friend did!

Let me know if anyone wants the exact recipe and I will hit her up for it.

L x

Pho sure!!!!

Hello all,

It has been a while since my last blog... report writing at school means not enough blogging time for this foodie. But, I ate at one of my favourite pho houses today so I thought I would take the time to share with you. Pho Huong is on High St, Preston (near the market). It is a conveyor belt of Pho and other yummy Vietnamese goodies- the tables are ALWAYS full, but guaranteed someone will stand up as you walk in for a quick feed.

We were in need of Pho this morning after respective nights out- a hens night and a bucks night for the same wedding. The boy and I were feeling a little tired and worse for wear, and as I have said several times in this blog- I believe Pho is the best thing to get you back to life after any kind of illness... even if its self inflicted!

For those of you who have never had Pho, I should probably explain what it is and why I love it so much. Pho is the traditional breakfast food in Vietnam, and we absolutely adored it whilst on our trip over there, eating it for breakfast and lunch where-ever we could. It is the perfect breakfast in a country that is so hot and humid, that immediate hydration in the morning is the perfect start to the day. I have such fond memories of sitting in the little booth kitchen area at the Rendevous Hotel in Hanoi, being served steaming bowls of Pho from smiling Vietnamese coupled with an amazing cup of hot coffee (traditionally served cold on ice with a dash of sweetened milk). Perhaps thats one of the reasons why this is my favourite food, it brings back amazing memories of wonderful travel times. But, there is so much more to love about it.

So what is Pho? It is a large (too large really!) bowl of steaming, beautifully spiced broth complete with soft hand-made rice noodles, and your chosen meat. We are a fan of Pho Bo Ga which is chicken and beef. On the side you get a dish of all the additions you can put in your Pho to your taste- chili, bean shoots, Vietnamese mint, lemon, lime. I generally go for a decent amount of each, especially the bean shoots as I can't get enough. Its kind of a do-it-yourself soup. It can take up to half an hour to slurp your way through the huge steaming bowl of broth, especially when wrestling with those lovely, slippery rice noodles. But what a better way to kill half an hour than with someone you enjoy being with, eating a dish that makes you feel like you are glowing from the inside! It hydrates you, contains protein and vegetables and fills you up for most of the day. Get on it people- forget salads, pho is the new health food.

Phu Huong, High St Preston

I strongly recommend trying it. My favourite Pho houses are Pho Huong in High St, or Pho 888 in Box Hill. Both have consistently fabulous pho, and as you will see, are frequented by a huge range of people- today we saw families with children, Vietnamese people getting a feed of their home countries specialty, older people, younger people, couples, groups of friends. Oh, and did I mention at 10 bucks a bowl it is an awesomely cheap way to eat out?! Complimentary Vietnamese tea in a thermos is on the table also.

Pho 888, Station St, Box Hill

Go on- try some Pho... and let me know what you think of my all-time favourite fare. Pho 888 Box Hill on Urbanspoon Pho Hung on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Asian Mushroom Broth with Atlantic Salmon

One of the greatest things about loving cooking, and being quite confident with it (if I do say so myself), is that when you get a craving for something--- you can make it! I was feeling a bit flat and 'blah' today, and all I felt like was a wholesome, cleansing soup. Seeing as I had another beautiful Atlantic Salmon fillet in the fridge, I decided to incorporate that into a soup. The rest of my inspiration came from a mixed mushroom noodle soup I had a while ago from Maney's Dumplings in Bundoora. It was a couple of days after I had four wisdom teeth taken out, and the beautiful soft mushrooms, noodles and a rich, Asian broth was so comforting (and easy to mash with my gums) when I was feeling very average.

So tonight I combined my two loves- Asian Soups and Atlantic Salmon... and what a perfect pairing it was! I am sure I have mentioned it several times on here before, but I honestly believe that Asian soups have medicinal qualities... there is something about the hydration you get from broth, and the natural remedies of ginger, garlic and chili that just seems to work. I swear by it!

Asian Mushroom Broth with Atlantic Salmon

Ingredients (serves 2)

Large Atlantic Salmon fillet, halved
1 litre of chicken stock
teaspoon garlic
teaspoon  ginger
one red chili, thinly sliced
squeeze of lime
splash of soy sauce
splash of fish sauce
one leek (white part only) sliced very thinly
8 button mushrooms, sliced thinly
150 grams mixed Asian mushrooms, sliced thinly (enoki, oyster, black mushrooms etc)
Udon noodles

First you need to make your Asian stock. Heat your stock, and add the garlic, ginger, chili, lime, soy sauce, fish sauce. Simmer for half an hour, then strain. In a large work or frypan, with a little spray of oil, stir-fry the leeks and mushrooms for a few minutes or until softened. Place the salmon fillets on the mushrooms and leek, then pour the stock over to poach the salmon. Simmer for ten minutes.

While your salmon is poaching, place the udon noodles in a bowl or container and cover with boiling water for three minutes. Then, in the bottom of your soup bowls, arrange the udon noodles. When the salmon is poached, spoon the mushroom and leek mix over the noodles, then ladle some stock over the top. Place the salmon on top of the stock, mushrooms and noodles. Garnish with a little chopped chili and coriander if you wish.

Then, enjoy the healthy soup-y goodness!!!
I sure did....

L xo

Saturday, November 12, 2011


We wouldn't have even discovered this little breakfast gem had it not been for the trusty Entertainment voucher book that I buy every year and always get my money's worth out of. Using the vouchers can be hit and miss, but today's experience was a great find.

Red Door Corner Store is a fantastic and charismatic little cafe hidden away in Mitchell St, Northcote. Although judging by how packed out the place was (the place was chocka's at 11am this Sunday morning), I doubt it is very 'hidden' to the Northcote brunch-ers. It is not a traditional breakfast place- you won't find a big breaky or anything that is dripping with butter or fat. Instead, check it out if you are looking for something a bit different with lots of fresh herbs and organic produce with your typical eggs.

My favourite part of the decor was old school kitchen appliances like spoons, muffin tins etc stuck to the walls with frames around them. It was a really vintage and cool way of making the place look funky and homely at the same time, and I plan to steal the idea for my own kitchen one day (when I have one big enough to decorate!) ;)

The boy and I both had a beautiful stack of potato rosti, smoked salmon (I think they smoke it themselves), poached eggs, horseradish cream and snowpea sprouts. I could not fault the dish, it was absolutely divine- just my kind of breakfast. The slight hint of horseradish in the cream gave the dish a real zing and was a welcome change from hollandaise.

On the side we shared an amazing salad which I am planning to try at home as a 'healthy dessert'- Watermelon, Strawberry and mint salad served with yogurt and a kind of nut/muesli crumble. It was a beautiful and light side dish that made eating fruit seem very naughty!

We will definitely be going back- the table next to us had poached eggs and avocado on semolina with tortilla's and salsa which also looked great, and even the breaky burger on home-made buns looked worth going back for. A great spot to find a traditional, healthy, organic spin on breakfast. Oh, and the coffee was so great we had TWO each!

L xo Red Door Corner Store on Urbanspoon

An Asian twist on the good old Chicken Schnitz!

Last week I had a craving for a good old Chicken Schnitzel. However, I did not feel like eating it in parmigana form or in any of the typical 'Aussie' ways that we serve it. So I decided to combine my love for Asian food with my craving, and made an Asian style Chicken Schnitzel.

Now there's several ways to do this-

* Use panko crumbs instead of bread crumbs. Panko crumbs are often used in Japanese cooking and are a crisper, lighter kind of crumb. Also works really good with Pork Tonkatsu style dishes.
* Mix some Chinese five spice into your crumbs before you coat the chicken.
* Serve the chicken schnitzel in pieces in an Asian style salad or coleslaw.

Or, what I did on this particular evening-

* Serve the chicken schnitzel with a squeeze of lemon juice and a yummy chow-mein noodle stir-fry.

The crunchy schnitzel (which I did in the oven with some spray oil to avoid completely throwing my diet out the window) was a perfect match with the softness of the noodles with garlic and oyster sauce!

When I was looking for recipes, I found that schnitzel's aren't traditionally even served with chips like we do here in Australia, and that they often were served with vegetables, a potato salad or a savoury noodle dish.

Its amazing how easy it is to create a new, different dish out of a modern classic. I believe we should never stop re-inventing dishes... variety is the spice of life ;)

L xo

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tapas and Intolerances...

So for the last week or so a very strange thing has happened to me... I have gone off cooking!! This has been due to a very upset tummy. I have suspected for a while that I have some kind of food intolerance and after some blood tests that confirmed I am not Coeliac, and some tinkering with my diet, I am suspecting a self diagnosis of dairy intolerance is looming on the horizon.

After being in agony a couple of days last week, I am now three days dairy free and feeling 'normal' for the first time in weeks. After some research, I have discovered that food intolerances can often go un-noticed throughout life until they surface for random periods when you are stressed or run-down sporadically. So perhaps due to this being my first year of teaching and feeling run-down, a dairy or lactose intolerance has popped up!

I thought I would be more upset about eliminating dairy from my diet, as I love yogurt and cheese and cream. However, with soy milk and soy yogurt, I think I will be just fine and lose weight in the process. I think I will have to put up with a bit of pain to still eat pizza and fetta on special occasions though. Thank god for fruit based gelati, I have been enjoying that as a treat in this hot weather considering ice-cream is off the cards for now.

Thank god for dairy-free icecream as big as my head!!! =)

Stay tuned for some dairy-free recipes to feature on here soon, and if any of you out there in blog-world have experienced intolerances and want to share some information or recipes with me- please do. I would love to hear from you. For those family and friends that are reading, you can comment on my post too by the way--- just click the '0 comments' or 'comments' link at the bottom and leave your name and a message.

On a more positive note, I ate some very yummy (dairy free!) tapas whilst on a visit to Sorrento on this beautifiul hot weekend we have just had. The restaurant was called 'Three Palms' and was a fab little find on Ocean Beach Rd. We had a trusty Entertainment voucher that saved us 25%. Mum and I enjoyed salt and pepper calamari, some beautiful red curry gyoza's (which of course, I am planning to replicated at home) and some duck spring rolls.

Red Curry Gyoza

Duck Spring-rolls

I love tapas as I am the type of person who always looks at other people's meals in longing, so the idea of sharing lots of little bites is very appealing. I thoroughly enjoyed our lunch at Three Palms, and recommend it when you visit the Peninsula. I am planning to go there again in the near future, but in the evening when caramalised pork belly features on the menu--- we all know how I feel about pork belly! ;)

Until my next adventure,
L x

Three Palms on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Toblerone Dip, the perfect Cup Day treat...

Today I am featuring a yummy dessert that one of my friends bought to my Cup Day get together. It is addictive, very more-ish and not very good for you at all, but I just need to share it with you all. I had tried this previously at a Tupperware party (same place my friend learnt to make it) and hadn't remembered the recipe, so was pretty excited to get to try it again and grab the recipe off her.

We ate it with mixed fruit and marshmellows- like fondue, but its a cold dip!

Toblerone Dip

200 grams of Toblerone
1/2 cup of whipped cream
Tablespoon of honey
Fruit and marshmellows to serve

Chop toblerone and melt in a bowl over some boiling water. Mix whipped cream and honey into the bowl. Forget how many calories are in the concoction and dip your fruit or marshmellows into the toblerone-ey goodness.

Special shout out to Amy for this recipe... and Tupperware!