Falling in Love with Poke Bowls

For those who don’t know, Poke pronounced “poh-kay”, is a native Hawaiian dish of diced raw fish in some sort of marinade.

For most, raw fish probably doesn’t seem appetising, but when whipped up in a salad-style bowl with an assortment of other flavours it’s to die for. Raw fish is also beneficial for heart health, weight loss, and contains vitamin A and D (see more here).

I got onto the poke bowl trend after discovering a restaurant (Greenhouse Asian Salads), which does a brilliant Poke bowl with tuna, black rice, soybeans, wasabi peas, and veggies.

I must have been going on about how much I loved Poke because a friend bought me a poke recipe book (probably to stop me from dragging her all over the place to try different poke bowls).

To make them yourself, you need a protein, base, salad, marinade, and some toppings for extra flavour and crunch. Here are my favourite combinations:

  1. Protein
    1. Diced Raw Tuna in Mayo
    2. Diced Raw Salmon in Soy Sauce
  2. Base
    1. Black Rice
    2. Quinoa
  3. Salad
    1. Shaved Carrots
    2. Green Papaya
    3. Roast Corn
    4. Edamame Beans
  4. Dressing
    1. Balsamic Glaze
    2. Roasted Sesame Dressing
    3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    4. Sesame Oil
  5. Toppings
    1. Wasabi Peas
    2. Seaweed Salad
    3. Dried Seaweed (Nori)
    4. Sesame Seeds

Each time I make a poke bowl I mix it up with a variation of the above! Let me know if you try it.

p.s. If you live in Sydney and want to have Poke in a restaurant, try Poke, Nude Fish, Fishbowl (Japanese twist) or Pokéd.

xx

Start the day right: Low FODMAP Fluffy Protein Pancakes

I’ve recently transitioned back to the low FODMAP diet, following the recommendation from my dietician, as my gut has been giving me problems again.

The low FODMAP diet reduces foods that may give people stomach pain and discomfort. I usually do the diet for 6 weeks or so, and then when I’m feeling better I slowly introduce other foods.

If you are not familiar with foods eliminated from the diet, head over to the the MONASH website to read more.

Although the diet is pretty restrictive, I’ve been changing up some of my favourite recipes to suit a low FODMAP lifestyle.

These pancakes are 100 calories each, and because of the extra protein, the meal keeps me full until lunch.

Why is protein for breakfast important?

Protein is an important macronutrient for muscle growth, tissue repair and recovery. You want to make sure you are getting a healthy serving of protein in the morning so that your body can use the day to develop and maintain its lean muscle. Protein also helps to keep you full, so having it for breakfast stops you from getting ravenously hungry at 3-4pm and binging on unhealthy foods in the pantry.

The protein powder in the recipe: The protein powder you choose really makes the pancake – so make sure you choose a protein powder you enjoy the taste of. Prana Plant Protein and Vida Glow are two of my to-die-for brands, as I really crave a sweeter protein mix, and I prefer plant-based formulas. Note that soy protein is not low FODMAP, go for brown rice protein or pea protein.

The Recipe

You will need:

  1. 25g Chocolate Protein Powder
  2. 1/3 Cup rolled oats (Use coconut flour for the gluten free option)
  3. 100ml almond milk
  4. Pinch of Salt
  5. Pinch of Cinnamon
  6. 1 egg or 1 tbsp chia seeds
  7. 1/4 tsp baking powder
  8. Coconut oil for cooking
  9. Peanut butter, blueberries (no more than 40g), chopped banana for topping (no more than 100g).
  10. Sometimes I also add Vida Glows Cacao Maple Beauty Skin Formula for collagen production, a probiotic boost and some great Omega 3’s.

Method:

  1. Blend all the ingredients in a blender to form a thick batter
  2. Heat a fry-pan to a medium-high heat and grease pan with coconut oil.
  3. Pour the batter into circle shapes the size of your palm and cook each for about 3 minutes. Flip when you first see bubbles forming on the top of the batter.
  4. EAT & ENJOY

xx

Can you believe it? Healthy Cinnabon Rolls

Cinnabon’s aren’t the definition of ‘health’.

But, I wanted to devise a recipe which was just as yummy, but didn’t use up half my daily caloric intake (the average cinnabon has 880 calories).

When my cinnabon craving first hit, I was scrolling through recipes that take about 3 hours to prepare and bake. That was simply too long and I knew I had to find a cheaters quick version.

So, here’s the cheat sheet to my 45 minute, Plant Based Cinnabons:

Dough: 

  • 2.75 cups of all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package instant yeast = 2.25 teaspoons
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp ground chia seeds + 3 tbsp water

Filling:

  • 0.5 cup pureed dates (1/4 cup water)
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 medium apple finely chopped
  • coconut oil as a base

Time: 45 minutes, Serves: 8, Calories: 294 each

Method: 

  • Preheat oven to 100C
  • Mix flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a bowl
  • Heat water, almond milk and coconut oil in the microwave for 30 seconds
  • Add chia seeds, milk/oil mixture and flour mixture together and knead with hands until dough forms – set aside for 5 minutes
  • Roll out the dough on baking paper into a rectangle
  • Spread the coconut oil and pureed dates on the rolled out dough
  • Sprinkle the apple and almonds on top
  • Roll the dough into a log, and cut into 8 even segments
  • Put each segment into greased baking tins.
  • Put into the oven, and turn the oven off. Leave in rolls there for 20 minutes. Then, turn the oven to 200C and bake for 20 mins.
  • Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Let me know how it goes! xx

Pancakes: Breakfast with me!

Hands down my favourite breakfast is pancakes. Although scrambled eggs & avo on sourdough comes pretty close.

There’s nothing better than a tower of soft, fluffy pancakes, covered in delicious toppings.

This morning I woke up with a burning desire for pancakes.

I like to mix up my pancake toppings: it’s usually a compilation of nut butter (I’m addicted to Mayver’s peanut butter), fresh & frozen fruits, sugar free maple syrup, chia seeds, coconut yogurt, caco nibs, dried fruit & nuts, or regular vanilla yogurt.

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Today I went with frozen blueberries and a very thick drizzle of almond butter for the topping. For the pancakes themselves I blended 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup oats, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 banana, 1 tbsp chia seeds, and a pinch of cinnamon and salt. I cooked this on a medium-high heat.

I wanted to address almond milk. If you are interested in the alternatives to cow’s milk, you have probably heard whispers about almond milk being part of a fad health craze, or that it just doesn’t taste good.

I investigated almond milk, and whilst it does have far less protein and calcium than soy milk and cows milk, it is a great option if you are looking for something lighter to go with a protein dense meal (such as peanut butter drenched pancakes). In terms of the taste, I’ve love it, but perhaps it is an acquired taste for some. Give the chocolate or sweetened versions a go for a while before you switch to plain, unsweetened almond milk.

Hope you have a lovely Friday leading into an even better weekend. I’ve got lots planned – this one’s meant to be sunny in Sydney!! Stay tuned for more recipes and adventures 🙂

xx

XMAS Healthy Salted Caramel Cookies

Okay so yes this is your usual Salted Caramel cookie recipe, however, for a sprinkle of Christmassy festivity I added cinnamon, nutmeg and rich dark chocolate to the dough.

Read on if you’re interested in my simple, yet divinely tasty XMAS Caramel cookies. Or better; create them yourself in 20 minutes.

Gather the following:

The Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients (except chocolate chips) together, until you form a cookie dough. You can add almond milk gradually if the mixture is too flour-y.

2. Use a rolling pin to knead the dough out on top of an acrylic/plastic/stone surface.

3. Here’s where it got a little more complicated. I’m currently experiencing an Australian summer, so naturally the sun was beating down at 30˚C, which made all my cookie dough melt and stick to my hands. So, I wrapped it in cling wrap and popped it in the freezer for 5 mins to make it think it was in Antarctica.

4. Cut little shapes out with the cookie cutter.

5. As the cookie cutter will make the raw cookies a lot thinner and smaller than Betty Crocker recommends for cookie sizing, you only have to place them in the oven for 8 minutes at 180˚C (350˚F), so they don’t burn.

The perfect Christmas treat. Enjoy!

xx

New Brunch Spots, High Tea, and Health Shots

Thankfully its been warm, sunny weather in Sydney, and as we FINALLY turn into Summer and Uni has finished, I’ve been trying to catch up with all my friends whenever I can around work.

I’ve been dotting around Sydney trying some good (and not so good) places. There are a couple I would highly recommend.

Flowerchild is a sweet little cafe in both Brookvale and Chatswood and I’ve managed to go to both in the past fortnight. It’s has dainty, flower embellished decor and serving up platters that look more like works of art than meals.

I’ve also been having scone cravings lately. I’ve tried baking some myself, but my favourites are from The Tea Cosy in the Rocks. We indulged in cheesy scones with smoked salmon, sour cream and chives, alongside some classic scones with strawberry jam, thick cream and Nanna’s Apple Pie Tea. This was a fruity, warming black tea that reminded me of Christmas – you can buy it in their shop!

I also tried out Momo Bar in Manly, who brought the Poké trend to Sydney. I had the Tiki Bowl: edamame, cabbage, seaweed, ginger, onion, carrot and fried shallots, with roasted sesame sauce. Delicious!

I have also had incredible brunches (i.e. A LOT of smashed avo on toast) at Laneway, The North Spoon, Wild Sage and The Bellagio Cafe.

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Momo Bar Manly – Tiki Bowl

Another thing I’ve caught onto lately is the health shot trend. These supposedly prevent you from low immune, and at first I was a little sceptical.

However, after looking into the argument for them, it makes a lot of sense – it’s a little shot packed with all the good-immune-boosting stuff.

I’ve been making my own health shots to accompany morning tea. They are bitter and slightly off-putting so you will need a palette cleansing chaser. I blend kale, mixed leafy greens, water, turmeric, and chia seeds.

If you’re struggling with low immune, or just want to boost your daily nutrients, it’s something I would try!

xx

Australia voted YES! Rainbow Pizza & Pancakes for Marriage Equality.

Although I’m not a member of the LGBT community, I believe in equal rights, and so, hearing that 61.6% of Australians had voted “YES” in the recent postal vote (legalising gay marriage) was overwhelmingly exciting.

Naturally, I decided to draw inspiration from the rainbow flag, which represents the LGBT movement, and make rainbow pizza and pancakes to celebrate.

If you want to make eye-catching rainbow meals, read on.

Rainbow Pancakes (makes 15)

We’ll start with the pancakes – since they are the simplest, and because everyone wishes dessert would come first.  These are the perfect breakfast or lunch (or dinner?) recipe.

You will need food dye, pancake mix, vanilla essence, fruit (to garnish) and butter for greasing.

Start by working off the pancakes you’re about to eat, and shake the pancake mix like crazy as per its instructions.

Once it’s ready, add 1 tsp of vanilla essence to the mixture (gives it a delightfully sweet tang) and pour 65g of the mixture into 6 different bowls. Add the food dye as follows:

Red – 8 drops red dye

Orange – 2 drops red, 4 yellow

Yellow – 5 drops yellow

Green – 5 drops green

Blue – 5 drops blue

Purple – 3 drops red, 1 blue

Then cook the pancakes over a medium heat in a frying pan. Tip: make sure you add butter to pan between each pancake so they don’t stick and burn (and earn a lovely, buttery aftertaste). You can also use coconut oil as a non-dairy alternative.

Voila! Garnish with berries.

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Rainbow Pizza (makes 8 pieces)

I like it simple so I decided to go with store bought pizza bases. If you can get them I recommend Bazaar Gourmet Pizza bases. You could also use a Cauliflower Crust, if you are looking for a lower calorie alternative.

You will need:

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  • 1 Pizza Base
  • Tomato Paste
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (you can use light mozzarella if you want something healthier)
  • Colourful Veggies, my suggestions:
    • Red – Red Pepper (Capsicum) & Red cherry tomatoes
    • Orange – Carrot
    • Yellow – Yellow cherry tomatoes, Sweet corn
    • Green – Broccolini, Snow peas
    • Purple – Red onion, Cabbage (I didn’t end up using the cabbage)

After heating the oven to 220˚C, smear the base with tomato paste and sprinkle the cheese on top. Note: this is different to normal pizza recipes. The cheese needs to be put on first so the veggies stick but you can still see their beautiful colours.

Then, chop up all the veggies and place them on the pizza in a rainbow fashion.

Cook for 10 minutes and your pizza is ready!

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These recipes were so tasty, and incredibly fun to make. Let me know if you try it out, or have any other rainbow recipes 🙂

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xx

A café that only sells salads? My verdict.

An all salad restaurant sounds like the type of thing I would politely decline. Although I love eating healthy and exploring nutritious food options, I don’t advocate eating solely lettuce as a way to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

I sound like a salad hater, and that’s only because the salads on restaurant menus are usually comprised of whole cherry tomatoes, 3 salad leaves and a weak amount of dressing if you’re lucky.

If a salad can be done deliciously.. I’m all in.

Greenhouse Asian Salads has just opened in Sydney and offers a range of exotic salads, which experiment with green tea noodles, chicken wontons, green papaya, white sesame and more.

I decided to head over because reading the menu, every single option had a mix of flavours that sounded mouth-watering.

I opted for the Green House #1, a vegan salad with tofu, green tea noodle, avocado, cucumber, carrot, red radish, cashews and sesame seeds. However, what made it wonderful was the coconut soy dressing. This tied the whole dish together with a sweet tang that left me wanting more.

Mum went for the Naughty Tuna, which was delicious – a mix of tuna, green tea noodles, edamame soybeans and cashews with wasabi dressing.

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Unexpectedly this café trumped a lot of dining places I’ve been to this year, many of which have menus that offer a range of wonderfully diverse cuisines and dishes.

So, I’ll take back my salad prejudice and highly recommend this very green, very healthy and VERY yummy lunch destination.

Let me know if you try it out!

xx

New & Improved Acai Bowl Recipe

Acai Bowls have been a craze in Sydney for a while now, with so many acai-focused places popping up that I have compiled a mental list of spots for the best bowls in the city; check out Bare Naked Bowls, The Fruitologist and Coco Bliss.

Every now and again (usually when my bank balance is looking sheepish) I make a cheap, easy, TASTY, acai bowl at home. Below is my updated recipe, but check out different acai bowls in my previous posts.

The ingredients are inexpensive and can be picked up at your local Supermarket, except for the actual acai powder. Every brand seems to want to charge exorbitant prices for a tiny bag of acai.

My hack is the Creative Gourmet Organic Acai Puree (AUD $8), or the Tropeaka Acai Powder (AUD $34)

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For my recipe you will need:

  1. 1 x Creative Gourmet Organic Acai Puree pack OR 1 tbsp Tropeaka acai powder.
  2. 20g Smooth Peanut Butter (Mayvers is my favourite)
  3. 50g frozen strawberries
  4. 50g frozen blueberries
  5. 1/2 cup water or more as needed
  6. 1 medium banana
  7. Dried Chia seeds
  8. Shredded Coconut

Approximately 340 calories. Time: 10 minutes

Method:

  1. Blend the acai, water and frozen berries until thick smoothie consistency is formed.
  2. Pour blended mixture into a bowl.
  3. Chop up the banana and place on top, and drizzle with peanut butter. Sprinkle the chia seeds and shredded coconut on top (tasty added health benefits).

Mmmm! xx Have you made acai bowls before?

Trying the Best Korean BBQ in Sydney

Madang. The Korean BBQ restaurant that’s revered in Sydney. I had to try it.

In Korean BBQ you get given deliciously marinated raw meats (of your choosing) and cook them at the dinner table.

Yep, your table turns into a frying pan, where you whip up your meal and garnish it with lots of tasty condiments such as spicy kimchi and seaweed, potato mash, soy paste, fish cake, miso paste and more.

You could be very adventurous and get sliced ox tongue, but since my dining partner screwed her nose up at that, we opted to share Dweji Bul Go Gi (marinated pork) and Bul Go Gi (beef in traditional Korean sauce), with the Jang Uh Gui Jungsik (grilled & marinated eel). The table service was very attentive, and I would recommend the tender Bul Go Gi and Jang Uh Gui Jungsik. The pork wasn’t my thing, I had a couple of bites and didn’t’ LOVE it.

This was a lot of meat (and therefore a lot of protein) to have in one meal, so if you’re planning on heading to Korean BBQ for dinner prepare your stomach by making your other meals that day a little smaller (I forgot to do this and afterwards felt like I was going to pop from all the food inside).

Madang is located in the middle of a little Korea-town. Left, right and centre there were Korean restaurants dotted about that I’m now dying to try out. Seoul-Ria, Basax Korean Chicken and Dining and Arisun are on my ‘to go to’ list.

I finished off the night with and an epic froyo. Imagine this: chocolate and strawberry frozen yoghurt, loaded with cookie dough, chocolate chips, tim tams, oreos, chocolate wafers, and strawberries. Mouthwatering? I thought so.

Note: Madang was said to be the best by The Urban List, one of my go-to sources for dining information around the city (you have to check it out if you are in Sydney).

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***

I also had a random craving for chocolate cake this week.

Usually, I try to make a natural ingredients cake with cacao, banana, and maple syrup (a delicious recipe I will share soon). However, this day nostalgia was calling me and I whipped up my childhood favourite: Betty Crocker Devil’s Food Cake mix.

It was so much fun to just splurge and spontaneously treat myself by baking a simple cake for no occasion. I finished decorating it around 1:00am and it was so satisfying to sit on the couch afterwards savouring a big piece with a cup of tea.

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Comment below if you did anything spontaneous this week!

xx