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, usually in some sort of marinade.

For some, raw fish alone probably doesn’t seem appetising, but when whipped up in a salad-style bowl with an assortment of other flavours – trust me it’s to die for. Raw fish is also a great source of protein, vitamins, and minerals – see more on the health benefits 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 the bowls, because a friend bought me a poke recipe book (probably to stop me from dragging her all about Sydney to taste different poke bowls). After trying a couple of the different combinations, I figured you basically need a protein, base, salad, marinade, and some toppings for extra taste. 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. Here are some of my other favourite poke bowl spots:

xx

Mother’s Day Feast

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Today was Mother’s Day, and to treat Mum I decided to prepare a lovely Sunday lunch that she enjoyed.

As usual, it took way longer to prepare than I expected. I woke up at 9am and immediately started baking, and was going flat out until 1pm when lunch was served.

For the meal I decided to do wine-braised chicken (with white wine, carrots, red onion, rosemary, red grapes and pine nuts), and an asparagus & grilled halloumi salad.

I do enjoy baking, but I’m not too good when it comes to experimenting, so I stuck fast to Jamie Olivers recipes from his cookbook. I’ve found that if you really follow the recipes he gives you will produce delicious meals that taste like they’re actually restaurant quality.

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Wine-braised Chicken

For dessert, I went all out with Mum’s favourite cake – a white chocolate mud cake. I always use the Taste recipe when I make the cake, but I halve the mixture because the amount they prescribe actually makes 2 regular sized cakes (you could definitely stick with the actual quantities and pile the 2 cakes on top of each other with creamy ganache in the middle).

It was a lovely day, and I treated Mum to a mani-pedi voucher at our local salon, to top the day off.

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What do you usually do for mum on Mother’s Day?

xx

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Champagne Pink for the Perfect Mother’s Day

Valentines Day Red Velvet Cake for Two

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Happy Valentines Day!

Here is my super simple recipe for a small Red Velvet cake with Cream Cheese icing that can be shared between two.

This cake is very moist and fluffy, and is a delicious way to end the day spent with a special someone.

You will need:

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  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 7ml red food colouring

Steps:

Preheat oven to 200˚C. In a small bowl place cocoa powder and red food colouring and mix. Add dribbles of water until the mixture becomes a smooth, velvet red paste.

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Pour/sift all remaining ingredients into a large bowl and beat until smooth and fluffy. Then stir in red velvet cocoa paste.

Then you will need to grease the cake tin with butter. I used a small tin, since its a small cake, around 10cm in diameter. Afterwards, pour the mixture into the tin.

Bake for 30 minutes on 200˚C, or take out when the cake has risen significantly and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

For the icing you can make your own cream cheese icing, or you can cheat a little and just use Betty Crockers vanilla icing which goes perfectly with the cake as well!

To make cream cheese icing just beat together 70g cream cheese, 40g unsalted butter softened and 1/2 cup icing sugar. Then ice away. Voila!

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I chose to slice the cake in half horizontally, and then do a layer of icing in the middle. Then, I coated the entire cake with the icing, and pumped little decorations around the base and on the top. Finally, I garnished with chopped fresh strawberries and an edible flower.

This cake is so tasty which makes it great for a special occasion like Valentines Day, or any day of the week you feel like it!

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Enjoy

xx

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Velvet red, for a delicious and easy to make cake for two

Girl’s Day Out

It was mum’s birthday last Friday and I wanted to make it super special this year, because over the past few years I have been really busy and stressed around this time and I felt I hadn’t really treated her properly for her birthday in a long time.

To make the day memorable, I planned it out well in advance. The morning began with a massage with a local masseuse which I booked a couple of days prior.

Mum really love experiences over more ‘stuff’ so I made sure I organised things that would be special memories.

After her massage I picked her up and we went to lunch at a French Restaurant (which has a string of great reviews and recommendations) called Le Bouchon.

The lunch was even better than I had anticipated, the restaurant is in a cosy hole in the wall setting, but has elegance and style with its walnut coloured wooden tables and gold plated decor. The authenticity of the French cuisine was enhanced as all the waiters were French and went above and beyond to ensure we had a pleasant dining experience. I ordered a Crispy Pork Belly in a crushed apple sauce, and Mum decided to be a bit more adventurous and got Sauteed Calves Liver with parsnip chips, which to my surprise was actually really tasty. We shared a glass of white House Wine as Mum isn’t a big drinker and enjoyed chatting for a couple of hours.

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After lunch, we set off to the shopping mall and I bought her a pair of black leather boots as she has been saying lately that her current pair are a bit worn down. Then we went to a nail salon and we got shellac manicures done together.

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For dinner I wanted to surprise Mum with a home-cooked meal.

I consulted a traditional English cookbook for recipes that are perfect for the drab and windy weather we have been having recently. For the entree I made corn scones with an avocado and soft cheese topping, garnished with capers and diced bacon.

For the main meal we had a chicken and leek hotpot with a chickpea and feta salad. Finally for dessert I challenged myself to make an apple pie.

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The whole meal actually went really well and Mum loved all of it, which surprised me because something always seems to go awry when I work in a kitchen with lots of things boiling and bubbling and timers constantly going off.

What would a birthday be without presents, as I mentioned earlier Mum isn’t a massive fan of ‘things’ and doesn’t like candles, homewares, perfumes or make up.

So, I opted in for a $50 gift card for Dymocks and I spent $100 on a voucher for a high tea for two at the Queen Victoria Building Tea Room.

Overall it was a very successful day and I had so much fun treating Mum!

xx