Butternut Squash, Leek & Mushroom Oats Risotto (Ris-oat-to)


Date Published: Aug 12, 2022 | Last Updated: Aug 12, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: healthy, low cal, mains, vegetarian
Serves: 4-6 | Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 35 mins

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Oats are great at lowering cholesterol and because of this I’m always trying to sneak them in my recipes in an attempt to make them healthier. They’re heart-healthy, a low carb alternative, and add more fibre to your diet. I LOVE risotto and I could eat it all day every day, so when I first heard about using oats instead of arborio rice in a risotto, I was skeptical. The first time I gave it a shot, I was disappointed – it turned out weird, slimy, and goopy. Toby didn’t mind it as much, but as a risotto-fanatic, it just couldn’t compare. I recently decided to give it another try and I realized where I went wrong the first time.

The key to a good oats-risotto is moisture.

The key to a good oats-risotto is moisture. The oats absorb moisture a lot quicker than a rice-based risotto and will continue to soak up liquid even after you turn the heat off. In a rice-based risotto, the more you cook down the liquid and allow it to absorb, the softer and mushier the rice becomes. However when you’re using oats, the oats don’t become mushy, they become gluey – like a breakfast oatmeal/porridge. Therefore, to prevent it from getting goopy, you have to keep the oats-risotto wetter and turn off the heat earlier before all the liquid absorbs.

How to fix a goopy, gluey oats-risotto:

If you’ve accidentally taken your oats-risotto a bit too far, don’t worry, just add more moisture! You can either add in more hot stock or hot water and mix it around. If you have leftovers that have dried out a little in the fridge, add a splash of hot water and mix it around before serving.

Steel Cut Oats vs Rolled Oats vs Quick Oats – what’s the difference?

You MUST use steel cut oats for this recipe. The difference between these three types of oats is all about the way they’re cut and processed. Steel cut is the least processed of the three which results in more fibre but also because of this you’ll need to cook it down longer than the other three which is what makes it perfect for this dish. Risotto is all about slow absorption of the stock and letting the flavours simmer and infuse into the “rice”. If you use rolled or quick oats, it’d absorb liquid too quickly and expand and become soggy.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Recipe adapted from: FoxesLovesLemons.com

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • Half a butternut squash, cubed to 2cm pieces
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsps unsalted butter
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 500g white mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp ground dried sage
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

Preheat oven to 180˚C.

Prepare a lined baking pan and add in the cubed butternut squash. Sprinkle salt and pepper overtop and a drizzle of olive oil. Mix together and bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 mins until soft and roasted. Set aside to cool.

In a sauce pan, heat up the chicken stock.

In a large pan or wok on MED heat, add in the butter. Once the butter is melted, add in leeks and sauté for a few minutes until softened.

Next add in the garlic, mushrooms, thyme, and sage. Continue to sauté until the mushrooms cook down and turn a deep brown colour (see photo). Add in the wine and let it simmer for 1 minute.

Next add in the steel cut oats and 2 ladles of the preheated chicken stock. Mix everything around and let it simmer. Once the liquid has absorbed, continue adding in 1 ladle of stock at a time, making sure to let the liquid fully absorb before adding in the next ladle. You don’t need to stir continuously, but do stir it every couple minutes to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.

When you get to the last ladle of chicken stock, give it a mix and do NOT let the liquid fully absorb. Only let it absorb about 70%. Stir in the Parmesan and the cooked butternut squash and turn off the heat. You want the oats-risotto to be a little wetter than usual because the oats will continue to absorb the liquid even after you turn off the heat. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve! If the texture is too dry and goopy for you, mix in more hot chicken stock or hot water before serving.

Summarized Recipe:

Butternut Squash, Leek & Mushroom Oats Risotto (Ris-oat-to)

Date Published: Aug 12, 2022 | Last Updated: Aug 12, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: healthy, low cal, mains, vegetarian
Serves: 4-6 | Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 35 mins

Ingredients:

  • Half a butternut squash, cubed to 2cm pieces
  • 6 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 2 Tbsps unsalted butter
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 500g white mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp ground dried sage
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180˚C.
  2. Prepare a lined baking pan and add in the cubed butternut squash. Sprinkle salt and pepper overtop and a drizzle of olive oil. Mix together and bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 mins until soft and roasted. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a sauce pan, heat up the chicken stock.
  4. In a large pan or wok on MED heat, add in the butter. Once the butter is melted, add in leeks and sauté for a few minutes until softened.
  5. Next add in the garlic, mushrooms, thyme, and sage. Continue to sauté until the mushrooms cook down and turn a deep brown colour (see photo). Add in the wine and let it simmer for 1 minute.
  6. Next add in the steel cut oats and 2 ladles of the preheated chicken stock. Mix everything around and let it simmer. Once the liquid has absorbed, continue adding in 1 ladle of stock at a time, making sure to let the liquid fully absorb before adding in the next ladle. You don’t need to stir continuously, but do stir it every couple minutes to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  7. When you get to the last ladle of chicken stock, give it a mix and do NOT let the liquid fully absorb. Only let it absorb about 70%. Stir in the Parmesan and the cooked butternut squash and turn off the heat. You want the oats-risotto to be a little wetter than usual because the oats will continue to absorb the liquid even after you turn off the heat. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve! If the texture is too dry and goopy for you, mix in more hot chicken stock or hot water before serving.

Easy Healthy French Onion Meatballs


Date Published: Aug 9th, 2022 | Last Updated: Aug 9th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: < 15mins, appetizers, easy, healthy, low-cal, mains, quick and easy, snacks
Serves: 24 meatballs | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

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This meatball recipe will probably not be the best meatballs you’ve ever had, but they will probably be the most healthy and without compromising on flavour! High cholesterol runs in my family so I’m always looking for ways to lower fat, cut the grease, and sneak in some veg or oats – this meatball recipe does just that, by incorporating zucchinis, rolled oats, and 95% lean beef mince as the bulk of the meatball.

The one down side about a healthy minimal fat meatball is that it has a tendency to become dry when cooled, therefore they must be served asap when hot or tossed in a sauce or soup to absorb extra moisture. I like to add it to a pasta sauce and serve it with zoodles (zucchini noodles).

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • French Onion Seasoning:
    • 1/4 cup onion flakes
    • 1/2 tsp onion powder
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 beef bouillon cube, crushed into a powder
    • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
    • 1/4 tsp celery salt
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 500g extra lean beef mince (95%)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 zucchini, grated with liquid squeezed out

Directions:

Preheat oven to 180˚C.

In a mixing bowl, mix together the seasoning ingredients (onion flakes, onion powder, garlic, beef bouillon, dried parsley, celery salt, black pepper). Next add in the rolled oats, beef mince, egg, and zucchini to the bowl and combine.

Form the mixture into even-sized meatballs – any size you like, as long as they’re all the same size. Makes about 50 x 3cm meatballs, or 24 x 5cm meatballs. Arrange the meatballs on a lined baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 15-20mins or until cooked (the timing will depend on how large your meatballs are). Serve immediately, toss in a sauce, or add into a soup.

Summarized Recipe:

Easy Healthy French Onion Meatballs

Date Published: Aug 9th, 2022 | Last Updated: Aug 9th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: < 15mins, appetizers, easy, healthy, low-cal, mains, quick and easy, snacks
Serves: 24 meatballs | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

  • French Onion Seasoning:
    • 1/4 cup onion flakes
    • 1/2 tsp onion powder
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 beef bouillon cube, crushed into a powder
    • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
    • 1/4 tsp celery salt
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 500g extra lean beef mince (95%)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 zucchini, grated with liquid squeezed out

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180˚C.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix together the seasoning ingredients (onion flakes, onion powder, garlic, beef bouillon, dried parsley, celery salt, black pepper). Next add in the rolled oats, beef mince, egg, and zucchini to the bowl and combine.
  3. Form the mixture into even-sized meatballs – any size you like, as long as they’re all the same size.
    • Makes about 50 x 3cm meatballs, or 24 x 5cm meatballs.
  4. Arrange the meatballs on a lined baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 15-20mins or until cooked (the timing will depend on how large your meatballs are). Serve immediately or toss in a sauce.

Guilt-Free “Creamy” Mushroom Soup


Date Published: Aug 8th, 2022 | Last Updated: Aug 8th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: easy, healthy, low-cal, mains, appetizers, soups, vegetarian
Serves: 4 (as a main) | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

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The countdown is on to our wedding and thus our wedding diet is in full swing which means healthy, low-calorie meals that cut out the fat without compromising on flavour. This recipe ticks all the boxes. I love a good soup and I love a good mushroom dish. When you put two together, I’m loving life! This soup is PACKED full of mushrooms – 600g of mushrooms, to be exact; and it’s creamy without actually using any cream! The creaminess comes from a bit of flour to thicken it all up. There’s also a red chili pepper in this soup that adds a little spiciness to punch up the flavour.

Original recipe adapted from: AustralianMushrooms.com.au – this is a fantastic website chocked full of beautiful mushroom recipes. I highly recommend checking it out.

Without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

We move house quite a bit and it’s not always easy to find the perfect sunny spot for food photography. Often times Toby will be holding the plates of food for me to get that perfect light. Here, he’s concentrating holding the pose and trying not to move to dirty the edges of the bowl. It looks like he’s praying to the soup gods. 😂 Always my #1 supporter. ❤️

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 600g white button mushrooms (400g chopped, 200g sliced)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 long red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
  • 2cm ginger, peeled, minced or finely grated
  • 2 Tbsps plain flour
  • 4 cups (1 litre) beef stock (chicken stock is fine too)
  • 2 dried or 3 fresh bay leaves
  • Optional: 2 Tbsps heavy cream
  • Optional add-ins to bulk up the soup:
    • 4 cups (100g) kale and/or spinach leaves, stalks removed, chopped
    • Roasted butternut squash
    • Shredded roast chicken

Directions:

In a large pot on MED-HIGH heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and sauté the 200g of sliced mushrooms until tender. Remove from the pot and set aside in a separate bowl.

In the same pot, add another drizzle of olive oil and sauté the onion, ginger, and red chili for a few minutes until the onion is soft and translucent. Add in the 400g of chopped mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms are tender. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and mix together for 1 minute until all the liquid is absorbed.

Pour in a few splashes of beef stock and mix it all together, scraping the sides and ensure nothing is clumped to the sides or the bottom of the pot. Pour in the remaining beef stock and add in the bay leaves. Turn the heat up to HIGH and bring the soup to a boil. Once it boils, turn the heat down to LOW-MED until a simmer and let it simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

After simmering, remove the bay leaves and remove from heat. Use a stick blender and blend the soup until smooth. (You can also pour it all into a blender if you don’t have a stick blender). Stir in the cooked mushrooms that was set aside in step 1 and cream (if using). Salt and pepper to taste. Done!

Optional for a bulkier soup: Once the soup is smooth, return to the stove and add in any additional add-ins you’d like to bulk up the soup (ie. spinach, squash, roast chicken). Stir until the leaves are wilted or the veg or chicken is warmed. Turn off the heat and serve. Enjoy!

Summarized Recipe:

Guilt-Free “Creamy” Mushroom Soup

Date Published: Aug 8th, 2022 | Last Updated: Aug 8th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: easy, healthy, low-cal, mains, appetizers, soups, vegetarian
Serves: 4 (as a main) | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

Ingredients:

  • 600g white button mushrooms (400g chopped, 200g sliced)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 long red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
  • 2cm ginger, peeled, minced or finely grated
  • 2 Tbsps plain flour
  • 4 cups (1 litre) beef stock (chicken stock is fine too)
  • 2 dried or 3 fresh bay leaves
  • Optional: 2 Tbsps heavy cream
  • Optional add-ins to bulk up the soup:
    • 4 cups (100g) kale and/or spinach leaves, stalks removed, chopped
    • Roasted butternut squash
    • Shredded roast chicken

Directions:

  1. In a large pot on MED-HIGH heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and sauté the 200g of sliced mushrooms until tender. Remove from the pot and set aside in a separate bowl.
  2. In the same pot, add another drizzle of olive oil and sauté the onion, ginger, and red chili for a few minutes until the onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Add in the 400g of chopped mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms are tender. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and mix together for 1 minute until all the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Pour in a few splashes of beef stock and mix it all together, scraping the sides and ensure nothing is clumped to the sides or the bottom of the pot. Pour in the remaining beef stock and add in the bay leaves. Turn the heat up to HIGH and bring the soup to a boil. Once it boils, turn the heat down to LOW-MED until a simmer and let it simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
  5. After simmering, remove the bay leaves and remove from heat. Use a stick blender and blend the soup until smooth. (You can also pour it all into a blender if you don’t have a stick blender). Stir in the cooked mushrooms that was set aside in step 1 and cream (if using). Salt and pepper to taste. Done!
  6. Optional for a bulkier soup: Once the soup is smooth, return to the stove and add in any additional add-ins you’d like to bulk up the soup (ie. spinach, squash, roast chicken). Stir until the leaves are wilted or the veg or chicken is warmed. Turn off the heat and serve. Enjoy!

Unintentionally Amazing Soft Tea Eggs (茶葉蛋)


Date Published: Aug 8th, 2022 | Last Updated: Aug 8th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: Asian, sides, snack, appetizers, healthy, low cal
Serves: 8 eggs | Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: 5-10 mins + resting overnight

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The empty bottle of the brand of sweet vinegar I used. Any sweet vinegar should be fine.

I’ve had a bottle of Chinese sweet black vinegar in the back of my pantry for the past 2 years that has gone untouched and collecting dust. I have no idea what I originally bought it for but whatever it was, I only ever used a small amount. Toby says I bought it originally because I couldn’t find regular black vinegar and tried to use this as a substitute and failed – I have no recollection of this 😅🤷🏻‍♀️. I’ve tried to look for recipes to use up this bottle over the years but I can only ever find it used in a very specific Chinese pork knuckle dish. This bottle has become an eye sore and in a desperate attempt to clean out my pantry before we hit the road again, I decided to try adding it to a marinade for tea eggs. I had very low expectations for this – I just wanted to make something somewhat edible so I’m not wasting it. The end result turned out so much better than I could have ever hoped for! It gave the egg a subtle sweetness along with the saltiness. In fact, it was so good that I ended up buying another bottle of sweet black vinegar just so I can keep making these tea eggs, which is now my favourite way to eat them.

Chinese sweet black vinegar isn’t as tangy as regular vinegar. It’s more subtle and has a light sweetness with a star anise/liquorice flavour. When mixed with the rest of the marinade ingredients, it makes a slightly sweeter tea egg that’s lighter on the palate compared to the classic tea egg that’s usually only soy sauce based. Soft boiled eggs are my favourite style of eggs and perfect for this recipe. The yolk remains soft and jammy which allows some of the marinade to penetrate through giving it more flavour. Make sure you set a timer to cook them perfectly. I’ve included cooking times for medium and hardboiled eggs as well if that’s your thing.

What is a tea egg?

If you’re unfamiliar with tea eggs, it’s a classic Chinese side dish commonly made of hardboiled eggs marinated in a soy-sauce based concoction with black tea leaves. The eggs are cracked before marinating and as a result you get a beautiful marbled appearance on the eggs with a savoury umami flavour with a hint of tea. I remember getting a few of these in a baggie from the local 7-11 in Taiwan before hopping on a train and having these as a snack. I’ve never had them soft-boiled until I started playing around with this recipe. It’s a total game changer and I think this will be the only way I’ll be having my tea eggs from now. 😛

Tips for using up leftover marinade:

  • Sauté with garlic, cabbage, splash of shaoxing wine until the cabbage cooks down, then stir in chilli paste like lao gan ma or leftover red chilli oil wonton sauce.
  • Reuse the marinade again! Make sure you reboil the liquid and let it cool before using it again.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • Marinade:
    • 1/2 cup Sweet Black Vinegar
    • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
    • 2 Tbsps dark soy sauce
    • 2.5 Tbsps soy sauce
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
    • 2 Tbsps (or 2 tea bags) extra strong black tea leaves
    • 1 cup water
  • 8 large eggs

Directions:

Simmer the marinade on low for 10 mins

Make the marinade: Mix all the ingredients of the marinade (vinegar, soy sauces, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, tea leaves, water) in a saucepan and heat on MEDIUM until it boils, then turn the heat down to LOW-MED and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool completely.

Make the eggs: While the marinade cools, boil a pot of water (use a pot large enough to allow all the eggs to submerge in the boiling water without crowding). Once the water boils, carefully lower the eggs into the water – be careful not to crack them. Start a timer and boil for 5 minutes and 30 seconds for soft-boiled eggs, 7 minutes for medium eggs, or 10 minutes for hard boiled eggs.

Dunk them in an ice bath or under cold running water until cooled

Prepare an ice bath for the eggs while they are boiling. Once the timer goes off, immediate transfer the eggs to the ice bath to cool. If you don’t have any ice, run the eggs under cold water until completely cooled.

More cracks = more marbling

Once the eggs are cooled, use the back of a spoon and gently crack the egg shells around the entirety of the egg. You want the egg shells to be cracked and broken without breaking the actual egg. This allows the marinade to get through the shell and create a marbled effect. Be careful not to hit them too hard, especially for soft-boiled eggs.

Once the marinade has fully cooled, transfer the marinade with the ingredients to a container or a large ziplock bag and add in the cracked eggs. Ensure the eggs are submerged in the marinade. Choose a container or a bag big enough to fit all the marinade and eggs. It’s better to use a deeper container than a wider one so the eggs submerge better.

Let the eggs marinate in the fridge overnight, or best for 24 hours (or longer!).

Serve the eggs either cold, room temperature, or slightly warmed. Enjoy!

Summarized Recipe:

Unintentionally Amazing Soft Tea Eggs (茶葉蛋)

Date Published: Aug 8th, 2022 | Last Updated: Aug 8th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: Asian, sides, snack, appetizers, healthy, low cal
Serves: 8 eggs | Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: 5-10 mins + resting overnight

Ingredients:

  • Marinade:
    • 1/2 cup Sweet Black Vinegar
    • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
    • 2 Tbsps dark soy sauce
    • 2.5 Tbsps soy sauce
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
    • 2 Tbsps (or 2 tea bags) extra strong black tea leaves
    • 1 cup water
  • 8 large eggs

Directions:

  1. Make the marinade: Mix all the ingredients of the marinade (vinegar, soy sauces, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, tea leaves, water) in a saucepan and heat on MEDIUM until it boils, then turn the heat down to LOW-MED and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool completely.
  2. Make the eggs: While the marinade cools, boil a pot of water (use a pot large enough to allow all the eggs to submerge in the boiling water without crowding). Once the water boils, carefully lower the eggs into the water – be careful not to crack them. Start a timer and boil for 5 minutes and 15 seconds for soft-boiled eggs, 7 minutes for medium eggs, or 10 minutes for hard boiled eggs.
  3. Prepare an ice bath for the eggs while they are boiling. Once the timer goes off, immediate transfer the eggs to the ice bath to cool. If you don’t have any ice, run the eggs under cold water until completely cooled.
  4. Once the eggs are cooled, use the back of a spoon and gently crack the egg shells around the entirety of the egg. You want the egg shells to be cracked and broken without breaking the actual egg. This allows the marinade to get through the shell and create a marbled effect. Be careful not to hit them too hard to break the eggs inside, especially for soft-boiled eggs.
  5. Once the marinade has fully cooled, transfer the marinade with the ingredients to a container or a large ziplock bag and add in the cracked eggs. Ensure the eggs are submerged in the marinade. Choose a container or a bag big enough to fit all the marinade and eggs. It’s better to use a deeper container than a wider one so the eggs submerge better.
  6. Let the eggs marinate in the fridge overnight, or best for 24 hours (or longer!).
  7. Serve the eggs either cold, room temperature, or slightly warmed. Enjoy!

Italian Wedding Soup


Date Published: April 17th, 2022 | Last Updated: April 17th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: mains, soups
Serves: 6 | Prep time: 1 hour | Cook time: 45 mins

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Italian Wedding Soup is a hearty Italian soup made with little beef meatballs and little pasta. The name refers to the “marriage” of the flavours in this soup (rather than a dish served at a wedding).

This soup brings back major nostalgia for me back to my early university days. Before I learned how to cook, I would buy a lot of ready-made soups to have between classes. Specifically, I’d get the Campbell’s “Soup at Hand” brand because they were conveniently packaged in handheld cups and all you had to do was microwave the cup and you’re ready to sip it on the go. I’ve always loved soup and I think I must’ve tried almost all of their flavours back in the day, but Italian Wedding Soup stood out to me. At that time, I had never heard of this soup and what was even more intriguing was the little tiny meatballs and pastas that were in the soup that had to fit out of the small sippy hole of the cup. I actually forgot all about this soup until a couple weeks ago when it suddenly popped into my head while I was trying to decide on what to cook for the week. I’m not sure what originally led me to think about it, but I’m glad I did. It took a couple weeks of testing out different soup and meatball recipes to get it just right (we seriously actually had it for lunch for 2 weeks straight until I was happy with it). I’ve never been to Italy nor have I ever had this soup at an Italian restaurant, so I cannot attest to the authenticity of this recipe, but it’s pretty damn good. This soup is also great to make ahead. It keeps well for the week and it tastes even better the next day – the perfect meal-prep soup!

Tiny Meatballs and Tiny Pasta?

This soup is traditionally made with small meatballs and tiny pasta which is what makes it so unique and fun to eat! Without the tininess, the soup is actually kind of similar to a chicken noodle soup in terms of flavour. You can make these meatballs as big or as little as you want. I prefer to keep them small around 2cm wide so they’re bite-sized and more fun to eat. You can also use any type of pasta you like but it’s traditionally made with smaller pastas such as acini di pepe or risoni, both of which remind me of rice but with a chewy pasta texture. Smaller pasta also adds more starch to the soup and gives it that classical thicker consistency.

The soup is technically easy to make but it is pretty time-consuming to make the little tiny meatballs. To pass the time faster, I’d recommend grabbing a chair and streaming something in the background while you form the meatballs or recruiting other people to make it with you.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • Meatballs:
    • 500g extra-lean ground beef
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced finely*
    • 1/2 medium onion, minced finely*
    • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped finely*
    • 1/4 cup basil, chopped finely*
    • 2 Tbsps Parmesan cheese, grated
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
    • *Make sure you chop these FINELY since your meatballs will be very small. If too large, your meatballs will fall apart easily.
  • Soup:
    • 3 Tbsps olive oil
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 1.5 medium onion, diced
    • 2 medium carrots, diced
    • 6 stalks celery
    • 6 cups (1.5L) chicken stock
    • 4 cups (1L) beef stock
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 pinch of dried thyme
    • 1 cup risoni pasta (or acini di pepe if you can find it)
    • 4 cups (2 large handfuls) spinach, washed and roughly chopped
    • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Make the meatballs: mix all the meatball ingredients together in a mixing bowl (ground beef, eggs, panko, garlic, onion, parsley, basil, Parmesan, salt, and pepper). Roll them into 2 cm small meatballs.

This is a time-consuming process. I make it quicker by squeezing small amounts from my fist and then rolling it – sounds confusing, see photos above. (You can make them as big or as small as you like. I tend to make them about 2cm.)

Fry off the meatballs (optional but adds more flavour): In a large pot on HIGH heat, add a small amount of oil and fry the meatballs in small batches for 10-15 seconds until browned. You don’t want to cook the meatballs fully, but only enough to sear the outsides to lock in the flavour. Place the meatballs on a plate lined with paper towel to soak up any excess oil. Repeat until all the meatballs are fried off.

Once all the meatballs are fried off, in the same large pot, turn the heat down to MED heat and sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil and cook until the onion is transparent (~5 mins). Add in the celery and carrot and continue cooking until soft and easy to break apart with a spoon. (You can quicken this process by adding on the lid but be careful not to let it burn.) Next, add in the chicken stock, beef stock, bay leaves, oregano, and thyme. Bring the soup to a boil then turn the heat back down until a light simmer. Let it simmer for 20 minutes.

After 20 mins, add in the risoni pasta. Boil for 5 minutes then add in the fried meatballs. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes until the risoni is cooked and the meatballs are no longer pink inside. Turn off the heat and add in the spinach. Stir the spinach into the soup until wilted. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve! (Tip: This soup tastes better the next day once the flavours have infused a little more)

Summarized Recipe:

Italian Wedding Soup

Date Published: April 17th, 2022 | Last Updated: April 17th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: mains, soups
Serves: 6 | Prep time: 1 hour | Cook time: 45 mins

Ingredients:

  • Meatballs:
    • 500g extra-lean ground beef
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced finely
    • 1/2 medium onion, minced finely
    • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped finely
    • 1/4 cup basil, chopped finely
    • 2 Tbsps Parmesan cheese, grated
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Soup:
    • 3 Tbsps olive oil
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 1.5 medium onion, diced
    • 2 medium carrots, diced
    • 6 stalks celery
    • 6 cups (1.5L) chicken stock
    • 4 cups (1L) beef stock
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 pinch of dried thyme
    • 1 cup risoni pasta (or acini di pepe if you can find it)
    • 4 cups (2 large handfuls) spinach, washed and roughly chopped
    • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Make the meatballs: mix all the meatball ingredients together in a mixing bowl (ground beef, eggs, panko, garlic, onion, parsley, basil, Parmesan, salt, and pepper). Roll them into 2 cm small meatballs.
    • This is a time-consuming process. I make it quicker by squeezing small amounts from my fist and then rolling it – sounds confusing, see photos above. (You can make them as big or as small as you like. I tend to make them about 2cm.)
  2. Fry off the meatballs (optional but adds more flavour): In a large pot on HIGH heat, add a small amount of oil and fry the meatballs in small batches for 10-15 seconds until browned. You don’t want to cook the meatballs fully, but only enough to sear the outsides to lock in the flavour. Place the meatballs on a plate lined with paper towel to soak up any excess oil. Repeat until all the meatballs are fried off.
  3. Once all the meatballs are fried off, in the same large pot, turn the heat down to MED heat and sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil and cook until the onion is transparent (~5 mins). Add in the celery and carrot and continue cooking until soft and easy to break apart with a spoon. (You can quicken this process by adding on the lid but be careful not to let it burn.)
  4. Next, add in the chicken stock, beef stock, bay leaves, oregano, and thyme. Bring the soup to a boil then turn the heat back down until a light simmer. Let it simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. After 20 mins, add in the risoni pasta. Boil for 5 minutes then add in the fried meatballs. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes until the risoni is cooked and the meatballs are no longer pink inside. Turn off the heat and add in the spinach. Stir the spinach into the soup until wilted. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve! (Tip: This soup tastes better the next day once the flavours have infused a little more)

Taiwanese Style Beerhouse Clams (台式九層塔炒海瓜子)


Date Published: Feb 16th, 2022 | Last Updated: Feb 16th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: Taiwanese, Asian, easy, mains, sides
Serves: 2-4 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 10 mins

Jump to recipe |

This was one of my all-time favourite dishes growing up in Taiwan. My brother once got mad at me when we were kids when I ate them too fast, lol. The sauce is SO good, you MUST serve it over white rice to soak up all the delicious flavours. This recipe is commonly found in the beerhouses of Taiwan or seafood shops.

The clams that are traditionally used are called hai gua zi (海瓜子) which roughly translates to ‘ocean melon seeds’ – I think it has to do with the oval shape of them that resembles melon seeds? 🤷🏻‍♀️ They’re small oval clams with a patterned shell that are commonly found in the region. Any small species of clams can be used in this recipe as long as they’re fresh! I actually had a bit of a hard time finding fresh small clams for this recipe in Australia – even the local seafood shops didn’t have them. Surprisingly they were available at the Costco in Adelaide, SA however were a bit pricy at $20/kg for pipis (it was totally worth it though 😜).

Note the patterned shell and the oval shape of the hai gua zi –>

Image source: https://inf.news/en/nature/b6dd63ea2ba851d1cda05f356fb35732.html

What is a Taiwanese Beerhouse (啤酒屋)?

A Taiwanese beerhouse is a place where locals like to go afterwork to unwind, drink beer and eat hot stir-fry dishes. They’re not breweries, they’re just a place to drink and eat. If you’re a foreign visitor to Taiwan, chances are your host wouldn’t bring you to one of these beerhouses. They’re usually noisy, loud with drunk people, and no doubt lots of cigarette smoke. It’s frequented by people of lower socioeconomic classes and call girls as well as the average working man with their coworkers. It’s kind of like taking a guest to a rowdy grungy bar – it’s not for everyone, but the food is usually damn good. These beerhouses are becoming a dying culture and it’s getting harder to find them in Taiwan – possibly due to an attempt to elevate the social status of the area or maybe from the years of economic downturn and less availability of disposable income, or maybe it’s from Westernization 🤷🏻‍♀️. I remember my dad taking us out afterwork when I was a kid and getting out of the cab to see a long street of back to back beerhouses lit up with flashing neon lights (although in hindsight, beerhouses definitely aren’t the best place to bring children 😅). The last time I visited a couple years ago there were only two left on the street – the food was still just as good though!

What is beerhouse-style food?

Taiwanese beerhouses usually serve food that is made quickly over a high heat that packs a ton of flavour. These dishes are commonly very salty and/or spicy which goes great with a bowl of rice and a bottle of cold beer. Common dishes you’ll find are “three-cup” based recipes, which involve the triple threat for a lip-smacking combination: soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine. It is often sautéed with ginger, garlic, and Thai basil – the basis of classic Taiwanese beerhouse flavours. This clam recipe doesn’t diverge far from the beerhouse basics.

Thai Basil vs Italian Basil?

There are no substitutions for basil in this recipe. You MUST use Thai basil which is a lot stronger in flavour. Basil is a key component of this dish and without a good strong basil, the flavours just won’t be right. You’d have to probably at least double the amount of Italian basil to get similar results.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1kg fresh small clams (ie. Pipis)
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4cm ginger, peeled and thinly sliced into matchsticks
  • 2-3 long Thai red chilis, sliced (remove the seeds if you want it less spicy)
  • Sauce:
    • 2 Tbsps Chinese cooking wine (ie. Shaoxing)
    • 1 Tbsp of black vinegar
    • 2 Tbsps oyster sauce
    • 3 tsps white granulated sugar
    • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 LARGE handful (~3 cups) of Thai basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil for drizzling

Directions:

*This recipe cooks QUICKLY on HIGH HEAT! Make sure all your ingredients are chopped, prepped and ready to go before you start cooking.

Rinse the clams thoroughly under running water. Optional: soak in salty water 15mins before.

Prepare the sauce by mixing all the sauce ingredients in a bowl: cooking wine, black vinegar, oyster sauce, sugar, and white pepper. Set aside.

In a wok on HIGH heat, add a drizzle of oil and sauté the garlic, ginger, and chilli for 2-3 mins until fragrant.

Add the clams to the pot and sauté for 30 seconds then drizzle in the sauce ingredients: cooking wine, black vinegar, oyster sauce, and white pepper. Mix around and let the sauce simmer for 2-3 minutes then put the lid on. Let the clams steam for 3-4 minutes or until they all open up. Careful not to steam them for too long or else the clams will get tough and chewy.

Once the clams have opened up, add in the basil leaves and drizzle the sesame oil over the clams. Sauté for another minute and turn off the heat. Serve! Best served over white rice.

Summarized Recipe:

Taiwanese Style Beerhouse Clams (台式九層塔炒海瓜子)

Date Published: Feb 16th, 2022 | Last Updated: Feb 16th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: Taiwanese, Asian, easy, mains, sides
Serves: 2-4 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1kg fresh small clams (ie. Pipis)
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4cm ginger, peeled and thinly sliced into matchsticks
  • 2-3 long Thai red chilis, sliced (remove the seeds if you want it less spicy)
  • Sauce:
    • 2 Tbsps Chinese cooking wine (ie. Shaoxing)
    • 1 Tbsp of black vinegar
    • 2 Tbsps oyster sauce
    • 3 tsps white granulated sugar
    • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 LARGE handful (~3 cups) of Thai basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil for drizzling

Directions:

*This recipe cooks QUICKLY on HIGH HEAT! Make sure all your ingredients are chopped, prepped and ready to go before you start cooking.

  1. Rinse the clams thoroughly under running water. Optional: soak in salty water 15mins before.
  2. Prepare the sauce by mixing all the sauce ingredients in a bowl: cooking wine, black vinegar, oyster sauce, sugar, and white pepper. Set aside.
  3. In a wok on HIGH heat, add a drizzle of oil and sauté the garlic, ginger, and chilli for 2-3 mins until fragrant.
  4. Add the clams to the pot and sauté for 30 seconds then drizzle in the sauce ingredients: cooking wine, black vinegar, oyster sauce, and white pepper. Mix around and let the sauce simmer for 2-3 minutes then put the lid on. Let the clams steam for 3-4 minutes or until they all open up. Careful not to steam them for too long or else the clams will get tough and chewy.
  5. Once the clams have opened up, add in the basil leaves and drizzle the sesame oil over the clams. Sauté for another minute and turn off the heat. Serve! Best served over white rice.

Green Curry Fish Soup


Date Published: Feb 16th, 2022 | Last Updated: Feb 16th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: mains, soups, vegetarian, easy, healthy, low-cal
Serves: 6-8 (1 large pot) | Prep time: 20mins | Cook time: 45mins

Jump to recipe |

I love a good Thai green curry but making the curry paste from scratch is always time-consuming since there are so many ingredients involved, however the end result is ALWAYS worth it so I always make a big batch of it and keep it stored in a large ice cube tray in the freezer. I freeze them in 1/4 cup portions so it’s easy for me to measure out and defrost when I need it. Since I always make a large amount, I’m constantly looking for new creative ways to use it. This recipe uses my homemade Thai green curry paste. It’s so easy and quick to whip up a large pot with enough portions to pack for lunch for the week!

Homemade Curry Paste vs Pre-made curry paste in a can?

I will always choose a homemade curry paste over one that comes in a can. The flavours of a homemade paste is so much fresher and more pungent compared to one in a can. You’ll find that in many recipes that use a canned paste, you always have to add aromatics to it such as ginger, garlic, or galangal to “freshen” it up and bring out the flavours of the paste first before you add in your main ingredients, however when you use a homemade paste, you don’t need to add in anything extra. You can just start sautéing it in the pan and add in your veg, protein…etc. Although it’s more time consuming to make the paste at the start, I found that it ended up saving me so much more time when I’m trying to whip up something quick.

A Healthy Green Curry?

Nearly all Thai green curries use coconut milk in the recipe which has a high saturated fat content – something I try to avoid as much as possible due to high cholesterol running in the family. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a good Thai curry with the creamy coconut flavour, however for the sake of my health I’ve experimented with alternatives to make it healthier and still satisfy my green curry cravings. This recipe uses soy milk or oat milk as the replacement which is low in calories, no saturated fats, and overall healthier! You don’t get the coconuttiness however the flavours of the green curry still shine through.

A great recipe to clean out the fridge!

The vegetables I’ve chosen in this recipe are the common veg I usually have in the fridge but feel free to change it up to whatever you like. I’ve thrown in leftover cabbage, carrots, potatoes…etc. I’ve also chosen fish as the protein for this soup due to health reasons, but you can easily substitute with chicken, beef, pork, or even no protein at all and keep it vegetarian.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup homemade green curry paste
  • 4 cups (1L) unsweetened soy milk or oat milk
  • 4 cups (1L) chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 2 chicken stock cubes (concentration of 1 cube = 1 cup)
  • Vegetables: *feel free to substitute with whatever vegetables you like*
    • Butternut pumpkin – 2 cups
    • 1-2 zucchinis, diced
    • 1 roasted eggplant, diced
    • 1 can bamboo shoot slices
  • 600g white fish fillets (~3 fillets) (ie barramundi, ling fish or any white fish that won’t disintegrate easily in a soup)
  • 2-4 Tbsps fish sauce to taste

Directions:

Sauté the green curry paste in a pot with a drizzle of olive oil over MED heat until the paste dries out a bit and turns slightly brown.

Add in the soy milk, chicken stock, and chicken stock cubes. Mix it around and bring the heat up to HIGH until the liquid boils, then turn it back down to LOW-MED. Make sure there are no clumps of curry paste.

Add in the pumpkin and zucchinis. Let the soup simmer with the lid on until the pumpkin is cooked, then add in the roasted eggplant, bamboo shoots and fish.

Let the soup come to a boil again and turn the heat off once the fish is cooked. Add fish sauce to taste. Serve!

Summarized Recipe:

Green Curry Fish Soup

Date Published: Feb 16th, 2022 | Last Updated: Feb 16th, 2022
Author:
Abby | Category: mains, soups, vegetarian, easy, healthy, low-cal
Serves:
6-8 (1 large pot) | Prep time: 20mins | Cook time: 45mins

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup homemade green curry paste
  • 4 cups (1L) unsweetened soy milk or oat milk
  • 4 cups (1L) chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 2 chicken stock cubes (concentration of 1 cube = 1 cup)
  • Vegetables: *feel free to substitute with whatever vegetables you like*
    • Butternut pumpkin – 2 cups
    • 1-2 zucchinis, diced
    • 1 roasted eggplant, diced
    • 1 can bamboo shoot slices
  • 600g white fish fillets (~3 fillets) (ie barramundi, ling fish or any white fish that won’t disintegrate easily in a soup)
  • 2-4 Tbsps fish sauce to taste

Directions:

  1. Sauté the green curry paste in a pot with a drizzle of olive oil over MED heat until the paste dries out a bit and turns slightly brown.
  2. Add in the soy milk, chicken stock, and chicken stock cubes. Mix it around and bring the heat up to HIGH until the liquid boils, then turn it back down to LOW-MED. Make sure there are no clumps of curry paste.
  3. Add in the pumpkin and zucchinis. Let the soup simmer until the pumpkin is cooked, then add in the roasted eggplant, bamboo shoots and fish. Let the soup come to a boil again and turn the heat off once the fish is cooked. Add fish sauce to taste. Serve!

Healthy Fudgy Red Bean Brownies


Date Published: Feb 16th, 2022 | Last Updated: Feb 16th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: dessert, healthy, low-cal, Asian, easy
Serves: 6-8 | Prep time: 1hr | Cook time: 30 mins

Jump to recipe |

These guilt-free brownies are rich, dense, flourless, butter-free, and sugar-free. They’re naturally sweetened with dates and are a healthy alternative to regular brownies. Best of all, they’re so easy to make and there aren’t many ingredients involved. I will admit that I’d still choose a regular buttery brownie over this healthy alternative, however these are still pretty damn good and you can eat them guilt-free without getting a sugar crash. Toby liked them so much that he ate half a batch in one sitting 😅! The original recipe is from Hey Nutrition Lady which has a ton of nutrition information on this recipe – highly recommend checking it out.

What are Red Beans?

The term “red bean” can be synonymous with different types of beans that are red in colour. In Western culture, red bean commonly refers to ‘kidney beans‘ which have an earthy plain taste but absorbs flavours easily so they’re commonly used in stews or sauces. In Eastern Asian culture, red bean is the ‘adzuki bean‘ which is much smaller than the kidney bean and has a sweet flavour. This recipe uses adzuki beans. You’ll commonly see red/adzuki bean paste baked goods at Chinese bakeries. At OG Chinese restaurants they often serve red bean soup as dessert. Beans are starchy by nature which is the perfect substitute for flour in this recipe.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1.5 cups adzuki beans
  • 1.5 cups (200g) Medjool dates
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup (50g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 180g milk or dark chocolate, chopped

Directions:

Prepare the beans: Soak the adzuki beans overnight (the longer the better to soften the beans). Once soaked, boil the beans in a pot of water for 1 hour, then drain and set aside. (Make sure the water is at least 2-3cm above the beans since they will expand and absorb water as they cook).

Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Line a brownie pan (8″x11″ or 20cm x 30cm) with baking paper.

Prepare the dates: soak the dates in boiling hot water for 10mins, then drain and set aside.

In a food processor, add in the cooked adzuki beans and the dates. Blend until you get a chunky thick paste (see photo). Next, add in the vanilla extract, cocoa powder, coconut oil, and eggs. Continue blending until you get a smooth paste.

Stir in half of the chocolate into the batter and pour the batter in the prepared brownie pan. Sprinkle the rest of the chocolate over the top. Bake for 25-30mins until the edges are set and a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool for 10mins before slicing. Enjoy!

Ta-da!

Summarized Recipe:

Healthy Fudgy Red Bean Brownies

Date Published: Feb 16th, 2022 | Last Updated: Feb 16th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: dessert, healthy, low-cal, Asian, easy
Serves: 6-8 | Prep time: 1hr | Cook time: 30 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups adzuki beans
  • 1.5 cups (200g) Medjool dates
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup (50g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 180g milk or dark chocolate, chopped

Directions:

  1. Prepare the beans: Soak the adzuki beans overnight (the longer the better to soften the beans). Once soaked, boil the beans in a pot of water for 1 hour, then drain and set aside. (Make sure the water is at least 2-3cm above the beans since they will expand and absorb water as they cook).
  2. Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Line a brownie pan (8″x11″ or 20cm x 30cm) with baking paper.
  3. Prepare the dates: soak the dates in boiling hot water for 10mins, then drain and set aside.
  4. In a food processor, add in the cooked adzuki beans and the dates. Blend until you get a chunky thick paste (see photo). Next, add in the vanilla extract, cocoa powder, coconut oil, and eggs. Continue blending until you get a smooth paste.
  5. Stir in half of the chocolate into the batter and pour the batter in the prepared brownie pan. Sprinkle the rest of the chocolate over the top. Bake for 25-30mins until the edges are set and a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool for 10mins before slicing. Enjoy!

Vegan Parmesan


Date Published: Feb 8th, 2022 | Last Updated: Feb 8th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: basics, easy, healthy, how-to
Serves: 1.5 cups | Prep time: 1 minute | Mix time: 30 seconds

Jump to recipe |

I’m not vegan, nor could I ever go vegan, but I do often try to cut down my intake of dairy for health reasons. The hardest part of cutting down dairy is the cheese. My idea of a perfect picnic is a giant cheese board with crackers and fruit pastes. Mmmmmm. I could eat cheese all day every day. I’m a cheese fiend!

Although I have yet to find a replacement for an ooey gooey cheese, I have found a replacement for Parmesan from Minimalist Baker. This recipe uses nutritional yeast as the source of its cheesy flavour and it’s super easy to whip up. Although it won’t melt, you can still use it anywhere you’d use Parmesan. I sprinkle it over pizza, pasta, and add it to savoury baked goods like tuna cakes.

What is nutritional yeast?

Nutritional yeast is a strain of deactivated yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) that is often used in baking, brewing, and wine-making. The yeast is grown, deactivated, dried, and packaged. It has its own nutritional benefits, but best of all it has a nutty cheesy flavour. It’s a very popular vegan product as a cheese replacement. You’ll usually find nutritional yeast in the health food section. A little goes a long way!

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 180g (1.5 cups) cashews (raw or roasted/salted)
  • 6 Tbsps nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt (skip if you’re using salted cashews)

Directions:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until you get a consistency that looks like parmesan cheese. Taste and adjust salt if needed. Done! Use immediately or store in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.

Summarized Recipe:

Vegan Parmesan

Date Published: Feb 8th, 2022 | Last Updated: Feb 8th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: basics, easy, healthy, how-to
Serves: 1.5 cups | Prep time: 1 minute | Mix time: 30 seconds

Ingredients:

  • 180g (1.5 cups) cashews (raw or roasted/salted)
  • 6 Tbsps nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt (skip if you’re using salted cashews)

Directions:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until you get a consistency that looks like parmesan cheese. Taste and adjust salt if needed. Done! Use immediately or store in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.

Mama Hung’s Apple Potato Salad


Date Published: Dec 25th, 2021 | Last Updated: Dec 25th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: sides, salads, easy, appetizers, vegetarian
Serves: 6-8 (one large bowl) | Prep time: 1 hour | Cook time: 1 hour

Jump to recipe |

Happy holidays everyone! Wherever you are, I hope you’re filled with good food for the holidays. 😊

‘Tis the season for potato salads! Potato salads are pretty much a staple at most big family dinners – maybe because they’re easy to make? I’ll admit, I’ve never been a huge fan of them because they always seem to be the same combination of potatoes, mayonnaise, eggs and carrots. Not that I have anything against a potato salad, but I just find it pretty bland and just a filler between the mains. However over the last few Christmases, I’ve been happily proven wrong. Last year Toby’s mom made a traditional Czech potato salad with mustard and pickles which sounded weird to me at first, but was really delicious – I just posted that recipe earlier today and I highly recommend trying it 😊. Three Christmases before that, I celebrated the holidays with my friend Janice and her family in Point Cook and her mom made this delicious potato salad with apples, pineapples, corn and shrimp! The fruit in the salad was so refreshing, I kept going back for more! It’s like a cross between a fruit salad and a savoury potato salad. (We actually had a work Christmas party a few days ago and I couldn’t decide which potato salad to make so I brought both 😜.)

This recipe is technically easy, but labour-intensive (like most potato salads). The recipe instructions seem long, but it’s pretty much just describing how to boil the vegetables. It also takes some time due to waiting around for the vegetables to boil, so I’d recommend doing this on a lazy afternoon while playing some Netflix in the background. All of the work is in the chopping of the potatoes, carrots, apples, pineapple, shrimp, and eggs. The rest is just boiling and mixing together. This potato salad is best served chilled for at least an hour or overnight. I love recipes that are better made the day before because it frees up plenty of time for me during the day of a party and all I have to do is scoop it into a bowl to serve. 😊

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1kg (~4-5 large) white potatoes, diced to 2cm pieces (peeled or unpeeled)
  • 500g (~3-4 large) carrots, diced to 2cm pieces
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 can (430g) pineapple, diced to 1cm pieces (you can use fresh pineapple as well)
  • 1 can (420g) of cooked sweet corn kernels, strained
  • 3 apples, cored and diced to 1cm pieces
  • 300g cooked, peeled, and deveined shrimp, chopped to 2cm pieces (you can use thawed cocktail shrimp)
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise (good quality)*
    • I prefer whole egg mayonnaise or kewpie mayo. Do not buy the cheap stuff – I made that mistake earlier and the generic brand mayo was so nasty that I nearly had to throw out the whole salad. 🤢
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

*Note: if you have the space, you can boil the potatoes, carrots, and eggs all at the same time in separate pots to save time, or if you prefer to do less clean-up, you can do them one after another.

Boil the Potatoes: In a large pot on HIGH heat, add in the diced potatoes and fill the pot with hot water until all the potatoes are submerged. Once the water boils, turn the heat down to MED and keep to a rolling simmer until the potatoes are soft enough to cut easily with a fork (~30mins). Strain and set aside to cool (or if you’re impatient, run it under cold water). Do not over boil the potatoes or else they will be too mushy.

Boil the Carrots: While the potatoes are boiling, in a medium pot on HIGH heat, add in the diced carrots and fill the pot with hot water until all the carrots are submerged. Once the water boils, turn the heat down to MED and keep to a rolling simmer until the carrots are soft enough to cut easily with a fork (~20mins). Strain and set aside to cool (or if you’re impatient, run it under cold water).

Hard boil the Eggs: Gently place the eggs in a medium sized pot and fill the pot with cold water until it is 2cm above the eggs. Turn the heat on HIGH. Once the water comes to a hard rapid boil, turn off the heat and cover the pot with a lid. Let it sit for 12 minutes then submerge the eggs in cold water. Once the eggs are cool enough to handle, peel the shells and dice the eggs into 1cm cubes.

Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, add together the cooked potatoes, cooked carrots, hard boiled eggs, apples, pineapple, corn, shrimp and mayonnaise. Mix until combined. Salt and pepper to taste and add more mayonnaise if needed.

Place the salad in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for at least an hour before serving, or best if chilled overnight. Enjoy!

Summarized Recipe:

Mama Hung’s Apple Potato Salad

Date Published: Dec 25th, 2021 | Last Updated: Dec 25th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: sides, salads, easy, appetizers, vegetarian
Serves: 6-8 (one large bowl) | Prep time: 1 hour | Cook time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 1kg (~4-5 large) white potatoes, diced to 2cm pieces (peeled or unpeeled)
  • 500g (~3-4 large) carrots, diced to 2cm pieces
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 can (430g) pineapple, diced to 1cm pieces (you can use fresh pineapple as well)
  • 1 can (420g) of cooked sweet corn kernels, strained
  • 3 apples, cored and diced to 1cm pieces
  • 300g cooked, peeled, and deveined shrimp, chopped to 2cm pieces (you can use thawed cocktail shrimp)
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise (good quality)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

*Note: if you have the space, you can boil the potatoes, carrots, and eggs all at the same time in separate pots to save time, or if you prefer to do less clean-up, you can do them one after another.

  1. Boil the Potatoes: In a large pot on HIGH heat, add in the diced potatoes and fill the pot with hot water until all the potatoes are submerged. Once the water boils, turn the heat down to MED and keep to a rolling simmer until the potatoes are soft enough to cut easily with a fork (~30mins). Strain and set aside to cool (or if you’re impatient, run it under cold water). Do not over boil the potatoes or else they will be too mushy.
  2. Boil the Carrots: While the potatoes are boiling, in a medium pot on HIGH heat, add in the diced carrots and fill the pot with hot water until all the carrots are submerged. Once the water boils, turn the heat down to MED and keep to a rolling simmer until the carrots are soft enough to cut easily with a fork (~20mins). Strain and set aside to cool (or if you’re impatient, run it under cold water).
  3. Hard boil the Eggs: Gently place the eggs in a medium sized pot and fill the pot with cold water until it is 2cm above the eggs. Turn the heat on HIGH. Once the water comes to a hard rapid boil, turn off the heat and cover the pot with a lid. Let it sit for 12 minutes then submerge the eggs in cold water. Once the eggs are cool enough to handle, peel the shells and dice the eggs into 1cm cubes.
  4. Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, add together the cooked potatoes, cooked carrots, hard boiled eggs, apples, pineapple, corn, shrimp and mayonnaise. Mix until combined. Salt and pepper to taste and add more mayonnaise if needed.
  5. Place the salad in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for at least an hour before serving, or best if chilled overnight. Enjoy!