Czech Steak Tartare (Tatarský Biftek/Tatarák)


Date Published: Sept 13, 2022 | Last Updated: Sept 13, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: <15 mins, appetizers, mains, easy, quick, low cal, snacks
Serves: 2 (as an appetizer/snack) | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 0! No cooking required.

Jump to recipe |

Steak tartare is a dish served in many different countries and in many different ways. I’ll admit I was never a fan of raw meat, but Toby grew up with it when he would visit Czech Republic to see his grandparents. It became a nostalgic dish and watching him enjoy this dish with such excitement of course tempted me to give it another try. We spent 3 weeks in Czech a couple months ago and during that time the dish really grew on me. A Czech steak tartare is traditionally served with slices of crispy rye bread that is panfried in lard and a garlic clove. You’re meant to rub the garlic on the crispy rye bread for that extra garlicky flavour and spoon the steak tartare over the bread and eat it together. Yum! The basic ingredients are usually steak, mustard, salt, pepper, and onion, but you’ll find many different variations. This dish can be found everywhere in Czech Republic, from basic rural pubs to fancy high-end Michelin-guided restaurants. You can request to have it served with the ingredients all mixed together, or unmixed and you can mix it yourself to adjust the flavours to your liking (see photo). However you have it, it’s always best served with a cold Pilsen beer!

What’s the best cut of beef to use?

Since you’ll be eating the beef raw, it’s very important to choose the best and freshest cut, and of course you also want to get it from a reputable clean butcher that knows their stuff. Usually when I buy my meats I get it either from the regular supermarket or a nearby butcher, however we went specifically to a higher end fancy butcher shop specifically for a steak tartare. It might be a bit more expensive, but it’ll be worth it.

You want a lean piece with little to no fat and connective tissue. The most popular choice is usually a tenderloin (or eye fillet/fillet steak) which is the most tender cut of meat available, but you can also use sirloin/porterhouse as well. If you’re not sure which cut to use, ask the butcher and let them know you’re intending on eating the steak raw for a tartare and they should be able to point you in the right direction.

How to prepare the beef?

Once you’ve selected your perfect cut of beef for the tartare, it’s time to prepare it to your desired consistency. If you like the texture chunkier with more bite, you can finely dice it into cubes. Put your steak in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm it up prior to dicing – this will make it much easier to cut. For a softer texture, you can put your steak through a meat grinder or ask your butcher to grind it for you. I get a little weary of getting someone else to grind it for me since I’m not sure how well the grinders are cleaned between each order. I like my texture somewhere inbetween so I prefer to chop it up finely with a knife. The texture isn’t quite as mushy as a ground beef and has a little more bite to it.

This recipe is easy and cooks up quickly!

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:

  • 200g high quality lean steak (ie.tenderloin/eye fillet), trim off any fat and connective tissue
    • If you’re unsure which cut to get, ask your butcher for the freshest cut and let them know you’re intending on eating it raw for a tartare. Buy one a little heavier to equate 200g after trimming
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup (1/4 of a large) yellow onion, finely minced
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground paprika
  • 2 Tbsps Dijon mustard (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper (or more to taste)
  • 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • To serve:
    • 2 slices of rye bread, either panfried in lard or toasted and buttered
    • 1 garlic clove, cut in half

Directions:

Finely chop the beef until desired consistency. You can also put it through a grinder if you’ve got one.

Add in the rest of the ingredients (egg yolk, onion, garlic, paprika, Dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, and Worcestershire sauce) to the chopped steak and mix. Taste and adjust flavours to personal taste. You can also serve it pre-mixed and lay out the ingredients separately on a plate (see photo).

Toast the slices of rye bread and spread on butter, or alternatively you can pan-fry it with some oil or lard.

Serve the steak tartare with toasted bread and a garlic clove sliced in half. When eating, rub the garlic over the toasted bread and spoon the steak tartare over the bread. Enjoy!

Summarized Recipe:

Czech Steak Tartare (Tatarský Biftek/Tatarák)

Date Published: Sept 13, 2022 | Last Updated: Sept 13, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: <15 mins, appetizers, mains, easy, quick, low cal, snacks
Serves: 2 (as an appetizer/snack) | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 0! No cooking required.

Ingredients:

  • 200g high quality lean steak (ie.tenderloin/eye fillet), trim off any fat and connective tissue
    • If you’re unsure which cut to get, ask your butcher for the freshest cut and let them know you’re intending on eating it raw for a tartare. Buy one a little heavier to equate 200g after trimming
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup (1/4 of a large) yellow onion, finely minced
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground paprika
  • 2 Tbsps Dijon mustard (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper (or more to taste)
  • 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • To serve:
    • 2 slices of rye bread, either panfried in lard or toasted and buttered
    • 1 garlic clove, cut in half

Directions:

  1. Finely chop the beef until desired consistency. You can also put it through a grinder if you’ve got one.
  2. Add in the rest of the ingredients (egg yolk, onion, garlic, paprika, Dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, and Worcestershire sauce) to the chopped steak and mix. Taste and adjust flavours to personal taste. You can also serve it pre-mixed and lay out the ingredients separately on a plate (see photo).
  3. Toast the slices of rye bread and spread on butter, or alternatively you can pan-fry it with some oil or lard.
  4. Serve the steak tartare with toasted bread and a garlic clove sliced in half. When eating, rub the garlic over the toasted bread and spoon the steak tartare over the bread. Enjoy!

Copycat KFC Gravy (so easy and quick!)


Date Published: Sept 5th, 2022 | Last Updated: Sept 5th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: easy, <15mins, quick, healthy, low-cal, sauces
Serves: 4-6 | Prep time: 2 mins | Cook time: 5 mins

Jump to recipe |

KFC is one of the first fast foods I remember having when we first moved to Canada, and of course you HAVE to get the gravy when you have KFC. We were all obsessed with the gravy but my brother was the biggest fan of all. As the years went on and my older siblings moved away to uni, it was just my mom and I and we would occasionally get the Tuesday KFC deal at the food court in the mall near our house and the gravy has always been a staple. Now every time I have KFC gravy I’m transported back to the good ol’ family days of us huddled around a bucket with popcorn chicken. These days when Toby and I get KFC together, I always get a large popcorn chicken with not one, but TWO gravies because there’s only one gravy size in Australia and it’s never enough.

When I first came across this gravy recipe from RecipeTinEats, I was amazed by how quick and easy it was to make a copycat version of the KFC gravy and it’s also surprisingly low in calories. I’ve made it a bunch more times since with a few small tweaks. It goes amazing on everything, including these Healthy French Onion Meatballs.

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:

  • 4 Tbsps plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 beef stock cube (concentration 1 cube = 1 cup)
  • 1 chicken stock cube (concentration 1 cube = 1 cup)
  • 2.25 cups (560ml) hot water
  • 4 Tbsps (60g) unsalted butter
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine the flour, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. Set aside. In another bowl dissolve the beef stock cube and chicken stock cube in 2 cups of hot water. Set aside.

Put a saucepan on MED heat and dissolve the butter. Add in the flour mixture from step 1 to the butter and mix until combined. Add in a quarter cup of the stock at a time to the pan and mix thoroughly between each addition, making sure there are no clumps. Once you’ve finished adding all of the stock, taste and add salt if needed. Add more hot water if you prefer a runnier gravy. Turn off the heat and serve!

Summarized Recipe:

Copycat KFC Gravy (so easy and quick!)

Date Published: Sept 5th, 2022 | Last Updated: Sept 5th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: easy, <15mins, quick, healthy, low-cal, sauces
Serves: 4-6 | Prep time: 2 mins | Cook time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsps plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 beef stock cube (concentration 1 cube = 1 cup)
  • 1 chicken stock cube (concentration 1 cube = 1 cup)
  • 2.25 cups (560ml) hot water
  • 4 Tbsps (60g) unsalted butter
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the flour, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. Set aside.
  2. In another bowl dissolve the beef stock cube and chicken stock cube in 2 cups of hot water. Set aside.
  3. Put a saucepan on MED heat and dissolve the butter. Add in the flour mixture from step 1 to the butter and mix until combined. Add in a quarter cup of the stock at a time to the pan and mix thoroughly between each addition, making sure there are no clumps. Once you’ve finished adding all of the stock, taste and add salt if needed. Add more hot water if you prefer a runnier gravy. Turn off the heat and serve!

Grilled King Oyster Mushrooms


Date Published: Sept 5th, 2022 | Last Updated: Sept 5th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: easy, <15mins, appetizer, asian, sides, healthy, low-cal, snacks
Serves: depends on how much you make | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 5 mins per batch

Jump to recipe |

This recipe is simple, so easy, and cooks up quickly! King Oyster mushrooms are perfect for grilling due to its texture and also has a great chew. It makes a super quick appetizer, side dish or a snack. There’s not much to this recipe other than slicing the mushrooms and grilling or pan-frying with some salt and pepper. Done!

You can make as much or as little as your want. The mushrooms shrink a little when you cook them so keep that in mind. I always double the amount I plan to serve because I snack on them as I wait for the next batch to cook because they’re so damn delicious.

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:

  • Olive oil
  • King oyster mushrooms, sliced lengthwise to 1.5cm thickness (in any amount you want)
  • Salt & pepper

Directions:

In a large skillet or grill top on MED-HIGH heat, add a small drizzle of olive oil. Make sure the pan is very hot. Add the sliced king oyster mushrooms to the pan in a single layer (you may have to do this in multiple batches if you have a lot of mushrooms). Sprinkle salt and pepper over the top. Cook each side for 1-2 minutes until slightly golden brown. Remove from pan and repeat with the remaining mushrooms, adding in another small drizzle of olive oil each time. Serve immediately.

Summarized Recipe:

Grilled King Oyster Mushrooms

Date Published: Sept 5th, 2022 | Last Updated: Sept 5th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: easy, <15mins, appetizer, asian, sides, healthy, low-cal, snacks
Serves: depends on how much you make | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 5 mins per batch

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • King oyster mushrooms, sliced lengthwise to 1.5cm thickness (in any amount you want)
  • Salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet or grill top on MED-HIGH heat, add a small drizzle of olive oil. Make sure the pan is very hot. Add the sliced king oyster mushrooms to the pan in a single layer (you may have to do this in multiple batches if you have a lot of mushrooms). Sprinkle salt and pepper over the top. Cook each side for 1-2 minutes until slightly golden brown. Remove from pan and repeat with the remaining mushrooms, adding in another small drizzle of olive oil each time. Serve immediately.

Mussels in a Rich Tomato White Wine Sauce


Date Published: Aug 17th, 2022 | Last Updated: Aug 17th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: mains, easy, appetizers, <15mins, healthy, low-cal,
Serves: 2 | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Jump to recipe |

Travelling around Australia has really reinvigorated our love for mussels. We’ve hugged the coast throughout our travels and there is so much fresh seafood on offer around this beautiful country! We never skip an opportunity to visit a seafood farm, especially one with mussels. Mussels are traditionally offered in two ways: a white wine garlic broth or a tomato based sauce. This is where Toby and I differ in opinions – I’ve always loved the white wine option whereas Toby will no doubt choose the tomato base.

I’m still working on making the best leek and white wine mussels recipe, but today I finally perfected the BEST tomato sauce base and I’m so excited to add it to the collection and share it with everyone! We’ve had a LOT of mussels in tomato sauce throughout our travels (once I ate mussels every day for 5 days – srsly), some were better than others, but our all time favourite style was served in Cervantes, Western Australia, where they had a spicy rich tomato sauce that was so different from a classic thin tomato broth. The thick sauce was so flavourful and delicious that we came back the next day and ordered it again. I’m so happy to finally be able to recreate that dish. This recipe achieves the thick and rich tomato sauce and you can adjust it to make it as mild or spicy as you like. The original recipe is from Bar Alto on the Gourmet Traveller, but with a few changes to make it the mussel recipe of my dreams.

What is Polpa?

One of the main contributors to this thick and rich tomato sauce is Polpa, which is finely chopped tomatoes in a can. It’s finer and thicker than regular diced tomatoes, and some say it’s higher quality and tend to be sweeter. The most common brand of polpa in Australia groceries is Mutti and they come in a few different varieties and flavours. I’ve used the basic one in this recipe (see photo). If you can’t find polpa in your store, just use regular diced tomatoes in a can.

The recipe also uses fresh roma tomatoes, blanched and diced with the skin removed. It’s not super important to remove the skin, but when you simmer diced tomatoes, the skin tends to peel off in the sauce and curl into little fibrous pieces which is still completely fine to eat, but it just adds a little extra texture and takes a little longer for the tomatoes to break down. It’s worth the extra few minutes and effort to remove the skin.

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:

  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 long red chili, finely chopped (deseed it if you prefer less spicy)
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) dry white wine (ie. Sauvignon blanc)
  • 1kg live mussels, washed and debearded
  • 1 can (400g) polpa tomato (or chopped canned tomatoes)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 Tbsps fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsps fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Serve with some crusty bread for dipping

Directions:

Prepare the tomatoes: Bring a small pot of water to a boil and cut a cross at the base of each tomato. Place the tomatoes in the boiling water until the skin starts to peel off (~1-2 mins). Place the tomatoes in an ice bath or under cold running water and peel off the skin. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and set aside.

Cook the mussels: In a pot on MED-HIGH heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and sauté the garlic and chili for 1 minute until fragrant. Add in the white wine and mussels. Stir and put the lid on. Cook the mussels for 4-5 mins until they all open up. Once cooked, use a slotted spoon and remove the mussels and divide it evenly amongst two serving bowls, reserving the liquid in the pot.

Make the sauce: Add the chopped peeled roma tomatoes from step 1, a can of polpa tomato, and paprika to the reserved liquid in the pot. Mix and turn the heat up to HIGH. Let the sauce simmer and evaporate until you get a thick tomato sauce (~5 mins). Mix in the chopped parsley and basil and season salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat and divide the sauce evenly over the cooked mussels. Serve with toasted crusty bread. Enjoy!

Summarized Recipe:

Mussels in a Rich Tomato White Wine Sauce

Date Published: Aug 17th, 2022 | Last Updated: Aug 17th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: mains, easy, appetizers, <15mins, healthy, low-cal,
Serves: 2 | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 long red chili, finely chopped (deseed it if you prefer less spicy)
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) dry white wine (ie. Sauvignon blanc)
  • 1kg live mussels, washed and debearded
  • 1 can (400g) polpa tomato (or chopped canned tomatoes)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 Tbsps fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsps fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Serve with some crusty bread for dipping

Directions:

  1. Prepare the tomatoes: Bring a small pot of water to a boil and cut a cross at the base of each tomato. Place the tomatoes in the boiling water until the skin starts to peel off (~1-2 mins). Place the tomatoes in an ice bath or under cold running water and peel off the skin. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and set aside.
  2. Cook the mussels: In a pot on MED-HIGH heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and sauté the garlic and chili for 1 minute until fragrant. Add in the white wine and mussels. Stir and put the lid on. Cook the mussels for 4-5 mins until they all open up. Once cooked, use a slotted spoon and remove the mussels and divide it evenly amongst two serving bowls, reserving the liquid in the pot.
  3. Make the sauce: Add the chopped peeled roma tomatoes from step 1, a can of polpa tomato, and paprika to the reserved liquid in the pot. Mix and turn the heat up to HIGH. Let the sauce simmer and evaporate until you get a thick tomato sauce (~5 mins). Mix in the chopped parsley and basil and season salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat and divide the sauce evenly over the cooked mussels. Serve with toasted crusty bread. Enjoy!

Quick and So Easy 2-Ingredient Naan


Date Published: Aug 17th, 2022 | Last Updated: Aug 17th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: <15mins, easy, appetizers, sides, breads, quick and easy, snacks
Serves: 6 pieces | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 4 mins per piece x 6

Jump to recipe |

This two-ingredient naan is easy, fuss-free, and makes a quick side dish to any saucy dish or soup. I originally found the recipe from a Coles weekly magazine and was amazed that it actually turned out well (after a couple tweaks)! It has a beautiful fluffy texture with the classic chewiness of naan. It’s super quick: no yeast, no resting time, no proofing, and minimal kneading. It’s great for a last minute on-the-go side dish. All you need are two ingredients: Greek yogurt and self-raising flour in a 1:1 ratio by weight.

You’ve got to give this simple recipe a try – you’ll be amazed by how quick and easy it comes together!

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:

  • 280g Greek yogurt
  • 280g self-raising flour + more for kneading
  • 1 Tbsp cooking salt (optional to leave out if you’re pairing it with a salty dish)
  • For brushing: 100g melted butter (or olive oil)
  • Garnish: 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Directions:

In a bowl, combine the Greek yogurt and self-raising flour until you get a loose sticky dough. Turn the dough over on a floured surface and knead by hand until you get a smooth ball of dough (~5mins). Add more flour as needed until the dough is no longer sticky.

Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and use a rolling pin to flatten each one into 1cm thickness round or oval shapes. Make sure it’s not too thick since they puff up and double in thickness once cooked.

Heat up a flat pan/skillet on MED-HIGH heat. Brush the melted butter (or olive oil) on one side of the naan and cook oiled side down for 2 mins until it puffs up and bubbles. Brush the other side with butter/oil before flipping and cook for another 1-2 mins or until golden brown then remove from the pan. Repeat with the rest of the dough balls. Brush with a bit more butter on each side before serving.

If making garlic naan, brush the naan with a butter/garlic parsley mixture instead.

Summarized Recipe:

Quick and So Easy 2-Ingredient Naan

Date Published: Aug 17th, 2022 | Last Updated: Aug 17th, 2022
Author: Abby |Category: <15mins, easy, appetizers, sides, breads, quick and easy, snacks
Serves: 6 pieces | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 4 mins per piece x 6

Ingredients:

  • 280g Greek yogurt
  • 280g self-raising flour + more for kneading
  • 1 Tbsp cooking salt
  • For brushing: 100g melted butter (or olive oil)
  • Garnish: 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, combine the Greek yogurt and self-raising flour until you get a loose sticky dough.
  2. Turn the dough over on a floured surface and knead by hand until you get a smooth ball of dough (~5mins). Add more flour as needed until the dough is no longer sticky.
  3. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and use a rolling pin to flatten each one into 1cm thickness round or oval shapes. Make sure it’s not too thick since they puff up and double in thickness once cooked.
  4. Heat up a flat pan/skillet on MED-HIGH heat. Brush the melted butter (or olive oil) on one side of the naan and cook oiled side down for 2 mins until it puffs up and bubbles. Brush the other side with butter/oil before flipping and cook for another 1-2 mins or until golden brown then remove from the pan. Repeat with the rest of the dough balls. Brush with a bit more butter on each side before serving.
    • If making garlic naan, brush the naan with a butter/garlic parsley mixture instead.

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

Jump to recipe |

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.

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.

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.

Smoked Salmon Spread


Date Published: Dec 14th, 2021 | Last Updated: Dec 14th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: easy, <15 mins, appetizers, on the go, quick, dips, snacks
Serves: 1 large bowl or 6 bagel spreads | Prep time: 10 mins | Mix time: 2 mins

Jump to recipe |

This is one of my all time favourite dips. I’m surprised it has taken me this long to write it up! A good cream cheese bagel has always been one of my weaknesses. When I did a vet student placement in New York years ago, there was a bagel cart parked outside of the American Medical Centre. Every morning I’d get an ‘everything bagel with cream cheese’ and it was always the best part of my morning because he loaded it with so much cream cheese 😛. One day I walked up to the cart and before I even spoke, he already started apologizing that he had sold out of the ‘everything bagel’. Although I was disappointed, I was more surprised that he actually remembered me and it was nice the have a bagel guy that knows my “usual”. (Don’t worry guys, I got a plain bagel instead, and it had just as much cream cheese 😜). Aaaaanyways, I digress. The point of that story is that I really fucking love bagels and cream cheese – but what’s even better? Smoked salmon and cream cheese! You’ll commonly find “lox” on the menu of a bagel shop in New York (lox and cold smoked salmon are often used interchangeably, although lox isn’t always smoked). It’s usually served on a toasted bagel with cream cheese, capers, dill, and red onion. Mmmmmmmmm. This recipe is essentially all of those ingredients blended together to make a quick and easy salmon spread.

This dip is perfect to serve as a dip at a party served with some fancy crackers, or as a quick and easy snack or breakfast spread over a warm toasted bagel.

What type of salmon?

I prefer to use cold-smoked salmon for this recipe (the fancy pieces of sliced pink heaven). I usually buy them in big packages from Costco so it’s a little cheaper and it’s also a great way to use up the remainder of the smoked salmon before it goes off. Blending it with the cream cheese and other ingredients preserves it a little longer. It also gives you a break from eating straight up smoked salmon because you bought too much from Costco because it was so cheap… You can also use smoked trout which is a little cheaper and to me, they taste very similar.

You can also used canned smoked salmon instead which will make this recipe even cheaper to make, however the canned version will have a more robust fishy taste so you’ll either have to use less of it in this recipe or increase the rest of the ingredients. It also won’t have the pretty pink colour so your dip won’t have the blush pink colour, but flavour wise is similar.

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!

Recipe originally adapted from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/233564/the-best-smoked-salmon-spread/

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1 package (8oz/226g) cream cheese, softened
  • 150g smoked salmon (cold smoked sliced or canned*)
  • 1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained
  • 3 Tbsps fresh dill, (leaves only, no stem)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 drops hot pepper sauce (ie Tabasco) OR 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 2 Tbsps fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsps green onion, chopped (optional)

Directions:

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until creamy/smooth.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or best overnight before serving. Enjoy!

Serve spread on a toasted bagel or as a dip with crackers.

Notes:

  • Halve the recipe if you’re making it for yourself for breakfast. It’s a large portion and you’ll end up eating it for a week trying to finish it before it goes off. Speaking from my own experience 😜.
  • *If you’re using canned smoked salmon, the fish flavour will be more robust and you may have to use a little less of it or increase the other ingredients to adjust.

Summarized Recipe:

Smoked Salmon Spread

Date Published: Dec 14th, 2021 | Last Updated: Dec 14th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: easy, <15 mins, appetizers, on the go, quick, dips, snacks
Serves: 1 large bowl or 6 bagel spreads | Prep time: 10 mins | Mix time: 2 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (8oz/226g) cream cheese, softened
  • 150g smoked salmon (cold smoked sliced or canned*)
  • 1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained
  • 3 Tbsps fresh dill, (leaves only, no stem)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 drops hot pepper sauce (ie Tabasco) OR 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 2 Tbsps fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsps green onion, chopped (optional)

Directions:

  1. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until creamy/smooth.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or best overnight before serving. Enjoy!
    • Serve spread on a toasted bagel or as a dip with crackers.

Notes:

  • Halve the recipe if you’re making it for yourself for breakfast. It’s a large portion and you’ll end up eating it for a week trying to finish it before it goes off. Speaking from my own experience 😜.
  • *If you’re using canned smoked salmon, the fish flavour will be more robust and you may have to use a little less of it or increase the other ingredients to adjust.

So Easy Healthy Chocolate Mousse


Date Published: Oct 10th, 2021 | Last Updated: Oct 10th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: quick, easy, healthy, vegetarian, dessert, low-cal, <15mins
Serves: 4-6 | Prep time: 5 mins | Blend time: 1 min

Jump to recipe |

Get ready for a quick, easy, healthy, vegan, sugar-free, low-carb chocolate mousse! Sounds too good to be true, right? I promise it’s worth a try. Chocolate mousse is one of Toby’s all-time favourite desserts and although this isn’t quite as good as his favourite version, it still got his official stamp of approval for being pretty damn good especially since it’s a healthy alternative! He can gorge on this guilt-free and better yet, it’s SO easy to make.

This mousse isn’t as fluffy and light as a traditional chocolate mousse but it’s still packed with chocolatey flavour and just as creamy because it uses avocados as the main ingredient. You can eat this on its own with some diced strawberries or alternatively choose to use it as a frosting on a cake or as a stuffing in a pastry.

What makes this recipe so amazing?

Quick and easy – Just blend all the ingredients together. It comes together in 15 minutes, perfect for a quick snack or last minute dessert plans.

Vegan – No dairy products are used. Avocados are the main ingredient that gives this mousse its creamy velvety texture.

Sugar-free – Medjool dates are the best kept secret to replacing sugars in a recipe without adding any extra flavour! You can alternatively use honey or maple syrup if you don’t have any dates on hand.

Low-carb – Compared to a regular chocolate mousse, the only ‘carb-y’ ingredient in this recipe are the dates. No extra added sugars

Healthy – avocados, dates, and soy milk make up the bulk of 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:

  • 24 pitted dried Medjool dates
  • 4 ripe hass avocados, pitted with the flesh scooped out (~500g of flesh)
  • 1/2 cup natural cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup dutch cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup soy milk (or any milk alternative)

Directions:

Soak the dates in hot water for 10 mins until soft (this will help the dates blend easier).

Drain the dates and blend the rest of the ingredients (avocados, cocoa powders, salt, vanilla, soy milk) together until you get a smooth mousse texture. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed. Add more soy milk if too thick, or more soaked dates if not sweet enough. Serve!

Summarized Recipe:

So Easy Healthy Chocolate Mousse

Date Published: Oct 10th, 2021 | Last Updated: Oct 10th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: quick, easy, healthy, vegetarian, dessert, low-cal, <15mins
Serves: 4-6 | Prep time: 5 mins | Blend time: 1 min

Ingredients:

  • 24 pitted medjool dates
  • 4 ripe hass avocados, pitted with the flesh scooped out (~480g of flesh)
  • 1/2 cup natural cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup dutch cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup soy milk (or more to your liking)

Directions:

  1. Soak the dates in hot water for 10 mins until soft (this will help the dates blend easier).
  2. Drain the dates and blend the rest of the ingredients (avocados, cocoa powders, salt, vanilla, soy milk) together until you get a smooth mousse texture. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed. Add more soy milk if too thick, or more soaked dates if not sweet enough. Serve!