Chicken and Sweet Corn Dumplings


Date Published: Sept 14th, 2021 | Last Updated: Sept 14th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: < 30mins, easy, low-cal, healthy, asian, quick, mains, snacks
Serves: ~100 dumplings | Prep time: 15 mins + time to wrap | Cook time: 10 mins

Jump to recipe |

When Toby and I took a trip to Alice Springs early last year, a local dumpling house called Confucius Palace Dumpling Restaurant came up on our radar when looking for places to eat. I’m always skeptical of asian restaurants located in a predominantly non-asian town but we were both pleasantly surprised by how good the dumplings were! Our favourites were the lamb and onion dumplings and the chicken and sweet corn dumplings which is the recipe I’m publishing today! Both dumplings are actually quite simplistic in their ingredients and super quick to make which is fantastic for a quick and easy meal. Dumplings also store very well in the freezer so you can whip up a big batch and save them for a rainy day when you don’t feel like cooking.

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:

  • Dumpling Filling:
    • 1kg chicken mince
    • 2 cans of super sweet corn
    • 2 Tbsps soy sauce
    • 3 Tbsps chicken stock powder
    • 3 tsp white pepper
    • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • Two packets of dumpling wrappers

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients of the dumpling filling in a bowl: chicken mince, sweet corn, soy sauce, chicken stock powder, white pepper, and sugar.

Wrap the dumplings.

You can either cook the dumplings right away or store them in the freezer. Make sure the dumplings aren’t touching when you freeze them or else they’ll all stick together in a block. Once they’re frozen you can transfer them into a container or plastic freezer bag. Check out this post on how to cook dumplings – 2 ways.

Summarized Recipe:

Chicken and Sweet Corn Dumplings

Date Published: Sept 14th, 2021 | Last Updated: Sept 14th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: < 30mins, easy, low-cal, healthy, asian, quick, mains, snacks
Serves: ~100 dumplings | Prep time: 15 mins + time to wrap | Cook time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

  • Dumpling Filling:
    • 1kg chicken mince
    • 2 cans of super sweet corn
    • 2 Tbsps soy sauce
    • 3 Tbsps chicken stock powder
    • 3 tsp white pepper
    • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • Two packets of dumpling wrappers

Directions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients of the dumpling filling in a bowl: chicken mince, sweet corn, soy sauce, chicken stock powder, white pepper, and sugar.
  2. Wrap the dumplings.
  3. You can either cook the dumplings right away or store them in the freezer.
    • Check out this post on how to cook dumplings – 2 ways.
    • Make sure the dumplings aren’t touching when you freeze them or else they’ll all stick together in a block. Once they’re frozen you can transfer them into a container or plastic freezer bag.

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!

Healthy “Creamy” Chicken Thyme Mushroom Spinach Soup


Date Published: Sept 5th, 2022 | Last Updated: Sept 5th, 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

Jump to recipe |

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 and soy milk.

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:

  • 600g white button mushrooms (400g chopped, 200g sliced)
  • 3 large enoki mushrooms, sliced (optional for extra texture)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsps plain flour
  • 4 cups (1 litre) chicken stock
  • 2 dried or 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsps fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cups soy milk (optional, for extra creaminess)
  • 4 cups (100g) kale and/or spinach leaves, stalks removed, chopped
  • 2 cups 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 and enoki 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 and garlic 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 and turn a deep brown colour. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and mix together for 1 minute until all the liquid is absorbed. Pour in a few splashes of chicken 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 stock and add in the bay leaves and thyme 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). Add in the soy milk and bring to a simmer again. Stir in the cooked mushrooms that was set aside in step 1, kale/spinach leaves, and/or shredded chicken (if using). Warm through and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Done!

Summarized Recipe:

Healthy “Creamy” Chicken Thyme Mushroom Spinach Soup

Date Published: Sept 5th, 2022 | Last Updated: Sept 5th, 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)
  • 3 large enoki mushrooms, sliced (optional for extra texture)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsps plain flour
  • 4 cups (1 litre) chicken stock
  • 2 dried or 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsps fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cups soy milk (optional, for extra creaminess)
  • 4 cups (100g) kale and/or spinach leaves, stalks removed, chopped
  • 2 cups 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 and enoki 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 and garlic 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 and turn a deep brown colour.
  3. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and mix together for 1 minute until all the liquid is absorbed. Pour in a few splashes of chicken 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 stock and add in the bay leaves and thyme 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.
  4. 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).
  5. Add in the soy milk and bring to a simmer again. Stir in the cooked mushrooms that was set aside in step 1, kale/spinach leaves, and/or shredded chicken (if using). Warm through and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Done!

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

Jump to recipe |

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

Jump to recipe |
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!

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.

Lamb and Onion Dumplings


Date Published: Dec 24th, 2021 | Last Updated: Dec 24th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: Asian, easy, < 30mins, mains
Serves: 100 dumplings | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Jump to recipe |

Every time Toby and I travel, we’re always looking for the best local eats with the highest reviews. We might be stingy on hotel rooms, but we never skimp on good food. When we were exploring Alice Springs, a local dumpling house came up on our radar called Confucius Palace Dumpling Restaurant. I always question the authenticity of Chinese restaurants especially when they’re in a rural setting with very few Asian people around and even more skeptical when most of the reviews were posted by non-Asian people. I didn’t hold my breath because I’ve been let down too many times, but we were both pleasantly surprised! We ordered a few different types of dumplings, but our favourite was the lamb and onion (their chicken and corn wasn’t bad either). I had never had lamb in a dumpling until now and it was delicious! It went straight to my list of things to recreate when I got home and here it is! This recipe took a little trial and error, but I think I’ve got it pretty close to what it was in the restaurant. The filling is surprisingly basic and contains minimal ingredients. Most dumpling fillings include a lot of chopping, but not this one! You can whip up the filling in as quick as 15 mins and the rest is just wrapping. If you’re ever in Alice Springs, I’d highly recommend trying out that dumpling place!

You can pan-fry them or boil them (scroll to the end to see instructions on how to do either). I find boiling is best with this type of filling. They’re best served hot and eaten straight away. They’re not quite as good when microwaved.

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:

  • Filling:
    • 2.5 cups onions diced (1 large or two small)
    • 1kg lamb mince
    • 6 Tbsps soy sauce
    • 3 tsps white pepper
    • 1/2 cup shaoxing wine (Chinese cooking wine)
  • Dumpling wrappers (2 packs = ~100 wrappers)

Directions:

Sauté the onion in a pan with a drizzle of oil until the onion becomes translucent and softened. Then turn off the heat and set aside to cool.

Add the rest of the ingredients to a mixing bowl: lamb, soy sauce, white pepper, shaoxing wine. When the onion has cooled, add it to the bowl and mix everything together. You’re ready to wrap!

After wrapping them, you can either cook them straight away (see instructions below), or freeze them. When freezing, arrange the dumplings neatly in a tray and try not to let them all touch or else they’ll stick together when frozen. Once the dumplings are frozen, you can place them in an airtight container or bag.

How to Cook Dumplings:

Check out this post on detailed step-by-step instructions.

How to Cook Dumplings – 2 ways!


In this entry, I’m sharing the two ways I cook my dumplings: pan-fried and boiled. I find boiling is best for dumplings that have a filling with a stronger flavour. Pan-frying is better in fillings with a lighter flavour where you can notice the extra fried toastiness.… Continue reading →

Summarized Recipe:

Lamb & Onion Dumplings

Date Published: Dec 24th, 2021 | Last Updated: Dec 24th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: Asian, easy, < 30mins, mains
Serves: 100 dumplings | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Ingredients:

  • Filling:
    • 2.5 cups onions diced (1 large or two small)
    • 1kg lamb mince
    • 6 Tbsps soy sauce
    • 3 tsps white pepper
    • 1/2 cup shaoxing wine (Chinese cooking wine)
  • Dumpling wrappers (2 packs = ~100 wrappers)

Directions:

  1. Sauté the onion in a pan with a drizzle of oil until the onion becomes translucent and softened. Then turn off the heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to a mixing bowl: lamb, soy sauce, white pepper, shaoxing wine. When the onion has cooled, add it to the bowl and mix everything together. You’re ready to wrap!

Check out post above on how to cook dumplings

Toum (Lebanese Garlic Sauce)


Date Published: Sept 27th, 2021 | Last Updated: Sept 27th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: <30 mins, appetizers, sauce, easy, vegetarian
Serves: 1 large bowl (4 cups) | Prep time: 15 mins | Mix time: 20 mins

Jump to recipe |

This recipe is for all you garlic lovers out there. If you’ve never had toum before, you’re in for a treat! It’s a Lebanese whipped garlic sauce with the most amazing intense garlic flavour. It goes well with meats, as a sandwich spread, or even a quick way to make garlic bread. It’s made with only 4 easy ingredients: garlic, oil, salt, and lemon juice. Although this sauce is technically easy to make, but it can be time-consuming. The key is patience. You need to drizzle the oil and lemon juice verrrry slowly – if you do it too quickly, the sauce won’t emulsify properly.

Make sure you use the freshest of ingredients for optimal flavour. This recipe yields a whopping 4 cups, but for the amount of effort you’re going to put in, you might as well make a big batch. It keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. This sauce also never seems to last long because its so damn delicious and versatile. I’ve just made a fresh batch today to have with shawarma and pita bread, and Toby has already gone through a quarter of it in one sitting. 😅

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:

You need about 1 cup of garlic cloves = ~2 bulbs of garlic. This is definitely a tedious process but well worth it.
  • 1 cup of garlic cloves (~2 bulbs), peeled with the fibrous tips cut off
  • 2 tsps kosher/cooking salt
  • 3 cups neutral oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Put the garlic cloves and salt in a food processor and blend until the garlic is minced.

Add in a couple tablespoons of oil and blend until you get a thick paste.

Next, SLOWLY drizzle the oil and lemon juice into the food processor, alternating between the two. Emphasis on the SLOW – you want a 1-2mm stream while you’re drizzling it in. If you pour it in too fast, your sauce will separate and won’t be light and fluffy. This process should take about 10-15 mins. Scrape down the sides as needed. You should have a light and fluffy white garlic paste by the end. Enjoy! Store in an air tight container.

Summarized Recipe:

Toum (Lebanese Garlic Sauce)

Date Published: Sept 27th, 2021 | Last Updated: Sept 27th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: <30 mins, appetizers, sauce, easy, vegetarian
Serves: 1 large bowl (4 cups) | Prep time: 15 mins | Mix time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of garlic cloves (~2 bulbs), peeled with the fibrous tips cut off
  • 2 tsps kosher/cooking salt
  • 3 cups neutral oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Put the garlic cloves and salt in a food processor and blend until the garlic is minced.
  2. Add in a couple tablespoons of oil and blend until you get a thick paste.
  3. Next, SLOWLY drizzle the oil and lemon juice into the food processor, alternating between the two. Emphasis on the SLOW – you want a 1-2mm stream while you’re drizzling it in. If you pour it in too fast, your sauce will separate and won’t be light and fluffy. This process should take about 10-15 mins. Scrape down the sides as needed. You should have a light and fluffy white garlic paste by the end. Enjoy! Store in an air tight container.

Curry Zucchini Soup


Date Published: Sept 26th, 2021 | Last Updated: Sept 26th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: soups, healthy, easy, mains, <30 mins, low-cal, vegetarian
Serves: 4-6 (1 large pot) | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 40 mins

Jump to recipe |

This curry zucchini soup is quick, easy and healthy. The bulk of the soup is just zucchinis so its also low in calories as well. This is the perfect weekday meal with minimal effort. Serve it with some croutons, bread, or even toss in leftover shredded roast chicken or vegetables.

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 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 5 zucchinis, diced (~8 cups)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tsps curry powder
  • 6 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 1/3 cup basmati rice
  • Cayenne powder to taste (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large pot on MED heat, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until the onion starts to soften (~5mins).

(A yellow onion will be fine. I only had red onion on hand at the time.)

2. Add in the zucchinis, salt, and curry powder and cook for another minute.

3. Next add the chicken stock and rice. Turn the heat up to HIGH until it boils, then reduce the heat to gently simmer for 30 mins with the lid on (or until the zucchini is very soft).

4. After 30 mins, take the pot off heat and use a stick blender to purée the soup until smooth. Return the pot back onto heat and adjust salt, black pepper, and cayenne to taste. Enjoy!

Summarized Recipe:

Curry Zucchini Soup

Date Published: Sept 26th, 2021 | Last Updated: Sept 26th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: soups, healthy, easy, mains, <30 mins, low-cal, vegetarian
Serves: 4-6 (1 large pot) | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 40 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 5 zucchinis, diced (~8 cups)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tsps curry powder
  • 6 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 1/3 cup basmati rice
  • Cayenne powder to taste (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large pot on MED heat, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until the onion starts to soften (~5mins).
  2. Add in the zucchinis, salt, and curry powder and cook for another minute.
  3. Next add the chicken stock and rice. Turn the heat up to HIGH until it boils, then reduce the heat to gently simmer for 30 mins with the lid on (or until the zucchini is very soft).
  4. After 30 mins, take the pot off heat and use a stick blender to purée the soup until smooth. Return the pot back onto heat and adjust salt, black pepper, and cayenne to taste. Enjoy!

Roasted Red Pepper Zucchini Fritters


Date Published: Sept 26th, 2021 | Last Updated: Sept 26th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: mains, sides, snacks, easy, healthy, < 15mins, appetizers, low cal, vegetarian
Serves: 8 large fritters | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Jump to recipe |

This past weekend Toby and I discovered a discount produce market only 10 mins near our new place in Western Australia. The market is held every Saturday at a large produce distribution centre and at the end of every week they sell BOXES of leftover produce that didn’t get sold to the shops for CHEAP. We got an entire box of zucchinis (that’s ~40 zucchinis!) for only $5. We also got a box of 45 red bell peppers (known as capsicums in Oz) for only $10. The deals were insaneeeeee. Toby and I love a good market and even better yet we LOVE a good deal. So now we have a shit ton of zucchini and capsicums that we have to use up – we just can’t pass a good deal. For the past week I’ve been researching and experimenting with different zucchini and capsicum recipes. I decided to roast most of the capsicums so they keep longer and its just so versatile to use in sauces, spreads, topping in salads, marinades…etc. With the zucchinis I’ve made a few soups that have turned out pretty well and of course this fritters recipe has definitely been a winner. I’m sharing this recipe as the first of many capsicum/zucchini recipes that is to come. We’ve made these twice now and they’ve turned out great each time. They’re so easy to make, packed full of vegetables, healthy, and quick to make.

Only $15 for the lot!!

This recipe makes 8 large patties. You can eat these on their own, in a burger, or served with a dipping sauce. Our favourite is to have it with a side of garlic aioli. You can even form them smaller and serve it as an appetizer or a snack. They store pretty well in the freezer as long as you cook them first. To keep it healthy, we’ve air-fried them (which was actually a bit of a pain to do them in batches because we only have a small air-frier 😅), but you can also shallow-fry them for optimal crunch, or bake them.

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:

  • 5 cups (~3 medium) zucchini, grated* (see note)
  • 3 roasted red peppers, diced small (you can buy them in jars to roast them yourself)
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 cups panko
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 4 large eggs, beaten

*Grate the zucchini with a food processor if you have one so the zucchini retains its moisture. If you grate it by hand, the zucchini becomes watery and your batter will be more wet. If you don’t have a food processor and only have a box grater, then add a couple tablespoons of flour to your batter until you get a consistency thick enough to form into patties.

Directions:

  1. Combine everything except for the eggs in a large bowl and mix well: zucchini, roasted red peppers, red onion, panko, parmesan, salt, and white pepper.

2. Once everything is combined, add in the beaten eggs and form the batter into 8 evenly-sized patties. (If your batter is a little wet, add in a few tablespoons of flour to thicken it up.)

3. Air-fry at 180˚C for 10-15mins until crispy on the outside. Alternatively you can fry them with some oil in a shallow pan until crispy or bake them at 200˚C for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Serve on its own or with a dipping sauce. Enjoy!

Summarized Recipe:

Roasted Red Pepper Zucchini Fritters

Date Published: Sept 26th, 2021 | Last Updated: Sept 26th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: mains, sides, snacks, easy, healthy, < 15mins, appetizers, low cal, vegetarian
Serves: 8 large fritters | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups (~3 medium) zucchini, grated* (see note)
  • 3 roasted red peppers, diced small (you can buy them in jars to roast them yourself)
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 cups panko
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 4 large eggs, beaten

Directions:

  1. (Preheat the oven to 200˚C if you’re going to be baking them.)
  2. Combine everything except for the eggs in a large bowl and mix well: zucchini, roasted red peppers, red onion, panko, parmesan, salt, and white pepper.
  3. Once everything is combined, add in the beaten eggs and form the batter into 8 evenly-sized patties. (If your batter is a little wet, add in a few tablespoons of flour to thicken it up.)
  4. 3. Air-fry at 180˚C for 10-15mins until crispy on the outside. Alternatively you can fry them with some oil in a shallow pan until crispy or bake them at 200˚C for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Serve on its own or with a dipping sauce. Enjoy!