Spicy Basil Chicken Stir-Fry


Date Published: March 26th, 2021 | Last Updated: March 26th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: asian, quick & easy, healthy, low calorie, <30 mins
Serves: 4 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

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Get ready for a quick and easy, healthy, low-calorie, and flavourful stir-fry! Sounds too good to be true? It isn’t! The great thing about this recipe is that it’s super versatile – you can add just about any veggies you want to this dish, perfect for clearing out the fridge at the end of the week. The flavourful sauce is just oyster sauce but when cooked in all the released juices of the chicken and the liquid from the veggies, it becomes damn delicious and magical. Serve over a warm bed of rice or toss in some noodles.

You can easily change the amount of spiciness of this dish. This recipe is suited for a mild to moderate amount of spice, but feel free to kick it up a notch by adding more chilis or use a spicier type of chilli instead. A good chilli oil would do well in this dish too.

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 Tbsps olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 long red chillis, sliced and deseeded (feel free to use a stronger chilli if you prefer it spicier)
  • 1 medium onion, diced to 2cm squares
  • 6 chicken thighs (~600g), deboned and skinless
  • 1.5 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup oyster sauce
  • 300g (3 cups) white button mushrooms
  • 1 can of baby corn (fresh is fine as well)
  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsps cornstarch
  • 1 handful (~2 cups) of fresh basil leaves

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large pan/wok on MED-HIGH heat and sauté the garlic, chilli, and diced onion for a few minutes until the onion starts to turn translucent.

Add in the chicken, sugar, and black pepper, and continue cooking until the outside of the chicken turns white (don’t cook through the chicken completely, just the outside).

Add the mushrooms, baby corn, carrots, and oyster sauce to the pan and cook until the chicken is done. (The veg should be done at the same time as the chicken.)

At this stage, your sauce should be runny/watery. Take out a few spoonfuls of the sauce into a small bowl and mix in the cornstarch until well combined. Add the cornstarch mixture back into the pan and mix everything around for a couple minutes. Your sauce should now be thicker.

Feel free to add more cornstarch mixture if you prefer your sauce thicker – just don’t go crazy or else your dish might be goopy.

DO NOT add cornstarch directly to the pan or else it will form clumps. You must dissolve it in a separate bowl first!

Once the sauce is the right consistency, turn off the heat and stir in the fresh basil leaves. Serve over rice. Enjoy!

Summarized Recipe:

Spicy Basil Chicken Stir-Fry

Date Published: March 26th, 2021 | Last Updated: March 26th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: asian, quick & easy, healthy, low calorie, <30 mins
Serves: 4 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsps olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 long red chilli, sliced and deseeded
  • 1 medium onion, diced to 2cm squares
  • 6 chicken thighs (~600g), deboned and skinless
  • 1.5 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup oyster sauce
  • 300g (3 cups) white button mushrooms
  • 1 can of baby corn (fresh is fine as well)
  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsps cornstarch
  • 1 handful (~2 cups) of fresh basil leaves

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan/wok on MED-HIGH heat and sauté the garlic, chilli, and diced onion for a few minutes until the onion starts to turn translucent.
  2. Add in the chicken, sugar, and black pepper, and continue cooking until the outside of the chicken turns white (don’t cook through the chicken completely, just the outside).
  3. Add the mushrooms, baby corn, carrots, and oyster sauce to the pan and cook until the chicken is done. (The veg should be done at the same time as the chicken.)
  4. At this stage, your sauce should be runny/watery. Take out a few spoonfuls of the sauce into a small bowl and mix in the cornstarch until well combined. Add the cornstarch mixture back into the pan and mix everything around for a couple minutes. Your sauce should now be thicker.
    • Feel free to add more cornstarch mixture if you prefer your sauce thicker – just don’t go crazy or else your dish might be goopy.
    • DO NOT add cornstarch directly to the pan or else it will form clumps. You must dissolve it in a separate bowl first!
  5. Once the sauce is the right consistency, turn off the heat and stir in the fresh basil leaves. Serve over rice. Enjoy!

Favourite Roasted Pumpkin Spinach Soup


Date Published: March 22nd, 2021 | Last Updated: March 22nd, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: soups, vegetarian, easy, quick, healthy
Serves: 4 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 45 mins

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Of all the soups I make, this is probably one of the top go-to soups that Toby and I put together the most often. Why? Because it’s damn delicious, damn easy, healthy, low calorie and and filling. It even makes for an easy clean up. Sounds too good to be true, eh? The best part is that you don’t need to follow this recipe to a tee. You can add whatever veg you like to the roasting pan – which is a perfect way to sneak in extra veg for picky eaters or an even better way to clear out the fridge. All you gotta do to make this delicious soup is to roast the veggies, add some chicken stock, and blend it all up. That’s all! No cream, no butter, just a buttload of veg that keeps you full. If you ever follow the NY Times Cooking Blog, they occasionally post “no recipe recipes” which I think is a term that perfectly describes this type of recipe.

I’ve written the recipe as a guide to the basic version of the soup but feel free to swap out or add in any of the ingredients – the combinations of this soup are endless. I’ve made it with cauliflower, red pepper, zucchini…etc. If you want to bulk up this soup even more, you can add in rice and chicken as well. To make it indulgent, add a cup of cream at the end.

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 (~6 cups) pumpkin, peeled and diced
  • 3 cups (3 large stalks) celery, diced
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into quarters or eighths
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
  • 1.5 tsps paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 litre (4 cups) chicken stock
  • 4 cups loosely packed (120g) baby spinach leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 180˚C (375˚F).

Roast the veggies: In a large baking tray, add in: pumpkin, celery, onion, garlic, paprika, salt, and olive oil. Mix it all around and roast in the preheated oven until all the veggies are soft and breaks apart easily when cut with a wooden spoon (30-45 mins). Toss the veggies around halfway through to ensure even cooking.

Once the veggies are cooked, empty the contents of the baking tray into a pot and add in the chicken stock. Turn the heat on to MED-HIGH and let the soup come to a boil. Once the soup comes to a boil, turn the heat OFF and remove the pot from the heat*. Then use an immersion/stick blender and blend the soup until smooth.

*It’s very important that you remove the pot from heat before you start blending otherwise when the thickened soup starts boiling again it starts to splatter everywhere!

Add in the spinach and submerge it into the soup until the leaves become soft, then blend the soup again until everything is combined. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot!

(Tip: If you’re feeling indulgent you can add 1 cup of heavy cream at the end. I always leave out the cream to make it a healthy soup.)

Summarized Recipe:

Favourite Roasted Pumpkin Spinach Soup

Date Published: March 22nd, 2021 | Last Updated: March 22nd, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: soups, vegetarian, easy, quick, healthy
Serves: 4 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 45 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1kg (~6 cups) pumpkin, peeled and diced
  • 3 cups (3 large stalks) celery, diced
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into quarters or eighths
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
  • 1.5 tsps paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 litre (4 cups) chicken stock
  • 4 cups loosely packed (120g) baby spinach leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180˚C (375˚F).
  2. Roast the veggies: In a large baking tray, add in: pumpkin, celery, onion, garlic, paprika, salt, and olive oil. Mix it all around and roast in the preheated oven until all the veggies are soft and breaks apart easily when cut with a wooden spoon (30-45 mins). Toss the veggies around halfway through to ensure even cooking.
  3. Once the veggies are cooked, empty the contents of the baking tray into a pot and add in the chicken stock. Turn the heat on to MED-HIGH and let the soup come to a boil. Once the soup comes to a boil, turn the heat OFF and remove the pot from the heat*. Then use an immersion/stick blender and blend the soup until smooth.
    • *It’s very important that you remove the pot from heat before you start blending otherwise when the thickened soup starts boiling again it starts to splatter everywhere!
  4. Add in the spinach and submerge it into the soup until the leaves become soft, then blend the soup again until everything is combined. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot!

(Tip: If you’re feeling indulgent you can add 1 cup of heavy cream at the end. I always leave out the cream to make it a healthy soup.)

Warm Pumpkin Kale Pesto Bowl


Date Published: March 20th, 2021 | Last Updated: March 20th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: salads, easy, mains, vegetarian, healthy
Serves: 2 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

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Last weekend Toby’s parents came to visit us in Grafton, NSW and we took them for brunch at a local café called Heart & Soul, recommended by one of our nurses. Like many restaurants in the COVID-age, their menu was digital and after scrolling through a few options, this caught my eye: “Breaky Bruschetta Stack – Organic sourdough bread with sautéed mushrooms, tomato, kale, pumpkin, danish feta & H&S pesto. Can be made vegan & is also a great lunch option $17.90″. Usually when we eat out, I tend to get something hearty, meaty, and not at all healthy, but I wasn’t particularly hungry that morning so I decided to get something a little lighter from their limited menu. I wasn’t expecting too much since the ingredients seemed pretty basic but I was happily surprised! In a small town of pubs and cheap takeaway food, I was impressed by the wholesome food and myriad of hearty flavours that came through in this dish that not only made it super filling but it was damn delicious. If you’re ever in Grafton, NSW I’d recommend heading to this café.

True to my nature, of course I had to try and recreate the dish when I got home. This recipe is the result of my attempt at recreating the dish and I must say I’m pretty damn close. Even Toby, who’s not usually a fan of kale, enjoyed it! The feta and pesto flavours dominate this dish but are contrasted well by the sweetness of the warm roasted pumpkin and the juiciness of the sautéed mushrooms and tomatoes on a bed of soft massage kale. This hearty healthy dish is satisfying, filling, and a snap to put together. Serve it warmed or cooled.

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:

  • 500g (~3 cups) pumpkin, diced into 2cm cubes
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 bunch (~5 cups packed) curly leaf kale
  • 200g brown or white button mushrooms, cut into halves or quarters
  • Pinch of fresh or dried thyme
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced into 2cm cubes
  • 150-200g soft Danish Feta (Greek Feta is okay too but will have a stronger taste and you may want to use less of it)
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped (for garnish)
  • 2 poached eggs (optional)
  • 2 slices of sourdough bread or rye (optional)

Directions:

Roast the pumpkin: Preheat the oven to 180˚C (375˚F). In a bowl, mix together the diced pumpkin with a drizzle of olive oil, 1/4 tsp of paprika, and a pinch of salt. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 mins until golden. Set aside.

You can roast it in an air fryer as well to save some time.

Prepare the kale: While the pumpkin is roasting, prepare the kale by removing the leaves from the tough stems. Discard the stems. Wash and dry the leaves in a salad spinner. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt to the leaves and massage the kale with both hands until the leaves are soft and turn a darker shade of green (1-2 mins). Set aside.

Note: Massaging the kale well is KEY to this dish! Massaging it softens the kale and makes the flavour more subtle.

Poach 2 eggs (optional). Set aside.

In a skillet on MED-HIGH heat, add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan and sauté the mushrooms with a pinch of thyme until golden brown. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and add the diced tomatoes to the hot pan. Cook the tomatoes for a few minutes until they start to soften then add back in the mushrooms and cooked pumpkin to the skillet and mix around until everything is warmed through. Turn off the heat.

Butter and toast the sourdough (optional).

Assemble the salad: Divide evenly between 2 large plates: sourdough (if using) + massaged kale + roasted pumpkin/mushrooms/tomatoes + 4-5 spoonfuls of pesto + 4-5 spoonfuls of feta + 2 poached eggs (if using) + sprinkle of flat leaf parsley. Top with fresh cracked pepper. Serve warm!

Summarized Recipe:

Warm Pumpkin Kale Pesto Bowl

Date Published: March 20th, 2021 | Last Updated: March 20th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: salads, easy, mains, vegetarian, healthy
Serves: 2 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

Ingredients:

  • 500g (~3 cups) pumpkin, diced into 2cm cubes
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 bunch (~5 cups packed) curly leaf kale
  • 200g brown or white button mushrooms, cut into halves or quarters
  • Pinch of fresh or dried thyme
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced into 2cm cubes
  • 150-200g soft Danish Feta (Greek Feta is okay too but will have a stronger taste and you may want to use less of it)
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped (for garnish)
  • 2 poached eggs (optional)
  • 2 slices of sourdough bread or rye (optional)

Directions:

  1. Roast the pumpkin: Preheat the oven to 180˚C (375˚F). In a bowl, mix together the diced pumpkin with a drizzle of olive oil, 1/4 tsp of paprika, and a pinch of salt. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 mins until golden. Set aside.
    • You can roast it in an air fryer as well to save some time.
  2. Prepare the kale: While the pumpkin is roasting, prepare the kale by removing the leaves from the tough stems. Discard the stems. Wash and dry the leaves in a salad spinner. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt to the leaves and massage the kale with both hands until the leaves are soft and turn a darker shade of green (1-2 mins). Set aside.
  3. Poach 2 eggs (optional). Set aside.
  4. In a skillet on MED-HIGH heat, add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan and sauté the mushrooms with a pinch of thyme until golden brown. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and add the diced tomatoes to the hot pan. Cook the tomatoes for a few minutes until they start to soften then add back in the mushrooms and cooked pumpkin to the skillet and mix around until everything is warmed through. Turn off the heat.
  5. Butter and toast the sourdough (optional).
  6. Assemble the salad: Divide evenly between 2 large plates: sourdough (if using) + massaged kale + roasted pumpkin/mushrooms/tomatoes + 4-5 spoonfuls of pesto + 4-5 spoonfuls of feta + 2 poached eggs (if using) + sprinkle of flat leaf parsley. Top with fresh cracked pepper. Serve warm!

Creamy Mushroom Coconut Lentil Soup


Date Published: March 11th, 2021 | Last Updated: March 11th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: soups, mains, low calorie, vegetarian, healthy
Serves: 6 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 40 mins

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I’ve literally JUST made it up in the kitchen and thought it was too good not to add to the recipe collection. As an attempt to eat healthier, Toby and I have been cooking with more green lentils lately. Although higher in carbs, green lentils pack a ton of fibre which keeps you feeling full for longer, lowers cholesterol, and makes you regular (lol). Toby never thought he liked lentils but ever since we started cooking with them he’s realized that he has just never had them made properly!

This soup is not only packed with veggies, high in fibre, and healthy, but best of all it’s low in calories!! Each serving is only 280-380 calories (exact calories will depend on the brand of coconut milk and chicken stock you use). When I say “serving”, I don’t mean a dinky half-ladle bowl – I mean a decent sized bowl of soup that makes you feel satisfied and full. Sounds too good to be true, right?

This soup tastes creamy but not overly heavy. It’s a chicken stock-based soup cooked with onions, celery, a ton of mushrooms and fragranced with fresh thyme and lemon. The lentils add bulk to the soup and are cooked to your liking. The small amount of coconut milk (only half a can for the entire pot) is just enough to make it creamy and indulgent – you’ll forget this soup is low in calories!

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:

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 stalks of celery, diced
  • 500g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup (200g) green lentils
  • 4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme (roughly 1 Tbsp of fresh thyme leaves)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Lemon peel of 1 large lemon, sliced into large strips
  • 200ml (1/2 a can) coconut milk

Directions:

In a large pot on med-high heat, sauté the garlic in a few tablespoons of olive oil for 30 seconds until fragrant, then add in the diced onion and celery.

Cook until the celery softens then add in the sliced mushrooms. Continue sautéing for another 5 minutes until the mushrooms start to release their liquid.

Add in the rest of the ingredients to the pot: lentils, chicken stock, thyme, bay leaf, lemon peel, and coconut milk. Let the soup come to a boil, then turn the heat down to low-medium and let it simmer until the lentils are cooked to your liking (~25-30 mins), stirring occasionally.

Once the lentils are cooked, pick out the lemon peel, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves. Serve!

Summarized Recipe:

Creamy Mushroom Coconut Lentil Soup

Date Published: March 11th, 2021 | Last Updated: March 11th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: soups, mains, low calorie, vegetarian, healthy
Serves: 6 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 40 mins

Ingredients:

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 stalks of celery, diced
  • 500g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup (200g) green lentils
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme (roughly 1 Tbsp of fresh thyme leaves)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Lemon peel of 1 large lemon, sliced into large strips
  • 200ml (1/2 a can) coconut milk

Directions:

  1. In a large pot on med-high heat, sauté the garlic in a few tablespoons of olive oil for 30 seconds until fragrant, then add in the diced onion and celery. Cook until the celery softens then add in the sliced mushrooms. Continue sautéing for another 5 minutes until the mushrooms start to release their liquid.
  2. Add in the rest of the ingredients to the pot: lentils, chicken stock, thyme, bay leaf, lemon peel, and coconut milk. Let the soup come to a boil, then turn the heat down to low-medium and let it simmer until the lentils are cooked to your liking (~25-30 mins), stirring occasionally.
  3. Once the lentils are cooked, pick out the lemon peel, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves. Serve!

Chinese Lettuce Wraps (My version of a San Choy Bow)


Date Published: Feb 15th, 2021 | Last Updated: Feb 15th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: asian, healthy, quick and easy, sides, mains
Serves: 4 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

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If you’ve never had a san choy bow (aka Chinese lettuce wraps), you’ve been missing out on life, my friend. It’s a boldly flavourful stir-fry of minced veggies and ground pork served with a bowl of lettuce leaves where you DIY the wraps yourselves. The mince stir-fry is meant to be on the salty side and when paired with the crisp lettuce leaves it balances out the saltiness perfectly. The bold sauce is the heart of the dish – in fact, you can change up whatever veggies you want or substitute the protein for whatever you want (even tofu) and it won’t make too much of a difference as long as the sauce is right. It’s often made with oyster sauce, but I’ve chosen Hoisin sauce as my base because Hoisin is life. You may also see water chestnuts in many recipes for that extra crunch, but I struggle to find it nearby in my grocery stores so I use diced celery instead for the crunch and a little extra flavour. If you’re feeling fancy, you can add in some puffed rice noodles in it as well.

San choy bow is a pretty common dish in Chinese restaurants either served as a side dish or as a main – either way, there’s no neat way to eat it. Be prepared to have sauce drizzle down your hands no matter how careful you are. The first time I had it was at a Chinese restaurant in Brampton as a secondary dish to our peking duck – the first dish was the typical crispy duck skin wraps and the second dish was the meat of the duck stir-fried with Hoisin sauce and served in lettuce wraps. It was heaven. This recipe is my version of a san choy bow and its an homage to the dish I’ve loved for so long.

Not only is this dish delicious, it’s actually also pretty healthy, low-carb, gluten-free, and best of all really easy and quick to make! You can make everything in about 20 minutes and its also easily customizable and a great way to sneak veggies into the diet.

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:

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ginger, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large sticks of celery (or 3 medium ones), finely diced
  • 2 medium sized carrots, finely diced
  • 8 shiitake mushrooms, finely diced (fresh or dehydrated)
  • 500g lean pork mince
  • Iceberg lettuce for wrapping
  • Sauce:
    • 6 Tbsps Hoisin sauce
    • 3 Tbsps soy sauce
    • 1.5 Tbsps rice wine vinegar

Directions:

Finely dice all of your veg. Tip: if you’re feeling lazy you can put it in the food processor and pulse it until you get small pieces. If you’re using dehydrated shiitake mushrooms, rehydrate them by soaking them in hot water for 10-15 mins until soft.

In a wok on MED-HIGH heat, add a few tablespoons of oil and sauté the garlic, ginger and onion for 30 seconds until fragrant.

Add in the celery and carrots to the wok and continue sautéing for another 2 mins. Put a lid on the wok, turn the heat down to MED and let the veg steam for 5-10mins until they’re soft enough to break with a spatula. Stir occasionally to ensure the veg doesn’t burn. If the veg seems a bit dry or is burning before it softens, add a tablespoon of water and stir it around then put the lid back on to continue steaming.

While the veg is steaming, you can dice your rehydrated shiitake mushrooms, discarding the hard stems and wash the lettuce leaves. You can also trim the lettuce leaves to shape them like cups if you’re feeling fancy. I usually just eat them whole, but will put in the extra effort to trim them if I’m serving it out to friends.

Make the sauce by mixing together the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar. Set aside.

Once the veg has softened, add in the pork mince and mushrooms to the wok and stir-fry on MED-HIGH heat until the pork is cooked. Then pour in the hoisin sauce mixture and stir until combined. Done! Serve with iceberg lettuce leaves for wrapping and lots of napkins for the inevitable sauce to drip down your hands 😜.

Summarized Recipe:

Chinese Lettuce Wraps (My Version of a San Choy Bow)

Date Published: Feb 15th, 2021 | Last Updated: Feb 15th, 2021
Author: Abby |Category: asian, healthy, quick and easy
Serves: 4 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ginger, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large sticks of celery (or 3 medium ones), finely diced
  • 2 medium sized carrots, finely diced
  • 8 shiitake mushrooms, finely diced (fresh or dehydrated)
  • 500g lean pork mince
  • Iceberg lettuce for wrapping
  • Sauce:
    • 6 Tbsps Hoisin sauce
    • 3 Tbsps soy sauce
    • 1.5 Tbsps rice wine vinegar

Directions:

  1. Finely dice all of your veg. Tip: if you’re feeling lazy you can put it in the food processor and pulse it until you get small pieces. If you’re using dehydrated shiitake mushrooms, rehydrate them by soaking them in hot water for 10-15 mins until soft.
  2. In a wok on MED-HIGH heat, add a few tablespoons of oil and sauté the garlic, ginger and onion for 30 seconds until fragrant.
  3. Add in the celery and carrots to the wok and continue sautéing for another 2 mins. Put a lid on the wok, turn the heat down to MED and let the veg steam for 5-10mins until they’re soft enough to break with a spatula. Stir occasionally to ensure the veg doesn’t burn. If the veg seems a bit dry or is burning before it softens, add a tablespoon of water and stir it around then put the lid back on to continue steaming.
  4. While the veg is steaming, you can dice your rehydrated shiitake mushrooms, discarding the hard stems and wash the lettuce leaves.
    • You can also trim the lettuce leaves to shape them like cups if you’re feeling fancy. I usually just eat them whole, but will put in the extra effort to trim them if I’m serving it out to friends.
  5. Make the sauce by mixing together the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar. Set aside.
  6. Once the veg has softened, add in the pork mince and mushrooms to the wok and stir-fry on MED-HIGH heat until the pork is cooked. Then pour in the hoisin sauce mixture and stir until combined. Done! Serve with iceberg lettuce leaves for wrapping and lots of napkins for the inevitable sauce to drip down your hands 😜.

Tzatziki


Date Published: August 21st, 2020| Last Updated: August 21st, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: sauces/dips, easy
Serves: 1 cup | Prep time: 10 mins | Mix time: 30 secs + resting overnight

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Tzatziki tzatziki. It’s so simple and so good. My dill plants had been struggling on my balcony over the winter months so I wasn’t able to make this recipe for ages, but now that we’ve moved onto the farm with plenty of space and sunshine, the dill plant here has gone wild! This dip is so refreshing with the cucumber, lemon and dill. Our favourite way to eat this is slathered between two burger buns in a beef patty to make a quick Greek burger but its also fantastic on its own as a dip with bread or veggies.

This is a make-ahead recipe. It takes less than 10 minutes to whip up this recipe but the full potential of the flavours don’t come out until it’s refrigerated for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight. This dip needs time for the flavours to marinate and work themselves out. It sounds a bit crazy but trust me. The first time I made this dip I spent over 20 minutes adding a little more of this and that and it still never seemed quite right. I ended up putting it away and when I revisited it the next morning, it was AMAZING! I was surprised how everything just fixed itself overnight. Now when I make this sauce I don’t even bother with adjusting the flavours until the next day, after its had time to sort itself out.

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:

  • 1/4 (100g) of a continental cucumber
  • 3/4 cup (184g) Greek yoghurt
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsps fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • Splash of lemon juice (optional)

Directions:

Grate the cucumber (with the peel) and then wrap it up in a clean tea towel or a few layers of paper towel and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. You should end up with nearly half the weight of cucumber you started with.

The salt in the dip will draw out the water in the cucumber and result in a wet sloppy tzatziki which is why it’s so important to squeeze out as much water as you can at the start.

Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate overnight, or a minimum of 4 hours. Trust me, the flavours are SO much better the next day once the ingredients have had time to marinate together. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed. Enjoy!

Summarized Recipe:

Tzatziki

Date Published: August 21st, 2020| Last Updated: August 21st, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: sauces/dips, easy
Serves: 1 cup | Prep time: 10 mins | Mix time: 30 secs + resting overnight

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 (100g) of a continental cucumber
  • 3/4 cup (184g) Greek yoghurt
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsps fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • Splash of lemon juice (optional)

Directions:

  1. Grate the cucumber (with the peel) and then wrap it up in a clean tea towel or a few layers of paper towel and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. You should end up with nearly half the weight of cucumber you started with.
  2. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate overnight, or a minimum of 4 hours. (Trust me, the flavours are SO much better the next day once the ingredients have had time to marinate together.) Taste and adjust ingredients as needed. Enjoy!

Classic Hummus


Date Published: August 21st, 2020 | Last Updated: August 21st, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: dips/sauces, snack
Serves: 1 large bowl | Prep time: 10 mins | Mix time: 1 minute

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A good classic hummus makes me so happy. Something about the classic flavours of the creamy tahini with cumin and chickpeas blended together with that kick of garlic makes it magical. There are so many variations out there these days but at the end of the day I always prefer the old-fashioned hummus and best of all it only takes 10 minutes to make! Don’t get me wrong, I love a good spin on a classic such as beetroot hummus or even roasted red pepper hummus, but the additional flavours distract from the true creaminess of a classic which is what makes it unbeatable. This smooth creamy dip is so so good as a dip with some crackers or veggies and even better smeared in a warm wrap! Try it with some leftover lamb roast in a homemade flatbread – I promise it’s phenomenal.

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 can (400g) of chickpeas
  • 3/4 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt (or more to taste)

Directions:

Drain the chickpeas and keep the liquid aside.

Put the drained chickpeas and the rest of the ingredients (tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and cumin) into a food processor or blender and blend until thick and smooth. If the hummus is too thick, add in one tablespoon of the reserved chickpea fluid at a time and mix until desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference. Discard the rest of the chickpea liquid.

When serving, drizzle olive oil over the hummus and add a pinch of paprika for garnish.

Pair it with some pita chips made from the homemade flatbread recipe!

Notes:

  • To make this a low carb version, substitute the can of chickpeas with 4 cups zucchini, peeled & chopped.
  • You can try other combinations: beetroot, roasted red peppers and parmesan…etc.

To make a roasted red pepper hummus: roast 3 peppers over the grill or fire until charred. Set aside to cool and scrape off any excessively blackened bits. Place the peppers in a clean tea towel or paper towel and over a bowl, squeeze out any liquid. Save this liquid. Add the roasted red peppers to the hummus and blend until combined. If it’s too thick, then add in a teaspoon of the liquid from the peppers at a time until you reach the desired consistency. You can also add in the liquid from the drained chickpeas as well. Taste and adjust flavours as needed. You may need to add additional salt to the above hummus recipe since adding red peppers will dilute the saltiness of the hummus. Done!

To make a beetroot hummus: Drain a can of beetroots and reserve the liquid. Blend the beetroots into the hummus. Taste and adjust the amount of beetroot as needed.

Summarized Recipe:

Classic Hummus

Date Published: August 21st, 2020 | Last Updated: August 21st, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: dips/sauces, snack
Serves: 1 large bowl | Prep time: 5 mins | Mix time: 1 minute

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (400g) of chickpeas
  • 3/4 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt (or more to taste)

Directions:

  1. Drain the chickpeas and keep the liquid aside.
  2. Put the drained chickpeas and the rest of the ingredients (tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and cumin) into a food processor or blender and blend until thick and smooth. If the hummus is too thick, add in one tablespoon of the reserved chickpea fluid at a time and mix until desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference. Discard the rest of the chickpea liquid.
  3. When serving, drizzle olive oil over the hummus and add a pinch of paprika for garnish. Done!

Classic Greek Salad


Date Published: August 19th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 19th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: salads, vegetarian, easy
Serves: 4 (as side servings) | Prep time: 20 mins | Mix time: 30 secs

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I love Greek salad. It’s so refreshing and easy to make, perfect for a hot summer’s day or paired with a delicious roast lamb. The dressing only takes 3 ingredients to make and the salad components are easily adjustable to whatever proportion you like. Toby’s not a big fan of olives so I tend to go easy on them when I’m making this salad but feel free to double or even triple the amount of any of the salad ingredients. This salad is healthy (if you don’t go crazy on the feta) and so delicious. If you’re making this ahead of time, I’d suggest holding off on the dressing until right before you serve it because the salt content from the dressing will draw out water from the veg and you’ll end up with a soggy salad.

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:

  • Dressing:
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 3 tsps lemon juice
    • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • Salad:
    • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (or 3 large ripe tomatoes, chopped)
    • 2 medium Lebanese cucumbers, chopped
    • 1 small red onion, chopped or sliced
    • 1 cup feta cheese, roughly chopped or crumbled
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
    • 15 black olives, pitted and sliced (or more to taste)
    • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, lemon juice and red wine vinegar in a bowl. Set aside.

Assemble the salad by mixing the rest of the ingredients into a large bowl: tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, feta, oregano, and olives.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

*Note: if you’re making this ahead of time, don’t add the dressing until you’re ready to serve, otherwise the salt content from the dressing will cause the veg in the salad to release their liquids and you’ll end up with a wet sloppy salad.

Summarized Recipe:

Classic Greek Salad

Date Published: August 19th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 19th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: salads, vegetarian, easy, healthy
Serves: 4 (as side servings) | Prep time: 20 mins | Mix time: 30 secs

Ingredients:

  • Dressing:
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 3 tsps lemon juice
    • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • Salad:
    • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (or 3 large ripe tomatoes, chopped)
    • 2 medium Lebanese cucumbers, chopped
    • 1 small red onion, chopped or sliced
    • 1 cup feta cheese, roughly chopped or crumbled
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
    • 15 black olives, pitted and sliced (or more to taste)
    • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, lemon juice and red wine vinegar in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Assemble the salad by mixing the rest of the ingredients into a large bowl: tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, feta, oregano, and olives.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!
    • *Note: if you’re making this ahead of time, don’t add the dressing until you’re ready to serve, otherwise the salt content from the dressing will cause the veg in the salad to release their liquids and you’ll end up with a wet sloppy salad.

Blue Cheese Broccoli Salad


Date Published: August 17th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 17th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: salads, vegetarian
Serves: 4-6 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

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In many Chinese households raw vegetables are not very common – if at all. When we moved to Canada it was really strange watching my classmates eat raw carrots and celery as a snack. It was even stranger that someone would bring a platter of uncooked vegetables to a party as their contribution. To this day I’m still not a big fan of raw veg on their own but when it’s paired with a delicious creamy dip or in a flavourful salad, sign me up!…Except for celery. I still can’t eat that shit raw.

Broccoli was one of the last few veg I came to terms with eating raw. I’ve always loved steamed broccoli especially with some garlic and black pepper, but crunching on it raw just felt so wrong…until I came upon this amazing salad that a friend brought to a party a couple years ago. I was going to call this “Jess’ Broccoli Salad”, but I went with a more descriptive title instead for those of you that don’t know Jess 😜 (who’s also a super amazing baker). If you’re a fan of blue cheese, this salad is definitely for you! The bold blue cheese is offset by the sweet and tart cranberries and juiciness of the red onions, then mellowed out with crispy bacon and toasted pecans, all transported by the humble crunchy broccoli for a super flavourful mouthful.

The ingredients list seems long, but most of it is the balsamic dressing. A freshly made balsamic vinaigrette really does make a difference to tie all the flavours of the salad together, but if you’re in a rush, feel free to take a shortcut and use a store-bought version. There are also a few other shortcuts in the recipe marked as “optional” steps, but I encourage you to take the time to toast the pecans, blanch the broccoli and sauté the bacon to bring out the maximum flavours of the ingredients.

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:

  • Balsamic Dressing:
    • 2 Tbsps balsamic vinegar
    • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
    • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
    • 2 Tbsps brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp pepper
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salad:
    • 6 cups broccoli, chopped (roughly 3 middle-sized broccoli heads or 2 large ones)
    • 1/2 cup pecans
    • 1/2 cup bacon, chopped
    • 1 cup red onion, sliced or diced (personal preference)
    • 1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
    • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

Make the dressing: put all the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl (balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, dijon, brown sugar, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic) and whisk until it becomes a homogenous mixture. Set aside.
(Alternatively, you can put all the ingredients in a mason jar and shake well until all the ingredients are combined.)

Blanch the broccoli: place the broccoli in a pot of boiling water for 1-2 minutes then drain and run under cold water. Use a salad spinner to get rid of excess water on the broccoli. Set aside.

This step is optional but it helps soften the broccoli a little but and bring out the bright green colours. If you prefer your broccoli raw and crunchy, feel free to skip this step. You can also boil the broccoli a little longer if you prefer it softer.

Toast the pecans: Preheat the oven to 180˚C and toast the pecans for 10-15 minutes until fragrant and darker brown, then roughly chop it and set aside.

This step is also optional, but I find toasting the pecans bring out a lot more depth in the flavours of the salad.

Sauté the bacon: While you’re waiting for the pecans to toast, sauté the chopped bacon until light brown and crispy. Set aside.

Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, mix together all the salad ingredients: broccoli, pecans, bacon, red onions, blue cheese, and cranberries. Pour the dressing over and mix well. Serve and enjoy!

Summarized Recipe:

Blue Cheese Broccoli Salad

Date Published: August 17th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 17th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: salads, vegetarian
Serves: 4-6 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

  • Balsamic Dressing:
    • 2 Tbsps balsamic vinegar
    • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
    • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
    • 2 Tbsps brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp pepper
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salad:
    • 6 cups broccoli, chopped (roughly 3 middle-sized broccoli heads or 2 large ones)
    • 1/2 cup pecans
    • 1/2 cup bacon, chopped
    • 1 cup red onion, sliced or diced (personal preference)
    • 1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
    • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. Make the dressing: put all the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl (balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, dijon, brown sugar, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic) and whisk until it becomes a homogenous mixture. Set aside.
  2. Blanch the broccoli (optional): place the broccoli in a pot of boiling water for 1-2 minutes then drain and run under cold water. Use a salad spinner to get rid of excess water on the broccoli. Set aside.
  3. Toast the pecans (optional): Preheat the oven to 180˚C and toast the pecans for 10-15 minutes until fragrant and darker brown, then roughly chop it and set aside.
  4. Sauté the bacon: While you’re waiting for the pecans to toast, sauté the chopped bacon until light brown and crispy. Set aside.
  5. Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, mix together all the salad ingredients: broccoli, pecans, bacon, red onions, blue cheese, and cranberries. Pour the dressing over and mix well. Serve and enjoy!

Apple Chicken Goat Cheese Salad


Date Published: August 10th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 10th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: salads, healthy, easy, < 30 mins, mains
Serves: 4 as mains, 6-8 as side salads | Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 5 mins

Jump to recipe |

This is my ALL TIME FAVOURITE SALAD. Seriously. Back in Canada I used to go to Montana’s a lot with my friends and I almost never order salad when I’m eating out because I always think it’ll never be as good as a warm cooked meal and not way could it be as flavourful. One night I wasn’t particularly hungry and I was trying to be a bit more healthy since I was training for a marathon so I decided to browse their salads section and ordered the ‘Apple Harvest Salad’. I only chose this one because it had goat cheese in it (and I LOVE goat cheese). When the food arrived, my salad portion was HUGE with dressing served on the side. I was skeptical, but ohhhhh boy was I wrong. That salad changed my world and it actually became my new favourite thing on their menu (other than the goat cheese stuffed chicken breast and Kapow Shrimp). I’d actively go to Montana’s just to get this salad – which doesn’t sound like me at all! Now that I live in Australia, there’s no Montana’s in sight and I decided to recreate it myself! I’d say I did a pretty good job because this salad is FANTASTIC. If you love goat cheese, this is the salad for you! The juicy crisp apple pairs so well with the warm nutty toasted pecans and the creaminess of the goat cheese all tied together in a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

I’ve only ever eaten this salad as a main dish because it’s THAT good and there’s no way I could eat it as just a small side dish so I’ve categorized this in both the mains and sides section. If you want to serve it as a side, you might want to consider skipping the chicken so your meal isn’t too bulky. If you’re packing it for lunch, keep the salad dressing separate and pour it on when you’re ready to eat.

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:

  • Salad:
    • 1 cup pecans
    • 4 cups cooked chicken breast or thigh, chopped to bite-sized pieces – you can use leftover chicken from a roast or make it fresh the way you prefer (see my preferred method to cook chicken breast here)
    • 12 cups of lettuce or mixed greens (enough for 4 main salads)
    • 1 red bell pepper (aka capsicum), sliced (I ran out of peppers in the house and used cherry tomatoes instead in the photos)
    • 1 large apple, sliced
    • 1 cup dried cranberries
    • 140g goat cheese, crumbled
    • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Balsamic vinaigrette dressing:
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 tsp dijon mustard
    • 1 tsp honey
    • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Toast the pecans: Preheat oven to 180˚C (~350˚F) and bake the pecans on the top rack for 5-10 mins and flip over and continue to bake until fragrant and toasty darker brown (another 5 mins). When done, set aside and let them cool then roughly chop.

Optional step: if you haven’t made your chicken breast, you can pop them in the oven with the pecans (see my preferred method). When cooked, slice into strips or bite-sized pieces and let cool.

Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, add all the salad ingredients together: pecans, chicken, lettuce/mixed greens, red pepper, apple, cranberries, goat cheese, and fresh ground black pepper. If you want to be fancy you can place the ingredients on top of the salad and serve the dressing on the side.

Make the balsamic vinaigrette: Combine all the ingredients for the dressing (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, dijon, honey, salt and pepper) in a bowl and whisk until you get a homogenous mixture. Drizzle half of the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Taste and add more dressing as needed. Enjoy!

Summarized Recipe:

Apple Chicken Goat Cheese Salad

Date Published: August 10th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 10th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: salads, healthy, easy, < 30 mins, mains
Serves: 4 as mains, 6-8 as side salads | Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • Salad:
    • 1 cup pecans
    • 4 cups cooked chicken breast or thigh, chopped to bite-sized pieces – you can use leftover chicken from a roast or make it fresh the way you prefer (see my preferred method to cook chicken breast here)
    • 12 cups of lettuce or mixed greens (enough for 4 main salads)
    • 1 red bell pepper (aka capsicum), sliced
    • 1 large apple, sliced
    • 1 cup dried cranberries
    • 140g goat cheese, crumbled
    • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Balsamic vinaigrette dressing:
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 tsp dijon mustard
    • 1 tsp honey
    • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Toast the pecans: Preheat oven to 180˚C (~350˚F) and bake the pecans on the top rack for 5-10 mins and flip over and continue to bake until fragrant and toasty darker brown (another 5 mins). When done, set aside and let them cool then roughly chop.
  2. Optional step: if you haven’t made your chicken breast, you can pop them in the oven with the pecans (see my preferred method). When cooked, slice into strips or bite-sized pieces and let cool.
  3. Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, add all the salad ingredients together: pecans, chicken, lettuce/mixed greens, red pepper, apple, cranberries, goat cheese, and fresh ground black pepper.
  4. Make the balsamic vinaigrette: Combine all the ingredients for the dressing (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, dijon, honey, salt and pepper) in a bowl and whisk until you get a homogenous mixture. Drizzle half of the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Taste and add more dressing as needed. Enjoy!