Classic Village style greek salad

Its sizzling hot in melbourne today. 35 degrees, and after a work out, im hungry and needing cooling tummy fix.

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This healthy greek salad literally took me 5 minutes to prepare and filled my stomach before I reach for something cooling in the fridge or pantry (usually being icecream or cereal with milk).

I got this real simple recipe from the Mediterranean diet Cookbook by Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos.

MEDITERANEAN DIET has been shown to reduce heart disease, diabetes, promote longevity and prevent unhealthy weight gain.

The diet is characterised with lots of plant food, olive oil, low red meat, moderate amount of dairy , high intake of fish, and moderate wine intake.

Classic Village Style Greek Salad
Serve 4

Ingredients:
3 medium tomatoes cut into thick bite size
1 small red onion
1 small Lebanese cucumber
Salt and pepper to taste
Dried oregano (I used a handful of fresh parley)
Balsamic vinegar to taste
1 tbsp of olive oil

For extra flavour add a few cubes of feta cheese/chilli/garlic

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Method:
Combine tomatoes, onion, cucumber in a bowl, season to taste, add oregano and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

I loved the extra spiciness from chilli and garlic. It Serves an excellent salad that adds freshness to the table. In fact, I love this salad with mexican food – tacos, and burritos.

Piccolowing

High Fibre Granola

This is a recipe to make a beautiful high fibre Granola from Megan’s Granola Recipe 

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It is easy to make and it makes a great gift for family and friends. I am making this for my work colleagues and needs a healthy recipe with lots of nuts and fibre.

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If you are making this for the family, try involving kids into making this – i am sure they will have fun and enjoy eating this granola even more.

High Fibre Granola with nuts, pepita, and raisins

Makes 15 serves. Prep time: 20 minutes. Cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup wheat germ
  • 3/4 cup oat bran
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raisins or sweetened dried cranberries
  • Directions

    1. Preheat the oven to 165 degrees C. Line two large baking sheets with baking paper
    2. Combine the oats, wheat germ, oat bran, sunflower seeds, almonds, pecans, and walnuts in a large bowl. Stir together the salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then pour over the dry ingredients, and stir to coat. Spread the mixture out evenly on the baking sheets.
    3. Bake in the preheated oven until crispy and toasted, about 20 minutes. Stir once halfway through. Cool, then stir in the raisins or cranberries before storing in an airtight container.

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Nutritional Information Per serve:

Kilojoule 1682kJ
Protein 12g
Total fat 21g
saturated fat 2.3g
Polyunsaturated fat 7g
Carb 46g
Sugar 11g
Dietary fibre 7g 
Sodium 112mg

Serve with natural yoghurt of low fat milk. YUM. You don’t need extra fruit or sweetened yoghurt here because it is sweetened already 🙂

One serve of this granola provides 7g of fibre = fibre of 4 weetbix.
Enjoy x Piccolowing.

Passionfruit Curd

IMG_4392.JPGHow do you eat your passion fruits? I know I have long been and spooning the pulp and seeds out and shoving them in fruit salads. Yum! Passion fruits enhances flavours of dishes or drinks by its distinct sweet tart flavour and exotic smell.  Never adventured out of my comfort zones, I found a recipe recently that I really wanted to try – Passionfruit Curd. 

I have made lemon curd before and it was amazingly refreshing, fruity and delicious. So i wanted to try it with passion fruits, to develop my culinary skills… Essential for a dietitian perhaps? Here I go.

PASSIONFRUIT BUTTER

A simple and tangy recipe to use up dozen of passion fruits in the fridge! This recipe makes approximately 2 small jam jars that can be stored in the fridge, enjoyed over breakfast or used in baking.

Ingredients

pulp of 5 large passion fruits  or 6 small passion fruits
150g butter
100g raw sugar (i reduced to 80g because I don’t have a sweet tooth)
juice of half a lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 eggs

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Method

  1. Melt butter and sugar in a heavy bottomed (or enamel) saucepan on low heat. Add lemon juice, salt and passion fruit pulp. Mix well.
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  2. In a bowl, whisk all 5 eggs lightly.
  3. Increase heat to medium-low and add the eggs to the passionfruit mixture, whisking with a whisk. Continue cooking for a couple of minutes, whisking continuously. Once smooth, stir with a wooden spoon while cooking. The butter is ready when the mixture becomes thick and coats the back of the spoon (pouring cream consistency/store bought pouring custard consistency). Remove from heat. Fill in lidded jars and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.
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    Recipe adapted from cookrepublicIMG_4391.JPG

I enjoy this passionfruit curd on crackers, pancakes, fruits, and pastry.  You can also serve on toast for breakfast and use it to make cakes! In fact i am really tempted by the idea of passionfruit curd cake. May my next post be it!

Nutrition:
Passionfruit provides a good source of fibre and Vit C ! Enjoy the whole fruit as it is most days but challenge your culinary skills with this recipe if you have an abundance of them at home.

xx Piccolowing

Mushroom Shroom burgers

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Mushroom burger is my fav burger in the world.

In Melbourne, the Prahran market mushroom burger (pop up every saturday morning only) & the Grilled Mushroom burgers are my favs!

The Prahran one, served with chargrilled Barbie Portobello shroom on fresh sourdough bread & mayo with a spicy kick. *Real FINE*

While the Grilled one, served with flat jumbo shroom with fresh salad, roasted capsicum from jar, pesto, mayo, cheese, served on a toasted bun (traditional or panini) *health KICK*

Personally I prefer the prahran burger more, but practicality wise, it is quite difficult to get since it’s only there on Saturday. I wish they have a proper store…. I would go every week!

This week I decided to spread my love of Shroom Shroom burgers with my family and friends. The Piccoloseeds held a Birthday Dinner at home and made SHROOM SHROOM burgers as main course.

Our guests really enjoyed the burgers!!! It was juicy, fresh, and packed with flavours of pesto, mayo, stir fried onions. The Provolone cheese is a bonus – like mozzarella but more mature.

Portobello Burgers with Pesto & Provolone

Makes 4

ingredients

  • 1/2 cup purchased pesto
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 sourdough, whole grain, or ciabatta rolls, split horizontally
  • 4 portobello mushrooms, stemmed, dark gills scraped out
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 – 1 onion, sliced, fried
  • 4 cups salad leaves/ arugula leaves
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • Garden Salad and sweet potato chips to serve

Method

  1. If you want to serve Burgers with garden salad and sweet potato chips – Make it first. I used mixed leaves, tomatoes, asparagus, with balsamic vinegar for the salad. 4 small sweet potatoes, cut into chippies and baked for ~1 hour or until dried and crisp.
  2. Stir pesto and mayonnaise in small bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill rolls, cut side down, until lightly toasted. Transfer to plates. Spread grilled side of rolls with pesto mayonnaise.
  4. Brush mushrooms on both sides with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill, rounded side up, 4 minutes. Turn mushrooms over. Cover and grill until mushrooms are tender, about 4 minutes. Place 1 mushroom on each roll bottom. Top each with enough fried onion to cover, salad and cheese. Press roll tops over and serve with garden salad & Chips.
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Ciabatta Roll with salad and fried onions
Mushroom burger served with garden salad and sweet potato chips

Recipe adapted from Epicurious

If you haven’t tried mushroom burgers yet – Please try one. It’s worth it! My photo taking skills are horrible. I should stop relying on iphones or take photos while drinking!

xx

Piccolowing

 

Asian Crunchy Wombok Salad

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I am a big fan of Wombok, also known as Chinese Cabbage. It has a mild & sweet flavour, and it takes up all the flavour from cooking and from dressings, which is what I love about it! At home we always cook it in stir-fry with ginger or a meat dish. In Korea, it is most popular as Kimchi which is pickled wombok.

This Wombok Salad (Vietnam origin im guessing) is my favourite Wombok recipe in summer time. It’s got massive flavours, and GOD, the crunchiness from all the ingredients is heaven – Especially the noodles and peanuts !

Give this recipe a try. It’s flavoursome, simple, healthy, packed with fresh ingredients, and can be prepared ahead of time.

Crunchy Asian Salad 

Serve 6

Ingredients

  • 1/2 small Chinese cabbage (wombok) shredded
  • 1 large carrot peeled, sliced thinly into batons
  • 1 red capsicum seeded, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup coriander leaves
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves torn
  • 1/2 cup toasted peanuts chopped
  • 100 g pkt fried crunchy noodles
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    I added 250g sliced mushrooms and pan-fried tofu, because I don’t eat meat, and needed some protein and extra flavour.
    However, you can serve it with any chicken/ pork. Coconut chicken and pork belly is a popular combination!

Dressing

  • finely grated rind and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 fresh long red chilli deseeded, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 2-3 tsp sesame oil

Method

  1. Place all salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Dressing: In a jug, whisk together all ingredients.
  3. Pour over salad just before serving and toss well to coat.

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xx

Piccolowing

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies!

Looking for Dairy free Gluten Free Baked Goodies? Look no further. This is my highly recommended recipe that taste fabulicious, and is quite a healthy recipe too!Processed with Rookie

I must say that I am not a big cookie fan but THIS recipe made me a cookie Monster!

I made this because my friend is lactose and wheat intolerant. It could be difficult to find delicious baked goodies / recipes that is wheat and dairy free. It is best to make use of naturally wheat free/ dairy free ingredients like nuts, rice, soy, quinoa, eggs….. any many more.

And thankfully, the gluten free (GF) flour is now available all around supermarkets, and in fact supermarkets now started making their own GF flours that cost much less Cha-Ching 🙂

Peanut Butter Cookies

Prep time 10 mins .  Cook time 8 mins .  Total time 18 mins
Serve 14-16 Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peanut butter (I used ½ peanut butter and ½ almond butter)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup oat/ gluten free flour (use 1 cup for chewy cookies cookies)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup water (I used ¼ cup almond milk)

Methods

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the peanut butter and brown sugar for 1 minute. Add in the vanilla extract and beat for another 30 seconds.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients together (oat flour, baking soda, and salt).
  4. While beating the peanut butter mixture, slowly add in the gluten free flour mixture and beat until a crumby dough forms. Add in the almond milk and continue to beat until distributed. Do not over mix.
  5. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Roll the dough into balls (about 1½ – 2 tablespoons per cookie), drop on parchment paper, and flatten with a fork one way and then the other to create a crisscross pattern.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until just starting to turn golden on edges (they bake FAST so watch them carefully).
  8. Let cool completely and enjoy !

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You can store cookies an airtight container to keep them soft and chewy.

What does it taste/look like?

– Soft and tender peanut butter cookies ! So Delicious that I prefer these cookies over non-gluten free cookies (which often taste like butter and dough)
– Melts in your mouth
– Brown sugar gives extra flavour and a different sweetness that matches so well with peanut butter!
– Hold it’s shape really well – does not crumble into bits and pieces
– Blissful Basil suggest serving with cold milk 🙂

Nutritionally
There is no butter or oil added. All fat comes from the nut paste which are full of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, very low in saturated fat (see below) – very healthy for heart and arteries.

You can definitely make smaller cookies to reduce the calories/ fat per serve.

Nutritional Information Per cookies (calculated by 15 cookies per recipe):
Energy 877kJ (210kcal), Protein 5.4g, Fat 11g, Saturated Fat 1.65g, Carb 21g, Sugar 11.3g, Sodium 211.6mg

 Recipe from  Blissful Basil

 

xx

Piccolowing

Good Food Good Portions

Everyone’s got a favourite food (sometimes naughty), that’s close to our hearts. So close, that you don’t want to live without!

What’s your favourite food? Mine is coffee, cheese, salt and pepper calmari. Take them away and i’ll be miserable…….

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Being healthy is about enjoying these food occasionally and in good quantity. My favourite eat out dish is salt and pepper calamari. In fact it was my favourite pub meal when I was in Roma. Loved the generous serving size and goes so well with a beer 😀 However, i only eat out once per week, and on other days I eat pretty well at home.

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Tonight, it’s about salt and pepper calamari at home in a healthy plate portion.

What is a healthy portion? Aim for:

– 1/2 plate salad
– 1/4 plate carbohydrates (homemade potato wedges)
– 1/2 plate protein ( salt and pepper calamari & tofu)

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Follow this portion for lunch and dinner meals can help you:
– Meat vegetables requirements – fibre and vitamins
– Weight management/ Control energy intake – vegetables are low in energy
– Enjoy favourite food more – good portion of favourite food so you enjoy all mouthful of them
– Feel good after your meal – instead of tired and a post meal slump

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A colourful dish with a variety of vegetables & good portion of carbs, protein, and vegetables makes me happy. Just like these poppies.

xx

Piccolowing

Hokkaido Milk Toast


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This is a #Hokkaido Milk Loaf. It reminds me of the Japanese bread that I always buy in my fav Hong Kong bakery (Yamazaki).
It’s Milky, Fluffy & Soft.
This recipe is from Christine’s Recipes.

One of the reason for me to make it is because I have leftover cream in the fridge. And of course the main reason is because I love milk bread ❤

This recipe uses tangzhong (湯種)- which is a moist, sticky dough that you add to bread dough to create  soft & fluffy breads. I used my genius bread machine to make this, so it was super easy to make.

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Here is the recipe Hokkaido Milk Toast (Japanese style)

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 120 mins
Yield: Makes two loafs (each loaf tin size: 20.5cmx10.5cmx9.5cm)

Ingredients:

  • 540 gm bread flour
  • 86 gm caster sugar
  • 8 gm salt
  • 9 gm full cream milk power
  • 11 gm instant dried yeast
  • 86 gm whisked egg
  • 59 gm whipping cream
  • 54 gm milk
  • 184 gm tangzhong 
  • 49 gm unsalted butter, melted

Method (To make one loaf):

  1. Add all ingredients (except butter) into a breadmaker, first the wet ingredients (milk, cream, egg, tangzhong),
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    then followed by the dry ingredients (salt, sugar, milk powder, bread flour, yeast).
    Select the “dough” mode (refer to the menu of your breadmaker to select the kneading dough programme).
    When all ingredients come together, pour in the melted butter, continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic. The time of kneading in the breadmaker is about 30 minutes. Then let the dough complete the 1st round of proofing, about 40 minutes, best 28C,  until double in size.
  2. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface. Deflate and divide into 3 equal portions Cover with cling wrap, let rest for 15 minutes at room temperature.
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  3. Roll out each portion of the dough with a rolling pin into an oval shape. Fold 1/3 from top edge to the middle and press. Then fold 1/3 from bottom to the middle and press.
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  4. Turn seal downward. Roll flat and stretch to about 30cm in length. With seal upward, roll into a cylinder. With seal facing down, place in the loaf tins to have the 2nd round of proofing (see picture 8), until double in size. The best temperature for 2nd round proofing is 38C, humidity 85%.
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  5. Brush whisked egg on surface. Bake in a pre-heated 180C (356F) oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until turns brown. Remove from the oven and transfer onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.

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The only issue I had with this recipe is that my bread machine doesn’t have a dough mixing only button (mine includes proofing), so I had to peak in every now and then, to add butter at the right time. Once that’s done, all the steps are pretty

I highly recommend this recipe, and Definitely will make again! My brother and sister who usually dislike bread – actually asked for more, and had it for supper the other night!

Enjoy this bread occasionally.  I eat wholegrain high fibre daily, but indulge myself once or twice per month with croissant and brioche 🙂

xx

Piccolowing

Pumpkin, Spinach & Lentil Lasagne

My Vegetarian Lasgne
My Vegetarian Lasgne

Going meat free can be difficult sometimes. You may feel like you need to eat differently from family and friends. While this is sometimes true, I believe there’s always ways to alter recipes to suit everyone’s taste.

Lasagne is one family tradition that you can try meat free.

Ingredients:

    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 900 g Naranka Gold Pumpkin, peeled, cut into 1.5cm cubes
    • 2 x 400 g cans brown lentils, rinsed, drained
    • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
    • 690 g bottle Coles Brand Italian Tomato Passata
    • 500 g ricotta
    • Good pinch ground nutmeg
    • 375 g pkt fresh lasagne
    • 120 g pkt baby spinach, trimmed, finely shredded
    • 1.5 cup Tasty cheese, grated (I used 1 cup plus parmesan cheese)
    • Rocket leaves, to serve

Method:

    1. Preheat oven to 190°C or 170°C fan. Grease a 26cm x 20cm x 6cm baking dish.
    2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion for 5 minutes or until soft and lightly golden. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add pumpkin, lentils and stock. Reserve 1 cup of the passata and stir the remaining passata into the pumpkin mixture. Cover and bring to the boil. Reduce heat slightly and cook, covered, for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender and the mixture is thick. Transfer to a large bowl to cool slightly, then refrigerate until cold.
    3. Meanwhile, use a fork to mash the ricotta in a bowl. Stir in nutmeg. Season.
    4. Line the base of the prepared dish with a layer of lasagne sheets. Spread over half the pumpkin mixture, then top with another layer of lasagne sheets.

      First half layer of pumpkin and lentils
      First half layer of pumpkin and lentils
    5. Sprinkle with the ricotta mixture and use damp fingertips to spread evenly.

      Second half of pumpkin and lasagne with spinach and ricotta
      Second half of pumpkin and lasagne with spinach and ricotta
    6. Spread over the remaining pumpkin mixture, then top with remaining lasagne sheets. Spread over the reserved passata to cover completely. Sprinkle with cheddar.

      Third layer of Passata & Cheese
      Third layer of Passata & Cheese
    7. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Serve with rocket.
      After 45 minutes of baking!
      After 45 minutes of baking!
      Served with garden salad
      Served with garden salad

       

I made this for a dinner gathering with a couple of friends and they all liked it! My friends and I are surprised by how delicious a vegetarian lasagne can be. It has much less fat then traditional meat lasagne but the lentil and pumpkin texture resembles meat – great replacement!

Nutritionally, Legumes provide a range of essential nutrients including protein, low glycemic (GI) carbohydrates, dietary fibre, minerals (iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium) and B vitamins. They are also low in fat, sodium, and gluten free.

Eating legumes can play a role in preventing chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and overweight, as well as improving gut health.

The Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council recommends 2 – 3 serves (1/2-1 cup cooked) of legumes a week.

This recipe is adapted from Coles.

Piccolowing

 

Tempura vegetable fritters

After a few weeks away from home, I started craving Asian food. Anything from Asian broth, sushi, stir fries, to curry. Of course it’s difficult when you live in a small rural country town with limited access to these food!

So as I was flicking through a woolies magazine & this recipe captured my attention . Tempura veggie patties, which reminds me of okonomiyaki! I love this pancake full of chargrilled veggies with a Flavorsome kick of teriyaki like sauce . Yum! I decided to give this recipe a go !

Ingredients:

– 1/2 small cabbage, shredded

– 3 carrots, shaved in ribbons

– 3 spring onions (I just used brown onion), chopped finely

– 5 kale stalks leaves only, chopped up

– 2 eggs

– 1/2 cup flour (I used wholemeal)

– 2 tbsp water

– oil 1/4 cup

Sauce:

 

1/3 cup tomato sauce

Wocheshire sauce

Mirin

Soy sauce

Method

1. Prepare all vegetables and mix them together. Add flour and mix together

2. Mix water and egg and add in veggie mix

3. Heat oil in pan, add in half cup of veggie mix and pan fry each side for 3-4 minutes.

4. Best to serve immediately !

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Comments:

This definitely satisfied my okonomayaki cravings. It’s a healthy recipe packed with veggie goodness.
The veggies do require a bit of preparation, but once they are all grated or ribboned, the rest of the steps are quite simple. I had this as a snack rather than with noodles 😉

Piccolowing

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