Salmon, Salmon, Salmon

We cook salmon at least once a week. We bake it, grill it, pan sear it, you name it, we’ve tried it. As I said in a previous post Tyler and I have been keeping a predominantly pescatarian diet, although we’ve been re-introducing chicken back into the mix because we need some variety. But I’m not dissing salmon because it’s one of my favorite foods to eat. Just a little health spiel, it’s loaded with protein and packed with omega 3s – DHA and EPA which make us happy, smart and pain free. This is a great meal post workout because it contains small proteins called bioactive peptides that increase, regulate and stabilize collagen synthesis and improves bone density and strength! Wahoo!

As you can see it’s packed full of health benefits, you can read more about it here. My go to preparation is grilling in my grill pan to medium rare and then popping it into the oven for a few minutes to finish cooking. I usually pair the fish with a quick rocket salad, but if I’m feeling creative a side of quinoa with pine nuts and raisins and a vegetable medley. I’ll share my recipe for all of the above, but my photos are of salmon and salad.

   
What you’ll need:

  • salmon (2 ounces per person)
  • baby arugula
  • lentils (cooked)
  • red onion
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • crumbled feta

First, prep the salmon.

I like to just add a little s&p to the fleshy side of the salmon. I heat my grill pan to really high heat and add a little bit of oil, not a long, just enough so nothing sticks. Salmon is an oily fish so you’ll be surprised at how much excretes when cooked. I cook the salmon skin side down for 5-6 minutes until I start seeing the flesh turn opaque. Then I flip it over for another 2-3 minutes. I watch it closely as I want a crunchy top layer but a soft fleshy mid-section. When the whole fish starts becoming opaque, but not quite yet I remove it from the grill pan and add it to a baking sheet. I’ll pop the fish into a preheated oven (350 degrees) for 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the filet. I stick a fork into the center and pull it out to test the temp on my lips. You want it to be warm but not hot because the fish will get tough.

Second, prep the salad and dressing.

The salad is easy. A bag of baby arugula. topped with a handful of cooked lentils, sliced red onion and some crumbles of feta cheese. I usually have a bunch of lentils on hand which I just boil in water without salt and stick them in a tupper ware for easy access.

The dressing is pretty simple as well, Juice of one lemon, s&p, and whisk in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until smooth. Taste for seasoning preference. Once combined I just pour over my salad mixture and lightly toss.

What you’ll need for the sides:

  • quinoa (cooked according to directions)
  • orange
  • raisins
  • pine nuts
  • seasonal veggies (my personal favs broccoli, peppers, cauliflower, carrots, and mushrooms)

Like I said, I usually only make these sides when I’m feeling creative because salmon cooks so quickly I generally make it with the salad when I’m crunched for time.

First, cook quinoa.

Follow the directions on the quinoa package and when cooked and still hot add a zest of orange along with a tablespoon of juice, add raisins, and toasted pine nuts (pour pine nuts into non-stick skillet and heat on stove until golden brown, watch these, they burn) season with salt and pepper or add more orange juice for a sweeter taste.

Second, cook the veggies.

My favorite way to cook veggies is in a frying pan. I chop all the veggies into bit size pieces and then cook it with a tablespoon of coconut oil. I don’t like to cook them for too long because I still like a crunchy bite. I season with s&p and finito!

I hope you enjoy this staple weeknight dinner in our house. Bon Appetit!

Cheers,

Mae

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So Smooth-ie

Weekday breakfast is always a challenge for me. I don’t like starting my day by making a huge mess in the kitchen to only wolf down my food before work. Although I work from home I keep a pretty strict eye on my time to make sure I’m giving attention to my “office hours”.

When it comes to a Monday through Friday breakfast it typically defaults to smoothies, which I don’t mind drinking because I can cram so many vitamin rich foods into the blender and everything melds together so nicely and ends up tasting like a sweet treat.

I usually just throw in what I have on hand, but I have been getting better about portioning because I would tend to make smoothie servings for 4 instead of one. Honestly, at that point you are either packing way too many calories into one sitting or wasting the smoothies down the kitchen sink. You CAN eat too much of a good thing.

I’m really bad at portioning. I always tend to make too much, usually it doesn’t matter because my boyfriend eats and drinks all my leftovers, but he leaves for work before I take my first sip so I’m left with the excess or it’s wasted. So I’ve been halving everything and I no longer “eyeball”, I really measure. Not just because I wanted to watch my calories, but I wanted to stop wasting money! Think about it, portion control also helps waste/waist control.

My go to recipe is A Berry Tasty Smoothie

Photo Cred: RawFamily.com

What you’ll need:

  • frozen mixed berries
  • half of a banana
  • handful of spinach (you can use kale)
  • 1/4 C of yogurt (I use organic vanilla)
  • 1/4 C of almond milk (you can just use water)
  • handful of ice

Just toss ingredients in the blender and blend til smooth. TIP: I like to add the ice first, then the spinach and top it off with everything else. Since the spinach is less dense sometimes it’s hard to combine. If you throw it on last and you may end up with leafy bits.

I noticed when I mix the smoothie it always tends to be thick. I’d rather this than super liquidy, so if for any reason I want to thin it out I also pour in a little water at a time, I’m talking a tablespoon. Water doesn’t mess with the flavor profile and it also doesn’t add calories.

What’s your favourite (Aussie spelling) smoothie recipe? Enjoy!

Cheers,

Mae

Brekky Bowls

There’s a place down the street from our house called The Shop and I’m absolutely in love with it. It’s the tiniest cafe (literally 3 tables inside) and a few outdoor squat spots, but it’s so idyllic. The first time I saw it I was on my way to check out our apartment, it was filled to the brim with people sipping lattes and eating fresh salads and it had a major impact on why I decided on our place. Just look at it.

the Shop Bondi photocred: summersite.com

It’s been our go to breakfast spot when I’m not in the mood to make anything or when we want a side of sunshine with our Sunday brunch. Although their menu isn’t extensive the dishes they do serve have been perfected. Take their brekky bowl for instance. This is something that I absolutely love. Simple ingredients, fresh vegetables, very little seasoning, and super healthy. Here’s my take on the brekky bowl.

brekky bowl

What you’ll need:

  • quinoa
  • roastable veggies (I used potatoes, beets, and carrots, but any root veg will do)
  • avocado
  • egg
  • halloumi (aka cypriot) or tofu
  • sprouts
  • lemon
  • s&p

Let me first discuss halloumi or cypriot, because before I moved to Sydney I had no idea what this was and it’s prevalent in almost every menu I come across. Halloumi, as it’s mostly known, is a semi-hard, unripened brined goat’s and sheep’s milk cheese. It has a high melting point so it’s great fried, seared or grilled and it’s texture is similar to a harder mozz with a deliciously salty flavor. It’s sooooo good.

First, roast your veggies.

I chop my potatoes, beets and carrots and add them to a baking sheet with a little oil, salt and pepper. (Tip: if you chop everything to the same size they will cook evenly). I roast at 350 degrees for 25-30 mins or until golden brown. Luckily I had some from dinner the night before so this is a great way to use veggie leftovers.

Second, make your quinoa.

I follow the packaging, but sometimes I’ll  use chicken broth instead of water. This time I used water to cut down on sodium, again I had some left over from dinner.

Third, poach or pan fry your egg.

You can really make your egg to your preference, but I like the eggs this way because you can punch the yolk and let it run all over your bowl like a sauce. Mmmmm… For tips on poaching an egg watch this.

Fourth, pan fry or sear your halloumi, or you can use tofu instead.

I put a small pat of butter in a non stick skillet and slice my halloumi about 1/4 inch thick. Once the butter is melted I add the cheese and watch it brown. You should get a crispy layer of golden brown on each side, but watch it because it will burn and you don’t want to waste this cheese.

Lastly, assemble. I add a layer of quinoa to the bottom of my bowl, add my roasted veggies to one side, add the halloumi next to it, add sliced avo to the bottom of the bowl and sprouts to the top, and then I top it all off with my egg.

Voila! It’s that simple. At the Shop they use these bowls that are almost deep plates they are a little easier to work with when it comes to eating, you can plate this, but I liked the idea of a bowl. I mean, it’s a brekky bowl. Hope you try this recipe and let me know how it turns out!

Cheers,

Mae

Ch..ch..chia pudding 

I’ve seen chia seeds everywhere! They are all over my Instagram feed since I follow a bunch of food bloggers and health fanatics. But aside from topping my yogurt or fruit bowl and sprinkling them into my smoothies I never really used them in a recipe before.

When we were living in San Francisco we ate breakfast at a restaurant called Plow in Potrero Hill and I ordered their chia pudding bowl. And it was so good. I was raving about it and kept meaning to recreate it.

It was so simple, delicate, sweet and better yet, a bowl of health benefits. Now I’m not going to explain what each food item provides on the nutritional scale as I’m sure I won’t be 100% accurate, I’ll let you guys do the research. But I am going to share a recipe for my version of Plow’s chia pudding.


What you’ll need:

  • Chia seeds
  • Almond milk or coconut milk
  • Vanilla extract
  • Bee pollen (make sure it edible)
  • Mixed berries
  • Bananas
  • Honey (I like the Orange blossom honey)

First, make the pudding:

  • 4tbs chia seeds
  • 1C almond milk
  • Few drops of vanilla

Mix together in Tupperware. Leave in the fridge overnight (at least 8 hours). The seeds expand and become gelatinous. If it’s too thin add more seeds, but you’ll have to refrigerate and wait again. If it’s too thick add more milk and stir. It should be the consistency of a silky pudding.

Second, add toppings: 

You can really top this with anything or leave it as is and sprinkle some cinnamon or coconut sugar on top. Yum! I added sliced bananas, mixed berries, bee pollen (don’t worry, they don’t really have a flavor, it was more for color and their “health” benefits, plus this is how Plow made it) and drizzled honey on top.

Happy breakfast or snacking!

If you try it Let me know how it goes.

Cheers,

Mae

This Sashimi Plate

Sashimi is a Japanese delicacy consisting of very fresh raw meat or fish sliced into thin pieces.

For the past few months (3 to be exact) Tyler and I have kept a predominantly pescatarian diet. It’s been a good change to our normal meat eating habits and it’s allowed our digestive systems to take a rest from breaking down heaps (Ozzie word) of thick protein and fat. It’s been a good change except I crave variety when it comes to meals and eating salmon everyday was getting a bit boring. I don’t know too much about fish, salmon and shrimp made up my repertoire, thus we were eager to mix things up a notch. We ventured to the Sydney fish market to explore and hoped we’d score a different member of the sea. It was a bit overwhelming seeing all of the fish and seafood displayed on the crushed ice. I love shell fish, but it is pricey. I did make a Cioppino back in Florida, so I’ll throw that onto the list, although it cost me almost $70 to make. Anyway this market services local restaurants so knowing that chefs are visiting to grab their catch of the day is kind of cool. I’m shopping where the culinary pros shop. We ended up cruising around with no goal, but when we came across the sashimi we just couldn’t resist. We’re sushi lovers so this was the tits. We bought 2 trays at $16.99 each and they weren’t stingy. The tray had about 8 thin slices of a few different fish; salmon, tuna, hamachi (yellow fin-may fav!) and ocean trout. we asked for extra salmon because I didn’t like the whitefish option they had. It was cheaper than what you would pay for at a sushi restaurant and we had enough for dinner and leftovers for Ty’s lunch.

Here’s my plate of goodness. Sashimi Plate My Deconstructed Sushi Plate: What you’ll need:

  • assortment of sashimi (make sure it’s sushi grade you don’t want to eat just any raw fish, you might get sick)
  • nori sheets
  • black rice
  • sprouts (I used bean sprouts, they are a bit sweeter)
  • radishes
  • purple cabbage
  • carrots
  • cucumbers
  • red peppers
  • mirin (or sweet rice wine)
  • soy sauce
  • sauce recipe info in the link (optional)

First, cook the rice I used a regular pot because I don’t have a rice cooker. I know it’s crazy an Asian without a rice cooker, but we just don’t eat rice that often (too many carbs I don’t need in my life). I did 1 cup rice to 2 cups water. When the rice is fluffy (usually about 20-25 minutes) mix in 1/4 of mirin and cover. The mirin sweetens the rice a bit and gives it that sushi roll flavor.

Second, pickle the accoutrement Mix 1/4 cup of mirin with couple of dashes of soy, 2 tablespoons of sugar, salt and pepper. Slice your veggies in sticks. I chose to cut my radishes in circles because it was easier. If you have a slicer that makes sheets that would be great to, but I just had a knife so I cut the raw veggies as thin as I could to make matchsticks or shreds without cutting my fingertips off. Once the veggies are cut, drop them in the pickling liquid and soak for at least 10 minutes.

Last, prep your plate I took one sheet of nori and laid it flat on my plate, but I think this was more for presentation because the sheet got soggy and I think next time I’ll just roll it up like a big funnel and set it to the side so I can build small hand rolls, but you live and you learn. I then scooped up a small portion of rice and added it to the plate topped with sesame seed and some sprouts (we eat with our eyes first). I started laying rows of fish and then along the sides of the plate I added my pickled veggies. I pickle them because they give them a light sweet flavor and there isn’t a raw bite with the delicate fish. I liked the combo. It melded well together.

I also made a “dynamite sauce” for Tyler since he likes spicy and I didn’t buy wasabi. I used the concepts of this recipe for the sauce except I improvised. I didn’t have tahini so I used vegan mayo. I kept everything else the same and I tasted a bit, it was good, just spicy.

Alright I hope you enjoyed my first recipe blog. I realize I posted this photo a few weeks ago, but I wanted to share the steps. More to come.

Cheers, Mae

Here we go…

Voila! Here’s my first post as a newbie food blogger. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for some time now and with some coaxing I realized “what the hell?” To say I have a passion for food is an understatement. I’ve been talking about starting a restaurant for ages and while I’d still love to accomplish that dream, blogging is a bit more economical at the moment.

For my first post I think it’s relevant to give you a little background about me.

me and tyler

I love sweets, particularly red velvet cake and Haribo gummy bears, maybe I’ll mix the two in a future recipe?! (Mmmm…the possibilities) I’ve been cooking since childhood and absolutely love it. My favorite thing about cooking is that I can create a meal and share it with others. I love how food brings people together and fills their bellies with happiness. I have recently become addicted to bargain shopping and love finding things “on sale” and purchasing them just for the deal. I work in the Digital Media space and have been for almost 5 years. I love animals, especially my dog Desi and my new kitten Jamilia. I’m currently living in Sydney with my boyfriend Tyler.