I feel like this post is almost inappropriate tonight. The whole country is gearing itself up for the rugby semi-finals tonight. I’ve read online that the Rugby World Cup may be partly responsible for lowering vegetable prices – everyone is eating takeout so the demand has lessened. And then there is me – eating a salad as my main meal. But this is no ordinary salad – this has got to be the best salad I have had this Spring. It is fresh, filling, delicious and a complete meal in a bowl.  Broccoli, snow peas, peas & chicken are tossed in a tangy Asian-inspired dressing and then sprinkled with toasted almonds and cayenne pepper. Delicious. I recommend you try it!


Double Pea Spring Salad Recipe
(adapted from Warm Snow Pea & Chicken Salad at

(serves 2)


  • 250g chicken breast
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 1 broccoli
  • 100g snow peas
  • 1/2 cup peas


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil


  • 1T sliced almonds, toasted
  • dried capsicum flakes (optional)
  • cayenne pepper (optional)


  1. Bring chicken stock to a gentle simmer in a pot. Add chicken and cook until the chicken is cooked through.
  2. Meanwhile, slice the snow peas into strips and cut broccoli into bite sized florets.
  3. Cook peas by microwaving for 2 minutes in a tablespoon of water. Alternatively, boil in water until heated through and bring green.
  4. Place dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until smooth, place aside.
  5. Heat 1 teaspoon of sesame oil over a moderate heat in a fry pan.
  6. Add garlic and ginger to fry pan until fragrant (about 1 minute)
  7. Add broccoli and snow peas to fry pan. Cook for about 5 minutes until the broccoli is tender crisp and heated through.
  8. Meanwhile, drain chicken and tear into pieces.
  9. Add chicken, peas and dressing to fry pan when broccoli is cooked. Mix to combine.
  10. Serve and top with toasted almonds and dried capsicum flakes. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper if you enjoy a little heat.
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Mounds of Food


I love it whenI literally have to mound a meal onto my plate, piling on the pieces, trying to stop stray pieces of steak or carrot from rolling onto the bench because the plate can not contain the deliciousness. Admittedly, my plate is not large, and the food is mainly vegetables, but despite this it makes the meal feel generous. The only problem with this is that mounds of food don’t photograph well. I’m thinking that maybe chefs are onto something with their minimalist presentation – it makes the food look better.

Tonight’s Korean steak is meant to be served in lettuce cups. I failed at making the lettuce cups. No matter how carefully I tried to separate the lettuce leaves, they split into pieces. That’s why the recipe turned into Korean steak on a heap of lettuce instead of being daintily spooned into delicate bowls of lettuce. It’s not attractive but it tastes good.

Celery and carrots are quickly cooked in a fry pan with a  little water and then marinated steak is added, followed by spring onion and sesame seeds. The marinade is sweet, spicy & salty with soy, garlic, ginger, sugar, cayenne pepper and sesame oil. Serving the cooked meat and vegetables on top of lettuce was a refreshing, summery change from rice and something I haven’t tried before but definitely will again.

Korean Steak Recipe (adapted from

(serves 2)


  • 225g steak, cut into small cubes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped finely
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 spring onion, chopped finely
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • Lettuce leaves


1. Cut steak into small cubes and marinate it in soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger & cayenne pepper
2. While steak is marinating, chop celery stalks finely, grate the carrot and slice the spring onion
3. Heat a fry pan to a medium-high temperature and add celery, carrot and 1/4 cup water. Cook for 2-3 minutes until celery is heated through and beginning to cook
4. Add steak and its marinade. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring often, until the steak has just browned on all surfaces
5. Add the spring onion and sesame seeds and cook for a further minute
6. Serve in lettuce leaf cups (good luck) or on a pile of shredded lettuce. Enjoy.

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Celebrating Spring

The arrival of spring is such an exciting time of the year. Blossoms. Ducklings. Daffodils. My birthday.Sunshine. Dresses. Asparagus. I love spring and the flavours of spring but I still struggle to cook seasonally. I blame reading food blogs written by people in the Northern Hemisphere. It takes some restraint to bookmark all the pumpkin recipes appearing online and not succumb to ‘order envy’ and to embrace what is in season here.

Spring is the season for asparagus, avocados, beetroot, courgette, cucumber and tangelo so I’ll be trying to make the most of these ingredients being cheap and at their tastiest in the coming weeks. I’m terrible at remembering what is in season when, but the Healthy Food Guide has a great reference chart you can easily glance at to see what fruits and veges are available when.


This stir-fry is very simple. It consists of just orange, pork and asparagus, seasoned and flavoured with a little olive oil and garlic. The flavour combination may seem strange but is light and fresh. I think a cool glass of white wine would have just made it… next time.

Pork, Asparagus & Orange Stir Fry Recipe
(adapted from Good House Keeping)

(serves 2 or 4 if served with rice)


  • 200g pork, sliced into strips (use a bit more pork if serving 4)
  • 500g (2 bunches) asparagus, stalks halved
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt and pepper


1. Grate 1 teaspoon of rind from the first orange and squeeze 1/4 cup of orange juice from it. Set aside.
2. Cut the skin and pitch (white bitter coating under the skin) from the second orange. Cut the flesh 8 wedges and then cut each wedge into 3 or 4 pieces.
3. Heat the olive oil in a fry pan over a medium-high heat and stir fry the pork until just cooked. (Don’t over cook it as I did or it will be chewy). Remove pork from pan and set aside.
4. Add asparagus to pan with orange rind, garlic and 1/4 cup of water. Cover the pan and cook for two minutes until the asparagus is bright green and tender crisp.
5. Add orange juice, pork & orange pieces. Heat through.
6. Season with salt and pepper then serve.

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Something Fishy…


This recipe was meant to be last nights dinner. I had it all planned out and had even cut up the onion, opened the tin of salmon and sliced the tomato when I realised that I only  had one egg left. Fail. So into the fridge all the ingredients went and out came frozen left overs from last week. At least this meant that when I went to cook lunch today everything was nicely prepped for me.

This quick recipe was another recipe inspired by the random items left over before grocery shopping day. The little salmon quinoa cakes are baked in a muffin pan. The quinoa helps add a little crunch to the outer shell of the cake and prevents them from being watery. If you don’t mind spending a little extra, use red salmon instead of pink. I think the taste is far nicer.

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Salmon Quinoa Cake Recipe

(serves 2)


  • 1/3 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 210g canned red salmon, drained
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of whole grain mustard
  • 4 egg whites, lightly whisked
  • salt and pepper, to taste


1. Boil quinoa in 2/3 cup of water for approximately 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed
2. Microwave onion for 2 minutes in a medium bowl to soften
3. Add baby spinach to quinoa once it is cooked and keep over heat until the spinach has wilted
4. Add baby spinach, quinoa and all other remaining ingredients to onion
5. Stir gently to combine. I tried to keep small hunks of salmon instead of making it into a paste but it’s up to what texture you prefer.
6. Spoon mixture into 6 muffin holes, lightly sprayed with cooking oil
7. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown

I served my salmon quinoa cakes with tomatoes roasted in balsamic vinegar, rosemary and olive oil, on top of some iceberg lettuce leaves. This was the perfect fast, high-protein lunch after a heavy morning gym session.

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Chicken Tonight

I have a fairly large spice and herb collection. it is wonderful. Instead of buying jars of spice pastes and sauces, I make my own. This way I don’t end up with a fridge full of half used jars designed made to feed families. It also means I know that I am eating good, wholesome ingredients and can healthily add flavour to food. It’s an investment well worth it in my eyes.


My homemade “tandoori” chicken is far from authentic but is packed with flavour and super moist (I apologise for the use of that word, but it had to be done). The chicken is marinated in spices overnight and then grilled quickly giving it a crunchy charred outer and succulent middle.

“Tandoori” Chicken Recipe (adapted from Tandoori Style

(serves 2)


  • 1 large or 2 small chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/8 cup plain unsweetened yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon jalapeno, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Method


    1. Mix all ingredients except for chicken a small bowl to form a paste
    P1020753 2. Place chicken and paste in a plastic bag and smother chicken in paste. Bash chicken with a rolling pin so that it is only 2cm at it’s thickest (try and make it even). Marinate overnight for best taste.
    P1020756 3. When ready to cook, line a tray with tinfoil and spray with cooking oil. Place chicken on the tray and then lightly coat it with another layer of cooking oil.
    P1020761 4. Grill chicken at the top of the oven at the hottest temperature it will reach for 5 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the oven when it is slightly charred and cooked through. Let it rest for a few minutes before serving.

    I served my chicken on top of a cucumber raita with snow peas. It would also be fabulous with rice and a green salad.

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Bean Snacking

Firstly, sorry about the pun, my Dad would be proud. Secondly, edamame is a recent snack discovery of mine. I’d eaten edamame (immature soy beans) in Japanese restaurants but recently found you can buy edamame from the frozen section of most supermarkets. They are easily prepared by microwaving or steaming them.


I often throw edamame into stir fries, but my favourite way to enjoy edamame is on their own with a bit of salt and vinegar. Sounds strange but it’s strangely addictive and it’s very satisfying to know that a snack that tastes so good is good for your body too. Usually I prefer fruit over vegetables since I have such a sweet tooth. This is definitely an exception!

Sweet and Sour Edamame Recipe

(serves 1 as a snack or side dish)


  • 1/2C edamame beans
  • 2TBSP water
  • 1TBSP vinegar
  • Freshly ground rock salt


1. Put edamame and water in a microwaveable dish, cover and microwave for 4 minutes
2. Drain and stir vinegar through edamame
3. Add salt to taste (I use quite a liberal amount but I like things salty)

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I love cooking and could happily spend an afternoon in the kitchen but when it comes to the cleaning up part, I’m not such a fan. So, today I thought I’d show you how I avoid having to clean the fry pan (and cut down on the amount of oil you need to use). It’s very simple – I line the pan with waxed baking paper and lightly spray it with cooking oil. Like this:

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I should have taken a picture of the cooked steak because it cooked beautifully and looked amazing because it didn’t stick at all. The charred bits make me happy because I don’t have to clean them:


See – clean pan, no scrubbing:


Yes, I am lazy. Of course, this wouldn’t be necessary if I bought a non-stick pan. I’m just waiting for someone to tell me off for killing trees…

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Beef with Asparagus and Mushrooms


If I could post smells instead of pictures on this blog, then today it would be the smell of these vegetables cooking. The asparagus, onion, mushrooms cooking in olive oil, rosemary, garlic and lemon juice were fragrant and made the kitchen smell incredible.

Asparagus being back made me a happy grocery shopper this morning and I had to try it out in this South Beach recipe for Beef with Asparagus and Mushrooms. I’m no fan of the South Beach diet – I’m too much of a carbohydrate lover to follow it but I have found that the website has some really, really delicious, nutrient packed meal ideas.

This dish is very simple – pan-fried steak and sautéed vegetables. The addition of garlic, rosemary and especially the lemon zest takes it from being potentially boring to something to get excited about (unless I’m the only one who gets excited about a good feed?!).  I’ve re-written the recipe here in metric measurements and for 2 portions instead of 4.

Beef with Asparagus and Mushrooms (from the South Beach Diet)

(serves 2)


  • 2 portions of steak
  • 1T olive oil
  • 2t dried rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, roughly diced
  • 1 bunch asparagus, with spears cut into thirds
  • 250g mushrooms, sliced
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper, freshly ground


1. Score the steak with diagonal lines
2. Rub 1t rosemary, 1 clove garlic into the steak and season with salt and pepper
3. Heat 1/2T of oil over a medium-high heat and fry steak for ~4 minutes on each side (for medium-rare)
4. Cover the meat with foil while preparing the vegetables.
5. Reduce heat to medium and heat the remaining 1/2T of oil
6. Sauté onion for 2 minutes
7. Add remaining garlic and stir through
8. Add mushrooms and asparagus, cook for 5 minutes until asparagus is cooked through but still crisp and mushrooms are turning golden brown
9. Add the lemon zest and remaining 1t of rosemary
8. Season with salt and pepper before serving

If you’re like me and get grumpy with-out some carbs or you’re hungry I’d recommend serving this with some boiled baby potatoes. Mm.

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Comfort & Nourishment


Today didn’t go to plan. I went to work thinking I would be caring for patients but instead I was the one lying down getting my obs taken after seeing stars and nearly hitting the deck halfway during a procedure. They hadn’t even got to the gory part yet! Turns out I had a fever and was coming down with something – no fun.

I have to be practically dead to loose my appetite completely so I wanted something that was going to be good for my body for dinner and that required minimal energy cook. Grocery shopping was out of the question so I adapted Stephen’s Healthy Lentil Bowl by (NeverHome)Maker to what I had in the cupboards. The result was a simple and satisfying one-dish dinner in half an hour. The list of spices is long but the taste was more subtle than overbearing, perfect for an unhappy tummy.

Lentil and Chickpea Bowl Recipe (adapted from Stephen’s Healthy Lentil Bowl)

(serves 2)


  • 3C water
  • 1C red lentils (raw)
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1t canola oil
  • 2 onions
  • 1/2t curry powder
  • 1/2t turmeric
  • 1/2t cardamom
  • 1/2t paprika
  • 1/2t coriander
  • 1/2t mustard seeds
  • 3C spinach
  • 1/4C trim milk
  • salt and pepper to taste


P1020651 1. Simmer lentils in water until softened (~8minutes). They will still be in quite a bit of liquid.
P1020656 2. Sauté onions in canola oil until translucent.
P1020659 3. Add spices to onions and sauté a further minute.
P1020666 4. Add lentils and chickpeas and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently so the mixture does not stick to the pan.
P1020670 5. Add spinach and milk. Cook, stirring often, until spinach is wilted and heated through. The lentils will partially dissolve, making the mixture thick and creamy.
P1020678 6. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with bread to dunk.
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Looks Are Deceiving …

I was excited to make dinner tonight. It was a recipe from the bonappetit website for Seared Asian Steak and Mushrooms on Mixed Greens with Ginger Dressing (quite a long recipe title, eh?!) and seemed like the perfect solution for a warm Spring evening.


I wanted to post the picture this size so you couldn’t see how unappetising the meat looks, but here’s the proper sized picture:


For once I nearly followed the recipe, only taking a few shortcuts. Usually my kitchen shortcuts don’t make too much of a difference in the final product but today it showed. I really SHOULD have toasted the sesame seeds and I really SHOULD NOT have bought cheap steak and then overcooked it too! Despite this salad’s washed out looks it really DID taste good. The meatiness of the mushrooms goes fantastically with the steak and the dressing is delicious and zingy.

Preparation involves whisking the salad dressing ingredients, toasting the sesame seeds, sautéing the mushrooms and frying the steak – a very achievable week night dinner. I almost wanted to make another one with better meat, just so I could get a photo that might persuade you to try it too!

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