Banana Chia Pudding (Paleo, Gluten Free, Vegan)

img_3427-640x427Recently I had 4 gorgeous days to myself. The whole zika virus in Singapore and Malaysia means I was advised not to travel. The decision did not come easy as the trip was to celebrate my brother in law’s wedding. It was meant to be a family affair, one that hubby and I looked forward to for months. Still, being pregnant means there are more risks- one that we are not willing to take with reported cases of mircophely associated with the zika virus. After giving it some thought, we decided to have hubby and Ash travel without me. 

I mentioned in my previous post that this pregnancy has somewhat been different for me. The first one was full of excitement and joy. I was sick but happily sick. I might be spewing in the toilet and looking grey for most of the pregnancy, but the idea of having a baby- one that we were told we could never have, just seem so overwhelmingly blessed. I struggled big time with working then as the nature of my work means long hours and travel in the car. 

This pregnancy is our 2nd miracle. We have defy odds. With the pregnancy comes joy in the first second and panic in the second. Many thoughts flew through my mind. I have just settled back to regular work. One that I enjoy going to, feeling challenged and stimulated. As most would agree, the people you work with are just as important as the work. I was beginning to feel like I am settling. Then bam. Pregnancy means I would have to take time off and with much uncertainty to where I will go when I return. 

Then it is the awareness. The awareness of what will come ahead. The sleep deprivation, the thoughts of juggling with a pre scholar and a baby, the labour process- or in my case, awareness that the doctor would recommend c-section the 2nd time round, the cries that you may never soothe, the concern that I may not be able to give this baby as much as I did with Ash… img_3430-640x427

It also came with a lot of nos and rejections. The no travel to Asia to see my parents/in laws/bil wedding, the no you got to rest because you have some spotting and cramps, the no you have to stop doing so much, the no you have to reduce intensity of the workout, the no the darn pants won’t fit anymore… and of course, the no to Ash when he wanted me but I had no more fuel to give. Then we were put on a ‘higher risk” list as bub came out positive with one indicated of down syndrome. Suddenly, the focus was more on knowing that his heart will be ok, and there are no deformities. When that happened, the guilt set in on how can I worry with SUCH LITTLE things when this little life may not have even existed? 

This verse struck firmly in mind. 

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7 

God is good and our prayers have been answered. Things will work out eventually. Right now, we are back to being at the low risk marker. I’m feeling better. And the trip? It was a blessing in disguise because I have not experienced 4 whole glorious days to myself … in what I cannot remember when. 

What did I enjoy?

-HOT drinks and meals

-On my own agenda. A quick duck to the shops? No problems! 

-Groceries done in 30 minutes

-Shopping. Proper shopping

-Silence

-Sleep

-Concentrating on a friend’s conversation

-Clean house

-Less laundry

-No crumbs

-I can play the music I want to hear! 

-Being by myself in the toilet and shower

-Hot long showers

-Did I mention sleep? 

So the 4 days ended and I’m definitely feeling more refreshed. The madness will begin and it will be a long time till I get this freedom again. 

I’m sharing this lovely pudding that I have been having for a snack (or post dinner 4th meal of the day). It’s quick, easy and definitely healthy and tasty. img_3433-640x427

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Travel workouts + Back to Basics Chocolate Cupcakes with Yogurt Cream Cheese Frosting

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Holidays are awesome. A time to recharge but also to catch up with family and friends. Recently our family went on a 3 weeks break. Little Asher relished in grandparents’ care and attention while we just love having some down time. 

While I love our break, the first thing that I miss would be my regular workout sessions. This time round, I decided to go with the flow, opting to rest when my body needs to but aim to move daily. This was what I did

Day of departure Friday- Morning working. 5 TGU 12kg each side, 5 rounds of 10 reps, deadlifting, cleans, rows, push ups and sit ups

Saturday- No workout. Went for family walks.

Sunday- Walking the dog and carrying Asher while walking. That was a workout itself! The humidity means I was drenched with sweat. 

Monday- HIT Mum Plyo Hell

 

Tuesday- Modified workout from my usual group that does a metcon on Monday evenings. I did 14 mins 12 PU twist, GS and burpee with a jump over a mat. (I did 10 rounds), and then 7 min of 10 pairs of mountain climbers, 12 sit-ups and 20 bicycles (I did 7 or 8 rounds)

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Wednesday- HIT Mum 10 for 10 workout (Asher joined me)

Thursday- 10 rounds of 10 reps burpees, pushups, jumping squats and dips. (Asher joined me as well)

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Friday- HIT mum  Legs nd The trim tummy 10 mins

Saturday- Staycation. There is a wonderful gym at the resort. I did 1.2km run, 2×2 TGU, 5 rounds 10 reps, deadlifting, dumbbell squats and dips. Then I went for a few laps in the pool.

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Sunday- Rest day.

Monday- HIT mum All over BB 17 mins

Tuesday- Rest Day (travel day to Singapore)

Wednesday- 4 chin ups and 2 pull ups. 8 rounds of 10 reps burpees, push ups and sit ups 

Thursday- 5 chin ups. AMRAP of 17 minutes of 8 reps dips, burpees, pushups and heel squats. 

Friday-Nike App 15 minutes Advanced workout by Carili Lloyd (Metabolic Kick HIT workout)

Saturday- Hubby and I worked out together to his NAME. We had a “Name workout” I think in total I did 65 burpees, 200 star jumps, 40 sit ups, 40 dips and 20 push ups. I managed 5 chin ups with breaks. 

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Sunday- Rest Day (Travel to Johor)

Monday- Hotel Jen’s gym! 1.2 KM run, 4 rounds of 20x trx rows, 4 rounds 10x 40 kg deadlifting, 20 kg squats, followed by leg curl and shoulder press machines 

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Tuesday- Rest day

Wednesday- (Still feeling off) Managed HIT mum Tabata Power Shred 21 mins

Thursday- GYM day! around 1km run as warm up to the gym and 4 flights of stairs. 10 kg dumbbell TGU 5 each side. 4 rounds 16kg 10x reps squats. Leg press 188Kg PB (5 reps max increasing to 188kg), Chest press, shoulder push press, and leg curl. Walk home for rest. 

Friday- HIT Mum- The big 10 workout. 

Saturday- Rest Day

Sunday- Rest day. Travel back to Australia

In all, my workouts are around 15-20 minutes with 5-10 minutes of warm up and cool down. I’m usually back having a shower within 30 minutes. If I’m feeling like I need a rest, I would either take a rest or do a gentler workout. Everyday, I would climb the stairs to my parents apartments (around 16 flights with 10 steps each). Depending on the day, it would be at least once.  

Holiday workouts to me are a way to keep the momentum moving. I see benefits of doing quicker and shorter workouts than my usual ones (e.g. boxing) as it provides the body a break. I did try to see if there are any Muay thai or cross fit classes to go to- just for something new, but it just didn’t work out in the end of schedules and some places requesting for long term memberships. 

If you do participate in holiday workouts, what do you do? 

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Holidays aside, I shared this once on Instagram where we walked past a cafe and Asher wanted the chocolate cupcakes! I promised him that we would make some when we return home which was exactly what we did. Oh the look on my little boy’s face is precious. What I was even more surprised was that he ate the frosting which consisted of a little cream cheese and yogurt! Both which he generally does not like to have it on its own. I guess the power of chocolate is great. IMG_3050 (640x427)

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Eating Clean while Travelling- We went to Hong Kong! Plus Coconut Banana Ice Cream (Paleo, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar free)

IMG_4728Travelling is one of our biggest passion. We are very privileged to be able to head back to see our family in Singapore, Malaysia and even take a short trip to Hong Kong to see my Grandaunt recently.  IMG_4812

I have often said that eating clean is a lifestyle. What happens then on holidays? My family and I subscribe to the 80/20 rule mostly. During the trip, I ate carefully. Being on holidays means we have our indulgences. I’m all for a good egg tart or dim sum, but generally I try to stay clean as possible (with allowances). IMG_4746

In Singapore and KL, My mum and mother in law are wonderful cooks. Chinese cooking can be quite healthy. We had steamed fish, plenty of broths and soups, stir fry vegetables like bitter gourd and sambal eggplant, steamed chicken with mushrooms. Eating at home, where I didn’t have to cook was a luxury. 

When we do eat out, hubby and I tend to share certain treats. Instead of having a bowl of herbal jelly each, we shared one. We drizzle honey onto our bowl rather than pouring into it. (We had one! The other one in the photo belonged to my mum)IMG_4665

We came across one of my favourite- Pierre Hermes Macarons. Given that it has been nearly 6 years since we went to Paris, and it brought us lovely memories, we indulged-Sharing one between us every few days. IMG_4710

More importantly, we stayed active. Nearly everyday, we tried to move. We walked a lot of course (especially in HK), but I did body weight workout and used the weights at the hotel gym. I didn’t go over excessive. I just moved. It was probably of a lower intensity that my normal workout but that’s alright. My body needed to rest and so I rested. There was at least 2 days I did not workout. I simply felt tired. 

Other things?

– I packed small packets of nuts. It’s easy enough to buy roasted unsalted nuts at groceries stores.

– I pack my muesli. I try to start my day having a healthy, clean breakfast. Sometimes I would have eggs but I really enjoy my muesli with some greek yogurt.

– Mum makes cold pressed juices at home which I quite enjoyed!

– Taste. If I really like it, I will have the whole thing without guilt. 

– Stay hydrated. We purchase plenty of bottled water.

– We brought our vitamins. However, we find that it is more helpful taking them at least before the trip to build our immunity up.

– Instead of watching TV, we were usually in bed by 10 or 11pm. Sometimes even 9:30! It was actually quite nice to take advantage of not having to do household chores and just catch up on sleep!

– On the plane, I would either order the low carb meal or have the meat and vegetables portion. I would skip the dessert (as it is usually not as nice!) and have a piece of dark chocolate if I feel like it. 

– Don’t forget to have some fruits. We enjoyed bells apple, guava, jackfruit… Asher loves his fruits too! IMG_4753

With Asher, we mostly allowed him to have what we eat at restaurants. Thankfully, he likes his vegetables and would attack the broccoli with gusto in Hong Kong. In KL, he had cucumber and jiacama as snacks. 

All in all, we had a great trip and I can’t wait to visit Hong Kong in the future again. IMG_1608 (640x427)

I know we are in autumn but I cannot resist not sharing this Ice cream recipe with you. It’s so quick and simple. You can do it with or without the ice cream machine. I find that with the machine, it is creamier. 

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[yumprint-recipe id=’25’]

HELLO 2015!

Oh hello there! Is it the year 2015 already? 2014 was here just a minute ago. I blinked and here we are at the New Year.

Not often do I take a break from writing here. For the past few weeks though, I took a step back and simply enjoy my family. My parents visited and I soaked in their presence. Including being spoilt by taking a 2 hour nap on Christmas Day, having my laundry folded, and a babysitter for Asher when hubby and I go out for lunch and coffee dates. Seriously spoilt.

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Together with my parents, we went down to Margaret River for 3 days, and I was reminded by how gorgeous Western Australia is.

 

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Coming back though, I wanted to do my annual reflections post.The year 2013 was epic, with Asher being born. Year 2014 was a year of adjustments.

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My grandmother was very ill. I was back in Singapore for close to 2 months earlier in the year. I saw her fought HARD. She had such a strong fighting spirit and survived being in the ICU.

 

However, she fell ill again (different condition) and passed away in early May.

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Grieve is a complicated emotion. I swing from being relieved that her agony and suffering was short-lived but felt a deep sense of loss. Time and being busy helped me healed but the sense of loss never went away.


With my parents over here, we planted a rose plant in our garden in her memory. Mum and I made her famous yam cake. Dad even commented that my soups reminded him of her. My heart ached when Asher called my mum “popo” knowing that he would have called my grandmother “Ah Tai” if she is still alive now.

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In the midst of it all, I received an offer to work part time mid 2014. Life as a working mum is hectic but we adjusted. Asher also started day care. I had to get used to the idea of someone caring for him!

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Asher turned 1. He started walking, talking and looking more like a toddler. My baby is no longer a baby anymore!

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As a couple, we have settled into a routine. We appreciate time together and learned how important it is to be a couple even though we have a family. It’s not always easy. My brain is frequently running a million kms an hour with endless lists of doing things, neglecting that I need to be present for my marriage. Hubby falls to the trap of dealing with the day to day work and home stressors and needed reminders to see me as a wife first than a mother. A marriage needs constant work. There is no room for being complacent.

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To the outside world, it just seems perfect. We are generally happy people. We like being in the same room as each other and we have a gorgeous son. Perhaps what is less known is that we struggle too. Like most young parents, we are sleep deprived and time poor. We rarely yell at each other, but that does not mean we do not have unhappy or even angry moments.

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Fitness remains a journey. I lost most of my baby weight when Asher was 6 months young. I continued to eat clean and train hard. All in all, I think I did pretty well in gaining strength and endurance. From doing wall push ups to full push ups. From not being able to do a full burpees to doing 100 burpees.  I ended the year knowing that I’m stronger and fitter than 2013.

 

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My self image demons continued to haunt me from time to time. Somewhere towards end of September, I was reaching a plateau at the gym. I felt that I was doing “ok” but struggling to lift heavier weights or running faster. I realised that even though I was eating clean, I was probably not eating enough. So I took the plunge and decided to increase my food intake as an experiment. That was a little tricky as I was used to listening to my body and eating accordingly. Slowly, I ate just a little more for my main meals. Surprise surprise, I gained over a kilo of muscle, and started to see progress at the gym. While it was all positive, the increase in the number at the scale affected me. In my head, I see myself as bigger and if I search deep enough, even thinking that I have gone backwards in performance. Just because of a number at the scale.

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I thought I was over that. Being obese and overweight as a child means I have been used to measuring progress by the scale. Gaining weight scares me. Logically I know that muscle and fat are different. Emotionally I reacted. This little experiment brought out more than what I expected. Insecure feelings about my self image appeared.

 

I could choose to freak and bailed out. The old me might even go back to how I was eating before. I needed to stop and breathe. To give myself permission to freak for a while and then question where all these feelings come from. I had to sit with these uncomfortable sensations and question where to from here.

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The answer I think is simple. Why complicate things. What I am doing is working and I have to trust the process though how scary it may appear to be. Looking back, I have lost 35 kgs two times (Childhood and Post Pregnancy). Clean eating and moving well is part of my life now. Is it likely that I will gain back 30 kgs from what I am doing now? Unlikely. Can I tweak my meal plans and workouts as I go along? Very much so. Do I want to lead a life jailed by a number on a machine? No.

Food remains a joy to us. I experimented with more clean cooking and desserts and LOVE it! From making raw desserts to experimenting and developing recipes for my family, I found a kind of rhythm.

So what were my goals for 2014?

My goals for 2014 
– Continue to create and experiment clean desserts and meals. (done!) 
– Make that cream brûlée! (OOPSIE! Got to really get that butane!) 
– Getting my fitness back on track. (Yep!) 
-Make baby food… (DONE!) 
– Not sweat the small stuff as much (ok, half done… ) 
– Travel back and see my family even more. (I went back to SG 3 times last year. Done) 
– Stay in the moment more. Babies grow up too fast. (Done and ongoing) 
– Thank God every day for our blessed family. (Could do better) 
– blog more often! (I think so!)

Where to for 2015? 

  1. Continue to provide my family with clean and healthy meals. I would like to make more chinese style broths and get back to my roots with more Chinese clean cooking.
  2. See beyond the number at the scale. Getting stronger. Doing more drills with full pushups, using heavier weights for thrusters, deadlifts, turkish get ups and squats.
  3. As a wife, be kinder.
  4. Talk and communicate with my parents more.
  5. As a mother, to be patient and stay in the moment. Asher is growing too quick.
  6. Maintain a gratitude journal.
  7. Pray more. I don’t think I do enough of praying and reflection.
  8. Schedule in rests.
  9. Connecting with friends. Regular meet ups with my mummy girlfriends. Maintaing contact with my close friends through whatsapp, phone conversations and any channels we can think of. Being a better gift giver.
  10. Bringing this website to a wider audience

This is  going to be a year of Back to Basics. Basics of being in the moment with my family and loved ones. Losing grandma made me yearn for more family contact. Learning how to have peace with myself- Trusting in the Lord rather than being self-focus in appearance. Cooking and creating recipes that fits well with our ethos. Re establishing and building existing relationships. It’s going to be a year of giving myself permission to slow down to speed up.

Here is to a GREAT start to the New Year! 

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A Different Sort of Chocolate Cake

So recently we had our first family holiday. A coupon deal came up and we grabbed a one night stay at a 4.5 star hotel at The Sebel in Mandurah, Perth. To many West Australians, Mandurah is a sleepy little place just on border of metro Western Australia. To us though, it was where we sneaked out for dates when we were in University and when hubby popped the question at the jetty 4.5 years ago. It seems fitting that we bring Asher there for his first night out of home.

Truth be told, it’s because we are “testing out” the waters of bringing Asher out overnight. We thought an hour away means we are far enough to do the testing, but close enough to return home if we get desperate. Thankfully, Asher adapted pretty well. I learned a few things in this short trip.

– It’s ok to bring more diapers. In this case, less is not more!
– I would choose to have Asher’s things in a separate bag next time if we are going for longer trips.
– Collect samples. I brought the samples on the trip for nappy cream, body wash, moisturiser and it worked a treat!
– Bring my baby carrier. I’m beginning to value my baby carrier more and more….
– Hubby and I had dinner at 6pm which is usually the start of Asher’s sleep routine, to counter a very cranky baby in a fancy restaurant, I feed him and managed to put him down for a nap.
– If we really want to have dinner out, make it 6pm and not later! Poor Ash was clearly tired at 7:30 even though he had a nap.

No doubt there will be more thoughts as we begin planning our travel back to SG/KL end of January. Any tips from experienced travellers?

I’m a big fan of Teresa Cutter. It’s my go-to place for treats and other healthy meal ideas. She made healthy food looks AMAZING and so delicious. In fact, I don’t think I have ever had a bad batch of baking from her recipes before. This different sort of chocolate cake is not something I have not made before. Her one- bowl cake is delicious and really, I adapted her recipe to suit us but it’s basically the same.

What I think it’s different in this cake, is the Coconut Chocolate Ganache. Yup. It’s ganache made of coconut cream instead of normal cream. It makes so much sense actually to replace normal cream with coconut.  So handy as I almost always forget to buy cream but I usually have coconut milk or cream in my pantry. First it adds flavour, and 2nd it doesn’t leave me with the “I ate too much ganache” feeling. The 2nd point is dangerous though because it is tempting to polish off a bowl of the ganache. It’s still a treat and it still has chocolate in it. Best of all, my parents in law who does not like dairy loved it!

If you are looking for a christmas treat, this could be an idea!


A Different Sort of Cake with Coconut Chocolate Ganache. (serves 25)
3 cups almond meal
1/2 cup of cacao powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
125ml olive oil or coconut oil
125 ml of almond milk
1 tablespoon of raw honey

Preheat fan forced oven to 150C. Whisk eggs, oil, milk,vanilla and honey together. Pour wet over dry ingredients and fold. Pour into prepared lined baking tin and bake for 40-45 minutes.

Coconut Chocolate Ganache
250ml Coconut Cream
200grams dark chocolate

Heat cream gently. Break chocolate into cream and gently fold till it melts and turn glossy. Cool before placing on cake.

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LA and NYC 2012

It took us some time, but when we finally did hit the “confirm” button to book our trip to LA and NYC, we were stoked. Traveling is a big burn of ours but between work, building of our home and other commitments, it took us some time before we were able to bite the bullet and splurge on a holiday. It was also my birthday trip, which made it extra special.

In total we travelled for 14 days. The first three was at Melbourne, followed by LA then NYC. Our plans were initially NYC then LA but due to Hurricane Sandy, plans have to change. We spent 6 8 glorious days in NYC, the additional 2 days courtesy of the secondary storm that hit NYC while we were there.

Highlights of LA?
– The Redbury Hotel. Truly a beautiful Art Decor accommodation.

– Walking along Hollywood Blvd on my birthday only to be told that there were road closures because there was a gun man on the loose!

– Food at Cleo and Katsuya! Seems that Katsuya is a celebrity watch restaurants. No luck for us.
– History of Hollywood.

– Universal Studios- behind the scenes tour.

What I really love, is our trip to NYC. The food, the lights, the people. Everything. Hurricane Sandy certainly brought out the tenacity of New Yorkers. By day 4, subway stations were partially open, and business were slowly chugging back into gear.

I love
– Walking into Bed, Bath and Beyond and wanting to buy the whole shop back.
– Smelling the aroma of William Sonoma
– Checking out the views of Empire State and Rockerfellar

 – Snow Storm!

– Behind the scenes tour of NBC studios
– Shopping at GAP, Victoria Secret, Century 21, Forever 21….
– Eating at Nanoosh, Dean and Deluca, Ma Peche., Balthazar..
– Desserts at Momofufu Milk Bar and Bakery, Spot Dessert and Kytofu.

(Spot Dessert Bar- Matcha Lava Molten Pudding)
(Spot Dessert Bar- Coconut Cheesecake)
(Kytofu- Black Sesame Tofu Pudding)

– Love the museum of Art

– Who can missed Central Park, Times Square and 5th Ave.  Times square is mesmerising.

(Times Square with Cookie Monster and Elmo)
(Central Park before the snow storm) 
(Central Park after the snow storm) 

-Broadway!!

-Brooklyn Flea Market.
– Brooklyn Bridge

(Brooklyn Bridge)

– Statue of Liberty

– Whole Food Markets
– Tasting Pumpkin Pie/tart for the first time.
– Love walking along Bleeker Street, SoHo (pity we didn’t get to explore it throughly)
-Bryant Park is beautiful!

So much more.

Things I learned..
– Starbucks serve decent coffee in NYC. Dean and Deluca is much better but we actually like this little coffee place call Oren‘s Daily Roast.
– I do not like American Cheddar
– Service is way better in USA. Perhaps it has got to do with the tipping system.
– Unfortunately Magnolia Bakery is over-rated. I did not enjoy their desserts as much as I thought I would. Next time, more calories spent at Momofuku Milk Bar, or Spot Dessert!
– I need more luggage space. It is so worth it heading to Century 21- I’m not into brand names shopping, but managed to grab some good quality basics for good prices.

While the storm means we were not able to explore SoHo, Nolita, Chinatown areas, it also means that we have to go back! Hubby and I are both planners, so we had to learn to relax and be flexible with our itinerary. Flight cancelled 3 hours before we were supposed to be at the airport? We smiled and said obviously God want us to stay in NYC for a bit longer, and enjoyed the snow.

Certainly a trip to be remembered. We will return!

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Sunshine Chorizo Lentil Soup

What I love about winter:

1) I get to wear boots
2) I love scarfs
3) Lovely warm jackets
3) Hot chocolate
4) Nice warm throw and heated wheat bags
5) Listening to the rain
6) If you have a gas fire heater or wood heater, the warmth from it!
7) Hot comforting food like stews, casseroles and soups!

Soups certainly bring abit of sunshine in rainy cold wet weather. This soup was inspired by our trip to Denmark, Western Australia. I have always found it funny that there is a “denmark” in down under Aus. It’s nothing like Copenhagen Denmark of course. Denmark WA is filled with hikes and scenic views. We are so in love with the serenity of the place.

On our first night there, we went to this “funky” new restaurant and lo and behold, they have soup. All I recall was heaps of veges, lentils and shavings of parmesan on it. At home, I added generous amount of chilis and heaps of veges. It was slowed cooked for around 2 hours so the flavours really did seeped in.

The other thing we discovered was “vinofood”. Jams and chutneys made with wine! My favourite is the fig, chardonnay and apply chutney. I paired it with some goats cheese. yum!

I guess this soup brought back abit of the holiday with us to home as well!

Sunshine Chorizo Lentil Soup
250 grams of soup mix lentils (Soaked for 30 minutes)
500 ml of beef stock
500 ml of chicken stock
2 carrots chopped
1 small sweet potato chopped
1 small bunch of celery chopped
1 red onion chopped
1 chorzo chopped
5 chili padis chopped
1 heaped tablespoon of garlic

Heat soup pot. Add chorizo. Fry till it is done. Remove some. Add onions and garlic. Cook till soft. Add lentils and toss for around 2-3 minutes. Add stock. Simmer for 1 hour. Stir. Add veges. Cook for another 30-40 minutes, longer if needed. Season. Serve with parmesan cheese.

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Swiss Adventure- Rosti and Halomi at home

During our trip to Switzerland (Interlaken), we hurried to try the local cusine. Cheese Fondue with white wine-checked. Rosti- Checked. While I wasn’t ready to try out the strong cheese fondue at home (just didn’t sit too well in my tummy), I love love love the rosti.

Re-creating dishes that we try and love overseas back at our humble kitchen is one of my passions. While our little rosti cakes did not look anything like what we had in Switzerland, it brought us back memories. The human brain is so amazing, recording our memories not just by sight, but by all senses. Having this, just brought us back a little more of what we have experienced. I can’t help but drool with the sight of the runny egg on a bed of potato!

At home, I grated the potato, added some melted spread, season and proceeded to shape them in little cakes. It worked really well and turned crispy despite not having much oil added to the pan. I suppose it would have to be the butter on the potato cakes.

The shredded delights hit a big spot in us. We paired it with a light salad with grilled halomi cheese.  While I tried this cheese briefly in cafes, I have not thought of using it in salads before. Grilling it made it slightly crispy and I was greeted with the crispy outer and creamy cheesey insides. Superb!

 
Rosti with Halomi Salad (Serves 3-4) 
50 grams of Halomi cheese sliced to 2 pieces
Rosti 
2 potato grated
2 tablespoon of spread melted 
lots of freshly cracked pepper
1 tsp of chilli flakes 
1 tsp of minced garlic 
1 tsp of mixed herbs 
sea salt  
Mixed all ingredients together. Shape into patties. Preheat pan with a little oil. Fry rosti up.
ps- I like my potato with a little bite so I didn’t pre boil it.  
Grilled Halomi– Preheat another pan with oil. Grill it till it turns crispy on the outside. Serve on bed of salad. 

Greetings from Germany!

Hallo! Greetings from snowy and cold Germany. Hubby and I are finally on our long awaited honeymoon. We travelled to Demark, Copenhagan last Tuesday and have been around Germany since last Friday. It started snowing on the first day we arrived- which we were told that it is quite uncommon in Europe to snow that much in December. Oh well, we totally enjoyed every minute of the snow. Too bad it was too soft to make a snowman.

In Europe, we had a great time tasting and trying out different kinds of food.

First stop- Illum ( a big shopping centre) on Stöget, Copehengan. We are not sure what it is called but it has mazapan at the bottom, soft meringue on the top and then covered with dark chocolate. Our friend told us that is a popular chocolate snack during Christmas time.

The magic occurred when we walked along the streets of Danmark. SNOW! Lots of snow. So much that we had to take refuge in a quint little cafe which we enjoyed a huge hot mocha while watching the snow falls.

We went to the Tivoli markets. A huge Christmas surprise with lots of fun rides. Not that we went on any rides but just took in all the wonderful sights and lights! It was soooo sooo beautiful and magical. The top photo shows a hot wine drine glögg which is spiced red wine with silvered almonds and sultanas. It was a very drink in cold snowy weather. The little snacks tasted like cinnamon spiced mini donuts. Again, Lone told us that it is a traditional Christmas snack eaten with cranberry sauce.

A visit to Danmark will not be complete without our experience at a hotdog stand.

 
This hotdog has chopped onions, mustard, gerkins and crispy shallots on it. Very warming to the tummy.
                                         
            
                                         
Can’t leave Denmark without DANISHES and pastries!! The bottom one is really special. It is sort of like a puff pastry but has sugar sprinkled on it with some forms of seeds. Very delish.
Next stop
BERLIN!
Breakfast to fill our tummy up.
 
                                          
Honestly, I have no idea what I was eating because it says special musli! No harm trying right? It was very oaty with lots of cinnamon.
Hubby had a toasted sandwich with lots of mozerella cheese, pear and some cranberry sauce.
More Christmas markets- we were on the hunt for some WURST.
This was the basic one with nothing on it. We added mustard and some tomato sauce on the side stand.
Oh, we can’t forget the sauerkaut and wurst with a bowl of champinons and bread.
The hubby is happy.
The next day, we explored the Berlin City. Took the S and U bahns (Trains) and ended up in a huge shopping centre. We spent 2 hrs wondering around the food area! Finally we settled in the food court and I had fish soup.
Salads with lots of dressings and a hot main meal with pork steak. One thing for sure, the Germans were generous with their dressings. The pork steak was really tender.
                                  
Back to the food area, we zoned in quickly at the dessert section filled with rows and rows of sweets! This one has lots of pumkin seeds and tasted like bikenstich.
We headed to a small village to be with our friends Haz and Hanno. Then we went to Köln and visited a big catheral. Happens to have another Christmas Market just right outside the Dom. It seems that is the biggest one in Germany too.
                                      
We were told that we had to try curry wurst-which turns out….
to be cut up wurst topped with curry sauce! Not very impressive but interesting!
Next to the wurst stall is a stall that sells Solvanish food. It’s toasted bread with different toppings include goats cheese, tomato puree and olive tapanade.
We proceeded our long walk by the Rhine river and ended up in a Chocolate museum. Really facinating stuff.
Also proof that chocolate is good for us!
Lots of chocolate treats!
This was dark chocolate mousse.
My personal favourite: Hot chocolate with baileys!
                                                       
What is more special is authentic Black Forest Cake that Haz made for us!
                                       
                                        
And one of our main reasons to be in Germany: Welcome little Hanna! The new addition to our friend’s family!
                                    

Holidays!

Woohoo! The holidays are upon us. While we celebrate this festiveness, rest assured I will be back soon with even more fabulous ideas and adventures. I will attempt to update periodically- good food galore! So come back to check.

Here is wishing everyone a  

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A FABULOUS NEW YEAR!