Turkey and Kale Thai Cakes

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Kale is becoming such a regular in my kitchen that I’m using it in everything.

By using turkey breast mince, these Thai cakes are a leaner option to replace the humble beef pattie – don’t get me wrong I love beef patties, but I don’t want to turn into one!

Turkey breast mince is high in protein and amino acids, low in calories, is carb free and low in fat.

No need to cook the Kale before hand, just finely chop, add to the turkey mince along with all the other ingredients and shape into the desired size you like. Rest them in the fridge until ready to cook, they can  be frozen at this stage or even after cooking. They are  gluten, grain and dairy free.


Turkey and Kale Thai Cakes

Serves 4-6


Ingredients

1 1/2 tbsp Thai curry paste, I used yellow this time

1 egg

1-2 tbsp fish sauce

2 tsp preferred sweetener, I use palm sugar

Juice and zest of 1 lime*

1 tbsp cornflour

2 cups kale, removed from stems and finely chopped

500g turkey breast mince

2 spring onions, finely sliced

4 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced **

Rice bran oil for cooking


Method

  1. Mix curry paste, egg, fish sauce, sweetener, lime juice and zest, once combined whisk in the cornflour, removing any lumps.
  2. Add the remainder of the ingredients and mix well- time to get your hands dirty. Shape into cakes or balls, cover and rest in the fridge for 30 mins.
  3. Place a large fry pan over med heat with 2 tbs oil, cook for 4-7 mins each side, depending on the thickness of the cakes. I place a lid on my fry pan to cook them quicker, totally optional. You could also cook them in the oven at 180c fan forced for 10-15mins, turning once. They just don’t caramelize as much in the oven.

Notes

To recreate the burger:

buns of choice, peanut satay sauce, Asian salad-mint, coriander, spring onion, thai basil, lime juice and vegetables of choice.

* If I have no fresh limes, I will defrost them from the freezer, 30 sec increments in the microwave.

**I’m lucky enough to have  a Kaffir Lime tree, but you can buy them already sliced in a jar in the asian section of your supermarket or fresh from the herb section and store the unused leaves in the freezer.

Tahini Balls

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Just recently I stumbled across an article about the benefits of eating ground sesame seeds. The health benefits of these little seeds are phenomenal. I won’t bore you with all the technical jargon, but here are a few reasons they should be a staple in your everyday diet.

If you are using Tahini, make sure it is unhulled Tahini, that way the nutrients remain intact as the seeds haven’t been stripped. The list of vitamins and antioxidants they contain goes on forever, vitamin B being the main one. Its a great source of calcium for dairy free options and is gluten free, the protein amount is 20% complete, being more than soya beans, sunflower seeds and most  nuts. It is high in  calories , but because it has a high alkaline content, means the calories are absorbed and digested quicker. You only need 1 tablespoon of this super paste a day for it to make a difference to your overall health and well being!


Tahini Balls


Ingredients

400g dates

1/2 cup unhulled tahini

1/2 cup raw cashews

1/2 cup shredded coconut

3 tablespoons raw cacao

3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste


Method

  1. Place all ingredients into a high powered processor and blend until the mixture starts to  clump together, about 5-10 mins. If its not processed for long enough the oils wont release out of the nuts and the mixture will  crumble when trying to roll into balls.
  2. Roll the mixture into balls and cover with sesame seeds if you wish. Alternatively you can press it into a prepared baking tray and freeze, then later cut into desired size.
  3. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

Notes

They will last up to a  month in the fridge and a couple of months in the freezer.

Unhulled Tahini is very strong, so test the mixture as you go to ensure the balance is right for you.

Makes about 40-50 balls, I like to make them small so I can have a couple a day.

 

 

Asian Salad with Poached Chicken

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This quick and easy salad can be prepared ahead of time and will last a couple of days in the fridge. It’s gluten free, low calories and a good source of protein. The salad can consist of any vegetable you have in the fridge – it’s the dressing and herbs that pull it all together.


Asian Noodle Salad with Poached Chicken

Serves 4


Ingredients

200g vermicelli noodles, cooked and place in cold water
1 carrot, julienned
1 Lebanese cucumber, julienned
1/2 capsicum, julienned (didn’t use in the photo, didn’t have any)
1 spring onion, finely sliced
1/4 cup mint and coriander
2 tbsp thai basil leaves ( optional)
6 kaffir lime leaves, vein removed and finely sliced
2 tbsp cashews or peanuts
200g poached chicken, steamed or cooked in broth

Dressing (makes about 3/4 cup)

1/4 cup preferred sweetener ( coconut , Palm or caster sugar)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup white vinegar
1-2 tbsp fish sauce
1 small red chilli, finely sliced

To serve, chilli and lime wedges


Method

  1. To make dressing place the sweetener, water , white vinegar and fish sauce in a sauce pan and bring to the boil, then take off heat, add the chilli, taste and adjust if needed ( it will be sweet). Place in fridge to cool.
  2. Combine the cooked noodles, carrot, cucumber, capsicum and spring onion in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Shred or slice your chicken, combine with the noodle salad, add a little of the dressing at a time ( about 1/4 cup) toss and taste.
  4. Assemble salad in a bowls, garnish with the fresh herbs, nuts and extra chilli and wedges of lime.

Notes

Ive made this salad before with pork belly, thai chicken cakes, salt and pepper calamari and bbq prawns, its such an adaptable salad.

Coconut Banana Muffins

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One of the easiest, healthiest muffin you will ever make! These Coconut Banana Muffins were mainly invented for daycare, as they are allergy friendly . Using coconut flour as the main ingredient, bananas and honey for the sweetness.

The nutritional benefits from these muffins are amazing, not only being gluten and dairy free, they are low in carbohydrates, high in fibre to help you feel fuller for longer and the fat content of coconut flour is known to give you instant energy and can boost your metabolism.

They can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for a month or so.


Coconut Banana Muffins

Makes 12


Ingredients

Dry

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup of desiccated coconut

pinch of cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder and bi carb soda

Wet

5 eggs

2 large bananas, mashed

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup honey or to taste


Method

  1. Pre heat oven to 160c. Prepare a 12 capacity cupcake/muffin tin with cases ( they do stick to the cases a little) or grease with some coconut oil.
  2. Whisk dry ingredients together, whisk wet ingredients together, then combine the two and whisk until fairly smooth.
  3. Pour into prepared tray and bake for 20-25 min, all depends on your oven. They are ready when golden on top and spring back when touched. Cool in pan for 5 min and then place onto a wire rack.

 

 

 

Pan Seared Scallops with Japanese Dressing

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I was lucky enough to be given scallops in the shell to cook with – how spoilt am I?!?

Keeping it simple with scallops is always best, with minimal cooking time and a nice clean dressing, you are doing justice to these delicate sweet morsels. The bonus of having them in the shells, is that it serves as a small bowl to capture all the juices and dressing. The shells can be cleaned for later use. Scallops are a lean source of protein, virtually no fat and are packed full of minerals and vitamins.

I have cooked scallops like this before from frozen and you would never have known.

 


Pan Seared Scallops with Japanese Dressing


Ingredients

12 scallops, removed from shell and shell cleaned before serving

Dressing

2 tsp fresh ginger, grated on a microplane

2 tbsp shoaxing wine

2 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp castor sugar

1/2 tsp sesame oil

Spring onion for garnish, finely sliced


Method

  1. Combine all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat, stir until sugar dissolves, remove from heat and set aside until ready to serve.
  2. Heat a little peanut oil in a  large fry pan over medium heat. An easy way to get all your scallops in the pan at the same time, is to place them on a piece of baking paper and when the fry pan is ready pick up the paper and flip it over, the scallops will fall off. They will only take about 30 secs each side. The frypan needs to be very hot to get the caramelisation on the outside of the scallop.
  3. Serve immediately in the shells with 1/4 tsp of dressing on each, garnished with spring onion.

Notes:

If you would like curly spring onion, finely slice, place in a bowl of water and put in the fridge until ready to use.

The dressing can be made a couple days ahead and will last in the fridge for up to a week. You will have dressing left over. If you put too much dressing on the scallops you will lose the delicate flavour of the scallop.

Tom Kha Gai

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I’ve made this soup a couple of times using a few different recipes, this time I combined the recipes and I found the flavour that works best for me. It’s such a simple soup, no blending, minimal cooking and so rich and flavoursome . With all the health benefits from coconut milk, it’s a great low carb and gluten free recipe.
I like to add flat rice noodles to cut down the richness.
Also a little tip I picked up along the way when choosing your brand of coconut milk/cream check the ingredients on the back and it will tell you ho
w much coconut is really in the product. You will be surprised.


Tom Kha Gai

Serves 4


Ingredients

2 cups coconut cream

1 cup chicken stock

2 stalks lemongrass, white part only, bashed and cut 1-inch lengths

Thumb size piece of galangal ( can use ginger at a pinch) thinly sliced

2 to 3 asian shallots, roughly chopped (pink ones)

10 to 12 small chilies, leave them whole for less spicy or slice in half for super spicy

2 cups of straw mushrooms ( optional-I’m not a fan)

1 to 2 large chicken breasts, thinly sliced

2 to 3 tbsp fish sauce, to taste

3 Kaffir lime leaves, stems removed and finely sliced

1/2 cup coriander , roughly shredded

2 to 3 tbsp lime juice, to taste

2 spring onions, chopped


Method

  1. In a large saucepan over high heat, combine coconut cream, chicken stock, lemongrass, galangal, shallots, chilies, and mushrooms.
  2. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 15mins, stirring occasionally .
  3. This next step is optional , but I like to strain my soup, traditionally you would leave all ingredients in the soup and push the fibrous ingredients to one side ( lime leaf, galangal and lemongrass), it’s a personal preference.
  4. Add the chicken and simmer for 6 mins, then add fish sauce and lime leaves, return to the boil, add half the coriander and take off heat.
  5. Stir in lime juice, garnish with spring onion and remaining coriander and if strained, add some finely sliced chilli.

    NOTES
    For less rich soup replace the coconut cream with equal quantity of coconut milk.

Honey Soy Salmon with Soba Noodles

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Quick and speedy dinners is all I have time for these days and this recipe has it all .

It can be ready in under 20 mins.

I swapped the traditional hokkien noodles for more nutritional Soba noodles, as they contain higher protein, minerals and vitamin B. They are as high in carbs as spaghetti, but they will keep you fuller for longer, being made from buckwheat flour and having a higher fibre content. No need to tell you about the health benefits of  salmon, it’s just down right so good for you!

 


Honey Soy Salmon with  Soba Noodles

Serves 4


Ingredients

1/3 cup honey (90g)

80ml light soy sauce

1 long red chilli or birds eye (if you like it hot), seeds removed, finely sliced

4 pieces of salmon, skin on

1 tbsp rice bran oil

2 tsp sesame oil

Bunch of Buk Choy or any preferred asian green, ends trimmed

2 tsp freshly grated ginger

300g  Soba Noodles, cooked in boiling water for 4 mins, rinse


Method

  1. Combine the honey, soy and chilli in a small bowl, set aside.
  2. Season the salmon, both sides with sea salt and ground pepper.Heat a fry pan over med-high heat, add 2 tsp oil and 1 tsp sesame oil, cook the salmon skin down for 3-4 mins, until nice and crispy. Turn over and cook for a further 2-3 mins, depending on how pink you like it. Take off heat and add half of the dressing.
  3. Meanwhile heat a large wok with the remaining oil and sesame oil, add your greens and ginger, stir fry for a couple of minutes, pour in the rest of the dressing, add the noodles and take off heat.
  4. To serve place the noodles and greens on a plate and place the salmon on top, pouring anything left in the pan, over the top.

Notes:

I usually make this recipe for 2 people and keep the remainder sauce in the fridge. It will last about a week and is great tossed through brown rice or quinoa, poached chicken and vegetables.

This recipe was adapted from Delicious Magazine- Valli Little.

 

 

Slow Roasted Tomatos

IMG_2302This is a great way for using up tomatoes. I buy them in bulk at my local fruit market, extremely cheap at the moment. Just slice them in half, place in a large mixing bowl with fresh garlic and oregano, good lug of oil and balsamic vinegar, scatter onto baking trays and season with salt and pepper, cook for about 2hrs on low heat.

The tomatoes can then be stored in the fridge for about 2 weeks or frozen for 3 months. Great addition to salads or pasta sauces and the ones from the freezer work great on pizzas.


Slow Roasted Tomatoes


Ingredients

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

handful fresh oregano, finely chopped or 1/2 tablespoon of dried oregano

A good splash of rice bran oil and balsamic vinegar ( not too much balsamic )

5 punnets of cherry tomatoes halved or  1.25kg of your choice of tomato


Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180* fan forced. Line 3 baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Whisk together the garlic, oregano, oil and balsamic vinegar, add the tomatoes and toss. Divide amongst the baking trays with the cut side facing up, season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake for 15 mins , then reduce the temperature to 120* and bake for another 1-1 1/2 hours. They are ready when they start to shrivel around the edges.
  4. Store in a jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 2 months.

Poached Chicken in an Asian Broth with Konjac Noodles

IMG_1889It’s very simple to make a low-calorie lunch when using  Konjac Noodles, with only 10 calories per 125g.

They have a unique texture, similar to rice noodles. I find they are best eaten with Asian style flavors .

This dish comes in under 150 calories, low carb, low-fat,high fibre and great source of protein.

I created this recipe as I’ve been doing the 5:2 diet, it’s a great lunch or dinner option.


Poached Chicken in Asian Broth with Konjac Noodles

Serves 1 /  120 calories


Ingredients

Broth:

250 ml salt reduced chicken stock

1/2 to 3/4 cup water

1 red or green chilli, stem removed and left whole*

2 garlic cloves, smashed with a knife

knob of ginger or galangal, roughly chopped*

2  kaffir lime leaves, left whole*

30 g chicken breast

50 g broccolini

30 g pak choy

125 g knojac noodles-

Sauce:

juice of 1/2 lime*

1/2 teaspoon stevia or sweetener of choice, adjust calories accordingly

1/2 tablespoon fish sauce

1/4 teaspoon chilli powder

To serve fresh coriander, Thai basil and shredded kaffir lime leaves.


Method

  1. Place all the broth ingredients into a sauce pan, bring to the boil and add the chicken breast, simmer for 5 minutes and turn the heat off and place lid on, leave for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove the chicken from broth and strain liquid, place the broth back onto low heat with the broccolini and pak choy, simmer until done to your liking. The veggies will absorb some of the broth, so you can add more water if you wish.
  3. Place the sliced or shredded chicken, konjac noodles and sauce ingredients  into the broth, cook until heated through.
  4. Serve with fresh coriander, Thai basil and kaffir lime.

Notes

*all these items are stored in my freezer.

 

Thai Chicken Burgers with Vegetable Pickle

IMG_1459I’m a sucker when it comes to burgers and this one didn’t disappoint. Using my Thai Curry Paste I marinated the chicken thighs for a couple of hours then cooked on the char grill. The burger is actually smaller than it looks, I found cute little Brioche Buns at Coles, which I now use for all my burgers – just the right size. If I had the time, I would love to make my own buns. I’ve included the Vegetable Pickle recipe which can be done in the morning and will last a week in the fridge. You don’t have to make a burger, skewers would be great or even rice paper rolls – Yum!


Thai Chicken Burgers with Vegetable Pickle

Serves 2-4


Ingredients

500g chicken thigh

2-3 tablespoons of Thai Curry Paste or store-bought Yellow Curry Paste

1-2 tablespoons of oil

Vegetable Pickle

1 carrot, julienned

1 Lebanese cucumber, seeds removed and cut into batons ( I had baby cucumbers which I just halved)

100ml rice vinegar

1/4 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

To Serve

 fresh chilli, coriander, baby spinach and rocket, sweet chilli mayo and bread rolls.


Method

  1. Marinate chicken thigh in the curry paste and oil, at least 30 minutes or even better overnight. Can be frozen at this stage.
  2. For the vegetable pickle, place the vinegar, sugar, salt and 125ml of water into a small saucepan and heat until sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and cool.
  3. Place the carrot and cucumber into a jar and pour over the cooled pickling liquid, let marinate in the fridge for at least an hour before using. Will last up to a week.
  4. Cook your chicken on the BBQ or fry pan, when ready serve on the brioche bread rolls with some Kewpie mayo mixed with sweet chilli sauce, fresh coriander, fresh chilli if you like, the vegetable pickle and baby spinach and rocket.

Notes

The vegetable pickle is beautiful with a Thai noodle salad, rice paper rolls or Banh Mi. You can also add slices of chilli  and garlic  to the pickle, but the pickle will only last 2 days.