food

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.

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.

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.

 

Pork Gyozas

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I have been using this same recipe for years, simple ingredients – equals simple flavours! You can cook them like Gyozas (pan fry one side and then steam at the end), steam, boil, add to soup or broth, or deep fry for something naughty. I’ve tried them every way and they are delicious! The recipe is very adaptable if you wish to add chilli or use chicken mince, prawn or a mix, just be adventurous. They can be frozen once assembled and will last in the freezer for 2-3 months. Just thaw in the fridge overnight before cooking.

Lastly serve them with a Japanese Soy Dipping Sauce or if deep fried Okanami Sauce and Japanese Mayo – oh so very sinful!


Pork Gyozas


Ingredients

500 g pork mince

1/2   wombok (Chinese cabbage), core removed from each leaf and finely shredded

3 green onions/shallots/spring onion, white removed and finely chopped

2 garlic clove, crushed

4 teaspoon light soy sauce

4 teaspoon shoaxing wine

2 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon caster sugar

Pinch of ground white pepper

48 gyoza or gowgee wrapper, 2 packets

2 – 4 teaspoon peanut oil

1/4 cup (60ml) water

Japanese soy sauce, to serve


  1. Combine the pork, wombok, green onion, garlic, soy sauce, sake, sesame oil, caster sugar and pepper in a medium bowl, mix all together with your hands.
  2. Place gyoza wrapper, about 6 at a time on a clean surface, put a teaspoon of filling in the middle of each one, wetting the edges as you go, fold over to make a half moon and pleat the edges together. Its a bit fiddly the first time, but you will get the hang of it. Repeat this process until all filling is used. If you have filling left over, it can be frozen. You can also freeze the gyozas at this stage, make sure they dont touch each other and separate the layers with baking paper.
  3. Heat the peanut oil in a large frying pan over high heat until just smoking. Remove from heat. Arrange dumplings over the base of the frying pan. Return to the heat and cook for 2 minutes or until the base of the dumplings are golden. Sprinkle water evenly over the gyozas. Cook, covered, for 3-4 minutes or until gyozas are cooked through and the water evaporates. Remove from heat and set aside for 2 minutes.Place on a serving platter. Serve immediately with soy sauce or a Japanese dipping sauce.

Japanese Quinoa Patties

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Here’s a quick healthy lunch that can be made ahead and frozen, ready to reheat when the pangs of hunger strike! They are low in calories, high in protein, low carbs, gluten free and most importantly – super tasty! This recipe will make a large enough batch that you can freeze half and have the rest in the fridge. They go great with any type of noodle, leafy salad or even a wrap or burger. They will last 1 month in the freezer and 2-3 days in the fridge.


Japanese Quinoa Patties


Ingredients

2 tablespoons soy sauce *

2 tablespoons oyster sauce*

1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

2 cm piece (knob) ginger, grated using a micro plane

2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped

1/4 cup coriander, finely chopped

1/4 cup cornflour

100 g kale or baby spinach, finely chopped

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa

500 g chicken mince


  1. Place soy, oyster, chilli, ginger, garlic, coriander and cornflour into a large bowl, mix thoroughly to ensure cornflour is absorbed and there is no lumps.  Add the kale or baby spinach, lightly beaten egg, cooked quinoa and chicken mince, stir all ingredients until well combined.
  2. The mixture will be quite wet, that is why they are so moist once cooked.You can store the mixture in the fridge until ready to cook.
  3. To cook, heat a large sized fry pan over med heat, spray with oil and using two spoons, scoop the mixture up and using the other spoon push the mixture off into the frypan and just lightly push the pattie down with the back of your spoon. They will take about 3 minutes each side, depending on the thickness of your patties, continue this process with the rest of your mixture, place in a pre heated oven to keep warm or cool in the fridge and then freeze between sheets of baking paper.

 *Ayam brand offer gluten free soy and oyster sauce. You could use Tamari also, just adjust the quantity.

Thai Curry and Homemade Paste

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I’ve struggled with a name for this curry paste, so I’m just going generic “Thai Curry “. Its the colour of a yellow curry, with flavours of a green curry and a laksa mixed in. Ive kept the paste very mild in the heat department, so if you like it hot,  double the chilli’s or use a couple of birds eyes. I use this paste for fish cakes, roast chicken, chicken meatballs, pork and quinoa patties and soups. The paste will last 3 weeks in the fridge and 2-3 months in the freezer.


Thai Curry Paste

( makes about 1 cup )


Ingredients

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

2 teaspoons shrimp paste

12 dried long red chillies, soaked in boiling water for 30 mins or fresh, roughly chopped

5 cm piece of galangal, peeled and roughly chopped*

300g asian shallots or golden shallots

2 tablespoons oil

4 lemongrass stems, white part only, smashed and chopped*

12 small garlic cloves, roughly chopped

100 g coriander , roots and leaves, roughly chopped*

6 kaffir lime leaves, chopped*

zest of 1 lime*

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons ground tumeric

1 teaspoon paprika


 Method
  1. Dry roast the coriander and cumin seeds over medium heat, shaking the pan constantly, 2-3 minutes.Place the toasted spices and peppercorns into a mortar and pestle, pound until finely broken down.
  2. Wrap the shrimp paste in a small piece of foil and place under the grill, about 3 mins, turning twice. You will be able to smell it.
  3. Place ground spices, shrimp paste and chopped chilli’s into a food processor , pulse a couple if times. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until a paste forms. You will need to scrape down the sides every 30 secs.
  4. Store in jars with a layer of oil on top.

* I buy all these ingredients in bulk or when on special and store them in my freezer.


Thai Curry

( serves 4-6 )


Ingredients

1 tablespoon peanut oil

1 onion, sliced

2 to 3 tablespoons of homemade curry paste

500 g chicken breast or thigh, chopped

400 ml coconut cream or milk

500 ml chicken stock or water

6 kaffir lime leaves, left whole

200 to 300 g vegetables of choice

15 g thai basil, roughly torn

2 tablespoons fish sauce

Juice of 1 lime

1 to 2 tablespoons of soft brown sugar

Garnish with roasted peanuts, shredded kaffir lime, thai basil and sliced fresh chilli

Brown Rice to serve


 Method
  1. Place a large wok over medium heat and fry off the onion in the peanut oil until translucent, add the curry paste and continue cooking until fragrant.
  2. Pour in coconut cream/milk, stock and kaffir lime leaves, increase heat and bring to the boil, reduce heat to med, add chicken and vegetables and summer until cooked.
  3. Lastly add basil, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar, adjust to suit taste.
  4. Serve with brown rice and garnishes.

Protein Bliss Balls

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Now I know there is a thousand  Bliss Ball recipes out there, now there is a thousand and one – ha! These little beauties are very high in protein, high in good fats and  low in refined sugar. They are adaptable with any nuts, seeds or dried fruits, just substitute the same quantities. You don’t even have to roll into balls, just press into a lined baking tray and place in the freezer, slice once frozen. They will last 2 weeks in the fridge and 2 months in the freezer.


Protein Bliss Balls

30 balls


Ingredients

300 g pitted dates

80 g roasted walnuts/cashews or Brazil nuts

100 g roasted almonds

2 tablespoons linseeds, chia, sunflower and pepita

1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoon tahini or peanut butter

2 tablespoons raw cacao powder

3 tablespoons protein powder (whey protein isolate-plain)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Desiccated coconut to roll

 


  1.  Blitz the dates until crumbly, add nuts and seeds, blitz until mixed thoroughly.
  2. Melt coconut, honey and tahini or peanut butter in microwave, pour into mixture, pulse to combine. Add raw cacao, protein powder and vanilla. Blitz until the mixture starts to come together.Roll tablespoons of mixture into balls and cover with desiccated coconut, store in fridge or freezer.

Banana Peanut Butter Bread

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Can this bread get any better- healthy, gluten free, paleo ( if using almond butter), dairy free, refined sugar free and with the added  yumminess of peanut butter, banana, pecans and honey!

It can be made in a  mini muffin, loaf or cake tin. I recommend storing it in the freezer, only so you don’t consume the whole loaf in one day – hehe.

Don’t be fooled by it being healthy, it is high in fat, good fats that is…


Banana Peanut Butter Bread


Ingredients

Wet

3 large bananas, mashed

1/4 cup honey or maple syrup

3 eggs

1/2 cup peanut butter or any nut butter

Dry

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon bi carb soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of salt (omit the salt if using peanut butter)

Crumble

4 tablespoons coconut oil

1-2 tablespoons coconut sugar*

2 tablespoons almond meal

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped or any nut you prefer


Method

  1. Preheat oven to 175c. Prepare your tin with oil and baking paper.
  2. Combine all wet ingredients together in a large bowl and lightly whisk.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir, pour into prepared tin.
  4. Mix crumble ingredients in a small bowl using your hands, sprinkle over the top of the cake batter. Cook in oven for 40-50 minutes (that’s for a loaf tin) for muffins, check after 15 minutes, then every 5 minutes till done. You can usually smell the cake when its close to being ready. Leave in the tin to cool, then gently lift out using the paper, its really soft and moist.

* Coconut sugar can be found in the sugar section of your local supermarket or at health food stores.

This recipe was adapted from Paleomg.com .

Marinated Lamb Skewers with Haloumi and Grape Tomatoes

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On a bit of a Tapas roll this weekend, creating and making some awesome finger food. A lot of my creations come from what I’ve got in the fridge – lamb, haloumi, grape tomatoes and greek yoghurt!

Just marinate the lamb overnight in rosemary, garlic, lemon juice and rice bran oil, prepare the tomato and haloumi, thread all the ingredients onto the skewers and place in fridge until ready to cook.

Cook on the  BBQ or just pan fry till golden and delicious!


Marinated Lamb Skewers with Haloumi and Grape Tomatoes


Ingredients

400-500g lamb leg steak, diced into 2 cm pieces

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped or 1/2 tablespoon of dried rosemary

4 garlic cloves, smashed with a back of a knife and roughly chopped

juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoon rice bran oil, olive oil or grapeseed oil

180g Haloumi, sliced then cut into squares

1 punnet of grape or cherry tomatoes halved

bamboo skewers, short or long

Yoghurt Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup greek yoghurt

1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano or 1 teaspoon of fresh chopped oregano

1 garlic clove, cruched

dash of lemon juice and salt & pepper


Method

  1. Combine the lamb, rosemary, garlic, lemon juice and oil in a container, season and marinate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Make the dipping sauce ahead of time to enable the flavours to be absorbed. Whisk all dipping sauce ingredients together in a small bowl, place in fridge till ready to use. Will last 3-4 days.
  3. To assemble the skewers, thread the haloumi on very slowly, (turning the skewer as you go, learn’t the hard way and mine kept breaking) then a piece of lamb, more haloumi, half a tomato, lamb, haloumi and tomato.
  4. Repeat this process until all ingredients are used, cook immediately on a fry pan/bbq or place in fridge till ready.
  5. Serve with dipping sauce as finger food or as a meal with  flatbread and salad.