Month: July 2016

An old city, many stories

I had a short trip with my mum to Xi’an, China this Spring. I was so happy that I made it finally. It has been on my list for a very very long time. Finally, I have done it. The best of it was that mum agreed to join me, so we could have a little bit of mum and daughter time. Xi’an was a capital for many dynasties in the long history of China. It is located in the northwest of China, which is the beginning of the Silk Road and the home to the Bing Ma Yong (The Terracotta Army). We visited the Terracotta Army museum. It was breathtaking. According to our museum guide, all the warriors are life size and hand molded. Each of the warriors has different face. They all look different! I am so impressed and amazed. I have been wondering how they achieved that in 201-209 BCE.  In the photoes, all the warriors are grey. However, they were not at the very beginning. All the warriors were painted in color when the archaeologists …

Zucchini pasta with pine nuts and basil

We had our honeymoon in Italy and Greece years ago. We visited Rome and Florence in Italy.  The first thing I remember is the sun. It was different. We were there in July. It was hot and very sunny, but sunny different from Brisbane. It was softer. The second thing I can’t forget is the food (obviously). I couldn’t believe I ate a whole pizza without any help from my husband. Then, the pastas, all kind, all sorts, with olives, Parmesan, mushrooms, tomatoes…Everything was simple and delicious. Of course, I love the historic part of Italy (that will be another story in another day). Rome, 2013 The hotel we stayed in Rome had a coffee shop downstairs. Every morning, we woke up by the smell of the coffee and fresh baked croissants. Oh, boy, the chocolate croissants. I will never have enough of it. I can forget all about the healthy eating standard and calories counting. After the trip, I became quite round, but happily round with very a satisfied stomach. Oh, I also fell in love with Peroni beer… …

Spinach bacon muffin with feta

Lately, I started getting more and more interested in savoury muffins. A lot of experiments are going on in our kitchen. It’s very interesting to get to use whatever ingredients I have in the kitchen to make savoury muffins. They are very good for breakfast and afternoon snacks.  If I cook too many, I can just freeze them and leave to later. Maybe I am just getting lazy. It is a quick solution for breakfast though when you need to get up and go. We always have a pack of frozen spinach and feta cheese in the fridge. They are kind of like necessities in our kitchen. We never run out of the two ingredients. Then, I found some bacon and cured meat. I thought bacon would be more appropriate in this case. So, here is the easy peasy  recipe. Makes 12 INGREDIENTS  2 1/2 cups self-raising flour  1 pack of frozen cutted spinach (250g) 50g bacon, chopped finely 50g sun dried tomatoes, chopped finely 1 onion, chopped finely 130g feta, grated (not easy, do you …

Preserved Lemons

We planted a little lemon tree two years ago at the backyard. It produced two lemons last year. We were not expecting many this year either since it’s still in its juvenile stage, not fully grown. It’s only less than 2 meters high. The tree trunk is so skinny and fragile. The branches are so willowy. At some stage, I thought it might not bare any fruits this year at all. How wrong I was! All of a sudden, it started blooming. So many flowers. Then, so many lemons. We found lemons on every single branch. The lemons were big and heavy that I started to worry the branches might break.  At the end, it’s all good. After we gave some away to our friends and neighbors, we still have more than we can handle. It’s quite hard to keep the fruits fresh for a long time. So I decided to make some preserved lemons. We can use it later for cooking. The preserved lemons can be found in many Moroccan recipes. It will be handy to have some …

Roasted sweet potato and capsicum soup with prawns

Anyone likes soup? I know I do. I love soup. All sorts, hot, warm, cold, sweet, spicy, creamy, vegetable or chicken soup. There is nothing better than a bowl of hot soup waiting for you in a Winter morning. The Winter morning is so crisply cold. When you get up and walk towards the kitchen, you can smell the fresh baked bread. When you walk into the kitchen, you can see the steam is rising from the soup, cloud the air above the bowl…and mixed with the aroma of the bread just came out of the oven…. Well, I really love that. However, the winter in Brisbane is not that cold. Still, soup is my favorite dish in the winter. I made the roasted sweet potato (kumara) and capsicum soup today for lunch. Here is the recipe. Hope you like it. 🙂 Serves 2 INGREDIENTS 2 sweet potatoes 1 red capsicum 1 green onion – sliced 8 medium peeled prawns (shrimp) 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger sea salt and black pepper 1 tablespoon soy sauce olive oil …

Quinoa Salad

My first ever post! Yeah! How exciting!! I have been thinking about my first post for a while. When I was making my lunch today, I thought why not. The Quinoa salad is one of my favorite salads, yummy, healthy, and fresh. I can eat tons of it. So here we go. I prefer white quinoa. I think it has better texture and taste. I can mix it with anything I have fresh in my kitchen, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and different herbs. Here is the recipe for my lunch today. Serves 1 INGREDIENTS white quinoa  – 60g chicken stock/water – 120ml lettuce leaf – 2 carrot – 1 onion – 1/4 red capsicum – 1/4 Honeydew melon/apple/pear (any fruit you like) – 1 slice fresh parsley and mint 1 tbsp olive oil pinch salt black pepper light soy sauce lemon juice INSTRUCTIONS Soak the quinoa for 5 minutes, drain. Add the quinoa and chicken stock (water) in a saucepan. When it boils, cover the pot and reduce to a simmer to cook for about 15 mins.  While …