Black rice salad


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This was a sudden salad in that it came to happen rather abruptly in my repertoire while I was experimenting with a bit of culinary expansion in terms of recipes and cuisines and the sight of black rice always invited me with such fascination and enigma that I caved in and bought a few kilograms to experiment with and this salad was the result of a thrilled happenstance.

I hadn’t expected the results to be as delicious because this is a fairly simple recipe but seeing how it’s near impossible to be content with a small bowl of this black rice salad I found myself making it more of it almost every chance I got.

Black rice tends to be far less starchy and more pronounced in its nuttiness and provides a perfect vehicle to harmonize with simple, accurate flavours that work in tandem.

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It’s a fairly large amount of ingredients and this salad works to serve not just as a side dish but also as a meal. Great as a post-workout snack or dinner this salad does double duty. The vegetables you use depend on their seasonal availability but as long as there’s crunch, piquancy and dried fruit to balance it all it can’t go wrong. A bit of sweetness in terms of dried fruit is most desirable because it elevates the mood, texture and taste of this salad.

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Chop the vegetables, cheese and chillies in fairly small pieces. Deseed the chillies if they’re too spicy.  I have also scooped the seeds out of this cucumber. It’s an optional step.

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Chop oregano and rosemary fairly fine. Use dried herbs if you can’t find fresh ones.

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Put the chopped cheese and vegetables into a bowl

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along with the herbs

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and raisins

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Add lemon and salt

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followed by a drizzle of olive oil

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and mix

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until evenly combined

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add cooked black rice to the vegetables and mix well.

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There we have black rice salad. Cover and let rest for at least an hour before serving.

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It is delicious, colourful and nutritious. Won’t you please try it.


Ingredients

Black rice: 250g

Tomatoes: 3-4 small

Cheese: 100g

Chillies: 2

Herbs: rosemary and oregano fresh or dried mixed herbs

Capsicum red: 1 small

Raisins: 2-3 tbsps

Olives: 2-3 tbsps

Cucumber: 1

Lemon: 1 tbsp

salt to taste

Olive oil: 2 tbsps

NOTE: To cook black rice soak them the night before or for at least 5-6 hours and cook using 1:1.5 black rice to water ratio.

Use whatever vegetables and cheese are seasonally and easily available.


Recipe instructions

Chop the vegetables and cheese into small bite-sized pieces. If using fresh herbs mince them fairly fine and add to the bowl with vegetables and cheese along with the raisins, salt, lemon juice and olive oil.

Mix well until evenly incorporated and add the cooked black rice and mix again.

Let sit in the fridge for an hour before serving.

Pumpkin soup 2.0 (Vegan)


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Pumpkin soup has a special place in my repertoire and I’ve been dabbling with a lot of different recipes and ways to make this soup and not that I’m trying to be smug or anything but looks like I’ve finally perfected a recipe that I might sick to, and that it needs no pottering over a stove really does help.

The thing about soups and pumpkin soup, in general, is that it’s a very non-fussy way to create deliciousness from a rather humble looking vegetable and it’s versatile in a way that there’s never just the one way of cooking it just like there’s never one way of eating something and this particular recipe can be adapted to make pasta sauce, pizza sauce and curry base as well. Just a question of thinning or thickening it to your liking and I like it on the thicker more velvety side of things and that’s what I said and say.

Right, this blog is no stranger to pumpkin soups and in fact, I’m linking a previous pumpkin soup recipe here as well which is just as delicious but not nearly as quick and mad with flavours.

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Did I mention it was simple as simple as can be? The taste and colour are amped up with spices and how much or how little you add is up to you but I like it very spicy especially in this weather and turmeric helps with the goldenness of it all. Like molten sunshine on a chilly afternoon. There’s pumpkin, onion, garlic, salt, turmeric, cinnamon, paprika, nutmeg and black pepper.

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Chop the vegetables to an almost equal sized thickness and add some oil. The amount of oil you want to add is up to you. It could be a drop, a drizzle or a glug. Did I mention this is an atrociously healthy recipe as well?

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Next, come the spices and this is really what maketh the soup. I’ve been known to add almost three times the amount of pepper I show here and so can you. The spiciness is really a personal choice and so is salt. No nutmeg at this stage. It comes in later.

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there you go. All in.

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Time to smoosh it all together. Coating the vegetables with spices and oil.

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Bake at 190º for 15-20 minutes until the pumpkin is almost falling apart and the onions and garlic have softened but not burnt.

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At this stage, you can modify it to how you’d want the final results to be. You can add stock, cream, coconut milk, regular milk or just plain water which is what I’m doing because it’s choke full of flavours but having said that I do add coconut milk to it on days when I’m in an altogether different mood.

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grate in a bit of nutmeg and add that as well. Not too much or it’ll overpower. Just enough to haunt the soup with a peripheral kiss of the exotic and blitz.

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Pulse until it’s all emulsified and you have glorious golden soup. Oh, how it glows. taste for seasoning and thickness and adjust by adding more of whatever is required.

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and lo and behold!


Ingredients

Pumpkin: 250g

Onion: 1 small

Garlic: 3-4 cloves

Turmeric: 1heaped tsp

Paprika: 1tsp

Black pepper: 1/2tsp

Salt to taste

Cinnamon: 1/2tsp

Nutmeg: 1/4tsp

Oil: 2tsp

Water: 200mls



Recipe instructions 

Chop the vegetables into equal sized portions and drizzle over oil and mix in the spices and salt except for nutmeg. Place in a baking tray and bake at 190º for 15-20 minutes or until the pumpkin is very tender and the other vegetables softened.

Add the vegetables to a mixer, grate in the nutmeg and add hot water and blend to a smooth puree.

Serve hot with bread or even rice.

 

 

 

 

Instant chilli pickle


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For when you want to add a little something-something to a dish that doesn’t taste just there yet or feels flat or maybe you just want a tiny spice kick and spicy texture to enhance and complement the food then this is the pickle of instant dreams because it adds that fresh zing and unique flavour that you could have been looking for but didn’t know where to find.

It’s quick in that it’s instant and depending on the chillies you put it can vary from anything naughtily mild to demonic hot.

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Doesn’t hurt that it’s full of ingredients really good for you and how they come to marry in perfect harmony to form this delicious pickle.

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Chop and dice the green chillies into smaller than bite-sized pieces and remove any seeds if you want. These chillies though large in size are rather tame in taste, in fact, they’re almost sweet and so I didn’t much bother with deseeding them.

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Crush the yellow and black mustard seeds till some are fine dust and some still intact.

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Find a suitable bowl for mixing the pickle.

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Add crushed mustard seeds to the chopped chillies

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followed by salt and turmeric

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In with apple cider vinegar

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mustard oil

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and lemon

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give everything a thorough mix

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until spicily combined

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This is ready to be eaten immediately. Alternatively, you can cover and keep for a day for the flavours to mingle and mellow before transferring to a clean jar. This will keep well for several weeks or you can transfer to a fridge after a few days.

(Note: the flavours will intensify with each day and the mustard seeds lend a pungent spiciness of its own which is most desirable in such pickles.)

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You can add this to rice, slices of bread and anything you feel could do with a boost. I have tried mixing it with boiled pasta during days of lazy inactivity and loved every morsel of it.


Ingredients

Chillies: 250g

Lemon: 1

salt: 2tsp

Turmeric powder: 1tsp

Mustard seeds (crushed): 30g (you can use either all black or all yellow or a mixture of both)

Mustard oil: 70mls (or use olive oil if mustard oil is unavailable)

Apple cider vinegar: 60mls



Recipe instructions

Crush the mustard seeds until some are pulverized and some whole. Chop chillies into small pieces and add to a bowl.

Mix in the mustard seeds, turmeric, salt, oil, vinegar and lemon juice.

Cover and keep for a day or decant into a clean jar to be eaten immediately.

Note: The addition of vinegar increases its shelf life and this pickle can be stored for several weeks, however, you can store this in the refrigerator after a week as well.

 

Veggie burger


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There are no pretences, no affectations in this humble little patty to be anything even remotely meaty because it’s not and it definitely doesn’t parade as one either, nor is it a suitable substitute for a fat juicy meat burger, however it’s a rather decent vegetable patty and goes a long way with varied flavourings, not to mention too easy to eat without the guilt of it all.

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The ingredients are as follows. Kidney beans, boiled potatoes, spring onions, green chilli, lemon, mushrooms, salt and some spices.

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to begin, chop the vegetables into small pieces and peel the potatoes.

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I decided to throw in a bunch of coriander as well,

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Put the chopped vegetables in a large bowl

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add kidney beans

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spices

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and lemon

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and smoosh everything together to form a mixture

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Scoop out the mixture in equal sized portions to form it into patties. I do this using a 1/3 cup measure.

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and fry them in a pan with some oil

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until they’re deliciously crisp and golden on both sides.

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And just like that, we have our patties and here are some fixings to turn it all into a burger.

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which we begin by smearing some lovely sauce that is really just some mayonnaise and ketchup with a dash of Tabasco over a toasted homemade burger bun

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a layer of ripe tomatoes and crunchy onions

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stack a just made vegetable patty over it.

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some cheese for good luck in good measure.

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and then perhaps another patty

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and another slice of juicy tomato

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and onions. We’re building a food skyscraper here.

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and finally the dome of the bun. And there you have it. A veggie burger.


 

Ingredients

Kidney beans: 200g

Boiled potato: 150g

Mushrooms: 50g

Spring onions: 3-4 stalks

Coriander: 3-4 stalks

Green chilli- 1 small

Cumin: 1 tsp

Salt: 1tsp (to taste)

Cinnamon: 1tsp

lemon juice: 1 tsp

Paprika: 1 tsp



Recipe instructions:

Chop the mushrooms, spring onions, green chilli and coriander into fine pieces and add the peeled boiled potatoes into a large bowl. Add in the kidneys beans, lemon juice and the spices into the bowl and mash all the ingredients together with a potato masher.

Once they’re evenly combined, form them into patties and fry over medium heat in a tablespoon of oil.

Once the patties are crisped and golden on both sides use them to form into burgers.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wholewheat hamburger Buns


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There’s no reason why you can’t just run to the nearest food store and buy a packet of perfectly decent soft burger buns but here is the difference between the store bought ones and the homemade ones, and that is you know exactly what goes in here and I’m not even talking about the bread softening chemicals; it’s the quality of the ingredients that you have the power to control, not to mention that these have whole wheat in them which does set them apart from the absolutely refined floured buns, and really it’s worth the effort, not least because it’s hardly an arduous task. Just a question of mixing and placing and baking. Talking of which..

 

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The ingredients are few and pretty straightforward. We have strong bread flour, wholewheat flour, melted butter, salt, sugar, yeast and some lukewarm water. It could be argued that these wholewheat flour buns do have bread flour in them, but it’s not all refined flour, moreover, when made entirely of wholewheat the buns tend to get a bit too dense.

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Mix the flours and make a well in the centre.

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Add yeast, salt and sugar

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followed by water

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and the butter

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Give it a cursory mix with a spatula or spoon just so that everything is dispersed evenly before we begin to get our hands dirty.

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Form into a shaggy dough to feel if you need some more water and I did.

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Add water little by little, or teaspoon by teaspoon lest the dough gets too wet and sticky

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form a rough clump before you begin kneading when the moisture to flour ratio feels just right.

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Slap the dough on a large surface such as kitchen platform and get kneading. I use a simple technique wherein I flatten the dough then stretch and pull at one end

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before bringing it back to meet the opposite end, and repeat

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until the dough starts feelings soft and pliable under the fingers and palm. You really have to get a feel of this to understand because it’s a transformation and takes anywhere between 5-7 minutes.

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Once you’re happy with the dough, form into a ball

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transfer to a greased bowl. Oil the dough as well to prevent sticking

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cover with cling film and let rest for an hour or until doubled in size.

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like so..

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scrape out of the bowl on a well-floured surface

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and divide into two equal portions

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dividing each portion into four equals.

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before forming into rounds and placing on a well-oiled baking sheet

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to transform these dough balls into decently sized hamburger buns, gently press each until a bit flat, about 7-8 cms wide and roughly 2 cm’s thick; ensuring you don’t make them too flat or they’ll be something of a pita bread.

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Cover with a damp kitchen cloth and let rise for another hour until doubled in size.

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Once they’re nicely fluffed, brush the top with some water/milk/egg white. I brushed mine with water because it ensures that sesame seeds stick and do not budge

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Speaking of which, sprinkle the top liberally with some and bake at 200ºC for anywhere between 15-20 minutes, or until the top gets deliciously browned and the buns have cooked evenly.

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Like so..



Ingredients

Bread flour: 300g

Wholewheat flour: 200g

Water: 250 mls + more if needed

Yeast: 2tsp

Salt: 1 tsp

Sugar: 2 tbsps

Butter (melted): 80g


Recipe instructions: 

Mix the flours in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add yeast, salt, sugar, water and melted butter to the well and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until it forms a shaggy dough.

If the mixture is too dry and not coming together add water a teaspoon at a time until the mixture forms a dough. Scrape onto a large surface or platform and knead until the dough becomes soft and pliable for about five to ten minutes and form into a ball.

Transfer to a large bowl and ensure it’s well greased to keep it from sticking.

Cover with cling film and let rest for an hour until doubled in size, after which scrape the risen dough on a well-floured surface and divide into two portions, further dividing each portion into four equal parts and form into balls.

Place formed balls on a greased baking sheet and gently press until they’re larger in size, ensuring that they’re at least 2 cms’ thick

Cover with damp cloth and let them rest for another hour until doubled in size.

Once they have nicely fluffed up, brush the tops with some water and sprinkle sesame seeds.

Bake at 200ºC for 15-20 minutes or until the buns are deliciously golden.


 

Skinny energy bars (vegan)


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One could, if one wanted, call them superfood mega nutritious healthy chocolate energy bars but that would be too long a name for something so decidedly elegant and petite and so, skinny bars it is and these are skinny in both appearance and spirit and all too easy to eat not just as a nutritious dessert, but also as a post-workout snack or during that time of the day when you feel hungry or depressed.

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I might have mistakenly erased the photograph of ingredients assemblage which is why we begin with the recipe. Starting with a clean bowl and a spatula.

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in with coconut oil, always a good start.

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followed with an all natural sweetener in the form of mushed up, pitted dates

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mix them well to form a somewhat wet base for the rest of the ingredients

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rolled oats that I pulsed a couple times to somewhat break them

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followed by rice flour and cinnamon and vanilla extract

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give it all a mix to incorporate the wet ingredients well into the dry.

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and finally the dried fruits, nuts and seeds. Here I have some raisins, goji berries, chia seeds, chopped almonds as well as some black and white sesame seeds.

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Give all the ingredients a thorough mixture to slick them somewhat with the oil and dates mixture

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and prepare a baking tin by lining it with baking paper to prevent the oatmeal bars from sticking to the tray.

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Scrape the contents into the tray and flatten the top, making sure it’s even on all sides before baking it at 180ºC for 35-40 minutes.

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It will come out bronzed at the top and I realized the raisins had swollen a bit and protruded out. This is, at this stage, a tin full of delicious granola and to make them into skinny bars you have to let it cool completely.

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The final stage involves a bit of pouring and sprinkling and here I have some melted chocolate and a couple tablespoons of slivered pistachios. You can melt some vegan chocolate for this purpose but I have here some homemade chocolate, the recipe for which I’m still perfecting and perhaps I will upload it soon but for now some melted chocolate (any you prefer) would work.

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Sprinkle over the nuts while the chocolate is still liquid and keep it to set in the fridge for a couple hours or until you’re ready to unmould and slice after it’s set.

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The surface takes over a rather matt look accentuated with the vibrant greens of the slivered pistachio’s and tastes even better.

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Find a sharp knife and get carving. The size of the pieces you cut is entirely up to you. They can be shards, chunks, blocks, slivers or you can just chew on this entire thing whole.

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Just look at this glorious cross section. There’s a bit of everything.

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and another cross-section, if you’re into cross-sections. I mean, of course, you could make thicker chunkier bars by spreading it into a smaller baking tin but they’d still be skinny bars.

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Ingredients

Rolled oats: 250g

Rice flour: 80g

Coconut oil: 50mls

mashed dates: 170g  (Alternatively use maple syrup or any other syrup)

Nuts +seeds: 80g (I used almonds, chia, black and white sesame seeds)

dried berries and raisins: 60g (I used raisins and goji berries)

Cinnamon: 1 tsp

vanilla extracts: 1 tsp

melted Vegan chocolate: 150g

Slivered Pistachios: 2 tbsps


Recipe instructions

Pulse the oats in a food processor to break them as an optional step.

In a clean bowl mix together the dates and coconut oil until well combined. Tip in the oats, rice flour, cinnamon and vanilla extract and mix. Add the nuts, seeds, berries and raisins and mix until well combined.

Spread in a baking tin lined with baking sheet and flatten the surface evening out the layer and bake at 180ºC for 35-50 minutes or until the top is browned.

Let it cool completely before glazing with melted chocolate and sprinkling over slivered pistachio’s.

Refrigerate to set and cut into large pieces or smaller chunks.

Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for best results. These keep for a couple weeks if well stored, though they are much too easily eaten before the weekend is over.

NOTE: use date/ maple/rice syrup or coconut sugar instead of mashed dates if you prefer and any other dried fruits, nuts and seeds of your choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan wraps


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If you’re out there looking for something healthy, mouthwatering and vegan with the ability to inoculate thy system with wholesome nutrition, healthy crunch and that which is choke full of so much goodness that you’d almost feel sick with health, except you won’t because healthy food makes no one sick and it’s time we embraced that fact, then this is the dish for you.

Also, as rare as it might be, often times nourishing food turns out to be just that much better than almost all the bad stuff that tastes divinely delicious, and this vegan wrap is the alpha and the omega of health and taste; alive here to work as a fantastic breakfast, packed lunch, picnic food or just a regular meal for a regular night, except it’s so damn tasty that it makes a very ordinary day into a stellar one, or at least till the time you’re eating this.

What’s more this recipe actually has two recipes, so that’s like a bonus, and one can’t have enough bonuses..so here we go.

 

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These might look like a lot of usual suspects, but that’s only because we’re going to be making hummus from scratch, and not just any ol’ hummus but a roasted red pepper one, and here’s a recipe for a regular hummus and there’s a detailed ‘how to‘ on roasting red peppers as well, which you can find here.

 

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A bit of roasting action first, ensuring the pepper is nicely charred and softened

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after which we put it in a bowl because it needs to cool down and become easier to peel.

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cover securely to trap in the heat, that helps create moisture and loosen the skin and make it all sorts of juicy for at least 10-15 minutes

 

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After which time you can easily peel off the skin, not too fastidiously though

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a few charred bits still sticking to the skin only help impart a more smoky flavour to the hummus.

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get rid of the seeds and guts until only the juicy part of the skin remains.

 

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Now with the hummus. In a blender, or processor tip in the cooked chickpeas.

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and a couple cloves of garlic. I forgot to put them in the ingredients picture.

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add in the roasted red pepper

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tahini paste

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cumin powder

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salt

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olive oil

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and finally lime juice.

 

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blend or process into a paste like consistency

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something like this, or finer if you please. It should be easy to spread.

 

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Now a bit of chopping and here’s some onion in its very own shot because I forgot to include it in the ingredients picture

 

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here we have our veggies chopped. A bunch of mushrooms, half a tomato, half a capsicum and our lovely onion of course.

 

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cook onions and capsicum on a smoking hot pan with a bit of oil.

 

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I like using tongs for this particular step, because it’s easy and makes you look very efficient.

 

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once it begins to soften a bit, add a small pinch of salt.

 

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and keep cooking on high heat until it’s sweetly caramelized.

 

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remove veggies on a separate plate

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and in with the mushrooms. There’s a rogue capsicum in there was well.

 

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cook until softened and caramelized, like so.

 

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all needs remain is a bit of assembly work.

 

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Drape the wrap with vulgar amounts of hummus. Don’t be stingy with this spread. It’s delicious, it’s full of proteins and it’s the flavour base to our wrap.

 

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Begin by layering on 1/3rd part of the wrap so it’s easy to roll. First with the caramelized capsicum and onions.

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then mushrooms

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and finally the tomatoes.

 

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Roll ’em up.

 

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serve am as is, or if you feel fancy then add some gorgeous crispy baked potatoes on the side.



Vegan Wraps

Ingredients

For hummus

Cooked chickpeas: 200g (1cup)

Tahini: 40g (1/4 cup)

Red pepper: 1 in nos

Garlic cloves: 2 small

Salt: 1/2 tsp

Cumin powder: 1 tsp

Lime juice: 1 tsp

Olive oil: 1 tbsp

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For wraps

Whole Wheat wraps: 2 in nos

Onion: 1 medium sized

Capsicum : 1 medium size

Tomato: 1 small

Mushrooms: 8-10 small button mushrooms

Salt: a pinch

Oil: 2 tsp


Recipe instructions for Hummus: 

Roast red pepper on high flame, until all sides are charred and blackened. Cover and let rest for 10-15 minutes for the skin to loosen, after which gently peel away the charred skin and remove seeds.

Add all the hummus ingredients with the roasted red pepper in a blender or food processor and pulse until a thick paste is formed.

For the wraps

Thinly slice vegetables and de seed tomatoes.

Heat oil on high flame until smoking and add the sliced capsicum and onions with a pinch of salt until sweetly caramelized. Keep tossing to keep from burning.

Remove to a plate once cooked, and in the same pan add in sliced mushrooms and cook until browned and soft.

To form the wraps, spread hummus generously on whole wheat wrap and begin layering the vegetables on 1/3rd side without heaping on too high so as to enable easy rolling of the wrap.

Ejoy!

 

 

 

Woon mamuang


DSC_0200 These symmetrically gorgeous yellow and white pieces of soft squares are the stuff of dreams most soothing and calm. As lovely and mysterious as these are to look at, they taste almost as tranquil and smooth.

‘Woon mamuang’ as these are called in Thai are really mango mousse made with agar-agar, a sort of vegan gelatine so to say, that’s made of seaweed and thus vegan, vegetarian friendly. I first had them in Thailand and couldn’t get over the almost enigmatic texture of these tender squares. They’re not too wobbly, as one would expect regular jellies made of gelatine, yet softly yielding with a fresh fruity taste that almost feels like eating mangoes in a different form. There’s a sort of gentleness to their aspect that works really well as a light dessert, for it doesn’t fill you up, not to mention that their primary ingredients or rather the only ingredients are pureed mangoes and coconut milk, both of which form a kind of ethereal bond of mellow pleasantness.

I made these for the first time and learnt after a few errors the exact workings of agar agar, and will explain them in this post so you don’t make the same mistakes.

 

DSC_0146 copythe ingredients are mangoes, sugar, lime, strawberries, coconut milk, water and agar agar.

 

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peel the mangoes

 

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and chop/cube them to be made into a puree.

 

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add in a squirt of lime juice to add just another dimension of flavours

 

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and blend to form a puree, making sure there are no lumps.

 

 

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water in a pot, don’t turn on the heat yet, because unlike gelatine agar agar will turn into something of a mess if dumped into hot water.

 

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add in agar agar and slowly start heating the water.

 

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stir water constantly or else the agar agar might settle at the bottom and clump together.

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keep stirring until agar agar is completely dissolved.

 

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once that is done, add in the sugar and let is dissolve

 

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add in mango puree

 

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and whisk until it’s mixed well and there are no lumps

 

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there are various ways to go about making woon mamuang. You can either make individual pieces in moulds or one big piece in a tray. I went with the latter option.

 

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Now the the thing with agar agar is that it begins to set soon after it starts cooling down and can set at room temperature as well, so we have to be a bit quick about things, but don’t get yourself in a frenzy as I did. Pour half the mango mixture to form the bottom layer.

 

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Add in chopped strawberries. you can even add mango cubes or coconut meat or nothing. I love the reds of strawberries with the yellows of mango.

 

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they look like rose petals.

 

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while that sets, we can get on with making the coconut milk layer. Start heating a pot of water with agar agar until it completely dissolves

 

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add sugar and coconut milk

 

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and pour the hot coconut milk mixture over the now set layer of mango layer and pop all the air bubbles or rather most of them using a toothpick.

Error: here’s the mistake I made. I checked the mango layer in corners of the pan and thought it to be set, whereas the middle part of the layer had not set at all, which is why some part of the coconut milk layer has floating strawberries on it. Therefore check that the bottom layer has almost completely set. It should be a little tacky, but shouldn’t stick to your fingers.

 

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once the coconut layer has set pour over the remaining mango mixture and let set completely and refrigerate for at least a few hours before serving.

Note: keep the remaining mango mixture warm while the coconut milk layer sets, because once it cools down it will begin to congeal.

 

DSC_0195cut into squares and serve chilled.


Ingredients

For the mango layer

Mangoes: 430g (about 2 cups)

Water: 350 mls (1.5 cups)

Sugar: 100g (1/2 cup)

Agar agar: 2tsp

Lime juice: 1tsp

Strawberries: 80g (1/2 cup)

For the coconut milk layer

Coconut milk: 200mls (1 cup)

Water: 200 mls (3/4 cup)

Sugar: 4-5 tbsp

Agar agar: 1 tsp



Recipe instructions: Puree mangoes with lime juice, chop strawberries and keep aside.

Add agar agar to a pot of cold water and gently bring up to heat, stirring constantly until agar agar dissolves. Add sugar and pureed mangoes and whisk until sugar has dissolved and no lumps remain.

Gently pour half the mixture into moulds, making sure that no air bubbles are formed. Strew in chopped strawberries and allow this layer to set, while keeping the remaining mango mixture warm.

Make the coconut milk mixture by adding agar agar to water and slowly bringing to heat, stirring constantly until agar agar is completely dissolved. Add in coconut milk and sugar and once sugar is dissolved as well, pour the coconut milk mixture very gently over the now set mango mixture. To ensure that no air bubbles are formed you can even spoon this mixture.

In case any bubbles do get formed, pop them with a toothpick.

Once the coconut milk mixture had set gently pour the remaining mango puree over it and let it set completely and refrigerate before serving.


Few things to remember:  Do not let agar agar settle at the bottom of the pan while dissolving in water. Keep stirring constantly.

Check if the layers have set by gently tapping the middle area, it should be tacky to the touch but shouldn’t stick.

Do not let remainder mixture to cool down because it begins to set. Keep over low heat in case the temperatures are cool.


 

 

 

 

Wholewheat banana bread


dsc_0810Most beguiling, calling this a bread, when in essence, it actually is a cake. I guess it’s probably called a bread because it’s baked in a loaf tin. Ah, well.. ‘a rose by any other name’ and all that jazz. So indeed, this rather bashful, withdrawn looking cake/bread is exactly that. An air of polite modesty about its person, this cake doesn’t pretend to be a showstopper, or a stunner, gracing the high tables of a luxurious dinner party.

It’s in fact a quiet, simple and courteous nibble as opposed to the rich, opulent, cloying tastes of other thickly decadent cakes. This, in effect, is the anti thesis of sinful tastes, and bears such depth of resonant flavours that one slice or even two wouldn’t suffice. A perfect accompaniment for coffee, or as breakfast. This wholewheat banana cake  makes up in flavours, what it lacks in appearances, and isn’t that all that really matters?

Flecked with nuts, tinged with spices encasing a positively astounding banana soul. This wholewheat banana bread is moist with a nuttier wholewheat taste that totally trumps ones with made with regular flour..and if that wasn’t enough, it’s healthier too.

 

dsc_0770-copyThe ingredients are simple enough. mashed bananas, brown sugar, coconut oil, soy milk, eggs, wholewheat flour, vanilla, ground spices and nuts.

 

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mix baking soda and baking powder in with wholewheat flour. (these ingredients were not pictured)

 

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In a clean mixing bowl, add in the oil and brown sugar

 

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Mix briefly and crack in the eggs, and beat again, until the eggs are evenly combined.

 

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add vanilla

 

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mashed bananas and mix

 

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once the ingredients are well combined, tip in the flour. As you can see I’ve traded my whisk for a spatula, and mix very briefly.

 

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add in the ground spices

 

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followed by nuts, and combine well, without over mixing the batter.

 

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scrape into a well greased and floured tin of choice, or loaf tin if you wish to call this a bread.

 

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and bake at 170°C for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

 

dsc_0824and Voila!!

Note:  before baking I’d tasted the batter which didn’t taste as sweet as I’d have liked, so I added in two tablespoons of honey.


INGREDIENTS

Bananas: 2 large mashed (1 cup)

Coconut oil: 80 mls (1/3cup) (feel free to use any oil of choice, or even  melted butter)

Brown sugar: 100g (1/2 cup)

Honey: 2 tablespoons

Milk: 60 mls ( use soy milk or any milk or even water)

Wholewheat flour:  160g (roughly 1.5 cup)

Eggs: 2

Chopped nuts: 80g (1/2 cup)

Vanilla extract: 2 tsp

Baking powder: 1 tsp

Baking soda: 1/2tsp

Spice mix: 

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp crushed pepper

1/4 tsp crushed cloves


RECIPE INSTRUCTIONS

Mix the baking powder and baking soda into wholewheat flour.

In a clean mixing bowl beat together coconut oil, sugar, honey and eggs until evenly combined. Add in mashed bananas, vanilla and beat well. Stir in the flour and spice mixture and nuts and fold until just mixed.

Scrape into a baking tin and bake at 170°c for 50-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Let rest before unmoulding.

dsc_0818Enjoy

 

Breakfast noodles


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Who on earth has noodles for breakfast? you might well ask. Well..a lot of people do..more than a billion to be exact. No kidding. Noodles are a Chinese breakfast staple and they have one too many variations. Chow mein, lo mein etc just to name a few.

During early morning hours you can see little shops dotted all around along the roads in every Chinese city, selling one or the other kind of noodle dish. Among the most popular are rice noodles immersed in pork bone soup, which you can garnish with any permutation combination of toppings that are usually lined on a table in small bowls.

These breakfast noodles are a somewhat take on Chinese lo mein, and I cook them much too often on mornings that I know I’m in no rush. These are delicious, nutritious, hearty and light at the same time. Easy to conjure with whatever vegetables you’ve languishing in the fridge, add in any meat, fish or go completely vegetarian.

Once you’ve cooked these, you’ll be hooked and you can have them cold as well as warm.

 

DSC_0528 copyThe ingredints do look like a lot to take in but they can be as many or as few as you want. For the flavour base-chopped garlic, ginger and white part of spring onions. For the sauce-soy sauce+oyster sauce+black pepper+sugar. Vegetables -lettuce, mushrooms, carrots. Cooked noodles of your choice, prawns (optional), egg. For garnishing-coriander leaves and green part of spring onions.

Yes, this does look like a lot but it really isn’t. The chopping doesn’t take as long as writing the list of these ingredients does. You can use any veggies of your choice. These are just what happened to be in my fridge.

 

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DSC_0532First, lets just scramble that egg in a bit of oil and set aside.

 

DSC_0533Once that’s done..heat some more oil in a pan on medium high heat.

 

DSC_0535and add in the chopped garlic, ginger and white part of the spring onion

 

DSC_0536stir it around a bit till its fabulously fragrant, but not brown.

 

DSC_0537in with the prawns and stir them around for a minute

 

DSC_0539add in the carrots and mushrooms and saute for another minute

 

DSC_0541and finally in with the lettuce.  They’ll wilt in seconds

 

DSC_0542add in a bit of salt (not pictured) and stir it around till the lettuce wilts and the vegetables are nicely coated with fragrant oil.

 

DSC_0543add in the sauce mixture

 

DSC_0544and stir around a few seconds until all’s coated with these lovely salty sweet juices

 

DSC_0545finally, tip in the noodles. I’m using potato noodles and stir them around

 

DSC_0546That’s it, nearly done. Top with chopped greens of the green onion and coriander.

 

DSC_0548oh and don’t forget to add in the scrambled eggs.

 

DSC_0562Voila. Breakfast noodles!

 

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Ingredients

Boiled noodles- 1-2 nests

Prawns (optional)- 100g

Egg- 1

salt- 1/2 tsp

for the sauce

Soy sauce- 1tbsp

Oyster sauce- 1 tbsp

Black pepper- 1/2 tsp

sugar-1 tsp

(in case you’re vegetarian, omit oyster sauce and increase soy sauce amount to 1.5 tbsp)

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Mushrooms- 4-5 sliced

lettuce- 5-6 leaves chopped

carrot- 1

garlic-2 cloves chopped fine

Ginger- 2 cm stem chopped fine

Spring onion-1 chopped fine

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Recipe:  Heat some oil in a pan and scramble the egg and keep it aside.

Heat some more oil and once it’s hot add in the chopped garlic, ginger and white part of the spring onion and saute in the oil for a few seconds until fragrant. Add in the prawns and cook for a minute or so. Add in the chopped vegetables, salt and cook until almost done.(just a few minutes).

Tip in the sauce and stir briefly. Add the cooked noodles and stir around till they’re well coated with the sauce. Add in the scrambled egg and garnish with coriander and chopped green part of the spring onion.

DSC_0554Enjoy!