Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Beef in Wild Betel Leaves (Bo La Lot) with Kombucha Dipping Sauce

One thing my kids miss a lot are spring rolls, the fried kind. It's always the most popular party dish, especially my mums version, the filling is usually ok but the wrapper and the oil used to deep fry the spring rolls makes it a terrible choice for us to put on the table. So the replacement I found to be a real hit and good substitute is Vietnamese Beef in Wild Betel leaves (Bo La Lot). Although they are two totally separate and well known Vietnamese recipes, they both are technically little rolls of meat and herbs in a wrapper, and instead of being deep fried, these are grilled.

I serve these beef in betel leaf rolls wrapped with fresh lettuce, Vietnamese herbs and a Kombucha dipping sauce (don't worry if you don't have Kombucha vinegar, you can easily substitute that). We have these Vietnamese beef in wild betel leaves every Wednesday night for dinner. It's also a great party / finger food (you can prep them the day before with the salad and dipping sauce) then throw them in the oven or cook them up on the bbq. 

Beef in Wild Betel Leaves (Bo La Lot) with Kombucha Dipping Sauce
Beef in Wild Betel Leaves (Bo La Lot) with Kombucha Dipping Sauce

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Fresh Ginger, Turmeric & Cinnamon Tea

I remember one of our favourite Korean BBQ restaurants back home in Sydney would always serve a complimentary cup of cinnamon tea with a single pine nut at the end of the meal, it was so yummy. I asked the owner for the recipe which he kindly gave to me, it was his grandmothers recipe and from memory just consisted of boiling down some cinnamon sticks and sugar. I was a little lazy back then and never tried it, as we just kept going back to that restaurant to have the tea.

So recently I tried simmering some cinnamon sticks on its own (without any sugar) and it was so sweet and fragrant, it smelt incredible. I decided to add some ginger and turmeric to give it a little kick and boost it's beneficial properties. The natural spice from the ginger and turmeric just warmed up the tea perfectly. I currently now alternate this fresh ginger, turmeric & cinnamon tea with my lemongrass, ginger & turmeric tea (I have a little addiction to adding fresh turmeric to everything like my roasted brussel sprouts and cauliflower or my Vietnamese chicken just to have some of this amazing herb on a daily basis)

Fresh Ginger, Turmeric & Cinnamon Tea
Fresh Ginger, Turmeric & Cinnamon Tea

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Simple Crispy Roasted Chicken Pieces

I love roasting chicken pieces rather than the whole chicken, the cooking time is much shorter and when you have three hungry boys to feed, it's great to be able to have dinner ready in about 30mins. Drumsticks and wings are our kids favourite pieces and we usually serve this meal up with steamed broccoli, roasted cauliflower, fermented carrot sticks and a green salad.

If you have the time to plan ahead, seasoning the chicken 2 hours ahead or overnight will result in some seriously yummy chicken, but it still tastes pretty good if you just throw it in the oven after seasoning.
Simple Crispy Roasted Chicken Pieces
Simple Crispy Roasted Chicken Pieces

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Roasted Cauliflower with Fresh Turmeric

Cauliflower is one versatile veggie. I love it mashed, pickled or roasted, I also love that it lasts in the fridge and doesn't go soggy if you pack it for lunch. With the Lunar New Year holiday starting next week, all the stores will be closed over here in Vietnam so I'll be stocking up on veggies that last in the crisper. My favourite long life veggies are carrot, cucumber, broccoli, radish, beetroot, pumpkin, beans and of course, cauliflower. This roasted cauliflower with fresh turmeric is one of my favourite ways to eat cauliflower. It's simple to make and I always have fresh turmeric on hand (for my daily cup of lemongrass, ginger and turmeric tea).

Roasted Cauliflower and Fresh Turmeric
Roasted Cauliflower with Fresh Turmeric

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Passionfruit Kombucha Tea

I have had such a relaxing break over the last 2 months with lots of friends and family visiting us over here so apologies for the lack of posts. I have spent most of my days between yoga, art class, enjoying the nightlife (it's incredible over here!) and doing lots and lots of eating. I even tried out my first cooking class at Hoa Tuc (no affiliation). It was a very basic beginners class that I did with some of my visitors just for fun, I always find I end up learning something new and it was great to work with lotus seeds and leaves for the first time (scroll down to see what I made!)

Eating all this amazing local food has given me so much inspiration and I can't wait to get back into the kitchen to start experimenting but for now I really want to share this simple Passionfruit Kombucha Tea recipe that we have been enjoying for a while. If you grew up in Australia, you may have tried out a Passiona or Pasito, a passionfruit flavoured soft drink which was probably my favourite growing up. Now this Passionfruit Kombucha Tea recipe reminds me of exactly that, except it isn't full of artificial flavours and sugar, it is full of probiotics & vitamin rich, fizzy and tastes delicious! All you need to have is some already fermented kombucha tea and fresh passionfruit, if you don't have any already fermented kombucha tea you can start brewing your own with this basic recipe here.


Passionfruit Kombucha Tea
Passionfruit Kombucha Tea