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Chicken Saagwala

Chicken Saagwala

On my trip to India I made it a goal to order something different every meal. You’ll be pleased to know that I didn’t order the same curry dish twice! One of the healthier options that I came across (most Indian curries use a stack of cream, and little to no vegetables) was the saagwala: a rich green curry, made predominantly from spinach. This particular saagwala recipe is very easy to make and it doesn’t take that long either. Going against tradition, we added green capsicum and coriander to garnish, because a) both are delicious and b) it went with the green theme!

Collect

  • 3 T oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 t ground chilli
  • 1/4 t ground cloves
  • 1/2 t ground turmeric
  • 3 garlic, minced
  • 2 inches ginger, grated
  • 300 g spinach leaves
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • about 800 g skinless and boneless chicken
  • 1 green capsicum, diced
  • 1 lemon, juice
  • 2 t cream or coconut cream (optional)
  • coriander, to garnish
  • rice, to serve

Create

  1. Heat oil, fry onions for about 2 minutes before adding the garlic, ginger and other spices.
  2. Wilt the spinach by running it under hot water. Squeeze out any excess water and then blend it with the green chili, tomatoes, cooked onions and spices.
  3. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Fry the chicken pieces until they are lightly browned. Add the green capsicum and continue frying.
  4. Add spinach puree to the chicken and simmer on medium heat until the chicken is properly cooked (probably about 15 minutes). Season with lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Drizzle the cream across the curry. Garnish with coriander and then serve with rice.
Lemon & Coconut Balls

Lemon & Coconut Balls

In case you hadn’t already noticed, I love everything lemon and coconut, and the pairing of these two flavours always goes down a treat. These lemon & coconut balls are a bit of a treat: super easy to make and super healthy, the tricky thing is making them last. They can be frozen, so they are a great thing to make a big batch of and tuck away into the freezer for when you get those mid-afternoon sugar cravings.

Collect

  • 1.5 c shredded coconut
  • 1.5 c cashews (or almonds)
  • 1/4 c melted coconut oil
  • 1 T tahini
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • pinch of salt
  • extra shredded/desiccated coconut for rolling

Create

  1. Blend all of the ingredients in your food processor, until smooth. I would recommend adding things bit by bit (the first time my cousin and I made this recipe we put everything in at once, and it took a bit of effort to get it to mix).
  2. Roll teaspoon size heaps into balls, having damp hands will stop them getting sticky.
  3. Roll each ball in coconut and put on a tray/plate in the fridge to set.
  4. Store in fridge/freezer.

 

Mama’s Homemade Muesli

Mama’s Homemade Muesli

I absolutely ADORE the muesli my mum makes. I have tried so many times to replicate, because surely, how hard can muesli be! And although I have made loads of delicious muesli in my time, none of them ever seem to replicate what my mum makes. Finally, I managed to coax the recipe out of here, and part of the reason I actually wanted to post it up here is so that I can never lose it again. I made it yesterday, and after this weekend is over I’m going to have to start rationing it if I want it to last (because mind you, it’s pretty darn expensive to make!). Of course, if you use this recipe you can mix it up as you like – for example swapping out the apricots for other dried fruit, or including extra nuts and seeds.

Collect

  • 5 c rolled oats (the whole-meal ones are great, slightly more chunky than just the plain ones I would normally use for porridge)
  • 2 c bran
  • 2 c long threaded coconut
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/2 c rice bran oil (or olive oil is  fine)
  • 1 c dried fruit (I use apricot)
  • 1 c chopped nuts (I mainly use almonds and cashews, with a few hazelnuts/walnuts/macadamias thrown in for good measure)
  • 1/4 c pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 c sunflower seeds
  • 1/8 c sesame seeds

Create

  1. Set oven to 150°C fan bake/grill.
  2. In a baking dish add the rolled outs, the bran and the coconut. Melt the honey, add the oil and pour the mixture over the baking dish. Toast until golden.
  3. Take out and add dried fruit, seeds and nuts. Add back to the oven but keep a very close eye on it so that it doesn’t burn!
Butter chicken (healthy)

Butter chicken (healthy)

We all love ourselves a good ol’ butter chicken, and as you will see by my other butter chicken post it can also be pretty indulgent. However not with this recipe. This recipe is surprisingly light without compromising any of the rich flavours that butter chicken offers – after all, it’s all in the spices. The vegetables add some extra nutrients, and the fact they are grated means they are barely noticeable. Serve with the turmeric rice to brighten up the dish, and the crunchy fresh cucumber to provide some contrasting textures.

Collect for the turmeric pea rice

  • 1.5 c basmati rice
  • 2.25 c water
  • 1/2 t ground turmeric
  • 2 c frozen peas
  • 1 T butter

Collect for the butter chicken

  • 650 g chicken thigh, boneless, skinless and chopped into 2 – 3 cm pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 T each of garam masala, ground cumin, smoked paprika
  • 1 t ground coriander, ground turmeric
  • 0.5 t ground chilli
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 t ginger
  • 1/2 lemon zest
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 c grated pumpkin
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1 c coconut cream

Cucumber mint salad

  • cucumber, match sticks
  • 2 T chopped mint leaves
  • 2 T chopped coriander leaves
  • 1/2 lemon zest, juice of whole lemon
  • splash of olive oil

Create

  1. Combine rice, water, turmeric and some salt into a medium-sized pot and bring to the boil. Cook rice for approximately 15 minutes, remove from heat but leave the lid on for a further 15 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, combine the chicken with onion, spices, garlic,ginger, lemon zest and salt. Cook for about 10 minutes in a medium pan. Don’t worry if the chicken isn’t yet cooked, there is still plenty of time for it to finish.
  3. Stir in the grated pumpkin, carrot, tomatoes, tomato paste and cream. Simmer for 5 – 10 minutes or until sauce is reduced slightly and chicken is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Combine all the cucumber mint salad ingredients together and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Fluff up turmeric rice with a fork, and combine with butter and peas.
  6. Garnish with coriander.

 

 

Vegetarian Bolognaise

Vegetarian Bolognaise

Spaghetti bolognaise is such a winter classic, and my not eating beef this year has thrown a real spanner in the works. Finally though, I have found a recipe that replicates spagbol pretty darn accurately, except with the added bonus that it’s healthier and there is no beef. It takes just as long as cooking meat (it has lentils as a substitute) and is a good way to use up any veges that may have seen better days!

Collect for the bolognaise

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 t dried oregano
  • 1 c stock (vegetarian is fine, but you could use beef if you wanted that additional flavour)
  • 2/3 c red split lentils
  • 1/4 c tomato paste
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 2 t brown sugar
  • 2 t balsamic vinegar
  • 2 t soy sauce
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 c water
  • 400 g pasta

Create

  1. Boil a large pot of water to cook the pasta.
  2. Splash some oil in a pan on medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery and oregano for 6-7 minutes, until softened. Add stock and simmer for 1 minute, until nearly all evaporated.
  3. Add the lentils, tomato paste, tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, salt and water. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and cover for about 20 minutes until lentils are cooks. Season with salt and pepper. If the liquid appears to evaporate too quickly, just stir in some more water.
  4. Serve with salad (spinach and parmesan tossed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar) and top with toasted pine nuts, basical and cheese.
Pad Thai (Chicken)

Pad Thai (Chicken)

When I went to South East Asia I think Pad Thai was probably the food I ate most often. It’s so incredibly delicious, and so conceptually simple – just noodles with a few delicious flavours. The Thai people have a way of cooking this noodle dish that is fresh, light and super tasty – something that can be harder to come by in New Zealand. However, over time I have managed to pinpoint some of the better places around Wellington that do serve up a tasty Pad Thai. I have also found a recipe that I love, and have made it often enough that in my eyes it is now my ideal Pad Thai – hopefully when I go back to Asia their Pad Thai lives up to mine!

Collect

  • Pad Thai noodles
  • 1 large chicken breast, sliced into strips
  • Spring onion, chopped finely
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • Coriander, fresh
  • 1 chilli
  • 2 t lemon juice
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 3 garlic, crushed
  • 3 T fish sauce
  • 3 T soy sauce
  • 6 T peanuts
  • mung bean sprouts
  • 1/2 c peanut butter

Create

  1. Cook the noodles.
  2. Cook the beaten eggs 75% of the way through, chop and set aside.
  3. Cook the chicken, garlic, spring onion.
  4. Add the noodles, fish sauce, soy sauce, peanut butter, lemon juice, sugar, chilli.
  5. Lastly add the sprouts, peanuts, omelette and coriander.

Gili Trawangan

Gili Trawangan

A tourist destination as popular as Gili Trawangan usually means one of two things: lots of incredible food (survival of the fittest and all that) and lots of tourist scams. Unsurprisingly we got both, despite our best efforts to avoid the latter. Fortunately, we stumbled onto some real crackers very early on, so we always had some great go-tos during our stay there. Of anywhere we went in Bali, Gili T was the most hit and miss. It’s absolutely worth loading up Trip Adviser if you are going somewhere new – because no-one really wants to endure a tourist scam if possible. If you have got the time, check out the following:

 The Banyan Tree. An early discovery, and located so close to our accommodation we sure made ourselves at home at The Banyan Tree. Serving a wide range of extremely healthy food, this place sure knew how to do some killer #cleaneats. Both vegetarian and vegan options were in absolute abundance, and even the most healthy unusual dishes sounded delicious. All of the seating is upstairs and you can sit inside or out. Takeaway options are available, and the staff were absolutely fantastic; extremely attentive and accommodating. I would highly recommend a stop here, and don’t forget to take your shoes off before you go inside.

 

‘Same same but different’ is how some would describe the Kayu Cafe compared to the Banyan Tree. Serving up healthy numbers from sunrise until mid-afternoon, the Kayu Cafe has a huge selection of smoothie bowls, raw treats, pastries and brunch items available and a super relaxing vibe to enjoy them in. The food is moderately priced – perhaps before expensive that what you’d find elsewhere in Bali, but still cheaper than anything you’d find at home – and definitely one of those places where you can take confidence that whatever you order will be tasty.

While on holiday there is only so much healthy food that one wants to eat, and as soon as you’re feeling like a more indulgent meal, head right over to Regina’s. One street back from the main drag lies one of the best pizzerias you may ever visit. The prices are cheap (I’d almost go as far to say half the price of a few of the places we ate at), the pizzas were massive (the four of us ordered four pizzas and ended up taking the equivalent of a whole pizza home) and the food was as authentic as what you could find in Italy. As always, full marks for great service – the Balinese way it would seem, and we left as very content customers.

Last but not least The Roast House. Sooner or later you’ll probably crave a taste of home, and when you do, head along to The Roast House for some pub-style grub. Admittedly the decor is slightly odd (kind of dark and vintage feeling) and the kitchen is across the road from the restaurant. However, the food is really tasty. Ironically, I went for the mi goreng (when in Indonesia right?) but everyone else ordered meals like sausages and mash, chicken parmigiana and fish & chips. Although the food was pretty tasty, I thought on the whole it was relatively overpriced for a sub-par meal that we’d get at home.

 

Canggu

Canggu

Canggu was our destination number one in Bali. An up and coming hipster’s paradise it was only appropriate that there were foodie spots to follow suit. We didn’t have long in Canggu, but being our first stop, we were more than ready to fill our bellies.

First up was Canteen. We arrived on scooters and based on the number of scooters already in the car park we predicted a wait for a table. We weren’t wrong, the place was absolutely packed and we were warned there would be a 20 minute wait. We agreed to this; we had heard so much about the place we were hardly about to leave. Fortunately for us, the turnover was incredibly quick (we shouldn’t have expected any different with the incredible service that seems to be the norm) and we were seated in no time. My first morning on a tropical island meant there was no way I could look past the chia fruit bowl. I love the exciting fruit that comes with being in warmer climates – think pineapple, mango, dragonfruit and coconut to name a few. All of the breakfasts that were served to us were extremely tasty, and sadly we were out of there in no time.

They say you can’t visit Canggu without a visit to Old Man’s, and I have to admit, I think whoever ‘they’ are, they know exactly what they are talking about. This iconic beach bar is perched so close to the ocean, separated only by the car-park that it overlooks. It seems to be open (almost) round the clock, it is extremely spacious and it has a very extensive menu offering both Western and local options. It isn’t cheap, but it’s certainly fun. There is a stack of seating options both indoors and out, including picnic tables, cushy seats and bar stools. With live music and other various events throughout the week Old Man’s has something for everyone. While you may pay a dollar or two more than what you would elsewhere, at least you know it’s going to be good.

The third and final gemstone we discovered in Canggu was Crate. Located on the main road (as is Old Man’s), Crate exists as a rather inconspicuous little institution which serves up absolutely fantastic food to visitors who come far and wide to eat here (I know this is true because we counted six different countries on the business cards people had scattered underneath our glass table alone).

After making your order downstairs (allow yourself time to appreciate the quirky and clever names of some of the dishes) either take a seat or climb the steep staircase past the rack of merchandise to the second storey. With outstanding views of the street below and the nearby surrounds, this is my pick of seating. The meals were absolutely outstanding – fresh, healthy and decent sized portions (something we were yet to discover as a rare occurrence in Bali). There were a huge number of vegan and vegetarian options available also. Crate would easily have been one of my top 5 eateries while I was in Bali.

 

 

Ubud

Ubud

Ubud had been described to me as Bali’s food capital, so I was pretty enthused to be going there. We were staying in an Air BnB about a 20 minute walk from town, and without scooters it made getting around sometimes inconvenient. We did our best though; and I managed to eat at some pretty awesome places.

The best of the bunch was an incredible spot known as The Clear Cafe. We were the first customers of the day (we were on our way to The Yoga Barn) and I can only imagine how amazing the vibe would be when the place is full. You enter through a massive circular door (think ‘Open Sesame’), which straightaway makes you feel as though you have entered somewhere magical. It has an open air feel, close to nature and big comfy couch seats that make you never want to leave. The cafe sprawls for what literally feels like miles, and there are so many nooks and crannies to explore.

The menu was somewhat intimidating because it was so large, but thankfully at 7am the menu was essentially cut in half. It still took us a while to decide though – when you know a place is good you can afford to take a risk with some of the more adventurous options. The food was delicious, the prices reasonable, and the staff lovely. I could not recommend it more – and I highly suggest you take a visit to the bathroom!

 

Completely in contrast to the spaciousness of The Clear Cafe is GrandPa’s Cafe. This place is teeny tiny, but gives rise to an atmosphere of hustle and bustle. An ideal place to go with just one or two people, but with the group of four we had, it was a bit of a squeeze. Goodness knows how they even cook in the small space they call a kitchen! Another tasty menu; the coffee was cheap and delicious, and my brother claimed that his pulled pork was his favourite dish in Bali. The portions were massive – which sure makes a change. Right near the markets, GrandPa’s was the perfect spot for some people watching, so long as you didn’t feel pressured to move on for lack of table space.

  

We were lucky to be staying right next door to Juno’s. Having only opened in the last year or so it radiated tranquility – we felt like we were in the waiting room before a spa treatment. Designed by someone with serious taste, it was a beautiful area to spend some time in. The bathroom was absolutely unreal; I had never seen anything like it – I won’t reveal any spoilers, but again I suggest it as a must-visit! Oh yeah, and the food was pretty good too!

  

  

 

We had been recommended a number of places that we unfortunately didn’t make it to, including Kafe Ubud (vegetarian, burgers), Seeds of Life (raw food), AA Juicery & Cafe (breakfast bowls) and for a good ol’ cup of Luwak coffee, Seniman. Another must visit is Ibu Oka, where you can order the local specialty pork suckling. The meat is delicious, the crackling even more so – and while you wait (which won’t be long) you can check out the squirrels and cockatoos outside.

Food in Seminyak

Food in Seminyak

Seminyak. So many options, so little time. As one of the more commercialised areas of Bali, I had high expectations; and in the short period of time I had there I have mostly good things to report.

On the beach front lies Capris (which incorporates the Coffee Library). Despite hearing from other bloggers that the coffee was good (admittedly true) I thought overall that this place was extremely average and not worth a visit. It was massively expensive for what it was. The portions were teeny tiny – all of us walked away dissatisfied and making jokes about where to go for lunch 2.0. The views of the beach were undeniably great (especially if you omit to notice the sewage tinge to the colour of the water) and the service was pretty good.

For what we paid at Capris, we each would have got at least 2 full meals if we had gone straight to HoneyBees. Located in the heart of Seminyak, HoneyBees caught our attention with its “Number 1. Cheap Eats” title on TripAdvisor. We weren’t to be disappointed. Everything was between IRD 40 – 60, the servings were pretty substantial, and the service was incredibly fast. Had we longer in Seminyak, I have no doubt that we would have eaten there again; especially as it’s reputation for brunch on TripAdvisor also sits pretty high.

 

Instead, for brunch we visited Sacred Ground. It was situated just down the road from our accommodation, so made for a convenient stop on the morning we flew out. We had noticed it the previous night, with its advertisement for ‘free pizza when you buy a bucket of beer’. The cafe is bigger than it looks on first appearances, tucked down the alley is several more booths and tables. The menu is several pages long and pretty well priced. The meals were better than okay, but we all thought that the eggs tasted a little odd; as though sugar had been added. On the whole I wouldn’t go out of my way to return here for brunch (mainly because there are so many other places worthy of trying) but I would be happy to come back for a meal later in the day.