Japanese Okonomiyaki

I was first introduced to this dish when my husband and I went on a trip to Japan. Before this trip my husband wasn’t much of a Japanese food eater this was 9 years ago, now we enjoy almost every week. We were also interested in the historic culture Japan so proudly exuded. The friendliness and politeness of the locals made our way around the predominantly non english speaking, ever so populated country much easier and enjoyable. Yet another reason we fell in love with Japan. The popularity of  western food has become evident though with fast food chains opening up in many suburbs over the past 20 years of the major cities of Tokyo and Osaka. Full of the youngsters of the next generation eager to adapt to the western way of life, all awhile we go there for more of the authentic way of life.

During this trip we tried many firsts, raw sashimi, tea ceremony, charcoal bbq and this savoury dish Okonomiyaki. Which if you have never heard of it before is basically a savoury cabbage pancake with veggies. You can add your choice of cooked meat or seafood such as prawns, then top with kewpie (Japanese mayonnaise) Okonomiyaki bbq sauce, sesame seeds, green onions, shredded nori (seaweed) and pickled ginger.

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Italian Stuffed Eggplants

Italian food is so dear to my heart. I love the taste and flavours but mostly I love the stories, memories and family comforts it brings. I grew up with my Nonnas cooking the Italian favourites whenever we would go to visit and as I get older the nostalgia becomes so much more important. It resonates with more than just eating, if you have ever had the pleasure of eating at an Italian family feast you will know exactly what I mean.

I love the fact that food brings life around the table and Italian food is the epitome  of this. The love and time that is put into cooking and serving the most satisfying plate of pure home cooked food is evident with the smiles and loud chatter that evolves just by enjoying this type of food.

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Lets Talk About Matcha…

Have you tried Matcha Green Tea? Cooked with it? Or even know what it is?

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This ancient Japanese green tea is an antioxidant powerhouse! This powerful superfood is made from Japanese green tea leaves stone ground into a powder form which makes an even higher amount of health benefits than green tea leaves itself. It supports sustainable energy and weight management, helps control stress levels and boosts immunity which can be helpful in cancer prevention.

Without getting too technical in a nutshell Matcha Green Tea can make you feel more relaxed, vitalise your skin and an overall powerful detox for your body.

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So how do we use it?

There are many ways in which you can include Matcha in your day, easiest way is in your morning smoothies, smoothie bowls, adding it to heated milk to make an evening latte. You can also use it in baking cakes, biscuits, ice-cream and raw desserts.

The first time I’ve experimented in cooking with it I made a raw Matcha Mint Slice and I was definitely pleasantly surprised. It has more of a subtle flavour when mixed in baking but gives this vibrancy of colour that is just divine. The combo with the mint works so well together the possibilities are endless. The Japanese have a lot to say when it comes to health and vitality the figures show for itself. Start enjoying that cup of Matcha Green tea sooner rather than later and you will feel better for it. Makes sure to get an organic high quality ceremonial grade one, which is of highest quality, ask your health specialist at your local health food market for recommendations.

I will be trying a few different recipes with Matcha, some choc Matcha bliss balls may be next!

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Whole Roasted Spiced Cauliflower with Beetroot Hummus & Quinoa Flatbread

Have you seen the latest trend which seems to be making an appearance on many foodies blogs, plates and social media?

I’m talking about the new obsession with whole roasted cauliflower. It’s the vegetarian version of the meat lovers lamb roast. Many healthy wholefood cooks have been seen making different versions with Jamie Oliver also jumping in on the new idea.

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And like all new trends I just couldn’t resist in trying it out for myself to see what all the hype was about.  I often roast it in florets with turmeric and spices on a weekly basis so what was so special about this?

If I have to be perfectly honest it tastes exactly the same as the way I always make it though the cauliflower turns out very tender inside and the spiced yoghurt gives it a nice crusty coating on the outside. It also does look a whole lot nicer too and makes for an awe-inspiring centre piece to wow dinner guests.

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Mexican Black Bean & Quinoa Lettuce Burgers

Have you ever tried lettuce instead of bread buns?

I like to switch it up and use lettuce as a healthier alternative to burger or Mexican night. This vegetarian burger version is packed with the goodness of quinoa, we all know how much I love quinoa. It is such a versatile ingredient to use instead of rice, meat, pasta and makes can be used in so many dishes. Now who would have thought even a quinoa burger. Black beans, capsicum, paprika, hint of chilli gives it that Mexican flair with the addition of avocado you seriously can’t go wrong.

We love quick easy dinner choices during the week and Mexican or burger nights the kids get super excited about. Quinoa burgers are still a stretch for my boys so I made them homemade lean beef burgers with hidden veggies. They do like lettuce so I’m lucky though the fresh bakery bread rolls are hard to pass up.

Quinoa patties are also convenient to take to work with a salad too and keep well in the fridge for a good few days. Add the sides you like smashed avocado and natural yoghurt works so well with a squeeze of lemon or lime to top.

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