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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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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Creamy Braised Lentils with Mushrooms and Kalettes

After a huge weekend, actually I should say this week of party celebrations. It was nice to get back to healthy eating and to kick off the week with a meatless Monday dish of braised lentils was just the thing I needed.

As I become more in tuned with my body and health over the past few years, I honestly do enjoy meat free meals more and more. I cannot say I am a totally converted vegetarian, though I have cautiously reduced my intake on red meat. My digestive system has notably changed for the better.

There are so many different "diets" "labels" of lifestyle these days. Apart from ethical reasons I believe you don't need a label to live your life the way you want, you know your own body and what makes you feel good and works for you. If you are eating a high quantity of protein and iron enriched foods from other sources such as lentils, brussels sprouts, other legumes and leafy greens then reducing or cutting out your red meat intake won't hurt you contrary to what we have been lead to believe over the years. Increasing your intake of plant-based foods you are providing your body with not just protein and iron but an array of vitamins and minerals that support a healthy, functioning body.

Whatever your dietary requirements this meal will make your taste buds sing and dance, leave you feeling full yet less sluggish and provide you with the protein your body requires. Enjoy on it's own as a meal or as a side with your meat or fish of choice if you prefer.

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Hasselback Sweet Potatoes with Basil Pesto

 

I have been wanting to try this for a while now as it just looks so creative and artistic but is actually so easy!

I literally had no idea what was for dinner when I had these lonely sweet potatoes sitting on my bench and some chicken breasts waiting for me to whip something up for the family. It would have been the usual sweet potato chips but remembered I’d seen a few pics around on social media of these beauties and decided to give it a go. With only 5 mins prep and minimal ingredients it really was an ideal healthy side veggie.

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