Winter is coming..! It means we welcome the many varieties of thick and hearty soup to our dinner :). I love wintery soups, such as potato soup, pumpkin soup, pea soup, bean soup, etc… This particular soup is rich and feels luxury because of the addition of crabmeat 🙂

I used the canned crabmeat from the supermarket, but obviously fresh crabmeat would make a much better chowder. I did go to the market to get fresh crabmeat, but they did not have it. If you are keen, you can buy the crab and boil them and extract the meat yourself.

This wintery soup is perfect for a cold winter night. It’s thick, warm and hearty. Serve it with toasted sour dough bread or other bread to create a more fulfilling dinner. It’s simple and quick to make so you can have an early dinner tonight 🙂

Crab and sweetcorn chowder

(recipe from ‘500 soups’, Susannah Blake, 2007)

(serves 4 – 6)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 potatoes, diced
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 570 ml stock
  • 570 ml milk
  • 2 x 170 gr cans crabmeat, drained. Or use fresh crab meat.
  • 350 gr frozen sweetcorn
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Step 1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic and chilli, and cook gently for 4 minutes. Stir in the potatoes, pepper and stock, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Step 2. Process half the soup until smooth in a food processor or blender. Add the milk, crabmeat and sweetcorn to the saucepan and heat through. Then return the pureed soup to the saucepan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the parsley and serve.



This dish is one of the many dishes I enjoyed in my childhood. My mom made this often. The sweet and sour sauce is very versatile and can be served with other ingredients, such as fried chicken, egg or vegetables :). The sauce is very simple to make with the main ingredient of store-bought tomato sauce :P. I used frozen peas for the sauce; but other vegetables such as diced capsicum or sliced cucumber goes well in the sauce too.

I used basa fillets in this dish. Basa is a firm white fish imported from Vietnam and it’s considerably cheap in Australia; it’s about AUD 10.00 per kilo. You can use a deep frier if you have one to fry the fish. I just shallow-fried them in a wok. Best served with hot steamed rice 🙂 .It’s very yummy!

Fish in sweet and sour sauce

(serves 4 – 6)

  • 700 gr white fish fillets. I used basa
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • corn flour
  • oil to shallow fry

Sweet and sour sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon corn flour, mixed with 1¼ cup cold water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
  • salt & pepper
  • ¼ cup frozen peas

Step 1. Heat the oil in a wok over medium fire to shallow fry the fish. Cut the fish fillet into stripes and season with salt, pepper and lime juice. Coat each fish piece with corn flour and shallow fry the fish in batches until golden brown. Place the cooked fish on paper towel to drain the excess oil.

Step 2. Meanwhile, to make the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in garlic and onion and fry for about 5 minutes or until onion is soft. Add in tomato sauce, soy sauce, vinegar and stir well. Add in the corn flour and water mixture and stir gently until the sauce is boiling and thickened. Add in the sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Add in the frozen peas and further cook for 1 minute. Set aside and keep warm.

Step 3. Place the fish pieces in a serving bowl and pour the sauce over. Best served with hot steamed rice.

a dish of my childhood 🙂


I am always excited when cooking lentils 🙂 I always think I did not cook lentil often enough, despite the health benefit it has (lentil is legume, it is recommended to have at least 2 serves of legume every week). Lentils are high in protein and fibre and they help lower cholesterol. For more information, see here.

The type of lentil used in this recipe is puy lentil. It costs AUS4.00 for 250 gr in Victoria market. This recipe is incredibly easy to make and every ingredient in this recipe says ‘healthy’ :). Fish, lentils, celery, onions; and the flavour comes from fresh chillies, thyme and bay leaves. The dish tastes fresh and clean.

The cooked lentils in this recipe can be matched with other fish or meat, such as pan-fried chicken breast. Other vegetables like capsicum or leeks can also be used for the lentils. So there you go, many variations can be made from this recipe; this dish will definitely be one of our regular dinner menus 🙂

Fish with spicy puy lentils

(adapted from the recipe from ‘Cook smart for a healthy heart’, Reader’s Digest, 2004)

(serves 4)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 red chillies, finely sliced
  • 250 gr puy lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 x white fish fillet (about 150 gr each). I used baramundi
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon wedges to serve

Step 1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan over medium fire. Add onion, celery and chillies and cook gently for 2 minutes. Stir in the lentils. Add the water, thyme and bay leaves and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Add salt to taste. If at the end of this time the lentils have not absorbed all the stock, drain them (you can use the excess stock to make a soup).

Step 2. Ten minutes before the lentils are ready, preheat a non-stick frying pan over medium fire. Mix together the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and pepper. Pour the mixture over the fish fillets. Pan-fry the fish fillets for about 4 minutes on each side or until the fish flakes easily.

Step 3. Spread the lentils in a serving plate and top with the fish fillets. Serve with lemon wedges.

Lentil is good for you!


Sesame prawn toasts are normally served as a starter or snack in yum cha restaurants. I have to say I would love to have them when having yum cha, but I normally did not order them as they tend to be oily and greasy, because they are deep-fried in oil. I know they are delicious, though!

This version I got in the cookbook ‘Cook smart for a healthy heart’ is baked, not fried. So, the toasts are not greasy and they are certainly a lot healthier than the deep-fried version. Use the multigrain bread rather than the white bread.

I love this healthy version of sesame prawn toasts. It’s very easy to prepare, ready in about 30 minutes and no more messy oil :). I will definitely make this again!

Sesame prawn toasts

(adapted from recipe in ‘Cook smart for a healthy heart’ book, by Reader’s Digest (Australia), 2004)

(serves 2)

  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat thickened cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 4 slices multigrain bread
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds

Prawn topping

  • 250 gr peeled raw prawns
  • ½ red capsicum, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large garlic cloves, grated
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-fat thickened cream
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Step 1. Preheat oven to 200°C. For the topping, place the prawn and capsicum in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Place the mixture into a mixing bowl. Add in the spring onions, garlic, lemon rind, cayenne pepper, thickened cream and pepper and mix all the ingredients together well to make a spreadable paste. Set the mixture aside until ready to cook. The topping can be prepared ahead and kept in a fridge for 4 hours.

Step 2. Beat together the cream and eggs until smooth. Dip the slices of bread in the mixture to coat both sides well, then place them on a baking paper on a baking tray (I made sure I used up all the cream and eggs mixture, that all was absorbed by the breads).

Step 3. Spread the topping evenly over the breads, spreading right up to the edges. Sprinkle evenly with sesame seeds.

Step 4. Bake the breads for 20 – 25 minutes or until they are crisp and golden brown. Cut each bread into 4 squares and serve immediately.

I love these bite-size snacks 🙂


Another fish dish – perfect for Lent 🙂

I’ve done many things with salmon – I simply pan-fried it, marinated it in teriyaki sauce, made salmon chowder, made salmon pies; this time is much more fun – Salmon burger 🙂

The salmon patties are tasty and easy to make. From 1 kg fresh salmon, I made 8 big patties (about 8-cm diameter, 1.5-cm thick). I pan-fried them all and kept the leftovers in the freezer (after they are cool), for next time I want a quick healthy meal. I always love the part when you can make + freeze – it’s handy for the one of those days when you don’t have time to cook or when you are tired. Allow 1 day for the frozen patties to thaw in the fridge, or just simply defrost using a microwave.

You can build your own version of the burger – the mango salsa in the original recipe would be cool 🙂 Here I simply added mayo, tomato sauce and extra fresh coriander. They are yummy and healthy 🙂

Salmon burger

(from the recipe by Jasmin Baron, published in ‘Marx Food’ blog)

(makes 8 patties/ burgers)

  • 1 kg salmon fillet, skin removed and cubed
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
  • ½ cup fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • ½ cup spring onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • olive oil (for frying)
  • 8 bread rolls (about 8-cm diameter)
  • butter or mayo and tomato sauce, if desired

Step 1. Using a food processor, pulse salmon until coarsely ground. Add egg and pulse until well mixed. Transfer salmon mixture to a bowl. Add garlic, ginger, coriander, spring onion, sesame oil, soy sauce, fish sauce, salt, pepper and chili flakes and mix together thoroughly. Shape salmon mixture into 8 big patties (about 8-cm diameter, 1.5-cm thick) and refrigerate, covered, for at least half an hour.

Step 2. In a non-stick pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Fry salmon patties until lightly browned on one side, about 2-3 minutes. Flip patties over and cook until lightly browned on the other side, about 2 minutes.

Step 3. Toast rolls if desired and spread with butter or mayo. Place one patty on each roll, add tomato sauce if desired, and top with extra coriander leaves.


I came across this recipe while browsing through the recipes in TasteSpotting. I love fish and I try to cook fish dishes at least twice in a week. When you don’t have time to prepare a fresh fish dish, look no other than the good old canned tuna. I usually buy the canned tuna when they are on special (they can be $1 each (95 gr can) when they are on special – sweet!) and store them in my pantry.

This recipe is a no-fuss tuna dish and can be enjoyed in a record time! The canned tuna is combined with other cooked or fresh ingredients. Here, it is combined with kalamata olives and capers. Other alternative is to combine the tuna with sweet corn, chopped spring onion, chopped carrot, or chopped celery, etc… You can be creative to decide the combination 🙂

Then, spread the mixture on top of bread, top with tomato slices and cheese slices. Put the breads in the oven to grill for 5 minutes, and voila… the cheese is melted, golden and bubbly over the tuna and tomato on a crispy bread. Truly inviting and satisfying speedy meal 🙂

Tuna melts

(adapted from the recipe by Janice in her blog ‘Have recipes – Will cook’)

(serves 2)

  • 2 x 95 gr canned tuna. I used Sirena’s dill infused oil.
  • 2 tablespoons chopped kalamata olives
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 focaccia breads, halved length wise. Other type of bread can be used.
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced (12 slices)
  • 8 slices of cheddar cheese

Step 1. Preheat the grill (I used the grill in the oven). Mix well the tuna, olives, capers, mayo, lemon juice and pepper.

Step 2. Arrange the bread halves on a baking tray lined with a baking paper. Spread the tuna mixture on the breads evenly. Top with 3 tomato slices and 2 cheese slices on each bread. Grill the breads for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted, golden and bubbly. Serve with garden salad.

It’s too easy…!

Tuna melts served with chopped fresh carrot and cucumber


This simple pie dish is inspired by a recipe from Donna Hay, where she created a simple pie dish with bacon, spinach and egg with store-bought puff pastry for the pie shells and tops. I have made this many times and absolutely love it.

To make it a healthier dish, I used salmon cubes instead of bacon. Instead of spinach, I tried using mushrooms which also works well for the pie. I used the 6-big muffin tray to make 6 individual pies.

There are no other spices for the pies other than the salt and pepper. Yet, the taste is sooo amazing. The combination of salmon, mushrooms and egg really does work! The crispiness of the puff pastry makes it perfect. Absolutely adore the clean taste of the pie. It’s simple, healthy and delicious…

The pies can be enjoyed for breakfast or snack or dinner :). We had them for dinner with garden salad and on its own as a light snack after our badminton game :).

Salmon, mushroom and egg pie

(inspired by the recipe from Donna Hay, Donna Hay magazine Aug/Sep 2009 issue 46)

(makes 6 individual pies)

  • 200 gr fresh salmon
  • 300 gr button mushroom
  • 6 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 sheets store-bought ready puff pastry
  • 1 extra egg for the eggwash (or use milk)

Step 1. Remove the skin of the salmon and chop the salmon into 1.5cm cubes. Thinly slice the mushrooms.

Step 2. Heat a wok with olive oil over medium fire. Add the mushrooms and fry until brown. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the salmon cubes and cook for 1 minute and turn off the fire. Let it cool.

Step 3. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Meanwhile line the puff pastry into the muffin holes of a 6-big muffin tray. One sheet of store-bought puff pastry is enough for 4 holes. So 6 holes require 1½ sheets. Trim the edges and use them to cover the the entire muffin holes.

Step 4. Divide the salmon and mushroom mixture into the holes and make a shallow well in the middle of each mixture for the egg. Crack one egg over the well so the egg yolk will fill up the well. Distribute the egg white over the pie and it will fill up the gap between the salmon and mushrooms. Do the same for all 6 pies. Cover the pies with the remaining puff pastry and press the edges with fork. Prick the top of the pies with fork or knife carefully so you don’t get the egg yolk. Brush the top of the pies with the extra egg or milk.

Step 5. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until puffed and golden brown.

simple, healthy and delicious 🙂


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