Another great winter soup from Donna Hay magazine issue 51 (Jun/Jul 2010) 🙂

This one has a bold green colour, and it makes you feel healthier already just by looking at it :P. The ingredients are the humble peas and spinach, and to give a savoury punch, Donna adds leg ham to the soup and blends them all together.

The peas are very sweet and matching the saltiness from the ham. The spinach is not dominant to the soup, but it certainly gives a bolder colour to the soup. A dollop of soup cream or thick cream (I used the Philadelphia cream cheese) gives the soup a smoother taste. Absolutely love this soup, it’s very satisfying and fulfilling :). Another good thing is that you can cook this in no time. Oh, and also – it is GOOD for you! 😀

Pea, spinach and ham soup

(recipe by Donna Hay, Donna Hay magazine issue 51, Jun/Jul 2010)

(serves 4)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 litre chicken stock. I used 2 chicken stock cubes in hot water.
  • 4 cups (480 gr) frozen peas
  • 100 gr baby spinach leaves
  • 200 gr leg ham
  • sour cream or thick cream to serve
  • any bread slices to serve

Step 1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 3 – 4 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to boil.

Step 2. Add peas, spinach and ham and bring to boil. Blend with a hand-held blender until smooth. Return the saucepan to the heat for 5 minutes to make sure the soup is heated up.

Step 3. To serve, spoon the soup into bowls, top with cream and serve with bread slices.



It’s been too long I did not cook something new and worthy to put in my blog. Finally, today I have a few hours free and I am back in the kitchen with a new recipe 🙂

The weather has certainly become colder and colder these past few weeks as we are now truly in winter. I got the 51st issue of Donna Hay magazine that showcases 25 fast soups for winter. I love having a hot soup for dinner during winter and there are a few recipes in the magazine that I would like to try. This is one of them 😛

This chicken and corn soup has simple ingredients and is very easy to make. It has Asian influence and in the original recipe, Donna also uses grated fresh ginger, which will give the soup the extra warmness. I did not use the ginger because I did not have it in my pantry. *Sigh* 😦

The soup still turns out really yummy and is perfect to accompany the freezing night. It’s chunky and fulfilling; the creamed corn makes the soup a little thick and the corn kernels are sweet. I serve it with some steamed broccoli (extra veggie boost :)); some toasted bread would be nice too!

Chicken and corn soup

(adapted from the recipe in Donna Hay magazine, Jun/Jul 2010 issue 51)

(serves 4 – 6)

  • 2 skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 brown onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lt chicken stock. I used 2 chicken stock cubes in 1 litre of water.
  • 1 can (410 gr) creamed corn
  • 200 gr frozen corn kernels
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • steamed broccoli florets or other greens such as spring onion and coriander to serve.

Step 1. Steam the chicken breast for 10 minutes until cooked. Allow to cool down, then shred the meat.

Step 2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over high heat. Add the onion, garlic and cook for 4 – 5 minutes or until browned. Add in the shredded chicken meat and stir until well combined.

Step 3. Add the stock, creamed corn and corn kernels and cook for 15 minutes. Add the soy sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 4. Serve hot in soup bowls and garnish with some greens.


This vegetarian dish is so fulfilling and perfect for winter. It’s hearty, flavoursome and full of goodness from the vegetables; and the colour is gorgeous too! I used sweet potatoes, onion, asparagus and leeks; but other vegetables such as pumpkin, potato, zucchini, carrot can also be used.

Combined with pasta, it makes a complete dish for dinner. The cheese sauce is very delicate and does not overpower the vegetables. The vegetables when roasted give a nice caramelisation; the sweetness from the vegetables really match the cheese sauce.

The dish is very easy to make and you can keep the leftover in the fridge for the next day. Just need to heat it up in the microwave for the next day’s meal. It’s so great! 🙂

Roasted vegetable and pasta bake

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

(serve 4 – 6)

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 5 cm cubes
  • 2 red onions, cut into large chunks. I used 1 red and 1 brown onion.
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 large leeks, thickly sliced
  • 170 gr asparagus spears, cut across in half
  • 300 gr rigatoni

Cheese sauce

  • 600 ml low-fat milk
  • 3 tablespoons cornflour
  • 70 gr cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
  • pepper to taste

Step 1. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Place the sweet potato and onions in a roasting pan and scatter oven the garlic. Drizzle with the oil and season with pepper. Toss to coat the vegetables with the oil, then place the pan in the oven and roast for 15 minutes.

Step 2. Remove the pan from the oven and add the leeks and asparagus. Toss gently to mix with the other vegetables, then return to the oven. Roast for a further 20 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown.

Step 3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water for 10 – 12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions.

Step 4. Meanwhile, to make the sauce, measure 4 tablespoons milk into a jug, add the cornflour and stir to make a smooth paste. Heat the remaining milk in a saucepan until almost boiling. Stir the hot milk into the cornflour mixture, then return to the saucepan and heat gently, stirring, until the mixture boils and thickens. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and add two-thirds of the cheese and the mustard. Season with pepper.

Step 5. Remove the vegetables from the oven. Drain the pasta well then tip over the vegetables and stir to combine. Stir in the sauce. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Return to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Serve hot.


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.


When I first saw the picture of green smoothie (from My Recession Kitchen), I thought it was a green tea smoothie. Immediately I clicked the link, because I love green tea smoothie :). To my surprise, it was not green tea, it was spinach!!

It made me excited even more because I do love healthy juice or smoothie. Every day I still have the healthy juice that my mom taught me (also my first post in my blog :)). I am so keen to try this green smoothie as it contains fresh vegetable. Remember, we need 5 serves of vegetables every day. So to include vegetable for your breakfast makes a good start 🙂

I used banana and pineapple in the smoothie, but other fruits can also be used. I actually tried adding the spinach in my usual healthy juice (celery, tomato and apple) and it is good too :). I bought ripe bananas and pineapples from the market and chop them and keep them in airtight containers in the freezer. It is handy to divide the fruits into a few small containers (1 container for 1 or 2 serves of the smoothies).

How does it taste? Absolutely FANTASTIC!!! It’s very refreshing and fulfilling. The banana and pineapple marry really well in the smoothie (pineapple is my new favourite ingredient in smoothies :P). And you do not taste the spinach at all in the smoothie, but it’s there. The only proof that the spinach is there is from the lovely green colour.

Absolutely a gem! This smoothie will be a regular at my home 🙂

Green smoothie

(adapted from Green smoothie, My Recession Kitchen)

(makes 1 glass)

  • ¼ cup frozen chopped pineapple
  • ¼ cup frozen chopped banana (about ½ banana)
  • 1 handful fresh baby spinach
  • ¼ cup apple juice
  • ¼ cup water

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend for about 30 seconds or so until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy immediately.

green is good … 🙂


Tempeh or tempe is made from soy beans in a controlled fermentation process that binds the soy beans into a cake form. For more information about tempe, see here.

I grew up having tempe at least once a week, either for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s widely available in Indonesia and it’s considerably cheap. I remember when going to the local market with my mom, she always bought a block of tempe. So, basically there was always tempe when I opened the fridge 😀

Many dishes can be created with this humble tempe. Tempe can be easily shallow-fried (slice the tempe, then soak them in salted water for at least 30 minutes), fried with batter, stir fried with vegetable, etc. This recipe is one of my favourite tempe dishes; it’s tempe stir-fried with chillies, garlic, shallot in sweet soy sauce or kecap manis. It’s incredibly easy to make too.

Tempe can easily be found in most Asian grocery stores in Australia. They usually are frozen and come in small packages. The ones available in Melbourne are 225-gr packages and they are made in Australia. The price for 1 package is about AUD3.50, which is quite expensive if you compare to the price in Indonesia :P. But this Australian-made tempe is very good and taste the same as the ones I had in Indonesia. It’s worth it to cure my home-sickness 🙂

Tempe is incredibly healthy too; it is made from soy beans (legumes) and high in protein and fibre. It is suitable for vegetarians, and because of its firm texture, some consider it as meat substitute.

Tempe with sweet soy sauce

(my mom’s recipe)

(serves 4 – 6)

  • 3 x 225 gr tempe from asian grocery store
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 3 shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 red chillies, sliced
  • 2 green chillies, sliced
  • 2 cm ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cm galangal, peeled and sliced
  • 2 x lemongrass, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 cup sweet soy sauce (kecap manis), or to taste
  • salt and pepper
  • 1½ cup water

Step 1. Cut the tempe to about 1-cm cubes. Heat the olive oil in a wok over medium fire. Add in the shallots and garlic and fry until they are fragrant. Add in the chillies, ginger, galangal, lemongrass and fry until fragrant.

Step 2. Add in the tempe, mix well and cook for about 2 minutes. Add in the soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, salt and pepper. Combine well and then add in the water. Bring to boil and cook until the water evaporates and the sauce is thick. You can add more soy sauce, salt and pepper to your liking. Serve with hot steamed rice.

It’s so yummy…!


I’m so excited when seeing this recipe on TasteSpotting. It brought back the memory when we travelled in Japan in 2007. Okonomiyaki or Japanese pancake is made of plain flour, water, egg, mixed with cabbage and other vegetables and meat or seafood. The combination varies a lot, and I guess we can pretty much mix and match the ingredients to what we like. The topping also varies from the okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise to bonito flakes.

While in Japan, we had okonomiyaki in two different regions: Nara and Hiroshima. Each region gives a different touch to the dish. In Nara, the okonomiyaki is regarded as the speciality of the area. The recipe I tried is pretty much the Nara/ Osaka’s style of okonomiyaki. In the restaurant we ordered the dish in Nara, the okonomiyaki is cooked on a flat top in our own table (click here to see our blog post when we were in Nara).

Hiroshima’s style okonomiyaki has its ingredients layered rather than mixed together. The one we ordered also had noodles in it. Absolutely loved it!! See here for our blog post in Hiroshima.

Here, I made a vegetarian okonomiyaki consisting of cabbage, carrot and spring onion. It’s a very easy dish to make and yet tasty and filling. The okonomiyaki sauce is a must and the mayonnaise gives a nice touch and cute presentation. I put the mayo inside a plastic bag, then snip 1 corner of the bag with scissors (small cut only), then pipe the mayo over the okonomiyaki.


(from recipe by Matt in his blog ‘Food for Friends Yeah!’)

(makes 2)


  • 130 gr plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 150 ml water
  • 3 eggs
  • 100 gr washed and shredded cabbage (tough parts removed)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons finely sliced spring onions
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • extra sliced spring onions, for garnish

Simple Okonomiyaki sauce

  • 3 tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce


  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

Step 1. Mix the flour and baking powder together in a large bowl. Add the water and whisk until most of the lumps have gone. Add the eggs and continue to whisk until combined. Add in the cabbage, carrot and spring onion, season with salt and pepper and mix together.

Step 2. Place a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat and pour in the olive oil. Once it’s hot, spoon in the mixture and use the spoon to flatten it to around 1.5cm thick. Push in the edges to keep it round in shape. Cook for around 5-7 minutes. Once the edges start to brown carefully flip over and cook on the other side for a further 5-7 minutes. Once cooked through, slide onto a plate.

Step 3. Mix the Okonomiyaki sauce ingredients together and spread over the okonomiyaki. Then combine the mayo ingredients together and drizzle or pipe the mayo over the sauce. Sprinkle with chopped spring onions.

It’s a simple and easy to make vegetarian dish. It certainly makes me want to go to Japan again…!


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