Quinoa With Salad Greens

I am always looking for ways to jazz up my salads. Here is a super simple and healthy one that's also high in plant based protein.

  • 1 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1/2 cup arugula, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cup cucumber, diced
  • 4 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp olive oil, extra virgin
  • 2 pinch of salt, or to taste 
  • 2 pinch of black pepper, or to taste
  • 2 Tbsp raw scallion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp radishes

Toss together quinoa, arugula, cucumber and mint, drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with scallions and radish. Add in some dried cranberries or raisins for an added sweet kick.

Serves 2.

How To Cold Brew Coffee

coffee beans

Cold brew coffee makes a smooth, non-bitter coffee that is especially perfect for iced coffee. Whether you should drink coffee or not from a health perspective is up to debate, but if you are going to drink coffee this is a lovely way to do it.

Coffee is my dirty little morning secret and I’ve enjoyed it in a number of different ways, but cold-brew coffee has won me over and is now my preferred method of choice.  If you are looking for a smooth cup of Joe with no fancy equipment needed, then this is an excellent choice. It is so simple! You leave coffee in water for 12 hours or more, and then you strain it. You now have a coffee concentrate that will last at least a week. What more can you ask for? The advantages of cold brewing coffee, as I see it, are as follows.

1. It is simple and easy to do.

2. It is less acidic, which many people find helpful on the stomach.

3. There is less caffeine per cup when cold brewed.

4. The cold-brew method is less bitter, which promotes a smooth flavour.

5. The cold-brew method allows a different flavour profile to appear. Without as much bitterness, the fruity, chocolate, vanilla or other undertones are allowed to shine. So, even if you like a good cup of drip coffee, cold brewed coffee can give you a wonderful variation.

I make this the simplest way possible with a large mason jar. But you can also use some of the great cold brew systems out there to make the process even simpler.

Here is how I make mine. The amount of coffee to water can be tweaked to preference. A good rule of thumb is 1/3 cup of ground coffee to 1 cup of water. I make batches of 4 cups, but you can certainly make less or a lot more by using the same ratio.

Cold Brew Coffee

1 cup of fresh coarsely ground coffee (I recommend buying organic coffee beans, since coffee is a highly sprayed crop. I personally lean toward a medium roast bean and am currently enjoying Fernwood Coffee Co.

4 cups of filtered water

1. Combine ground coffee and water in a jar or French press. Stir to combine well. Cover and leave for at least 12 hours, and up to 24 hours at room temperature.

2. Put a coffee filter in a fine sieve over a plastic juice jug or jar large enough to hold at least 4 cups. Slowly pour coffee through the filter. This is your coffee concentrate.

3. Keep refrigerated. To serve, dilute to preference. A one-to-two ratio is common (one-third coffee concentrate, two-thirds water). For a stronger cup of coffee, use a one-to-one ratio. I like to add half almond milk to half coffee. My husband likes to also add a tablespoon or two of caramel syrup.

It will keep at least one week.

Cold brew

Yield: 4 cups of concentrate (makes at least 8 cups of coffee).

Anzac Biscuits

ANZAC stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps, and the first Anzac biscuits were long-distance messages of love and care. While the exact origin of the recipe might be vague, the emotion behind it hasn’t diminished over the years.

It’s the story of brave young men thrown into the most horrific of situations during the Gallipoli landing of the First World War, surviving on the most sparse rations, yearning for contact and comfort from home.

And the mothers, wives and girlfriends desperate to do something for them. Their response was typically practical, using the ingredients of flour, oats and golden syrup that were already at hand in the kitchen and would survive the long journey.

They have become part of the tradition that surrounds Australia's commemoration of the sacrifices a young nation made.

Here is a traditional version that my Australian husband and I made together.


Three quarters of a cup of sugar
1 cup of rolled oats
1 cup of plain flour
125 g of butter
2 Tablespoons of Golden Syrup
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate soda
2 Tablespoons boiling water


Mix dry ingredients together.
Melt butter and golden syrup.
Add bicarb soda and water together and drop into the saucepan of butter and golden syrup, this will fizz lightly and pour the warm mixture into the bowl of oats sugar and flour.

Mix well and drop teaspoons of mixture onto a greased or lined baking tray, bake in moderate oven 160C for ten minutes or until golden brown, remove the biscuits from the baking tray, allow to cool, devour!


Green Power Blast

My current favourite work week lunch smoothie is a creamy, sweet vegan green smoothie with banana, spinach, kale, flaxseed, berries and coconut water. Make it at home and keep it refrigerated at work, just give it a quick shake before consuming.


  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 handful kale
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries sliced
  • 1/2 frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger
  • 1 scoop vegan protein powder ( I use Kaizen vegan vanilla flavour) 
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut water (I use Blue Monkey) 


Add all ingredients to Tall Bullet Cup or a Vitamix blender and blend for 30 seconds or until smooth. 

You Say Potato Scallop, I Say Potato Cake

The great Australian potato scallop. More popularly referred to as the potato cake in the southern states. There must be some kind of psychosomatic link between feeling the refreshing tingle of salt spray on the skin, and an irrepressible urge to get salt under the skin. Fish and chips aside, nothing screams Aussie seaside satisfaction like the beloved potato scallop.

The potato scallop is but the transportable clutchable heartwarming carbohydrate. Take a 5mm disc of potato, dust gracefully with flour, coat with a light batter and deep fry until golden. Sprinkle generously with salt and then crunch your way through its crisp overcoat to reveal its soft but firm starchy interior. 

You'd be needing something sweet after that mate, to give your stomach a bit of closure, you know. How's about an ice cold bottle of Bundaberg Ginger Beer.

I tried my first authentic potato scallop two years ago on road trip down to Kiama, New South Wales. A popular beachside town about 120km south of Sydney.  Though they're best consumed sitting on soft sand, salt spray prickling your skin, wind whipping your hair and the screech of seagulls and crashing waves filling your ears, it felt refreshing to see traditional fish-and-chip shops and local takeaways in Australia.

Pinneaple Ginger Kale Smoothie

I really love my NutriBullet. Prep and clean up is so easy. Current favourite drink is Fresh Pinneaple Ginger Kale Smoothie. This smoothie is so delicious you won't even be able to tell there is kale in it.

Fresh Pinneaple Ginger Kale Smoothie

1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
3/4 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1 cup raw kale
Fresh grated ginger root to taste 
1 cup ice

Place all ingredients in NutriBullet or Vitamix, and combine until smooth.

Makes two servings.

How to Make Simple Chia Pudding

The base of this pudding is made out of ch-ch-ch-chia, the same seeds that turned that ceramic sheep from the 1980's green. A stable for some Latin American indigenous groups, but over the last few years chia seeds have become rather popular and easily available, and there is plenty of good reason for this. Chia seeds are a powerhouse of nutrients, containing omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, and minerals including calcium up to three times more than a serving of milk. Unlike flax seed, they don’t have to be ground in order for you to absorb the nutrients.

Superfood? Perhaps.

chia seeds

I’m sold on this new-to-me ingredient and have taken steps to stock my pantry. Chia can be used as an egg substitute in baking or merely sprinkled into smoothies but I’ve been enjoying them daily in yogurt with fresh blueberries and now a chilled, creamy pudding.

Thanks to Guy of Bondi Harvest, who whipped up a chia pudding in one of his recent recipe videos, I decided to try chia pudding. It was an instant, love-at-first-bite reaction.

I love tapioca and rice pudding so it was no stretch to accommodate for the texture. I can see how some may find it unpleasant; I found it fascinating. Not only does the delicious chia pudding offer plenty of health benefits, but it comes together with incredible ease and makes for a convenient snack. My husband and I have been making it in a jar, shaking up four ingredients – almond milk, chia seed, chai spice and maple syrup and then taking it to work the next day for an afternoon snack. The seeds absorb up to ten times their weight in water and expand in the tummy to give you a satisfied, full feeling and a shot of energy! Sufficient to say, I totally get why they are all the rage in the health world.

My favorite flavour combinations so far are:

  • Unsweetened almond milk
  • Maple syrup
  • Chai spice

Here is the basic recipe. Feel free to swap in any milk that suits your fancy.


  • 2 tsp of maple syrup
  • pinch of chai leaves (or homemade chai spice)
  • ½ cup of almond milk
  • 4 tsp of chia seeds 


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a pint jar. Cover the jar with a lid and give it a vigorous shake.
  2. Chill for about an hour, then return to the jar and shake it up. Let chill for at least 4 hours and overnight is even better.
  3. Chia seeds will expand and turn into pudding the consistency of applesauce (it won't get really thick).
  4. Serve cold with sliced fruit or toasted nuts on top.
Chia Pudding

Vegan Ukrainian Cabbage Rolls

I have little to show for my Ukrainian heritage except cabbage rolls. Cabbage rolls, or golubsti, are to Ukrainians as lasagna is to Italians. Traditionally, cabbage rolls are based in rice, cabbage, beef and pork.  Obviously, I leave out the meat and jazz it up with some lentils, and I trade the white rice for brown for extra fibre and protein.  A well-kept secret to make your cabbage rolls perfectly uke-credible:

First, the cabbage heads must be cored, then frozen for at least two days before cooking, then defrosted for another day. Attempting to remove the leaves while fresh is a frustrating undertaking. They will rip and tear and you will be lucky to salvage a full leaf or two large enough to make a creditable roll. 

Second, like all good casseroles, cabbage rolls are best enjoyed the day after preparation, and freeze wonderfully. With all the prep work involved in this culinary undertaking, I recommend making enough to freeze for a later date.

Strap on your babushkas, folks, and try to ignore the sound of your Ukrainian foremothers rolling over in their graves for altering a time honoured cultural mainstay. 

cabbage rolls.JPG

Vegan Ukrainian Cabbage Rolls

Sauce Ingredients
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can crushed tomatoes 
½ cup vegetable broth
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tbs white vinegar

Filling Ingredients
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp thyme
¼ cup tomato paste
¼ cup tomato sauce 
1-1 ½ cup cooked brown lentils
1-1 ½ cups cooked short grain brown rice
1 medium head green cabbage, frozen and thawed


1. Freeze and thaw your cabbage. This takes a few days, so plan in advance.

2. Make the lentils and brown rice in advance. I cooked ½ cup each dried lentils and rice.

3. Make the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a medium pot, add the minced garlic and sautee for 3-5 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat.

4. Make the filling: Heat 1 tbs water or oil in a large sauce pan and saute the onion and garlic for 5-10 minutes until onion are soft and transparent. And remaining ingredients and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Add lots of salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.

5. Cut the core out of your cabbage and carefully peel off the leaves. Rinse the leaves in a large strainer and shake off excess water.

6. Preheat oven to 350 F.

7. Lightly grease the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch glass pan.

8. One leaf at a time, cut the core out of the cabbage leaf and fill with ¼ to ½ cup filling. Roll it up and place in the glass dish.

9. When all of the leaves are done, cover with sauce.

10. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Vegan Tofu Kangjung (Korean General Tso's Tofu)


Recipe (serves 2-3)


1 16-19 ounce package of extra-firm tofu (frozen, then thawed)

1/3 cup corn starch (or more if needed)

1 cup of steamed broccoli

1 Tbs finely minced or shredded ginger

1 Tbs finely minced garlic

2 Tbs soy sauce

1 Tbs white vinegar

1 Tbs white wine

4 Tbs agave syrup (or equivalent amount of maple syrup)

1 cup water

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)

1Tbs & 1 tsp corn starch mixed with 2 Tbs water


Press the tofu to drain the water from it (freezing the tofu beforehand gives it a chewier texture and really makes a difference).

To press the tofu, place it between two absorbent towels on a cutting board. The key is to push out the water without breaking the tofu.

Slice the tofu into 1″ by 1″ cubes.

Put the tofu in batches in a bag or container with a lid, add the corn starch and shake to coat.

Add more corn starch if needed.

Heat oil in a small pan over medium heat and fry tofu in batches until crisp and slightly brown, turning to cook both sides.

Cut broccoli into bite sizes and steam.

Add 1 cup of water and all of the the sauce ingredients except the cornstarch and water mixture to a large pan, stir to dissolve the sugar (maple syrup) bring to a boil over high heat and cook for several minutes.

If desired, you can first saute the garlic, ginger, and red pepper in a tablespoon of oil for a couple of minutes before adding the other ingredients.

Add the cornstarch and water mixture to the sauce and continue to cook, stirring. When the sauce thickens enough to be syrupy remove from heat. If the sauce is too runny, combine a little more cornstarch and water and add to the sauce.

When sauce has thickened enough, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Add the fried tofu to the sauce and stir and flip to coat (if desired, you can add the broccoli too).

Serve with brown rice and the steamed broccoli on the side.

(Recipe and photo adapted via