4. Fusion / modern

Asian spiced ratatouille with potato, eggplant, capsicum, zucchini and coriander (low FODMAP, vegan, gluten free)

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At work, we share a floor with a team of accounting staff. Among them is Garnesh, a vegetarian with an Indian background. Every time I saw him having lunch at the kitchen, I quizzed him about his lovely meals. Today I tried out one of his recipes. To avoid the vegetables being too mushy, I baked the vegetables in the oven like a ratatouille, rather than using a cook top. It was delicious.

Asian spiced ratatouille with potato, eggplant, capsicum, zucchini and coriander (low FODMAP, vegan, gluten free)

 

Recipe is as follows. A FODMAPs check list is attached.

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Creamy and spicy tomato and capsicum soup with and coconut milk (low FODMAP, gluten free, vegan)

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We don’t eat much tomatoes in our house, my little boy is a picky eater and my husband utterly dislikes tomatoes. From time to time, I picked up some gorgeous tomatoes and made a dish, ate it all by myself with great contentment.

Today I roasted a batch of tomatoes and red capsicums. I roasted the vegetables and separated them into two batches. With the first batch, I made a spicy soup with coconut milk; with the second batch, I made another spicy soup with ginger, chili and tea (recipe to follow).

According to Monash University, common tomatoes do not contain FODMAPs, perfect for a hearty FODMAP dish – eat freely and according to appetite.

Creamy spicy tomato soup, with roasted tomatoes, chili and coconut milk

 

Roasted tomatoes - creamy and spicy tomato soup with coconut milk (low FODMAP, gluten free, vegan)
Freshly roasted tomatoes

Recipe is as follows : Read the rest of this entry »

Easy banana, lime, orange and cardamom compote (FODMAP friendly, gluten free, vegan)

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This week I gathered a few limes from the garden. I have always struggled with my lime trees – lot of flowers but rarely bear any fruit. So my three little lime fruit this year were rather precious. I made a fruit compote with banana, lime, orange and cardamom.

Delicious for breakfast, served on toast –  just not enough of it. Hope my lime trees will be kind to me next year.

Easy banana, lime, orange and cardamom compote (FODMAP friendly, gluten free, vegan)

Recipe is as follows:

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Rice paper rolls of quinoa, coriander, alfalfa and sesame seeds (low FODMAP, vegan, gluten free)

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A few days ago I set off to create a few vegan FODMAP dishes with alfalfa. The schedule was ‘interrupted’ by Chinese New Year with wrapping dumplings with extended family, chatting with friends on how to make ‘yee sang’, handing out red envelopes and, work. We don’t get any national holidays for Chinese New Year in Australia.

Here is my alfalfa recipes installment #2 –  rice paper rolls of quinoa flavored with sesame oil and coriander, lettuce, carrot, capsicum, alfalfa, sesame seeds,  and a small squeeze of BBQ sauce.

Can’t find any rice paper? Don’t worry, the recipe also works as a salad.

Rice paper roll with quinoa, coriander, alfalfa, carrot, lettuce, capsicum, sesame seed and sesame oil, low FODMAP, gluten free, vegan

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Easy hand rolls of alfalfa, carrot, capsicum, rocket and sesame seeds (low FODMAP, gluten free, vegan)

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As I mentioned, I recently connected with my high school classmates on WeChat. I pleasantly discovered how diverse my school mates had become. One of the ladies is now a devoted Buddhist. She posted many photos of pagodas, Buddha, and vegetarian food. ‘You like cooking’, she said, ‘do you cook vegan food?’. She recommended sprout alfalfa and sent me a full description of its benefits.

‘Sure, I will made a few dishes tomorrow’.

I loved alfalfa, so dedicate and beautiful to look at. While I attended university in early 90s, alfalfa was in nearly every sandwiches I bought from the canteen. The sandwiches were charged by weight. Alfalfa is so light that I could have a ham and alfalfa sandwich for about $1. Bargain.

Here is my first installment of the alfalfa menu – easy hand rolls of rice, alfalfa, carrot, capsicum, rocket leafs, BBQ sauce and sesame seeds.

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Chinese sweet dumplings ‘tang yuan'(汤圆) – raspberry pink, in a ginger, cinnamon and honey syrup (gluten free, vegan)

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‘Tang yuan’, or the glutinous rice balls in syrup, were sometimes offered as a complementary dessert at Chinese restaurants. My husband always puzzled, why people liked these dull looking, doughy, boringly sweet and tasteless stuff.

Good point. As much ‘tang yuan’ is well loved by the Chinese community for its symbolic meaning of family and its reunion, it is not an exciting dish, not until it became a fusion dish anyway.

My ‘tang yuan’ were colored by raspberry coulis; some were filled with red bean paste and some were just small and plain. The syrup was infused with a cinnamon stick, cardamom,  ginger and orange peel, with brown sugar for color and a dash of honey for extra flavor. I really hope my husband would like them; and then he said, ‘they were okkkk’. Grrrrrrr!

Chinese sweet dumplings 'tang yuan'(汤圆) - raspberry pink, in a ginger, cinnamon and honey syrup (gluten free, vegan)

Recipe is as follows:

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Kale with orange and sesame (low FODMAP, vegan, gluten free)

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We had steaks for dinner tonight and made a kale dish as a side. It was very simple, blanched kale, diced orange,  orange zest, lemon juice, sesame oil and sesame seeds.

This recipe below is portion controlled to a FODMAP diet. Please feel free to use any additional ingredients you may like.

Kale with orange and sesame (low FODMAP, vegan, gluten free)

Recipe is as follows:

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Carrot with maple syrup and turmeric (low FODMAP, gluten free, vegan)

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I was helping out at Salvation Army’s community kitchen earlier this week. The kitchen uses OZ Harvest, a food rescue service that collects excess food products and provides the food to charities for free. The lady who runs the kitchen, Monica, a wonderful and cheerful woman, explained that she was not able to buy any other ingredients other than what was donated.

On the lunch menu it was Vietnamese San Choy Bao. I volunteered to cook the meal as I was comfortable with cooking large amount of food. After all I had ran an Asian food stall at our school fetes over the past three years.  The good news was that, we had pork mince and lots of vegetables. The bad news was that, there was no fish sauce, soy sauce, lemon or lime.  I found two small bottles of BBQ sauce. I cooked the meal with the BBQ sauce, a little sugar, salt and some turmeric. Although not really Vietnamese, the dish tasted pretty good. The meal was sold at $2 per serve. After that, there was no fresh meat left. So I prepared 2 trays of zucchini slices for next day’s free community lunch.  For the vegetarian option, I stir fried some diced potato, carrot, leek, capsicum, scallion and coriander with curry powder, turmeric and veggie spices. Thank goodness for all the other volunteers who chopped, diced, graded, washed and helped.

When I got home that day, I decided to learn a little more about cooking with simple ingredients. I started with the humble carrots and some left over pure maple syrup.

I diced 2 carrots, tossed the pieces with  some rice flour, maple syrup, a little oil and a pinch of salt. Then I pan fried the carrots with a little oil, tossed in some sesame seeds, turmeric and coriander.

It was the best carrot I have ever had.

Carrot with maple syrup, turmeric, sesame seeds and coriander, Low FODMAP, Gluten Free, Vegan

Recipe is a follow:

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Asian inspired carrot, pumpkin and kumquat dip (low FODMAP, gluten free, vegan)

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A good friend is on a self diagnosed gluten free diet. She is addicted to vegetables and all things fashionably healthy. You will laugh if you see her feeding her kids with healthy food the good old Chinese way –  with great persistence.

We were over at their house for lunch last weekend. I made some tasty vegetable dips which was very appreciated. I served the dips with some plain rice crackers.

 

Asian inspired carrot, pumpkin and kumquat dip (low FODMAP, gluten free, vegan)

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Summer waffles with pineapple, banana and coconut (low FODMAP, vegan, gluten free)

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Winter is finally fading away in Sydney. Sun is shining and warm. The golden cane plants are back to life and the garden is looking fantastic.  This beautiful morning I made my tropicana waffles for breakfast and enjoyed them by the pool.

My tropicana waffles are some of my best waffles – super crispy on the outside, beautifully moist on the inside, and full of the goodness of banana, pineapple and coconut milk.  A little icing sugar on top makes it super handsome. Who would think vegan waffles could be so yummy..

Waffles with pineapple, banana and coconut (low FODMAP, vegan, gluten free)

Waffles with pineapple, banana and coconut (low FODMAP, vegan, gluten free)

Recipe is as follow:

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Asian inspired Paella with miso & wasabi (low FODMAP, gluten free)

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One of my friends and her 2 gorgeous children came over for lunch today. She has really good taste with food and wine, previously ran an restaurant in Italy while she was married to an Italian young fellow who cooked beautifully. Now a single mum, things are not as easy, and she is also having a difficult time at work. So I decided to cook her a heart warming meal to cheer her up – a dish with chicken, salmon, prawns, mussels, baby octopus sounded just like the perfect dish. To make it a bit more special, I gave the paella an Asian twist with miso, wasabi and Korean pepper.

 

Asian inspired Paella with miso & wasabi (low FODMAP, gluten free)

Recipe is as follow:

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Parmesan eggplant with cayenne pepper and panko

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My husband likes most food except for tomatoes and eggplants. So I was determined to try out a few more eggplant dishes – may be he will change his mind?

This following eggplant dish was moderately successful as the eggplant was firm, crunchy and full of flavor. It is really simple to make – diced eggplant coated with olive oil, Parmesan cheese and cayenne pepper;  add a lightly beaten egg and coat the pieces well; then coat the pieces with panko and season with salt and pepper;  grill under a hot grill for 10-15 minutes, turn over a few times.

My hubby ate only a few pieces which was fantastic –  it means more for me. I really enjoyed it.

Parmesan eggplant with cayenne pepper and panko

 

 

Creamy seafood chowder with a hint of turmeric

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I have loved leather jacket fish since I was a little girl, such beautiful white flesh and it is not too fishy, really good for steaming. This week I walked passed a fish shop and found some really fresh leather jacket fish, but too big to fit into my steamer.  So I made a seafood chowder using leather jacket for stock. Really yummy…

Creamy seafood chowder with a hint of turmeric

Recipe is as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

Vegemite twists and Chinese Luna New Year

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Vegemite twists and Chinese Luna New Year

I can hear you asking –  what has vegemite to do with Chinese Luna New Year?

My little boy’s school is running a food festival next month.  I am baking some vegemite twists for the Australian food stall.

The shape of this twist is borrowed from a Cantonese fried sweet pastry called ‘DanSan’ (蛋散). DanSan is a humble homemade pastry with flour, eggs and sugar, and deep fried in hot oil. Dan San is often made just before a Luna New Year, together with ‘YouJiao‘ (油角), a deep fried pastry with a filling of peanut, coconut and white sugar.  My memory was that my second uncle always rolled out the pastry, we all helped making the DanSan & YouJiao, and my grandmother deep fried the pastry in a wok of hot oil over a coal stove.  Because it was Chinese New Year, my grandmother allowed me access to the brown urn where the cooked pastries are kept under the stairs, I was in heaven!

I still remember that, during the first 10 days of a Luna New Year, families would visit their relatives to ‘BaiNian’ (拜年), or wishing  them a happy new year. They would bring a bag of the pastry and some fruits as gifts. Their hosts would return the bags with their own homemade pastry and a few of the fruits. This is called ‘HuiLi’ (回礼), or the return of gifts. During these visits, children would get red envelopes from older relatives with money in them. The envelope is called LiShi (利是), meaning good luck.   As a little girl I always looked forward to such visits, where I could stock up on the hard-to-get pocket money. 

And once a year, the family gathered together for a rare group photo.

My family in the 70s #1
My family in the 70s, in front of grandfather’s terrace house

Here is my version of Australian ‘DanSan’ look-alike made with puff pastry & Vegemite, and I hope these little yummy treats can bring you good luck for 2016.

Recipe is as follows:

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Chilled carrot soup with kaffir lime leafs, ginger, turmeric & coconut milk (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

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We have a small kaffir lime tree growing in a pot next to the swimming pool. It was growing so wildly I have to give it a good trim. What can I cook with such beautiful aromatic leafs?

Chilled carrot soup with kaffir lime leafs, ginger, turmeric & coconut milk (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

For lunch we had a spicy Asian influenced carrot soup with carrot, potato, kaffir lime leafs, ginger, turmeric, coriander, chilies and spices. It was gorgeous served chilled on a hot summer day.

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Malaysian chicken curry and leek pie

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I have set myself a challenge to make 4 different type of mini meat pies – traditional beef, pepper steak & mushroom, curry chicken, potato & leek. I started with curry chicken because I had some leftover curry from the night before.  I was not prepared at all – I didn’t have time to make the pastry myself and I used ready made puff and short crust pastry.

So here is my lazy Sunday afternoon chicken pie  – hmm.. they taste pretty good.

Malaysian chicken curry and leek pie

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Golden beef balls with pumpkin, potato and herbs (low FODMAP, gluten free)

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We had a few friends over for drinks including Bill. Bill is highly sensitive to many food. He has a diet that is low FODMAP + gluten free + no additives + no quirks. I found cooking for Bill challenging, as he gets sick for days if he eats the wrong food. Here are some delicious beef balls that  I cooked for Bill and to share with friends.  So simple and nutritious.

Golden beef balls with pumpkin, potato and herbs  (low FODMAP, gluten free)

 

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Spiced potato and spinach

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A long day at the office, tired, hungry & craving for a quick meal. The local food store had a few packs of chicken sausages, and I made potatoes and spinach as a side dish – tasty & satisfying! The star of the dish was, of course, the potatoes with cumin & turmeric.

Spiced potato and spinach

No recipe required for this dish, here are a few simple steps:

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Asian inspired seafood bisque (gluten free)

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I love bisque – I can’t think of another soup with so much flavors. My seafood bisque has added Asian flavors – lemongrass, chills, ginger, shallot & coriander. The flavor is intense & irresistible.

Asian inspired seafood bisque

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Rice paper roll with chicken, quinoa, pumpkin, carrot, capsicum and lettuce (low FODMAP, gluten free)

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A friend has recently moved to a low FODMAP diet. When we have dinner parties, I try to accommodate his diet with the simplest, freshest ingredients with low FODMAP. It is fun and challenging working with limited ingredients.

Here is a super easy recipe & well balanced – the pan fried capsicums & pumpkins add lots of sweetness to this dish, lettuce add  crunchiness, quinoa adds texture, chicken for protein.

Rice paper roll with chicken, quinoa, pumpkin, carrot, capsicum and lettuce (low FODMAP, gluten free)

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »