Spunky banana bread

banana-bread-3Everybody loves a good banana bread. Somewhere in between a dessert and a savoury, and labelled as bread to make it a valid “healthy option”. Win win.

The reason why this one is so spunky, however, is due to the addition of dark chocolate and a few handfuls of toasted flaked almonds. The original recipe called for hazelnuts but it was 11:15am, my shift was due to start at 12pm, and I had to make the executive decision to use the already ready almond flakes over my non-toasted non-chopped hazelnuts. It was a decision that I did not regret! Yes, I was a wee bit late to work – but I came bearing freshly baked cake and soon all was forgiven and forgotten…!


  • 125g butter, softened
  • 175g brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups mashed banana
  • 70g toasted almonds (flaked or slivered)
  • 90g chopped dark chocolate
  • 255g plain flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate powder (baking soda), sifted
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 115g golden syrup


  1. Preheat oven to 160ºC.
  2. Prepare a 26cm x 11cm loaf tin.
  3. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla extract together until well combined and creamy.
  4. Add the eggs one by one, beating well in between.
  5. Finally, add the banana, almonds, chocolate, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate powder, cinnamon and golden syrup and stir to combine.
  6. Spoon mixture into your loaf tin.
  7. Bake for 75 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
  8. Cool in the tin for 20 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.



Citrus iced tea

citrus-ice-tea-1So after a few chilly nights where the doona came out last week, I thought this was it! Autumn was here to stay. But no, it doesn’t seem like Summer’s ready to loosen its grips on us just yet and those fluffy coats I purchased online a week ago have to sadly remain in the spare cupboard a little while longer…Darn it…

But here’s a quick and ridiculously easy iced tea recipe that I made on the weekend. It highlights Earl Grey’s naturally citrusy tones with the addition of an orange, peel and juice!

Here’s how to…


  • 1/4 cup loose Earl Grey tea or 12 Earl Grey tea bags (I used French Earl Grey from T2)
  • 1 orange
  • 1L boiling water
  • 1L cold water and lots of ice
  • 1/4 cup sugar


  1. Peel the orange so the rind comes off in one long strand (I did this with a knife). Reserve the rind.
  2. Juice the orange and set aside.
  3. Steep tea in your boiling water and add orange rind. Leave for 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the tea and rind.
  5. Stir in the juice and sugar, mixing to ensure all the sugar has dissolved.
  6. Add cold water.
  7. Top up with heaps of ice if you wish to serve it now. Otherwise chuck it in the fridge and enjoy it later!


Figs + Persian feta = match made in heaven!

fig-feta-salad-1I was recently browsing through my Instagram newsfeed when I came across a delectable photo of a fig and feta salad that someone else had uploaded (Thanks @fromforestsforthesoft aka Perth fashion stylist Hannah McGrath!). For some reason I had three large figs in my fridge (I don’t actually like to eat fresh figs, I think I bought them because they looked nice!) and so I instantly knew I had to try to emulate this salad. I paired them with Persian feta which has a rounder taste and smoother texture than your regular Greek-style feta, and they complemented the sweet, soft figs perfectly! It’s a seriously easy dish, super fast to whip up, and very satisfying. Here’s how I made my version…


  • 400g mixed salad greens, washed and dried
  • 100g whole walnuts
  • 3 large figs, sliced about 8mm thick
  • 3-4 cubes of Persian feta
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • cracked black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
  2. Spread your walnuts out on a baking tray and bake for 8-10 minutes, they’re ready when they brown up and you can smell their nutty aroma. Take them out to cool.
  3. In the meanwhile, place your fig slices and honey in a bowl, add a splash of olive oil, and coat the figs by gently stirring (not too vigorously or else you’ll pulverise the figs!)
  4. Heat another dash of olive oil up in a large fry pan over medium heat. Gently pan fry the fig slices, taking care to maintain the shape and form of the fruit. They only really need 1 minute on each side, you’re only aiming to heat them up.
  5. Arrange your salad greens on a nice big bowl or platter, then top with the figs, walnuts and feta. I like to break the feta up into smaller pieces with a teaspoon and somewhat scatter them around.
  6. Finish off with a bit of cracked pepper and another slosh of glorious extra virgin olive oil.fig-feta-salad-3fig-feta-salad-4fig-feta-salad-2

In December drinking horchata…

horchata-2…I look psychotic in a balaclava!

We’d grown quite partial to the Mexican drink horchata during our holiday in the states. So when I found this recipe on trotski & ash I just had to try it! It’s essentially a sweetened rice and nut milk drink with a hint of cinnamon – served best with tons of ice and a taco in the other hand!

Trotski & ash are a couple of girls from Melbourne who are passionate about wholesome, homely food with a vintage feel. Their recipes are delicious and easy to follow, and their blog a joy to read. You can feel yourself get hungrier and hungrier with every post! They’ve just recently released a 2013 calendar, filled with gorgeous photos and recipes, and its pages can be deconstructed into recipe cards at the end of the year – do I feel a Christmas present idea coming on? Be sure to check them out!

P.S. If you’re a bit stumped by the title of this post check out this song by Vampire Weekend!

horchata-1horchata-5 horchata-6horchata-4horchata-3

The Silver Spoon #3

Most people I meet surmise that my folks hail from somewhere like Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong…



Then they go along the lines of Japan, Korea…? Still wrong! And then they get desperate and start flinging out random places like Africa, Scotland, Mongolia…? The survey says…? Beeeeh, wrong answer!

My parents moved to Australia in the mid-70s from Burma! You’re right in thinking that we’re of Chinese descent though. Our family tree is somewhat sketchy, but yes somewhere along the way we must have emerged from China. There are some interesting stories about some great-great-great-grandfather of my mother’s being the ophthalmologist to the emperor during one of those decadent dynasties. Well, this great man had multiple wives and concubines as you did back in the day, and we sprang forth from one of his Dutch wives! Fancy that!

Well the point to that rather convoluted and definitely accurate tale is that we have grown up eating a fine mix of Chinese and Western cuisines, admixed with all the other amazing cultures found in Australia (Greek, Italian, Japanese, Lebanese, I could go on forever…) but my favourite and most unique dishes come from Burma. Yes, I could eat noodles and dumplings until I pass out (just watch me) but give me one of my mum’s fine Burmese salads or curries and that char kuey teow is left to go cold.

Burmese food is somewhat best described as a marriage between Vietnamese, Thai and Indian cooking, with its quintessential combination of herbs and spices in a cuisine rich with salads, noodle dishes, curries and more. There’s interesting usage of essential ingredients such as dried prawns crushed into a powder to add an incredible depth of flavour to a dish, or tamarind for that perfect sour but sweet tartness that no lemon or lime can deliver. Adding fresh coriander and a drizzle of oil infused with fried shallots transforms a basic salad into something inexplicably more-ish. But to really get to know the food and its specific and delicious palate, you’ll have to come over to my mum’s place…or get cooking yourself!

Burmese people love their salads. And once you get the hang of the few staple ingredients generally used to make a “dressing” of sorts, you’ll start mixing and matching like a pro. These are tasty and quick to whip up, and perfect for our upcoming summer days. I still eat them in winter, but serve them with some fluffy white jasmine rice to ward off the cold and jack up the “comfort food” factor.

Burmese-style chicken salad (tick of approval from Mumsy)

  • 3 chicken thighs or 2 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I use chicken thighs out of personal preference and boil them til they’re just cooked)
  • 1/2 cup shallots thinly sliced and soaked in cool water to mellow them down
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander, throw in a sprig or two of mint as well if you like!
  • 1 mild-medium hot green chilli sliced into strips
  • Juice of half a lime (around 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (to taste)


Fried shallot oil

  • 2-3 large shallots thinly sliced
  • Peanut oil (or any other vegetable oil except olive oil)


How to

  1. Make the shallot oil first. Now the traditional way to do this is to fry the shallots on low to medium heat in a wok until they’re light brown and crispy (not burnt!). My mum taught me the cheat’s way to do this since I hate cleaning the oily wok afterwards. Place the sliced shallots in a small microwaveable bowl and add oil until the shallots are just covered. Then microwave them for one minute, stop and stir, then keep repeating this until you get brown crispy shallots with lightly fragranced oil. Too easy! It usually takes a total of about 6-7 x 1 minute periods of microwaving for me.
  2. Add the chicken, raw shallots, 2 generously heaped tablespoons of fried shallots (these are the star), coriander/mint and chilli together in a mixing bowl and toss gently.
  3. Mix together the lime juice, fish sauce and 2 tablespoons of shallot oil to make a dressing, then pour over the chicken mixture.
  4. Mix again!
  5. Serve with extra fried shallots (because you never can get enough of these).
  6. Other options – feel free to add a sliced tomato or a cup or two of chopped iceberg or butter lettuce.

Eat eat eat!

If you have any questions or suggestions, leave me a comment! I’ll get back to you… 🙂

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