Veggie-packed Healthy Frittata

I love Frittata’s because they are delicious, but also because of their versatility – they can be served hot or chilled and for lunch or dinner. My recipe packs in lots of veggies, making the Frittata filling but low in calories. You can ch0oose to mix and match veggies depending on what you feel like (other options are capsicum, regular tomatoes, pumpkin, mushroom & asparagus).

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For a sweet taste and carbs to fill me up, I use sweet potato as the base of the Frittata but this can be substituted for baby potatoes if you prefer. The meal takes about an hour to prepare if you are a slow chopper (like me), but if have a knack for cutting greens it should only take about 30 minutes.

You will need:

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 4 spring onions
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup feta
  • 1 zucchini
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 of cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C.
  2. Chop up the sweet potatoes and zucchini into cubes and fry in fry-pan with turmeric and olive oil, until golden brown and cooked through.
  3. Chop up the cherry tomatoes, spring onions, feta and basil. Also loosely chop the baby spinach.
  4. Whisk the eggs, milk and salt in a large bowl until smooth. Then stir through the basil.
  5. Put the sweet potatoes and the zucchini fry into the base of a cake tin. Cover with baby spinach, tomatoes and sprinkle with spring onion.
  6. Pour egg mixture over all other ingredients in cake tin, making sure to cover everything.
  7. Cut up feta into small blocks and place on top.
  8. Cook for 25 minutes, or until egg looks bouncy and cooked through (I check by inserting a skewer – make sure it doesn’t come out goopy).

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Voila! Homemade and delicious.

xx

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Egg yolk yellow ~ 8 eggs needed for this dish!

Phuket Travel Diaries | Phi Phi Islands, Patong Beach dance shows, Old Phuket Town…

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Phuket was a stark change to the organised chaos of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and Bangkok, as we were thrown into island life where there was no set schedule to anything and locals worked off their own sense of time.

The first thing I noticed was the heat. Although the temperature was almost the same as the past few cities (around 35˚C) it was an intense, unshaded heat which baked the earth rather than the muggy, humid heat we got in Bangkok/HCMC that felt like we were constantly taking a warm shower. As unpleasant as that sounds it gave us the perfect excuse to go swimming every chance we got.

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We stayed in Old Phuket Town, just a short bus trip away from all the major beaches. Old Phuket Town (pictured above) is quite different from other destinations in Phuket as it is seen as the historical part of the city and showcases colourful colonial architecture from European influence dating back centuries ago.

Walking down these historical main roads was surreal as it felt like we were caught in a time capsule far away from the frenzy of urban streets, riddled with dirt and smog, which we had gotten used to.

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On two of the days we took tours out to explore the Phi Phi islands by speedboat, which was the highlight of my whole Asia trip. My favourite was the Sunrise Tour where we began the day speeding into the sun peeking over the horizon. Stopping off at various beaches and lagoons such as Maya Bay (pictured above) we had breakfast on the beach and were able to snorkel in the warm, pristine blue waters. The day was broken up by a traditional Thai lunch (various curries, stir fried morning glory, spiced meats and battered fish) at a restaurant on one island.

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What was most fascinating was how little the islands had been built up. After the destruction of the boxing day Tsunami in 2004, it was only recently that people have started building on the islands again. This meant that all of the islands were covered in undisturbed, dense jungle.

A final destination of note was Patong Beach. Known for its party scene, it has a main strip of bars and clubs that come alive in the evening. On our first night out we went for dinner at an Italian place that did really authentic cheese covered pizza (not very Thai, but still delicious). After filling ourselves up we popped in and out of a couple of nightclubs which were brimming with good dance music and enthusiastic party-goers. Towards the end of the night we stumbled into a ping pong show which was more shocking than I expected. If you are familiar with ping pong shows you will know what I mean when I say it was definitely an experience I’ll never forget but never attend again.

All in all Phuket was wildly different to any of the other places we had been and we really enjoyed our time immersing ourselves in the island life.

xx

 

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Turquoise blue for the calm, clear Phuket sea

 

Valentines Day Red Velvet Cake for Two

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Happy Valentines Day!

Here is my super simple recipe for a small Red Velvet cake with Cream Cheese icing that can be shared between two.

This cake is very moist and fluffy, and is a delicious way to end the day spent with a special someone.

You will need:

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  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 7ml red food colouring

Steps:

Preheat oven to 200˚C. In a small bowl place cocoa powder and red food colouring and mix. Add dribbles of water until the mixture becomes a smooth, velvet red paste.

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Pour/sift all remaining ingredients into a large bowl and beat until smooth and fluffy. Then stir in red velvet cocoa paste.

Then you will need to grease the cake tin with butter. I used a small tin, since its a small cake, around 10cm in diameter. Afterwards, pour the mixture into the tin.

Bake for 30 minutes on 200˚C, or take out when the cake has risen significantly and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

For the icing you can make your own cream cheese icing, or you can cheat a little and just use Betty Crockers vanilla icing which goes perfectly with the cake as well!

To make cream cheese icing just beat together 70g cream cheese, 40g unsalted butter softened and 1/2 cup icing sugar. Then ice away. Voila!

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I chose to slice the cake in half horizontally, and then do a layer of icing in the middle. Then, I coated the entire cake with the icing, and pumped little decorations around the base and on the top. Finally, I garnished with chopped fresh strawberries and an edible flower.

This cake is so tasty which makes it great for a special occasion like Valentines Day, or any day of the week you feel like it!

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Enjoy

xx

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Velvet red, for a delicious and easy to make cake for two

Bangkok Travel Diaries | Temples, Markets, Cat & Husky cafes…

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Bangkok, Thailand is a city that showcases exotic food, busy markets, intense smoggy traffic, beautiful temples and great shopping destinations all in one.

The main sacred area that tourists and locals crowd to see is the Grand Palace which is situated on the river. However, unfortunately when we went it was a special prayer day so only Thai people wearing black were allowed in. Instead, we went to Wat Arun which is the Temple of the Dawn (pictured above) and climbed amongst the intricate tile designs and depictions of Buddhist deities for an eye-catching view of the people dotting around below.

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Something we heard about before coming to Bangkok was their Husky cafe. Situated in a suburban area just a couple of minutes walk from a chaotic main city road was the True Love Siberian Husky cafe. Each viewing/petting of the huskies was at different time slots (I assume to give the huskies a break from constant attention), so we booked into an afternoon slot when we arrived. Whilst waiting, we ordered a slice of cake and a drink as part of the deal.

Seeing the huskies up close and being able to play with them was so much fun. It was evident that they were very well loved by their owners as often the huskies would bound away from strangers and excitedly play with their carers.

We also visited a cat cafe in the heart of Bangkok on another day, and although I’m not much of a cat person I had lots of fun petting and playing with the cats who walked around and over us whilst we ate our tea and cake.

Something we spent a lot of time doing in Bangkok was exploring their different markets, where locals would sell produce and clothes at very low prices. The Chatchuchak market is a must see as it is this massive district filled with market stalls that cover about 30 square kilometres. The best part of that day was being able to buy a big seafood lunch for AUD$2 and multiple serves of coconut ice cream.

A friend recomb3mended that I get the coconut ice cream and I was not disappointed. With the weather wavering around 35˚C all we felt like was ice cream to cool us down. It was served in half a young coconut shell and topped with coconut-based jellies which perfectly complimented the ice cream itself. I ended up having 3 servings that day because it was so refreshingly delicious.

I found Bangkok was a very interesting city and also very liveable. The train transport systems are very cheap, fast, efficient and easy to use and we had a lot of fun exploring different stations and districts that the trains snaked through.

Although it was a little more expensive that Ho Chi Minh City we still had a lot of fun and stayed on budget and I would recommend Bangkok to anyone who wants to immerse themselves in Thai culture.

Next up we are having a massive change in scenery, as we switch to island life in Phuket…

 

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Bulgarian rose to capture the organised chaos of Bangkok

 

 

Ho Chi Minh City Travel Diaries | Motorbike chaos, Pho, Mekong Delta…

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I recently travelled to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and it was one of the most overwhelmingly chaotic and yet beautiful cities I have ever been to. I was greeted by swarms of motorbikes, locals selling produce, smog, smiling faces and the smell of steamed rice.

Our first stop was the Cu Chi tunnels, a remnant of the Vietnam War used by the Viet Cong to stay out of enemy sight. The tour took us into the tunnels and showed us hideous booby traps used on American soldiers, including hidden pits filled with rust covered spokes. The tunnels themselves were very narrow (about 1m x 1m x 1m), and crawling through them in the darkness was spine tingling…definitely not for someone who is claustrophobic.

Most nights we gorged on Pho (pronounced fur), a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup dish with meats such as beef or chicken. The most authentic Pho we had was from a restaurant called Pho 2000 where we had our meal for AU$4.00 each amongst lots of locals.

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Another must do in the city is to go to a nail salon (if it’s your thing). All the nail treatments are incredibly cheap but very professional. I treated myself to nail art, getting a mini masterpiece of colourful birds and flowers blossoming on each fingernail. In the afternoon we strolled about the main district of the city (District 1) showing off our nails and sampling several cakes with intricate cream icing designs from their amazing bakeries.

On the third day we took a full day tour on the Mekong Delta (a maze of rivers that snake through Vietnam) where we got a taste of local life on various islands on the outskirts of Vietnam, such as Unicorn Island.

The best part was floating along a river between two islands on a Vietnamese long boat. In some places the river was carpeted by green moss, which parted as the boat waded through. Surrounding us were leaves that feathered out from the trees in the silence we could hear water licking the banks and birds chirruping. It was magical.

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For lunch we had buffet of traditional meals such as beef rib Pho, an assortment of fried and steamed fish, spring rolls, steamed veggies and soup, all complimented with big jugs of their cheap Tiger beer. After lunch we entered a different world to the busy Ho Chi Minh City centre, as we explored the island on bicycles and saw locals picking fruits from the trees and collecting honey.

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Ho Chi Minh city was a unique and eye-opening experience and I will come back to explore Hanoi and Ha Long bay. Next stop Thailand!

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Juniper green, to capture the rich colours of the rivers and the jungle

Healthy Flourless Banana Pancake Recipe

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Every now and again I have a sudden craving for pancakes, however, with all the usual flour and cane sugar I feel a little guilty eating them too often.

So, I devised a simple and healthier alternative recipe: Banana Pancakes. These use banana as a sweetener to avoid spoonfuls of cane sugar.

You only need 3 ingredients for the batter and this recipe makes around 3 medium sized pancakes. Each pancake is very filling, which saves you from snacking for the rest of the day.

You will need:

  •  1/2 a very ripe banana
  •  1 egg
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal

Place all the ingredients in a blender and pulse together until smooth and runny. Add a dribble of milk (I use almond) if mixture is too dry.

Then pour into a hot pan, greased with coconut oil, and fry until golden brown.

Lots of toppings are delicious with this recipe, but I usually go for a tablespoon of vanilla yogurt and garnish with chopped blueberries or strawberries.

This is a perfect fix for a nice breakfast in bed, and is a much healthier and more filling alternative to conventional flour-based pancakes.

Enjoy!

xx

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Violet red for a delicious breakfast

 

 

 

My Travel Work Out Routine

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Keeping up the motivation to workout every day is tough and it’s even harder when I’m traveling.  Usually, when I’m on holiday all I want to do after a day of sight-seeing is crash on the hotel bed.

However, exercising is so integral to making me feel good that I try to squeeze in at least 30 minutes (burns roughly 300 calories) of exercise per travel day. Instead of relying on the hotels having a gym, I either choose to work out to a particular fitness video, or I do Tabata training.

Tabata training is a Japanese workout method that features doing high intensity interval training for short periods of time, with shorter rest. There are lots of different Tabata workouts, but I like the one I have created because it works my whole body:

For each set (each number), there are 5 repetitions, 20 seconds each with 10 seconds rest.

  1. Star jumps
  2. Push ups
  3. Sit ups
  4. Tricep dips
  5. Lunges
  6. Jumps (getting your knees to your chest)

This whole workout is quite short, which is perfect for squeezing in when travelling, and can be done in your hotel room in front of the TV because it doesn’t rely on equipment. If you want to work yourself for longer, obviously you can do more reps or do the whole workout twice through.

If I am feeling like a more intense workout or I need a source of motivation I use a video I have downloaded onto my phone from Youtube. There are thousands of workout videos on Youtube, but this particular video is my favourite because the personal trainers are really positive and encouraging, which is great because I have zero motivation for fitness when I’ve spent the day relaxing.

Again this workout doesn’t require any equipment, which is essential because who wants to fill up their suitcase with 10kg of weights.

I know it’s really tough to exercise on holiday but I find it does leave me feeling happier and healthier, and more excited to try all the exotic meals I’m buying.

xx

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Deep Fuschia for keeping fit