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In Café, Dining on
November 29, 2017

Paper Plane Factory

I still remember the day I discovered Paper Plane café. It was a day I had intended to visit one of my favourite Malaysian cafés in parramatta, only to be devastated to find that it was gone and in its place a very ordinary looking café with a funny name now existed. Paper plane café. Twas a very sad day indeed!

Fast forward five or so years, and I’ve still yet to actually try the place out, but much happier memories have been made in its sister location at Paper Plane factory. Located in amongst an industrial area, its pretty much the only business open on the weekend, which makes parking a breeze and means that theres plenty of peace and quiet, if the busy bustling streets of Parramatta are not quite your thing.

Mocha ($4)

It’s also located right next to my high school as well, which makes it an excellent location for catch ups with my high school friends too!

And it appears to be quite a popular pick, with pretty much a full house on the Sunday I visit, despite its relatively isolated location. Luckily most visitors seem to be early birds, so we’re quick to snag a table and the crowd slowly dissipates as the afternoon comes along.

Winter Warmer Bowl ($16)

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In Healthy, Recipe, Salad on
January 16, 2017

Chickpea, Spinach, and Chorizo Frittata

Everyone loves vegetables, right?

At least that’s what I thought when I was a kid, as in my family, we were brought up to love vegetables. Every meal always included at least one plate of plain green vegetables (which is quite common in Chinese culture) and the importance of ‘eating your greens’ was always stressed at the dinner table. As well as finishing you rice, because apparently the more grains you leave in the bowl, the uglier your husband will be…..not that we believed it, but let’s not talk about that for now!

So I honestly thought that loving your vegetables was just the norm, until I grew up a little bit, got to the primary school age, started inviting friends over for play dates, and seeing them pick the ‘little green bits’ out of their noodles because greens were ‘disgusting’. I guess not everyone shared the same love for veggies!

And this lack of love for the veggies only became more and more apparent as I went into dietetics, realising that I’m really only in the small minority when I say I have at least 5 serves of veggies a day. Only 7% of Australians meet this guideline- we all know they’re good for you, but most of us still struggle to have enough of them. It’s no wonder that us dietitians keep on talking about eating your vegetables all the time!

Whether you love your greens or not, there are so many different varieties of vegetables and so many different ways of cooking them, there’s sure to be a selection to suit one’s taste and to make up the 5 a day. And although 5 may sound daunting to some, it really isn’t as much as you may think it to be! (Check our this visual guide from The Kitchn to see what a day’s worth of fruit and veg might look like- you’ll be surprised!)

As a general guide, 1 cup of raw vegetables and 1/2 a cup of cooked makes a serve- my ‘side’ salad of a cup of leafy greens, a medium tomato and slices of cucumber already exceeds two serves of veggies. Adding some extra veggies to my stir fries or curries easily takes me up to my 5 serves in a day!

I always try to pack in plenty of veggies in my lunches. In summer this usually just means salad and in winter, this usually means veggie packed curries, stews and soups. I also like to plan and prep my work lunches on the weekends, that way I have plenty of time to make sure I have the ingredients I need and don’t end up stressing out on weekday nights or bring a last minute throw together lunch.

On the weekend, I made these chickpea, spinach and chorizo frittatas to go in my lunchbox along with a simple green salad. Whilst I’m not usually too fond of chorizo (it’s a little too fatty for my liking), it’s addition to the frittata adds so much flavour you really don’t need to add any salt or seasoning! It’s super simple to make and means I don’t have to think about cooking lunches for a couple more days!

Chickpea, Spinach, and Chorizo Frittata
Yields 12
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  1. 1/2 small onion
  2. 1 clove of garlic
  3. Olive oil
  4. 1/2 roasted red capsicum
  5. 100g cooked chickpeas (I used canned)
  6. 1 medium chorizo
  7. 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  8. 2 big handfuls spinach
  9. 3 eggs, beaten
  10. Salt
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Spray 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.
  2. Finely chop the onion and garlic and saute in a frying pan in a good glug of olive oil until soft and fragrant.
  3. Dice the red capsicum and chorizo into chickpea-sized chunks and add to the pan with the chickpeas and paprika.
  4. Saute everything together until the orangy paprika oils run from the chorizo.
  5. Add the spinach and keep stirring until it wilts and everything starts to meld together in the pan.
  6. Spoon the mixture among the prepared pans. Use a fork to whisk together the eggs in a jug. Pour the egg over the chickpea mixture.
  7. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until just set. Set aside in the pan for 5 minutes to cool slightly before turning onto a wire rack. Sprinkle with a little sea salt. Serve hot or room temperature as a tapas or with a salad.
Berry Nutritious
In Breakfast, Recipe on
June 29, 2015

Breakfast Bake

Breakfast Baked Eggs

Getting out of bed isn’t an easy thing for me, but if there’s one thing that will get me up, it’s breakfast!

We’re not huge breakfast people in our hoursehold- it’s usually a rotation between our standard ‘Western Breakfast’ (i.e. your typical big brekkie- eggs, bacon, baked beans etc) and our ‘Asian breakfasts’ (i.e. noodles of some sort). But any kind of food is enough reason for me to get out of bed 😉

Breakfast Baked Eggs

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In Breakfast, Recipe on
January 24, 2014

Homemade Sausage and Egg ‘McMuffins’

Homemade Sausage and Egg McMuffins

I was never much of an early riser. Even as a kid, I struggled to make it on time to my 10am dance classes on Saturdays. So it probably doesn’t surprise you that breakfast has never really been my thing- by the time I wake up, breakfast time is pretty much over!!

Occassionally I’d wake up early enough to fit an early breakfast at McDonalds before dance class but that was so rare that we probably only ever once every year (: Whilst my childhood breakfast mostly consisted of pancakes and hashbrowns, I found myself turning to McMuffins instead when I started a habit of stopping by McDonalds in the morning during high school. Cheap, tasty, satisfying and so good that I could have one everyday without getting sick of it! Read more

In Asian, Recipe on
June 5, 2011

Nasi Goreng

This past week has been one of bad weather. I don’t usually dislike the rain- infact, I slightly enjoy splashing and I love the sound of rain pitter-pattering on my umbrella, or on the roof of our house as I’m snuggling into my warm, comfy bed.

But let’s just say that dark gloomy skies and sudden bursts of rain just don’t go well with a long, boring day at uni. Especially when you’ve stayed up very late studying for a test the next morning and are so tired you could fall asleep straight away. And when you’ve got two very blocked noses which stubbornly refuse to let any air in no matter how much sniffing you do (here’s an interesting fact for you- trying to fall asleep whilst only breathing with your mouth is, well, close to impossible).

To be honest, I’d much rather stay in bed until the sun comes out again.

This is not to say that the past week has been a terribly depressing one for me. Infact, it’s been quite a good week, especially after visiting UNSW for the first time to visit my friends, who I haven’t seen for ages– and deciding that I like my uni better 😉 And I got back two assignments which I was sure I’d failed but didn’t end up doing too bad in. It’s a shame they didn’t count more- it means I still have to study for the end of semester exams 🙂

So in the spirit of all things bright and happy, here’s a nasi goreng (indonesian fried rice) I attempted to make. I love nasi goreng not just because of the deliciously flavoursome fried rice which is so different to the chinese style fried rice, but also because of the bright, sunny-side-up egg on top, which I break into the steaming hot rice to let it cook further. I guess I was feeling a little too ambitious when I was making this and started adding lots of strange ingredients, which I won’t tell you about. Otherwise I might sound like a complete idiot.

But hey- it didn’t taste too bad!

Below is the original recipe which I had intended to follow…..

Nasi Goreng

2 eggs
30ml/2tbsp water
105ml/7tbsp oil
225g pork or beef fillet
114g peeled cooked prawns
175-225g cooked chicken, finely chopped
2 fresh red chillis, halved and seeded
1cm cube shrimp paste
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, roughly chopped
675g/6 cups cold cooked long grain rice
30ml/2 tbsp dark soy sauce

1. Put the eggs in a bowl and beat in the water, with salt and peper to taste. Using a non-stick frying pan, make two or three omlettes, using as little oil as possible for greasing. Roll up each omlette and cut in strips when cold. Set aside. Place the strips of pork or beed in a bowl. Put the prawns and chopped chicken in separate bowls. Shred one of the chillies and reserve it.
2. Put the shrimp paste in a food processor. Add the ramining chilli, the garlic and the onion. Process to a fine paste. Alternatively, pound the mixture in a mortar, using a pestle.
3. Heat the remaining oil in a wok and fry the paste, without browning, until it gives off a rich, spicy aroma. Add the pork or beef and toss over the heat to seal in the juices, then cook for 2 minutes more, stirring constantly.
4. Add the prawns, and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Finally stir in the chicken, cold rice, dark soy sauce or ketchup and seasoning to taste. Reheat the rice fully, stirring all the time to keep the rice light and fluffy and prevent it from sticking to the base of the pan.
5. Spoon into indiviudal dishes and arrange the omlette strips and reserved chilli on top. Garnish with the deep-fried onions and coriander sprigs.