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Monthly Archives: June 2013

Chinese Meatball Soup with Pak Choi


I know I’ve been absent for a while again. Apologies for not keeping up with my posts. I’ve been short on time for cooking recently as I’m on a massive drive to build up business by September. I’ve decided to get back into the world of belly dancing which was my entire life (and my full time job!) for at least ten years. I have a couple of students coming to me regularly for lessons which I fit in around my personal training clients. I’ve had a few performances recently too. It’s made me realise how much I have missed dancing! So anyway I am trying to rebuild my dance business as well as trying to attract more personal training work too. Sadly, cooking and blogging has had to take a back seat whilst I do this. I’ve been eating a lot of salads and boring food such as roasted chicken breasts with steamed veggies. Not exciting at all, but quick, easy and nourishing.

This dish is another which was inspired by something similar I had on my travels around Southeast Asia (yup, still on the Asian food kick!) It was pretty simple to make and quite tasty. Feel free to add more garlic, ginger or some fresh chillies if you want a more intense flavour experience!

Chinese Meatball Soup with Pak Choi (serves 6)

For the meatballs
500g pork mince
500g beef mince
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2″ piece of ginger, finely diced
150g shiitake mushrooms, finely diced
1 egg beaten
For the soup
4 spring onions/scallions, sliced on the diagonal
3 pak choi, halved
500ml chicken stock
3 tbsp coconut aminos
1/2 tbsp fish sauce
Toasted sesame oil for drizzling

Preheat oven to 170C
Mix the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl.
Form into balls, place on a baking sheet and bake for around 25 mins
In a large wok, bring the chicken stock to a simmer.
Add the meatballs when cooked, the veggies and seasonings.
Allow to simmer until pak choi is tender but not over cooked.
Serve in bowls drizzled with some toasted sesame oil (and some fresh chilli if you like).


Asian Slaw


It’s been a long time since I last posted, I know and I apologise! Life has just been getting in the way recently, plus with the weather being warmer (finally!) and things being busy, I haven’t been doing so much cooking. I’ve been chowing down on a lot of salads. I based this one on something I had in Cambodia, but I have to (rather arrogantly) say that my version was even better than the original. This makes quite a large amount which would be perfect as a take along dish for a barbecue.

Asian Slaw (serves 10)

3/4 of a pointed cabbage, finely shredded
3 carrots, grated
2 shallots, finely sliced
1 tsp black onion (nigella) seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
For the Dressing
1 tsp tamarind paste
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp honey
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp coconut aminos
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

Mix the vegetables and seeds in a large bowl
Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing
Pour over the veggies and toss well.
VoilĂ  – enjoy with some Asian spare ribs or some other kind of delicious marinated meat!

Spiced Pear Muffins


It’s Fathers Day today and I decided to have the whole family over for a huge Paleo feast! This meal alone will keep me in recipes to share for a couple of weeks!

It has been ages since I did any baking and I really had a hankering for something cakey on Friday. I got a whole load of pears in my organic fruit box last week which were starting to look like they had seen better days, so they had to be the focus of my baked goods. Those were my parameters, this was the result…

Spiced Pear Muffins (makes 12)
Ingredients :

3/4 cup milled flaxseeds
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup macca powder
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 tbsp mixed spice
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 can coconut milk
1/4 cup coconut oil melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 eggs, beaten
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 pears, diced

Preheat oven to 170C
Mix all dried ingredients in a bowl.
Gradually add in all wet ingredients.
Finally, fold diced pears carefully into the batter.
Spoon batter into muffin cups – you can fill them quite full as they won’t rise that much.
Bake in oven for 20-25 mins or until golden and they pass the toothpick test.
Leave to cool before stuffing into your face or you may burn your mouth!

Asian Baked Salmon Wrapped in Pandan Leaf with Roasted Chilli Broccoli


I’m feeling so exhausted today. Those of you who don’t know me personally probably don’t know that before I became a personal trainer, I used to be a professional belly dancer. Yes, you read that right! To cut a long story short, I had a dancing job last night in a casino for an Arabic event. I was supposed to dance at 11.45 (yes, pm!) but I ended up going onstage at 12.15 and finishing at 12.45! There was a time when I would have thought “great, an early finish” as I often used to finish at 3 or 4am! Nowadays I generally follow my bodies circadian rhythms not go completely against them. Therefore I am really suffering today, despite having had 8 hrs of sleep! I haven’t even had the energy to workout today. It has really driven home to me that I could never go back to that nocturnal, sleep deprived lifestyle! Once in a while is fine though.

This was a pretty simple and quick dish, and if you don’t have any pandan leaves to hand (let’s face it, unless you live in Southeast Asia, it’s pretty unlikely), you can just bake the salmon uncovered.

Asian Baked Salmon Wrapped in Pandan Leaf with Roasted Chilli Broccoli (serves 2)

For the salmon:
1 shallot
1 1/2″ piece ginger, peeled
3 cloves garlic
1 red chilli, deseeded
1/2 tsp palm sugar
1/2 tsp tamarind paste
1 tsp water
1 tbsp coconut aminos
1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
2 salmon fillets
2 pandan leaves

For the broccoli:
1 head broccoli cut into florets
1 red chilli, sliced
1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
Himalayan salt

Put all the ingredients for the salmon except the salmon fillets and pandan leaves in a food processor and blitz until it forms a smooth but slightly runny paste.
Pour the paste into a ziplock bag, add the salmon and leave to marinate for an hour or more.
Preheat the oven to 170C.
Wrap each salmon fillet in a pandan leaf and secure with a toothpick. Place in an ovenproof dish.
Put the broccoli florets into an ovenproof dish.
Sprinkle over the chilli, salt and sesame oil.
Place both dishes into the oven and bake for around 20 mins.
Remove the pandan leaves before devouring the salmon (they aren’t edible, just for flavour)

Asian Style Shrimp and Samphire Salad


It has been gloriously sunny all week! As a result, one of my clients asked if we could do a five mile run in our session today. This means I cycle to his house, cycle alongside him while he runs and then obviously cycle back home afterwards. It literally started raining as I got my bike out to cycle to the session, and stopped about ten minutes after I put the bike away! That is what we here in England call “Sod’s Law”!

Anyway, enough moaning about the British weather… I’m sure I have already bored you with enough tales of food I ate whilst on my travels in Southeast Asia, including the best Thai meal of my life which consisted of the (definitely not Paleo) tasting menu. One of the dishes we were served was a salad of shredded jumbo shrimp with samphire. I went to a BBQ at my sister’s house last weekend, so I decided to try making my own version of the shrimp and samphire salad to take with me. The result was delightful, although I’m not sure it tasted exactly like the one I had in Bangkok, and I certainly couldn’t get shrimps the size of the ones in Thailand, let alone shred them! This recipe makes a large bowlful – definitely enough for sharing with many friends /family alongside some juicy pasture-raised barbecued meats!

Asian Style Shrimp and Samphire Salad (serves 8-10)

540g samphire
4 shallots, very finely sliced
2 Ramiro sweet red peppers, very finely sliced
300g cooked and peeled king prawns/shrimp, roughly chopped into small pieces
1 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
7″ piece of cucumber, deseeded, cut into 3 and very finely sliced
For the dressing:
1 tbsp fish sauce
4 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp coconut sugar

Bring a large pot or wok of water to the boil.
Add the samphire and blanch for 1 minute.
Remove to a bowl of cold water to stop it cooking further. Drain and put in a large bowl.
Slice the veggies very finely – preferably with a mandolin (but be careful not to get slice fingers – we don’t want that in the salad!).
Mix the shallots, pepper and cucumber into the samphire. I recommend using your hands to do this so you don’t damage the fragile samphire or veggies.
Add the chopped shrimp and again, toss with your hands to mix well.
Mix the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl or jug.
Pour over the salad and toss (with your hands).
Just before serving, mix the cilantro/coriander leaves through.
NB. There is really no need to add any salt to this salad. The samphire, being a sea vegetable, is naturally very salty, and the fish sauce in the dressing will add extra saltiness to the whole salad.

Amok Trey (Cambodian Fish Curry)


I fell in love with this dish in Cambodia. It’s one of the most popular dishes in the country and you can find it anywhere. Every place I had it, the ingredients were slightly different, as was the presentation, although traditionally it is supposed to be steamed in a bowl made of banana leaves. My version is quicker and easier, just making it in a wok and certainly not messing around making banana leaf bowls, however I might go to the trouble if I were serving this for friends.

The most important ingredient in Amok is the Kroeung or spice paste. Traditionally it is made in a mortar and pestle, but if you don’t have the time or inclination to pound, pop the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until you have a smooth paste. The veggies are interchangeable so feel free to experiment. I have also made this with French beans and okra.
Obviously in Cambodia it is served with steamed rice, so I served mine with cauliflower rice. If you’re not a great fan of fish, it can also be made with chicken, shrimp or both!

Amok Trey (serves 2)

For the Kroeung
3 stalks lemongrass, bottom 3 inches only, outer leaves removed
8 cloves garlic
2 shallots
1 oz galangal, peeled and cut into pieces
1 oz fresh turmeric root or 1 tsp turmeric powder
4 kaffir lime leaves, hard rib removed
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp water

For the Amok
1 portion of Kroeung
375g ling or other white fish fillets, cut into bite size chunks
1 red pepper, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
1/2 large pak choi, sliced
2 red chillies, sliced (add more for extra heat if you like)
2 green chillies, sliced
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp coconut sugar (optional)
1/2 tsp shrimp paste
1 egg
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 cup cilantro/coriander leaves

Blitz the Kroeung ingredients in a food processor until you have a paste.
Heat the coconut oil in a wok. Add the red peppers and chillies and stir-fry for a minute.
Add the paste and fry for 30 secs until it is is fragrant.
Add a little coconut milk to the paste to loosen it. Continue to add a little more until all the coconut milk is mixed in.
Bring to a simmer.
Add the coconut sugar and shrimp paste.
Stir in the carrots and white stalk part of the pak choi, reserving the leaves for later.
When the veggies are tender (this should only take a few minutes), carefully add the fish and gently fold into the sauce. You don’t want the fish to break up into tiny flakes – it should retain it’s chunk size.
Continue to simmer for about 3 minutes until the fish looks just cooked.
Beat the egg and fish sauce together and gently fold into the curry, trying not to break up the fish as you stir it in. At the same time, add the pak choi leaves.
Simmer for a minute or less until the egg has cooked and coagulated and the pak choi leaves have wilted.
Serve with the cilantro leaves on top and some extra green birds eye chillies if you like. It goes very well with cauliflower rice.

This is how it looked when it was served to me in Siem Reap