Thursday, September 19, 2013

tastay satay

My good friend Jacqui from Sydney visited me one weekend in 2012. This was exciting as I hadn't seen her in ages and it was my first (and probably only) overnight visitor for the year :)

We went to the Gorman Art House markets where I enjoyed satay chicken from the Thai food store. The dish was more than enough and great value for money as it costed below $10. The sauce was delicious, sweet but had some peanut-like depth to it. This was accompanied by cucumber pieces marinated in some sweet vinegar dressing that I was not familiar with. I googled up thai salads with cucumber and it seems like its common to dress cucumber with sugar, vinegar, fish sauce and chilli flakes in salads. I couldn't finish the dish at the end but I was pretty content at the end.

asian desserts and more

During a drunken stroll in Melbourne's CBD on a Tuesday night ages ago (gotta love holidays), Dan, his friends and I went to Dessert Story, a place serving Taiwanese and Hong Kong desserts. I was at a point where I could barely eat/drink anymore but proceeded to get the tofu with mixed fruit (pic in the middle). The others got similar desserts or the shaved ice with black sesame.

Although I was already bursting at the seams, my dessert was like a nice and healthy treat... Since the tofu was pretty bland by itself, this dessert is definitely for tofu lovers and those who are very familiar with its taste. The dessert could have had more fruit syrup to penetrate the slight tartness of tofu.
As usual, I was taking pictures of the food for this blog and someone expressed an off-hand or half-hearted comment that it was very Asian of me to take pictures of food. I can't deny that many many Asians do this (see Many Asians take pictures of food cos they think it looks 'cute' and they think the foods' aesthetics are worth showing off to facebook friends. Sometimes they do it to glorify well known eateries and brands without identifying whether or why it is different (or the same) as other food. Sometimes I take pictures of food because I think it's aesthetically pleasing or whatever. However, in my blog I critique it to expose and raise awareness of other ways of preparing food and broader societal and philosophical issues. I don't see food as 'just' something consumed for survival. There are many reasons why people (who happen to be Asian) take pictures of food. I hate being stereotyped.

avocado sauce?!

There was an avocado sale at my local markets (c'mon, not only Asians seek bargains) as they must have been in season. Rather than using avocado in typical ways such as in salads or as a spread in a sandwich, I made an avo sauce/paste. This was made of avocados, apple cider vinegar, tahini, fresh herbs such as chives and basil and (maybe) fresh lemon juice. I blended all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. If I had more herbs, this would make a wonderful pesto-like sauce.

The sauce was tangy and creamy and the colour was cool in a odd way. It complemented boring carbs such as rice as it gave it a risotto or pudding texture.
 And pasta.

And I replaced conventional tomato paste used in pizzas with the avo sauce.

Surprisingly, the avocado sauce/paste kept well in the fridge without turning brown. The vinegar or lemon juice probably contributed to this.


After I realised that I don't have much calcium in my diet, I had to think of tasty ways to have more dairy. I tried to drink glasses of unflavoured soy milk and other plant milks, but this was boring and felt like drinking medicine. Then I rediscovered the wonderful world of smoothies.

My core ingredients for smoothies are any type of plant milk such as almond, soy, oat and a ripe banana. You can use pretty much any fruit you like but I experimented with kiwi, raspberries, strawberries and mango. The same goes for nuts, seeds and many other flavourings. I love adding nuts/nut butter for a kick of protein, cocoa powder or carob powder as it makes the smoothie chocolatey, cinnamon to spice it up, rolled oats, dates or natural sweeteners. I love the versatility of smoothies.

Add yoghurt for extra creaminess.

And even baby spinach - and no, it doesn't taste like a salad.

In the middle of winter, I would add oats to my banana cocoa smoothie and warm it up in the microwave. It was like a creamy vegan hot chocolate :). Amazing.
If you are slightly frugal and want a different way to use the last ends of your jam or nut butter jars, you can pour your smoothie (or oatmeal) into your jar. When you scrape the last bits of your drink/food, you'll get extra tasty bits from the jar. Below I ate oatmeal out of an cashew nut butter jar that was on its last ends. And I gained tasty bonuses for finishing my meal!

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