So the last time I posted anything was in June....
Work kind of got on top of me and I spent more time in the kitchen than posting things online. Also people at work now know about this blog and it's all a little embarrassing... Hello everyone from physio department!
I made this cake a few weeks ago for a colleague's farewell lunch and then again last Sunday for father's day. Since the cake was well received and I've had a few requests for the recipe I thought I'll post it up here.
Lemon Yoghurt Almond Cake
Preparation Time: 20mins
Cooking Time: 20mins
Adapted from: Everyday Cook
- 100g butter
- 100g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 160g vanilla yoghurt
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 1/2 cups almond meal
- 100g wholemeal flour or gluten free flour
- Syrup: 2tbs lemon juice, 50g caster sugar
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 20cm tin with baking paper.
- Beat butter and sugar together until pale and creamy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add yoghurt and lemon zest and beat until combined.
- Fold in the almond meal and flour until combined.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Sprinkle almonds on top
- Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- While the cake is baking make the syrup. Heat lemon juice with caster sugar in a small saucepan until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens into a syrup (2-3mins on medium heat)
- Pour the hot lemon syrup over warm cake and then cool the cake in the pan.
I've also tried this recipe using hazelnut meal with great success as seen below. If you are expecting a fluffy light cake, this is not it. This is a dense, rich, sticky cake where only a sliver is needed to satisfy that cake craving.
First I have to apologise. For keeping this muesli bar recipe to myself for too long.
You see this is a fantastic recipe that I've been using to make delectable muesli bars to impress people and then promising them the recipe but never giving it....
It's super easy with very little prep time unless you're like me and picking specific seeds out of a seed mix packet.....
I've made 2 variations of these now. One that's shown below and another even nuttier and sweeter one for a hike I did. The recipes are fairly fail safe and even my first batch that I made with whatever I fancied thrown in turned out great!
Nutty Oat Muesli Bars
Makes: 16 bars
Preparation Time: 15min
Cooking Time: 20mins
- 5 fresh dates
- 1/3 cup dried apricots
- ½ cup mixed nuts/seeds (I used pepita, sunflower, almonds)
- 2 tbsp walnuts
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 tbsp sultanas
- 1 tbs desiccated coconut
- 2 tbs LSA
- 3 ½ tbs natural nut butter (I used organic peanut butter)
- 3 tbs honey
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp water
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius
- Line a rectangular baking tray with baking paper. This is a trick I learnt from Jamie Oliver: Scrunch up the baking paper into a ball and run it under water. Shake off the excess and it will be super easy to line any tray!
- Roughly chop up the dates, apricots, almonds and walnuts into smaller pieces.
- Combine the ingredients in step 3 with the oats, sultanas, coconut and LSA in a bowl and stir to mix.
- Mix the nut butter, honey, vanilla essence, brown sugar and water over the stove until melted and it forms a sticky syrup.
- Mix half of the syrup into the bowl of dry ingredients.
- Place the muesli mixture into the baking tray and spread it with a spoon to all the corners of the tray
- Pour the remaining syrup onto the muesli, making sure there's no more dry muesli mix.
- Cut another piece of baking paper around the same size as the tray and lay it over the tray. Press on the muesli mixture to compact it.
- Place the tray in the oven uncovered and bake for 20mins or until the top is golden brown and smelling delicious.
- Once the tray is removed from the oven, use the baking paper from step 9 to press the muesli again.
- Do not take the muesli out of the tin as it will crumble.
- Leave to cool in the tray and cut into slices once fully cooled.
As you can see the bar is packed with quite a lot of energy compared to say a fruit or low fat yoghurt snack but this will definitely keep you full! This snack is high in protein and fibre and packs a good punch of unsaturated fats. If you use unsalted nuts and natural nut butters like me the sodium will be very low as well.
I also made a batch with some wheat flakes from cereal which added a good crunch to it as well. The batch I made for a hike kept me energised and going for several hours! I also pop these in a zip lock bag to take to work or crumble them to top my yoghurt for some different texture.
Okay It's been a little while since I last updated on my Taiwan holiday. So here's a nice reminder of how amazing Taiwan looks:
On our second day with Taiwan Holidays we headed up the mountains to Alishan National Scenic Area (阿里山國家風景區). This is one of the "eight wonders of Taiwan" and an area known for cypress trees, sakura, high mountain tea and the girls of Alishan. I remember the song "Ālǐshān de gūniang" or "The Girls of Alisan" was a popular song my parents would sign with friends over some alcohol and karaoke and a song I frequently heard at every Chinese culture type event! "The Girls of Alisan" refer to the beauty of the girls in the aboriginal tribe living in Alishan; their beauty attributed to the clean water and environment.
After our visit up the mountain, we took a bus ride down to have some tea.
We taste tested two types of oolong tea, both grown in the mountains of Alishan. The demonstration lady asked us to taste one type of tea and asked us what it reminded us of. It had a fragrance like milk! She explained that the expired yoghurts from the supermarkets are collected and used as a type of fertiliser for the tea trees and the tea takes on that milky flavour! It was fascinating and a nice cup of tea during winter was what my tired legs needed.
After our trekking morning and afternoon we re-boarded the bus and went to Kaohsiung 高雄: The largest municipality in Taiwan.
Ok you've probably had enough sightseeing now and am wondering about the food! Of course this is a blog about food and nutrition so I'm pleased to say we visited Liuhe Night Markets (六合夜市). One of the largest night markets in Taiwan. This place was insanely packed!
I didn't take many other photos as night markets also involve strolling and eating and buying too much food at once and not having any hands to hold a camera....
Truth be told, this was probably my least favourite night market. It was just so crowded! The problem with going on tours is you have a time limit at each location. For this market we had 2hrs which isn't nearly enough! The lines on some of the stalls were insanely long. Our tour guide said to go to any place that had a long line as Taiwanese people love to line up for good food! I lined up for one store and it was so long I gave up and then proceeded to have lost the rest of my family. I ended up spending the remaining 15mins looking for my parents! I guess that could be a reason why I didn't enjoy this market!
There is one must try food though! Papaya milk tea. There is a store called Zheng's old brand papaya milk that has a really long line. It serves up amazing papaya milk tea that's endorsed by the president of Taiwan. Best drink of the trip, truly. This is a blog I came across when researching Taiwan and there's a lot of good photos and food recommendations for Liuhe Night market (as well as other places in Taiwan.)
Next up: The day I got really ill in Taiwan.... or I might just skip to the amazing Taroko Gorge photos ;)
Ah weekends. Weekends are the only times when I have time to make a proper breakfast. These days it's been along the lines of oats, congee, cheesy melts and crepes. Oh crepes.
I had a big craving for these thin pancake like creations last weekend but it just wasn't meant to be. The first crepe place I went to had closed down and the second had run out of crepes. How can you run out of crepes!?
By Monday night my dreams of soft crepes filled with chocolate and banana had turned to searches on the Internet. When I saw this recipe I felt myself gasp at the simplicity of the recipe. I got to work right away.
Funny how my best dishes happen in the middle of the night?
When I first had this I immediately exclaimed "THIS IS THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER MADE!" Yes in the middle of the night. Now that I have calmed down a bit it is definitely still one of the best.
These crepes are soft and delicate and have an unmistakable coconut aroma when cooking. The edges are slightly crispy and I don't know if it's the fat from the coconut in these, but they are so easy to unstick to the pan and flip! I have officially perfected the flip now! I have tried replacing the coconut milk with plain low fat milk and they stuck a little tighter to the non stick pan and were very difficult to flip.
Now lemon curd is one of my favourite things ever. There was a period last year where I was a little obsessed with lemon tarts. Okay maybe a lot obsessed; I made it my mission to find the perfect balance of sweet and tart curd. I trialled a few recipes myself but was never completely satisfied. This lemon curd however is the best yet and it doesn't even need butter!
My brother proclaims it the best thing I have ever made and has been begging me for three days to make a new batch. He licked the bowl of the last batch clean. That's how good it is. And it's so easy! Just put all the ingredients in the pot and mix over a flame.
You may find that the lemon curd may overpower the coconut taste a little and it's fine to have the coconut crepes simply with a bit of sugar and banana or with Nutella cream and strawberries. They also go great with some cream cheese and strawberries. Delicious any way!
Okay enough praise of this recipe! Here it is with a few minor alterations.
Coconut Crepes with Lemon Curd, Banana and Whipped Cream
Adapted from: Taste your Life
Cooking and Prep Time: 20-30mins
Serves: Makes 12 crepes
- 1 cup cake flour (if you don't have cake flour use all purpose flour)
- ½ cup skim milk
- 350 ml coconut milk
- 2 large eggs
- 2 whole eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- Juice and rind from 1 large lemon and 1 small lime
- Mix the lemon curd ingredients in a saucepan until well combined.
- Place the saucepan on low- medium heat and stir constantly for 5-8minutes. Mix quickly until the mixture starts to thicken and resemble lemon curd. When it is done, pour into a covered bowl or jar and place in the fridge to cool
- Mix together all of the ingredients for crepes until well combined.
- Heat a non stick pan (I used a small 15cm diameter pan). Spray lightly with cooking oil.
- When the pan is hot place a tablespoon of the crepe mixture into the pan and swirl around to cover the base of the pan. There should be just enough mixture to make a thin layer of crepe.
- When the edges start to brown, run a spatula along the edge of the crepe to loosen it from the pan. If you're brave enough, slide the crepe to one side of the pan, fling pan upwards and flip! Cook until golden brown on both sides.
- Don't be discouraged if the first few crepes don't work out! This always happens! Some strange cooking phenomenon where the first crepes and pancakes turn out horribly.
- Cover crepes with foil if you're making a few to keep them warm. If you're not using all the batter cover and place in the fridge. Stir the mixture a few times if removing from the fridge.
- Whip up a little bit of thickened cream and slice a banana into thin discs.
- Place a spoonful of curd, followed by some whipped cream and bananas onto a crepe. Roll it up.
- Feel yourself sigh with content at the amazing crepes you've just made.
Per tablespoon curd: Energy: 393kJ, Protein: 3.0g, Fat total: 3.0g, Sat Fat: 1.0g, Carbohydrates: 13.3g, Sodium 26mg
These are coconut crepes with nutella cream and strawberry filling. To make nutella cream simply whip nutella into thickened cream. So simple, so delicious!
It's been over 3 weeks since I've been back from Taiwan and I'm still dreaming about the extraordinary mountains and hot springs. Sifting through my photos makes me sigh and want to plan another trip! Taiwan was amazing. From the friendly people to the unexpected abundance of organic food, I fell in love with it the moment I was handed delicious food on the tour bus (Way to my heart is obviously through my stomach!)
My family and I travelled with Taiwan Holidays which organised everything from airfare, accommodation, insurance, admission fees etc on their "escorted tours" for a fairly good price. They have both Chinese and English speaking tour guides who were both lovely on our tours.
Our first day was probably the most tiring day because we arrived in Taiwan around 5-6am in the morning and our tour started immediately. I was exhausted since I didn't get any shut-eye on the plane but determined to make the most of the day.
This is a fan tuan after I've taken a big bite out of it. It's packed full of you tiao (Chinese doughnut), pork floss, picked vegetables and egg wrapped in rice. A little bit like a sushi. It's a popular breakfast or snack food in Taiwan and parts of China and is really a flavour and texture explosion in your mouth! The crunchy you tiao, fluffy pork floss and another type of crunch from the pickled vegetables paired lovely with the soft warm rice.
Our first stop was Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) in Yuchi, Nantou (Central Taiwan). This is the largest body of water in Taiwan and was so named because the east side is shaped like the sun and the west side shaped like the moon (though I could not see this...)
Doesn't it just look breathtaking? The water was very very blue and sparkled under the sunlight. The mountains all around was a sight you can not see in Australia!
We walked around the lake for a little while then checked out some of the shops nearby. I don't know if it's just tourist areas but everywhere we went that had food, we could try before we buy! Our whole tour group pounced on a little fruit store selling the freshest looking fruit!
We bought some pink guava, star fruit and persimmons for a morning tea snack under the Taiwan sun. Taiwan fruit is amazing. Truly amazing.
Look at how many varieties of banana there were!
Our next stop was Wen Wu Temple (文武廟) which was also right by the lake. One distinguishing feature of almost all temples is how many steps they have! This is just the first set of steps! I think I got to the second set of steps and then collapsed onto some big marble chairs and waiting until everyone had regrouped.
If you have never visited a Chinese temple you really should, regardless of your religious beliefs. The architecture is amazing. Everything is hand carved and hand painted. The marble carvings tell stories and are so intricate you're left scratching your head as to how it is possible. It is definitely a feast for your eyes! This blogger has some more close up pictures.
After the exhausting walks around the temple our tour guide got us each a Tea egg. This is such a popular snack in China as well as Taiwan that it's even sold in 7Eleven! It's made by cooking an egg in tea and various spices then cracking the shell (without peeling) and returning it to the water to seep in the flavour of the tea and spices. It may smell medicinal but it's amazing, trust me.
It seems like we've been eating non stop but we were off to lunch next!
As we had such a big group in our tour a lot of the dining places were larger restaurants or hotel dining rooms. Our lunch that day was in the Einhan Resort dining room which had this amazing view of Sun Moon Lake.
Everyone was quite hungry, after not sitting down for a proper meal all day. I had a hard time trying to take photos as all the food was to be shared and I was a little embarrassed to stop people from eating so I could take a good photo! This is a local fresh fish and it was delicious!
Taiwanese food has a huge focus on fresh seafood caught in local areas by local fisherman and it definitely shows in the flavour of the food!
After stuffing our tummies, we drove to another part of Sun Moon lake so that we could take the cable car to Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village.
The culture village is an amusement park combining both aboriginal culture in one area and an amusement park full of ride in another.
Our tour guide said the whole place was slowly built by one guy passionate about keeping the Aboriginal culture in Taiwan alive. He slowly bought pieces of land and employed mostly aboriginal people to run the place.
Look at the cable cars running from Sun Moon Lake to the village!
The view was breathtaking but I'm scared of heights.... I may have spent a lot of the (very long) ride screaming in fear but I'll save you guys the pictures of that.....
My parents went to visit the culture village and spent time watching traditional song and dance and learning about the history while my siblings and I ran off to the ride so there isnt many pictures.
By night time I was extremely exhausted. I'd slept less than 2hours in 2 days and was ready to collapse! Dinner was first and I didn't even manage to notice the restaurant name!
Dinner was a lovely selection of dishes but the highlight had to be this vegetable hot pot. I don't know how but Taiwan vegetables taste sweeter!
Since dinner refueled me, I managed to convince my mum to wander the streets with me after checking into the hotel. Sadly we took a wrong turn and didn't find the food section of the street markets and ended up clothes shopping instead.
It was an amazing first day introduction to Taiwan's beauty.
The information presented on this blog acts as general nutrition advice and is not tailored to meet individual needs. It should not be used as a replacement for any medical advice you have recieved from medical practitioners. Please discuss any concerns for your health with your doctor or Accredited Practicing Dietitian before starting a new dietary or exercise regime as they can give more personalised recommendations.
I make every effort to ensure information on Nutrition with Wendy is correct and up to date however nutrition is an evolving field and discrepancies can arise. If the information here appears incorrect or out of date please let me know and I will do my best to update my posts.