Bircher Muesli

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Bircher muesli is just one of those foods that will never go out of fashion, like denim jeans in the fashion world, they are both super easy (to make and wear) and keep you feeling comfortable(ly full – in this case) all day long. What more could you want?!

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Recipe

Bircher Muesli

Serves 1 (quite large)

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup untoasted muesli/rolled oats *
  • 3 tablespoons natural yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1 apple, grated
  • 1 tablespoons coconut
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 dates, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon pepita (pumpkin) seeds
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • ½ orange, juiced*
  • To serve (optional):
  • Slivered almonds
  • Passionfruit
  • Blueberry nicecream

Directions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  2. In the morning take it out and add some more yogurt and milk if it is too dry. Serve with whatever toppings you desire!

Notes:

  • *This is really filling, and I am a big breakfast eater so you could always reduce the amount of oats to 1/3 cup.
  • If you are using plain rolled oats you can add a tablespoon of honey and some spices like cinnamon, to add extra sweetness and flavour.
  • *You can also grate in the zest of the orange or substitute it with any other citrus fruit.
  • Other add-ins include all sorts of dried fruits, nuts and seeds such as gogi berries, dried cranberries and apricots, and sunflower seeds.
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I topped mine with blueberry nicecream!

The Lowdown:

You might have already guessed that I am a big Bircher muesli fan by now, and who wouldn’t be?! I love it for it’s simplicity and mound of nutritional benefits but also because it is one of those foods that can be prepared the night before and put in the fridge, so if you’re in a hurry to get to work or school in the morning you can just grab it and go. Easy as that!

I often hear people say that they don’t eat breakfast in the morning and I’m like what???!! How do they even do that?! People often find excuses by saying they don’t have time or never feel hungry when they wake up but the reality is that there are actually doing damage to their metabolism (and waistline). You see, when you go to sleep your metabolism actually slows down because you’re not using it but once you wake up it needs food (fuel) to get it burning fast again. So eating a well balanced breakfast actually adds in weight loss if that is something you are aiming for. It also keeps you feeling fuller for longer, which prevents binges throughout the day.

For more info head to: http://www.healthyeating.org/Healthy-Eating/Healthy-Living/Weight-Management/Article-Viewer/Article/347/eating-breakfast-helps-weight-loss.aspxIMG_3471

This recipe is super adaptable, as you may have already realised. The only ingredients that are always the same in every Bircher muesli is pretty much just the oats and yogurt. Other than that you can mix and match it to your hearts desire. Some people like to use coconut water in replace of the almond milk, which I haven’t tried yet so if you do let me know and tell me if its good.

Tanisha xx

Pesto Chicken Risotto

IMG_3470I don’t know about you but risotto is my ultimate comfort food for those cold and dreary winter months. Sadly, though, basil – the main component of the pesto – is actually a summer herb so it is just coming to the end of it’s season, which means if you’re are going to make your own pesto for this risotto (which I strongly urge you to do) you must make it soon or you will find that there will be no fresh basil to use. Oh no!

So basically this is the perfect autumn risotto for when the weather decides to get a little bit chilly.

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Recipe

Pesto Chicken Risotto

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Pesto –

  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cup basil leaves
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • ½ cup grated parmesan chees, best quality

Risotto –

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup Arborio or other risotto rice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmesan, to serve
  • Extra pesto, to serve

Chicken –

  • 2 chicken breasts, skin on
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbs each of Ras el hanout, harissa, and thyme (optional)

Method:

  1. For the pesto, place all the ingredients in a small blender and season to taste.
  2. For the risotto, heat the oil to moderate and add the onion. Cook this until it is tender but not coloured. Add the garlic and the rice and cook until all is coated. Add the wine and allow that to be absorbed. Then gradually add the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring all the time until the rice is creamy but retains a firm heart. You want a soft mixture that flows, adjust the liquid accordingly. Remove from heat and season well.
  3. Combine the chicken with oil and seasoning. Grill or barbecue the chicken over a moderate heat until just cooked through then cut into slices.
  4. When the risotto is done mix through most of the pesto, reserving a little. Plate the risotto, top with the sliced chicken and then finish with the rest of the pesto and perhaps some more grated parmesan.

Notes:

I added 1 cup of pumpkin and some spinach to the risotto for some added health benefits and an extra twist

This recipe is from the STM magazine in the Sunday Times from last weekend for those of you from Western Australia who would like to know. It is one of Marg Johnson’s recipes so you may be able to find it somewhere online.

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As I said before, I strongly urge you to make your own pesto because, not only is it so much healthier, I find it actually tastes a whole better thanks to the use of all the fresh ingredients. You will thank me later!

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The Lowdown:

Everyone knows that pasta is the ultimate pre-race dinner for the day before a competition but if you’re getting a bit sick of the usual spaghetti Bolognese and want to try something a bit different I would highly recommend this meal.

This recipe is full of complex carbohydrates from the rice, you get your fix of protein from the chicken, and there are loads of vitamins and minerals provided by the pesto and vegetables. Protein is essential in reducing muscle breakdown during exercise and helps improve performance so don’t ever forget about it.

This is actually a little bit healthier than the usual risotto, especially because the original recipe called for an extra 1 cup of Parmesan and some butter to mix through the risotto with the pesto. Despite not adding it in, it is actually packed full of flavour and is quite hearty and filling, making it great for a winter comfort food. It also doesn’t have any cream in it, despite the lovely creamy consistency.

Tanisha xx

2015 Bankwest Gallipoli Run + Sayers Sister

So very early this morning was the annual Bankwest Gallipoli Run (those of you from W.A will know what I’m talking about, hopefully). And as we have done the past 3 or so years, my family and I ventured down to the picturesque Kings Park in the early hours of the morning.

Now I am usually an early riser but when it comes to fun runs I don’t want to wake up at 5:00 o’clock in the morning for a 7 o’clock start, just so I can run a brisk 5 kms. However, that is my only complaint for the event though. No, I will not be ranting too much today.

This year was the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli so the organisers changed it up a little. And man, am I glad they did. You see, in the previous years this run used to only be 4 kms. Nothing wrong with that. But this year they changed the course so that instead of running up and down the same boring old footpath, we had the privilege of running along a road that had the most amazing views of the Swan River. Yep, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Now this change was probably the best idea the organisers have ever had, because, in the past, my mum would continue to repeat over and over how much she hated the Gallipoli Run because “it was so boring” for the next five days after the run. We would never hear the end of it. And then, a year later, when the time of the year came around to register for the run she would still do the race despite her many (many) complaints about it. Oh the joy!

But this year was a different story. We still had our pre-race complaints (we can deal with that) but after the race all we heard for the next few hours was how much she loved it and, let me tell you, it is far more pleasant than in previous years.

Even better, I got over a minute PB. A couple of weeks ago I did a Park Run down south and I got 20:45 minutes but today I notched up a 19:20 – if my calculations are correct. The only bad thing about this run (other than the early start) is (and always has been) the start of it. For probably the first 400 metres we are forced to run up a very long hill. It’s not that it’s a particularly steep hill it’s just that after the first 400 metres we turn a corner and, yet again, we are put into the punishing task of running up (or trying to, should I say) an even longer gradual hill for the next kilometer or so. Great. But wait, once you think you can’t make it any further you are blessed with a short (but sweet) down hill. Yayyyy!!

I’m normally not affected with this hill at the start but today I felt it. And I felt it bad. I had a reasonably good start but it was like my legs just didn’t want to go anywhere. To put it simple; they were just heavy. But, near the end of the hill I had a breakthrough and kicked into top gear for the next 4 or so kilometers left.

Sayers Sister:

My family and friends have this sort of tradition going. After all the major fun runs (City to Surf, Run for a Reason, and yours truly) we go to a café afterwards for brunch. So far the highlights have definitely been Sayers, Mrs S, Fortysevenkirwanstreet and the Tuck Shop Café. My mum and I are always in charge of finding the location so this time we chose Sayers Sister and, boy, was it a good choice.

Sayers Sister is situated in a quiet street in Northbridge, and is quite literally, the sister café to the Leederville precinct, Sayers. Both of these cafes have the same irresistible menu that makes it so hard to choose between the beautifully prepared meals, but Sayers Sister is now the only one still owned by the original owners, Mark and Stephanie Sayers, which makes it even more special.

I had quite a hard time trying to pick an item off the menu, as did the rest of my companions. I was bustling between the granola, bean tagine, potato rosti and the vegetarian full breakfast but eventually decided on the bean tagine: coriander and cumin beans tagine, babaganoush, poached egg, toasted linseed. It was really nice and super comforting on this chilly morning. The beans were piping hot – as in, temperature – and heavily flavoured with just the right amount of spice. The egg was poached perfectly and the babaganoush and toast were delightful accompaniments to the beans. Same was to say about all the other dishes ordered. It was definitely a hit!

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The menu

This quirky little café has such a great ambience to it, and all the staff are very accommodating and friendly. Not to mention the chairs inside, which are more like thrones but are oh so comfy. And the cakes, oh the cakes. They looked magnificent and were super hard to resist. I would highly recommend this funky café to anyone and everyone, and have nothing but rave reviews to offer.

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The bean tagine

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The bruschetta

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The waffles

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The full breakfast

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The bruschetta with gluten-free bread

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Tanisha xx

Karen Martini’s Dhal

I apologise for the below-average photos. I take photos using natural light and these photos were taken in the evening right before I was about to eat so the conditions weren’t so great.

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Ahhh Dhal! One of life’s greatest pleasures is eating, and one of my greatest pleasures is eating dhal. I could eat it anytime of the day – breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert (maybe not) you name it. In fact, I do. For breakfast I like to have it on some toasted sourdough bread with spinach and topped with a poached egg.

I suspect some of you may have never heard of dhal, let alone eaten it. So let me open your eyes into the wonderful world that is filled with dhal.

However you want to spell it – dhal, dahl, daal or dal – it is an Indian vegetarian curry-like dish made of predominately dried red lentils, spices and sometimes, vegetables. It can be eaten by itself with rice and naan or served as a side to other curries such as Butter Chicken. Which is where I was first introduced to dhal.

For those of you who live in Australia, do you remember last years My Kitchen Rules series with the two South Australia girls, Bree and Jessica? Yes, them. They ended up winning the show, the whole shebang, so it’s no surprise that my love for dhal was brought about by one of their recipes cooked on the show.

One day my mum was hosting an Indian themed dinner party with a few friends and she had decided on cooking Bree and Jessica’s Butter Chicken with Red Lentil Dhal and rice – which can be found here. It is fair to say it went down well and since then myself and my family (mainly my mum and I) have fallen into a love affair with the humble Dhal. Simple as that.

So, when my mum and I went to the library the other day she picked up Karen Marini’s, Everyday cookbook and there was a recipe for dhal, I just had to try it.

And please, don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients, it is fairly straightforward to make.


Recipe

Karen Martini’s Dhal

Serves 4*

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 brown onions, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 5-cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 long green chilli, split lengthways
  • 3 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • ½ tablespoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 5 litres vegetable stock
  • 350g red lentils, rinsed
  • 200g brown lentils
  • 1 x 400g tin kidney beans, drained
  • 2 teaspoons salt flakes, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 handfuls of chopped coriander, to serve
  • 2 tablespoons Greek-style yogurt, to serve
  • Juice of one lemon, to serve
  • Flat bread, naan or poppadum’s to serve

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring often, for 6 minutes until the onion is translucent. Stir in the chilli and spices and cook for another minute.
  2. Stirring constantly, add the stock, red and brown lentils, kidney beans and salt to the pan. Bring to boil, turn down the heat to low, cover and let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are very tender.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for several minutes more until it is a thick, soupy consistency. Add water if necessary.
  4. Serve topped with coriander, yogurt, a squeeze of lemon and some flatbread along side.

Notes:

*Whilst the recipe says it serves 4 it actually makes heaps and could probably serve as much as 10. It also freezes very well.

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For dinner I served my dhal with some rice and flat bread, on a bed on spinach topped with Greek-style yogurt, corianderand a lemon wedge

This recipe is a little bit different to my mum’s dhal (which I will get round to posting one day), which uses coconut milk and has no tomato paste or kidney beans. However, it is still just as delicious.

The Lowdown:

Red lentils go mushy when cooked so they are ideal for dishes like these, which need either a soupy or mushy consistency. Lentils are also very inexpensive, healthy and provide a great source of protein for vegetarians. “Cooked lentils provide 18 grams of protein per cup, with less than 1 gram of fat, negligible saturated fat and no cholesterol. A cup of lentils provides 87 percent of the iron men need daily and 38 percent of the amount a woman needs.”

This dish is also extremely filling so be careful of portion sizes, – not that it matters too much right? I mean it’s a very healthy dish – I know I always eat way too much and feel as if I wont be able to eat for another week, but that never happens.

Whether you are vegetarian or not (I’m not) this is a great meal to try and I am sure even the fussiest of eater will like it. It’s great for the environment and yourself to have a couple of days a week without meat so this would be an ideal dinner dish for your Meatless Monday night (you see what I’m getting at).

Tanisha xx

Sources:

Everyday by Karen Martini

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-eating-lentils-4547.html

Zucchini, Walnut and Cranberry Loaf

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Yep, we still have a continuous supply of homegrown zucchinis so here’s a great recipe to use them up. Packed with flavour, oozing with nutritious vegetables and fruits (plus some other wholesome ingredients) AND a super moist texture. Yep, this could only be the brainchild of Healthy Home Café formally known as Delicious Snacks. Kudos to you!

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Recipe

Zucchini, Walnut and Cranberry Loaf

Makes 14 serves

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup wholemeal plain flour
  • ¾ cup white self raising flour
  • ½ teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 ½ cups (200g) grated zucchini
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup brown sugar

Method:

  1. Line a loaf pan with baking paper. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. 
  2. Sift together flours, soda, cinnamon and nutmeg into a medium sized bowl.  Add walnuts and cranberries and stir to coat with flour mix.  Add zucchini and set aside. 
  3. In another smaller bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla.  Add oil and sugar and whisk well. Pour egg mix into flour bowl and fold through until thoroughly combined. Plop into prepared pan and smooth top.
  4. Bake in oven for 30-35 mins until firm to touch.  Note that this cake doesn’t rise very much when cooking.  Wait until cool before cutting. 

Notes:

This mix can also be used to make individual cakes or muffins.

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This may or may not be the most light and fluffy loaf/bread/cake I have ever baked. And it is all thanks to my absolute favourite blog for healthy snacks and treats, Delicious Snacks. Delicious Snacks is a food blog dedicated to creating and sharing healthy snacks – what a great idea! I find that as a society we are always choosing unhealthy snacks such as chocolate, chips, donuts and lollies etc. so this blog spreads a great messages and provides quick, easier AND healthier alternatives to their unhealthier counterparts.

Although it isn’t being used anymore (you can find the new blog at: Healthy Home Café) I always love to scroll through the feed when I am need of some ideas. The Fig, Date and Walnut Loaf is my favourite!IMG_3197

So that’s all for today.

Tanisha xx

Apple, Maple, Quinoa and Coconut Crumbles

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I’m a sucker for crumble. Alongside cheesecake it is my favourite dessert. No doubt about it. My mum makes the best, especially when it’s paired with warm oozing custard. Ahhhh! It doesn’t get much better than that!

Except….

….when they are healthy!

Like this recipe from Donna Hay’s 80th issue magazine (below):

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Recipe

Apple, Maple, Quinoa and Coconut Crumbles

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 6 small ripe apples, peeled, cored and chopped*
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup quinoa flakes
  • 60g melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup, extra
  • Greek-style yogurt, to serve

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Place the apple and maple syrup in a medium bowl and gently toss to combine. Divide the pear mixture between 4 x 1-cup-capacity (250ml) ovenproof ramekins and place on a baking tray.
  3. Place the coconut, quinoa flakes, coconut oil and extra maple syrup in a medium bowl and mix to combine. Spoon the crumble over the apples and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the apples are soft and the crumble is golden.
  4. Serve with yogurt.

Notes:

  • You can replace the apples with the same amount of small pears, like the original recipe states.

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Don’t get me wrong in the name of all desserts crumble would probably have to be one of the healthiest, with their good use of oats and seasonal fruit. So they perfectly fine as they are, but this version takes healthy to the next level. You can even have it for breakfast like I did!

The original recipe called for the same amount of pears but I obviously changed it to apples because we have a massive amount at home from the farmers markets, which need to be used. We don’t like to waste food in our household!

Instead of the coconut oil the recipe also used the same amount of melted butter but I decided to change this to uplift the coconut flavour and also make it a bit healthier.

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The Lowdown:

This recipe is really versatile because it is both gluten free and vegan (if you omit the Greek-style yogurt and use coconut yogurt instead).

Quinoa Flakes:

Quinoa flakes are a great gluten free alternative to oats as they full of protein (they are made from the protein powerhouse, quinoa – hence the name), dietary fiber, low in fat and cholesterol-free. What more could you want from a little ol’ breakfast grain?! Wait, no, apparently it’s actually a seed related to the spinach family. Figure that one out!!

They are also very similar to oats in the way they cook. All gotta do is pop some in a saucepan with milk or water and cook them as if they are oats to get a porridge-like consistency. Simple as that!

Maple Syrup:

Maple syrup, itself, also has many nutritional benefits but be sure to choose pure maple syrup because there are maple flavoured syrups out there that are far from good for you.

IMG_3265Maple syrup is the only product in our diet that comes directly from a plants sap and contains over 54 antioxidants making it rival that of antioxidant super foods: berries, tomatoes, tea, red wine, whole wheat and flax seed. These antioxidants can help delay or prevent diseases caused by free radicals, such as cancer or diabetes. Maple syrup also contains high levels of zinc and manganese, keeping the heart healthy and boosting the immune system. (Pure Canadian Maple Syrup)

Tanisha xx

Sources:

http://vegetarian.about.com/od/ingredientsandadditives/fl/Quinoa-flakes-What-are-quinoa-flakes.htm

http://bodyecology.com/articles/quinoa_benefits_guide.php#sthash.eY9A3kol.dpbs

http://www.purecanadamaple.com/benefits-of-maple-syrup

Vietnamese Chicken Salad

IMG_3230Winter is almost here. YAY!!!! (take note of the sarcasm)

In the past few days it has gone from the typical summer fair of singlets and thongs to ugg boots and big fluffy dressing gowns. Typical Perth weather. We don’t even get a warning; it’s all sunshine one minute and thunderstorms the next.

So with this bad weather you’d think that I would be snuggling up in my bed with a big mug of hot chocolate and a bowl of comforting soup like any normal person. But no, I’m afraid to admit it but I am in denial. Denial about what, you may ask. Well, I am in denial that summer is gone and winter is coming. I absolutely can’t stand the cold, so winter is my worst nightmare. That’s all.

Anyway, yesterday whilst I was surfing the net I came across this really cool blog called The Londoner. Now, I get a bit excited when I see a blog with lots of yummy looking recipes so, as I do, I end up screen-shotting almost every recipe on the blog and vowing to make every single one of them in the next two weeks. Fat chance of that happening, but a girl can dream.

However, there was one recipe that stood out to me, the Pad Thai Salad. I love Vietnamese food so I just had to make it today for lunch. It also sounded just like a perfect summery dish making it a great way to reminisce over the summer that was and help put me out of my miseries.

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This is just one of the many

I tweaked it just a lil’ bit by using zucchini instead of cucumber because we seem to have so many homegrown zucchinis that they are coming out of our ears (not literally)!! And boy are they big zucchinis!

I also added some sesame seeds for an extra crunch and omitted the spring onions just because I didn’t have any at the time.

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Recipe

Vietnamese Chicken Salad

Serves 3

Ingredients

  • ½ zucchini
  • 2 Large carrots
  • 1 Handful of fresh coriander
  • 1 Handful of fresh mint
  • 1 Handful of toasted peanuts (roughly chopped/smashed)
  • A little sprinkle of sesame seeds
  • A couple of handfuls of shredded chicken/beef/duck/prawn/tofu/boiled eggs/whatever you fancy!

Dressing:

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3tbsp Sesame oil
  • 3tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1tbsp Fish sauce
  • 1tbsp chilli flakes
  • 1tsbp honey
  • 1 Clove of garlic

Method:

  1. Start by turning your carrots and zucchini into noodles/ribbons using a spiraliser of some sort. Pop them into a large bowl with your choice of protein (chicken etc.) Snip over the coriander and mint.
  2. In a small jar make the dressing by combining all the ingredients together and shaking them up.
  3. When ready to serve the salad pour the dressing over it and toss it up. Sprinkle the nuts and sesame seeds over the top and serve.

Notes:

You can add 2 spring onions chopped up and replace the zucchini with one cucumber as the original recipe states. IMG_3245

I urge you to try this recipe and don’t even think about not adding the peanuts, they are so goooddd (but I guess this is coming from a peanut butter addict)!!

By the way, how pretty is this salad, it is just bursting with colours left right and center! So a very big thanks to The Londoner for the recipe, it definitely was a success, as one of my toughest critics, my sister, loved it, she even came back for seconds and thirds.

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Don’t mind my little feet!

The Lowdown:

The Vietnamese cuisine is considered one of the healthiest cuisines in the world and this dish is no exception. The use of fresh ingredients ensures that this salad is both healthy and full of flavour. It is also full of vitamins and minerals to keep you going throughout the day.

This salad would go really well with vermicelli noodles if you wanted to make it a more substantial meal. It is a great way to get your vegetables in and actually tastes really good. It is also a nice change to the usual lettuce and tomato salads that we seem to become used to!

Tanisha xx