A-Z Veg of the Day: Rocket, Spinach, Tomato…Bacon ?


Umami has a mild but lasting aftertaste that is difficult to describe. It induces salivation and a sensation of furriness on the tongue, stimulating the throat, the roof and the back of the mouth. By itself, umami is not palatable, but it makes a great variety of foods pleasant especially in the presence of a matching aroma.

Wikipedia explanation on the Umami savoury taste.

Umm… Like. Bacon? Bacon and tomatoes apparently provide plenty of umami. Bacon and tomatoes were the main point of my ugly salad that I just couldn’t wait to post.
For letters R-U, a salad that I thought was pretty damned clever. And tasty.
Tomatoes, an heirloom, multicoloured mix of yellow, red, and purple.
U. Hmm. Ugli Fruit? Unfortunately, I can’t find this cousin to the pomelo anywhere in the greater Brisbane area. What vegetable starts with U? I have no idea. The first thing that came to mind was umami, the taste of savoury as some sort of recipe element. For a simple dressing, I shook together a Passionfruit, pulp and juice, with a tablespoon of olive oil.

Bacon is debatable on the healthy factor, sure. The plus side for omnivores, is that it is delicious and a good source of energy from fat, protein, and an impressive display of B vitamins and minerals.

This article is magic:

As with anything, moderation. Bacon breakfast, lunch, and dinner is a bit ridiculous. Just like eating just boring, plain salads isn’t a good idea. Boredom and routine is the killer of balanced nutrition.

It isn’t the most revolutionary recipe, meal, or blog post, but it’s honest and it’s exactly what I like: simple and filling. And totes Paleo. One thing I loath doing is packing my lunch for work, but it’s a necessary evil. If I don’t pack a lunch, I either go hungry and grumpy, or eat something regrettable (because I was hungry and grumpy), like just Finnish pulla, fresh out of the oven at work, only to be ravishingly hungry when I get home. Today I noticed that the other staff members at the lunch table all had a peek at what colourful bounty of “delicious food the nutrition student has this time.” To me, that comment followed by, “bacon?! GASP!” was motivation to keep taking a homemade lunch and snacks to work, along with constant energy and some budget saving.


A-Z Veg of the Day: (That mumbling bit in the alphabet song) M-Q

Everyone does it. Sing it with me now, eLemenohpeee!

Let me just make one comment about this week to which many will relate: migraine. More like, Migraine followed by a disastrous midterm which in turn lead to migraine relapse with a touch of depression.

I did, despite shying away from light like a vampire, manage to keep up with my daily vegetables. In photo gallery form,

M is for mushrooms

Paleo mushrooms sautéed in bacon fat, with bacon, scrambled eggs, more bacon, and avocado

N is for Nectarine.

Grilled nectarines with a drizzle of raw, Texan honey.

O is for onion


Nigella Lawson’s sexy macerated onions with roasted aubergine from Nigellissima.
God bless you, BBC for your quality programming like Nigellissima, my new favourite cooking show, and of course, for Sherlock.

P is for Passionfruit

I was meaning to make an Irish parsnips and carrot recipe, but… No. I had the melodramatic feeling of- If I do anything not resembling sleep or hydrating, I might die.

Q is for Quince.
Roast lamb with quince paste and autumn spices (clove, cardamom, cinnamon, and all spice)
Recipe and photo to be posted at a later date this month. My dad made Finnish Kaalipata (cabbage and mince meat stew), which is awesome and the comfort food I’ve been craving.


A-Z Veg of the Day: Lychee


Lychees. Sexy little bastards, all full of vitamin C. In all the ways to prepare these little treasures, on their own, icy cold is my favourite. Lychees are in season now and $8 a kilo at the market. This time of year, they are so obnoxiously sweet, they’re like juicy little sugar cubes.
There’s no recipe today for lychees because they’re perfect the way they are. …unless you want to throw them in the blender, make a purée, add a couple tablespoons of water, then freeze them in popsicle molds. That’s ok too. I’m also a day late on this post technically because I spent yesterday at the market with my friend, then buried my nose in an assignment all day, which I’m still writing… And still eating lychees with breakfast.


Oh dear baby Jesus, I ate like 5 and now feel like I’m going into diabetic shock. So. Sweet. So worth it as my hands shake and eyes crossing. Wooo, it’s going to be an awesome day now!


A-Z Veg of the Day: Kaffir Lime, Sort of


K is for Kaffir Lime. I bet y’all thought I was going to say kale! Fresh kaffir lime leaves at the grocery store just look inspiring and I couldn’t resist. This staple in Thai cooking adds amazing flavour- it’s that something when you’re missing something.

For some delightful kaffir lime recipes, please check out this blog:
The eggplant one was what I was or initially inspired by.

Thai Inspired Eggplant Salad
1 large eggplant
2 tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Thai red chilli
3 kaffir lime leaves
Juice of 1/2 lime (or kaffir lime if you can buy it where you are)
Coconut oil

Preheat oven to 180c
Cut eggplant into 1cm or 1/2″ thick rounds.
Roughly chop tomatoes.
In baking dish, pour about 1 tbsp at the bottom with coconut oil. Place eggplant on top of oil then flip over so both sides are coated. Season with salt and pepper. Cook through for about 30 minutes until soft.
While eggplant is in the oven, heat either olive oil or another 1 tbsp roughly of coconut oil with garlic, chilli, and kaffir lime leaves on high heat until they just start to sizzle.
Add tomatoes and cook until they are JUST softened and warmed.
Remove from heat.
When eggplant is ready, remove from oven and pour the tomato mix over and mix. Season with salt to taste. Serve warm or cold and enjoy either on it’s own or with a Thai fish or chicken dish.

Why is there no photo of this yummy dish? just say, I skipped home to my parents’ house for vodka and pepperoni pizza mid dinner prep, Saturday night. Instead of throwing a potentially delicious meal in the bin, half cooked eggplant and kaffir lime leaves slid into a Tupperware box underneath random stuff and textbooks in an overnight bag.

It really wasn’t a great weekend. However, after the pizza and vodka, the paleo healthy eating and confident, positive thinking bounced back.
Next up, L is for…


A-Z Veg of the Day: Jalapeño


Out of the many delicious jalapeño recipes, salsa is still my personal favourite. Don’t get the stuff in a jar! It only takes a couple minutes to make something fresh and flavourful.

Fresh tomato salsa

2 tomatoes
1/4 c minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp paprika
Salt and black pepper to taste
1-2 small jalapeños, minced, with vein and seeds removed. For extra heat, keep the seeds and vein!
Small bunch of cilantro (coriander), minced.
Juice of 1/2 lime

Combine all ingredients. The longer it sits, the stronger and more flavourful the salsa becomes.
Usually, I add avocado chucks to my fresh salsa, but without it, it becomes more versatile for a longer amount of time.
On tacos, of course.
On eggs and quiches
As a relish on burger
Use as a sofrito as a flavour base to sauces and soups. Heat 1-2 tbsp olive oil in saucepan, add the tomato and onion salsa, after onions become transparent, add your stock, then soup ingredients. That’s the key to an awesome soup, by the way.

Instead of tomatoes, try oranges and other citrus fruit. The combination of citrus and jalapeño is brilliant on fish!

My affection for salsa started when I was a freshman in college. My neighbours in Los Angeles were this cool couple in their thirties. She worked for a studio, he was a chef. They taught me all sorts of cooking tips and really saved me at the same time. Saved me from a bad roommate, friends who were into nothing but parties and drugs. It was only then that I started a love of cooking and new flavours. I think of them and the Melrose Place style complex we lived in with something so simple as salsa.


A-Z Veg of the Day: Iceberg Lettuce

Iceberg is really only good for two things only: 1. Food for backyard ducks and chickens 2. A vehicle for lettuce wraps

Many yo-yo dieters turn to iceberg as their main salad option, then wonder why they get bored, hate salad, and devour a Big Mac, super sized fries, and Cheetos. The most common recipe that has been suggested for i is, “a nice, healthy iceberg wedge salad with creamy blue cheese dressing!” to which my response has been,


And that’s another thing with salads, why eat a salad to drown it in a condiment? Go on, have some mesclun greens. Welcome to the dark side of salad greens, we have flavour. And more nutrients.
Granted, iceberg does actually have some potassium and folate. So it isn’t a total waste of produce.

Back to those lettuce wraps! I get these moments of being incredibly homesick and miss everything about USA. Right now, the cost of living in Brisbane is sky rocketing. $1.62/litre of fuel, $7+ train fare (most expensive in the world), a $300 electricity bill for a one bedroom apartment with no aircon are all making me sad. I’m still bitter about the fact Monopoly is $38 at Target. The other night, we went to a burger place comparable to say, Los Angeles’ Umami Burger, (in quality & popularity, but not awesomeness) for dinner- one burger, one salad, water, and a Lemon Lime & Bitters, the bill was $40. You know what I miss? PF Changs. I miss the suburban, corporate owned chain beasts outside giant malls with that one menu item everyone likes.
Last night I was in the mood for lettuce wraps.
For a great copy-cat recipe of Pf Chang style wraps, this is a good one:

Last night, I didn’t opt for chicken because of my pms fueled, emotional anemia and cravings for chocolate, red meat, and red wine. So,

The Quick Beef Paleo Asian Lettuce Wraps
500g (1lb) Mince sirloin
1-2 tbsp Coconut amino, to replace soy sauce
1 tbsp Oyster sauce
Thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated
2 cloves of garlic
Black pepper and chilli to taste
Handful of Mushrooms

Slice and sauté mushrooms before adding to mince.
Brown the beef in skillet. When almost cooked through, drain fats. Add remaining ingredients including mushrooms and cook through.

Serve with rinsed, dry iceberg leaves.
I didn’t make a sauce with these as I was just too lazy and hungry. So fresh tomatoes kind of gave these an Asian low carb taco feel. And it was great.