Cheesecake Recipe

Despite not having a sweet tooth, I am still a lover of desserts. Cheesecake is by far my favourite dessert, and so I thought I’d share with you my cheesecake recipe. It’s simple, easy and very tasty, so do give it a try!

Equipment List: 

  • Food Processor
  • Round cake tin

Ingredients: 

  • 1 packet malt biscuits
  • 85g butter
  • 4 teaspoons hot water
  • 2 teaspoons gelatin
  • 400g can of pineapple (crushed)
  • 250g cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 125ml cream

Method:

Base: 

  1. Mix the biscuits and butter in a food processor until they clump together.
  2. Press the mixture into the cake tin and refrigerate. 20160719_093445

Cake Mixture: 

  1. Pour the hot water into a bowl.
  2. Add the gelatin into the bowl and dissolve it in the water. Let it cool.
  3. In the meantime, drain the juice from the pineapple can, and pour the pineapple into the food processor.
  4. Add the cream cheese, lemon juice and cream to the food processor, then mix them together.
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  5. Add the gelatin to the food processor and mix.
  6. Pour the cake mixture on top of the base.
  7. Refrigerate overnight.
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Melbourne’s Top 5 Cheap Eats

Naturally, you’d furiously try to find aesthetically pleasing and delicious food to eat when you arrive in a new city. Despite only being here for half a year, I’ve tried more than my fair share of food places. In no particular order, I thought I ought to share my top 5 places for lunch, which serve good food at decent prices (as you can imagine, this is quite the struggle).

1) Le Cirque

le cirque

There are two branches in Melbourne (as far as I’m aware of). One in the CBD and another in Docklands. They serve breakfast and lunch, and given that it is a cafe type restaurant, it’s also a fantastic place to stop by for snacks!

This is probably the most expensive out of these 5 places, but you really do get your money’s worth. Here, the main dish I ordered was salmon and it was huge! It was only $22, and given how pricey salmon is at the supermarket, it was totally worth it! The dish was also served with your classic mash and salad.

Now, I am also not a coffee person. Unpopular opinion – I cannot stand the smell of it. But I was feeling tired that day and the past week, I’d bought chai latte tea that was honestly the best drink I’d ever had. So the drink I settled with was chai latte, and it was so good! I’d get it again in a heartbeat!
On a side note, given that it was just a latte (i.e. not strong at all), I don’t know if I’d get a stronger coffee one day.

Also, if I haven’t convinced you yet, Le Cirque has birthday deals if you sign up so if that doesn’t sound appealing, I don’t know what does!

2) Ping’s Dumplings
If you’re someone who likes Chinese food, or even if you’re not (i.e. like me), dumplings are always a hit. They serve many different types of dumplings – from your classic boiled pork dumplings to vegetarian dumplings. And I know what you were thinking before I said this. Vegetarians will barely ever eat dumplings given that the key ingredient is meat! However, Ping’s Dumplings makes the exception and serves vegetarian dumplings! We ordered a plate and they were so good! The plate of dumplings are around $10 and you get about fifteen dumplings per plate. Now, I think I have a fairly big appetite and even I couldn’t finish fifteen dumplings, so this place is quite the bargain and it serves really yummy food!

Before you ask, yes, Ping’s Dumplings does serve more than just dumplings. They also have a variety of noodle and rice dishes, so yeah, basically your classic Chinese foods. But unlike your typical Chinese restaurant, I was very satisfied that Ping’s Dumplings cooked their food in heaps of oil because that just takes away from the taste and leaves your mouth feeling all greasy and gross.

Lastly, Ping’s Dumplings does have a snacks section in their menu and so if you’re just in for a light meal or you’re feeling peckish after dumplings, rice or noodles, I would recommend going for a snack! We had pumpkin cakes and red bean buns, which were delightful to eat!

3) Laneway Greens

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This is your ultimate healthy casual restaurant. Like I said in my previous post, I am all for a healthy lifestyle and so as you can imagine, this is the perfect place for me. They serve a wide range of salads. Not gonna lie, sometimes I am very skeptical about ordering salads out because very rarely will I be served a salad filled with a good mix of veges and protein. However, Laneway Greens serves the most beautiful salads and they are so good! They are also around $15 and so you do get your money’s worth of food, especially considering how healthy it is!

In the winter, people generally opt for something warmer and so I really do like how Laneway Greens serves soup. They also serve breakfast bowls and so not only is it an ideal place for lunch, it is also perfect for a late brekkie, unless you are of course, someone like me, and will be more than happy to have a breakfast meal as your lunch.
Finally, Laneway Greens also serves a variety of smoothies and juices and so even if you aren’t too keen on a salad, do stop for a drink because they too, are delicious!

4) Chilangos
If you’re looking for something quick and filling, Chilangos would be the place I recommend. As you can guess from the name, Chilangos is a Mexican place in the CBD. It’s no different from any other Mexican casual restaurant, but I’m convinced their burritos are much bigger, or at least filled to the max, because I was so full after having one!

You can choose from a burrito, burrito bowl, taco (they offer deals with 2 or 3 tacos) or nachos, and you basically go along the line, telling them the fillings you’d like. It’s a very fast process as all the fillings are right in front of you and so they just scoop the fillings into your burrito/taco. So basically, if you’re in a rush, do come here for a delicious and filling lunch!

You can also add sides, or if you have a sweet tooth, you can order churros as a dessert. Chilangos has fantastic prices – everything is under $10 so if your bank account is looking a bit sad, I’d pick Chilangos for a decent meal!

5) Manchester Press
20160622_130653Despite being in a seemingly dodgy location in a warehouse-type alleyway, Manchester Press is one of the cutest and most delicious little cafes I have visited in awhile. I love the presentation of their menu because it’s deliberately ripped on the sides to provide a rustic feel, which fits perfectly with the cafe’s look. Manchester Press specialises in bagels, both open and closed, and also offer a wide range of other breakfast options such as muesli and puddings. Their bagels are nice and soft on the inside, but very crispy on the outside. This is exactly how I like my bagels (despite sometimes being hard to cut through)!

Now, moving onto their coffee. The thing is, I’m not much of a coffee person and so as you may have guessed, I didn’t order a coffee. However, my friends did and I was honestly so amazed with its appearance. You see, usually when you go to a cafe, the latte art is generally a heart, or leaf of some sort. But in this case, they go all out and make little characters, which I find to be incredibly cute! So basically even if you’re not up for a feed, but you’re a coffee person, do come here for a drink to see their amazing latte art!

If you are roaming around Melbourne and can’t find a place to eat, do try out these places and I hope you like them as much as I do!

Love,

Jess

Healthy Snacks

Trying to find healthy snacks is quite the challenge because what’s on the shelves at your local supermarket is often highly processed, and is filled with heaps of unnecessary salt and sugar. So what I thought I’d do in today’s post is share a few of my favourite snacks that can be easily found at the supermarket, and are healthy and affordable.

1) Nuts

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Everywhere you go, people will always tell you that nuts are a healthy snack, and it really is true!! Fats are essential for our diets, and nuts are a fantastic source of fats! They are also so convenient because you can easily take them on the go (put them in a small container or wrap them in glad wrap). In addition, rather than buying pre-packaged trail mixes, you can make your own with nuts and dried fruit. Now, you may ask why I would say such a thing considering how easy it is to just buy a trail mix packet from the supermarket. However, these are often full of added sugar and preservatives, and so if you want a healthier trail mix, make your own! Also, when you’re buying nuts at the supermarket, the best option to go for are those that are unsalted and not roasted. Those that are roasted will often be less nutritious because the heat will have taken some of the nutrients out of it, and those that are salted will just add unnecessary sodium to your diet. If you do find that unsalted nuts are a bit bland, it is better for you to add salt yourself because packaged salted nuts usually have an excessive amount of salt.

Nuts are also useful in baking. They add a nice crunch to muffins, cakes, loaves, etc. If you have someone who is gluten free in your family, you can grind nuts in a food processor, thus allowing you to use the nuts as flour. Furthermore, nuts can easily be sprinkled on your breakfast, or you can grind them up to make nut butters!

 

2) Popcorn20160621_110308

Popcorn is another healthy choice for a snack because it is a great source of antioxidants. When you’re at the supermarket, there is an enormous variety of popcorn you can choose from. However, the first thing you should look out for is whether or not it is buttered. Butter popcorn will add unnecessary unhealthy fat to your diet, and this is something you should avoid to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Although the microwave popcorn is extremely convenient, a healthier option would be buying whole kernels which you can then pop yourself. You can then season it however you wish (e.g. with cinnamon), but do keep the amount of salt or oil you add to a minimum!

However, if you’re feeling a bit lazy and you don’t want to pop your own popcorn, i.e. you just want to buy packaged popcorn, you should pick any popcorn that is not salted, buttered, or flavoured with knowingly unhealthy toppings, e.g. caramel. If you buy plain popcorn, you can just season it however you wish, which is much healthier than buying already flavoured popcorn. Furthermore, if you’re looking for a particular brand of popcorn to buy, I would recommend The Wholesome Food Company. They have a variety of healthy popcorn flavours, which are delicious!

 

 

3) Fruit 

fruit-bowl-weight-loss

There’s a reason they recommend you 5+ a day in your diet. I know that everyone has their own taste buds and yes, it’d be boring if everyone liked the same kinds of foods. However, I’ve always been a little confused when people tell me they don’t like fruit. They’re so sweet, tasty and nutritious! In saying this, if you are someone who may not be the biggest fan of fruit, there are many ways in which you can make them “taste better.”

  • Add a dollop of peanut butter on a slice of apple or banana (banana and peanut butter is a fantastic combination).
  • Use berries and bananas in smoothies.
  • Sprinkle cinnamon on apple or pear slices. 

 

4) Rice Cakes

Rice cakes are excellent snacks, and you can enjoy them however you please by putting whatever toppings you’d like on them. My favourite toppings are banana and peanut butter, or avocado and banana (despite sounding like a strange combination, it is so good!). However, do beware that it is not the rice cakes that are extremely healthy, but rather the toppings you put on them.

 

5) Hummus and Veggie Sticks

veggies-and-hummus-recipe

Another way to satisfy your 5+ a day is to cut up vegetables and snack on them. Again, you may find this boring and so dipping your veggie sticks in hummus is a fantastic healthy snack. My favourite veggies to snack on are carrots, cucumber and celery. Often, store bought things are less healthy than if you make it your own. This does apply to hummus, however, store bought hummus is still incredibly healthy and so if you don’t want to make your own, buying hummus at the supermarket is still a smart choice. In saying this, hummus is extremely easy to make and is very nutritious, because chickpeas, a key source of protein, is the main ingredient.

So those are my 5 favourite healthy snacks. Do try them out, and although they sound generic, they are the best ways to snack if you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

 

Love,

Jess

Date Scone Recipe

Baking is something I love to do in my spare time, so I thought it was about time that I shared a recipe with you. I absolutely love eating scones, date ones in particular, and so I thought I’d share my favourite date scone recipe. This recipe is from The Healthy Chef, but I have adapted it slightly.

Makes: 12

Ingredients:

20160715_085551-1

  • 2 1/4 cups wholemeal flour (although any flour of your choice will work)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 80ml oil of your choice (I used rice bran oil)
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup oats

 

Method: 

  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper and preheat your oven to 200°C.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg together until fully combined.
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  3. Add oil and dried fruit, and mix together thoroughly.
  4. In a separate smaller bowl, combine the vanilla extract, honey/maple syrup and milk. Once combined, add this mixture to the dry ingredients.
  5. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together until combined. The dough may look wet but this is necessary for the oats to stick to the dough.
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  6. Sprinkle the oats onto the bench.
  7. Roll your dough in the oats, and then separate the dough into 12 small balls. While doing this, roll each ball in the oats so that each scone is covered in oats.
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  8. Place the balls onto the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. To check if the scones are done, insert a knife in the middle of a scone and see if it comes out clean.

Do try this scone recipe out, and I hope you like it as much as I do! If you aren’t a fan of dates, you’re welcome to substitute them for other dried fruits, or if you want the scones to be savoury, you can add cheese, ham, etc.

 

Love,

Jess

Beginner Recipes For Each Meal

Despite already having cooked at home, moving out meant that I had to cook for myself a lot more often. This drove me to try out all sorts of recipes for different meal times, and so I thought it’d be nice for me to do a blog post showing you my simplest breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes which are fantastic for people who are just starting to find their way round the kitchen.

Breakfast:

Oatmeal
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I absolutely love oats. People often think that healthy food isn’t usually that tasty, but given that you can add whatever you please with your oats, oatmeal is definitely something that is delicious!

Oatmeal is honestly the easiest and fastest thing to make in the morning, and I will share the simplest method with you.
1) Add your desired amount of oats into a microwavable bowl (I usually do 1/3 – 1/2 cup).
2) Pour twice the amount of liquid into the bowl. You can use water, milk or a mix of both. I generally use water because I like to have my oats with milk, so this is entirely up to you. Also, if you like your oats more liquidy, I would add a bit more liquid.
3) Put your bowl into the microwave for around 2 minutes and 30 seconds. I use rolled oats so it’s usually done in that time. However, quick oats will take less time while steel cut oats will take a wee bit longer (it’s fairly easy to judge for yourself).
4) Take the bowl out of the microwave and add your desired toppings. You can add fruit, nuts, spices (I like to use cinnamon), yogurt, milk… Well basically anything you want to put in it really!

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Lunch

Pasta
As a student, I always need something quick and easy to make for in between classes. I suppose most people would opt for a sandwich, but I’m not much of a bread person unless it’s toast. So what I like to do is make a really basic pasta salad type dish, which is nice and filling, and you can take it on the go in a container!

Rather than typing out what I do in a stepwise fashion, I thought I’d just write it as a paragraph because I feel like pasta is something anyone can make as it is so easy and versatile. Firstly, cook your dry pasta as directed on the packaging. I prefer using wholemeal pasta because it generally has more fibre and protein than your regular pasta. Also, I find that wholemeal pasta has more texture as you bite into it and so I think it’s nicer to eat. The only con about this is that wholemeal pasta does take longer to cook.
Once your pasta is finished, drain the hot water and then pour cold water over it to minimise the starch content. You will then take your pasta out of the pot and transfer it into a bowl. What I will then do is cook my protein and veges in a pan. The good thing about this is that you can choose whatever veges and protein you want because as I said before, you can basically put anything with pasta. Once they are cooked, add the pasta to the pan, along with any seasoning or sauce you want. I like to add herbs with my pasta, and when avocados are in season, I will often add half an avocado to make my pasta creamier and more delicious! However, if you’re feeling a bit lazy, you can also just add salad leaves to your pasta to satisfy your 5+ a day.

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Dinner

Burrito Bowl
Again, as a student, we don’t always have the most time. So a burrito bowl is another fantastic meal to make where you can just add whatever you want to it, and it’s super healthy and delicious! It’s also very easy to make because you can just use canned beans so even if you don’t have much time to cook dried beans, you can still have a burrito bowl! Considering how many burrito bowl recipes I’ve tried in my time, what I thought I’d do is just share three of my favourites. They are all fairly similar but some are simpler than others.

Oh She Glows: http://ohsheglows.com/2015/11/02/diy-burrito-bowl/

Blogilates: http://www.blogilates.com/blog/2016/05/27/healthy-homemade-vegan-chipotle-burrito-bowl/

Iowa Girl Eats: http://iowagirleats.com/2014/08/29/easy-homemade-burrito-bowls/

So there we have it! Those are my favourite simple meals to make for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Do give them a try and I hope you find them as good as I do!

Love,

Jess