Posts tagged tips and tricks


There has been many a debate on what makes a good grilled cheese sandwich, and it going me thinking: grilled sandwiches are awesome regardless, but what if I don’t have a sandwich press? Well, one way to deal with it is well, to use the grill in the oven. But my oven’s shot at the moment, so here’s how to do it with a frying pan!

First, lightly spray a frying pan with some olive oil. You could also just use a non-stick pan for this.

Use a medium high heat, and when the pan’s nice and hot, build your sandwich!

Mine’s got cheese, ham, tomatoes, and mustard. Next, top off your sandwich!

The trick is, to make sure that the sandwich gets all nice and toasty, use a large dinner plate to weigh it down. This will create the same effect as a sandwich press.

When you’re happy with the toastiness of your sandwich, just flip it over and repeat!!

Voila! A quick, healthy meal that takes just minutes!

Happy munching!

Beef Up Your Stew!


“The lentil or Masoor daal or Masoor dal (Lens culinaris), considered a type of pulse, (generic translation daal or dal,) is a bushy annual plant of the legume family, grown for its lens-shaped seeds. It is about 15 inches (38 cm) tall and the seeds grow in pods, usually with five thousand seeds in each.”

One of the vegetarian substitutes for mince is the humble lentil. Usually, the image that lentils conjure up is that of buckets of water, and having to soak them overnight…all of that effort. I know I’m probably not the first one to think of it, but I’ve just found a way to avoid all of that!


A stew-type recipe (like a bolognese)  calls for a mixture of mince, and when you’re making a big pot (presumably for a large family), you’ll need a large amount of mince or risk the stew ending up watery, rather than rich and hearty. And meat is expensive! The solution?


Because of the long cooking hours, you don’t have to soak the lentils. Just rinse it in a strainer until the water runs clear, and add them in with the rest of the stew. When the stew’s finished, the lentils are nicely cooked and the stew’s really nice and hearty!

Great for those cold winter nights coming up.

Happy munching!

Go Raw!

The seventh day of Chinese New Year is called 人日, loosely translated as “human’s day”. Legend has it that different animals were made on different days, and on the seventh day, humans were made out of clay. I was told stories as a kid about why were are encouraged to eat raw food on this day, but unfortunately I can’t quite remember them at the moment.

As a kid I was just glad for any excuse to eat anything.

The Chinese in the South East Asian Region like to practice eating something called 鱼生 (yusheng) which signifies prosperity. The dish is made of various vegetables (like julienned carrots and radish) and raw fish.

This piece of information also coincides with a theory that eating your food raw for a certain percentage of your daily diet is good for you. (I don’t know about keeping enzymes in your food but I do believe that vitamins are best transmitted from fresh food)

So why not just make one day of the week your day for raw food? I understand that raw fish isn’t for everyone, but salads and vegetables and fruit have such a glorious crunch and fresh taste to them that there really are very few reasons against it!

Besides, it takes a massive amount of fruits and veggies to actually overeat – to me, that sounds like an all-you-can-eat day!

Happy munching!

Snack Attack!

The hardest part of dealing with the munchies is finding something to munch on!! I find it really useful to keep snack portioned (about 100+ cal) food around the house. I know that it’s cheaper to buy in bulk, but when I open a full size anything I never stop at the snack-servings! It’s just too tempting to finish it all.

Especially when there’s a sad cling-wrapped can sitting in the fridge looking at you accusingly, going, “You left me you bastard! YOU ABANDONED ME!!!”

Which is why I also find it a lot more satisfying when I finish a full serving of snack portions. That, and I have a strange satisfaction seeing empty cans/bottles/packets in the bin.

Happy munching!

The Sweet Stuff

We all crave the sweet stuff from time to time, some more than others. The thing is, it might be worthwhile shelling out and buying the good stuff, rather than succumbing to the lure of the cheap.
For example, rather than getting cheap, homebrand chocolate, get a nice, dark chocolate that you really enjoy. This way, you can actually be satisfied with the one mouthful, rather than eating the whole block.

Similarly, if you like your ice cream, just keep a few small tubs in your freezer, or a 1L tub of reaaaaalllyyy amazing ice cream that you enjoy. I’ve found that if I’ve just bought a cheap 2-3L tub of plain vanilla ice cream to keep at home, then I tend to eat some ice cream after dinner just because I’ve got it in the freezer! If I’ve got a really nice one, then I need less, since I savour every mouthful.

That, and because I’m sticking to a strict grocery budget, I don’t buy ice cream as often either.

Finally, it might be a good idea to keep just a few nice treats at home rather than many cheap ones. It takes 21 turns of something to turn it into a habit. So keeping an overflowing abundance of treats at home will not only get you into the habit of eating them, it gets you into the habit of buying them!

And it gets quite sad when it’s the middle of the night and you’re surrounded by a sea of empty crisp packets. Trust me, I’ve been there.

Anyway, speaking of the sweet stuff, I think I’ve got some sticky date pudding in the fridge calling my name!

Happy munching!


Welcome to my freezer. Yes, I know that it’s a little bit overwhelming, but I assure you that this is for a very good cause.

It is so easy to nibble away at food when you’re packing away leftovers. Especially when there’s that little bit that can’t fit in the container. That last spoonful that looks at you and goes, “Don’t waste me! I’m so tasty!” If you’re not careful, those spoonfuls will lead you to unknowingly eat a whole other meal!

What I try to do is portion my food as soon as I do the grocery shopping. I figure out how much I need for the meal and leftovers for lunch the next day. Then I put them in zipper bags and freeze them flat for easy defrosting.

I believe that munching is a good thing. But unknowing munching is very very dangerous. Not to mention that you’re not actually savouring whatever you’re eating (because you’re not eating for the enjoyment of the food), but you also end up with all the calories that you don’t know you’ve consumed!

Not cool.

Avoid unknowing eating and save those calories to munch on other things! And you know there are other, more enjoyable things to munch on. 😉

Happy munching!

Frozen Grapes

I’m sure that I’m not the first one to come up with this (after all, it was introduced to me by a friend) but it’s incredibly handy to have.

When grapes are abundantly in season – for Sydney, it seems to be now – buy all the lush plump morsels that you can get your hands on. Simply give them a quick rinse in the sink and pluck them off their stoic stems and freeze them! (I use little snack zipper bags so that I can stick to a portion.)

These satisfy both the craving for something that is almost saccharine-ly sweet and the need to keep popping something in your mouth. They also conveniently keep in your freezer for whenever you want them. Great for a warm summer night!

Oh, do remember though that nothing is supposed to stay in the freezer for more than three months. (Although I’m quite sure that if you’ve got the munchies like I do, nothing will ever stay in there for quite that long)

Happy munching!