Beetroot and horseradish salad dressing with walnut dukkah

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I love the color and the flavor of beetroot, not to mention how good it is for you! I decided to try something new and make a salad dressing using this sweet root vegetable. It’s absolutely delicious, especially with a crunchy and simple walnut dukkah!


Beetroot and horseradish dressing

1 small cooked beetroot (150g), roughly chopped

¼ cup avocado oil

2 teaspoons horseradish mustard

¼ cup lime juice

2 teaspoons maple syrup

Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste


Place beetroot, oil, horseradish mustard, lime juice, maple syrup, salt and pepper in the bowl of a blender and blend until smooth. Keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Makes ¾ cup

PS: I buy my beetroot already cooked from the supermarket, free of additives or preservatives (in the vacuum packs).


Walnut dukkah

½ cup toasted walnut

3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste


Place walnut, sesame seeds, coriander, salt and pepper in the bowl of a mortar and pestle of food processor and process until roughly chopped. Keep in an air tight container for up to 1 month.

Makes ¾ cup


Playing with food

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Last week was my daughter’s 5th birthday, and she came back from school to a little surprise. She had asked me to make her some cupcakes, so I planned a fun afternoon activity with her by letting her ice and decorate her own cupcakes. Not only her but the whole family had so much fun!


Cauliflower and tarragon meatballs

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I don’t tend to hide or disguise vegetables in my kids meals, as they are pretty good eaters. But if you do, this cauliflower and tarragon meatballs recipe (on tonight’s menu) is a perfect example of adding vegetables to a recipe without your kids even noticing it. I served it with some roasted sweet potatoes, corn on the cob and a crunchy, green salad. Yum!

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500g cauliflower florets

500g minced beef

1 cup finely sliced green onions

2 tablespoons chopped tarragon leaves

2 eggs

Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 ½ tablespoons grape seed oil

Place cauliflower florets in the bowl of a food processor and process until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Place in a large bowl. Add minced beef, green onion, tarragon, eggs, salt and pepper, and stir until well combined. Use your hands to roll meatballs the size of golf balls. Place on a tray and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add meatballs, in batches, and cook for 8-10 minutes, turning them over once or twice. Serve with lemon wedges.

Makes approximately 28 meatballs



Quinoa ramen soup

After spending a few wonderful days in Hong Kong with my family indulging on its amazing food, I arrived yesterday to a nearly empty fridge (as you do), and a very full stomach! All we felt like eating for dinner was something light and nourishing, so I quickly put together this quinoa ramen soup with the few items I had in hand.

I just love when only a few ingredients combined can turn into something delicious, in no time at all!

And to all of you living in the south hemisphere at the moment, this is the perfect recipe to warm your little ones’ little bodies during the cold winter days or nights. Enjoy!







Quinoa ramen soup

½ tablespoon grape seed oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 small brown onion, finely chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled and finely shredded

200g quinoa ramen noodles

6 cups water

2 vegetable stock cubes (organic and MSG free)

3 eggs, whisked


Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until onion is soft. Add carrot, noodles, water and stock cubes. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Stir in egg and remove from the heat.

Serves 4



Sweet potato latkes

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Sweet potato latkes


2 x 200g sweet potato, peeled and grated

1 medium onion, peeled and grated

¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 eggs

2 tablespoons rice flour

2 tablespoon chopped basil leaves

Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

Grape seed oil, for shallow frying


Place all ingredients (except oil) in a bowl and stir until well combined. Over medium heat, heat enough oil to cover the base of a frying pan. Drop heaped tablespoons of the sweet potato mixture and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side or until golden and crunchy. Drain on paper towel and serve immediately.


Makes 16

Vegetable minestrone with wholemeal couscous

The constant humidity and heat of Singapore don’t stop me from enjoying one of my absolutely favourite meals – a hearty, warming soup. Tonight we are having this mixed vegetables “minestrone” and wholemeal pearl couscous. Not only a great way to use all the leftover vegetables from my weekly shopping, but what’s more, an entire meal in only one pot. This recipe can feed easily 10-12 people, so I froze half for next week’s dinner. You may substitute the whole meal couscous with quinoa, pasta or rice.



Vegetable minestrone with wholemeal couscous

1 tablespoon grape seed oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 celery stick, finely chopped

3 carrots, peeled and diced

2 cups cauliflower florets, finely chopped

2 large tomatoes, chopped

5 springs thyme

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 ½ cups whole meal pearl couscous (giant couscous), or plain couscous, or quinoa, or pasta

10 cups water

2 cubes vegetable stock (MSG free)

1 cup sliced button or brown mushrooms

3 small zucchini, diced

Sea salt and cracked black pepper

Grated parmesan cheese, to serve

Drizzle extra virgin olive oil, to serve


Heat oil in a large casserole pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 5-6 minutes or until onion is soft. Stir in celery, carrots, cauliflower, tomatoes, thyme, tomato paste, couscous, water and stock cubes. Bring to the boil, partially cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until vegetables are soft. Add mushroom and zucchini and cook for a further 2-3 minutes or until just tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. To serve, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.


Serves 10-12

Curried pineapple fried rice

This recipe is a meal in one pan! You can also add cooked, shredded chicken, prawns or tofu if you fancy some extra protein. It makes a great side dish  for a summer BBQ too!


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

3 ¾ cups cooked brown rice (made with 2 cups uncooked rice)

1 ½ tablespoons curry powder

2 cups fresh pineapple, chopped

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Sea salt and cracked black pepper

½ cup green onion, finely chopped

½ cup flaked almonds, toasted

1 long red chilli, chopped (optional)


Heat the oil in a large wok or frying pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and carrots and cook, stirring constantly, for 8-10 minutes or until carrots are cooked through. Add rice, curry powder, pineapple and soy sauce and stir-fry until rice is heated through. Season to taste. Top with green onion, almonds and fresh chilli to serve.


Serves 4-6

Date, cinnamon and cashew smoothie

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After almost 3 months of polluted air, today we woke up to the most beautiful, clear, blue skies in Singapore. It makes me appreciate life in a different way, not taking even the air we breathe for granted. I took my dog for a long walk this morning, so I could inhale the tropical fragrances left after yesterday’s big tropical storm. If I closed my eyes, I could’ve easily been strolling around the streets of Ilhabela, “my” beloved island of Brazil , a special place in the my heart where I spent my childhood. Opposite sides of the world, but so similar in many ways!

On the blog today is a refreshing, healthy smoothie to start this stunning day on the right eating path. Enjoy this weather while it lasts!


Date, cinnamon and cashew smoothie

2 bananas, chopped and frozen

2 dates, pitted

1 cup soy, nut or cow’s milk

¼ cup roasted, unsalted cashews, roughly chopped

Pinch ground cinnamon

Blend bananas, dates, milk, half of cashew nuts and a pinch of cinnamon until smooth. To serve, divide between drinking glasses and top with remaining cashew nuts and little extra cinnamon.

Serves 2


Thai basil and ginger pesto

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The distinct fragrance of Thai basil is almost as enticing as its anise, liquorice and slightly spicy flavours. My new Thai basil and ginger pesto recipe is a wonderfully pungent topping for grilled meats, seafood, chicken, veggies or tofu.

I guarantee that when you taste this South East Asia super aromatic fresh herb, it’ll take you all the way to a laidback tropical beach!


Thai basil and ginger pesto

Thai basil and ginger pesto


2 cups Thai basil leaves

½ cup almonds or peanuts, roasted

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 small garlic clove

1 cm knob ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

Pinch dry chilli flakes

Sea salt and cracked black pepper


Place all ingredients in the bowl of a blender and blend until smooth. Season to taste. Serve with grilled fish, steak, tofu, vegetables or chicken, or tossed through noodles.

Makes just over ½ cup of pesto.


Wong bok and soba noodle summer salad

After what it feels like an eternity, I’m so excited to be writing posts for Chilli and Clay again!

Between school holidays, overseas trips, busy days running around to get to kids appointments, and my hard devotion to food styling jobs filling my weekly squedule, I had no choice but postponing this great passion.

Did you know that in the last few months I also launched 3 e-cookbooks (check them out on the shop page of The first 2 were designed to help parents to create healthy, easy and balanced lunch boxes, as well as fun and nutritionally packed kids birthday parties. The third book was created for UFIT Singapore, and it’s all about eating clean and lean. There, you’ll find heaps of uncomplicated recipes for those wanting a life change experience (check out for more info).

Red Wong Bok

Red Wong Bok

Now that we’ve finally settled back into what seems to be a routine, all I needed to get motivated again was coming across an ingredient I’d never seen before. When I caught a glimpse of these crispy, sweet tasting, red wong bok leaves (well known as Chinese cabbage), I knew that was the sign to get my hands dirty again. So I made up a heavenly salad for lunch today, perfect for another beautiful but hot and humid day in Singapore. Here is the recipe for you. Enjoy!


Wong Bok and soba noodle summer salad

Wong Bok and soba noodle salad

Wong Bok and soba noodle summer salad

300g red wong bok (Chinese cabbage), shredded

1 x packet 270g soba noodles, cooked, rinsed and drained

1 ½ cups finely shredded green onions

1 ½ cups coriander leaves

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Ponzu dressing

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

¼ cup soy sauce

1/3 cup Ponzu (Japanese citrus marinade)

cracked black pepper, to taste

To make the Ponzu dressing, place all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside. Toss together wong bok, noodles, green onion, coriander, sesame seeds and Ponzu dressing to serve.

Serves 4-6