Recipe: Huevo a la rusa (Russian-style egg salad)

Despite its name, this dish is a Peruvian classic. So much so that I’ve been told it’s called “huevos a la peruana” (Peruvian-style eggs) in Chile. It is basically a spin-off of the traditional Russian Olivier salad, with the addition of eggs and golf sauce. It’s always served as an entrée, usually in “menú” (affordable set menu) eateries.

Huevo a la rusa (Russian-style egg salad)
Yield: 3 servings

Huevo a la rusa

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 cup peas
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup (preferably homemade)
  • lettuce leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Boil or steam the eggs to your liking (I steam mine for 10 minutes). Cool down with tap water. Peel, halve and reserve.
  2. Peel, cube and steam potatoes and carrots.
  3. Blanch or steam peas.
  4. Once vegetables have cooled down, mix them with 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise.
  5. Mix the other tablespoon of mayonnaise with the ketchup.
  6. Arrange lettuce leaves on 3 plates, place vegetable mix on top. Top with one halved egg and the mayo/ketchup sauce.
Hart and Soul cup soups

Product review: Hart and Soul cup soups

I wrote a product review for the nutrition site Foodwatch, ran by dietitian extraordinaire Catherine Saxelby. As all my reviews, this is a product I discovered while looking for a convenient, yet not overly processed source of nourishment. At the time, I was doing placement in Orange and I wasn’t able to cook every day. These soups turned out to be a perfect addition to my weekday lunches, particularly because it was freezing cold.

To read the full review, click here.

Review: Sample Coffee (St Peters)

Sample Coffee is a coffee roster with locations in Surry Hills and St Peters. We visited the latter, which is walking distance from where we live. It is located in a newish industrial/commercial complex in the middle of nothingness. The cafe is large, modern and spacious, with simple modern wooden furniture very pleasing to my eye.

Sample Coffee

Regular coffees are made with their Pacemaker blend, which is great, but you can also choose one of the available specials for a few extra cents. My filter coffee from El Salvador was excellent, and I’m enjoying the bag of Pacemaker ($14 for 250g) that I bought for home.

Piccolo latte, filter coffee, almond milk latte

Piccolo latte ($4), large batch filter coffee ($4.20), almond milk latte ($4 + $1 for the milk)

Food-wise, you will find toast (sourdough or gluten-free), porridge, eggs or avo and feta on toast, sandwiches, etc. We tried the

smoked trout and poached egg served on two toasted slices of Nonie’s gluten free charcoal bread, goat’s cheese and ricotta, watercress, fresh herbs and lemon dressing. The bread is incredible, and the whole combo just works.

Smoked trout and poached egg on Nonie's gluten-free charcoal bread

Smoked trout and poached egg ($17)

If you’re after a more substantial meal, there are a couple of bowls on offer that can be ordered as a half bowl ($11) or full bowl ($15). We tried the one with charred broccoli, roasted carrots, white bean, Brussel sprouts, pickled radish, wild rice, vinaigrette and fresh herbs. We ordered it with the recommended side of roast lamb (other options are 12 hour beef brisket, free range ham off the bone, avocado, smoked trout and free-range poached egg). I really enjoyed this dish and agree that lamb was the perfect protein to go along with the flavours. The serving size was decent but not huge, so if you have a healthy appetite the $4 difference between bowl sizes will be totally worth spending.

Charred broccoli bowl with roast lamb

Full bowl broccoli ($15) + roast lamb ($7)

There are also several sweet treats on display, including pastries and giant cookies. The orange cake was the only gluten-free option the day we visited.

Gluten-free orange cake

Gluten-free orange cake ($4)

The Bottom Line
Coffee: 4/5, great coffee, a few daily specials, almond milk available
Food: 4.5/5, great food, Nonie’s gluten-free bread, gluten-free and vegetarian options available
Service: 4/5, service

Sample Coffee St Peters
1.03/75 Mary St
St Peters NSW 2044
(02) 9517 3963
Website
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St Peters Pro Shop & Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

San Remo pulse pasta

Product review: San Remo pulse pasta

I came across San Remo pulse pasta at the Gluten Free Expo a few weeks ago. Even though I very rarely eat pasta (in fact I never buy or cook it because I prefer using vegetables as the vehicle for sauces), these caught my eye because they are not just an empty source of refined carbohydrate, but actually pack some nutrition. Because they are only or mostly made from pulses, they are higher in protein, lower in carbs and higher in fibre than regular pasta.

They come in three shapes: spaghetti, penne and fusilli. The spaghetti and penne are made out of equal parts of pea, chickpea, borlotti bean and lentil flour. The recommended serve is 125g (half a pack), which I think was a bit too much. Our serves were about 80-85g. The macros per serve for these are:
Protein: 28.8g
Fat 3.8g 3.0g
– saturated 0.5g
Carbohydrates 57.5g
– sugars 3.8g

The fusilli is made of chickpea flour (75%) and potato starch. The recommended serve is also 125 g and these are the macros per serve:
Protein: 22.5g
Fat 4.4g
– saturated 0.6g
Carbohydrates 71.3g
– sugars 2.8g

I tried the pasta with three recipes that remind me of my childhood: tallarín saltado de pollo criollo, tallarines blancos con atún and tallarines verdes.

Tallarín saltado de pollo criollo

Tallarines blancos con atún

Tallarines verdes

I was very pleased with the flavour and texture of the three shapes. They reminded me of whole wheat pasta in both fronts but felt a lot better digestion-wise. I found the flavour did not overpower the main ingredients in either of the dishes.

San Remo pulse pasta is available in major supermarkets. I recommend you give it a go whether or not you’re sensitive to gluten, the nutritional value is worth it.

Visit the following link for more information about San Remo gluten free pasta, including the pulse varieties.

Recipe: Tallarines verdes (Peruvian pesto pasta)

This is a revised version of the tallarines verdes recipe I posted several years ago. What’s the difference? This recipe is closer to my aunties’ recipe and features gluten-free pasta.

Like tallarines blancos, this dish was in rotation at my aunties’. The difference is that for a long period of time I didn’t like the pesto sauce but loved the white sauce. My uncle was the opposite, so on pasta day only one of us was happy. Obviously, I grew out of my pesto aversion and now love it.

Once again, I didn’t get to ask my auntie Sumi for the original recipe before she passed away. I have tweaked the current family recipe to approximate the taste I remember. My aunties used penne, I used fusilli because I think this shape works better with pesto.

Tallarines verdes (Peruvian pesto pasta)
Yield: 2-3 servings

Tallarines verdes

Ingredients

  • 1 (250g) pack gluten-free pasta, preferably fusilli (I used San Remo pulse pasta)
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1 cup English or baby spinach
  • 75g queso fresco or feta cheese (I used goat’s feta)
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to pack instructions. Drain, reserving some of the cooking water.
  2. Process or blend basil, spinach, cheese and parmesan, adding a few tablespoons of the reserved cooking water to achieved desired thickness. Season to taste.
  3. Return pasta to pot, coat with sauce (heat a bit if needed) and serve with a side salad.

Recipe: Tallarines blancos con atún (pasta with white sauce and tuna)

This is one of the dishes that were in rotation at my aunties’ but I never got sick of it. In fact, it was one of my favourites. Sadly, I never got the original recipe from auntie Sumi. This is my best attempt to approximate the dish using my taste memory and the current family recipe.

Tallarines blancos con atún (pasta with white sauce and tuna)
Yield: 2-3 servings

Tallarines blancos con atún

Ingredients

  • 1 (250g) pack gluten-free pasta, preferably penne (I used San Remo pulse pasta)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp rice flour
  • 1 cup milk (any kind, I used A2 full fat)
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 2 (185g) cans tuna
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to pack instructions. Drain and reserve.
  2. Heat up milk until warm. Don’t let it boil.
  3. Melt butter in a saucepan or pot. Add rice flour and stir until smooth. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Continue stirring as you pour milk slowly until the sauce has thickened.
  5. Turn off heat, add parmesan and tuna, mix well and season to taste.
  6. Add pasta, coat with sauce and serve with a side salad.

Recipe: Tallarín saltado de pollo criollo (Peruvian stir-fried noodles with chicken)

Let me introduce you to lomo saltado‘s cousin, tallarín saltado. Both dishes came to life thanks to the fusion that happened due to the large influx of Cantonese people in Perú between mid 1800s and early 1900s. They share the same core ingredients: beef, tomato, red onion, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, with the main difference being the starch: rice and potato chips in the case of lomo saltado and noodles in the case of tallarín saltado

Yes, I know I said one of the core ingredients of tallarín saltado is beef, but this recipe has chicken in it. This is a fairly common variant and is the one I grew up eating at the Japanese-Peruvian club we were members of. I also find it easier to make with a conventional stovetop, making good stir-fried beef requires a level of heat that is difficult in most homes.

For this recipe, I used a pack of San Remo pulse pasta that I grabbed at the Gluten Free expo. I will be reviewing the pasta later, so I won’t say much here. You can use any type of long pasta for this dish, e.g. flat rice noodles.

One last thing, the “criollo” bit of the name is to differentiate between this version of the dish and the one you typically find in chifas (Chinese restaurants), which is closer to the stir-fried noodle dish most people are familiar with.

Tallarín saltado de pollo criollo (Peruvian stir-fried noodles with chicken)
Yield: 3 servings

Tallarín saltado de pollo criollo

Ingredients

  • 1 pack gluten-free spaghetti (I used San Remo pulse pasta)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 500g chicken breast or thigh fillet, sliced
  • 1 red onion, cut in thick slices
  • 2 tomatoes, cut in wedges
  • 6 green onions, cut in 3cm pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1cm piece ginger, minced or grated
  • 2 tbsp tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to pack instructions. Drain and reserve.
  2. Heat oil in a wok or large saucepan at high heat. Add chicken.
  3. When chicken is fully cooked, add red onion and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Add tomatoes, green onions, garlic and ginger. Cook for another couple of minutes.
  5. Add pasta and sauces, mix well and serve with a side of vegetables.

Product review: Maggie recipe bases

Before you declare I have sold my soul to Big Food, let me throw in a disclaimer: I have received multiple free samples of these recipe bases in a couple of events and I’m an advocate of making good use of free food.

Mince cottage pie

Not all Maggie’s recipe bases are gluten free, but of course I tried the ones that are. All of them make 4 servings and need a few basic ingredients added in.

Beef Stroganoff

Once again, gluten free does not automatically makes a food product healthy. Some of the bases have ingredients I normally avoid such as “vegetable fat (vegetable fat, rosemary extract, sunflower lecithin)”, “flavours” and sugar. All of them have citric acid as preservative.

Chicken Chasseur

The bases are fairly easy to use and, in some cases, include instructions for a few different cooking methods (e.g. stovetop, oven, slow cooker). I’ve tried the Chicken Chasseur, Mince Cottage Pie, Beef Stroganoff, Satay Chicken and Chilli Con Carne. While I still prefer making my food from scratch, these can be handy when time is a constraint.

Satay chicken

You can find the ingredients lists and nutritional information for the full range at their website.

Yen's Vietnamese

Review: Yens Vietnamese (Waterloo)

This small Vietnamese eatery is located away from all the cool areas in the city but it’s worth making a detour (which can be justified by having gelato at Ciccone and Sons for dessert).

Every time we’ve come on Monday night for a pre-meditation bowl of soup it’s been packed, which is always a good sign. The food is BBB (bueno, bonito y barato), generous in size, and consistently good. The tables are always stocked with the mandatory sauces, fresh chilli, tissues and a flask of hot tea that gets promptly replaced when needed.

Sauces, tea

Noodle soups are a must-have here, the broths are flavoursome and don’t rely on heaps of sugar and MSG. The menu has tons of options to customise your soup, for example, my go-to is chicken broth with seafood and carb-free (yes, that’s exactly how it’s phrased in the menu – it comes with vegetables and no noodles). The base broth can be beef, chicken or vegetable – both the beef and chicken are excellent (haven’t tried the vegetable one). There are several protein and extras options so you won’t get bored ordering the same soup every time.

Beef & chicken pho

Beef & chicken pho ($15 + $3 for extra beef)

Pho with crispy skin chicken

Beef pho with crispy skin chicken ($14)

This time I had the cabbage salad with chicken and prawns which was, as you can see in the photo, a massive serve, and very tasty.

Cabbage salad with chicken & prawns

Cabbage salad with chicken and prawns ($15)

The stir-fried noodles are also highly customisable, with different noodle, sauce and protein options and a good amount of veggies.

Stir-fried noodles with chicken & vegetables

Stir-fried nooodles with chicken & vegetables ($13)

The Bottom Line
Drinks: 4.5/5, free hot tea.
Food: 4.5/5, fresh, tasty and lots of options.
Service: 4.5/5, warm, efficient and friendly.

Yens Vietnamese
29 Botany Rd
Waterloo NSW 2017
(02) 8399 0598

Yen's Vietnamese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Well & Good cake mix

Product review: Well & Good all purpose cake mix

My goodie bag from the Gluten Free Expo contained a box of Well & Good reduced sugar all purpose cake mix. Even though I’m not a massive fan of cake I was excited to try it out mainly because it was my first time baking something out of a box. Luckily, it was my husband’s birthday so I had an excuse and many friends to share the cake with.

The cake mix is free of the 8 main food allergens and, as advertised, has some of the sugar replaced by stevia. The ingredients are: gluten free flour mix (rice flour, corn starch, maltodextrin, tapioca starch), brown sugar, non aluminium raising agents (450, 500), thickeners (1412, 415, 461), vegetable emulsifiers (471, 475), natural vanilla flavour, iodised salt, colour (caramelised sugar), spice (cinnamon), stevia. Two things to note: 1) if you have food chemical sensitivities you might want to make your cake from scratch, and 2) gluten free doesn’t mean healthy. Cake is cake.

The instructions are very easy: simply mix in a bowl with 3 eggs, 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup oil using a wooden spoon, and bake.

Well & Co gluten free cake mix

There are a few suggestions of things you can add (banana, carrot, apple & cinnamon), but I added Alvaro’s favourite treat instead: frozen blueberries. The cake baked perfectly (in my oven it took less time than the minimum indicated on the box, so keep an eye). I decorated it with coconut cream & lemon icing and coconut flakes.

The macros per serve for the cake prepared plain and assuming 10 servings per package are:
Protein: 3.4g
Fat, total: 14.2g
– saturated: 2.0g
Carbohydrate: 34.6g
– sugars: 11.7g

The verdict? Taste-wise, the cake received 2 thumbs up from everyone. I thought it wasn’t extremely sweet, which is good, but I prefer my cakes moister and denser. Nutrition-wise, again: cake is cake.

Well & Good