Tag Archives : broccoli

Broccoli Rice and Being a Veg Ninja

roast peri peri chicken with broccoli rice recipe

Allow me to share with you one of those favourite family dishes. You know you have them in repertoire. There are the something really fast that you can get dinner going in 15 minutes and there are the really easy recipes that makes you look like a good parent for feeding your kids well. Because we, the adults, are fairly fussy, we also make sure that the stuff we make we want to eat too.

So I went over to my sister-in-law’s for lunch one day and she served up roast chicken. The chicken was really flavourful and tender and amazing and I ask her how she did it. She said she just bought the pre-marinated chicken from the supermarket. I never actually considered this! I had peri-peri chicken before but being a sucker that I am, I made it from scratch using this recipe. And it was great. But it was time consuming. So one day I thought I might try the pre-marinated peri-peri chicken from Aldi and I never looked back. They are butterflied and cook much faster than a normal roast. We get one of these chickens once every couple of months.

roast peri peri chicken with broccoli rice recipe

The next part, of course, is what to eat with it. I looked up a few Portugese recipes (working with what I had in the fridge/pantry) I found this recipe for broccoli rice (arroz con brocoli) which is basically rice cooked with broccoli, garlic and olive oil so I decide to ‘veg ninja’ it into a side dish with lots of vegetables. The concept of ‘veg ninja’ has been brought to my attention by a fellow parent on Instagram and it’s basically when you try to shove in as much vegetables into a traditional dish that does not have vegetables in it (think putting peas into spaghetti alla carbonara, cabbage into tom kha gai and having more veggies in fried rice than the actual rice) in order to make your kids eat vegetables. Well, this is one of those recipes and I love it.

Do you have a veg ninja trick? Please share!

Broccoli Rice
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
  1. 2 cups cooked long grain rice
  2. 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  3. 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  4. 1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
  5. 1/2 red capsicum, diced
  6. 1 small zucchini, diced
  7. 1 onion, diced
  8. 1 tomato, diced
  9. 4 tbsp juice & fat from the roast chicken (or substitute with some concentrated chicken stock - adjust amount accordingly when using chicken stock)
  1. Steam or microwave the broccoli florents with a bit of water until slightly soft but not yet fully cooked - around 2 minutes on High.
  2. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan on high. Fry garlic for a minute until softened but not coloured. Turn the heat down to medium.
  3. Add broccoli florets, red capsicum, onion and zucchini. Fry for a few minutes until they begin to soften. Add splashes of water if required to keep the vegetables from cooking unevenly.
  4. Add rice and fry until everything comes together and the vegetables are cooked.
  5. Add tomato and chicken juices/stock and fry until the tomato begins to soften and fall apart. Ensure there is enough liquid so this doesn't turn into a fried rice.
  6. Turn off the heat, cover the pan with a lid or foil and let the rice sit for about ten minutes.
Serve with
  1. - Peri peri roast chicken or any other roasts
  2. - Any meat really
  3. - Try covering it with cheese and bake (I haven't tried it but I am thinking it might be a good idea!)
Adapted from Traditional Portuguese arroz con brócoli recipes
Adapted from Traditional Portuguese arroz con brócoli recipes
Spatula, Spoon and Saturday /

Miso & Vegetable Konjac Noodle Soup (and a note on the 5:2 diet)

Miso and Vegetable Konjac Noodle Soup

Last year I went on a diet. I know. You gotta lose the baby weight sometimes. Since we’re not having another baby, I had decided that damnit, it was time. And so I jumped on this bandwagon called the 5:2 diet – which basically means for five days of the week you eat normally and for two days a week you limit yourself to 500 calories per day. I KNOW. It wasn’t as hard to do as I expected. And it worked. I was shedding around 0.5-1kg a week.

A day would go something like this:

  • Breakfast: boiled egg + a handful of strawberries +  a cup of plain tea
  • Morning tea: a cup of plain tea + a handful of strawberries
  • Lunch: plain tinned tuna (lowest calorie one I can find which is currently 57 calories, an achieve in itself) + mixed salad leaves + 1/2 tomato + 1 tbsp tinned corn + 1 tbsp grated carrot
  • Afternoon tea: a cup of plain tea + a small mandarin (or half an apple – when you’re on 500 calorie limit, an apple have A LOT of calories)
  • Dinner: a massive bowl of Japanese sukiyaki made from a few pieces of thinly sliced beed (no fat), a lot of Chinese cabbage, carrots, shittake mushrooms, sukiyaki stock (mirin, sake, soy sauce, sugar, dashi, etc.) and konjac noodles

The main thing was finding out an eating plan that worked for you. I did it with a group of friends. Some of us ate very very sparingly throughout the day and had a ‘big’ dinner and I, on the other hand, ate as much bulky low-calorie food (think a lot of Chinese cabbage!) all day long. The main thing was to find the right eating plan that suited you. I found not starving myself – i.e. eating all the time, all day long really helped and that was key to it being successful. Unfortunately, as all things, it required a lot of planning and I needed to have my meals for the day planned out before I leave for work. And as soon as I stopped it, the weight came back on – not instantly but as the old eating habits come back, so did the weight. I can’t help that if I had started with it for longer (I think I lasted 2 months), my eating habits would have been broken. C’est la vie.

strawberries and tea

Anyway, the one thing I got out of it was this really awesome lunch idea that is fairly healthy, very low in calorie and I really enjoyed. And it is also something you can easily whip up in the office using the microwave.


  • 100g konjac noodles (konjac noodles are noodles made from konjac – sold cheaply at some Asian grocers and more expensively at supermarkets in the health food aisle as ‘slim pasta’)
  • 1 packet of approx. 25g instant miso soup (instant miso soup is like a Japanese version of cup-a-soup, it is basically miso paste, stock powder and dried seaweed, buy them at Asian aisle in your local supermarket or Asian grocer)
  • 1/2 small zucchini, sliced
  • 3 floret of broccoli, cut into small pieces
  • 1 button mushroom, sliced
  • Or any other vegetables of choice (I always wanted to try packs of frozen veggies from the supermarket but never got around to it)


Rinse the konjac noodles well and drain. Steam the vegetables in the microwave with about 1 tbsp of water until tender (1-2 minutes). Make the miso soup according to packet instruction (which is generally add 1 packet of miso soup to 1 cup of hot water). Add everything together. Voila.

Spaghetti with Asparagus, Broccoli, Lemon and Shallot 10

spaghetti with asparagus, broccoli, lemon and shallot

I make this dish when the vegetables are really nice and fresh. I guess it’s my version of pasta primavera. Last week, we ended up with some really good asparagus from the farmers’ market. I also made it with broccoli and asparagus since. It’s superb. I know it doesn’t look all that interesting to many carnivores out there but when made wit fresh asparagus and broccoli, the vegetables are beautifully sweet.

blanching asparagus

For two:

  1. 6 thick asparagus
  2. 1/2 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
  3. 3 shallots, sliced
  4. 1 tbsp of pine nuts
  5. 1 small lemon
  6. 250g of spaghetti
  7. 3 tbsp of spinach and almond pesto*
  8. 80 g. of butter
  9. 1 tbsp of olive oil
  10. 1/2 tsp of saltasparagus and shallot

Use a peeler and peel back the tough bit of the asparagus stems. Bring a large pot of  salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook for about 5 minutes. Before blanching the whole asparagus stems and broccoli florets in the boiling water for 1 minute. Remove the vegetables, set aside.


Red Centre Trip: Cooking in Alice Springs 2

Last post on my Central Australia trip. Yay! Are you guys bored of reading about it yet?

bush tucker!

(Bush food – an Aboriginal survival presentation at Alice Springs Desert Park)

We spent the last two nights in Alice Springs before travelling back to Melbourne. We drove from Alice Springs to Adelaide (yes in one day) before a stop over in Adelaide and then back to Melbourne the next day. I don’t think I can ever drive that much in one day again.

Joshua's carbornara

(Joshua’s kinda carbonara)

Just some quick pictures of a few meals that we cooked ourselves in Alice Springs as we were back to having a fully equipped kitchen. We did a round of fresh food shopping at Coles in Alice Springs, which was rather big and very stocked.

carbonara sauce

(the carbonara sauce, recipe here)

Josh made spaghetti carbonara, his usual way with mushrooms and capsicum. We had it for lunch back at the apartment one day.

beef, chilli, onion and snow peas

I made stir-fried beef with onion, chilli and snow peas (recipe here, just add snow peas).

stir-fried beef with chilli, onion and snow peas

The snow peas were nice at the supermarket so I bought them instead of green beans. I served it with rice and omelet soup.

omelet soup

(omelet soup)

Omelet soup!?! Yep. Omelet soup. I might talk about it sometime later to include recipe but now is not the time.


Also made some more pasta sauce (with broccoli, zucchini, olives, bacon and capsicum) using the Leggo’s stir-through sauce for lunch on the road.

rock wallaby

(rock wallaby)

And that concludes most of the foods that had been consumed during my time away from home! I shall leave you with some pictures of a cute rock wallaby at the Heavitree Gap resort in Alice Springs and Adelaide’s West Beach.

Adelaide's west beach

More Melbourne eating from now on!

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