Creamy Chicken & Corn Soup Recipe

It’s well and truly winter here in Australia. I live in the cold capital of Canberra so I know a thing or two about cold winter days! There’s also an icy wind on top of having most nights sub zero… just thinking about it makes me shiver!

Winter always calls for comfort foods that warm your body and help the soul deal with the shorter and colder days. When the temperatures dip like this, it’s always a great idea to sip on soup in winter.

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Vegan Scrambled Tofu: the Healthy & Cruelty-Free Alternative

For those who follow me on social media, you would have seen that I completed the Veganuary challenge in January. It was really a interesting challenge that completely opened my eyes to new possibilities in the kitchen.

One new recipe I tried was scrambled tofu. I already liked the taste of tofu and occasionally ordered it when eating out. But I never knew how to cook it properly.

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Italian Dinner with a Sea View at Sorriso Italian

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One of my favourite things about travelling away is eating out at new and exciting places. My recent getaway to the South Coast was no different.

It’s often super busy at this time of the year up and down the East Coast. Without a doubt, most of Canberra leaves the territory around Christmas Eve and will stay down there until New Year’s Day (or whenever they have to return to work). Because of this, the accommodation is usually expensive and you often need to book a year in advance. We were lucky that we have family we can stay with (and have the Christmas celebrations with too) so we decided to capitalise on that this year and stay longer than our usual Christmas dash.

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Quinoa Tabbouleh

 

I used to love eating tabbouleh. It is fresh and a perfect side dish for summer. The only problem is that since becoming gluten intolerant, I can’t eat cous cous, which is one of the main ingredients in tabbouleh. For years I have had to say no to the delicious mix of tomato, onion and parsley. But a while ago I saw the idea of using quinoa as a substitute… Whilst I always have quinoa in my kitchen, I never tried this recipe… Until recently.

My street has a regular Christmas street party BBQ and we all bring along some meat and a side dish. I wanted to bring along a dish of something that was different, but fresh and delicious summer dish. Quinoa tabbouleh seemed like the perfect dish to bring!

It is a little time consuming to make, but I thought it was well worth the preparation.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup parsley
  • 4 tomatoes (I used 3 large Roma tomatoes and one medium sized Truss tomato)
  • 1/2 Spanish onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (approx 1 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional: lemon wedges and parsley leaves to garnish

Method

1. Rinse quinoa under cool water before cooking. Cook in boiling water until quinoa is light and fluffy. Rinse and set aside to cool. Stir quinoa with fork to keep fluffy and speed up cooling process.

2. Dice onion. Place onion into a small bowl. Cover onion with water and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. This will soften the onion and make it more pleasant to eat.

3. Dice tomatoes and place in large bowl. Mince garlic clove and finely chop parsley, and place in bowl. Once quinoa is cooled, add to bowl as well. Drain onion from water and also add to large bowl.

4. In another small bowl, mix olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Add oil and lemon mixture to large bowl with all other ingredients and stir thoroughly. 

5. Allow tabbouleh mixture to sit for a hour or two in the fridge. There may be some excess moisture from the oil and lemon juice – this will eventually be soaked up by the mixture.

6. After an hour or so, season with salt and pepper. Stir again before serving and garnish with lemon wedges and parsley leaves. Serve as a side for barbecued meat. This tabbouleh mixture will keep for a few days in the fridge.

You can also add a tablespoon of finely chopped mint leaves to this mixture to give it an extra freshness kick! I didn’t have any mint so I decided not to use it and I think it turned out great without the mint, but other people may find that the mint gives it the little extra something it needs.

What do you think of my Quinoa Tabbouleh? Do you have a similar recipe or a recipe for Tabbouleh? Share your thoughts and links in the comments section!

Bye for now,

Vintage Barbie xoxo

All opinions in this post are my own. Unless otherwise stated, this post has not been sponsored and I have not been paid for this post

See you in the Social Media Atmosphere:

Instagram: @vintagebarbie17 | Facebook: Adventures of Vintage Barbie – Blog | Twitter: @vintage_barbie1 | Polyvore: vintagebarbie17 | Pinterest: @vintagebarbie17

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High Tea at The Tea Salon Sydney

I’ve been to quite a few hens weekends. A lot of them have been in Sydney as well. I definitely had fun at the last one I attended, which including high tea at The Tea Salon.

This is not your traditional high tea. It is set right in the centre of shops in the Pitt Street Westfield mall, which I found a little strange at first. It also looks like it is permanently busy, especially if people can come in when they are in the middle of their shopping. However this gives it a casual, relaxed kind of feel. There is a secret little kitchen off behind some shops, with a large cabinet in the centre of the cafe for water and glasses. It is very cute, a little kitsch and fairly girlie. They had so many cute serving dishes and teacups that I would like to have at home myself!

We had a very group, I think around 20 people. Obviously this kind of place is not meant for groups this big and it looked like they had struggled to fit us all in the same area. Quite a few of the round tables were pushed together, which made the placing of food very squished, and also made socialising with others a little difficult. I often had my back to some of my friends because of how we were set up with the round tables.

Staff seemed a little overwhelmed at times. There was no coming to the table to make sure that our food was ok and no one coming to top up water. They didn’t even leave the water jug so we could top up our glasses ourselves, which was a little annoying considering I wanted water, not champagne at that time in the day. Although, the pink champagne was pretty nice… Just wish I felt like drinking it and it probably would have enjoyed it more..

The great thing about this place is that you can choose to eat a la carte, or select the high tea platter. There are also many options available for vegetarians, gluten free, dairy free and even pregnant women.

So for once, I was actually rewarded for my gluten intolerance – I got a whole platter to myself! It was amazing! There were so many pieces of food that I literally took a bit of everything but could not get anywhere near finishing my platter!

There were the standard scones with jam and cream, but also blueberry scones and raisin scones with orange marmalade. If you order scones off the al a carte menu then you can try a fair few different tasty treats.

I found the gluten free scones to taste extremely doughy and even with the jam and cream they were quite dry. I somewhat expected this of gluten free scones though as it would be difficult to make scones with the same texture and taste as your regular, gluten included scones.

There were lots of sweet things and I literally could not eat them all. However I made sure I tasted everything, even if it was only a little bite. There was this indescribable dessert in a shot glass. I think it was a custard of some sort with tea on top. It reminded me of camomile flower buds mixed with some other tea. As I said, it was indescribable, mainly because it have no idea what it was! I also was not a fan of the taste.

Champagne was fairly nice too. It was pink, sparkly and had a sweet taste to it. However it added on an extra $11 to the total bill, so keep that is something to keep in mind for next time.

There was a good selection of teas to choose from – There were a few regular black teas and green teas, rooibos, chai and then a good selection of flavoured teas. I can’t remember what it was called and I forgot to take a picture of the tea menu, but I do remember that it was kind of like an apple pie. It was scrumptious!

My rating of The Tea Salon

Atmosphere: 3.5/5 | Customer Service: 3/5 | Speed of Service: 4/5 | Presentation of Food: 4.5/5 | Taste: 4/5 | Value for Money: 4/5

Total Score: 23/30

For more information on The Tea Salon, go to their website: http://www.theteasalon.com.au

I would definitely like to go to The Tea Salon again to try out many more of their funky teas and possibly get some other delicious treats on the menu.

Have you been to The Tea Salon? Tell me your thoughts on this place!

Bye for now,

Vintage Barbie

All opinions in this post are my own. Unless otherwise stated, this post has not been sponsored and I have not been paid for this post

See you in the Social Media Atmosphere:

Instagram: @vintagebarbie17 | Facebook: Adventures of Vintage Barbie – Blog | Twitter: @vintage_barbie1 | Polyvore: vintagebarbie17 | Pinterest: @vintagebarbie17

Pear, Cinnamon and Almond Muffins

I love this recipe because it’s a great way to use fruit before it goes off and needs to go into the bin. It makes for great afternoon tea, and there is no electric mixer needed. The mixture becomes quite thick and chunky with the end result being a rustic looking muffin with that traditional baking smell.

The fact that they are rustic means they don’t need to be perfect. I love cooking perfectly imperfect treats as it means that the mistakes can easily be disguised!

When slicing and dicing the pears, there is no need for precision. Just chop into small pieces that will work well in the muffins.

This recipe is an adapted version of a similar recipe on My Little Lunch Box – click here for original recipe. I changed it to use some almond meal as well as gluten free flour. I also decided not to use vanilla bean paste because, well I just didn’t have any in my pantry! I substituted for vanilla essence, and it seems that this did the trick.

This seems to be a winner with both kids and grown ups alike. I took these to work for afternoon tea recently and it seemed like everyone enjoyed these delicious treats.

They tend to last a few days, but they are best fresh or eatedn the day after cooking.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup Greek yoghurt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 & 1/2 cups diced pears (approx one large pear or two small pears)
  • 1 & 1/2 cups self raising flour
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup Flaked almonds
  • Extra sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Place muffin papers in the tin.

2. Roughly slice and dice the pears into small “cubes”.

3. Sift flour into a large bowl. Add the almond meal, cinnamon and sugar and stir in. Create a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.

4. Combine the Greek yoghurt, oil, eggs and vanilla essence in a medium sized bowl. Whisk together for a few moments until all items are completely combined.

5. Pour wet mixture into the well in the dry ingredients bowl. Softly mix with a wooden spoon until ingredients are combined.

6. Add diced pear to mixture. Carefully fold diced pear in with a wooden spoon.

7. Line a muffin tray with paper muffin cases. Spoon a tablespoon full of mixture into each muffin case. Sprinkle flaked almonds on top.

8. Bake for 25 minutes. Check that muffins are cooked by poking a wooden skewer into the middle of one. If it comes out clean, they are ready to be pulled out of the oven. If it comes out with raw mixture, keep in for another 5 minutes.

9. Once muffins are cooked, pull out of oven. Sprinkle a small amount of extra sugar over the top of each muffin. Allow muffins to cool.

10. Enjoy with a cup of tea or pack them in the kids lunchboxes for a delicious school day treat!

Hope you enjoyed this recipe! If you try out this recipe, let me know and share your comments!