Monthly Archives: September 2012

Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

So what happens when cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves mingle together?

Well, you got yourself some pumpkin pie spice mix. :)

I don’t think I have ever came across pumpkin pie spice mix in Australia. But then I never really look out for it. Since it’s Autumn in other side of the world, I have been noticing a lot pumpkin related recipes in the blogosphere. And some of them contained pumpkin pie spice mix.

This has somehow reminded me of the pumpkin pecan pie  which I’ve made a while back.  One feedback I got from a friend was that it was not “spicy” enough for him. Hmmm… what a fussy friend, don’t you reckon? :P

Since I have now mixed together pumpkin pie spice at home, I am looking forward to add this spice mix in my next pumpkin pie baking adventure. Watch this space. :)

Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

(recipe from

The following proportion yields about 1/8 cup, adds up to be 6.5 tsps

What you’ll need:-

  • 4 tsps ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl. To transfer the spices from the bowl in a bottle, you can first transfer the spices to a piece of baking paper (make sure it’s big enough to hold all the spices). Then left the baking paper on both sides (see photo above for further guidance) to form a “tunnel” and slowly pour the spices into a bottle (make sure it is an airtight container to ensure the longevity of the freshness).

Kale Chips & Nut Mix (Savoury)

I know I have been late on the kale “chips” bandwagon.  Cooking wise, I am more than happy to stick to sauteed kale. With a little olive oil and chopped garlic…it is simply irresistable. As the saying goes “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. In this instance, I wouldn’t want to change how I handle  kale.

Now if the story ended right then, there will not be a post on kale chips. Obviously.

The kale chips story begins when I neglected a bunch of fresh kale in my fridge. It happens. Since it is too expensive to let my kale to wilt and end up in the tip, I mass produced kale chips in effort to save them from a wasteful ending. In the end, it turned out to be the reason I need to attempt making kale chips and boy I didn’t regret the decision!

Is it just me or kale chips can be easily demolished in one sitting…? To bulk it up a little, I added roasted nuts. My previous effort also includes some dried cranberries and nuts…. you know, like trail mix and it was delicious.  As I am a savoury girl at heart, I am proud to present the savoury version of the kale chips and nut mix infused with rosemary and smoked paprika.

Kale Chips & Nut Mix

What you’ll need:-

  • Olive oil
  • Smoked paprika
  • Rosemary, finely chopped
  • Kale (I used cavolo nero, but you can use the curly leaved ones if you can find them)
  • Raw mixed nuts or your preferred nuts (I used Macro Natural Raw Mixed nuts)
  • Salt to taste


Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius/ 338 degrees F. Line baking tray with baking paper. Mix olive oil, smoked paprika and chopped rosemary in a small bowl. Set aside. Slice the tip of kale leaves into smaller pieces. Then start triming the “leaf” part from the stem when you reach the tougher section (see photo above for further guidance). Repeat with the remaining kale. Toss kale with seasoned oil and salt in a large bowl and arrange the kale on the baking tray. Make sure they don’t overlap. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until they are crispy. Transfer the kale chips to a flat plate. Then toss the raw nuts with oil and roast for 10 minutes. To serve: mix the kale chips with the roasted nuts.

Smoked Salmon, Peas, Cranberries & Quinoa Pilaf

One evening not too long ago, I was sitting on my couch watching a tv show. Then I heard my beloved rummaging my pantry.

So I asked: “What are you looking for?”

He answered: “I’m looking for some cans of tuna. You know the ones I’ve bought long time ago.” (Side note – which I believe to be last year before our move from Bathurst.)

“Uhm, whyyyyy?” I asked again.

“Haven’t had fish for a long time…” He replied.

I didn’t realise there’s such thing as fish craving. :P That’s cool. I got that craving sorted with this quinoa pilaf with smoked salmon. What I love about this pilaf is that it requires minimal cooking and can be done fairly quickly. As the dish is filled with an array to ingredients…smokiness and savouriness from the smoked salmon, the greens from the peas, heartiness from the quinoa, sweetness from the dried cranberries and freshness from the parsley, the only dressing you will need is … olive oil. Simplicity is the key for this recipe and it makes an ideal packed lunch option. :)

Smoked Salmon, Peas, Cranberries & Quinoa Pilaf

(Serves 2 people)

What you’ll need:-

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup hot boiling water
  • 1/4 cup of dried cranberries plus enough hot water to dehydrate them
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 150g /5 ounces of store-bought smoked salmon portion
  • A handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • A couple of drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly grind black pepper
  • Some toasted almond flakes to garnish


Cook quinoa according to the packet instructions. I usually use the absorption method with 2:1 water to quinoa ratio. For this recipe, cook the quinoa in a small pot with a pinch of salt and hot boiling water over low-medium flame. When the water is 90% gone, turn off the flame and let it sit until the water is completely absorbed, with a lid on. Set aside. Rehydrate the dried cranberries with some hot water. Leave the cranberries in the hot water while you thaw and heat through the frozen peas. Place the frozen peas in a heatproof jug and cover the frozen peas with water. Microwave the peas on high for 2 minutes (the time may vary) or until the peas are very well heated through. Drain peas and the cranberries and place them in a large bowl.  Flake the salmon. Add the flaked salmon and quinoa (loosen the grains with a fork beforehand) with the peas and cranberries toss gently until well combined with a fork. Stir in chopped parsley. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, sprinkle some toasted almond flakes. It can be served warm or cold.