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Discovering Green Caviar with Meal Belly

We all know how important healthy eating is.

But we all also know, that healthy eating isn’t always the most feasible. For one or more of these reasons: not readily available, pricey, troublesome, or simply not being convenient or tasty enough.

Meal Belly intends to try change all of that, starting with one super ingredient! Founded in September 2016, Meal Belly is an online retailer specialising in gourmet ingredients and pioneers its flagship product, Green Caviar, through its e-commerce platform, www.mealbelly.com. They’re the first to launch Green Caviar, so you no longer have to travel overseas to have a taste of this product.

Most people in Singapore probably have never heard of this particular type of seaweed before, because it’s so uncommon over here. But here’s sharing some fun facts about Green Caviar:

  • Caulerpa lentillifera is the scientific name, and it’s a species of bryopsidale green algae from coastal regions in the Indo-Pacific
  • It’s also commonly known as Sea Grapes or Green Caviar, or Umibudo in Japanese
  • Effortless and convenient for everyday meals
  • Only 4 calories per 100 grams
  • Can be eaten on its own as a snack, with a dipping sauce, or as a side dish / garnish
  • It can only be readily purchased on www.mealbelly.com in Singapore, and will be delivered in 1-2 working days to your doorstep!
  • Safe for consumption for kids, expecting and breastfeeding mums in moderation – it also has high contents of iodine, which is ideal for them!

Considering there are so many benefits to this super seaweed, I was really interested in trying to incorporate this ingredient in my everyday meals, so here’s a super quick and easy recipe to share with you guys!

Cold Udon with Green Caviar

Ingredients: (serves 1)
1 serve of udon
30ml of udon sauce
150ml cold water
slivers of Japanese wakame
10g of cubed cold tofu
Meal Belly’s Green Caviar
garnish with cherry tomato / furikake

Directions:

  1. Rinse Green Caviar in water for 10 seconds, then soak in ice cold water for 3 minutes, before draining water and setting aside
  2. Blanch 1 serving of udon in hot water for 3 minutes, then run under cold water until cool to the touch, set aside
  3. Soak dried out Japanese wakame in water for a few minutes until fully rehydrated
  4. Combine udon sauce, cold water, cooked udon, tofu, wakame and top off with Green Caviar, then serve cold! Done in 5 minutes.

So preparing Meal Belly’s green caviar is completely fuss-free and idiot-proof, you’ll be surprised at how simple it is.

They come packed in little sachets of 20g such as these, and also in 100g & 200g. They’re sealed fresh and they really do still smell of the sea!

The texture is rather mushy and doesn’t look like much in this state. But just wait a few minutes and watch this seaweed spring back into life before your very eyes!

After rinsing, I dunked it in a cup of ice cold water for a few minutes.. then I saw the seaweed getting plumper and grow in size, which was really fun to witness!!!

After just 3 short minutes, this is what you’ll end up with.

A whole bunch of fresh Green Caviar! They do resemble sea grapes, huh? I find them strangely adorable!!!!

Don’t soak them in water for longer than a few minutes, because they’ll lose the crunch and texture, then return to the mushy state it was in before. It is advisable to rinse and soak them thoroughly so that they’re not too salty – they’re packed freshly in oxygenated water, so a good rinse will help reduce the sodium content before your immediate consumption.

I chose this cold udon recipe to pair with Green Caviar because I wanted to keep in line with the whole fuss-free, healthy eating theme.

Also, because Green Caviar is famed as an Okinawa delicacy, I had to pay tribute to Japanese cuisine. I really enjoy cold dishes because it’s so refreshing to have them in Singapore’s sweltering heat! I really enjoy Green Caviar’s crunchy texture and versatile nature, and can see myself including this as a topping to many different dishes. Salads, pastas, side sishes, and even soups!

It tastes like seaweed – slightly of the sea, slightly salty, but mild enough to accompany any type of sauce you soak it in. I think it’ll be pretty  delicious in something tangy and spicy. I’ll try it with Thai sweet chilli next!

What are its health benefits?

A tasty and affordable superfood, Green Caviar packs a nutritional punch. Here are some of the benefits of the vitamin and minerals that it contains.

  • Vitamin A: Helps to maintain a healthy eyesight and promotes skin regeneration for better skin.
  • Vitamin C: Strengthens the immune system, prevents stroke, cardiovascular and other diseases.
  • Calcium: Keeps bones strong, which prevents onset of osteoporosis.Iodine: Prevents thyroid disease, which can lead to dry skin, constipation, weight gain, fatigue and other symptoms.
  • Potassium: Helps to maintain a healthy blood pressure, maintain bone density, and prevent cardiovascular disease.

When I attended an event to learn more about Meal Belly’s Green Caviar, they served it up in a poke bowl, which is a Hawaiian concept for raw fish salad!

As you can see, Green Caviar is commonly associated with other healthy foods because of its highly nutritional contents.

Personally I think this is a great ingredient to have in my cabinets at home, because it’s so unique – I can bet that whoever I prepare this for will ask, “What is this?!” and it’s a sure conversation-starter! I feel it would go particularly well with canapes, something I love doing for events and house parties.

Green Caviar stores for at least 8 months in your fridge while sealed tightly in its original packaging, so you don’t have to worry about its shelf life either. you don’t have to worry about its shelf life either.

Due to the rise of superfood and healthy eating among consumers, the farming of green caviar has spread from Okinawa to other Asian countries, such as South Vietnam where it’s farmed and then harvested by hand for your enjoyment.

Meal Belly is the only store stocking this product now, so hit up their website to stock your kitchen with this unique superfood! Enjoy up to $16 off from now till end January.

Enter “Shibertyxmb” to receive additional 10% off!

xoxo,
Jess

Danone Yoghurt

I never used to be much of a yogurt person, all until frozen yogurt dessert chains started popping up a few years ago! Froyo made me appreciate the sourish taste of yogurt, while making me feel like I’m making a better diet decision because it’s supposed to be better for your digestive system than ice cream (right?! please tell me I am right).

Danone yogurts are made with 100% Australian Milk, fresh fruits (not dried) and it is ultra thick and creamy! I love that it’s made in Australia. Australian produce are always fresh, top-notch and overall usually unbeatable quality!

Look at all the delicious flavors I got my hands on. Black Cherry, Raspberry & White Chocolate, Honey, Blueberry, and Strawberry! Totally spoilt for choice.

Because I’m obsessed with anything white chocolate, I singled this flavor out as my top favorite – Raspberry & White Chocolate.

I love the taste and texture of this yogurt! It is thick and smooth while retaining a refreshing lightness. The fruity flavor is distinct and not at all artificial.

The most basic way to enjoy the yogurt is obviously just by the spoonful for a snack or for breakfast, but because I AM miss baker extraordinaire, I had to find a way to include this gloriously creamy ingredient in one of my baked recipes! And I thought a rustic yogurt loaf would be the best fit for this verstatile ingredient.

Raspberry & White Chocolate Yogurt Loaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 and a half cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup white or brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 cup Danone Raspberry & White Chocolate yogurt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of of raspberries

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
  2. Lightly dust medium sized loaf pan with thin coating of flour, tap out excess
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt
  4. Add in yogurt, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract in a separate bowl, mix until well incorporated
  5. Fold in dry ingredients into wet ingredients until mixture is smooth
  6. Stir in raspberries lightly into the batter mixture
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, bake for approximately 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out clean
  8. Let loaf cool in pan for 15 minutes before transferring onto wire rack for cooling

This is the first time I’ve ever made a yogurt loaf, and I fell madly in love with the outcome! The texture of the cake is incredibly moist and crumbly.

The best part is probably how fragrant the loaf and entire kitchen smells after baking, thanks to Danone’s amazing yogurt. I’ve made this recipe but with different flavors of yogurts (a total of 4 times!!!).

I made more yogurt loaves, namely Blueberry (with fresh blueberries), Honey (with walnuts), Black cherry (with fresh strawberries) and each and every one of them was legit to-die-for. The sweetness of the loaf is just perfect, and it’s something even people who do not usually eat cake will definitely enjoy.

There’s no need for fancy glazes or toppings because the loaf itself is so delicious!

I sliced up this yogurt loaf made with Danone yogurts and packed them as gifts to bring for different people as I visited them at their work place and homes. Needless to say, they were extremely well-received.

So much that I’m considering selling this as a permanent item at my dessert cafe, Shiberty Bakes! It’s just perfect for an afternoon snack or even a sweet breakfast treat.

You HAVE to try this recipe on your own, because it’s so fuss-free and easy that anyone can achieve great results with this!

Danone yogurt is having a contest, whereby you can stand to win a 2D1N getaway at The Sofitel Singapore Sentosa! Simply post a photo of your favorite yoghurt recipe, and hashtag #CreateWithDanone in order to qualify! The top 10 winners will also be receiving a special prize.

For more information, hop on over to their Facebook Page and Official Website!

xoxo,
Jess

Recipe: Ham & Cheese Waffle with Perfect Italiano

You know what I find to be a popular food trend nowadays?

Food hybrids. You know, combining two things into one new brilliant creation that’s been hardly attempted before. Like cronuts. It’s a very novel idea, and usually fun to experiment around with.

I always keep Perfect Italiano cheeses stocked in my fridge, because cheese is just one of those ingredients that’s simple enough to cook with yet complex enough to add to any dish to bring about a brand new dimension of flavors. And Perfect Italiano does just that – it is Singapore’s number one cooking cheese that adds simple Italian flair to everyday family meals, making your home cooked meals that much more exciting.

I was plating some Buttermilk Waffles in my dessert cafe the other day, when I thought to myself… look at how beautifully crisp these golden things are. And what a pity they’re only being used for dessert-related dishes. They’re so glorious, they should be used in savory food also. Then it just dawned upon me. Why not make a Ham & Cheese Waffle, since you know… I have a waffle machine, and Perfect Italiano cheese in the fridge.. Not a bad idea at all. You don’t need a professional machine for this, waffle machines that are meant for home usage are fine too!

Ham & Cheese Waffle

Ingredients:

Waffle Mix (makes 6 waffles, adjust accordingly, adapted from credit source)
2 eggs
2 cups (256g) all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups (595g) milk
1/2 cup (109g) vegetable oil
1 tablespoon (12.5g) white sugar
4 teaspoons (18.4g) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon (1.5g) salt
1/2 teaspoon (2g) vanilla extract

Toppings
handful of cut up pieces of chicken or pork ham
half cup (50g) of Perfect Italiano Mozzarella cheese
sprinkling (5g) of Perfect Italiano Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat waffle iron
  2. Beat eggs in large bowl with hand beater until fluffy
  3. Beat in flour, milk, vegetable oil, sugar, baking powder, salt and vanilla, just until smooth
  4. Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray
  5. Pour mix onto hot waffle iron
  6. Cook until golden brown
  7. Top off with half cup of Perfect Italiano Mozzarella cheese, sprinkling of Perfect Italiano Parmesan cheese and handful of ham
  8. Finish off by baking in the oven for 3 minutes at 180 degrees

The end result… is pretty genius.

It tastes just like a breakfast waffle, thanks to the ham and sweetness from the waffle itself! I can see myself making this over and over again.

Probably with tomato sauce and bacon next time, to amp it up more, or even fry up some sausages and lay them on top. Or perhaps some crispy fried chicken and a drizzle of maple syrup? Mmmmm.

Perfect Italiano Mozzarella Cheese has a mild flavour that melts beautifully and stretches to perfection, their Parmesan Cheese has that sharp and savoury taste which packs a nice flavourful punch! Mixing them together creates the best oomph of flavourful stretchiness. Double Mmmmm.

I spread some tomato sauce on the side of the plate for a bit of zing, which lifted the overall taste. I didn’t spread tomato sauce all over the waffle, because I thought it would be too similar to a pizza then!

The waffle retains its fluffy and crispy bite while the two different blends of oozy Perfect Italiano cheese made it super delectable! Although I just made some this morning, I feel like I could go for some again right now.

That’s how addictive this is. Cue hearts in eyes emoji. Savory waffles are SO underrated. I think adding garlic/onion powder (or other spices / seasoning you prefer) to the waffle mix itself and reducing the sugar would be a great variation as well! Depends how sweet you like it. I like that the waffle itself is still sweet because it contrasts with the salted cheese and ham.

Gone within a few bites. Few things in the world bring me as much satisfaction as melted mozzarella on my food, especially if it’s from Perfect Italiano.

There is so many more yummy talk about cheeses and home cooked food on the Perfect Italiano’s website. Check them out if you need a little inspiration to spice up your cooking or just some inspirations for the next meal! Perfect Italiano is available in leading supermarkets.

Don’t forget to hashtag #PerfectItalianoSG when you use their cheese in your homecooked food and post photos on social media!

xoxo,
Jess

Recipe: Shepherd’s Pie by Perfect Italiano

When I think of comfort food, I usually think of warm, hearty dishes that will fill up not only my tummy, but practically my entire being. Comfort food is the kinda food you’d want to have when you stay home on a rainy Sunday evening. It’s the kinda food you wish your mom would cook more often. It’s the food that brings back feelings of quiet happiness and nostalgia. I guess comfort food is different for everyone.

For me, one of my ultimate comfort food choice would be ooey gooey shepherd’s pie.

There’s just something about shepherd’s pie that I can’t get enough of. Maybe it’s the moist meaty interior with a smooth potato top that checks all my boxes. It’s the perfect ratio of meat to carbs, and I can find so little fault with this classic dish! This is one recipe I find myself going back to time and time again, and it’s so fail proof that I believe even someone with no experience in the kitchen can successfully manage. Just try it, and you’ll see what I mean. I know most shepherd’s pies don’t come with a cheesy topping, but I really do feel that it adds a world of flavor dimension by simply including one extra ingredient. A crusty potato top is good, but a cheesy crusty potato top is FANTASTIC. See what I’m getting at? And there’s no brand of cheese that is a bigger mainstay in my fridge than Perfect Italiano!

Perfect Italiano is a cooking cheese brand that adds simple Italian flair to everyday family meals! I’ve decided to use Pizza Plus because of its unique blend of cheeses. Perfect Italiano Pizza Plus consists of Mozzarella, Parmesan and Cheddar. Mozzarella gives the recipe a stretchy nature, while Parmesan and Cheddar add different notes of flavours.

Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

Meat Filling
700g russet potatoes, halved
600g beef, minced
250g frozen mixed vege (carrots, peas, corn)
1 clove minced garlic, minced
1 large white onion, diced
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
150g tomato puree
2 chicken or beef stock cubes
a splashing of red wine
3 tablespoons BBQ sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
olive oil
herbs (bay leaf, parsley, etc), sugar & black pepper to taste

Cheesy Potato Crust
150g Perfect Italiano Pizza Plus
a handful of breadcrumbs
170g butter
10g garlic / onion powder
80g milk

Directions:

  1. Boil potatoes in a large pot over high heat for 30 minutes or until very tender
  2. Sautee onions and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil over low heat for 2 minutes in a large pan
  3. Add minced beef & stock cubes to the pan, stir fry for 2 minutes
  4. Pour in mixed vege, cherry tomatoes, tomato puree, red wine, BBQ sauce and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes
  5. Turn heat off, mix your 2 tablespoons with a bit of water in a bowl to thicken the sauce, pour cornstarch paste into meat mixture and stir vigorously, making sure no lumps form
  6. Strain the water from the boiled potatoes & mash the potatoes with butter, garlic / onion powder and milk until evenly mixed and smooth
  7. Spoon the meat filling into ramekins / oven proof pans
  8. Top off with a layer of potatoes, sprinkle on Perfect Italiano Pizza Plus and finally top off with breadcrumbs
  9. Bake in oven for 8 minutes at 180 degrees or airfry at 200 degrees for 5 minutes
  10. Let cool at least 5 minutes before serving, and enjoy

I love so many things about this Shepherd’s Pie!!!!

There will be many Shepher’s Pie recipes out there, but I can bet you that very few of them would be just like mine. First off, the addition of Perfect Italiano Pizza Plus cheese makes it over the top delicious. Secondly, including BBQ sauce and red wine in the recipe is essential for me. The BBQ sauce lends a bit of smokiness and sweetness, while the red wine gives it a nice kick. I love red meat with red wine.

I adore making this in large batches for potlucks, gatherings / parties or even just to store in the freezer in individual heat-proof containers, because all I have to do is take it out of the freezer when I want a good meal, pop it into the airfryer or oven for 8 minutes and I’m good to go!

This recipe freezes and keeps extremely well, therefore making it perfect for people who cook their own food at home (like me). Make it once and you’ll have enough to last you through some weeks! Less cleaning up, and saves you a ton of effort and time.

Personally, I prefer my dishes really “wet” with a loooot of sauce, so that’s why I chose to use tomato puree, to ensure there will be lots of liquid to coat the meat with.. because dry meat is just blurghhhh. I don’t hold back with the butter in my mashed potato as well. #YOLO! The secret to great mashed potato is lots of butter and seasoning! And of course, the inclusion of milk makes sure that the mash is nice and moist, making it easy to spread over the top as well.

All in all, I would have to say this is a recipe that I will be keeping for life. I’ve never made this for anyone who hasn’t not loved it. It hits all the right spots, and is truly the epitome of comfort food. Once again, I have found yet another favorite recipe to cook with Perfect Italiano cheese. Stretchy, full of bite and flavor, their cheeses seem to go well with a thousand and one dishes I’ve been whipping up in my kitchen!

For more yummy talk about cheeses and home cooked food, head on over to Perfect Italiano’s website to gain inspiration and look at recipes that will make you drool!

Don’t forget to hashtag #PerfectItalianoSG when you use their cheese in your homecooked food and post photos on social media!

xoxo,
Jess

Recipe: Summer Pasta Salad by Perfect Italiano

I’d like to consider myself a very domestic person.

Sure, I love a good night out with my friends, but more than anything, I think I enjoy house parties the best. Cooking up a feast at a comfortable homely environment, have your friends gather around the dining table or couch, enjoying good home cooked food while chatting and laughing over some drinks… Now, I’ll take that over a night out almost any day. So you can imagine that cooking is honestly one of my favoritest things to do in the world!

I know many people find cooking a chore, but I find it to be one of the most satisfying tasks I can accomplish on a day-to-day basis because it provides me instant gratification. You get to be creative, share the love with your friends by feeding their hungry tummies, enjoy delicious food cooked to your own preferences and of course, flaunt your kitchen skills and impress people! What I DON’T like, however, is the mad rush to get everything prepped right before a big dinner party.. Last weekend, I was tasked to cook for a party that had approximately 20 people, and that kinda intimidated me a little bit! I’m used to cooking for 2-6 people, or perhaps even up to 8 or 10, but 20 pax is a whole different ball game. I needed to do various dishes that complemented each other and tasted great, yet not too difficult to achieve as I’ll be the main one executing them. I came up with this Summer Pasta Salad recipe which got a great response from people, with some even requesting to bring back the leftovers, so I take that as a good sign!

Summer Pasta Salad

This makes a good light lunch or a fantastic side dish to go with meats or heavier main items. But what I like most about it is that it can be made hours in advance, just chuck it in the fridge or leave it out in an air conditioned room and it’s all ready for your guests to dig into as soon as they arrive!

Ingredients (serves 6):

  • 200g chicken sausages, sliced
  • 150g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 150g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 200g sour cream
  • 100g coleslaw veg, chopped
  • 200g boiled egg, diced
  • 350g cooked macaroni
  • 3 avocados, mashed
  • 1 yellow / white onion, chopped
  • a good splashing / 4 tablespoons of japanese sesame dressing & olive oil
  • 100g Perfect Italiano Mozzarella
  • Perfect Italiano Parmesan cheese to taste

Directions:

  1. Boil eggs until stiff, then deshell them.
  2. Cook macaroni pasta in boiling water for about 7 minutes or until al dente, then drizzle a bit of olive oil over the pasta to prevent sticking, and set aside.
  3. Stir fry chicken sausages, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and onions until cooked.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, toss together all the cooked ingredients, fresh ingredients and mozzarella together, until well combined.
  5. Give a further splashing of sesame dressing on top.
  6. Garnish with fresh herbs and Perfect Italiano Parmesan cheese.
  7. Toss in fridge or leave out in a cool temperature room, and serve cold!

I love this pasta salad. It’s as versatile as you want it to be! Make it meat-free for a vegetarian option. You can include or take away any ingredients according to your preferences, but keep the sour cream, dressing, cheese, and pasta because that will be your base recipe to work with. I’m a very casual and fuss-free cook, so I prefer using recipes that do not require exact measurements

. I like to make it up as I go, depending on my mood. I’ve made several variations of this recipe, other times including corn kernels, chicken breast to substitute the sausages, and replaced the avocados with pesto sauce – they were all mighty delicious! I named this summer pasta salad because of all the fresh ingredients it uses, and I reckon this would be perfect served up at a summer picnic or BBQ! Or in Singapore, where you know, it’s perpetually summer around here.

I think the key to this pasta salad lies in the sour cream base. Many pasta salads use mayonnaise which I find to be a bit thicker and heavier. I feel that pasta salads should be kept light, and refreshing!

Of course, the addition of Perfect Italiano Mozzarella Cheese gives a nice subtle texture & bite to the dish, and the sesame dressing lends a sweetness because the sour cream doesn’t have a lot of flavor on its own. I like to garnish with Perfect Italiano Parmesan Cheese for that sharp, savory hint of cheese as well. You can keep this salad in the fridge for up to 2 days.

I can always count on Perfect Italiano’s range of cheeses to dress up my home cooking, turning otherwise boring dishes into something different and tantalizing! My life would never be the same without cheese. I think I’ve lost count of the number of cheese-related recipes I’ve posted on this blog.

I hope you guys have enjoyed looking at or recreating them, as I always try to come up with different recipes that aren’t too similar, to show you that cheese can really be used in a huuuge selection of recipes! One ingredient, tons of uses. That’s why I almost always have a packet of Perfect Italiano cheese in my fridge, no matter the time of year!

Available at leading supermarkets, visit Perfect Italiano’s official website for more cheesy ideas to experiment in your kitchen with, and don’t forget to hashtag your own homemade creations using #PerfectItalianoSG on Instagram!

xoxo,
Jess
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