Category Archives: Lunch

Thai beef salad


Here’s another light, easy salad for those lazy summer days. The first time I made it, I followed the recipe for the coriander and chilli dressing, but changed all the vegetables in the salad (taking out the red onions because I don’t like them very much, throwing in various things that I wanted to use up, adding some mixed lettuce and bean sprouts for the vitamins). The dressing was totally overwhelming when I tasted it straight, but very good in the salad.

The next timeI made it, I tried to add some extra fat into the recipe by mixing coconut milk powder into the dressing.  It was so good I practically drank it. I’d also recommend the coconut milk version for anyone who doesn’t like too much chilli.


For dressing

  • 2 fresh red thai chillies, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 stick lemongrass, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 bunch fresh coriander
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk powder

For salad

  • Canola oil spray
  • 400g been rump steak
  • 100g mixed lettuce leaves
  • 2 large handfuls bean sprouts
  • 100g cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 a red capsicum, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 lebanese cucumber, finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup thai basil leaves
  1. To make the dressing, combine all ingredients except the dressing in a blender and process until smooth. It will be necessary to stop every ten or twenty seconds to scrape down the sides.
  2. To make the coconut dressing, combine about half the chilli paste with the coconut milk powder, and stir until the coconut has dissolved. Add 1tbsp of boiling water to make into a runny dressing.
  3. Spray the canola onto a hot frypan, and fry the beef for three minutes on each side or until well done.  Remove and allow to rest for five minutes before slicing finely.
  4. To serve, toss the beef with all other salad ingredients in a large bowl. Divide between bowls and serve with the two dressings in different bowls.



DIY instant soup pots


I’ve seen a few different recipes for DIY instant noodles over the last couple of months, but never gotten around to trying them. Recently, I came across this recipe on Pinterest and that inspired me to actually give it a go, and try to adapt it to a high-fat CF version, and a low-fat version for me.

After a week of experimenting, I ended up with a relatively low fat Japanese-ish version, and a high calorie cheats’ instant laksa. Both are delicious, and I love having soup for lunch at work without having to transport a soup (with all the spillage risk that entails). All you have to do at the office is fill with boiling water, so it also avoids the microwave queue that forms at lunch-time (it’s also good for anyone who doesn’t have a microwave at work, obviously). A little bit of prep at the start of the week makes these very easy to throw together in the morning.


You’ll need

  • 1 container with a two-cup capacity
  • 1 cup of shredded Asian vegetable mix ( you can buy something like this from the supermarket or make your own – I used a mix of bok choi, red cabbage and carrots).
  • 150g of your choice of protein, cooked and chopped in to bite sized pieces (I’ve tried with chicken breast, hard boiled eggs and tofu, and they all worked well. The Japanese-ish soup was great with a mixture of chicken breast and egg. If I’d been more organised I would have made sure I had a fattier meat for Lachie’s version as well.)
  • 1/2 a cup of bean sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons of chicken stock concentrate (if you don’t have this, a stock cube will do)
  • 1tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp sriacha sauce
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped, green part only

For the high fat version, you will also need

  • 30 g rice vermicelli noodles (make sure they do not need to be boiled on the stove)
  • 1/2 tbsp laksa paste
  • 1tbsp chopped coriander
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fried shallots
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk powder

For the low fat version, you will also need

  • 1/4 cup dried sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 tbsp miso paste
  • 1/2 a nori (seaweed) sheet


  1. To assemble the pots, place the noodles (if using) in the bottom of your bowl, followed by the vegetables, bean sprouts, mushrooms (if using) and protein. Add the chicken stock, then the sauces and miso or laksa paste. Sprinkle the remaining ingredients except for the coconut milk powder over the top.
  2. When you are ready to eat, if you are using coconut milk powder, mix that into a small amount of boiling water and stir until the powder has disolved. Then add the coconut milk to the soup bowl
  3. Fill the bowl with boiling water until all ingredients are submerged. Allow to sit for three minutes, then give a good stir and eat.

Red rice salad with yoghurt dressing


I’m getting into a bit of a salad kick as the weather warms up. This particular salad is great with grilled meats. I like to make it for summer barbecues when I know that other people are bringing salads as well, so there will probably already be a green salad and a potato salad.

This is another salad where the dressing is served separately. For a lower-fat version, you can use a little bit of dressing and top with some lemon juice, or make a second dressing with low-fat yoghurt and no olive oil.


  • 1 cup of red rice
  • 2 large beetroots
  • 1/2 a head of cauliflower, cut into small florets.
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tin brown lentils, drained and rinsed.
  • 1 cup shredded kale (or use beetroot greens if your beetroots came with leaves attached)
  • 1/4 cup each of mint and parsley, chopped.
  • 1 cup of plain yoghurt
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 tbs sumac
  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Trim the beetroot so there is only about an inch of stem still attached. Place in the oven for forty minutes.
  2. Cook the red rice with two cups of boiling water in a saucepan. The rice should take about half an hour to cook.
  3. Spread the cauliflower over a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Once the beets have been cooking for twenty minutes, place the cauliflower in the oven and cook for another twenty minutes.
  4. Heat some olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat and cook the kale until it turns bright green (about five minutes).
  5. To make the dressing, combine the yoghurt, lemon juice, sumac and one tablespoon of olive oil.
  6. To serve, toss together the rice, lentils, beetroot, cauliflower herbs and kale in a large salad bowl. Serve onto plates and drizzle over some of the dressing. If you are serving the salad with meat, you can reserve some dressing to drizzle over the meat.

Vietnamese chicken salad


This salad is inspired by two different recipes. One is a light, tangy, herby salad from Bill Granger, and the other is my mother’s fried noodle salad recipe.

Chinese cabbage is one of the best sources of vitamins and minerals going, while the carrot, cucumber and coriander add colour and crunch.

I often make a big bowl of this for work lunches. It will hold up fairly well if you add the dressing the night before.  This recipe is easy to adapt to a high-fat version with a few additions after it’s been divided into individual servings.


  • 600 g chicken breast fillet
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 a wombok, finely sliced
  • 1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped
  • 2 shallots
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 small chillies
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • A handful of Chang’s Fried Noodles (optional – high-fat version)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil (optional – high-fat version only)
  1. Cook the chicken breast in the oven at 220 C for 20 minutes, or until cooked through.
  2. Julienne the carrots and cucumber. Sprinkle with salt and toss to combine, and leave for twenty minutes. Rinse the vegetables, then cover with the vinegar and sugar. Leave to stand for twenty to thirty minutes.  Reserve pickling liquid.
  3. Shred the chicken with fingers once it has cooled. Combine with the wombok, pickled vegetables and coriander.
  4. To make the dressing, pulse shallots, garlic and chilli in a food processor. The shallots should remain in coarse pieces. Mix with the lime juice, fish sauce, and reserved pickling liquid.
  5. Pour the dressing over the salad before serving.  For the high-fat version, add a handful of fried noodles and some sesame oil.