Nasi Goreng

6 cups of cold cooked white rice (I used Basmati)

1 large onion finely chopped

1 large carrot diced to 1 centimetre cubes

½ cup of frozen corn kernels

½ cup of frozen peas

4 plump cloves garlic minced or finely chopped

1 tablespoon medium curry powder

4 tablespoons vegetable oil like canola

½ to 1 teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)

2 tablespoons tomato paste mixed with 2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons ketjap manis

Salt to taste

4 x eggs fried to serve


Heat the oil in a well-seasoned wok. Fry onions for 3 -4 minutes. Add the diced carrot and garlic and continue frying for a further three minutes. Now add the curry powder – continuing to fry for thirty seconds so the powder does not burn. Add the tomato paste, ketjap manis, chilli flakes if using, a couple of generous pinches of salt, the corn kernels and peas. Give it a stir and cover the wok with a lid for a minute. Break up the rice during the process of adding the rice to the wok. Continue frying until all the rice is thoroughly mixed and heated through (about five minutes). Serve hot with fried egg on top. (Serves 4)

Char Kway Teow – Malaysian style rice noodles

This is typical Malaysian street food and for best results you need to cook individual serves. I normally prepare the tofu and have all my ingredients portioned out and ready to go, so cooking becomes a coordinated effort and is a breeze.

I suggested using fresh rice noodles but you can also use dried rice noodles about 1cm wide. Cook them first in boiling water for 2 or 3 minutes (refer to instructions on the packet) and refresh them several times in cold water so they don’t clump up together.

You can use any combination of protein – Chinese sausage, squid, prawns or just egg and tofu.


90ml light soy sauce

45ml dark soy sauce

20ml oyster sauce

20ml fish sauce

2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon sugar

Continue reading “Char Kway Teow – Malaysian style rice noodles”

Vegetable Korma


½ medium sized cauliflower cut into small florets

1 onion finely chopped

1 large carrot cut into 3 centimetre cubes

1 large potato cut into 3 centimetre cubes

1 small bunch of green beans cut into 3 centimetre pieces or 1 cup of frozen cut beans

½ cup frozen or fresh peas

½ cup natural yoghurt

60 grams blanched peanuts dry roasted and ground

1 cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin powder

2 teaspoons ground coriander powder

1 teaspoon garam masala powder

½ teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon sugar

1 hot green chilli

5 centimetre piece of ginger

6 plump garlic cloves

10 -12 thick coriander stalks roughly chopped

4 tablespoons vegetable oil like canola oil

Salt to taste

Steamed Rice or Roti or Pita Bread to serve


Using a mortar and pestle or a mixer, grind the ginger, garlic, green chilli and coriander stalks to a fine paste.

Heat oil in a large fry pan. When oil is sufficiently hot, throw in the cinnamon stick and fry for 30 seconds. Then add the finely chopped onion and fry for a minute. Add the cauliflower, carrot and potato pieces. Turn the heat to the highest setting and let them sizzle for two to three minutes. Clear a bit of space so you can see the bottom of the pan – now add the cumin, coriander, chilli and garam masala powders along with the pinch of sugar and salt. Incorporate the spice powders into the vegetables and continue frying for a minute. Now add the yoghurt and ground paste mixing everything so the spice paste adheres to the vegetables. Add a cup of water, mix, cover with lid and let cook for about 15 minutes. (The vegetables need to be just about done but not too mushy) Add the green beans and peas and continue cooking with the lid on for a further five minutes. Finally add the ground peanut powder. Give everything a good stir. Taste to adjust seasoning. Serve hot with steamed rice or roti or pita bread.

Healthy Eating

I know “healthy eating, healthy lifestyle “have been bandied about too often. It varies from person to person and it is not a formula where one size fits all. Having said that the basics of eating well are ensuring your body is getting the correct amount of nutrients it requires. It is a fact we all need carbohydrates, proteins and fats from a variety of sources and all in moderation to form a balanced diet. My simple rule to ensure my family and I are getting a balanced, wholesome diet is using whole foods that I can cook, create or assemble. I try to buy local, seasonal and the best I can afford incorporating a colourful and varied diet using fresh fruits, vegetables, grains. I keep my family interested in what’s for dinner by cooking various cuisines. I guarantee that if you follow my food philosophy, you automatically eat what’s good for you as well as a wholesome, balanced diet. I started collecting recipes as a teenager and now seem to have quite a few acquired from friends of friends as well as my own tried and tested versions of classics.


There is always a first time for everything and how do you travel like a pro when you’ve never done it before. Here are my suggestions and tips:


Whatever age bracket you belong to, if you have not travelled long haul up until this point and if you are a single traveller, book a tour through a travel agent. There are a great range of tour companies offering you a number of styles and budgets so it is a no brainer trying to do it yourself. Tours with single night stays are a killer and you are better off doing something with two or three night stays in each place.


While you take on board the information given by the travel agent, please do your own research to identify your interests and travel wish list. I often used to tell my customers that there is a lot of pleasure to be had in the planning phase. If you are doing a tour there are a number of optional extras the tour company offers. It is good to study these in the comfort of your own home prior to your trip and circle the ones you may be interested in doing. This will also help you narrow down additional expenses for experiences while on holiday.


Once you have decided on your trip and paid for your tour, decide if you wish to have a two or three day city stop over enroute or fly straight through. A two or three day city stopover is great because it is only the cost of your accommodation which is the expense part, to see if you like this city as a potential holiday destination in the future or not.


Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of your airfares and tours prior to making a deposit or any payment. Changes can be costly! Once you have deposited for your tour, I recommend getting adequate comprehensive travel insurance too at the same time. You cannot afford to travel if you cannot afford travel insurance.


Once the elements of your holiday are falling into place, make sure your passport is in order. Check if any visas or vaccinations are needed. Budget on how much money you wish to spend and start saving your spending money if you don’t already have saved up.


Pack light – even if you are going away for four weeks and just because the airline gives you generous baggage allowance, try to keep your suitcase under 20 kilos. You should be able to lift your suitcase a few times without dislocating your shoulder!! Please note that hotel rooms particularly in Europe are tiny and you want to be able to open your suitcase and walk around in your room. Make a copy of the photo page of your passport and put it at the bottom of your suitcase – comes in handy just in case you lose it!


Take layers (T shirts, cardigans and jackets) and just in case you need to attend a formal function /event, take one good dressy outfit or something you can mix and match to create a dressy going out look.


Continuing with the theme of what else to pack – I like to take a small pocket torch, some spare shopping bags to put your unwashed laundry, an empty drink bottle (I normally boil the electric kettle the night before and let water cool overnight before filling my drink bottle) and also adequate supplies of dried fruit and nut (so I don’t get hangry!)


If you are changing money, do that at an authorised money exchanger. Be discrete and do not advertise you have cash on you. When you withdraw cash from an ATM, make sure the ATM is well lit preferably in a secure building. Be fully present and while most are honest, there could just be one baddie to ruin your well planned holiday.


Leave your precious jewellery including watch at home. Think about whether you are going to use the free Wi-Fi or pre-pay for roaming. Don’t be caught unawares.


Finally, this is your holiday. The more effort you put into planning, the more success you will have as you are prepared for every contingent. Don’t fret about things you can’t change and tell yourself if you didn’t experience you were not to know whether you like it or not. Enjoy.



Be clear on the purpose of this holiday – is it to relax, experience new sights and sounds, keep up with the Joneses, be one with nature or be a culture vulture.


Make sure enough spending money is included and also based on the purpose make sure there is enough for experiences.


Research on possible destinations to make sure they are fit for purpose that is no point going to a theme park heavy destination if you wanted to getaway to be one with nature.


If you only have ten days no point spending a day each way getting to and back from the destination. For a quick getaway, try something short-haul or domestic. There’s always more to be explored in your own backyard.


Once you decided on the duration, destination and have your budget set, book your flights and accommodation early to get the best value deals. For some destinations, I really recommend booking a year in advance to get the early bird deals.


Get good comprehensive travel insurance when you pay for your flights at least this way you can ensure that your holiday investment is safe –you need to check that you are covered for medical emergencies. You also need to ask your insurer what happens in case of a volcanic eruption or if Foreign Affairs  department deems it unsafe to continue travel to your destination prior to departure.


With regard to experiences, make sure you book at least a couple in advance perhaps you wish to consider a skip the line pass- this gives you better orientation / feel for the destination, insider information from a local guide plus bonus of saving loads of time queuing for attractions like Sistine chapel or Eiffel tower with skip the line. Also be prepared that some experiences are weather dependent and may get cancelled and some are highly subscribed that if you don’t book in advance you may miss out. This is why extensive researching helps.


A month before the trip make sure you have six month validity beyond your intended stay on your passport and that your passport is in good condition. Check if you need any visas for your destination.


Decide how you wish to carry your spending money and get a small amount of cash to tide you over the first couple of days. I prefer to carry cash (withdrawn and taken from my home country) and credit card. I have found that withdrawing cash from an overseas ATM attracts unnecessary charges. Moreover they may not be close to where your hotel is and will be wasting precious holiday time running around. Also several boutique outlets and restaurants are averse to taking your credit card plus internet could be intermittent!


Read and reread your itinerary carefully taking note of any schedule changes since you booked, layovers, airport changes or terminal changes. Be particularly vigilant of any early morning or midnight departures as could be easily misread. Arrive early at the airport giving yourself plenty of time.

End of another week

I wanted to share this quote from Anne Lamott with everyone as it is so apt for anyone who finds excuses for inaction:

“Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written, or you didn’t go swimming in those warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.”

Don’t be a bystander – be bold and confident and do your thing .. whatever it maybe.