Winter Warmer Special: Pumpkin Soup Recipe

What better way to treat yourself this winter than having a nice, warm cup of creamy, buttery pumpkin soup. Although we’re not all MasterChef’s here, I have a simple recipe for you to try at home (blender-free).

What you’ll need:
– butternut pumpkin
– 2 tablespoons of butter
– 2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
– 1 leek stalk (chopped)
– salt
– pepper
– olive oil
– 1/3 cup of cream

Method:
1. Using a pot filled with water, bring to boil on stove top. Slice butternut pumpkin into chunks and place gently into boiling water. Allow pumpkin to soften.
2. Heat a saucepan or frying pan using olive oil on medium heat and place chopped garlic in and stir til brown. Add chopped leeks into pan and stir until leeks soften and meld with garlic. Remove once this happens.
3. Drain water from pot and transfer soft pumpkin chunks to a large mixing bowl. Using a fork, mash the pumpkin pieces finely until texture is silky (should look like puree).
4. Return pumpkin into a hot pot and gently stir in 1/3 of cream or less depending on your preference. Add leak mixture and a few crunches of salt and pepper and stir until pumpkin is silky and tastes buttery.
5. Serve your soup with a slice of toast or garlic bread.

Cheap Eats Around Sydney

Picture this. You’re hungry with only ten dollars in your pocket. You turn to your mate and ask what he wants to eat. He shrugs and then asks you, “I don’t know, what do you want to eat?” And with the same remark of uncertainty and indecisiveness, you return his answer with the same annoying shrug. This exchange goes on for another ten minutes before you both surrender and settle for Maccas. This doesn’t have to happen of course. I can save you with my Cheap Eats Around Sydney guide list. Don’t worry, I’ve been poor before.

Dove And Olive (Surry Hills) http://doveandolive.com.au/
For affordable hipster pub-style food, Dove And Olive is the cheapest by far. For only $9.90 you can grab: 2 for 1 Chef’s specials on Mondays, schnitzels on Tuesdays, ‘Rump Day Hump Day’ steaks on Wednesdays and delicious cheeseburgers on Thursdays.
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Soda Factory (Surry Hills) http://www.sodafactory.com.au/
Who in their right mind would sell gourmet hot dogs for only a dollar? Well the Soda Factory does…every Tuesday night. Grab your mates and head down to Soda for a cheap feed and a great atmosphere. Regular hot dogs cost only $10 on normal days and for only $8 you could grab yourself a basket of chilli fries!
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Mappen Sydney (Sydney, CBD)
For an adorable authentic Japanese lunch or dinner, Mappen takes you on a journey to the streets of Japan. In the heart of Sky View Shopping Plaza, Mappen sits in the centre as a cafeteria-style self-serve noodle bar. They offer a range of delicious udon and soba noodles served with a broth of your choice and a variety of tempura side dishes to add to your tray. All dishes usually range between $5-$15, on average under $10. Seating is communal but it’s all worth the taste and price!  I highly recommend adding an ontama (their signature poached egg) with your noodles!
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Top Choice, Market City Food Court  (Haymarket)
$10 is all you need for a good Asian stir fry. Top Choice offers an array of different Chinese-style stir fry selections served on a sizzling plate, with all choices accompanied with rice. It’s ridiculously cheap, filling and hits the spot.
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J’s Kitchen (Cabramatta)
Eating a steak doesn’t have to be so expensive. J’s Kitchen located in Cabramatta has built itself a reputation for serving ridiculously large portions for an unusually low price. For only $10 you can get a large steak or any other selections such as schnitzels, calamari and kranskys, all served generously with chips and salad. Bonus – all of their drinks only cost only a dollar. Now that’s a steal!

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Thai-riffic Thai Restaurant Names

Thai food is amazing. Nothing quite satisfies that spicy MSG craving like Thai cuisine. But there seems to be a reoccurring trend amongst Thai restaurants that we all seem to quietly enjoy, and that’s the guilty pleasure of discovering hilariously pun-filled restaurant names. They’re cringeworthy as hell, I don’t know if they’re being ironic, but they still make me laugh. So here is an amazing list of the Thai-tastic and punny restaurant names that I’ve collected around Sydney:

It’s Not Easy Being Green

Eating healthy seems hard. It’s inconvenient, it’s time-consuming and often complicated. You have to cook and harvest your own ingredients but also burden yourself with the task of analysing the nutritional value in everything you eat. Ordering fast-food or takeaway just seems like the easiest option. Well, it doesn’t have to be.

Being healthy doesn’t have to involve guzzling down disgusting protein shakes, munching away on kale every day and bragging about your detox on Instagram. It just means treating your body with the respect it deserves without having to take extreme measures such as fasting, practicing wacky food diets, or ingesting pills.

In fact, by choosing to improve your lifestyle and eating healthy, well-balanced meals, you are doing yourself a huge favour. You’ll receive benefits such as improved brain activity, good sleep quality, you’ll have more energy, a glowing complexion and also you’ll be in a much better mood.

 Here are some tips on how to implement good food into your daily routine:

  • Plan your meals. Yes, there’s a bit of thinking required. But side note- it’s also a great money saving tip! Research simple recipes online for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in between (morning and afternoon tea) and jot down the easier ones first so you can work your way up from beginner level recipes to intermediate. Use a diary or a calendar and track your daily intake.
    Aim for 5-7 servings of fruit and vegetables per day.
  • Grocery shopping. Filter through the aisles by avoiding the artificially processed stuff. Find fresh ingredients that can be used together in the same week and include something different weekly to explore your taste buds (the key is to be open-minded)! Be sure to include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds, dairy products and refined grains in your shopping cart. Enjoy your delicious green haul!
  • Cooking. Cooking your own nutritious meal could improve your culinary skills as well as earning yourself a Masterchef title amongst your friends and family. Avoid using too much salt and trade in regular oil for olive oil. Additionally, you will get a lot more out of your bags of groceries than you would with containers of takeaway (more food for you) and quite honestly, nothing beats a home-cooked meal.
  • Stick to the plan. Believe in yourself and stay committed. Try your best to discipline yourself from having unhealthy withdrawals. Eating healthy should never be treated as a punishment but as a natural part of your diet.

The solution does seem very obvious, but it’s rewarding and you’ll definitely feel lighter and fresher. There are no secrets, magical potions or shortcuts to it. Clean eating isn’t just a fantasy or a concept created by dieticians or something that only athletes or celebrities do. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll love treating yourself to a healthy diet, give it a go!

To kickstart your new clean eating lifestyle, try this Roast Pumpkin Salad recipe:

Ingredients:
– 1 (Butternut or Japanese) pumpkin, chopped into large dices or chunk pieces
– 100g of spinach leaves, or any green leaves of your choice
– 200g of traditional Greek feta cheese
– 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice
– olive oil
– 1 teaspoon of salt (optional)

Method:
1. Heat olive oil in frying pan over low-medium heat.
2. Add chopped pumpkin chunks and stir until pumpkin starts to brown and texture softens. You may add a pinch or a teaspoon of salt during this process according to taste.
3. In a serving bowl, combine cubes of Greek feta cheese onto a bed of spinach leaves.
4. Remove pumpkin pieces from pan and add to serving bowl and combine.
5. Lightly drizzle olive oil and lemon juice sparingly over salad for dressing and gently mix together.

Serves:
– 3-4 people or one very hungry person, enjoy!