IKEA Project 6: The Salmon cook-off

April 13, 2016 | Recipe, Singapore, Sponsored

Disclosure: This is a sponsored collaboration with IKEA, however all ideas, opinions, and thoughts are my own. 

Weee! Another surprise Ikea project! I was so excited to be contacted last week about taking part in another Cook-off challenge, this time featuring Ikea’s new range of  responsibly-sourced Salmon – yep, that’s right, they’re now selling sustainable seafood from certified fisheries and farms in their Swedish Food Market. Way to go!

I’ve opted to use salmon fillets for my recipe, and have chosen to feature it in one of our all time favourite family dinner recipes – Salmon Ramen. Seriously, we eat this at least once a week. It may not look like a high-end dish, but let me tell you, the flavour is fantastic!

Salmon Ramen

Here’s what you’ll need for 2 servings…

Ingredients

Ingredients:
– 2 x Ikea frozen salmon fillets (LAX FILE – found in The Swedish Food Market)
– 3 Tbs miso paste
– 3 Tbs soy sauce (we use low salt version)
– 2 Tbs sake
– 2 Tbs mirin
– 1 small sachet dashi stock (optional)
– Your choice of vegetables (e.g. wombok, cabbage, snow peas, beans, leek…)
– 2 eggs
– 1 brick of ramen noodles, broken in half (we use frozen)
– Optional: Seaweed and toasted sesame seeds for garnish.

Ingredients

Method:

1. Start by defrosting the salmon (they come individually sealed so I just cut 2 fillets off the package and put them (still sealed) in a bowl of water to defrost slowly). Once defrosted, cut open the bags and pat each fillet dry with paper towel. Heat a fry pan to medium-high and fry until cooked through and crisp on all sides. Set aside once done.

2. Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil and add the eggs. I normally time them for about 8 minutes to get a slightly runny yolk – this will vary though. Once they’re cooked, peel and slice in half. Season with salt and pepper if you like, set aside.

3. Chop all the vegetables into pieces and divide between two large ramen bowls. Put a half block of noodles into each bowl too. I like to portion the veg and noodles out before they’re cooked, but you could also cook them all together and divide between bowls once they’re cooked. Up to you :)

Step 2

4. In a bowl mix the miso paste, soy sauce, mirin and sake together. Bring 4 cups of water to the boil in a medium size saucepan and add in the dashi stock powder followed by the miso paste mix.

5. Take the first bowl of noodles/vegetables and place the noodles into the boiling miso pot. Cook for a few minutes (breaking up with a fork) before adding the vegetables. Once they’re cooked, scoop back out into the ramen bowl. Repeat with the second bowl. OR cook all the noodles first, followed by the veg, and divide between the two bowls once they’re done.

7. Carefully pour the hot soup over the veg in each bowl. Top with the salmon fillets, eggs, seaweed and toasted sesame seeds (optional).

8. Dig in!

Yum! Salmon Ramen. Yum! Salmon Ramen.

I’m not very graceful with hot slurpy noodles, but man they taste good!!

Yum! Salmon Ramen.

Hopefully you’ll give it a go! It really is yummy, and can be adapted quite easily to suit your tastes by changing up the vegetables.

Thanks so much to Ikea Singapore for including me in another fun challenge! Be sure to check out their range of sustainable seafood next time you’re in store!

IKEA Project 5: The Veggie Ball cook-off

November 9, 2015 | Recipe, Sponsored

Disclosure: This is a sponsored collaboration with IKEA, however all ideas, opinions, and thoughts are my own. 

So just when I thought all my Ikea posts were done, I got asked to participate in an extra surprise challenge – a cook-off!

Ikea recently added a new item to their menu (and shop) in the form of some yummy veggie balls, so we were tasked with creating our own recipe using the balls. Really, anything that involves food is fine by me. So before I knew it a big bag of frozen veggie balls were being couriered to my door, just in time to throw them in the oven for Arlo’s dinner (he approves by the way!).

But that’s not going to be my recipe. I wanted to create something I was excited to eat! So I chose to make a delicious lamb curry with veggie skewers :) YUM.

Lamb curry with veggie skewers

I first tasted this curry at a friend’s place and have since made it a couple of times at home. It’s always pretty yum, but the addition of the veggie balls gives it a really nice taste and texture. You can choose to eat them straight off the skewer, or take them off and dunk them into the curry sauce.. either way is good :)

Lamb curry with veggie skewers

So here’s the recipe.. it’s been adapted from this one here. I’ve changed a few little things, as well as halved the recipe as there was only 2 of us eating it.

Lamb Curry with Veggie Skewers

IKEA Vegetable Balls (4-8 per person)
Skewers
Vegetable oil
400g lamb cubes
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 green chilli, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tbs ground tumeric
3/4 tbs garam masala
3/4 tbs ground cumin
1/2 tbs chilli powder
1/2 tbs plain flour
3 tomatoes, chopped
200mL coconut milk
300mL chicken stock
A handfull of baby spinach leaves
1/2 pomegranate, seeded
Plain yoghurt
Coriander
Cooked rice to serve

* Tip – prepare and measure out the ingredients before starting, it’ll make it easier as you go.
* I used this cast-iron casserole pot instead of a saucepan, but if you’ve only got a saucepan that’s fine – just simmer it on the stove for an hour instead of putting it in the oven like I mention below.

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.

2. Heat a cast-iron casserole pot (or large saucepan) over high heat and add one tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the lamb and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the lamb is golden-brown all over. Remove and set aside.

3. Reduce the heat and add another tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the onions, garlic, chillies and ginger and fry for 2-3 minutes, until golden and softened.

4. Add the turmeric, garam masala, cumin and chilli powder and fry, stirring well, for one minute. Then add the flour and cook for a further minute.

5. Add the tomatoes and coconut milk and bring to a simmer.

6. Add the lamb and enough chicken stock to just cover the lamb. Stir well, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any of the good bits that are stuck there.

7. Once the curry has come to a simmer, put the lid on and carefully transfer it to the oven to cook for 1 hour, or until the lamb is tender and cooked through. If you’re doing this in a saucepan, just put the lid on and simmer for 1 hour.

8. When there’s 15 minutes remaining in the cooking time, put the veggie balls on a tray and into the oven.

9. Once the balls are cooked, take them out and thread onto skewers, being careful because they’ll be hot to handle.

10. Skim off any excess fat from the surface of the curry, then add the spinach. Stir until the spinach has wilted.

11. Serve the curry in bowls with steamed rice. Garnish with yoghurt, coriander and pomegranate, and of course your veggie skewers. Dig in!

Lamb curry with veggie skewersLamb curry with veggie skewers

Thanks so much to the lovely team at Ikea! It’s been so much fun, and I’ve loved testing out the new veggie balls :)

Hope you’ll give this recipe a go too, it’s totally worth it!! x

Lamb curry with veggie skewers

IKEA Project 4: Kitchen – Organising the Pantry!

September 28, 2015 | Personal, Singapore, Sponsored

Disclosure: This is a sponsored collaboration with IKEA, however all ideas, opinions, and thoughts are my own. 

I can’t believe this is the last of my IKEA collaborative posts! Big sad face. It’s been so fun, I don’t even know where the last 4 months have gone.

For this last challenge we were tasked with doing something fab in the kitchen. Yeaaahh kitchen! I love cooking. Well, I used to anyway, before I had a fussy toddler who throws my lovingly homemade meals on the floor, preferring a peanut butter sandwich over 8-hour slow cooked lamb tagine. Phht.. whatevs, his loss.

Instead of cooking for this challenge though, I decided to attack a problem area in our kitchen – the pantry. Uhh, the pantry. In my head, the perfect pantry is a gorgeous walk-in number, with plenty of shelves to hold rows of jars with little labels and scoops… like these:

dream pantryLeft: Emerson’s Pantry via Apartment Therapy  Right: NEAT Method pantry via Arianna Belle

Ahhhhh, perfection.

Back in reality though, our pantry is just a large cupboard in our kitchen, with 4 very deep shelves. Don’t get me wrong – I’m in no way complaining.. our last apartment didn’t even have a ‘pantry’, just a few small cupboards we’d deemed good for food storage. So the one we have now is actually pretty amazing.

Exceeeppptt.. we had no order. It was madness! Just look at this embarrassment… try not to shudder.

Pantry disgrace

Finding anything took a lot of time, and we would buy double-ups of things because we didn’t realise we had them in the first place.

Pantry disgrace Pantry disgrace

Uhh, look away! Needless to say this pantry needed a makeover like, yesterday.

So off to Ikea I went. And I bought about 50 (not kidding) of their 365+ food containers in all 3 sizes. And I got some very strange looks. And Arlo was super embarrassed by all my containers and got angry and loud. But I was excited because I was going to have an organised pantry!

I particularly liked the 365+ containers because they have a flip lid on one end, making it easy to pour the contents out without opening the whole lid. Win!

Then when I got home, I unpacked the pantry and repacked it into my wonderful new containers, labelled them all and stacked them back into the shelves in all their organised glory. I’m glossing over this part because it actually took a while and was a bit messy, especially with a toddler thrown into the mix. But we got there, and it was absolutely worth it!

Bask, in my pantry…

Pantry perfection

And side-by-side:

Before and After

Perfection! And, no surprises – it’s SO MUCH EASIER to find things now!

Pantry perfection

The bread-making box.

Pantry perfection

High-use foods.. rice, cous cous, quinoa…

Pantry perfection

And on the top shelf I even managed to get some baking ingredients in that were previously stored elsewhere!

It’s still not like those spectacular Pinterest pantries I started the post with, but it’s the greatest pantry I’ve ever had – and I love it. I’ve found that when I organise things around me, in our house, I feel a bit like I’m organising my brain.. I feel better, lighter, clearer. Less highly strung. And it was the same with the pantry, it’s a happy place now :)

So a huge thank you to Ikea for making my life easier in the kitchen – and the rest of our house for that matter. We’re big fans over here, and I feel so lucky to have been able to work with them on this series. Thank you!

IKEA Project 3: Dining Room – DIY Painted bowls

August 24, 2015 | DIY, Singapore, Sponsored

Disclosure: This is a sponsored collaboration with IKEA, however all ideas, opinions, and thoughts are my own. 

I can’t believe we’re already at the 3rd challenge! I’m just loving these tasks so much -It’s really fun to take a critical look at certain areas of my home and think about how they could work better, or what small things I could do to update the look.

For the last two Ikea tasks, I’ve done more of a space makeover (see those here and here). For this challenge though (dining room!) I wanted to focus on something a bit more specific, something we use in our dining room every day. So, instead of a room makeover, I’ve done a bowl makeover!

DIY painted bowls

I’ve been wanting to get some simple white bowls for a while now, and when I saw the IKEA 365+ bowls I thought they were perfect. Simple, classic, and – S$3.50! Can’t go wrong, seriously. Well, until I decided to get all crafty and freehand paint on them in the pursuit of cute custom ceramics… there was some serious room for error there.

I decided to face my fear of ruining these poor bowls though, and I’m thrilled that I did! I love how they turned out. It wasn’t too hard either, in fact I found that even if my lines and patterns weren’t perfect, it didn’t matter – it still looked good as a whole. PHEW.

And you can do it too! Here’s what you’ll need to make your own DIY painted bowls:
– Light coloured ceramic pieces of your choice (could be mugs, bowls, plates etc.)
– Porcelain paint pens* (or pots) in colours of your choice
– Some paper towels or an old piece of card to blot the pen on

*I used Marabu Porcelain Painter Pens (in dark blue 293) available at Art Friend for anyone following in Singapore. In future though I’d probably try and find pots of porcelain paint and use a very fine paintbrush as I found the pens a bit streaky and unreliable.

IO6A0523

Step 1.
First things first – the paint should not be applied to any surface that you plan to put food on. Best to keep it on the outside.

You’ll need to make sure your ceramic pieces are clean and dry. Then, have a read of the instructions on your paints and doing a small test of the bottom of one of your pieces. I bought 3 colours but ended up not loving the green or pink, so good to do a test!

DIY Painted Bowls

Step 2. 
I started by drawing a few rough sketches to get a feel for the patterns I might want on my bowls. Better to go in with a bit of a plan I reckon! Once you’re happy with your ideas, you’re ready to start painting! Or you can wing it, that’d work too :)

The paint dries fairly quickly, but can be wiped or scratched off if you notice a mistake soon after it’s been made.

Note: I discovered that the more detailed the pattern you create the better. When it’s really detailed, you tend to only see the overall pattern, and not the place where the pen started running out, or your flower wasn’t quite perfect. Larger drawings will require more accuracy. Also – thicker, thinner, lighter, and darker lines might seem like a mistake, but actually overall it just gives it a nice painterly feel! So don’t stress if it’s not perfect :)

DIY Painted Bowls

Step 3.
What you do next will depend on your paints – once they were finished, mine had to air dry for a few hours and then be oven baked.

That’s it! Now they’re ready to be used, and are even dishwasher safe. Brilliant!

DIY Painted Bowls IO6A0540 DIY Painted BowlsDon’t they look nice set up for breakfast? I can totally see a big mound of ice cream sitting pretty in these bowls too (though I’ll take ice cream in any bowl really!).

For some more beautiful ceramic painting tutorials (seriously, they’re gorgeous!) have a look at Delia Creates and Funnelcloud.

I hope you’ll give ceramic painting a go too! Be brave! :) x

IKEA Project 2: Living Room – A nook for Arlo

July 27, 2015 | Personal, Shop, Singapore, Sponsored

Disclosure: This is a sponsored collaboration with IKEA, however all ideas, opinions, and thoughts are my own. 

I was so excited when I heard that the Ikea theme for this month was Living Room! It’s the most used area of our house (maybe after the kitchen) and is where we tend to gravitate to at all times of the day. It’s where guests relax, where we eat some of our meals, and where Arlo plays most of the time.

Earlier this month, after 4 years in our old place, we moved apartments to a bigger, brighter space (happy dance!). I’m so excited about the possibilities for our new space (particularly the living room) and wanted to rush out and buy a bunch of stuff as soon as we moved in to make it more homely. But I stopped myself, and have instead decided that I really shouldn’t rush into this decorating project.. I need to live with the space for a month or two before deciding exactly what we want and need.

Here’s our living room before we moved in, and as it is now – not finished or perfectly styled, but a work in progress.

Living Room

But what about the Ikea challenge?? Well, even though the ‘adult’ area of the living room is still under maintenance, I’ve managed to finish another little part of it that’s just as important.

Adjacent to our living space above, I’ve created a little nook for Arlo. At this age, he doesn’t seem to like to play in his room and wants to be out where we are, so when I saw that this living room had a cut-out nook in one wall I thought it’d be perfect for Arlo. That way, I can keep his toys condensed in one area, but he still feels like he’s part everything happening in the living room. Here’s the before and after…

Nook for Arlo

We already had the Kallax bookcase, so I bought some perfectly-fitting baskets to put Arlo’s gazillion toys in (down nice and low so he can pull them out himself), and added the little kitchen because, well, it’s cute. So far his favourite thing to do with it is to open close, open close, open close the doors. Open close.

Nook for Arlo

On top of the shelf I used a bamboo basket to hold some balls, added some artwork that used to be in his room, and repurposed an old bathroom basket to hold a few rattles that he’s grown out of (that are too cute to be stored away in a cupboard).

Nook for Arlo

So far he loves it! Once he’s started playing with everything it quickly becomes a big mess, but I like that he can reach and explore things on his own, and that it’s easy to clean up at the end of the day.

Nook for Arlo

And if I step back a little, you can see a few other little corners of our new place, with stuff still waiting to be unwrapped and unpacked. It’s kinda nice seeing all our possessions in a new space.. :)

Nook for Arlo

So there we go.. I know it’s not exactly a re-do of our living room, but I love that Arlo now has a little space of his own, where he can keep an eye on me, and I can keep one on him.

These are some of the pieces we used from Ikea (which, btw, is a brilliant place to grab kids toys.. they’re fantastic!)…

Get The Look

1. KALLAX Bookcase  2. MULA Shape Sorter  3. BRANÄS Baskets  4. DUKTIG Felt Veges  5. DUKTIG Play Kitchen  6. GADDIS Basket  7. NIPPRIG Boxes  8. SPARKA Ball.

Cooking up a storm

.. and if you missed my first post in this Ikea series, you can find that here.

 

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