DESK LUNCH | SOBA SALAD WITH SILVER FISH

Last Good Friday, I've reached my quarter life mark! Happy Birthday to me:D

I'm having the best days in this month.

1. On Good Friday morning, I received a huge bouquet of lovely blooms from my 2 secret lovers/besties (Rochelle and Fiona)! Love you two💋. Then, I was indulging in a wholesome spread of imported fresh catch *squeals*. The lunch buffet in Shangri La Hotel has what it takes to satisfy my cravings for jumbo crab pincers, scallops and mussels. A few drops of Tabasco plus a gentle squeeze on the lemon on the seafood was simply a contentment.

2. On the following day, Ryan and I returned to DB Bistro for the fifth time. The same old restaurant where we had our first date and celebrated every significant occasion over the past one and a half years together. The ambience and attentive servers were just like before. Even the hospitable American restaurant manager who greets any customer (including myself) has never made an eye contact with Ryan till today. Still a mystery and I hope it remains hehe. What's different this time was the decision to order a dozen of oysters instead of half a dozen. Though the slimy shells were from diverse geographic regions, they tasted almost the same to me. Maybe the only dissimilarity was the tinge of fishy odour. After slurping six at one go, I was half full. Other than that the jumbo cocktail prawns were all the I had. As for Ryan, he devoured the entire veggie burger all by himself after I ate a morsel of the falafel patty. *Burp*

3.  Finally on Sunday, I warmed up the chair and plucked up enough courage to complete the entire season of Penny Dreadful in the dark with my eyes glued to the screen most of the time. You may not know this, I have never watched a single horror film/show in the past 24 years. Such a weak heart I know. But I figured this is a level up from the typical teenage romance I used to watch back in my undergraduate days. Certainly, I missed this old habit where my entire day was committed solely for TV. There was no agenda for the day and no frantic moments when time flies in a blink of an eye. I'm in that comfort zone, away from social media, away from interactions on my phone. There's nothing more but happiness that day. 

By the end of Sunday, reality hit me when there were plentiful of perishables in the fridge, staring at me.

The angel in my mind speaks: 

NO MORE FOOD WASTE.

PACK MY LUNCHBOX.

NO MORE EATING OUT FOR THE NEXT FEW DAYS TILL I CLEAR ALL THE FOOD. 

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With all that's left and unplanned, I present to you SOBA SALAD with Silver fish. It's a hassle free recipe. All you need is a plan to group the ingredients for the main salad, dressing and toppings. For toppings I usually select something mainly crunchy (silver fish), sticky (sunny side up), and dry (furikake) that set them apart from the texture of the main ingredients. 

For those who are highly concern in their hair health like I do, the silver fish and egg are excellent protein sources and providers of Omega-3 fatty acids for maintaining hair health. However, take the amount in moderation, not every day. 

Tip:

For the vegetables in this salad, I like them almost cooked for the crunch, and to retain the inherent sweetness they have. The longer the cooking times, the higher the heat, the more vitamins will be lost. Additionally, they will start turning a deeper shade of green, sometimes yellow, you and I may not want to eat that😣

As for shredded vegetables, add them towards the end before bringing the pan off heat. Due to their thinness, it speeds up the time to cook them. So give a quick toss for 30 seconds over medium heat and serve. 

 

Ingredients (serves 1)

Cooking time: 20 minutes

  • 70g (soba) buckwheat noodles
  • 10 French beans (sliced)
  • 3 mini sweet peppers (sliced)
  • 2 tbsp baby silver fish (air-fried)
  • ½ carrot (shredded) 
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 tbsp furikake 
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Salad dressing

  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Chinese shaoxing wine
  • 1 tbsp toasted white sesame
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • ½ tbsp fish sauce
  • ½ red chilli padi (diced)
  • 1 green chili padi (diced)
  • Brown sugar to taste

Directions

  • Fill up the stock pot with 500ml water over medium heat. Once it starts boiling, add soba and let it cook for 5-7 minutes or until al dente. Pour soba over a strainer. Place soba in a mixing bowl and put 4 ice cubes to let it cool down, side aside .
  • Place 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add French beans. Cook them for 5 minutes till they are slightly soften and their colours start to pop. Add carrot and sweet peppers and mix all the vegetables for 30 seconds. Scoop them up and set aside.
  • Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the same frying pan. Prepare a sunny side up, it takes about 3-5 minutes for the egg white to turn opaque white while the egg yolk remains runny. Scoop it up and set aside. 
  • Whisk all dressing ingredients and pour it over to the cooled soba in the mixing bowl. Use a chopstick and toss the soba well by separating the soba strands such that they are not in lumps. 
  • Add the vegetables and give it a quick toss again. 
  • Top the soba with a sunny side up, baby silver fish, and furikake.

Enjoy!Xx

- Ally

 

 

LOOSEN UP MY POCKET | SALMON BELLY POKE BOWL

Thinking about what's for lunch is my first world problem. Eating in a university canteen have many privileges, one of those is having a decent meal from a variety of stalls priced below the market rate. However, the university that I'm working, offers merely 5 stalls, of which I patronise just that one stall which serves hot and quality assured Yong Tau Foo. You can't go wrong with Yong Tau Fu, but I can't be eating that every day. What about walking out for lunch? Yes, that's the alternative, but a luxury. I noticed that food prices are escalating, especially for healthier food choices such as salads, superfoods bowls, smoothies, and sandwiches. Burning a huge hole in my pocket for nutritious meals should not share any correlation😣 Imagine that I were to spend on a well-balanced and clean lunch for about $10 everyday, that will add up to $50 a week. For an executive myself, I can already feel the financial struggle, let alone saving up for other priorities, pfft.

Well, there's still hope to loosen up my pocket while striving to lead a nourishing and sustainable lifestyle (not diet). 

PACK MY OWN LUNCH!

Yes, I decided to give it a shot and went full on thrifty mode. Yesterday I spent $30 in the supermarket for the items below:

  • 150g fresh salmon belly
  • 3 avocados 
  • 1 packet radishes
  • Furikake (Furikake is a dry Japanese seasoning meant to be sprinkled on top of cooked rice)
  • Purple cabbage
  • 3 zucchini
  • 1 packet of frozen edamame
  • Lemons

With the ingredients above, I can make around 5 poke bowls for myself in a week. Of course, there is always room for crea by swapping avocados with a sunny side up to keep homemade lunchbox interesting and appetising.   

So preparing lunchbox for a week will cost...

*calculating* $6 per meal! That allows me to save $4 a day and this can be contributed to either a great cuppa latte or my savings account 😎 Cultivating this habit is as tough as hitting back to the gym after taking a long break. Why not engage a lunch buddy, he/she may share the same healthy goals and mindset to kickstart a "I feel good eating well" lifestyle! When there's companionship, it sustains our motivation and perseverance to work towards a better version of ourselves💪🏻 

Ingredients (serves 2)

To marinate salmon belly 

  • 150g salmon belly, cubed
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp black bean ma la sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 lemon wedge
  • 1 tbsp white sesame

To assemble poke bowl

  • 1 cup brown rice (cooked with 1 tbsp coconut oil)
  • 1 cup purple cabbage, shredded
  • ½ zucchini, sliced
  • 3 radishes, sliced
  • 2 tbsps edamame
  • 1 packet or 2 tbsp furikake

 

Directions

  • Cook 1 cup brown rice with 3- 4 cups of water. It should cover slightly above brown rice. If the brown rice is still hard, add½ cup of water and let it cook longer to soften. Once rice has soften, add 1 tbsp coconut oil and mix into rice. 
  • Combine all ingredients with salmon belly cubes, mix it thoroughly. 
  • Scoop½ portion cooked brown rice , followed by ½ portion of the toppings to the rice bowl. Sprinkle 1 tbsp furikake on the rice bowl. 

Note: Although salmon belly is marinated, do finish it within the day of purchase. If it is purchased the day before, keep the marinated salmon belly in an air tight container and store in the fridge up to a day. Also, if you can smell the fishiness after a day, I will strongly advise you not to eat it. 

Enjoy! Xx 

- Ally