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Quinoa Superfood Salad


If you're not serving quinoa (pronounced keen-wa darling...) in some form at your ladies' lunch, you may as well consider yourself ostracised from HK tai tai society.This is one of the most talked about grains right now as it is packed with protein, gluten free, high in iron and most importantly, very delicious in the following salad with fellow superfoods. Nearly every (healthy) guest has asked me for this recipe after trying it. Mango Menus highly recommends it for a girly lunch, served with a plain roasted chicken, sliced cold, and some tomato chilli jam on the side.


Cook the quinoa according to the instructions on the packet, rinsing it before and after cooking (to remove the very slight naturally occurring bitter taste). Dice the avocado and mix with the lemon juice to stop it going brown, and the ground cumin. Boil the peas/edamame/broad beans until cooked then combine with the quinoa, avocado, lemon juice, parsley and mint. Toss the salad well. Serve with slices of roast chicken and a tomato chilli jam (see recipe above), and if you are proper tai tai, a watermelon daiquiri. Click here for that recipe.


What you need:


100g quinoa

6 spring onions/scallions finely chopped

2 ripe avocados, diced

200g edamame (s0y beans) and/or peas (OR 200g of the frozen mix of peas, edamame & broad beans - available in Marks & Spencer, HK or most UK supermarkets)

2 teaspoons of ground cumin seeds

Large handful of chopped parsley

Large handful of chopped mint

Half a peeled cucumber, diced

Juice of 2 lemons

Slug of your best olive oil

Salt to taste


Serves 4 hungry tai tai wives




Just as we ought to know what is in a McDonald's burger before we eat it, I feel obliged at this point, to highlight the socio-economic consequences of the quinoa boom. The sheer popularity of the grain in the Western health-minded world has meant the price of the crop has soared leaving the poor Bolivian farmers, who grow the stuff, unable to afford it, forcing them to eat Western imported junk food. OR, maybe it is that their increase in sales has enabled them to buy the more expensive imports, like Coca Cola, that they wanted all along. Either way, an interesting economic point to discuss over your tai tai lunch once  pedicures and spa openings have been covered.
Pumpkin and Rocket Salad in a Soy Balsamic dressing
This is a filling, wintery salad with the Asian twist of the sesame seeds and a soy dressing. An ideal offering for HK's size zero community, which Mango Menus certainly does not advocate, (although has been known to envy from time to time).
Heat the oven to 190C. Chop the pumpkin into 2 inch cubes , season and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 25 minutes, or until tender. 
Mix your dressing ingredients and set aside.
Assemble at the last minute, combining the rocket leaves, finely chopped spring onions/scallions, pumpkin, dressing then scatter with sesame seeds.
Serves 4 size zeros or perhaps just 2 of my friends.


What you need:
1kg pumpkin
100g rocket
1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
4 spring onions/scallions finely chopped
Dressing ingredients:
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce
Half a red chilli deseeded and finely chopped
1/2 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon of runny honey


Mango Menus' Pumpkin & Rocket Salad
Tomato, Chilli & Ginger Jam


This was designed to give  a bit of sweetness to the virtuous superfood quinoa salad below, but it is also the BUSINESS in a less virtuous but throughly tasty sausage sandwich, as tested last night on the sofa at about 10pm.


What you need:

500g of ripest tomatoes

2 inches of ginger, grated and chopped

4 cloves of garlic

2 red chillis.

Slug of balsamic vinegar

Good slug of olive oil (we love OlivetreeHK)

60g brown sugar



Chop the tomatoes into quarters (or cherry tomatoes in half) and place in a shallow roasting dish with all the ingredients. Whack it in the oven at 180c for an hour then pour into jars and allow to cool. Fab with roast chicken & chips, the quinoa salad below, a joint of ham, and last but not least, a sausage sandwich.


Makes one large jar and keeps in fridge for couple of weeks

Halloumi, Lentil and Rocket Salad in a Tamari and Balsamic dressing
Heat the oven to 190C. Chop the pumpkin into 2 inch cubes , season and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 25 minutes, or until tender. 
During this time, cook your lentils. We used Greek lentils from the Olive Tree HK.
Mix your dressing ingredients and set aside.
Once your pumpkin, lentils and dressing are ready, cut the halloumi into 1cm thick strips and fry in a griddle pan (if you want the nice pretty marks!) in chilli infused oil (else just an olive oil). 
Assemble at the last minute, combining the rocket leaves, pumpkin, lentils, placing the halloumi on top and pouring the dressing.
Serves 2 tai tais


What you need:
500g pumpkin
100g rocket
1/2 cup of lentils
150g halloumi
Dressing ingredients:
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1/2 tablespoon of tamari (or soy sauce)
Half a red chilli deseeded and finely chopped
1/2 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon of runny honey


Grilled halloumi, butternut squash and lentil salad with a soy tamari and balsamic dressing



Introducing freekeh, a roasted green durum wheat from Palestine, with a slightly smokey aroma. I bought it in Marks & Sparks in the UK, but if you can't find it in HK, use couscous or bulgar wheat (or if you live near to me, I will happily give you some). Cook your grain, whatever it may be, place your roasted veg on top and let the juices soak in, crumble over your most aged feta, your very, very best olive oil (we love that from the OliveTreeHK, well priced at $350 for 5L,  plus the tall can looks damn hot in your kitchen) and a good dollop of harissa sauce.

What you need:

100g freekeh/couscous/bulgar wheat
200g of vegetables (aubergine, courgette, red pepper, pumpkin, sweet potato, couple of unpeeled garlic cloves,red onion)

50ml olive oil (buy online from The Olive Tree HK,)

50ml harissa sauce

6 romaine lettuce leaves

150g feta/goat's cheese



Chop your vegetables into one inch cubes and place in a shallow roasting tray with a  good drizzle of olive oil, grind of black pepper (no salt if you plan to use feta as that cheese is far salty enough...) and roast at 190C for around 45 minutes.

Cook the freekeh/couscous/bulgar/quinoa according to the instructions on the packet

Lie a few leaves on the plate then top with the freekeh, roasted veg, crumbled feta, dollop of harissa and another good drizzle of olive oil. Serve.


Serves 2 hungry tai tais

Carrot, Cashew & Ginger Salad in a Tamari Orange dressing


Admittedly inspired by a salad by mum used to buy in Marks and Spencer when I was little, here is an Indonesian style carrot salad with a peanut butter and soy dressing. I went trashy and used Skippy for my sins, probably counteracting any of the benefits of the raw crunchy organic carrots from Green Little Frog, but it was a GOOD salad, and my toddler old enjoyed it too (after I had removed the choke-potential cashews...) 


What you need:

2 large carrots

2 inch cube of ginger, peeled

2 spring onions/scallions

3 tablespoons of peanut butter (be as healthy or in my case, trashy, as you like)

3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice

3 tablespoons of tamari (a kind of soy sauce but gluten-free; use soy otherwise...)

Handful of cashews




Melt your peanut butter in small pan over a  low heat so it becomes runny. Take off the heat then add the tamari and orange juice and stir. Grate the carrot and ginger together, add the chopped spring onions, pour on the dressing then scatter cashews on top. Refrigerate for 10 mins as the dressing may warm up the carrot a little, then serve.


Serves 2 hungry mummies as a side dish with a little leftover for a toddler.

Oriental Duck Noodle Salad


This was to use up a doggie bag of leftover Peking Duck (no judging please) following a meal in a Chinese restaurant yesterday and my husband's usual habit of over ordering.


What you need:

2 cooked duck breasts

2 spring onions/scallions

140g of baby spinach leaves

150g dry udon noodles

1 carrot cut into thin julienne strips

2 tablespoons of peanuts



4 tablespoons of lime juice

4 tablespoons rice vinegar

4 tablespoons of fish sauce

3 tablespoons of sugar

1 red birdseye chili finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, smashed




Cook your noodles according to the instructions on the packet and allow to cool. 

Mix your dressing ingredients.

Mix your spinach leaves, precooked duck breast, noodles, spring onions, peanuts and carrot in a bowl and pour over a little dressing.


Serves 2 adults

Tuna & Bean Store Cupboard Salad (High Protein)


This is a quick store cupboard salad, high in protein from the tuna and beans (pinto, black-eyed, lima, borlotti, flageolet and cannelini), crunchy from the bell peppers, with a fruity raspberry vinaigrette. Feel free to add some bread to mop up the dressing as it's rather good.


What you need:

300g mixed beans (roughly 3/4 tin)

100g tuna

Half a bell pepper (any colour, but red sweetest)

1 tablespoon of diced red onion

1 tablespoon of chopped parsley



1 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar (or balsamic)

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salt & Pepper




Drain your can of tuna and mixed beans. Mix the tuna with 3/4 of the can of beans.

Dice your red onion and bell pepper then combine with the tuna & beans.

Mix your dressing ingredients.

Pour on a little dressing, mix and taste.


Serves 1 mummy for lunch

Tuna Bean High Protein Low Carb Store Cupboard Salad
Australian Rainbow Trout from Leo's Fine Foods with Quinoa, tomato & thyme salad

Australian Rainbow Trout with Quinoa, Tomato & Thyme Salad


This was a super cheap dish, using Australian trout from Leo's Fine Foods, currently priced around $38 per trout and 1 fish feeding 1 adult. The trouts arrive with their head on but have have been gutted, so you can quickly rinse them and cook with them straight away in this recipe. Light week night supper or lunch dish.


What you need:

2 rainbow trout

20g fresh thyme (1 packet)

30g unsalted butter

2 cups of quinoa

16 cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 quarter of a red onion, finely chopped

50 ml olive oil - your very, very best

1 lemon

Salt & pepper




Preheat the oven to 190C.  Place a knob of butter into the tummy of each trout and stuff it with a small bunch of fresh thyme. Wrap in silver oil and bake for 15 minutes.


While the fish cooks, cook your quinoa according to the instruction on the packet (usually takes about 15 mins). Then mix with the cherry tomatoes and a handful of fresh thyme (leaves only, ignore the stalks). Season it and add a big glug of your finest olive oil. We love the OlivetreeHK for their cold pressed Greek olive oil. 


Serve with half a lemon each to squeeze over the fish and quinoa. You may also like a dollop of mayonnaise with it.


Serves 2 adults

Nectarine and Brown Rice Salad
It's rare to find nectarines in Hong Kong, but I found these Chilean ones in the wet market this week. I then coincidentally read a similar recipe for this in the New Zealand magazine, Cuisine. This makes a quick girly lunch or a side side to an evening meal, and is vegan and gluten-free.


What you need:


1 cup of brown rice (uncooked)

2 ripe nectarines

2 large carrots

1 dessert spoon olive oil

1/2 cup of almonds

1/3 cup chopped parsley

3 spring onions




2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon clear runny honey

Salt & pepper




Preheat oven to 200c.


Put your brown rice onto cook in a rice cooker or saucepan. Then set aside to cool.


While your rice is cooking, peel your carrots, then with the peeler, cut ribbons of carrot and lay them in a baking dish. Drizzle them with a little olive oil, season and bake for around 15 minutes until the ends curl up and go a little brown. Place to one side and allow to cool.


Finely chop your parsley and spring onions.


Mix your dressing.


Combine the rice, carrots, almonds, parsley, spring onions and dressing.

Keeps in the 'fridge for 24 hours.


Serves 2 adults.


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Tai Tai Lunches & Interesting Salads

Kale, Bacon, Chickpea & Pine Nut Salad


This is a very transportable salad that you can prep the night before, containing kale, the most nutrient dense vegetable on our planet, as well as protein from the bacon, chickpea and pine nuts. The sweet tangy dressing also has a kick from fresh chilli.


What you need:


250g kale. This was purchased at the HK Football Club shop.

1/2 cup cooked/soaked/activated chickpeas

1/4 cup pine nuts

2 rashers of back bacon or 4 rashers of streaky bacon



2 tbls olive oil

2 tbls apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

1 red chilli, finely chopped

(no need to add to salt as the bacon is salty enough)



Grill your bacon until crispy, chop then set aside.


Wash your kale and remove the bitter ribs/stems. Dry the leaves well and tear into bite size pieces.


Combine the kale with the cooked bacon, pine nuts and chickpeas. 


Combine your salad dress ingredients and dress the salad. Rather than a quick toss, you can massage the dressing into the leaves to make them slightly less bitter.


Serve. If making in advance you can prep all the ingredients, then combine and dress at the last minute.

Serves 1 as a main course.


Kale, bacon, chickpea and pine nut salad

Vietnamese Chicken Salad


This is a fulfilling lunchtime salad using leftover cooked meat and one of my very favourite Asian style dressings incorporating lime juice, fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, chilli and garlic. The key combination is dressing + protein + salad + peanuts + chopped coriander on top. Within these criteria, you can choose...


What you need:

1 cooked chicken breast, shredded (or equivalent meat/fish)

Pre-cooked noodles (any noodles) for one person

Salad items e.g. lettuce, cucumber, celery, tomato, carrot

Handful of peanuts

Small bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped


Asian dressing - do not omit, this part is KEY!


4 tbs lime juice
4 tbs fish sauce

4 tbs rice vinegar

3 tbs sugar

1 red chilli finely chopped

1 clove garlic minced




Shred your chicken breast/meat/fish and cook your noodles. Allow them to cool.


Prep your salad ingredients.


Combine salad dressing ingredients.


If assembling ahead of time, combine the meat with the noodles, salad, peanuts  & coriander but keep the dressing separate until the last minute.


Serves 1

Moroccan Lamb with Fruity Couscous


What you need:


6 lamb tenderloins (we used one 500g pack from MM Fresh)

200ml olive oil

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Half an onion sliced

3 tbls fresh chopped parsley

3 tbls fresh chopped mint

3 tbls fresh chopped coriander

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground paprika

Salt & pepper


For the couscous

100g couscous

6 dried apricots

25g butter

200ml chicken stock

25g flaked almonds

20g finely chopped fresh mint

20g finely chopped coriander

100g cooked chickpeas

25g chopped pistachios

Pinch of cinnamon

1 tablespoon olive oil


Tzatziki and harissa sauce are optional to serve with the above.




Combine all the marinade ingredients and immerse the tenderloins into it, massaging the meat a little. Cover with a clingfilm and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.


For the couscous, heat up the stock to boiling point then pour it over the couscous, butter and apricots. Cover and check on it in 5 minutes by which time the stock should be absorbed. During this time, toast the almonds in a dry frying pan for a few minutes. Then combine the almonds, herbs, pistachios, cinnamon, chickpeas, couscous and olive oil. Cover until required.


When you are ready to eat, heat up a little olive oil in a frying pan and cook your lamb tenderloins for around 5 minutes, turning them every now and then. This will result in a pink finish. Cook them longer if you require.


Serves 2.

Herby Couscous with Roasted Vegetables


Here is a slightly more elegant way of presenting an old classic, in muffin cups bought at Twinsco and taster forks from Jason's. The presentation was possibly lost on my husband's cricket team but I think the wives liked it...


What you need:


2 cups couscous

2 cups boiling water or vegetable/chicken stock

1 courgette

1 red pepper

1 green pepper

2 cloves garlic minced

1 sweet potato

1 red onion

Half cup freshly chopped coriander

Half cup freshly chopped parsley

Plenty of good olive oil

Juice of half lemon

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or any colourless vinegar




To serve in muffin cups (bought these at Twinsco) and taster forks from Jason's.




Preheat the oven to 190c.


Dice your courgette, peppers, sweet potato and red onion and place on a shallow baking tray with the minced garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender.


During the baking time,  place your couscous in a large bowl and pour on 2 cups of boiling water or boiling stock. Stir together quickly, cover with  a plate, and leave for 10 minutes.

Then add 1 tablespoon olive oil and fork it apart to break up any clumps.


Combine the couscous, roasted vegetables and fresh herbs. Add the vinegar and lemon juice then season well. 


Serve in muffin cups with taster forks for an easy stand up party salad.


Makes around 25 portions.


Roasted Roots and Feta with Couscous and Leaves


I received an interesting selection of roots in my bag of vegetables from Tasmania Fresh this week, including beets, baby turnip and one which was yellow on the outside and pink in the middle. Any ideas? There was also some beautiful purple garlic, so I decided to roast the lot for a lunchtime salad. Ideally this would have had a large dollop of harissa on top as well as olive oil & balsamic, but in its absence I sprinkled a few chilli flakes for a kick.


What you need:


Bag of salad leaves

1 cup dried couscous

Vegetable or chicken bouillon

3 cups diced root vegetables including beetroot, turnip, swede or try carrots, sweet potato and pumpkin

Couple of cloves of garlic

150g feta

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Harissa sauce


Click here for the recipe:

Courgette Feta Edamame Mint Salad Zucchini

Courgette, Feta, Edamame and Mint Salad in a Lemon Herb Dressing


Here’s a summery salad, is high in protein from the soy beans and cheese. You can shave your courgette/zucchini into ribbons with a vegetable peeler, or use a spiraliser to make zoodles (zucchini noodles). The saltiness of the feta works well with the sharpness of the dressing, and the salad is bursting in flavour from all the fresh herbs.


Find the recipe here.


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