HelloFresh Flavour Generator

So today, I finished work an hour later than what I was initially planning to. Exhausted and hungry, it would’ve been so easy to just walk to our favourite take away and order our usual chicken pad thai and crispy pork belly (not that there’s anything wrong with them – I love them!). But we were determined to eat a freshly cooked meal at home. The only dilemma was: what to cook?

In comes HelloFresh’s Flavour Generator.

Say goodbye to playing the “I don’t know what I want but no I don’t want this this or this” game (and yes I’ve been known to play this game ALL.THE.TIME).

With the Flavour Generator, you pick the flavour and cuisine you fancy, including if you’re after something sweet, spicy, tangy, herby, or feeling a little bit more adventurous with a random taste. And voila! It gives one, two, or three recommended dishes, and even a chance to spin again just in case it wasn’t what you were after. Another great thing about the Flavour Generator is you don’t have to be a HelloFresh customer – if you’re out of ideas for what to cook, just hop on the Flavour Generator and it’ll literally do all the “thinking” for you.

Tonight, I wanted a lot of flavour because hey, it’s Thursday aka almost the weekend (yay!). So I picked Mexican Flavour, and something Tangy. The Flavour Generator gave a few recommendations which I wasn’t feeling, so I kept spinning until I found the one I was after. Chicken. Rice. Flavour. Big tick.

A quick look at the meal box HelloFresh sent through this week along with the recipe book, and we decided to have Cajun Chicken with Roast Veggie Rice Bowl. The ingredients and preparation were so simple and easy, using the freshest ingredients, with the least amount of work, and maximum taste.

I’m so stoked to find super fresh ingredients in my meal box. Everything I needed were there, which made preparing dinner even easier.

I quickly pre-heated the oven, chucked the basmati rice in the rice cooker, and started chopping the vegetables. Meanwhile, Mr J pan fried the chicken which he pre-seasoned with the cajun seasoning, salt and pepper. 15 minutes of prep work, 20 minutes of cooking time, a couple of minutes of plating (and taking photos… ahh the life of a foodblogger), and done.


A delicious, freshly cooked meal that used the freshest ingredients, with a right balance of rice, chicken, and vegetables, and loads of flavour (and look at that colour!), was ready in less than 45 minutes.

This post was a collaboration between HelloFresh and Sugarlace. Thanks to HelloFresh for the fabulous meal box and for introducing me to the Flavour Generator. Thinking about what to eat will never be the same again!   

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Philippine Food Festival, Shangri-la Sydney

Spring means new beginnings, stripping the sleeping, dormant self, an awakening.

Cheers to longer days, sunshine, trips to the beach, and quality time with lovely friends!
Cheers to longer days, sunshine, trips to the beach, and quality time with lovely friends!

And so, I come bursting out of my winter slumber and into the spring sunshine. The last few winter months have been cold, hectic, brutal, and yet the hiatus was much needed. I feel revitalised and energised (and yes, thanks to some flu-fighting medications, lots of Vitamin C, and a newfound sense of mindfulness).

What better way to come back to the blogging scene than to feature a fabulous Filipino food festival at Cafe Mix in Shangri-la Sydney? Thanks to the teams both here in Sydney and in Shangri-la Makati, Philippines, we were treated to an epic banquet of food, glorious Filipino food. There’s nothing more nostalgic than going back to your roots – think rice, pork, fish, vegetables, coconut, ube (purple taro), soups, mango, kakanin (sweet dessert rice cakes), and the star of the show: L E C H O N.

Roast beef and Cebu lechon
Chicharon - two whole bilaos!
Chicharon – two whole bilaos!

For one week only, Cafe Mix at Shangri-la Sydney is dedicating its buffet menu to everything Filipino, thanks to the dream team of chefs from Shangri-la Makati: Rico Celdo Venzon, Athena Blanche Tan Oropesa and Erma Balaquiao Palanca. I felt back in the Philippines again and rightly so… tastes, smells, and sights of the Philippines were everywhere. Dish upon dish upon dish were like hugs from the mother country, and it was so welcoming, so nostalgic, and oh so delicious.

The Philippine Food Festival is presented in partnership with Philippine Airlines and The Philippine Department of Tourism. To honour the 70 years of collaboration between Australia and the Philippines, Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney will donate $2 for every person who dines at the festival to Operation Restore Hope.

For bookings, call (02) 9250 6000 or email dine.slsn@shangri-la.com. For more information, visit www.shangrila.com/sydney.

Thanks to Shangri-la Sydney for the generous lunch at Cafe Mix to try the scrumptious Philippine Food Festival. Trish and Mr J dined as guests of Shangri-la Sydney.

Entree and side dishes: lotus seed, pusit, grilled eggplant, macaroni, tuna
Entree and side dishes: lotus seed, pusit, grilled eggplant, macaroni, tuna
Entree and side dishes: seaweed and bamboo shoots, embutido (pork loaf)
Entree and side dishes: seaweed and bamboo shoots, embutido (pork loaf)
Steamed fish
Steamed fish
Pochero of mixed seafood
Pochero of mixed seafood
Grilled mixed seafood
Grilled mixed seafood
Ginataang alimasag (crab with coconut cream)
Ginataang alimasag (crab with coconut cream)
Sisig - freshly made from the sisig station
Sisig – freshly made from the sisig station
Pakbet - mixed vegetables with shrimp paste
Pakbet – mixed vegetables with shrimp paste
Cebu lechon - boneless roast pork with the crackliest crackling, flavoured with herbs and spices and meat that is oh so tender. Don't forget the Mang Tomas sauce!
Cebu lechon – boneless roast pork with the crackliest crackling, flavoured with herbs and spices and meat that is oh so tender. Don’t forget the Mang Tomas sauce!
Calderetang dila ng baka - ox tongue
Calderetang dila ng baka – ox tongue
Chicken adobo
Chicken adobo
Kare kare - ox tail with peanut sauce, and with a side of shrimp paste
Kare kare – ox tail with peanut sauce, and with a side of shrimp paste
Desserts: leche flan - creme caramel
Desserts: leche flan – creme caramel
Brazo de Mercedes
Brazo de Mercedes
The dessert table
The dessert table
Banana turon
Banana turon
The halo halo station
The halo halo station
Ube ice cream for the halo halo
Ube ice cream for the halo halo
Halo-halo: mixed sweets of macapuno, kaong, red beans, sweet plantains, jellies, topped with shaved ice, ube ice cream, ube halaya, leche flan, and drizzled with evaporated milk
Halo-halo: mixed sweets of macapuno, kaong, red beans, sweet plantains, jellies, topped with shaved ice, ube ice cream, ube halaya, leche flan, and drizzled with evaporated milk

The well loved San Miguel Beer
The well loved San Miguel Beer
Tropical Maganda drink - similar to pina colada, but with rum, Malibu, pineapple and coconut cream. The beach in a glass... yum!
Tropical Maganda drink – similar to pina colada, but with rum, Malibu, pineapple and coconut cream. The beach in a glass… yum!

The Philippine Food Festival is on until Sunday 25th September 2016 at Cafe Mix, Shangri-la Sydney. The buffet lunch is available from noon to 2:30 p.m. at $57 per person.  The buffet dinner is available from 6 to 10 p.m. at $82 per person.  For bookings, call (02) 9250 6000 or email dine.slsn@shangri-la.com.

Thank you to chefs Rico, Athena and Erma from Shangri-la Makati and Madeleine of Shangri-la Sydney, with fellow bloggers Anna of Adobo Down Under and Jen of Sweet and Yummie. Oh and our guests Anna's friend and Mr J!
Thank you to chefs Rico, Athena and Erma from Shangri-la Makati and Deane of Shangri-la Sydney, with fellow bloggers Anna of Adobo Down Under and Jen of Sweet and Yummie. Oh and our guests Anna’s friend and Mr J!
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Los Vida at The Canteen, Barangaroo

Mexico is one country I would love to visit in this lifetime. Because I mean, who doesn’t? The food, music, festivals, and the people are all so lively and colourful, it would be a beautiful sensation overload and one trip that I know will go down the books.

In the meantime, I was privileged to be invited to Los Vida’s newly opened branch at The Canteen, Barangaroo precinct. Oh you know, just those three towers rising from the construction site off Kent St in the city. The site where a promise of glitz and glamour looms in near future, where apparently we shall find (in the next few years) ‘the greenest global residential, shopping and business centre in the world’. It was a lovely walk from my office to the middle tower, where the food court aptly named ‘The Canteen’ can be found brimming with take away food counters (and hungry office and construction people alike). I genuinely loved the buzz of lunchtime people walking around, thinking of what to eat, and the shops eagerly preparing for the massive hungry exodus.

We were greeted by Ulysees from Los Vida at the extremely busy Los Vida counter, and we pretty much just let him decide what our Mexican fiesta lunch would be. He excitedly gave us a quick whiz around the exciting menu and the unfamiliar Mexican fare that, after sampling them, pretty much changed my views of Mexican food. I initially had ideas of nachos and tacos of the Tex-Mex kind: covered in cheese, sour cream, avocado, salsa and jalapenos. What Los Vida offered was more of a refreshing, light, and extremely tasty Mexican affair. I was worried that I would trot back to the office feeling sluggish, heavy and sleepy, but I lasted the rest of the afternoon feeling full but content, as the whole meal packed a lot of flavour, and yet satisfyingly light and tasty.

Thanks to Los Vida for the invitation, and the colourful Mexican workweek lunch! Trish and Mr J dined as a guest of Los Vida at The Canteen, Barangaroo.

Tuna and scallops ceviche
Tequenos – South American cheese sticks with chipotle mayo
Gorditas – corn dough filled with beef picadillo and serve with green sauce
Jarritos soft drinks – more sugar than the normal Coca Cola! Definitely reminds me of the softdrinks from the Philippines in flavour and sugar content!
Tacos – chipotle beef, guajillo lamb and beer batter barramundi. Extra credit for the fried jalapenos and the chipotle mayo, because these soft tacos were AMAZING!
Chilaquiles – corn nacho chips in the adobo spicy beans and mushroom topping, topped with guacamole, cheese, sour cream, salsa verde, and queso fresco. Served with three types of chilli sauces (that chipotle sauce is a winner through and through, but the habanero also packed a mean punch!).

Los Vida, Barangaroo
Tower 2, The CanteenBarangaroo South, Hickson Rd
Open Monday – Friday from 11am – 3pm

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