Deconstructed Pumpkin Pie in a Jar

Deconstructed Pumpkin Pie in a Jar

Hello Everyone! I’ll keep tonight’s introduction short as I have quite a bit to say at the end of this post – a disclaimer, or a little announcement(?) regarding Amcarmen’s Kitchen in light of the current pandemic.

This Deconstructed Pumpkin Pie in a Jar is where it’s at. It is super easy to make and adorably cute served in a jar! Seriously delicious. Pumpkin Pie Purée. Cream Cheese Frosting. Ginger Biscuits. Layer, layer, layer and you’ve got yourself a dessert that’s sure to please everyone, not only with your culinary skills, but also with your creativity!

Deconstructed Pumpkin Pie in a Jar

Now, I think with the measurements I’ve stated below, you can make at least 2 large jars of Pumpkin Pie, 3 would be pushing it, but if your jars are smaller, it is possible. I only made one jar for the purpose of getting a photo for this post because I ended up saving two thirds of the pumpkin for our daily meal consumption. You’ll find out why at the end of this post.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, do take the time to check out where I drew my original inspiration for these Deconstructed Pumpkin Pies in a Jar over on Life, Love, and Sugar by Lindsay.

Deconstructed Pumpkin Pie in a Jar

PREP TIME 2 HOURS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 2-3

INGREDIENTS

For the pumpkin pie layer

  • 250g pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp tequila
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream

For the cream cheese layer

  • 150g cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla

For the biscuit layer

  • 200g Ginger Nut Biscuits, crushed
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp salt

METHOD

  1. Pumpkin Pie Layer: Preheat oven to 220C (425F or gas mark 7).
  2. Toss the pumpkin, sugar, spices, and everything nice (liquor) in an oven-safe baking dish. Sorry, I could not resist not saying that! *cheeky grin*
  3. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Once done, set aside to completely cool down before puréeing the pumpkin. Mix the 2 tablespoons of cream into the pumpkin purée thoroughly.
  4. Biscuit Layer: Add the crushed ginger nut biscuits, salt, and melted butter together in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Mix together until well combined. Set aside in the fridge for about 15 minutes to chill.
  5. Cream Cheese Layer: Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat, on medium speed, the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Set aside in the fridge for about 15 minutes to chill.
  6. Assembly: Add about 1 & 1/2 tablespoons of the ginger nut biscuit crumbs to the bottom of the jar. Layer with 2 tablespoons of the pumpkin pie purée, and the 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture. Repeat the layering process until your jar is full.
  7. Top each with a dollop of cream and a biscuit, of biscuit crumbs. Set in the fridge for about 30 to 60 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Deconstructed Pumpkin Pie in a Jar

Deconstructed Pumpkin Pie in a Jar

As promised, here’s the announcement: with the on-going pandemic affecting the world to date, enhanced community quarantine here in the Philippines has already proven that it may be a little difficult for me to source the ingredients I need for the dishes I have planned out for the upcoming weeks (hopefully not months).

Public transportation systems have completely ceased, and the only way to get around now is by foot since I do not own a car, and I unfortunately don’t know how to ride a bike. It’s been difficult to get to the nearest market for fresh food, which I learnt on Sunday has also ceased its operations. The only way I can get access to fresh food is at the grocery store, which is even further than our local market.

Anyway, I will definitely have recipes up in the next two weeks since I managed to cook them in advance before we went into enhanced community quarantine. I will still try my best to find ways to source the ingredients I need to keep Amcarmen’s Kitchen up to date. I have some delicious recipes lined up for you until July and I’m excited to share all of them with you!

In the meantime, stay safe guys! Make sure you wash your hands, stay at home if you don’t have a reason to go out, and practice safe social distancing!

Deconstructed Pumpkin Pie in a Jar

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Vegetarian Ilocos-style Empanada

Vegetarian Ilocos-style Empanada

Hello Everyone! Just about 2 weeks ago, I went on a road trip with a few of my workmates for a weekend away to Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur, specifically to the cities of Pagudpud and Vigan. Even though it was a stressful and quick trip, we had a lot of fun. I say stressful because literally right after work on the Friday, we made our way into the city to catch our private van. We drove through the night and arrived at Paoay before dawn.

We had our breakfast and then started our tour sightseeing Paoay before a rough morning ahead. A morning I think some of us will never forget. A rough 4×4 journey through the Paoay Sand Dunes followed by sand boarding activities. My multiple bruises took over a week to heal!

4x4 Paoay Sand Dunes, Ilocos Sur

We arrived in Pagudpud just in time for a sumptuous boodle fight lunch by the beach. Since were too full to go for a swim right after, and it was scorching hot as well, we decided to continue with the tour first to fulfil our #forthegram shots before returning to the Blue Lagoon for a refreshing afternoon ocean swim after a super hot day! After our swim, we headed on over to our accomodation for a much needed shower before dinner. Remember how I said earlier that we headed straight into the city after work? This was the first shower I had in more or less 36 hours.

Blue Lagoon, Pagudpud, Ilocos Notre

The next day we got up early and left our accomodation after breakfast to start making our way back south to the city of Vigan, Ilocos Sur. We arrived in Vigan just before lunch and took endless amount of #forthegram photos along the famous Calle Crisologo – pre-war beauty of whitewashed walls, cobbled streets, and old Spanish houses; a town saved from destruction because of a love story. It is now home to souvenir shops and interesting lokal products. After a quick lunch and a shopping/pasalubong spree, we were back on the road for our journey home to Manila.

Vigan City, Ilocos Sur

One of the many musts when visiting the city of Vigan, or just the region of Ilocos, is the famous Ilocos Empanada. It is an orange-tinged fried dish traditionally stuffed with vegetables like unripe papaya, skinless Vigan Longganisa, and egg. Modern versions of the dish add bagnet*, mung beans, and even hotdogs into the stuffing.

So my takeaway from this trip was to recreate the famous Ilocos Empanada at home, with a twist. Those who know me personally, ever since towards the end of last year, I’ve been trying to cut down on my meat intake for various health reasons. Those of you who also know me, I can’t cut out all meat from my diet and go completely vegetarian. And so, my diet as of this moment, consists of only chicken and seafood as my main source of animal protein. Hopefully, I can completely rule out chicken by the end of this year and go pescatarian.

Vegetarian Ilocos-style Empanada

Of course, I can’t not taste the original empanada first before attempting to put a twist to the classic. So just that one time, I broke my diet and had one (maybe 2) for myself. Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, here are a few links that you should check out that helped me put this recipe together:

* Bagnet, locally also known as chicharon in Ilocano, is a Filipino dish of pork belly that has been boiled first and then deep fried until it is crispy. It is seasoned with garlic, black peppercorns, bay leaves, and salt during the boiling process.

Vegetarian Ilocos-style Empanada Ingredients

PREP TIME 1 HOUR 30 MINS** | COOKING TIME 6-8 MINS | MAKES 8 EMPANADAS

** Allow up to a minimum of 6 hours or up to 24 hours for freezing time. Freezing the empanadas beforehand helps to keep them intact and prevent them from breaking apart during the frying process.

INGREDIENTS

For the crust

  • 1 & 1/4 cups rice flour
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp annatto oil***
  • 1 tsp salt

For the vegan longganisa mixture
(Note: This recipe makes around 16-18 small sausages)

  • 250g firm tofu, crumbled
  • 1 & 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 1 & 1/2 cups dried shiitake mushroom, rehydrated and minced (or any other mushroom)
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 & 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the filling

  • 8 small free range eggs
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium-sized unripe papaya, shredded
  • 1 medium-sized carrot, shredded
  • 1 medium-sized red onion, diced
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Vegan longganisa mixture
  • Cooking oil, for frying

*** The main purpose of using annatto oil is to provide colour to different dishes to make it more visually appealing. Since annatto oil is not always available in grocery stores, learning how to make it will surely be beneficial to you. Here are the details to get your started:

For the annatto oil

  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons annatto seeds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (vegetable oil, canola oil, and corn oil can also be used)

METHOD

  1. Annatto Oil: Combine the annatto seeds and olive oil in a small saucepan. Turn on the heat to medium.
  2. When bubbles start to form around the annatto seeds, turn the heat off and let the seeds soak in the oil for a minute or two. Do not overcook the seeds as this will produce a bitter taste.
  3. Use a strainer to filter-out the annatto seeds and transfer to a heat proof bowl. Set aside to cool down.
  4. Empanada Dough: Add the water, salt, and annatto oil in a medium-sized non-stick frying pan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  5. Once simmering, add the rice flour all at once and mix using a wooden spoon, until all the liquid is absorbed and and dough starts to form. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  6. Once completely cooled, knead until you get a smooth ball. Divide the dough into 8 equally-sized balls. Cover with cling wrap and set aside to rest for 30 minutes to an hour.
  7. Vegan Longganisa: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients together except for the breadcrumbs. Leave to marinate for about 30 minutes. Even though it’s not stated in the ingredients list, I ended up adding some chilli powder to the mixture for an extra kick of spice.
  8. Add the breadcrumbs to the mixture. Add more depending on the firmness you want to achieve. At this point, you can shape the mixture into sausages, but since we’ll be using them for the empanada filling, we won’t be needing to shape them.

Vegan Longganisa

  1. Empanada Filling: Add a tablespoon of coconut oil into a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the garlic until golden brown, about 30 seconds, before adding the diced onion. Cook for a further minute until soft and fragrant.
  2. Add the tofu-mushroom mixture to the pan and stir-fry until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Once done, set aside to cool down completely.
  3. Prepare the unripe papaya and carrots in a separate bowl.
  4. Assembly: Place the dough ball between two sheets of plastic cling wrap to prevent it from sticking to your counter-top and rolling pin. Roll it out nice and thinly.
  5. Fill with the shredded unripe papaya and carrots, together with the vegan longganisa. Arrange them so that they create a well in the middle. Crack one egg into the well.
  6. Fold the dough over and seal the edges by pinching it using your fingers or a fork. Transfer into a tupperware lined with parchment paper to prevent the empanadas sticking to each other.
  7. Repeat for the remaining dough. Should make about 8 small or 4 large empanadas.

Vegetarian Ilocos-style Empanada

  1. Cook & Serve: Deep fry until golden brown and crisp, about 3-4 minutes per side. Once done, transfer to a wire rack and strain any excess grease from the empanadas. You can fry the empanadas longer if you prefer your egg to be cooked more, as long as you don’t burn the empanadas. I personally like my eggs runny.
  2. Enjoy with your favourite spicy coconut vinegar or of course, with some delicious Ilocos-made vinegar.

Vegetarian Ilocos-style Empanada

Note:

  • You will most definitely end up with a lot of leftover sautéed tofu & mushroom and shredded veggies.
    • Shredded Veggies: You can make a delicious Thai Papaya Salad with it and serve it with anything fried! My choice would be to serve it with a humble portion of fried fish.
    • Sautéed Tofu & Mushroom: Shape the leftovers into sausages and freeze. Pan-fry them for 3-5 minutes before serving.
  • If you want to make this dish completely vegan, omit the egg from the recipe.

Vegetarian Ilocos-style Empanada

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Vegan Gajar Ka Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding)

Vegan Gajar Ka Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding)

Hello Everyone! I’m about to switch things up a bit tonight and share with you a recipe from a country that I have yet to culinarily explore. Amcarmen’s Kitchen is afterall, a Third Culture Foodie! It’s a bright orange Indian carrot pudding that is absolutely decadent and is sure to please, not only yourself, but your guests as well.

Gajar Ka Halwa, is a delicious and rich carrot pudding that’s perfect for any celebration. In India, this dessert is enjoyed mainly on the occasion of Diwali, Holi, Eid al-Fitr, and Raksha Bandhan. It can be served hot or cold. The classic Indian dessert is traditionally made using ghee and full-fat milk, but of course, you can easily substitute those dairy products out for non-dairy products for a vegan option of this dish, but apparently it won’t taste as great. I can’t judge for myself as I haven’t tasted the traditional version.

Vegan Gajar Ka Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding)

Also, I just want to add that I had a hard time sourcing cardamom in store here in the Philippines. Cardamom has a complex flavour of fruity, nutty, spicy, woody, and citrusy that’s hard to replicate with other spices. However, cardamom substitutes like ginger, nutmeg & cinnamon are the closest.

If you too have difficulty in sourcing cardamom, I found online that you can mix together equal parts ground cinnamon and nutmeg and use in place of the cardamom called for in your recipe – which I already conveniently had both lying around at home in the pantry. If you don’t have nutmeg, then try equal parts cinnamon and ground ginger or equal parts cinnamon and ground cloves instead.

Before we delve into tonight’s recipe, please do check out the original by Ashley of My Heart Beets.

Vegan Gajar Ka Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding) Ingredients

PREP TIME 5-10 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS | SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 medium-sized carrots, peeled and grated/shredded
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom (or 1/16 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/16 tsp ground nutmeg)
  • Handful of chopped pistachios or other nuts, to garnish

METHOD

  1. Add the shredded carrots, coconut milk, and water to a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Cover and bring to a rapid simmer.
  2. Once simmering, add the sugar and cook for a further 6 to 7 minutes, or until most of the liquid has reduced.
  3. Add the coconut oil and stir-fry the carrots for a further 6 to 7 minutes, or until the carrots become dry and the coconut oil separates from the mixture. The carrots should look dark orange or reddish in colour.
  4. Add the ground cardamom and mix well.
  5. Transfer to individual serving ramekins and top with the chopped pistachios. Enjoy!

Vegan Gajar Ka Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding)

Note: You can easily double or triple this recipe if you plan on making this dessert for a crowd.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon

Hello Everyone! As I stated in my very first post for the year 2020, I mentioned that I would not be revealing the theme for the year as I want to give you guys a chance to guess. I also mentioned that it might not be obvious for the first few months. But as a new month dawns upon us, this means that it’s time to change it up a little bit; to make it start to look a little clearer on where the journey of Amcarmen’s Kitchen will take us this 2020.

Tonight’s recipe is perfect for an easy weeknight meal, yet also fancy enough to impress your guests on the weekend! What’s even better is that it’s ready in under 30 minutes! It’s full of vibrant orange flavour and pairs well with the fresh tarragon. Actually, a little side note – the recipe uses fresh rosemary to pair with the salmon. I had a hard time sourcing rosemary the weekend I wanted to whip this dish up and so I ended up using the next best thing I could find – tarragon!

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon

This Orange-glazed Salmon is a hearty and filling dish packed with fresh flavours and healthy fats. Sear the salmon first so that you get that delicious and slightly crisped golden-brown exterior with a tender, fall-apart interior. As this dish makes quite a bit of sauce, it is best served with a side of rice or couscous to soak up all that yummy goodness. Don’t forget a side of veggies too for some added fibre to your diet!

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please check out the original where I drew my inspiration from, another recipe from Jaclyn over on Cooking Classy.

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 salmon portions (1-inch thick, skin on)
  • 2/3 cup fresh orange juice (about 2 small Navel oranges)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 shrimp bouillon cube, dissolved in 5 tbsp of water
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 & 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 & 1/2 tsp fresh tarragon, minced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Tarragon sprigs, to serve

To serve

  • Blanched vegetables of choice
  • Navel orange wedges/slices
  • Steamed plain rice or couscous

METHOD

  1. Heat olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan or skillet over medium-high. Make sure that it is hot enough, but not too hot that it starts smoking.
  2. Season both sides of the salmon with salt and freshly ground black pepper before adding to the pan. Cook, skin side down first before flipping, about 3-4 minutes per side or until browned and cooked through. Once done, transfer the salmon to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up any excess grease.
  3. With the same oil in the pan, add the garlic and minced tarragon. Sauté for about 20 seconds, taking care not to burn them, and then add 4 tablespoons of the shrimp bouillon cube dissolved in water. Simmer until mostly reduced. Stir in the orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice, and honey.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining tablespoon of the shrimp bouillon cube dissolved in water with the cornstarch. Pour into the pan and whisk until thickened. Season the sauce with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Allow to simmer for about a minute while constantly whisking.
  5. Return the salmon to the pan and spoon the sauce over. Remove from the heat.
  6. Serve with vegetables of choice, in this case I used mustard leaves, on the side with extra slices of fresh oranges and steamed rice (optional). Enjoy!

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

Hello Everyone! I feel like February is flying by so quickly; in just a few days, it’ll already be March! But before we think ahead into the new month, let’s focus on tonight. Tonight, I will be sharing a classic recipe of strawberries, sweet biscuits, and whipped cream. A trio of decadence!

Skip the store-bought strawberry shortcake and make your own at home completely from scratch – it’s much easier than you think! With only a handful of basic ingredients, you can make tall, fluffy, and sweet biscuits, layer them with juicy strawberries and freshly whipped cream for a dessert that’s sure to impress.

Strawberry Shortcake

The name shortcake is derived from an old English cooking definition of short. It refers to something made crisp with the addition of fat. Therefore, shortcake is a crisp, crumbly cake that is made from butter which is how it got its name.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on Cooking Classy by Jaclyn.

Strawberry Shortcake Ingredients

PREP TIME 25 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-12 MINS | MAKES 12 BISCUITS

INGREDIENTS

For the strawberries

  • 300g fresh or frozen strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 3 tbsp white granulated sugar

For the sweet biscuits

  • 1 & 1/2 cups plain all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk*, cold
  • 60g unsalted butter, cold and diced into small cubes
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 5 tbsp white granulated sugar, plus 1 tbsp extra for topping
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

For the whipped cream

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose cream
  • 3/4 tsp white granulated sugar
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnishing (optional)

* Buttermilk is required for this recipe. If you do not have buttermilk, you can make your own by mixing 2 teaspoons white vinegar or lemon juice with 1/2 cup milk. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes.

METHOD

  1. Strawberries: Slice the strawberries and add them to a small bowl together with 3 tbsp of sugar. Toss and allow to macerate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Sweet Biscuits: Preheat oven to 220C (425F or gas mark 7) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, 5 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the cubed butter and rub them into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture resembles a breadcrumb-like texture. Make a well into the centre of the flour mixture
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, or large liquid measuring cup, add the buttermilk, one whole egg, and vanilla extract. Pour the buttermilk mixture in the well of the flour mixture. Mix with a flat-bladed knife until a soft dough starts to form.
  5. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until it smoothly comes together. Pat the dough into a square about 2cm thick and using a floured cutter, cut 6-cm diameter rounds. Press the dough together and cut out the remaining rounds, and transfer to the lined baking sheet.
  6. Brush the tops of each round with egg white and sprinkle evenly with the 1 tablespoon of sugar. Bake in the preheated oven until cooked through and lightly golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Once done, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool for about 10 minutes.
  7. Whipped Cream: Pour all-purpose cream and sugar into a chilled mixing bowl. Using an electric hand-held mixer, whip the cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Be cautious as to not over whip the cream.
  8. Assemble: To assemble the shortcakes, use a serrated knife to split each biscuit in half, lengthwise. Dollop a spoonful of the whipped cream over the bottom halves and then top with a generous amount of the sliced strawberries. Top with the second half of the biscuit and serve immediately after assembling. Enjoy with a cup of hot tea for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack.

Strawberry Shortcake

Here are some tips for the best Strawberry Shortcake:

  • Use well-chilled butter. Those cold little clumps of butter will melt into the biscuits as they bake, leaving them perfectly tender and buttery.
  • Use cold buttermilk. This is so that the clumps of butter rubbed into the flour mixture stays cold as does not melt in the mixing and kneading process.
  • Be gentle with the dough. Don’t knead it too much or your biscuits will be quite tough when baked.
  • Flour your biscuit cutter. This is to reduce sticking. In addition, don’t twist the biscuit cutter when cutting into the dough or else or it seals the edges and the biscuits won’t rise as high.
  • Don’t skip the resting time for the strawberry mixture. Allowing time for the strawberries to macerate in sugar helps soften them up a bit.
  • Use cold, full-fat cream. These will whip up nicely. Did you know that you can actually add the sugar at the beginning for the whipping process? That was there’s no grittiness.

Strawberry Shortcake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Raspberry, Almond, and White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Cream Sauce

Raspberry, Almond, and White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Cream Sauce

Hello Everyone! I hope everyone had a great weekend celebrating love, be it with your families, friends, or significant others. Tonight I’ll be sharing an elevated version of a classic bread pudding recipe.

Raspberry, Almond, and White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Cream Sauce

Bread Pudding is a bread-based dessert that originated in Europe, but popularised in many countries’ cuisines. It is typically made with stale bread, with milk or cream, eggs, butter, and depending whether the pudding is sweet or savoury, a variety of other ingredients.

Raspberry, Almond, and White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Cream Sauce

Sweet bread puddings may use sugar or honey, fruits, nuts, vanilla, and spices such as cinnamon and/or nutmeg. The bread is soaked in the liquids together with the other ingredients, baked, and then served with either ice cream or a sauce. Tonight’s recipe will include all of the above, with raspberries, white chocolate, and sliced almonds, topped with a rich vanilla cream sauce.

Raspberry, Almond, and White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Cream Sauce Ingredients

PREP TIME 1 HOUR | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

For the bread pudding

  • 1 loaf wholemeal bread
  • 1 punnet (250g) fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 100h mascarpone cheese
  • 2 cups soy milk
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Handful of sliced almonds
  • Handful of white chocolate chips

For the raspberry coulis

  • 100g fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar

For the vanilla cream sauce

  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 200ml heavy cream, or all purpose cream
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt

METHOD

  1. Bread Pudding: Grease a rectangular baking dish, mine was about 7.5″ x 11″ in size, with the unsalted butter. Cut the bread slices in half diagonally and arrange them into the baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together the egg, soy milk, sugar, mascarpone cheese, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg until well combined. Pour over the bread, making sure to press the bread down to absorb the egg mixture.
  3. Top with crushed raspberries, white chocolate chips, and sliced almonds. Sprinkle an extra tablespoon of sugar on top if you wish. Cover with aluminium foil and let it sit for about an hour before baking.
  4. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4) about 45 minutes into its sitting time. Baked, covered for 30 minutes, and then uncovered for another 30 minutes or until lightly browned and set.

Raspberry, Almond, and White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Cream Sauce

  1. Raspberry Coulis: Chuck the raspberries and sugar into a small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t burn on the bottom. It doesn’t take long before the juices start to run and things start to look syrup-y.
  2. After the sauce has simmered for about 10 minutes, it should be just right. Not too thick, not too thin. Optional: If you like your raspberry sauce satiny-smooth, pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer. Then use the back of a ladle to push it through, discarding the seeds and reserving the sweet, fruity puree.
  3. Pour on top of the bread pudding and leave to seep.
  4. Vanilla Cream Sauce: Melt butter in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat. Once melted, increase the heat to medium and add the flour. Whisk together for about 10 minutes until it has a nutty aroma, but make sure not to brown the roux.
  5. Add the salt, cream, and sugar, whisking until the mixture becomes thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. If your sauce is too thick, you can add a few tablespoons of soy milk to loosen the sauce a bit.
  6. Drizzle or pour a generous amount of the vanilla cream sauce over a warm single serving of the raspberry bread pudding and enjoy immediately!

Raspberry, Almond, and White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Cream Sauce

Before I end tonight’s post, do check out my Blueberry Bread Pudding recipe that I tackled back in 2017. I also made an all-crust bread pudding with dates from 2014; it’s not up on my blog only because I made it out of the blue one night with leftovers from an afternoon tea party I held when I was still living in Australia.

Raspberry, Almond, and White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Cream Sauce

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Red Velvet Cinnamon ‘Love’ Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Cinnamon ‘Love’ Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Hello Everyone! Valentine’s Day is just 2 days away and if you don’t have any creative ideas up your sleeve to surprise your significant other just yet, then I’ve got the perfect recipe for you! These beauties really are the perfect way to show your special someone how much you care about them for Valentine’s Day – or for any occasion as a matter of fact! Love, care, and affection should not only be celebrated and shown on one specific day.

Red Velvet Cinnamon ‘Love’ Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Everyone loves cinnamon rolls, but the regular-shaped ones don’t quite shout ‘creative’ or a perfect Valentine’s Day treat. So why not make them into lovely red velvet heart-shaped rolls? I’m sure your sweetheart will feel even sweeter biting into these fluffy rolls stuffed with fresh red cherries that are topped with a rich vanilla cheese frosting. Simple. Quick. Oh-so tasty!

Before we dive right into tonight’s recipe, here are the two recipes from where I drew my inspiration from for these ‘Love Rolls’: Le Creme de la Crumb by Tiffany and Rasa Malaysia by Bee.

Red Velvet Cinnamon ‘Love’ Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

PREP TIME 45 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-12 MINS | MAKES 10 ROLLS

INGREDIENTS

For the dough

  • 3 & 1/4 cups plain all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup soy milk
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 60g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 2-3 tsp red food colouring
  • 2 & 1/4 tsp active quick rise yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the filling

  • 70g unsalted butter, very soft
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Fresh red cherries

For the frosting

  • 115g cream cheese, softened
  • 85g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3-6 tbsp soy milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Dough: Add the milk and butter to a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the butter is melted and then remove from the heat. If the milk and butter mixture is too hot, allow it to cool down to lukewarm temperature.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 & 1/4 cups of flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Add the milk mixture, egg, and red food colouring. Mix to combine well.
  3. Using the dough hook attachment on your mixer, knead while slowly adding the remaining cup of flour until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the edges of the bowl. Alternatively, you may also knead by hand. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Filling: Once rested, roll out the dough into a rectangle on a floured surface. Spread the softened butter on top. Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl, and then sprinkle the mixture on top of the dough.
  5. Cut the dough into 10 strips and make each strip into a heart shape. Transfer the cinnamon rolls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place a cherry into the centre of each cinnamon roll and cover with a damp towel and to allow them to rise, about 25 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to completely cool down.
  7. Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting: In a small mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Mix well and then add in the powdered sugar a quarter cup at a time until thick. Add the milk one tablespoon at a time until the frosting is smooth and spreadable.
  8. Spread the frosting over cooled cinnamon rolls and serve immediately. Enjoy it with a cup of hot coffee or tea for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack!

Red Velvet Cinnamon ‘Love’ Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Cinnamon ‘Love’ Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Strawberry & Mascarpone Dessert Pizza

Strawberry & Mascarpone Dessert Pizza

Hello Everyone! For the month of February, I’ll be sharing some sweet dishes to celebrate the month of love! Though in my opinion, I believe love should be celebrated every day. No, I don’t mean that you should buy gifts and whip up something special in the kitchen every single day, but you should always make your significant other feel loved, whether big or small the gesture.

Strawberry & Mascarpone Dessert Pizza

For tonight’s recipe, forget chocolate dipped strawberries. Here’s a dish that takes the classic combination of Strawberries and Chocolates to the next level and is sure to impress your significant other for Valentine’s Day. I originally had a different recipe planned for tonight, but I was inspired by someone special to make this dessert pizza and share it with you guys.

Also, check out this recipe that I made a couple of years back if you wish to try out a different take on a berry dessert pizza: Nutella & Mixed Berries Pizza.

PREP TIME 10 MINS* | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 3-4

* When you plan to tackle this recipe, make your dough ahead of time as needs to be refrigerated overnight before using.

INGREDIENTS

  • Classic New York Style Pizza Dough Recipe
  • 2 punnets (600g) fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced
  • 250g Mascarpone Cheese
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup nuts, roughly chopped
  • 5 tsp Nutella
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 220C (245F or gas mark 7). Place your pizza stone in the oven as well to heat it up.
  2. Roll out your dough to a circle about the same size as your pizza stone on a lightly floured surface as thick or thin as you want. Transfer the rolled-out dough onto a sheet of parchment paper. This will easily help you transfer your pizza onto the preheated stone.
  3. Brush around the edges with a little bit of water, then spread a thick wall of Nutella all the way around the edges. Fold, or roll the edges over the wall of Nutella and seal it in by pressing down on the damp dough to form a stuffed crust.
  4. Carefully remove the pizza stone from the oven. Transfer the dough onto the hot stone and bake in the oven for about 3-4 minutes.
  5. While the pizza is baking, heat the balsamic vinegar in a small non-stick saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer, continuously stirring to check on the consistency of the glaze, until the vinegar is reduced to a thick sauce, about 5 minutes, Remove from the heat and leave to cool down for a bit.
  6. Remove the pizza from the oven. Spread a thin (or if you are that type, a generous) layer of mascarpone cheese onto the dough and, top with the sliced strawberries and the nuts. Place it back into the oven with the grill setting on and grill for a further 3-4 minutes or until cooked all the way through. It should not take more than 10 minutes in total.
  7. Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil leaves and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Serve and enjoy immediately!

Strawberry & Mascarpone Dessert Pizza

Strawberry & Mascarpone Dessert Pizza

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Singapore Chilli Crab with Fried Mantou

Singapore Chilli Crab with Fried Mantou

Hello Everyone! As I said in my very first post for the year, I wanted to see how many of you will be able to guess the theme for this year. As of now, you probably have enough information for an idea, and to be honest, it’ll only get clearer (maybe) in April. So for now, I’ll keep you guys guessing!

Chilli Crab is a Southeast Asian seafood dish, popularised and promoted in Singapore as its national dish. The dish dates back to 1956 where a husband and wife started selling an improvised recipe of stir-fried crabs mixed with bottled chilli and tomato sauce from a pushcart.

Despite its name, it is actually not a very spicy dish at all. It is a dish where mud crabs, or any other species of crab, are stir-fried in a semi-thick, sweet and savoury tomato and chilli based sauce. The sauce is described as sensuous, sweet yet savoury, and fluffy in texture.

Singapore Chilli Crab with Fried Mantou

When it comes to eating Chilli Crab, forget about cutlery. It is traditionally eaten with bare hands as a means to savour the juicy crab meat. Restaurants that serve this each often provide wet towels or a small washing bowl with lime for diners to clean their hands after their meal. Additionally, don’t be shy. Ask for a bib. Or wear a bib when eating at home. Seriously. It will keep your clothes free from stains and sauce drops.

Chilli Crab is commonly ordered with a side dish of plain or fried rice, vegetables, or other seafood dishes such as fish. Regardless of those, there’s one thing that can’t be left out when you order Chilli Crab that contrasts so deliciously with the sauce: Bright Golden Pillows. Or simply, fried mantou buns. These crispy and greasy little nuggets are used to soak up the sauce from the Chilli Crab. They are sweet, soft, and sinful.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, check out the original recipe over on Serious Eats by Yvonne Ruperti.

Singapore Chilli Crab Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-12 MINS | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 whole Mud or Dungeness Crabs (about 600g – 800g in weight for each)*
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 red bird’s eye chillies, minced
  • 1 half-inch knob ginger, grated
  • 1 large free-range egg, beaten
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 1 stalk green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 shrimp bouillon cube
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup hot-sweet chilli sauce
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch, mixed with 2 tbsp of water to make a slurry
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To serve on the side

  • Steamed rice
  • Fried mantou (Chinese Buns)**

* Check out this YouTube video by Sydney Fish Market on how to choose, clean, and prepare your crabs; best to keep the fat and creamy part inside the top shell for the extra crab flavour that it’ll lend to the dish.
** You can make your own mantou buns by following this recipe over on China Sichuan Food. Alternatively, you may also find them at your local grocer or supermarket, if available.

Frozen Mantou Buns

METHOD

  1. In a large wok or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium until shimmering. Add in the garlic, onion, ginger, and chillies. Cook until lightly browned and fragrant for about a minute.
  2. Add the crab pieces, water, and shrimp bouillon cube. Increase the heat to medium-high, cover loosely, and bring to a gentle boil. Decrease the heat if necessary. Cook for about 6 minutes, until the crab has turned red and is nearly cooked through.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste and chilli sauce. Simmer for about a minute and then season to taste with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Stir in the cornstarch slurry and bring back to a boil for the sauce to thicken.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in beaten egg. Transfer to a serving dish and top with sliced green onions and fresh chillies.
  5. Serve with steamed rice and/or fried mantou buns. Take care when eating the sauce – it may have bits of shell in it from the crab. Enjoy!

Singapore Chilli Crab with Fried Mantou

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Seafood Thai Red Curry

Seafood Thai Red Curry

Hello Everyone! The secret to a great, vibrant, and spicy Seafood Thai Red Curry is of course the quality of the red curry paste, spices and aromatics, vegetables, and the freshest seafood you can find out there. The best thing about this dish is that it is pescatarian-friendly, dairy-free, and gluten-free!

Seafood Thai Red Curry

When it comes to a seafood-loaded curry, versatility is one of the things that I love about it. You can pretty much load it up with any type of fish, shellfish, and seafood of your choice. The same goes with the vegetables. Also, depending on the ingredients you choose to add to the dish, it can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.

For those who know me, I would normally tackle recipes like this by making my own paste. However, due to the limited availability of certain ingredients here in the Philippines, I thought long and hard before I opted to use store-bought paste. Just make sure that if you are using good-quality and authentic Thai Red Curry Paste. They can usually be found in the international aisle of any large supermarket chains.

Seafood Thai Red Curry Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 45 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 200g salmon belly, skin removed* and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 100g baby clams, de-grit and cleaned**
  • 100g baby mussels, cleaned and debearded***
  • 100g baby squid, cleaned
  • 50g snow peas
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2-3 bunch baby bok choy, halved
  • 2-3 red bird’s eye chillies, whole or sliced
  • 1 block firm tofu, cut into large cubes
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, sliced
  • 1 small piece ginger, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, halved then sliced
  • 3/4 cup fish stock (or 1 fish bouillon cube dissolved in 3/4 cup water)
  • 3/4 cup extra light olive oil
  • 200ml full cream coconut milk
  • 4 tbsp Authentic Thai Red Curry Paste
  • 2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • Thai basil leaves or spring onion, to garnish
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

* Do not discard the skin
** Find out how to de-grit and clean clams over on Just One Cookbook
*** Find out how to clean and debeard mussels over on Epicurious

METHOD

  1. Crispy Salmon Skin: Place the salmon skin into a bowl and toss with about 2 tablespoons of salt. Set aside for 10 to 15 minutes. This is to draw out the moisture from the salmon skin to get it nice and crispy when fried. Pat the salmon skin dry with a paper towel.
  2. In a medium-sized frying pan, heat the 3/4 cup of extra light olive oil, or enough oil for shallow frying, over medium-high. The oil should be very hot, but not smoking or else the salmon skin will burn before fully crisping. Stir the skin around frequently to prevent it from sticking to the pan. The skin will look rubbery at first, so take your time as it can take a full 10 to 15 minutes for it to crisp up. Once crispy, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb any excess grease. Set aside.
  3. Preparing the Tofu: Meanwhile, if using tofu from a package, drain and allow to sit on a clean tea towel or paper towel to get rid of any excess water. Set aside for about 15 to 20 minutes for it to fully extract moisture.
  4. In the same medium-sized frying pan, over medium-high heat, carefully add the tofu in and cook for about 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy. Remove from the pan and let it sit on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb any excess grease. Cut the tofu into bite-sized cubes, and set aside.
  5. Seafood Thai Red Curry: In a soup pot or heavy duty Dutch oven, heat about 2 tablespoons of the extra light olive oil over medium-high and sauté the onions, ginger, lemongrass, and chillies until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the Thai red curry paste and cook for a further 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Add the fish stock and cherry tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Season with salt and black pepper, as well as with the Thai fish sauce and brown sugar to get the balance of flavours up to your liking. Feel free to add more chillies in if you feel you need a bit more of a spicy punch to the soup base.
  7. Add the lemon juice for some tang, together with the tofu bites, and followed by the snow peas. Cook the snow peas for about a minute and then remove them from the pot. Transfer to a separate plate. Do the same with the baby bok choy. This is to prevent the vegetables from overcooking.
  8. Add the baby clams and mussels and cook for 2 minutes before adding the salmon belly and baby squid to the pot, together with the coconut milk. Cook for a further minute, or until the soup comes back up to a rapid simmer.
  9. Turn the heat off and transfer the curry to a serving dish. Garnish with the crispy salmon skin, Thai basil leaves or spring onions, and fresh chillies. Serve immediately with steamed rice and enjoy!

Seafood Thai Red Curry

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com