Strawberries & Cream Smoothie Bowl

Strawberries & Cream Smoothie Bowl

Hello Everyone! First of all I would like to wish all my friends and followers of Amcarmen’s Kitchen a very belated New Years as this is the very first post that I am writing since 2018 started. Yes, I am aware that I have been MIA for the past few months, and I do apologise for that. I’ve just had a lot to juggle for the past month – mainly work life took over, mixed with a bucketload of emotional rollercoaster rides, and procrastination that led me to neglect Amcarmen’s Kitchen. But I’ve finally gotten back into my cooking and I’ve never been happier to do what I love doing best, and that is making a mess in the kitchen to come up with amazing eats!

The theme for this year revolves around what I foresee my future boutique café menu to carry – which is Breakfast… ALL DAY – Breakfast for Breakfast, Breakfast for Lunch, and of course the best part, Breakfast for Dinner. I was inspired by a restaurant called Wild Honey if I’m not mistaken, that I went to in Singapore a few years back, where they served an All Day Breakfast menu. My friend and I went there for dinner and I cannot express how much I enjoyed a Smoked Salmon Eggs Benny for dinner. I mean, it wasn’t the first time I had breakfast for dinner; in fact, I’ve had my fair share of them at home during my uni days where I had nothing in the fridge but breakfast ingredients which always usually resulted in a plate of buttered toast, sautéed spinach, sunny side up eggs, fried bacon, and on the rare occasion, that is if there were any leftovers in the fridge from the previous day(s), some sweet potato mash. Yes, this is taking me back to a specific night (possibly 6 years ago OH MY), that I spent at home all alone, going through a Big Bang Theory marathon, and having my breakfast for dinner. Those were the days.

So yes, the theme for Amcarmen’s Kitchen this year will be all about Breakfast or Brunch eats as both are my favourite parts of the day and I honestly think that they should be eaten all day everyday! For the month of March and April, I’ll be tackling some healthy smoothie bowls for a quick-and-easy go-to breakfast or afternoon snack packed with nutrients that will keep you energized all day long. They have the taste and texture of a smoothie, but with health-boosting, super-satisfying toppings such as granola, flaxseed, chia seeds, fresh berries, coconut, or even a little bit of dark chocolate to turn them into a heartier meal. Aside from being delicious, whipping up a smoothie bowl is a great opportunity to get creative. The possibilities are endless!

Tonight, I will be sharing with you a ‘Strawberries & Cream’ inspired Smoothie Bowl. Double the ingredients if you wish to make a smoothie bowl for two.

Strawberries & Cream Smoothie Bowl Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

For the smoothie mixture

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Toppings

  • Blueberriescontains vitamin C & K, fibre, manganese, and other antioxidants
  • Chia Seeds – contains omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, antioxidants, iron, and calcium
  • Cornflakes – contains vitamins, folate, minerals, dietary fibre, proteins, and also carbohydrates
  • Fresh Strawberries – contains vitamin C, folate, potassium, manganese, dietary fibre, magnesium, antioxidants, and polyphenols
  • Honey-roasted Almonds – contains healthy fats, fibre, protein, magnesium, and vitamin E
  • Pumpkin Seeds – contains magnesium, manganese, copper, protein, and zinc

METHOD

  1. Blend the strawberries, yoghurt, milk, honey, and chia seeds together until smoothie.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and top with the cornflakes, fresh sliced strawberries, blueberries, almonds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and a drizzle of honey.

If you don’t have all these toppings on hand, then don’t fret! Just use what you have on hand. Like I said before, whipping up a smoothie bowl is an opportunity to get creative and top them with your favourite fruits, seeds, nuts, and grains!

Strawberries & Cream Smoothie Bowl

Pro-tip: If you want to make a pretty design, add the heaviest topping ingredients last (don’t be like me and add them first haha).

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

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Vegan No-bake Blueberry & Lemon 'Cheesecake'

Vegan No-bake Blueberry & Lemon ‘Cheesecake’

Hello Everyone and a very happy first day of May! For those of you celebrating Labour Day, I hope you’re having a blast with your long weekend! Unfortunately, Labour Day isn’t celebrated in Brunei, so yes, I worked today *sad face*. Well, I’m actually not here out of my usual posting schedule to talk about Labour Day, in fact, I’m here for a completely different, and special occasion!

Happy Birthday Mom!
Everyday I wake up, I always have you to thank. I have your guidance, your food, your warmth, your love, and your heart: someone who loves me (and the other 2 troublemakers as well) unconditionally. I promise I’m not just saying this because it’s your birthday haha! Happiest of Birthdays Mom!

This year for my Mom’s birthday, I decided to whip up a Vegan No-bake Blueberry & Lemon ‘Cheesecake’ after my huge success with my sister’s vegan ‘cheesecake’ back in August 2016. I’ve been wanting to try out more vegan ‘cheesecakes’ since then and now the opportunity has surfaced once again. This ‘cheesecake’ is completely gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free. Before we move on to the recipe, please check out the original over on Call Me Cupcake by Linda. Please take note that I have adjusted the quantities below to make an 8.5-inch round cake.

Vegan No-bake Blueberry & Lemon 'Cheesecake' Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | CHILL TIME min. 6 HOURS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

For the base

  • 1 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup almonds, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt

For the filling

  • 1 & 1/2 cups cashew nuts, soaked in water overnight then drained*
  • 2/3 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup (50g) fresh or frozen (but thawed) blueberries
  • 6 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 4 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup, to taste
  • Zest of 1 lemon

For the topping

  • Edible flowers**
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Shredded coconut

*Or soaked in very hot water for an hour if pressed for time

**To my Brunei followers if you could help me out, I don’t know where to find edible flowers here so what I usually do is just pick non-edible flowers from my garden, make sure they get a good wash and then use them only for photographic purposes.

METHOD

  1. Soak the roughly chopped dates in warm water for 15 minutes. Drain and transfer to a small mixing bowl combined with the finely chopped almonds and salt. Using the back of a fork, mash and mix the ingredients together until a paste forms.
  2. Press the mixture into an 8-8.5 inch springform pan (and if you don’t have one, you may use a regular pie/cake tin covered with parchment paper). Place the pan in the freezer while you prepare the ‘cheesecake’ filling.
  3. Put al the ingredients for the the filling in a blender and blend on low until the mixture is as smooth as possible. Pour the filling onto the crust, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 6 hours before serving.
  4. Remove the cake from the pan and top with extra fresh blueberries, shredded coconut, and edible flowers. Leave to thaw in room temperature for about 10-15 minutes before cutting into it; you may run your knife under warm water and dry off to make a cleaner cut. Let each slice of cake thaw for a few more minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Vegan No-bake Blueberry & Lemon 'Cheesecake'

Vegan No-bake Blueberry & Lemon 'Cheesecake'

So usually, it is a habit of mine to read through the recipe first either a few days before, or the night before just so that I have proper planning when it come to buying the ingredients needed to proceed with the recipe. This time around, I completely forgot about doing this – I already had the recipe bookmarked from probably the beginning of the year so I guess this is probably one of the reasons why it completely slipped my mind. Why is it important to read a recipe ahead of time? Well for starters, the cashew nuts in this recipe require to be soaked in water overnight. Did I soak mine overnight? Nope I didn’t. Luckily, this can be rectified as it does say in the original recipe that if you’re in a hurry, you can soak the cashew nuts in very hot water for an hour (which is what I did) hehe.

Also, I missed out on a crucial bit of information which I only saw earlier on this afternoon when I was writing this post: “makes 1 tiny cheesecake (12cm/5-inches)” No wonder my cheesecake looked short and just barely had enough crust to cover the whole bottom. My springform pan is 8.5-inches in size which mean that I could’ve easily just doubled the recipe *face palm* but oh well, I would’ve have had enough ingredients to double the recipe if I had noticed it early and that’s only because I probably wouldn’t have been bothered to drive out to the grocers again to pick up a few more ingredients.

Vegan No-bake Blueberry & Lemon 'Cheesecake'

Happy Birthday Mom!

So what did I learn tonight? READ THE RECIPE FIRST A DAY OR TWO AHEAD OF TIME!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Cranberry Vanilla Energy Bites

Cranberry Vanilla Energy Bites

Hello Everyone! Hopefully tonight’s recipe will be able to get your brains going to have a guess on what the theme for December on Amcarmen’s Kitchen is. Like I said in the previous post, it may be obvious to some after this, or maybe you’ll have to wait until next week to make the connections. My best friend Jialing actually planted the idea in my head, and when I came up with the final theme, even she was excited to know that I’d be doing this for December. I’ll give you guys a slight clue – it definitely is Christmas-related.

Cranberry Vanilla Energy Bites

Anyway, I’m going to keep tonight’s post short and only because I don’t have a long-winded back story to tell about who I came across these energy bites in the past and here I am having a go at my own version – because that isn’t the case here. I merely just browsed the World Wide Web in search for recipes that I could try out specifically for this month’s theme. I came across this recipe on Pinterest a while back, and I thought I’d give this one a go seeing as it is simple (that’s right, only 5 ingredients!) to make and deliciously energising indeed! Just a heads up, they may be a bit too sweet for some who are intolerant to anything sweet because of the dates, but nonetheless, they are pretty darn good! Check out the original recipe by Danae over on Recipe Runner.

Cranberry Vanilla Energy Bites Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME  | MAKES 12 BALLS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (unsweetened if you want them to be paleo)
  • 1/2 cup medjool dates (about 6-7 dates), roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds (or almond meal)
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

METHOD

  1. Using a high-speed blender or a food processor, pulse the almonds and cashews and almonds until they are finely ground, but be careful as to not turn them into nut butter.
  2. Add in all the remaining ingredients to the blender or food processor and blend/pulse until everything starts to come together. When needed, scrape down the sides of the blender or food processor several times, and then add up to 2 tablespoons of water to the blended mixture. You may need to remove the mixture from the blender or food processor and place it into a bowl, mashing it together with your hands or a spatula.
  3. Form the mixture into approximately 12 balls at about a tablespoon each.
  4. Store the energy bites in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. Enjoy as a snack when you feel that afternoon slump starting to kick in!

Cranberry Vanilla Energy Bites

Cranberry Vanilla Energy Bites

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

California-inspired Quinoa Salad

California-inspired Quinoa Salad

California-inspired Quinoa Salad Ingredients

Hello Everyone! A new month calls for a new theme on the blog, and for the month of September, I’ve got some creative and healthy quinoa recipes for everyone! Now, I remember the times where people would ask me… “What is quinoa (kee-NOO-ah)?” Firstly, I’d correct them and say that it’s pronounced KEEN-wah, and not kee-NOO-ah – but then again after doing some research, I realised that both are actually correct in a way. Apologies to those that I’ve made a big fuss with in terms of how to pronounce this grain.

So back to the question, what is quinoa? Well, I have always been stumped whenever this question pops up, and all I could respond was “it’s a grain, like rice – but it’s not really rice.” Yeah, that doesn’t help. Quinoa is a grain crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. The seeds are cooked in the same manner as rice and can be used in a wide range of dishes. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and contains iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, vitamin E, and fibre. It is one of only a few plant foods that are considered a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa also has a low glycemic index, which is good for blood sugar control, however, be mindful as it is still pretty high in carbs, so it is not a good choice for a low-carb diet.

California-inspired Quinoa Salad Ingredients

Find the original recipe over on Jo Cooks. She used sultanas in her salad, I didn’t. If you know me personally, I really despise raisins and sultanas – don’t ask me why, I just do. So I’ve omitted them from my salad and replaced them with wake instead. Wakame is a sea vegetable; edible seaweed or kelp common in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese cuisines. It has a subtly sweet flavour and is most often served in soups and salads. Wakame is a good source of the following (Source: MindBodyGreen):

  1. Magnesium: A mineral critical in the contraction and relaxation of muscles, function of certain enzymes in the body, production and transport of energy, and the production of protein.
  2. Iodine: Iodine is needed for strong metabolism of cells – the process of converting food into energy. It also maintains the balance of the thyroid gland and is needed for the production of thyroid hormones.
  3. Calcium: Wakame easily allows for the absorption of calcium into the human body. Each 100 grams of raw wakame contains 150mg of calcium. Calcium is needed for strong healthy bones and the prevention of osteoporosis.
  4. Iron: We need iron because it is essential for the production of red blood cells and the prevention of anemia.
  5. Vitamins!
    • Vitamins A, C, E, and K: These vitamins are all amazing for skin health and repair as well as immunology.
    • Vitamin D: Promotes the absorption of calcium for healthy bones and enhances the nerve, muscle, and immune systems.
    • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): We need riboflavin to use the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in the foods we eat. Riboflavin helps us use these nutrients for energy in our bodies for growth and is also necessary for red blood cell production. Riboflavin functions as an antioxidant and works in the body with other vitamins such as niacin, folate, and vitamin B6.
  6. Folate: Helps the body make new cells and is especially important for pregnant women.
  7. Lignans: Thought to play a role in preventing certain types of cancer, particularly breast cancer.

California-inspired Quinoa Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the salad

  • 1 cup shelled edamame, steamed
  • 3/4 cup almond slices (toasted if you prefer)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup tri-coloured quinoa, cooked and cooled
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, or parsley if you don’t like cilantro
  • 1/4 cup wakame
  • 1 large mango, cut into small chunks
  • 1 small red capsicum, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
For the dressing
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon

METHOD

As easy as whisking all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl, and then tossing all the salad ingredients together in a large bowl until well mixed; dressed and then served cold. Enjoy! It will keep in the fridge for about 5 days, but of course, it’s always better when it is consumed right away!

California-inspired Quinoa Salad

California-inspired Quinoa Salad

California-inspired Quinoa Salad

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan 'Cheesecake'

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan ‘Cheesecake’

Hello Everyone! Yes I am aware that it is indeed Tuesday and not a Wednesday – but today is a special day which indefinitely deserves a special post too! Today is the middle child’s 22nd Birthday, and since last year (which was the year I came back to Brunei) I’ve been baking cakes for the family. It was the better solution to, I guess, wanting a specific flavour for an affordable price. I cannot stress enough house much I hate store bought cakes – mainly because of their icing; too thick, too sweet, just… Ugh. I’m not much of a baker since I’m more into savoury foods, but I guess baking a cake 4 times a year (at minimum) isn’t too stressful and helps me practice.

Happy 22nd Birthday Angela!
Happy 22nd Birthday Angela! – early dinner at Balkony today after work. The cake not only looked amazing, but it tasted so good as well! I will definitely try out more no bake vegan ‘cheesecakes’ in the upcoming months – maybe for my Birthday in November!

Today’s recipe shall keep in theme with the theme for this month on Amcarmen’s Kitchen, which is, if you haven’t been following, Yes Ve Gan! A month of tribute to animal-free dishes that are sure to tickle your tummies from a different perspective. Before I had the idea of coming up with an animal-free theme for the blog, I wanted to bake a strawberry shortcake for my sister. I then only just changed my mind earlier last week to do a No Bake Strawberry & Coconut ‘Cheesecake’ for her after being inspired and reminded of the cake that Miao made back in March when we gathered for a dinner and catch up session with friends in Singapore. I think I mentioned in the beginning of the month in a post that it was a pretty darn delicious cake and it made me crave for more! So I thought to myself, why do I give a raw vegan cake a try since, like Miao at that time, I have never done one before! It’s super easy to make and you can substitute the strawberries out for your favourites berries such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or boysenberries.

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan 'Cheesecake'

This ‘cheesecake’ is completely gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free! The recipe makes for one 8″ sized cake, but of course you can always double the recipe to make a bigger one if you wish! Mind you, for those who have not read in an earlier post this month, I haven’t stopped eating animals, dairy, or eggs altogether. I still eat my meat, but not as often as I used to, and I still have my daily dose of cow’s milk in the mornings  to accompany my breakfast. I don’t see myself going completely vegan in the next couple of years – but who knows, that may change over time when I make that shift to loving all animals, and most importantly for a healthier lifestyle. For now, it is something that I want to look into and slowly add this way of eating into my daily diet.

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan 'Cheesecake' Ingredients

PREP TIME 25 MINS | FREEZE TIME min. 4 HOURS* | SERVES 8-10

*preferably overnight to ensure that the cake is set.

INGREDIENTS

For the crust

  • 250g medjool dates, pitted
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • Pinch of salt

For the filling

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight* and drained
  • 1 punnet (25g) fresh or frozen (but thawed) strawberries
  • 2/3 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil, liquified
  • 2 & 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • Zest of 1 small lemon

For the topping

  • Fresh strawberries
  • Shredded coconut
  • Edible flowers (optional)

*if you are a bit pressed for time, or decided to make your cake today and hadn’t realised that you needed to soak your cashews overnight, then you can soak them in very hot water for about an hour instead of overnight.

METHOD

  1. Crust: Soak the pitted medjool dates in warm water for about 15-20 minutes and then drain. Put almonds in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the dates and a pinch of salt, and pulse until a paste forms.
  2. Press mixture into an 8-inch springform pan (if you don’t have a springform pan, use a pie tin or a regular cake pan covered with baking paper). Place the crusted pan in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
  3. Filling: Put all ingredients for the filling in a blender and blend on low until mixture is as smooth as possible. Pour the filling into the crust, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours.
  4. Remove the cake from the pan and leave to thaw in room temperature for about 10-15 minutes before cutting. Top with fresh strawberries, shredded coconut, and edible flowers.

Tip: Run your knife under warm water (and dry off) before cutting, to make a cleaner cut. Let each piece thaw for a few more minutes before serving.

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan 'Cheesecake'

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan 'Cheesecake'

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Kale Smoothie with Almonds, Banana, & Pineapple

Kale Smoothie with Almonds, Banana, & Pineapple

Hello Everyone! I’ve got another brekky smoothie recipe for you today, and some may find this unusual at first, but it actually works! I must admit, I was once cynical about the idea of adding vegetables to a smoothie. That changed when I moved to Australia and saw kale juices/smoothies pop up here and there in many local cafés in and around Sydney. I’d always see my friends with a take away cup of green smoothies that were either made up of kale or spinach included in them. To be honest, I’ve never tried a kale smoothie before and this is the first time I’m making and trying one! I’ve had kale before, and to me, it doesn’t have a distinct taste to it, so I was glad that the non-exsitent kale flavour didn’t shine through in the smoothie. Instead, you can taste the almonds, bananas, and pineapple which was nice. However, after having done some research, kale apparently does have a strong flavour that many might be used to, so when making a green smoothie using kale, you should use strongly flavour fruits such as strawberries or pineapple to help mask the flavour (possibly why I personally could taste the kale because I use pineapple in my green smoothie).

Before I begin with this simple green smoothie recipe, I want to talk to you a little bit about the health benefits of adding kale to your smoothie. Kale helps cut the sweetness of the fruits added, and has more than twice the recommended daily value of calcium to your diet. It is an excellent leafy green to use for detox as it contains cleansing properties. In addition, kale has a lot of vitamins and also contains powerful antioxidants that help protect your immune system and fight against certain cancers. If you want to read more about the health benefits of kale, please click here. Now, you may substitute kale for spinach if kale isn’t readily available where you are; I know that it’s not very cheap to get kale here in Brunei since it’s air-flown in from Australia.

The original recipe can be found over on Real Simple; all I did was again, change the quantities to serve about 3-4 tall glasses. I also decided to substitute the coconut milk for fresh coconut water as most coconut milk that you find here in Brunei are straight out from a tin and have a whole lot of preservatives added to them. You can use coconut water from the shelf if you don’t have fresh coconut water readily available but I personally hate those because they taste very artificial to me. Otherwise, you can also just use water. I read in the comments section of the site as well that someone added almonds to the smoothie for that added protein, so feel free to add your favourite nuts into the mix as well when you make your smoothie!

Kale Smoothie with Almonds, Banana, & Pineapple Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 & 1/2 cups kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1-2 cups fresh coconut water
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1/2 medium-sized pineapple, chopped
  • 2 ripe bananas, chopped

METHOD

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender in this order: bananas, almonds, pineapple, kale, and 1 cup of coconut water. Pulse a couple of times to mix up the ingredients in the blender a bit and then blend on high for about 30 to 60 seconds. Add more coconut water if needed to reach your desired consistency.
  2. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Kale Smoothie with Almonds, Banana, & Pineapple

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Roast Pork Crackling with Kale & Quinoa Salad

Roast Pork Crackling with Kale & Quinoa Salad

Hello Everyone! Can’t believe that it’s already the end of June! How time flies by much too fast. I’ve got just about a month left here in Sydney and then it’s quite possibly goodbye for a while. I wish I could stay, I really do, but it’s time for me to move on…

Sorry for the late post; I just got back home from a rather late dinner out with Amrita and Kevin. We had French Galettes and Crêpes in Randwick at Four Frogs Crêperie, exchanged conversations and laughs, and got up to a little mischief on our walk home. Basically Kevin managed to command Amrita to get into a shopping trolley that we found on our walk and pushed her down the street for a good 10 minutes or so I guess. He gave her a pretty rough ride by letting go on some occasions and leaving her in the middle of the road which made it all the more funny, especially Amrita’s priceless facial reactions.

Kale & Quinoa Salad

Anyway, besides that, this morning/afternoon I was in the kitchen making a lovely Kale and Quinoa Salad to go with my Roast Pork Belly Cracking. The crackling was no doubt well cooked; juicy, tender meat with a crackle to die for, paired with a chilli, garlic, lemon, soy sauce dip that made it all the more enjoyable. Of course, all that delicious but fatty belly needed to be paired with a light and healthy salad. I’ve never actually cooked quinoa before, but I have had quinoa at cafés. While I was cooking it, I could smell something burning, and at first I thought it was the quinoa because I could’ve sworn the smell was coming from the pot, and then I remembered my almonds. My poor almonds we’re slightly over-tanned on one side as I forgot that they were roasting in the oven.

Roast Pork Crackling Ingredients

Kale & Quinoa Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 24 HOURS* | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 3-4

*Includes time needed to set aside the pork belly in the fridge overnight to draw out extra moisture for a crispy crackling when roasted.

INGREDIENTS

For the pork belly crackling

  • 750g pork belly
  • 5-6 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more for rubbing
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • Oil for rubbing

For the dipping sauce

  • 4 tbsp dark or light soy sauce
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, slices
  • 1 lemon wedge, juiced

For the kale & quinoa salad

  • 150g organic quinoa
  • 50g roasted almonds, unsalted
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into small chunks
  • 1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Crumbled feta cheese
  • Ground salt and black pepper to season
  • Lemon juice

METHOD

  1. Pork Roast Prep: Score the skin with a very sharp knife. Place the meat in a large pot with water, salt, whole peppercorns, and bay leaves. Boil for about 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from the heat and drain, placing in a large bowl lined with a paper towel. Once the meat has cooled down, refrigerate uncovered for at least 24 hours. Refrigerating the meat will help to draw out any remaining moisture. Remove from the refrigerator and bring back to room temperature prior to roasting in the oven.
  2. Roast Pork Crackling: Preheat oven between 220-240C (425-475F or gas mark 7-9). Rub oil and plenty of salt into the scored skin, really getting it into the slits of the score marks. The fat under the skin will react to the salt and that is what makes the skin puff up and crisp up. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes and then bring the temperature down to 160C (325F or gas mark 3) and roast for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the meat rest for 20 minutes.
  3. Kale & Quinoa Salad: While the pork belly is roasting in the oven, blanch the chopped kale in hot salted water for about 4-5 minutes. Drain thoroughly. Add to a large serving bowl together with the roasted almonds and avocado chunks.
  4. Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the quinoa in and cook for about 15 minutes. Once done, drain thoroughly and add to the serving bowl. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Dress with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and about 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Mix around until well combined. Top with feta cheese.
  5. Dipping sauce: Add all the ingredients together in a small bowl and mix well.
  6. Serve for the family and/or friends and enjoy!

Roast Pork Crackling with Kale & Quinoa Salad

Roast Pork Crackling with Kale & Quinoa Salad

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Sadhana Kitchen

Sadhana Kitchen

Hello Everyone! Not only is it another Review Sunday but it is also my 100th post on the blog! 10 months ago I started this blog out of pure procrastination. Basically I was bored over the Easter break and was in no mood to tackle the many assignments that I had at the time for uni. Thus this blog was born. I have long been interested in food even way before 10 months ago, and was encouraged by many to start up a blog. I can say now that what was once just hobby, I have now grown to put much more effort into each dish that I prepare and into each blog post that goes up 3 times a week. I don’t want to say that blogging is now my ‘job’ as it sounds a little bit like ‘I have to do it’ kind of thing. It’s not about me having to do a blog post for everyone out there, but it is more like I do it because I want to do it – if that makes any sense? Anyway, I am just super happy about how well I have been doing with my blog and I have some exciting new changes coming up in the next few months. I am also looking to building up my followers both on wordpress and other social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, so if any of you guys out there have any tips on how to do this, your help/knowledge will be much appreciated!

Sadhana Kitchen

Now on to today’s post – Sadhana Kitchen! I first came to know about this little gem through posts on Instagram from various food bloggers. What attracted me to their menu was that the food they served was always so colourful through the uploads I came across while browsing through my newsfeed. The great thing about Sadhana Kitchen, even though it does not really matter in my case, is that they are gluten-free, organic, raw, and vegan – Sydney’s first organic wholefoods and raw foods café. Now, when I made mention that it does not really matter to me, I meant that I am not gluten intolerant, nor am I a vegan, but I was quite intrigued as to what kind of foods do those with dietary requirements eat since I am a person who can eat almost anything and everything. I often find myself saying how I’d never go vegetarian or vegan because I love meat too much to give it up but after paying a visit to Sadhana Kitchen, I have a whole new appreciation for healthy, organic, and raw superfoods. Though I don’t think that I will ever find myself converting, maybe not right now that is. I can’t say what will happen in the future, maybe tomorrow I will wake up and suddenly transform into a ‘crazy vegan lady’ as one of the waitresses mentioned about her obsession over veganism.

I’ve been here a total of two times, both with friends whom I know to have an appreciation for healthy foods but not necessarily vegans themselves. I thought that they’d be the perfect company for a nice weekend lunch. What was funny though was that one of my friends that I went with (she who shall not be named, but you know who you are), actually asked the lady at the counter if they put any ice cream in their smoothies – I mean, even after my other friend and I explained to her that they would definitely not put ice cream in their smoothies since its all about the vegan. The lady gave her a sort of weirded out look and said that they only use frozen fruits in their smoothies. Though I felt bad, I could not stop laughing on the inside.

This place I feel could do with a lot more seating space. Both times that I’ve been, and not even on the hour when normal people have their breakfast and/or lunch, like I’m talking 2 o’clock in the afternoon, it’s always packed. The first time we visited we were lucky enough to snag the only table left, but the second time around we weren’t so lucky. We waited about 20 minutes before we could run and grab a table, and after we did the place started empty out slowly.

Sadhana Kitchen - FRAPPES: PITAYA PUNCHFRAPPES: PITAYA PUNCH
Pitaya (dragon fruit), strawberries, banana, and orange ($9.50)

I love dragon fruit, but even though this is called a ‘pitaya’ smoothie, the banana taste came across more predominantly. A refreshing smoothie nonetheless and had a very vibrant colour to it which made it even more appealing to the eye.

Sadhana Kitchen - GREEN SMOOTHIES: COOL MINT
GREEN SMOOTHIES: COOL MINT
Seasonal greens, orange, mango, and flax seeds. Vitamin, mineral, and fibre booster with omega-3 fatty acids ($9.50)

Though I wasn’t quite sure about what greens were added to the smoothie (but I’m guessing either kale, spinach, or even both), the mint flavour really came through. Again, refreshing for a warm summer day.

Sadhana Kitchen - SUPERFOOD SMOOTHIES: WARRIOR SMOOTHIESUPERFOOD SMOOTHIES: WARRIOR SMOOTHIE
Blueberries, raspberries, banana, sprouted brown rice protein powder, chia seeds, coconut oil, mesquite, and almonds. Packed with muscle building cholesterol free protein, omega-3 for brain function, and calcium & manganese for healthy bones ($9.50)

The epic of smoothies! Very thick though so it was a bit difficult to drink from the straw.

Sadhana Kitchen - RAW SANDWICHES: BLAT
RAW SANDWICHES: BLAT
Sadhana coconut bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato, coriander and house-made mayo, in between two sliced of onion bread ($14.50)

What intrigued me about this dish was the ‘coconut bacon’ which basically was just coconut that was made to look like bacon and even had the texture of bacon. I’m not sure about whether it’s an innovative way of thinking from Sadhana Kitchen, as in if it’s actually already a thing that someone else came up with, but definitely creative idea!

Sadhana Kitchen - SADHANA LASAGNE
SADHANA LASAGNE
Layers of zucchini pasta, cultured cashew cheeze, basil pesto, walnut mince, wilted spinach, and chunky tomato sauce ($15.50)

This was the dish that I had the first time I came around to visiting Sadhana Kitchen. Don’t be fooled by the size of it on the dish, it actually filled me up good! Loved the flavours of the dish and that walnut mince really looked like meat mince that you’d find in your traditional lasagne.

Sadhana Kitchen - CARROT AND WALNUT FALAFEL PLATE
CARROT AND WALNUT FALAFEL PLATE
Carrot and walnut falafels served with seasonal greens, pickles, olives, zucchini hummus, and beet dip ($16.50)

This was the other dish that I had the second time around. I initially wanted to order their Prana Pad Thai which had kelp and zucchini noodles, but they unfortunately ran out. I had no regrets though because this dish did not only look pretty on the plate and appealing to the eye, it had great flavour and was also surprisingly filling (just not a filling as the lasagne of course). The ‘falafels’ had a nice crunch to them as well as a roasted flavour. The dips complimented them nicely and the salad on the side really enhanced the flavours that it needed to bring it to the next level of flavour satisfaction.

Sadhana Kitchen - SADHANA SUPER BOWL
SADHANA SUPER BOWL
Shredded kale, house-made sauerkraut, cherry tomato, cucumber, and pesto zoodles served with Brazil nut cheddar, sundried tomato, and smoked paprika hummus ($17.50)

I’m not quite sure as to how this dish tasted, only because this wasn’t my dish to consume. I had a taste of the zoodles (zucchini noodle) but that was basically it. To me, this dish looked like a bowl of vegetables – that’s it really, though my friend did find it quite satisfying.

Sadhana Kitchen


SNICKERS CHEEZECAKE
Cashews, almonds, walnuts, desiccated coconut, coconut oil, coconut sugar, vanilla, dates, sesame, and salt ($12.50)

This cheezecake was made with layers of nougat creme, milk chocolate, and chocolate ganache topped with caramelised nut clusters. Probably my favourite from the two of the cakes we had. The flavour really came through as it almost tasted like a traditional snickers bar – when I say traditional, I mean it in a way that it doesn’t taste like the vegan alternative.

Sadhana Kitchen - WHITE CHOCOLATE & SALTED CARAMEL BANOFFEE PIE
WHITE CHOCOLATE & SALTED CARAMEL BANOFFEE PIE
Cashews, desiccated coconut, coconut oil, stevia, cacao butter, sesame, vanilla, dates, maca, mesquite, and lucuma salt ($12.50)

This banoffee pie was made of layers of banana creme, salted caramel creme, and white chocolate creme on a walnut & coconut biscuit base. The name itself was already enough for me to be sold on ordering it, but I must say that that was probably the only good thing about it, the name. I don’t know what it was, but the cake didn’t quite tickle my fancy. I think it was the taste of it? Like the banana tasted a bit off, not that they used a bad banana, but it was more like you know it’s supposed to be banana, but it doesn’t taste like banana kind of thing. It was also the cake that was ignored for a while on the table when we dug into our desserts.

Sadhana Kitchen - SALTED CARAMEL SUNDAE COCOWHIP
SALTED CARAMEL SUNDAE COCOWHIP
Twisted SK coconut cocowhip, topped with half a caramel slice, cacao nibs, himalayan pink salt, and house made superfood caramel sauce ($13.00)

The second time we came around to visiting Sadhana Kitchen, it was all about the cocowhip hype. To be honest, it was alright. Loved the added toppings, but I felt like the cocowhip was a little bit too soft. By the time we dug in and had about 2-3 spoons each, it was almost like soup, and it wasn’t even a particularly hot day as well for it to melt so fast!

Before I end, here are a few things that you might want to know about organic/raw foods, and veganism:

  • Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products and by-products, particularly in diet.
  • Foods that are prepared and processed without exceeding 40°C are known to be raw. This way of preparation allows the food’s natural enzymes to stay intact, which in return gives your body the most benefit and easy digestion.
  • The best place to start improving your health is by improving what you eat. This is the main reason why Sadhana Kitchen insist on using only pure, organic seasonal produce that is free from harmful toxins to create delicious dishes.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this place for those who are fans of organic and raw foods, and of course those who are all about the vegan. I would also recommend this for those who are experimenting with food and are open to broadening their palettes. Like I said, I would probably never go vegan myself, but having experienced the foods has really made me appreciate how else it can be prepared and still be as filling and delicious as what I am used to eating. The food is a definite 8.5 out of 10 for me. Their main menu was the stand out, but their dessert disappointed a bit, even though I was even more excited for their dessert menu. Service was good, and the ambience could be a bit better. Value for money is variable, I don’t know about spending $12.50 for a slice of cake. I definitely hope to visit again soon as I am curious to know what the vegan substitute for their ‘eggs benny’ is and their prana pad thai with kelp and zucchini noodles looks too good to pass up! *drooling*

Sadhana Kitchen

Sadhana Kitchen
147 Enmore Road
Enmore, New South Wales
Australia, 2042

– Ally xx