Garlic Bread Pasta Salad

Garlic Bread Pasta Salad

Hello Everyone! And just like that, another month in quarantine has passed and we’re two days away from the 8th month of the year. It’s crazy just thinking how we’ve gone through more than a third of a year (from mid-March to present day), here in the Philippines that is, in quarantine. I’m still lucky to be one of the few companies that still require a majority of their staff to work safely at home, but that may change in the next few days. There’s a high chance that it will be mandatory to report back to the office IF we do not go into another lockdown by August 1.

Garlic Bread Pasta Salad

Moving on, I remember that this wasn’t a recipe I had originally planned to tackle for my blog. To be honest, I can’t even remember what I had initially wanted to share with you guys. I was scrolling through recipes one Friday evening after work, looking for new recipes to add to my weekly menu so that I could prepare my market/grocery list for my weekend shop. I came across this recipe and thought, wow! Garlic bread AND pasta, together, tossed in a salad? YES! Plus, the dish fits perfectly with the theme of green for Colours of the Rainbow.

Garlic Bread Pasta Salad ; Garlic Focaccia Bread

With crispy garlic bread croutons and a creamy homemade caesar dressing, this easy pasta salad will be a hit with family and friends over a summer backyard barbecue! I used store-bought olive focaccia bread for the croutons, but really you can just use plain bread such as white, wheat, sourdough, etc. for this. You can also get creative and use your favourite veggies for this dish, and even swap out the caesar dressing for a healthier or lighter option. I think a simple thyme, lemon, and olive oil dressing would do the trick too!

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on Taste Australia. Also, I have a little announcement for you guys at the end of this post so make sure to read it!

Garlic Bread Pasta Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 25 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS | SERVES 6-8*

* Can serve more as a small side dish

INGREDIENTS

For the pasta salad

  • 250g fusilli, or any other type of pasta
  • 100g green beans, trimmed
  • 100g baby asparagus, tough ends snapped off and cut to the same lengths of the french beans
  • 2 green chillies, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium-sized avocados, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch choice of leafy greens, trimmed and leaves separated
  • 2 tbsp sliced black olives
  • Handful of finely chopped malunggay leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Shaved parmesan, to garnish

For the garlic bread

  • 200g day-old bread, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Handful of finely chopped malunggay leaves

For the caesar dressing

  • 1/3 cup free range egg mayonnaise
  • 4 anchovy fillets, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Handful of grated parmesan
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Squeeze of fresh lime juice

METHOD

  1. Caesar Dressing: Combine all the ingredients for the caesar dressing into a small bowl and whisk together. Taste and adjust as needed and then set aside in the fridge before using. You may make this a day ahead to allow the flavours to fully develop overnight, otherwise it’s also good on the same day.
  2. Garlic Bread: Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6) and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Heat butter and garlic in a small saucepan over medium and cook until the butter is foamy.
  4. Place the bread in a large mixing bowl and pour the butter mixture over the bread. Sprinkle with half of the chopped malunggay leaves. Toss until evenly combined and then transfer the bread mixture to your prepared baking tray.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toasted. Once done, sprinkle the remaining malunggay leaves and then set aside to cool.
  6. Pasta Salad: While the garlic bread is baking in the oven, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water,following packet directions or until al dente. Add the asparagus and green beans in the last 3 minutes of cooking of the pasta. Drain and refresh under cold running water, and then drain again before transferring to a large mixing bowl.
  7. Add three-quarters of the caesar dressing the pasta and veggies. Toss to combine and then add the avocado, black olives, shaved parmesan, and half of the garlic bread croutons. Toss again before transferring it onto a large serving dish.
  8. Drizzle with the remaining dressing, and top with the remaining garlic bread croutons and extra shaved parmesan. Serve and enjoy as a side salad with baked, grilled, or pan-fried salmon (or any other choice of meat that tickles your taste buds)!

Garlic Bread Pasta Salad

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, I have a special announcement to make. For those of you who have been loyal followers of Amcarmen’s Kitchen since 2015, you’ll know that every year for the month of August, I gather my fellow foodie friends to feature their own recipe on my blog. With the theme of the year being Colours of the Rainbow each guest foodie, or also known as an  Auguester, has chosen a colour of the rainbow that they will translate into their dish. This year I’ve managed to round up 12 foodies, with some returning faces since I started the series 5 years ago, and some fresh new faces for this year. All I can say that it’s going to be an exciting month so stayed tuned for that! Our first Auguester will be live on the blog on Monday 3rd August!

Garlic Bread Pasta Salad with Pan-fried Salmon

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Potato Salad with Green Beans and Asparagus

Potato Salad with Green Beans and Asparagus

Hello Everyone! Potatoes and green beans are a classic combination; throw some asparagus and lettuce leaves or any other leafy greens into the mix and you’ve got yourself a great side dish that goes with almost anything. You can also bring it to a picnic, party, or barbecue.

Potato Salad with Green Beans and Asparagus

You’ll want to slice the baby potatoes (skin on) in half before cooking to help them cook faster. If you are using slightly bigger potatoes, you may want to quarter them. How long you cook them depends on their size, and you can check to see if they are tender by piercing a fork into the potatoes about 10 minutes into cooking. I prefer to steam my potatoes rather than boiling them because it takes a fraction of the time. Why? You’re only waiting for a small amount of water to boil, not a whole pot. In addition, unlike a big pot of boiling water, steam won’t dilute the flavour of the potatoes substantially.

This Potato Salad with Green Beans and Asparagus works really well at either room temperature or served cold. It has a bold, tangy taste thanks to the vinaigrette – a simple combination of red wine vinegar, olive oil, minced red onion and garlic, and seasoned with a touch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. You want to toss half the dressing over the warm potatoes to enhance their flavour. The remaining dressing is tossed over the whole salad at the end.

Potato Salad with Green Beans and Asparagus Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

For the salad

  • 450g baby potatoes, thoroughly cleaned and cut in half (skin on)
  • 250g french beans, ends trimmed and cut in half
  • 1 bunch asparagus, tough ends snapped off and cut to the same lengths of the french beans
  • 1 bunch leafy greens of choice, roughly chopped
  • Handful of chopped malunggay leaves
  • Handful of sliced almonds
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the vinaigrette

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. Fill a pot with about an inch of water and put a steamer basket inside. Place the potatoes in the steamer basket and bring the water to a boil. Cover and steam until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, combine all the ingredients for the vinaigrette into a small-sized jar. Put the lid on a shake vigorously to combine the ingredients together. You can make this ahead of time to ensure that all the flavours have time to develop.
  3. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add both the french beans and asparagus to the boiling water. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes. While waiting, prepare an ice bath (large bowl with half ice and half water).
  4. When the french beans and asparagus are ready, drain and then plunge into the prepared ice bath. Let them sit in the ice bath until completely cool. Once cool, drain the french beans and asparagus and pat them dry with a paper towel. Set aside.
  5. Once the potatoes are done, transfer them into a large mixing bowl and add half of the vinaigrette. Toss to combine. Add the other vegetables together with the sliced almonds and remaining vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Give it a good toss and it’s ready to serve as a delicious side to your main! Enjoy!

Potato Salad with Green Beans and Asparagus

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Red Wine & Rosemary Braised Lamb Shanks

Red Wine & Rosemary Braised Lamb Shanks

Hello Everyone! I know, I say this every time we come to an end of a blog series – but sometimes it actually does come to quite a bit of a shock when the realisation hits you that another month has passed by and we are that much closer to Christmas and the New Year! It really does at times make me wonder, where did the year go? How was it that it felt like only a few months ago that I was complaining about it being a long way to go before the end of the year, and suddenly in the blink of an eye it will be November soon. I also have that same feeling when it comes to the day after my birthday – where I think about how I have to wait another 364 days until I have a reason to celebrate another year of life – and now look! I’ll be 25 in exactly two weeks!

Anyway, tangent aside, tonight’s recipe has been one that I have been wanting to make for a very long time. I can’t stress enough how much it saddens me when I have such high expectations for a lamb shank dish whenever I order it off a menu. Don’t get me wrong, flavours were nice, and definitely fall-off-the-bone tender, but, my expectations dissipate when a tiny piece of lamb shank hits the table, knowing that it’s definitely not worth the price. So how do I fix this? Well, why not I buy a worthy enough size of a lamb shank that will only cost me $8.00 max. and cook it myself? Not to mention, I can throw in a whole bottle of red wine too to really bring out the flavour *cheeky grin* For my readers who aren’t from Brunei, or aren’t Muslim, you can’t find lamb shanks that have been braised in red wine here in Brunei as if not all, but most Western Restaurants here are Halal. Actually – don’t pour in the whole bottle of wine for your shanks, reserve some for a glass or two to drink while devouring the lamb!

Before I move on to the recipe, please check out the original over on Taste Australia.

Red Wine & Rosemary Braised Lamb Shanks Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 30 MINS | SERVES 3

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2 x 400g cans Italian diced tomatoes
  • 3 lamb shanks, french trimmed
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-4 rosemary sprigs
  • 2 brown onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste.

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 170C (325F or gas mark 3). Heat the olive oil in a large flame-proof casserole dish over medium-high. Season your shanks with salt and pepper. Depending on how big your casserole dish is, cook your lamb shanks if batches if needed, for 5 minutes or until browned all over. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining shanks. Set aside.
  2. Add the garlic and sauté until golden and fragrant, about 30 seconds, and then add in the onions. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the onions soften. Return the lamb shanks to the dish and pour over the red wine, deglazing the brown residue at the bottom of the pan for extra flavour. Bring to a boil, cooking for 4-5 minutes, or until wine reduces by half.
  3. Remove from heat and add the canned tomatoes and rosemary sprigs to the dish, seasoning with salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and bake, covered, for 1 & 1/2 hours or until lamb is almost falling off the bone.
  4. Serve the lamb shanks on a generous bed of rosemary & roasted garlic chunky mashed potatoes and some pan-fried baby asparagus. Enjoy!

Red Wine & Rosemary Braised Lamb Shanks

Red Wine & Rosemary Braised Lamb Shanks

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Bourbon & Maple Glazed Chicken

Bourbon & Maple Glazed Chicken

Hello Everyone! I really want to start of with a Green Day classic, but I realised just how lame it is and how overdone the joke is in the past years. For the non-Green Day fans or just those that have been living under a rock, Green Day released a song on their 2004 American Idiot album, a song titled Wake Me Up When September Ends – and I was going to go on this tangent about how it’s already October and that I wasn’t woken up when September ended. I told you it was lame *cheeky grin*

Anyway, mini tangent aside; as per usual, a new month calls for a new theme on the blog! This month, I will be sharing recipes that incorporate the use of alcohol into the dishes. Okay, how I came up with this theme was because I have a full bottle of Jack that has been sitting in the living room collecting dust for almost 3 years now, and I also brought back a bottle of red wine from my recent trip to the Philippines. For those of you who know me personally, you’ll know that I am not a drinker – so why do I have these beverages lying around the house if I don’t drink? Well, I mean the fact that my bottle of whisky has been sitting around for years speaks for itself. I don’t even know why I bought it in the first place; the only reason I could think of was so that I could use it in my cooking – and here we are now! I guess, with these two alcoholic beverages, you can tell when the month is going to predominantly feature *cheeky grin*

Bourbon & Maple Glazed Chicken

Tonight’s recipe was one that I whipped up a while back, during the long weekend in the middle of September. I brought it for lunch in the office the next day back, and my colleague asked me what I had brought in for lunch today. I replied “Bourbon and Maple-glazed Chicken with Chunky Mash and Pan-fried Asparagus.” She then laughed and continued to say “it sounds so Masterchef – like usually if you ask any locals what they had for lunch, they will just say ‘Buttermilk Chicken’.” I too laughed when she said that, referring to the fact that one would normally have a simply-named dish for lunch, but not me apparently. My lunch’s name was Masterchef worthy hahaha – yes, just the name, the overall dish is still maybe a bit too simple for Masterchef level. Maybe if I cooked it in liquid nitrogen to give it the Heston Blumenthal touch then I could be in it to win it… As if hahaha! Anyway, the original recipe for tonight can be found over on Simply Recipes.

Bourbon & Maple Glazed Chicken Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 pcs chicken whole legs, cleaned thoroughly
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary (or about 2-3 tsp of dried rosemary)
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup bourbon whisky
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Prepare the chicken by placing them skin side up in a oven-proof dish. Set aside.
  2. Bourbon Maple Glaze: Heat a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high and melt the butter until melted. Add in the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, and then add the diced onions, cooking for about 2 to 3 minutes further.
  3. Add the bourbon whisky together with the maple syrup, tomato paste, rosemary, and season with salt and pepper. Whisk to combine and bring the glaze to a low simmer.
  4. Coat chicken with glaze and roast: Pour half of the glaze mixture over the pre-prepared chicken and toss to coat well. Place in the oven, and then roast the for about 30 minutes, then turn the chicken over and roast for a further 12-15 minutes, or until nicely browned. Lower the heat or remove from the oven if the chicken whole legs start getting too dark.
  5. Simmer remaining glaze until thickened: Meanwhile, as the chicken roasts away, simmer the remaining sauce in the medium-sized saucepan until it thickens slightly and can coat the back of a spoon. Once done, remove from the heat and then set aside. Tip: if it is taking too long for the sauce to reduce, pour it into a wide shallow pan and bring to a boil. The wider pan will make sauce evaporate more easily.
  6. Coat cooked chicken in glaze: When the whole legs are done, remove from oven and dip them into the saucepan with the reduced glaze.
  7. Serve on a bed of chunky roasted garlic mashed potatoes and some pan-fried baby asparagus stalks – of course, whatever you fancy with your chicken will do the trick. Enjoy!

Bourbon & Maple Glazed Chicken

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com