Potato & Caramelised Leek Soup with Crispy Bacon

Potato & Caramelised Leek Soup with Crispy Bacon

Hello Everyone! It’s the beginning of Winter Warmer Month on the blog! For the next month of July I will be sharing my favourite soup recipes, as well as learning how to make other various soups that I don’t already have up my sleeve. These soups are sure to keep you warm on a mid-winter’s night while you’ve got a duvet wrapped around you as you binge watch all your favourite movies and/or tv shows; I know I’ll be doing that most nights!

Potato & Caramelised Leek Soup with Crispy Bacon

Today’s recipe is one that I’ve made many times before in the past when I started getting into cooking, before I started my blog. Before moving to Australia, I’ve never seen a leek before, not including the one that Farfetch’d carries around and whacks other pokémon with. I don’t think Brunei sells them? Or maybe they do but call them a different name or something. I know one grocery store that sells them now, and at a whopping $15.99/kg. Leeks can be pretty hefty so imagine the price! Here at Coles they sell it at $2.48 or something around that price range per piece, and of course I always choose the bigger piece.

The only possible thing that I dislike about this recipe is that it made me cry and left my eyes with a stinging sensation – those darn leeks and onions! Other than that, this is quite possibly one of my favourite soup recipes alongside roast pumpkin soup. Leeks are an excellent source of vitamin K, and are a very good source of manganese, vitamin B6, copper, iron, folate, and vitamin C. It has quite a number of health benefits, but a majority of people don’t know how to cook leeks, or what to pair them with. I am probably one of them as I only know how to use leeks in this recipes, and a pasta recipe with chorizo sausages. Maybe I’ll have a week where I just cook and experiment with the use of leeks in various dishes!

Potato & Caramelised Leek Soup with Crispy Bacon Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 3-5

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 100g streaky bacon, cut into bits
  • 2 cups chicken (or pork)* stock
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large brown onion, diced
  • 1 leek, washed thoroughly** and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Ground salt and pepper to taste

*Remember my last post on roast pork belly crackling? Well, I had about 2 cups of rich pork broth that I didn’t want to throw away, so I reserved it and decided to use it for this recipe instead of using store bought stock or the powdered/bouillon version of it; made my soup super (or should I say, souper) tasty indeed! Okay I’ll stop there.

**Tips for cleaning leeks: Cut off the green tops of the leeks, removing any outer tough leaves. Cut off the root and cut the leeks in half lengthwise. Fan out the leeks and rinse well under running water, leaving them intact. Make to to thoroughly wash out any dirt/soil that can be found in the insides of the leek.

METHOD

  1. Heat a large pot over medium-high. Add in the bacon bits and fry until crispy. Remove from the pot and set aside, leaving the bacon fat/oils in the pot.
  2. Add the garlic in and sauté until golden brown before adding the onions in and cooking them until soft. Add the leeks and a little bit of water. Mix it around leave it to cook for about 5 minutes or until the leeks have softened. Add the brown sugar to the leeks and give it a good mix. Cover the pot and let the leeks cook and caramelise for a further 10 minutes.
  3. Throw in the potatoes and add the pork stock to the vegetables. Season the soup with a bit of salt and pepper and leave it to boil for about half an hour or until potatoes are soft. Once done, remove from the heat and let it sit too cool down slightly for about 10 minutes.
  4. Using a stick blender, blend the vegetables together with the liquid in the cooking pot until smooth. Add in the cream and give it a good mix.
  5. Divide the soup equally into serving bowls (3 large bowls, or 4-5 small bowls), and top each with a bit of crispy bacon, spring onion, and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Serve immediately with some toasted bread.

Potato & Caramelised Leek Soup with Crispy Bacon

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Angel Hair Carbonara

Angel Hair Carbonara

Hello Everyone! Today has been a particularly lazy day spent at home binging on Game of Thrones; now on the last episode of Season 3 and I must say, episode 9 was just brutal with the death of the Starks, just as Arya was about to reunite with her mother and elder brother. Sorry if I spoilt it for anyone; just don’t read the sentence before this! While on the topic of GoT, I totally ‘ship Arya and Gendry.

Angel Hair Carbonara

In other news, no I didn’t actually rip strands of hair from an angel; it is actually known as Capellini, literally translated: ‘little hair’, which is a very thin variety of pasta. As it is very thin and light, it goes well in soups or dressed with very light sauces. I did actually get out of bed today in between episodes and made myself lunch, and today I decided to whip up an easy angel hair carbonara. I was told once before that the key to a good carbonara was to add a dash of worcestershire sauce. Of course I didn’t believe the man (my ex-housemate’s friend) at first because he was piss-drunk at the backyard of the house that I used to live in. At first I was like “worcestershire sauce, really?” in my head, but I nodded and said that I would give it a try, but not that day. Today, I tried it with worcestershire sauce, and I must say that it actually tasted pretty good. Well, he is Italian so I guess he knew what he was talking about.

I’ve made carbonara two ways before; one with cream and one without. Personally, I prefer the first with cream. If you prefer without cream, just add a ratio of one egg to one egg yolk in a bowl together with some parmesan cheese, a bit of salt and ground black pepper. Beat well and pour over a pot of drained hot pasta, heat off. Mix well and allow the hot pasta to cook the egg. Add fried bacon bits and spinach or rocket leaves if you wish.

Angel Hair Carbonara Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 250g capellini (angel hair) pasta, or any other type of pasta
  • 150g streaky bacon, cut into small bits
  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 100ml milk
  • 4 large free range egg yolks
  • 3/4 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • Handful of rocket leaves, washed and drained
  • Ground salt and pepper to taste
  • Shaved parmesan cheese, to serve

METHOD

  1. Heat a bit of oil in a medium-sized frying pan and fry the bacon bits until browned. Add the cream and milk, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add in the worcestershire sauce.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook your pasta according to packet directions. In this case, Barilla angel hair pasta takes about 4-5 minutes. Once cooked, drain and add the pasta to the sauce mixture together with the rocket leaves. Give it a good mix.
  3. Portion the pasta into 4 separate plates and place an egg yolk on top of each bed of pasta (the hot pasta will cook the egg yolk once you mix it all in together). Serve immediately and enjoy!

Angel Hair Carbonara

Not too long ago, I remember my friend saying to me that she missed my mom’s carbonara. Her’s is a little bit different since during that time I wasn’t even interested in cooking. She bought white sauce from a jar in the supermarkets and added minced chicken and sausages for her fettuccine carbonara. Even if it was jarred sauce, it was still a hit amongst my high school friends. They remembered how my mom used to pack extra lunch boxes on Thursday afternoon and delivered them to school during lunch break to share amongst my friends. I miss those days.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Devon on Danks: BREAKFAST WITH THE SAKUMA'S

Devon on Danks

Hello Everyone and welcome back to yet another Review Sunday on the blog! Devon Café is one of those that I’d never fail to go back to for a nice Sunday brunch, well besides the Potting Shed at the Grounds though – I can’t pick between the two! So recently, I think somewhere in mid-November, Devon Café expanded their brand and opened up a new venue over on Danks Street in Waterloo. I quite honestly did not get into the hype of it until late December, after Christmas, before New Years – not that I wasn’t into it, but I just wanted to wait until the hype died down a bit. Knowing that this is Sydney, the hype never dies down! The first time I went here wasn’t that bad though, we managed to get a seat straight away but even so, the place was pretty packed. If we had arrived any later we could’ve easily been standing outside waiting for at least 10 minutes or so for a table for 3. Don’t even get me started on how packed it was on ‘Straya Day, but lucky again we managed to get a table for 2 with ease, but I did feel sorry for the others who had to wait out in the rain for a table.

Devon on Danks: 'STRAYA DAY SPECIAL
‘STRAYA DAY SPECIAL
Medley of tomatoes, avocado, olive oil, and soft-boiled egg, on toast ($16.50)

As mentioned above, this dish was only available during Australia Day. I ordered it because it’s one of their specials and it won’t be on their menu ever again (maybe)! It was a difficult decision because I was eying their ‘Naked’ Bruschetta at that time as well. I actually have no regrets going for this dish because it blew my mind. Yes I know, some tomatoes and avocado on toast – really? The dish was just so flavoursome and fresh at the same time. The crusty white bread added that crunch texture to the palette and was excellent for soaking up the olive oil. The disappointment in this dish though was that my egg was not at all soft nor runny liked I’d expect it to be. Would’ve loved a runny yolk to compliment the crusty bread to soak it all up. Also, $16.50 for this dish? A bit too much in my opinion.

Devon on Danks: BREAKFAST WITH THE SAKUMA'S
BREAKFAST WITH THE SAKUMA’S
Miso grilled king salmon, smoked eel croquette, 63˚ egg, radish petit salad, and kewpi mayonnaise ($24.50)

This dish is probably Devon’s signature as it appears in both menus at the original Devon and Devon on Danks. My Instagram newsfeed always features this dish from other people’s brunches. I never really had this dish for myself to consume, but I did manage to have a bite from my friend’s plate. According to her, the salmon was cooked to perfection and I can definitely vouch for that statement. The egg was perfectly cooked, and flavour combinations worked well together. She overall liked the dish.

Devon on Danks: LITTLE LOST BREAD
LITTLE LOST BREAD
Brioche French toast, fresh and freeze dried strawberries, balsamic and strawberry gastrique, strawberry cheesecake ice cream, and Arnott’s biscuit crumble ($16.50)

Again, I did not have this dish to myself, but I did manage to have a small bite. My friends, who at that time share this dish as a dessert, really loved this dish, but it was a bit sour for my liking, which I think mainly came from the balsamic. But otherwise, the brioche French toast was amazing, and so was the ice cream that topped it. What I found interesting was that at the end of the description for this dish it said “add bacon $4.00”. BACON? I was so confused and intrigued at the same time, but my friends didn’t want to get the bacon with it.

Devon on Danks: DR SEUSS's GREEN EGGS AND HAM
DR SEUSS’s GREEN EGGS AND HAM
Thick cut bacon, crispy potato, 63˚ egg, green tomato ketchup, pea purée, soybeans, pea tendrils, and jus ($19.00)

This again was a dish that was predominately popping up on my Instagram newsfeed. I think what is attractive about this dish is its name. It brought back many childhood memories and this was a dish that I really wanted to indulge in, but unfortunately lost the battle with Marissa. She told me to order the same thing but I was like NO that’s not point! Because I write a blog, I actually hate it when people order the same thing, because then that means that I have one (sometimes two) less dishes to write about. Which also means that I have to again visit the café/restaurant so that I am not just reviewing two or three dishes. Anyway, tangent aside, the bacon was delish, cooked to perfection, and paired well with the other components in the dish. Marissa seemed to love it too!

Devon on Danks: SOFT SHELL CRAB SALAD ala JAPANOIS
SOFT SHELL CRAB SALAD ala JAPANOIS
Crispy soft shell crab with sichimi pepper, wasabi mayo, tobiko, nori, pickled cucumber, daikon, carrot, and shiso ($19.90)

Originally, this dish was meant to be a soft shell crab roll. I don’t know what happened, like whether they ran out of rolls or whatever other reason, this time when I came back with Tara, they had blacked out the ‘roll’ on their menu and changed it to a salad. Despite it not being a roll anymore, the dish was beautifully presented and was very flavoursome. The soft shell crab was crunchy and was packed with a lot of spice, quite possibly from the wasabi. That was on point for me. The salad was flavourful, but in the end I kept thinking that the dish looked really small, and for roughly $20.00, it almost seemed that you didn’t a good value for your money. I’ve had soft shell crab salad elsewhere before at a Japanese restaurant and it was about $11.00 for more than just ONE crab.

Devon on Danks: LUCKY DUCK
LUCKY DUCK
French buckwheat crêpe, crispy duck leg, duck liver parfait, fried duck egg, and blueberry preserve ($24.50)

This was the dish that I had that time I was out with Marissa and her friend Karina. Duck is one of my favourite meats which is why I had no doubts when having to select another dish after not being able to have my way with what I wanted in the first place. I regret nothing. This dish was top notch for me, despite me having doubts about the liver parfait. It actually tasted good together with the blueberry preserve and the other elements to the dish. I could not fault this dish, and unlike most dishes, this definitely was a great value for money.

Devon on Danks: CRONUT
CRONUT
Green tea matcha cronut with red bean filling ($7.00)

This was by far the best cronut I’ve had to date (not that I’ve had many anyway), but the flavour combinations happening in this one tiny cronut was to die for. The amount of red bean filling in this cronut might I add was very generous! It just oozed out every time we sliced into it for a bite. Though I did feel that by the 5th or 6th bite, I could feel that the red bean filling was a bit too sweet for my liking.

Devon on Danks: SOFT SERVE SUNDAE
SOFT SERVE SUNDAE
Pandan soft serve, banana, rice and coconut krispies, kalamansi cream, palm seeds, and gula melaka ($11.00)

What I love about Devon is the Asian fusion that they bring into their cuisine. This ice cream, though Asian inspired based on ingredients and flavours, is nothing that I have seen at all in Asia. Pansan, kalamansi, palm seeds, and gula melaka, are all flavours that I am familiar with, but never did I think that they’d all work so well together as an ice cream sundae! Loved the flavour combinations in this sundae, better than the salted caramel soft serve. I only wished that it had been a very hot day instead of a gloomy ‘Straya Day the time I shared this with Tara because the cloddish weather and really cold ice cream did not feel right!

Devon on Danks: DD's SPECIAL SOFT SERVE SUNDAE
DD’s SPECIAL SOFT SERVE SUNDAE
with salted caramel ice cream, black salt, and hot chips ($10.00)

Ever since the opening of Devon on Danks, I have seen this pop up on my Instagram feed one too many times! It brought back a lot of memories of when I was a kid and how I’d use to dip my order of fries into my soft serve ice cream on a cone from McDonalds. I think it was everyone’s childhood memories for everyone had written about how they did that when they were kids when talking about this sundae. Though I thoroughly enjoyed this, there was too much salt going on for me. I was fine at first, but I struggled to finish the rest. Salted caramel ice cream, TOPPED with black salt, AND salted fries on the side. Salt overload!

I’d rate the food probably an 8 on a scale of 10, just cos of some minor issues I had with some of the dishes that were served. Service was on point and the waiters/waitresses were always smiling, friendly, and gave great recommendations when it came down to having to make a decision on what cronut we wanted to have for dessert. The ambiance was sort of like modern meets industrial which by the way is what I like most about cafés around Sydney who embrace this interior design style fusion. Value for money is variable – some dishes I feel were reasonably priced while others I felt that they were a bit overpriced for the amount of food that was on the plate. Then again this is my opinion, and I’m pretty sure others will have a different say to this. But overall, be it the original Devon Café or Devon on Danks, I will always pay a visit when I am in the mood for a pretty epic brunch date.

Devon on Danks
2 Danks Street
Waterloo, New South Wales
Australia, 2017

– Ally xx

The Ultimate Brekkie

The Ultimate Brekkie

Hello Everyone! Back with a quick one since I feel like you guys deserve another upload after being away for so long. Today I wanted to make a really filling and unforgettable brekkie where I can just sit down and enjoy it instead of packing it with me to bring to the office or even just skipping breakfast altogether. Well okay, I ended up having these for lunch after a deserved Sunday sleep in, but breakfast for lunch (even for dinner) is just the best thing ever!

So after my visit to Paper Plane Café 2 weeks ago or so (again as I mentioned in the previous post, I will do a review soon-ish), I really wanted to recreate their breakfast board at home. It looked simple enough to be able to do so just by glancing at the board and even pin-pointing the obvious ingredients. I must say that it was a huge success in the kitchen this morning, even though I may have burnt my balsamic reduction and the other side of the toast, oops! But nonetheless a brekkie so worth the time and effort spent in the kitchen. I invited my housemate Lydia as well for breakfast/brunch/lunch, so basically today’s lunch was a joint effort between the two of us. She’s now a professional chef! Under my guidance and supervision, as well as the Taste recipe being read to her, she made the Hollandaise Sauce all by herself for the very first time to go with the poached eggs. Her sauce was to die for! Apart from that, she helped wash and cut up the tomatoes, mushrooms and chorizo sausages, and also did a fair bit of the cleaning up. I took care of the rest. (This note is for Vidhya – don’t stop reading here, there’s a small paragraph/story at the end of the post!)

The Ultimate Brekkie

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 30-35 MINS | SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 hash browns
  • 2 hickory-smoked bacon rashers
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 2 slices of Country Grain bread
  • 2 field grown tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 chorizo sausage, sliced diagonally
  • 250g cup mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Handfull of rocket leaves
  • Small thumb-sized ginger, grated
  • Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • Olive Oil

For the Hollandaise Sauce

  • 3 large free range eggs, yolks separated
  • 175g unsalted butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • Ground salt and black pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Place the hash browns and slices of bread on a tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle the slices of bread with a bit of olive oil and bake for 10-15 minutes. Turn the oven heat down to about 50C to keep the food warm while you prepare and cook everything else.
  2. Balsamic Reduction: Next, pour a cup of balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the vinegar to a boil, then turn down the heat down so that the boil reduces to a simmer. Stir occasionally and allow to simmer until the vinegar has reduced by at least half (for a thinner reduction) or more (for a more syrup-like consistency). If you are a hopeless impatient person like me when it comes to food, do not increase the heat at this point! Your reduction may burn and you will be left with a stiff, hardened mess – basically what I did for the first batch of balsamic reduction. I was also stupid enough to try it and see if it was still edible, and it ended up sticking to the front of my teeth (not a very pleasing experience might I add).
  3. Meat, Tomatoes, and Mushrooms: Heat a grill pan over high heat. Add the bacon and chorizo and cook for about 3-4 minutes per side. Place on a dish lined with paper towels to drain the excess oils. Next add the tomatoes and grill for about 3-4 minutes per side as well. Place the bacon, chorizo slices, and tomatoes in the oven to keep warm. Add the mushrooms to the grill pan with a bit of olive oil and sauté for about 2-3 minutes. Add the grated ginger and lemon juice, and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves and then set aside in the oven to keep warm.
  4. Hollandaise Sauce: While the balsamic reduction is underway and slowly simmering, start on the Hollandaise sauce. Place a heatproof bowl over a medium saucepan that is quarter-filled with water. Make sure that the bowl should fit snugly into the pan without touching the water (lift the bowl to check and remove some water if it does). Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to very low so the water is barely simmering (there should be almost no movement at all). It is important that the water is barely simmering while making the sauce – if it is too hot, the egg yolks will cook too much and the sauce will curdle.
  5. Place the egg yolks and the 2 tablespoons of water in the heatproof bowl and place over the pan. Whisk the mixture constantly for 3 minutes or until it is thick and pale, has doubled in volume and a ribbon trail forms when the whisk is lifted.
  6. Add the butter a cube at a time, whisking constantly and adding another cube when the previous one is incorporated completely (about 10 minutes to add it all in). If butter is added too quickly, it won’t mix easily with the egg yolks or the sauce may lose volume. At the same time, it is important that the butter is at room temperature and added a cube at a time, so that it doesn’t take too long to be incorporated – if the sauce cooks for too long, it can curdle.
  7. Remove the bowl from the pan and place on a heatproof surface. The cooked sauce should have the consistency of very lightly whisked thickened cream. Whisk in the lemon juice, fresh thyme leaves, and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Poached Eggs: Bring small saucepan of water to the boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low-medium – the water should be just simmering. Add in the vinegar and stir. Crack one egg into a small bowl and quickly, but gently pour it into the water. Repeat with the other egg. A really soft poached egg should take around 2 minutes, but if you want it a bit more firm, it will take about 4 minutes. To check if they’re cooked right, carefully remove the egg from the pan with a slotted spoon and give the yolk a gentle push (you can tell just by your instincts if it is under or overcooked – or perfect)!
  9. Assembly: While the Hollandaise Sauce and Poached Eggs are almost done, assemble your dish, this part is entirely up to you on how you wish to present it. Drizzle your balsamic reduction over your rocket leaves. Use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the eggs from the saucepan. Place on top of the toast and bacon. Then top with a generous amount of sauce to your poached eggs. Crack a little salt and pepper and serve immediately!

While having our lunch, all Lydia could talk about was how good it all tasted. She was already full, but she still wanted to eat more. We also talked about how in cafés you’d get an average dollop of hollandaise sauce, which is sometimes not enough with the amount of serving your get from the rest of the food. We had a whole bowl of it and basically drowned our eggs in them, and had them with everything basically. Also, the best thing about eating at home is that we get to be barbaric in a sense that we didn’t care about using our forks and knives, we ate our toast with our hands and weren’t afraid to have them smothered over the sides of our mouths or dripping down the side of our fingers.

The Ultimate Brekkie

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Breakfast Muffins: Bacon, Cheese & Zucchini

Breakfast Muffins: Bacon, Cheese & Zucchini

Hello Everyone! Yes I am back and I do apologise for not posting a recipe or review for over 3 weeks now I think! I’ve been busy, with work, uni, and mainly procrastinating really. I haven’t stopped cooking though, in fact I have quite a few dishes to post – I just haven’t had the time to sit down and actually write a post for it. I know, you’re probably thinking that it’s not so hard writing up a recipe especially if it’s one that I followed from a book or online. Writing up the recipe isn’t the hard part, what’s sort of hard for me is spending time writing about let’s say a back story or just a story in general. I know this is a food blog but I do like to share a few things about myself, or my day/week etc.

Anyway, before I get to today’s recipe post, I just want to update all of you, about what’s been going on lately – also because I think my housemate Vidhya deserves a story to read after she was falsely mislead from my previous post. Now that I think about it, there’s actually nothing much to talk about – I know I have such a boring life! Just kidding! Otherwise I would’ve had all the time in the world to keep this blog updated. I mean, between uni and work, I do go out and see my friends over the weekend. I don’t even think that I’ve spent a lazy weekend at home just sleeping in and doing nothing all day for quite some time.

Breakfast Muffins: Bacon, Cheese & Zucchini

Two weeks ago I had a mid semester break, which really meant that I only had 2 weekdays off from classes because I still had to go in for my internship. And even so, those two days were spent out eating, shopping, and going to the cinema with friends. I went to Parramatta with Marissa and Jialing to check out this place called Paper Plane Café and the trip there was worth it all especially aster we massacred our brunch. I will get into more detail with this when I get around to posting a review on the place. I also recently joined the gym with Jialing! We’ve probably been going for three weeks now, basically just adding exercise into our daily life, toning the muscles, and overall staying fit (we have to burn all the brunches somehow)! I also hosted a dinner party probably 2 weeks ago or so for my COFA friends; a great success in terms of food and laughter. Those were probably the highlights of the past 3 weeks. Oh I almost forgot, the public holiday after the mid semester break, Edison, Jialing, and I had a photo shoot at the Royal Botanical Gardens, well more like Edison needed a new profile picture before he turned 23 and of course asked me to take the photos. Jialing and I had to join in the photo shoot fun of course! This photo shoot happened last week Monday which interrupted Muffin Making Mondays with Jialing and I – which is why we had our muffin session this Monday instead!

Today’s recipe post was actually requested by my mother. She told me she watched a cooking show with Chef Michael Smith in which he made mini bacon and cheese muffins. She told me to give it a go and tell her how it went and if it tasted good or not. I went online and found a recipe from Taste – Bacon, Cheese, and Zucchini Muffins! They taste so good! And I definitely made a few people in the office jealous I think as the smell of bacon travelled around. Jialing on the other hand made Orange, Lemon, and Poppy Seed Muffins – also so good! So good that I think I may make them for our next Muffin Making Mondays. I also baked some Macadamia and White Chocolate Cookies that Monday, but I will save the recipe for another time.

Breakfast Muffins: Bacon, Cheese & Zucchini Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 22 MINS | MAKES 12 MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 hickory-smoked bacon rashers, diced
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup tasty cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup zucchini, grated
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp olive oil

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 190C. Line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases.
  2. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon bits and cook for 5 minutes or until crisp. Once crisp, transfer the bacon bits to a dish lined with paper towels to drain off all the excess oils. Allow to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, squeeze the excess liquid from zucchini, this will prevent your muffins from becoming soggy. Tip, place the grated zucchini in a clean tea towel and squeeze – otherwise you can also just use your hands like what I did, working in small batches.
  4. Sift flours and baking powder into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add in the vegetable oil, milk, and egg. Mix well until combined, and then fold in bacon, cheese, and zucchini.
  5. Spoon the mixture between the paper cases (makes 12 muffins). Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until golden and just firm to touch. Stand in pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Breakfast Muffins: Bacon, Cheese & Zucchini

Breakfast Muffins: Bacon, Cheese & Zucchini

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Clam Corn Chowder

Clam Corn Chowder

Happy Hump Day Everyone! The weather has been nice and warm all week, which is a bit unusual since it’s nearing the end of fall and entering winter next month – I’m not complaining though! And yes, I know that Australian winters aren’t as cold as Northern American and European countries, it’s cold for me because coming from the tropics, it doesn’t get as cold as 24C. I love the heat! I’ve been planning on making this dish for a while now, as in a few weeks ago when the weather dropped to about 10-15C, but I never got around to. I had half a pack of vongole left from my spaghetti alle vongole in the freezer and I wanted to cook it. So yesterday for dinner I decided to make Clam Corn Chowder.

I made this dish once before last year when I went on holiday with my flatmate and two other friends. It was a great winter weekend away at Port Stephens – though it was in the middle of winter, we did very non-wintry activities: parasailing, camel riding and sand boarding. The evenings were a little chillier, and we also had a ‘Christmas in July’ dinner night, where I whipped up a nice pot of Clam Corn Chowder; full of sweet corn, smoky bacon, and delightfully briny clams.

Also, please check out the original recipe that I followed here: Epicurious.

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1kg NZ Westhaven Vongole
  • 3 hickory smoked bacon slices, diced
  • 1 can (400g) super sweet corn kernels, drained
  • 500g potatoes, wash, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups fish stock (clam juice preferable if available)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 stalks scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup thickened cream
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • Ground salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. In a large pot, melt 1 tbsp of the butter and sauté bacon until lightly browned, but not crisp, over medium heat. Add in the scallions (pale white parts) and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add in the corn and potatoes, and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Then add in the fish stock, water, and season with pepper. Bring to a boil, uncovered.
  2. Add the clams in and bring to a boil again, uncovered. Stir occasionally until the clams open (about 5-8 minutes). Discard any clams that remain unopened after 8 minutes.
  3. Add the milk and cream to the chowder, remaining butter, and season with salt. Cook until heated through but do not let it boil. Garnish with green scallions and serve with buttered bread roll.

Clam Corn Chowder

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Scallops with Bacon and Beet Purée

Scallops with Bacon and Beet Purée

Happy Tuesday everyone! Beetroot is making an appearance in today’s post (from the leftover purée I had from the Beetroot Gnocchi recipe I posted last week). So, as you all probably know if you read that post, beetroot isn’t quite to my liking and I have no valid reason as to why I don’t particularly like it. As I said, can’t quite put my finger on it, might be the taste but I honestly have no idea. However, I did not want to waste such good produce so I decided to make something that goes with beet purée, and I found this recipe online that appealed a lot to me, mainly because I love scallops and I rarely get to eat them, or even cook with them because it’s a little bit over the ‘student’ budget (but today I will make an exception).

The original recipe garnishes the dish with goat cheese, and I would’ve added the goat cheese in if I hadn’t actually forgotten about it – yeah, it’s now sitting in my fridge and I’m trying to think of a dish that can incorporate this so I don’t have to store it in the fridge for a long time and eventually forget about it and then throw it out. But enough chitter-chatter, time to get on with the recipe (check out the original recipe here)! Also, before I continue, my scallops weren’t as thick as the ones in this recipe, so it looked a bit flat on the dish for me, but nonetheless, flavour was definitely there.

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 dozen sea scallops
  • 1/2 cup roasted beet purée*
  • 1 bacon strip (in this case I used hickory-smoked bacon), diced
  • 1/4 red onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup Chardonnay
  • 1/4 cup thickened cream
  • Ground sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • Knob of butter
  • Fresh goat cheese

*See my Beetroot Gnocchi recipe on how to roast beets if you don’t have any ready at hand.

METHOD

  1. Melt butter in a medium-sized frying pan and cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain off any excess oils. Pour out any excess oil from the pan leaving a bit behind, then add in the onions and sauté over medium heat until soft and caramelised (about 2 minutes).
  2. Add the Chardonnay and boil until reduced by half, scraping up any browned bits, about 1 minute. Add the cream and beet purée. Simmer until a thick purée is formed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.
  3. Meanwhile, pat the scallops dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Melt a knob of butter in a small frying pan and then add the scallops and cook until they’re brown, about 30 seconds to a maximum of 45 seconds per side (they will be slightly translucent in the centre).
  4. Spoon the beet purée onto a serving plate, spreading in a circular motion. Top with the scallops, drizzling any juices from the plate over the top. Spoon small dollops of the goat cheese, and sprinkle with bacon and fresh Italian parsley.

Scallops with Bacon and Beet Purée

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Big Breakfast for One

Big Breakfast for One

The most wonderful thing about life when it comes to food is breakfast. I always look forward to breakfast, but I think 90% of the time I actually go without having a proper breakfast, or no breakfast at all – which does sadden me a bit. This is either because I get up too late for breakfast and just skip to brunch, or when I do get up early, I’m rushing off to Uni and usually grab a banana or whatever fruit I have lying around on my way out (which also rarely happens so I just end up waiting until class is over and then packed left-over lunch it is).

What makes me happy though is that I can have Breakfast for Lunch or Breakfast for Dinner. Breakfast all day everyday (please excuse my apparent over-excitement over breakfast). Today, I had my breakfast for lunch, and man it was so good. Who doesn’t love bacon and eggs for lunch?

Big Breakfast for One

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-15 MINS SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 slice of wholemeal bread, toasted, buttered & cut diagonally in half
  • 2 slices of gourmet tomatoes, grilled
  • 2 fresh free range eggs at room temperature, poached
  • 3 slices of rindless bacon, grilled
  • Handful of loose leaf baby spinach, wilted
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • Knob of unsalted butter
  • Ground salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

Poaching the eggs:

  1. Bring small saucepan of water to the boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low-medium – the water should be just simmering. Add in the vinegar and stir.
  2. Crack one egg into a small bowl and quickly, but gently pour it into the water. Repeat with the other egg. A really soft poached egg should take around 2 minutes, but if you want it a bit more firm, it will take about 4 minutes. To check if they’re cooked right, carefully remove the egg from the pan with a slotted spoon and give the yolk a gentle push (you can tell just by your instincts if it is under or overcooked – or perfect)!

I honestly think that the rest is pretty self-explanatory.

Big Breakfast for One

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com