Spice-roasted Pineapple Nice Cream

Spice-roasted Pineapple Nice Cream

Hello Everyone! April is here and those who have been following my blog, or even just my social media pages (Facebook & Instagram) will know that a new month means that I get to play around with new ingredients! As the overall theme for this year is a “fruitful” one, I’m playing around with different kinds of fruit each month for 2019! For January I went nuts for Coconuts! For February it was all about Mangoes. For March they say an Apple a day keeps the doctors away! I ran a poll on Instagram stories for my followers to guess between Pineapple, Banana, and Lemon based on the set of ingredients for tonight’s post.

Of course, based on the title of this post, we all know that April with be all about Pineapples! I did mention in my previous post that I had to change what I had initially planned for tonight. Basically, I had planned for a Grilled Pineapple Oat Crumble, but I slowly realised towards the middle of last month that we’re at the peak of summer here in the Philippines, and it just made no sense whatsoever to be featuring warm/baked desserts in the heat we’re having! Thus I decided to take a cooler route for this month and beat the summer heat with this amazing Spice-roasted Pineapple Nice Cream!

Spice-roasted Pineapple Nice Cream

So what exactly is Nice Cream? Unlike most ice cream recipes, this one doesn’t require an ice cream maker/churner. The trusty food processor can transform any frozen fruits into a whipped dessert in mere minutes. Nice creams are also vegan, dairy-free, and treat-free from artificial flavours, colours, preservatives, and added sugar. Well okay, there is sugar for this particular recipe of mine that I used when making the spice-roasted pineapples, but other than that, I did not add any extra sugar to the nice cream.

Banana-based ice cream may be the original nice cream, but there are endless ways to adapt the classic recipe. Take for example, tonight’s recipe for Spice-roasted Pineapples – bananas are only really added to ensure a creamy custard-like texture, but the other fruit is the star of the show. I didn’t just want to blitz up some frozen pineapples, which is why I went a little bit extra in roasting the pineapples first in a few spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and star anise before freezing them. The result? AMAZING!

Spice-roasted Pineapple Nice Cream Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS* | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 6

*Allow for the Spice-roasted Pineapple Chunks to freeze for at least 5 hours or overnight before making the nice cream.

INGREDIENTS

For the spice-roasted pineapple

  • 1 large pineapple, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 5 pcs whole cloves
  • 3 pcs star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp Tequila or Vodka (optional)**

For the nice cream

  • Frozen spiced-roasted pineapple
  • Frozen sliced bananas, about 2-3 large bananas
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Ginger nut biscuits (optional)***

**Almost every brand of hard liquor – bourbon, whiskey, vodka, gin and rum – is vegan. Nearly all distilled spirits are vegan except for cream-based liqueurs and products that mention honey on the label.

***I used Tesco ginger nut biscuits which are vegan.

METHOD

  1. Spice-roasted Pineapple: Preheat oven to 220C (425F or gas mark 7).
  2. Toss the pineapple, sugar, spices, and everything nice (liquor) in an oven-safe baking dish. Sorry, I could not resist not say that!
  3. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Once done, set aside to completely cool down before placing them in a food-safe zip lock bag together with the peeled and sliced bananas, and into the freezer for at least 5 hours or overnight. Discard the spices! Save a couple of tablespoons of the spice-roasted pineapple in the fridge to serve together with the nice cream.

Spice-roasted Pineapple Nice Cream Process

  1. Nice Cream: Place all the ingredients for the nice cream into a food processor and let it run on the highest speed for about a few minutes until the frozen fruit turns into a loose, crumbly mass.
  2. Stop the processor and push the fruits down. Turn the processor on to high speed once again and repeat this process until you have a very smooth and silky soft nice cream.
  3. You may serve it immediately or if you want a lovely scoop-able nice cream, transfer it into a freezer-friendly container and freeze it for another hour.
  4. Serve, topped with the spice-roasted pineapple, crushed ginger nut biscuits, and enjoy!

Spice-roasted Pineapple Nice Cream

Spice-roasted Pineapple Nice Cream

By all means, feel free to get loose with this recipe and try out other fruits that you can play around with for a guilt-free vegan nice cream to stay cool this summer!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

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Baked Purple Sweet Potato with Banana & Cherries

Baked Purple Sweet Potato with Banana & Cherries

Hello Everyone! A thousand apologies as this recipe was meant to go up a couple of days ago – but I haven’t been home at a decent hour for the past few nights to be able to write and get this up as planned. But, please bear with me for a moment as I attempt to absorb the fact that we’re 2 days away to the end of the month. All I can hint at this moment is that the upcoming month for me will say a final goodbye to a lifelong chapter – or should I say book? I feel like it’s more than an end to a chapter, but rather a book that I will be closing. To be able to open up a new story and at the same time revisit more chapters to one that was on hold for the past 3 years. One that I knew I will have the opportunity to continue writing. I know, I know, this all sounds very vague right now but in due time…

Baked Purple Sweet Potato with Banana & Cherries

Tangent aside and moving on, this recipe is pretty much open for you to get your creative juices flowing. Pair your favourite fruits together, add an element of crunch, and drizzle with your desired spread. What you can also do is play around with colour – I chose my fruits based on what colours will pop next to a beautiful deep purple sweet potato. This will make it look oh so aesthetically pleasing to the eye and (of course) taste even better in your tummy.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, be sure to check out where I drew inspiration for this beautiful breakfast dish over on Food with Feeling by Brita. Also, please make sure to read the end of this post to find out what’s happening on Amcarmen’s Kitchen for the month of August!

Baked Purple Sweet Potato with Banana & Cherries Ingredients

Baked Purple Sweet Potato with Banana & Cherries Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 80-95 MINS* | SERVES 2**

*Baking time time will vary depending on the size of your sweet potato.
**Half of a sweet potato for breakfast is already pretty filling, but the recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, and so on if you’re feeding more than 1-2 people at the table.

INGREDIENTS***

  • 1 medium-sized sweet potato, washed and scrubbed clean
  • 1 large banana, sliced
  • Chia seeds
  • Handful of fresh cherries, halved and pitted
  • Heaped spoonful of peanut butter
  • Granola

***Other optional toppings just to get your mind flowing: an array of mixed berries such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, hemp seeds, pepitas, nut butter, nutella, and many other choices for you to have fun with it!

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven 200C (400F or gas mark 6).
  2. Bake the sweet potato**** directly on the rack for about 40 to 50 minutes. Baking times may vary depending on the size of the potato. So to know if they’re done, stab it with a fork and if it easily pierces into the centre of the potato, the inside is most definitely tender.
  3. Once tender, cut a slit down the centre of the sweet potato about two thirds of the way down. Optional: slighty mush the inside of the potato.
  4. Top with your favourite breakfast toppings and don’t forget to make it look pretty on the plate too!
  5. Serve and enjoy!

****Here’s a tip: you can bake extra potatoes at the same time (I actually baked these together with my from week 2 of July), so that you can chuck them in the fridge and heat them up the next morning or two for another super easy and quick breakfast! It only takes less than 5 minutes to throw something together with your pre-baked potato.

Baked Purple Sweet Potato with Banana & Cherries

Baked Purple Sweet Potato with Banana & Cherries

Before I end tonight’s post, I’d like to share a little introduction to what’s coming as I won’t have the chance to when the next wave of recipes hit. If you have been following my blog since the beginning, or have been a frequent follower for more than a year or so, you’ll already know what August (or should I say, Auguest) means for Amcarmen’s Kitchen. Every year since 2015 I have been rounding up a couple of food bloggers and foodies alike to share their recipes in relation to the set theme. This year I have been able to round up some new faces, as well as familiar and recurring guests on Amcarmen’s Kitchen!

Stay tuned for an enticing array of delectably sweet and savoury breakfast dishes! If you want to read more on how this all started, click on the ‘Auguest’ tab above and there should be a link to take you to an introductory post that I wrote back in 2015.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Dark Chocolate, PB & Banana Smoothie Bowl

Dark Chocolate, PB & Banana Smoothie Bowl

Hello Everyone! First off, apologies as I did say in my last post that I’d get this up within the week where I posted about Amcarmen’s Kitchen turning 4 last week! (Unnecessary) things got in the way which was why I wasn’t able to get this up. So to make up for that, since after this post I still have one more Smoothie Bowl recipe to share with all of you, I’ll ATTEMPT to get that up for you before May rolls in. Bare in mind that I will be flying off once again tomorrow, hence also why this post is going up on a Tuesday instead of my usual Wednesday post schedule, so my attempt may already be void at this point *cheeky grin* but for you guys, I will try my best to.

Moving on, here is tonight’s recipe for a devilishly delicious Dark Chocolate, PB, and Banana Smoothie Bowl! So incase you guys haven’t been following my Instagram pages, I got back from a 5-day business trip to Hong Kong two Sundays ago. I’ve italicised ‘business’ because well, though yes it was for business, it was also sort of a mini-vacation. It was my first time to travel to Hong Kong as well so I made sure that I made the most out of the trip, outside of business hours that is. Though it was a fun trip, both on the business and vacation side to it, I was super exhausted and sleep deprived from the trip when I got back. It’s not that I was out partying every single night until the wee hours of dawn, but rather my roommate/colleague basically kept me up all night. She snores like a helicopter continuously hovering over me and talks in her sleep. I’m a very sensitive sleeper and this for me was just… Pure torture. I probably collectively only slept 8-10 hours during that 5 day trip, and the hard part was, I couldn’t even take naps in between because she snores in her naps too. I’m definitely requesting for separate rooms if I ever have to travel with her again. At least I’ll be travelling by myself to the Philippines tomorrow so I won’t have to worry about a snore fest for the upcoming 5 days (thank God).

Rant over. So Dark Chocolate, PB, and Banana? In a smoothie bowl? For breakfast? Don’t mind if I do! Classic flavour combinations for those who prefer to start their mornings off on a sweet note. Now you may notice that in the ingredients shot below that the jar of peanut butter is missing… So here’s what happened, that day I was making two different smoothie bowls for a Sunday afternoon snack, therefore I took two ingredient shots that day. The jar of peanut butter found it’s way into the other shot (which by the way doesn’t need peanut butter) and I only realised it after I was going through the photographs I took a few days later – silly me! Oh well, so ignore the jar of peanut butter in the next recipe post!

Dark Chocolate, PB & Banana Smoothie Bowl Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

For the smoothie mixture

  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup yoghurt
  • 60g dark chocolate*
  • 1 large banana
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder

*I used Whittaker’s Marlborough Sea Salt and Caramel Brittle Chocolate for this recipe – super yum with that hint of salt and sweet caramel.

Toppings

  • Bananas – loaded with essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, calcium, manganese, magnesium, iron, folate, niacin, riboflavin, and B6
  • Granola – contains vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients, including, but not limited to, dietary fibres, sodium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, vitamin C & E, niacin, iron, and thiamin
  • Coco Pops
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Desiccated Coconut

METHOD

  1. Add the milk, peanut butter, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, yoghurt, and banana to a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and top with sliced bananas, coco pops, desiccated coconut, roughly chopped dark chocolate, and granola. Enjoy as quick and easy breakfast or a filling afternoon snack to get rid of that midday schlump!

Dark Chocolate, PB & Banana Smoothie Bowl

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Tropical Mango & Pineapple Smoothie Bowl

Tropical Mango & Pineapple Smoothie Bowl

Hello Everyone! So I’m getting this post up a day early only because I won’t be in the country tomorrow and I won’t be travelling with my laptop to be able to get this up for you guys. I’ll be gone for a few days and will be back in Brunei on Sunday evening. I won’t give out where I’ll be heading to just yet, but you’ll be able to see lots and LOTS of food photos (I hope) over on my Instagram page to figure out where I’ll be over the next few days.

Anyway, I’ve got another smoothie bowl recipe to share with everyone and this is by far my favourite one. Why? One word. Tropical. Being born and raised in the tropics, I’ve grown to love pineapples, passionfruit, and most importantly, mangoes. I remember being asked a question back when I was still in university – if you were stuck on an island, and there was only one type of food that you could have, what would it be and why? Without hesitation I answered mangoes. Why? Just because. Actually, now I can’t remember if I’ve already told this story before on the blog. If I have, apologies, but I guess to those who haven’t heard/read this before – here you go!

Tropical Mango & Pineapple Smoothie Bowl Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

For the smoothie mixture

  • 1 large mango, diced (save some to top after)
  • 1 large banana
  • 1 cup pineapple, diced
  • 1/2 cup yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Toppings

  • Chia Seedscontains omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, antioxidants, iron, and calcium
  • Goji Berries excellent source of antioxidants and nutrients that help boost the immune system and protect the body from high levels of inflammation
  • Kiwis – loaded with vitamins and minerals such as Vitamins A, B6, B12, E, and potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium
  • Mango contains vitamin A, B6, C & K, protein, folate, potassium, copper, calcium, and iron to the diet as well as antioxidants such as zeaxanthin and beta-carotene
  • Passionfruitrich in antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamin A & C, riboflavin, niacin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, fiber, and protein
  • Desiccated Coconut

METHOD

  1. Blend the mango, pineapple, banana, milk, yoghurt, and chia seeds until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and top with diced mangoes, diced kiwis, passionfruit pulp, chia seeds, goji berries, and desiccated coconut. Enjoy!

Tropical Mango & Pineapple Smoothie Bowl

Remember, you are not limited to the choice of toppings mentioned above. Use whatever you have lying around so that you don’t have to go and spend extra money on the things that you don’t have. Get creative and customise to your favourite fruits!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Pitaya Smoothie Bowl

Pitaya Smoothie Bowl

Hello Everyone! I know I usually call for a new theme on the blog every month, but for the month of April I will still be continuing on with psychedelic smoothie bowls. There were just so many different options that I could not just leave out – especially with tonight’s vibrant Pitaya Smoothie Bowl!

So I don’t really have much to say to be honest – no current updates on my life that are out of the ordinary or significant I guess. Nothing exciting. I can be introverted at times. Okay I think probably 90% of the time just because I’d rather go home straight after work and do nothing rather than go out and socialise with people. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I identify myself as an introverted extrovert.

However, when I’m in the mood for an adventure, then I go ALL OUT. It has to be my kind of adventure though. You know, the blue skies, the greenery, the scorching sun piercing through your skin, making you a shade or three darker. That’s my kind of adventure. Sadly there isn’t enough of it in Brunei to keep my one day weekend busy. Anyway, enough of my tangents and on with tonight’s recipe!

Pitaya Smoothie Bowl Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

For the smoothie mixture

  • 1 large red pitaya (dragonfruit)
  • 1 large banana
  • 1 cup chopped pineapple
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk

Toppings

  • Bananas – loaded with essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, calcium, manganese, magnesium, iron, folate, niacin, riboflavin, and B6
  • Chia Seeds – contains omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, antioxidants, iron, and calcium
  • Goji Berries – excellent source of antioxidants and nutrients that help boost the immune system and protect the body from high levels of inflammation
  • Granola – contains vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients, including, but not limited to, dietary fibres, sodium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, vitamin C & E, niacin, iron, and thiamin
  • Kiwis – loaded with vitamins and minerals such as Vitamins A, B6, B12, E, and potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium
  • Pineappleexcellent source of vitamin C and manganese; also a very good source of copper and a good source of vitamin B1, vitamin B6, dietary fibre, folate, and pantothenic acid

METHOD

  1. Add the red pitaya, banana, pineapple, and milk to a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and top with chopped pineapple, sliced bananas, chia seeds, goji berries, sliced kiwis, and granola. Enjoy!

Pitaya Smoothie Bowl

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Banana & Blackberry Smoothie Bowl

Banana & Blackberry Smoothie Bowl

Hello Everyone! So my allergies have been acting up all day and usually dust triggers my constant sneezing, but I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary today to inhale a load of dust for this to happen. While I’m left clueless, I’m also left with a slight headache, fatigue, and quite possibly (but hopefully not) might end up with the flu when I wake up tomorrow morning, followed by a chain of bugs – a fever, a sore throat, and a terrible cough. On the other hand, sometimes I wake up feeling 120% better as if nothing happened. So I HOPE for the latter.

To be completely honest with everyone – I’ve never had a smoothie bowl until I started this series of mine. I’ve seen it all over social media back when it was the new ‘foodie’ trend and it always looked aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but I was a bit skeptic on the idea of using a spoon to eat my smoothie rather than using a conventional straw to drink it. I tried to wrap my head around the idea to imagine as if I was having a bowl of thick soup, but the thought of having cold soup soon consumed my mind and I didn’t like that thought. I just thought that it was weird for some reason, until I decided to try one out for my breakfast series on Amcarmen’s Kitchen and feel completely in love with them.

They are super EASY to make, as you may have seen in my previous posts, the take about a minimum of 5 minutes to put together. It allows you to get creative with your favourite toppings and this not only adds colour to your mornings or makes it look pretty, but it also adds texture to your smoothie. Furthermore, it’s a great way to slowly use up those chia seeds and pepitas lying on your pantry shelf just waiting to go out of date because you don’t know where else you can use them!

Banana & Blackberry Smoothie Bowl Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

For the smoothie mixture

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

Toppings

  • Bananas – loaded with essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, calcium, manganese, magnesium, iron, folate, niacin, riboflavin, and B6
  • Blackberriesrich in vitamin A, B, C, E, K, as well as antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, and minerals such as sodium, copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin, niacin, and folic acid
  • Chia Seeds – contains omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, antioxidants, iron, and calcium
  • Goji Berries – excellent source of antioxidants and nutrients that help boost the immune system and protect the body from high levels of inflammation
  • Pumpkin Seeds – contains magnesium, manganese, copper, protein, and zinc

METHOD

  1. Blend the frozen blackberries, yoghurt, milk, banana, honey, and chia seeds until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and top with sliced bananas, blackberries, chia seeds, goji berries, and pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!

Banana & Blackberry Smoothie Bowl

If you have yet to try out a smoothie bowl, then you should definitely try out this recipe for a Banana and Blackberry Smoothie Bowl. The great thing about this bowl was that I had everything on hand and didn’t need to buy extra ingredients for this bowl – except for the blackberries of course. We always have a bunch of bananas lying around in the kitchen, and well, we’ve had the chia seeds, pepitas, and goji berries lying around for a bit now.

Don’t forget that you are not limited to the choice of toppings mentioned above. Use whatever you have lying around so that you don’t have to go and spend extra money on the things that you don’t have. I’ve basically been doing the same thing since I started my Smoothie Bowl series at the beginning of the month!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Golden Turmeric Chai Smoothie Bowl

Golden Turmeric Chai Smoothie Bowl

Hello Everyone! It’s been a quiet and boring week to be honest, and I having a serious holiday withdrawal syndrome. I miss the lush greenery of Temburong, crystal clear waters, physical activities, and the sun piercing through your skin – giving you a tan that you’re proud to wear for the next couple of months because it reminds you of the fun times you had. But in all honesty, I just miss going on weekly adventures; a new hike trail every weekend to rejuvenate from the work week. It doesn’t even need to be a holiday, just a 2-day weekend where one of them can be spent going out and exploring, and the other to do chores, cook up a storm for Amcarmen’s Kitchen, and basically recover from the working week. Back in Australia, this was easy to do because there were plenty of trails to explore. Here in Brunei, not so much – and not much of great views too, and the fact that I only have a 1-day weekend.

All that aside, I have a bit of a unique smoothie bowl to share with you guys tonight; and I say unique because I’ve never thought of using these flavours (and spices) in a smoothie before. I mean, besides using spicy chai tea leaves and cinnamon in my Spicy Chai & Banana Cinnamon Smoothie from a while back, that’s pretty much the extent of me using spices in my smoothies.

The link to the original recipe can be found over on My Life Cookbook by Denise. She drew inspiration from ‘Golden Milk’ which, for those of you who don’t know, is basically a combination of turmeric, coconut milk (or oil), and black pepper. This Golden Turmeric Chai Smoothie Bowl is an aromatic, flavour-popping combination of golden milk and chai tea – perfect for an immune system boost if you’re feeling a bit under the weather, but also a quick, easy, and healthy breakfast to go!

Golden Turmeric Chai Smoothie Bowl Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

For the smoothie mixture

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 large bananas
  • 1-2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 1/2 tsp cardamon, ground
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg, grated

Toppings

  • Chia Seeds – contains omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, antioxidants, iron, and calcium
  • Goji Berries – excellent source of antioxidants and nutrients that help boost the immune system and protect the body from high levels of inflammation
  • Raspberriesgood source of vitamin C, E, K, manganese, dietary fibre, copper pantothenic acid, biotin, magnesium, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, and potassium
  • Desiccated Coconut

METHOD

  1. Blend the bananas, coconut milk, honey, ginger, and spices altogether until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and top with the raspberries, chia seeds, goji berries, and desiccated coconut. Enjoy for breakfast or an immune-boosting afternoon snack!

Golden Turmeric Chai Smoothie Bowl

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Avocado & Spinach Smoothie Bowl

Avocado & Spinach Smoothie Bowl

Hello Everyone! So yesterday my friend, who is visiting from New Zealand, and I went on a day-trip adventure to the pristine rainforest district of Brunei. We took a 45-minute boat ride from the city centre to the small town of Bangar in Temburong where we then travelled about 20 minutes by car to the Freme Rainforest Lodge where we had some local delights for our morning tea before setting off again on a 45-minute longboat ride to the Ulu National Park.

We climbed almost a thousand steps to get to the forest floor of the canopy walk, and then scaled a total of about 60m to the highest tower above the tallest trees of the luscious green rainforest. Even with multiple layers of sunblock, we were red from the scorching sun and we definitely worked our calves and derrières as we felt our legs shake when climbing back down to head to the mini waterfall for a nice cooling dip. The water was refreshingly blue but had fishes that weren’t afraid to nibble on you. They were the fish spa kind of fishes that really just wanted to nibble on your dead skin, but the fishes were much bigger that the little ones that you find at fish spas, so their bite was a little more scary.

Ulu Temburong National Park Adventures

After we cooled down, we headed back out on a longboat to the starting point of our kayak ride. On the way back down the crystal clear waters we spotted two freshwater crocodiles by the riverbanks – and apparently that didn’t seem to make us second guess our kayak ride back to the lodge. After our relaxing (or should I say, workout for our arms), kayak down the river, we got changed into dry clothes and had our late lunch. We were supposed to go zip-lining after but because it started to pour, we weren’t allowed to. Such a bummer though because apparently it hadn’t rained in Temburong for the past week, and it decided to as we were about to do our final activity before heading back to the main city. All-in-all it was a fun-filled day of nature and adventure – things that we both enjoy.

Anyway, I just wanted to share this little adventure for everyone before I dive right into tonight’s recipe for a lovely green smoothie bowl to match our little nature adventure from yesterday. You can switch out the low-fat milk to almond milk or coconut water, and the honey for agave nectar or maple syrup for a vegan alternative.

Avocado & Spinach Smoothie Bowl Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

For the smoothie mixture

  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 large banana
  • 1 small avocado
  • 1 tbsp honey

Toppings

  • Bananas – loaded with essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, calcium, manganese, magnesium, iron, folate, niacin, riboflavin, and B6
  • Chia Seeds – contains omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, antioxidants, iron, and calcium
  • Goji Berries – excellent source of antioxidants and nutrients that help boost the immune system and protect the body from high levels of inflammation
  • Granolacontains vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients, including, but not limited to, dietary fibres, sodium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, vitamin C & E, niacin, iron, and thiamin
  • Kiwis – loaded with vitamins and minerals such as Vitamins A, B6, B12, E, and potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium
  • Raspberriesgood source of vitamin C, E, K, manganese, dietary fibre, copper pantothenic acid, biotin, magnesium, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, and potassium

METHOD

  1. Blend the spinach, milk, banana, avocado, and honey until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and top with the raspberries, kiwi slices, chia seeds, granola, goji berries, and banana slices. Enjoy for breakfast or a power-boosting afternoon snack!

Avocado & Spinach Smoothie Bowl

As I have mentioned in last week’s post, whipping up a smoothie bowl is a great opportunity to get creative and top them with whatever you have lying around in your pantry and/or fridge. Top them with your favourite fruits, seeds, nuts, and grains!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Strawberry Kiwi Lime Yoghurt Cake

Strawberry Kiwi Lime Yoghurt Cake

Hello Everyone! I know the last two posts have been a bit of a downer; let’s just say I’m starting to feel a little bit better and more of myself this week so I hope that I will be back to my chirpy self soon. That aside, tonight’s recipe is actually one that I made just almost 2 months ago for a very special occasion; my sister’s 23rd birthday last August 23rd! We celebrated her birthday with a yummy all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ dinner at Seoul Garden followed by a surprise visit from a family friend which at that time we had offered to look after their two little boys for a week since their helper had to go back to the Philippines and they couldn’t find anyone else under short notice. Overall it was a fun evening spent with lots of food, cake, and little, but great company!

Happy 23rd Birthday Angela!

The cake that I decided to make for my sister was inspired by a recipe that I found online when I was researching ways that I could incorporate some of the ingredients from my blood pressure friendly list that I compiled at the beginning of the year. This recipe, from that list, features kiwis, strawberries, bananas, and fat-free yoghurt, all of which help lower your blood pressure. This cake is simple and easy to put together, yet is still delicious and guilt-free for when you reach out for a second heap of serving or three (or four)… Or you know the whole cake *cheeky grin* Not that I have done this myself before, you know, have a whole cake for no one else but just me, myself, and I. Anyway, onward with the recipe shall we? But before that, just a quick mention that the original recipe can be found over on SkinnyMs.

Strawberry Kiwi Lime Yoghurt Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | FREEZING TIME 3 HOURS | SERVES 10-12

INGREDIENTS

For the base

  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts, finely ground
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, finely ground
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Honey graham crackers (enough to make about 1 cup of crumbs)

For the filling

  • 2 punnets (2 x 250g) fresh strawberries, sliced thinly
  • 1 tub (500g) fat free all natural yoghurt
  • 1 large banana, mashed
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp honey

For the topping

  • 2 kiwis, peeled and sliced into thin circles
  • Sliced strawberries (about 2-3 from the punnet)
  • Extra honey graham cracker crumbs (optional)

PS: Please ignore the egg in the ingredient shot, I actually didn’t use it at all even though it was in the original recipe. I decided to go with a no-bake base and therefore omitted the egg from my recipe.

METHOD

  1. Prepare an 8.5-inch springform pan by lining the bases with baking paper and greasing the edges with a little bit of butter. Add all of the base ingredients into a medium-sized mixing bowl and mix until well combined. Press half of the mixture over the base of the prepared pan and set aside in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes or until firm.
  2. In a separate medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the mashed banana, yoghurt, honey, and lime juice, whisking well until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Arrange half of the strawberry slices on top of the cooled crust then pour over half of the yoghurt mixture on top of the strawberries in an even layer.
  4. Repeat by adding the remaining half of the base over the top of the yoghurt mixture, arranging the strawberries slices, and the pouring the remaining half of the yoghurt mixture.
  5. Top the cake with the kiwi slices and strawberries slices before placing in freezer for about 3 hours or until completely frozen.
  6. Serve and enjoy! Tip: to cut, hold a knife under hot water for 10 seconds, dry and cut the frozen cake wile the knife is still warm!

Strawberry Kiwi Lime Yoghurt Cake

Strawberry Kiwi Lime Yoghurt Cake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Smashed Avo Toast (9 ways)

Hello Everyone! Finally I am back on track with my posts and the theme for the month of April is Avocado! All you need is about half a medium-sized avocado everyday as it provides 1% of the calcium, 5% of the magnesium, and 10% of the potassium that you need daily. Avocados are a good source of potassium, which can help lower blood pressure, and in addition, the dark green flesh just under an avocado’s brittle skin contains large amounts of disease-fighting compounds. Though avocados are proven to help lower blood pressure and an abundance of health benefits, we have to be weary of how much we intake daily as they are also high in calories.

Tonight, I will be sharing 9 different ways you can start your mornings with a smile on your face with 9 different smashed avocado toasts! Of course, don’t limit yourselves to just these 9 recipes; I encourage you to get creative with your smashed avo toasts and share your creations with me on Instagram using the hashtag #amcarmenskitchen

1. Five Pepper Smoked Salmon with Red Onions, Capers & Chilli Flakes

Five Pepper Smoked Salmon with Red Onions, Capers & Chilli Flakes

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices multigrain brown bread
  • 1/2 avocado, smashed
  • 1 small red onion, cut into rings
  • 2 tsp capers
  • Smoked salmon slices with five peppers

METHOD

  1. Lightly toast bread in a toaster for about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Spread a generous amount of the smashed avocado onto the toast and top with smoked salmon, red onion rings, and capers. Sprinkle with a touch of chilli flakes for an added kick (optional).
  3. Enjoy!

2. Medley of Grape Tomato Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction

Medley of Grape Tomato Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME 5 MINS | SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices multigrain brown bread
  • 1/2 avocado, smashed
  • 1 punnet (250g) grape tomato medley, halved
  • 4 cherry bocconcini cheese, sliced
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Olive Oil
  • Sweet basil leaves

METHOD

  1. Combine the grape tomatoes, bocconcini slices, and sweet basil leaves in a small bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with a touch of ground sea salt and black pepper to taste. Set aside and leave to macerate.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the balsamic vinegar in a small non-stick saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer, continuously stirring to check on the consistency of the glaze, until the vinegar reduces to a thick sauce, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool down for a bit.
  3. Lightly toast bread in a toaster for about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Spread a generous amount of the smashed avocado onto the toast, top with the tomato cappers salad, and drizzle the balsamic reduction over the salad.
  5. Enjoy!

3. Sliced Banana & Pumpkin Seeds drizzled with Honey

Sliced Banana & Pumpkin Seeds drizzled with Honey

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices multigrain brown bread
  • 1/2 avocado, smashed
  • 1 large banana, sliced
  • Honey
  • Pumpkin seeds

METHOD

  1. Lightly toast bread in a toaster for about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Spread a generous amount of the smashed avocado onto the toast, top with banana slices and pumpkin seeds, and drizzle with honey.
  3. Enjoy!

4. Soft-boiled Egg with Chilli Flakes & Parsley

Soft-boiled Egg with Chilli Flakes & Parsley

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME 6 MINS | SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices multigrain brown bread
  • 1/2 avocado, smashed
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • Chilli Flakes
  • Parsley, roughly chopped

METHOD

  1. Bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil. Once boiling, reduce the water to a rapid simmer before gently lowering the eggs one by one into the pot. Cook for 5 minutes for a runny yolk, or 7 minutes for a barely set yolk. Once done, remove from the heat and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Once cool, peel the shell off and slice.
  2. Lightly toast bread in a toaster for about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Spread a generous amount of the smashed avocado onto the toast, top with the sliced eggs, and sprinkle with a touch of chilli flakes, and parsley.
  4. Enjoy!

5. Sliced Strawberries & Crumbled Goat’s Cheese with Balsamic Reduction and Peppermint Leaves

Sliced Strawberries & Crumbled Goat's Cheese with Balsamic Reduction and Peppermint Leaves

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME 5 MINS | SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices multigrain brown bread
  • 1/2 avocado, smashed
  • 4 large strawberries, sliced
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Goat’s cheese, crumbled

METHOD

  1. Heat the balsamic vinegar in a small non-stick saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer, continuously stirring to check on the consistency of the glaze, until the vinegar reduces to a thick sauce, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool down for a bit.
  2. Lightly toast bread in a toaster for about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Spread a generous amount of the smashed avocado onto the toast, top with the sliced strawberries, crumbled goat’s cheese, and drizzle the balsamic reduction over the strawberries.
  4. Enjoy!

6. Sautéd Brown & Shimeji Mushrooms topped with Fried Enoki & Parsley

Sautéd Brown & Shimeji Mushrooms topped with Fried Enoki & Parsley

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME 8 MINS | SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices multigrain brown bread
  • 1/2 avocado, smashed
  • 4 large brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 bunch (100g) shimeji mushrooms
  • 1/2 bunch (50g) enoki mushrooms
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Knob of unsalted butter
  • Olive oil
  • Parsley, roughly chopped

METHOD

  1. Melt the unsalted butter in a small frying pan over medium-high heat and add about a teaspoon of olive oil.
  2. Sauté the minced garlic until golden brown and fragrant, about 30 to 45 seconds. Add in the sliced brown mushrooms and shimeji mushrooms and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes.  Season with pinch of ground sea salt and black pepper. Once tender, remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. In the same pan, heat about 3 tbsp of olive oil over high heat until slightly smoking. Add the enoki mushrooms in and fry until golden brown in colour, about 2-3 minutes. Once done, transfer to a small plate lined with a paper towel. Set aside.
  4. Lightly toast bread in a toaster for about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Spread a generous amount of the smashed avocado onto the toast and top with the sautéd garlic mushrooms and the fried enoki mushrooms. Garnish with a touch of ground black pepper and parsley.
  6. Enjoy!

7. Diced Mango with Chilli Powder & Peppermint

Diced Mango with Chilli Powder & Peppermint

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices multigrain brown bread
  • 1/2 avocado, smashed
  • 1 small mango, diced
  • Chilli powder
  • Peppermint leaves

METHOD

  1. Lightly toast bread in a toaster for about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Spread a generous amount of the smashed avocado onto the toast and top with the diced mangoes, chilli powder, and peppermint leaves.
  3. Enjoy!

8. Roasted Chickpeas & Parsley

Roasted Chickpeas & Parsley

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices multigrain brown bread
  • 1/2 avocado, smashed
  • 1 can (200g) chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tsp ground smoked paprika
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil
  • Parsley, roughly chopped

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6). Line a baking tray with aluminium foil. Set aside.
  2. Add the drained chickpeas in a small bowl together with the ground smoked paprika, sea salt, black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Toss to coat.
  3. Spread the chickpeas onto the prepared baking tray and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes. Once done, remove from the oven.
  4. Lightly toast bread in a toaster for about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Spread a generous amount of the smashed avocado onto the toast and top with the roasted chickpeas and parsley.
  6. Enjoy!

9. Chorizo Sausage & Sweet Corn

Chorizo Sausage & Sweet Corn

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME 4-6 MINS | SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices multigrain brown bread
  • 1/2 avocado, smashed
  • 1 chorizo sausage, sliced
  • 1 can (200g) sweet corn kernels, drained
  • Olive oil

METHOD

  1. Heat olive oil in a small frying pan over medium-high. Pan-fry the chorizo slices until browned, about 2-3 minutes per side. Once done, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Set aside.
  2. Bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil and blanch the sweet corn kernels for about a minute or two. Drain and set aside to cool down for a bit.
  3. Lightly toast bread in a toaster for about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Spread a generous amount of the smashed avocado onto the toast, top with the pan-fried chorizo sausages and sweet corn kernels, and drizzle with a bit of the chorizo oil (optional).
  5. Enjoy!

Just a little side note before I end tonight’s post, I spent the whole day amending quite possibly the same artwork because their comments/amendments were all on an installation basis. Such completely waste of time which then prevented me from actually completing the work I had set to do today because I had to keep going back and forth to the same bloody artwork.

​BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com