Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Conchiglie

Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Conchiglie

Hello Everyone! I’ve got one last Broccoli recipe to share with you guys before I power through with the theme for April. I’ll be back to my usual Wednesday posts as I have finally caught up with all the recipes I had planned for the past two months. It wasn’t easy playing catch up seeing as I had to balance both writing the recipes and work over the past few weeks when I posted more than a recipe or two for the week. Anyway, I’ll keep tonight’s post short and sweet as I don’t really have much to talk about in terms of how my week went. I spent pretty much a whole two hours in the kitchen this afternoon whipping up multiple ways for you to add some colour and enjoyment to your breakfast mornings, all of which will be revealed on Wednesday!

Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Conchiglie

Tonight’s recipe is one that I have been wanting to try out for a while now – well not this specific recipe, but rather to work with jumbo pasta shells ever since I brought them back from my recent travels to Singapore. I was at the grocers looking for some products to bring back to Brunei, more specifically products that you don’t find in Brunei, and I came across these jumbo pasta shells (also known as ‘Conchiglie’). You’d think that you’d be able to find Conchiglie pasta in Brunei, and you can actually but just not the jumbo-sized ones. With this recipe, you can choose to make your own Alfredo sauce, or you can just buy the ready made ones at your local grocers; I guess it depends on whether you have time up your sleeve or not! The recipe may be a little bit time consuming like shredding the chicken, stuffing the shells, but trust me when I say that it all pays off in the end and it is actually a very easy and fool-proof recipe! It tastes so good straight out of the oven, and even better the day after if you have any leftovers. Be sure to check out the original recipe over on Life in the Lofthouse by Holly.

Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Conchiglie Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

For the pasta

  • 500g jumbo Conchiglie pasta
  • 500g chicken breast
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

For the Alfredo sauce

  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 1 cup full cream milk
  • 3/4 cup freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2/3 cup freshly shredded Parmesan
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil

METHOD

  1. Add the chicken breast together with 2-3 dried bay leaves, a pinch of whole black peppercorns, and about a teaspoon of salt in a pot of water. Bring to a boil and leave to simmer for about 20 minutes. Once done, remove the chicken breast from the stock and set aside to cool down. *Do not discard the stock as it can be kept as a base for soups. I used mine on the same day and made a delicious pumpkin soup while I had these shells on the go too.
  2. Once the chicken as cooled down, shred and place in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil and add the broccoli florets in. Poach for about a minute or two so that it still has a crispy bite to it. Immediately transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Roughly chop the broccoli florets and add to the bowl with the shredded chicken.
  4. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4).
  5. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the Conchiglie pasta to the package instructions, 18 minutes until al dente. Once done, drain and lay the shells out on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Let shells cool down completely.
  6. While waiting for the shells to cool, heat the olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high. Melt the unsalted butter and then sauté the minced garlic until golden brown and fragrant, about 30 to 45 seconds. Add in the finely diced onions and cook until soft, about 1-2 minutes.
  7. Add the thickened cream and milk to the saucepan and reduce the heat down to medium. Bring to a simmer. Once simmering, remove from heat and stir in the parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Season with ground sea salt and black pepper to taste. Set aside to cool down a bit.
  8. Pour about a cup of the Alfredo sauce to the shredded chicken and chopped broccoli and stir together until well combined.
  9. Add a spoonful of Alfredo sauce to the bottom of a greased baking pan, about 9″ x 13″ will do.
  10. Fill the shells with a large spoonful of the chicken, broccoli, and Alfredo sauce mixture, and place each shell into the prepared pan.
  11. Pour the remaining Alfredo sauce evenly over the shells and sprinkle the tops with more mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  12. Bake in the oven, uncovered, for about 25 minutes or until warm and bubbly.
  13. Serve and enjoy!
Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Conchiglie

Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Conchiglie

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Sicilian-style Salmon with Garlic Mushrooms & Poached Broccoli

Sicilian-style Salmon with Garlic Mushrooms & Poached Broccoli

Hello Everyone! I can’t believe that it’s already the last day of March, meaning quarter of the year has just zoomed past in the blink of an eye! I felt like the first part of March went by really quickly for me, and the rest of the month just dragged on slowly to be honest. Maybe it was just because I spent the final week of my travels to New Zealand and Australia in the first week of March and the second week pouting about my post-vacation depression, and then of course dragging myself out of bed and to the office through the rest of March. I sound so pessimistic in this post in comparison to Wednesday’s post when I was all motivational and whatnot. Haha! I don’t mean to be pessimistic, I’m just stating the obvious lack of adventure in my life the moment I arrived back from my trip to Australia and New Zealand.

Negativity aside, I forgot to mention this in my previous post: last week, I was contacted by a student from Spain who was drawn to the concept of Amcarmen’s Kitchen following the concept of a ‘third culture kid/foodie’ and my style of food photography. She sought my help through an interview that we shared earlier on the week on Monday evening and she was interested in having me as a sample in her research thesis on International Food Bloggers, which I found this to be quite an interesting topic. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank her for choosing to sample Amcarmen’s Kitchen in her work and I am looking forward to seeing her work when it’s done!

Sicilian-style Salmon with Garlic Mushrooms & Poached Broccoli

​Moving forward, I just want to make mention that this is not the final recipe for this month’s theme. If you’re a new follower on Amcarmen’s Kitchen, I have been posting a recipe up every Wednesday evening, Brunei time, since the beginning of 2016, and since there are 5 Wednesdays in March, you will be getting 5 recipes that hero/include broccoli in it! So there’s just one more to go before after this recipe is up before I dive into the theme for April!

Tonight’s recipe is a simple one. Nothing too fancy and over-the-top, just fresh ingredients with humble flavours brought to your plate from Sicily. Bake or pan-fry your salmon portions that have been massaged with some smoked paprika and chilli powder for that added kick. Pair them with some sautéed garlic mushrooms, and poached broccoli for a nice crunch to the plate and you’ve got yourself a delectable fish supper. Before we delve into tonight’s recipe, please don’t forget to check out the original recipe over on BBC Food Recipes by Gino D’Acampo.

Sicilian-style Salmon with Garlic Mushrooms & Poached Broccoli Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

For the salmon

  • 3 salmon portions (100g-150g per portion)
  • 2 tsp ground smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Olive oil, for drizzling

​For the mushrooms

  • 1 punnet (250g) brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Line a baking tray with parchment paper and lightly oil.
  2. Place the salmon portions on the baking tray and drizzle a little bit of olive oil and lemon juice over the salmon. Gently massage the chilli powder, smoked paprika, sea salt, and black pepper.
  3. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Alternatively, you can pan-fry the portions for about 5-6 minutes per side over medium heat.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium-sized frying pan over medium-high heat and then add the tablespoon of olive oil until foamy. Sauté the minced garlic until golden brown and fragrant, about 30 to 45 seconds. Add in the finely diced onions and cook until soft, about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Toss in the mushrooms and cook until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.
  6. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil and add the broccoli florets in. If you prefer a crispy bite, a minute or two is enough for the boil. If you would like to have it softer, then 2-3 minutes is great. Once done, drain immediately.
  7. Plate up and enjoy with a squeeze of lemon on top!

Sicilian-style Salmon with Garlic Mushrooms & Poached Broccoli

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Baked Broccoli Parmesan Fritters

Baked Broccoli Parmesan Fritters

Hello Everyone! How are y’all doing on this fine Wednesday evening? Or morning? Or even still Tuesday evening for some? Well, whatever timezone you’re in, I hope everything is going well, and if it isn’t, keep your head held high and power through, for remember that life doesn’t always give you what you want, but it gives you what you deserve. Push yourself to strive for better, because no one else is going to do it for you – if anything, they’re going to drag you down. Walk away from anyone who takes you joy away, for life is too short to put up with them.

​Wow, I just realised how emotionally motivational I just got there, and no it doesn’t have anything to with what’s going on with me right now, but I just wanted to start off by asking you guys how you are all doing. When I hit the point of assuming that everyone is doing fine, I instantly became aware of that fact that not everyone may be doing fine, and it’s okay to not feel 100% all the time; just remember that YOU are the creator of your own destiny.

Baked Broccoli Parmesan Fritters

All that aside, we’re powering through with hero-ing Broccoli for the month of March! Two more days to April, and still 2 more recipes (excluding this one) to share for this month! Tonight’s recipe I stumbled upon one day while on Pinterest in search for some food inspiration, but before I move onto the recipe, be sure to check out the original over on Karina from Cafe Delites: for all good food lovers.

A fair warning, my fritters don’t look anywhere as near as how amazingly delicious to the eye Karina’s, but they nonetheless taste amazing, but probably not crispy. ​Well, apparently the trick to getting baked fritters pan-fried crispy is to lightly spray a coating of olive oil on top of them. Also, I think I may have accidentally baked mine for too long and they’re probably a bit too spread out and hence flatter… Oops!

Baked Broccoli Parmesan Fritters Ingredients

PREP TIME 10-12 MINS | COOKING TIME 25-30 MINS | SERVES 8-10 FRITTERS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 1 medium-sized brown onion, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup plain flour (or if you wish for a low-carb option, use almond flour instead)
  • 1/3 cup grated or shaved parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp ground sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • Olive oil cooking spray

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6). Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Place the broccoli florets in a food processor and pulse a few times until the florets have been chopped finely.
  3. Add the egg, diced onions, minced garlic, plain flour, and parmesan cheese to the food processor and pulse again a couple of times until the ingredients are well combined. Add the sea salt and black pepper to the mixture and stir.
  4. Form about 8 to 10 fritters on the prepared baking tray, making sure that they do not touch each other. Spray the tops of each fritter with a light coating of olive oil.
  5. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes on each side until golden. Alternatively, you can pan fry these fritters in a non-stick pan over medium heat until golden on both sides.
  6. Allow the fritters to cool down slightly before serving with your choice of dip. Enjoy!

Baked Broccoli Parmesan Fritters

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Vegan Broccoli & Kale Soup

Vegan Broccoli & Kale Soup

Hello Everyone! I’ll try to keep tonight’s post short and sweet, well, I guess the only reason why it’d be short is because I don’t actually have much to share about the past week I’ve had. It was just one of those routinely days like wake up, go to work, eat, go home, eat, go to the gym, shower, sleep, repeat kind of week *sigh* Oh wait! How did I possibly forget the most important thing that happened this week?! My Mom, my sister, and I went to see the Power Rangers Movie on opening night! So many childhood memories came back alive and I think that this movie was much more worth the hype than for Beauty and the Beast. Please go watch it if you haven’t already watched it!

Moving on, I used to make a lot of soups when I was still studying in Sydney​, ​especially during the winter season​. Now, being the typical Asian that I was, I used to never see a meal without rice as a fully complete meal, so you can imagine how distraught I was when I’d hear people say that they had “soup” for dinner. I would be like, “only soup?!” with a hint of what-the-actual-fishsticks are you on about look on my face. However, having lived in Sydney for 4 years and basically exposed to cuisines other than the typical I-need-rice in every meal ideal, I grew to appreciate soups as a meal. It can actually be quite filling if you pair it with a nice crusty bread to soak up all the yummy flavours and wipe the bowl clean. Tonight’s recipe is a delicious blend of Broccoli and Kale, both nutritious super green foods that are packed with healthy vitamins and minerals essential to one’s daily diet. Please check out the original recipe by Taylor over on The Girl on the Bloor.

Vegan Broccoli & Kale Soup Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

For the soup:

  • 2 cups non-dairy milk, for instance almond or coconut milk
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 large brown onion, diced
  • 1 leek, cleaned and sliced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Chilli flakes, for garnish
  • Flaked almonds, for garnish
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
For the kale chips:
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Okay, before I venture on to the method, some of you might/might not have picked up on a bit of a confusion with the ingredients. The list says to use leeks, but in the ingredient shot, the “leeks” would appear to some as spring onions. Actually, I do believe that what has been photographed are indeed spring onions, and not leeks, but the label did say “local leeks” at the grocery store. Since these were the only leeks available at that time, I had no choice but to buy them I guess. If you didn’t notice the difference, then I guess I could’ve gotten away without having to explain myself here, haha!

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6). Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Wash and thoroughly dry the 2 cups of chopped kale for the chips before tossing it with olive oil. Massaging oil into leaves and season with ground sea salt and black pepper before spreading in onto the prepared baking tray. Set aside for now.
  3. Melt the coconut oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and sauté the minced garlic until golden brown and fragrant, about a minute. Follow with the diced onions and sliced leeks, cooking until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add broccoli florets and vegetable broth, bringing the mixture to a boil and then simmering for a further 2 minutes until the broccoli is tender.
  5. Once the broccoli is tender, remove from heat, and stir in the chopped kale. Leave the soup to cool down for about 15 minutes.
  6. While waiting for the soup and veggies to cool down, you can start baking your kale chips! Bake them in the preheated oven for 7 to 8 minutes, checking and flipping them every couple minutes so they don’t burn. When they’re crispy, remove them from the oven and set aside to top your soup with.
  7. Once your soup has cooled down, purée the veggies using a stick blender until the soup is smooth. Add your non-dairy milk, and season with a touch of ground sea salt and black pepper, stirring your soup until thickened.
  8. Divide the soup into individual bowls and top with the kale chips, flaked almonds, and chilli flakes. Serve and enjoy!

Vegan Broccoli & Kale Soup

Vegan Broccoli & Kale Soup

Before I end tonight’s post, I encourage you guys to head on over to Thrive Cuisine to learn more on the nutritional benefits of kale. There are plenty of links as well as to more recipes that include the famous cruciferous veggie known as kale.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Beef & Broccoli Mee Pok with Soy Eggs

Beef & Broccoli Mee Pok with Soy Eggs

Hello Everyone! Finally I’ve managed to come to the theme that was intended for the month of March on Amcarmen’s Kitchen! Three weeks late, but you know what they say, better late than never! I hope that I can get all the recipes up for March before the end of the month so that I can start fresh (frish – inside joke) for April seeing as it is also an important upcoming month ahead for Amcarmen’s Kitchen. If you have been following my blog since the beginning, or long enough to know why April is important for Amcarmen’s Kitchen – I won’t reveal things now, but as the days draw closer to April, I will tell you why!

If​ you are just tuning in to the blog, the theme for this year is all based around foods that lower or help maintain your blood pressure to normal and safe level. I drew up the theme when I found out last year that I am susceptible to high blood pressure, and ever since, I’ve been doing what I can to eat right – it hasn’t been easy. So tangent aside, the theme for March is basically hero-ing broccoli! Though I must say, some of the dishes that I will be sharing with you guys don’t exactly hero broccoli, but at least it includes the ingredient I guess? Haha. Broccoli is a good source of the blood pressure-regulating minerals magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Previous research in animals has found that a diet high in broccoli sprouts may help reduce blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and stroke.

Tonight’s recipe is a little twist on the classic Beef and Broccoli Ramen – well okay, it’s not really a massive twist or anything like that, the only difference is that I used mee pok noodles instead of ramen noodles. Mee pok is a Chinese noodle characterised by its flat and yellow appearance, varying in thickness and width. Mee Pok is commonly served tossed in a sauce (often referred to as “dry”, or tah in Hokkien, though sometimes served in a soup (where it is referred to as “soup”, or terng), where meat and vegetables are then added on top. Other than that, everything else is pretty much the same, so before I move onto tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original recipe over on Chelsea’s Messy Apron. I’ve also added a soft-boiled soy egg just for another layer of flavour and texture to the overall dish. When I thought of adding a soy egg to the dish, I didn’t look into how I could add more flavour the egg rather than just dunking it in soy sauce, but turns out that you can add star anise and cinnamon bark to the soy sauce, and apparently leave it overnight to soak up all the flavour. I left mine for about an hour or so just for the colour really.

Also, I know that this recipe calls for a lot of soy sauce which is in fact contradictory to lowering high blood pressure because of the amount of sodium in soy sauce. Therefore, ensure that you use low-sodium soy sauce for this recipe.

Beef & Broccoli Mee Pok with Soy Eggs Ingredients

PREP TIME 15* MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 4

*Plus about 4-6 hours of marination time

INGREDIENTS

For the beef marinade:

  • 500g rump steak, sliced thinly
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, grated
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch

For the mee pok:

  • 1 package (400g) mee pok noodles
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef stock
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium dark soy sauce
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

For the soy eggs:

  • 4 large free range eggs
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup warm water

Optional:

  • Chilli powder
  • Lightly toasted sesame seeds
  • Spring onion

METHOD

  1. Whisk all the ingredients for the beef marinade (except for the cornstarch) in a small bowl. Place the beef slices, and the whisked marinade into a medium-sized zip lock bag and seal. Give it a good shake and then set aside in the fridge for about 4-6 hours, or no more than 12 hours. Flip the steak in the bag halfway through the marinating time.
  2. While the beef is marinating, you can get a head start on your soy eggs. Fill a saucepan with a few inches of water and set it over high heat. Let the water come to a rolling boil. Once it comes up to a rolling boil, reduce the water to a rapid simmer by lowering the heat. Gently lower the eggs into the water one at a time and cook the eggs for 5 to 7 minutes (5 minutes for a very runny yolk or up to 7 minutes for a barely-set yolk). I cooked mine for about 6 minutes. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and run under cold tap water for 30 to 60 seconds. Slowly are carefully peel the shell off the eggs and dunk them into a bowl of dark soy sauce and warm water mixture. Make sure that the eggs are fully submerged in the mixture and let it sit for an hour or so until the egg white is coloured by the soy sauce.
  3. Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil and then cook the mee pok noodles for about 2 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Set aside.
  4. Remove the rump steak from the bag and drain off any remaining marinade. Toss the steak to coat with the cornstarch.
  5. Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat, until the oil is shimmering and then cook the beef in batches if needed, adding a touch more of olive oil after each batch. Cook without moving or flipping the beef until it is well seared, about 1-1/2 minutes. Continue cooking while stirring until the beef is lightly cooked but still pink in spots, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  6. In the same pan, sauté the minced garlic until golden brown and fragrant, about 30-45 seconds, then add the beef stock and dark soy sauce. Stir and cook (uncovered) over medium heat until sauce thickens a bit and reduces by about a third (about 5-8 minutes). You don’t want to reduce it too much so it can still generously coat all the noodles & veggies.
  7. Bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, top the mixture evenly with the broccoli (don’t stir in). Cover the pot with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Allow the broccoli to steam until crisp tender about 3 minutes or to desired tenderness.
  8. Once the broccoli is to your liking, remove the lid, add in the cooked noodles and beef. Stir and top with desired toppings: green onions, chilli powder, and sesame seeds, and not forgetting the soy egg!
  9. Serve and enjoy immediately with family and friends.

Beef & Broccoli Mee Pok with Soy Eggs

Beef & Broccoli Mee Pok with Soy Eggs

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Health Tip: High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Hello Everyone! I am back on Amcarmen’s Kitchen for the year and I would just like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a belated Happy New Year and a Happy Chinese New Year to all my Chinese Family, Friends, and Followers! May the Year of the Golden Rooster bring you and your family your family Happiness that comes from within, the best of Luck to keep you pushing, and Peace in all days of this New Year. Gong Xi Fa Cai! 恭喜發財!

Now, before I move on to this evening’s post, I just want to clarify to those who haven’t read or been following my blog last month – I did mention that I would be taking a break from Amcarmen’s Kitchen due to the fact that I had a hectic schedule for the past few weeks, preventing me from having the energy to be in the kitchen on my only day off for the month of January. When the New Year kicked in, I had been staying a little later in the office every night to expedite the completion of the many design collaterals needed for the 19th Consumer Fair that happened just last week from the 18th to the 22nd of January 2017. Right after the Consumer Fair, we had family friends visiting us for 5 days, and then I had a Car Launching Event to manager alongside another colleague just 2 days ago. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since the start of the year and I still haven’t been able to have a good rest as the inevitable post-Consumer Fair virus decided to kick in. I am currently, and slowly recovering from a blocked nose, an itchy throat, and a migraine as I am writing this post. Thank goodness for the long weekend ahead, otherwise I wouldn’t be seeing myself recovering for the next week or so.

Now, all that aside, let’s get onto tonight’s post! Tonight will be something different, but it will serve as the ultimate guideline for the year to come. As you can see from the title, the main focus of this post is to target High Blood Pressure, or also known as, Hypertension. In my recent trip to the Philippines, back in the middle of 2016, I underwent a health check as part of my requirement to process my employment permit to work in Brunei. It was then that I found that I suffer from high blood pressure. I admit that when I found out about this, I was feeling a little bit depressed; and whilst I was still in the Philippines back then awaiting for the approval of my employment visa, I sat down and started researching on hypertension and what foods to eat/avoid to help regulate blood pressure levels. Ever since I found out about my blood pressure levels being exceedingly high, I have also made changes to the food I eat, and have tried to become more active in my lifestyle habits.

High Blood Pressure, or Hypertension, is a serious health problem, where over time it causes blood vessel damage that can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and other health problems. Hypertension is sometimes known as the silent killer because there are no real symptoms to detect whether or not you are prone High Blood Pressure. If you don’t get your blood pressure checked regularly, hypertension could go unnoticed, and untreated, for years.

Your diet plays a big role in whether you have high or normal blood pressure. Dietary recommendations for lowering blood pressure include reducing your intake of fat, sodium, and alcohol. It is also suggested that you eat more foods that are rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. In general, you should eat more high-fibre, low-sodium, low-fat protein sources, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Here are 20 foods & drinks that you should include in your daily diet to help prevent, lower, or control your high blood pressure naturally without the need for medication:

1. 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. The dark green flesh just under an avocado’s brittle skin contains large amounts of disease-fighting compounds.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Avocados


2. Bananas – Slice a banana into your breakfast cereal or oatmeal, or take one to work everyday for a quick, easy, and inexpensive snack. One medium-sized banana provides 1% of the calcium, 8% of the magnesium, and 12% of the potassium you need daily.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Bananas


3. Beets – People with High Blood Pressure saw significant improvements from drinking beetroot juice. The nitrates found in the juice brought down one’s high blood pressure within just 24 hours. If you’re not too keen on drinking beetroot juice, you can easily roast or steam the whole root and add it to a green-packed salad, stir-fry, or stews.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Beets


4. Berries – Blueberries especially, are rich in natural compounds where when consumed, is known to prevent hypertension and reduce high blood pressure. Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are easy to add to your diet; put them in your cereal every morning or keep some in the freezer for a quick and healthy dessert.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Berries


5. Broccoli – This cruciferous vegetable is a famous source of cancer-fighting nutrients. One cup of cooked broccoli provides 6% of the calcium, 8% of the magnesium, and 14% of the potassium you need everyday.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Broccoli


6. Celery – To lower mild cases of high blood pressure, one would eat about a cup of chopped celery daily. You should begin to see results after only a week or two. Celery contains a chemical that smoothes the muscles lining blood vessels, which increases vessel diameter and allows for easier blood flow at lower pressures.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Celery


7. Fat-free Plain Yogurt – Cool and creamy, yogurt is a star ingredient in mineral-rich breakfasts, sauces and salad dressings, and even in entrée dishes. You can control the fat and nutrient content by making your own yogurt at home for your high blood pressure diet. Here’s a recipe to making your own yogurt at home.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Fat-free Plain Yoghurt


8. Hibiscus Tea – Hibiscus tea has been a traditional remedy for high blood pressure and one that must be used continuously to maintain its positive results. Look specifically for tea made from Hibiscus sabdariffa. It is generally made from the flowers and fruit of the plant.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Hibiscus Tea


9. Kiwi – Kiwis contain more vitamin C than a same-size serving of orange slices. One kiwifruit provides 2% of the calcium, 7% of the magnesium, and 9% of the potassium you need every day.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Kiwis


10. Leafy Greens – Leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, arugula (rocket), kale, turnip greens, collard greens, and spinach are high in potassium. This allows your kidneys to get rid of more sodium through your urine, which lowers your blood pressure. Stray away from canned vegetables though as they contain high amounts of sodium; instead, opt for frozen vegetables as they contain as many nutrients as fresh vegetables and are easy to store.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Leafy Greens


11. Oatmeal – Oatmeal for your breakfast is a great way to charge up for the day. It is high-fibre, low-fat, and low-sodium, which is essentially just what you need to help lower your blood pressure. On its own, oatmeal can be bland; however, you should refrain from adding too much sugar. Instead, add fresh or frozen berries (see point 4) to sweeten it up, and maybe just a touch of honey.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Oatmeal


12. Peaches & Nectarines – Frozen unsweetened peach slices are a great alternative to fresh peaches and nectarines on a high blood pressure diet. Just defrost ahead of time or, for smoothies, simply toss in the blender. One medium peach or nectarine provides 1% of the calcium, 3% of the magnesium, and 8% of the potassium you need every day.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Peaches & Nectarines


13. Pomegranate Juice – The pomegranate has been revered as the “fruit of life.” One of its remarkable powers is to improve cardiovascular health. If you drink pomegranate juice to naturally lower your blood pressure, be sure your juice has no added sugars.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Pomegranate Juice


14. Pork Tenderloin – Meat lover’s can now rejoice! You’re probably wondering how pork even made it onto this list, well just 85 grams (3 oz) of pork tenderloin provide 6% of the magnesium and 15% of the potassium you need every day. This lean cut provides plenty of meaty flavour and satisfaction without the overload of saturated fat found in fattier types of beef and pork.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Pork Tenderloin


15. Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes – Potatoes and sweet potatoes are high in potassium and magnesium, two minerals that can help to lower your blood pressure. One medium sweet potato with the skin provides 4% of the calcium, 8% of the magnesium (7% without the skin), and 15% of the potassium (10% without the skin) you need every day. Bake several sweet potatoes at one time so you’ll have a ready supply for quick smoothies and other recipes.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes


16. Quinoa – This high-protein whole grain has a mild yet nutty flavour, contains a variety of health-protecting nutrients along with an impressive amount of magnesium, and cooks in less than half the time it takes to make brown rice. A half-cup of cooked quinoa provides 1.5% of the calcium, 15% of the magnesium, and 4.5% of the potassium you need every day. Quinoa is gluten free, making it a great option if you’re gluten intolerant or have celiac disease. The most widely available quinoa is a golden beige color, but red and black varieties are also available and worth a try for your high blood pressure diet.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Quinoa


17. Red Capsicum – One cup of raw red capsicum provides 1% of the calcium, 4% of the magnesium, and 9% of the potassium you need every day.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Red Capsicum


18. Skim Milk – Skim milk is an excellent source of calcium and is low in fat. These are both important elements of a diet for lowering blood pressure. Swap out your higher-fat milk for skim milk. If you’re not a fan of milk altogether, then eat more low-fat or nonfat yoghurt. Just make sure to avoid yoghurt that is high in sugar.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Skim Milk


19. Tilapia – This mild white fish is available year-round in supermarkets and fish stores, fresh or as frozen fillets. You can roast it, bake it, and sauté it, flavor it with a variety of seasonings, and even top it with mineral-rich kiwi-avocado salsa (see points 1 and 9). Just 133 grams (4 oz) of tilapia provides 8% of the magnesium and 8% of the potassium you need every day.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Tilapia


20. White Beans – And last but not least, you can use this comfort food in side dishes, soups, and entrées. As a meatless source of protein, it’s a great choice for vegetarians. One cup of white beans provides 13% of the calcium, 30% of the magnesium, and 24% of the potassium you need every day.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): White Beans

Of course there are other factors that help control, lower, or prevent high blood pressure such as exercising regularly and keeping an eye on your waistline, but I won’t be going into too much detail on those aspects. Just always remember that eating foods that are rich in minerals is better than taking supplements.

So yes, earlier above I made mention that this list will serve as the ultimate guideline to the monthly themes on Amcarmen’s Kitchen – each month I will pick a certain food to cook with from the list above and dish up meals highlighting the chosen ingredient. For example, I have chosen to focus on Bananas for the month of February. Stay tuned as Amcarmen’s Kitchen will be back with some exciting recipes starting this Wednesday!

Cheers!

*Note: All imagery used in this blog post do not belong to me, they have been sourced from Google Images and Freepik. Likewise, information gathered for this post has been sourced from Dr. David Williams, Eating Well, Health Line & Prevention.

– Ally xx

Auguest 2016: Brendon D'Souza

Spinach, Broccoli & Thai Green Curry Soup

Hi Foodies, it’s so exciting to be able to share a recipe with you via Amcarmen’s Kitchen and I want to say a big thank you to Allison for organising such a wonderful global blogging experience. Last year, I was able to cook and collaborate in the same kitchen with Allison, where were exchanged some delicious recipes. If you haven’t had the chance to read them, here are the links to my Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie and Cookies & Cream.

My friends call me a chilli fiend. I can’t help it, I am after all Indian. I just love the pungency and zing it adds to soups, curries and stews. I created this recipe on one of those cold winter Sydney evenings when feeling a little bit under the weather. It’s packed full of delicious super greens, fragrant herbs and spices that will help to reinvigorate your senses. Make a big batch and pack it for work the next mayor freeze in snap-lock bags for 1-2 months.

Spinach, Broccoli & Thai Green Curry Soup Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

For the green curry paste

  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • 5cm piece of ginger, washed
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 bunch coriander, washed, roots and stems scrubbed
  • 1 bunch Thai basil, washed (optional)
  • 2 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2-3 small green chillies

For the soup

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 cup firmly packed English Spinach, washed and finely chopped
  • 1 broccoli, cut into florets, stem diced
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • Lime wedges
  • Extra coconut milk, to serve

METHOD

  1. Roughly chop the garlic clove, ginger, spring onions, coriander leaves, root and stems, and Thai basil. Place these and the remaining ingredients into a blender along with a 1/4 cup water. Blitz to form a smooth paste. You may need to add some more water to help the mixture along.
  2. Heat the sunflower oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the curry paste to the saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally until fragrant. Add the spinach and broccoli and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add 1L cold water and cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes or until the broccoli stems are tender and the spinach is wilted. Allow to cool.
  3. Purée the mixture using a stick blender, then return to the heat and add the coconut milk. Allow to heat through. Serve with lime wedges and a drizzle of coconut milk. This soup goes really well with turkish borek or spinach and ricotta triangles.

Spinach, Broccoli & Thai Green Curry Soup

For more tasty recipes and Sydney food adventures head to www.brendonthesmilingchef.com

About Brendon
I’m a food writer, blogger and passionate home cook living and working in Sydney. By day I work at one of the world’s fastest growing premium restaurant delivery services, and by night I cook, style and photograph recipes for my award-winning recipe blog. I really can’t stop smiling, believe me, I’ve tried and probably lasted 2 seconds. Sharing food, stories and recipes with family and friends makes me happy, which is exactly why I created “Smiling Chef”. I often try to include a selection colourful vegetables in my cooking, for both it’s nutritional benefits, and the fact that it makes such great #foodporn for Instagram. Get in touch if you need #instaworthy shots of your restaurant or cafe food for your website and social networks. I’m also keen singer and pianist and also love street and landscape photography – see more at @my_omd_and_me.

Instagram: @brendonthesmilingchef/ @my_omd_and_me
SnapChat: bthesmilingchef
Facebook: brendonthesmilingchef
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Recipe Copyright © 2016 | brendonthesmilingchef

Happy cooking and keep smiling,

Brendon D’Souza:)

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