Auguest 2019: Brendon D'Souza

Potato Gnocchi with Red & Yellow Peppers

Hi Foodies, it’s Brendon D’Souza from @brendonthesmilingchef here.

It’s an honour to take part in Auguest once again this year at AMCarmen’s Kitchen. Allison and I met in Sydney a few years ago through Instagram, and then in-person at a food blogging event I hosted. Since then we’ve had countless foodie adventures together.

I started a food blog called Brendon The Smiling Chef around 2012, following the success of a recipe column of the same name. I wrote, styled, and photographed the recipes of my favourite dishes and reviewed some of my favourite restaurants and cafes. The blog continued to run until around 2016. I then focused on photography and a few other passions, worked for tech startups like Deliveroo and Tix and eventually landed a role at a global workspace provider. Earlier this year I launched my photography business Sydney Food Photography. I’ve been lucky to collaborate with some amazing brands like Samsung, OzHarvest and more.

Potato Gnocchi with Red & Yellow Peppers

When I received the theme for this year, I knew I wanted to take a playful twist on the definition of fruit. Potatoes are called pomme de terre in French which could literally translate to ‘apple of the earth’ and peppers (or capsicums as we call them in Australia), are also technically a fruit of the nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Gnocchi are delightful potato dumplings made with a few simple ingredients. They are one of my favourite comfort food this winter and pair very well with a tangy roasted pepper sauce.

Potato Gnocchi with Red & Yellow Peppers

PREP TIME 25 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 30 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

For the gnocchi

  • 500g potatoes, skin on
  • 200g plain flour + extra
  • 1 free-range egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the peppers

  • 1 large red pepper, sliced
  • 1 large yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil + extra

To serve

  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Handful chopped parsley
  • Grated Grana Padano or other hard Italian cheese, to serve

Potato Gnocchi with Red & Yellow Peppers

METHOD

  1. Preparing the Potatoes: Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until cooked through. A knife should glide through the potato when it’s cooked. Remove from the heat and drain. Cover the potatoes with cold water and set aside to cool.
  2. Roasted Peppers: Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan forced. Toss the peppers with a little olive oil and garlic slices. Spread in a single layer in a roasting pan and roast for 20-25 minutes until the peppers have softened and start to caramelise around the edges. You may need to stir the peppers in the pan while roasting. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. Potato Gnocchi: Once the potatoes have cooled, peel and then mash. Add the 200g of flour, egg yolk, salt and pepper and mix with a wooden spoon to form a pliable dough. If the mixture looks a little sticky, add more flour until it forms a ball. It will look and feel like play dough.
  4. Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. Sprinkle a chopping board with some extra flour. Divide the dough into quarters and roll to form a 1.5cm thick sausage. Cut the sausage into 1cm thick slices with a sharp knife dipped in some cold water. This helps to prevent the dough from sticking. I like to make my gnocchi a little rough and leave them as discs.
  5. Cook the gnocchi in small batches for 2-3 minutes. They will float to the surface when they have cooked through. Remove to large heatproof bowl and toss with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.
  6. Add the roasted peppers, cherry tomatoes, and parsley to the gnocchi and toss to combine. Drizzle with olive oil and grated Grana Padano to serve and enjoy!

Potato Gnocchi with Red & Yellow Peppers

Optional extra: I love the taste and texture of pan-fried gnocchi. To do so, heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp butter and a drizzle of olive oil. When hot, add the gnocchi in batches and sauté until golden brown.

Potato Gnocchi with Red & Yellow Peppers

Check out my foodie adventures on Instagram at @brendonthesmilingchef

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2019 | Brendon D’Souza

BON APPÉTIT

– Brendon D’Souza

myTaste.com

Ropa Vieja con Huevos Rancheros

Ropa Vieja con Huevos Rancheros

Hello Everyone! You guys must be thinking that I’m on a roll here! Three consecutive recipes?! Don’t get used to it because it’s just for this one time to get everything wrapped up for this month so that I can start a new theme for the month of June! I did mention in a couple of posts back that for the month of June, I’ll be switching up my upload schedule day to Mondays, and the reason does indeed correlate to the theme. I’ll keep everyone on their toes for a while longer and come Monday, all will be revealed!

I had lots of fun last night a my friend’s place for sungkai (iftar) and of course to celebrate her daughter turning 1! Tonight’s post is a little later than usual this time around because I literally just came back from another night out for a sungkai catch up dinner with friends. I’ve probably mentioned this before in a post somewhere on this blog, but I’ll mention it again just to clear things up – I’m not a Muslim. I don’t practice ramadhan which then subsequently means that I don’t have to break fast for iftar. Yes I was born and bred in a Muslim country, and even though I have been exposed to these practices for practically my whole life, I wasn’t born into the religion (hint on the ‘Third Culture Foodie’!).

Anyway, tonight’s recipe is sort of another way you can use leftover Ropa Vieja to make similar, but not so Eggs Benny dish. Okay, I mentioned in yesterday’s post about this Latin American café that Jialing and I found during one of our “Fatness Fridays” adventures. While I thought back to this day, I was totally convinced that the Huevos Rancheros dish that I had was a marriage of it and the Ropa Vieja sandwich that Jialing had, but it wasn’t until I scrolled through hundreds of Instagram photos on my feed to recall the dishes to find out that they were two separate things.

Ropa Vieja con Huevos Rancheros

In my last post I said that a Ropa Vieja Eggs Benny came into mind – which it did, but that wasn’t they way I had initially imagined it. In fact, this Ropa Vieja con Huevos Rancheros was how I pictured the ‘Eggs Benny’ dish to look, but in the end I decided to reimagine it just because this didn’t really have the feel of an Eggs Benny dish. However, I didn’t want this dish to end up in my archive of ‘will never get around to posting’ but since this dish is sort of related to the last two I posted, I thought I’d share the recipe with you! I mean, it’s essentially, well practically identical to the last recipe, just a few minor differences, especially with the plating.

Huevos Rancheros, or in English “rancher’s eggs”, is a traditional breakfast dish served as a mid-morning fare on rural Mexican farms – hence its name. The dish is made up of fried eggs that is served atop a lightly fried tortilla (traditionally corn, but other adaptations have used wheat tortillas instead), with a tomato-chilli sauce, refried beans, and slices of avocado or guacamole. You could say that my adaptation to marry Ropa Vieja and Huevos Rancheros together is an amped up version of a humble and traditional Huevos Rancheros brekkie.

Ropa Vieja con Huevos Rancheros Ingredients
Ignore the other ingredients photographed but not mentioned below – the other ingredients are of the ropa vieja dish to accompany this dish!

PREP TIME 5-10 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-15 MINS* | SERVES 3

*Provided that you’ve made your Ropa Vieja ahead of time, i.e. the night before, if not then make sure you allocate yourself 3-4 hours altogether for this recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • Leftover Ropa Vieja
  • 3 super soft flour tortilla wraps
  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 2 large avocados, pitted, peeled, and halved**
  • 1 can (16oz) organic black beans, drained, blanched in hot water, and smashed
  • Chopped spring onions, to garnish
  • Tabasco sauce, to taste

**Squeeze a touch of lemon or lime juice to prevent it from browning

METHOD

  1. If you haven’t pre-made your Ropa Vieja for this recipe, then start of with this before moving on to the other components of the dish. Allocate yourself about 3-4 hours prior.
  2. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a small frying pan. Crack the egg in and fry until the edges start to brown. I personally like my sunny-side up eggs this way – the browned edges gives a nice nutty flavour to the whites which is total yum! Repeat for the remaining eggs.
  3. In a medium-sized non-stick frying pan, lightly heat the tortilla wraps until they start to slightly brown. Remove from the pan and repeat for the remaining wraps.
  4. Place the tortilla wrap on a plate and top with the smashed black beans. Make a nest in the middle and top with the ropa vieja, sunny-side up egg, and halved avocado to the side. Drizzle a bit of tabasco sauce over and sprinkle some chopped spring onions. Serve and enjoy!

Ropa Vieja con Huevos Rancheros

Tune in on Monday for an all new theme and a bunch of yummy recipes!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Ropa Vieja Eggs Benedict

Ropa Vieja Eggs Benedict

Hello Everyone! I’m getting this post up way earlier than I usually do just because I’m about to leave and head on over to a friend’s house to celebrate her daughter turning 1 today! I can’t believe the little munchkin is a year older already – it felt just like yesterday I was holding her in my arms just only being 2 or 3 months old. Gosh how time flies by so quickly! With that being said, I honestly have no idea what time I’ll be back home tonight and thus the early upload.

Tonight’s recipe is a branch off from the Ropa Vieja recipe that I posted just last night. When I was thinking of what other Eggs Benny recipes I could whip up to share with you guys, I immediately thought back to the time Jialing and I had our weekly “Fatness Friday” sessions in-between our classes in search of great food at cafés and/or restaurants that we have yet to explore. One Friday afternoon, we came across a Latin American café in Surry Hills (no, not Cafe con Leche hehe) I don’t actually remember the name of the place. Jailing had the Ropa Vieja sandwich while I had their Huevos Rancheros, and BOOM! A Ropa Vieja Eggs Benedict dish came into mind.

Ropa Vieja Ingredients

PREP TIME 5-10 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-15 MINS* | SERVES 3

*Provided that you’ve made your Ropa Vieja ahead of time, i.e. the night before, if not then make sure you allocate yourself 3-4 hours altogether for this recipe

INGREDIENTS

For the eggs benedict

  • Leftover Ropa Vieja
  • 3 English muffins, halved, slightly toasted, and buttered
  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 1 large avocado, peeled, pitted, and smashed**
  • 1 can (16oz) organic black beans, drained, blanched in hot water, and smashed
  • Chilli flakes, to garnish (optional)
  • Chopped spring onion, to garnish

For the tabasco 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
  • 1 tbsp tabasco sauce, less or more to adjust to your liking
  • Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • Ground salt and black pepper to taste

**Squeeze a touch of lemon or lime juice to prevent it from browning

METHOD

  1. If you haven’t pre-made your Ropa Vieja for this recipe, then start of with this before moving on to the other components of the dish. Allocate yourself about 3-4 hours prior.
  2. Tabasco 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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, tabasco sauce, fresh thyme leaves, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  6. 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 over – or perfect)!
  7. Assembly: Spread the smashed avocado on the toasted and buttered English muffin half and top with the smashed black beans. Build up with the ropa vieja followed by the poached egg. Drizzle a generous amount of the tabasco hollandaise sauce and sprinkle some chilli flakes and chopped spring onions. Serve and enjoy!

Ropa Vieja Eggs Benedict

Ropa Vieja Eggs Benedict

Next month I’ll start off with a whole new theme so stay tuned for that! To give you guys a clue, I’ll be switching up my upload schedule day to Mondays just for the month of June. Yes, the fact that I’ll be posting on Mondays does correlate to the theme! My loyal and long term followers may know, and to anyone who wants to take a stab and guess, comment down below!

Don’t forget that the overall theme for Amcarmen’s Kitchen for 2018 is Breakfast Eats!

But before that, I have one more recipe that will go up tomorrow night so stay tuned for that to know what else you can do with leftover Ropa Vieja!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja

Hello Everyone! So if you read last week’s post, you’ll know that tonight is part 1 of the actual recipe that I’ll be sharing tomorrow night. I’ve decided to split it up just for easy future reference, i.e. if you’re just looking for a mouth-watering Ropa Vieja recipe without it being in an Eggs Benny, then this is it! I first came across this dish during my university years in Australia. It wasn’t even the main highlight of the dish, rather a small side to go with the Colombian-style Arepas that was  my absolute favourite brunch dish then *drools just thinking about how much I miss having it in my tummy* It was a little place that Jialing had stumbled upon when she took the wrong bus to uni and got off at a stop that was just opposite Cafe con Leche.

Ropa Vieja is actually a Spanish term that directly translates to “old clothes” as the shredded beef and vegetables that are the main components of the dish resemble a heap of colorful rags. Though the dish dates back to the Middle Ages of Spanish Sephardi, it was then taken to Cuba where the Cubans made it their own. Ropa Vieja is now one of Cuba’s most popular and beloved dishes; in fact, so popular in fact that it is one of the country’s designated national dishes! It is also popular in other areas or parts of the Caribbean such as Puerto Rico and Panama.

The traditional method of braising the meat is in water. However, for this recipe, I am going to release all those flavourful beef juices directly into the sauce together with carrots, celery, bay leaves, onion, and garlic to get all the flavours of a stock going at the same time. This infuses the sauce with some umami-flavour qualities and natural sweetness from the vegetables, making everything of braising by this method super rich and mouth-watering. Do check out the original recipe by Kimberly from The Daring Gourmet.

Ropa Vieja Ingredients

Ignore the avocado, black beans, and the egg in the shot above, that’s for the Eggs Benedict recipe to follow tomorrow!

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 4 HOURS 30 MINS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

  • 1kg tender beef chuck
  • 1 cup beef broth*
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine**
  • 4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 can (16oz) chopped tomatoes with sliced olives
  • 1 brown onion, halved and sliced thinly
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1 large celery stalk, sliced
  • 1 medium-sized red, yellow, and green capsicum
  • 1 heaped tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp baby capers, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Chopped spring onion, to garnish

*Or 1 beef bouillon cube dissolved in 1 cup of hot water

**The first time I made this dish, I omitted the dry white wine only because I didn’t have any on my pantry shelf at that moment. For those who are living in, or know about Brunei, it’s not as easy as popping over to the shops to buy a bottle. Anyway, I found that the flavours weren’t really brought out as much as when I attempted this dish for a second time with the wine. It felt flat like that pop or zing was missing from it.

METHOD

  1. Pat the beef dry and rub all over with the dried herbs, spices, and seasoning -dried oregano, chilli powder, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, smoked paprika, sea salt and ground black pepper.
  2. Heat about a tablespoon in a slight large Dutch oven over high heat. Once it is very hot and starts to smoke a bit, add the beef and brown generously on all sides. Once done, transfer the beef to a plate. Do not discard the drippings and blackened bits in the pot. They are key to the flavour!
  3. Turn the heat down to medium, then add the minced garlic and cook until slight golden and fragrant. Follow with the sliced onion, cooking until softened before adding the sliced carrots and celery, and the chopped chipotle peppers. Cook for about 15 minutes until caramalised. Deglaze the pot the the dry white wine and bring it to a rapid boil, scraping up the browned bits at the bottom of the pot.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth, and bay leaves. Leave to simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Return the beef and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat down to low, then cover and simmer for 3-4 hours or until the beef is fork tender and falls apart easily.
  6. While the beef is slowly simmering away, you can move onto roasting your capsicums. Turn a stovetop burner to its highest setting and place the capsicum directly on the flame. Use a pair of tongs to turn them over until the skin has completely blackened. Put the capsicum in a heat-proof mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. The skin will loosen as it steams, and once it has cooled down a bit, you can easily remove the skin with your fingers under running water. Slice thinly.
  7. Once the beef is done, discard the celery, carrots, and bay leaves. Remove the beef from the sauce, transfer to a plate and shred. Return the shredded beef to the pot and stir in the roasted capsicum and baby capers. Season with salt and pepper to taste and leave uncovered to simmer until the sauce has thickened, about a further 15-20 minutes.
  8. Serve the beef in a large serving dish and enjoy! Best served with steamed rice and black beans on the side.

Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja

As per Kimberly, for a variation on traditional beef you can also use pork or chicken, bone-in/skin-on for the most flavour, or boneless breast or thighs. I might try this recipe out with succulent pork shoulders next time *already drooling*.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Auguest 2016: Diandra Cappelut

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos

Hello Everyone! Diandra here. Just another third culture foodie.

A few months ago, I delved into the weird side of Youtube and somehow ended up watching a documentary about the cruelness of pig farming at three in the morning. From there, I watched a famous vegan Mukbang star, Mommy Tang, who talked about how she became vegan and how a plant-based diet has helped her lose weight, overall positively affecting her health. Intrigued by the idea of veganism, I watched more and more documentaries on the negative impact of animal farming on the environment and animal products on our health.

Mind-blown by the influx of information, I decided to cut down my consumption of animal byproducts overnight. Mind you, I was that girl who ate meat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I LOVE MEAT. But, after educating myself on the many issues that come with consuming meat and other animal byproducts, I simply couldn’t live with myself if I continue eating meat mindlessly for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Could I let go of meat and dairy completely? No. Not right now. But maybe one day. However, currently I have drastically cut down my consumption of animal byproducts to the point where I eat a plant-based diet 6 days out of the week. I give myself one cheat day. Still, not bad for a girl who was pretty much a full-time carnivore.

I always encourage others to try and lessen their consumption of animal byproducts. You don’t have to give it up completely, but at least lessen. The secret of eating a plant-based diet without passing out halfway through the day is to fuel yourself with CARBS. This Quinoa Black Bean Taco recipe is the perfect filling and delicious vegan meal. Oh and it’s extremely high in protein 😉 Yes, you can find lots of protein in plants too, not just in meat! Hope you like it!

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups Superlife Co. mixed quinoa, cooked
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 brown onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Jalapeños
  • Taco Seasoning
  • Taco Shells

Optional

  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt-free Mexican seasoning blend

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos Method

METHOD

  1. Dice the tomatoes, onion and bell pepper. Mince the garlic.
  2. Add olive oil, garlic and onion into a heated pan. Sauté until the onions and garlic are nice and golden.
  3. Add the bell peppers and frozen corn, and continue sautéing until the peppers are soft and the corn is defrosted.
  4. Add the cooked quinoa into the pan, sprinkle in the taco seasoning and mix everything together.
  5. Taste the quinoa/black bean mixture. If you would like additional spice and seasoning, add in the cayenne pepper and Mexican blend seasoning. Note: Taco seasoning is normally already pretty salty, so additional salt is not necessary.
  6. Turn down the heat and add the tomatoes into the pan. Mix everything together.
  7. ASSEMBLING THE TACO: Take a warm taco shell and line the bottom with some spinach leaves.
  8. Add the quinoa/black bean mix into the taco shell.
  9. Lastly, top the taco off with some jalapeños and voila!

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos

Recipe Copyright © 2016 | diandracappelut // saladhunter.sg

Eat them all up! 😉

Diandra.

myTaste.com

Pappardelle with Homemade Cheese-stuffed Meatballs

Pappardelle with Homemade Cheese-stuffed Meatballs

Pappardelle with Homemade Cheese-stuffed Meatballs

Hello Everyone! Oh wow – it has definitely been a while since I last updated my blog (well, I don’t think two weeks is “a while” but it definitely is for me)! I feel like I’ve lost touch on how to write since my last post, but I’m guessing that it is just the fatigue speaking here. In a nutshell, I’ve been super busy for the past two months, and it was really difficult for me to just sit down and write with a clear mind. I had been staying in the office until 9/9:30pm every night and have been working on Sunday’s as well since April. I know I shouldn’t be complaining because my other colleagues already do this on a daily basis and stay even later as well – it’s just that I am not used to this way of working.

Anyway! So what have I been up to? I don’t even remember if I have mentioned this in any of my previous blog posts – if I have, the annual Sukan Ria Antara Syarikat Inter-company Sports Fest 2016 finally closed two Sunday’s ago. You would think that that would be such a relief, but nooooooo! Just 3 days later, the opening of the 18th Consumer Fair snuck up on us, and that lasted up until Sunday. Though things have slowed down a bit, I still feel the stress from the past 2 months – and I believe it’s just because I haven’t had a proper rest yet. That’s right, right after the closing of the 18th Consumer Fair, we still had to report to work the next day at 8am *sigh*. Well, I’m just excited and really looking forward to the upcoming long weekend to just sit back, relax, and catch up on some cooking for my blog (doesn’t exactly scream relaxing, but cooking does made me happy).

Homemade Cheese-stuffed Meatballs

For the month of June, I will be sharing some delicious pasta recipes with you. I do believe that I mentioned about sharing some yummy mango recipes with you for this month – but I unfortunately did not have any time at all to make any dishes at all and mangoes are not in season anymore. So here’s a recipe for a classic bolognese sauce with pappardelle and homemade meatballs:

Pappardelle with Homemade Cheese-stuffed Meatballs Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the sauce

  • 250g pappardelle (or any other pasta)
  • 125g baby brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup of chicken or beef stock
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 dried bay leaves
  • 1 celery stick, sliced
  • 1 medium-sized carrot, cut into small chunks
  • 1 red birds-eye chilli, sliced (optional for that added kick of spice)
  • 1/2 green capsicum, diced
  • 1/2 medium-sized red onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • Knob of unsalted butter
  • Mozzarella cheese, grated

For the meatballs

  • 250g minced beef
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 1/2 medium-sized red onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs*
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Bocconcini balls
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper to taste

*You can buy readily made bread crumbs from the shelves or you can make your own by lightly toasting some stale bread (if you have some in handy) and then blitz it in the food processor.

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 190C (375F or gas mark 5). Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. For the meatballs: Add all the ingredients, except for the bocconcini balls, to a large bowl and mix until well combined. Shape the mixture into small to medium-sized balls and press a bocconcini ball (cut into smaller pieces if it is too big) into the meatball. Gently place onto the prepared baking tray and repeat with the remaining meat, about a dozen to fifteen balls altogether depending on the size. Place in the oven and bake until browned, about 10 minutes. Once done, remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. For the sauce: Heat about a tablespoon of oil together with a knob of unsalted butter in a large frying pan over medium-high. Sauté the garlic until golden and fragrant, then add the chillies and onions. Sauté until the onions are soft and then add in carrots, followed by the celery, and then the mushrooms. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft.
  4. Add the dried bay leaves, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, and stock. Give it a good mix and then turn the heat down to low, cover and let it simmer for about 15 minutes to allow the flavours to blend. Finally, add in the capsicum and meatballs, cooking for a further 5-8 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pappardelle according to packet instructions.
  6. Remove the sauce from the heat and serve over the hot pasta. Top with the meatballs and a handful of grated mozzarella cheese. Enjoy!

Pappardelle with Homemade Cheese-stuffed Meatballs

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Quinoa, Green Beans, and Roasted Capsicum Salad with Pan-seared Rump Steak

Quinoa, Green Beans, and Roasted Capsicum Salad with Pan-seared Rump Steak

Hello Everyone! I can’t believe that January flew by that quickly! We’re already into the second month of the new year but I feel as if though the year has just started! It’s going to be a short month too since it’s February. Anyway, when I got up this morning, I came across a photo on Instagram with the caption:

“Did y’all make New Year Resolutions? How’s it going so far? If you got lazy, you can always start back up today.”

We’re all human, and we all fall into that trap of not keeping our resolutions, but it is indeed never too late to start back up today… Or tomorrow. As long as you are determined to continue going, you will probably reach your end goal. One of my resolutions is to get fit and eat healthy, and I can honestly say that I haven’t been keeping up with this for the past 2 weeks. I’ve been busy with deadlines and helping out in a 5-day event that ended on the weekend, that I have completely ignored exercising and eating right. I am now determined to get back on track, but I feel a sore throat coming down so who knows when I’ll be able to get back on track – but I ain’t giving up that’s for sure.

Quinoa, Green Beans, and Roasted Capsicum Salad with Pan-seared Rump Steak

Tonight, I want to share an experimental recipe that I whipped up a few weeks ago. I rarely cook with quinoa (pronounced as KEEN-wah), and the sole reason for that is because it is very expensive – the bag of 280g (just a little bit under 2 cups) I bought already set me back $12.80. If we take a second to overlook the cost of quinoa, it is actually very beneficial to our health. It is incredibly nutritious as its fibre content is much higher than most grains. It is also very high in protein, containing the essential amino acids that we need . Quinoa contains a great amount of minerals – minerals that we other do not get enough of, especially magnesium, potassium, and zinc. If you would like to read up more on the health benefits of quinoa, click here.

I usually cannot go with a meal if it doesn’t have some sort of meat on the plate – which is why I decided to match this salad with another hit of protein from pan-searing a nice slab of rump steak. I was kind of going for medium-rare, but I think the beef turned out to be a bit more towards the rarer side of medium-rare. Nonetheless, it was delicious indeed (my mom seared the meat a little longer after cutting these few slices). You can pair it with any other meats if you wish, or have it completely vegetarian or vegan; whatever tickles your fancy.

Quinoa, Green Beans, and Roasted Capsicum Salad with Pan-seared Rump Steak

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 5-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g rump steak
  • 250g green beans, ends trimmed
  • 100g feta cheese
  • 2 cups chicken stock*
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup wild rocket leaves
  • 1 red capsicum
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil fry pan-searing

For the dressing

  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

*You can make you own stock by boiling chicken carcasses for about half an hour, together with whole black peppercorns, bay leaves, and salt. Or you can use the store bought ones, again, whatever tickles your fancy.

METHOD

  1. Bring the quinoa and chicken stock to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Once boiling, reduce heat down to low, cover, and then simmer until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Once done, fluff with a fork and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  2. While the quinoa is simmering away, blanch the green beans in boiling water for about 5-6 minutes. Once done, transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. This ensures that you’ll have nice and crisp green beans in your salad. Drain and then add to the large mixing bowl.
  3. Season the beef with some ground salt and black pepper. Bring a large frying pan with olive oil to a heat over high, until it starts to smoke. Add your steak and sear for about 2-3 minutes per side for rare, 3-4 minutes for medium-rare, 4-5 minutes for medium-well, or 5+ minutes per side for well done. Once done, set aside to rest for about 10 minutes.
  4. While the beef is resting, you can move on to roasting the capsicum. Rub the red capsicum with a little bit of oil and place directly on open flame of gas stove. Rotate occasionally so that the red capsicum blisters and chars on all sides. Once done, set aside to cool down. Peel the skin off and cut into strips once it has cooled down enough to handle. Add to the large mixing bowl together with the rocket leaves and feta cheese.
  5. Whisk the lemon juice, honey, oil, and paprika in a small bowl until well combined. Add to the large mixing bowl and toss the salad around until well coated and combined.
  6. Serve the salad topped with a few slices of the rump steak. Enjoy!

Quinoa, Green Beans, and Roasted Capsicum Salad with Pan-seared Rump Steak

ps: do not be deceived by the portion of this dish. I just used an oversized dish to plate it up. This kept me quite full for a few hours and I didn’t even finish everything on the plate!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Callos a la Madrileña (Ox Tripe Stew)

Callos a la Madrileña (Ox Tripe Stew)

Hello Everyone! Sadly, we’re nearing the end of our 12 days before Christmas special on the blog. How will you be spending your Christmas Eve tomorrow? I know where I’ll be – in the kitchen whipping up food with my Mom for our Noche Buena; and when I’m not cooking, I’ll most likely be taking a relaxed 2-day off doing absolutely nothing… Maybe. I can’t exactly sit around and do nothing. Heck, I’m evening writing this post while watching The Incredibles on TV and I was just talking to my Mom about how this movie never gets old – I still love watching it to date.

Anyway, time to get off the tangent wagon and get down to tonight’s recipe. It is basically a stew that is common and traditional to Madrid, well known as Callos a la Madrileña, or Callos for short. The stew consists of ox tripe, ox feet (or shank), chickpeas, blood sausage (or chorizo), and red capsicum. The tripe and feet are boiled and simmered until the texture becomes extra tender; this makes eating this dish pleasurable. It is then cooked together with the chickpeas and capsicum.

The extra tender tripe and fat from the ox feet literally melts in your mouth while the luscious taste of chorizo and bacon lingers around – inviting you to try more. Though it looks and sounds enticing (which it does), moderation is still recommended because of the high fat and cholesterol content of this dish. It is good to enjoy food but it is better to enjoy life. — Vanjo Merano from Panlasang Pinoy

Ox feet is rarely found in stores/markets here in Brunei – they’re always sold out even if you go extra early in the morning. My guess is that restaurants who use this part of the cow have already reserved it. Anyway, you can substitute it for veal (beef) shanks, however, you won’t get the same feeling of the melt-in-your-mouth fat as you do from ox feet.

Callos a la Madrileña (Ox Tripe Stew) Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 2 HOURS | SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g ox tripe, washed and cleaned
  • 500g beef shank
  • 250g bacon
  • 1 can (240g) chickpeas/garbanzos, drained
  • 6 pcs dried bay leaves
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies (optional)
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 1 chorizo sausage, sliced diagonally
  • 1 red capsicum, cut into strips
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Whole black peppercorns

METHOD

  1. Add the beef tripe, 3 bay leaves, salt and a generous pinch of whole black peppercorns to a large pot filled with water. Boil for about an hour and a half, or until tender. Do the same for the beef shank in a separate pot. Once done, turn he heat off and leave the meat in the broth for an extra half hours. Remove from the broth and slice both the meats into bit-sized pieces. Discard the liquids from the tripe, but reserve the beef shank broth for later.
  2. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high and add the bacon in, frying until crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side perhaps (or more). Remove from the pan and set aside to cool down a bit before cutting them into smaller pieces.
  3. If there isn’t enough oil produced from the fat of the bacon when you fried it, add about a tablespoon more of oil and fry the chorizo slices until browned, about a minute or two per side. Once done, remove from the frying pan and set aside on a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up any excess oils.
  4. In the same frying pan, sauté the garlic until fragrant and golden brown. Then, add in the onions and cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes altogether. Follow with the diced tomatoes and cook until soft, a further 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add in the tripe and shank, together with a touch of ground salt and black pepper. Give it a good mix before adding the reserved stock, tomato paste, and chillies. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 10 minutes.
  6. Add in the chickpeas/garbanzos, and carrots and cook for a further 5 minutes before adding in the capsicum, bacon bits, and chorizo slices. Give it one final mix and then turn the heat off. Leave, covered, in the pan for about 5 minutes before serving.
  7. Transfer to a serving dish and enjoy hot!

Callos a la Madrileña (Ox Tripe Stew)

Callos a la Madrileña (Ox Tripe Stew)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Singapore Mei Fun (Fried Rice Vermicelli Noodles in Curry Powder)

Singapore Mei Fun (Fried Rice Vermicelli Noodles in Curry Powder)

Hello Everyone! Tonight I will be sharing with you another Singaporean dish that I love. What I love about this is the curry powder that is incorporated into this fried noodle dish. When I first tried this noodle dish, I didn’t expect it to be coated in curry powder – well, I mean, it’s not like the name of the dish was a dead giveaway for what’s in it. So it was definitely quite unique to me when I first tried it – and I loved it!

I kind of went with it on my own after indulging in much of it over the past several years, but I did refer to Saucy Spatula for reference. I also learnt a few things from her blog, the main one being that authentic Singapore fried rice vermicelli (or know as fried bee hoon), does not include curry. Unfortunately, the question of where the addition of curry originated from cannot be answered, however many claimed it to have come from Hong Kong. So why isn’t it called Hong Kong fried rice vermicelli? Well, apparently this noodle dish resembles more towards the Singapore fried bee hoon so I guess why argue with that?

Singapore Mei Fun (Fried Rice Vermicelli Noodles in Curry Powder)

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 25-30 MINS | SERVES 4-5

INGREDIENTS

  • 450g bee hoon (thin rice vermicelli noodles)
  • 250g char siu pork (Chinese BBQ pork)*, sliced
  • 100g beansprouts
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Chinese sausages, sliced diagonally
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, sliced
  • 1 large free range egg, beaten
  • 1 small brown onion, diced
  • 1/2 a head of cabbage, sliced
  • Tricolour capsicum (1/4 of each), sliced

For the sauce

  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp cooking wine
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp white pepper powder

*If you can easily buy it at the shops, or even your local Chinese restaurant, then I do recommend that you just buy it if you want your fried noodles now and fast! (It takes a considerate amount of time when you’re making your own char siu pork at home). But, if char siu is not available, you can substitute with ham, bacon, or shredded pork.

METHOD

  1. Start off by bringing a large pot of slightly salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the rice vermicelli noodles and cook according to packet instructions, about 15 minutes for this brand of noodles. Once the noodles are done, drain and set aside.
  2. While the noodles a boiling away, mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high. Add the beaten egg and spread around the frying pan until thin. Fry for about a minute per side, remove and set aside to cool. Once cooled, slice them into thin strips.
  4. In the same frying pan, heat a little bit more oil and then sauté the garlic and chillies until fragrant and golden brown. Then add in the onions and cook until soft, about 2 minutes altogether.
  5. Add the Chinese sausage slices and cook for about 2 minutes. Follow with the char siu pork and capsicum, cooking for a further 3-4 minutes. Finally, add in the cabbage and beansprouts, cooking until just about to wilt.
  6. Add in the drained rice vermicelli noodles together with the sauce and give it a good mix, until the noodles are evenly coated with the curry powder mixture. Turn the heat off, garnish the noodles with some spring onions, and top with the sliced fried egg.
  7. Serve immediately with a squeeze of calamansi or a lemon wedge. Enjoy!

Singapore Mei Fun (Fried Rice Vermicelli Noodles in Curry Powder)

Singapore Mei Fun (Fried Rice Vermicelli Noodles in Curry Powder)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Cheesy Mushroom Omelette with Avocado Mint Greek Yoghurt & Wilted Spinach

Cheesy Mushroom Omelette with Avocado Mint Greek Yoghurt & Wilted Spinach

First off let me be the last to wish everyone a glorious Good Friday! Welcome everyone, to my very first blog post ever! I have been meaning to start up a food blog of all my kitchen adventures, well more like I have had other blogs before but I never kept up with it. So I decided to start fresh!

I just went through a hard week of procrastination and a 2500-word essay that was due yesterday and I’m so glad that it’s the Easter weekend and mid-semester break! So to celebrate the end of the first half of the semester, and of course Good Friday, I wanted to whip up a special BIG brunch for myself – though I think my eyes were way much bigger than my tummy, I only ate half of it and kept the rest.

Today’s recipe as the blog title says is: Cheesy Mushroom Omelette with Avocado Mint Greek Yoghurt & Wilted Spinach:

Cheesy Mushroom Omelette with Avocado Mint Greek Yoghurt & Wilted Spinach

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

INGREDIENTS

For the Omelette:

  • 4 regular-sized Swiss Brown Mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 gourmet tomato, diced
  • 1/2 green capsicum, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • Ground salt and black pepper to taste
  • Handful of shredded parmesan cheese
  • Knob of butter

For the Avocado Yoghurt:

  • 1 small-sized avocado, roughly mashed
  • 1 cup regular greek yoghurt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Ground salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of loose-leaf baby spinach

Just note that I sometimes work without measurements in the kitchen, so some of the measurements in the ingredient list may not be very accurate. I’ve tried to remember roughly how much of each ingredient I’ve added in, but please feel free to adjust to your liking! Also, I don’t work with timers very often (unless it’s for baking or cooking with seafood and other meats). For this recipe I used my eyes to tell when something is cooked – probably not to perfection like Masterchef and all, but definitely cooked.

METHOD

  1. Combine all the avocado yoghurt ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate until needed.
  2. In a large fry pan on high heat, melt the butter. Then add in the onions and stir until soft. Add in the mushrooms and stir until colour changes. Add in the capsicum, tomatoes and 1 sprig of the thyme leaves, stir for about a minute and transfer to a dish. We don’t want to over cook the capsicum and tomatoes, so that they still retain a slight crunch.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add oil to the same frying pan. While waiting for it to heat up, beat the eggs in a bowl with the milk and season with salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture into the frying pan.
  4. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top and let the egg cook until the egg starts to set. Top half of the egg with the mushroom filling. Fold omelette in half, and cook for a further minute or so. Transfer to a plate.
  5. Add the spinach to the same frying pan and stir until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the plate.
  6. Garnish by sprinkling fresh thyme leaves over the omelette, avocado yoghurt and wilted spinach.

Cheesy Mushroom Omelette with Avocado Mint Greek Yoghurt & Wilted Spinach

I remember when I was chopping up all the ingredients, my housemate came into the kitchen and she said, “Wow it smells so fresh in here!” And again we met again when the meal was cooked and ready to be devoured by me, she said “THAT LOOKS AMAZING!” She’s so adorable 🙂

BON APPÉTIT!

– Ally xx

myTaste.com