Auguest 2020: Azrina Hidup

Thai Green Curry Mussels

“Cooking feeds the soul, both the cook and the people who are eating. For me, cooking is an act of love, a gift, and a way of sharing. It puts a smile in my heart when I put a lot of thought and care into preparing a dish. At home, cooking symbolizes love and family.” — Azrina Hidup

Auguest 2020: Azrina Hidup

Hello everyone! My name is Azrina Hidup and I am half Filipina and half Bruneian. I would like to thank my beautiful friend, Allison, for the opportunity to be featured on her blog along with other amazing foodies and chefs.

I am always the happiest girl when I get to put my apron on. It was my dream to enter ‘Le Cordon Bleu’ Culinary School, but somehow I ended up doing Political Science. My passion for cooking though, doesn’t stop. Every weekend I will be on my #apronmodeon doing recipe testing and feeding my family with my cooking.

I love creating different dishes. I love travelling for food and what I usually love doing when I travel is to explore and try the local cuisine. I will always try to remember the taste and look of the food so I can recreate them back home for my loved ones to try.

Thai Green Curry Mussels

Most of all, I strongly believe that cooking is more than just an act to fill the empty stomach. Cooking for me is an act of love, a gift, and a way of sharing. It puts a smile in my heart when I put a lot of thought and care into preparing a dish. I grew up with home cooked food, and growing up with my mom’s cooking inspires me a lot to develop my passion for cooking. For me, cooking and home cooked meals symbolize family and love.

For Allison’s Auguest series, I will be sharing my favourite Thai dish which is green curry. Tonight I have made Thai Green Curry Mussels with Homemade Green Curry Paste. Thai green curry is absolutely delicious when served with steamed rice. Nyums!

Thai Green Curry Mussels Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 20-25 MINS | SERVES 4-5

INGREDIENTS

For the green curry paste

  • 15-20 Thai basil leaves
  • 6 Thai green chillies (remove the seeds if you prefer it to be less spicy)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 3 long green chillies
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, bottom part only, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 shallots
  • 1 & 1/2 inch size piece of galangal
  • 1 & 1/2 inch size piece of ginger
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp of coconut milk
  • 1-2 tsp of kaffir lime zest
  • 1-2 tsp of shrimp paste (belacan)
  • 1/2 tsp white peppercorns
  • Cilantro leaves and roots
  • Coriander seeds
  • Cumin powder
  • Salt, to taste

Homemade Thai Green Curry Paste

For the Green Curry Mussels

  • Mussels
  • 1 cup fresh coconut water
  • 1 cup seafood stock*
  • 1 can (approx. 440g) coconut milk
  • 3 pieces kaffir lime leaves (torn to smaller pieces)
  • Basil leaves (5-6)
  • Fish sauce, to taste
  • Palm sugar, to taste
  • Squeeze 1-2 fresh limes
  • Thai eggplants
  • Cilantro and basil leaves for garnish (cut/torn to smaller pieces)

* For this recipe, I used homemade prawn stock. You may use any kind of stock as a substitute.

Thai Green Curry Mussels Ingredients

METHOD

  1. Thai Green Curry Paste: Toast coriander seeds simply by heating them in a skillet over medium-high heat. Then, finely grind using a mortar and pestle.
  2. In the same skillet, toast the shrimp paste/belacan and set aside.
  3. Slowly add the rest of the ingredients for the green curry paste to the mortar and pound until fine, adding liquid so that the mixture will become paste-like in texture. For this recipe, I used coconut milk as the liquid.
  4. Taste the curry paste and add season with salt to your preference and add a squeeze of lime juice.

Tip: You may also use an electric blender to speed up the process (and really make your life a little easier), if you prefer. For the coriander seeds, grind them first into a powder with the mortar and pestle. Then use the electric blender to grind all the remaining ingredients together. Similarly, add liquid to get the blender going. Since this will be used for a green curry dish, I highly suggest to use coconut milk as your liquid base.

  1. Thai Green Curry Mussels: Over medium heat, reduce half the can of the coconut milk in a heavy-bottomed pot until it becomes thick.
  2. Add the homemade green curry paste and sauté. Make sure to stir constantly for 2-3 minutes until fragrant/aromatic.
  3. Add the seafood stock, remaining half can of the coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, and basil leaves. Leave to simmer gently for about 5-10 minutes, keeping the heat on medium.

Tip: You may also blend the basil leaves and some coconut milk into an electric blender to get nice green color soup.

  1. Add palm sugar and fish sauce to taste.
  2. Add coconut water and eggplants. Cover the pot until the eggplants are cooked through, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add in the mussels and cover until mussels are cooked, about 5 minutes.
  4. Garnish with chopped basil and cilantro. Add lime juice just before serving. Best to enjoy with steamed rice!

Thai Green Curry Mussels

Thai Green Curry Mussels

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2020 | Azrina Hidup (@azrinoh501)

BON APPÉTIT

– Azrina Hidup

myTaste.com

Tropical Mix Smoothie

Tropical Mix Smoothie

Hello Everyone! Once again, time really has flown by! I can’t believe that it’s already the end of March and we’re already a quarter into the year. I wish I could say the same for each passing day I spend in the office. It was only just recently where I started to feel that everyday is like a Monday, and that weekends do not exist – even Sunday does not feel like a Sunday anymore. Everyday is Monday. Haha, I’m so pessimistic; but no, seriously, just last week I was convinced that the afternoon of Wednesday was already Thursday, and that the next day would be Friday. I was rushing to get all my work done that was due for Friday, only to realise a little later that is was still only Wednesday. Sigh. I think I briefly mentioned this is last week’s post too – yes, still not over it haha!

Anyway rant aside! Nothing exciting has happened since my post last week besides the night that we (my colleagues and I) went wax (yes, not ice) skating. I was a bit sad to find out that the rink was not actually ice, but I was also slightly a little bit relieved because I find it easier to skate on wax than ice. I nearly made a no-fall record for myself, until my colleague Grace dragged me down with her. Other than wax skating, I managed to complete my meat free week that ended on Easter Sunday! This weekend I’ll be hanging out with some of my high school buddies whom I have not seen in forever! We’ll be watching Belle the Musical (Beauty & The Beast), but as usual, before the weekend comes it’s going to be all about work work work work work.

Happy days are here as sweet Philippine mangoes are finally in season! And because of that, I cannot resist a refreshingly delicious tropical smoothie that just screams Summer is here! Mangoes alone tastes so good, and that is one of the reasons why people often forget that mangoes are actually quite beneficial to our health, however, there are a few cautions to take into consideration especially if you have some allergies that can cause a reaction to consuming mangoes. First of all, research has shown that antioxidant compounds in a mango fruit has been found to protect against colon, breast, leukaemia, and prostate cancers. Other than that, mangoes contain high levels of fibre which helps to lower cholesterol levels.

This particular health benefit caught my attention, and it’s that mangoes helps in diabetes. I would think that it would spike sugar levels because of it’s insane sweetness, but apparently the fruit has a relatively low glycemic index (41-60) so moderate quantities will not increase sugar levels. The mango leaves though, help normalise insulin levels in the blood.  The traditional home remedy involves boiling leaves in water, soaking through the night and then consuming the filtered decoction in the morning.  To read up more on the health benefits of mangoes, click here.

Now as mentioned, there are some cautions to look out for when consuming mangoes:

  1. If you have a latex allergy, a reaction is possible, particularly green mangos. This reaction develops because of anacardic acid.
  2. Mango peel and sap contain urushiol, the chemical in poison ivy and poison sumac that can cause an allergic reaction in susceptible individuals.
  3. Mangos are ripened by some dealers using calcium carbide which can cause serious health problems (one more reason to buy organic).  If you do have inorganic mangos, do wash them properly before consuming or soak overnight in water.

Tropical Mix Smoothie Ingredients

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME | SERVES 3

INGREDIENTS

  • 3-4 pineapple slices
  • 2 bananas, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 ripe Philippine mangoes (or any other sweet mangoes), peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • Juice of 1 large orange

METHOD

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender, and pulse until combined. If the smoothie is too thick, add more coconut water. If it is too thin, add more fruit and/or ice if needed.
  2. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Tropical Mix Smoothie

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Strawberry & Banana Smoothie

Strawberry & Banana Smoothie

Hello Everyone! It’s Week 4 of Smoothie month and tonight I’ve got a very simple recipe yet packed with lots of flavour and nutrients. I don’t actually have much to share with you guys besides the fact that it has been a long week of work. I actually genuinely thought that today was Thursday, and then to my dismay, it’s only Wednesday – I was so looking forward to being one step closer to my 1-day weekend!

Besides my life being non-exciting for the past week, on Monday I started my Meat Free Week in preparation for Easter. So far, it’s going well and I can definitely say that I am in a much better place than where I was two years ago with this. Two years ago I was always hungry and depressed for being always hungry. I lasted the whole week but despised the rollercoaster of emotions that I experienced. Last year, I did not last 3 days I think – I needed my meat. This time around, I’ve completed 3 days without meat, but I have to say, yesterday I had such intense cravings for deep fried crispy chicken – and to my dear friend Pam, saying round 2 to Korean Fried Chicken did not help me get over my cravings that day! Haha.

Anyway, tomorrow will be a bit more exciting I guess. After work I’ll be having dinner with my Marketing colleagues and then heading off to do some ice-skating! Oh gosh, what have I gotten myself into. Firstly, I may have mentioned this in a previous blog post before, and I can’t skate to save my life! The last time I went ice-skating, I fell hard on my bum 7 times in a span of a 2-hour skating session. Secondly, I managed to slice my pinky finger on someone else’s skates as I was going down for my last fall of the day. It was a small cut, but the scar is still visible *sad face*

Moving on, if you’re not already a fan of strawberries, you should be. Not only are they juicy, summery and delicious, they’re a bona fide superfood, too. Nutrient-rich and packed with antioxidants (like vitamin C), strawberries offer a wide range of health benefits. Strawberries boost your immunity, promote eye health, help fight cancer and bad cholesterol, reduce inflammation, regulate blood pressure, boost fibre, aid in weight management, and result in healthier, younger-looking skin. To read each health benefit in more detail, head on over to Reader’s Digest Best Health. Likewise, bananas too contain many important nutrients and powerful antioxidants that help support heart health, improve digestive health, moderate blood sugar levels, and many more. You can read more on the health benefits of bananas here.

Strawberry & Banana Smoothie Ingredients

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME | SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1 fresh banana, peeled
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 cup Ice
  • 1 tablespoon honey, if needed to sweeten

METHOD

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender, and pulse until combined. If the smoothie is too thick, add more milk. If it is too thin, add more fruit and/or ice.
  2. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Strawberry & Banana Smoothie

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Kale Piña-Cavado

Kale Piña-Cavado

Hello Everyone! So last week was a little hectic, and today is no different as well. I’m currently back in Brunei; I arrived at 4 in the afternoon, and tomorrow I’ll be back in office – sad times. I had a great week in Singapore, though I wouldn’t call it a rest and relaxation kind of holiday. I was out and about most of the time, exploring, café hopping, eating, playing with dogs, and many more activities which included the shedding of calories for my wallet. Anyway, so from my previous post I mentioned that I was going to go to the River Safari with my sister – and we did! It was a lot of fun seeing a lot of aquatic animals, especially Kai Kai and Jia Jia the Giant Pandas!

The following day, Pam, my sister, and myself started our morning at a café known as Boufé. The food was delicious and it reminded me so much of the brunches that I had when I was back in Sydney. I’m really sad that Brunei doesn’t have that kind of brunch that I’m after – or maybe there is, it’s just that I haven’t had the time to explore the new/existing cafés in Brunei. Anyway, after that we headed straight for the Dog Café (also known as We are The Furballs or WTF) to play with the cutest dogs ever! If you want to see photos of this, you can head on over to my personal Instagram account, @amcarmen.

After the weekend, things slowed down a little bit as I did most of the shoppings that I needed to do, and went to the places that I had planned on going to. The only last thing that I did was co-host a dinner party with a high school friend for our other high school friends, one of which I had not seen since we finished IB and headed of for university (which was 5 years ago!). One of our friends is a vegan so, my friend, Miao, and I took up the challenge to whip up some yummy vegan dishes. Both of us had never cooked up a vegan dish before so we were both quite excited to see how it would turn out. I remember at one point when Miao was making her Spiced Cauliflower Soup, she tasted it and didn’t seem like she was blown away with it. She then asked me to taste it, and as I was tasting it, she said:

“Something’s missing, but I don’t know what. I don’t think it needs anymore herbs because I think it’s quite balanced already… Or maybe it’s because it’s vegan?”

I laughed out loud at that comment! Maybe it was just because it’s lacking a lovely chicken broth base or oils from fried up bacon as its base – but nonetheless, the soup was still pretty amazing. Good job Miao! For mains, I cooked up a Chunky Butternut Squash Wholegrain Spaghetti with Sundried Tomatoes and Sage Leaves. Again, we had a hefty laugh at the table when Ann (our vegan friend), filled her plate with the pasta, sundried tomatoes, and sage leaves. She then started to mix it and was about to take a bite until Miao’s boyfriend, Robin, pointed out that she was missing the Butternut Squash sauce. We laughed out because she thought that it was some sort of agilo olio. It was funny, but I guess you’d have to be there to understand the extent of the humour. Lastly, we ended the savoury with a delicious No-bake Blueberry and Orange “Cheesecake”.

Okay, I apologise for a super long post, so I guess I will keep this part short. I think I may have added too much kale, or not enough pineapple because the kale was really overpowering the taste of the smoothie. Kale has a lot of vitamins and also contains powerful antioxidants that help protect your immune system and fight against certain cancers. If you want to read more about the health benefits of kale, please click here. Now, you may substitute kale for spinach if kale isn’t readily available where you are; I know that it’s not very cheap to get kale here in Brunei since it’s air-flown in from Australia. Before you scroll down to the recipe, don’t forget to check out the original over on Delicious by Dre.

Kale Piña-Cavado Ingredients

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 & 1/2 cups kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 ripe avocados, pitted and flesh removed
  • 1-2 cups fresh coconut water
  • 1/2 medium-sized pineapple, chopped

METHOD

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender in this order: avocado, pineapple, kale, and 1 cup of coconut water. Pulse a couple of times to mix up the ingredients in the blender a bit and then blend on high for about 30 to 60 seconds. Add more coconut water if needed to reach your desired consistency.
  2. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Kale Piña-Cavado

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Blackberry, Pineapple, & Spinach Smoothie

Hello Everyone! First of all, I apologise that it has taken me this long to be able to edit this part of the post. If you do not already know, I had a flight to catch on Wednesday evening to Singapore. Upon arriving in Singapore at about 7:20pm that evening, I headed straight for the hotel to drop my things off, and then quickly headed back out again with my sister for a very late dinner. After dinner, we shopped for a bit, mainly to buy some water and a comb since I forgot to pack mine. We then said our goodbyes at the train station and headed in opposite directions. I didn’t get back to my hotel until about 10:30pm, maybe 10:45pm that night, and I hadn’t prepared my usual Wednesday post. Nevertheless, I quickly got it up because I am very particular about getting my posts up on its scheduled day – I just haven’t shared it on my other social media pages because I wanted to write this part out properly.

So yes! I am in Singapore until this coming Wednesday 9th March. I’m here to do some important errands, and of course to have some rest and relaxation from work, and of course to do some shopping! Aside from that, it’s my sisters birthday as well (March 04). We’ll be celebrating by going on a River Safari all day Saturday, and then spending the Sunday café hopping with my friend Pamela. I also have plans to meet up, cook, eat, and catch up with some friends from high school so that should be fun!

Anyway, so before we race on to the recipe, please check out the original over on Way Fair. I replaced the milk with coconut water for a diary-free option, and coconut water is filled with electrolytes and potassium, which are two nutrients your body craves when expending lots of energy. It’s low in calories, fat, and sugar meaning that this is the liquid-base you want when working out. In addition, blackberries contain a handful amount of vitamins such as vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, E, and K. Blackberries also include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, and zinc. They are a good source of amino acids and essential dietary fibre without offering any harmful cholesterol. If you’d like to read up more on the health benefits of blackberries, click here.

 

Blackberry, Pineapple, & Spinach Smoothie Ingredients

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME — MINS | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup coconut water
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen blackberries
  • 1/4 cup pineapple
  • Handful of walnuts

METHOD

  1. Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy immediately.

Blackberry, Pineapple, & Spinach Smoothie Ingredients

Blackberry, Pineapple, & Spinach Smoothie

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Kale Smoothie with Almonds, Banana, & Pineapple

Kale Smoothie with Almonds, Banana, & Pineapple

Hello Everyone! I’ve got another brekky smoothie recipe for you today, and some may find this unusual at first, but it actually works! I must admit, I was once cynical about the idea of adding vegetables to a smoothie. That changed when I moved to Australia and saw kale juices/smoothies pop up here and there in many local cafés in and around Sydney. I’d always see my friends with a take away cup of green smoothies that were either made up of kale or spinach included in them. To be honest, I’ve never tried a kale smoothie before and this is the first time I’m making and trying one! I’ve had kale before, and to me, it doesn’t have a distinct taste to it, so I was glad that the non-exsitent kale flavour didn’t shine through in the smoothie. Instead, you can taste the almonds, bananas, and pineapple which was nice. However, after having done some research, kale apparently does have a strong flavour that many might be used to, so when making a green smoothie using kale, you should use strongly flavour fruits such as strawberries or pineapple to help mask the flavour (possibly why I personally could taste the kale because I use pineapple in my green smoothie).

Before I begin with this simple green smoothie recipe, I want to talk to you a little bit about the health benefits of adding kale to your smoothie. Kale helps cut the sweetness of the fruits added, and has more than twice the recommended daily value of calcium to your diet. It is an excellent leafy green to use for detox as it contains cleansing properties. In addition, kale has a lot of vitamins and also contains powerful antioxidants that help protect your immune system and fight against certain cancers. If you want to read more about the health benefits of kale, please click here. Now, you may substitute kale for spinach if kale isn’t readily available where you are; I know that it’s not very cheap to get kale here in Brunei since it’s air-flown in from Australia.

The original recipe can be found over on Real Simple; all I did was again, change the quantities to serve about 3-4 tall glasses. I also decided to substitute the coconut milk for fresh coconut water as most coconut milk that you find here in Brunei are straight out from a tin and have a whole lot of preservatives added to them. You can use coconut water from the shelf if you don’t have fresh coconut water readily available but I personally hate those because they taste very artificial to me. Otherwise, you can also just use water. I read in the comments section of the site as well that someone added almonds to the smoothie for that added protein, so feel free to add your favourite nuts into the mix as well when you make your smoothie!

Kale Smoothie with Almonds, Banana, & Pineapple Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 & 1/2 cups kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1-2 cups fresh coconut water
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1/2 medium-sized pineapple, chopped
  • 2 ripe bananas, chopped

METHOD

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender in this order: bananas, almonds, pineapple, kale, and 1 cup of coconut water. Pulse a couple of times to mix up the ingredients in the blender a bit and then blend on high for about 30 to 60 seconds. Add more coconut water if needed to reach your desired consistency.
  2. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Kale Smoothie with Almonds, Banana, & Pineapple

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com