Breakfast Muffins: Feta Cheese, Onion & Rosemary

Breakfast Muffins: Feta Cheese, Onion & Rosemary

Hello Everyone and a happy first Monday for the month of June! Hope the Monday blues didn’t hit you guys hard, especially to my friends/followers in Brunei – unlike me, I know some of you guys have had a super long weekend with all the public holidays we’ve been having. We, as in my office, didn’t get to have one of the public holiday off so it was a normal working day for us on Thursday while most likely 80% of the working population was off. Thank goodness Saturday was public holiday that applied to us so yay for the long weekend (normal weekend anyway for some)! If you guys don’t already know from my constant mentions on several posts, and on the ‘about’ section of my blog, I work SIX full days a week. So getting to have a Saturday off (which is quite rare) because of a public holiday is pure bliss.

Moving on from that… mini rant? I mentioned in one of my posts last week that I’ll be switching up my post schedule just for this month – and yes it does have something to do with the theme for June. The title of this post may have already given it away for some of my loyal and consistent followers. Drumroll please! So I may have taken it to Google and searched ‘how to type out a drumroll sound’ – gives up 30 minutes later.

Breakfast Muffins: Feta Cheese, Onion & Rosemary

MUFFIN MAKING MONDAY IS BACK ON AMCARMEN’S KITCHEN! Muffin Making Mondays started about 4 years ago now I think, where Jialing would come back to my place after our Monday morning lecture together on main campus. We’d bake muffins together for our on-the-go work brekkie for that week. Well, we’d bake together but we’d both have our own recipes, i.e. she’d make sweet muffins for herself while I’d make savoury ones – we still share 1 or 2 though after we’ve baked them. I also remember how we’d both have a 1-on-1 Cards Against Humanity game where we’d both just unanimously vote which was the best (dirtiest) answer while our muffins were baking in the oven. Those were the days.

Anyway, it’s probably going to get lonely in the kitchen as it’ll just be me, myself, and I without Jialing, but I’m bringing back Muffin Making Mondays for the month of June! And to kick things off, I’ve got a delicious Feta, Onion, and Rosemary Savoury Muffin to start your mornings with a bang! Check out the original recipe over on Genius Kitchen.

Breakfast Muffins: Feta Cheese, Onion & Rosemary Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 12 MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS

For the muffin batter

  • 1 & 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

For the onion and cheese mixture

  • 100g feta cheese, crumbed
  • 1 medium-sized brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • Freshly ground black peppercorns
  • Knob of unsalted butter

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6). Line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases.
  2. Melt the butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add in the chopped onions and cook for about 5 minutes until soft and slightly caramelised. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  3. Once the onions have cooled down, add in the crumbed feta cheese and chopped rosemary. Season with freshly ground black pepper and give it a good mix. There is no need for salt since the feta is quite salty by itself. Set aside.
  4. For the muffin batter, sift the plain flour, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl.
    In another medium-sized bowl, beat the egg, followed by the milk and give it a good whisk to combine.
  5. Pour the egg and milk mixture into the flour, until well incorporated, using minimum number of folding movements. Ignore the lumps in the mixture and do not over-mix.
  6. Gently add the onion and cheese mixture into the batter mixture, folding in, as before, with as few strokes as possible. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin pan.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until well risen and golden. Remove the muffins from the tins and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Breakfast Muffins: Feta Cheese, Onion & Rosemary

Breakfast Muffins: Feta Cheese, Onion & Rosemary

These muffins are perfect for sahur with a hot cup of teh tarik for my Muslim friends and followers. Well to be honest, it’s perfect for any time of the day with a nice hot cup of anything like coffee, tea, or hot chocolate!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

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Quinoa, Avocado, & Grapefruit Salad with Lemon and Thyme Roast Chicken

Quinoa, Avocado, & Grapefruit Salad with Lemon and Thyme Roast Chicken

Hello Everyone! Hope everyone had a good weekend! I’m finally feeling better than I did last week, but my voice is still a bit husky. I can’t hit the high notes to a song whenever I’m performing in the shower, so I know I’ve still got a bit more of getting better to do. Other than that, things have been pretty chill at work – but I know it’s going to be hectic soon! There are two event coming up within the next 3 months, so I pray that I will have enough strength to persevere through! Over the weekend, my very first Uni friend from COFA (or now known as UNSWAD) visited me here in Brunei! It was so surreal as I never thought that we would meet… in Brunei! He is currently working on a project in KL and he had a free weekend to spare to come over for a visit! We toured him around a few places in Brunei, and we also caught up on work life, love life, and just anything else in general. I cannot believe that it had been exactly a year since we last saw each other in Sydney! It was definitely a great weekend.

Anyway! It’s week 3 of healthy eating month and I’ve got another quinoa recipe to share with you guys. As you already know, or not if you haven’t been following my blog on a week to week basis, quinoa (pronounced as KEEN-wah) is 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. Pair it with some heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acid avocados, grapefruit and orange segments, and you’ve got yourself a salad that is packed with minerals and vitamins such as: calcium, copper, fibre, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein, zinc, and vitamins A, B5,B6, C, E, and K, and the list goes on.

Quinoa, Avocado, & Grapefruit Salad with Lemon and Thyme Roast Chicken Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS* | COOKING TIME 40 MINS | SERVES 5-6

*Plus 4-5 hours waiting time to marinate the chicken.

INGREDIENTS

For the Salad

  • 100g feta cheese
  • 2 cups chicken stock*
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 grapefruit, segmented
  • 1 orange, segmented
  • 1 packet (250g) rocket leaves

For the lemon & thyme roast whole chicken legs

  • 500g whole chicken legs, washed and cleaned
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 springs of fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Juice of 1 lemon

*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. Combine all the roast whole chicken leg ingredients in a large baking dish. Leave to marinate for about 4-5 hours. Preheat oven to 190C. Sprinkle the chicken legs with paprika and place the baking dish in the oven and roast chicken for about 40 minutes or until done.
  2. 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.
  3. Add the sliced avocado, feta cheese together with the herbed olive oil, grapefruit, orange, and rocket leaves into the large mixing bowl together with the quinoa. Give it a good toss until well combined.
  4. Transfer to a serving dish together with a piece of lemon and thyme roast chicken leg.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Quinoa, Avocado, & Grapefruit Salad with Lemon and Thyme Roast Chicken

Quinoa, Avocado, & Grapefruit Salad with Lemon and Thyme Roast Chicken

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

Roast Pork Crackling with Kale & Quinoa Salad

Roast Pork Crackling with Kale & Quinoa Salad

Hello Everyone! Can’t believe that it’s already the end of June! How time flies by much too fast. I’ve got just about a month left here in Sydney and then it’s quite possibly goodbye for a while. I wish I could stay, I really do, but it’s time for me to move on…

Sorry for the late post; I just got back home from a rather late dinner out with Amrita and Kevin. We had French Galettes and Crêpes in Randwick at Four Frogs Crêperie, exchanged conversations and laughs, and got up to a little mischief on our walk home. Basically Kevin managed to command Amrita to get into a shopping trolley that we found on our walk and pushed her down the street for a good 10 minutes or so I guess. He gave her a pretty rough ride by letting go on some occasions and leaving her in the middle of the road which made it all the more funny, especially Amrita’s priceless facial reactions.

Kale & Quinoa Salad

Anyway, besides that, this morning/afternoon I was in the kitchen making a lovely Kale and Quinoa Salad to go with my Roast Pork Belly Cracking. The crackling was no doubt well cooked; juicy, tender meat with a crackle to die for, paired with a chilli, garlic, lemon, soy sauce dip that made it all the more enjoyable. Of course, all that delicious but fatty belly needed to be paired with a light and healthy salad. I’ve never actually cooked quinoa before, but I have had quinoa at cafés. While I was cooking it, I could smell something burning, and at first I thought it was the quinoa because I could’ve sworn the smell was coming from the pot, and then I remembered my almonds. My poor almonds we’re slightly over-tanned on one side as I forgot that they were roasting in the oven.

Roast Pork Crackling Ingredients

Kale & Quinoa Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 24 HOURS* | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 3-4

*Includes time needed to set aside the pork belly in the fridge overnight to draw out extra moisture for a crispy crackling when roasted.

INGREDIENTS

For the pork belly crackling

  • 750g pork belly
  • 5-6 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more for rubbing
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • Oil for rubbing

For the dipping sauce

  • 4 tbsp dark or light soy sauce
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, slices
  • 1 lemon wedge, juiced

For the kale & quinoa salad

  • 150g organic quinoa
  • 50g roasted almonds, unsalted
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into small chunks
  • 1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Crumbled feta cheese
  • Ground salt and black pepper to season
  • Lemon juice

METHOD

  1. Pork Roast Prep: Score the skin with a very sharp knife. Place the meat in a large pot with water, salt, whole peppercorns, and bay leaves. Boil for about 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from the heat and drain, placing in a large bowl lined with a paper towel. Once the meat has cooled down, refrigerate uncovered for at least 24 hours. Refrigerating the meat will help to draw out any remaining moisture. Remove from the refrigerator and bring back to room temperature prior to roasting in the oven.
  2. Roast Pork Crackling: Preheat oven between 220-240C (425-475F or gas mark 7-9). Rub oil and plenty of salt into the scored skin, really getting it into the slits of the score marks. The fat under the skin will react to the salt and that is what makes the skin puff up and crisp up. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes and then bring the temperature down to 160C (325F or gas mark 3) and roast for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the meat rest for 20 minutes.
  3. Kale & Quinoa Salad: While the pork belly is roasting in the oven, blanch the chopped kale in hot salted water for about 4-5 minutes. Drain thoroughly. Add to a large serving bowl together with the roasted almonds and avocado chunks.
  4. Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the quinoa in and cook for about 15 minutes. Once done, drain thoroughly and add to the serving bowl. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Dress with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and about 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Mix around until well combined. Top with feta cheese.
  5. Dipping sauce: Add all the ingredients together in a small bowl and mix well.
  6. Serve for the family and/or friends and enjoy!

Roast Pork Crackling with Kale & Quinoa Salad

Roast Pork Crackling with Kale & Quinoa Salad

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Avocado & Roast Pumpkin, Kale Salad

Avocado & Roast Pumpkin, Kale Salad

Hello Everyone! Sorry for not getting this post up on Tuesday night (please forgive me) – it was quite a stressful day for me trying to get important things done. I hoped to have finished them by the evening so that I could move on and write this post for you, but it didn’t happen. Today I am a little bit more relaxed as I pretty much finished what I could do yesterday. So here is what was meant to go up for Tuesday’s post, today!

This recipe is one that started off a little bit more simpler than what you’ve seen above. It was one that I used to make a while back during my second year of University, and during that time avocados were not only in season, but cheap as well! I wanted to try out various recipes that used avocados and I came across a simple avocado and roast pumpkin mixed leaf salad. I would always pair it with marinated oven-baked chicken drumsticks or a whole chicken leg. I won’t post the marination recipe for our chicken on my blog as it’s a secret blend of ingredients that my mom came up with, but I mean, you can basically pair it with your own secret recipe or keep it simple with just the salad.

Avocado & Roast Pumpkin, Kale Salad

Over time I started to add a few extra ingredients here and there that I thought might jive well together in terms of flavour and texture. I added toasted walnuts, and then pomegranate seeds after I made the dish a few times with just the addition of the walnuts. There was also one time where our avocados were very overripe and basically couldn’t add it to the salad, and instead I added marinated feta cheese because that’s what I had in my fridge at the time that was sort of creamy in texture to substitute; of course flavour was no where near. Lastly, the supermarket didn’t have pre-bagged mixed leaf salad leaves so I had to go with what they did have on the shelves – kale! Quite a transformation from just an avocado and roast pumpkin mixed leaf salad to begin with I must say.

Avocado & Roast Pumpkin, Kale Salad Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 small avocados, peeled, pitted, and cut into small chunks
  • 1 bunch kale, stems and leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 medium-sized butternut pumpkin, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 large pomegranate, peeled and deseeded
  • Handful of walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
  • Marinated feta cheese
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Season the pumpkin with a bit of salt, ground pepper, and olive oil. Line a baking tray with foil and spread the pumpkin over the lined tray. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes or until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add in the kale and simmer for about 6-8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a serving plate.
  3. Top the kale with avocado, roasted pumpkin, feta, pomegranate seeds, and walnuts.
  4. Enjoy the salad as it is or as a side with your preferred choice of meat.

We had ours with Mama G’s Special Spicy Roast BBQ Whole Leg Chicken!

Avocado & Roast Pumpkin, Kale Salad with Roast Chicken

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Greek-inspired Barley Salad

Greek-inspired Barley Salad

Hello Everyone! I can’t believe that it’s already February, which means sad times ahead as I only have less than two week in this beautiful city I have been calling home for the past 4 years. I’m finding it difficult to wrap my head around the fact that once I leave, the possibility of coming back is unlikely. Yes I will be back for graduation, but after that it’s quite possible that it’s sayōnara for good.

So why am I starting off my blog post on this matter? Well it’s because leaving and knowing you won’t be back in a long time has me in this cleaning-up-the-pantry phase. I discovered that I have a tin of pearl barley in my pantry and so I wanted to make use of this. I came across a recipe on the Food Network for a Barley Greek Salad and decided to give this a try. I didn’t change much of the recipe besides the fact that I used balsamic vinegar instead of red wine vinegar only because I had about a quarter of a bottle left of balsamic. I didn’t want to buy a whole new bottle of red wine vinegar seeing as I didn’t have any (since my whole point is to clear the pantry)! I also decided to throw in some avocado chunks instead of cucumber because for those who know me, cucumber isn’t my thing.

Greek-inspired Barley Salad

Easy, simple, and packed with lots of flavour. Good for a light and healthy (I presume) lunch or as a side to a classic Aussie summer BBQ. The flavours worked really well together; you’ve got the saltiness from the olives, counterbalanced with the acidity of the balsamic vinegar. You’ve got the freshness of the added vegetables as well as the crunch from the diced capsicum, chewiness from the pearl barley, and creaminess of the avocado. Like fireworks in your mouth I tell you; an absolute burst of flavours to the palette!

Greek-inspired Barley Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 45 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1/2 cup danish feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1 avocado, pitted and cut into chunks
  • 1 punnet (250g) cherry tomato medley, quartered
  • 1 small red capsicum, seeded, ribs removed, and diced
  • 1 small red spanish onion, minced
  • 3 tbsp balsamic (or red wine) vinegar
  • 3 tbsp fresh mint leaves, torn
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of salt

METHOD

  1. Combine the barley, 3 cups water, and a pinch salt in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the barley is tender, approximately 45 minutes. Strain* and set aside to cool.
  2. Combine the tomatoes, feta, olives, mint, capsicum and shallots in a large bowl. Once the barley has cooled down, add it to the bowl. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together the balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a separate small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and dress the salad and toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. It’s best to make the barley salad at least 3 hours ahead of time so the flavours have time to incorporate and mingle into each other.

*Optional: when straining the barley, reserve the water for drinking. There are numerous health benefits associated to drinking barley water such as lowering cholesterol levels in the body because of its high fibre content. Barley water also helps reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes. It is a good source of magnesium, which reacts with various enzymes involving glucose levels in the body. To find out more about the health benefits of barley water, check out the Diet Health Club.

Greek-inspired Barley Salad

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com