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.
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.
PREP TIME 15 MINS| COOKING TIME 30 MINS| SERVES 12 MUFFINS
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
Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6). Line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until well risen and golden. Remove the muffins from the tins and serve immediately. Enjoy!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dipping sauce: Add all the ingredients together in a small bowl and mix well.
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.
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.
PREP TIME 15 MINS| COOKING TIME 20 MINS| SERVES 4
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
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.
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.
Top the kale with avocado, roasted pumpkin, feta, pomegranate seeds, and walnuts.
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!