Amcarmen's Kitchen: Auguest Rundown

Amcarmen’s Kitchen: Auguest Rundown

Hello Everyone! I just thought that I’d give an update regarding my Auguest series on Amcarmen’s Kitchen. The last I gave and introduction on this was back in 2015 and realised that the mechanics that I mentioned in that post is totally different on how I have been approaching Auguest for the past years.

Before I begin, let’s start off with a nutshell summary of what Auguest is really all about – other than the obvious spelling mistake. For starters, it’s not a spelling mistake. The funny thing is that since I started this ‘Auguest’ series, I’ve completely forgotten how to spell August the correct way. Every time I have to write or type August, my mind automatically inclines me to spell is as Auguest. So why Auguest? Basically, guest bloggers and/or foodies will be taking over Amcarmen’s Kitchen for the month of August – Au-guest.

Polvorón Pops (Popvoróns)™Polvorón Pops (Popvoróns) by Jialing Mew, ‘Back to your Roots’ Auguest 2015.

The idea for the series was based on a famous YouTube celebrity known as Tyler Oakley. If you don’t already know him, you can look him up on YouTube, especially his ‘Auguest’ collaboration videos. In a nutshell, he started something known as ‘Auguest’ back in 2013 where for everyday (maybe just weekdays I can’t remember) in August, he uploads collaborations with other well-known YouTubers. So therefore, my idea will be based on the concept of featuring other foodie friends and/or food bloggers and have them guest blog on Amcarmen’s Kitchen every year for the month of August.

So with saying that, I gather my foodie friends (both old and new faces) to submit their recipes based on the theme for the year, to share with everyone some new ideas and techniques that they may have. We all come from different parts of the world, so it’s good to see what can be made out of ingredients that we may not be familiar with! And that’s basically it.

Quinoa Black Bean TacosQuinoa Black Bean Tacos by Diandra Cappelut, ‘Yes Ve Gan!’ Auguest 2016.

Here are some frequently asked questions that have popped up over the years, and I’ll be sharing the answers with you (for those I have approached and/or for those who are interested on hopping onboard, for this year and the succeeding years to come) in case you have these questions floating on your mind as well:

FAQ #1: Do I need to have a (food) blog to be able to participate?

No you don’t! Many of the Auguesters that have been featured on Amcarmen’s Kitchen in the past do not have blogs. Though to qualify, you must at least have a passion for cooking and/or food. Creativity is also amiable.

FAQ #2: Are there any restrictions as to what I can cook?

There are no particular restrictions, as long as you stick to the theme for the year! You can cook up a savoury or sweet storm, for any meal of the day. The only time where restrictions may be applicable is if the theme itself is restrictive, i.e. for Yes Ve Gan! back in 2016, of course you won’t be able to cook with animals and their by-products, but other than that, you can let your creativity run wild! Also, try to avoid dishes that I’ve already covered on my blog, unless you’re going to do your own take on it.

FAQ #3: How many recipes will I need to submit?

Ideally, you will only need to submit ONE (1) recipe. However there are times where I may need you to submit two (2) just because of the number of participating Auguesters being less than what would allow me to feature at least two (2) recipes a week for Auguest. Don’t worry! If I need you to submit two recipes, I will inform you in advance to give you ample time to get your creative juices flowing and submit your recipes on time.

Blueberry Cheesecake Tarts (Gluten Free)Blueberry Cheesecake Tarts (Gluten Free) by Simon Swaddling, ‘Blood Pressure Friendly’ Auguest 2017.

FAQ #4: How will I know when my recipe will be posted?

A month before August creeps up on us, I’ll inform you of when I have scheduled your recipe to be uploaded on Amcarmen’s Kitchen. You may also request when you’d prefer your recipe to be uploaded, provided that no one else has already claimed that specific date (the very last day is always reserved/taken by my very best friend). Just make sure to inform me ahead of time. Also note that during this time, my upload schedules will only be every Wednesday & Sunday.

FAQ #5: When do I need to submit my recipe?

You may send it in as soon as you are done – this can be a month before, or at the very least, a week before your recipe is due to be posted. Of course, the earlier the better! This is to give me time to proofread your write up and edit your photographs.

FAQ #6: How many photographs of the final dish do I need to submit?

There is no limit to how many photographs you will need to submit, however I may filter through them and possibly choose a maximum of five (5) to post. Consider sending in your best ones! Also please take note on the file size of your photographs – nothing less than 2MB or pixel width of 1000. Make sure your photographs are well lit and not blurry. You don’t have to do a methodical step-by-step photo guide, just a photo of the ingredients used to make your dish and different angles/orientations of the final outcome. You may also do a before/after shot if applicable.

Salmon Fish Cakes with Oven-baked EggsSalmon Fish Cakes with Oven-baked Eggs by Shazrinah Shazali, ‘Sweet & Savoury Breakfast’ Auguest 2018.

Of course if you have any other lingering questions on your mind, please do not hesitate to drop me an email at amcarmenskitchen@gmail.com and I’ll be more than glad to answer them for you!

Here’s a guideline of things you will need to include in your write up (besides the recipe of course):

  • Introduction to yourself (this may include a brief insight into your personal life, and most importantly, how you got into cooking and food, if you are a returning guest foodie, then you may wish to cover how you’ve grown over the past year)
  • How you know me (if this is your first time to guest on Amcarmen’s Kitchen)
  • Introduction to your featured dish (this may include information on your selected hero ingredient, the history of the recipe if applicable, etc.)
  • Indicate prep time, cook time, and number of servings
  • Ingredients
  • Method
  • Conclusion

And here’s a list of things you will need to submit altogether:

  • Blog post write up
  • Photographs of your dishes (at least one of the photographs must be in portrait orientation for the purpose of IG stories)
  • A picture of yourself (for the purpose of IG stories)
  • Your full name (first and last will suffice, for the purpose of IG stories)
  • Your blog website and/or IG handle

Sò Lông Nướng Mỡ Hành (Grilled Mussels with Buttered Green Onions)Sò Lông Nướng Mỡ Hành (Grilled Mussels with Buttered Green Onions) by Marissa Mai, ‘Back to your Roots’ Auguest 2015.

Feel free to also share on your blogs and/or social media pages when your recipe has gone live. Please also remind me to send you a bit.ly link to your post for sharing purposes.

So before I end, I realised I’ve said creativity a number of times in the FAQ. Here are a few things to note on what I mean by ‘creativity’:

  • In terms of the recipe itself, don’t just straight up copy someone else’s. If you’re tackling a classic, then go beyond it by adding your own twist to it!
  • In terms of execution, challenge yourself! Work with ingredients that you’ve never worked with before. Be experimentive and create unlikely food pairings or fusions of cuisines!
  • In terms of plating, don’t just plop it all on the first plate you see. Of course I don’t expect you to be a plating genius, but do consider the type of plate you need to use, the colour, size, etc. that will best represent your dish. Also consider how each element will look like on the plate!

Raw Nutty Orange & Blueberry Vegan 'Cheesecake'Raw Nutty Orange & Blueberry Vegan ‘Cheesecake’ by Wong Miao Hui, ‘Yes Ve Gan!’ Auguest 2016.

I hope this guide to my Auguest series has been helpful, especially to those who are new to it and to those who want to hop onboard! I’m excited to see what’s in store for the upcoming Auguest series!

Cheers!

– Ally xx

Poached Pears with Chocolate Chia Mousse

Hello! I’m Jialing and I will be taking over Amcarmen’s Kitchen for today. I will confess that today’s blog was very close to being a two-step tutorial on how to boil a cup of water and make tea – the only semi-regular dietary part of my life that does not involve any animal by-products.

As someone who has clearly only ever eaten vegan food a handful of times (I genuinely thought that the vegan theme was intended as a joke when I first agreed to do a recipe), I found this year’s Auguest theme to be a punishment. I mean challenge. I ended up ransacking my own pantry and refrigerator for inspiration, confirming with Allison and Google about what ingredients could and couldn’t be used by vegans. What seems like day later, I emerged triumphant – pears, wine, cocoa powder, and a questionable bag of chia seeds (waste not, want not…) sat atop my counter, ready for the arduous vegan road ahead.

Now, onto the recipe, poetically inspired by the very essential act of boiling water.

Poached Pears with Chocolate Chia Mousse Ingredients

PREP TIME min. 24 HOURS* | COOKING TIME 40 MINS | SERVES 4

*The chocolate chia mousse will need to be prepared the day before to allow chia seeds time to soak

INGREDIENTS

For the chocolate chia mousse

  • 1 & 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp 100% pure maple syrup**
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Strawberries for garnish

For the poached pears

  • 4 buerre bosc pears, peeled
  • 1/2 bottle moscato or other sweet dessert wine***
  • 3 tbsp 100% pure maple syrup**
  • 3 star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tsp cloves
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Water

**Maple-flavoured syrup isn’t vegan, so be sure to check the label!
***Find your fave vegan wines here http://www.barnivore.com/wine

METHOD

  1. Chocolate Chia Mousse: Prepare the chocolate chia mousse the day before, to allow chia seeds time to soak. Combine the cocoa powder, vanilla, and maple syrup, stirring until well mixed.
  2. Slowly pour in almond milk, stirring until mixture is smooth. Add chia seeds and stir until well-incoporated. Leave in fridge to soak overnight, stirring mixture once in between.
  3. Once the chia seeds have fully absorbed the liquid, they will increase significantly in size and have a gelatinous texture. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth and creamy. Tip: leave the chia mixture unblended and top with fresh fruit and desiccated coconut as a healthy and envy-worthy breakfast.
  4. Poached Pears: In a sauce pot large and deep enough to hold pears, combine wine, maple syrup, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, nutmeg, and just enough water to cover pears.
  5. Bring the wine and spices to the boil over high heat.
  6. Add the pears, positioning them so that they are completely submerged, and continue to boil for another 25 minutes, until pears are cooked through and tender. Be sure to turn pears for even cooking, particularly when liquid gets low, keeping in mind that the bottoms of the pears will take longer to cook than the tops.
  7. Once pears are cooked, remove from the pot, reserving the syrup, and set aside to cool.
  8. Carefully simmer remaining syrup until reduced to about 1/2 cup.
  9. To serve, divide mousse into small bowls or stemless glasses and garnish with sliced strawberries. Place a pear on each plate, next to the mousse. Drizzle the pear with syrup. Enjoy!

Poached Pears with Chocolate Chia Mousse

Recipe Copyright © 2016 | jialingmew

ENJOY YOUR MEAL!

Jialing.

myTaste.com

Auguest 2016: Brendon D'Souza

Spinach, Broccoli & Thai Green Curry Soup

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

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

Spinach, Broccoli & Thai Green Curry Soup Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

For the green curry paste

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

For the soup

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

METHOD

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

Spinach, Broccoli & Thai Green Curry Soup

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

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

Instagram: @brendonthesmilingchef/ @my_omd_and_me
SnapChat: bthesmilingchef
Facebook: brendonthesmilingchef
Twitter: bthesmilingchef

Recipe Copyright © 2016 | brendonthesmilingchef

Happy cooking and keep smiling,

Brendon D’Souza:)

myTaste.com

Auguest 2016: Wong Miao Hui

Raw Nutty Orange & Blueberry Vegan ‘Cheesecake’

The perfect vegan dessert for your next dinner party.

Hey there! My name is Miao, pronounced “Meow” and I am currently located in Singapore. I’ve known the lovely Allison for a good 12 years now, perhaps for even longer! We attended the same high school back in Brunei. A few years went by before we recently got in contact again, and this time we had more in common than ever before­ – the both of us had branched from loving food, to loving to cook food during our years of studying abroad. Our enthusiasm was shared over social media and it was agreed that we had to, had to, collaborate in hosting a dinner party the very next time we stood on common soil.

Dinner parties are great! They indulge our senses through so many different factors; from the atmospheric music playing in the background, the vibrant and dramatic display of what’s being served, to the tantalising aroma of something sizzling, something roasted, something seasoned in the air. In every way, a dinner party is an experience of art, as a guest you are inclined to explore the texture of your dish and savour the flavours, forming an opinion that’ll later be added to the table’s conversation. For people who love to cook, a dinner party is an exciting show to curate.

I’ve hosted a few dinner parties since the start of my time in Singapore, and every time it’s been the perfect way to rekindle old friendships, create new memories, and to sprout conversations between acquaintances. Well what’s a dinner party without its guests? Allison and I rounded up a few other pals from our high-school days along with a few foodies I’ve grown to love in Singapore.

One seat at the table was reserved for our vegan friend, adding a little variety to the collective diet. Accommodating to a vegan was completely new to me, the savoury vegan recipes weren’t all that hard to comprehend, but because I specialise in baking cakes, deciding what to create for dessert took a little more time for consideration. We made an array of dishes for the mains, including both vegan approved recipes and recipes with meat, while trying as much as possible to have everyone enjoy similar flavours. The dessert was to mark the finale of the show, and it only seemed appropriate to have everyone leave with the same experience and same lingering flavour in their mouth.

Well, after some time browsing through recipes online, I realised just how darn easy vegan desserts are to make! And they can still be just as rich and indulgent as desserts with animal products – like the vegan ‘cheesecake’ I’m about to introduce. Now I sit here still thinking how I wasn’t introduced to vegan desserts any earlier; they’re healthier, somewhat more refreshing and require less cleaning up. So without further ado, here is the perfect dessert recipe for your next dinner party with or without your vegan buddies.

Raw Nutty Orange & Blueberry Vegan 'Cheesecake'

PREP TIME 15-20 MINS | FREEZE TIME min. 12 HOURS | SERVES 8

INGREDIENTS

For the nutty crust 

  • 2 cups raw nuts
  • 1/2 cup medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • Pinch of salt

For the orange ‘cheesecake’

  • 3 cups cashews
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup agave or maple syrup
  • Orange zest from all the juiced oranges
  • Pinch of salt

For the blueberry layer

  • 2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup of the orange ‘cheesecake’ mixture

METHOD

  1. To make the crust: Process all ingredients for the crust in a food processor, until the nuts become crumbs and the mixture sticks together when you press it. Press into the bottom of an 8 inch spring-form pan to form the first layer of your cake. Leave in the fridge to chill.
  2. To make the orange cheesecake layer: Excluding the orange zest, blend all other ingredients in your blender at high-speed until very smooth, then with a spoon add in the orange zest to taste. Take out 1/4 cup of the mixture for the blueberry layer, pour the remaining mixture onto the chilled crust and then leave it in the freezer.
  3. To make the blueberry layer: Simply blend the blueberries and the 1/4 cup of cheesecake mixture with your food processor. Spread this evenly over your cheesecake and keep it in the freezer or fridge overnight. I prefer keeping it in the freezer as I live in a tropical climate and it only takes 15 minutes for the cake to soften for serving.
  4. You can serve the cake with blueberries or sliced oranges for that additional wow factor.

Raw Nutty Orange & Blueberry Vegan 'Cheesecake'

Raw Nutty Orange & Blueberry Vegan 'Cheesecake'

Recipe Copyright © 2016 | misohui

Enjoy!

Miao.

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

Auguest 2016: An Introduction

Hello Everyone! I can’t believe the months are creeping up so fast; in 4 months time it’ll be Christmas and then 2017! Before I dive into today’s post, I would just like to apologise to my followers and readers for not updating my blog last month. If I hadn’t already mentioned in my previous post from June, I’m currently and still in the Philippines and for the first part of my trip, Internet connection hasn’t been great – and well, kind of non-existent to be honest, and hence why I haven’t been able to update my blog for the month of July. I did however promise you guys content for August, and here it is!

August is now here and for those of you who don’t know, August is guest bloggers/foodies month on Amcarmen’s Kitchen, hence also known as Auguest. For those of you who are just tuning into my blog, last year I started this as a way to get in touch with other food bloggers/foodies as well as a great opportunity to network and produce some really cool content for our blogs/websites. Last year’s theme was based on preparing dishes from your roots. A few of my guests took traditional recipes and put their own twist to them while others took street food to another level. Also, if you want to read up on how this annual series of mine started, click here.

This year’s theme for Auguest is Yes Ve Gan! I thought of this theme back in March when I visited Singapore for about a week. I contacted a friend of mine from high school and asked if she wanted to cook together and host a small dinner party after our kitchen adventures. We invited a friend over who is a vegan and so our menu that night revolved around cooking food that was vegan. We made a spiced cauliflower soup for entrée, wholewheat spaghetti with a sage and butternut squash sauce, and finally, my friend made a blueberry and citrus no-bake vegan cheesecake which will be featured on Amcarmen’s Kitchen. It was a delicious was to end a vegan feast and I’m sure everyone will enjoy it as much as we all did that night.

Of course that’s not the entire reason why I decided to revolve the theme around vegan eats, but is also an effective way to educated those that by going vegan, it protects animals, the environment, and your health. I hope that I do not get bashed on my blog for saying this but not actually be a vegan or vegetarian myself – and I will say this now and openly admit that I do not see myself going vegetarian or vegan anytime soon. For now, I’ll just have to see where my food journey will take me. Next week we’ll be welcoming Diandra on Amcarmen’s Kitchen so stay tuned and make her feel welcome 🙂

Cheers!

– Ally xx