Dragon & Lychee Pork

Dragon & Lychee Pork

Hello Everyone! It’s insane just thinking about how we’re already three-quarters of the way through the middle of the year! Have you achieved some of the things on your New Year’s Resolution that you set out at the beginning of the year? I personally don’t make resolutions, only because I never end up ticking off the things I set out to do, or I stop doing them after the first month. Exercise more? Sure. Goes on a morning run for a week, then decides sleeping in is way better than going for a run!

Instead of making resolutions, I set a motto to live by for the year. I entered the year with a few challenges that I brought in with me from 2018, and I said that with these, and the challenges ahead for 2019, that whatever happens, happens. I’ll tackle every challenge and obstacle with a go with the flow mindset. With that being said, before I leap into that mindset, I still have to be proactive in finding solutions to the challenges I face; it’s more of applying this motto to whatever the result may be, positive or negative. I can safely say that this mindset has helped me in overcoming a bulk of my challenges that I brought in from 2018; thankfully positive in its own way. It may not have turned out as I had originally planned in the timeframe I gave myself – but in the end, I got there with Plan B.

Dragon & Lychee Pork

Alas, tangent aside, before we move on to the recipe for tonight, please go and check out the original recipe by Chun Rong over on XLBCR: Singapore Food & Travel Guide Blog. I guess you could say that my dish is nowhere as near as Chun Rong’s dish – in terms of look, but I can assure you that taste-wise, it definitely hit the mark. This Dragon & Lychee Pork dish is similar to the infamous and very much loved Classic Sweet and Sour Pork.

The dish itself was to die for – succulent and crispy pork paired with a sticky sweet sauce? Yes please. However, there was one thing about the dish that played tricks with my mind – and I guess this is something that only Filipinos will understand. The dish – because of its colours – reminded me of binagoongan, and because of this, with every mouthful that I took, I expected a pop of salty flavours to dance in my mouth. So in my head, I thought that this was just a very badly seasoned binagoongan dish. I had to keep telling myself that it’s not meant to be salty!

Dragon & Lychee Pork Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 45 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

For the pork marinade

  • 500g pork belly (liempo), cut into thick chunks
  • 1 large free-range egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

For the sauce

  • 3/4 cup dragon fruit and lychee jam*
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar

To garnish

  • Chopped scallions
  • Sesame seeds

To serve with

  • Garlic fried rice
  • Blanched okra

*For the dragon fruit and lychee jam (Recipe adapted from Linda’s Cravings)

  • 1 medium-sized dragon fruit (about 600g in weight), cut into chunks
  • 1 can (255g) lychees in syrup, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Lemon rind

Dragon & Lychee Pork

METHOD

  1. Dragon Fruit & Lychee Jam: Add the dragon fruit, lemon rind, lemon juice, and sugar in a medium-sized sauce pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. While boiling, press down on the lemon rind to extract its natural pectin. Turn the heat down to medium and continue to simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes or when the mixture has thickened. Add the lychees in at the last 20 minutes or so. When done, remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Dragon Fruit & Lychee Sauce: Mix 3/4 cup of the dragon fruit and lychee jam together with the water, sugar, and white vinegar. Set aside.

Tip: If you have any leftover jam left, transfer to a sterilised glass jar and seal. Great on wholemeal toast with ricotta cheese for a delectable breakfast. Just be sure to consume the jam within 2 weeks.

  1. Fried Pork: In a large mixing bowl, marinate the pork chunks in soy sauce, sesame oil, and egg. Set aside in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to half an hour. Add in the cornstarch to mix, just before frying. You may opt to deep or shallow fry the pork – I personally don’t like deep frying so I opted for the latter. Of course cooking times will vary.
  2. If shallow frying, add about 3 tablespoons of cooking oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Lay the pork chunks into the frying pan and fry until golden brown and crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. You may or may not have to work in batches for this. Once done, remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Dragon and Lychee Pork: In the same frying pan, discard any excess oil. Over medium low heat, add the dragon fruit and lychee sauce. Taste and adjust first according to your liking. Add the fried pork, lightly tossing and coating the sauce over and then you’re done!
  4. Transfer to a serving plate, or serve in the casing of a hollowed out dragon fruit half. Garnish with chopped scallions, sesame seeds, and diced dragon fruit.
  5. Serve with garlicky fried rice and blanched okra for a full meal. Enjoy!

Dragon & Lychee Pork

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

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Dragon-flamed Tuna Belly with Fiery Dragon Fruit Salsa

Dragon-flamed Tuna Belly with Fiery Dragon Fruit Salsa

Hello Everyone! I know I made it sound like I’d be gone for a while over on my IG stories last month, but I’m back feeling inspired and motivated to push through the year with fun recipes that I have been putting together during my short hiatus for Amcarmen’s Kitchen.

For the month of June I’ll be featuring one of my favourite fruits of all time – Pitaya or also known more commonly in English as Dragon Fruit, more specifically the red-fleshed variety. The name ‘Dragon Fruit’ was derived from the overall exterior aesthetic of the fruit, which has a leather-like skin and prominent scaly spikes. Pitaya (or pitahaya) is the name derived from Mexico, which refers to the name of tall cacti species with flowering fruits.

Fiery Dragon Fruit Salsa

Dragon Fruits grow on long, thin, and vining cactuses (yes, this is also a valid pluralisation of the word cactus). On the outside, Red Dragon Fruits look almost identical to the white-fleshed variety. The pulp of a Dragon Fruit has a texture that is similar to a kiwi, with small and black edible seeds throughout. Red Dragon Fruits are sweet, but not as sweet as the white-flesh variety, and has a mild acidity to it. In addition, these fruits pack a lot of nutrients that are beneficial for our health. They are low in calories and are a good source of iron, magnesium, and vitamins C & E. Dragon Fruits also contain prebiotics, which helps promote the growth of healthy bacteria and potentially improve the balance of them in your gut.

Dragon-flamed Tuna Belly with Fiery Dragon Fruit Salsa

Tonight, I’ll be whipping up an easy one for y’all. The recipe title may sound intimidating, but it’s really all “just for fancy show” to draw creative links between the fruit itself, and Dragons. Read below for further details on coming up with the name for this dish. This salsa recipe can be modified based on the availability of seasonal ingredients and what you have readily available in your pantry. So feel free to get creative here! You may also substitute the dragon fruit for kiwi, mango, nectarines, or peaches. Just make sure to use a firm and barely ripe fruit so that it will hold its shape in the salsa.

Fiery Dragon Fruit Salsa Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 kg fresh tuna belly slab, washed and pat-dried
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season

For the salsa

  • 1 small dragon fruit, diced*
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli, seeds in and minced
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Handful of finely chopped basil leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

*The grocer that I bought them from only had gigantic dragon fruits, where the one I bought and pictured for this recipe was about 800g! In this case, I only used half of the fruit for the recipe.

METHOD

Breaking down a dragon fruit may look intimidating, but it really is quite simple.

  1. Fiery Dragon Fruit Salsa: Slice the fruit in half lengthwise and spoon around the outer edge of the fruit to scoop out the flesh. Dice and place in a medium-sized mixing bowl together with the minced onion, chillies, basil leaves, vinegar, and olive oil. Stir to combine and season to taste. Set aside in the fridge for the flavours to infuse and chill.
  2. Dragon-flamed Tuna Belly: Rub the tuna belly with olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Dracarys.

If you don’t understand step #3, then skip ahead to step #4 (also, this means we can’t be friends… Just kidding! *cheeky grin*)

  1. Flame-grill on lightly greased grates over hot coals for about 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Feel free to adjust grilling time depending on how you like your tuna to be cooked.
  2. Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving plate. Serve hot with the Dragon Fruit Salsa and a salad for a complete meal. Enjoy!

Dragon-flamed Tuna Belly with Fiery Dragon Fruit Salsa

Just before I wrap things up with tonight’s post, I just wanted to mention that the featured recipe is actually a mash-up of ideas between a friend and myself. I already had the choice of fruit in mind that I wanted to work with for the month and what to make of it to pair with a beautiful slab of tuna belly. He suggested that I cut the fruit in half, scoop out its flesh, chop it up, and serve it in its skin/casing. I mentioned that I already had the idea to make a fiery (spicy) Dragon Fruit Salsa to go with the tuna belly, to which I said I could take his idea of serving the salsa in the dragon fruit skin. In the end I put that idea aside just because there wasn’t much contrast with the colours of the salsa and the dragon fruit skin. Nonetheless, I’ll keep this idea for another dish!

In addition, while exchanging ideas, I mentioned that I thought of grilling the tuna belly, to which he suggested to play with the idea of ‘dragon’ in the name of the dish and hence Dragon-flamed Tuna Belly. It is still essentially flame-grilled tuna belly but Dragon-flamed sounded way more cool.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Thai-style Pineapple Fried Rice

Thai-style Pineapple Fried Rice

Hello Everyone! Oh how it has been one heck of a super hectic and stressful week! So hectic that even until today I haven’t had the time to sit down and watch the second episode of the final season of Game of Thrones! *gasp* With that being said, I do have an important announcement to make which you can read about at the end of this post.

Moving on, we’re on our last Pineapple recipe for the month! How crazy is that?! It’ll be May already next week, and in another blink of an eye, we’ll be at the halfway mark of the year! Tonight I’ll be sharing a recipe that I first tried during my travels to Thailand – now I’ve been there a couple of times already so I can’t remember when exactly was the first time I had it there, whether 6, 10, or 15 years ago.

Cooking fried rice is fun as it is super quick to make and it allows you to get creative with the choice of proteins and vegetables that go into the mix. It can easily be a sort of clean-out-the-fridge. The end result, a tasty and satisfying weeknight meal to eat!

Thai-style Pineapple Fried Rice

Thai-style Pineapple Fried Rice is a refreshing twist to a classic/normal fried rice. It is one of Thailand’s signature dishes, It is often platted in a carved-out pineapple bowl to make it, not only delectable, but even more gorgeous to look at! The slightly tangy and sweet taste of the fresh pineapple is so enticing and the combination of spices just takes it up a notch. Not only that, it is so much cheaper and healthier than take-out fried rice.

Feel free to get creative and use your favourite kind of protein in this dish, i.e. ham, chicken, pork, or prawns. You may even keep it vegetarian with just the pineapple or bulk it up with tofu! Of course, don’t forget to switch out the fish sauce with salt if you’re going vegetarian with the dish. The version that I will be sharing with you guys tonight is pescatarian-friendly. It’s a true crowd-pleaser and is sure to be a hit at the table.

Thai-style Pineapple Fried Rice Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 to 4 cups cooked rice (preferably several days old)
  • 1 fresh, almost ripe pineapple (see method below on how to prepare)
  • 250g prawns, shelled with the tails left on and deveined
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large free range egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup frozen mixed vegetables (green peas, carrots, and corn kernels, thawed)
  • 1/4 cup roasted cashews or peanuts
  • 1 sprig afro parsley

For the sauce

  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp Thai curry powder (or regular yellow curry powder)
  • 1/2 tsp white granulated sugar

METHOD

  1. Preparing the Pineapple: Cut the pineapple lengthwise, crown included.
  2. Take one half of the pineapple and run a sharp knife around the border of the pineapple. Make sure to leave a couple of centimeteres from the edge for a firm border.
  3. Slice the pineapple into large cubes and then carve out the flesh. Repeat for the other half of the pineapple.
  4. Cut the carved out pineapple cubed into smaller bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  5. Dry out the carved out pineapple bowls in the oven at 160C (320F or gas mark 2) for about 3-5 minutes.
  6. Fried Rice: If using old rice, oil your fingers with about a tablespoon of cooking oil and work your way through the rice with you hands. Separate any chunks back into grains and then set aside.
  7. Combine the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve the curry powder and sugar, and then set aside.
  8. Heat a wok or a large frying pan over medium high. Add about 2 tablespoons of cooking oil and swirl around. Add the minced garlic and sauté until golden brown and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the sliced chillies and diced onions. Cook for a further minute.
  9. Add in the prawns and stir-fry until they turn pink and plump, about 2 to 3 minutes. Push the ingredients to the side of the wok/pan and then pour in the lightly beaten egg. Quickly stir the egg to cook (like scrambled eggs).
  10. Now add in the rice, pineapple chunks, and thawed mixed vegetables. Drizzle the sauce mixture over the rice and gently stir-fry to combine all the ingredients together. You want to be able to hear the rice “dance” (make popping sounds) as it fries for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  11. As it cooks, taste and adjust the flavours to you liking, i.e. if it needs more salt, add more fish sauce. Towards the end of the cooking time, add in the roasted cashews or peanuts.
  12. Remove from the heat and serve into your prepared pineapple bowls. Top with the prawns, fresh chillies, and afro parsley. Serve and enjoy!

Thai-style Pineapple Fried Rice

So yes, here’s the important update/notice I mentioned at the beginning of this post. I’m going to be taking a month off from Amcarmen’s Kitchen to plan better content for the upcoming months ahead. It has been quite a hectic month for me, as we’ll be moving houses this week. Thus, I haven’t had the time to really sit down and plan out dishes in advance for the month of May. Having said that, once we’ve settled into the new house by the end of the week, I can assure you that I will head straight back into planning and will be back again in June!

For now, TTFN – ta ta for now!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Auguest 2018: Shazrinah Shazali

Mini Mixed Berry Pancakes

ShefShaz is back again on Amcarmen’s Kitchen and this time I will be sharing a sweet breakfast option for those who love to start their day off on a sweet note – Mini Mixed Berry Pancakes served with Earl Grey Ice Cream and Fresh Fruit.

Mini Mixed Berry Pancakes

Before we dive into the recipe, if you missed my guest post a few days ago, I whipped up some delicious homemade Salmon Fish Cakes for the savoury breakfast eaters! You can also read more about my approach to food and how I know Ally.

Mini Mixed Berry Pancakes Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | MAKES 24 MINI PANCAKES*

*Or 12 regular-sized pancakes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 & 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 & 1/4 cups skimmed milk
  • 57g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • Frozen mixed berries, or any other kind of fruits

To serve

  • Digestive biscuits, crushed
  • Earl Grey ice cream*
  • Fresh fruits
  • Icing sugar
  • Lemon slices (for a kick of tang)

*Or any other flavoured ice cream that tickles your fancy.

Mini Mixed Berry Pancakes

Mini Mixed Berry Pancakes

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Grease a 24-hole mini cupcake tray with a bit of butter to prevent the pancake batter from sticking to the tray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together until you have a smooth and creamy mixture.
  3. Sift in the dry ingredients and gently fold until just combined. Leave the mixture to rest for about 10 minutes to allow the baking powder to work its magic.
  4. Pour the batter into the tray, filling about 3/4 of the way and drop in your frozen mixed berries on top.
  5. Bake in the oven from about 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the pancake comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool down for about 5 minutes. Lightly dust with icing sugar and serve with ice cream, crushed digestive biscuits, and fresh fruit of your choice. Enjoy!

Mini Mixed Berry Pancakes

Mini Mixed Berry Pancakes

Before I end, I would like to thank Ally for giving me the opportunity to cook and write for her blog. We had a lot of fun during our cookout session – both the cooking and feeding our dishes to many tummies!

Recipe Copyright © 2018 | shefshaz

BON APPÉTIT

– ShefShaz

myTaste.com

Honey Lime Rainbow Fruit & Quinoa Salad

Honey Lime Rainbow Fruit & Quinoa Salad

Hello Everyone! I can’t believe the month is going by in the blink of an eye! It’s already the third week of Cooking with Quinoa and I’ve got another colourful recipe to share with y’all. I’ll keep tonight’s post short as I’ve got nothing much to tell really – other than the fact that it was a slow day at work today, and has been for the second half of last week up until today. Tomorrow may be another slow day and I guess it will be like this for a while until another event creeps up on me. Even though there’s not much to do, I’m still slowly preparing the things that I need to deliver for January’s event so that I won’t find myself stressing out and doing things last minute a month before the event. At least I can enjoy my Christmas and New Years when it comes.

All that aside, if you’re obsessed with fresh fruit, then this is a dish you’d want to whip up as an easy pre and/or post workout meal. This salad is also very versatile in a sense that you can easily mix and match fruit combinations depending on what you like and what fruits are in season. The original recipe can be found over on The Recipe Critic: Tried and True.

Honey Lime Rainbow Fruit & Quinoa Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

For the salad

  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup tri-colour quinoa, uncooked
  • 1 large orange, peeled and segmented
  • 1 punnet (125g) blueberries
  • 1 punnet (125g) strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1/2 pineapple, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks

For the honey lime glaze

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

METHOD

  1. Rinse the quinoa before combining it with 2 cups of room temperature water in a medium-sized pot. Turn the heat up to high and bring the quinoa to a boil. Once boiling, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and then set aside to cool. Note: Quinoa holds lots of water, so you have to make sure you drain it thoroughly after it’s cooked.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the honey and lime juice in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Add all the fruits into a large mixing bowl together with the cooked and cool quinoa. Mix until well combined.
  4. Transfer to a serving dish with the spinach leaves and then drizzled with the honey lime glaze. Serve as a healthy morning or afternoon snack, pre or post gym workout. Enjoy!

Honey Lime Rainbow Fruit & Quinoa Salad

Honey Lime Rainbow Fruit & Quinoa Salad

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

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

Pink Grapefruit Lemonade

Hello Everyone! It’s the last of Juicy January and I’ve got a nice, refreshing drink for you that you can also add a little twist if you want something naughty for all that healthy juicing you’ve (I’ve) been doing for the past month. It was just a normal Sunday morning when I went grocery shopping with my Mom and sister. I saw these lovely, plump, fresh grapefruits on the shelves and Schweppes’ Apple & Pink Grapefruit Mineral Water that I always, or well, most of the time, had in my fridge when I was still studying in Australia, came into mind. So I grabbed these fruits, some lemons, and mint, and decided that I was going to make a Pink Grapefruit Lemonade. When I got around to making them, I realised that I had some strawberries in the fridge that were on the verge of becoming overripe, and so I decided to slice them up and add them to the drink as well.

Grapefruits vary in hue from white or yellow to pink and red and can range in taste from very acidic and even bitter to sweet and sugary. Grapefruits are low in calories but are full of nutrients, and are an excellent source of vitamins A and C. These fruits support clear, healthy skin, can help to lower our risk for many diseases and conditions, and may even help with weight loss as part of an overall healthy and varied diet. To read into more details on how, for example, grapefruits can aid in weight loss, click here.

Pink Grapefruit Lemonade

Mix the juice of one grapefruit together with the juice of a lemon and you’ve got yourself and juice that’s rich in many nourishing elements like vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin E,  copper,  calcium, iron,  magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, protein, and the list goes on. The health benefits of lemons include the treatment of throat infections, indigestion, constipation, dental problems, and fever, internal bleeding, and high blood pressure, while it also benefits hair and skin care. They also help to strengthen your immune system, cleanse your stomach, and it is considered a blood purifier.

Throw in some roughly chopped mint leaves for a fresh, aromatic, sweet flavor with a cool aftertaste. If you happen to have strawberries in your fridge too, or if you actually bought them to try this out, throw them in too for an extra added nutrients and antioxidants, offering a wide range of health benefits that may surprise you – click here for more information.

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 650ml cold water
  • 1 punnet (125g) fresh strawberries, sliced thinly
  • 1 large grapefruit, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1 large lemon, juice squeezed
  • 1/2 bunch of mint, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 tbsp white sugar

Optional:

  • 2-3 tbsp white rum

METHOD

  1. Add the white sugar and boiling water to a large pitcher. Stir until the sugar has full dissolved.
  2. Add the lemon juice together with the cold water, mint leaves, sliced strawberries.
  3. Juice the grapefruit using an electric juicer and then pour into the pitcher. Give it a good stir.

Pink Grapefruit Lemonade

If you’re feeling a little bit cheeky, throw in a few tablespoons of coconut rum (that was the only thing I had available at that time) or just plain white rum, tequila, or vodka – whatever tickles your fancy that is! 🙂 Enjoy and happy juicing!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Cucumber, Green Apple, & Kiwi Juice

Hello Everyone! Before I begin, I just wanted to take this opportunity to say (before I forget that is), that I am not a huge fan of cucumber. Why am I saying this? Well, it’s only because I realised that I posted a recipe last week with cucumber in it and I didn’t mention about this love/hate relationship that I have with cucumber. I actually paused for a bit there when I was trying to decide whether love/hate was the right choice of words – because it’s more hate and not even an ounce of love. I can’t exactly put my finger on why I’m not all that about cucumber, I just know that if I see it on my plate, I won’t touch it. I don’t know if it’s taste, or texture, or whatever else there is to it. I just don’t like it. However, I do realise that when it is cut up quite small and finely, and it is mixed with other foods, then I’ll eat it, but only because I’m too lazy to pick them out one by one *cheeky grin* Yes, so after all that, I still wonder why I’d drink a juice with cucumber in it. Well, I can’t exactly answer that question myself to be honest.

Cucumber, Green Apple, & Kiwi Juice

This combination of Apple + Cucumber + Kiwi helps improve skin complexion. However, after doing some research, I’m pretty sure that this combination of fruits and veggies help in many more ways that just keeping us from ageing:

In my previous post, I mentioned that cucumbers are beneficial in helping one to avoid nutrient deficiencies, especially those that are accustomed to eating a typical American diet. In addition, cucumbers contain an extraordinary amount of naturally purified water and therefore contains a higher quality of water content than that of ordinary water. It is no wonder that cucumbers should be eaten all year long. Yeah – even after all that research and knowing how good cucumber actually is for my health, it’s still a no, with the exception for this juice recipe and the previous one I guess.

Aside from the health benefits of cucumber, pair it with a kiwi or two and you’ve got your hit of vitamin C and E. It is known that two medium-sized kiwis contain a whopping amount of vitamin C (boosting up to about 230% more than the daily recommended about of vitamin C intake), that aids in boosting our immune system, fights the stress away, and helps protect our skin from ageing. It also promotes wound healing and iron absorption for healthy bones, blood vessels, and teeth. Besides the C, there’s also the E which, a kiwi carries a rare and fat-free form of it. This is a potent antioxidant said to help lower cholesterol and boost immunity. I could write a whole essay on the health benefits of kiwis as the list goes on – but I won’t *cheeky grin*

Lastly, we all know the saying “an apple a day drives the doctor away” – but what does it really mean? Well, apples are extremely rich in important antioxidants, flavanoids, and dietary fibre, and therefore may help reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. I mean, I guess that pretty much says it all doesn’t it? The list of benefits continue on! And here are 15 health benefits of apples.

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large green apple, quartered and cored
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and cut into thirds
  • 1 kiwi, peeled and halved lengthwise

METHOD

  1. Juice all the ingredients using an electric juicer. Pour into a tall glass and add ice if you want your juice cold. Serve and enjoy, especially on a hot tropical afternoon for a nice refresher!

Apple, Celery, & Cucumber Juice

Swap out the kiwi and go for a combination of Apple + Cucumber + Celery to help prevent cancer, reduce cholesterol, and eliminate stomach upset and headache. We ran out of green apples, so we used the red ones we had in the fridge – I don’t see a difference in using either, but for me it would’ve just looked visually nicer if the apple was green in the photograph hehehe. Happy Juicing!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Breakfast Muffins: Apple Strudel

Breakfast Muffins: Apple Strudel

Hello Everyone! Oh my! I cannot believe that it’s the last week of October already! My has time gone by so quickly this past month. Anyway, it’s been a while since I last baked muffins for breakfast and only because the last time I made muffins was back in Sydney with my Muffin Making Monday partner Jialing. We made a pizza muffin together one afternoon at her place (the recipe isn’t up on my blog yet), and yes that was the last of our Muffin Making Monday days. Since I left Sydney, we’ve talked about how much we miss baking muffins together and even said that we should still continue it… Over Skype! I don’t know how that’s ever going to work anymore since we’re both independent working women with our busy schedules and time differences.

But anyway! I wasn’t aware that it was a Monday when I baked these babies; only Jialing reminded me of it when she asked me what I was doing that day and I said that I was going to bake some muffins. Today’s recipe can originally be found on All Recipes. The recipe says that it should make 12 muffins, but I ended up with 16, maybe I should’ve filled the muffin cups a bit more because some of them were a bit flat, and some had a nice rise to them. Also, since I ended up with 16 muffins, I ran out of crumbed topping so the muffins weren’t very covered with the brown sugar streusel. Anyway, I’ve edited the recipe a bit so that the proportions match up. These muffins are a little bit on the sweet side, so if you’re someone who doesn’t like sweet things for breakfast, then tune in on Thursday for a savoury brekky muffin 🙂 It involves chorizo and has a bit of a spicy kick to it!

Breakfast Muffins: Apple Strudel Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 16 MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS

For the muffin batter

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 110g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large apples, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 1 & 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the brown sugar streusel

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Breakfast Muffins: Apple Strudel

Breakfast Muffins: Apple Strudel

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 190C (375F or gas mark 5). Line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the plain flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, and plain flour. Add the butter, and using your fingers, crumb the butter into the sugar mixture. Because Brunei is scorchingly hot, I needed to place the streusel in the freezer to stiffen up a bit.
  3. Using an electric handheld mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Add in the eggs and vanilla extract and continue to beat until well combined. Add in the apples and stir using a rubber spatula. Gradually stir in the flour mixture.
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling them up to about 3/4 of the way, and top with the brown sugar streusel.
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Once down, remove from the oven and set aside to cool for about 5 minutes before removing them from the pan. Cool down completely on a wire rack and then they are ready to eat!

Breakfast Muffins: Apple Strudel

Breakfast Muffins: Apple Strudel

Muffins taste best on the same day, though they may be stored covered tightly at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for 5 days.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com