Mangosteen, Lemon, and Basil Cocktail

Mangosteen, Lemon, and Basil Cocktail

Hello Everyone! Before we jump into a new fruit theme for the month, I would just like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of my Auguesters for sharing, not only their deliciously enticing recipes, but for also sharing their story and passion for food. Thank you to the new faces, and of course to the recurring guests over the years since I started the series. I hope that I can call everyone together again next year! If you would like to know more about the series, and possible hop on the bandwagon for next year, check out the ‘Auguest’ tab above and feel free to drop me an email if you have any questions, or if you are interested in being a part of the series for next year. Yes, I will take bookings as early as now *cheeky grin*.

Moving forward, the theme, or shall I say, fruit for September is none other than the Queen of Fruits herself – Mangosteen. Mangosteen is a tropical fruit that is in season from May to September; widely grown in the eastern, central, and southern parts of Thailand. Mangosteen is known as the ‘Queen of Fruits’ because of its unique crown and deliciously sweet taste.

Mangosteen Fruit

The fruit has a thick reddish-purple-brown rind with a green petal-like crown. The juicy white pulp is made of segments of varying sizes – usually 4 to 8 pod-like fruits. The number of hard brown petals at the bottom of the fruit indicates the number of segments. Among the pulp segments, only one or two are big and have almond-like seeds in them.

Here are some pointers on how to select the best of the best mangosteens:

Colour

When the fruit starts to ripen, the rind turns reddish-purple. At this stage, the mangosteen has a sweet and sour flavour to it, and it can be stored longer than ripe ones which have a dark purple rind to it and is sweet.

Stem

Choose fruits that still have fresh, green stems. Dry stems indicate that the fruits are old.

Skin Appearance and Feel

Good mangosteens have firm yet flexible rinds. You want to avoid those with cracks and bruises since it is likely that they have fallen from the trees, and are generally bad. Bruising also causes the skin to harden.

Additionally, mangosteens that have a smooth and shiny skin usually means that they have been sprayed with chemicals. On the other hand, fruits that have brown stains are often organic and sweet.

Hardened yellow drops on the skin is dried-up sap. If it’s just on the skin, it has no negative effect on the fruit, however, once it enters into the fruit, it often spoils the pulp and thus making it inedible. Unfortunately, it is difficult to know before opening the fruit.

Weight

Choose fruits that are heavy for light fruits often mean that they are old and its pulp may be dry. If you are able to, it’s a good idea to sample the fruit first before buying it. Fruits from the same batch are more likely to be of the same quality. However, it is quite common in some markets that different grade fruits are mixed. Therefore it’s worth the extra effort to check out several fruit stalls and buy from the best ones.

Mangosteen Fruit

How to cut open a Mangosteen Fruit

Take a mangosteen fruit and insert a knife about half an inch into the rind (outer thick skin). Slide the knife around the fruit so that it does not touch the inner white fleshy pulp part, and without cutting the fruit in half. Another method would be to firmly press down on the fruit until the rind tears open. Twist and tear until it opens apart. Once open, scoop out the fleshy white fruit and discard the rind.

The recipe that I will be tackling tonight, is a simple yet refreshingly exotic cocktail drink to quench that weekend thrist. Or hey, maybe even a midweek-midday stress reliever? Your choice. I won’t judge. I’m probably the latter. Feel free to substitute the booze for any other alcoholic beverages such as vodka, or completely leave it out for a mocktail drink instead.

Mangosteen, Lemon, and Basil Cocktail Ingredients

PREP TIME <10 MINS | COOKING TIME | SERVES 1*

* Recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, etc. to serve 2, 3, or larger groups.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 fresh mangosteen fruit
  • 2 shots tequila**
  • 330ml soda water
  • 1 sprig basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Optional

  • Basil leaves, to garnish
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon slice, to garnish

* 1 shot = 2 tbsp

METHOD

  1. Add the fleshy white fruit (pitted)*** of the mangosteen into a blender and blend well until it becomes a smooth fruit paste.
  2. In a pitcher, add the soda water, lemon juice, and sugar together. Stir well. After the sugar dissolves, add in the mangosteen fruit paste and shots of tequila. Stir.

Note: Add half of the lemon juice first. Taste then add/adjust if needed. If you add all the lemon juice in one go, it may become very tangy and you may have a hard time in adjusting the flavours. Diluting the juice isn’t a good idea.

  1. Transfer the juice to a salt-rimmed glass, and garnish with a lemon slice and basil sprig. Add ice cubes if you wish.
  2. Serve and enjoy!

Mangosteen, Lemon, and Basil Cocktail

*** While other choose not to eat the seeds of a mangosteen fruit, they are actually are soft and edible. In some cases though, the seeds may be hard and bitter so you might want to discard them if so. Only the larger pulps of fruit contain seeds.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Breakfast Muffins: Blue Cheese & Mushroom

Breakfast Muffins: Blue Cheese & Mushroom

Hello Everyone! I hope everyone had a great weekend and are all pumped for another week ahead! I may have been a little unmotivated today though seeing as it is a Monday after a long weekend. Friday was the first day of Hari Raya (Eid al-Fitr) here in Brunei and we got that Friday and Saturday off from work. To my surprise, the long weekend has been quite uneventful and quiet for Hari Raya.

On the eve of Raya, my mom, sister, and I went to watch the premier of The Incredibles 2! My inner 12-year-old was screaming for joy as the long wait for a sequel finally came into fruition. I remember when I was at the snacks counter, they had these character cups for the drinks. I was asked by the guy at the counter which character would I like, and with probably too much amusement for a 26-year-old in my tone, I squealed, Jack Jack! Thank God the guy did not ask me who Jack Jack was, I would’ve shamed him *shame shame shame* After I got the popcorn and drinks, I stood aside to wait for my hotdog (don’t judge, we were watching the film during our normal dinner time), and the next lady came up to the counter. I wasn’t even listening to the exchange of words between her and the snacks counter guy, but I was in such disbelief when I heard her utter the words “I want the baby.” My eyes widened and in my head I said, how dare you, you uncultured swine. You don’t deserve to watch the movie if you don’t even know the character’s name! Anyway, the film was WORTH THE WAIT. I was laughing non-stop throughout the film, and the people seated beside us were probably thinking, what is this girl on – LET ME HAVE MY MOMENT. My favourite line from the movie? “Num Num Cookie!”

Breakfast Muffins: Blue Cheese & Mushroom

Anyway, that aside for some more side-tracking – if you want to skip ahead to the recipe, just continuing scrolling. I basically spent the rest of my long weekend at home sorting out stuff that I want to get rid of – we’re having a garage sale at home this coming Sunday – and spent the remaining of the long weekend in the kitchen cooking up a storm both good and bad *cheeky grin* I had a bit a failed attempt at a recipe I was so eager to tackle, which made me feel a little deflated after, but I did also have a successful cook the following day for a different recipe though, so all is well. I also went over to a friend’s, had lots of food, dirty talks that involved Urban Dictionary, and of course insanely MASSIVE laughs that turned into silent and out of breath laughs with tears involved for a good 5 minutes. Those are the best kind of laughters, especially between people who get the joke, or get what it is that needs to be laughed at without having to explain further.

Okay, I guess with the long-winded introduction to this post, my long weekend doesn’t seem to be THAT uneventful at all. But moving on, the adventures of Muffin Making Monday continues for its third week and I’ve got, let’s see… Blue Cheese? AND Mushies?! YAAASSS! These delightfully savoury blue cheese and mushroom muffins are delicious for ANY time of day with a hot bevvy (no, not alcohol). I know, I know, some are not very fond of the pungent taste and smell of blue cheese, but trust me when I say that these muffins smell nothing but amazing when freshly baked and the taste and the taste of the blue cheese only just subtly shines through. Check out the original recipe over on All Recipes.

Breakfast Muffins: Blue Cheese & Mushroom Ingredients

Breakfast Muffins: Blue Cheese & Mushroom Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 30-35 MINS | SERVES 16 MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 punnet (125g) brown mushrooms, roughly chopped*
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 3 & 1/3 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme**
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

*Reserved a few mushies to slice thinly, to decorate on top of the muffins (optional).
**Or you may use 2 tsp of herbes de Provence if available which is basically a combination of savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and oregano.

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6). Line one 12 hole and one 6 hole muffin pan with paper cases. Set aside.
  2. Add the butter in a heatproof bowl and melt in the microwave, about 30 seconds. Set aside to cool down a bit.
  3. Melt a knob of butter in a medium-size pan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until half done, about 30 seconds per side. Remove from the pan. Add the roughly chopped mushrooms to the pan and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Season with the herbs and freshly ground black pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk, and then stir in the melted butter.
  5. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Gradually stir in the egg mixture until well combined.
  6. Add the sautéd mushrooms and crumbled blue cheese into the flour mixture and gently mix. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and no more than up to 3/4 full (this allows room for the muffins to rise). Top each muffin with a sliced mushie.
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve immediately with a nice cup of coffee. Enjoy!

You can store the muffins in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Heat them back up in a steamer before serving.

Breakfast Muffins: Blue Cheese & Mushroom

Breakfast Muffins: Blue Cheese & Mushroom

Before I wrap things up here, I just thought I’d share this weird little fascination of mine with these muffins. While I was having them for an afternoon snack, I was fascinated by the speckles of mold present in the muffins in such a way that I really sat there and observed the muffin for a good five minutes before biting into it. I even raised it up to my Mom saying, “look at all the mold in these muffins!” with an obvious hint of excitement in my tone. To which my Mom replied, “if I didn’t know you bought blue cheese for this recipe, I would’ve thrown it out because I thought it went bad since it was moldy and smelled like feet!” *cheeky grin*

Breakfast Muffins: Blue Cheese & Mushroom

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

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

Chilli, Paprika, Tarragon, & Worcestershire Roast Chicken

Chilli, Paprika, Tarragon, & Worcestershire Roast Chicken

Chilli, Paprika, Tarragon, & Worcestershire Roast Chicken

Hello Everyone! A new month means a new theme on the blog! If you have been following my blog on a weekly basis, you’ll probably know that two months ago I did a series on Healthy Eating, Salad Edition. During that time, I always paired my salads with a yummy roast chicken on the side. So for this month, I thought I’d share with you 4 different marinade recipes that are sure to bring your love for roast chicken to another level!

Tonight, I’ll be sharing a recipe that I kind of just threw together in a few minutes only with the items that I had in my fridge and pantry at that time. I was about to head over to a friend’s house, and I promised that I would cook something for him while he used my face as a canvas to practice his make-up skills. I had no idea what to bring over because I know that he is quite a healthy person. So I decided to roast some chicken breast fillets for us. The chicken I had to buy though because I don’t really eat the breast parts, so I walked over to the grocers and got a fillet each for the two of us. Then when I got home, I basically grabbed some herbs, spices, and basically whatever else I could find that I knew would/could make a nice flavour combination. I didn’t even use any measurements for this as well, I just dabbed in a whole lot of Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, chilli, paprika, and the works. I initially used fresh thyme leaves at the time since that was what I had in the fridge.

Chilli, Paprika, Tarragon, & Worcestershire Roast Chicken Ingredients

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what this would taste like. When we had these breasts fillets (after only having marinated them for about an hour or so), it was simply delicious! My friend really loved it and wanted to grab the recipe off from me too. I remember how he had a hard time trying to pronounce Worcestershire, so he ended up calling it the “Wot-shit-shit” sauce. When he went to the grocers one time, he called me up to ask which section was the sauce shelved at and I told him to ask one of the staff. He didn’t want to only because he didn’t want to ask “excuse me, where is you wot-shit-shit sauce?” Haha! Ever since then, I’ve made this recipe a couple of times for dinner gatherings with friends when I was still living in Sydney – and I’ve also made it for myself to pair with my salads. This was the first time that I had made it for my family and they too love it. I switch out the fresh thyme for fresh tarragon only because the grocers had that instead of thyme – but it tastes just as good!

Chilli, Paprika, Tarragon, & Worcestershire Roast Chicken Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS* | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 35 MINS | SERVES 6

*plus 4-6 hours of marination, or preferably overnight

INGREDIENTS

  • 2kg whole chicken, washed and cleaned thoroughly
  • 4-5 sprigs of fresh tarragon
  • 1/2 bulb garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Butter for basting
  • Cooking twine

METHOD

  1. Combine all the ingredients, except for the butter, in a large mixing bowl. Mix well until combined. Coat your chicken in the marinade and then leave in the fridge to marinate for about 4-6 hours (or preferably overnight). Remove chicken from the fridge 45-60 minutes before roasting to bring it back to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 230C (450F or gas mark 8). Line a baking tray with aluminium foil and place a rack above it.
  3. Start by making a loop with the twine and fastening it around the stub of the neck. Bring it around the sides and tie a knot at the cavity, then pull it tight around the breast. Now, loop the twine around the drumsticks and tie another knot, tightening it until the legs cross.
  4. Place the chicken on the rack and into the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes. The lover the heat down to 175C (350F or gas mark 4) and continue roasting for an hour and 20 minutes more. Baste the chicken with a little bit of butter at every 20 minute intervals.
  5. Once done, remove the oven and set aside to rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Chilli, Paprika, Tarragon, & Worcestershire Roast Chicken

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Eggciting Herb Garden

Eggciting Herb Garden

“I was wondering why you have a carton of eggs on the ground!” said a fellow housemate while I was out back in the yard with a camera around my neck ready to photograph the above. I shall explain in detail below:

Hello everyone! Today I want to share with you a project (or part of a project I might say) that I have been working on as part of my Introduction to Ceramics course at uni. I said ‘part of a project’ only because it is actually one of the processes that my tutor demonstrated and talked about in one of our tutorials – and that process is called Slipcasting.

Slipcasting is basically a mass-production technique used in pottery especially for shapes that are not easily made on the wheel. Liquid clay (known as slip) is poured into a plaster mould and then removed one the clay is set solid. For a hollow piece, the liquid is poured out of the mould once the plaster has absorbed most of the liquid from the outer layer of the clay.

Our tutor also showed us how we can dip porous objects into slip. She demonstrated by dipping a sponge into the slip, had it fired and the result was just amazing. Basically what happens is that when the slipped object goes into the kiln at mid-fire glaze, the object burns out from the high temperatures and leaves the outer shell of the object. So you can imagine how a sponge turned out, it was so fragile and aesthetically beautiful as well.

So that’s what I did here, I completely submerged an egg carton in slip and let it to dry. I then did another coat of slip because the first layer started to crack while it was drying. I had the carton fired and it came out looking really great! I then applied layers and layers of oxide glazes (cobalt, chrome and china blue) and dipped the whole carton in a clear glaze. It was then fired again and this was the result:

Eggciting Herb Garden

I got the initial idea of slipcasting an egg carton through images I saw online while searching for inspiration for the first project for my ceramics course (which is ‘botanica’, basically nature-inspired). I saw images of egg cartons being used as planters, as well as pot holders for eggshell pots. So decided, why not make a permanent egg carton holder?

Eggciting Herb Garden

As you can see from the image above, the eggs don’t quite nicely sit in the hole. This is because when objects get fired in the kiln they tend to shrink a bit (and I’m guessing the two layers of slip ate a bit of space too). So my extra large eggs that I originally had saved could not fit at all, I had to buy new eggs that were smaller in size just so they could kind-of fit.

Eggciting Herb Garden

Hope you enjoyed reading and viewing this post. Please stayed tuned as well for when I actually finish making what I am supposed to make for my Botanica project. I will be making a set of plates inspired by water lilies and lily pads! The second project for this course is to make a vessel and I was thinking of stemming from project 1 and creating a centrepiece to tie the whole project together. So yes, look out for that in the next month and a half!

– Ally xx