Auguest 2019: Jialing Mew

Baked Brie with Rosemary, Honeyed Pear & Walnuts

Happy Auguest everyone! I’m Jialing and this is my 5th year as the grand finale for Amcarmen’s Kitchen’s Auguest series. I’ve learnt a lot in these past five years, but clearly not how to stop procrastinating.

Baked Brie with Rosemary, Honeyed Pear & Walnuts

I am at a friend’s wedding, typing away on my phone as quickly as I can while waiting for dinner to come out, moments before it is meant to go live (despite Allison having sent me daily reminders – sorry mate). If you, like me, frequently find yourself with many commitments, and little time, boy do I have a recipe for you! Having learnt from my previous Auguest blogs, this recipe uses just a few ingredients and equipment, and comes together in 15 minutes!

As a bonus, it is vegetarian friendly, and can be easily adapted to be gluten friendly, by swapping out the bread. But it’s not for vegans. Sorry. Please direct yourself to Auguest 2016 for my Poached Pears with Chocolate Chia Mousse if that’s what you’re after.

Baked Brie with Rosemary, Honeyed Pear & Walnuts Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-12 MINS | SERVES 4-6*

*Or one (1) very hungry Jialing.

INGREDIENTS

  • 200g Brie cheese
  • 3 pears
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 2 tbsp honey

To serve

  • Strawberries
  • Crusty bread

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4) and line a tray with baking paper – this will help keep the honey from sticking to the surface when it caramelises!
  2. Cut pears into quarters, and lay onto the baking tray, leaving space for the brie cheese in centre.
  3. Place the unwrapped brie cheese in the centre of the tray and lay whole sprigs of rosemary on top.

Tip: Laying them on top rather than poking them into the cheese infuses the flavour without creating holes that the melting cheese will spill out of as it bakes!

  1. Pile walnuts gently on top of the rosemary sprigs, and drizzle the brie cheese and pears generously with honey.
  2. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the brie cheese is soft and the honey just starts to bubble. As the honey cools it will caramelise the walnuts.
  3. Gently lift the brie cheese using spatula and place onto a cheese board. Arrange pears (careful, they’ll be hot too) and fresh strawberries around the brie cheese and serve immediately with fresh crusty bread. Enjoy!

Baked Brie with Rosemary, Honeyed Pear & Walnuts

Baked Brie with Rosemary, Honeyed Pear & Walnuts

And here we have a rather curious Winston.

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2019 | Jialing Mew

BON APPÉTIT

– Jialing Mew

myTaste.com

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Auguest 2019: Marissa Mai

Seared Lemon Butter Scallops With Avocado Sauce

Hello beloved foodies! My name is Marissa and I run the Sydney Foodie Blog, also known as Maiyummyy. Today it’s such a pleasure for me to be invited to guest blog on Amcarmen’s Kitchen once again for the second time since Ally started her Auguest series in 2015.

For those who follow me over on Maiyummy on Instagram, you’ll know that my strong expertise is in Vietnamese cuisine. So good news! Today I will be sharing with you a new fusion recipe inspired by one of my favourite fruit, Avocado. This dish is called Seared Lemon Butter Scallops With Avocado Sauce, which is inspired by Rachael of Rachael Ray Every Day.

Da Nang, Vietnam

I grew up in Da Nang, one of the most popular coastal cities in Vietnam. It is a coastline city that stretches 30km long, famous for beautiful beaches, resorts, great climate, and a great source of fresh vegetables and seafood for the locals. The reason behind choosing this dish is because I always have a strong passion for seafood and fresh ingredients. We always cook seafood during family gatherings or during Vietnamese celebrations served with beer.

Scallops are considered quite rare to cook in Da Nang because it can be very pricey (like abalone) to catch, so we don’t get the chance to cook them often. The idea of this dish originated from this city, and it is simple, quick, and easy to cook; it is quite delicate and rich in texture.

Seared Lemon Butter Scallops With Avocado Sauce Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME <10 MINS | SERVES 3

INGREDIENTS

For the scallops

  • 3 sea scallops
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter (I used 25% less fat Devondale Butter)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • Zest from half a lemon

For the avocado-mayo sauce

  • 1/2 medium-sized avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 2 tsp free-range egg Traditional Creamy Mayonnaise (I used Praise brand)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Zest from half a lemon

Optional

  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies
  • 2 stalks green shallots, chopped

METHOD

  1. Preparing the Sea Scallops: Wash the sea scallops clean under cold water, and thoroughly dry them with a paper towel.
  2. Season the sea scallops with a pinch of salt, ground black pepper, and lemon zest Let it sit and marinate for about 15 minutes before cooking.
  3. Avocado-Mayo Sauce: While waiting for the scallops to marinate, prepare the avocado sauce. Using a fork, smash the peeled and pitted avocado in a small bowl.
  4. Add the lemon zest and mayonnaise. Mix well and then season with a touch of salt and sugar to taste. Set aside.
  5. Cooking the Scallops: Melt the unsalted butter in a 12-inch pan (don’t use a non-stick pan), over medium-high heat.
  6. Carefully add the scallops to the sizzling hot pan, making sure that they do not touch each other. Immediately add the minced garlic to the pan.

Note: Do not add the minced garlic before putting the scallops in. This is to prevent the garlic from burning first.

  1. Sear the scallops for about 2 minutes on one side without disruption, until golden crust forms. Wait until the garlic turns golden brown, then remove them from the pan so that it does not burn.
  2. Using a tong, carefully flip the scallops and cook the other side for another minute. The center of the scallops should be slightly translucent. Overcooking will result in chewy and unpleasant texture.
  3. Plate up and Serve: Divide the avocado-mayo sauce into 3 white porcelain soup spoons arranged on a plate. Top with the seared scallops, chillies, and shallots.
  4. Serve immediately as a delicate entrée and enjoy!

Seared Lemon Butter Scallops With Avocado Sauce

Seared Lemon Butter Scallops With Avocado Sauce

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2019 | Marissa Mai

BON APPÉTIT

– Marissa Mai

myTaste.com

Auguest 2019: Brendon D'Souza

Potato Gnocchi with Red & Yellow Peppers

Hi Foodies, it’s Brendon D’Souza from @brendonthesmilingchef here.

It’s an honour to take part in Auguest once again this year at AMCarmen’s Kitchen. Allison and I met in Sydney a few years ago through Instagram, and then in-person at a food blogging event I hosted. Since then we’ve had countless foodie adventures together.

I started a food blog called Brendon The Smiling Chef around 2012, following the success of a recipe column of the same name. I wrote, styled, and photographed the recipes of my favourite dishes and reviewed some of my favourite restaurants and cafes. The blog continued to run until around 2016. I then focused on photography and a few other passions, worked for tech startups like Deliveroo and Tix and eventually landed a role at a global workspace provider. Earlier this year I launched my photography business Sydney Food Photography. I’ve been lucky to collaborate with some amazing brands like Samsung, OzHarvest and more.

Potato Gnocchi with Red & Yellow Peppers

When I received the theme for this year, I knew I wanted to take a playful twist on the definition of fruit. Potatoes are called pomme de terre in French which could literally translate to ‘apple of the earth’ and peppers (or capsicums as we call them in Australia), are also technically a fruit of the nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Gnocchi are delightful potato dumplings made with a few simple ingredients. They are one of my favourite comfort food this winter and pair very well with a tangy roasted pepper sauce.

Potato Gnocchi with Red & Yellow Peppers

PREP TIME 25 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 30 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

For the gnocchi

  • 500g potatoes, skin on
  • 200g plain flour + extra
  • 1 free-range egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the peppers

  • 1 large red pepper, sliced
  • 1 large yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil + extra

To serve

  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Handful chopped parsley
  • Grated Grana Padano or other hard Italian cheese, to serve

Potato Gnocchi with Red & Yellow Peppers

METHOD

  1. Preparing the Potatoes: Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until cooked through. A knife should glide through the potato when it’s cooked. Remove from the heat and drain. Cover the potatoes with cold water and set aside to cool.
  2. Roasted Peppers: Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan forced. Toss the peppers with a little olive oil and garlic slices. Spread in a single layer in a roasting pan and roast for 20-25 minutes until the peppers have softened and start to caramelise around the edges. You may need to stir the peppers in the pan while roasting. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. Potato Gnocchi: Once the potatoes have cooled, peel and then mash. Add the 200g of flour, egg yolk, salt and pepper and mix with a wooden spoon to form a pliable dough. If the mixture looks a little sticky, add more flour until it forms a ball. It will look and feel like play dough.
  4. Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. Sprinkle a chopping board with some extra flour. Divide the dough into quarters and roll to form a 1.5cm thick sausage. Cut the sausage into 1cm thick slices with a sharp knife dipped in some cold water. This helps to prevent the dough from sticking. I like to make my gnocchi a little rough and leave them as discs.
  5. Cook the gnocchi in small batches for 2-3 minutes. They will float to the surface when they have cooked through. Remove to large heatproof bowl and toss with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.
  6. Add the roasted peppers, cherry tomatoes, and parsley to the gnocchi and toss to combine. Drizzle with olive oil and grated Grana Padano to serve and enjoy!

Potato Gnocchi with Red & Yellow Peppers

Optional extra: I love the taste and texture of pan-fried gnocchi. To do so, heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp butter and a drizzle of olive oil. When hot, add the gnocchi in batches and sauté until golden brown.

Potato Gnocchi with Red & Yellow Peppers

Check out my foodie adventures on Instagram at @brendonthesmilingchef

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2019 | Brendon D’Souza

BON APPÉTIT

– Brendon D’Souza

myTaste.com

Pineapple Coconut Braised Pork Ribs

Pineapple & Coconut Braised Pork Ribs

I am Justine Michael (JM) De Guzman. A 26-year old Information System Developer and a very passionate home cook from the humble town of Limay, from the province of Bataan. I worked at a Government agency as a System Developer, had a break due to burnout, and that’s when I started focusing on my kitchen (which will soon be a little less, because I’m about to get back on my career track).

How did I get into cooking and food? Well I don’t exactly know when, but all I can remember was ever since I was a little boy, I used to lurk around with my mom, aunties, and Lola in the kitchen. While other kids of my age play outside, I on the other hand was busy buzzing around my mom’s kitchen staff. I used to ask a lot of questions about how our food was done. I would always insist on chopping and slicing the ingredients for our lunch. And I would be the first to ‘tikim’ (taste) my Lola’s dish. Yeah, since childhood, I was into food and cooking. I’m always present when and wherever there’s food.

Though I never really had the opportunity to pursue my passion in cooking until I graduated college, my parents wouldn’t allow me to enroll into culinary or any related program because it’s ‘mahal’ (expensive). We were financially unstable during those times. My mom had cancer, and thank God she’s a very lucky and blessed survivor up to this moment. Going back to the story, it was actually my dentist who became my stepping stone on getting into the real world of cooking. Long story short, she has a sister, who happened to be a celebrity chef who resides in Manila, who is also a lecturer at a premier culinary institution in the country. She endorsed me to her for a scholarship grant given by the said school. So I got in, studied, and trained for months. Voilà!

After my culinary training, an opportunity came, not in the cooking industry though, so I still haven’t really experienced cooking for a living. That’s when I started my career in my field of profession (information system). I worked at the office, but my passion, or should I say obsession for cooking never faded. I’ve been known by my colleagues as the guy who cooks and the guy who has baon (packed food) 🙂 Food became my motivation for work. I always wonder what to cook for dinner when I get home, and for my baon for tomorrow’s lunch.

I began exploring different cuisines, by researching through the web, books (I started collecting books about food), food channels, etc. Aside from food and cooking, my other fascinations include history (Asian history), linguistics, society, and culture. I started to appreciate our food, Filipino food – Southeast Asian food, and those are great factors that shaped up my style and way in cooking. I developed my standards, philosophy, and list of ‘musts’ in my cooking. I rarely cook foods these days that are Western in my point of view. I’m so patriotic. Ingredients should always be fresh and sourced by me. LOL. Ingredients that can be made from scratch must never be substituted with industrially manufactured ones (I hate sinigang mix!). You’ll never see stuff like tomato sauce, sinigang mix, and stew mix, etc. in my pantry.

Pineapple & Coconut Braised Pork Ribs

If I remember it right, I started following Amcarmen’s Kitchen’s IG posts since last year. I really love her content and I frequently visited her blog as well. It was on the first day of May this year when I received a message from her asking about my interest in being part of her Auguest series.

The dish I’m sharing is of my own creation That said, this isn’t a traditional and commonly home cooked dish in most Filipino households. I’ll just call it Pineapple and Coconut Braised Pork Ribs. Before diving into the recipe, let me share some insights about this dish. As I’ve mentioned before, I have these so called “standards, philosophy, and musts” in my cooking. As much as I can, I don’t use industrially manufactured ingredients, so this dish uses fresh pineapple (but you guys can use the canned one, it’s just me. LOL.).

My philosophy in cooking:

You shouldn’t cook or eat food just to survive or satisfy your hunger. For me food must be respected, consumed, and celebrated every time, along with the stories it underlies with. That’s why it’s important for me to know the background and the story behind one dish. Like why this is cooked this way, why these ingredients are used, etc.

Fun fact, I have this odd habit, just before we eat at home, I first gather the attention of everyone. I weirdly and literally discuss the dish we have on the table, the name, and the ingredients, how I cooked it, what’s its origin (if it’s a traditional dish), my reasons and inspiration of coming up with the dish if I just made it out of creativity and imagination, the taste profile, etc. Just like you do it in a culinary school. Only after that will then they’re allowed to eat. LOL. It’s weird right?! But it’s true. No kidding aside.

Again, this is not a traditional Filipino food per se, but I still call it Filipino food. When we say Filipino cuisine, we’re basically dealing with food that’s been shaped by various factors. Culture, beliefs, traditions, religion, local and indigenous ingredients, influences locally, and internationally. Pinoy foods’ characteristics show strong Southeast Asian/Malay, Chinese, Spanish, and Indigenous influences. I always use them in reference whenever I’m developing a dish, just so that I could come up with a more meaningful one. Like, when I think of an ingredient(s) to be used for my dish, I always make sure, it has to be significant to one’s culture or tradition. I wouldn’t use jalapeño or habanero pepper for my Bicol express, simply because it’s not native nor a traditional Filipino ingredient. You get my point, right? LOL 🙂 I always make sure that each ingredient used is there for a reason; it’s not just there because I want it to be there.

So, Pineapple and Coconut Braised Pork Ribs. As the name implies it’s pork braised in a sauce base with pineapple and coconut cream. Why pork ribs? Well, we Filipinos love our pork. Right? Who doesn’t love pork ribs! Pineapple is my hero ingredient. This is a very common ingredient used in Filipino cooking, and I’ve seen lots of traditional dishes that use it as the base or just a “sahog” (topping). My mom would add juice from a pineapple in her caldereta and hamonado dishes, and fresh chunks in her curry. Then we have coconut. What represents Southeast Asian/Pinoy food more than coconut? I’m a huge fan of gata, and I often cook dishes with gata as its base. It is a shared ingredient among ASEANs. The aromatics I used were shallots, garlic, and ginger – the Filipino mirepoix 2.0 as I call it, as 1.0 being the forever trinity of tomatoes, shallots, and garlic. I added spices into it, which is not a very common practice among Filipino cooking, aside from our ultimate spice known as “black pepper” to give it the curry-like flavour profile – black peppercorn, chillies, coriander, star anise, bay leaves, and cinnamon. For the seasoning, I used a balance of both fish sauce and soy sauce. In addition, since this is a sweet-tangy-savoury dish, I added “panutsa” or unrefined block sugar (but seriously brown sugar’s fine).

Pineapple & Coconut Braised Pork Ribs Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 45-60 MINS | SERVES 5-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 & 1/2 kg pork spare ribs, cut into individual ribs
  • 1 whole large fresh pineapple, divided
  • 200ml (approx. 3/4 cup) juice from half of the pineapple
  • 4 & 1/2 cups coconut cream
  • 6 red bird’s eye chili, finely minced
  • 6 shallots, finely minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick (or alternatively, 1 tbsp cinnamon powder)
  • 1/2 bulb garlic, finely minced
  • 6 tbsp panutsa or brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp ginger, finely minced
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp coriander powder
  • Fish sauce, to season
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Soy sauce, to season

METHOD

  1. In a large wok (kawa) over high heat, sear the ribs until browned and develops a crust on all sides. Set aside.
  2. Turn the heat down to low and add a portion of the coconut cream (about 1/4 cup) into the wok. Simmer until the coconut oil separates from its curd.
  3. In the now separated coconut oil, sauté the finely minced aromatics (shallots, garlic, and ginger) altogether. Sauté until aromatics are translucent.
  4. Turn the heat up to high. Return the seared pork ribs back to the wok and then pour in the pineapple juice, remaining coconut cream, all the spices, soy sauce, and fish sauce.
  5. Cover, bring to a medium boil, and then immediately turn the heat down to low.
  6. Meanwhile, in a medium heated pan, sear the cubed pineapples until browned and caramelized.
  7. For the last 15 minutes of simmering, add in the seared pineapple. Simmer the dish uncovered, just until the pineapple has absorbed the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve with steamed white rice. A little bowl of patis (fish sauce) with crushed chilies is a good accompaniment to this. Enjoy!

Pineapple & Coconut Braised Pork Ribs

You can technically call this dish “ginataan”, and you might also find resemblance with hamonado because of its “fruitful” ingredient – pineapple and a hint of “curry-ness” from the added dry spices.

I hope you’ll like this recipe.

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2019 | JM de Guzman

BON APPÉTIT

– JM de Guzman

myTaste.com

Auguest 2019: May (my_kusina_ph)

Green Papaya Salad with Crispy Fried Soft-shell Crabs

Hello everyone, my name is May. I am behind the IG account @my_kusina_ph. I normally feature Filipino food and I love using “bilao” as my plating dish, hence, the hashtag #bilaoserye for some of my home-cooked meals. It was last August since I started my IG food account, almost a year now. My friends encouraged me to set one up as they know how much I love to cook (because I have been cooking for them a lot! Lucky them!). So I said to myself, why not give it a try!

When I was a kid, my lola (grandmother) and mother, both true blooded Kapampangans (Kapampangans by the way are known to be one of the best Filipino cooks) would ask me to help out in the kitchen by washing utensils and chopping ingredients. At that time, I felt it was more of a chore. Later on in high school, I find myself enjoying my “me” time in our little kitchen, experimenting and trying out recipes (I’m having goosebumps right now as I remember my aunt’s handwritten recipe book). I guess that’s when my love for cooking started.

Green Papaya Salad with Crispy Fried Soft-shell Crabs

Through IG, I have met people who share the same passion in cooking and food in general. They have inspired me to become a better cook. Most of them are generous enough in sharing their recipes! Allison is one of the warmest people whom I’ve met virtually in IG. I wish to meet her in person someday! She would post the ingredients and let us guess what she would be cooking next. Often times, she would feature a particular ingredient and highlight how it can be used in a certain dish. I am very happy to be part of her “Auguest” series!

This month, her blog would be featuring fruits. I chose to feature green papaya since it’s very accessible in tropical countries like the Philippines.

Back home in the province, we would just pick this fruit from our farm anytime we needed one for cooking. Here in Manila, everything comes with a price, unless you have a tree in your backyard or a generous neighbor has one. Here’s a photo of our papaya tree:

Papaya Tree

I have travelled around Asia and whenever I visit a country, I make it a point to enrol myself on short cooking courses to learn more about the local cuisine. I love the diversity in Asian cuisine; the way various spices and herbs come together to create a glorious dish!

Green Papaya Salad is a well known Asian salad dish. It’s a spicy salad made from shredded unripe papaya. In fact, it is present in most Southeast Asian cuisines. In Thailand, this dish is called Som Tam, in Cambodia, Bok L’hong, in Laos as Tam Som and in Vietnam as Gỏi đu đủ.

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME | SERVES 3

INGREDIENTS

For the green papaya salad

  • 200g green papaya, shredded
  • 40g carrots, shredded
  • 6 string beans, cut into 2 inches long
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1-3 red bird’s eye chilis, chopped
  • 1-2 stalks of Coriander leaves
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 6 tbsp roasted peanuts, coarsely crushed
  • 3 pcs Crispy Fried Soft-shell Crabs*

For the dressing

  • 7 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 7 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 5-7 tbsp coconut sugar

*To cook the soft-shell crabs, dredge them in seasoned flour with salt, then dipped in beaten egg, and lastly coated with flour. Deep fry in cooking oil until golden in color and crispy.

METHOD

  1. First, add the chilis, garlic cloves, and string beans together in a mortar. Lightly crush/pound.
  2. Add in coconut sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, and mix well, adjusting the flavors as you work, to your liking.
  3. Lastly, add in shredded papaya and carrots. Mix well.
  4. Transfer to a serving dish, and top with roasted peanuts and crispy fried soft-shell crabs. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve.

Below is a photo of the tool I used for shredding the papaya and carrots. Easy to use. I got it from one of my market tours in Vietnam and it only costs Php 100!

Vegetable/Fruit Shredder

Here’s the finished product!

Green Papaya Salad with Crispy Fried Soft-shell Crabs

Enjoy this healthy salad dish! Oh, you can top it with shrimp if you can’t find soft-shell crabs!

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2019 | May (my_kusina_ph)

BON APPÉTIT

– May (my_kusina_ph)

myTaste.com

Auguest 2019: Ferreli Virtudazo

Vegetarian “Pulled Pork”

I’m Ferreli, the woman behind @acupofjasminerice. I started my account in 2016 as a form of creative outlet. I needed to do something different besides my corporate job. I can’t remember if I came up with that handle because acupofjasminetea was already taken or I was in a phase where I ate ONLY jasmine rice. Haha! For others I only post pictures of food; for me it’s a form of self-expression. It’s also putting myself out there as I reveal bits and pieces of me in the captions and engage with people who comment on my posts.

I started my love for cooking when I was very little. I could think back to the time I made pancakes with my grandmother and fried shrimp crackers with my mom. Those were my early memories of cooking. I think I was 5 years old then! As a child, it was all play. Now that I’m an adult, my perspective of cooking has evolved and so has my palate. These days, most of my posts are inspired by food trends. I take delight in recreating dishes I’ve seen on Youtube and Instagram.

Vegetarian “Pulled Pork”

I don’t recall who followed who but I remember that my initial interactions with Allison was with her “guess the next dish” on Instagram. I soooo take pride on my correct answers. Lol! I also couldn’t help but be amazed if I guessed it wrong. I’d go “Wow! I didn’t think of that!” I also like that she follows themes because being organized is important to me. I recently tried to be consistent with my themes as well.

I’m excited and honored to be one of her Au-guests. Her theme this month is about fruits and it’s something I can incorporate with food trends. I chose jackfruit or langka because it is gaining popularity stateside. Instead of making a local dish (I can only think of Ginataang Langka. Hehe.), I decided to go for Vegetarian Pulled Pork because it’s something new for me. I’ve found recipes as old as 3 years but I only got to see it on IG about a month ago or so. I’m calling it vegetarian instead of vegan because I’m not sure if the ingredients of the barbecue sauce are all plant-based.

I hope you enjoy making AND eating this dish as much as did. It’s easy to make and it’s something you can add to your #meatlessmonday entry 😉

Recipe adapted from:

Vegetarian “Pulled Pork”

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pack (approx. 350g) pre-sliced young jackfruit
  • 4 small red onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce*
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil (or any cooking oil is fine)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar

*If you want to make a vegan version of this dish, you may source for plant-based barbecue sauce as a substitution.

METHOD

  1. Chop the young jackfruit to smaller pieces so the core gets broken down and the “flesh” appears to have the pulled pork texture.
  2. Heat oil in a large pan and sauté the onions and garlic until slightly softened.
  3. Add in the jackfruit, spices, and brown sugar. Mix well.
  4. Add in water and simmer for 30 minutes until the jackfruit is tender and the liquid has almost been absorbed.
  5. Mash the jackfruit with a masher (I don’t have any so I used a wooden spoon. Lol!) until you achieve your desired pulled pork texture and the liquid has fully evaporated.
  6. Coat the jackfruit in barbecue sauce and toss well.
  7. Let sit for 3-5 minutes to brown the jackfruit and to give it a charred appearance.
  8. Serve warm and enjoy!

Vegetarian “Pulled Pork” Sliders

After a number of taste tests, my coworkers have said it really tasted like pork. At the same time, they could tell that the last batch I made (pictured) didn’t have the pulled pork feel because I didn’t shred it enough. So, chopping the core and mashing it thoroughly is really important if you want to really go for the pulled pork “look and feel”.

In addition, I agree with several blogs that I’ve read that the barbecue sauce can make or break this dish. I recommend the smoky flavor kind. Some blogs would also suggest pairing it with coleslaw. I’m not into mayo though… My coworkers and I enjoyed eating it plain with pickled jalapeños or kimchi on the side. We also had fun having it as pulled pork sliders. We just packed it and the pickled veggies in a tiny dinner roll and gobbled it up in one bite. Haha!

Vegetarian “Pulled Pork” Sliders

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2019 | Ferreli Virtudazo

BON APPÉTIT

– Ferreli Virtudazo

myTaste.com

Avocado & Shiitake Rice Paper Rolls

Avocado & Shiitake Rice Paper Rolls

Hello Everyone! I feel like keeping this short one tonight – only because I really don’t have much to say about the dish itself, nor do I have a back story like I did last week about it. Yet again, I have to say that this isn’t one of the prettiest dishes I’ve put up – to be honest, I didn’t really put much thought in how I could have presented this dish. I really had to up the saturation when editing the photographs because it just looked so dead in terms of colour, and of course, composition.

Avocado & Shiitake Rice Paper Rolls

Despite that, this is an easy to make and perfectly healthy snack if you only plan on eating 1 roll, a light dinner if eating 2, and a hefty lunch if you’re planning on eating 4 or more of these! Don’t be deceived like I was – I thought 3 rolls wasn’t going to fill me up for dinner – how wrong I was! I was already struggling towards the end of my second roll!

They’re perfect for a delectable spring or summer dish, with crispy, crunchy, creamy textures and bright, bold flavours. I mean, despite the rain we’ve been having lately, we’ve also seen some beautiful sunny days. Before we head on over to the recipe for tonight, please do check out the original recipe that I adapted from Kristina on Spabettie.

Avocado & Shiitake Rice Paper Rolls Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | MAKES 12 ROLLS

INGREDIENTS

For the rice paper rolls

  • Half pack (125g) cooked rice noodles, drizzled with sesame oil
  • 12 rice paper wrappers
  • 12 large dried shiitake mushroom slices, rehydrated
  • 1 large ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and sliced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, sliced into matchsticks and blanched
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • Bunch of spring onion, cut into matchsticks and blanched

For the spicy peanut sauce (Recipe adapted from Food in a Minute)

  • 1 small garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp chilli powder

METHOD

  1. Spicy Peanut Sauce: Heat a dash of cooking oil (about a tablespoon) in a small saucepan. On low heat, add the minced garlic and sauté until golden in colour and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Then, add the minced onion to the pan and cook for a further 30 to 45 seconds, until slightly softened. Be careful as to not brown/burn the garlic.
  2. Add the peanut butter, roasted peanuts, chilli powder, and water to the pan and stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Rice Paper Rolls: Have two large plates ready, one filled with water and the other for filling/rolling your rice paper rolls. Ensure all your ingredient fillings are also prepared and ready for rolling!
  4. Place a wrapper into the plate with water, flipping so that both sides of the wrapper is soaked. Remove from the water while still firm and place on the other plate and begin to build up your roll.

Tip: Do not over soak the rice paper sheet as it will soften as it sits. This is so that it will not soften to the point that it sticks to the surface of the plate or rips when handling.

Avocado & Shiitake Rice Paper Rolls

  1. Place 2-3 slices of avocado and red bell pepper matchsticks in the middle of the rice paper, with 1-2 slices of shiitake mushroom (depending on its size), and a handful of sesame rice noodles. Top with a tablespoon of the spicy peanut sauce, pinch of crushed roasted peanuts, and a spring onion matchstick.
  2. Roll like a burrito by folding the short sides over, then turning and folding one long side over. Roll, tuck, roll, tuck, until completely enclosed. Repeat for the remaining rice paper sheets – should make at least 12 rolls.
  3. Serve immediately with a side of spicy peanut sauce for dipping. Enjoy!

Avocado & Shiitake Rice Paper Rolls

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Fudgy Avocado-Chilli Brownies

Fudgy Avocado-Chilli Brownies

Hello Everyone! Firstly, apologies for not getting this post up last week as originally planned. It has been a crazy hectic week with early days and late nights in the office – even working the weekends ‘til late to meet deadlines for an event that our department/team organised on this day just last week. So because of that, I barely had any time to sit down and comfortably write this post with a stress-free state of mind. Having said that, here I am, back on track again to share a deliciously (healthy?) dessert that’s sure to knock your socks off!

The first time I experienced a Chilli-Chocolate flavour combination was when I was still studying in Sydney for my Bachelor’s of Design Degree. I remember I was at Circular Quay with a friend, and one of the gelato stalls there (can’t remember the name) was having a chocolate gelato fest! I clearly remember the difficulty I had in choosing a chocolate flavour out of the possible 10 or 15 they had available. For those of you who don’t know me, I like my chocolate like how I like my men – dark. Just kidding – I just wanted to say that. I have no particular preferences on skin colour or race when it comes to men. Tangent aside; I’m just not very fond of milk or white chocolate unless I really REALLY crave for it. Well technically I’m not very fond of chocolate altogether unless I really want something chocolatey for dessert.

Fudgy Avocado-Chilli Brownies

Finally getting back to the original story, I remember having doubts on choosing just a regular Dark Chocolate Gelato, or one called Death by Chocolate which was essentially the Dark Chocolate Gelato, but with chilli in it. Me being adventurous to a certain extent (hey we all gotta draw a line somewhere!), I decided to go for the Death by Chocolate since never had I ever, up until that moment of course, tried the pairing of chilli and chocolate before. Boom. My life changed. It was a magical moment. The subtle yet just enough kick of heat that played on my tongue together with the cold creamy gelato that was slightly sweet and slightly bitter at the same time was to die for. It truly did live up to its name – Death by Chocolate. Ever since then, Chilli and Chocolate became my new best friends.

So what about Chocolate and Avocado? How did they also become my new best friends? Well, a couple of years back, when I was still studying abroad, I was out having a weekend (or maybe it was a weekday during the winter holidays) brunch with some of the people/friends I lived with. We went to a place known as Rustic Pearl in Surry Hills. When we were ordering our drinks to start off with, I was super curious about their Chocomolé Smoothie – Chocolate and Guacamole I presumed from its name after reading “with avocado and cocoa.” As usual, I was being my adventurous self and decided to try this foreign-to-me flavour pairing of Avocado and Chocolate. Did it change my life? Why yes. Yes it did. I still can’t quite describe the sensation nor taste of the pairing, but I absolutely love it.

Fudgy Avocado-Chilli Brownies

Therefore, Avocado, Dark Chocolate, and Chilli? Explosive. Every time I want to be adventurous and try something new when it came to gelato flavours, I always say to myself, “no, you need Avocado and Dark Chocolate-Chilli Gelato.” I had been craving brownies for the longest time ever, and this was the perfect opportunity to whip them up and feature them on the blog since it fit with the theme I made it fit with the theme by incorporating avocados into them. These brownies are dense, thick, fudgy, and rich. The frosting though compliments the richness perfectly since it is light in flavour. Yes the frosting tastes like avocado, and no, the brownies do not even if they have avocado mixed into them.

Anyway, apologies for the super long introduction – hope it made up for not posting last week *cheeky grin* but before we pop on over to the recipe below, please do check out the original recipe by Jessica over on How Sweet Eats.

Fudgy Avocado-Chilli Brownies Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | MAKES 12 BROWNIES

INGREDIENTS

For the brownie batter

  • 2 large ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and mashed
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 1-2 red bird’s eye chillies, minced
  • 200g high-quality dark chocolate, melted
  • 50g high-quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose/plain flour
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For to avocado frosting

  • 1 large ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and mashed
  • 2 & 1/2 cups confectioiner’s sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4), and generously grease a 9in x 13in baking dish with unsalted butter or non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Fudgy Brownies: Whisk the mashed avocados, melted chocolate, and minced chillies in a large mixing bowl before adding in the white granulated sugar. Whisk again until well combined. Add in the eggs, together with the vanilla extract and mix well.
  3. Sift in the plain flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into the avocado-chocolate mixture. Mix with a large spoon until JUST combined – be careful as to not overmix the batter.
  4. Stir in the extra virgin olive oil until it is well distributed into the batter and is somewhat smooth in consistency. Gently fold in the chopped chocolate, and then spread onto the prepared baking dish.
  5. Bake for 28-32 minutes, or until the middle has set. You can check this by inserting a toothpick into the centre. If it comes out clean, then the brownies are done. Remove from the oven and set aside for it to completely cool down.
  6. Avocado Frosting: Add the mashed avocado and vanilla extract into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Whisk until combined. Slowly incorporate the confectioner’s sugar into the avocado mixture and whisk until a smooth frosting forms.
  7. Frost the brownies once they have cooled down and top with extra chopped chocolate bits and chilli slices for an added extra kick of heat. Serve and enjoy immediately!

Fudgy Avocado-Chilli Brownies

Tip: If you’re going to pop them in the fridge to eat the next day, and the succeeding days to come, I recommend letting them come back up to room temperature before eating them. They can be even denser and slightly dry after coming out of the fridge.

Fudgy Avocado-Chilli Brownies

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Spicy Garlic Prawn & Avocado Fettuccine

Spicy Garlic Prawn & Avocado Fettuccine

Hello Everyone! So once again, I’ve been feeling a little under the weather since towards the end of last week. I think it’s because I got rained (drizzled) on and just been feeling cold ever since. Started with an itchy throat, then a runny nose. I had a mild fever just two days ago but thank goodness I’m starting to feel a little better! Apologies in advance if this post contains a lot of typos or obvious grammatical errors – my brain is not fully functional at the moment.

But that aside, a new month can only mean one thing right? It’s time to experiment and play around with a new fruit on the blog! For the month of July, I’ll be featuring one of my favourite (well to be honest, almost everything is a favourite of mine *cheeky grin*) fruits of all time – Avocado! The last time I featured a month of avocado recipes was back in 2017 if not mistaken. You can click here to see what I got up to with avocados back then.

Avocados can be such an unpredictable b*tch at times – you can never win with them! If I knew I was going to cook/use the avocados on the same day I bought them, I would ask the lady who sells them if the ones I’ve picked are ripe and ready for that day. I still pick those that are slightly firm when gently squeezed. I never ever pick the soft ones! If I knew I was going to only use them the next day, she’d pick the ones that are a little less ripe for me – those that are still green, slightly browned. Here are some tips from Love One Today on how to check for the ripeness of avocados.

How to Differentiate the Ripeness of an Avocado

Besides being super unpredictable, avocados are known for several proven health benefits:

Avocados are Incredibly Nutritious

They contain a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals. Here is a list of some of the most abundant nutrients found in a single 100-gram serving:

  • Vitamin K: 26% of the daily value
  • Folate: 20% of the daily value
  • Vitamin C: 17% of the daily value
  • Potassium: 14% of the daily value
  • Vitamin B5: 14% of the daily value
  • Vitamin B6: 13% of the daily value
  • Vitamin E: 10% of the daily value
  • Avocados also contain small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous, and vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), and B3 (niacin).
  • Although avocados contain carbs, 78% of those are fibre. So basically only 22% are actually carbs, making this a low-carb friendly plant food.
  • Avocados do not contain any cholesterol or sodium and are low in saturated fat.

Fat Content in Avocados may help you Absorb Nutrients from Plant Foods

When it comes to nutrients, your intake is not the only thing that matters. What’s also important is that you need to be able to absorb these nutrients into your body, where they can be used. Some nutrients are fat-soluble, meaning that they need to be combined with fat in order to be utilised.

So, not only are avocados highly nutritious, they can dramatically increase the nutrient value of other plant foods that you eat. This is all the more a very good reason to always include a healthy fat source, such as the avocado (or avocado oil), when you eat your veggies. Without it, a lot of the beneficial plant nutrients will go to waste.

Avocados are Loaded with Powerful Antioxidants that can Protect your Eyes

Not only do avocados increase antioxidant absorption from other foods, they are also high in antioxidants themselves, two of which, namely carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, as incredibly important for our long term eye health.

Spicy Garlic Prawn & Avocado Fettuccine

Eating Avocados may help you Lose Weight

Avocados are weight-loss friendly. They keep you full longer and may help you naturally eat fewer calories, making it easier for you to stick to healthy eating habits. As stated before, avocados are also high in fibre and very low in carbs, two attributes that should help promote healthy weight loss – if considering the context of a healthy, real-food-based diet.

And lastly for the #avocadohaters *cheeky grin*

Avocados are Delicious and Easy to Incorporate into your Diet!

Not only are they beneficial to our health, they’re also super delicious and go with many types of food. They have a creamy, rich, and fatty texture. You can easily add them to salads or pasta, spread them on toast, use as a dip for chips, or simply scoop them out with a spoon and eat them plain!

If you want to read up more on the many health benefits that avocados have to offer, you can head on over to Healthline.

But before you head on over to the recipe below, please check out the original recipe for Shrimp & Avocado Pasta by Kevin & Amanda.

Spicy Garlic Prawn & Avocado Fettuccine Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-12 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the avocado and Parmesan ‘sauce’

  • 1 medium-sized ripe avocado
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the spicy garlic prawns

  • 250g large tiger prawns, heads removed, deshelled, and deveined*
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 stalks scallions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground chilli, or more if you want it spicier
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 250g fettuccine pasta, uncooked**
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 small ripe avocado, diced
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

*A quarter kilo gave us 4 large tiger prawns, plus 1 extra because the lady who sells them was nice enough to add one in when my Mom asked for it *cheeky grin*. Save the heads and shells to use as a base for soups, broths, or sauces. If not using immediately, place in a zip-lock bag and pop it into the freezer. Keeps frozen for up to 3 months.

**Or you can use any type of pasta – whatever you have readily available in your pantry!

METHOD

  1. Avocado ‘Sauce’: Cut the medium-sized avocado in half, lengthwise. Remove the pit and discard – or if you have a green thumb, you’ll know what to do with it. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh from both halves of the avocado from its skin, and place in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  2. Add the Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and olive oil. Smash and mix together until well combined. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water with a teaspoon of sea salt to a boil. Add the fettuccine pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente.

Tip: In cases like these, I like to undercook my pasta by 2 to 3 minutes. The reason being is that I will then add the cooked pasta to the frying pan of garlic prawns, which will continue to cook the pasta. If I had pushed it to the max when boiling, I’ll end up with super soft pasta.

  1. Spicy Garlic Prawns: While the pasta is cooking away, add the butter and olive oil to a medium-sized frying pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds until golden brown and fragrant.
  2. Add the prawns and cook until they turn pink, about 2 minutes per side, then add the chopped scallions and ground chilli. Mix to combine.
  3. Quickly add the pasta from the pot of boiling water, to the garlic prawns, followed by the avocado sauce. Give it a good mix and then throw in the sliced sun-dried tomatoes.
  4. Turn the heat off and let it cook for a further minute before plating up.
  5. Sprinkle more Parmesan cheese on top and garnish with the diced avocados. Serve hot and enjoy!

Spicy Garlic Prawn & Avocado Fettuccine

Tip: The nutrients in avocado can oxidise and turn brown soon after cutting into it and exposing its flesh. The trick to slowing down the oxidation process and preventing them from browning quickly is to add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

Now, this may not be one of the prettiest dishes I’ve plated up for the year – I don’t know, I just don’t like how the colour of the diced avocados blended in with the colour of the pasta. The green didn’t quite pop out as much as I would’ve liked it to. Besides the prawns, everything else looked a bit monotonous in my opinion. Nonetheless, despite its look, it was a great tasting dish! I mean, you honestly can’t go wrong with the classic taste of garlicky and lemony prawns can you? What more when it’s paired with pasta and a creamy avocado and parmesan sauce? And that added kick of spice? BOOM!

Spicy Garlic Prawn & Avocado Fettuccine

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Dragon Fruit & Lychee Taho

Dragon Fruit & Lychee Taho

Hello Everyone! So somewhere around November time last year, I shared a recipe for a classic breakfast (or merienda) staple here in the Philippines – none other than the famous tahhoooooo that you hear from yodelling street vendors. I shared a recipe for homemade taho back then, and tonight I’m going to share a recipe for using store-bought silken tofu. Upon doing research, this approach was adapted by our kababayans living or residing overseas, who truly miss having street taho readily available at their doorstep.

Dragon Fruit & Lychee Taho

The very basic and classic version would be warm bland silken tofu that is sweetened with a caramelised brown sugar syrup known as arnibal, and is topped with tiny sago (tapioca) pearls. Nowadays you can find other variants such as Strawberry Taho or even Ube Taho, commonly found in the province of Benguet, more specifically in and around Baguio. Instead of a brown sugar syrup, a strawberry or ube syrup is made to sweeten the bland silken tofu.

Taking that into mind, I had this light bulb moment: what if I made a dragon fruit version of the arnibal? That had been my original for many months, and it was only lately that I decided to pair it with lychees since the two together had a great flavour profile for when I tackled a recipe for Dragon & Lychee Pork just last week.

Dragon Fruit & Lychee Taho Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 30 MINS | SERVES 2-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pack (500g) soft silken tofu, roughly cut

For the dragon fruit and lychee arnibal

  • 1 & 1/2 cups water
  • 1 medium-sized dragon fruit (about 600g), peeled and roughly chopped*
  • 1 can (255g) lychees in syrup, drained*
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup lychee syrup

For the tapioca pearls

  • 4-8 cups water
  • 1/2 cup large tapioca pearls, uncooked

*Reserve some of the fruits to garnish before serving

METHOD

  1. Tapioca Pearls: In a medium-sized pot, bring about 2 cups of water to a rapid boil before adding the tapioca pearls in. Leave to cook for about 15-20 minutes. Cooking time may vary depending on the size of the pearls that you use.
  2. Strain the tapioca pearls and add another 2 cups of clean water back into the pot. Bring to a rapid boil before adding the tapioca pearls back to the pot. Cook for a further hour until they become completely translucent ensuring that there are no white spots at the core. Add more water when needed to keep the pearls submerged in water as it evaporates.

I know I have said this before in a previous post, but I’ll say it again for those just tuning in:

Tip: For better results, leave the pearls in the cooking pot until it reaches back to room temperature. One hour of boiling will completely cook the pearls, but the core will still be slightly opaque. Leaving the pearls in the cooking pot for several hours (with the heat turned off) gives them a chance to absorb more water. Which makes the core translucent overtime.

Dragon Fruit & Lychee Taho

  1. Once the core is no longer opaque, strain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  2. Dragon Fruit & Lychee Arnibal: Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients (except for the lychee syrup) for the arnibal in a small pot and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Stir occasionally and simmer until it thickens into a syrup and until the fruits are soft enough to mash, about 15 minutes.
  3. Once done, strain the syrup into a bowl to rid of any chunks of fruits. Stir in the lychee syrup and then set aside to cool down.
  4. Assemble: Layer each element into a tall glass; taho, syrup, dragon fruit, lychee, and repeat. Of course you can do it in any order you wish. Serve chilled and enjoy! Makes 2 large servings or 4 smaller servings.

The result was absolutely amazing! The sweetness from the dragon fruit and lychee was subtle, but that’s only because I didn’t go overboard on sweetening the syrup, for health reasons. It was just enough to cater to my tolerance of sweet. Of course, feel free to add more sugar in the recipe to your level of liking. Just think, whenever I buy bubble milk tea, I always ask for 0% sugar, or if I’m feeling naughty, then slight sugar only!

Dragon Fruit & Lychee Taho

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com