Salmon Sashimi Eggs Blini

Salmon Sashimi Eggs Blini

Hello Everyone! I hope it’s been a good week for y’all so far. So the original inspiration for this dish was actually drawn from a dish that I had back when I was still studying in Australia – a simple dish that is packed with beautiful flavours that sing in our mouth upon every bite. The pop of citrus that you get from the fresh king salmon, the explosion of salt from the caviar, the crunch from the broccolini, and the fluffiness of the blini to just soak up all the creaminess from the maltaise sauce combined with that liquid gold – pure heaven.

Devon Café's Eggs Blini
Devon Café’s Eggs Blini • buckwheat blini • poached eggs • citrus cured king salmon • salmon caviar • broccolini • maltaise sauce

If I remember clearly, the first time I had this dish was also the first time I had stepped into Devon Café – one fine Sunday(?) morning I believe. I was waiting outside with Jialing for – of course – Yvonne to show up for our ‘brunch’ meet up. While waiting, I saw one of my high school friend’s brother inside the café with a group of his friends. We both displayed shocked expressions on our faces as we made eye contact and realised each other’s familiar faces. Why? Well because firstly, I hadn’t seen him since I graduated highschool, which at that time would’ve been 3-4 years ago, and secondly, he doesn’t live Sydney, he was just travelling through at that time – what a small world amirite? Anyway we talked for a bit, but I let him enjoy his Eggs Blini (yes he was having that dish) while Jialing and I continued to wait for Yvonne. If not mistaken, we had planned to meet up at 10am, but Yvonne didn’t show up until quarter to one, or even at one maybe. I can’t actually remember, but I know she was super late which is typical. Not hating on her though because Jialing and I know her so well for this to be her thing *cheeky grin* We still waited for her, though I also don’t know what Jialing and I did for 3 hours of waiting. Another one of a brunch-turned-late-lunch sessions! The wait was all worth it though for that spectacular Eggs Blini dish!

The second time I had this dish wasn’t planned at all. The initial plan was to take, my then housemate’s friend to have the BEST sandwiches ever in Sydney, but I had totally forgotten that they were closed on Sundays! So I told him that I’d take him to the next best place on my list for our brunch date – which was of course, Devon Café! I had convinced him to order the Eggs Blini because he was being very indecisive. I told him that he would not regret it – and he didn’t! I could see it in his face as he savoured and devoured each bite he took.

Floris & his Eggs Blini
Remember guys, the camera ALWAYS eats first!

Alright, I apologise for the long-winded introduction, but nowadays it’s very rare that I have something to share with you guys, since I do nothing now but eat, sleep, work, repeat 6 times a week. My social life has gone down the drain, which is also my fault because I can’t be bothered to make the effort to go out. I’d much rather sit in front of the TV after work or just lay in bed waiting to fall asleep. Nevertheless! Here’s my take on Devon Café’s Eggs Blini:

Salmon Sashimi Eggs Blini Ingredients

PREP TIME 1 HOUR 30 MINS* | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 3

*Includes time for the buckwheat blini batter to rise and rest.

INGREDIENTS

For the buckwheat blini (original recipe from The Spruce Eats)**

  • 1 cup milk warm
  • 2/3 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 large free range egg, at room temperature, yolk and white separated
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the hollandaise sauce

  • 3 large free range eggs, yolks separated
  • 175g unsalted butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 1/2 bunch purple kale, stemmed
  • Fresh salmon, cut into 15 equal sashimi slices***
  • Fresh salmon roe
  • Lemon wedges, to garnish
  • Micro-herbs, to garnish

**I recommend that you follow the link to learn more about what a blini is especially if this word is foreign to you.

***If you don’t possess the knife skills to do so, you can always pop by your local fish market to get lovely and readily fresh cuts of sashimi.

METHOD

  1. Buckwheat Blini: Mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl – the plain flour, buckwheat flour, salt, and instant yeast.
  2. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warmed milk, mixing until smooth. Cover and let rise until the mixture has doubled in size, about 1 hour. Then, stir in the cooled melted butter and the egg yolk into the batter.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg white until stiff but not dry. Fold into batter and cover to stand 20 minutes.
  4. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Drop quarter-size dollops of dough into pan without crowding. Cook for about 1 minute or until bubbles form and break. Turn and cook for about 30 seconds more. Cover blini and keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter.
  5. Hollandaise Sauce: While the buckwheat blini batter is underway and left to stand, start on the Hollandaise sauce. Place a heatproof bowl over a medium saucepan that is quarter-filled with water. Make sure that the bowl should fit snugly into the pan without touching the water (lift the bowl to check and remove some water if it does). Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to very low so the water is barely simmering (there should be almost no movement at all). It is important that the water is barely simmering while making the sauce – if it is too hot, the egg yolks will cook too much and the sauce will curdle.
  6. Place the egg yolks and the 2 tablespoons of water in the heatproof bowl and place over the pan. Whisk the mixture constantly for 3 minutes or until it is thick and pale, has doubled in volume and a ribbon trail forms when the whisk is lifted.
  7. Add the butter a cube at a time, whisking constantly and adding another cube when the previous one is incorporated completely (about 10 minutes to add it all in). If butter is added too quickly, it won’t mix easily with the egg yolks or the sauce may lose volume. At the same time, it is important that the butter is at room temperature and added a cube at a time, so that it doesn’t take too long to be incorporated – if the sauce cooks for too long, it can curdle.
  8. Remove the bowl from the pan and place on a heatproof surface. The cooked sauce should have the consistency of very lightly whisked thickened cream. Whisk in the lemon juice, tom yum paste, fresh thyme leaves, and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Poached Eggs: Bring small saucepan of water to the boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low-medium – the water should be just simmering. Add in the vinegar and stir. Crack one egg into a small bowl and quickly, but gently pour it into the water. Repeat with the other egg. A really soft poached egg should take around 2 minutes, but if you want it a bit more firm, it will take about 4 minutes. To check if they’re cooked right, carefully remove the egg from the pan with a slotted spoon and give the yolk a gentle push (you can tell just by your instincts if it is under or over – or perfect)!
  10. Kale: Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, add salt to taste and the kale. Blanch for 3 minutes, then transfer to a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking, and drain. Take the blanched kale up by the handful and squeeze hard to expel excess water.
  11. Assembly: Lay the blini on the plate, and place the blanched kale leaves on top. Build up with the salmon sashimi slices, 5 per serving, and top with the poached egg. Drizzle a generous amount of hollandaise sauce and garnish with the salmon roe, about a teaspoon or two per serving, and micro-herbs. Squeeze with a bit of lemon juice before indulging. Enjoy!

Salmon Sashimi Eggs Blini

Salmon Sashimi Eggs Blini

Before I sign off, I just want to let you guys know that next week will be a little different as the recipe that I will be sharing will be in three parts. I will be posting part 1 of the recipe on Tuesday night, the main Eggs Benny recipe on Wednesday night, and another dish on what you can do with the leftovers! So get your mouths watering for three new recipes next week!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Auguest 2017: Jialing Mew

Curried Lentil & Vegetable Stew

Curried Lentil & Vegetable Stew

Happy Guestember everyone! I’ll be taking over Amcarmen’s kitchen this week, for my third guest appearance. Having lived in Sydney for the past few years, I’ve crossed paths with several people, all with different lifestyles, backgrounds, and interests. Amidst the social and cultural melting pot, I’ve found that food is always a common talking point and a great way to bring people together. And what’s better than food that can be enjoyed by all? I’ve certainly managed to surpass my own expectations this year – not only does my recipe use multiple ingredients from Allison’s high-blood-pressure-lowering list, but it is also gluten-free, dairy-free, and… vegan! (Read about last year’s vegan recipe struggle here MATE YOU GOTTA LINK THIS PART WHERE IT SAYS HERE TO THE RECIPE FROM LAST YEAR PLZ CUZ I DONT KNOW HOW TO DO EET AND ALL THIS TEXT IN RED PLZ REMOVE FROM POST TENKS. Yes, 2017 Jialing can laugh about it now).

[I’m sorry Jialing, I had to share the text in red for the blogging world to see because it’s just too funny!] – Ally xx

Inspired by seasonal ingredients in my kitchen, staples in my pantry, and great people in my life, this dish is something that I hope everyone can enjoy. True to my appetite, my recipe makes a LOT, so it’s best made in the largest pot or pan you can scrounge up, then shared with a small army. Or simply halve the first lot of ingredients for a more regular quantity. Enjoy!

Curried Lentil & Vegetable Stew Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 45-50 MINS | SERVES 12

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g scrubbed potatoes, cubed
  • 500g split lentils
  • 500g sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 can (400g) white beans, drained
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 3 tbsp hot curry powder (use mild if less heat is preferred)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  •  (optional)
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • A small handful of dried curry leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Optional

  • 1 tbsp cornstarch, for slurry
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • Lemon and coriander, to garnish

METHOD

  1. In your very large pot over high heat, fry onion in oil until browned. Add garlic and stir until fragrant. Add ginger paste and tomatoes, stirring until tomatoes are soft and start to break down (being careful not to let the garlic burn).
  2. Add curry powder, coriander powder, and chill powder if desired, stirring briefly for a few seconds.
  3. Add potatoes, sweet potatoes and lentils, increase heat to high, and add enough water to the pan to cover the potatoes and lentils. Keep covered until the water boils.
  4. Once the water boils, reduce the heat to low and add lemon wedges, stirring occasionally and topping up water until lentils and potatoes are all cooked through (may take roughly half an hour). Be sure to leave enough liquid to just cover the lentils.
  5. Add curry leaves, then salt and pepper, adjusting to your taste (I usually end up adding about 1 tbsp of salt). At this point, make the optional slurry with cornstarch and 1 tbsp of water, and add to the pan to thicken the gravy.
  6. Add drained white beans to pan, stirring until heated through. Take your pan off the heat.
  7. Toss in the kale, stirring through gently until evenly distributed. Be careful not to spill, as I always do…
  8. Garnish with fresh coriander and lemon. Serve hot with basmati rice or flat bread, chutney or fresh yogurt, or even on its own. Enjoy with friends or family 🙂

Curried Lentil & Vegetable Stew

Curried Lentil & Vegetable Stew

Recipe Copyright © 2017 | jialingmew

BON APPÉTIT

– xx Jialing

myTaste.com

Vegan Broccoli & Kale Soup

Vegan Broccoli & Kale Soup

Hello Everyone! I’ll try to keep tonight’s post short and sweet, well, I guess the only reason why it’d be short is because I don’t actually have much to share about the past week I’ve had. It was just one of those routinely days like wake up, go to work, eat, go home, eat, go to the gym, shower, sleep, repeat kind of week *sigh* Oh wait! How did I possibly forget the most important thing that happened this week?! My Mom, my sister, and I went to see the Power Rangers Movie on opening night! So many childhood memories came back alive and I think that this movie was much more worth the hype than for Beauty and the Beast. Please go watch it if you haven’t already watched it!

Moving on, I used to make a lot of soups when I was still studying in Sydney​, ​especially during the winter season​. Now, being the typical Asian that I was, I used to never see a meal without rice as a fully complete meal, so you can imagine how distraught I was when I’d hear people say that they had “soup” for dinner. I would be like, “only soup?!” with a hint of what-the-actual-fishsticks are you on about look on my face. However, having lived in Sydney for 4 years and basically exposed to cuisines other than the typical I-need-rice in every meal ideal, I grew to appreciate soups as a meal. It can actually be quite filling if you pair it with a nice crusty bread to soak up all the yummy flavours and wipe the bowl clean. Tonight’s recipe is a delicious blend of Broccoli and Kale, both nutritious super green foods that are packed with healthy vitamins and minerals essential to one’s daily diet. Please check out the original recipe by Taylor over on The Girl on the Bloor.

Vegan Broccoli & Kale Soup Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

For the soup:

  • 2 cups non-dairy milk, for instance almond or coconut milk
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 large brown onion, diced
  • 1 leek, cleaned and sliced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Chilli flakes, for garnish
  • Flaked almonds, for garnish
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
For the kale chips:
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Okay, before I venture on to the method, some of you might/might not have picked up on a bit of a confusion with the ingredients. The list says to use leeks, but in the ingredient shot, the “leeks” would appear to some as spring onions. Actually, I do believe that what has been photographed are indeed spring onions, and not leeks, but the label did say “local leeks” at the grocery store. Since these were the only leeks available at that time, I had no choice but to buy them I guess. If you didn’t notice the difference, then I guess I could’ve gotten away without having to explain myself here, haha!

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6). Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Wash and thoroughly dry the 2 cups of chopped kale for the chips before tossing it with olive oil. Massaging oil into leaves and season with ground sea salt and black pepper before spreading in onto the prepared baking tray. Set aside for now.
  3. Melt the coconut oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and sauté the minced garlic until golden brown and fragrant, about a minute. Follow with the diced onions and sliced leeks, cooking until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add broccoli florets and vegetable broth, bringing the mixture to a boil and then simmering for a further 2 minutes until the broccoli is tender.
  5. Once the broccoli is tender, remove from heat, and stir in the chopped kale. Leave the soup to cool down for about 15 minutes.
  6. While waiting for the soup and veggies to cool down, you can start baking your kale chips! Bake them in the preheated oven for 7 to 8 minutes, checking and flipping them every couple minutes so they don’t burn. When they’re crispy, remove them from the oven and set aside to top your soup with.
  7. Once your soup has cooled down, purée the veggies using a stick blender until the soup is smooth. Add your non-dairy milk, and season with a touch of ground sea salt and black pepper, stirring your soup until thickened.
  8. Divide the soup into individual bowls and top with the kale chips, flaked almonds, and chilli flakes. Serve and enjoy!

Vegan Broccoli & Kale Soup

Vegan Broccoli & Kale Soup

Before I end tonight’s post, I encourage you guys to head on over to Thrive Cuisine to learn more on the nutritional benefits of kale. There are plenty of links as well as to more recipes that include the famous cruciferous veggie known as kale.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Spicy Kimchi Quinoa Bowls

Spicy Kimchi Quinoa Bowls

Hello Everyone! Wow! I can’t believe that we’ve reached the end of Cooking with Quinoa month, and with that, I can’t believe that September will be ending in a couple of days! Now that we’re approaching October soon, I can’t believe that we’re already into the 10th month of the year — which also means that I will have been working in my current company as a Creative Design Executive for a year already. *sigh* Time is flying by in the blink of an eye. I don’t know why, but the introduction to this blog post is feeling very overemotional *cheeky grin* and I guess I will stop here.

I’ve saved the best recipe for last! Well actually, now that I think of it, I think the best recipe for this month was the very first that I posted in the beginning of the month with my take on a Californian-inspired Quinoa Salad. I still consider tonight’s a recipe one of the best as it is a creative and healthy take on a classic kimchi fried rice recipe — and you guessed it! Quinoa will be replacing the rice in this recipe. I was going to try an attempt to make my own Kimchi at home, but I forgot why I didn’t try to DIY it since it’s actually super easy to do — I guess the reason was because I saw a shelf of ready-made kimchi at the supermarket and just could not resist to pick up a jar to speed up my time in the kitchen for that day  *cheeky grin* The original idea for this recipe can be found over on Simply Quinoa.

Spicy Kimchi Quinoa Bowls

For those of you who do not know, kimchi is a traditional Korean dish that uses the process of fermentation to pickle and preserve fresh vegetables. The spicy, crunchy, cabbage-based vegetable mixture has a texture similar to sauerkraut but boasts much bolder flavours thanks to garlic and spicy seasonings. This process of pickling and preserving fresh vegetables was originally developed in 7th Century Korea as a means of storing vegetables during cold winters. Though of Korean origin, the dish has been steadily — if not, slowly — gaining recognition beyond the boundaries of its native country. Fermentation in general has been shown to increase the nutritional properties of food. Kimchi specifically has been linked to anti-obesity effects, and might help treat atopic dermatitis and even lower cholesterol. Other than that, the dish’s health benefits are in large part attributable to its high probiotic content (i.e. good-for-you bacteria), and it is also loaded with fibre and vitamins A, B, and C. Spicier varieties also get a boost from capsaicin, a component of hot peppers that’s been shown to improve metabolism.

Spicy Kimchi Quinoa Bowls Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups cooked tri-colour quinoa, cooled
  • 2 cups kale, finely chopped
  • 1 cup kimchi, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 2 tsp gluten-free tamari
  • 2 tsp kimchi “juice” (the liquid from the jar)
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger

Optional

  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions, for garnish
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • Fresh ground black pepper, for garnish

METHOD

  1. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high. Add the grated ginger and garlic and sauté for until golden and fragrant, about a minute.
  2. Add the quinoa and kimchi and cook until just lightly heated through, about 2 – 3 minutes. Stir in kimchi juice, tamari, and hot sauce if using, then turn the heat down to low and stir occasionally while you prepare the other ingredients.
  3. In a separate frying pan, cook the eggs on low until the whites have cooked through but the yolks are still runny, about 3 – 5 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Steam the kale in a separate pot for 30 – 60 seconds until soft. Set aside.
  5. Transfer the kimchi-quinoa mixture and kale to two separate serving bowls evenly and top it off with a sunny side up egg each. Garnish with some green onions and fresh ground black pepper if using. If you fancy, top with more kimchi.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Spicy Kimchi Quinoa Bowls

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Quinoa Minestone Soup with Kale Pesto

Quinoa Minestone Soup with Kale Pesto

Hello Everyone! Week 2 of cooking with quinoa is here and I’ve got a classic recipe with a twist. For those of you who don’t know, minestrone soup is a thick soup of Italian origin made with vegetables that range from, but are not limited to, beans, onions, celery, carrots, and tomatoes. Often, rice or pasta is added to the soup to bulk it up with some carbs. There is no set recipe for minestrone, since it is usually made out of whatever vegetables are in season. It can be vegetarian, contain meat, or contain a meat-based broth.

I’ve made this soup a couple of times before in the past, and is featured in the Mediterranean section of my blog – but today, I’m going to add a little twist to a traditional minestrone soup. I’m switching out the pasta that I would normally add to my soup, with quinoa. Using quinoa in place of pasta adds extra protein and makes this soup gluten free! In addition to using quinoa for this soup, I’m topping it off with some kale pesto as well to give the dish a touch of freshness – and of course, if you have any extra leftover, you can totally whip up another dish just by mixing it through some freshly cooked pasta! Top it of with some grilled chicken or seared tiger prawns for a complete lunch or dinner. The original recipe for this dish can be found over on Taste Australia.

Quinoa Minestone Soup with Kale Pesto Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the soup

  • 1 can (400g) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (410g) Italian chopped tomatoes
  • 150g bacon, diced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup tri-coloured quinoa, rinsed
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 celery stick, sliced
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 large brown onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini, cut into small chunks

For the kale pesto

  • 2 & 1/2 cups kale leaves, shredded
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 small garlic clove, halved
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp water

METHOD

  1. For the Soup: Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the bacon bits and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until browned. Remove from the pot and set aside.
  2. Turn the heat up to high and then add in the garlic. Sauté until golden brown and fragrant, about a minute or so. Then add in the onions and cooking, stirring, until soft, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add in the carrot and celery, together with the bay leaf, and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes or until soft.
  4. Next, add in the chicken stock and canned chopped tomatoes to the pot. Bring to the boil.
  5. Once boiling, reduce the heat down to medium-low and then stir in the quinoa. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in zucchini. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, and then add in the cannellini beans. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes or until the quinoa and zucchini are tender. Season with a touch of ground salt and pepper.
  7. For the Kale Pesto: Add the kale leaves, parmesan cheese, and garlic into a food processor and process until finely chopped. Combine the juice, oil, and water in a jug, and slowly stream the juice mixture into the kale mixture until well combined. Season.
  8. Divide soup among four equal bowls and top with the kale pesto and extra parmesan if you wish.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Quinoa Minestone Soup with Kale Pesto

Quinoa Minestone Soup with Kale Pesto

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Butterflied Buffalo Roast Chicken

Butterflied Buffalo Roast Chicken

Butterflied Buffalo Roast Chicken

Hello Everyone! Wow, I cannot even begin to tell you guys how mentally and physically drained I am right now – well, if I am to talk about today in particular, it’s probably not from having worked for 17 days straight already with Sunday breaks, but because I probably had (not even) too much to drink. I said not even because I know that what I had a few hours ago was not my maximum capacity, but I’m feeling tipsy and sleepy already. My boss called for a “brainstorming” session after work hours which actually turned out to be a chill session with dumplings and beers (red wine for me because I’m sophisticated and classy af) haha!

Anyway, all that aside that the fact that I have to work this coming Sunday again, tonight’s recipe is a favourite of mine – I mean, who doesn’t like buffalo chicken?! We can’t be friends if you don’t like it; I’m serious. I served mine with a simple kale and roasted chickpea salad with crumbled blue cheese on top. Buffalo chicken goes well with anything blue cheese! Be sure to check out the original recipe over on Food.com; the original recipe calls to actually brush the sauce mixture onto the chicken, but I marinated the chicken in the sauce mixture instead to absorb all the yummy flavours into the flesh.

Butterflied Buffalo Roast Chicken

PREP TIME 20 MINS* | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 35 MINS | SERVES 6

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 2kg butterflied whole chicken, washed and cleaned thoroughly
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 – 1 & 1/2 tbsp tabasco sauce (or more if you like a good punch)
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 bulb garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground smoked paprika
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste

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. Place the chicken on the rack and into the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes. The lower 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.
  4. Once done, remove the oven and set aside to rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Butterflied Buffalo Roast Chicke

Butterflied Buffalo Roast Chicken with Salad

Butterflied Buffalo Roast Chicken with Salad

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Kale Piña-Cavado

Kale Piña-Cavado

Hello Everyone! So last week was a little hectic, and today is no different as well. I’m currently back in Brunei; I arrived at 4 in the afternoon, and tomorrow I’ll be back in office – sad times. I had a great week in Singapore, though I wouldn’t call it a rest and relaxation kind of holiday. I was out and about most of the time, exploring, café hopping, eating, playing with dogs, and many more activities which included the shedding of calories for my wallet. Anyway, so from my previous post I mentioned that I was going to go to the River Safari with my sister – and we did! It was a lot of fun seeing a lot of aquatic animals, especially Kai Kai and Jia Jia the Giant Pandas!

The following day, Pam, my sister, and myself started our morning at a café known as Boufé. The food was delicious and it reminded me so much of the brunches that I had when I was back in Sydney. I’m really sad that Brunei doesn’t have that kind of brunch that I’m after – or maybe there is, it’s just that I haven’t had the time to explore the new/existing cafés in Brunei. Anyway, after that we headed straight for the Dog Café (also known as We are The Furballs or WTF) to play with the cutest dogs ever! If you want to see photos of this, you can head on over to my personal Instagram account, @amcarmen.

After the weekend, things slowed down a little bit as I did most of the shoppings that I needed to do, and went to the places that I had planned on going to. The only last thing that I did was co-host a dinner party with a high school friend for our other high school friends, one of which I had not seen since we finished IB and headed of for university (which was 5 years ago!). One of our friends is a vegan so, my friend, Miao, and I took up the challenge to whip up some yummy vegan dishes. Both of us had never cooked up a vegan dish before so we were both quite excited to see how it would turn out. I remember at one point when Miao was making her Spiced Cauliflower Soup, she tasted it and didn’t seem like she was blown away with it. She then asked me to taste it, and as I was tasting it, she said:

“Something’s missing, but I don’t know what. I don’t think it needs anymore herbs because I think it’s quite balanced already… Or maybe it’s because it’s vegan?”

I laughed out loud at that comment! Maybe it was just because it’s lacking a lovely chicken broth base or oils from fried up bacon as its base – but nonetheless, the soup was still pretty amazing. Good job Miao! For mains, I cooked up a Chunky Butternut Squash Wholegrain Spaghetti with Sundried Tomatoes and Sage Leaves. Again, we had a hefty laugh at the table when Ann (our vegan friend), filled her plate with the pasta, sundried tomatoes, and sage leaves. She then started to mix it and was about to take a bite until Miao’s boyfriend, Robin, pointed out that she was missing the Butternut Squash sauce. We laughed out because she thought that it was some sort of agilo olio. It was funny, but I guess you’d have to be there to understand the extent of the humour. Lastly, we ended the savoury with a delicious No-bake Blueberry and Orange “Cheesecake”.

Okay, I apologise for a super long post, so I guess I will keep this part short. I think I may have added too much kale, or not enough pineapple because the kale was really overpowering the taste of the smoothie. Kale has a lot of vitamins and also contains powerful antioxidants that help protect your immune system and fight against certain cancers. If you want to read more about the health benefits of kale, please click here. Now, you may substitute kale for spinach if kale isn’t readily available where you are; I know that it’s not very cheap to get kale here in Brunei since it’s air-flown in from Australia. Before you scroll down to the recipe, don’t forget to check out the original over on Delicious by Dre.

Kale Piña-Cavado Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 & 1/2 cups kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 ripe avocados, pitted and flesh removed
  • 1-2 cups fresh coconut water
  • 1/2 medium-sized pineapple, chopped

METHOD

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender in this order: avocado, pineapple, kale, and 1 cup of coconut water. Pulse a couple of times to mix up the ingredients in the blender a bit and then blend on high for about 30 to 60 seconds. Add more coconut water if needed to reach your desired consistency.
  2. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Kale Piña-Cavado

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Kale Smoothie with Almonds, Banana, & Pineapple

Kale Smoothie with Almonds, Banana, & Pineapple

Hello Everyone! I’ve got another brekky smoothie recipe for you today, and some may find this unusual at first, but it actually works! I must admit, I was once cynical about the idea of adding vegetables to a smoothie. That changed when I moved to Australia and saw kale juices/smoothies pop up here and there in many local cafés in and around Sydney. I’d always see my friends with a take away cup of green smoothies that were either made up of kale or spinach included in them. To be honest, I’ve never tried a kale smoothie before and this is the first time I’m making and trying one! I’ve had kale before, and to me, it doesn’t have a distinct taste to it, so I was glad that the non-exsitent kale flavour didn’t shine through in the smoothie. Instead, you can taste the almonds, bananas, and pineapple which was nice. However, after having done some research, kale apparently does have a strong flavour that many might be used to, so when making a green smoothie using kale, you should use strongly flavour fruits such as strawberries or pineapple to help mask the flavour (possibly why I personally could taste the kale because I use pineapple in my green smoothie).

Before I begin with this simple green smoothie recipe, I want to talk to you a little bit about the health benefits of adding kale to your smoothie. Kale helps cut the sweetness of the fruits added, and has more than twice the recommended daily value of calcium to your diet. It is an excellent leafy green to use for detox as it contains cleansing properties. In addition, kale has a lot of vitamins and also contains powerful antioxidants that help protect your immune system and fight against certain cancers. If you want to read more about the health benefits of kale, please click here. Now, you may substitute kale for spinach if kale isn’t readily available where you are; I know that it’s not very cheap to get kale here in Brunei since it’s air-flown in from Australia.

The original recipe can be found over on Real Simple; all I did was again, change the quantities to serve about 3-4 tall glasses. I also decided to substitute the coconut milk for fresh coconut water as most coconut milk that you find here in Brunei are straight out from a tin and have a whole lot of preservatives added to them. You can use coconut water from the shelf if you don’t have fresh coconut water readily available but I personally hate those because they taste very artificial to me. Otherwise, you can also just use water. I read in the comments section of the site as well that someone added almonds to the smoothie for that added protein, so feel free to add your favourite nuts into the mix as well when you make your smoothie!

Kale Smoothie with Almonds, Banana, & Pineapple Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 & 1/2 cups kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1-2 cups fresh coconut water
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1/2 medium-sized pineapple, chopped
  • 2 ripe bananas, chopped

METHOD

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender in this order: bananas, almonds, pineapple, kale, and 1 cup of coconut water. Pulse a couple of times to mix up the ingredients in the blender a bit and then blend on high for about 30 to 60 seconds. Add more coconut water if needed to reach your desired consistency.
  2. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Kale Smoothie with Almonds, Banana, & Pineapple

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

SHUK North Bondi

Hello Everyone and welcome back to our final Review Sunday for the year! Your read that right, and if you were able to catch my review last Sunday, you would’ve already known that I am stopping Review Sundays for a while. I have pretty much covered all the restaurants and cafés that I have visited over the past few months when I was in Sydney, and I have not been café hopping since I got back to Brunei. Instead of reviews on Sundays, I will be posting some of my design work on the blog.

All that aside, let’s get down to the review! So I’ve been wanting to go to this place for a very long time now and have had many opportunities to visit, but was always shot down for various reasons. The first time I tried to come here was for a brunch outing with Jialing and Yvonne. Yvonne was feeling under the weather at that time and said that she didn’t want to travel so far for brunch. The second time I tried to go there was with Jialing and her boyfriend for lunch; shot down again because he didn’t want to go to a place that has anything to do and/or supports Israel – just some firm beliefs and political issues he has with the country. So for my farewell brunch, I didn’t let anyone tell me otherwise because this would be the very last opportunity I’d have to go to this place. So how I came to know about SHUK was purely by just discovering eating places that I have never been to before. I came across a lot of places, but SHUK really spoke out to me, especially their Isralei Breakfast.

So yes, as mentioned above, I invited a few of my very close friends to come out and have brunch under the beautiful winter sun. Amongst the people who came out to see me were Annie, Daniel, Edison, Greta, Kevin, and Sophia. I know, you’re probably asking, where’s Jialing and Yvonne? Something happened the night before where Jialing couldn’t make it to brunch that morning. Yvonne technically had no excuse, but still ended up waking up late and therefore did not make it to brunch. I did however see her for a bit after brunch.

“The place is unstoppable. It’s Israeli by heart, Mediterranean on paper, Bondi by postcode and very Australian in its multicultural scope.” — Ryan O’Kane in GoodFood.

This café, bakery, and deli draws inspiration from the Hebrew term SHUK, which means marketplace. SHUK is North Bondi’s own marketplace where the freshest produce and dishes offered promises a flavour of Israel mixed with modern favourites for locals and tourists alike. Their menu is directly influenced by Arabic, Turkish, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean cuisines, and of course is inspired by Israeli dishes that the owners of SHUK grew up with, sharing with us what they’ve learnt from their families back home.

ALL DAY

SHUK: Green Shakshuka
GREEN SHAKSHUKA: Baked eggs, fennel, zucchini , kale, caramelised onion, feta, olives, and sourdough ($16.00) with extra chorizo (+$3.50)

If I ever have the chance to go back again, I would definitely order this dish. It looks like it would taste really good, I mean, of course it tasted good according to my friends who ordered it and didn’t share one bite (I forgive you Kevin). Edison was too far away from me to share, because I know he’d share 🙂 It is also a healthy vegetarian dish if you minus the chorizo add ons on the other dish!

SHUK: Hummus & Lamb
HUMMUS AND LAMB: House made hummus with 8-hour slow cooked lamb, served with pickles, olives, bread, and zhug ($18.00)

This dish that Sophia ordered looked amazing, and even the combination of hummus and slow cooked lamb was hard to resist. On their menu you could have hummus and mushroom as another option, and I remember when Sophia ordered this, she asked our waitress, “I really like lamb, but I also like mushrooms, so I was wondering if I can have the hummus and lamb with mushrooms as well?” The waitress said she’d ask but by the looks of the photograph, I don’t think she got her mushrooms. Anyway, I had a bit of her dish and it was delicious. The lamb was tender and juicy, and the hummus complimented it well. I can’t remember if it was from her dish, or Kevin’s, but I remembered eating the olives from someones dish because they didn’t like it.

BREAKFAST

SHUK: Israeli Breakfast
ISRAELI BREAKFAST: 2 eggs of your choice, Israeli salad, olives, labn’e, butter, house jam, avocado, and yoghurt with granola ($21.00)

This was the dish that I ordered. To be honest, even though it look spectacular in front of me, served in a massive pan with little bowls of everything, that was all it was. Don’t get me wrong, it was a bad dish, it’s just that he flavours and everything were average and nothing really blew my socks off. Also, when I got the dish, I felt like something was missing; I had all these spreads but no bread to put it on, so I had to call a waiter and ask for some toast for my dish. I still liked this dish; I only wished it impressed me more.

SHUK: SHUK Porridge
SHUK PORRIDGE: Oats, puffed whole grains, banana, dulce de leche, and roasted nuts ($13.00)

Now I know Daniel to be quite health conscious, so it was no surprise that he’d go for this dish (well except for the fact that it has dulce de leche in it). Daniel was sitting across the table from me so it was hard to want to try a little bit of his dish. From where I was sitting though, he seemed to enjoy his porridge, but I think he was a little bit upset by the fact that he ordered some smoked salmon on the side. Why was he upset? The side was priced at $4.00, and he got a puny bowl of it.

SANDWICHES

SHUK: House Cured Salmon
HOUSE CURED SALMON: House cured salmon with sour cream & dill, pickled cucumber, and spinach on an Israeli roll ($13.00)

I’m surprised that even though Greta sat next to me, I didn’t get to try her roll at all, well only because it’s kind of hard to bite into someones sandwich I guess. I did ask her how her dish was and she said it was very good. She had actually been thinking of going to SHUK for some time as well and thanked me for choosing this place as it then gave her to opportunity to.

SPECIALS

SHUK: SHUK Special

I’m sorry but I completely forgot what this dish was – it was on their specials menu which meant that it wasn’t listed out on their regular menu. A little back story here, so one of my friends, Annie, who came late to the brunch, went inside the café and ordered this dish. When he dish came out, she told us that it was one of the specials that they had for that week. We never asked the waitress who served our table what the specials were, and frankly she didn’t think to mention it to us as well, so I guess it’s no one’s fault. Also, because of that, I didn’t know what dish she ordered, nor did I remember to ask her what dish she ordered. I think she mentioned it, but it’s been more than a month since I was at SHUK, so it has already slipped my mind. So I did have a bite of the burger, I believe it was beef, and one too many sweet potato fries *cheeky grin* The fries, to die for, and the burger patty was tender and juicy.

Overall, I’m actually quite impressed with the food served up at my farewell brunch. It was actually quite a packed Saturday morning when I got there, but I was able to snag a table within 5 minutes of arriving. I’m just glad that they didn’t kick me out of the table because I had to wait a good half hour for the next three people to arrive, and an hour for the rest to come. We basically had the table for an hour before we even started ordering… Oops! Besides that, they can accommodate quite a lot of people in their restaurant, both indoors and outdoors. The service was pretty good, the waiters and waitresses who served our table were quick with requests and food came out very quickly too I might add. I’d give ambience/environment and service a clear 8/10 for our experience that day. I must say that I was quite surprised that the food served was fairly priced, though I’m not sure if I’d pay $21.00 for the Israeli Breakfast, but other than that, the other dishes definitely looked like you got your money’s worth; 8/10. The food looked amazing and some impressed more than others; 8/10.

SHUK is open everyday for breakfast and lunch, and dinners on Friday and Saturday night until 10pm. If I ever find myself in Sydney again, I would definitely hit this place up again and try dishes from their lunch and dinner menu as they look very enticing. As to quote Greta on that day, “you should just keep coming back and leaving so that we’ll have endless farewells.” Thank you Greta! 🙂

SHUK North Bondi
2 Mitchell Street
North Bondi, New South Wales
Australia, 2026

– Ally xx

Roast Pork Crackling with Kale & Quinoa Salad

Roast Pork Crackling with Kale & Quinoa Salad

Hello Everyone! Can’t believe that it’s already the end of June! How time flies by much too fast. I’ve got just about a month left here in Sydney and then it’s quite possibly goodbye for a while. I wish I could stay, I really do, but it’s time for me to move on…

Sorry for the late post; I just got back home from a rather late dinner out with Amrita and Kevin. We had French Galettes and Crêpes in Randwick at Four Frogs Crêperie, exchanged conversations and laughs, and got up to a little mischief on our walk home. Basically Kevin managed to command Amrita to get into a shopping trolley that we found on our walk and pushed her down the street for a good 10 minutes or so I guess. He gave her a pretty rough ride by letting go on some occasions and leaving her in the middle of the road which made it all the more funny, especially Amrita’s priceless facial reactions.

Kale & Quinoa Salad

Anyway, besides that, this morning/afternoon I was in the kitchen making a lovely Kale and Quinoa Salad to go with my Roast Pork Belly Cracking. The crackling was no doubt well cooked; juicy, tender meat with a crackle to die for, paired with a chilli, garlic, lemon, soy sauce dip that made it all the more enjoyable. Of course, all that delicious but fatty belly needed to be paired with a light and healthy salad. I’ve never actually cooked quinoa before, but I have had quinoa at cafés. While I was cooking it, I could smell something burning, and at first I thought it was the quinoa because I could’ve sworn the smell was coming from the pot, and then I remembered my almonds. My poor almonds we’re slightly over-tanned on one side as I forgot that they were roasting in the oven.

Roast Pork Crackling Ingredients

Kale & Quinoa Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 24 HOURS* | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 3-4

*Includes time needed to set aside the pork belly in the fridge overnight to draw out extra moisture for a crispy crackling when roasted.

INGREDIENTS

For the pork belly crackling

  • 750g pork belly
  • 5-6 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more for rubbing
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • Oil for rubbing

For the dipping sauce

  • 4 tbsp dark or light soy sauce
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, slices
  • 1 lemon wedge, juiced

For the kale & quinoa salad

  • 150g organic quinoa
  • 50g roasted almonds, unsalted
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into small chunks
  • 1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Crumbled feta cheese
  • Ground salt and black pepper to season
  • Lemon juice

METHOD

  1. Pork Roast Prep: Score the skin with a very sharp knife. Place the meat in a large pot with water, salt, whole peppercorns, and bay leaves. Boil for about 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from the heat and drain, placing in a large bowl lined with a paper towel. Once the meat has cooled down, refrigerate uncovered for at least 24 hours. Refrigerating the meat will help to draw out any remaining moisture. Remove from the refrigerator and bring back to room temperature prior to roasting in the oven.
  2. Roast Pork Crackling: Preheat oven between 220-240C (425-475F or gas mark 7-9). Rub oil and plenty of salt into the scored skin, really getting it into the slits of the score marks. The fat under the skin will react to the salt and that is what makes the skin puff up and crisp up. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes and then bring the temperature down to 160C (325F or gas mark 3) and roast for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the meat rest for 20 minutes.
  3. Kale & Quinoa Salad: While the pork belly is roasting in the oven, blanch the chopped kale in hot salted water for about 4-5 minutes. Drain thoroughly. Add to a large serving bowl together with the roasted almonds and avocado chunks.
  4. Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the quinoa in and cook for about 15 minutes. Once done, drain thoroughly and add to the serving bowl. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Dress with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and about 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Mix around until well combined. Top with feta cheese.
  5. Dipping sauce: Add all the ingredients together in a small bowl and mix well.
  6. Serve for the family and/or friends and enjoy!

Roast Pork Crackling with Kale & Quinoa Salad

Roast Pork Crackling with Kale & Quinoa Salad

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com