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

Avocado & Roast Pumpkin, Kale Salad

Avocado & Roast Pumpkin, Kale Salad

Hello Everyone! Sorry for not getting this post up on Tuesday night (please forgive me) – it was quite a stressful day for me trying to get important things done. I hoped to have finished them by the evening so that I could move on and write this post for you, but it didn’t happen. Today I am a little bit more relaxed as I pretty much finished what I could do yesterday. So here is what was meant to go up for Tuesday’s post, today!

This recipe is one that started off a little bit more simpler than what you’ve seen above. It was one that I used to make a while back during my second year of University, and during that time avocados were not only in season, but cheap as well! I wanted to try out various recipes that used avocados and I came across a simple avocado and roast pumpkin mixed leaf salad. I would always pair it with marinated oven-baked chicken drumsticks or a whole chicken leg. I won’t post the marination recipe for our chicken on my blog as it’s a secret blend of ingredients that my mom came up with, but I mean, you can basically pair it with your own secret recipe or keep it simple with just the salad.

Avocado & Roast Pumpkin, Kale Salad

Over time I started to add a few extra ingredients here and there that I thought might jive well together in terms of flavour and texture. I added toasted walnuts, and then pomegranate seeds after I made the dish a few times with just the addition of the walnuts. There was also one time where our avocados were very overripe and basically couldn’t add it to the salad, and instead I added marinated feta cheese because that’s what I had in my fridge at the time that was sort of creamy in texture to substitute; of course flavour was no where near. Lastly, the supermarket didn’t have pre-bagged mixed leaf salad leaves so I had to go with what they did have on the shelves – kale! Quite a transformation from just an avocado and roast pumpkin mixed leaf salad to begin with I must say.

Avocado & Roast Pumpkin, Kale Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 small avocados, peeled, pitted, and cut into small chunks
  • 1 bunch kale, stems and leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 medium-sized butternut pumpkin, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 large pomegranate, peeled and deseeded
  • Handful of walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
  • Marinated feta cheese
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Season the pumpkin with a bit of salt, ground pepper, and olive oil. Line a baking tray with foil and spread the pumpkin over the lined tray. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes or until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add in the kale and simmer for about 6-8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a serving plate.
  3. Top the kale with avocado, roasted pumpkin, feta, pomegranate seeds, and walnuts.
  4. Enjoy the salad as it is or as a side with your preferred choice of meat.

We had ours with Mama G’s Special Spicy Roast BBQ Whole Leg Chicken!

Avocado & Roast Pumpkin, Kale Salad with Roast Chicken

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com