Lemon Sunshine Cake

Lemon Sunshine Cake

Hello Everyone! Yes I am fully aware that it’s Thursday today, which means I’m a day late from my normal upload schedule of every Wednesday night (Philippine time). There’s a reason for this, because:

AMCARMEN’S KITCHEN TURNS SIX TODAY!

For my new followers and friends who don’t know the story behind my blog, before I got it up and running, I already had an interest in cooking. I was already sharing photos of my kitchen adventures on Facebook throughout my first year in university up until my third year. Throughout these years, I kept getting comments and messages from family and friends, encouraging me to start up a blog and share my recipes online.

Finally, after many years of encouragement and pure procrastination, I started what was formerly known as Kitchen Headquarters back in April 16 of 2014. It happened when I was 2 months into my last year of university and in the middle of my mid-semester Easter break; not wanting to tackle the many assignments I had on my to-do list before resuming classes.

Lemon Sunshine Cake

To celebrate today’s occasion, I’ve baked a Lemon Sunshine Cake. It strikes the perfect balance between tart and sweet with homemade lemon curd, a moist lemon cake, and a rich, creamy vanilla buttercream frosting. It’s delicious and sure to brighten your day!

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original recipe that I drew my inspiration from over at The Simple Sweet Life by Claire.

Lemon Sunshine Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 2 HOURS & 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 35 MINS | SERVES 10-12

INGREDIENTS

For the lemon curd

  • 60g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 4 free-range egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest

For the lemon cake

  • 200g unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 large free-range eggs
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 6 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 4 tsp baking powder

For the vanilla buttercream frosting

  • 500g unsalted butter (cold), cubed
  • 10 free-range egg whites*
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 10 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Yellow food colouring (optional)

* Don’t throw away the egg yolks! You can keep them in the fridge for up to two days while you decide what you can make with them. I made an easy Leche Flan (Crème Caramel) recipe. If you’re feeling a little bit creative and inspired, try turning them into Crispy Fried Leche Flan instead!

METHOD

  1. Lemon Curd: Whisk together the sugar, lemon juice and zest, and egg yolks in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of boiling water.
  2. Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it thickens. It should almost have the consistency of a pudding. Once the lemon curd has thickened, carefully remove the bowl from the pot of boiling water and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
  3. Slowly incorporate the cubed butter into the slightly cooled curd mixture. Cover and then allow for the curd to cool completely in the refrigerator before use.
  4. Lemon Cake: Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4).
  5. Add the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Using a handheld electric mixer on high speed, whip them together until light and fluffy.
  6. Add the dry ingredients (flour and baking powder) and mix on low speed until just combined. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  7. Evenly distribute the batter into four 8” parchment paper-lined and greased cake pans. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cakes come out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for about 5 to 10 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool down completely.
  8. Vanilla Buttercream Frosting: In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil over high heat, cooking until the sugar becomes clear.
  9. While the syrup cooks, whip the egg whites in a large mixing bowl until stiff peaks form.
  10. With the mixed running on high, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites and whip until the mixture has cooled down to room temperature.
  11. Turn the mixer speed down to low and slowly incorporate the butter and vanilla extract. Continue beating until the frosting is thick and smooth.
  12. Assembly: If necessary, level your cakes before layering for assembly. Place one cake layer on a cake board and spread a layer of frosting on top.
  13. Using an offset spatula, carve out an indent in the frosting and fill with the lemon curd. Repeat with the second and third layer and then top with the fourth. Coat the outside with a thin crumb coat and allow for the cake to set in the refrigerator for about 15 to 20 minutes to set.
  14. Optional: Equally divide the remaining frosting into three batches. Tint each batch a different shade of yellow.
  15. Cover the cake with the frosting and use an offset spatula or bench scraper to smoothen the frosting and remove any excess. Feel free to get creative in how you’re going to use the colours to decorate and present your cake.I topped the cake with the remaining lemon curd and added a few slices of baked/dehydrated lemon slices for that finishing touch.
  16. Place in the refrigerator to chill before serving. Enjoy!

Lemon Sunshine Cake

Here are some helpful tips to note when making this Lemon Sunshine Cake:

  1. Make the lemon curd in advance: You can make the lemon curd a week and store it in the refrigerator if you’re looking to save some time when you come around to making this cake.
  2. Crumb coating: Spreading a thin layer of frosting around the sides and top of the cake, and then refrigerating it will lock in any crumbs and keep them from reaching the surface of your frosted cake.
  3. The trick for smooth frosting: You’ll need a rotating cake stand and a bench scraper. Place the small end of the bench scraper on the cake stand, long end against the frosting and turn the table. Once excess frosting is removed, heat the scraper in hot water, wipe and drag around the outside of the cake.
  4. Chill your cake: Cool cake is easier to cut and handle, so chilling your cake for a short while before use will make this process easier.

Lemon Sunshine Cake

Before I end tonight’s post, I want to thank everyone for all the love and support. Of course all the hard work that goes into Amcarmen’s Kitchen wouldn’t have been possible without my #1 supporter, my Mom. I asked my Mom to teach me how to cook after trying to survive off regular takeaway meals from the nearest shop or my attempts at home-cooked food of very poor quality during my first year away from home.

I have my Mom to thank for the days she had to put up with my very little knowledge in the kitchen, and my inability to choose the best produce when she would bring me along to her trips to the market. Thank you Mama for passing down your knowledge and love for food on to me. I know you’re proudly watching over me.

Lastly, I want to thank a very special someone in my life. Since the day we first started talking to each other, you’ve always been very proud and supportive by sharing my recipes each week. And for that, thank you for encouraging and motivating me to continue doing what I love to do!

Lemon Sunshine Cake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon

Hello Everyone! As I stated in my very first post for the year 2020, I mentioned that I would not be revealing the theme for the year as I want to give you guys a chance to guess. I also mentioned that it might not be obvious for the first few months. But as a new month dawns upon us, this means that it’s time to change it up a little bit; to make it start to look a little clearer on where the journey of Amcarmen’s Kitchen will take us this 2020.

Tonight’s recipe is perfect for an easy weeknight meal, yet also fancy enough to impress your guests on the weekend! What’s even better is that it’s ready in under 30 minutes! It’s full of vibrant orange flavour and pairs well with the fresh tarragon. Actually, a little side note – the recipe uses fresh rosemary to pair with the salmon. I had a hard time sourcing rosemary the weekend I wanted to whip this dish up and so I ended up using the next best thing I could find – tarragon!

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon

This Orange-glazed Salmon is a hearty and filling dish packed with fresh flavours and healthy fats. Sear the salmon first so that you get that delicious and slightly crisped golden-brown exterior with a tender, fall-apart interior. As this dish makes quite a bit of sauce, it is best served with a side of rice or couscous to soak up all that yummy goodness. Don’t forget a side of veggies too for some added fibre to your diet!

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please check out the original where I drew my inspiration from, another recipe from Jaclyn over on Cooking Classy.

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 salmon portions (1-inch thick, skin on)
  • 2/3 cup fresh orange juice (about 2 small Navel oranges)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 shrimp bouillon cube, dissolved in 5 tbsp of water
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 & 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 & 1/2 tsp fresh tarragon, minced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Tarragon sprigs, to serve

To serve

  • Blanched vegetables of choice
  • Navel orange wedges/slices
  • Steamed plain rice or couscous

METHOD

  1. Heat olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan or skillet over medium-high. Make sure that it is hot enough, but not too hot that it starts smoking.
  2. Season both sides of the salmon with salt and freshly ground black pepper before adding to the pan. Cook, skin side down first before flipping, about 3-4 minutes per side or until browned and cooked through. Once done, transfer the salmon to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up any excess grease.
  3. With the same oil in the pan, add the garlic and minced tarragon. Sauté for about 20 seconds, taking care not to burn them, and then add 4 tablespoons of the shrimp bouillon cube dissolved in water. Simmer until mostly reduced. Stir in the orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice, and honey.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining tablespoon of the shrimp bouillon cube dissolved in water with the cornstarch. Pour into the pan and whisk until thickened. Season the sauce with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Allow to simmer for about a minute while constantly whisking.
  5. Return the salmon to the pan and spoon the sauce over. Remove from the heat.
  6. Serve with vegetables of choice, in this case I used mustard leaves, on the side with extra slices of fresh oranges and steamed rice (optional). Enjoy!

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Mangosteen, Lemon, and Basil Cocktail

Mangosteen, Lemon, and Basil Cocktail

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

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

Mangosteen Fruit

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

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

Colour

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

Stem

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

Skin Appearance and Feel

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

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

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

Weight

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

Mangosteen Fruit

How to cut open a Mangosteen Fruit

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

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

Mangosteen, Lemon, and Basil Cocktail Ingredients

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

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

INGREDIENTS

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

Optional

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

* 1 shot = 2 tbsp

METHOD

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

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

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

Mangosteen, Lemon, and Basil Cocktail

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

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

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

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

Spice-roasted Pineapple Nice Cream

Spice-roasted Pineapple Nice Cream

Hello Everyone! April is here and those who have been following my blog, or even just my social media pages (Facebook & Instagram) will know that a new month means that I get to play around with new ingredients! As the overall theme for this year is a “fruitful” one, I’m playing around with different kinds of fruit each month for 2019! For January I went nuts for Coconuts! For February it was all about Mangoes. For March they say an Apple a day keeps the doctors away! I ran a poll on Instagram stories for my followers to guess between Pineapple, Banana, and Lemon based on the set of ingredients for tonight’s post.

Of course, based on the title of this post, we all know that April with be all about Pineapples! I did mention in my previous post that I had to change what I had initially planned for tonight. Basically, I had planned for a Grilled Pineapple Oat Crumble, but I slowly realised towards the middle of last month that we’re at the peak of summer here in the Philippines, and it just made no sense whatsoever to be featuring warm/baked desserts in the heat we’re having! Thus I decided to take a cooler route for this month and beat the summer heat with this amazing Spice-roasted Pineapple Nice Cream!

Spice-roasted Pineapple Nice Cream

So what exactly is Nice Cream? Unlike most ice cream recipes, this one doesn’t require an ice cream maker/churner. The trusty food processor can transform any frozen fruits into a whipped dessert in mere minutes. Nice creams are also vegan, dairy-free, and treat-free from artificial flavours, colours, preservatives, and added sugar. Well okay, there is sugar for this particular recipe of mine that I used when making the spice-roasted pineapples, but other than that, I did not add any extra sugar to the nice cream.

Banana-based ice cream may be the original nice cream, but there are endless ways to adapt the classic recipe. Take for example, tonight’s recipe for Spice-roasted Pineapples – bananas are only really added to ensure a creamy custard-like texture, but the other fruit is the star of the show. I didn’t just want to blitz up some frozen pineapples, which is why I went a little bit extra in roasting the pineapples first in a few spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and star anise before freezing them. The result? AMAZING!

Spice-roasted Pineapple Nice Cream Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS* | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 6

*Allow for the Spice-roasted Pineapple Chunks to freeze for at least 5 hours or overnight before making the nice cream.

INGREDIENTS

For the spice-roasted pineapple

  • 1 large pineapple, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 5 pcs whole cloves
  • 3 pcs star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp Tequila or Vodka (optional)**

For the nice cream

  • Frozen spiced-roasted pineapple
  • Frozen sliced bananas, about 2-3 large bananas
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Ginger nut biscuits (optional)***

**Almost every brand of hard liquor – bourbon, whiskey, vodka, gin and rum – is vegan. Nearly all distilled spirits are vegan except for cream-based liqueurs and products that mention honey on the label.

***I used Tesco ginger nut biscuits which are vegan.

METHOD

  1. Spice-roasted Pineapple: Preheat oven to 220C (425F or gas mark 7).
  2. Toss the pineapple, sugar, spices, and everything nice (liquor) in an oven-safe baking dish. Sorry, I could not resist not say that!
  3. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Once done, set aside to completely cool down before placing them in a food-safe zip lock bag together with the peeled and sliced bananas, and into the freezer for at least 5 hours or overnight. Discard the spices! Save a couple of tablespoons of the spice-roasted pineapple in the fridge to serve together with the nice cream.

Spice-roasted Pineapple Nice Cream Process

  1. Nice Cream: Place all the ingredients for the nice cream into a food processor and let it run on the highest speed for about a few minutes until the frozen fruit turns into a loose, crumbly mass.
  2. Stop the processor and push the fruits down. Turn the processor on to high speed once again and repeat this process until you have a very smooth and silky soft nice cream.
  3. You may serve it immediately or if you want a lovely scoop-able nice cream, transfer it into a freezer-friendly container and freeze it for another hour.
  4. Serve, topped with the spice-roasted pineapple, crushed ginger nut biscuits, and enjoy!

Spice-roasted Pineapple Nice Cream

Spice-roasted Pineapple Nice Cream

By all means, feel free to get loose with this recipe and try out other fruits that you can play around with for a guilt-free vegan nice cream to stay cool this summer!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Angel Hair with Beetroot Pesto & Roast Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Angel Hair with Beetroot Pesto & Roast Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Hello Everyone! I know that one of my Mom’s family friends had been asking for this recipe from way back when she showed a picture of this dish to her at the time I put it together (probably back in July); well I’m glad to say that’s it’s finally here and I do apologise for getting it up really late.

I mentioned in my last post that I have a lot of personal and work stuff going on, and things have still been a bit rough – actually to be honest, I don’t think it is as rough as I say it is, but let’s just say my mind has the tendency to drift into a dangerous place which turns my usual cheerful mood to the complete opposite from time to time and I haven’t been able to get out of it since last week. I guess my mood has been making me think that it’s been rough; maybe I should stop listening to Sam Smith’s “Too Good at Goodbyes” on repeat … I can’t get enough of it though because it’s a really good song, but on the other hand, it’s putting a lot of unnecessary thoughts into my head. Well on top of that I guess it doesn’t help that work is getting crazy busy that I can barely keep up with it. Anyway I’m not here to talk about this, so onward with tonight’s recipe!

Angel Hair with Beetroot Pesto & Roast Lemon Rosemary Chicken

As you know, or maybe not depending on if you’ve read my post from the beginning of the year back in January, or if you already know this from your own research and reading, there are nitrates in the juice of beetroots that have been found to bring down one’s high blood pressure within just 24 hours. If you’re not a keen beetroot juice drinker, you can easily add this vegetable to your diet by roasting or steaming the whole root and then add it to a green-packed salad, stir-fry, stew, or in this case, make a nutty and creamy beetroot pesto that’s far from tasting beet-y the way beets do for those who don’t sit well with its taste.

Tonight’s recipe is so much more versatile than just adding it to your favourite pasta. It is a delicious sauce for your salads, pizza, and appetizers to spread on to toast with eggs or dip crudites in for the ultimate seasonal flavour fix! You can pair your Angel Hair Pasta with a delicious and juicy road chicken breast or keep it completely vegetarian. I’m sure there’s a vegan recipe for beetroot pesto as well, just don’t forget to replace your pasta with a vegan-friendly one.

You can find the original recipe that I referred to for this Beetroot Pesto over on Akis Petretzikis.

Beetroot Pesto Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

For the beetroot pesto sauce

  • 400g whole raw beetroot, washed
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 grated parmesan
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 500g angel hair pasta

For the roast lemon rosemary chicken*

*I’ve linked my recipe for Lemon & Thyme Roast Chicken which is essentially they same except that I replace the thyme with rosemary just because when I went grocery shopping that weekend, they didn’t have fresh thyme on the shelves but had rosemary instead. You can top your pasta with some chicken or keep it meat-free; it’s completely up to you!

METHOD

  1. In a pan of boiling salted water, boil the beetroot for about 15-20 mins or until tender. Drain and leave to cool before peeling (wear clean rubber gloves to peel if you want to avoid beet-stained hands). Reserve about a quarter cup of small cubed beets to garnish on top of your pasta dish.
  2. Roughly chop the beetroots in to small chunks and purée them in a blender for about 30 to 45 seconds.
  3. Add the olive oil, garlic, and season with ground sea salt and black pepper to taste. Continue to blend for another 30 seconds before adding the chopped walnuts and grated parmesan. Blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
  4. Cook the angel hair pasta according to packet instructions in a pot of boiling salted water. It should take no longer than two minutes, but I like to slightly undercook my pasta since I will be further cooking it again.
  5. When the pasta is ready, reserve some of the pasta water and drain. Add the pasta back to the pot and stir the beetroot pesto in. Add the pasta water if necessary to make the sauce as creamy as you like. Once coated, turn the heat off and divide equally to individual dishes.
  6. Top the pasta with the grated zest from 1 lemon, extra grated parmesan, more chopped walnuts, and the beetroot cubes. Optional to serve with juicy slices of Roast Lemon Rosemary Chicken. Enjoy!

Angel Hair with Beetroot Pesto & Roast Lemon Rosemary Chicken

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Lemon, Butter & Ginger Tilapia en Papillote

Lemon, Butter & Ginger Tilapia en Papillote

Hello Everyone! Before I begin with tonight’s post I would like to apologise for not getting this post up last week, I actually had it prepared and ready to go – I just needed to edit the pictures for the post. But this time last week I was rushing to get ready and out of the house in an hour after arriving home from work to pick up a few friends and then off to another friend’s house for Raya celebrations. So that night, I didn’t get to go home until about past 11pm and when I was finally ready for bed, it was just past midnight and I had work the next day. I was going to post the next day or at least before the new month but I never got around to doing it until it ended up being Wednesday again. Whoops! Anyway, before we push through, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all my Muslim family and friends in Brunei and around the world a belated Selmat Hari Raya! Maaf Zahir dan Batin. For those of you who don’t know on Monday (here in Brunei that is) marked the end of the fasting month, also known as Ramadhan.

Tonight’s recipe I will be sharing with you is simple yet flavourful. “En papillote” is French for in parchment, or if in Italian is known as al cartoccio where it is a method of cooking in which the food is put into a folded pouch or parcel of parchment paper and then baked. You can literally put anything into this parcel so feel free to get creative in mixing up flavour combinations that are to your liking. I decided to make a spring onion and ginger oil to serve with the fish just to enhance the flavours a little more, but feel free to omit this as well if you wish.

Lemon, Butter & Ginger Tilapia en Papillote Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

For the en papillote

  • 2 large tilapia fish, scaled and filleted
  • 4 x 10g unsalted butter
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-inch sized ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 4 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • Pinch of ground sea salt, to taste

For the spring onion and ginger oil

  • 4 stalks spring onion, sliced thinly
  • 3 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Asparagus stalks, blanched in salted water
  • Touch of paprika, for garnish

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 230C (450F or gas mark 8). Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper, about 25cm in length (or bigger if needed depending on the size of your fillets).
  2. Line a few of the ginger slices on the parchment paper and place 1 fillet on top, adding all the other ingredients. Fold parchment over fish, making small overlapping folds along edges and sealing with a paper clip. Place on rimmed baking sheets. Roast until parchment puffs, 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. While the fish is cooking away you can work on the spring onion and ginger oil. add the spring onions, ginger and salt to a heatproof mortar and pound lightly with the pestle. Heat the oil in a small frying pan until smoking and pour onto the mixture. Once the sizzling stops, combine lightly with the pestle and leave to infuse for a few minutes.
  4. One the fish are done, remove from the oven and transfer the parcels to Carefully cut packets, avoiding escaping steam, and serve.

Lemon, Butter & Ginger Tilapia en Papillote

Lemon, Butter & Ginger Tilapia en Papillote

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Blueberry Lemon & White Chocolate Scones

Blueberry Lemon & White Chocolate Scones

Hello Everyone! I’ll make tonight’s post quick only because I am mentally and physically exhausted from both being sick and basically juggling so many projects simultaneously today. I managed to tick at least 70% of my list of things to do for work so I’m pretty happy about that, but it’s going to be a busy weekend!

Blueberry Lemon & White Chocolate Scones

Anyway, tonight’s recipe is one of my favourite go-to-brekkie when I was still living in Sydney for my university studies. When I lived up in the lower North Shore, I’d always walk about 15 minutes from home to catch the train to the city, and then a bus to campus. Along the way, I’d stop at Baker’s Delight and pick up a freshly baked Blueberry Lemon & White Chocolate Scone before hopping onto the train. I’d then have my scone on campus in the lecture hall, or tutorial rooms while waiting for class/lecture to start. It would alway make my mornings a little bit better especially when I’d have to be on campus by 8 or 9 in the morning.

So since the theme for the month of May on Amcarmen’s Kitchen is Blueberries, I decided to whip up my own batch of Blueberry Lemon & White Chocolate Scones to get into the nostalgic zone. I followed my own recipe for Basic Scones which I posted way back in mid-2014, and added blueberries, lemon juice and zest, and white chocolate chips into the mix.

Blueberry Lemon & White Chocolate Scones Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 20-25 MINS | SERVES 12 SCONES

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 punnet (125g) fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 80g chilled unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Zest of 1 lemon

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200C.
  2. Sift the self-raising flour into a large bowl and add the cubed butter together with the lemon zest. Rub the butter into flour using your fingertips until the mixture resembles a breadcrumb texture.
  3. Make a well in the centre and add the milk, lemon juice, and blueberries in. Mix with a flat-bladed knife until the mixture forms a soft dough. If the mixture is a bit dry and crumbly, add more milk if required. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until smooth (don’t knead the dough too much though or your scones will be quite tough).
  4. Pat the dough into a 2cm-thick round, and cut into 12 equal logs.
  5. Place scones onto a tray lined with baking paper, 1cm apart from each other. Lightly sprinkle the tops with a little flour and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and well risen. Serve warm with a nice cup of tea!

Blueberry Lemon & White Chocolate Scones

Blueberry Lemon & White Chocolate Scones

Blueberry Lemon & White Chocolate Scones

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Vegan No-bake Blueberry & Lemon 'Cheesecake'

Vegan No-bake Blueberry & Lemon ‘Cheesecake’

Hello Everyone and a very happy first day of May! For those of you celebrating Labour Day, I hope you’re having a blast with your long weekend! Unfortunately, Labour Day isn’t celebrated in Brunei, so yes, I worked today *sad face*. Well, I’m actually not here out of my usual posting schedule to talk about Labour Day, in fact, I’m here for a completely different, and special occasion!

Happy Birthday Mom!
Everyday I wake up, I always have you to thank. I have your guidance, your food, your warmth, your love, and your heart: someone who loves me (and the other 2 troublemakers as well) unconditionally. I promise I’m not just saying this because it’s your birthday haha! Happiest of Birthdays Mom!

This year for my Mom’s birthday, I decided to whip up a Vegan No-bake Blueberry & Lemon ‘Cheesecake’ after my huge success with my sister’s vegan ‘cheesecake’ back in August 2016. I’ve been wanting to try out more vegan ‘cheesecakes’ since then and now the opportunity has surfaced once again. This ‘cheesecake’ is completely gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free. Before we move on to the recipe, please check out the original over on Call Me Cupcake by Linda. Please take note that I have adjusted the quantities below to make an 8.5-inch round cake.

Vegan No-bake Blueberry & Lemon 'Cheesecake' Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | CHILL TIME min. 6 HOURS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

For the base

  • 1 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup almonds, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt

For the filling

  • 1 & 1/2 cups cashew nuts, soaked in water overnight then drained*
  • 2/3 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup (50g) fresh or frozen (but thawed) blueberries
  • 6 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 4 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup, to taste
  • Zest of 1 lemon

For the topping

  • Edible flowers**
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Shredded coconut

*Or soaked in very hot water for an hour if pressed for time

**To my Brunei followers if you could help me out, I don’t know where to find edible flowers here so what I usually do is just pick non-edible flowers from my garden, make sure they get a good wash and then use them only for photographic purposes.

METHOD

  1. Soak the roughly chopped dates in warm water for 15 minutes. Drain and transfer to a small mixing bowl combined with the finely chopped almonds and salt. Using the back of a fork, mash and mix the ingredients together until a paste forms.
  2. Press the mixture into an 8-8.5 inch springform pan (and if you don’t have one, you may use a regular pie/cake tin covered with parchment paper). Place the pan in the freezer while you prepare the ‘cheesecake’ filling.
  3. Put al the ingredients for the the filling in a blender and blend on low until the mixture is as smooth as possible. Pour the filling onto the crust, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 6 hours before serving.
  4. Remove the cake from the pan and top with extra fresh blueberries, shredded coconut, and edible flowers. Leave to thaw in room temperature for about 10-15 minutes before cutting into it; you may run your knife under warm water and dry off to make a cleaner cut. Let each slice of cake thaw for a few more minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Vegan No-bake Blueberry & Lemon 'Cheesecake'

Vegan No-bake Blueberry & Lemon 'Cheesecake'

So usually, it is a habit of mine to read through the recipe first either a few days before, or the night before just so that I have proper planning when it come to buying the ingredients needed to proceed with the recipe. This time around, I completely forgot about doing this – I already had the recipe bookmarked from probably the beginning of the year so I guess this is probably one of the reasons why it completely slipped my mind. Why is it important to read a recipe ahead of time? Well for starters, the cashew nuts in this recipe require to be soaked in water overnight. Did I soak mine overnight? Nope I didn’t. Luckily, this can be rectified as it does say in the original recipe that if you’re in a hurry, you can soak the cashew nuts in very hot water for an hour (which is what I did) hehe.

Also, I missed out on a crucial bit of information which I only saw earlier on this afternoon when I was writing this post: “makes 1 tiny cheesecake (12cm/5-inches)” No wonder my cheesecake looked short and just barely had enough crust to cover the whole bottom. My springform pan is 8.5-inches in size which mean that I could’ve easily just doubled the recipe *face palm* but oh well, I would’ve have had enough ingredients to double the recipe if I had noticed it early and that’s only because I probably wouldn’t have been bothered to drive out to the grocers again to pick up a few more ingredients.

Vegan No-bake Blueberry & Lemon 'Cheesecake'

Happy Birthday Mom!

So what did I learn tonight? READ THE RECIPE FIRST A DAY OR TWO AHEAD OF TIME!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com