California-inspired Quinoa Salad

California-inspired Quinoa Salad

California-inspired Quinoa Salad Ingredients

Hello Everyone! A new month calls for a new theme on the blog, and for the month of September, I’ve got some creative and healthy quinoa recipes for everyone! Now, I remember the times where people would ask me… “What is quinoa (kee-NOO-ah)?” Firstly, I’d correct them and say that it’s pronounced KEEN-wah, and not kee-NOO-ah – but then again after doing some research, I realised that both are actually correct in a way. Apologies to those that I’ve made a big fuss with in terms of how to pronounce this grain.

So back to the question, what is quinoa? Well, I have always been stumped whenever this question pops up, and all I could respond was “it’s a grain, like rice – but it’s not really rice.” Yeah, that doesn’t help. Quinoa is a grain crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. The seeds are cooked in the same manner as rice and can be used in a wide range of dishes. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and contains iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, vitamin E, and fibre. It is one of only a few plant foods that are considered a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa also has a low glycemic index, which is good for blood sugar control, however, be mindful as it is still pretty high in carbs, so it is not a good choice for a low-carb diet.

California-inspired Quinoa Salad Ingredients

Find the original recipe over on Jo Cooks. She used sultanas in her salad, I didn’t. If you know me personally, I really despise raisins and sultanas – don’t ask me why, I just do. So I’ve omitted them from my salad and replaced them with wake instead. Wakame is a sea vegetable; edible seaweed or kelp common in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese cuisines. It has a subtly sweet flavour and is most often served in soups and salads. Wakame is a good source of the following (Source: MindBodyGreen):

  1. Magnesium: A mineral critical in the contraction and relaxation of muscles, function of certain enzymes in the body, production and transport of energy, and the production of protein.
  2. Iodine: Iodine is needed for strong metabolism of cells – the process of converting food into energy. It also maintains the balance of the thyroid gland and is needed for the production of thyroid hormones.
  3. Calcium: Wakame easily allows for the absorption of calcium into the human body. Each 100 grams of raw wakame contains 150mg of calcium. Calcium is needed for strong healthy bones and the prevention of osteoporosis.
  4. Iron: We need iron because it is essential for the production of red blood cells and the prevention of anemia.
  5. Vitamins!
    • Vitamins A, C, E, and K: These vitamins are all amazing for skin health and repair as well as immunology.
    • Vitamin D: Promotes the absorption of calcium for healthy bones and enhances the nerve, muscle, and immune systems.
    • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): We need riboflavin to use the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in the foods we eat. Riboflavin helps us use these nutrients for energy in our bodies for growth and is also necessary for red blood cell production. Riboflavin functions as an antioxidant and works in the body with other vitamins such as niacin, folate, and vitamin B6.
  6. Folate: Helps the body make new cells and is especially important for pregnant women.
  7. Lignans: Thought to play a role in preventing certain types of cancer, particularly breast cancer.

California-inspired Quinoa Salad Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

For the salad

  • 1 cup shelled edamame, steamed
  • 3/4 cup almond slices (toasted if you prefer)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup tri-coloured quinoa, cooked and cooled
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, or parsley if you don’t like cilantro
  • 1/4 cup wakame
  • 1 large mango, cut into small chunks
  • 1 small red capsicum, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
For the dressing
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon

METHOD

As easy as whisking all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl, and then tossing all the salad ingredients together in a large bowl until well mixed; dressed and then served cold. Enjoy! It will keep in the fridge for about 5 days, but of course, it’s always better when it is consumed right away!

California-inspired Quinoa Salad

California-inspired Quinoa Salad

California-inspired Quinoa Salad

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan 'Cheesecake'

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan ‘Cheesecake’

Hello Everyone! Yes I am aware that it is indeed Tuesday and not a Wednesday – but today is a special day which indefinitely deserves a special post too! Today is the middle child’s 22nd Birthday, and since last year (which was the year I came back to Brunei) I’ve been baking cakes for the family. It was the better solution to, I guess, wanting a specific flavour for an affordable price. I cannot stress enough house much I hate store bought cakes – mainly because of their icing; too thick, too sweet, just… Ugh. I’m not much of a baker since I’m more into savoury foods, but I guess baking a cake 4 times a year (at minimum) isn’t too stressful and helps me practice.

Happy 22nd Birthday Angela!
Happy 22nd Birthday Angela! – early dinner at Balkony today after work. The cake not only looked amazing, but it tasted so good as well! I will definitely try out more no bake vegan ‘cheesecakes’ in the upcoming months – maybe for my Birthday in November!

Today’s recipe shall keep in theme with the theme for this month on Amcarmen’s Kitchen, which is, if you haven’t been following, Yes Ve Gan! A month of tribute to animal-free dishes that are sure to tickle your tummies from a different perspective. Before I had the idea of coming up with an animal-free theme for the blog, I wanted to bake a strawberry shortcake for my sister. I then only just changed my mind earlier last week to do a No Bake Strawberry & Coconut ‘Cheesecake’ for her after being inspired and reminded of the cake that Miao made back in March when we gathered for a dinner and catch up session with friends in Singapore. I think I mentioned in the beginning of the month in a post that it was a pretty darn delicious cake and it made me crave for more! So I thought to myself, why do I give a raw vegan cake a try since, like Miao at that time, I have never done one before! It’s super easy to make and you can substitute the strawberries out for your favourites berries such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or boysenberries.

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan 'Cheesecake'

This ‘cheesecake’ is completely gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free! The recipe makes for one 8″ sized cake, but of course you can always double the recipe to make a bigger one if you wish! Mind you, for those who have not read in an earlier post this month, I haven’t stopped eating animals, dairy, or eggs altogether. I still eat my meat, but not as often as I used to, and I still have my daily dose of cow’s milk in the mornings  to accompany my breakfast. I don’t see myself going completely vegan in the next couple of years – but who knows, that may change over time when I make that shift to loving all animals, and most importantly for a healthier lifestyle. For now, it is something that I want to look into and slowly add this way of eating into my daily diet.

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan 'Cheesecake' Ingredients

PREP TIME 25 MINS | FREEZE TIME min. 4 HOURS* | SERVES 8-10

*preferably overnight to ensure that the cake is set.

INGREDIENTS

For the crust

  • 250g medjool dates, pitted
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • Pinch of salt

For the filling

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight* and drained
  • 1 punnet (25g) fresh or frozen (but thawed) strawberries
  • 2/3 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil, liquified
  • 2 & 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • Zest of 1 small lemon

For the topping

  • Fresh strawberries
  • Shredded coconut
  • Edible flowers (optional)

*if you are a bit pressed for time, or decided to make your cake today and hadn’t realised that you needed to soak your cashews overnight, then you can soak them in very hot water for about an hour instead of overnight.

METHOD

  1. Crust: Soak the pitted medjool dates in warm water for about 15-20 minutes and then drain. Put almonds in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the dates and a pinch of salt, and pulse until a paste forms.
  2. Press mixture into an 8-inch springform pan (if you don’t have a springform pan, use a pie tin or a regular cake pan covered with baking paper). Place the crusted pan in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
  3. Filling: Put all ingredients for the filling in a blender and blend on low until mixture is as smooth as possible. Pour the filling into the crust, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours.
  4. Remove the cake from the pan and leave to thaw in room temperature for about 10-15 minutes before cutting. Top with fresh strawberries, shredded coconut, and edible flowers.

Tip: Run your knife under warm water (and dry off) before cutting, to make a cleaner cut. Let each piece thaw for a few more minutes before serving.

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan 'Cheesecake'

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan 'Cheesecake'

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Risoni al Ratatouille

Risoni al Ratatouille

Risoni al Ratatouille

Hello Everyone! Today is the last day of Pasta Month; sad to be ending as I actually have a whole lot more pasta dishes that I want to try out, but also happy to move onto a new theme for next month! Just a heads up though – the likelihood of a theme not happening is quite possible. I did have a theme in mind, and I’ve already prepared and cooked two dishes for it in advanced, the only problem is getting two more made for next month’s theme is quite unlikely. I say this because I am heading off to the Philippines on Saturday for about a month! Because of that, I probably won’t have time to cook. I also will not be sure if I will have Internet connection during my stay there so the likelihood of me uploading content for the month of July might not happen as well. So I guess I’ll just see how it goes – if posting on my blog is a problem, then you can follow me over on Instagram @amcarmenskitchen to follow my food journey while I am in the Philippines – I’ll make sure to keep that up to speed 🙂

Anyway, so okay, the dish is not quite a Ratatouille (I just thought naming it for this post would make it sounds fancier than it looks, hehe) – more like it’s inspired by some of the vegetables used to make a ratatouille *cheeky grin* but nonetheless, it still tastes pretty good for something that I just “whipped up” with the ingredients lying in the fridge and the pantry. You can bulk this dish up by adding meat or seafood if you wish, but I decided to keep this dish vegetarian.

Risoni al Ratatouille Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g risoni, or other shaped pasta
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 red bird’s eye chilies, sliced
  • 2 medium-szied Lebanese eggplants, sliced into 1-inch thick chunks and then quartered
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini, sliced into 1-inch thick chunks and then quartered
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 punnet (125g) cherry tomato medley, sliced
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus, woody ends snapped off and cut into thirds
  • 1 tbsp baby capers, washed and drained
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Handful of grated parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil

METHOD

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add in the risoni pasta and cook according to packet instructions or until al dente (mine was about 11 minutes).
  2. While your pasta is cooking away, heat some olive oil in a large frying pan. Sauté the garlic and chilies until golden brown and fragrant, about a minute, and then add in the onions, cooking until soft for another minute or two.
  3. Add in the asparagus, together with the zucchini and eggplant, cooking until soft for about 6-7 minutes. Season with a bit of ground salt and black pepper. Add in the cherry tomatoes and leave to cook for a further 4-5 minutes. Lastly, add in the capers and then turn the heat off.
  4. Once the risoni is done, drain, and then return to the pot. Add in the stir-fried veggies to the pot with the risoni and then give it a good mix.
  5. Divide the risoni equally into 6 portions and then top with a generous handful of  grate parmesan cheese and some ground black pepper. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Risoni al Ratatouille

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia con Calamari e Vongole

Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia con Calamari e Vongole

Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia con Calamari e Vongole

Hello Everyone! It’s week 2 of Pasta Month and let me tell you a little story (don’t I always? *cheeky grin*) before I move on to the recipe. The first time I had squid ink pasta was in an Italian Restaurant when I was studying in Sydney. If I’m not mistaken, the restaurant is called Pizza e Birra on Crown Street in the suburb of Surry Hills. I was having a fancy dinner night out with my flatmate at that time and squid ink pasta was on their specials menu. I was a bit hesitant at first because I obviously hadn’t tried it before and to be honest, I was a bit put off knowing that the colour of the pasta would be black (yes, at that time my palette wasn’t quite as sophisticated as it is right now). To my surprise, the squid ink pasta tasted like any normal pasta – it was just that the colour that was different to me. I’ve had my fair share of squid ink pastas, both in Australia, and here in Brunei. I decided to combine my favourite flavours from both experiences to put up this dish to share with you guys.

I’ve never made fresh squid ink pasta at home, and only because I have no idea where to source squid ink from besides from the ink sacs of fresh squids/cuttle fish. I did some reading online and found that you can actually buy bottled squid ink, but you definitely won’t find them in stores here in Brunei. Heck they don’t even have store bought squid ink pasta here! So how did I manage to source mine? Well, if you’re a regular follower/reader of my blog, you’ll know that I was in Singapore a couple of months back. I was shopping for groceries with my friends for a dinner party that night and I was flabbergasted by all the produce and products found in that grocery store. I was supposed to be focused on grabbing the ingredients I needed to cook my dish for that night, but instead I wandered off, going from aisle to aisle, looking at anything and everything. I found myself in the pasta aisle and that where I came across store bought squid ink pasta. You had no idea how excited and in shock I was when I saw it – because I had no idea that you could buy it on the shelves; and without any hesitation at all, I bought myself a pack to bring back here to Brunei. I know, I know – I’m crazy right? Haha. My next mission will be tomato squid ink pasta from scratch, and I’ll definitely share it on my blog whenever I get around to trying it out! For now, here’s one recipe you can do for your squid ink pasta:

Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia con Calamari e Vongole Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-15 MINS | SERVES 5

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pack (500g) squid ink pasta*
  • 1 pack (250g) cherry tomato medley, halved
  • 1 fish bouillon cube, dissolved in 2/3 cup of boiling water
  • 250g baby clam meat
  • 4 red bird’s eye chillies, sliced
  • 2 large squids, cleaned and cut into pieces
  • 1 lemon, wedged
  • 1/2 bulb garlic, minced
  • Olive Oil
  • Parsley, roughly chopped

*Fresh homemade squid ink pasta or store bought is fine for this recipe

METHOD

  1. Lightly score the inner surface of the squid, or alternatively, cut into rings. Set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the squid ink spaghetti according to packet instructions or until al dente.
  3. While the pasta is cooking away, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high. Sauté the minced garlic and chillies together until golden brown and fragrant.
  4. Add the clam meat, juice of half a lemon, and a pinch of ground black pepper. Give it a good mix before adding the fish bouillon stock. Turn the heat down to low and leave to simmer for about 3-4 minutes. Add in the calamari when the pasta is almost done.
  5. Once the pasta is done, drain and then transfer to the calamari and clam mixture. Turn the heat back up to medium-high and then give it a good mix. Top with the chopped parsley and then turn the heat off.
  6. Serve immediately with a lemon wedge. Enjoy!

Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia con Calamari e Vongole

Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia con Calamari e Vongole

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde

Hello Everyone! A new month means a new theme on the blog – and I’m sorry to start off on a negative note but I had plans to do a month-full of recipes that emphasise mangoes as the hero of the dish since it’s been in season for a while now here in Brunei. However, if you’re a regular reader on my blog, you’ll know that I have been working for the past 4 Sunday’s (which is basically my only time to enjoy myself in the kitchen), and because of that, I haven’t actually prepared any dishes for the theme that I had planned for my blog. I also haven’t been cooking any other dishes since my last free Sunday back in April, and so I decided that for this month, there will be no theme for the blog. Do not fret though! I will still be posting recipes, but they will be recipes that I have cooked up in the past – some taking us back towards the end of last year – that I didn’t get around to posting or fitting into a theme every month.

Tonight, I will be sharing with you, a recipe that I came across when I was exploring the Sydney Fish Markets for the nth time. Most of the fresh seafood stores there provide mini recipe cards to encourage the public to purchase their fresh catch. Every time I visited, I would always grab a recipe card, and one of the recipes that I was interested in was for Seared Tuna with Salsa Verde – and that’s what I’ll be sharing with you today, a recipe for an easy, simple, yet yummy Salsa Verde with pan-fried salmon in my case, but it’s completely up to you on what type of fish you’d like to pair it with!

For those of you who don’t know, Salsa Verde literally just means green sauce that contains mainly herbs, common in Italian, French, German, Spanish, and Mexican cuisines, each with their own twists and variants. The recipe that I will be sharing tonight gears more towards Mexican  where it is typically made up of puréed cooked or raw tomatillos, with jalapeños or other chili peppers, white onion, cilantro, and sometimes lime to enhance the taste. Salsa verde can range in spiciness from mild to mouth-searing. It may be served warm or cold, as a condiment – a dip for tortilla chips and served with tacos, or paired with grilled pork, grilled meats, and even fish.

Salsa Verde Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME — MINS | SERVES 250ml

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 bunch basil leaves
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 7 anchovy fillets
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp baby capers in brine, rinsed
  • Juice of 1 lemon

METHOD

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
  2. Serve and enjoy as a condiment with your choice of dish (a dip for tortilla chips and served with tacos, or paired with grilled pork, grilled meats, and even fish). This recipe makes enough sauce to fill about a 250ml sized jar and can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.

Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde with Pan-fried Salmon

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Chilli, Paprika, Tarragon, & Worcestershire Roast Chicken

Chilli, Paprika, Tarragon, & Worcestershire Roast Chicken

Chilli, Paprika, Tarragon, & Worcestershire Roast Chicken

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

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

Chilli, Paprika, Tarragon, & Worcestershire Roast Chicken Ingredients

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

Chilli, Paprika, Tarragon, & Worcestershire Roast Chicken Ingredients

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

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

INGREDIENTS

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

METHOD

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

Chilli, Paprika, Tarragon, & Worcestershire Roast Chicken

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Quinoa, Avocado, & Grapefruit Salad with Lemon and Thyme Roast Chicken

Quinoa, Avocado, & Grapefruit Salad with Lemon and Thyme Roast Chicken

Hello Everyone! Hope everyone had a good weekend! I’m finally feeling better than I did last week, but my voice is still a bit husky. I can’t hit the high notes to a song whenever I’m performing in the shower, so I know I’ve still got a bit more of getting better to do. Other than that, things have been pretty chill at work – but I know it’s going to be hectic soon! There are two event coming up within the next 3 months, so I pray that I will have enough strength to persevere through! Over the weekend, my very first Uni friend from COFA (or now known as UNSWAD) visited me here in Brunei! It was so surreal as I never thought that we would meet… in Brunei! He is currently working on a project in KL and he had a free weekend to spare to come over for a visit! We toured him around a few places in Brunei, and we also caught up on work life, love life, and just anything else in general. I cannot believe that it had been exactly a year since we last saw each other in Sydney! It was definitely a great weekend.

Anyway! It’s week 3 of healthy eating month and I’ve got another quinoa recipe to share with you guys. As you already know, or not if you haven’t been following my blog on a week to week basis, quinoa (pronounced as KEEN-wah) is very beneficial to our health. It is incredibly nutritious as its fibre content is much higher than most grains. It is also very high in protein, containing the essential amino acids that we need . Quinoa contains a great amount of minerals – minerals that we other do not get enough of, especially magnesium, potassium, and zinc. If you would like to read up more on the health benefits of quinoa, click here. Pair it with some heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acid avocados, grapefruit and orange segments, and you’ve got yourself a salad that is packed with minerals and vitamins such as: calcium, copper, fibre, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein, zinc, and vitamins A, B5,B6, C, E, and K, and the list goes on.

Quinoa, Avocado, & Grapefruit Salad with Lemon and Thyme Roast Chicken Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS* | COOKING TIME 40 MINS | SERVES 5-6

*Plus 4-5 hours waiting time to marinate the chicken.

INGREDIENTS

For the Salad

  • 100g feta cheese
  • 2 cups chicken stock*
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 grapefruit, segmented
  • 1 orange, segmented
  • 1 packet (250g) rocket leaves

For the lemon & thyme roast whole chicken legs

  • 500g whole chicken legs, washed and cleaned
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 springs of fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Juice of 1 lemon

*You can make you own stock by boiling chicken carcasses for about half an hour, together with whole black peppercorns, bay leaves, and salt. Or you can use the store bought ones, again, whatever tickles your fancy.

METHOD

  1. Combine all the roast whole chicken leg ingredients in a large baking dish. Leave to marinate for about 4-5 hours. Preheat oven to 190C. Sprinkle the chicken legs with paprika and place the baking dish in the oven and roast chicken for about 40 minutes or until done.
  2. Bring the quinoa and chicken stock to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Once boiling, reduce heat down to low, cover, and then simmer until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Once done, fluff with a fork and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the sliced avocado, feta cheese together with the herbed olive oil, grapefruit, orange, and rocket leaves into the large mixing bowl together with the quinoa. Give it a good toss until well combined.
  4. Transfer to a serving dish together with a piece of lemon and thyme roast chicken leg.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Quinoa, Avocado, & Grapefruit Salad with Lemon and Thyme Roast Chicken

Quinoa, Avocado, & Grapefruit Salad with Lemon and Thyme Roast Chicken

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Pink Grapefruit Lemonade

Hello Everyone! It’s the last of Juicy January and I’ve got a nice, refreshing drink for you that you can also add a little twist if you want something naughty for all that healthy juicing you’ve (I’ve) been doing for the past month. It was just a normal Sunday morning when I went grocery shopping with my Mom and sister. I saw these lovely, plump, fresh grapefruits on the shelves and Schweppes’ Apple & Pink Grapefruit Mineral Water that I always, or well, most of the time, had in my fridge when I was still studying in Australia, came into mind. So I grabbed these fruits, some lemons, and mint, and decided that I was going to make a Pink Grapefruit Lemonade. When I got around to making them, I realised that I had some strawberries in the fridge that were on the verge of becoming overripe, and so I decided to slice them up and add them to the drink as well.

Grapefruits vary in hue from white or yellow to pink and red and can range in taste from very acidic and even bitter to sweet and sugary. Grapefruits are low in calories but are full of nutrients, and are an excellent source of vitamins A and C. These fruits support clear, healthy skin, can help to lower our risk for many diseases and conditions, and may even help with weight loss as part of an overall healthy and varied diet. To read into more details on how, for example, grapefruits can aid in weight loss, click here.

Pink Grapefruit Lemonade

Mix the juice of one grapefruit together with the juice of a lemon and you’ve got yourself and juice that’s rich in many nourishing elements like vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin E,  copper,  calcium, iron,  magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, protein, and the list goes on. The health benefits of lemons include the treatment of throat infections, indigestion, constipation, dental problems, and fever, internal bleeding, and high blood pressure, while it also benefits hair and skin care. They also help to strengthen your immune system, cleanse your stomach, and it is considered a blood purifier.

Throw in some roughly chopped mint leaves for a fresh, aromatic, sweet flavor with a cool aftertaste. If you happen to have strawberries in your fridge too, or if you actually bought them to try this out, throw them in too for an extra added nutrients and antioxidants, offering a wide range of health benefits that may surprise you – click here for more information.

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 650ml cold water
  • 1 punnet (125g) fresh strawberries, sliced thinly
  • 1 large grapefruit, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1 large lemon, juice squeezed
  • 1/2 bunch of mint, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 tbsp white sugar

Optional:

  • 2-3 tbsp white rum

METHOD

  1. Add the white sugar and boiling water to a large pitcher. Stir until the sugar has full dissolved.
  2. Add the lemon juice together with the cold water, mint leaves, sliced strawberries.
  3. Juice the grapefruit using an electric juicer and then pour into the pitcher. Give it a good stir.

Pink Grapefruit Lemonade

If you’re feeling a little bit cheeky, throw in a few tablespoons of coconut rum (that was the only thing I had available at that time) or just plain white rum, tequila, or vodka – whatever tickles your fancy that is! 🙂 Enjoy and happy juicing!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Breakfast Plate

Breakfast Plate

Hello Everyone! I can’t believe that it’s already October! Where did September go?! So I’m sure all of you are aware that a new month calls for a new theme on the blog for the month of October! Those of you who know me, I am a breakfast/brunch person. I mean, I sometimes skip breakfast when the mornings just get a little too hectic for me; that was during my first few years at uni, but towards the end, I made it a habit to pack my breakfast to uni and/or work and eat it there.

I remember my internship days at Hello Social where I’d always be rushing out in the mornings to catch my bus, which therefore meant that I didn’t have time to sit down and enjoy my breakfast. That was where Muffin Making Mondays with Jialing came in, and when I had run out of muffins to take to work (because we only bake fortnightly), I would pack some fruits and even sometimes a small tupperware of cinnamon toast cereal with one of those small drink cartons of milk. When I’d get to the office, I’d pour the milk over my cereal and enjoy breakfast at my table. There was a time where one of the managers asked me what I was having for breakfast and the thought of me bringing a small carton of milk made her laugh so hard. I told her it was practical 😛 Another time when I was also having cereal, my other manager asked if what I was having was shareable; to his dismay, cereal ain’t shareable! He asked what kind of cereal I brought in and I said cinnamon toast. The other manager said that that was so American of me.

Anyway, I mean, if you didn’t already gather what this month’s theme is from my little story, yes it’s breakfast and brunch month on the blog! For the month of October I will be sharing with you some of my favourite breakfast/brunch recipes! I’ll be kicking off tonight’s post with a dish that I threw together when I was still living in Sydney. I was inspired by a post that I saw on Instagram by Raw Pawpaw Café in Brisbane. I was inspired by their plating of one of their dishes, and decided to plate it up with a few of my favourite ingredients for breakfast. I think most of the preparation of the ingredients in this dish is pretty straight forward, and you can get creative yourself by mixing up the ingredients a bit by adding your own favourite breakfast ingredients!

Breakfast Plate Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 20-22 MINS | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

  • 2-3 slices of soy & linseed bread, toasted
  • 2 bacon rashers
  • 2 large free range eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 chorizo sausage, thick slices
  • 1/2 avocado, cut into chunks
  • Bunch of grape vine tomatoes
  • Butter, for spreading
  • Ground salt and black pepper to taste
  • Handful of cup mushrooms, sliced
  • Handful of loose baby spinach leaves
  • Lemon wedges, to serve
  • Olive oil

METHOD

  1. In a small bowl, marinate the avocado chunks with a little bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 200C. Line a baking tray with aluminium foil and toss the grape vine tomatoes in a little bit of olive oil and salt. Roast in the oven fro about 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes have gone soft. Turn the temperature down to about 80-90C just to keep them warm before serving.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a large grill pan over medium high and cook the bacon rashers and chorizo slices, about 3 minutes per side. Once done, transfer to the baking tray and keep warm in the oven.
  4. Add your sliced mushrooms to the same grill pan and cook until browned and softened, about 4-5 minutes altogether. Turn the heat off and transfer to the baking tray and keep warm in the oven.
  5. Place the eggs in a small saucepan, covering the eggs with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, and once boiling, reduce the heat down to medium. Simmer gently for about 3 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and using a slotted spoon, transfer to the egg carton.
  6. Plate up accordingly and enjoy your breakfast!

Breakfast Plate

Breakfast Plate

Just a little side note here before I end tonight’s post – I wanted to choose an egg carton that wasn’t grey just so that it doesn’t look dull. I must say it was hard choosing eggs based on the colour carton they come in because most of the non-grey ones were caged eggs (yes, I don’t buy caged eggs). Good thing these eggs that came in the blue carton were free range, and the blue really suited the plating and contrasted the food colours nicely.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Lemon & Blueberry Layer Cake

Lemon & Blueberry Layer Cake

Happy Birthday Angela

Hello Everyone! Today won’t be a Review Sunday as I have a special post for you tonight! Today is my sister, Angela’s, 21st Birthday! I can’t believe that she is my not-so-little sister anymore! How time flies by so quickly. I’m glad that after 4 years of being away, I get to spend today with you! Hope you have the most wonderful of birthdays and hope you like my cake that I made for you! Lots of love, Ate Ally ❤

Lemon & Blueberry Layer Cake

I have never made this cake before, and unlike the original recipe, she uses plain all-purpose flour while I used plain wholemeal flour. The reason? I didn’t have enough plain flour and I didn’t want to go out to the grocers to buy more, plus I still had a brand new pack of wholemeal flour and decided to give that a go! It still tasted great, but the cake was a bit crumbly when I cut into it, but maybe it was because I may have over measured the flour a bit (as Sally says not to in her recipe… Oops)! Check out the original recipe from one of my favourite bakers: Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Lemon & Blueberry Layer Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

For the cake batter

  • 230g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 large free range eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups plain wholemeal flour, sifted
  • 1 & 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup buttermilk*
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp wholemeal flour
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground sea salt
  • Zest and juice of 3 medium-sized lemons

*Rather than purchasing a whole carton of buttermilk from the store and worrying about what to do with the leftovers before it starts to go bad in the fridge, making your own buttermilk is as simple as 1, 2, 3. Simply measure 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice (alternatively you can use white vinegar) in a measuring cup and then fill the rest up with full cream milk until you reach 1 full cup. Stir it around, let sit for 5 minutes, and it will be ready to use!

For the zesty cream cheese frosting

  • 1 package (250g) cream cheese, softened
  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 & 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice

To decorate

  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Lemon slices and zest

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (about 350F or gas mark 4). With a little bit of butter, grease the bottom and sides of three 8.5-inch cake pans and set aside.
  2. Make the cake batter: Using a electric handheld or stand mixer beat the butter on high until creamy (takes about a minute), then add the granulated and brown sugars. Continue to beat on medium-high speed until creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the eggs and vanilla extract, and beat on medium for a further 2 minutes until the mixture is well combined. Don’t forget to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Set aside.
  3. In a separate medium-sized bowl, add the wholemeal flour, baking powder, and salt, and toss together. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat on low speed for about 5 seconds, and then add in the buttermilk, lemon juice, and zest. Remove from the mixer and stir lightly until everything is just combined.
  4. Spoon half of the batter evenly into the three prepared cake pans. If using frozen blueberries, do not thaw as they will bleed into your cake batter. Toss the blueberries in about a tablespoon of flour as well – this way they won’t burst inside and turn your cake purple. Divide the blueberries equally between the three cake pans. Top with the remaining batter equally between the three.
  5. Bake the three layers for about 21-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Mine took about 30 minutes, and I even left it in the oven for a further 5 minutes with the heat off. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  6. Make the frosting: Using an electric handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter in a small bowl until smooth. Then beat in the confectioners’ sugar and a few frozen blueberries.
  7. Assemble: Place one cake layer on a serving plate and spread with about 1/3 cup of frosting. Top with the second layer of cake and again spread with another third of the frosting. Top with the last layer and frost the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with fresh blueberries, lemon slices and zest, and a touch of confectioners’ sugar. Store in the fridge before serving. Enjoy!

Lemon & Blueberry Layer Cake Process

Lemon & Blueberry Layer Cake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com