Big Breakfast Bilao

Big Breakfast Bilao

Hello Everyone! Only 2 more days to Christmas and just one more sleep until Noche Buena! I know it’s only a Sunday but I would just like to share a Christmas Special with everyone for a Christmas morning breakfast idea for the table.

I first came across a small single serving of a ‘Breakfast Bilao’ while scrolling through the world of Instagram and then an idea clicked into mind. What if I went BIG with the idea of a Breakfast Bilao? From there I also added a small twist to it, based on creative presentation that I drew inspiration from a couple that I have been following on Instagram for about 3 years now known as @symmetrybreakfast. If you haven’t heard of them before, please do take the time to check out their beautiful feed and give them a follow! (Not sponsored) *cheeky grin* Anyway, I know my Breakfast Bilao may seem very far away from being precisely symmetrical, but that’s where I drew my inspiration from.

Big Breakfast Bilao

So what is a bilao? Well traditionally it is used in the Philippines for winnowing rice, tossing and turning the grains for the purpose of removing unwanted particles such as dirt and small stones. These days, you’re more likely to see a bilao used as a food container lined with banana leaves where food is arranged.

Of course, feel free to get even more creative with your own version of a Breakfast Bilao – the combinations are endless! I put my Breakfast Bilao together after our weekly market day with freshly bought ingredients, but you can most definitely also whip this up with leftover ingredients lying around in your fridge or pantry.

Big Breakfast Bilao Ingredients

PREP TIME 20-30 MINS | COOKING TIME 30-45 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the corned beef

  • 250g fresh corned beef
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small potato, diced
  • 1 small red onion, halved and sliced
  • Ground salt and pepper, to taste

For the eggplant omelette

  • 2 medium-sized Lebanese eggplants
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • Ground salt and pepper, to taste

For the garlic fried rice

  • 3 cups of day old cooked rice
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Ground salt and pepper, to taste

For the lato salad

  • 1/2 kg green caviar seaweed (lato)
  • 2 salted eggs, cooked and roughly chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • Fish sauce, to taste
  • Fresh calamansi juice, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 2 pcs dried salted fish (tuyo)
  • 2 pcs smoked salted fish (tinapang tuyo)
  • 1 bunch lady fingers (okra), rinsed and trimmed
  • Assorted longganisa (I used Vigan and sliced tocino longganisa)
  • Assorted fruits such as mangoes and oranges

Condiments

  • Dark soy sauce with calamansi
  • Spicy vinegar with fresh chillies, garlic, and peppercorns
  • Sweet chilli sauce
  • Banana leaves

METHOD

Get ready for some more one-pan action!

  1. Preheat oven to 90C (190F) just hot enough to keep each element of the dish warm as we work through each one of them individually.
  2. Prepare the banana leaves by wiping them down with a damp cloth. Quickly pass them over an open flame to make the leaves soft and pliable so that they are easier to work with. Arrange them over the top of your bilao and set aside.
  3. Eggplant Omelette: Grill the eggplants until the colour of skin turns almost black. Let the eggplants cool for a while before peeling off the skin. Set aside.
  4. While waiting for the eggplants to cool down, you can prepare the condiments for your dish.
  5. Crack one egg per grilled eggplant into a deep dish and beat. Add the eggplant to the beaten egg mixture and flatten using a fork.
  6. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat with about a tablespoon of oil. Pour the egg mixture together with the eggplant into the pan and fry for about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Once done, place on a heat-proof plate and set aside in the oven.
  7. Fried Egg: Pour and heat a little bit of oil if needed in the same frying pan. Crack the eggs gently into the pan to keep the yolks intact. Don’t overcrowd the pan, so if needed, fry the eggs in batches.
  8. Cook until the tops of the whites are set, but the yolk is still runny. Browned and crispy on the edges with a golden liquidy yolk is how I like my fried eggs! Transfer to a heat-proof plate and set aside in the oven.
  9. Tinapa & Tuyo: In the same pan once again, add a little bit more oil if needed. Heat until the oil is hot, but not smoking. Place the dried fish into the pan and fry until its scales are crisp and start separating from each other, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  10. Remove from the heat and transfer to a heat-proof plate lined with a paper towel to soak up any excess oils. Set aside in the oven.
  11. Longganisa: Wipe down the pan with a kitchen towel tissue and place the longganisa in the pan. Add about a quarter cup of water to the pan and bring to a boil. Roll and flip the longganisa occasionally and continue to boil until the water in the pan evaporates.
  12. When the water has fully evaporated, let the longganisa fry in its own oil. Continue to fry the longganisa for about 5 minutes while constantly rolling or flipping them around to cook evenly on all sides.
  13. When the longganisa is slightly crisp on the outside, it’s done! Set aside on a heat-proof plate lined with a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Place in the oven to keep warm.
  14. Corned Beef: Wipe down the same pan, and add about a tablespoon of oil. Sauté the minced garlic until fragrant and golden brown, about 30 seconds. Add in the onions and cook until soft for about 1 minute before adding in the corned beef.
  15. Continue to cook for 5 to 6 minutes, seasoning with a touch of fragrant and golden brown, about 30 seconds. Add in the diced potatoes and cook further until the potatoes are soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Once done, place in a small heat-proof bowl and set aside in the oven.
  16. Garlic Fried Rice: Wipe down the pan once again and heat about a tablespoon of oil. Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant and golden brown, about 30 seconds.
  17. Add the cooked rice and season with salt and ground pepper to taste. Give it a good mix and continue mixing for about 4-5 minutes to avoid the rice sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning. Turn the heat off and cover to keep warm.
  18. Lato Salad: In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, salted egg, and lato.
  19. Toss through the fish sauce, calamansi juice, and season with freshly ground black pepper. Adjust to your liking. Set aside for at least 10 minutes before serving.
  20. Okra: In a small saucepan, combine water, okra, and season with a touch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, leave the okra to cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside.
  21. Plate Up: Remove all the cooked elements from the oven and plate up accordingly – feel free to get creative with your plating. As I mentioned above, I drew my inspiration from @symmetrybreakfast eventhough it’s not a clean-cut symmetrical. Serve with coffee or any hot beverage of your choice and there you have it!

Big Breakfast Bilao

Big Breakfast Bilao

Note: You may end up having this Breakfast Bilao for brunch (depending on what time you get up in the morning) as it may take a while to whip together.

Now, I also know that this is hardly festive or Christmassy for a Christmas special, but I had whipped this up a few weeks back and I really wanted to share this with everyone. I didn’t want it to go into my archive file of recipes that may (will) never get posted because it does not suit with theme. Since we’re still all about Breakfast until the end of the year, why not? Maybe you can whip this up for a delightful Christmas morning while the kids are busy opening their gifts. If you don’t have kids, then make it for yourself!

I’ll see everyone again on Christmas Day with the last recipe for the year so stay tuned for that. Hint: Christmas/Simbang Gabi would not be complete without the recipe I’ll be sharing on Wednesday!

For now, I would like to wish my family, friends, visitors, and loyal followers of Amcarmen’s Kitchen a very Merry Christmas!

Big Breakfast Bilao

Big Breakfast Bilao

Big Breakfast Bilao

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

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Auguest 2018: Jialing Mew

Mango Pudding with Coconut Sago

Happy Auguest everyone! I’m back for my fourth year running, and I’ll be taking over Amcarmen’s Kitchen with two South-East Asian inspired breakfast recipes this week. For once, Allison has chosen a theme that I could easily get on board with (those of you who suffered through 2016’s vegan Auguest with me know my pain). But thanks to my mom I have been a professional breakfast-eater since 1991, so trust me when I say that THIS is my area of expertise! If you don’t believe me, ask the former breakfast-skippers at my office who were inspired by my morning meals 😉

The great thing about breakfast is that it can be whatever you want it to be: simple or complex, savoury or sweet, hot or cold, vegan food or normal people food… I could go on. So for today’s recipe I’ll be sharing one of my favourite breakfasts to eat during summer weekdays, though it can be enjoyed at any time of the year. I like to prepare this on Sunday so that I (and my boyfriend/colleagues/innocent bystanders) stay safe from my hangriness for the rest of the week.

Throwing it back to 2016 with a vegan (you heard me!) recipe where we start out with…

Boiling coconut milk.

Classic.

Mango Pudding with Coconut Sago

PREP TIME 1 HOUR | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup fresh mango, finely diced
  • 1 can lychees drained, reserve syrup

For the Mango Pudding

  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups frozen mango
  • 1/4 cup reserved lychee syrup
  • 2 tsp agar agar powder (check your local Asian supermarket)

For the Coconut Sago

  • 2 & 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup reserved lychee syrup
  • 1/2 cup tapioca pearls (sago)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt

Optional

  • Coconut flakes
  • Fresh Mango chunks

METHOD

  1. Set aside 6 lychees to garnish. Chop remaining lychees into smaller pieces. Divide chopped mango and lychee between 6 glasses or containers. Set aside.
  2. Mango Pudding: Purée 2 cups frozen mango with 1/4 cup reserved lychee syrup until smooth.
  3. On medium heat in a sauce pan, combine agar agar powder and 2 cups coconut milk, stirring until the mixture boils.
  4. Remove pan from stovetop and stir in the mango purée, making sure the mixture is well combined.
  5. Divide mixture between the 6 glasses, carefully pouring to cover the fruit chunks. Place in refrigerator to set while making the coconut sago.
  6. Coconut Sago: Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan over low heat, stirring constantly until tapioca pearls have absorbed most of the liquid and doubled in size – approximately half an hour, depending on your stove.
  7. Take the mango pudding out from the fridge and spoon the tapioca into each glass, then top with the remaining whole lychees, and optional coconut flakes and mango chunks.
  8. Serve immediately if you’d like it warm, or return to the fridge to chill for at least an hour for a more summer-appropriate dish!

Mango Pudding with Coconut Sago

Mango Pudding with Coconut Sago

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2018 | jialingmew

Enjoy x

– Jialing

Tropical Mango & Pineapple Smoothie Bowl

Tropical Mango & Pineapple Smoothie Bowl

Hello Everyone! So I’m getting this post up a day early only because I won’t be in the country tomorrow and I won’t be travelling with my laptop to be able to get this up for you guys. I’ll be gone for a few days and will be back in Brunei on Sunday evening. I won’t give out where I’ll be heading to just yet, but you’ll be able to see lots and LOTS of food photos (I hope) over on my Instagram page to figure out where I’ll be over the next few days.

Anyway, I’ve got another smoothie bowl recipe to share with everyone and this is by far my favourite one. Why? One word. Tropical. Being born and raised in the tropics, I’ve grown to love pineapples, passionfruit, and most importantly, mangoes. I remember being asked a question back when I was still in university – if you were stuck on an island, and there was only one type of food that you could have, what would it be and why? Without hesitation I answered mangoes. Why? Just because. Actually, now I can’t remember if I’ve already told this story before on the blog. If I have, apologies, but I guess to those who haven’t heard/read this before – here you go!

Tropical Mango & Pineapple Smoothie Bowl Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

For the smoothie mixture

  • 1 large mango, diced (save some to top after)
  • 1 large banana
  • 1 cup pineapple, diced
  • 1/2 cup yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Toppings

  • Chia Seedscontains omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, antioxidants, iron, and calcium
  • Goji Berries excellent source of antioxidants and nutrients that help boost the immune system and protect the body from high levels of inflammation
  • Kiwis – loaded with vitamins and minerals such as Vitamins A, B6, B12, E, and potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium
  • Mango contains vitamin A, B6, C & K, protein, folate, potassium, copper, calcium, and iron to the diet as well as antioxidants such as zeaxanthin and beta-carotene
  • Passionfruitrich in antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamin A & C, riboflavin, niacin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, fiber, and protein
  • Desiccated Coconut

METHOD

  1. Blend the mango, pineapple, banana, milk, yoghurt, and chia seeds until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and top with diced mangoes, diced kiwis, passionfruit pulp, chia seeds, goji berries, and desiccated coconut. Enjoy!

Tropical Mango & Pineapple Smoothie Bowl

Remember, you are not limited to the choice of toppings mentioned above. Use whatever you have lying around so that you don’t have to go and spend extra money on the things that you don’t have. Get creative and customise to your favourite fruits!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Smashed Avo Toast (9 ways)

Hello Everyone! Finally I am back on track with my posts and the theme for the month of April is Avocado! All you need is about half a medium-sized avocado everyday as it provides 1% of the calcium, 5% of the magnesium, and 10% of the potassium that you need daily. Avocados are a good source of potassium, which can help lower blood pressure, and in addition, the dark green flesh just under an avocado’s brittle skin contains large amounts of disease-fighting compounds. Though avocados are proven to help lower blood pressure and an abundance of health benefits, we have to be weary of how much we intake daily as they are also high in calories.

Tonight, I will be sharing 9 different ways you can start your mornings with a smile on your face with 9 different smashed avocado toasts! Of course, don’t limit yourselves to just these 9 recipes; I encourage you to get creative with your smashed avo toasts and share your creations with me on Instagram using the hashtag #amcarmenskitchen

1. Five Pepper Smoked Salmon with Red Onions, Capers & Chilli Flakes

Five Pepper Smoked Salmon with Red Onions, Capers & Chilli Flakes

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices multigrain brown bread
  • 1/2 avocado, smashed
  • 1 small red onion, cut into rings
  • 2 tsp capers
  • Smoked salmon slices with five peppers

METHOD

  1. Lightly toast bread in a toaster for about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Spread a generous amount of the smashed avocado onto the toast and top with smoked salmon, red onion rings, and capers. Sprinkle with a touch of chilli flakes for an added kick (optional).
  3. Enjoy!

2. Medley of Grape Tomato Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction

Medley of Grape Tomato Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices multigrain brown bread
  • 1/2 avocado, smashed
  • 1 punnet (250g) grape tomato medley, halved
  • 4 cherry bocconcini cheese, sliced
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Olive Oil
  • Sweet basil leaves

METHOD

  1. Combine the grape tomatoes, bocconcini slices, and sweet basil leaves in a small bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with a touch of ground sea salt and black pepper to taste. Set aside and leave to macerate.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the balsamic vinegar in a small non-stick saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer, continuously stirring to check on the consistency of the glaze, until the vinegar reduces to a thick sauce, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool down for a bit.
  3. Lightly toast bread in a toaster for about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Spread a generous amount of the smashed avocado onto the toast, top with the tomato cappers salad, and drizzle the balsamic reduction over the salad.
  5. Enjoy!

3. Sliced Banana & Pumpkin Seeds drizzled with Honey

Sliced Banana & Pumpkin Seeds drizzled with Honey

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices multigrain brown bread
  • 1/2 avocado, smashed
  • 1 large banana, sliced
  • Honey
  • Pumpkin seeds

METHOD

  1. Lightly toast bread in a toaster for about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Spread a generous amount of the smashed avocado onto the toast, top with banana slices and pumpkin seeds, and drizzle with honey.
  3. Enjoy!

4. Soft-boiled Egg with Chilli Flakes & Parsley

Soft-boiled Egg with Chilli Flakes & Parsley

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME 6 MINS | SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices multigrain brown bread
  • 1/2 avocado, smashed
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • Chilli Flakes
  • Parsley, roughly chopped

METHOD

  1. Bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil. Once boiling, reduce the water to a rapid simmer before gently lowering the eggs one by one into the pot. Cook for 5 minutes for a runny yolk, or 7 minutes for a barely set yolk. Once done, remove from the heat and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Once cool, peel the shell off and slice.
  2. Lightly toast bread in a toaster for about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Spread a generous amount of the smashed avocado onto the toast, top with the sliced eggs, and sprinkle with a touch of chilli flakes, and parsley.
  4. Enjoy!

5. Sliced Strawberries & Crumbled Goat’s Cheese with Balsamic Reduction and Peppermint Leaves

Sliced Strawberries & Crumbled Goat's Cheese with Balsamic Reduction and Peppermint Leaves

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices multigrain brown bread
  • 1/2 avocado, smashed
  • 4 large strawberries, sliced
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Goat’s cheese, crumbled

METHOD

  1. Heat the balsamic vinegar in a small non-stick saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer, continuously stirring to check on the consistency of the glaze, until the vinegar reduces to a thick sauce, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool down for a bit.
  2. Lightly toast bread in a toaster for about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Spread a generous amount of the smashed avocado onto the toast, top with the sliced strawberries, crumbled goat’s cheese, and drizzle the balsamic reduction over the strawberries.
  4. Enjoy!

6. Sautéd Brown & Shimeji Mushrooms topped with Fried Enoki & Parsley

Sautéd Brown & Shimeji Mushrooms topped with Fried Enoki & Parsley

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME 8 MINS | SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices multigrain brown bread
  • 1/2 avocado, smashed
  • 4 large brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 bunch (100g) shimeji mushrooms
  • 1/2 bunch (50g) enoki mushrooms
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Knob of unsalted butter
  • Olive oil
  • Parsley, roughly chopped

METHOD

  1. Melt the unsalted butter in a small frying pan over medium-high heat and add about a teaspoon of olive oil.
  2. Sauté the minced garlic until golden brown and fragrant, about 30 to 45 seconds. Add in the sliced brown mushrooms and shimeji mushrooms and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes.  Season with pinch of ground sea salt and black pepper. Once tender, remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. In the same pan, heat about 3 tbsp of olive oil over high heat until slightly smoking. Add the enoki mushrooms in and fry until golden brown in colour, about 2-3 minutes. Once done, transfer to a small plate lined with a paper towel. Set aside.
  4. Lightly toast bread in a toaster for about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Spread a generous amount of the smashed avocado onto the toast and top with the sautéd garlic mushrooms and the fried enoki mushrooms. Garnish with a touch of ground black pepper and parsley.
  6. Enjoy!

7. Diced Mango with Chilli Powder & Peppermint

Diced Mango with Chilli Powder & Peppermint

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices multigrain brown bread
  • 1/2 avocado, smashed
  • 1 small mango, diced
  • Chilli powder
  • Peppermint leaves

METHOD

  1. Lightly toast bread in a toaster for about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Spread a generous amount of the smashed avocado onto the toast and top with the diced mangoes, chilli powder, and peppermint leaves.
  3. Enjoy!

8. Roasted Chickpeas & Parsley

Roasted Chickpeas & Parsley

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices multigrain brown bread
  • 1/2 avocado, smashed
  • 1 can (200g) chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tsp ground smoked paprika
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil
  • Parsley, roughly chopped

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6). Line a baking tray with aluminium foil. Set aside.
  2. Add the drained chickpeas in a small bowl together with the ground smoked paprika, sea salt, black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Toss to coat.
  3. Spread the chickpeas onto the prepared baking tray and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes. Once done, remove from the oven.
  4. Lightly toast bread in a toaster for about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Spread a generous amount of the smashed avocado onto the toast and top with the roasted chickpeas and parsley.
  6. Enjoy!

9. Chorizo Sausage & Sweet Corn

Chorizo Sausage & Sweet Corn

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME 4-6 MINS | SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices multigrain brown bread
  • 1/2 avocado, smashed
  • 1 chorizo sausage, sliced
  • 1 can (200g) sweet corn kernels, drained
  • Olive oil

METHOD

  1. Heat olive oil in a small frying pan over medium-high. Pan-fry the chorizo slices until browned, about 2-3 minutes per side. Once done, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Set aside.
  2. Bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil and blanch the sweet corn kernels for about a minute or two. Drain and set aside to cool down for a bit.
  3. Lightly toast bread in a toaster for about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Spread a generous amount of the smashed avocado onto the toast, top with the pan-fried chorizo sausages and sweet corn kernels, and drizzle with a bit of the chorizo oil (optional).
  5. Enjoy!

Just a little side note before I end tonight’s post, I spent the whole day amending quite possibly the same artwork because their comments/amendments were all on an installation basis. Such completely waste of time which then prevented me from actually completing the work I had set to do today because I had to keep going back and forth to the same bloody artwork.

​BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

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

Moist Mango Pound Cake

Moist Mango Pound Cake

Moist Mango Pound Cake

Hello Everyone! Yes, I am aware that it is a Sunday and it’s not my regular posting day. It’s just that today is a very special day because today I would like to wish the Happiest of Birthdays to the woman I call my Mother. My greatest wish is to grow up and become just like you. Thank you for all of your strength, advice, and of course your impeccable cooking skills that has helped me become the person I am today. Love you ❤

Happy Birthday Mama G 2016
My Mom & I at Bondi Beach, Bondi, NSW last June 2015

For the Month of May, I thought about sharing recipes, both savoury & sweet, that include mangoes since they have been in season since last month – but I will get into this theme for Wednesday’s post. Since we’re praising mangoes, I decided to bake a Moist Mango Pound Cake for my Mom’s 56th Birthday today. It’s actually not as grand as the cakes I’ve made for past birthdays, and it’s only because I wanted something quick and simple, yet still very tasteful since I had work commitments earlier on the day. I woke up early this morning to have breakfast and then got cracking on baking the cake before I took my shower and headed out to the venue for work. So I guess it was safe to say that I had a very hectic and busy morning, a lazy afternoon, and a night at Capers Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria to celebrate my Mom’s birthday.

Moist Mango Pound Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 15 MINS | SERVES 8

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 & 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream (or use heavy cream if not available)
  • 170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Flesh of 2-3 mangoes, puréed* (yielding about 3/4 cups)
  • Fresh mangoes, diced
  • Confectioners’ sugar

*Purée your mangoes by adding them to a blender with about a tablespoon of water to ease the blending process. Pulse until smooth.

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 170C (325F or gas mark 3). Prepare a 7″ round pan (or square) by rubbing some butter and flour on the base and sides of the pan. Set aside.
  2. Sift the plain flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric hand-held mixer, cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until it turns pale yellow in colour – it should be creamy and not gritty in texture (sugar fully dissolved).
  4. Add in one egg at a time, beating on low well after each addition. Then add in the coconut cream, vanilla extract, and mango purée. Continue beating on medium for a good 4 minutes or until the mixture is creamy and has good volume.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, about a third at a time, folding it in gently after each addition. Be careful as to not over mix your batter, use gentle strokes until the flour is just moistened.
  6. Transfer the batter to your prepares baking pan and bake in the oven for 60-75 minutes or until the cake is golden brown in colour and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave it to cool for about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Loosen the edges with a knife and transfer the cake onto a wire rack to completely cool down. Once cooled, top your cake with some fresh diced mango and some confectioners’ sugar. Serve and enjoy!

Moist Mango Pound Cake

Moist Mango Pound Cake

Moist Mango Pound Cake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Tropical Mix Smoothie

Tropical Mix Smoothie

Hello Everyone! Once again, time really has flown by! I can’t believe that it’s already the end of March and we’re already a quarter into the year. I wish I could say the same for each passing day I spend in the office. It was only just recently where I started to feel that everyday is like a Monday, and that weekends do not exist – even Sunday does not feel like a Sunday anymore. Everyday is Monday. Haha, I’m so pessimistic; but no, seriously, just last week I was convinced that the afternoon of Wednesday was already Thursday, and that the next day would be Friday. I was rushing to get all my work done that was due for Friday, only to realise a little later that is was still only Wednesday. Sigh. I think I briefly mentioned this is last week’s post too – yes, still not over it haha!

Anyway rant aside! Nothing exciting has happened since my post last week besides the night that we (my colleagues and I) went wax (yes, not ice) skating. I was a bit sad to find out that the rink was not actually ice, but I was also slightly a little bit relieved because I find it easier to skate on wax than ice. I nearly made a no-fall record for myself, until my colleague Grace dragged me down with her. Other than wax skating, I managed to complete my meat free week that ended on Easter Sunday! This weekend I’ll be hanging out with some of my high school buddies whom I have not seen in forever! We’ll be watching Belle the Musical (Beauty & The Beast), but as usual, before the weekend comes it’s going to be all about work work work work work.

Happy days are here as sweet Philippine mangoes are finally in season! And because of that, I cannot resist a refreshingly delicious tropical smoothie that just screams Summer is here! Mangoes alone tastes so good, and that is one of the reasons why people often forget that mangoes are actually quite beneficial to our health, however, there are a few cautions to take into consideration especially if you have some allergies that can cause a reaction to consuming mangoes. First of all, research has shown that antioxidant compounds in a mango fruit has been found to protect against colon, breast, leukaemia, and prostate cancers. Other than that, mangoes contain high levels of fibre which helps to lower cholesterol levels.

This particular health benefit caught my attention, and it’s that mangoes helps in diabetes. I would think that it would spike sugar levels because of it’s insane sweetness, but apparently the fruit has a relatively low glycemic index (41-60) so moderate quantities will not increase sugar levels. The mango leaves though, help normalise insulin levels in the blood.  The traditional home remedy involves boiling leaves in water, soaking through the night and then consuming the filtered decoction in the morning.  To read up more on the health benefits of mangoes, click here.

Now as mentioned, there are some cautions to look out for when consuming mangoes:

  1. If you have a latex allergy, a reaction is possible, particularly green mangos. This reaction develops because of anacardic acid.
  2. Mango peel and sap contain urushiol, the chemical in poison ivy and poison sumac that can cause an allergic reaction in susceptible individuals.
  3. Mangos are ripened by some dealers using calcium carbide which can cause serious health problems (one more reason to buy organic).  If you do have inorganic mangos, do wash them properly before consuming or soak overnight in water.

Tropical Mix Smoothie Ingredients

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME | SERVES 3

INGREDIENTS

  • 3-4 pineapple slices
  • 2 bananas, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 ripe Philippine mangoes (or any other sweet mangoes), peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • Juice of 1 large orange

METHOD

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender, and pulse until combined. If the smoothie is too thick, add more coconut water. If it is too thin, add more fruit and/or ice if needed.
  2. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Tropical Mix Smoothie

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Crispy Skinned Salmon with Mango Salsa

Crispy Skinned Salmon with Mango Salsa

Hello Everyone and Hello September! I can’t believe another month has zoomed right past so quickly! I hope that you all liked my mini collaboration series for the month of August and I hope to collaborate with my friends and fellow food bloggers again in the near future, or even with some of you guys who are interested in taking part for next year’s series – yes, I’ve decided to make Auguest a yearly thing!

Crispy Skinned Salmon with Mango Salsa

All that aside, I’ve decided that I want to start having monthly themes to my recipes on the blog. So for this month, I’ve decided to share with you some of my favourite seafood recipes that I’ve not shared on the blog with you before! Besides sharing long time favourites, I’ll also be trying out and experimenting with new recipes and sharing those with you too 🙂 To kick of Seafood month, I have a simple, but classic favourite of the family and mine to share with everyone: Crispy Skinned Salmon with Mango Salsa!

We all love salmon, in fact, when I was living in Australia, salmon was always the fish that I had in my fridge at least once a week, and here back at home we have salmon for at least 4 meals a week – we usually have it together with my Neapolitan Casareccia Salad. I know salmon is quite an expensive fish to buy in the markets, but the great thing about this dish is that you can use other types of fish such as swordfish, whiting, flathead, blue-eye trevalla, mirror dory, ling, etc.

Crispy Skinned Salmon with Mango Salsa Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

For the salmon

  • 4 salmon portions, skin on
  • Ground salt and black pepper for seasoning
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For the mango salsa

  • 2 ripe mangoes, finely diced
  • 2-3 re bird’s eye chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1-2 ripe tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, finely diced
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 small-sized lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Half a bunch of basil leaves, finely chopped
  • Ground salt and black pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. Combine salsa ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Set aside.
  2. Place the salmon, skin-side up, on a chopping board and sprinkle with some salt. This helps crisp the skin. Season it with a touch of ground black pepper as well.
  3. Heat a little bit of vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook salmon, skin-side down, for 4-5 minutes depending on thickness.
  4. Turn it over and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. To know when it’s ready, test with a fork and if it flakes easily, it’s ready. Salmon is best served a little pink in the centre, but if you prefer it to bee cooked all the way through, keep it on the heat for about 2-3 minutes longer.
  5. Serve the fish with salsa and enjoy!

Crispy Skinned Salmon with Mango Salsa

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Ube Cake with Mango Cream Cheese Frosting

Ube Cake with Mango Cream Cheese Frosting

Hello Everyone! As I already mentioned in yesterday’s post, I have a very special recipe for all of you today as today is my Mother’s 55th Birthday! Not only that, it is also my Cousin’s 35th Birthday! A very Happy Birthday to the both of them! Not only do they share the same birthday, but they also share the same-ish name. My mom’s name is Josephine, while my cousin’s name is Joseph; and my mother is also his godmother in both his baptismal and wedding. So yes, these two people are very important to me.

Happy Birthday Mom Josephine & Kuya JR
Happy Birthday to my mom Josephine & my cousin Joseph Russell! This is the latest photo that I could find of the two of them. This photograph dates back to December 2012 when my cousin JR got married. Kuya J, payat mo oh! Anyare? Hehehe.

To be completely honest, this cake has given me a lot of headaches to the point where I just had to redo everything again. The plan was to bake it the day before so that it would be in the fridge overnight; that obviously didn’t happened. Something went wrong in the batter; it was very pale and it looked like the batter and the eggs whites separated because when I took them out of the oven, the top half was very airy white the bottom half was cake-y. Since I had quite a tiring day yesterday, I gave up on baking the cake and decided to bake it early the next morning (today). The cake this time went well, I just mixed the batter very well and added some food colouring to bring out the purple a bit more.

Ube Cake with Mango Cream Cheese Frosting

However, today my frosting decided that it wanted to wreck havoc. The frosting was actually an experiment, because I wanted to incorporate mango into the cream cheese frosting somehow. The big mistake that I did was that I mixed the mango purée together with the cream cheese and and butter instead of smoothening out the cream cheese and butter first. I ended up with a mess of what looked like really bad scrambled eggs. I tried so hard to save it, but in the end I started all over again. At one point I kind of just had about enough with this cake… But I told myself to carry on because it’s a special cake for my Mom’s Birthday! The flavours were all there, form the cake in the beginning, and even the frosting, but it would’ve ended up looking like a shit cake if I hadn’t redone the whole thing.

Anyway, all mishaps aside, the cake turned out to be pretty good! But what decided to ruin everything yet once again was the weather. It was pitch black and raining when I was about to do the final touches on the cake and I have no natural light to photograph my cake. I am so devastated. It was as if everything was trying to ruin this cake for me… Thank goodness that it was still a little bit bright outside, but I really had to put my ISO up and decrease my shutter speed to get some light!

Ube Cake with Mango Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 30-35 MINS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

For the cake batter

  • 2 & 1/2 cups cake flour*
  • 1 cup ube (purple yam), cooked and finely grated**
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 7 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 7 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup***
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Blue & red food colouring (optional)

For the frosting

  • 1 very ripe mangoes, puréed
  • 1 package (250g) cream cheese, softened
  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

*I barely use cake flour, and if you so happen as to not have cake flour in your pantry, you can substitute 1 cup of cake flour with 2 tablespoons of corn flour place into a measuring cup and then filling it with plain flour all the way to the 1 cup mark.

**Place the ube (leaving its skin on) in a pot of boiling water and boil for about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how big it is, or until tender. Peel off its skin and then grate.

***If you’re like me and you don’t have corn syrup sitting in your pantry because you barely use it anyway, you can substitute corn syrup by dissolving 3/4 cup of granulated sugar in 1/4 cup of boiling water.

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 165C (325F or gas mark 3). Grease three 8.5-inch cake pans with a little butter and set aside.
  2. Ube Cake: In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Place the grated ube into a large bowl and mix together with the milk and vanilla extract; gradually mix into the ube until it is smooth. Then add in the corn syrup, egg yolks, and oil. Mix together and then add in the flour mixture and mix until smooth. Set aside.
  4. In another large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Gradually add in the sugar, then red and blue food colouring (optional), while continuing to beat until stiff peaks form.
  5. Fold in a third of the egg white mixture into the batter, then quickly fold in remaining whites until no streaks remain. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the centre comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing the cakes from the pans to wire racks to cool down completely.
  7. Mango Cream Cheese Frosting: Using an electric handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, and maple syrup in a small bowl until smooth. Then beat in the confectioners’ sugar, and then fold in the mango purée.
  8. Assembly: Place one cake layer on a serving plate and trim the tops so that they are level. spread with about 1/4 cup of frosting. Top with the second layer of cake and spread another 1/4 cup of and frosting. Finally, top with the last layer of cake and frost the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with the cake trimmings and store in the fridge before serving. Enjoy!

Happy Birthday Mom Josephine

Ube Cake with Mango Cream Cheese Frosting

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Mango Shake

Mango Shake

Hello Everyone! I’ll be keeping today’s post very simple and straight forward as tomorrow I will be doing a special post for two very loved people in my life. What I like about being back in the tropics around this time of the year is that it’s summer and summertime means MANGOES! Once, someone asked me a question: “If you were to be shipped to a deserted island and you could only take 1 item of food with you, what would you bring?” I thought a while about this and I remembered that my final answer was mangoes. The moment I said it, everyone nodded and agreed that it was a good choice; I could tell that their mouths watered as soon as I said it.

Mango Shake

I love mangoes, especially Philippine mangoes. I’m sorry but Kensington Pride mangoes, which are the ones I’ve been buying from Coles during summertime down under, cannot compare. Today’s recipe is very simple, and is definitely much better than what you get at restaurants. I remember the one that I had at Arabela, it was very watered down, and more on ice than mango.

Mango Shake Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 ripe Philippine mangoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 cups ice
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • Mint leaves, to garnish

METHOD

  1. Combine all the ingredients, except the mint leaves, into a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth. Pour into a tall glass and garnish with mint leaves.
  3. Serve and enjoy a refreshing drink in the summer sun!

Mango Shake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com