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

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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

Fresh Fruit Salad

Fresh Fruit Salad

 

Hello Everyone! Today’s post is a special one as this is my 100th recipe on the blog! I wanted to make something special, for my 100th recipe post, but I wasn’t in the mood to bake a cake for it because I baked one just last week, and I will be baking one this coming Thursday ready for my Mom’s birthday on Friday!

Fresh Fruit Salad

Anyway, today’s recipe is a classic dish that you will find on every Filipino’s table during Noche Buena (the eve of Christmas) and/or Media Noche (New Year’s eve) feasting celebrations. ‘Fruit Salad’ is a general term referring to a dish that is typically composed of an assortment of fruits, fresh or canned. The Filipino version of the fruit salad consists of these fruits, condensed milk, and table cream, making the dish a rich and sweet dessert. I personally don’t like the use of canned fruits just because of the amount of preservatives in them. Anyway, there are plenty of fresh fruits that can be bought at the local markets – and Philippine mangoes are in season right now so why substitute that for canned fruit cocktail?! However, buying a can of fruit cocktail is definitely cheaper for the average Filipino.

Here’s what you’d get if you use canned fruit cocktail to make your fruit salad; not as vibrant as the one above right? Also, by using fresh fruits, you get to play around not only with the type of fruit but with the many colours as well, for example vibrant green kiwis or bright orange mandarins/papayas? Take your pick! Just don’t forget to include bright yellow mangoes and definitely those luscious red dragonfruits.

Fruit Salad

Now, I’ve had a look at a few recipes online and none that I have come across add cheese in their fruit salads. From what I know, or I guess what my mom has told me is that, since this would normally be a dish served during Christmas and New Year’s time, a fruit salad would not be complete without the addition of pieces of queso de bola. Queso de Bola (translated: “ball of cheese”) is just Edam cheese, traditionally sold in spheres with a pale yellow interior and a coat of red paraffin wax.

Other than fruits, fresh or canned, and cheese, palm seeds and nata de coco can also be added. I love nata de coco; I’d always fish these out from the serving bowl! Nata de Coco, for those of you who don’t know, is produced by the fermentation of coconut water. It is translucent and has a jelly-like and chewy texture.

Fresh Fruit Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 25 MINS | COOKING TIME | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 young coconuts, flesh removed and shredded*
  • 1 can (380ml)  Nestlé cream
  • 1 can (570g) palm seeds, with syrup
  • 1 jar (340g) nata de coco, drained
  • 1 red dragonfruit, cut into chunks
  • 1 green apple, cut into chunks
  • 1 red apple, cut into chunks
  • 1 ripe Philippine mango, cut into chunks**
  • 1/2 block (125g) cheddar cheese, diced
  • 1/2 pineapple, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 large pomegranate, peeled and deseeded
  • 3 tbsp condensed milk
  • Handful of small black and red grapes

*The best thing about using fresh young coconut is that you get to have a nice tall glass of fresh coconut juice! The best thing in the world especially if you’re living right on the equator and experiencing high 30s all year round!

**You can use any other kinds of mango i.e. Kensington Pride mangoes, but honestly, Philippine mangoes are simply the best!

METHOD

  1. Combine all the fruits (except the dragonfruit), cheese, palm seeds with syrup, and nata de coco in a large serving bowl. If you add the dragonfruit in now and mix everything together, its colour will bleed into the cream and make everything pink!
  2. Add the condensed milk and cream and mix well, being careful though so that the fruits still remain intact and do not get crushed when mixing. Once everything is mixed, top with the dragonfruit chunks.
  3. Chill in the fridge/freezer for at least three hours.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Fresh Fruit Salad

Fresh Fruit Salad

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - DESSERTS: RED VELVET

Arabela, Camello’s Bakehaus & Coffee Shop

Hello Everyone! Finally we are back on track with Review Sundays! It’s been a while hasn’t it? Anyway today’s review will be on a popular Italian Restaurant on the little streets of Liliw, well known as the shoe and flipflop capital of the province and the Southern Luzon area. The first time I visited Liliw was back in 2010 if I am not mistaken. My cousin introduced this place to me while my family and I were visiting his place in Lucena. I don’t remember how many pairs of shoes I bought for myself, but I’m guessing that we had at least 3 or 4 pairs of shoes/flipflops each between the 4 of us for under ₱1,500 (approx. AUD$44)! After shoe shopping, we’d head on over to Arabela for lunch. This has since become a must do every time we come down to Lucena to visit my cousin and my family; in 2010, 2012, and our recent March 2015 trip. Since our last visit in 2012, Arabela changed the look and colours of their interior from, if I’m not mistaken, pastel green to orange. They still kept their low ceiling which is what I love about this place – it makes me feel tall! People who are just a tad bit taller than me would have to bend over while walking around the restaurant, and be cautious when standing up from their table if they have forgotten how low the ceiling is.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop
Just for a reference, my sister who is standing up straight is about 5’2″

But before I begin, here’s a little history on Arabela:

Bobby and Antonette Camello, husband and wife, owners of Arabela, named after their two daughters: Ara & Bela, started in 2002 with literally two tables. Back then, the two tables were not intended to be used by customers, but instead used for selling pasta dishes & pastries to buyers within the neighbourhood. The couple were then inspired to set up a formal food business as they gained an increasing number of customers that keep on coming back. The business, transformed into a coffee shop/restaurant, opened in October 23, 2003 with 5 tables, a seating capacity of 15 persons, and a capital of ₱100,000. From there it grew beyond the owner’s expectations, and today Arabella can accommodate up to 40 persons with an array of dishes to choose from – steaks, pizza, pasta, pastries, coffee, blended drinks, and more. Arabela has earned its publicity through word of mouth and personal blogs on the internet which were all unsolicited. To date, they have been able to maintain their character and uniqueness – the ambience and of course the good food.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - SPECIALTY DRINKS: STRAWBERRY FRAPPÉ, RIPE MANGO & STRAWBERRY SHAKE
SPECIALTY DRINKS: STRAWBERRY FRAPPÉ (₱120.00), RIPE MANGO (₱100.00), & STRAWBERRY SHAKE (₱100.00)

An array of fresh fruit shakes, smoothies, and drinks to choose from on their menu; I went for the ripe mango fresh fruit shake and it was very refreshing even though it was a rainy day.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - FRESH SALAD: CEASAR SALAD
FRESH SALAD: CEASAR SALAD
Romaine leaves with bacon (₱200.00)

This was also a starter dish that we shared amongst ourselves alongside the four cheese pizza. A good dish, but again nothing too special – nothing quite stood out to me to really praise the dish for it great flavour.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - PIZZA: FOUR CHEESE XL
PIZZA: FOUR CHEESE XL
Mozarella, red cheddar, romano & parmesan (₱325.00)

A great dish to kick off our feast at Arabela, but in my opinion there wasn’t anything special about the taste, I mean it’s just a four-cheese pizza.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - PASTA (PASTA IN WHITE SAUCE): FETTUCCINE WITH HAM & MUSHROOM
PASTA (PASTA IN WHITE SAUCE): FETTUCCINE WITH HAM & MUSHROOM (₱100.00)

This was a dish that my cousin ordered, and when it came to her, she showed the plate to me and gave me a sad look – I understood her pain. It was a massive deep dish, that made the pasta look tiny and underwhelming. I’m not sure if it filled her up, but it certainly wouldn’t have filled me up! Even though I didn’t taste this dish, it looked quite plain.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (OLIVE OIL): FISH IN WHITE WINE
HOUSE SPECIALS (OLIVE OIL): FISH IN WHITE WINE
Dory fish fillet cooked in white wine sauce serve with pasta (₱220.00)

From the menu, my mom wanted a pasta dish, and knowing her preferences, I ordered this for her. She prefers olive oil-based dishes as well as fish – so this was the perfect pick for her. At first glance, it almost looks like they overdid the garlic just a bit too much; garlic slices tossed through the pasta and minced garlic on top of the fish? Yeap, that’s quite a bit! Other than that, the fish was cooked well, still moist on the inside, but again nothing quite special.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (OLIVE OIL): VONGOLE
HOUSE SPECIALS (OLIVE OIL): VONGOLE
Clam in olive oil with garlic (₱230.00)

This was the dish thAT I had, and at first I didn’t want to order this dish because I can make a good vongole myself; but nothing else in the menu stood out to me. Vongole for roughly AUS$6.00? That’s value for money there as the dish had a generous amount of baby clams! Taste was good, but again nothing too special for me.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (TOMATO BASED): SHRIMP POMODORO
HOUSE SPECIALS (TOMATO BASED): SHRIMP POMODORO
Pieces of shrimp with pomodoro sauce (₱230.00)

This dish I only got to taste a bit of, and I can’t remember what it tasted like so I asked my sister. She said that it was a bit salty for her liking (she finds everything she eats salty anyway so it’s hard to trust what she says), and that she didn’t like the biscotti because it was too thick for her liking (I liked it).

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (CREAM BASED): SIRLOIN FETTUCCINE
HOUSE SPECIALS (CREAM BASED): SIRLOIN FETTUCCINE
Strips of sirloin in fettuccine sauce (₱210.00)

I ordered this dish for my other sister because I’ve never heard of sirloin fettuccine before. I imagined a nice char-grilled sirloin steak, striped and tossed through a classic fettuccine in creamy white sauce – but no, it looked like boiled(?) strips of sirloin garnished on top of an ordinary plate of fettuccine.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (BABY BACK RIBS): BABY BACK PORK 2PCS
HOUSE SPECIALS (BABY BACK RIBS): BABY BACK PORK 2PCS
Served with mixed vegetables and mashed potato or rice (₱200.00)

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (BABY BACK RIBS): BABY BACK BEEF 2PCS
HOUSE SPECIALS (BABY BACK RIBS): BABY BACK BEEF 2PCS
Served with mixed vegetables and mashed potato or rice (₱230.00)

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (ANGUS BEEF): MESS OF SIRLOIN
HOUSE SPECIALS (ANGUS BEEF): MESS OF SIRLOIN
Served with rice and mixed vegetables (₱200.00)

The three dishes that you just saw above I cannot comment on the taste just because my uncle and my cousins had these dishes. I saw the disappointment in my cousin’s face when his food arrived to the table – two tiny pieces of ribs for a person who could probably eat a whole rack of ribs for a meal. He had to order another rib dish to feel satisfied enough. But just by looking at the three dishes above, they don’t really look that appetising to me.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - DESSERTS: CHOCO LAVA
DESSERTS: CHOCO LAVA (₱110.00)

Probably my favourite out of the two desserts we shared – the cake was definitely molten and very rich in chocolate goodness.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - DESSERTS: RED VELVET
DESSERTS: RED VELVET (₱135.00)

I am a huge fan of red velvet; I even made this cake for my birthday last year and it’s not that I’m being cocky or anything, but mine was definitely better. This cake was a bit dry and crumbly for my liking and the taste was average. The thing that was appealing about this was the design on the plate that surrounded the cake, or as my mom referred to it “the placemat.”

Most of the pasta (and even meat dishes) portion sizes were really small; maybe I’m just used to seeing bigger portions of food having lived and dined in and about Sydney for the past 4 years. Then I look at the price and I thought, yes, it makes sense now why the portions are relatively small – think approximately $3.00-$6.00 Australian dollars on average per meal from this restaurant.

You may have also realised that I’ve said for many of the dishes above that they weren’t anything special in terms of overall flavour; I don’t want this post to appear biased and end up being a comparison between Arabela’s menu to others that I’ve had in Sydney because in my eyes, Arabela cannot compare. So I’ve asked my sisters and my mom to give a fair and honest rating for the food, and they gave an average score of 4.6 out of 10. My mom said: “[the food is] very simple, nothing special, but for local Filipino’s, it’s probably something special for them because Arabela is the only of its kind within the area.” Which is very true because from what my cousin has said, a lot of the foreigners come to dine at Arabela, and every time we’ve been, we’ve had to queue up for a table. Ambience though is a sure 8/9 out of 10; like I mentioned above I find the low-ceiling concept quite a unique dining experience. Service: 8/9 out of 10 as well. Value for money is arguable in terms that for us it is affordable, but for an average Filipino on an average/below average income, this place is probably too fancy for them.

Arabela, Camello’s Bakehaus & Coffee Shop
503 Rizal Street
Liliw, Laguna
Philippines, 4004

– Ally xx