Dragon-flamed Tuna Belly with Fiery Dragon Fruit Salsa

Dragon-flamed Tuna Belly with Fiery Dragon Fruit Salsa

Hello Everyone! I know I made it sound like I’d be gone for a while over on my IG stories last month, but I’m back feeling inspired and motivated to push through the year with fun recipes that I have been putting together during my short hiatus for Amcarmen’s Kitchen.

For the month of June I’ll be featuring one of my favourite fruits of all time – Pitaya or also known more commonly in English as Dragon Fruit, more specifically the red-fleshed variety. The name ‘Dragon Fruit’ was derived from the overall exterior aesthetic of the fruit, which has a leather-like skin and prominent scaly spikes. Pitaya (or pitahaya) is the name derived from Mexico, which refers to the name of tall cacti species with flowering fruits.

Fiery Dragon Fruit Salsa

Dragon Fruits grow on long, thin, and vining cactuses (yes, this is also a valid pluralisation of the word cactus). On the outside, Red Dragon Fruits look almost identical to the white-fleshed variety. The pulp of a Dragon Fruit has a texture that is similar to a kiwi, with small and black edible seeds throughout. Red Dragon Fruits are sweet, but not as sweet as the white-flesh variety, and has a mild acidity to it. In addition, these fruits pack a lot of nutrients that are beneficial for our health. They are low in calories and are a good source of iron, magnesium, and vitamins C & E. Dragon Fruits also contain prebiotics, which helps promote the growth of healthy bacteria and potentially improve the balance of them in your gut.

Dragon-flamed Tuna Belly with Fiery Dragon Fruit Salsa

Tonight, I’ll be whipping up an easy one for y’all. The recipe title may sound intimidating, but it’s really all “just for fancy show” to draw creative links between the fruit itself, and Dragons. Read below for further details on coming up with the name for this dish. This salsa recipe can be modified based on the availability of seasonal ingredients and what you have readily available in your pantry. So feel free to get creative here! You may also substitute the dragon fruit for kiwi, mango, nectarines, or peaches. Just make sure to use a firm and barely ripe fruit so that it will hold its shape in the salsa.

Fiery Dragon Fruit Salsa Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 kg fresh tuna belly slab, washed and pat-dried
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season

For the salsa

  • 1 small dragon fruit, diced*
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli, seeds in and minced
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Handful of finely chopped basil leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

*The grocer that I bought them from only had gigantic dragon fruits, where the one I bought and pictured for this recipe was about 800g! In this case, I only used half of the fruit for the recipe.

METHOD

Breaking down a dragon fruit may look intimidating, but it really is quite simple.

  1. Fiery Dragon Fruit Salsa: Slice the fruit in half lengthwise and spoon around the outer edge of the fruit to scoop out the flesh. Dice and place in a medium-sized mixing bowl together with the minced onion, chillies, basil leaves, vinegar, and olive oil. Stir to combine and season to taste. Set aside in the fridge for the flavours to infuse and chill.
  2. Dragon-flamed Tuna Belly: Rub the tuna belly with olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Dracarys.

If you don’t understand step #3, then skip ahead to step #4 (also, this means we can’t be friends… Just kidding! *cheeky grin*)

  1. Flame-grill on lightly greased grates over hot coals for about 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Feel free to adjust grilling time depending on how you like your tuna to be cooked.
  2. Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving plate. Serve hot with the Dragon Fruit Salsa and a salad for a complete meal. Enjoy!

Dragon-flamed Tuna Belly with Fiery Dragon Fruit Salsa

Just before I wrap things up with tonight’s post, I just wanted to mention that the featured recipe is actually a mash-up of ideas between a friend and myself. I already had the choice of fruit in mind that I wanted to work with for the month and what to make of it to pair with a beautiful slab of tuna belly. He suggested that I cut the fruit in half, scoop out its flesh, chop it up, and serve it in its skin/casing. I mentioned that I already had the idea to make a fiery (spicy) Dragon Fruit Salsa to go with the tuna belly, to which I said I could take his idea of serving the salsa in the dragon fruit skin. In the end I put that idea aside just because there wasn’t much contrast with the colours of the salsa and the dragon fruit skin. Nonetheless, I’ll keep this idea for another dish!

In addition, while exchanging ideas, I mentioned that I thought of grilling the tuna belly, to which he suggested to play with the idea of ‘dragon’ in the name of the dish and hence Dragon-flamed Tuna Belly. It is still essentially flame-grilled tuna belly but Dragon-flamed sounded way more cool.

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

Capellini al Pesto e Gamberi

Capellini al Pesto e Gamberi

Capellini al Pesto e Gamberi

Hello Everyone! I’ll keep this short and simple as I don’t have much to say either. So out of all the pasta dishes that I have whipped up in the kitchen over the years, there has been one recipe that I hadn’t attempted to make myself from scratch – and that recipe is for homemade pesto sauce. I’m actually not a pesto person, and it’s not that I don’t have anything against it, it’s just that I prefer cream-based or aglio e olio-based pastas. However, that didn’t stop me from trying to make my own pesto sauce at home!

Last weekend, I went grocery shopping with my family. We scattered all around the grocers and I found myself at the fresh herbs section, and to my dismay, they did not have any fresh basil leaves *sad face* at first I was trying to come up with another pasta dish to make – thinking about what I had at home and what I could whip up easily as well. Then I decided to quickly look up on possible substitutes for basil leaves, and I was slightly relieved that I could use other greens such as cilantro or parsley for my pesto. In my opinion, I don’t think they flavours of using either was as strong as using basil, but it was satisfactory.

There are other ingredients that you can use to make different types of pesto, and you can find it here on Oh My Veggies. I’m keen to try out the sun-dried tomato and beet pesto another time!

Capellini al Pesto e Gamberi Ingredients

Capellini al Pesto e Gamberi Ingredients

PREP TIME 10-15 MINS | COOKING TIME 5 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

For the pesto

  • 1 bunch parsley, rough chopped (about 2 & 1/2 cups)
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Ground salt and black pepper to taste
  • 500g angel hair pasta (or any other shaped pasta)
  • 500g fresh prawns, heads removed, peeled and deveined

METHOD

  1. For the pesto: Preheat oven to about Add all the ingredients to a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  2. For the prawns: Heat a large frying pan on high until it is very hot. Add a little bit of melted butter or oil to the pan and swirl it around the base. Add the prawns and cook for about 2-3 minutes (1 to 1 & 1/2 minutes per side) or until they change colour to pink. Prawns cook very quickly. If you leave them on the heat for too long they will be tough and unpalatable. When they are cooked, remove them and drain them on absorbent paper before serving.
  3. For the pasta: While the prawns are cooking, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the angel hair pasta according to packet instructions – they usually take only 2 minutes to cook.
  4. Once the pasta is done, turn the heat off, drain and return the angel hair pasta to the pot. Add the pesto and stir until the pasta is well coated.
  5. Divide the pasta into 5 equal portions and top each plate with the pan-fried prawns, a bit of crushed cashews, and some parmesan cheese. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Capellini al Pesto e Gamberi

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Honey-Roasted Chicken

Honey-Roasted Chicken

Honey-Roasted Chicken

Hello Everyone! Before I begin with this post, I just want to say that I just realised that two Sunday’s ago was quite possibly the last Sunday that I had off and I probably won’t see another relaxed Sunday at home until the beginning of June. Yes, you read that right! Last Sunday I got up at the wee hours of 3:55am to get ready for work. WORK! Last Sunday we kicked off our month-long sporting event with a 2km and 10km Run that started at around 7am. Our team had to be there by 5am to help set up, prepare, and do a lot more things in order to ensure a smooth event. I was also event photographer that morning so I was constantly moving here and there for a good 5 hours. Though it wasn’t a whole day/night event, it was still tiring – I mean, getting up at 4 in the morning is tiring enough especially when I couldn’t sleep well the few hours before. Anyway, so this Friday will be another opening ceremony, this time for Badminton, and then on Sunday again for Basketball.

Besides my 7-day working months from now until June, I’m thrilled to say that my blog will be turning 2 years old on Saturday! I’ll be posting a recipe up on that day to celebrate 2 years of not giving up on this blog – which I believe is a first! I’ve started up many blogs before (but mainly diary-style) and so far I’ve been able to keep up with this one! I won’t say anymore and save the rest of my tangents for Saturday’s post. Anyway, it’s week 2 of delicious yummy roast chicken and I’ve got a classic recipe to share with you. To be honest, whenI first came across this recipe, I found it weird how it had a hint of ground cinnamon and turmeric in it which in my opinion dominated the honey flavour just a bit. I’ll admit that I much preferred the taste of last week’s roast, but this one is alright too. You can eat it with a whole load of roast veggies and fresh greens, or steamed rice. Don’t forget to check out the original recipe over on SBS.

Honey-Roasted Chicken Ingredients

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

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 2kg whole chicken, washed and cleaned thoroughly
  • 8 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp ground tumeric
  • Thumb-sized ginger, minced
  • Butter, for basting
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Assorted veggies, for roasting
  • Cooking twine

METHOD

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

Honey-Roasted Chicken

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Chilli, Paprika, Tarragon, & Worcestershire Roast Chicken

Chilli, Paprika, Tarragon, & Worcestershire Roast Chicken

Chilli, Paprika, Tarragon, & Worcestershire Roast Chicken

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

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

Chilli, Paprika, Tarragon, & Worcestershire Roast Chicken Ingredients

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

Chilli, Paprika, Tarragon, & Worcestershire Roast Chicken Ingredients

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

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

INGREDIENTS

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

METHOD

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

Chilli, Paprika, Tarragon, & Worcestershire Roast Chicken

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Salade Niçoise du Saumon Fumé

Salade Niçoise du Saumon Fumé

Hello Everyone! Man am I completely beat! Straight after work, I headed to the gym with my sister and my colleague Audry for an intense 2-hour Body Combat Session called “Combat Cancer” in conjunction with World Cancer Day. I can feel my leg muscles getting sore so I probably won’t be able to walk properly tomorrow morning. Also, can I just say that I have never sweated and smelled so much after that session. In addition, I completely forgot to bring makeup remover so I imagined eyeliner running down my face from the sweat. To my surprise, my makeup was still on point! Anyway, that aside, I’m glad that I had the time to write this post yesterday afternoon (it was a public holiday yesterday which meant no work! Most importantly, it was Brunei’s 32nd National Day).

So, it’s the last of our Healthy Eating journey for the month of February – of course the journey doesn’t completely end here as you should always be eating healthy! What I meant is that it’s the end of this theme for the blog. I will continue to share healthier recipes throughout the upcoming months in my blog, but focusing on other areas other than salads. Next month I will be sharing healthy smoothie recipes with you all; the last time I shared smoothies on my blog was back in October last year when I had Breakfast/Brunch Month on the blog. Hope y’all are excited for that!

Anyway, I came across this recipe – well more like I saw a photo of this dish on Instagram and was instantly drawn to the beautiful colours from the greens and tricolour potatoes. I scrolled down to look at what the dish was a non-traditional Niçoise Salad. I didn’t follow a particular recipe for this dish, but instead I looked at the photo and pulled out the obvious ingredients that I could see. I then search for a dressing to go with the dish and voilà – Salade Niçoise du Saumon Fumé non-traditionnel (Non-traditional Niçoise Salad with Smoked Salmon):

Salade Niçoise du Saumon Fumé

It is non-traditional because Salade Niçoise is typically composed of a salad of tomatoes, tuna (cooked or canned), hard-boiled eggs, Niçoise olives, and anchovies, dressed with a vinaigrette. It is served variously on a plate, platter, or in a bowl, with or without a bed of lettuce. The salad may include raw red peppers, shallots, artichoke hearts, and other seasonal raw vegetables, but according to many sources, excludes cooked vegetables, such as green beans and potatoes, which are commonly served in variations of Salade Niçoise around the world. So, yes, this version of Salade Niçoise that I will be sharing tonight is definitely not a traditional one as you can tell – but it will definitely knock your socks off! I really like this salad, and the dressing/vinaigrette that I made to go with it. Hope you enjoy it too! Feel free to add other veggies to it as you wish… You know, whatever floats your boat kind of thing 🙂

Salade Niçoise du Saumon Fumé

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 15-20 MINS | SERVES 5-6

INGREDIENTS

For the salad

  • 250g green beans, ends trimmed
  • 250g mixed salad leaves, washed and drained
  • 220g smoked salmon*
  • 100g kalamata olives, sliced
  • 3 large free range eggs, soft or hard boiled**
  • Potato varieties such as chat, sweet potatoes, and purple sweet potatoes (or a range of heirloom potatoes), peeled and cut into chunks

For the dressing

  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • Pinch of ground black pepper

*Plain smoked salmon is fine, or you ca mix it up a bit and get herbed smoked salmon or with five peppers which is the one I used for this recipe.

**Bring a small saucepan of room temperature water together with the eggs up to a boil. Once boiling, the the heat off and let it sit for five minutes is perfect for a runny yolk (or cook as long as seven minutes for a more firmly set, but still spoonable, yolk). For hard boiled eggs, cover and let it sit for 8-10 minutes off the heat.

METHOD

  1. Firstly, combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a medium-sized jar. Cover and shake well to combine the ingredients. Set aside. Tip: you can make the dressing in advance by a day or a few hours before serving to ensure that all the flavours infuse together. Keeps well in the fridge for up to a week if you have any leftovers. You can also add more olive oil and red wine vinegar throughout the week if you need more dressing.
  2. Toss the potatoes in a little bit of ground salt and black pepper. Then place in a steamer and steam for about 10-15 minutes, or until tender but still a bit firm. Once done, remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Blanch the green beans in boiling water for about 5-6 minutes. Once done, transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. This ensures that you’ll have nice and crisp green beans in your salad.
  4. Plate up accordingly and pour over the dressing. Share and enjoy with family and friends!

Salade Niçoise du Saumon Fumé

Salade Niçoise du Saumon Fumé

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Avocado, Chickpea, & Roasted Capsicum Salad

Avocado, Chickpea, & Roasted Capsicum Salad

Hello Everyone! I hope everyone has had a relaxing CNY long weekend unlike me – well, it was relaxing as I stayed home all day on Sunday doing nothing, but it was also because I was sick over the long weekend *sad face*. I think I got sick from fatigue which resulted in a painful dry cough, a very high temperature, and muscle aches especially in my back, shoulders, and thigh regions. I’m feeling a little bit better with thanks to the long weekend as I get to rest up for 3 days after a straight 13 days of working from an average of 8am-11pm. Yes you read that right, I’m officially employed! I actually started working in late October in Brunei’s leading Advertising Agency known as D’Sunlit Sdn. Bhd. as a Graphic Designer for the Marketing Team. I was under a 3-month probation contract, and last Friday I was able to sign a permanent contract! Oh and the 13 days of straight working, that was because I was involved in an event known as the 17th Consumer Fair. I worked from Monday-Sunday two weeks ago, and last week I worked Monday-Saturday (yes no rest in between for working on that Sunday). So I guess that’s where my fatigue came from. I was actually already starting to feel under the weather last Thursday, but it only came into full effect on Saturday morning. I guess it didn’t quite help as well that I was surrounded by sick colleagues, and a sick mom and sister at home too. My sister got sick first, then me, and lastly my mom. I today in the office, I learnt that I may have made a few other colleagues sick too. How am I ever going to recover?!

Anyway, let’s move on to the recipe shall we? It’s week two of healthy eating, and I’ve got a yummy salad for you that you can pair up with any kind of meat be it beef, chicken, or lamb – whatever tickles your fancy that is! If you’re like me, and you can’t go without meat in your diet, then whip up your favourite roast chicken to go with your salad – we roasted some whole chicken legs with my Mom’s secret and special BBQ marinade. Otherwise, you can keep the dish vegetarian or vegan friendly. We all know that avocados are loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids known as oleic acid. Oleic acid has been linked to reduced inflammation and has been shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer. Not only does it contain this fatty acid, it also contains minerals and vitamins such as: fibre, folate, potassium, and vitamins B5,B6, C, E, and K.

Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, belong to the legume family, which includes a variety of beans, peanuts, soybeans and lentils. Opting for legumes over foods high in saturated fat might lower your risk of heart disease. Chickpeas also offer specific health benefits, and consuming them regularly boosts your intake of a few key nutrients such as: protein, fibre, manganese, and folate. The mineral manganese helps support bone development and wound healing and also helps carry out chemical reactions important to your metabolism. Folate, or vitamin B-9, aids in new cell growth and brain cell communication and protects against genetic mutations that contribute to cancer development.

Avocado, Chickpea, & Roasted Capsicum Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 5-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
  • 2 brown onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1 can (400g) chickpeas in water, drained
  • 1 packet (250g) mixed salad greens
  • 1 packet (150g) semi-dried tomatoes, halved, oil reserved
  • 1 yellow capsicum
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Olive Oil

METHOD

  1. Rub the yellow capsicum with a little bit of oil and place directly on open flame of gas stove. Rotate occasionally so that the capsicum blisters and chars on all sides. Once done, set aside to cool down. Peel the skin off and cut into strips once it has cooled down enough to handle. Add to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Blanch the chickpeas in boiling water for about 5 minutes. Drain and add to the large mixing bowl together with the roast capsicum strips.
  3. Heat olive oil in a small frying pan over medium-high. Add the onions and cook until soft and caramelised. Once done, transfer to the large mixing bowl.
  4. Add the semi-dried tomatoes together with its herbed oil, mixed salad greens, and balsamic vinegar. Season with a touch of ground salt and black pepper and give it a good toss until well coated. Transfer to a serving dish and top with the sliced avocados.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Avocado, Chickpea, & Roasted Capsicum Salad

Avocado, Chickpea, & Roasted Capsicum Salad with Roast BBQ Chicken

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Oliving by Hans

Oliving by Hans products are a uniquely delicious combination of the finest meat and olive oil, but also offer guaranteed quality and low fat content. The message that they want to push through on social media is the idea that their products are made with olive oil and less saturated fat than traditional smallgoods, making them a healthier choice to ones diet. My designs have been approved and went live on various social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Oliving by Hans Context


Examples of graphic works that I have created for Facebook and Instagram:
(Click on the images to see an enlarged version of the graphics)

Oliving by Hans: Mozzarella Pizza Oliving by Hans: Bacon High-5 Oliving by Hans: Don't Go Bacon My Heart Oliving by Hans: Happy Australia Day
Oliving by Hans: Party Platter Oliving by Hans: Twiggy Sticks Oliving by Hans: Find Us in the Deli Oliving by Hans: The Hans Revolution Run

Oliving by Hans: Kabana & The Benefits of Olive Oil

Examples of graphic works that I have created for Pinterest:
(Click on the images to see an enlarged version of the graphics)

Oliving by Hans: Kids Pizza Oliving by Hans: Smoked Ham Sandwich Oliving by Hans: Mediterranean Parcels
Oliving by Hans: Roasted Asparagus Oliving by Hans: Mozzarella Pizza Oliving by Hans: Spaghetti Turkey

– Ally xx

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