Auguest 2020: Melissa Delos Reyes

Crispy Orange Tofu with Broccoli

“Creating food is a therapeutic process. It’s a way for me to unwind and slow down in this fast-paced world. To see my family & friends enjoy what I create is worth all the effort.” — Melissa Delos Reyes

Auguest 2020: Melissa Delos Reyes

Ola! I’m Melissa or Mel, the smol lady behind Eats Meru on Facebook and Instagram. I am a social media associate by profession and I freelance in photography and graphic design. Ever since I was young, I’ve always enjoyed cooking, experimenting with food, and following recipes!

I created Eats Meru pre-pandemic to share my food adventures at first. Everything changed when the Covid-19 virus struck. No one was prepared. Businesses were greatly affected, especially the small/start-up local brands. Since then, I’ve converted my goal for Eats Meru as a platform where I can help local MSMEs to share their products especially now that everyone is doing their best to make a living.

For this post in the Auguest series, I chose the color orange. I’ll be sharing a healthy and plant-based version of the famous Orange Chicken that uses tofu as the protein of the dish; it’s sticky, orange-y, tangy, crispy, and tasty too! You can easily make this dish as most of the ingredients can be found in your fridge and pantry. It is also perfect for those busy weeknights as it comes together in 20 minutes.

Crispy Orange Tofu with Broccoli Ingredients



For the crispy tofu

  • 2 packs firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch size cubes
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp rice flour
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

For the orange sauce

  • 1 cup fresh orange juice (about 3 medium-sized oranges)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp white or rice vinegar
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp cornstarch (2 tbsp for a thicker sauce)
  • 1 tsp chilli, minced
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 inch ginger, minced (or 1 tbsp grated)
  • Spring onion (for garnishing)
  • Blanched broccoli


  1. Crispy Tofu: In a large bowl, combine the cornstarch, rice flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well and coat the tofu in the cornstarch mixture.
  2. In a deep, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the vegetable oil (enough to cover the tofu) over medium-high. Carefully drop the coated cubed tofu in the oil and fry until slightly golden brown. Do not overcrowd the pot; work in batches if needed.
  3. Once done, use a slotted spoon to remove the tofu and transfer to a wire rack or strainer to cool down.
  4. Orange Sauce: Combine all the ingredients for the orange sauce, except water and cornstarch in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook and bring to a boil.
  5. Mix the cornstarch in the water together to create a slurry and gradually stir it into the simmering sauce. Cook until the sauce thickens, stirring well for even thickening. Taste for salt, sweetness, flavour, etc. and adjust as you go.
  6. Turn the heat off and add the crispy tofu. Toss to evenly coat them with the sauce. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the spring onions. Serve immediately while hot, with rice and blanched broccoli (or any of your favorite greens for that matter). Enjoy!

This Crispy Orange Tofu can be modified for an even healthier option. For this recipe, the tofu is deep-fried in oil, but if you prefer, and have a bit more time on your hands, you can bake the tofu instead. Additionally, you can consider serving it with some cauliflower rice and other greens of your choice.

Crispy Orange Tofu with Broccoli

Crispy Orange Tofu with Broccoli

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2020 | Melissa Delos Reyes (@eatsmeru)


– Melissa Delos Reyes

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon

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

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

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon

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

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

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon Ingredients



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

To serve

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


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

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon


– Ally xx

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

… on a bed of Pistachio Crumble with a Quenelle of Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream drizzled with a Red Wine & Orange Reduction *drools*

Hello Everyone! I’m really bad at this, and I sincerely apologise. I know I said that I would get back on track with Amcarmen’s Kitchen until the end of the year but once again I have fallen slack and behind for God knows how many weeks now. The truth is that I have been super busy towards the end of last month and into early November with a hectic and stressful event that definitely took a toll on my high blood pressure for sure. Though the past 2 weeks have been quiet, I spent most of it recovering and relaxing from that hell of an event.  I worked at least 15 hours a day from 8am until almost midnight on most nights. I’m just glad that it’s all over… For now.

But anyway, the recipe that I will be sharing tonight is one that I actually made waaaaaay back somewhere in June when I was left home alone (my mom and my sister flew out to Singapore to visit my other sister), during a long weekend too, and I had no plans of stepping out of the house unless I had to *cheeky grin*. So why didn’t I upload the recipe for this back then? Simple – it didn’t comply with the theme I had set out to accomplish for this year on Amcarmen’s Kitchen. So then why now? It’s still 2017. Stop asking so many questions! Haha! I amuse myself sometimes. Well, this is actually part of a special recipe that I will be posting (hopefully) next week, which will also most likely be the last recipe for the year unfortunately. I’m going to use the rest of my time before the year ends to plan and prepare recipes for the upcoming year. I already have a theme in mind to tackle for the whole year and I’m already excited for it!

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

Moving on, sorry that introduction went on way longer that I thought it would (as always though right?). If I can recall, I decided that I wanted to practice my dessert-making skills, you know to a MasterChef quality level worthy of a place in the competition ONE DAY. I have to say that I’m quite impressed with how this dessert played out in my head, to paper, and to the actual deal. The pears were soft on the outside, but still had a nice bite and a bit of crunch to it on the inside; beautifully spiced and contrasted well to the mild sweetness of the vanilla bean ice cream. And everyone loves pistachios, or at least I hope they do so throw that onto the plate for another added texture to the overall dessert dish.

You may want to get a head start on the ice cream so that it’ll have time to set in the freezer. You can either make it the day before, or early in the morning so that it’s ready for dessert time after a hearty dinner.

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears Ingredients


*Includes the minimum freeze time for the no churn vanilla bean ice cream; see below for the freeze time range


For the spiced red wine poached pears

  • 6 large pears, peeled and keeping the stems intact**
  • 1 bottle (750ml) red wine
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 10 cloves
  • 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • Juice and zest of 1 orange

For the no churn vanilla bean ice cream

  • 2 cups thickened cream
  • 1 can (300g) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 vanilla bean pod
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

For the pistachio crumble

  • 1/2 cup roasted and salted pistachios
  • 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

**Make sure that you use fairly large pears for this recipe. I found that using smaller pears overcook easily as they need a while to absorb that beautiful red wine colour as well as the flavours.


  1. No Churn Vanilla Bean Ice Cream: Using a mixer, beat the thickened cream on medium speed until heavy peaks start to form. Add the can of sweetened condensed milk and beat further. Be careful as to not over whip the mixture. Add the vanilla beans into the mixture along with the pure vanilla extract and gently stir it into the ice cream mixture. Place the ice cream mixture into a container and freeze for a minimum of 4 to 6 hours or overnight.
  2. Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears: Add all the ingredients for the poached pears into a large pot or any that’s a suitable size. Cut out a piece of parchment paper and place it directly on the pears so they remain submerged in the liquid, or alternatively you could also use a small plate.
  3. Bring the wine mixture to boil and then turn it down to a simmer and cook until the pears are soft on the outside are still a little crisp in the middle instead of soft all the way through (about 25 minutes); cooking time will however depend on the size of the pears. For softer pears, cook for a further 10 minutes.
  4. Once the pears are cooked through, use a slotted spoon remove the pears and set aside to cool. Keep cooking the liquid until it reduces to a syrup. Then, strain the wine reduction and discard the spices and zest. If you find the sauce too sweet, add some lemon juice to it to cut through some of that sweetness.
  5. Pistachio Crumble: Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4) and line a rimmed baking tray with parchment paper. Process the pistachios in a food processor until roughly chopped. Add the flour, sugar, and salt; processing further just until combined. Add the unsalted butter, and continue processing until the mixture is thoroughly combined and forms pea-size crumbs.
  6. Spread the pistachio crumble mixture on the prepared baking tray. Press gently with damp hands, flattening the crumble to about 1/2 inch thick and bake in the preheated oven until the crumble starts to brown at the edges, about 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven, and, using a flat spatula to lightly crumble the mixture. Return to oven, and bake until the crumble is golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes further. Once done, transfer to a wire rack, and set aside to cool on the baking tray completely, about 20 minutes, before roughly crumbling.
  8. Assemble your dessert by spreading the crumble onto the middle of each individual serving plates. Place one pear on top of the crumble and drizzle with the orange and wine reduction syrup. Quenelle the vanilla bean ice cream and place atop the crumble on the side of the pear.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears


Ps: speaking of desserts – this is completely unrelated by the way, but I just thought I’d share this because it’s hilarious! A week ago or so, my friend asked a question on our whatsapp group chat and the question was: if you were a dessert, what would you be? Without hesitation, my other friend quickly replied “cactus” and to her hasty realisation, she retracted and said “oh I thought you meant desert” and everyone went spiralling down into a pit of undignified laughters – well I couldn’t stop laughing out loud and looking like an insane freak in front of my colleagues at work during that time. God bless her.

– Ally xx

Honey Lime Rainbow Fruit & Quinoa Salad

Honey Lime Rainbow Fruit & Quinoa Salad

Hello Everyone! I can’t believe the month is going by in the blink of an eye! It’s already the third week of Cooking with Quinoa and I’ve got another colourful recipe to share with y’all. I’ll keep tonight’s post short as I’ve got nothing much to tell really – other than the fact that it was a slow day at work today, and has been for the second half of last week up until today. Tomorrow may be another slow day and I guess it will be like this for a while until another event creeps up on me. Even though there’s not much to do, I’m still slowly preparing the things that I need to deliver for January’s event so that I won’t find myself stressing out and doing things last minute a month before the event. At least I can enjoy my Christmas and New Years when it comes.

All that aside, if you’re obsessed with fresh fruit, then this is a dish you’d want to whip up as an easy pre and/or post workout meal. This salad is also very versatile in a sense that you can easily mix and match fruit combinations depending on what you like and what fruits are in season. The original recipe can be found over on The Recipe Critic: Tried and True.

Honey Lime Rainbow Fruit & Quinoa Salad Ingredients



For the salad

  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup tri-colour quinoa, uncooked
  • 1 large orange, peeled and segmented
  • 1 punnet (125g) blueberries
  • 1 punnet (125g) strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1/2 pineapple, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks

For the honey lime glaze

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice


  1. Rinse the quinoa before combining it with 2 cups of room temperature water in a medium-sized pot. Turn the heat up to high and bring the quinoa to a boil. Once boiling, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and then set aside to cool. Note: Quinoa holds lots of water, so you have to make sure you drain it thoroughly after it’s cooked.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the honey and lime juice in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Add all the fruits into a large mixing bowl together with the cooked and cool quinoa. Mix until well combined.
  4. Transfer to a serving dish with the spinach leaves and then drizzled with the honey lime glaze. Serve as a healthy morning or afternoon snack, pre or post gym workout. Enjoy!

Honey Lime Rainbow Fruit & Quinoa Salad

Honey Lime Rainbow Fruit & Quinoa Salad


– Ally xx

Auguest 2016: Wong Miao Hui

Raw Nutty Orange & Blueberry Vegan ‘Cheesecake’

The perfect vegan dessert for your next dinner party.

Hey there! My name is Miao, pronounced “Meow” and I am currently located in Singapore. I’ve known the lovely Allison for a good 12 years now, perhaps for even longer! We attended the same high school back in Brunei. A few years went by before we recently got in contact again, and this time we had more in common than ever before­ – the both of us had branched from loving food, to loving to cook food during our years of studying abroad. Our enthusiasm was shared over social media and it was agreed that we had to, had to, collaborate in hosting a dinner party the very next time we stood on common soil.

Dinner parties are great! They indulge our senses through so many different factors; from the atmospheric music playing in the background, the vibrant and dramatic display of what’s being served, to the tantalising aroma of something sizzling, something roasted, something seasoned in the air. In every way, a dinner party is an experience of art, as a guest you are inclined to explore the texture of your dish and savour the flavours, forming an opinion that’ll later be added to the table’s conversation. For people who love to cook, a dinner party is an exciting show to curate.

I’ve hosted a few dinner parties since the start of my time in Singapore, and every time it’s been the perfect way to rekindle old friendships, create new memories, and to sprout conversations between acquaintances. Well what’s a dinner party without its guests? Allison and I rounded up a few other pals from our high-school days along with a few foodies I’ve grown to love in Singapore.

One seat at the table was reserved for our vegan friend, adding a little variety to the collective diet. Accommodating to a vegan was completely new to me, the savoury vegan recipes weren’t all that hard to comprehend, but because I specialise in baking cakes, deciding what to create for dessert took a little more time for consideration. We made an array of dishes for the mains, including both vegan approved recipes and recipes with meat, while trying as much as possible to have everyone enjoy similar flavours. The dessert was to mark the finale of the show, and it only seemed appropriate to have everyone leave with the same experience and same lingering flavour in their mouth.

Well, after some time browsing through recipes online, I realised just how darn easy vegan desserts are to make! And they can still be just as rich and indulgent as desserts with animal products – like the vegan ‘cheesecake’ I’m about to introduce. Now I sit here still thinking how I wasn’t introduced to vegan desserts any earlier; they’re healthier, somewhat more refreshing and require less cleaning up. So without further ado, here is the perfect dessert recipe for your next dinner party with or without your vegan buddies.

Raw Nutty Orange & Blueberry Vegan 'Cheesecake'



For the nutty crust 

  • 2 cups raw nuts
  • 1/2 cup medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • Pinch of salt

For the orange ‘cheesecake’

  • 3 cups cashews
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup agave or maple syrup
  • Orange zest from all the juiced oranges
  • Pinch of salt

For the blueberry layer

  • 2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup of the orange ‘cheesecake’ mixture


  1. To make the crust: Process all ingredients for the crust in a food processor, until the nuts become crumbs and the mixture sticks together when you press it. Press into the bottom of an 8 inch spring-form pan to form the first layer of your cake. Leave in the fridge to chill.
  2. To make the orange cheesecake layer: Excluding the orange zest, blend all other ingredients in your blender at high-speed until very smooth, then with a spoon add in the orange zest to taste. Take out 1/4 cup of the mixture for the blueberry layer, pour the remaining mixture onto the chilled crust and then leave it in the freezer.
  3. To make the blueberry layer: Simply blend the blueberries and the 1/4 cup of cheesecake mixture with your food processor. Spread this evenly over your cheesecake and keep it in the freezer or fridge overnight. I prefer keeping it in the freezer as I live in a tropical climate and it only takes 15 minutes for the cake to soften for serving.
  4. You can serve the cake with blueberries or sliced oranges for that additional wow factor.

Raw Nutty Orange & Blueberry Vegan 'Cheesecake'

Raw Nutty Orange & Blueberry Vegan 'Cheesecake'

Recipe Copyright © 2016 | misohui



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



  • 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


  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


– Ally xx

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

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

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

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

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


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


For the Salad

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

For the lemon & thyme roast whole chicken legs

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

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


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

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

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


– Ally xx

Cucumber, Ginger, & Orange Juice

Hello Everyone! I do apologise if last weeks post felt rushed and not planned, well it was actually – at that time, I had just returned home from a gym workout and I hadn’t even written that post yet nor did I prepare the photographs to upload that night as well. Such a great start to the New Year am I right? Anyway, I’m starting this post off right now (which is a Sunday night) and then I’ll probably be wrapping it up on Wednesday night after my gym workout once again.

So as you may or may not know already, depending if you’re a regular follower on my blog and social media pages, the theme for this month is healthy juices a.k.a. Juicy January! I thought that it’d be a nice way to kick off the New Year since a majority of the population would have made a resolution sounding like this: Workout, Get Fit, Lose Weight, Eat Clean/Healthy, etc. etc. And yes, this is me EVERY single New Years, and then three months in… What workout? Eat Clean? No way… FRIES! Let me make this clear though – no, I am not on a juice diet (detox?) whatever it’s called, I’m just exploring new ways I can enjoy fruit and vegetables combined as a post-workout refresher when I get home. I still (sometimes) eat like there’s tomorrow *cheeky grin*. Anyway, yes, it’s already 10pm on a Wednesday night, and here I am still writing this part of the post after coming home from the gym, having a banana, showered ready for bed, and then I remember that I still have this to do!

Cucumber, Ginger, & Orange Juice

This combination of Orange + Ginger + Cucumber helps improve skin texture and moisture, and reduces body heat.

Many just assume that oranges contain high levels of vitamin C which strengthens our immune responses of the body, protecting us against recurring cold and cough or any other common infections. That is basically just one of the may heath benefits of a single medium-sized orange. For example, oranges also help prevent the ageing of our skin which is from the vitamin A present in oranges that help keep the skin membranes healthy. It also contains a powerful antioxidant known as beta-carotene, which protects the cells from being damaged. Other vitamins and minerals that can be found is oranges include: vitamin B1, calcium, copper, fibre, potassium, and much more.

“…there’s reason to eat cucumbers all year long. With vitamin K, B vitamins, copper, potassium, vitamin C, and manganese, cucumbers can help you to avoid nutrient deficiencies that are widespread among those eating a typical American diet.” — Dr. Mercola

There are many proven health benefits of ginger, but in a nutshell, ginger has a long history of use for relieving digestive problems such as nausea, loss of appetite, motion sickness and pain. What I do find quite relevant though (since I am getting back into a regular exercise regime), is that ginger has been shown to be effective against exercise-induced muscle pain. Ginger does not have an immediate impact, but may be effective at reducing the day-to-day progression of muscle pain.



  • 1 large orange, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and cut into thirds
  • Small thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled


  1. Finely rate the ginger and extract it’s juices by squeezing it, about a quarter teaspoon should do. Add to a tall glass.
  2. Juice the other two ingredients using an electric juicer. Pour into the tall glass and add ice if you want your juice cold.Serve and enjoy, especially on a hot tropical afternoon for a nice refresher or for a post-workout drink.

Cucumber, Ginger, & Orange Juice


– Ally xx


In Asia Restaurant & Bar

Hello Everyone and welcome back to an all new Review Sunday! I think I will keep the introduction short today just because you’re about to dive into a 2200 word review below and I’m already tired of typing and spinning words out of my brain at this hour of the night. Seriously though, if university essays were this easy to write in less than 4 hours, I’d never hate writing essays (most probably)…

About three months or so, I actually don’t remember, I attended a talk organised by General Assembly on the Business of Food Blogging. It was there that I met Brendon D’Souza from brendonthesmilingchef, and he was indeed a happy smiling chap. Last week he invited me and a few other bloggers for an Instagram Meet Up at In Asia Restaurant and Bar in North Strathfield. He told an interesting story about how he came to know about this restaurant; basically he and his family were driving along looking for a place to hold his graduation dinner. They came across In Asia and I think he pretty much fell in love with the food here and even said that the Popular Popcorn Parfait dessert sold it for him. He met the owner of the restaurant and talked about organising a food blogger’s event to basically build up a social media presence of the restaurant. I’m really glad that Brendon organised this event because it was definitely a great experience for not just me, but for everyone else who was a part of the night. I met a lot of other food bloggers, and shared a few laughs over the night as we all started getting a bit tipsy from the drinks.

Let’s get straight into their menu and what I thought of their awesome dishes:

Vodka, fresh strawberries and limes, with candy floss ($16.00)

I remember seeing one of the blogger’s ordering this drink across the other table. Rachael and Angela, who were seated in front of me, bolted over to take a picture of this very photogenic drink that looked like a fluffy unicorn. I wasn’t bothered to get up, only because I was sitting on the inside of the booth(?), not sure what kind of seating it was, but it meant that I had to ask people to get up for me, slide over, and then get out. When the girls returned, we decided to all order a cocktail each and share so that we could get a taste of what In Asia had to offer. I really liked this drink, mainly for the fairy floss and vodka combination, but you can’t really go wrong with strawberry and lime.

Baileys, Frangelico, Kahlua, cream, chocolate syrup, and Toblerone shavings ($16.00)

This was something that I’ve not actually seen before elsewhere, but then again, I’ve only been to how many bars in my life? Yeah, not a lot. Anyway, this was by far my favourite cocktail of the night; alcohol and chocolate? Don’t mind if I do! I’m not a heavy drinker myself, but I’d definitely have 2 or 3 more glasses of this. For me, I couldn’t really taste the alcohol, but that’s okay because it tasted more like a chocolate drink to me, and I like that!

Bacardi, Soho Lychee Liqueur, fresh lychees, and lime ($16.00)

I am currently obsessing over lychees so this drink was also a favourite of mine that night. Loved the sweetness of the lychee paired with a tangy lime. I very much enjoyed this drink and would definitely come back for more of this… And the two above as well *cheeky grin*

with chilli purée and lime sauce, fresh pear ($15.00)

I love love love love LOVE scollops. Have I told you how much I really love scollops? Well, as you can tell for my love of scollops, it is without a doubt that this was my favourite entrée of the night. The scollops were cooked perfectly and surprised me with that great kick of heat. I say surprised because I wasn’t expecting it to be that big of a kick to my mouth. I found it quite spicy to my liking at first, but loved it as I had more of it. The pear was a nice touch of freshness to the dish as well.

with pickled papaya, fennel, cashew nuts, and crispy pork crackling ($15.00)

I honestly cannot remember what my tastebuds were going through when I had this dish. I mean, it was not a bad dish, but I feel like I didn’t have an overwhelming reaction towards the dish like I did with the other entrée dishes. The calamari was cooked well, and the salad was dressed nicely too. I like how they’ve added the crispy pork crackling in the dish for that added crispy element, but they were all gone before I could get any onto my plate (yes, most of the bloggers who I shared the dish with picked most of the crackling out)!

with roast coconut, crushed peanuts, ginger, chilli, lime, and caramel sauce: 2 pieces ($12.00)

As soon as this dish hit the tables, I was flabbergasted by its presentation. Loved the shot glasses. Moreover, I was impressed with the flavour combinations in such a little piece of betal leaf wrap. You’ve got the roast coconut, crushed peanuts, together with the ginger and caramel sauce I presume, that is topped with the tender, melt in the mouth poached prawn topped with roe and a tangy hit with a thinly sliced piece of lime, all wrapped in a peppery betal leaf that gave a nice fresh crunch to everything. It was a bit of a guessing game on how many bites you should take with this; it feels a bit big for one bite, but not big enough for two if you get what I mean. I tried two bites, but then you’re left with just the coconut and peanuts at the bottom without the prawn for your second bite. So I just went for it in one bite for my second serve. I find it quite expensive though because that means that one betal leaf wrap if $6.00; it’s quite a spectacular dish, but I don’t know if I’d pay that much for it.

with wasabi mayo and sweet chilli sauce

I had a look back at their main menu and didn’t see this dish so I can’t say how much it’d cost you to order this. There’s nothing much I can comment on this only just because it’s salt and pepper calamari; I mean you can practically get it anywhere you go. Nothing special, but I did like the tender calamari, however not a big fan of wasabi myself.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - SALAD: TEA SMOKED DUCK BREAST
with roasted rice, chilli, lemongrass, Vietnamese mint, and tamarind dressing ($22.00)

I felt like it’s quite similar to a Thai dish known as Nam Tok in terms of flavour, but anyway this was a very innovative dish and the flavours were a nice accompaniment to the duck. I actually wouldn’t have been able to tell that the duck was tea-smoked, but nonetheless, the duck was delicious and I wanted more!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - STIR FRY: WAGYU BEEF
with asparagus, shallots, and onion with hoisin sauce ($28.00)

Again, this was nothing special for me because I know how to make a mean beef stir-fry myself. I mean, it’s a good, simple, and humble dish, but nothing really as innovative as what I’ve already covered from this point on their menu.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - MAIN: CRISPY SKIN SALMON
with IN ASIA’s spiced Kumara mash, cashew nuts, sweet potato chips ($27.00)

I wasn’t a fan of this dish for several reasons: firstly, I thought that it was a curry-based dish because of the ‘sauce’ and then I was surprised when I re-read the menu again at it was actually kumara mash. In my opinion, it was a bit thin for a mash. I like my mash creamy no doubt, but this felt like it took creamy to a whole other level. Secondly, though the salmon lived up to its crispy skin, it was however overcooked to my liking; it was a bit dry on the inside for me. The only thing I liked on this dish was probably the sweet potato chips. Sorry!

with tamarind sauce, pumpkin mash, and navel orange

This I liked better than the salmon dish, and I loved the pairing of the duck with the navel oranges. Though the skin wasn’t as crispy as I thought it would be, it was still a very good dish, and that’s also mainly because I love duck no matter how it’s cooked (just not overcooked of course). You may have noticed as well that there is no price – same what I mentioned above for another dish, I couldn’t find it on their actual menu so sorry to say I can’t make out how much this dish would cost if you want to order this dish.

with grilled pear, black sesame, pickled radish, and ginger ($28.00)

This dish wasn’t actually on the pre-planned menu that the restaurant had for us. One of the girls, as she called herself, “that annoying person who just doesn’t like seafood”, ordered this off the menu as the owner of In Asia suggested that she did as he felt bad for having pretty much a seafood-heavy planned menu for the night. I am actually glad that she got to order off their menu and shared a little bit of her food with everyone else because this was a really REALLY lovely dish. The wagyu beef was cooked perfectly and was very tender. The grilled pear, I mean, where do I even begin with this pear? It was so good and paired so well with the beef. It was a match made it heaven.

with crispy panko egg and sweet tamarind sauce ($23.00)

This was another dish that was ordered off the menu, and yet another great dish that made me happy that she doesn’t like seafood. This was actually my favourite main dish of the night. The pork belly was crispy and sweet, and that panko egg was just lovely. I honestly wanted more of this dish, but since we were only sharing, it made me sad that I could not have more that night. I would definitely recommend this dish if you’re ever thinking of dining here. It is a must! I would definitely go again if it weren’t so far from where I live!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - DESSERT: MONKEY SNICKER
with banana pudding, passionfruit curd, pandan foam, pandan granita, shredded coconut, and coconut ice cream ($12.00)

Finally on to dessert! This was probably not one of the best desserts of the night just because I didn’t enjoy it as much as the other dessert that you’ll see below, both in terms of presentation and flavour. This didn’t really wow me that much I’m sorry to say!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - DESSERT: MRS B'S FIRST KISS
with organic banana lightly battered in shredded coconut and fried, palm sugar caramel, tapioca sauce, and rice puffs, served with passionfruit sorbet ($14.00)

I apologise in advance because I cannot comment on the flavour of this dish, and I will tell you why. So when the desserts arrived at the table, everyone went nuts for this dessert, as well as the one below because of their spectacular presentation. It was almost too beautiful to eat! So I got my pictures, and then I had a sudden urge to go to the bathroom. I thought, okay I’ll go to the bathroom quickly since the other bloggers were still busy taking pictures of the desserts. Came back about 2 or 3 minutes later and this dish was completely demolished. Lesson of the night? Hold it in, no matter how urgent it is. It’s not worth it especially if dessert is concerned and you’re sharing one dish with about 12 other bloggers. I was so sad!

with IN ASIA’s crushed corn flakes, caramel popcorn, grilled sweet corn, and caramel jersey cream ($14.00)

Okay, at least there was a good quarter or so of this dessert left when I came back from nature’s calling. Thank goodness because this dessert was the absolute bomb. I loved the flavours and different textures that you got in each mouthful of the dessert, and I didn’t think that grilled corn would be such a great compliment to the overall dish. The presentation was on point as well. Well done In Asia for this dessert!

There were some ups and some downs with the dishes that we had over the night, but I can safely say that the positives overpowered the negatives greatly. There was really only one dish that was a let down for me, and the others that had minor issues based on just my personal opinion and palette is nothing major to say that it was a bad dish. I’d rate the food of the night a solid 9.5 out of 10; the food really blew me away and clearly the definition of modern (kind of, sort of fine dining) Asian cuisine. For me, it’s sort of somewhere in the middle like it’s not casual but not extreme fine dining either. Not only did the flavours and textures impress me, the presentation of some of the dishes, mainly the entrées and desserts, really blew me away. The service was great as well, though I wasn’t sure why it took quite possibly close to 30 to 45 minutes for the light menu (which were the tea smoked duck salad and the barbecued calamari salad) to come out to the table after entrées – I wasn’t complaining though because I had a pretty hefty entrée to begin with. I’d give the service an 8 or possibly 9 out of 10 anyway. Now, value for money – the dishes here are pretty pricey to be honest but I guess you can say that you actually do pay for what you’re getting. If you’ve got the money to spend, definitely spend it here, otherwise it’s not really a place you can just rock up to if you don’t have the money or for a casual dine.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar
181 Concord Road
North Strathfield, New South Wales
Australia, 2137

– Ally xx

Sadhana Kitchen

Sadhana Kitchen

Hello Everyone! Not only is it another Review Sunday but it is also my 100th post on the blog! 10 months ago I started this blog out of pure procrastination. Basically I was bored over the Easter break and was in no mood to tackle the many assignments that I had at the time for uni. Thus this blog was born. I have long been interested in food even way before 10 months ago, and was encouraged by many to start up a blog. I can say now that what was once just hobby, I have now grown to put much more effort into each dish that I prepare and into each blog post that goes up 3 times a week. I don’t want to say that blogging is now my ‘job’ as it sounds a little bit like ‘I have to do it’ kind of thing. It’s not about me having to do a blog post for everyone out there, but it is more like I do it because I want to do it – if that makes any sense? Anyway, I am just super happy about how well I have been doing with my blog and I have some exciting new changes coming up in the next few months. I am also looking to building up my followers both on wordpress and other social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, so if any of you guys out there have any tips on how to do this, your help/knowledge will be much appreciated!

Sadhana Kitchen

Now on to today’s post – Sadhana Kitchen! I first came to know about this little gem through posts on Instagram from various food bloggers. What attracted me to their menu was that the food they served was always so colourful through the uploads I came across while browsing through my newsfeed. The great thing about Sadhana Kitchen, even though it does not really matter in my case, is that they are gluten-free, organic, raw, and vegan – Sydney’s first organic wholefoods and raw foods café. Now, when I made mention that it does not really matter to me, I meant that I am not gluten intolerant, nor am I a vegan, but I was quite intrigued as to what kind of foods do those with dietary requirements eat since I am a person who can eat almost anything and everything. I often find myself saying how I’d never go vegetarian or vegan because I love meat too much to give it up but after paying a visit to Sadhana Kitchen, I have a whole new appreciation for healthy, organic, and raw superfoods. Though I don’t think that I will ever find myself converting, maybe not right now that is. I can’t say what will happen in the future, maybe tomorrow I will wake up and suddenly transform into a ‘crazy vegan lady’ as one of the waitresses mentioned about her obsession over veganism.

I’ve been here a total of two times, both with friends whom I know to have an appreciation for healthy foods but not necessarily vegans themselves. I thought that they’d be the perfect company for a nice weekend lunch. What was funny though was that one of my friends that I went with (she who shall not be named, but you know who you are), actually asked the lady at the counter if they put any ice cream in their smoothies – I mean, even after my other friend and I explained to her that they would definitely not put ice cream in their smoothies since its all about the vegan. The lady gave her a sort of weirded out look and said that they only use frozen fruits in their smoothies. Though I felt bad, I could not stop laughing on the inside.

This place I feel could do with a lot more seating space. Both times that I’ve been, and not even on the hour when normal people have their breakfast and/or lunch, like I’m talking 2 o’clock in the afternoon, it’s always packed. The first time we visited we were lucky enough to snag the only table left, but the second time around we weren’t so lucky. We waited about 20 minutes before we could run and grab a table, and after we did the place started empty out slowly.

Pitaya (dragon fruit), strawberries, banana, and orange ($9.50)

I love dragon fruit, but even though this is called a ‘pitaya’ smoothie, the banana taste came across more predominantly. A refreshing smoothie nonetheless and had a very vibrant colour to it which made it even more appealing to the eye.

Seasonal greens, orange, mango, and flax seeds. Vitamin, mineral, and fibre booster with omega-3 fatty acids ($9.50)

Though I wasn’t quite sure about what greens were added to the smoothie (but I’m guessing either kale, spinach, or even both), the mint flavour really came through. Again, refreshing for a warm summer day.

Blueberries, raspberries, banana, sprouted brown rice protein powder, chia seeds, coconut oil, mesquite, and almonds. Packed with muscle building cholesterol free protein, omega-3 for brain function, and calcium & manganese for healthy bones ($9.50)

The epic of smoothies! Very thick though so it was a bit difficult to drink from the straw.

Sadhana Kitchen - RAW SANDWICHES: BLAT
Sadhana coconut bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato, coriander and house-made mayo, in between two sliced of onion bread ($14.50)

What intrigued me about this dish was the ‘coconut bacon’ which basically was just coconut that was made to look like bacon and even had the texture of bacon. I’m not sure about whether it’s an innovative way of thinking from Sadhana Kitchen, as in if it’s actually already a thing that someone else came up with, but definitely creative idea!

Sadhana Kitchen - SADHANA LASAGNE
Layers of zucchini pasta, cultured cashew cheeze, basil pesto, walnut mince, wilted spinach, and chunky tomato sauce ($15.50)

This was the dish that I had the first time I came around to visiting Sadhana Kitchen. Don’t be fooled by the size of it on the dish, it actually filled me up good! Loved the flavours of the dish and that walnut mince really looked like meat mince that you’d find in your traditional lasagne.

Carrot and walnut falafels served with seasonal greens, pickles, olives, zucchini hummus, and beet dip ($16.50)

This was the other dish that I had the second time around. I initially wanted to order their Prana Pad Thai which had kelp and zucchini noodles, but they unfortunately ran out. I had no regrets though because this dish did not only look pretty on the plate and appealing to the eye, it had great flavour and was also surprisingly filling (just not a filling as the lasagne of course). The ‘falafels’ had a nice crunch to them as well as a roasted flavour. The dips complimented them nicely and the salad on the side really enhanced the flavours that it needed to bring it to the next level of flavour satisfaction.

Sadhana Kitchen - SADHANA SUPER BOWL
Shredded kale, house-made sauerkraut, cherry tomato, cucumber, and pesto zoodles served with Brazil nut cheddar, sundried tomato, and smoked paprika hummus ($17.50)

I’m not quite sure as to how this dish tasted, only because this wasn’t my dish to consume. I had a taste of the zoodles (zucchini noodle) but that was basically it. To me, this dish looked like a bowl of vegetables – that’s it really, though my friend did find it quite satisfying.

Sadhana Kitchen

Cashews, almonds, walnuts, desiccated coconut, coconut oil, coconut sugar, vanilla, dates, sesame, and salt ($12.50)

This cheezecake was made with layers of nougat creme, milk chocolate, and chocolate ganache topped with caramelised nut clusters. Probably my favourite from the two of the cakes we had. The flavour really came through as it almost tasted like a traditional snickers bar – when I say traditional, I mean it in a way that it doesn’t taste like the vegan alternative.

Cashews, desiccated coconut, coconut oil, stevia, cacao butter, sesame, vanilla, dates, maca, mesquite, and lucuma salt ($12.50)

This banoffee pie was made of layers of banana creme, salted caramel creme, and white chocolate creme on a walnut & coconut biscuit base. The name itself was already enough for me to be sold on ordering it, but I must say that that was probably the only good thing about it, the name. I don’t know what it was, but the cake didn’t quite tickle my fancy. I think it was the taste of it? Like the banana tasted a bit off, not that they used a bad banana, but it was more like you know it’s supposed to be banana, but it doesn’t taste like banana kind of thing. It was also the cake that was ignored for a while on the table when we dug into our desserts.

Twisted SK coconut cocowhip, topped with half a caramel slice, cacao nibs, himalayan pink salt, and house made superfood caramel sauce ($13.00)

The second time we came around to visiting Sadhana Kitchen, it was all about the cocowhip hype. To be honest, it was alright. Loved the added toppings, but I felt like the cocowhip was a little bit too soft. By the time we dug in and had about 2-3 spoons each, it was almost like soup, and it wasn’t even a particularly hot day as well for it to melt so fast!

Before I end, here are a few things that you might want to know about organic/raw foods, and veganism:

  • Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products and by-products, particularly in diet.
  • Foods that are prepared and processed without exceeding 40°C are known to be raw. This way of preparation allows the food’s natural enzymes to stay intact, which in return gives your body the most benefit and easy digestion.
  • The best place to start improving your health is by improving what you eat. This is the main reason why Sadhana Kitchen insist on using only pure, organic seasonal produce that is free from harmful toxins to create delicious dishes.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this place for those who are fans of organic and raw foods, and of course those who are all about the vegan. I would also recommend this for those who are experimenting with food and are open to broadening their palettes. Like I said, I would probably never go vegan myself, but having experienced the foods has really made me appreciate how else it can be prepared and still be as filling and delicious as what I am used to eating. The food is a definite 8.5 out of 10 for me. Their main menu was the stand out, but their dessert disappointed a bit, even though I was even more excited for their dessert menu. Service was good, and the ambience could be a bit better. Value for money is variable, I don’t know about spending $12.50 for a slice of cake. I definitely hope to visit again soon as I am curious to know what the vegan substitute for their ‘eggs benny’ is and their prana pad thai with kelp and zucchini noodles looks too good to pass up! *drooling*

Sadhana Kitchen

Sadhana Kitchen
147 Enmore Road
Enmore, New South Wales
Australia, 2042

– Ally xx