Spicy Garlic Prawn & Avocado Fettuccine

Spicy Garlic Prawn & Avocado Fettuccine

Hello Everyone! So once again, I’ve been feeling a little under the weather since towards the end of last week. I think it’s because I got rained (drizzled) on and just been feeling cold ever since. Started with an itchy throat, then a runny nose. I had a mild fever just two days ago but thank goodness I’m starting to feel a little better! Apologies in advance if this post contains a lot of typos or obvious grammatical errors – my brain is not fully functional at the moment.

But that aside, a new month can only mean one thing right? It’s time to experiment and play around with a new fruit on the blog! For the month of July, I’ll be featuring one of my favourite (well to be honest, almost everything is a favourite of mine *cheeky grin*) fruits of all time – Avocado! The last time I featured a month of avocado recipes was back in 2017 if not mistaken. You can click here to see what I got up to with avocados back then.

Avocados can be such an unpredictable b*tch at times – you can never win with them! If I knew I was going to cook/use the avocados on the same day I bought them, I would ask the lady who sells them if the ones I’ve picked are ripe and ready for that day. I still pick those that are slightly firm when gently squeezed. I never ever pick the soft ones! If I knew I was going to only use them the next day, she’d pick the ones that are a little less ripe for me – those that are still green, slightly browned. Here are some tips from Love One Today on how to check for the ripeness of avocados.

How to Differentiate the Ripeness of an Avocado

Besides being super unpredictable, avocados are known for several proven health benefits:

Avocados are Incredibly Nutritious

They contain a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals. Here is a list of some of the most abundant nutrients found in a single 100-gram serving:

  • Vitamin K: 26% of the daily value
  • Folate: 20% of the daily value
  • Vitamin C: 17% of the daily value
  • Potassium: 14% of the daily value
  • Vitamin B5: 14% of the daily value
  • Vitamin B6: 13% of the daily value
  • Vitamin E: 10% of the daily value
  • Avocados also contain small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous, and vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), and B3 (niacin).
  • Although avocados contain carbs, 78% of those are fibre. So basically only 22% are actually carbs, making this a low-carb friendly plant food.
  • Avocados do not contain any cholesterol or sodium and are low in saturated fat.

Fat Content in Avocados may help you Absorb Nutrients from Plant Foods

When it comes to nutrients, your intake is not the only thing that matters. What’s also important is that you need to be able to absorb these nutrients into your body, where they can be used. Some nutrients are fat-soluble, meaning that they need to be combined with fat in order to be utilised.

So, not only are avocados highly nutritious, they can dramatically increase the nutrient value of other plant foods that you eat. This is all the more a very good reason to always include a healthy fat source, such as the avocado (or avocado oil), when you eat your veggies. Without it, a lot of the beneficial plant nutrients will go to waste.

Avocados are Loaded with Powerful Antioxidants that can Protect your Eyes

Not only do avocados increase antioxidant absorption from other foods, they are also high in antioxidants themselves, two of which, namely carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, as incredibly important for our long term eye health.

Spicy Garlic Prawn & Avocado Fettuccine

Eating Avocados may help you Lose Weight

Avocados are weight-loss friendly. They keep you full longer and may help you naturally eat fewer calories, making it easier for you to stick to healthy eating habits. As stated before, avocados are also high in fibre and very low in carbs, two attributes that should help promote healthy weight loss – if considering the context of a healthy, real-food-based diet.

And lastly for the #avocadohaters *cheeky grin*

Avocados are Delicious and Easy to Incorporate into your Diet!

Not only are they beneficial to our health, they’re also super delicious and go with many types of food. They have a creamy, rich, and fatty texture. You can easily add them to salads or pasta, spread them on toast, use as a dip for chips, or simply scoop them out with a spoon and eat them plain!

If you want to read up more on the many health benefits that avocados have to offer, you can head on over to Healthline.

But before you head on over to the recipe below, please check out the original recipe for Shrimp & Avocado Pasta by Kevin & Amanda.

Spicy Garlic Prawn & Avocado Fettuccine Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

For the avocado and Parmesan ‘sauce’

  • 1 medium-sized ripe avocado
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the spicy garlic prawns

  • 250g large tiger prawns, heads removed, deshelled, and deveined*
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 stalks scallions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground chilli, or more if you want it spicier
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 250g fettuccine pasta, uncooked**
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 small ripe avocado, diced
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

*A quarter kilo gave us 4 large tiger prawns, plus 1 extra because the lady who sells them was nice enough to add one in when my Mom asked for it *cheeky grin*. Save the heads and shells to use as a base for soups, broths, or sauces. If not using immediately, place in a zip-lock bag and pop it into the freezer. Keeps frozen for up to 3 months.

**Or you can use any type of pasta – whatever you have readily available in your pantry!

METHOD

  1. Avocado ‘Sauce’: Cut the medium-sized avocado in half, lengthwise. Remove the pit and discard – or if you have a green thumb, you’ll know what to do with it. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh from both halves of the avocado from its skin, and place in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  2. Add the Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and olive oil. Smash and mix together until well combined. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water with a teaspoon of sea salt to a boil. Add the fettuccine pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente.

Tip: In cases like these, I like to undercook my pasta by 2 to 3 minutes. The reason being is that I will then add the cooked pasta to the frying pan of garlic prawns, which will continue to cook the pasta. If I had pushed it to the max when boiling, I’ll end up with super soft pasta.

  1. Spicy Garlic Prawns: While the pasta is cooking away, add the butter and olive oil to a medium-sized frying pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds until golden brown and fragrant.
  2. Add the prawns and cook until they turn pink, about 2 minutes per side, then add the chopped scallions and ground chilli. Mix to combine.
  3. Quickly add the pasta from the pot of boiling water, to the garlic prawns, followed by the avocado sauce. Give it a good mix and then throw in the sliced sun-dried tomatoes.
  4. Turn the heat off and let it cook for a further minute before plating up.
  5. Sprinkle more Parmesan cheese on top and garnish with the diced avocados. Serve hot and enjoy!

Spicy Garlic Prawn & Avocado Fettuccine

Tip: The nutrients in avocado can oxidise and turn brown soon after cutting into it and exposing its flesh. The trick to slowing down the oxidation process and preventing them from browning quickly is to add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

Now, this may not be one of the prettiest dishes I’ve plated up for the year – I don’t know, I just don’t like how the colour of the diced avocados blended in with the colour of the pasta. The green didn’t quite pop out as much as I would’ve liked it to. Besides the prawns, everything else looked a bit monotonous in my opinion. Nonetheless, despite its look, it was a great tasting dish! I mean, you honestly can’t go wrong with the classic taste of garlicky and lemony prawns can you? What more when it’s paired with pasta and a creamy avocado and parmesan sauce? And that added kick of spice? BOOM!

Spicy Garlic Prawn & Avocado Fettuccine

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Advertisements
Baked Broccoli Parmesan Fritters

Baked Broccoli Parmesan Fritters

Hello Everyone! How are y’all doing on this fine Wednesday evening? Or morning? Or even still Tuesday evening for some? Well, whatever timezone you’re in, I hope everything is going well, and if it isn’t, keep your head held high and power through, for remember that life doesn’t always give you what you want, but it gives you what you deserve. Push yourself to strive for better, because no one else is going to do it for you – if anything, they’re going to drag you down. Walk away from anyone who takes you joy away, for life is too short to put up with them.

​Wow, I just realised how emotionally motivational I just got there, and no it doesn’t have anything to with what’s going on with me right now, but I just wanted to start off by asking you guys how you are all doing. When I hit the point of assuming that everyone is doing fine, I instantly became aware of that fact that not everyone may be doing fine, and it’s okay to not feel 100% all the time; just remember that YOU are the creator of your own destiny.

Baked Broccoli Parmesan Fritters

All that aside, we’re powering through with hero-ing Broccoli for the month of March! Two more days to April, and still 2 more recipes (excluding this one) to share for this month! Tonight’s recipe I stumbled upon one day while on Pinterest in search for some food inspiration, but before I move onto the recipe, be sure to check out the original over on Karina from Cafe Delites: for all good food lovers.

A fair warning, my fritters don’t look anywhere as near as how amazingly delicious to the eye Karina’s, but they nonetheless taste amazing, but probably not crispy. ​Well, apparently the trick to getting baked fritters pan-fried crispy is to lightly spray a coating of olive oil on top of them. Also, I think I may have accidentally baked mine for too long and they’re probably a bit too spread out and hence flatter… Oops!

Baked Broccoli Parmesan Fritters Ingredients

PREP TIME 10-12 MINS | COOKING TIME 25-30 MINS | SERVES 8-10 FRITTERS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 1 medium-sized brown onion, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup plain flour (or if you wish for a low-carb option, use almond flour instead)
  • 1/3 cup grated or shaved parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp ground sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • Olive oil cooking spray

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6). Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Place the broccoli florets in a food processor and pulse a few times until the florets have been chopped finely.
  3. Add the egg, diced onions, minced garlic, plain flour, and parmesan cheese to the food processor and pulse again a couple of times until the ingredients are well combined. Add the sea salt and black pepper to the mixture and stir.
  4. Form about 8 to 10 fritters on the prepared baking tray, making sure that they do not touch each other. Spray the tops of each fritter with a light coating of olive oil.
  5. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes on each side until golden. Alternatively, you can pan fry these fritters in a non-stick pan over medium heat until golden on both sides.
  6. Allow the fritters to cool down slightly before serving with your choice of dip. Enjoy!

Baked Broccoli Parmesan Fritters

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Quinoa Minestone Soup with Kale Pesto

Quinoa Minestone Soup with Kale Pesto

Hello Everyone! Week 2 of cooking with quinoa is here and I’ve got a classic recipe with a twist. For those of you who don’t know, minestrone soup is a thick soup of Italian origin made with vegetables that range from, but are not limited to, beans, onions, celery, carrots, and tomatoes. Often, rice or pasta is added to the soup to bulk it up with some carbs. There is no set recipe for minestrone, since it is usually made out of whatever vegetables are in season. It can be vegetarian, contain meat, or contain a meat-based broth.

I’ve made this soup a couple of times before in the past, and is featured in the Mediterranean section of my blog – but today, I’m going to add a little twist to a traditional minestrone soup. I’m switching out the pasta that I would normally add to my soup, with quinoa. Using quinoa in place of pasta adds extra protein and makes this soup gluten free! In addition to using quinoa for this soup, I’m topping it off with some kale pesto as well to give the dish a touch of freshness – and of course, if you have any extra leftover, you can totally whip up another dish just by mixing it through some freshly cooked pasta! Top it of with some grilled chicken or seared tiger prawns for a complete lunch or dinner. The original recipe for this dish can be found over on Taste Australia.

Quinoa Minestone Soup with Kale Pesto Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

For the soup

  • 1 can (400g) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (410g) Italian chopped tomatoes
  • 150g bacon, diced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup tri-coloured quinoa, rinsed
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 celery stick, sliced
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 large brown onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini, cut into small chunks

For the kale pesto

  • 2 & 1/2 cups kale leaves, shredded
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 small garlic clove, halved
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp water

METHOD

  1. For the Soup: Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the bacon bits and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until browned. Remove from the pot and set aside.
  2. Turn the heat up to high and then add in the garlic. Sauté until golden brown and fragrant, about a minute or so. Then add in the onions and cooking, stirring, until soft, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add in the carrot and celery, together with the bay leaf, and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes or until soft.
  4. Next, add in the chicken stock and canned chopped tomatoes to the pot. Bring to the boil.
  5. Once boiling, reduce the heat down to medium-low and then stir in the quinoa. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in zucchini. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, and then add in the cannellini beans. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes or until the quinoa and zucchini are tender. Season with a touch of ground salt and pepper.
  7. For the Kale Pesto: Add the kale leaves, parmesan cheese, and garlic into a food processor and process until finely chopped. Combine the juice, oil, and water in a jug, and slowly stream the juice mixture into the kale mixture until well combined. Season.
  8. Divide soup among four equal bowls and top with the kale pesto and extra parmesan if you wish.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Quinoa Minestone Soup with Kale Pesto

Quinoa Minestone Soup with Kale Pesto

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Risoni al Ratatouille

Risoni al Ratatouille

Risoni al Ratatouille

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

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

Risoni al Ratatouille Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

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

METHOD

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

Risoni al Ratatouille

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

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

Trine Boscaiola

Trine Boscaiola

Trine Boscaiola

Hello Everyone! It’s week 3 of Pasta Month and I’ve got a few things to say before we dive into the recipe. I apologise in advance that what I am about to say has nothing to do with the upcoming recipe – it’s more me telling you about my day/week and upcoming week. So if you don’t want to read this part, you can skip onto the recipe 🙂 Anyway, so last week Friday I had a nice dinner with my colleagues and then we ended the night escaping from a hostage-themed escape room and we did pretty well I must say! We escaped within an hour and one minute – which from what I remember is 14 minutes earlier than the set time limit hooray! Hostage is one of their new rooms, and the other is The Ring-themed *OMG* which I really want to try out with my friends, but I know I will probably regret it later on.

On Sunday, I also spent the afternoon with different colleagues and we watched The Conjuring 2 – which I don’t know whether it was a huge mistake or not haha. I didn’t think I was that scared from the movie, but I only knew that I was definitely scared when I could barely sleep that night. The image of Valak kept appearing in my head in the dark room – but I was definitely fine the next day/night. We then had dinner and said our goodbyes. Today, a few colleagues of mine headed over to the KFM studio to do a voice recording – basically just getting us to wish everyone “Selamat Hari Raya” for the upcoming festivities next month. It was actually quite fun in the end even though I had to convince just one colleague that I did not want to do the script in Malay because they’d all probably laugh at my pronunciation and intonation.

And that’s all I have for you – OH I almost forgot! Tomorrow morning I’ll be flying of to Singapore again for a couple of days. Taking a small break from work to do some shopping, eating, and meeting up with friends – it going to be a great weekend ahead!

Trine Boscaiola Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g trine (curly fettuccine) pasta, or any other pasta shape
  • 250g rindless bacon rashers, thinly sliced
  • 1 punnet (250g) brown mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • 5 spring onion stalks, chopped
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil

METHOD

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the trine pasta according to packet instructions or until al dente.
  2. While the pasta is cooking away, heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high. Cook the bacon until slightly browned and then remove from the pan. Add in the unsalted butter and then the mushrooms and cook for about 3-4 minutes or until soft. Then add in the pale parts of the chipped spring onion.
  3. Add in the cream together with about a cup of the pasta water and parmesan cheese. Turn the heat down to low and bring the mixture to a low simmer.
  4. Once the pasta is done, drain and then transfer the pasta to the cream mixture together with the fried bacon bits. Turn the heat back up to medium-high and then give it a good mix. Top with the remaining spring onions and then turn the heat off.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and toss until well combined. Divide the pasta among serving dishes and top with extra parmesan. Serve and enjoy!

Trine Boscaiola

Trine Boscaiola

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Mr. Crackles

Hello Everyone and welcome back to an all new Review Sunday! Just a little heads up, next week Sunday will the the last Sunday that I will be doing reviews. I’ve come to a point where I’ve pretty much covered all of the places I’ve been to when I was in Sydney and haven’t been to restaurants, cafés, and/or eateries around Brunei – well I have, but I haven’t been in a I-need-to-take-a-picture-of-this-so-I-can-review-it-for-later kind of mood lately. Don’t fret! I will still be posting on Sundays, they just won’t be reviews. Instead, I will be sharing with you some of my design works since I believe that the last time I posted anything design related on my blog was about a year ago; so you’ve got that to look forward to!

Back on topic, today I will be reviewing one of the best places, in my opinion, to get a fairly priced roll of tender, succulent, crispy-skinned pork crackling. Excuse me for a second while I wipe the drool that just dribbled down my chin as I typed that. Only kidding, but seriously, if you’re ain’t watching your calories, this is where you need to be at every opportunity you get! I’ve passed this place so many times before as it’s within probably a 10-minute walk away from campus, but I’ve never really gone inside and tried their rolls until August of last year I think (and I had been living in Sydney since 2011)! My high school friend (and still friends now) Andrew was visiting from Brunei/UK and I decided to take him here for lunch before his flight back to Melbourne, and then Brunei, eventually to the UK. Of course Jialing was with us too; no food adventure would be complete with my partner in crime.

The second time I came here was the Christmas of 2014 I believe, and that was when I saw my friend Marissa post a photo of their special Christmas roll; apple sauce and cranberry relish paired with crispy pork?! Hells yes! Of course I went back with Jialing; she indulged in her Sticky BBQ Pork again. I think I may have gone back a couple times more before I introduced this place to my family when they were over for my graduation in June. Everyone, and of course myself included, loved this place, and how I wish that a Mr. Crackles existed on one of the side streets of Brunei. I’d be their number 1 customer hands down!

ROLLS

Mr. Crackles: Crackles Christmas Roll
ROLL OF THE MONTH (DECEMBER 2014)
Crackles Christmas Roll: Crispy pork, apple sauce, cranberry relish, and herb crumb ($13.50)

As mentioned above, I could not resist saying no to this little gem. I think what got me was the apple sauce and cranberry relish; first, you can’t go wrong with crispy pork crackling being paired with some apple sauce. Secondly, the cranberry relish to really pull the idea of Christmas together in this man-sized roll. The pork was, as always, cooked perfectly; tender, juicy meat with a satisfying crispy crackling for that crunch we all look for in a great roast pork. Everything else complimented the roll nicely.

Mr. Crackles: Braised Beef Cheek
ROLL OF THE MONTH (MAY 2015)
Braised beef cheek, parmesan mash, and gremolata crumble in a soft bun ($13.50)

I mean, I know the presentation of this roll is less enticing and extravagant than that of the other rolls, but trust me when I say that this is one pretty amazing combination of tender braised beef cheeks and parmesan mash in a soft bun. I had actually forgotten that there was mash in this bun when I came around to eating it. This was only because the mash isn’t actually visible when you first look at the bun; it was hidden below the braised beef cheeks. When I took a bite and realised that there was in fact parmesan mash in it, it was a nice surprise indeed. If this special ever comes around again, be sure not to miss out on it!

Mr. Crackles: Sticky BBQ Pork
STICKY BBQ PORK
Smokey bbq, ranch, salad, and onion rings in a soft bun ($13.50)

I must say that amongst the other rolls, this was by far the best looking one out of the bunch. I mean, I still love and prefer a nice crispy pork on my roll, but this was just something else. Onion rings in your bun? Don’t mind if I do! Smokey, sticky, check! A bit messy to eat if you’re biting into it instead of being posh and using cutlery, but who cares really.

Mr. Crackles: Crackles Classic
CRACKLES CLASSIC
Crisp skinned slow roast 5 spiced pork belly served with Vietnamese salad in a roll ($13.00)

You’ve heard me talk about the crispy pork before in the Crackles Christmas Roll, so it’s basically that, tender, juicy meat with a satisfying crispy crackling, with a nice touch of fresh Vietnamese salad to compliment the meat.

Mr. Crackles: Manwich
MANWICH
Twice the meat and half the salad on any of our famous rolls ($17.00)

Its like their Crackles Classic Roll only twice as much meat on it for a man-sized bite, but who says women can’t have it too?

SIDES

Mr. Crackles: Crispy Pork Nacho Fries
CRISPY PORK NACHO FRIES ($12.00)

This would’ve been flawless for me if it weren’t for the tomato sauce(?) in the nachos. I can’t quite put my finger on what it tasted like to me, but all I know was that it was a bit strong and acidic for my liking. I had to pick out the fries that were least covered in the sauce as I did not want it to go to such a shameful waste. In the end, I ended up leaving about a third of the fries behind, but still eating all of the yummy crispy pork of course!

Mr. Crackles: Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dip
BUFFALO WINGS ($9.00) + blue cheese dip ($1.00)

The chicken packed just the right amount of heat in them and let’s be real here, you can’t possibly go wrong with buffalo wings AND blue cheese dip! These were delicious indeed.

Mr. Crackles: Cup of Crackling
CUP OF CRACKLING ($5.00)

When I first saw these cups of magical cracklings, I knew I needed to devour one. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed with them as they weren’t quite what I had imagined them to be. They were a bit too salty for my liking, hard, and dry. I prefer the crackling on top of those pieces of meat on their rolls than this crackling.

Mr. Crackles is like a Western take on a classic Vietnamese pork roll. Overall, if you want your daily fix of crispy pork crackling, be it in a roll, salad, or topped with your nacho fries, then Mr. Crackles is the place for you. I’d say that their rolls are reasonable priced for the size you get, therefore I’d give value for money an 8/10. For those who haven’t been to Mr. Crackles on Oxford Street just somewhat opposite Taylor Square, you’ll notice that they have very limited seating – 8 seats to be exact. Every time I go there though, I still manage to snag a seat and that’s only because everyone that goes there gets their rolls to go. I guess I can’t really judge the ambience of the place seeing as it’s more of a place where you’d grab your food and eat elsewhere, but if you do end up sitting down at the place to have your food, it’s quite loud from all the traffic noise on Oxford Street. It can also get a wee bit crowded if you go during peak hour, which is usually lunch and dinner I’m guessing. I saw crowded because you’ve got a lot of people lining up and waiting around for their order. If I were to give the place a rating, I’d say 7/10 as it’s alright as a takeaway place, but I’d give it a 4/10 for a sit down place. Besides that, I’m pretty sure you all know that I’m definitely going to give the food a sure 10 for the rolls. The sides had some minor issues with me, but nothing too big that would make me take it out on the rest of the menu. You can’t fault a perfectly great roast pork like that from Mr. Crackles! If you can, than you are not my friend.

Mr. Crackles
155 Oxford Street
Darlinghurst, New South Wales
Australia, 2010

– Ally xx

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup

Hello Everyone! Winter Warmer Month is coming to an end this week *sad face* but surely we won’t be saying goodbye to soups forever. I’ll keep today’s post short only because I am actually just writing this now (maybe 30 minutes before this goes up) and I didn’t prepare it in advance or during the day. I’m keeping it short because I’m really tired, but I didn’t want to skip out on posting.

Basically I woke up at 6:30am today, yes that’s actually quite early for me especially since I didn’t sleep well last night, don’t know why. I got up earlier than usual to get ready and head over about an hour out West on the train, to Brendon’s (brendonthesmilingchef) place for a cooking collaboration that had been planning for just about over a month now. We spent the whole morning until late afternoon shopping, cooking, styling, eating, and talking – and overall it was a successful day. I won’t say what we made today because that will be coming up for the month of August!

Minestrone Soup

Okay (again I always do this), I said I’d keep it short but I’m already 200 words in and I haven’t actually talked about today’s recipe – Minestrone Soup. is a thick soup of Italian origin made with vegetables, often with the addition of pasta or rice. Common ingredients include beans, onions, celery, carrots, stock, and tomatoes. There is no set recipe for minestrone, since it is usually made out of whatever vegetables are in season. It can be vegetarian, contain meat, or contain a meat-based broth. I’ve made this soup a couple of times in the past and I used risoni pasta and added bacon chunks to it before. Today, I’m keeping it quite traditional, and used left over angel hair pasta hair that I cut into about 2cm long pieces.

Minestrone Soup Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 65 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 375g McKenzie’s Italian Style Soup Mix, washed and drained
  • 150g maple-glazed bacon, cut into bits
  • 1 can (400g) canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup angel hair pasta, cut into 2cm long strands
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • 1 medium-sized onion, diced
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • Ground salt and black pepper to taste
  • Shaved parmesan cheese
  • Bread of choice

METHOD

  1. Preparing the Beans:
    • Quick method: Put required quantity into a saucepan and cover with water – approximately 3 cups of water for every cup of soup mix. Bring to the boil and simmer for approximately 45 minutes or until cooked, skimming if necessary.
    • Traditional method: Soak soup mix for approximately 6-8 hours (overnight if convenient) before cooking.
  2. Minestrone Soup: Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high. Fry the bacon bits until browned, then sauté the garlic together with the bacon until fragrant and golden brown. The add in the onions and cooking until soft.
  3. Add in the carrots, celery, and potatoes, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Give it a good mix and leave to cooking for about 5 minutes before adding the canned diced tomatoes in. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Add in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add in the prepared beans and further simmer for about 10-15 minutes, in the last 4 minutes, add in the angel hair pasta.
  5. Turn the heat off, and divide equally into serving bowls (4 large bowls, or 5-6 small bowls) and top with some shaved parmesan cheese. Serve immediately with some stone-baked Pane di Casa bread.

Minestrone Soup

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Angel Hair Carbonara

Angel Hair Carbonara

Hello Everyone! Today has been a particularly lazy day spent at home binging on Game of Thrones; now on the last episode of Season 3 and I must say, episode 9 was just brutal with the death of the Starks, just as Arya was about to reunite with her mother and elder brother. Sorry if I spoilt it for anyone; just don’t read the sentence before this! While on the topic of GoT, I totally ‘ship Arya and Gendry.

Angel Hair Carbonara

In other news, no I didn’t actually rip strands of hair from an angel; it is actually known as Capellini, literally translated: ‘little hair’, which is a very thin variety of pasta. As it is very thin and light, it goes well in soups or dressed with very light sauces. I did actually get out of bed today in between episodes and made myself lunch, and today I decided to whip up an easy angel hair carbonara. I was told once before that the key to a good carbonara was to add a dash of worcestershire sauce. Of course I didn’t believe the man (my ex-housemate’s friend) at first because he was piss-drunk at the backyard of the house that I used to live in. At first I was like “worcestershire sauce, really?” in my head, but I nodded and said that I would give it a try, but not that day. Today, I tried it with worcestershire sauce, and I must say that it actually tasted pretty good. Well, he is Italian so I guess he knew what he was talking about.

I’ve made carbonara two ways before; one with cream and one without. Personally, I prefer the first with cream. If you prefer without cream, just add a ratio of one egg to one egg yolk in a bowl together with some parmesan cheese, a bit of salt and ground black pepper. Beat well and pour over a pot of drained hot pasta, heat off. Mix well and allow the hot pasta to cook the egg. Add fried bacon bits and spinach or rocket leaves if you wish.

Angel Hair Carbonara Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 250g capellini (angel hair) pasta, or any other type of pasta
  • 150g streaky bacon, cut into small bits
  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 100ml milk
  • 4 large free range egg yolks
  • 3/4 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • Handful of rocket leaves, washed and drained
  • Ground salt and pepper to taste
  • Shaved parmesan cheese, to serve

METHOD

  1. Heat a bit of oil in a medium-sized frying pan and fry the bacon bits until browned. Add the cream and milk, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add in the worcestershire sauce.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook your pasta according to packet directions. In this case, Barilla angel hair pasta takes about 4-5 minutes. Once cooked, drain and add the pasta to the sauce mixture together with the rocket leaves. Give it a good mix.
  3. Portion the pasta into 4 separate plates and place an egg yolk on top of each bed of pasta (the hot pasta will cook the egg yolk once you mix it all in together). Serve immediately and enjoy!

Angel Hair Carbonara

Not too long ago, I remember my friend saying to me that she missed my mom’s carbonara. Her’s is a little bit different since during that time I wasn’t even interested in cooking. She bought white sauce from a jar in the supermarkets and added minced chicken and sausages for her fettuccine carbonara. Even if it was jarred sauce, it was still a hit amongst my high school friends. They remembered how my mom used to pack extra lunch boxes on Thursday afternoon and delivered them to school during lunch break to share amongst my friends. I miss those days.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Pappardelle al Ragù

Pappardelle al Ragù

Hello Everyone! So today’s recipe is sort of a carry on from Monday’s special. If you’re like me, living by yourself, having a whole roast leg of lamb to yourself, you’re bound to have leftovers. What do you do? Lamb Ragù! Well, I’m pretty sure you can come up with other dishes to use your leftovers, if you have any that is, or you could always go out and buy lamb shanks or any other cuts that work for this dish.

I decided to go for a lamb ragù because not too long ago, exactly two weeks ago actually now that I think of it, a friend of mine planned for a little celebration for completing our degrees! We had dinner at the Westfield in Pitt Street, at a place called Janus Italian, and apparently she tried to book Jamie’s Italian but they are all booked out for groups until April! But nonetheless, Janus Italian was a nice dining place too – not to mention spacious as we had the whole back area to ourselves, well illuminated, and we could basically hear each other talk without having to shout across the table – all of which we probably wouldn’t have had/been able to do at Jamie’s. Seriously, though the food at Jamie’s is superb, it’s cramped, dark, and loud. Anyway, where I am getting at with this is that I had the Pappardelle al Ragù with slow cooked lamb. It was the best thing I’ve ever had! I even had the entrée sized dish and I was full about three quarters of the way into my dish. It was so good that when I knew I’d be making a roast leg of lamb, I would be able to make this too! Original recipe for slow-cooked lamb ragù can be found on Taste.

Pappardelle al Ragù Ingredients

PREP TIME 210 MINS | COOKING TIME 3 HOURS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1kg roast leg of lamb meat
  • 500g pappardelle pasta
  • 1 can (400g) diced tomatoes
  • 3 celery sticks, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and then minced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1 large spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs such as rosemary and thyme, chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • Shaved parmesan cheese, to serve
  • Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. Preheat  oven to 220C.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large, frying pan over medium-high heat. Add in the garlic, chillies, and fresh herbs. Sauté until fragrant and then add the onions in. Cook until the onions are soft before adding the carrots and celery in. Season with salt and pepper, and cook for a further 10 to 12 minutes, stirring continuously.
  3. While the vegetables are cooking, add the lamb meat as well as the bones to a casserole dish (in my case I just used my rectangle pyrex dish).
  4. Add the red wine and leave to cook for about a minute or two before adding the the diced tomatoes, stock cubes, tomato paste, and about 2 cups of cold water. Stir to combine and then bring to a boil.
  5. Once boiled, remove from the heat are carefully scoop out the vegetables transfer them to the pyrex dish with the lamb meat. Then pour the liquid into the dish. Cover using aluminium foil, or with the lid if using a casserole dish with a lid, and place in oven to cook for about 3 hours or until tender.
  6. Once the lamb is done, get started on your pappardelle pasta. Bring a medium-sized saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, until al dente. Drain and transfer to a serving plate. Top with the lamb ragù and shaved parmesan. Serve!

Pappardelle al Ragù

Pappardelle al Ragù

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com