Angel Hair with Beetroot Pesto & Roast Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Angel Hair with Beetroot Pesto & Roast Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Hello Everyone! I know that one of my Mom’s family friends had been asking for this recipe from way back when she showed a picture of this dish to her at the time I put it together (probably back in July); well I’m glad to say that’s it’s finally here and I do apologise for getting it up really late.

I mentioned in my last post that I have a lot of personal and work stuff going on, and things have still been a bit rough – actually to be honest, I don’t think it is as rough as I say it is, but let’s just say my mind has the tendency to drift into a dangerous place which turns my usual cheerful mood to the complete opposite from time to time and I haven’t been able to get out of it since last week. I guess my mood has been making me think that it’s been rough; maybe I should stop listening to Sam Smith’s “Too Good at Goodbyes” on repeat … I can’t get enough of it though because it’s a really good song, but on the other hand, it’s putting a lot of unnecessary thoughts into my head. Well on top of that I guess it doesn’t help that work is getting crazy busy that I can barely keep up with it. Anyway I’m not here to talk about this, so onward with tonight’s recipe!

Angel Hair with Beetroot Pesto & Roast Lemon Rosemary Chicken

As you know, or maybe not depending on if you’ve read my post from the beginning of the year back in January, or if you already know this from your own research and reading, there are nitrates in the juice of beetroots that have been found to bring down one’s high blood pressure within just 24 hours. If you’re not a keen beetroot juice drinker, you can easily add this vegetable to your diet by roasting or steaming the whole root and then add it to a green-packed salad, stir-fry, stew, or in this case, make a nutty and creamy beetroot pesto that’s far from tasting beet-y the way beets do for those who don’t sit well with its taste.

Tonight’s recipe is so much more versatile than just adding it to your favourite pasta. It is a delicious sauce for your salads, pizza, and appetizers to spread on to toast with eggs or dip crudites in for the ultimate seasonal flavour fix! You can pair your Angel Hair Pasta with a delicious and juicy road chicken breast or keep it completely vegetarian. I’m sure there’s a vegan recipe for beetroot pesto as well, just don’t forget to replace your pasta with a vegan-friendly one.

You can find the original recipe that I referred to for this Beetroot Pesto over on Akis Petretzikis.

Beetroot Pesto Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

For the beetroot pesto sauce

  • 400g whole raw beetroot, washed
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 grated parmesan
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 500g angel hair pasta

For the roast lemon rosemary chicken*

*I’ve linked my recipe for Lemon & Thyme Roast Chicken which is essentially they same except that I replace the thyme with rosemary just because when I went grocery shopping that weekend, they didn’t have fresh thyme on the shelves but had rosemary instead. You can top your pasta with some chicken or keep it meat-free; it’s completely up to you!

METHOD

  1. In a pan of boiling salted water, boil the beetroot for about 15-20 mins or until tender. Drain and leave to cool before peeling (wear clean rubber gloves to peel if you want to avoid beet-stained hands). Reserve about a quarter cup of small cubed beets to garnish on top of your pasta dish.
  2. Roughly chop the beetroots in to small chunks and purée them in a blender for about 30 to 45 seconds.
  3. Add the olive oil, garlic, and season with ground sea salt and black pepper to taste. Continue to blend for another 30 seconds before adding the chopped walnuts and grated parmesan. Blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
  4. Cook the angel hair pasta according to packet instructions in a pot of boiling salted water. It should take no longer than two minutes, but I like to slightly undercook my pasta since I will be further cooking it again.
  5. When the pasta is ready, reserve some of the pasta water and drain. Add the pasta back to the pot and stir the beetroot pesto in. Add the pasta water if necessary to make the sauce as creamy as you like. Once coated, turn the heat off and divide equally to individual dishes.
  6. Top the pasta with the grated zest from 1 lemon, extra grated parmesan, more chopped walnuts, and the beetroot cubes. Optional to serve with juicy slices of Roast Lemon Rosemary Chicken. Enjoy!

Angel Hair with Beetroot Pesto & Roast Lemon Rosemary Chicken

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

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Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Conchiglie

Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Conchiglie

Hello Everyone! I’ve got one last Broccoli recipe to share with you guys before I power through with the theme for April. I’ll be back to my usual Wednesday posts as I have finally caught up with all the recipes I had planned for the past two months. It wasn’t easy playing catch up seeing as I had to balance both writing the recipes and work over the past few weeks when I posted more than a recipe or two for the week. Anyway, I’ll keep tonight’s post short and sweet as I don’t really have much to talk about in terms of how my week went. I spent pretty much a whole two hours in the kitchen this afternoon whipping up multiple ways for you to add some colour and enjoyment to your breakfast mornings, all of which will be revealed on Wednesday!

Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Conchiglie

Tonight’s recipe is one that I have been wanting to try out for a while now – well not this specific recipe, but rather to work with jumbo pasta shells ever since I brought them back from my recent travels to Singapore. I was at the grocers looking for some products to bring back to Brunei, more specifically products that you don’t find in Brunei, and I came across these jumbo pasta shells (also known as ‘Conchiglie’). You’d think that you’d be able to find Conchiglie pasta in Brunei, and you can actually but just not the jumbo-sized ones. With this recipe, you can choose to make your own Alfredo sauce, or you can just buy the ready made ones at your local grocers; I guess it depends on whether you have time up your sleeve or not! The recipe may be a little bit time consuming like shredding the chicken, stuffing the shells, but trust me when I say that it all pays off in the end and it is actually a very easy and fool-proof recipe! It tastes so good straight out of the oven, and even better the day after if you have any leftovers. Be sure to check out the original recipe over on Life in the Lofthouse by Holly.

Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Conchiglie Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

For the pasta

  • 500g jumbo Conchiglie pasta
  • 500g chicken breast
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

For the Alfredo sauce

  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 1 cup full cream milk
  • 3/4 cup freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2/3 cup freshly shredded Parmesan
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil

METHOD

  1. Add the chicken breast together with 2-3 dried bay leaves, a pinch of whole black peppercorns, and about a teaspoon of salt in a pot of water. Bring to a boil and leave to simmer for about 20 minutes. Once done, remove the chicken breast from the stock and set aside to cool down. *Do not discard the stock as it can be kept as a base for soups. I used mine on the same day and made a delicious pumpkin soup while I had these shells on the go too.
  2. Once the chicken as cooled down, shred and place in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil and add the broccoli florets in. Poach for about a minute or two so that it still has a crispy bite to it. Immediately transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Roughly chop the broccoli florets and add to the bowl with the shredded chicken.
  4. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4).
  5. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the Conchiglie pasta to the package instructions, 18 minutes until al dente. Once done, drain and lay the shells out on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Let shells cool down completely.
  6. While waiting for the shells to cool, heat the olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high. Melt the unsalted butter and then sauté the minced garlic until golden brown and fragrant, about 30 to 45 seconds. Add in the finely diced onions and cook until soft, about 1-2 minutes.
  7. Add the thickened cream and milk to the saucepan and reduce the heat down to medium. Bring to a simmer. Once simmering, remove from heat and stir in the parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Season with ground sea salt and black pepper to taste. Set aside to cool down a bit.
  8. Pour about a cup of the Alfredo sauce to the shredded chicken and chopped broccoli and stir together until well combined.
  9. Add a spoonful of Alfredo sauce to the bottom of a greased baking pan, about 9″ x 13″ will do.
  10. Fill the shells with a large spoonful of the chicken, broccoli, and Alfredo sauce mixture, and place each shell into the prepared pan.
  11. Pour the remaining Alfredo sauce evenly over the shells and sprinkle the tops with more mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  12. Bake in the oven, uncovered, for about 25 minutes or until warm and bubbly.
  13. Serve and enjoy!
Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Conchiglie

Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Conchiglie

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

Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia con Calamari e Vongole

Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia con Calamari e Vongole

Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia con Calamari e Vongole

Hello Everyone! It’s week 2 of Pasta Month and let me tell you a little story (don’t I always? *cheeky grin*) before I move on to the recipe. The first time I had squid ink pasta was in an Italian Restaurant when I was studying in Sydney. If I’m not mistaken, the restaurant is called Pizza e Birra on Crown Street in the suburb of Surry Hills. I was having a fancy dinner night out with my flatmate at that time and squid ink pasta was on their specials menu. I was a bit hesitant at first because I obviously hadn’t tried it before and to be honest, I was a bit put off knowing that the colour of the pasta would be black (yes, at that time my palette wasn’t quite as sophisticated as it is right now). To my surprise, the squid ink pasta tasted like any normal pasta – it was just that the colour that was different to me. I’ve had my fair share of squid ink pastas, both in Australia, and here in Brunei. I decided to combine my favourite flavours from both experiences to put up this dish to share with you guys.

I’ve never made fresh squid ink pasta at home, and only because I have no idea where to source squid ink from besides from the ink sacs of fresh squids/cuttle fish. I did some reading online and found that you can actually buy bottled squid ink, but you definitely won’t find them in stores here in Brunei. Heck they don’t even have store bought squid ink pasta here! So how did I manage to source mine? Well, if you’re a regular follower/reader of my blog, you’ll know that I was in Singapore a couple of months back. I was shopping for groceries with my friends for a dinner party that night and I was flabbergasted by all the produce and products found in that grocery store. I was supposed to be focused on grabbing the ingredients I needed to cook my dish for that night, but instead I wandered off, going from aisle to aisle, looking at anything and everything. I found myself in the pasta aisle and that where I came across store bought squid ink pasta. You had no idea how excited and in shock I was when I saw it – because I had no idea that you could buy it on the shelves; and without any hesitation at all, I bought myself a pack to bring back here to Brunei. I know, I know – I’m crazy right? Haha. My next mission will be tomato squid ink pasta from scratch, and I’ll definitely share it on my blog whenever I get around to trying it out! For now, here’s one recipe you can do for your squid ink pasta:

Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia con Calamari e Vongole Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pack (500g) squid ink pasta*
  • 1 pack (250g) cherry tomato medley, halved
  • 1 fish bouillon cube, dissolved in 2/3 cup of boiling water
  • 250g baby clam meat
  • 4 red bird’s eye chillies, sliced
  • 2 large squids, cleaned and cut into pieces
  • 1 lemon, wedged
  • 1/2 bulb garlic, minced
  • Olive Oil
  • Parsley, roughly chopped

*Fresh homemade squid ink pasta or store bought is fine for this recipe

METHOD

  1. Lightly score the inner surface of the squid, or alternatively, cut into rings. Set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the squid ink spaghetti according to packet instructions or until al dente.
  3. While the pasta is cooking away, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high. Sauté the minced garlic and chillies together until golden brown and fragrant.
  4. Add the clam meat, juice of half a lemon, and a pinch of ground black pepper. Give it a good mix before adding the fish bouillon stock. Turn the heat down to low and leave to simmer for about 3-4 minutes. Add in the calamari when the pasta is almost done.
  5. Once the pasta is done, drain and then transfer to the calamari and clam mixture. Turn the heat back up to medium-high and then give it a good mix. Top with the chopped parsley and then turn the heat off.
  6. Serve immediately with a lemon wedge. Enjoy!

Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia con Calamari e Vongole

Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia con Calamari e Vongole

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Pappardelle with Homemade Cheese-stuffed Meatballs

Pappardelle with Homemade Cheese-stuffed Meatballs

Pappardelle with Homemade Cheese-stuffed Meatballs

Hello Everyone! Oh wow – it has definitely been a while since I last updated my blog (well, I don’t think two weeks is “a while” but it definitely is for me)! I feel like I’ve lost touch on how to write since my last post, but I’m guessing that it is just the fatigue speaking here. In a nutshell, I’ve been super busy for the past two months, and it was really difficult for me to just sit down and write with a clear mind. I had been staying in the office until 9/9:30pm every night and have been working on Sunday’s as well since April. I know I shouldn’t be complaining because my other colleagues already do this on a daily basis and stay even later as well – it’s just that I am not used to this way of working.

Anyway! So what have I been up to? I don’t even remember if I have mentioned this in any of my previous blog posts – if I have, the annual Sukan Ria Antara Syarikat Inter-company Sports Fest 2016 finally closed two Sunday’s ago. You would think that that would be such a relief, but nooooooo! Just 3 days later, the opening of the 18th Consumer Fair snuck up on us, and that lasted up until Sunday. Though things have slowed down a bit, I still feel the stress from the past 2 months – and I believe it’s just because I haven’t had a proper rest yet. That’s right, right after the closing of the 18th Consumer Fair, we still had to report to work the next day at 8am *sigh*. Well, I’m just excited and really looking forward to the upcoming long weekend to just sit back, relax, and catch up on some cooking for my blog (doesn’t exactly scream relaxing, but cooking does made me happy).

Homemade Cheese-stuffed Meatballs

For the month of June, I will be sharing some delicious pasta recipes with you. I do believe that I mentioned about sharing some yummy mango recipes with you for this month – but I unfortunately did not have any time at all to make any dishes at all and mangoes are not in season anymore. So here’s a recipe for a classic bolognese sauce with pappardelle and homemade meatballs:

Pappardelle with Homemade Cheese-stuffed Meatballs Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

For the sauce

  • 250g pappardelle (or any other pasta)
  • 125g baby brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup of chicken or beef stock
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 dried bay leaves
  • 1 celery stick, sliced
  • 1 medium-sized carrot, cut into small chunks
  • 1 red birds-eye chilli, sliced (optional for that added kick of spice)
  • 1/2 green capsicum, diced
  • 1/2 medium-sized red onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • Knob of unsalted butter
  • Mozzarella cheese, grated

For the meatballs

  • 250g minced beef
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 1/2 medium-sized red onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs*
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Bocconcini balls
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper to taste

*You can buy readily made bread crumbs from the shelves or you can make your own by lightly toasting some stale bread (if you have some in handy) and then blitz it in the food processor.

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 190C (375F or gas mark 5). Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. For the meatballs: Add all the ingredients, except for the bocconcini balls, to a large bowl and mix until well combined. Shape the mixture into small to medium-sized balls and press a bocconcini ball (cut into smaller pieces if it is too big) into the meatball. Gently place onto the prepared baking tray and repeat with the remaining meat, about a dozen to fifteen balls altogether depending on the size. Place in the oven and bake until browned, about 10 minutes. Once done, remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. For the sauce: Heat about a tablespoon of oil together with a knob of unsalted butter in a large frying pan over medium-high. Sauté the garlic until golden and fragrant, then add the chillies and onions. Sauté until the onions are soft and then add in carrots, followed by the celery, and then the mushrooms. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft.
  4. Add the dried bay leaves, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, and stock. Give it a good mix and then turn the heat down to low, cover and let it simmer for about 15 minutes to allow the flavours to blend. Finally, add in the capsicum and meatballs, cooking for a further 5-8 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pappardelle according to packet instructions.
  6. Remove the sauce from the heat and serve over the hot pasta. Top with the meatballs and a handful of grated mozzarella cheese. Enjoy!

Pappardelle with Homemade Cheese-stuffed Meatballs

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Filipino-style Chicken Macaroni Salad

Filipino-style Chicken Macaroni Salad

Hello Everyone! It’s been a while since my last post – but if you are a regular reader, you would’ve picked up from my last post that I’d be taking a short break. It’s not because I needed some time to recover from my mental exhaustion (because let’s face it, I’m still always mentally drained by the end of a long day), but more for the theme for this month’s recipes. From today onwards, you will be expecting a recipe every single day leading up to Christmas – you read that right! I will be sharing with you Festive Filipino Dishes that can be found on the tables of a Filipino family during Noche Buena, some of the recipes that I will be sharing have been influenced by Spanish cuisine. So let’s kick off Day 01 of 12 days to Christmas with a sweet (or savoury?) one: Filipino-style Chicken Macaroni Salad.

First off, for those of you who don’t know, Noche Buena is the Spanish word for the night of Christmas Eve. In Latin American cultures, including Spain and the Philippines, Noche Buena is an annual traditional family feast. The traditional dinner is celebrated at midnight after attending the late evening Mass known as Misa de Gallo. In the Philippines, a whole roasted pig known as lechón, is the centre of all dishes during the feast. It is believed that the tradition dates back to the 15th century when Caribbean colonists hunted down pigs and roasted them whole as the family gathered for Christmas Eve. However, a whole roasted pig isn’t always served in other cultures. For example, in Peru, a large juicy turkey is the star for Noche Buena while in Venezuela, hallacas are quite popular. Actually, I think I may have explained what Noche Buena is in a post last Christmas? I’m not sure. Oh well!

Tonight’s dish is one of the many that can be found on the table during Noche Buena, but it doesn’t stop there. This dish is also typically served during Filipino fiestas and also during family outings and picnics. It is actually a very simple dish that doesn’t require a lot of cooking and complicated steps. The main “cooking” is basically cooking the macaroni until tender, and the chicken to be boiled and shredded. When those core ingredients are ready, all you have to do next is toss all the ingredients together and voilà! Chill it in the fridge for a couple of hours and you’ve got a tasty chicken macaroni salad.

Filipino-style Chicken Macaroni Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 10-12

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g macaroni*
  • 1 jar (400g) Nata de Coco, drained
  • 300ml dollop cream
  • 250g chicken breast
  • 100ml condensed milk
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, diced
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, diced
  • 3/4 cup carrots, minced
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • Ground salt and pepper to taste

*Aside from macaroni, you can use other types of short cut pasta. Here are some examples: Mostaccioli, Penne, Rigatoni, Cellentani, Rotini, Cavatappi, Fideuà, and Maccheroncelli.

METHOD

  1. Bring a medium-sized pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add in the chicken breasts and cook for about 15 minutes, or until cooked all the way through depending on the size of your breasts (yes I meant to say it that way *cheeky grin*). Once done, drain and set aside to completely cool down.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the condensed milk, cream, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Taste and adjust accordingly to your liking. Set aside.
  3. Then, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the macaroni and cook according to packet instructions (mine was about 10-11 minutes). Once done, drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl together with the dressing.
  4. When the chicken breasts have completely cooled down, shred the chicken meat and add it into the mixing bowl together with the macaroni.
  5. Add all the other remaining ingredients and toss thoroughly until well combined. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and refrigerate for about and hour or two before serving.
  6. Serve chilled and enjoy!

Filipino-style Chicken Macaroni Salad

Filipino-style Chicken Macaroni Salad

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

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

Arabela, Camello’s Bakehaus & Coffee Shop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Ally xx