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

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | SERVES 4-6

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

METHOD

  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

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Tropical Mix Smoothie

Tropical Mix Smoothie

Hello Everyone! Once again, time really has flown by! I can’t believe that it’s already the end of March and we’re already a quarter into the year. I wish I could say the same for each passing day I spend in the office. It was only just recently where I started to feel that everyday is like a Monday, and that weekends do not exist – even Sunday does not feel like a Sunday anymore. Everyday is Monday. Haha, I’m so pessimistic; but no, seriously, just last week I was convinced that the afternoon of Wednesday was already Thursday, and that the next day would be Friday. I was rushing to get all my work done that was due for Friday, only to realise a little later that is was still only Wednesday. Sigh. I think I briefly mentioned this is last week’s post too – yes, still not over it haha!

Anyway rant aside! Nothing exciting has happened since my post last week besides the night that we (my colleagues and I) went wax (yes, not ice) skating. I was a bit sad to find out that the rink was not actually ice, but I was also slightly a little bit relieved because I find it easier to skate on wax than ice. I nearly made a no-fall record for myself, until my colleague Grace dragged me down with her. Other than wax skating, I managed to complete my meat free week that ended on Easter Sunday! This weekend I’ll be hanging out with some of my high school buddies whom I have not seen in forever! We’ll be watching Belle the Musical (Beauty & The Beast), but as usual, before the weekend comes it’s going to be all about work work work work work.

Happy days are here as sweet Philippine mangoes are finally in season! And because of that, I cannot resist a refreshingly delicious tropical smoothie that just screams Summer is here! Mangoes alone tastes so good, and that is one of the reasons why people often forget that mangoes are actually quite beneficial to our health, however, there are a few cautions to take into consideration especially if you have some allergies that can cause a reaction to consuming mangoes. First of all, research has shown that antioxidant compounds in a mango fruit has been found to protect against colon, breast, leukaemia, and prostate cancers. Other than that, mangoes contain high levels of fibre which helps to lower cholesterol levels.

This particular health benefit caught my attention, and it’s that mangoes helps in diabetes. I would think that it would spike sugar levels because of it’s insane sweetness, but apparently the fruit has a relatively low glycemic index (41-60) so moderate quantities will not increase sugar levels. The mango leaves though, help normalise insulin levels in the blood.  The traditional home remedy involves boiling leaves in water, soaking through the night and then consuming the filtered decoction in the morning.  To read up more on the health benefits of mangoes, click here.

Now as mentioned, there are some cautions to look out for when consuming mangoes:

  1. If you have a latex allergy, a reaction is possible, particularly green mangos. This reaction develops because of anacardic acid.
  2. Mango peel and sap contain urushiol, the chemical in poison ivy and poison sumac that can cause an allergic reaction in susceptible individuals.
  3. Mangos are ripened by some dealers using calcium carbide which can cause serious health problems (one more reason to buy organic).  If you do have inorganic mangos, do wash them properly before consuming or soak overnight in water.

Tropical Mix Smoothie Ingredients

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME | SERVES 3

INGREDIENTS

  • 3-4 pineapple slices
  • 2 bananas, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 ripe Philippine mangoes (or any other sweet mangoes), peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • Juice of 1 large orange

METHOD

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender, and pulse until combined. If the smoothie is too thick, add more coconut water. If it is too thin, add more fruit and/or ice if needed.
  2. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Tropical Mix Smoothie

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Kale Piña-Cavado

Kale Piña-Cavado

Hello Everyone! So last week was a little hectic, and today is no different as well. I’m currently back in Brunei; I arrived at 4 in the afternoon, and tomorrow I’ll be back in office – sad times. I had a great week in Singapore, though I wouldn’t call it a rest and relaxation kind of holiday. I was out and about most of the time, exploring, café hopping, eating, playing with dogs, and many more activities which included the shedding of calories for my wallet. Anyway, so from my previous post I mentioned that I was going to go to the River Safari with my sister – and we did! It was a lot of fun seeing a lot of aquatic animals, especially Kai Kai and Jia Jia the Giant Pandas!

The following day, Pam, my sister, and myself started our morning at a café known as Boufé. The food was delicious and it reminded me so much of the brunches that I had when I was back in Sydney. I’m really sad that Brunei doesn’t have that kind of brunch that I’m after – or maybe there is, it’s just that I haven’t had the time to explore the new/existing cafés in Brunei. Anyway, after that we headed straight for the Dog Café (also known as We are The Furballs or WTF) to play with the cutest dogs ever! If you want to see photos of this, you can head on over to my personal Instagram account, @amcarmen.

After the weekend, things slowed down a little bit as I did most of the shoppings that I needed to do, and went to the places that I had planned on going to. The only last thing that I did was co-host a dinner party with a high school friend for our other high school friends, one of which I had not seen since we finished IB and headed of for university (which was 5 years ago!). One of our friends is a vegan so, my friend, Miao, and I took up the challenge to whip up some yummy vegan dishes. Both of us had never cooked up a vegan dish before so we were both quite excited to see how it would turn out. I remember at one point when Miao was making her Spiced Cauliflower Soup, she tasted it and didn’t seem like she was blown away with it. She then asked me to taste it, and as I was tasting it, she said:

“Something’s missing, but I don’t know what. I don’t think it needs anymore herbs because I think it’s quite balanced already… Or maybe it’s because it’s vegan?”

I laughed out loud at that comment! Maybe it was just because it’s lacking a lovely chicken broth base or oils from fried up bacon as its base – but nonetheless, the soup was still pretty amazing. Good job Miao! For mains, I cooked up a Chunky Butternut Squash Wholegrain Spaghetti with Sundried Tomatoes and Sage Leaves. Again, we had a hefty laugh at the table when Ann (our vegan friend), filled her plate with the pasta, sundried tomatoes, and sage leaves. She then started to mix it and was about to take a bite until Miao’s boyfriend, Robin, pointed out that she was missing the Butternut Squash sauce. We laughed out because she thought that it was some sort of agilo olio. It was funny, but I guess you’d have to be there to understand the extent of the humour. Lastly, we ended the savoury with a delicious No-bake Blueberry and Orange “Cheesecake”.

Okay, I apologise for a super long post, so I guess I will keep this part short. I think I may have added too much kale, or not enough pineapple because the kale was really overpowering the taste of the smoothie. Kale has a lot of vitamins and also contains powerful antioxidants that help protect your immune system and fight against certain cancers. If you want to read more about the health benefits of kale, please click here. Now, you may substitute kale for spinach if kale isn’t readily available where you are; I know that it’s not very cheap to get kale here in Brunei since it’s air-flown in from Australia. Before you scroll down to the recipe, don’t forget to check out the original over on Delicious by Dre.

Kale Piña-Cavado Ingredients

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 & 1/2 cups kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 ripe avocados, pitted and flesh removed
  • 1-2 cups fresh coconut water
  • 1/2 medium-sized pineapple, chopped

METHOD

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender in this order: avocado, pineapple, kale, and 1 cup of coconut water. Pulse a couple of times to mix up the ingredients in the blender a bit and then blend on high for about 30 to 60 seconds. Add more coconut water if needed to reach your desired consistency.
  2. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Kale Piña-Cavado

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Blackberry, Pineapple, & Spinach Smoothie

Hello Everyone! First of all, I apologise that it has taken me this long to be able to edit this part of the post. If you do not already know, I had a flight to catch on Wednesday evening to Singapore. Upon arriving in Singapore at about 7:20pm that evening, I headed straight for the hotel to drop my things off, and then quickly headed back out again with my sister for a very late dinner. After dinner, we shopped for a bit, mainly to buy some water and a comb since I forgot to pack mine. We then said our goodbyes at the train station and headed in opposite directions. I didn’t get back to my hotel until about 10:30pm, maybe 10:45pm that night, and I hadn’t prepared my usual Wednesday post. Nevertheless, I quickly got it up because I am very particular about getting my posts up on its scheduled day – I just haven’t shared it on my other social media pages because I wanted to write this part out properly.

So yes! I am in Singapore until this coming Wednesday 9th March. I’m here to do some important errands, and of course to have some rest and relaxation from work, and of course to do some shopping! Aside from that, it’s my sisters birthday as well (March 04). We’ll be celebrating by going on a River Safari all day Saturday, and then spending the Sunday café hopping with my friend Pamela. I also have plans to meet up, cook, eat, and catch up with some friends from high school so that should be fun!

Anyway, so before we race on to the recipe, please check out the original over on Way Fair. I replaced the milk with coconut water for a diary-free option, and coconut water is filled with electrolytes and potassium, which are two nutrients your body craves when expending lots of energy. It’s low in calories, fat, and sugar meaning that this is the liquid-base you want when working out. In addition, blackberries contain a handful amount of vitamins such as vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, E, and K. Blackberries also include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, and zinc. They are a good source of amino acids and essential dietary fibre without offering any harmful cholesterol. If you’d like to read up more on the health benefits of blackberries, click here.

 

Blackberry, Pineapple, & Spinach Smoothie Ingredients

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME — MINS | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup coconut water
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen blackberries
  • 1/4 cup pineapple
  • Handful of walnuts

METHOD

  1. Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy immediately.

Blackberry, Pineapple, & Spinach Smoothie Ingredients

Blackberry, Pineapple, & Spinach Smoothie

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Hamonado (Pork Rolls Stewed in Pineapple Juice)

Hamonado (Pork Rolls Stewed in Pineapple Juice)

Hello Everyone! First of all, apologies for a later than usual post. I just got back home about an hour ago and yes, I am still writing this post – I didn’t manage to get around to writing this in advance knowing that I wouldn’t get home until later than I usually do. Oh well! Anyway, we’re halfway through our 12 days before Christmas Special on Amcarmen’s Kitchen, and I want to know, which of the ones that have been posted are your favourites? Let me know in the comments section below 🙂 Anyway, tonight’s recipe is just as simple in terms of the ingredients used to make such lavish looking dish, and delicious of course, for Noche Buena. However, the dish is not limited to the Christmas season as it can also be found on tables on an everyday basis.

In a nutshell, Hamonado is simply, thinly sliced pork (like tapa style) sweetened in pineapple juice. It resembles sliced ham but is often thick, juicy, and exceptionally sweet. What makes this dish quite interesting is due to it’s simplicity – here are the three very basic steps: marinating, pan-frying, and simmering. What makes this dish right on the money is because of the balance of flavours – you’ve got the sweetness from the pineapple juice and sugar mixture that penetrated through a lovely pork shoulder from the marinating process, while you get a hit of salt from the salted egg that is stuff in between the meat when it is rolled up.

Hamonado (Pork Rolls Stewed in Pineapple Juice)

From doing some research on this dish, I’ve found multiple recipes that skip the process of having to roll up the meat into a log, which is also okay to do so as the flavours still remain the same. If you wish to go down this path, then I suggest you cut your pork shoulder into chunks instead of slicing it thinly and flattening it out. This is actually the easiest way of cooking pork hamonado for the novice cooks to take a stab at. I think what my Mom ended up doing was that she rolled up about 1/2 of the pork, and the other half she just stewed it in the marinade.

Hamonado (Pork Rolls Stewed in Pineapple Juice) Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS* | COOKING TIME 30-45 MINS | SERVES 10-12

*Does not include marinating  process which is a minimum of 3 hours, or preferably overnight. Plan your time according by taking this into account.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3kg pork shoulder, sliced thinly
  • 4 salted eggs, hard boiled, and cut into 4 wedges
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 bulbs garlic, minced
  • 1 can (1360ml) Del Monte pineapple juice
  • 1 can (340g) pineapple slices
  • 1 tbsp achuete powder
  • Ground salt and pepper, to taste,

METHOD

  1. Combine the thin slices of pork in a large mixing bowl together with the pineapple juice, sugar, and achuete powder. Give it a good mix until the sugar has dissolved. Cover with plastic wrap and leave it in the refrigerator to marinate for a minimum of 3 hours, overnight preferred to soak up more of the flavours (my Mom marinated it for three days).
  2. Remove the pork from the marinade (do not discard), and place the slice on a flat surface and arrange the salted egg in the centre of the slice. Roll and form into a log. Secure the roll by tying cooking string around the log, making sure that it is tight enough to hold the roll.
  3. Heat about 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium-high. Sauté the garlic until fragrant and golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Follow with the rolls of pork, searing it until all sides are golden brown, approximately 5-8 minutes. Pour in about half of the marinade juices and leave to simmer for about 30-40 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. You will need to flip the pork rolls from side to side every 15 minutes.
  4. Once done and the sauce has thickened, remove the pork rolls  and place it on a platter. Carefully remove the cooking string and slice into serving pieces.
  5. Pour the sauce over the pork hamonado rolls and serve, and enjoy with pineapple slices and any extra  wedges of salted egg. Usually eaten with steamed rice.

Hamonado (Pork Rolls Stewed in Pineapple Juice)

Hamonado (Pork Rolls Stewed in Pineapple Juice)

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

Cornflake-crusted French Toast

Cornflake-crusted French Toast

Hello Everyone! I’ve got another french toast recipe with a twist for you again today, but this time there will be no added milo to it. Instead we’re gonna crust our classic french toast with some cornflakes to give it that extra added crunch to an already soggy bread. I came across this idea a couple of months ago back in July when Symmetry Breakfast went viral. They posted a photo of some cornflake-crusted french toast and when I planned for Breakfast/Brunch Month for October, I knew I had to tackle a recipe for that!

I absolutely love their work! If you have been following my Instagram during that month, you would’ve seen that Jialing and I (and Edison) hopped on the #symmetrybreakfast bandwagon for the last remaining week that I was in Sydney. Actually, I might just share the photographs here since I don’t know if I will be posting them on the blog anytime other than now I guess (click on the individual images to view a larger version of them):

Homemade Charred Eggplant & Baby Octopus Shakshuka with Lebanese Bread; Blueberry & Passionfruit Cider French Crêpes with a Honeyed Citrus Creamcheese Filling topped with a Mixed Berry Compte; Orange Sunrise Cocktail Pea and Ham Soup with Stone-baked Pane di Casa and Strawberry & Lime Cider
Potato Hash Crusted Breakfast Quiche with Caramelised Onion, Chorizo, Spinach, and Sunnyside Up Egg with Mixed Leaf Salad and Garlic Butter Bread Beer, Bacon, and Tater Soup (aka “Man Soup”) with Pane di Casa; Russian Earl Grey Tea Fancy Filipino Hotsilog Brekky with Sweet Potato Hash Browns and Brekky Mocktails

L-R: Homemade Charred Eggplant & Baby Octopus Shakshuka with Lebanese Bread; Blueberry & Passionfruit Cider | French Crêpes with a Honeyed Citrus Creamcheese Filling topped with a Mixed Berry Compte; Orange Sunrise Cocktail | Pea and Ham Soup with Stone-baked Pane di Casa and Strawberry & Lime Cider Potato Hash Crusted Breakfast Quiche with Caramelised Onion, Chorizo, Spinach, and Sunnyside Up Egg with Mixed Leaf Salad and Garlic Butter Bread Beer, Bacon, and Tater Soup (aka “Man Soup”) with Pane di Casa; Russian Earl Grey Tea Fancy Filipino Hotsilog Brekky with Sweet Potato Hash Browns and Brekky Mocktails

I know, they’re not quite as symmetrical as the guys from Symmetry Breakfast (we tried to be creative with our symmetry/asymmetry lines), but it still gained a lot of views, likes (especially from Symmetry Breakfast), and new followers! Anyway, yes I realise that I have gone on a bit of a tangent, but I’m pretty sure you enjoyed those photographs (for those who have not seen them that is). So let’s get down to business shall we and get a move on to today’s recipe:

Cornflake-crusted French Toast Ingredients

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME 8-12 MINS | SERVES 2-4*

*Depending if you want one or two slices of french toast per person; recipe is for 4 slices of bread

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 & 1/2 cups of cornflakes, crushed
  • 4 thick slices of bread
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Optional:

  • Green Kiwi
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberries
  • Honey
  • Powdered sugar
  • Vanilla yoghurt

METHOD

  1. Whisk the eggs together with the milk, sugar, spices, and vanilla extract in a bowl.
  2. Dip both sides of a bread slice to soak up the wet mixture; do not soak it for too long. The dip the soaked sliced bread into the cornflake crumbs and coat.
  3. Place the bread slice into the frying pan and cook until done, 2-3 minutes per side.
  4. Once done, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up any excess oils. Repeat for the remaining bread slices.
  5. Top with your favourite toppings, and/or serve with your choice of fruits for a fresh salad on the side. Enjoy!

Cornflake-crusted French Toast

Cornflake-crusted French Toast

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Kale Smoothie with Almonds, Banana, & Pineapple

Kale Smoothie with Almonds, Banana, & Pineapple

Hello Everyone! I’ve got another brekky smoothie recipe for you today, and some may find this unusual at first, but it actually works! I must admit, I was once cynical about the idea of adding vegetables to a smoothie. That changed when I moved to Australia and saw kale juices/smoothies pop up here and there in many local cafés in and around Sydney. I’d always see my friends with a take away cup of green smoothies that were either made up of kale or spinach included in them. To be honest, I’ve never tried a kale smoothie before and this is the first time I’m making and trying one! I’ve had kale before, and to me, it doesn’t have a distinct taste to it, so I was glad that the non-exsitent kale flavour didn’t shine through in the smoothie. Instead, you can taste the almonds, bananas, and pineapple which was nice. However, after having done some research, kale apparently does have a strong flavour that many might be used to, so when making a green smoothie using kale, you should use strongly flavour fruits such as strawberries or pineapple to help mask the flavour (possibly why I personally could taste the kale because I use pineapple in my green smoothie).

Before I begin with this simple green smoothie recipe, I want to talk to you a little bit about the health benefits of adding kale to your smoothie. Kale helps cut the sweetness of the fruits added, and has more than twice the recommended daily value of calcium to your diet. It is an excellent leafy green to use for detox as it contains cleansing properties. In addition, kale has a lot of vitamins and also contains powerful antioxidants that help protect your immune system and fight against certain cancers. If you want to read more about the health benefits of kale, please click here. Now, you may substitute kale for spinach if kale isn’t readily available where you are; I know that it’s not very cheap to get kale here in Brunei since it’s air-flown in from Australia.

The original recipe can be found over on Real Simple; all I did was again, change the quantities to serve about 3-4 tall glasses. I also decided to substitute the coconut milk for fresh coconut water as most coconut milk that you find here in Brunei are straight out from a tin and have a whole lot of preservatives added to them. You can use coconut water from the shelf if you don’t have fresh coconut water readily available but I personally hate those because they taste very artificial to me. Otherwise, you can also just use water. I read in the comments section of the site as well that someone added almonds to the smoothie for that added protein, so feel free to add your favourite nuts into the mix as well when you make your smoothie!

Kale Smoothie with Almonds, Banana, & Pineapple Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 & 1/2 cups kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1-2 cups fresh coconut water
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1/2 medium-sized pineapple, chopped
  • 2 ripe bananas, chopped

METHOD

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender in this order: bananas, almonds, pineapple, kale, and 1 cup of coconut water. Pulse a couple of times to mix up the ingredients in the blender a bit and then blend on high for about 30 to 60 seconds. Add more coconut water if needed to reach your desired consistency.
  2. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Kale Smoothie with Almonds, Banana, & Pineapple

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Fresh Fruit Salad

Fresh Fruit Salad

 

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

Fresh Fruit Salad

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

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

Fruit Salad

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

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

Fresh Fruit Salad Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

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

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

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

METHOD

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

Fresh Fruit Salad

Fresh Fruit Salad

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Meat District Co. - Sydney - Roasted bone marrow

Meat District Co. – Sydney

Hello Everyone! And a happy first day of Autumn to all my dear Aussie friends. Welcome back to an all new Review Sunday. Today, I have a selection of cocktails, entrées, mains, and a dessert to share with you from Meat District Co. Sydney. If I am not mistaken, Meat District Co. started in the United States? And branched out to Sydney in late 2014. How I came to know about this place was through my internship – Meat District Co. Sydney is a client of Hello Social and I worked on a few graphics for them, one of which included their #mdcburgerselfie competition that ran earlier on this year.

The first time I came here my boss Max treated lunch for everyone in the office. I had the lamb loin then. The second time I came here, I came with a bunch of close friends for my farewell dinner. We went on a Friday night and even Darling Harbour had fireworks on later that evening. Normally fireworks only happen every Saturday, so Edison cheekily said that he had arranged for fireworks that night for my farewell (obviously he didn’t). Nevertheless, the fireworks were a great touch to a wonderful evening sharing food and exchanging laughters with close friends.

Inspired by the paddock to the plate, Meat District Co. aims to bring a NEW kind of dining to Sydney. Meat District Co. works in partnership with some of Australia’s most sustainable producers delivering an experience & dishes that tick all the boxes when it comes to quality & taste, leaving you wanting more each & every time: an ADDICTION waiting to be savoured. We remember a time when beef came from a farm & not a factory – when ‘100% beef’ was actually from a cow. Meat District Co. has decided it is time to bring the farm to your doorstep.

ASSORTED HOUSE COCKTAILS

Meat District Co. - Sydney - ASSORTED HOUSE COCKTAILS

CUCUMBER MULE: Traditional Moscow Mule with Smirnoff Vodka, lime juice, ginger beer & cucumber slices; served tall over ice ($10.00)

MANGO TANGO: A sweet & fruity mix of Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka & Mohala Mango Liqueur, cloudy apple juice & mango purée ($10.00)

PIMMS ‘N’ PONY: Fortified ‘any occasion’ classic; Pimm’s No. 1, tuned with Gordon’s Gin, served tall with lemonade, strawberries & mint ($10.00)

HAVAIANA: Pleasant flavour of the tropics; a blend of Malibu, Midori, banana liqueur, pineapple juice & coconut cream ($10.00)

FRUIT NINJA COMBO: Sweet with subtle fruity hints of mixed Passoa & Malibu strengthened up with Smirnoff Vodka, finished with pineapple juice, passionfruit & dash of raspberry cordial; served tall & garnished with fresh fruits ($10.00)

I only had sips of the other cocktail drinks that my friends ordered, but from what they all had to say, their drinks were all refreshingly tasty. The alcohol flavour did not dominate which I quite like. I had the Fruit Ninja Combo cocktail, and obviously I’m going to be biased, but it was probably the best cocktail drink from the others that we ordered that night. It was absolutely yum. Tough I couldn’t really taste much of the other fruits that were incorporated into the drink, the passionfruit taste really stood out from the rest.

Like most reviews I do, I mentioned that I could not comment on some (most) of the dishes because I wasn’t able to have a bite of it. But overall, my friends were really impressed by the flavours of the dishes that they ordered, which were mainly the burgers and the fries. They also commented that the prices were well worth money.

STARTERS & SIDES

Meat District Co. - Sydney - Fries with rosemary & thyme salt
Fries with rosemary & thyme salt ($5.00)

Meat District Co. - Sydney - Truffle fries, truffle salt, truffle parmesan & truffle aioli
Truffle fries, truffle salt, truffle parmesan & truffle aioli ($7.50)

Meat District Co. - Sydney - Crispy battered onion rings with truffle aioli
Crispy battered onion rings with truffle aioli ($7.50)

Quite possibly the BEST onion rings I’ve ever tasted ANYWHERE in the world. Nothing can top this. The crispy, light batter that wrapped around a generous thick slice of onion was simply to die for! And that truffle aioli! I really wished I hadn’t shared this dish with others.

Meat District Co. - Sydney - Roasted bone marrow
Roasted bone marrow with garlic, parsley, mustard seeds, chilli, served with bread ($8.50)

Unfortunately this dish was more bone than marrow. A little disappointing to find half a slice of bone with little marrow on it. I felt that there were more mustard seeds than the marrow itself, and I’m not a fan of mustard myself! Would’ve been a great dish if the marrow spoke for itself because that’s how I like it.

Meat District Co. - Sydney -  Grilled watermelon salad
Compressed, grilled watermelon salad, sumac, goat cheese, and hazelnut ($8.50)

BURGERS

Meat District Co. - Sydney - OLD FAITHFUL BURGER
OLD FAITHFUL BURGER: MDC beef patty with mixed greens, tomato, caramelised onions, pickles & house sauce ($12.00)

Meat District Co. - Sydney - TRUFFLE BURGER
TRUFFLE BURGER: MDC beef patty with truffle parmesan, rocket, roasted peppers, tomato & truffle aioli ($14.00)

Meat District Co. - Sydney - CHICKEN BURGER
CHICKEN BURGER: Crumbed chicken breast with sesame seeds, almond flakes, tomato, coleslaw & horseradish mayo ($14.00)

Meat District Co. - Sydney - SPIDER CRAB BURGER
SPIDER CRAB BURGER: Battered soft shell crab, coleslaw & lemon caper aioli ($16.00)

Meat District Co. - Sydney - SLIDERS FLIGHT
SLIDERS FLIGHT: 3 mini burgers, an Old Faithful, Crumbed Chicken & Lamb Pull ($15.00)

THE DOGS

Meat District Co. - Sydney - CLASSIC DOG
CLASSIC DOG: Pure beef hot dog with caramelised onions, mustard, pickles & ketchup on a baked roll ($11.00)

THE PULLS

Meat District Co. - Sydney - SLOW ROASTED PORK
SLOW ROASTED PORK: Spiced & roasted pork shoulder, coleslaw & apple jam on a bun ($12.00)

Meat District Co. - Sydney - SLOW ROASTED LAMB
SLOW ROASTED LAMB: Spiced & roasted lamb shoulder, cucumber, rocket, BBQ mint dressing on a bun ($13.00)

FROM THE GRILL

Served with your choice of chips or salad

Meat District Co. - Sydney - 220G LAMB LOIN
220G LAMB LOIN: Sous vide lamb loin with an olive & pistachio crust, truffle mash, and lamb jus ($33.00)

This was overall an okay dish to be honest. I know a lot of people have certain preferences of how they like their mash; I like mine smooth, creamy, and rich, which unfortunately was not what I got on my plate. I got chunky mashed potatoes, which I don’t mind, but would’ve preferred it the way I like my mash to be. The lamb loin looked a bit small on the plate, but nonetheless was quite flavourful. Was it worth the $33.00? Probably not.

RIBS & COMBOS

Served in two sizes with your choice of fries or a side salad

Meat District Co. - Sydney - HALF PORK RIBS
HALF PORK RIBS with a side of rosemary & thyme salt fries ($31.00)

This was my highlight of the night for this main dish was the absolute bomb dot com. Way much better than the ribs you find at Hurricane’s Grill in my opinion. Tender pork ribs with a lovely barbecue flavour. I only wished they had given a truffle aioli dip for the fries on the side because the dip that I got seemed like it was barbecue sauce if I’m not mistaken? Yes that’s right, only real women order fries with their ribs… I mean, a salad? Really? Anyway, barbecue on barbecue was a bit much to handle. Nevertheless, this dish is seriously melt in the mouth, and the TRUE definition of finger licking good. I mean honestly, who eats ribs with a knife and fork? Not me that’s for sure!

DESSERTS

Meat District Co. - Sydney - COOKIE & CREAM CHEESECAKE
COOKIE & CREAM CHEESECAKE: with white chocolate ganache, chocolate soil, and white chocolate gelato ($12.00)

This wasn’t my first choice at dessert actually for I had my eyes (or more like my friend Simon who wanted to share dessert with me) on the Caramel Tart, but they had unfortunately just run out of it when we placed our order – so it was either the cheesecake or gelato. It didn’t disappoint though for it was a nice, light, and airy dessert, which was perfect to top off the half rack of ribs I had that night. My gelato on the side unfortunately melted quite quickly, but MDC aren’t to blame here for I got caught up saying goodbye to a few friends who were ready to go home that night. Overall, I lovely dessert to end the night on.

Overall, the food is about a 7 to 7.5 out of 10 for me. There are a few dishes that I had minor issues with, and some that were top notch for me. Then again, I haven’t had the range of dishes that they have to offer so I can’t give an honest score. Service was good, and the ambience, I’m not too sure because both times I dined outdoors and haven’t had the chance to see the indoor seating area yet. Value for money is variable, I don’t know about spending $33.00 for a small piece of lamb loin, but the ribs was definitely worth it. For a total of 14 people that night at my farewell, the total bill came to almost $450.00!!!

Meat District Co. – Sydney
R3/11 Lime Street
Sydney, New South Wales
Australia, 2000