Hello Everyone! Now this is a recipe I’ve been so eager to make since forever. I first came across this dish from a café across the road from my campus when I was still studying in Australia for my design degree. The café is known as Ampersand Café & Bookstore. I did a review of the café back in 2015, so if you have some free time up your sleeves, go and have a read, or just a look at the lovely ambiance of the café and the delicious food served there.
The one thing I would never fail to order off their blackboard menu? That’s right, their sweet potato crisps with aïoli. I even remember going there several times and not being able to order this dish because their deep fryer had been broken for a couple of months. At times I would even ask them “is your deep fryer still broken?” and then make a sad face later when they would unfortunately say yes.
The crisps from the café are made using orange sweet potatoes, and since we’re sharing violet recipes for this month, I decided to use purple sweet potatoes that I sourced from PruTazan. The sweet, crispy, and caramelised sweet potatoes pair really well with the slightly tangy, spicy, and garlicky aïoli. It’s a perfect side dish to your main meal, or even just a light snack on its own. Either way, it’s a whole new experience of enjoying sweet potatoes!
PREP TIME 10 MINS| COOKING TIME 5 MINS*| SERVES 4
* Plus additional 40 minutes for the roasted garlic (if not made in advance).
For the sweet potato crisps
2 small (100-200g) purple sweet potatoes, washed
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the roasted garlic
1 bulb garlic
Dried thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the easy roasted garlic and chive aïoli
Roasted Garlic (see above)
1 stalk chives, finely chopped
1/2 cup Japanese mayonnaise
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper powder, plus more if needed (optional)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Cooking oil, for deep frying
Roasted Garlic: Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6).
Use your fingers to peel away all the loose, papery, outer layers around the head of the garlic. Leave the head itself intact with all the cloves connected.
Trim about 1/4 inch off the top of the head of garlic to expose the tops of the garlic cloves.
Drizzle 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil over the exposed surface of the garlic, letting the oil sink down into the cloves. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, and flavour with your favourite herbs and spices as well (optional).
Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, begin checking the garlic. The garlic is done when a center clove is completely soft when pierced with a knife.
Note: Even once soft, you can continue roasting until deeply golden for a more caramelised flavor — check the garlic every 10 minutes. Exact roasting time will depend on the size of your garlic, the variety, and its age.
Let the garlic cool slightly, and then press on the bottom of a clove to push it out of its paper.
Tip: Roasting a single bulb of garlic in an oven for 40 minutes sounds a bit excessive doesn’t it? Well, what I usually like to do is whenever I use my oven for something, be it baking a delicious sweet treat or roasting away some beautiful salmon portions, I always throw a couple of garlic heads wrapped in foil into the oven as well. That way I’m killing two birds with one stone. I then keep the roasted garlic in a jar together with olive oil to preserve and use it when I need to. Roasted garlic can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 3 months.
Roasted Garlic and Chive Aïoli: Add all the ingredients into a small bowl and mix well. Add ground cayenne pepper if you want a bit of heat to your aïoli, otherwise you may omit. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Set aside to chill until ready to serve.
Sweet Potato Crisps: Using a peeler, peel off the skins of the sweet potato. Continue peeling into the flesh of the sweet potato to make long and thin strips. Place on top of a kitchen towel and pat dry to remove any excess moisture from them.
Pour cooking oil in a large, heavy pan to a depth of about 2 inches, and heat the oil to 165C/325F. Working in small batches, fry the sweet potatoes for about 45 seconds to a minute. Stir them a few times to keep them from sticking together. Using a metal slotted spoon, lift them out onto paper towels to remove excess oil.
Season the crisps with a touch of salt and serve immediately while hot and crispy with the roasted garlic aïoli. Squeeze a touch of lemon juice onto the crisps before eating. Enjoy!
“Cooking is an exploration of our own creativity. Always try out new flavour combinations, different cooking techniques, build on textbook recipes, and have fun!” — Shazrinah Shazali
Hello Everyone! I am a neuroscientist and home-grown chef best known as ShefShaz. I started my entrepreneurial journey from home, supplying healthy lunch meal plans to offices and homes. I then ventured into collaboration with The Healthy Habit in January 2018 to develop menus and co-founded FUEL’D. Just this year I’ve also recently co-opened a cafe in the gardens to work with the garden’s nursery to develop menus and create delicious food from their produce.
Tonight I will be sharing a delicious and healthy dish that is packed with the flavours of roasted garlic, chilli, and balsamic vinegar. You can easily whip up for a quick weeknight dinner if you’re pressed for time!
PREP TIME 10 MINS| COOKING TIME 20 MINS| SERVES 4
For the tagliatelle
200g dried tagliatelle pasta
1 can (approx 400g) butter beans, drained
1 can (approx. 185g) tuna in olive oil
1 can (approx. 400g) roasted garlic and onion tomato pasta sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 shallots, minced
2 red bird’s eye chillies, minced
1 tsp sweet ground paprika
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese (optional)
For the chilli balsamic drizzle
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bird’s eye chilli, minced
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp fresh parsley, minced
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Chilli Balsamic Drizzle: In a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic, chilli, and parsley together. Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust to your liking and set aside.
Roasted Garlic & Onion Tomato Tagliatelle: In a large pot with boiling salted water, cook the tagliatelle pasta according to packet directions or until al dente. Drain and set aside, reserving about half a cup of the pasta water.
In a separate pan over medium-high heat, sauté the minced garlic, shallots, and chilli until golden, fragrant, and translucent, about a minute or two.
Add in the drained butter beans together with the tuna in olive oil and cooked until warmed through. Add the ground paprika and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in the canned tomato pasta sauce plus the half cup of reserved pasta water. Bring to a rapid simmer before adding the cooked pasta. Once done, transfer to individual serving plates.
Top with parmesan cheese if desired, fresh arugula or any other leafy greens you prefer, and drizzle with the chilli balsamic mixture. Serve and enjoy!
Hello Everyone! I know, I say this every time we come to an end of a blog series – but sometimes it actually does come to quite a bit of a shock when the realisation hits you that another month has passed by and we are that much closer to Christmas and the New Year! It really does at times make me wonder, where did the year go? How was it that it felt like only a few months ago that I was complaining about it being a long way to go before the end of the year, and suddenly in the blink of an eye it will be November soon. I also have that same feeling when it comes to the day after my birthday – where I think about how I have to wait another 364 days until I have a reason to celebrate another year of life – and now look! I’ll be 25 in exactly two weeks!
Anyway, tangent aside, tonight’s recipe has been one that I have been wanting to make for a very long time. I can’t stress enough how much it saddens me when I have such high expectations for a lamb shank dish whenever I order it off a menu. Don’t get me wrong, flavours were nice, and definitely fall-off-the-bone tender, but, my expectations dissipate when a tiny piece of lamb shank hits the table, knowing that it’s definitely not worth the price. So how do I fix this? Well, why not I buy a worthy enough size of a lamb shank that will only cost me $8.00 max. and cook it myself? Not to mention, I can throw in a whole bottle of red wine too to really bring out the flavour *cheeky grin* For my readers who aren’t from Brunei, or aren’t Muslim, you can’t find lamb shanks that have been braised in red wine here in Brunei as if not all, but most Western Restaurants here are Halal. Actually – don’t pour in the whole bottle of wine for your shanks, reserve some for a glass or two to drink while devouring the lamb!
Before I move on to the recipe, please check out the original over on Taste Australia.
PREP TIME 10 MINS| COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 30 MINS| SERVES 3
Preheat oven to 170C (325F or gas mark 3). Heat the olive oil in a large flame-proof casserole dish over medium-high. Season your shanks with salt and pepper. Depending on how big your casserole dish is, cook your lamb shanks if batches if needed, for 5 minutes or until browned all over. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining shanks. Set aside.
Add the garlic and sauté until golden and fragrant, about 30 seconds, and then add in the onions. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the onions soften. Return the lamb shanks to the dish and pour over the red wine, deglazing the brown residue at the bottom of the pan for extra flavour. Bring to a boil, cooking for 4-5 minutes, or until wine reduces by half.
Remove from heat and add the canned tomatoes and rosemary sprigs to the dish, seasoning with salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and bake, covered, for 1 & 1/2 hours or until lamb is almost falling off the bone.
Serve the lamb shanks on a generous bed of rosemary & roasted garlic chunky mashed potatoes and some pan-fried baby asparagus. Enjoy!
Hello Everyone! I really want to start of with a Green Day classic, but I realised just how lame it is and how overdone the joke is in the past years. For the non-Green Day fans or just those that have been living under a rock, Green Day released a song on their 2004 American Idiot album, a song titled Wake Me Up When September Ends – and I was going to go on this tangent about how it’s already October and that I wasn’t woken up when September ended. I told you it was lame *cheeky grin*
Anyway, mini tangent aside; as per usual, a new month calls for a new theme on the blog! This month, I will be sharing recipes that incorporate the use of alcohol into the dishes. Okay, how I came up with this theme was because I have a full bottle of Jack that has been sitting in the living room collecting dust for almost 3 years now, and I also brought back a bottle of red wine from my recent trip to the Philippines. For those of you who know me personally, you’ll know that I am not a drinker – so why do I have these beverages lying around the house if I don’t drink? Well, I mean the fact that my bottle of whisky has been sitting around for years speaks for itself. I don’t even know why I bought it in the first place; the only reason I could think of was so that I could use it in my cooking – and here we are now! I guess, with these two alcoholic beverages, you can tell when the month is going to predominantly feature *cheeky grin*
Tonight’s recipe was one that I whipped up a while back, during the long weekend in the middle of September. I brought it for lunch in the office the next day back, and my colleague asked me what I had brought in for lunch today. I replied “Bourbon and Maple-glazed Chicken with Chunky Mash and Pan-fried Asparagus.” She then laughed and continued to say “it sounds so Masterchef – like usually if you ask any locals what they had for lunch, they will just say ‘Buttermilk Chicken’.” I too laughed when she said that, referring to the fact that one would normally have a simply-named dish for lunch, but not me apparently. My lunch’s name was Masterchef worthy hahaha – yes, just the name, the overall dish is still maybe a bit too simple for Masterchef level. Maybe if I cooked it in liquid nitrogen to give it the Heston Blumenthal touch then I could be in it to win it… As if hahaha! Anyway, the original recipe for tonight can be found over on Simply Recipes.
PREP TIME 5 MINS| COOKING TIME 1 HOUR| SERVES 6
6 pcs chicken whole legs, cleaned thoroughly
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary (or about 2-3 tsp of dried rosemary)
1 small red onion, finely diced
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup bourbon whisky
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Prepare the chicken by placing them skin side up in a oven-proof dish. Set aside.
Bourbon Maple Glaze: Heat a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high and melt the butter until melted. Add in the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, and then add the diced onions, cooking for about 2 to 3 minutes further.
Add the bourbon whisky together with the maple syrup, tomato paste, rosemary, and season with salt and pepper. Whisk to combine and bring the glaze to a low simmer.
Coat chicken with glaze and roast: Pour half of the glaze mixture over the pre-prepared chicken and toss to coat well. Place in the oven, and then roast the for about 30 minutes, then turn the chicken over and roast for a further 12-15 minutes, or until nicely browned. Lower the heat or remove from the oven if the chicken whole legs start getting too dark.
Simmer remaining glaze until thickened: Meanwhile, as the chicken roasts away, simmer the remaining sauce in the medium-sized saucepan until it thickens slightly and can coat the back of a spoon. Once done, remove from the heat and then set aside. Tip: if it is taking too long for the sauce to reduce, pour it into a wide shallow pan and bring to a boil. The wider pan will make sauce evaporate more easily.
Coat cooked chicken in glaze: When the whole legs are done, remove from oven and dip them into the saucepan with the reduced glaze.
Serve on a bed of chunky roasted garlic mashed potatoes and some pan-fried baby asparagus stalks – of course, whatever you fancy with your chicken will do the trick. Enjoy!