Garlic Bread Pasta Salad

Garlic Bread Pasta Salad

Hello Everyone! And just like that, another month in quarantine has passed and we’re two days away from the 8th month of the year. It’s crazy just thinking how we’ve gone through more than a third of a year (from mid-March to present day), here in the Philippines that is, in quarantine. I’m still lucky to be one of the few companies that still require a majority of their staff to work safely at home, but that may change in the next few days. There’s a high chance that it will be mandatory to report back to the office IF we do not go into another lockdown by August 1.

Garlic Bread Pasta Salad

Moving on, I remember that this wasn’t a recipe I had originally planned to tackle for my blog. To be honest, I can’t even remember what I had initially wanted to share with you guys. I was scrolling through recipes one Friday evening after work, looking for new recipes to add to my weekly menu so that I could prepare my market/grocery list for my weekend shop. I came across this recipe and thought, wow! Garlic bread AND pasta, together, tossed in a salad? YES! Plus, the dish fits perfectly with the theme of green for Colours of the Rainbow.

Garlic Bread Pasta Salad ; Garlic Focaccia Bread

With crispy garlic bread croutons and a creamy homemade caesar dressing, this easy pasta salad will be a hit with family and friends over a summer backyard barbecue! I used store-bought olive focaccia bread for the croutons, but really you can just use plain bread such as white, wheat, sourdough, etc. for this. You can also get creative and use your favourite veggies for this dish, and even swap out the caesar dressing for a healthier or lighter option. I think a simple thyme, lemon, and olive oil dressing would do the trick too!

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on Taste Australia. Also, I have a little announcement for you guys at the end of this post so make sure to read it!

Garlic Bread Pasta Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 25 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS | SERVES 6-8*

* Can serve more as a small side dish

INGREDIENTS

For the pasta salad

  • 250g fusilli, or any other type of pasta
  • 100g green beans, trimmed
  • 100g baby asparagus, tough ends snapped off and cut to the same lengths of the french beans
  • 2 green chillies, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium-sized avocados, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch choice of leafy greens, trimmed and leaves separated
  • 2 tbsp sliced black olives
  • Handful of finely chopped malunggay leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Shaved parmesan, to garnish

For the garlic bread

  • 200g day-old bread, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Handful of finely chopped malunggay leaves

For the caesar dressing

  • 1/3 cup free range egg mayonnaise
  • 4 anchovy fillets, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Handful of grated parmesan
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Squeeze of fresh lime juice

METHOD

  1. Caesar Dressing: Combine all the ingredients for the caesar dressing into a small bowl and whisk together. Taste and adjust as needed and then set aside in the fridge before using. You may make this a day ahead to allow the flavours to fully develop overnight, otherwise it’s also good on the same day.
  2. Garlic Bread: Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6) and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Heat butter and garlic in a small saucepan over medium and cook until the butter is foamy.
  4. Place the bread in a large mixing bowl and pour the butter mixture over the bread. Sprinkle with half of the chopped malunggay leaves. Toss until evenly combined and then transfer the bread mixture to your prepared baking tray.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toasted. Once done, sprinkle the remaining malunggay leaves and then set aside to cool.
  6. Pasta Salad: While the garlic bread is baking in the oven, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water,following packet directions or until al dente. Add the asparagus and green beans in the last 3 minutes of cooking of the pasta. Drain and refresh under cold running water, and then drain again before transferring to a large mixing bowl.
  7. Add three-quarters of the caesar dressing the pasta and veggies. Toss to combine and then add the avocado, black olives, shaved parmesan, and half of the garlic bread croutons. Toss again before transferring it onto a large serving dish.
  8. Drizzle with the remaining dressing, and top with the remaining garlic bread croutons and extra shaved parmesan. Serve and enjoy as a side salad with baked, grilled, or pan-fried salmon (or any other choice of meat that tickles your taste buds)!

Garlic Bread Pasta Salad

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, I have a special announcement to make. For those of you who have been loyal followers of Amcarmen’s Kitchen since 2015, you’ll know that every year for the month of August, I gather my fellow foodie friends to feature their own recipe on my blog. With the theme of the year being Colours of the Rainbow each guest foodie, or also known as an  Auguester, has chosen a colour of the rainbow that they will translate into their dish. This year I’ve managed to round up 12 foodies, with some returning faces since I started the series 5 years ago, and some fresh new faces for this year. All I can say that it’s going to be an exciting month so stayed tuned for that! Our first Auguester will be live on the blog on Monday 3rd August!

Garlic Bread Pasta Salad with Pan-fried Salmon

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Potato Salad with Green Beans and Asparagus

Potato Salad with Green Beans and Asparagus

Hello Everyone! Potatoes and green beans are a classic combination; throw some asparagus and lettuce leaves or any other leafy greens into the mix and you’ve got yourself a great side dish that goes with almost anything. You can also bring it to a picnic, party, or barbecue.

Potato Salad with Green Beans and Asparagus

You’ll want to slice the baby potatoes (skin on) in half before cooking to help them cook faster. If you are using slightly bigger potatoes, you may want to quarter them. How long you cook them depends on their size, and you can check to see if they are tender by piercing a fork into the potatoes about 10 minutes into cooking. I prefer to steam my potatoes rather than boiling them because it takes a fraction of the time. Why? You’re only waiting for a small amount of water to boil, not a whole pot. In addition, unlike a big pot of boiling water, steam won’t dilute the flavour of the potatoes substantially.

This Potato Salad with Green Beans and Asparagus works really well at either room temperature or served cold. It has a bold, tangy taste thanks to the vinaigrette – a simple combination of red wine vinegar, olive oil, minced red onion and garlic, and seasoned with a touch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. You want to toss half the dressing over the warm potatoes to enhance their flavour. The remaining dressing is tossed over the whole salad at the end.

Potato Salad with Green Beans and Asparagus Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

For the salad

  • 450g baby potatoes, thoroughly cleaned and cut in half (skin on)
  • 250g french beans, ends trimmed and cut in half
  • 1 bunch asparagus, tough ends snapped off and cut to the same lengths of the french beans
  • 1 bunch leafy greens of choice, roughly chopped
  • Handful of chopped malunggay leaves
  • Handful of sliced almonds
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the vinaigrette

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. Fill a pot with about an inch of water and put a steamer basket inside. Place the potatoes in the steamer basket and bring the water to a boil. Cover and steam until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, combine all the ingredients for the vinaigrette into a small-sized jar. Put the lid on a shake vigorously to combine the ingredients together. You can make this ahead of time to ensure that all the flavours have time to develop.
  3. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add both the french beans and asparagus to the boiling water. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes. While waiting, prepare an ice bath (large bowl with half ice and half water).
  4. When the french beans and asparagus are ready, drain and then plunge into the prepared ice bath. Let them sit in the ice bath until completely cool. Once cool, drain the french beans and asparagus and pat them dry with a paper towel. Set aside.
  5. Once the potatoes are done, transfer them into a large mixing bowl and add half of the vinaigrette. Toss to combine. Add the other vegetables together with the sliced almonds and remaining vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Give it a good toss and it’s ready to serve as a delicious side to your main! Enjoy!

Potato Salad with Green Beans and Asparagus

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Mangosteen Vermicelli Salad with Steamed Prawns & Snow Peas

Mangosteen Vermicelli Salad with Steamed Prawns & Snow Peas

Hello Everyone and happy 1st of the month of December! If you’ve been following my IG page, you would’ve seen that I posted a story update on where Amcarmen’s Kitchen is at, at the moment. I informed my friends and followers that I’d be taking a hiatus and that I wasn’t sure when I’d be returning. If you want to know the real reason why I’ve been away for a while now, and will continue to be away until next year, you can read about it at the end of this post. I didn’t want to start the post off with a downer, so I saved it for last.

Now, tonight’s post does not mean that I am back from my hiatus. I just wanted to get this recipe up since I had this prepared way before my personal life spun out of control, and I didn’t want this recipe to end up in my archive of recipes that will never get posted because it doesn’t fit in with the current theme.

Mangosteen Vermicelli Salad with Steamed Prawns & Snow Peas

Before we dive into the recipe, please check out the original recipes from where I drew my inspiration from – Eat Well with Bite and Where To Eat in Phuket.

I love the sweet and tangy flavour that the mangosteen fruit adds; the chillies that bring a nice kick to it, and the mint for hint of freshness to the dish as a whole. From the original recipe, I ditched the pork since I’m slowly cutting out my meat (not including seafood) intake from my diet, and instead substituted it with juicy jumbo tiger prawns that were just as good!

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-12 MINS | SERVES 4-5

INGREDIENTS

For the salad

  • 500g large tiger prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 100g thin rice vermicelli noodles
  • 50g snow peas
  • 4 fresh mangosteen fruit, rind removed and discarded
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • Handful of roasted peanuts, lightly crushed
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to season

For the dressing

  • 1-2 red bird’s eye chilli, finely sliced
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • Juice of 1 large lime or lemon

METHOD

  1. Dressing: Prepare the dressing by adding all of the ingredients into a small bowl. Mix well until combined. Set aside.
  2. Rice Noodles: Let the noodles soak in hot water until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and then add to a large mixing bowl. Add a teaspoon of sesame oil just so that the noodles do not dry out and stick to each other.
  3. Snow Peas: Bring a small pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Add the snow peas into the boiling water and blanch for about 60 seconds. Remove from the heat and transfer to an ice bath. Once cool, drain and pat dry. Add to the mixing bowl together with the rice noodles.
  4. Prawns: Season the prawns with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Arrange in a steamer basket and steam for about 5 minutes. Once done remove and set aside to cool down slightly before cutting them into smaller pieces. Add to the mixing bowl.

Mangosteen Vermicelli Salad with Steamed Prawns & Snow Peas Ingredients

Mangosteen Vermicelli Salad with Steamed Prawns & Snow Peas Ingredients

  1. Salad: Add the rest of the salad ingredients into the mixing bowl, together with the dressing and toss to combine. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste and adjust to your liking.
  2. Divide equally into 4-5 individual serving plates and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Mangosteen Vermicelli Salad with Steamed Prawns & Snow Peas

So as promised, here’s why Amcarmen’s Kitchen is still on a hiatus.

The week that I had this recipe scheduled to go up on my blog, which was back in mid-September for Mangosteen Month, I had about 4 to 5 hours of sleep over a span of 3 days. My Mom was admitted into the hospital and we had spent 2 nights in the emergency room waiting for a room in the intensive care unit to open up. Unfortunately my Mom passed away a week later. Though I may not show it, I am still in a constant battle between grieving and moving on. I believe that the hardest part of healing after you’ve lost someone, especially your mother, is to recover the you that went away with them. It was hard celebrating my birthday a couple of weeks ago; I couldn’t help but to shed a few tears being reminded that she was no longer here with me. And it’s only going to get harder with the Christmas season coming up.

With that being said, I am using my time off from Amcarmen’s Kitchen to plan ahead for 2020! I already have a theme set in stone and have drawn up a few recipes to match the theme! All I have to do now is to execute a bunch of them so that I’ll have the recipes ready for you by the New Year! ‘Till then, stayed tuned!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Apple Chicken Bake

Apple Chicken Bake

Hello Everyone! March is here which can only mean one thing for Amcarmen’s Kitchen. That’s right! A new month means a new fruit to play with and we’re all about Apples this March! More specifically we’re going to be playing around with Red Washington Apples only because they were on sale at Rustan’s Supermarket for only P28 apiece! I think they were originally priced at like P35 or something. I know it’s not much of a difference but other supermarkets have them priced at P230 or something per kilo, which is crazy!

Apple Chicken Bake

I’ll keep my introduction short tonight, as I am not feeling well today – the creative writing juices aren’t flowing at the moment, apologies for that. I didn’t want to start off my post in saying what happened, but you can read more about it at the end of the post.

Before we dive right into the recipe, please head on over to Taste of Home for the original recipe where I drew my inspiration.

Apple Chicken Bake Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS* | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 3

*Allow for up to 4-6 hours to marinate the chicken, or even better, overnight in the fridge. Remove from the fridge about an hour before baking to bring the meat back to room temperature.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 whole chicken legs (about 1/2 kg)
  • 1 large brown onion, peeled and wedged
  • 1 large Red Washington Apple, washed and wedged
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

For the marinade

  • 5 whole cloves
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 cinnamon bark
  • 1/3 cup Hickory BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns

Apple Chicken Bake Process

METHOD

  1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Dip the chicken whole legs into the marinade and then place skin side down into an oven-safe Pyrex dish.
  2. Pour the remaining marinade into the Pyrex dish, cover with cling wrap and then set aside in the fridge to marinate for about 4-6 hours or overnight.
  3. When ready to bake, remove from the fridge and turn the chicken legs over skin side up. Leave aside to bring to room temperature, about an hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6). Scatter the wedged apples and onions onto the Pyrex dish, and season with a touch of freshly cracked black pepper. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
  5. Once done, turn the heat off. Drain the sauce into a small saucepan and place the chicken back into the oven to keep warm.
  6. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, add slurry of cornstarch to the sauce to thicken it. Once thickened, turn the heat off.
  7. Serve with any sides of your choice. I served mine with a side of salad with cherry tomatoes and French beans, and corn on a cob.

Apple Chicken Bake Process

Apple Chicken Bake

Before I end tonight’s post, I would just like to say that it’s been one heck of a crazy week! So busy that I haven’t even had the time to plan and cook my dishes for this month ahead of time, which is what I usually do to stay on top of things. This is one of the reasons why tonight’s post isn’t as informative as my previous posts. The reason for that being is that I’m also suffering from piercing stomach pains and an irritable bowel syndrome, quite possibly due to food poisoning. I’m confined at home and hydrating lots. Hopefully I’ll be all good in the coming days and I can get back on track with my cooking and writing by the weekend or early next week!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Som Tam Mamuang (ส้มตำมะม่วง) Green Mango Salad

Som Tam Mamuang (ส้มตำมะม่วง) Green Mango Salad

Hello Everyone and welcome to an all new theme on Amcarmen’s Kitchen for the month of February! Well okay, it’s not exactly a new theme, but more like we get to play around with a new fruit for this month! In my very first post for the year I mentioned that it’s going to be a FRUITFUL year on the blog. Last month we went nuts for Coconuts and now we’re moving onto Mangoes!

From what I know, mango season here in the Philippines isn’t until March but you can already spot an abundance of mangoes at the markets for a reasonable price (well they are cheaper than a couple of months ago when they weren’t in season), and since they’re here early, I’ve been non-stop playing around with them for the dishes that I will be sharing with you guys over the next couple of weeks.

Also, just to note, I’m going to stray away from Filipino food for a while since I’ve been sharing dishes from that cuisine for the past 4 months on the blog ever since I’ve been back here. It’s not that I have anything against it (quite the opposite actually), it’s just that I want to continue exploring and enhancing my skills and techniques in other cuisines. Amcarmen’s Kitchen is afterall, A Third Culture Foodie.

Som Tam Mamuang (ส้มตำมะม่วง) Green Mango Salad Process

Thai food is one of the many favourite cuisines that I enjoy. It is also a cuisine that I’m constantly craving for from time to time, whether it’s heading to my favourite Thai restaurant or cooking up a Thai storm in the kitchen. I think my tolerance for spice was developed from this cuisine, though I am definitely not at their level of tolerance. Every time I order a Thai dish, I keep forgetting to tell the waiter to make it “less spicy” or to only add 1 chilli. I then end up tearing up, sniffling endlessly and needing to extinguish my mouth, followed by fiery trips to the bathroom after. I remember when I used to have Som Tam everyday for lunch from a food stall during events that I worked and forgot to tell the lady to make it less spicy – she ended up adding 10-15 pieces of chillies into the dish. The following day, I asked her to make it less spicy, but for them less spicy was still about 5-6 chillies in. I ended up having to tell her to only add 1 chilli the day after that and she looked at me weirdly.

Even though there are many recipes online that you can follow, I’ve had the opportunity to be taught by my Thai Aunt, and also learnt a few dishes from Chef Sujet Saenkham of Spice I Am, Australia, who I met last year in Brunei during an event I worked for the Thailand Grand Fair. Tonight’s dish is one I learnt from him, but I’ve replaced the green papaya for green mango instead. Note that, it’s not so much about how green the mango is – as long as it’s sour!

Som Tam Mamuang (ส้มตำมะม่วง) Green Mango Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 15-20 MINS | COOKING TIME | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 green mangoes, peeled and julienned
  • 3 pcs long green beans, cut into 1-inch long stalks
  • 2-3 red bird’s eye chillies, seeds in and roughly chopped (more if you want a spicier kick to your palette)
  • 2 small tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1 small red onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp dried salted shrimp
  • 2 tbsp roasted peanuts
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp fresh lime or lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar
  • Spring Onions, to garnish

METHOD

  1. Lightly crush the garlic and chillies large and deep mortar and pestle.
  2. Add the dried salted shrimp together with the long green beans. Pound a few times to slightly bruise the beans. Add in the roasted peanuts and lightly crush.
  3. Next, add in the fish sauce, lime/lemon juice, and palm sugar. Lightly grind until the sugar has dissolved into the mixture.

Tip: At this point, taste the mixture to see if the balance of flavours is to your liking. Add more fish sauce if it needs more salt, or add more lime juice if it needs more acidity. Add more palm sugar if the other flavours are too overpowering. Want more spice? Crush more chillies!

  1. Add in the chopped tomatoes and lightly crush to bruise them a bit, followed by the julienned green mango and softly pound. Use a spoon to mix all the ingredients around while pounding. Be careful as to not over pound, grind, or crush the ingredients.
  2. Garnish with a spring onion and serve as a main or side dish. Enjoy!

Som Tam Mamuang (ส้มตำมะม่วง) Green Mango Salad

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

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

California-inspired Quinoa Salad

California-inspired Quinoa Salad

California-inspired Quinoa Salad Ingredients

Hello Everyone! A new month calls for a new theme on the blog, and for the month of September, I’ve got some creative and healthy quinoa recipes for everyone! Now, I remember the times where people would ask me… “What is quinoa (kee-NOO-ah)?” Firstly, I’d correct them and say that it’s pronounced KEEN-wah, and not kee-NOO-ah – but then again after doing some research, I realised that both are actually correct in a way. Apologies to those that I’ve made a big fuss with in terms of how to pronounce this grain.

So back to the question, what is quinoa? Well, I have always been stumped whenever this question pops up, and all I could respond was “it’s a grain, like rice – but it’s not really rice.” Yeah, that doesn’t help. Quinoa is a grain crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. The seeds are cooked in the same manner as rice and can be used in a wide range of dishes. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and contains iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, vitamin E, and fibre. It is one of only a few plant foods that are considered a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa also has a low glycemic index, which is good for blood sugar control, however, be mindful as it is still pretty high in carbs, so it is not a good choice for a low-carb diet.

California-inspired Quinoa Salad Ingredients

Find the original recipe over on Jo Cooks. She used sultanas in her salad, I didn’t. If you know me personally, I really despise raisins and sultanas – don’t ask me why, I just do. So I’ve omitted them from my salad and replaced them with wake instead. Wakame is a sea vegetable; edible seaweed or kelp common in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese cuisines. It has a subtly sweet flavour and is most often served in soups and salads. Wakame is a good source of the following (Source: MindBodyGreen):

  1. Magnesium: A mineral critical in the contraction and relaxation of muscles, function of certain enzymes in the body, production and transport of energy, and the production of protein.
  2. Iodine: Iodine is needed for strong metabolism of cells – the process of converting food into energy. It also maintains the balance of the thyroid gland and is needed for the production of thyroid hormones.
  3. Calcium: Wakame easily allows for the absorption of calcium into the human body. Each 100 grams of raw wakame contains 150mg of calcium. Calcium is needed for strong healthy bones and the prevention of osteoporosis.
  4. Iron: We need iron because it is essential for the production of red blood cells and the prevention of anemia.
  5. Vitamins!
    • Vitamins A, C, E, and K: These vitamins are all amazing for skin health and repair as well as immunology.
    • Vitamin D: Promotes the absorption of calcium for healthy bones and enhances the nerve, muscle, and immune systems.
    • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): We need riboflavin to use the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in the foods we eat. Riboflavin helps us use these nutrients for energy in our bodies for growth and is also necessary for red blood cell production. Riboflavin functions as an antioxidant and works in the body with other vitamins such as niacin, folate, and vitamin B6.
  6. Folate: Helps the body make new cells and is especially important for pregnant women.
  7. Lignans: Thought to play a role in preventing certain types of cancer, particularly breast cancer.

California-inspired Quinoa Salad Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

For the salad

  • 1 cup shelled edamame, steamed
  • 3/4 cup almond slices (toasted if you prefer)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup tri-coloured quinoa, cooked and cooled
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, or parsley if you don’t like cilantro
  • 1/4 cup wakame
  • 1 large mango, cut into small chunks
  • 1 small red capsicum, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
For the dressing
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon

METHOD

As easy as whisking all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl, and then tossing all the salad ingredients together in a large bowl until well mixed; dressed and then served cold. Enjoy! It will keep in the fridge for about 5 days, but of course, it’s always better when it is consumed right away!

California-inspired Quinoa Salad

California-inspired Quinoa Salad

California-inspired Quinoa Salad

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Butterflied Buffalo Roast Chicken

Butterflied Buffalo Roast Chicken

Butterflied Buffalo Roast Chicken

Hello Everyone! Wow, I cannot even begin to tell you guys how mentally and physically drained I am right now – well, if I am to talk about today in particular, it’s probably not from having worked for 17 days straight already with Sunday breaks, but because I probably had (not even) too much to drink. I said not even because I know that what I had a few hours ago was not my maximum capacity, but I’m feeling tipsy and sleepy already. My boss called for a “brainstorming” session after work hours which actually turned out to be a chill session with dumplings and beers (red wine for me because I’m sophisticated and classy af) haha!

Anyway, all that aside that the fact that I have to work this coming Sunday again, tonight’s recipe is a favourite of mine – I mean, who doesn’t like buffalo chicken?! We can’t be friends if you don’t like it; I’m serious. I served mine with a simple kale and roasted chickpea salad with crumbled blue cheese on top. Buffalo chicken goes well with anything blue cheese! Be sure to check out the original recipe over on Food.com; the original recipe calls to actually brush the sauce mixture onto the chicken, but I marinated the chicken in the sauce mixture instead to absorb all the yummy flavours into the flesh.

Butterflied Buffalo Roast Chicken

PREP TIME 20 MINS* | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 35 MINS | SERVES 6

*plus 4-6 hours of marination, or preferably overnight

INGREDIENTS

  • 2kg butterflied whole chicken, washed and cleaned thoroughly
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 – 1 & 1/2 tbsp tabasco sauce (or more if you like a good punch)
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 bulb garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground smoked paprika
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. Combine all the ingredients, except for the butter, in a large mixing bowl. Mix well until combined. Coat your chicken in the marinade and then leave in the fridge to marinate for about 4-6 hours (or preferably overnight). Remove chicken from the fridge 45-60 minutes before roasting to bring it back to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 230C (450F or gas mark 8). Line a baking tray with aluminium foil and place a rack above it.
  3. Place the chicken on the rack and into the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes. The lower the heat down to 175C (350F or gas mark 4) and continue roasting for an hour and 20 minutes more. Baste the chicken with a little bit of butter at every 20 minute intervals.
  4. Once done, remove the oven and set aside to rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Butterflied Buffalo Roast Chicke

Butterflied Buffalo Roast Chicken with Salad

Butterflied Buffalo Roast Chicken with Salad

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Salade Niçoise du Saumon Fumé

Salade Niçoise du Saumon Fumé

Hello Everyone! Man am I completely beat! Straight after work, I headed to the gym with my sister and my colleague Audry for an intense 2-hour Body Combat Session called “Combat Cancer” in conjunction with World Cancer Day. I can feel my leg muscles getting sore so I probably won’t be able to walk properly tomorrow morning. Also, can I just say that I have never sweated and smelled so much after that session. In addition, I completely forgot to bring makeup remover so I imagined eyeliner running down my face from the sweat. To my surprise, my makeup was still on point! Anyway, that aside, I’m glad that I had the time to write this post yesterday afternoon (it was a public holiday yesterday which meant no work! Most importantly, it was Brunei’s 32nd National Day).

So, it’s the last of our Healthy Eating journey for the month of February – of course the journey doesn’t completely end here as you should always be eating healthy! What I meant is that it’s the end of this theme for the blog. I will continue to share healthier recipes throughout the upcoming months in my blog, but focusing on other areas other than salads. Next month I will be sharing healthy smoothie recipes with you all; the last time I shared smoothies on my blog was back in October last year when I had Breakfast/Brunch Month on the blog. Hope y’all are excited for that!

Anyway, I came across this recipe – well more like I saw a photo of this dish on Instagram and was instantly drawn to the beautiful colours from the greens and tricolour potatoes. I scrolled down to look at what the dish was a non-traditional Niçoise Salad. I didn’t follow a particular recipe for this dish, but instead I looked at the photo and pulled out the obvious ingredients that I could see. I then search for a dressing to go with the dish and voilà – Salade Niçoise du Saumon Fumé non-traditionnel (Non-traditional Niçoise Salad with Smoked Salmon):

Salade Niçoise du Saumon Fumé

It is non-traditional because Salade Niçoise is typically composed of a salad of tomatoes, tuna (cooked or canned), hard-boiled eggs, Niçoise olives, and anchovies, dressed with a vinaigrette. It is served variously on a plate, platter, or in a bowl, with or without a bed of lettuce. The salad may include raw red peppers, shallots, artichoke hearts, and other seasonal raw vegetables, but according to many sources, excludes cooked vegetables, such as green beans and potatoes, which are commonly served in variations of Salade Niçoise around the world. So, yes, this version of Salade Niçoise that I will be sharing tonight is definitely not a traditional one as you can tell – but it will definitely knock your socks off! I really like this salad, and the dressing/vinaigrette that I made to go with it. Hope you enjoy it too! Feel free to add other veggies to it as you wish… You know, whatever floats your boat kind of thing 🙂

Salade Niçoise du Saumon Fumé

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 15-20 MINS | SERVES 5-6

INGREDIENTS

For the salad

  • 250g green beans, ends trimmed
  • 250g mixed salad leaves, washed and drained
  • 220g smoked salmon*
  • 100g kalamata olives, sliced
  • 3 large free range eggs, soft or hard boiled**
  • Potato varieties such as chat, sweet potatoes, and purple sweet potatoes (or a range of heirloom potatoes), peeled and cut into chunks

For the dressing

  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • Pinch of ground black pepper

*Plain smoked salmon is fine, or you ca mix it up a bit and get herbed smoked salmon or with five peppers which is the one I used for this recipe.

**Bring a small saucepan of room temperature water together with the eggs up to a boil. Once boiling, the the heat off and let it sit for five minutes is perfect for a runny yolk (or cook as long as seven minutes for a more firmly set, but still spoonable, yolk). For hard boiled eggs, cover and let it sit for 8-10 minutes off the heat.

METHOD

  1. Firstly, combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a medium-sized jar. Cover and shake well to combine the ingredients. Set aside. Tip: you can make the dressing in advance by a day or a few hours before serving to ensure that all the flavours infuse together. Keeps well in the fridge for up to a week if you have any leftovers. You can also add more olive oil and red wine vinegar throughout the week if you need more dressing.
  2. Toss the potatoes in a little bit of ground salt and black pepper. Then place in a steamer and steam for about 10-15 minutes, or until tender but still a bit firm. Once done, remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Blanch the green beans in boiling water for about 5-6 minutes. Once done, transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. This ensures that you’ll have nice and crisp green beans in your salad.
  4. Plate up accordingly and pour over the dressing. Share and enjoy with family and friends!

Salade Niçoise du Saumon Fumé

Salade Niçoise du Saumon Fumé

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

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

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

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

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

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

PREP TIME 20 MINS* | COOKING TIME 40 MINS | SERVES 5-6

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

INGREDIENTS

For the Salad

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

For the lemon & thyme roast whole chicken legs

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

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

METHOD

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

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

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

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com