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

Avocado, Chickpea, & Roasted Capsicum Salad

Avocado, Chickpea, & Roasted Capsicum Salad

Hello Everyone! I hope everyone has had a relaxing CNY long weekend unlike me – well, it was relaxing as I stayed home all day on Sunday doing nothing, but it was also because I was sick over the long weekend *sad face*. I think I got sick from fatigue which resulted in a painful dry cough, a very high temperature, and muscle aches especially in my back, shoulders, and thigh regions. I’m feeling a little bit better with thanks to the long weekend as I get to rest up for 3 days after a straight 13 days of working from an average of 8am-11pm. Yes you read that right, I’m officially employed! I actually started working in late October in Brunei’s leading Advertising Agency known as D’Sunlit Sdn. Bhd. as a Graphic Designer for the Marketing Team. I was under a 3-month probation contract, and last Friday I was able to sign a permanent contract! Oh and the 13 days of straight working, that was because I was involved in an event known as the 17th Consumer Fair. I worked from Monday-Sunday two weeks ago, and last week I worked Monday-Saturday (yes no rest in between for working on that Sunday). So I guess that’s where my fatigue came from. I was actually already starting to feel under the weather last Thursday, but it only came into full effect on Saturday morning. I guess it didn’t quite help as well that I was surrounded by sick colleagues, and a sick mom and sister at home too. My sister got sick first, then me, and lastly my mom. I today in the office, I learnt that I may have made a few other colleagues sick too. How am I ever going to recover?!

Anyway, let’s move on to the recipe shall we? It’s week two of healthy eating, and I’ve got a yummy salad for you that you can pair up with any kind of meat be it beef, chicken, or lamb – whatever tickles your fancy that is! If you’re like me, and you can’t go without meat in your diet, then whip up your favourite roast chicken to go with your salad – we roasted some whole chicken legs with my Mom’s secret and special BBQ marinade. Otherwise, you can keep the dish vegetarian or vegan friendly. We all know that avocados are loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids known as oleic acid. Oleic acid has been linked to reduced inflammation and has been shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer. Not only does it contain this fatty acid, it also contains minerals and vitamins such as: fibre, folate, potassium, and vitamins B5,B6, C, E, and K.

Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, belong to the legume family, which includes a variety of beans, peanuts, soybeans and lentils. Opting for legumes over foods high in saturated fat might lower your risk of heart disease. Chickpeas also offer specific health benefits, and consuming them regularly boosts your intake of a few key nutrients such as: protein, fibre, manganese, and folate. The mineral manganese helps support bone development and wound healing and also helps carry out chemical reactions important to your metabolism. Folate, or vitamin B-9, aids in new cell growth and brain cell communication and protects against genetic mutations that contribute to cancer development.

Avocado, Chickpea, & Roasted Capsicum Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 5-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
  • 2 brown onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1 can (400g) chickpeas in water, drained
  • 1 packet (250g) mixed salad greens
  • 1 packet (150g) semi-dried tomatoes, halved, oil reserved
  • 1 yellow capsicum
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Olive Oil

METHOD

  1. Rub the yellow capsicum with a little bit of oil and place directly on open flame of gas stove. Rotate occasionally so that the capsicum blisters and chars on all sides. Once done, set aside to cool down. Peel the skin off and cut into strips once it has cooled down enough to handle. Add to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Blanch the chickpeas in boiling water for about 5 minutes. Drain and add to the large mixing bowl together with the roast capsicum strips.
  3. Heat olive oil in a small frying pan over medium-high. Add the onions and cook until soft and caramelised. Once done, transfer to the large mixing bowl.
  4. Add the semi-dried tomatoes together with its herbed oil, mixed salad greens, and balsamic vinegar. Season with a touch of ground salt and black pepper and give it a good toss until well coated. Transfer to a serving dish and top with the sliced avocados.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Avocado, Chickpea, & Roasted Capsicum Salad

Avocado, Chickpea, & Roasted Capsicum Salad with Roast BBQ Chicken

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

South Dowling Sandwiches

South Dowling Sandwiches

Hello Everyone and welcome back to an all new Review Sunday on the blog! Where do I even begin with South Dowling Sandwiches? I’m not quite sure how many weeks into my first year of university it was when my friend Simon introduced me to this little shop on South Dowling Street just about a 5 minute walk away from the [then] COFA campus. What caught my eye at first was their sandwich signage that hung above their petit establishment, and thus I called it ‘the sandwich shop’ whenever I referred to it amongst my friends. It wasn’t only until a year or so later that I realised they were actually called South Dowling Sandwiches.

Anyway, my friend Simon and I decided to get a different sandwich each, and share the other half with each other so that we’d get the best of both worlds. I got the chicken schnitzel on brown bread while he got the leg ham on white, no extras included at that time. The size of these ginormous sandwiches freaked me out just a little bit because they were insanely massive, which I guess it’s a good thing because then they were definitely worth the seven bucks.

South Dowling Sandwiches

To be honest, I don’t think I was a regular customer at South Dowling Sandwiches; I don’t know for what reason because right now I can’t think of a good enough excuse to skip out on a delectable Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich, especially when I grew into a new found love for their caramelised carrots! Those that know me oh-so well also know that I accidentally on purpose forget to bring my lunch to uni on Monday’s just so that I can have my weekly dose of Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich on brown bread with extra Caramelised Carrots.

South Dowling Sandwiches

This is the best sandwich in the world; like if this sandwich was a man, I’d marry it. I’m serious.

I’m  serious. I totally captioned that on a photo I posted on Instagram 16 weeks ago when I was on a date with my Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich on brown bread with extra Caramelised Carrots. PS: May I also add that these sandwiches are MASSIVE and that there’s no way you can eat this with finesse. Herb mayo all over your hands and mouth? Been there, done that too many times.

All-in-all, I would like to thank South Dowling Sandwiches for feeding me for the past four years of my university degree. I apologise that it has taken me this long to write a review for you guys on my blog, but honestly, if I had written it last year, all you’d be seeing are pictures of my absolute favourite, the Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich on brown bread with extra Caramelised Carrots. I’ve tried to branch out from my regular (but could sense betrayal from the Schnitz as I did), so I brought along my many friends and family whom I managed to steer them away from my regular so that I could provide you with a range of their dishes on this review:

SALADS

All salads consist of lettuce, rocket, roma tomato, green beans, cucumber, red cabbage, potato salad, grilled eggplant, grilled zucchini, mushroom, caramelised carrots, lentil, capsicum, beetroot, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil

South Dowling Sandwiches: Vegi Salad
VEGI ($10.50)

This was the very first dish that my Mom had when she first arrived in Sydney last May. I suggested that she try the veggie salad because I know she loves vegetables and tries to eat it more often. She really liked this salad, especially the little lentils and the caramelised carrots (which she thought at first was sweet potato). I don’t think she’s had a salad like this before, and when I say that I mean with so many different things going on in one bowl.

South Dowling Sandwiches: Chilli Chicken Salad
CHILLI CHICKEN ($11.50)

Pretty much the same as the sandwich I guess, just that you get the whole veggie works as well! Also, with the salads, you can ask to not include some veggies that you don’t particularly fancy, like how I always ask for no beetroot and cucumber, but add just a touch more carrots 😛

South Dowling Sandwiches: Chicken Schnitzel Salad
CHICKEN SCHNITZEL ($11.50)

I think the first time I ordered the salad instead of the sandwich was the first time I got to taste the magic of the caramelised carrots, and ever since I never fail to get the extra carrots with my sandwich (of course, there were a few times they had run out of the carrots and it completely shattered my heart). I remember the guy behind me in line even commented jokingly  when he saw the devastation in my face: “It’s all about the carrots, why else would we be here?” I think the salad is just as good as the sandwich, just that with the salad, as I have already stated above, you obviously get more veggies!

SANDWICHES

Special sandwiches include potato salad, avocado, caramelised carrots, boiled egg, tomato, and cheese (+$5.00)

South Dowling Sandwiches: Leg Ham Sandwich
LEG HAM: Honey mustard, herb mayo, bocconcini, roma tomato, lettuce, and rocket on brown bread ($7.50)

Where do I even begin? I think the last time I had the leg ham sandwich was when I had it the first time, as I explained above. My sisters shared this leg ham sandwich when they came to Australia a few months back for a holiday and to attend my graduation. Anyway, they both loved it and thought that it had good flavour to it from the fresh ingredients.

South Dowling Sandwiches: Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich with extra Caramelised Carrots
CHICKEN SCHNITZEL: Herb mayo, lettuce, and rocket on brown bread ($7.50) with extra caramelised carrots (+$1.50)

I mean, if you’ve managed to skip all of the above and went straight to looking at the photographs and write-ups, then you wouldn’t have known that this is the prize winner right here! You most definitely need to have the extra caramelised carrots in this sandwich otherwise why even bother if you don’t?! The Schnitzel is cooked well, crisp and golden brown on the outside, while still it remains tender and juicy in the inside. The caramelised carrots adds a little extra bite a sweetness to the sandwich and the lettuce and rocket adds a touch of freshness and peppery flavours. UH-MAY-ZING.

South Dowling Sandwiches: Chilli Chicken Sandwich
CHILLI CHICKEN: Red pesto, lettuce, and rocket ($7.50)

Next to the Chicken Schnitzel is the Chilli Chicken, which is also another famous order amongst the many customers that go in and out of South Dowling Sandwiches. Whenever I get the chance to sit in their little place, I always hear people ordering either the Chicken Schnitzel or the Chilli Chicken sandwich. I’ve tried the Chilli Chicken before, and although it is without a doubt just as delicious as everything else on their menu, it’s not for me. I have no issues with it whatsoever, I just can’t part away from my OTP 😛 But anyway, they definitely know the true meaning of chilli when they say chilli chicken – the chicken packs a lot of heat which makes it oh-so good.

Overall, a great place to get your (man-sized) sandwich or salad fix; a definite 9/10 for value for money. The great thing about it is that you get to customise your own sandwich/salad as well which is what I love about South Dowling Sandwiches. You get to make YOU in the form of a sandwich/salad. I’m pretty sure you all know that I’ll be giving the Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich on brown bread with extra Caramelised Carrots a sure 10 out of 10; which goes for the rest of their menu. The place could be a bit better I guess (6/10), but it doesn’t bother me that much at all especially when you’re greeted with a warm welcome of a Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich on brown bread with extra Caramelised Carrots – oh and the always smiling owner, Avi, and my friend Celeste. Celeste has been working there ever since I first started coming to SDS (I presume even longer than that as well) but didn’t know her until we met at our mutual friend’s, Pam’s graduation dinner party last year July 🙂 From that day on, I need not tell her my order; she knows it off by heart. Although seating may be limited, it never stops me from dropping by and getting takeaway instead to eat it on campus since it’s only a 5 minute walk away; but if there’s a table available (which there always is whenever I pop by), then I always stay and have small conversations with Avi and my friend Celeste.

South Dowling Sandwiches: with Celeste & Avi

I’m so sad that I can’t just hop on a bus and travel to South Dowling Sandwiches for some sandwich love, but even though I am no longer in Sydney, I still keep up to date on what’s going on through their Instagram page – they’re soon to open a second branch so stay tuned for that! They could be coming to a place near you!

South Dowling Sandwiches
377 S Dowling Street
Darlinghurst, New South Wales
Australia, 2010

– Ally xx