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

Octopus & Chorizo Salad

Octopus & Chorizo Salad

Hello Everyone! It’s the second week of Seafood Month and I’ve got something that is very simple to make, but quite possibly not commonly seen here in Brunei. I say that because for instance, I don’t exactly know where you can get fresh octopus from here in Brunei; I’ve not seen it in the markets around here before. Now you’re probably thinking, then where the heck did I get fresh octopus from for tonight’s recipe? Well, I made this dish when I was back in Sydney because I knew wouldn’t be able to cook this up when I got to Brunei. Plus, I really like this dish so I made sure I ate a satisfying amount of it before I went into deprivation.

Octopus & Chorizo Salad

I came across this recipe when I was at the Sydney Fish Market, I can’t remember who I was with, but we went seafood shopping. Just at the entrance of Peter’s Seafood, and the one a little bit further down the building near the fruits and veggie store (I forgot what the name of the market is called), there are these little recipe flyers that you can pick up for free. I think I took one of every recipe that they had 😛 So they had a recipe for Octopus and Chorizo Salad that I just had to try out! If you manage to get your hands on some baby octopus, I highly recommend you try this recipe out! It’s definitely a favourite of mine 🙂

Octopus & Chorizo Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS* | COOKING TIME 6-8 MINS | SERVES 4

*Add 1-2 hours extra for marination time

INGREDIENTS

For the octopus marinade

  • 400g baby octopus, washed and cleaned
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

For the salad

  • 1 bag (200g) mixed salad leaves
  • 2 chorizo sausage, sliced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, sliced

METHOD

  1. Combine all the ingredients needed to marinate the baby octopus in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside to marinate for about 1-2 hours or preferably, overnight. Before frying the baby octopi, make sure you pat dry them first.
  2. Heat a little bit of vegetable oil in a medium-sized frying pan over medium-high, and fry the chorizo slices until golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside on a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up any extra oils.
  3. In the same frying pan, add the baby octopi in batches, and fry until it is cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to rest for about 5 minutes. Repeat with the remaining octopi.
  4. Combine all the other ingredients for the salad in a large bowl together with the chorizo slices and baby octopi. Toss together and drizzle with a little bit of the sundried tomato oil.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Octopus & Chorizo Salad

Octopus & Chorizo Salad

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Kamayan sa Palaisdaan

Kamayan sa Palaisdaan

Hello Everyone and welcome back to an all new Review Sunday! Most of the food that you’ll see here have either already been touched on in previous reviews, and/or recipes, so I may not write much about the food only because it’s nothing quite so special. Kamayan sa Palaisdaan has both a Hotel & Resort, as well as a restaurant, both carrying the same menu but differ in ambience. It is the ambience of the restaurant just down the road from the Hotel & Resort that made me want to write a review and share this place with you – floating bahay kubos on bamboo rafts!

Kamayan sa Palaisdaan

Other than the ambience, I couldn’t really pick out anything special from their menu that really made me want to say, “I’m coming back here for this particular dish!” Though they say it’s an ideal getaway restaurant for seafood lovers, the seafood did not really impress – well I mean, we barely ordered any seafood to be honest.

I don’t know why I am so negative when it comes to reviewing Filipino food. The only reason I can think of is that most of the food that you get dining out, you can easily cook it up yourself at home and it tastes exactly the same. From the dishes that you will see below, I can definitely cook up all the dishes. I guess it’s because I know how to cook these dishes, that I comment the way I do. I’m not saying that these are terrible dishes; if anything, they are my favourite dishes to have when eating at home. It’s just that when I dine out, I want to eat something that I can’t cook myself (or I guess in my case, haven’t attempted to cook yet).

Kamayan sa Palaisdaan - SINIGANG atbp: Sinigang na Sugpo
SINIGANG atbp: Sinigang na Sugpo (₱320.00)

Sugpo, as you can already tell from the photograph above is prawn (or shrimp if you’re from that part of the world that calls them that despite being huge-ass prawns). Sinigang is a soup that is characterised by its sour and savoury taste that is most often associated with tamarind. This is a dish that my mom would make a few times a month, varying between different meats such as beef and pork, and seafood like prawns and fish, accompanied by all sorts of vegetables from daikon, water spinach, okra, taro corms, etc. This is a dish I love especially when the weather is quite chilly.

Kamayan sa Palaisdaan - SINIGANG atbp: Tinolang Manok
SINIGANG atbp: Tinolang Manok (₱255.00)

This is another dish that my mom would always make, and also great for cold and rainy days. Tinola is a ginger and onion based soup with manok (chicken) as the usual main ingredient, best complimented with green papaya wedges (an alternative is chayote/chokos) and chili leaves. Again, a dish that I love, but very close to the way that I’d make it at home.

Kamayan sa Palaisdaan - SIZZLERS: Sisig Pork
SIZZLERS: Sisig Pork (₱205.00)

Of course, a meal in the Philippines would not be complete without sisig! I was actually quite disappointed with this sisig dish though – it came to the table, not only without a freshly cracked egg on top of it, but it also wasn’t sizzling and was very dry.

Kamayan sa Palaisdaan - IHAW: Inihaw na Spareribs
IHAW: Inihaw na Spareribs (₱310.00)

I love ihaw, and I love spareribs. Sadly, these ribs were dry and weren’t very tender.

Kamayan sa Palaisdaan - IHAW: Inihaw na Pork Chop
IHAW: Inihaw na Pork Chop (₱320.00)

The pork chop option was much better than the spareribs; juicy, tender, and full of that lovely char-grilled flavour.

Kamayan sa Palaisdaan - VEGETABLES: Chopsuey Chicken
VEGETABLES: Chopsuey Chicken (₱185.00)

Whenever we dine out, we try to avoid dishes like chopsuey, but because we couldn’t decide on any other vegetable dishes (I know there’s chicken in it but it was somehow placed under the ‘vegetables’ section on the menu). Why we try to avoid this dish is simply because it’s basically just stir-fried vegetables and nothing more exciting to that.

Kamayan sa Palaisdaan - PRITO: Daing na Bangus
PRITO: Daing na Bangus (₱160.00)

Bangus (milkfish) is the national fish of the Philippines and can be prepared and cooked in various ways. ‘Daing’ refers to dried fish from the Philippines. Fish prepared as daing is usually split open, gutted, salted liberally, and then sun and air-dried. I love eating fried bangus with a bit of pickled green papaya on the side with plain rice. But honestly speaking though, why order fried fish at a restaurant? In my case, because I love it and I couldn’t find anything else in the menu that attracted me to it.

Kamayan sa Palaisdaan - SALADS: Ensaladang Pako
SALADS: Ensaladang Pako (₱125.00)

Quite possibly the worst dish from this place based on my taste buds and opinion. For starters, the taste of what seemed to be raw pako (an edible Fiddlehead fern) did not sit too well with me; it tasted bitter. What made it worse for me were the raw onions and the obvious canned sardines in tomato sauce. Why did I order this? Well I didn’t, my uncle did. I don’t think I even touched this dish after a small bite of just the pako.

Kamayan sa Palaisdaan - JUICES: Buko FreshJUICES: Buko Fresh (₱60.00)

Fresh coconut juice straight from the shell, need I say more?

Overall, as I have already mentioned above, the menu is pretty average and can honestly be found in many other restaurants (and homes no matter rich or poor) across the Philippines. I guess it’s safe to say that if you are going to the restaurant for the food, it’s not worth the trip to this place seeing as it is also quite hard to find. However, if you want to dine in a bamboo hut on a bamboo raft floating over water, then you may want to make the trip here just for that experience. Dining at the Hotel & Resort isn’t bad as well as it provides a lot more recreational activities that you can enjoy aside from dining, and it also overlooks Mount Banahaw. So ambience and dining experience is a sure 10 for me. Service probably an 8 as even though there were quite a few staff members, it was pretty hard to flag one down whenever we needed something. Food – probably a 5; 6 if I’m feeling generous, but nothing more.

Kamayan sa Palaisdaan

Barangay. Dapdap
Tayabas, Quezon
Philippines

– Ally xx

Avocado & Roast Pumpkin, Kale Salad

Avocado & Roast Pumpkin, Kale Salad

Hello Everyone! Sorry for not getting this post up on Tuesday night (please forgive me) – it was quite a stressful day for me trying to get important things done. I hoped to have finished them by the evening so that I could move on and write this post for you, but it didn’t happen. Today I am a little bit more relaxed as I pretty much finished what I could do yesterday. So here is what was meant to go up for Tuesday’s post, today!

This recipe is one that started off a little bit more simpler than what you’ve seen above. It was one that I used to make a while back during my second year of University, and during that time avocados were not only in season, but cheap as well! I wanted to try out various recipes that used avocados and I came across a simple avocado and roast pumpkin mixed leaf salad. I would always pair it with marinated oven-baked chicken drumsticks or a whole chicken leg. I won’t post the marination recipe for our chicken on my blog as it’s a secret blend of ingredients that my mom came up with, but I mean, you can basically pair it with your own secret recipe or keep it simple with just the salad.

Avocado & Roast Pumpkin, Kale Salad

Over time I started to add a few extra ingredients here and there that I thought might jive well together in terms of flavour and texture. I added toasted walnuts, and then pomegranate seeds after I made the dish a few times with just the addition of the walnuts. There was also one time where our avocados were very overripe and basically couldn’t add it to the salad, and instead I added marinated feta cheese because that’s what I had in my fridge at the time that was sort of creamy in texture to substitute; of course flavour was no where near. Lastly, the supermarket didn’t have pre-bagged mixed leaf salad leaves so I had to go with what they did have on the shelves – kale! Quite a transformation from just an avocado and roast pumpkin mixed leaf salad to begin with I must say.

Avocado & Roast Pumpkin, Kale Salad Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 small avocados, peeled, pitted, and cut into small chunks
  • 1 bunch kale, stems and leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 medium-sized butternut pumpkin, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 large pomegranate, peeled and deseeded
  • Handful of walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
  • Marinated feta cheese
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Season the pumpkin with a bit of salt, ground pepper, and olive oil. Line a baking tray with foil and spread the pumpkin over the lined tray. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes or until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add in the kale and simmer for about 6-8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a serving plate.
  3. Top the kale with avocado, roasted pumpkin, feta, pomegranate seeds, and walnuts.
  4. Enjoy the salad as it is or as a side with your preferred choice of meat.

We had ours with Mama G’s Special Spicy Roast BBQ Whole Leg Chicken!

Avocado & Roast Pumpkin, Kale Salad with Roast Chicken

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Greek-inspired Barley Salad

Greek-inspired Barley Salad

Hello Everyone! I can’t believe that it’s already February, which means sad times ahead as I only have less than two week in this beautiful city I have been calling home for the past 4 years. I’m finding it difficult to wrap my head around the fact that once I leave, the possibility of coming back is unlikely. Yes I will be back for graduation, but after that it’s quite possible that it’s sayōnara for good.

So why am I starting off my blog post on this matter? Well it’s because leaving and knowing you won’t be back in a long time has me in this cleaning-up-the-pantry phase. I discovered that I have a tin of pearl barley in my pantry and so I wanted to make use of this. I came across a recipe on the Food Network for a Barley Greek Salad and decided to give this a try. I didn’t change much of the recipe besides the fact that I used balsamic vinegar instead of red wine vinegar only because I had about a quarter of a bottle left of balsamic. I didn’t want to buy a whole new bottle of red wine vinegar seeing as I didn’t have any (since my whole point is to clear the pantry)! I also decided to throw in some avocado chunks instead of cucumber because for those who know me, cucumber isn’t my thing.

Greek-inspired Barley Salad

Easy, simple, and packed with lots of flavour. Good for a light and healthy (I presume) lunch or as a side to a classic Aussie summer BBQ. The flavours worked really well together; you’ve got the saltiness from the olives, counterbalanced with the acidity of the balsamic vinegar. You’ve got the freshness of the added vegetables as well as the crunch from the diced capsicum, chewiness from the pearl barley, and creaminess of the avocado. Like fireworks in your mouth I tell you; an absolute burst of flavours to the palette!

Greek-inspired Barley Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 45 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1/2 cup danish feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1 avocado, pitted and cut into chunks
  • 1 punnet (250g) cherry tomato medley, quartered
  • 1 small red capsicum, seeded, ribs removed, and diced
  • 1 small red spanish onion, minced
  • 3 tbsp balsamic (or red wine) vinegar
  • 3 tbsp fresh mint leaves, torn
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of salt

METHOD

  1. Combine the barley, 3 cups water, and a pinch salt in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the barley is tender, approximately 45 minutes. Strain* and set aside to cool.
  2. Combine the tomatoes, feta, olives, mint, capsicum and shallots in a large bowl. Once the barley has cooled down, add it to the bowl. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together the balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a separate small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and dress the salad and toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. It’s best to make the barley salad at least 3 hours ahead of time so the flavours have time to incorporate and mingle into each other.

*Optional: when straining the barley, reserve the water for drinking. There are numerous health benefits associated to drinking barley water such as lowering cholesterol levels in the body because of its high fibre content. Barley water also helps reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes. It is a good source of magnesium, which reacts with various enzymes involving glucose levels in the body. To find out more about the health benefits of barley water, check out the Diet Health Club.

Greek-inspired Barley Salad

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Devon on Danks: BREAKFAST WITH THE SAKUMA'S

Devon on Danks

Hello Everyone and welcome back to yet another Review Sunday on the blog! Devon Café is one of those that I’d never fail to go back to for a nice Sunday brunch, well besides the Potting Shed at the Grounds though – I can’t pick between the two! So recently, I think somewhere in mid-November, Devon Café expanded their brand and opened up a new venue over on Danks Street in Waterloo. I quite honestly did not get into the hype of it until late December, after Christmas, before New Years – not that I wasn’t into it, but I just wanted to wait until the hype died down a bit. Knowing that this is Sydney, the hype never dies down! The first time I went here wasn’t that bad though, we managed to get a seat straight away but even so, the place was pretty packed. If we had arrived any later we could’ve easily been standing outside waiting for at least 10 minutes or so for a table for 3. Don’t even get me started on how packed it was on ‘Straya Day, but lucky again we managed to get a table for 2 with ease, but I did feel sorry for the others who had to wait out in the rain for a table.

Devon on Danks: 'STRAYA DAY SPECIAL
‘STRAYA DAY SPECIAL
Medley of tomatoes, avocado, olive oil, and soft-boiled egg, on toast ($16.50)

As mentioned above, this dish was only available during Australia Day. I ordered it because it’s one of their specials and it won’t be on their menu ever again (maybe)! It was a difficult decision because I was eying their ‘Naked’ Bruschetta at that time as well. I actually have no regrets going for this dish because it blew my mind. Yes I know, some tomatoes and avocado on toast – really? The dish was just so flavoursome and fresh at the same time. The crusty white bread added that crunch texture to the palette and was excellent for soaking up the olive oil. The disappointment in this dish though was that my egg was not at all soft nor runny liked I’d expect it to be. Would’ve loved a runny yolk to compliment the crusty bread to soak it all up. Also, $16.50 for this dish? A bit too much in my opinion.

Devon on Danks: BREAKFAST WITH THE SAKUMA'S
BREAKFAST WITH THE SAKUMA’S
Miso grilled king salmon, smoked eel croquette, 63˚ egg, radish petit salad, and kewpi mayonnaise ($24.50)

This dish is probably Devon’s signature as it appears in both menus at the original Devon and Devon on Danks. My Instagram newsfeed always features this dish from other people’s brunches. I never really had this dish for myself to consume, but I did manage to have a bite from my friend’s plate. According to her, the salmon was cooked to perfection and I can definitely vouch for that statement. The egg was perfectly cooked, and flavour combinations worked well together. She overall liked the dish.

Devon on Danks: LITTLE LOST BREAD
LITTLE LOST BREAD
Brioche French toast, fresh and freeze dried strawberries, balsamic and strawberry gastrique, strawberry cheesecake ice cream, and Arnott’s biscuit crumble ($16.50)

Again, I did not have this dish to myself, but I did manage to have a small bite. My friends, who at that time share this dish as a dessert, really loved this dish, but it was a bit sour for my liking, which I think mainly came from the balsamic. But otherwise, the brioche French toast was amazing, and so was the ice cream that topped it. What I found interesting was that at the end of the description for this dish it said “add bacon $4.00”. BACON? I was so confused and intrigued at the same time, but my friends didn’t want to get the bacon with it.

Devon on Danks: DR SEUSS's GREEN EGGS AND HAM
DR SEUSS’s GREEN EGGS AND HAM
Thick cut bacon, crispy potato, 63˚ egg, green tomato ketchup, pea purée, soybeans, pea tendrils, and jus ($19.00)

This again was a dish that was predominately popping up on my Instagram newsfeed. I think what is attractive about this dish is its name. It brought back many childhood memories and this was a dish that I really wanted to indulge in, but unfortunately lost the battle with Marissa. She told me to order the same thing but I was like NO that’s not point! Because I write a blog, I actually hate it when people order the same thing, because then that means that I have one (sometimes two) less dishes to write about. Which also means that I have to again visit the café/restaurant so that I am not just reviewing two or three dishes. Anyway, tangent aside, the bacon was delish, cooked to perfection, and paired well with the other components in the dish. Marissa seemed to love it too!

Devon on Danks: SOFT SHELL CRAB SALAD ala JAPANOIS
SOFT SHELL CRAB SALAD ala JAPANOIS
Crispy soft shell crab with sichimi pepper, wasabi mayo, tobiko, nori, pickled cucumber, daikon, carrot, and shiso ($19.90)

Originally, this dish was meant to be a soft shell crab roll. I don’t know what happened, like whether they ran out of rolls or whatever other reason, this time when I came back with Tara, they had blacked out the ‘roll’ on their menu and changed it to a salad. Despite it not being a roll anymore, the dish was beautifully presented and was very flavoursome. The soft shell crab was crunchy and was packed with a lot of spice, quite possibly from the wasabi. That was on point for me. The salad was flavourful, but in the end I kept thinking that the dish looked really small, and for roughly $20.00, it almost seemed that you didn’t a good value for your money. I’ve had soft shell crab salad elsewhere before at a Japanese restaurant and it was about $11.00 for more than just ONE crab.

Devon on Danks: LUCKY DUCK
LUCKY DUCK
French buckwheat crêpe, crispy duck leg, duck liver parfait, fried duck egg, and blueberry preserve ($24.50)

This was the dish that I had that time I was out with Marissa and her friend Karina. Duck is one of my favourite meats which is why I had no doubts when having to select another dish after not being able to have my way with what I wanted in the first place. I regret nothing. This dish was top notch for me, despite me having doubts about the liver parfait. It actually tasted good together with the blueberry preserve and the other elements to the dish. I could not fault this dish, and unlike most dishes, this definitely was a great value for money.

Devon on Danks: CRONUT
CRONUT
Green tea matcha cronut with red bean filling ($7.00)

This was by far the best cronut I’ve had to date (not that I’ve had many anyway), but the flavour combinations happening in this one tiny cronut was to die for. The amount of red bean filling in this cronut might I add was very generous! It just oozed out every time we sliced into it for a bite. Though I did feel that by the 5th or 6th bite, I could feel that the red bean filling was a bit too sweet for my liking.

Devon on Danks: SOFT SERVE SUNDAE
SOFT SERVE SUNDAE
Pandan soft serve, banana, rice and coconut krispies, kalamansi cream, palm seeds, and gula melaka ($11.00)

What I love about Devon is the Asian fusion that they bring into their cuisine. This ice cream, though Asian inspired based on ingredients and flavours, is nothing that I have seen at all in Asia. Pansan, kalamansi, palm seeds, and gula melaka, are all flavours that I am familiar with, but never did I think that they’d all work so well together as an ice cream sundae! Loved the flavour combinations in this sundae, better than the salted caramel soft serve. I only wished that it had been a very hot day instead of a gloomy ‘Straya Day the time I shared this with Tara because the cloddish weather and really cold ice cream did not feel right!

Devon on Danks: DD's SPECIAL SOFT SERVE SUNDAE
DD’s SPECIAL SOFT SERVE SUNDAE
with salted caramel ice cream, black salt, and hot chips ($10.00)

Ever since the opening of Devon on Danks, I have seen this pop up on my Instagram feed one too many times! It brought back a lot of memories of when I was a kid and how I’d use to dip my order of fries into my soft serve ice cream on a cone from McDonalds. I think it was everyone’s childhood memories for everyone had written about how they did that when they were kids when talking about this sundae. Though I thoroughly enjoyed this, there was too much salt going on for me. I was fine at first, but I struggled to finish the rest. Salted caramel ice cream, TOPPED with black salt, AND salted fries on the side. Salt overload!

I’d rate the food probably an 8 on a scale of 10, just cos of some minor issues I had with some of the dishes that were served. Service was on point and the waiters/waitresses were always smiling, friendly, and gave great recommendations when it came down to having to make a decision on what cronut we wanted to have for dessert. The ambiance was sort of like modern meets industrial which by the way is what I like most about cafés around Sydney who embrace this interior design style fusion. Value for money is variable – some dishes I feel were reasonably priced while others I felt that they were a bit overpriced for the amount of food that was on the plate. Then again this is my opinion, and I’m pretty sure others will have a different say to this. But overall, be it the original Devon Café or Devon on Danks, I will always pay a visit when I am in the mood for a pretty epic brunch date.

Devon on Danks
2 Danks Street
Waterloo, New South Wales
Australia, 2017

– Ally xx

Celery & Green Apple Slaw

Celery & Green Apple Slaw

Hello Everyone! The story behind me attempting this recipe is that I always seem to struggle with celery. There are times where I’d buy a whole bunch for a dollar (on special) when the halves weren’t available or if they didn’t have the bags of pre-cut celery sticks. The thing with me and celery is that I only use it when I’m making a bolognese or minestrone soup. I rarely use it for any of my dishes. So half the time it sits in the fridge waiting to be use, and then eventually thrown out because it’s been sitting there for weeks, possibly months. I know, most of you are probably thinking that I could’ve just eat them like that with some sort of dip, but in all honesty, raw celery isn’t quite my thing. Again, another rabbit food moment here.

Celery & Green Apple Slaw

So, I bought a bag of celery sticks last week for a dish that will be posted next week, and before going out to do my weekly groceries, I jumped online and search for a recipe that I could make that included celery – yes, I was determined to not waste my bag of celery! I came across this recipe from Taste and I thought that I’d give this one a go. I know, when I thought about it and how I mentioned that “raw celery isn’t quite my thing”, and here I am attempting a raw celery slaw. Well, I thought it was about time that I gave raw celery a chance and it did not disappoint. Well to be honest I could’t distinctly pick out its taste, maybe because from the crème fraîche dressing, but the crispiness and freshness from both the celery and apple paired with the creamy sweet yet tangy dressing really made the dish exciting to my palette. Why did I not think of this sooner! All those celery sticks that went to waste…

Celery & Green Apple Slaw Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME | SERVES 2-3

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 celery sticks, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 large green apple, cut into matchsticks
  • 100g Danish feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • Pinch of caster sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the crème fraîche, lemon juice, sugar and chives in a small bowl. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.
  2. Plate up the celery and apple matchsticks in a deep dish. Pour the crème fraîche mixture over the celery and apples, and top with crumbled danish feta and walnuts. Serve!

Celery & Green Apple Slaw

If you want to add some protein or omega-3 to this fresh, light slaw, you can have some chicken on the side, or as what I’ve done is grill some salmon to go with this dish. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice, pop in the grill oven for about 5 to 7 minutes (for a thin portion as what I had), and serve!

Celery & Green Apple Slaw with Salmon

Celery & Green Apple Slaw with Salmon

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com