Auguest 2019: Ferreli Virtudazo

Vegetarian “Pulled Pork”

I’m Ferreli, the woman behind @acupofjasminerice. I started my account in 2016 as a form of creative outlet. I needed to do something different besides my corporate job. I can’t remember if I came up with that handle because acupofjasminetea was already taken or I was in a phase where I ate ONLY jasmine rice. Haha! For others I only post pictures of food; for me it’s a form of self-expression. It’s also putting myself out there as I reveal bits and pieces of me in the captions and engage with people who comment on my posts.

I started my love for cooking when I was very little. I could think back to the time I made pancakes with my grandmother and fried shrimp crackers with my mom. Those were my early memories of cooking. I think I was 5 years old then! As a child, it was all play. Now that I’m an adult, my perspective of cooking has evolved and so has my palate. These days, most of my posts are inspired by food trends. I take delight in recreating dishes I’ve seen on Youtube and Instagram.

Vegetarian “Pulled Pork”

I don’t recall who followed who but I remember that my initial interactions with Allison was with her “guess the next dish” on Instagram. I soooo take pride on my correct answers. Lol! I also couldn’t help but be amazed if I guessed it wrong. I’d go “Wow! I didn’t think of that!” I also like that she follows themes because being organized is important to me. I recently tried to be consistent with my themes as well.

I’m excited and honored to be one of her Au-guests. Her theme this month is about fruits and it’s something I can incorporate with food trends. I chose jackfruit or langka because it is gaining popularity stateside. Instead of making a local dish (I can only think of Ginataang Langka. Hehe.), I decided to go for Vegetarian Pulled Pork because it’s something new for me. I’ve found recipes as old as 3 years but I only got to see it on IG about a month ago or so. I’m calling it vegetarian instead of vegan because I’m not sure if the ingredients of the barbecue sauce are all plant-based.

I hope you enjoy making AND eating this dish as much as did. It’s easy to make and it’s something you can add to your #meatlessmonday entry 😉

Recipe adapted from:

Vegetarian “Pulled Pork”

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pack (approx. 350g) pre-sliced young jackfruit
  • 4 small red onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce*
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil (or any cooking oil is fine)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar

*If you want to make a vegan version of this dish, you may source for plant-based barbecue sauce as a substitution.

METHOD

  1. Chop the young jackfruit to smaller pieces so the core gets broken down and the “flesh” appears to have the pulled pork texture.
  2. Heat oil in a large pan and sauté the onions and garlic until slightly softened.
  3. Add in the jackfruit, spices, and brown sugar. Mix well.
  4. Add in water and simmer for 30 minutes until the jackfruit is tender and the liquid has almost been absorbed.
  5. Mash the jackfruit with a masher (I don’t have any so I used a wooden spoon. Lol!) until you achieve your desired pulled pork texture and the liquid has fully evaporated.
  6. Coat the jackfruit in barbecue sauce and toss well.
  7. Let sit for 3-5 minutes to brown the jackfruit and to give it a charred appearance.
  8. Serve warm and enjoy!

Vegetarian “Pulled Pork” Sliders

After a number of taste tests, my coworkers have said it really tasted like pork. At the same time, they could tell that the last batch I made (pictured) didn’t have the pulled pork feel because I didn’t shred it enough. So, chopping the core and mashing it thoroughly is really important if you want to really go for the pulled pork “look and feel”.

In addition, I agree with several blogs that I’ve read that the barbecue sauce can make or break this dish. I recommend the smoky flavor kind. Some blogs would also suggest pairing it with coleslaw. I’m not into mayo though… My coworkers and I enjoyed eating it plain with pickled jalapeños or kimchi on the side. We also had fun having it as pulled pork sliders. We just packed it and the pickled veggies in a tiny dinner roll and gobbled it up in one bite. Haha!

Vegetarian “Pulled Pork” Sliders

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2019 | Ferreli Virtudazo

BON APPÉTIT

– Ferreli Virtudazo

myTaste.com

Dragon-flamed Tuna Belly with Fiery Dragon Fruit Salsa

Dragon-flamed Tuna Belly with Fiery Dragon Fruit Salsa

Hello Everyone! I know I made it sound like I’d be gone for a while over on my IG stories last month, but I’m back feeling inspired and motivated to push through the year with fun recipes that I have been putting together during my short hiatus for Amcarmen’s Kitchen.

For the month of June I’ll be featuring one of my favourite fruits of all time – Pitaya or also known more commonly in English as Dragon Fruit, more specifically the red-fleshed variety. The name ‘Dragon Fruit’ was derived from the overall exterior aesthetic of the fruit, which has a leather-like skin and prominent scaly spikes. Pitaya (or pitahaya) is the name derived from Mexico, which refers to the name of tall cacti species with flowering fruits.

Fiery Dragon Fruit Salsa

Dragon Fruits grow on long, thin, and vining cactuses (yes, this is also a valid pluralisation of the word cactus). On the outside, Red Dragon Fruits look almost identical to the white-fleshed variety. The pulp of a Dragon Fruit has a texture that is similar to a kiwi, with small and black edible seeds throughout. Red Dragon Fruits are sweet, but not as sweet as the white-flesh variety, and has a mild acidity to it. In addition, these fruits pack a lot of nutrients that are beneficial for our health. They are low in calories and are a good source of iron, magnesium, and vitamins C & E. Dragon Fruits also contain prebiotics, which helps promote the growth of healthy bacteria and potentially improve the balance of them in your gut.

Dragon-flamed Tuna Belly with Fiery Dragon Fruit Salsa

Tonight, I’ll be whipping up an easy one for y’all. The recipe title may sound intimidating, but it’s really all “just for fancy show” to draw creative links between the fruit itself, and Dragons. Read below for further details on coming up with the name for this dish. This salsa recipe can be modified based on the availability of seasonal ingredients and what you have readily available in your pantry. So feel free to get creative here! You may also substitute the dragon fruit for kiwi, mango, nectarines, or peaches. Just make sure to use a firm and barely ripe fruit so that it will hold its shape in the salsa.

Fiery Dragon Fruit Salsa Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 kg fresh tuna belly slab, washed and pat-dried
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season

For the salsa

  • 1 small dragon fruit, diced*
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli, seeds in and minced
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Handful of finely chopped basil leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

*The grocer that I bought them from only had gigantic dragon fruits, where the one I bought and pictured for this recipe was about 800g! In this case, I only used half of the fruit for the recipe.

METHOD

Breaking down a dragon fruit may look intimidating, but it really is quite simple.

  1. Fiery Dragon Fruit Salsa: Slice the fruit in half lengthwise and spoon around the outer edge of the fruit to scoop out the flesh. Dice and place in a medium-sized mixing bowl together with the minced onion, chillies, basil leaves, vinegar, and olive oil. Stir to combine and season to taste. Set aside in the fridge for the flavours to infuse and chill.
  2. Dragon-flamed Tuna Belly: Rub the tuna belly with olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Dracarys.

If you don’t understand step #3, then skip ahead to step #4 (also, this means we can’t be friends… Just kidding! *cheeky grin*)

  1. Flame-grill on lightly greased grates over hot coals for about 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Feel free to adjust grilling time depending on how you like your tuna to be cooked.
  2. Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving plate. Serve hot with the Dragon Fruit Salsa and a salad for a complete meal. Enjoy!

Dragon-flamed Tuna Belly with Fiery Dragon Fruit Salsa

Just before I wrap things up with tonight’s post, I just wanted to mention that the featured recipe is actually a mash-up of ideas between a friend and myself. I already had the choice of fruit in mind that I wanted to work with for the month and what to make of it to pair with a beautiful slab of tuna belly. He suggested that I cut the fruit in half, scoop out its flesh, chop it up, and serve it in its skin/casing. I mentioned that I already had the idea to make a fiery (spicy) Dragon Fruit Salsa to go with the tuna belly, to which I said I could take his idea of serving the salsa in the dragon fruit skin. In the end I put that idea aside just because there wasn’t much contrast with the colours of the salsa and the dragon fruit skin. Nonetheless, I’ll keep this idea for another dish!

In addition, while exchanging ideas, I mentioned that I thought of grilling the tuna belly, to which he suggested to play with the idea of ‘dragon’ in the name of the dish and hence Dragon-flamed Tuna Belly. It is still essentially flame-grilled tuna belly but Dragon-flamed sounded way more cool.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Auguest 2018: Jialing Mew

Waffles with Oven-fried Adobo Flakes

Welcome to part two of my Auguest feature! A few days ago I shared a tried-and-true vegan and gluten-free sweet recipe, and now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, we’re taking a very tasty trip to the other side of the delicious breakfast spectrum. I’m using this second recipe as a chance to make something I love but haven’t tried cooking myself before: adobo flakes! True to form (Allison reminded me that I do this every year… yikes), I left it to the last available minute, but worry not, because it actually worked out better than I expected! I did originally intend to turn this into a Filipino twist on fried chicken and waffles, but the adobo flakes turned out so fantastically that I couldn’t bring myself to make them share the spotlight. Please note that my poor time management was completely unrelated to this decision. However I do still highly recommend the waffle pairing, because I did eat them that way, and let me tell you, it was DIVINE. That isn’t even a word I use regularly, but it does so accurately describe the marriage of the saucy crispy chicken and fluffy golden waffles.

Oh, and I’m pleased to announce that all the liquid-cooking techniques from my past recipes came in very handy for the first part of this recipe.

Waffles with Oven-fried Adobo Flakes

Waffles with Oven-fried Adobo Flakes

PREP TIME 10 MINS* | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 4

*Not including marination time of minimum 2 hours or maximum overnight for a more intense flavour.

INGREDIENTS

For the marinade

  • 1 & 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3-4 dried bay leaves
  • 3 red chillis, with just the tops cut off
  • 1 head garlic, lightly crushed to remove skins
  • Generous amount of cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 kg chicken breast fillets (about 2 large breast pieces)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Canola oil spray

METHOD

  1. Combine marinade ingredients in a large bowl and marinate chicken for at least 2 hours, or over night to really intensify the flavour.
  2. Transfer marinade and chicken into a pan on medium heat, and cook, uncovered, turning chicken every so often. The vinegar will boil away and smell quite acidic – be prepared!
  3. Preheat oven to 200C (180C fan forced or 400F or gas mark 6), and line a large baking tray with grease proof paper. In the meantime, remove chicken from the pan once cooked through (about 10-15 minutes) and set aside in a large bowl.
  4. Add coconut milk to pan and bring down to a simmer. The sauce will reduce to a thicker consistency after about 15-20 minutes. Once thickened, remove from heat and discard the bay leaves (and chilli if you don’t want to eat it) – the garlic will have fallen apart and any leftover chunks will melt in your mouth.
  5. While the sauce cooks, why not get to work shredding the chicken! I like to grip a piece on one end with tongs and rake a fork through the meat going with the grain, working my way up.
  6. Once the chicken is well shredded, evenly distribute onto the baking tray (I did one breast per batch), and generously spray with canola oil and give the tray a shake to even the coat.
  7. Place into the oven for 10 minutes, then increase the temperature to 220C. If the chicken looks like it’s browning more quickly in certain spots, take it out and redistribute the flakes, then return to oven and bake for another 10minutes.
  8. Now get your waffles ready – I usually make one big batch and keep some in the freezer, then just defrost for a quick breakfast option! Putting them in the oven just after you take out the chicken and toasting them in the residual heat makes them a little bit crispy on the outside – yum!
  9. Once ready, heap a little mountain of of adobo flakes onto your waffles, finishing off with a generous drizzle of sauce, and serve straightaway. You can thank me later.

Waffles with Oven-fried Adobo Flakes

Waffles with Oven-fried Adobo Flakes

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2018 | jialingmew

See you all next August!

– Jialing

myTaste.com

Auguest 2018: Brendon D'Souza

Easy Avo Toasts

Hi Foodies! My name is Brendon D’Souza and I run the Sydney Food and Lifestyle Blog known as Brendon The Smiling Chef. I’m so honoured to be guest-posting here at AMCarmen’s Kitchen once again for the third time since Ally started her Auguest series.

In between running a busy collaborative workspace in the heart of Sydney, and a number of side hustles, I love developing fresh and tasty recipes that you will love to cook. Think comforting winter roasts, colourful salads, decadent desserts and much more!

Easy Avo Toasts

Sydney will forever be known as the home of over-glorified Avocado Toast for breakfast (or “brekkie” as we like to call it), and you will always find a variation of this simple recipe at any cafe or restaurant.

Treat your friends to a gorgeous breakfast feast that’s actually super easy to prepare. This is a great recipe for children to make too!

Easy Avo Toasts

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices multigrain bread
  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 2 tsp olive oil

METHOD

  1. Toast the bread to your liking.
  2. Carefully peel the avocado and remove the stone.
  3. Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh and slice.
  4. Drizzle the toast with olive oil and top with the sliced avocado and season with a touch of salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy!

Brendon’s Tips

  • Jazz up your Avo Toast with a selection of your favourite ingredients.
  • Try smoked salmon, crispy bacon, fried eggs, rocket, feta, sliced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, roast beetroot or even fresh berries.

Easy Avo Toasts

Easy Avo Toasts

Check out my Instagram @brendonthesmilingchef to keep up do date with all my adventures.

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2018 | brendonthesmilingchef

Happy cooking and keep smiling,

– Brendon (Brendon The Smiling Chef)

myTaste.com

Auguest 2018: Wendy Chok

Rustic Bread: Pizza Toast

Hello to all amcarmenskitchen’s readers! I am Wendy, a petite woman in my mid 20s; and of course, I love baking and cooking. For me, spending time in the kitchen is just so therapeutic and satisfying, especially when you get to enjoy the food you’ve made after long hours of preparation. Additionally, I have this motherly instinct to feed people with a lot of food, and whenever someone tells me that the food that I make is delicious and would like to have it again next time around, I feel like I’ve won the title of Brunei’s MasterChef!

I recently started up a blog known as Peek A Pastry, however I haven’t been very active in updating it. I still cook and bake frequently, and have posted a few of my successes in the kitchen over on my Instagram page – @peek.a.pastry. Ally was actually the one who encouraged me to take the first step in opening up a blog, and so I did even though I simply just couldn’t commit to it. After given the opportunity to write down my recipes for Ally’s blog for my guest posts for this month, I got the feel of what it was like to write for a blog and this might very well the kick I need for me to start penning down my recipes and actually write!

Before I share with you my savoury breakfast idea in the form of a Pizza Toast, I’m going to share with you my recipe for Rustic Bread as the base for this toast. Of course, feel free to get store-bought bread too. Note: bake your bread the night before so that you’ll have it ready for a quick brekkie fix the next morning!

Rustic Bread

Rustic Bread: Pizza Toast Method

PREP TIME 2 HOURS 30 MINS* | COOKING TIME 50 MINS | MAKES 1 LOAF

*Allow for an additional 12 hours for dough to rise overnight

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 & 1/3 cups plain flour
  • 1 & 1/4 cups water, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 1/8 tsp yeast
  • 1/2 cup boiling water (when baking)

METHOD

  1. In a large bowl, mix the plain flour, salt, and yeast together until combined. Slowly add in the room temperature water into the flour mixture until the dough starts to become sticky, just like the texture of slime. It’s okay to have a little bit of lumps in the mixture, but make that it is not too lumpy. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and let it rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
  2. After 20 minutes, fold the dough by wetting your hands and scoop them by the edge; palm facing you and fingers under the dough, pull it upwards and flip it across, as if you are helping a baby with his or her napkin. Pull and flip for about 5 times in total for every edge of the dough in the bowl. Set aside and let it rest for a further 20 minutes and repeat this action for another 3 times (four folds in total). Along way, your dough will rise a little, but not too much.
  3. After the fourth and last fold, rest the dough for 12 hours overnight.
  4. After 12 hours the next morning, you will see that your dough has risen and bubbling like crazy! Place a piece of parchment paper over a baking tray and lightly sprinkle a bit of plain flour atop as well as on the dough.
  5. Scrape the edges of the dough with your fingers so they will come out from the bowl easily and onto the parchment paper. Sprinkle some more flour on top of the dough and start to fold again.
  6. Start shaping the dough by cupping the bottom of the dough. Cup and twist until you get a nice round shape. At this point your dough should be feel supple and bouncy. Use your finger and slightly press on the dough and release. It should recover back to its initial shape instantly.
  7. Grease a large clean heatproof bowl and transfer the dough, together with the parchment paper underneath it to the bowl. Cover using a clean kitchen towel and let it rest in the bowl for another 50 minutes before baking it.
  8. Preheat the oven at 230C (450F or gas mark 8), add the boiling water into a small heat-proof bowl and place into the oven. Then place dough in the bowl into the oven and bake for 50 minutes.
  9. Once done, remove the bread from the oven. Remove from the bowl and leave to cool down for at least an hour on an elevated rack before slicing into it. Brush off excessive flour on top.

Rustic Bread: Pizza Toast

Rustic Bread: Pizza Toast

And now your Rustic Bread is ready to be topped with your favourite toppings! Follow the recipe below for a delicious Tuna Chunk Pizza Toast!

Rustic Bread: Pizza Toast

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • Diced red onions
  • Mayonnaise
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Pineapple bits
  • Rustic bread slices
  • Tomato paste
  • Tuna chunks in olive oil (or you can use any tuna you want)
  • Unsalted butter

METHOD

  1. Spread the butter generously at the sides of the bread to give it a crunchy bite.
  2. Smother the tomato paste at the centre of each slice and start rustically building up all your toppings. Put as much as you like – I like to put tuna first then pineapple bits, followed by the diced onions. Season it with Parmesan cheese and finish it off with dollops of mayonnaise here and there. Bake them for about 15 minutes at 240C (475F or gas mark 9).
  3. Once done, serve and enjoy with a hot cup of coffee!

Rustic Bread: Pizza Toast

I am a savory person and I love everything savory. It might be because I’m Hakka (one of the Chinese dialects). Just to give you a little bit of imagination when you bite into this toast, let me paint a picture of it for you. Imagine as you take that first bite into the crunchy edge of the toast before everything else, and then you a change of texture to the chewy and savoury bread. Followed by all of the topping in that single bite; the umami and flaky tuna, the crunchy, spicy and sweet diced onions, the richness of the slightly burnt dollops of mayonnaise that sort of just melt in your mouth, engulfing everything together. Then here come the sweet and juicy pineapples, cutting through all the richness happening in that tiny space. You start over again as you take another bite to experience this rich and salivating moment!

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2018 | peekapastry

– Wendy (Peek A Pastry)

myTaste.com

Baked Sweet Potato & Egg Brekkie Boats

Baked Sweet Potato & Egg Brekkie Boats

Hello Everyone! Oh wow – two words in and I’m already having a writer’s block! I literally just spent the last 20 minutes thinking about what to write after ‘Hello Everyone!’ In all honesty, there are definitely A LOT of things I can talk about to you guys, but the timing isn’t just quite right yet. You’ll probably only hear about everything that I have to share in September – is it worth the wait? Well maybe it’s more just for me as exciting things are about to unfold, maybe for Amcarmen’s Kitchen, but definitely on my personal life and adventures ahead!

So aside from that thing that I can’t tell you guys just yet, there’s actually nothing I can touch on at this moment and just realising what a boring week/weekend I had. Okay, just as I typed weekend out, I just remembered that it wasn’t all that boring at all. I met up with a couple of friends on Friday night to celebrate a birthday. The night was great – the usual good food, good company cliché but I thought that my food could have been a lot better to be honest. And of course, the cherry atop the cake was that of all places and of all times, my Boss had to have dinner at the same place, at the same time, and sit directly opposite the direction I was facing. Good times. Can’t escape. I remember one of my friends saying “Oh sh*t it’s my colleague” as he pointed out to my manager’s (my Boss’ daughter) husband, to which I responded to him “Oh sh*t it’s my Boss and his WHOLE family!” *insert cold sweat emoji* On Sunday night I met up with more friends at a friend’s open house for Raya which equated to more laughs and definitely great home-cooked food! The night ended young for me as I was for some reason immensely exhausted that day.

Baked Sweet Potato & Egg Brekkie Boats

All that side and diving right into tonight’s recipe – I came across the original recipe by Willow over on Will Cook For Friends. I especially loved how she described that this was one of those ‘fluke recipes that came to [her] out of nowhere’ and I’m sure all foodies, home cooks, chefs, and probably anyone really has had one to these revelations(?) is this the correct word to use? Anyway, this is how I come up with so many different variations of stir-fries and weird combinations of food pairings (that actually do surprisingly work, but probably not for Gordon Ramsay) during my university days.

We’ve all stared into the black hole that is our fridge, as Willow describes:

Me: “Man, I really need to go shopping.”
Eggs: “We’re here! Pick us, pick us!”
Me: “I don’t want eggs… unless they were really, really awesome eggs!”
Sweet potato that’s been sitting on my counter for two weeks: “AHEM. I’ve got you covered.”

And so behold these wickedly delicious gluten-free and paleo Baked Sweet Potato Boats for a filling weekend (or even week day if you have the time) brekkie for champs!

Baked Sweet Potato & Egg Brekkie Boats Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 80-95 MINS* | SERVES 2**

*Baking time time will vary depending on the size of your sweet potato.

**Half of a sweet potato with an egg in it for breakfast is already pretty filling, but if you’re serving these to particular bunch of super hungry people, then you might want to plan on a whole potato and two eggs per person. The recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, and so on.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 very large orange sweet potato, washed and scrubbed clean
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 2 slices of bacon strips
  • Fresh chopped spring onions, for garnish
  • Ground sea salt and black peppercorns, to taste
  • Tabasco, Sriracha, or any other hot sauce, to taste

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4).
  2. Place the washed and dried sweet potato (whole) in a baking dish and into the oven. Bake for about 60-70 minutes, or until tender as time will vary depending on the size of your sweet potato.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a small frying pan over high heat and cook bacon to your liking***. Remove from the pan once done and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain off excess grease. Set aside.
  4. Once done, remove the sweet potato from the oven and cut it in half lengthwise. Using a pairing knife, carefully carve out a well in the center of each half, about as big as you think you’ll need for the size of your eggs. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and pour into the carved well. Season with a touch of salt and pepper.
  5. Place the potato halves back into the baking dish, resting them against the side of the pan if needed to keep them from tipping and spilling any egg. Return to the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked to your liking. I like my whites cooked with an oozy yolk!
  6. Remove from the oven and crumble the bacon over the top. Serve with your favorite hot sauce, and a bit of freshly chopped spring onion to garnish. Enjoy!

***There are many ways in which we all prefer to cook our bacon, and there is no wrong way of doing so. You can do this in a pan on the stove like how I’ve done, or bake it in the oven. To bake the bacon, spread the bacon strips in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a sheet of foil for easier cleanup.

Baked Sweet Potato & Egg Brekkie Boats

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Savoury Orange Sweet Potato Toasts (3 Ways)

Savoury Orange Sweet Potato Toasts (3 ways)

Hello Everyone! Firstly, I would like to apologise for getting this post up TWO days late (compensating by posting earlier in the day today). I’ve been hibernating for the past few days after mentally and physically tiring days and nights of work. I don’t want to get into a long winded description of why since I’m not a 100% in the mood to write, so I’ll just hop on forward to tonight’s recipe. Hopefully I’ll be in a better mood to write next week. Apologies once again! It’s nothing serious by that way, it just that while I’m writing this, my mind seems to doze off and my eyelids just keep getting heavier and heavier, making it hard for me to concentrate even the slightest bit.

But of course I won’t just leave you guys with a less than mediocre introduction – it is a new month after all on Amcarmen’s Kitchen and I have yet to introduce to you the theme for this month! So just a little bit of inside information, probably about a year ago, I saw these beautifully colourful sweet potato toasts in a Coles Magazine spread and instantly knew I had to give these a go. Fast forward a year (or more) later, and I’ve finally decided to whip up Three Savoury Sweet Potato Toasts for you. They are definitely not as aesthetically pleasing as those you’d find on Pinterest though so don’t hate it these toasts look… Underwhelming. I think my toppings were WAY too massive for the potato slices I had, hence an imbalance proportions. I don’t know – the photographs just look weird to me *insert cold sweat emoji*.

So yes, as you can already see, I’m a bit late on the then hot and trendy sweet potato toasts, but that won’t stop me from sharing them with you guys. Sweet potato toast is basically toast, but without the toast. Skeptics question how can it be called toast without the actual toast? Well, if you’re gluten-free, want a little more fiber in your diet, or are tired of bread for toast, then sweet potatoes are a great option as a substitute. In addition, sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene that gets converted into vitamin A in our body – just like carrots and other orange-coloured fruits and vegetables. Vitamin A is important for hair, skin, nails, vision, and plays a key role in immune function.

Savoury Orange Sweet Potato Toasts (3 Ways)

Preparing your Sweet Potato Toasts

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS* | MAKES 5 SLICES**

*Baking time time will vary depending on the size and thickness of your sweet potato slices.
**Or how-ever-so-many slices you can get from a single sweet potato

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large orange sweet potato, wash and dried

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Place a wire rack on a large rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Trim both ends from the sweet potato using a knife and slice them lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slabs using a knife or mandolin slicer.
  3. Arrange the slabs in a single layer on the wire rack and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender, but not fully cooked.
  4. Remove the potatoes from the oven and allow them to cool on wire rack completely before transferring to a storage container. They can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.

When it’s go-time simply add the desired number of slices to your toaster and toast away. Setting it on the highest setting takes only one toasting cycle to get them how I like them (warm, bubbly and crispy on the edges). Just be wary that yours may need more or less depending on the toaster that you are using. Adjust to your liking!

Notes/Tips:

    • Look for sweet potatoes that are relatively shaped like a tube so that they’re easier to slice.
    • Don’t remove the skin because fibre in it is good and it helps the slices hold up better during storage.
    • Using a mandolin slicer gives you uniform slices of sweet potatoes, and is easier and safer than using a big knife.
    • Allow them to cool completely after baking before stacking them in a container or they’ll get sweaty and will definitely take longer to toast when you’re ready to eat them.

Now the fun starts – you get to add toppings! The possibilities are pretty much endless but these three are my absolute favourite combinations for a yummy start to my day!


Avocado, Beetroot & Goats Cheese

Savoury Orange Sweet Potato Toasts: Avocado, Beetroot & Goats Cheese

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 5-10 MINS | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

  • Avocado slices
  • Beetroot slices
  • Freshly ground black peppercorns
  • Goats cheese, crumbled
  • Lemon zest
  • Spring onion, chopped
  • Sweet potato slice(s)

METHOD

  1. Place the sweet potato slices into a toaster and toast on the highest setting until warm, bubbly and crispy on the edges.
  2. Top with the above garnishes and enjoy!

Smashed Avo, Crispy Bacon & Poached Egg

Savoury Orange Sweet Potato Toasts: Smashed Avo, Crispy Bacon & Poached Egg

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 5-10 MINS | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

  • Bacon slices
  • Balsamic reduction
  • Poached egg
  • Smashed avocado
  • Sweet potato slice(s)

METHOD

  1. Crispy Bacon: Heat a medium size non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the bacon strips and cook for about 3-4 minutes per side. Place on a dish lined with paper towels to drain the excess oils. Next add the tomatoes and fry in the bacon fat for about 3-4 minutes per side as well. Set aside in an oven to keep warm before serving.
  2. Balsamic Reduction: Next, pour the 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the vinegar to a boil, then turn down the heat down so that the boil reduces to a simmer. Stir occasionally and allow to simmer until the vinegar has reduced by at least half (for a thinner reduction) or more (for a more syrup-like consistency). If you have impatient tendencies like me when it comes to food, do not increase the heat at this point! Your reduction may burn and you will be left with a stiff, hardened mess.
  3. Poached Eggs: Bring small saucepan of water to the boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low-medium – the water should be just simmering. Add in the vinegar and stir. Crack one egg into a small bowl and quickly, but gently pour it into the water. Repeat with the other egg. A really soft poached egg should take around 2 minutes, but if you want it a bit more firm, it will take about 4 minutes. To check if they’re cooked right, carefully remove the egg from the pan with a slotted spoon and give the yolk a gentle push (you can tell just by your instincts if it is under or over – or perfect)!
  4. Place the sweet potato slices into a toaster and toast on the highest setting until warm, bubbly and crispy on the edges.
  5. Top with the above garnishes and enjoy!

Beet & Salt-cured Salmon

Savoury Orange Sweet Potato Toasts: Beet & Salt-cured Salmon

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 5-10 MINS | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

***Or store-bought smoked salmon will do just fine as well.

METHOD

  1. Crispy Salmon Skin: Preheat oven to 190C (375F or gas mark 5). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and lightly brush olive oil and sprinkle some salt on both sides of the salmon skin. Place the salmon skin, shiny side up, on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until the skin is crisp. Allow the salmon skin to cool before eating.
  2. Place the sweet potato slices into a toaster and toast on the highest setting until warm, bubbly and crispy on the edges.
  3. Top with the above garnishes and enjoy!

And there you have it! Three simple Savoury Sweet Potato Toasts for a great fix of a seriously nutrient-packed brekkie! What do you think about sweet potato toast? Have you tried it for yourself, and if you have what did you think?

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Breakfast Muffins: Blue Cheese & Mushroom

Breakfast Muffins: Blue Cheese & Mushroom

Hello Everyone! I hope everyone had a great weekend and are all pumped for another week ahead! I may have been a little unmotivated today though seeing as it is a Monday after a long weekend. Friday was the first day of Hari Raya (Eid al-Fitr) here in Brunei and we got that Friday and Saturday off from work. To my surprise, the long weekend has been quite uneventful and quiet for Hari Raya.

On the eve of Raya, my mom, sister, and I went to watch the premier of The Incredibles 2! My inner 12-year-old was screaming for joy as the long wait for a sequel finally came into fruition. I remember when I was at the snacks counter, they had these character cups for the drinks. I was asked by the guy at the counter which character would I like, and with probably too much amusement for a 26-year-old in my tone, I squealed, Jack Jack! Thank God the guy did not ask me who Jack Jack was, I would’ve shamed him *shame shame shame* After I got the popcorn and drinks, I stood aside to wait for my hotdog (don’t judge, we were watching the film during our normal dinner time), and the next lady came up to the counter. I wasn’t even listening to the exchange of words between her and the snacks counter guy, but I was in such disbelief when I heard her utter the words “I want the baby.” My eyes widened and in my head I said, how dare you, you uncultured swine. You don’t deserve to watch the movie if you don’t even know the character’s name! Anyway, the film was WORTH THE WAIT. I was laughing non-stop throughout the film, and the people seated beside us were probably thinking, what is this girl on – LET ME HAVE MY MOMENT. My favourite line from the movie? “Num Num Cookie!”

Breakfast Muffins: Blue Cheese & Mushroom

Anyway, that aside for some more side-tracking – if you want to skip ahead to the recipe, just continuing scrolling. I basically spent the rest of my long weekend at home sorting out stuff that I want to get rid of – we’re having a garage sale at home this coming Sunday – and spent the remaining of the long weekend in the kitchen cooking up a storm both good and bad *cheeky grin* I had a bit a failed attempt at a recipe I was so eager to tackle, which made me feel a little deflated after, but I did also have a successful cook the following day for a different recipe though, so all is well. I also went over to a friend’s, had lots of food, dirty talks that involved Urban Dictionary, and of course insanely MASSIVE laughs that turned into silent and out of breath laughs with tears involved for a good 5 minutes. Those are the best kind of laughters, especially between people who get the joke, or get what it is that needs to be laughed at without having to explain further.

Okay, I guess with the long-winded introduction to this post, my long weekend doesn’t seem to be THAT uneventful at all. But moving on, the adventures of Muffin Making Monday continues for its third week and I’ve got, let’s see… Blue Cheese? AND Mushies?! YAAASSS! These delightfully savoury blue cheese and mushroom muffins are delicious for ANY time of day with a hot bevvy (no, not alcohol). I know, I know, some are not very fond of the pungent taste and smell of blue cheese, but trust me when I say that these muffins smell nothing but amazing when freshly baked and the taste and the taste of the blue cheese only just subtly shines through. Check out the original recipe over on All Recipes.

Breakfast Muffins: Blue Cheese & Mushroom Ingredients

Breakfast Muffins: Blue Cheese & Mushroom Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 30-35 MINS | SERVES 16 MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 punnet (125g) brown mushrooms, roughly chopped*
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 3 & 1/3 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme**
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

*Reserved a few mushies to slice thinly, to decorate on top of the muffins (optional).
**Or you may use 2 tsp of herbes de Provence if available which is basically a combination of savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and oregano.

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6). Line one 12 hole and one 6 hole muffin pan with paper cases. Set aside.
  2. Add the butter in a heatproof bowl and melt in the microwave, about 30 seconds. Set aside to cool down a bit.
  3. Melt a knob of butter in a medium-size pan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until half done, about 30 seconds per side. Remove from the pan. Add the roughly chopped mushrooms to the pan and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Season with the herbs and freshly ground black pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk, and then stir in the melted butter.
  5. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Gradually stir in the egg mixture until well combined.
  6. Add the sautéd mushrooms and crumbled blue cheese into the flour mixture and gently mix. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and no more than up to 3/4 full (this allows room for the muffins to rise). Top each muffin with a sliced mushie.
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve immediately with a nice cup of coffee. Enjoy!

You can store the muffins in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Heat them back up in a steamer before serving.

Breakfast Muffins: Blue Cheese & Mushroom

Breakfast Muffins: Blue Cheese & Mushroom

Before I wrap things up here, I just thought I’d share this weird little fascination of mine with these muffins. While I was having them for an afternoon snack, I was fascinated by the speckles of mold present in the muffins in such a way that I really sat there and observed the muffin for a good five minutes before biting into it. I even raised it up to my Mom saying, “look at all the mold in these muffins!” with an obvious hint of excitement in my tone. To which my Mom replied, “if I didn’t know you bought blue cheese for this recipe, I would’ve thrown it out because I thought it went bad since it was moldy and smelled like feet!” *cheeky grin*

Breakfast Muffins: Blue Cheese & Mushroom

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Sweet Gourd Noodles with Tilapia & Egg White Soup

Sweet Gourd Noodles with Tilapia & Egg White Soup

Hello Everyone! I hope that this time around I say that I will keep a post short, that I will actually keep it short *fingers crossed (yet no promises will be made)*. Continuing on with the theme of hero-ing tilapia in all recipes for the month of June, tonight I will be sharing a recipe that I came across last year during a corporate dinner with Ambassadors from a few Southeast Asian countries as we celebrated the Ambassador of Cambodia’s farewell from Brunei. How did a score an invite to a dinner with high-ranking officials? Well, it’s not hard to when your Boss has the connections.

Tangent aside, it was during this dinner that I came across this particular dish that I will be sharing with you guys tonight. I honestly have no clue what the dish is called, as in if there is a special name for it so I do apologise for the blunt name – just calling it as I see it! Anyway, as I recall, the dish didn’t have slices of tilapia in it, I just added it on for extra flavour and protein to the overall dish. I know that the dish doesn’t sound like it packs a lot of flavour to it, well I think it isn’t supposed to anyway. From what I remember, the broth was subtle in taste, and what really shined through was the sweetness of the sponge gourd and a little pop of sour from the goji berries. Honestly, I’m not exactly sure what the egg white does to help the dish as I know it’s rather bland in flavour – maybe to give the broth some texture?

Sweet Gourd Noodles with Tilapia & Egg White Soup

Anyway, I remember really enjoying the dish that night and last weekend I decided to give the dish a go based from the ingredients that I recognised, playing around with flavoring the broth, and of course incorporating tilapia into the overall dish. I’ll be honest and say that I was a bit nervous going blindly into this recipe with having only tried the dish once just shy of a year ago, but it turned out to be a delicious hit!

Sweet Gourd Noodles with Tilapia & Egg White Soup Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 750g tilapia, filleted and sliced, heads and bones reserved
  • 1 large sweet gourd, peeled and cut into long thin strips (like noodles)
  • 2 large free range egg whites
  • Handful of dried goji berries

For the fish broth

  • 1L water
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 dried bay leaves
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • Reserved tilapia heads and bones
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch + 1 tbsp water

METHOD

  1. Add all the ingredients for the fish broth into a large pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, bring the heat down to low and allow the broth to slowly simmer for about 30-45 minutes. Once done, strain out the tilapia heads, bones, garlic cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves, and discard.
  2. Meanwhile, soak the goji berries in hot water for about 5 minutes. Drain and then set aside.
  3. Bring the heat back up to high and the broth to a rapid boil. Add the sweet gourd noodles to the broth and cook until tender but still has a slight crunch to it, about 2-3 minutes altogether, or longer if you prefer it soft. Once done, strain and then divide evenly into each single serving deep dish.
  4. Add the fish slices into the broth and quickly blanch until cooked through, about 1-2 minutes. Strain and then divide evenly.
  5. Drizzle the egg whites into the broth a little at a time using a fork to continuously stir into the broth as the egg whites are dropped in. Eggs whites would cook immediately.
  6. Once the eggs whites have been dropped, gradually stir in the cornstarch and water mixture into the broth until the soup is thickened to your desired consistency. Turn the heat off and divide the soup evenly between the individual serving dishes.
  7. Top the dish with the goji berries and a touch of ground black pepper. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Sweet Gourd Noodles with Tilapia & Egg White Soup

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Plokkfiskur (Icelandic Fish Stew)

Plokkfiskur (Icelandic Fish Stew)

Hello Everyone! Can you believe it?! It’s already the middle of the year! How did time fly by so quickly when I felt like it was only just yesterday that 2017 kicked in?! The next thing you know, it’ll be December and I hope that the next half of the month will be exciting for me in terms of personal and career growth.

So let’s just get right into it shall we? I promise that this won’t be a long-winded post as have the previous ones been so far. I’ve got nothing much to share anyway as things at work have been progressively slow, but I’m not complaining though!

The theme for the month of June on Amcarmen’s Kitchen is hero-ing Tilapia! For those of you who are just tuning into the blog, I made a post at the beginning of the year about Hypertension, or known commonly as High Blood Pressure. Last year, I did a medical check up and found out that I had High Blood Pressure – now I don’t know if this was due to the amount of stress I had been experiencing from work prior to my medical check up, or that it is already a part of my health. Nonetheless, after knowing about my high blood pressure, I’ve been rather careful with my diet and making sure that I eat foods that help lower and maintain a stable blood pressure. In the post, I listed out 20 foods and drinks that help to prevent, lower, or control your high blood pressure naturally without the need for medication. Tilapia is one of the foods that I listed out in that post, and just to recap: just 133 grams (4 oz) of tilapia provides 8% of the magnesium and 8% of the potassium you need every day. I promised that this wouldn’t be a long-winded post but it seems like it is turning out to be one, and I do apologise for misleading everyone!

Plokkfiskur (Icelandic Fish Stew)

So, maybe you’ve read this in a previous post, or you know me personally to know where I’d like to travel to next; it’s an absolute dream of mine to travel Iceland. I talked to an Icelandic acquaintance not too long and asked him what Icelandic dish he would recommend I try if I were to visit Iceland in the near future. A dish that he pointed out was Plokkfiskur. Plokkfiskur, or roughly translating to ‘mashed fish’ is an Icelandic Fish Stew that isn’t quite like the stews that you’re traditionally used too. It’s not soup based, but instead it is a combination of fish, potatoes, onions and béchamel sauce is a firm favourite in Icelandic kitchens. It’s a traditional dish and a true comfort food. For my dish, I completely left the béchamel sauce out for no particular reason – okay I lied, there is a reason and that reason is because the recipe that I looked up did not have béchamel sauce in it. It was only after when I was trying to describe what Plokkfiskur was for this post that I saw “béchamel sauce” in the description and had a little oh shit reaction. So any Icelanders out there reading this post, please do not butcher me for this – I’ve simply adapted the recipe to what is available here in Brunei and also paired it with other side dishes… Without the rye bread *gasps*.

Plokkfiskur (Icelandic Fish Stew) Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 30-40 MINS | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

For the plokkfiskur

  • 1kg fresh or frozen tilapia fillets, skins removed and cubed
  • 200g gouda cheese, grated
  • 2 medium brown onions, diced
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Spring onion, chopped
  • Butter, for greasing

For the garlic rosemary potatoes

  • 500g small to medium-sized potatoes, skin on
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • Asparagus stalks

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 190C (375F or gas mark 5).
  2. Add the diced onions and cubed tilapia into a greased baking dish, and season with salt and pepper. Top with the grated gouda cheese and pop into the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly on top.
  3. Once done remove from the oven and sprinkle some chopped spring onions on top.
  4. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in a large pot of salted water until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Once done, drain and set aside to cool down a bit. Then take a flat surfaced object (I used a small plate), to press down on the potatoes so that they are slightly smashed but not completely broke into pieces.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized non-stick frying pan and sauté the minced garlic and rosemary spring until slightly fragrant. Add the potatoes in, working in batches if needed, and panfry each side until golden in colour, about 2-3 minutes per side. Once done transfer to individual dishes.
  6. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the asparagus stalks for about a minute or two until tender but still crunchy. Drain and submerge in an ice bath immediately to stop the cooking process. Divide evenly between the individual dishes.
  7. Divide the Plokkfiskur into the individual dishes and enjoy with your family and/or friends!

Plokkfiskur (Icelandic Fish Stew)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com