Vegan Gajar Ka Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding)

Vegan Gajar Ka Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding)

Hello Everyone! I’m about to switch things up a bit tonight and share with you a recipe from a country that I have yet to culinarily explore. Amcarmen’s Kitchen is afterall, a Third Culture Foodie! It’s a bright orange Indian carrot pudding that is absolutely decadent and is sure to please, not only yourself, but your guests as well.

Gajar Ka Halwa, is a delicious and rich carrot pudding that’s perfect for any celebration. In India, this dessert is enjoyed mainly on the occasion of Diwali, Holi, Eid al-Fitr, and Raksha Bandhan. It can be served hot or cold. The classic Indian dessert is traditionally made using ghee and full-fat milk, but of course, you can easily substitute those dairy products out for non-dairy products for a vegan option of this dish, but apparently it won’t taste as great. I can’t judge for myself as I haven’t tasted the traditional version.

Vegan Gajar Ka Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding)

Also, I just want to add that I had a hard time sourcing cardamom in store here in the Philippines. Cardamom has a complex flavour of fruity, nutty, spicy, woody, and citrusy that’s hard to replicate with other spices. However, cardamom substitutes like ginger, nutmeg & cinnamon are the closest.

If you too have difficulty in sourcing cardamom, I found online that you can mix together equal parts ground cinnamon and nutmeg and use in place of the cardamom called for in your recipe – which I already conveniently had both lying around at home in the pantry. If you don’t have nutmeg, then try equal parts cinnamon and ground ginger or equal parts cinnamon and ground cloves instead.

Before we delve into tonight’s recipe, please do check out the original by Ashley of My Heart Beets.

Vegan Gajar Ka Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding) Ingredients

PREP TIME 5-10 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS | SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 medium-sized carrots, peeled and grated/shredded
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom (or 1/16 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/16 tsp ground nutmeg)
  • Handful of chopped pistachios or other nuts, to garnish

METHOD

  1. Add the shredded carrots, coconut milk, and water to a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Cover and bring to a rapid simmer.
  2. Once simmering, add the sugar and cook for a further 6 to 7 minutes, or until most of the liquid has reduced.
  3. Add the coconut oil and stir-fry the carrots for a further 6 to 7 minutes, or until the carrots become dry and the coconut oil separates from the mixture. The carrots should look dark orange or reddish in colour.
  4. Add the ground cardamom and mix well.
  5. Transfer to individual serving ramekins and top with the chopped pistachios. Enjoy!

Vegan Gajar Ka Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding)

Note: You can easily double or triple this recipe if you plan on making this dessert for a crowd.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Pineapple Coconut Braised Pork Ribs

Pineapple & Coconut Braised Pork Ribs

I am Justine Michael (JM) De Guzman. A 26-year old Information System Developer and a very passionate home cook from the humble town of Limay, from the province of Bataan. I worked at a Government agency as a System Developer, had a break due to burnout, and that’s when I started focusing on my kitchen (which will soon be a little less, because I’m about to get back on my career track).

How did I get into cooking and food? Well I don’t exactly know when, but all I can remember was ever since I was a little boy, I used to lurk around with my mom, aunties, and Lola in the kitchen. While other kids of my age play outside, I on the other hand was busy buzzing around my mom’s kitchen staff. I used to ask a lot of questions about how our food was done. I would always insist on chopping and slicing the ingredients for our lunch. And I would be the first to ‘tikim’ (taste) my Lola’s dish. Yeah, since childhood, I was into food and cooking. I’m always present when and wherever there’s food.

Though I never really had the opportunity to pursue my passion in cooking until I graduated college, my parents wouldn’t allow me to enroll into culinary or any related program because it’s ‘mahal’ (expensive). We were financially unstable during those times. My mom had cancer, and thank God she’s a very lucky and blessed survivor up to this moment. Going back to the story, it was actually my dentist who became my stepping stone on getting into the real world of cooking. Long story short, she has a sister, who happened to be a celebrity chef who resides in Manila, who is also a lecturer at a premier culinary institution in the country. She endorsed me to her for a scholarship grant given by the said school. So I got in, studied, and trained for months. Voilà!

After my culinary training, an opportunity came, not in the cooking industry though, so I still haven’t really experienced cooking for a living. That’s when I started my career in my field of profession (information system). I worked at the office, but my passion, or should I say obsession for cooking never faded. I’ve been known by my colleagues as the guy who cooks and the guy who has baon (packed food) 🙂 Food became my motivation for work. I always wonder what to cook for dinner when I get home, and for my baon for tomorrow’s lunch.

I began exploring different cuisines, by researching through the web, books (I started collecting books about food), food channels, etc. Aside from food and cooking, my other fascinations include history (Asian history), linguistics, society, and culture. I started to appreciate our food, Filipino food – Southeast Asian food, and those are great factors that shaped up my style and way in cooking. I developed my standards, philosophy, and list of ‘musts’ in my cooking. I rarely cook foods these days that are Western in my point of view. I’m so patriotic. Ingredients should always be fresh and sourced by me. LOL. Ingredients that can be made from scratch must never be substituted with industrially manufactured ones (I hate sinigang mix!). You’ll never see stuff like tomato sauce, sinigang mix, and stew mix, etc. in my pantry.

Pineapple & Coconut Braised Pork Ribs

If I remember it right, I started following Amcarmen’s Kitchen’s IG posts since last year. I really love her content and I frequently visited her blog as well. It was on the first day of May this year when I received a message from her asking about my interest in being part of her Auguest series.

The dish I’m sharing is of my own creation That said, this isn’t a traditional and commonly home cooked dish in most Filipino households. I’ll just call it Pineapple and Coconut Braised Pork Ribs. Before diving into the recipe, let me share some insights about this dish. As I’ve mentioned before, I have these so called “standards, philosophy, and musts” in my cooking. As much as I can, I don’t use industrially manufactured ingredients, so this dish uses fresh pineapple (but you guys can use the canned one, it’s just me. LOL.).

My philosophy in cooking:

You shouldn’t cook or eat food just to survive or satisfy your hunger. For me food must be respected, consumed, and celebrated every time, along with the stories it underlies with. That’s why it’s important for me to know the background and the story behind one dish. Like why this is cooked this way, why these ingredients are used, etc.

Fun fact, I have this odd habit, just before we eat at home, I first gather the attention of everyone. I weirdly and literally discuss the dish we have on the table, the name, and the ingredients, how I cooked it, what’s its origin (if it’s a traditional dish), my reasons and inspiration of coming up with the dish if I just made it out of creativity and imagination, the taste profile, etc. Just like you do it in a culinary school. Only after that will then they’re allowed to eat. LOL. It’s weird right?! But it’s true. No kidding aside.

Again, this is not a traditional Filipino food per se, but I still call it Filipino food. When we say Filipino cuisine, we’re basically dealing with food that’s been shaped by various factors. Culture, beliefs, traditions, religion, local and indigenous ingredients, influences locally, and internationally. Pinoy foods’ characteristics show strong Southeast Asian/Malay, Chinese, Spanish, and Indigenous influences. I always use them in reference whenever I’m developing a dish, just so that I could come up with a more meaningful one. Like, when I think of an ingredient(s) to be used for my dish, I always make sure, it has to be significant to one’s culture or tradition. I wouldn’t use jalapeño or habanero pepper for my Bicol express, simply because it’s not native nor a traditional Filipino ingredient. You get my point, right? LOL 🙂 I always make sure that each ingredient used is there for a reason; it’s not just there because I want it to be there.

So, Pineapple and Coconut Braised Pork Ribs. As the name implies it’s pork braised in a sauce base with pineapple and coconut cream. Why pork ribs? Well, we Filipinos love our pork. Right? Who doesn’t love pork ribs! Pineapple is my hero ingredient. This is a very common ingredient used in Filipino cooking, and I’ve seen lots of traditional dishes that use it as the base or just a “sahog” (topping). My mom would add juice from a pineapple in her caldereta and hamonado dishes, and fresh chunks in her curry. Then we have coconut. What represents Southeast Asian/Pinoy food more than coconut? I’m a huge fan of gata, and I often cook dishes with gata as its base. It is a shared ingredient among ASEANs. The aromatics I used were shallots, garlic, and ginger – the Filipino mirepoix 2.0 as I call it, as 1.0 being the forever trinity of tomatoes, shallots, and garlic. I added spices into it, which is not a very common practice among Filipino cooking, aside from our ultimate spice known as “black pepper” to give it the curry-like flavour profile – black peppercorn, chillies, coriander, star anise, bay leaves, and cinnamon. For the seasoning, I used a balance of both fish sauce and soy sauce. In addition, since this is a sweet-tangy-savoury dish, I added “panutsa” or unrefined block sugar (but seriously brown sugar’s fine).

Pineapple & Coconut Braised Pork Ribs Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 45-60 MINS | SERVES 5-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 & 1/2 kg pork spare ribs, cut into individual ribs
  • 1 whole large fresh pineapple, divided
  • 200ml (approx. 3/4 cup) juice from half of the pineapple
  • 4 & 1/2 cups coconut cream
  • 6 red bird’s eye chili, finely minced
  • 6 shallots, finely minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick (or alternatively, 1 tbsp cinnamon powder)
  • 1/2 bulb garlic, finely minced
  • 6 tbsp panutsa or brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp ginger, finely minced
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp coriander powder
  • Fish sauce, to season
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Soy sauce, to season

METHOD

  1. In a large wok (kawa) over high heat, sear the ribs until browned and develops a crust on all sides. Set aside.
  2. Turn the heat down to low and add a portion of the coconut cream (about 1/4 cup) into the wok. Simmer until the coconut oil separates from its curd.
  3. In the now separated coconut oil, sauté the finely minced aromatics (shallots, garlic, and ginger) altogether. Sauté until aromatics are translucent.
  4. Turn the heat up to high. Return the seared pork ribs back to the wok and then pour in the pineapple juice, remaining coconut cream, all the spices, soy sauce, and fish sauce.
  5. Cover, bring to a medium boil, and then immediately turn the heat down to low.
  6. Meanwhile, in a medium heated pan, sear the cubed pineapples until browned and caramelized.
  7. For the last 15 minutes of simmering, add in the seared pineapple. Simmer the dish uncovered, just until the pineapple has absorbed the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve with steamed white rice. A little bowl of patis (fish sauce) with crushed chilies is a good accompaniment to this. Enjoy!

Pineapple & Coconut Braised Pork Ribs

You can technically call this dish “ginataan”, and you might also find resemblance with hamonado because of its “fruitful” ingredient – pineapple and a hint of “curry-ness” from the added dry spices.

I hope you’ll like this recipe.

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2019 | JM de Guzman

BON APPÉTIT

– JM de Guzman

myTaste.com

Spice-roasted Pineapple Cheesecake

Spice-roasted Pineapple Cheesecake

Hello Everyone! Firstly, I would like to apologise if this ends up all over the place in terms of the written content, and if there will be a lot of typos and grammatical errors. I was up at 3:45am this morning to get ready to be out of the house at 5:30am for an early Visita Iglesia Pilgrimage with the ladies from our neighbourhood association. Visita Iglesia, or known as the Seven Churches Visitation is a pious Roman Catholic Lenten tradition to visit seven churches on the evening of Maundy Thursday or Good Friday and recite the Stations of the Cross. Until the 1970s, pilgrims recited all fourteen stations in every church, but the more recent form is to pay two stations per church visited. We visited seven churches in the province of Batangas and Tagaytay. This was the very first time I’ve ever been on a Visita Iglesia Pilgrimage and the beautiful churches that we have in the Philippines astounded me.

Moving forwards, yes I am well aware that it is only a Tuesday but today is a very special day for Amcarmen’s Kitchen! I asked my followers over on Instagram to guess why it is a special day, and shared some throwback pictures that were posted on this day from the past as clues. Unfortunately, no one took part in guessing what day it is today *sad face*

Spice-roasted Pineapple Cheesecake

AMCARMEN’S KITCHEN TURNS 5 TODAY!

I say this every year, but I will forever be thankful for all the support from my family and friends. Thank you to the friends who have encouraged and praised my dishes ever since before Amcarmen’s Kitchen was born. Thank you to that one specific person who gave me that push I needed to actually start up my own blog. We don’t talk anymore just because we saw too many things differently, and thus unfortunately are not friends anymore. Thank you to my family and friends who have been there to gobble up the results of my cooking adventures. Of course, a very big thank you to my Mom as well for many things. The main being for teaching me how to cook the basics; it was from here that I developed my skills and techniques in cooking, and expanding my knowledge of various cuisines across the globe. And of course, for (sometimes) being the one that actually preps and cooks the food!

One day, can’t remember when anymore, I was scrolling through Instagram and came across this recipe for a Pineapple & Passionfruit Cheesecake by Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz on SBS Food. I immediately knew that this was the cake that I was going to whip up for the 5th anniversary of Amcarmen’s Kitchen. I changed the recipe up a bit, firstly by incorporating the spice-roasted pineapples that I experimented with at the beginning of the month for my nice cream. I really loved the flavour profile of it and so I decided to use that into the cheesecake. I’ve left the passionfruit out only because I could not find any at the markets or supermarkets around my area. If you have passionfruit on hand then by all means add it to the recipe. For the base, I’ve swapped out the Anzac mix and just crushed up some ginger nut biscuits. The fiery, gingery flavour works super well with the spice-roasted pineapple.

Spice-roasted Pineapple Cheesecake Ingredients

PREP TIME 25 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 20 MINS | SERVES 8-12

INGREDIENTS

For the spice-roasted pineapple

  • 1 large pineapple, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 5 pcs whole cloves
  • 3 pcs star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp Tequila or Vodka (optional)

For the crumb base

  • 300g Ginger Nut Biscuits, crushed
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp salt

For the cheesecake mixture

  • Spice-roasted pineapple purée
  • 500g cream cheese, softened
  • 200ml cream
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon

METHOD

  1. Spice-roasted Pineapple: Preheat oven to 220C (425F or gas mark 7).
  2. Toss the pineapple, sugar, spices, and everything nice (liquor) in an oven-safe baking dish. Sorry, I could not resist not say that!
  3. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Once done, set aside to completely cool down before puréeing the pineapple. Set some pineapple chunks aside for decoration later.
  4. Crumb Base: Meanwhile, add the crushed ginger nut biscuits, salt, and melted butter together in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Mix together until well combined.
  5. Grease an 8-inch spring-form cake pan and line it with parchment paper. Cover the outside of the pan with tin foil. Press the crumb into the base of the cake pan. Set aside in the fridge for about 15 minutes to set.
  6. Turn the oven temperature down to 130C (250F or gas mark 1).
  7. Cheesecake Mixture: Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat, on medium speed, the cream cheese and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until smooth.
  8. With the mixer running, add in the eggs and cream, mixing for a further 2 minutes.
  9. Pour the mixture into the prepared spring-form cake pan, evenly covering the biscuit base, then drizzle over the spice-roasted pineapple purée. Use a skewer to gently swirl the purée through the cheesecake mixture.
  10. Place the cake pan in a water bath and bake for 1 hour, or until just set. Allow to cool down to room temperature and then chill in the fridge for about an hour before serving.
  11. Decorate: Just before serving, top the cheesecake with the crown of a pineapple, and with the remaining spice-roasted pineapple chunks.
  12. Serve and enjoy!

Spice-roasted Pineapple Cheesecake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Ropa Vieja con Huevos Rancheros

Ropa Vieja con Huevos Rancheros

Hello Everyone! You guys must be thinking that I’m on a roll here! Three consecutive recipes?! Don’t get used to it because it’s just for this one time to get everything wrapped up for this month so that I can start a new theme for the month of June! I did mention in a couple of posts back that for the month of June, I’ll be switching up my upload schedule day to Mondays, and the reason does indeed correlate to the theme. I’ll keep everyone on their toes for a while longer and come Monday, all will be revealed!

I had lots of fun last night a my friend’s place for sungkai (iftar) and of course to celebrate her daughter turning 1! Tonight’s post is a little later than usual this time around because I literally just came back from another night out for a sungkai catch up dinner with friends. I’ve probably mentioned this before in a post somewhere on this blog, but I’ll mention it again just to clear things up – I’m not a Muslim. I don’t practice ramadhan which then subsequently means that I don’t have to break fast for iftar. Yes I was born and bred in a Muslim country, and even though I have been exposed to these practices for practically my whole life, I wasn’t born into the religion (hint on the ‘Third Culture Foodie’!).

Anyway, tonight’s recipe is sort of another way you can use leftover Ropa Vieja to make similar, but not so Eggs Benny dish. Okay, I mentioned in yesterday’s post about this Latin American café that Jialing and I found during one of our “Fatness Fridays” adventures. While I thought back to this day, I was totally convinced that the Huevos Rancheros dish that I had was a marriage of it and the Ropa Vieja sandwich that Jialing had, but it wasn’t until I scrolled through hundreds of Instagram photos on my feed to recall the dishes to find out that they were two separate things.

Ropa Vieja con Huevos Rancheros

In my last post I said that a Ropa Vieja Eggs Benny came into mind – which it did, but that wasn’t they way I had initially imagined it. In fact, this Ropa Vieja con Huevos Rancheros was how I pictured the ‘Eggs Benny’ dish to look, but in the end I decided to reimagine it just because this didn’t really have the feel of an Eggs Benny dish. However, I didn’t want this dish to end up in my archive of ‘will never get around to posting’ but since this dish is sort of related to the last two I posted, I thought I’d share the recipe with you! I mean, it’s essentially, well practically identical to the last recipe, just a few minor differences, especially with the plating.

Huevos Rancheros, or in English “rancher’s eggs”, is a traditional breakfast dish served as a mid-morning fare on rural Mexican farms – hence its name. The dish is made up of fried eggs that is served atop a lightly fried tortilla (traditionally corn, but other adaptations have used wheat tortillas instead), with a tomato-chilli sauce, refried beans, and slices of avocado or guacamole. You could say that my adaptation to marry Ropa Vieja and Huevos Rancheros together is an amped up version of a humble and traditional Huevos Rancheros brekkie.

Ropa Vieja con Huevos Rancheros Ingredients
Ignore the other ingredients photographed but not mentioned below – the other ingredients are of the ropa vieja dish to accompany this dish!

PREP TIME 5-10 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-15 MINS* | SERVES 3

*Provided that you’ve made your Ropa Vieja ahead of time, i.e. the night before, if not then make sure you allocate yourself 3-4 hours altogether for this recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • Leftover Ropa Vieja
  • 3 super soft flour tortilla wraps
  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 2 large avocados, pitted, peeled, and halved**
  • 1 can (16oz) organic black beans, drained, blanched in hot water, and smashed
  • Chopped spring onions, to garnish
  • Tabasco sauce, to taste

**Squeeze a touch of lemon or lime juice to prevent it from browning

METHOD

  1. If you haven’t pre-made your Ropa Vieja for this recipe, then start of with this before moving on to the other components of the dish. Allocate yourself about 3-4 hours prior.
  2. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a small frying pan. Crack the egg in and fry until the edges start to brown. I personally like my sunny-side up eggs this way – the browned edges gives a nice nutty flavour to the whites which is total yum! Repeat for the remaining eggs.
  3. In a medium-sized non-stick frying pan, lightly heat the tortilla wraps until they start to slightly brown. Remove from the pan and repeat for the remaining wraps.
  4. Place the tortilla wrap on a plate and top with the smashed black beans. Make a nest in the middle and top with the ropa vieja, sunny-side up egg, and halved avocado to the side. Drizzle a bit of tabasco sauce over and sprinkle some chopped spring onions. Serve and enjoy!

Ropa Vieja con Huevos Rancheros

Tune in on Monday for an all new theme and a bunch of yummy recipes!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Ropa Vieja Eggs Benedict

Ropa Vieja Eggs Benedict

Hello Everyone! I’m getting this post up way earlier than I usually do just because I’m about to leave and head on over to a friend’s house to celebrate her daughter turning 1 today! I can’t believe the little munchkin is a year older already – it felt just like yesterday I was holding her in my arms just only being 2 or 3 months old. Gosh how time flies by so quickly! With that being said, I honestly have no idea what time I’ll be back home tonight and thus the early upload.

Tonight’s recipe is a branch off from the Ropa Vieja recipe that I posted just last night. When I was thinking of what other Eggs Benny recipes I could whip up to share with you guys, I immediately thought back to the time Jialing and I had our weekly “Fatness Friday” sessions in-between our classes in search of great food at cafés and/or restaurants that we have yet to explore. One Friday afternoon, we came across a Latin American café in Surry Hills (no, not Cafe con Leche hehe) I don’t actually remember the name of the place. Jailing had the Ropa Vieja sandwich while I had their Huevos Rancheros, and BOOM! A Ropa Vieja Eggs Benedict dish came into mind.

Ropa Vieja Ingredients

PREP TIME 5-10 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-15 MINS* | SERVES 3

*Provided that you’ve made your Ropa Vieja ahead of time, i.e. the night before, if not then make sure you allocate yourself 3-4 hours altogether for this recipe

INGREDIENTS

For the eggs benedict

  • Leftover Ropa Vieja
  • 3 English muffins, halved, slightly toasted, and buttered
  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 1 large avocado, peeled, pitted, and smashed**
  • 1 can (16oz) organic black beans, drained, blanched in hot water, and smashed
  • Chilli flakes, to garnish (optional)
  • Chopped spring onion, to garnish

For the tabasco hollandaise sauce

  • 3 large free range eggs, yolks separated
  • 175g unsalted butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp tabasco sauce, less or more to adjust to your liking
  • Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • Ground salt and black pepper to taste

**Squeeze a touch of lemon or lime juice to prevent it from browning

METHOD

  1. If you haven’t pre-made your Ropa Vieja for this recipe, then start of with this before moving on to the other components of the dish. Allocate yourself about 3-4 hours prior.
  2. Tabasco Hollandaise Sauce: While the balsamic reduction is underway and slowly simmering, start on the Hollandaise sauce. Place a heatproof bowl over a medium saucepan that is quarter-filled with water. Make sure that the bowl should fit snugly into the pan without touching the water (lift the bowl to check and remove some water if it does). Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to very low so the water is barely simmering (there should be almost no movement at all). It is important that the water is barely simmering while making the sauce – if it is too hot, the egg yolks will cook too much and the sauce will curdle.
  3. Place the egg yolks and the 2 tablespoons of water in the heatproof bowl and place over the pan. Whisk the mixture constantly for 3 minutes or until it is thick and pale, has doubled in volume and a ribbon trail forms when the whisk is lifted.
  4. Add the butter a cube at a time, whisking constantly and adding another cube when the previous one is incorporated completely (about 10 minutes to add it all in). If butter is added too quickly, it won’t mix easily with the egg yolks or the sauce may lose volume. At the same time, it is important that the butter is at room temperature and added a cube at a time, so that it doesn’t take too long to be incorporated – if the sauce cooks for too long, it can curdle.
  5. Remove the bowl from the pan and place on a heatproof surface. The cooked sauce should have the consistency of very lightly whisked thickened cream. Whisk in the lemon juice, tabasco sauce, fresh thyme leaves, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  6. 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)!
  7. Assembly: Spread the smashed avocado on the toasted and buttered English muffin half and top with the smashed black beans. Build up with the ropa vieja followed by the poached egg. Drizzle a generous amount of the tabasco hollandaise sauce and sprinkle some chilli flakes and chopped spring onions. Serve and enjoy!

Ropa Vieja Eggs Benedict

Ropa Vieja Eggs Benedict

Next month I’ll start off with a whole new theme so stay tuned for that! To give you guys a clue, I’ll be switching up my upload schedule day to Mondays just for the month of June. Yes, the fact that I’ll be posting on Mondays does correlate to the theme! My loyal and long term followers may know, and to anyone who wants to take a stab and guess, comment down below!

Don’t forget that the overall theme for Amcarmen’s Kitchen for 2018 is Breakfast Eats!

But before that, I have one more recipe that will go up tomorrow night so stay tuned for that to know what else you can do with leftover Ropa Vieja!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja

Hello Everyone! So if you read last week’s post, you’ll know that tonight is part 1 of the actual recipe that I’ll be sharing tomorrow night. I’ve decided to split it up just for easy future reference, i.e. if you’re just looking for a mouth-watering Ropa Vieja recipe without it being in an Eggs Benny, then this is it! I first came across this dish during my university years in Australia. It wasn’t even the main highlight of the dish, rather a small side to go with the Colombian-style Arepas that was  my absolute favourite brunch dish then *drools just thinking about how much I miss having it in my tummy* It was a little place that Jialing had stumbled upon when she took the wrong bus to uni and got off at a stop that was just opposite Cafe con Leche.

Ropa Vieja is actually a Spanish term that directly translates to “old clothes” as the shredded beef and vegetables that are the main components of the dish resemble a heap of colorful rags. Though the dish dates back to the Middle Ages of Spanish Sephardi, it was then taken to Cuba where the Cubans made it their own. Ropa Vieja is now one of Cuba’s most popular and beloved dishes; in fact, so popular in fact that it is one of the country’s designated national dishes! It is also popular in other areas or parts of the Caribbean such as Puerto Rico and Panama.

The traditional method of braising the meat is in water. However, for this recipe, I am going to release all those flavourful beef juices directly into the sauce together with carrots, celery, bay leaves, onion, and garlic to get all the flavours of a stock going at the same time. This infuses the sauce with some umami-flavour qualities and natural sweetness from the vegetables, making everything of braising by this method super rich and mouth-watering. Do check out the original recipe by Kimberly from The Daring Gourmet.

Ropa Vieja Ingredients

Ignore the avocado, black beans, and the egg in the shot above, that’s for the Eggs Benedict recipe to follow tomorrow!

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 4 HOURS 30 MINS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

  • 1kg tender beef chuck
  • 1 cup beef broth*
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine**
  • 4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 can (16oz) chopped tomatoes with sliced olives
  • 1 brown onion, halved and sliced thinly
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1 large celery stalk, sliced
  • 1 medium-sized red, yellow, and green capsicum
  • 1 heaped tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp baby capers, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Chopped spring onion, to garnish

*Or 1 beef bouillon cube dissolved in 1 cup of hot water

**The first time I made this dish, I omitted the dry white wine only because I didn’t have any on my pantry shelf at that moment. For those who are living in, or know about Brunei, it’s not as easy as popping over to the shops to buy a bottle. Anyway, I found that the flavours weren’t really brought out as much as when I attempted this dish for a second time with the wine. It felt flat like that pop or zing was missing from it.

METHOD

  1. Pat the beef dry and rub all over with the dried herbs, spices, and seasoning -dried oregano, chilli powder, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, smoked paprika, sea salt and ground black pepper.
  2. Heat about a tablespoon in a slight large Dutch oven over high heat. Once it is very hot and starts to smoke a bit, add the beef and brown generously on all sides. Once done, transfer the beef to a plate. Do not discard the drippings and blackened bits in the pot. They are key to the flavour!
  3. Turn the heat down to medium, then add the minced garlic and cook until slight golden and fragrant. Follow with the sliced onion, cooking until softened before adding the sliced carrots and celery, and the chopped chipotle peppers. Cook for about 15 minutes until caramalised. Deglaze the pot the the dry white wine and bring it to a rapid boil, scraping up the browned bits at the bottom of the pot.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth, and bay leaves. Leave to simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Return the beef and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat down to low, then cover and simmer for 3-4 hours or until the beef is fork tender and falls apart easily.
  6. While the beef is slowly simmering away, you can move onto roasting your capsicums. Turn a stovetop burner to its highest setting and place the capsicum directly on the flame. Use a pair of tongs to turn them over until the skin has completely blackened. Put the capsicum in a heat-proof mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. The skin will loosen as it steams, and once it has cooled down a bit, you can easily remove the skin with your fingers under running water. Slice thinly.
  7. Once the beef is done, discard the celery, carrots, and bay leaves. Remove the beef from the sauce, transfer to a plate and shred. Return the shredded beef to the pot and stir in the roasted capsicum and baby capers. Season with salt and pepper to taste and leave uncovered to simmer until the sauce has thickened, about a further 15-20 minutes.
  8. Serve the beef in a large serving dish and enjoy! Best served with steamed rice and black beans on the side.

Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja

As per Kimberly, for a variation on traditional beef you can also use pork or chicken, bone-in/skin-on for the most flavour, or boneless breast or thighs. I might try this recipe out with succulent pork shoulders next time *already drooling*.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Golden Turmeric Chai Smoothie Bowl

Golden Turmeric Chai Smoothie Bowl

Hello Everyone! It’s been a quiet and boring week to be honest, and I having a serious holiday withdrawal syndrome. I miss the lush greenery of Temburong, crystal clear waters, physical activities, and the sun piercing through your skin – giving you a tan that you’re proud to wear for the next couple of months because it reminds you of the fun times you had. But in all honesty, I just miss going on weekly adventures; a new hike trail every weekend to rejuvenate from the work week. It doesn’t even need to be a holiday, just a 2-day weekend where one of them can be spent going out and exploring, and the other to do chores, cook up a storm for Amcarmen’s Kitchen, and basically recover from the working week. Back in Australia, this was easy to do because there were plenty of trails to explore. Here in Brunei, not so much – and not much of great views too, and the fact that I only have a 1-day weekend.

All that aside, I have a bit of a unique smoothie bowl to share with you guys tonight; and I say unique because I’ve never thought of using these flavours (and spices) in a smoothie before. I mean, besides using spicy chai tea leaves and cinnamon in my Spicy Chai & Banana Cinnamon Smoothie from a while back, that’s pretty much the extent of me using spices in my smoothies.

The link to the original recipe can be found over on My Life Cookbook by Denise. She drew inspiration from ‘Golden Milk’ which, for those of you who don’t know, is basically a combination of turmeric, coconut milk (or oil), and black pepper. This Golden Turmeric Chai Smoothie Bowl is an aromatic, flavour-popping combination of golden milk and chai tea – perfect for an immune system boost if you’re feeling a bit under the weather, but also a quick, easy, and healthy breakfast to go!

Golden Turmeric Chai Smoothie Bowl Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

For the smoothie mixture

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 large bananas
  • 1-2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 1/2 tsp cardamon, ground
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg, grated

Toppings

  • Chia Seeds – contains omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, antioxidants, iron, and calcium
  • Goji Berries – excellent source of antioxidants and nutrients that help boost the immune system and protect the body from high levels of inflammation
  • Raspberriesgood source of vitamin C, E, K, manganese, dietary fibre, copper pantothenic acid, biotin, magnesium, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, and potassium
  • Desiccated Coconut

METHOD

  1. Blend the bananas, coconut milk, honey, ginger, and spices altogether until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and top with the raspberries, chia seeds, goji berries, and desiccated coconut. Enjoy for breakfast or an immune-boosting afternoon snack!

Golden Turmeric Chai Smoothie Bowl

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Chilli, Paprika, Tarragon, & Worcestershire Roast Chicken

Chilli, Paprika, Tarragon, & Worcestershire Roast Chicken

Chilli, Paprika, Tarragon, & Worcestershire Roast Chicken

Hello Everyone! A new month means a new theme on the blog! If you have been following my blog on a weekly basis, you’ll probably know that two months ago I did a series on Healthy Eating, Salad Edition. During that time, I always paired my salads with a yummy roast chicken on the side. So for this month, I thought I’d share with you 4 different marinade recipes that are sure to bring your love for roast chicken to another level!

Tonight, I’ll be sharing a recipe that I kind of just threw together in a few minutes only with the items that I had in my fridge and pantry at that time. I was about to head over to a friend’s house, and I promised that I would cook something for him while he used my face as a canvas to practice his make-up skills. I had no idea what to bring over because I know that he is quite a healthy person. So I decided to roast some chicken breast fillets for us. The chicken I had to buy though because I don’t really eat the breast parts, so I walked over to the grocers and got a fillet each for the two of us. Then when I got home, I basically grabbed some herbs, spices, and basically whatever else I could find that I knew would/could make a nice flavour combination. I didn’t even use any measurements for this as well, I just dabbed in a whole lot of Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, chilli, paprika, and the works. I initially used fresh thyme leaves at the time since that was what I had in the fridge.

Chilli, Paprika, Tarragon, & Worcestershire Roast Chicken Ingredients

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what this would taste like. When we had these breasts fillets (after only having marinated them for about an hour or so), it was simply delicious! My friend really loved it and wanted to grab the recipe off from me too. I remember how he had a hard time trying to pronounce Worcestershire, so he ended up calling it the “Wot-shit-shit” sauce. When he went to the grocers one time, he called me up to ask which section was the sauce shelved at and I told him to ask one of the staff. He didn’t want to only because he didn’t want to ask “excuse me, where is you wot-shit-shit sauce?” Haha! Ever since then, I’ve made this recipe a couple of times for dinner gatherings with friends when I was still living in Sydney – and I’ve also made it for myself to pair with my salads. This was the first time that I had made it for my family and they too love it. I switch out the fresh thyme for fresh tarragon only because the grocers had that instead of thyme – but it tastes just as good!

Chilli, Paprika, Tarragon, & Worcestershire Roast Chicken Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS* | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 35 MINS | SERVES 6

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 2kg whole chicken, washed and cleaned thoroughly
  • 4-5 sprigs of fresh tarragon
  • 1/2 bulb garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Butter for basting
  • Cooking twine

METHOD

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

Chilli, Paprika, Tarragon, & Worcestershire Roast Chicken

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Masala Chai Tea with Soy Milk Ingredients

Masala Chai Tea with Soy Milk

Hello Everyone! So on Tuesday I posted a recipe for homemade soy milk. The first thing I thought after making having made the soy milk was what other things could I do with it to make another delicious drink. So today’s recipe uses the soy milk that I made to make a masala chai tea. I mean, you can always use store bought soy milk, or any other milk for that matter.

Masala Chai (literally translated: ‘mixed-spice tea’) is basically a flavoured tea beverage made by brewing black tea with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs. Nowadays, it is a very popular and feature drink in many coffee and tea houses. Chai is traditionally prepared by brewing green cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, ground ginger, and black peppercorn together with black tea leaves. Most retail versions of this tea includes tea bags for infusion, instant powdered mixtures, and concentrates. I used tea bags for mine only because I could not find any loose black tea leaves in stores.

I love chai tea. In fact, I ordered it almost every time I went to a café, aside from a café latte that is. I was surprised that it was that easy to make when I came across a recipe online on how to make you own chai tea.

Masala Chai Tea with Soy Milk Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-15 MINS | SERVES 4-5

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup homemade soy milk (or any other type of milk)
  • 1/4 cup loose black tea leaves (or about 5 tea bags)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 inch of ginger root, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Several peppercorns

Other optional spices that you can add to your chair tea inlaced: vanilla, almond, nutmeg, bay leaves, star anise, or fennel and allspice; I added star anise to mine.

METHOD

  1. Combine the water, spices, and tea in a medium-sized saucepan. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, let it boil for a further 5 minutes and then turn the heat off. Let the mixture steep for at least 10-15 minutes.
  2. Strain the tea mixture and discard the spices. Add the soy milk and sugar to the strained tea mixture and stir well. Then reheat the tea until piping hot.
  3. Enjoy! Serves about 4 cups of tea.

Masala Chai Tea with Soy Milk

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com