Quinoa, Green Beans, and Roasted Capsicum Salad with Pan-seared Rump Steak

Quinoa, Green Beans, and Roasted Capsicum Salad with Pan-seared Rump Steak

Hello Everyone! I can’t believe that January flew by that quickly! We’re already into the second month of the new year but I feel as if though the year has just started! It’s going to be a short month too since it’s February. Anyway, when I got up this morning, I came across a photo on Instagram with the caption:

“Did y’all make New Year Resolutions? How’s it going so far? If you got lazy, you can always start back up today.”

We’re all human, and we all fall into that trap of not keeping our resolutions, but it is indeed never too late to start back up today… Or tomorrow. As long as you are determined to continue going, you will probably reach your end goal. One of my resolutions is to get fit and eat healthy, and I can honestly say that I haven’t been keeping up with this for the past 2 weeks. I’ve been busy with deadlines and helping out in a 5-day event that ended on the weekend, that I have completely ignored exercising and eating right. I am now determined to get back on track, but I feel a sore throat coming down so who knows when I’ll be able to get back on track – but I ain’t giving up that’s for sure.

Quinoa, Green Beans, and Roasted Capsicum Salad with Pan-seared Rump Steak

Tonight, I want to share an experimental recipe that I whipped up a few weeks ago. I rarely cook with quinoa (pronounced as KEEN-wah), and the sole reason for that is because it is very expensive – the bag of 280g (just a little bit under 2 cups) I bought already set me back $12.80. If we take a second to overlook the cost of quinoa, it is actually very beneficial to our health. It is incredibly nutritious as its fibre content is much higher than most grains. It is also very high in protein, containing the essential amino acids that we need . Quinoa contains a great amount of minerals – minerals that we other do not get enough of, especially magnesium, potassium, and zinc. If you would like to read up more on the health benefits of quinoa, click here.

I usually cannot go with a meal if it doesn’t have some sort of meat on the plate – which is why I decided to match this salad with another hit of protein from pan-searing a nice slab of rump steak. I was kind of going for medium-rare, but I think the beef turned out to be a bit more towards the rarer side of medium-rare. Nonetheless, it was delicious indeed (my mom seared the meat a little longer after cutting these few slices). You can pair it with any other meats if you wish, or have it completely vegetarian or vegan; whatever tickles your fancy.

Quinoa, Green Beans, and Roasted Capsicum Salad with Pan-seared Rump Steak

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 5-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g rump steak
  • 250g green beans, ends trimmed
  • 100g feta cheese
  • 2 cups chicken stock*
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup wild rocket leaves
  • 1 red capsicum
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil fry pan-searing

For the dressing

  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

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

METHOD

  1. Bring the quinoa and chicken stock to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Once boiling, reduce heat down to low, cover, and then simmer until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Once done, fluff with a fork and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  2. While the quinoa is simmering away, blanch the green beans in boiling water for about 5-6 minutes. Once done, transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. This ensures that you’ll have nice and crisp green beans in your salad. Drain and then add to the large mixing bowl.
  3. Season the beef with some ground salt and black pepper. Bring a large frying pan with olive oil to a heat over high, until it starts to smoke. Add your steak and sear for about 2-3 minutes per side for rare, 3-4 minutes for medium-rare, 4-5 minutes for medium-well, or 5+ minutes per side for well done. Once done, set aside to rest for about 10 minutes.
  4. While the beef is resting, you can move on to roasting the capsicum. Rub the red capsicum with a little bit of oil and place directly on open flame of gas stove. Rotate occasionally so that the red capsicum blisters and chars on all sides. Once done, set aside to cool down. Peel the skin off and cut into strips once it has cooled down enough to handle. Add to the large mixing bowl together with the rocket leaves and feta cheese.
  5. Whisk the lemon juice, honey, oil, and paprika in a small bowl until well combined. Add to the large mixing bowl and toss the salad around until well coated and combined.
  6. Serve the salad topped with a few slices of the rump steak. Enjoy!

Quinoa, Green Beans, and Roasted Capsicum Salad with Pan-seared Rump Steak

ps: do not be deceived by the portion of this dish. I just used an oversized dish to plate it up. This kept me quite full for a few hours and I didn’t even finish everything on the plate!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Pritong Bangús Steak (Fried Milkfish Steak)

Pritong Bangús Steak (Fried Milkfish Steak)

Hello Everyone and sorry for a very late post tonight (or more like just past midnight by the time I am done with the post)! I spent the day bringing my family around to Bondi Beach and Maroubra Beach despite the gloomy weather. We managed to visit the beaches and take some photographs before it started to pour. After that, we chilled around at my friend’s place before finally heading off to the airport; I said my goodbyes to my Mom and my two younger sisters. Safe travels! They’ll be in Kuala Lumpur for about 7-hours, and then finally arriving in Brunei the next day in the afternoon. I just finished editing and uploading my graduation photos on Facebook, and now I am writing this post. I thought of just going to bed since I am quite tired, but I felt bad for not even attempting to write a post for tonight/today. Anyway, I’ll make it quick if I can; I’ll probably end up taking the long route and explaining some components of the dish that may be unfamiliar to some people.

Pritong Bangús Steak (Fried Milkfish Steak) Ingredients

Bangús (or Milkfish) is the national fish of the Philippines. They are notorious for being much bonier than other fish, which is why deboned milkfish, called “boneless bangús” in the Philippines, has become popular in stores and markets. There are many ways in which you can use this fish to create many loved home-cooked Filipino dishes, and I will show you two/three easy ways to prepare the milkfish for a tasteful lunch or dinner. Pritong Bangús (fried milkfish) is a simple dish that is packed with flavours. The milkfish alone has its deliciously rich taste, especially the belly, but the marinade enhances its flavour with a hint of sourness and spiciness. The bangús belly is my favourite part of the fish, especially when it is fried. I would always fight for the bigger piece of belly, or I would always make sure that I get the bigger share of the belly. In an ideal world, the belly would be ALL mine.

Pritong Bangús Steak (Fried Milkfish Steak) Ingredients

PREP TIME 8 HOURS* | COOKING TIME 12 MINS | SERVES 2-3

*Minimum. Up to 12 or even better, overnight in the fridge for marination time.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large boneless bangus (milkfish); scales removed, cleaned and butterflied
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2-3 red bird’s eye chillies, cut in half
  • 1 large red spanish onion, cut into rings
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • Juice of 2-3 calamansi

METHOD

  1. Combine chillies, vinegar, garlic, whole peppercorns, and salt in a large container. Give it a good stir to combine the ingredients before laying down the fish skin side up. Cover the container and place in the fridge to marinate for about 8 to 12 hours, or even better, overnight to soak up all the flavours.
  2. Heat about 1 cup of oil in a large frying pan (preferably with a lid)** over medium-high. Fry both sides of the bangús until each side turns medium brown in colour. Once cooked, place on a serving plate. You can enjoy the fried bangús just like this with some steamed rice and atchara*** on the side, or you can add a few more ingredients to further heighten the flavour of the dish.
  3. Tip the oil out into an empty jar (you can reuse for your next frying adventure) from the same frying pan, leaving about a tablespoon or two. Fry the onions until soft and then turn the heat off. Add in the soy sauce and give it a good stir, about 1-2 minutes, and the pour the mixture over the fried bangús. Squeeze the juice from the calamansi over the fish and serve!

Pritong Bangús Steak (Fried Milkfish Steak)

Pritong Bangús Steak (Fried Milkfish Steak) Ingredients

**Caution: take care when frying as the oil has a tendency to splatter because of the liquid from the marinade. Make sure to cover the frying pan while leaving open a small space for the steam to escape.

***Atchara or Atcharang Papaya is basically pickled julienned or grated green papaya and soaked for a week in cooked vinegar and sugar mixture with onions, garlic, ginger, pepper corn, and red bell pepper.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - DESSERTS: RED VELVET

Arabela, Camello’s Bakehaus & Coffee Shop

Hello Everyone! Finally we are back on track with Review Sundays! It’s been a while hasn’t it? Anyway today’s review will be on a popular Italian Restaurant on the little streets of Liliw, well known as the shoe and flipflop capital of the province and the Southern Luzon area. The first time I visited Liliw was back in 2010 if I am not mistaken. My cousin introduced this place to me while my family and I were visiting his place in Lucena. I don’t remember how many pairs of shoes I bought for myself, but I’m guessing that we had at least 3 or 4 pairs of shoes/flipflops each between the 4 of us for under ₱1,500 (approx. AUD$44)! After shoe shopping, we’d head on over to Arabela for lunch. This has since become a must do every time we come down to Lucena to visit my cousin and my family; in 2010, 2012, and our recent March 2015 trip. Since our last visit in 2012, Arabela changed the look and colours of their interior from, if I’m not mistaken, pastel green to orange. They still kept their low ceiling which is what I love about this place – it makes me feel tall! People who are just a tad bit taller than me would have to bend over while walking around the restaurant, and be cautious when standing up from their table if they have forgotten how low the ceiling is.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop
Just for a reference, my sister who is standing up straight is about 5’2″

But before I begin, here’s a little history on Arabela:

Bobby and Antonette Camello, husband and wife, owners of Arabela, named after their two daughters: Ara & Bela, started in 2002 with literally two tables. Back then, the two tables were not intended to be used by customers, but instead used for selling pasta dishes & pastries to buyers within the neighbourhood. The couple were then inspired to set up a formal food business as they gained an increasing number of customers that keep on coming back. The business, transformed into a coffee shop/restaurant, opened in October 23, 2003 with 5 tables, a seating capacity of 15 persons, and a capital of ₱100,000. From there it grew beyond the owner’s expectations, and today Arabella can accommodate up to 40 persons with an array of dishes to choose from – steaks, pizza, pasta, pastries, coffee, blended drinks, and more. Arabela has earned its publicity through word of mouth and personal blogs on the internet which were all unsolicited. To date, they have been able to maintain their character and uniqueness – the ambience and of course the good food.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - SPECIALTY DRINKS: STRAWBERRY FRAPPÉ, RIPE MANGO & STRAWBERRY SHAKE
SPECIALTY DRINKS: STRAWBERRY FRAPPÉ (₱120.00), RIPE MANGO (₱100.00), & STRAWBERRY SHAKE (₱100.00)

An array of fresh fruit shakes, smoothies, and drinks to choose from on their menu; I went for the ripe mango fresh fruit shake and it was very refreshing even though it was a rainy day.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - FRESH SALAD: CEASAR SALAD
FRESH SALAD: CEASAR SALAD
Romaine leaves with bacon (₱200.00)

This was also a starter dish that we shared amongst ourselves alongside the four cheese pizza. A good dish, but again nothing too special – nothing quite stood out to me to really praise the dish for it great flavour.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - PIZZA: FOUR CHEESE XL
PIZZA: FOUR CHEESE XL
Mozarella, red cheddar, romano & parmesan (₱325.00)

A great dish to kick off our feast at Arabela, but in my opinion there wasn’t anything special about the taste, I mean it’s just a four-cheese pizza.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - PASTA (PASTA IN WHITE SAUCE): FETTUCCINE WITH HAM & MUSHROOM
PASTA (PASTA IN WHITE SAUCE): FETTUCCINE WITH HAM & MUSHROOM (₱100.00)

This was a dish that my cousin ordered, and when it came to her, she showed the plate to me and gave me a sad look – I understood her pain. It was a massive deep dish, that made the pasta look tiny and underwhelming. I’m not sure if it filled her up, but it certainly wouldn’t have filled me up! Even though I didn’t taste this dish, it looked quite plain.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (OLIVE OIL): FISH IN WHITE WINE
HOUSE SPECIALS (OLIVE OIL): FISH IN WHITE WINE
Dory fish fillet cooked in white wine sauce serve with pasta (₱220.00)

From the menu, my mom wanted a pasta dish, and knowing her preferences, I ordered this for her. She prefers olive oil-based dishes as well as fish – so this was the perfect pick for her. At first glance, it almost looks like they overdid the garlic just a bit too much; garlic slices tossed through the pasta and minced garlic on top of the fish? Yeap, that’s quite a bit! Other than that, the fish was cooked well, still moist on the inside, but again nothing quite special.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (OLIVE OIL): VONGOLE
HOUSE SPECIALS (OLIVE OIL): VONGOLE
Clam in olive oil with garlic (₱230.00)

This was the dish thAT I had, and at first I didn’t want to order this dish because I can make a good vongole myself; but nothing else in the menu stood out to me. Vongole for roughly AUS$6.00? That’s value for money there as the dish had a generous amount of baby clams! Taste was good, but again nothing too special for me.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (TOMATO BASED): SHRIMP POMODORO
HOUSE SPECIALS (TOMATO BASED): SHRIMP POMODORO
Pieces of shrimp with pomodoro sauce (₱230.00)

This dish I only got to taste a bit of, and I can’t remember what it tasted like so I asked my sister. She said that it was a bit salty for her liking (she finds everything she eats salty anyway so it’s hard to trust what she says), and that she didn’t like the biscotti because it was too thick for her liking (I liked it).

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (CREAM BASED): SIRLOIN FETTUCCINE
HOUSE SPECIALS (CREAM BASED): SIRLOIN FETTUCCINE
Strips of sirloin in fettuccine sauce (₱210.00)

I ordered this dish for my other sister because I’ve never heard of sirloin fettuccine before. I imagined a nice char-grilled sirloin steak, striped and tossed through a classic fettuccine in creamy white sauce – but no, it looked like boiled(?) strips of sirloin garnished on top of an ordinary plate of fettuccine.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (BABY BACK RIBS): BABY BACK PORK 2PCS
HOUSE SPECIALS (BABY BACK RIBS): BABY BACK PORK 2PCS
Served with mixed vegetables and mashed potato or rice (₱200.00)

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (BABY BACK RIBS): BABY BACK BEEF 2PCS
HOUSE SPECIALS (BABY BACK RIBS): BABY BACK BEEF 2PCS
Served with mixed vegetables and mashed potato or rice (₱230.00)

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (ANGUS BEEF): MESS OF SIRLOIN
HOUSE SPECIALS (ANGUS BEEF): MESS OF SIRLOIN
Served with rice and mixed vegetables (₱200.00)

The three dishes that you just saw above I cannot comment on the taste just because my uncle and my cousins had these dishes. I saw the disappointment in my cousin’s face when his food arrived to the table – two tiny pieces of ribs for a person who could probably eat a whole rack of ribs for a meal. He had to order another rib dish to feel satisfied enough. But just by looking at the three dishes above, they don’t really look that appetising to me.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - DESSERTS: CHOCO LAVA
DESSERTS: CHOCO LAVA (₱110.00)

Probably my favourite out of the two desserts we shared – the cake was definitely molten and very rich in chocolate goodness.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - DESSERTS: RED VELVET
DESSERTS: RED VELVET (₱135.00)

I am a huge fan of red velvet; I even made this cake for my birthday last year and it’s not that I’m being cocky or anything, but mine was definitely better. This cake was a bit dry and crumbly for my liking and the taste was average. The thing that was appealing about this was the design on the plate that surrounded the cake, or as my mom referred to it “the placemat.”

Most of the pasta (and even meat dishes) portion sizes were really small; maybe I’m just used to seeing bigger portions of food having lived and dined in and about Sydney for the past 4 years. Then I look at the price and I thought, yes, it makes sense now why the portions are relatively small – think approximately $3.00-$6.00 Australian dollars on average per meal from this restaurant.

You may have also realised that I’ve said for many of the dishes above that they weren’t anything special in terms of overall flavour; I don’t want this post to appear biased and end up being a comparison between Arabela’s menu to others that I’ve had in Sydney because in my eyes, Arabela cannot compare. So I’ve asked my sisters and my mom to give a fair and honest rating for the food, and they gave an average score of 4.6 out of 10. My mom said: “[the food is] very simple, nothing special, but for local Filipino’s, it’s probably something special for them because Arabela is the only of its kind within the area.” Which is very true because from what my cousin has said, a lot of the foreigners come to dine at Arabela, and every time we’ve been, we’ve had to queue up for a table. Ambience though is a sure 8/9 out of 10; like I mentioned above I find the low-ceiling concept quite a unique dining experience. Service: 8/9 out of 10 as well. Value for money is arguable in terms that for us it is affordable, but for an average Filipino on an average/below average income, this place is probably too fancy for them.

Arabela, Camello’s Bakehaus & Coffee Shop
503 Rizal Street
Liliw, Laguna
Philippines, 4004

– Ally xx

Braised Steak au Poivre in Red Wine

Braised Steak au Poivre in Red Wine

Hello Everyone! So last night, if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you would’ve known that I posted I few images of this dish and apologised for not being able to post the recipe on the same day (just had a lot of course reading material to get through and prepare for class the next day). Anyway, here is the recipe! And an early upload as well than my usual upload time.

So a couple of weeks (maybe 1 or 2 weeks back I guess) I was searching for a slow-cooked beef in red wine recipe as I had a lovely gravy beef steak waiting to be cooked and a bottle of red wine that was given to me by a friend. I don’t usually drink wine so that’s why I figured, why not cook with it instead?

Braised Steak au Poivre in Red Wine

Please check out the original recipe here. I changed mainly the quantities because of the amount of meat I had, but otherwise I kept to the recipe and added a few veggies to the dish. I completely forgot to add in the crème fraîche when I photographed the dish (but I remembered when I was halfway through eating), so I do apologise if the dish is looking a bit dark!

Au Poivre, for those of you who don’t know, is a French dish which translated just means steak (traditionally a filet mignon) prepared or served with a generous amount of coarsely ground black pepper. The peppercorns form a crust on the steak when cooked and provide a pungent but complementary counterpoint to the rich flavor of the high-quality beef.

Braised Steak au Poivre in Red Wine Ingredients

Braised Steak au Poivre in Red Wine Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 4 HOURS 10 MINS SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 450g beef shank, cut into 3 large chunks
  • 220ml red wine
  • 250g small cup mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into 1-inch long strips
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme (or a tsp of dried thyme leaves)
  • Ground salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Crush the peppercorns coarsely with a mortar and pestle. Mix the ground peppercorns together with the flour on a plate. Then coat the pieces of meat into this mixture, pressing it well in on all sides.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over high heat in a casserole dish (make sure it is really hot), and quickly brown the pieces of meat on all sides, and then transfer them to a plate.
  3. Keeping to a high heat, add the remaining olive oil to the pan and brown the onions, about 3-4 minutes. Then add in the garlic and cook for another minute. Add in any remaining flour and pepper left on the plate to the pan, stirring well to soak up the juices. Pour the red wine in a little at a time, continuing to stir to prevent any lumps forming, and scraping in any crusty residue from the bottom and edge of the pan. Bring to a simmer.
  4. Once simmering, add the meat to the sauce, season it with salt, then pop in the bay leaves and thyme. Bring it back to a simmer.
  5. Once simmering again, put a lid on the casserole and transfer it to the middle shelf of the oven to cook for 4 hours or until the meat is tender. During the last hour of cooking, add in the cup mushrooms and zucchini strips.
  6. When you’re ready to serve, remove the herbs, add the crème fraîche, stir it in well, then taste to check for seasoning before serving. Serve on a bed of mashed potatoes and a side of honeyed Dutch carrots (optional, open to creativity).

Braised Steak au Poivre in Red Wine

I will post the recipes for honeyed Dutch carrots and mashed potatoes in a separate post so stayed tuned for those two in the next two days!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

 

myTaste.com