Mini Baked Dragon Fruit Cheesecake

Mini Baked Dragon Fruit Cheesecake

Hello Everyone and Happy Independence Day Philippines! So to begin with a ‘long story short’ scenario, I initially made this cake for my Mom’s birthday last month and let’s just say things did not go according to plan. It was a total kitchen disaster. I beat myself up quite harshly for it, because it meant that my Mom never got cake made by me for her birthday. I compensated though and got her a limited time only Ube Custard Cake from Conti’s Restaurant and Bakeshop when we celebrated Mother’s Day last month. That cake by the way – the bomb dot com. Anyway, I’ve saved the disaster details for last, so feel free to read the short summary of what went down at the end of the recipe.

Mini Baked Dragon Fruit Cheesecake

Please bear with me for I’m currently having a bit of a writer’s block at the moment, and I’ve been sitting on this for more than an hour now thinking of what I can write. I don’t really have much, or anything for that matter, to say about the dish/recipe other than it tastes AMAZING – so I’ll just feed your knowledge on some (fun) facts on dragon fruits!

Fact #1: Dragon fruit is also known as a Strawberry Pear.

Fact #2: Eating too much red-fleshed dragon fruit can give rise to a harmless condition called pseudohematuria, which can turn urine reddish in colour.

(Fun) Fact #3: A concoction made of dragon fruit, honey, and cucumber juice can moisturize and soothe sunburned skin.

Mini Baked Dragon Fruit Cheesecake

Fact #4: The cactus flower that produces dragon fruits only survives a single night. It blooms in the evening, ready for pollination, and then wilts the very next day. However, the very brief pollination period is sufficient for the plant to bear fruits.

Fact #5: The best time to pick dragon fruits are when they are mature as they are at their height of their sweetness. Mature fruits that are not harvested will continue to grow larger, but not sweeter.

And there you have it. There are plenty more (fun) facts about dragon fruits, especially where health benefits are concerned, but these are the ones that I didn’t know about and found most interesting!

Mini Baked Dragon Fruit Cheesecake Ingredients

PREP TIME 15-20 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | MAKES 2 MINI CAKES

INGREDIENTS

For the cheesecake mixture

  • 1 small red dragon fruit, mashed*
  • 250g cream cheese
  • 100ml cream
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar

For the crumb base

  • 150g Digestive Biscuits, crushed
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp salt

*As I mentioned in last week’s post, 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

  1. Preheat oven to 130C (250F or gas mark 1).
  2. Crumb Base: Add the crushed digestive biscuits, salt, and melted butter together in a small mixing bowl. Mix together until well combined.
  3. Grease two mini spring-form pans (about 4” in diameter) 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.
  4. Cheesecake Mixture: Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat, on medium speed, the cream cheese and sugar together in a medium-sized bowl until smooth.
  5. With the mixer running, add in the egg and cream, mixing for a further 2 minutes.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared spring-form cake pan, evenly covering the biscuit base, and then add about a tablespoon of the mashed dragon fruit atop. Use a skewer to gently swirl the mashed dragon fruit through the cheesecake mixture.
  7. Place the cake pan in a water bath and bake for 1 hour, or until just set.
  8. Allow to cool down to room temperature and then chill in the fridge for about half an hour before serving.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

You may top the cheesecake with extra mashed dragon fruit if you still have some lying around.

Mini Baked Dragon Fruit Cheesecake

So in all honesty, I initially made a cake-sized (8.5” round) version of this dragon fruit cheesecake. It was a no-bake cheesecake and all the things that could go wrong with it, went absolutely wrong *facepalm*.

Firstly, I bought unflavoured gelatin to incorporate into the cheesecake mixture to help it set in the fridge since it is a no-bake cheesecake. The supposedly ‘unflavoured’ gelatin advertised on the package had a certain flavour to it that I could not put my finger on. In addition, it was diabetically sweet. Not only did it ruin the taste of the cheesecake, it also caused the cheesecake mixture to split when added, causing little white specks to appear. So instead of having a smooth pink colour to the dragon fruit cheesecake, it looked like it had little white lice eggs in it – *barfs* Okay that description definitely went too far, but that’s what it looked like to me!

I didn’t know how I could salvage this cake, so I ended up chucking it in the bin. I don’t like chucking food into the bin because not only is it such a waste of beautiful ingredients, they’re also expensive ingredients. There was no point trying to salvage it though, because it honestly tasted gross because of the gelatin that I used.

After the mishap, I went back and tried the recipe again, but this time followed the recipe I tackled for a baked cheesecake from April – Spice-roasted Pineapple Cheesecake. As you can see, the end result was so much better! I was over the moon with the turn out and from now on, I’m never EVER going back to no-bake cheesecakes.

Mini Baked Dragon Fruit Cheesecake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com</p

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Apple Danish

Apple Danish

Hello Everyone! My sincere apologies for last week’s post being very bland and uninformative like my recent posts from the beginning of this year. Those who have read my post last week will know the reason for the lack of depth. But moving on, I am hopfully back on track and will not disappoint for tonight’s post. I do have a little bit to say at the end of this post so make sure you read all the way to the end, for those interested/curious that is.

So I did mention in last week’s post that I’d be specifically working with Red Delicious Apples for the month because they were on sale at Rustan’s Supermarket. After doing some research, I realised that these apples are not at all recommended for the way I’m working with them, whoops!

Red Delicious Apples are crunchy in texture and mildly sweet in taste. It is apparently the world’s favourite snacking apple and shines through in cool, crisp salads. They are in season basically all year round and no suggested for pies, sauces, baking, and freezing – oops. I totally used them for baking in last week’s recipe and technically tonight’s recipe. I will use them for a sauce and for baking again for the coming recipes as well *face palm* Oh well, but to be honest, I haven’t come across any dire problems with baking or saucing Red Delicious Apples. After doing some research, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, and Golden Delicious Apples are the best for pies, baking, and making a sauce out of them. I’ll remember this for next time!

Apple Danish Process

I probably made too much filling and crumb topping for this recipe, even though I had initially halved the recipe that I followed by Melanie Dueck over on The Recipe Critic. If you do end up with leftovers, use another pastry sheet to make more Danishes, which was what I should have done but was too impatient to thaw another sheet, or make mini Apple Crumbles out of them! I would have done the latter, but then I still have another sweet apple recipe to do to complete my month of apple for recipes and I can totally use the leftovers for it!

The only reason why I have opted for the glaze to be optional in this recipe is because I don’t have any confectioners’ sugar lying around in my pantry. If you have read my previous post (can’t remember which specific one it was), I mentioned that I have this habit of buying ingredients that I rarely use. Eventually those ingredients end up sitting on the pantry shelf until its expiration date. The same applies to confectioners’ sugar. I rarely bake nowadays, or when I do bake, I never really need to use confectioners’ sugar regularly, and so if I am just going to use it for this recipe, I have decided to leave it out for mine, but if you do happen to have it lying around, go for it! It tastes good with or without anyway! What I did instead was drizzled a bit of the juices from the apple filling on top of the baked Danishes.

Apple Danish Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS | SERVES 8 DANISHES

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 puff pastry sheets, thawed

For the apple filling

  • 1 large Red Delicious apples, peeled and diced
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 3 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt

For the crumb topping

  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 25g unsalted butter (cold), cut into little cubes
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Handful of roughly chopped walnuts

For the egg wash

  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 1 tbsp water

Optional: for the glaze

  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tbsp heavy whipping cream or milk
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Apple Filling: Combine all the apple filling ingredients together, except for the apples, in a medium-sized saucepan. Melt altogether over medium heat and bring to a boil. Boil for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Add the peeled and diced apples into the saucepan and bring back to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the apples have softened, but still holds it shape.
  3. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
    Crumb Topping: Meanwhile, mix all the crumb topping ingredients in a small mixing bowl that has been chilled in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
  4. With your fingertips, quickly mix the ingredients together until it looks like rough breadcrumbs. Set aside.

Tip: Pre-chilling your mixing bowl in the freezer helps keep the butter chilled when making the crumb topping. Likewise, if your mixture is too warm, put the bowl into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes and start again when it has chilled.

  1. Apple Danish: Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I used foil for mine because I only realised just as I was about to prepare my sheet that I had none left!).
  2. Unfold one thawed puff pastry sheet at a time and roll it out to about 10”x10” sheet. Use a pizza cutter to cut 16 even strips. Connect four strips together by overlapping about a half-inch and pressing it down together. Twist the strip into a ribbon and snail it around itself to create a rose-shaped pastry. Press the end down to the rest of the dough. Repeat for the remaining dough, should make at least 8 pastries.

Apple Danish Process

  1. Place the prepared pastry dough on the parchment-lined baking sheet and press the middle down. Place a spoonful of apple filling in the wells of the pastry.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the egg and water together and brush it over the pastry dough. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the tops of each Danish and then bake for about 16 to 18 minutes or until the edges are golden.
  3. Remove from the oven and leave aside to cool before glazing.
  4. Glaze (Optional): Mix all the glaze ingredients together in a small bowl then drizzle over the warm apple Danishes. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Apple Danish

This is probably not the best time to have a warm dessert in the Philippines as it’s getting hotter by the minute as the Summer season rolls in. But hey! It’s getting cooler in some parts of the world right? So this would be the perfect snack/dessert for it!

I could have probably plated these delicious Danishes a little better – but I promise that they taste absolutely amazing! Better than they actually look! The flaky and crisp pastry crust, apple pie filling, and crumb topping make them irresistible. In seconds upon placing them on the dining table for our mid-afternoon snack, they were all gone! The three of us (my Mom, my sister, and myself) even fought over who wouldn’t get a third piece since there were only 8 Danishes.

Apple Danish

Before I end tonight’s post I would also just like to say a few things. I didn’t want to say this at the beginning of this post because I didn’t want to start off negatively. I have recovered from my irritable bowel syndrome, but despite that, I haven’t been feeling in the mood to work on my blog since my recovery.

I mean it’s practically normal to have off days – we’re all human after all – but I just can’t shake off the feeling of letting my followers down and letting myself down when it comes to Amcarmen’s Kitchen. I don’t get paid for running this blog, so everything that I do for Amcarmen’s Kitchen is purely for my passion and love for food, and to be able to share it with the few followers I have is just enough for me to continue doing what I love to do.

This is a very reason why I try so hard to stay on top of everything and make sure that I have dishes and recipes lined up in advance so that I can just hit the publish button every Wednesday night without having to stress about editing photographs and writing everything up all on the upload day itself. I probably put too much pressure on myself for this, hence why the sudden lack of determination for the past week.

I know deep down that no one really cares about all this – but I just needed to get this off my chest, even if it just means that I am talking to my blog.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Mango Mochi (マンゴー餅)

Mango Mochi (マンゴー餅)

Hello Everyone! Yes, I did mention earlier in the beginning of this month that I’d be tackling my mango recipes with a Thai influence – and tonight’s recipe that is far from that.

Let me explain.

When I was planning ahead for the month, I couldn’t think of any other Thai desserts that had mangoes in them other than the infamous Thai Mango Sticky Rice. Amongst my quest to find another dessert was Mango Mochi. Hardly Thai, in fact Japanese, but this was one of the desserts that popped up under the search term “Thai Mango Desserts” and from a site titled 14 Must-try Mango Desserts and the Best Places to Find Them in Bangkok. You must be thinking FOURTEEN desserts and you had to pick the non-Thai one?

Let me explain further.

I wanted to tackle a recipe that was firstly, less complicated in terms of the number of elements that it needed to be plated. So if it had more than, well, basically one element, I set aside. Secondly, I wanted to tackle a recipe with ingredients that I already had sitting in my pantry just so that I wouldn’t have to go and buy more things just for that one recipe. This is a problem that I constantly face and am trying to eliminate. Many times too often, in the past that is, I plan for recipes that require a heck load of ingredients that I don’t usually work with, or rather don’t work with that often. So if there are any leftovers, they end up sitting in the pantry or fridge until their shelf life date and eventually end up in the waste, i.e. flour and a variety of certain spices have been my worst enemies. I used to have a shelf of expired spices that have only been touched once or twice and that made my heart ache. What I try to do now is for example, if I need to buy nutmeg for one recipe, I make sure that future recipes will need nutmeg in them just so that I can use it up before or does not end up in the waste.

Mini tangent aside, that is how I made the final decision to take a stab at Mango Mochi though evidently not a traditional Thai dessert. I had all the ingredients readily available at home; all I really needed to buy were the mangoes and mango juice. With just a few ingredients and a simple recipe to follow, you’re in for a cracker of a dessert!

Mango Mochi (マンゴー餅)

Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made of mochigome, a short-grain japonica glutinous rice that is pounded into a paste and molded into various desired shapes and sizes. In Japan, mochi is traditionally made during a labour-intensive mochi-pounding ceremony known as mochitsuki. The glutinous rice is first soaked overnight and then steamed. The steamed rice is then mashed and pounded using wooden mallets (kine) in a traditional mortar (usu). The process involves two people, one pounding and the other turning and wetting the substance (mochi). The two must keep a steady rhythm or they may accidentally injure each other with the heavy kine. After this process of pounding, the mochi can be eaten immediately or formed into various shapes, usually a sphere or a cube.

Modern mochi making is far less labour-intensive. Plain and natural mochi is prepared from glutinous rice flour that is mixed with water and them steamed, or cooked in the microwave, until it forms a sticky and opaque substance that is malleable. Other than flour and water, other ingredients can be added such as sugar for sweetness and cornstarch to prevent it from sticking to basically anything from your hands to serving containers/dishes. On top of that, other ingredients can also be added for more flavour variants, and here enters my recipe for Mango Mochi!

Mango Mochi (マンゴー餅) Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | MAKES 10 BALLS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and cubed
  • 1 & 1/4 cup glutinous rice flour
  • 1 can (340ml) mango juice or nectar
  • 3 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • Cornstarch
  • Shredded coconut (optional)

Note: Instead of using water, I used mango juice/nectar to flavour the rice cake itself to really heighten the mango flavour in the mochi. I know Gina Mango Nectar can be super sweet, and that is why I decided to lessen the amount of sugar in the mochi dough mixture. But for the initial ratios that I used, I found that the dough did need the extra sugar as it tasted rather flour-y than mango or sweet. I’ve adjusted the sugar quantities already in this recipe.

METHOD

  1. In a heatproof, medium-sized bowl, add the mango juice/nectar and sugar together and mix until well dissolved. Add in the rice flour, half cup at a time and mix until well blended and smooth.
  2. Place the bowl into a prepared steamer and steam for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the steamed dough comes out clean.
  3. While waiting for the dough to cook, prepare the mango for the filling. Set aside in the fridge.
  4. Once the dough is done, remove from the steamer and leave it to cool down for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Generously cover you hands with cornstarch and while the dough is still warm, scoop about a heaped tablespoon and roll the dough into medium sized balls.

Tip: Rolling the balls from the dough is the tough part. It is very sticky and somewhat difficult to work with. The more cornstarch you have on your hands and use, the less it will stick to you and the dough will be easier to work with. Also, the cooler the dough, the harder the dough will be to work with.

  1. Flatten the dough ball and place a mango cube in the middle. Close the ball tightly and place on a large serving plate dusted with cornstarch. Repeat until all of the dough is used, should make approximately 10 balls, less or more depending on the size.
  2. Optional, lightly brush the balls with water and then sprinkle the shredded coconut over the top.
  3. Chill in the fridge before serving and then enjoy!

Mango Mochi (マンゴー餅)

Mochi is best enjoyed immediately, especially if you opted to coat them with shredded coconut. They can be kept in the fridge for a short period of time, I’d say less than a week. If you’ve made a large batch of them and want to keep them for longer, then freezing them in an individual sealed plastic bag is recommended. Although they can be kept in the freezer for up to a year, it may lose its flavour and softness over time or may get freezer-burned.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Khao Neoo Mamuang (ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง) Mango Sticky Rice

Khao Neoo Mamuang (ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง) Mango Sticky Rice

Hello Everyone! Yes, besides sharing mango recipes on the blog for the month, I’ll also be tackling the fruit with a Thai influence. I mentioned in my post last week that Thai food is one of the many favourite cuisines that I enjoy – and let’s be honest here – I’m in the middle of satisfying my insane cravings for it!

Mango Sticky Rice is a traditional Thai dessert where the main ingredients needed are sticky glutinous rice, canned or fresh coconut milk, palm sugar, and mangoes. Although this dessert originated in Thailand, it is highly consumed throughout the Indo-China region of Southeast Asia such as Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Mango Sticky Rice is usually only eaten during the peak mango season, which is during the summer months of April and May. Notable shops in Bangkok famous for their Mango Sticky Rice will only sell this dessert for 4 months per year from February to June.

Khao Neoo Mamuang (ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง) Mango Sticky Rice

I can’t remember if the first time I had this dish was during a trip to Bangkok way back when, or at a Thai restaurant when I was still in Brunei – but nonetheless, I remember my Aunt (who is Thai) teaching me how to make this dish a couple of years back. At that time I wasn’t interested in cooking or food, so I didn’t realise then how easy it was to put this dish together and that is really only required the pantry essentials to make. Aside from having to get the mangoes from the market when I wanted to make this dish, I already had sugar, peanuts, coconut milk, and sticky rice at home.

To prepare the dish, the glutinous rice is first soaked in water and then cooked by steaming, or cooked in a rice cooker. I cooked mine over a gas stove together with the sugar and kept a very close eye on it. The coconut milk is heated, without boiling, separately with salt and then added to the cooked glutinous rice to flavour it. Mangoes are then peeled and sliced to serve with the rice, and smothered in more salted coconut milk. The result is just heavenly! If you’re a mango lover like me, then you’re definitely going to fall in love with this exotic Thai dessert.

Khao Neoo Mamuang (ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง) Mango Sticky Rice

Disclaimer: I do apologise to any of my Thai followers, or any who have just stumbled upon my blog, and this post in particular. I’ve seen so many variations of the spelling for Khao Neoo Mamuang and I’m not sure if I’ve picked the right one! *cheeky grin*

Khao Neoo Mamuang (ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง) Mango Sticky Rice Ingredients

PREP TIME 1 HOUR | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ripe mangoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup sticky glutinous rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (fresh, canned, or frozen)
  • 2 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Roasted peanuts, roughly chopped to garnish

METHOD

  1. Sticky Glutinous Rice: Rinse the sticky glutinous rice and then leave to soak for about an hour. Drain was ready to use.
  2. Transfer the rice to a medium-sized non-stick cooking pot together with the 2 cups of water and the sugar. Bring to a slow simmer over low heat, partially covered with a lid (to leave room for steam to escape).
  3. Once simmering, leave to cook for a further 20 minutes or until the water has been absorbed by the rice. Turn the heat off, but leave the rice in the pot with the lid on tight. Allow it to sit for a further 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Salted Coconut Sauce: While the rice is cooking away, prepare the salted coconut sauce by adding the coconut milk to a small saucepan together with the salt. Bring to a slow simmer over low heat, about 10 minutes. It is important to heat it slowly to avoid curdling the coconut milk. This happens when it is heated too quickly.
  5. Once done, turn the heat off and set aside. If your rice is already done at this point, then add half of the salted coconut sauce to the rice and give it a good mix. Set aside the other half of the sauce for later.

Tips: Experiment with naturally flavouring the sticky rice for another dept of flavour. I used juices from pandan leaves and ube (purple yam) when tackling this recipe. All you have to do is add these flavourings together before cooking the rice.

  1. Shape the sticky rice into logs and place on a serving plate. Top the rice logs with a slice of ripe mango and roasted peanuts.
  2. Drizzle with the remaining salted coconut sauce or use for dipping.
  3. Serve and enjoy while warm!

Khao Neoo Mamuang (ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง) Mango Sticky Rice

Mango Sticky Rice is usually served differently with one big serving of rice and mango slices on the side. I decided to plate mine up differently after stumbling upon an Instagram post of Mango Sticky Rice “Sushi” hence why they look like nigiri!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Auguest 2018: Simon Swadling

French Toast with Red Wine Pears

I’ve always loved breakfast, and French toast was actually one of the first things I started making and teaching myself. It’s probably the start of me really getting into food and it becoming my passion – I loved making making either savoury style (parsley and parmesan with bacon) or the more traditional sweet one.

My love of breakfast foods has ended up becoming a family tradition that on long weekends or holidays we will often start off with a fancy brunch/breakfast made by me. This French toast recipe is what I came up with for Mothers day this year, as sweet French toast is my mum’s favourite breakfast. It has some autumnal vibes with the maple and mulled wine flavours, but really the base recipe of the French toast can be paired with any number of different things, so feel free to go off script and try something different!

French Toast with Red Wine Pears

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

INGREDIENTS

For the French toast

  • Loaf of Brioche bread (the batter will do enough for 4 large slices)*
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 3/4 cup full cream milk
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly ground
  • Zest of half an orange

For the poached pears

  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 small Corello pears**
  • 1 cinnamon stick

For the maple mascarpone

  • 1 tub (250g) mascarpone
  • Maple syrup, to taste
  • Dry meringue pieces
  • Fresh raspberries, or any other berries that you like

*If your brioche bread hasn’t been pre-cut (which is ideal), then cut the brioche into thick rectangular pieces. This means that you’ll get a crispy outside, custardy outer layer, and still some fluffy brioche in the middle.

**If you can’t get your hands on the small pears, use 2 large pears and serve each slice with half a pear instead.

METHOD

  1. Poached Pears: Combine all the ingredients for the poached pears into a medium-sized saucepan. If the pears aren’t fully covered, then ensure to turn them around every few minutes to get an even colour and even cooking all around. Timing will depend on the ripeness of the pears so simmer until soft when tested with a knife.
  2. Remove the pears, and continue to boil down the poaching liquid until reduced to a syrup-like texture. You may prepare the pears the day before and then warm them through before serving.
  3. Maple Mascarpone: Mix the mascarpone in a bowl to soften and then add about a tablespoon of maple syrup. Adjust to your own personal liking. Set aside in the fridge.
  4. French Toast: Add all the ingredients, except the brioche bread in a shallow dish and mix well until combined.
  5. Heat up a medium-sized frying pan with a knob of butter and a bit of oil on medium heat.
  6. Dip the brioche slice in the egg mixture on each side and allow it to soak a little.
  7. Fry the slice on each side until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Repeat for the remaining slices.
  8. Assemble: Cut the pears in half. Place the French toast on a plate with the pears on top. Crumble the meringue over and serve with fresh raspberries, and a scoop of the maple mascarpone.
  9. Finally, drizzle over a bit of the poaching syrup from the pears and enjoy!

French Toast with Red Wine Pears

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2018 | thebeardedpatissier

– Simon (The Bearded Patissier)

myTaste.com

Auguest 2018: Wendy Chok

Rustic Bread: PMS Toast

It’s me Wendy, back for another recipe to share! The last time I was on here I shared a recipe for homemade Rustic Bread and a savoury Pizza Toast brekkie with everyone. This time I will be sharing what I like to call ‘PMS Toast’ which I will explain further in a while. I also shared a little bit about myself, and my love for food, so now I will share about how I know Ally on a personal level.

I met and got to know Ally about 3 years ago through work. She was one of my team members in our Marketing team for an Advertising and Event Management firm that we both worked at. We became very close friends and still even so after having left the company because we have the same level of random craziness, vibe, and of course our love for all things food.

Amcarmen's Kitchen & Peek A Pastry
Peek A Pastry & Amcarmen’s Kitchen

We share a special kind of bond at work and it might be because we spend a lot of time together, at work of course, for a lot of event events, working late at night on occasions, have food together in the office whether breakfast, lunch, snack time or dinner time, and enjoy great food together in celebration for when we’ve successfully finished every event that we’ve worked on. I love our team because we always had each other’s backs and we just simply complement each other well.

I know that Ally wants to pursue her dream to participate in MasterChef Australia and I am using all my power on law of attraction to make it happen. I will see Ally in MasterChef Australia one day and tell my kids or grandkids that “that is my friend!”

Moving on – I am not a sweet tooth but when the time (PMS) comes, nothing is sweet, what is sweet? How do you spell sweet? C-A-L-M is how you spell sweet. When you are cranky and tired, you just crave for something sweet, something sugar loaded and warm. So here I present you two fast and sweet breakfast ideas to hit my spot, and hopefully yours too.

PMS Toast: Cinnamon Everything Toast

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices of homemade Rustic Bread
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (2 teaspoons for me, the cinnamon lover)

METHOD

  1. Place the butter in a small heatproof bowl and melt in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Make sure that it is not too liquidy as you want those buttery chunks on your toast. I like it rustic on this rustic bread.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together and smother it all over the toast.
  3. You can either bake it or toast it on a pan. Bake it at 240C (475F or gas mark 9) for 10 minutes, just enough time for everything to crunch up. If you like it toasted in a pan, face the side, which is smothered by the cinnamon paste down on the pan, and sear it for 2 minutes over medium heat.
  4. Serve and enjoy with a hot cup of coffee for breakfast or even as a nice afternoon snack!

Rustic Bread: PMS Toast

PMS Toast: Butter & Sugar Toast

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices of homemade Rustic Bread
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp granulated white sugar

METHOD

  1. Smear the butter over the toast and sprinkle the top with white sugar.
  2. Bake it at 240C (475F or gas mark 9) for 10 minutes.
  3. Serve and enjoy with a hot cup of coffee for sweet start to your morning!

Short and sweet, just nice for a woman who is PMS-ing. Men take note!

Rustic Bread: PMS Toast

Before I say goodbye to everyone on Amcarmen’s Kitchen, I would like to thank Ally for giving me this opportunity to write on her well-established blog. I hope that my recipes are not too shabby and please dive in to my rustic way of cooking!

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2018 | peekapastry

– Wendy (Peek A Pastry)

myTaste.com

Auguest 2018: Shazrinah Shazali

Mini Mixed Berry Pancakes

ShefShaz is back again on Amcarmen’s Kitchen and this time I will be sharing a sweet breakfast option for those who love to start their day off on a sweet note – Mini Mixed Berry Pancakes served with Earl Grey Ice Cream and Fresh Fruit.

Mini Mixed Berry Pancakes

Before we dive into the recipe, if you missed my guest post a few days ago, I whipped up some delicious homemade Salmon Fish Cakes for the savoury breakfast eaters! You can also read more about my approach to food and how I know Ally.

Mini Mixed Berry Pancakes Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | MAKES 24 MINI PANCAKES*

*Or 12 regular-sized pancakes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 & 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 & 1/4 cups skimmed milk
  • 57g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • Frozen mixed berries, or any other kind of fruits

To serve

  • Digestive biscuits, crushed
  • Earl Grey ice cream*
  • Fresh fruits
  • Icing sugar
  • Lemon slices (for a kick of tang)

*Or any other flavoured ice cream that tickles your fancy.

Mini Mixed Berry Pancakes

Mini Mixed Berry Pancakes

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Grease a 24-hole mini cupcake tray with a bit of butter to prevent the pancake batter from sticking to the tray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together until you have a smooth and creamy mixture.
  3. Sift in the dry ingredients and gently fold until just combined. Leave the mixture to rest for about 10 minutes to allow the baking powder to work its magic.
  4. Pour the batter into the tray, filling about 3/4 of the way and drop in your frozen mixed berries on top.
  5. Bake in the oven from about 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the pancake comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool down for about 5 minutes. Lightly dust with icing sugar and serve with ice cream, crushed digestive biscuits, and fresh fruit of your choice. Enjoy!

Mini Mixed Berry Pancakes

Mini Mixed Berry Pancakes

Before I end, I would like to thank Ally for giving me the opportunity to cook and write for her blog. We had a lot of fun during our cookout session – both the cooking and feeding our dishes to many tummies!

Recipe Copyright © 2018 | shefshaz

BON APPÉTIT

– ShefShaz

myTaste.com

Baked Purple Sweet Potato with Banana & Cherries

Baked Purple Sweet Potato with Banana & Cherries

Hello Everyone! A thousand apologies as this recipe was meant to go up a couple of days ago – but I haven’t been home at a decent hour for the past few nights to be able to write and get this up as planned. But, please bear with me for a moment as I attempt to absorb the fact that we’re 2 days away to the end of the month. All I can hint at this moment is that the upcoming month for me will say a final goodbye to a lifelong chapter – or should I say book? I feel like it’s more than an end to a chapter, but rather a book that I will be closing. To be able to open up a new story and at the same time revisit more chapters to one that was on hold for the past 3 years. One that I knew I will have the opportunity to continue writing. I know, I know, this all sounds very vague right now but in due time…

Baked Purple Sweet Potato with Banana & Cherries

Tangent aside and moving on, this recipe is pretty much open for you to get your creative juices flowing. Pair your favourite fruits together, add an element of crunch, and drizzle with your desired spread. What you can also do is play around with colour – I chose my fruits based on what colours will pop next to a beautiful deep purple sweet potato. This will make it look oh so aesthetically pleasing to the eye and (of course) taste even better in your tummy.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, be sure to check out where I drew inspiration for this beautiful breakfast dish over on Food with Feeling by Brita. Also, please make sure to read the end of this post to find out what’s happening on Amcarmen’s Kitchen for the month of August!

Baked Purple Sweet Potato with Banana & Cherries Ingredients

Baked Purple Sweet Potato with Banana & Cherries 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 for breakfast is already pretty filling, but the recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, and so on if you’re feeding more than 1-2 people at the table.

INGREDIENTS***

  • 1 medium-sized sweet potato, washed and scrubbed clean
  • 1 large banana, sliced
  • Chia seeds
  • Handful of fresh cherries, halved and pitted
  • Heaped spoonful of peanut butter
  • Granola

***Other optional toppings just to get your mind flowing: an array of mixed berries such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, hemp seeds, pepitas, nut butter, nutella, and many other choices for you to have fun with it!

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven 200C (400F or gas mark 6).
  2. Bake the sweet potato**** directly on the rack for about 40 to 50 minutes. Baking times may vary depending on the size of the potato. So to know if they’re done, stab it with a fork and if it easily pierces into the centre of the potato, the inside is most definitely tender.
  3. Once tender, cut a slit down the centre of the sweet potato about two thirds of the way down. Optional: slighty mush the inside of the potato.
  4. Top with your favourite breakfast toppings and don’t forget to make it look pretty on the plate too!
  5. Serve and enjoy!

****Here’s a tip: you can bake extra potatoes at the same time (I actually baked these together with my from week 2 of July), so that you can chuck them in the fridge and heat them up the next morning or two for another super easy and quick breakfast! It only takes less than 5 minutes to throw something together with your pre-baked potato.

Baked Purple Sweet Potato with Banana & Cherries

Baked Purple Sweet Potato with Banana & Cherries

Before I end tonight’s post, I’d like to share a little introduction to what’s coming as I won’t have the chance to when the next wave of recipes hit. If you have been following my blog since the beginning, or have been a frequent follower for more than a year or so, you’ll already know what August (or should I say, Auguest) means for Amcarmen’s Kitchen. Every year since 2015 I have been rounding up a couple of food bloggers and foodies alike to share their recipes in relation to the set theme. This year I have been able to round up some new faces, as well as familiar and recurring guests on Amcarmen’s Kitchen!

Stay tuned for an enticing array of delectably sweet and savoury breakfast dishes! If you want to read more on how this all started, click on the ‘Auguest’ tab above and there should be a link to take you to an introductory post that I wrote back in 2015.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Sweet Purple Sweet Potato Toasts (3 ways)

Sweet Purple Sweet Potato Toasts (3 ways)

Hello everyone! Apologies for not getting this post up last week as it was supposed to – I feel like I’ve been repeating myself in every post so far but yes, things have been hectic. Amongst the hecticness I speak of, my sister also arrived back from Singapore last week. Other than that, nothing exciting has happened over the past week – the week ahead though will definitely be one to remember.

Anyway, I’ll keep tonight’s introduction short and just dive straight into the recipe. To recap, the theme for this month on Amcarmen’s Kitchen is to hero Sweet Potatoes for breakfast! At the beginning of he month, I shared Savoury Orange Sweet Potato Toasts 3 Ways for you, and tonight I’m going to share you a Sweet Purple Sweet Potato Toasts 3 Ways for those who prefer a sweet option rather than savoury to kick start their mornings!

Sweet Purple 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 purple 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 – the sweet edition!


Blackberries & Buttermilk Caramelised White Chocolate

Sweet Purple Sweet Potato Toasts (3 ways): Blackberries & Buttermilk Caramelised White Chocolate

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

INGREDIENTS

  • Blackberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
  • Sweet potato slice(s)
  • Whittaker’s West Coast Buttermilk Caramelised White Chocolate (Artisan Collection), roughly chopped

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!

Banana, Blueberries & Peanut Butter

Sweet Purple Sweet Potato Toasts (3 ways): Banana, Blueberries & Peanut Butter

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

INGREDIENTS

  • Banana slices
  • Blueberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
  • Chia seeds
  • Granola
  • Peanut butter
  • 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!

Strawberries & Goats Cheese with Balsamic Reduction

Sweet Purple Sweet Potato Toasts (3 ways):Strawberries & Goats Cheese with Balsamic Reduction

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

INGREDIENTS

  • Balsamic reduction
  • Goats Cheese
  • Lemon zest
  • Strawberry slices, fresh
  • 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!

And there you have it – three simple ways you can make you mornings sweeter, brighter, full of colour, healthier, and energising altogether! I’ll TRY to get the last post for the month up, if not on Wednesday night, then on Thursday night hopefully – fingers crossed!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Breakfast Muffins: Spiced Plum & Quinoa

Breakfast Muffins: Spiced Plum & Quinoa

Hello Everyone! I hope the week has been good to all. Tonight will be the last of my Muffin Making Monday series on Amcarmen’s Kitchen and I will be back to sharing recipes with y’all on my usual Wednesday night uploads. I’ll still be continuing the overall theme for the year of Breakfast Foods, but next week I’ll be sharing a completely new sub-theme on the blog so stay tuned for that!

Yesterday was such a tiring day overall that I think I crashed in bed right after dinner and probably had one of the best sleeps that night – it would’ve been even better if I hadn’t had to wake up so early for work. We held a garage sale yesterday morning from 7am to (officially) 10am, but people still kept coming by the house past 11am that morning. The night before we invited our close friends to the house so that they could have the first choice in picking out what they wanted before we sold our stuff to others the following morning. We made almost $500 that night and morning for all our small items such as clothes, jewellery, bags, accessories, toys, etc. and about $1000 more on our large furnitures. After a tiring morning of turning our unwanted things into money, I spent the afternoon catching up with friends and food at one of our friend’s open house. That was my day in a nutshell.

Breakfast Muffins: Spiced Plum & Quinoa

Moving on, plums are extremely nutritious, offering a wide variety of health benefits. They contain over 15 different vitamins and minerals, and in addition, fibre and antioxidants that may help reduce the risk of several chronic diseases. To have a further read on the health benefits of Plums (and Prunes), head on over to Health Line. Moving on, in addition to the many vitamins and minerals packed into these breakfast muffins, quinoa also gives them a major protein boost. Check out the original recipe from The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen.

Breakfast Muffins: Spiced Plum & Quinoa Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 15-20 MINS | SERVES 12 MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 & 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup full-fat plain yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup honey, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/3 cup raw white quinoa
  • 113g unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 2 plums, 1 roughly chopped and 1 sliced, thinly
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6). Line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases. Set aside.
  2. In large mixing bowl, whisk the flours, quinoa, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, and salt together.
    In another mixing bowl, medium-sized, whisk the eggs, yoghurt, melted butter, and honey together. Gently fold the egg mixture into flour mixture until just combined; then stir in the chopped plum.
  3. Divide the batter equally among the prepared muffin cases (about 1/4 cup each) and top each with a couple of plum slices.
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centres of the muffins comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool down completely.
  5. Drizzle with honey, if desired, before serving and enjoy!

Breakfast Muffins: Spiced Plum & Quinoa

Breakfast Muffins: Spiced Plum & Quinoa

Breakfast Muffins: Spiced Plum & Quinoa

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com