Auguest 2019: Shazrinah Shazali

Dark Chocolate Açaí Tahini Tart with Mixed Fruit Mountain

Indulgences can be sinful and healthy. A mixture of sweet, bitter and salty goodness combined into what may seem to be regular dark chocolate tart, is sure to give your guests a delicious and tantalising surprise.



For the crust

  • 2 packets of Oreos
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter OR 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • Pinch of Himalayan salt

For the filling

  • 340g dark chocolate (70%)
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream OR coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen açaí berries*, blended
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (optional)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter OR 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence
  • Pinch of Himalayan salt

* If using frozen açaí berries, thaw first before blending.

Dark Chocolate Açaí Tahini Tart with Mixed Fruit Mountain

Tip: Switch out the butter for coconut oil and whipped cream for coconut cream to easily make this tart vegan and dairy-free friendly. Use vegan-friendly maple syrup or other substitute sweeteners, and of course a vegan biscuit/cookie base. Also, while most dark chocolate brands are vegan-friendly, it’s best to check for those that do/do not contain any whey or dairy in them.


  1. Crust: Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Blend the Oreos, unsalted butter, Himalayan salt, and tahini together in a food processor.
  3. Transfer the blended mixture to a 10” tart tray and bake for 10 minutes. Once done, set aside to cool before filling the tart.
  4. Filling: Heat dark chocolate, unsalted butter, whipped cream, and maple syrup in a saucepan at a low to medium flame until melted and well combined.
  5. Once melted, mix in the vanilla essence, blended açaí berries, and salt.
  6. Take off the heat and then pour into the crust.
  7. Even out filling and chill in the fridge overnight to set.
  8. Finishing: Top with fruits of your choice to add freshness and volume to your tart. In this case, I used a medley of mangoes, kiwis, blueberries, and cherries. Serve and enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Açaí Tahini Tart with Mixed Fruit Mountain

PS: Ally here! Before we end tonights post, please read this article on the Goddess behind Fuel’d, who is none other than Shaza!

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2019 | Shazrinah Shazali


– Shazrinah Shazali

Spice-roasted Pineapple Nice Cream

Spice-roasted Pineapple Nice Cream

Hello Everyone! April is here and those who have been following my blog, or even just my social media pages (Facebook & Instagram) will know that a new month means that I get to play around with new ingredients! As the overall theme for this year is a “fruitful” one, I’m playing around with different kinds of fruit each month for 2019! For January I went nuts for Coconuts! For February it was all about Mangoes. For March they say an Apple a day keeps the doctors away! I ran a poll on Instagram stories for my followers to guess between Pineapple, Banana, and Lemon based on the set of ingredients for tonight’s post.

Of course, based on the title of this post, we all know that April with be all about Pineapples! I did mention in my previous post that I had to change what I had initially planned for tonight. Basically, I had planned for a Grilled Pineapple Oat Crumble, but I slowly realised towards the middle of last month that we’re at the peak of summer here in the Philippines, and it just made no sense whatsoever to be featuring warm/baked desserts in the heat we’re having! Thus I decided to take a cooler route for this month and beat the summer heat with this amazing Spice-roasted Pineapple Nice Cream!

Spice-roasted Pineapple Nice Cream

So what exactly is Nice Cream? Unlike most ice cream recipes, this one doesn’t require an ice cream maker/churner. The trusty food processor can transform any frozen fruits into a whipped dessert in mere minutes. Nice creams are also vegan, dairy-free, and treat-free from artificial flavours, colours, preservatives, and added sugar. Well okay, there is sugar for this particular recipe of mine that I used when making the spice-roasted pineapples, but other than that, I did not add any extra sugar to the nice cream.

Banana-based ice cream may be the original nice cream, but there are endless ways to adapt the classic recipe. Take for example, tonight’s recipe for Spice-roasted Pineapples – bananas are only really added to ensure a creamy custard-like texture, but the other fruit is the star of the show. I didn’t just want to blitz up some frozen pineapples, which is why I went a little bit extra in roasting the pineapples first in a few spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and star anise before freezing them. The result? AMAZING!

Spice-roasted Pineapple Nice Cream Ingredients


*Allow for the Spice-roasted Pineapple Chunks to freeze for at least 5 hours or overnight before making the nice cream.


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 nice cream

  • Frozen spiced-roasted pineapple
  • Frozen sliced bananas, about 2-3 large bananas
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Ginger nut biscuits (optional)***

**Almost every brand of hard liquor – bourbon, whiskey, vodka, gin and rum – is vegan. Nearly all distilled spirits are vegan except for cream-based liqueurs and products that mention honey on the label.

***I used Tesco ginger nut biscuits which are vegan.


  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 placing them in a food-safe zip lock bag together with the peeled and sliced bananas, and into the freezer for at least 5 hours or overnight. Discard the spices! Save a couple of tablespoons of the spice-roasted pineapple in the fridge to serve together with the nice cream.

Spice-roasted Pineapple Nice Cream Process

  1. Nice Cream: Place all the ingredients for the nice cream into a food processor and let it run on the highest speed for about a few minutes until the frozen fruit turns into a loose, crumbly mass.
  2. Stop the processor and push the fruits down. Turn the processor on to high speed once again and repeat this process until you have a very smooth and silky soft nice cream.
  3. You may serve it immediately or if you want a lovely scoop-able nice cream, transfer it into a freezer-friendly container and freeze it for another hour.
  4. Serve, topped with the spice-roasted pineapple, crushed ginger nut biscuits, and enjoy!

Spice-roasted Pineapple Nice Cream

Spice-roasted Pineapple Nice Cream

By all means, feel free to get loose with this recipe and try out other fruits that you can play around with for a guilt-free vegan nice cream to stay cool this summer!


– Ally xx

Auguest 2018: Jialing Mew

Mango Pudding with Coconut Sago

Happy Auguest everyone! I’m back for my fourth year running, and I’ll be taking over Amcarmen’s Kitchen with two South-East Asian inspired breakfast recipes this week. For once, Allison has chosen a theme that I could easily get on board with (those of you who suffered through 2016’s vegan Auguest with me know my pain). But thanks to my mom I have been a professional breakfast-eater since 1991, so trust me when I say that THIS is my area of expertise! If you don’t believe me, ask the former breakfast-skippers at my office who were inspired by my morning meals 😉

The great thing about breakfast is that it can be whatever you want it to be: simple or complex, savoury or sweet, hot or cold, vegan food or normal people food… I could go on. So for today’s recipe I’ll be sharing one of my favourite breakfasts to eat during summer weekdays, though it can be enjoyed at any time of the year. I like to prepare this on Sunday so that I (and my boyfriend/colleagues/innocent bystanders) stay safe from my hangriness for the rest of the week.

Throwing it back to 2016 with a vegan (you heard me!) recipe where we start out with…

Boiling coconut milk.


Mango Pudding with Coconut Sago



  • 1 cup fresh mango, finely diced
  • 1 can lychees drained, reserve syrup

For the Mango Pudding

  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups frozen mango
  • 1/4 cup reserved lychee syrup
  • 2 tsp agar agar powder (check your local Asian supermarket)

For the Coconut Sago

  • 2 & 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup reserved lychee syrup
  • 1/2 cup tapioca pearls (sago)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt


  • Coconut flakes
  • Fresh Mango chunks


  1. Set aside 6 lychees to garnish. Chop remaining lychees into smaller pieces. Divide chopped mango and lychee between 6 glasses or containers. Set aside.
  2. Mango Pudding: Purée 2 cups frozen mango with 1/4 cup reserved lychee syrup until smooth.
  3. On medium heat in a sauce pan, combine agar agar powder and 2 cups coconut milk, stirring until the mixture boils.
  4. Remove pan from stovetop and stir in the mango purée, making sure the mixture is well combined.
  5. Divide mixture between the 6 glasses, carefully pouring to cover the fruit chunks. Place in refrigerator to set while making the coconut sago.
  6. Coconut Sago: Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan over low heat, stirring constantly until tapioca pearls have absorbed most of the liquid and doubled in size – approximately half an hour, depending on your stove.
  7. Take the mango pudding out from the fridge and spoon the tapioca into each glass, then top with the remaining whole lychees, and optional coconut flakes and mango chunks.
  8. Serve immediately if you’d like it warm, or return to the fridge to chill for at least an hour for a more summer-appropriate dish!

Mango Pudding with Coconut Sago

Mango Pudding with Coconut Sago

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2018 | jialingmew

Enjoy x

– Jialing

Auguest 2017: Jialing Mew

Curried Lentil & Vegetable Stew

Curried Lentil & Vegetable Stew

Happy Guestember everyone! I’ll be taking over Amcarmen’s kitchen this week, for my third guest appearance. Having lived in Sydney for the past few years, I’ve crossed paths with several people, all with different lifestyles, backgrounds, and interests. Amidst the social and cultural melting pot, I’ve found that food is always a common talking point and a great way to bring people together. And what’s better than food that can be enjoyed by all? I’ve certainly managed to surpass my own expectations this year – not only does my recipe use multiple ingredients from Allison’s high-blood-pressure-lowering list, but it is also gluten-free, dairy-free, and… vegan! (Read about last year’s vegan recipe struggle here MATE YOU GOTTA LINK THIS PART WHERE IT SAYS HERE TO THE RECIPE FROM LAST YEAR PLZ CUZ I DONT KNOW HOW TO DO EET AND ALL THIS TEXT IN RED PLZ REMOVE FROM POST TENKS. Yes, 2017 Jialing can laugh about it now).

[I’m sorry Jialing, I had to share the text in red for the blogging world to see because it’s just too funny!] – Ally xx

Inspired by seasonal ingredients in my kitchen, staples in my pantry, and great people in my life, this dish is something that I hope everyone can enjoy. True to my appetite, my recipe makes a LOT, so it’s best made in the largest pot or pan you can scrounge up, then shared with a small army. Or simply halve the first lot of ingredients for a more regular quantity. Enjoy!

Curried Lentil & Vegetable Stew Ingredients



  • 500g scrubbed potatoes, cubed
  • 500g split lentils
  • 500g sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 can (400g) white beans, drained
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 3 tbsp hot curry powder (use mild if less heat is preferred)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  •  (optional)
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • A small handful of dried curry leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • 1 tbsp cornstarch, for slurry
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • Lemon and coriander, to garnish


  1. In your very large pot over high heat, fry onion in oil until browned. Add garlic and stir until fragrant. Add ginger paste and tomatoes, stirring until tomatoes are soft and start to break down (being careful not to let the garlic burn).
  2. Add curry powder, coriander powder, and chill powder if desired, stirring briefly for a few seconds.
  3. Add potatoes, sweet potatoes and lentils, increase heat to high, and add enough water to the pan to cover the potatoes and lentils. Keep covered until the water boils.
  4. Once the water boils, reduce the heat to low and add lemon wedges, stirring occasionally and topping up water until lentils and potatoes are all cooked through (may take roughly half an hour). Be sure to leave enough liquid to just cover the lentils.
  5. Add curry leaves, then salt and pepper, adjusting to your taste (I usually end up adding about 1 tbsp of salt). At this point, make the optional slurry with cornstarch and 1 tbsp of water, and add to the pan to thicken the gravy.
  6. Add drained white beans to pan, stirring until heated through. Take your pan off the heat.
  7. Toss in the kale, stirring through gently until evenly distributed. Be careful not to spill, as I always do…
  8. Garnish with fresh coriander and lemon. Serve hot with basmati rice or flat bread, chutney or fresh yogurt, or even on its own. Enjoy with friends or family 🙂

Curried Lentil & Vegetable Stew

Curried Lentil & Vegetable Stew

Recipe Copyright © 2017 | jialingmew


– xx Jialing

Vegan No-bake Blueberry & Lemon 'Cheesecake'

Vegan No-bake Blueberry & Lemon ‘Cheesecake’

Hello Everyone and a very happy first day of May! For those of you celebrating Labour Day, I hope you’re having a blast with your long weekend! Unfortunately, Labour Day isn’t celebrated in Brunei, so yes, I worked today *sad face*. Well, I’m actually not here out of my usual posting schedule to talk about Labour Day, in fact, I’m here for a completely different, and special occasion!

Happy Birthday Mom!
Everyday I wake up, I always have you to thank. I have your guidance, your food, your warmth, your love, and your heart: someone who loves me (and the other 2 troublemakers as well) unconditionally. I promise I’m not just saying this because it’s your birthday haha! Happiest of Birthdays Mom!

This year for my Mom’s birthday, I decided to whip up a Vegan No-bake Blueberry & Lemon ‘Cheesecake’ after my huge success with my sister’s vegan ‘cheesecake’ back in August 2016. I’ve been wanting to try out more vegan ‘cheesecakes’ since then and now the opportunity has surfaced once again. This ‘cheesecake’ is completely gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free. Before we move on to the recipe, please check out the original over on Call Me Cupcake by Linda. Please take note that I have adjusted the quantities below to make an 8.5-inch round cake.

Vegan No-bake Blueberry & Lemon 'Cheesecake' Ingredients



For the base

  • 1 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup almonds, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt

For the filling

  • 1 & 1/2 cups cashew nuts, soaked in water overnight then drained*
  • 2/3 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup (50g) fresh or frozen (but thawed) blueberries
  • 6 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 4 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup, to taste
  • Zest of 1 lemon

For the topping

  • Edible flowers**
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Shredded coconut

*Or soaked in very hot water for an hour if pressed for time

**To my Brunei followers if you could help me out, I don’t know where to find edible flowers here so what I usually do is just pick non-edible flowers from my garden, make sure they get a good wash and then use them only for photographic purposes.


  1. Soak the roughly chopped dates in warm water for 15 minutes. Drain and transfer to a small mixing bowl combined with the finely chopped almonds and salt. Using the back of a fork, mash and mix the ingredients together until a paste forms.
  2. Press the mixture into an 8-8.5 inch springform pan (and if you don’t have one, you may use a regular pie/cake tin covered with parchment paper). Place the pan in the freezer while you prepare the ‘cheesecake’ filling.
  3. Put al the ingredients for the the filling in a blender and blend on low until the mixture is as smooth as possible. Pour the filling onto the crust, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 6 hours before serving.
  4. Remove the cake from the pan and top with extra fresh blueberries, shredded coconut, and edible flowers. Leave to thaw in room temperature for about 10-15 minutes before cutting into it; you may run your knife under warm water and dry off to make a cleaner cut. Let each slice of cake thaw for a few more minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Vegan No-bake Blueberry & Lemon 'Cheesecake'

Vegan No-bake Blueberry & Lemon 'Cheesecake'

So usually, it is a habit of mine to read through the recipe first either a few days before, or the night before just so that I have proper planning when it come to buying the ingredients needed to proceed with the recipe. This time around, I completely forgot about doing this – I already had the recipe bookmarked from probably the beginning of the year so I guess this is probably one of the reasons why it completely slipped my mind. Why is it important to read a recipe ahead of time? Well for starters, the cashew nuts in this recipe require to be soaked in water overnight. Did I soak mine overnight? Nope I didn’t. Luckily, this can be rectified as it does say in the original recipe that if you’re in a hurry, you can soak the cashew nuts in very hot water for an hour (which is what I did) hehe.

Also, I missed out on a crucial bit of information which I only saw earlier on this afternoon when I was writing this post: “makes 1 tiny cheesecake (12cm/5-inches)” No wonder my cheesecake looked short and just barely had enough crust to cover the whole bottom. My springform pan is 8.5-inches in size which mean that I could’ve easily just doubled the recipe *face palm* but oh well, I would’ve have had enough ingredients to double the recipe if I had noticed it early and that’s only because I probably wouldn’t have been bothered to drive out to the grocers again to pick up a few more ingredients.

Vegan No-bake Blueberry & Lemon 'Cheesecake'

Happy Birthday Mom!



– Ally xx

Vegan Broccoli & Kale Soup

Vegan Broccoli & Kale Soup

Hello Everyone! I’ll try to keep tonight’s post short and sweet, well, I guess the only reason why it’d be short is because I don’t actually have much to share about the past week I’ve had. It was just one of those routinely days like wake up, go to work, eat, go home, eat, go to the gym, shower, sleep, repeat kind of week *sigh* Oh wait! How did I possibly forget the most important thing that happened this week?! My Mom, my sister, and I went to see the Power Rangers Movie on opening night! So many childhood memories came back alive and I think that this movie was much more worth the hype than for Beauty and the Beast. Please go watch it if you haven’t already watched it!

Moving on, I used to make a lot of soups when I was still studying in Sydney​, ​especially during the winter season​. Now, being the typical Asian that I was, I used to never see a meal without rice as a fully complete meal, so you can imagine how distraught I was when I’d hear people say that they had “soup” for dinner. I would be like, “only soup?!” with a hint of what-the-actual-fishsticks are you on about look on my face. However, having lived in Sydney for 4 years and basically exposed to cuisines other than the typical I-need-rice in every meal ideal, I grew to appreciate soups as a meal. It can actually be quite filling if you pair it with a nice crusty bread to soak up all the yummy flavours and wipe the bowl clean. Tonight’s recipe is a delicious blend of Broccoli and Kale, both nutritious super green foods that are packed with healthy vitamins and minerals essential to one’s daily diet. Please check out the original recipe by Taylor over on The Girl on the Bloor.

Vegan Broccoli & Kale Soup Ingredients



For the soup:

  • 2 cups non-dairy milk, for instance almond or coconut milk
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 large brown onion, diced
  • 1 leek, cleaned and sliced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Chilli flakes, for garnish
  • Flaked almonds, for garnish
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
For the kale chips:
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Okay, before I venture on to the method, some of you might/might not have picked up on a bit of a confusion with the ingredients. The list says to use leeks, but in the ingredient shot, the “leeks” would appear to some as spring onions. Actually, I do believe that what has been photographed are indeed spring onions, and not leeks, but the label did say “local leeks” at the grocery store. Since these were the only leeks available at that time, I had no choice but to buy them I guess. If you didn’t notice the difference, then I guess I could’ve gotten away without having to explain myself here, haha!


  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6). Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Wash and thoroughly dry the 2 cups of chopped kale for the chips before tossing it with olive oil. Massaging oil into leaves and season with ground sea salt and black pepper before spreading in onto the prepared baking tray. Set aside for now.
  3. Melt the coconut oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and sauté the minced garlic until golden brown and fragrant, about a minute. Follow with the diced onions and sliced leeks, cooking until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add broccoli florets and vegetable broth, bringing the mixture to a boil and then simmering for a further 2 minutes until the broccoli is tender.
  5. Once the broccoli is tender, remove from heat, and stir in the chopped kale. Leave the soup to cool down for about 15 minutes.
  6. While waiting for the soup and veggies to cool down, you can start baking your kale chips! Bake them in the preheated oven for 7 to 8 minutes, checking and flipping them every couple minutes so they don’t burn. When they’re crispy, remove them from the oven and set aside to top your soup with.
  7. Once your soup has cooled down, purée the veggies using a stick blender until the soup is smooth. Add your non-dairy milk, and season with a touch of ground sea salt and black pepper, stirring your soup until thickened.
  8. Divide the soup into individual bowls and top with the kale chips, flaked almonds, and chilli flakes. Serve and enjoy!

Vegan Broccoli & Kale Soup

Vegan Broccoli & Kale Soup

Before I end tonight’s post, I encourage you guys to head on over to Thrive Cuisine to learn more on the nutritional benefits of kale. There are plenty of links as well as to more recipes that include the famous cruciferous veggie known as kale.


– Ally xx

Pan-fried Cinnamon Bananas

Pan-fried Cinnamon Bananas

Hello Everyone! First and foremost, I am truly apologise for the lack of posts for the past month! As some of you may have been aware from previous posts, or if you follow my personal social media pages, I spent the last 3 weeks travelling Australia and the Northern Island of New Zealand. I arrived back home last weekend and have just been catching up on truckloads of work that I haven’t had the time to update Amcarmen’s Kitchen during that catch up week, as well as when I was on holiday. I did have content and material prepared beforehand and I was supposed to be posting while I was on holiday, but let’s face it – I didn’t want to be stuck in front of the computer all day while there were so many beautiful places around me to visit. Plus, I usually get home late and just want to rest a recharge for the following day’s adventure. Other than my apologies, I had an amazing time in New Zealand and I am already planning a trip back same time next year for a South Island trip!

Just a quick note before I jump onto today’s recipe (yes I am aware that today is Sunday and it’s not my usual Wednesday upload schedule), I will be posting two more Banana recipes (this one inclusive), which for those of you who don’t follow, was the theme for the month of February for Amcarmen’s Kitchen. The reason being is that I have already had these recipe lined up to upload but didn’t get around to doing so and I didn’t just want to scrap them off, and yes, that is why I am posting today as well – just until  I catch up with the present and resume back to my normal Wednesday posts.

Today’s recipe is one of the easiest and quickest thing to make when you find yourself with a handful or more of overripe bananas. Of course, the first go-to recipe for overripe bananas would be to whip up a delicious loaf of banana bread – provided that I have the time and energy to do so – but pan-fried cinnamon bananas are just as tasty as banana bread. Pair them with a cuppa and you’ve got your Sunday afternoon hi-tea set and all ready to go!

Pan-fried Cinnamon Bananas Ingredients



  • 2 large slight overripe bananas, sliced into 1/3″ thick rounds
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Olive oil, for frying


  1. Combine the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Add about a teaspoon of olive oil to a large non-stick frying pan and warm over medium heat.
  3. Add the sliced banana rounds and cook for about 2-3 minutes. During the last minute of cooking on the first side, sprinkle about half of the cinnamon mixture over the banana rounds.
  4. Flip the rounds, sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon mixture, and cook about 2-3 more minutes, until the bananas are soft and warmed through.
  5. Remove from the pan. Serve and enjoy with a nice cup of tea.

Pan-fried Cinnamon Bananas


– Ally xx

Raw Gingerbread Balls

Raw Gingerbread Balls

Hello Everyone! 2016 is coming to a close real soon and I would just like to take this opportunity to be thankful for what the past year has brought, not only for me, but for my family and my friends as well. Inevitably, life if not always perfect, it has its ups and downs, and for all the times where I felt down or put down but others, I can only say that – as cliché as this sounds – it has made me become a stronger person. I have been thrown under the bus countless of times by people around me and have had people say bad things about me behind my back – to all these people, you can go shove it where the sun don’t shine. You’ve made me realise how easy it can be for me to just shut you out because I don’t need that kind of toxicity in my life. Arrivederci.

Well, that escalated quickly haha! From being thankful to talking about the poisonous people is my life. Anyway, this will be the last recipe that I will be sharing on Amcarmen’s Kitchen for the year 2016. I hope that all my family, friends, and followers have had a good read and have cooked up a storm in their own kitchens with my recipes. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #amcarmensrecipes when you create a dish from my blog so I can share them on all my social media mediums. I will be back in February with a whole new concept to my recipes so please stay tuned! Yes, I will be taking a break in January as I have quite a full plate with work for the month and I might be able to spend time in the kitchen. I will also be planning content for Amcarmen’s Kitchen during my time off to ensure that everything runs smoothly for the upcoming year! Look out though for a post coming in mid-January as an introduction and hint to the recipes ahead for 2017!

Since Christmas passed not to long ago, I decided whip up these tasty raw vegan gingerbread balls as part of my ball-balls theme for December to keep with the Christmas-spirit.The only slight change I made to this recipe was replacing the buckwheat groats with more almonds just because I have no clue where to find buckwheat groats here in Brunei! Before we jump into the recipe for tonight, please check out the original recipe from Amanda over on Rawmanda.

Raw Gingerbread Balls Ingredients



  • 1 & 1/4 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat groats*
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract


  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar

*If you’re like me and can’t seem to find buckwheat groats at your local grocers, you can substitute 1/4 cup of buckwheat groats for 3 tablespoons of almond flour. Alternatively, for nut-free balls, you can substitute 1/4 cup of almond meal for 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of buckwheat groats.


  1. Place all the ingredients, except for the coconut sugar and dates in a high-speed blender or food processor until you get a flour-like consistency from the ingredients.
  2. Add half of the dates into the blender/food processor and pulse until well combined. Then add in the remaining dates until you have a uniform dough formed.
  3. Scoop the dough out of the blender/food processor, at about a tablespoon in size, and roll it into a ball (or flatten with a rolling pin and use a cookie cutter to make desired shapes). Repeat for the remaining dough. Optional: Roll the balls into coconut sugar or sprinkle on top of cookies.
  4. Share and enjoy as a light snack. Store the gingerbread balls or cookies in an air-tight container at room temperature for a 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for a week.

Raw Gingerbread Balls

– Ally xx

Poached Pears with Chocolate Chia Mousse

Hello! I’m Jialing and I will be taking over Amcarmen’s Kitchen for today. I will confess that today’s blog was very close to being a two-step tutorial on how to boil a cup of water and make tea – the only semi-regular dietary part of my life that does not involve any animal by-products.

As someone who has clearly only ever eaten vegan food a handful of times (I genuinely thought that the vegan theme was intended as a joke when I first agreed to do a recipe), I found this year’s Auguest theme to be a punishment. I mean challenge. I ended up ransacking my own pantry and refrigerator for inspiration, confirming with Allison and Google about what ingredients could and couldn’t be used by vegans. What seems like day later, I emerged triumphant – pears, wine, cocoa powder, and a questionable bag of chia seeds (waste not, want not…) sat atop my counter, ready for the arduous vegan road ahead.

Now, onto the recipe, poetically inspired by the very essential act of boiling water.

Poached Pears with Chocolate Chia Mousse Ingredients


*The chocolate chia mousse will need to be prepared the day before to allow chia seeds time to soak


For the chocolate chia mousse

  • 1 & 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp 100% pure maple syrup**
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Strawberries for garnish

For the poached pears

  • 4 buerre bosc pears, peeled
  • 1/2 bottle moscato or other sweet dessert wine***
  • 3 tbsp 100% pure maple syrup**
  • 3 star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tsp cloves
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Water

**Maple-flavoured syrup isn’t vegan, so be sure to check the label!
***Find your fave vegan wines here


  1. Chocolate Chia Mousse: Prepare the chocolate chia mousse the day before, to allow chia seeds time to soak. Combine the cocoa powder, vanilla, and maple syrup, stirring until well mixed.
  2. Slowly pour in almond milk, stirring until mixture is smooth. Add chia seeds and stir until well-incoporated. Leave in fridge to soak overnight, stirring mixture once in between.
  3. Once the chia seeds have fully absorbed the liquid, they will increase significantly in size and have a gelatinous texture. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth and creamy. Tip: leave the chia mixture unblended and top with fresh fruit and desiccated coconut as a healthy and envy-worthy breakfast.
  4. Poached Pears: In a sauce pot large and deep enough to hold pears, combine wine, maple syrup, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, nutmeg, and just enough water to cover pears.
  5. Bring the wine and spices to the boil over high heat.
  6. Add the pears, positioning them so that they are completely submerged, and continue to boil for another 25 minutes, until pears are cooked through and tender. Be sure to turn pears for even cooking, particularly when liquid gets low, keeping in mind that the bottoms of the pears will take longer to cook than the tops.
  7. Once pears are cooked, remove from the pot, reserving the syrup, and set aside to cool.
  8. Carefully simmer remaining syrup until reduced to about 1/2 cup.
  9. To serve, divide mousse into small bowls or stemless glasses and garnish with sliced strawberries. Place a pear on each plate, next to the mousse. Drizzle the pear with syrup. Enjoy!

Poached Pears with Chocolate Chia Mousse

Recipe Copyright © 2016 | jialingmew



Auguest 2016: Brendon D'Souza

Spinach, Broccoli & Thai Green Curry Soup

Hi Foodies, it’s so exciting to be able to share a recipe with you via Amcarmen’s Kitchen and I want to say a big thank you to Allison for organising such a wonderful global blogging experience. Last year, I was able to cook and collaborate in the same kitchen with Allison, where were exchanged some delicious recipes. If you haven’t had the chance to read them, here are the links to my Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie and Cookies & Cream.

My friends call me a chilli fiend. I can’t help it, I am after all Indian. I just love the pungency and zing it adds to soups, curries and stews. I created this recipe on one of those cold winter Sydney evenings when feeling a little bit under the weather. It’s packed full of delicious super greens, fragrant herbs and spices that will help to reinvigorate your senses. Make a big batch and pack it for work the next mayor freeze in snap-lock bags for 1-2 months.

Spinach, Broccoli & Thai Green Curry Soup Ingredients



For the green curry paste

  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • 5cm piece of ginger, washed
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 bunch coriander, washed, roots and stems scrubbed
  • 1 bunch Thai basil, washed (optional)
  • 2 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2-3 small green chillies

For the soup

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 cup firmly packed English Spinach, washed and finely chopped
  • 1 broccoli, cut into florets, stem diced
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • Lime wedges
  • Extra coconut milk, to serve


  1. Roughly chop the garlic clove, ginger, spring onions, coriander leaves, root and stems, and Thai basil. Place these and the remaining ingredients into a blender along with a 1/4 cup water. Blitz to form a smooth paste. You may need to add some more water to help the mixture along.
  2. Heat the sunflower oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the curry paste to the saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally until fragrant. Add the spinach and broccoli and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add 1L cold water and cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes or until the broccoli stems are tender and the spinach is wilted. Allow to cool.
  3. Purée the mixture using a stick blender, then return to the heat and add the coconut milk. Allow to heat through. Serve with lime wedges and a drizzle of coconut milk. This soup goes really well with turkish borek or spinach and ricotta triangles.

Spinach, Broccoli & Thai Green Curry Soup

For more tasty recipes and Sydney food adventures head to

About Brendon
I’m a food writer, blogger and passionate home cook living and working in Sydney. By day I work at one of the world’s fastest growing premium restaurant delivery services, and by night I cook, style and photograph recipes for my award-winning recipe blog. I really can’t stop smiling, believe me, I’ve tried and probably lasted 2 seconds. Sharing food, stories and recipes with family and friends makes me happy, which is exactly why I created “Smiling Chef”. I often try to include a selection colourful vegetables in my cooking, for both it’s nutritional benefits, and the fact that it makes such great #foodporn for Instagram. Get in touch if you need #instaworthy shots of your restaurant or cafe food for your website and social networks. I’m also keen singer and pianist and also love street and landscape photography – see more at @my_omd_and_me.

Instagram: @brendonthesmilingchef/ @my_omd_and_me
SnapChat: bthesmilingchef
Facebook: brendonthesmilingchef
Twitter: bthesmilingchef

Recipe Copyright © 2016 | brendonthesmilingchef

Happy cooking and keep smiling,

Brendon D’Souza:)