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

PREP TIME min. 24 HOURS* | COOKING TIME 40 MINS | SERVES 4

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

INGREDIENTS

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 http://www.barnivore.com/wine

METHOD

  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

ENJOY YOUR MEAL!

Jialing.

myTaste.com

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

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

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

METHOD

  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 www.brendonthesmilingchef.com

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:)

myTaste.com

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan 'Cheesecake'

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan ‘Cheesecake’

Hello Everyone! Yes I am aware that it is indeed Tuesday and not a Wednesday – but today is a special day which indefinitely deserves a special post too! Today is the middle child’s 22nd Birthday, and since last year (which was the year I came back to Brunei) I’ve been baking cakes for the family. It was the better solution to, I guess, wanting a specific flavour for an affordable price. I cannot stress enough house much I hate store bought cakes – mainly because of their icing; too thick, too sweet, just… Ugh. I’m not much of a baker since I’m more into savoury foods, but I guess baking a cake 4 times a year (at minimum) isn’t too stressful and helps me practice.

Happy 22nd Birthday Angela!
Happy 22nd Birthday Angela! – early dinner at Balkony today after work. The cake not only looked amazing, but it tasted so good as well! I will definitely try out more no bake vegan ‘cheesecakes’ in the upcoming months – maybe for my Birthday in November!

Today’s recipe shall keep in theme with the theme for this month on Amcarmen’s Kitchen, which is, if you haven’t been following, Yes Ve Gan! A month of tribute to animal-free dishes that are sure to tickle your tummies from a different perspective. Before I had the idea of coming up with an animal-free theme for the blog, I wanted to bake a strawberry shortcake for my sister. I then only just changed my mind earlier last week to do a No Bake Strawberry & Coconut ‘Cheesecake’ for her after being inspired and reminded of the cake that Miao made back in March when we gathered for a dinner and catch up session with friends in Singapore. I think I mentioned in the beginning of the month in a post that it was a pretty darn delicious cake and it made me crave for more! So I thought to myself, why do I give a raw vegan cake a try since, like Miao at that time, I have never done one before! It’s super easy to make and you can substitute the strawberries out for your favourites berries such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or boysenberries.

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan 'Cheesecake'

This ‘cheesecake’ is completely gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free! The recipe makes for one 8″ sized cake, but of course you can always double the recipe to make a bigger one if you wish! Mind you, for those who have not read in an earlier post this month, I haven’t stopped eating animals, dairy, or eggs altogether. I still eat my meat, but not as often as I used to, and I still have my daily dose of cow’s milk in the mornings  to accompany my breakfast. I don’t see myself going completely vegan in the next couple of years – but who knows, that may change over time when I make that shift to loving all animals, and most importantly for a healthier lifestyle. For now, it is something that I want to look into and slowly add this way of eating into my daily diet.

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan 'Cheesecake' Ingredients

PREP TIME 25 MINS | FREEZE TIME min. 4 HOURS* | SERVES 8-10

*preferably overnight to ensure that the cake is set.

INGREDIENTS

For the crust

  • 250g medjool dates, pitted
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • Pinch of salt

For the filling

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight* and drained
  • 1 punnet (25g) fresh or frozen (but thawed) strawberries
  • 2/3 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil, liquified
  • 2 & 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • Zest of 1 small lemon

For the topping

  • Fresh strawberries
  • Shredded coconut
  • Edible flowers (optional)

*if you are a bit pressed for time, or decided to make your cake today and hadn’t realised that you needed to soak your cashews overnight, then you can soak them in very hot water for about an hour instead of overnight.

METHOD

  1. Crust: Soak the pitted medjool dates in warm water for about 15-20 minutes and then drain. Put almonds in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the dates and a pinch of salt, and pulse until a paste forms.
  2. Press mixture into an 8-inch springform pan (if you don’t have a springform pan, use a pie tin or a regular cake pan covered with baking paper). Place the crusted pan in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
  3. Filling: Put all ingredients for the filling in a blender and blend on low until mixture is as smooth as possible. Pour the filling into the crust, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours.
  4. Remove the cake from the pan and leave to thaw in room temperature for about 10-15 minutes before cutting. Top with fresh strawberries, shredded coconut, and edible flowers.

Tip: Run your knife under warm water (and dry off) before cutting, to make a cleaner cut. Let each piece thaw for a few more minutes before serving.

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan 'Cheesecake'

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan 'Cheesecake'

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Auguest 2016: Wong Miao Hui

Raw Nutty Orange & Blueberry Vegan ‘Cheesecake’

The perfect vegan dessert for your next dinner party.

Hey there! My name is Miao, pronounced “Meow” and I am currently located in Singapore. I’ve known the lovely Allison for a good 12 years now, perhaps for even longer! We attended the same high school back in Brunei. A few years went by before we recently got in contact again, and this time we had more in common than ever before­ – the both of us had branched from loving food, to loving to cook food during our years of studying abroad. Our enthusiasm was shared over social media and it was agreed that we had to, had to, collaborate in hosting a dinner party the very next time we stood on common soil.

Dinner parties are great! They indulge our senses through so many different factors; from the atmospheric music playing in the background, the vibrant and dramatic display of what’s being served, to the tantalising aroma of something sizzling, something roasted, something seasoned in the air. In every way, a dinner party is an experience of art, as a guest you are inclined to explore the texture of your dish and savour the flavours, forming an opinion that’ll later be added to the table’s conversation. For people who love to cook, a dinner party is an exciting show to curate.

I’ve hosted a few dinner parties since the start of my time in Singapore, and every time it’s been the perfect way to rekindle old friendships, create new memories, and to sprout conversations between acquaintances. Well what’s a dinner party without its guests? Allison and I rounded up a few other pals from our high-school days along with a few foodies I’ve grown to love in Singapore.

One seat at the table was reserved for our vegan friend, adding a little variety to the collective diet. Accommodating to a vegan was completely new to me, the savoury vegan recipes weren’t all that hard to comprehend, but because I specialise in baking cakes, deciding what to create for dessert took a little more time for consideration. We made an array of dishes for the mains, including both vegan approved recipes and recipes with meat, while trying as much as possible to have everyone enjoy similar flavours. The dessert was to mark the finale of the show, and it only seemed appropriate to have everyone leave with the same experience and same lingering flavour in their mouth.

Well, after some time browsing through recipes online, I realised just how darn easy vegan desserts are to make! And they can still be just as rich and indulgent as desserts with animal products – like the vegan ‘cheesecake’ I’m about to introduce. Now I sit here still thinking how I wasn’t introduced to vegan desserts any earlier; they’re healthier, somewhat more refreshing and require less cleaning up. So without further ado, here is the perfect dessert recipe for your next dinner party with or without your vegan buddies.

Raw Nutty Orange & Blueberry Vegan 'Cheesecake'

PREP TIME 15-20 MINS | FREEZE TIME min. 12 HOURS | SERVES 8

INGREDIENTS

For the nutty crust 

  • 2 cups raw nuts
  • 1/2 cup medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • Pinch of salt

For the orange ‘cheesecake’

  • 3 cups cashews
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup agave or maple syrup
  • Orange zest from all the juiced oranges
  • Pinch of salt

For the blueberry layer

  • 2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup of the orange ‘cheesecake’ mixture

METHOD

  1. To make the crust: Process all ingredients for the crust in a food processor, until the nuts become crumbs and the mixture sticks together when you press it. Press into the bottom of an 8 inch spring-form pan to form the first layer of your cake. Leave in the fridge to chill.
  2. To make the orange cheesecake layer: Excluding the orange zest, blend all other ingredients in your blender at high-speed until very smooth, then with a spoon add in the orange zest to taste. Take out 1/4 cup of the mixture for the blueberry layer, pour the remaining mixture onto the chilled crust and then leave it in the freezer.
  3. To make the blueberry layer: Simply blend the blueberries and the 1/4 cup of cheesecake mixture with your food processor. Spread this evenly over your cheesecake and keep it in the freezer or fridge overnight. I prefer keeping it in the freezer as I live in a tropical climate and it only takes 15 minutes for the cake to soften for serving.
  4. You can serve the cake with blueberries or sliced oranges for that additional wow factor.

Raw Nutty Orange & Blueberry Vegan 'Cheesecake'

Raw Nutty Orange & Blueberry Vegan 'Cheesecake'

Recipe Copyright © 2016 | misohui

Enjoy!

Miao.

myTaste.com

Auguest 2016: Diandra Cappelut

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos

Hello Everyone! Diandra here. Just another third culture foodie.

A few months ago, I delved into the weird side of Youtube and somehow ended up watching a documentary about the cruelness of pig farming at three in the morning. From there, I watched a famous vegan Mukbang star, Mommy Tang, who talked about how she became vegan and how a plant-based diet has helped her lose weight, overall positively affecting her health. Intrigued by the idea of veganism, I watched more and more documentaries on the negative impact of animal farming on the environment and animal products on our health.

Mind-blown by the influx of information, I decided to cut down my consumption of animal byproducts overnight. Mind you, I was that girl who ate meat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I LOVE MEAT. But, after educating myself on the many issues that come with consuming meat and other animal byproducts, I simply couldn’t live with myself if I continue eating meat mindlessly for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Could I let go of meat and dairy completely? No. Not right now. But maybe one day. However, currently I have drastically cut down my consumption of animal byproducts to the point where I eat a plant-based diet 6 days out of the week. I give myself one cheat day. Still, not bad for a girl who was pretty much a full-time carnivore.

I always encourage others to try and lessen their consumption of animal byproducts. You don’t have to give it up completely, but at least lessen. The secret of eating a plant-based diet without passing out halfway through the day is to fuel yourself with CARBS. This Quinoa Black Bean Taco recipe is the perfect filling and delicious vegan meal. Oh and it’s extremely high in protein 😉 Yes, you can find lots of protein in plants too, not just in meat! Hope you like it!

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups Superlife Co. mixed quinoa, cooked
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 brown onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Jalapeños
  • Taco Seasoning
  • Taco Shells

Optional

  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt-free Mexican seasoning blend

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos Method

METHOD

  1. Dice the tomatoes, onion and bell pepper. Mince the garlic.
  2. Add olive oil, garlic and onion into a heated pan. Sauté until the onions and garlic are nice and golden.
  3. Add the bell peppers and frozen corn, and continue sautéing until the peppers are soft and the corn is defrosted.
  4. Add the cooked quinoa into the pan, sprinkle in the taco seasoning and mix everything together.
  5. Taste the quinoa/black bean mixture. If you would like additional spice and seasoning, add in the cayenne pepper and Mexican blend seasoning. Note: Taco seasoning is normally already pretty salty, so additional salt is not necessary.
  6. Turn down the heat and add the tomatoes into the pan. Mix everything together.
  7. ASSEMBLING THE TACO: Take a warm taco shell and line the bottom with some spinach leaves.
  8. Add the quinoa/black bean mix into the taco shell.
  9. Lastly, top the taco off with some jalapeños and voila!

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos

Recipe Copyright © 2016 | diandracappelut // saladhunter.sg

Eat them all up! 😉

Diandra.

myTaste.com

Auguest 2016: An Introduction

Hello Everyone! I can’t believe the months are creeping up so fast; in 4 months time it’ll be Christmas and then 2017! Before I dive into today’s post, I would just like to apologise to my followers and readers for not updating my blog last month. If I hadn’t already mentioned in my previous post from June, I’m currently and still in the Philippines and for the first part of my trip, Internet connection hasn’t been great – and well, kind of non-existent to be honest, and hence why I haven’t been able to update my blog for the month of July. I did however promise you guys content for August, and here it is!

August is now here and for those of you who don’t know, August is guest bloggers/foodies month on Amcarmen’s Kitchen, hence also known as Auguest. For those of you who are just tuning into my blog, last year I started this as a way to get in touch with other food bloggers/foodies as well as a great opportunity to network and produce some really cool content for our blogs/websites. Last year’s theme was based on preparing dishes from your roots. A few of my guests took traditional recipes and put their own twist to them while others took street food to another level. Also, if you want to read up on how this annual series of mine started, click here.

This year’s theme for Auguest is Yes Ve Gan! I thought of this theme back in March when I visited Singapore for about a week. I contacted a friend of mine from high school and asked if she wanted to cook together and host a small dinner party after our kitchen adventures. We invited a friend over who is a vegan and so our menu that night revolved around cooking food that was vegan. We made a spiced cauliflower soup for entrée, wholewheat spaghetti with a sage and butternut squash sauce, and finally, my friend made a blueberry and citrus no-bake vegan cheesecake which will be featured on Amcarmen’s Kitchen. It was a delicious was to end a vegan feast and I’m sure everyone will enjoy it as much as we all did that night.

Of course that’s not the entire reason why I decided to revolve the theme around vegan eats, but is also an effective way to educated those that by going vegan, it protects animals, the environment, and your health. I hope that I do not get bashed on my blog for saying this but not actually be a vegan or vegetarian myself – and I will say this now and openly admit that I do not see myself going vegetarian or vegan anytime soon. For now, I’ll just have to see where my food journey will take me. Next week we’ll be welcoming Diandra on Amcarmen’s Kitchen so stay tuned and make her feel welcome 🙂

Cheers!

– Ally xx