Auguest 2019: Ferreli Virtudazo

Vegetarian “Pulled Pork”

I’m Ferreli, the woman behind @acupofjasminerice. I started my account in 2016 as a form of creative outlet. I needed to do something different besides my corporate job. I can’t remember if I came up with that handle because acupofjasminetea was already taken or I was in a phase where I ate ONLY jasmine rice. Haha! For others I only post pictures of food; for me it’s a form of self-expression. It’s also putting myself out there as I reveal bits and pieces of me in the captions and engage with people who comment on my posts.

I started my love for cooking when I was very little. I could think back to the time I made pancakes with my grandmother and fried shrimp crackers with my mom. Those were my early memories of cooking. I think I was 5 years old then! As a child, it was all play. Now that I’m an adult, my perspective of cooking has evolved and so has my palate. These days, most of my posts are inspired by food trends. I take delight in recreating dishes I’ve seen on Youtube and Instagram.

Vegetarian “Pulled Pork”

I don’t recall who followed who but I remember that my initial interactions with Allison was with her “guess the next dish” on Instagram. I soooo take pride on my correct answers. Lol! I also couldn’t help but be amazed if I guessed it wrong. I’d go “Wow! I didn’t think of that!” I also like that she follows themes because being organized is important to me. I recently tried to be consistent with my themes as well.

I’m excited and honored to be one of her Au-guests. Her theme this month is about fruits and it’s something I can incorporate with food trends. I chose jackfruit or langka because it is gaining popularity stateside. Instead of making a local dish (I can only think of Ginataang Langka. Hehe.), I decided to go for Vegetarian Pulled Pork because it’s something new for me. I’ve found recipes as old as 3 years but I only got to see it on IG about a month ago or so. I’m calling it vegetarian instead of vegan because I’m not sure if the ingredients of the barbecue sauce are all plant-based.

I hope you enjoy making AND eating this dish as much as did. It’s easy to make and it’s something you can add to your #meatlessmonday entry 😉

Recipe adapted from:

Vegetarian “Pulled Pork”

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pack (approx. 350g) pre-sliced young jackfruit
  • 4 small red onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce*
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil (or any cooking oil is fine)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar

*If you want to make a vegan version of this dish, you may source for plant-based barbecue sauce as a substitution.

METHOD

  1. Chop the young jackfruit to smaller pieces so the core gets broken down and the “flesh” appears to have the pulled pork texture.
  2. Heat oil in a large pan and sauté the onions and garlic until slightly softened.
  3. Add in the jackfruit, spices, and brown sugar. Mix well.
  4. Add in water and simmer for 30 minutes until the jackfruit is tender and the liquid has almost been absorbed.
  5. Mash the jackfruit with a masher (I don’t have any so I used a wooden spoon. Lol!) until you achieve your desired pulled pork texture and the liquid has fully evaporated.
  6. Coat the jackfruit in barbecue sauce and toss well.
  7. Let sit for 3-5 minutes to brown the jackfruit and to give it a charred appearance.
  8. Serve warm and enjoy!

Vegetarian “Pulled Pork” Sliders

After a number of taste tests, my coworkers have said it really tasted like pork. At the same time, they could tell that the last batch I made (pictured) didn’t have the pulled pork feel because I didn’t shred it enough. So, chopping the core and mashing it thoroughly is really important if you want to really go for the pulled pork “look and feel”.

In addition, I agree with several blogs that I’ve read that the barbecue sauce can make or break this dish. I recommend the smoky flavor kind. Some blogs would also suggest pairing it with coleslaw. I’m not into mayo though… My coworkers and I enjoyed eating it plain with pickled jalapeños or kimchi on the side. We also had fun having it as pulled pork sliders. We just packed it and the pickled veggies in a tiny dinner roll and gobbled it up in one bite. Haha!

Vegetarian “Pulled Pork” Sliders

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2019 | Ferreli Virtudazo

BON APPÉTIT

– Ferreli Virtudazo

myTaste.com

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Asian-inspired Vegetarian Eggs Benedict

Asian-inspired Vegetarian Eggs Benedict

Hello Everyone! I hope everyone has had a good start to the week so far, and of course had a great weekend celebrating Mother’s Day! We celebrated by having a delicious brunch at Le Keris (again), as it is our new favourite go-to restaurant for fine dining quality food that’s super affordable. Other than that, the week hasn’t been all that exciting but at least I have the day off to look forward to tomorrow! It’s a public holiday for the first day of Ramadhan here in Brunei and I’m probably going to spend the day updating and planning Amcarmen’s Kitchen, and also whip up a storm in the kitchen – this is, if I don’t procrastinate or fall lazy by midday *cheeky grin*

Last week I mentioned how versatile one can get with a classic Eggs Benedict dish, and I also said that I will be covering the as many options as I can for this month of May. Tonight, I will be sharing an Asian-inspired Vegetarian Eggs Benny with everyone. I drew inspiration from Jenessa over on Jenessa’s Dinners so be sure to drop a visit to her site before continuing on with the recipe below!

Crispy firm tofu, topped with deliciously soft sautéed shimeji mushies in ginger, lemongrass, and garlic, accompanied with some Asian greens and pan-fried marinated eggplant in a sesame oil mixture, tied together with liquid gold and a tom yum hollandaise sauce – if this didn’t make your mouth water, then don’t talk to me. Of course, if you’re going to try this recipe out, you don’t have to restrict yourself to the ingredients I’ve chosen, or the type of cuisine that inspired this dish, pick your favourite veggies and cuisine to fuse together and I’m almost certain that you’ll come up with something just as (guilt-free) indulgent.

Asian-inspired Vegetarian Eggs Benedict Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 3

INGREDIENTS

For the eggs benedict

  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 3 medium-size eggplant, sliced thinly lenghtwise
  • 3 pcs firm tofu
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 stalks lemongras, finely sliced
  • 1 bunch bok choy
  • 1 pack (250g) fresh shimeji mushrooms
  • Sesame oil
  • Thumb-sized fresh ginger, peeled and grates

For the tom yum hollandaise sauce

  • 3 large free range eggs, yolks separated
  • 175g unsalted butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 tsp tom yum paste*
  • Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Toasted sesame seeds, to garnish

*Adjust to your level of spice likeness

METHOD

  1. Crispy Tofu: Line a plate with a paper towel and set the tofu on top. Set a small plate on top of the tofu and weigh it down with something heavy, pressing to absorb the liquid – about 15 minutes. Remove the weight and drain off the excess liquid. Pat the tofu dry with more paper towels.
  2. Heat about a quarter cup of oil in a large frying pan over medium-high until the oil shimmers. It should not smoke. If you see a wisp of smoke, lower the heat slightly and immediately proceed with adding the tofu. Fry until all sides are golden and crispy, about 4-5 minutes. Once done, place on a cooling rack. Set aside.
  3. Vegetables: In the same frying pan, discard excess oil, leaving about a tablespoon. Sauté the garlic, ginger, and lemongrass until fragrant. Transfer half of the sautéed mixture to a small bowl with sesame oil.
  4. Add the shimeji mushrooms to the frying pan and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Season with a touch of salt and ground black pepper to taste. Once done, set aside.
  5. Brush the sesame oil mixture on each side of the eggplant slices and place in the frying pan to cook until soft, about 3-4 minutes per side.
  6. While the mushies and eggplants are going, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil and cook the bok choy for about 2 minutes. Once done, transfer to an iced water bath to stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside.
  7. Hollandaise Sauce: While the balsamic reduction is underway and slowly simmering, start on the Hollandaise sauce. Place a heatproof bowl over a medium saucepan that is quarter-filled with water. Make sure that the bowl should fit snugly into the pan without touching the water (lift the bowl to check and remove some water if it does). Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to very low so the water is barely simmering (there should be almost no movement at all). It is important that the water is barely simmering while making the sauce – if it is too hot, the egg yolks will cook too much and the sauce will curdle.
  8. Place the egg yolks and the 2 tablespoons of water in the heatproof bowl and place over the pan. Whisk the mixture constantly for 3 minutes or until it is thick and pale, has doubled in volume and a ribbon trail forms when the whisk is lifted.
  9. Add the butter a cube at a time, whisking constantly and adding another cube when the previous one is incorporated completely (about 10 minutes to add it all in). If butter is added too quickly, it won’t mix easily with the egg yolks or the sauce may lose volume. At the same time, it is important that the butter is at room temperature and added a cube at a time, so that it doesn’t take too long to be incorporated – if the sauce cooks for too long, it can curdle.
  10. Remove the bowl from the pan and place on a heatproof surface. The cooked sauce should have the consistency of very lightly whisked thickened cream. Whisk in the lemon juice, tom yum paste, fresh thyme leaves, and season with salt and pepper.
  11. Poached Eggs: Bring small saucepan of water to the boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low-medium – the water should be just simmering. Add in the vinegar and stir. Crack one egg into a small bowl and quickly, but gently pour it into the water. Repeat with the other egg. A really soft poached egg should take around 2 minutes, but if you want it a bit more firm, it will take about 4 minutes. To check if they’re cooked right, carefully remove the egg from the pan with a slotted spoon and give the yolk a gentle push (you can tell just by your instincts if it is under or over – or perfect)!
  12. Assembly: Top the crispy tofu with the sautéed mushies, followed by the poached egg. Place the bok choy to the side together with rolled slices of the eggplant. Drizzle the poached egg with a generous spoonful of the tom yum hollandaise sauce, with a bit of extra tom yum paste a top. Garnish with a pinch of toasted sesame seed. Serve and enjoy!

Asian-inspired Vegetarian Eggs Benedict

Asian-inspired Vegetarian Eggs Benedict

Of course you can plate it up any way you want, like incorporating the bok choy and eggplant slices into the stack. It’s up to you on where you creative plating skills will take you!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Risoni al Ratatouille

Risoni al Ratatouille

Risoni al Ratatouille

Hello Everyone! Today is the last day of Pasta Month; sad to be ending as I actually have a whole lot more pasta dishes that I want to try out, but also happy to move onto a new theme for next month! Just a heads up though – the likelihood of a theme not happening is quite possible. I did have a theme in mind, and I’ve already prepared and cooked two dishes for it in advanced, the only problem is getting two more made for next month’s theme is quite unlikely. I say this because I am heading off to the Philippines on Saturday for about a month! Because of that, I probably won’t have time to cook. I also will not be sure if I will have Internet connection during my stay there so the likelihood of me uploading content for the month of July might not happen as well. So I guess I’ll just see how it goes – if posting on my blog is a problem, then you can follow me over on Instagram @amcarmenskitchen to follow my food journey while I am in the Philippines – I’ll make sure to keep that up to speed 🙂

Anyway, so okay, the dish is not quite a Ratatouille (I just thought naming it for this post would make it sounds fancier than it looks, hehe) – more like it’s inspired by some of the vegetables used to make a ratatouille *cheeky grin* but nonetheless, it still tastes pretty good for something that I just “whipped up” with the ingredients lying in the fridge and the pantry. You can bulk this dish up by adding meat or seafood if you wish, but I decided to keep this dish vegetarian.

Risoni al Ratatouille Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g risoni, or other shaped pasta
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 red bird’s eye chilies, sliced
  • 2 medium-szied Lebanese eggplants, sliced into 1-inch thick chunks and then quartered
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini, sliced into 1-inch thick chunks and then quartered
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 punnet (125g) cherry tomato medley, sliced
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus, woody ends snapped off and cut into thirds
  • 1 tbsp baby capers, washed and drained
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Handful of grated parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil

METHOD

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add in the risoni pasta and cook according to packet instructions or until al dente (mine was about 11 minutes).
  2. While your pasta is cooking away, heat some olive oil in a large frying pan. Sauté the garlic and chilies until golden brown and fragrant, about a minute, and then add in the onions, cooking until soft for another minute or two.
  3. Add in the asparagus, together with the zucchini and eggplant, cooking until soft for about 6-7 minutes. Season with a bit of ground salt and black pepper. Add in the cherry tomatoes and leave to cook for a further 4-5 minutes. Lastly, add in the capers and then turn the heat off.
  4. Once the risoni is done, drain, and then return to the pot. Add in the stir-fried veggies to the pot with the risoni and then give it a good mix.
  5. Divide the risoni equally into 6 portions and then top with a generous handful of  grate parmesan cheese and some ground black pepper. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Risoni al Ratatouille

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Iku Wholefood

Iku Wholefood believe that nutritious food is essential for good health and vitality: Food that is natural, wholesome, authentic, freshly prepared and tasty. The style of graphic content that they want push through on Facebook and other social media platforms, are Natural & Organic – which as advised from the founder of Iku, a lot of green, and wood textures. This is to conceptually portray the message that all their foods are dairy free, additive free, preservative free, animal free, and free from genetic modification.

Iku Wholefood Context


Examples of graphic works that I have created for Facebook and Instagram:
(Click on the images to see an enlarged version of the graphics)

Iku Wholefood: Myth Iku Wholefood: Fast, Healthy Food Iku Wholefood: Well Being Iku Wholefood: Ken Israel
Iku Wholefood: Breakfast Iku Wholefood: Raw or Cooked? Iku Wholefood: Quotes BW Richardson Iku Wholefood: Beans
Iku Wholefood: Food was created perfectly Iku Wholefood: What's your story? Iku Wholefood: Cold Pressed Juice Iku Wholefood: Balanced Diet

– Ally xx

SHUK North Bondi

Hello Everyone and welcome back to our final Review Sunday for the year! Your read that right, and if you were able to catch my review last Sunday, you would’ve already known that I am stopping Review Sundays for a while. I have pretty much covered all the restaurants and cafés that I have visited over the past few months when I was in Sydney, and I have not been café hopping since I got back to Brunei. Instead of reviews on Sundays, I will be posting some of my design work on the blog.

All that aside, let’s get down to the review! So I’ve been wanting to go to this place for a very long time now and have had many opportunities to visit, but was always shot down for various reasons. The first time I tried to come here was for a brunch outing with Jialing and Yvonne. Yvonne was feeling under the weather at that time and said that she didn’t want to travel so far for brunch. The second time I tried to go there was with Jialing and her boyfriend for lunch; shot down again because he didn’t want to go to a place that has anything to do and/or supports Israel – just some firm beliefs and political issues he has with the country. So for my farewell brunch, I didn’t let anyone tell me otherwise because this would be the very last opportunity I’d have to go to this place. So how I came to know about SHUK was purely by just discovering eating places that I have never been to before. I came across a lot of places, but SHUK really spoke out to me, especially their Isralei Breakfast.

So yes, as mentioned above, I invited a few of my very close friends to come out and have brunch under the beautiful winter sun. Amongst the people who came out to see me were Annie, Daniel, Edison, Greta, Kevin, and Sophia. I know, you’re probably asking, where’s Jialing and Yvonne? Something happened the night before where Jialing couldn’t make it to brunch that morning. Yvonne technically had no excuse, but still ended up waking up late and therefore did not make it to brunch. I did however see her for a bit after brunch.

“The place is unstoppable. It’s Israeli by heart, Mediterranean on paper, Bondi by postcode and very Australian in its multicultural scope.” — Ryan O’Kane in GoodFood.

This café, bakery, and deli draws inspiration from the Hebrew term SHUK, which means marketplace. SHUK is North Bondi’s own marketplace where the freshest produce and dishes offered promises a flavour of Israel mixed with modern favourites for locals and tourists alike. Their menu is directly influenced by Arabic, Turkish, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean cuisines, and of course is inspired by Israeli dishes that the owners of SHUK grew up with, sharing with us what they’ve learnt from their families back home.

ALL DAY

SHUK: Green Shakshuka
GREEN SHAKSHUKA: Baked eggs, fennel, zucchini , kale, caramelised onion, feta, olives, and sourdough ($16.00) with extra chorizo (+$3.50)

If I ever have the chance to go back again, I would definitely order this dish. It looks like it would taste really good, I mean, of course it tasted good according to my friends who ordered it and didn’t share one bite (I forgive you Kevin). Edison was too far away from me to share, because I know he’d share 🙂 It is also a healthy vegetarian dish if you minus the chorizo add ons on the other dish!

SHUK: Hummus & Lamb
HUMMUS AND LAMB: House made hummus with 8-hour slow cooked lamb, served with pickles, olives, bread, and zhug ($18.00)

This dish that Sophia ordered looked amazing, and even the combination of hummus and slow cooked lamb was hard to resist. On their menu you could have hummus and mushroom as another option, and I remember when Sophia ordered this, she asked our waitress, “I really like lamb, but I also like mushrooms, so I was wondering if I can have the hummus and lamb with mushrooms as well?” The waitress said she’d ask but by the looks of the photograph, I don’t think she got her mushrooms. Anyway, I had a bit of her dish and it was delicious. The lamb was tender and juicy, and the hummus complimented it well. I can’t remember if it was from her dish, or Kevin’s, but I remembered eating the olives from someones dish because they didn’t like it.

BREAKFAST

SHUK: Israeli Breakfast
ISRAELI BREAKFAST: 2 eggs of your choice, Israeli salad, olives, labn’e, butter, house jam, avocado, and yoghurt with granola ($21.00)

This was the dish that I ordered. To be honest, even though it look spectacular in front of me, served in a massive pan with little bowls of everything, that was all it was. Don’t get me wrong, it was a bad dish, it’s just that he flavours and everything were average and nothing really blew my socks off. Also, when I got the dish, I felt like something was missing; I had all these spreads but no bread to put it on, so I had to call a waiter and ask for some toast for my dish. I still liked this dish; I only wished it impressed me more.

SHUK: SHUK Porridge
SHUK PORRIDGE: Oats, puffed whole grains, banana, dulce de leche, and roasted nuts ($13.00)

Now I know Daniel to be quite health conscious, so it was no surprise that he’d go for this dish (well except for the fact that it has dulce de leche in it). Daniel was sitting across the table from me so it was hard to want to try a little bit of his dish. From where I was sitting though, he seemed to enjoy his porridge, but I think he was a little bit upset by the fact that he ordered some smoked salmon on the side. Why was he upset? The side was priced at $4.00, and he got a puny bowl of it.

SANDWICHES

SHUK: House Cured Salmon
HOUSE CURED SALMON: House cured salmon with sour cream & dill, pickled cucumber, and spinach on an Israeli roll ($13.00)

I’m surprised that even though Greta sat next to me, I didn’t get to try her roll at all, well only because it’s kind of hard to bite into someones sandwich I guess. I did ask her how her dish was and she said it was very good. She had actually been thinking of going to SHUK for some time as well and thanked me for choosing this place as it then gave her to opportunity to.

SPECIALS

SHUK: SHUK Special

I’m sorry but I completely forgot what this dish was – it was on their specials menu which meant that it wasn’t listed out on their regular menu. A little back story here, so one of my friends, Annie, who came late to the brunch, went inside the café and ordered this dish. When he dish came out, she told us that it was one of the specials that they had for that week. We never asked the waitress who served our table what the specials were, and frankly she didn’t think to mention it to us as well, so I guess it’s no one’s fault. Also, because of that, I didn’t know what dish she ordered, nor did I remember to ask her what dish she ordered. I think she mentioned it, but it’s been more than a month since I was at SHUK, so it has already slipped my mind. So I did have a bite of the burger, I believe it was beef, and one too many sweet potato fries *cheeky grin* The fries, to die for, and the burger patty was tender and juicy.

Overall, I’m actually quite impressed with the food served up at my farewell brunch. It was actually quite a packed Saturday morning when I got there, but I was able to snag a table within 5 minutes of arriving. I’m just glad that they didn’t kick me out of the table because I had to wait a good half hour for the next three people to arrive, and an hour for the rest to come. We basically had the table for an hour before we even started ordering… Oops! Besides that, they can accommodate quite a lot of people in their restaurant, both indoors and outdoors. The service was pretty good, the waiters and waitresses who served our table were quick with requests and food came out very quickly too I might add. I’d give ambience/environment and service a clear 8/10 for our experience that day. I must say that I was quite surprised that the food served was fairly priced, though I’m not sure if I’d pay $21.00 for the Israeli Breakfast, but other than that, the other dishes definitely looked like you got your money’s worth; 8/10. The food looked amazing and some impressed more than others; 8/10.

SHUK is open everyday for breakfast and lunch, and dinners on Friday and Saturday night until 10pm. If I ever find myself in Sydney again, I would definitely hit this place up again and try dishes from their lunch and dinner menu as they look very enticing. As to quote Greta on that day, “you should just keep coming back and leaving so that we’ll have endless farewells.” Thank you Greta! 🙂

SHUK North Bondi
2 Mitchell Street
North Bondi, New South Wales
Australia, 2026

– Ally xx

Celery & Green Apple Slaw

Celery & Green Apple Slaw

Hello Everyone! The story behind me attempting this recipe is that I always seem to struggle with celery. There are times where I’d buy a whole bunch for a dollar (on special) when the halves weren’t available or if they didn’t have the bags of pre-cut celery sticks. The thing with me and celery is that I only use it when I’m making a bolognese or minestrone soup. I rarely use it for any of my dishes. So half the time it sits in the fridge waiting to be use, and then eventually thrown out because it’s been sitting there for weeks, possibly months. I know, most of you are probably thinking that I could’ve just eat them like that with some sort of dip, but in all honesty, raw celery isn’t quite my thing. Again, another rabbit food moment here.

Celery & Green Apple Slaw

So, I bought a bag of celery sticks last week for a dish that will be posted next week, and before going out to do my weekly groceries, I jumped online and search for a recipe that I could make that included celery – yes, I was determined to not waste my bag of celery! I came across this recipe from Taste and I thought that I’d give this one a go. I know, when I thought about it and how I mentioned that “raw celery isn’t quite my thing”, and here I am attempting a raw celery slaw. Well, I thought it was about time that I gave raw celery a chance and it did not disappoint. Well to be honest I could’t distinctly pick out its taste, maybe because from the crème fraîche dressing, but the crispiness and freshness from both the celery and apple paired with the creamy sweet yet tangy dressing really made the dish exciting to my palette. Why did I not think of this sooner! All those celery sticks that went to waste…

Celery & Green Apple Slaw Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME | SERVES 2-3

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 celery sticks, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 large green apple, cut into matchsticks
  • 100g Danish feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • Pinch of caster sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the crème fraîche, lemon juice, sugar and chives in a small bowl. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.
  2. Plate up the celery and apple matchsticks in a deep dish. Pour the crème fraîche mixture over the celery and apples, and top with crumbled danish feta and walnuts. Serve!

Celery & Green Apple Slaw

If you want to add some protein or omega-3 to this fresh, light slaw, you can have some chicken on the side, or as what I’ve done is grill some salmon to go with this dish. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice, pop in the grill oven for about 5 to 7 minutes (for a thin portion as what I had), and serve!

Celery & Green Apple Slaw with Salmon

Celery & Green Apple Slaw with Salmon

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Corn Salsa

Corn Salsa

Hello Everybody! Short post today as I have no long-winded back story for this dish. I just wanted something fresh on the plate to accompany my wings and this came into mind! Please do check out the original recipe here though by allrecipes once again.

Corn Salsa Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME  SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can (420g) sweet corn kernels, drained
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • Handful of rocket leaves
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Ground salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. Add all the ingredients into a large bowl and toss together until well combined. Chill until ready to serve. Simple as that!

Corn Salsa

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes

Hello Everyone! Another simple recipe for you that has already probably come up in a few recipes as an accompaniment to a main dish, but I thought that I’d separate the recipe from a post I did two days ago. I love mashed potatoes. I still even remember the time I “made” them – a cringe-worthy experience I must say! I was THAT inexperienced that I “made” mashed potatoes by simply buying those pre-packed ones where you would just add water and violà! Can’t believe I did that for a year.

And you may think that mashed potatoes are simple and easy to make? Well somehow I still managed to stuff them up one time – it had a glue-like texture to it… It was just awful in texture but at least the taste was somewhat still there. I seriously had NO idea how that happened until I came across a Masterchef Australia’s Masterclass on TV where Gary showed how to make the perfect mashed potatoes. I then understood where my mistakes were and they were mainly to do with temperatures and process of mashing (I used to use a potato masher, but for a smoother consistency…you’ll find out below). Nonetheless, I can say that I’m pretty much there with my mashed potatoes – some days more creamy and some days more fluffy because I pretty much just eyeball the amount of milk and butter. Also always inconsistent with the number of potatoes that I use. So for this recipe, just adjust the amount of milk and butter to your liking.

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 15-20 MINS SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 medium-sized white potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1/2 cup milk, warmed but not boiling
  • 10g unsalted butter
  • Ground salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. Steam the potatoes for about 15-20 minutes or until tender (check by piercing a fork into the chunks of potatoes). Drain and pass the potatoes through a sieve back into the pot with the heat turned off. Work in batches if needed.
  2. Add the warmed milk, potatoes and ground salt and pepper, and mix until a smooth and creamy texture. Serve as an accompaniment to a main dish.

Mashed Potatoes

Also note the waterlily bowl that I used to hold my mashed potatoes in! If you’re a new follower or have not seen my blog before, head on to a post I did a while back on my Lovelily Tableware Collection where I hand-built plates and bowls for my introduction to ceramics course as part of my degree elective.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Neapolitan Casareccia Salad

Neapolitan Casareccia Salad

Hello Everyone! It’s been a whole week since I last uploaded, sorry for that! I haven’t been cooking anything new the past week – just things I’ve already covered in this blog, or quick, easy meals because I didn’t feel like cooking. I’ve also been eating out a bit, catching up with both old and new friends over the holidays, and also saying farewell to my other Dutch housemate Sam. It’s getting lonely in the kitchen now without you! No one to creep up on me (be it in the kitchen or bathroom) and unintentionally spook me, no one to fight with over for our favourite shower room, no one talk to while cooking, and no one to eat with. No one to share my desserts with! And most importantly, no one will ever understand me when I say, “you’ve never heard of Medina?!” Please come back! Please don’t leave!

Anyway, today I got back into my cooking and decided to pull out a recipe from a cookbook that I bought months ago. A little story first about this cookbook. It was a public holiday I think (it was that long ago that I cannot remember), that I decided to go to a place called Basement Books at Railway Square – well, it was more that I recommended my friends to go there after a trip to Dymocks. I told them that books were generally much cheaper there. So while they were looking at novels, I was of course looking through the cookbook section. I found this cookbook, ‘1000 Italian Recipes’ split into three categories, starters and sides, mains, and dessert. Publisher’s price was at $16.99, and Basement price was at $9.99. I thought, what a bargain! Then I saw the exact cookbook behind it on the shelf and it said $12.99. Confused, I asked the sales lady what the actual price was, and she told me she would check at the counter. “It’s actually $6.99!” she said, and once again I thought, what a greater bargain! 1000 recipes for only $6.99!

So, why is it that I’ve only come around to try out a recipe from this book? Well, I don’t exactly know why. I’ve gone through the book numerous times and even bookmarked my favourites. I guess the main reason why I haven’t cooked from it yet was that I was probably not feeling very inspired, even though the recipes were fairly simple. I used to cook pasta at least once a week since I started cooking. No-cream Bacon Carbonara was my go-to dish whenever I wanted something quick and simple, but even so, I’ve not made that dish for a while because it made me feel sick and nauseous after a while – and I’m not quite sure if it’s the raw egg in it or the heap load of cheese. Anyway, I should get onto the recipe and stop blabbering about!

First off, casareccia is basically pappardelle pasta, rolled vertically and twisted into half, and works well with chunky sauces. The original recipe is meat-free and doesn’t call for the addition of chilli flakes. But you can get creative and bulk it up with bacon, ham, salami, etc. I kept it vegetarian, until I realised I had a pack of Hungarian salami in the fridge. Next time!

Neapolitan Casareccia Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups casareccia pasta (or other shaped pasta)
  • 1 punnet (200g) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 75g black olives, pitted and chopped
  • 3 tbsp baby capers, drained
  • 2 tbsp garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil leaves
  • Dash of dried chilli flakes
  • Shaved parmesan cheese

METHOD

  1. In a small pan, heat up the olive oil. Once heated through, add to a large stainless steel bowl together with the tomatoes, olives, and capers, and chilli flakes. Toss and then set aside to macerate (to soften or become softened by soaking in a liquid). I like to leave it to macerate for at least 5 hours for the flavours to further soak into the olive oil, but 1 hour should do the trick.
  2. Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water according to the packet instructions. Drain and add to the macerated vegetables, with the basil leaves. Toss to combine and add more oil and seasoning if necessary.
  3. Garnish with basil leaves and shaved parmesan cheese. Serve warm.

Neapolitan Casareccia Salad

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Spicy Carrot, Chickpea & Almond Soup with Roasted Croutons

Spicy Carrot, Chickpea & Almond Soup with Roasted Croutons

Hello Everyone! Sorry for the lack of posts once again. I’ve been a bit busy with University, preparing for the last 2 weeks to go! It’s been hectic! Also, the weather hasn’t been very cheerful for the past couple of days. Winter is definitely kicking in! It’s cold, damp and miserable. On occasions there’d be rays of sunshine, but Sydney weather being deceptive and all, the sunshine never lasts long. So what better way to warm up that a nice bowl of spicy soup with crunchy croutons? Soup has never tasted so good.

Today I cooked from the UNSW Student Cookbook, a recipe by Serena Coady. This dish was served at the Cookbook Launch last week and I fell in love with it. It tasted so good that I really wanted to make a whole bowl for myself after a measly taste test without the croutons. Today was definitely the perfect time to whip it up. I tweaked the recipe just a bit in terms of using different bread, herbs and beans, and leaving the sour cream as is, but otherwise I pretty much followed the recipe.

To be honest, the title of this recipe doesn’t quite live up to it – the spicy part that was. I was a bit disappointed that my soup was not spicy at all, like I wouldn’t even say it was mildly spicy. So I may have added a bit too much of dried chilli flakes to give it that kick that I was after. Now that really grasped the word ‘spicy’! It may just be cultural thing, I know a lot of my Western friends who can’t take anything spicy at all, or even calling a dish that had a dash of paprika in it ‘really spicy’. I seriously have no comment for that.

Spicy Carrot, Chickpea & Almond Soup with Roasted Croutons Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium brown onion, diced
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 can (400g) chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 cup flaked almonds
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
  • 3-4 slices of Pane di Casa bread from Bakers Delight
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Dollop of sour cream
  • Ground salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 250C.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pot over medium to high heat and sauté onions until soft, about 2 minutes. Add in the carrots with the chillies, paprika and oregano and sauté until combined. Season with a touch of salt and pepper. Increase the heat to high and stir intermittently for 15 minutes until carrots are tender and browned. Add the vegetable stock and chickpeas and bring to a boil. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the almond flakes into the soup, saving some for garnish later.
  3. Meanwhile, spread the flaked almonds on a lined baking tray and place in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the flakes are golden brown. Remove and set aside.
  4. Rip the slices of bread into bite size pieces and toss with 1/4 cup of olive oil in a small bowl. Spread onto the same lined baking tray and roast in the oven for about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside.
  5. Pour the soup over into a blender (working in batches if I does not all fit) and blend on low speed for about a minute until well combined and smooth. Pour into a bowl and add a dollop of sour cream. Sprinkle with almonds, croutons, and paprika. Serve.

Spicy Carrot, Chickpea & Almond Soup with Roasted Croutons

A definite favourite winter warmer.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com