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Pineapple Mojito

For me the best thirst quenchers are drinks with lemon and lime as a main ingredient and a touch of alcohol brings out the smiles. I fell in love with the classic Cuban mojito and found out how dangerously refreshing it is after a couple of drinks speaking Spanish went very smoothly. Ever since from ordering or making “moe-hee-toe” Mojito, the classic version or with many other fruity variations it never fails to satisfy with each sip. In Singapore we ran out of mint but we still had limes and fresh Lychees, so we improvised making our very own version of Lychito (recipe coming up) which became a hit till we ran out of Lychees, but the taste was set to experiment with other tropical flavors until even the herb garden had no mint left. Pineapple Mojito is another favorite, easy to make since this fruit is widely available and why not starring it in this terrific cocktail.

Pineapple Mojito 4

Preparing for one….it turned out into a whole jug!

 

Pineapple Mojito preparation 1

The classic five ingredients; Rum, Mint, Limes, sugar can juice (fine sugar or sugar syrup) and soda (sparkling water). In the blender fresh pineapple and sugar syrup pulp.

If you like cocktails as much as I do, make your own sugar syrup and sweet & sour mix standby for quick mixing cocktails, it’s super easy, cheap and you can adjust the taste to your own liking. Sugar syrups are versatile in use too depending on thickness due to higher or lower level of sugar content, making it thinner or thicker depending the final usage for fruit salads, smoothies, cakes, cocktails, tea’s, drinks etc.

  • For a standard sugar syrup; prepare by mixing 1 cup water with 1 cup sugar cane or fine sugar (I prefer to use 3/4 cup), bring on to a boil in a small sauce pan and stir to dissolve and let it cool.
  • To infuse sugar syrup with flavors is by removing the pan from heat add handful of mint leaves let it cool down completely. Then remove all the mint leaves, leaving them in will spoil easily,  use the mint syrup immediately or store in refrigerator for at least two weeks.
  • The subtle aroma of infused syrups will give that enhanced flavor complementing your drink or dish with an intriguing note. Try other flavors by adding a stick of cinnamon or vanilla pods to boil along (with 2:2 ratio sugar and water) and leave it in while cooling down,  pour everything into a resealable bottle or container  for later use with other cocktails, smoothies, iced tea’s, fruit salads, or baking recipes. Give it a good shake and store in the refrigerator.
  • For an easy sweet & sour mix as used with mixing margarita’s (aka as bar mix); just remember 1-1-1-1 ratio, that’s 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, 1 cup lemon juice, 1 cup lime juice. First boil the water and sugar, stir to dissolve then take the pan from the heat and add the lemon and lime juices. Stir to combine let it cool down, pass through a sieve before pouring into a resealable bottle or container, give it a good shake and refrigerate. Eventually you may alter the level of acidity instead of 1 cup to 1/2 cup or 3/4 cups interchanging ratio of lemon and lime to your own taste and liking.
Muddle the lime, mint and sugar to extract and blend the flavors, add ice and soda.

Muddle the lime, mint and sugar to extract and blend the flavors, add ice and soda.

 

Add a pineapple parts in the glass or on top as garnish, pour and serve.

Add a pineapple parts in the glass or on top as garnish, pour and serve.

 

Pineapple Mojito straight up with ice.

Pineapple Mojito straight up with ice or serve with straws to stir and sip!

Tip: For single serving using a shot or jigger, bar tool, click for bar terms and measurements on the highlighted links. 1 shot equals 1 1/2 oz (ounces) 1 shot equals 4.5 CL (centiliters) 1 shot equals 45 ml (milliliters) 1 shot equals 3 tbsp (tablespoons) Equipment: beside using a blender to mix and whiz drinks, a muddler is the tool for making mojito and caipirinha cocktails, it is like a pestle to mash/muddle fruits, herbs at the bottom of a glass in order to release their flavors and blend them together at the same time. For more information click here on my affiliate link for an overview of various muddlers to compare.

Pineapple Mojito

It’s hot in Brasil, the game is on and we are on fire!!  Pineapple Mojito straight up with ice, Cheers!!

Red Beet Salad recipe with orange, feta cheese, mint

Red Beet Salad recipe with orange, feta cheese and mint, what’s not to love. To begin with, the taste and texture followed by health benefits and support of detoxification. The idea of eating and cleansing suits me fine with these five reasons.

  1. Colour attraction, deep burgundy red (all natural beetroot juice is a red food and beverages colouring).
  2. Sweet slight earthy taste and crunchy texture
  3. antioxidants
  4. anti-inflammatory
  5. detoxification

 Whether you roast it whole, blend into a classic soup or drink as juice like the Olympians does – beetroot is low in fat, full of vitamins and minerals and packed with powerful antioxidants – a health-food titan. (source link: BBC Good Food – Beetroots)

And that sums it up why I keep buying this power food with this recipe I finally had the whole family fully agreeing not to overlook this green but to make this Red Beet Salad with orange, feta cheese and mint recipe more often. The Beetroot has achieved superfood status, according to scientist claimed beetroot juice is capable of boosting athletic performance. Read more: “Boom time for beetroot” DailyMail online article.

Beetroot Salad Orange, Feta, Mint 1

Red Beet Salad preparations

For the balsamic mustard dressing with fresh herbs, I choose to add a Dutch touch with “Groninger mosterd, grof & pittig” whole seed, grainy mustard for a different flavour and sharpness complementing the beets. I used to whisk everything together but it is much easier to put all dressing ingredients in a jar and give it a good shake, the dressing will thicken nicely blending everything together.

Red Beet salad Orange, Feta, Mint 2

Red Beet Salad with Orange, Feta Cheese, Mint

Pour the dressing over the beets first and mix before tossing in the orange segments, as you can see on the photo image the beet juice bleeds very quickly coating everything in red. What you can’t see, smell or taste, unfortunately, is the ‘cheese’, at the local Turkish supermarket shop I bought their artisan-made sheep cheese for the first time and it was so much better than the standard supermarket packed versions.

YumNua Yang, ยำเนื้อย่าง Thai beef salad

Thai beef salad recipe with authentic aromatic flavours and an enticing complexity of sweet, sour, spice and heat combined with grilled marinated meat. This dish is one of our family & friends favourites.

Quick and easy to prepare, serve the salad as a starter for lunch or as a side with other complimentary dishes together as Thai dinner theme. The recipe as always retrieved from my memory vault with all the ingredients and steps but no good food photographs.

I couldn’t have a better excuse to make this dish today. Usually, as soon as the dish arrives at the table it disappears to late to make any snapshots. Prepping the dish received much enthusiasm of my better half he replied: “Somebody got to eat happily to help :-)”.

The family loves salad and Thai beef salad ranks on top of all time favourites in our house. We actually moved and lived in Asia for more than a decade. Taiwan became our second home but Thailand was very close sharing the same position, both destinations were foodies paradise.

Thailand

I visited Thailand for the very first time by invitation to come along with friends. My husband couldn’t accompany me so my sister joined as a travel companion. We both thoroughly enjoyed our sister’s holiday and Thai cuisine.

Of the many dishes we devoured, YumNua Yang a.k.a. Yum Neua was among the first plates of much more to come. We re-visited Thailand on many more occasions travelling through all the regions. The roadside street food stalls, night food markets or restaurants beautiful plated and served local style.

The heart of this dish must be a good piece of beef, sirloin or steak cut. Cheaper cuts like a skirt or flank steak after grilling let it rest (10min.) before cutting. Next is the authentic fresh made dressing of fish sauce, garlic, bird’s eye chilli, palm sugar, lime juice, coriander, Thai/Chinese celery. Mint and lemongrass (optional).

marinated pan-fried rib eye steak

marinated pan-fried rib-eye steak

Thai flavours

To create Thai flavours, you have to look at the ingredients and some of them just can’t be ignored or simply substituted, the basis is fish sauce, just buy a small bottle don’t think for a minute to easily replace this with vinegar or soy sauce.

Vinegar only has acidity no umami (savoury taste/flavour), I love soy sauce but it will not do justice to this dish, same counts for palm sugar if you don’t have then rather use brown or cane sugar it adds more depth than white sugar.

Lime or lemon juice it is just a subtle contrast but when you grate the rind it will release essential oils, the scent enables you to tell and smell the difference. Coriander is an essential herb as is celery and lemongrass add fragrance to the whole dish bringing it all together to the next level.

They are actually irreplaceable if left out everyone will notice something is missing even while you have a good steak on your plate. The dressing needs to have the complexity of sweet, sour, spice, heat and fragrance to make YumNua or leave it bland and that would put the dish to shame.

In this recipe, I have marinated the meat beforehand it is worth the wait and effort to add this step, use a bit of fish sauce with black and white pepper and a dash of Chinese cooking wine (optional).

YumNua Yang ยำเนื้อย่าง Thai Beef Salad

You will find the recipe in the recipe box here below, enjoy this wonderful dish. Try and enjoy your own home-made YumNua Yang, Thai beef salad!

YumNua Thai Beef Salad ingredients

YumNua Thai Beef Salad ingredients

Update 20th June 2017

With every summer this recipe is trending on our Instagram and FB Page as a popular recipe easy to make and enjoy. For dieters following Keto, Paleo diet based on LCHF or Type 2 diabetes  this dish is perfect with the following dietary adjustments.

In Thai cooking Palm sugar is often used and advertised with health claims having low glycemic index, however, this does not directly apply for sweeteners. For Bulletproof fans “Coconut palm sugar is not Bulletproof period“, click the link for a post by guru David Asprey.

I recommend Lakanto all natural sweetener, a product of Chinese Luo Han Guo aka monk fruit sugar to replace standard sugar.

Monk Fruit or Luo Han Guo (Siraitia Grosvenorii) is a rare perennial plant cultivated mainly in the mountains of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in China. Unlike most fruits, whose sweetness comes from fructose, Monks Fruit’s sweetness comes from natural mogrosides that are 300 times sweeter than sugar. Modern research shows that Monk Fruit extract does not elevate blood sugar or insulin. These fruits are powerful antioxidants and contain no calories

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the healing properties have been known for centuries. Luo Han Guo is native to southern China and northern Thailand.

You can easily buy this fruit in dried powdered form at larger Asian supermarkets and fresh when the season arrives, they are exported and available for a short period to eat or use the fruit in cooking.


Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad Gluten-free

Many summers back we had an impromptu BBQ dinner with friends at our Taiwanese home. Our guests brought Pot Luck to our home, one of the dishes a fantastic Tabbouleh salad made with bulgur. My first attempts to remake Tabbouleh was disappointing since then I learned of my mistakes such as not squeezing hard enough to remove all liquid.

While parsley is the main herb ingredient, you can easily make adaptations with other herb options. Based on this salad but creating a different taste is by adding 1 tablespoon of sun-dried tomato tapenade instead of tomato puree for a pronounced flavour.

A healthy dish with memories, running out of bulgur gave room for another twist by preparing this salad with Quinoa seed. With every bite, the seeds will pop a little giving it an extra dimension.

 

With no fresh lemons available nor bottles of lemon juice, I substituted with Chinese rice vinegar and adjust seasonings for the olive oil based dressing. The same reason I tried Apple vinegar which would be my last resort since it has a higher acidity you need less. So start with just one tablespoon and increase with half if needed.

Last summer our youngest came back from her holiday in Morocco with student peers. She brought Aragan oil purchased from a local vendor in a small village. There’s a reason why it is called Moroccan liquid gold as one of the rarest oils in the world.

The nutty taste and fragrance is absolute heaven! I am not an exaggerating type but Aragan oil really does give an extra dimension to salad dishes. If not available you can replace with walnut oil, olive oil will work but has a different end taste.

Liquid gold, it is an unequalled and understandably rare commodity outside of Morocco. A food gem in my kitchen cabinet for as long as the treasured food gift last.

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad, Power food

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad


Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

Quinoa is a basically a powerhouse full of nutritional value and a good choice on the menu. A super grain high in protein and fibre, an ancient seed re-ignited as a super food. If Aragan oil is gold liquid than the mother grain of the Inca’s are gold nuggets. Apparently, NASA sent astronauts into space with Quinoa on the menu as the power food.

Today’s Tabbouleh version has no parsley, instead, it is prepared with fresh mint and coriander. You can serve the dish for lunch with bread, dinner or barbeque as a side dish.

For other salad inspiration, try our Red Beet Salad with Orange, Feta Cheese, Mint recipe or Yum Nua Thai Beef Salad recipe.

Moroccan Mint Tea my style

Moroccan Mint Tea my style

Moroccan Mint Tea my style

While the sun is coming out, our little urban garden comes to live with visits of feathery friends in all sizes and Spring is showing by colourful daffodils and other flower buds growing as well as herbs. Mint hasn’t grown abundantly yet so I have to buy them at the local market or Moroccan, Turkish neighbourhood grocery shop. The other week I had bought a little glass teapot with a strainer at the Chinese supermarket, to make different brews in small quantities instead of our large insulated teapot or other tea vessels.

Moroccan Mint Tea my easy style; instead of using classic Chinese Gunpowder tea 珠茶  zhū chá I tried a different tea from my tea box; Sri Lanka, Geragama single estate unblended tea. Besides Chinese teas, I am very fond of Ceylon’s Earl Grey which was packaged in the Tea Garden at the estate as well as the unblended version. I just wondered whether this concoction would be as enjoyable as brewing original manner, my daughter and I can wholeheartedly say yes. I only had mint but if spearmint comes up I’ll definitely combine the two together for an even mintier infusion making hot and cold mint tea versions.

An authentic Moroccan tea ceremony is where the tea is steeped in boiling hot water for 15 minutes then the water is filtered without stirring into a different pot, the reason, therefore, is to remove coarse powder and leaves. Next, the sugar is added and is brought back to boil over medium heat, so that the sugar slowly melts into the water thereby giving it a distinctive taste. Lastly, the mint is added but never left in longer than two minutes, left too long it can develop an astringent taste and cause with some acid reflux. Part of this old tradition and process lies back in history when tea plantation process was different from the present due to the influence of hygiene standards, production process and even sugar production underwent changes in quality. Although steeping tea leaves remains the same, the timing, quality of water and watching the ceremonious handling is the heart of it all enjoying tea as a drink together.