Jerk Chicken Quinoa Citrus Salad

Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (1 of 21)

PROTEIN PACKED SALAD | A hearty and healthy chicken salad with creamy avocado, nutty quinoa, fresh parsley and lots of bright citrus flavours.

Fancy a touch of the Carribean? Well, look no further than Jerk Chicken. First, let’s clarify: “Jerk” doesn’t mean what you think it means. It means Jamaican BBQ. This well rounded flavour of sweet, hot, herbal and spicy chicken can be served with rice, beans or pasta. In this particular instance, I chose quinoa as I fancied a light dinner after the repetitive days of gluttony over the recent Lunar New Year.

I love quinoa not only due to its health benefits, but because it is so versatile and easy to prepare. Did you know that quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat? It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids. Furthermore, it is chock full of fibre (good for relieving constipation) and is high in iron and magnesium. For more information about the health benefits of quinoa, click here.

The prime burst of flavor in this salad comes from the jerk chicken. Jerk seasoning boasts elements of sweetness, hotness, herbal-ness and spicy-ness – what a terrific combination to titillate your taste buds. Now, many of you may be wondering whether you can make your own jerk seasoning? Short answer, yes. Can I be bothered tonight? No. Problem with Hong Kong is that jerk seasoning is not easy to find. Thanks to my dear friend Noah though, he managed to grab me some on one of his (many) business trips to the British Virgin Islands.

Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (17 of 21)

Jerk Seasoning…not for “jerks”. Jerk seasoning typically comprises of a mixture of onion, vinegar, cayenne pepper, all spice, cinnamon, black pepper and oil.

As for how I chose to cook the chicken, I opted for the sous vide (my latest cooking gadget addiction) which inevitably takes longer (but results in chicken that is more moist and juicy). Feel free to pan-fry your chicken tenderloins/breast instead if you only have 10-15 minutes to spare (after you marinade it).

Now, for a little light dressing, simply whisk together lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, and a dash of honey. This citrus dressing is so refreshing and light that it won’t overpower the intense flavours from the jerk chicken.

Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (3 of 21)

Jerk Chicken Quinoa Citrus Salad

INACTIVE TIME: 1.5 hours | ACTIVE TIME: 4 minutes | SERVES: 1

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 small chicken tenderloin fillets (or 0.5 pound chicken breast fillet if you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon jerk seasoning
  • 1 bunch of Italian parsley
  • 1 limes
  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 tablespoon of liquid honey
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoaJerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (13 of 21)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat pot of water with the sous vide to the desired temperature. In this case, I set it to 140°F/60°C for cooking the chicken tenderloins. Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (11 of 21)
  2. Marinade chicken tenderloins with the jerk seasoning and place in zip-lock bag. Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (19 of 21)Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (18 of 21)
  3. Once desired temperature is reached, immerse zip lock bag into the pot of water, removing all air via the water immersion method. Leave in the water for 1-1.5 hours.
  4. While chicken is cooking via the sous vide method, prepare the quinoa. Simply place half a cup of uncooked quinoa into a pot set on medium-high and pour in 1 cup of water. Leave to boil, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes until cooked. Set aside and leave to cool.Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (12 of 21)Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (9 of 21)
  5. Prepare the salad dressing. Juice one lime and half an orange. In a small bowl, combine these juices together and whisk in half a tablespoon of honey. Set aside.Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (8 of 21)Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (7 of 21)
  6. Chop up the coriander and the remaining half of the orange into small chunks. Dice the avocado into small bite sized chunks. Combine everything with the cooled down quinoa, mixing in the salad dressing.
  7. Once chicken is done in the sous vide, remove from the zip lock bag and pat dry. Heat a heavy cast iron skillet or pan on medium-high heat and coat with a light drizzle of oil. Once oil shimmers throw the chicken tenderloins in and pan-fry until golden brown (~2 minutes each side).  Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (6 of 21)
  8. Remove chicken from pan and slice into smaller bite-sized pieces.Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (14 of 21)
  9. Transfer quinoa salad base into a bowl for serving. Top with the freshly cooked chicken slices and serve while warm.Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (4 of 21)

Caramelised Figs on Avocado Toast

Caramelised figs on avocado toast (18 of 18)

Figs…a culinary delicacy par excellence. Caramelise them with honey and serve on a toast layered with sliced avocado for a healthy and nutritious breakfast.

Figs. There is nothing like the tastes and texture of fresh figs. They are lusciously sweet with a texture that combines the chewiness of their flesh, the smoothness of their skin, and the crunchiness of their seeds. California figs are available from June through September; some European varieties are available through autumn.

Figs are the sweet way to lose weight. Did you know that figs are a good source of dietary fibre, which helps with weight management and protecting against the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. What’s more, figs are a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps to control blood pressure. Since many people not only do not eat enough fruits and vegetables, but do consume high amounts of sodium as salt is frequently added to processed foods, they may be deficient in potassium. Low intake of potassium-rich foods, especially when coupled with a high intake of sodium, can lead to hypertension.

Figs range dramatically in color and subtly in texture depending upon the variety, of which there are more than one hundred and fifty. Some of the most popular varieties are:

  • Black Mission: blackish-purple skin and pink colored flesh
  • Kadota: green skin and purplish flesh
  • Calimyrna: greenish-yellow skin and amber flesh
  • Brown Turkey: purple skin and red flesh
  • Adriatic: the variety most often used to make fig bars, which has a light green skin and pink-tan flesh

As for their origins, figs can trace their history back to the earliest of times with mentions in the Bible and other ancient writings. They are thought to have been first cultivated in Egypt. They spread to ancient Crete and then subsequently, around the 9th century BC, to ancient Greece, where they became a staple foodstuff in the traditional diet. Figs were held in such esteem by the Greeks that they created laws forbidding the export of the best quality figs. Figs were also revered in ancient Rome where they were thought of as a sacred fruit. According to Roman myth, the wolf that nurtured the twin founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, rested under a fig tree. During this period of history, at least 29 varieties of figs were already known.

There are several ways to serve fresh figs. For me, I like to have my dosage early in the morning for breakfast when I wake up. Simply caramelise them with some honey in a pan and serve on a slice of toasted sourdough with fresh avocado. Sublime.

Caramelised figs on avocado toast (17 of 18)

INGREDIENTS (makes 1 toast, serves 1):

  • 1 fresh fig
  • 1 tablespoon of runny honey
  • 1 slice of sourdough/breadof your choosing, toasted
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced

METHOD:

  1. Slice fresh fig in quarters and place in bowl. Coat with the runny honey all over.

Caramelised figs on avocado toast (4 of 18)2. Heat frying pan on low-medium heat. Once hot enough add the figs and lightly pan fry until golden both sides (no more than 3 minutes).

Caramelised figs on avocado toast (7 of 18)

3. Toast bread and arrange sliced avocado on top. Layer with the cooked figs and serve whilst warm.

Caramelised figs on avocado toast (11 of 18)

Caramelised figs on avocado toast (15 of 18)

Avocado Tahini Sourdough With a Twist

Sourdough Toast with Tahini Spread and Avocado (2 of 8)

Avocado Toast with a Twist – Breakfast will never be quite the same again

Avocados – the creamy, delicious, nutrient-bomb. These little green gems are nutritional goldmines. Underneath the tough green exterior lies over 14 minerals; protein, complete, with all 18 essential amino acids; soluble fiber, to trap excess cholesterol and send it out of the system; phytosterols; polyphenols; carotenoids; omega 3s; vitamins B-complex, C, E and K, to name a few.

Interesting enough, did you know that avocados contains the potassium content of two to three bananas? So if you find yourself suffering from frequent mood swings or depression, time to try topping up on the potassium with avocados every morning (as low levels of potassium could affect you psychologically).

Worried about the fat content? Relax. While the fat content of an avocado is roughly 20 percent, they are packed full of the “good” type of fats – monounsaturated fats – not the type that clog your arteries. High in monosaturates (unsaturated fatty acids), the unsaturated oil content of avocados is second only to olives among fruits, and sometimes greater.

What’s more, those with cholesterol problems have more reason to chow down these creamy green gems. According to one study, a diet high in avocados have been proven to help lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad type) whilst increasing the percentage of healthy HDL cholesterol.

So what’s the best way to start your day with avocado? I’ve attempted to create what i believe to be the avocado breakfast masterpiece – tahini on sourdough topped with sliced avocado and a sprinkle of sumac (the twist). The richness of the avocado simply blends harmoniously with the creaminess of the tahini. Bonus: if you have fast hands, this will take you no longer than 10 minutes to make.

INGREDIENTS: (makes 1 serving)

  • 1 tablespoon of tahini
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of sumac
  • slice of sourdough bread, toasted, to serve

METHOD:

1) Combine tahini with lemon juice, water, and pinch of salt. Whisk until well combined.

2) Toast sourdough. Spread tahini generously on toast. Layer the avocado slices on top. Sprinkle with sumac and serve.

Sourdough Toast with Tahini Spread and Avocado (4 of 8)

Sunny Side Up Breakfast Brioche

Bright and Cheerful Breakfast Brioche  (2 of 13)

“Keep your sunny side up” 🙂

Inspired by Teakha, my favourite quaint little teahouse located in the Poho/Sai Ying Pung area of Hong Kong, I decided to recreate this breakfast toast by using danish/brioche bread I bought downstairs from a Japanese style bakery. I love the juxtaposition of the cheerful colours – the vibrant, red, plump tomatoes contrasting with the creaminess of the green avocado – coupled with the bright, sunshine yellow of the oozing yolk from frying an egg sunny side up.

INGREDIENTS: (serves 1)

  • 1 egg
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tomato
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup of pork floss, to garnish

METHOD:

1) Mash a ripe avocado up with the juice of a freshly squeezed lime. Add salt and pepper and adjust taste to your liking. Bright and Cheerful Breakfast Brioche  (12 of 13) Bright and Cheerful Breakfast Brioche  (10 of 13) 2) Dice tomatoes into small cubes. Bright and Cheerful Breakfast Brioche  (9 of 13) 3) Heat frypan on medium-high. Spray a layer of cooking oil. With the aid of an egg ring, crack egg into the ring to get a perfectly round shape. Once yolk seems to be setting, remove ring and transfer egg with a spatula to plate. Bright and Cheerful Breakfast Brioche  (7 of 13) Bright and Cheerful Breakfast Brioche  (5 of 13) 4) In the meantime, lightly toast slice of brioche in toaster. Remove and layer with the avocado, tomato and fried egg on top like an exposed healthy decker sandwich. Bright and Cheerful Breakfast Brioche  (6 of 13) Bright and Cheerful Breakfast Brioche  (1 of 13)5) Sprinkle the pork floss on top as a garnish. Enjoy! Bright and Cheerful Breakfast Brioche  (4 of 13) Bright and Cheerful Breakfast Brioche  (3 of 13)

Tahini-Miso Dressed Kale Fig Salad

Tahini dressed kale salad (2 of 27)

For a hearty lunch, you can’t go wrong by opting for a delicious kale salad. Kale pairs perfectly well with a fresh home-made creamy tahini dressing. Add some chunks of avocado to give it more smoothness and toasted walnuts with maple syrup to give the salad the extra crunch and dimension. Throw in some figs for some added fibre.

 Of all the healthy greens, kale ranks no.1. Super high in nutrients and super low in calories, kale is among the most nutrient dense food on the planet. It helps combat inflammation and contains vitamin K, which can help prevent against cancer.

Tahini is mineral rich containing zinc, iron, selenium and copper and also provides omega-3 fatty acids, a source of healthy fat.

Figs are high in natural sugars, minerals and soluble fibre. Figs are rich in minerals including potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and copper and are a good source of antioxidant vitamins A, E and K that contribute to health and wellness.

Walnuts not only taste great but are a rich source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and an excellent source of those hard to find omega-3 fatty acids.

This shredded kale salad with tahini  dressing is also gluten-free, vegan and paleo and can easily be made protein-rich with the addition of fish, meat, tempeh or beans (but I personally like it without the meat)

INGREDIENTS (serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side):

For the tahini dressing:

  • 1/3 cup tahini paste (see below for recipe)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon of miso paste
  • salt to taste

For the salad:

  • half a pound of kale
  • half a large avocado
  • 2 fresh figs
  • handful of walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon of honey/maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

METHOD:

To make tahini:

1) Toast sesame seeds in frying pan until they turn lightly golden in color. (NB: this is optional but toasting the seeds will give it a nuttier flavour). Transfer seeds to a plate / roasting pan and let it cool completely.

Tahini dressed kale salad (25 of 27)

2) Grind in a food processor fitted with the S-blade. Process for 2-3 minutes until sesame seeds form a crumbly paste. Next, add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil (NB: any neutral oil will do, including grapeseed or sesame oil). Process for 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides as necessary, until the mixture forms a thick and fairly smooth paste. For a thinner consistency, add more oil. Add salt to taste and process until combined.

Tahini dressed kale salad (22 of 27)

4) Transfer the tahini to an airtight jar (I love the mini Weck ones). It will keep in the fridge for a month or longer (sadly, mine was demolished within two days). If the mixture separates, stir the tahini to redistribute the oil.

Tahini dressed kale salad (21 of 27)

To make the kale salad with the tahini dressing:

1) Wash kale leaves and remove stems. Cut into strips (width according to your liking).

Tahini dressed kale salad (26 of 27)

Tahini dressed kale salad (13 of 27)

2) Slice figs and slice avocado.

Tahini dressed kale salad (9 of 27)

3) Toast the walnuts. Turn fry pan on medium heat, pan fry walnuts until they turn light golden brown. Transfer to a bowl and add some honey (or maple syrup), cinnamon, and cumin. Toss until combined.

Tahini dressed kale salad (8 of 27)

Tahini dressed kale salad (15 of 27)

4) Make tahini dressing. Add 1/3 cup tahini with 1/3 cup of water until desired consistency obtained. Add the dollop of white miso paste (optional) and shake vigorously until combined.

Tahini dressed kale salad (12 of 27)

5) Mix walnuts, avocado, figs and kale salad together. Dress with the tahini miso dressing.

Tahini dressed kale salad (6 of 27)

Tahini dressed kale salad (1 of 27)

Poached eggs on avocado toast

Poached Eggs on Avocado Toast (1 of 1)Decided I’ll debut my silicone poaching pods I bought from the Sur La Table at Fisherman’s wharf in San Francisco last June/July. First time using it but they do a decent job I must say. One day I will try poaching eggs the ‘real’ and traditional way but for now, I’m quite happy with my pods.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 egg

METHOD:

1) Boil water and spray oil onto the poaching pod. Crack egg into it and float on top of the boiling water for 4 minutes.

2) Take egg out with slotted spoon. Serve on top of toasted sourdough toast (or whatever bread of your liking) layered with mashed avocado.

Mashed Avocado Whole Wheat Penne with Chopped Tomato and Parmesan Grating

Mashed avocado tomato penne pasta (12 of 12)What to do with an overripe avocado? An instinctive response would be to “mash it”! On that note, I decided to make a quick, healthy and fulfilling lunch that took no longer than 20 minutes. Whole wheat penne with mashed avocado dressing mixed in with a tomato salsa and garnished with parmesan shavings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Avocado
  • Wholewheat Penne Pasta (2 cups cooked)
  • 1 tomato (diced into cubes)
  • 1 garlic clove (grated)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper (as required)

Mashed avocado tomato penne pasta (3 of 12) METHOD:

1) Boil a pot of water and add pasta in. Cook according to package instructions (roughly 12 minutes for whole wheat penne if you are aiming for ‘al dente’ texture). In the meantime, mash avocado in a bowl. Squeeze juice of one lime and sprinkle pepper and salt. Grate some garlic into the mixture and mix well with a fork. Adjust taste according to personal preference.

Mashed avocado tomato penne pasta (4 of 12) 2) Add chopped tomatoes into the avocado paste and mix together with the fork. Mashed avocado tomato penne pasta (8 of 12) 3) Drain cooked pasta in a colander and pour into bowl. Combine avocado tomato mixture with the pasta and toss to distribute evenly. Mashed avocado tomato penne pasta (10 of 12) 4) Garnish with more chopped tomatoes and freshly grated parmesan before serving. Mashed avocado tomato penne pasta (11 of 12)