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)
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Buffalo Mozzarella with Orange, Coriander Seeds and Lavender Oil

Burrata with Oranges, Coriander Seeds, and Lavender Oil (11 of 25)MOZZARELLA WITH A CITRUS SPARK | In lieu of tomatoes, mozzarella also pairs well with citrus fruits and a hint of lavender oil.

Debuted my new NOPI cookbook by making a quick adaptation of one of the restaurant’s signature dishes: the burrata with blood orange, coriander, and lavender seeds. Burrata with Oranges, Coriander Seeds, and Lavender Oil (2 of 2)According to Yotam Ottolenghi, customers come to NOPI for this dish alone and they sell about 1,000 each month!

However, much to my frustration, I struggled to find good quality burrata today at Citysuper (a high-end supermarket in Hong Kong). Nor was I able to source for blood oranges. Consequently, in lieu of burrata, a good quality buffalo mozzarella had to suffice. And in lieu of blood oranges, a regular orange had to do.

So what exactly is burrata? First, let’s be clear and stress what burrata is not. It is not mozzarella. While made from buffalo milk, burrata is not buffalo mozzarella. You will know the difference between the two when you taste it (warning though – you may not turn back to buffalo mozzarella after tasting the rich inner creaminess of a high quality burrata).

The outer shell is pure mozzarella, moulded like a a pouch, while the softer inside oozes a delicate mixture of mozzarella and cream when the ball is pulled apart.

In greater detail, mozzarella is what’s called a pulled curd or pasta filata cheese, which means that it’s formed from the elastic curd of fresh milk, still warm and straight from the vat. Burrata is made of that same stringy cheese, but is formed not into a solid ball, but into a little hollow pouch, which is then filled with fresh cream and soft stringy bits of curd, the ritagli, or rags, remaining after mozzarella making. It’s all tied off at the top, and then wrapped in the fronds of an Italian plant called asphodel (a relative of the leek).

Perhaps much of the confusion between the two stems from tradition, whereby the cheesemaking process for burrata stemmed from mozzarella – i.e., burrata was made in order to rescue the little scraps of mozzarella di bufala that were leftover in the cheesemaking vat.

Nonetheless, originating from the Puglia region of Italy, Burrata is in its own class entirely – you will know the second you taste it.Burrata with Oranges, Coriander Seeds, and Lavender Oil (18 of 25)Burrata is second to none and worth seeking out but a buffalo milk mozzarella can be used as an alternative.

Buffalo Mozzarella with orange, coriander seeds and lavender oil.

Time: 20 minutes | Serves: 2-3 as a side

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large mozzarella/burrata ball (150g)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon clear runny honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried lavender
  • 1/4 small clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted
  • 1 blood orange or 1 large sized orange
  • 5g basil leaves (shredded or hand torn) or micro-basil leaves
  • Coarse sea salt and extra virgin olive oil to drizzleBurrata with Oranges, Coriander Seeds, and Lavender Oil (1 of 25)

METHOD:

  1. Place oil in a small saucepan with the honey, lavender, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer on medium-low heat and remove at once. Set aside to cool.Burrata with Oranges, Coriander Seeds, and Lavender Oil (2 of 25)
  2. Use a small paring knife to trim the tops and tails off the orange. Cut down the sides of the orange, and follow the natural curve to remove the skin and white pith. Depending on the size of your orange, slice into 6-8 rounds, ~0.8cm each, and remove the pips.Burrata with Oranges, Coriander Seeds, and Lavender Oil (3 of 25)
  3. Divide the orange slices on a clean white plate, slightly overlapping. Place burrata/mozzarella ball alongside. Spoon the coriander seeds and lavender oil over the cheese and orange, top with the shredded basil leaves or the micro-basil left whole. Lightly drizzle with some additional extra high quality extra virgin olive oil and serve. Burrata with Oranges, Coriander Seeds, and Lavender Oil (21 of 25) Burrata with Oranges, Coriander Seeds, and Lavender Oil (17 of 25)

Healthy Blueberry Ricotta Cups

Healthy Blueberry Ricotta Dessert Cups (7 of 9)

A healthy and light blueberry dessert that can be whipped up in ten minutes.

Feel like dessert but overwhelmed by guilt? That’s exactly how I felt tonight (given my recent binge fest on desserts and patisseries). To satisfy my sweet tooth – and seeing I had a tub of light ricotta and blueberries sitting idly in my fridge – I decided to come up with a healthy concoction: blueberry ricotta cups. Simply drizzle some honey into the ricotta, zest some lemon peel into it, and whisk away until a smooth consistency is reached. Spoon the finale into small cups and garnish with blueberries, Voila! It is really that simple.

INGREDIENTS:
(Makes two servings)

  • Punnet of fresh blueberries
  • 4 tablespoons of light ricotta
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, freshly grated
  • Icing sugar to dust (optional)

Healthy Blueberry Ricotta Dessert Cups (3 of 9)

METHOD:

  1. Heap 4 large tablespoons of ricotta into a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of honey and grate in some fresh lemon zest. Hand whisk until combined to a smooth consistency. Healthy Blueberry Ricotta Dessert Cups (1 of 9) Healthy Blueberry Ricotta Dessert Cups (2 of 9)
  2. Spoon mixture into little dessert cups or ramekins. Mix freshly washed blueberries with a tablespoon of honey until evenly coated.  Healthy Blueberry Ricotta Dessert Cups (4 of 9)
  3. Spoon blueberries on top of the dessert cups filled with the ricotta mixture. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving. Dust with icing sugar to serve (optional).Healthy Blueberry Ricotta Dessert Cups (6 of 9) Healthy Blueberry Ricotta Dessert Cups (9 of 9)

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)

Baked Salmon with Lemon-Dill Yoghurt Sauce

Oven Baked Salmon with Yoghurt Dill Sauce (14 of 18)

Salmon is one of the most nutritious types of fish to add to your diet. It supplies iron, zinc, niacin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, in addition to a whole host of other nutrients you need for good health. As you may all know, salmon contains a specific type of unsaturated fat called omega-3 fatty acids which helps lower your risk of dying from heart disease. Choosing salmon over red meat can help lower your cholesterol because salmon is much lower in saturated fat than beef, pork and some cuts of poultry.

There are many ways you can serve your salmon. With just a hint of seasoning, the amateur cook can make salmon taste delicious. That said, salmon fillets are traditionally prepared with dill. You can’t go wrong by baking your salmon fillet(s) in a heated oven then dressing them with a dollop of creamy lemon and dill yoghurt sauce.

Oven Baked Salmon with Yoghurt Dill Sauce (15 of 18)

INGREDIENTS:

(1 fillet palm size ~ serves one)

Marinade:

  • 1 salmon fillet (~4 ounce)
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon of fresh chopped dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • Pinch of cracked black pepper and salt

Yoghurt-dill sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon of greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 tablespoon of fresh chopped dill weed
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice

Oven Baked Salmon with Yoghurt Dill Sauce (1 of 18)

METHOD:

1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Line roasting tray with parchment paper. Marinade salmon all over with the marinade ingredients for 10-20 minutes.

Oven Baked Salmon with Yoghurt Dill Sauce (2 of 18)

2) Remove salmon from marinade and place on roasting tray. Shove in the oven and roast for ~15 minutes until skin changes colour and flakes easily with a fork.

3) In the meantime, make the yoghurt-dill sauce by mixing together all the sauce ingredients.

Oven Baked Salmon with Yoghurt Dill Sauce (4 of 18) Oven Baked Salmon with Yoghurt Dill Sauce (5 of 18)

4) Remove salmon from oven and spoon over a dollop of the yoghurt sauce to serve.

Oven Baked Salmon with Yoghurt Dill Sauce (16 of 18)

Homemade Organic Granola with Honey and Sea Salt

Granola with Honey and Seasalt (13 of 29)

For those of you who love granola, it can easily be made within the comfort (and confines) of your own small kitchen (trust me, I know this because I have a small kitchen) in a total of less than 30 minutes. All you need is the base ingredient, rolled oats, plus fruits and nuts of your own choosing. The beauty of making your own granola at home is the control you can exercise over what goes exactly into your pot (not to mention the considerable cost savings). As an additional bonus, it also leaves your house smelling absolutely amazing for hours afterwards (thanks to the cinnamon). The honey delicately sweetens the oats while the sea salt adds an interesting savoury dimension that makes your tastebuds hunger for more. Try this recipe for yourself – it is not overly sweet and is sure to become a real crowd-pleaser.

Granola with Honey and Seasalt (19 of 29)

INGREDIENTS:

(Serves 10. Makes 6 cups.)

  • 4 cups of organic rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup of organic coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup of organic honey
  • 1 teaspoon of organic vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 cup of chopped nuts and dried fruits (I used a breakfast mix – pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and blueberries, raisins, flax seeds – plus a handful of almonds I crushed myself).

Granola with Honey and Seasalt (2 of 29)

METHOD:

1) Preheat oven to 150 degrees celsius. Line two roasting trays (or if you have large over, one roasting tray) with parchment paper. If using raw almonds, crush the almonds in a mortar and pestle.

Granola with Honey and Seasalt (29 of 29)

2) Mix all the dry ingredients together – oats, cinnamon, salt, chopped nuts and fruits – in a large bowl.

Granola with Honey and Seasalt (28 of 29)

3) Mix all the wet ingredients together – coconut oil, honey, vanilla essence – in a smaller bowl.

Granola with Honey and Seasalt (27 of 29)

4) Combine to two together by pouring the wet ingredients into the large bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir together with a spatula (or your hands) until the oats are all evenly coated.

Granola with Honey and Seasalt (25 of 29)

5) Spread the mixture onto the two roasting trays in an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes. Then remove from oven and stir. Bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Granola with Honey and Seasalt (22 of 29)

6) Remove from oven and allow it to cool completely. Store it in an airtight container for storage.

Granola with Honey and Seasalt (6 of 29)

To serve as a healthy breakfast treat, top the granola with some greek yoghurt, fruit (I used nectarines), and drizzle with honey. Can also simply be served with milk. Enjoy 🙂

Granola with Honey and Seasalt (served with nectarines and yoghurt) (1 of 10)


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)