Grilled Octopus Arugula Salad

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Good octopus is hard to find. Hence why I choose to procure mine from Spain nowadays. I bought mine precooked and vacuum-packed, saving me a lot of hassle (and time). They come ready to slice into a cold seafood salad, to warm by slipping the package into a pan of boiling water or to sear briefly in a heavy pan or on the grill with a slather of sauce.

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The pressing question then becomes, what to make out of these tender tentacles? Seeing the weather is warming up, I opted for a simple grilled octopus arugula salad.

Grilled Octopus Arugula Salad


  • 330g octopus salad
  • 2 cups of arugula
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 lime
  • Black pepper, kosher salt, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons of Pukara’s lime flavoured extra virgin olive oil


  1. Take tentacles out of vacuum sealed pack and wash. Slice octopus diagonally into 2 cm bite-size pieces.Grilled octopus arugula salad-1008
  2. Slice and dice the tomatoes.Grilled octopus arugula salad-1021
  3. Heat a cast iron pan on high heat and add dash of olive oil.Grilled octopus arugula salad-1014
  4. Once hot, throw in the chopped tentacles. As the octopus sears, crack some black pepper and salt to the pan. Squeeze the juice from half a lime too for that extra kick. Sear for roughly 3 minutes in total till you get the lovely golden char marks.Grilled octopus arugula salad-1023Grilled octopus arugula salad-1041
  5. Meanwhile, toss together the arugula and diced tomatoes with two tablespoons of Pukara’s lime flavoured extra virgin olive oil. Crack some black pepper and salt. Grilled octopus arugula salad-1028Grilled octopus arugula salad-1029
  6. On a clean plate, layer the mixed arugula tomato salad. Add the perfectly seared octopus tentacles on top. Drizzle some more lime juice. Garnish with a wedge of lime to serve.Grilled octopus arugula salad-1061Grilled octopus arugula salad-1062

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


  • 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)


  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)

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


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)

Thai Basil Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti

Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti and Thai Basil (5 of 11)

Friend visiting was allergic to gluten so I gave gluten-free brown rice spaghetti a try today. Verdict: this pasta is a lot stickier than when cooking normal pasta. Luckily though, taste is not compromised and in actual fact, I rather like it (gives it more texture)!

So what exactly is gluten?

Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat and related grains, like barley and rye. Gluten isn’t necessarily bad, but some people are gluten-intolerant, meaning their bodies produce an abnormal immune response when it breaks down gluten from wheat and related grains during digestion. The most well-known form of gluten intolerance is celiac disease, which affects 1 in every 141 people in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health.

When someone with celiac disease consumes gluten, it triggers an immune response that damages their intestines, preventing them from absorbing vital nutrients.

For those gluten intolerant, doctors would typically recommend a gluten-free diet. Patients must avoid eating any foods and ingredients that contains gluten, including bread, beer, french fries, pasta, salad dressing, soy sauce and even some soups (unless otherwise marked as “gluten-free”).

In recent years, however, many people without gluten intolerance have seemed to embark on the fad of the “gluten-free diet”.  Experts express concern that going gluten-free without explicitly needing to could be detrimental to a person’s health as gluten-free foods are often nutrient deficient.

INGREDIENTS (2 servings):

  • Brown rice spaghetti (enough for 2)
  • 280g of salmon sashimi
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes (yellow/red)
  • 1 large bunch of thai basil leaves
  • Handful of green peas (frozen will suffice)
  • 1 lime
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Crushed red pepper / fresh chilli (deseeded)

Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti and Thai Basil (10 of 11)


1) Boil pasta according to package instructions (~10 minutes for al dente. NB: Brown rice pasta can take longer).

2) In the meantime, prepare the salmon, thai basil leaves and cherry tomatoes. Slice the salmon sashimi into thin slices. Tear off the thai basil leaves from the stems and chop roughly. Slice the cherry tomatoes.

Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti and Thai Basil (7 of 11)

3) Slice the garlic and heat sauté pan with olive oil on medium heat. Pan fry the garlic until fragrant (be careful not to burn it!).

Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti and Thai Basil (8 of 11)

4) Chuck in the green peas and a teaspoon of salt. Now is the time to throw in the chopped deseeded red chilli (if using fresh) or sprinkle some chilli flakes.

Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti and Thai Basil (6 of 11)

5) Check the pasta. Once cooked, drain the pasta in a colander and  pour the contents from the sauté pan into the pasta pot. Throw in the chopped salmon, cherry tomatoes and basil then quickly pour the drained hot pasta back into the same pot and toss with your tongs. The salmon will slowly change colour as it cooks from the heat of the pasta. Add the juice from the fresh lime and toss again.

Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti and Thai Basil (2 of 11) Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti and Thai Basil (3 of 11)

6) Transfer pasta to bowls/plates and serve whilst warm.


Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti and Thai Basil (4 of 11)