PBJ Sandwiches and what?

Like most other foodies, I’m always open to trying new things. It just so happens that I’ve come across a few comments this month about Grilled Peanut Butter, Jam and Brie Sandwiches. Apparently they are the shit. So after coming home starving from Uni today, I popped my head into the fridge and realised I had all the ingredients available so I thought, why not?

Now I know for a fact that oven-melted camembert and cranberry jam go together like Barbie and Ken so I figured, this wouldn’t be much different, except for the addition of peanut butter.

So how did I do it? Simple.
I took out some bread, slabbed a bunch of peanut butter and strawberry jam on each side, stuck thin slices of brie on the top, formed a sandwich and grilled them in a pan.

My verdict?
Meh.
I mean it’s alright… but after reading about how AMAZING this combination tastes, I was left a little disappointed. My mind was not blown. As a result, I’m going to rate this dish a 5/10.

Have you got any weird (but tasty) food combinations for me to try? If so, do let me know!
Hope you all have a great week!

-A Pearl of the Orient.

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Pokéball

Now that I’ve grabbed your attention with a misleading title (I know, I’m just SO devious), I will reveal to you that today’s blogpost has nothing to do with Pokemon, rather, with Poke Bowls.

For those of you who don’t know what that is: a Poke Bowl is a Hawaiian-inspired dish with a rice base, topped with greens and raw fish ( usually tuna) which has been marinated in an asian-style sauce. So basically…sushi, but cooler.

One thing you should know about me? If you tag me in a photo of food, I will instantly crave it. My cravings know no boundaries. So yes, after being bombarded with photos of Poke Bowls on social media, I knew I had to have it. However, after multiple google searches, I realised that not a single place in Vienna serves them. If any entrepreneurs are looking to invest in the food industry…here’s your market!

Anyway, seeing as Poke Bowls are not yet a thing over here, I decided to make my own…which was a bad idea. I don’t think there was a problem with the recipe itself, I just happened to succumb to a series of unfortunate events.

Firstly, I went to the store and was quite honestly offended by the price of fresh, sushi-grade salmon. Double the price of sushi from a restaurant, yet half the quantity! So me being me, I thought : Meh, smoked salmon will do. Then, while combining the ingredients, I put in WAY too much soy sauce, obviously forgetting that smoked salmon in itself is pretty salty. In combination with cooking too little rice, my Poke Bowl (though pretty) just ended up tasting like sodium and not much else. So why am I still sharing the recipe with you? Because I feel that if you can follow basic instructions (unlike me) , you’d have a masterpiece…so here it is!



Salmon & Avocado Poke Bowl

Author: justputzing
Recipe type: Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine: Asian, Hawaiian
Prep time:  15 mins
Cook time:  5 mins
Total time:  20 mins
Yields: 4
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 lb sushi-grade salmon
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • Cooked white rice, to serve
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup green onions, chopped
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • ⅛ cup sesame oil
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • Sesame seeds
DIRECTIONS
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together red onion, green onion, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and ginger. Set aside.
  2. Remove bones and skin from your salmon, if any, and cut the fish into ¾″ chunks.
  3. Add fish and avocado to the bowl with the marinade. Toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  5. Serve with extra diced green onions and sesame seeds on top of steamed white rice that has been cooled to room temperature.
  6. Enjoy!

    – A Pearl of the Orient.

Baking bread.

If you have a true appreciation for food, I recommend that you go and watch the Netflix series Cooked by Michael Pollan. ( Side note: Make sure you’ve eaten before-hand because those beautiful visuals make you incredibly hungry. Slobbering is also a possible side-effect.)

The series explores the human history of cooking in regards to the four elements: Earth, Fire, Air and Water and takes us back to the origins of cooking and how it has helped us evolve as a species. It has become increasingly evident that many of us are no longer  interested in where our food comes from and how it is being made as long as it’s tasty and lands on our plate fast.  I too, am guilty of ordering out multiple times a week instead of putting those hands to work. With the food production industry providing quick and delicious alternatives, what need is there to cook?

“When we learned to cook is when we became truly human. But we’ve lost touch, I think, with how that food got to our plates”. –  Michael Pollan.

One of the most eye opening episodes for me was that of Air which revolved around bread, the basic staple of our diet since prehistoric times. I was shocked to realise that I didn’t even know how to make the most basic thing without having to google a recipe because it had always just been there, sitting in its plastic wrapper. Speaking of which, did you know that home-made bread needs about 5 basic ingredients? Now, look at label on the packaging of manufactured bread. How many ingredients can you count? It’s no wonder we’ve become so sensitive to food allergies.

Not only did I come away from that episode with a new found appreciation, love and respect for cooking but also the incredible urge to bake some bread myself and so that’s what I did.

Saturday morning was spent baking a home-made ciabatta and I’ve got to say it was pretty fun. Kneading the dough brought me back to the good old playdough days and I’ll admit I might have eaten some raw …but it tasted so good! My patience was tested while waiting for the dough to rise but it was all worth it. I’d forgotten how satisfying it is to make something from scratch and then have someone to share it with. It was perfect; fresh and toasty out of the oven and paired with fresh prosciutto, tomatoes, mozzarella and olive oil.
If you’d like to give it a go yourself, here’s the awesome recipe I used!

Easy Homemade Ciabatta

Author: The Crepes of Wrath

Prep time:  2 hours 30 mins
Cook time:  40 mins
Total time:  3 hours 10 mins
Serves: 1 large loaf
Perfectly crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside homemade ciabatta bread.
Ingredients
  • 3¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1¾ cup + 2 tablespoons warm (115 degrees F) water
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for the bowl
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Pour in the warm water, and beat for 5 solid minutes, either with a mixer or a wooden spoon. If you have a dough hook, use it and knead the mixture for an additional five minutes, until the dough is well combined, otherwise just keep beating with the wooden spoon.
  2. When the dough is well combined, flour your hands, stick ’em in a bowl, and pull parts of the dough up and slap it back down into the bowl. Do this for another 5 minutes. This will push air bubbles into the dough and create nice holes when it bakes.
  3. Oil a large bowl, then plop the dough into that bowl. Drizzle your olive oil over the top of the dough, then cover the bowl in plastic wrap and cover with at towel. Place the bowl in a warm spot and allow it to rise for 2 hours.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then sprinkle it with flour. Flour your hands, and shape the dough into a long loaf, about 12 inches long and 4 inches wide. Sprinkle the top of the loaf with a just touch of flour for strictly aesthetic purposes (trust me, it looks pretty), then bake for 35-40 minutes, until the bread is lightly golden. If you tap the bread, you should feel like it’s hollow – that’s how you know it’s ready! Place the bread on a cooling rack and allow it to cool down for a minimum of 20-30 minutes.

Have a lovely week!

– A Pearl of the Orient.

 

Spinach and Feta Pastry

I’ve decided to post up another perfect student recipe for you all today! A perfect student recipe consists of 4 main aspects. It’s cheap, quick, tasty and requires minimal effort. Your welcome.

I love making this Spinach and Feta Pastry when I’m in the mood for something filling (other than a microwaveable pizza) but don’t feel like messing about in the kitchen for half an hour. It’s delicious and easy to re-heat for lunch over the next 3 days and served well with a side of salad.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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-Spinach(350g)
-Feta  (100g)
-Puff pastry
-One Egg
-Bacon (If desired)

Cooking Instructions:

Step 1: Line a tray with baking paper and preheat the oven to approx. 180 degrees Celsius.
Step 2: Unroll your puff pastry and place it on the tray.
Step 3: In the center, spread out your spinach , feta cheese and bacon (which has been chopped up) evenly.
Step 4: Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Step 5: Crack open an egg into a bowl. Fold in all the sides of the puff pastry to make a small parcel and brush over the sides with egg to make them stick.
Step 6: Flip over the parcel and also coat it with a layer of egg, then place it in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.

May your taste buds be delighted! I’m now going to make myself a cup of tea, wrap myself in a blanket and watch a movie. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and have a great start to the week!

– A Pearl of the Orient.

P.S. I’m sorry about the crap photos, I’m just getting into this and I have no idea what I’m doing! I’m working on it!

 

5 minute tuna pancakes

As opposed to the rest of my family, i’m pretty much a walking disaster when it comes to cooking in the kitchen. Ever heard of an asian burning rice? No, me neither. My mother would be ashamed.  I’m all for experimentation and trying new things but unless i’m getting some form of help, my dish is most likely to end up at the bottom of a trash bag and not in my stomach.

So this one is for my culinarily challenged out there! These yummy tuna pancakes are perfect for anyone looking for a quick, cheap and easy meal. Fear not students, you no longer have to spend your days eternally living off spaghetti ( Yes Tanya, I’m referring to you).

So without further ado, here’s what you’ll need!

Ingredients:

  • A can of tuna ( Preferably in water if you’re trying to keep it healthy)
  • One egg
  • Flour
  • Soya sauce
  • Onions (optional)
  • Sriracha sauce ( optional)

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Instructions:

  1. Drain the tuna and place in a bowl.
  2. Stir in the egg and if you have chosen to do so, add the finely diced onions and Sriracha sauce to taste (Obsessed with the stuff).  Side note:  The pancake mixture will not hold as easily with onions, but it does taste better!
  3. Add 1-2 tablespoons of flour until you have a relatively thick mixture that doesn’t fall apart and mix well.
  4. Oil and heat your pan.
  5. Once your pan is hot, spoon up a portion , drop it in and form it with your spoon. Make sure the pancakes aren’t too flat as they will end up dry.
  6. Flip your pancake when the bottom is crispy and brown and no longer falls apart.  Approx. 2 minutes per side.
  7. Then serve either with a side of salad or rice with a tiny bowl of soya sauce for dipping.

Hope you enjoy!

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                       – A Pearl of the Orient.