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Naked Chicken Fajitas Bowl With Yoghurt-Avocado Sauce

a1 Naked Chicken Fajitas Bowl

 On my last trip to Sydney, I stumbled upon a Mexican restaurant called the Mad Mex located opposite of Mercure Hotel at Haymarket, Sydney. This time I’ve made it a point to venture out of my comfort zone of Sydney restaurants (okay I caved in a little and went to Mamak for the nth time ha!). Plus I’m craving for some cooking inspirations and dining out turned out to be a great help!

I ordered a Naked Burrito which basically was a burrito in a bowl with rice, salad, salsa, cheese, guacamole, grilled steak minus the wrap.  No muggy weather could stop me at the time as I well and truly enjoyed every spoonful of it.

Needless to say, I brought back my naked burrito experience in Mad Mex and recreated in my own way in the Mad Emily’s Kitchen. (Okay that’s pretty lame… :S)

a6 naked chicken fajitas bowl

When it comes to homemade Mexican food, I personally prefer the Old El Paso Fajitas spice mix than the burrito one. I love the smokiness of the fajitas spices and seriously, it smells amazing even if it is only cooked over a gas stove rather than barbequing. So without doubt, I’m recreating the naked bowl experience in fajitas style.  PS: I’m not paid to say all these nice things about Old El Paso Fajitas Spice Mix. :)

Naked Chicken Fajitas Bowl with Yoghurt-Avocado Sauce

What you’ll need to feed 2 people:-

  • 1 brown onion, peeled & sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper (capsicum), deseeded & sliced into strips
  • 2 tbsps cooking oil
  • 20g (0.7 ounce) Fajitas Spice Mix (I used Old El Paso brand)
  •  300g (11 ounces) pre-sliced chicken breasts strips
  • 2 bowls of cooked rice (I cooked my rice mixed with red quinoa in a rice cooker)
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced (you can also use lettuce)

Note – the spice mix I used contained salt so I didn’t add salt to the chicken. Remember to add salt if your spice mix is salt-free.

Yoghurt-Avocado Sauce

  • 4 tbsps Greek Yoghurt
  • 1 small avocado
  • 1 small clove of garlic, peeled and rough chopped into smaller pieces
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • Juice from 1/2 a lime
  • Water (about 2 – 3 tbsps)
  • Freshly grinded black pepper
  • Chilli flakes to taste *optional*

Other: A small food processor. 

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Method:-

Cook rice with your preferred method (I often use a rice cooker). While the rice is cooking, in a medium-sized mixing bowl, add 2 tbsps cooking oil and spice mix and stir to combine. Then mix the spice mixture with the chicken strips until every piece is well coated. Set aside for them to marinate. Slice an onion and a capsicum. Set aside.

To prepare the sauce: add all the sauce ingredients (except for salt and pepper) in a small processor and process until smooth. Pour the mixture into a bowl. Add more water if you preferred a more diluted consistency. Add salt to taste and black pepper. Sprinkle some chilli flakes if you like. Set aside in the fridge while you prepare the chicken fajitas.

Preheat a pan/wok until fairly hot. Arrange the chicken on the pan and cook on high heat until the chicken are golden brown (the spice coating appears to be caramelised a little). Turn the chicken on the other side and let them cooked until the other side is just cooked through. Then add the onion and capsicum and saute on high heat until the onion is slightly translucent and the latter is slightly soften.

To serve: In a medium sized bowl, add rice and topped with chicken fajitas and slices of cucumber. Finish off with a drizzle of the avocado-yoghurt sauce and a small wedge of lime.

a4 naked chicken fajitas bowl

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Kale & Bean Chili

Kale & Bean Chili a1

Canned beans are my pantry must-have. They have been my dessert island life saver when it comes to making last minute meals and/or bulking up meals. You know, those moments when you have a surprise guest (or guests) and it’s rude to turn them away during meal times; a day before your grocery shopping day;  when your spouse forgot to tell you that one of the invited guest to your dinner party is a vegetarian… etc.

My favourite way of cooking canned beans has been “currying” them. Regardless whether they are red beans, chickpeas or cannellini beans, they all are “curry material”.  Just toss them with sautéed chopped onion, garlic-ginger paste, curry spices, tomato paste and some water, with a side of rice or bread or wrap, your meal is almost done.  If curry isn’t your thing, then switch up the curry spices to say, Italian spices or paprika. Crack some eggs over the beans and you have got yourself a café-style breakfast. Seriously, how versatile canned beans are eh?

 

Kale & Bean Chili a9

If you haven’t noticed, I have been exploring Mexican cuisines (case in point here and here).  The Old El Paso Fajitas spice mix will always have a special place in my heart pantry but I’m trying not to make everything with it. That’d make a very unexciting food blog, I reckon. ;)

Then chipotle peppers in adobo sauce entered my life. I’ve been finding ways of incorporating the smoky and hot chipotle peppers in my dishes ever since the discovery. Oh yeah, you can see a pattern here! First comes my obsession with kale and now chipotle peppers, I might as well combine them together.

And guess what, that’s what I did. ;)

(For those who live in Orange, you can find it in the Asian sauces section in the Harris Farm Market.)

Kale & Bean Chili

What you’ll need to make 4 generous servings:-

  • Olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, peeled & diced
  • 4 fat cloves of garlic, peeled & finely chopped
  • 3/4 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 x 400g can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 1 x 400g can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
  • 5 leaves of kale (used the cavolo nero variety), finely sliced
  • 700g passata* (Italian tomato cooking sauce )
  • 1 – 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, deseeded and finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • A handful of chopped fresh coriander leaves for garnish

*Passata is available in all major supermarkets.

Kale & Bean Chili a8

Method:-

Add a little olive oil in a large pan and saute onion until translucent. Add garlic, oregano and cumin powder and saute until aromatic over low heat. Add chickpeas, beans and kale and mix to combine with the onion mixture.  Pour in passata and chopped chipotle peppers and mix to combine all the ingredients. With a lid on simmer the beans for 10 minute over low-medium heat. Add salt to taste and simmer for another minute or two. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves before serving. Best eaten with brown rice and garlicky yoghurt.

Kale & Bean Chili a3-590

 

   

Vegetarian Nachos

a1 Vegetarian Nachos

I have many friends who have special dietary requirements; mostly they are vegetarians. So whenever I’m organising a dinner party, it has became a second nature that I make sure everyone’s dietary requirement is catered for. I remember my beloved brought a friend home not too long ago.

As soon as they walked through the door: “Hey Hun, I forgot to tell you that A is a vegetarian”, he said as-a-matter-of-factly.

And there I was, spending a couple of hours before cooking chicken curry and a small side dish of eggplant curry.  In that minute, my small amount of eggplant curry has elevated to the main dish status. I downplayed my chicken dish with a side of disapprovingly look at my beloved.

a14 Vegetarian Nachos

Ever since then, I have made a point that I have a vegetarian main in addition to other dishes in my dinner parties, just in case. ;)  It also got me thinking about tweaking my favourite dishes which contained meat products to the vegetarian version. I refuse to believe that vegetarian version will be less flavourful than the meat ones. From the vegetarian dishes that my friends have cooked for me, I am convinced that vegetarian dishes can be delicious, flavourful and, best of all, not restricted to just salads.

With that said, please enjoy my twist of vegetarian nachos. I feel this is THE dish that re-introduces cauliflowers to those who dislike them. I’m all for deliciously sneaking vegetables into my diet. This could be THE DISH for you to try to impress your vegetarian friends. ;)

Vegetarian Nachos

What you’ll need for 4 people:-

  • 1/4 cauliflower, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp **Fajitas seasonings + 1 tbsps cooking oil
  • Cooking oil
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper (capsicum), diced
  • 1/2 ***chipotle chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 x 439g (15.5 ounces) canned black beans
  • 1 + 1/2 cups of passata
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 x 200g bags of corn chips (preferable low salt version)
  • A handful of grated cheddar cheese
  • Fresh coriander, chopped *which I’ve omitted*

** I used the Old El Paso brand

*** I used chipotle in adobo sauce which came in a canned which I got it from Harris Farm Markets in Orange, or you can get it online here. Don’t use the whole chilli as it is very hot! Deseed the chilli before using to reduce the spiciness.

a13 Vegetarian Nachos

Method:-

Marinate cauliflower with fajitas seasonings and cooking oil. Set aside while prepping other ingredients such has dicing the onion, capsicum, finely chopped the chipotle chilli, drain and rinse the black beans.

In  a large pan with a little oil, sauté onion until translucent over medium flame. Add marinated cauliflower and sauté for a minute or two. Then add diced capsicum and sauté for another minute. Stir in chipotle, black beans and passata until well combined. Turn the flame to low- medium and allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes until the cauliflower is very tender (melt-in-you-mouth) and the sauce is well-infused into the vegetables.  Add water if the mixture appears a little dry. 10 minutes later, season with salt and pepper.

To serve, scatter the corn chips on a parchment paper lined baking tray and spoon the cauliflower-bean mixture all over. Finish off with some grated cheese on top, blistered in the oven using the grill function.  Scatter with chopped coriander and a drizzling of avocado-yoghurt sauce.

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[Recreation - Out & About] An Afternoon in Bathurst, NSW

{Vintage style lamp posts dot the city roads}

I resided in Bathurst for a year before moving back to Orange. Bathurst has eventually grown on me especially it has specialty shops that are not available in Orange. Plus, there’s Target in Bathurst. I love shopping in Target and it kinda sucks to drive 40 minutes just to shop in Target from Orange. But I suppose for city dwellers, 40 minutes drive from point A to B is no big deal. So please forgive me for being spoilt by the traffic-jam-free-and-everything-is-so-close-together-in-regional-towns lifestyle.

Anyway, two Saturdays ago, my beloved had to attend a work conference in Bathurst and I volunteered to accompany him with the desire of revisiting my favourite spots in Bathurst.

{The Begonia House in Machattie Park}

{I couldn’t resist to check out what’s new in The Naked Bud – a treasure trove of retro and vintage items and cloting.}

{Shops filled with partyware and decorative items have never failed to make me happy.  The Party Table is a place where I seek inspiration for styling my food photos. I love how the partyware is organised by various themes and colours. I love everything the shop has to offer, like a child in a candy store. And of course, I couldn’t help but to bring some chic napkins and girly baking cases home with me. :)}

{If you want a place to rest your tired soles and re-energised after hours of wandering around, The Hub is the place to be. Hip and modern decor, decent prices and most importantly great food – I thoroughly enjoy my vegetable plate with tempura tofu and haloumi. To quench my thirst, I’ve ordered the fruit juice of the day – apple and cranberry juice – and it was refreshing!}

{The sweet ending of the trip was the Annie’s ice cream parlour. When I was living in Bathurst, getting a small tub of homemade macademia ice cream used to be my Friday after-work routine.  Unfortunately I couldn’t find an ice cream shop in Orange that could rival Annie’s. Oh, and they make really good ice cream cakes too!}

  • The Naked Bud – to see more of their vintage goods, please check out the Facebook page here.
  • The Party Table – check out their online store and blog over here.
  • The Hub – check out the latest update from their Facebook page here.

Thanks for your hospitality and letting me take photos in your shops! :)

 

Dear readers, this is not a sponsored post. I did not received any remuneration (or compensation) in any shape or form for these special features.