Jun 11, 2024

Apple and Honey Black Tea (The Blender Way)

What do you use when making juice? Blender or fancy cold press juicer? I've only got my old blender here so I had to add some water when making apple juice. However, if you're using juicer, lucky you to have a more condensed and sweeter apple juice to incorporate to the final drink.


Apple and honey black tea - 


Apple and honey black tea


Ingredients (for 3 portions)?

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons black tea leaves (or tea bags)
  • 1200ml hot water 
  • 4 medium apples
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons honey
  • 2 cups icy cold water
  • Some ice cubes (optional)


How?

Let's start with brewing the black tea. Simply follow the instruction for the tea leaves or tea bags using and make two big glasses of tea. 


Brewing black tea

I used 1200ml hot water for the tea and used about 2 tablespoons of tea leaves. The brewing time varies too. Also if you prefer a stronger tea flavor, try to brew for extra one minute.


Strain out the tea leaves or remove teabags once done. Transfer the hot tea to the fridge and wait till completely cool-off. You can use the leftover tea leaves or tea bags to brew more tea to drink along the way if the flavor still holds.


Peel the apples and slice some fine cubes on the side. The rest cut into chunks and add to the blender. 


Prepping apples to tiny cubes and chunks

We are using about 4 cups of apple cubes. Also pour in 2 cups of cold water to the blender and blend till smooth. Strain the juice and leave the pulp aside. Try to press down the pulp to draw out more juice. 


Making fresh apple juice

The portion is about 600ml of cold black tea plus 1 cup of apple juice plus 1 to 2 teaspoons of honey if using. Add that to the clean blender and blend till evenly incorporated.


Add about 1 to 2 spoonful of tiny apple cubes to the serving glass then pour over the prepped fruity tea. It's up to you if you would like to serve with ice cubes or not.


Apple and honey black tea

So what to do with the leftover pulp? I actually saved them and stored in the fridge. Sometimes I would just take a spoon and eat the pulp plain like a healthy snack. But you know what? The best way to utilize the pulp is to either marinade the pork with it or use in pork braise. 


Apple and honey black tea

Apple pairs really well with pork, so when use in a marinade, it'll not only provide flavors but also slightly tenderize the meat. If use in a stew or braise, the pulp will act like a minimal sweetening agent, especially good when used in an Asian soy sauce based stew. 


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Jun 5, 2024

Paccheri with Tuna in Red Bell Pepper Sauce (Portion for Two)

Half way through my cooking I suddenly realized that the vendor forgot to put fresh dill in my grocery bag. This dish wouldn't be complete without a touch of any herbal note, so I started searching the fridge to see if there's any leftover herbs, let it be parsley or chives, both will do.


Guess what? Of course there weren't any left in my fridge. I tend to use up all the ingredients I bought whenever possible every time I cook. And I got scared of growing my own herbs here in Taiwan, too many bugs especially caterpillars always seemed to favor my plants for some reason.


Good thing is that I have plenty of dried herbs in the pantry to choose from, so I picked dried thyme instead. In fact, I'm quite happy with the result switching to dried thyme, giving this pasta dish a new set of aroma different from what I first imagined. A good and delightful twist in the end.


Paccheri with tuna in red bell pepper sauce - 


Paccheri with tuna in red bell pepper sauce


Ingredients (about two portions)?

  • 240 grams tuna 
  • 200 grams paccheri pasta 
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • Few shallots
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup drinkable hot water
  • Some olive oil
  • Some salt


How?

Destem and remove the pits from the red bell pepper then give it a rough chop. Peel and rough chop the garlic clove and shallots. We will need about 1/4 cup of chopped shallots in the end.


If using fresh herb, give it a fine chop and set aside. Zest one lemon and save for later. Halve the lemon or slice into wedges so it'll be easier to squeeze out the juice shortly after.


Diced sashimi grade tuna

Cube the tuna, I actually used sashimi grade tuna because that's the only chunky piece of tuna I can find in the market. 


Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and switch to medium heat. Add in chopped shallots and garlic, cook till aromatic.


There is no need to finely chop the shallots nor the garlic because we are going to blend them into a smooth paste after cooking.


Add the chopped red bell pepper to the pan and stir-fry for couple minutes. Pour in 1/2 cup of drinkable hot water and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Let it boil for a little bit.


Cooking aromatics and red bell pepper before blending

Pour the whole thing to a food processor. Perhaps wait a few minutes for the temperature to drop a little. Then blend till it forms smooth sauce. You can also use hand held blender to finish the task.


Blending red bell pepper and aromatics

Bring out a big pot and add in good amount of water to cook the pasta. Add few good pinches of salt to the water and bring to a boil. Add in the paccheri pasta and cook till al dente. I usually would cook the pasta till "almost" al dente, but the paccheri I used here has a tougher bite so cook a little longer should be fine. You can adjust the cooking time based on your ingredients and preference instead.


So back to the sauce, pour it to the pan and use medium heat to bring the temperature up again. When the pasta is done cooking, drain and transfer to the pan here. Toss and mix.


Combining red bell pepper sauce and paccheri pasta

Add in diced tuna and give it a good toss. 


Mixing in diced tuna to the paccheri pasta

Continue to cook for 30 seconds to about a minute. Add in the lemon zest and squeeze some lemon juice, about 1 tablespoon. Also mix in the herbs and give the pasta a few tosses again.


Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Otherwise drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and give it a few last tosses. Plate and serve. 


Paccheri with tuna in red bell pepper sauce

If you can't get a hold of tuna, swordfish or mahi mahi are two good alternatives for this recipe. 


Paccheri with tuna in red bell pepper sauce

Mister had it for dinner and thought the pasta was tomato based sauce just because of the red color. It's fun to see the surprise showing on his face when I told him there's no tomato involved. 

 

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