Taste of Home: Stuffed chicken breasts

Tuesday morning was scorching hot and I wasn’t really feel inspired to cook and I hadn’t planned anything for lunch. Plus, when I asked my boys what they want for lunch, they said “I don’t know”.

So, I checked what we had in the fridge. I found chicken breasts and some vegetables. Then, I came up with this idea randomly: stuffed chicken breasts.

Stuffed chicken breasts

Stuffed chicken breasts

It turned out to be insanely good packed with colorful flavor. I served it with mashed potato prepared by hubby (leftover from Monday lunch) and stir-fry broccoli.

It’s super easy and you can stuff the chicken breasts with whatever vegetables you want.

What you will need:

  • 4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 large shallots, sliced
  • 2 tsp chicken powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp oregano,
  • freshly crashed red Kampot pepper to taste
  • some shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • some fresh parsley, chopped

Stuffed chicken breasts

Stuffed chicken breasts

How to make it:

  1. Make slits in each chicken. Make sure you do not cut through completely.
  2. Seasoned with chicken powder, paprika and freshly crashed red Kampot pepper.
  3. Stuff with shallots, tomatoes and yellow bell pepper and sprinkle oregano.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Sprinkle cheddar cheese.
  6. Put the chicken in a preheated oven to 220⁰C and bake it for 25 minutes.
  7. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley.
  8. Et voila – lunch is ready! Serve, share and enjoy with your loved ones!

 

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Taste of Home: Savory French Leek Tart

The first time I tasted Leek Tart was during our holiday in France when my mom-in-law made it for us. I love it and it’s one of my husband’s favorite foods. So when we came back from our holidays, I tried to make it at home. And this recipe is inspired by mom-in-law.

Savory French Leek Tart

To be honest, I hadn’t tried leeks since my childhood until I met my husband. But now I am loving it together with my family simply because it has a distinct rich flavor and it’s luscious. Plus, we love the sweet smell of leeks while it’s cooking especially when it started to caramelize. My husband usually used leeks in soup, and now I’m using it in tarts.

In my recipe, I prefer to use homemade pie crust (from scratch), homemade béchamel/white sauce, and for the fillings sometimes I added bacon with the leeks or just leeks. I don’t use eggs.

Leek tart without bacon

Leek tart with bacon

This leek tart recipe is quite easy. It makes a great brunch or lunch with side green salad. You can eat it as an appetizer or main course. For us, it is best served with a good white Sauvignon Blanc or Champagne and enjoy it with your loved ones.

What you will need for the fillings:

  • 8 leeks
  • 8 stripes bacon, slightly cooked (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • freshly crashed red Kampot pepper to taste
  • Emmentel cheese, grated

What you will need for the béchamel sauce:

  • 20 grams salted butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk

What you will need for the pie crust:

  • 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp white refined sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 20 grams salted butter at room temperature
  • ¼ cup of cold water

Leek tart

Preparation:

  1. Make pie crust.
    • In a mixing bowl put the flour, butter and sugar. Mix well.
    • In a separate small bowl, cracked the egg to make sure that it’s a good one and to remove some eggshells. Then put in into the mixture. Mix well.
    • Add the cold water little by little until you get the desired consistency. Mix well.
    • Form into a big ball.
    • Wrap it with a plastic wrap.
    • Refrigerate it while you are preparing the béchamel sauce and the fillings.
    • After you refrigerate it, flour the surface of the working area.
    • Roll it out to your desired thickness. Make sure the edges extend a couple of inches beyond the 9-inch pie plate.

homemade pie crust

2. Make béchamel sauce.

    • In a small bowl, put 1 tbsp of all-purpose flour. Add some water. Stir it thoroughly.
    • In a small cooking pot, put the butter, the milk and flour mixture. Keep stirring for about 5 minutes.
    • Set aside.

3. Make the fillings.

    • Thoroughly clean the leeks because some sands and other dirt often caught between the layers.
    • Cut the leeks. When you cut the leeks you can smell their acidity and it is burning your eyes.
    • Cut the bacon into small stripes or cubes. Then in a small frying pan, put the bacon and cooked it for 5 minutes.
    • Put the leeks in a cooking pan. Stir.
    • When the leeks have been caramelized, add bacon. Mix well.
    • Seasoned with salt and freshly crashed red Kampot pepper according to your taste. (You can use whatever pepper you like. My family and I prefer red Kampot pepper – it’s tasty and fruity.)
    • Let it cook for 5 minutes. Set aside.

leeks

leeks

4. Putting together.

    • Preheat your oven to 200⁰C.
    • Put the pastry and press it into a pie plate. Fix up any tears. Finish off the ragged ends into a neat edge.
    • Pour the filings into the pastry.
    • Bake it for 35 minutes.
    • Top it with grated Emmentel cheese, 15 minutes before the timer stops.
    • Allow the tart to cool off for 30 minutes after you take it out from the oven so that the cheese and leeks set and also to keep its shape.

ready to be shoved into the oven

5. Slice, serve, share and enjoy!

Taste of Home: Apple pie

Oh apples – we love apples and we love pie. And apple pie is our new quintessential dessert – it warms me and my family up from the inside out. It’s so delicious, healthy and we all love it.

Apple pie

So what makes this apple pie stand out for us?

  • We love the simplicity of this dish. It’s easy – just mix everything together into a bowl then pour the mixture into a homemade crust. And while it’s in the oven, it makes the house smell incredible and everybody loves it.
  • We love the combination of flour, apples, spice, a delicious golden crust and everything nice. And to make it healthier I used honey instead of sugar. I also tried making it with all green apples and a mixture of green and red apples – they both taste lovely. We love the balance of flavors – it’s just right!

I was on a cloud nine when my succulent homemade circle of happiness was a success, and I was over the moon when I learned that a slice of it makes everyone feel better.

Apple pie

So, here’s my simple, easy and scrumptious recipe of Apple Pie that could warm the hearts of your loved ones. Could there be anything better?

Ingredients for the pie crust:

  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup of cold water
  • 20 grams of butter at room temperature
  • 4 tbsp of white refined sugar
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • 1 large egg

Ingredients for the fillings:

  • 6 green apples OR 4 Fuji red apples + 2 green apples.
  • 4 tbsp of flour
  • 5 tbsp of honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground ginger

Apple pie

Preparation:

1.Make the pie crust.

  • Mix the flour, egg, butter, salt, sugar, and cold water until the flour is moistened.
  • Sprinkle some more cold water on it a little at a time until you achieve the consistency of dough.
  • Form into a two big balls. Place it on a plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
  • Flour the surface of the working area.
  • Roll it out to your desired thickness. Make sure the edges extend a couple of inches beyond the 9-inch pie plate.
  • Press it into the pie plate. Fix up any tears. Finish off the ragged ends into a neat edge.

2. Make the fillings.

  • Sliced the apples into wedges. Make sure to get rid of stems, seeds and brown spots. Set aside.
  • In a small dry bowl, combine the flour, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger and salt. Mix them well.
  • Arrange the apples into the pie crust to avoid spaces. Then add the sauce from the apple mixture.
  • Refrigerate while preparing the cover of the pie.

the main ingredient

apple pie

3.Make the cover of the pie.

  • Roll the dough out to your desired thickness.
  • Cut the dough into stripes.
  • Put the stripes on top of the apples to cover the pie. Weave the dough stripes (alternating the stripes in and out).
  • Press the edges. Cover the edge with tin foil.
  • Brush some melted butter on the stripes to make it a little bit brown.

Ready to be shoved into the oven.

apple pie – yum!

4. Preheat the oven for 5 minutes.

5. Bake the apple pie at 200⁰C for about 50 minutes.

6. Let it cool for about 3 hours before serving.

7. Et voila – apple pie is ready! Serve, share and enjoy!

 

Taste of Home: Soft Dinner Rolls

Since we don’t eat rice every day, I decided to make soft dinner rolls for tonight’s supper to pair with hubby’s soupe de legumes.

Soft dinner rolls

Dinner rolls fresh from the oven

We love bread. We love soft dinner rolls. We love it especially when we dip the roll in the soup or when we sweep the last drop of sauce on our plate. Hmmm…it’s so delicious. So for us, the softer and fluffier, the better!

Soft dinner rolls

I made a batch of these fluffiest of all fluffy dinner rolls. It’s light, soft and squishy. Plus, it goes along well with salad, soup, sauce, gravy, etc.

In this recipe, there’s nothing complicated about making these rolls. Although it’s just a snap to make it at home but it requires quite a long time to prepare as it has 2 sets of rising times – about 3 hours for the preparation (including the rising time) and about 25 minutes baking time. Likewise, I use simple ingredients (you can find them easily at the supermarket). Plus, I don’t use a mixer to make the dough (if you don’t have a mixer don’t worry), but if you have one, please feel free to use it.

Soft dinner rolls

While it’s in the oven, my family and I love the intoxicating aroma of the bread baking – the smell of the warm fresh bread wafting through the kitchen and into every nook and cranny in our house.

I promise, you are going to love it!

Soft dinner rolls

Ingredients for 16 rolls:

  • ½ cup warm water
  • 3 tbsp salted butter, melted
  • ½ cup milk, slightly warm
  • 4 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 ½ tsp yeast
  • 4 cups all – purpose flour
  • olive oil

soft dinner rolls dough

Soft dinner rolls

How to make it:

  • Activate the yeast in a mixing bowl. Put in ½ cup of warm water, 1 tbsp of white sugar and the yeast. You need to add sugar to feed the yeast so it would be activated. Let it rest for about 5 minutes. Mix it well.
  • Add milk, melted butter, the rest of the sugar, salt and egg to the yeast mixture. Mix well. Add all – purpose flour. Mix it thoroughly.
  • Flour (a wee bit) the working area.
  • Knead the dough until it becomes softer and no more leftover on your fingers.
  • Once the dough looks nice and smooth, form it into a big ball.
  • Lightly oil a bowl. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil and put it into an oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap. Place it in a warm place in your house.  Let the dough rest for an hour and half to allow it to rise.
  • Butter a 30cm X 15cm baking pan. Set aside.
  • Once the dough has risen well (double in size). Knead the dough. Flatten it.
  • Form the dough into small rolls.
  • Arranged the rolls in the pan. Cover it with a plastic wrap and let it rest for another hour so that it would rise.
  • Preheat oven at 180⁰C for 5 minutes. Bake it for 25 minutes.
  • Once the rolls are baked, brush them over with a light coating of melted butter.
  • Et voila! Enjoy!

Cambodia: Explore Mondulkiri for its romance in rolling hills

Mondulkiri is a special destination to visit in Cambodia. It is a very different place from the flat, steaming-hot capital city, Phnom Penh. The chock full of natural beauty, the thickly forested mountains, the powerful waterfalls, the lush green rolling hills, the Cambodian aboriginal community, the mild temperatures, the off-the-beaten-tourist trail, the variety of languages used – Khmer, hill tribe languages, Vietnamese, Laos and the tranquility of the place offer such a contrast when compared to Phnom Penh. I love it!

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

While traveling from the Penh to Mondulkiri, I couldn’t help but exclaimed, “Wow, it feels like we are traveling to the French countryside!” because of the manicured landscape and the quality of the road.

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Once there, we walked through the forest, ambled hills after hills and did a lot of sightseeing. While hiking, I imagined several scenes from the movie “The Hobbit” especially when Gandalf entered Hobbiton and when Bilbo jumped over the fence and said, “I’m going on an adventure!” Mondulkiri is very picturesque. Certainly, our adventure there was nothing less than spectacular and it was one of the most wonderful experience in Cambodia for us.

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Little Lilly travel tips:

  • The town of Sen Monorom is the best base camp for travelers who want to explore the surrounding areas.

Cambodia: Waterfall hopping in Ratanakiri

We fell in love with the natural beauty of the hidden treasures of Ratanakiri, which are off-the-beaten-track and unbeknownst to the tourist crowds. So, since Ratanakiri is home to stunning waterfalls we decided to do waterfall hopping.

Cha Ong Waterfall in Ratanakiri

Cha Ong Waterfall

We went there during the rainy season and we could only visit 4 waterfalls as some roads were not accessible – very slippery, very muddy. On our way to the falls, I felt like I was traveling back to the earliest beginning of the world when the big trees were kings. We saw a lot of plantations and some impenetrable forest. The air was cold, thick and sluggish, and there was no joy in the brilliance of the sun.

Ratanakiri

The water level of each waterfall was huge and strong, and the sound was impressive. The waterfalls were all gorgeous, refreshing, cool and each one is picture perfect.

If walking through dense jungle and lush green canopies is your idea of fun, then waterfall hopping in Ratanakiri should be on your Cambodia’s bucket list. So to help you on your next adventure, here’s our top 4 best and more accessible waterfalls in Ratanakiri for you to discover.

Ratanakiri

Ratanakiri

Ou’Sean Lair Waterfall

It has 7 steps and it is located in a deep jungle surrounded by beautiful landscapes. The water flows throughout the year. On the way to the waterfall, you will see villages and mines. You can also visit the zircon gemstones mining company.

Ou’Sean Lair Waterfall in Ratanakiri

Ou’Sean Lair Waterfall in Ratanakiri

Ou’Sean Lair Waterfall in Ratanakiri

Ou’Sean Lair Waterfall in Ratanakiri

Ou’Sean Lair Waterfall in Ratanakiri

Ka Chanh Waterfall

The waterfall is 12 meters high. One of the main attractions there is the suspension bridge right before the waterfall – great photo on the hanging bridge. There were also traditional houses in the area for you to explore. Once there, we got some amazing pictures and truly enjoyed the experience. For us it is the most charming waterfall.

Ka Chanh Waterfall

Ka Chanh Waterfall

Ka Chanh Waterfall

Katieng Waterfall

It is about 10 meters high and it’s in an interesting geological formation which has resulted in a cave forming into the cliff that faces both sides of the water. The highlight there is the elephant ride on the top of the waterfall, and feeding and bathing the elephants.

Katieng Waterfall

Katieng Waterfall

Katieng Waterfall

Katieng Waterfall

Katieng Waterfall

Katieng Waterfall

Cha Ong Waterfall

Cha ong waterfall is amazing and our favorite because you can go behind and explore a bit – there’s like a huge cave behind the waterfall. It is surrounded by such splendid nature and it is very jungle like.

Cha Ong Waterfall

Cha Ong Waterfall

Cha Ong Waterfall

Cha Ong Waterfall

Cha Ong Waterfall

Cha Ong Waterfall

Cha Ong Waterfall

Taste of Home: Jardinière de légumes

Our dining table is always a hangout for a bowl of greens as we enjoy this healthy dose of vegetables in our everyday meal. In spite of the countless health benefits we can get from eating salads, we love it simply because we can always go creative with the way we eat it.

Jardinière de légumes

One of our favorite salad dishes is “Jardinière de légumes”. In English, it means “vegetables from the garden” but personally, I prefer the French name – it sounds fancy, sweet and sophisticated. lol.Image result for wink emoji

This salad is easy to make – I just toss whatever fresh and organic vegetables I could find at the Green O’Farm greengrocer then drizzle it with homemade lemon yogurt mustard mayo sauce, one of our favorite salad dressings. Jardinière de legumes is bursting with nutritious ingredients, and full of delicious flavors and textures.

Jardinière de légumes

Voilà! This simple, budget, vibrant salad in minutes with lettuce, peppers, avocado, green apples, cucumbers and shallots truly makes a perfect dinner! What could be easier?

Ingredients:

Jardinière de légumes

  • lettuce
  • 1 small avocado, cube
  • 1 small green apple, cube
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 big size shallots (red onion), cut lengthwise
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled and cube
  • Kampot black pepper, freshly crashed, to taste
  • salt, to taste

Lemon yogurt mustard mayo sauce

  • lemon juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kampot red pepper, freshly crashed, to taste
  • salt, to taste

Lemon yogurt mustard mayo sauce

How to prepare:

  1. In a small bowl, toss together the lemon juice, mayonnaise, mustard, plain yogurt, olive oil, pepper and salt. Mix until well combined. Chill until serving.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together all the vegetables.
  3. Serve, share and enjoy.