Mango & Pistachio Chocolate bark + Day in Bristol

4/18/2019


So lately I started to realise that I am very proud when I say that I study in England, but somehow, I barely have seen anything from England, apart from the city where I study and London. I did not come all this way to see barely anything, I must and will explore more. So I went to Bristol, a vibrant and energetic city, with a new friend who is studying here for only a few months. 


Before I went to Bristol, I already knew a few spots where I wanted to go. I wanted to get lunch at the Florist, a gorgeous little restaurant at Park Street. The Florist is famous for their interior and special cocktails. We did not had any cocktails (since it only just turned noon), but we did had an incredible lunch. They don't have typical lunch food (like sandwiches), it is more like dinner food. Which was fine, but not what we expected.
I went with a raw Pad Thai salad and grilled seabass, Moana went for the gnocchi. Both dishes looked stunning and the Pad Thai salad was so good, I can't say anything bad about it.

After lunch, we got advised by one of the members of staff to go to Cabot Tower and the Suspension Bridge, which we did go to. To reach the top of the Cabot tower, you had to climb these really narrow stairs and it felt like there was no end to it. But once you reached the top, you had an amazing view over the whole of Bristol city. 
We walked to the Suspension Bridge, which was quite a walk, not going to lie. We walked passed the Clifton Village district, which had a famous bakery in it. ANNA Cake Couture, they are famous for their wedding cakes and special flavours in macaroons. If you ever come in Bristol, please grab yourself a box of ANNA macaroons, they are the absolute best. I can honestly say that I never had better macaroons than this one (even when I was in Paris). I choose flavours like ginger and white chocolate, Rose and raspberry, and earl grey and lavender.  Which were all great. 

We ended the day with a stroll trough the St. Nicholas Market, which is so pretty and they sell loads of street food. From vegan cakes to falafel wraps. The smells were incredible, unfortunately we just had our lunch. After we had big shopping session at the Cabot Circus Shopping mall and dinner at the Italian place Zizzi. 

Mango & Pistachio Chocolate Bark

When I was still in high school, I had a friend who sometimes made me a "chocolate pizza", basically a huge chocolate bar with loads of toppings on it, like M&Ms, oreo, cookie crumble, peanuts etc. I was absolutely obsessed with it, but haven't had it in years. Last weekend, I decided to give it my own twist, and came up with a mango and pistachio chocolate "pizza", or chocolate bark. It is so good that it is addictive. Plus, it brings all my childhood memories back.

The dried mango works so, so well on chocolate. It makes it a bit chewy and so sweet, it is perfect in combination with dark chocolate. The pistachio nuts make it a bit more crunchy, gives it a little bit of a bite and texture. The coconut flakes are just a nice extra and the salt tickles another taste spectrum, so it is not sweet on sweet on sweet.

Ingredients
- 1/2 cup pistachio nuts
- 1/2 cup dried mango, chopped
- 1/4 cup coconut flakes
- 7 ounces good quality dark chocolate
- 3,5 ounces good quality white chocolate
- Pinch of salt

Method

  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper
  2. Melt the dark chocolate until smooth and spread it in an even layer over the baking tray. Melt the white chocolate in the same way and pour this over the dark chocolate, run a knife trough it to make a desired marble effect.
  3. Scatter the chopped mango, coconut flakes and pistachio nuts over the chocolate, pressing them in a little to make it "stick". Sprinkle a tiny bit of salt over the top as well.
  4. Put the whole tray in the fridge for at least 1 hour. When completely harden you can break them up in uneven, big chunks and store them in a container in the fridge. 

What would you love to have on your chocolate pizza?

Family recipe: Masala Chicken

3/28/2019

The recipe that I am sharing with you today, lies very close to my heart, since it is a family recipe of Masala chicken that has been made for generations. This is not your typical chicken masala, it is different from the Indian curries that we know, but it is honestly so much better. The chicken almost falls off the bone, the sauce is packed with flavour, and the best thing is that it is made within 20 minutes. It's been in my family for generations for a reason.

Also, please tell me that you have seen Peaky Blinders, I am obsessed! Tommy Shelby is officially my new man crush.  I know that I am a little bit late to the party, but I recently got introduced and could not stop watching it ever since. Only six episodes in and I already completely understand why this man got the Peaky Blinders cast tattooed on his entire back. The cinematography is mind-blowing and there are so many diverse characters in this show. 
Peaky Blinders gives you a great sense of what Birmingham (UK) is like after the first world war. We follow a family that is known as the Peaky Blinders, who are all about power and money. A police man out of town is looking to stop this family, but that does not seem easy. 

The last time that I was this obsessed with a tv-series, was when I started watching Outlander, which is about Claire, a married nurse from 1945, who is swept back in time to Scotland in 1743. She is forced to marry Jamie Fraser, a young Scottish warrior (hello, man crush #2), their relationships makes Claire choose between two vastly different men in two different lives.
I was so obsessed with Outlander, that I actually went to Scotland for a few days, to attend a fan club weekend and travel all their film-sets. It was an amazing experience, since I got to meet the cast and walk around in the most beautiful handmade, 17th century inspired dress. 

Also, I have finished the series Dirty John a couple weeks ago. If you liked You, then you should definitely give Dirty John a go. Based on a true story and that makes it far more mind blowing and well, kinda scary. My mom recommended it to me one evening, and two days later I was done with the whole show already. The storyline was so unpredictable and it kept me hooked. Connie Britton was fantastic as Deb and the storytelling was phenomenal. Each episode was a rollercoaster and I was definitely shocked at the end. Highly recommend if you're looking for a new series to binge watch.

Something I have been making a lot recently is a recipe that has been in my family for decades. It is a special version of masala chicken, that my grandma used to make me whenever I came over to her place and my mom made it almost on a weekly basis.

Since I live on my own, I had to give it a go and make it myself. It took me a lot of practise and experimenting, but I finally got the hang of it and almost made it taste like I was home again. This recipe only takes 20 minutes maximum for me to make, and since I cook it in big batches, I will have enough chicken for the whole week. Which makes this a very cheap recipe as well.

I gave this recipe my own personal twist by adding Garam Masala powder, coriander on top and loads of ginger. The ginger combines the flavours in this dish, because, let me tell you, it is PACKED with so much flavour. I usually serve it with plain, white rice and some sautéed vegetables on the side.  

Family recipe: Masala Chicken


Ingredients
- 1kg chicken drumsticks
- 1 1/2 tbs tomato puree
- 1 1/2 tbs Kicap Manis
- 1tbs curry powder
- 1tbs garam masala powder
- 1 red onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 inch ginger, minced
- beef stock cube
- 1tbs coconut oil (or any other oil)
- Black pepper and salt
- 1 1/2 cup boiling water

For assembling 
- Coriander
- Sesame seeds
- Rice

Method
  1. In a large wok, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger, and cook until the onion to get golden and soften. Add the beef stock cube and break it up. Stir until the onion is coated.
  2. Add the tomato puree, Kicap Manis, curry and garam masala powder, some pepper and salt. Stir until it is all combined and leave it for 2 minutes. Add the boiling water and stir until all incorporated.
  3. Add the chicken in the pan, cover the wok and let it steam for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, turn the chicken around and reduce the heat to medium.
  4. Leave the chicken on for about 15 minutes. If needed, you can add some more boiling water. Serve warm, with rice. 

Do you have a typical family recipe?

Apple Caramel Cinnamon Pancakes + Exciting news

3/21/2019

You guys! You won't believe what just happened. I finally got an official work placement secured. And guess where this is? In the heart of Hong Kong, aka, the other side of the world and probably my favourite city! If you have been following my placement search along, you probably know how stressful it was to find a placement, so when I received this opportunity, I jumped 20 meters in the air.

I have been corresponding with this company for over a few weeks now. They are a freight-forwarding company, specialised in airfreight and sea freight. 
The plan for me is to start in the marketing department, with a focus on the Transpacific lane to the US/Canada/Latin-America. Later on, I will be going to different departments to develop a solid grasp of the freight forwarding industry and also be able to expand my horizon in order to better plan and develop my future career. 

I have been in England now for the past one and a half year and will be living in Shanghai for one month this June, to study at the Shanghai Maritime University. In Juli, I will be moving to Hong Kong for this placement of six months. After those six months, my options are still open. I have a study placement opportunity in Miami, but I am still awaiting of the response of a few universities in Australia. Unfortunately, I won't hear back from them until September.

To celebrate this news, I made these apple cinnamon pancakes, my favourite pancakes ever. Okay, picture this; Fluffy apple pancakes patiently waiting for the caramel sauce to drip down. The tea is hot, the pancakes are fluffy, and the chunky apple caramel compote is sweet with a slight stinginess of the apple and lemon. Your knife slides effortlessly into the tender and soft pancakes and you know you're in for a treat. To me, there isn't a more perfect way to celebrate this news than a plate of pancakes, piled high, topped with cream or fresh fruits. Or in this case, a homemade apple caramel compote.

I ate pancakes similar to these in a small brunch cafe in Rotterdam. They were so good, but I couldn't eat them all since they were so mighty. Ever since, I have been trying to perfect a recipe that would top theirs, and I think that I finally found a recipe that is even better. These are super light and fluffy, they will make your heart happy.

I know I say this about every recipe, but you have to promise me that you make these! They are an absolute game changer. Honestly. I always thought that pancakes are so much work and especially apple pancakes, since they probably need so many different ingredients. But that's not the case at all! I made a stack of 12 pancakes within 15 minutes, from start to finish.

What is your favourite pancake recipe?

Apple Caramel Cinnamon Pancakes

12 pancakes || 20 minutes

Ingredients
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1tbs baking powder
- 2tsp (coconut) sugar
- 1/4tsp salt
-1tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2tsp ground ginger
- 1/4tsp ground cardamon
- 1cup (almond) milk
- 1 large egg
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 3tbs melted butter, cooled
- 1 apple, shredded

Apple compote
- 2 medium apples
- 1/2tsp ground cinnamon
- 1tbs (coconut) sugar
- 1tbs lemon juice
- 3tbs unsalted butter

Method

  1. To make the apple compote, dice up the apples, I kept the peel on. Heat a small saucepan over low to medium heat. Add the apples, cinnamon, sugar, butter and lemon juice, give it a stir and bring it to a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring from time to time, until the apples are fork tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  2. For the pancakes, in a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cardamon. Add the milk, egg, vanilla extract, butter and shredded apple to the dry mixture and mix until well combined.
  3. Heat up a large skillet or a non stick pan, over medium heat. Scoop the batter in the warm pan and bake for 1-2 minutes, and then flip. Cook on both side until both sides are browned. Serve with the apple compote.

If you try this recipe, share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #chynnaskitchen so I can see your creations!

5 minute Yum yum sauce + 2019 goals

3/14/2019

Let's talk, it's been a while. The past three months I took a little break from this blog. this was a time where I was questioning everything, my life was pretty up side down and I basically had to reset my mindset. But, I am back! Happy and well. Probably the happiest I have been in months, which is pretty good. 
Today I have a pretty long blogpost for you, sharing my top three goals for 2019. I am also sharing a basic sauce recipe that you can use for anything. It is called Yum Yum sauce (say what?) and it is good on top of grilled chicken, as a salad dressing or maybe even as a dipping sauce. So, grab a cup of tea and make yourself comfortable, because this is a long one.

Drink enough water and eat healthier
I like to believe that I already eat very healthy, and I do! Like, I eat vegetables with every single meal of the day and I have at least two pieces of fruit a day. But sometimes that chocolate bar slips in, and you know, Sunday morning is pancake morning? I have always had problematic skin and I am a firm believer of what you eat is what you become. If you eat loads of sugar, you will see that in your skin. There is actually a really interesting podcast by SecondLife, who was interviewing Kelly LeVeque, she is an expert on this topic. You can listen to that podcast here. 
Lately, I have been making an effort to watch my sugar, diary and gluten intake. It's not that I am super strict with it, I don't want it to dominate my life (I still like my pancakes!), but I do have seen a difference in my health and skin after cutting these three things out. My skin has been lots better, I still break out from now and then, but less dramatic. Not only that, I also feel like I have a constant energy level and a better overall health.
I also want to drink at least 2 litres of water a day, this doesn't include the cups of green tea that I drink as well (I do love my tea). Again, this is mainly for skin care reasons, but water also has other health benefits. So far, so good.

Get a placement sorted
I am in my second year of my studies now, and my third year is going to be a year abroad. This can be anywhere in the world. In my past blogposts, you could have read that I applied for a position at the United Nations. Unfortunately, they couldn't offer a place to a second year student so I had to keep on searching.
Luckily, I got enrolled into a Shanghai summer school for a whole month this June, which is going to be great! It is mainly focussed on Maritime business and the Chinese language. After this, I would love to work in HongKong. At the moment, I am discussing a placement opportunity with a freight forwarding company there, which would be an absolute dream if I could get the job. This would be for six months, and after those six months I will probably be studying in Australia or New Zealand, which isn't that bad either. Unfortunately, I won't hear back from the uni's in Aussie or NZ till September, but luckily I do got a back up place sorted in Florida, USA. 

Get moving
I recently got an Apple watch, which tracks how much you move a day. I must say, I never thought I would use it, but it is really interesting. It inspires me to move every day, for at least half an hour. Like a walk to the seafront, or even going to the gym. As long as I completed my workout circle on the watch and got 10,000 steps in, I am happy. 
I do go to the gym 3 times a week (most weeks) and still ride horses once a week. So, I like to believe that I am quite active, but I would love to be active every day. 
On the 7th of April, I will be doing a 1/4 marathon in Rotterdam. I haven't trained for it yet and this the first 1/4 marathon I will be running in 2 years! The last one was the exact same marathon, but in 2017. oops. Should start training now.. Maybe tomorrow ;)

Other goals I have include practising self-care and gratitude. This is one of the more important goals I have for the year, but so far I am doing really good. I have been the happiest I have ever been in months, made new friends and found loads of new opportunities.
Another goal I have is to read 25 pages of a book every night, or listen to a podcast. At the moment, I am reading the Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. I would love to review books on this blog as well as sharing recipes of course. Maybe when I do, I share a recipe inspired by that book? That sounds quite fun. 

Yum Yum Sauce

The recipe that I have for you today is a basic sauce, that is absolutely delicious. You can have it with chips, on a burrito or a wrap, grilled chicken or maybe even as a salad dressing. It is slightly sweet and a little bit smokey from the smoked paprika powder.
Yum Yum sauce, isn't that the best name ever? No, I did not make that up. This sauce is often served at Japanese hibachi restaurants and has the best given name ever. Another good thing about this sauce? It's made within 5 minutes.

Ingredients
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons water

Method
Whisk all the ingredients together, and thats it. You're done. Rock on!

I like to add the water last, so I can control the thickness. I sometimes like it quite runny to drizzle on top of things, but for as a dipping sauce, I like it a bit more thick. 

    What are your goals for 2019?

    Shredded Chicken & Chorizo Pot Pie

    12/22/2018


    This Shredded Chicken and Chorizo Pot Pie is the perfect dinner to feed family and friends. Shredded chicken, colourful veggies, and spicy chorizo, all mixed together in a thick, flavourful sauce and topped with flaky puff pastry. Bake this as one large pie like I did or as small cute mini pies. Either way, this pot pie recipe is sure to be a hit with everyone. Its filled with flavour, full of fresh herbs, spicy chorizo, and it's beyond delicious. 

    I don't make pot pies that often, I was fearful that they would be bland and boring. But I think the secret to a good pot pie is using fresh herbs and letting the stew cook as long as possible. Its been my experience that low and slow is always the way to go when it comes to stews, especially for this chicken pot pie. When you cook the chicken long enough it will fall apart, and you get this lovely shredded chicken. So if you can, cook it all day and then assemble the pie when you come home from work or wherever. 

    Oh and I have to say, if you are trying to impress, I feel like this pot pie would be a good meal to make. It's that pretty, golden and puffy crust that gets people every time. And I mean with good reason too. I think the crust is my favourite... It's the puff pastry. That stuff is good. 


    In my last post, I mentioned that I  have an internship interview with an organisation that I have been admiring since I was very little; the United Nations in New York City. I was amazed that I got an invitation for this interview in the first place. I jumped meters in the air and even cried a bit, because you do not get an opportunity like this every day. 
    The interview took place over Skype last Thursday. I was very nervous, but I have practised my answers, so I knew I would be fine. At 16:30, A lovely and welcoming woman, and a friendly intern, called me. They gave a small introduction and then gave me an unfortunate notice. 
    So, I got an interview at the United Nations, that shows that I stood out from the crowd. Unfortunately, they misread my application. You can only work for the UN when you're in your last year of university, or when you have graduated. I am in my second year, looking for a placement opportunity in my third year, so I wasn't allowed to start there yet. They still found me very brave for applying in my second year, and they said I looked very enthusiastic and potential.
    They offered me to still do the interview, as a mock interview, so I could practice for any future interviews. This was honestly such a nice gesture, since I did not expected them to stay on the phone with me. They gave me a few competency based questions, that I had to answer, and then I received immediate feedback. For me, this was an incredible learning experience, because I know now what to work on for future interviews. After the mock interview, they gave me the time to ask any question that came up in me about the UN, for example 'what is your favourite part about working for the UN?'. We stayed on the phone for over an hour. I appreciated that they took the time to answer all my questions and give even more feedback.

    Okay, back to the pot pie. This chicken pot pie meal is really easy to make. Perfect for a cold, busy week day or better yet a lazy Sunday when you want something cooking on the stove all day long to make the house smell amazing and super cosy. 

    Ingredients
    - 640g mini chicken breasts filets, diced
    - 1 onion, diced
    - 2 gloves of garlic, finely chopped
    - 1 red pepper, diced
    - 100g baby button mushrooms, diced
    - 3/4 Spanish chorizo ring, cut in rings and cut those in half
    - 500g canned chopped tomatoes
    - Parsley, roughly chopped
    - Puff pastry
    - Dried oregano
    - 1 Egg


    Directions
    1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. 
    2. In the meantime, heat a medium pan over medium heat and lightly coat the pan with some olive oil. When hot, add the onions, garlic and chicken. Cook until the chicken is golden, this will take around 7 minutes. Add the red pepper, the chorizo, and the baby button mushrooms. Give it some extra taste if you like by adding a heap of oregano, salt and pepper. Be aware of the salt that comes from the chorizo. 
    3. After 5 minutes, add the chopped tomatoes. Stir and let the filling simmer for around 5 minutes. Add the chopped parsley and add some extra seasoning to your liking. Take it off the heat and let it cool down until warm instead of hot.
    4. Roll out the puff pastry and cut a thin (1 cm) string off. Use this to line the top of the baking tray. This will help to glue the pastry lit on top of the pie.
    5. Fill the baking tray with the chicken and chorizo filling. Place the remaining puff pastry as a whole* over the pie filling and press down on the sides to secure the pastry lit on top. Brush off with an egg wash. 
    6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until crisp and golden. Serve with a fresh, green salad. Enjoy!
    * Instead of placing the puff pastry on the pie filling as whole, you can choose to get creative and create a lit as you can see below. 



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