Product Review: Nairn’s Scottish Organic Oat Crackers Cheese (Recipe Included)

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This cheese cracker is the last oat cracker sample I received from Nairn’s back on late July/early August.

However, this cheese cracker was disappointing because I thought it is going to be VERY cheesy.  In fact, I tasted only a bit of cheese at the end of my tongue after chewing the cracker for a few seconds.  It was like eating Ritz cheese cracker, but somehow the manufacturer decides to decrease the amount of cheese in the recipe 1000 times.

I suppose Scottish people are not fans of cheesy crackers or biscuits like North Americans do.

Anyways, I have created a spicy salmon tartare recipe that would greatly complement this cheese oat cracker.   Instead of using cayenne pepper, jalapeno pepper or any other American or Mexican spices, I used WASABI!!!  OH YEAH!

Here is the recipe:

2 sashimi-grade salmon tails (you can get them at your local supermarket or fish speciality shops)

2 eggs

6 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise

1 tablespoons wasabi paste (you can get it at your local Asian supermarket)

2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon black sesame seeds

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1) Boil water in a pot over high heat.  When water boiled, immerse eggs in water with shell unbroken.  Cover pot with lid, turn off heat, and let eggs cook for ten minutes.

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2) Using a spoon, scrape all the salmon meat from the tail.  Do not get any of the skins and scales in the salmon meat.  Put all the scrape meat in a bowl and chill in the refrigerator.

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3) When eggs are cooked, run eggs in cold water to remove the shells.  Cut eggs in cubes and chill in the refrigerator.

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4) Mix mayonnaise, wasabi paste, soy sauce, sesame oil and parsley together.  Chill in refrigerator.

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5) Toast black sesame seeds on a pan over high heat.  Turn off heat when black sesame seeds start to “pop”. Set aside.

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6) Mix half of the toasted black sesame seeds, mayonnaise mixture, eggs and salmon together.  Sprinkle rest of black sesame seeds on the dip.  Serve when ready.

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OH MY! OH MY!  I think this is my favourite dip I have made so far! I could taste the salmon, wasabi, egg, soy sauce and sesame oil.  The wasabi really elevated the whole dip and make the crackers shine.

In addition, the wasabi gives a different spiciness than using cayenne or other hot spices. I don’t know how to explain it, but you guys should give wasabi a try!

Hopefully you like all of the dips I made for the Nairn’s Oat Crackers!  I have a lovely healthy seafood recipe idea in mind and I will post that as soon as I can! Stay tuned!

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Bonus Healthy Recipe: Pesto Black Bean Ravioli with Parmesan Cream Sauce (4 Servings)

Yesterday, I have submitted my modified version of my Pesto Black Bean Ravioli recipe online for a chance to go to Las Vegas for the 2014 World Food Championship!

My Pesto Black Bean Ravioli recipe is original, creative and delicious.  I also know I can make the dish tastes better.

This time I made a slight tweet in the filling recipe as well as adding Parmesan cream sauce to complement the ravioli.

Here is the recipe:

1 pasta dough (made with 2 eggs and 1 cup of all-purpose flour)

18 basil leaves

2 garlic cloves

5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 cup canned black bean

12 teaspoons parmesan cheese, grated

1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/4 cup 2% low-fat milk

1 large tomato

2 cups water

pinches salt and pepper

1 pinch parsley, chopped

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1) Place five teaspoons Parmesan cheese, basil leaves, extra virgin olive oil, quarter cup black beans and garlic cloves in blender and blend until smooth. Taste pesto and season with few pinches of salt and pepper and blend again.

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2) Pour pesto in a bowl and mix pesto with rest of black beans. Set aside.

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3) Use pasta machine or rolling pin to roll out the dough until it becomes a VERY THIN SHEET of pasta. You should be able to see your fingers when you are feeling your sheet from underneath. Cut pasta sheet into squares using knife or mold.

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4) Crack one egg and beat egg with fork until smooth. Brush the edges of the ravioli shells lightly with egg. Place about a half tablespoon of filling on half of the cut ravioli shells.

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5) Place the other half of cut ravioli shells over the shells with the fillings and press the edges gentle to make a tight seal. Set aside.

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6) To prepare for the sauce, cut tomato into quarters. Skin tomato by making a cut between the flesh and the skin. Leave flesh aside. Dice skin into squares. Set aside.

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7) Boil water in pot over high heat. Add salt and extra virgin olive oil into boiling water and cook ravioli over medium-high heat until ravioli flow on top of water.

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8) Heat pan over medium-high heat. Melt butter on pan. Whisk in flour and whisk constantly until butter and flour are incorporated. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened. Juice as much tomato juice as possible by squeezing the tomato flesh and add juice to sauce. Whisk in rest of Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Add ravioli to sauce and turn off heat.

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9) Place ravioli nicely on plate. Sauce ravioli as well as around the ravioli. Garnish dish with diced tomato skins and parsley. Serve when ready.

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Although this dish is no longer a vegetarian dish, it definitely tasted better than my original recipe.

I hope I get into top 5 and have the chance to go to Las Vegas to meet all the wonderful foodies out there!  Wish me luck!

Health Facts Monday – Calories Face-Off: T.G.I. Friday’s vs. IHOP

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IHOP is one of my favourite restaurants to go to for breakfast whenever I vacation in the States.  I miss their large portions and their nicely battered pancakes.

What I didn’t know is IHOP also sell burgers, salads and sandwiches just like any other American-style restaurants. So is the food at IHOP healthier than other American-style restaurant?

In today’s Health Fact Mondays, we would be comparing calories of food served between T.G.I. Friday’s and IHOP. LET’S TAKE A LOOK!

1) Sandwich (IHOP’s WINS!!)

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T.G.I. Friday’s Rotisserie Chicken Salad Sandwich – 850 calories

IHOP’s Chicken Clubhouse Super Stacker – 690 calories (SCORE)

2) More Sandwich (Friday’s WINS!!)

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T.G.I. Friday’s California Club –  750 calories (SCORE)

IHOP’s Southwestern Club Sandwich – 770 calories

3) Salad (IHOP WINS!!)

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T.G.I. Friday’s Strawberry Fields Salad with Grilled Balsamic Chicken  –  820 calories

IHOP’s Citrus Chicken Pecan Salad – 660 calories  (SCORE)

4) Burger (IHOP WINS!!)

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T.G.I. Friday’s New York Cheddar and Bacon Burger  –  1480 calories

IHOP’s Mega Monster Cheeseburger – 1170 calories (SCORE)

5) Dinner (Friday’s WINS!!)

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T.G.I. Friday’s Grilled Salmon  –  480 calories (SCORE)

IHOP’s Tilapia Florentine – 940 calories

What do you think of the results above? Have you ever been to IHOP? What do you usually order when you are at IHOP? Post your comments below. Till next time!

Product Review: Nairn’s Scottish Oat Crackers Roughly Milled (Recipe Included)

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This Scottish Oat Cracker is another sample I received back from Nairn’s on late July.

The taste is very similar to the other Nairn’s cracker and the description, Roughly Milled, is very self-explanatory.   The crackers are also came with pouches like any other Nairn’s crackers.

Moreover, I made a Roasted Red Pepper Hummus dip that I think it is best with this cracker. *Eating as I am writing this post* OH MAN! I AM ABOUT TO GET FULL!

Here is the recipe:

3 red peppers

2 garlic cloves

half can chickpeas

1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil

four teaspoons tahini or sesame paste

salt and pepper to taste

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1) Preheat oven to 350F.  Cut peppers in half.  Get rid of the seeds.  Cook pepper in oven for at least 30 minutes or until the skin of peppers blackened.

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2) When skin of peppers blacken, put pepper in a bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap.  Leave pepper to cool inside bowl for 15 minutes.

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3) Peel skin of peppers and put flesh in the blender.  Put chickpeas, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, tahini or sesame paste, salt and pepper in the blender.

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4) Blend until smooth.  Serve when ready.

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OH MY GOD! This dip is so delicious! I could taste the sweetness from the red peppers and the slight kick from the garlic. THIS IS ALSO VERY HEALTHY AND EASY TO MAKE!

I am going to keep eating now and stay tuned for the last review!

Product Review: Nairn’s Light and Crispy Oat Crackers with Sunflower Seeds (Recipe Included)

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Another sample I got from Nairn’s was their Light and Crispy Oat Crackers with Sunflower Seeds.

The flavour of this cracker is very similar to their Scottish Oat Crackers with the addition of sunflower seeds.  The crackers are also packaged in pouches, so you can carry the crackers on the go! AWESOME!

Any crackers would not taste great without the appropriate topping. Therefore, I made an avocado dip that would be great for these Oat Crackers.  Here is the recipe:

1 avocado, skinned

2 tablespoons yogurt

1 garlic

0.5 teaspoon lime juice

0.5 teaspoon lemon juice

0.5 teaspoon cumin

salt and pepper to taste

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1) Put all the ingredient in a blender and blend until smooth.

2) Sprinkle more cumin onto dipping sauce.  Serve when ready.

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There are more variation of avocado dips you could make.

If you want your avocado dip to taste less garlicy and sour, you may substitute yogurt with mayonnaise or mustard. I personally prefer grainy mustard because it provides the dip with some texture.

In addition, if you decide to add fruit or vegetable in your avocado dip such as tomato, mash the avocado instead of blending to retain the texture of the fruit or vegetable.

So try this at home and tell us what you think!