Monthly Archives: May 2011

Mushroom Marmite Magic

Remember Marmite Pasta? That was a simple as it could be. Today, I decided to use a ton of mushrooms with the dish. Mushrooms, spring onions, onions, garlic, butter and Marmite. As you can see, I added a small bit of chilli too, for the mandatory spicy kick.

Mushroom Marmite Spaghetti: Incredibly lazy, absolutely satisfying.

A perfect brunch for the lethargic noon bird.


Baked Tortellini

Baked dishes are a breeze; simply shoving the tray into the oven and waiting for a lush treat is not difficult to do at all. Best part is, you’ll get a crispy layer on top, and succulent parts below. You can bake just about anything – from rice to pasta, vegetable to poultry. But here’s what I did last night:

Baked Tortellini

Dump whatever tickles your fancy into a tray, with the parboiled pasta dumplings. For this, I had a base layer of fresh wild rocket leaves, then a bunch of mushrooms and a couple of white onions, all sliced up. The tortellini of choice was bacon-filled, but if you’re vegetarian, spinach-filled ones works too! After adding the tortellini, I grated a hunk of cheese to cover the top, making sure every inch of that pasta goodness was sitting under a snug blanket of mature cheddar. Drizzled with nuts and chopped rocket, the tray goes into the oven, baked till golden and precious.

Welcome the Aroma Fairies to your kitchen.

Before devouring, more rocket is laid atop, together with a sprinkle of paprika for colour.


Mushroom Treatment

Ignore the Very Succulent Braised Chicken Portions. What I’d like to turn your attention to, is the bland-looking mishmash of a pasta.

Lesson for the Day:

Butter, mushrooms, garlic and oregano are a fantastic combination, a crowd-pleaser. But if what you wanna achieve out-of-this-world fireworks that will knock your loved ones out of their seats, add finely grated cheddar and chopped rocket before you take the pasta out of the pan. The nutty flavour of rocket will complement earthy oregano and mushrooms beautifully. The cheese sticks everything together, and adds the coveted stringy trail in every bite.

If you’re still looking at that juicy chicken thigh, I’m sorry the pasta doesn’t look as good. More on the Very Succulent Braised Chicken Portions here.


Pasta Promotion

I remember the first time I ordered Aglio Olio. I was a young student then and pocket money was well, just pocket money. So pompous Bolognese and obnoxious Carbonara sitting on the menu had to take the back seat. Since then, I’d always thought of Aglio Olio as the humble, poor man’s pasta.

Most definitely, things change when you’ve got money. But hey, things also change when you can make your own food. Aglio Olio isn’t the same anymore; look who’s come out to play with the big boys now.


Unbattered Pollock & Chips

Talk about Fish & Chips, here’s a variation. I wouldn’t say it’s healthier or whatever, it’s just a lazier way you can get some fish and potato chips into your diet. (Of course, it involves more effort than simply popping over to the Fish & Chips store across the road.)

Pan-Fried Pollock & Chips

Together with the special appearance by Mr Mushrooms and Ms Asparagus, both the fish and chips are fried in a pan.

Pollock

Season the less-than-inch-thick fish fillets with salt and pepper and place them gently onto a really hot pan. Let them sizzle away until you can see them getting increasingly cooked on the top. Turn them over for just 40 seconds or so, and remove.

Chips

I cut my potatoes to a quarter the size of a normal chip. This lets them cook faster, and they get crispier too. With butter, thyme, pepper and just a pinch of salt, be gastronomically prepared for some awesome hassle-free chips.

Fish and Potatoes are a great combination. Replace the chips with a mash, and make a white garlic sauce to bond the two. Squeeze the juice of a lemon and you’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll.


Cheesy Eggy

Discovered a new way to eat pasta today. No, it doesn’t involve using bare hands to dig in. It’s actually a slightly different kinda sauce from the usual white sauce. Almost like carbonara but less rich and more tasty. I think. Here’s how to make, what I’d like to call, Cheesy Eggy Pasta.

Fry the bacon to render out some of that glistening fat. Then, add a wad of butter together with the mushrooms and peas. Don’t forget some oregano to complete the wholeness of flavour. Let the pasta join in the party when it’s done al dente.

When you’re happy with the way everything looks in the pan, add milk. Just enough to make a sauce. And just before the milk boils, crack in an egg and grate in a hunk of cheese. Now, turn down the heat and mix. Don’t forget the salt and pepper. Parsley, optional.

Finally, get ready to sink your teeth into a marvellous alliance of bacon, egg and cheese, all in your pasta sauce.


Fresh Homemade Pasta

I didn’t sleep well last night because my thoughts couldn’t stop running – thoughts of making my own pasta. So today, I made some tagliatelle from scratch. I need more practice for sure. But for a first-timer, without a food processor nor pasta machine, I think this deserves some attention.

Fresh Homemade Pasta

Combining a single egg and 100g of flour per person is all that was required. Kneading till smooth, rolling till flat, all before folding and cutting. Finally, I understood how tremendously beautiful it is to hold a handful of pasta, freshly made with my own hands.

It’s dangerously addictive too. Try it today! Because even if you fail, that one egg and bit of flour is definitely worth the experience. (:

Important Tip: Be sure to flour the counter top and rolling pin just a little when you’re working. Don’t want all that hard work sticking itself away. Good luck!


Marmite Power

I got a suggestion from a friend to try this one out – Marmite Pasta. (In case you don’t know what Marmite is, it’s made from yeast extract, a by-product of beer brewing. Imagine a concentrated gravy, thick and sticky.) It’s Nigella Lawson’s recipe, which she got from someone else, and I’m sharing it here. I decided to have an evening snack and had no idea what I was getting myself into.

This five-minute meal is incredibly easy to make. While the pasta is cooking, toss a wad of butter into a hot saucepan. Add Marmite, according how salty you’d like it to be. Then, steal some of that starchy pasta-cooking water and add it to the saucepan as well. Stir and smile to yourself.

At this stage, I got itchy and dumped a portion of minced beef into the sauce. It reminded me fondly of Bovril, which is similar to Marmite, except that it’s beef extract. Well, at the least the original one is, until Mad Cow Disease changed it to chicken extract. I remember. When I was a kid, every time I was down with a fever, Dad would spread Bovril on toast and cut each slice into sixteen smaller parts. Then, he would stick a couple of toothpicks in each piece, so the plate resembled a dish of cocktail finger food. He did this ‘cos he knew I didn’t feel like eating proper food. Thanks, Dad. (:

Anyway, away from memory lane now. Finally, drain and add the pasta to the sauce. Mix and serve. Gobble and slurp.


King’s Asparagus

Asparagus and Bacon, were made for each other. Due to impatience and negligence, this didn’t turn out quite right for me. Follow the instructions below and I’m sure you’ll get a better result.

The beauty of this dish is that apart from the potato mash, no seasoning is required. I made a mash so that it’ll be a bigger meal. If you exclude the carbohydrate, it’s a breakfast fit for a king.

Here’s how to make your own Asparagus in Bacon & Egg Jacket.

Ingredients

  • 3 streaks of bacon, halved lengthways
  • 6 stalks of asparagus
  • 2 large eggs

Asparagus in Bacon

Using the smoked bacon, wrap the sticks of asparagus. Grill in the oven at 200°C till brown and crispy, flipping them at midpoint. (They looked so good that I got impatient and hungry, so they didn’t make it to the slightly crispy and almost charred stage. I couldn’t do it, but you can.)

Soft-boiled Eggs

There’s a trick to getting them right even though you can’t see what’s going on inside. Stick a pot of water on the hob and get your eggs in. Make sure there’s enough water so that the eggs are completely submerged. Hit the switch to full whack. Once the water boils, turn off the heat and let the eggs soak for about 3 minutes. Flush them briefly with cold water and place them on those little egg holders, or shot-glasses would do. With the ‘sharper’ tip of the eggs pointing downwards, lop the tops off with a knife. Say hello to your golden yolks.

Consumption

To consume, grab a stick of that pretty asparagus, with your fork or fingers, it doesn’t matter. Dunk it into the soft-boiled eggs and take a bite. Let the incredible nuttiness of asparagus mingle with the smokey aroma of bacon. Pay attention to the lush gooey texture of the egg, holding everything together. And just before you swallow, have a little wad of potato mash join the party.

Feel like a king yet?


The Incomplete Pie

Here’s a great alternative if you’re lazy to make a complete pie.

Beef and gravy sitting pretty in a well of potato mash.

 

The Incomplete Pie

For this, instead of using minced meat, I used chunks of beef. Be sure to cut them into small pieces so they’ll be soft when cooked through and not stiff like rubber.

When devouring this treat, take time to enjoy how the gravy flows out once the potato wall is broken.

Outright luxurious.