In the magical world of baking, Egg Yolk is a golden element, without which custards and mousses wouldn’t be the same. Not to undermine Egg White, I think I just like Egg Yolk better. In the savouries, Egg Yolk helps Mayonnaise and Hollandaise. But above all, Egg Yolk is simply best when runny, be it soft-boiled in an egg cup, or poached in simmering liquid.
Sausage, Egg & Spinach
BLT, or Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato, commonly refers to a sandwich. This week, I made a BLT, but with spaghetti instead of bread.
- Get your spaghetti or other kinda of pasta cooking in a pot of well-salted boiling water. Save a bit of the pasta water, and drain when al dente.
- Slow-cook chunky slices of tomatoes with some butter on a skillet, letting them soften to a pulp. Pinch out and discard the skin at the end.
- Soak a couple of rashers in water for a couple of minutes; this is so that the dish will not be overwhelmed by the flavour of bacon. Fry the rashers till cooked but not shrivelled. It can be tempting to blaze them to a crisp. Resist.
- Meanwhile, wash and cut your lettuce to fork-full pieces.
- When the tomatoes are done, toss in the drained spaghetti, and splash a bit of that pasta water you saved earlier. Season lightly with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and a small dollop of mayonnaise.
- Turn off the heat and mix in the lettuce briefly, and serve, with the rashers of bacon, sliced.
Lush brunches, forever.
It’s been a long long hiatus that I’ve taken. I blame Instagram. Grainy photos behind retro-esque filters and uninspired dishes. In any case, I’m hoping this entry won’t be like the last one – the last one for a long while.
So I guess from now, I’ll be using more than a couple of Instagramasised photograph. Fingers crossed that’ll work out well.
Alas! The first of the list is Instant Mee Pok! Mee Pok (translated from Chinese dialect as ‘thin noodles’) is a flat egg noodle used a lot in Singapore to make Fishball Noodles and Mushroom Minced Pork Noodles. They say the first creators of pasta were actually the Chinese; Italians apparently discovered it much later. In any case, Mee Pok is usually cooked fresh and unless you buy them fresh from the market or make them yourself, you won’t get a chance to have them this far from East Asia. But, but, BUT! I stumbled upon a pack of dried instant Mee Pok at Chinatown last week. Well, it isn’t quite exactly the same thing as its fresh counterpart, but I’d say it comes pretty damned close.
I am a happy boy.
(Follow me on Instagram @skinnynigel or #skinnynigel)
I was fortunate enough to be in Rome last month on holiday, or rather, on pilgrimage to the Vatican City and to the art of Michelangelo Buonarotti. But of course, in addition to all the sightseeing, I made time to have a taste of whatever dishes that might be unique to the region. Being in the land of pasta, Pasta Amatriciana is one of them. According to Wikipedia, ‘Amatriciana is a traditional Italian pasta sauce based on guanciale (dried pork cheek), pecorino cheese and tomato, well-known in Roman and Italian cuisine.’
So very basically, I gave it a go with bacon, red onions, tomatoes and Parmesan. Also, I had it with mushroom tortellini as opposed to the usual bucatini.
- Set your pasta boiling away in a pot of salty water.
- With the help of a teaspoon of oil in a hot skillet, render the fat of the bacon out.
- Toss in the minced onions, and sweat it out till almost translucent.
- Add in the tomatoes, together with some passata. Or just add in some chopped tomatoes from a store-bought carton. Add volume to the sauce with pasta-cooking water, if necessary.
- Stir in a small handful of freshly grated Parmesan.
- Drain the cooked pasta and add to the sauce.
- Mix and serve with a grating of more Parmesan.
Seared fillet of salmon, on top of aglio olio with carrot, chives and mushrooms.
- Get the linguine boiling away in a pot of water.
- Meanwhile, cut carrots up to a brunoise, chop up some chives, quarter a couple of mushrooms and minced garlic.
- Toss a knob of butter into a hot skillet and once foaming subsides, toss in garlic, carrots and mushrooms.
- Once that’s done, move it to the side of the pan and sear the fillet of salmon, skin-side down. Flip and cook briefly when skin is crisp.
- Remove salmon as soon as its done, and let it rest while you drain the pasta.
- Add pasta to mushroom and carrot mixture. Toss in chives.
- Add basil and oregano, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Mix.
- Serve with a small squeeze of lemon.
I will never get sick of the basil-oregano combination.
Another one to add to the vegetarian recipe list, this is a great dish to whizz up if you wanna have both pasta and that salty Asian flavour.
- Usual drill, set your fusilli boiling away in a pot.
- In a hot skillet with a tablespoon of vegetable oil, toss in minced garlic and fry till fragrant.
- Add torn mushrooms and cubed hard-skin tofu, frying till golden.
- Tear in a handful of gem lettuce for the texture of sweet crunch. Turn of the heat.
- Drain pasta, and together with a small bit of pasta-cooking water, add to the skillet.
- Add a teaspoon of oyster sauce and mix up well.
- Season accordingly with soy sauce and white pepper powder.
- Plate up and garnish with finish sliced fresh chilli, and a small crack of black pepper.
This is probably one of the best ways to have peppers, when they are the limelight of the show, no distractions, except for the lovely crunch of added pine nut or peanuts.
- In a hot skillet with a small knob of butter, let the butter foam till the foaming subsides.
- Toss in minced garlic and chopped red onion and fry till fragrant.
- Welcome the Aroma Fairies.
- Toss in the chopped peppers. Usually recipes of this kind call for only yellow and red peppers ‘cos they’re sweeter than the green ones, but I’m greedy so I add all three colours.
- Season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Yes, season the yellow, red and green peppers with black pepper.
- Turn the heat down to a simmer and put a lid on. Let the peppers simmer happily for about 10 minutes; you wanna be doing this to extract the full flavour of the peppers.
- While waiting, set your pasta boiling away, as per instructions on packaging.
- Splash some red wine vinegar into the peppers and let it reduce slightly. If the Aroma Fairies don’t come by again, something’s not quite right.
- Drain your cooked pasta and add to the pan of peppers. Drizzle a good lug of extra virgin olive oil to deglaze the pan.
- Toss in pine nuts, or the cheaper alternative of peanuts. Mix everything up good.
- Serve with freshly grated Parmesan and chopped parsley.
This is a brilliant combination if you’re craving that tomatoey flavour of bolognese but don’t want it too rich and beefy.
Chicken linguine in tomato sauce, with carrots, olives and capers.
- Set your pasta to boil.
- With some oil in a hot skillet, toss in minced shallots, carrot brunoise, chopped tomatoes, and maybe a bit of minced chilli if you want the spicy kick.
- Add in the chicken cubes, olives (best if pitted and sliced), and capers.
- Use a small blob of tomato puree and water to make a sauce, so everything holds together.
- Season well with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper.
- Garnish generously with carrot top leaves.
Asian-fried spaghetti of pork cubes, sugar snaps and egg, with cumin, oregano and chilli.
- The usual drill. Set the pasta away to boil in a pot.
- In a hot skillet and a little oil, fry minced garlic till fragrant.
- Toss in pork cubes and sugar snaps.
- Add in crushed cumin and oregano.
- When pork is almost done, move all to the side of the skillet. Add some oil in the pan and crack in an egg. Beat it erratically and let it cook in chunks.
- Toss in sliced chilli.
- Mix everything together and season well with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper.
- The pasta should be done by now. Drain and add to skillet. Stir everything together into a party of lovely colours.
(No space for full title above.)
Lemon salmon on oregano spaghetti with boiled carrots, blanched chicory and beansprouts, with beetroot and Brie.
- Set the pasta to boil and drain when done. Season with sea-salt. Then toss with a good lug of extra virgin olive oil and dried oregano leaves.
- Sear the fillet of salmon with a generous squeeze of lemon juice, till lovely and browned.
- Boil the carrots and blanch chicory and beansprouts briefly. (Note: chicory is bitter so a small quantity will suffice.)
- Serve with beetroot cubes and pinches of Brie.
- Garnish with carrot leaves.
Don’t those carrots look lovely?