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)
It’s a good thing to make if you’ve only got some mushrooms in your fridge. No mucking about, just good simple food.
- Toss into a hot pot a small knob of butter.
- Add in minced shallots once the foaming of the butter has subsided. Fry till fragrant.
- Next, sliced or chunky bits of mushroom. Saute them gently.
- Before the mushrooms are done, add in the rice and toss about well.
- Splash in a good lug of dry white wine and reduce it as much as possible.
- Cook the rice slowly by adding chicken or vegetable stock in small quantities, stirring all the way through, until the rice is cooked to creamy yet still al dente.
- Season accordingly with a crack of black pepper and sea salt.
- Serve with a shaving of fresh Parmesan and/or chopped arugula.
Mushrooms, tomatoes and basil are a winning combination.
- In a hot skillet, melt a knob of butter till it foams. When the foaming subsides, it means the pan is hot enough and ready.
- Toss in the chopped brown chestnut mushrooms and sautéed them till almost brown.
- Then add the chopped cherry tomatoes.
- Crack in a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
- Add a small pinch of basil.
- Also, add in a small clove of garlic, finely minced.
- Mix it all up, and remove from the pan once the tomatoes have shrivel slightly.
- To deglaze the skillet and toast up some bread, toss in a small knob of butter and swirl it round.
- Likewise, once the foaming subsides, place the pieces of bread on. Flip as soon as they’re golden.
- In the meantime, roughly chop up some mixed salad leafs.
- Serve the bruschetta (pronounced as [brusˈketːa]) with a small drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil.
This was just an excuse to use the new plate, really.
This only requires one step.
One compound step:
- Using this recipe for the pastry, make a thick concoction of finely sliced mushrooms, a beaten egg, grated cheddar and some milk.
Easy as pie.
As I’ve said many times before, Sunday mornings are times when you truly have the opportunity to make a good breakfast for yourself. Here’s what I had this morning – Mushroom and Brie Bruschetta (pronounced as [brusˈketːa]).
- In a hot skillet, toss in sliced mushrooms with a small knob of butter.
- Add a small pinch of basil and season accordingly with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper.
- While that’s happening, toast your bread (preferably slices of a crusty loaf, but square slices work fine as well.)
- Once the mushrooms are just about browned nicely, add in a tiny bit of cream just to hold everything together, then turn the heat down low.
- The bread should be done, get it out. Half a clove of garlic and rub it on the toast.
- Spoon some mushrooms onto each slice and accompany with a small handful of fresh greens, holding them down with a small wedge of Brie.
- Serve with fresh cherry tomatoes, and without cutlery. All hands, all goodness.
Alright, so it seems I’ve been having lotsa time to have breakfast in the mornings these days. Well, truth is, I’ve been waking late so brunch has become somewhat routine now. In any case, what I’d like to share here is a savoury tomato and mushroom compote. So easy to do, and so good with toast.
Toss everything into a skillet and mix till ready.
- 1 plum tomato, diced into 1cm cubes
- 1 large brown mushroom, diced into 1cm cubes
- 1 small knob of butter
- 1 pinch of dried basil
- 1 small bunch of arugula, finely chopped
- freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
Have it with egg, ham, and toast. Lush.
Two mornings ago, I woke up from a dream; one about breakfast.
This is what I dreamt about:
Poached egg on pan-seared honey baked ham and toast, sitting on a mash of garden peas. With butter glazed mushrooms and basil tomatoes.
Perfect way to start the day.
Photography: Sarah Lee
Bolognese Brilliance: no serious slurping, no mess, just awesome food.
Building on from Springy Bolognese, I’ve decided to list some numbers and ingredients for this massively easy pasta dish. Its hearty and satisfying; perfect for that one time when you’re feeling incredibly hungry. Hurhur.
The brilliant thing about bolognese is that there’s no hard and fast rule about what goes inside. To me, it’s like Chinese Fried Rice; you add whatever tickles your fancy. Personally, I aim for ‘colourful’.
So here’s what I had in mine this time. Extremely extravagant.
- 1 third of pasta from a standard size quick cook spaghetti pack
- 1 handful of chopped red pepper
- 1 handful of chopped yellow pepper
- 1 handful of peas, frozen works the same
- 1 handful of mushrooms, sliced
- 1 white onions, minced
- 1 third of a finger chilli, minced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 thumb-sized knob of butter
- 50g of double concentrate tomato puree
- half tbsp of dried basil
- 1 handful of finely grated cheddar (if you have parmesan, even better)
- 1 handful of fresh rocket (optional)
- 1 handful of beef minced (omit this is you’re vegetarian)
With all the ingredients ready, what you’re going for now is efficiency and speed. No mucking about. You’re hungry, and if you’re not about getting angry yet, your stomach is. A hungry man is an angry man. Whatever.
This is how to roll:
- Since we’re going for speed, quick-cook pasta is the key choice here. Get that in a pot of boiling water and let it work its magic. If you believe in the Italian saying that ”the water for pasta cooking should be as salty as the Mediterranean”, then go right ahead and salt that water.
- While that’s happening, get another pot/wok on the hob too. If your peas are frozen, get them straight in, together with that knob of butter. If not, get everything you want in your bolognese e.g. onions, mushrooms, peppers, carrots, etc. and dump them in. Let them fry about while you wash up your chopping board and knife, and welcome the Aroma Fairies.
- When they (the ingredients, not fairies) are just about done, in goes the minced beef. Toss.
- Then, tomato puree goes in too. Here’s a tip. Instead of using plain water to dilute your sauce, get some of that starchy pasta water, about half a cup full and pour it into the sauce. Happy days.
- Mix about before adding the dried basil. Mix some more and taste. Season with salt and pepper your liking. Turn the heat off.
- Your pasta should be done, so drain the water out and get it straight into your superb bolognese sauce. Toss about, coating every strand of that spaghetti in red goodness. Move all to a serving dish.
- Top with fresh rocket leaves. Then, grate your cheese straight onto everything.
Recall Marmite Power & Mushroom Marmite Magic.
Now combine both.
Have it with a light green salad. Happy days.
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.