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.
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.
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.
Seared fillet of salmon on pasta with Chinese leaf, mushrooms, chilli and dried sage.
- Set pasta away to cook in a pot of salty boiling water.
- In a pan with a little bit of oil, sear the fillet of fish skin side down till just done. Set aside to rest.
- In the same pan, toss in minced garlic and fry till fragrant.
- Add in shredded Chinese leaf and quartered mushrooms.
- Crush in dried sage leaves and season well with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper.
- Add sliced chilli when vegetables and mushrooms are almost cooked.
- Drain spaghetti and mix together with the Chinese leaf and mushrooms well. Add a generous lug of good extra virgin olive oil to loosen everything up nice and smooth.
- Plate up and serve, boasting the skin of the salmon in its crisp golden glory.
It’s absolute melt-in-your-mouth heaven to indulge in a large nugget of fatty salmon meat, pan-seared to perfection and luxuriously devoured whole.
Frozen fish is an sufficient alternative if you haven’t got fresh fish. However, cooking frozen fish can be a tricky task; when done wrongly, the fish can be real dry, and gross. A good way to do it I’d say, is to baste it continuously in the accompanying sauce.
In this case, I’ve done a mild tom yum sauce, with carrots, shallots, garlic, a slice of ginger and a squeeze of lemon. If you’re wondering, the tom yum base was from an instant paste in a bottle just like this one:
- Set the pasta away in a pot to boil together with a handful of frozen peas. Boiling the peas instead of sauteing them allows them a fresher flavour and sweeter crunch.
- I made the sauce by tossing the chopped condiments (mentioned above) together into a skillet, and adding a teaspoon of tom yum paste and an adequate amount of pasta-cooking water.
- Then, I cooked the fish, drenching it repeatedly in the sweet yet just sourish gravy. Nonstop, till the fish was just right.
- Drained the pasta and peas and served with a chilli garnish, for colour and added heat.
Kinda like an Asian bolognese, slightly spicy, and with fish. Lush.
Click here for the original Tom Yum Spaghetti recipe.
It’s a bold claim there but check this out:
- Render bacon fat out with butter. Fry bacon.
- Welcome the Aroma Fairies.
- Add seafood and let it fry about in the bacon fat for a bit.
- Poach seafood by adding white wine.
- Boil away till alcohol has burned off.
- (If you want heart-palpitations) Add full fat milk and bring to a boil.
- (If you want a cardia arrest) Crack in a beaten egg.
- Then add cream, and reduce the sauce.
- Season accordingly, with salt and pepper.
- Have it with angel-shaped pasta, because it’s the world’s tastiest.
It’s so rich I nearly lost my voice after dinner.
Okay, I exaggerate.
But only slightly.
Anyway, try it today.
I dare you.
Remember Pasta Evolution?
Well, this not for the faint-hearted; it’s incredibly extravagant and unforgivably heart-stopping. Out from the fat rendered from bacon, an Aglio Olio dish is born.
- Same old drill: Set your pasta boiling away in a pot.
- Using a small knob of butter, get the bacon into a skillet.
- Render the fat out before tossing in a generous amount of minced garlic, chilli, dried basil and oregano.
- Toss in sliced pork, which has been marinated with salt and pepper.
- When the pasta is done, drain and add to the skillet. Toss about, coating every strand of spaghetti well.
- Grate Parmesan or Cheddar directly on and mix throughly.
- Serve with fresh basil.
It’s been a busy busy week. Here’s one of the hasty but hefty meals I made during the course of the past seven days.
Stir-fried and real quick to make.
Almost Asian, use a fork to rake.
- 1 portion quick cook spaghetti
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 80g lean pork, or pork shoulder, thinly sliced
- 2 inches carrot, cut into small 1-inch slices
- 1 brown mushroom, sliced
- 1 handful young spinach leaves
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- sea salt and black pepper, freshly ground
- As always, set your pasta away in a pot of boiling water. Carrots go in there as well.
- In a hot wok, heat up the oil. Dip the sprigs of rosemary into the pasta pot for 5 seconds, before tossing into the wok. TIP! This exposure to hot water for such a short time make a world of a difference; the herb begins to release its fragrant oils.
- Just before the rosemary starts getting too happy in there, toss in the garlic and fry till fragrant.
- Then add in the pork. Stir about and add water from the pasta pot in small quantities, to aid to cooking of the meat.
- The pasta should be done soon. So toss in the mushrooms to the wok now.
- Drain the pasta when al dente and add to the wok. Turn off the heat.
- Spinach goes in as well. Mix well.
- Season accordingly with sea salt and black pepper.
- Once spinach has wilted, serve.