Cooking Wednesday dinner – garlic and lemon prawns with quinoa and baby spinach

I’ve cooked this shrimp dish the other night when my friends were over for home party. I am thinking to redo this dish with salad and quinoa, so I recreated it for a weekday dinner.

First of all, get some fresh prawns at the wet market, if you are not ready to cook them right away, you can just keep them in the fridge until you are ready to cook. Before cooking the prawns, which is going to take only 10 minutes, you better start with cooking the quinoa. I would like to use some chicken broth this time instead of water, to cook the quinoa with the rice cooker which make everything so much easier. If you don’t have rice cooker, you can just use a sauce pan. Put 1 portion of quinoa and 2 portions of chicken broth in the rice cooker, then cook until it’s done. You better let them cool down before serving, so by the time you get the prawns done, the quinoa should be already cool down.

Get the prawns out from the fridge, clean them and cut the antenna, and maybe also trim the pieopods (legs) a bit. Heat up the sauce pan with some butter and a touch of olive oil, add minced garlic, some red chili pepper if you like spicy. Then, add the prawns and some lemon slices , fry them until they turn pink, finally add finely chopped parsley and season with salt. Serve the prawns on top of  first layer of spinach salad with second layer of quinoa. You can also serve the prawns without shells, as that will be a bit more easier to eat. Use the remaining oil from the prawns as salad dressing.

Green Sunday dinner – caprese fussili pasta

Let’s do green Sunday again!!!! It’s really refreshing and it’s a good idea to keep doing vegetarian dishes on Sunday, just to clean up the system. So tonight I am thinking to do a vegetarian pasta, I tried to search for ideas online, and I found this caprese salad with pasta. Yes! Why not? I love caprese salad, so why not trying make the pasta version out of it?!

This dish is basically very simple, as simple as the caprese salad, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. You just have to choose the kind of pasta that you like to go with the salad, I suggested to go with something short, like what I did with fussili or even penne. Try not to use something long, like spaghetti or linguine. If you like, you can also use broken spaghetti, but short pasta for sure make more sense for this dish.

First of all, get the fussili pasta ready by boiling them in a pot of hot water, by adding some salt in the water as well. On the other hand, get some olive oil in a hot pan, add some minced garlic, then simply fry the halved cherry tomatoes, and hand shredded mozzarella for about 30 seconds to a minute, season them with a pinch of salt. Basically, you can just eat them raw, so no need to cook them for too long. Add the basil at last, then put all the fussili into the sauce, and mix them well. You can decided to serve it hot right after you cook, or you can have them as salad by chilling them in the fridge. I like to eat it hot right after cooking, season them with some black pepper and garnish with a touch of fresh basil on top. Wala……. so simple and so quick!

Vegetarian Sunday Dinner – baked zucchini with ricotta, spinach and tomato sauce

I was trying to apply this rule to our diet, mainly vegetarian with only 2 to 3 meaty night in a week. Last week, we had already enough dinner with meat, so I was thinking to cook something vegetarian on Sunday. I found this recipe online, and would love to make my own version out of it. The result is very good, and it tastes great, especially if you love cheese.

First all of, get the cheese filling, the pesto sauce and the tomato sauce ready. I used a can of plum tomato, cook it with some minced garlic, and season with a touch of salt and pepper, set them aside for later use. Then, work on the pesto sauce, put basil, olive oil, garlic, pinch of salt and pine nuts in the food processors and blend them together. For the cheese filling, put chopped spinach, ricotta cheese, one egg and black pepper in a bowl and mix them together. Preheat the oven to 170C, now get a tray ready. Cut the zucchini in thin slices, remember to get the big zucchini, as big as possible for easy wrapping. Place two pieces of zucchini slices in a cross, and put the cheese filling on top of the cross section, then add some pesto sauce on top, close and wrap up the zucchini. Repeat this process until you finished up with all zucchini slices. Put a layer of tomato sauce in the tray, then lay all zucchini wraps nicely in the tray. Place the tomato sauce on top of each zucchini wrap, as well as some pesto sauce as topping. Lastly, fill the entire tray with grated parmesan cheese, as much as you like. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Sunday dinner – Danish National dish Stegt flæsk, roasted pork belly with creamy parsley sauce, served with mashed potatoes

Again! One week past and I did not get my last Sunday recipe written and posted, so bad! Was too busy last week, now business networking going on and running around with different events. So, when I have a new post this week, of course I remembered that I better get the one from last week done.

So, here I go! The one from last week was a National dish from Denmark, it is a pork belly dish and usually they serve this with boiled potatoes, I would like to go for mashed potatoes instead.

So, the first thing you should do is to get the potatoes steamed in a pot of hot water. On the other hand, you can get the pork belly ready. I would say, by the time that your steamed potatoes are half-way through, you can start to work on the pork belly. Preheat the oven under 180C, season the pork belly with some salt and pepper, then coat a nice layer of olive oil or melted butter on the pork belly. Then place them nicely in the oven and grill them for 20 to 25 minutes, flip it over in the middle, and make sure they are all browned and nicely grilled.

We are using some bacon or pancetta to create more texture for the mashed potatoes. Fry the bacon or pancetta in a hot pan until they turn crispy, chop them in small dices. Set the bacon aside for later used. For the mashed potaoes, use the masher to make mashed potatoes, let them sit in a large bowl. Now boil the cream in a pot, on the other hand, we pour in the oil from the bacon into the mashed potatoes, mix them well together. When the cream is done, pour them slowly into the mashed potatoes, mix them well together, add some  grated cheese if you are a cheese lover. Then add in diced bacons, spring onion, and taste to add salt and pepper. Leave them in a bowl with cling film under the heat of some hot water. Keep it nice and warm until you are ready to serve with the pork belly.

Now, we have to get the creamy sauce ready. Melt some butter in the hot pan, then stir in some plain flour, keep stirring and let it cook a bit. Then, pour in heavy cream, and let them zimmer until it turns thick. Add in a lot of chopped parsley for the flavour. When the pork bellies are ready, get them out from the oven and serve them with some creamy sauce on top, and the mashed potatoes aside.

The best is to finish all pork belly in one go, they don’t taste good overnight, so try not to leave any leftover.

Sunday healthy dinner – scallop with green salad, asparagus and quinoa

I have this outstanding dish from last Sunday that I better get the writing done, as I’ve already got the new Sunday dinner dish that I need to write soon!

Last Sunday, I cooked this healthy dish with salad and quinoa based with a touch of scallop as high light. I went out for dinner on Friday with two friends that are both health conscious, we did talk about healthy diet during dinner, so I was thinking to have something healthy for Sunday dinner. Was thinking to cook something vegetarian or even vegan, but ended up with a seafood dish. 

You might not be able to see, but actually I’ve added other greens into the dish. Besides the green salad, I put asparagus and avocado as well. To start with, I put the quinoa in the rice cooker, and let it do its work, so that I can work on other things. Before cooking the scallops, I would like to get the asparagus ready first. Cut the asparagus into thick slices, pan fry them with butter and season them with salt and pepper when they are done. Let’s get the dressing ready before cooking the scallop. Heat up the pan and place some butter in, let it melt and cook a bit, then add in plain flour and keep stirring, then add in some freshly sqeezed grapefruit juice and cook until it’s thicken up, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the scallop, season them with some salt and pepper, then fry them with a hot pan in butter. Watch out the time as you do not want to overcook them. Get the plate ready with green salad, asparagus and avocado as a base, then season them with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Then add in some quinoa and place the scallops on top, final touch with the butter grapefruit dressing. 

It’s so refreshing and light!

Healthy Vegetarian Dinner – Creamy Tomatoes and Potatoes Soup with Mango and Bell Pepper Wrap

These days, I tried to cook more, cooking almost every night. I cooked something with meat last night, so I decided to go for vegetarian tonight.

I cooked that creamy tomatoes soup the other night, and tonight I’m trying to cook that soup by adding potatoes. Same recipe but only adding potatoes, just boil some potatoes in hot water for 20 minutes until they are soft. Peel the skin off and then smash them up into small pieces. Just add the potatoes when you add the tomatoes and follow the same procedure for the rest. The result is good and richer than tomato soup.

I also made the mango and bell pepper wrap with rice paper, very fresh and healthy with raw food diet. I prefer to have more variety and make it looks so colourful, I used fresh mango, bell pepper in three colours, red, yellow and green, carrot, cucumber, mint and some chopped coriander. Get everything ready and line up for wrapping, you need a bowl of water for the rice papers as we need to soak them in water for 10 seconds until it turns soft. Lay the rice paper on a flat surface, then put a bit of everything on it and wrap it nicely. Do not put too much filling, otherwise will be hard to wrap. 

You also need to prepare the dipping sauce, would be nice if you can get that done earlier and chill it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. For the sauce, put fresh mango, water, pinch of salt, lemon juice, spring onion and tabasco into the food processor and blend them together, taste and adjust. The sauce tastes so different and fresh when it’s chill, it goes better with the wrap.

Serve the soup and wrap with some roasted baguette. 

Hong Kong Style fried beef flat rice noodle

乾炒牛河 is one of the most popular dish in Hong Kong, or any where you go that serves Cantonese cuisine, I guess it’s not difficult to order this in a Cantonese or Chinese restaurant. 

The most important ingredient is the flat rice noodle, as it is a bit difficult to buy the fresh one. There are shops selling freshly made noodles, rice noodles and wonton wrap, try to explore that in your neighbourhood or otherwise try to see if you can find that at the wet market. I have to say, you can only do this with the freshly made ones, if you are using those dry ones which are not good enough. Not sure where can you get this in other countries, maybe in China town? 

First of the, cut the beef in thin slices and follow the grain. Marinate them with dark soy sauce, sugar, corn stratch and some water, for at least 15 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make sure you separate each flat rice noodle within sticking together. When you are ready with all key ingredients, onions in strips, bean sprouts, spring onion, and get the sauce ready, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and sugar. I also like to add a touch of spice, so I add a bit of red chilli pepper which is totally optional. 

Heat up the wok with some oil, get the beef fried quickly in hot temperature until they are almost done. Set them aside for later use. Then, get the wok ready again with some oil and fry the onions until they turn soft, then add the bean sprouts and fry until they start turning soft. Now add the flat rice noodles into the wok, stir fry them with onions and bean sprouts. Watch out after you add the mixed sauce, as there is sugar in it and things will started to get burn and sticky easily, so we have to act really quick. Add in the sauce, keep stir frying and then add in the beef, chopped chilli and spring onions. Fry until the beefs are done, and serve the noodle with some sesame seeds and a touch of chilli sauce.

I also would like to have more vegetables, so I was having that with some choy sum. Guess this fried rice noodle should be much more healthier than those ones that we used to eat at cha chang tang, this is not difficult at all, you can also try to make it at home 😉