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Shakshuka – Spicy all day breakfast 

My husband was having a gig last night, djing at one of the event, and he was out until this morning. Usually, what he loves to eat after a night like this, will be something meaty, but I would like to have something vegetarian. I think maybe it’s good to cook something like a all-day breakfast for him. 

This dish is called Shakshuka, it’s a spicy dish with eggs poached in tomato sauce and pepper. I am not sure if I can handle something that spicy for breakfast, but I guess should be fine for night time “breakfast”. This is a very easy dish, you can quickly get it done in half an hour.

Heat up the pan with some butter and olive oil, add diced onio, minced garlic and sliced mushroom into the pan. Season them with a pinch of salt and black pepper, and fry them until they turn brown and dry out. Add diced red bell pepper, chopped green pepper / jalapenos, and minced red chilli pepper. Stir fry them, and then add ground paprika, ground ceyanne pepper, ground cumin and cumin seeds. Now add chopped tomatoes in the pan, add a touch of water or chicken broth, let it simmer a bit until the sauce is thicken up. Create 4 little holes in the pan, then drop the egg into each little hole. Lower the heat and cover the lid, poach the eggs for 5 to 6 minutes. Garnish with chopped spring onion and coriander. Serve the dish with some sliced baguette or toast. 

It’s quite spicy, spicer than I thought. Maybe it’s good to have it in the morning, it definitely can wake you up!

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Hubby’s Request – Creamy Tomato Soup

Special request from my husband for tonight’s dinner, he would like to have creamy tomato soup and he just would like to get the ready-made one. Instead of getting the one in a paper box, why don’t I make him a freshly made one?

This easy freshly made soup is super yummy and so refreshing, have a big bowl with some bread, that’s it and it’s good enough for a big guy to last for the night.

I encourage all of you to use fresh tomatoes instead of those tin can ones. I know there are more juices in the can, but the fresh ones are more healthy and with more nutrition. So, first of all, let’s peel the tomatoes, cut a cross on the skin and place them in hot boiling water for a while until the skin started to curl up. Peel all the skin and cut them in quarters. 

Heat up a pot with butter and a touch of olive oil, put some sliced garlic, and striped onion in. Fry the onion until they turn soft, then add all tomatoes and smash them a bit in the pot. Add some chicken stock and a bit of water, cover the lid and boil for 10 to 20 minutes. Add a bit of water in-between if you feel it’s too thick. When it’s done, place the soup in the blender and blend it nicely until it turns into purée. Place it back into the pot and whisk in the cream, or even some cheese if you like. Season with salt and serve the soup with some cream and black pepper as decoration. Can use a touch of parsley to garnish. 

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Vegetarian Sunday dinner – portabello mushroom burger with hash brown and zucchini

This sunday, I decided to stay with vegetarian food again, I am thinking to do a veggie burger. Instead of veggie patties, I am thinking to go for portabello mushroom. For the side dish, instead of salad, I am thinking to have some hash brown. 

For the burger, I am not able to find mini burger bread, so I am going to use the small panini. First of all, I am getting the hash brown ready because it takes more time to cook that. Grate the potatoes and some onion, get rid of the excess water and mix them in a large bowl. Season them with a touch of salt and pepper, fry them later on in a pan with oil and some butter, add some grated cheese few minutes before they are done. 

For the burger, fry some onion until they are cameralised, set them aside for later use. Now fry the sliced zucchini with olive oil on a grill pan, and season them with a touch of salt. Then, fry the portabello mushroom and place the cheddar cheese on top of each mushroom until they start to melt. Grill the panini with some butter on the grill pan. When all are ready, place the bottom of the panini, then place all the ingredients carefully one by one on top of each other. The zucchini, sliced tomato, some mustard, ketchup or mayonnaise, onion, the portabello mushroom with the cheddar cheese, then finish up with the top of the panini. Serve the burger with the hash brown and the rest of the pan fried zucchini. 

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Get the dinner ready quick enough to have a chill evening – garlic and honey shrimp with vegetables and mixed brown rice

I was feeling kind of tired from the week, working too hard on our own project! Would love to cook something quick enough for me to have the maximum time of the evening to chill! How about putting together a dish without even going for grocery shopping? That sounds great, right? My husband was surprise that I don’t need to go for grocery shopping and he was wondering what am I going to cook for the night? Or am I taking a break from cooking this Sunday?

What am I going to do for the night is, shrimp with broccoli and cucumber, served with mixed brown rice. For the shrimps, we’ve got some frozen shrimps in the freezer, which is good enough for this dish. Have the shrimps defrost and marinate them with honey, soy sauce, minced garlic, ginger and a touch of red chilli. Leave them in the fridge for at least 15 to 30 minutes, meanwhile you can work on other things.

Get the mixed brown rice ready, I am cooking with the long grain rice, which is more healthy. I’m using rice cooker, just put the rice with double amount of water in it and that’s it! You can also use a pot to cook, you just need to really watch it without burning it.

For the broccoli and cucumber, steam the broccoli until they are slightly soft. Then fry  the broccoli and cubed cucumber with some butter and olive oil, season them with a touch of salt and pepper. Set them aside for later use.

Now, let’s get the shrimps ready. Heat up the skillet pan with some butter and a touch of olive oil, place the shrimps in the pan but make sure you don’t put the sauce into the pan. We need to keep the pan kind of dry in order to brown the shrimps nicely. Make sure you brown them both side without over cooking them. Add chopped spring onion and remove them from the pan when they are done. Now, cook the remining of the sauce in the pan, add a touch of flour to thicken it if it is too watery.  

Serve the shrimps with the vegetables and mixed brown rice, and pour the honey and garlic sauce on top. Garnish the dish with some chopped parsley or coriander.

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The last day of CNY holiday – bake stuffed pumpkin with quinoa, minced pork & mushroom

Four days of CNY holiday is ending soon, tomorrow have to get back to work. What should I cook for tonight? I would like to do something with quinoa, quinoa is really healthy and we should eat more quinoa! Maybe with minced pork, mushroom, carrot…… How about stuff them in a pumpkin?

First of all, steam the pumpkins until they turn soft, leave them aside and let them cool down. Cook the quinoa with double portion of water, I like to use the rice cooker to cook it which it’s so much more easier, but you can also use a sauce pan to cook that. For the fillings, heat up the pan with a bit of butter and olive oil, fry the minced garlic, followed by roughly chopped onion and carrot. Then, we can start to add the minced pork, and then the roughly chopped mushroom. Cook until they are done, then switch off the heat and add in the quinoa, cheese ( I use mixed of 6 kinds of Italian cheese), finely chopped parsley, fresh thyme, and season it with salt and pepper. 

Now put the fillings inside the pumpkin, fill it up and add cheese again on the top and cover the entire top part. Place the pumpkins in the oven under 190C and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese is nice and brown.

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My version of spaghetti aglio e olio

There are few pasta dishes that are on my top list, linguine alle vongole, linguine al tonne piccante, spaghetti agile e olio, and etc. For spaghetti aglio e olio, usually I rely on my husband to make it, I actually have never been cooking this dish. The other day, I was missing this dish very much, why don’t I try to cook it by myself and see how does it taste.

First of all, put the frozen shrimps in the pan and heat up the pan directly without adding any oil, let it cook until the shrimps turn slight pink. Do not overcook or fully cook them, just around 80% cook as we still have to cook them when the sauce is ready, just leave them aside at the moment. Try to get the spaghetti ready at the same time when the sauce is ready, that’s what you always have to look after, the pasta should be eaten at the moment when it’s ready, which is very important to Italian! Boil a big pot of hot water, season it with some salt and cook the spaghetti according to the cooking time on the package. For the sauce, heat up the pan with a good amount of butter and olive oil. I like to use some butter as everything taste better with butter! When the oil is hot, put minced garlic and finely chopped onion in the pan, fry until the onion turn a bit brown, then add a touch of white wine, and let it cook a bit. Make sure you have a good amount of oil, if you feel that you don’t, please  add more olive oil in the pan as the sauce will be only based on the amount of olive oil. When it’s amount ready, add the chopped red chilli pepper, you can skip this if you don’t like spicy, then add the prawn and let them cook until they are done, season the sauce with salt and pepper. Finish it up with some more red chilli pepper flakes and finely chopped parsley. At the same time, the spaghetti should be ready, so drain the water and mix them well with the sauce.

I think my version of spaghetti agilo e olio is better than my husband’s version, and he agreed with me 😉

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Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner – must have lucky food

It’s Chinese New Year’s Eve today, we called it 團年飯, and traditionally you should have the dinner with your entire family, in order to end the year altogether. It is important for Chinese to gather the entire family together for important event like this one, but I think it’s important for everyone, like Christmas Eve for Western, Thanksgiving dinner for American, and etc.

One thing funny about what we used to eat for CNY’s Eve dinner, we should have something means lucky to us. Meat somehow is a must, as that means you are rich enough to have meat. Fish is also one of the choice, as fish 魚 Yu, sounds like 餘 Yu, meaning extra. Of course we would like to have extra money! Shrimp 蝦 Ha, sounds like 哈 Ha, the sound of laughing, so shrimp is also a popular dish for CNY.

So, I’ve made a Western style year-end dinner for us, with shrimp and salmon (fish).

Garlic, Chili and Lemon Shrimp. Heat up the pan with butter and a bit of olive oil, put minced garlic in, then put the lemon slices and chopped red chili pepper, fry a bit then put all shrimps with shell in the pan, cover with lid and cook until they all turned pinkish. Season the shrimps with salt, ground pripika and parsley flakes. 

Creamy Salmon Penne Pasta. Put one pot of water to boil, add a good amount of salt and cook the penne pasta according to the cooking time of the package. For the sauce, heat up the pan with butter and a bit of olive oil, put the minced garlic in, and then put the chopped asparagus and sliced mushroom. Fry them until they turn soft, add some lemon zest and squeeze in lemon juice, then pour in the cooking cream, let it simmer and then add some cheese. Could be a mix of Italian cheese, like parmesan, romano or pecorino cheese. Let it simmer a bit more, then season it with a bit of salt and ground pripika. Mix the sauce with the penne pasta, and serve it with a touch of black pepper.