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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.

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Thai homemade dinner Part II – barbecued prawns on lemongrass, coconut soup, and steamed mussels

I decided to make Thai food again today, Part II of last week, as there are few dishes that I still want to make but do not have time to make it last week. 

So, tonight I’m making three dishes, one soup, one appetiser and one main course.

Let’s start it off with the soup, it is coconut soup with cauliflower, but I think you can just add other ingredients that you like and make it your own, for example, carrot, chicken, mushroom, and etc. With a pot, bring the vegetable stock and coconut milk to boil. Then, add cauliflower, galangal, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, and season them with light soy sauce, fish sauce and brown sugar. Lower the heat, and cook until the cauliflowers turn soft. Serve the soup by adding some chopped chillies and coriander, and a bit a lime juice.

The appetiser is barbecued prawns on lemon grass, I like the look of this dish, having the prawn mixture wrapping the middle of the lemon grass stalk. In order to have the flavour of the lemon grass, lightly cut the middle of the lemon grass in order to get the nice smell out of it. To make the prawn mixture, mix the prawns (slightly cooked, half raw), chopped bacon or minced pork, garlic, a touch of kaffir lime leaves, chopped spring onion, and season with some fish sauce, brown sugar and cornflour in a food processor until it turns dense. Carefully wrap the mixture around the lemon grass stalk, if you feel so sticky, wet your hand with some water. Pan fry them with a pan and serve with the sauce, mixed of white vinegar, sugar, chopped chillies and coriander.
For the main, I’ve made the Thai style steamed mussels. Heat the sauce pan with a bit of butter, fry the chopped galangal, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves and shallots. Add some vegetable stock and coconut milk, simmer a bit, then add all mussels in, cook 4 minutes with the lit on and then another 2 minutes without the lit. Serve the mussels with some bread and garnish with some coriander. 

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Chili con Carne . can go with rice or bread


I was thinking what to cook for our usual Sunday dinner, my husband was trying to help and brain storm. Suddenly he came across “Chili con carne”, he said he can eat that for the entire week. I am not a fan of Mexican food at all, and I am not sure if I know exactly what Chili con carne is… Tried to search a bit online and look into few recipes, my husband also trying to explain to me how should that tastes like. All right, even I do not like Mexican and beans that much, let’s stay open-minded and try something new!

I found few different recipes, and I am going for the one with more vegetables to make it a bit more healthy, so I decided to base on the recipe from Jamie Oliver and improvise. Looking at the ingredients, somehow I feel that I am making the spicy Bolognese sauce, just with more beans.

There are a lot of chopping to do, so better get everything nicely chopped and ready before starting to cook. Of course you can make use of the food processor to help out a bit. Finely chop the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and finally chop the red peppers into  medium squares. Get some coriander chopped and separate the stalks from the leaves. I also like to add some red chili to make the dish a bit more hot, just get them chopped and ready.

Are you ready? So, get the biggest sauce pan out, heat it up and put some butter into the pan. Put the minced garlic and the onion in the pan to start with, then add the carrot and celery together with a pinch of salt, let them cook a bit until they turn soft. You can add some olive oil if you feel there is not enough oil, then put the minced beef in and fry them nicely until they start to turn brown. Then, add the kidney beans and chickpeas, together with the coriander stalks and the red chili. Give them a good stir, add all the spice into the pan, chili powder, ground cumin, ground cinnamon and ground paprika, of course some salt and pepper, then add the chopped tomato sauce into the pan. Let them cook a bit, and then add some water into it, bring it to boil and then switch it to lower heat, let it boil for at least 30 minutes to one hour.

When it’s done, you can serve it with some long grain rice, by adding some yogurt and corindar as garnish. That’s how I like to eat, as I love rice. My husband prefers to have it with bread, so he had it with some baguette, French meets Mexian. Somehow I feel like having Indian food….? My husband said that has nothing to do with chili con carne, but at least it tasted good. He thinks the vegetable makes it so non-Mexican, he said he will cook me a real one later, let’s see… well, I kind of like it, at least it is not too beany and not too Mexican 😝

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Refreshing spaghetti with lemon, prosciutto and arugula – perfect for Summer!

Continuing my Summer dishes idea for hot Summer here in Hong Kong, I was thinking to cook a simple but refreshing pasta. Pesto pasta could be a good option, but seems too regular and kind of boring. Trying to get some inspiration…  browsing on internet to see if there is anything to reference to? Found this recipe, spaghetti with lemon! This is quite new to me, I would never think of doing pasta like this, maybe I should give it a try.

The ingredients are pretty simple, spaghetti, lemon, prosciutto, arugula, parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, red chili and butter. First of all, you can start with boiling a big pot of water, and get ready for cooking the spaghetti. While waiting for the boiling, let’s get the lemon ready, get some lemon zest from one lemon, then get the juice out of it. Take another lemon or half lemon, depends on how much acidity you want to add to your dish, cut the lemon in slices. When the water is up to boil, add salt and cook the spaghetti according to the cooking time on the package, then drain them but save some pasta water for later. Put all spaghetti back to the sauce pan, pour some pasta water into the pasta and add butter, a bit of olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, minced garlic and some red chili or red chili flakes, give it a good mix, and feel free to add some pasta water if you feel is needed. Then, add lemon slices, prosciutto, parmesan cheese and chopped parsley into the spaghetti, and finally mix them nicely, then serve them with a touch of parsley on top as garnish.

My husband think this dish is a bit too sour, you definitely can adjust the dish with the amount of lemon juice and lemon slices to make it less sour. But I kind of love the freshness from the lemon, especially for Summer time!