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Fresh vegetarian dish for Summer – tri-colour vegetable pasta in pesto sauce

Tonight I really want to cook something light and vegetarian. Well, actually I have tried to eat less meat and would love to go for more vegetable dishes, not saying that I am turning into a vegetarian or even vegan, but I don’t mind to do that one day. No matter I am going to be a vegetarian or not, for sure I think I would love to cut down the amount of meat that I am going to consume. Maybe it’s good to have meat once or twice a week, the rest of the time is just vegetarian. Therefore, instead of Green Monday, I should do Meat Monday 😉

Today I decided to cook a pasta dish, and I am thinking to make again our own pesto. I did it in the past, but it is really good if we just stop buying those ready made from the bottle and just doing our own ones. More fresh and healthy for sure! Well, definitely taste much better!!! To make our own pesto, you need a lot of green herbs, you can come up with your own combination, as long as you love the taste. If you would like to follow my version, here you go! I was using basil, two kind of parsley, the continental one and the curly one, coriander and garlic, I love spicy, so I would like to add red chilies, and I also love to add some parmesan cheese.  You can omit the chili and cheese if you prefer not spicy, but I think the cheese touch is great. Then, add around 100ml olive oil and season with some salt and pepper, and some fresh squeezed lemon juice. That touch is more like a chimicurrri sauce, but I love the touch of acidity to keep it really fresh! Place everything in a food processor and blend everything together. Now you have your own pesto ready, you can store them in the fridge for a week if you could not finish it in one go.

For the pasta, this time I bought something organic, from this Italian brand Tarall’Oro. It is Torchietti, but you can also cook with fussili or penne. Cook the pasta with the cooking time according to the package, on the other hand, get the vegetable ready. Heat up the pan with olive oil, and then put the sliced garlic and chopped onion into the pan. Sauté them until they start to turn soft, then add the chopped zucchini and yellow pepper into the pan, fry them until they turn brown. Place the halved cherry tomatoes into the pan one minute before the dish is done, fry quickly with the tomatoes, season with salt and switch off the fire I also love to add more chili but this is totally optional. You can choose other vegetable, but I think it is very nice to have three bright colours in the dish, and these three ingredients go well together.

When the pasta is ready, drain the water with the strainer and mix them well into the vegetables. Then add few tablespoons of pesto sauce into the pasta and keep mixing until you feel it’s enough. You can serve the pasta with some extra shredded cheese, and a touch more pesto. Garnish it with some parsley or basil.

I think this is really yummy and fresh for Summer time!

 

 

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Thai again – roasted pork spare ribs with green papaya salad

I really tried my best try to catch up with my writing! This Thai dinner was on 22nd January, but I did not manage to put this up on my blog that day or not even the day or the week after! It’s Chinese New Year’s holiday now, I am trying my best to catch up with my blog and try to finish with those that are still missing, before I forgot how to even cook the dish….. lol

First of all, we have to marinate the pork ribs. Put all ingredients in the food processor and blend it, ginger, garlic, shallots, spring onion, coriander, soy sauce, fish sauce, salt, ground black pepper and brown sugar. You will get a very thick paste, taste it and see if you like it, if not you can still adjust the taste a bit before you go to marinate the ribs. Put the pork ribs in a zip lock bag and pour the sauce in, make sure all the pork ribs are in the sauce, massage the ribs with the sauce and place the bag in the fridge and let them marinate for at least 2 hours before cooking. Preheat the oven under 180C, lay the ribs out in a pan or tray and place it in the oven for 1.5 hours. Rotate the ribs every now and then, to make sure it is not getting burnt on one side.

To go with the pork, I would like to have the traditional Thai green papaya salad. The key ingredient of course is the green papaya, make sure you get one is green enough to make the salad, not the ripe one. Peel the green papaya, cut it in half and clean up the seed inside. Use the grater to shred the papaya, or you can simply use a food processor to do the job. For the long green beans, coarsely chopped them and steam them for 2 to 3 minutes until soft, set them aside until they cool down. For cherry tomatoes, cut them into halves. Mix the green papaya, green beans and cherry tomatoes in a large bowl, add some mint leaves and chopped red chilli pepper. For the salad dressing, it’s mix of soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, brown or palm sugar and a bit of mince garlic.

When the pork ribs are done, serve them with the green papaya salad as a base with the dressing. I also have a glass of mojito to go with the dish, even mojito is not really Thai, but I found the mint leaves taste matching very match with the dish. Enjoy~

 

 

 

 

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Addicted to sous vide cooking – salmon and carrot with salad

I don’t have to cook this weekend, as my husband is taking care of the Sunday night dinner. I asked him to cook us the real Chilli con Carne, as he said the one I cooked the other time was not that authentic. He still trying to find the best proportion of the ingredients, as he thought he’d put too much cumin into it. I will wait for his best recipe to share on my blog, and for the time being I would like to take care of writing this long lost Sunday night cooking, sous vide with salmon and carrot, before I totally forget what have I done.

For the salmon, season with salt, black pepper and some ground parsley. Put them in the vacuum bag, seal and cook under 56C in the hot bath for 40 minutes.

For the carrots, melt the butter and then add honey and ground cinnamon for seasoning. Dip the carrots into the mix and put them in the vacuum, seal and cook under 85C in the hot bath for 30 minutes.

Prepare the green salad as the base, mix with cherry tomatoes and some thin slices of cucumber. Season the salad with some salt and pepper and some balsamic vinegar. Sear the skin side of the salmon, and serve together with the carrots on top of the salad.

 

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Sunday simple dinner – Chicken and Asparagus Penne

I was planning to cook this simple pasta on Saturday night, and was thinking to cook something more complicated on Sunday night. But then, I ended up with something else on Saturday night, so I have to save the ingredients for Sunday dinner. Not bad, so I get more time to do other things, like shower my two dogs.

What we need for this dish is chicken fillet, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, garlic, red chili if you prefer spicy, parsley and penne pasta. I do prefer to get the bigger version of asparagus, but I could not find it and I have to go for the smaller / thinner version.

Boil a pot of hot water for cooking the pasta, get a sauce pan ready on the other hand by heating it up with some olive oil. Start it off with the mined garlic, and then add the asparagus, cook them for a while until they started to turn soft. Add the chicken into the pan, let them fry a bit to get the surface cooked first. Then, stir fry them and add red chili, season them with salt, pepper, rosemary and ground paprika. Cook until the chicken is done, add the cherry tomatoes and more olive oil for the pasta later on.

When the penne pasta is done, drain the water and mix the pasta into the sauce pan. Add parmesan cheese and chopped parsley, then mix everything well together. You can serve the pasta with some more parmesan cheese and parsley on top as garnish and extra flavour.

 

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Sunday dinner – Herb crusted red snapper with Angel hair

Tonight I want to cook something with fish, I found a recipe from Gordon Ramsay by cooking the fish with the herb crusted that looks good, maybe I should give it a try.

Do grocery at the supermarket, I can find some red snappers that are looking quite good. So, I decided to cook that with the herb crusted. What is good to go with the fish? I am thinking maybe angel hair pasta. Of course, you can have that with some fresh salad or even rice.

First of all, I am going to work on the herb crust. Put some breadcrumbs, parsley, basil, parmesan cheese, garlic, red chili, a touch of lemon juice, pinch of salt and some olive oil into the food processor and mix them. That’s it, leave them aside until we need them. Remember to pre-heat the oven under 180C for grilling the fish later on. I am getting the source ready before cooking the fish, heat up the pan with a good amount of olive oil, put some garlic, red chili and the minced shallot, then put the pancetta, fry them until they start to turn gold. Add the cherry tomatoes, and a touch of salt, not too much. Now, add some white wine, let them cook a bit, add some chopped basil when it’s almost done. Now, pan fry the fish with butter, garlic and some ginger, season them with some salt and pepper. When they are almost done, place them on the tray and place some cooked pancetta and cherry tomatoes on top of them. And then, top them up with the herb crush, like fully covered. Place them inside the oven and grill for 15 minutes. When it’s 5 minutes left for the grill fish, start to boil the angel hair pasta which takes around 3 minutes to cook only. Heat up the source once again when the pasta is done, stir them well with the source and get ready to serve.

I don’t know what and where went wrong, but something taste bitter from the dish. I guess it’s the lemon seeds that smashed and mixed in the herb crust. Not sure, but this dish definitely needs some improvement. Life is about learning from the mistake, next time I will do it better!

 

 

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Celebrate our anniversary in a Spanish way – Tapas with Sangria

I am so busy lately, too much to do at work, could not put myself together to write anything. Too busy but would not stopped myself for cooking, especially on our anniversary. It’s just I do not have time or energy to write… So, after almost a week, I would like to share with you on the tapas I’ve put together for our anniversary dinner.

My inspiration of this dinner was from one of this cooking show on TV, the lady in the show, not sure about her name, was cooking these 2 simple dishes, mushroom and sausage, that inspired me to cook ourselves some tapas that night. Went to do grocery, and I am planning to put together 5 to 6 dishes of tapas. Tapas should not be too big in portion, should have more varieties than have one big portion. So, other than mushroom and sausage, I planned to cook also potatoes, cherry tomatoes with pancetta, shrimp and maybe something else. I started with the potatoes, chopped them into small cubes. Heat up the pan with some butter, fry the potatoes and season them with salt, pepper, red chili flakes and some oregano. Place them in the plate or bowl when they are done, and garnish them with some chopped basil. Next one I work on the mushrooms, once again heat up the pan with butter, this time also with some garlic and a bit of red chili. Fry the mushrooms until they turn soft and season them with a bit of salt, pour some red wine in the pan, let them cook and let those mushrooms soaked with red wine. Serve when they are ready and garnish with chopped basil as well. For the shrimps, heat up the pan with butter, and then put some minced garlic, red chili and chopped parsley into the pan. Simple and easy, just fry the shrimps until they are done without overcooking them, season them with a bit of salt and pepper.

Let’s get the ball rolling, next one is the cherry tomatoes with pancetta. Heat up the pan with olive oil, then put some garlic and red chili, fry the pancetta until it’s almost done. Then, put the cherry tomatoes in, and cook them together for a bit, no need to put salt, as the pancetta should be salty enough, put some chopped parsley before serving.

The one requires a bit more work is the sausage. First of all, we need to work on the minced pork. Put the minced pork in a bowl, add two chopped shallots or half red onion, minced garlic, salt, pepper and oregano. Watch out the portion of salt, do not add too much, as the prosciutto we are going to put later on will add the taste of savory to the meat. Finally add some breadcrumbs and then mix them well together, that will be the filling for the sausage. Now, lay one piece of prosciutto out, then place some filling on top, and then roll them into a little sausage. I didn’t get enough prosciutto, because that lady in the shop misunderstood me for 200 gms as 100 gms. Fry those sausages with oil when they are done. I have some leftover of the mined pork, so I tried to put together some meatballs after finishing the sausage. Unfortunately, I just found out that the tomato puree in the fringe is already finished. So, I just make the meatball in a different way, with some Parmesan cheese and garnish with some chopped basil. Serve all tapas with slices of baguette, of course a jar of Sangria is good to go with this Spanish night.

Happy Anniversary!

 

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CNY brunch – golden baked eggs

Happy Chinese New Year, today is the New Year’s Day, Kung Hei Fat Choy. We don’t have to go visit any relatives, so good to sleep in. Woke up a bit late, and let’s do a nice brunch for the two of us, something nice looking to start the Year of the Monkey.

I always want to bake eggs with the muffin tray, because they will look so nice and cute.  First of all, brush butter all around the tray inside, make sure nothing is going to get stuck there later on. Toast 2 pieces of bread, cut into 4 pieces and stuck each piece into the tray as a base, and brush some butter on each toast. Chop some ham into small pieces, place them on top of the toast, and put any kind of dip or sauce you like, for example mayonnaise, and I am using the avocado dip I’ve done last night. Then, cut the cherry tomatoes into four pieces, and place them into the tray. Finish it with an egg on top, nicely fill up the entire tray, and season each of them with salt and pepper.

Place the tray in the pre-heat oven under 180C for around 15 minutes, add some parmesan cheese on top 5 minutes prior done. When they are done, remove them slowly from the tray, and serve them on the plate or board. Garnish them with some arugula or spring onion and parmesan cheese, season them with some black pepper as well.