The Perfume of Food

porcini pasta

Since I embark on my cooking journey, I have discovered various ingredients that surprise me. Among them is a group which I refer them as the perfume of food. From lime, mint, pepper to porcini, saffron and truffles, these ingredients has the power to transform the flavor of a dish like magic!

I am fortunate to have the chance of using dried porcini in some of my dishes and today I would love to share this simple pasta recipe which most of you are familiar with.

Aglio Olio with Porcini

Dried porcini mushrooms

Your favorite pasta (I used spaghetti no.3)

Cherry tomatoes (optional)

Chopped garlic

Sea salt

Freshly crushed black pepper

Extra virgin olive oil

Parmigiano

Chopped fresh basil

White wine

Soak porcini mushrooms in hot water for half an hour. Chop it into small pieces and set aside for later use. Keep the water as well.

Bring a pot of water to boil and add salt follow by pasta. Cook to al dente.

Heat up olive oil in a pan and fry garlic with whole cherry tomatoes. Put in salt and pepper. When the tomatoes become soft, put in porcini and saute till the mushroom’s flavor fills the air. Deglaze the pan with white wine, mushroom water and some pasta water. Throw in chopped basil. Drain pasta from water and toss them in the pan with rest of the ingredients.

Serve with grated parmigiano and more basil with a good bottle of bianco.

Can you share another ingredient that can create magic?

What a Year

hk skyline

2013 was a big year for me. Last night, as I flipped back the pages in my mind before the clock strikes twelve, some memories formed into paintings of joy and laughter while others displayed a sense of melancholy.  It was the year where I decide to make a drastic change in my life with a precious opportunity which I am actually not quite prepared for.

Leaving home to work in a foreign country for the first time, the move to Hong Kong itself was already an experience. Besides getting to know the ways of living in this new city, my taste buds are also being challenged to recipes, flavors and textures that I am not accustomed to.

While the new may be interesting, it is often the familiar that kept me settled.  I’m so glad that my tiny kitchen is now stocked with extra virgin olive oil, Italian canned tomatoes, balsamic and my favorite spices.

Here’s a simple recipe to share. Happy New Year my friends!

Drumsticks Baked with Balsamic Vinegar

baked chicken with balsamic

Drumsticks

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Crushed black pepper

Dried rosemary (fresh ones are too costly over here)

Sea salt

Paprika

Lemon juice

Marinate drumsticks with all other ingredients overnight. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200C for 45 minutes or until it looks good to the eye. Squeeze a wedge of lemon juice over before serving with your favorite greens or baked vegetables.

Mussels in Spicy Tomato Sauce

mussels in spicy tomato sauce

Hello my friends! Hope all is well and that you have not forgotten me. Its been a while since my last post or rather since I last logged on to this site. And I’m deeply touched when a couple of you specially wrote to ask about me. I’ve been busy making some changes to the next stage of my career/life and will need to take another break from sharing my recipes after this till I’ve settled down in another city.

This is a really simple and flavorful dish to make.

big fat mussels

finely chopped garlic

black pepper

sea salt

finely chopped fresh chili (the hottest you can find)

tomato sauce

fresh basil

olive oil

white wine

Heat up olive oil in a pan over medium heat and throw in garlic, chili, pepper and salt. When aroma fills the air, put in mussels follow by a glug of white wine. Once the alcohol evaporates, put in tomato sauce follow by fresh basil and cook for another minute or two.  Serve immediately with crusty bread.

Hope you will like it. Take care everyone. I’ll be back!

Rosemary Chicken

rosemary chicken

This is one of those moments where I know that I can take cooking as a hobby for life.

It is amazing to discover how a few simple ingredients can work together with temperature and time to create magic

and produce wonderful flavor and texture least expected.

This is an impromptu recipe when my mom came over to stay for an enjoyable two weeks

left me with some frozen chicken pieces in the fridge.

I am glad I have made it right.

Chicken pieces (fresh ones are even better)

Lots of paprika

Lots of fresh rosemary

Sea salt

Crushed black pepper

Lemon

Season the chicken pieces with all ingredients except lemon.

Bake at a temperature of 200C for 45 minutes.

It works even when I start from a cold oven.

Squeeze over some lemon juice and serve while it is still hot and crispy.