SPICY TOMATO BASIL SOUP

tomato basil soup 1

I have always wanted to make this soup using big fresh sweet juicy tomatoes only to realize it is not going to happen. Such tomatoes don’t exist here. They are all sour. So I tried using Italian canned tomatoes which turn out great!

canned tomatoes

Italian canned tomatoes

Loads of fresh basil

The hottest chili you can find, chopped

One onion, chopped

Fresh milk (use cream if preferred)

Olive oil

Sea salt

Freshly crushed black pepper

In a pot, fry onions and chili in olive oil till onions starts to brown. Pour in tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes. Add in all the basil, pepper and salt. Simmer for another 15 minutes. Blend everything in a food processor till smooth. Return to pot and add milk. Bring to boil and serve immediately with crusty bread.

AGLIO OLIO WITH DUCK LIVER

aglio olio w duck liver

I’ve always wanted to do a more daring pasta dish. Although this recipe works for me, it may not be for the fainthearted. And I think sesame oil is just the right ingredient to blend the flavors together. 

Duck liver

Fresh duck liver, cut to bite size

Minced garlic

White wine

Sea salt

Crushed black pepper

Olive oil

Sesame oil (must have)

Heat up olive oil in a pan and fry the minced garlic till it starts to brown. Put in duck liver follow by salt and pepper. Fry liver till almost tender and add a tablespoon of white wine follow by a glug of sesame oil. It is important not to overcook the liver or it will become hard.

Aglio olio

Your favorite pasta

Fresh chili

Shallots

Garlic

Cherry tomatoes (optional)

White wine

Fresh basil

Sea salt

Crushed black pepper

Put pasta into a pot of boiling salt water and cook to al dente. While pasta is cooking, chop up shallots, garlic, chili and fry in olive oil over medium heat. Add tomatoes follow by salt and pepper. When garlic starts to brown, pour in a glug of white wine follow by some pasta water. Add chopped fresh basil. When pasta is ready, toss it directly in the pan to soak up the sauce.

Serve pasta with liver and grated parmigiano if desired.

RATATOUILLE

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This is the first dish I cook in 2013.

Don’t laugh at me if I tell you that it was the lead character (yes, which would be the rat) in the animated feature film that has inspired me to go for my dreams. 

In the film, this dish marks the success of the rat who embarks on an extraordinary journey to become one of the top chefs in Paris.

I am a rat in the Chinese zodiac and I love to cook so it all connects up. But what’s most important is the message that I’ve got from the film.

No matter who you are, as long as you dare to dream and work hard for it, you are probably going to make it.

The rat’s recipe is definitely much better than mine but I could not get hold of it.

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1 aubergine or egg plant

1 green or yellow zucchini

1 yellow or red sweet pepper

Olive oil

Sea salt

Black pepper

Balsamic vinegar (optional)

 

Sauce

1 canned Italian tomato

Few cloves of peeled whole garlic

Fresh basil

Sea salt

Black pepper

 

Preheat oven to 400F. Cut aubergine, zucchini and pepper into big thick pieces and season with olive oil, salt, black pepper and vinegar. Bake for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, fry garlic in olive oil till it starts to brown and add tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Add chopped basil and simmer over medium heat for an hour.

Serve vegetables with the sauce.