Zucchini Pasta

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This is undoubtedly a classic dish in many parts of the world but it is hard to find on menus here in Singapore. I was encouraged and inspired to create this recipe by the beautiful blogger Gabriela Blandy who is able to paint pictures with words in her popular blog thesenseofajourney . I sincerely hope that she will come round with her unforeseen transition in life and start writing again.

Gabriela suggested a recipe using fresh mint when she was visiting my post Pecorino Romano . As I could not get hold of mint while making, I adjusted the recipe into this.

Serves Three (my mom was here to taste it :))

2 big zucchinis

3 small bowls of penne

Chopped tomatoes

1 small chopped chili

Chopped Garlic

Dry Italian herbs

Half cup of cooking cream

Grated pecorino cheese

White wine

Balsamic vinegar

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Freshly crushed black pepper

A wedge of lemon

Cut 6 thick slices of zucchini with skin on. Marinate with lots of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, black pepper and salt. Bake at 200 degrees C for 50 minutes. I started with a cold oven and it still came out well.

Chop the rest of zucchini into small pieces with skin on and blend with cream into a puree. Set aside for later use. Meanwhile, boil a pot of water. Add salt and start to cook penne till al dente. In a frying pan, heat up olive oil and fry garlic and chili till garlic starts to brown. Pour in white wine and continue cooking till the liquid is reduced by half. Pour in zucchini and cream puree. Add salt, pepper and a handful of Italian herbs to taste.  Cook for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Add in grated pecorino cheese and penne. Squeeze some lemon juice over and serve immediately with baked zucchini and chopped tomatoes. Complete the meal with crusty bread and a glass of white.

Thanks for stopping by and please tell me how you like this.

SPICY TOMATO BASIL SOUP

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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.

CIABATTA BREAD

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I survived three weeks of hectic schedule at work and finally had a chance to return to my kitchen and play with a 70% hydration ciabatta dough. It turns out alright with the crumb I wanted. This time I used a poolish (overnight starter) to give the unique flavor a bread should have.

This recipe makes one loaf.

Poolish:

150g warm water

150g bread flour or all purpose flour with 10%-12% protein

1/8 teaspoon dried yeast

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Cover well with plastic sheet and leave it for 12 hours. I always prepare it the night before.

Dough:

150g warm water

280g flour

1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon dried yeast

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

green olives (optional)

Mix all ingredients (including poolish) and work the dough for 10-15 minutes. It is a sticky dough but avoid adding more flour while working on it. 

Let it rest in a covered bowl for 45 mins.

Stretch and fold the dough from 4 sides and let it rest in a covered bowl for 45 mins.

Sprinkle enough flour on a baking tray and shape the dough into a ciabatta. Cover with plastic bag and let it rest for a good 2 hours.

Add sliced olives on top. (optional)

Preheat oven to 425F and bake for 30 minutes.

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This bread can stay soft on the inside for 3 days before it starts to become stale.

SPICY GARLIC MUSHROOM

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It’s been a busy week at work. Today I decide to take a breather and left office before the stars starts to glitter. Not that I can admire them through the gaps between those skyscrapers.

Returning to my kitchen always makes me happy. With music and a sip of chardonnay, I made this Spanish tapas to go with homemade crusty bread (click here for recipe) which is now always available on the dining table.

spicy mushroom 1

spicy mushroom 2

Your favorite mushrooms

Chopped garlic

Chopped red chili

Hot paprika

Tobasco sauce

Olive oil

Freshly crushed black pepper

Sea salt

spicy mushroom 3

Fry mushrooms in olive oil over medium heat till they start to shrink. Put in garlic, paprika, pepper, salt and fry till fully cooked. Sprinkle a good amount of Tobasco sauce over and top it up with chili. Serve immediately.

The best part comes after you have finished the mushrooms and use crusty bread to wipe up all the garlicky chili oil.

You might want to get ready a large glass of lemonade.