Spaghettini with egg and toasted parsley bread crumbs

It's a meatless day because we were so busy with zoo volunteer trainings and stuffs that we didn't have time to go grocery shopping. It was a Sunday, 4 pm and all major supermarkets were already closed. Welcome to Adelaide!

Great! Couldn't be anymore impressed with Tess's pasta dish that doesn't require meat. With Apples for Jam, I really could still cook something if I have a can of tomato and pasta. Everyone's a chef with Tessa's cookbooks!

I've made a spaghettini with egg and toasted parsley bread crumbs . You could see the recipe here but I've attached it below too. Have fun and remember, you don't need meat to cook all the time. This is simple and delicious. I did add in quite a fair bit of EVOO for the slurpy effect. And it did keep us full for quite some time. A couple of hours....

Spaghettini With Egg & Toasted Parsley Breadcrumbs
(adapted from Apples For Jam by Tessa Kiros)

4 eggs, at room temperature
4 tbsp EVOO
300 g (10 1/2 oz) spaghettini
60 g (2 1/4 oz) Soft White Bread, broken up into coarse crumbs
2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 heaped tbsp chopped parsley
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
Olive Oil, to serve
Grated Parmesan Cheese, to serve


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the eggs and boil for 4 minutes. Fish out the eggs with a slotted spoon, run under cold water and peel off the shells. Put the eggs in a large serving bowl and mash up into small bits with a fork. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a little salt.

Add the spaghettini to the boiling water and cook, following the packet instructions. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a non-stick frying pan, add the breadcrumbs, anchovies and garlic and saute over medium heat until the breadcrumbs are golden and crisp. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley and lemon zest.

Drain the spaghettini, keeping some of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the egg with a few spoonfuls of the cooking water. Toss through very well and serve immediately. Drizzle each serving with some olive oil and scatter parsley breadcrumbs over the top. Pass around the parmesan, and some black pepper for those who like it.

serves 4

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Soto Ayam

Made these really delicious Soto Ayam again and manage to snap some shots. Thought I'd share with you guys just in case you people don't know Salt and Turmeric yet. She guest blogged over at Rasa Malaysia and shared with many a to-die-for Soto Ayam.

Aaron and me, we both love it so much and we had it for lunch and dinner for today. I like eating this with nasi himpit actually but the first time round, I made that, I could see my picky pie prefers vermicelli. So this time, we had it with vermicelli again.

We had lotsa chicken bones left from crabbing. Yes, we're only allowed to use chicken bones as baits for crabbing and nothing else to be fair to everyone! I throw in a couple of boneless chicken thighs and 1-2 large chicken carcasses. I simmer that a while before adding in the sauteed ingredients.

Salt and Turmeric, if you are reading this, I'm sorry but you lied. You said your recipe serves 8-10 but in actual fact, it only serves 4! The two of us finished it for lunch and dinner today. And it's been rather gloomy with constant shower here in Adelaide today so this one was the real deal of what I would reckon as comfort food so thanks again!

Soto Ayam
(translated to chicken noodle soup in Indonesian Malay)
(adapted from Rasa Malaysia with modifications by me)


2 whole chicken bones
3 boneless chicken thighs
7 cups of water

Bring the above to boil and skim off as much fats and scums as possible. Cover and let it simmer while you proceed to prepare other ingredients.

2 big red onions
5 cloves garlic
2'' ginger, peeled

Blend the peeled red onions, garlic and ginger until you get a fine puree.

Combine the following in a small plate:

4-spices (1 star anise seed, 3 cloves, 3 cardamon & 1-inch cinnamon stick)

1/2 cup coconut cream
Salt and sugar to taste


Blanched vermicelli
Blanched beansprouts
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced into half each
Fried shallots
Finely chopped spring onions
Finely chopped bird's eye chili

In a large pan, heat up 3 tbsp oil until smoky and add the 4-spices until fragrant. Add in the blended ingredients and stir continuosly until fragrant. Pour everything into the big pot with chicken bones and chicken meat. Bring to boil and let it simmer, covered for approximately 30 minutes.

After 3omins, fish out the chicken meat and bones and let them cool enough for your hands to handle. Add coconut cream into the pot together with salt and sugar to taste. In the meantime, shred the meat of the chicken bones and use two forks to throughly shred the meat off the chicken thighs. Return them back into the pot together with the bones. Let it boil for another 15-20min.

Now, prepare your garnish and base. Divide the blanched vermiceli evenly into four large bowls and top with blanched beansprouts and hard boiled eggs. Top with ladleful of the hot soup with chicken meat among the 4 bowls. Garnish with fried shallots, chopped chili and spring onions.

Tuck in and enjoy the bowl of comforting chicken noodle soup!

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Sweet and Sour Chili Crab with Deep Fried Mantao

I've not been cooking much new recipes lately. But I thought there is no harm in letting old dishes reappear on the dining table, though I personally don't exactly like eating the same dish twice.

The few of us went crabbing yesterday. We headed to Henley beach at 11pm and came back at 3am the following morning!!! Not too bad, we caught 5 medium large crabs. It's a mixture of blue swimmer and mud crabs and some other species that I don't quite know. Yes, I'm bad with crab names. And the picture below, NEVER EVER DO THAT TO A LIVE CRAB! Aaron is crazy!

Nah....actually we put the crab to sleep in the freezer for an hour or so, so it's practically harmless. He thought it looked pretty funny! I reckon too!

To please everyone's tastebud especially my health freak housemate who is 'allergic' to oyster sauce, we couldn't do 'kam heong' style crab. I really love 'kam heong' style cooking. If you don't know what's that, google it up people. It's the most delicious combination ever invented!

I really don't mind sticking back to this same recipe though people always cook this with mud crabs. The secret ingredient here is taucheo or black bean paste. It's typical in Asian houses and I bought it to cook Pongteh style for Aaron.

I tweaked the method a little because it seems all recipe for crab require deep frying before hand. I don't want to because it's unhealthy and if I were to use EVOO, I'll be broke. Aaron cleaned them well, chopped them up and we steamed it over high heat for 12 mins or so. Works fine for us.

Here's the recipe that we've used:

Chilli Crabs:

2 mud crabs or 4 blue swimmer crabs

1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
3 fresh red chillies, seeded and chopped
A couple of tablespoon of EVOO

1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup chilli sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
2 teaspoons salted black beans (optional)

1 egg, beaten
4 spring onions, finely chopped

Start off by cleaning the crab and chop them up into smaller chunks. If necessary, put them to sleep in the freezer for an hour or so if they are alive. Steam them on high heat for 12 mins or so. Retain any essence or juice from steaming.

Heat up the oil until smoky in a pan large enough to accommodate all the crab pieces. Turn the heat to low and fry the ginger, garlic and chillies, stirring, until soft and golden. Add the sauce mixture and bring to boil.

Return the crab pieces to the wok and let them simmer in the sauce for 5 minutes, with the lid on. Uncover and dribble in the beaten egg, toss in the spring onions, and cook without stirring until the egg sets. Serve with steamed rice.

We hope you all will enjoy it as much as we did when eating this finger licking good crabs. Just get your hands down dirty and eat with no etiquette to truly enjoy the sweet flesh!

Being a Hokkien, my house treated the 8th day of the Chinese New Year as a Grand Day. How grand you ask me. This grand:

That's my long dining table all full with practically everything edible!

That's my marble table used for kneading breads and buns, also full!

Right outside my house, all these edible food are arranged. They must have a certain sequence and so forth.

This the the mother of all Piggy. We'll usually get my Aunt to chop this up and we give generous slices of this 'siew yuk', some red eggs, mandarin oranges and angku kuihs to neighbours and relatives.

That's the other end of the long prayer table. I really dunno what's that huge paper sculpture is for. We just burn it but I don't know to whom and what's the purpose behind doing all these. In my house, we are not allowed to questions all these. All I know is I actually hold the joysticks twice every year, once on Chinese New Year's Eve and once again on this 'Grand Day'.

Prayers are usually lead by Dad and Ma Ma. Just look at my dad, he's even wearing a red shirt which symbolizes prosperity!

This dish is whipped up by me, using the two sacrificed crabs for prayers. They're poached before hand and hence the redish shell. This is in fact a Peranakan originated dish. I wouldn't wanna start arguing with you people if any of you comes up to my face and start claiming titles. For me, this is a Peranakan dish!

I paired this with deep-fried mantao, just like how they always do it in the restaurants. These little bun would soak up all the yummy gravy of the crab. The gravy was flavourful, strong distinct crab taste and is good on both rice and mantao.

The mantao was really soft upon deep frying. You need to serve this immediately. It turned stale and a little hard when it's cold. 30 secs in the microwave revived its fluffiness. I've used this chilli crab recipe and this steamed mantao recipe. I love Susan Chua's site. See? Told you it's a Nyonya dish!

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Pearl Dumplings

I've made these sometime back and finally made it again yesterday! This time around, I use Florence of Do What I Like's recipe. Can't get black glutinous rice so I stick to white only. And sorry Lydia but I like Florence's one better. The chestnut which to me really shouldn't be optional gave it the extra crunch in the mouth. And I like how the egg white bind and makes it easier to roll. It's not very gummy to my mouth in terms of texture.

We have these for lunch yesterday and they made a lot, approximately 20 to 30 walnut size dumplings. I like them spicy but didn't have any store bought chili paste to use as dipping. I simply sprinkled some chili powder over the pearls and garnish them with celery leaves.

I steamed them on some napa cabbage leaves and placed them in tiny ceramic soup spoon to steam. They look very adorable and fits perfectly into the mouth at one bite. They are really not that big, the picture made them look big.

I will definitely make these again because they are so yummy and like what Florence said, if I were to bring this to a potluck or party, it will definitely be a hit with the crowd. So thanks Florence!

Florence's Pearl Dumplings
(yield approximately 20-30 walnut size pearls)

150g glutinous rice, soaked overnight, drained and set aside

Combine all of the following except the egg white:

300g minced pork
5 pieces Shiitake mushrooms, soaked and diced smallish
3 stalks of spring onions, use just the bottom 3 inches only, washed and diced smallish
Some diced water chestnuts
1 heaped tsp grated ginger
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp Chinese wine
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp 5 spice powder
dash of white pepper
2 tsp cornstarch
1 egg white


Let the combined pork mixture sit for 15 mins or so to allow it to marinade and deepen its flavour. After 15 mins, add in the egg white and using a pair of chopsticks, stir it in one direction to blend in the egg white and to create a sticky mass of pork. Chill for an hour or so in the refrigerator before using.

Wet your palms and use a melon baller to shape the meat mixture into equal size and use your wet palm to compress it so it won't fall apart and roll it into rounds. Work with a few at a time and roll them in the glutinous rice. Press the rice onto the meatballs to ensure that the rice sticks all around them.

Steam it on a napa cabbage lined tray on high heat for 15 -20 minutes and serve immediately.

Made pearl dumplings for dinner. First heard of it from Florence's blog but have made these using the recipe by Lydia of My Kitchen. According to her, those pearl dumpling made with no egg white taste better. Gotta try out Florence's one to confirm this, since Florence's one contain egg white.

Made these for dinner so pardon the bad shots. Will make it again very soon because Aaron like them. Plus I probably can beautify it with a tad of garnish and like Florence, use black glutinous rice too. I dunno, but I always thought black glutinous rice are for desserts only, no?

Pearl Dumplings
(makes 6-7 balls but I'll probably make 8-9 balls next time so they are smaller and fit into the mouth perfectly)

70g glutinous rice, rinsed, soaked for 3-4 hours, drained
200g minced pork
Justify Full
1 shiitake mushroom, chopped finely
2 stalks spring onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2-3 slices ginger, chopped

1 tbsp corn flour
2 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp shaoxing cooking wine (optional)
Pinch of ground white pepper
Pinch of sugar
Salt to taste


Blend A together using a food processor and add in minced pork (I use diced pork stir-fry since they are leaner) and B. Blend until fine paste is form, but not gummy. Stand aside for 10 mins.

Meanwhile, preheat steamer and line steamer basket with napa cabbage. Wet hands and form the paste int 6-7 balls of approximately the same size so they will cook evenly.

Roll mince balls in glutinous rice to coat. Arrange coated balls in steamer basket and steam in preheated steamer for 10 to 12 minutes.

Simple and pretty filling. This one definitely taste good, eaten just by itself or serve dipped in Lao Gan Ma. LGM is so so versatile. We use this as dipping sauce with garlic oil and fried garlic added. Very awesome. We sometimes add this when making fried rice and they're equally delicious too. Finally, we use this to make Mapo Tofu and also to flavour our bland porridge on chilly nights.

Food porn for pearl dumplings very soon, I promise. Wait and drool!

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Linguine al Granchio

This was our lunch for today. Including washing, it took us under 30mins to do this. I have chopped parsley and garlic finely chopped and crushed in my refrigerator so it did save me some time here and there.

I use frozen blue swimmer crab claw meat (Sorry Tess) but the taste was not compromised. Mine was really sweet and juicy. The pasta in overall was delicious. I cut down the EVOO by 1 tbsp and use 5 ounces of pasta instead.

Pretty fail proof I would say. Recipe time! I adapted this from Tessa's fifth and latest book, Venezia. This is the first recipe I've ever cook from this book of hers. A lot of them uses ingredients like Scampi and scallops which is not often available in Adelaide and pricey but still, I believe I could do us a treat once in a while. Frozen crab meat is not cheap either. Priced at AUD30 per kg, I really procrastinated long enough before I bought it.

Linguine al granchio : adapted from Tessa Kiros's fifth book, Venezia
(Crab Linguini)

5 1/2 ounces linguini
4 tbsp EVOO
2 garlic cloves, finely crushed
8 ripe cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
2 tbsp chopped parsley
about 5 ounces fresh crab meat

Bring a large saucepan of water to boil and add salt. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. When the pasta is nearly ready, heat 3 tbsp of the EVOO and garliv in a large skillet (it will hold your pasta, too, later). Add the tomatoes and half the parsley. Cook for a minute or so, then add the crab meat and cook for another minute or so with a pinch of salt.

Drain the pasta saving a little of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the skillet and heat for a minute, adding a little of the cooking water if necessary to bring it all together.

Turn off the heat and add the rest of the parsley and EVOO. Serve immediately with a grinding of fresh black pepper.

Serves 2

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Tava Revisit

This is so awesome I'd have to make a post just for its revisit. This is the second time I'm making this and this time around, I really simply throw spices in without any measurements whatsover. Remember my previous post of grilled chicken with garlic, rosemary, thymes and EVOO that I was complaining about ending up with too much basting sauce for merely 6 drumsticks? Well, you would have guessed it by now, I too out a large bowl and throw all the washed cleaned forequarters in there, throw in the remaining basting sauce from my lunch chicken, generous handful of parsley and a stingy drizzle of EVOO as my forequarters was on the fatty side.

I like how the meats are kept moist underneath the vegetables so I put that in first. Look at how beautiful they are!

I then pile on the red onions and potatoes. That's essentially all remaining stuffs in the large bowl.

Top it off with rings of Roma tomatoes.This was when disaster happened. The knife was on the blunt side it didn't penetrate the tomato skin well. Instead of piercing through the waxy tomato sorface, it pierced through my letft thumb, all the way from the middle of my nail towards the outer nail, which is my skin of course. It bleed profusely and we need to change the plaster twice! Talk about kitchen disaster, so be careful people!

Next up, dot them with butter generously and sprinkle over salt generously. This is how mine looked like in the end. Splash them with water and cover them with foil. Pop them into oven for 3 hours or so, rotating the tray once in a while to distribute the pan juices. In the final 45mins, unfoil them and blas the heat so the meat charred a little here and there but don't overdo it. Mine was a little overdoing but Aaron prefers the tomatoes this way. Yes, we both have issues with tomatoes!

Recipe is here and I hope I manage to persuade you in making one today!

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Grilled Chicken Drumsticks with Garlic, Rosemary, Thyme and Orange

These grilled drumsticks are what we had for lunch today. I baked it first before grilling it to make it a lil' charred. Simply because Aaron likes everything mushy and fall off bone. So, i baked it for 40mins or so and grilled for 10mins. Way more than well done but that's just how we like it.

I dont know is it me or the recipe, I reckon there was way too much EVOO called for in the recipe and it makes way too much marinade for 6 drumsticks. I whisked and emulsify it for like forever but I still get two layers of separation.

The EVOO just somehow refuse to be blending into the garlic-orange-herby mixture. And using 2/3 cup of EVOO for this recipe certainly don't come cheap. Priced at AUD12.99 for a 500ml bottle, I have always used it sparingly. Oh well, I guess cooking is all about guesstimating unlike baking, where everything as to be as precise as possible in order for chemistry to react.

I like how it taste though. We both love it and finish everything. We like how the EVOO kept it moist and we certainly retained the oil for cooking purpose. It's like a herb-infused garlic EVOO. Very awesome! So, try it some day!

Recipe adapted from Elinluv, click here for recipe.

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