Simply Pasta! – Seafood Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
Pastas are my absolute “to-go-tos” whenever I need a quick lunch. I think that is the same for many of us. I love doing Asian fusion pastas, incorporating elements of the traditional Asian cooking into the traditional Italian dish. But once in a while, I like to go back to the neopolitan classics and whip up simple recipes of cabonara, alfredo, ragu etc. The simplest of them all must surely be the Spaghetti Aglio e Olio. So fast to prepare and accompanied with fresh seafood which takes just seconds to cook, it makes probably the most gratifying meal cooked in less than 15 minutes!
Iranian Shirazi Salad
Bearing strong contrast to many countries within the Arabian Peninsula which are characterised by inhabitable desserts, Iran is surprisingly quite well known for their vegetable and fruit produce. The first impressions of Iranian produce for me has to be their emerald green pistachios and saffron but more recently we saw other fruits like oranges imported from there as well. The local climate is particularly conducive for fruit and vegetable cultivation it seems. As such, fruits and greens form a large part of an Iranian diet and this can be seen through the variety of salads enjoyed by them. Amongst what I’d read on Persian cuisine, Salad-e Shirazi must surely be the easiest to prepare.
Gâteau de Voyage à l’ Huile d’ Olive et au Citron （Lemon and Olive Oil Loaf Cake）
Gâteau de Voyage à l’ Huile d’ Olive et au Citron… what a mouthful of a name for such a simple cake. Loosely translated as an “Olive Oil and Lemon Travel Cake”, the term “Gâteau de Voyage” was popularised through the great French patissier Gaston Lenôtre back in the 1970s and has since become a “staple” in many French patisseries. most notably from Pierre Hermé, a prodigy of Lenôtre who created many flavours of “Gâteau de Voyage” based on his “signature” and “fetish” series. I am forever looking for a good “Gâteau de Voyage” recipe and thus when I chanced upon this one which uses olive oil in place of the standard butter, I knew I’d have to try it out!
Fig and Halloumi Salad – a taste of the Mediterranean
I love salads because they are such quick and fuss-free meals which are extremely versatile and virtually effortless to make. Given the right melange of components and ingredients, they can also be visually stunning and most certainly help to work up one’s appetite and get those salivary glands raging. That is when you’ll realise that a salad alone may just not be enough. *chuckles*
The other important thing about salads for me, is how they epitomise one of the doctrines of what good food should be, freshness. When the ingredients are crisp and just off the vine, very little needs to be done to tease out all those wonderful flavours and aroma which Mother Nature has put into nurturing them, be it fruit or vegetables. They will sing their own song, with lyrics which speaks of their innate sweetness which make all other condiments redundant. The other thing I love about salads, is how they could easy be assembled using the produce of the season. Midsummer August now and many stone fruits and other exotic varieties are in season. For me, the real treat are figs, especially Black Mission figs. I’d used them in Hidemi Sugino’s Tartlette aux Figues before and they were absolutely lovely. This time round its a red simple Fig and Halloumi Salad, a taste of the Mediterranean summer.
Spaghetti alla Laksa Pesto
I’m usually not a big fan of fusion food. Call me archaic but I prefer to keep the flavours of the dishes I prepare “clean” and true to their roots and origins. French is kept as French as possible while Chinese remains distinctively Chinese. Save for a few exceptions in pastry making, crossovers ain’t exactly my thing. That said, the devil’s advocate in me would sprout the occasional what ifs, curious what the dish would be like when it is totally taken out of context or juxtapose with another cooking genre. And of late, these previously occasional episodes of what ifs are beginning to haunt me more frequently.
Rosemary and Olive Focaccia
When it comes to breads, I’d always have a bias for crusty breads to the spongy soft ones. Not that I don’t like the latter of course. Just that to me, the hearty and somewhat earthy qualities, together with the robust textures of a rustic bread have some kinda appeal which soft loaves lack. Its like an entirely different animal together. And of course, the major plus point for a soup and stew lover like me, is how well these breads go with the liquids, lapping up the flavours with ease and soaking in all the goodness with great relish!
Focaccia is one of those rustic breads which has so much character on its own, exuding the heady perfumes of rosemary and garlic infused olive oil. And what more, its a simple and fuss-free bread to make. And here’s a very forgiving recipe for all who are interested to try!