Monday, September 27, 2010

Seafood spaghetti in Tomato Sauce

I have not cooked spaghetti for long, until I read some tips on cooking spaghetti recently. Needless to say, I was tempted to try it.

I think everyone knows how to cook spaghetti, so I will only share some tips that I have picked up along the years, some of it which I have neglected but later re-discovered the importance of them. 

1. Avoid cooking too much of spaghetti
Do not laugh. It is a very common problem and I have heard it many times. "I always end up cooking too much spaghetti." A nice dish will turn to a bad one when someone has to stuff himself with the extra plate. A pack of 500g spaghetti is meant for 5 person serving. But if you are a small eater, or you like more ingredients than noodle(just like me), remember to reduce the amount further.

2. Add good amount of salt to the boiling water for cooking spaghetti
It is very important because the spaghetti will absorb some of the salt and have a taste of ocean. If not the result will be very bland spaghetti. Worst is this can not be corrected later by adding salt to the pasta sauce.

3. Use big cookware and sufficient water for cooking spaghetti
The boiling water need to fully cover the spaghetti. This is to make sure that all the spaghetti are evenly cooked. Remember to stir the spaghetti at the beginning and occasionally during the cooking.

4. Toss the drained pasta with olive oil
I thought that this is only to prevent sticky spaghetti.But since I am going to serve the spaghetti right away, there is no need to do so. This step was skipped until a Taiwan chef explained that the second reason is to let the spaghetti absorb the aroma of the olive oil. However, this has to be done while the pasta is still hot.

5. Ingredients that are going to make perfect red sauce or tomato sauce spaghetti
Since I am blogging about red sauce spaghetti, I will keep other spaghetti recipe for next time. :)
I should have tried to make my own tomato sauce. But anyway, I am still using the ready type from the shelf since it is more convenient. Even with the ready sauce, I will add extra ingredients to make it more tasty.

Garlic. The strong, sharp and spicy garlic taste is going to balance the sweet and sour tomato sauce.
Onion. It is going to give some natural sweetness to the sauce.
Mixed herbs. A must for tomato sauce spaghetti.
Black pepper. Not white pepper. Add some coarsely grinded black pepper during cooking and add again when serving.
Salt and Sugar. For seasoning.
Tuna in Can. A few spoons of it for thicker sauce. Normally I will dilute the tomato sauce(ready type) with 50-100ml water and later thicken with mashed tuna.
Seafood. Use all your favourite seafood, prawn, squid, mussel, scallop....
Cheese or Cheese Powder. I personally prefer melting some cheese in my spaghetti sauce. 

5. Toss the spaghetti with the sauce
Transfer the spaghetti to the sauce in your pan and toss it. Make sure that spaghetti is well coated with the sauce and serve it immediately. My old practice was to add the sauce to the spaghetti in serving plate. I was worried that all the sauce will be absorbed by the spaghetti and leave no more sauce if I were to toss it. I also thought that it was nicer to serve this way. But the Italians do it for a reason. It is easier to toss it in the hot pan then to mix it in the plate later.

The happiest thing in cooking is to have someone slurping the noodles and not forgetting to give nice comments in between the slurps. I had it last Saturday. Yipee! 

**Share with me your tips on cooking spaghetti if you have any.**

Friday, September 24, 2010

Shallow Fried Fish

**This is a shallow-fried fish**

I know that many do not like the thought of frying, especially deep frying in their kitchen. They will straight away scrape off the idea once they think of the oily mess. But this dish requires shallow frying, which means less oil needed, less fat produced and of course less oily mess. So, let's move on. :)

First, you would need to clean the fish. Pat dry with kitchen towel. You would also need a small bowl of finely shredded ginger. The ginger will shrink later so make sure you have more ginger.

Ok, next heat the non steak pan with some oil, just enough to fry the ginger. Fry the ginger in medium low fire until golden, but not burnt. Remove the ginger. Use the existing oil to fry the fish, both sides. This time turn the fire to medium high. Since we are not doing deep fry, the fish skin are not crispy. Hold the fish with one side of the skin facing down for 15 seconds. Turn upside down for another 15 seconds. Then you could have the result of deep frying. :)

Place the fish and ginger as the above picture. Mix 2 tbsp soy sauce and 1 tbsp oil(use the remaining oil). Drizzle the mixture to the fish. And it is ready to be served.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Western Breakfast

What is your favorite Sunday breakfast or brunch? I believe many would fancy a western breakfast, some even wish for a full England breakfast which include fruit juice, cereal, a plate of fry-up, toast and a cup of coffee or tea.

Full England breakfast is too heavy to me. Normally I prefer to cook a plate of all my favorites for a non-working day's breakfast. Yes, the best thing of preparing your own breakfast is you could get rid of what you dislike and cook just everything you like. :)

Starting a lovely morning with fried egg with perfectly done egg yolk(sprinkle some pepper on top), mashed potatoes(russet potatoes mixed with milk, salt and pepper), fresh lettuce, toast with butter, back bacon and jumbo sausage. Get the good quality bacon and sausage. You won't regret. It is going to make the whole plate different.

My plate, with a cup of espresso

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

No bake cheese cake

4 days Raya holiday was over! I had a contented holiday, shared a good friend's happiness at her wedding, hosted Alor Setar's VIPs for a day trip(besides all the good food, we went to Gua Lang. It was my first time there too, did not know that Ipoh has such a beautiful place), went hiking with my family(a great exercise for my mum, she was complaining muscle pain the next day), did some shopping at Jusco(where my mum bought a box of mooncakes for my auntie and got herself a nice blouse), visited my uncle and, of course spent more time with my family.

My mum cooked all the delicious meals. In return, I made her cheese cake. But she does not really like cheese, so we could have more pieces. ;) I hired my brother as the event photographer, and had fun pulling him away from TV/computer/newspaper each time I needed him. :)

I used Philadelphia cream cheese which had recipes on the package. It was just 3 simple steps to make a cheese cake, mix, beat and pour. To make the base, I mixed the melted butter with the biscuit crumb and press into a lined springform pan. Then, I used a electric mixer to beat all the ingredients. The last thing I did was just to pour the mixture on top of the biscuit base and place it into refrigerator.

I made two layers just because I was using Oreo as the base. I did not want my whole cake to look dark in color. By the way, the chocolate layer was made by mixing 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the mixture.

My Oreo cheese cake

Everyone enjoyed the cake(except my mum, she only had one small slice) and I made a second cake the next day. It was a lemon cheese cake. But the photos are with the event photographer, so no photos to show.