Monday, May 25, 2009

Bacon Noodles

I know that you're thinking! Pasta, carbonara, italian food... things like that right??? haha! Thats about as far from this dish as it gets! This is one of those really mixed up fusion cooking dishes, Mixed up because I had this (or to be honest, a slightly different version of this) in Hong Kong years ago, and they called it Singapore noodles. I honestly don't remember eating anything quite like this in Singapore, but I will promise you, its yummy!! As always the recipe's been tweaked a little bit, so please feel free to do the same!

The bacon is what makes the noodles special, because we're going to be using bacon fat alone to cook the noodles, every mouthful should be a miniature bacon flavored explosion! mmm....

You will need-Chinese noodles (any kind you like), ginger, garlic, carrots, green beans, celery, spring onion, peppers (i had red), dry red chilis, tomato ketchup (haha, didn't see that one coming, did you?), soy/teriyaki sauce, any other veggies you might have lying around that you'd like in your noodles and if you're lucky enough to have it (and I'm not) Sriracha sauce! Oh, and most importantly, BACON!

Julienne/slice/fine dice the vegetables...

Cut up the bacon into medium sized dice, and on a heavy bottomed pan, medium flame, get it nice and crisp. You can either remove the bacon (if you'd like it real crisp) and add it at the end, (and use the bacon fat to cook with) or just leave be. Add the dry red chillies (after you've cut them in half) and cook for a minute or 2 on a low flame, so that the bacon fat absorbs some of that heat.

Mince the ginger and garlic.

Add it to the bacon fat, let it cok for a few minutes.

All the vegetables go in at this point, high flame, stir fry for a while. I like the veggies to have a bit of a crunch, but thats up to you. Then, add the soy/teriyaki sauce and ketchup. Adjust seasoning.

Julienne the spring onions. Cook the noodles. How? Just follow the directions on the packet! It isn't rocket science, I promise you.

Then add the noodles to the wok/pan of stir fried vegetables and give it a good mix. Check seasoning again. You can add more soy/ketchup/sriracha at this point as well.

Serve garnished with the spring onion and crisp bacon (if you've reserved it).

Sigh... I LOVE bacon. Don't you?


Noodles - 1 medium sized packet

Bacon - 6 to 10 rashers

Green Beans - quarter cup, julienne

Carrots - quarter cup, julienne

Celery - half a stalk

Spring Onions - 3-4 stems

Red Pepper - quarter cup, julienne

Dried Red Chili - 1

Ginger - 1 tbsp

Garlic - 1 tbsp

Soy/Teriyaki sauce - 2-3 tbsp or more.

Tomato ketchup - 2 tbsp

Sri Racha sauce - 1 tsp

Cut bacon into medium sized dice. Cook until crisp. Remove bacon.

Cut the dried red chili in half and add to the bacon fat. Cook for a minute or 2.

Finely mince ginger and garlic and add to the bacon fat. Cook for about 2 minutes.

Then add the julienned vegetables (carrot, beans, red pepper) and cook for about 3-5 minutes.

Add the soy/teriyaki sauce and the tomato ketchup (and Sriracha). Cook for 30 seconds.

Cook the noodles. Drain, and mix with the vegetable stir-fry mixture.

Adjust seasoning.

Julienne the spring onions.

Serve garnished with spring onions and crisped up bacon!


Can you tell I'm excited about this post?? (don't miss all the exclamation marks!) Chowder is my favorite soup, period. Its one of those really filling, main course soups and I love how comforting a bowl of chowder can be at the end of a long day. Talking of which, I apologize for the quality of the photos, I made this late in the evening, and the light, to be honest, sucked big time.

The other reason I love chowder is because you can play around with the recipe so much! The recipe that follows incorporates a lot of things i found lying around in the kitchen and refrigerator... You can add or remove things as you feel right...

You will need- butter, milk, potatoes, an onion, celery, sweet corn, paprika, a sausage, pepper corns, a bay leaf and parsley (which I don't have) and A.P.flour (which I forgot to photograph)

Chop the onion-a nice fine dice should do.

Do the same with the celery.

AND the potato! (ok, it gets more interesting after this, I promise!)

Melt some butter in a pan, and add the onions once it foams.

Then add the celery, sweat the two for a couple of minutes. The kitchen should start smelling heavenly just about now..

Bung in the potatoes. Cook for about 4-5 minutes.

Then add the parsley, (I'm pretending I am, because I hunted all evening and couldn't find any fresh parsley anywhere :( can you feel my pain?) a bay leaf, the peppercorns and about 2-3 cups of water. Let the water boil, then lower to a simmer.

Cook until the potatoes are tender.

In the meanwhile mix about half a cup of milk with a couple of tablespoons of A.P.flour. First remove the bay leaf and parsley sprigs. Then pour the milk and flour mixture into the pan.

After that add the rest of the milk. Bring to a boil. Let the chowder get as thick as you would like it to be.

Chop and add the sausage.

And then the corn.

Serve hot in individual soup bowls (no, don't be greedy and try sampling right out of the pan/soup pot) garnished with smoky paprika. :)


Butter - 25g

Flour - 2 tbspns

Milk - 300ml

Potato - 2 medium sized

Onion - 1 medium sized

Corn - 1 small can

Sausage - 1 or use tuna/bacon anything you like

Celery - 2 stalks

Bay Leaf - 1

Parsley - 1 sprig

Paprika, salt - as required

Peppercorns - 8-10

Water - 2 or 3 cups.

Finely dice onions, celery and potatoes.

Melt the butter.

Sweat the onions and celery.

Then add potatoes and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the herbs, water and cook until the potatoes are tender.

Remove the bay leaf and parsley.

Mix half a cup of milk with the flour.

Add the mixture to the pan.

Add the remaining milk, bring to a boil.

Simmer until thick enough. Adjust seasoning.

Add the sausage (chopped up) and corn and cook for 3 minutes.

Serve garnished with smoky paprika.

Let me know if you liked it. (this is the MOST important step.)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Blanched Almonds

When I mentioned in the last post that I would do a post on blanched almonds later, I really didn't think I'd be doing it anytime soon...
So I was quite surprised when two people told me that they were waiting for this post so they could make the pesto!
R and V-this is for you. And you'd better have made that pesto now!

There are two ways of doing this, the Julia Child (and the rest of the world) way and MY way. My way obviously factors in the possibility that you might want to make a call while you're cooking, or read that last page, or whatever... So stick with me here people!

Almonds, in a bowl.

Thats boiling water from my kettle (well, my mother's, but its on loan. Permanently. Shhh...don't tell her I said so!) Pour enough to cover the almonds.

Wait for a minute or two, (yes, now is when you get to drink the iced tea) drain the water. And, as Julia says-squeeze each almond between the thumb and forefinger, and the almond will slip out of the skin. Or if you're me, then you went to check your e-mail, and forgot about the almonds for a good twenty minutes. which basically means that you'll have to repeat the whole boiling water step.
Discard the skins.

Spread out the almonds on a hotel/roasting pan/sheet. Five minutes at 350 degrees F should have them nice and dry...

And now you can get started making that pesto!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


We're talking about one of my favorite foods ever!! I have this thing for pesto, can't keep my hands off it!! And ever since I discovered that basil pesto isn't the only kind, well, lets just say I can't stop experimenting, or eating!

I was cleaning out my fridge today and boy, do I have a lot of cheese for a single girl living alone! So the goal is to use it all up in the next 3 weeks. I'm hoping to find some interesting recipes, so wish me luck! I thought I'd begin with the parmesan. So moving on to the other ingredients...

Thyme (which is DIVINE with tomatoes), garlic (but of course), extra virgin olive oil, tomatoes, and almonds (you could use cashew nuts as well, but i have about 2 pounds of these lying around, so...) 

Quarter the tomatoes.

Stick them in a big sheet/roasting pan or something similar.

Peel and rough chop the garlic. Make sure the pieces and nice and chunky. We'll be roasting it all later, and trust me when i tell you, there are few things worse than burnt garlic.

Sprinkle some thyme. Be generous! Especially if you have only the dry kind-like I do.

A quarter cup of olive oil. Drizzle that over the tomatoes.

Add some salt. Give it a good mix with a spoon/your hands, don't worry, I won't judge you :)
Stick it in the oven, 30-45 minutes.

Blanch the almonds. No, I shall not tell you how. Be proactive and look it up! Or wait for me to do a post on blanching almonds.

Grate the cheese. (Yes, I have an amazing cheese grater. And yes, I am showing off!)
Now go read a book/take a shower, whatever.

In about 30 minutes or a bit more your tomatoes should look like this... No, you CANNOT eat them now. Control yourself for god's sake!

Put it all in the blender, Blend until smooth. 

Put it in a pretty bowl, or, if you're anything like me, put it in the only presentable bowl you have in the kitchen. Drizzle some olive oil on top. 
P.S.-Yes, I have this really cool pink lighter (you can see it in the background can't you. And no, I don't smoke, its for my incense sticks!)



Tomatoes - 2 pounds
Garlic - 6 cloves (or more, if you're brave!)
Thyme - 2 tablespoons
Parmesan Cheese - 1/2-3/4th of a cup, grated
Almonds - 1/2 cup
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 1/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon for the end
Salt - you decide.

Quarter the tomatoes.
Peel and roughly chop the garlic.
Put the above two on a roasting sheet. 
Sprinkle thyme, salt and the 1/4 cup of olive oil on top.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-45 minutes (or until your tomatoes look like the ones in my photo).
Meanwhile, blanch the almonds and grate the cheese.
When its all done, blend until smooth.
Serve with the rest of the olive oil drizzled on top.

Oh, and this is probably perfect eaten with bread or really light crackers (that i shall make you in the next post)... But until then, I suggest you try the pesto with these yummy crackers that my friend, Shaheen makes.