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Archive for the ‘fusion’ Category

I did not get a picture of my favourite dish from the restaurant in my previous post. But that does not mean that I did not vow to recreate the mix of flavours at my earliest convenience!
The original dish was with fish roe, but I decided to replace it with eggplant for a more vegetarian twist on it. It worked pretty well, although I might try pureeing the eggplant next time instead of frying it up. (I know there’s vegetarian roe… er… but no. There’s no point in even buying that.)

“Japanese Carbonara” with eggplant
(2 portions)
Spaghetti enough for 2 people (depending on your preferred portion size)
1/8l cream
2 egg yolks
1/3-1/2 eggplant (depending on the size of your eggplant)
A small piece of leek or a spring onion, very thinly sliced
Nori, cut into thin strips (I used egg furikake with nori)
(optional) Parsley for decoration

Slice the eggplant and salt it, set to drain for at least 15 minutes.
Pat dry and cut into small pieces, fry with a little salt in neutral oil. (You could use smoked salt to add a little smokyness, I used a few crumbs of smoked chili instead for some extra zing!)
At this point you can also start boiling the pasta al dente in a big pot of salted water.
When the pasta and the eggplant are done (this should ideally coincide in time), drain the pasta, toss it with the cream and arrange on two plates. Arrange the eggplant, leek/spring onion, parsley and egg yolks on top. Sprinkle over the nori and done!

Eat with chopsticks if you can, stirring in the yolk at the table.

I’m submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights hosted this week on The Life & Loves of Grumpy’s Honey Bunch.

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I recently found those lovely, huge colourful pasta tubes. I love trying out new shapes of pasta!
The only problem is that a lot of said shapes come in sizes that are, let’s face it, designed to hold Bolognese sauce – and a lot of it. Conchiglie, Cannelloni and now these tubes – they are fun, but bring a tear to a vegetarian’s eye!

Lucky then that I finally found a vegetarian Bolognese recipe that I like!

The idea came to me in a Thai restaurant of all places. Trying their delicious peanut sauce I had the idea – why not use peanuts as a ground meat replacement for Bolognese?
After a few tries I’m now sufficiently convinced I’m on to something here. So here’s the recipe:

Vegetarian Bolognese sauce with peanuts
1 food processor (don’t do it without! Really)
1 cup unsalted peanuts
1 carrot
1 red onion, peeled
1-2 stalks of celery
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 red chili, chopped
Tomato concentrate
Olive oil and/or butter
Salt, pepper, herbs (e.g. Thyme, rosemary, oregano), sugar to taste
Optional: Mushrooms, bell pepper, crushed tomatoes for the sauce

I’m doing all the chopping for this recipe in the food processor. This saves me time but mostly it’s quite easy to get the right size for bolognese in that manner. I’m going for a random spread of particles of 0,5mm length in average. Some of it can be finer – that’s not a problem, it’ll all end up making a delicious sauce. But I want the peanuts and carrots to feel like “proper” bolognese, so I’m looking for something in between “pulverized” and “chopped”.

Start out by pulsing the peanuts in the food processor. Put them into the dry pan and roast them until they begin to smell – careful they don’t burn! Put aside.
Next, pulse or chop the onion. Fry with garlic and chili in olive oil.
Pulse the carrots, celery and optional veggies and add them. Fry for a bit.
Add the peanuts, herbs, water or tomato sauce and a good dollop (2-3Tsp at least) of tomato concentrate paste. Boil for at least 5-10 minutes, ideally at least 30 minutes, adding water whenever necessary.

Serve on al dente pasta with parmesan cheese, butter and wine. I’d recommend a nice red one, maybe a Cabernet.
Cheers!

This will be submitted to Presto Pasta Nights hosted this week by Theresa at The Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine.

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Bento #212

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I found those spiral-shaped rice noodles in an Asian supermarket and just had to try them…
Rice pasta with dry peanut/carrot sauce, zucchini quiche Lorraine, lettuce, cherry tomato and a mint.
The ratios are probably way off in this one but I felt like a bigger bento today. I was quite hungry after coming home from class yesterday…

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BF gets the same, with a bigger portion of pasta.

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Bento #205

Continuing the celebratory theme.
Starting top left: Muhammara and grilled zucchini, cherry tomato, hazelnut lentil balls, colourful sushi rice rolls (no stuffing, just differently coloured rice), grapes, and a tiny cherry tomato.

Here’s a not-so-artsy shot of the same box. Yes, it all fitted (except the picks which I tucked in afterwards)!

And my own box. Same food, but arranged slightly differently.
I also have wasabi, ginger, soy sauce and a candy tucked away at the sides.

PS: I used this recipe for the hazelnut lentil balls, but substituted red dal. They are really yummy and I’m going to whip up a batch to freeze next time. Sadly they do benefit from being fried a little, just oven-baked was a little bland.

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This somehow looked better in my plans than in reality. Hmm.
Two quarters of the box (divided crosswise) are taken up by spelt pasta gratin with mushroom sugo and cheese, broccoli, carrots, a fishy with vinegar in one remaining quarter, and tiny grapes, half a zebra cookie, and some tangerine in the other.

I brought the spelt pasta home with me from Austria – spelt is quite popular there right now, it seems. This type is a kind of very small tube-shaped pasta. I have a bag of spaghetti too – I’ve been pondering making faux soba with it, as I’m not much of a fan of the buckwheat pasta that goes into it. The spelt pasta has a very similar colour.
Taste-wise it’s quite nice as well – the spelt taste doesn’t come out as strongly as in, say, spelt bread (of which I also imported a piece of delicious homemade stuff which I will be aiming to recreate soon) but it mingled well with the mushroom sugo and the cheese. It doesn’t stay as chewy as wholewheat pasta, which makes it more easy to integrate into non-creamy sauces, I think. But all in all it’s quite a success! We’ll see if I can secure more of the stuff over here.

The BF gets the same but since his bento doesn’t look so tidy I don’t have a picture.

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Bento #174

Three nests of spaghetti all’arrabiata with parmesan, scattered tamagoyaki for the proteins and broccoli for the vitamins, some organic tomato wedges and strawberries for dessert.

This is the BF’s version as I was not happy at all with how mine turned out on the photo. I also had forgotten my HK bento at work, so I had to use a pink box… not so great colour scheme:

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I seem to be on a vegan roll with my lunchboxes this week…!
The big container holds 1/3 spiced mixed rices (black longgrain, parboiled, red, white roundgrain, brown roundgrain), 1/3 red lentils boiled with turmeric and raisins, and 1/3 palak paneer tofu – spinach curry with tofu and green peppers. You can’t get paneer here and I’ve not attempted to make it myself yet, so I replaced it with tofu. Works ok, I guess, though it should have simmered longer to make the tofu take up more of the curry’s taste and saltiness.
The small container holds candy easter eggs (of questionable vegan status), lettuce, sugar snap peas, red pepper strips and a baby plum tomato.

The recipe for the curry is again adapted from The Indian Restaurant Cookbook – it had no proper palak paneer recipe but I adapted its spinach curry for it.

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