*On a side note, the header photo is entirely irrelevant but just another of D's breakfasts the first day I woke up in Brighton; I realise I have no photos of me cooking over in this gorgeous kitchen but rather only those of me cooking in my not-very-pretty Cambridge dorm kitchen.
*******Ketjap Manis, which is a type of sweet dark soya sauce, and easily found in the world cuisine food section or in Asian food stores. Lately have I been craving the dish so I decided to whip it up today. And hailing from Singapore, a melting pot of food cultures, I decided to give it a little of the South East Asian Fusion treatment, integrating some Chinese elements such as light soya sauce, shitake mushrooms, and sesame oil. The noodles used here are fine egg noodles, also known as 'mee kia', commonly seen in char siew noodles. The dish itself is very simple to make, requiring about ten to fifteen minutes of preparation and cooking in total. Serves two, unless you are as greedy as I am, tantalised by the juices oozing out of the seafood.
- Boil two pieces of dried noodles (mee kia) in a saucepan of hot water for 2-3 minutes. Drain.
- Beat two eggs in a bowl, with white pepper and some light soya sauce. Heat a frying pan and cook an omelette till slightly golden-brown. Cut into small pieces and leave aside.
- Dice garlic finely, chop four chestnut mushrooms or shitake mushrooms up.
- Heat some sesame oil in a frying pan or wok. Add in the garlic and mushrooms and fry lightly.
- Throw in the eight large king prawns, followed by fourteen pieces of mussel meat.
- Season with about 2.5 tablespoons of ketjap manis, some white pepper, chilli powder and a little sea salt.
- Toss in some spinach.
- Add in the noodles and the omelette. Fry all and mix well.
- Serve with finely-sliced cherry tomatoes as garnishing, and sprinkle with some fresh lemon juice to bring out the flavour.
And you will get a large plate of something like this!
I experimented with prawn and mussel linguine based on a dish I stole off D in an awesome Italian place at Cambridge. Recently, we bought a bottle of chilli-infused olive oil from Borgo di Medici so I decided to try my own version of this recipe. It is a light meal, elementally-simple because it is just the right blend of flavours rather than heavy cream or a tomato-based pasta dish. Also, it is extremely simple to prepare, taking less than forty-five minutes in total. The most time-consuming aspect is waiting for the mushrooms to soak, but, you get a hearty broth which can be used to cook. Porcini mushrooms are flavoursome and meaty, perfect for this dish. I also added in some celery as I like their slightly-biting alkaline taste, which I felt would complement the chilli oil nicely. For the herb component, I used basil as its strong taste would come up well with the spice. The chilli oil, though amazing, can be lethal. I bit into one of the tiny chillis accidentally a few nights ago and had to literally gulp down a liter of ice-cold water to cool my burning face down. I shudder to think how many Scoville heat units they really are. Serves two.
Prawn, mussel and Porcini mushrooms
- Fill a third of a small bowl with warm water. Add about 2.5 tablespoons full of dried Porcini mushrooms. Cover with a lid and leave for half an hour. The liquid will make a delicious rich broth.
- Cut two large sprigs of celery into stalks about 3cm long, dice three cloves of garlic.
- Heat chilli-infused extra-virgin olive oil in a frying pan.
- Throw in the celery, flipping the contents of the pan every minute. Grind in some black peppercorns, sea salt and chopped basil.
- Add in the garlic. Turn the heat down and cover pan with a lid, leaving contents to simmer. This keeps them soft.
- Shake the pan from time to time, adding in a little bit of the liquid from the mushrooms regularly.
- Remove the lid after about seven minutes. Turn the fire up by a little, add in about eight king prawns and fry them lightly.
- Throw in about fourteen mussels, the mushrooms and their liquid, and drizzle more chilli oil and basil.
- Boil the linguine in a separate saucepan, adding in some salt.
- After about 11 minutes or when the pasta is done, drain.
- Drizzle in chilli oil generously, adding sea salt, pepper and basil.
- Shake the pot to ensure these are well-mixed.
- Serve up the seafood mix on a bed of linguine.
- Add black pepper to taste, with a little fresh lemon juice on top.
** I regretted not cooking for four. So I could eat three portions.
Somehow, nothing delights me more than seeing a whole fridge full of food. I was musing the other day that it must be in the blood and D had to remind me that my mother buys loads of food to feed a family, not just herself. Bon appetit and have a great rest-of-the-week! x