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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Spaghetti with Bacon, Egg, and Cheese

"What Came First - The Chicken or the Egg?", the theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). This is my second post for this week at IHCC. The first one, I've made a chicken dish, Chicken Skewers with Lime, Chilli and Mint. I could not decide which dish I should make, either a chicken or an egg dish, so I made one of each!



This is a pretty simple pasta with simple ingredients, and it takes just minutes to make. Ingredients used are just a few; bacon, olive oil, salt and pepper, and parsley, of which I have used a generous amount of fresh coriander from my garden pot. I have however added two more ingredients ; garlic powder and lemon juice. I'm nuts about garlic powder! I really love garlic powder, especially in pasta dishes like this. It adds a nice garlicky taste and fragrance with just a teaspoon or so. Lemon juice is needed for pasta like this; at least that's my personal preference. I find that lemon juice always turn a simple pasta such as this into a really yummy simple pasta!  And be generous with the salt and pepper, the pasta needs it!


And of course the egg! Who could resist fried eggs? I love fried eggs with the whites all cripsy at the edges with soft-set york, sprinkle with more black pepper over the top before serving. A simple, yummy and satisfying lunch. This is one pasta dish that I would make again!


Spaghetti with Bacon, Egg and Cheese
(adapted from "Pure Simple Cooking", Diana Henry)
serves 2
6 oz spaghetti
3 tbsp olive oil
4 oz bacon
2 large eggs
salt and pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (use about 1/2 cup chopped cilantro)
2 oz smoked cheese, grated (Parmesan)
1 tsp garlic powder (my addition)
1 tbsp lemon juice, or more, to taste (my addition)

  1. Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. When it's almost ready, heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the bacon until crisp and well coloured. Transfer it into a bowl and heat the rest of the oil. Fry the eggs, spooning the warm oil up over the top of the eggs to cook the yolks. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Drain the pasta, then put it back in the saucepan. Add the extra virgin olive oil, a little salt, pepper, garlic powder (if using), the bacon, parsley and lemon juice (if using), and toss. Divide between two plates, sprinkle on the grated cheese, and top each serving with a fried egg. Serve immediately.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week, "What Came First - The Chicken or the Egg?"

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Friday, October 31, 2014

THB : Chocolate-Topped Prune Cake

Bake #43 at The Home Bakers (THB), Chocolate-Topped Date Cake is selected by Angela of The Charmed Cupcakes.

As you can read from the title, I have used prunes instead of dates. Firstly I do not have any dates, and secondly I really need to clear the prunes from my pantry! 



I made half a recipe, used a 6" loose-bottomed pan. Mixed the batter by hand since it was a small amount. I have omitted the chocolates in the batter, using only the prunes which I've sliced to pieces, scatter with baking soda in a bowl, and pour in hot boiling water, leaving it to soak until it comes to room temperature, following the method in the recipe for dates. I have reduced the sugar to a quarter amount from the full recipe for half a cake, and it was just nice.  For the topping, I have used only a scattering of chocolate chips, keeping it simple. Originally, the recipe for the topping uses chopped walnuts, chocolate chips, sugar and cocoa powder.


The cake is moist, soft, tender and lovely eaten with a cup of tea.


For the full recipe and instructions, please visit the host of this bake, Angela of The Charmed Cupcakes, where she has made this cake into a bundt cake with delicious oozing chocolate ganache over the top. To view other members' bake, please visit The Home Bakers (THB).


Welcome to The Home Bakers


We are a group of home bakers who are currently baking from "Coffee Cakes" by Lou Seibert Pappas. This is our bake no. 43 and we have 17 recipes more to go.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pumpkin Frittata with Tomato Salsa

This simple frittata is the perfect lunch meal. Recipe uses sweet potato, but I have use pumpkin instead.


A simple tomato salsa is served with the frittata and they are good really together. I have used cherry tomatoes instead of vine-ripened plum tomatoes as stated in the recipe, as I am waiting for my plum tomatoes to ripen on the vines, there are several fruits right now and I can't wait for them to turn all red!


A simple, healthy lunch! Quick and yummy!


Sweet Potato (Pumpkin) Frittata with Tomato Salsa
(adapted from : "Healthy Appetite", Gordon Ramsay)
Serves 2
1 large sweet potato, about 200-250gm  (I use pumpkin)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
sea salt and black pepper
4 large eggs
small handful of chives, finely snipped

Tomato Salsa :
250gm vine-ripened plum tomatoes
2 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal
handful of coriander leaves, chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp sesame oil (I omitted this)
dash of tobasco sauce (I omitted this)
pinch of sugar (optional)

To make the salsa :
Halve or quarter the tomatoes and place in a large bowl. Add all the other ingredients and mix well, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper, and a pinch of sugar if you like. Set aside.

For the frittata :
Heat the grill to its highest setting. Peel the sweet potato and cut into 1-cm cubes. Heat a non-stick omelette or frying pan (suitable for use under the grill) and add the olive oil. When hot, toss in the potato and shallot, and season well with salt and pepper. Cook over a medium heat, turning occasionally, for about 4-5 minutes until the potatoes are just tender and lightly golden at the edges.

Lightly beat the eggs in a bowl, add the chives and pour over the sweet potatoes. Shake the pan gently to distribute the ingredients and cook over a low heat, without stirring, for a few minutes until the eggs are beginning to set at the bottom and around the sides.

Place the pan under the hot grill briefly until the top of the frittata has set. Try not to overcook the eggs or they will turn rubbery. Leave to stand for a minute, then run a heatproof plastic spatula around the sides of the pan and invert the frittata onto a large plate. Spoon the tomato salsa into a neat pile on top and serve immediately.


I'm linking this post to :

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Little Thumbs Up (Oct 2014 Event : Pumpkin) organized by Zoe of Bake For Happy Kids and Mui Mui of My Little Favourite D.I.Y. and hosted by Eileen of Eileen's Diary.


and 

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Chicken Skewers with Lime, Chilli and Mint

"What Came First - The Chicken or the Egg?", the theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). Interesting, and always has been, Chicken or Eggs? What do you think?  

I was alone during one weekend, with nobody at home, the kids have gone to their cousins for the weekend, and hubby was out of town. I decided to make this chicken dish, as it is really very simple and quick to prepare. With things to do around the house, "spring cleaning", I was pretty occupied most of the day. So advance preparation with the ingredients! Which really is nothing, what I did for the "advance preparation" was to take out the half piece of chicken breast meat and two slices of frozen bread (for the salad) from my freezer, to thaw, that's all. 

When the chicken breast meat has been thawed, I cut it into chunks and marinated it with the marinating ingredients; zest and juice of limes, dried coarse chilli flakes (recipes uses fresh chilli, deseeded and shredded, but I did not have any fresh chillies), soy sauce, fish sauce, crushed garlic, chopped mint and black pepper. I added some sea salt as I've only used a minimum amount of fish sauce. Keep covered in refrigerator for a few hours. Place five wooden skewers in a plate, and pour some hot water to soak the skewers. Then back to my chores!

Note : Instead of chicken thigh meat as mentioned in the recipe, I have used the meat of half a chicken breast, since that was what I had. 
The original recipe is served with an Oriental Salad. I have however made another salad (Ottolenghi's) to go with the Chicken Skewers.


I left the meat marinated for about four hours. And the wooden skewers, I left them to soak for the same amount of time as the chicken meat. At the end of four hours, (I was pretty hungry by then, as I have skipped my lunch) thread the chicken meat on to the wooden skewers, and got exactly 5 skewers. I used a griddle pan, heat up with some oil, brush some oil over the chicken pieces and cook the chicken on both sides, sprinkle with more chilli flakes (I like them spicy!) until cooked through and have a nice good colour. Very quick, and fast! Takes less than 10 minutes of cooking time!


I had the Chicken Skewers with Seriously Zesty Bread Salad, from my previous post. And they are perfect together. This is one delicious meal! The Chicken Skewers is tender, moist and so tasty. All the flavours; chilli, mint and lime, comes together rather deliciously! And so good eaten with the fresh and zesty bread salad. A total winner! I enjoyed my meal so much that I wish my family was around to have it together. So I made this again two weeks later, made the same bread salad, for a weekend night dinner with my family, with another side dish. It was so good! There was no leftovers!


Chicken Skewers with Lime, Chilli and Mint
(adapted from "A Change of Appetite", Diana Henry, or here)
Serves 6
For the chicken :
12 boned and skinned chicken thighs
1-1/2 tbsp groundnut oil
juice of 1 lime

For the marinade :
grated zest of 4 limes
juice of 6 limes
2 red chillies, deseeded and shredded (I use coarse chilli flakes)
3 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp fish sauce
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp chopped mint
freshly ground black pepper

Soak six long or 12 short wooden skewers in just-boiled water for 30 minutes. Cube the chicken. Make the marinade by mixing together all the ingredients for it. Put in the chicken, turning it over to make sure it is all coated, cover and refrigerate for one to four hours.

Thread the chicken on to the skewers and shake off any excess marinade. Heat the oil in a large frying-pan (big enough for the chicken to lie flat). Alternatively, heat a dry griddle pan and use the oil to paint the chicken. Cook on all sides until the chicken is cooked through, starting on a high heat to get a good colour all over then turning the heat down. The whole process takes about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper and squeeze over some lime juice.


I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week, "What Came First - The Chicken or the Egg?"

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Bite-Size Bacon and Cheese Scones

These cheesy bacon scones are so addictive! The first sentence from this recipe in the cookbook is, "I dare you to stop eating these!",  and that is a good reason enough to bake this right away! If you love bacon and cheese, then do yourself a favour, and bake this, on one weekend afternoon, when your family is around to enjoy these scones, fresh and warm, delicious, right after baking. Perfect for an afternoon tea-time treat, of course have a pot of warm tea ready!


Firstly, fry the bacon till crisp, chop to small pieces, keep aside while you prepare the dough.
The dough is mixed in the food processor, which takes about only a minute. Dump the dough on a lightly floured work surface, knead in the bacon pieces and bring the dough into a ball. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/2" thick, use a 1-1/2" cookie cutter, cut out as many scones as you can. Gather the scraps, and repeat.


The scones may be left as it is (on the left), or add a pinch of grated cheese over each one before baking (on the right). Of course, I topped all of the scones with grated cheese.


Bake in a preheated oven at 400F (200C), for about 12 minutes until golden. Remove from the pan and let cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.



Freshly baked and could not wait to eat it! Smells so cheesy nice!


Just like the author says, "I dare you to stop eating these!".  How true! I could not stop at just two or three, same goes with the family! Before we know it, most of the scones are gone! They are so good! Eating them while still warm, minutes after baking is the best! These scones are buttery, tender, tastes just amazing with the bacon and cheese. Do not skip the cheese topping, it really does "take the scones over the top", as in the author's own words. We had these with some warm tea, and it was raining heavily outside while we were enjoying these scones. Such perfect tea-time treat! 


Bite-Size Bacon and Cheese Scones
(adapted from "Willams-Sonoma : Home Baked Comfort", Kim Laidlaw)
makes about 4 dozen mini scones
3 thick slices applewood-smoked bacon (use streaky bacon)
2 cups (10oz/315g) all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup (4oz/125g) grated Asiago or Gruyere cheese (I use Cheddar)
pinch of kosher salt (omit salt, as but butter is salted)
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper (use 1/4 tsp)
1/2 cup (4oz/125g) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks (use salted butter)
1 large egg
3/4 cup (6fl oz/180ml) heavy cream or whole milk (I use slightly less)

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400F (200C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a frying pan, fry the bacon over medium-low heat until lightly crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and finely chop the bacon.
In a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder, cheese, salt, and pepper and pulse briefly to mix. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and cream until blended. Pour the egg mixture into the processor and pulse just until the dough comes together.
Dump the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead in the bogacon and then bring the dough together into a ball. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to 1/2 inch (12mm) thick. Using a 1-1/2-inch (4cm) biscuit cutter, cut out as many scones as you can. Gather the scrape of dough, roll out, and cut out more scones.
Space the scones evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the scones are golden, about 12 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.


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