Homemade Creamy Broccoli Pesto with Pasta

homemade creamy broccoli pesto

My better half wanted to make pesto – in particular, a creamy pesto with broccoli. I told her pesto needs to have pine nuts, Parmesan cheese and basil leaves for it to be properly called pesto but she showed me a recipe and talked me out of using the nuts. I won out on the cheese and basil though – we actually have a nice herb garden with basil leaves.

broccoli florets

…so that’s what we did over the weekend. I must say it’s quite a success, although this isn’t a traditional pesto with pine nuts but more like a creamy broccoli sauce.

This is actually from a recipe that we adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

steamed broccoli heads

There’s a head of broccoli that’s starting to turn yellow so we steamed that for about 10 minutes and cut the crown into florets. I chopped the stem almost down to the head. I *did not* use the stems at all, some recipes call for that, I only use the broccoli florets.

ingredients broccoli pesto

This is what we put into the food processor:

  • 1 small broccoli
  • 2 cloves raw garlic
  • 50 ml heavy thickened cream
  • 3 heaped tablespoons of Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

I would say the most important thing in that creamy broccoli pesto sauce is the garlic. It’s no good without the garlic! I almost forgot to put it in.

adding fresh basil

Our herb garden is just starting to flower so we just picked a few fresh basil leaves to throw inside the food processor. I pulsed everything and processed it for about 30 seconds until all the ingredients were meshed well together.

cooking linguine

This is our first attempt in doing this so we just cooked some linguine and tossed it with our home-made creamy broccoli pesto.

The linguine was mixed with a huge chunk of butter. I reckon that since there’s olive oil in the pesto sauce, the pasta would taste better with butter. It did! We also had a simple poached egg with the pasta dish.

creamy broccoli pesto

It tasted really good! The heavy cream combined with the Greek yogurt makes a very nice base for the interesting textural experience of having millions of tiny broccoli florets rubbing against your tongue with every bite. The creamy pesto paste isn’t too heavy and rich either – we were surprised to find out it’s actually very light.

creamy broccoli pesto pasta

It’s not a traditional pesto but I’m keen to do one next time with our own basil leaves and some toasted pine nuts. As for this creamy broccoli pesto, it’s simple and delicious, a wonderful alternative to the heavier pasta sauces we’ve been using lately!

Christmas Eve Dinner @ Senja, Saujana Hotel

christmas eve dinner

Senja is an Italian restaurant despite it’s Malay sounding name. The food is prepared by Chef Filippo Giunta, a friendly Sicilian which I got to meet later. It is best known for it’s homemade pasta and pizzas (they even have a firewood oven) and the ambiance – it’s built on stilts above a man-made lake and the view is quite pleasing.

senja saujana

I was there to check out their Christmas Eve Dinner. I haven’t been here for a while and I thought I’ll come and check out their new pasta machine. Thanks for the invite Azimy and Azirah and it’s a pleasure to meet you Karen!

bread

The five course meal was preceded by their wonderful home-made bread, which I absolutely loved. It came with four different types of dip – the whole olives and sun-dried tomatoes being two of my favorite.

Schiuma di Papate con Capesante ed Aneto
Potato Mousse with Scallop and Dill Oil

scallops

This is the first course proper – the amouse-bouche. It’s a nicely cooked piece of scallop topped with black caviar with potato mousse and dill oil. I thought it’s a nice start for the Christmas Eve course.

Capaccio di Manzo con Rucola e Dressing al Parmigiano
Carpaccio of Black Angus with Rocket and Parmesan Dressing

black angus carpaccio

I really, really liked this. The circular tissue-thin Black Angus is aged well so you can taste the intense flavors in this apt appetizer. I wish I could have more of this. Perfectly dry-aged (I think, forgot to ask) beef.

chef filippa giunta

There are three main courses you can choose from:

Linguine con Funghi Selvatici e Tartufo
Homemade Linguine Pasta with Wild Mushrooms and Black Truffle

linguini black truffle

This would be my recommendation for the main course if you’re not one of those people who must have turkey on Christmas Eve. I’ve seen how they make their pasta in-house and the linguine is cooked to perfection – dictionary definition of “al dente”. I enjoyed the simplicity of the dish, spruced up by generous shavings of black truffle.

Salmone in Padella Sevito con Spinaci, Salsa Prosecco e Caviale Nero
Tasmanian Salmon served with Butter Spinach, Prosecco Sauce and Black Caviar

salmon

There’s nothing wrong with this dish, but it didn’t quite hit the spot for me. It’s a generous slice of salmon on top of spinach and it was the first main dish that I ate but I felt that the salmon overpowered all the other flavors in the dish and it was a tad overcooked but then again I won’t pretend to be a food critic. Heh. I just felt that the other two dishes were much better.

Petto di Tacchino con Mele Verdi, Funghi in Padella e Riduzione al Vino Porto
Stuffed Turkey Breast with Poached Granny Smith Apple, Cepes Mushroom and Port Wine Sauce

turkey

I really liked the crisp turkey skin and the juicy turkey meat. I loved the stuffing. It’s a classic Christmas dish that has everything done right including the apple cubes beneath the turkey that gives it a sweet dimension. Highly recommended, I would go for this or the pasta for the main course. Come to think of it, I’ll recommend this, coz you can have pasta any other time. ;)

Panettone Tradizionale con Crema di Mascarpone e Caffe
Traditional Panettone “Tiramisu” with Mascarpone and Coffee Cream

panettone tiramisu

This is hands down the best dessert I’ve had this month, or maybe even this quarter. I might even hazard to go “this year” due to this wonderful creation from Chef Filippo Giunta. It’s not a regular tiramisu made with Savoiardi – that has been made passé with this “tiramisu” made from Panettone. Just think of Savoiardi being substituted with Panettone Antica Ricetta and you’ll have an inkling of what this marvelous dessert tastes like.

It’s awesome – there’s no other word to describe it. The Mascarpone and coffee cream dominates the Panettone that has been rendered soft and yielding and the burst of fruitcake combined with the thick, cloying cream resulted in a truly fearsome dessert. It’s delicious! :D

panettone

This is the Panettone used for the Christmas Eve Dinner dessert at Senja. It’s the specialty Christmas cake of Milan which traces its roots to an ancient Franciscan cloister in Saronno. It’s orgasmic – there’s a bit of fruitcake to remind you of the festive season and I was very impressed by this dessert. The Mascarpone and coffee cream slathered on top of this Panettone “tiramisu” takes the cake (haha). I’ll go just for this dessert again!

christmas cookies

We also had mince pies, biscuits and gingerbread cookies after the meal and I was so enamored by the Panettone “tiramisu” that Chef Filippo Giunta came out with what the dome-shaped Christmas cake. The Christmas Eve Dinner at Senja, Saujana Hotel is priced from RM 160++ to RM 280++ with optional wine pairing.

wine

They also have a New Year’s Eve set dinner priced at the same range where you can watch fireworks by the lake. Senja Restaurant is also starting a new tradition of Christmas Day and New Year’s Day brunches with buffet style antipasto and desserts from RM 90++. They can be reached at 03 7843 1234 for reservations. Oh, and they also sell that Panettone cake by itself but it won’t nearly be as good as the one made into “tiramisu”. Heh.

boatHouse restaurant, TTDI

boatHouse

boatHouse in TTDI is one of those places which you assume is the local watering hole but actually serves excellent food! I have heard good things about boatHouse and marvelled at their interesting bar when I walked past.

aquarium bar

They actually have a fully functional aquarium as a bar so you can watch the fishes swim along while you’re in your cups. :)

boat

boatHouse also has a lot of ship related décor, which probably explains the name. I bet you can get the “I’m on a boat!” badge on 4sq just from checking into the place. Heh.

Appetizers

oysters with caviar

Oysters with lumpfish caviar
One dozen oysters with lumpfish caviar (both black and red) is presented on a bed of shaved ice. I love oysters and it’s a stroke of good luck that not many of the others are, so I ate more than my fair share. :)

oyster lumpfish caviar

I had 6-7 of these lovely things and boatHouse dishes up really good oysters. You’ll think that oysters is fairly easy to do but there are flavor and texture nuances that adds a lot to it – for this, it was the two types of lumpfish caviar and the generous scallion (spring onions) and caper bud toppings. When your slurp the oyster, you’ll bite down into the juicy flesh, with the caviar popping on your palate and the spring onions bringing a nice crunchiness to the table. It’s delicious.

pig skin balls

Pig skin & balls
This decadent appetizer is made of pork wrapped in bacon. It goes very well with the dipping sauce and there’s a side of salad with cherry tomatoes, grapes, and other palate cleansing ingredients that diffuses the strong taste of the pork. I liked it, but it’s a bit too heavy as an appetizer for me. Your mileage may vary though.

caramelized roast pork

Caramelized roast pork
This is basically char siew. Lovely.

Mains

Spaghetti Scallop Olio with Poppy Seeds

Spaghetti Scallop Olio with Poppy Seeds
The presentation of this pasta dish is great – note the edible ornament and the sprinkling of poppy seeds (no, that isn’t pepper) on top of the dish. The olio (olive oil) based sauce is light on the palate and there is a generous portion of scallops lining the bed of the plate. I popped two of the scallops into my mouth and they were fresh and juicy!

Hollard Pork Belly Ribs

Holland Slow-baked Pork Belly Ribs
A feast for porcine lovers! I like how the pork belly is not excessively lean, but has a healthy layer of fat on it.

Fettuccine Pesto Beef Rocket Leaves

Fettuccine Pesto Beef with Rocket Leaves
I’m not sure why but every time I hear (or read) the words “rocket leaves” in a dish, it just somehow puts me off. I think it’s coz rocket leaves are the “in” thing right about now, and it seems that everyone is trying to incorporate it into their menu. It has become kinda gimmicky in the F&B industry.

rocket leaves

However, boatHouse surprises again by having a really good reason for putting rocket leaves into their pasta. The choice of fettuccine is perfect, as it absorbs the sauce well and we were told to eat the pasta with the rocket leaves. I did just that, and I was blown away. The contrasting textures plays a delicious medley in your mouth and for once, I have to agree wholeheartedly that the rocket leaves adds a lot to the dish.

preperation

Steak au Poivre a la Gueridon
This is hands down my favorite dish at boatHouse! It doesn’t look like much…yet, but wait!

flaming steak

It’s prime fillet steak flamed with brandy right beside your table. Just look at the pyrotechnics!

charbroiled steak

I rant a lot about how restaurants in Malaysia do not understand what “rare” means in steak parlance. boatHouse is not one of these places. They know what rare means and they do it very well! The steak practically melts in your mouth, even after I asked them to sear it three time so I could get a shot of the flames.

Steak au Poivre a la Gueridon

The charbroiled steak is served with a VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale) cognac gravy which adds a lot to the flavor. It’s not just a visual feast but an epicurean one. I highly recommend this dish!

Desserts

chocolate souffle

Chocolate Souffle
Oh, how do I describe the awesomeness that is boatHouse’s chocolate souffle? It’s hot from the oven and the melted chocolate with hidden cherry treasures inside is simply orgasmic! Add a bite of the lightly grilled banana and you’re in pure heaven. The hyperbole is justified. I haven’t had a souffle this good for a long time. :)

flambe

Crepe Suzette
This is an excellent option for those who’re not big fans of chocolate. The orange slices are flambeed right beside you. That’s right, I said orange slices. A lot of Crepe Suzette uses orange juice with liquor but not boatHouse. They use actual orange slices, and a lot of it to boot!

Crepe Suzette

I love the light and fluffy crepes that goes into this dish. There just a hint of bitterness from the orange rinds that tops it, but that is offset by the scoop of vanilla ice cream. It all works together to create a complex flavor profile. It’s magnificent!

milkadeal

I was there for a food review session courtesy of MilkADeal and Nuffnang. This is the first time I’ve met the guys, it was a pleasure. I remember a discussion about the drinks that we had too – I think it’s a grape soda based concoction and it sure brings back childhood memories.

nuffnang

I enjoyed the dinner, particularly the oysters, steak, chocolate souffle and Crepe Suzette. Those were the highlights of the meal. I wish I could have tried the cempedak chicken too, but no worries, there’s always time for another trip there. It’s not too far from my place. Thanks for having us, boatHouse! :)

Lobster and clam pasta with mango and bacon wrapped French beans

lobster and clam pasta with mango

This was originally planned as a yee sang cooking session which somehow mutated into a lobster fest. We were at Cold Storage searching for fish when I saw this awesome looking lobster for RM 59.88. It’s bright, colorful and knobby in all the right places. I stood there marveling at the crustacean instead of looking for fish. I was still staring longingly at it when Eiling came out of the pork section.

lobster

Thus, we decided to forgo the fish and went for lobster instead. I was concerned this wouldn’t fit into my pot and contemplated going for Cambodian lobsters instead. Cambodian lobsters are much smaller than regular lobsters, and doesn’t look like it has a lot of meat in it. There’s a live lobster in the fresh seafood area too, for RM 78 but that monster is definitely too big for my pot.

lobster going into pot

Besides, it’s regular red instead of this wonderfully hued lobster. =D

ingredients

Anyway, when there’s Eiling, there’s always wine – she brought along a bottle of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Brut and a bottle of Cadet d’Oc by Baron Philippe de Rothchild. This is what we used to cook the CNY (?) meal:

Lobster
Clams (la la)
Streaky bacon
French beans
John West anchovy fillets
San Remo spaghetti
Garlic and parsley infused olive oil
McCormick Season All Salt
Ripe mango

spaghetti

We started off by cooking the spaghetti until it was al dente with lots of McCormick’s Season All Salt. This is drained and left aside while the other dishes were prepared.

french beans

The bacon wrapped French beans is a concoction of Eiling – she shows how it’s done here. The beans are sliced into hors d’oeuvres sized pieces before being dipped in boiling water. Don’t overcook the veggies or it’ll lose the crunchiness!

rolling bacon

It is then rolled in a raw bacon slice.

bacon rolled

This is how we roll in KL. ;)

bacon rolls

The bacon rolls are then fried with olive oil on low heat until it cooks. It is important not to overcook it, you don’t want crispy bacon, but something nice and chewy that drips with mouth watering lard.

cooking bacon

Next up: Lobster!

lobster pot

Okay, this motherfucker is a bit of a challenge to put into my pot so I cooked it tail first with the head sticking out. The water is seasoned with LOTS of salt so it would impart some into the lobster (or so my rationale goes).

lobster cooking

The lobster needs to be boiled for about 30 minutes or so – we turned it over to let the head cook and found out that after cooking, it is possible to stuff the entire lobster into the pot!

mango

Take a break and dice the mango at this point. Choose one that is firm, yet sweet and juicy.

clams

The clams go in last since they’re quite easy to cook. Make sure your lovely crustacean is cooked before you chuck in the clams. I have no idea how long you should cook it, we just guesstimated and it worked out very well!

You should reheat the pasta at this point – we used the broth from the lobster and the clams to reheat it, and it really imparts some flavor into the spaghetti!

aglio olio

Now it’s time to make the aglio olio sauce for the spaghetti. Remember the frying pan you used to cook the bacon wrapped beans in? That’s perfect as a base due to the flavors imparted by the streaky bacon. Just add in the infused olive oil and pour in a bit of the anchovy fillet grease and you’re set!

fried lala

Dump the clams into the aglio olio sauce, fry it for a bit and pour the mixture onto your pasta!

serve

Don’t forget your anchovies to add a bit of zing (salt) into your spaghetti!

anchovies

Eiling was a bit doubtful about the addition of mangos into the dish but I managed to convince her that it’ll taste great. It did!

lobster and clam pasta with mango final

I really loved the lobster – it came out just nice, and the flesh is sweet and juicy. Digging into the lobster’s head and eating the stuff inside is pure heaven.

french beans rolled in bacon

The bacon rolled French beans were great – the beans are crunchy and fresh while the bacon was done just right. The mango cubes worked very well too, providing a sweet and juicy burst of nectar which goes very well with the lobster and clam pasta.

lobster tail

There’s a saying that all the meat in lobster is in the tail and I agree…but all the taste is in the head of the lobster!

Surf and turf vegeroni spiral pasta with homemade sauce

Surf and turf vegeroni spiral pasta with homemade cream

I just moved into my new studio apartment with cooking facilities and decided to break in the kitchen by whipping something up. This inspiration made us go to the nearest hypermarket to pick up some stuff for pasta. I wanted a hybrid seafood and red meat dish – squid and beef, so here’s the surf and turf pasta!

You will need:

Surf and turf vegeroni spiral pasta with homemade cream ingredients

  • Fresh whole squid
  • Aussie beef steaks
  • Enochi mushrooms
  • Fresh white button mushroom
  • Broccoli
  • Whipping cream
  • Perfect Italiano Mozzarella cheese slab
  • Tatura butter
  • McCormick Garlic Pepper Seasoning Grinder
  • McCormick Italian Herbs
  • McCormick Season All salt seasoning
  • Heinz Garlic BBQ sauce
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • San Remo Vegeroni Spirals pasta

garlic

My friend started squashing the garlic…

onion

…and chopping up the onions.

marinate beef

While I went to work marinating the Aussie beef with a mixture of Heinz Garlic BBQ sauce…

marinated beef

…before adding in some raw garlic and grinding some McCormick Garlic Pepper Seasoning into it.

massage beef

I also gave it a good massage, Kobe style. This is The Turf (TM).

brocolli

Prepare the broccoli by tearing it into manageable pieces and slice half the button mushrooms while keeping the other half whole.

veggies

Put everything onto a plate – it’s for the homemade sauce. This is supposed to be for the sauce base. Next – seafood!

squid

The squid should be boiled – shake some salt into the water and just chuck the damn sotong into the pot.

desquid

Squid has this cartilage thing inside it so remember to pull it out after you’ve boiled it. This is The Surf (TM).

vegeroni

The next step is to cook the vegeroni spiral pasta in salted water.

stir fry me

While you’re waiting it to become al dente start stir frying the garlic, onion, enochi mushroom, broccoli, and button mushroom in LOTS OF BUTTER.

stir fry

I used ½ a block of butter and if you want your pasta to taste as good as mine you’ll do the same. ;)

italian herbs

Shake in some Italian herbs to add some delicious hints to your sauce.

cream

Add cream to the entire mixture…

eat cheese

…and chop off half the block of cheese into the pasta sauce.

add cheese

I know, this is not going to win any Heart Healthy (TM) awards but it tastes fucking good okay?

add butter

Your pasta should be done by now so drain and put in a healthy amount of butter. Be generous! Go kung fu on the butter block and melt it in the pasta!

fry beef

Got beef? Don’t look at me. Fry the goddamn thing. Put the heat on low and sear it so you won’t overcook it.

Surf and turf vegeroni spiral pasta with homemade cream serve

Now it’s time to chow down! Pour the pasta sauce into the butter saturated pasta, add in the beef and squid and serve!

Surf and turf vegeroni spiral pasta with homemade cream dish

Serving suggestion: Grind some pepper on top of the butter and eat while hot! :)

Alfredo Organic Black Bean Noodles with Scallops and Whole Pig’s Heart

start

I’m back with a cooking post! Yes, one of the signature sixthseal.com cooking posts complete with lots of alcohol, dubious ingredients and a healthy dose of obscure references!

You will need:
Organic Black Bean Noodles
Pig’s heart (whole – available at the non-Halal section of your friendly local hypermarket)
Scallops
Grozette FORMAGGIO da Pasta powdered cheese
Leggo’s Alfredo Pasta Sauce
Grapeseed Oil
Tabasco sauce
MasterFoods Mixed herbs
Onions and garlic

ingredients

It’s a battle of premium vs. proletariat ingredients! The measly pack of scallops set me back a staggering RM 42.35 while the gargantuan whole pig’s heart retails at a very affordable RM 3.50.

pig heart

Let me clarify – this was supposed to be an angel hair pasta dish, but I forgot to get the pasta and thus we made do with this pack of organic black bean noodles. The texture is surprisingly similar and it looks the bit too. Heh!

drink

Okay, to start off, you’ll need to ingest some ethanol to get you into a righteous cooking mood. My tipple of choice is Absolut Vodka.

cpr

The Tell-Tale Heart. Hmph. I shall give you a heart massage, CPR style.

cook pig

How do you cook a pig’s heart? Beats me, I’ve never cooked one before. I decided to wrap it in aluminum foil and chuck it into a fan assisted oven for 10 minutes.

heart

It turns out that 10 minutes isn’t quite enough so I suggest 20 minutes instead. I also took the liberty of rubbing salt all over the pig’s heart for my version of marinating. Heh!

cooking scallops

Next comes the scallops – scallops are reasonably fast to cook after defrosting so I just dunked it in warm (not hot) water for about a minute before draining.

drain

With the major ingredients out of the way, let’s get to the all-important sauce!

chop

Leggo’s ready made sauces already has bits of meat and stuff inside but we decided to fry some onions and garlic and chopped some sausages into it for a heartier sauce.

stir

We used grapeseed oil instead of olive oil for the frying, no particular reason for the choice – it was just there. The sausages were seared for a bit before the entire container of alfredo sauce was emptied into the mixture.

simmer

Leave the sauce on (very) low heat and start cooking the noodles.

noodles cook

I put in salt and a dash of grapeseed oil in the boiling water, much like cooking spaghetti. Drain the noodles after 3 minutes. I’ll love to inject the word al dente somewhere in here but there’s no way to get black bean noodles al dente. Oh wait, I just put it in twice. ;)

noodles

I emptied the noodles into a high sided plate and liberally poured the pasta sauce with garlic, onions and sausages on top. This is also where you add the powdered cheese and Tabasco sauce.

mix

The sides are important as a barrier against spillage when you start mixing the alfredo sauce into the noodles.

cream

Add a dash (or three) of mixed herbs and toss the pig heart’s on top.

scallops

Arrange the scallops on the side and I present to you:
 


final dish

Alfredo Organic Black Bean Noodles with Scallops and Whole Pig’s HeartIt tastes better than it looks, trust me.

good

You get to bite into the baked whole pig’s heart like a barbarian too. Get in touch with your Neanderthal roots yo!

RAWR. UGG HUNGRY!

eat

I pronounce it Good (TM)!

Project Monsary – Pasta with roast beef and razor clams

ingredients

Project Monsary
was initiated yesterday afternoon to commemorate my monsary with Melody. I cooked pasta with roast beef and razor clams for our lunner (lunch/dinner as opposed to brunch). Razor Roast Fusilli is the official designation I gave the dish – not very romantic, but it kinda rhymes. ;)

You will need:

Continental Creamy Bacon Carbonara Pasta and Sauce
Fortune Razor Clams
Libby’s Roast Beef (“Great for Burritos”)
Absolut Vanilia
Wall’s Viennetta Kurma (dates) ice cream

alcohol

New readers of sixthseal.com might be wondering why there’s always alcohol involved in my cooking posts – the rational is simple, it’s better to drink and cook than drink and drive. ;)

You might need to get a mixer as well, I forgot that not everyone is an alcoholic and drinks it neat and straight from the bottle like me. ;)

butter

The Continental Creamy Bacon Carbonara is a ready mix packet of pasta with the fusilli and (powdered) sauce in the packet. It’s kinda like the Italian version of ramen (our instant noodles) – just add water (and milk). I also forgot about getting milk and butter for the pasta, so it’s a good thing I manage to scavenge some from the fridge at home.

open

I also couldn’t find the automatic can opener so I had to use a manual one. We started up by opening the can of Libby’s Roast Beef, which comes parboiled and steam roasted in gravy.

exhibit a

I have to admit that Melody’s skillz in using a manual can opener is much better than mine. Exhibit A above shows the can she opened.

exhibit b

Exhibit B here shows the one I did. I’m a “shortest distance between two points is a straight line” kind of guy and I guess it manifests itself in all aspects of my life…including opening tinned food. ;)

razor clams

The razor clams were drained from the brine in the can and placed in an appropriate receptacle. You don’t need to cook the tinned razor clams, it’s ready to eat.

roast beef

This is Libby’s Roast Beef, which comes in nice, huge chunks complete with gravy. You have to heat it over a saucepan before serving, but it’s best to do it when the pasta is almost cooked so it’ll still be warm when served.

melody

I also didn’t have a measuring cup and this is where Melody’s pragmatic brain comes into play – she counted the columns on a standard 500 ml bottle of mineral water and told me where I should pour up to.

milk

The recipe calls for 125 ml of reduced fat milk (it’s a good thing I have low fat milk in the fridge since I neglected to RTFM while shopping for the cooking project)…

water

…and 310 ml of water. I just mixed the two together in the mineral water bottle (which doubles as a not-very-accurate measuring cup) for easier handling.

milk water

The land of milk and honey, I mean, water. I added more milk and less water since I want it to be creamier and also coz I’m not sure “reduced fat milk” is a synonym for “low fat milk”. ;)

polyblah

The recipe also calls for “salt reduced polyunsaturated table spread”. Jesus Christ, why can’t you just say BUTTER! ;)

teaspoon

It requires a teaspoon of the “salt reduced polyunsaturated table spread” (Continental must have very high regards for the English comprehension standard of their consumers) and I could not for the life of me find a teaspoon in the entire house. It’s nowhere to be found. There is no (tea)spoon.

agaration

Melody teaches me agaration.

The results of camwhoring while estimating a teaspoon of butter:

camwhore

1. Butter starts slipping from knife
2. Cell phone falls into butter when mouth opens to communicate
3. Cell phone gets sticky
4. Butter drops to the floor

mixture

Anyway, after the mess was cleaned up, the bottle with the water and milk is poured into a saucepan and the butter (margarine, actually) added into the mixture.

timer

I set my timer for 8 minutes…

p<br />
asta in

…and poured the Continental Creamy Bacon Carbonara mix into the saucepan. The saucepan was put on low heat and stirred occasionally.

heat beef

The roast beef should be stir fried in a wok at the 5-minute point to ensure the chunks are nicely heated up before the pasta is al dente.

matching plates

This is Melody with matching Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse plates for our pasta extravaganza.

pasta done

The pasta was done at the 9-minute mark – apparently I put in too much liquid and it needed more time to coagulate with the low heat that I was putting it on.

razor clams in

The pasta was heaped onto the plate and the roast beef chunks added in on the side before the razor clams is mixed into the pasta. The packaging states that it serves four (4) but Melody and I didn’t even find it filling for two!

final dish

This is what the dish looks like when it’s done. The hot pasta will heat up the razor clams so it will be warm and appetizing. :)

final dish macro

Here is a macro shot of Razor Roast Fusilli – it tastes more tempting that it sounds. Melody loved it and so did I.

walls kurma

This is what we had for dessert – it’s the limited edition Wall’s Viennetta Kurma (dates) ice cream. It’s only available during Hari Raya Puasa since dates are traditionally eaten during the breaking of fast.

kurma ice cream

It tasted delicious and rounded up a great meal. We shared the ice cream and finished it in one sitting. There are dates in the dessert ice cream and it tastes great with Absolut Vanilia.

kurma macro

I love cooking together with Melody and it was a great Monthsary together.

monsary

Muaks! I love you dear! =D

Project Best Way to a (Wo)man’s Heart: Macaroni and Cheese with bacon and caviar

maca cheese ingredients

Project Best Way to a (Wo)man’s Heart was instantiated in the sixthseal.com
kitchen with the intention to cook macaroni and cheese with bacon and
caviar (Super Premium macaroni and cheese) with the ingredients below:

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner (two packets)
Lurpak Butter pack
Farmhouse Fresh Milk
Betty Crocker’s BacOs Bacon Bits
Emborg Lumpfish Caviar
Sara Lee Apple Pie
Walls Vanilla Ice Cream
Angove’s NINE VINES Grenache Shiraz Rose wine

Let me introduce the other two cooks in the project:

maca cheese two cooks

Cherie and Joanne. They have come to wreck havoc in my kitchen, much to my dread.

maca cheese cheesiest

The main course in this project is the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner
packs. It was pre-made, alas, since we didn’t know how to make bona
fide macaroni and cheese. It was appended with “The cheesiest original
flavor” which made me very happy.

maca cheese boil

One pot of boiling water was set to boil and the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese dumped in with a little McCormick Onion Salt.

maca cheese boil cherie joanne

The other two chefs stirred the mixture constantly while it cooked for 7 minutes…

maca cheese strainer

…and the macaroni was transferred into a strainer once it’s done.

maca cheese butter

The macaroni was put back into the pot after straining and ten (10) packs of individually wrapped butter were added in.

maca cheese butter cheese

The Kraft Macaroni and Cheese cheese powder sachet (we used two packs) was emptied into the same pot.

maca cheese butter cheese milk

Cherie emptied a quarter cup of milk into the mixture as per the instructions.

maca cheese stir

The pot containing the macaroni and cheese mixture was put back on low heat and stirred for three (3) minutes.

maca cheese oregano

The macaroni and cheese were transferred into serving bowls and sprinkled with McCormick Oregano Leaves

maca cheese bacon

…and liberally garnished with Betty Crocker’s BacOs Bacon Bits.

maca cheese ode

Cherie even made an ode to sixthseal.com.

maca cheese caviar

Caviar was heaped on the macaroni and cheese to add a touch of flair.

maca cheese apple pie

Apple pie a la mode (a pretentious term for apple pie with ice cream) was had for dessert.

maca cheese served

The macaroni and cheese was served with Angove’s NINE VINES Grenache Shiraz Rose wine for the meal.

Project Pasta: Bloody Gnocchi

gnocchi ingredients

Project Pasta was instantiated this evening on an
impulse with my girlfriend. We decided to go to Ting & Ting – a
local import specialty shop – to get the ingredients to cook gnocchi
(it’s a pretentious Italian word for conk shaped pasta) at the
sixthseal.com kitchen.

Bloody Gnocchi recipe:
Barilla Gnocchi
Hormel Real Bacon Bits
500 grams of ground beef
Monini Olio olive oil
San Remo Italian Double Concentrate Tomato Paste
duChef Tomato Puree
Grozette Formaggio da Pasta (cheese)
McCormick Season-All salt
McCormick Mixed Herbs

gnocchi sauce bacon

The sauce was prepared using my gf’s secret recipe of Hormel Real Bacon Bits sautéed in hot olive oil. McCormick Mixed Herbs was also added into the mixture and stirred for about a minute.

gnocchi sauce fry

The resulting olive oil, bacon bits and herb mixture was transferred
from the ceramic pot into a frying pan and the entire 500 gram bag of
local Ting & Ting ground beef was added and cooked until the beef
turned brown.

gnocchi sauce look

This is what the olive oil, bacon bits (the secret to the taste),
herb, and ground beef sauce base should look like after cooking with a
spatula. It should be noted that constant agitation is necessary to
allow even heat to permeate the, er…meat.

gnocchi cook pasta

Meanwhile, another ceramic pot was filled with boiling water and added with salt (McCormick Season-All Salt)
in preparation to cook the gnocchi. The gnocchi takes about 14 minutes
to cook so it is advisable to do this first if it hasn’t been done
already. ;)

gnocchi sauce tomato

Back to the sauce, San Remo Italian Double Concentrate Tomato Paste
was added to the ground beef mixture in the frying pan and mixed
thoroughly. The ground beef should be slightly brownish at this point
if you left the heat on.

gnocchi sauce done

Next step involves the transfer of the ground beef and tomato paste mixture back to the ceramic pot and the addition of duChef Tomato Puree
(which she told me is different from tomato paste – to be honest, I
can’t tell the difference). The sauce is mixed thoroughly until
everything is blended evenly.

gnocchi scoop

The pasta should be cooked at this point so we scooped up the gnocchi into two plates…

gnocchi scoop sauce

…and added the sauce on top.

bloody gnocchi

This is what the gnocchi looks like when it’s done – there is cheese sprinkled on top of the sauce (to taste).

gnocchi end

It was dubbed Bloody Gnocchi and we had it for dinner just now with skim milk. It was delicious!

…and it’s really fun to cook too. :)

Italiano's Pizza and Pasta review

italianos kuching

Italiano’s Pizza and Pasta is an authentic Italian eating
establishment located at Abell Road in Kuching. The place is owned by
an Italian and it’s been in operation for quite a while, and with a
reputation for authentic Italian food to boot (no pun intended).

italianos interior

The interior of the place is nicely done, there is a lot of wood
based furniture and a large replica of the outline of Italy strung
together with cloth with the colors of the Italian flag on the ceiling.

italianos napkin

Italiano’s has a set lunch promotion going on for RM 9.90, with a
choice of four different main dishes. I went there for lunch just now
with my co-workers Penny and Mancy. We each ordered a different main so
we could try the different variations.

italianos waitress

The person in charge of our table was friendly and attentive – the
service at Italiano’s Pizza and Pasta is great, and the waitress was
kind enough to accommodate unusual requests like customers asking to
take photos of her. ;)

italianos soup

The meal started with the soup of the day – it’s a tomato based
creamy soup, with mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower,
carrots and various other ingredients. It’s a hearty soup, nice and
filling.

italianos pizza

This is one of the mains that we ordered. Pizza Margherita
is described as “pizza bread baked with tomato sauce and cheese”. It
has a thin base and is unlike the topping piled American style pizzas.
This is a more authentic Italian pizza with just tomato sauce, cheese
and herbs. It’s great – I give this two thumbs up!

italianos risotto

The second main dish that we shared is Risotto Francheska
which the menu bills as “Italiano’s style tomato rice cooked with
tomato sauce and vegetables”. I liked this dish as well; the risotto is
rich and creamy, with a lingering aftertaste.

italianos pene

The last main that we ordered is Pene Arabiata,
which is “short tube pasta cooked with tomato, dry chilly, olives, and
garlic in tomato sauce”. This is a spicy dish, and that always scores
points with me. It tastes good and it’s always fun to stab penne rigate
with a fork. ;)

italianos mirela

I wanted to order tiramisu, unfortunately Italiano’s were out, so
Mirela recommended another dessert. At least, that’s how I remember the
spelling as she enunciated it out for me. She’s not from Italy, as I
assumed, but is of Bosnian origin. She’s really friendly, and has this
fragile beauty about her…but I digress, we should be talking about
food.

italianos pudding

This is the pudding type dessert that Mirela (pronounced MIER-la)
recommended. I don’t know what it’s made of, but it’s very creamy, with
a melt-in-your-mouth texture and a sweet aftertaste. It’s has cherry
sauce and chocolate drizzled over it, but it’s not cloyingly sweet, it
manages to allow the creamy taste to dominate the pudding. It’s
wonderful.

Italiano’s Pizza and Pasta comes highly recommended from me. The
food is good, the ambience is warm, and the service is great. You can’t
go wrong with Italiano’s if you’re looking for authentic Italian food
in Kuching.

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